June Favourites

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

jun fav 2

Here's a quick roundup of my favourites for June. I can't believe that half a year has gone already of 2015!

Since I've been getting into fitness this year, and I've ran the Nike We Run London 10k just under two weeks ago, I've been adding more to my fitness wardrobe than my normal wardrobe. One of my newest pieces I have fallen in absolute love with, and this is the Alala Scuba Tank Top. For some reason, it makes me feel a bit like a Bond girl when I wear it (I wish!). Flattering, and not too long on such a short person as myself, I'm ridiculously happy I bought this. It's currently on sale at the moment from Fashercise.

Another sportswear piece has made it into my favourites, but that's because it doubles as normal day wear. I am absolutely in love with my Michi NY Kai Tee. With a mesh upper, it shows off some skin, but not too much. It looks great on both when I'm working out, or going out.

A recent purchase which has been added to my daily routine is the NUDE Progenius Milk. This is so light but my skin immediately feels better after putting it on. Read my review of it here.

The warmer months have called out for a lighter touch with my base, so I've gone back to my Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua. For any spots or scarring, I find the Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer a great tool because then I can pinpoint my concealing, and not have to layer up so much. I'm currently testing out an alternative, but this one is my go-to for tackling any dark scarring.

I've got a review due up soon of the Chanel Lumiere D'Ete, but wanted to drop this in quickly into this month's favourites. It's got enough colour for warming the skin, without turning your face into an orange.

Finally, an old favourite of mine, the YSL Le Vernis in Rose Babydoll. I don't know what it is about this colour and YSL nail polishes in general, but I think they are fantastic. This colour is the perfect warmer weather colour to me (and all year round to be honest), I've been happy to be layering this on my nails. It's not the most unique colour out there, but of my stash, this is definitely my favourite of this colourway.

A short mixture of beauty and fitness this month, June has simply flown by! Who else is looking forward to more summery things featuring in their daily routine as the weather hots up for July?

Essences: The new big thing you should start using

Sunday, 28 June 2015

essences 1
As with most skincare trends, the Western world tends to follow the Korea and Japan with its skincare innovations, and it's thanks to them really that sheet masks, double cleansing and of course BB Creams, have become such a big thing over in the West. Considering the amount of time and care that is invested on a daily basis by women (and men) there (the famous 10-15 step face routine), and the investment by companies into the science and development of skincare products, it's no surprise really that we sit up and take note. The trigger for this post was an email I got telling me about some recent essence launches in the UK.

Essences have been included in my skincare routine since mid-last year, when I was reading up on Korean skincare on the internet. I remember seeing a small snippet on it in a paper, and then doing a bit of research. After then reading that Cate Blanchett (one of my favourite actresses ever) included a SKII essence in her routine, I decided the step was a must. Come on, she has amazing skin.

I'll admit, if you feel double-cleansing, acid toning and so forth is a faff, then you might not want to include Essences in as this is another step. I, on the other hand, rather enjoy taking my time with my skin, especially in the evening.

If you do acid tone and then hydrate tone, see the hydrate tone as a pre-hydrate; it's the essence that follows after this step that will give you that extra strong hit of hydration. However, as you can see, essences can be packed into other skincare products, including this recent sunscreen I bought.

I've seen that Kiehl's and Clinique have launched their own essences recently, and now that Muji do skincar, they've also bought essences to the fore in the UK.

If hydration is something of a concern to you , and it probably should be a focus for everyone at least once a week, then now's the perfect time to start using essences. If you have time to paint your nails every week, then you have time to slot an extra 30 seconds into your skincare routine for essences.

Quick and easy coverage: NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF30/PA+++

Saturday, 27 June 2015

nars tinted moisturiser

Yes I know, another NARS product featuring here again. People are going to think I have a problem, aren't they? Seeing as I only got this into my base stash a few months ago, I figured I may as well review the product, especially considering that the warmer weather has decided to grace England with its presence! And I'm going to promise, this will be my last NARS post for a while!

The NARS Tinted Moisturiser is a lightweight but buildable base that feels very comfortable on the skin, with fairly good lasting power. I would say that on an average UK day (ie one that is not especially hot) it stays pretty much in place for about 5 hours in my least oily parts, and then I will need to apply some powder. This doesn't mean it is greasy though, far from it. I would say it gives a rather healthy look to the skin.

