Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Why Balance Me Bakuchiol Smoothing Serum* transformed my skin...


*Advertisement information - This product was sent to me as PR with no obligation to share them

Trying this serum was my first foray into Bakuchiol, I have used products before that featured it but not as a main ingredient. It has been a truly incredible ingredient for my skin and this serum has been a firm staple in my routine since I received it end of June.

What is Bakuchiol?

I have touched on this in my last post here but essentially it is extracted from the seeds and leaves of the Psoralea Corylifolia plant. It has been used for years in ayurvedic medicine as an anti-inflammatory and helps protect the skin with its antioxidant properties.

What does this serum do?

It is formulated to soothe the skin, improve radiance and texture as well as reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Rich in antioxidants, it also has anti-pollution and anti-blue light protection.

Key Ingredients

1% Bakuchiol – improves lines, wrinkles, skin firmness, and pigmentation without irritation

Terminalia Chebula Fruit – high in antioxidants to boost vitamin c activity, increase collagen production and maintain hydration. This also reduces inflammation and offers anti-pollution and blue light protection which means the serum is effective whichever time of day you use it as it works according to individual skin needs. Something of a wonder ingredient which works in synergy with bakuchiol to give boosted results

Cacay Oil – A potent antioxidant nut oil which enhances radiance and helps smooth skin, it is particularly fantastic for oily/acne-prone skins as its rich in linoleic acid has 3x the amount of natural vitamin A than rosehip oil

How I use it

In the PM I apply 1 pump after my hydrating serum, I either use alongside retinol or on my ‘break nights’ to keep up results. For me, it’s not necessary to apply a hydrating serum beforehand but I like to, I’m all about layering!

My Thoughts

Rarely do I see results overnight with serums but with this I did. The milky texture feels comforting and rich on the skin, yet it readily absorbs. A real joy to apply. As with all Balance Me products the scent is a factor worth talking about. Frankincense and Lavender stands out, along with Rose Geranium, May Chang, and Palo Santo. It is honestly one of the most delightful things to use in the evenings when winding down. Hence why I like to reserve for PM only.

Upon application my skin instantly feels soothed and calmed, it is fantastic for when skin is feeling a little irritated, whether that be due to breakouts or sensitivity this serum seems to take down the heat and redness.

When I first used this serum, I had some texture issues on the side of my cheek so was pleasantly surprised to find that the next morning my skin was looking and feeling smoother with no irritation. From then on, I haven’t been able to step away from it. Over time the biggest difference has been texture improvement and the ability to speed up the healing time of blemishes/breakouts. It’s quite miraculous!

Now I have to touch on this again because I have a bit of a bugbear when it comes to people comparing bakuchiol to retinol! I have discussed this in my previous post, but it is not a replacement for retinol. It simply will not give the same effects; they are chemically and structurally different. There are similarities in certain areas but honestly don’t use it in the hope of getting the same results.

For me personally, this is the perfect product to use alongside retinol to give boosted effects and also a great option for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding as it’s safe to use. I love that there is no planning or thinking associated with using this, it’s easy to slot into your routine and works well with any other product. I have had no piling or adverse reactions from combining it with anything.

In short with consistent use my skin is brighter and more refined with bumpy patches becoming less significant. It has rescued my skin on a number of occasions and because of that, I will absolutely purchase with my own money. It's also important to note that as a brand they are making strides towards a more sustainable future, the bottle and cap can come apart and is 100% recyclable. 

You can buy this here, 30ml for £32.00 which is rather reasonably priced! For more information and a full ingredients list click the link above. 

Have you used bakuchiol before and if not, would you consider it?

Thank you for reading!


Wednesday, 26 August 2020

Lets talk about bakuchiol...

Lets talk about Bakuchiol (pronounced buh-koo-chee-all)

This wonder ingredient is having a bit of a moment! Dubbed as a natural alternative to retinol, it seems to be cropping up everywhere. Balance Me, Bybi, and Indeed Labs are just some of the brands that have launched bakuchiol based products. So, lets talk about it.

What does it claim to do?

  •  Stimulate cell turnover resulting in brighter skin

  • Improves texture and tone of skin, reducing UV induced skin damage such pigmentation and fine lines

  • Helps minimise issues associated with sensitivity and reactivity due it’s calming and soothing properties

  •  Can be used AM or PM as it doesn’t make skin photosensitive

Where does it come from?

