Thursday 16 August 2012

Favourite Face Masks

REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask, Bliss Steep Clean Pore Purifying Mask, Liz Earle Deep Cleansing Mask

These are the masks I rely on if I'm suffering from any breakouts. They all help to clear up my skin, shrink my pores & reduce any blackheads. My favourite one is the REN Invisible Pores mask. This is a fairly recent purchase but its worked wonders on my skin and clears up blemishes the fastest out of any other mask I've tried. Its a traditional clay mask that dries to a hard finish and weirdly you can see where all your pores are all over your face! If I could recommend any one mask, this would be it. I'm a big fan of Bliss skincare products and had two of their facials when I visited New York. Their facials are amazing as they're very technical and they give you very thorough extractions where they manually squeeze gunk out of every pore without leaving a single mark! The products they sell are the same ones they use in their spas and I had this mask applied during one of my treatments. The product comes with a dual pump where blue and green gel come out of either side. You mix this together to activate the exfoliating enzymes and rub it all over your face. It dissolves all the dead skin cells & deep cleans your pores leaving your face looking clearer & feeling softer. The Liz Earle mask is another clay mask but this one is a lot runnier than the REN one. Upon application it is instantly cooling and tingles slightly until it dries. It does a great job of clearing up spots and I like this one because it contains manuka honey which is great for calming and soothing the skin. The little facial sponges it comes with are pretty fab too.

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask, Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask

I'm sure we all get those times where your skin just looks dull and tired. I like to use these two masks to perk up my complexion and bring some life back to my skin. The REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal mask is pretty much an all-rounder. It contains 6.5% glycolic acid which is a brilliant ingredient also found in Alpha-H's Liquid Gold. It helps to clear up spots, fade scaring and shrink pores. It also contains fruit acids which help to brighten your complexion and make your skin look radiant. The orange jelly consistency helps to hydrate the skin and plumps out any fine lines leaving your skin feeling super soft. REN recommend using this mask one night and then using the Invisible Pores one the next to get the maximum clearing effects. The Bliss Triple Oxygen facial is world famous and this mask provides you with the effects of that facial at home. Its an orange gel that foams up as you apply it to your face. This, combined with the vitamin C it contains, delivers the oxygen your skin which instantly makes your whole face look brighter and feel tighter. Blemish-causing bacteria are anaerobic, which means they are unable to survive with oxygen present so its really good at getting rid of blemishes too. This was always my face mask of choice following a messy night out. I find that it can be quite drying if you use it too much so I try not to opt for this one too often but my skin loves it when I do.

Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Recovery Masque, Origins Drink Up Intensive Mask

My whole skincare routine used to be comprised of Dermalogica products. I've found better and cheaper products from other skincare ranges now but there are still a few hero products of theirs that I love. This mask is one of them. This tube is the old packaging which was horrible but they've now changed it to a normal plastic tube. Its basically a thick orange cream that becomes a gel on your face as it sets. It contains tons of vitamins and anti-oxidants which help to soothe irritated skin and restore moisture. This mask is ideal for mature or prematurely aging skin but I love this for when my skin is looking and feeling a bit dry. Apparently Victoria Beckham is a huge fan of this product too and always uses it after a long flight. If you're a regular blog reader I'm sure you've heard plenty of people rave about this Origins mask. This is unlike any other mask I've tried because you have to leave it on overnight. Its quite a thick gel-like mask but it soon sinks into your skin so you don't have to worry about getting it all over your pillow case. I don't think it gives you the immediate results that normal masks do but after using this for a couple of weeks I've noticed that my skin feels a lot more hydrated and plump the next morning. Its a brilliant product for anyone with dry or dehydrated skin and I'll definitely be taking it with me next time I go on holiday.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Daily Skincare Routine

Following a bad experience from trying the new YSL foundation I've had a bit of a skincare shakeup to cure my heavily blemished skin. The result is that I'm currently really happy with my skin's texture and appearance. I thought I'd share the products that I've recently been using and loving. For reference my skin type is combination with an oily t-zone & dryer cheeks, prone to blemishes and slightly dehydrated.

