Understanding the skin

vkatz skin

Why is it important to understand the skin? Well, if you know and understand how  it works and functions , chances are that you will know how to take care of your skin. This blog will give you a brief overview of the skin, as well as its structure and how it functions.

Did you know that the skin is the largest organ in the body?

The skin has two layers

  • The epidermis which is the layer that you can see. The outer most cells on this layer are constantly shedding to reveal the newer layer. There is no blood supply to the epidermis.
  • The dermis is the layer found beneath the epidermis. This layer is connected to blood supply. The dermis is the layer where you will find sweat and sebaceous glands. One of the key characteristics of the dermis is that the dermis contains all the specialised cells. These specialised cells are responsible for collagen production, histamine production as well as white blood cells that fight infection.

The epidermis is further divided into five layers

  1. Stratum corneum which is the surface layer. This is where the dead cells are found. This layer is constantly shedding.
  2. Stratum Lucidum is the clear layer.
  3. Stratum granulosum is the granular layer. This layer contains granules that are visible in healing tissue after trauma.
  4. Stratum Spinosum is the prickle cell layer.
  5. Stratum Germinativum which is also known as the basal layer. This layer contains living cells. These living cells take around 28 days to move up all the layers before being shed. It is also important to know that this layer also contains melanin. Melanin is what gives your skin colour.



What are the functions of the skin ?

  • Secretion
  • Heat regulation, that is the cooling and warming of the skin
  • Absorption
  • Protection
  • Elimination of waste products
  • Sensation
  • Vitamin D production
  • Melanin production

How can you protect your skin?

  • Limit the time you spend in the sun. The sun can cause many skin damages, age spots, wrinkles, freckles and  discoloration to name a few. If you are on holiday seek places that have shade.
  • If you are a smoker, its about time that you think about quiting. Smoking damages the collagen and elastin fibres in your skin. These are important for keeping your skin looking firm and youthful. As a result of the damage you will find that your skin will start wrinkling.
  • Limit your time in the bath as well as shaving. Excessively done, these can eventually take a toll on your skin. Dry skin can easily become a problem therefore it is important to moisturise your skin regularly.
  • Eating healthy foods will also promote healthy looking skin. Diets rich in fatty fish oils are excellent. Don’t forget to eat your daily requirements of fruits and vegetables and hydrate.
  • Stress has been killer for years, it has the same effect on the skin. Stress can cause skin problems such as sensitivity and acne. It is important to manage stress levels and ensure that you get enough sleep.


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Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy Long wear nail enamel




This nail enamel is a two step nail system that provides brilliant colour, gel shine and long lasting wear. The Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Long Wear nail enamel combines base coat and color in one.


  • What I loved about this nail polish is that it was simple to use, I did not need many products.
  • Although it is a gel, there is no need for a UV lamp.
  • There are 30 easy to remove shades.
  • The product is easily removed with nail polish remover or non acetone making a home manicure or pedicure an absolute breeze.
  • It is so quick and easy that I was able to match my nails with all my outfits.


After using this product for 2 months, I can honestly say that there was nothing I disliked about the product. Its was easy to apply and remove without spending hours at the parlour. And most importantly, it did not damage my nails.



I have always visited my local nail salon religiously for as long as I can remember. And as the years past, the condition of my nail slowly deteriorated due to the constant buffing and reapplication of acrylic. And if you are anything like me you would know that the cost of the up keep is phenomenal. One the things I disliked about the routine was that I had to stick with the nail colour for a month until I finally soaked it off. With this system, those concerns were diminished.

I first started using the Revlon ColorStay Gel Envy nail enamel over acrylic nails, as an experiment and I was amazed that the product stayed on without chipping for two weeks. Ofcourse at that time I was due for “fill”. So I tried the nail enamel again over my freshly done nails, but this time changed the colors whenever I felt like. I have never, in all the years of having my nails done had the opportunity to experiment with colors.

So my advice is simple, this is a life changing product, not only to your fashion statement but also to your pocket.


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How to make false lashes look real


I hate to admit it, but how to make false eye lashes look natural ,is a trend that is here to say. There is nothing more alluring on a woman’s face than those long thick lashes. Unfortunately, like many things, very few have been blessed to have these naturally.

The trend was revived with Kim Kardashian, who I might add made a fortune off the  lash business.

