This Year’s Top New Beauty Buzzwords: Explained

The beauty industry’s infamous for using head-scratching buzzwords to try and persuade us to buy a brand’s new product line. These buzzwords might be ingredients, processes, or hashtags-in-waiting. Some buzzwords turn into legit beauty products that make it into our routines for good, while others are nothing more than a fad. This year, we’ve seen an upturn in several beauty buzzwords that have sometimes horrified, fascinated, and surprised us. Are these new trends fads or beauty holy grails?

#1 Epigenetics

Epigenetics is a term from biology that describes external factors that influence genes, without any changes to your underlying DNA.  Yikes.

 

In skincare terms, epigenetic refers to products that ‘switch on’ genes that boost skin elasticity or other desirable factors. These genes would usually have been ‘switched off’ as a result of skin damage, age or stress. In other words, epigenetic products could turn back the clock and nudge your skin to act as if you were in your teens or twenties rather than your forties or fifties.

 

This sounds like the anti-aging dream, but be aware that epigenetic skincare still has a long way to go. This buzzword’s worth keeping an eye on – it could transform the skincare industry completely.

#2 Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal’s been everywhere this year, and not just in beauty – who could forget the activated charcoal burgers, ice cream, and pizza that were everywhere on Instagram? But what exactly is activated charcoal, and why is it used in skincare?

 

Well, activated charcoal is charcoal that’s been been treated with oxygen. This creates a substance with loads of pores so it’s great at absorbing things. When used in a skincare product, activated charcoal helps to soak up oils and impurities from the skin, clearing out your pores and tackling oily skin. Surprisingly, it can also be used as a teeth whitener! Applying a jet-black beauty product can be a little daunting, but it seems that activated charcoal could hold real benefits in the beauty department.

 

#3 Facial microflora

We’re all accustomed to the idea of ‘friendly bacteria’ in our gut, but on our face? Not so much. When the foundation of our skincare routine is cleansing, we try to remove all the bacteria from our skin. Increasingly, experts believe that instead we should be encouraging the right kind of bacteria to live on our skin.

 

In skincare marketing terms, look for probiotics and prebiotics. The former contain the good bacteria, while the latter provide them with nutrients.  Probiotics can be particularly useful for those of us with sensitive skin or eczema, who are all too aware of the effects that over-cleaning can have on our complexions.

 

#4 DNA-derived skincare

Several brands now ask consumers to take a DNA sample, send it off to their lab (or someone else’s lab), and receive a DNA-derived breakdown of their skin complaints and how to ease them.  These brands call these DNA-based products and routines the ultimate in personalised skincare.

 

Sounds, good, right? Well, the recommended products are likely to be extremely costly. If you’re on a budget, it’s likely that the benefits of an ultra-personalised skincare routine are likely to be outweighed by the costs. In all likelihood, the skincare routine you’ve refined over the course of many years is likely to be just as suitable for your skin.

 

What do you think?

Which of these products and processes do you think are here to stay? Are you convinced by any of these new buzzwords? Let us know in the comments below!

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How to: Reduce Beauty Product Waste

There’s been a renewed push in recent months for companies to reduce plastic used in their products and shops, in favour of compostable, recyclable or biodegradable alternatives. The beauty products you use every day might be cased in plastic tubes or bottles – or the packaging that surrounded them when you bought them might have been made of plastic.  As consumers, we can also play our part in reducing plastic waste.

Reducing beauty product waste can be done in two ways:

  1. Buy products with less packaging, or recyclable packaging.
  2. Buy fewer products, or make full use out of products you buy before throwing them away.

The first method requires no explanation – but we know it can also be really tough to ditch favourite beauty products in favour of one that doesn’t work so well for you, just because it has recyclable packaging.

Going down the second route is more realistic for most of us – and the good news is that a few small tweaks can reduce significant amounts of product waste.

#1 Buy products that would otherwise be binned

Buying products in clearance sales isn’t just a handy money-saver – it also means that products that would otherwise be headed for landfill aren’t wasted. Look for off-season products that are heavily discounted, and buy tester perfumes that are the same quality as brand new perfumes, but without some of the packaging.

Remember: it’s expensive for both high-street stores and online retailers to hold onto old stock that’s slow to sell. Always look for clearance and end-of-season sales to grab products that might have ended up in the bin.

