Antioxidants play a key role in skin care

Written By: Alessia Donato


Does food affect the skin? What does it truly mean to eat the rainbow? Let’s take a look at how the Key vitamins A, C and E also known as Antioxidants play a key role in skin care.

Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. Although there are several enzyme systems within the body that fight off free radicals, the main antioxidants are Vitamin A,C and E. Free radicals can be caused by smoking, excessive sun exposure, stress, and an unhealthy diet of junk food and not enough fresh whole foods. Antioxidants can be found in all colorful fruits and vegetables especially yellow, orange and red. Lots of minerals can be found in the greener vegetables and the more you consume raw the better your body will absorb them. Eating from the rainbow truly is the key to youthful skin and a healthy glow.


Antioxidants broken down by vitamins and how they affect your skin.

Vitamin A (Sweet Potatoes, Carrots, Dark Leafy Greens, Butternut Squash)

Many face creams contain Vitamin A, and drugs derived from Vitamin A are used to treat severe acne. As an anti oxidant, it neutralizes free radicals (which destroy collagen), which in turn prevent the formation of wrinkles and pre mature ageing. Also helps fade age spots and pigmentation. Retinol is rejuvenating, anti ageing and helps with pigmentation due to sun damage. Retinol when applied to the skin is thought to work both by stimulating new collagen formation as well as preventing the breakdown of existing collagen. It appears to have a stimulatory effect on the fibroblasts that produce collagen as well as an inhibitory effect on enzymes that break down the collagen support structure. What makes retinol unique is that its molecular structure is small enough to allow it to penetrate the skin which is a limiting factor for some skin care ingredients. If a substance can’t penetrate the epidermis and gain access to the dermis, it’s not going to have any real effect on skin aging. Thus, one major benefit of retinol that distinguishes it from other skin care ingredients is its ability to reach the areas of the skin where it can actually have an effect on collagen production and breakdown. Retinol also appears to have the ability to counteract some of the solar damage inflicted by the sun, although retinol shouldn’t be used if you spend time in the sun since it can increase sun sensitivity.

Vitamin C (Red/Green Hot Chili Peppers, Guavas, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Dark Leafy Greens, Kiwi, Oranges, Strawberries)

A powerful antioxidant, vitamin C is involved in a number of biological processes, which is so essential to health. Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen, a key structural protein of the skin. Adding vitamin C to a culture of skin cells (fibroblasts) dramatically increases the synthesis of collagen. Secondly, vitamin C is an antioxidant and can help reduce skin damage caused by free radicals. So, when vitamin C is properly delivered into skin cells, there is a good chance to reduce wrinkles and improve skin texture. It moisturizes the skin, softens, exfoliates and cleanses and helps to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines.

A number of skin care companies offer highly concentrated stabilized Vitamin C products, which (at least in theory) are supposed to be consistently effective. However, these products are usually quite expensive. Furthermore, even stabilized Vitamin C products may be at least somewhat oxidized by the time you use them. When Vitamin C oxidizes, it eventually acquires a yellowish tint indicating an advanced stage of oxidation. Interestingly, some manufacturers add coloring to their Vitamin C products, in which case it becomes hard to spot advanced Vitamin C oxidation. So it is advisable to pick a trustworthy source when buying or consuming Vitamin A skin care products and be careful with expiration dates and storage of products.

Vitamin E (Tofu, Spinach, Nuts, Avocados, Sunflower Seeds, Fish, Shellfish, Olive Oil, Broccoli)

A key antioxidant, Vitamin E is particularly good for a healthy heart and blood supply since it is an anticoagulant which reduces abnormal blood clotting but it also very good for skin. It works in conjunction with Vitamin A therefore helps to improve the activity of Vitamin A. Vitamin E added to lotions, creams, and other skin care products, as well as taken orally, plays a role in the anti-aging of skin. It helps skin look younger by reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin E lotions provide some benefit in preventing and treating sunburns. These lotions protect the epidermis layer of the skin from early stages of ultra violet light damage. Vitamin E preparations also increase the effectiveness of sunscreens. Such lotions do not work immediately. Vitamin E can aid in the treatment of various skin diseases or skin conditions. Topical applications such as those used to treat psoriasis is one of the benefits of Vitamin E. Orally ingested Vitamin E can help treat erythema (a skin inflammation that results in reddish, painful, and tender lumps). There are a variety of other benefits of Vitamin E for skin care:

  • Vitamin E products help reduce the appearance of stretch marks
  • Vitamin E can help prevent the appearance of age spots
  • Helps maintain the skin’s oil balance during the cleansing process
  • Reduces transepidermal water loss from skin and strengthens the skin’s barrier function

Overall for skin care, more benefit is obtained from topical application of Vitamin E through creams or lotions rather than taking Vitamin E orally. Skin is able to absorb natural Vitamin E effectively. However, taking Vitamin E orally is important for the good health of other areas of the body.

at home facial

At home facial masks with Vitamins

Facial masks should be an integral part of every woman’s beauty regime. Not only do they replenish our skin, but they force us, in an unobtrusive way, to take time for ourselves and relax; after all, it’s impossible to get much of anything done with a layer of creamy goodness slathered over your face, and cucumbers over your eyes.

