Ask Dija: Banishing Breakouts


Are breakouts the bane of your life?

Believe it or not, a Facialist can and does have breakouts and I hate it because my face is my business. You’d think with an arsenal of products, I’d be able to stave off a particular bad breakout that started just before Christmas. The worst breakout in my memory. It was literally one painful under-the-skin pimple after another. Even my husband noticed and that’s never a good thing.

Clearly it was time to practice what I preach, so now that I’m on the other side of it and I hope to God I haven’t spoken too soon, here’s a run down of what to do in the unfortunate event of a breakout.

Think & Trace

Think back to when the breakout started and what was going on in your life. For me, we had building work, one too many takeaways, pre-Christmas stress followed by the obligatory Christmas indulgence and one too many Heston Blumenthal mince pies. By working backwards, you can pinpoint where things went wrong and that makes the job of fixing your skin that bit easier.

Keep it Simple

At this point, strip back your routine. I went for a  simple cleanse and moisturise twice a day regime. No toners or floral waters either. I religiously used my Aurelia Miracle Cleanser because of its probiotics to help balance the bacteria on my skin. Breakouts are caused by bacteria and sebum mixing on the skin so anything that provides some balance is a good thing. For moisturiser, I stuck to a simple oil that I rustled up myself using avocado oil as a base with chamomile and lavender essential oils to soothe.

Diet & Supplements

I really believe on healing from the inside so I increased my supplements especially my Omega 3, 6, 9, zinc and starflower as they boost cell performance. I snacked on salmon and avocado for their healthy fatty acids content and feasted on berries for their anti oxidant properties. I also cut out sugar and refined products and replaced my beloved builders brew with green tea and water, again for anti oxidant protection.

I also made fresh green juices using the principles of the alkaline diet to neutralise toxins and acidity in the body. Spinach, broccoli, cucumber, kale and carrots made delicious and refreshing drinks.

Treat & Heal

Instead of jack of all trades serums and treatments, I pared back to tried and tested masks and serums that have never let me down - Avene Antirougeurs, I absolutely love and thankfully never have plenty of occasions to use. It’s soothing and calmed down the heat sensations I was experiencing after one session. Indeed Labs Hydraluron for all over moisture. This product is a little gem. Source 5 Cosmeceuticals Calm Serum treats irritated and sensitive skin with Desert Glycoproteins and Purity Serum tackles breakout areas with Epilobium Fleisheri, an Alpine herb that reduces oil production – I find I turn to these treatment serums time and time again. Together they work so well for me.

Now, all that remains is to deal with the post breakout scarring!

Illustration by Brianna Harden

Time out with… The Skincare Obsessive

I’ve made it my mission to get under the skin (excuse the pun!) of as many people as possible in the beauty industry this year – from bloggers and skin care experts right through to the brains behind my favourite brands. I’m making it my business to find out their favourite face cream, I’m digging deep to find out their inspirations and taking notes of any pearls of wisdom they have for anyone who wants to follow in their footsteps.

Snapshots of Simon

Kicking of the year is the lovely Simon, who blogs over at The Skincare Obsessive all in way in sunny Sydney. Simon really is all about skincare and then some. Just take a look at his Instagram feed! I’m always gawping at it and I always love the selection of products he has on rotation.

Apart from generally loving life, the one thing that also comes across is his absolute dedication to skincare and finding out what’s new. I hope you enjoy as much as I did delving into his thoughts.

Thank you Simon!


  • What’s your all time favourite product?

It would have to be Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant, it’s a mask containing lactic acid that you leave on for fifteen minutes and rinse off.  It gets rid off all the dead skin and you really do have a new face after using it. Skin is brighter, smoother and less blemished.

  • What 5 words would you friends/family use to describe you?

Determined, Confident, Informative, Obsessive, Organised.

  • What’s your dream bathroom cabinet?

My dream bathroom cabinet would probably have every Dermalogica and Ultraceuticals product in it.

  •  Describe the Australian attitude to skincare and beauty.

I think that Australian’s have a really laid back approach to beauty, it’s more about enhancing what you already have, women (and men in my case) don’t tend to wear much makeup but will focus on having a good base, everyone seems to wear mascara. A nude lip or sometimes a bold lip and that’s it. We don’t seem to do much eyeshadow or cheek stuff like other countries it’s a lot more natural.

In regards to skincare Australians are normally taught by their elders to always wash your face and moisturise. Sunscreen is really important to us as we live in such a harsh climate.

  • What skincare advice would you give your teenage self?

