Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Vichy Idéalia Skin Sleep Recovery Night Gel-Balm: New to the routine

With the onset of the cooler months here in the northern hemisphere it is worth looking at a richer skincare routine to keep your skin looking its best, so hello Autumn and hello Vichy Idéalia Skin Sleep Recovery Night Gel-Balm.

This is Vichy's answer to those late nights and early mornings... the nights spent checking emails/instagram/snapchat/twitter. The nights when you are up with teething babies or kids with nightmares. Vichy has combined some of their best active ingredients in a gorgeous gel-like balm that delivers a host of benefits and cocoons the skin while you sleep, so that regardless of how much (or little) sleep you have gotten, your skin looks like its had 9hours. Well that is the premise.

SO. Is it any good?

The Jasmine & Green Tea scent is calming and helps contribute to a good relaxation routine pre-bedtime. Hyaluronic Acid helps the skin to retain the Vichy Thermal Spa Water that forms the basis for all the Vichy skin products. LHA is a derivative of Salicylic Acid which smooths and evens out the skins surface through its exfoliating action, improving texture night after night. Caffeine stimulates the microcirculation in the skin. Better circulation is always goo for the skin. Vitamin B3  has anti-inflammatory properties, Apricot Kernel Oil is rich in fatty acids which contributes to the quality of the barrier function of the skin.

First impressions are good. This light pink gel feels lovely when you apply it but you need to work quickly as it is quickly absorbed into the skin giving you very little time to massage it in (there are lovely little directions in the box). I haven't been using Skin Sleep long, about 4 weeks, but so far so good. I haven't noticed a massive improvement, but then I generally always get at least 8hrs (I'm an old soul, bedtime is 10pm), so I haven't noticed my skin looking "more rested", but it is looking a bit more "glowy". I suspect that is the caffeine...

I am not using it every night though as I am worried about overloading my skin with my other actives so on nights where I am giving my skin time to recover from the active ingredients I like to use this. It still has enough oomph to keep the skin cells turning over, but the other ingredients help keep my skin calm and gives it time to recover. When I wash my face in the morning after using this I can still feel it, kind of like I am washing off a moisture mask, its the same texture. My pillow isn't greasy though and neither is my hair, but my skin feels soft and smooth. So it seems to act like a cocoon, keeping all the ingredients in against the skin without drying it out. Its odd, but I like it.

There is very little fault to find with any of the Vichy range, the Idéalia Pro Dark Spot Corrector is a particular favourite of mine, as is the Idéalia moisturiser and of course the Life Serum (one of the nicest serums I have tried). Actually anything that Vichy put out at the minute is pretty good stuff, and all at super reasonable price points and well worth checking out, regardless of your Age.

Vichy Idéalia Skin Sleep costs €28 for a 50ml pot which will last you at least 3 months if used nightly. That's €9.33 a month. Vichy Idéalia Life Serum costs €34.50 for the 30ml bottle but this will also last you 3 months which equates to €11.50 a month. So for a little under €21 a month you can't go wrong with this pairing.

For me, Vichy are producing products that are effective at a cost that is accessible. If you haven't tried a Vichy product yet, then I would recommend starting with the Idéalia Life Serum, it is gorgeous and will have you rethinking your skincare routine.

You can find Idéalia Skin Sleep and Life Serum in Pharmacies and Boots stores across Ireland.

**Products gratefully received for review, Opinion my own

Monday, 31 August 2015

When gel is too much: Catrice Eye Brow Stylist

Brows have been big for the last few years, in fashion and subsequently in beauty. But a little flick through AW2015 editorials shows that while eyebrows are still groomed, they aren't nearly as strong. I find that a brow gel can give a very strong, defined look, so I looked for a softer alternative and found this wee guy in my local Catrice Stand. Catrice Eye Brow Stylist comes in 4 shades and costs a measly €2.79.

I went with 040 Don't Let Me Brow'n, a neutral brown with ashy undertones. The texture of the pencil is quite waxy, so it works to hold hairs in place, and the waxiness helps the pencil tip to keep its shape, so you don't have to sharpen this after every time you use this but if you do: you are guaranteed a decent, skinny line to mimic fine hairs.

The other end of the pencil has a handy spoolie to brush the colour through your brows to soften it even more if you were a bit heavy handed. Or just to brush brows into shape before you fill them in a bit.