I made the mistake of being very quickly colour-matched and buying it on impulse, so I originally took home St Moritz which is far too orangey and dark for my normal skintone. This meant I went back and took Alaska, which is the colour I was originally expecting to match to, and is kind of close to the shade Deauville which I seem to take in all other NARS bases. I'm not too upset though, because I think with the onset of summer and a possible holiday coming up, I should go a bit darker, and will be able to use St Moritz then.

I think that the packaging of a squeezy tube makes this a perfect base to take for travel. I normally go on holiday to Greece with my Greek partner, so I always prefer having a lightweight base for evenings out in the very hot weather. The fact that this tinted moisturiser comes in handy travel-friendly packaging, gives good coverage while not feeling heavy on the skin, makes it a perfect holiday companion.

While I know that the Laura Mercier Oil Free Tinted Moisturiser is very popular, and was a something that I used a lot in previous summers, I think the NARS one may have edged over, mostly because the shade Alaska is a perfect match for me, while the Laura Mercier range tended to be either too pink or too orange for my skintone. I also prefer the fact it is a much lighter feeling base, which means if I use concealer, I don't feel like I have a full-on face.

Though this is labelled a tinted moisturiser, I always do my usual skincare in the morning and finish with a moisturiser before putting this one on, because I treat it more as a makeup product than a skincare product.

If a good coverage tinted moisturiser is on your shopping list for the warmer weather, then I think this one should be it!

Hydrating the skin: NUDE ProGenius Omega Treatment Milk

Thursday, 25 June 2015

nude progenius milk

If you've read previous posts, you will probably know that I've been fighting dehydrated skin. For the past month I've included something in my skincare routine which has sneaked up on me in terms of how much I like it. This is the NUDE Progenius Omega Treatment Milk (seriously, people, can we start shortening names soon? They're just too much of a mouthful). The name might make some people think of it as a moisturiser (that would make it one seriously expensive and small moisturiser then), and it definitely has the feel of a not-so-thick one, but I use it at the serum stage of my skincare routine.

It falls into the natural-ish category of skincare, and smells a bit like bubblegum with a slight herbaly whiff. It comes in a handy square based purple bottle with a pump, which makes me very happy. It might seem a minor thing, but I've always found that square shaped/based bottles are much easier to stack and store, wasting far less space. The pump makes it very easy to dispense the serum for use. The serum itself is a pale yellow colour, and has the consistency of a lightweight cream moisturiser.

Since it is made with natural oils, I've found no problems at all using this. It's very soothing to put on, and it may just be my imagination, but my skin always feels an immediate hydration boost once I've put this on. I definitely felt like I missed it when I didn't bring any with me on my travels. I didn't expect to like it as much as I do, and am so happy I decided to buy it.

In terms of what it does, I would say that it is a much more expensive version of the REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Serum. However, I find the REN a bit heavy going for the warmer months, considering it has the texture of an oil, so I have been using the NUDE Treatment Milk on a twice-daily basis. If your skin is in need of some hydration, then this is definitely one I recommend for the warmer months and all year round in fact!

Laneige BB Cushion Compact

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

laneige bb 3
With the onset of Cushion Compacts in the UK, after the release of the Lancome Miracle Cushion (I wonder if that was driven by Lisa Eldridge, I know that she really enjoys cosmetics and technology from Asia), I recently indulged in not only one, but two cushion compacts from Korean brands. I've shown off my Hera UV Mist Cushion over on Instagram, but recently I picked up the Laneige BB Cushion Compact, and wanted to talk about that first.
Cushion compacts have been a big thing in Korea, the birthplace of many recent beauty trends here in the West, for many years now, and the aim is to offer skin care with coverage while still imparting that all-important glow factor, which is a huge part of Korean skincare mentality.

The packaging is the standard setup for a cushion compact, with a good sized mirror, a compartment with the bb-cream/foundation soaked sponge, and a lid over this compartment where the sponge can sit nicely in. It's a very solid compact, but if you are going to carry it around, I would advise dropping your bag with force if it's at the bottom. The bottom part can be pushed out, so that you can replace the sponge with a refill when you need to-a great idea in my opinion.

