Monday, 27 April 2015

what is the a to z blogging challenge


OK, so technically speaking, the challenge isn’t over for a few more days but I’m calling it a day.

Call me a cop out, a quitter, a flop, whatever you will, but for me, the challenge is over. I’ve loved the challenge, I’ve loved posting more frequently and I’ve loved being able to share what I know and learn along side with you about all things skincare.

BUT

You knew this was coming, there’s always a but.

I thought setting myself a theme would make the challenge easier than last year and would give it a bit of consistency, which it did in the beginning but by the half way point, it was starting to bore me. I started to have all these new post ideas that were totally unrelated to skincare and I couldn’t work on them…because I had to work on alphabetised skincare posts.

Fail.

5 things the April A to Z Challenge has taught me:

Sometimes, having a theme isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It did make the planning easier but I felt so restricted to what I could and couldn’t write about it, I missed the freedom and spontaneity.

Scheduling posts in advance is the way to go! I try to schedule most of my posts each week but I’m used to only putting up 3 - 4 posts. Trying to get 6 posts ready in advance was ok when I was on top of it, but as soon as I fell behind that was it, all the dominoes came crashing down on top of my head and it’s been a headache ever since!

Daily posting is fun. I’ve actually really enjoyed putting up a post most days, probably because I haven’t done so for a while. I’m not saying it’s going to become a thing around here anytime soon (unless you all beg haha), but if the hamster keeps running and churning out ideas, I might do something about them!

Social media tools are my new best friend. I’ve been using HootSuite on and off for a while to schedule tweets but I wasn’t using it half as much as I’ve been doing during April. Now that I’m using it more and starting to dive into all its nooks and crannies, I’ve seen a huge rise in traffic! 

I will be back next year! I feel as though I missed out a little this year with the A to Z Challenge. I missed the sign up, I didn’t get to visit half as many other challengers blogs as I would have liked, and bowing out early is niggling at me. This is the second time I’ve attempted the challenge and I’ve failed both times. I did make it to the end of the challenge last year but I did miss out a few letters. Next year will be my year! 

Did you take part in the April 2015 A to Z Challenge? How did you find it? 

Until next time,





Saturday, 25 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge: Understanding your skin type!

whats my skin type


When it comes to skincare, one of the most basic things we need to get right before we buy a single product is to understand our skin type. To understand it (and know where to start Googling!) we need to know what skin type we have. Though it’s not the most comprehensive list (Hey, I’m trying  to waffle less!), it’s not a bad place to start. Simply go down the list and see under which type to do you tick the most boxes. 

Oily skin

  • Large pores
  • Shiny t-zone with blackheads and blemishes
  • You feel as though you could fry an egg on your face.

Dry Skin

  • Small pores
  • Dull complexion
  • Somedays, you feel like a snake shedding it’s skin there’s so much flakiness.

Normal Skin

  • Few to zero breakouts and blemishes
  • Bright, even complexion
  • What I would consider a rare breed of ‘lucky b@st@rds’ :P

Combination Skin

  • A combination of two or more of the above, e.g you could have an oily t-zone but normal, happy skin everywhere else on your face, thus you’re a normal/oily combination. Personally, I find that combination skin also changes with the seasons, so over winter I’m dry/oily, but for the majority of the year i’m normal/oily. 

Sensitive Skin

  • An intolerance to fragrance in products
  • Using certain products causes redness, itchiness, or even a burning sensation. 
  • Can be related to other skin issues, e.g psoriasis or eczema. 


Once we know what skin type category we’re currently falling into; it can change with age, puberty, time of the year, even our time of the month, then we can start focusing on buying the right products to look after our skin. 

What’s the point in using a mattefying lotion on dry skin? Or a thick, hydrating overnight treatment on oily skin? If we have sensitive skin, we need to know what to avoid, and it we have combination skin, well, we might need to invest in multiple products to target each variation of our combination.

What skin type are you? 

Until next time,




#AtoZChallenge: True or False?


true or false skincare myths

Can you tell the fact from the fiction when it comes to skincare? Do blackheads mean you have dirty skin? Does a higher SPF mean you can stay out in the beer garden longer without risking skin damage? Does your skin adapt to products to the point where they stop working?

