Wednesday, 26 October 2016

October 2016 Favourites...

Autumn is probably my most favourite season and I like nothing more than snuggling up with a book and blankets. I start lighting some candles (which I only tend to do in Autumn/Winter) and begin to incorporate some winter skincare into my routine to ward of the effects of the changing weather.
Below are the things I have been enjoying this month so far, there are others but these are the most prominent to me for various reasons:

Darphin Intral Toner 50ml – Full Size 200ml £28.00 or 500ml £56.00 Escentual (1/3 off at the moment)

I bought this sample size in a kit from eBay as I heard that it was fantastic for sensitive and irritated skin. At the time I was suffering with irritation on my forehead which I think was caused by over exfoliation (stupid me!) so was in desperate need of something that may sort it out. In the kit was also the Intral cleanser. Upon use my skin was immediately relieved and the redness and irritation practically disappeared overnight! I love that the toner is alcohol free and super gentle and moisturising, no stinging. Plus, it smells amazing. A full size purchase has already been made of this and the cleanser! So pleased I found this before the harsh weather sets in.

Bareminerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream in Vanilla - £27.00 Feel Unique

I’ve had this multitasking foundation for a while and haven’t really been reaching for it over the last few months until October came around. I suddenly felt I needed something hydrating but lightweight. I go through periods where I like full coverage foundations and then switch to wanting something less so. I’ve used this nearly every day and have been enjoying how buildable it is but still staying super natural. It applies like a foundation but feels like a gel on the skin and is supposed to be the best of a BB, CC and every other letter of the alphabet all rolled into one ;) I also love that you don’t need to be a pro in order to apply as either fingers or brush works well with this. No dry patchy makeup for me this winter as apparently it increases skin’s hydration by 215% after 1 week. I don’t know how this is possible but if it says that then surely it must do! ;)

The Good Father by Noah Hawley

This is the book I am reading at the moment and I am really enjoying it. All about how a father deals with his son being charged with murdering the President of the United States. It focuses on America’s Criminal Justice System and details accounts of famous murderers, with the father in denial looking for clues of parental influence to understand why his remote but seemingly normal child would do such a thing. It packs an emotional punch and is very thought provoking, especially if you have a child yourself it will get you thinking what would you do in that situation. This is an account of a father accepting his child for better and for worse, until death do them part. Hankies are needed for sure. And I haven’t even finished the book!!

Nip and Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme - £14.95 Boots (on offer at the moment for £9.97)

I bought these after seeing lots of Instagram posts about them. Even though they say ‘Extreme’ apparently their acid content isn’t too scary. Packed with glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid and hyaluronic acid these target oily and congested skin. Even though I have sensitive skin I was assured that using these a couple of times a week shouldn’t cause any irritation or breakouts. So far so good, these have created brighter more refined skin and only leave a tingle after application. I think my irritation was caused by using these and a flannel in the same routine which over exfoliated my skin and caused the redness and small spots. Therefore, I won’t be making that mistake twice! It’s a nice addition to my collection as I haven’t used acid pads before and I like that they are easy to use and a quick sweep over the skin is all you need for them to be effective. Less faff than topical/liquid acids and are a must over the coming months when skin is known to be duller and lacklustre.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Honey Lip Balm £9.50 Escentual (1/3 off at the moment)

This has got to be my favourite lip balm. Ever! This my second or third tub! Its ideal for autumn/winter months as it is super hydrating and comes in a delicious whipped formula that lasts a long time on the lips. Usually I apply overnight and come morning it’s still there! It protects from harsh conditions and intensively nourishes. This is a cult product and apparently 1 gets sold across the world every 28 seconds! Although it is thick it’s not heavy, the texture is non greasy and leaves a matte effect on the lips which I like. Will continue to be a repurchase time and time again as I haven’t found anything that beats it!

Clinique Moisture Surge 125ml £22.00 Look Fantastic

I bought this spritz at the beginning of October knowing that I would need a facial spray that packs a punch in the hydration department. It definitely does this! I like that it’s no faff and is gentle on the skin. There aren’t any outstanding ingredients, it’s just simple and does the job. I use this most nights after acid toning and any time I am at home/office and feel the central heating sucking the life out of my skin! Quick spray of this and all feels good again. Also it’s worth mentioning the spray nozzle on this distributes a nice even layer which is a must when it comes to facial sprays, I hate feeling drenched! All in all, it really works and I will continue to repurchase. The rest of the moisture surge range is also fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone as they have options for both oily and dry skins. 

That’s my round up of the month’s favourites, I would be interested to know what are yours? Happy Halloween :)

Thanks for reading xx


Monday, 24 October 2016

Autumn Bargain Buys Under £10...

I plan to do seasonal blog posts detailing some bargain buys that are under £10. I like seeing these on other people’s sites as I find it interesting what budget things they enjoy and it’s always nice to know you aren’t breaking the bank to purchase! Not everyone can afford luxury products and I personally like to mix it up with high street brands as there are some fantastic finds out there...

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water for Sensitive Skin 125ml - £1.99 Boots

I love using micellar waters to remove my eye and lip makeup or when I want to remove my full makeup in a hurry. This one is my favourite and the closest one to bioderma that I have found. Cheap as chips and really does the job without irritating the skin. Don’t be deceived by the small bottle! It lasts ages and is so portable and doesn’t take up much space! Love it!

