The sun might not have been out too much this past week, but Spring has definitely arrived… which means it’s time for some beautifully flowery make-up!
I’ve always been a huge NARS fan. The products are generally great and the limited edition collections are often daring and gorgeous. As a blogger and avid Pinterester (are you following me yet?), I adore the campaign visuals, which are always stunning. Not a huge surprise there, as François Nars is a photographer himself!
For the newest summer collection Strange Flowers, NARS collaborated once again with long time fashion design partner Erdem Moralioglu, who says that for him, «flowers represent the wonderful strength of the feminine.»
«It was really interesting to explore my aesthetic in collaboration with NARS and see how far we could push different elements through color and product,» says Erdem. «It was fascinating to develop new pigments and palettes as well as the cosmetics themselves.»
Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it? But I still kind of have the urge to mess up his hair and hand him a large glass of sangria, but that’s just me.
The 13 limited products in the Strange Flowers collection all come in light grey, soft-touch packaging with floral prints, designed specially by Erdem himself.
Pretty, isn’t it? Fun fact for blog nerds: I bought some beautiful lilies for this photo shoot, but when I wanted to get rid of my (dying) peonies to make room for them, their petals just dropped all at once, and suddenly made for a very nice, impromptu background.
MY LIFE IS SO EXCITING.
Enough talk… let’s have a look at all of the products!
If you like drama for your lips, this one is for you: Four lip powders and a «lip priming balm», which is to be applied underneath the powder. The colors can be worn lightly or boldly, it’s totally up to you. There is a brush that comes with the palette, but I kinda like the soft smudgy effect you get when you apply it with your fingers only!
This soft rosy tone Loves Me Not almost looks like a highlighter, doesn’t it? And yes, the other shade is called Loves Me, which is a strawberry red with a soft golden shimmer. Sounds a bit like NARS cult favourite Orgasm, but is more pink than orange, which you can see here in the gorgeous official press visual…
And now, on to the stars of the collection, the eyeshadow palettes!
Let’s be real for a second: These are some very expensive blotting papers… but oh so beautiful! I’m a big fan of them in general – they’re just very handy to have in your purse and don’t add a lot of product onto your face in the summer.
Heya, pretty! Welcome back to the blog with a big, fat, well-that-escalated-quickly (but hopefully informative) edition of the Hey Pretty Beauty ABC! Sandra launched this skincare series back in January with a special on cleansing… and yesterday, I contracted a serious case of research-itis and decided to tackle a pretty big subject:
As a beauty blogger, I frequently get asked which ingredients one should look out for in facecare (good and bad), but very often, it’s not that simple to answer, because there is a huge range of actives that are great for your skin, from hydrators like hyaluronic acid, glycerin or squalane to anti-aging power players like acids or retinol to anti-oxidants that protect and repair.
With a bit of (okay, LOTS of) help from my «skintellectual» friend Maja, I already blogged about Anti-Aging with Actives here, but now I want to present the bigger picture, with a comprehensive overview of the highest-quality active ingredients that facecare products can offer – and, consequently, which ingredients you can be on the lookout for when buying your next serum, moisturizer or facial oil.
Are you ready for actives camp?
This «ultimate moisture booster» has been used in skincare (and especially face care) for decades. Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is produced by the human body as well, and acts like a sponge, as it can bind over 1000 times its own weight in water within the skin cells. As our natural level of hyaluronic acid in the dermis starts declining around the age of 25 (eek!), basically every moisturizer should contain some hyaluronic acid, because it not only delivers hydration, but keeps the skin’s own hydration levels up.
Due to its low molecular weight, hyaluronic acid is able to spread easily in the epidermis (the outermost layer of skin, here’s a good article on this), and is very well tolerable, even for very sensitive skin. And yes, it can be injected, too: Nearly all of the currently available dermal fillers and «freshups» are essentially composed of hyaluronic acid varying in viscocity (thickness), which, depending on where they’re being injected, need to be either denser, or more liquid.
Ideally suited for: Wrinkles and fine lines, and dry skin… but it’s a great ingredient in any moisturizing product!
Two great products with a high percentage of hyaluronic acid that I can personally recommend:
This fat-soluble essential vitamin (also known as beta carotine, which can be absorbed by the body and turned into retinol) is basically the Roger Federer* of anti-aging actives, and for good reason, too: It helps retain moisture levels in the skin for hours, stimulates cell and collagen production, tightens the skin and helps protect the epidermis, tool
*sorry, I’m Swiss.
Retinol has a photosensitizing effect on the skin, which means that it becomes (much) more delicate and can burn even at low doses of UVA and UVB radiation. That translates to: You really, REALLY need to use sunscreen daily when using products containing retinol and retinoids!
In general, any concentration of retinol can irritate the skin, which means that, upon beginning treatment, it may flake or feel dry. The irritation usually disappears once the skin has built up tolerance for this particular active, but it’s usually worth gradually implementing retinol into your skincare regime. So you can initially use your retinol product every second or third day.
Ideally suited for: Pigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines, dull skin. Retinol’s scary big brother is the (prescription-only) Tretinoin, which is used in acne treatments as well as in anti-aging.
Two products that contain a proper percentage of retinol (or similar substances) worth trying:
One of the most effective (and cheapest!) anti-oxidant actives around is good old Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid in its pure form. This naturally occurring organic compound is a real heavyweight in terms of cell turnover, and is especially efficient as a serum or moisturizer, as it can work on the skin directly, without any product barriers. Vitamin C protects the collagen structure in our skin from the damaging effect of free radicals, and also lessens micro-inflammation in the skin that can cause acne.
Additionally, Vitamin C inhibits the production of melanin and also protects the skin (cells) from UV rays. Because Vitamin C is relatively instable as a substance, you should choose a skincare product that is protected from UV rays (dark or opaque container) and from air as well, for instance with an airless pump dispenser.
Ideally suited for: Pigmentation, dull skin and acne.
Vitamin E (and tocopherols, which have Vitamin E activity) is very efficient in terms of cell protection: It’s basically your own personal anti-aging bodyguard! Vitamin E delivers moisture to the corneal layer, and as an anti-oxidant, once again fights free radicals that can age the skin prematurely. But that’s not all: Vitamin E plays the flute beautifully. That is absolutely NOT true, I just wanted to see if you’re still paying attention.
