Luxe pampering tips for winter

Luxe pampering tips for winter

Winter is the time of year where we find we are not as social, but it is the time of year where you enjoy taking time out for rest and pampering. South Africa is home to some amazing restaurants, spas, and retailers that will cater to your every need, while Croatian luxury-crafted Nikel Cosmetics is a skincare option that promises to make sure your skin looks its best

Retail therapy

Shopping and window-shopping is a great way to stay indoors and chase away the cold. When it comes to simple elegance and high-quality design and fabrics, Country Road will exceed your expectations. Originating from Australia, Country Road has become the must-have store to get all your fashion needs met. This high-end women’s fashion store is located throughout South Africa and within many Woolworth’s stores. Volpes is another fan-favorite of ours, specifically, their white Egyptian cotton linen, scatter cushions and linen mists, our personal favorite is the baby chamomile linen spray, and luckily for us there’s a store really close to where we live.

Enjoying an entertaining night at the movies is another enjoyable way to spend a winter’s night.  Nu Metro premium offers 4D movie experiences that will awaken all your senses with scents, seat movement, sprays, wind, smoke and lighting effects. Nu Metro premium offers these 4D experiences across South Africa and is fun for the whole family. We watched our first 4D movie a few years back and it’s a completely different experience. It’s truly incredible. Ster-Kinekor has something similar called a D-Box which is just as spectacular.

The art of good food

The cold months evoke memories of comfort food oozing with flavour and richness. What better place to eat than at an authentic Italian restaurant that epitomises delicious meals steeped in tradition and recipes from their Italian roots? The Mastrantonio Group has restaurants in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban and has been sharing the art of good eating since 1996 and is also a favorite place for Brlečić to visit when in South Africa. Banish the winter blues with their homemade gnocchi smothered in three-cheese sauce or slow-cooked saltimbocca.

The Marabi Club in Maboneng, offers some really fresh, acidic options and Punchinello’s opposite Monte Casino offers a great pea, butternet and sarmesan risotto.

Heart-warming wines can make this even more indulgent, why not pair your meal with a wine produced right here in South Africa. No need to go all the way to Italy when South Africa now produces wines using traditional Italian grape varietals like Sangiovese that works well with tomato-based pasta dishes.

A day at the spa

The sheer indulgence of a day at the spa will allow you to mentally unwind, while a range of treatments will revitalise your body from top to toe. An absolute must for me is a delicious, hot-stone massage or a warm paraffin-dip pedicure.

When visiting Cape Town founder of Nikel Cosmetics Mirjana Brlečić loves to enjoy a Kalahari signature spa treatment at the Cape Grace situated at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. “My favourite treatment is the Body Cocoon as it boosts circulation and energises the body using only natural ingredients based on plant oils, red sand, and mineral salts.”  The treatment involves a detoxifying scrub and finished off with an antioxidant treatment and then cocooned in layers of warm blankets.

“Winter is harsh on the skin, so keeping moisturised is essential to prevent it from being dry and flaky,” says Mirjana Brlečić. Having a full body wrap will help give your skin a moisture boost and a beautiful all-over glow.

Next, on your spa-day to-do list is a soothing and moisturising facial to make sure your skin looks its best. “I have a facial at least once a month, so my skin is looked after and pampered and can benefit from the natural plant oils in the Nikel skincare range,” says Brlečić. Introducing the Evening Primrose oil into your daily skincare regime is the perfect way to prevent the dryness and flakiness synonymous with winter in many parts of our country.  This luxurious oil concentrate also contains sweet orange and jojoba oil giving it a beautiful scent while restoring moisture in the deepest layers of the skin.

Just like Mirjana, I too have a facial once a month, the last facial I went for was a Dermalogica facial and I really enjoyed it. Skincare is a really personal thing and you need to find what works for you, at a price point that you can afford and are comfortable paying. Remember, what works for your friends’ skin, may not work for you. Diet, hormones, and stress can also wreak havoc on your skin. While I haven’t tried Nikel skincare yet and cannot personally endorse the brand, I’ve only heard good things about them and as a commitment to always offer you, my readers’ different beauty offerings and brands I am happy to give you insights into the brands ingredients without having tested it yet.

What are your winter pampering tips?

8 Beauty Essentials Your Gym Bag Absolutely Needs

8 Beauty Essentials Your Gym Bag Absolutely Needs

We’re all well aware of the fact that exercising is beneficial for our bodies and minds, but a good workout often wreaks havoc on our skin and hair.

From dry, brittle hair to breakouts brought on by residual sweat, there’s no doubt that going to the gym can bring with it an onslaught of beauty woes… but there are products to help combat these. We’ve rounded up 8 of the most underrated beauty products that we believe are essential for your gym bag… don’t leave home without them! 

