Why you should exfoliate:

Your Epidermis (the part of the skin you see) has 5 layers or stratum.



New skin cells are born deep down in your Epidermis at the Stratum Basale (or Germinativum)  As more new cells grow, the older cells are pushed up into the next stratum, Spinosum, thence to Granulosum and Lucidum and finally they end of at Stratum Corneum, the outermost layer that you see.

The trouble with the cells by the time they reach Stratum Corneum is that they are pretty much done for. Dead. Goners. As you can see in the diagram by the time the keratinocytes (skin cells) reach the Stratum Granulosum the nucleus and other cell organelles have broken down. One of things left is a protein called keratin, which is one of the structural components of the Stratum Lucidum, and the structures of hair, skin and nails.

Anyway if you want to read the technical aspects of keratinocytes you can have a look here at BC Open Text Books (Anatomy and Physiology)

The Stratum Corneum is the superficial layer exposed to the environment and it is a layer of dead cells that protect and “waterproof” your skin. Every 28 days all these cells are shed and replaced by new cells that push up from Granulosum.

However, not all the cells are shed efficiently in some cases and that is where Exfoliation comes in.

Cosmetic products, like serums and moisturizers do not usually penetrate as efficiently as they could if your skin is not exfoliated enough. In a young person with a fast cell turnover, 2-3 times a week is good, but in an older person, less frequent exfoliation is necessary as your cell turnover is not at such a high rate.

So if you are spending a bit of cash on a nice moisturizer, full of vitamins and peptides, remember to invest in a good exfoliator.

What makes a good exfoliator?

Stay tuned for the next post in the series.




Uh oh. Waxing season is back. Here are ten reminders to keep you smooth.

Has spring sprung on your unwaxed legs?  Have they kept you sweating in your winter leggings or hiding in your wetsuit?


Here are a few reminders to make that imminent waxing appointment a success.



  1. Don’t be tempted to shave. Not now. Maybe you could have in mid July, but we need 5mm or a 2-3 weeks growth for this appointment to be a winner.
  2. If you’re waxing for an upcoming event, make sure you make your appointment at least 2 days in advance so your skin can settle.
  3. Don’t use Retin-A or products containing retinol at least 2 weeks before waxing. If you are on roaccutane, don’t wax at all.
  4. Don’t get  sunburned ever, but especially right before your wax appointment.
  5. Exfoliate and moisturize the day before.

Woman About to Receive a Waxing Treatment


  1. Don’t have hot showers, baths, saunas for 24 hours.
  2. Don’t wear tight clothing over the waxed area for 24 hours.
  3. Don’t use creams / lotions or deoderants on the waxed area for 24 hours.
  4. Don’t go straight to the sun lounger. Your waxed skin is susceptible to pigmentation.
  5. Keep the skin clean to avoid bacterial infection in the empty hair follicles.

We have white chocolate hot wax in stock here at Sunrise Studio for use on the bikini line, underarms and facial waxing. We have regular chocolate strip wax for the legs.


Look forward to seeing you (and the sun & spring blossoms) soon!



Why you need to wear sunscreen in winter

If your enthusiasm for SPF has cooled off  with the autumn nights, think again.

There is a very good reason to keep wearing sunscreen year round and even when you are not at the beach.

Did you know that your skin is one of the organs that makes up your immune system? One of the most important functions of your skin is protection.

immunity organs

Some sun exposure is good for you (It helps you make Vitamin D, which supports your immunity, has antibacterial properties on acneic skin and new research  indicates the possibility that blue light in sunslight boosts the activity of T-cells, which are an important part of your immune response.)

However there are some scenarios where sun exposure can have a negative effect on the immune function of your skin.

In his book Skin Care Beyond the Basics (Third Edition 2007), Mark Rees PhD (Health Sciences) explains that ‘Exposure to sunlight “chases off” your protective macrophage “guard cells,” allowing substances and organisms to enter the skin, increasing the chance of infection.’

Think about people who get cold sores or fever blisters. When else do they get them?

Flare ups of Herpes Simplex often occur after sun exposure. This demonstrates the immune system’s reduced ability to deal with the virus during sun exposure.

The World Health Organization backs this theory up:

“UVB radiation appears to reduce the effectiveness of the immune system – in the case of cold sores it can no longer keep the virus Herpes simplex under control which results in re-activation of the infection.”

Does sunscreen make a difference supporting the immunity of the skin during sun exposure?

WHO quotes a study in the United States:

“Of 38 patients, who recurrently suffer from Herpes simplex infections, 27 developed cold sores after exposure to UV radiation. In contrast, after the application of protective sunscreen, none of the patients developed cold sores.”

So the answer to supporting your skin’s immune function when exposed to UV radiation is sunscreen.

It is very important to teach children to wear sunscreen daily, all year round. This will protect their little immune systems as well as protect their skin. They will still enjoy the benefits (eg. Vitamin D) from sunlight, but sunscreen will protect them from the negative effects.

