Thursday, 30 July 2015

BLOOM Skin Essentials: Now Essential To My Routine

Well, I give up. I've done it. I've found just the most perfect, nourishing, revitalising skincare products, that I may as well just pack in this whole blogging journey thing right now. I'm all kinds of serious. BLOOM Skin Essentials have been an absolute glimmer of light, turned into a glowing reality. These oil control pangs I've been going through? No more. These oversized pores blessing my cheeks and nose? Hugely reduced. This dull and blotchy complexion? Balanced and radiant.
The BLOOM products are cruelty free, 100% pure, organic, sustainable and recyclable botanical skincare. They contain absolutely no toxic ingredients and are preservative free, even suitable for vegetarians and vegans. I thought that none of that really mattered that much to me (apart from the recyclable thing, that's a big concern of mine), but when I see the incredible effects of using toxin-free skincare, the penny drops and I think "Yes, this is the way forward!"

The entire BLOOM range is available in the Essentials Kit. Naturally, this is what I bagged myself. It contains 5 of the most wonderful products I've ever encountered:
  • GLOW Daily Glow Tonic (Oil Cleanser)
  • POLISH Everyday Brightening Polish (Exfoliant + Face Mask) 
  • HYDRATE Hydrating Botanical Mist (Mist Toner/Essence)
  • NOURISH Essential Facial Serum (Facial Oil)
  • RESTORE Eye Cream (Yeah... exactly what it says on the jar, really)
These products are adapted for your particular skin type (Dry/Combination/Oily). This is particularly pertinent to the POLISH and NOURISH products, as these will vary to account for your skin's needs. For example, I picked up the Oily Range which contains a much rougher POLISH to help exfoliate and clear my much larger build-up of sebum. If you don't know your skin type, you can take BLOOM's test here


As we all know by now, I'm a big purveyor of oil cleansing, and GLOW is definitely one I would push for anyone with a love for oils. It's a wonderfully thick oil, that is absolutely soft and nourishing to skin, effectively removing any trace of dirt or make-up while leaving skin, you guess it, glowing.

This is a completely natural oil, and because of this, it's unlike any other oil I've ever used before. It's thick and gloopy and downright wonderful. As it is a pure oil, you won't be able to remove this cleanser with just water. Oil and water don't mix, remember? Instead, you'll want to use a muslin cloth. I found The Organic Pharmacy's Organic Muslin Cloth to be a perfect partner. You'll want something thick and gentle to help pick up the oil and remove it from your skin.

It's also suggested to mix this oil with the POLISH exfoliant, which is exactly what I did, and boy, did I love it. You simply take a few drops of GLOW and a few sprinkles of POLISH and mix them together to form a paste. Massage the paste onto damp skin, without applying any real pressure, just gently glide your fingertips over your face and remove one again with the muslin cloth.

I have, honestly, the most glowing and radiant skin I've ever seen. I look so much brighter and clearer when using GLOW and combining it with POLISH just gives me the freshest feeling imaginable. As it's non-astringent, it leaves skin very hydrated and soft, leaving me with a very well-nourished and well-fed sensation. 

Don't get my started on the smell. I revel in the smell. This little family of products all have a very similar scent and it's one I just can't get enough of. It's fresh and natural and an absolute treat to be putting on your skin.

GLOW can be purchased individually for $22.00 / 4OZ. (that's 118ML, for us Brits). 


With this collection, I find it quite difficult to pick favourites, but I've got to say, this product trumps all. POLISH is a multi-purpose product that can be used as both an exfoliant to buff away dead skin sells and soften skin, and also a face mask to draw out impurities and deeply cleanse. And it excels at both.
As mentioned above, combining POLISH with GLOW can make a lovely custom paste which is gentle enough to be used daily. The oily version is a rougher, but nothing our thick skins aren't meant to handle, as it is in no way harsh. It leaves skin softer and smoother by taking away the layer of build-up from excessive oil production.

POLISH (for oily skins) has a wonderfully grainy feel. It uses very finely ground and milled rice powder, chamomile petals and coriander powder. None of it is hard or clunky, it's all soft and gentle. Exactly what we want.

