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Spa and massage room

10 Top Spas to Breathe and Reboot in Dubai

Pamper your body the way it deserves.

A return to normalcy brings with it the return of the daily grind, which means you’re probably in dire need of a little R&R. To get you started, here are our top 10 picks of the best spa and wellness centres in Dubai – after all, the weekend equals me time, right?

Amara Spa 

Best described as an Arabian haven, Amara Spa is known for its impressive décor, private outdoor rain showers, and one of the most peaceful gardens you can relax in. Located amidst the calm of private courtyards in Park Hyatt Dubai, it offers an extensive range of spa treatments, luxurious massages, rejuvenating facials, and exclusive rituals, using a combination of Hawaiian, Egyptian, and Japanese massage techniques. 

Amara Spa, Park Hyatt Dubai, Dubai Creek Club St, 04 602 1660, dubaicreekliving.ae/amara-spa, open 9am-10pm daily

Saray Spa 

Feeling a little bougie? Saray Spa, a world-class health and wellness centre in the heart of the world’s tallest five-star hotel, is your best bet. As an award-winning massage centre, it uses a unique combo of ancient healing techniques along with organic ingredients to deliver you an ultimate rejuvenating experience. It also offers dedicated spa treatments for men and women. 

Saray Spa, Sheikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, 04 414 6754, portal.marriott.com, open 9am-10pm daily 

Sheba 

Sheba is another ultimate one-stop shop for complete indulgence and pampering in Dubai. Its famous treatments includes the Monticelli mud wrap, the red grape extract bath treatment, a 110-minute Mediterranean massage, and Brazilian hair straightening treatments. It also offers body care treatments catering to the new mamas out there. 

Sheba, Apricot Tower, Academic City Road Palacio Roundabout, shop G3, 04 392 6866, facebook.com/ShebaBeautyLounge, open 9:30am-9pm daily

SensAsia Urban Spa 

Tucked away in Jumeirah is the SenseAsia Urban Spa, an uber-chic spa boasting the perfect retreat for the mind, soul, and body. It provides a fantastic range of massage and reflexology treatments. And if you’re looking for a relaxing session with your partner, exclusive packages for couples are also on offer. We highly recommend the hot stone massage or a body wrap, ideal for rebooting yourself during the weekend.

SensAsia Urban Spa, The Village, Jumeirah St, 04 349 8850, sensasiaspas.com, open 10am-9pm daily 

Water Spa Center 

Next up on our list is Water Spa Center, which features an extensive collection of traditional and modern wellness treatments. The foot massages, hot oil treatment, and Turkish baths here happen to be customer favourites. Looking to ancient practices for inspiration, the menu includes cupping therapy, which boosts blood circulation and loosens muscles.

Water Spa Center, Jumeirah 1, Beach Road, Century Plaza and Al Nahda, Beit al Khair Society Building, shop no 7, 050 353 0971, dubaiwaterspa.com, open 10am-1am daily 

Nature Life Spa Premium , Best Spa in Dubai

Nature Life Spa Premium 

Located in JBR, Nature Life Spa Premium is sure to take you on an unforgettable spa journey. Its traditional Turkish hammam is a great way to enjoy a social gathering with your friends or colleagues. And if you need a solo rejuvenating session, the signature massages amidst a luxurious setting are a good pick. 

Nature Life Spa Premium, Rixos Premium Hotel, 2nd Floor, The Walk Jumeirah Beach Residence, 04 520 0033, naturelifespa.com, open 9am-10pm daily 

Timeless Spa

Need quick self-care within the airport to alleviate your travel stress? We hear you! Timeless Spa is an ideally located haven of pampering, soothing your travel-weary body and mind using a combination of specialised therapists and world-class signature products. Some of the specialities here span massages, nail care, and face therapies. 

Timeless Spa, Terminal 3, Dubai International Airport, 04 505 9555, timelessspa.co, open 24/7

Swissotel Spa and Sports

From spa treatments to restore your natural balance to a fully-equipped gymnasium and an outdoor pool to relax by, Swissotel Spa and Sports is a perfect space in which to relax and unwind. Its refreshing Jacuzzi, steam, sauna, lounge, and sports amenities are sure to leave you feeling invigorated and nourished. The spa features eight spacious treatment rooms with one couples’ suite, all surrounded by a warm ambience that customers rave about. 

Swissotel Spa and Sports, Omar Bin Al Khattab Rd, Deira, 04 293 3000, swissotel.com/hotels/dubai-al-ghurair/spa-fitness/spa-treatment-room, 10am-10pm Sunday to Wednesday and 10am-11pm Thursday to Saturday

Jazz Lounge Spa 

With seven branches across the UAE, this is the ultimate destination for grooming and personal care treatments. Exclusively designed to cater to modern therapy and wellness needs, it’s where you can look and feel your best while refreshing your body and mind. The first-class treatments here include massage therapy, nail care, hair care, and special bath treatments. 

Jazz Lounge Spa, Palm Jumeirah, Golden Mile Galleria 1, 04 241 1424, jazzloungespa.com, open 10am-10pm daily

Sofitel Spa Dubai Downtown

Amid the bustle of Downtown Dubai, this spa is sure to spoil you thoroughly with delightful combination of luxurious massages and holistic therapies. Featuring six treatment rooms, two hammams, a sauna, and a vivid blue whirlpool tub, it offers an exhilarating retreat experience, complete with a new generation of treatments that instantly transport you to a state of bliss.

Sofitel Spa Dubai Downtown, Sheikh Zayed Road, Downtown Dubai, 04 503 6333, sofitel-dubai-downtown.com/sofitel-wellness/sofitel-spa, open 10am-11pm daily 

Sofitel Spa Dubai Downtown , Spa in Dubai

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A hair dresser telling something to a woman at hair salon

This Is Your Hairstylist’s Jargon, Deciphered 

Your confusion ends here!

