Forever young: Top 10 tips for year round health and beauty, part 4.

So, it’s been a while hasn’t it? Well I’m back so let’s get right on to another post on how to maintain a youthful you all year round!

So this post looks primarily at a certain health concern rather than the aesthetic issue of beauty, but surely a heathy individual leads to happiness and all round beauty does it not? I know so!

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Number 4: stress

Yep, that’s it. Stress! and in this world of busy busy busy lifestyles and careers it’s an increasing problem and a major cause of premature ageing.

So what stresses us out? Well it all depends on what we do and how we are able to handle certain situations.

In my job as an assessor and lecturer I put up with stressful situations on a daily basis and experience has taught me to cope with them better. However, there are some circumstances that cause me a great deal of stress and anxiety, and as a result, they can often make me feel nauseous, tired or dizzy and even give me migraines in extreme cases.

Stress can be caused from a whole host of issues and causes an imbalance in our body’s equilibrium, which suppresses our body’s immune system, leaving us more prone to illness and infection.

So how does stress age us and why is it a beauty/skincare issue?
Well, here is a list of a few symptoms of stress and a few I’ve picked out that are the most interesting…and relevant to explore a little further.

1. Indigestion
2. Lack of sleep
3. Diarrhoea
4. Eating more or eating less
5. Using drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes to relax

In part 2 we looked at how cigarettes age the skin by slowly suffocating it by replacing the oxygen in the red blood cells with carbon monoxide.
In a later episode, we can explore the effects of alcohol on our body and skin.

By not having enough sleep, the body cannot heal and repair itself properly. This includes the skin. Over time our skin will become lack lustre and sallow, bags will start to appear under the eye area and elasticity will diminish.

Food has an effect on our bodies and the look of our skin too. If we eat the wrong food or not enough of the right food our skin and bodies will become malnourished and age faster.

So what can we do about it?

RELAX!
Watch a movie, go for a run or walk have a warm bath or shower, listen to your favourite songs and sing along. Meditate, have a laugh with friends or head to your nearest spa or salon for a massage!
The solutions are simple but not always easy to do when you feel worked up about something.

Yes, it’s easier said than done but trust me it helps and there are some products that can assist with stress. So I’d like to draw your attention to my personal favourite, from Decleor.

Decleor’s aromessence de Bain is a calming, replenishing and nourishing bath oil that not only has the most gorgeous aroma that fills the whole house with fragrance but nourishes the skin leaving it silky smooth and soft.

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To use: add 20-30 pumps into a still bath of water and relax for at least 20 minutes.
It can be purchased from the Decleor website for £50, click here: http://www.decleor.co.uk

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So that’s part 4 over! Thanks again for reading!

Remember, with this episode especially we’re only scratching the surface.
So should you need any more information regarding stress management and causes please check it out online or visit your GP.

Please, stay tuned for part 5 and then we’ll be half way through the series!

Beauty snips and money saving tips: make your own BB cream!

So we’ve seen on the telly the rise of the BB cream and how great it is being several products in one, but how about saving some money and making your own using products you may already have!?
Here’s how!

What you need:
1. Liquid foundation
2. Moisturiser, preferably with an SPF factor
3. Treatment serum
4. Bowl and spatula to mix
5. A small pot to put it in

Now depending on how dark you want the BB cream to be you may need to alter the first step, I recommend you use a foundation at least 1 shade darker than usual as the moisturiser will tone down the colour.

1. Mix at least 1:1 parts foundation and moisturiser in a bowl. Add either more foundation or moisturiser until you get the desired shade. I’d recommend testing it on your cheeks in natural sunlight and not on your hand. That way you see the depth of colour better and more accurately.

2. Once you have the desired shade you can then add your treatment serum. I wouldn’t add too much of this, about a quarter of the amount you have mixed in your bowl will be plentiful.

3. Keep mixing until the consistency is smooth and pour into your pot. Use within the earliest use by date on the products that you have mixed.

