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Skincare can be a real minefield. There are thousands of products on the market and you can combine them in millions of different ways, so how do you find the routine that will give you flawless, fresh, and glowing skin? The reality is, no two women are the same, and our skin can be affected by a plethora of different factors. Your genetics, your diet, the climate you live in, and the products you use will all affect your skin. There’s no point following a generic routine that doesn’t take you personal needs into account. Follow these steps to build the perfect skincare routine for you.

Find Your Skin Type

How does your skin feel right after you’ve washed your face with water? If it feels tight, you’ve got dry skin. If it’s greasy, you’ve got oily skin. A mix of tightness and grease? That’s combination skin. And if you’re neither oily or dry, congratulations! Your skin type is generally described as “normal”. Products are broadly designed to suit skin in these different categories, so this is the first step to finding skincare that works for you.

Pinpoint Any Specific Issues

Maybe you’ve got acne, or a pesky patch of dry skin that never goes away. Maybe your makeup doesn’t apply smoothly because you have a particularly oily T-zone. You might have issues with your skin’s texture, appearance, or both. Or perhaps you’ve got no particular issues with your skin and you’re just looking for a routine to keep your skin healthy. Figuring out what issues you need to target will help you find the right products. For acne, you want oil-free products and gentle acids, while dry skin needs moisture-rich solutions. For problem-free skin, you need products that won’t be too harsh so they don’t throw your skin out of whack.

Start With The Basics

You don’t need a thousand products when you’re starting out. After all, if you add fifteen lotions and potions to your daily skincare, how will you know what’s working? Focus on finding basics that are targeted for your skin type and any specific issues you have –
that means a toner, a moisturiser, and sunscreen. Washing your face with water, toning and moisturising, and using sunscreen when you go outside – that’s the base you need to start perfecting your skin.

Branch Out

Once you’ve found your basics, gradually introduce new products. Some good options are an exfoliant for the morning and a cleanser and serum for morning and night. Again, always look for products that target your skin type and introduce them one at a time, giving each two weeks so you can judge any positive or negative effects (unless you have a bad reaction to them, of course).

Once you’ve put a basic skincare routine in place, it’s all about trial and error. In time, you’ll find out exactly what works for you, but in the meantime, these steps will give you the building blocks you need to coax your skin towards gorgeous, glowing perfection.

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Celebrate Your Style with Your Own Signature Fragrance

It may seem like the ultimate in alchemy – transforming different aromas into one stunning signature perfume – but it is not completely shrouded in mystery. In fact, you can create your own perfume, one that is unique to you. You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment, but you do need some ingredients before you get to choose your essential oils, and create your own blend.

You will need an alcohol base for your perfume. Vodka is a popular choice as it’s odorless, and there is always some left over for a cocktail. You will also need a collection of old perfume and cologne bottles and sprays that can be opened. These should be thoroughly washed and dried to remove all traces of old scent.

Now you need to consider the structure of your perfume before you start experimenting. A classic perfume consists of top notes, middle notes and base notes. The top note is the ‘zing’ of your perfume that will be evident as soon as you put it on, but it doesn’t as long as the others. The middle note will come into play after the top note has faded. The base note is a long lasting aroma that anchors the rest.

You will see from this that you need to structure your perfume to fade gracefully. The very best perfumes do this – they don’t just vanish all at once, as lesser perfumes do, or fade to a cheap base note. The best base notes are the heavy, warm scents such as sandalwood or patchouli. Both have an oriental aroma although patchouli is much stronger. Amber is another common base note that is suitable for most perfume types. Musk also popular and anchors a perfume very well. Note that it is synthetically made now instead of taken from an animal. Greener base notes can be found in vetiver, rosemary, cedarwood and oakmoss. Once you have decided on your base note (or notes, you can combine them) you can move on to the middle notes.

These are the aromas that give your perfume its character, and set its direction – this can be floral, classical, sensual, youthful and so on. Among the middle notes you will find the longer lasting floral scents, such as rose, jasmine and ylang-ylang. Herbal scents such as thyme, clary sage and rosemary, and spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger are all popular middle notes.

The lighter top notes can be chosen from among many floral and citrus scents – here you will find lavender, violet, mimosa – lemon, lime and orange. Let your own taste guide you in choosing the notes for your perfume, but don’t be afraid to experiment. A touch of spice may be just what your floral mixture needs to set it apart and make it your own, a hint of sensuality may be just the right note to anchor your green and woody scent to your own personality.

The real secret to blending essential oils is to use a dropper and a glass bottle. Put in your chosen base notes first, then add the rest, adjusting to get the scent you want. You will need only a few drops or less of each. Then add your oil mix to the alcohol, filling the bottle to the top. You will need a fine funnel to do this, or you can fill it with a dropper, which will take more time.

When you have created your own signature scent, you can also create your own range of products. Add it to fragrance-free products like baby shampoo for your hair and baby oil for after bath care. Sprinkle a few drops into fine arrowroot powder for talc and add to plain sorbolene for skin care.

You can also sprinkle it on patterned paper to scent your underwear drawer, on writing paper and envelopes to make your letters extra special and add to potpourri to give your home your own very personal touch.

Lastly, give your signature perfume a name. Take a leaf out of the celebrity book and use your own name and a word that inspires you. Use your computer to create labels for your products. In other words, be your own ‘It Girl’.

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