Mark Rees adds that “we receive about 80% of the sun’s damage to the skin before the age of 18….most sun exposure is not from sunbathing but from day-to-day exposure.”

In South Africa we lead an outdoor lifestyle almost all year round.  Shielding our skin with sunscreen will prevent premature aging, skin cancers and help support the immune system. So sunscreens should be a habit for every season, as part of a healthy lifestyle. skin-immune-system-figure_1


Any sunscreen will do, but ideally, an they should have an SPF of between 15 and 50. If you want to understand SPF’s better read How high an SPF should you wear?

Sunscreens I love are:

Kalahari SPF 40 (Available at my studio)

Cetaphil Sunscreen by Galderma (Available at Dischem and Clicks)

Island Tribe Gel (For water sports. You can buy it at surf shops, like Xpression on the Beach and Lifestyle. It DOES NOT come off in your eyes and you NEVER get burned) . Island Tribe Cream is great if you on dry land.

I get dermatitis from some sunscreens and the above get my personal allergy all clear. I use Island Tribe on my children for water sports but I prefer a pump or spray bottle of sunscreen for easy daily mass applications.  I buy those at PicknPay or Dischem or Clicks.

ALL the brights and beautifuls with this enzyme peel

There is one facial in the Kalahari range that I’ve kind of been sneaking around, avoiding.

My facial nemesis is the Phyto Enzyme Compound treatment, also known as the PEC treatment or pumpkin enzyme exfoliation.

Joyous Health

It is short in duration but deep in exfoliation. The active ingredient is a pumpkin enzyme that digests the protein of your skin’s dead surface cells. The removal of these cells increases skin renewal, improves cell turnover, smooths your skin’s texture and brightens dull skin.

Sounds wonderful, right? So why have I been avoiding it?

Well, our whole business model as beauty therapists is client-comfort led. We want you to feel like you are having a long, luxurious, relaxing treatment, but this treatment is short and sharp. It is an enzyme peel, and, I’m sure you know, a peel is not always super comfortable while its happening.

Many of you are also presenting with skin irritations, eczema, and sensitive skin, possibly due to  increasing environmental and stressful lifestyle factors, so we  have to be pretty courageous when choosing intensive, active treatments like the Phyto Enzyme Compound.

I decided, though, after looking at Kalahari’s incredible before and after photos, that it was time to stop avoiding this challenge. I decided it was probably also best that the crash test dummy for the Phyto Enzyme Compound treatment be me.  Fortunately, I meet the sensitive AND the ageing criteria.  Not only do I have a long history of eczema and dermatitis,  I also moved further north of forty last month, so am in dire need of rejuvenation and brightening.

There are a few permutations of the Phyto Enzyme Compound facial, but I tested the least mild version. I cleansed my skin with the gel cleanser and toned.  (There is no exfoliation or steam in the treatment, as that would be too aggressive.)

I then  brushed the Phyto Enzyme Compound directly onto my clean dry skin, including my face, neck and decollete. It is like a clear, sticky gel.

I looked at the clock after the application as there is a two minute time limit to prevent frosting.  By two minutes my face was very tingly and I was glad the time was up. I applied a layer of cleansing milk over the PEC and waited another three very tingly minutes. The next step was to remove both layers with gauze soaked in Rooibos tea, which was wonderfully soothing.

I then applied the Honeybush Souffle Mask to my clean skin for ten minutes,  and it felt like ice cream on a sore throat.

Again I removed it with gauze soaked in Rooibos tea. I finished with Hydralite Moisturiser and SPF 40.

I was expecting a red angry face, but I was delighted to find that my skin was calm and even in colour, the tingling was gone and the texture was unlike anything I have felt in a very long time. My chin area, which can be very temperamental, bumpy and congested, is smooth and without blotches. I felt like I was glowing and radiant.

emily and me

A few hours after a very tingly Phyto Enzyme Compound Treatment.

So I am going to stop avoiding this treatment now, in fact, I am bleak I was hesitant with it in the first place as the results are fantastic.  A follow up treatment can be done after 14 days and I intend to do that.

The facial is R295 and takes about half an hour. It is perfect for Prematurely Aging Skin, Dry and Mature Skin as well as Oily and Problematic Skin. It can be combined with the regular Kalahari Clays and Muds to add extra voomah to the facial. A neck and shoulder massage can also be added to up the luxury factor. We need a bit more time for that and the price with the add-ons is from R350 – R375.

This facial is tingly so I would still say that it is not suitable for very sensitive skin types. Due to the deep exfoliation it is also not suited to hyper pigmented skin types.

Going in to winter is a good time to perform deep exfoliation because the UV factor is not so high, and neither are the chances of you spending hours on the beach in the sun. Feel free to send me an email at melissa.beautytherapy@gmail.com for more information, if you have questions or for bookings.

Have a great Wednesday





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


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