I know that most of the time the applicators that come with makeup tends to be discarded or never used, but the sponge that comes with this compact is really good, being both dense but malleable enough to be pressed into the different nooks and 'corners' of your face. You just press the sponge into the cushion, which then picks up some product, and you press/dab/smooth onto your face. I personally find that pressing it in gives the best effect. With this kind of motion, I am able to get a nice amount of coverage, while still imparting some of that glowiness.

In terms of coverage, I will be the first to admit it doesn't hide all my blemishes. If you want to try this one out, you will definitely need concealer if you have any spots or scars. It gives a buildable light to medium coverage. I would say that it reminds me of a slightly less covering NARS Tinted Moisturiser.

What I really like about this product, aside from the fact it's so portable, is that it came with a refill, so once this one has dried out, I have one already spare inside a sealed package, ready to pop in. This is unlike the Lancome version that we have easier access to, which is £29.50 for the initial pack, and £19.50 for a refill.

The Laneige BB cream has SPF 50 in, so it's probably best to avoid flash photography when wearing this.

Shade wise, you might be a bit stuck as there are only 2 shades in the range I bought, but then this is because Korean skin tends to be very fair to medium. I have the shade No 21 in Natural Beige. If you want to try Cushion Compacts and you have darker skin, I would say that Lancome's version might be your best bet.

I ordered mine through eBay (the seller has a physical store as well as through eBay), but you can order yours from YesStyle.

Essie Spring 2015: Petal Pushers

Saturday, 20 June 2015

pedal pushers 1

I know, it's another nail post so soon after another, but considering the spring/summer makeup launches have been out lately, combined with my love for all things labelled 'nail' and 'polish', it was kind of inevitable.

After a couple of high end polish reviews, I thought it would be a good time to bring out the drugstore level ones, and obviously spring/summer launches always brings a new Essie collection for everyone to get excited about. I'm a little late to this year's seasonal launch is a mixture of brights, tanned colours, and one unusually dark shade which I found myself drawn to.

Petal Pushers (labelled 'Pedal Pushers' on mine for some reason) is described by Essie as a 'slate gray with red and blue undertones'. I think we can just say that it is purple/violet toned, which is what you would get if you mixed red and blue together. I personally find the colour a really flattering grey on my hands, and will look forward to wearing this all year round.

pedal pushers 2

The formula feels different to my older Essie polishes, it is a little thicker and even easier to get on. I only needed two coats to get a full look.

If you're looking for a dark-ish grey that will probably match with all skintones, and looks very chic on, then I highly recommend this one.

Summer on my nails: Dior Sunwashed

Thursday, 18 June 2015

dior sunwashed

Each season brings the inevitable onslaught of seasonal collections, and when I say onslaught, I personally really mean it. There are so many lovely things being released all at once, there's just too much choice going on for me. Not to mention it's not healthy for my bank. I do find that I have a tendency towards the nail polishes in each seasonal collection and it certainly turned out that way for the latest Dior Tie Dye collection for 2015. As beautiful as the stand out blushes are from this collection, I just could not justify adding it to my collection because I knew a) I'd find it too pretty to use and b) the MAC Toledo collection Ripe Peach blush was staring at me forbiddingly from my drawer (metaphorically of course). I also have too many eyeshadow palettes not in use to let myself buy a new palette. Nail polishes, on the other hand, always persuade me to invest in these seasonal edits, and after seeing a few snapshots of these on Instagram, I decided to pick up the colour Sunwashed, mostly because I have two other Dior polishes which are very similar to the other two limited editions.

Sunwashed is a lovely happy yellow that does come out a little pastel, which is why the name is so fitting. However , I would say it is more milky than pastel, if that makes sense. I found that the colour was not too pale for my skintone and personally, I think it would suit most tones. It will look great with a tan and is perfectly suited to hotter temperatures, which is what the UK seems headed for (fingers crossed). I did find that for me I needed to layer up quite significantly to get even layers, with 3 on both hands mostly and an extra coat for one or two fingers. I also personally found that by the fourth day of wear, I had wear on the tips and the feathery cracking lines running across some nails. When it gets to that point for me, it's time to remove.

While the longevity of this polish is something I would normally loathe, I find the colour so uplifting and pretty that I'm willing to forgive that and keep layering up if necessary.

I got mine from the Dior store in Covent Garden, but it is available from Boots and House of Fraser still. If you're looking for a yellow that is pastel that still packs a bit of a colour punch, then this might be the option for you.

