Thursday 29 September 2016

Scrub Love

Scrub Love Mint Temptation Coffee Body Scrub* - £12.95

As it's National Coffee Day I figured that this would be the perfect time to mention my latest skincare obsession. Due to my issues with acne I spend a lot of time testing out new products & working out a facial skincare regimen that is best for me. However the same cannot be said for my body. I tend to stick to the same old shower products that I know I like & won't irritate my skin. The product that I am fussiest about is body scrub. I only ever use chemical exfoliants on my face but I like something really gritty to exfoliate my body & slough off all that dead skin. I tend to go for salt based scrubs as sugar is just too gentle for me. Coffee scrubs are all the rage at the minute as this ingredient is said to be one of nature's best exfoliators with anti-inflammatory, circulation boosting, cellulite reducing & skin brightening properties. Scrub Love's coffee body scrubs are made from 100% natural ingredients that claim to banish blemishes, eczema, stretch marks, cellulite & many other common skin ailments. They sent me their Mint Temptation Coffee Body Scrub & I am completely in love with it!

The reason that coffee works so well as an exfoliant is that it can buff away dead skins cells without damaging the skin underneath. The high caffeine content stimulates circulation which promotes skin healing & the grinds in this scrub have just the right amount of grit to them for a fully satisfying scrub down. As well as the aforementioned ground coffee, this scrub is packed full of so many other wonderful natural ingredients. When choosing shower products fragrance is really important to me. I tend to go for either sickly sweet, citrus or minty scents so out of Scrub Love's current three recipes, the mint one definitely appealed to me most of all. The gorgeous scent comes from the inclusion of peppermint oil & tea tree oil which feel tingly fresh on the skin and are also natural antiseptics. One of the most exciting ingredients in this product is dead sea salt which not only aids exfoliation but is full of minerals including magnesium & potassium. When I was a kid I used to take baths filled with dead sea salt as it can really help to control eczema flareups & is beneficial for other skin problems too. Argan oil is used to bind all of the dry ingredients together & soften the skin. It is exceptionally rich in vitamin E & essential fatty acids so it will help your skin to look really healthy & glowing. The final ingredient is aloe vera which is also used to soften & moisturise the skin. It soothes dry, sensitive areas & improves skin elasticity.

To use this scrub simply take a handful of the product & gently rub it into your skin in circular motions. You can leave it on for a few minutes to work it's magic before washing it off. In the packet the scrub smells very minty but when used on the body, the scent is predominantly of coffee. After using it I smell like I've drank so many lattes that they've started to seep through my pores! Not a bad thing, unless you don't like the smell of coffee... but then why would you have bought this?! Anyway I've been using it about three times a week to keep my skin feeling super soft & looking beautifully glowy. I also like to use it on my hands & cuticles to prep them before a manicure. I've had no issues with skin irritation & it puts paid to any dry patches. I sometimes get a bit of bacne which certainly isn't very glamourous but this scrub has actually helped to clear up any sporadic blemishes. It gives my skin some of the most intense tingly feelings ever that continue long after I've finished my shower & my bathroom is left smelling like a branch of Starbucks. The Mint Temptation Coffee Body Scrub gets a huge thumbs up for being incredibly refreshing & properly waking me up in the morning. The main downside to this product is that it can cause quite a mess! When I rinse it off the coffee grinds end up all over my bathtub so a little extra cleaning is required after my shower. I don't mind though as skin this soft & hydrated is well worth the effort. Have you tried a coffee body scrub yet?

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Tuesday 20 September 2016

Three Good Things: Nude Eyeliner Pencils

Today I wanted to pen an ode to what I consider to be the ultimate multi-tasking makeup item - nude eyeliner pencils. Back in the day people would use stark white eyeliners in the waterline to make their eyes appear larger. I remember being obsessed with MAC Fascinating Eye Kohl & although it did make my eyes look bigger, it didn't look natural. Then some genius (I have no idea who, but thanks!) came up with the idea of using a nude eyeliner, the same colour as your skin. This has the same eye brightening effect as white eyeliner but it looks a lot subtler & you can use them on more things than just your eyes. They are a staple in my makeup bag & I use them all the time in so many different ways. I wouldn't be surprised if you hadn't used one before as they do seem like quite a boring product but for me they're a complete necessity. First let's compare three of my favourite flesh tone pencils.

MAC Studio Chromagraphic Pencil in NC15/NW20 - £14 / 3g
The product that first started off my love affair with nude eyeliners was MAC's Chromagraphic Pencil in NC15/NW20. This used to be a limited edition product but I do believe it was made permanent last year. I think it's pretty obvious how much I've used this pencil as it's been sharpened down to a tiny nub. This is the cheapest pencil & you get the most amount of product so it's very good value for money. Surprisingly, out of these three eyeliners the MAC one is the darkest & has the creamiest formula. The creamy texture can be somewhat detrimental as it often mixes in with my black liquid liner, creating a grey smudge near my tear ducts. Apart from the greyness, it lasts really well on my waterline but is too dark to use elsewhere on my face.