I had a bit of acne growing up and I would use harsh cleansers and oil free moisturisers. So I would probably tell myself to use a gentle cleanser and that oil is actually good for your skin as it stops you from reproducing more oil, but to be honest I was always good with skincare. It was something I was born with, I don’t think a day has gone by since I was twelve when I haven’t used some sort of skincare.

  • How did you get into blogging?

Skincare has always been a passion of mine and I already followed a lot of beauty blogs and thought ‘hey! I could do this’, and at this time there are not many if not any male bloggers just focusing on skincare in Australia.

  • What do you think has been the biggest beauty innovation in the last decade?

I think that chemical exfoliation is a big one, because it contains acid to get rid of dead skin without the use of harsh beads which can lead to irritation and broken capillaries.  Also I think that the sunscreen formulations have come along way, they are not that sticky white paste that we used to apply. The formulas are much better to use now.

  • What is your favourite phrase?

‘Work hard, stay humble’ is my favourite because to be on top of the beauty industry you need to work hard but also be nice because being nasty won’t get you anywhere.

Another one I kind of made up is ‘I don’t believe in luck, I believe in hard work and determination.’ That was made because I started my blog with absolutely no connections to the beauty world and now I have built relationships with brands and PR companies all through hard work and never giving up.


London Beauty Events

As a beauty writer, one of the best things about living in London is that there’s always someone somewhere with an event happening that satiates my appetite to discover and experience new products.

‘Here I Am’ by Fenwick of Bond Street

The haven that always rescues me from the madness of Oxford Street and the touring parties of Bond Street is going back to its roots and framing 2015 with the same statement the founder made when he arrived at that spot back in 1891.


Words – JJ ‘Jim’ Fenwick, 1891/ Image – Andrei Robu, 2015

As part of the launch, there is a rather lush  ‘Here I Am’ complimentary beauty bag worth £250 with over 24 products that will help anyone announce their arrival in 2015.  The bag and its many contents echo the excitement and adventure that I imagine Jim felt when he made his London debut.

When you spend £200 in the beauty hall, you get ALL THIS >>>>>>

111 Skin mask, Cane & Austin glycolic acid pads, Caudalie Divine Oil, Chantecaille deluxe mascara, Christophe Robin shampoo and conditioner, Clarins Instant Eye Makeup remover, Darphin Hydraskin Light, DHC cleansing oil, Eve Lom cleanser, IPD Alyssa Ashley, Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, Lipstick Queen Chinatown Catalina & Chinatown Chase, MOA, NUBO, Phillip Kingsley Elasticizer , Phyto citrus shampoo, Racinne Ultimate Youth Powder Neck Emulsion, Radical mask, Sachajuan hair repair, Shiseido Gentle Cleanser & Perfect Rouges, Suqqu Moisture Mask Scrub, When-Mask facial mask, Xen Tan & Glam Glow and Youth H2O Youth Activating Concentrate.

*picks jaw up from the floor*

Liberty Meet The Experts

As part of it’s Restore & Revitalise series of well being events, you can drop in on the evening 0f 29th January from 6pm to ‘Meet the Experts’.  It’s the perfect time to quiz the owners of your favourite brands and pick up valuable hints and tips. Expect to bump into Plenish founder Kara Rosen, Beauty Writer Kate Shapland, yoga expert Chris James, Get The Gloss’ Susannah Taylor and Aurelia Probiotic Skincare founder Claire Vero.

Make it as one of the first 250 through those historical doors and you get a goody bag. If you’re in town, it’s worth going.

Skincare by numbers – in your 30’s

Whatever happened to this group of flirty thirty somethings?

Whatever happened Girlfriends? I loved this group of flirty thirty somethings.

This is an exciting age for skincare because you get to ramp things up and get the big players out. It’s the time when life start etching it’s presence on your face – stress, pregnancy, hormones, prior sun damage amongst over things and unless you want it to continue in that vein you need to start putting preventative measures in place. Skincare routines should consist of double cleansing, toner, serum, eye cream, moisturiser at a basic level. Exfoliating liquids toners and masks can be included a few times a week.

Remove & Replenish

For starters, your metabolism and cell turnover starts to slow down, so the texture, feel and look of your skin starts to change. It can become rougher, dull and patchy with more visible pores. The best thing you can start doing is using exfoliating acids (glycolic, lactic, salicylic) which look like traditional toner liquids or come in pads. They have the power to make a huge difference to your skin. Some are gentle enough for every day use and some every other day, but they will dissolve rogue cells and over time, your skin will become smoother, more even toned and pores more refined. Use after cleansing.