The only thing that I don't like about this is when it comes time to sharpen the thing its not smooth and easy. The wooden-outside-holder-thingy breaks and splinters a bit, so you need to make sure that all the splinters have been brushed off before you put it near your brows. The last thing you need is a wooden stake in the eye.

Other than that I can't fault this little pencil. It does a stellar job of filling in the baldy bits, holds the hairs in place and isn't too warm/red-toned. And for the teeny price I can live with making sure the splinters are off after I sharpen it.

Friday, 28 August 2015

A Birthday Bash and New Lush Bath Bits

We love Lush in this house. The kids and I will quite happily spend an hour browsing the goodies that cover the shelves and plates in the store, chatting with the staff (who always love to take the kids to choose a bath bomb to "detonate") about whats new or changed or just something that interests us. And with the seasons changing you KNOW that there are going to be new bits!

Our nearest Lush is in Newry which is where Hannah decided she wanted to have her 10th Birthday with a few of her friends. This was super fun, and not just for the girls, who got to sashay down the "runway" and swish their hair at the end, make knot-wrap shopping bags, and create bath potions by mixing different products but for the momma too, who got to have a lovely hand and arm massage while the girls had the run of the store.

We opted for a weekday party, just when they opened so that the girls would have the run of the store without getting in the way of other shoppers. And while there were a few customers, we didn't get in their way so it worked out really well as the girls were all over the place looking and touching and feeling and smelling.

We were so well looked after by the Newry staff, who followed a little plan to keep things moving, without overwhelming the girls or letting them get bored. I also opted for the Cupcake Face Mask add on: the girls got to make their own super fresh batch of Cup Cake Face Masks, which they got to take home, and there was enough left over for Me to get one too!

I simply cannot fault the staff, all of the girls were well looked after and nobody was left out, lots of games and even more prizes meant that each of the girls got something and the birthday girl was super chuffed with her special birthday present. All I did was bake  a few mini cupcakes to take in with us and some juice and we were sorted. An easy choice for girls in an awkward age where they're too old for princesses (not that mine was into that at all) and they've already done movie parties.

We went back a few days later to go and choose some bits to add to our already heaving stash. You can never have enough Lush.

Honey I Washed My Hair Solid Shampoo Bar (£5.75)

We got a dog. But he's still a pup and I didn't want to irritate his skin with doggy shampoos that contain some odd ingredients. So I opted for something gentle, nourishing, with a smell that isn't over powering. He smells amazing after he is dried, not massively fragranced, but he smells like he's been rubbed down with a soft vanilla scented cloth. We like it. He isn't complaining either and the honey is antibacterial but nourishing, perfect for mucky-pups. This bar is just for Flash, no sharing.

Honey Bee Bath Bomb (£3.35)

This was Liamo's pick. It reminds me a lot of Butter Ball as far as the scent goes, sweet and warming. The Rassoul Mud offers a gentle cleanse while the Honey is healing and the Aloe Vera is soothing. Everything you could ask for in a bath after being soaked to the skin taking the dog for walkies. Sweet Wild Orange Oil is soft and uplifting, filling the whole upstairs with sweetness. Be sure to rinse the bath after though as the mud can stick (and dry) and make the next bath a bit odd...

I break all our bath bombs in half or quarters depending on how full the bath is, so we get  our moneys worth.

The Experimenter Bath Bomb (£3.95)

I can always trust that Hannah will choose the craziest bath bomb on offer. The Experimenter fits her to a tee: All of the colours, popping candy and but tomboy-ish. The bath is blasted with colour and glitter and a lovely complex spicy scent that is wonderfully masculine to my nose, like stealing your husband/boyfriend's aftershave. This is spectacular when the whole thing is dropped in the bath, but Hannah is choosing her colours, since we chopped this into 4.

Milky Bath Bubble Bar (£3.75)

This was my choice. Based on the Milky Bar Chocolate, this is sweet, comfortingly creamy and soft. Break off a chunk (a thumb sized chunk is good), crumble it under running water and watch the bath get overwhelmed with velvety bubbles: more than enough for a bubble beard or a milk mustache. Not a lot of shimmer or glitter in this, just a lovely milkiness that leaves your skin so soft and delicately scented. Next to Rose Jam Shower Gel, Milky Bath is my favourite Lush product.

