New Additions To My Skincare Routine | April 21

New Additions To My Skincare Routine | April 21

With April, comes the first hint that the dark, bleak winter has gone and we’re now heading into warmer, longer days. I tend to change my skincare routine depending on the season, and the condition of my skin. I’ve added a fair few products into my routine lately and I thought I’d share.

Simple Protect ‘N’ Glow Triple Protect SPF 30 Moisturiser

I mentioned that this was on my Wishlist in My Everyday Facial SPF post (if you haven’t sorted your SPF yet, here is your reminder) and as soon as I saw this, I picked it up. I’m light sensitive, fair, use acids in my routine, and I want to look 25 forever so SPF is high on my list. I really like this moisturiser, it’s slightly heavier than the Simple Vital Vitamin Cream and is velvety without being heavy. I’m enjoying using this and it definitely brightens my skin.

La Roche-Posay Serazinc

I saw this on Fleur De Force’s recent video and through I would give it a try as she had such good things to it. My skin can be prone to breakouts but it’s normally hormonal or when I overload on sugar so I wasn’t sure if this would be right for me but after Fleur’s review, I was sold. It’s a very fine, cooling and refreshing mist while tightening pores and calming skin. I really like this, I think I’ll get a lot of use out of it over the summer months and would repurchase.

CeraVe SA Smoothing Cleanser

This gel cleanser has been on my to-list for a few months. I finally purchased it a few weeks ago because it’s such a holy grail for people. Said to cleanse, smoothen and gently exfoliate skin whilst being gentle and protects the skins natural barrier. No frills, just a good old face wash, which you can actually use on your body too. I really wanted to love this, and the jury is still out but I’m leaning towards the disappointed side. My skin has become so textured, it never used to be like that and it’s felt really horrible for a few days. It might be coincidence so I’m going to persevere for another few weeks but I don’t think I’m going to get on with this one.

Dr. Barbara Sturm Mini Calming Serum

This came in the CEW Female Founders Beauty Edit box which I indulged on just before Christmas and I’d never heard of the brand before. Retailing for £65 for 10ml this is eye watering, and even if it worked miracles, I doubt I would re-purchase. It’s lovely and it does calm redness and irritation. It was an SOS when my skin flared up but it’s way to expensive so when I finish the bottle, that will be it I’m afraid.

Do you switch up your skincare routine with the seasons? I’d love to know what you change and what products you love in the warmer half of the year. Or, if you have tried any of the above products, I’d love to know what you think.

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Bondi Sands Pure Review | March 21

Bondi Sands Pure Review | March 21

I mentioned in my buying beauty products online post about my love of Influenster and their VoxBox campaigns where you can test products in exchange for posting a review. I was selected for the Bondi Sands Pure collection VoxBox campaign and was sent the three products in the range to try. Just to disclaim, it’s not part of the campaign that I write a blog post, and I’m not being paid for this, but I did receive the products for free as part of the campaign. That being said, I always review products honestly and I liked this range overall, so I thought I’d share my thoughts.

Bondi Sands Pure Self Tan Foaming Water

Infused with hyaluronic acid for long lasting hydration, the key selling point for me was the added vitamins C and E to to nourish skin and protect from pollution, UV rays and blue light, making this the ultimate fake tan for a day in town with the girls or a city break. It is cruelty free, vegan and suitable for sensitive skin so I was really excited to give this a go. For packaging, it’s a water but a squeeze bottle, so not the easiest to get out of the bottle without it going everywhere and as it’s transparent, it’s hard to wipe up. This does lather when it hits the skin but it’s easily controlled – a long way from the green mousse we used in our teenage years. The issue with the transparency is you can’t see how much is going on, or if you miss any parts. I did this while watching TV and ended up with a few streaks. It was a really rich colour, my skin felt soft and it lasted a long while. My skin could breathe too which made it really comfortable to wear. I put this on about 5pm, and it did slightly transfer to my sheets overnight, but it wasn’t too bad. Overall, I liked the colour, how it felt and the ingredients, I think the bottle would benefit from a pump and with practice, the application would probably be much easier.