Bakuchiol has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine for centuries, it naturally occurs in the seeds and leaves of the plant Psoralea Corylifolia which can be found throughout the plains of India. It’s been used in herbal remedies and as a skincare ingredient for years due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Where the similarities with retinol come in …

It seems to stimulate the retinoid receptors responsible for the production of collagen type 1 in the dermis. There is still extensive research that needs to take place, but studies have shown it stimulates cell renewal without any irritation. This is why people with sensitive skin are seeking it as an alternative to retinol.

To be honest I am uncomfortable with it appearing in the same sentence as retinol, as they are structurally and chemically two completely different things. It’s not a form of retinol so don’t let marketing fool you. Although I understand how the comparisons have come about, they can’t be thrown in the same boat as the evidence is just not strong enough. Labmuffin has a wonderful article on her blog which talks about this link here

Now let’s get straight to the facts as you just want to know if it’s worth adding to your routine, right?

Well yes, it is…as a partner to retinol not as a replacement! And primarily for its fantastic healing and soothing abilities.

I have been trialing 3 different products and will be reviewing them separately soon but here is some information and my overall thoughts:

  •  It doesn’t replace the effects of retinol but is a wonderful complimentary ingredient to be used alongside it. Bakuchiol has potent calming abilities and stabilising properties which help retinol work better and increase skin’s tolerance. Together they can be a powerhouse for a range of skin concerns such as wrinkles, pigmentation, and loss of firmness

  • Bakuchiol is great for sensitive skins as there is no research to show it causes irritation. Despite this, it is a natural ingredient so we have to be aware it may trigger allergic reactions being that it's from a plant substance

  •  It can be used alongside other ingredients without any issues and can improve the results from other treatments. I have been using alongside gentle acids and retinol including other actives such as Niacinamide and Vitamin C. I will talk more about this in my individual reviews

  • It has a wonderful soothing effect on the skin and has helped calm any breakouts Ive had. For that reason alone, I would recommend it

  • My skin seems to behave itself better having included this ingredient consistently into my routine

  •  Skin clarity and radiance is more prominent


Have you tried Bakuchiol? I’d love to know your thoughts!


*This post advertises PR products that have been sent to me with no obligation to post

Thank you for reading!xx


Monday, 20 July 2020

Balance Me Vitamin C Repair Serum*... Your one stop shop!

Vitamin C is notoriously one of the hardest products to find great formulas of, and usually the good ones come with a fairly hefty price tag (Skinceuticals Phloretin CF I am looking at you!). As much as I love a fantastic performing luxe product there is nothing better than finding a gem that is easier on your wallet. Here is a perfect example, Balance Me Vitamin C Repair Serum, £32 for 30ml. I have now finished this so let’s discuss…

What is it?

An all-encompassing serum which claims to brighten, reduce pigmentation, and improve uneven skin tone whilst boosting elasticity, adding hydration, and reducing fine lines/wrinkles. 

What is in it?

Ascorbyl Glucoside - a vitamin c derivative. Ok a little science lesson for you that I hope won’t bore you senseless…
AG is a water-soluble form of vitamin c that’s combined with glucose, a sugar. Basically, once absorbed into your skin an enzyme is released which breaks it down into L-ascorbic acid. You know the famous derivative which we have come to know and love? The one that is a tricky little beast when it comes to stability and prone to causing irritation? Well because of the conversion process it means AG is less likely to cause irritation and it is far more stable when exposed to the elements. It’s not as potent, but the effects are still fantastic, it’s just gentler on the skin. All round winner!