Let’s see how well you did!

The higher SPF, the longer you can stay out in the sun.

False. 

You still need to apply sunscreen every 2 hours when you’re out in the sun. The SPF factor on the bottle is basically telling you what percentage of UVB (the rays that cause sunburn and and contribute to skin cancer) rays are blocked. The higher the SPF, the higher the percentage;

  • SPF blocks 93%
  • SPF 30 blocks 97%
  • SPF 50 blocks 98%

It’s recommended you use at least SPF 30, apply every 2-3 hours when in direct sunlight and look for facial moisturisers that protect from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause skin damage and wrinkles!

Your skin adapts to products and they eventually stop working.

False.

Eating apples are good for you. Does that mean if you eat one everyday the apples will stop being good for you? The same thing goes for skincare. If a product is working for you, then suddenly isn’t working as well as it used to, it’s probably not down to your skin suddenly developing an immunity to it’s awesomeness. Chances are, something else has changed. Your diet, your hormone levels, maybe the product has gone out of date? They might have even changed the formula since you last bought it. 

It could even be that you’ve just been using the product so long that those initial results you first saw have become a permanent feature so there’s nothing for the product to actually ‘fix’. 

Blackheads mean your skin is dirty - so scrub them away!

False.

When your skin gets too oily, the oil tries to push up and out through the pores. If the pores are filled with dead skin cells and debris, the oil gets caught up in it, causing a kind of plug. When the plug reaches the surface of the skin, it oxidises and turns black. 

Using a normal facial scrub/exfoliate will removes some of the more visible surface dirt but it won’t clean out the pore deep down, which will cause the blackhead to form again. 

Using a clay face mask twice a week on affected areas will help to physically pull the dirt up and out of the pores that is causing the blackheads.

Rubbing your eyes can cause wrinkles.

True.

Rubbing your eyes and squinting a lot can speed up the appearance of wrinkles around the eyes. That being said, so does smiling, who wants to look line-free and miserable at the same time? No thanks!

Skin naturally looses firmness with age and wrinkles form in the areas that have been moved and squeezed the most. Naturally, being the expressive creatures that we are, the skin cells around our eyes will get squeezed more so than other areas.


You can shrink your pores until they vanish.

False.

Pore size is determined by genetics and you can’t physically change the size of your pores no matter what the latest lotion or potion says. Pores can look bigger than they are if they’re all clogged up, so keeping them clean will minimise their appearance, but we’re stuck with em for life!

Eating junk food will cause acne.

True.

OK, the jury is still out on this one. Technically, there are no studies that have managed to 110% relate junk food to acne but personally, I’m going with true. I know from personal experience that when I have a binge fest on junk food, take aways, and alcohol over a couple of days my skin starts to look crap. I get breakouts, mostly on my chin and nose, and my complexion looks pale and tired. Maybe you’ve noticed this in your skin too, say after a long, indulgent weekend away with friends? One McDonalds meal isn't going to cause me to breakout over night, but having several take aways in a week does have an adverse affect on my skin at least!

Do you have any skincare myths that need busting? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,



Wednesday, 22 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge: Simple

simple skincare

My skincare journey started with Simple. 

When I first started venturing down the skincare and beauty aisles, the first products I ever remember buying with my pocket money were from Simple. My first cleanser, toner, moisturiser, night cream, face mask, you name it, if Simple had it on offer, it was theirs I always started with and it was years before I even dared to venture from Simples display and try things from other brands.

My routine is much more varied these days, but time and time again, I still come back to Simple, especially when they’ve got a new product launch or my skin is having a rough ol’ time and I want to take it back to basics. 

Simple are the experts when it comes to sensitive skin, having been one of the first brands to launch both fragrance free and colour-free soap back in the 60s (I bet you didn’t realise they’d been around so long!). Though you might not consider your skin sensitive it is. Some more so than others, but we all have an element of sensitivity when it comes to our skin. With some products being pumped with all kinds of ingredients we can’t even pronounce, Simples mission is to make products that go above and beyond the call for kindness. Simple, straightforward, no muss, no fuss skincare; that’s Simple.