Bondi Sands Pure Self Tanning Face Mist

This is the product I was most excited about. I always found face fake tan tricky to apply and it clogged my skin. This product has all the good stuff of the others above, so I was excited to give this one a go. The pump is tricky to work, I actually thought it was broken and while it looks good, it’s a bit too much frill and a standard spray would’ve been better. Once you get it working, the spray is really fine so it’s easy to get a good, even coverage. A few sprays and then I just ran the mitt over my face to even out. Considering I wash my face more than my body, this lasted almost as long as my body colour so I didn’t re-apply this and just topped up with bronzer. I would quite happily purchase this, if the spray could be fixed.

Bondi Sands Pure Self Tan Sleep Mask

This was the product I was least excited to try, sleep masks in general just make me switch off. I think because when I was younger I assumed you went to sleep with a full on face mask and had to lie like a mummy all night, even though I know what’s the not the case, they still make me screw up my face. I was a little bit nervous because the face mist was pretty dark, so I thought this would be a stronger colour. Actually, I couldn’t have been more wrong and I liked this more than the mist (mostly because the packaging was easier). It’s just like a moisturiser but is hydrating, and leaves your skin glowing. I have somewhat sensitive skin and it didn’t clog my pores or make me break out. The colour was even and it lasted well.

Overall

This was my first experience with Bondi Sands and I’m really impressed with the colour, how nourishing it felt on my skin and the longevity. I like the packaging is fully recyclable and it’s cruelty free, and Vegan. I’m more of a gradual tan within a moisturiser type gal than an all-in tan. I noticed they do a Gradual Tanning Milk which sounds so up my street, It’s in my Wishlist for my next online shopping splurge.

Brand Spotlight – Hourglass | March 21

Brand Spotlight – Hourglass | March 21

Hourglass is known for its luxury yet does everything it claims to, products, particularly its face products as it aims to mix beauty with science. The holy trinity which gives the ultimate glow, in every light, that still looks natural. The brand has become one of my favourites in recent years and has introduced me to some of my most loved products.

Ambient Lighting Powder

Probably the most famous Hourglass product, the ambient lighting powder which will set you back £45 and is the most loved item in my make-up bag. No word of a lie, from sitting at the counter in Liberty, this product changed my life. Coming in 6 shades, this buttery, illuminating powder is like walking around with a filter on. It just makes you look better. You can wear this on it’s own or over your make-up, it soften, conceals, and gives you a healthy, soft glow that works in every light. It comes in six different shades, I’m pretty fair and I wear Dim Light. I won’t let this product run out with re-purchasing, I love it. If you’re going to buy one, let it be this one.

Ambient Lighting Bronzer

This is the dreamiest bronzer which has many of the properties of the ambient lighting powder, but with a multi-tonal, sun kissed glow. In two minutes, you look like you’ve had a week in the sun. It’s so natural looking when the light hits your face. I’m pretty fair, and I purchased this in Diffused Bronze Light (light/medium) and it’s a great colour for me. At £49, it is pricey but it lasts really well and you don’t use a lot of product. The packing is pretty sturdy and touch wood, I’ve never dropped it but I think it would fare pretty well.

Ambient Lighting Blusher

The third, and final product in creating the ultimate glow. I use this in Incandescent Electra which is a cool peachy colour which still has a light pink glow. I haven’t loved a blush as much since Tanya Burr’s Peonies Please and I’m so happy I discovered this. Like the above products, it has a blurring effect which smooths your skin. This is buildable and has creates a natural looking, multi-dimensional look with the littlest effort. The full size would set you back £38 but my tip would be to buy the travel size, it’s £24 and you get so much product- it lasts for ages.

Arch Brow Shaping Gel

My holy grail brow gel is a Charlotte Tilbury one so I wasn’t sure how much I would like this because I’m used to a very fine wand, where as this is much thicker. The wand has multiple lengths so with a bit of practice, you can get all the fine hairs and use the longer bristles to add volume into the thicker parts of your eyebrows. I don’t use this as an everyday brow gel, but I do like it when I’m going out. It certainly gives volume and it stays in place all day.

