The Sun’s Sneaky Danger Zone

How often are you in your car? A morning and afternoon commute to work? Or back and forth with children all afternoon? Does your job keep you on the road?

Have you noticed that some people have quite a bit more sun damage, or hyper-pigmentation marks, on the right side of the face?

This is often caused by incidental sun exposure in the car. Once you become aware of it, you start noticing how much UV you are exposed to while driving.


pic: Fox News

Here are three areas you should watch out for:

  1. Your Face. Particularly your right side, which is exposed to your window.  You may think that if you work in an office you don’t need to apply sunscreen, but the UV exposure  of a two way commute is not worth the omission.
  2. Your Decollete. In the afternoon the angle of the sun might miss your face, or the car visor might protect you, but your chest area will soak up the rays. This area is often neglected over time and any sun damage there exaggerates age. Bring your sunscreen application down your neck and onto the decollete. Include the side of your neck and do not apply perfume to this area. Perfume renders the skin photo-sensitive.If you apply it to areas exposed to sunlight, pigmentation often results.
  3. Your Hands. Memories of my Grandmother tell me she had beautiful, soft, unmarked hands.  She used to wash my hands for me and I still remember the feel of hers around mine. She lived into her nineties and was sun damage free. My Grandmother grew up in Yorkshire and, after moving to South Africa in her twenties, seldom went out in the sun. When she drove, she wore gloves. Perhaps that is a tradition we should re-instate? Your hands are up there on the steering wheel, exposed to the full, fierce wrath of the sun. Put sunscreen on them or, channel your inner Grace Kelly and grab a pair of vintage driving gloves.                                            driving-gloves-grace-kelly
  4. Your Children. They get nearly as much sun in the car as you do. Apply sunscreen to their faces and hands too.


    shannon baker photography

Sunscreen facts to remember:

  1. A higher factor doesn’t mean stronger protection, it means you can be exposed to the sun for longer. SPF is a function of time. 10 x SPF = time in minutes before you could burn.                                                                                                                                                              ancient desert secrets
  2. Super high factors contain more chemicals.sunscreen-kalahari  mongongo-spf-600x

The Kalahari Range has an SPF40 Sunscreen which contains  a mineral sunscreen for UVA and UVB protection (read about mineral vs chemical sunscreens here ) It  contains Kigelia Africana Extract for firming and toning and Marula Seed Oil which reduces trans-epidermal water loss and redness. Mongongo Extract has hydrating and regenerating properties and it provides the protective film for the skin when it is exposed to UV rays.  In the Kalahari, this oil is extracted from the fruit of the Manketti tree, and is used to reflect the sun from the skin, working as a natural reflector. (This is how more common mineral sunscreen ingredients like Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide work.)  The Kalahari sunscreen SPF40 (50ml) retails at R275 .  There is also a Mongongo Body SPF2o  (160ml) which retails for R290 

Skincare for Pigmentation – how do the products work?

I have worked with a number of products that improve pigmentation. Some use Tyrosinase inhibitors (the enzyme that produces melanin) some use alpha hydroxy acids, and others use Vitamin A.

Kalahari, the product I have chosen for Sunrise Beauty Studio, has a Skin Brightening gel that you can use under your moisturizer. Lets have a look at how this particular gel works.




  1. It contains Alpha Arbutin,  Carob Leaf Extract and Kigelia Africana
  2. Alpha Arbutin inhibits the production of melanin. Arbutin comes from the Bear Berry plant and has a skin lightening effect, and is safe to use at low concentrations, like the 3% found in Kalahari’s skin brightening gel.  Read this article  for more info on Arbutin and how it works.                                                                                                                     alpha-arbutin
  3. Carob Leaf Extract inhibits Tyrosinase activity,as shown in this study. Tyrosinase is the enzyme that produces melanin and causes hyperpigmentation in the skin.                carob-leaf
  4. Kigelia Africana is the sausage tree, and the extract of this plant has natural skin lightening properties.                                                                                                                              kigelia-sun-trees

The gel contains other active ingredients that

  • stimulate collagen and elastin production
  • are effective antioxidants
  • have firming effects

Use the gel under your moisturizer and top that with our SPF 40. There is no point fighting your pigmentation and then not protecting your skin from the sun.

