My skincare regimen.

 Top tips for caring for my oily combination skin. 

I have always had oily acne prone skin. At least since I became a teenager. Since I had my kids, my skin has changed such that it's not only oil and acne I have to battle, but now dry patches of skin as well. Sigh. 
So I've been doing a bit of research on how to improve my skin condition. One of my aims for this year was to go for a facial every 6 weeks or so. Alas with a busy work schedule and trying to spend every spare moment with the kids, I just don't have time to go for facials. So the last time I had a facial was in April or so. 

So here are the basic things I've learnt

1) Never sleep in make up. Unfortunately, I've had to break this rule more than once due to sheer exhaustion. However, it's immediate obvious whenever I have slept in make up. Pimples start to pop up all over. Keep a pack of facial wipes for when you are too exhausted. 

2) have had very good experience using an oil balm to first dissolve the make up before washing it off. I highly recommend Clinique "take the day off" balm. 

You can also make your own cleansing balm, there are many tutorials on YouTube. 

3) Do not use a soapy/foamy face wash even if you have oily skin. These dry the skin excessively and don't really help the acne problem. Instead, use creamy cleansers. Thoroughly massage your cleanser on slightly pre wetted face and then take of with a face towel that had been soaked in warm to hot water. You will find that your pores open more to get the impurities out. 
I have used creamy cleaners from the body shop, Dawn Lorraine (in the cover photo of this post), Mary Kay etc. I used all may left over foaming or soapy facial washes for my body. 

4) Use a toner after cleansing your skin. In fact, use two toners: a moisturizing and an exfoliating toner. You can also alternate with the moisturizing toner in the morning and exfoliating toner  at night or vice versa. The "lotion P50" from Biologique Recherch√© is one I can recommend. Clarins Duox exfoliant is also a good one, albeit slightly irritating for my skin. 

5) Use facial masks at least once or twice a week. In addition to clay masks, I recently discovered yeast masks. 
Masque Vivant from Biologique Recherch√© seems to be a cult favorite. I have tried it twice this week as recommended for acne prone skin: mixed with a bit of water and baking soda. I am surprised at how open my pores are. 

6) At least once a week, use a moisturizing mask, or start using night creams designed to infuse moisture into your skin, especially as you approach your forties. 

7) Cleanse your makeup tools regularly, especially your foundation brush, otherwise you are only incubating bacteria to recolonize your skin. 

8) Let your skin breathe every opportunity you get. For me, that means staying make up free when I'm at home. As I work half a week from home office, that helps a lot. 

9) Last but not least, sleep well and at least 7 hours daily. Sleep is the best facial. Still working on this last tip myself ;)

I hope these skin care tips were useful. Comment below and share your own tips.

Copyright: Tolu Lush

How to pack for business travels

I have been a regular business traveller for 3 years now. While traveling for work was something I thought was exciting when I didn't have much business travel, I must admit the excitement wears off pretty quickly. Nights in hotel beds is overrated and it's rare to get the opportunity to actually see much of whatever city I'm visiting. 
Anyway, this post is not about the pros and cons of business travel, but about some tips for packing for business travel. 

1) Being a mum of fairly young kids, I want to get fairly in and out, which means that for short trips, I almost always stick to hand luggage.
 Waiting for luggage can cost you precious time, especially if you have a connecting train. 

2) if you are going on a long trip and need to check in your luggage, make sure you carry some essentials in your hand luggage. A couple of years ago, some female colleagues had to attend a Monday morning meeting in their trainers and comfy clothes ( which were not even close to business casual :) because the airline lost their luggage between London and Amsterdam. It took so long to get their luggage that they had to do some clothes shopping. 

3)most hotel chains have good basic toiletries, so most times you only need to take the barest minimum with you. My facial care products, deodorant, toothpaste and brush and make up. I also carry a dense cream or Shea butter in a small repurposed Vaseline tin because I have dry skin and most hotel creams are light. 

4) even if you will be wearing heels for the office, always pack a pair of flats. You never know if you might have to walk a lot. If possible, travel in flats because God  forbid, if there is an emergency, your heels might hinder you. 

5) You can either hand wash your tops or use the hotel laundry service, so you don't need to pack too many items of clothing. 

6) invest in a small card holder for the minimum number of cards you will need on your trip. Always have some cash on hand, you never know where you will need an out of pocket expense. 

6) even if it's an easy going trip, always have a blazer or jacket with you. You can dress it up or down, but it will help you look polished. 

7)always carry a tampon or sanitary towel in your luggage. I am so busy I often don't realize it's that time of the month. I have had cases when Aunt Flo decided to visit when I was away from home. Get some diaper disposal bags for used sanitary products. They usually smell so nice. 
8) always have some hairpins handy. You never know when you might have a bad hair day. For the same reason, also have a small tub of hair gel. 

9) I always take some teabags with me. I love to drink tea. 

10) a silk scarf can be used for many things. I always pack my favorite blue silk scarf when traveling. 

11) fold a cloth or plastic bag and keep it in your luggage. You might need those for dirty clothes. 

12) rather than carry books, you should download an e-reader and buy Ebooks. That will help you save space in your luggage. 

13)if possible, get your boarding passes and any tickets via mobile apps. This saves you lugging papers around or losing your ticket. Some apps I use are passbook, DB navigator, my taxi etc. 

14)since you will be using your mobile a lot, get yourself a power bank. Or at least make sure your phone is fully charged before setting off. 

15) also on the issue of electronics, get yourself a travel charger for your laptop. They are slimmer, can be dismantled for easier packing and the one I have also has a usb connection so I can charge my phone and other devices on it. 

16) where possible, book your trips via your company authorized travel agencies. If, God forbid, something happens on your trip, it would make it easier to trace you. Also, it helps establish who you are. I recently forgot my wallet with my IDs and credit cards in my car at the airport in another city, but I had no problem checking into my hotel, because I had done the booking properly and I could even check out without my card as the number was given in manually and I signed off. 

I will be updating this post regularly should other tips occur to me. Cheers. 

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