Film Noir Full Spectrum Mascara

This is the only product that I’m not crazy, in love with… and it might be me. Firstly, to disclaim, I have incredibly long, dark eyelashes (by far my best feature) so I don’t need, or ask for much in a mascara. I’m a fan of a No.7 brown mascara that separates my lashes, keeps them out of my eyes and is easy to come off. This nourishes your lashes and it subsequently has a somewhat waxy texture and it’s not the easiest to come off. I do like the look but I feel like you could create the same look with a high street product. It does have rave reviews, so it could possibly just be me.

My Hourglass Wish List

The products next on my list to try is the Veil Soft Focus Setting Spray, the Femme Nude Lip Stylo, the Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint and the Veil Powder Brush. As a brand, it’s pricey so trying new products is a bit of a treat but I normally hold off until there’s 20% off or Space.NK sometimes do £10 off a £40/50 pound spend, then I go in.

Please let me know if you’ve tried any of the products, or are going to try any based on my recommendations. Equally, if you’d recommend any products or brands as a spotlight feature, please let me know in the comments below.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother’s Day is one of my favourite holidays, I absolutely adore spoiling my mum and this is the perfect opportunity. I am normally super prepared and have a gift organised early in the year, so thought I’d share a few suggestions to give you some inspiration. I appreciate not everyone is as lucky as myself and may have lost their mum or have a difficult relationship so find this day hard. Mother’s Day doesn’t need to just be about a mum, it’s about showing someone you appreciate all they do for you be that a gran, auntie, friend, step-mum, dad, anyone.

If your mum needs some R&R time, why not gift her a book? One I’ve recently read is Because of You by Dawn French which is a story about motherhood. In the early hours of the millennium, two women give birth but only one goes home with a baby. It’s a heartbreaking yet heartwarming story, the narrative is beautiful and it’s a really great read. You can pick this up in larger supermarkets or on Amazon.

My approach with gifts for my mum, is things she would never buy herself. Something that is really lovely and indulgent is the Neom Real Luxury Intensive Skin Treatment Candle. You light the candle while you’re in a relaxing bubble bath or just before you go for a shower, then blow it out and use the wax as a body oil. It will leave your skin feeling soft, hydrated and the scent to relax will linger for the rest of the evening to put you in a calm state, ready for sleep. I’ve had this candle before and it’s worth every penny. At £40, it is expensive but you’re getting two products in one. It’s a real treat.

If you want to show your mum she’s your best friend, this Monica Vinader Linear Solo Friendship Diamond Bracelet is a step up from the pasta friendship bracelet you would’ve made her as an infant. I bought this for my mum last year and it went down a treat. It’s delicate, stylish, suits all tastes and can be engraved complimentary if you want to make it that little bit more personal. MV is my favourite jewellery brand and a big reason for that is their ethical sourcing and 5 year warranty. If in a few years it’s looking a bit battered, they’ll repair or replace it for free. This is £80 but keep an eye out for flash sales as this is normally included in them.

While no-one is going anywhere right now, if your mum is anything like mine, she’ll travel with lots of jewellery. My mum loves to accessorise and over the years has build up a lovely collection which you don’t want rolling around at the bottom of a make-up bag in transit. Katie Loxton have designed a beautiful One in a Million Jewellery Roll with dedicated compartments for jewellery. Be quick with this one, it’s currently on sale for £17.49 at John Lewis & Partners.

Caring for your hands has never been more talked about than in the last twelve months. In the cold british winters, I rely on hand cream and I also think it’s make a really lovely, thoughtful gift. For indulgence, Molton Brown have some decliciously smelling, rich but not greasy handcreams including this Heavenly Gingerlilly which is £10. If you want to go extra indulgent, what about Jo Malone English Pear & Fresia hand cream which at £25 for 30ml? This is one of my favourite Jo Malone ranges and is a perfect spring fragrance.

If you’re thinking along the lines of a sweet treat, M&S Swiss Truffle Chocolate Assortment for £8, she’ll be eating a mixture of milk and dark chocolate truffles for days. In my eyes, these are better than Lindor truffles and are so very morish. M&S chocolate is Throrntons chocolate which is my favourite, a hidden gem.

