What You NEED To Know About Sunscreen

I have a couple of pet topics and one of them is no other than sunscreen. Every Summer since this blog has existed I’ve tried to post a reminder about the importance of SPF (‘sun protection factor’). Every year my knowledge has also broaden and while the older posts are still useful (there are some product reviews included), I think I’ve managed to gather some good and updated information for you.

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You NEED To Wear an SPF

If there’s one thing to take away from this post, it’s this no-nonsense advice: wear your sunscreen. Every day of the year, even if it’s cloudy. On overcast days, only visible Sun rays are blocked, but you still are at the risk of getting sun damage, which causes about 80% of visible signs of ageing. It’s not only for aesthetic reasons, but by wearing sunscreen you also reduce the risk of getting skin cancer. No sunscreen provides 100% protection against UV radiation, there’s always some that will reach your skin, damaging the cells below. This damage builds up over time, which can increase your risk of skin cancers. Wear sunscreen every day!

How To Apply Sunscreen

What’s the best sunscreen for you? The kind you use. I’m repeating myself here, I know. Some people detest the physical sunscreens that might have a slight flashback or a white cast right when applied. If you’re hesitant then try several types: sprays, liquids and creams. The most important point is to apply and apply enough. SPF alone in makeup is not enough to protect you, as you won’t apply a sufficient amount.

As I’m not a dermatologist and sunscreen textures vary, I cannot say a certain amount for each sunscreen, but for the face and neck I’d aim to apply 1/2 teaspoon. I personally use a physical, very creamy type of a sunscreen: I dot it on my face and neck and massage gently until the product has absorbed and there is no white cast. Remember to reapply sunscreen every few hours if you’re in sunlight and immediately after swimming or sweating.

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Understand Sun Protection Factor

Studies over the years have shown that sun protection factors and actual protection percentage from ultraviolet rays don’t go hand in hand: SPF 60 is not double the protection of SPF 30. SPF15 means ~93% of UV rays are blocked, SPF30 blocks 97% and SPF50 98%. Above SPF50 the added protection is fairly miniscule, but the cosmetic properties of the sunscreen might be compromised (thicker, whiter texture).

You also need to check your sunscreen had both UVA and UVB rating. If your sunscreen says it’s “Broad Spectrum”, it means the product offers both UVA and UVB protection.

You might have seen that after the SPF and number there are products labeled with “PA” and plus ratings. PA grading system was established in Japan and is meant to inform about the level of protection from UVA rays. Always choose a product with PA+++ (or more) to get the best protection from UVA.

Susncreen and Vitamin D Absorbation

Vitamin D is produced by the body when the skin is hit by UVB rays. Theoretically, sunscreen use may lower the Vitamin D, but according to Harvard Health Publishing very few people wear enough sunscreen to block all UVB light. Where your live, skin color, weight, age, etc. also affects on Vitamin D absorption, so it’s safer to get sufficient amount of Vitamin D from food or supplements.

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What To Know About Physical And ‘Chemical’ UV Filters

I use the term physical and ‘chemical’ to demonstrate the differences in these UV filters, but some people may refer it as “natural/organic/mineral” and “synthetic” and so on. Physical sunscreens protect your skin from the Sun by blocking or deflecting the UV rays while chemical sunscreen absorb them. Physical UV filters are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, which are generally stable and safe sunscreen filters that don’t cause free radicals.

The issue in chemical UV filters is that some may irritate the skin and they have to be applied 15-20 minutes before being exposed to sun. On the other hand chemical UV filters are often cosmetically elegant: runny, light, colorless and odorless. Physical UV filters are thick, opaque and in some cases harder to apply if they leave a white cast. Some people are prone for breaking out from physical or chemical filters, so always patch test if you’re unsure if the product is suitable for you.

I personally only aim to use physical sunscreens, but for everyone I encourage you to avoid using oxybenzone and octinoxate as they damage reefs and have adverse health risks to humans and environment.

Read More About SPF on The Blog

Best Sunscreens For Summer 2018
What You Need To Know About Sun Care (2016)
My Sunscreen Reminder (and Innisfree Review)

Do you wear sunscreen every day?