Weleda Skin Food 75ml - £9.95 Naturismo

You can buy this cream from most health food shops (Holland & Barratt etc) and nearly all online beauty websites stock it. A lot of the time it’s on offer for around £7.00 which is such a bargain considering it is packed full of wonderful ingredients! I personally like to use this as a night cream in the winter or a foot cream all year round. It’s quite thick and smells herbal but I like that. Some of the ingredients are Vitamin E in organic sunflower seed oil, organic pansy and rosemary leaf extract both of which have mild antiseptic properties, whilst organic calendula flower extract nourishes and cares for the skin. Even though I have oily/combination skin I don’t find this aggravates or causes breakouts. A little goes a long way so a tube of this will last a while. It can be used on the face by gently patting it into the skin or elsewhere on your body/hands/feet etc. This is a lifesaver during the winter months and I would recommend it to anyone! Plus, if it’s good enough for Victoria Beckham and Rihanna then it’s good enough for me!

NYX Butter Gloss in Angel Food Cake £5.00 and Butter Lipstick in Pops £5.50 Boots

These lip products are such good value for money, the ‘Butter’ range from NYX is probably my favourite from this brand as they apply so silky smooth and leave lips looking and feeling hydrated without compromising on pigment. The gloss is non sticky and makes lips look healthy whilst the lipstick provides a beautiful satin finish. By no means do they last all day and touch ups will be required but the colour selection is fantastic and the look they give is worth it. I like using these two colours together and would suggest you experiment as the colour payoff is brilliant without feeling heavy on the lips. These colours I’ve mentioned are great for autumn as they create a plum shade that is easily wearable throughout this season.

Botanics Hydration Burst Dual Action Cleanser 125ml £4.00 Boots

I picked up this cleanser around 1 month ago and have only used it a handful of times but I think it is such a good buy for Autumn. It’s a gel that transforms to an oil providing a gentle cleanse that removes make up well without irritating my sensitive skin or stinging my eyes. It doesn’t leave skin dry or tight (in fact the opposite). The ingredients list is fairly small and isn’t packed with nasties, Clary sage is mentioned on the front of the packaging and this is targeted to hydrate and soothe the skin which I think it does. The texture is quite thick and it does take a little longer than some melting gels to warm up and turn into an oil, but it does encourage facial massage which is great for stimulating the skin. It emulsifies easily and rinses well with water or removed with a hot cloth which is my personal preference. I think for anyone that doesn’t want to buy a premium brand gel/oil cleanser then this a fantastic alternative, and it can be used as either a first or second cleanse.

Botanics All Bright Radiance Balm 50ml - £2.50 Boots

Another boots botanics purchase! I bought this at the same time as the cleanser as I heard that it was a bargain dupe for some of the expensive brands. This works well for my oily skin as it’s a light texture and isn’t particularly moisturising, which may or may not be an appealing factor for some of you. For me I wouldn’t use this to moisturise anyway so it doesn’t bother me. It contains natural AHA’s (alpha hydroxyl acids) which act as mild exfoliators to leave skin looking smoother and brighter. I think it does this and leaves a subtle glow rather than anything too illuminating or glittery (which I hate!). My only gripe with this is that it’s not really a balm, more of a liquid so you do have to be careful when squeezing it out the tube as it has a tendency to squirt out! But other than that it applies nicely, sits under makeup well and does what it says it does! 

That's my round up of this season's bargain buys, do you have any recommendations under £10? 

Thanks for reading xx

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm Review

I know this is a much talked about product in the beauty and blogging industry, but I couldn’t go without putting my two-penneth in seeing as it's is my ‘Holy Grail’ cleansing balm!

This was the first cleansing balm I bought and fell in love with, I had dabbled with cheaper options before but never really enjoyed the experience. I always felt there was a film left behind even after removing them with a face cloth. I also found most broke me out, but then again I was buying ones that probably weren’t right for my skin ingredients wise.

So after a lot of deliberating (and reading Caroline Hirons blog!) I finally purchased this and oh my! I am so glad I did! As soon as you open the lid you can smell the heavenly aroma and it makes you feel relaxed straight away. I don’t think I’ve ever smelt anything like it! It really promotes a sense of comfort and well-being which is exactly what we need, especially for those of us that lead busy lives!

The balm contains Moringa (obviously!) with essential oils of Orange, Neroli and Mandarin which work to rejuvenate and revitalise the skin whilst calming the senses...this it does! There is also the inclusion of Jasmine and Rose which helps to hydrate and condition the skin. I believe that this balm would suit all skin types even oily/acne prone as it balances and thoroughly deep cleanses the pores all without stripping the skin, leaving it beautifully hydrated and calm.

I use this balm as either a morning or second cleanser as I like my skin to absorb the nutrients rather than using it to take off my makeup. Although, it does do an excellent job at removing makeup and it doesn’t sting my eyes so I can really get in there and remove any remaining traces. A big thumbs up for gentleness! The texture is soft like butter and easily turns into an oil upon contact with the skin, I love giving myself a good massage with this, it’s one of my favourite parts of the day, applying and then removing with a warm flannel! You really don’t know what you’re missing if you’ve never tried it! Inhaling and exhaling the scent has got to be done, it’s bliss! You can also apply the balm and add a touch of warm water to turn it into a milky consistency which you can then rinse off cleanly. So good for those that don’t like/or can’t be arsed with flannels!