False lashes look wonderful, however when applied incorrectly can look very unappealing, so before you venture out of the confines off your room, practice applying lashes and ensure that they are well fitted and look as natural as possible. One of the things to be careful about is too always remember that the thicker the lashes, the more heavier they are, which can also make your eyelids close, so be warned.

There are a variety of false lashes in the market, some will include the strip lash, there are also single lashes and then you will find the trio lashes. What are the differences?

  • The strip false lashes is just one strip and the application fits over the entire area.
  • The single false lashes is exactly what it is,  single lashes. These are very tricky to put on because they can easily change direction when the glue is wet.
  • The trio lashes are obviously that however are much easier to apply than the single lash.


  1. When choosing your false lashes, stick to lashes that have a clear band, as these will blend. Thick dark bands are without a doubt the biggest give away that you are wearing false lashes.
  2. If you find that your strip lashes are stiff, wrap them around a pencil so that they take shape.
  3. I always prefer using a dark glue as it accentuates the lash line.
  4. When applying the lashes make certain that you are applying them to the lash line and not onto your eyelids. If you apply the false lashes to the eyelid, you will notice a gap between the real lashes and the fake ones.
  5. Once the false lashes are secure, apply mascara to blend them together.
  6. I always like to end off with a liquid liner to neaten the application.



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10 Skincare mistakes to avoid


10 Skincare mistakes to avoid

So you spend most of your earnings on expensive skin care products that you think will keep you ageing like good wine. You do this because psychologically we believe that the more expensive a product is, the more miraculous it will be. However, there are things that you could be doing in your everyday routine that could be damaging your skin without you knowing.


Here are 10 skin care mistakes to avoid to ensure that the wonders of youth stay on your side.

  1. Stop popping pimples. Everyone breaks out some time or the other, so instead of popping them, use an anti bacterial treatment over the affected area. I generally use tea tree oil and it works like a charm when it comes to drying out those nasties. When you pinch or pop these pimples, you are spreading the bacteria which will eventually lead to larger areas of the face being affected.
  2. Many people use skin care products that are not suitable for their skin type. Unfortunately many consultants at  the retail outlets are trained on selling the products however do not hold a qualification in skincare. So when taking advice on your products, make sure its from a qualified skincare therapist. Using the incorrect products can damage the skin.
  3. Using dirty makeup brushes is you asking for trouble. Invest in a brush cleaner or wash the brushes regularly to clean any makeup buildup that could be housing bacteria.
  4. As great as it may feel at the time, taking showers that are too hot dries out the skin, instead opt for  luke warm temperatures.
  5. Not wearing sunscreen everyday.
  6. Touching the face unnecessarily must stop. Unfortunately we touch any number of things during the course of our daily activity and we don’t always have the opportunity to clean our hands. Touching our face with dirty hands means that we are transferring the bacteria to our skin.
  7. Avoid using a face cloth when cleansing the face. Face clothes can be quite rough which will lead to tiny microscopic cuts on the skin.
  8. Exfoliating more that required it the hugest skin care mistake. When you exfoliate the skin, you are stripping the skin of all its natural oils. People who suffer with oily skin feel better when the exfoliate more thinking that they are removing all the sebum. FALSE! The more they exfoliate the more stimulation  which means that the skin will only create more oil.
  9. Going to bed with makeup on is a grave sin. I don’t need to elaborate on this one.
  10. Avoid keeping hair on the face, especially when you are going to bed, tie your hair back and clip bangs away from the face.


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11 Massage oils for healthy glowing skin


11 Massage oils for healthy glowing skin

There is a difference between what is known as beauty oils and essential oils. With the boom in the beauty industry, beauty oils have played a pivotal role in its rise. All products including the creams, toners, lotions and lipsticks that we use daily include beauty oils. Essential oils on the other hand are extremely concentrated. Some essential oils have anti bacterial and anti fungal properties that make them perfect when treating skin problems.