Here are my favorite do it yourself at home facial masks that can instantly boost your skin and give you that healthy glow. Remember that these ingredients are natural, and although great to put on the skin nothing beats actually eating them so your body can absorb the nutrients and therefore feed your cells and in turn feed your skin.

Banana and Vitamin E healing mask: we know how healing vitamin E is so try using some of those vitamin E capsules break them open and mix them in with some bananas. Make sure to avoid the eye are and this mask can be calming, soothing and moisturizing for anyone with dry sensitive skin. The banana is great for wrinkles!

Vitamin C pumpkin facial mask: Pumpkin makes an excellent face mask ingredient for all skin types, especially environmentally damaged or sensitive skin. High in Vitamin A (skin healing), C (anti-oxidant) and Zinc, the pumpkin soothes, moisturizes and acts as a carrier, assisting the other mask ingredients to absorb deeper into the skin and intensifying the results. Combine the pumpkin pulp with honey, and milk. Mix pumpkin in with whipping cream for dry skin or for oily skin mix in some apple cider vinegar which is a great astringent.

Avocado treatments: Avocado is super rich in vitamins A B C and E as well as the mineral phosphorus. So if you want, create a homemade mask, try mixing avocado with some honey for some serious moisture benefits. It super rich and will give your skin a soft supple texture and glow.


As a makeup artist, it is so important to understand and have knowledge of skin care. Prepping the skin before makeup is the key component in achieving a flawless foundation base and application and amazing makeup to follow suit. Always have a good rich moisturizer in your kit, such as Embryollise lait crème concentre. It suits all skin types and leaves the skin fresh, moisturized, and gets rid of flakiness. A good cleanser such as Bioderma H20 removes all traces of makeup without stripping the skin and it is especially good for dry and sensitive skins. To quickly exfoliate without the use of water, the Dermalogica daily resurfacer is great for those days you’re on set and you need to quickly exfoliate the model’s skin. Always have a good eye cream, we love MAC fast response eye cream. It contains caffeine which helps to restrict the blood vessels helping to tighten fine lines and wrinkles.

Never skip the skin care part of a makeup application!! It is so important and really makes the difference.

Your Makeup Artist, Alessia Donato

I Want a Career in Makeup

Makeup is an everyday part of most women’s lives. The cosmetics industry is worth an estimated £15bn in the UK alone, and employs almost a million people. Beauty sells, and those that are talented at the work and have the correct training, stand to make a lot of money.

As a cosmetics professional, you are in charge of styling makeup onto your client in a variety of different ways depending on the job and situation. There are makeup artists for memorable occasions like weddings and proms, or for more publicised events like television and magazines. You can also work on the upmarket beauty counters for companies like Mac or Dior; a lot of these premium boutiques only employ qualified beauty therapists to ensure their staff are incredibly knowledgeable in order to offer customers a top quality makeover at any time.

There are also other career choices within the industry; it is possible to become a skin camouflage expert and help those who feel uncomfortable in society due to facial disfigurements accept themselves, and gain the confidence to go outside and face the world.

Makeup artists have to be creative souls that are willing to collaborate with styles at the client’s request, alongside with what they know will look good. If you have passion and love for all things makeup, and have patience and a willingness to learn, then a career as a makeup artist could very well be perfect for you.

Ruby Hammer, creator of successful cosmetics brand Ruby and Millie, explains why she enjoys her career choice so much; “No two days are the same, I still feel challenged and excited by my job…You have to be professional at all times, be able to get on with lots of different people and build relationships in a short space of time, which can be hard. You’re only as good as your last job.”

Being passionate about cosmetics is a key aspect of any makeup artist’s life. As a career it can be very rewarding helping people to look beautiful and feel good all day long. You also have the option of going freelance once you have received proper training, which has great flexibility and can easily be arranged around family life.

Building up a steady portfolio of clients is key, and the first step towards that is by receiving professional training from an expert in a workshop or class. Lessons like these can create a great base of knowledge, perfect for those who want to make the transition into the makeup business as specialists.

This industry is very competitive so it is important to arm yourself with the best knowledge in the business with expert classes. Taking a course like the one offered by Illumin8 is the perfect answer for training within the makeup industry. Just fill out the enrolment form to start beautifying your career.

Be on trend with heavenly brows for 2014

How important are your eyebrows? The answer is obvious looking at this picture of Katy Perry!


