Glossier Solution 4 Weeks In; Is it The Solution or The Problem?

I’ve been using Glossier’s Solution chemical exfoliator for 4 weeks now, and I wanted to come back and let you know how I’m getting on with it, on my combination and usually fairly clear skin.

Firstly I’ll explain the different between a chemical and a physical exfoliant. You’ll no doubt be familiar with physical exfoliants – usually cream based and with bit of grit in them designed to slough away the dead skin cells on your face, leaving a clean and clear soft layer of skin behind. I used to use the St Ives Apricot Scrub a few times a week and it gave good results. But then I switched to the Pixi Glow Tonic, which is a chemical exfoliant. Chemical exfoliants use a mixture of different acids, in different strengths, to take away dead skin cells but also manage and maintain the levels of sebum your skin produces (which makes you oily), reduce and manage breakouts, minimise acne scarring and redness and leaves your skin feeling soft and glowy. Or at least that’s what they claim to do.

When Glossier announced their Solution to all of these problems, I took notice. I think everyone took notice. If there’s one thing that Glossier have got right over the last year it’s causing a stir with their marketing and word of mouth hype.

I had some store credit, so thought I’d splurge and give it a try.

Let’s start with describing my skin – I have generally clear skin. I have redness, and I get hormonal breakouts, usually only on my chin. I have an oily t-zone so find benefit to using masks to clear this out. When I get breakouts, my skin will scar for a long time before the marks fade. My pores are fairly large and I have quite sensitive skin. I’m nearing 35 years young now, so I have fine lines, and my skin isn’t as glowy as it once was.

I had seen this formula was meant to clear breakouts and prevent new ones, even the skin tone, reduce acne scarring, exfoliate (of course) and leave a balanced and healthy skin tone ongoing. There have been a lot of articles about the content of chemicals in this product and I won’t pretend to understand any of these. If you’re interested, a simple search will tell you all you need to know.

For this review, I’m going to tell you my experience with this product, as well as including weekly pictures of my skin.

Let’s start with that packaging:

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Solution arrives in a space-age foil wrapped package that you have to rip open at the top to get to the product inside. All the ingredients and such are printed on the front, in a very ‘prescription’ type way.

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The bottle itself costs £19 (when it’s in stock) and contains 130ml (4.4 fl oz) of product. The shiny pink packaging is pleasing to the eye, and I was very excited to try the pump under the cap, as I hadn’t used one of these before.

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Simply push down the disc at the top and product will dispense onto your cotton pad for ease application. In theory. In reality the pump is a little too urgent, and no matter how delicately you pump it, product spurts out and all over the near-by area. (That’s what she said) Not a great start for such an expensive product.

You’re supposed to use this just once a day, due to the chemicals in the product and also use sunscreen if you’re going into the sun after using this. I live in Britain and it’s winter so I’m okay – but my foundation has spf in it anyhow.

I tried this product out, alongside my normal skin routine and didn’t introduce any new products for the duration of this 4 week trial.

Let’s see how my skin looked at the start, before I started using the product:

You can see I have redness on my chin, cheeks, forehead and all around my nose. Naturally this is where I get oily and as such I have breakouts and blocked pores.

The process of using the product is as follows:

  1. Saturate cotton pad (once daily)
  2. Apply to cleansed face
  3. Leave for a minute or so to settle into skin (you’ll feel it start to tingle a little)
  4. Follow with your moisturiser

After the first week I made notes of my thoughts and this is what I wrote:

  • Stings a little
  • Leaves skin sticky
  • Smell – can’t put my finger on it. Maybe Angel Delight, or a My Little Pony I had when I was little?
  • After first 2 days, possible glow?
  • Later in week – skin feels ‘resurfaced’ possibly?
  • No change in red or dark patches yet
  • Break outs in weird places but skin is dealing with it fine

Let’s address a few of these. Yes, the product did sting occasionally in odd places, but the Pixi Glow Tonic does this too. I did notice it left my skin feeling sticky, which was a little alarming. Because of this I decided to only use this at night, ahead of using my night cream, so that in the morning I was able to wash it all off. The smell (which a lot of people can’t work out, and don’t understand why it was added) is unusual. It’s chemical, and sweet, but not off-putting to me. I did notice a smoothness on my forehead, and possible glow after a few days. I was breaking out in strange places, but put this down to starting a new skin product which is normal for me.