For exfoliators take a pick from Biologique Recherché, Alpha H, First Aid Beauty, Zelens, Nip & Fab, Peter Thomas Roth, Dr. Dennis Gross, Goldfaden MD.  When it comes to masks, typically you’re going for deep cleansing which contains clay (oily skin) or hydrating which contains glycerin and moisturisers (dry skin). The result will be more balance in the feel and texture of your skin.

Eye Creams and Serums

The eye area has the thinest skin, so needs a more delicate and dedicated approach. It can easily get dry and it’s first for lines and wrinkles meaning you need to use eye cream. The texture is very different to face cream, easier to penetrate the skin for better hydration and moisture. I like all rounders that tighten, hydrate, depuff and brighten at the same time. There is a reason why Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair wins so many awards – it’s good and addresses all areas of eye aging simultaneously. Choose from the cream or the serum but you don’t need both in my opinion.

Serums will be invaluable to you. Their thin consistency means they penetrate the surface of the skin deep enough to effect a change. You can choose according to need – uneven skin tone, dryness, visible pores, lines and wrinkles – or a good all rounder which in that case Sunday Riley’s Good Genes is a good choice. If dryness and dehydration is your issue go for a serum loaded with hyaluronic acid like Hydraluron by Indeed Labs.

Supplements and Sunscreens

Now is also a good time to get serious about taking supplements and generally eating well. Supplements come in all forms – liquid oils, powders you can sprinkle on food or mix with water, tablets, capsules and injections. You need to choose one that is suitable for your lifestyle and budget. Boots do a great selection, as well as Victoria Health online. I particularly like David Kirsch Vitamin Mineral Powders – one sachet in a glass of water gives you a boost of vitamins, minerals and anti oxidants.

Sunscreen is even more important so don’t think you can get away with not using it. I know that there is sometimes the impression of too many lotions and steps in the routine, but you can now find sunscreen included in skin care and make up, so there’s no excuse.

Professional Treatments and Advice

Acne breakouts can still happen. If they do, take it easy and remember to treat the area of the breakout and not your entire face. If the breakouts are persistent, then see a skin care professional who will advise the best course of action. Just don’t wallow in it or worse pick at the spots.

Talking about professionals, now is also the time to invest in a twice yearly consultation. Skin changes over time and you need to adapt your regime accordingly. An expert will give you tailored advice and professional treatments that will set you on the right path to glowing healthy skin.

Be prepared to spend that little bit more in time and money on your skin going forward as it will pay dividends in years to come.


Next Sunday – thinking ahead for the majestic 40’s.

Ask Dija – Face wipes, yay or nay?

To wipe or not to wipe?

To wipe or not to wipe?

99% of the time I am in the nay camp. I don’t generally advocate using face wipes, chiefly because it never really cleans your face or gives you that feeling of being clean. There will always be a layer of dirt, grime or make up left behind because wipes are non rinse.  So what’s the point of using them daily in place of a cleanser?

I’ve seen a couple that are of decent quality, but expect to fork out a sizeable amount for the packet which when used will fundamentally only move dirt from one side of your face to the other. In my opinion, add a couple extra quid and buy a face wash that will be more beneficial to your skin.

Also I’ve seen people ‘attack’ their faces with wipes.  Literally scrubbing away so much that my internal ouch factor for their skin goes into overdrive.  I just want to reach out and grab the wipes away from them. All that rubbing and pulling does your skin no favours apart from leave it sore and irritated.

Some wipes are laden with alcohol and chemicals. The no rinse use of them makes me shudder because you are putting all that on your face and more than likely going to be bed. As let’s face it, it usually at night people use wipes when they are too tired lazy  to stand over the sink. In fact, it’s likely you’re already under the duvet when you reach for the wipes.

Now I’ve said all that, the 1% of me that can tolerate a face wipes is only in dire emergency situations, when access to water is restricted e.g if you are flying or at festivals. In my latter years it’s made more sense to do both these things without make up on full stop. Ever since I experienced the full physical sensation of cabin air pressure literally sucking moisture out of my pores the same way a vacuum cleaner gobbles up dirt, I figured it wasn’t worth the hassle of putting on slap to go up 30,000 feet. Likewise at a festival – just go, have a good time and forget the make up. Then if you do use a wipe in the evening it’s not in a pointless attempt to deep cleanse your face.