Intergalactic Bath Bomb (£3.95, but this was very kindly gifted to us)

Because the kids were so polite and calm and engaging in the store, they were gifted Intergalactic in the spirit of paying it forward ie: doing something nice for a stranger just because. This is something that I have been teaching my kids since they were small: Karma, what you put out into the world will come back at you, and I love that there is a store that is embracing it too.

Intergalactic is the one we haven't tried yet, and even though Peppermint oil is listed, I can't smell it... but I think this is going to make for a stimulating, uplifiting bath, perfect to get you going on a cold morning.

While we were in Lush Newry we got to try the new Frozen Bath Bomb and it gave us an idea that we sent off to Head Office when we got home. Fingers crossed the product developers see something in it and it gets made!

Its safe to say that we will be lush fans until we die... their bath bombs and bubble bars are a weekly treat for all of us!

So you have a favourite? Have you tried any of these Lush goodies or do you have a favourite? Let me know in the comments...

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Catrice Liquid Camouflage Concealer: its nice!

Catrice is one of my favourite budget brands and they very rarely let me down. Catrice Liquid Camouflage high coverage concealer is the new kid on the block and it is replacing a product that has cemented itself in many MUA's bags. So how does it compare?

This new liquid concealer is replacing Catrice Camouflage Cream. This means no more digging into a pot, no more warming it before applying it. They are dropping the darkest shade though, keeping 010 Porcellain and 020 Light Beige. The best bit: you are getting more product for the same €3.99 price.

I'll be honest and say I only really wear concealer if I'm going somewhere special, so its not something that I use every day, preferring to layer my foundation over areas that need extra coverage for everyday. And I only went out and bought the Cream Camouflage when I heard it was being discontinued so that I could try it against the new Liquid formulation before I couldn't get it anymore.

The old formulation needs to be warmed a little before you apply it so that it doesn't drag on the skin. The super pigmented cream doesn't settle into lines though, blends really well once warmed, wears extremely well through the day and covers pretty much everything and anything and stays put once its set with a but of powder. I can see why isn't happy its being discontinued.

Fear not, the Liquid version is just as good. Its liquid, so no warming to apply it evenly. The doe foot applicator means precise application straight out of the tube if you are covering dark circles or redness. I would recommend using a cottonbud to take some of the concealer off the applicator and using the cottonbud to cover spots, to avoid contaminating the rest of the product. Liquid Camouflage also blends like a dream and sits much more lightly on the skin, even though the pigmentation is great be careful not to blend it all away. Oh ja, and this version is waterproof so longevity isn't an issue, even if you choose not to set it.

In the above picture I have applied and blended my foundation, then applied Liquid Camouflage to all the usual places I would (shown by the arrows) without blending so you can see the before, during and after progression. I didn't apply any under the right eye so that you could see the difference in the pic below, after I have lightly blended it in to my skin.

Now I don't have the darkest of under eyes, so I didn't use nearly as much as I could have. But this does a great job of covering redness and has also helped cover my pigmentation marks giving me a nearly flawless complexion. Seriously, for €3.99, this is a bargain.

010 Porcellain is quite light and would suit the pale Irish skin tones beautifully, but I think I need 020 Light Beige to properly match my skin tone. As you can see in the pic below, once you have everything on, 010 Porcellain (ack... that spelling does my head in!!!) doesn't look too bad.

While darker skinned lasses might feel like they are missing out, the Pale Irish Skins can't complain. If you are a massive fan of the cream version and you just don't think you could live without it, stock up now, but Catrice Liquid Camouflage a damn good replacement with far more pros than cons and is due on stands at the end of August 2015.

**Post contains samples sent for review and products purchased by me, Opinions are my own.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Essence Liquid Lipstick: Gorgeous Altogether

I always, ALWAYS, have a little nosey at the essence stand in my local pharmacy whenever I go in. Their products are pretty good considering their price points and they are always coming out with limited edition ranges that more often than not contain real gems. The latest collection is called
Love At First Try and so far the gem in this collection is the Liquid Lipstick for just €3.09. There are six colours in the range, but I only bought the stunner 04 Show Off!