Now BLOOM recommends also mixing this product with GLOW to use as a face mask. But I don't play by the rules. I like to mix it with water as I find it to be a lot more extracting. My nose gets incredibly congested and this mask is the master at decongestion. After removing, all the gunk that was clogging my pores is extracted and I'm left with much clearer, more breathable skin.

A cute little wooden spoon is supplied with this mask. 1-2 scoops is enough for a daily exfoliate, and 3-4 scoops is enough to cover your entire face for the mask.

While this mask does dry and become hard on skin (only with water; with oil it will remain soft), it is in no way tight or uncomfortable. Yes, it is a bit of a pain to remove, so bring out the muslin cloth yet again. But once removed, my face is absolutely wonderful. My skin tone is completely balanced. I have no inflammation or redness, I'm just glowing and I'm clear and I'm fresh and I'm lovely.

POLISH can be purchased individually for $32.00 / 6OZ. (that's 170G, for us Brits). 


Big claim, I know, but this is the best face mist ever. I'm standing by that sentiment, wholeheartedly. It's ultra-hydrating, enlightening, therapeutic, and totally moisturising. There is no better, or more effective way for me to give my skin the hydration boost it needs, than by spritzing it with this wonderful elixir.

I say spritzing, it's actually super delicate. One pump from the nozzle and the mist just very gently falls onto skin and politely kisses you on the face, followed by an instant hit of hydration. As oily as I am, keeping my skin well moisturised is usually at the back of my mind, as it usually contributes to excessive oil production. But using HYDRATE is just right and gives my face all the essential hydration it needs, helping to prevent it complaining later in the day.

It's absorption rate is fast, meaning there's little-to-no waiting around time for this little elixir to work its magic into skin. You feel the hydration boost immediately. If I'm ever feeling tight or dry or fatigued, I'll pick up this bottle and spray it all over and revel in its instantaneous hydration. 

When wet, using HYDRATE in conjunction with NOURISH is the perfect way to dilute the oil a little and help it carry into skin. It gives you a very fresh, dewy look. Something I know that we oily folk fear, as dewy always crumbles and becomes just oil. But not with these products. These products are perfect for adding glow and life into our otherwise wilfully mattified faces. 

As mentioned, this is a very therapeutic experience. I feel calmer and revitalised when breathing in this product. As it falls so delicately through the air, it becomes quite ritualistic to breath in the mist while letting it absorb into skin. It smells delightful and it's absolutely refreshing - a true delight to all the senses!

HYDRATE can be purchased individually for $28.00 / 4OZ. (that's 118ML, for us Brits). 


If you want oil control, look no further than this delightfully fragranced, effective and light facial oil. Oil for oily skin, you say? It's a question I hear quite often. Switching out a moisturiser for an oil has been one of the best changes my face has gone through and NOURISH is the queen of them all.

Giving my face the essential ingredients it needs, helps prevent it from overproducing oil to compensate. The brunt of this is taken on by the vetiver root and the palmrosa, which help to balance sebum levels and the brown rice powder, which helps to absorb dirt and oils without disturbing the skins natural pH balance. You can read up on the full list of organic ingredients here.

Let me tell you, it's bloody brilliant at controlling oil. Whenever I wear this, I can be absolutely secure in the knowledge that my face is shine-free, grease-free and clean. It's such a refreshing sensation. Quite literally. I now know what it is to feel fresh! It's just the lightest thing, positively weightless. So not once do I ever feel burdened or uncomfortable in this oil. Hydrating, nourishing, refreshing and light, this oil has got it all.

At the end of the day, this is an oil. It's oily, okay. The absorption rate is a little on the slow side. I'm talking an hour plus here. If I've got the time to wait around for it to absorb, which I often don't, I will go the entire day completely bare faced and without the need to touch up or blot. If I don't have the time spare, I will have to cover it with a primer, unfortunately. That helps to disguise the oil while it gets to work in the background.

