Sunday, 29 March 2015

Origins: Spot Remover and Super Spot Remover

I sincerely think I missed the hype-train here. Why all the fuss? These products seem to be severely overpriced. Sure, they might effective, but... so what? 

Now, I like Origins, their products feel nourishing, caring and and oh-so good for you. But they are a premium brand. And we all know premium is synonymous with price (£££) and size. The former being way larger than we'd ever like and the latter being something that actually does matter. 

I heard a lot of claims about how small the Super Spot Remover Gel was. And yes, they were all right. This thing is super miniature. A really disappointing kind of miniature. 

A dinky soft plastic tube with a twist cap. The small hole in the top allows you some control over how much product is released. But as always, gravity and applied pressure work their magic. As you sink lower into the tube, you'll really need to turn it upside down to get any product out. While it's a squeezable tube, it still becomes quite difficult to remove the desired amount. I've often over-squeezed and with a product like this, you literally can't afford to do that.

You apply a small amount of the Super Spot Remover Gel to your blemish - just enough to cover. Depending on which part of my face I applied it to, I would often get a stinging/tingling sensation. Usually around the forehead and cheeks - the jawline and neck suffered no such nonsense.  

The gel will dry on skin after several minutes, after which, it forms a translucent, yet shiny, film around the applied area. This can be a little noticeable. Especially if worn under face make-up. I tried liquid, compact and loose powder foundations on top of the skin and found that the shine penetrated through and clogged make-up around these areas. 

It definitely is effective. It's more than efficient at reducing redness and inflammation, taking as little as several hours to get to work. For sizing down, this thing's got your back. But for actually clearing skin, I didn't notice any particular improvements. While a blemish may appear smaller, it wasn't removed any faster than it would have naturally. 

Generally, the gel tended to turn larger red blemishes into whiteheads, which has literally never happened to me before - referring to blemishes on neck. Which I was then able to remove the good old-fashioned between-two-fingernails way. *squeems*

The Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Pads come in the most over-sized jumbo container ever. When compared to the Super Spot Remover Gel, it's almost comedic. The joke being that this thing doesn't work. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Inside this large - and very tacky feeling - cylinder, are 60 pads, to be used once in the morning and then in the evening. Simply wipe away your blemishes! I'm not really sure why I trusted that wiping my face with a damp piece of cloth was ever a good way to truly benefit from the active ingredient? Blemishes be gone! Or not. 

I really didn't notice any change in my skin. Using one pad both morning and then evening, which are really just not large enough to make sure you cover the entire face without reusing the same section, I felt no change in the behaviour or the appearance of my skin. 

This product doesn't leave any kind of feeling or residue on skin. However, the pads do remain drenched in whatever that not-so-special formula is, right to the very end. Every cloud.

Super Spot Remover Gel Scored Effective, don't repurchase. While the gel is effective at reducing the appearance of redness and inflammation, it has no special results that warrant such an ungodly price tag. 

Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Pads Scored Ineffective. There were no quantifiable or noticeable results from using this product.   

Super Spot Remover Gel can be purchased from Origins' in-store and online for £15.00 / 10ML. Spot Remover Blemish Treatment Pads can be purchased from Origin's in-store and online for £24.00 / 60 PADS. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Palladio: Rice Paper Tissues

Blotting is the only realistically portable and effective quick-fix measure. For me, oil is inevitable, and the only reasonable way to combat it, without lugging my entire skincare regime in my handbag or pants pocket, is blotting tissues. And these are about the most compact tissues of them all.

This tiny little cuboid of oil slurping rice can slot into just about any purse, pocket or even brazier, and if not, its lightweight cardboard packaging will allow you to crush it on in. 

The blotting sheets come in three shades of Translucent, Nude, Warm Beige, which seems like unnecessary variety to me, especially when the rice powder on these tissues has very little presence. 

One side of the tissue is sheer, this is the side used for blotting, and the other side of the tissue is dusted with rice powder, which will also be dabbed onto the face, working similarly to that of loose or pressed powder.

Taking the sheer side, I press it gently onto my forehead, nose and cheeks, moving the paper as I work. The paper will instantly pick up all grease and oil and your face will mattify like that. Next I take the powdered side and dab that gently along the same areas to finish.

Unfortunately, the powder is a bit sparse, and in some cases, there are blank tissues. But this is okay. The blotting alone is powerful enough to reduce oil.

