Monday, 25 May 2015

Travel Essentials, Travelling Light and Travelling Face First

I recently spent 3 nights in Barcelona (amazing city, I will definitely be back), and I always like to pack light. When flying, I always try and take the bare essentials, to keep my luggage as hand luggage only. This means I'm restricted to an impossible 10 liquids and usually a 10KG case. 

I'm going to ignore the very everyday essentials with this post (deodorant, toothpaste), I'm human, obviously I took these. I'll also be avoiding SPF to cover this in a later post. As someone who wears very minimal make-up (eyes, eyebrows. occ. lips), I fortunately don't have to carry all that much on-board. As a psoriasis sufferer, there are also a few products here to help calm dry and chaffed skin. 


I only managed to squeeze 9/10 liquids into the miniature 20cm x 20cm clear plastic bag. As I own a gargantuan skincare collection, it's very difficult to dwindle down to just 10 candidates (who could even?). So the focus here is on staying clean and staying hydrated. 

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] This little tube of anti-blemish magic has been a godsend for me. It's main purpose is to combat blemishes, unclog pores and refine skin texture. It does exactly that. But it also doubles up as a moisturiser. It's fairly thick-feeling on the face. But I couldn't live without it. It has helped to clear my skin, remove damage and scarring and keep me hydrated throughout the day. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+] is available from Boots for £11.62 / 40ML.

Lanolips Golden Ointment This multi-purpose product is ideal for covering all bases. It is a fairly thick, creamy balm, but I love the sensation of massaging it into my skin. I primarily use it as an eye cream, specifically in the outer corner of my eyes where the skin can feel a little tight. It leaves my eyes feeling relaxed and well nourished all day and I was so thankful for this after a full day of squinting and sightseeing. Lanolips Golden Ointment is available from Boots for £17.99 / 50G.

PapayaGold Paw Paw Moisturising Balm Yet another multi-purpose balm, but I use this for an entirely different purpose. This product is dreamily light. It's weightless on skin but feels instantly nourishing. I adopted this to my make-up routine, as opposed to my skincare. It's fantastic as an eyebrow wax, to hold back stray hairs, and doubles up wonderfully as an eyebrow highlighter when massaged sparingly under the brow arch. PapayaGold PAW PAW Moisturising Balm can be purchased from Boots for £5.99 / 25G

Salcura Zeoderm Skin Repair Moisturiser I very unfortunately suffer with psoriasis, primarily around my elbows which can becomes insanely dry, flaky and therefore uncomfortable. This product is perfect at keeping any irritation at bay all day long. I only need to apply one in the AM and again in the PM to reap its benefits. While it does sting ever so slightly when first applied, that discomfort shortly disappears and I'm left in love with how moisturised my skin feels. Salcura Zeoderm Skin Repair Moisturiser can be purchased from Boots for £8.99 / 50ML.

KIKO Volumeyes Plus Active Mascara This is one of the only mascaras I've used that doesn't come with a helping of lash clumping. I get perfect divisions and length with this mascara in a perfectly natural looking way. I adore the shape of the wand. It makes it so easy to apply, I can alter its angle easy enough without reapplying to areas I've already covered or accidentally touching skin. It also features voluminous technology to help your lashes grow. Mine are far more thicker since using this. KIKO Volumeyes Plus Active Mascara can be purchased from the KIKO MILANO store for £7.99 / 11ML.

LUSH Vanillary Solid Perfume I cannot get enough of the way this smells. I'm already a big lover of all things vanilla, but this just takes the bacon. It comes in a small tin and you simply rub your finger around the balm a little then transfer it to your skin. I like to place it just under my ears and on my wrists. LUSH Vanillary Solid Perfume can be purchased from LUSH for £7.99 / 12G (the single product in only available in-store and the link will direct you to the gift box containing the entire Vanillary range). 


The non-liquids cover mostly cleansers, hair and body products. I decided to opt for solid cleansers that need to be activated with water (to cut down on my liquids but also because I find them much more clarifying). I also subscribed to using LUSH's Shampoo Bars, which are essentially a solid shampoo and conditioner, or, if you like, a soap for your hair.