My skin condition has massively improved with the use of this product. While I still rely on it to help me control oil, I look generally more smoother and brighter. As it's super moisturising and hydrating, my skin never complains and will never become inflamed or uneven. I'm well conditioned and well nourished. How aptly named!

NOURISH can be purchased individually for $40.00 / 1OZ. (that's 30ML, for us Brits). 


The eye area is extremely delicate and often has a dedicated product to help sooth, moisturise and care for. RESTORE is exactly that product. It's a gentle, nourishing balm that is massaged under and around the eyes to keep them supported and moisturised.
This product is incredible. I'm often very fatigued because I have very little sleep (nothing that isn't self inflicted), meaning I suffer with the heavy and dark under-eye bags. This has been the only eye product I've found that actually helps to sooth and revitalise my eyes, making them brighter and livelier after use. I look awake, I look fresh, and, most importantly, I'm bag-free.

I never realised before, that I had dark spots around my eyes. I assumed it was one of the side-effects of fair skin and UV exposure ie. freckles. But actually, it was skin damage. After using this product for a few weeks, the dark spots began to fade and then eventually disappeared entirely. I was so impressed at how effectively the product handled them, in the most delicate and nurturing way possible.

This is the first eye product I've used that is actually a balm. Bit crazy, right? The issue with balms is that they actually melt and become an oil. So once this balm has been massaged into the eye area, I end up with these rather wet looking eyes. The trick is, everything in moderation. I had to really reduce the amount of product I was using and I would no longer have wet eyes. The beauty of that is, the smaller the portion, the longer it lasts.

This is a wonder products that's brought me out of tired, removed my dark spots and kept my eyes completely soothed. It definitely has wonderful restorative powers.

RESTORE  can be purchased individually for $28.00 / 1OZ. (that's 7ML, for us Brits). 

The clue is in the name really, these products are essential to my routine. Every last one of them. Which is why my second order is currently en route. You can pick up the entire range for $130.00 USD on the BLOOM Skin Essentials online store. Products can also be purchased individually, as priced above.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Skin Dossier I: The Current State of Affairs

Eight months ago, I delved into the colossal world of skincare. I was confused, alone, experimental and, most importantly, I had no idea what I was doing. Today, not a single sentiment of that has changed. While I do now have experience - I understand my skin better, I can recognise ingredients that do and don't work for me, I finally get the deal with face masks - there is still so much to learn.

Like me, I suppose the majority of us can be fairly self-deprecating, but in terms of physical appearance, this can often be a little over-critical than modest. 

I have never been comfortable in my skin.

There, I said it. While this is a statement a lot of us can relate to, varied by our own measure of self-worth, it's a very difficult fact to come to terms with. I can't fix, change, or transpose my skin. While I can improve it, it will never measure up to the flawless idealogical standards I give to skin.

This means I need to get comfortable. I need to get real.

As I'm sure we've all seen by now, Em, My Pale Skin released her YOU LOOK DISGUSTING film to highlight how the pressure of social media reinforces unattainable idealogical standards, the degradation of self-worth and the sickening bile that spews from troll culture. But she is a real person, with real skin and she has the confidence to show who she really is.

While my skin has improved dramatically over the past eight months - primarily because I now actually wash it - it is still far from this thing we like to call perfect. My pores are still dark and large, my t-zone is still overwhelmingly oily, I still get blemishes and inflammation, I have scars and marks and lesions. But so what? That's just my face. It does the job of being a face. But it's taking its toll on my confidence. But so what? Because I am measuring myself to a standard of skin that's faked.

I think its important to document my journey through skincare, and the most effective way of doing this is showing you my skin. This is a very tough thing to do, to expose myself in this way. The real me. But if we don't make a movement against unrealistic expectations of men and women, who will?

These are perhaps the most un-gratuitous pictures of myself. These photographs are uploaded at full resolution (5184 x 3456), please click them for higher quality. There are no filters or photo-manipulation. I am wearing no make-up, just Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil. I am lit only by the natural light from my window.

It is an important step for me to document how my skin changes - if it changes - but it is also important for me to get comfortable with this skin.

This is my skin. 