4. If you want to substitute your treatment serum for a primer to help it last longer that’s fine too, just be careful if it’s tinted as the colour will darken it slightly. I’d recommend an illuminating primer for a healthy subtle glow!

There you have it, it’s fast, simple and cheap! Perfect for summer or if you’re usually in a morning rush and don’t have time to layer products.

Fellas, this is a great way to apply product and get the benefit of light coverage if you’re not happy with your skin tone or suffer with imperfections. It’s subtle but you’ll ensure you have great skin!

Stay tuned for more tips to help save you money!

Clear skin: tonight’s routine product guest list.

Just a quick post showing what tonight’s skincare routine will consist of!

I love to have a variety, variety is the spice of life you see!

Ok, so let’s start with my first cleanse to remove the bulk of my makeup and daily grime.

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Liz Earle cleanse and polish, an excellent and award winning cleanser.
To use, apply one pump to dry skin and massage in small, upward circular movements. Remove with a warm, damp muslin cloth and repeat if necessary.

Second cleanse, I always do 2 cleanses to make sure my skin is thoroughly cleaned and I suggest you do too! Even in the morning!

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Elemis melting cleansing gel is a creamy cleanser that is great for melting away daily dirt and grime.
To use, apply to damp skin and massage in whilst emulsified with water to deeply cleanse the skin without drying or stripping.

Toning is the next step of a daily routine. It is important to maintain the skin’s PH balance to prevent blackheads and premature ageing.

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Decleor’s tonifying lotion (on the right) is a lightly fragranced, soothing and moisturising toner that is suitable for all skin types.
To use, apply to dampened cotton wool and lightly brush over the skin to refresh and rebalance. Best used in conjunction with the product to the left, Decleor’s cleansing milk.

Treatment serum, oil or elixir next and as this week I’ve started a new routine with my skin bliss capsules so it’s fitting to continue!

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Elemis’ skin bliss capsules are simple and effective to use, the pink (rose) is used in the daytime and the lavender (purple) is used in the evening.
To use, apply to clean dry skin only by massaging into skin in circular motions to ensure optimum absorption. Be sure to inhale the aroma before you start!

Can you see a pattern? Lots of Elemis and the moisturiser is no exception!

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Elemis’ pro-collagen oxygenating night cream is a light but rich anti-ageing moisturiser. I find this great for my skin even though I’m not too concerned with ageing yet, I find it great for my dry and sensitive skin and always wake up looking well rested.
To use, apply a small amount to the face by gently massaging in circular motions. Unlike the pro-collagen marine cream, this cannot be used as an eye cream so please keep away from the delicate eye area.

Almost there! Eye cream time and it’s something new!

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Flora Mare is a hydrating and anti-ageing eye cream with a light and pleasant aroma, I’m always nervous with creams as I tend to get little milia spots around my eyes but this is great! No milia for me!
To use, apply a small amount to your ring fingers and massage around the eyes out wards over the brows and inwards towards the tear ducts underneath the eye. You can also pat lightly to help with puffy eyes.

The final product most people leave out, lip treatment. Our lips need TLC too and here’s my product of the evening.

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Gale Hayman lip lift is a creamy and light treatment for dry and ageing lips. The fact it looks like a lipstick makes it easy to use and can be carried around for quick application on the go!
To use, apply to the lips as a lipstick to upper and lower lips. Top tip, take it over the lip line to work on lines and wrinkles as well as dryness.

There you go! An insight into my nightly ritual, I do this every night with a variety of products that I love and you should too! Sometimes with an additional product such as an exfoliator or mask as well as my Tresonic cleansing brush for an even deeper clean!
I’m thinking of uploading video demonstrations in the near future, what do you think? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Stay tuned for my next post, I need to update my Tria experiment! ūüôā

Forever young: top 10 tips for year round health and beauty, part 3.

Welcome back to my 10 part series in how to maintain a youthful appearance all year round.

