Thursday, 21 June 2018

Skinceuticals HA Intensifier*

Hyaluronic Acid is probably my favourite skincare ingredient. I have quite a few favourite ingredients but HA is a constant in my routine. It’s an essential for oily dehydrated skins like mine, giving it much needed bounce and plumpness. It acts as a humectant, carrying up to 1000 times its weight in water, therefore holding the moisture into your skin. This is key for my dull and rather lacklustre complexion. It’s ability to hold so much water makes it invaluable in my routine as it acts like a sponge plumping and smoothing things out.

So, you can imagine my excitement when Skinceuticals kindly reached out to me and asked whether I would like to try their newly released serum. This is not your standard HA serum though. Rather than providing immediate relief it works over time to correct the HA content in your skin. Clever hey?!

The formula contains a heavy dose of HA (obviously) – 1.3% to be exact and 10% Proxylane which is a molecule derived from beech wood. This supports the skin’s lipid layer and prevents moisture loss. The addition of 0.2% Purple Rice and 2.0% Liquorice root extracts reduce flaking and add antioxidant protection. Working together these ingredients boost collagen and HA levels so over time firmness and fullness are restored.

HA naturally occurs in our bodies with 50% being found in our skin. It has an important role in retaining moisture and as with most things, as we age our body’s natural production slows down. In a 4-week study of daily use the HA Intensifier resulted in a 30% increase of HA within the skin. That’s pretty impressive results!

Now does it work? Yes, yes it does. At around £83 for 30ml you are looking at a skincare investment. It does plump and firm the skin and there is no doubt that it successfully kept my moisture levels in check. I felt that I wasn’t excessively oily throughout the day and that my skin had a bouncier texture. I am just not sure that I need this serum right now. I already use a HA serum every day which as I say is a constant staple, so I didn’t feel my skin necessarily needed a ‘corrective’ treatment.

Despite this I thoroughly enjoyed using it. Morning and night, I would apply around 4 drops. I actually finished the bottle a few weeks ago, so that tells you how much I used it within 3 months (yes, this review is well overdue!!). The formula is elegant, a purple gloopy liquid that is not sticky or heavy. As with most HA serums it gives a slightly tacky finish but it glides onto the skin with ease and straight away injects moisture and happiness! My skin looked fantastic straight after applying, bouncy and lush. Any products that I used following applied with ease. No piling or having to wait for it to be absorbed. It sinks into the skin beautifully and quickly leaving it super silky. 

I would say if you haven’t tried Hyaluronic Acid before and your skin’s moisture levels are all over the place i.e. perhaps you have excessively oily skin but it feels tight and uncomfortable then this would be perfect for you – (i.e. skin is overproducing oil to restore the balance because of dehydration). Maybe I’ll purchase this when I need extra oomph in the winter months, the central heating usually pulls the life out of my skin so I’d imagine this would be incredible for that. I’d also recommend this if you prefer to lightly layer your skincare. This with a lightweight gel/water based moisturiser would be amazing for skin’s that don’t like to be overloaded. Thick creams and oils don’t suit everyone!



*This product was gifted to me, but you can buy it from Effortless Skin for £78.00 – link here

Thank you for reading xx


Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Current Skincare Favourites and Skin Update

My personal life may be a little all over the place at the moment but my skincare most certainly isn’t! Whilst I was in hospital (see previous post) I didn’t wash my face with water for about 3 days. This type of behaviour is not normal for me and not something I advocate AT ALL but I couldn’t get to a sink, so micellar wipes had to do. Since being home I’ve been strict with my regime and I’m happy with it!

In all honesty face wipes were the only thing to touch my face whilst I was in hospital. Yes you read right… I did not put anything else on my skin - don’t evict me from the beauty community please. Despite this my skin actually looked rather good! My husband was rather shocked that although my face was super pale and washed out my actual skin was clear and smooth! I was rather chuffed that despite looking and feeling like death warmed up my skin was noticeably happy! Quite remarkable considering hormones must have been raging! I’m waiting for my face to erupt now I’ve said that.

So anyway, this was a bit of a revelation for me and made me rethink things. Over the past few weeks the last thing I’ve wanted to do is dabble in lots of different skincare or new products so I’ve adopted a much more consistent slimline routine, and it’s been working wonders! I’ve stuck to certain products and been ensuring I stick to them every day. I’ve masked a couple of times but other than that I haven’t done anything exciting.

See below a few changes I’ve made, initially because I couldn’t be bothered but now because my skin has stayed happy so why fix what isn’t broke!

• No face clothes - I’ve only used rinse off/emulsifying cleansers. So many people have said the same thing that stopping using them is better for their skin, and I’m quite liking that I don’t have to wash flannels every week.

• Gently exfoliating every other evening- I was kind of doing this before, but I’ve been incorporating gentle formulas and then maybe if my skin is feeling like it needs something more I’ll use my tiny bottle of Sunday Riley Good Genes which I’m savouring. I was using GG much more regularly but now they have changed their formula (it’s now a glycolic treatment) in the UK I need to re-think how I’m going to get the same glow and results. If you have any ideas (glycolic free) let me know. I may still ship from Sephora but haven’t decided yet.

• Layering less product - I’ve minimised my routine to no more than around 5 products. It’s so easy to chuck loads on your face when your cabinets are overflowing but I’ve been sticking to this - cleanse, tone, serum, moisturiser. That’s it, AM and PM. I usually use 2 different cleansers at night though. One to remove makeup, one to cleanse.

