Monday, September 23, 2013

Simple Skincare: Back to Basics for Blemish-Free Skin

Recently, the condition of my skin has been on the up, and while there are several factors I feel have contributed to this, skincare is right up there at the top of the list. As you'll probably know, I'm quite the skincare conoisseur, always adding to my collection, trying out new things and generally trying to do the best for my skin. I like to keep myself educated about what I should and shouldn't be using, and generally try to avoid brands, or at least products, which contain too many chemical nasties. But for months, my skin had been at its absolute worst, and it didn't seem to matter what I used on it - nothing was making a positive difference.
Until I decided to make quite a big change.
For a long time, I have found myself steering clear of gel cleansers, often without even giving them a chance. Usually, they contain sulphates, which create the foam so many people believe is necessary to get their skin clean. Actually, all they really tend to do is dry out the skin, stripping it of its natural oils. The result? Tight, uncomfortable skin, and over-active oil glands. The complete opposite of what you probably want.
The Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser with Saw Palmetto and Mint is one of the few gel cleansers I've come across in which there isn't a sulphate in sight. Containing salicylic acid to stimulate exfoliation and unclog pores, and Aloe leaf juice to calm and soothe, this leaves my skin feeling clean, smooth, and best of all, oil free. I must admit, however, that it does leave my skin feeling ever-so-slightly tight after use, but it's nothing a bit of moisturiser doesn't sort out, and certainly doesn't seem to have had any detrimental effects on my skin - quite the opposite.
While Zero Oil makes the perfect morning cleanser for anyone with slightly oily skin, in the evenings I am usually in need of something a bit more heavy duty to get all of my makeup off as well as getting in there for a deep-down clean, and lately I've been turning to the Clarins Pure Melt Cleansing Gel, which I picked up in duty-free on my way back to the UK last month. A gel in the tube, this becomes an oil when applied to the face, and emulsifies into a milk when water is added. The changing texture makes this the best of both worlds in all senses of the expression, leaving skin clean, soft and radiant. A definite winner in my book.
've really simplified down my skincare routine of late, and where before I was reaching for all manner of toners, serums, oils and masks, I'm now literally going straight from cleanser to moisturiser. Yes, I know, Caroline Hirons would give me a slap, but something I've really come to realise about my own skin is that less really is more. I wish I could keep on chopping and changing, trying out new products and using several in one go, but quite honestly, it has never done me any good, and my skin was always near-on
flawless until I started bombarding it with all those different ingredients. Funnily enough,  now that I am going straight for the moisturiser - namely Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief - my blemishes have become few and far between, and my whole complexion is generally looking miles better. I do think a lot of that is down to the moisturiser itself - a gel-cream that sinks into the skin immediately, without leaving any greasy residue. Normal creams are just too rich for my skin, and tend to do more harm than good, but this little beauty is giving my it all the nourishment and hydration it needs, no negative effects included.

Do you believe in simple skincare, or does layering up lots of goodies work better for you?


Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Weekly Selection

If you watched my recent Beauty Haul Video, you'll know that I've made more than just a couple of beauty purchases lately, and choosing my very favourites for this week was a tough call, but I've done my best and I'm thrilled to bits with all of these lovely products.
When roaming Boots the other day in search of a new foundation, the new Liz Earle stand caught my eye, and so excited was I that I almost did a little dance. For most of you, this is probably nothing new, but having been away for quite some time, I wasn't aware that the lovely Liz had now made it into stores. I couldn't not get my hands on the Limited Edition Grapefruit and Patchouli Cleanse and Polish, and I'm so glad I did pick it up, as when I popped in today there were no longer any in sight. It's been a while since C&P was last a part of my skincare routine, but only because, like a typical blogger, I got distracted by other things. This one smells amazing, and seeing how well it gets off all my makeup in one go has made me fall a little bit in love with it all over again.
Not one but two skincare products in this week's favourites, the second of which being the Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Search Relief. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with moisturisers, finding most of them too rich or heavy for my skin. They often seem to do more harm than good, leaving my complexion blemished and a little bit too greasy, so I was really excited to find that this little beaut does none of the above. It's a gel-cream, which sinks instantly into the skin, leaving it feeling smooth and hydrated, with no residue at all. I've just come to the end of the travel-size pot my mum kindly gave me, and I am without a doubt going to be buying the full-size. At £32, it's a bit of a kick in the wallet, but I see moisturiser as an absolute necessity. 
I mentioned the Clinique Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup and Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer earlier in the week, and they are still doing a sterling job, when used together, of smoothing out my complexion and hiding my blemishes. There is nothing not to love about either of these, and I am so glad to have found them.
Last but not least comes the Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Crush, a gorgeous wine-coloured lip balm and stain in one. I'm sure that most of you are no stranger to these little beauts, and neither was I, having been a huge fan on the shades 'Rendezvous' and 'Honey' for some while now. When the weather took a turn for the worse earlier this week, I decided to embrace the dropping temperatures and grey skies and go for more of an autumnal lip, and after picking this up on a whim I am completely hooked.

Have you started changing your routine up for the colder months yet? What products have you been loving the most this week?


