Helene's Beauty Cabinet: Best on the Block

Wondering which sunscreen to slip, slop, slap with this summer? Our beauty expert Helene from Pretty Beautiful shares her favourite screens to beat those summer rays this month....

Finally we’re seeing a little sun of late, which for me is a reminder that summer is, maybe on its way and new sunscreen needs to go on the shopping list. Whenever I’ve asked beauty experts – be they dermatologists, make up artists or cosmetic surgeons – for their pick when it comes to anti-aging skincare, they all agree that the most important thing you can do to keep your skin looking good well into old age is wear a sunscreen. Daily. No arguments, no forgetting on a cloudy day, no saying, “my olive complexion is a sunblock in itself”! Most last twelve months max after being opened too, so if you’re still got some sitting around in your beach bag from this time last year then chuck it - ASAP!

One formula that was a winner from the get go is Osmosis Shade SPF 30 Sunscreen/Moisturiser. Designed for daily use, it is a broad-spectrum physical sunscreen that protects against the damaging effects of both UVA and UVB rays whilst providing great hydration. All natural, it works by utilizing micronized and coated zinc oxide and titanium oxide, making it a safe sunscreen option that provides transparent coverage while ensuring that your UV protection remains harmless and non-toxic. The high-performance, luxurious sunscreen-meets-moisturiser is ideal for all skin types and can be applied under makeup or after a shave, and has a vanilla, grapefruit and coconut scent that brings the tropics inside even on a cloudy day.


Neutrogena’s Beach Defence range is the newest from the dermatologist recommended suncare brand. With SPF 50 it is high enough to really make a difference, and works to combat the effect of prolonged exposure to water and the sun, both of which affect the permeability of the skin’s barrier and make us more susceptible to UV rays. It’s formulated with the brand’s famous Helioplex Technology - which harnesses the power of two sunscreens, Azovenzone and Oxybenxzone - so forms a broad spectrum UVA and UVB protective barrier that has been clinically proven time and time again to help skin defend against summer elements. It not only protects skin against photodamage (yes!), premature aging (double yes!), and sunburn (essential); but even reduces the amount of free radicals released into the skin - amazing.

Last up is my most used brand from last summer - COOLA. A beautifully packaged collection of organic sun essentials produced out of Southern California, the COOLA range includes a plethora of yummy products that are high performance yet delicate and kind on the environment. It is produced in limited quantity batches in California (where the company is based), meaning that the range can be reformulated often, taking advantage of new developments in sun science and labelling regulations almost as they happen.


The COOLA range has three distinct organic sunscreen collections to choose from: Plant UV, Mineral, and Classic, each based on different active ingredients. The Classic Sunscreens use organic active ingredients (commonly referred to as “chemicals”), while the Mineral Sunscreens use mineral (“physical”) active ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to scatter and reflect UVA/UVB rays. The mineral sunscreens are effective right after application, whilst the Plant UV collection protects the skin with naturally protective plant cells that contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Get slapping some on now!


Helene's Beauty Cabinet: Dr. Libby Weaver's Beauty From the Inside Out

This blog is not so much about a product that will change your life - although we all know that M.A.C’s Ruby Woo does have extraordinary powers! - but a book that aims to change the way you see yourself: Dr. Libby Weaver’s Beauty From The Inside Out.

Dr Libby

When I spoke to Dr. Libby just days before the book hit the stands she told me that one of its key purposes to “remind you of what your heart already knows,” as well as look at every little thing we do that can have an impact on how we look and feel in a beauty sense.


“Beauty really is an inside job,” she says, “how many of us stop to consider that our outer layer is merely a reflection of inner processes, completely reliant on the health of the 50 trillion cells that you are made of? And the health of those cells is affected by everything from the food you eat, the nutrients present or missing from your blood, and the hormones and messages your body makes based on whether your thoughts are fearful or loving.”

