The Beauty Encyclopedia
A term referring to “Australian beauty”, which I love and believe we should say incessantly until it’s added to the Oxford Dictionary (or at least the Urban one).
AHA stands for alpha hydroxy acids. They're a class of chemical compounds that can be natural or synthetic. The most common AHAs are glycolic acid and lactic acid.
What does that all mean? It’s a scientific and clever-looking way of describing a chemical that is generally used to exfoliate, clean and restore skin tone, as they are super effective at separating and removing dead skin cells. Some AHA products include Alpha H’s Liquid Gold which is a glycolic acid treatment, Go-To’s Exfoliating Swipeys which contain lactic acid,and Sunday Riley’s Good Genes lactic acid treatment.
NOTE: If you ever use any AHA-based product, you MUST wear sunscreen. AHA’s make your skin more prone to sunburn and sun damage. There is no point having an extensive skincare routine, if you let the number one skin-wreckerer (it’s a word) wreak havoc on your skin every day (aka the sun).
An Australian skincare brand that I give an A+ (and not just because they’re an A-Beauty brand and in the A section). They pride themselves in being a correctional and preventional skincare brand, and “creates revolutionary cosmeceutical formulations, which help bridge the gap between the beauty counter and invasive treatments”. (I ripped that from their website, but I really liked it.) Their most well-known product (aka talked about a lot on Instagram) is their Liquid Gold glycolic treatment.
Also see: Liquid Gold, Balancing Cleanser.
Arlesienne Hand Cream, L’Occitane
A heavenly smelling and hydrating hand cream. It says ‘velvet’ on the tube and that is an accurate description, as it’s thick but sans heaviness and stickiness. It hydrates your hands, while still letting you use them unlike some hand creams that make you feel like you can’t use your hands for an hour – you feel me?
Like AHAs, BHAs are chemical exfoliant called beta hydroxy acids. BHAs are said to be better suited to acne-prone skin. While AHAs love water, BHAs love oil, meaning they effectively bypass skin oils and dissolve the sebum and dead skin that can cause acne. They also have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties – ideal for acne-prone skin.
I don’t think I’m out of line when I say that Bioderma is the Queen of Micellar Water. (It may be the original? But don’t quote me – while this is an encyclopedia, Google doesn’t know everything and neither do I.) Bioderma is a French brand, started in the 1970’s, that prides itself on taking a scientific approach to skincare.
Their ranges are sorted by skin types: Sensibio for sensitive skin; Hydrabio for dehydrated and sensitive skin; Atoderm for very dry to atopic sensitive skin; Sebium for oily blemished skin; ABCDerm for paediatric dermatology; White Objective for lightening of sensitive skin; Pigmentbio for hyperpigmented skin; Cicabio for weakened skin; Matricane for cutaneous ageing; and Matricium for cell regeneration. They also have a hair and scalp range (Nodé) and a sun range (Photoderm).
Bondi Chic is another A-Beauty brand (sensing a theme?). They’re a natural and clean skincare brand from Duboo. Just kidding – they’re from Bondi. They create products that are good for you, and are committed to being non-toxic and safe. They take the same philosophy into their kids range – BondiKidz.
Burt’s Bees started with Burt the Beekeeper selling honey from the back of his truck (no joke). Now a natural lip, skin and body brand that focuses on their key ingredients: beeswax. My favourite is their classic lip balm: Beeswax Lip Balm with Vitamin E and Peppermint.
Charcoal is a natural ingredient used in skincare to draw dirt, makeup and grime from the skin, and can help balance oil production. It’s referred to as “activated charcoal” and can be used all over the body, including your scalp (it’s often used to balance oily scalps).
Cherish Hand Cream, Lacura
A hand cream by…wait for it… ALDI! I know. But it’s actually quite nice so it felt elitist not to include it.
A cleanser is a product that removes dirt, grime, pollution and excess oils in a nourishing and hydrating way. Cleansers are a gentle way to clean your face, and ideal for sensitive skin. I swear by cleansers.
Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask, Origins
An active charcoal mask from Origins that works to clear and unclog pores by ridding them of environmental toxins, dirt, and debris. P.S. I look really cute in this mask.