So what do our brows do for us? They draw attention to our eyes, making them appear larger, while framing them perfectly. They can balance the features and give expression to the face.

After discovering this shocking picture of Katy Perry it got me thinking about my brows I have been neglecting for some time. So with the new year upon us I thought it was time to revamp my sparsest redundant brows.

Brows are in for 2014, down the runways at New York Fashion Week designers Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors to name a few rocked the natural brows, bushy, wild and slightly groomed. A come back of Brooke Shields boyish unkempt look of the 1980’s but with an edge, a perfect example is Cara Delevingne.


Or natural with a more dramatic arch like Rita Ora or Megan Fox, More to my liking it’s feminine and seductive.


Now let’s focus on shaping your brows with make-up tips to evoke the Megan Fox brows in you! You will need the following tools:

  1. Spooly brush or disposal mascara wand (Mac Brush 204)
  2. Sharpened brow pencil in your shade (Mac Retractable Brow Pencil)
  3. Clear setting Gel (Mac Brow Set)

Now let’s do this together! I found a fab picture on Instagram of a 4 step simple demo to achieve those trendy naturally arched brows.


Step 1. Brush your eyebrows into shape with the spooly brush.

Step 2. Draw the desired shape with sharpened brow pencil at the bottom of the brow.

Step 3. Draw in the shape at the top of the brow.

Step 4. Fill the brow with the brow pencil and use the spooly brush in upward strokes’ to give a more natural slightly bushy look and to blend.

See you out there ladies with those fearless brows! I’ll know who you are.

Your Makeup Artist, Sonia Merlo

8 Beauty Resolutions to keep in 2014


As we roll in this new year, we must begin to get comfortable with change…because it is inevitable. So let’s change for the better and charge into 2014. We say start with easy resolutions before you tackle the BIG ones, like making beauty goals and sticking to them! Here are 8 to get you started:

1. Clear out old clutter in your makeup cabinet.

Check dates, check cleanliness, and check to see if you still like it or have even used it. How many times have you gone to the store, saw a product you loved, and when you put it on hated it? So you put it away thinking you’ll try it again…but it’s never the right time, right look. Either donate it to a friend if sanitary, or ditch it!

2. Switch from drugstore mascara to makeup counter mascara.

Why? Have you tried Benefit’s THEY’RE REAL mascara? This product is the number one selling mascara in the UK, and for good reason. The product helps to create long healthy lashes that stay looking that way all night without the clumps.

3. Learn a new tip or trick from a professional.

It’s a new year, and so, it’s time for a new look. The professionals at ILLUMIN8 offer a Personal Makeup Workshop that is designed to teach you how to create the perfect day – to – evening look effortlessly. Next Workshop 11 January, runs 10am – 5pm, and if you bring a friend you get a deal!

ILLUMIN8 Media Make-up Studio

4. Try a new product once every three months.

This way, at the end of the year you have some fun, new items in your kit that you would not normally have. Have you seen these Miley Makeup, STICK ON LINERS? Fun & Funky!


5. Promise to wash your face every night before bed.

We all say we do it, we all try to make it a habit, but when we wake up to see yesterdays mascara smudged all over our tired eyes…guilty! Makeup is basically a form of dirt, especially mixed with the daily oil and toxins exposure. Be kind to your skin. 3-5 minutes is all it takes.

6. Give your body a good exfoliation once a month, and for more mature skin, once a week.

Body scrub can be found in many stores around UAE, but you can also make some fun options at home! Here’s a quick recipe that is sure to soften your skin and make you smell divine.

  • 1 Glass Jar to store scrub
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1-2 drops vanilla extract depending on your love for vanilla!
  • 1/3 cup mineral salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • -Mix Sugar, Vanilla and Salt together, then add Coconut Oil. Voila! Your first at home Body Scrub!

7. We blow-dry, flat iron, curl, spray, tease, brush, then wash, rinse and repeat. But where is the hair love?

Mark your calendar’s monthly for a good hair treatment. Consider Redken’s ALL SOFT Heavy Cream Hair Softening Treatment. It’s made with argan oil and targets dry/brittle hair for intense, inside-out softness, sleekness, and brilliant shine!


8. Most importantly, Rest & Hydrate. Nothing is more important to skin than H2O and sleep. During the night, your body naturally enhances its ability to fight environmental and natural damage, which translates into a better and brighter complexion. Sleep can reduce the appearance of thinning skin, stretch marks, discoloration, age spots & fine lines. And most of us are aware the skin is the largest organ in the body, but did you also know that water will reach all the other organs before it reaches the skin? So, it’s important to apply water to our skin and keep it there – through drinking lots of it, this will not only show a visible difference in hydration, but it can prevent wrinkles, as well.