Skin care junkies – I need your help!

Hey folks I’m calling out to all my beauty blogger friends for some much needed advice/ recommendations. I’m searching for a new night time moisturiser so who better to ask than you lovely people! It needs to be suitable for oily skin and can’t cost more than say £30. Also it has to be 100% fragrance free (parfum, perfume or essential oils) and no alcohol in the formula.

My skin concerns are dullness, hyper-pigmentation and anti-ageing.

Please, please, please comment below with some suggestions, I’ve done so much research and I’m really not sure what to try next.

Thanks in advance!

Jay x

P.s. I’ve already tried Clinique Dramatically Different Moistuizing Gel which didn’t give me the results I wanted.

Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement Serum – Review

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For the past 10 weeks I have been testing Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement as my daily night time serum. Taken from the Bobbi Brown website Intensive Skin supplement is “an advanced, multi-benefit serum that improves skin’s appearance as it helps prevent the visible signs of aging including dark spots and fine, dry lines. White Birch Extract reduces the look of fine, dry lines, while Grape Extract helps clarify and brighten the complexion. After just four weeks’ use, skin looks firmer, smoother, more even-toned and radiant.” I picked this bottle up from my local department store for £45 and have gotten around two thirds of the way through it in 10 weeks.

Packaging: This serum comes in a semi-opaque bronze bottle with a dropper on the top. I would have preferred if the bottle was fully opaque and there was less air exposure so that the anti-oxidants can remain more stable. However, I have to say I really like the way this bottle looks.

Formula: This serum is water based and contains a few silicones and glycerin which gives it a nice texture and leads to a plumping effect on the skin. Grape Extract is said to help even out skin tone and Vitamin C is an anti-oxidant (may not remain stable because of packaging), Castor oil is also present in this formula making it moisturising whilst not being comedogenic.  It is also fragrance-free making it suitable for sensitive skin. The formula is marketed for all skin types.

Texture and appearance: This serum is clear in appearance. The texture is very watery but once I pat it into the skin it becomes quite sticky. This absorbs in within seconds but leaves a sticky residue, which in my opinion makes it unsuitable for daytime.

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Effects: On the very first night of using this I woke up to more balanced skin, my oily T-zone was less oily and my cheeks were more hydrated. I also had a big red spot on my left cheekbone which disappeared within 2 days of using this and an overall reduction in redness. I’ve been using this only at nighttime only and my skin looks and feels plump and evenly toned. Together with my Paula’s Choice BHA liquid this has reduced the bumpy texture in my T-zone as well. If you have mature or dry skin however this may not be moisturising enough.

Having used this serum for a while now I can say that my skin looks more balanced and the serum has complimented the rest of my skin care routine. I know that this serum is one that I can go back to should my skin break out but I’m not sure I would necessarily purchase it again as it didn’t make me say “wow” unlike Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair.  I experienced balancing in my skin making it perfect for combination/ oily skin and an overall reduction in redness which also makes it suitable for sensitive skin. It is simple and effective skin care with some great ingredients which prevents ageing. Based on that I recommend it if you have troublesome combination-oily skin that is prone to breakouts.

My Current Skincare Routine

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Happy Sunday loves! How are you all? Today I’m going to be sharing my skincare routine with you, I love seeing what others use as I get some great advice from reading other blogs, so hopefully this post should help if you have skin like mine. I would describe my skin as combination-oily meaning it is normal on my cheeks, very oily in the T-Zone with some dryness on the undereyes. Over the last year I have tried a plethora of products to help improve my skin and I feel like I finally understand what ingredients and formulas work for me.

MORNING ROUTINE

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1) Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser

In the morning I need my cleanser to refresh my face and get rid of any oiliness and product left overnight. A pea size amount of this cleanser does the job without stripping my skin.

2) Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner

This toner is really good at imparting some moisture into the skin and prepping it for the serum. I use this by applying it onto a cotton pad and wiping it over the skin.

3) Paula’s Choice Resist Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum

I use a 5p size of this serum all over my face, it keeps me hydrated throughout the day and provides my skin with some much needed antioxidants. I also like that I can use this serum on my eye area. Full review here.

4) Paula’s Choice Hydralight Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30

This moisturiser is amazing for the daytime and great for oilier skin! It really helps keep my oiliness at bay but protects it from the sun. This step is imperative for everyone but especially if you have hyper-pigmentation like I do.

