Hi guys! This week I have part two of my skincare a to z series, from ingredients to placement. I hope these little chunks of information are helpful to you! For part one in this series, clickity-click here!


I is for Ingredients Whether in food or skincare, ingredient lists are often long and confusing. It’s hard to make sense of what might work for your skin and what may do more harm than good. In recent years I’ve been paying more attention, and am still so far from knowing all there is to know, but I believe it’s worth it. My advice would be to dip in slowly, and remember that it’s not supposed to bring stress and guilt, it’s about taking care of yourself. I think there’s a happy middle ground between a lack of understanding and an anxiety producing obsession. If your skin is in trouble, simple ingredient lists can be a good place to start working out what might be causing issues.

J is for Jelly It’s not a common texture in skincare and cosmetics, but I kind of love it and I’ve been noticing more products are cropping up in this category. Shiseido Waso Fresh Jelly Lotion and Clear Mega Hydrating Cream are two delightful offerings with smooth, pleasing jelly textures, as well as fresh and delicate scents. The Mecca Max Holo-Jelly Face Gloss is a surprisingly ethereal illuminator that is vegan and cruelty free. Zoeva Strobe Gel is a similar with several lovely shades, it’s lots of fun to use. Best paired with cream blushes, in my opinion, though both dry down well!

K is for Kaolin Clay Kaolin is a natural clay mineral which has many uses, in the reals of skincare it’s a gentler option than other clays. It’s intended to draw out impurities and calm inflammation but because it’s less intense, it’s a good option for people with sensitive or drier skin. Clay can be an amazing ingredient, but I think it’s important to be sparing with the use of it. Chantecaille have a Detox Clay mask which uses Kaolin and it’s on my wish list!

L is for Lanolin Lanolin has a special place in my heart. Lanolin is a kind of wax, secreted by animals, the type people use for skincare comes from sheep. Now, I know that sounds wildly unpleasant, but a lot of things might seem pretty gross if studied in great detail. It’s had a slightly controversial history, with people reporting some allergies in the 1960’s. It turned out that it was the pesticide being used on sheep that was the problem, and as we know, farming practices have a lot of issues, some of which are being addressed. On a molecular level, it’s similar to human skin lipids, so it would seem that skin welcomes its presence. The Lanolin products I use come from Australian brand Lanolips, who have no residual pesticide chemicals, and it’s been a game changer for my skin. It melts in, moisturising and protecting, encouraging the skin to be its best. The Lanolips 101 Ointment is my holy grail lip balm, as long as I have it my lips are never dry.

M is for Mist It’s one of those things that seems unnecessary, and depending on your point of view and priorities, maybe it is! But for me, I enjoy mist on a few different levels. When my skin is feeling dry and tight, or it’s a hot day and I’m feeling headache, a little spritz of cool hydration makes a significant difference to how I’m feeling. There are many different types of mist on the market, with some focusing on moisture, and others formulated to be setting sprays- the intention being to get the most out of your makeup. Jurlique carry a gorgeous range of mists, which are beautiful fresh from the fridge in warmer months. From rose to lavender, there’s something for everyone. At the moment I’m using Frank Body’s Anti Drama Face Mist, under and over makeup. I think mists can make a nice gift too, a little encouragement to bring some extra glamour and calm to your day.

N is for Niacinamide Lately I’ve been exploring Niacinamide as the helping hand I reach for when my skin has its monthly hormonal freak out. A derivative of vitamin b, it’s a relatively new ingredient which is steadily gaining momentum. It’s supposed to work as an anti-inflammatory, which is music to my ears. Dermalogica’s Clear Start Breakout Clearing Booster contains it, and it’s what I’m keeping on hand in case of blemishes.

O is for Oil Serum Once I took the plunge and began using face oils, I never looked back. In my early teens it seemed like all the skincare advertising I saw was focused on getting rid of skin oils, and having oil-free products, as though it isn’t a natural and necessary thing. Now, all oils aren’t created equal, but I think no matter your skin situation, it seems worth some consideration to introduce an oil to your routine. For my sensitive skin, which leans towards the dry side, it’s a must have. Oil Serums are so luxurious to use, and there are so many out there to try. If your skin feels like it’s craving balance, you might want to check out Herbivore Botanicals Lapis Facial Oil, which uses blue tansy to find a happy medium for your complexion.

P is for Placement P was almost for Peptides, but that’s a whole other post! This year I’ve been making one small, but significant change to my skincare. I’ve taken on a more targeted approach and paying more attention to where I’m putting products, where they’re concentrated and what they might be interacting with. I’ve done the same with any concealer or foundation. So, sure, eye cream goes under your eyes. But maybe that rich cream moisturiser should be applied on the cheeks first, then gently pressed and massaged upwards and over the face so my cheeks feel nice and hydrated and plumped. Maybe that multipurpose balm could find a home on lashes and eyebrows too, offering some conditioning while I sleep. I think my skin is quite happy that I’m trying this approach, and it’s also fun!


As always, opinions are my own and nothing can replace your own experience and needs. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions, or chime in with your own thoughts! Next week will bring the final part of this series, completing my skincare alphabet.

Join me on my instagram, @vivienne_austen my visual diary of skincare and things I find beautiful.

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