I Finally Perfected My Skincare Regime… Well, for Now!

Only about a year ago, even though I was into make up, I didn’t really think about skincare. I washed my face, and moisturised, but I have combination/oily skin and what I was doing seemed to work okay.

But as I’m getting older, I had noticed fine lines, dryness under my eyes where there hadn’t previously been, my skin was oily and then dry and who knows what was going on.

When you blog, you get lots of samples, and it must be awful for dedicated beauty bloggers to get through them without totally ravaging their skin and confusing it. I tried a few bits, but nothing really seemed to make a difference. But it opened my eyes to other products out there. My Liberty advent calendar really has been a goldmine for helping me to try new things I wouldn’t have even known about otherwise!

I decided I needed to think a little about my skin, try some things out and find out what regime would work for me. I knew it would be a fairly simple regime, I’m not one for a millions products (I don’t have the time, money or inclination). Some people like to use serums, lotions, potions and tools – I don’t want to make things more difficult than I have to.

So here’s what I found works for me. It’s what my skin likes, for now. As I get older, and probably will try samples out, this might change. But right now, this works, so I’m not going to fiddle with it too much.

Morning

In the morning I like to give myself a nice and simple face wash. I use Skin Laundry’s Gentle Foaming Facial Wash. I find this is leaves a clean and fresh feel to the skin, doesn’t leave my face feeling tight and I like the scent. It’s simple. It foams a little and I like this, and I enjoy the packaging, so I don’t have to unscrew a lid. I just pop the side of the cap and away I go.

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If my skin is feeling at all dry or like it needs a pamper, I’ll use Skin Laundry’s Skin Purifying Cream Cleanser. Again this is a nice clean scent which feels a little more creamy and hydrating. It doesn’t result in a tight feeling on the skin.

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I then follow with E.L.F’s Daily Hydration Moisturiser. I started using this a couple of years ago when I visited the States and since then I’ve repurchased religiously. I like that this is hydrating but light. It sinks into the skin wonderfully and doesn’t make it feel greasy, but takes away any tightness I might get with other moisturisers. It’s just heavy enough. And makeup goes on really nicely on top!

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Evening

To remove makeup, I commit one of the biggest sins going (apparently) and though I double cleanse, my first cleanse is to use a Simple makeup wipe. I know I know – apparently it’s really bad and it forces makeup into your pores, blah blah blah. But it works for me and it’s not doing me any harm. It is a lot of waste though, so that might wean me off them eventually.

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Anyway, until then, I’ll use these. They don’t irritate my eyes, they take off all my eye makeup and leave my skin visibly clean and ready for the next step.

My second cleanse will either be one of the face washes I mentioned in my morning routine, or it’ll be one of these two:

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Once a week I’ll use this Estée Edit White Mud face mask. This is actually discontinued, but I managed to pick up two backups from Bicester Village about a month ago, and I’m using it a little more sparingly to help stretch it out! I love how clean and clear my skin is after using this. It really balances my skin too. It was the only things that saved my skin during the Glossier Solution debacle!

If I don’t use any of the above, I’ll use this Dermalogica Daily Superfoliant.

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It’s a grey powder, that (I won’t lie) smells pretty eggy and a little nasty. You put the powder in your hand, mix a teeny bit of water with it and create a paste. Then work it over your face for about a minute before washing off. I love how clean my face feels after using this. It is quite abrasive, so I’ll only use it when I feel the need (after a heavy makeup day, night out or day in London) but it’s really effective. Plus it has anti-aging properties so bring it to mamma! Because it’s a powder, it’s going to be brilliant for travel too.

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The next step is my Pixi Glow Tonic. I’m actually almost out of this right now, so I need to pick up some more. And I’m tempted to try the new Rose Tonic, as a morning step too. But for now I’ll use this once a day, at night after cleansing. It really helps to exfoliate and balance my skin ahead of moisturising.

If I’m cleansing my skin a while before bed I’ll pop on some of that E.L.F moisturiser as the next step. But if I’m about to get into bed, I’ll use a sleeping cream.

I’d been using the Body Shop Oils of Life sleeping cream over the winter, and as you can see I’m almost out of that too.

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So I went to pick up some more, and actually came out with the Body Shop Drops of Youth Bouncy sleeping mask.

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Look how bouncy! It’s a strange bouncy texture in the tub, that turns to a water texture when it’s rubbed between the fingers and then melts into the skin. I’ve been loving the results. My skin feels soft and plump in the morning. Just how I want to keep it! I also picked up a sleeping eye mask from the same range.

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I’ve had trouble with eye creams reacting to my skin and creating dry, irritated, patches before so I was a little scared to try this. But I actually love it. My under eyes are no longer feeling thin and crepe-like and it’s actually the only thing that’s fixed some of the dry irritation I sometimes get on my eye lids as a result of allergies. I only use this at night because I didn’t like how it sat under makeup.