I have also been a teenager, so I know what it’s like to roll in at 3am slightly worse for wear with bed being the only thing on your mind. Looking back, I’d use at least five wipes to take my make up off so I may as well have stood over the sink. Hindsight is a beautiful thing!

So, should you use wipes? No if you can avoid it and usually that is very possible. On the odd occasion (and I stress odd) you use it, it won’t kill you but make sure they are alcohol and perfume free and you go back to your sensible routine as soon as possible.

Skincare by numbers – in your 20’s

My current favourite group of girls! Their shenanigans keep me laughing for hours.

My current favourite group of girls! Their shenanigans leave me stitches.

Now is the time to set up a good skincare regime and form good habits – not sleeping in make up, getting some sleep, cleansing twice a day, using a flannel and not picking at spots. Your regime should mainly include cleanse, tone, serum, moisturise. Other steps and products can be included when necessary.

You also want to be using  sunscreen – all year round I might add. There’s nothing wrong with exposing bare skin to the sun for up to 20 minutes a day, but that’s really about it. If you’re anything like I was, this will be the decade of Alia and Ayai Napa (do people still go there?!!). Enjoy, I sure did, but don’t forget the sunscreen for face and body. It is one of the best things you will do for your skin that will pay dividends throughout your life.

Also smoking – don’t start or give up. The health implications are there for all to see and it reeks havoc on your skin with dryness and making it look sallow. That’s just for starters, trust me I know from experience.

Watch out for excessive drinking – of the cocktail kind especially. They are loaded with sugar, which again is fun, but kills collagen and elastin in your skin.  Read this. My advice would be to stick to wine. Granted it doesn’t sound as fun as a large Sex on the Beach, but by the time you’re 30 you can pass yourself of as some sort on connoisseur and be the posh one in your circle, with good skin!

Eat as well as you can. Good skin and beauty really start from within. Products are boosters. If you’re still at home appreciate mums home cooking. I can bet it’s fresh and balanced so take advantage.  If you’ve cut the apron strings, shop smart. I’m not talking getting an Abel & Cole delivery every week as I know healthier food is slightly more expensive, but if you plan your week and batch cook it works out cheaper. Better for your skin and health all round.

Keep skin hydrated. I’ve had a few 20 somethings on my couch complaining about fine lines and it’s usually the case of dehydrated skin rather than actual onset of wrinkles. Drink your 2 litres and add hyaluronic acid serum into your routine.  Vichy Aqualia Thermal Dynamic Serum never fails to get good reviews for quality, efficacy and price.

If you’re experiencing oily skin, tread carefully and don’t attack it all guns blazing. The fallout is not pretty. Instead include salicylic acid based treatment in your routine. Be it a mask a couple of times a week like Una Brennan’s Super Facialist Pore Purifying Clay Mask or a gentle daily use toner. REN Clarifying Toner gets a thumbs up from me and I still use it in my 30’s.

A word about acne – even with all the best routines, diets and products in the world, acne can still flare up. In my opinion it needs a multi pronged approach including looking at your diet, sometimes drugs and the help of a dermatologist. Seek professional help early; save yourself unnecessary misery.

You’ll notice I haven’t recommended expensive products.  I’m assuming that most people in this bracket are probably just settling into a job or finishing uni and disposable income isn’t high. You don’t always need skincare that costs the earth, you just need them to be effective.

Next Sunday – Skincare for us in our 30’s.


Every day in 2015, I will post a skincare tip on one of my favourite social media sites – Instagram.

Some you may be familiar with, some may be brand new to you but by year end,  I promise you will have learnt something new, validated something you currently do or just laughed out loud.

Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 20.33.43

If you’re on Instagram follow 365HappySkinTips to keep up.

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a bigger and brighter year to come!


Project 2015

2014 has been a whirlwind and I just can’t believe I’m actually writing the last post of the year.

Dija’s World has gone from strength to strength and I truly appreciate all the support. It still amazes me when I meet people who say they read the blog or when someone tweets me a skincare question or sends me an email to say thanks for a facial.  I am truly blessed to do something I love so much and I look forward to Facials by Dija being even busier next year.


Wishing all YOUR plans and dreams come true in 2015.

There are lots of plans already underway for 2015 including a new series delving into the lives of other skincare professionals, continuing to look at skincare below the surface with the Deeper than Skin series, more #DawnBlends, skincare for men and older age groups, flash social media projects and maybe even a workshop or two!

So literally, watch this space.

Seasons Greetings

Enjoy family, friends, food and festivities!