Which of these gels would you like me to feature next?

  • Oily Skin Correction Gel
  • Revitalizing Booster Gel
  • Phyto Comfort Lotion 
  • Anti-Ageing Gel


Life after imported skin care ranges

I am not the best retail saleslady on earth. Ask *imported French skincare range* After fifteen years together, they broke up with me.

While I was always confident in the efficacy of the range, I was not always comfortable selling it due to the cost of the products.

Don’t get me wrong. I love *imported French skincare range* I knew the products inside out, the molecules, the nanospheres, the polysaccharide chains, even the effect of tyrosinase on melanocytes. But when I closed my PE salon and moved house six times in three years and my sales spiraled down, *imported French skincare range* broke up with me.


I thought my skin would never be the same. I gave up offering skincare on my treatment menu. How could I live, or move on, without *them*?

Maybe you have felt like that too? Maybe you have felt the cost of *imported skin care ranges* stretching out of your reach, but you are afraid that it will mark the beginning of the end of your complexion?

I stumbled across Kalahari Lifestyle while searching the internet for a local, good quality, effective brand.  Then I found them IRL at the Professional Beauty Expo.

ancient desert secrets

The range is made of concentrated plant extracts, phyto compounds and plant oils sourced from indigenous African Plants. Kalahari is an environmentally conscious brand and uses only reputable phytotrade organizations and sustainable resources.


Rosehip Fruit Oil

Plus it’s an affordable brand, in nice, yet minimal packaging, rep’ed by friendly, knowledgeable staff and has a cool, earthy vibe.

I loved the facials and the products right away,  but deep down I was skeptical that my skin could ever be as good as it was with *imported French skincare range*

I used up bits and bobs, left overs of *imported French skincare range*, samples and trials from various suppliers, all the while bewailing my now dull, aging skin, with it’s new blotches of pigmentation, the side effects of my obsession with stand up paddle boarding.

When I finally plucked two products off my Kalahari retail shelf, the top of the range Phyto Rich Moisturizer (R304)  for Dry/Mature Skin and and the Phyto DD cream (a tinted moisturizer which retails at R123), I hoped for the best, but prepared for the worst.


At first I saw no improvement. My dreams of being dewy again, as I was on  *imported French skincare range*, seemed distant. But halfway into the Phyto Rich Moisturizer, and after a Phyto Compound facial, things started to change. I started to see and feel a difference. My dewy complexion returned (the opposite of parched and dehydrated), my pigmentation reduced, I noticed a radiant glow and a lovely smooth texture.


I can’t believe it. Because I am a good few years north of forty, it’s hard to keep the effects of aging at bay, so I am thrilled with this result. My skin is as good, if not BETTER than it was on *imported French skincare range*  I can’t wait to add serums and gels to my routine to see even more of a difference. And I am delighted that the products do not require a small mortgage to purchase.

I now feel 100% confident to recommend them to my clients because they work, and I feel comfortable to recommend them to my clients because they don’t cost the earth.

Kalahari Lifestyle includes:

Natural Products

Not tested on Animals 

Recyclable Packaging

Contains NO – parabens, sulphates, isoporpylene glycol, formaldehyde and mineral oil

Organically sourced Khoi San Rooibos Tea


Five Manicure Must-Haves #5

Hand Cream 

Your hands are exposed to the elements more than your face and they suffer in our Southern Hemisphere climate all year round.

In summer they feel the effects of UV radiation while we go about our day to day activities, particularly when we are driving. They are up there near the windshield, getting all the rays for hours a day at times.