How To Use Powder Face Masks

I recently popped to TwistBe’s* store in Kamppi district, Helsinki, and had a long chat with Kati, one of the wonderful founders. We chatted lengthy about the store concept and how curated their product lines are, and one brand that I kept seeing in the shop was BYBI*. I’m a fan of this “Instagram chic” British eco brand, but Kati mentioned that some customers shy away from the powder masks, such as BYBI’s Detox Mask. I thought how to powder face masks would be a great idea for a blog post, so here it comes!

How To Use Powder Face Masks | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog
How To Use Powder Face Masks | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

What Are Powder Face Masks And How To Use Them?

I like to categorize face masks in five main types

1. Balm/oil-based masks: like Josh Rosebrook Advanced Hydration Mask (review here)
2. Exfoliating or enzymatic masks, for example the Evolve or Tata Harper ones
3. Hydrating masks; wash-off (read more here) and sheet masks (reviews)
4. PRE-MIXED masks that use clays, such as Mahalo The Petal mask (review here and here)
5. MIX-IT-YOURSELF masks, which we’re talking about today!

These masks that come in powder forms are often clay, charcoal, seed powders or some flour-based concoctions that you mix (‘activate’) with a liquid, such as water, aloe vera or honey. This might sound complicated, too much effort or messy, but trust me on this – it’s not. You’re not baking a complex cake here, you’re just mixing a ~2 teaspoons of powder with 3-4 drops of liquid. If it’s too thick - add more liquid. If it’s too runny - add more powder! Simple as that.

How To Use Powder Face Masks | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Why Should I Choose A Powder Mask?

I think there are two main benefits: you get to customize your mask and it’s very cost-effective. Sometimes you might want to use your clay-based mask with water for drawing out impurities or exfoliate, on another occasion you might want to choose honey or aloe for a more gentle, hydrating mask session.

Powder masks stay good for a very long periods of time as they have no water or other ingredients that tend to go off quickly. If you’re concerned of preservatives, there usually is none. You can easily travel with a small amount of the powder, no cabin restrictions on an airplane. Beauty brands also tend to be very generous with the amount of mask powder you get: luxury brands like May Lindstrom or de Mamiel tend to be very pricey, but you get a ton of product when you choose a powder mask over pre-mixed one. Get one to share!

Thirdly, I personally enjoy it a lot. I put my hair up and feel like I’m doing something kind yet beneficial for myself and my skin. If you want to make this a full self-care ritual, maybe pour the powder in a special dish, such as a ceramic cup or even a beautiful soy sauce plate and use a face mask brush to mix and apply the mask. You don’t even need to purchase a special brush if you have an old paddle foundation brush.

How To Use Powder Face Masks | Laura Loukola Beauty Blog

Some Powder Masks to Try:

I haven’t tried all of these as I still have plenty of de Mamiel Brightening Cleanse and Exfoliate left and I am definitely going to repurchase. It’s amazing, but pretty strong and intense, so I listed alternatives. BYBI is a safe bet for your first powder mask if you’re unsure, but I’ve heard wonderful things about Leahlani! (Note: some of these websites have marked the product as ml vs g, but they are all powder)

BYBI the Detox Dust 60ml / €28.9 on TwistBe (FI)*
May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt Cleansing Clay 200ml / €74 on Jolie (FI)*
May Lindstrom The Problem Solver Correcting Masque 250ml / €105 on Jolie (FI)*
Isla Apothecary Skin Purifying Mud 85g / €38 on Jolie (FI)*
Leahlani Kokoleka Detox Face Mask 100ml / €72 on Jolie (FI)*
Leahlani Kalima Cleansing Powder 100ml / €53 on Jolie (FI)*
de Mamiel Brightening Cleanse and Exfoliate 70g / £45 on Cult Beauty*

Have you tried powder masks? What’s your favorite?

*This site utilizes ad links marked with (*) to support this blog.

Why Minimalism, KonMari and 'Capsule' Trends Need To Stop + Tips For Smart Consuming

From the beginning of this year I’ve been bumping into capsule wardrobes, project pans, minimalism challenges and no-buy promises more than ever. I thought I’d share some thoughts on this topic as I feel quite strongly about it - mainly what annoys me about this trend. Please share your thoughts in the comments if you feel similarly - or against!

