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x Skin Food x

x Skin Food x

Winter Skin: skin food part 6

That’s a jade roller. We go together like owls and tanning salons. It ain’t a natural fit.

But boy do they work. And they’re 100% pain free.

Let me explain. I feel dirty, valuing “looks” especially when it has very little to do with how I value myself and others. That’s why my books are not airbrushed – I flipping love character creases and laughter lines. They’re real. They’re Mother Nature’s way of telling 20year upstarts not to f&%k with us. So it’s not likely I’ll set aside time to jade roll my mug every morning.

However, I also value the health of my body, my skin (aka our body’s largest excretory organ) and my mind.

So … for me, then, it makes sense to submit to a relaxing Chinese face massage from time to time, when I am in a deep stress zone (queeeeeen, I hear you shout). It’s called Gua Sha and involves minor torture tools plus a dinky jade roller. The deadly Amanda at Dublin’s Holistic Centre does them. I fall asleep during the face massage, blissed off my face.

In theory, jade rollers should be one of the easiest and least expensive DIY skincare tools available to men and women. Jade rolling can help to lift that leathery-winter-skin vibe that scorches into our skin this time of year.

How so?

Gentle application of a jade roller stimulates our intricate lymphatic system from the neck up, and helps to shoo our system of toxins and puffiness. It’s a very simple concept, with very effective results. Right under our skin lives a complex highway of vessels and tissue that work to eliminate toxins. Score! Help them, help us (click on the video below).


If all this seems too heavy, here are the balms and salves I urge you to support. #notsponsored. All are hand crafted in small batches, using only raw unadulterated ingredients and a deep respect for nature. Each one supports your winter skin, while also supporting dedicated craftsmen in the beauty industry – an industry dominated by chemical junk, lies, and toxic messages about what “beauty” means. We have an opportunity to try and change the tide on these corporate beauty giants. Stop giving them our money. And start channeling our support into mindful skinfood wizards, like these ones, who celebrate the aging process with open arms.

Don’t get me wrong – I still have a lot of crap floating in my cupboards. Stuff I’m not proud of. I find it easier to start gently – when one thing runs out, I try to mindfully replace it.

This love and thought can be different for everyone – you have a rhythm of your own, and it’s best to listen to it. Don’t let skinny fascists on Instagram tell you what to buy! What do YOU want? Where do YOU want your money to go? That’s no one else’s business but yours.

My BF for example doesn’t care what she puts on her face, so long as it’s not in a plastic tub. She spends her weekends litter picking in London, and campaigning against plastic-overuse in supermarkets. She’s incredible, and her radiance shines from her face and touches everyone around her.

Another pal only uses Irish products in her home. Another, makes all her own products from face masks to cleaning products.

Me? I channel my money (if I have any at the end of the month that is) into people like Laurel, Kapua, Sarah, Fiona, and a myriad of other kickass women I found through Jeannie who pour their life’s energy into hand crafting little pots of lovebombs. A wise dame once said “if you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”




Dublin Herbalists

Dry skin patches, toodleloo. This is serious skinfood. My five year old puts this on his lips every day too.

My husband bought me a range of Dublin Herbalist products for Christmas. My favourite? A tube of All-Healing Salve comes in at under a tenner, and as the name suggests, is as local as I can possibly get. Love it.


Kari Gran

Serum is not enough for my demanding skin during the winter months. My face is almost comically thirsty. The trick is not to go for a water-based moisturiser. Look for a salve with a small amount of beeswax or shea to lock in moisture. Always works for me.

This Essential Balm from Kari Gran is exceptional, comes in a large pot, and lasts 5-6 months. I use it on my lips too. This isn’t skin food, it’s a skin smoothie. Find it here. 


Maya Chia

What chicken stock does for the soul, Maya Chia does for the face. Here’s a pressed serum that went into waiting list mode this January! I can understand why. Warm, affectionate and earthy, like a little pot of hugs. It’s deeply nourishing and winsome.

The alchemist behind Maya Chia, Susanne, started off her career as a political speechwriter having graduated from Harvard University. She is the snazzlejazzle. On sale here from Beauty Heroes. 50ml goes a very long way – I was sent a sample sidekick, and am still working my way through it.