Here are five of the best:

  1. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream – available at Red Square for R325 right now. Yikes. I know.You need a second mortgage for that. It’s actually meant to be for your face, but if your hands are in dire need, it will work wonders, plus it has an SPF 15 which our Southern Hemisphere hands need. Desperately.
  2. Nivea Q -10 Anti-Aging Hand Cream – you can pick it up at Woollies or Clicks for R35.99  It also has UVA and UVB filters. It does the job, suits the budget and fits in the handbag.
  3. Norwegian Formula Hand Cream from Neutrogena is perfect for dry, winter hands. There are three versions: the fast absorbing formula;  the fragrance free, which is great for people with eczema; and the anti-aging version, which is great for, you know, us and Peter Pan and all the others who don’t really want to age.
  4. Kalahari’s Healing Hands priced at R263 seems like a luxury buy, but it is a treatment product designed to bring neglected hands back to good health. It restores natural moisture to sun-damaged skin, using hematite stone extract. Hematite stimulates collagen synthesis and is used as an anti-wrinkle treatment.
  5. The Body Shop Hand Creams are highly rated by Marie Claire UK and are a budget beating R55. The Satsuma one looks delicious for winter, but it does not have an SPF so you need to layer one over the top.




How to do a no-tools French Manicure

What’s Monday without a great manicure to see you through the week?

Today why not paint your own French Manicure?

french mani

I love this easy Tutorial by the amazing Kelli Marissa. Watch it and you will be able to paint your own french manicure in a flash.  You will only need six things.

  1. A nail cleanser/dehydrator (you could use nail polish remover)
  2.  A base coat, preferably a ridge filler.
  3. A white nail polish.
  4. A top coat (she uses one with a gel-like finish, only you won’t need a light to cure it)
  5. A narrow tipped brush
  6. Pure acetone.

DIY Easy Classic French Manicure Tutorial (no tools required!) || KELLI MARISSA

Don’t forget to scroll below to see similar products to the ones Kelli Marissa has used that are available in South Africa.

Chip Skip from OPI (available at Salons)                                                                                          chip skip


Ridge Filler from Orly (available at Salons and Hands Down in Cape Town)

ridge filler

White Nail Polish  I like Sally Hansen’s Hard Nails Xtr  White. It doesn’t go thick and has a nice thin brush.


Essence has  a top coat that mimics a gel.

essence gel topcoat

You can get a narrow tip brush, like a shading brush at Dischem.

Dischem also stocks pure acetone, as does Clicks and your hardware store.


Have a great #ManicureMonday


Africa’s unique source of Vitamin C

The Baobab tree is synonymous with Africa.  You can hear the cicadas and the roar of lions just looking at the picture, right?


But did you know the Baobab Fruit is packed with Vitamin C?

vitamin c orange

According to PhytoTrade Africa  it contains six times more vitamin C than your average orange, six times more potassium than a banana, more calcium than milk, more antioxidants than blueberries, cranberries and goji berries, and it contains iron and magnesium.

You can put Baobab Fruit Powder into smoothies, yoghurt, mix it into your oats, but guess what we do with it in the world of skincare?

We put it on your face.

Mostly, we do so for the Vitamin C content.

But what does Vitamin C do for your skin?

According to Oregon State University Micronutrient Information Center, Vitamin C has the following affect:

“The antioxidant properties of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and its role in collagen synthesis (the production of collagen) make vitamin C a vital molecule for skin health. Dietary and topical ascorbic acid have beneficial effects on skin cells, and some studies have shown that vitamin C may help prevent and treat ultraviolet (UV)-induced photodamage”

Smoking, ozone exposure, UV exposure and pollutants can lower the vitamin C content of your epidermis.

Dietary Vitamin C is delivered to the skin via the blood stream.


The big debate with topical application of ingredients is whether they can pass through the epidermis to the dermis to have an affect on the skin at a deeper level (where the fat, blood supply, fibroblasts and collagen are), or whether their effects are just cosmetic.


But the Oregon State University found in an observational study that the topical application of Vitamin C for at least 12 weeks results (in some individuals) in reduced wrinkles, reduced protein fibre damage, reduced roughness, and increased production of collagen.