Now despite me raving so much about this, it does have 1 con for me. I think the packaging sucks. It looks beautiful upon first glance but once you start using it you notice that the product is housed in a plastic case which is inside another hard plastic casing. Sounds strange? It is. Don’t get me wrong the packaging feels luxurious, but the outside plastic has cracked on nearly every pot I have owned. Not good. Especially for my poor hands! Here’s hoping Emma Hardie will listen to her customers as I know many have complained about this. Anyway let’s move on past the negative! …

The pot in the picture is 50ml as I bought it in the Starter Kit, and this has lasted me a fair while (around 4 months so far using 3-4 times a week), a little goes a long way, but the standard size is 100ml which last ages if you don’t scoop out tons at a time! If you buy the bigger size it comes with a cleansing cloth, but I personally only use the cotton side as the muslin side is quite harsh for my sensitive skin.

At £38.00 the price is steep but I would say it is 100% worth it! It has really made a difference in reducing congestion for me and brightening up my dull, tired skin. The smooth silky balm is such a joy to use and I can guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised by this little pot of magic. You can also use this as a mask leaving it for 10 minutes or so to allow the ingredients to penetrate, hydrate and soothe. Usually I just leave it on whilst I’m brushing my teeth and that way it gives my skin a boost! As an addition within this range there are rosehip exfoliating seeds which you can purchase for around £15, these can be mixed in with the balm to transform it into a gentle exfoliator. I have never done this though so cannot comment on results, it’s just something I thought I’d mention.

£38.00 for 100ml which includes 1x dual action cleansing cloth or £25.00 for the 4-piece starter kit which contains a 50ml balm, cleansing cloth and 15ml Age Support Cream all inside a nice travel bag.

Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, PEG-8 Beeswax, PEG-6 Caprylic/Capric Glycerides, PEG-60 Almond Glycerides, Sorbitan Stearate, Palmitic/Stearic Triglycerides, Limonene, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Silica, Glycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Benzyl Alcohol, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil, Juniperus Virginiana Oil, Aqua (Water), Lecithin, Linalool, Butylene Glycol, Octyldodecyl PCA, Menthyl PCA, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Crithmum Maritimum Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Disodium Phosphate, Citronellol, Citric Acid, Geraniol, Citral. 

Have you tried this cleansing balm or do you have any other recommendations for me? I would love to know any other balms you have enjoyed using!

Thanks for reading xx

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

My Current Collection of Face Oils...

When it comes to face oils I am very fussy, this is mainly because I have had so many experiences of them breaking me out. I find that many are full of fragrances and are high in essential oils which tend to cause a reaction on me, causing small red spots and under the skin lumps. Not pleasant! Nowadays I usually go for high quality face oils that are full of natural ingredients as opposed to ones packed with fragrance and carrier oils, which surprisingly even some expensive brands use. Proving that expense doesn’t always mean quality.

Before I purchase a face oil these days I make sure I research the ingredients and try to go for 100% natural, unless I’ve heard lots of rave reviews then usually my intrigue gets the better of me! The oils listed below are the ones I currently have in my stash (not all successful purchases) and in fact I have learnt a lot from these, I think they have influenced my choices going forward. I do have a couple of other new ones that I am loving and currently trialling so will review these in due course.

Usually I would use oils nightly in between my serum and moisturiser but recently I have started incorporating oils into my morning routine. After serum in the morning and either using more drops than usual in place of a moisturiser or using around 3 drops and applying a light layering of moisturiser after. I have seen such positive result using oils and like using different ones to target different issues, I have seen them help reduce blemishes, deeply hydrate yet balance the oil production in my skin and over time even out any areas of pigmentation.

The below oils are the ones I have in my current collection….

Pai Rosehip Biodegenerate Fruit and Seed Oil Blend- £22.00 from Pai Skincare

This oil is a fairly new purchase for me, it has been raved about a lot within the beauty community but I have always been reluctant to buy because I have had bad experiences with rose as an ingredient before. I think its rose oil that’s been a problem for me which is different to rosehip oil in the sense that one comes from the actual rose petals and the other comes from rose hips which are the fruit of the rose plant. The oil from the rose petals are very highly perfumed which is why I think it causes a reaction on my skin.

This oil is unique in that it uses concentrated fruit hip oil with twice the regenerative sterols (which apparently have benefits to the immune system) and five times the caretonoids of seed oil and is rich in concentrated trans-retonoic acid which is an essential fuel for the skin’s natural repair function, delivering pro-vitamin A to the skin without causing irritation. I can confirm happily that this is the case, I have had absolutely no reaction to this at all. Apparently this particular oil is the most concentrated rosehip oil on the market today, premium CO2 supercritical extraction delivers the complete and concentrated properties of the plant, making this oil more powerful than any other simple cold pressed rosehip oils.

Now all of this information is well and good but the important part is whether it actually works or does anything beneficial. The first thing I noticed about this oil is obviously the bright orange colour! I was concerned that I would turn out looking like a tangerine/oompa loompa but after massaging in a few drops it does disappear from the skin and your left with super glowy skin! FYI it doesn’t really seem to smell of anything, kind of like herbal tea!