• Stick to a couple of products in each category - I’ve rotated between 2/3 in each category as it allows me to select what my skin needs at the time and ensures I’m being consistent. I’m getting through things quicker and I’m enjoying having a healthy attitude towards beauty products.

Now onto the products I’ve been loving, I will be doing full reviews on most of these so won’t go into too much detail:

Elemis Superfood Facial Wash

This hasn’t disappointed, I’ve heard mixed reviews but I really like it. It smells very natural and grassy which I’m not a massive fan of, but it leaves my skin feeling refreshed. It’s been the one I’m using most mornings. It cleanses well and leaves my skin feeling purified and glowing, like it has actually been smothered in broccoli and spinach and left to marinate for a while.

Fresh Rose Facial Toner

Initially I wasn’t sure if this was doing anything for me but the more I’ve used it the more I love it. It leaves my skin soft and hydrated, I don’t think it does anything long term but it feels very nice on the skin. Would be good for sensitive/irritated skins for immediate relief. I also love using it! The packaging is gorgeous. Shaking it up and seeing the rose petals settle is fun!

Jordan Samuel Hydrate Serum

A long-time favourite (see previous review here) this is the large size which was recently released. I could not love this more, it instantly adds hydration and gives skin a big drink. I’ve loved using this every evening, patting it in gently. It feels so cooling and refreshing, I may put it in the fridge during the summer as I bet that’s magical. Good for all skin types.

Elemis Superfood Day Cream

This came in a set with the face wash. Like the cleanser it smells very natural/herbal, the consistency is a fairly medium thickness cream but as soon as it’s massaged into the skin it absorbs quickly. Again, this is like a vitamin shot, it instantly brightens, hydrates and peps up my skin. It hasn’t broken me out and has worked so well for my oily/combo skin. Definite thumbs up and I would repurchase.

Freshly Multi-Antioxidant Concentrate Serum*

This was kindly gifted to me and I was super excited to try. I am doing a blog post on this brand soon so won’t blabber on but this is such a great morning serum. The ingredients list is incredible and the price point is amazing considering what they put inside their products. It smells of carrots, looks like carrots but is packed with so much more.

La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra Fluide

This was a random purchase but I had seen a few bloggers raving about it so when it was on offer I had to pick it up. I’ve really appreciated how gentle this is and non-offensive. It’s been my constant night moisturiser mixed with the Herbivore oil and the combo is lush. If you have irritated, sensitive or out of sync skin then I’d highly recommend. It’s a bit too heavy for me during the day right now but I may incorporate it in the morning in the lead up to Autumn.

Herbivore Lapis Facial Oil

This is everything. My favourite oil I’ve tried so far. I think...I can adore more than one, right? I’ve only been using it consistently for a couple of weeks but I can say it’s dreamy. I feel like I don’t want to say anymore and just leave it there because I want to ramble on in a blog post dedicated to it. I’ve been incorporating it mostly in the PM mixed with moisturiser or patted over the top of my AM moisturiser.

I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things with blogging, I have a lot to talk about and reviews coming up so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading xx


Sunday, 27 May 2018

Ectopic Pregnancy - My Experience

I’ve been away from Instagram and my blog for a few weeks and haven’t felt like posting much. I’m trying to get back to normality so will be talking all about beauty again soon, but before I do I want to briefly explain the reason for my absence.

Initially I wasn’t sure whether to be open about what’s been going on as it’s very personal. It’s not really the kind of topic I would usually write about on here but I feel it’s important I share my story. I think it’s good to speak openly about pregnancy loss. It’s something that people don’t always talk candidly about, understandably so, but I have found so far that talking is helping me make sense of what’s happened and allows me to deal with it in a healthy way rather than bottling things up. I’m hoping this may also help others who are going through or have gone through something similar so they know they are not alone. My reason for sharing certainly isn’t to scare anyone or worry you if you are in the early stages of pregnancy, but more to highlight the condition as it’s not really something I contemplated when finding out I was pregnant.

To cut a long story short I found out last Bank Holiday Monday that I had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. This is where the egg implants in the Fallopian tube and the fetus grows there, eventually rupturing the tube and causing internal bleeding if not discovered early. Which is sadly what happened to me. It’s extremely dangerous and I am annoyed with myself that I ignored some symptoms that I maybe should have got checked out. I feel guilty for not being diligent but at the same time I’d never gone through anything like this, so didn’t know what to look out for. Next time I will not hesitate to ask questions and get something checked out if I have a gut instinct or feel something isn’t right, and I would urge anyone else to do the same.

From the point of knowing I was pregnant I was massively bloated and looked around 4/5 months pregnant which was strange for me. I put it down to normal pregnancy symptoms but I was very uncomfortable and sore if my stomach was pressed. I remember my (very small) dog jumped on me one evening and I nearly cried from the pain! It’s important to note though I had absolutely no bleeding whatsoever. Obviously if I had then I would have immediately got it checked. I guess the absence of blood made me think everything was fine.

The Saturday previous to going into hospital I had started getting stretching, pulling cramps on my right side which again I ignored despite them being persistent. I just didn’t feel it was necessary to get it checked out, and I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time as I wasn’t in a great deal of pain. That was until around 2am on the Monday, I woke with horrendous cramps on my right side. I spent about 4hrs at home writhing around, I could barely move or walk without wanting to pass out. Jonny (my husband) thought I needed a shit and kept trying to feed me smoothies to ‘get me going’! He was in denial of what was happening and I was too much in pain and vomiting to even know what to do with myself. I just knew I needed to get to hospital. Eventually Jonny realised that things weren’t good and called our parents so they could come and sit with Charlie (our son) while we went.

