lil-bee: the randomizer

Skin Care Routine - Dry Patches / Mild Eczema; Acne; Hyper pigmentation & Uneven Skin Tone
Saturday, December 15, 2012 | 5:11 am | Comment ⇢
Sorry for the most boring post title I have done ever but I thought let me make it relatively straight forward for someone if they have the same problems and want to Google for solutions. This is a long email I sent my friend because she asked me to recommend a face wash for her acne prone skin. These are things I'm currently using (hopefully I'll cover things I've used in the past that have helped in a post in the future) and they've really helped me go closer to the great skin I had before university happened and violated my face with spots and stress-triggered dry patches (I've got mild eczema i.e seborrheic dermatitis) and they've worked in a short amount of time. I haven't done a post in a while and I already had this done up so decided to post it up as is. Might change it to be more clear in the future. If you are facing any of the post-title-mentioned problems, this post might be for you :) 

Okay, let me start off with a brief about my skin! I've got very dry skin, with some patches of mild eczema, uneven skin tone that gets easily marked. I don't get a lot of acne Alhamdullilah but unfortunately they all cluster in the same place and I always get hyperpigmentation (dark spots / marks) so it looks really shit like a cluster fudge of acne. So below are the products I use which work for me - I'm mainly fighting with the marks left over from old spots and keeping my dry patches at bay / skin moisturised.  Everyone is different so there products might not work for you .. always google the product name with the terms 'review blog' (I always do this) and check out different blogs and what they gotta say .. and shop around cos products are usually cheaper online and once you find a vendor, you can always look for voucher codes to make it cheaper! 

Anyhoo so first up lets start with cleansing. We cleanse our face waaay too much, and this will catch up to us when we're old! Its best to cleanse your face once a day, usually at night so all the make up and grime is off and just wash with water in the morning .. helps keep dryness at bay! I have bare cleansers in the bathroom but I mostly rotate through three KINDS of cleansers - oil cleanser, cream cleanser and a very light foaming low soap cleanser. I use the oil cleanser pretty much every day, its amazing massaging it in and it takes make up off really quickly! I personally am now using Etat Pur's oil cleanser, you should check them out because they do some really good French skin care and the first order at least is cheap cos of free shipping and free samples! Anyway, you can even make your own oil cleanser, Google it because its really good! You can also check out this video about it :) -> .. the other cleanser I use like maybe once a week or when I feel like I need to exfoliate is a cream cleanser. I've tried different ones and they are all good, but specifically, I've heard AMAZING things about Liz Earle's Hot Cloth Cleanser. Speaking of that, muslin clothes are so awesome. I've stopped using exfoliators because they are so bad for your skin, and use a muslin cloth to basically take off all my cleansers. You can find cheap muslin cloths, just Google :) finally (but not the least), I use a foaming cleanser ONLY when I feel like I need extra clean skin. Usually oil cleansing twice and taking it off with a muslin cloth makes me feel clean enough so I don't usually need this as much :) for recommendations, I'm currently using Purity by Philosophy .. but its not really important for me I guess. 

A REALLY good cleansing method is using an Enzyme cleanser or peel. Basically its like a cream cleanser but the enzyme helps exfoliate your dead skin without any pushing and pulling because sometimes a muslin cloth can make your skin sensitive as well. One of the ones I've heard of is the Tri-Surfacing one from Elemis. That being said, I've recently gotten some stuff from this Taiwanese beauty brand I've heard A LOT of good things about (seriously, Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese brands are super effective) called UNT that do some really good stuff for cheap so you might wanna check it out on their site and they've got some promotions atm as well :) and some really good oil cleansers too!

Most important thing is, don't over cleanse and also I think cleanser is least effective in tackling stuff like acne, etc. Because it doesn't stay in your face long enough to work (you are actually suppose to massage in the oil cleanser / cream / enzyme for around a minute and for enzyme anyway keep it on for a minute to work its magic) that kinda makes sense .. so I guess don't worry about it too much. A lot of acne specific stuff is very very harsh and ironically some of the ingredients might get rid of acne but make scarring worse because the ingredients like oxidise or something.

