Your very own skincare makeover


Detox your beauty cupboards with Victorian Cosmetic Institute’s Lisa Brown’s edit of what to keep, what to cull and what to invest in now.



Why use it?: to gently nurture the skin while removing dirt, surface impurities and make-up. 

Look for: a simple list of ingredients, including plant surfactants and cleansing agents such as kiwi and coconut sugar extract. Aloe vera, peppermint and cucumber will soothe and calm the skin and naturally maintain PH levels. For oily skins, opt for a deep cleanser with plant extracts to decongest the skin and remove impurities. Everyone else, stick to mild versions.

Avoid: stripping the skin of its natural oils, and creating nasty irritations and rashes. Avoid ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulphates (SLS), propylene glycol, isopropyl, mineral oils, synthetic colours and fragrances and parabens. 

Still unsure? Compare some of your store-bought cleanser’s ingredient list to those of your household cleaning products – yep, scary. 



Why use it?: moisturisers have larger molecules that coat the service of the skin, acting as a sealant and stopping the skin from losing moisture. On the other hand, serum-based hydrators have the ingredients and delivery system to penetrate deeper into the skin, hydrating from within. 

Look for: hyaluronic acid and vitamin B – a naturally occurring hydrator already found in our skin. 

Avoid: using the wrong type of product. A very dry skin will either be lacking in lipids – which are oils – or lacking in hydration. An acne skin or an oily skin should opt for a hydrator rather than a moisturiser. An older skin – which is lipid and moisture dry – will often need both a hydrator and a moisturiser.


Why use it?: to remove the dead skin cells that rest on the surface of the skin, making it look dull, dry and uneven. 

Look for: chemical exfoliators with ingredients such as lactic acid, fruit enzyme and salicylic acid. These ingredients work to release the dead skin cells and dissolve and digest the dirt and sebum from the pores. 

Avoid: over-exfoliating, as it disrupts natural cell turnover and can lead to irritation, skin sensitivity and broken capillaries. Physical exfoliators that use micro beads, refined shells from fruit pips or other grains are too abrasive for the face.



Why use it?: well, you don’t have to, but if you do, make sure it’s a natural extension of your healthy skincare regimen – after all, it sits on your skin for eight hours of the day!

Look for: mineral make-ups that are rich in vitamin A, B and E and have a built-in sunscreen.  

Avoid: make-ups containing parabens, fragrances, binders and synthetic dyes. Dimethicone is a silicone often used in make-up to help the skin feel silky and to reduce the appearance of fine lines. While it may look great, it can congest the pores and be really damaging.  Make-up brands also use talc as a filler, blocking pores and causing congestion. 

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