When I arrived in A&E I passed out immediately, I don’t remember being lifted onto a bed but I wasn’t out for long. Upon coming around they informed us I was in critical condition, they believed I was bleeding heavily internally and would need emergency surgery. I really wanted them to scan me to check if their diagnosis was accurate but there was no time. I was worried that if it wasn’t that I’d lose the baby anyway because of the operation. Unfortunately, I was in such a bad way I had no choice, I was so panicked and scared as they explained to me the risks and what was happening. There wasn’t much time to think all that much to be honest but I was shaking like a leaf. They could barely get a needle in my veins as they had started to shut down so worrying about dying did cross my mind as I said goodbye to Jonny. They also said that because of how quickly they needed to operate the anaesthetic may not fully work at the beginning so I may remember/feel certain aspects of the operation. Of course this only petrified me further!

Luckily a wonderful consultant and team operated on me very quickly, and the NHS nurses who helped me before and after surgery were nothing short of amazing. I now have a whole new level of respect for the services they provide. I’d never been in a situation where I had needed them so urgently, and it was the first time I’ve ever been under general anaesthetic, so had no idea what to expect. I was in sheer panic but they tried to calm me and keep things positive. Their kindness and care throughout my stay in hospital was everything. I think it’s so easy to overlook the good they do and it’s rare to hear about how wonderful the NHS is. We are truly lucky that we have it available to us for free in the UK.

The surgery was done via keyhole and a laparoscopy was performed to remove my right Fallopian tube. I had 4 blood transfusions in total in the end as I lost just over 2 litres of blood. After surgery the pain was intense and I was extremely sore, I had morphine which certainly helped but it made me so sleepy and foggy. I stopped with that quite quickly and they moved me onto codeine and ibuprofen. If I tried to move, even to lift a book or magazine it was painful but it did get easier day by day. Around day 3 I managed to sit on the side of the bed with help. It felt like such a huge achievement! Day 4 I gradually started to stand (bent over but still standing!) and walked a few steps with help. They said I couldn’t go home unless I started moving so I was determined to get going!

3 weeks on I’m moving around with ease and my cuts aren’t painful anymore. My stomach is still tender if pressed too hard and I tend to ache more or feel pain if I walk for too long or attempt something strenuous, but I almost feel back to myself physically. I had dissolvable stitches which take ages to disappear so they are still in place. I’m still very bloated where they had to fill my stomach with air, apparently it can take around 5-6 weeks to improve so I’m just accepting it. Comfy clothes and big pants are all I’m living in at the moment!

The physical appearance of my 3 cuts are a constant reminder of what happened and that there is no new baby to override the pain with happiness, so find myself getting a bit upset and anxious when I look at them. But the surgeons did an amazing job and they are very neat, I’m adjusting to them and I know the scars will fade. In some ways though they are a reminder of how lucky I was so I can’t loathe them. They are part of me now.

As dramatic as it sounds (but true) I’m very thankful to be here. I’m well on the road to recovery, but I think it’s so easy to assume that despite looking well to others and gradually feeling better physically, there is still a mental battle that comes with losing a pregnancy. 

Fortunately, I had never experienced a pregnancy loss prior to this, but I have always sympathised with others who have gone through it, despite never really understanding how it must feel to be in that position. Obviously hoping I never would be

It’s still very early days so I can’t comment too much on how I’m dealing with it really but I’m choosing to try and think positively as much as I can. The quote ‘life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we deal with it’ really resonates with me. Despite this attitude I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m still very much coming to terms with the fact that my baby had to be removed from me or it would have killed me. The moment I came around from surgery knowing I was no longer pregnant was tough. Also knowing that it was developing correctly and healthily, just in the wrong place makes it even more difficult to comprehend.

Truthfully it has been much harder than I thought it would be. Not that I thought it would be easy but I just didn’t expect all the rollercoaster of emotions that have come with it. I often feel guilty, feeling like my body has failed me and I’ve let my loved ones down. I’m surprised at how quickly I can go from feeling fine to feeling crappy. It seems everywhere I turn I’m seeing new mums, pregnant ladies, babies etc. Anything relating to babies is painful at the moment but it’s not a bitterness I feel, more a sadness. I’m not hiding away from it though, I’m reassuring myself that it will get easier and I’m confident my time will come again. 

I’m trying not to be too hard on myself and I’m allowing myself to feel sad. I’m learning to embrace the times when I feel low and not feel bad for feeling that way. Initially I felt silly for feeling upset as I was only around 8 weeks pregnant, but of course it’s natural to start to plan the future in that short time and hope that all will be ok and that you will have a healthy baby. So, nothing really prepares you for what it feels like to lose that.

Thankfully I’ve had incredible support from my family and friends and that’s helped so much. I’ve made them aware that talking about it helps so I don’t want there to be any awkwardness. Jonny has been amazing and hasn’t shied away from the situation, allowing me to talk, vent and cry when needed. I’m very lucky but on the other hand he is also needing me while he goes through the grieving process as well. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own emotions you forget how others are feeling around you. 