Admittedly, 4mls isn't an awful lot, but this little hybrid packs quite a punch in the pigmentation department. This is a lipstick crossed with a gloss and the formulation feels exactly like that: Glossy and smooth but balmy and comfortable at the same time. BUT, If you over load your lips it is going to be sticky and it will bleed, so gently gently with this. The applicator does give great control so you can apply quite precisely without having to line your lips.

essence Liquid Lipstick 04 Show Off! is a bright fuchsia pink that is really pretty. Bright, but oh so pretty. I have included swatches in the shade and in the sun in the pic above so you can see how glorious it is: a real show off colour! OOOoohh and they smell nice too, like sweets, but not mad-in-your-face-sweet.

Wear time is quite good considering the price, it stays quite balm-like on my lips even when the gloss is gone. The colour payoff it lovely too, leaving a nice satin finish stain after the gloss goes. If you want to keep the shine you will have to top up, but the packaging is so chic, you won't mind bringing this cutie out for touch ups.

 If you like the colour but aren't keen on the shine, a little blot with a tissue takes away 80% of the shine but leaves all of the colour. Apart from the colour, the best thing about this is that it doesn't dry out your lips and you don't need a perfect base to get a great result.

essence liquid lipstick 04 show off! 

 As I said there are 6 shades (see them on the essence website) and I am definitely going to be picking up more of these luscious liquid lipsticks and I'll post as soon as I do because they are lovely!  I know that Catrice is doing them as well so I am keep to pick up one or two of theirs so I can compare them.

€3.09 isn't going to break the bank so I urge to to pick up at least one and see if it doesn't impress you! Find an essence stand in most Penneys stores and selected pharmacies.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Heads Up Dublin & Cork Readers: Get a Fiver off your next Salon Appt with WhatSalon

If you live in Dublin or Cork City and its immediate surrounds or if you commute there every day, I have a wee treat for you. How about a fiver towards your next Salon booking? For anything from a Blowdry to a Mani or a Wax... And you don't have to plan ahead...

After a good few changes and improvements (they listened to their users) WhatSalon have relaunched their handy booking system which allows you to find and book last minute salon appointments directly from your mobile for a salon closest to you. What is really handy is that you can check out the reviews of the salon before you book, so you aren't going in totally blind here.

A brilliant little app to have on your phone, go download it now for FREE and then enter the following code into your "wallet" to get €5 off a booking:

when you add the code it will automatically be in all caps! 

Go and book your next appointment!
Go! Go!

Code valid until 08 October 2015.

Testing testing: NYC Cityproof 24hr Waterproof Eyeshadow

Did you know that the gorgeous Demi Lovato is the face (Global Brand Ambassador) of budget makeup brand New York Colour (NYC)? Did you also know that this Yung'un turned 23 yesterday? And did you know that these gorgeous NYC Cityproof 24hr waterproof eyeshadow sticks are on NYC stands now? Cos they are, AND they are lovely considering their miniscule €3.49 price point!

A waterproof formulation, in an easy to apply creamy pencil that needs no sharpening (it has a twisty up bottom) applies easily with very little dragging on eyelids. New York All Night (matte black) and Tribeca Taupe (matte taupe/greige) are my favourite favourites. A super easy smokey eye with very little fuss or faff. And it literally takes 5 minutes.

a single swipe on the top so you can see payoff, and the bottom is a thicker swatch with 3-4 passes.

Colour in the whole moveable eyelid with Tribeca taupe, and use a blending brush to blend it into the crease and soften the edges, move on to the other eye to allow the colour to set a bit. Use New York All Night to line against the lashes, don't faff with being perfect, just lay down a good thick strip of colour, and blend up and outwards. A dab or two of taupe blended into the bottom lash line for finesse. A layer or two of NYC Cityproof Waterproof Mascara finishes the look and you are done and ready to polish your brows and get out the door. I love it.  Add a little sparkle in the inner corner with Murray Hill Champagne to keep things interesting... but I only did that after I stopped taking pics...

The other three are  Wall Street Bronze (beautifully shimmery bronze), Rockerfeller Center Snowflakes (a frosty white) and East River Romance (shimmery electric blue). Dee from Dee-Lightful Thoughts snapped about Wall Street Bronze for Blue eyes, and I have to add that is looks lush on brown-eyed girls too, more so in the sunshine when the shimmer really comes out! Pigmentation is out of this world, it applies like a dream, needs very little blending and it just brilliant.

