2016 Favourites (and Failures!)

For this post I’ve come up with 4 products I have loved this year and another 3 I have disliked and thrown or given away.

It’s quite disappointing that I couldn’t find more make-up ‘loves’ out of all the new products that came out in 2016. The consumer brands all seem to be producing the exact same things as one another, endless ‘dupes’ and copying – it’s all a bit well, meh.

Then there’s the fact that there are only so many contour palettes with dozens of shades anyone needs  *cough*the answer is none!*cough* Banana powder will never suit pale ladies no matter how hard the now multiple brands producing it try to push it. In 2017 – lets do something different huh? Continue reading

April Favourites!

It’s that time of the month again… no not that one silly! These are the products I’ve been reaching for the most during the month of April:

26054529824_2b4c672df8_z

A mixture of skincare and make-up items here for you this month but no eye products! I’ve been all over the place with what I’ve done with my eye make-up and have done different things as often as I possibly could so I don’t have one thing that I reached for more than anything else to put in my favourites this month.

Trilogy, Certified Organic Rosehip Oil
26632469466_64134b0f8a_mRosehip oil is a truly remarkable beauty discovery and I’m so glad to have made it! It’s chock full of vitamins (A, C & E) and essential fatty acids (omega 3,6 & 9) plus lycopene and beta carotene.
It’s really been helping me with my dry skin and speeding the healing time of my hormonal break outs which always get even drier when healing. I’ve been massaging a couple of drops into my skin at night and it has really made a difference to my moisture levels.
It’s non-greasy and very light, absorbs quickly into the skin but not too-quickly that you don’t have time to do a little bit of massage. I might have to look up some of the other products in the Trilogy rosehip range!

Maybelline, Eraser Eye Concealer in ‘Light’
I only recently decided to try this after seeing lots of other bloggers and vloggers singing it’s praises. The applicator is soft and helps dab on just the the right amount of product which I then blend with my Real Techniques sponge, the concealer its self is a slightly yellowy tone which is very unusual in concealers but is great for neutralising under eye circles. I hope they bring out more shades as currently there are only two available meaning darker ladies are very left out!

Soap & Glory Archery Brow Sculpting Crayon & Gel in ‘Brown & Out’
26593596101_a1e8ff6529_mI’ve been loving this and have used it nearly every day since it arrived! The shade is perfect for me which is a rare find in its self and the texture of the ‘crayon’ end is such that even heavy handed people like me can’t over apply and end up looking like one of the Marx brothers! The other end has a setting gel with a mascara-type applicator wand tucked inside it.

Super Facialist, Probiotic Micellar Cleansing Water
I’ve been reaching for this over the Garnier micellar water whenever I’ve used this kind of product recently. It’s free of any of the bad skin stripping alcohols, however, while it states the product is fragrance free having had a quick look at the ingredients that’s not strictly true. Just because they’ve used an ingredient for it’s preservative properties doesn’t negate the fact that it’s also a fragrance ingredient! Tut tut Una! I’m not sensitive to fragrances (in this case phenethyl alcohol which imparts the smell of roses) but if you are you might want to give this one a miss.
What it does have is hyaluronic acid for an extra hydration hit plus extracts of calming cucumber and the mild astringent echinacea.

MAC, Matte Lipstick in ‘Mehr’
machybridI love my matte lipsticks especially the MAC ones and ‘Mehr’ is one that I’ve been reaching for a lot this month.
You can apply it lightly for a more dark-nude look or heavily and with liner for a more bold look – I do tend toward the latter I have to admit!

Have you tried any of these products? What did you think of them? What are your April favourites? Do let me know in the comments!

SuperFacialist Retinol+ Review

I pounced on this new range almost as soon as it was released, relieving myself of all the Advantage points that had been burning a hole in my purse in the process. Both the day and night creams contain pro-retinol and sodium hyaluronate – that’s both of the anti-ageing ingredients with some actual science behind them in one product – plus the wonderfully moisturising shea butter and anti-oxidants (science is a bit lacking here) in the form of white tea extract all for a very reasonable price point.