A physical, body exfoliant that’s made primarily of coffee beans and removes dry and dead skin cells, leaving you looking and feeling lush.
There’s nothing like a good combo: burgers and chips; avocado and sourdough; Buzz Lightyear and Woody; bubble baths and wine; Bey and Jay. The list is endless. I personally also love a skincare combo – two products, that just seem to work so well together. I’ll keep track off all my favourite combos here.
Dr Jart Dermaclear Trans-foam Clay mask, followed by Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask – your skin will be so clean, then so hydrated. It’s heaven.
Creamy Face Scrub, Frank Body
Frank Body’s Creamy Face Scrub is a coffee-based, physical exfoliant for your face. As with coffee scrub, it removes dead and dry skin cells. However, unlike most coffee scrubs, the texture is creamy (my guess is that’s where the name came from).
C-Shells SPF 30, Sundaze
A cute little sunscreen by USA brand, Sundaze.
Dermaclear Trans-foam Clay Mask, Dr Jart+
A on-of-a-kind mask. It’s a clay mask, so it’s unclogging those pores and ridding your skin of all the ickies, but it also sort-of cleanses. Rather than just wash it off, you rub it in circular moves which makes the mask foam up. Your skin has never felt so clean.
Dr Jart is a Korean brand (so now we’re talking K-Beauty) “powered by science” and “inspired by art”. Cute tagline, no? They have multiple collections and a wide range of products that are created for specific skin concerns and focused on delivering results. It’s available at Sephora in Australia, although sadly, we have a more limited range that our USA pals. (If anyone has a petition going to change this, please let me know as I’ll sign ASAP.)
Drunk Elephant is an American skincare brand. It’s a clean skincare brand, that calls itself “Clean Compatible” skincare as it only uses ingredients that “directly benefit the skin’s health or support the integrity and effectiveness of our formulations”. Their products clearly indicate their pH level making them a great brand for finding products that are right for your skin.
Everyday Face Moisturiser, Frank Body
Frank’s Everyday Face Moisturiser is a natural, lightweight and caffeinated daily moisturiser. (I hope people call me “natural, lightweight and caffeinated”.) Along with coffee, it contains shea butter and vitamin E to keep the skin soft, smooth and nourished without clogging up those pores.
Go-To’s body oil which contains all the good oils – coconut, sweet almond, jojoba, sunflower, avocado, rosehip and evening primrose, amongst many other fabulous, natural ingredients. I love it, although I will admit, it’s always so tricky using a body oil, amiright? You have to time your application period perfectly – not too soon before you go to bed or want to sit on the couch, but also not right before you have to put clothes on. And if that isn’t first world problems, I don’t know what is!
Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells. You can exfoliate with scrubs, chemicals (like AHA and BHAs), or clay. In my opinion, you should do it 1-3 times a week as part of your weekly skincare regime, depending on your exfoliation product of choice and skin type. It keeps your pores unclogged, skin cells fresh and rejuvenated, as well as promoting skin cell renewal. I wrote a whole exfoliation guide that you can read.
Exfoliating Swipeys, Go-To
Go-To’s Exfoliating Swipeys exfoliate your skin by using lactic acid. They’re one of my top 5 exfoliating products.
Express-o Scrub, Frank Body
My FAVOURITE Frank Body scrub. It smells delish – like sugar and coffee. (It makes me sing the Mary Poppins song: Just a spoonful of sugar, makes the medicine go down! Don’t ask.) It’s also my favourite body scrub as it’s ‘whipped’ so it comes out creamy, and doesn’t make as much of a mess. Highly, highly recommended. Your skin will feel heavenly afterward.
Face Hero, Go-To
Face Hero is Go-To’s face oil. It is, I believe, one of the best face oils on the market. (This little piggy would go to any market for Face Hero.) It works to hydrate, soothe, nourish, revitalise and protect your skin against all the bad, icky stuff trying to get in (grime, pollution, your boyfriend’s farts). You can apply it morning, noon and/or night. I use it under makeup and before bed. It’s packed full of all the good oils – almond, jojoba, macadamia, brazil nut, evening primrose, rosehip, and kiwi fruit seed – among many other ingredients that work to give you radiant skin.