It’s important to ride the wave so to speak, understand that good and bad days will happen but to recognise if you need help beyond the support your family and friends can provide. So far, I feel I’m coping, and dealing with it head on is helping. Taking each day as it comes and being honest with myself and others if I am feeling a bit wobbly, but I’m feeling positive for the future. Although the reason why it happened will always be unknown I was given a full MOT during surgery and told I should have no problems conceiving again, and more importantly having a healthy pregnancy. For that I am grateful.  

If you have had an ectopic pregnancy or any type of pregnancy loss then please feel free to use the comments section below to share your story. Also, if you have any questions further to this please ask, don’t feel afraid! I don’t want this to be a taboo subject. 

Thank you for reading xx


Thursday, 5 April 2018

Medik8 C-Tetra Vitamin C+E Serum

This brand was recommended to me by the lovely Victoria Partridge who is a wonderful facialist in Oxford (go check her out, she is incredible – IG handle: victoriapartridge_facialist). She raved about the excellent formulas and how effective they were considering the price point, so I had to investigate. Their products aren't 'cheap' but they aren't crazily priced either, especially for a pharmaceutical brand. I feel that they are rather underrated and aren't that well known despite them being ‘world renowned’. Either way I am so glad I jumped on the bandwagon and bought a few things because I have been mega impressed by them! I already love the Pore Refining Toner, Blemish Pads and Hydr8 B5 serum…

Their products are scientifically and clinically developed by a team of biochemists and pharmacologists in the UK. They are blended by hand in small batches within a laboratory to ensure the freshness and potency of the ingredients and are only sold through professional outlets. Although available through distributors online they are a dedicated professional only brand which essentially means they are sold through doctor’s offices, skincare clinics etc. For some reason this always gives me a certain confidence that the products will deliver!

Their aim is to provide solutions for skin concerns such as skin aging, acne, redness, pigmentation and dryness. They have tailored ranges to suit specific needs and offer different strengths depending on your requirements. I like that they understand one size doesn’t fit all and you can choose the option best suited to you.

Medik8 have 2 vitamin c serums available and both are low irritation, ultra-stable formulas. They come in 2 strengths. C-Tetra (the one I use) is 3% Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate and the other version is CE-Tetra and is 7% Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate. Ultimately both are designed to offer similar results but the C-Tetra is for people in their mid-20’s to 40’s whilst CE-Tetra is targeted at those in their mid-30’s to 50’s. If you fall in the middle of the two then I would evaluate your skin needs and environment, it may be better to start off with the lower concentration and work your way up.

I’m not going to go all science geek on you but Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate is not your typical vitamin c. It is apparently the most potent and highly stable derivative of vitamin c available. Meaning that it won’t oxidise or ‘go off’ like many other regular vitamin c products you may have come across. In addition to this C-Tetra will not exfoliate or irritate the skin which has been the issue for me in the past. Despite this C-Tetra has been shown to have 4 times the potency of L-ascorbic acid and other derivatives such as MAP (magnesium ascorbylphosphate). Sounds pretty good but does it deliver? Yes. Yes, it does.

As with most vitamin c serum’s C-Tetra promises to protect the skin from free radicals, minimise pigmentation, prevent premature skin aging and stimulate the synthesis of new collagen and elastin. I personally use vitamin c for a few reasons at the moment. Mainly to brighten my often dull and sallow complexion and help reduce pigmentation/scarring from blemishes. I’m also aware that an antioxidant serum helps protect from sun-induced damage and while I use an SPF daily it’s nice to know that my skin is getting an extra boost of protection.

Now onto my thoughts! I’ve been consistently using C-Tetra for a while now. Since around September last year to be exact! I am still on the same bottle FYI but it has nearly finished. Every morning without fail I have been applying 4 drops direct onto my face. Despite thinking others were crazy for squeezing product direct from the pipette, I now happily do this knowing that I am not wasting any product or at risk of it being absorbed into my hands. I want all that goodness on my skin! The serum is a watery clear fluid and very runny so I tend to get better results applying it directly.

The first thing that immediately impressed me was how easily it spreads and absorbs into the skin. Pretty much instantly without any tackiness or sticky feeling. Next is the glow! To be honest I think this is mainly what has kept me reaching for it day after day. The glow is insane. Not greasy or shiny skin just brighter and more radiant. It’s kind of addictive! For someone that is oily/dehydrated I am constantly trying to find a balance so I’m glowy but not shiny! This effect is exactly what I am after and I love it when a product offers some kind of immediate result.

Although it leaves skin comfortable and fresh I would not use this solely for hydration. I tend to pair it with a hyaluronic acid serum so I get everything I need. It works extremely well layered with other products and I have found it easy to mix with anything else I may be using. Due to this it fits into your routine nicely and you can play around in terms of where it goes and what you use it with. I personally use after a toner/essence and then follow with another serum to target whatever other separate concern I have.

I’ve tried lots of vitamin c serums in the past but C-Tetra has given me the most significant long-term results by far. Over time it has helped reduce some pigmentation I had on my cheeks and has generally evened out my skin tone. I wish I had taken some pictures of my skin before using this because I think I would see a real difference being that it’s 6 months or so since I first introduced it.