Vitamin E is a popular preservative in organic skincare, and is a total team player and performs best when combined with other anti-oxidants. Vitamin E and Vitamin C is a dream team for your skin. And, fun fact: When used in haircare, Vitamin E prevents hair color from fading!
Ideally suited for: Fine lines and sallow skin.
Two lightweight, but very efficient Vitamin E «bombs»:
Sheesh, this word!«Nye-a-cyna-mide»!», Steffi! It’s not that hard!
Niacinamide is a form of Vitamin B3 is a form of Vitamins B3, which we coincidentally cannot produce in our own bodies, and therefore have to find in food or as a dietary supplement… or in skincare! Niacinamide lessens skin damage, strengthens the skin’s barrier function, has an influence on oil production in the skin (which is why its commonly used as an acne treatment) and also has an effect on pigmentation. Ironically, Niacinamide can both lessen and create redness, so it’s another one of those «start out gently» actives!
Thanks to its very small molecular weight, Glycolic acid has excellent capabilities in terms of skin penetration and is most often used as a chemical peel to lessen pimples and blackheads, enlarged pores and hyperpigmentation.
Glycolic acid also stimulates the skin’s natural collagen production and help shed dead skin cells, which also intensifies the effect of any following skincare products.
As it’s a chemical peel, the skin will be much more photosensitive during and after any AHA treatment, and really needs to be protected DAILY with an SPF of at least 30. I’m not kidding around!
Ideally suited for: Wrinkles, enlarged pores, sun damage and hyperpigmentation, local cornifications and on dry/dull skin.
Two products that’ll make you go «ah-HAAA!» (sorry!):
BHAs are basically deep cleansers for the pores, and practically miracle weapons for acne-prone and blemished skin. If the concentration of BHA acids is listed (which, sadly, isn’t the case for al lot of products), 1% is great for slight impurities, 2% for acne and visibly blemished skin.
Salicylic acid has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and can be combined with AHAs. Actually, they work even better as a duo, but your skin needs to be «introduced« to them gradally, as they are pretty effective! Salicylic acid works like a chemical peel, so – once again and with feeling – you gotta do your daily SPF!
Ideally suited for: Oily skin, blackheads, blemishes and acne, as well as with rosacea*
Salicylsäure ist als Toner oder Lotion besonders effizient, und in diesen beiden Wässerchen verträglich konzentriert: Salicylic acid is especially efficient as a toner or lotion, such as:
*Even if both of these products are relatively gentle, I have utmost respect for at-home treatments of it, and would recommend visiting a dermatologist first, okay?
Strictly speaking, lactic acid is an AHA acid and one of the fruit acids. Lactic acid molecules are bigger than those in AHA or BHA acids, which means that they can’t penetrate quite as deeply into the skin and doesn’t effect its thickness. But this is pretty good news for sensitive skin, as lactic acid is much more hydrating than glycolic acid and is generally more easily tolerated. It also boosts ceramide levels in the skin, which makes it smoother and more radiant.
Ideally suited for: Sensitive, dehydrated skin
Two products with lactic acid (und just so you know, you can smell the slightly sour tinge of lactic acid in most products containing it, so don’t freak out!):
It sounds a lot like chemistry class where the boys would start guffawing in an extremely immature way (they never really stop doing that, do they?), but Squalane is a natural component of our own sebum! As an ingredient in skincare, squalane delivers softness, helps lessen moisture evaporation and acts like an anti-oxidant on the skin – similar to the Vitamins C and E.
Squalane is a natural oil and used to be derived from shark’s liver (ew!), but today, it’s extracted from olives, and most recently, from sustainably farmed sugar cane that can even carry the EcoCert certification. Squalane creates such a silky finish on the skin that, in certain products, it can feel a bit like silicone. But don’t worry, it really is good for the skin!
Ideally suited for: All skin types as a non-comedogenic, gentle hydrator.
And just in case you’re asking yourself why not ALL skincare products contain squalane if it’s so fabulous… it’s because it’s pretty expensive to make, and not quite as stable (i.e. long-lasting) as other oils.
Here are two formulas with a high percentage of squalane:
Ich mag okay BRAUCHE ihn in Form von Kaffee, um am Morgen überhaupt ansprechbar zu sein… und auch in der Hautpflege ist Koffein eine Art Taser für die Zellen… aber auf eine gute Art, ahem! Die anregenden Eigenschaften, für die wir ihn in Kaffee und Schoggi so lieben kommen besonders in straffenden Anti-Cellulite-Cremen, (Männer-)Shampoos und Augencremen zum Zuge, denn Koffein fördert in erster Linie die Durchblutung – und transportiert damit Nährstoffe schnell dorthin, wo sie gebraucht werden… und Abfallstoffe schneller weg.
I enjoy okay NEED it in my morning coffee, just to be able to function – and in skincare, caffeine is a kind of taser for the cells. But in a good way! Its stimulating properties that we so love in coffee, tea and chocolate naturally lend themselves to slimming anti-cellulite creams, (men’s) shampoos and eye creams, as caffeine’s principal effect is to stimulate circulation, which rapidly transports nutrients where they’re needed most… and to flush waste materials.
These organic, water-soluable molecules can be found in nearly every plant – especially in green tea, olives and grapes. Polyphenols have amazing anti-oxidant properties that (as you well know by now, or you wouldn’t still be reading) protect our skin cells from stress of many kinds. Which is why they’re widely-used in anti-aging skincare.
French skincare brand Caudalie really put Polyphenols on the map (well, it helps if you have your own vineyard and are able to create and patent an active component straight from home!), but there’s a bunch of other brands that have started using this natural, efficient molecule.
P.S.: Yes, red wine actually contains healthy Polyphenols, so… cheers!
Ideally suited for: First signs of aging, fine lines and (I’m just gonna say it) WRINKLES.
Two Polyphenol-rich products that you could apply while drinking a lovely glass of Cabernet:
I know… I immediately think of Nivea, too! The Coenzyme Q10 found its moment of glory thanks to beauty giant Beiersdorf, but it’s the perfect «cell food» for our entire body, and is also available as a supplement.