Huxley Deep Cleansing Foam

First thing’s first: there’s no more important post-workout task than washing your face. A thorough cleanse not only removes all traces of sweat, makeup, and other debris, but it’ll also prevent congestion caused by blocked pores. We’re huge fans of Huxley Deep Cleansing Foam, which is a gentle, foaming cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin. It contains nourishing Vitamin E, Tangerine extract (to exfoliate and smooth your skin’s texture), and Blue Lotus extract to help relieve redness – along with a slew of other great ingredients.

Foreo LUNA Mini (R2500)

This award-winning cleansing device is both compact and waterproof, making it the perfect fit for your gym bag. It’ll help ensure that your skin is properly cleansed and exfoliated, without causing any irritation. If you’re prone to post-workout breakouts, you need one of these in your kit!

Thoclor Labs GF2 Skin Rejuvenation (R799,25)

Refresh and rebalance your skin with 8 – 10 pumps of this incredible facial mist on freshly cleansed skin. This genius product offers a multitude of benefits for your skin, from calming and soothing sensitive, inflamed skin to reducing the appearance of dark spots and wrinkles. It’s also ideal for use on post-laser or post-peel skin, and we love that it’s vegan-friendly, cruelty-free, and locally made!

PCA Skin Dual Action Redness Relief (R2330)

This restorative moisturiser contains Niacinimide, which helps to relieve redness and inflammation. It also helps to improve an impaired barrier function, and is suitable for sensitive and rosacea-prone skins.

Colorescience Sunforgettable Brush-On Sunscreen SPF30 (R880)

After you’ve cleansed and moisturised your skin, this compact loose mineral foundation and brush is a must for when you have to head straight to the office or drinks after hitting the gym. It not only hides blemishes and other imperfections, but also mattifies your skin and offers broad-spectrum sunscreen. It comes in four shades (fair, medium, tan, and dark) and is suitable for all skin types.

Biosilk Organic Coconut Oil 3-in-1 Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash (R269)

Save time – and space in your gym bag – with this sweet-smelling 3-in-1 shampoo, conditioner, and body wash that’s designed to cleanse and moisturise both your skin and hair. So handy, right? It contains nourishing coconut oil and silk to not only add moisture, but to remove impurities at the same time, and is gentle enough for daily use.

Tangleteezer Rose Gold Compact Styler (R295)

Sure, it may be tempting to leave your wet (or sweaty) hair tied back with an elastic band, but wet hair is more prone to breakage – that’s why it’s vital to (gently!) untie your ponytail and comb through your locks using a Tangleteezer before going about the rest of your day. This nifty, rose gold Tangleteezer has us swooning!

Original Invisibobble (R80 for a pack of 3)

While we’re on the topic of hair breakage, it may be worth switching from traditional elastic hair ties (known for their damaging effects on your hair) to their gentler, traceless counterparts. The original Invisibobble boasts a spiral design to prevent telltale bumps and dents in your hair, and they also reduce breakage on both wet and dry hair. 

 

Is there anything we’ve left off this list? We’d love to hear all about your recommendations and gym bag essentials – leave us a comment below!

Feeling frazzled? Here’s your summer cure for a tired body

Feeling frazzled? Here’s your summer cure for a tired body

It’s that time of the year again. You know the one: the season when it seems that no amount of coffee or concealer can hide the fact that you’re feeling (and looking) completely shattered.

The late nights (whether spent at the office or the bar), tight deadlines, and hectic schedules are all starting to show – and it’s not a pretty picture. And just in time for the slew of office parties and your summer holiday… But is it really necessary to wait until your December break to start looking and feeling human again?

Dr. P Aesthetic Lifestyle Centre can help you address both looking and feeling tired through a combination of treatments. “It’s extremely important to look after yourself when your body is feeling stressed and overwhelmed,” explains Dr. Portia Gumede of the Dr. P Aesthetic Lifestyle Centre. “By relieving pressure internally and boosting the skin externally we can help you feel and look rejuvenated, so you can truly enjoy your holiday.”

 

Boost Your Skin

Volume loss is easily one of the biggest contributing factors to looking tired. Various factors like ageing, excessive weight loss, sun exposure and hormonal changes can contribute to volume loss in the face. When we lose volume, our skin starts to sag, fine lines appear and the area under the eyes becomes hollowed making us look tired. The cure-all for this used to be fillers and botulinum toxin injectables and these are still good options. Today, however, we are able to subtly address volume loss and rejuvenate the skin with Skinboosters™. The result is a fresher, brighter and more rested appearance. “Skinboosters™ are wonderful because the treatment works equally well on both male and female patients. The improvement is very natural and you’ll just look like you returned from a lengthy island holiday,” explains Dr. P.