I did seem to get a couple of spots after the first few uses but I think this is fairly normal as it contains vitamin A which is commonly known as retinol in it’s over the counter form. After this the breakout subsided and I was left with clear skin.  I have continued to use this oil on nearly a daily basis as I love the light texture, it’s non sticky/non greasy and easy to massage in and I have found that it has really helped my skin when going through a breakout phase. It leaves my skin feeling well-nourished and hydrated without causing excessive oiliness which is isn't what I was expecting. Definitely do not rule this oil out if you are oily or acne prone as I really believe it would be beneficial for you, it balances excess sebum and really works wonders on blemishes.

Another good point to mention is rosehip oil is excellent for scarring and I have noticed that some scars I had from past blemishes have significantly faded and I believe it’s down to all the rosehip that I have been putting on my skin! I think most skin types will see great results from this oil and think it’s perfect for especially around this time of year! At £22 this is excellent value as it will last a long time, it’s a fantastic product worth buying. I will repurchase this for sure.

Rosa Canina Seed Extract* - Rosehip CO2 Seed Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract* - Rosehip CO2 Fruit Extract, Tocopherol - Natural Vitamin E, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract* - Rosemary Extract (Anti-Oxidant)

Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate - £37.00 from Kiehls

After singing the praises of the Pai oil I have to say this next oil is a thumbs down for me. I had such high expectations of the Kiehls Midnight Recovery. I think it’s because it’s a such a highly coveted oil which so many people love, not mention the numerous awards its won. But unfortunately it just hasn’t worked for me.

Let’s start with some of the main ingredients, these are Evening Primrose which helps boost radiance, Lavender essential oil which helps soothe inflamed and irritated skin and provide a more even/brighter look and finally Squalene which is a botanical lipid that is similar in molecular structure to the skin’s natural lipids, easily absorbed and helps restore moisture balance. All of this sounds fantastic but I was wary of the essential oil aspect because as previously mentioned my skin doesn’t always agree with products that have a high essential oil content.

The oil itself is clear and quite runny, I absolutely loved the smell (very relaxing and soothing) but found that when applied over serums it would cause peeling. This is a big pet hate of mine. I tried it over numerous serums and it still had the same effect. My skin did feel nice when applied, but I didn’t see a noticeable change in how my skin looked upon application, like I have with the other oils mentioned in this post.

Due to the name I was expecting to wake up to a radiant restful complexion but found this wasn’t the case. Overnight I developed some whitehead spots which is usually a tell-tale sign for me that the product isn’t suited for my skin, as my skin is very reactive. Despite this I persevered but every time I used it I always awoke with troublesome skin, and gradually my skin got more congested. I definitely put this down to the fragrant oils that seem to load this product. There are some very purifying oils in there - coriander, lavender and rosemary are notorious for presenting irritation. So for the price I personally wouldn’t recommend this, there are so many other lovely natural facial oils that have better ingredients! Definitely consider your skin type before purchasing this as I don’t think it would suit sensitive skins. Or at least carry out a patch test which is what I failed to do myself! You live and learn!

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Squalane, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Coriander Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Lavender Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Linalool, Rosemary Leaf Oil, Citronellol, Geraniol, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Turmeric Root Extract, Limonene, Citral, Sclareolide, Rose Flower Oil, Jasmine Extract, Sunflower Seed Oil

Nude Progenius Rescue Oil – £58.00 from Space NK

Firstly, I purchased this in a sample size from eBay as I wanted to try it but didn’t want to fork out on £58 before knowing if I liked it. I am so glad I did as this bottle lasts a while and gives you a decent amount so you can really decide if it’s for you. This is my second small bottle, they are so portable and ideal for not taking up too much space!

What I like about this oil is the texture, it’s extremely lightweight (almost water like) so perfect for the summer months and times when you don’t want to feel overloaded with product. The formula contains bakuchiol which is natures answer to retinol, this really interested me as I am wanting to dabble in anti-ageing products without the use of harsh chemicals or ingredients. Prescription medication is absolutely a no no for me, but each to their own! I would much rather go down a natural route that has less side effects etc. So this is where Nude’s Progenius rescue oil comes in. It helps repair and refine skin’s texture using purifying coleus root and organic rosemary extracts which clarify the skin and antioxidants provides protection against environmental aggressors.

Nude’s statement is that they are ‘beautiful without’ – parabens, sulphates, PEGs, TEA, DEA, Proylene Glycol, Phthalates, Petrolatum, Synthetic colour, Synthetic fragrance, mineral oil and silicones. Sounds exactly what my sensitive skin would love! And it does. Although there are some purifying ingredients in this it does seem to calm skin, reduce blemishes and prevent breakouts without causing irritation. I put this down to the quality of ingredients.

I personally wouldn’t use this oil every day or on the days that I exfoliate, just because I wouldn’t want my skin to freak out (due to the bakuchiol) but this is perfect for 2-3 times a week to brighten the complexion and clarify. I have used this under my moisturiser in the mornings because of how sheer and super-fast absorbing it is, but generally would recommend this as a night treatment.  Over time I think you would see that it creates smoother skin and reduces pore size, but because I don’t use this regularly enough I can’t comment too much on that. Also it’s worth mentioning that it’s all natural, vegan and cruelty free and is recommended for all skin types - although I wouldn’t rely on this oil to hydrate as I would say it’s more of a ‘dry oil’ as opposed to a typical face oil. But if you’re looking for something a little different and perhaps more ‘natural’ than Sunday Riley’s Luna then I would definitely check this out!

