Author Archives: ET N

Live Consults ~ 24.11.23

I’ll be holding one-on-one consultations on Friday 24 November in Coorparoo (Qld) from 10am to 1pm.

Our skin shows what it does not speak. What is yours saying? What is it asking for now?

There are innumerable things great for skin generically, but not specifically. This is your opportunity to ask questions about your skin, understand precisely what it needs and ingredients or habits that have not been helping your skin.

I can also take you through how we will design your bespoke skincare, specific ingredients we’ll include and how it will transform your skin. You can ask anything you like!

If you’re interested in skin or beauty, you’ll find this valuable and enjoyable! Bubs and pups welcomed.

Each session lasts up to 30 minutes. Bookings essential.

Event details

When: Friday 24 November 2023, 10am – 1pm

Where: Beyond The Pale 3/300 Old Cleveland Rd (inside Coorparoo Square) Coorparoo 4151

Bookings: Book here by 23 November

Reschedule/cancellations: Please do so asap here.


You don’t have to buy anything. Orders made that day gets 20% off and you enter H&C Rewards Level 2.

I’m excited to meet you!



Celebrating beauty, age & 10 years with h&c!

My mum celebrated her 68th last week! While she can be conservative, I think she has a radical streak, deciding years ago to stop colouring her hair despite what people say.

If she were someone I never met before, I’d think that she is while she looks ‘regular’, she is radiant. I’d also like to know what she uses (okay I know this, it’s h&c!) and her beauty secrets and wisdom.

So here’s an interview with my mum celebrating beauty, age and her 10 years of using hop & cotton!

Q: Your skin is fussy like mine – sensitive and acne-prone. Why did you decide to try hop & cotton at first?

I started with The Minimalist, after seeing the difference it has made in your legs. Because of your eczema, they were red and bleeding for years, even after many doctors and specialists. I was moved to try it after when I saw how it totally restored your skin.

Next I tried the Lipguard, which I also loved, before venturing into face products. And I have never looked back!

With time, as I communicated to you about what I liked or did not like, the better my skin felt and the more I liked my products.

Q: In a word, how would you describe your experience of hop & cotton over these last 10 years?

Honesty. I can see and feel the purpose of these products to help people.

Q: Do you have a favourite product of all time?

The Minimalist. Especially when you add lavender, i LOVE using it!

Q: What does beauty mean to you? How has it changed from your 30s to 60s?

I think beauty has several levels, starting from your attitude or state of mind. How you’re feeling, the level of peace you have in your heart overflows before showing on your face.

When I was in my 30s, I felt that makeup brought out the beauty of my facial features best. Through my 40s and 50s, I noticed the less (foundation/powder) I used, the better and younger my skin looked. So I moved away from it.

Now I do not like using makeup, and besides I think inner beauty brings out outer beauty well! If I wanted my skin to look better for events, I’d use Skinshield!

Q: Your top beauty secret?

Look after your body. Have enough sleep, a balanced diet and exercise. If your body is good, your skin will be good.

Thank you mum for living your version of beauty, inspiring more of us to have the courage to do so!


Old Ingredient, New Discovery!

Ectoin has been a long-time favourite ingredient because it’s excellent in restoring barrier function, which means it is great for everything. Even if you don’t consider your skin sensitive.

It has an interesting discovery story, found in microorganisms thriving in a desert salt lake. It protects them from harsh environmental conditions, conferring cellular protection to our skins – reducing redness, inflammation, dryness and oxidation (multiple signs of ageing).

Little did we know it does more! A few years after its release, additional studies demonstrated its ability in reducing hyperpigmentation.

If we’ve been using ectoin in your formulations (we have been since before 2017!), it’s likely been also reducing or suppressing your dark/age spots or scarring all this time, in addition to skin-repairing.

How amazing is that!

If you haven’t been given this particular ingredient, don’t worry you’re not missing out. I am sure something in your bespoke formula is also doing more than we thought or knew it could.

While science is an amazing foundation, sometimes it falls a little behind because proof comes after an earlier inkling or intuition that is without evidence.

I use both for a firm feeling-understanding of what and how to best formulate for every skin, to achieve the best results seamlessly and comfortably for you.

You use both all the time too. 🙂 If you’re feeling drawn or simply curious about us, I’m happy to answer any questions you have. The easiest way to start, is by taking a skin test!

New is not always better, especially with skincare. Sometimes old is gold, and only requires our consistency and openness to what your products can do.



Chung YC, et al. Anti-Melanogenic Effects of Hydroxyectoine via MITF Inhibition by JNK, p38, and AKT Pathways in B16F10 Melanoma Cells. Natural Product Communications. 2019;14(6).