I can remember the first ever products I picked up, their Kind to Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser and the Kind to Skin Cleansing Facial Wipes. I thought I was so grown up, I mean I had face wipes. And it only progressed from there.

I’ve been using their Kind to Skin Refreshing Facial Wash Gel for more years than I can remember, and I’m not usually so loyal to a product! It’s one of the best cleansers I’ve ever used when it comes to my morning routine. I’m looking for something to remove any product residue from my nighttime routine, and whatever oil has accumulated over night. It gives my skin a thorough, yet gentle cleanse and wakes it up, ready for the day. 

Their Kind to Skin Soothing Eye Balm has been another firm favourite of mine for a while too. I use it as my evening eye-cream, it’s lovely and light, hydrating and helps reduce any puffiness that might puff up as I sleep. 

Simple is a great place to start when your starting out with skincare, they’re my go-to recommendation for young, teenage skin. My teenage skin was pretty typical; oily, with lots of breakouts, redness, completely out of control. Simple not only helped me get in under control, but it taught me how to look after my skin. Above all else, it was purse friendly, so when my pocket money was spent, I could usually ask my Mum to buy me some new products and she never felt as though it was breaking the bank!

Their Clear Skin Oil Balancing Exfoliating Wash is my go-to when I need an effective, budget friendly exfoliator. It controls oil and shine, without being too harsh on my skin and stripping it. It’s so gentle and effective that over the Summer, when my skins getting a little oilier, I can use it several times a week with no dryness or irritation, just nice, oil controlled skin, matte skin!

I’m also a big fan of their Vital Vitamin Night Cream. It keeps your skin hydrated though the night, leaving you with plump, refreshed skin in the morning. You can see my full review here!

Have you used anything from Simple? What was the first skincare brand you used?

Until next time,

Monday, 20 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge: Quick Skincare Tips!

10 quick skincare tips


Here’s a run down of 10 quick skincare tips that you can read before the kettle’s boiled!
  1. Wear an SPF everyday, whatever the weather!
  2. STOP picking spots. They’ll heal faster and are less likely to scar.
  3. Exfoliate at least twice a week. 
  4. NEVER go to bed without removing your make-up.
  5. Always give new products a chance. They won’t work over night, you need to give them at least a month to see results.
  6. Use a hot cloth to remove everything; cleanser, face mask and exfoliators. No more splish splash!
  7. Less is more. Don’t use more products than you have to.
  8. Sleep with your hair off your face.
  9. Wash your face last in the shower.
  10. Apply your products in the right order: light to heavy e.g eye creams, followed by serums, topical treatments then moisturisers.

Done!

Did I beat the kettle?

Until next time,



Saturday, 18 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge: Pretty Peepers: Do you NEED an Eye Cream?

do you need an eye cream


Ask the nearest person to you what comes to mind when they think of a youthful appearance. Go on, I’ll wait.

Got your answers?

Hands up if ‘young, vibrant, fresh looking eyes’ came up!

The skin around our eyes is so delicate that it’s the first area to show signs of ageing. Free-radical and environmental damage speeds up the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles too! I’m all for growing old gracefully, but if there’s anything I can do to make the transition as smooth and as slow as possible, I’m game!

I use an eye cream religiously morning and night. They’re great little things than can cover, conceal and heal an array of eye-woes. From brightening to tightening, lifting an de-puffing, there’s an eye cream out there for all concerns. But are you using the right eye cream…and are you using it correctly?

Choosing the right eye-cream

I never stick to a brand I know, I’m always trying something new and rummaging around the beauty counters for the next holy grail product. There are so many eye creams out there now that range from single-concerns to multi-functional products, so read the labels, ask the consultants and have a look at your eyes and note down your concerns. Dark, puffy circles around your eyes? You need a hydrating, de-puffing, cooling eye gel. Dry, tired looking eyes? You need a hydration boost with highlighting properties. Shop around, pick up samples, search online for reviews. 

Though it’s almost ran out, Liz Earles Daily Eye Repair has been my go-to, with it’s SPF10 mineral sunscreen, skin loving vitamin E and light-reflecting particles, it gives my eyes that ‘8 hours beauty sleep’ look even if I didn’t come close to getting it! 