Inca Gold Oil, Rosehip Seeds, Safflower Seed oil, Bakuchiol, Thyme leaf extract, papaya extract, hibiscus flower extract, jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, citronellol, linalool, isoamyl laurate, fragrance (parfum), squalene, coleus root extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary leaf extract), carrot root extract, macrocystis pyrifera extract, rose canina fruit extract, citral, limonene

Balmology Rose Beauty Oil - £30.00 from Balmology

I won’t go into too much detail with this oil as I have already recently reviewed it, see here - but I have to say it’s one of my most favourite discoveries! I love how super nourishing this is without ever causing me to breakout. The ingredient list is delightful and it smells incredible!

I’ve been using this almost nightly usually either on its own (using 1 full pump) or using half a pump and applying a light moisturiser over the top. There is something so comforting about the scent and you can really give a good massage with this oil. I’ve also enjoyed applying this to my d√©colletage as it’s so beautiful. I may even start adding it to my body creams or just applying it alone after the showering….

I love the ethics behind this brand and the customer service is second to none. I urge you to invest!

Argania spinosa kernel (argan) oil*, Macadamia ternifolia (macadamia) oil*, Corylus avellana (hazelnut) oil*, Rosa canina (rosehip) oil*, Persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, Tocopherol, Cymbopogon martini (palmarosa)*, Pelargonium graveolens roseum (geranium bourbon)*, Boswellia carterii (frankincense)*, Rosa damascena (rose otto)*, citral**, citronellol**, eugenol**, farnesol**, geraniol**, limonene**, linalool**.
*Certified Organic. **Naturally occurring in essential oils.
 Made with 99% certified organic ingredients.

What are your favourite face oils and have you tried any of the ones I’ve listed?

Thanks for reading xx


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Korean Makeup - Innisfree Primer/Powder Duo

I stumbled across this brand when looking through Amazon at all the amazing Korean skincare and makeup available. These 2 particular products caught my eye. 1 because they had cute packaging and 2 because the price was amazing, so cheap! I paid £10.98 for the primer and £8.20 for the powder with free shipping! I am always on the search for a primer and powder that can keep my skin matte without looking drying, as of yet I have had no luck until now…

The ‘No Sebum Blur Primer’ comes in a compact squeezy tube which helps you get the product out easily and hygienically. The consistency is quite thick and a pale pink kind of colour which blends out transparent, you only need the smallest amount and you will see immediate results.

The product is designed to smooth skin and conceal any open pores. Due to the inclusion of natural mint and minerals I find that instead of ‘covering’ up any oil it actually works to prevent it. It seems to balance oil production and moisture within the skin whilst still allowing it to ‘breathe’ and remain soft and smooth. 
Another ingredient in this primer is ‘Jeju’, it works to keep skin supple and clear by tightening pores with Jeju green persimmon extracts, the Jeju green complex promotes healthier skin.

This has been my primer of choice every day since I bought it, I mentioned it in my post ‘What’s in my Makeup bag’ recently – see link here - I find that it really does create an excellent smooth base for makeup and my skin which is usually oily by lunchtime, seems to hold out for most of the day when using this! 

The only product I would compare this to is perhaps Benefit’s Porefessional but even then I think it has better ingredients, is more long lasting on my skin and the price is much more reasonable.
Although this is a primer, it also encourages clearer skin and improves texture over time which is certainly more appealing than some of the other brands I’ve tried. I will continue to use this and it will be a repurchase.

Full Ingredients:

The ‘No sebum Mineral Powder’ in this range is also the bees knees! It’s extremely fine milled and comes with a little powder puff but I don’t tend to use that. Instead I apply it with the Real Techniques setting brush as I find this distributes just the right amount and I can get into all the crevices of my face!

This powder is the same as the primer in that it’s designed to control and absorb oil to leave a smooth finish. I can confirm happily that it does this. You will find that the ingredients include mint and jeju (same as the primer) and I really think that it works effectively, especially when used in conjunction with the primer. My makeup stays put and lasts without any touch-ups for the majority of the day. I only use this to set my makeup, I have a different compact for when I’m out and about.

Full Ingredients:

I haven’t had any previous experience with Innisfree but based on these 2 purchases I am definitely up for trying some more from their range, especially their skincare!

Let me know if any of you have tried this brand or recommend any other Korean based makeup! Suggestions welcome….

Thanks for reading xx


Monday, 10 October 2016

Clay Masks I'm Loving...

I thought I would show you some of the clay masks that I am enjoying using at the moment, I like alternating between different ones depending on what’s going on with my skin. All of the below are different levels of intensity but all aim to do the same kind of thing – purify and reduce blemishes. If I can, I tend to use these types of masks twice a week and sometimes do a double mask with a hydrating one applied straight after. 

