Showing posts with label skincare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label skincare. Show all posts

Recipe for Blemish Prone Skin

Whilst my skin has definitely cleared up so much since my early teens, I still fall victim to that monthly break out and it's not fun. Whenever I have the opportunity to meet makeup artists and ask what they think is the ultimate answer to flawless skin makeup, they nearly always say good skincare.

I know it's easy to say good skin is the answer to good base makeup when alot of it comes down to genetics so I decided to put together a handy list of how I'm currently fighting breakouts and helping them reduce down from an angry red to an easily concealable "thing".

Sometime last year I wrote a post on how I used to fight spots and I still love the Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask. Mud masks are aplenty but it's rare to find one that isn't too drying. The Trilogy mask contains rosehip oil which not only helps reduce scaring but also is incredibly moisturising to it's a win. This is normally my first step as it starts calm everything down.

Then onto a more recent discovery; Lush's Mask of Magnaminty which is an absolute delight. It contains mint and evening primrose so is instantly cooling. I find this is incredibly refreshing and perfect for further reducing any redness. It's also brilliant for generally clearing out my skin as it gently exfoliates as you remove it. As it's all natural, it's incredibly gentle and perfect for skin that can be on the sensitive side. 

And finally, the Merumaya Mud Marvels Mask which is more a precautionary measure than anything as I find if my skin has been in good knick all month, then I find things aren't too bad... This mask contains AHA's which gently exfoliate and mean that your skin isn't as clogged up. Perfect for this time of year when the chilly wind can chap your skin. I find applying this and then removing with a flannel is the perfect way to reveal sumptuously soft skin.

What are your go to solutions for a breakout?

Moisture Marvels

Regardless of your skin type, everyone's skin dries out a little bit in winter and whether you have oily skin or not, it's incredibly important to make sure your skin is moisturised (even if you do it at night to prevent the dreaded oily t-zone in the day). 

I'm currently a massive fan of oils and because I like to load up my skin with oil, I do it after cleansing at night so it has ample time to soak in over the night and leave my skin radiant by morning. The Antipodes Divine Face Oil is one of my current all time favourites. It has a wonderful herbal scent and is packed with rosehip and avocado oil - rosehip reduces scarring and avocado reduces lines and age spots. It's incredibly moisturising and I wake up in the morning with my skin glowing and any spots reduced in size and redness.

I also love moisture masks for nighttime and use them as a heavy night cream (also great for flights!). My longtime favourite has to be Origins Drink Up Intensive which smells of mango and is a surprisingly light option. I put on loads before bed and let it sink in whilst I sleep and I wake up with my skin much softer. This is also my go to for flights as it doesn't appear too greasy on the face either.

The Body Shop are one of my favourite brands for skincare and their Vitamin E Sink In Moisture Mask lives up to my expectations. The texture reminds me of a gel and "bounces". It's incredibly moisturising and the vitamin E helps to reduce redness and scaring. I do also use this on my elbows as it's a great way to really pack in intense moisture without feeling greasy in the morning.

A new addition to my wardrobe is the Soap&Glory Speed Plump which is a day cream that has worked wonders. I'm not big on day creams as there are few that don't cause my makeup to slip off my face, but this is very light but also primes my skin and still makes my makeup last. It's great for if I'm wearing a matte foundation as it prevents any dry bits appearing.

What are some of your favourite moisturisers for this time of year?

This post may contain items that have been sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.

Underrated Skincare

It should be no surprise that I'm a skincare fiend and skincare posts are definitely my favourite to write as I take great pride in being able to wear my skin bare without makeup.

But I can assure, it's not always been this way. If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll remember that I had an absolute nightmare with my skin till I was about eighteen and then I got my act together and sorted it all out.

One of the first things I sorted out was hydration because despite having skin on the combination side, I used to be convinced that this meant saying no to moisturisers and oils. I still apply oils every evening but for the day, I reach for hydration mists. &Other Stories is a brand that many people know for their clothing but a little known fact is that they were initially set up as a beauty brand and then expanded into clothing. So their beauty is brilliant. And so is their skincare. Their Spray Genie Face Mist contains rose and mineral water so is very calming but brilliant for making sure that your skin is moisturised. &OtherStories is a brilliant brand to have a look at for skincare (and beauty) - it's all stripped back to the basics but is exactly what you need.