LUSH Let the Good Times Roll This is a fairly gentle exfoliating cleanser. It's already relatively moist, but I add water to it to make it extra gentle. It has very fine grains in it to help remove surface build-up. My skin feels lovely and clean after applying this product. And of course, there's the scent. Containing popcorn, it smells exactly that way. LUSH Let the Good Times Roll can be purchased from LUSH for £6.75 / 100G.

Pure Chimp Super Cleanser My skin has never been softer since using this product. Yet another cleanser that is activated with water, this turns into a very creamy paste which I love to massage into my skin. My skin has become super smooth to touch since using it, that I can no longer live without it. A delicious banana-y scent that it wonderful to wake up and fall asleep to. Pure Chimp Super Cleanser can be purchased from Pure Chimp for £11.95 / 80G.

LUSH Ultrabalm Yet another multi-purpose balm, because, why not? Full disclosure. I use this as a nipple cream. But it's also great for any areas that are dry, particularly nostrils and feet. It has a very, very fine sugary feel to it, so it takes away any damaged skin while keeping the areas nourished and well moisturised. LUSH Ultrabalm can be purchased from LUSH for £8.95 / 45G.

LUSH Trichomania As a solid shampoo, you simply rub this bar directly onto your scalp as though it were a bar of soap. It does create a nice lather which I then massage into the rest of my hair. It smells wonderful and it nicely hydrating, keeping my hair in good condition without making it oily. LUSH Trichomania can be purchased from LUSH for £5.75 / 100G.

LUSH Big Solid Conditioner As a solid conditioner, this product can either be directly applied to the hair (same as above), or broken off and rubbed in. I like to rub this product in to make sure I get a real deep condition. It makes my hair feel wonderfully soft and light, while adding a slight beach-y and tousled look. LUSH Big Solid Conditioner can be purchased from LUSH for £9.00 / 100G.

LUSH Porridge Porridge is a wonderful and delicious thing I can never grow tired of (both the soap and the super food). The little bar of soap contains actual porridge oats which help to exfoliate the skin. I don't bother using a cloth with this, I just apply it directly and find it becomes really thick and creamy on skin. The oats are super gentle and cause no irritation but effectively help exfoliate. LUSH Porridge can be purchased from LUSH for £3.10 / 100G.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Burt's Bees Anti-Blemish Solutions Clarifying Toner, Moisturising Lotion, Targeted Spot Treatment and Pore Refining Scrub

Putting bees and sustainability at the forefront of skincare, Burt's Bees is a sponsor to the British Bee Keeper's Association and founder The Greater Good FoundationBurt's Bees helps to both protect the bees and the environment, with packaging made from recyclable materials and recyclable themselves, leaving a low environmental footprint and responsibly sourcing their ingredients, all the products in the Anti-Blemish Solutions range are 99.4-100% organic. 

Another haul. Okay, I'm insatiable, we know this. But this is a mini-haul (excuses, excuses). The only purchase I neglected from this haul was the Purifying Daily Cleanser. Not to deter, while it is 99.4% natural, it includes phenoxyethanol (chemical preservative) and lauryl glucoside (surfactant), ingredients which I don't usually take kindly to in my cleansers (but the reviews do seem positive so it may still be worth considering).

Anti-Blemish Solutions Clarifying Toner

I love using toners, and this is no exception. While it contains salicylic acid, witch hazel and alcohol denat, it is not at all overly acidic or tingly, in fact, it can't be felt at all on my sensitive skin. It's a fairly runny liquid. Yes, yes, it's a liquid, it runs, but this is super runny, so you'll want to use it with a fairly thick cotton pad. It is lovely and cool on the skin, and sweeps away any dirt or residue without issue. 

This product helps to tone and clarify the skin. I look much clearer and much, much brighter after using this toner. It helps to balance my complexion. I'm not as red in all the wrong places and I'm not as dull all-over. 

In terms of its anti-blemish properties, I don't feel like it's quite enough. It's brilliant as a toner, but it's not enough for blemishes. While it does contribute to keeping me clear, it isn't powerful enough, making it quite a slow burner. 