Another Balm staple: Clinique Take The Day Off

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

ttdo balm 1

Another cleanser staple has been added to my routine. I've mentioned the TDDO balm before, but thought I'd give a quick review, even if it is a short one.

TDDO balm is plain white balm that has no smell. I'm guessing if we had to go for technical descriptions, it's odourless and colourless. Not much to fire you up, right? While it's not wildly exciting to look at, I've been going to this every evening for the past month since visiting the Clinique Skin Lab in Covent Garden, and I'm so happy that I finally have given it a go.

The texture of this balm is very thick, so only a little is needed to remove makeup. When I say remove makeup, I really do mean it. It was able to take off my current heaviest foundations (NARS ADLWF and Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk), as well as a day's trial of Estee Lauder Double Wear with no trouble. I admit that I use a waterproof eye makeup remover, but that is because I use really waterproof mascara that would otherwise refuse to come off. I use this to loosen and take off most of my mascara and any eyeshadow I have on, before going in all over with TDDO. This takes off the rest of my makeup and mops up any eye makeup leftovers, leaving my face ready for my second cleanse.

ttdo balm 2
The fact that TDDO is a fairly greasy balm shouldn't put you off. Any blemishes I have had are hormonal I am sure. This balm is free of practically anything that could set your skin off. It's also good value for money, coming in at £22.00 for a pot of 125ml, which will last you aaages because you hardly need any each time.

If you're looking for something that has bells and whistles, and dances on top of all that, this might not be something you're interested in. This is a balm that gets its job done. If you prefer an oil, there is one in the range, as well as a eye makeup remover, but seeing as I like balms so much, this has been added to my 'Never to be without' list.

My travel beauty bag

Sunday, 14 June 2015

holiday beauty

By the time this post has gone up, I will have arrived in Amsterdam for a short pre-birthday trip. I thought it would be nice for me to show what I'm taking with me when I go. Since this is only for a few days, I'm only taking hand luggage, which obviously means trying to streamline things. This means that preparation is needed, with travel pots, decanting and samples taking centre stage.

In my 'liquid' bag, I've got everything in the main picture. The pot with the blue lid has decanted Clinique TTDO balm, and the other pot has Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel. The 'Cleansing Balm Pot' actually has some Origins Drink Up Intensive in it, which I plan on using when I'm at the airport and on the plane.

In my 'dry' bag, I've got:
1. By Terry Ombre Blackstar eyeshadow in Brown Perfection and Misty Rock
2. NARS Eye Palette in And God Created the Woman (in case we went to a posh restaurant and I need to smoke up the eyes)
3. NARS Velvet Lip Pencil in Red Square
4. NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Isola Bella
5. YSL Volupte Sheer Candy in Pomegranate
6. Anastasia Brow Wiz in Dark Brown
7. Chantecaille 24 Hour Waterproof Eye Liner
8. Chanel Les Beiges Powder in No. 20
9. Chanel Lumiere D'Ete
10. Chanel Le Blush Crème in 64 Inspiration

I have to say that I am so glad that normal lipstick does not count as liquids.

I've managed to streamline the profile of my liquid things, thanks to all the samples I collect and hoard. I adore the little Chanel mascara tube, it's quite funny pulling out a full sized bristle brush from such a small tube. I like to keep my 'dry' stuff in a separate bag so that I can maximise my liquids capacity. Personally, I would love to be able to streamline my liquids even more, but this has definitely been amongst the best it's ever been.

The clear plastic bag is from Boots, ready for inspection, and the black makeup bag is from Muji.

P.S. I did do a little cheat, and made my boyfriend carry a concealer and waterproof mascara for me since he was only bringing a perfume with him. Oh to be as streamlined as a bloke in the cosmetics and skincare department!

A Foundation for a Good Day: NARS ADLWF

Saturday, 13 June 2015

nars ADLWF 1
If you've seen my Instagram (shameless plug, I know! Look up linac89) then you will have seen that I recently purchased the new NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation. Whew, long name, high promise. I'm labelling this ADLWF for the rest of this post. I guess we should applaud NARS for making a foundation that is labelled exactly with their intent. The question is, does it really deliver?
You will be glad to hear that the ADLWF comes in a bottle with a pump. Hurrah! No more need to buy the pump separately anymore. I personally found that annoying, because when I omitted to buy it the first time I bought Sheer Matte and had to return, Space NK were out of stock for a ridiculously long time. With ADLWF, you won't have to worry about that again.

nars adlwf 3
The shades of the ADLWF all correspond to NARS Sheer Glow shades, so if you know your shade with that product, it should be quite easy to find your ADLWF colour. I wear Deauville in Sheer Glow, and got matched to that. I have found that when I put it on at home, it starts off very pale on me, and takes some time to acclimatise to my skin colour.