Restalyne®’s Skinbooster™ is specifically formulated to work in the deeper layers of the skin. The micro-droplets of hyaluronic acid (HA), which are specially formulated for this treatment, are meticulously injected in specific areas to boost the skin. HA has an impressive water retention ability and through this, it’s able to plump up the skin, improve the appearance of sagging and address fine lines. The results are immediate and long-term, after a Skinbooster™ treatment patients look more rested, the skin appears hydrated, smoother, brighter and over time it will also become firmer and more rejuvenated.

 

Address fatigue internally

It’s one thing to look like you just returned from a holiday, but it’s quite another to feel as though you’ve just returned from one. Dr. P Aesthetic Lifestyle Centre aims to give their patients both of these results– because feeling rested will also naturally translate to your skin and only further boost results. When we’re stressed, sick or regularly over indulge, we place strain on our lymphatic system and it can become less responsive. The lymphatic system plays an integral part in keeping the body healthy by detoxing and removing harmful substances. When it’s not working as it should you will feel tired, struggle with headaches, water retention, increased weight gain, and cellulite will become more apparent. Lymphatic drainage is an effective and fantastic way to rejuvenate the lymphatic system and improve the health and wellbeing of a patient.

Dr. P Aesthetic Lifestyle Centre uses the BTL Lymphastim to encourage lymphatic drainage. The Lymphastim works on the principle of pneumatic pressotherapy and replicates the way a therapist would manually do lymphatic drainage. The mechanical massaging encourages the movement of lymphatic fluids and deeply stimulates the lymph nodes. Lymphatic drainage is a natural way to encourage detoxification in the body and boost the immune system. As the body gets rid of toxins patients may feel tired, but the long-term effects far outweigh the initial drowsiness. Ultimately patients feel rejuvenated and also find that problems such as indigestion, fluid retention, cellulite and poor circulation are improved.

Turns out you don’t need a holiday just quite yet – all you need is a date at Dr. P Lifestyle Aesthetic Centre! For more information or to book a treatment, call (010) 001 8557/8 or email info@drpaesthetics.com. You can also click here to visit their website.

 

About Dr. Portia Gumede

Dr. Portia Gumede obtained her medical degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2002. Her interest in dermatology and aesthetics led her to complete her aesthetic training at the renowned American Academy of Aesthetic Medicine. She recently attended the Oculo-Facial Aesthetic Academy in London to further her skills and training. In addition to starting her own aesthetic clinic, Dr. P as she is fondly referred to, serves as a national trainer for Galderma, a global leader in neuromodulators and dermal fillers.

INGREDIENT WATCH: Is activated charcoal the secret to perfect skin?

INGREDIENT WATCH: Is activated charcoal the secret to perfect skin?

The past year or two has seen activated charcoal rise in popularity to become one of the hottest beauty and wellness ingredients of the moment.

In fact, all you have to do is scroll through your Instagram feed and we can pretty much guarantee that you’ll spot at least one beauty influencer showing off her charcoal face mask. But what exactly does activated charcoal do, and does it really live up to the hype?

What is activated charcoal? 

It’s a form of – you guessed it – charcoal that’s been heated in order to increase its absorbency. Although it’s fairly new in the beauty world, it’s been used in hospital emergency rooms for years to help treat alcohol poisoning and drug overdoses. Activated charcoal ‘grabs’ onto and binds with harmful, toxic substances (such as alcohol, for example) and since activated charcoal isn’t absorbed by the body, it will help carry these harmful substances out of the body before they get absorbed by the bloodstream.

When it comes to its use in the beauty world, activated charcoal carries out a very similar function: it acts like a magnet to attract and absorb oil, dirt, and grime. The oil and dirt sticks to the carbon, and gets washed away when you rinse your face. Genius! 

How to use activated charcoal?

Many beauty brands now offer a soap, cleanser, or facial masque that contains activated charcoal, but did you know that you can also buy activated charcoal in powder form and take it orally to help detoxify your system from the inside out? (PLEASE don’t use regular charcoal you would use for your weekend braai for this – you’ll find activated charcoal products at your nearest pharmacy or health store). If you’re going to follow this route, make sure that you use high-quality, pharmaceutical grade activated charcoal and follow the dosage instructions very carefully.

  • Stay hydrated. Activated charcoal can be dehydrating, so be sure to drink a large glass of water or juice with your activated charcoal if you are taking it orally. If you are taking it in powder form (as opposed to capsule form), mix it with your morning juice and be sure to down it quickly, before the particles have the chance to settle at the bottom of your glass.
  • Don’t take it with other supplements or medicines. Given that activated charcoal is renowned for its ability to absorb, make sure that you take oral forms at least two hours before or after other supplements or medicines so that it doesn’t render them ineffective.
  • Don’t overdose on activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is incredibly absorbent, so much so that it might absorb vital nutrients as well as any harmful toxins. To prevent it from leaving you deficient in vital minerals and vitamins, make sure that you use activated charcoal intermittently, as needed (so after a big night out or after a big meal, for example).
  • Use a weekly face masque. If you battle with regular breakouts, you may want to invest in a face masque that contains activated charcoal. This will help to absorb excess sebum that typically results in breakouts – up your masque game to twice a week during a breakout.

