Friday 20 March 2015

The Difference Between A Purge & A Breakout

When you have acne prone skin adding a new product into your routine can become a complete minefield. We are often told that things have to get worse before they'll get better but really that should only be the case with certain kinds of products. It's very important to recognise the difference between skin purging & a skin reaction. Although it might not be very pleasant, a skin purge should generally be seen as a good thing. Purging occurs when a product speeds up the skin's natural cell turnover rate. This allows anything nasty lurking underneath the skin to come to the surface & be cleared away. A negative reaction can be anything from just breaking out to redness, pain & rashes.

The only time you should experience skin purging is if you've used something with an active ingredient. By that I mean something acid or retinol based. Many skincare brands will mention 'active' ingredients in their products but unless it contains BHA or AHA it shouldn't make you break out. Some people also experience purging with the Clarisonic but after it gave me some broken blood vessels I no longer recommend using such a harsh method of physical exfoliation. I credit acid exfoliants with saving my skin and for the most part I've only had good reactions. My skin is very tolerant of strong acids and they're the only thing that makes a difference to my closed comedones. If you suffer from those stubborn little bumps under the skin, they will most likely never come to a head or disappear without the aid of an acid or retinol product. No purging is necessary for a chemical exfoliant to be considered beneficial. However I see so many people freaking out when they first try an acid exfoliator because it's given them a couple of spots when it might just be the beginning stages of a purge & their ticket to clear skin.

Everyone will react differently to products with active ingredients. Just look at reviews of La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo! I personally never experienced a proper skin purge until I tried Avene's Cleanance K. This hydrating cream-gel product contains salicylic, lactic & glycolic acid. The potent blend of acids obviously had a massive effect on my skin & unearthed clogs that years of using Alpha-H Liquid Gold had barely touched. When I first started using Cleanance K my skin looked like it was getting worse than ever. My chin & forehead exploded and new blemishes kept on appearing in those areas for almost three weeks. At first I had no idea if it was a purge or if my skin just hated the product. I started to doubt my unshakeable faith in acids but one day the purge ended. My horribly congested forehead became perfectly clear & smooth. Cleanance K became a holy grail product for me & then Avene discontinued it in favour of Cleanance Expert which annoyingly is totally lacking in acid content (end rant)! Anyway... in order to figure out whether your skin is purging or just breaking out there are a few things you should ask yourself:

1. Do you normally break out in that area?
If you tend to get acne on your forehead but a product gives you a breakout on your cheeks then it's probably not working for you. Purges mainly occur in your most congested areas as they enable the sebum plugs that were clogging your pores to break through the skin & become whiteheads.

2. What kind of spots are they?
By nature closed comedones are quite small. Therefore as they come to the surface, the resulting spot should also be on the small side. They often turn into whiteheads and feel firmer than those big & juicy blemishes. Gentle cleansing can pop the head & they'll disappear within a day or two with minimal scarring. If your spots look red & inflamed or feel painful then they're just breakouts.

3. How long have you been breaking out for?
Although purges can go on for a long time, they don't last forever. If you've been religiously applying a product for well over a month & your skin hasn't improved in any way, shape or form then it's time to give up. Don't wreck your skin any further, take your skincare routine back to basics and try something else.

On the flip side you can have a negative skin reaction to absolutely anything. It could be a new cleanser, moisturiser, sunscreen or foundation - anything that goes on your face can cause irritation. In this case carrying on with that product won't make things any better & you should discontinue use of it immediately. Always make sure to only introduce one new product at a time as that way you can narrow down exactly what it is that's irritating your skin. Even if a chemical exfoliant is working on your blemishes & scarring, it can still aggravate your skin. A good moisturiser is a necessity after exfoliating & make sure you don't overdo things. A 10% glycolic acid peel every night is just gonna make your face sore.

In short, anything can make you break out. If it has no active ingredients then stop using it. If it does have active ingredients & things don't improve after a month then stop using it. But if you can power through that initial purge, the results are totally worth it!