Boerhavia Diffusa – a bio active ingredient which helps fade dark spots and improve uneven skin tone

Olive Squalane – absorbs deep into the skins layers, this boosts cell regeneration, smooths fine lines and helps boost collagen production

Hyaluronic acid – this contains 3 molecular weights of HA to penetrate different layers of the skin to help plump and add deep hydration

Full Ingredients
Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Coco-Caprylate, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Propanediol, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Candelilla/Jojoba/Rice Bran Polyglyceryl-3 Esters, Glyceryl Stearate, Borage Officinalis (Borage) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Alcohol, Crambe Abyssinica Seed Oil, Smithsonite Extract, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract,Squalane (Olive), Rubus Fruticosus (Blackberry) Leaf Extract, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Red) Peel Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange Sweet) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, Litsea Cubeba (May Chang) Fruit Oil, Xanthan Gum, Cellulose Gum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Maltodextrin, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Benzoate, Benzyl Salicylate, Citral, Citronellol, Farnesol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

My Thoughts

This is a creamy, deliciously citrus scented serum which is neither overpowering to the senses nor irritating to my skin. That is the key thing about this serum really, it is deliberately gentle so most skins can use it. That being said it does contain fruit and plant oils so sensitive skins should patch test, but the quality of this brand has meant I have never broken out or had irritation from their formulas (so far!) 

I have enjoyed using this throughout the winter months as it is wonderfully hydrating and tends to give more oomph than other vitamin c serums I have tried. This would suit drier/mature skin types very well. Oilier skin types maybe able to get away with just using this under an SPF. 

This is your one stop shop; I never felt the need to use a hydrating serum in addition to this so it’s a fantastic time saver. It was able to address both dullness and pigmentation as well as adding hydration. Instantly it gives skin a lovely glow but over time I felt it did contribute towards brightening my skin. Areas of pigmentation seemed to even out and lighten in appearance, although they didn’t disappear completely. Which to be honest is what I was expecting as it is very difficult to eradicate without other treatments. 

I loved that this worked extremely well under whichever moisturiser and SPF I used, absorbing almost immediately with no wait time required. Which means I will not hesitate to purchase this with my own money, most likely for next Winter!

*PR sample/unpaid AD

I’d love to hear which vitamin c serums have worked for you! 

Thank you for reading xx


Friday, 29 May 2020

Balance Me PHA Clarifying Mist* - First Impressions!

Balance Me have been one of my favourite brand discoveries this past year and they kindly sent me their new launch ahead of release so I could put it to the test! Now this is very much a first impressions, I've been using for around 2 weeks. I will share my final thoughts and further information in the next few weeks.

First off what are PHA’s?

Next generation of AHA’s! They perform the same role in that they work on the upper layers of the skin to provide a smooth, fresh surface. Over time they boost hydration and give a more firmer, refined look to the skin. Now PHA’s are different in that they have a larger molecule structure so have the ability to perform similarly but penetrate at a slower rate. Resulting in less irritation and redness that are sometimes associated to AHA’s. This is why they are an ideal option for sensitive, rosacea prone skins. The most common PHA’s are Gluconolactone and Lactobionic. I’ll go into their differences on another post. 

Let’s get onto what you came for!

What is it?

A lightweight mist which features PHA as the main component to help gently exfoliate along with antibacterial and soothing ingredients to balance, brighten and soothe skin

Who is it for?

This is designed with sensitive, oily, congested skins in mind but anyone could benefit from this gentle formula

What is in it?

Gluconolactone (PHA) is a powerful antioxidant and multitasker out of all PHA’s. It helps strengthen the skin barrier so irritation is reduced. It’s also a powerful humectant so keeps moisture locked in. Alongside that this formula also contains other notable ingredients including:
  •  Plant derived Zinc PCA to balance sebum levels
  •  Allantoin to soothe and hydrate
  •  May Chang helps prevent blemishes forming
  •  Kanuka Oil to help reduce congestion 
How I use and first impressions

I’ve been misting this onto my hands and patting onto my face. With this kind of product I much prefer this method as I feel it distributes the product better, and I don't like the idea of misting an acid based product onto my face. Of course that’s just my personal preference! I’ve been enjoying using this in the AM after cleansing before essence and serum. Texture wise it's non sticky, absorbs instantly and leaves no residue. It does give a mattifying effect to skin which will suit oilier skins. 
I feel like this routine has contributed to a slight reduction in congestion and allows other products to penetrate better. Typically I wouldn’t use a leave on acid in the AM but this is very gentle and I’ve experienced no irritation. That said I monitor my skin closely and have had breaks in between days if necessary. It’s a great booster and so far I can see it being the perfect product to rotate between stronger treatments. I did have a minor breakout this week and this definitely helped soothe and clear it up quicker. Will keep you updated!