In episode 2 we looked at smoking and how carbon monoxide in cigarettes slowly suffocates the skin by replacing the oxygen in our blood. It also looked briefly at exfoliation methods to help get our blood flowing to the skin’s surface.

To introduce this episode I’d like to briefly start with the difference between skin types and conditions and give a couple of examples.

Our skin has a type, this much never changes. Skin types can include dry, sensitive, oily and combination, which are determined by genes and as mentioned, do not alter. Skin types can only be controlled, not cured.

A skin condition is something that can change, depending on external factors such as the environment. Skin conditions can include dehydration and sensitisation and can be treated with lifestyle changes and products.

So what are we going to look at today? A skin condition, that can be treated in various ways.

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Number 3: dehydrated skin.

In the UK we’re still in weather-limbo so to speak, sometimes we need to use our central heating and other times we need our air con, so it can be quite confusing for our skin.
Central heating and air conditioning strips the moisture out of our skin and if we are moving from areas of cold to areas of heat we are not only contributing further to this effect but also increase the risk of developing broken capillaries, which can look unsightly.

So if artificial heat and cold cause dehydration what else does? Other factors such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and exposure to the environment contribute to stripping the moisture from the skin if not protected and treated.
Products containing alcohol dry our skin too, these include hairspray and perfumes. So I do beg you, please please please never spray perfume directly onto the skin or use hairspray on the face to seal down makeup!
A good quality toner in a spray bottle does this job just as well and can be used throughout the day.

So how does dehydration age us? Not only will our skin look sallow and feel chappy and tight, the lack of moisture reaks havoc on our collagen and elastin proteins, leading to the appearance of fine lines and scales on our skin. Our skin is also less plump and healthy looking and any makeup products we use look poorly applied as our skin needs to be treated, not covered.

So what can we do? The average human body is 50-65% water so this tells us that water is important! We must ensure that we are replenishing lost moisture by drinking around 6-8 glasses of water a day or eating foods with a high water content such as cucumbers, oranges and watermelons. Try to limit alcohol consumption and reduce, or quit, smoking cigarettes.

In terms of skincare, products that target dryness and dehydration are essential buys and fortunately, moisturisers containing hyaluronic acid (the key to the fountain of youth) and exfoliators containing lactic acid can help to improve his problem. Toning, using a spritz throughout the day over our makeup can help maintain hydration levels and also serves as a great pick-me-up.

Below are images and links of suitable products to target this skin condition and maintain hydration levels.

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Dermalogica AgeSmart skin kit, a collection of anti-ageing but hydrating products containing microexfoliating properties and hyaluronic acid.
Can be purchased here: http://www.dermalogica.co.uk

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Decleor’s Hydra Floral range, designed to maintain hydration levels and protect against TEWL (trans-epidermal water loss).
Can be purchased from http://www.Decleor.co.uk or http://www.qvcuk.com.

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Dermalogica’s skin hydrating booster is a great add-in product that can be placed under your existing moisturiser if you don’t fancy changing your entire routine and product line.
Can be purchased from http://www.dermalogica.co.uk.

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To put it quite simply, hydration is the key to anti-ageing; if you can keep hydration levels to an optimum level you’re already on your way to healthier, younger looking skin.

Stay tuned for episode 4 and remember, if you have any questions please comment and I can answer them for you!

Beauty snips and money saving tips!

Did you ever wonder why your tube of product feels heavy and yet you can’t seem to get anything else out of it. It must be empty, right?

Wrong!

Next time you reach the “end”, cut the tube about 1/3 of the way down and have a look inside. I guarantee you’ll find tons of product and in return, end up saving yourself loads of cash!

Here’s my example, Decleor’s gel prolagene. A wonder product that can cost a pretty penny but look how much was left inside once cut open!
That will last me another week minimum!

Try it with yours and see how much you could save!

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Forever young: tip 10 tips for year round health and beauty, part 2.

Welcome back youth hunter for episode 2 of my guide to a more youthful you!

Episode 1 covered the sun and how overexposure can damage the skin short and long term, it also suggested ways of protection in terms of product use and provided 2 options.