According to the University, the primary obstacle to topical application of vitamin C is the Stratum Corneum (the outer layer of skin cells of the epidermis, which is the skin you see). The Stratum Corneum can be removed by laser or chemical or mechanical methods in order to facilitate better absorption of topical Vitamin C.

In our Kalahari Phyto-Compounding Treatments at Sunrise Beauty Studio, we first exfoliate the skin with our Enzyme Face Buff. This contains pumpkin extract, and pineapple and papaya enzymes to perform a chemical exfoliation. This loosends the dead skin cells of the Stratum Corneum. The face buff also contains Jojoba wax beads, which then mechanically remove the loosened dead cell matter from the skin’s surface.


After removing the exfoliant with mittens soaked in Rooibos tea, we combine the Baobab Fruit Powder (high in Vitamin C) ; muds or clays specific to your skin type, and more freshly brewed Rooibos tea (also rich in antioxidants). This is applied to the skin with a mask brush and left to dry completely.

The result is a brightened skin with reduced wrinkle depth, reduced roughness and improved collagen synthesis. Obviously the effect needs to be reinforced with correct home care.


Aside from the benefits to your skin, one of the most heartening aspects of the emergence of Baobab Fruit powder as a Vitamin C power house, is that it has empowered primary producers, mostly women, in Africa, particularly in Malawi.


Forbes contributor, Nadia Arumugam writes  “Esnati, a Malawian mother, was able to send all her children to school, build a house, buy a bicycle and feed her family on the income provided by picking the baobab fruit”

With the increased demand for Baobab fruit, Phyto Africa , the distributor of Baobab Fruit Powder to the EU, is making a positive environmental, social, cultural and economic impact on these primarily female headed households.

“Over the past five years PhytoTrade has engaged with over 15,000 primary producers per annum, with more than 60% of these being women”

So each time you get Vitamin C applied your skin, during a Kalahari Phyto Compound Facial, you form part of the chain of demand that empowers these women.

Please contact  me to make your next facial appointment

Five Manicure Must-Haves #4

This tiny tool will be your new manicure BFF. Keep a couple in your manicure bag. Always.

Use a toothpick to clean up around the cuticle and achieve that perfect 1-2mm gap. Your Sunday evening paint job will soon look totes professional. It’s much more accurate than a clunky orange stick and a zillion times more hygienic. (You won’t be using it again. #disposable)

Here are a few tips:

  1. Get all ready and out on the table, because you can’t dig in your manicure bag for a toothpick once you have started painting. You need a couple of toothpicks, cotton wool, and some nail polish remover.   IMG_20160604_221438
  2.  Use a bare toothpick to sweep away any polish that you get on the skin or cuticle while the polish is still wet. Nothing else required.                                                                                                                   IMG_20160604_221652
  3.   Too many mistakes to sweep away super fast before they dry? Dip the bare toothpick into nail polish remover so that it is quite wet                                                                                                              IMG_20160604_221722
  4. Roll the wet toothpick in a bit of the fluff on the top of your cotton wool so that it picks up a few strands.  Keep rolling the toothpick to avoid picking up too much cotton wool or picking it up unevenly.                                                                                                                      IMG_20160604_221756
  5. Flatten the cotton wool against the wet toothpick, it will absorb the nail polish remover, but it will lie flat and snug against the toothpick.                                                     IMG_20160604_221838
  6.  Now you can clean the skin and cuticle area without gouging your manicure or getting wads of fluff onto your freshly painted nails.                                                                                                                                             IMG_20160604_221925



You can share your results by tagging me on Twitter (@SunriseStudio1 ) or Instagram (@sunrisebeautystudio )   I’d love to see your manicures.

Coming Soon: The Fifth (and final) Manicure Must-Have

6 Ingredients you need to survive Monday. Beautifully

Hello gorgeous poppets.  Did this morning go something like this?

princess and frog alarm

Well, congratulations. You made it. It’s Monday evening C.A.T. It’s downhill from here to Tuesday.

Still feeling a little bleary eyed from all that weekending though? Dark circles, puffiness?

Well, I found 6 ingredients you should look for in an eye serum/gel or cream that will give you that Friday look first thing on Monday.