 

 

6 Benefits of Cancer Massage

6 Benefits of Cancer Massage

A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating to all involved. It challenges your self-esteem, and no matter how optimistic you are, that fear of being “not healthy enough” will stay with you. A cancer diagnosis tends to change your identity. You go from friend, sister, mother, daughter, wife, to cancer patient. However, you can move from survivor to warrior – and massage therapy can help in this journey.

  1. Massage reduces anxiety. Massage increases your body’s levels of oxytocin and serotonin, which helps lower your stress levels. Regular massage therapy can help lower blood pressure and elevates your mood. Massage has also shown to reduce nausea and depression.
  2. Massage helps reduce cancer-related fatigue. Cancer-related fatigue is considered to be one of the most prevalent and debilitating symptoms experienced by people with cancer says Professor Mark Rapaport of Emory University. He adds that it can persist for months or years after cancer therapy is completed. A study, conducted by Rapaport, in conjunction with the National Center for Complementary and Integrative health, and the National Cancer Institute is looking at how Swedish Massage can help reduce this form of fatigue. Massage therapy has shown benefit forsymptom management among cancer patients. Massage has also shown benefit to help patients relax while receiving chemo, resulting in more energy after the treatment.
  3. Better Body Image. Cancer can challenge your perception of yourself. Massage has proven to help you feel better about yourself. You can build a nurturing connection with your body through the gentle, healing, non-judgmental touch of your therapist. Not only does this reduce anxiety, but increases your sense of self.
  4. Improved appetite. Massage increases nutrition and waste removal by accelerating your blood flow, increasing your circulation and improving your digestion. (One of the reasons why you should drink water before and after your massage).
  5. Rest and relaxation. Massage is calming. As your treatment begins, your heart rate slows and the production of those stress hormones decreases. The therapist will work on the tension and stress held in your muscles and muscle tissues, which in turn brings a sense of relaxation and wellbeing.
  6. Improves your Immune function. Massage won’t cure your cancer, but it does help improve your immune system (which is compromised during treatment). Research shows that massage has the potential to increase your white blood cells by 40% to 80%, helping you fight infection and build strength.

 

12 Skincare ingredients You May Want to Avoid

12 Skincare ingredients You May Want to Avoid

 

Studies from US researchers report say that 1 in 8 of the 82 000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins and hormone disruptors. These products include plasticisers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to cut grime on autoparts) and surfactants (that reduce surface tension in water, such as paint and inks). Now imagine what these can do to your skin?

David Suzuki, co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation (www.davidsuzuki.org), is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. His team compiled the Dirty Dozen, a list of cosmetic chemicals to be avoided.  Their research has found that 80% of the products they looked at had at least one of the following ingredients:

  1. BHA & BHT: This is used mainly in moisturisers and makeup as preservatives. May cause cancer and can interfere with hormone function.
  2. Coal tar dyes: p-phenylenediamine and colours listed as “CI” followed by a five digit number. Potential to cause cancer and may be contaminated with heavy metals toxic to the brain.
  3. DEA-related ingredients: Used in creamy and foaming products, such as moisturizers and shampoos. Can react to form nitrosamines, which may cause cancer.
  4. Dibutyl phthalate: Used as a plasticizer in some nail care products. Can affect reproduction and hormone function.
  5. Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives: Look for DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15. Used in a variety of cosmetics. Slowly release small amounts of formaldehyde, which can cause cancer.
  6. Parabens: Widely used in makeup, moisturisers, etc. May interfere with hormone function, and has been associated with breast cancer.
  7. Parfum: Widely used, and is even found in some products marketed as “unscented” (often the last ingredient). Mixture of chemicals that can trigger allergies and asthma. Some have been linked to cancer and neurotoxicity.
  8. PEG compounds: Used in those products with a cosmetic cream base, such as conditioners, moisturisers or deodorants. Can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer.
  9. Petrolatum: Used in some hair products for shine and as a moisture barrier in some lip balms, lip sticks and moisturisers. Petroleum products can be contaminated with cancer-causing impurities.
  10. Siloxanes: Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. May affect reproductive and hormone function.
  11. Sodium laureth sulfate: found in products that foam such as shampoo, cleansers, bubble bath. SLES can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which may cause cancer. SLS may damage liver.
  12. Triclosan: In “anti-bacterial” products such as toothpaste, soaps, hand sanitizers. May interfere with hormone function and contribute to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.