“Don’t touch your face”: Good habits for great skin and staying healthy

With the current Sars-Cov-2 pandemic, where the novel coronavirus spreads through droplets and contaminated surfaces, here’a a timely reminder to not touch your face.

Dirty hands on your lips, nose or eyes means a risk of contracting the coronavirus disease.

And guess what?

Dirty hands on your face also means more bacteria, dirt, pollutants and other gunk on the skin = pimples, and irritated, blotchy skin.

I don’t know about you. But everytime I get a pimple, it is most likely because I touched my face at mid-day with unwashed hands, at the exact same spot.

So here’re some basic rules:

1. Only apply skincare with washed hands on a clean face. Ideally, after a good shower with exfoliants. And only use a fresh towel to dry your clean face.

2. Apply makeup right skincare application with clean fingers and brushes. Don’t wear makeup while outdoors, if possible. This keeps your face as clean as can be with a protective layer of skincare, sunscreen, and foundation.

3. Once out of the house, do not touch your face. If it feels tickly, swipe/ dab with a clean tissue. If you need to touch-up, wash your hands with soap and water first. Then re-apply make-up.

4. Keep your on-the-go makeup pouch clean. I don’t leave my pouch on dirty toilet counters. And I don’t open it before I wash my hands. Launder the makeup pouch regularly, change or wash the sponges and brushes often, and throw out old and expired products.

Trust me, these are some of the most effective ways to keep your skin clean and clear; while staying healthy this flu season.

Pamper: Al Hammam Traditional Baths, Athens

With its proximity to Turkey, it is not surprising that the Al Hammam in the centre of Athens is considered one of the best in the city.

Tucked in the alleyways of Athens (10 Ragava St. Plaka), it is a skip and hop away from the historic Bath of The Winds (now a museum).

Step into the cool interior and be greeted by a colourful and cosy reception.

But don’t let it fool you: the marble hammam space is heated up to 40 degrees celsius with hot steam.

My husband and I picked the signature treatment, Al Hammam (49 Euros for 60 mins).

Here’s what we got:

  • 30 minutes in a private marbled hammam where we were steamed on a heated hexagaonal slab at up to 40 degrees celsius.

Just 3 minutes in, we were gasping like fish out of water.

Here’s the thing, if you are not used to or do not like saunas, the hammam experience will be trying.

Thankfully, we were given cool water to drink before the 30-minute hammam session. Also throughout, we were free to pour ice cold water over our heads and bodies to bring the temperature down when we almost felt like passing out.

  • We were then guided to two heated marble slabs in the same hammam room and given a 15-minute kese glove exfoliation treatment, a 15-minute olive soap bubble massage, as well as a quick hair wash.

I’ve tried alot of massages in the last decade as a beauty journalist, and the one at Al Hammam is honestly so-so.

That said, the moment we stepped out of the shower facilities (clean and convenient), our skin was taut, firm, rosy and glowing. The hammam was the perfect detox we needed after hours of traipsing on the gritty Athens streets.

  • The Al Hammam session came to a sweet ending. As we felt light-headed after the experience in the heated marble room; the hot ginger tea, super sweet loukoumi ) Greek delight), and a view of the Acropolis at the back verandah we were invited to, was welcomed.

My skin felt very smooth and supple afterwards. But that night, I had to spend more time moisturising my body as the heat of the hammam had also made the skin feel drier.

Prices at Al Hammam start at 25 Euros for 45 minutes in a communal hammam.

Call +30 211 0129099 or +30 213 0310279 at least a day before to get a slot.

©️The Beauty Gazette

Improve your posture at Orchard Health Lifestyle

A bad posture is never sexy.

But long hours spent hunched over the desk to meet that deadline, or crouching over mobile devices to scroll through online ‘zines, shopping sites and Instagram, may leave you with tight shoulder, neck and back muscles.

Even that gym or circuit session where you (purposely) forgot to stretch, could leave you with knotted muscles and joints that are out of line, leading to a lousy posture.