The ADLWF has a very liquidy formulation. If you've ever used Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, you might have thought that was about as watery as you could get. No, ADLWF is seriously watery. I had the shock of my life, or at least morning, when I took the cap off and shook the bottle as directed. I didn't have my glasses on, looked down and wondered why there was foundation on my hand, before realising it had actually leaked from the pump while I was shaking. Not only had it leaked over my hand and the pump, it had flicked a tiny bit onto my brand new black t-shirt. Grrr. I strongly recommend you keep the cap on while you shake it, which you will definitely need to do, before taking it off to dispense.
nars adlwf 2

Since it is so watery, it goes on very lightly, and does in fact feel fairly weightless on my skin. I did find that if I touched my face at all, it felt a tad tacky with this foundation. Possibly this is because it's trying to stick to my ski for the stated 16 hours? I have yet to wear it for that long to test this out. In all honesty, I don't think there is any day where I would need to wear foundation for that long. I like getting home into my joggers too much to need wearing foundation for that long. The longest I have worn it for was 10 hours, and it held up quite well, with little to no sliding on my dehydrated cheek areas.

For anybody who enjoys a sheerer to medium coverage, then this is not the foundation for you. ADLWF is full, to the point I don't need to wear concealer to cover anything up at all. I am confident enough with this to just go over any areas that need a bit of help with the brush again, stippling any left over formula on. It does however seem fairly luminous, depending on your skin type, and is not completely flat and matte. My (mostly) combination skin seemed to work fairly well with it, so that instead of needing to dab on some powder later on during the day, my t-zone looked glowy in a very natural way. The Sheer Matte which this has seemed to replace had a similar satiny finish, but with less coverage.

So, to round up: All Day? Possibly. Luminous? Check. Weightless? Check. In theory, I should like this foundation, and I probably would if my skin were behaving a bit better. The problem is that I bought this just as my skin started manifesting weird random dry patches. ADLWF is very unforgiving if you have any dry patches, immediately sticking to them and making them very obvious. If you have normal or combination skin, then this is a foundation to try if you're looking for full coverage. If you have dry skin at all, then steer clear.

Chanel Bleu Rhythm: Fortissimo

Thursday, 11 June 2015

chanel fortissimo 1

Chanel have gone and surprised me by launching not one, but two summer collections. While I am waiting for my single pick from the earlier Mediterranee collection to wing its way to me (can you guess what it is?), I had a chance to look in the Chanel store at the new Bleu Rhythm collection. I actually first saw this on social media, and was surprised by this collection because it seems slightly different to the usual colours I associate with Chanel. Also, the name of the collection and the items just seems a bit different to Chanel's usual approach, but I think it's nice to be surprised by the seasonal releases.

I needed less than 5 minutes looking at the collection before I decided on taking the Fortissimo polish home with me. It isn't the most summery colour out there, but I have a bit of a thing for navy blue clothing, and this has extended to my nails. I think most people will be drawn to the much brighter shade Vibrato, but since I've been looking for a perfectly blue navy blue, this was a no-brainer.

chanel fortissimo 2

Deep, with iridescence all the way through, this polish looks just perfect in the bottle and on the nails. The iridescence is visible in natural and artificial light, but in a very good way, because it stops the colour looking too flat and gives it some dimension on the nail surface.

I recently reviewed the navy in the new Barry M collection. At the totally other end of the spend spectrum, I'm mentioning this because I think it was more of a green based blue. Fortissimo on the other hand is very much a blue blue.

I can't speak much for longevity because I've only had it on my nails for two days so far, but it was evenly opaque in two layers. The formula was lovely to apply though, a far cry from the first Chanel polish I own which at first made me swear off of them.

If you're interested in the collection, I suggest you hurry to check them out, as Chanel seasonal collections always sell out very quickly.