REN Mayblossom T-Zone Control Cleansing Gel, Caudalie Beauty Elixir,
Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching Serum, Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50+

In the mornings I try to keep the products down to a minimum. Partly because I don't have much time to get ready and partly because I'm gonna pile a ton of makeup on top of my face anyway. A good cleanser is probably the most important step and at the moment I adore this gel cleanser from REN. Its meant for combination to oily skin types and does a brilliant job of balancing out your skin without stripping it. It helps to unclog my pores and leaves my skin looking clearer and brighter. It foams up just the right amount. I sometimes use this with my Clarisonic but it works just as well without it. I then give my face a generous spritz of Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I'm sure everyone has heard about what a fab skin refresher this is and I love how it works on my skin. I've gone through three big bottles of this now and its something I couldn't live without. A recent addition is the Caudalie Vinosource SOS Thirst Quenching serum. I tried a sample of this in a Glossybox and really liked it. When I went for my facial last month I was told that my skin was a bit dehydrated so I decided to purchase the full size one and its definitely helped to replenish my skin. I finish off with two small pumps of my Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50+. Its perfect for my skin type and gives me the high sun protection that my skin so desperately needed.

Makeup Removal
Bioderma Créaline H2O, Boots Botanics Face Soothing Cleansing Balm

What I use to remove my makeup depends on how lazy I'm feeling. If I want something quick and easy then Bioderma is the way to go. A few cotton pads full of this will remove every trace of makeup on my face with ease, even when I've piled on the mascara. Sometimes I feel like my face needs a more thorough clean so I remove a bit of my eye makeup with Bioderma and then I use this Botanics cleansing balm. I really like this balm as massaging this into my face feels wonderful. I use a Liz Earle muslin cloth to remove it from my face and it leaves my skin feeling really smooth and does a fab job of cleaning out my congested areas. Sadly Boots have just relaunched their Botanics range and the ingredient list of this product has now changed. I have no idea if the new cleansing balm is as good as this one but I sure hope so. I fell out of love with Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish as I felt it wasn't really doing anything for my skin anymore. This balm was better, cheaper and made my skin so much nicer. Perhaps because this is more akin to the Eve Lom cleansing balm that Liz Earle tried to emulate long ago.

REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser, Caudalie Beauty Elixir, Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentré,
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil, Alpha-H Liquid Gold

At night is when your skin your skin repairs itself so this is when its most important to provide it with some TLC. I begin with another REN cleanser in the form of the ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser. This range of REN products is meant for blemish prone skin so it helps to clean out any impurities in your skin, shrink pores and clear up blemishes. Its really creamy and relaxing to massage in. It definitely helps to soften and calm my skin. Its so refreshing to find a skincare range for blemished skin that doesn't strip your skin or leave your face feeling tight. I either remove it using my Clarisonic or a Liz Earle muslin cloth. I then treat my face to some more Caudalie Beauty Elixir. I rotate the next few products throughout the week. Most nights I use some of my Embryolisse moisturiser with a few drops of Advanced Night Repair mixed in. I tend to use the Clarins Lotus Oil once or twice a week to give my skin an extra boost of moisture. This oil is suitable for combination or oily skin so you don't have to worry about this product breaking you out at all. Twice a week I use my holy grail skin product - Alpha-H Liquid Gold. I've raved about this product enough but this is just so good at clearing up any spots you have (including those that lie deep under the skin such as closed comedones), brightening your complexion and reducing scarring.

Theres some other bits and bobs I use once a week such as masks & spot treatments but those will be coming up soon in separate posts. I hope this helps some of you with combination skin as it can be difficult to find the right products for this skintype.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Balmi Mint Flavour Lip Balm

I've been desperate to try the EOS spherical lip balms for absolutely ages now but they're really hard/expensive to get over here. Balmi is a new lip balm that is pretty much a rip off of the EOS concept but for me its definitely a welcome new product on the UK market. I saw these on a few blogs over the last week and headed to my local Boots where I bought it for £4.99. It comes in several flavours but as I have an aversion to really synthetic tasting lip balms I decided to go for the classic mint flavour.

