A caffeine (beauty) hit

Coffee addiction: who’s guilty?

To fuel my daily fix, Hello Jo, a British born – Korean developed brand, brings caffeine as an active ingredient to my beauty regime. And I love it.

We know (some better than others) how great a stimulant caffeine in, so it sounds quite sensible to harvest its benefits in beauty. I also love the look of the branding and packaging!

Hard to pick a favourite from the products I tried. I’ll start with the amazing Bright Eyes Jelly Masks (£20). What’s amazing about them? Glad you asked.

First, it comes in a pot with 30 pairs. Yes, you heard it right: 30 pearlescent pink pairs swimming lovingly in an amazing caffeine, aloe vera and pomegranate serum which stimulates skin in the area to reduce puffiness, brighten dark circles, re-energise and revitalise. It also contains Acmella oleracea (toothache plant) to help soften lines. 

It is cooling, soothing and super moisturising. The 15 minute-ritual is even more delightful if you keep the jar in the fridge.

I’ll move on to hair as I absolutely love the Stay Strong Volumising Caffeinated shampoo (RRP £12.50/200ml), which on top of caffeine, also contains walnut seed extract for growth stimulation and coix seed for scalp exfoliation.

The shampoo is so fresh and slightly tingly on application (which I love), foams well and leaves hair feeling squeaky clean and soft. Maybe the jar is come from needs to be made of slightly softer plastic and be more squeezable.

Follow up with the Stay Strong Volumising Caffeinated Conditioner (£12.50/200ml), with hydrating coconut oil to ensure smoothness. The conditioner is light but effective, making hair feel soft on application and after rinse, with no weight.

A new way of using hair masks was presented to me: a practical wrap for the length. This ensure the hair mask goes where it is needed and not on the roots, where it can actually cause damage.

The Pack of Power Hair Mask (£15 for 3) has active caffeine, of course, as well as argan, olive and moringa oils. Just make a ponytail and pop it in the mask bag for half an hour or even overnight for added support to hair growth and reduced damage, as well hydration and nourishment. So soft. 

Moving on to lips. Kissable, right? No? No problem! The Speak Up Bubble Lip Mask (£12.50/30ml) is full of fruit enzymes and caffeine for super exfoliation.

Rub the gel formula, which also has vitamins A and C, on lips and watch it bubble up into foam to help remove dead skin to reveal smoother, more plumped and nourished lips. Really fun and quick to use! 

All products are free of parabens and never tested on animals.

Hello Jo ethos is set on women supporting women, seen mainly through their partnership with Rosa, the UK-wide Fund for Women and Girls, where they donate 50p from each product to help the fund’s mission to mobilise resources for women equality.

Rosa does that by raising money and investing in grassroots women’s movements by offering grants, mentor-matching, training and networking. Makes me love them even more. 

Hello Jo is available exclusively at FeelUnique – get in there! 

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains GIFTED PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

A breathe of fresh… skin?

Being hung up on my skin general condition is not even harder when it is far from perfect. I am always on the lookout for new ways of trying to improve and recently started using the Trophy Skin MiniMD, a portable home microdermabrasion device, once a week.

In the past I used a microdermabrasion device at home and was quite happy with the overall results until I got my hands on this baby.

When they say “discover you best skin” they are not lying as microdermabrasion is literally using physical abrasive agents to remove the top layer of the skin and promote regeneration revealing new, radiant skin.

If you’ve done professional microdermabrasion before you will be familiar with the “suction and scraping” combination: the device sucks the skin while you physically rub the diamond tip to buff the surface. The MiniMD has two suction levels to cater for more sensitive skin types.

Although it seems quite harsh, the whole treatment is painless and does not take more than five minutes. At the end, my skin is a little bit red, but not uncomfortable in any way. Make sure skin is clean prior to treatment.

After buffing the whole face (avoiding the eye area), I have been using the gorgeous (and recently launched) Jurlique Herbal Recovery Signature Serum, which contains viola, yarrow flower and red clover extracts for replenishing, firming and radiance, together with the Herbal Recovery Signature Mist, which is packed with antioxidants and has revitalising properties, as well as being refreshing – a much need property after microdermabrasion!