So this is what I’m using to keep my skin happy at the moment. I’ll be interested to see how I need to adapt this as the weather gets warmer, and my t-zone gets oilier, but for now it’s working!

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.

 

2017 Beauty Favourites

It’s been a big year for new releases in the beauty and skincare world, and even though I have mentioned a few products throughout the year, I wanted to post a round-up of those I still consider to be worth the purchase, months down the line!

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As someone who only wears eye shadow in the winter and autumn, and then only very rarely, I own far too many eye shadow palettes. This one, however, is definitely up there as one of my favourites. Bought early on in 2017, I decided I needed to take the plunge as and when I saw it available. The Anastasia Modern Renaissance isn’t one of the cheapest palettes, but then it’s not one of the most expensive either. At £43 it’s going to be one to think about, but then with shadows as pigmented and blendable as these, you’ll get the right amount of use out of it for the cost. Obviously, these are warm shades so if those aren’t your bag then scroll on. But there’s a great mix of shimmers and mattes, darks and lights. So many complete looks can be made from this palette, AND the double ended brush that comes with it is a pretty decent brush. You could take this palette on a trip with you, and you might just want to take a black single and you’d be fine for the whole trip.

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I received this seasonal iteration of the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish cleanser (I have linked this year’s seasonal scent as the one I have is no longer available) as a Christmas gift last year, and I still have some left. I’ll mention I have about 50 thousand cleansers so I change between them depending on what my skin’s doing and how much make-up I’m taking off. I have combination skin and was concerned that this cleanser would be too hydrating for me, but it’s not. It is VERY hydrating, and it does take off all your makeup, so I prefer to use this as a second cleanse on occasions when I’ve been wearing a heavier face of slap. It makes my skin feel lovely, and for £22.75 I’d hope so too. I think it’s a little dear to repurchase myself when this finishes – unless down the line I find I can’t live without it. But then, as I mentioned, I have a heap of others to work through.

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I had to buy backups of this Pinita Colada body scrub when they brought it back this summer. I don’t think I can live without it, even though you can no longer buy it. Obviously it smells like pineapple and coconut, but the nourished feeling I have after using this is beyond compare. My skin feels soft and sloughed for hours afterwards, without needing to moisturise straight afterwards. I think I’m on my last tub though…. Fingers crossed they bring it back next summer!

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I have been a little on and off with the Pixi Glow Tonic. I’m currently on my second bottle, and for some reason I’m finding the scent a little off-putting this time around. It’s less floral and more resin…. Anyhow, I’m trying to see past this, because I have discovered that after prolonged usage of this toner, my t-zone is a lot less oily and stays more balanced throughout the day. It’s one of those products that’s a slow-burner (and by that I don’t mean literally) and then you don’t realise the difference it’s made until you stop using it. At £18 I’d say it’s priced about right, and is now even easier for me to pick up since they now stock it in M&S. No more trips to Carnaby Street needed for me!

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I received my first bottle of the Davines All in One Milk in my 2016 Liberty advent calendar. That mini bottle was finished fairly fast and I think the one I’m using now is my 2nd full-sized bottle. This is a cream spray (I wish they’d work on the packaging to help get that last inch out) that aids tangles and I spray it onto towel dried hair before I detangle and then blow-dry. It smells quite soapy but it’s a smell you quickly get used it. It coats my hair in a nice way making it less thin, flyaway and feel lovely, but still like real hair (if that makes sense). The price of this keeps increasing (I blame Brexit) and it’s currently £19.40. It’s very expensive and I’d say it’s probably worth about £12, but I keep buying it, so that’s got to say something about both me and Davines.

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I’m a bit naughty including yet another product you can no longer buy, but this is too good not to mention. I received this full-sized face mask in my goody bag at the Glamour Beauty Festival, and I think I have one more use from this tube. I’m genuinely so sad to finish this product because it’s hands-down the best face mask I’ve ever used. It leaves my skin looking and feeling clear and clean, but not tight in the slightest. One 5 minute use of this and my pores are so clean. It calms down breakouts and exfoliates too. As you might know, The Estée Edit is no more so I can no longer purchase this little beauty. If anyone has one of these hanging around that they haven’t used, I’d be happy to take it off your hands!