There’s no obvious difference between the start pictures and those of 1 week in. Let’s be real, I didn’t expect there to be!

Week 2, still no difference. I actually noticed more breakouts in strange places and my red areas looked a little more angry on occasion.

The Solution had enticed a spot out, which had previously gone away, but here it is again. Enjoy the picture of my hairy chin too – I hadn’t got around to doing anything about it at the point of taking this picture.

Week 3, STILL no difference, other than my red areas were looking redder than ever. Still getting spots in weird places on my cheeks, under my eyes. I noticed other people reporting the same – like, literally spots in the same odd places….

Unfortunately, the sun decided to shine on the day I took these progress photos, and I didn’t realise the marked affect it had on the look of my skin until I came to edit them. The sunshine has given my skin a lovely glow. I promise this wasn’t the case. You can see the scarring from the spot on my chin hasn’t gone down yet. It won’t for a while, but I’d hoped the Solution might speed up this process. It didn’t.

Week 4: I’ll admit – this was a 5 day week for me and the Solution. I gave in at day 5 and decided enough was enough. I used my favourite face mask, which immediately made my skin look less red and cleaner. It felt better and softer, and just nice again.

So these were taken a few days after this mask and after I’d stopped using Solution. You can see my skin’s basically the same as when I started – the main difference I’ve seen is that I actually have MORE scarring from blemishes than when I started. Scarring on my chin, around my mouth, along my top lip (where I found my skin felt stingy and sensitivity when I used Solution too close) My pores felt oily, and looked pronounced. My t-zone became oily again within 2 weeks of using this product. I now have a lovely spot on my cheek which won’t go away.

To compare:

Before I started the process on the left, week 4 on the right.

No change!

The verdict:

I’d say, at £19 this is a pretty expensive product so see NO positive difference. I used this as instructed and there were more cons to it than pros.

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Over the 4 weeks I used this amount of product (I’d say 1/5) – so that’s using around 2 to 3 pumps once daily. I felt this wasn’t enough to saturate the cotton pad, but I have sensitive skin and this amount of product definitely covered my whole face.

I’m actually pleased with myself that I didn’t waste my own money on this product. Some people have said they’ve seen marked results with it, but they usually tend to have very problematic skin already, and I can only assume this will do so much before plateauing and the user requiring to move onto something else.

I’ve moved back onto my Pixi Glow Tonic. I used it last night, and it felt wonderful.

Solution is currently sold out, but I’d say don’t bother. It’s not worth the hype, or the heartbreak. Go get yourself Glow Tonic from Pixi and thank me later.

 

First Impressions: E.L.F Cosmetics

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I’d not heard of E.L.F Cosmetics (stands for Eyes Lips Face) until I started watching some of the US beauty YouTubers. This American brand kept popping up in favourites videos for their quality yet cheap priced products and when I found out they had a UK site, I knew I wanted to place an order.

They seem to have a new offer on a free gift every couple of weeks, so I placed a £25 order and waited patiently for it to arrive. When it did (about 2 weeks later as they ship from US) I saw that my free gift wasn’t there. As it was free I decided not to moan, and carried on with my life. Until a few days later they sent me an email telling me that they knew they’d forgotten to include it and gave me a £25 gift card to apologise. Amazing! So I headed back on to their site and placed another order, for £25 worth of products. (Which this time arrived to me within a week!)