Lately, I’ve been loving Simples Kind to Eyes Soothing Eye Balm (£3.99) as my evening eye cream. It reduces puffiness before it even starts, relaxing tired eyes after a long day and hydrating them throughout the night. 

Applying an eye-cream

As with any and all skincare products, always apply to a properly cleansed face. make sure you’ve gently removed every last trace of make up and your skin is squeaky clean and patted dry. Always apply your eye cream first. I never did this until about a year ago and the difference is eye-opening

The skin around the eyes is very thin so easily and quickly absorbs. You want to take advantage of this by applying your eye cream before anything else, then avoid putting any further serums, moisturisers or treatments anywhere near your eyes. That skin is thin so you don’t want to over-do it!

If you’re applying with your fingers, less is more. Build it up slowly and only apply it with your ring finger. This is the lightest of the fingers, so apply in feather-light touches, dabbing around the eye. Don’t rub or smear it in, go lightly and slowly. Dragging and pulling the skin around the eyes will cause fine lines and wrinkles to appear!

Go big or go home?

There really is an eye cream out there for every budget. But I’ve got to admit, I don’t think I’ve ever used one that’s cost more than £20. The reason for this? I’ve never felt I’ve needed to. I’ve tried higher end samples that have been a joy to use but have never managed to give me something a lower priced alternative hasn’t. I’m in no way against trying something a little pricier, and I do believe you get what you pay for, but with so many out there now, it’s easy than ever to find a more purse-friendly product that will leave you looking all bright eyed and bushy tailed!

Do you use an eye cream? 

Until next time,




Friday, 17 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge: Origins

origins skincare for oily skin


Origins is the first brand that comes to mind when I’m asked about natural, organic skincare. I really want to try and move my skincare over to a more organic line, so this year I’ve been trialling lots of different Origins products, and I can’t lie, I’ve pretty much fell in love with everything I’ve tried so far. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t happen too often!

Origins products are created with natural, certified organic ingredients and 100% natural essential oils. Their products contain no parabans, petrolatum, paraffin, or animal ingredients (see harmful skincare ingredients here). And if you’re not already sold, they also create everything using a combination of renewable resources, wind energy and earth friendly practices. How many other brands can boast that?

All of their products are derived from nature and the power of plants. They identify the most skin loving nutrients in the plants, purify them down to their most powerful components and formulate them into usable, skin-loving products.

I had a mini consultation with one of their representatives at a local counter and after talking through my skin worries and woes, she recommended me a set containing a combination of skin brightening moisturisers and oil balancing scrubs and masks. I’ve got to say, as consultations go (and this one was brief) it was the most thorough yet least intimidating skin consultation I’ve ever had. I didn’t feel pressured into buying anything and got sent away with several samples of products I wasn’t too sure on. 

I’ve just finished their GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturiser (£23). Such a super, lightweight formula that brightened my skin without giving it an oily shine. I really want to try the GinZing VitaZing (£29), similar formula but it has a slight tone corrector and spf protection. 

Clear Improvement (£23) has to be one of the nicest charcoal masks I’ve ever used and comes in at less than half the price of GlamGlows SuperMud and I actually think Clear Improvement beats GlamGlow hands down!

I recently popped by the counter and had a look at their Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (£23) as I had a small sample of the 10-minute Drink Up mask and loved it so I’m really intrigued by the overnight, more intense version, but this could be more of a Autumn/Winter mask for my oily skin. Out of Trouble (£23) has really caught my eye, being specific for oily skin. With Summer on the way my skin will start to get oilier so I need to keep it in check!

Modern Friction (£33) has a cult following and I was super excited to try it. I’ve got to admit it, yes it’s probably the gentlest exfoliator I’ve ever used but the smell is so not organic, it just smells like chemicals and I’ve found it so off putting. Hey, you win some, you lose some! 

Stepping a little over the skincare line, I’ve also picked up the GinZing Revitalizing Mineral Foundation (£25) which I have, beyond words, fell in love with. It’s brightening without making me look like I dunked my face in glitter and gives great light-medium coverage. 

Have you tried anything from Origins? Anything you can recommend?