If you're from the USA, you'll probably know this brand, but Boscia is a little known brand for those on the other side of the pond. But it's brilliant. It's stocked on Sephora but you can also get it from Roses Beauty Store which is a UK website that sells American beauty products. I love the Boscia Makeup Removing Oil but their Luminzing Black Mask is unbelievable. It's designed to remove blackheads and it forms a sticky plastic layer on your skin. I use it on my t-zone and it's incredible how brightening it is! I definitely reach for the moisturiser afterwards but with results, I can't complain.

Then onto a brand that seems to have moments in the beauty world and then fades out but I honestly believe that Origins is one of the best skincare brands out there, particularly their Original Skin Face Mask. The mask is a baby pink but honestly rejuvenates your skin after the fifteen minutes of using it. Origins always have amazing masks and I adore their Drink Up Intensive and their Charcoal mask (blanking on the name!). Origins is one of those brands that always do great skincare and it doesn't cost the earth either.

And finally, REN Skincare which similarly to Origins, seems to come in waves but it's another brand that I think can do no wrong. I believe it's a Swedish brand (but don't quote me on that) so it's a brand that very much focuses on the essentials. I love their Clearcalm 3 and Radiance ranges the best, particularly their Clearcalm Clay Cleanser which is a lovely cleanser that avoids stripping the skin too much yet still leaves my skin feeling clean. It's ideal for a second cleanse. I also adore their Glycolactic Mask which I've talked about numerous times but contains AHA's so is a brilliant exfoliating mask and leaves your skin feeling fresh and glowy.

What are some of your favourite skincare brands?

Ultimate Beauty Dupes

I'm by no means a high end fiend but I can appreciate a good foundation or a good highlight and if it knocks Boots equivalents out of the water, I'll pay the money so it's always exciting when I find budget versions that save me all that dollar.

Primers are something that I've always been quite indifferent to, the kind of product that you never really know what you're missing until you find the one. The Soap&Glory One Heck of A Blot is incredible. Now that summer is well and truly gone, I favour more matte skin over dewy so a primer to help keep oils at bay was a go to for me. This is beautiful. I've heard it's similar to the Too Faced Hangover Primer as it helps keep your makeup fresh and relatively matte without removing all dimension from your face. It doesn't make my makeup look cakey or anything along those lines and for £10 it's very well priced. (Plus the packaging looks incredible.)

Then onto a contour kit that will save you major money. The Anastasia Beverley Hills Contour Palette is a cult favourite amongst anyone who wants cheekbones sharp enough to kill but at £40, it really is steep. I stumbled across the Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Palette after a good ole instagram stalk when I discovered that it's what Little Mix's makeup artist uses (and lets be honest, their contour game is always incred.) so I thought why not, and picked it up. I own the Anastasia palette and I'm not overly fussed but the Barry M is ten times better. The pigment is amazing, its buttery and it does it's job. There is a warm toned and cool toned contour shade in the palette so it's versatile and although the palette only comes in one skin shade, it's definitely one to keep an eye on. It's less than £10 and is so good that I'm kicking myself for not discovering this earlier. Fingers crossed they bring out some more colours for people with darker skin tones.

And now let's talk highlight. I love a good highlight and when I'm looking for a soft natural, dewy look, liquid highlighters are the ultimate way to achieve that subtle glow. Benefit High Beam is a lovely liquid highlight that has a pink undertone which ultimately gives that lovely glow. But £20 for a tiny pot is quite steep. I spotted this Sleek Barekissed Illuminator in Monaco and instantly knew it was going to be a winner. It's almost identical to the Benefit version but the Sleek comes in a variety of colours. It doesn't contain glitter like so many highstreet highlights but is beautiful. There are champagne and bronze shades also as part of the range so it's great for all skin tones. 