The balm itself is really moisturising and leaves my lips feeling soft and looking shiny. The mint flavour is really refreshing and doesn't taste overly fake at all but it doesn't last very long. It disappeared after about 10 minutes whereas the balm lasted until I ate something. This product contains SPF15 so it'd be great for taking on holiday with you. I really like the packaging and I find that the shape makes it really easy to apply. Its so much more hygienic than sticking your finger in a pot. The little key chain part is a nice added bonus and the cute design makes me want to collect a few more to adorn my keys with. Considering the nice packaging and ease of use I'd say that a fiver is a fair price for this product. The strawberry and coconut flavours are definitely next on my list.

Monday 13 August 2012

July Favourites

Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50+
Alpha-H's Liquid Gold is my ultimate skincare product. But when you use glycolic acid on your skin you need to wear SPF on a daily basis which is something I've always struggled to find good products for. I really wanted a moisturiser with a high SPF built in to save piling on SPF and moisturiser separately. The team at BuyaPowa very kindly used my suggestion of this moisturiser as one of their 'blue skies' co-buys and I immediately snapped it up. I'm so glad I did because its the best product with SPF I've ever used. It doesn't smell, it doesn't leave a white cast, it doesn't make my skin look greasy, it hydrates my skin perfectly and it sits well underneath my makeup. Its pretty much a dream product.

REN Invisible Pores Detox Mask
This has been a bit of a life saver this month! I was so eager to try out that new YSL Touché Éclat foundation and I was totally loving my little sample bottle because it looks so beautiful on the skin. But it gave me one of the worst breakouts I've had in my entire life! The entire bottom half of my face was just covered in spots and it looked horrible. This mask really helped to save my skin. Its a fab clay based mask and its so good at clearing up spots. When it dries you can see where all your pores are around your face which is kinda freaky and cool at the same time. It tightens large pores and leaves my face feeling so clean and smooth. My breakout from hell was gone within a couple of days and I really think that this was the reason why they went away so quickly.

REN ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser
I've become a bit of a REN convert this month. I got fed up of buying cheap crappy cleansers that were doing nothing for my skin and purchased two REN ones instead. This cleanser is different to any others I've tried in that it contains clay so its almost as if you're getting the effects of applying a clay mask but in a gentle daily dose. Its so calming on the skin and effective at getting rid of spots without drying out your skin whatsoever. Perfect for combination blemish prone skin like mine.

V05 Hot Oil Moisture Soak Elixir
I go swimming with my daughter every week and my heavily bleached barnet is not a big fan of chlorine. It started to take it toll and was really drying out my hair. I saw this recommended on a few blogs and decided to purchase a tube. This really helps to restore the condition of my hair and apparently it helps to get rid of 75% more chlorine than shampooing alone. Its so much easier to use than the hot oil tubes that you have to warm up before applying but with just as good effects. It only lasts me three shampoos though. I've already repurchased this twice because I love it so much.

Illamasqua Naked Rose Blusher
I've not actually been buying much makeup lately, shock horror! My focus is definitely on skincare at the moment because I feel like yet another pink lipstick isn't really what I need or want to spend money on. The only new collection that I've actually been excited by was Illamasqua Naked Strangers. The colours in this collection are all gorgeous nudes and I was instantly drawn to this beautiful blusher. Its a lovely beigey pink colour that is super flattering and unlike any other blusher I own. Like all Illamasqua blushers it is soft, easily blendable, highly pigmented and long lasting. Its pretty much all I've worn on my cheeks this month.

Breaking Bad
This is a show that for some reason I ignored for years. I'd always heard good things about it but it was only a few weeks ago that I decided to watch it for the first time. I'm so glad I did because it is one of the best television shows I've ever seen. The show revolves around the life of Walter White, a middle aged chemistry teacher turned meth cook/general badass upon discovering that he has lung cancer. He wants to raise money for his family before he kicks the bucket but, of course, the world of drug dealing is pretty crazy so its a bit of a bumpy ride. We've been marathoning the whole show and have just started watching season 4 now. Walter becomes more badass as each season passes and its insane watching the lengths he'll go to provide for his kids. Definitely check this out if you haven't already, you won't regret it!