Moving on, after I wash my face, I always use whatever serums I'm using while my face is damp / wet-ish. This is because the skin is most receptive when your skin is wet so it absorbs quicker and gets in deeper. Gold star product for me is Avene Triacneal (it used to be called Diacneal if you wanna Google) which is a Retin-A like product with glycolic acid which helps clear marks and exfoliate skin. Its VERY effective at minimising pores, clearing up marks and drying up acne .. but the reason why is because it uses strong ingredients (but not necessarily harsh). I'm used to it so I use it almost every night, a pea size amount to my whole face while its slightly damp. Sometimes when I've got a spot or something, I'll put a tiny amount on the spot after using a pea size on my entire face. Because you haven't used these kind of products before, I'd suggest start off with once a week, before slowly working up to every other night / every night. For me personally, when I use Triacneal, I don't use anything else that night because it lowers how effective it is BUT if you want you can use it with other products. You gotta use it around 30 minutes or so after cleansing your face and using a light moisturiser just so you can ease into using the product  and don't use it on damp skin or its too effective! 

Other treatment kind of leave in products good for acne is the Effaclar Duo range from La-Roche Posay. I swear, Avene and La-Rocher Posay, both French brands, are like my skin care lovers. Their stuff is SO good, slightly more expensive but worth the price because they are so effective! These treatment things need to be used at night because they exfoliate skin and therefore make you more sensitive to the sun. Another great item, and the first one that introduced me to the world of glycolic acid (a really great AHA exfoliant) is Alpha-H's Liquid Gold. Check out amodelrecommends because its her top product. Its great but expensive .. and I feel like for me at least, I've got more stronger products (like the Avene) which do the same thing for cheaper. Anyway.

Like I said, I pretty much use Triacneal, and on its own, at night, every night BUT if I feel like my skin is peeling too much then I'll let it rest a while and not use it / layer up my face with 4 serums and a thick cream (not even exaggerating .. this is WHY people say they can't tell when I tell them I've got eczema). Thats the other thing, these chemical exfoliants are great because you aren't physically scratching at your skin like grainy exfoliators, but the bad thing is that they can be a bit too good at their job and cause peeling as your dead skin sheds itself .. they also penetrate the skin better than normal exfoliators. Its best to take it slow because you don't want to over exfoliate so you should start off slow. The peeling can get to some people, but this is where the muslin cloth and cleanser can some in handy and really get rid of the peeling dead skin. Another great and more gentle way is to use an enzyme cleanser.

On to .. moisturiser! This is my daytime routine after washing my face with water! I use a few treatment serums but obviously I have dry skin so I use thick moisturiser on top. You can have dry skin that gets acne, like me, and you can have oily skin as well, combination, dehydrated (which is different from dry), etc. But regardless, ALL skin needs some moisturisation. So on this department unfortunately I can't say much for your skin type but try and look at different beauty blogs for their advice :) I know the Effaclar range (which targets acne) do some moisturisers, cleansers, etc. In fact, I'd highly recommend checking out their site and looking at their products on the Escentual site which has the cheapest La-Roche and Avene stuff online (not counting the deals Boots sometimes runs).

The MOST important skin care item EVERYONE needs is sun cream. Every person, black, brown or white, needs to use SPF 30 or higher to protect against UVA and UBV. Sun makes our acne worse in terms of the scars and can cause hyperpigmentation because acne products are strong, they leave the skin more exfoliated and therefore more vulnerable to sun damage. This is so important to stop premature aging, hyperpigmentation and loads of other stuff! Any product you use, you won't fully reap the rewards unless you use SPF! Now not all SPFs are made equal, some have oxybenzone that can actually oxidise and make marks worse. Some sun creams I found that don't use this is Number 7's Anti-Dark Spot cream I think its called .. and also, the Anthelios range by La-Roche Posay. I always use around 40 - 50 SPF.

Finally, a really good product for amazing skin is Vitamin C serums. They are really effective and therefore really expensive but I use the C Clarity from the UNT Taiwanese brand and it makes your skin glow :D amazing stuff .. though you gotta be careful with Vit C because if it gets exposed, it can get bad and oxidise (it will change color from clear to like a dark color when that happens) and damage your skin. But otherwise, its amazing stuff!