Ren Clearcalm Clarity Restoring Mask - £30.00 (Ren)

I bought this mask after I fell in love with the clearcalm cleanser in this range, it’s designed to purify skin without stripping it, leaving it soft, smooth and blemishes reduced. I like the ingredients in this,  some of which include sulphur, zinc gluconate and salicilin (derived from willow bark). It’s antibacterial and antimicrobial actives target breakouts and Bisabolol from English Chamomile helps inflammation and redness.

The texture is a thick, smooth white clay which applies easily to dry clean skin, it doesn’t really go hard as you would expect from a clay mask, which means it’s easy to wash off. After a 15-minute application the skin is left soft and looks calmer. This mask can also be applied to individual spots as an overnight treatment but I haven’t ever done this, because it doesn’t totally dry I would be a bit dubious about doing it in case you wake up with white marks all over your sheets!. This is a good mask to have in your stash when your skin is perhaps suffering a breakout but also feeling sensitive at the same time. I love it!

Glycerin, Kaolin, Aqua (Water), Zinc Oxide, Calcium Carbonate, Colloidal Sulfur, Alcohol Denat., Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Polysorbate 20, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Zinc Gluconate, Benzyl Alcohol, Camphor, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Linalool, Leptospermum Scoparium Oil, Thymus Vulgaris(Thyme)Oil, Citral, Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil, Dehydroacetic Acid, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Citronellol, Crataegus Oxyacantha Stem Extract, Limonene, Glucose, Geraniol

Una Brennan Salicylic Anti Blemish Pore Purifying Clay Mask - £9.99

This is an excellent budget clay mask which I think is really effective on active breakouts, I tend to apply this only on specific areas which require complete detox. This pulls out toxins and impurities but also helps heal skin in the process.

Without stating the obvious this mask has salicylic acid as the main ingredient which helps unclog congested skin, dead sea mud which is rich in minerals, while vitamins A, D and E with Acacia honey help skin rebalance. I love the combination of the ingredients in this mask and it feels like a good at home facial. For the price you can’t go wrong!

The product itself is a thick charcoal grey clay which is easy to apply, it does harden fast so you have to be quick! I like to put this on individual spots before jumping in the shower as you only need to leave it on for 5 minutes to work. That’s why I love this one, because if I need a quick treatment, this is what I turn to.

Aqua (Water), Kaolin, Silt, Cetearyl alcohol, Glyceryl stearate, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan stearate, Butyrospermum parkii (Shea butter), Mel (Honey), Persea gratissima (Avocado) oil, Phenethyl alcohol, Citrus aurantium dulcis (Sweet orange) peel oil, Citrus aurantium amara (Bitter orange) oil, Canaga odorata (Ylang ylang) flower oil, Parfum (Fragrance), Maltodextrin, Caprylyl glycol, PEG-20 stearate, Xanthan gum, Coco-glucoside, Citric acid, Salicylic acid, Glycerin, Equisetum arvense (Horsetail) extract, Nasturtium officinale (Watercress) flower/leaf extract, Urtica dioica (Nettle) extract, Sambucus nigra (Elderflower) flower extract, Potassium sorbate, Sodium benzoate, Amyl cinnamal, Benzyl benzoate, Benzyl salicylate, Cinnamyl alcohol, Geraniol, Hexyl cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool, Dipropylene glycol

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay - £9.49 (Amazon)

I bought this mask after hearing so many people say how amazing it was and for the price I just had to get it! You get a big 1lb tub of green powder which is 100% natural calcium bentonite clay, that’s it, there are no other ingredients in it!

Out of all the masks this is the one that gives the most effective results after one use, but also requires the most faff before even getting it on your face! For this mask you can use either water or cider vinegar to ‘make’ it. I use water as my skin is quite sensitive and I was a bit wary that cider vinegar may be too astringent for me. Apparently cider vinegar helps blend the clay into a mask texture a lot better, but I haven’t tried that yet. I did struggle to make the mixture without clumps but I just used the mixture that was smooth and blended out, and dodged the lumps. I used 1 tablespoon of the clay mixture and 1 tablespoon of water but I gradually added more water till I had created the texture I wanted. I highly recommend applying this mask with a foundation or flat brush as it can get messy!

You must also ensure that you don’t mix the product with metal as that will make the mixture non effective so to speak, as it removes the ‘negative charge’ which is what is formed when a facial or clay poultice is applied to the skin. According to the official website ‘Poisons and toxins stored in the epidermis have a positive charge - Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay lifts the pimple and blackheads into the clay bed to cause accelerated healing and nourishment to the skin with over 50 minerals’. Sounds serious stuff!

Now onto the mask itself, it dries very hard and can get a little uncomfortable after a while. You will notice that your face will start to pulsate! Something I had never experienced before and it made me feel like my face didn’t even belong to me! It was the most bizarre thing but it did feel like it was working! I leave it on for 5-10 mins but you can leave it longer, I don’t like to because of my sensitivity. Considering how this hardens its actually quite easy to remove with just warm water, it does leave skin a little red but that is normal with this mask. The redness will subside after around 30 minutes, so this isn't one to use before you're about to go out!

In regards to the results, they really do speak for themselves. I was expecting my skin to ‘purge’ after this but I actually found that it practically healed the blemishes I had! No other spots appeared but my pores looked more refined and my skin just felt ‘cleaner’. Bloody bargain! Would recommend that this is used once a week/once a fortnight just to prevent open pores, blackheads and blemishes. 