Incidentally, this triggered their free postage offer, and also earned me another free gift. Win win. I will also mention that E.L.F cover customs charges too, so you have no fear of having to pay extra when it’s shipped. (Which is more than I can say for the terms of ColourPop’s new international shipping costs…. But I digress…)

So in the end I have gained a huge haul of E.L.F products all for the measly cost of £25. So let’s have a look:

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I haven’t had the opportunity to fully use all of these products but I have tried them all enough to be able to tell you a bit about them.

First of all, they look really high-end with regards to the packaging. It’s all flimsy plastic when it’s in your hand but it looks nice on the dresser!

Let’s start with some eye and face colour products.

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I picked up the powder blush in Tickled Pink and the cream blush in Rose Royalty. I’ve mentioned this powder blush in a monthly favourites recently, because whenever I wear it I get a compliment. It’s a lovely subtle pink with a teeny bit of shimmer and enough colour payoff that you can start subtly and build it up if you want. The cream blush is also really nice. I’m not great at applying cream blush, but this blends into a powder finish really quickly and give a really natural flush to my cheeks.

I picked up the silver barrelled Bare Lash Tint mascara, which has a really thin dainty spooly. The idea being I could use it on my bottom lashes. This gives a really natural coating to the lashes, but isn’t thick enough of a formula to hold a curl on my stubbornly straight lashes, even after using a curler. The Studio 3 in 1 mascara was part of my free gift. It has an hourglass shaped spooly, but with one of those spikey balls on the end. And the brush is really really bendy. It actually gives a really nice natural finish to my lashes, but still doesn’t compare to my Lancome Hypnose. It’s a lot cheaper though, so I have been using it on a day to day basis. My main con with this mascara is that it takes a really long time to dry so I find it transfers as I carry on my morning makeup routine.

This eyeshadow palette in Need it Nude was also part of my free gift. It’s obviously trying to dupe the Naked palette by Urban Decay. I have Naked 2 already so don’t really have any intention on using this, but have kept it for one of the shades which is a little more rose gold than anything else I currently own. I have, however, given them a go in conjunction with the Naked palette I own, when I was looking for a natural look for a wedding I recently attended. The formulas don’t really compare. The E.L.F shadows are chalkier, don’t blend as well and they colour payoff isn’t great. I can see it fading off within a few hours of wear, whereas I know I’ll get a full day with Urban Decay. Sorry E.L.F.

I also picked up one of E.L.F’s lip stains. This is a double ended lip wand, with stain one side and gloss the other. I’m not sure what they were trying to achieve here. Maybe something like Lipfinity, but whatever it was, it didn’t work. The colour goes on (nothing like a stain) like a liquid lipstick, but uneven patchy. If you try and go over it you pull the colour you’ve already laid down off. It never seems to dry. And when you think it has, you put the gloss over the top and it just pulls all the colour off and onto the wand. Leaving you with a coloured gloss wand in your clear gloss which looks really manky. Not a fan – glad I only paid £1 for this….

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Next we’ll talk about face products. I picked up a mineral primer, mineral serum foundation and a mineral mist. The mist isn’t a setting spray, and to be honest I’m not sure what it’s designed for but I’ve been using it throughout the day to cool my face. It doesn’t mess up my makeup or make my face wet, but it does make me feel a little fresher. The mineral serum foundation, I picked up in Light. It looks a lot darker on the packaging, but that’s package colouring and not product. The product contained is actually less than you think because it comes from a central tube inside. I liked this foundation. It set down to a non-tacky finish, and blended in well with my fingers. It gave me a medium coverage result, but has more yellow undertones that I usually wear so I haven’t been reaching for it all that much. I did find it wore away on my oily t-zone by the end of the day. I have, however, been reaching for the primer. It’s gives a nice smooth finish to my skin, and even though it does feel silicone-y, I don’t mind that. It doesn’t do anything for my pores, but they’re not a massive problem. It does seem to aid in oil control, at least on my skin, for a good while before I need to powder again.