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Thursday 19 March 2015

Chunky Yet Funky Footwear

I don't think I've ever bought so many pairs of shoes at the same time before! Chunky platform soles are everywhere right now & I couldn't resist adding a few to my shoe collection. I'm only 5'4" and unfortunately I cannot walk in heels whatsoever. Put some stilettos on me & I'd probably only be able to take a few wobbly steps before giving up. Just call me Bambi. I find platforms so much easier & more comfortable to walk in. They give me some much needed height & I don't have to worry about falling over with every step I take. I went for a mixture of ankle boots & shoes because I needed a heel for every occasion. Here are my chunky footwear picks...

Public Desire Shay Black Cleated Sole Chelsea Boots

I think my platform obsession started with the Topshop Allsorts boots. I never really got the appeal until I tried on a pair myself. Despite being ridiculously high they were incredibly comfortable. However Topshop sold out of my size & I generally prefer leather boots to suede so I bought these ones instead. Public Desire have been killing it lately! They have so many awesome shoes available & they're all decently priced too. The Shay boots have that same super high platform as the Allsorts boots and are pretty much exactly the same shoe apart from the material. As these are so high I don't really wear them on a daily basis, they're more of a night out style. I love them all the same though & I'm proud of myself for actually being able to walk in them!

Public Desire Aria Black Ankle Boots

The Aria boots are like the little sister to the Shay boots. They have the same Chelsea boot style but the height is a bit lower and there's less difference between the platform & the heel. These are so easy to walk in! I even managed to wear them in the snow as the cleated sole stopped me from slipping over. I've been happily wearing them every day because they go with absolutely everything. These boots are definitely my favourite out of all the shoes I bought. I'm rather tempted to buy the new white version too!

Public Desire Maddox Black Faux Suede Double Platform Creepers

During my gothy days I used to wander through Camden Market lusting over pairs of Underground creepers. I ended up buying some ridiculous New Rock boots instead & wore them to death. Creepers fit in more with my current style so I finally decided to order some. Again these are from Public Desire as they did ones that come with a double platform sole. I have to admit I feel a bit like Harry Hill when I wear them but I still think they look fab.

Garage Shoes Bella Black Patent Chunky Tassel Loafers

I've always wanted a pair of patent loafers but I'd never found a pair that I truly loved before. The extra chunky rubber sole on this pair sealed the deal for me. I've been wearing these a lot lately when I'm out shopping. They're quite sensible looking so I feel like they would be appropriate for an office environment too. I love the tassel & fringe detailing at the front. Unfortunately the toe space is quite narrow so they do squish my feet a bit. I really love them though so I'm gonna persevere & stretch them out.

The Whitepepper Black Leather Gladiator Boots

As well as beautiful smock dresses, The Whitepepper also make some totally stunning shoes. I got these for half price in their sale & I couldn't be happier with them! Although they have a strappy gladiator style, they feel more like a Winter boot as my feet don't get cold in them. I like wearing them with tights or socks even though they have an open toe. They are brilliant quality & look lovely on my tootsies. I'm still waiting for The Whitepepper to do some kind of discount on their pink walker boots though. They are basically my dream shoes!

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Tuesday 17 March 2015

Currently Loving #4

Barney Butter Cocoa & Coconut Almond Butter
This stuff is basically like crack to me. Barney Butter make the smoothest, creamiest & most delicious all natural almond butter you will ever find. I'm partial to their Cocoa & Coconut variety but they sell some really interesting flavour combinations such as Vanilla & Espresso and Honey & Flax. My go-to breakfast is porridge made with almond milk, mashed banana, chia seeds & good dollop of this almond butter. It tastes heavenly & I've gone through at least five tubs of it since discovering Barney Butter late last year. I normally order mine from The Protein Pick & Mix but it will soon be available to buy from Amazon. I can't even tell you how good this stuff is. If you love almond butter then Barney Butter will change your life. Not even exaggerating!