Here are 11 massage oils for healthy glowing skin

  • Argan oil has made its appearance over the past few years and many have hailed it as being the liquid gold that has been added to many of the beauty products that we use. Argan oil has been added to hair products as well as skin products, it has also been added to medicinal products that treat a range of bacterial and fungal problems. Argan oil is rich is fatty acids, vitamin E and antioxidants. It is a known fact that products rich in anti oxidants prevent free radical damage to the skin, which aids in your anti ageing treatment. Argan oil is ideal when treating ageing skin.
  • Coconut oil is good for both hair and skin, it is deeply moisturising, and is able to penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin.
  • Chamomile oil is used to treat sensitive as well as acne prone skin. Chamomile oil promotes cell regeneration which is perfect for those suffering from acne. It can be used to balance sebum production and restores hydration to the skin.
  • Almond oil is rich in vitamin A,B,D and E and is a natural and healthy way to improve the health of your skin and hair.
  • Rose oil has antibacterial, anti oxidant and anti microbial properties, it is rich in Vitamin A,C and omega 3 acids. It is perfect when used to repair scar tissue as treat blemishes.
  • Carrot seed oil is used to treat hyper pigmentation, wrinkles and stretch marks.
  • Tea tree oil has antibacterial and anti fungal properties, it can therefore kill acne causing bacteria and prevent further breakouts.
  • Avocado oil is rich in vitamin A,B,D AND E. It can penetrate the skin easier leaving it moisturised and nourished for longer.
  • Olive oil is rich in anti oxidants and has both Vitamin A and E. Because it is rich in antioxidants it can assist in prevention of free radical damage. Olive oil can be used on both your skin and hair.
  • For many years flax seed oil has helped many in the laxative department, but this oil is high in vitamin E which can moisturise and hydrate damaged skin.
  • Apricot kernel oil has a high amount of vitamin E which absorbs easily into the skin.


Herbal aromatherapy essential oil in bottles with fresh citrus f



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Clinique custom repair serum


Clinique custom repair serum

A few weeks ago I was given the Clinique Custom Repair serum to try, this serum claimed to respond to the particular needs of the skin, targeting problem areas of wrinkles, dark spots, uneven skin tone and to all women’s horror, firming. I have never used a Clinique product before however I do know of people who have, so I thought my best bet would be to visit a Clinique counter and talk to a consultant.

After listening to the consultant who babbled on about how this one product fits all women, I decided to leave. If there is anyone that understands that  one size most certainly does not fit all, that person would be me. Every persons skin is different to the next, and its requirements too will be different.

After owning a makeup and beauty school for 7 years, I have come across many products that claimed to do many things but delivered on very few, so I decided to put this product to the test.

I get sent many products to review, however very few have made my review list. Saying that, I have been using the Clinique custom repair for the past 3 weeks and in around day 8 I started seeing a change in the appearance of my skin.

As the digits climb on my age calendar, fighting the hormones has become a constant battle. Changes in my body have led to changes in my skin too. Over the past year I began getting breakouts, and for someone who has had clear skin all my life, suddenly having to start dealing with this was emotionally draining. I tried many products and facial therapies, however nothing seemed to have done the job.

That is until I began using the Clinique custom repair serum, the fine breakouts have dried up and my skin looks noticeably clearer. I wake up in the mornings to a brighter face, and people have taken notice.

Do I recommend Clinique custom repair serum to you? My answer is simple. Every person is different and so to is their skin. Each individual will have a different experience as their skin responds to Clinique custom repair.  With this in mind, this product is definitely worth a try.


Maria xoxox



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6 Home remedies for open pores


6 Home Remedies for open pores

Large open pores can be a result of many scenarios, sometimes, due to an increase in age, the skin can lose its elasticity thereby giving the skin the appearance of open pores. Genetics most definitely plays a role and so does stress. A poor skin care routine can also result in open pores on the skin.

It is important to remember that when the skin has excess sebum, dirt gets trapped in these pores, causing blackheads.

When treating any condition on the face, it is important that you first make certain that your hands are clean. Also reframe from pinching and picking at the skin, this will only cause the bacteria to spread thereby making the problem even worse.

Remedy 1 – ICE

Ice has a skin tightening effect, but also it stimulates blood circulation on the skin thereby promoting a healthier and more youthful looking skin.

  • Wrap a few ice blocks in a clean face cloth and place it on the skin.
  • Leave it on for around 30 seconds.
  • Rinse your face with ice cold water.
  • Apply moisturiser.


Apple cider vinegar is a natural astringent and skin toner. Due to its properties, apple cider vinegar tightens the skin, reduces the appearance of the pores and balances the PH level of the skin. Apple cider vinegar also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent.

  • Mix water and the apple cider vinegar in equal proportions.
  • Apply the mixture onto the face with a cotton ball.
  • Leave the mixture on the skin for a few minutes.
  • Rinse and apply moisturiser.

Remedy 3 – EGG WHITES

Egg whites tone and tighten the skin.