24088565794_a8122275ef_z

Retinol is a form of vitamin A, which is essential for skin health among many other uses in the body. Vitamin A’s anti-ageing abilities were first discovered when doctors found that acne patients who were being successfully treated with prescription Vitamin A (well known brands include Accutane) were experiencing positive side effects by way of softer skin and fewer lines and wrinkles. From there it became an important part of anti-ageing science.

This cream contains one of the gentler pro-retinols in the form of retinyl palmitate. It’s gentler but also less effective than pure retinol or retinoic acid because once it is absorbed our bodies have to then turn it into retinoic acid (available in absolutely pure form like this on prescription only in the EU – sorry ladies!) in order to use it. The more steps the body has to go through to convert the vitamin, the less effective it is overall. This gentleness, however, makes it a great gateway to a stronger retinol product later on once you are tolerating this one on a daily basis. When using any retinoid containing product it is important that you check the instructions and build up your usage slowly – don’t just dive in!

I’ve been introducing these slowly for roughly a month now and now using at least one of them most days. A month is nowhere near enough time to see any benefit from the retinoid but I am definitely seeing benefit from the overall product and the hyaluronic acid. My skin is softer, smoother and plumper, my under eye contour looks better meaning my dark circles aren’t as noticeable. I’m much less dry in my dry areas although certain stubborn patches are still problematic I’m very happy with the progress. I haven’t woken up in the morning with my oilier areas feeling greasy which is also a good sign. I’m very happy using these and will be continuing on with them. I’ll update you when the pots are empty.

So far I think this is a great moisturiser and a good way for those of us just starting to think about using anti-ageing products to break into them before moving up to stronger retinols later on. If you’re already using a retinyl palmitate containing product and thinking of switching I would consider switching to this one if yours doesn’t contain hyaluronic acid as this one does.
If you’re looking for a stronger retinol do check the ingredients on the boxes of products for just the word ‘retinol’. It must be in the ingredients  – not just on the front of the box! Ideally it will give you a percentage value for how much is in the product somewhere else on the pack. I have heard good things about Indeed Labs ‘retinol reface’ and La Roche Posay ‘Redermic R’. The only thing I would change about either of these creams from Super Facialist would be to include an SPF in the day cream so that you don’t have to use a separate product too.

Update 18/06/2016:

I’ve reached the bottom of my pots and I’m not just planning on re-purchasing, I already have! Only the night cream though as I found I got much more use out of that one personally and I prefer a slightly less rich cream during the day for under my make-up.
During the day I’ve been using the Bandi moisturiser which came with my Glossybox as it makes a great base for make-up and provides panthenol to aid any blemishes I might have in healing up.

January Favourites!

Cream Blush

I’ve decided to try and do a little post every month about my current favourite beauty products and what I’ve been reaching for most that month. As today is the first of Feb I’ll go through what I loved over the last month.

Cream BlushSo, the first item that I’ve been loving during this last month is my Illamasqua cream blush in the shade ‘Seduce’. You might have noticed this one sneaking into the photos for my post on ‘Painting on Normal’, I have about three of these Illamasqua cream blushes but this shade is my favourite at the moment. It stays put better than other formulas I’ve used and the particular shade suits me very well at the moment.
The Jelly Pong Pong ‘Lighten Up’ pencil that came in my Birchbox at the beginning of the month has been a firm favourite since it arrived. I’ve been using it on my lower lash line to brighten my eyes. I swear it helps with dark circle camouflage, I can’t explain it as you’re not even going over that area but I’m sure it does. It’s also far more subtle on the lash line than a bright white pencil which definitely does nothing for circles.

Burts Bees beeswax lip balm is something I’m reaching for a lot. I didn’t like this muchIMG_1325 when I first got it and I actually chucked it in a drawer and forgot about it for a while but I’ve used up all of my usual favourite L’Occitane shea butter lip balm and so I pulled this out. On a second try of it I discovered that I actually quite like it and have been reaching for it all month. I get very dry lips in the winter so a good balm in an absolute must and I won’t use anything petroleum based (they only prevent further moisture loss they don’t add moisture and can block pores if they wander away from the lips). This one is made from bees wax, coconut and sunflower oils and enriched with vitamin E, it also has peppermin oil in it which gives a pleasant tingle. If it gets a bit too cold in the tube it can go very solid which is why I didn’t get on with it the first time around but now I understand to warm it up slightly I love it.