Q10 (also called Ubiquinol) in its pure form is a bright orange, yet 100% natural substance that strengthens connective tissue, catches free radicals and makes the skin more pliable… which translates into «less wrinkles». Generally speaking: The higher the concentration of Q10 in an product, the yellower it will be – and as an ingredient, it should be listed pretty high up.
Aaaaaand… another one of those resourceful vitamins! The official name of this active ingredient is Dexpanthenol, and it’s pretty great at binding water, which is fab for dehydrated skin, but for dry, damaged hair, too! B5 also encourages energy metabolism of skin cells and accelerates wound healing, and acts as an anti-inflammatory.
Because of its high compatibility, Pantheol is also a popular ingredient in wound care and baby care, which shouldn’t stop you from enjoying some «tender lovin’ B5 care» in your facecare products, too!
Ideally suited for: Out-of-balance, sensitized skin, fine lines and as after-sun care (but you’d never get a sunburn anyway BECAUSE YOU USE SUNSCREEN, RIGHT?)
These two moisturizers contain a nice amount of calming Panthenol:
So… WHOA, am I right? I know. That was a lot to take in in one sitting, but hey… you’re more than welcome to take a coffee break or annoy the poor person sitting next to you: YOU ARE THE BOSS OF YOUR MONDAY.
And now, you can add «skincare actives expert» to your list of talents!
I hope you can take away something from this, otherwise you can just bookmark this blog feature and refer back to it the next time you’re standing at the cosmetics counter and have no idea what you really need.
And now, repeat after me three times: «nye-a-cyna-mide»!
This post was written according to my own personal experiences, my acquired knowledge in skincare during a 10-year career as a beauty writer, and research. It is by no means exhaustive and, when in doubt, should not replace a consultation with a dermatologist.
This post also contains some affiliate links to products, yet this never influences my choice of product recommendations. More on that on «about me»!
Great News! I’m still sitting on my sofa… but I’M NOT IN MY PAJAMAS ANY MORE! Day six of the worst case of the flu that anybody ever caught has begun quite nicely, and I’m wearing mascara again. I still look like death warmed over and am coughing myself into oblivion, but I daresay that I think the worst might be over.
Maybe, just maybe I might venture into my nearby supermarket to buy some lemons, fresh ginger root, gossipy magazines and ready-made smoothies. If you run into me, only talk to me if you want to praise me for my incredible bravery, okay?
If you’re on the bus right now and can’t listen to the clip at full volume, we’ll make do with a little bit of poetic mood-improvement.
«The sun is shining across golden fields, full of strength, rich in precious grains. Hearty oats, airy barley, earthy rye. A warm and healthy feast with a cool breath of flowery freshness. Poppies, primroses, cornflowers. Life awakened by colors. Happily dancing to the sound of chirping cicadas. The humming of bees. The essence of the Englisch countryside caught in five enchanting fragrances. Each of them an example of elegant simplicity and designed for Fragrance Combining.»
The five fragrances of the English Fields Collection is presented in these darling stoneware-look bottles containing 30ml and costing 72 Francs each.
Green Wheat & Meadowsweet Cologne smells really crisp, rather innocent and fresh „like an English meadow at dawn“, covered with young, green freshly sprouting wheat. With hints of grapefruit and soft white meadowsweet.
Poppy & Barley comes across as fruity, lively and happy. It evokes fields of barley sprinkled with red poppies, and delicate notes of cassis and white musk.
Primrose & Rye Cologne takes its inspiration from fields covered with primroses and soft breezes wafting across it all. «Vivid, glowing and addictive».
I got Oat & Cornflower Cologne to try and I’m delighted with the contrasts of soft, powdery notes and the spicy, „manly“ fragrances of blue cornflowers, hazelnuts and vetiver-grass. A great, somewhat surprising scent.
Honey & Crocus Cologne is very soft on the skin, almost powdery and will delight all fans of baby powder essences, containing honey from the hive, «glowing» crocus flowers and English lavender with a slight touch of almond milk.
It’s ironic that all five fragrances are based on grains containing gluten and they are basically off-limits to me as a person suffering from coeliac disease like myself…. but what a lovely inspiration to create a new fragrance, right?
Master Perfumer Mathilde Bijanoui who created the English Fields Collection says:
«As a perfumer, I alway delight in being surprised and English Fields is something totally unexpected. Using grains and kernels as main essences is totally new for me. I really never came across this kind of fragrances before.»
THE HEY PRETTY CONCLUSION:
The English Fields Collection is incredibly pretty: Soft, natural and very feminine. For those of you who like gentle fragrances that still should have some pizzaz – you will love them.
And their summery vibes are good for the soul, especially as I just saw that they’re forecasting snow again. But for right now, we’ll just cling to each and every ray of sunshine we can catch, agree?
Have a great week, ma chère!
The five fragrances of the Jo Malone London English Fields Collection are available in Switzerland at Jelmoli, Zurich and at the Globus branches Zurich-Bellevue, Glatt, Lucerne, Lausanne and Geneva, for CHF 72 each (limited edition).
*The products reviewed in this post were sent to me free of charge by the brand or its PR agency.
So, it’s you. Your printer. You’re in a crafty mood, and it’s two days to Easter. I’d say it’s the PERFECT time to pick a cute DIY project, don’t you agree? Here in Switzerland, Easter is celebrated chocolate (of course), and with brightly colored hard boiled eggs, which first have to survive an «Eiertüschtis» fight:
You select the strongest-looking dyed Easter egg and then bash it against your rival’s egg. The one whose shell breaks first, loses. I have no idea WHY we do this, but my family gets super-competitive at Easter Brunch, which we’re having next Monday in a cabin in the woods.
In any case: I truly love Easter, and love creating at least one fun craft project especially for it (here’s a roundup of DIY Easter Crafts I wrote for my German blog, but the links are almost all to English sites!), but this year, I want something NEW!
So «work becomes play» with today’s free printable Easter bonanza here on Hey Pretty!
I spent hours and hours (okay, it was fun) on Pinterest, where I found thirteen neat DIY projects that are easy to do, and free printables that are no-fuss and fun… even for kids! These projects are great for decorating your Easter table, for a seasonal update for your walls, or simply for giving all your easter sweets a lovely home (because none of us actually eat that Easter candy, but rather store them in a paper carrot).