Loreal Pure Clay Detox Mask - £7.99 (Boots)

This is one of 3 masks released recently by Loreal, the idea is to combine 3 powerful pure clays to ‘unmask beautiful skin’. This particular clay mask has kaolin (to absorb sebum), montmorillonite (mineral rich designed to rid imperfections) and Ghassoul (concentrated minerals to help clarify). This one appealed to me the most because I love a good charcoal mud mask and this doesn’t disappoint. It comes in a sturdy glass jar and is filled with a soft whipped clay that applies beautifully to dry skin.

After 10-15 minutes I add some warm water and gently massage and rinse to remove, my skin is left refreshed, soft and smooth. I feel with continued use once a week it would remove congestion and prevent blemishes. Such a good high street find and it has made me want to try the others in the range!

Aqua / Water, Kaolin, Montmorillonite, Lecithin, Polysorbate 20, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, CI 77499 / Iron, Oxides, Oryza Sativa Starch / Rice Starch, Moroccan Lava Clay, Charcoal Powder, Caprylyl Glycol, Citric Acid, Xanthan, Gum, Polyglycerin-10, Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate, Polyglyceryl-10 Stearate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Linalool, Limonene, Parfum / Fragrance, (F.I.L. B186966/1)

What are your favourite face masks and do you have any clay ones you'd recommend?

Thanks for reading


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Best of Natural Skincare...Balmology

I was introduced to this brand through a facialist based in the Oxford area called Victoria Partridge (I will be visiting her at the end of October so look out for an upcoming blog post!). When sharing her skin routines/favourites on her Instagram page it nearly always includes a product from Balmology, so I was intrigued to try them. After all, if an experienced facialist recommends them then they must be half good! ;)

The first thing that strikes me about this brand is how non-comprising they are when it comes to ingredients. Every single product in their range is 100% natural and is 99% certified organic, you won’t find any synthetics, fillers or preservatives. All the ingredients are cultivated without chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilisers and are processed at lower temperatures, the reason for this is Catherine (the owner and creator) believes they are ‘quite simply superior, gentler on our skin and kinder to the environment’. There are also no ‘bulking out’ ingredients like water which apparently can account for as much as 80% in creams and lotions in many skincare formulations! So the fact that the range is waterless has a certain appeal.

Now you won’t find tons of products available as Catherine has kept the range small but excellent. It consists of the following:

·         Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm 50ml - £27.00
·         Nourishing Beauty Balm 50ml - £29.00
·         Soothing Comfort Balm 50ml - £24.00
·         Post Shave Balm 50ml - £28.00
·         Rose Beauty Oil 30ml - £30.00
·         Discovery Set (3 balms – cleanse, nourish and comfort all in 15ml jars)

Each of the products are hand blended in small batches to ensure that all nutrients and the potency of active components are not lost in the process. This means you know you are receiving the freshest possible products!

Having done my research, I decided I wanted to try all products available apart from the Post Shave Balm! Aside from ordering direct with Balmology you can also pick them up through Naturismo. Seeing as I had a 10% discount with Naturismo, I placed my order through them. I purchased the Discovery Set as it meant I could ‘try before I buy’ and paid for a small vial of the Rose Oil. I wish more brands would do sample sets, so you avoid spending money on something you don’t know will work for you! It also sends out a message of confidence and belief in their brand as well.

Following my positive experience with the Discovery Set which I have trialled so far for just over 2 weeks, I decided to go ahead and buy the full sizes of each product direct with Balmology. They came in 1 day! Yes, that’s right, 1 working day! Excellent! Now onto the reviews…

Left-Right (Cleansing Balm, Comfort Balm, Nourishing Balm)

Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm – Organic Neroli and Sweet Basil

Oh my! This balm is so luxurious to use, its thick and unctuous with the most beautiful scent! I love massaging this onto already cleansed dry skin as a 2nd cleanse to rid any excess makeup and deeply nourish. You can use this as a makeup remover but I feel the skin is likely to absorb more of the nutrients if it’s used as a morning or 2nd cleanse. Due to there being no emulsifiers in the ingredients you won’t be able to simply ‘rinse off’ this balm. Removing with a hot cloth is essential, but this provides the most delightful experience! The scent really comes alive and inhaling it really de-stresses and relaxes you ready for bed time or the day ahead.

I honestly cannot recommend this product enough, there are so many cleansing balms on the market but there are few that I enjoy more than this at the moment. It leaves skin super glowy and seems to help decongest and brighten it up when its dull or tired. Only a small amount is required so it will also last ages!

Full Ingredients:
Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, Prunus armeniaca (apricot) oil*, Ricinus communis (castor) oil*, Persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, Cera alba (beeswax)*, Tocopherol, Citrus aurantium var. amara. (neroli)*, Citrus reticulata (mandarin)*, Ocimum basilicum (sweet basil)*, citral**, citronellol**, eugenol**, farnesol**, geraniol**, limonene**, linalool**.

*Certified Organic. **Naturally occurring in essential oils.

Nourishing Beauty Balm – Organic Neroli and Frankincense

This product is labelled to be used as an intensive overnight treatment or if you have particularly dry skin. You can also use it sparingly during the day to give your skin a boost of hydration. For me I prefer using this as a nighttime moisturiser over the top of my serum and oil. Like with all the Balmology products, the scent is amazing, really natural and soothing.