Is a ‘cleanser’ a ‘face wash’, or a ‘face wash’ a ‘cleanser’? It’s confusing, I know. I’ve decided that my interpretation is that they do a similar job but a ‘face wash’ is more of a soap product, while a cleanser nourishes and hydrates product that gently cleans your skin.
First Aid Beauty (FAB)
First Aid Beauty, or FAB as I prefer, is an American beauty brand that’s on a mission to “rescue your skin”. They focus on everyday essentials and finding solutions for common skincare problems, such as dryness, dullness, acne-prone etc. Every FAB skincare product explains what skincare concerns it helps, making it easy to find what suits your skin type. In Australia, it’s sold at Sephora.
An A-Beauty brand that’s all about natural skincare, derived from everyone’s favourite thing. No! Not wine, the morning beverage: coffee. Frank Body is (Really giving the Aussie gals a plug, aren’t I? #TrueBlueBogan.)
A beautiful skincare brand that was born in Boston, and combines “potent natural ingredients, ancient rituals, and modern science”. Their products are focused on the fresh, natural ingredients and are named accordingly. My two favourites are the Rose Face Mask and the Soy Facial Cleanser.
Glow Mask, Frank Body
A nourishing and hydrating mask by Frank Body, the Glow Mask has a buttery, creamy texture and can be left on anywhere from 2 minutes to 20 minutes. (It’s my mask of choice as bath time, as I can leave it on the entire time, then come out with a glowy face.) Of course, it’s caffeinated, smells yum and natural.
Go-To is an A-Beauty skincare brand that focuses on creating clean skincare products and simplifying the whole skincare process. Their peachy products are as effective as they are funny (which is A LOT, btw). And as you’ll know, if you’ve ever glanced at anything I’ve ever done, it’s one of my favourite skincare brands. They’re available online, at Mecca in Australia and Sephora in the USA.
Good Genes, Sunday Riley
Good Genes is a lactic acid treatment by Sunday Riley (see “S” for Sunday Riley) that exfoliates your skin without scrubbing. It’s an AHA, meaning it’s a chemical exfoliant but it’s a natural derivation, not synthetic. It’s a bit of a cult beauty product and if it was a restaurant on Google would have multiple pound/dollar signs. I do love it (it’s one of my top 5 exfoliants), but if you haven’t got the funds, there are other cheaper lactic acid products on the market (such as Go-To’s Exfoliating Swipeys). If you use it, you MUST wear sunscreen – as treatments like this make you more prone to sunburn.
Glycolic acid is a naturally occurring AHA. It’s derived from plants such as sugar cane, pineapple, and sugar beets. Glycolic acid can be quite strong, so if you have sensitive skin, you want to start by using a low concentration. It exfoliates, is used to treat oily and acne-prone skin, as it helps clear blocked pores and bacteria and other skin conditions or concerns. You can read more in my 5 to try skincare ingredients break down.
Lactic acid is an AHA. It's an organic compound that can be produced naturally and synthetically. When natural, it's derived from milk, fruit, vegetables and other plants. It's quite a powerful ingredient, particularly as it's antibacterial. It gently but deeply exfoliates skin, promoting skin renewal, hydrates and treats and reduce hyperpigmentation (brown or red spots), mild to moderate acne, lines and wrinkles. It’s similar to glycolic acid, but seen as gentler. You can read more in my 5 to try skincare ingredients break down.
‘Lip Balm’, Frank Body (Original)
A delicious, hydrating, soft and natural lip balm by Frank Body. It was their original, and it is a constant in my handbag. It’s nourishing and soothing, but not sticky. It doesn’t aggravate your lips or leave them craving more 20 minutes after application.
Alpha H’ glycolic acid treatment used as a chemical exfoliant. It’s a deep treatment. I would recommend only using it once a week. It’s probably Alpha H’s most well-known product.
An exfoliant for your lips – it removes all the dry and dead skin.
Pawpaw, another term for papaya, is a soothing, healing and hydrating ingredient used in skincare, particularly lip balms. Many lip balms (like good old Lucas’ Pawpaw) are predominantly pawpaw. It’s multi-use and is essentially similar to Vaseline.
pH stands for ‘potential hydrogen’ and measures a substances acid-alkaline ratio. Your skin has a pH level, as do the products you use. The pH scale goes from 0 (battery acid, aka the most acidic) to 7 (water, aka neutral) to 14 (household bleach, aka the most alkaline).