Burt's Bees Anti-Blemish Solutions Clarifying Toner is 99.5% natural and is priced at £9.99 for 145ML. 

Anti-Blemish Solutions Moisturising Lotion

I have been desperate to use an anti-blemish moisturiser for a while. Unfortunately, this one didn't deliver exactly how I wanted it to. I don't want to be super neg towards this product but it's just a little too heavy. But heavy in a greasy way. Heavy can be nice, it makes my face feel heavenly well moisturised and nourished, which is exactly what this product achieves. After a few hours though, I'll start to get greasy. In a slick way. 

Its consistency is, yet again, a little too runny. Which leads to it making me greasy. Ideally, I need more of an emulsifying moisturiser, so this is just not suitable for me needs. However, it is more suitable to my neck where my skin is normal - yet varr blemish-prone

On a better note, it does help to reduce blemishes. It is both soothing and anti-inflammatory. It does feel nice to wear, I just wishwishwish it didn't make me greasy. Can't I ever have it both ways?

Burt's Bees Anti-Blemish Solutions Moisturising Lotion is 100% natural and is priced at £14.99 for 55G.

Anti-Blemish Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment

This is the staple in the range. I love how effective this product is! It is a miniature solution that takes big effect. As mentioned, my blemishes are primarily on my neck so I pour a few drops into the palm of my hand and slap it straight onto my neck, kind of like I'm applying aftershave. But you have to work super quick with the product, as it will dry in your palm almost immediately. 

This product does dry on the skin without leaving a trace. Yes it doesn't dry the skin. It works quickly to reduce blemishes, so quickly that within 12hrs I noticed a difference and with continued use my skin remains calm and clear. 

Unfortunately, the application of this product is all kinds of wrong. You have to tip the glass bottle upside down and it will come running out of the top. As as a targeted treatment, you aren't given much control when wanting to target a blemish. Which is why I have to put it in my palm and slap it onto my skin. Once more, it's another overly runny product, meaning you'll want to be super precise. 

Burt's Bees Anti-Blemish Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment is 100% natural and is priced at £9.99 for 7.5ML. 

Anti-Blemish Solutions Pore Refining Scrub

Exfoliation is one of my all-time favourite skincare things. Nothing makes me feel clearer than sloughing off all dead cells in the gentlest way possible. And this products delivers on that front. I use this every-other-day, taking a portion the size of one digit and massaging it softly into my cheeks, chin and forehead - the areas where my pores are of more concern. It features jojoba beads for exfoliation, which are super tiny making them super gentle to use. 

It is soft, so soft in fact, that I'm never left feeling dry or tight after use. In fact, my skin is left feeling pretty well nourished. It exfoliates in a really good way. My skin feels so clear after use, smooth and absolutely not irritated. 

In terms of pore refining, that doesn't really mean much. The focus of the product is to smooth skin - which is successfully does - and to exfoliate - which it also successfully does.

Burt's Bees Anti-Blemish Solutions Pore Refining Scrub is 100% natural and priced at £9.99 for 110G. 

I do like these products. Nothing in this range is irritating, everything is soothing and everything has its benefits. Both the Burt's Bees Anti-Blemish Solutions Clarifying Toner and the Burt's Bees Anti-Blemish Solutions Moisturising Lotion both scored Effect, don't repurchase. While they are effective at what the do in terms of toning and moisturising, they are not effective enough at reducing blemishes. The Burt's Bees Anti-Blemish Solutions Targeted Spot Treatment scored Essential. I love this product, and it has become a staple in my skincare regime. It's quick-working and effective without leaving any irritation. Burt's Bees Anti-Blemish Solutions Pore Refining Scrub scored Effective, repurchase. While I enjoy using this product, I will still be looking for other solutions, which focus more on combating blackheads and minimising pores.

All products featured here can be purchased from Burt's Bees.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Bee Good Honey & Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleanser, For Your Face & For The Bees!

Natural skincare has always been a big hitter for me. Nothing to do with ethos or ethics (though these are major perks), it just far more agreeable with my skin than their chemical-infused opposition. I'm also a big advocate in protecting the Honey Bee (you can discover more about the impact of the decline in the Honey Bee population here, and you can adopt your own beehive here). So any all-natural, all-organic product that sources its ingredients from British Bees while helping to support their population is a-okay in my eyes.