And speaking of blotting, lets move onto to the on the go blotting papers I picked up. They come in a little plastic case, perfect for my handbag, which has a mirror, a sponge with sticky pads on it and the blotting papers. You’re supposed to remove a sticky pad on the sponge, attach a blotting sheet and then dab onto your face, but I tend to just go with the papers and miss out the sponge. The powder is lovely a light and doesn’t bother my makeup when I use it. My skin is left matte again, but not looking too powdery. It doesn’t add any coverage though, so bare that in mind.

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Lastly let’s talk tools. I got an eyeshadow blending brush in my free gift, and I love it. It’s large, fluffy and does the trick. It’s great in my crease and feels lovely on my skin. I decided to try the mascara and shadow shield as I always get mascara on my eyelids which is a massive pain if I’ve spent ages on my eyeshadow. Unfortunately, this product is a complete dud. I really like the idea, but the paddle on the top is almost the texture of custard-skin. It’s impossible to angle correctly and when you do it just flops about on the handle. I really want to love this, and I’m considering taking it off the handle to see if I can make a better use of it that way.

I also needed to pick up some brush shampoo, and though I was searching for a solid one (I still aim to pick up the Lottie Solid Brush Cleanser) I chose this, since I was getting it for free with my gift card. The reviews said it was amazing, smelled great, and the website said ‘Back In Stock’ after people were moaning it hadn’t been available for ages.

It did do a great job on my brushes, though I couldn’t detect any smell. It’s a basic brush cleanser from what I could tell, but I’m glad I have it because it does what it says on the tin!

So that’s my first impressions of E.L.F Cosmetics. I want to pick up one of their moisturisers and also their Bubble Mask (which is always sold out) when I’m in America, but until then, I’m happy with the hits, and might persevere with some of the misses!

What have you picked up from E.L.F that you’ve loved? Have you tried any of the things I wasn’t keen on and loved them? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

 

First Impressions: NYX Cosmetics

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know I adore trying out new brands from all aspects of life – fashion, active wear, food, drink and at the moment most of all… make up. You could have called it, right?

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NYX Cosmetics have been around for a while in the US (since 1999) but have only started making noise in the UK for around the past year. With a stand in Selfridges and a small online presence it hasn’t been too hard to get hold of their products. But now you can find them in selected Boots (stands are opening up all over the country on what seems to be a weekly basis – though not near me yet. Boo hoo!) and you can buy online with Boots, Selfridges and FeelUnique.com

I decided to try them out, attracted by the masses of positive reviews I’ve been seeing online and on YouTube and also by the price. These are drugstore prices at what promise to be high-end quality. Oh, and it’s a cruelty free brand which I love.

My first steps into the NYX world was scuppered somewhat by a bad experience with Boots online. This is the first time I’ve bought online with them and it will be my last I would expect. I bought a mini haul of products, including a blush, and when it arrived everything was put into a box too big for the products with a single bit of brown paper thrown in to the side as packaging. The blush arrived so smashed up it was basically loose powder. I mean this was dropped, kicked and then rolled around a cement mixer broken.

So disappointed. I was able to take it back to store for my refund but as NYX isn’t in my store, I couldn’t exchange it. I contacted Selfridges and their twitter customer care were so helpful even going to the extent of offering to call the store and check for the colour at their stand. Unfortunately they didn’t carry the shade I’d had to return, but actually it was a shade too dark for me so fortunately I was able to pick up a better one for me. Anyway, on to the products:

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Always up for a dark circle corrector I picked up the NYX Dark Circe Concealer in Light (£6.50) I’d seen Michelle at ReadySetGlamour using this and it looked like a great alternative to the Becca Under Eye Brightening Concealer. I went for the shade Light instead of Fair as I’ve been feeling like a darker concealer under the eye suits me better at the moment. I’ve been trying this out on its own, under concealer, with and without setting powder. I think it’s good, but it’s very light coverage, doesn’t seem to set, and does sometimes crease. The pot is a little fiddly to get anything out of – if my nails were any longer it wouldn’t be easy to get any product out. I’m going to persevere with this as it is effective on dark circles but not amazing.

