Monday, 30 October 2017

Pixi Peel and Polish…Non-Glycolic Exfoliators

This is my first blog post in a while as life took over but I am determined to get back on it!  Bear with me as I maybe a bit rusty...Over the past few months I have been exploring non-glycolic exfoliating options so over the next few weeks I will be posting reviews of some that I have been trying with huge success! Recently I wrote about Medik8 blemish pads over on my Instagram so go check that out if you’re interested!

Firstly, I want to state that I won this product in a giveaway, but I will be purchasing once it’s finished for sure! This has been one of my favourite skincare discoveries of the year so far…

Unlike the glow tonic this has worked wonders for my skin and hasn’t caused any irritation. Don’t be dissuaded by the use of the word ‘peel’. It is effectively a ‘rinse off’ treatment mask which is gentle enough that it can be used regularly (around 2-3 times a week). I have been able to alternate with other acid exfoliators during the week without any issues.

The formula is made up of chemical, physical and enzymatic exfoliating ingredients which gently work to lift away dullness and dead skin cells. Fruit enzymes, 6% lactic acid, cellulose peels and sugar extracts combine together to leave skin looking fresher, smoother and super soft. Although there is an immediate glow to the skin following use, the longer-term benefits have also been excellent for me. It has been amazing at reducing congestion and generally improving the texture of my skin. I haven’t tried many of these kinds of products, but I would compare it to the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Mask, just gentler but with similar results…

The texture is a cross between a lightweight lotion and a paste which has a grittiness to it. I smooth it over dry skin and leave for around 3 mins before adding a small amount of water, gently massaging it into my T-zone. This is where the ‘polish’ part comes into play, boosting circulation and stimulating cell turnover. The physical exfoliation isn’t too harsh upon contact but I wouldn’t recommend scrubbing too hard as it does pack a punch. Just light circular movements does the trick. There is a slight tingle upon application but no stinging or uncomfortableness.

I like how this has fitted into my weekly routine, there is most definitely a place for it. I think it would be perfect to use before an event when you need skin to look its best but haven’t got the time to faff around. It doesn’t leave skin red or irritated and it creates the perfect base for skincare and makeup. I’m planning on using this frequently during the Christmas period! Of course if you choose to use this in the morning then be sure to use an SPF afterwards as it may increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.

A little goes a long way so this tube would last a fairly long time. At £26 it isn’t the cheapest, but cost effective compared to other ‘peels’ on the market. If you are after a brightening, radiant boosting hit then look no further. Your skin will illuminate from afar with this! Out of all the Pixi product's I’ve tried this without a doubt my favourite, and the blush pink and green toned packaging is so aesthetically pleasing. It's like it was specially made for my blog đŸ˜‰


Water/Aqua/Eau, Lactic Acid, Polylactic Acid, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Propanediol, Ceteareth-20, Beraclay Light Red, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Polyglceryl-3 Cocoate, Butylene Glycol, Maltooligosyl Glucoside, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dipentaerythrityl Tri-Polyhydroxystearate, Hydrogenated Starch Hydrolysate, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Polyglceryl-4 Caprate, Polyglceryl-6 Caprylate, Polyglceryl-6 Ricinoleate, Pentylene Glycol, Sorbic Acid, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Benzoic Acid, Tocopherol.

I’d love to know what Pixi products you enjoy…
You can buy Pixi Peel and Polish here for £26.00 from Cult Beauty
Thanks for reading xx

Thursday, 17 August 2017

My Battle with Congested Skin Part 3...Foreo Luna Play

This gadget was brought to my attention when one of my IG buddies Natalie from RoadtoGlow mentioned how well this works on congested skin. I was sold there and then; no more persuading was needed. At the time I was just starting to get a build-up of congestion (which is what this little series is based on) so I was hoping that it would be a welcome addition to my routine.

Recently I have been using face cloths less and less and although I realised this would not replace them I was hoping it would provide some deep cleansing action that my skin needed, without harshness. The brush type cleansing gadgets like Clarisonic have never really appealed to me as I don’t think my somewhat sensitive skin could take the abrasiveness of the bristles. Plus I like to exfoliate using acids as opposed to anything ‘manual’.

The Foreo facial brush has soft silicone ‘touch points’ which vibrate whilst 8,000 sonic pulsations per minute removes dirt, grime and dead skin cells without stripping the skin. The small flexible bristles are ’35 times’ more hygienic than nylon bristles and the device is designed to be quick drying and nonporous, which ultimately prevents bacteria build up.

Having looked into the different options I decided I didn’t want to commit to a pricey version costing over £50 without knowing if I would like it. I decided to go with the Luna Play because it’s travel friendly and doesn’t need to be charged, which is a bonus as I hate anything that requires faff or responsibility – my electric toothbrush is enough of a commitment! Apparently, it lasts for around 100 uses if used for 1 minute twice a day, and at £29 this makes it an affordable way of trying the range without parting with too much cash. An ideal stepping stone into the world of Foreo…

Although I had been pre-warned that it was the size of a cotton pad I was still taken aback at how tiny it was! Super cute, especially in the colour I chose, Pearl Pink (there are 7 other fun colour options). I just wasn’t convinced that something so small that can fit into the palm of your hand would be an effective cleansing tool. Although their website does state ‘don’t underestimate its power’! The brush has 2 zones, one which features finer touch points to cleanse sensitive/normal skin on larger areas like cheeks and forehead, whereas the thicker touch points are designed to provide a deeper cleansing action on more congested areas like the T-Zone.   