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
I think that Tina Fey is such an incredible woman so I had to check out her new show Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It has a similar vibe to 30 Rock but is generally a lot more positive & empowering. The show follows Kimmy who was kidnapped by a radical preacher and kept in an underground bunker for 15 years with three other women. They became part of a doomsday cult who were told that the world had ended but one day they are rescued & the preacher is arrested. Kimmy decides to leave Indiana & start a new life in New York. Despite it's rather odd concept, the show is actually really funny & sweet. Kimmy's roommate Titus is definitely my favourite character. His Pinot Noir video & viral TV interview had me cry laughing for a good few minutes. I'd highly recommend checking it out if you want a new comedy to watch. I'm so glad there's finally something to fill the 30 Rock shaped hole in my life.

The Legend Of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D
I've always been a diehard Zelda fangirl. Ever since the release of Ocarina Of Time 3D I've been praying that Nintendo would also revamp Majora's Mask for the 3DS and last month my prayers were finally answered. In this game Link travels to a place called Termina where he is turned into a Deku Scrub by the Skull Kid who has stolen the evil Majora's Mask from the Happy Mask Salesman. The Skull Kid has interfered with so many other people's lives and it's up to Link to get the mask back & set things right again. Majora's Mask is very sidequest heavy as there are only four dungeons in the game. The thing that worries most people about this game is that you only have three days to complete everything before the moon falls down & kills everyone. However with the Ocarina Of Time in hand Link can speed up, slow down & turn back time in order to get everything done within the three day limit. The main mechanic of this game is the masks and Link can collect & wear a total of 24 masks to turn him into different characters. I never had a N64 so this was my first ever playthrough of the game & I can honestly say it's one of the best in the series. It's fast become one of my favourites along with Twilight Princess & Skyward Sword.

Sia - 1000 Forms Of Fear
Ever since Sia's song Breathe Me was used on the final episode of Six Feet Under I've been obsessed with her amazing voice. I am completely in love with her latest album 1000 Forms Of Fear. The singles Chandelier & Elastic Heart are just so powerful, especially when combined with Maddie Ziegler's erratic yet brilliant dancing in the videos. Sia's struggles with addiction & depression have an obvious impact on her lyrics. I'm so glad she's on the right track now. Whenever I'm feeling a bit down her songs help to inspire me & I really enjoy watching her performances even if we only get to see her from behind. I find Sia's songs really fun to sing along to as well. Who doesn't love belting out Chandelier at the top of their voice?!

Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina Eleganza
Isn't this the cutest little perfume bottle you've ever seen? I adore this scent & will be buying a full size bottle as soon as my bank account allows me to. Signorina Eleganza is a luxurious fragrance that celebrates femininity & seduction. It is designed to be a more sophisticated version of the original Signorina perfume. This is such an elegant fruity fragrance. It's girly yet grown up at the same time. It has fresh top notes of grapefruit & pear for a stimulating introduction, almond powder & golden osmanthus petals for a touch of indulgent luxury with base notes of patchouli & white leather. It's quite a strong scent & it lingers on the skin for hours. Utterly gorgeous.

Death Parade
Along with Tokyo Ghoul √A & Sailor Moon Crystal, the only anime I've been watching this season is Death Parade. The premise is that after death humans need to be judged to decide whether they go heaven or hell. In Death Parade this judgement occurs in a bar called Quindecim where the bartender Decim is really an arbiter. Two people who died at exactly the same time are brought together here to play a game. This varies every time with games like air hockey, darts, billiards & even Twister. Neither player knows that they are already dead so when they are told that their life depends on winning the game, it brings out a rather nasty competitive side to each person. These extreme circumstances reveal the inner darkness of their character and makes it easier for the arbiters to judge each soul. It's a really interesting anime as you want to learn more about these mysterious arbiters as well as seeing who will be reincarnated & who will be sent to the void.