We’ve all been in that situation – we want to change our style, but we don’t know how to explain what we want to our hairdresser. Or on the flip side, your hairdresser might start talking in what seems like a foreign language, leaving it to you to decipher what the words they’re throwing around really mean. Here, I’m going to deconstruct hairstylist jargon so that the next time you visit the salon, you’ll know exactly what to say to get the look you want. 

Single Process 

When you’re told your hair wish can be done in one visit, this is called a single process. 

Double Process

This is when it’s going to take more than one visit to achieve your dream look. Make sure to follow your hairdresser’s advice when they say this term as, sometimes, it’s good to space out visits for the health of your hair.

Tone

All colours have cool or warm tones. Cool tones are like winter colours and can include blues, purples, and greens. Warm tones, on the other hand, are more autumn-like colours and include yellows, reds, burnt orange, caramel, and chocolate brown. Looking at a salon’s hair shade chart will help you clearly see the difference and pick a hair tone.

Hair Tip: Cool shades are a great option for clients looking to cool down their complexion by cancelling out redness from their skin.

Highlights

Highlights are lighter than your natural hair colour and can be applied in many different ways, such as freehand, foil, or cling wrap.

Hair Tip: The amount of highlights you add and where they are placed can have a huge impact on the final look.

Full Highlights 

This is when there will be colour in sections that are highlighted throughout the entire head.

Hair Tip: If you happen to have lots of highlights, it doesn’t mean you should go for full-head colour as it’s a completely different look.

Partial Highlights 

Partial highlights are highlights around the hairline. It’s also referred to as ‘face framing lights’ or lights just scattered around the top.

Hair Tip: Partial highlights are great to refresh your lights in between big appointments.

Babylights (or Paper Thin Lights)

This refers to the size of the weave that’s used and are finer lights.

Hair Tip: These are great for around the face frame, especially when they’re done in between a bigger appointment or for the parting when your highlights grow out.

Balayage

Balayage was created by the French and is a natural-looking, hand-painting technique that grows out easier.

Hair Tip: This technique has allowed hairdressers to be a lot more creative. In just one hair colour, you can use many techniques such as highlights, lowlights, and balayage for a unique look.

Lowlights

Lowlights darken strands to add depth and dimension to hair and are very en vogue now.

Hair Tip: Sometimes, blonds feel like they need to be blonder when actually, they just need to add in some lowlights to give their hair dimension, which will make them look blonder.

Root Tapping

Root tapping softens the look of the highlights at the root area. 

Hair Tip: This treatment is well known for allowing the colour to seamlessly grow out better and appear more natural looking. 

Hair Glossing

This is a colour that gives instant shine. There can either be colour in it or it can just be a clear colour that adds a fabulous gloss to your existing colour.

Hair Tip: The brand Redken comes with a wide range of hair gloss products – including stunning cool colours – that can be found at mariadowling Salon.

Root Smudging 

This technique is used to soften or remove the line of old highlights by applying a colour that’s closer to the base colour on the root. It can be smudged one to three inches (or more) into the hair, depending on the length of the hair.

Hair Tip: This technique will add dimension in the colour by adding depth and is very on trend right now.

Bump Up the Roots

This is a technique used at mariadowling salon after you have highlights, and for a speedy refresher in between appointments to the root area around the hairline. 

Hair Tip: The whole appointment is quick and clients don’t have to come as often as they usually do to have their hair done – while still leaving your hair looking really good.

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A woman smiling and squeezing lemon

5 Serums to See You Through Summer

Think lightweight, yet deeply hydrating.

As the seasons change, so should your skincare routine. And with summer officially back with a vengeance, it’s time to ditch the heavy-duty moisturisers in favour of lighter options that still nourish and hydrate. Here are our five favourites.

C.E.O. Brightening Serum by Sunday Riley

Sunday Riley’s C.E.O. Brightening Serum is a must-have for every woman’s summer skincare routine – it’s a true all-rounder and perfect for all occasions, so you can wear it under makeup or on its own. Powered by 15% advanced Vitamin C, the serum targets dullness, dark spots, and discolouration while diminishing the signs of ageing. The skin feels firmer and plumper as a youthful bounce and an even tone is restored.

C.E.O Brightening Serum, AED 330, available at Sephora

Damascan Rose Facial Treatment by Aesop

The rule of thumb for skincare? Daytime is about protecting your skin, nighttime is about repairing it. We love a few drops of Aesop’s Damascan Rose Facial Treatment before our retinol and moisturiser at night. Packed full of vitamins and fatty acids that replenish distressed skin, this liquid gold goes a long way – our bottle lasted us for over six months.

Damascan Rose Facial Treatment, AED 280, available at Bloomingdale’s

Drops of Youth by The Body Shop 

Targeted for the first signs of ageing, this serum enhances your skin with a refreshing gel-like serum (cooling for the summer if you keep it refrigerated) and includes three plant stem cells that will leave it feeling smooth and replenished with moisture. 

Drops of Youth, AED 126, available at The Body Shop

Ultimate Lift Face Serum by Ixora

Ultimate Lift Face Serum by Ixora

This one’s perfect for the summer thanks to its fast-absorbing capabilities. There are 47 (yes, 47) natural and organic ingredients in one bottle! The Ultimate Lift Face Serum is also rich in antioxidants to provide treatment for ageing skin and touted as a powerful elixir to restore and rejuvenate.

Ultimate Lift Face Serum, AED 336, available at Ounass

C-Firma Day Cream by Drunk Elephant

Drunk Elephant launched in Dubai last year and has already become a skincare staple. This day serum is a super-potent formula packed with vitamin C, essential nutrients, and fruit enzymes, all working together to firm and brighten the skin’s appearance throughout the day. Just don’t forget to add sunscreen after applying it!