Conscious Skincare

Any of Conscious Skincare’s mature range will do the trick for wintry months. They are called moisturisers, but that’s an understatement! They behave like a supersonic balm in my opinion (check out the buttery consistency below). Organic shea successfully locks in moisture and gives your skin a goddamn gorgeous glow. It’s the vegan version of beeswax. Take a look at their glorious building blocks – all beautiful, vegan, organic, cold pressed plant ingredients. I received a number of samples to play with during 2017. Every pot was licked clean. I’m certain you’ll love them.



And finally, from the Department of Disclosure:

This is a Skin Food series. I care about our skin and how we are feeding it.

I will only review small scale producers whose products I love and admire; whose work ethics amaze and astonish; and whose genius deserves a wider platform. Small scale producers cannot afford a PR unit or fancy advertising. They rely on word of mouth.

I do not receive payment, commission or contra for the products that I review on my website. That ain’t my Feels. If I receive samples to trial, I’ll always tell you (see above).

As a Beauty Heroes ambassador, I receive their monthly discovery box in advance of its release, to trial-run the product as a member of their beauty council. There is no obligation to write about Beauty Heroes, in any form whatsoever, but I choose to do so from a place of love, admiration, deep respect, and incorrigible excitement. NONE of the links from my website result in commission.



x Skin Food x

Wrinkles: skin food part 4

Obnoxiously priced, commercial face creams are designed to separate you from your money and your brain cells. We all know the brands I’m referring to #sexyswipe. They advertise in every glossy magazine, preying on your friends, your daughter, mother and sisters.

You want to stay young? The answer is not giving hundreds of your hard-earned dollars to some marketing head-f**ck who abuses our vulnerabilities (insert Big Brand here). Nor is it wearing lamé drainpipes and a sleeve of tattoos, like something Electric Picnic heaved up. (Although I have been very tempted). The secret to ageing gracefully my friends, is owning it. Wear those wrinkles like you made them! They are there to tell twenty-year-old twits not to mess with us. So go rock them.

I’ve taken to making my own beauty products from natural, cold-pressed oils. Yup. Green beauty is trending, not because it’s non-toxic and kinder to the environment. Green beauty is trending because it works.

Check out this deep, penetrating night serum. My skin drinks it up with gratitude. No amount of crème de la whatsies can achieve the same glow I get from one week on argan oil. Yes, argan can sometimes smell like a wet barnyard animal. But you will expertly highjump this nasal challenge by adding grapefruit essential oil and the spectacularly-perfumed tamanu oil. 



Grapefruit essential oil is a brilliant astringent to help seduce large pores and zits. Tamanu delivers a consignment of protective antioxidants, and is traditionally associated with improving scar tissue. We like the sound of that.

Both tamanu and argan have vertiginous amounts of vitamin E, and 0% synthetic gunk. Vitamin E is important to our ageing skin because it helps protect against the chaos that free radicals unleash. We can’t stop ageing, but we can slow it down.

And if it all sounds like too much trouble, feast yourself on any of these face oils made by hand using a more subdued form of argan oil with less barnyard vibes, and more grassy sun-kissed hills. I have an obsession with Beauty Heroes. Theirs is an exceptional service, only supporting small artisans using the best quality ingredients with absolutely no added chemicals. It feels really empowering to vote with my wallet. Closer to home, Barechic Skincare is made locally and will have your cheeks doing somersaults.


Midnight Face Serum
6 months supply

I share the task of DIY cosmetics with friends to reduce the cost. It makes sense to do a large batch of face serum, and dole them out to a group of friends. Right? Maybe your pals will do the cacao body butter (last month’s S’Indo column), or other similar treat in return? Score! Another tip is to store the oils in the freezer when they are not in use, which will substantially extend their shelf life.

This midnight oil is non-comedogenic meaning it won’t clog your pores or cause spots even if you suffer from oily skin. Argan rates as ‘0’ on the comedogenic scale. Total lovebomb.


5 drops grapefruit essential oil

2 teaspoons cold pressed tamanu oil  (tamanu from moogoo costs €13)

20ml cold pressed organic argan oil (you can order this one in Ireland for €16.)



Mix the oils into a 30ml bottle dropper (available online and at pharmacies). Shake. Store in a cool place, or refrigerator alongside rosewater or other toners to assist with its application.




Taking the hell out of healthy.

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Events, x Skin Food x

Irish Alchemists: skin food part 3

You know those extortionate face creams, designed to lure you from your money and your trusty brain cells? The big branded ones, created in labs with unpronounceable ingredients?

They don’t work.

An industry does not grow into a $460 billion monster by permanently solving the problem it is designed to address.