The best blush: NARS Douceur

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

best blush combo

I mentioned this briefly I my NARS focus post, and said that this was my favourite blush. That is the absolute honest truth for me. Though I am a big blush lover, and almost always wear some every time I put makeup on, three days out of the five day working week, this blush gets brushed across my cheeks.

It doesn't look particularly exciting in the pan being an almost browny-pink, but it just does things to your face. It contours and adds colour all at the same time, pulling a look together and making your makeup look polished with minimal effort. If you have a darker skin tone, then it probably won't do all that much for you, but if you have fair to medium skin tone (I fall in the medium category), then this blush is a definite great inclusion in your makeup stash.

The texture means that it isn't one to cause a lot of fall out in the pan, and you don't need to worry about putting it on and smothering yourself with it by accident. This is very buildable blush, and also very blendable so it is possible to sheer it out and make it look very subtle. I find I can wear it very lightly when I want to go with a more natural look, but I can add a bit more if I want to pair with a bold lip.

I find I always use this with the Sigma F40 large contour brush which I got in the Sigma Paris Palette, which I'm pretty sure is natural hair fibres as opposed to synthetic (I can't remember ever finding out this information but it feels really different to another version of the brush I got in a travel set, and this is the perfect brush for me with this blush. It's not too big that it smothers my cheeks, fitting my cheek contours pretty much exactly.

The only kicker here is that this blush has been discontinued now. Why, I do not know. I can only hope that they change their mind and bring it back. I may be still fairly far from hitting the bottom of the pan, this is no comfort when you know you can't buy a replacement, or even backup. I know dupes have been found, including the Max Factor Crème Puff Blush in Nude Mauve I reviewed, but nothing beats the original.

I think that 'holy grail' is a phrase that is used too often and sometimes really casually about some beauty products, but my devotion to this blush makes me think this is my one true HG product. It's just fate that it would be one that's been discontinued. So while I gently weep each time I gently swirl my brush in the pan, any sure-fire recommendations will be most welcome. Just excuse me if I bring tissues to mourn in the meantime.

Skin thoughts #2

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Today's post is another 'Skinthoughts' post. I'm thinking about keeping these as a semi-regular series where I write about a topic on skin/beauty that has gotten my brain contemplating something or other. This time round I wanted to talk about being in touch with our skin's needs on a regular basis.

We all tend to classify ourselves as a category of skin type, or rather with our concerns. I'm combination blemish-prone with dehydrated skin (whew, that's a mouthful when I have to speak to someone about my skin). You might be dry, or oily with dark spots, and so on. Yes we do tend to towards one or two concerns, and that's how we tend to gear our approach to our skin.

However, some days our skin defies everything we think about it and just won't play ball. Recently, I've had some random dry patches that showed up out of nowhere and were causing havoc when I applied makeup. Luckily for me I had things already that could deal with that, but it got me trying out a relatively daily approach to things. For those days that were dry, I put on an oil in the morning as well as the evening. I also pulled out a manual exfoliant sample of all things to put a little more effort into getting rid of those dry patches. Now that they're mostly gone, I've gone back to trying to hydrate my skin.

If you're able to or just happen to love playing around with skincare, maybe try and look at your skin each morning when you wake up and consider what it needs that day rather than going "I've got this skin issue, so I'll use this". Boxing yourself completely might not be fulfilling what your skin needs. Try and take a little time to notice what's on your skin agenda for the day. Also, nothing wrong with altering a routine just to jazz things up.

In with the New

Saturday, 6 June 2015

new routine
In this two parter post, I've already covered off what I've taken out of my face routine after a quick chat with Caroline Hirons. Now I'm going to talk about what I've introduced after going through her recommendations and thinking about what my skin needs.

Some of these are completely new introductions, others are things I've actually been using for a while, and others ar re-introductions of things I've had lying about unused.

1. Clinique Take The Day Off Balm. This was described to me as a pot of grease, and frankly, that's what it is. It's like a cross between a more face-friendly Vaseline meets a giant tub of emulsifying ointment which you might have encountered if you suffered from eczema. I've been using this as my 'first' cleanse when I'm back in from work or a day out. This has taen the place of my micellar water and my original first cleanse (which in recent months was the Chantecaille Rice and Geranium Foaming Cleanser).It was odd at first using this to take my makeup off, and I'm still working on how much is the perfect amount to scoop out to cover my face in one go (who likes putting their hand back in when it's already covered in greasy balm and makeup?)However, despite the initial weirdness in routine change, I've switched over fairly well and find it almost fun using the TTDO balm to remove makeup. The TTDO balm is pretty inoffensive stuff being non-scented and just a white balm as described before, and though it might look a bit dull in the pot, the fact it liquifies makeup when you massage it in makes it kind of fun. I'm pretty happy with this switchup.