At first I wasn’t really sure what I was doing but I used with a gel cleanser applying the product to damp/wet skin and then going in with the device. I moved it around my face applying slight pressure concentrating on areas like my chin and cheeks where I had congestion. I liked the gentleness of it, and my skin did feel soft, smooth and clean afterwards, but I wasn’t particularly wowed…

I continued to use every morning for around a week, I had quite a few spots pop up which I put down to using this device. It literally brought crap (technical term) to the surface which I guess was what I wanted it to do - but obviously I would have preferred for that not to happen. The results discouraged me as I was concerned it was always going to continue bringing spots to the surface, which is great as it means clearer skin in the long run - but I didn’t want to suffer with breakouts! That makes no sense really but I’m sure you know what I am getting at. I wanted clearer skin without having to suffer first. What everyone wants in life really…

Following my initial experience, I stopped using the device, put it aside and didn’t think about it for a few weeks. That was until I started getting congestion again especially around my chin and jaw area, so I decided to give this another go and promised myself to stay consistent with it. I am so glad that I did. The first week gave me the same results as before, some spots popped up but they healed quickly and I persevered. From there it has been a smooth and easy ride with this becoming a must have in my morning routine! 

Over the last few months I would say this device has definitely helped keep congestion to a minimum and when I do get a build-up it is usually down to my diet or hormones, which unfortunately just has to be ridden out. I no longer ‘purge’ but it does help encourage spots to come to a head which means I can clear them quicker. If I fall off the wagon using this (which I have done a few times) I can tell! My skin doesn’t feel as smooth or bright. Consistent use is where you see the best results otherwise you don’t really notice any benefits using it sporadically….

For me the biggest difference in using this has been the improvement of my skin texture and reduction in congestion around my chin area. It does a truly fantastic job at deeply cleansing and unclogging pores, which has made the overall appearance of my skin look more refined. My favourite way to use this is paired with the IS Clinical Cleansing Complex. Makeup applies much nicer and products absorb more efficiently afterwards, which makes me feel so much better spending out on skincare products!

I would highly recommend introducing Luna Play into your regime if you have congested, dull skin or if you just generally want to amp things up a bit. Suitable for most skin types including sensitive it’s the cutest little beauty gadget around and at £29 it is much more affordable and efficient than its counterparts. I mainly use in the morning so it will last me ages as I don’t want to subject my skin to too much - I find this is enough to keep my skin balanced. Saying that if I’ve had a day in the city then I use this as part of my 2nd Cleanse to get a deeper clean and ensure pollution exposure doesn’t wreak havoc! This would be an ideal tool for city living folks!

This gadget brings a whole new level of skincare technology to your routine as well as being quick and easy to use, giving an added boost to the effectiveness of cleansing. It seems to be able to remove more blemish causing impurities than what washing by hand can do, without that ‘squeaky clean’ feeling. I’ll definitely be repurchasing when the battery gives up on me!

I’d love to know whether you guys have tried this and if you are a fan of facial brushes? It is available here from Cult Beauty if you fancy giving it a whirl.

Thanks for reading xx


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

My New Must-Have...Paula's Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster

This review has been long overdue, I put blogging on the back-burner for a while during the summer to have a bit of a break and time out, but I am now ready to get back into it again starting with this little gem!

I’ve been using this every other day or so since around beginning of May time. I had been wanting to incorporate Niacinamide into my routine for quite a while as it sounded ideal for my skin needs. It is a form of Vitamin B3 which is proven to reduce the appearance of enlarged pores, uneven skin tone and is generally an all-round anti-ageing powerhouse.

This antioxidant rich formula is a super lightweight water-like fluid which can be blended into your serum or moisturiser. There is no offensive scent or issues with absorption, I started off using a few drops mixed with a hyaluronic acid serum just to see how my skin would react (knowing that the HA will provide a gentle barrier in case my skin decided to freak out). I was pleasantly surprised at how well it cooperated with the HA and left my skin plump and calm.

Although I like testing serums and targeted treatments over a course of a few months it was clear to see the immediate difference in using this booster. Overnight my skin looked brighter and as if it had been given a good kick up the arse! Over the course of the last few months it has contributed to reducing the sebum production in my skin, although my skin is still oily it isn’t as bad and has become much less of an issue. I have also found that my skin doesn’t scar as easily after a breakout and it has improved my overall skin texture and brightness. I 100% put it down to this and Jordan Samuel’s retinol which I have already reviewed here. In fact, if I use them together the results are truly fantastic. Calmer, clearer and brighter skin.

Aside from the visible benefits, I love that it is no nonsense and easy to use. I have used this on clean bare skin without any irritation and I have also mixed it into other serums and oils without any trouble, making this a truly versatile product. The ingredients list is fuss free and packed with soothing/calming extracts and antioxidants meaning you can’t go wrong incorporating this into your routine, giving it a serious boost. I personally only use at night time as I like to apply a vitamin C serum in the mornings.

To conclude I would say if you are on the fence about this product then just go for it! I imagine this particular formulation is safe for all skin types and although the Vitamin B3 is powerful in itself, this booster includes so many other wonderful ingredients. It’s a true skin saviour. I love that not only do you know you are putting goodness on your skin, but you can see it! It’s quite rare for me to see such noticeable differences but I often do a double take after using this. I will be repurchasing for sure as it’s an investment for my skin and now a firm fixture in my regime.


