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Here at MECCA, we take beauty very seriously, and when it comes to answering your beauty questions, we don’t leave it up to just any search engine—besides, we’d probably end up getting side-tracked by cat videos and DMs anyway. When we put it to our Instagram community: “What beauty questions do you need answered?”, our inbox was inundated with messages about serums, dark circles and some pretty hard to pronounce ingredients. To settle this once and for all, we’ve called upon Lucy Shaw, MECCA’s resident skin specialist, to lay out the facts. Get ready to sleep a little bit better at night.
When you’re skin care connoisseurs like our Instagrammers, it’s highly likely that your daily routine consists of upwards of five, six or even ten steps. With all those products it’s easy to lose track of the right order to apply them in for maximum efficacy. “As a rule of thumb, use the lightest consistency products first and always use water-based products before oil-based,” explains Shaw. “Serums are best applied early in your routine as they are a smaller size molecule and absorb deeper into the skin, oil is best applied last (unless specified) as it is larger in size and helps to create a barrier on the skin and seal everything in.”
So put simply, that would go a little something like this: cleanser, decongesting or clearing mask, toner, essence, hydrating or treatment masks, serums and treatments, eye serum, eye cream, face moisturiser, face oil, face mist, SPF. Pro tip: allow about a minute or so between each step so that you get maximum absorption.
Not all dark circles are created equal and they’re not all the result of late night Instagram scrolling and sleepless nights. According to Shaw, “Dark circles that are more blue in appearance are due to blood pooling in the area. Use ingredients like caffeine to help increase circulation and softly massage outwards using your ring finger to help get things moving.” Origins Ginzing Refreshing Eye Cream is packed with caffeine and ginseng to reduce swelling and increase circulation in the eye area. Another ingredient to look for is arnica, which is found in Goldfaden Bright Eyes. “Arnica is traditionally used to treat bruising, so it really helps with darkness under the eyes.” Another tip Shaw recommends is to use something cooling. “Keep your product in the fridge or do a cold compress to help get the blood flowing again.”
If the darkness is more brown in appearance or you are genetically predisposed to dark circles (thanks, mum), then Shaw says it’s best to use products that help brighten excess pigment such as vitamin C (some we like are Drunk Elephant C-Tango Multivitamin Eye Cream and Dr. Dennis Gross C + Collagen Brighten + Firm Eye Cream).
When it comes to camouflaging dark circles, concealer is your best friend. “Pat concealer onto the area in layers to build up coverage (Hourglass Hidden Corrective Concealer is a good one), then set with translucent, loose powder so that the concealer stays put and doesn’t crease (Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder is a new fave).” You can also try a colour-correcting concealer in a peach tone to counteract the blue but be careful not to build up too much product as this is when it moves around and becomes obvious.
Plagued by a dry, flakey pout, even in winter? Most of us can relate. “Lips don’t have sebaceous glands therefore they don’t create their own ‘natural’ moisturiser (a.k.a sebum) like the rest of the skin,” explains Shaw. “Plus, when the atmosphere is really dry and cold (a.k.a in winter) we lose water quicker from the surface of the skin which leads to dryness.” To keep your lips lush on the outside, be sure to stay hydrated on the inside by drinking plenty of water. Look for a lip balm that contains nourishing ingredients such as vitamin E, oils and butters and apply regularly and liberally to create a protective little barrier over your lips—like a second skin. A quick poll of the MECCA office revealed By Terry Baume De Rose is a top favourite for a luxe lip treatment, or for everyday try Frank Body Lip Balm.
Want to take a deep dive into retinol? Start by reading our comprehensive guide here. For the abridged version: retinol is derived from vitamin A and helps treat basically every skin care concern from fine lines to acne to pigmentation to sun damage. It does this by speeding up cell turnover which generally starts to slow down in your late twenties (a.k.a the best time to start using it). Shaw says, “If you have wrinkles, marks and scars or anything that requires healing, start using retinol straight away to help speed up repair.”
Are you washing your makeup brushes correctly? Are you washing your makeup brushes at all?! Keeping your toolkit clean is super important. Beyond being more hygienic, regular cleansing means your makeup will apply more smoothly and your brushes and sponges will last longer—it’s also quite therapeutic. Gin loves cleaning her makeup brushes so much, she made a video about it. You can watch it here. For sponges, Gin from our MECCA Beauty Crew recommends rubbing them wet on a bar of soap until the water runs clear. For brushes, she uses MECCA MAX Power Tool Brush Shampoo and Brush Cleansing Pad, swirling the wet, soapy brush on the pad until the water runs clean.
Got questions? We got answers! Head into store to speak to our store hosts or slide into our DMs and we’ll answer them here.
Words by Romy ErdosJuly 2019
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