Unless the ingredients were hand-harvested by George Clooney, and blessed by Kylie Minogue under a full moon, I’m not falling for it. Ever. Again.

We deserve more respect. (So does my overdraft).





What hooked me into making my own beauty products at home was the undeniable pleasure it adds to everyday life. The commercial cosmetic industry is a headless beast, driven by an insatiable libido of profit. For them, it makes perfect business sense to use cheap, low quality ingredients with glitzy branding. I can’t stand being their target. So I vote with my wallet. It’s as good as giving industry giants the two-fingers and beatifically laughing into my own crazy cool lab.

So in 2017, I’ll be continuing to post DIY skincare recipes using ingredients you’ll find in your own kitchen. Natural ingredients like argan, honey and rosehip are potently strong. It’s skincare with integrity. They outshine all the high-branded crap.

For now, here’s a list of rad Irish alchemists, making their own organic skincare products. They deserve our support and applause (especially if it’s unlikely that you’ll whip up your own badass body oils). These are my favourite of the lot.


barechic fiona carr



> Blue Flower Face Serum, by BARECHIC SKIN <


Fiona Carr is the wizard behind Barechic Skin. Fiona hand-crafts all her products on the west coast of Ireland, and never ever uses anything but pure, cold pressed, ethically sourced oils like pomegranate, tamanu, argan, seabuckthorn, rose otto and rosehip seed. I am obsessed with anything and everything she makes. You will be too.



… the scent. Utterly beguiling. I feel like Sophia Loren wearing her skincare range. The scent does something funny to my confidence and imagination. Bewitching.

Their boutique packaging puts Barechic way above anything else on the Irish market. They’d make very slick gifts for guys and girls.

Vegan friendly.



Very difficult to find. I think it’s only private clients for now, until Barechic’s online stable launches. Contact via Twitter.  (If you’ve found it elsewhere, please let me know in the comment section below).



Tired skin. Dry skin. Combination skin. And comes personally recommended for exhausted mums who just want to feel sexy again.




> Rose Mist Water, by Flourish Organics <


Flourish is a tiny company in Kerry, run by a very cool couple who sent me up samples to try out. They hand craft their own ‘beautyful’ creams and serums in micro batches. There’s something very special about using a beauty product that someone personally whipped up for you, only using pure, unadulterated ingredients. It feels both physically and emotionally nourishing.



… no alcohol content. Most toners and mists contain unnecessary amounts of dehydrating alcohol (yes, go check yours. I was so disappointed to see so many brands using alcohol in their toners). Flourish misting toner only has 3 ingredients; pure organic rose water, mulla mulla and shea oak. At €14 for a large bottle, it’s exceptional value.



Only online orders, and select boutique hotels across Ireland like Brooklodge in Wicklow.



… anyone with sensitive skin.

High fives also for green beauty enthusiasts on a budget.

Great for ex-pats, wanting to order authentic, handmade Irish gear online as Christmas pressies.





> Hydrate & Perfect Treatment Oil, by Georgia Jane <


When I started doing DIY beauty recipes on my website, Georgia Jane sent me a few of their hand-made natural serums for inspiration. I hadn’t come across them before, so was fairly stoked to try out a brightening serum for sun damaged skin. Natural aging is their focus, with antioxidant rich botanical oils like raspberry seed oil and watermelon seed oil.



… specifically targets pigmentation. I need all the help I can get. If I develop any more sun spots, my face will look like a map of Europe etched out by a 4 year old with sienna-brown crayola.

Loved the smell, and the science.



Online orders primarily. Let me know if you’ve found it elsewhere (in the comments below).



… reluctantly aging folk.








And finally, from the Department of Disclosure:

1.     I will only review products I like, and whose work ethics I dig (ingredients derived by nature, organically or mindfully, with no hidden nasties). My grandma always says “if you’ve nothing nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” While generally this advice can be very unhelpful in many situations, especially if you count yourself as a modern woman or feminist, I think it’s probably spot on for my blog post. So I don’t include products that I disliked, however minor or major.

2.     I do not receive freebies, payment, nor contra in any form for the products that I review on my website.

3.     If I receive sample products to review for my site, you will be the first to know. Full disclosure. You are my friends. I have no intention to mess with your mind.




A special announcement

Join me on Substack

Howdy! I’ll be deleting this website shortly. Gah! But please stay in touch – I so appreciate your loyalty and lovebombs.

You can continue to access my recipe drops over on Substack.  Hope to see you there, and to continue frolicking on this veggie-fueled dance floor.