  • simply whisk an egg white.
  • Apply the mixture to the face.
  • Leave on until the mixture dries completely.
  • Rinse off and apply a moisturiser.

Remedy 4 – SUGAR SCRUB

  • Mix 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon olive oil and a few drops of lemon juice.
  • Gently scrub your face for 30 seconds.
  • Rinse the mixture off and apply a moisturiser,

Remedy 5 – BAKING SODA

Baking soda is used in skin care as a exfoliant.

Baking soda

  • removes oil from the skin.
  • removes debris from the skin.
  • Has anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties.
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with luke warm water.
  • Gently exfoliate the skin using circular motions.
  • Rinse the mixture off and apply a moisturiser.


Yogurt contains probiotics and lactic bacteria which helps keep the bad bacteria at bay.

  • Apply a thin layer of yogurt to the face.
  • Leave the mixture on for 10 minutes.
  • Rinse off and apply a moisturiser.






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DIY manicure or pedicure


Steps to a DIY Manicure and Pedicure

There is no reason for you to spend time and money at a nail bar, when with a little practice, you can maintain your hands and feet in tip top condition. Just follow these simple DIY manicure and pedicure tricks.

What do you need?

  1. A nail brush which is used to clean the nails.
  2. Nail clipper for toe nails.
  3. Nail scissor for finger nails.
  4. Embery board or nail file.
  5. Cuticle remover, this is a cream that is applied to the nail bed. It is used to soften the dead skin on the nail for removal.
  6. Cuticle nippers.
  7. An orange stick used to push the cuticles back.
  8. Nail Buffer.
  9. Hand and foot cream.
  10. Hand and foot soak.
  11. Cuticle oil.
  12. Acetone free nail polish remover.
  13. Base and top coat.


  • Remove old nail polish from the nails.
  • Use the hand and foot soak to soak the area you are working. Leave in for ten minutes.
  • Use the nail brush to gently brush over the nails.
  • Wipe dry.
  • Apply cuticle remover to the nail, using the orange stick, gently push the cuticles back.
  • Use the cuticle trimmer to trim the cuticles.
  • Use the nail clippers to trim nails as required, once trimmed, use the nail file to file the nail to desired length and shape. Remember to always file in one direction only.
  • Gently buff the nails.
  • At this point you may apply cuticle cream.

Application of nail polish

  • Use nail polish remover on a cotton pad and clean the nail to ensure the removal of all traces of oil.
  • Apply base coat, but be careful not to get any on the cuticles.
  • Starting a little away from the cuticle, apply your first coat of nail polish.
  • Make one stroke down the centre, then fill in the strips on either side. Once all the nails have been painted, you are ready to apply a second coat. Do this in the same manner as before.
  • You are now ready to apply the top coat.

Sometimes, it can be difficult painting your own nails, however mistakes can be easily rectified. Simply dip a cotton bud in nail polish remover and clean out.

Once the nails are dry, apply your cuticle oil and moisturiser, and don’t forget to keep a tube in your bag.

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Top 10 musts for your makeup bag

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Top 10 musts for your makeup bag


Lash curling is important if you are looking to accentuate your eyes, always start as close to the root as possible and curl two to three times to get the desired look.


Primer is essential as it acts as a base allowing the foundation to glide on easily as well as making sure that the makeup has durability.


Loose powder removes excess oil from the skin leaving the face looking matte. When applying the loose powder make sure you dust very lightly and concentrate on areas of the face that are prone to oiliness such as the chin, forehead and nose. If you have very dry skin then there is no need to apply powder.


It is a known fact that well groomed eyebrows frame the face, tweeze any stray hair, but be careful to do so early to allow for the redness to fade.


Mascara is a makeup must and anyone woman walking around without mascara is committing a crime against herself. Simply apply mascara to curled lashes from root to tip. This will lengthen and thicken the lashes.


If you are lucky enough to have even skin tone or just a few blemishes, then using foundation is not necessary, however if you need coverage then apply a light layer of foundation to the face, making sure to blend into the hairline as well as the jaw line. You can apply concealer to the areas that need a little more coverage.


These are used to make the brows fuller or to create shape.

8. Highlighter

Highlighters are great to accentuate cheeks bones however I like to add a little to my foundation to give luminosity to the skin.


These can be used to accentuate features, however remember to apply sparingly and build up colour.


This will protect your lips from the environment and keep lips soft.

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