Rockerfeller Center Snowflakes looks patchy in the shade and in truth it was hard to get a nice pic of it on my eyes, it was patchy and not pretty. But just look at it in the sunshine! I think this would make a great base for a metallic eyeshadow, helping to bring out the glimmers and simmers that sometimes don't translate.

I used East River Romance as a liner just above already applied black eyeliner. Not the best idea. The tip is quite big and isn't for precision work. It ended up pulling up the liner and muddying the colour. It was also a little patchy and uneven. But I think it was my own fault because the just look at those swatches, they're blahdy gorgeous! So I think this needs to go on primed lids, not oily,sweaty betty lids like mine. I will try it again and post results on Instagram.

Wear time for the smokey eye combo is pretty good. I got the whole day out of it (from 10am until 9pm) and while it did smudge a bit after our after-dinner-walk, I still had to use a makeup remover to get it all off my lids properly ( I used Garnier Micellar Water btw). 24hrs is just silly, nobody should have eyeshadow on their eyeballs that long, gross, but I easily get 6 - 10hours without touch-ups. 12-16hrs if you used a great oilfree primer and set it with a little translucent powder.

after 4hours wear on the eyes, I just added the swatches again so you could see the matte-ness 

If you are around a NYC stand then pick up the matte shades and New York All Night, Tribeca Taupe & Wall Street Bronze because they are crackers!

Oh and Happy belated Birthday Demi!


Press Samples gratefully received, Opinions my own

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Night Routine B: Glycolic & Hydration

This is my other routine. Well one of them. I use this every other night to my A routine. It is mostly the same, but instead of using a Retinol product, I use a glycolic product.

After removing 98% of the days makeup and grime with my Nima Mitt, I use the Vichy Pureté Thermal Nourishing Cleansing Milk Balm** and a face cloth to remove whats left and give my face a good massage to get the blood flowing to the surface of the skin.

This night I had a bit of time to spare (ie. I started my ablutions early and so had loads of time to faff) so I applied the other thing I bought in Sephora in the States: GlamGlow POWERMUD DualCleanse treatment. I got the mini to try, 15ml cost $19 and because I use an old foundation brush to apply it, I have already gotten 6 treatments out of it with at least another 5 or 6 left. This "Mud to Oil" treatment that is supposed to revolutionise your cleansing routine. Errr Okay. It is pretty good though. A combination of clays (that absorb oils and sebum) and astringents to break down clogs to allow the excesses to be absorbed by the clays) and oils to allow you to get it all out of your skin.

I apply a thin layer to clean dry skin, allow to dry for 10 minuted then wet my hands and the mask and massage the resulting "oil" around my face and remove it all with a warm wet facecloth. My skin does feel tight after using this, but I had eaten a fair amount of sugar over the weekend and my skin was showing it displeasure in the form of lots of little whiteheads that were painful and weepy. Not cool. PowerMud dried them up and calmed them down.

I like it. I am not mad on the price point though so this will be something that I probably will never get again, unless I win the lotto. For the moment its just a mask that helps when my skin starts throwing its toys out of the cot. Depending on my skin concerns, I use it, maybe, every 2nd week, and not always on a glycolic night.

This is my 2nd bottle of Alpha H Liquid Gold. I get mine from and the 100ml bottle which costs €39.95 lasts me 6 months. Yup. I'm quite happy to shell out the guts of 40squids to get this because it is Proper Nice stuff. This is not a toner, but you would use it after cleansing, it is a treatment, rich in glycolic acid it helps the skin to turn cells over faster, resulting in a younger looking complexion. I am using this to target my pigmented areas, but it has been a key player in bringing my congested areas under control too. I even allow himself to use a bit on a cottonbud to dab onto his spots/ingrown hairs because it is that good at clearing blockages.

After cleansing, I apply enough to dampen half a cotton pad and sweep it over my face avoiding the bits closest to my eyes, but I will go up just past the orbital bone under my eyes. Then I turn the pad over and go over my face again in circular motions paying care to pigmented and congested areas (my chin and jaw mostly), what ever is left gets applied to my neck and decolletage.

I like to leave this to work its magic for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on what time it is. I love the tingle, but fear not, it fades away after 2 minutes. I follow with a spritz of La Roche-Posay Serozinc** to moisten the skin before I apply my Vichy Aqualia Thermal Awakening Eyebalm** (its amazing stuff) & night cream.