Water (Aqua), Niacinamide (vitamin B3, barrier preservation/pore size reduction), Acetyl Glucosamine (skin conditioning agent), Ascorbyl Glucoside (vitamin C/antioxidant), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Phospholipids, Sodium Hyaluronate (skin-identical ingredients), Allantoin, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (soothing agents), Glycerin (skin-identical ingredient), Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract (soothing agents/melanin inhibitors), Ubiquinone, Epigallocatechin Gallate (antioxidants), Beta-Glucan (soothing agent/antioxidant), Panthenol (skin conditioning agent), Canosine, Genistein (antioxidants), Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate (stabilizers), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Xanthin Gum (thickener), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent), Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol (preservatives).

You can buy here from Look Fantastic for £40.00

What other skin loving ingredients would you recommend?

Thanks for reading xx


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Air-Drying Essentials...

Is it just me or does anyone else feel like as soon as summer comes around they want to put down the hair dryer? Actually, this is me most of the year. I just can’t be bothered to be honest plus it saves time, money and energy! Therefore, I am always on the hunt for products/tools that leave my hair with a bit of shape and texture without using heat. These have been my most favourite finds so far…

Parlor by Jeff Chastain Detangling Leave in Conditioner - £17.00 buy here

I love a good leave in conditioner to ensure my hair is soft and manageable out of the shower. To me this is an essential step when it comes to air drying and one I couldn’t be without. I have tried so many it’s unreal but not sure if I have ever finished a full bottle (unbelievably)! Most of the time they get passed on my mum if they don’t pass the test! I first tried this one when a decent sized sample came in the monthly beauty subscription Birchbox. From there it was love and I knew I had to buy the full size.

This has a lightweight texture which instantly detangles as the name would suggest and it doesn’t leave any residue or sticky feeling which is a common issue with many leave in’s I’ve tried. It manages to leave my hair looking healthy and soft whilst also providing thermal protection should you wish to use heat tools. The formula decreases frizz but gives my hair a bit of texture rather than it being left silky smooth to the point you can’t ‘rough it up’ if you know what I mean. The main ingredients are Sweet Almond extract, Vitamin B5 and Nettle, these combined keep the hair and scalp moisturised while protecting hair fibre and adding shine. I’m not sure how but together the fragrance is so unique. Like fresh peaches and cut grass! Such a bizarre scent but it really works! All products by Jeff are without sulfates, parabens and are cruelty free which is of course an added bonus. Another issue I have is a lot of products irritate my scalp but this doesn’t. An absolute repurchase for me but I do still like to try others. Let me know if you have any recommendations?

Rahua Voluminous Spray - £25.50 buy here
This was an off-chance purchase due to seeing it on sale through Naturismo. I haven’t tried any other products from the brand but since buying this I’ve heard lots of good things so looking forward to investing in the shampoo and conditioner soon!
This spray is designed to provide light hold giving hair shape and texture whilst keeping it fresher for longer by breaking down excess oil. A true multitasker! The formula is 100% natural organic and I feel it really stands out because of this. To create volume in the hair without tons of chemicals is no mean feat and Rahua have nailed it using organic citrus juices (lemon and lemongrass) blended with lavender, corn silk, linseed, sugarcane and eucalyptus. I love applying a few sprays of this to my roots once towel dried, and then leaving it to do its thing. My hair is left bouncy and soft but not sticky. It leaves hair looking naturally full and fresh. Other ways I use this is in between washes, it has shape memory which means that you can easily mess it up and then recreate style. A few sprays around the roots and crown gives hair oomph and gets rid of any oil build up leaving it looking refreshed. This has become an absolute haircare essential for me and I think it would suit most hair types that are wanting to create volume without stiffness and are wanting a versatile product without harsh chemicals.

Classic Wetbrush £11.99 buy here

This is a complete saviour for detangling hair without ripping and breaking strands! As the name suggests this is to be used when hair is damp. I like to lightly towel dry and then get to work. This runs through the hair easily and gets out any knots. This type of brush is a saviour in my routine and I much prefer it to other’s I’ve tried like the tangle teezer which seemed to constantly fly out of my hands because it didn’t have a non-slip handle like this one! I will continue to repurchase always as it has literally changed my hair styling life, as dramatic as that sounds. It works for all hair types so I urge you to go get your hands on one immediately!

Aquis Microfibre Towel £30.00 buy here

This towel is perfect for prepping an air-dried style and is the best way I’ve found to prevent frizz and knots. As soon as I get out the shower I squeeze out excess water with my hands and then lightly use an old cotton t-shirt to squeeze out the rest of the moisture. I then wrap my hair into a turban using this. My hair dries so much faster and leaves my hair soft and doesn’t damage the hair shaft which is essential if you are wanting to create an effortless air dried style without creating a bushy dishevelled mess! You are left with hair that has a piece-y texture meaning natural waves can be yours! Keep a look out for these in TK Maxx as they usually sell them for a lot cheaper, that’s where I picked mine up.  

OGX Moroccan Surf Paste £6.99 buy here

As a finishing touch, I like to add this product to create further texture. Going nowhere near the roots I warm a tiny bit of this in my fingers and apply by scrunching into the ends of my hair gently. This leaves hair soft and with a matte finish which gives the beachy style I am always looking for. Usually I would hate any form of wax, paste or gel but a small amount of this really gives hair a relaxed vibe without feeling sticky or leaving any residue. It contains argan oil to moisturise, sea kelp to condition and sea salt to give texture and separate out strands. Perfect for summer waves! 

Do you have any tips for air-drying your hair? 