You want your skin to have a pH level between 4.5 – 5.5, which is the right balance between acidity and alkalinity. You want to ensure you have a bit of acidity, as it helps your skin protect itself against the elements, allergens, bacteria, pollution etc. However, these factors can also affect your pH level, taking it higher or lower that the ideal 4.5-5.5.
If your skin goes higher than 5.5 and becomes too alkaline, it feels dry, sensitive and is subject to ageing. Our skin will naturally become more alkaline as we age, which is another reason why you may need to change your routine as you get older. At the other end, if you drop too far below 4.5 ‒ 5.5 and your skin becomes overly acidic, your skin can become inflamed, and have breakouts. Products with a high pH level bring your pH level up, and vice versa. Skin with a balanced pH looks healthy and hydrated, without flaking or redness. You can read more in my 5 to try skincare ingredients break down.
First things first, it’s all fun and clay, until you dry your skin out. You have to be careful with clay and follow two strict rules:
Do not clay before you go out to play
What you take out, you must put back in
Anything clay-based is used to pull out all the gunk, dead skin, grime, grit, dirt, anything really that's chilling in your pores. Meaning: your skin often breaks out afterwards, is red and a bit tender, etc as the clay has just brought everything out/to the surface. And when I say everything, I mean the good stuff too (it basically just gets everything) so you must hydrate your skin IMMEDIATELY after with something soothing and hydrating, and then it’s time for bed and Netflix, not a party, due to mentioned redness etc.
As mentioned in “Combos”, one of my favourite (night) routines is Dr Jart Dermaclear Trans-foam Clay (see “D”), followed by Summer Fridays Jet Lag mask. But an oil is another great hydrating option.
Pinky-Nudey Lips, Go-To
Go-To’s tinted lip balm that’s a more “natural lip colour. I personally love it, but I do have to admit I don’t love the use of the term ‘nudey’. I think the beauty industry needs to move away from the term, unless it’s indicating a 100-shade range from dark skin tones to pasty bitches like me. It’s too often used to describe white skin tones, alienating everyone. There is no one “nude” – we’re all different colours. No skin tone is alike.
Properly Clean, Go-To
Properly Clean is Go-To’s gentle face cleanser. It comes out as a “foamy” texture, but isn’t a foam. The nozzle creates that texture in order to make it easy to use. It’s one of my absolute favourite cleansers – definitely will be in the upcoming top 5.
Retinol is a “retinoid” which is a concentrated form of vitamin A that helps with cell production. It’s an active ingredient and essentially a treatment for your skin to fight fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone and skin texture. It does so by working to improve skin cell and collagen production, which leads to even and plumper looking skin. You add it as an extra step to your skincare routine, replacing any serums or even oils if you use an oil form like Sunday Riley’s Luna.
It’s currently an “It” ingredient (kinda like Mischa Barton in the noughties) but you should be careful. I personally have only ever tried it in Sunday Riley’s Luna night oil – while it works, if you have dry and sensitive skin like me, you should limit use to once every fortnight or so. I would not, I repeat would NOT use it daily or even every second unless you’re sure it works with your skin tone as it can cause flakiness and dryness if overused. (I do believe some oily skin tones can handle regular use.) I personally opt for once a fortnight to once every few weeks. You can buy it in products (like the Luna), or on it’s on.
NOTE: Retinol makes your skin more susceptible to sun damage, so if you’re going to try it, pick up a tube of sunscreen too. There’s no point using all these fancy products if you’re letting the no.1 skin damager (aka the sun) wreck all their hard work.
Rose Face Mask, Fresh Beauty
A heavenly, rose face mask by Fresh Beauty. It isn’t just rose-scented, you can see the rose petals. It’s hydrating, nourishing and will leave your face feeling fresh. It’s one of my top 5 hydrating face masks.
Rosehip oil is a common skincare ingredient, particularly in face oils, as it contains fatty acids, as well as vitamin C and E. Meaning it hydrates, reduces inflammation and pigmentation, as well as protecting skin against the sun and sun damage. It’s essentially a skincare Wonder Woman. You can read more in my 5 to try skincare ingredients break down.