Cleanser, Eye cream and Night Cream are all by Vichy. They are producing some seriously lovely skincare at a fairly reasonable price, just above what I would call Budget. But given the fact that Vichy products last at least 3 months, their price point is actually spot on and great value for money especially as their products are quite effective.

My night cream for the past 5 months has been Vichy Aqualia Thermal Night Spa, which comes in a 75ml jar and it costs €27. Night Spa is a night cream that can also be applied in a thin layer over itself and used a sleeping mask. Its is a softly scented, gorgeously silky blue gel-cream that sinks in nearly instantly on application and delivers some serious hydration without clogging pores or making skin greasy. Formulated with "mineral-rich Thermal Spa Water, Hyaluronic acid and Aquabioryl, skin feels replenished, soothed and hydrated". All skin types will benefit from this blue gel, it really is gorgeous, whether you apply sparingly or of you lash is on. I adore this. It is almost finished and I'm going to need a new one soon.

This is something I will always have a jar of because it is something my eczema sufferer can use when her skin is seriously lacking in moisture, she loves the texture and the results and it makes her feel a bit pampered as well. It doesn't sting, it just soaks into her dry skin to leave her looking fresh-faced in the morning instead of scaly and dry.

As I said earlier, I don't normally use PowerMud and Liquid Gold together, but my skin was on the verge of throwing a major Hissy-fit in the pimple department and I had to shut it down fast. This combination works but it is filled with loads of ingredients that will make skin sensitive, so I don't do it often because that just wreaks havoc with the skins acid mantle. I am still having a few spots that are coming to a head, but I treat those with the Origins Super Spot Remover.

And because this night routine is so full of actives, I skipped Luna following night to allow my skin time to heal, using just cleanser, toner and moisturiser and spot cream on any lingering spots.

Have you tried any of the other GlamGlow masks? Are they worth the money, would you recommend them? Have you tried anything I have here?

I'll keep posting my Routines as I use them, but so far this and my A Routines are what I turn to most nights, give or take a mask and depending on how I am feeling.

**Samples provided for review, Opinions as always : my own.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Night Routine A: Retinols & Hydration

This is  Basic Routine A for my nights. If I have time or if I feel like a pamper or if I feel like I seriously need it then I'll add in a face mask. If I don't feel like it then I don't bother with the faff of a mask.

At night, I always double cleanse. Whether I'm wearing makeup or not, I get stuck in and I'm finding that my skin is loving the extra TLC that I am giving it.

When I'm wearing makeup my first cleanse is always my Nima Mitt. I bought three when they were on sale at the beginning of the year and I am SO GLAD I did. It removes makeup and gunk like a champ with nothing but warm water. I'll do a proper post on its magical ways with lots of pics so that you can see just how well it does work. It is quite exfoliate-y though, and does leave my skin feeling a bit dry, it seems to soak up any trace of grease or oil on my skin, which is why I like it to take off makeup. Oh ja... its also Irish!!!

I'm using this Philosophy Purity Cleanser. It isn't the cheapest, but I was dying to try something from the Philosophy camp and I decided on this. 90ml costs €11 and its a bit odd. It smells okish, it reminds me a bit of my gran's rose soap bars that she used, so not my favourite favourite, but It'll do. The consistency is a bit odd too, it feels like it should at least lather a little, but for me it just behaves like a non-foaming-gel-oil. I am not sure about the "3-in-1" claims are either as it didn't properly remove my makeup when I tested it on a regular days makeup. So now I'm using it to get it finished. Purity works ok on make-up free skin, doesn't leave me feeling dry or tight but I'm not massively impressed.

Then I go in with my toner. Tonight's was from The Body Shop's Vitamin E range: Hydrating Toner. I use it in my morning routine too and it really depends on what I am feeling like, I alternate between this, La Roche-Posay's Serozinc** and the Vichy Pureté Thermal Perfecting Toner**.

Eye cream is very important to me. I'm noticing that its more and more crinkly around the eyeballs and this little bottle from Vichy is making see the light at the end of the tunnel... I'm using Aqualia Thermal Awakening Eyebalm**  mornings and evenings and its gel-balm-cooling-goodness is soo nice on the delicate eye area. I am seriously in love with the texture and the results. My crinkles are not so deep and the whole eye area is looking fresher and hydrated. its LOVE.