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Sunday 15 March 2015

Well Thought Out Twinkles

Dress - George* / Bag - George* / Boots - Public Desire / Belt - Primark
Necklace - Lisa Angel / Bracelet - Lisa Angel / Watch - Michael Kors

A quick look through my previous outfit posts will show you how much I love dressing up. I don't feel the need to wait for a special occasion, I simply feel far more at home in a pretty dress or skirt. I find dresses to be infinitely more flattering on me than jeans & a T-shirt so wearing them makes me feel happier & more confident as a result. Ignore the chronic bitch face I have going on in these photos, this dress brings me so much joy! A black skater dress with a white collar is something that I will never get bored of. I already own several dresses with some kind of variation on this style but there was something about this one from George at Asda that set my heart aflutter. I completely & utterly adore it. I think it was the crochet collar with pearl beading that clinched it for me. George make so many lovely dresses & they have something for every occasion. Personally I would be totally happy to wear this particular dress both during the day & on a night out. You could even wear it to work & just make some small adjustments to take it from desk to disco. All you have to do is change up your accessories. It's incredibly versatile!

To break the dress up a bit I added this gold chain belt from Primark. Black & gold is my favourite colour combination so I used that to tie together the different elements of my outfit. I've always wanted a bucket bag so I chose this one from George. The bag has both a long strap & a handle strap depending on how you want to carry it. I think it's the perfect size because it can hold all the stuff you need during the day but it's not so big that it'll get in the way when you're propping up the bar later on. Recently I've been looking for really dainty pieces of jewellery & I struck gold when I found this little star necklace & bracelet from Lisa Angel. Whenever I really like something I always want to get it in every colour so I'll probably end up buying them them in silver too.

I think that shoes are one of the most important parts of your outfit. They can completely change the tone of what you're wearing. To make this dress more casual I would wear it with some Vans. In fact I did just that when I went to the doctor's last week. This is more of a night out look so I paired it with these huge platform boots from Public Desire. I suck at walking in heels but platforms are a lot more manageable, especially when they have cleated soles. I missed out on buying the Topshop Allsorts boots that everyone in the world seems to own so these are a fab alternative. Do you like to dress up every day or do you save your best clothes for a special occasion?

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Thursday 12 March 2015

MeMeMe Coral Blossom Cheek & Lip Tint

MeMeMe Coral Blossom Cheek & Lip Tint* - £5.50

Spring is almost in the air & as a result I've been opting for brighter colours when doing my makeup. Normally I tend to go for pretty pinks but peachy tones are slightly more natural looking & a great way to quickly perk up the skin. Recently I've been loving this Coral Blossom Cheek & Lip Tint from MeMeMe. I'm a big fan of multipurpose products like this one as they save some room in your makeup bag & they often end up being better value for money. This liquid stain strongly reminds me of Benefit's Benetint range with this orange colour being most similar to Cha Cha Tint. Benetint is often hailed as one of Benefit's best products but I could never quite bring myself to like it's weird old lady perfume scent & bitter taste when used on the lips. I much prefer the MeMeMe version because it doesn't really smell or taste of anything. Not to mention it's a lot more purse friendly! Coral Blossom simply imparts a beautiful peach tint to your cheeks & lips which will last for hours.

Although the colour of this product is described as coral, it definitely doesn't look that way on me. It's a true pastel orange. The formula is ever so slightly thicker & creamier than your average stain which allows you to blend it in seamlessly. Swatched on my hand it looks really pigmented & opaque but it transforms into something else entirely once you apply it to your face. Coral Blossom is actually very sheer but the colour is buildable if you require something a bit brighter. I have a feeling that this colour would work best on those with pale skin like me though because it might not show up very well otherwise. Used on the cheeks it adds a lovely natural flush of colour with a soft, dewy finish. I normally use three swipes on each cheek & blend it in using my fingers. I've tried blending it in with a brush but that tends to remove my foundation underneath so fingers are the way to go. It feels really light & cooling when you first apply it. I love how fresh & healthy it looks on the skin. As it's a stain the colour is really long lasting so you don't need to worry about touching it up throughout the day. This product adds the most perfect warm peachy glow to your cheeks for a bright Summery look all year round.