I love doing it at night, a couple of hours before bed, so I put the serum and mist on, as well as my usual night time skincare routine just before bed. Skin wakes up plumped, smoother and more even in tone and texture. But the real difference is noted two to three days after use – there’s definitely a great glow on top of the textural improvements. A true glow-getter!

For me, it is a great addition to the routine as my skin tends to get congested often, especially at this time of the year when the weather changes. With regular use, the MiniMD deeply exfoliates, invigorates the complexion, smoothes and soften, polishes and revitalises skin by buffing away dull and rough patches, as well as improving radiance. These are claims I can attest to, as I have been loving using it and seeing a positive change.

Make up sits better and I have been using less of it. I feel weekly is the best frequency for me, due to my skin condition, but it can be used up to three times a week.

It comes with a bunch of filters (which trap the dead skin – quite gross but you can actually see what it does!), which need to be replaced regularly. The diamond tip last up to six months, if used around 3 times a week, so if you use less, it will definitely last up to a year!

Super light and portable, although it needs to be plugged into the mains while in use, it is so pretty in rose gold – definitely one for display in the bathroom!

This device costs £85, which, if you had microdermabrasion professionally like I did in the past, you will know is not much more than one single salon session. And honestly, the results are pretty close!

You can get the Trophy Skin MiniMD from the Current Body website. You can also buy the accessories: filters are £12 for a pack of 100 and a replacement diamond tip costs £25.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains GIFTED PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

 

A shift on my skincare routine

Image skincare - So Many Lovely ThingsFrom time to time I like shifting my skincare routine and over a month ago I introduced five Image Skincare products to it. I had never heard of the brand, so was very excited to see that they are paraben free and have an extensive range catering for all different skin concerns.

After describing my skin, I was sent a mix of products from a few ranges, including the gorgeous the Vital C Hydrating Anti Ageing Serum, the Ageless Total Eye Lift Cream, the Prevention+ Daily Matte Moisturiser, the fabulous ClearCell Salicylic Clarifying Gel Cleanser and the Biomolecular Hydrating Recovery Masque.

I used them almost exclusively for over 4 weeks and here’s what I found…

The serum

Because I am a sucker for serums, that’s where I’m gonna start: the Vital C Hydrating Anti Ageing Serum (£72) is fluid and spreads very well on the skin, sinking quickly. I felt it gives my skin radiance; and that seem to be persisting throughout the day and not only in the morning.

Image skincare - So Many Lovely ThingsThe hydrating serum has oil-soluble Vitamin C which helps soothe the visible effects of environmentally damaged skin. Vitamins A, E and highly potent anti-oxidants help on the nourishment front, for that youthful glow.

Keep it clean!

Image skincare - So Many Lovely ThingsOne product I am in love with is the Clearcell Salicylic Clarifying Gel Cleanser (£28). Foamy and with a light scent, this cleanser makes skin feel super clean and not a tiny bit dry.

I feel it’s been a god send on these hot days where you sweat a lot at night. It contains a 5% blend of salicylic acid, neem leaf extract and granactive acne, and does a decent job of removing makeup, even eye. It has anti-inflammatory properties and gives skin a gentle exfoliation, so perfect for blemish and acne prone skin.

The eyes (always) have it

Now, eye creams are amongst my favourite type of skincare and the Ageless Total Eye Lift Creme (£48) delivers extreme hydration and nutrition to the area. I use at night as it has a richer consistency, but it applies super well and absorbs super quickly, not upsetting my sensitive eyes.

It contains a retinol-derivative glycolic blend  to help tighten the skin, chamomile, green tea and coneflower soothe and a peptide blend to reduce inflammatory processes, as well as potent antioxidants.

Image skincare - So Many Lovely ThingsDaily protection

I was looking for a multitasking face moisturiser and that’s exactly what I found on the oil-free Prevention+ Daily Matte Moisturiser (£46).

With a microsponge technology that absorb surface oils to mattify and leave skin shine-free, a blend of anti-oxidants that scavenge free-radical, and broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 32+, it helps reduce the damage caused by the sun and environmental exposures, so it’s the perfect shield for everyday.

As all other creams from the brand, it applies well, absorbs great and sits amazingly well under makeup. All points!

The treat

Image skincare - So Many Lovely ThingsAnd because everyone loves a sheet face mask, I also tried the Biomolecular Hydrating Recovery Mask (£9), which is laden with concentrated ultra-hydrating ingredients: amino acid Complex, Jeju volcanic oxygen water, Onsen-Sui mineral charged water, hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica extract, portulaca, oleracea extract, green tea, ginseng and beta glucan.

Skin feel plumped and hydrated after use; a real treat (and treatment!) suitable for all skin types.

Overall, a great brand discovery with products that kept my skin in check. And they have so many more exciting products I think would work for me!

You can browse their range on the Image Skincare website.

Also, I tried to take pics where the products live, my bathroom. Needless to say I won’t be doing that again, so the conclusion is the products are WAY better than my photography in this instance…

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains GIFTED PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Mask it up!

How amazing is to treat yourself with a gorgeous face mask? I have to say it is one of my favourite things.

And that’s not only for my skin but also for my mental health; I do take those 15-20 minutes to unwind and create some headspace, which I usually find quite challenging.

Starskin has a fabulous range of amazing masks to cater for all your skin needs. I am very impressed at the list of ingredients on each product and how much of the serums are actually present on each mask.

Their new Diamond Mask VIP Illuminating mask (£12.50) is a luxury bio cellulose second skin mask, which feels comfortable and supple on your face.

The bio cellulose is made of naturally fermented coconut juice and is safe for all skin types, as it offers non sticky adherence.

It is nourishing, brightening, refining and enhances elasticity, thanks to its long list ingredients. Are you ready? It does feel like I am in a jewellers…diamond dust, emerald, tournaline, coconut, evening primrose, olive oils, purslane, adenosine, antarcticine, white mulberry bark and tripeptide-t. Phew.

The mask comes between two layers of protective mesh and infused with 30ml of serum. Personally, I found a bit fiddly to unravel and apply, but nothing I could not overcome in a few seconds. Once applied, the mask feels so comfortable and refreshing.

After 20 minutes, I easily removed it – it slips off effortlessly and massaged the leftover product on my face, letting it absorb naturally, which took a few minutes.

My skin felt fresh and radiant, and makeup applied later that day sat extremely well.

Before applying my mask, I cleaned my face with the Detoxing Sea Kelp Leaf cleansing foam (£20).

This rich lather is created from only a pea size amount of the product and a drop of water, applied to face and neck. It feels very cleansing on the skin and does a decent job of removing eye makeup (although I did use a proper remover afterwards).

Kelp, glacier water, clay, spirulina, green caviar, sea cucumber, hiziki, jelly fish, sea fern, peony and licorice roots come together to promote detoxing, cleansing, smoothing and balancing.

Also on my Starskin book, is the Foaming Peeling Perfection Puff (£8.50). Now, I love this things as one puff can be used up to 3 times.

Pop the foil open, add a few drops of water, squeeze the puff a couple times inside the packet and then use it to scrub the whole face for about 2-3 minutes.

I could really feel the exfoliating power of the puff. Skin was smoother and brighter after, drinking products very well!

It brings exfoliation, smoothing, skin tone and radiance improvements, as well as deep cleansing thanks to (a salad) carrot, tomato, turnip, broccoli, cabbage, olive leaf, rice, plus aloe vera, lactic acid and arginine.

Another product that made me very excited was the Plumping & Hydrating Bio-Cellulose Second Skin Lip Masks (£8.50).