Soooo in last remarks, for acne, I would recommend the treatments I mentioned before, more the Avene as its stronger .. though depending on your skin you might wanna start off with Effaclar Dua first. The range also do cleansers, etc. In terms of bare minimals, I'd say one needs a good cleanser to get rid of make up / creams, etc .. I would lean towards oil cleanser or an enzyme one if you want a two in one cleanser and exfoliator; then for night time I'd use Triacneal; day time a good Vit C serum and my creams. ALWAYS USE SUNCREAM. This is so so important, I can't stress this enough!

ALSO, Effaclar Duo / Triacneal / Enzyme WILL sting. It shouldn't do it much, but there is a tingle for like half a minute or so if you aren't used to the products. Take it slow, remember that skin goes through a purging before getting better so you probably will get spots .. don't freak out because its getting rid of all of that from your skin before making it better so give it around 6 weeks to work its magic but I'm telling you from personal experience, I've had Triacneal for a bit more than a week and I LOVE it! Avene also do some acne stuff called Cleanance I think, and they tend to be cheaper then La Roche Posay so you might want to check it out. Remember to Google reviews before buying products, and looking for discount vouchers!

For oil cleanser, enzyme exfoliator and Vit C serum, I would highly suggest you try UNT! They've got a buy 2 get 1 free promotion across their site atm so you can get a 150 ml oil cleanser, 100 ml enzyme cleanser and a 35 ml vit C for £32, free shipping and you can try a free 5 ml sample .. and if you google price of Vit C serums, they are really expensive (the pure ones) .. and UNT stuff is REALLY good stuff at amazing value so I would highly recommend it :D you can try out these products -> (oil cleanser),*CLARITY (vit C) and (exfoliator)

Finally, this is an important page to read about how to use Triacneal, as even though it isn't a straight up retinol (its much weaker), its good to use the same progress / be careful :)

Okay sorry for this huge essay but I hope it helps you! 

How to revert people to Islam, guaranteed!
Wednesday, December 05, 2012 | 10:28 pm | Comment ⇢
A few lectures I've heard shared the secret to getting more reverts under your belt and I'm going to share it with you ... can you handle it?

The BEST dawah to ensure maximum conversion rates .. ready?

Be the best Muslim you can be.

Its really that simple. MashAllah our Prophet SAW was not only a perfect Muslim, he was a perfect human being .. and you know what, being the best Muslim WILL make you the very best of humanity as you can be. Following Allah's commands and adhering to Islam is what makes us nice humans.

For example, we are told to be kind to Allah's creations (Muslims and non-Muslims alike ... remember the importance of being nice to neighbours!) .. the Prophet, despite being insulted and attacked, was always nice to the people who were against him. When you are naturally nice to people, they will be attracted to what makes you like that .. and its Islam that urges us to be like that. Your neighbours will think wow, those people are really nice and helpful. You might be the first real point of contact of Muslims that they might have after watching Muslims on the telly ... THINK ABOUT IT!

One of our commands ... more important than anything else, and one of the five pillars upholding Islam? CHARITY. How amazing is that? Not enough people know about this .. in fact few of my friends were shocked because unfortunately all they hear from Muslims themselves is hijab this and beard that, kafir this and kafir that. ZAKAT people .. of course we have many things which are fard (obligatory) but these are the top five man! Imagine all the Muslims in the world .. mashAllah, there are many of us. Now imagine some of the very rich Muslims oiled up with money (heheh .. you KNOW how I mean yo). Our religion makes it obligatory for us to pay Zakat if we own more than a certain amount of wealth. And if its obligatory, we owe a percentage of our wealth to those who are needy. Can you imagine what a difference that would make to the world, if all the Muslims did this?

Lowering our gaze and respecting the opposite gender as a human being instead of a piece of meat. Do you know how liberating that is? Its an amazing feeling, when I go past and people lower their heads as a form of respect because I'm wearing the hijab. It makes me feel safe and allows me to speak my mind without worrying about people looking at me and eyeing me up. Now do that for EVERYONE. Not just Muslims. Its a two way street .. we lower our gaze to protect ourselves AND others. Don't think I'm lowering my gaze because I am pious and she/he is a slut. Lower your gaze thinking that she/he is a human being, not to be reduced to nothing but the sexuality with which animals interact with other animals. People pick up on that holier than thou attitude you know ..

