great minimalist blog from paris:
klean perspective

retinol skincare:

“Science is beautiful when it makes simple explanations of phenomena or connections between different observations.” Stephen Hawking

I heard this question way too often: What works against wrinkles you already have? My current answer is retinoic acid and its derivates retinol and pro-retinols. Every other ingredient you find in common beauty products is not able to perform nearly as potent against implications of photoaging and acne as retinoids do: They are able to stimulate the production of Hyaluronic Acid and skin’s structural protein collagen. As we get old the production of both exhausts and only retinoic acid both stimulates their production again and stops the depletion (read here and here). Retinoids are way more antioxidant than Vit E (see here and here) and what I like most about retinoic acid is the supreme effectiveness of treating acne (see here). Prescription-free retinol, the alcohol form of retinoic acid (and pro-retinols like retinyl acetate, retinyl palmitate, and retinyl linoleate) were said to be less effective than retinoic acid but newest developments go in the direction of encapsulation of retinol in some kind of microsphere to save it from oxidation but benefit from its low skin-irritant properties (read 1 2 3).

If you want to use your retinoid right the key to a successful performance is to know how to use your panacea:
-Start off slowly. Apply your product only once in 3-4 days or else in the acclimatization phase your skin peels off, itches and turns red.
-Retinoids never in combination with AHA/BHA since they make your retinoid less effective. Preferably use your chemical peeling a day before and not on the same day with retinoids.
-Avoid when pregnant or breastfeeding since they are teratogen, and therefore can cause birth defects. There are studies with rats which have shown increases in fetal skull deformations.
-Please stay out of the sun and if you are not already using one (which I sincerely hope you do) get at least a high quality SPF 30 sunscreen for everyday. Retinoids act less effective with exposure to oxygen and light (read here).

If you stopped reading halfway, here is an interview with famous dermatologist Dr. Murad explaining retinoids a little easier. Need a little help finding the best non-prescription retinoid product? Paula’s Choice’s Team did their homework and created a beautiful, long listing of the best products. With kind regards, Ea Birkkam


today: the grey comfort sweater


Titania Inglis








pictures: titania inglis

titania inglisshop outfits:

“As I grew older, I realized that it was much better to insist on the genuine forms of nature, for simplicity is the greatest adornment of art.” Albrecht Dürer

Minimalism and sustainability. Titania Inglis designs fashion that has pleased me from the first moment I saw it, especially her ‘Suspension dress’ (outfit 2, see here another picture). I have curated my 6 favourite outfits of her last 4 collections above which was a hard task, since every collection tells a different geometric story and I love them all!

Titania’s aim is to create fashion for the futuristic but ecologically aware woman: simple, geometric, minimalistic. Her web presence states following: “Equally minimal is the line’s environmental impact. Each garment is sewn in a small factory in New York from high-quality, low-impact fabrics including Japanese organic cotton, Italian vegetable-tanned leather, and dead stock wool from the local garment industry.” I love the way she utilizes minimalism as a form of environmental sensibility, personally this is exactly what adducted me towards minimalism aswell. I can relate to her philosophy and of course to her minimalistic design. Best, Ea Birkkam


today: simplistic geometry


science of watery make-up




shop makeup:

“A man may imagine things that are false, but he can only understand things that are true, for if the things be false, the apprehension of them is not understanding.” Isaac Newton

My newest discovery is a watery make-up from L’oreal called ‘Eau de Teint Nude Magique’ which promises following: “A feather light foundation, feels as light and fresh as water. A new sensation with a lighter than water formula for non greasy zero make up feel. Instantly fuses with the skin blending seamlessly to leave a silky, second skin effect.” The runny texture reminds me alot of other coeval foundations: Giorgio Armani Maestro Fusion, Carita Voile de Beaute and the classic MAC face and body makeup. But what makes these foundations so silky, fluid and easy to apply? Where does the perfectly matte finish come from when it feels more like an oil? Let’s check the labels:

If you take a closer look on the back of the products you find out there is one predominant compound family in all products mentioned above: silicone elastomers and other silicone-based compounds. Cyclohexasiloxane, Phenyl Trimethicone, Acrylates/Polytrimethyl Siloxymethacrylate Copolymer, Dimethyl-vinyl crosspolymer and many, many more. There is an interesting and persistent myth about silicone-based ingredients clogging your pores and ‘not-letting-skin-breath’ and when I was younger I was told to believe it acts like a ‘plastic bag on your skin’ by a saleslady of a natural cosmetics company. Silicones are rather a smart, non-irritant, very small ‘architecture’ that does not sink into skin since the molecules are too big and the mixture only sits on your skin like a very porous framework (source).

Silicone-based ingredients not only keep water inside your skin but absorb your sebum, too, so your skin stays matte (see here). Every time a brand advertises its makeup to ‘act like a sponge’ you don’t even have to take a look at the labels to know silicones are involved. With silicones and silicone elastomers it is all about emolliency and spreading (read more). They cover both. Silicone elastomers swollen by solvents such as cyclomethicone are the thing for manufacturers of contemporary foundations (see here). Acutally it is the only instant solution so far for a younger but still matte skin appearance. I chose the word appearance on purpose because it is only a temporary effect and will probably not change your skin condition permanently; neither better nor worse. So it is up to you if you decide to have silicones in your skincare. Hope you didn’t stop reading halfway and understand your futuristic foundation a little more, Ea Birkkam


today: structures


Mansur Gavriel




mansur gavriel

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Leonardo da Vinci

A minimalist manifesto that has the quality to be your lifetime companion. While everyone seems to seek the small or large Tote in Louboutin-esque ‘Flamma’ with red interiors the silver interior version ‘Argento’ got my full attention. Much too late I heard about this little piece of perfection and it is sold out everywhere(!) at this moment.

Well, December ’14 the stockists will accept new orders. This is probably the first time in my life I am forced to put myself on a waiting list for a bag. I am not sure if I can wait that long. Impaitently waiting, Ea Birkkam


today: mansur gavriel

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