Generally, one tissue will be enough to cover my entire face and clean up all oil. I will usually only have to do that once per day. On occasion, I have used these tissues three times in one day. Bear in mind there are only 40 sheets in a packet and average just over 11p per sheet. But blotting sheets are essential. There is no going back. Tissue paper will just not cut it. It feels disgusting and is ineffective. 

Surprisingly, these blotting tissues smell absolutely divine. It makes me enjoy using them all the more. It's a very mild, edible scent which lasts on skin after use.

Scored Effective, repurchase. I am enamoured with these tissues as there are 100% reliable. I can be reassured that using these tissues will remove all traces of grease and oil. However, I will keep my eyes open for a more effective powdered base, purely to compare the results with and without.

Palladio Rice Paper Tissues can be purchased from Beauty Naturals in Translucent/Nude/Warm Beige for £4.50 / 40 Tissues (UK Retailer). For the official listing, Palladio Beauty. 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Lush: Cupcake

Brand: LUSH
Price: £6.50 / 75G
Score: AVOID

We're back to that age old question. Face masks: why? Bad, bad, bad.

Lush like you to keep their face masks in the fridge and I dig that, but that also brings with it a super short shelf life. Check your labels. You will have anywhere between 3-4 weeks to smear what you can of this product onto your face 1-2 times a week. I forced myself through 6 applications of this product before deciding enough is enough.

This mask brought with it some very in-your-face, on-my-face spots, which were far from discrete and everywhere. Okay, that's being dramatic. It gave me 2-5 very red, very large spots along my cheeks and forehead that just would not budge. This was the consistent result after every application. 

Contrary to those points, I did feel like my face had an overall clarity to it. Both my skin and pores felt clearer, fresher and cleansed. It is a joy to use; super soft and non-abrasive. It did not clench up like other masks, it remained creamy and melted away with water. 

I'm not even entirely a big fan of the smell. It isn't your traditional scent of chocolate or cake. It strangely seems almost artificial. While it's bearable, it does detract from the luxury. 

With all that being said, I just can't use this product. There was no quantifiable reduction in oil production and there was a sudden increase in stubborn break outs. The exact opposite of what this product is telling me it will do. 

I've never known a product to bring on spots the way this did. And consistently so. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Clarins: Cleansing Milk with Gentian, Toning Lotion with Iris, Ultra-Matte Rebalancing Lotion and Lotus Face Treatment Oil

Rating: 5/5

Now that almost feels like an unjustifiably long title. And it is. But I had a lot to fit in and the Clarins regime really qualifies itself as a 'treatment', so it did feel necessary that these products would be collated into one monster title.

Clarins is a brand that I only recently discovered in the past few months. Has it gone on some sort of promotional reboot - because I've seen that somewhere between just red with bad maroon and serif font plastered everywhere lately. It's not a pretty brand to look at. 

Browsing through their catalogue, they have a range of skincare specifically catered towards the needs of oily skin. My dream come true! Literally. And they claim that these products are actually more of a treatment, with their products gradually becoming more effective over time. Yeah, make me buy in? Actually, I found that to be quite true. 

Price: £19.50 / 200ML
Category: CLEANSER

Now, there's a selection of cleansers catered towards oily skin, and for no particular reason (other than the fact that it comes in a ridiculously valuable value kit with the toner I was interested in), I opted for the gentian milk cleanser. This is just really a delight to apply, it's creamy and soft texture is incredibly kind to skin. My skin feels super healthy and super clean in a 'genuine', non-stripped sort of way.

I simply squeeze a large hazelnut sized amount of product into my hand, spread it between my fingertips then massage it into my skin. I can quite literally feel any dirt smoothing away at my touch. Now this is a rather heavyweight cleanser, so it's crucial to actually wash this off with water after use, as a toner alone just won't cut it.

For a product that likes to name drop the fact that it's with gentian, I had to look up just exactly what gentian even is. On the site's ingredients click-through, it defines gentian as "In cosmetology, Gentian is particularly useful in skin-toning formulations". And it's extraordinary just how not helpful that is. This was proving to be quite a difficult ingredient to find any kind of relevant information on, especially when it's primary effects are achieved through ingestion. The only moderately useful piece of information I could find was posted here, which suggested that gentian is an antioxidant. Mystery solved! ... We think?  

Price: £19.50 / 200ML
Category: TONER

Toning has always been a middle step that I really wish was redundant, but with the Clarins toning lotion, I can't say I really mind all that much. It is a very refreshing toner, which feels delightfully cool on skin and it's ideal for removing that pesky milk cleanser.

I actually like to apply - what's probably double what I usually apply - when it comes to this toner, as it really absorbs into the skin and leaves me looking fresh and vibrant.