A serum is a more concentrated treatment for your skin. Generally applied after cleansing, but before moisturising, they are a way of delivering a specific ingredient or targeting a specific skincare concern. I believe you should use serums sporadically, and find ones that work for your skin type and skin concerns. A lot of serums make big promises but don’t deliver, so I would be wary of serums as a whole, but if you have something you want to target (like pigmentation, redness, dryness) a serum could be your best bet. (However I do wholly support vitamin C serums.)
Sheen Screen Lip Balm, Ultra Violette
Ultra Violette (a new Aussies sunscreen brand, see under U below) has included lip balms in their range – as your lips need protection too. The Sheen Screen has a slight tint to it, is hydrating and thick, but not sticky and overpowering. Honestly, I love this lip balm (more than their sunscreen I own). It’s everything a lip balm should be.
Soy Face Cleanser, Fresh Beauty
A gentle, soft cleanser made from soy by Fresh Beauty. If a lot of cleansers feel like their stripping your skin, I would try the Soy Face Cleanser. It feels so good for your skin, as though by using it, your giving your skin nutrients and all kinds of goodness (which you probably are). I’m working on a top 5 cleansers to try, and SPOILER ALERT – this will be in it.
Summer Fridays is a skincare brand created by bloggers Marianna Hewitt and Lauren Gores that is focused on masks, and has started expanding. They launched with one mask, the Jet Lag mask which is a uber-hydrating slice of heaven. Following that, they released their Overtime mask, an exfoliating mask, then their R+R mask, a restorative mask. They’ve just released their first vitamin C serum (which I am yet to try).
Sunday Riley is an American skincare brand that’s “powered by science, balanced by botanicals” which just means that they create products with ingredients that are proven to work, but don’t use nasties. Instead, they opt for “green” alternatives (they have a “green” policy). Named after CEO and Founder, Sunday Riley (cool name, huh?), you’ve likely heard of/used/seen on Instagram their Good Genes or Luna Night Oil. I’ve tried and approve of both – Good Genes is one of my top 5 exfoliants.
A small Amercian sunscreen brand. Not currently available in Australia.
To Save Face Sunscreen, Mecca Cosmetica
Mecca Cosmetica has two sunscreens – SPF 30, the white tube; and SPF 50, the black tube. The SPF 50/black tube has a tinted feel and a bit thicker like a moisturiser, while the SPF 30/white tube has more of a primer, light-weight feel. Both are superb sunscreens, and I swear by both but my absolute favourite face sunscreen in the world is the SPF 30/white tube. It’s heaven – and I never thought I’d say that about a sunscreen!
Transformazing Sheet Mask, Go-To
A brightening, glow-inducing sheet mask that leaves your skin looking like you’re Margot Robbie after just 10 minutes.
Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum, First Aid Beauty
Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum is a First Aid Beauty serum for all skin types that fights dryness, fine lines and wrinkles. It contains anti-aging peptides and hyaluronic acid (which locks in moisture). It’s a super lightweight gel – you won’t even know you have it on.
Ultra Violette is an Aussie sunscreen brand that has blazed onto the scene (get it?). Violette, or Vi for short, has coined the term “skinscreen” and I am all about it. So ignore my first sentence, they’re a skinscreen brand. They’ve created a range of products that work to “future-proof your face”, and include sunscreens that are made to be applied under makeup and worn daily. They contain ingredients that are good for your skin (such as antioxidants), while also protecting it from UV rays.
Very Useful Face Cream, Go-To
Go-To’s face cream that they very appropriately named. It’s a thick and hydrating cream, without feeling heavy. A routine staple, in my humble opinion.
We Are Feel Good inc
An Aussie sunscreen brand, that’s Australian made and owned. It’s new, fresh and has a super cute, kind of old school orange sunscreen bottle that I love. They’re about living outdoors, and wanted a gentle but hardworking sunscreen that was going to protect their skin from the harsh Aussie sun.
(Are there any beauty products starting with X? For some reason, all I can think of is X-Files…)
(Poor Y. So often left out! I should find a Y beauty product, just to give Y a fair go.)
(I don’t feel as sorry for Z – they dominate sleep.)