FIRE UP YOUR PRINTER AND LET’S GET STARTED!
This cake topper is super-cute, and not hard at all to recreate.
DIY Spring Cake Topper by The Pretty Blog
Step-by-step instruction and the free printable PDF download is right here, and the only answer to the question «what kind of cake should I put this topper on?» is CARROT CAKE, of course!
Easter? Bunnies? Eggs? Baskets? That brings us to another adorable free printable crafting idea!
Not into pastels? The graphic designer-slash-lawyer (!) Tasha has four different, not-too-sugar-coated prints for spring ready on her blog:
Four Spring Printables by Designertrapped
Here’s your link to the blog entry on Designertrapped. Quick heads-up: You’ll have to register for her newsletter to get access to the free download for these prints, but it’s a small price to pay, as they’re so pretty!
Zut alors (which is my favorite expression in French), it’s «The Pretty Blog» again! It’s probably the name, but this amazing free printable «Hop!» gift wrap can be used for so many thins. Even as an egg cone, tee hee!
Pretty Easter Printables by The Pretty Blog
Gift wrap and a cute bunny gift tag can be downloaded right here.
Oooh, these lovely floral wreathes with a monogram would look great as placecards… or even as wall art for a breath of springtime air!
Free Printable Monogram Wall Art by The Happier Homemaker
Wait… what’s that? This is all a bit too twee for you?
You’re more of a Nordic-Simplicity kind of person? Then this one’s for you:
Geo-Printed Paper Eggs in black and white by Barfuss im November
Free template for your own printing pleasure can be found here. And once again, it’s in German, but don’t freak out: «You can do it!» is «Du schaffst das!»…
So… I don’t know what kind of mood you’re in, but it’s possible that you’re all crafted out by now. I mean, you still have a couple of days till Easter, but you should get your printer prepped and all those ink cartridges filled anyway, right?
In closing, I found a cute DIY on YouTube, on how to fold napkins into Easter bunnies. I CAN’T STOP! I’M OUT OF CONTROL! I HAVE SPRING-DIY-PRINTABLE-EASTER-BUNNY-FEVER!
Too cute, right? Good thing I can take my mind off all this crafting with work today – even though the day before Good Friday is a school holiday here in Switzerland. My two teenaged daughters are making the most of the day and are still in bed as I write this, AT 10:47 AM!
In any case: Have a wonderful Thursday, and Happy Easter!
P.S.: Are you following Hey Pretty on Pinterest yet? If not, click here!
*All images via Pinterest and credited to their creators!
I’m sorry it’s been a bit quiet here on Hey Pretty… I’ve been so busy, AND got a horrible case of the flu that literally put me to bed for a week! I’m back in fighting shape, though, and ready to deliver some make-up news. Today, it’s all about the eyes. And that’s right up my alley, because I love myself a good cat eye!
These new beauties by NYX make my signature look go on way easier:
This eyeliner comes with seven different tips, each designed for a different look or need. The formulation of the product ist the same with all seven of them: A really intense black that lasts for ages!
Since it’s essential to be really precise with such a pigmented color, these seven felt tips allow maximum precision. Also, they dispense the right amount of product with each swipe!
While I don’t think I will be using the round tip very often, I really like that there’s a wide selection for different styles and also skill levels.
My personal favorite? The chubby one, of course!
The «Put a Wing»-tip is short, fat and very sharp… and allows a really easy winged eyeliner!
If you’re a fan of graphic liners, you will definitely like this new launch: from simple to artsy – there’s nothing you can’t do with these. They dry in about 20 seconds and are VERY longlasting!
*The products reviewed in this post were sent to me free of charge by the brand or its PR agency. This post contains one or more affiliate links, which means that if you like the product and purchase it through one of my affiliates, I will receive a small percentage of the sales price. More on affiliates in the «about me» section!
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This is turning out to be a week of introspection (see my last blog entry) here on Hey Pretty… but you know what? Sometimes, when I get really stressed out and have a thousand deadlines to meet, I tend to procrastinate in a really «woke» way: First, I had a thousand things to say about body positivity… and THEN I decided that, instead of finally getting around to opening that scary envelope from the Tax Department of the Swiss government…
I simply HAD to spend an hour trawling YouTube for the best Disney Princess Song medley.
I mean, it happens to us all, right?
Okay, maybe not. Maybe you don’t secretly long to be a Disney princess and are dead inside and really just wanted to see Essie’s new Gel Couture «Enchanted» collection for spring 2018?
Well, here you go, you emotional iceberg, afloat ALL ALONE IN THE ARCTIC SEA!
This wintery collection is still perfectly fitting for the chilly spring here in Switzerland, so the new Gel Couture range and its six inspired-by-fairy-tales pastel shades is perfectly pretty and perfectly NOW!
Here are the shades in close-up:
Matter of Fiction, an icy pale pink and Princess Charming, a creamy blush-pink with blue undertones…
…the winter-sky-ish grey-blue Once Upon A Time the light mossy-green Spellbound, which features a beautiful gold shimmer…
…and the «give me your crown RIGHT NOW»-gold Daring Damsel, and the deep, almost-black red Good Knight
Some quick ball gown porn for all you princess-wannabes, and then we’ll do a bit of swatching!
I was in a bit of a hurry and not in a pink mood, so I chose the mysterious greenish-grey Spellbound – which kind of reminds me of Ursula of «The Little Mermaid» (she’s my spirit animal)…
Oooh, I LIKE! It’s restrained enough to work for the office, but is surprisingly glam, close-up. Especially in direct sunlight!
As all Gel Couture nail polishes by Essie, these new shades are formulated to be used without a base coat. I would highly recommend that you do use the Gel Couture Top Coat to seal them, which is available in a new, even tougher Platinum Grade Finish.
Fun fact: I actually use Essie’s Gel Couture Top Coat for all my manicures. It’s quite simply the best top coat out there right now!
Can I sneak in one last super-princess-worthy GIF?
What’s that? That’s too much for you? MY GOD.
I feel sorry for your future prince. He’s been counting on you coming to save him!