Hseu YC, et al. The Skin-Whitening Effects of Ectoine via the Suppression of α-MSH-Stimulated Melanogenesis and the Activation of Antioxidant Nrf2 Pathways in UVA-Irradiated Keratinocytes. 2020 Jan 10;9(1):63.

Graf R, et al. The multifunctional role of ectoine as a natural cell protectant. Clin Dermatol. 2008 Jul-Aug;26(4):326-33.

Buenger J, Driller H. Ectoin: an effective natural substance to prevent UVA-induced premature photoaging. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2004 Sep-Oct;17(5):232-7.

Liquid Light Drops!

I’m delighted to present Liquid Light Drops, our 2023 season special!

It’s not a new product but a revolutionary staple, Liquid Light, packaged in a special 30ml/100ml glass dropper bottle for the holiday season.

I say revolutionary because it may change skincare as you know it (in a good way!).

What is it? A refreshing liquid essence supporting skin’s optimal health and beauty.

What does it do? Restores skin softness and luminosity, by increasing and holding on to an abundance of water through all skin layers.

In the long run, it balances out your natural oil levels and microbiome. And if you’re consistently using the right cleanser, your skin may no longer need oil, making this the only moisturiser (or more accurately, true hydrator) you need!

Who is this for? Any-every-skin! 🙂 Those particularly sensitive, acne-prone or fussy about product textures will love this! It literally feels like nothing on.

How do I use it? Alone or under your moisturiser. This largely depends on your skin, and we’ll be happy to help figure out how your skin will benefit from it the most.

Is this bespoke? Yes and no!

If you’re using our bespoke skincare, we’ll formulate your Liquid Light to best complement your daily routine. If you are new to our products, it’d start with a standard formula.

All formulations are purposefully minimal, free from oils, thickeners, emulsifiers, alcohol, irritants and fragrance. What it not put in plays a big part in its magic.

If you’re thinking about trying it, you’ll probably really love it. I hope you do! 🙂



How to treat perioral dermatits

If you are reading this, you’re probably currently going through perioral dermatitis (PD) or recovered from it and would like it to stay away please.

I’m glad you’re here.

Perioral dermatitis is a form of inflammatory condition of the skin around the mouth. It is difficult to treat as its cause is unknown and topical steroids, the gold standard for treating dermatitis, worsen it. Most doctors will tell you not to use anything, and they’re right.

BUT…we find our hands uncomfortably tied because PD is often painful, itchy and hard to leave alone. You’d feel a need to clean the affected areas and calm/moisturise. You’re also right.

So, what can we do without doing too much? Here is a solution that works  swiftly with our skin for restoration. It has helped me and my clients time and again.


  1. Cleanse with cool to lukewarm water.
  2. (If you feel the need to moisturise) Use a pure hydrator that draws/retains water and calms.

The only hydrator I’d assuredly use and recommend is Liquid Light. It is formulated without oils or potential irritants such as herbal extracts, stimulating actives, sensitising preservatives and fragrance.


  1. Cleanse with a gentle cleanser with cold to lukewarm water.
  2. Use a pure hydrator as above.

The meaning and action of a gentle is not in the word/claim itself, so we have to try to know if a cleanser is indeed gentle for your skin. During PD is not the best time to try new products, as your skin is already compromised. Such situation is when the value of a bespoke cleanser that eliminates any risk of irritation is fully appreciated.

To show how bespoke formulations can help you further, if I am having a particularly stubborn bout of PD (which is the case at the time of writing), I’d increase the mildness of my usual (already super mild) cleanser formula by halving the amount of surfactant (cleansing agent). The image below shows you the cleansing ability of this milder-than-mild cleanser I made for myself, which is gentle enough to leave on a baby.

Although it is not robust enough for fully removing long-wearing makeup, it is perfect for our purpose. Besides, one is not wearing any makeup during PD, right?

These are the only products you’ll need. The key to their success is not the product type or ingredients in and of themselves, but their compatibility with your skin during this immuno-compromised state.

Stick with this routine until the PD clears up. And it will, because our skin naturally tends towards balance – the least energetically demanding state.

Skin restores itself quickly when we stay out of its way – hence the minimalistic routine with minimal ingredients.Thank goodness our skin knows what to do better than we do!

Reach out if you need more support. Don’t worry my friend, all is well and right! 🙂

Winter skin saviours

Is your skin peeling from the winter cold? Mine too, and it’s a reminder to change my skincare routine – not what I use but how I use it.