Thanks for reading xx

Thursday, 6 July 2017

My Battle with Congested Skin Part 2...Introducing Jordan Samuel etOILe with Retinol

If you follow me on IG you will have probably seen this sleek black bottle appear in many of my routines…. allow me to introduce Jordan Samuel etOILe with Retinol, your new best friend.

Anyone who is familiar with Jordan Samuel has probably already tried his antioxidant packed facial oil etOILe (if you haven’t you must!! My review here), this is essentially the same formula but with the inclusion of 0.2% retinol. The only other differences are that this treatment oil doesn’t have CQ10, Vitamin C and Squalane which the etOILe oil has.  

Back in April when I had the pleasure of meeting the man himself, and many others from the IG ‘Skincare Community’ at the Jordan and Jane (Scrivner) Event, this was on my list to purchase directly from him. I had been waiting to get my hands on this as soon as it was released, which luckily for me wasn’t long before the event, so I didn’t have to wait too long! I hadn’t had much experience with retinols other than a sample of Sunday Riley Luna, which to be honest didn’t rock my boat due to the added colourings and high price tag. I knew I wanted to delve into the world of retinol and knew that I wanted to start with this.

The reason being, the formula is gentle but is still designed to pack a punch with consistent use. Consistent being the word. Over time low percentages of retinol used frequently can contribute to reduction and tightening of pores as well as firming the skin and improving elasticity. Vitamin A (otherwise known as retinol) is known to help the skins structure and assist in reversing damage caused by ‘free radicals’ which are essentially organic molecules that are responsible for skin aging and tissue damage. These can be formed through natural physiological processes (breathing and breaking down food) as well as from the environment and can be a result of pollution, cigarette smoking, stress, diet, drugs etc, so prevention is better than cure. Retinol is big business in the anti-aging world and I can totally see why. Paired with other antioxidants such as Vitamins C and E there is a good chance you can prevent cellular damage and if topically applied and consumed regularly antioxidants can neutralise free radicals thus preventing them from causing more damage. Magic!

Initially I wanted to include retinol purely for anti-aging purposes, at the age of 26 I knew I needed to jump on the bandwagon if I want to look like Susan Sarandon at 70! In addition to that I had high hopes of it assisting with getting rid of PIH (post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation) which wasn’t fading as quickly as I’d like. Roll on a couple of months down the line, I was faced with the most congested skin I’d had in a long while and this is when I realised I had a gem in my hands…

Due to the low percentage of retinol and it being oil based I started using this every other night straight away. Some people build up usage but I knew my skin loved etOILe and it had responded well to SR Luna, so I was sure it would be ok. I’m pleased to confirm I wasn’t wrong :)

On the nights I use this I like to keep my routine fairly simple and gentle, so as to get the maximum benefit from the treatment. I’ve played around using other oils, balms and moisturisers on top but to be honest I find it most effective when used on its own as a final step. I prep by cleansing and applying a hydrating serum (ideally Jordan’s hydrate) and then massaging 4-5 drops directly over the top and pressing it into the skin. The addition of a hydrating serum is a must for me as it gives a buffer, minimising any potential irritation and boosts the performance of the retinol action. It absorbs just as well as etOILe and has an identical texture in my opinion, leaving no stickiness or oiliness to the skin. It layers extremely well with any other product I’ve tried underneath/over the top and I haven’t experienced any dreaded piling.

Upon application, it makes skin glow. But the real magic seems to happen when I’m asleep. If I hit the pillow with any small lurking spots it seems to zap them overnight and gives an overall healthier, plumper appearance to my skin come morning.

I have been using this retinol for just over 2 months with consistent use, and feel confident in saying it has benefitted my skin in more ways than one. In earlier June, I removed regular use of facial oils out of my routine (see my previous post here) and just solely used this. That’s where I began to see real results. My congestion started to decrease fast and any under the skin lumps I had were healing much quicker leaving no scarring behind. During my bout of ‘unruly skin’ I had a period of purging where some of the congestion came to the surface. This in turn created quite a few spots dotted mainly around my chin, cheek and jawline areas. At the time, I felt rather overwhelmed and unsure of how to deal with it. But instead of doing what I would usually do (throw a ton of products at it in the hope of clearing my skin fast, we’ve all been there!) I decided to take a more sensible approach. I stripped my routine back to basics and picked a few products to be consistent with. This being one of them, and my skin is all the better for it. I actually enjoy the simple but effective routine on the days when I incorporate this, and look forward to waking up knowing my skin will always look better than it did the night before. 

In addition to the above there has been an improvement in existing PIH but I wouldn’t go as far as saying it has faded it completely. Yet… I am hopeful that in the months to come I will see a bigger change in that area. Overall so far, I would say the biggest noticeable changes are that it has smoothed out the texture of my skin, created a more uniform brighter look and decreased the amount of congestion I usually have. Much better results than I had expected…

Over the coming months, I will potentially start to use this every night with another moisturiser or oil to see how my skin fares, as I have not suffered with any side effects in the form of redness, dryness or flakiness with this. I know a certain percentage of people can suffer with those issues as result of a stronger more potent retinol, but I honestly couldn’t be dealing with that even if it turns me into a goddess months down the line! There is no way I could persevere with something that burns my face off and causes my skin to peel like a snake!  

In my opinion this formula is a fantastic starting step into retinol, I think it would work well for all ages but perhaps suited to a more younger skin (25-35’s) that is looking to prevent rather than cure when it comes to aging. In the long-term retinol is known to increase cell turnover and stimulate collagen production, leaving skin plumper, creating a more refined appearance. With that considered I’m still not sure how effective a gentle retinol like this one would be at reducing deep wrinkles and lines. I would say if your target is to improve skin texture, reduce congestion, slow down the aging process and reduce the appearance of fine lines, then this is a must for you. But if you suffer with severe PIH, scarring, sun-damaged aging skin then maybe something a little stronger would give you better quicker results.