Finally, skincare. I didn't have this when I put together my budget skincare routine but this definitely deserves a place. This Botanics Hot Cloth Cleanser is a sure fire win for anyone looking for a budget balm cleanser and can't afford high priced items like the Emma Harding or Clinique Take The Day Off cleansing balm. It smells incredible and feels incredible luxurious on the skin. I wouldn't say it's a direct dupe but it's certainly a budget equivalent. 

What are some of your favourite budget dupes?

A Mask For...

I adore face masks. I use them on a regular basis (we're talking two to three times a week) and I know this may seem excessive but each mask has a specific purpose so sometimes it's necessary. There has been a massive phase of using several masks in one go, one for the T zone, another for cheeks etc etc, but I'm a firm believer that you should treat your entire face the same and use a mask on your entire face. But I'm going to break down my favourite masks for various purposes.

A mask to cleanse...
The Aesop Parsley Seed Cleansing mask is a cult favourite amongst beauty fans and bloggers and there's a good reason for that, because it's incredible. It really does make your skin feel clean and really sorts out any gunk in your pores. The best part is that it's incredibly gentle and your skin doesn't feel stripped at all, just clean.

A mask for when you've worn makeup all week...
I don't wear makeup on a regular basis but when I do, my skin gets quite dry and doesn't feel as smooth and clear as it would be on a normal basis, so I reach for a mask that contains charcoal to really deep cleanse every inch of my face and make sure I start the next week with baby soft fresh skin. I adore the Origins Clear Improvement Mask because it really sorts out any blemishes and cleans out any blackheads without stripping my skin. After using this, my skin positively glows.

A mask for dry skin...
As we approach the cooler months, my skin really starts to dry out and I reach for oils, serums and moisture packed masks to really prevent my bases clinging to any dry patches. My current favourite for this is the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Oatmeal Mask which leaves my skin feeling amazingly soft. Oatmeal is already known for having a soothing effect on your skin and in turn moisturises it. I can't say much more about it, than that it's really moisturising.

A mask to brighten...
I didn't know this was a thing until I started beauty blogging but you honestly don't know how dull your skin is looking until you use a mask packed with AHA's and BHA's. The REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask which really does what it says on the tin, it leaves your skin looking radiant. It smells like citrus meets off milk so it's a little bit funky but aside from that it's absolutely brilliant. I push past the smell because it's so bloomin' good.

A mask to tighten pores...
Now I'm always dubious about any products that claim to reduce pore sizes as unless they are physically changing the very make up of your skin, it'll never happen. But the REN Clarimatte Invisible Pores Detox Mask which definitely doesn't make your pores invisible, it's great for reducing the appearance of them. It really does help to tighten up and purge pores so it's great once again for if you've been wearing a lot of product on your skin like pore filling primers.

A mask to do it all...
This baby pink clay mask is the newest addition to my collection of masks and it's fast becoming my all round go to. The Origins Original Skin Retexturising Mask smooths your skin, deep cleanses, and consecutively brightens. It's not particularly moisturising but it doesn't strip your skin either so it's a win in my books.

What are your favourite masks?

The Budget Skincare Routine

I'm a massive skincare geek. I love it. From my days as a twelve year old using Simple to my current finely honed skincare routine, I know what works for me and I know what does and doesn't work. My current skincare routine is a mix of high end and budget options but as some of them are on the pricier side I decided to compile some of my favourite products into a skincare routine that won't break the bank (and will help you put down the makeup wipes).

My first essential to drop the wipes is an oil based cleanser that will help break down waterproof makeup. I adore the Una Brennan Superfacialist Cleansing Oil which is £10.99 from your local Boots. It lasts forever and smells incredible and very citrusy. It breaks down my makeup really well and leaves my skin feeling clean and ready for a wash. If for any reason you're deprived of water, go for the Garnier Micellar Water which will help remove your makeup. However, I only recommend this if you're so exhausted you don't have time to wash your face or if you're on an airplane. For £3.29 you can't go wrong.