If you’re still stuck for idea’s, you could make your mum a gift box with all of her favourite little things, the supermarkets normally have nice little Mother’s Day trinkets and you could include things like bath bombs, photographs, hot chocolate, face masks, slippers, soap, or other bits and bobs depending on what your mum likes. I assure you this will go down a treat because it’s so thoughtful and personal- which is really what Mother’s Day is all about!

To make the day a bit more special, and since it’s unlikely we’ll be going out for lunch this year, you could make your mum a special afternoon tea to share and spend some quality time together. If you’re not a baker, lots of cafe’s are doing afternoon tea boxes for Mother’s Day this year.

Let me know if you think any of the above are good idea’s, if you have any idea’s of your own or if you are a small business owner and have anything that would be a good Mother’s Day gift, please leave your links below.

Brand Spotlight – Jo Malone | February 21

Brand Spotlight – Jo Malone | February 21

Jo Malone is famous for is distinctive scents and luxury products. Made up of 146 scents (and counting), the English brand owned by Estee Lauder since 1999, sells its signature scents through colognes, home, bath & body, evoking memories, emotion and a lasting impression like no other. I couldn’t tell you many high-street fragrances hot on the market right now, but I can pick out Honeysuckle and Davana from a mile away, and I’m no exception. The brand has commanded loyalty and spending power that few other brands could dream of, or touch.

If you’re new to Jo Malone, it can be slightly intimidating as to where to start. Each store has rows of iconic, identical bar the name bottles neatly lined up down the centre so it can be overwhelming. The fragrances can be split into the following categories: Citrus, Fruity, Floral, Light Floral, Spicy and Woody. I would recommend a floral or light floral for someone buying their first cologne, in particular Wild Bluebell or Peony & Blush Suede, you can’t go wrong with either of them.

I’ve tried a fair few products and have made a note of my favourites below, if you’re looking for some inspiration.

English Pear & Freesia (Fruity)
This is one of my favourite spring scents. It’s a popular scent for other products such as hand wash, body lotion so you can build a full collection.

Nectarine Blossom & Honey ( Fruity)
It’s fruity, sweet and comforting at the same time.

Peony & Blush Suede (Floral)
My first ever JM scent and as such, will have a special place in my heart. It’s very distinctive yet subtle at the same time.

Honeysuckle & Davanna (Floral)
My signature scent, I get the most compliments when I wear this scent.

Orange Blossom (Floral)
Said to be Kate Middleton’s wedding scent.

Wild Bluebell (Light Floral)
I have the cologne and hair mist in this fragrance and they smell amazing. Sometimes I layer this with Lavender and Silverbirch for something truly personal to me.

Red Roses (Light Floral)
This is strong for a light floral scent and it’s not for everyone, but rose is one of my favourite scents.

Wood Sage & Sea Salt (Woody)
Who knew salt could smell so good? It’s gentle, not to overpowering and reminds me of being by the sea.

Lavender and Silverbirch (Floral)
Fruity, woody and floral. The lavender collection was a limited edition release this time last year and get the image of lavender pillow sprays out of your head, this is to DIE for.

If you’re not sure where to start, or if you want to treat yourself to a new fragrance and would like a hand, Jo Malone offer a scent finder on their website which you can access by clicking here. I’ve used this a few times and always been impressed with the outcomes, even if it’s been a cologne I’ve never smelled before, I’ve always loved it.

If you’re not in the market for a new cologne, why not treat yourself to one of their iconic candles? From the bow on top, to the complimentary matches, the candles are as elegant and luxurious as they come. Indulgent, yes, but a thirty minute burn will keep your room scented all evening.

Product Empties | January 21

Product Empties | January 21

Philosophy Pure Grace Fragrance

This light floral scent smells so fresh, modern and clean, like stepping fresh out of the shower but with a distinctive note of leafy greens. It’s incredibly distinctive and luxurious. It’s not too overbearing so is a perfect summer or workwear fragrance. I equally love it on a crisp winter morning. This is pretty expensive in John Lewis/ Boots etc but Amazon sometimes have offers on when you’ll get a 60ml bottle for less than £25. There is a shower gel to match which is also incredibly luxurious, if you really want to treat yourself. I would buy this again, this was a hand bag size but I wouldn’t hesitate picking up the bigger bottle.

