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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Everyday Facial SPF | February 21

Everyday Facial SPF | February 21

The sun came out this weekend, you could’ve taken your jacket off from the first time since September and it was a welcome reminder for all that brighter days are coming – hopefully figuratively and literally. If you’re in to skincare and frequently use acid products, you may be familiar with pink face that comes with reminder that you forgot your SPF. You should wear at least SPF 30 on your face, everyday from April to September and particularly if you’re using acid products (niacinamide, retinol to name a few) they make your skin much more sensitive to the sun so if you go out unprotected, even for a short time with a weak sun, you could do yourself damage.

I learned about facial SPF from Caroline Hirons and she has a really helpful guide which you can find here. I haven’t found one that I love yet, so I’ve tried a new brand every year but before we go into the SPF products, a few main points:

  • SPF degrades every year, so you can’t use last years. Keep this in mind when you’re purchasing as the big size is often better value, but still a waste if you won’t use it all.
  • Don’t buy fancy moisturisers with SPF as the SPF is so over powering, you’re most likely not going to get the benefit of the products other than the SPF, it’s better to use separate products.
  • SPF that goes on last will always be more effective than ones that sit under your make-up but you need to make the call about when you apply SPF based on your exposure and climate e.g. I would put it on under make-up if going to work all day, but if I’m out in the sun for a significant period then I’d put it on last.
  • You can’t add SPF up so if you have SPF15 in your moisturiser and SPF15 in your foundation, you’re not wearing SPF30, you’re only wearing the highest SPF of the products you’ve put on so SPF15 in this example.

The Body Shop Skin Defence SPF50 Face Cream – £18 for 40ml or £22 for 60ml

In terms of protection, this checks a lot of boxes – SPF 50, PA ++++, anti pollution and 24 hour moisture makes this the perfect city SPF. It’s lightweight and suitable for sensitive skin. My skin took to this pretty well and I would probably re-purchase. I don’t love it because I’m still aware it’s sun cream and it’s got an element of greasiness but it’s not terrible. I did see they brought out a mist in this range, but I wasn’t quick enough to buy it so I might give it another go this year. This is a crowd pleaser and normally sells out pretty quick from about Easter, so I’d snap this one up if you want it.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Day Lotion SPF30 – £16 for 50ml

As I couldn’t get said spray last year, I opted for this one instead and it was probably my least favourite I’ve ever tried. This has a milky texture rather than cream but it just smells of being on holiday and getting body suncream lathered on your face as a child (not in a good way). I found this irritated my eyes and was greasy on my skin. This might be better for someone with drier skin but I wasn’t a fan. I didn’t finish, nor would I repurchase.

Simple Protect ‘N’ Glow Radiance Booster SPF30 – £7.99 for 30ml

This was new to the market last year and as a Simple fan, I tried a few products in the range. This also offer pollution control and is an oil that you apply before, or after moisturiser. I always used it before and it made my skin really glowy and healthy looking all day. Definitely not one for oily prone skin, my skin is a bit hot and cold so I couldn’t rely on this to get me through the full summer, but I did really like it and would re-purchase. They do have a moisturiser which I couldn’t get last year so hoping I’ll be able to try that this year.

Products I want to try

The Inkey List SPF30 Daily Sunscreen – £14.99 for 50ml

I like the no-frills approach to the Inkey list and it’s exactly what you need when SPF shopping, as you’re essentially looking for the one thing.

Glossier Invisible Shield – £20 for 30ml

A brand I’ve never tried but always wanted to, so this year I’m absolutely buying this product. It’s supposed to have a serum texture which sounds perfect and I’ve heard great things about it.

My Tips

Assess what you’re paying for, are you paying £30 for a moisturiser with SPF because if so, you can ignore what the moisturiser is supposed to do… you’re paying £30 for SPF30. This took me the longest to get my head around.

Don’t leave it too late. Come April, everyone is looking for it and products sell out, do your research and buy now or know what you’re looking for.

Read the reviews. I don’t think the majority of brands have nailed SPF skincare as of yet so it can be hard to find one that gets on with your skin.

Are there any facial SPF products that you would recommend? Or have you tried any of the above, I’d love to know your experience.

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.

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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