Creating new routines

Voluntary quarantine or not – right now many of us are working from home to help reducing the spread of the virus. I find it quite hard to keep up good routines and for me, it really takes some discipline and effort to get things organized. Having two children at home who have distance education doesn’t make it any easier.

Planning your day, preferably including both work, exercise, family and routines, can be a challenge. Just like with my skincare routine, I try to find a good everyday routine even when having to work from my kitchen table.

07:00 – Good morning! If I have the energy, I start the day with 30 minutes of yoga, bringing out the yoga mat and putting on a pair of comfortable tights.

07:30 – Morning skincare routine. I take a quick shower and wash my face with cleansing facial wash. Thereafter I take care of my body with some body lotion and deodorant before continuing with my everyday skincare routine. Right now, I am using niacinamide formula, serum, eye cream and day cream with SPF (I go for the ultimate-series).

And a little bit of makeup… As I have a lot of video meetings I put on a light, natural makeup even though I work from home. This includes a CC cream, concealer, mascara and a cream rouge. Also a little super balm on both lips. Finally a quick blow-dry and a quick-fix hairstyle.

08:00 – Clothes. Wearing sweatpants all day makes me lose focus. Put on something that you feel comfortable in, but that you would also wear at the office. My go-to outfit right now is a pair of comfortable jeans, a blouse or a nice sweater.

8:30 – Finding focus. I try to have a clear agenda and prepared to-do list and like to put my phone in flight mode if I can so that I can work an hour or so without getting interrupted.

12:00 – Go for a walk. I always try to get some air and usually go for a walk around Hagaparken here in Stockholm. Afterwards, my teenagers (who are studying from home) and I eat lunch together.

13:00 – Some work again with digital meetings.

14:30 – Quick stretch. I go and make some coffee, do a quick stretch and spray on some refreshing face mist.

17:30 – “Go home”. It easily happens you never leave work when you are working from home. But try to leave the computer at the same time you usually leave the office. I often go for a walk with my neighbour Eva. Time flies by when I am with her and we talk uninterruptedly about everything. She is a doctor and I, of course, have a thousand questions and she has all the answers.

20:00 – get active /do something. Play cards with the teenagers, clean the closet (again), bake a sponge cake or watch a movie. In my family, we take turns in choosing a film for the night and the latest we watched was Francis Ford Coppola’s classic ”Apocalypse now”

21:00 – night routine. I always use a good cleanser, maybe an extra face mask and then, if I have the time, some polish and shaping of my nails.


Why is it so important to cleanse your skin?

We asked Carolina Öberg, licensed skincare therapist, about why it is so important to have a good cleansing routine.

– A good daily cleansing routine is the foundation for beautiful skin. With daily cleansing, I mean both morning and evening, and preferably in at least three steps in the evening.

But why is it so important to do it? 

– Let’s take a look on what can end up on your face on a daily basis; sunscreen, primer, makeup, dirt, exhaust gases, pollutants, sweat, bacteria… The list can be long. Makeup products today is better than ever and can be tough to remove. All of these things pile up on your face and will eventually build up a layer. This layer does not only clog your pores (which can lead to unflattering blemishes and blackheads), but will also block you skin and make it impossible for all your yummy serums, moisturisers and luxurious face masks to penetrate the skin and work their magic.

– The skin is also a super important part of your immune system where the outer layer has a so called “acid mantle” consisting of fats and lipids with a natural acidic pH-level. This acidic environment works as a great protection against bacteria since the microorganisms don’t like this acidity.

Can’t I just use good old soap and water?

– If you treat your skin poorly and e.g. use a regular hand soap with a high pH-value you will disrupt the skins natural pH-balance. This can both make your skin dry as well as lower the immune protection which can lead to a reactive and sensitive skin.

Why should I cleanse my skin?

So, how should I cleanse my skin for an A+?

– To get perfectly clean skin (and save up on laundry from makeup dirty towels) I always recommend following a three-step routine:

  1. Remove makeup – If you use makeup you should always start with an effective makeup remover. Choose a remover that suits your individual needs and preferences. If you use a lot of eye makeup or waterproof mascara, opt for a fragrance-free eye makeup remover. If you are more of a foundation-, rouge- and bronzer- kind of girl, reach for the 2 in 1 makeup remover and use it together with a cotton pad. If you have sensitive or very dry skin, gently massage melting cleansing balm or cleansing oil directly onto your dry face to dissolve your makeup.
  2. Wash – When you’ve said bye-bye to your makeup, use a face wash to get rid of the last traces of dirt and excess oils. Use a facial wash especially for the face with the right pH-level.
  3. Balance – neutralize the skin’s pH-level with a facial toner to make it ready for your following creams and serums.