Once again, a product that mentions its key ingredient in the title, but this time Clarins provided me with a very suitable answer: "An excellent astringent with normalising properties, Orris extract is found in beauty care products for skin prone to oiliness". It's worth noting that orris root is actually iris florentina, or something. But with effects like those, it's definitely an ingredient I will be keeping an eye out for in future... unless it calls itself something different. 

Price: £26.00 / 50ML

It took me a very long time to get on board with this moisturiser. But moisturising and oily skin has always been a catch 22. It really is an essential part to our skincare routines, but it's also feeding the beast. And this one is no different.

Or so I thought.

After several weeks of use, this moisturiser really came into its element. My skin feels clean and hydrated but is not nearly as prone to the slick greasy residue. I do honestly feel fresh-face. I feel like I've experienced a moisturiser for the real first time. 

I pump x3 in the mornings and x5-7 in the evenings. I always apply this moisturiser while my toner is still wet on my face so it can benefit from the same absorption effects as the toner. It sinks straight into the skin for that real deep down hydration. 

This product is in opaque packaging (officially becoming an honest peeve), so it's impossible to tell how much you have left... until it's too late, of course! 

Price: £32.00 / 30ML

Face oil is a thing I probably never would have looked twice at, but now, I won't look back! I adore this product. I actually gain a small amount of pleasure from using this product, both for the fact that, yes, it works and yes, it is divine on skin. 

The aim of this product is to rebalance the skin's natural oil production by providing it with essential oils and teaching it how it needs to be treated (ie. treat me). 

Using the little pipette, I simply squeeze 3-5 drops into my palm and quickly dab+rub onto my face, paying close attention to my forehead, nose and cheeks. 

Now remember, this is oil, so this will quite happily just sit on your face. Which is why this should only really be done before bed, and when you wake up in the morning, it will still be right where you left it.

After a few weeks of use, I noticed that the oil production in my face slowed right down. It takes a much longer time in the day before my skin pumps out oil. This really is something that you need to stick at. 

Once more we find a key ingredient in the product title. So what does this little number do? According to the Clarins directory: "In cosmetics, extract of lotus japonicus zymbiosome is used for its brightening properties". That isn't actually the answer I was expecting to find but I can't deny the fact that my skin has been looking more radiant lately. Thank you, lotus! 

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Dermalogica: Blackhead Clearing Pore Control Scrub

Price: £13.00 / 75 ML
Rating: 3.5/5

Dermalogica is another one of those 'science-y' looking brands. But, it also doesn't like to pay attention to the correct capitalisation of proper nouns - so can we really believe a word it says? Yes we can. But also no. But somewhat yes.

When I first started using this product, I went to town with it. Scrubbing hard, 2-3 times a day, plus. I just wanted to scrub my blackheads away, I just wanted that squeaky clean finish. Now, I won't hardly go near it and it's far better that way. 

This is another  product which uses those ever-so-popular microbeads, but these microbeads are so micro that it almost forms a very smooth paste. For that reason, it's more than important to be very gentle and feather-like when applying this product. Applying any kind of intense pressure when using microbeads can be damaging to skin. I learned this the hard way. 

During the first week, I was really putting some mileage into this product, appending it into my daily routine and scrubbing so fiercely my skin positively squeaked afterwards. And this was so the wrong thing to do. I was over-producing oil to compensate for the damage I was causing, my skin was tight, which admittedly made my pores appear smaller,  and my skin felt very polished and raw. 

This product is not too dissimilar to an exfoliator, and really, skin should only be exfoliated 1-2 times a week. So that's what I do now, and yes, that is better. I am now super gentle when applying this product, I smooth it over my t-zone with minimum pressure. Afterwards, I feel fresh and cleared as opposed to the harsh, taut feeling before. 

Always apply this product to a damp face, as, arguably, this product is a little too stripping for some of the more balanced areas of my face, such as my chin, and I find that it leaves me feeling dry throughout the day. Yes, dry. Me. With dry skin. Dry. So it's near crucial to apply a moisturiser just after using this product. 

Due to micro-microbeads, this product doesn't really get that much coverage during application. I really need to squeeze out a good almond-sized portion to get the spread I need. But, it lasts. 

Now, does it work? Yes. It does work. But it doesn't work as well as I would have liked. Without throwing around un-researched, un-studied, un-qualified percentages, I would say that my blackheads have reduce in size and number by a very small amount. They are still there, and still very obviously there, but they are better. They definitely aren't as dark, which, for me, as to be one of their most defining factors.