Body Shop Oils Of Life Sleeping Cream

As I mentioned earlier, I have combination skin, and have been greatly enjoying a more balanced visage lately, thanks to this little beauty. I thought I would only use this occasionally and in the winter, but I have been using this all year and every night, and will definitely repurchase this when it’s empty. When the Body Shop’s Oils of Life sleeping cream was released, I was given the chance to try a sample via Glossybox (who I subscribed to at the time). Once my sample pot had been scraped clean, I knew I should probably buy the full size. It’s £29 so it took a little while to justify the purchase, but as the weeks went on I knew I was missing out. And to be honest, it’s such a large pot and you don’t need a lot so it’s going to last me a lot longer than it probably should be kept, if I’m honest! I put this all over my face at night, on cleansed skin, and it remains sticky-ish. When I wake up my skin is SO soft, and my t-zone feels almost the same as the rest of my face – my skin is being balanced overnight! It also smells very comforting and doesn’t break me out at all. I will also say, there’s something very reassuring about the heavy glass pot and large lid on top. I think they’ve got the packaging right. I just need to find a way to decant this, so I can take it away when I travel.

Skin Laundry Face wash

This Skin Laundry gentle foaming face wash was another product I received a sample of in 2016’s Liberty advent calendar. I had been on the look out for a face wash and something that didn’t describe itself as a cleanser. I don’t know why, as they’re the same thing, but I just wanted something reliable to wash my face with! I loved the sample so much that I purchased the full size once it was finished (which was quite some time, as you only need a small amount). At £20 this is an expensive face wash, but it gets my face so so clean, without stripping it and my face doesn’t feel tight afterwards.

Two tubes of foundation

Back to make-up and I’ll mention the only two foundations I’ve used this year. In fact I’ve taken to mixing these two for my perfect face base.

I’ve used The Balm’s BalmShelter for many years. This tinted moisturiser offers a nice light base, with buildable medium coverage, and offers spf with a dewy finish, but doesn’t always last all day on my combination skin.

I bought the Urban Decay Naked Skin for a little more coverage but found the colour slightly too light (it’s my correct shade but I like to bronze up a little!) and I’m not fond of a totally matte finish.

So, I mixed the two! The Naked Skin lifts the shade of my tinted moisturiser slightly for months when I want to look less glowy, and adds a bit of coverage. The BalmShelter takes some of the matte away from the foundation and keeps my skin looking like my skin. It’s a perfect marriage!

Because I’m mixing the two, I can change the balance depending on how my skin is doing or how much coverage I need, and I simply mix them between my fingers and apply the whole lot with my hands. I’ve really moved away from using applicators to apply my face base. My fingers work just fine!

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I’ve really taken to lip products this year, and had quite the splurge over the months, mainly on ColourPop products. These two are the ones I’ve worn the most.

When ColourPop launched their Blotted Lip range, I was totally intrigued, and I now own 6 of their shades (I think)! Despite the packaging issue (on some, not all, the product comes out of the tube completely on taking off the lid) I have been impressed with this matte wash of colour. My favourite of this range has been Lexi (which was part of a limited edition range), though I love all the shades I’ve picked up.

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Of their liquid lip products, I’m a fan of their satin lip, however I have been very impressed with their high pigmented and long-lasting glosses. My favourite of these is the shade Finders Keepers, which offers a mauve/nude almost opaque gloss that wears down to a lovely natural pink shade. Their blotted lips usually retail for $5 each, and their glosses are $6.

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On the eyes, I’ve stuck to one mascara and one mascara only. The CoverGirl Clump Crusher cannot be bought in the UK so I pick up a few tubes whenever I’m in the states. I don’t know why, but it’s simply the only mascara that works for the type of lashes I have (stubborn!) It’s $7 so doesn’t break the bank either. I use it in conjunction with my Surratt eyelash curlers I picked up a couple of years ago in New York. They fit my face and eye shape well and actually curl my lashes, which is what you want!

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This E.L.F blush, is has been a star for the past two years. The shade is Tickled Pink and every time I wear it I get compliments on how healthy my skin looks. It’s my perfect natural pink shade, so blendable and buildable, and lasts all day! Oh, and it’s only £4.50 so there’s no excuse not to buy one for yourself 🙂

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And last but definitely not least is this blush and highlight pressed powder palette from ColourPop called Double Play. I think this was originally limited edition, but it’s so good I’m glad you can still pick it up. The blush (shade Getting Handsy) is an amazing muted terracotta and looks so natural on my pale skin. It’s like a gorgeous warm bronzer I suppose (but you wouldn’t want to use it as that!), and lasts all day. The highlight (shade Padded Down) is so so pretty. I’ve never gotten the hang of highlight so I don’t use this much, but you can see from the swatch above that it’s stunning!

So those are the products that stood the test. I’ve used them constantly all year and they’re still the products I reach for, which I feel really means I must like them!

I can’t wait to see what comes out in 2018 and whether any of these products get replaced. Only time will tell!

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and what you thought! Stay tuned for my first impressions of a brand newly launched to the UK (you know what it is!) coming soon!