C-Firma Day Serum, AED 305, available at Sephora

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best henna salons in dubai

Beauty Marks: The Best Henna Salons in Dubai

Bookmark this as Eid approaches.

Is there any better way to gear up for Eid than adorning yourself with some intricately applied henna stains? Hint: no. Here, we share our top 10 picks of the best henna salons in Dubai. 

Grand Flora Spa

If you’re opting for traditional Emirati henna, then Grand Flora Spa is the best pick. With six branches around Dubai, it specialises in Arabic designs. The salon doesn’t limit its henna services to the hands and feet alone – you can have it applied anywhere on the body. It also offers henna services to all kinds of events and provides home services as well. Applied by its pool of highly experienced designers, the henna art here comes highly recommended. 

Multiple locations across Dubai, 800 FLORA, https://www.grandfloragroup.com/

Dubai Henna

Dubai Henna offers a unique mix of services and a shop where you can buy its henna products. The henna services come in two packages: standard and VIP. You can claim a free gift with the VIP package, which includes a handmade henna crafted souvenir. Its product portfolio features different types of henna cones, henna accessories, and DIY henna kits categorised according to the areas of application. Dubai Henna’s menu spans services across bridal, casual, party, prenatal belly henna, and even henna art. 

HDS Business Centre, Cluster M, JLT, 056 515 9111, https://www.dubaihenna.com/

Al Marasim Ladies Salon 

This salon offers some of the best henna services in Dubai. Renowned for its unique range of henna designs – from traditional ones that stay true to Emirati roots to contemporary designs – you’re sure to be spoilt for choice. Of course, you can also get your henna design customised any way you want. And considering Al Marsim has been in business for over 20 years in the UAE, you can be assured that all its henna products are of premium quality, safe, and free from chemicals. 

Villa 1043, Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim 2, Jumeirah, 050 186 6286, https://www.almarasim.ae

Heritage For Henna

If you’re looking for a henna salon that is deeply rooted in tradition, then Heritage For Henna is the place for you. It makes sure all its services stick to the local traditions of henna while promising an efficient and fast application process. Done by experts, all its designs are unique and follow traditional techniques. Its standout feature, meanwhile, is that it offers training services to applicants as well. Referred to as “Henna Majlis”, the salon has 28 tents across the country. 

531, SME Business Village, Deira, Near Clock Tower, 04 420 1178, http://heritageforhenna.com/

Henna salons in dubai

Luxury Henna Salon

With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Luxury Henna Salon at Sheraton Jumeirah Beach Resort has taken henna art to new heights. Its henna is made from powdered henna leaves, lemon juice, sugar, and secret essential oils. The henna is made fresh – only after the confirmation of an appointment – with the salon also catering to clients with sensitive and allergy-prone skin. And with a wide variety of henna services like Sudan henna, Mughlai henna, and Moroccan henna, the salon is well-reputed among Emiratis. It covers all events ranging from Eid to weddings and other special occasions. 

Al Mamsha St, Dubai Marina, 04 399 5533

SAbeauti Professional Ladies Salon

Whether it’s for a wedding, Eid celebrations, or any other occasion, SAbeauti Professional Ladies Salon is one of the ultimate beauty and cosmetic service providers in Dubai. It boasts an extensive list of services for clients – think: Moroccan baths, eyelash extensions, and mani-pedis. However, the henna services here are highly rated, with the option to choose from natural brown, jagua black, and red henna. The salon also offers a wide variety of traditional henna: Arabic, Sudani, Indian, and Pakistani designs for all occasions.

44th St – Deira, 04 269 9700, https://sabeautisalon.com/home

Eyana Ladies Salon 

Whether it’s body art, a basic tattoo, or something decorative for a special event, Eyana Ladies Salon is another great option, offering henna art solutions for all needs. You can choose from the extensive and carefully picked collection of designs or customise your own. The specialty of this henna salon is that it follows a 500-year-old technique that never fails to deliver a perfect henna statement for any occasion. 

Naresco Building 4, Karama, 04 396 7607, https://eyanasalon.com

Vandana Henna Art Designs

Henna that is truly opulent is the best way to describe the services of this henna salon. Considering its signature henna features 24-carat gold, you truly can’t get a more luxurious henna experience in Dubai. Its henna is also completely nickel-free and biocompatible. A mobile business, Vandana specialises in painting henna designs with gold to add just the right touch of glitter and shimmer, giving any bride the ultimate feeling of royalty on her big day. 

Al-Safa, 050 795 7018, http://vandanahennaartdesigns.com/

Henna salons dubai

Afrina Beauty Centre 

As one of the six entities in its group, Afrina Henna And Training Centre is dedicated to providing the best henna services and professional henna training in Dubai. Its designs are best described as detailed and delicate with a modern twist. Be it casual henna or innovative body art, Afrina Beauty Centre will get it done using freshly prepared henna cones sans chemicals. It specialises in Arabic, Indian, traditional, classic, and modern henna designs.

512 Pinnacle Building, Sheikh Zayed Road, 04 392 9885, https://afrina.com/

Rachna Salon

Bringing authentic Indian henna techniques and talents to the UAE, Rachna Salon – with 35 years of experience – is a reputed henna spot in Dubai. Along with constantly evolving, it has also reinvented its designs to add a touch of Arabic culture. All of its henna services are delivered through professionals in a female-friendly setting and upholds henna as the focal point of its offerings. 

Villa # 610, Jumeirah St, Umm Suqeim, Jumeirah 3, 04 394 4489, http://www.rachnasalon.ae

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how to use Use Salicylic Acid

This Skincare Ingredient Can Work Wonders

But only if you use it right.