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Eau Thermale Avène Very High Protection Emulsion SPF 50+

As we all know by now, I'm very fair skinned. We also all know by now that fair skin and good weather really don't mix well, so I am always sporting the factor 50. The trouble with sunscreen is that it's generally fairly greasy, and when your skin is very grease-prone already, you're left with nothing but trouble on your hands.
This is why I've been on the search for something a little more mattifying. Enter Eau Thermale Avène Very High Protection Emulsion SPF 50+. As my first encounter with a face-specific SPF, and one designed for combination-oily skins at that, it was completely contrary to any sunscreen I've ever experienced.

First up, we can't ignore the fact that this just does not spread. No spread means difficult to blend, which means white cast. I'm very conscious of sunscreen leaving white traces as they are often very stubborn to remove. You'll have to work quickly with this, trying to blend as quickly as possible before it dries. It's a very tough liquid that likes to grip, so good luck with that, right...

While white cast is an issue in and of itself, this product actually likes to make you turn a little... purplish? Don't let that discourage, as it actually offers some neat benefits and you won't look purple in the slightest:

  • It evens out the skin tone, so any redness or inflammation is balanced. My skin always looks very fresh and natural after applying as it really helps restore the equilibrium (through disguise)
  • It has a very effective pore blurring effect. My pores are honestly invisible after applying this, as it covers them in a very thin whitish/purplish finish, making them only visible at very close inspection
As a dry touch sunscreen - the contributing factor as to why it's so difficult to spread - this product has a lovely satin-like finish to it. My face feels delightfully smooth and velvety after use, and it absolutely no way sticky or greasy. While it is designed to give a matte-finish, it does offer a nice real-glow so your skin doesn't appear completely dry or dull.
While it is quite a lightweight formula, utterly weightless on skin, it does feel heavy when coming to the end of its 2 hour life-cycle. Layering this product over itself also contributes, making it quite a thick and clunky product further into the day. 

This sunscreen does aims to reduce sebum production, but I don't think it delivers on that promise entirely. My skin looks wonderful after first application, it's a fresh glow, pore-free, UVA-safe face. But after 2-3 hours, things start to slip. My own facial oils kick in and really show this sunscreen who's boss. Unfortunately, the matte promise falls a little short.

The Eau Thermale Avène Very High Protection Emulsion SPF 50+ offers full range coverage from UVA rays and also covers UVB. It's designed for hypersensitive skins and causes no irritation. It provides great protection so long as the product is spread in correctly. It comes in a pump-action dispenser, which makes it super easy to use and minimises product transfer. While it kept me always protected and blurred my pores, I will not be repurchasing due to issues with white cast and spreadability.

The Eau Thermale Avène Very High Protection Emulsion SPF 50+ can be purchased from Boots for £16.00 / 50ML.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Anti-imperfections with La Roche-Posay Effeclar Duo (my hero!)

Continuing on with my venture into the ever delightful French skincare brand, La Roche-Posay and their Effeclar range (for the review of Effeclar A.I. please click here), I've been trying my hand at the Effeclar Duo, and I've got to say, it's every bit just as good.

For me this product fell into a confusing category of what stage in my routine do I even apply this? It's not quite as moisturising as a moisturiser - though it states it can be used as one, and it's not quite as rewarding as a serum, so it kind of falls in the middle.

To start, the product sells itself on getting to work in just one day. That's an awful big brag, right? Actually, it's got every right to brag. This product got to real work in just 2 days for me. Blackheads. That's where it spun its main magic. After 2 days, a really severe blackhead that has been troubling for a while, literally just fell out of my face. It pushed its way through the skin so that I could literally just pluck it delicately from my cheek. I know, I know, graphic, TMI. But it was gone and it was painless.

I only had 3 blackheads in total, but they were large and bothersome and far too stubborn to remove. Now I have zero blackheads. It took 18 days in total for the blackheads to naturally dislodge themselves with a little push and shove from Effeclar Duo

But it doesn't just stop there, oh no. Effeclar Duo labels itself as anti-imperfections. I wasn't entirely sure what that meant. But, I have several raised skin blemishes. Scars/warts/moles (gross, I know), that sort of thing. Though they aren't entirely visible to anyone except me, I've always been dreadfully self conscious of them. With each passing day I noticed these raised blemishes start to smooth out, then reduce in size, then eventually vanish entirely.