Only a small amount is needed to give a fantastic massage, it does sit on the skin for a little while before fully absorbing leaving a completely hydrated, nourished complexion. I notice a difference every time I wake up after using this, my skin looks calm and dewy without a patch of dryness. I was a little hesitant about using it at first because it’s so thick and I thought it may break me out, but I haven’t any issues yet! I think due to the high quality ingredients my skin just loves it! This would be excellent during the winter months and can see it becoming a ‘rescue’ product for me.

Full Ingredients:

Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, Prunus armeniaca (apricot) oil*, Cera alba (beeswax)*, Macadamia ternifolia (macadamia) oil*, Persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, Punica granatum (pomegranate) oil*, Rosa canina (rosehip) oil*, Tocopherol, Citrus aurantium (neroli)*, Boswellia carterii (frankincense)*, Citrus reticulata (mandarin)*, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender)*, citral**, citronellol**, farnesol**, geraniol**, limonene**, linalool**.

*Certified Organic. **Naturally occurring in essential oils.

Soothing Comfort Balm – Organic Calendula and Chamomile

When I saw that this was targeted for itchy, sore and irritated skin I immediately contacted Catherine via Instagram to find out if this would be suitable for eczema. My son has had bad eczema all his life and it tends to go and up and down in severity. It’s extremely frustrating and upsetting to see him suffer so I am forever on the lookout for something that helps ease his discomfort.

Catherine replied very quickly and said that this balm was actually formulated for a little boy with bad eczema and apparently it helped significantly. It’s also won a Gold Award for problem skin in the FreeFrom Skincare Awards this year so I was really excited to try it out on Charlie!

I did a patch test on his neck first which didn’t show any signs of irritation after 24hrs, so proceeded to massage it onto his bad areas. The first thing he said to me was ‘wow mum, this stuff smells amazing! I really think this is going to be good for me, I just want to massage it all over my body’, so certainly a positive start!! After applying this in the morning come evening his skin looked so much calmer and less red. I’m not going to say the eczema disappeared because it didn’t, the skin just looked much happier.

Due to the size of the pot I am reluctant to use this all over his body every day as I feel that his prescribed creams hydrate well enough. But I do use this when he has a flare up or if he is feeling itchy as it does an amazing job at keeping his skin ‘on track’ without the use of harsh steroids. I will continue to buy this for that reason alone.

I have also tried this balm myself and mixed it with the nourishing balm when my skin was feeling a little sensitive, it seemed to work for me as well. Certainly didn’t break me out and calmed some redness that was on my forehead. Such an excellent product!

Full Ingredients:

Prunus armeniaca (apricot) oil*, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, Cera alba (beeswax)*, Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*, Persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, Rosa canina (rosehip) oil*, Tocopherol, Calendula officinalis, simmondsia chinensis (marigold) extract*, Matricaria chamomilla, Simmondsia chinensis (chamomile) extract*, Helichrysum italicum (immortelle)*, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender)*, benzyl cinnamate**, geraniol**, limonene**, linalool**.

*Certified Organic. **Naturally occurring in essential oils.

Rose Beauty Oil:

I absolutely love using facial oils every evening and I have also come to incorporate them into my morning routine as well because I feel they balance out my oily skin. I was really excited to try this as I love the smell of roses but previous history tells me my skin doesn’t particularly like rose as an ingredient. It tends to break me out and cause irritation, but since trying this one and another quality brand, I have discovered it must have previously been down to low quality ingredients.

But I can now officially say my skin loves rose, like proper quality rosehip oil! Especially this one! Yay!! I have been using a small amount at night and it’s wonderful. This oil smells like a million fresh roses have been crammed into the bottle. You can get a really good massage with it as it’s not too thick or gloopy and it absorbs beautifully. I can use the nourish balm on top and it doesn’t feel too much. I even went overboard and used what I thought was ‘too much’ the other evening but nothing drastic happened apart from my skin looked amazing come morning!! 

The past week or so I have started using this as my morning moisturiser, I just use more than I usually would (1 – 2 full pumps) and really massage it in before applying SPF over the top. I thought it would cause excess oil but in fact it does the opposite, really balances and hydrates.

For the price this is a fantastic oil and I will be re-purchasing this again for sure.

Full Ingredients:

Argania spinosa kernel (argan) oil*, Macadamia ternifolia (macadamia) oil*, Corylus avellana (hazelnut) oil*, Rosa canina (rosehip) oil*, Persea gratissima (avocado) oil*, Tocopherol, Cymbopogon martini (palmarosa)*, Pelargonium graveolens roseum (geranium bourbon)*, Boswellia carterii (frankincense)*, Rosa damascena (rose otto)*, citral**, citronellol**, eugenol**, farnesol**, geraniol**, limonene**, linalool**.

So all in all I am in love with Balmology, as I am sure you can tell! They are a simple, no fuss, high quality brand and I feel happy to be slathering their products all over my face without the fear that there will be any damaging side effects. It’s rare to find such a natural effective skincare brand that provides fantastic customer service, and I will most certainly continue to support them.

Have you tried Balmology or do you have any ‘green beauty’ favourites?

Buy here;

Thanks for reading