Saturday, 27 June 2015

La Roche-Posay Effeclar A.I. is just tops for blemishes

Think French pharmaceuticals, think La Roche-Posay. The skincare and make-up dermatologists that specialise in targeted treatments for sensitive skins. The Effeclar A.I. is a targeted breakout corrector, designed to target localised imperfections and prevent residual marks. Neat, right? Actually, this product is very neat...
To get the bad business out of the way first, /dilemma/ I almost decided against uploading this review as I was a little embarrassed that I couldn't get the nozzle applicator onto the tube. That's right. It is impossible to screw the white head piece onto the tube. Why it comes as a separate component is anyone's guess, so I admitted defeat with that one. Thankfully the cap that comes with the product will also screw onto the tube, so I was able to keep it air tight.

This may be the all-time best blemish treatment I've ever used. When La Roche-Posay say they specialise in products for sensitive skins, they mean it! I can't even feel this lovely thick cream touch my skin. That's wonderful. It's non-drying, non-abrasive and non-tingly. Dream, dream, dream. I apply this product twice a day (AM/PM) along my jawline and my skin is left nourished, blemish-free and cared-for for the entire day.

It's a very rich cream, which is nice, as you get a lot more mileage from a small amount of product. It spreads exceptionally well, meaning that the 15ML tubes goes a lot farther than I'd expected. The cream massages into skin without leaving behind a trace or a smell. This cream is literally incognito.

Gradually over time (I'm talking a few days here), this product reduced the inflammation of my blemishes until they disappeared. It was as though they were subtly being erased from my skin. The pain of my blemish was gone, their redness was gone and my skin was feeling smoother and healthier.

Once it has removed all blemishes from my jawline, it continued to prevent the return of any further blemishes. I am now as clear as I have ever been, not to mention how soft and well nourished my skin now feels.

This products is absolutely Essential. While yes, it is small and relatively expensive, it lasts longer than expected (depending on how frequent/how much you use), it is the most effective product I've ever used and has definitely become a staple.

La Roche-Posay Effeclar A.I. can be purchased from Boots for £10.00 for 15ML. The manufacturers listing can be found here.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Nourish Balance: Detoxifying Cleanser, Refining Toning Mist, Peptide Serum, Essential Moisturiser

Nourish. British. Organic. Natural. Vegan. Some of my favourite words to describe my skincare brands. Nourish is an absolutely beautiful brand with products focusing on treating the skin by providing it with the essentials it needs, as opposed to counteracting its behaviour by stripping away. The Balance Range, does exactly that. While this set it targeted at combination skins, I've found my oily skin to just fall completely smitten with it.

This is all about hydration. The key is to feed skin with essential ingredients to keep it at optimum hydration levels while balancing the over-production of oil. It does this just swell. I picked up the Nourish Balance Gift Box (full size) from Feel Unique as I just had to try everything in this range. The box includes Detoxifying Cleanser, Refining Toning Mist, Peptide Serum and Essential Moisturiser.

The key ingredient for this range is apple extract. You can really tell from the truly scrumptious smell of these products, just how pertinent that is.

Nourish Balance: Detoxifying Cleanser

The Detoxifying Cleanser is an extremely lightweight cleanser. It's silky smooth to touch and spreads like a dream on skin. It's lovely to run it over my face, and it's so, so light, I can scarcely feel it. As this is a lotion-type cleanser, it is fairly runny, but that makes it very sufficient to spread. 

It's a pump-based product, I find 1-3 pumps is more than enough to cover my entire face and jawline. I massage it in, in circular motions, until the product has practically disappeared from my face, then I rinse it away with cool water. 

This is totally gentle. I have moderately sensitive skin but this is lovely and kind to me. It is a very refreshing and cooling product. This is actually fairly powerful at removing make-up, even eye make-up. As a rule, I tend to just use oil cleansers for make-up removal, but this does a bang up job and it super delicate enough to be used on the eye.

While I do love everything about this. I mean everything. Its only downfall is the depth of the cleanse. It's very surface level. I don't feel particularly cleared or clarified in a deep sense, but I do feel very fresh-faced and clean from a surface sense. Qualifying this as more of a day-to-day product and not something you reach for when you want deeper nourishment.