My skin has never been smoother, clearer or less blemished and it's all thanks to this one little magic tube.

But it isn't all rainbows and sunshine... It hardly ever is. This product has an extremely thick gloop-like texture. It's extremely greasy and leaves a film-like residue on the skin. It doesn't absorb and it is certainly very obviously. So you will have to prime. Sorry. I know, it's a big pitfall. But the results are so bloody worth it.

I went through two tubes of this stuff and used it AM + PM for 2-3 months. To the end of the three months, my skin kind of didn't really need the stuff any more. It's the sort of product I can pick up and apply as and when I need it. I am so grateful to how this product has changed my skin for the better and it will definitely be the first little product I call on when I'm in need of a skin saviour. It's essential, sure, but only as and when.

LA Roche-Posay Effeclar Duo can be purchased from Boots for £15.50 / 40ML.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Travel Essentials Revisited: Doing it Right(ish) in Budapest

Another month, another holiday, this time to the oh-so-beautiful and historically rich city of Budapest, Hungary. 

Packing light is not really my jam, but I also like to be thrifty - so hand luggage only, right? Culling my skin and cosmetic collection into just 10 liquids is always a real struggle for me. Especially when those liquids must include the bare essentials, such as sunscreen and toothpaste. That's two slots gone. I've noticed lately that my collection has migrated into more solid-based alternatives for this very reason. 

I was cheeky this time round, as I was travelling with my partner, who, despite my attempts to turn him onto real skincare routines, only packs antiperspirant and prescribed acne medicine. Meaning, I had a few more liquids to play with. Dream come true.

I'm also now a little more switched on with what I can and can't include in my liquids allowance. Two months back, in my trip to Barcelona, Spain (full breakdown here), I squeezed Lanolips Golden Ointment and PapayaGold Moisturising Balm into my liquids container. I didn't do that this time. Maybe I was pushing my luck a little, as they are balms/liquid-esque, but nobody seemed to bat an eyelid. 

The Organic Pharmacy

I considered a short city break the perfect opportunity for me to pick up some conveniently small travel-sized products, while trialling some new items that I've had my eye on for some time. In hindsight, I see that this was just an outright mistake:
a) I always prefer to test full-sized products, to fully form my opinion
b) Playing with new products I haven't tested with my skin before is always a dangerous game
I picked up The Organic Pharmacy Discovery Travel Kit from Naturisimo, and you know, it wasn't all doom and gloom, in fact, I am now inspired to pick up the full-sized version of the Carrot Butter Cleanser and the Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream.

The Organic Pharmacy / Carrot Butter Cleanser is a balm based cleanser which melts into a creamy, rich oil when warmed on skin. This product is absolutely scrumptious. It's smooth to touch and delicately glides over skin. Make-up is lifted by the oils and then easily wiped away with the supplied muslin cloth. £39.95 / 70ML full-sized product. 10ML is incl. in the Travel Kit.

The Organic Pharmacy / Herbal Toner as spray toners go, this one is fairly fast and clumsy. It's quite a heavy liquid that comes out with starling force, clumping on your face in thick droplets. It requires a sweep over with a cotton pad to spread evenly. It is lovely and refreshing and it definitely leaves my skin hydrated. It's just all too thick for me, It has a tendency to feel heavy on the skin. £31.95 / 100ML full-sized product. 10ML incl. in the Travel Kit.

The Organic Pharmacy / Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream is possibly my favourite of the bunch. It has the most divine scent, followed by a silky and creamy texture. It's always cool to touch and spreads wonderfully across skin. It's super nourishing, leaving my skin feeling enriched and hydrated after use. £39.95 / 50ML full-sized product. 10ML incl. in the Travel Kit.