Lots of people forget about the second cleanse, which is incredibly necessary as all you've done by now is remove your makeup. I recommend a gel or cream cleanser for this stage. My current go to is the Muji Cream Cleanser which is less than £5 and feels so luxurious on your skin. It's very thick and helps to remove any excess makeup and dirt from your skin without stripping it. This is a step that alot of people go wrong with as they go for foaming cleansers BUT STAY AWAY as they'll strip your skin and you'll be stuck in a cycle with your skin producing too much oil. Helps keep your skin moisturised as well. You can't get it online but you can pick it up from your Muji store (in some Selfridges in the UK).

Then onto one of my favourite steps in my skincare routine, the acid toner. Now this sounds terrifying and I've done a couple of posts on it here and here but it isn't. This step helps to include skin cell exfoliation which helps reduce redness and scaring. I love these Nip + Fab Extreme Glycolic Fix Pads which are cotton wool presoaked in a glycolic acid solution. I wipe these over my face and buff them into any blemishes after cleansing my face and they really have helped my complexion so much. They're about £13 but worth every penny and so much cheaper than some of the others on the market.

After the acid tone, I let my skin rest for about 10 minutes to fully absorb the Glycolic acid but then I reach for my La Roche Posay Serozinc which is a spray toner containing a solution containing Zinc Sulfate. Zinc Sulfate helps to reduce redness and will help neutralise the acid from the toner. It's incredibly refreshing and has definitely helped to reduce any inflammation in my skin. Once again it's only £8.50 and lasts forever so is another budget essential.

And finally, you always need a good deep cleansing mask. These aren't something you would need to use daily but I would say once a week. This bad boy is from H&M and contains charcoal which helps to deep cleanse pores. I apply this to my t-zone or any areas where my pores feel particularly clogged. It's good, especially for the price. It does the job.

Now, you may be wondering why there are no moisturisers or serums on this list. That is because I'm yet to find a budget version that I'm completely happy with. But also because of my skin type and the oil cleanser, I find that my skin doesn't need it. But if you are seriously seriously strapped for cash, Olay always do a sufficient moisturiser, but I really think that this is something you should invest in.

A Take On Natural Beauty

I'm not big on natural skincare. I love the prospect of chemical peels, and all of the AHAs and BHAs being poured onto my face. (Okay, maybe a slight extreme but you get my drift). But I'm not someone who reaches for natural skincare, the kind in green bottles and plastered with the words "organic" or "chemical free" because most of the time, they really don't do the job.

However, a couple of new products have popped up on my radar and have converted me (slightly).

I'm big on facial oils and even more so now that we're setting into winter so the Antipodes Divine Face Oil was something that I was instantly drawn to. The one thing that massively appealed to me from it was the inclusion of rosehip oil which is known to reduce both redness and scarring (something that when that time of the month strikes, I suffer from). I've been using this now for at least a week and every night before bed, I slather it all over my face and wear it like a serum. It's a bright yellow green colour which isn't exactly appealing but my goodness, it does the job. The oil has a herbal scent so it's something I enjoy applying and my skin always feels far smoother and softer when I wake up in the morning. My skin tone is far more even and redness is not as prominent as it once was. I'm obsessed and this may well have knocked my favourite Nuxe oil off the top. Worth every penny.

In Summer, I tend to reach for my Una Brennan oil to remove my makeup but in the cooler months, I'm a big fan of cleansing balms. My usual favourite is the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm but there's nothing fun about using it - no scent or anything like that. So when the Antipodes Grapeseed Cleansing Butter landed on my desk, I was making grabby hands at it. It has the same classic Antipodes herbal scent but by goodness, this is brilliant. The cleansing balm isn't classically smooth but has beads of some sort in it that break down as you massage it into your skin. It's incredibly luxurious and I love how moisturised my skin is when I rinse it off. It's made taking off my makeup far more exciting. I can't say this has had a significant impact on my skin but it's a lovely change from my standard Clinique choice.