Until next time,



Thursday, 16 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge: Nighttime Skincare Routine

nighttime skincare routine tips


You've got your pjs on, your fluffy socks and your just about to get under the sheets...STOP!...have you gone through your nightly skincare routine? If you want to make the most of that beauty sleep, you need to get yourself an effective nighttime skincare routine!

Did you know that during the night, as we sleep, our skin goes into night shift mode. As we’re catching zzz’s our skin is working through the night;
  • Overnight, our skin cells regenerate and repair any damage caused during the day by harmful UV rays, free-radicals and the toxins and impurities we come into contact with during the day.
  • Blood vessels in the skin dilate, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to flow, removing impurities. 
Our cells are going to try and repair themselves whether we use products or not, but things like age, and an un-healthy lifestyle can slow the regeneration down. Not only do we want those little cells to keep on regenerating, where's the harm in giving them a helping hand?

During the day, our skin has come into contact with all kinds of crap and toxins. Environmental damage, dry, over-air conditioned offices, pollution, as well as whatever grime and dirt it's picked up from being touched by our own hands. For these reasons, I prefer to use a deep cleaning, heavy duty cleanser, there's a lot of grime to get through! Right now, I'm loving Lushs' UltraBland (£7.25), which works rally well with a coarser hot cloth, for a really deep down clean. I then follow with The Body Shops Nutriganics Drops of Youth Concentrated Serum (£24), and, I've just started trialling Philosophy Miracle Worker Overnight but I was loving Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturiser (£23) until the pot ran dry! For eyes, I use Simple Kind to Eyes, Soothing Eye Balm (£3.99).

What you're looking to do overnight is feed your face, take it to the buffet and fill its plate to the brim with everything it needs to wake up feeling and looking like a whole new you. Just like you would with day time products, you want to target specific problem areas and skin types. I've found the difference between a day time product and a night time product (much like a day/night make-up look) is the intensity. Nighttime products are much more intense, usually thicker in consistency and packed with a few extra nutrients and vitamins for our skin to munch on as we sleep.

For an all-rounder nighttime moisturiser, I love Clarins Extra Firming Night Rejuvenating Cream (£53) or, the ever so more purse friendly, Simple Vital Vitamin Night Cream (£5.99). If your skin is extra dry and in need of an intensive overnight treatment, Oqibo Intense Moisture Defence gets my vote. And if your skin is getting too slick with oil, The Body Shop Seaweed Night Treatment (£12) has been my go-to nighttime t-zone treat for years!

You don't have to change up your entire routine, if you're looking to save a few £££ then just invest in one or two products specifically to use at night. You'll be using them sparingly so they should last you a while too. Just switching out your regular moisturiser to a nighttime specific one will make a world of difference to the face you wake up to in the morning! the first thing I ever bought specifically to use at night was a moisturiser and I noticed a difference, well, over night!

Do you have a nighttime routine? What's your holy grail evening product? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time, 



Wednesday, 15 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge: Multi Face Masking

a to z challenge banner


Multi-masking is the secret weapon when it comes to happy, bright, refreshed looking skin. Our skin is a fussy eater, and what one part craves, the other pushes around the plate. Multi-masking ensures everyone gets what they want and need all in one sitting.

Example; I love using charcoal masks, they’re brilliant for oily skin. They draw impurities and excess oils out of the skin and tighten pores, preventing more oil and dirt building back up. When it comes to my skin, my oily areas are my t-zone and chin, so why would I use a charcoal mask on my cheeks? 

Example; my skin is normal/oily, so when it comes to my cheeks, they’re pretty much a problem free zone, but that doesn’t mean I should ignore them. They could always do with a little love and nourishment, so a hydrating, moisturising mask will keep them cheeks in check!  

Chances are, your skin is like mine, it’s a combination of two or more skin types. Using just one mask at a time was only beneficial to one area at a time! Single masks are a thing of the past for me!

Granted, this wouldn’t work as well for sheet masks, the process is ideal for lotion/cream based masks. 

One of my favourite combinations has been to use Origins Clear Improvement (£23) on my t-zone and chin, then apply Origins Drink Up (£23) to my cheeks. Afterwards, my entire face looks and feels fresh, loved and rejuvenated. I also love pairing GlamGlow SuperMud (£44.99) and Liz Earles Intensive Nourishing Mask (from £6)

Not sure where to start?