10198114Una Brennan’s SuperFacialist Probiotic Micellar Cleansing Water is my last item for this month, it’s a fragrance free micellar water designed to help keep the pH balance of your skin intact. It contains echinacea and cucumber extracts and hyaluronic acid as well a probiotic complex. This micellar water is alcohol free, my skin is very happy with it. As a spoonie micellar water comes in very handy on days when you’re tired so it’s even better to have one that’s also got skincare benefits.

What products did you love or discover during the month of January? Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments.

Painting on “Normal” – Creating the Image of Wellness

Painting on Wellness

There are few “secret weapons” in my beauty arsenal that help me paint on my fake well-person face, in this post I’m going to share a bit about them with you.
Some days you may feel too tired to go full on with the make-up and just want to go for something simple and quick, I’ll cover a short routine for the roughest days that you have to somehow push through after going through the more time-intensive products first. Where I use a higher end product I’ll do my best to offer a high street (drugstore) alternative as everyone has different budgets and when you’re sick your cosmetics resources can really take a hit. At the end I’ll cover a couple of salon treatments that can save us time and energy in our at home beauty routines.

Products For Painting On Wellness

24294394670_9e37ab4e1f_z

  • Always prep with a good moisturiser, one with hyalauronic acid is great if your skin shows fine lines from dehydration or your eye area appears sunken. The skin is one of the last parts of the body to get any of the good stuff we take in from our diets, the body prioritises where nutrients are needed the most and the skin is way down at the bottom on it’s list of priorities so a little bit of extra help never goes amiss. Una Brennan Super Facialist is a brand I’m rating quite highly at the moment and it’s surprisingly affordable. If you have breakouts or otherwise broken skin a great product to try is La Roche Posay’s ‘Cicaplast’ which has vitamin B5 to help heal your skin, it also provides a great base for make-up.
    When you’re having a very bad day and you’ve no choice but to spend time on the sofa watching ‘This Morning’ do treat yourself to a moisturising face mask and try to relax and ignore Schofield.
  • Stick and compact powder foundations are quicker and easier to apply than liquids or creams. Make-Up Forever do an amazing stick foundation and I really like the Benefit powder foundation. L’Oreal also produce good powder foundations on the high street. Powder foundations are however to be avoided if you have flaky dry skin as the powder will sit in the flakes and emphasize them. Invest in a good scrub exfoliator and a bottle of Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation or similar.
  • If you opt for a liquid foundation I recommend a good brush to apply it with, I don’t use your standard flat foundation brush I use a Real Techniques stippling brush. If you wipe the foundation on as with a regular brush it can lift up any dry patches and emphasize them where the stippling brush keeps them patted down. Using the stipple brush in a swirling motion can also hide large pores. Budget store Wilkinsons do a surprisingly good own brand stippling brush for just £4.
  • Sleek ‘Barekissed Illuminator’ in ‘Monaco’ or a similar glitter free (that part is important) illumination fluid mixed with your liquid foundation or worn thinly underneath a stick foundation does wonders for putting that healthy glow back into a dull complexion. Choose one that works well with your skin tone, I’m naturally very fair so ‘Monaco’ is perfect but others will benefit more from a different shade.
  • Concealers that actually conceal problem areas can be hard to find, I often use Kat Von D ‘Lock It’ foundation as a concealer on break out areas that need more coverage. Other good options are camouflage creams like Vichy Dermablend or professional brand Kryolan’s Derma Colour – remember you need to set camouflage creams with a powder. High street concealers are getting better but they’re not there yet, this is one area you do have to look elsewhere. The cheapest option would be the Kryolan Derma Colour which you can buy direct from their own website it’s also the one available in the widest variety of shades so you’re sure to find something to match your skin tone. NARS ‘Radiant Creamy Concealer’ is a good one but again, quite spendy.
    24481800122_0e45b06c9e_zColour correcting concealers (worn underneath foundation) are thankfully now much more widely available and can be found on the high street. Green is a must have for any areas of redness while peach, salmon or orange (depending on your skin tone) will help neutralise dark circles. Max Factor do green in a handy stick and NYX (available from Boots online) produce liquid and pot varieties, for a good orange check out LA Girl.
  • A touch of blush can work wonders, I recommend a cream formulation for both easeCream Blush of application and blending. Dab three dots onto the cheek bone and blend with your fingers, avoid the apple of the cheek unless you want to look like an old fashioned china doll. Teenagers can get away with that look but the rest of us, not so much! Illamasqua do some lovely ones but you can now pick up cream blush from brands such as No.7, MUA and Sleek.
  • If the very thought of blending powder eye-shadows makes you tired but you stillcream shadows want to wear eye make up invest in a wardrobe of cream shadows. They are available in almost every hue and pretty much every company makes at least three or four as either pots or sticks. NYX probably has the widest range of shades available in their crayons, Maybelline’s ‘Color Tattoo’ range are also brilliant, frankly amazing for the money.
  • Lipstick. A good lipstick choice draws attention away from other “problem areas” on the face and can reflect a bit of colour and life into the skin too. There’s nothing quite like lipstick for making you feel like you’re ready to face the day. If your medication has affected your teeth and caused yellowing (long term antibiotics in particular can have this effect) choose shades on the cooler/blue end of the spectrum rather than the warmer orangier end as they will make your teeth look whiter.
    LipsticksI have more lipsticks than your average branch of Boots and one of my little rituals is choosing which one I will wear that day. MAC, Illamasqua, Charlotte Tilbury and Rimmel London make some of my favourites.
  • At the end of the day if you feel too tired for a full on at the sink cleansing ritual use a good alcohol free (alcohol is terrible for your skin, avoid it like the plague) micellar cleansing lotion. Please don’t be tempted to just use wipes – these are fine to start off the process but don’t rely purely on those. If you’re a wipe user try using a micellar lotion straight after your wipe and you will be amazed at how much make-up was still on your skin. Super Facialist and BioDerma are both very good ones.

A Quick Make-Up Routine for Sick Days

On our worst days we need a routine that doesn’t require too much thought, that we can do almost on autopilot. Here are a couple of alternatives:

On bad days or on very early mornings when I’m half awake I often do step one and sometimes even step two while still in bed as I keep both micellar cleanser and moisturiser by the bed for times when I’m too tired for a full on bathroom cleanse/tone/moisturise.If you have hair loss because of your condition you can find specific tutorials for dealing with loss of lashes and brows over at Look Good Feel Better.

For a more made up look:
1. Cleanse with micellar lotion
2. Moisturise well and allow it to soak in
3. Apply a stick or powder compact foundation
4. Apply concealer to any areas that require it
5. Apply cream blush
6. Apply lipstick (avoid nude shades)
7. Apply a cream shadow and mascara.
For a less made up look:

1. Cleanse with micellar lotion
2. Apply tinted moisturiser
3. Apply concealer where required
4. Apply a sheer cream blush
5. Apply a lip product such as a tinted balm or Chubby Stick
6. Apply mascara/pencil if desired.

Time Saving Salon Treatments

To save time in your routine you may wish to consider a salon treatment such as brow or lash tinting, this will save you time filling in brows or putting on mascara to make your lashes stand out. Many local colleges also offer these treatments to the public at a lower price so that students like myself can practice the technique and practice dealing with clients before going into industry. The amount of time the tint lasts varies from person to person, eyebrows around 3 weeks and eyelashes up to 6 weeks. Not bad for a half hour lie down!
Professional hair removal treatments such as waxing and eyebrow shaping save you struggling to do it yourself at home and giving up half way through out of tiredness or fear of mucking it up. It’s far easier to have a professional do it! Yes, waxing is painful but it’s also over very quickly. Avoid waxing if you have easily damaged skin such as that of Ehlers-Danlos Classical or Vascular types, or use topical antibiotics on the area to be waxed. Brow plucking or threading should still be fine but you know your own body.