In that case, I’ll go put on my tiara and pop out for a gallon of milk. Do you need anything… or do your servants take care of that?
Hold on to your hats, sweet readers, because today’s blog post is one of those «dear diary» missives, as I like to call them. No product review or roundup of my favorite pink sofas, but rather the kind of feature that may seem a little bit voyeuristic and a LOT self-indulgent.
I honestly try to avoid writing stuff like this (even though I can see that personal posts are more successful than mascara reviews: I CAN CHECK MY STATS!), because I’ve defined my role as a beauty blogger pretty clearly for the past five years: I’m your beauty expert, not the girl you went to high school with who keeps calling you when she needs to vent.
But I’ve decided that today’s subject is just too important – and too current – for me not to share my thoughts on it: It’s about Body Positivity. Or rather: my relationship with my body, and how it may affect my teenaged daughters Mia and Lily.
Fact No. 1: I’m fat. Not just «curvy», but properly fat.
Fact No. 2: I’d like to be skinnier, but…
Fact No. 3: I honestly like myself the way I am.
I’ve often wondered why I have the self-esteem of a 25-year-old Israeli supermodel, who may also have a PhD in molecular biology. I honestly don’t know, but I’ve always been this way. And the older I get (I’m 44), the happier I am that I truly like myself. Because it’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that my brain seems to be wired differently that a lot of women’s.
I know what you’re thinking right now: «How nice for you, Steffi. How about I let loose some balloons for you and all your self-love». But all this self-awareness has a current relevance that made me want to write this, because I’m not just a blogger, but also (or rather, foremost) I’m a mom of two wonderful, sometimes pesky but always fascinating girls. Or rather, young women.
And I’ve started to wonder how the fact that their mom is fat, but happy affects their own self-esteem and body image.
Mia and Lily are 15 and 13 years old right now, and smack in the middle of puberty. They’re no longer girls, but young adults. During the course of their lives, they’ve known a much slimmer mom, and also a heavier mom (I’m currently at the top end of my weight range at about 100 kg/220 lbs), and they grew up knowing that mom sometimes eats differently than the rest of the family, as I’ve been on various diets like Weight Watchers, and also have celiac’s disease, which means I can’t eat gluten in any form.
They’ve always seen their mom eat with pleasure, though.
I love cooking, and a balanced, well-rounded diet is really important to me. No foods are off-limits at our house, but «unhealthy» stuff is served in moderation. Showing them by example that eating is something to be celebrated and enjoyed is always key, and I’m proud to say that there’s practically nothing they won’t eat – including vegetables, salad and (weirdly) even the freakiest seafood.
Nonetheless, I have all the regular mom-worries when it comes to my girls, and I know only too well that getting to know your own body (and coming to love it) has to be learned. That process doesn’t stop when puberty’s over. My daughters are currently growing into their bodies and I hope to god that they can do it in a healthy, happy way.
I never made a big fuss about eating in general. We have the most wonderful paediatrician who basically told me way back when they were toddlers and went through phases of eating very little that no child in Switzerland had ever starved to death. «They take what they need, and the parent decides what’s for dinner, then the child decides how much of it they want.» I know how hard it is when you’re constantly bombarded by images of perfect bodies, so I watch pretty closely (yet from the sidelines) to make sure they don’t suddenly develop any weird eating habits.
Therefore, there have been phases in their lives that they’ve been a bit slimmer, but also a bit chunkier… but because they’re still growing, it always tended to even itself out. Having said that, Lily was heavier than her big sister at the same age for a few years – but recently went through a sudden growth spurt which literally and quite visibly «stretched» her out. I’ll be the shrimp in our family, soon, eeek!
This is when the key moment occured for me, body-image wise: A few months ago, a friend of mine who hadn’t seen Lily in a while, exclaimed:
«Wow, you’ve really lost weight! Congratulations, you look great, sweetie!».
Without hesitation, I sharply reprimanded her (in front of both of our families), stating very clearly that I don’t want my children to be praised for their bodies… or scolded, for that matter. I was very brusque and direct, and being a peace-loving Libra, I apologized to my friend in private shortly thereafter and tried to explain where I was coming from.
I still feel the need to elaborate, because it’s a huge concern of mine that (my) children aren’t defined by whether they’re fat or thin or pretty or ugly.
«Beauty» may be my business, but beauty comes in so many forms that it’s absolutely impossible to define what the ideal even would be.
I want my daughters to find joy in their expressive eyes or their perfectly-shaped toes… but more than that, they should take pride in their empathetic manner, their ability to tell jokes or any of their other talents that they might still be discovering for themselves.
Of course Lily noticed that her physique has been changing – and I’m pretty sure she’s happy about it. I’m sure 15-year-old Mia also realizes that she’s quite lucky to have such long, lean legs by now. We regularly talk about bodies and beauty how expectations and ideals are constantly changing, and I truly believe that they both have a pretty «healthy» attitude towards themselves and their own looks… despite being smack in the middle of puberty, when a lot of things simply suck.
Nevertheless, I ask myself how my being fat will shape them. Do they see, by my example, that it honestly doesn’t matter what size you wear? Do they desperately hope that they never become as overweight as their mom? I don’t know for sure. But I really, really hope is the former, and not the latter*.
And now? Don’t get me wrong: I’m in no way propagating that you shouldn’t be talking about body(shapes).
I’ve lost a substantial amount of weight twice in my life, and both times, I was both very happy with my slimmer physique and when friends would compliment me on it. I was quick to explain that Weight Watchers worked like a charm and it didn’t bother me in the least and I GOT why strangers from my neighborhood stopped me on the street to ask my how I lost so much weight. I was proud of my achievement, because losing weight is fucking hard work.
I’d be lying if I said that I wouldn’t want to weigh 70kgs (150 lbs) again: I liked the way I looked and felt. But I also liked myself at 80kg and 90kg. I was still myself.
I look in the mirror, and can earnestly say: «Not bad, old girl!»
And yes, I’m vain. I don’t see my fat ass or my Pillsbury Dough-Boy upper arms. What I do see are the tiny lines around my eyes, or my weird flat hairdo or a new sweater that doesn’t fit properly. The things I dislike are all details that are subject to change every day, and are simply a matter of packaging. They’re not me.
Having said that, I’ve currently reached a point where I want (and need) to lose some weight for health reasons. I’m by no means telling people to be overweight – mostly because I’m currently discovering that the older I get, the less my body can compensate for the additional weight I carry around: My knees hurt and I’d like to be able to move painlessly again. I have plenty of reasons to lose some weight (stay tuned for POOR ME blog posts in the future!). I want to be healthy, not thin.
Which is why I’m proud of the fact that my daughters say things like «body shaming is soooo over!» and say that their generation doesn’t just see body positivity as a hashtag, but as a way of life. They understand that there are a hell of a lot of things that are more important than your physique:
That you feel strong. That you feel understood. That you can express yourself, that you can feel for people and that you can make yourself heard. And that you should always surround yourself with people who love those exact things about you.
Anyone who implies that everything would be much, much better if you were only a size 6 is wrong. I have the experience to know this for certain. And they can gladly be ignored.
Okay, this whole blog post is dangerously close to #blessedterritory (I’m not going to pretend I don’t joke about that blasted hashtag almost daily!). I obviously not only accepted the torch of sentimentality, but ran it waaaaay over the finish line.
SERMON OVER, HEAD ON HOME, DIARY’S FULL.
For now. But you know what? I originally wrote this feature for my German blog (which gets quite a bit more traffic than the English one), and both Mia and Lily read it, and we talked about it. The fact that they sent the link to this post to all their friends (and that it’s been clicked on nearly 6’000 times in three days) shows me that maybe this needed to be said. AGAIN. AND AGAIN.
I’m not going to quote Christina Aguilera, but we all really are freaking beautiful!
Tomorrow, I’ll be back in my trusted territory of beauty news and perfume reviews, I promise. But thank you for taking the time to read this… and if you’re so inclined, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Leave a comment, okay?
Much (self-)love and have wonderful week, you pretty thing!
Because I’m also conceited enough to think I have what it takes to be a plus size model: Sweatshirt and hat by H&M, pants by C&A, coat by COS, sneakers by Adidas, bag by Louis Vuitton, attitude by Steffi.
Since it’s already February and winter hasn’t released its grip on us here in Switzerland, I thought this would be a good time to talk about skincare – and how to improve your routine. I hereby declare 2018 as the year of skincare!
So let’s start with the most important step: cleansing. I’m very passionate about this subject and I never get tired of telling everyone how very important it is to wash your face correctly.
As you can see, I’m VERY SERIOUS!
We all know that you really can’t skip removing your make-up in the evening. SO DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT GOING TO BED WITH YOUR MAKEUP ON. But it’s not just about make-up, it’s just as important that your skin is truly clean. Because there’s no use in putting expensive serums and creams on your face if your skin can’t drink them up properly!
I’m going to lead by example and quickly show you my cleansing routine:
In the mornings, I use a non-drying cleansing gel (say no to sulfates!) and in the evenings, I double cleanse.
What is Double Cleansing? I’m glad you asked!
Double Cleansing means cleansing your face in two steps. This is especially important if you wear make-up and/or SPF on the reg. Which you should do, of course (the SPF part!).
In practice, this looks something like this:
The first cleanse is generally done with the cheaper product. This could be oil, milk or even micellar water. Once the make-up is removed, you can switch to your higher quality products – a balm for example. The second cleanse is also the time to massage your face. If you take your time to do this, you won’t need to invest in a Clarisonic.
All the purists who don’t wear make-up can skip the first step and go directly to massage the face with a good cleanser. If you’re wearing sunscreen, I would still do a double cleanse.
On another note, I would highly recommend using a washcloth for your cleansing routine – you will get better results and it just feels great!
Just don’t forget to exchange your washcloth daily.
Oh and just saying: wipes are a not acceptable!
Concerning skincare and especially cleansing, there’s no better blogger than Caroline Hirons. The UK-based beauty pro has excellent know-how, is super honest and – to top it all off – is also incredibly funny. I discovered double cleansing thanks to her and I wouldn’t want to do without it: My skin has visibly improved and I really enjoy my skincare ritual in the evening.
Caroline also has a Youtube channel, which I can highly recommend. So let’s have a look at her demonstrating her two minute double cleanse:
…and now, let’s have a look at some products:
In the mornings, we want to do a simple cleanse with either a gel, an oil/balm or a milk.
A true classic which gently cleanses with almond- and jojoba oil. And, of course, it’s organic!
Evening Cleanse / Double Cleanse
Since I wear both make-up and sunscreen almost every day, an evening double cleanse is a must for me. Most of the time I use an oil first, and then proceed to a balm. Greasy textures are most efficient in removing everything, and by removing the products with a washcloth, you really get everything off and are never left with greasy residue (if that’s what you’re afraid of)!
Products for the first cleanse can be simple and cheap. These are my favourites:
This cleansing balm by The Body Shop is definitely not enough talked about: inexpensive and potent!
By the way, I never use an eye make-up remover, I remove everything with the same product. If you can’t do that (because you wear waterproof mascara, for instance), removing your eye make-up would fall into the first category of cleansing.
Moving forward to the second step: now it’s the time to whip out your expensive, good quality cleansers. This is also the time to massage your face (and enjoy it!). I can highly recommend:
With camellia and rose, this cleanser nourishes and calms the skin. A very good product that I keep buying!
That was quite a lot to take in, wasn’t it? But I hope you’ve learned something new about cleansing and keep on taking care of your skin. A last tip for double cleansing-beginners: Keep your eyes peeled for cotton flannels (washcloths, for you Americans) on sale!
Investing in ten or so is totally worth it, as you can use a fresh one every night, which guarantees an even cleaner experience… AND you feel like you live at a spa!
I’m sure you will love it just as much as I do.
Have a great week and don’t forget to treat yourself (and cleanse!)!
*This post contains one or more affiliate links, which means that if you like the product and purchase it through one of my affiliates, I will receive a small percentage of the sales price. More on affiliates in the «about me» section!
Welcome back, gorgeous girl! I’m so glad you made it here today… in Zurich, it’s snowing like crazy and everyone’s late to work (or anything, for that matter). But we have plans to paint the town red… or rather, soft pink? Let’s ignore the snow and slush outside for a minute and have a look at Dior’s spring collection!
Don’t look so shocked, Bella Hadid: You are the face of the new campaign, after all!
Dior’s Spring Look is called «Glow Addict» and it’s basically been created around the newly-extended Glow Addict lip balm range… but of course, there are a few other pretty highlights, all aiming to give you a luxurious glow.
The tinted lip balm is a tried-and-true backstage favorite. Peter Philips, Creative and Image Director at Dior Make-Up loves the moisturizing benefits as well as the color-awakening technology behind it, which gives you a fresh color that suits your natural lips.
The Dior Lip Glow is available in nine colors – above you can see the six new shades (which are glossy) – and two new finishes:Matte Glow and Holo Glow.
Matte Glow is a matte, but very lightweight lip balm with mango butter and cranberry oil, which slightly tints the lips pink, but stays transparent matte. It’s availalble in two different shades: Matte Pink (on the right side, a soft variation of Iconic Pink) and Matte Raspberry, a vibrant pink.
Holo Glow gives an iridescent effect with satin finish.
The Dior Addict Lip Glows are really comfortable to wear and easy to apply, even without a mirror. I really love them, even the new matte finish!
Here is a short clip, which shows the «Let’s Glow Girls!» campaign with Bella Hadid and her beautiful model squad (which seems to be the new word for every gathering of women anywhere… are YOU and ME a squad now, too?)
In Dior’s spring look, the eyes are also going to be rosy pink:
The «holographic» hype is definitely a big thing in beauty right now. Although technically not really holographic (therefore not reflecting all the colors of the rainbow), this powder gives a beautiful highlighting effect.
The Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer is available in two shades, Holo Pink and Holo Gold. Both give a soft glow, which is visible but not over the top, if you know what I mean.
In the US, Dior’s Spring Look contains more products such as new Rouge Dior and Rouge Dior Liquid Lip colors, a brow mascara, lip liners and nail polishes, but for those of us in Europe, these babies will do quite nicely, too.
And that’s it for today! Hope you get off to a great start to the new week!
Welcome back, you pretty thing! I’m hoping you’ve gotten off to a great start in this spanking, shiny new year, and that 2018 has (so far) been good to you. Or, at least, not a bastard! Weirdly, I’m still in a bit of a holiday mood and have been taking it pretty easy so far… but hey, January is young yet, and I’m still getting organized with blog planning, setting up press trips and planning our family’s holidays!
The best part of the holiday season for me (besides eggnog and the likes) was that I finally had the time and energy to test some of the new products that had been piling up in my office. And one of them turned out to be a pretty fab foundation that I should have reviewed months ago, right when it was released here in Switzerland.
So without further ado, let’s get straight to one of the best liquid foundations I’ve tried in quite a while!
This light, almost watery foundation was released last fall, and boy, I nearly missed out on a biggie!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
This velvety liquid foundation is very easy to measure out, thanks to the dropper. Two to three drops will give you very light coverage, four to five average coverage and… HEY, GO CRAZY, six to ten drops will give you full coverage.
As with all foundations, the way you apply it is pretty much key to what it will look and feel like on your skin.
Using your fingers (as I usually do, because I’m impatient) creates a natural finish and allows you to use the foundation exactly where needed. A damp make-up sponge will give you pretty much the same level of coverage, but better spreadability.
If you’re more into high coverage, you can either use a foundation brush, or a nearly-dry make-up sponge. I find that a brush gives me the most control, but also creates a pretty «finished» look, if you know what I mean!
What I really like about the Total Control Drop Foundation is that it really is buildable.
I tried applying up to three layers of it, blending each one out, and it works like a charm and never rolls or starts to get blotchy.
Even then, the finish and feel is surprisingly light and not to slippy (some foundations have a lot of silicones in them), and this formula is supposed to work on every skin type. My combination skin really likes it, in any case!
Here are some more application tips and side-by-side comparisons of the level of coverage you can achieve with it…
Another user tip here:
If you’re not that into foundation in general, you can just add 1-2 drops into your moisturizer for a super-sheer look!
THE HEY PRETTY CONCLUSION:
What makes the Total Control Drop Foundation different is the huge range of shades: 24 different colors are a really big deal for a drugstore foundation… and here, you’re pretty much catering to the lightest of skins (their lightest shade is seriously porcelain!) to the darkest skin tones. Very inclusive and pretty fabulous!
Props, too, for the new Total Control Foundation Brush (approx. US$25) – a specially-designed brush that was released with the foundation itself, and makes the «drop by drop» application a lot easier. The angled brush can reach even the tiniest crevices on the sides of the nose and is fab for working the foundation into the skin, using circular motions.
I’m not gonna lie, I am a bit late to the party with this foundation, but maybe that just adds to my excitement now… you know, that old «I nearly missed out» kick? The NYX Professional Makeup Total Control Drop Foundation is actually pretty similar to The Serum Foundation by The Ordinary, but I honestly have to say that I prefer this one in terms of how it feels on the skin after a few hours, and also because this one’s easier to dose.
So if finally finding a good liquid foundation is one of your New Year’s Resolutions for 2018, this here may just something to tick right off the list:
I really think a whole lot of people will like this!
And hey, it’s only January 11th. YAY, we’re totally ahead of schedule!
Have a great weekend and check back here soon, ya’ hear?
The NYX Professional Makeup Total Control Drop Foundation is available in 24 shades at approx. US$20 each (in Switzerland, you can find it at Manor).
*The products reviewed in this post were sent to me free of charge by the brand or its PR agency.
Happy New Year, dear blog readers! I hope you’ve had a wonderful and relaxing time over the holidays! And I hope you weren’t affected by the storm that hit us a few days ago… but hey, that’s kind of to be expected in the middle of winter, right?
I always launch straight into a cleaning and organizing frenzy in January, and I know I’m not alone! To start the new year off the right way, I’ve been trawling the world wide web until my fingers hurt… just to find the prettiest calendars to download and print!
The magic words «free printable» mean you can download each of these calendars as a PDF file… and then print it out at home, or take the file to your local copy shop and have it printed on fancy paper (as I tend to do).
So warm up your printers and go!