Nourish Balance: Refining Toning Mist

The Refining Toning Mist is my first encounter with a spray/mist type toner and I must say, I am completely sold. This is a very, very refreshing product and major factor into keeping me oil-free. It is light and calming and offers up a perfect spritz of hydration.

Simply put, you spray 3-6 pumps of this product directly onto your face with closed eyes. Give it a few moments to settle and then wipe it away with a cotton pad. You can leave this on your face, without wiping, you're totally allowed to do that, but I find it can leave me feeling a little sweaty later into the day if I don't remove it. I allow myself to breath in the apple-y aroma of this product. It's truly lifting and refreshing.

It's a very light spritz, it's not too fast or too fierce, it's nice and gentle. The toner gently drops onto the skin, light as a feather, so there are no nasty surprises when spraying with your eyes closed. Do not, however, get this product in your eyes. It's a real stinger. But on skin, this product is cooling, refreshing and balancing. My absolutely favourite in the entire range.

Nourish Balance: Peptide Serum

Sadly, this is one product I could live without. This focus of the Peptide Serum is to refine the appearance of pores - who knows what that even means? - , optimise skin nutrition and brighten the complexion. This serum follows directly after toning, but before moisturising. You take 1 pump and smooth it into the skin. 

Now firstly, this is the runniest product I've ever used. It shoots out of the pump like water and its consistency just fall apart. When applied to the skin it is left very wet. While it might not be greasy, just wet, it does not at all absorb into the skin. Instead, it sits there, on the surface, making it feel as though my face just won't dry.

Later into the day, this product will find its way into your pores and clog them. My face becomes extremely sweaty looking. While it isn't sweat, it's just the serum, it captures in the pores and shines like little beads of sweat. So I never use this product in the day time, only during the evening.

The results of this product are slim, at best. My complexion was not brightened, my face felt suffocated and my skin did not feel nourished. It did, however, reduce the appearance of my pores by turning them into a more greyish colour. In stead of dark and obvious, they blended in better, making them far more subtle. 

Nourish Balance: Essential Moisturiser

The Essential Moisturiser, as moisturisers go, it a really solid product for oily skins. It's a very creamy consistency, with a great spread and fast absorption rate. It is also very lightweight, it doesn't burden the skin in any way, so it has a lovely breathability. 

It keeps my skin oil-free, yep, but not in a way I like. The product absorbs instantly, which leaves me looking a little matte. I know, that the reality us oilier folks have always dreamed of, but it just leaves me too dull. I'm flat, without radiance. So I always need to highlight my face when using this moisturiser to stop me from looking so dead... But that, I don't mind, when my oil is kept under control.

This product very strongly smells of sour apples, and the longer you use it, the stronger it smells. It's extremely potent, so always make sure to keep the lid tightly sealed to stop it from turning. I actually don't mind the smell one bit. I love apples! But towards the bottom of the jar, I started to feel it had gone beyond strong.

The Nourish Balance Range is a perfect kit for anyone wanting to introduce themselves to Nourish, or try a range with some very powerful balancing products. I would qualify the kit as Effective, repurchase. However, on a product-by-product basis, the individual products score as follows:-
  • Detoxifying Cleanser, scored Effecitve, don't repurchase. While I do like this product, it works at cleaning the skin, it is far too gentle and surface level as I require a deeper, more nourishing cleanse.
  • Refining Toning Mist scored Essential. I'm absolutely enamoured with this product. I love the sensation of refreshing my skin, it's lightweight and calming, and most importantly it kept my skin very well balanced.
  • Peptide Serum scored Avoid. Unfortunately, this product was not complimentary with my skin. It was too runny and wet. Most importantly, it left my face looking sweaty. While it does diminish pore intensity, that's not enough for me to continue using.
  • Essential Moisturiser scored Effective, repurchase. This product keeps me oil-free, I like it. But, because it does steal all the radiance from my skin, it's not perfect. I want my oil to be controlled, but I don't want to look dull.

The Nourish Balance Gift Box can be purchased from Feel Unique for £50.00. The set includes Detoxifying Cleanser priced at £13.00 for 100ML, Refining Toning Mist priced at £11.00 for 100ML, Peptide Serum priced at £20.00 for 30ML and Essential Moisturiser priced at £19.00 for 50ML.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Korean Beauty Haul: BeautynetKorea

Obligatory Korean Beauty Haul? I think so. While this might be fashionable in current times, that's not without good reason. Korean, and by extension, Asian beauty products, are powerful, adorable, targeted and reputable. While it might be a little confusing at first, there are a lot of cute infographics to mill through, complimented by confusing English, these products can be both entertaining and powerful.  