#2 Understand makeup expiry dates

You might be surprised that many makeup products ‘expire’ within a matter of months after opening. In other words, after this time there’s a risk they could actually harm your skin or eyes – or just not work quite so well as before. If you find that you struggle to use products before they expire, have a rethink about the products you buy. Make sure you only have a couple of types of mascara on the go at once, or try to cut down on lipstick shades (if at all possible!). Overall, don’t buy (and open) more products that you can get through.

#3 Fix broken or mismatched products

First of all, learn how to fix broken powder makeup like eyeshadow and setting powder! All you need is surgical spirit (aka rubbing alcohol) and a little patience.

And what if you buy a foundation shade that isn’t quite right, but you can’t return it? Try mixing it with other products. If it’s too dark, mix in moisturiser or primer – or use it for contouring or as a bronzer. If it’s too light, add bronzer or a darker foundation. You might also find that the shade’s a better match when the seasons change and your skin tone shifts.

#4 Cut into ‘empty’ products

When you can’t get any more product out of its container, transferring it to another pot can help you use every last bit of the product. ‘De-pot’ lipstick ends, warm up your mascara to declump it, and run dried out eyeliner pens under water for a few seconds. You can also cut into any products within soft tubes (like lotions, toothpaste, and even sunscreen), and you’ll find there’s plenty of product remaining that you couldn’t squirt out the usual way!  Just be careful that the container you decant the leftover product into is clean (and preferably sterile), otherwise it won’t be safe to use for long.

#5 Repurpose empty products

Finally, once your products are all used up, you may be able to repurpose them! Try using old perfume bottles as vases or candle holders, or use skincare containers as plant pots!

Overall, reducing beauty product waste can be incredibly satisfying – and save you money. We’d love to hear your tips for cutting back on plastic waste in your beauty routine.

Here at Direct Cosmetics, we sell a range of luxury unboxed products at great prices, helping you cut back on waste while grabbing a bargain.

(Pssst – if you’re looking for some fab deals on top brand beauty products, check out our clearance sale.)

Budget cosmetic tips: a fragrance for every occasion

While everyone likes to have that one signature scent that sums up their personality perfectly, these days it isn’t enough to simply own one perfume. Our lives are often busy and varied, meaning that we need a range of different fragrances suitable for every conceivable occasion. I know what you’re thinking – buying a variety of distinct perfumes is bound to be a pricey enterprise. Fortunately, with the help of our budget cosmetic expertise, you’ll be able to equip yourself with a versatile range of fragrances suitable for any scenario you care to mention. Just take a look and see for yourself!

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Cosmetic trendwatch: ditching the clown paint with subtle pink blush

Blush has long been a makeup bag regular that some women reach for with gusto, but others still tend to view it with something approaching trepidation. A subtle, considered application of blush is an excellent way to add a warm, healthy glow to your cheeks but we’ve all seen those women sporting garish red circles more suited to the a circus big top than the high street. Not all cosmetic trends are particularly user-friendly, but this summer’s pink blush trend is one we can all wear with pride – here’s how you can capture that perfect pink blush look at home!

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How to: recover from sunburn

We all know we should apply sunscreen.

And most of the time, we do – but occasionally, we’re all guilty of forgetting to top up after several hours in the sun, we fail to reapply after a long swim at the pool, or we don’t have time to lather it on because we’re already late for work.

Sunburn usually only lasts for a week, but when that week takes up a good chunk of your summer holiday, it can feel like it lasts forever!

It’s not easy to speed up sunburn recovery, but there’s plenty you can do to a) reduce the pain, b) limit redness, and c) prevent nasty infections that hold back the recovery process.

Here’s how it’s done.

ASAP

Much like burns you get in the kitchen, the sooner you can take action to soothe your sunburn, the better. As soon as you realise you’ve got sunburnt, get out of the sun, reapply sunscreen and cover up. This’ll prevent your sunburn from getting any worse, and start the recovery process.

You could also take some anti-inflammatory medication (like ibuprofen) to reduce redness – be sure to check the leaflet that comes with the medication first.

Keep it cool

As soon as you can, head back inside and take a cold bath or shower. Alternatively, use a sponge or cold flannel to soothe the worst of the sunburn and reduce pain! Aim to cool down your skin as much as possible, particularly in the initial 24 hours after the sunburn occurs.

Drink more water than you usually do to avoid dehydration and help rejuvenate your skin.

Moisturise – but be careful…

Moisturising sunburnt skin prevents it from drying out further, and strengthens damaged skin so that you’re less prone to infections, redness, and more irritation. Apply moisturiser frequently! Always use a gentle, unscented moisturiser  – fragrances and the like can aggravate your skin further and hold back the healing process.