– The result you’ll get from having a good skincare routine is not just a fresh and clear complexation, but you will also get the benefits of more glow, less visible dryness wrinkles and better effect of the rest of your skincare routine.

But seriously, how am I supposed to have time for all of this?

– I am myself a mother of two young ones so I know how hard it can be to make time for it all and especially time for myself. First of all, it isn’t as complicated and time consuming as it may sound, and second of all we are all human. The important thing isn’t that you do it perfect, as long as you do something.

Find your cleansing-routine here.

 

SparaSpara

SparaSpara


How to spring detox your bathroom shelf

Like many of us working from home, you might find yourself with a little extra time on your hands. Maybe you have already gone through and cleared your closet, but when was the last time you gave your bathroom shelf the same attention?

Most creams and beauty products have an expiration date and when you really start looking, you usually will find some products that have been around for over a year. Truth be told – when did you really buy that serum, day cream or mascara hiding in the back?

Here is a simple guide to the different symbols on the back of your beauty products, and how the symbols can help you sort and recycle your old products.

What the symbol means:

Open jar. The open jar symbol shows how long a product stays fresh starting from the day you opened it. Most common is 6 months (6M) or 12 months (12M). If the product has been open for longer, there is a risk it may have oxidized and turned bad. Some makeup products like mascara you should change even more often (every 3rd month) while others like powder-based eye shadow will last you much longer.

Recyclable. This symbol specifies that the packaging is made of recyclable material. Don’t forget to separate the lid from the tube if they are made out of different materials, like e.g. rigid plastics and flexible plastics.

Flammable. This symbol indicates that the product is flammable and should not be exposed to high temperatures, and that it should be brought into a recycling station when empty. Do not throw away in the normal trash or empty in the sink since it may be hazardous for the environment. The symbol is common on beauty products such as nail polish, hair spray, perfumes and nail polish removers.

Tips!

  • Generally, creams in tubes stay fresh for longer than creams in jars since they are less exposed to air and bacteria as you don’t stick your fingers into the product in the same way.
  • Products that are exposed to sunlight or heat can go bad faster than products that are stored in a cooler and darker place.
  • Pay extra attention to your sunscreens as they are often exposed to both heat and sunlight. An easy-to-follow guideline is to simply update your products every new season.

Meet the Team: Rana Said, Product Development

Rana (30 years, chemist engineer) has been working with our product development for the past 3 years. She ensures that new ideas are brought to their final destination – your bathroom shelf. We asked her about beauty obsessions, ingredient trends and the best skincare tips when pregnant.

– I have always liked beauty in the form of makeup and hair care, but my interest in skincare grew when I discovered pharmaceutical skincare and grew even more when I was studying chemistry which gave me a completely different understanding of how it actually works.

At Emma S. I work with everything that has to do with product development together with Emma. The best part of my job is searching for new ingredients and always looking for opportunities to develop even better products. It is so much fun to really dive into the studies conducted on our products and see how an idea eventually turns into a finished product.

What kind of current ingredient trends do you see and what do you think will be the next big thing?
– Niacinamide (vitamin B3) has been seen in many products and I think it will continue to be popular in 2020. It is really effective and works for almost everyone. I also believe that the interest in vitamins in all its forms – vitamins A and C, encapsulated vitamins and vitamin F (fatty acids) will continue to trend.

Emma S.

What are the latest additions in your own skincare routine?
– Oils! Since I became pregnant, I have started applying a softening oil to my belly every day. If I’m going for a workout and need a smaller product in my bag, I usually bring Emma S. sensitive facial oil which works great to use on a pregnant belly.

What is your beauty obsession?
– Throughout the years I have probably spent the most time on my hair, but right now it is a little bit of everything. Before I became pregnant, I neglected my body a bit, but now I try to really incorporate body care in my daily routine and use a dry brush, body oil and a hydrating body lotion.

What do you always carry with you when you travel?
– Cotton pads, facial cleanser, treatment overnight repair mask and a day cream. I always also HAVE to bring a blow dryer or other heating tools since the ones at the hotel are usually can’t handle my curly hair.

What product can you not live without?
– Eyebrow pen! Preferably this one.