Illamasqua Eye Colouring Pencil in Vow - £16 / 1.4g
Illamasqua are known for their more out-there products & colours but they do the basics extremely well. In terms of colour this pencil is my favourite as it is the lightest & yellowest in tone. It's a good match for my NARS foundation in Siberia so I can use it anywhere on my face as well as for it's intended purpose. It's definitely the most versatile of the bunch. The pencil blends in seamlessly but it's nowhere near as long-lasting as the MAC or Charlotte Tilbury liners. It also has the hardest & driest formula but that isn't a bad thing at all. It's still fairly creamy but the harder pencil nib delivers precise results & doesn't need to be sharpened as often so you won't need to repurchase it for a long time.

Charlotte Tilbury Rock 'N' Kohl in Eye Cheat - £19 / 1.2g
My most recent flesh tone pencil purchase is this luxurious little number from Charlotte Tilbury. I adore her Rock 'N' Kohls as they glide onto the skin like a liquid & do not budge whatsoever! If you're quick you can smudge them out but after just a couple of minutes they set into place & wear for up to 14 hours with no transfer. As you can see in the swatches at the beginning of this post, I tried rubbing all of the eyeliners five minutes after application. The MAC & Illamasqua pencils blend away with little effort but the Charlotte Tilbury pencil is both smudgeproof & waterproof. It is very pigmented so you only need a little bit but the pencil is super soft & creamy so it does need sharpening quite frequently. This is the most expensive pencil & you get the least amount of product but it offers immense durability.

Each of the pencils has their own strengths & weaknesses but I do use them pretty much interchangeably. To be honest I tend to use the first one that I can find in my makeup bag! The one thing I use them for every single day without fail is to brighten up my waterline. It reduces redness, opens up my eyes & generally makes such a huge difference. I have quite small eyes so if I use black kohl in my waterline it just emphasises their piggy nature. Once I started using nude eyeliner I realised how much bigger & brighter it made my eyes look so now I feel really weird all day if I ever forget to apply it. Another great use for flesh toned pencils is to conceal blemishes. It allows you to be precise & just cover the bits that need to be covered. Many people use brown pencils to drawn on fake freckles, well I use nude pencils to hide the freckles that regular foundation & concealer leave behind. The final reason I love to use nude pencils is to clean up other parts of my makeup. Need to carve out your eyebrows? Got uneven eyeliner flicks? Overdrawn your lips too much? Simply use a flesh toned pencil to correct all of your mistakes & no one will ever question your makeup skills.

Are you a fan of nude eyeliner pencils? If not I hope this post has made some of you realise just how brilliant & useful they can be. I know I certainly couldn't be without one!

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Friday 16 September 2016

Sensitive Teeth Solutions From Sensodyne

Sensodyne Cool Mint Mouthwash* - £4.99

Having sensitive teeth can be a huge pain - literally! Even though I take good care of them, it's simply something that I've struggled with on & off over the years. Tooth sensitivity is caused by the gradual exposure of the softer part of your tooth that lies underneath the tooth enamel, called dentine. Dentine has tiny tubes that lead to the nerve & are filled with fluid. If anything causes a change in the movement of this fluid, the nerve endings react to this which in turn triggers the pain. Many things can set off sensitive teeth including food & drinks that are too hot, cold or sweet but for me the worst thing is the weather. As soon as the temperature drops my teeth react to the cold air & I'll be walking around outside in complete agony. Even getting a scale & polish can set my teeth off!

Whenever I've mentioned any sensitivity issues to my dentist they've always recommended using Sensodyne products. Sensodyne kindly sent me one of their sensitivity SOS packages which has worked a treat to curb any sharp pains. One of their latest releases is this Cool Mint Mouthwash & it's probably my favourite product out of the bunch. It has a lovely minty taste that leaves my mouth feeling really clean & fresh without being too overpowering. What I really like about this mouthwash is that it provides instant as well as long lasting relief to sensitive teeth. The fluoride formula helps to re-mineralise enamel, strengthen teeth & prevent cavities. It has also been specifically formulated without alcohol to be extra kind to sensitive teeth & gums. Including this product in my oral hygiene routine has made all the difference & it perfectly complements the use of Sensodyne toothpaste.

Sensodyne Whitening Repair & Protect Toothpaste* - £4.49
Sensodyne True White Mint Toothpaste* - £7.99
Sensodyne Precision Toothbrush Medium* - £2.99

As I don't have the straightest teeth in the world (wear your retainers people!) I try my best to keep them looking as white as possible. I often use Crest Whitestrips which are brilliant but they do leave my teeth feeling rather sensitive. If you're struggling with tooth sensitivity but still want whiter looking teeth then these Sensodyne toothpastes are a much gentler option. My personal favourite is the Whitening Repair & Protect toothpaste. Not only does it make your teeth look whiter but it actually strengthens your teeth over time. The Repair & Protect range contains patented NovaMin® which is a ground breaking technology originally developed for bone repair. This advanced technology seeks out vulnerable areas & forms a hard layer over them. When used twice daily NovaMin® is clinically proven to not only strengthen & protect your teeth from the pain of sensitivity but it can also help to repair any tiny holes in the dentine. This toothpaste has been a complete godsend when I'm experiencing tooth sensitivity. It's important to keep using it even when your teeth feel okay as the effects are cumulative. I've been using it for several months now & I wouldn't be without it!