Keep applying gentle moisturiser when your skin starts to flake and peel, as it’s still vulnerable.

The NHS recommends using aloe vera based lotions when you’re sunburnt. You can also grab hydrocortisone cream from the pharmacist to further reduce inflammation.

What to avoid

Sand, chlorine, and salt water are all going to aggravate your sunburn and increase the chance your damaged skin gets infected (look out for red streaks and pus – yuck! – as telltale signs you have an infection). Try to wear loose clothing so that blood flow to your skin is unrestricted. This’ll speed up the healing process and also reduce redness.  Also, remember that hot water can make sunburn worse – so avoid hot showers until your skin has almost completely recovered.

It’s also a good idea to scale back your usual skincare and makeup routines as these products may irritate your skin.

Finally, avoid popping any blisters that appear! They’re there to protect your skin from further damage – let them do their job.

See your GP

If you have a fever, chills, or feel dizzy when you get sunburnt, contact your GP. They’ll help you get the dressings and medication you need to recover from your severe sunburn.

There’s no doubt that sunburn can be serious – but preventing it is easier (and less painful!) than the recovery process. Stock up on sunscreen and other SPF products before heading the beach to stay protected!

Top Summer Beauty Tips from the Celebs

Celebrities make everything look effortless – and that includes keeping a perfect face of makeup on the hottest summer days. While the rest of us are sunburnt and sweating, or feeling the effects of the flight home from our summer hol, celebrities stay cool – in more ways than one.

While having several personal stylists and makeup artists certainly helps with that, celebrities have some beauty tips that the rest of us can learn from during the scorching summer months.

Keep sunscreen everywhere

We all know that we should be wearing at least SPF 25 every day in summer, even when its cloudy. Many celebrities go the extra mile when it comes to sunscreen, to make sure their skin is always protected even when they’re on the move. Khloé Kardashian always keeps sunscreen stocked in all of her cars, and is careful to apply it to her hands before driving. After all, when they’re on the steering wheel, your hands are likely going to be exposed to the sun pretty much constantly. Charlize Theron swears by this trick, too.

Don’t forget your hair

Go ahead, give yourself a pat on the back for remembering to apply SPF lip balm before a day at the beach. But along with sunscreen, that’s not all the sun protection you need. Sophie Turner of Game of Thrones fame admits she used to forget to look after her hair in the sun. She’s tackled this problem by always using heat protection spray when travelling or before she hits the beach – after all, you protect your hair it when you’re styling it with heat, so why not when you’re out in the sun?

Sweatproof makeup

Stars need their makeup to last through hours on stage or a long day on set, so it’s no surprise their makeup artists have mastered long-lasting makeup, even in testing conditions. Makeup artists for celebs like Beyoncé and Ariana Grande say the key to a sweatproof face is layering makeup. Ari’s makeup artist Daniel Chincilla finds that primer is key for absorbing oils and keeping eyeshadow pigmented. He says that foundation should always be matte, and applied in thin layers – and don’t forget to use a light powder to set that foundation. Beyoncé’s makeup artist Sir John has similar advice – and says to avoid setting sprays and instead layer cream and powder for a long-lasting look.

Beating jet lag and fatigue

Most of us aren’t going to be ambushed by paparazzi the second we step off our flight home, but we’d like to look a little brighter when recovering from travelling – who knew that sitting on a plane for several hours could be so tiring? Gigi Hadid’s top tip is to sleep on the plane to tackle jet lag (we would if we could), but Gal Gadot and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley say we should instead be drinking as much water as possible – Rosie tries to get through up to four litres of water on a Transatlantic flight.

One final celeb secret to look more awake? Beyoncé uses gold eyeshadow in the inner corner of her eyes, instead of white – it’s more subtle but just as effective at disguising fatigue.

What are your favourite summer beauty tips? Are there any wonder products we all need to know about? Leave us a comment below!

Makeup TLC: Everything You Need to Know

You always try to avoid eating food after it’s use by date, and you always wash your hands after touching something gross – so why do so many of us apply cosmetics with brushes that haven’t been washed for weeks, or use makeup products that are past their expiry dates?

When we can’t see ‘dirt’ on our makeup, we assume it’s clean and safe to use. But makeup, particularly liquid makeup, is something of a bacteria trap. And we apply cosmetics onto our lips, and around our eyes. Eek!

But by looking after makeup products and brushes and keeping an eye on expiry dates, you can minimise the risks that makeup poses to your health.

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