This is my first time using a cream cleanser, and it will certainly not be the last. This product is like massaging a dream into your skin. It has a lovely pillow-y texture, very plump, and you can feel it just enough on your face that it isn't too heavy nor too scarce. 

I find I like this product best when I massage it into dry skin, it almost disappears completely if you massage it enough. However, that's irrelevant because I always rise away my cleansers after use. It actually comes pre-packaged with, what I would qualify as, a very average muslin cloth. For me, it's really not that dissimilar to a standard dishcloth. Boo, I know, I'm being slightly priggish, it's a cloth, it does the job, and it's free. 

This product is not formulated specifically for oily skin types *sob*, but it is suitable for All Skin Types, as it contains some pretty dreamy ingredients that will still make any skin swoon.

Propolis is made from botanical sources and known as 'bee glue'. In vitro studies show that it possess some antibacterial and antifungal properties, which helps to clean the skin. It is also shown to be an emollient, proving effective against inflammation. 

Beeswax is considered a natural protector with incredible moisturising effects on the skin. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect against bacteria. It's a natural skin strengthener, rich in Vitamin A to help support cell rejuvenation.

Rapeseed Oil Sourced from the flower, rapeseed oil offers antioxidant properties for the skin, helping to be both softening and smoothing. It helps to fortify the important skin lipids (barrier).

This product smells utterly scrumptious. I love to wake up to this scent. I constantly insist that the scent of a product really doesn't mean that much to me, but what it's done right, it means the world, - and this product does it right! It's very sweet and pleasant and totally smells edible (I haven't tried it, right). It really adds to the experience of using a cleanser.

I've used this product morning and night for the past two months and it has helped me to keep fresh and clear. It's super effective and super suitable for oily skin. It has been beneficial to improving my skin quality while supporting British Bees. :-) 

Bee Good Honey & Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleaner can be purchsed from Bee Good for £11.50 for 100ML. 

The featured book is RSPB Handbook of Garden Wildlife and can be purchased from the RPSB website for £9.99. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Yes to Tomatoes Daily Pore Scrub, Daily Clarifying Cleanser, Daily Repair Treatment, Daily Balancing Moisturiser and Clearing Facial Mask

Yes! Yes to Tomatoes in fact. This was one of the first brands to really take my interest when I first took the unreturning jump onto the skincare wagon. I unwittingly thought that this brand was nowhere to be seen in UK waters, I know better now. Yes to ranges can be purchased from Boots, BeautyBay, Asos and LoveLula. I realise now, that I can't actually move for the stuff.

Yes to Tomatoes is that one you want if you're fighting with blemishes, blackheads and/or oil control. Harnessing the powers of, you got it, the tomato (lycopene), the pull of this range is using powerful anti-oxidants to help fight free-radicals and restore pH balance. Okay, so does it work? Short answer... Yes to some of it does!

Yes to Daily Pore Scrub

Okay, so I love the sensation of exfoliating. Put that in a formula that's gentle enough to use daily and I've found myself a match made in sweet grounded mango seed heaven. Swoon. This product is designed to target blemishes, reduce blackheads and unclog pores. It also does a neat little trick of reducing redness.

I use this daily, towards the end of the evening as one of those take-the-day-off systems. I can really feel it slough off all those dead skin cells, excess oils and dirt from the day gone by. I take a 50 pence piece sized amount into my palm and very softly massage it into my skin applying almost absolutely zero pressure. Focusing primarily on my cheeks, nose and forehead, I notice afterwards than any foreign bodies camped up in my pores have been eliminated. 

While unfortunately I did not notice a reduction in blackheads, it is a very powerful product for clearing and renewing the skin. It gives a very solid clarified sensation without any stripping, drying or *cringe* squeaky feeling. It also helps to even out my skin tone. After use I don't feel like I'm red in all the wrong places. 

The exfoliating factor in this product is finely ground mango seeds. And boy are they finely ground. They are almost indistinguishable, which, I suppose, is what makes them gentle enough for daily use. They don't come in short supply either, there's absolutely thousands of these little grains waiting to kick out any muck from your pores.