For oily areas, go for charcoal based basks. Acne? Look for something with tea-tree or witch hazel in. Dry patches? Moisture boost! Pallid, lack-lustre skin? Choose something brightening with caffeine and oats. 

Yes, it might sound a little fussy, but I swear, it’s not! If you’ve took the time to apply one mask, it takes a few seconds to rinse your hands and apply the second mask where it’s needed! And then they all get washed off at once - if, like me, you use masks that take roughly the same amount of time to dry.

We’re only talking two masks here, but if you wanted to really pamper every inch of your face, you could get yourself an eye-mask too! I’m not a huge fan of them, I’ve yet to find one I really like, but wearing a gel-mask (think sleep mask but with gel inside) that’s been kept in the fridge a while feels luxurious as the face masks are drying!

Do you multi-mask? What are some of your favourite combinations?

Until next time,




Tuesday, 14 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge: Liz Earle Skincare

a to z challenge banner

Liz Earle are passionate about their products, keeping in mind their ‘precious recipe’, a combination of carefully selected, cruelty free ingredients and the products they create that help to make us who we are every time we step outside that front door. I don’t know about you but when my skin is looking it’s best I feel ten times more confident and ready to tackle whatever the day may bring!

The Hot Cloth Cleanser (from £6) has to the one product they are most famous for. It’s won so many beauty awards over the years and it’s no wonder! It effectively and gently removes dirt and grime, and has been my go-to evening cleanser for some time now. Not sure about hot cloth cleansing? I talk about the pros and cons here!

After having such a great experience with one product, that led to me investigating more of what Liz Earle had on offer and boy, have I discovered some gems! For immediately fresher, ‘faking I got 8 hours seep’ eyes, their EyeBright Lotion (from £6.75) is both gentle on the sensitive eye area, and soothing to the skin. I’m also a big fan come summer time of their Daily Eye Repair (from £8.75) with it’s non-greasy, spf10 formula. And when the weather takes a turn for the worst? Nothing has shown my skin quite as much love as their Instant Boost Skin Tonic (from £6). Not only does it leave my skin looking refreshed and revitalised, but it really gives it a bit of kick after the harsh weathers have beaten it every which way sideways!

A shout out has to go to their Intensive Nourishing Treatment Mask (from £6). It’s quickly become a staple in my skincare routine and I use this mask every week for my mid-week pamper session. It soothes the most stressed out of skin, hydrating and uplifting, not only does your skin look refreshed but you feel it too. 

Notice how all the prices say from? What I love about Liz Earle is that it’s so affordable to try out various products they have on offer without breaking the bank. Forking out a couple of quid to just try something is preferable, if you ask me, to having to commit to the expense of a full sized products you might have never used before. They also have some wonderful sample kits you can purchase if you want to get an affordable feel for multiple products. 

Flying anytime soon? Keep an eye out in the duty free, I picked up an in-flight exclusive Liz Earle kit the last time I went abroad that was absolute bargains and gave me everything I needed to look after my skin both in-flight and over the two week holiday! 

Liz Earle prides itself on being kind to our skin and they have made a point to create sensitive skin friendly products, with some being made available in both a fragranced and an un-fragranced varieties. So really, what excuses do you have not to try Liz Earle?

Have you tried anything from Liz Earle? 

Until next time,




Monday, 13 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge: Keeping it clean!

a to z challenge banner


Be honest with me. No, not the cutesy smile, telling me what I want to hear kind of honest, the real nitty gritty, you’re probably going to be embarrassed by your answer honest. When was the last time you;

  • Cleaned your make up brushes?
  • Changed your pillowcase?
  • Cleaned the filter on your hairdryer?
  • Washed your hot cloth in a washing machine?
  • Cleaned your shower head?

Squirming in your seat yet? No? You should be.

All of the above harbour dead skin cells, germs, bacteria and other nasty little things that, when they come in contact with your skin, can cause acne breakouts.