With some serums you can be using them for a while but never really know what they are doing. With this it’s the opposite. You can see an immediate difference in dullness but also begin to see bigger changes within weeks. It really ticks all the boxes for me when it comes to an antioxidant/vitamin c serum and it will be hard to move away from this. From a price point I think it’s pretty hard to beat. I love that it doesn’t oxidise and it doesn’t have to be kept in a fridge! Which is the case with many vitamin c serums. Anything that starts to expire quickly is generally a no from me because I hate the inconvenience. It is rather unique in that sense.
Key Ingredients: 3% concentration of Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C) and 1% concentration of Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
Simmondsia Chinensis Oil, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, 3% Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, 1% Tocopherol (d-Alpha), Citrus Grandis (grapefruit) and Limonene.
For anyone who is on the hunt for a new vitamin c/AM serum but is a bit afraid of ‘actives’ or doesn’t want the worry of it causing disruption to your existing routine, then I urge you to try this. Your skin will thank you. It can be purchased from a few online retailers but Beauty Flash have a 20% offer on at the moment, so it’s £28.80 which is amazing! Link here.  

If you do try this I would love to know your thoughts! I am excited to try more from the brand. To be honest I want everything but I specifically have my eye on the Retinol 3TR serum, PoreCleanse Gel and Firewall serum.

Thanks for reading xx

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

My Breakout Arsenal!

Recently I got a couple of spots which were seemingly larger than the usual type I get, so I did a little experiment with some of the products in my stash to see how quickly I could heal them. The results were surprising and I was chuffed to bits that with these products I could heal fairly big spots in a matter of 2 days, so I just had to share!

These were the steps I took and the order I used them. This is mainly the routine I followed in the evening but you could extract certain steps and apply them in the morning for double the effect.

Mud Mask:

After using a gentle non-stripping cleanser I like to use a clay/mud mask on the affected areas like a spot treatment. This is a constant step I take whenever a spot appears no matter how big or small. I apply a thin layer to individual spots and wait for around 10 mins. I like to use this time to do other things so I am being productive!
This Glamglow Super Mud Clearing Treatment contains a blend of charcoal and 6 acids (glycolic acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, pyruvic acid, and tartaric acid) to help de-congest the skin and minimise redness. I personally couldn’t use this all over my face as it is strong and quite potent, but when applied to spots individually it’s marvellous at calming them down and drawing out the crap so to speak. If used consistently morning and night this helps flatten the ‘lumps’ and reduces soreness.
My other recommended options are Ren Clearcalm, L’Oreal Pure Clay Detox and Una Brennan Pore Purifying. 

Repairing Serums:

Next I applied the Dr Jart Tiger Grass Re:Pair Serum to reduce redness and soothe the sore spots. This is a fairly new discovery for me but one that I am so happy I’ve got on hand. It’s designed to calm skin and aid wound recovery. It contains mineral and herb complexes to support the skin’s barrier and soothe skin. Whenever I get breakouts I will be sure to reach for this. It definitely assists in speeding up the healing process and left my skin a lot calmer. This would be good for those wanting to repair/prevent any damage caused by picking, because let’s face it we all do it from time to time! It’s cooling and feels amazing when it touches the skin.

The next serum I used is the Alpha H VitaminB with Copper Tri-Peptide, the ingredients list is antioxidant heaven and it’s a real powerhouse product. This blue liquid contains Niacinamide, Ferulic Acid, Copper Peptides, Hyaluronic Acid and Chia Seed extract. All of which help to strengthen the skins barrier and encourage cell renewal. I use this daily anyway but it is especially effective at helping heal the skin and prevent scarring. It is super cooling on the skin as well and instantly plumps it up. This is an excellent choice for aging skin that is misbehaving.

Facial Oil:

Now you may think this a strange step to choose when breaking out but seriously the effects of using an oil are hugely beneficial for blemished skin. Alkimi Cinco is currently my go to and has been recently reviewed by me (see my previous blog post here). This is a fantastic facial oil for oily/combination skin types. I find this reduces inflammation and when I apply on individual spots it helps bring them to a head or flatten them to practically nothing. I am currently loving facial oils that heal the skin and are high in linoleic acid. By using a facial oil dedicated to your skin type it can do wonders. Caroline Hirons did a good video with Votary on the benefits of using an oil when breaking out, I’d recommend watching it as its interesting and certainly changed my view on how I heal spots!
Essentially you don’t want to be ‘drying’ the area out which is what leads to scarring. Another fantastic oil to mention is Balmology Skin Remedy which is also amazing for unruly skins. I used up a whole bottle of it last year. Other oil’s that fall into this category are Sunday Riley UFO, Herbivore Lapis and Votary Clarifying Facial Oil. None of those I have used but I’ve heard many rave reviews. 

Acne Patches:

Not essential but for me a must have. These Cosrx Pimple Master Patches are incredible. I use one of these overnight every time I get a spot which is unhappy and sore. They don’t tend to work as well for whiteheads or large cysts but for those spots that fall in the middle category they are awesome. These hydrocolloid stickers create an invisible barrier to prevent the spread of bacteria and infection. They work to draw out impurities and speed up the life cycle. If I am at home without makeup I like to leave one on all day to work its magic and it stops me from constantly wanting to look at it and touch it. I find these patches so effective at calming the spot down, drawing out any redness and generally healing the spot fast. Some have known to disappear overnight! I think these need to be in everyone’s stash, they come in different sizes to accommodate whatever monster may crop up on your face.

So, there you have it. A breakdown of products I used to heal the unwelcome visitors that popped up on my face in the last week! You can pretty much tweak the steps to fit in with your regime but I will be sticking to this routine going forward as it worked for me. I hope you've found it helpful!

What tips do you have for healing blemishes?