Packaging wise, I love the black and white design but that’s not just for show, the miron glass gives it a shelf life of around 6 months to 1 year (if I remember rightly). On the basis it’s kept in a cool environment. Preferably a fridge. I personally can’t be arsed to have to remember to take it out before walking up the stairs! So choose to keep it in a dark area of my bathroom. I would recommend only buying a retinol product that is packaged in an opaque container anyway, as that will eliminate its exposure to air and light. Otherwise the formula will break down and deteriorate.


Organic Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed (Marula) Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Organic Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit (Rosehip) Oil, Organic Hippophae Rhamnoides Fruit (Seabuckthorn) Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Retinol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E).

So, there you have it! My new favourite addition to my skin routine! It is a powerhouse of a product which holds so many benefits, and at $43 for 30ml I think it’s extremely fair priced. Those of you that are Jordan supporters will already know this, but it can only be purchased directly from his website in the US. Link here

Also, if you don’t already, I would highly recommend following Jordan on Youtube. His videos are extremely informative and he is bloody hilarious! Link here

Have you tried a retinol in oil? I would like to try Pestle and Mortar Superstar next to see how it compares but will re-purchase this at some point for sure!

Thanks for reading xx


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

My Battle with Congested Skin Part 1...Two Week Trial without Facial Oils

What is congestion?
A build-up of impurities within the sebaceous glands, otherwise known as the oil glands, which can lead to blockages in the pores resulting in blackheads, whiteheads and pimples. These can be caused by dead cells, pollution and dirt but can also accumulate due to a variety of reasons including hormonal changes, bad diet, lack of cleansing and exfoliation. Regular washing does not get deep enough into your pores no matter what advertisements like to tell you, therefore the oil and dead cells can build up over time creating hardened oil plugs. You will often start to see visible bumps on the surface and underneath the surface of the skin.
The Trial:
Rewind back to beginning of June, I was suffering with the most congested skin I’d had in a long while and I knew I needed to take drastic action. Not only did my skin look rubbish but in turn I felt like rubbish. I was fully aware that one of the contributions to my under the skin bumps and lumps was facial oils and facial balms. I adore them. I would slather them on my face more than twice a day if I could, but I had a feeling they are were not my friends, at least not 100% of the time.
Before I continue I want to add a disclaimer that this trial was purely for my benefit only, because I know my skin. Not all congestion is due to the use of facial oils and balms, and what works for me won’t necessarily work for you. Every skin is different. I simply want to document this for my own personal use and because some may find it helpful if they are suffering from the same kind of issues.
There are many benefits to using facial oils/balms and although they contributed to increasing congestion they generally didn’t break me out, hence the reason for me wanting to continue using them and being in denial! I have tried many oils and balms with and without essential oils, and it took me a while to face up to the fact that it didn’t matter what type or brand I would use I seemed to have the same outcome with all. Bringing me to the conclusion that I need to experiment without them and see what happens...
Firstly, let me explain how I had been using oils and balms in my routines and the different ways I was enjoying them, all of which, I believe, led to the increase in congestion and ultimately left my skin looking dull and lifeless:
  • Cleansing – Luxurious balms or oils that need to be removed with a flannel. Usually once a day as a second cleanse. These are packed with wonderful oils and butters which make for a completely relaxing ritual
  • Pre-Shower – Some mornings I would apply an oil or balm like a mask prior to stepping into the shower, I would let the steam activate the scent and allow the ingredients to penetrate deeper into my skin. Sometimes I would use a light cleanser after, sometimes I wouldn’t
  • Oils mixed into face masks – To use up the tons of oils I have I would add a few drops into a clay or hydrating mask to boost the effects. This would be more than once a week usually
  • Overnight Treatment – Each night I would apply a facial oil or balm as a finishing step to ‘seal’ all of the products in.
  • Daily Moisturiser – I would apply facial oils a few times a week in the morning, usually mixed in with a serum to create an emulsion
As you can see from above I was using oils and balms a lot throughout the week and I don’t think, well I know my oily/combo skin couldn’t take it. The thing was I just couldn’t see that for so long, in denial because I wanted my skin to love them because I loved the feeling of using them!
As dramatic as it sounds on 7th June I looked in the mirror and thought I had to fix the issue! Here’s what was looking back at me and this is not the results from looking under a microscope by the way!
  • Under the skin bumps along my jawline, a couple that were painful and a few that weren’t
  • Under the skin white lumps which were whiteheads that were not coming to the surface around the middle of my chin and sides of my mouth
  • Blackheads in the middle of my chin and sides of cheeks including nose area
  • Dull lifeless skin
  • PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation) from previous blemishes
  • Uneven skin texture
I know that I could have it a lot worse and my skin didn’t look bad with makeup on but I believe we all strive for healthy glowing skin and that’s not where I was at with mine, so I knew I needed to make some improvements to my routine and diet. It’s not about having perfect skin, but being comfortable and confident, achieving the best skin health possible.
In this post, I am purely focusing on the effects cutting out oils/balms did for me during the 2 weeks but I will be doing a separate post on how I am tackling long term congestion as there are many other aspects that contribute to healthy skin. This is just the first step in the chain for me.
Firstly, I cut out oil/balm cleansers that needed a washcloth to be removed. I wanted to continue using balm/oil cleansers that emulsified as I felt they didn’t leave any form of residue. Usually I like a bit of residue, the nourishing plump feeling they gave me. But not during this trial. So, in the drawer they went, away from where my eyes could see them! Next I removed all oils and balms that I’d normally use to moisturise my skin, I replaced these with moisturisers that suited my dehydrated oily skin. Basically, all oils and balms went in the drawer!
Within a few days, I noticed an immediate difference, I was so surprised. My skin looked much brighter and even toned. I wasn’t expecting results so soon! I still had congestion but no new congestion had formed, which was something. Overall my skin looked calmer and less irritated, even though I hadn’t realised it looked that way before I started this trial. Redness around my nose and forehead were reduced.
Towards the end of the first week going into the second I had some under the skin lumps that came to the surface. Although it made me feel miserable to have spots I felt like it was a good thing, almost like my skin was purging.
After being consistent with the trial for a week I was happy, and with the results I was getting I had no desire to start using oils and balms again. That was until I went to the Red Magazine x Caroline Hirons event where Caroline discussed how amazing oils are for the skin, and made me crave using them again! After speaking with her directly and her stressing the importance of balance it made me realise that I should stay committed to what I was doing and see it out.
Fast forward another week and the results were clear to see. Under the skin lumps had disappeared without me directly treating them, and the overall appearance of my skin had improved. Although I went through a period where I missed massaging oily goodness into my face, I was so happy with the outcome of the trial I wanted to continue what I was doing. Although I am confident that cutting out oils and balms proved a success and quickly made an improvement to my skin I am aware that in the long term there are other changes I need to make in regards to my routine and diet. I’m creating a follow up blog post detailing how I am battling congestion and some noticeable differences I have found in my journey to clearer skin. Skincare can’t be responsible for ‘fixing’ everything and we need to ensure that we are looking after ourselves from the inside out!
Aside from that the 3 oils pictured are the only ones remaining in my routine. I will add them back in gradually but not for use every day as I think I’ve learnt my lesson! I will also be doing a post on what oil/balms I am keeping and why, so stay tuned for that.  