If you suffer from oily or breakout-prone skin, you probably will have heard of salicylic acid, the magical ingredient that can fight acne, clear skin, and dissolve oil. Salicylic acid is also known as a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) and is derived from willow bark. In skincare, there are two groups of acids: AHAs (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acid) – and both exfoliate the skin. 

Many people make mistakes in skincare – skincare experts and aestheticians included. When I first learned of salicylic acid, I overused it and damaged my skin barrier. Now I know better, so here’s what you need to know to not make the same mistake as me!

What’s the Difference Between AHA and BHA?

BHA is oil-soluble and can penetrate through pores and decongested dead skin and oil that may be stuck there, whereas AHA cannot as it is water-soluble. AHA works on the surface of the skin by removing dead skin and revealing new skin, while BHA works on a deeper level by decongesting clogged pores.

What Does Salicylic Acid Do?

Salicylic acid breaks down the bonds between skin cells that act like glue holding the skin together. It can also dissolve skin debris that clogs pores. Some of its pros and cons include:

Pros

  • It has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  • It effectively treats blackheads and whiteheads. 
  • It exfoliates surfaces and inside pores.
  • It reduces excessive oiliness.

Cons

  • Overuse can cause sensitivity and skin dryness.
  • It could cause a burning or stinging sensation.
  • It could lead to dry or flaky skin.

How Should You Use Salicylic Acid?

I recommend ignoring what the label says and using salicylic acid as needed because when it comes to skin, one size does not fit all. Some products recommend using it daily in the morning and at night, which can work great for certain skin types, but it can be too irritating for others and may sensitise the skin. 

I would recommend incorporating the acid into your routine two to three evenings a week, and then building it up gradually. If it is a cleanser-based salicylic acid, start by using it in the morning. And if it is a cream or oil-based cleanser, start by using it in the evening. You could even begin with a salicylic cleanser and slowly introduce salicylic serum as and when you need it. In the case of salicylic acid serums, you can use it as a spot treatment in areas where it’s necessary, such as for blackheads or whiteheads.

However, if you have acne or cystic acne, benzoyl peroxide may be a better alternative for you as it is more anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, though ongoing use can cause ageing and damage to the skin, so make sure you consult a professional aesthetician or dermatologist. As always, make sure to use sunscreen, and avoid using it on the same day as when you’re applying retinol. Salicylic acid is also a salicylate, which is part of the aspirin family, so you should avoid it if you have any allergies to aspirin.

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Cleansers

SA Smoothing Cleanser, Cerave

SA Smoothing Cleanser, Cerave

This cleanser by Cerave effectively exfoliates and and promotes radiance. Its key ingredients include salicylic acid, ceramides, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and vitamin D. It can improve skin texture, reduce oiliness and blackheads, and smoothen and hydrate your skin. I love that it doesn’t make your skin feel tight or stripped of its natural oils

Tip: If you don’t usually use a foam cleanser, alternate with a cream-, oil-, or, balm-based cleanser until you get used to it. 

Skinceuticals Blemish + Age Cleansing Gel

Blemish + Age Cleanser, Skinceuticals 

This cleanser by Skinceuticals can help prime your skin prior to professional in-clinic skin rejuvenating treatments. It can remove excess oil, accelerate skin surface exfoliation, smooth irregularities, and brighten the skin. Its key ingredients include glycolic and salicylic acid.

Tip: If you lather this up and leave it on for five minutes whilst in the bath or shower, it also acts as a mini exfoliating mask.

Serums

Skinceuticals Blemish and Age Defence

Blemish + Age Defense, Skinceuticals

This oil-free face serum reduces the formation of acne and clogged pores, while improving the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone. Its key ingredients include 2% dioic acid with an alpha- and beta-hydroxy acid formulation. It does tingle when applied on your skin, which is to be expected. You can spot-treat areas with it, whether it’s breakouts or blackheads, but it will cause drying and flaking if used in excess.

Tip: Follow this serum with a moisturiser with ceramides to lock in the moisture and avoid crusting when applied to breakouts.

Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, Paula’s Choice

This is a great product if you’re unsure at first as it comes in two different sizes. It can improve redness, breakouts, blackheads, and enlarged pores while exfoliating dead skin cells, smoothing wrinkles, and evening out the skin tone – all while being gentle enough for sensitive skin with the perfect 2% of salicylic acid (the maximum for at-home use). It also contains green tea, which can do wonders for your skin. 

Tip: Don’t use this on cotton pads as it wastes the product, while also making it more abrasive. It’s best to gently tap it in with your fingers. 

Liquid Exfoliant Pads

Zo Skin Health Complexion Renewal Pads

Complexion Renewal Pads, Zo Skin Health 

These pads act as dual-action exfoliators that remove dead skin cells to prevent clogged pores and reduce oiliness. Additionally, it can also calm and soothe irritated or inflamed skin, and provide a clearer complexion. Its key ingredients include glycolic acid and 2% salicylic acid. I love that this product is made for us lazy girls as it’s so easy to use. Initially, I wouldn’t use these twice a day (as stated) as it could be too much for your skin, so start by using it two to three times a week, and take it from there.

Tip: These come in a pack of 60 and are pricey, but you can cut them in half and double your use. If you’re using them every few days, they will last about three months. Another hack: tip the tub upside down occasionally so that the serum is fully absorbed into the pad. The pads do actually come with a lot of serum, but you can sometimes squeeze them a little so that when you’re done, you have some extra serum to use at the bottom of the container.

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How to Hydrate on Flights

High and Dry: How to Hydrate on Your Next Flight

Step off your flight looking fresh for a change.