So after sun damage, what is the number 2 cause of ageing of the skin, according to the International Dermal Institute?

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Number 2 – the effects of smoking.

Back in the old days smoking was the height of fashion, it was seen as something very sophisticated and honestly, with those fabulous cigarette holders in your hand I’m inclined to agree! According to my mother, back in 1957 the hospital would give my grandfather cigarettes to calm his nerves even though he had a heart condition! Amazing how times change and knowledge is gained.

We all know that the typical cigarette contains tar and various harmful chemicals that damage us inside, including blackening of the lungs; but it can also have a damaging effect on our skin, leading to a variety of ageing issues.

One of the chemicals found in cigarettes is called carbon monoxide, commonly known as ‘the silent killer’ a ¬† ¬†tasteless and odourless gas that replaces the oxygen in our blood and slowly suffocates us from the inside. The small amount of carbon monoxide inside the cigarette is doing exactly that but on a small scale and constantly; starving the skin of oxygen and vital nutrients to maintain a youthful appearance. This lack of oxygen is also having an effect on our collagen levels, destroying them and causing the facial contours to sag due to a loss of elasticity.

Oh, and one more thing; we all know that we gain expression lines on our face from, well, using facial expressions but the constant action of inhaling the fumes from a cigarette causes vertical lines around the mouth and hollows the cheeks giving a skeletal appearance to the face.

So what’s the solution? The most obvious is to quit smoking altogether but in most cases it is easier said than done, so we need an alternative.

With regards to skincare, we must ensure that we are getting blood to the surface of our skin. This can be done in 2 main ways.

1. Exfoliation – depending on our skin types, this should be done at least once a week to remove dead skin cells, reveal new ones and promote blood flow to the skin’s surface. Exfoliating products can come in 2 forms, chemical (usually enzyme peels and fruit acids, perfect for sensitive and dry skins) and physical (your typical seeded scrubs, these are better for oily, combination and male skins).

2. Massage – gentle massage stimulates the blood and can assist in desquamation, the skin’s natural exfoliation. This can be done as part of a cleansing routine or when applying moisturiser.

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OK, so product time! Here are 2 of my picks of exfoliation products with one being chemical and the other physical. 

* A chemical product, Gatineau’s gommage gentle exfoliator. Effective and gentle, perfect for even the most sensitive of skins. Contains essential and botanical mint, boasting an anti-ageing and moisturising formula. Can be purchased here:¬†http://www.qvcuk.com.¬†

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* A physical product, Liz Earle’s gentle face exfoliator. Containing natural jojoba seeds to gently remove dead skin, eucalyptus and cocoa butter. Not suitable if you suffer with sensitive skin or rosacea so would be better suited to oily, combination and make skins. Can be purchased here:¬†http://www.uklizearle.com.¬†

Liz Earle facial exfoliator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, the above products should be used weekly, but with you being a smoker or suffering from sallow, dull skin is it possible to exfoliate gently daily? Yes it is!

Dermalogica offer a product called Daily Microfoliant, a gentle chemical based exfoliator that can be used daily on any skin type. Perfect for use in the morning to brighten and awaken tired and dull skin. You can purchase it here: http://www.dermalogica.co.uk. 

Dermalogica daily microfoliant

Dermalogica daily microfoliant

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So now we know that smoking is bad for outside of us as well as the inside and if we can’t quit altogether we can at least help our skin by exfoliating, helping to maintain a youthful appearance.

Remember, it is incredibly important we moisturise straight after any exfoliation, otherwise we risk drying the skin out and causing more damage!

Stay tuned for episode 3!

Forever young: top 10 tips for year round health and beauty, part 1.

Welcome to episode 1 of my guide on how to maintain a youthful you all year round!

This 10 part series will highlight the main factors that cause us to age faster and prematurely but most importantly, how we can fight back without breaking the bank balance and how it can fit it into our busy lifestyle routines.