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Ace of Base: A Skin - Saving Trio

I'm always on the hunt for that perfect makeup base. In the past, a flawless finish was easily achieved, as when you have good skin it doesn't take much - in that situation, the main concern is finding something that will last rather than smoothing or refining the skin. But what about when your skin isn't so good?
 Ever since I began having problems with breakouts and blemishes at the beginning of the year, I've been left feeling dismayed after each attempt at perfecting my complexion. If it wasn't poor coverage from my foundation, or a cakey finish, then it was my makeup sliding off my face by the time I got to work, leaving any little skin sins I'd been wanting to hide in full, unattractive view for all to see.
Fed up with feeling disappointed by all the different foundations I was trying out, I decided to go back to what I knew and visit the Clinique counter. For my first few years of makeup-wearing, I stuck religiously to their Superbalanced and Even Better formulations, both of which I loved and don't really know why I strayed from ( I do - it's one of the perils of being a beauty blogger). Having chatted with a friend who works on the No.7 counter in Boots about how I wanted a good-coverage foundation that wasn't matte (harder to fin than you might imagine), I was pointed in the direction of Clinique Repairwear, but when I visited the lovely lady on the brand's own counter, she suggested I first give their Anti-Blemish Solutions Liquid Makeup a try. She very kindly popped some on for me, and I was thrilled to see my blemishes all but disappear before my eyes. Not only that, but this foundation actually contains salicylic acid, which will treat those pesky spots while you wear it! I didn't nee much more convincing than that, but having tried various formulations from other brands in-store before and then been disappointed when I got them home, Clinique's money-back guarantee was the final push I needed. Apparently, if you get any of their products home and find that you're not satisfied, you can bring them back and get a full refund, which I think is absolutely fantastic considering I was sent on my way upon trying to exchange an unopened Bourjois foundation in Superdrug last week.
To go with my new foundation, I conceded that it was about time I bite the bullet and get myself a primer. I've always put it off, convinced that they were just an unnecessary gimmick to persuade us to part with yet more pennies, but as it happens, the Revlon Photoready Perfecting Primer is the perfect partner in crime. It does as it says on the tin - smooths and perfects the skin, creating a fantastic canvas on which to apply the rest of my makeup.
Last up, I decided to try out another product I've forever shunned: a face powder. Generally, I have to say, I'm not a fan, feeling that they tend to create a cakey, unnatural finish, but the Revlon Nearly Naked Pressed Powder has become my new best friend. Just a light dusting of this leaves my t-zone matte and free of any excess oil, without looking the least bit unnatural or dusty. In fact, having added this little compact to my repertoire, I'm now stunned that I have spent such a long time fearing a matte finish, as when done the right way it works really well and looks incredibly natural. I've always been a fan of a glowy, dewy finish, but I now realise that I can still achieve this with blushes and highlighters without forgoing a stable, long-lasting base.
I am pleased to bits with this trio - they have helped me to get where I have wanted to be for a really long time with my makeup base. Keep an eye out for full reviews, which will be coming up soon.

What are your skin saviours when it comes to a long-lasting makeup base?


Monday, September 9, 2013

Review: Elemental Herbology Bio-Cellular Super Cleanse

Surpise, surprise, it's another Elemental Herbology product. It must be pretty obvious by now just how impressed I am with the brand, so when I was very kindly sent the Bio-Cellular Super Cleanse* I was only too eager to incorporate it into my daily skincare routine and really put it to the test.
Described as a 'luxurious milk cleanser', this is actually quite thick and creamy in consistency, and with an impressive list of active ingredients it offers a number of skin benefits. Apple AHAs rich in malic acid exfoliate dead surface cells, resulting in an overall smoother and more refined complexion, with fine lines and wrinkles appearing diminished. Vitamin C and Rosehip help to minimise the appearance of pigmentation while nourishing and calming, while lipofructyl argan, camellia, ubuntu baobab and macadamia oil boost hydration, leaving skin soft and plumped.

I was particularly intrigued by the concept of using AHAs in cleanser form, being a big fan of exfoliating toners and treatments. Being able to get a whole range of benefits from minimal products is always the ideal for me, especially on those busy mornings where I just haven't got the time to sit down and layer on a plethora of different lotions and potions.

The cleanser works best when massaged into dry  (not wet) skin in small, circular motions, paying extra attention to any areas of congestion. I like to then remove it with a warm, damp flannel, particularly if I'm wearing makeup, as this really helps to rid the skin of any remaining debris, but I do usually still go in for a second cleanse afterwards, just to give my skin a really good deep-down clean. You could, of course, just rinse with warm water, but I really wouldn't advise it with a light product like this, as even after a double-cleanse done in this way, I still find that I pick up considerable traces of makeup on a cotton pad when applying my toner. (I know that in the past, a lot of people used to consider removal of this the main purpose of a toner, but nowadays they offer so many skincare benefits that any remaining dirt can be detrimental to any positive effects, and cleansers have improved to such a degree that they really should be doing all of that type of work themselves).

As with all of the Elemental Herbology products I've tried, this one has a lovely herbal scent, and I have really enjoyed using it. It leaves my skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated, and I really like the idea that it might be doing something to keep the signs of ageing at bay. That said, any exfoliating effects are extremely subtle, and I have still been finding myself going in with my trusty Clarins Gentle Brightening Exfoliator Toner a few times a week.
In terms of makeup-removal, it does do the job, but I can't help but wonder whether using something like the brand's Purify and Soothe Cleansing Balm beforehand would lighten the load a bit and enable this cleanser to get on with what it does best, which is undoubtedly nourishing and protecting the skin.

Have you tried anything new from Elemental Herbology lately?

Please leave a comment, I read every last word and love hearing your views! It really brightens up my day.

For all PR enquiries, please contact me at: