Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Bravura London Chemical Peels






It has been five whole years since I started treating my skin with chemical exfoliants. I actually can't believe it's been that long but this blog is proof that I first reviewed Alpha-H's Liquid Gold back in 2012. A lot has happened to my skin in that time. Spots, closed comedones, scarring... have all come & gone & come again. I've tried countless products over the years, all of which seemed to alleviate my skin troubles in the beginning but my spots persisted & my skin has never looked 100% perfect. I've even considered going on roaccutane but was never really sure if my blemishes were severe enough. The products I was using were mainly leave on treatments. I used things like the aforementioned Liquid Gold, Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid, Eucerin DermoPurifyer Toner, CosRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid & AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid with varying degrees of success but ultimately none of them were quite enough to solve my skin problems.

Unsatisfied with the acid treatments I had tried, I began looking into hardcore chemical peels. I was so fed up that I really wanted to order some extremely high percentage acids from Makeup Artist's Choice but I was put off by the shipping & customs charges from America. Eventually someone on Reddit recommended Bravura London's chemical peels & I promptly visited their website to place an order. Bravura London were the first company in the UK to supply chemical peels for use at home. The owner Amanda Elias founded the company back in 2003 & she continues to give out personal product recommendations for anyone wanting to try their skincare range. All of their products are extremely well formulated yet very reasonably priced. Swapping out many of the items in my skincare routine for Bravura London products has been beneficial for both my skin & my bank account!

The first product I tried was the 2% Salicylic Acid. This BHA works wonders on spots, blackheads & closed comedones as salicylic acid exfoliates inside your pores as well as the surface of your skin. The application process of this peel is slightly different to many leave on BHA & AHA treatments. First you need to wash your face & then wait 30 minutes for your skin to return to it's normal pH level. Next you're supposed to decant some of the acid into a glass. I like to use one full pipette of acid & a fancy martini glass. I then apply the acid all over my face using the Chemical Peel Applicator Brush that I also ordered from Bravura. This fan brush is made from high quality synthetic Taklon hair. The bristles feel really soft & it's very easy to clean. It allows you to apply the chemical peel quickly & evenly without getting the product all over your hands. After two minutes you can wash it off & carry on with the rest of your skincare routine. You can increase the treatment time up to 10 minutes as your skin becomes accustomed to the acid. Unlike many chemical peels you don't need to use a neutraliser afterwards which definitely makes the whole process a lot simpler. Peels are bit stronger than exfoliating toners so the effects are more immediate & as I'm washing it off I can instantly feel the difference in my skin. It unclogs pores like a dream & my face is generally less congested. For best results you should use it every other night. Salicylic acid can be quite drying as it regulates sebum production so I always slather on my moisturiser afterwards but it could be the answer to a lot of oily skinned people's prayers.

Having fallen in love with the Salicylic Acid, I couldn't wait to try some more products. Next I ordered the 10% Lactic Acid along with the Revitalising Ginseng Toner. My skin tends to prefer lactic acid over glycolic acid as it's a milder exfoliant & far less drying. It's a much better choice if you have dry or dehydrated skin. Lactic acid is an AHA that increases cell turnover & boosts collagen production. This makes your skin feel smoother & more elastic. It also helps with blemishes, hyperpigmentation & fine lines. Regular AHA use will reveal a complexion that is more even both in tone & texture. When I started using this particular Lactic Acid it was at a higher percentage than I had ever used before. 10% is really quite potent so it might be too strong if you've never used any lactic acid. This peel has been infused with rose floral water which gives it a delicate rose scent & makes it a pleasure to use. You apply it in the same way as the Salicylic Acid but you need to leave it on for 5 minutes instead of 2. Treatment time for this acid can be increased up to a maximum of 15 minutes. I do find that my skin looks a bit pink after washing it off but this soon fades away & is replaced by a fresh, radiant glow. Again you can apply this every other evening or if you want to use it alongside the Salicylic Acid you can alternate them to avoid over-exfoliation. As with all chemical exfoliants it's incredibly important to wear sunscreen in the morning as your skin will be temporarily more sensitive to the sun. My skin feels noticeably softer & smoother after using this product. Lactic acid is a natural humectant which means that it helps the skin to retain moisture & this peel also features glycerin so it really is fab for drier skin types.

The one thing that annoyed me about using these skin peels was the 30 minute wait time after washing your face. Peels work best when your skin is at the correct pH level but sometimes I couldn't be bothered waiting so that's why I ordered the Revitalising Ginseng Toner as a pre-peel treatment. Bravura say that if you use this beforehand you can skip the huge wait time. It contains 5% glycolic acid which is the same amount as Alpha-H Liquid Gold. Personally this product did not work for me & it made me breakout in places that I had no spots in previously. I think that using two acids one after the other was simply too much for my skin. Now I just use the CosRX Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser beforehand to lower my skin's pH level. This works a treat & my skin reacts much better to the peels without having to wait after cleansing. I would highly recommend picking up some of Bravura London's at-home chemical peels if you feel that leave on acids are no longer working for you. The results I've had from using these products has been phenomenal & the extra effort required is definitely worthwhile.


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Thursday, 22 June 2017

LQ Liquid Health Supplements Skin, Hair & Nails





LQ Liquid Health Supplements Skin, Hair & Nails* - £29.99

We've all heard the phrase 'you are what you eat' before & it certainly rings true when talking about skincare. Changing certain aspects of my diet has personally helped me to combat issues with acne & eczema. Some changes can be as simple as avoiding dairy products but for other benefits supplements are a fantastic way to improve your diet & overall health. The latest trend in health supplements are collagen drinks as a tastier method of ingesting nutrients that claim to support beauty from within. I take a variety of daily supplement pills from Holland & Barrett but I've never tried a beauty drink before. LQ Liquid Health offered to send me a month's supply of their Skin, Hair & Nails liquid supplement & I was very eager to give it a go.

As we age our natural collagen levels start to decrease resulting in loss of moisture, reduced elasticity and the development of fine lines & wrinkles. This apparently happens around the age of 25 & at 28 I can already tell that my skin no longer looks quite as youthful (even though I still get spots!). Ingesting liquid collagen provides the entire body with the building blocks it needs to support the creation & repair of the body's connective tissues. These beauty drinks allow the collagen peptides to be delivered straight into the bloodstream to directly encourage the skin to produce more collagen & hyaluronic acid. This helps to inhibit the ageing process by boosting the skin's hydration levels whilst plumping & firming it up in the process. The main benefit of drinking these bottles over taking a pill is that you get a whopping 7000mg of hydrolysed marine collagen in each one which is clinically proven to have a positive effect on your skin, hair & nails. LQ use Peptan® which is a high quality source of collagen containing more than 97% protein & it can be easily digested by the body.

As well as collagen these supplements provide eight other important nutrients, all of which contribute towards the maintenance of healthy skin, hair & nails. These include hyaluronic acid, resveratrol, silicon & glucosamine. I'm sure we all know about about the wonders of hyaluronic acid by now. It's great for hydrating & plumping up the skin but it also helps to lubricate your joints. Resveratrol is a natural antioxidant with scientifically proven anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer & life-prolonging effects. Silicon contributes to the strength, integrity & growth of connective tissues including skin, hair & nails. Glucosamine is a substance found in the fluid around your joints and supplementing your diet with it can help with joint pain & general joint health. I'd definitely recommend it if you're into training at the gym. In addition to these key active ingredients they also feature Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Selenium & Biotin. These beauty drinks are simply packed full of good stuff to help your body out!

Each bottle of Skin, Hair & Nails contains 50ml of liquid vitamin supplement. You're supposed to drink one bottle per day for at least one month in order to see results. The drink itself has a fairly pleasant passion fruit flavour. There was a bit of a metallic aftertaste which kinda reminded me of these chewable zinc pastilles that my mum forced me to take as a child whenever I got poorly. Luckily you can down these little bottles like a shot so the taste doesn't last long & you can chase them with whatever drink you like. I always took them straight after breakfast so I wouldn't forget. It took quite a while for me to notice a difference but by the fourth week of my trial I could tell that my skin looked plumper & felt better hydrated. These supplements also put paid to the fine lines on my forehead. I kept the rest of my topical skincare routine the same throughout so I do think that these drinks made a difference in that respect. As my hair is bleached it's quite easy to keep track of my hair growth from my dark roots. This was definitely faster than usual & the new hair felt stronger too. For some reason my nails didn't seem to benefit in the same way. They broke off the same amount as usual & grew at the same rate. Perhaps they would improve with further use.

Since finishing the month long trial my skin seems to have gone back to the way it was before with a bit of sagging & fine lines creeping back in. LQ suggest continuing to supplement with 3 or 4 bottles per week to maintain the benefits. However the main downside to these supplements is that they are quite expensive. Each box costs £30 & you only get 10 bottles for that price. Therefore it would cost you £90 for just one month. If you purchase them directly from LQ Liquid Health you can get 3 for the price of 2 so it's a much better deal but still an expensive thing to try out. Nonetheless, if you can afford it & want to suppress the visible signs of ageing or simply want healthier looking skin, these little bottles are definitely worth the investment.


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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Happiness Boutique







Happiness Boutique Glamorous Over The Top Statement Necklace* - £24.50

For someone who used to relish over-accessorising every single day, recently I've found myself wearing & buying less pieces of jewellery. More often than not I simply throw on my name necklace with my Michael Kors watch and head out the door. When I do wear something different it's because I want it to stand out as an important part of my outfit & statement pieces are my favourite way to upgrade what could otherwise be quite a plain ensemble. I especially like to bring out my statement jewellery collection during the Summer when it's often far too hot to throw on more than shorts & a t-shirt. When Happiness Boutique, an online jewellery store based in Berlin, asked me to feature one of their pieces on my blog I was overwhelmed by the vast amount of gorgeous statement necklaces available on their website. I've been looking for something ultra glam to take on holiday with me & I'm incredibly pleased with the necklace I picked out.

This stunning statement necklace is fully decked out with rhinestones & intricate details that really catch your eye. It certainly stood out to me when I was browsing their website. All of their product photos are really clear so you know exactly what your item will look like when it arrives. Most products are also accompanied by many customer pictures so you can get some ideas of how to style each piece. This particular necklace can be styled in so many ways & would work well in many situations. You could wear it to work, out clubbing or on the beach - it really is that versatile. I adore all of the wonderful embellishments on this necklace. With all of the different layers & shapes it almost looks like you're wearing several different pieces at once. Each individual section is beautifully designed & they fit together seamlessly as a whole. It definitely lives up to it's name of being OTT & has the ability to instantly dress up any outfit. Despite being quite large, it's not too heavy & won't weigh you down during the day. It feels very sturdy and has an adjustable chain to suit loads of different styles of tops & dresses.

Happiness Boutique offer free delivery worldwide on all orders & my necklace arrived promptly despite coming all the way from Germany. It was packaged very securely so I wouldn't hesitate to order from them again. I think the price is quite reasonable compared to similar pieces I've seen on the high street & the quality is definitely more impressive. I absolutely love this statement necklace & I look forward to wearing it in Spain this Summer. I would highly recommend checking out Happiness Boutique's gorgeous fashion accessories. Alongside their fabulous range of necklaces they have some beautiful bracelets, earrings & rings too so you're bound to find something you love!

How do you like to style statement necklaces?


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