What is your best quick-fix product?
– I have several! A lipstick in a nice colour can save many grey days, if I don’t have dry shampoo I apply cocoa to the scalp (note: recommended for brunettes only) and if my mascara is almost out I place it in a glass of hot water to dissolve whatever has dried up.

What are your best skincare tips?
– To use a facial cleanser every evening and a face mask a few times a week.  My best tip for the body would be a scrub glove. In the Middle East you use something called “Kese” – translates to “bag” which is a great product to help exfoliate your body.

Best party tip?
– The picture above is from my wedding, I am not usually that glammed up for a regular party, haha. But I think false lashes and a blow-dry are the best ways to transform a regular look into a party look.

What is your…
… Favourite Emma S. product: Emma S. treatment enzyme peel
… Favourite destination: Sardinia: beautiful beaches in Europe
… Best place in Stockholm: Djurgården in Stockholm, it is gorgeous during all seasons.
… Life motto: Everything has a solution.


Under-eye bags – not my favourite kind of luggage


Under-eye bags are not fun. Sometimes when I wake up, they’re just there like small, annoying, fluffy pillows. It’s not always clear why they’ve decided to pay me a visit, but it can be anything from lack of sleep (or actually too much sleep), dehydration or the wrong kind of food. I have also understood that my bags are genetic (thanks, dad!) and that I just have to come to terms with the fact that they will pay me a visit from time to time. Nevertheless, even if you may not be able to fully get rid of the under-eye bags, there are a few tricks that reduce their visibility. These are my favourites:

  1. An old housewife trick is to keep two bags of chamomile tea in your refrigerator. Place the cold tea bags under your eyes and let sit for 5-10 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea is said to have a contracting effect on the blood vessels and to counteract puffiness.
  2. Get some fresh air! Go outside for a 30 minute power walk or run. This usually gets the circulation going and lessens the puffiness under your eyes.
  3. If I have indulged a little too much in the wrong kind of food or drinks, the only way to go is to start fresh. Drink a lot of water, eat clean food and avoid alcohol and salt.
  4. If you come home late and you know you won’t be able to get enough sleep, make sure you drink two tall glasses of water before going to It will help you prevent tired eyes in the morning.

Extra help for tired eyes:

  • Ultimate eye cream – includes the ingredient Eyeliss which prevents puffiness and reduces dark circles under the eyes by strengthening the capillaries in the thin area around the eyes.
  • Ageless eye cream – includes the ingredient Adipoless which reduces dark circles under the eyes
  • Moisturising eye gel – includes cooling Caffeine which has a light tightening effect that reduces puffiness. Store in the refrigerator for an extra cooling effect.

Treatment Super Balm – Beauty Hacks

“Our treatment super balm is a rich, softening balm with oils from Oat, Shea fruit and Canola that I use liberally on lips, cuticles and other dry spots. It calms and moisturizes and has a delicate aroma of natural Vanilla. I keep a tube in my handbag, one at the office and one by my night stand and apply a little bit here and there whenever needed. Also, it provides just the right amount of shine to use as a natural-looking lip gloss.”

Beauty Hack – Dry Hands

If you have dry hands, this at-home remedy will do the trick. Just before bed, apply treatment super balm liberally onto hands, put on a pair of thin cotton gloves (which you can find at any drugstore) and sleep with them on. Your hands will feel like new in the morning.

Beauty Hack – Chapped Lips

This is the perfect quick-fix if you, like me, tend to get dry and chapped lips as soon as the temperature outside drops. Start by applying a thin layer of treatment enzyme peel alongside your lips. Let sit for about 30 seconds and then rinse off carefully with lukewarm water. Apply a thick layer of treatment super balm. Voila! All smooth again.

Beauty Hack – Polished Cuticles

To achieve a successful manicure from the comfort of your own sofa, you first need to attend to your cuticles. Apply treatment enzyme peel onto every fingernail. Let sit for about 60 seconds (or a little more) and then wash your hands with lukewarm water. Pat your hands dry and massage a little bit of treatment super balm onto every cuticle. Let sink in and then apply your favourite shade of nail polish.

Read more and shop treatment super balm here


Emma about the new exclusive line Ultimate

Emma, how come you wanted to create a new series for more mature skin?
The skin really changes with age, and now that I am approaching my 50s I clearly notice that my skin has different needs from when I was in my 30s and 40s. When we started to develop our new anti-ageing series three years ago, we first wanted to understand what is really happening to our skin around 50 and up, and create a unique series that targets precisely these problems.