With a five-day Eid break on the horizon, it’s time to address a very specific aspect of self-care. We all know that flying takes its toll on the skin, and you tend to feel and look tired by the time you reach your destination. This is due to dehydration caused by low humidity plus all that nasty, recycled, pressurised air inside the cabin. The result? Dullness, fine lines, and even increased oil production, all of which will exacerbate acne-prone skin. However, not all hope is lost as you can reduce these effects by drinking more water and having a specialised skincare regime whilst on board. Read on.

Stay Hydrated on Your Next Flight

But First, Water

You should aim to drink at least 250ml per hour when on your flight. Airlines tend to serve water in those tiny 150ml cartons, sometimes only twice on a seven-hour flight – and that’s just not enough. My tip is to purchase a 750ml bottle at the airport before you fly and then ask the cabin crew to fill it up for you throughout the flight. 

Think Skin Refreshments

There are four great products to refresh the feel and look of your skin while you fly, and all of them can be used over makeup if you don’t like to fly barefaced. Even better? You can purchase these from Dubai Duty Free before you fly to save extra pre-holiday shopping. 

  1. Apply the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask during the second half of your flight. Leave on for 10 minutes to hydrate your undereye area and plump any fine lines.
  2. The Lip Balm by La Mer nourishes your lips whilst protecting against further damage while you fly. Use whenever your lips start to feel dry.
  3. The Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer patted under the eyes, over the residue from the eye mask, will brighten any dark circles caused not only by dehydration, but also the early mornings and lack of sleep when travelling. 
  4. An hourly spritz of MAC Cosmetics Fix+ not only feels amazing, but also gives an instant boost of vitamins and minerals to refresh tired skin.

Watch the Video: The Skincare Products in Action

Concentrated Recovery Eye Mask, ESTÉE LAUDER

The Lip Balm, LA MER

Double Wear Stay-in-Place Concealer, ESTÉE LAUDER

Prep + Prime Fix+, MAC 

Have a safe flight!

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matcha powder

Looking to Detox from Top to Toe? Start Here

Detoxifying and purifying – this scrub does it all.

Detoxifying body scrubs are an often overlooked element when it comes to boosting our overall state of well-being, but we’re changing that today. A favourite of The Gaggler team? The Detoxifying and Purifying Matcha Body Scrub. Let’s start by exploring its key ingredient: matcha.

What Is Matcha?

Matcha is a powdered Japanese green tea produced from finely ground dried tea leaves. It has been a staple of traditional Japanese tea ceremonies for centuries, but it has recently gained popularity far and wide due to its health benefits. Matcha, like green tea, is derived from the Camellia sinensis plant. It is, however, cultivated differently and thus has a distinct nutrient profile. 

What Are Its Benefits? 

Matcha has several benefits ranging from high antioxidants (which can prevent cell damage) and boosting brain function to even promoting weight loss! But what about the benefits for your skin? Well, you’re in luck as this wonder powder is rich in chlorophyll (the green pigment found in plants), which can protect your skin from sun damage and its related ageing symptoms, like wrinkles. It can also shield your skin from toxins and chemicals in the environment that can clog your pores. 

Another important compound found in Matcha powder has antibacterial and antibiotic properties that are great for acne-prone skin. It also promotes smoother and more supple skin by rejuvenating skin cells and supporting skin structure. And that’s not all! Matcha has the incredible ability to reduce puffiness, skin inflammation, and dark undereye circles due to its high content of vitamin K, a vitamin that promotes better blood circulation.

Incidentally, people often interchange green tea and Matcha powder. The benefits of green tea include increased mental alertness, improved working memory, headache relief, promotion of weight loss, and digestive relief. Studies have shown that green tea can have several benefits for your skin – fighting free radicals and calming redness included. And while both green tea and Matcha powder have similar health benefits, the latter has 10 times the potency because of the unique processing method used in pulverising the entire tea leaf.

Watch the Video: How to Make Matcha Body Scrub

Below, we’ve rounded up the ingredients you’ll need for this Matcha Body Scrub:

Sea Salt

 Earth Goods

Coarse Sea Salt, Earth Goods

Matcha Tea Powder

matcha powder

Organic Matcha Green Tea Powder, California Gold Nutrition 

Honey

American Harvest

Pure & Natural Honey, American Harvest

Coconut Oil

Earth's Finest

Virgin Coconut Oil, Earth’s Finest

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Handcraft Blends

Lemongrass Essential Oil, Handcraft Blends

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Vitamin C Benefits for the Skin

Yes, This Skincare Ingredient Can Change Your Life

All hail vitamin C!

Vitamin C is the science-backed and expert-approved underdog of the skincare world. There are several benefits to adding this potent ingredient to your skincare routine, but for a first-time user, the sheer number of products, formulations, and instructions can be daunting – but it doesn’t have to be that way! Vitamin C isn’t as complex as it seems. Here’s why. 

What Is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant known as Ascorbic Acid or L-Ascorbic Acid. It helps protect your cells against free radical damage which, in short, are unstable molecules that cause damage to cells resulting in premature ageing, dark spots, breakouts, and wrinkles. Vitamin C is one of the best studied ingredients in skincare and it’s so celebrated that it even has its own dedicated day – Vitamin C Day is marked annually on April 4th! 

Before I go into the benefits of vitamin C, I want you to understand that although it does have incredible benefits, it’s not a quick-fix product. In fact, it can take up to 12 weeks to see visible differences. Think of vitamin C as a product to prevent skin damage and protect your cells like an armour. Another important thing to remember is that not all vitamin C serums are created equal, and formula and clinical studies matter. 

The Benefits of Vitamin C for Skin

When Vitamin C is paired with vitamin E and ferulic acid, it can enhance the product enormously. But this may be hard to find as the vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid combination is actually patented by Dr. Sheldon Pinell (the founding scientist and chief medical advisor of SkinCeuticals), who was the first to discover how effective this combination was through years of research and clinical studies. He currently has 10 patents on his products.