Please note, I think it’s important to remember that despite how many lotions and potions we use we will never stop ageing in its tracks. Unfortunately, we’re all destined to age but it’s how we choose to do it that we can control…if you catch my drift!

So let’s kick off with, according to the International Dermal Institute, is the number 1 cause of premature ageing and how you can control it.

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Number 1 – overexposure to the sun and harmful UV rays.

How deep do they go?

How deep do they go?

In the UK, we don’t tend to see much sun throughout the year, so when it does make an appearance we flock outside and make the most of it!

But do we ever think about the harm it can do to our skin and the long-term damage it can cause?

So how does the sun age us? Well there are 3 types of UV rays; UVA, UVB, and UVC, which are each responsible for different things.

Let’s start with the one that is least familiar, UVC. UVC rays are unheard of because they don’t pose a huge threat to us, if any threat at all. The vast majority don’t even penetrate the earth’s atmosphere so don’t reach us to cause us any harm. That’s one ticked off the list!

The next ones on the list are UVB waves. Here we start to see some damage to the skin as these generally are responsible for tanning, or if you’re like me, burning of the skin but they also age us too. It is important to think about protection before during and after sun exposure as, believe it or not, a simple burn can cause internal problems that cause us to age prematurely!

I thought I’d save the worst until last, the UVA rays. These rays do the worst damage, damage you can’t always see straight away, this damage can take effect over time and lead to serious problems. These waves go deep into our skin releasing free radicals and changing the structure of our DNA! This can create moles and tags and potentially lead to skin cancers.

(A good way of remembering what each type does is this: UVCan’t catch me rays, UVBurning rays and UVAgeing rays. Works for my students!)

Visual depiction of the UV rays.

Visual depiction of the UV rays.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what can we do about it?

An example of an SPF product by Dermalogica.

An example of an SPF product by Dermalogica.

We must ensure we include an SPF or sun protection factor in our skincare routines, this can be in a foundation, concealer or moisturiser and can be either mechanical (UV reflecting) or chemical (UV absorbing). Dermalogica’s range of skincare offers a variety of multifunctional products with SPF included and accompanying after sun products to help soothe the skin after exposure.

Though if you’re like me and can’t remember or are too lazy to reapply every 30 minutes or so then try Ultrasun.¬†Their unique single-application formulas are great for those on the go as you apply once for the whole day! This depends on climate and you may need to reapply if you’re abroad but for everyday it’s a no brainer

Ultrasun single-use sun protection.

Ultrasun single-use sun protection.

Other tips include keeping covered by wearing hats, sunglasses, appropriate shawls and even driving gloves! You have no idea how much damage is done to you by the sun when you’re driving! The car does not protect you!

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One final note: don’t be afraid of the sun, we need it after all for vitamin D because without it, it can lead to brittle bones and Ricketts, which has been on the rise in recent years. The idea is to create awareness, not fear and that a little in moderation never hurt anyone.

Stay safe in the sun and stay tuned for episode 2!

An alternative take on “family jewels”

Everyone has valuables hidden inside their homes, they may be family heirlooms or items collected from travels. For me, it’s different.
Yes, I do own jewellery and designer items but my treasure horde has got to be my product cupboard…and that’s not all of it! I have my daily use drawer and bathroom boxes upstairs too!

They say you have to play the field before settling down. This is my interpretation from a therapists point of view!

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Why not share your collection?

Flora Mare – premium skincare from Germany; initial thoughts

Flora Mare is a new skincare brand to me that was brought to my attention whilst watching the premier show on QVC.

Its founder, Axel Ruth, a well renound writer and beauty expert helped to develop and design the brand to what we now know as Flora Mare.  The brand is founded on the use of maritime plants from the bed of the Atlantic Ocean.  This marine based brand claims to address the following 5  important aspects of anti-ageing:

“Visible smoothing of the skin
Antioxidant protection
Moisturizing effect
Vitalizing & regenerating
Reduction of wrinkle depth”

This post will focus on the good “all rounder” product from the illustrated collection, the Flora Mare day and night cream.