Why do you need to change your skincare products with age?
You age constantly, and that of course includes your skin. The level of collagen actually starts to drop when you are around 25 years old, so it’s not surprising that your skin has different needs when you hit your 50s compared to when you are younger.

The ultimate series includes a day cream, a night cream, a serum and an eye cream.

What happens to our skin as we approach our 50s?
Except the fact that we get more fine lines and wrinkles, I also notice that my skin is both thinner and more sensitive, and it doesn’t recover as quickly as it used to. Our genes and lifestyle play a big role in how our skin ages. That means your diet, exercise and sleeping habits. Besides these two factors your skin is also affected by the hormonal changes that normally occurs around 50. The skin cell renewal process is slowed down and the natural levels of collagen and moisture go down as well. It was precisely these two problems we wanted to attack with the new series.

Tell us more about the series.
Ultimate includes unique formulations with several bioactive ingredients specifically selected to help mature skin by repairing, strengthening, smoothing and boosting with moisture. An ingredient I like to talk a little bit extra about is Getania. It is extracted from an ayurvedic herb, and it blurs the appearance of vertical lines and smooths the skin by improving cell regeneration. It strengthens the skin and reduces the visibility of vertical lines. The series also includes Vitamin A-derivate, low molecular Hyaluronic acid and extract from brown algae that improves the skin tone and texture.

What is the difference between ageless and ultimate?
We recommend ageless from around 30+ and ultimate from 50+ when your skin needs even more potent products. Ultimate has a higher content of the anti-ageing Vitamin A, peptides that work against irregular pigmentation and a low molecular Hyaluronic acid that penetrates the skin and adds and binds moisture. As I mentioned before, Ultimate also contains Getania that works against the vertical lines that tends gets more visible with age. The ultimate series also has a creamier texture as a more mature skin often needs more moisture.

Tell us about the packaging and the fragrance.
Ultimate has a fresh and soothing scent with notes of Tea, Ginger, Lemon, Peach and Sandalwood. The packages are stylish and have hygienic vacuum pumps and windows, so that you easily can see how much cream is left. The lids of the day- and night creams also have different colours so that you won’t have to run and get your reading glasses every time you are looking for the right cream.

You have also done independent studies on the finished products, tell us more.
Ihas been very important to me to conduct independent studies on each of the four ultimate products. Therefore, we chose to conduct individual studies on all four products at the internationally renowned test institute Pro-Derm in Germany. The studies showed, among other things, a significant improvement in moisture content and skin cell renewal in the treated area compared to the untreated.

Read more and shop ultimate here.


How to never take a bad picture again

Not all people like being photographed. Many people I know feel uncomfortable, insecure and doesn’t know how to act as soon as a camera enters the room. They shy away and mumble something about “never looking good in pictures”. When I was working as a model I learned some great tricks that everybody can use to take a good-looking photo. You don’t have to be a model to succeed. These are my best tips for a good picture:

Lighting is key.
It may sound simple, but it does a lot for the picture. No one, not even top models, looks good when the lighting is bad. Avoid backlight and sharp lighting from above that can create strange shadows on your face. Let the natural light from the window fall on you if you are inside, because standing in front of a window with backlight almost never looks good. To photograph outside in daylight when the sun is directly overhead does also rarely serve to anyone’s advantage.

The importance of glow and some well put concealer.
Your makeup can look very different in a picture from what it does in real life. If you know that you are going to be photographed, you might want to apply some extra concealer to cover dark circles and sweep some bronzer over your cheeks and nose. A highlighter or facial oil can also be applied on the cheekbones to add extra glow.

Photo 1: Emma Sjöberg & Karen Mulder for ELLE Japão, 1993.

Do you have a sweet side?
A German photographer once told me that the right side of my face is my “chokoladenseite” (chocolate side) and I have noticed that I tend to like pictures where I show more of my right side a little bit better. Try looking at yourself in front of a mirror to discover your sweet side.


Adjust your chin.
A small adjustment of your chin, up or down, can often make a big difference.

Strike a (natural) pose.
A lot of people don’t know what to do with their arms and hands. Learn a few natural poses like putting your hands in your pockets, crossing your arms or just letting them hand relaxed. Avoid putting your hands on your side too often, as it often looks quite posing and fake.

Photo: Tobias Lundkvist for Damernas Värld

Laugh and think about something that makes you happy.
A fake smile is often given away by your eyes. Think about someone or something that makes you happy to bring out a natural smile from within. Being yourself and avoiding freezing in front of the camera often results in the best pictures.