I mean I could go on and on about how the many rules of Islam make us who we are .. but you get the gist, I hope. When I heard the lecture, I realised just how true it is. Actions speak louder then words. When someone is nice, kind, generous ... POSITIVE, that attracts people. Humans are good at their basic level, of course we get corrupt in the course of our lives but stripped back to basics, good attracts good. They will want / try to be more like you .. and when Islam is what makes you good (which is the case for me personally anyway Alhamdullilah .. it really has helped me refine my character .. of course I'm not there yet, but one day inshAllah) .. they'll want in on it too :)

So want to up your experience points and get more reverts? Be the best Muslim .. and therefore the best human being you can be. And when people ask you why you are so nice ... you can tell them about the teachings of the Quran and the Prophet SAW .. just to share the goodness and with no ulterior motives .. and it will translate inshAllah :) 

Sleeping with Death
Tuesday, December 04, 2012 | 9:29 pm | Comment ⇢
A while back I found a mole near my armpit and totally freaked out thinking it was cancer. It was in an awkward position, wasn't too small, had a weird border, wasn't asymmetrical and was a weird colour .. basically it wasn't easily passing the ABCD of cancer moles.

Now a little fact about me .. though I'm slightly a hyperchondiac, I hate going to the doctors. I just dislike doctors in general (hi Nas) and try to stay away. Anyway, when I first discovered it, I totally freaked out and was convinced it was skin cancer to an extent that I was okay to go to the doctors on my own (my mum wasn't in the country) .. and seeing as I HATE going to the doctors, you know it was serious.

Anyway this is what happened: I initially freaked out, then I thought about facing my Lord and going to my grave and freaked out even more. Then I realised how short time is and began upping my imaan game and trying to be a better person. And then finally I thought, Alhamdullilah I went through this, hopefully its not too late to change, Allah does everything for a reason and inshAllah I will be fine either way.

Alhamdullilah, I finally got it checked (I wasn't able to get an appointment for ages) and the doctor said its nothing to be worried about. But the thought of dying really hit it home ... like we as Muslims KNOW we can die at anytime, we KNOW we need to face our Lord .. but its not till something like this happens that you truly understand the severity of it.

Life is short. Truly really short. Sometimes I wish I die early, so there is less time for me to sin and more of a chance to be blessed with Jannah inshAllah. Or die during the last day of Ramadan, or during Hajj. Man that would be AMAZING.

I've started listening to Islamic lectures on my iPod, and I think we actively need to surround ourselves with our deen because its very very easy to forget and slip back into the dunya. Like even me, going through what I went through, sometimes forget how precious time, every single second is.

Like, inshAllah Allah is all Merciful and if we repent, inshAllah He will forgive us .. but what about people? Hurting others, regardless of whether they are Muslim or not, is a major issue we will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement. Every penny owed, every soul hurt, even for a second, even without intending to .. they matter.

I was listening to this amazing talk and the guy was saying how he went through his life, listing everyone and how he had wronged them and going back and apologising, years later. And how for the people he couldn't find, he gave charity in their name and asked Allah for forgiveness. Because its a very serious deal, and sorting through this in this life will make the Day so much more easier .. to an extent of course.

Thinking back, I feel like it would be so much more easier being a social recluse and just avoiding contact with people because its really easy to cause hurt. The same guy was also saying how Allah swt extends His mercy to those who are merciful to others inshAllah .. and we have a lot of learn and practice.

Don't hurt people. No matter how 'bad' they've been to you, no matter how much they 'deserve' it ... be the bigger person. Its easier said then done .. but hopefully I can keep reminding myself of physically being in my grave and change life before death gets to me.

On that note, I know its insincere and I should do this person to person (I will for those whose contact details I have available soon inshAllah), but if I've ever hurt you in any way, please please please forgive me. I know sometimes I get annoyed, at a tweet or something, and I know I am horrible at replying back to emails .. and okay it might seem like no big deal, even that one second of hurt can come back to haunt me .. so yeah. I honestly am sorry for everything and I hope you can find it in your hearts to forget the hurt, if I've caused you any (regardless of whether I was aware of it or not).

And always remember, death is over us, all the time, every time. Five times a day, the Angel of Death asks Allah if our souls need to be taken. Our souls go back where they came from every night and it is through the mercy of Allah that we are allowed back .. so lets try and make use of it for the true end goal of life. 

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