2. Clarifying toner. I've been using acid toners since I became interested in skincare, but never really looked that much into clarifying toners. I have had the REN Clarifying Toner but was happier using the Pixi Glow Tonic because I knew what that was doig. With a Clarifying Toner,it's aimed at fighting blemishes. As I'm dealing with blemishes, while having dehydrated and relatively sensitive skin, I think I will probably either use this once a day or alternate days. I have the Clinique Mild Clarifying Lotion Toner in my sights for when my bottle of REN has finished, mostly because it has Salicylic acid in for spots while still being gentle so that it won't dry my skin out.

3. Hydrating serums. I'm dehydrated. Give me hydration! I'm reintroducing Hydraluron for this simple fact, as well as looking into serums that give a hydration boost. I alreaedy have the Chanel Hydra Beauty Serum, but I'm hoping to add the Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum that was recommended by Sali Hughes in the Guardian (Escentual are due to have a 1/3 off French Pharmacy products beginning June, I might wait for that!). If anyone else has recommendations they'd be much welcome.

4. Light but hydrating moisturiser. The Clinique Moisture Surge moisturiser has been recommended to me, especially for day use, because it's a watery hydrating moisturiser that doesn't smother the face. I haven't yet added this into my routine yet mostly because I have a ton of moisturisers in my cupboard and can't quite justify chucking out the other spare moisturisers in storage, so in the meantime I'm using a large sample of the Clarins Hydra Quench moisturiser I received from an event at Harvey Nichols.

5. Targeted Spot Approach. As opposed to tackling my blemish problem with all-over solutions, I've decided to focus my blemish fighting with just one product in combination with clarifying toners. I've been using the Evologie Blemish Serum for some time for targeted approach and it's seemed very effective. I'll be dedicating a whole post to this product at a later date.

6. Oils. I've been using oils in my face routine for a while, including the Pai Bioregenerate Oil. This is one I'll be keeping up. I've also been meaning to get for the longest time the Clarins Lotus Oil, but since this is aimed at clarifying, I don't want to go overboard with the clarifying, so I will change this wishlist product to the Clarins Blue Orchid Oil. I've also had the Aesop Fabulous Face Oil for some time, which I've decided to reintroduce. This goes on surprisingly matte (unless you whack on loads that is) so I've been using this in the morning with a bit of moisturiser before makeup.

7. Vitamins. I already took omega oils as a supplement, originally starting off with Fish Oils, before changing to Flaxseed. I've been a bit lazy with these lately, mostly because I haven't gotten round to replacing my empty bottle. Personally I've found Fish Oil to be more effective than Flaxseed, so I'm placing my order for Fish Oil as I type.

I'm still working on the tweaking towards a gentler and more hydrating routine without breaking the bank. I'm not expecting overnight results, but I'm hopeful that things will start making improvements now that I'm rethinking my skin approach.

Out with the Old.....

Thursday, 4 June 2015

old routine
If you've read my previous post on being kinder to yourself about your looks/skin, then you'll know I met the skincare goddess herself, Caroline Hirons, at the Clinique Great Skincare Lab in Covent Garden last week. I queued up after work to snatch 5 minutes with her for a quick chat. And though I needed the toilet desperately while I waited (I wasn't the only one risking it in order to get some skin chat time in), it was very much worth it.

So what else did I come away with, other than a slightly healthier attitude to my skin? Well, the following: 1. the knowledge that I don't have full on blemished skin.
2. my skin is STILL dehydrated
3. I am probably over-cleaning my skin
4. my current beauty regime could do with tweaking

With this in mind, and a veto on what I'm doing or including in my routine from Mrs H herself, I've had to rethink a few things or exclude them entirely.