In the meantime, if you have any tips on how to get rid of dreaded congestion I would love to know!

Thanks for reading…


Friday, 23 June 2017

Emulsifying Cleansers...

I decided to do a post dedicated to my favourite type of cleansers of late. Emulsifying ones! Not to be confused with gel/foaming cleansers, these are typically balm like formulas that can be massaged into skin and rinsed off like a cream/milk once water is added. They are perfect for my combination skin. This means that any dry areas are soothed and comforted, but the oily/congestion prone areas are balanced without feeling stripped or the skins barrier being compromised. I have been preferring the quickness of applying an emulsifying cleanser to a typical balm which you have to hot cloth off. I enjoy how faff free they are and it means I don’t have to be washing lots of flannels throughout the week!

Instead of doing full on reviews of each, I am simply going to go through what’s in my collection and my general thoughts. I will be doing in depth posts on some of these anyway and some I have already reviewed fully (Jordan Samuel and Farmacy!)

Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel

I’ll get straight to it. This is the most joyless cleanser out of the bunch. There isn’t much of a scent and I feel there is almost a plastic/artificial smell to it which I don’t particularly like. That aside this is an excellent cleanser that removes makeup extremely well. It has a silky texture which transforms into a lightweight oil without much massage needed. Upon contact with water it turns into a milk almost immediately. I wouldn’t use this for anything other than as a makeup remover as it does this job brilliantly and cuts through heavy eye makeup without any irritation. The ingredients aren’t anything to write home about, it contains a lot of synthetics and fillers which I can’t say appeals, but I am basing my thoughts on how its designed to perform and for that alone it does the job very well. I think this cleanser would suit most skin types as its very gentle but not sure if the ingredients would bode well with very sensitive skin types…


Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Stearyl Heptanoate, Polyglyceryl-10 Myristate, Glycerin, Aqua/Water/Eau, Cyclomethicone, Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, Parfum/Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Tocopherol, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, BHT, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, CI 19140/Yellow 5, CI 17200/RED 33

You can buy here from Escentual for £18.45 (on special offer)

Jordan Samuel Plie

This is my one true love. I adore everything about this cleanser. The texture, packaging, smell, formula, ingredients, all are perfect. It helps the man himself is also wonderful! I’ve already done an in-depth review here so won’t bang on, but this is the ultimate cleanser for me. I will be opening my 2nd tube of this once I have finished Oskia, and will soon be placing another order as I want a backup.

It destroys makeup and leaves skin feeling super nourished, balanced and clean. When emulsified it turns into a silky milk which doesn’t leave any residue, just plump and glowy skin! I know some prefer to remove this with a cloth but I find it works perfectly well rinsed off with warm water only. It also doubles up as a mask which I love! I find that this is a fantastic all-rounder for a 1st and 2nd cleanse, I personally don’t think you can get better than this in its pricing category. If you don’t already follow Jordan on IG then do! He posts his ‘Friday Facial’ which shows you different ways this can be used and other tips on his products. He also has a Youtube channel where he posts his ‘Skin Talks’ videos. These are a must see as Jordan is a fountain of knowledge and is hilarious too! I can’t wait for Jordan’s new releases...;)

You can buy here from Jordan’s website for $20.00

Farmacy Green Clean

This is another product I have reviewed recently here so will keep things short and sweet. I love this to remove makeup and it has become my favourite in the makeup removing category. It smells like lime sherbets and cuts through makeup like a knife through butter. The soft silky texture is a dream to apply and I will be repurchasing for sure! It emulsifies extremely easily and rinses off cleanly leaving no residue. I love it, one of my favourite discoveries of 2017!