*PR sample

RRP £18 for 30ml, you can buy here from Balance Me (non affiliate link)

Thankyou for reading xx


Monday, 27 January 2020

Good Molecules*...Effective and Affordable Skincare

Effective and Affordable Skincare

This brand has totally taken over the scene and you will find them popping up on Instagram all over the place and for good reason. Drawing from their experience Good Molecules is founded by a team of beauty veterans who want to provide solutions to skin issues without the high retail mark up. Effective skincare at reasonable prices catch people’s eye and GM have been one of the brands to really deliver. It’s great to have more choice in this market as The Ordinary have reigned the crown for so long! I was kindly sent a bundle of their products from Beautylish and have been trialling them for a good few months so here are my thoughts…

Niacinamide Brightening Toner – $14

This is my favourite product in the range, the headliner if you will. The brands bread and butter (in my opinion). I used this every day since I received it and now the bottle is empty so that tells you everything! This has a thick essence like texture that easily dispenses from the aperture lid (it doesn't pour out quickly, you need to gently shake the bottle which I love). Either pat on with hands or apply with a cotton pad. Instantly the skin is bouncier and visibly brightened. 

Over time with consistent use this toner helped fade scarring and reduce the appearance of pores thanks to Niacinamide being up there as the 3rd ingredient. The ingredients in this are really fantastic, Arbutin improves the look of pigmentation while Liquorice Root soothes inflammation. A stable form of Vitamin C promotes collagen production and provides antioxidant protection. In fact, if you are sensitive to Vitamin C or Niacinamide then I highly recommend giving this a go as a way to amp up your routine. I love that it plays well with products layered over the top and it provides something beneficial for the skin with noticeable results. Will definitely be purchasing this!

Hyaluronic Acid Serum - $6

HA serums can be hit and miss; they are an absolute essential for me but I have tried so many that are sticky and unpleasant to use. This is neither of those things, it glides onto skin, is lightweight but not excessively runny and absorbs quickly without any tacky residue. It is one of the best HA formulations I’ve tried, and the price just cannot be beaten. You can afford to be a little heavier handed with it! 

Overnight Exfoliating Treatment - $6

This potent 10% blend of AHA & BHA’s (glycolic, lactic and salicylic) gives you real bang for your buck. Think along the lines of Drunk Elephant Framboos without the high price tag. Honestly, I hate the word dupe, but this really is very similar in terms of results. I’ve been applying this serum straight onto dry skin after cleansing before carrying on with the rest of my routine. Long term (over the course of 4-6weeks) it has improved the texture of my skin but overnight it works its magic especially on congestion and blemishes. There is a little tingle upon application but nothing uncomfortable, I always make sure to follow up with hydrating layers.

Silicone Free Priming Moisturiser - $14

This naturally derived silicone alternative moisturiser is surprisingly hydrating whilst being lightweight on the skin. As you would hope makeup applies beautifully over this so would be a fantastic option for those that would like to cut out the primer step and just use one product. It truly delivers. It has a light gel/cream texture that is formulated with Shea (hasn’t clogged my pores) and Macadamia seed oil. Essential fatty acids from olive oil strengthens the skins barrier whilst maintaining moisture levels. I personally apply this before my SPF and I still see benefit from the priming abilities. 

Niacinamide Serum - $6

This is the one I’ve used the least purely because the packaging doesn’t seem to play ball. The pipette doesn’t seem to pick up any product and I really struggle to get it out of the bottle. Unfortunately, I cannot really comment on the effectiveness of this serum as I just haven’t used it enough. I will say it does apply nicely to the skin and seems to play well with others. I’ve spoken to others about this serum and it seems like a generic problem with this product so it may be worth Good Molecules looking into repackaging. It’s bizarre as I don’t have the same issue with the other bottles! 

I’ve loved trying this brand, they have worked well for my skin and their formulations prove you don’t need to spend a fortune to achieve results. I can gladly say that I will be replacing some of these products once finished!
Have you tried Good Molecules? I plan to try their Super Peptide serum next as I am getting into those in a big way! You can buy them through Beautylish here where shipping to the UK is free for orders over $35. 

*PR but all opinions my own, as always.

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Thanks for reading xx