For more information about the founder and the brand itself please visit their website at: http://www.floramare.com

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Initial thoughts on the day and night cream were good when I first had it in my hand; ¬†it is a fine lightweight cream with a subtle pleasant smell that is rich enough to benefit even the driest of skins. It’s fast penetrating and non-greasy properties make it good for oily to combination skins also. It works as both a day and night cream due to this fine texture, especially when combined with a serum or elixir via sandwiching the products or mixing them together. ¬†Despite the anti-ageing properties of the cream it is also suitable for use for those of all ages and sits great under makeup. A disadvantage ¬†of this product that with it being a day and night cream is contains no SPF, so use of sun protection in combination with this product is essential during the day.

The packaging is very simple but attractive. It’s signature metallic blue is uniform across the range and is most fitting for a marine based skincare brand. On a personal note, I find it incredibly clever that the logo, a starfish, is used with the number 5 on the packaging to highlight that this is premium skincare in a tasteful fashion as illustrated in figure A. The cream comes in a small blue box with application instructions in various languages including English and the native German on the side. Usually with skincare the company includes a separate instruction leaflet with more detailed information provided, sadly this does not which to me is a shame as I feel it is always better to have as much information as possible. The product did not come with an applicator or spatula as was seen in the live QVC demonstration, which again disappointed me.

The application of the product is very simple and similar to that of your everyday moisturiser. After cleansing and toning, simply  take around a 10p sized piece and place on the back of the hand to measure. It is important not to overload your skin with product as you will not only waste product it will not absorb correctly and your skin will be left with a residue that can clog the pores. Warm the product in the palms of your hands and apply in upward circular motions over the skin, making sure to cover the neck and chest, not just the face.  If you happen to have used too much product, try taking it down and over the breast area or rubbing it into the hands and lower arms. This is a top tip that any professional will give you to help get the most out of your products and reduce waste. Please see figure B for an illustration of how much you need.

In terms of price, the entire collection is incredibly reasonable and is currently available to purchase from the QVC website. I must add that the launch shows were very popular so some products will be unavailable to purchase at this time.

To buy the day and night cream 100ml you would be looking to pay £23.64 with UK p&p at £3.95, though I would recommend trying the discovery collection currently priced at £24.96, which contains the moisturiser at 30ml, elixir 10ml, eye cream 7.5ml and hand cream 50ml with accompanying cosmetic bag to keep it all together.

Can be purchased here: http://www.qvcuk.com

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The customer reviews speak volumes with the majority being 5*, including my own.  I found it quite hard to believe that a product line with such a reasonable price point could be as effective as it is but I am pleasantly surprised and will be a returning customer of this brand.

It really ticks all the boxes for me and my skin concerns as with having quite dry/sensitive skin I have found it difficult in the past to find something that targets my dryness but doesn’t cause sensitivity; this line has done the job.

If I were to nit-pick I would like to see some SPF integrated, even at a low level as with my skin being naturally pale it is something I must wear on a day to day basis.

In short, this brand is perfect for those with all skin types with ageing concerns or concerns with hydration levels that do not want to cause a flare up of sensitivity. It is multi-functional product that is easy to apply and quick to absorb, sitting perfectly underneath your makeup.  The price is reasonable, making it good for those who do not wish to spend a fortune on skincare but want their skin to look, feel and be healthy all year round.

A great collection for those new to skincare or who wish to try something new!

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Images.

Image to show 5* use of logo

Figure A. Image to show 5* use of logo

The amount needed to apply to the facial area.

Figure B. The amount needed to apply to the facial area.

Flora Mare applied to hand after absorption, notice the dewy look. Image taken with flash.

Flora Mare applied to hand after absorption, notice the dewy look. Image taken with flash.

Flora Mare not applied to hand, notice the lack of luminosity. Image taken with flash.

Flora Mare not applied to hand, notice the lack of luminosity. Image taken with flash.