While using more or switching to thicker products is instinctive, I found these (simple!) tips below to be faster and better at alleviating dryness, because they work with skin’s natural function instead of imposing more.

Cleansing once a day

Instead of cleansing day and night, do 1 good cleanse at night (or morning, depending on which better suits your lifestyle), assuming you are already using the right cleanser for you!

Cool water 

If you crave a steamy shower, go ahead but please wash your face at the sink, keeping water temperature as cool as it is pleasant for you.

I like to splash my face with cold water at the end (after fluffy thick socks).

Another layer of moisturiser

Within 5 minutes after cleansing, apply your existing moisturiser in 2 consecutive layers to enhance moisture retention.

This is especially helpful if you have fussy, difficult skin prone to breakouts which does not like change.

Last but not least, be consistent with what you choose to implement.

You may even see results within one day, because taking away less is significantly more effective than adding more.

Glow on and keep warm!


Why nothing seems to work!

Is your skin prone to both break outs and sensitivity?

Tried many different brands, only to return to where you started?

Used everything the doctor, the influencer and the internet advocates, yet your skin does not agree?

My understanding, confirmed time and again is this:

More is not better. Compatibility is greater than ‘good’.

Too much of a good thing (products and/or ingredients) is not good. It does not matter what is theoretically possible or proven, because it has not been tested on you.

There are skins that thrive with a plethora of strong actives. There are skins on the opposite spectrum. And there is everywhere in between.

I know how it is like to have exhausted every option. When you’re not seeing progress despite everything you’ve used, your skin is overloaded and craves compatibility.

If you’ve had enough of trying, this is it. Nothing is made like this.

Inside out Anti-Ageing

As a flower shows the state of the whole plant, our skin reflects the health of our whole body.

So when anti-ageing is limited to skincare, effects are superficial. Is there a way to anti-age inside AND out?

YES! 🙂

This acupressure massage gently stimulates major organs and energy pathways within the body, providing full body anti-ageing under 2 mins.

(It explains the ear pulling.)

Use it as a guide, then do what feels good for you. Be amazed at how your skin glows back!



Best Acne Treatment You Have Not Tried

I’d like to share what I’ve found to be the most effective treatment for any form of congestion, from blackheads to papules, from years of formulating plus having the privilege of sensitive and congestion-prone skin!

It is not a product, but a way of prevention by thorough gentle cleansing. After all, prevention is the best cure.

If you’ve tried every kind of anti-blemish ingredient from BHA to Accutane to, watch comedogenic ratings more than Netflix and dipped from brand to brand with average results at best, this is very likely going to work superbly** for you.

Rather than tell you about this cleansing technique, I’ll show you in the video below!


** I’m assuming you’re already consistently using skincare right for you! If not no worries, start here!


Glow, Glass, Gloss. Different words in used in different times, describing the ever coveted light-from-within-the-skin.

Though there are now more products than ever promising extreme radiance, the demand for glow ups is never quite satisfied. Are we not using the right or latest products/ingredients? Are we not using enough? I thought I’d create an ultimate guide to having and maintaining impeccable glow now and possibly for ever.

This scope of topic is kind of big (we are talking about glowing for life!), so I’ve separated this in 2 parts – the science and the beyond. This Skin Journal instalment focuses on the science/ingredients, and the beyond instalment is on BLOOM, as it is best experienced.

What Makes Skin Glow?

Structurally, glowy skin has an even surface layer that hold adequate moisture (water). The evenness of moisture-filled cells reflects light in the way that our eyes ‘see’ as glowy.

This implies that glowy skin has 2 conditions:

  • Intact barrier structure
  • High water levels

Intact Barrier Structure

The outer layer of our skin, the epidermis, has a structure of a ‘brick and mortar’ (see image below). Our skin cells are akin the ‘bricks’; our natural skin oils and moisture holding factors are akin the ‘mortar’ between the cells, acting like glue that holds the cells together.

Our epidermis consists of different stages of cells – the youngest ones start at the bottom, and as they mature they move upwards towards our skin surface. Together, all the different cell stages of the epidermis forms our skin barrier. This rebuilding/moving up of skin cells is always happening, which is how our skin continually renews itself from bottom up throughout our life.

When the time or condition is right, the outermost layers – what we see as ‘skin’, gets sloughed off (desquamation). This can happen naturally or stimulated by exfoliation.

Exfoliation promotes desquamation, a process which declines with age. However, excessive exfoliation – in the form of acids, scrubs, peels, microdermabrasion or laser, not only disrupts the outermost layers, but also the younger cells deeper down in the epidermis, breaking down the wall-like structure of the epidermis.