The Organic Pharmacy / Antioxidant  Face Firming Gel, now, as gels go, I don't like gels, and this makes no exception. Gels, such as this, are greasy and thick and heavy and never want to absorb. This product likes to sit on skin, leaving a very uncomfortable slick trail behind. I stopped using it in the daytime, as I just could not get it to absorb. I will not comment on its effects, as the trial-sized version did not offer enough product for me to take notice. £54.95 / 35ML full-sized product. 5ML incl. in the Travel Kit.

The Organic Pharmacy / Antioxidant  Face Firming Serum is something I could just not get along with. This kit wants me to just pile on face product after face product and I'm left in layers of liquids that just don't want to absorb. This serum is very thick and greasy. It happens to just sit on my skin, giving me this horrible thick and sticky face. No thank you. I will not comment on its effects, as the trial-sized version did not offer enough product for me to take notice. £75.95 / 35ML full-sized product. 5ML incl. in the Travel Kit.

The Organic Pharmacy / Muslin Cloth, I actually already own this cloth, and have been wanting to pick up another for a while. So, winner-winner, right? This cloth has such a wonderfully soft texture, yet has a nice slight grit to it, enough to pick up any debris or oil. It's gentle to touch, never abrasive to skin. It's one of the thickest cloths I've come across, meaning it can retain a good amount of water. £3.95 / 1 PIECE. 1 PIECE incl. in the Travel Kit.

The Organic Pharmacy Discovery Travel Kit can be purchased from Naturisimo for £45.00 and contains 5 travel-sized products and 1 full sized muslin cloth. 

Then The Other Liquids

Every other liquid I took in my liquids allocation was an absolutely dream or saviour in some way. A lot of the products here are already staples of mine, products that I utterly cannot live without. I am so thankful for travel sized containers. It really saved my bacon this holiday.
Bee Good / Honey & Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleanser I've said in length before (full review here), that I just absolutely adore this cleanser.  It's lovely, creamy, rich and really cleanses your face in such a nourishing and caring way. My skin is fresher, clearer and smoother after use. Bee-liss! £4.95 / 30ML Travel Size from Bee Good.

Skin & Tonic London / Brit Beauty Oil This oil is a real winner with me. It's so bloody conditioning for my skin. I feel softer and look smoother. It's jam-packed with so many intelligent ingredients which my skin absolutely just eats up. Any inflammation is soothed, my skin is brighter, plumper and I am utterly well-conditioned. £28.00 / 30ML Full Size from Skin & Tonic London.

Egyptian Magic / All Purpose Skin Cream I'm a sucker for multi-purpose products and this is absolutely no exception. 5 of the 6 delicious ingredients are incredible bee-byproducts. While a solid yellow balm to begin with, when massaged into skin it melts into this wonderful nourishing and moisturising oil. I use this on nipple, eczema and any bits that chafe, need soothing or nourishment. £16.00 / 59ML Travel Size from LoveLula.

Our Tiny Bees / Über Balm As we know, I suffer with psoriasis. Burden, burden. This little tin contains the most delicious smelling honey-based balm which absorbs quickly into skin and leaves my dry elbows and knees wonderfully moisturised all day long. Not greasy, but utterly nourishing. I'm not flaky, I don't need to itch or fight, I'm soothed and calmed. Absolute staple.  £7.95 / 45ML Full Size from Our Tiny Bees.

La Roche-Posay / Anthelios XL SPF 5 Dry Touch Gel Cream As someone with incredibly fair and sun-intolerant skin, I can't ever go lower than factor 50, especially in a ~35°C climate such as Budapest. This product offers perfect protection for both UVA and UVB rays. However, it is really difficult to spread. Seriously difficult. It's a dry touch gel, so it dries almost instant. You really have to work it into your face quick, or, you guessed it, white patches! £16.50 / 50ML Full Size from Boots.


Substituting some of my products for a solid alternative really is doing myself a solid. It saves me a lot of liquids allowance and means I can cater to a lot more of my skin needs. A lot of the products featured here are quickly becoming staples, products that I just cannot live without. Looking at you, BLOOM POLISH.