The Sensodyne True White toothpaste is their gentlest product & has the lowest abrasion formula ever in a Sensodyne toothpaste. It is 10x less abrasive than many other whitening toothpastes & feels as gentle as brushing with water. It contains 5% sodium tripoloyphosphate which gently removes stains & prevents new ones from forming. This toothpaste helps to restore the natural whiteness of your teeth whilst minimising the wear that many other whitening toothpastes can cause. The formula feels quite different to a normal toothpaste. It has a thinner texture & doesn't foam up very much. I feel like the True White toothpaste is better when it comes to whitening but the tooth strengthening properties of Repair & Protect are much more appealing to me.

I currently use an Oral-B electric toothbrush because that's what my dentist recommends but if you're really struggling with sensitivity you might want to switch to a toothbrush that has been designed especially for sensitive teeth. This Sensodyne Precision toothbrush has silky bristles that gently clean the teeth. It also has a small angled head which allows you to clean all those hard to reach areas with the greatest of ease. If you have sensitive teeth it's important not to brush them too hard. Using a softer brush like this one will be much kinder on your teeth & gums.

I really enjoyed using all of these products & since being sent the sensitivity SOS package I have actually repurchased the Repair & Protect toothpaste and the mouthwash several times. I honestly don't think that there are better products out there for dealing with sensitive teeth & they have become a vital part of my dental care regimen.

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Tuesday 13 September 2016

August Favourites

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Rose Scented Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++
If you still haven't found a cosmetically elegant sunscreen then I implore you to try an Asian sun protection product. Honestly they're well worth the faff of ordering one off eBay. Their refreshing, lightweight & easily absorbed formula will change the way you think about sunscreen. My favourite one is the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel but many people prefer their Watery Essence as the texture is slightly more creamy & hydrating. Neither of them are a gel or an essence so the names are quite confusing. They're both just straight up sunscreens. They normally have a citrus smell to them but Biore recently came out with a rose scented version of the Watery Essence. It's such a gorgeous scent & adds an even nicer fragrance to an already fabulous product.

Pixi Hydrating Milky Mist
Surely everyone has heard of Pixi's Glow Tonic by now but their other skincare products often get overlooked. I've become a big fan of their facial mists & their Hydrating Milky Mist is such a beautiful hydrating toner. It features hyaluronic acid & black oat which help to trap moisture & plump up the skin. Despite being such a lightweight liquid, it deeply moisturises the skin & makes any serums or face creams go on even better. I love using this in my skincare routine, the only downside is that I've worked my way through this bottle rather quickly!

Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay
This face mask is absolutely incredible! I'm always up for trying new face masks but since I bought this stuff, I haven't touched anything else. It's just so effective & so affordable. In this pot you get a green powder which is 100% natural calcium bentonite clay. To make it into a face mask you need to mix it with apple cider vinegar. The instructions say that you can use water but bentonite clay has a highly alkaline pH level which can irritate the skin. By mixing it with acidic vinegar the pH is lowered to a more skin-friendly level. I normally do about two tablespoons of clay with two tablespoons of vinegar. When you apply a thick layer of this mask you can actually feel your skin pulsate as all the impurities are dragged out from inside your pores. The feeling is really unique & very satisfying. My skin always looks quite red when I rinse it off but this soon fades & I'm left with a much clearer looking complexion. It's also great for balancing oil production. I would highly recommend this if you're in need of some deep pore cleansing.

CosRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid
I'm currently in the process of switching out some of my skincare products for Asian beauty alternatives. One product that has completely overhauled the texture of my skin is the CosRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid. CosRX are definitely my favourite Korean skincare brand. Their products have been working really well for me & this chemical exfoliant is the crème de la crème. I am very prone to getting closed comedones & this product has really helped to smooth out my skin. My post-blemish scarring has also been greatly reduced. The AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid features apple water which is a natural AHA along with glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid & niacinamide. It has a bit of a weird fishy smell but after using it for a few weeks I became noseblind to it & the odour doesn't bother me at all anymore. I purged a lot when I first started using it even though my skin is accustomed to AHAs but that shows the potency of this liquid. It is such a wonderful product & easily the best AHA chemical exfoliant I have tried.

Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream
Slugs & snails really gross me out so the idea of rubbing snail slime all over my face was slightly terrifying. However the skincare benefits are real & once I worked up the courage to actually try this product out I was amazed by how baby soft it made my skin feel. Snail slime is renowned for it's magical healing properties as it can smooth the skin, fade acne scars & give you a clearer complexion. There are many snail products out there in the Asian beauty world but I would consider the Mizon Snail Recovery Gel Cream to be a great place to start. It's very inexpensive & fairly easy to get ahold of. It doesn't smell or feel weird at all, it's just like a very hydrating gel serum. Depending on your skin type you can use it before, after or instead of your regular moisturiser. Once you get over the idea that you're putting snail slime on your face, you'll never go back.

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