Make-up Brushes and Cleansing Cloths

Make-up brushes should be spot cleaned after every use, i.e give them a wipe over with a baby wipe or some make-up remover on a cotton pad. Once a week, you should give them a really deep clean with warm water and either a brush cleaner or, my personal choice, some baby shampoo. Every time you use the brushes, if you haven’t cleaned them in-between uses, not only are you applying make-up, you’re re-applying dead skin cells and bacteria the brushes picked up last time. You’re then putting that crap back into your make-up every time you put your brush back into the palette. 

If you keep your brushes in a pot on the dresser, you should clean the brushes you haven’t used recently too, as they’ll have been sat a top your dresser collecting dust that you really don’t want to go putting on your face. 

The same goes for cleansing cloths. Even though you might be using them in hot water when you cleanse your face, they’re still picking up grime and debris every time your use them. I change mine out every 2 - 3 days, and replace them every couple of months. I wash them with my towels on a hot wash and they’re good to go!

Pillowcases

When we sleep, our skin sheds, kind of like a snake. The cells regenerate, shiny new skin cells come to the surface and the old cells simply fall away and land where they may, usually in your sheets and pillowcases. This is the case for your entire body, not just your face. OH, and let’s not forget the tiny little dust mites that live in our bedding, feeding off the dead skin cells we’ve shedded. The dust mites are harmless, but we can be allergic to their faeces, and let’s face it, who wants to stick their face down every night into a bed of skin and poo?

Make sure you change your bedding at least once a week. Not only is fresh clean bedding the best feeling in the world, but you don't want to risk rubbing all that bacteria back into your skin. Don’t keep your bedding for donkeys years either, change up every once in a while an treat yourself to something new. Old, worn pillowcases could be irritating your skin. 

Hairdryer filters and shower heads.

Similar to pillowcases, these both harbour germs that could lead to breakouts and skin irritation. I try and clean the filter on my hairdryer at least once a month (that’s about as often as I can remember!). It’s exactly like cleaning the filter on the dryer, you’ll find it covered in a grey dust layer that simply wipes off. I remove the dust then give it a rinse under a little warm water, let it air-dry then pop it back into the hairdryer. I don’t much fancy blowing hot dusty germs all over my face, do you?

About once a week I give the bathroom a deep clean, this includes using an anti-bacterial bathroom cleaner on the shower head too. Spray, leave, wipe are the instructions on most brands. I love that squeaky clean feeing after a shower, but I don't want that water coming through bacteria ridden nozzles on the shower head! Nothing clean about that!

How many of you ran off half way through reading this and changed your bedding? 

Until next time,



Saturday, 11 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge: Juicing your way to clearer skin!

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So, you’ve found the right products for your skin type, you’re seeing improvement in your problem areas and you’ve got a kick ass daily skin care routine, everything on the outside is pretty much bang on, so what about on the inside?

One thing I’ve started doing this year that’s been totally new to me is making my own juices and smoothies. Not only has it been a great way to boost my fruit and veggie intake with little to no effort, but I’ve really started to notice a difference in my skin too that I can’t say is completely due to just using the right products. 

What are the best fruits and veggies to juice for clearer skin?

  • Avocado - I can’t stand the texture of avocado so can’t abide eating it but blending it up and drinking it down works wonders for me! Avocados are known to give you healthy, glowing skin, packed full of anti-ageing antioxidants that will protect your skin from free-radical damage and reduce inflammation. 
  • Kale - I tried cooking kale once - the flat smelt like eggy farts for a week! I’m reluctant to try cooking it again, but by juicing it, I’m certainly reaping the benefits! It’s packed full of vitamin C that protects and strengthens the collagen in your skin - collagen holds your skin cells together, keeping your face youthful and plump! It’s also been known to boost your skins natural defences against the sun,as well as giving you a natural sun-kissed colour boost to your skin! It also increases the rate of cell regeneration and can reduce dryness.
  • Kiwi  - I love kiwi, I just never get around to eating it, lazy, I know! You don’t have to tell me twice, just blend it up and forgive me, ok? Kiwi is a super fruit when it comes to skincare, it’s known for firming our skin because of all that collagen loving vitamin C it contains, as well as being a fantastic source of vitamin E - which, if you ask me, if the best vitamin we can consume for our skin! It’s full to the brim of antioxidants too, kiwis just love our skin!
  • Spinach - if it’s dark and green and leafy, you can be pretty sure it’s going to be great for our skin. Spinach won’t have you popping out of your bikini like Popeye, but it will drown you in vitamins a, b, e and k! It’s also full of vital vitamins, such as folate that has been directly linked with clearing our complexion and helping to reduce bruising and dark circles. I’ve also heard it’s great for relieving irritation and brightening the skin. 
  • Banana - Bananas are an anti-bacterial fighting power house, helping to remove toxins from the inside so they don’t start showing on the outside. They’re full of potassium which can be responsible for softening the skin - and if you really want to give your skin the banana boost, after blending the banana itself, you can use the peel to soothe acne breakouts and prevent future ones from occurring! Nothing goes to waste here!