PureChimp / Super Cleanser I've said it before, and I'll say it again: this is my favourite cleanser ever. As a solid cleanser, you take a piece into your hands and mix it with a little water. It turns into this lovely thick mush, which you then massage into your skin. It is creamy and thick enough to get really stuck into my pores. My skin is so wonderfully soft after use, I have never had smoother skin since.£11.95 / 80G Full Size from PureChimp.

BLOOM Skin Essentials / POLISH Okay, this is a product I just cannot go without. Sense dictates that it's too clunky to be carting around in your hand luggage, and a face mask is a bit of a luxury I can skip... But really, I just can't. I had to take this with me. This fine powder can be mixed with water to form a paste, I then leave it on my skin for 10-15 minutes. It completely decongests my skin. I get heavily blocked around my nose, and after using this mask I am clearer and brighter. My skin is completely balanced and soothed, any inflammation has completely disappeared. $32.00 / 6OZ. Full Size from BLOOM Skin Essentials.

Lanolips / Golden Ointment Another solid favourite. This is one of the best moisturising balms I've ever used. It forms a lovely thick and nourishing barrier around skin to protect it and feed. It really helps with any wild dry patches that appear, as it's totally soothing and utterly calming. I like to use this around my eyes as they can get very tight in the corners. It's great for sleeping in. £17.99 / 50G Full Size from Boots

PapayaGold Moisturising Balm I use this every day as part of my not-make-up-make-up. It's a really lightweight multi-purpose balm and I like to use on my eyebrows as an eyebrow wax. It's completely invisible and doesn't solidify or leave a trace. I also rub a little just below my eyebrows as a highlighter. As mentioned, it's very lightweight, so it catches light very subtly. £5.99 / 25G Full Size from PapayaGold.

Crystal Spring / Salt of the Earth Deodorant This deodorant features one little ingredient: potassium alum (mineral salt). I simply need to wet my underarms and rub this stick on as I would a roll-on deodorant. This is super effective at keeping away odour, but as it is only a deodorant, not an antiperspirant, I found I caved in the hot climate. It's perfect for cooler weathers. £4.96 / 90G Full Size from Crystal Spring

LUSH Vanillary For me, the act of putting on a solid perfume is so graceful, that I can't help but revel in the experience. This fragrance is so divine, subtle and perfectly vanilla. It's lovely and creamy and melts just easily into skin. I place it behind my ears, along my clavicle and both wrists. £8.00 / 12G Full Size and in-store only from LUSH.

LUSH Trichomania This solid shampoo is perfect for my hair type. It's so beautifully nourishing that it puts both my hair and my scalp in wonderful condition after use. It has a very subtle lather, which turns into a fairly creamy texture when massaged. £5.75 / 100G from LUSH.

LUSH Jungle The ends of my hair are fairly frizzy and dry, and this solid conditioner just did not meet the grade. It's fairly difficult to spread onto hair, and what is there is relatively heavy, making hair appear lank after washing. It's difficult to use and not very effect, sadly. £3.50 / 55G from LUSH.

LUSH Porridge I just love this soap. It contains little oats which help to very gently buff and exfoliate the skin. It has a very creamy and rich lather which really moisturises skin. It smells divine and it does divine. This soap is perfect to combat a long day of beating sunlight and layers of SPF. £3.10 / 100G from LUSH

Saturday, 4 July 2015

TONY MOLY Egg Pore Tightening Cooling Pack + Silky Smooth Balm (we're ignoring the Blackhead Steam Balm for good reason)

The first contenders to enter the ring from my Korean Beauty Haul: BeautynetKorea is the TONY MOLY Egg Pore Collection. WARNING: please, please note that the Egg Pore Blackhead Steam Balm CONTAINS MICROBEADS. I had to throw this product away after first realising. To read more about the environmental hazards of microbeads, please click here.

This trio's philosophy is to exfoliate, tighten the skin's elasticity, and prime. Essentially, remove blackheads, clear pores and reduce excess sebum, They are packaged as three adorable little eggs that are simply twisted open to reveal their contents. As cute as it is, the packaging is utterly redundant, making it a fairly wasteful product. While TONY MOLY do adopt a Green Philosophy, in that these products are made from recycled materials, the lid is nearly twice the size of its contents! It's impracticable, unnecessary and highly wasteful. Quirky egg design should be no way to market these products.