5) Clinique Superdefence Eye Cream SPF 20

This eyecream is great at hydrating my eye area and protects it from sun damage.

NIGHTTIME ROUTINE

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1) Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil

This is a great make-up remover, I use two pumps of this to get rid of all of my make-up. Click here to see my full review.

2) Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Reducing Cleanser

Same as morning.

3) Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner

Same as morning.

4) Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

I used a liquid exfoliant on my T-zone to help combat blackheads and clogged pores. I have been using this for two months now and have seen a dramatic reduction in texture and it is getting better the more I use it. To use I put some on a cotton pad and let it absorb into the skin. BHA exfoliates by getting deep into the pores and preventing them from becoming clogged. This product is great for oily or acne prone skin.

5) Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Supplement Serum

This is a great little serum for balancing the skin and keeping it healthy. I’m not overly attached to this serum but it’s what I’m using at the moment, I’m likely to try another one after this one is up.

6) Repairwear Anti-Gravity Eye Lift Cream

I’ve got dry skin under my eyes so in the night time I like to give it a drink of moisture. I pat a bit of this on to my under eye area using my ring fingers. Again this isn’t the best eye cream I’ve used so I will be buying a different one after this. Full review here.

7) Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

This moisturiser is perfect for oilier skin as it keep my skin from drying out overnight without exacerbating oiliness. I’ve been using it for around 10 days and haven’t had any breakouts, good so far!

TREATMENTS

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1) Clay Mask

Once a week I use a clay mask to extract oil from my pores, I don’t have a favourite one so I’m still on the hunt for a really good one but I’m using the Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Pore Clay Mask at the moment.

2) Sheet Mask

Once a week I try to make time for a Korean sheet mask. These are infused with ingredients that target your skincare concerns. You just pop one on for 20 minutes and let your skin soak in the goodness. I buy most of my my sheet masks from YesStyle.co.uk.

3) Paula’s Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment 10% AHA

I use this treatment once a week by applying it liberally onto the skin with a cotton pad. I leave this on my skin between 10-30 minutes depending on how much time I have and rinse off. There is a bit of tingling with this product when first applied and when you wash it off you get the softest, supple, fresh looking skin ever. This is a product that I would recommend solely if you’re 25+ because it is an “anti-ageing” product which is highly effective. Also proceed with caution as it can irritate sensitive skin.

4) Mount Purious Hemp Oil

On the rare occasion that I get dry patches I love massaging hemp oil on top of that area. It is a great oil for oily skin as it is non-comedogenic and it is very hydrating on the skin.

So THAT is my routine, I hope you enjoyed this post. Comment below on what you think of the routine as a whole, if you like/ dislike any of the products that I use. What products do you like using and what could you not live without?

Jay x

Should you use fragrance-free skincare?

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I’m in the process of phasing out fragrance from my skincare regime. I will explain why but first lets address what a fragrance is.

Fragrances in skincare come in a few forms. It can be a synthetic (lab-created) fragrance which will appear as “Parfum/Perfume/Fragrance” on the label. Frequently at the bottom of a label you will also see ingredients like “Linalool, Citronellol, Limonene” to name a few. These ingredients are allergens and have to be disclosed on labels if they are present above a certain limit.

Fragrances also come in the form of essential oils for example lavender oil, peppermint and eucalyptus are popular ones. Fragrances, both synthetic and from essential oils are referred to as “allergens” in the cosmetics industry and they can cause sensitisation of the skin.

Now the tricky bit. Just because a product is “unscented” doesn’t mean it is “fragrance-free”! Sometimes companies add fragrances to a product to remove smells, confusing, I know. Also just because a product has a fragrance doesn’t mean it isn’t “fragrance-free”. Some ingredients like shea butter for example have a natural odour which is not allergenic. To overcome this issue when looking at labeling make sure it specifically says “FRAGRANCE-FREE”.

So why should you avoid fragrances? If you suffer from sensitivity, rosacea, eczema, acne, inflammation then you MUST avoid fragrances in your skincare.  Fragrances are one of the most common reasons for allergic reactions in skincare so please take a look at the ingredients listing on your products, it may reveal why your skin has been acting up.