Yes to Daily Clearing Facial Mask

This is my favourite. Trumps all else. You know by now my position on face masks (I just don't understand them!), but this is something I can really get into bed with. Stating it will refine and purify pores, absorb sebum, and clear skin, you can forget all that, this product is for balancing your face and when timed correctly, you'll get some simply wonderful results.

It smells exactly like the Daily Balancing Moisturiser, so I'm more than happy to let this sit on my skin for 5-10 minutes. It is a very thick and hard mask. One that feels heavy when you scoop it out of the pot, and will really solidify when you place it on your face.
It's a pure white formula that is lovely and cool to touch. It will go very firm after a few minutes, and you will feel its presence on your face. One removed, my skin tends to feel a little off-kilter, so I always double moisturise. I know, you're wondering why I even like this so...

I use this mask whenever I have a long day ahead of me when I don't have the luxury to blot or fix, as this mask keeps my skin completely balanced for the entire day. Thank you Yes to! That doesn't mean I use it every day, I couldn't do that, my face would weep. I just save it for those important days.

Yes to Daily Repair Treatment

Designed to reduce blemishes and acne, this product went down really well with me. It answered everything that was wrong with Lush's Grease Lightning (review here). It was effective, light, absorbent and completely gentle. 

While it doesn't work quite as quickly as Grease Lightning at removing blemishes, it does reduce redness in due course. As mentioned previously, I only get heavy subsurface blemishes along my neck and jawline, and within one week those were very much disappeared. 

The product sinks in instantaneously and does not leave a single trace. It's perfect for my sensitive skin, I was scared it wasn't going to kick in as I couldn't even feel its presence. I apply it all along my neck and jawline twice daily and find that it is perfect at keeping any blemishes at bay and reducing inflamation.

Yes to Daily Balancing Moisturiser

Now, a downfall with this product is that it's actually aimed at Combination Skin (not the products fault, my face's fault, probably). Meaning, that this moisturiser isn't quite well equipped to deal with everything oily skin brings. Which is mostly just yucky oil. While it is a little heavier than I would have liked, it isn't without its positives. 

This product is one of my favourite smells. Not sure what it even is? But it definitely isn't tomato. In fact, nothing in this range even smells remotely of tomato, or the same as each other. But this is sweet bliss, making it a pleasure to apply. 

It certainly does keep my skin well moisturised, not in a way that makes it pump out oil, but in a way that makes it feel hydrated. I apply it and my skin will feel silky soft. It's got a very good spread and a wonderful finish. The feel of this product is just perfect.

I find that pushing the pump dispenser only half way down gives me more than enough product to cover my face and neck. It will leave me looking and feeling very refreshed and awake after use and while it can't quite control my oil enough throughout the day, it really does feel wonderful to use.

Yes to Daily Clarifying Cleanser

Now this, this is actually the only product in the entire range that was a big miss for me. It smells super chemical, while it is 98% natural it does contain alcohol, mild surfactants (lauryl glucoside) and preservatives (Sodium Benzoate / Potassium Sorbate). While it isn't my aim to induce fear, these are the qualifying ingredients that turn me away from the product.

It is a translucent gel cleanser, which is a really very runny product. As mentioned, it does contain mild surfactants so it does foam slightly. Not enough that it becomes stripping, but enough that it makes me uncomfortable. 

This product does offer a nice clean feeling, but it doesn't aid much in the way of skin benefits. I find that it isn't quite nourishing or healthy to skin. Instead, it just does its job of remove dirt and cleaning your skin. Which is fine. But it isn't enough. 

All of these products are listed here on the US Yes to retailer but can be purchased in the UK from BootsYes to Tomatoes Daily Pore Scrub / £11.99 for 112ML / Yes to Tomatoes Daily Clearing Facial Mask / £11.99 / 50ML / Yes to Tomatoes Daily Repair Treatment / £11.99 / 50ML / Yes to Tomatoes Daily Balancing Moisturiser / £11.99 / 50ML / Yes to Tomatoes Daily Clarifying Cleanser / £6.99 / 90ML