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Sticking with colour correcting, I picked up this HD Concealer wand in green (£5.50) for redness on my face. I use this incredibly sparingly around my nose and on any blemishes or redness. I little goes a long way, or else you get cakiness – though this can be said for any makeup. It’s very effective, but again needs setting around my nose. This time of year I’m wiping my nose every ten minutes (allergies) so I find any makeup disappears very quickly in that area anyway.

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The Wonder Pencil (£4.00) is a little genius of a product. This fair shaded wooden pencil has a lovely soft (but not too soft) tip and can be used in multiple ways. It’s a concealer, waterline eye brightener, lip liner (to stop your colour from bleeding) and can also be used as an eyebrow definer. This is fabulous to carry in your bag (large or small) for emergency touch ups.

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The NYX Tres Jolie waterproof gel eyeliners (£9.00 each) were highly recommended by Kathleen at Kathleen Lights as fantastic tightline and waterlining products. I picked up a black and a brown and was excited to experience fantastic colour pay-off along with brilliant staying power. I have been 50/50 with this product. Firstly it’s not great for tightlining. It’s fine for lining the waterline, but true tightlining is pushing the product between the eyelashes for a fuller lashline, not colouring the waterline underneath the lashes. The tip of this pencil is far to blunt (even after using the attached sharpener) to get a precise point for a neat application. That being said, the actual product is soft and buttery and goes on very easily. If you don’t mind a little mess you won’t be disappointed. It does transfer a little to the lower lid, but I’m aware I’m in the minority when I say I don’t often line my lower lash line, so most people wouldn’t notice this. The product stays put, doesn’t flake and is pretty hard to take off (but not impossible). I have a feeling, however, that on hot days my watery eyes would cause some product to melt. We’ll see this summer!

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NYX Butter Gloss (£5.00) come in a host of colours. It’s really hard to choose a colour when you’ve never seen the product in person and all you have is a fake swatch online. I chose Creme Brulee, a dusky pink. Each of these glosses smell like cake. And probably taste like cake, but I haven’t taken it to that extreme. The formula is quite thick and fairly sticky but coverage is good. This shade is slightly too light for me, and came out a little 70s. It’s still in my make-up back as it’s quite hydrating and adds a nice slick of shine to my lips. I just wouldn’t wear it on a windy day, with my hair down….

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Before NYX Control Freak eyebrow gel I used the Urban Decay equivalent which I picked up for £15 last year. This NYX version was £5.50. It comes in a mascara sized tube with a mascara sized want, unlike the UD gel which is in a mini tube with a mini wand – so less product. I am IN LOVE with this NYX product. The wand works really well to groom my eyebrows and coat each hair with one swipe. The actual gel is also much much better than the UD product. My eyebrows are fixed solid, don’t look crusty and look and feel natural. I can use this with confidence that my brows wont budge during the day. I’ll definitely be buying this again when it runs out.

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And lastly, this beautiful NYX HD Blush (£5.50)! As I mentioned, I bought a different shade originally, called Hamptons, which came out more dark raspberry as a shade. This shade is Pink The Town and is a matte powder. It has massive colour pay-off and a little goes a long way. The colour on my cheeks is so amazing I’ve worn it non-stop since I picked it up. It’s easy to build up and doesn’t stick to any bumps or blemishes on my face. I love it!

So my first impressions on NYX are good. Some of the products need a little trial for me, but then I find this with all makeup – I’m just getting used to it all! The quality of product is immense for such a small price. I’d just like to be able to see the products before I buy, so I’m looking forward to a NYX stand opening up near me soon – fingers crossed!

Have you used any NYX products since they launched in the UK? Or are you a US NYX fan with have hints and tips for us Brits? I’d love to read your comments 🙂