And you know whats even better? They all taste great together! I’ve been drinking the super skin smoothie for weeks now with the odd variation here and there, but generally, I start my day with 1/2 pint of this super green juice with my breakfast and have really noticed a difference!

Do you make super juices? Any skin loving super foods you want to tell us about? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time,



Friday, 10 April 2015

#AtoZChallenge: Ingredients to avoid in skincare products!

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What kind of nasty, hidden chemicals are lurking in your favourite skin care products? Would you even know which harsh ingredients could be causing you long term damage every time you smother that cream all over your face?

I was completely clueless on the topic myself. I'd always thought that if it said organic or natural or nature somewhere on the label, then it must be ok? Right? And surely, if they're claiming to have big-wig scientist researching all of these wonderful miracle creams in their shiny whiter-than-white laboratories, surely they're not going to give us something that could intentionally hurt us, right?

Wrong. Duh. How did I not see this coming? 

It doesn't take much effort to come across a plethora of blog posts and articles on the web excelling the virtues or organic skin care, how we'd be so much better off if we made the switch and went totally organic, heck it doesn't even cost as much as it used to now - and I do plan on giving my over-stuffed beauty junkie drawers an organic over haul after I've worked my way through the lot...but...is it really worth me using some of these products if they're going to do me more harm than good in the long run? Yes, I'm saving a small fortune by using up what I have, but after learning about some of the really nasty crap they squeeze into that squeeze tube, I'm having second thoughts!

6 REALLY nasty ingredients to avoid in skin care products!

  • Parabens - these nasty little suckers have actually been found in tumour biopsys *shudders*and have been linked to breast cancer. They're used to keep our lotions and potions from growing bacteria, which in turn extends their shelf life. If an ingredient ends in 'paraben' it's going to be one to avoid.
  • Mica - usually found in mineral make-up, it can cause tiny tears on the skin, and what's more worrying is if inhaled (which, let's face it, with mineral make-up is too easy to do!) it can make little tiny tears in the lungs, causing scar tissue and inflammation. 
  • Triethanolamine - used as a pH balancing ingredient and a base for many cleansers, this nasty little bugger can become toxic after just one exposure to our skin. It causes dry skin, irritation, increased sensitivity and damaged cells. 
  • Alcohol - one of the reasons I rarely use a toner is because the primary ingredient is alcohol, and not the fun kind either. It sucks your skin dry, causing the sebaceous glands to produce excess oil in order to lubricate itself and restore balance. Our skin is not suppose to be as dry and matte as a stone in the Sahara!
  • SLS & SLES (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate /Sodium Laureth Sulfate)  - If your cleanser foams and bubbles, this is probably why. SLS and SLES will strip your skin of it's natural defences. it's been associated with causing; hair loss, eczema and dermatitis! 
  • Propylene Glycol and Polyethylene Glycol (PEG) - here's a scary one, this is actually an ingredient in anti-freeze. It can actually breakdown the structure of your skin cells beyond repair and has been linked to liver, kidney and brain damage. 
The list goes on and on, to the point where I feel like I need to wrap myself in bubble-wrap before I next wander down the skin care aisle! I'm actually a little scared of going through my beauty drawers for what I might find in there. 

I love the saying, 'if you wouldn't eat it, why would you put it on your skin?'. I hope you can't get that out of your head now, as it's stuck in mine and I'll think twice about the next product I pick up!

Are you brave enough to go see what harmful ingredients are lurking in your skin care? Let me know what you find!

Until next time,




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