NXY Bare With Me Tinted Skin Veil

I bought this as an easy, work from home foundation that requires minimal effort, isn’t heavy and just makes me look a bit healthier on camera. This one ticks all my boxes. It’s just on the oily side, so I would recommend for normal/dry skin, or use a light powder if your skin is on the oily side. It’s comfortable to wear all day, feels breathable and goes on really smooth so it’s perfect for when you just need something, but don’t want to put actual make-up on. It’s £10 per tube, but because so many places sell NXY, someone always has a discount on so definitely shop online.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinx 1%

This is a holy grail for so many people and I can’t make up my mind if it works for me or not. Sometimes it clears up breakouts within hours and other times it really upsets my skin. I’m on my third bottle and can sort of tell when its going to work and when it’s not (no science or logic, just intuition). I would repurchase this, I just haven’t worked it out properly yet.

Better You Magnesium + Calcium Body Lotion

The idea of this is that your skin absorbs the magnesium/ calcium into your skin to support bone health. I don’t know how gimmicky this is, I didn’t notice any benefits in one bottle but it did leave my skin soft and supple. It was quick drying and it had a sea-salt scent that I quite licked. I picked this up in TK Maxx in the sale. I wouldn’t specifically re-purchase this but if I stumbled across it on offer, I’d probably pick one up.

Molton Brown Rhubarb and Rose Hand Cream

Rhubarb and Rose are two of my favourite scents so this hand cream is a dream for me. It’s lightweight, moisturising without being greasy and the scent lasts so long. Infused with truffle oil, it leaves my hands feeling so soft. Hand cream is a staple for me all year round and I am meticulous about it in the winter but particularly this year with all the hand sanitiser and extra hand washing, it’s hard on your skin. At £10 a pop, this is definitely an indulgent treat (or a great present) but so worth it.

That is my product empties for the month. Please leave me a comment if you’ve tried any of these products or with any recommendations for me to try.

Buying Beauty Products Online

Buying Beauty Products Online

There’s not much I won’t buy online. From clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, homeware, furniture, you name it. I don’t have the same anxiety about ‘seeing it’ in real life that others have, until it comes to beauty products. Foundations, lipsticks, even eye shadow palettes cause me so much stress when I need to buy them online. Pre-2020 this wasn’t an issue, my second home is a shopping centre and wandering around Boots or Superdrug with 7 swatches on my hand was a normal Saturday. Then the shops closed, and the shops that stayed open removed all their testers, so there was no merit in going to a shop to buy make-up. I started looking online and found a few tricks to make buying beauty online a little bit easier.

Findation / Match My Make-Up

Run out of your foundation, want to try something new but have spent hours agonising over Goggle images trying to find swatches? Sites such as Findation or Match My Make-Up provide a matching service. Put the details in of a foundation type, and shade, that matches you well and let it do the rest. This was a lifesaver when I wanted to buy a new Charlotte Tilbury foundation during lockdown but I didn’t know my shade.

Influenster

Think TripAdvisor but for products. There’s not much, beauty or not, that aren’t on Influenster. Detailed reviews with user photos, the ability to ask questions, as well as it’s own awards, Influenster will make sure you have all the information before checking out. I use this all the time and I contribute reviews as well as reading them. It is American based so not all UK brands are on there but I would say the vast majority will be. Influenster also has VoxBoxes where contributors can receive a VoxBox in exchange for reviews, there’s different campaigns for brands and you get a tailored selection of products or the full release. If you like to review products of all kinds, and you’re not on Influenster, I would recommend you sign up.

Blog Reviews

My favourite types of beauty posts to read are product empties, favourites, or new in beauty. I find it so helpful to see what other bloggers enjoy using and would recommend and find it re-assuring if I’m buying a product I’ve never tried, or seen before. Some of my favourite beauty buys have been discovered via blog posts. If you’re a beauty blogger, or enjoy beauty blogs, please leave your links in the comments below so other people can check out your beauty recommendations.

Read the Product Description

This sounds basic but I think the majority of people, myself included, have been caught buying products because of how they look, the name or because they’re heard other people talking about them but don’t actually know what the product is supposed to do. It’s so important to read the full product description and

Do You Know What You’re Looking For?