You can buy here at Cult Beauty for £32.00 (there is currently a waitlist)

Evolve Gentle Cleansing Melt

This is a new purchase from the UK Artisan/Natural brand Evolve. I decided on the travel size of this as it’s such a good way to try the product out before committing to the full size. I will be doing an in-depth review of this soon but I wanted to give you my first impressions...

The texture of this is thick and it looks a bit like glue! But surprisingly it is extremely soft and pliable. Once applied to skin this gives an excellent massage and is soothing and nourishing. I have been using this as a 1st and 2nd cleanser and I enjoy it both ways. The scent is mainly of soft but not too sweet vanilla, unlike anything else I’ve tried. It emulsifies nicely and turns into a creamy milk that rinses away clean. The after affect is calm and happy skin. One of my favourite things about the brand is the packaging, it’s gorgeous. I just love how clean and stylish it looks with apothecary style bottles/jars. Will continue to use and report back but so far so good, a great emulsifying cleanser!


Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Oil*, Sucrose Laurate, Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Water*, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Fruit Extract*, Tocopherol, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil*.
* Ingredients from organic farming.

You can buy the 120ml size here for £20.00 or the travel size 30ml here for £8.00

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel

Considering I have been using this daily for a few months I still haven’t got around to uploading a full review of this, I think partly because every blogger and their mum has raved about this so not sure what else I can add. I started using this after I ran out of my Jordan Samuel Plie as they seemed similar in terms of formula. Without a doubt this is an excellent cleanser and one I would highly recommend …

The smell and appearance of this is like Turkish delight which to be honest I hate to eat but seemingly I love to rub all over my face! The texture is silky and the balm transitions into an oil easily. I wouldn’t use this as a 1st cleanse but it works brilliantly as a morning or 2nd cleanse. I like to give myself a good massage with this and then hop in the shower, leaving it on as a mask before emulsifying and rinsing. It’s packed with some excellent ingredients such as Omega 6, Vitamins A, C and E, Starflower Oil and Pumpkin Enzymes. I think it would be a good option for most skins and I would recommend this to people who don’t want to pay the shipping and custom fees for Plie but want similar results.

You can buy here for £29.50 at Cult Beauty


Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Aqua, Cetearyl Olivate, Sucrose Laurate, Benzyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Olivate, Sucrose Palmitate, Parfum (Natural), Geraniol*, Dimethyl Sulfone (MSM), Citronellol**, Dehydroacetic Acid, Lactobacillus/Cucurbita Pepo Fruit Ferment Extract, Borago Officinalis Seed Oil, Sucrose Stearate, Linalool**, Retinyl Palmitate, CI77491 (natural iron oxide), Jojoba Esters, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate.
**Component of natural essential oils

Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm

Again, as you can see this is a travel size which I got in a beauty subscription box but thought I would include it as it’s a very worthy contender in this range of cleansers. The big selling point being the excellent price tag. This is the cheapest option out of them all and I would say it does the same kind of job as the Clarins but smells nicer and has better ingredients! It’s a perfect 1st cleanse, obliterating everything including eye makeup. The balm is rich and silky and has a fantastic texture to massage with. It rinses off cleanly leaving no residue. It is formulated without beeswax, petrolatum or any pore clogging ingredients and the scent is Merumaya’s ‘Signature Essence Blend’ which smells very spa like. I would purchase the full size for makeup removing purposes and at under £20 I haven’t got any complaints!

You can buy here for £16.50 from Amazon


Caprylic/capric triglyceride, glycerin, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, aqua (water), sucrose laurate, glyceryl dibehenate, echium plantagineum seed oil, phenoxyethanol, sucrose palmitate, parfum (fragrance), sucrose cocoate, sucrose stearate, citronellol, ethylhexylglycerin, garcinia mangostana fruit extract, limonene, linalool, caprylyl glycol, chlorphenesin, tetrasodium edta, butylene glycol, hexylene glycol.

So, there you have it, that’s my round up of emulsifying cleansers in my collection. Out of those I would say Farmacy and Jordan Samuel are my favourites! What are yours? I’d love any recommendations…

Thanks for reading xx

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Lightweight Bases...

Seeing as we seem to be into the summer season good and proper here in the UK I thought I would talk you through some of the lightweight bases which I will be alternating throughout the warmer weather. As I have got older heavier foundations are becoming less and less appealing to me. I find myself wanting coverage but in the lightest and quickest way possible, especially during the day. Comfort is key and these 3 below fit that category. 

Bareminerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream SPF30
This has been a long-standing favourite of mine but I have been particularly loving this recently. I know I am the same as many but I fall in and out of love for foundations/bases quite often and this one had been sat neglected for a while (since beginning of the year) till last month when I dusted it off and started using it daily.

When I first bought this I was sceptical to say the least as there had been quite a lot of hype surrounding it, but I can see why it is so popular. This is the most hydrating base out of the bunch but not in the sense that it will leave skin looking greasy. It is a thick cream but once applied on the skin it immediately transforms into a lightweight gel texture, hence the name. It feels very refreshing and soothing on the skin.

I find this is best applied with your fingers like a moisturiser. It is instantly blends into the skin leaving it looking healthier. Perfect for when you look knackered and need to look better! It is easily buildable and although you can achieve a good amount of coverage with this I always need concealer to cover any dark circles or blemishes. It just isn’t heavy duty enough for that. I set it with a powder and I am good to go. It lasts all day and doesn’t oxide, but I do have to top up with powder every few hours. I personally like using a small amount and building it gradually. I made the mistake initially of applying too much in one go and it just wouldn’t settle on my skin causing the product to slip and slide all over my face. I have also tried it with a buffing brush but again the results aren’t as good for me.  