When most people think about improving their appearance, they usually focus on a product, another "quick fix", the pricey new moisturiser everyone tells you that you need RIGHT NOW. Yet when you consider the skin cells on your face are a small percentage of the total number of cells in the whole body, it seems crazy that we don't spend more time getting most of the cells functioning optimally, leading us to the outcomes we seek.

It is not a book teaching you how to cleanse, tone and moisturise, but rather how to make your own beauty shine and how to deal with very specific bumps in the road, such as dark circles under the eyes, eczema, pimples, and hair that is falling out, just to name a few. Just as importantly, “I explore your inner world, by taking a look at the emotional landscape because, for many, that is where the real elixir is,” she says.

When I asked her what her five beauty ‘essentials’ were she named things like Vitamin C, plant content for fibre and antioxidants, Lauric acid, remembering to ‘breathe’ (really breathe) and taking time for gratitude and kindness, as well as trying to omit - as much as possible - refined sugar from your diet. All of these are delved into much further in the book!

But for now I heartily recommend that you pick up a copy of Beauty From the Inside Out, “so it can remind you of what your heart already knows.”


Helene's Beauty Cabinet: Summer Glow

I recently spent four weeks in France, where tanning is still a very serious business. The general population invest time and money keeping themselves in close proximity to the sun at all times, be that on the beach, by a lake or a pool, or even lying out on one of Paris’ crowded ‘plages’ along the banks of the Seine. I got in to the spirit of things and relished the chance to try their sunblock brands, many of which are amongst the best in the world. Their sun is also a hell of a lot more forgiving than what we get Down Under, where I stick religiously to the Faux Glow.


It's that time of the year when the layers start falling off, so if you’re not working with some kind of tanning product now then I suggest you get to it – stat! And, if you’re as rubbish at applying self-tanners then it’s high time you made a gradual tanner your friend – the best of the bunch are pretty much foolproof, and great for your skin to boot.

*One of my fave gradual tanners is by Australian beauty brand ModelCo, who recently signed up Rosie H-W as their spokesbod. They are a brand known for high performance, no-nonsense, innovative products, and ModelCo’s Gradual Tan (told you they were no-nonsense) is an everyday triple action self-tanning moisturiser for all skin types that acts as a self-tanner, tan extender and moisturiser all in one, allowing you to build or prolong a natural-looking, streak free tan gradually and easily. It helps to improve and even out skin tone, prevent the visible signs of aging and protect the skin all while delivering a gradual golden glow. It’s also scented with what they call “delicious summer fruits”, so there are no tell tale signs of tanning, just a fresh, yummy scent.


On the self tan front, one product I made sure to pack was Kate Somerville’s Somerville360° Tanning Towelettes. The creator and director of her own renowned clinic on Melrose in Los Angeles, Kate Somerville has devoted her life to creating flawless faces. When it comes to a clear complexion and a gorgeous glow, stars like Jessica Alba depend on Kate’s clever hands and killer products. Every product in her range began life in her clinic, including the Towelettes, which contain a paraben-free self-tanning formula to give you a quick and even application with no streaking. She formulated these after years of despairing over client Paris Hilton’s shockingly fake looking spray tans, and the Hollywood princess was all the better for it! Incredibly easy to use and perfect for travel as they come individually sealed - no need to stress about bottles or tubes busting out en route - each Towelette is concentrated with a self-tanning formula to give you a quick and even application. To use, unfold the towelette and apply to dry, clean skin in a circular motion over your face and body, being sure to wash hands immediately that you’re done. Tan-tastic perfection and no over-spray coating the bathroom.


Last up, I’d like to give a shout out to Asyana’s Natural Sunless Tanning range. It was created to be a completely natural tan - in ingredients, look and feel – and contains only the best of fruit, plant and botanical extracts. Think the likes of Aloe Vera, Green Tea, Grapeseed, Allatoin and essential oils – all of the good stuff and none of the bad. The formulation is most importantly alcohol and paraben preservative free – and yep, it looks great!