Thanks for reading xx


Friday, 16 March 2018

Alkimi Cinco Facial Oil

Now firstly I have to say this review is well overdue. In fact about 3 months overdue but oh well! Better late than never! Let me introduce you to Cinco, the beautiful facial oil that has been created by the lovely Natalie from @RoadtoGlow on Instagram. She is a gorgeous lady and seriously knows her stuff when it comes to skincare! Definitely go and check her out. You will want to after I have finished with this review anyway 😉

The standout reason for me buying this oil was not only to support a friend but because it is free from essential oils. I personally believe it is much harder to create an effective facial oil minus essential oils. But Natalie has most certainly done that.

The majority of brands out there (especially the ‘green’ and ‘natural’ ones) tend to include essential oils so it is refreshing to see something different. My skin tends to be ok with EO’s but it very much depends on the quality of the ingredients, and how regularly I use them. If most of my routine consisted of products that contain high levels of EO’s then my skin would probably freak out. I like that with this it doesn’t matter what my skin is doing or how sensitive it is, I can feel assured that it will do no harm or cause further aggravation.

Natalie has formed this oil off the back of her own experiences and needs for her skin type. After struggling to find a solution for her acne she began researching skin physiology and ingredients. And boy is she a font of knowledge! Most oily/acneic skins have been shown to have low levels of linoleic acid in their skin, so products that are high in LA help balance out sebum production and reduce breakouts. The good news is Cinco contains high levels of LA oils and essential fatty acids, so this is a perfect companion for you if you suffer with your skin, whether it be due to acne or sensitivity. Here is a breakdown of the ingredients in order of appearance:

Omega 3 and 6 Fatty Acids - Both of which have high LA content and contribute to the beautiful rich texture and golden hue. These fatty acids which are found in many of the oils included in Cinco, assist in barrier repair, help skin retain moisture levels and promote elasticity.

Red Raspberry Seed Oil - High LA content, like black cumin seed oil this has incredible anti-inflammatory properties. It contains Vitamin E and Carotenoids which are powerful antioxidants that assist with reducing skin damage and plays an important part in the health of our skin.

Cranberry Seed Oil - High in Vitamin E, A, fatty acids and antioxidants it is a great all-rounder which is wonderful for mature skins and supports the aging process.

Watermelon Seed Oil - A lighter oil, high in LA, antioxidants and fatty acids. It’s particularly effective for oily skins but beneficial for all skin types including dry and irritated.

Black Cumin Seed Oil - High LA content, fatty acids and antioxidants, it offers soothing abilities to calm and relieve sensitivity whilst being antibacterial. It locks in hydration and acts like a shield for the skin.

Blueberry Seed Oil - One of nature’s most potent antioxidants, with a fatty acid content almost as high as rosehip oil. This is fantastic for rejuvenating and repairing the skin, keeping it plump and firm.

Rosehip Seed Oil - High LA content, commonly used to brighten and give the glow back into skin! Packed with vitamin c and lycopene this oil restores elasticity and protects against environmental stressors that can lead to wrinkles and dullness.

Pomegranate Seed Oil - High antioxidant and LA content. Extremely regenerative and nutritious, pomegranate seeds contain ‘punicic acid’ which is a fatty acid that has strong anti-inflammatory properties. This oil is particularly wonderful for maintaining skin firmness and stimulating collagen, which works well for mature skins.

Tamanu Oil - Rich in fatty acids and antioxidants it helps speed up skin healing and acts as a barrier on the skin. It is often used to help reduce the appearance of scars so would be perfect for skin prone to pigmentation.
Vitamin E - Speeds up cell regeneration so is used to treat scars, acne and wrinkles. It helps to retain the natural moisture content in the skin so is hugely beneficial for dull, dehydrated skins

Now you may look down the list and see that I have pretty much repeated myself throughout, but I am wanting to highlight that this oil is seriously packed with good stuff! There is nothing in it that you wouldn’t want on your skin. No added fragrance, no essential oils. Every ingredient included is jam packed with vitamins, omegas and antioxidants making for a highly nutritious facial oil.

I personally think the formula is exceptional. Although quite rich it isn’t heavy on the skin and absorbs almost instantly. It works well blended into a moisturiser or patted over the top of skin at the end of your routine. I have used it both day and night and can attest it works for either due to its non-greasy texture.  See pictures below, one of it sat on the skin and the 2nd shot is of it rubbed in. I'm sure you could have worked that out but thought I'd better clarify in case you wondered why there was just a picture of my hand!

In terms of scent, think natural and woody. I know other people have compared it to pencil shavings and I can certainly see why. If you are looking for a sensual, fragrant oil then this is not it. The scent was pretty much what I was expecting and I personally do not find it offensive at all.

If you are on the hunt for a new facial oil, try this. For the price, quality and quantity you cannot go wrong. From the UV protective packaging to the ingredients chosen, all is exceptionally sophisticated. Natalie has managed to blend a concoction that would suit most skin types but I personally think it is awesome for oily breakout prone skins. You can find lots of oils on the market dedicated to drier skin types so I think this sits in a unique group for the more easily congested prone skins.

More often than not I find myself reaching for this when I have a breakout as it works so well at speeding up the healing process and drawing out redness/irritation. I like to massage a tiny bit on individual spots as it acts like a spot treatment. It has rescued many a hormonal breakout since around November time when I first started using it!

If you are interested in purchasing this little bottle of magic for yourself you can buy here direct from Alkimi’s website. International shipping is offered and the rates are reasonable. Cinco is priced at £35 for 20ml (but a little birdy has told me that the bottle will be increasing to 30ml in the next couple of months!) 
Have you tried this oil or any other's that are essential oil free? I'd love to know!