Generally if you don’t suffer from the above skin issues it is still safe to use fragranced wash-off products like face-masks and face wash as these don’t come into contact with the skin for a long period of time. For products that you leave ON your skin? Well the jury is still out.

The reason that I have been cutting out fragrance is not because I suffer from sensitivity but I figured there is literally no benefit in having these allergenic ingredients in my skincare routine. Even if they don’t cause a visible reaction, who knows whats happening in the lower layers of my skin. There are some sources which say perfumes can leads to the breakdown of collagen in your skin. Currently there is very little research which supports this and maybe I’m being paranoid, but why take the risk?

What are your thoughts on fragrances in skin care? Have you had any reactions to them? Do you avoid them? Comment below and let me know.

Jay x

 

Clinique Repairwear Anti-Gravity Eye Cream – Review

downloadI literally bought this eye cream on a whim. Initially I went to the shop to repurchase my Bobbi Brown (BB) EXTRA Eye Cream but the sales assistant was busy. Whilst waiting I browsed the Clinique counter and came across this new eye cream.

In this review I’m going to compare my experience with Cliniques eye cream with the BB Extra Eye cream. A 15ml pot cost of the Clinique eye cream costs £32, which is £12 cheaper than the Bobbi Brown one.

Formula: There are some decent moisturising ingredients in this product but I was shocked to see Rosemary Leaf Extract which is a fragrance, even though Clinique is meant to be 100% fragrance free! One thing to note is that the BB eye cream also contains fragrance… why companies would add fragrance to eye creams is beyond me, really. This eye cream claims to boost natural collagen and help skin look and feel smooth and firmer.

Texture: This cream initially feels quite thick when you scoop it out of the pot. I use less than a pea size for both eyes. I apply this by dotting the product under my eyes and taking it up to my temple and orbital bone, avoiding the eyelash and eyelid area. To absorb I use a light patting motion, immediately I noticed that this absorbs much quicker than the BB eye cream and it doesn’t leave an oily feeling afterwards.

Effects: Overnight my eye area looked moisturised but less so than my BB eye cream.

Overall verdict: This is a nice eye cream but I don’t think I’m going to repurchase it. It isn’t as moisturising as my Bobbi Brown one. It also contain fragrance which I am in the process of phasing out in my skincare routine. I didn’t noticed any difference in my fine lines.

I think I’m going to go for the Kiehls Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado next so look out for a review soon. If you have any suggestions on fragrance-free  THICK eye creams comment below and let me know 🙂

Jay x

Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35 (Medium to Dark) – Review

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Taken from the Bobbi Brown website:

“Moisturise, perfect and protect-instantly and over time. Now it’s easier than ever to get great skin with Bobbi Brown’s new BB Cream SPF 35. Inspired by a skincare/makeup hybrid that’s a cult favorite in Asia, this formula combines moisturiser, treatment, SPF and a lightweight foundation in one. Plus, it’s available in nine skin tone correct shades carefully formulated by Bobbi herself. Consider it your skin’s new best friend.

The secret to its multitasking magic: Water-attracting molecules boost hydration; light reflective pearls brighten dull skin; botanical extracts and caffeine reduce discolouration and redness; pore-reducing peptides minimise fine lines; and finally, broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection and antioxidants fend off future damage.”

I purchased this BB Cream at my local department store for £29.00. BB Creams are great because they moisturise the skin, contain anti-oxidants and also SPF. I’ve been using this same tube since April 2014 and nearly a year on I still have a quarter of the tube to go which makes this great value for money. There are nine shades to choose from and the shade range is quite forgiving. I was matched to Medium-Dark. This shade matches best to those who wear between Honey and Golden in Bobbi Brown foundation.

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Packaging: The packaging of this BB Cream means that there is minimal light and air exposure, therefore the anti-oxidant and SPF ingredients stay stable. I like products that come in tubes as they are more much hygienic too.

Formula: The active sunscreen ingredients in this product are : Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 4%, Oxybenzone 2.5%, Titanium Dioxide 1.1%. I’m not a huge fan of chemical sunscreens and would prefer to see more Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide in the formula, nonetheless this has decent UVB and UVA protection. The dimethicone present in the formula gives the cream a nice slip. Also the added anti-oxidants are a great to prevent premature ageing.

Fragrance: This product has no fragrance making it non-irritant and suitable for sensitive skin. This is a big pro for me when choosing skincare/make-up.