I treated myself when we were in The States. I spent $98 on Sunday Riley LUNA Sleeping Night oil. I am using it every second evening, after I have toned. 4 drops spread between my fingers and massaged onto my skin and then I leave it so sink in and get working while we watch a bit of TV. LUNA is the retinol product I am using to try and get rid of my pigmented areas. I am noticing that my skin is looking brighter and smoother. My pores are also looking a bit finer as they are unclogging. I am liking this.

But because it is an oil and it is exposed to air via the dispensing mechanism (pipette / dropper) it may go rancid if not used quickly enough or if it is over exposed to air / light, so I haven't taken this out of its box. I lift the lid, unscrew the dropper, dispense 4 - 5 drops into my palm, close the dropper and put the lid back on the box. It gets used at night, so its not going to be exposed to a lot of light, but because it lives on my dresser (its the most expensive thing I've ever bought for my face... its bladdy going on show), its staying in its box.

As soon as its my bed time (when we go upstairs and read for a bit before lights out) I pop on a bit of this (also) blue gel-cream from Vichy, the Aqualia Thermal Night Spa. For me this is a moisture mask/night cream. I apply a thin layer and read for a bit, then what ever is left when I switch the light out is massaged in before I close my eyes. I love it. It smells divine, so calming and restful, perfect to send me off to sleep.

so, this is my "retinol routine". I follow this the next night with my "glycolic routine"... and the following night I use the above routine again, maybe adding in a face mask, it just depends. You get the point. I have been using this combination since May of this year (3 months) and I haven't had any irritation, but I have been doing it gently gently softly softly. I could probably be a bit more aggressive.

I am having very few breakouts at the minute, but I think that is down to a combination of eating more carefully, loading up on plain old water (3l a day guys!) and being meticulous about my skincare. So spots are finally not the issue any more. I am concentrating big time on trying to get rid of my melasma now, hence the combination of all of these anti-ageing and exfoliating ingredients. But to counteract what could be a potentially irritating combination I have added the soothing and hydrating lotions into the mix.

It is working. But it is slow going, melasma is notoriously difficult to get rid of completely, so any improvement is progress, the swathes of brown that used to cover my face completely are now just conjoined freckles. And it is kind of giving me the effect of subtle contouring without trying... almost.

**PR Samples gratefully received, opinions my own

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Skincare Closet

I got the most wonderful compliment on my skin from my new Favourite Makeup Artist: Ciara Allen. Which has prompted me to do get my bum in gear and do a series of posts on what I'm using on my face at the moment. Cos when a MUA compliments your skin and you haven't paid her... you must be doing something right.

I've upped my game when it comes to my skin lately, and its showing. And its not just products (but they are a massive help), I've cleaned up my diet massively over the last month or so, cutting out bread and wheat products nearly completely (its not as hard as it seems) and I have cut down on my sugar intake massively (this is hard... I am still struggling). I've been much more careful about what I am putting near my face, and I have gotten into a nice little groove with it. I have also been working on developing more of a Product Closet than a strict routine. The only thing that is strict is that it happens properly Every. Single. Morning.  & Every. Single. Evening.

My morning routine has already been documented in this post, and the only thing that is varying is that I might occasionally use REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial mask on a Sunday morning when I am getting up.

My evening routine is more loosey goosey with regards to what I am using. It depends on what my skin is feeling like and how late it is and how tired I am.

I am normally at home and have my shower at 8pm after the kids are settled. I always double cleanse at night and I am alternating my treatments. Glycolic Acids and Retinols and hydration are taking top spots at the moment, and I will do proper reviews over the next few posts.

Some of these products are very spendy, but I saved (bloody hard) for them. Some I was sent to review, but they all get the same treatment. If it is in the following posts, it's because I fell in love with them, and I will probably not be without them from now on.

My skin is changing as I get older. I am still battling pigmentation, which, after much research, I have realised is actually Melasma (pigmentation caused by pregnancy), this makes me very sad as it is tough and expensive to get rid of. So for the moment they are just large freckles...

I'm well into my mid (late) 30's now, and my skin is starting to change. I am embracing the change, regretting all the skincare sins of my youth and looking forward to see how much it is going to change. Maybe you will find something useful/new to try in the posts that follow!

As always... thanks for reading!

**Samples provided for review, Opinions always my own

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