As this is completely new territory - where do you even begin? It's important to shop from reliable sources, and, during an introductory phase, focus on the wider, more popular brands. I shopped with BeautynetKorea. They stock a tonne of beauty, make-up, skincare, body and perfume products for both men and women. Their prices are reasonable (usually discounted), they offer free worldwide shipping on orders over $50.00, not to mention the wedge of customised samples I received with my order.

This is just an introduction, not a review. I wanted to show you what I picked up and why. There is a big focus here on blackhead removal, lots of scrubs, exfoliators and masks. 

TONY MOLY Egg Pore Blackhead Steam Balm 30G + Tightening Cooling Pack 30G + Silky Smooth Balm 20G ($35.27 USD) This little set was just too adorable not to pick up. I know, that's no way to shop, but I kept seeing these products mentioned time and time again, success story after success story. This Egg Pore 3 Pack Collection contains a Blackhead Steam Balm, to be used first to 'open up' the pores. This facial exfoliator warms up as it is massaged into the skin, preparing you to follow it up with the Tightening Cooling Pack, a cooling face mask used to tighten pores and improve the skins condition. Finally, the Silky Smooth Balm is more of a primer (make-up), offering no real skincare benefits. This is to be applied on its own, or under make-up, to keep you matte and blur them pores. 
ETUDE HOUSE Blackhead Final Kit Double-Up Blackhead Romving Toner-X 60ML + Black Head Smooth Cream 15ML ($17.49 USD) While the first item in this kit is referred to as a toner, it is not a toner in the traditional Western sense. In fact, you soak a cotton wool pad, or a cloth, in the toner then press it onto your face and leave it there for 10-15 minutes, after which, you wash/clean away. Follow this up with the cream, used to sooth the skin and control excess sebum. 
INNISFREE Jeju Vocanic Blackhead Out Balm 30G ($6.99 USD) Innisfree is an admirably green Asian beauty brand. Their ingredients are pure and naturally sourced. The Blackhead Out Balm (fun name, right?) melts blackheads away. It is a solid balm, which when massaged into the skin, melts into an oil, which then dissolves blackheads and absorbs sebum. 
Holika Holika Pig Nose Clean Blackhead Cleansing Sugar Scrub 30 ML ($7.78 USD) Pig Nose is for the removal of sebaceous filaments (white and horny clogged pores). The sugar scrub effectively removes these filaments, alongside blackheads by massaging the product softly into skin. Once massaged, leave the product on the skin, converting it into a mask, to allow the pink clay to absorb the excess sebum.
SKIN FOOD Black Sugar Mask Wash Off 100G (10.49 USD) While mask is in the title, this is actually just a face scrub. Gently massage this sugary product into the skin for a few minutes, then wash it away. As the name implies, this brand uses food within their products as part of their key ingredients, believing that good food products make you healthy inside and out. 
Here are the collection of samples I received with my order, all TONY MOLY, probably one of the more prominent Korean brands. While some of them are dupes, samples often go a long way in my books. The samples include: Magic Good Banana Hand Milk, Panda's Dream White Hand Cream, Panda's Dream Eye Patch, I'm Real Avocado Rich Cream and Floria Whitening Capsule Essence.

Are you tempted to splurge on a Korean Beauty Haul? What items are you interested in picking up?

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Body Shop: All-in-One™ Instablur™ Universal

For make-up wearers, primers have become an essential part to face/base application. Understandably. Primers can prep the face for easier application, hold make-up for longer, blur pores and, what I would consider most important of all, control oil. The Body Shop: All-in-One™ Instablur™ Universal is a dream come true for oil control. It is not, however, a dream come true in any other department.
This is a product you will need to learn to use, persevere with, fail with, get frustrated with and then and only then, finally have mattified skin which honestly does match that 12 hour promise. You read right. 12 hours. This product controls my oil production for an entire half day cycle - maybe longer, but who can ever try? 