Feel/Texture:  This BB cream is very thick and moisturising. For my skin I need less than a pea size amount. I find that it is quite difficult to blend without streaks, it is best blended with a buffing face brush or fingers. The finish is dewy and looks skin-like.

I use this BB Cream sort of like a foundation for everyday use, meaning I wear it on top of my anti-oxidant serum and sunblock moisturiser. The reason being that in order to get all of the sun protection from a BB cream alone you would have to use a LOT of product and this cream is way too heavy for that.  The coverage is light, it won’t cover hyper-pigmentation or spots (I rarely get them), but it does even out my skin tone. I really like how this looks on my skin immediately after I  powder down the T-Zone, after first application.

I have combination skin and I find my T-Zone gets very oily within 4 hours  of using this. By the end of the day my skin is shiny and dewy, I don’t particularly mind myself but it’s something to keep in mind if you’re not a fan of the dew. Also this cream oxidises and separates a bit after 8 hours, less so if you don’t wear sunblock underneath.

I would recommend this BB Cream for daily use as it has some good moisturising and protective ingredients, it is catered to those with dry/mature, sensitive skin. If you’re oily you’re better off avoiding this one. Due to the low amount of coverage it should only be used by those who have good skin but just wants some extra protection and light coverage. I would recommend wearing an SPF underneath the cream for some extra protection.

http://www.bobbibrown.co.uk/product/2573/21694/Skincare/Moisturisers/Face/BB-Cream-SPF-35/New-Shades/index.tmpl 

What is your favourite BB cream? Comment below and let me know 🙂

Jay x

Paula’s Choice Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment 10% AHA (Glycolic Acid)

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It’s been a while since I exfoliated my skin with a scrub. The reason being that scrubs/microbead exfoliators will successfully remove the topmost layer of skin for a short period but don’t have any long term benefits. Furthermore they can actually cause damage to the skin by making small lacerations on the skin surface. AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) chemical exfoliants are a step up from scrubs which don’t cause any damage to the skin whilst exfoliating and are beneficial to building new healthier skin.

AHA is commonly used in salons as a chemical peel but in higher concentrations (40%+) as it is proven to penetrates the skin to produce keratin and collagen. 10% AHA Glycolic Acid from Paula’s Choice is an effective and safe version to use at home but should not be used more than once a week. If you experience any sensitivity or redness the frequency should be reduced.

Taken from the Paula’s Choice website:

“This exclusive, extraordinary resurfacing treatment is an exfoliant formulated to reveal youthfully radiant skin overnight. It couples age-fighting antioxidants with 10% glycolic acid—ingredients proven to stimulate healthy collagen production and reduce wrinkles. A unique liquid delivery system, along with innovative soothing anti-inflammatory ingredients, guarantees impressive results that are visible from the first application. In less than two weeks your skin will experience improved texture, color, tone, and a noticeable reduction in the appearance of wrinkles. With ongoing use, skin becomes firmer and is better able to further resist the signs of aging.”

This chemical exfoliant comes as a clear liquid, it does have an unpleasant chemical smell (doesn’t linger) and no added fragrance. During the first few minutes of applying this with a cotton pad I experienced some tingling and itching which quickly subsided. You have to apply this exfoliant after toning and before your serum, avoiding the delicate eye area. If you have sensitive skin it is advised to wash it off your face after 10 minutes, otherwise the product is suitable for all skin types.

I used this product three nights ago and I have to say I am astounded at the results. My skin looked bright and smooth the morning after, just like after a facial, and the results are still visible three days on! After using this exfoliant I don’t think I’m going back to using the scrubs anymore as this is a much more effective and long-term solution to my anti-ageing concerns. One thing to note when using AHA exfoliants is to ensure you always wear a 25+ SPF cream during the day as they can make you photo-sensitive.

Jay x

Lancome Advanced Genifique Youth Activating Concentrate – Review

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Taken from the Lancome website: “Want glowing skin in 7 days? Here’s your answer in a bottle. This innovative serum soaks into skin, targeting the 10 key signs of youth: texture, resiliency, elasticity, firmness, sagginess, fine lines, wrinkles, radiance, even skin tone, and clarity, with noticeable results in just 7 days. Advanced Génifique is the perfect first step after cleansing to reveal smoother, more radiant skin for all ages, ethnicities, and skin types. With an exclusive self-loading dropper, Génifique delivers the ideal dosage to bring back the light into your skin”.