Thanks for reading xx

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

CeraVe Overview - Coming to the UK!

Finally, CeraVe have announced that they are launching in the UK and will be available at Boots as of 5th March! I for one am extremely happy with this news as I have been loving the brand for around a year, so thought I would share my views to help anyone who hasn't experienced the amazingness that is CeraVe! For those of you who are not aware of them, they are a huge American skincare line which has been developed by dermatologists and focuses on ceramides in particular. They are widely available in pharmacies such as Walmart and Target and come with a very affordable price tag. In my opinion their products deserve high praise, I love that they make themselves accessible to all budgets without compromising on ingredients.

The spotlight ingredients are essential ceramides (1, 3 and 6-II) as well as fatty acids and other lipids which are found naturally in skin. These are essential in maintaining healthy skin and for repairing and strengthening the skin’s barrier to retain moisture and prevent dryness and itchiness. CeraVe have created a ‘revolutionary’ delivery system called MVE (MultiVescular Emulsion Technology – what a mouthful) which releases moisturising ingredients over the course of 24 hrs, aiming to keep skin hydrated all day. I personally cannot attest to that as I think all moisturising products should aim to keep skin moisturised all day, but that’s just my opinion!

CeraVe has over 70 products within their range, all fragrance free and designed to be gentle and care for skin. I have only tried the 3 I am reviewing here, but I would say that this brand is suitable for most skin types including very sensitive/eczema prone. As with anything I’d patch test before slathering it all over though!
         (Left - Right: Renewing SA Cleanser, PM Moisturiser, Hydrating Cleanser)

Hydrating Cleanser:

My favourite product here and one that I will repurchase again and again. I would say if you have no idea what to buy from the brand then this would be a good place to start. It’s a non-foaming lightweight lotion containing hyaluronic acid and glycerine. It makes for an ideal morning or second cleanse and is super gentle and instantly calming on the skin.

My main concern was that this would clog my pores but I have not experienced that at all thank goodness. It cleanses the skin incredibly well and leaves skin so soft! It can be applied to dry or damp skin and removes easily with water without the need for a cloth. On this basis I find myself wanting to use it regularly and end up reaching for it over some of my more expensive cleansers, especially if I am breaking out or feeling sensitive. It just does everything I need it to. I personally wouldn’t use it to remove makeup but if I was only wearing a light layer then a double cleanse of this should suffice. It’s a basic no faff cleanser, but sometimes that’s exactly what the skin needs!

Apparently, it will sell at £9 for 236ml so I really don’t think you can go wrong, I can guarantee this will fly off the shelves!


Purified Water, Glycerin, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Polyoxyl 40 Stearate, Glyceryl Monostearate, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 20, Potassium Phosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cetyl Alcohol, Disodium EDTA, Phytosphingosine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum

PM Moisturiser:

This has become a trusty companion in my collection, a lightweight cream-gel hybrid which is perfect for oily/combination skins like mine. Again, packed with wonderful ingredients such a niacinamide, hyaluronic acid and cholesterol, I personally like to use this mixed in with a facial oil or on its own under an SPF during daytime.

 It feels soothing and nourishing on the skin and is easily absorbed, skin feels hydrated without feeling overwhelmed. I personally couldn’t use these on its own during the winter months as it wouldn’t be enough, but in the summer it’s ideal. I love that it mixes well with other products and makeup applies nicely over the top. Definitely one to try if you have dehydrated oily skin as it provides enough moisture for skin to feel comfortable without leaving any greasy residue. There are not many lightweight lotions on the market that tick so many boxes, this is a winner!


Purified Water, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglycerides, Niacinamide, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 1, Phytosphingosine, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Dimethicone, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Ceteareth-20,  Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Cholesterol, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Disodium EDTA, Dipotassium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

Renewing SA Cleanser:

This is the newest addition to my CeraVe collection, I have only used it a handful of times but enough to give you my thoughts. If I compare this to other similar cleansers I’ve tried with Salicylic Acid then this would come out top, I personally prefer this over the IS Clinical Cleansing Complex which has a big following.

Of course you get quite a lot for your money quantity wise, but in addition to that it truly delivers when it comes to smoothing the skin and providing gentle chemical exfoliation without stripping it of its natural oils. When I saw that it was a gel texture I instantly thought it would leave my skin feeling dry and tight, but was pleasantly surprised that it does none of those things! I assume that this is because the formula contains hyaluronic acid and glycerine which give a healthy boost of hydration.

Despite being a foam cleanser it honestly leaves the skin super comfortable and soft. It doesn’t contain any harsh physical exfoliants so this would work extremely well as a daily cleanser for congested, acne prone skins. I personally like to use this when my skin is feeling dull and groggy, more so when my skin is suffering from hormonal breakouts as it helps reduce spots and calm them down. A must have when skin is misbehaving!


Purified Water, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Glycerin, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Niacinamide, Gluconolactone, Sodium Methylcocoyl Taurate, PEG-150 Pentaerythrityl Tetrastearate, Salicylic Acid, Ceramide 6-II, Ceramide 3, Ceramide 1, Hyaluronic Acid, Cholesterol, Sodium Benzoate, Zea Mays (Corn) Oil, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Cholecalciferol, Phytosphingosine, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide

So, there we have it, my brief reviews on each CeraVe product I own, I hope they have been helpful and give you some ideas of what to purchase when the brand arrives in the UK! I’m sure they will be a massive hit over here and will go a long way in helping people achieve healthy skin without spending a fortune! Depending on what products they release here I’m thinking of purchasing the eczema/anti itch line for my son who suffers with eczema to see how they fare. I’m looking forward to seeing if they introduce the whole range or just certain popular products… I have my eye on the hydrating micellar water and SA cream next!