Understanding your skin is difficult. Everyone’s skin is unique to them and your skin type not only changes with so many factors, it can be difficult to understand in the first place. With brands throwing so many claims around about what products do, you need to wade through a lot of noise to get to what the product is, what it should do and more importantly, will it work for you. While we all have the luxury of time, if you haven’t already, I’d recommend putting some time in to research all things skin. You’ll be able to make more informed choices, reduce the time spent scratching your head and build a skincare/make-up routine that works for you. If you’re not sure where to start, I’d recommend Skincare by Caroline Hirons. The book is fantastic, it explains everything you need to know and gives some product recommendations.

I hope this post as been helpful and has given you a couple of ideas when buying beauty and skincare online. If you have any other tips, I’d love to know so please leave them in the comments below.

Visage LED Face Mask Review

Visage LED Face Mask Review

At home LED light treatment became mainstream in 2020. What had previously been reserved for medical or high end beauty treatment use, was suddenly accessible and everyone was posting an Instagram pic with their face lit up like a Christmas tree. I looked on in interest, masks which can treat fine lines, ageing, acne, hyperpigmentation and get real results, sounds too good to be true. However, the price tag in the range of £250 – £400+ made the face mask a wish-list item for the majority of people unless they were ready to make a serious investment.

Two of my primary skin concerns are acne, after a love/hate relationship with my Cerazette which seems to clear my skin up but gives me a long list of side effects, and hyperpigmentation. The hyperpigmentation is half acne scarring from popping spots (my new years resolution is to not do that) and half a mysterious discolouring under my skin that has baffled dermatologists. I long for the make-up free life, particularly since Coronavirus has saw the world take life in the slow lane and having to put make up on three days in now an occasion. 

I noticed Aldi (my second most visited place in 2020) were selling a LED Face Mask as a special buy. For those not familiar with Aldi’s special buy concept (get involved), it comes from the infamous middle isle madness, where you don’t know what you need until you see it. They sell bigger special buys online, very limited numbers for very limited prices.

For £49.99 I got the carry case, mask, charger and controller, basically everything you need. Aldi did disclaim this isn’t a medical treatment so don’t expect you’re getting what you’d be getting in a medical setting… now that’s out of the way. 

It is recommended you use the mask two or three times a week, spaced at least a day apart. The treatment time is ten minutes and you shouldn’t exceed this. The instructions recommend that those who have fair skin or burn easily shouldn’t use this product. I’m relatively fair skinned and have never had an adverse reaction to it, but it is at your own risk. 

As it’s not for medical use, the instructions don’t specify the light for each setting but after some research, they are: 

Redfine lines/ wrinkle concerns
Greenpigmentation concerns
Blueacne concerns

Ease of Use
It’s easy to set up, the power/controller was already charged when I bought it, you just plug the mask into the power and switch it on. It has a velcro band for around your head which is fairly comfortable and the mask fits well. 

Your skin should be clean when you use the mask and I put a hyaluronic acid serum on before hand just so my skin doesn’t dry out. After use, I opt for a light moisturiser. 

Once turned on, it defaults to the red light and to change it to either blue or green light, you just press the on button again. Once turned on, the time starts counting down and it cuts out after ten minutes. You shouldn’t expose your eyes to the LED light and even with my eyes closed, I found it pretty strong (and hard to keep my eyes closed) so, I bought tanning goggles online which make a big difference. 

It holds it’s battery well, I’ve used it eight times and it still has three out of four bars of battery.

How well does it work? 

It wasn’t beyond my imagination that a £50 version of a £300 product may be a bit gimmicky but actually, I’ve been impressed with how well this works. I’ve been using the mask twice a week for a month on the acne setting and my skin is much clearer – even considering the volume of sugar I’ve consumed over the Christmas period. 

I can’t speak for pigmentation, or fine lines yet but if they work as good as the acne setting then this has been the best addition to my skincare routine in a long time. 

This product sold out so quickly the last time it went on sale. It is now back in stock and you can purchase it here

Have you tried a LED mask before? Or have you considered/ are considering buying one? Please let me know in the comments below.

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