I bought a 20ml bottle of this serum from Feel Unique for £29.00. I’ve been using this serum daily morning and night for two weeks now and I feel as though I have used the product long enough to give you my informed opinion on it.

Packaging : I like the packaging of this product, the glass bottle feels very luxurious and looks great on my vanity. The bottle comes with a dropper that dispenses just the right amount of serum for your face and neck. Because the bottle is made of glass it may make travelling with it difficult.

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Formulation: This serum has a couple of good ingredients in it like Sodium Hyaluronate (Hyaluronic Acid- skin moisturiser), Adenosine (helps defend skin against free radical damage by aiding antioxidants) and Ascorbyl Glucoside (Vitamin C). There are some bad ingredients in this product too. There is alcohol in this serum which for me is a major no-no in skin care. Citronellol (fragrance) and Parfum. These three ingredients have the potential to damage and irritate your skin if used over a long term period.

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Texture and appearance: The appearance of this serum is an almost clear liquid. The texture starts of like a normal serum but once you rub it between your palm it melts into a watery consistency. This means that it absorbs very quickly into the skin and feels very light with no sticky feeling afterwards. It has a very smooth finish which I suspect is due to the presence of Dimethicone in the formula.

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Smell: I can’t quite place my finger on the fragrance, it just has that “serum smell”. Either way there is added Parfum/Fragrance in this product making it unsuitable for sensitive skin. Not sure why Lancome added fragrance in this product as it serves no purpose!

Results: The first time I used this product I woke up with brighter skin overnight. However this brightening effect stopped after the first few days and it went back to looking dull. Unfortunately as this has such a light texture I didn’t feel it was hydrating enough. Furthermore it caused a small breakout on my left cheek and chin, I suspect this is due to the perfume or alcohol in the formula. I didn’t notice any plumping of the skin or improvement in fine lines.

Overall verdict: This serum gets a thumbs down from me I’m afraid. I’m trying to cut down on fragranced products as they can cause long term damage to the skin. Also the alcohol in the formula puts me off using it again. Whilst this did cause an immediate overall brightening effect there were no longer term effects that outweight the potential damage the bad ingredients could cause. I would say that the Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair trumps this serum by far.

Jay x

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II – Review

Hey folks, I bought this serum after much deliberation. Spending £49 on a skin care product was not an easy decision, but I’ve heard many good reviews on Advanced Night Repair and I wanted to give it a go myself. If you’re interested in buying this yourself the following review may help 🙂

Claims: Taken from the Estee Lauder website
• Lines and wrinkles look significantly reduced
• Skin feels smoother, hydrated, stronger.
• Skin looks younger, radiant, more translucent and even toned.
• Helps protect skin’s appearance against environmental damage.
• Helps reduce the look of past damage caused by every major environmental assault.
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Ingredients: This serum contains ChronoluxCB™ Technology, a peptide complex that tricks your skin cells into thinking they’re sleeping, which activates renewal mode. Hyularonic acid which is a great moisturiser.
Bottle: This serum comes in a dark brown semi-opaque bottle with a dropper attached to the cap. I presumed for such a high end product the bottle would be glass but it is in fact plastic and doesn’t feel as luxurious as I would have expected. I use around half a pump for my whole face.

Texture & Appearance: When dispensed out of the dropper the serum is a orange-tint gel. The serum is quite sticky at first but absorbs within seconds when you pat it into the skin.

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Smell: I can’t quite put my finger on the smell, I think it has a citrus fragrance, but this disappears once the product is absorbed.

Benefits: I didn’t notice a huge difference in my skin after the first use of this serum, but after 2-3 weeks I saw an improvement in hydration and slight improvement in firmness of the skin, complexion and radiance. Also the serum didn’t cause any breakouts.

Final verdict: This is the first high-end serum that I have tried and I am quite impressed. It improved the appearance of my skin slightly, but perhaps because I don’t have wrinkles to begin with I didn’t see a significant improvement. I’m not sure I would repurchase this just yet because I would still like to try some of the other best selling serums. This 30ml bottle lasted around 3 months with daily use so it works out to be quite expensive.

If you have any suggestions on what I should try out next please let me know below 🙂