A stand out factor of this base is that it contains some skin loving ingredients such as olive derived squalane, marine botanicals and humectants, all of which hydrate and nourish the skin. It is also fragrance, silicone, paraben and oil free which is pretty impressive. It is supposedly a best of a BB, CC and any other letter of the alphabet! I would agree that is multitasking, not only does it contain SPF 30 but it has enough hydration to potentially be used in place of a moisturiser for oily/dehydrated/combination skinned individuals. The claims say that when a clinical study took place on 62 people it was reported it increases hydration by 215% in one week. I personally cannot vouch for this, but I might experiment with it and see how it fares!

Surprisingly this base has worked well for me during the recent heatwave, usually its one I’d turn to in winter when my skin needs a little extra loving that my other bases can’t provide. There are 16 shades to choose from which I think is excellent, it originally started with 10 but due to popular demand they added more. I am shade 02 Vanilla which I think is perfect for my skin tone (lucky guess thanks to A Model Recommends blog post).

I already have a back up of this so that tells you how much I like it! It's currently on offer here at Escentual for £22.95

IT Cosmetics CC Cream SPF50

Firstly, excuse the horrid packaging, it’s been in all kinds of weathers as you can see! This base has already appeared in my beauty favourites a couple of months ago, it didn’t take me long to figure I loved it! Again, this has been hugely hyped in the blogging world but I believe for good reason.

I have been alternating this and the Bareminerals over the past few months. It gives more coverage than the Complexion Rescue and is better suited to oilier skins. The texture is thick and a little goes a long way. I use 1 small pump and that’s enough for my whole face as it is highly pigmented. This does an excellent job of evening out skin tone (as you would expect with a CC!) and concealing any redness and small blemishes, I still use concealer but if I am having a good skin day then sometimes I can go without as it gives a uniform look. I personally wouldn’t say it’s ‘high coverage’ as such, but gives more than most BB, CC creams. It leaves a non-greasy almost matte but not flat effect; I still use powder with this as I want to prevent my oily t-zone from appearing too quickly! I end up having to reapply powder every few hours but that isn’t an issue for me, and completely expected when using these kinds of bases, despite this the staying power is fantastic.

I find the best way to apply this is again with the fingers, when I purchased this through QVC it came with a brush but it applies better without it. I’ve found the product sort of disappears when used with a brush whereas the warmth of your fingers helps spread the product and provide seamless coverage using a lesser amount.

The most appealing factor for me is that it has SPF 50, this does not mean I go without sunscreen it just means my skin is better protected in the first place. It is another ‘do it all’ base with the addition of collagen, peptides, niacin, hyaluronic acid and vitamins A, B, C and E. I personally don’t see the benefit of these but it’s nice to know they are there. I haven’t seen a difference in brightening, skin texture or hydration with this as the claims state. To me this isn’t a replacement for a moisturiser or a sun cream, just a foundation/base with benefits.

I have the colour 'Fair' and this works very well for my skin, maybe a touch too pale but nothing that a bit of bronzer can’t fix. There is a downside, this cream only comes in 5 shades which proves quite limiting but I am sure that selection covers most bases. I would recommend using shade adapting drops if you do want to try this but can’t find an exact match. It’s worth the extra effort.

You can buy here at QVC with the Heavenly Brush for £35

(Left Bareminerals, Centre IT Cosmetics, Right Estee Lauder)

Estee Lauder Double Wear All Day Glow BB Moisture Makeup SPF30

Out of all 3 this is the one where the colour match isn’t great, I have Intensity 1.0 which is a little too peachy and light for my skin tone. It doesn’t look bad and with bronzer it’s fine. The big point to mention about this before I go any further is that since I purchased this over 6 months ago I have noticed that it has started to be phased out across most of the beauty retailers. I had a look around and most of the lighter shades are out of stock, I contacted Estee Lauder and they have confirmed that it has indeed been discontinued due to advancement in technology. They told me the Double Wear Nude Cushion Stick is apparently the closest match to this giving sheer to medium coverage whilst promoting natural radiance and a "no makeup" look that lasts all day (up to 8 hours).

Either way I will tell you my thoughts on this as it has been one I’ve been using on and off over the past few months especially during Spring…

The oil free formula is thick as you would expect from the Double Wear range. The foundation is one of my favourites so I thought this could be a good alternative for the warmer months. Despite the texture it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin. I think I was expecting this to be more pigmented and heavier coverage than it is to be honest, it’s very lightweight and gives sheer – light coverage. It applies smoothly and blends into the skin easily, drying down quickly, leaving skin perky and fresh. I wouldn’t say it covers blemishes but it imparts an overall glow and healthiness to the skin.  

Although the description says ‘all day glow’ I was a little concerned I would end up a greaseball by the end of the day, but not so. It mirrors the same fantastic long lasting qualities that the foundation does and when set with powder my t-zone can stay oil free for quite some time! In fact, I would say this is better suited to oilier combination complexions like myself as opposed to drier skin types as I feel it has the potential to cling to dry patches and look patchy.

Even though this has been discontinued I’ll enjoy this tube while I have it and may look to try some other EL offerings in the form of the Daywear Makeup range going forward.

What are your favourite bases for Spring/Summer?

Thanks for reading xx