I have very tight shoulders, and sometimes get a stabbing pain in my arms. My posture could be better too. I spend long hours with my arms scrunched and tensed infront of my laptop at work; love to plank, and hate to stretch.

At the new Orchard Health Lifestyle (L4 Tangs, Tang Plaza, Orchard Road), an offshoot of the osteopathic Orchard Health Clinic, I tried its 30-minute Joint Centralisation Technique (JCT) on my upper body.

While the therapists at Orchard Health Lifestyle are not osteopaths, they are trained in the JCT which aims to align the joints, with gentle twisting of the body, and deep tissue massage.

Kwan, the therapist who treated me, had strong but firm moves. He got to the right spots to soothe the tension; such as the areas in between my shoulder blades, and next to my arm pits.

Just after one session; he helped to relieve the tension in my neck, shoulders, and arms by 50 per cent.  I also felt like I stood taller, my arm movements got smoother and upper body muscles were less hard and tense. My triceps and shoulders felt sore the next day, but Kwan had already told me that is to be expected.

A few sessions and a change in my lifestyle habits (such as the way I stretch, sit, etc.) are necessary for a more complete correction.

If possible, get a full body JCT per session. As Kwan informs me, issues in the lower half of the body may have caused the problems in the upper half; and vice versa.

Orchard Health Lifestyle is not the place if you have serious sport injuries that need proper medical and osteopathic care.

But if all you need is quick and instant relief from aching muscles, and to increasingly improve your posture; we would recommend sessions there.

A JCT Upper or Lower Body starts from $65 for 30 minutes.

Osteopath Martin John and director Adela Yeo of the Orchard Health Clinic
Osteopath Martin John and director Adela Yeo of the Orchard Health Clinic

Wearing make-up to the gym

With all the hip new exercise options in the most bustling spots in town, looking tired while you sweat it out is not an option. 

Especially with the latest virtual gym passes (KFit, Guavapass) that get you through to the fancy spinning classes, barre, MMA sessions, and aerial yoga time-outs. 

You want that post work-out glow before the work-out.

It’s the same reason why you would shell out the money for pricey designer sportswear. The sleek cuts and cute cut-outs make you look good while you prepare to get your heart pumping.

It is proven that if you feel good before you actually hit the gym (or the tarmac), you would perform better.

Now, for the make-up to match those spiffy Lululemons.

(If you already unintentionally wear make-up to your workouts when you rush to classes after work, these tips are for you too.)

1) Stay away from the pore-clogging make-up. 

I would not recommend slathering on picture-perfect foundation just before you sweat it out. It might end up patchy and stain your perfect (and pricey) sports outfits.

So keep it light with just a tad of concealer around the eyes. I like the new NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer or my classic fave the YSL Beaute Touche Eclat. If you like, add a thin veil of tinted BB cream (compact cushion such as the Laneige BB Cushion or tube Guerlain Lingerie de Peau). A tinted sunscreen that gives the skin a rosy tinted dewiness, such as the Clarins UV Plus Anti-Pollution Day Screen Multi-Protection, would work well too.

2) Keep those peepers open.

Mascara and eyeliner look great on you, any time, anywhere. Including the gym.

It only makes sense to go for the sweatproof ones; the last thing you want to look like is a sweaty panda. The  Eyeko Sport Waterproof Mascara never fails me even when I have sweat pouring down my face. The Nars Minorque Kohliner keeps me looking sharp throughout my sun salutations. 

3) Don’t forget the brows

Brows are everything. You need them to frame the face even while acing your spinning class. The Shu Uemura Hard Formula brow pencil and the Kate Eyebrow N keep mine on.

4) Add some colour

But a powder blush and a bold lipstick is too much for gym class. Go for a handy and fuss-free lip and cheek tint for the flushed look. Doesn’t matter if you haven’t even had your warm-up yet; look the part first. My faves: BenetintPeri’s Lip TintYSL Beaute’s Baby Doll Kiss & Blush.

Disclaimer: None of the brands are affiliated to my site, links are there for readers’ convenience.