What Does Vitamin C Actually Do?

In a nutshell, it can have the following functions.

Vitamin C prevents:

  • Free radical damage
  • Skin sagging
  • Loss of firmness
  • Sun damage

Vitamin C encourages:

  • Collagen and elastin formation
  • Wound healing

Vitamin C reduces: 

  • Pigment production
  • Redness
  • Scarring

Vitamin C improves:

  • Skin tone and texture
  • Photodamage
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Skin’s natural regeneration process
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Radiance

Is It a Must in My Routine?  

In my opinion, yes! You wouldn’t go to war without armour, so why stop now? Vitamin C helps in protecting yourself and preventing damage. It works in perfect synergy with sunscreen for even further protection, though there are some differences in opinion. If you want to protect your skin from any of the above issues, it can be achieved by using other ingredients, too. However, as mentioned before, vitamin C is still a highly acclaimed ingredient in skincare – not without reason!

Does Price Matter?

When it comes to skincare, you can always find a bigger price tag, but does it actually make a difference? Not necessarily. 

 Vitamin C Benefits

The costs of such products could stem from a variety of things ranging from rare ingredients, concentration, potency, and clinical studies to marketing and packaging. So, a more expensive product does not always mean a better product. When looking for skincare products, consider available clinical studies, potency of ingredients, and formula. 

How and When Should I Use Vitamin C?

Use it first thing in the morning, after cleansing, and follow up with sunscreen. Sunscreen works in synergy with your vitamin C serum and improves UVA and UVB protection. One application of three to four drops on the face and neck will last you 24-72 hours without needing to reapply, depending on the product. Some brands may direct you to use the product in the evening, but that really depends on the ingredients. For instance, if it contains resveratrol, it may be a repairing antioxidant that can be applied in the evening, but as a rule, most vitamin C serums should be used in the morning to give you better protection when paired with your sunscreen.

Vitamin C in Forms Besides Serum – Yay or Nay?

In short, the type of vitamin C product you use comes down to your preference, budget, and time, but each form has its own pros and cons. 

Powder Form

Pros

  • Longer shelf life 
  • The most stable form
  • Relatively cheap

Cons 

  • Messy 
  • You must be careful with how much you apply – too little is not effective, too much can be irritating 
  • You must dissolve it into a serum with the correct pH level, something that most people are unlikely to do
  • Could be unsuitable for sensitive skin

Oil and Silicone Form

To identify these products, look at the texture – is it oily or does it have a silicone feel, unlike water?

Pros

  • More stable than water-based serums as oils and silicones are protected from water, oxygen, and light in this form. Hence, it lasts longer and can safely be stored for a long period of time

Cons

  • The texture is an acquired taste and can be slimy and gritty
  • Those with oily skin may not like this form as they won’t like the feeling of oil or product on their skin

Serum Form

This will have a water-based consistency.

Pros

  • Absorbs quicker
  • Easy to use 
  • Good texture

Cons

  • Shelf life isn’t as good as the other forms
  • Some people can be put off by the scent of water-based vitamin C – it’s commonly thought to smell like coffee or hotdog water

Why Does My Skin Tingle When I Use Vitamin C? 

This can happen for several reasons.

  • The potency may be too strong
  • Incorrect pH level
  • If you’re using the powder form, you may have used too much that, again, increases potency and causes it to become unstable
  • Skin sensitivity – try using a lower percentage (around 10%)
  • Rosacea – if you suffer from rosacea, start with a lower percentage (around 10%)

How Should It Be Stored?

Store it in a cool, dark place. You’ll find that some vitamin C serums come in brown, blue, or green glass bottles to protect the serum from breaking down due to light and heat exposure. If this happens, you’ll notice the serum becoming darker.

Vitamin C Product

Vitamin C serums should be almost colourless or very light in colour. Once the serum degrades, it changes colour to yellow, orange, dark orange, and then brown. The darker the colour, the less effective the product will be. If your vitamin C serum becomes dark quickly, the formula may not necessarily be that great or it may have expired.

Can I Use Other Acids/Products Alongside Vitamin C? 

Benzoyl peroxide is known to oxidise vitamin C, so avoid using this at the same time as it can make your vitamin C less effective. But aside from that, yes, you can use other acids and retinols or retinoids. Just use them in the evening as it may otherwise cause irritation.

Are Vitamin C Products with a High Percentage Better?  

The maximum L-Ascorbic acid you can use is 20%. After that, it doesn’t do much more than lower percentages. High percentages can actually be irritating, so they aren’t always recommended. 10-15% is optimal.

Woman shopping for skincare products.

With So Many Vitamin C Products Available, How Do I Choose One?

When trying to find the perfect vitamin C product, consider the following.

L-Ascorbic Acid

Always look for this type of vitamin C as it is the gold standard. It must have a concentration between 10% and 20% (less isn’t effective, more is unnecessary).

Formula

For better efficacy, find a formula that also contains vitamin E and ferulic acid. If you have acne or breakout-prone skin, I advise against getting vitamin E and try to shop for an alternative.

Packaging

Buy products with dark or tinted glass, or airtight packaging. 

Formulation 

As discussed before, each formulation has its own pros and cons, so pick based on your preference.

pH of 3.5 

A pH of 3.5 allows for optimal absorption. Also, be sure to avoid products with unnecessary ingredients, fragrance, low potency, and no clinical studies. Personally, I recommend SkinCeuticals antioxidant serums as they remain universally unmatched. If you have the budget, go for it!

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Lady choosing hair color

Hair Colour 101: What to Know Before Taking the Plunge

Change your hair colour, change your life!