And finally, a somewhat ambiguous "natural" option is the Origins Clear Improvement Mask. This is bloomin' brilliant. You can buy this in either a tube or individual 'pods' which is the choice I went for because I didn't want the mask to dry out. I slather this on for about twenty minutes and wash it off with a flannel and my skin simply glows. The mask contains activated charcoal which is a great pore cleanser and it really clears out the gunk you might have lurking. If I'm having an unusually spotty day, I dab this onto spots and it really helps to clear them up and help them heal faster.

What are some of your favourite natural beauty options?

This post may contain items that have been sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.

Bedside Beauty

I'm inherently lazy so if I'm sat in bed in my pyjamas, I'm not moving for anything (unless I'm still wearing my makeup because I'm not touching wipes). So in order to fuel my laziness habit, I leave everything I could possibly need on my bedside cabinet.

The number one thing that always has a place is nail polish (typically about eight bottles) and my Seche Vite top coat which is an essential. The top coat is ace for making sure my nails always look flawless and remain unchipped. I tend to keep neutral colours close by as they tend to be the colours I reach for the most. I currently have Essie Missmatched which is a slight off white colour - very pretty!

Hand cream is another essential as especially during winter, my hands get stupidly and annoyingly dry. My current favourite is the &OtherStories Hand Cream in Moroccan Tea which is a lovely fresh scent. The packaging is very minimalist and reminiscent of Aesop packaging. I find that putting hand cream on before bed is a great way of moisturising my hands without covering everything I touch in a greasy residue.

With winter really starting to set in (yay for layers), it's back to cleansing balms and thicker moisturisers and in my case, oils. I'm a massive fan of the Nuxe Prodigieuse Dry Oil but finished that off during summer so have currently been loving the Antipodes Divine Face Oil which is absolutely incredible. I was instantly enticed as the oil contains rosehip which is notorious for reducing scaring and redness and I can hand on heart say that I noticed a difference within the week. It's helped to smooth out my skin and reduce the number of under skin spots. A more detailed review to come soon.

Vitamins aren't so much beauty but with University starting up again soon and a new bout of Freshers hitting the streets, I refuse to catch freshers flu so have been upping my vitamin count with multivitamins and green juices in the morning. Along with the more practical side is my trusty TigerBalm. I flippin' love tigerbalm. I discovered it in Asia and It's the ultimate muscle relief and headache soother; I wouldn't trade it for anything else. I'm one of those people who if I get a headache, I literally have to go to sleep or sit in a dark room with a cool flannel over my eyes because no amount of water or paracetemol will shift them. But tigerbalm helps to dull the throb and allows a bit more civility in my life. It's a brutal orange colour and will stain white bedding (I've learnt this lesson) but a dab of this on my forehead is bound to cure all. Sidenote: also brilliant if you suffer from a sore neck from hunching over your laptop like I do as it contains menthol and helps sooth muscle pain.

And then the lipbalm. This is a new buy for me but I've been loving the Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm which is what it says on the tip, ultra nourishing. Up North, it's getting increasingly cool and windy so my lips are suffering and this is a great overnight treatment. Plus a pot is more hygienic than your standard chapstick.

And of course I have a couple of invisbobbles (which don't kink your hair) and a hair clip (or ten).

What do you keep on your bedside table?

Some of these items may have been sent to me for review. All opinions remain honest and my own. Read my disclaimer for more information.

A Closer Look at Muji Sensitive Skincare

It's no secret that I love my skincare and strongly believe that sometimes it's worth paying more to protect it but when browsing the store of my dreams - Muji, I noticed these bad boys and with each one coming in at around £5, how could I say no.

Budget skincare is known for it's standard issue clay masks, foaming face cleansers and scrubs so harsh that you'd be lucky to be left with skin that wasn't red raw and potentially bleeding. Perhaps a slight exaggeration as I love my Una Brennan, but realistic for the most part. *Shudders at the thought of Clearasil*

But with Muji, there was none of this nonsense in sight. It was stripped back, basic and to the point (leaving my skin blemish free). Reminiscent of it's Japanese past and similar to high end versions such as SKII, it features my favourite part, the Essence. Similar texture to a serum, it's the ideal moisturiser for someone with combination skin and perfect for anyone during the warm summer months.