I really love Coral Blossom as a cheek product but if you're gonna use it on your lips I find that it needs a little bit of help. Without any kind of base it doesn't adhere well to the lips & the colour is almost undetectable. Maybe that's just down to the natural pigment in my lips but I think it performs so much better with a nude lipstick or lip liner underneath. Then you can just pat it on top or apply it with a lip brush to give your lips that same pretty peach tone as your cheeks. In these photos I used MAC Subculture lip liner all over my lips & then applied a wash of Coral Blossom using my Real Techniques Retractable Lip Brush. I think this combo looks gorgeous & the peachiness is a lot more noticeable this way. The liquid stain dries down quickly & comfortably. However it'll mostly disappear as soon as you eat something. Overall I think this product looks stunning on both cheeks & lips but the extra staying power means it works a lot better on the cheeks in my opinion. Are you a fan of these liquid stains or do you prefer traditional cheek & lip products?

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Sunday 1 March 2015

February Favourites

Benefit Roller Lash
Like probably everyone else in the UK, last month I picked up Elle magazine for the exclusive sample tube of Benefit's latest mascara offering. While I do think that a lot of Benefit's products are quite gimmicky & don't really live up to their reputation online, I am completely loving this mascara! Roller Lash is extremely uplifting & holds a curl like nothing else. It manages to coat every single tiny lash & dramatically lengthens my lashes. The formula is super black & stays put all day long. It kinda reminds of the Kevyn Aucoin Essential Mascara but without the fibres. My one issue with Roller Lash is that it can be hard to apply more than one coat so my lashes don't look quite as voluminous as I would like. I tried using Roller Lash as a second mascara last week & I much prefer it that way. I can get the thickness I want from another product & then this mascara on top really amps up the length & curl of my lashes.

Lancome Artliner
Artliner is basically my holy grail liquid eyeliner. I religiously used this stuff for years & after my recent clear out I realised I still had an unopened tube! I swiftly cracked it open & it was a complete revelation. Perfect liner every time. It is quite expensive for an eyeliner but in my opinion it's totally worth the money. I love the pointed nib applicator on this & it applies really smoothly. The pigmentation of the liner is fantastic & it doesn't transfer onto my upper eyelids at all. If you've always struggled with liquid liner then this is the product I would recommend because it is utterly foolproof. It also comes in some really interesting but wholly wearable colours. Black is obvs my fave but I also have it in brown which I think looks lovely with a neutral smokey eye.

Palmer's Skin Smoothing Lotion With AHA/BHA
From a young age we are taught that in order to exfoliate your face & body you need some kind of grainy scrub. I'm glad to see that a lot of people have come round to ways of chemical exfoliation as it's just so much better for your face. However most people still use a salt/sugar scrub on their body, myself included. Well I recently discovered that there are loads of body lotions out there featuring BHA/AHAs and much like acids for your face, these lotions are a whole lot more effective at removing dead skin. I really like this Palmer's Skin Smoothing Lotion. I hate the smell of their regular cocoa butter products but this one is a lot more bearable. It blends together cocoa butter, shea butter, vitamin E, salicylic acid & lactic acid for super smooth skin. It's not very moisturising but the main point of this product is exfoliation rather than hydration. It works wonders on keratosis pilaris & ingrown hairs. It can also help with things like bacne & scarring. Body lotions aren't the most exciting thing in the world but this one is pretty fab.

Swell Advanced Root Nutrient Complex*
I've been using this every time I blow dry my hair & it is such an amazing product. The entire Swell range is designed to provide volume & thickness to fine, flat hair. The Root Nutrient Complex features a unique blend of eighteen active botanical extracts which help to nourish & protect hair at the root. You simply spray it onto your scalp & massage it in. It has made my hair feel so much thicker & stronger whilst giving it some mega volume. My hair was in desperate need of something like this. I'm dreading this bottle running out though because the full size version is so expensive!

Organic Surge Extra Care Hydrating Eye Cream*
Organic Surge make some amazing skincare products and I'm especially fond of their Extra Care range. These products are slightly higher in price than the rest of their skincare but they feature some really high quality ingredients so they're worth the extra expense. This eye cream contains jojoba oil which smooths & moisturises the skin without leaving any oily residue behind. It feels extremely light but incredibly hydrating at the same time. It's suitable for all skin types even sensitive skin. Some eye creams make my eyes water if I apply them a bit close but this feels very gentle. It helps to nourish & rejuvenate the eye area leaving it looking smoother & brighter.

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