Colouring your hair can either be really exciting or really scary, depending on how brave you are. Whether you want to go natural or stand out in a crowd, here’s your guide to getting the colour you want – and to keep it.

Getting a Consultation

If you decide to go to a salon, consultation is the key to getting the colour you’re looking for. Give as much information to your colourist as you can about your lifestyle and hair routine so that they can advise you correctly. This is also your time to ask questions. Ask what the cost will be, what kind of maintenance you will require, when to book your next appointment, and so on.

Do Your Research Beforehand

Today, the world is at your fingertips, so be sure to do your homework before your appointment. I love it when a client comes in with reference images as it helps me to get an idea of what she wants. Generally, five photos are enough. Photos of models can be great, too, but it can also lead to high expectations that may not be achievable in one visit. Ideally, your colourist should give you a realistic option on how to achieve your hair goal.

Hair Colour 101

Prepare Your Hair

One common myth I’ve heard is that dirty hair grabs hair colour better. This is simply not true! It’s best to wash your hair one to two days before your appointment. Light, natural oils will help prevent your scalp from feeling itchy or too tingly when colour touches it. You should also prepare your hair by doing a treatment – like the mariadowling Hair & Scalp Detox treatment – as this will gently cleanse your hair of overloaded products or just everyday dust and dirt, thereby creating a better colour result.

To DIY or Not

As a colourist, I wouldn’t recommend tinting your own hair at home, but if you do decide to take the plunge, here are a few tips to remember.

  • When choosing your colour, pick a shade lighter than what you’re looking for. Be very careful as overlapping colour can lead to your hair becoming darker than the chosen colour.
  • Wear disposable gloves to protect your hands.
  • Before you get started, apply Vaseline on the skin around your forehead, ears, and the back of your neck to protect it from getting stained by the hair dye. Do not get the Vaseline on your hair as it can act as a barrier to the tint.
  • If your scalp is sensitive, you can add in some Sweet’n Low to the tint before applying.
  • Don’t wear your favourite clothes as it can get messy when dying your hair at home.
  • If you’re doing fashion colours like blues, green, or reds, be careful with the first few washes as the colour can continue to come out. So, use dark-coloured towels and pillowcases.
  • Finally, I don’t recommend using hair bleach at home as this can easily go wrong with very bad consequences. 

Getting the Right Products 

If you’re investing in your colour, invest in keeping your colour looking as gorgeous as it can be! Use a shampoo and conditioner that’s meant for coloured hair. This combo will ensure hydration and longevity of your colour. As a hair colourist, I also recommend the Olaplex range for making the hair stronger. This makes your hairdresser’s life easier when colouring as the hair’s condition will be better, and the colour will last longer.

Colouring your hair

The Pulling-Out-Grey-Hair Myth

I believe this is an important myth to bust when talking about hair colour. Plucking a grey hair will only get you a new grey hair in its place because only one hair can grow per follicle. Your surrounding hairs will also not turn grey until their own follicles’ pigment cells die.

Permanent or Semi-Permanent Colour?  

The main difference between semi-permanent and permanent hair colour is how long it lasts. Another major factor that differentiates them is that semi-permanent hair tint does not include any ammonia or peroxide, unlike permanent hair dye. In general, tints are now a lot kinder to the hair than they were before. 

Does Colouring Your Hair Damage It?

The answer is both yes and no. Colours can be quite drastic these days (like dark hair going light platinum). This can be damaging as you are pulling out colour from the hair with bleach whilst lifting – and you simply can’t avoid bleach to achieve the end result you need either. But as I said, by using Olaplex, we can achieve more than we ever could before whilst keeping the hair in good condition. At the end of the day, the extent of damage just depends on how natural or dramatic you want the result to be.

Hair Colour and the Sun 

Like your skin needing protective sun products, your hair needs to be protected, too. If you live in a place with a hot climate, like Dubai, you will need to keep your hair covered or use the Kerastase sun range – even while walking around as the sun is so intense that it will lift out your colour very quickly. If you have long hair, I recommend wearing it in a top knot with all the ends tucked in.

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Woman relaxing her hairs by the sea

Damage Control: The ‘Queen of Colour’ on Maintaining Healthy Hair

Spare your hair from further wear and tear!

Our hair goes through so much each day – from heat damage and the wrong products to a poor diet that does little to nourish it. But help is here. Here are 10 everyday tips to maintain healthy hair all the time. Yes, it may mean changing your routine a little, but the difference in your hair will speak volumes.

1. Detangle Your Hair When Wet with Conditioner 

When you’re in the shower, apply your conditioner and comb your hair while the conditioner is on to remove any tangles. It’s much easier to detangle at this point than when your hair is dry. 

2. Use a Cotton Towel to Dry Hair

Use a cotton towel or T-shirt instead of a normal towel to dry your hair as it won’t rough up the hair cuticles as much. Avoid harsh rubbing – just pat dry the hair so that you don’t have to work as hard to smooth the hair and make it look healthy.

3. Slow Down When Detangling 

Always start by detangling any clumps or big knots with your fingertips. Next, gently use a wide tooth comb or a Tangle Teezer brush on the lower portion of your hair to detangle all the knots towards the ends of your locks. Once this is done, gently brush downwards from the roots.

4. Massage Your Scalp Every Day

I believe in head massages. Massages are known to improve the blood flow and health of the scalp, so try and massage your scalp every day for a few minutes, even if it’s just while you’re watching TV. Use the tips of your fingers, not your fingernails, and make circular motions across your scalp. Massaging the scalp – which can be done in conjunction with hair oils and masks – stimulates the scalp and can help improve hair thickness.

5. Take in Nutrients That Benefit Your Hair

Nutrients That Benefit Your Hair

Food is the best source of the vitamins you need for hair growth. Here are some ways of getting the nutrients you need through food.