When you first squeeze this product out of the tube, you will be greeted by a somewhat sticky, yet fairly crumbly, translucent balm. It will fall out into your palm or your sponge in 'chunks', with a consistency that isn't quite strong enough to hold together. However you apply this product, with your fingertips or with a tool, it will fall off. It's just completely unmanageable. I use my fingertips. I take a very small piece between my index finger and thumb and begin to massage it onto my skin, moving outwards from the nose. Using my other hand, I cup this underneath my face to catch any product that falls off, and their will be product that falls off. I then repeat this process until my entire face is covered by the balm. 

If you think the horrors stop there, think again...

During the first hour after application, if you touch or move your face in any way and disturb the product, it will become unsettled on your face, returning to its original balmy form. It almost makes you appear as though you have dry, flaky skin. I do, however, have a solution for this (though that doesn't make me any happy with this product's performance). After about 20 minutes of having this product on my face, I simply brush my fingertips very quickly over my skin. I'm talking seriously light here. It seems to take away any of that excess or build-up and prevent it from clumping on your face.
So why do I even rate this? Well, it's the results. Its ability to keep me shine-free is unmatched. It lasts all day long so I don't need to worry about my face, not once. I've become far more confident and relaxed. It's a really light balm that you won't feel it on your face, nor see on your face, and one tube lasts an absolute age. You really only need 1-2 pea sized amounts of this product to cover your entire face and you'll be laughing. 

I've been through tubes and tubes of this stuff and I won't be stopping any time soon, as it is absolutely an essential.

The Body Shop: All-in-One™ Instablur™ Universal can be purchased from The Body Shop for £14.00 / 25ML. For first time The Body Shop users, make sure to check online for any discounts/offers they are currently running as they are always, always running. 

Monday, 1 June 2015

Hey Bright Thing: Origins GinZing™ Energy-boosting Moisturiser

This is a product that I never expected to ever try. A hydrating moisturiser designed to boost radiance on a face that pumps out oil every waking moment? No thanks! Actually, you... yes please! This provides my face with everything it needs to be healthy and nourished. While it might be oil-free, it does not keep my face oil-free. Cue sad face. But it does offer me a brighter, more lovelier complexion.
Okay, let's get one thing straight before continuing with this review, as I will continue to insist that the smell of a product does in no way effect whether I like it or not. But goodness, does this product smell tops. Well yes, maybe, just maybe, it does this makes me fall in love with it just a teensy bit more. But it already has super amazing benefits. This moisturiser smells just like oranges. Sweet, delicious oranges. And it last all day. Dee-lish.

This is all about radiance. This is all about it, and it delivers it, in a punch-packing way, Oily skin usually comes synonymously with dull skin. Complexion that is lacklustre, flat and almost a little desaturated. This is exactly what my face suffers from and it is one of those things that is definitely difficult to recognise or diagnose without experiencing your face with or without radiance. As I understand it now, I have always had dull skin, and now I've gone radiant, thanks to Origins GinZing Energy-boosting Moisturiser, there's no turning back.

Simply put, if I want any kind of colour or life to my face, I'll turn to this moisturiser.

This product spreads like a dream. I take a very small amount, dab it on my nose, cheeks, forehead, chin and neck then massage the product in, moving outwards from the nose. Like I said, I get a lot of mileage. It does leave me with, what I feel like is a greasy film across my face afterwards, something that my oily skin would grab at with both hands if I left it at that. So I always, always have to use a primer/mattifying balm over the top of this. My current favourites are The Body Shop's All-in-One Instablur Universal (£14.00 / 25ML), which is a very thick balm that actually delivers on its 12hr shine-control promise, and TONYMOLY's Egg Pore Silky Smooth Balm ($13.22 / 20G), which is a silky smooth balm to both control shine (8hrs+) and blur pores. 
Due to it's energising properties, this moisturiser delivers on preventing dehydration, big time. Yes, your skin can be both oily and dehydrated. With hydration comes colour. It really does provide instant hydration and radiance to the face, in a way I've never experienced before. This product is absolutely essential. It honestly feeds my face. While it's a shame about the oily thing, that's nothing a trusty primer can't fix.

Origins GinZing Energy-boosting Moisturiser can by purchased online from Origins for £23.00 / 50ML. Alternatively, the larger value size £25.00 / 75ML is also available from Origins here