But before getting to the essence part, we have several other components. As a cleanser, we have a luxuriously thick cream cleanser that is wonderful for leaving the skin moisturised and softer than it was before. As it's part of the sensitive skin range, there is no scent but it it is wonderful for cleansing after removing any dirt following makeup removal.

Following the cream cleanser there is another product which I'm not particularly impressed with but it's far better than some of the market equivalents. The toner. Similar use and texture to a micellar water, its refreshing and I could imagine it would be wonderful in a spray bottle. I've not used it as toner as I love my acid toners but I have used it on occasion to remove my makeup after a long night. It's nice, but not worth shelling out for.

If you're interested in the skincare range, I'd highly recommend the essence and cream cleanser. There are definitely better alternatives at a high end price (we're talking £40 here), but if like me, you're a student on a budget, these are brilliant and perfect for keeping your skin supple. People with sensitive skin, it does what it says on the tin and didn't make my skin break out whatsoever. 

It's five stars for me. Especially at it's price.

AHA's: The Acid Toners You Need

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on the basics of acid toning which is a now essential step in my skincare routine but a lot of the products I had included, I hadn't used for long so thought it was about time I did a bit of a follow up post for people who wanted to get onto the whole AHA bandwagon and weren't sure where to start- and I have a variety of price options!

So a company I featured in my first post is Bravura London which is definitely a game changer if you're after reasonably priced AHA products (most products range from £8-£15). I linked the purifying calendula toner in that post but not too long ago, did another little shop and purchased the Detoxifying Eucalyptus Toner which has 15% AHA and BHA - a combination of glycolic and salicylic acid. Glycolic acid is brilliant for for skin cell exfoliation and is a key part for a brighter complexion and salicylic acid is ace for deep pore cleansing; the two work really well tomorrow and are ideal for people that may suffer from blackheads or spots. Similarly to the Calendula toner, it smells a bit funky but I'm willing to push past that as it works so well. I've definitely noticed an improvement in my skin and love this when I have troubled skin as it really sorts it out overnight.

Another Bravura product I love is a bit more intense, and is the Lactic Acid 10% Chemical Peel  but it's really not as scary as it may seem (and definitely not what you may think...). The concept of a chemical peel is terrifying but as this is an at home product, it's far less intense. I love this for sundays as it really gets rid of the week's worth of skin cells, and leaves me with a brighter and less pigmented complexion. Because it's quite strong, it essentially removes the top layer of skin cells which means that redness is reduced and less likely to reappear. I apply it with my fingers, leave it for about half an hour and then wash it off with a warm flannel. It's brilliant. And it's £10.

If I'm just after a quick skin routine, I reach for my First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads which are textured pads soaked in a solution that contains AHA's and is more of a quick fix. They're not my favourite product and as they're around £19, I probably wouldn't buy them again as the Bravura products are better.

A beauty cult product is Alpha H Liquid Gold which is definitely more pricey for £33.50 but that's the price for 200ml. I love this because it's quite concentrated glycolic acid which really helps to reduce redness. The first night I used it, I broke out like crazy the next day but then the following day, my skin was almost flawless, so definitely try it for about a week before you make a judgement. This is probably my favourite product for clearing up spots as it gives a near instant result.

And finally, a more intense product which is the REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. The one pictured is a sample but it normally comes in a pump bottle at a price of £32. Definitely pricey but this is incredible. I've just got over a significant amount of stress from exams and assignments so I haven't been eating properly which had made my skin look slightly sallow and dull but this has essentially given me new skin. It's such an odd texture, almost like a thick gel and it smells terrible (like citrus fruit gone bad) but it's worth the bad smell as it has reinvented my skin. Definitely a good Sunday mask as it will clear your skin from a weeks worth of makeup and completely rejuvenate it. Yet another glycolic acid product, it's a brilliant product to have in you're stash if you're still not too sure about using heavy duty acid products.

What do you think of my choices? Have you used any AHA products lately?