Have you tried CeraVe? What are your favourites from the brand or what are you looking to purchase when they come to the UK? I’d love to know!

Thanks for reading xx


Friday, 16 February 2018

Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic – First Impressions

It has been a while since I last posted anything on my blog but I very much believe that you should do what’s right for you at the time, and simply life got in the way. I lost motivation and dare I say it more important things took over and blogging took a back seat.  But fear not, my passion for all things beauty has not waivered during this time! I’ve been enjoying playing around with new products and being more consistent with my skincare routine.

I am going to attempt to get back into a much more regular schedule with posting, without putting too much pressure on myself. Quite simply, if I have something to talk about I will do it here rather than at length on my Instagram…

Anyway, I am back with a first impression review of the newly released Ren acid toner. I’ve been using this every night for just over a week, and I wanted to share my thoughts. Touted to be similar to Pixi Glow Tonic without the glycolic, this has been everything I wanted it to be and more. When I first saw that Ren were releasing a lactic acid based toner in a pump style bottle I knew I had to have it. Even if I didn’t ‘need’ it!

The star player in this formulation is Lactic Acid which is hailed as a gentler, more tolerated alternative to Glycolic. This milder AHA is becoming much more popular within the beauty industry and I can totally see why. It delivers results without stripping the skin or leaving it uncomfortable. I personally cannot use glycolic as it causes me irritation no matter what percentage I use, so I had really high hopes for this.

In addition to the lactic, salicin (willow bark extract) has also been included, this is a popular natural exfoliant which is both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. These ingredients combined work together to clear pores, smooth the skin and improve texture/tone whilst minimising irritation.

Another interesting inclusion is Azelaic Acid precursor which without going into too much detail is an organic compound found in wheat, rye and barley. To be honest I haven’t really heard much about this ingredient but after doing a little research have found that it has many skincare benefits! Primarily it is used to treat rosacea and like Salicin has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial powers which helps prevent clogged pores. But from what I understand Ren have included this ingredient for its abilities to help with pigmentation and promote the brightening of the skin, which leads to the name ‘ready steady glow’!    

Anyway, now onto the bit you all want to know, does it deliver! So far yes…

I’ve been applying around 4 pumps of this to a cotton pad, gently sweeping across my skin, paying particular attention to congestion prone areas. There is a slight tingle and immediate mild redness but nothing that doesn’t disappear within minutes. Based on this sensation I thought that maybe my skin would react, but have been pleasantly surprised that my skin can tolerate this regularly. Although, half way through the first week I did notice my skin was feeling a little sensitive, so decided to back off and refrain from using it that particular day, but continued the following evening and all has been fine since then. No irritation has occurred.

In terms of results, without sounding like a cliché, my skin straight away looks brighter and more glowy after use! I imagine that using this paired with the mask in this range would be amazing when you want to get a radiance hit and lift dull skin.

Since adding this to my routine my skin has stayed blemish and bump free, even during my hormonal week, which is no mean feat! The texture around my jawline and chin area has improved, it’s the most prone to clogged pores but is currently smooth and calm! Of course, it may not solely be down to this, but in general if my skin is exfoliated regularly with formulations that suit my skin, breakouts/congestion occur rarely.  

The biggest change in my skin which I’ve only noticed in the last few days especially is that I am not as oily. Usually come early afternoon my skin is in much need of powder, but it’s not been required. I look in the mirror and feel comfortable with how my skin looks. Glowy, not greasy. In fact, I haven’t felt the need to even look in the mirror, oily skin folks will know what I mean, I haven’t been getting the urge! It could be a complete co-incidence but rarely do I find something that improves sebum production! I will keep a watchful eye and will continue to report back my thoughts!  

The only thing I would say is it is fragranced. I personally have no issues with this and I quite like the citrus scent, but it may be too strong for some. It has mandarin peel oil, orange flower oil, grapefruit peel oil and tangerine peel oil alongside added fragrance. These are lower down the list of ingredients and aren’t a concern for me but it may not be suited to highly sensitive skins. Saying that I wouldn’t disregard this tonic based on this, I have sensitivities towards some essential oils and fragrance but I really think it depends on the quality/formulation and quantity used.

To wrap this up it has been the perfect boost to my skincare regime, it has refreshed my skin and lifted it to a happier place. The formulation is gentle but very effective especially compared to other ‘acid toners’ on the market. The only other product that I have tried that possibly rivals this in terms of results is Sunday Riley Good Genes, but this is much more affordable! The pump delivery system is fun and practical, a design I wish other brands would take note of! I am looking forward to seeing the longer-term results, but based on my feelings so far, I am convinced this is going to be hugely popular in the beauty world and a product you will be seeing a lot more of. Especially in my skin routine!
Aqua (Water), Sodium Lactate, Lactic Acid, Heptyl Glucoside, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Triethyl Citrate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Salix Nigra (Willow) Bark Extract, Benzoic Acid, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Tangerina (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Heptanol, Parfum* (Fragrance), Limonene
You can purchase this whopping 250ml bottle from here for £25.00 at Cult Beauty.

Have you tried this yet? If so I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading xx