  • Protein: Eggs, almonds, milk, Greek yoghurt, beef, and broccoli
  • Vitamin B12: Whole grains, almonds, meat, seafood, dark leafy greens
  • Iron: Clams, oysters, eggs, red meat, spinach, and lentils
  • Vitamin E: Sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, peanuts, peanut butter, spinach, and pumpkin
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: Nuts, seeds, oily fish, and leafy green vegetables

However, if you fail to get enough of these nutrients in your diet, supplements may be helpful. According to research, supplements work best in individuals who are already deficient. One supplement that’s especially good at getting good results for your hair is Viviscal

6. What You Take in Is Reflected in Your Hair 

What we eat as food comes out through our skin, while tablets come out through our scalp. If you take tablets – even an aspirin – it will affect your hair and scalp. Notice that when you’re unwell, your hair suddenly won’t feel good, possibly even lifeless and flat. To counteract this, use a detox clay like the mariadowling Detox Clay to get your hair feeling full of life again.

7. Use Products for Colour-Treated Hair

Olaplex

If you colour your hair, you should be using products that are made to protect it. The Olaplex line features products that repair and strengthen every strand of hair from the inside out. The vegan, cruelty-free formula actually strengthens the bonds in your hair, and I’ve seen amazing results with clients who use it. Olaplex No1 and No2 is applied in the salon as a salon treatment, and you can continue it at home with number No0 and No3. 

8. Find a Supportive Colourist

It’s good to find a colourist who is concerned about the condition of your hair when colouring, as they will know where to apply colour and avoid overlapping and other mistakes. If you change your colourist every time, this can lead to many different hair colour changes and possible mistakes that’ll need to be corrected.

9. Use a Leave-In Conditioner Before Styling

I always recommend using a leave-in conditioner before heat styling. Even though you’ll be using a leave-in conditioner, you must still use a conditioner after you’ve rinsed off your shampoo, then towel-dry and apply the leave-in conditioner. It’s always good to start with less until you know how much to apply. I recommend the Kerastase range, which includes leave-in thermique products that activate when in contact with heat styling tools.

10. Use a Silk Pillowcase

Treat yourself to a silk pillowcase as its smooth texture lets hair glide over it without any friction, which means you’re less likely to have frizzy hair when you wake up.

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Woman applying red lipstick

Red Pout 101: How to Find and Apply Your Perfect Match

Just in time for Valentine’s Day.

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the colour on our minds is red! Whether you have a date night planned or are celebrating your female friendships, a red lipstick is never the wrong choice – despite the challenge of choosing the right one. Rule #1? There are no rules. However, if you do need a little help, read on.

Choosing the Right Red

This is where many people don’t know where to begin. Should you go maroon, berry, or cherry red? Should you go light or dark? There are a few simple tips you can follow. Your skin tone is decided by whether you have a cool or warm complexion. For paler skin tones, note whether your skin has more of a pink undertone (cool) or an olive tone (warm).

For darker skins, determine if you have a golden undertone (warm) or more of a reddish/purple undertone (cool). A darker skin tone can definitely carry off much deeper shades, but if you have paler skin and want to be a little more daring, it’s always worth a try too. You never know, it might be your perfect shade! Once you have worked out your skin tone, refer to our product picks to find the shade right for you.

Cool Tones

Blue-based lipsticks suit those with cool tones. This MAC pick is perfect if you’re aiming for retro vibes.

Retro Matte Lipstick in Ruby Woo, MAC COSMETICS

Prefer red-carpet feels? Charlotte Tilbury has just the shade.

Matte Revolution Lipstick – Red Carpet Red, CHARLOTTE TILBURY

If you’re new to wearing reds and unsure of too much colour, why not try a gloss instead?

Ultra Shine Lip Gloss in Glossy Cherry, SEPHORA

Warm Tones

People with warmer skin tones should opt for reds with more of an orange base. This one by Estée Lauder is our favourite for a fresh look. 

Pure Colour Envy in Impassioned, ESTÉE LAUDER

We love a lipstick worth flaunting in public. Case in point: this pick from Tom Ford Beauty.

Lip Color in Wild Ginger, TOM FORD BEAUTY

And again, if you’re not quite ready for red lipstick, this gloss is perfect for warm skin tones.

Crushed Oil-Infused Gloss in Hot Streak, BOBBI BROWN

Applying the Perfect Red

There are four main steps to ensure your lips look full and even, with your lipstick staying on for longer:

  1. Apply a lip primer, such as the MAC Prep + Prime Lip, all over the lips including over the lip line. This has so many benefits: conditioning the lip, creating a perfect base for lipstick to glide on (especially a dryer matte lipstick), helping the colour last longer, and preventing lipstick bleeding into fine lines around the lips.
  2. Apply lip liner in a colour close to the chosen lipstick. MAC does a great range of different lip liners to suit many shades. Line the lips and then colour in the lip slightly, too – this will also prolong the life of your lip colour.
  3. Apply the lipstick you have chosen using the above tips.
  4. Using your favourite concealer and a fine brush, tidy up any smudges or uneven lines to really perfect the shape. This will help make the lips look fuller, too.

Watch: How to Apply Red Lipstick

Don’t forget that the beauty advisors at the likes of Sephora are experts and will happily let you try different colours to find your right shade and finish, so use their knowledge! MAC, Estée Lauder, and many other brands also have a virtual try-on function on their websites so you can try before you buy online.

Other Red Pout Essentials

Prep + Prime Lip, MAC COSMETICS

Lip Pencil in Brick, MAC COSMETICS

Double Wear Stay-in-Place Concealer, ESTÉE LAUDER

For more makeup tips, follow @daniellejamesmakeup on Instagram.

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