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Reasons Minimalism Is So Popular Right Now?

I’d like to believe it’s because of the environment. Global warming is real, we simply cannot keep on consuming and wasting this much if we want to have a future on this little rock. But in media, I think minimalism is mostly just very trendy: Marie Kondo and her tidying rules were all the craze a couple of years ago, but now minimalism is also constantly spoken and pushed by bloggers and Youtubers. Where as shopping hauls were super popular video concept, now people post declutters and purges.

Why Am I Against “Capsule“ Collections and Declutters?

There’s a reason why I feel sceptic, sometimes even against the whole capsule concept and declutters. If these terms are unfamiliar to you, a capsule makeup collection (or wardrobe etc.) is a way to curate your stash, for example separating and storing seasonal items, discarding unused ones. Perhaps you limit yourself to a certain number of products and only shopping for a need. Decluttering one’s makeup stash (or wardrobe, cupboard, etc.) is getting rid of and donating unused items, also discarding things that have gone bad. That doesn’t sound so bad, just organizing?

The problem is the common mind-set to first discard and then create new “needs” to (re)purchase. We rarely just let go of unused items and show more love to our old favorites. Nope, there comes the need of replacing “missing items” as seasons, trends and hypes change. I see a similar trend with declutters - one shouldn’t just mindlessly discard old or unused items, but make a point why there’s so much excess in the first place! With all the new available room, one should refrain from shopping and filling it with new.

I started wondering if minimalism is just a trend for wealthy people, making you appear as a better person because because it’s trendy VS. being a mindful consumer. The things aren’t “weighing you down” but your problem with overconsumption. One popular Finnish blogger spoke how she has the goal of letting go 1000 things (excluding beauty items) - if I did the same, I’d be living in an empty flat.

My Tips for Mindful (Minimal) Consuming

I’m all about enjoying what I have, my problem is the endless decluttering, discarding and giving – that can lead to more consumption. In Finland we have a saying “The poor can’t afford to buy cheap” (“Köyhällä ei ole varaa ostaa halpaa”), which is what I stand by: only shopping for a need, saving and investing on quality items that don’t nee replacing right away. This method is also environmentally conscious as you’ll be buying less and only long-lasting items. A good quality item can often be repaired, fixed or modified.

  • When decluttering, remember to recycle accordingly!

  • Do self-searching why do you shop: is it for a need, because of boredom, sadness, etc. feelings you “deserve” something new

  • Stop referring to your items (bags, makeup, clothes, whatever) as a “collection”. They are items meant to be used, not just collected. Unless, you’re a collector of course.

  • Being a minimalist doesn’t mean asceticism, but enjoying and using what you already have.

  • Rotate your items to get the most out of them, store when not needed.

  • A no buy 6-12 months is a great way to inspect yourself as a consumer and make the most out of what you already have.

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Other Similar Trends To Follow

If you want to take a part in the “minimalist” game, I recommend two other trends: the anti-haul and no buy. An anti-haul is a concept created by drag artist Kimberly Clark where you use hyperbole to share why you are not shopping (new) makeup/product releases. We all have seen gazillion neutral palettes and red lipsticks, not that there was anything wrong with either of them, but this sort of humorous critical thinking raises awareness if we need all the new stuff.

The second trend is a no buy for X period of time, which I did myself in the Fall of 2017 by not shopping for new beauty items for a 1/2 year. I also have an article on How To Reduce Beauty Shopping. A no buy challenge encourages you to enjoy what you already have, question you actually need all what you want. I recommend checking Lisa Eldridge’s lovely #buynothing everyday makeup video where she focuses on techniques with what you may already have VS creating the need to purchase new.

Final thoughts

Don’t get me wrong, I think moderate minimalism is a great thing. Especially in the beauty world, who isn’t tired of brands pushing out new but similar products, new collections from left and right or accidentally purchasing dupes on what you already have. I’m all about enjoying my stash, repurposing and rotating items (do you want an article on that?) and letting go what I don’t use, but I try to do it mindfully. What are your thoughts? Are you a person who likes to declutter things or have you planned a no-buy?