The ‘brick and mortar’ structure of the epidermis is always intact in glowy skin. There is no premature removal of skin cells that forms the ‘wall’ of the skin.




High Moisture Levels

We talked about how our epidermal cells change as they move from the bottom up.

As in the diagram above, the cells are fuller in shape at the bottom, then eventually flatten out at the skin surface as they mature. The fuller they are, the more water/moisture the cells hold.

The outermost cells, which are the flattest, hold the least amount of water. When desquamation is slowed down, excessive layers of these flat cells start to pile on the skin surface. Our skin starts feeling rough because our skin surface is full of dried cells. This accumulation of cells gives that dull lacklustre appearance.

Best Glow Boosters


Exfoliants remove the outermost skin layer, which always contain less water compared to the cells beneath it. This is why the effect of exfoliation on luminosity is immediate, making exfoliation addictive. Please do not over-exfoliate, as this breaks down your barrier structure. There is NO GLOW with NO WALL!

Exfoliation can be physical like scrubs of any kind, microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, lasers; or chemical like AHAs, BHA, enzymes and retinoids. Newer or stronger does not give better results. New exfoliants/treatments continually emerge, but their mechanism and function remain the same.


Since water is the other part of the radiance equation, humectants are incredible glow boosters as they increase skin’s moisture content by binding directly to water (while oils moisturise indirectly).

There are numerous types of humectants, e.g amino acids, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sorbitol. Some have a good story behind them, others do not.

The ‘best’ humectant is the one used at a good concentration in a formula suitable for your skin, not the most fancy or exotic one.


Anything exposed to air can oxidise, like how a cut apple turns brown. This happens to a small extent with our skin, so anti-oxidants (ingredients that prevent this oxidation process) can brighten overall skin tone.

There is a vast variety of antioxidants in cosmetics. Examples are natural oils, vitamins, (niacinamide, C, E, A), ferulic acid, Lipochroman and some peptides. Stronger is not better – the stronger the antioxidant, the more likely it causes irritation, which compromises the barrier structure. No wall, no glow!

Regardless of which glow-enhancing ingredient/treatment, used at home or professionally, neither product nor method is as important as the balance of maintaining an intact barrier (of high water content), keeping excess epidermis minimal.

This balance is not achieved intellectually nor theoretically. The best/highest concentration of everything often give undesirable effects like irritation or breakouts. Experiential understanding is necessary for the best results for your skin,  which is why we offer our expertise of choosing all the right glow-enhancers specifically for you in your Brilliant. and Complete Regime.

The Fairy Godmother Factor

I said that there are 2 (structural) factors affecting skin glow. There is actually a third one, the most powerful one, which I call the Fairy Godmother Factor. This requires us to go further.

Glow is about having an intact skin structure without the excess/unwanted layers. From a higher perspective, radiance relates to how much we are willing or able to let go of our excess baggage, what we no longer need but still hold on to.

These baggage ‘accumulate’ in us, much like the excess dried out and flattened epidermal layers in various ways. They include

  • Beliefs

“My skin must be always clear for me to be happy with it.”

“Resting when I am tired makes me lazy.”

  • Habit

Scrolling online till late night – can’t sleep well – wake up exhausted to have more caffeine through the day that keeps you awake at night – back online at night again.

Never giving yourself enough time before, always rushing to get or be somewhere.

  • Pattern

If someone criticises you, you immediately get defensive or place all blame on yourself.

When you feel angry, upset or uncomfortable, instead of fully feeling whatever you are experiencing, you distract yourself with work, getting company, praying or meditating.

Yes, even ‘good’ practices are coping crutches if they distract instead of direct you to face your Truth.

You are your own Fairy Godmother

Every single one of us has baggage. Some are conscious, most are unconscious as they were imprinted in us by our caretakers, family, culture or society.

As long as these unwanted beliefs remain, we continue to suffer. But we can choose to discard and change them, no matter how long we’ve carried them.

The first and most important step, is your willingness to become aware of any unwanted beliefs you hold. Then you pay attention, for this awareness can arise anytime, especially when you are not actively thinking about this matter.

When a belief/habit/pattern makes itself known to you, you work with it one at a time, to transmute and change it to a belief you do want.

These are your baggage, your stuff. You and only you can transmute it to something that makes you – not anyone else, feel good. You are your own Fairy Godmother.

How To Transmute

Now you have the information, understanding and tools! What’s left is the actual doing of the ‘spiritual exfoliation’ or transmutation, to get the Lady Galadriel Glow.

Here is where this part of your guide ends, and the next begin. I’m excited to see you in BLOOM to experience your own magic of transmutation.