Blackhead Steam Balm

As mentioned, we're ignoring the Blackhead Steam Balm for good reason, because WARNING: IT CONTAINS MICROBEADS. While the principle of exfoliating the skin before applying a face mask is something I subscribe to, I wanted to instead provide two far less dangerous alternatives that offer the exact same results.

Origins Modern Friction This exfoliator mimics the effects of microdermabrasion treatments but with the considerably less abrasive rice starch. It's quite a soft, plump exfoliator which offers the same warming effects. But this product can be very harsh. I found my skin to become a little irritated when using, possibly because the ingredients list features SLS and lemon oil. £32.00 / 125ML

Burt's Bees Peach and Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub This product is a fantastic alternative, and the one I found myself using most often. It uses small apricot kernels to exfoliate, and its rich and creamy texture makes it very soft and kind to skin. It contains 100% natural ingredients and is sulphate-free, making it extremely gentle on my sensitive skin. £10.99 / 110G

Any of the above two exfoliators are a better alternative. As matters of ethics, morales and principle, I cannot use cosmetics containing microbeads

Tightening Cooling Pack

The Tightening Cooling Pack is possibly the gentlest face mask I've ever used. Assuming this is where the product's name comes from (beside the packaging), its texture is just like scrambled eggs! Oddly, it is actually very cool to touch, and remains cool on the skin. While the cooling qualities are supposedly to help 'close' the pores, that's just nonsense. It does, however, very effectively de-gunk my pores.

Simply scoop out a small piece of the gelatinous mask, and begin to spread it onto the skin. It's not a great spreader, it does tend to be a little too on the sticky side, so I often found myself laying it on quite thick. The most interesting thing about this mask, is it doesn't dry on the skin, it manages to retain its moisture, making it incredibly soft, gentle and barely feel-able and all the while, staying lovely and cooling. 

It has an inoffensive sweet scent to it which I can't actually smell while wearing the mask. However, as it's feather-light, gentle and odourless it is completely easy to forget this product is even on your skin. 

While it may not dry on the skin, it does like to grip the skin, making it fairly tricky to remove so you will need to grab the muslin cloth. Afterwards, I'm left with slightly red and irritated skin, possibly due to the difficult removal. However, this is amazing for de-gunking pores. My skin is far more clearer after every use, turning my pores into a more greyish colour, making them increasingly less and less visible. 

Silky Smooth Balm

The Silky Smooth Balm is actually a primer, and does not offer any skin benefits. Its aim is to reduce excess sebum production and control oil. You can apply this product alone, after your usual skincare routine, or just before make-up. I like to wear it alone, as I don't tend to wear any make-up products.

As the name suggests, this is a super silky smooth customer. Scoop a little piece onto the end of your finger and begin to spread it onto the skin. Do not massage it in. Just glide your fingertips over your skin, outwards from the nose. It's far more effective when you let it rest upon your skin as a barrier against oil. 

Your skin may feel like its wearing a barrier, but I find it in no way uncomfortable and it's very soft to touch. You will notice that the balm instantly eliminates any shine, leaving you with a flawless matte finish. It is very, very effective, keeping me oil-free for the entire working day. Yup. Its effects are astounding. 

It smells absolutely delicious, a really sweet and pleasant scent. Everything about this product is a real catch, the smells, the texture, and most importantly, the effects. It is definitely a favourite of mine for oil control.
While we're always told not to put all our eggs in one basket, the Blackhead Steam Balm is definitely one egg that I will be avoiding in all of future shopping baskets. The Tightening Cooling Pack was effective sure, but I won't be repurchasing this product as it's difficult to remove and contains a very small helping. However, the Silky Smooth Balm is a dream come true. I've loved how successful this product is, and have categorised it as an absolute essential

The Tightening Cooling Pack can be purchased from BeautynetKorea for $10.99 / 30G. The Silky Smooth Balm can be purchased from BeautynetKorea for $13.22 / 20G.