One is dropping Bioderma or any micellar water as makeup remover. Originally when I came home, I would get out the Bioderma and use that as my makeup remover, before going onto double cleanse with actual cleansers. I know that some people consider this a first cleanse, but because of the texture and feel of it, I never did, which meant that in essence I triple-cleansed. This no doubt hasn't been helping my dehydrated state, so I've ditched this step and go straight in with a cleansing balm that can take off my makeup. I admit, I still use eye makeup remover because I wear waterproof mascara and liner which I want to make sure is completely removed, but otherwise I've found taking the micellar water step out of my routine a happy transition. The first day was odd, but after that, it's been natural to forget Bioderma entirely.

Next, I was advised to drop my Chantecaille Rice and Geranium Foaming Cleanser, as though they are nice ingredients, they are too stripping for my skin. In all honesty, I wasn't that upset with this advice. This cleanser is something I have not been enjoying at all since I've bought it. It has to be one of the most boring cleansers known to man. Not that I'm expecting a cleanser to get up and dance, but you know, you want to be able to enjoy your skincare, and frankly this was just so dull to use! I was only using it to try finish it and justify the cost of it, but now that it's been confirmed as not good for me, I'll happily retire this.

Included with this is the Chantecaille Flowers Harmonizing Cream that I wrote (whinged) about in a previous post. This was deemed too heavy for my skin, without addressing the dehydration issue. Again, another boring product that I saw no results from, so I'm happy to have a proper excuse to rid me of this one, even if it does mean money down the drain.

Now here's one that I am actually a bit sad about, because I was very happy having this in my routine, and this is the Vichy Normaderm Detox Nightcream. Though this is probably light enough for my skin, I bought this when I was in my full-scale "I have spots so I will attack my whole face with spot fighting products" mode, and though I enjoyed this while using it because it was light and not smothering, it wasn't helping my dehydrated state. I think I will keep this for when I am feeling excessively spotty, and maybe target moisturise those areas, but otherwise this has been retired from daily use.

So, there you have it, a few things I'm not fussed about losing from my routine and an adjustment to how I go about doing things. This will be a two-parter skincare post, so come back in a few days time to see what has been introduced into my routine instead.

May Favourites

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

may favourites

May has been and gone already, whew! I don't want to even think about how quickly this year is going (too scary a thought), but one thing I'm looking forward to is that it's my birthday this month, I have a trip to Amsterdam planned which I' m very excited about.

Anyway, May's favourites are being shown today. Due to a bit of a glitch in schedule they're a few days later than planned. My selection is quite streamlined, mostly because I've been trying out new things, and also battling random skin issues at the same time, so I don't have many consistents for May.

First up is the combination of Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom & Honey with the Blackberry & Bay scent. Though I've always really enjoyed Nectarine Blossom and Honey on its own, and always take this cute little bottle with me when I travel, but never really gave Blackberry & Bay that much time of the day. It was only after reading on Tamira Jarrel how she combines it with the Blackberry & Bay did I give the combination a go, and wow. It is a lovely combination that pairs the warmer and slightly juicier fruitiness of peachiness with the floral and, for me, slightly honey scent of the Blackberry & Bay together. I don't think it will replace my beloved Wood Sage and Sea Salt which I adore, but since my Wild Bluebell (can you tell I love Jo Malone perfumes?) is almost finished, the Nectarine and Blackberry combo may become a permanent and larger bottled purchase for the warmer months.

Next up is my Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet. Now I know most people go for the Vitalumiere Aqua, which I have and enjoy a lot, but lately my skin has been needing a little help and for some reason, the Perfection Velvet has just been doing it for me. Although it seems to go on with a weirdly gritty feel, it sits so evenly and comfortably on my skin for the rest of the day. It also never looks completely flat on me, which with matte finish foundations is always a risk. Instead, perhaps because I have combination skin and am oily in some areas, I definitely do get a luminosity in areas that looks very natural at the same time. I take the shade B20.

Finally, and a non-beauty favourite, it's my Nike Lunareclipse 5 trainers that I purchased at the end of last month. I have been training for the Nike We Run London race, and have been needing a new pair of trainers for the event. I had to buy some support shoes to factor into my running again, and got recommended these ones after a gait test. After debating between the colour choices, I opted for the brightest pair I could find. It's been love this month wearing these. Easy to break in, and in such a cheery and motivating colour, I've been enjoying myself in these a lot.

Not the longest favourites list in history, but definitely a well-tried and very happy list of things I've enjoyed for May. Now if only the sun and warmer weather would come for the best month/birthday month.