  1.  Antioxidants . These include Vitamin A, C and E, Beta Carotene, Lutein and Selenium. Vitamin A is the one many product houses love. They also call it Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate or Retinyl Acetate.
  2. Peptides. These are proteins that stimulate collagen production. Collagen is found in the dermis, which, if you think of the dermis as a mattress, represents the foam. The elastin forms the springs.
  3. Hyaluronic Acid. This  little molecule  is a moisture magnet. It attracts moisture and clings to it.
  4. Sunscreens  Only the reflective kind, like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, are really suitable for the eye area. Their amazing reflective properties have a cosmetic affect on under eye dark circles and they prevent further sun damage (which is a big culprit when it comes to those dark circles.) Sunscreens are particularly important when using Vitamin A based products and alpha hydroxy acids.
  5.  Hydrolysed Rice Bran Protein  This stimulates the micro circulation to help improve puffiness and dark circles under the eyes. Some eye creams also contain caffeine to stimulate micro circulation. When this happens, excess fluid and toxins are drained more efficiently and oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the tissue.  (We are not talking under eye bags here though.Those are part of the aging process, when the supporting tissue and muscles have weakened. Only surgery can sort out those.)
  6. Essential Fatty Acids  These keep your epidermis hydrated and enhance the suppleness of the skin, for a fresh, dewy look.

One of my favorite products is Defi Lift Eye Serum from Gatineau  It lifts and tightens using proteins, peptides and antioxidant Vitamins.

Dermalogica’s Age Reversal Eye Complex contains Retinol, Vitamin C and Oat Protein.

I love our local Environ C-Quence Eye Gel with it’s Vitamin C and Peptides.

Kalahari’s Anti-Puffiness Eye Serum contains Anti-oxidants, Essential Fatty Acids, Rice Bran Protein. It is their most talked about product.

What ingredients are in your eye products? What? You don’t have eye products?

Well. If you  want next Monday to be less like this:


and more like this:

sleeping beauty

why don’t y’all head off and get yourself an eye serum with one or more of these ingredients?

P.S. Make sure it’s in a tube. Stays fresher in there and there is less chance of contamination.



Five Manicure Must-Haves # 3

The treasure here is oil And no. Not the kind that stands in the way of world peace and Greenpeace, but the kind that

  1. You take after breakfast, and
  2. You paint on your cuticles

Essential Fatty Acids

These are your Omega 3’s (but 6’s are great too.) You can pop a capsule of fish oils or add salmon, flaxseeds and walnuts to your diet. Eat them, swallow them, pinch your nose as they go down, do what you have to do. They moisturize you from the inside and the result is fabulous skin, nails and hair.

Cuticle Oil

The science behind cuticle oil is that your nails are only as good as the matrix. (And here we are not talking Keanu Reeves. Although we can reflect on him for a moment, if you wish?)



Okay, enough of that, back to business. Take a look at this diagram. Try not to feel queasy.



See the nail matrix? That is the germinating layer that produces new nail cells. It’s the breeding ground of your nails. So slam it in the door and you’ll lose the entire nail, or get a mark or a dent that lasts from 3 months to forever.

On the contrary, if you massage the cuticle area and the matrix with cuticle oil daily, what a marvelous service you provide. You stimulate blood supply and new growth as well as sending nourishing molecules down to all those new cells. You keep the cuticle nice and supple, so that it doesn’t stick to the nail plate, which allows your growing nail to slide out from underneath unhindered.

As the nail cells mature in the matrix they move forward and push the old cells ahead of them. The old cells flatten and harden (don’t we all, with age?) and become your nail. They are what they are at that stage. You can rub in as much oil as you like but you will change very little. The only place you can nourish and moisturize your nails effectively is in the matrix. Because it takes time for these cells to age and become your nails you will only see the results of your cuticle oil efforts after about 3 months. It’s like Tinkerbell and the other fairies. You have to believe in order to see.