Let’s start with some flowers for 2018, shall we?
Beautiful Floral Calendar 2018 by A Piece of Rainbow
You can download this beautifully illustrated calendar here, yay!
This one is for all minimalists or those who would rather draw and decorate their wall calendar:
Freebie Calender 2018 by paulsvera
Download here (and have a look at the beautiful blog, written in German!)
If you don’t need much space to write, but you like dainty floral designs:
Free Printable Floral Calendar by This Little Street
Tis the season, Pretties! Sandra here, and we’re definitely in the middle of December here in Switzerland… it’s snowing outside as I write! I love this time of year, when your after-work beer gets replaced with a steaming cup of Glühwein at a Christmas Market near you. The combination of sticky-sweet alcohol, fairy lights and bad Christmas music can, on occasion, lead up to some maudlin moments (or am I the only one?) and weird gift shopping experiences.
That’s why I think Christmas Markets like the ones we have here in Europe are a pretty dangerous thing: Get distracted for a second, and BAM! you’ve already bought tool kit made of chocolate, two oil-diffusing lamps and five of those incredibly calming (yet really ugly) liquid sand pictures.
To make sure that gift-giving-excitement doesn’t get the best of you, we’re going to help you make good decisions with these beautiful and useful beauty gift ideas!
I know, I know… Vichy isn’t the sexiest beauty brand out there… but today isn’t about sexy gift ideas, but useful ones! Having said that: This gift box contains Vichy’s bestselling Slow Age Moisturizer, which protects your skin from premature signs of aging with an SPF 30, anti-oxidants and thermal water AND a miniature of Minéral 89, the clever hydration booster that you can use underneath the moisturizer. Smooth, plump skin at a great price!
Wait, did someone say «sexy»? Gotta go with Giorgio Armani! The key piece of 2017’s Holiday Limited Edition is a palette for face and eyes, which is not only super practical, but also saves up a lot of space in your make-up kit and therefore is
A TOTALLY SENSIBLE GIFT.
On the bottom level of the compact, there are two shades of the (lovely) Maestro Fusion Makeup Foundation, along with a Luminous Silk Compact Powder. The upper level is a bit more exciting, with ten new shades of eyes shadow, of which half are matte, the other half shimmery. In all honesty, this is a really well thought-out and luxurious product! Steffi, this would be a fabulous Christmas bonus!
L’Occitane, the beautiful skincare brand from Provence always has a huge selection of gift sets in every size and price range. This gift set is a great present for travellers, as the pretty canvas pouch contains nine travel-sized (and luxe) containers of L’Occitane’s bestsellers. Among others, there’s the delicious Almond Shower Oil, the Verbena Body Lotion and Shea Butter Hand and Foot creams. Très chic!
For the more, um… luxury-oriented amongst us, Yves Saint Laurent is always a go-to for festive gifts. This palette is pretty much made to be shown off (and carried around in your party clutch), both to creative a complete festive make-up, but also for touch-ups during your glamorous nights of partying. It contains four eye shadows, two shades of lipstick and a lovely, shimmery blush.
As a make-up artist, I can confirm that these shades are super-versatile and can be used both for a daytime and a night look.
As if you needed an excuse to buy this for yourself, tee hee!
Ahhh, this «Blockbuster» collection is always a treat! Estée Lauder’s yearly «super-treat» contains miniatures and special editions of a huge range of make-up and skincare products… this year’s version contains two eye shadow palettes, a blush palette, two lipsticks, one mascara, an eye make-up remover, the Advanced Night Repair Serum and a miniature of the Revitalizing Supreme+ Cream.
The well-made travel case is pretty chic, and even if the products inside aren’t quite as luxuriously packaged as the standard Estée Lauder products, it’s a wonderful gift.
You really can’t go wrong with Acqua di Parma: These fresh, natural colognes are real people-pleasers, and the bottles are beautifully made. This gift set is available in select stores, containing three 30ml sizes of Bergamotto di Calabria, Arancia di Capri and Fico di Amalfi, and online, you can even pick and choose your three Acqua di Parma favorites!
The only downside is that you may have to follow up with a trip to Italy, because these scents will definitely stimulate your wanderlust!
NARS just can do no wrong with their limited edition gifts! This time, photographer Man Ray was the inspiration for the entire Holiday collection, and this set here is the perfect present for the cultured beauty lover (which is ALL OF US). This decorative little set contains two NARS classics in miniature formats: One is the Hot Sand Blush in Peach Champagne, and the other is Rita Audacious Lipstick in Scarlet. A fab color combo for the holidays, and it can be found at various department stores.
I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard to find a «practical» angle here… but Cire Trudon’s scented candles are such a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL gift that I simply had to include one in my roundup! A few years back, I worked at the Zurich department store Jelmoli and sniffed each one of their candles a thousand times and pictured myself (the poor student) nonchalantly buying one and actually lighting it at home…
That hasn’t happened (yet!), but I can guarantee you: If it’s going to be a scented candle, it’s gotta be Cire Trudon! Their limited Holiday editions are always lovely, but my favorite by far is still «Abd El Kader», which smells gorgeously of fresh mint leaves. Ahhhh…
Last but not least, I just had to include something for my fellow organic beauty lovers (I have a reputation to uphold, after all). Pai is a great brand from the UK that I’ve been testing my way through for the past few years, and I really liked everything I’ve tried. What’s more, the products are formulated for even the most sensitive of skins.
They also have some lovely gifts this year, inspired by Pai’s hometown of London, and this one here contains an entire skincare routine: The Camelia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser with a cleansing cloth, the Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream and the much-praised Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil. Easy on the eyes and good for the skin!
Whoa… that just really kept your scrolling finger busy!
I think we’ve just earned ourselves a nice piece of chocolate from our Advent calendar… Oh wait, maybe you guys don’t actually have them? In that case, let’s don a festive hat!
I hope my beauty gift suggestions aren’t too late, and that you haven’t already bought one of those liquid sand frames… and if you did, I’d really appreciate some photographic evidence that they actually CAN look stylish, if arranged accordingly.
Have a great week!
P.S. from Steffi: Sandra had nothing to do with the fabulously inept Photoshop fail, but she can’t stop me!