My favourite oils are

Avoplex by OPI (especially because it also comes in a handy little pen so you can do sneaky cuticle oiling during boring meetings.)

cuticle oil opi   avoplex to go

I also love Orly’s


Essence also carries a range of affordable cuticle care products, including a nail care pen (for sneaky manicuring), a quick and easy sponge nail caring oil  and a repairing nail oil with argan oil. You can buy them online or at Dischem.

Have any of you tried them?  I would love to hear your opinion.

How high an SPF should you wear?

The average person can be in the sun for about 10 minutes before they start to burn. The SPF increases the amount of time you can be in the sun before you burn.



So haul out your maths and let’s calculate that length of time by multiplying the number on the bottle by the 10 minute average.


If you wear a sun protection factor 30 and you hit the beach, how long have you got?

30 x the 10 minute average = 300 minutes before you are likely to burn.

A 15 SPF?

15 x 10mins = 150 minutes before you burn (See. You rock at maths.)

There is a catch though.

You have to apply 2mg of sunscreen per square cm of skin to achieve the physical barrier between your peaches and cream and that fireball for the SPF to work. (I know. More maths. It’s about a US nickel or ZA 50 cent coin sized blob for your face alone.)

posugar sunscreen

So if you’re going out all day (say a 4 hour morning on the beach) can you whack on a tot measure of factor 50 and be good to go?

(After all it’s 50 x 10 = 500 minutes, right? That’s like, a zillion hours?)

Sorry no. We move around, swim, towel off, even if we are not at the beach our clothes rub against the areas we’ve applied sunscreen, so you need to reapply every 2 hours, no matter the SPF you’ve used.

So why bother with a higher SPF ?

Well there’s this, from Sunscreen 101 :

“Testing an SPF of 30+ allows 3.23 per cent of the UV light that causes sunburn to get through the sunscreen film, whereas an SPF 50+ only allows 1.66 per cent to get through.”

But is this slight benefit of a 50+ SPF  worth it?

Not all experts think so.

The ingredients that safely create a sunscreen  are  physical barriers, like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. (The white stuff that lingers. You know,  the stuff you see smeared on cricketers and surfers?) These reflect the UV rays.

The dubious ingredients in sunscreens are chemicals. To raise the SPF, manufacturers need to pour in more chemicals, and the one with the dodgy reputation is called Oxybenzone.  Some schools of thought suggest these chemicals contribute to hyperpigmentation and hormone problems. However, the American Academy of Dermatology states that it is safe.

CNN reporter Daniella Dellorto explains however, that the benefit of a high SPF is marginal. “Studies show that sunscreen with SPF 15 can block about 93% of all incoming UVB rays. SPF 30 blocks 97%. SPF 50 blocks 98%.”

SkinCancer.Org  dermatology expert,Dr Steven Wang, explains the down side of using very high SPF sunscreen (50+)

” above SPF 50 (which blocks an estimated 98 percent of UVB rays), the increase in UVB protection is minimal. ”

The article continues:

‘Products with very high SPFs may also encourage individuals to neglect other photoprotective behaviors, like seeking the shade and wearing sun-protective clothing… By preventing sunburn, sunscreens with very high SPFs can create a false sense of security, prompting consumers to stay out in the sun longer.  Sun damage (for example, UVA damage) can take place without skin-reddening doses of UV radiation’

Young man applying suntan lotion on a young woman's back at the beach

So lovelies, the conclusion appears to be this:

  1. Wear an SPF of at least 15 but preferably 30 or 40.  (That will give you 2 hours)
  2. Reapply every 2 hours. (Better, go inside. Over 2 hours is too long.)
  3. Lay it on thick. Big dollops.

Enjoy your happy, safe, un-sunburned summer days, Northern Hemisphere.

And cheer up Southern Hemispherites. Summer will be back before you know it. In the meantime, keep up with the sunscreen. We are, you will remember, living under the Ozone Hole. And, you don’t have to burn to get sun damage.


This is the Fitzpatrick scale. It will help you to see where you are in relation to average:

Fitzpatrick skin classification with text

Related: My favorite sunscreens. Coming soon…