Made of the same coconut bio-cellullose as the VIP mask, this was a saviour to my lips that suffer an awful lot with dryness. Also, it’s a pretty shape 🙂

5 ml of a serum formulated with sea fern, mango, flaxseed, chia seeds, coconut oil, honey, collagen, jojoba oils, hyaluronic acid, beta glucan and pomegranate infuse every lip mask for plumping, softening, smoothing and hydrating effect.

There are 2 masks per pack, which is nice!

You can get Starskin products at major retailers: think FeelUnique, Debenhams, ASOS, Selfridges, House of Fraser, LookFantastic and many more.

Hanging on to my tan

Am I the only one that feels like as soon as you board the plane back from holidays my tan starts to leave my skin? No? Tell me I am not imagining!

Well, I don’t think I am. I swear that the moment I land back I’ve already lost some of my tan and glow.

Being from Brazil, I grew up being pretty tanned. When I moved to the UK, I became a pale I still don’t recognise as my real skin colour, so being tanned is not just better looking, it makes me feel a little bit more like myself.

Of course, before you ask, I tan responsibly!

So when I get back, I have a few body care friends that help me hang on to my glow that little bit longer. I don’t go full fake tan as I fell it spoils the glow, so I meet it halfway: moisturisers with just a touch of self tan.

Most days, I’ve been using the Dove Nourishing Body Care visible glow self-tan lotion.

 

It has a very subtle gradual self tan, so it gives just a touch of tan that builds up, so it is perfect to maintain and enhance a natural tan. And it does not smell.

It has Nutri-Duo, a unique dual action complex combining natural skin nutrients and moisturisers, nourishing deeper layers and locking in moisture.

For an extra boost and extra glow, I and using the Dove DermaSpa summer revived with soft shimmer. And what a pretty shimmer it is! I feel the self tan on this product is stronger than on the visible glow lotion, so I am applying this every 3 or 4 days.

And for super hydration…

My absolute favourite body oil for the summer: Dove DermaSpa goodness3 silky body oil.

It has a blend of omega oils and cell-moisturisers, on top of a lovely golden shimmer. It keeps skin hydrated and luminous.

I’ve been a fan for a few years of a similar Dove product, but the DermaSpa version has more tech behind it! I wrote a review on the Dove Purely Pampering oils quite sometime ago and I am glad the product got the DermaSpa revamp.

Apart from this, I am a huge fan of the this works skin deep dry leg oil that gives legs extra nourishing.

When I have my pins out, I use the stunning skin deep golden elixir, with real gold particle that reflect light and make legs looks smoother and brighter.

On occasion, especially when not as tanned, I reach out for the tinted perfect legs skin protector, with SPF 30. It delivers a subtle tint and protect against sun damage. Also has a subtle shimmer for that extra effect!

I actually talked about the this works leg routine in a post last year, check it out, they products are fabulous!

You can buy the Dove DermaSpa Summer Revived, Nourishing Body Care visible glow self-tan lotion and the Dove DermaSpa goodness3 silky body oil from major retailers nationwide and this works from their website.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

A hydration boost for skin

We know that having hydrated skin is important for all aspect of skin health – be it fighting ageing or achieving radiance.

So the Neutrogena Hydro Boost range has all these water gel products with hyaluronic gel matrix to not only lock moisture but also release it throughout the day, helping to ensure constant hydration levels.

All products are oil free and super light on the skin and absorb pretty well, making it for perfect day, under makeup wear.

My favourite has to be the capsule-in-serum supercharged booster. The serum itself is infused with purified hyaluronic acid, which works as a self-hydrating system for skin: we know hyaluronic acid holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water, so the hydration is release constantly throughout the day.

When you press the pump, little suspended pearls – anti-oxidant capsules – boost the serum with vitamin E, which is kept protect up to the time of use, increasing the ingredient efficiency. Clever, eh?

It can be added to any routine, day or night, or even mixed to your favourite product.

Following closely is the city shield hydrating lotion with SPF 25 (£12.99). It is soooo light and fresh, and I love it delivers decent sun protection.

Of course, hyaluronic acid is responsible for hydration, but this product also helps strengthen the skin protection barrier against pollution. Honest, a joy to use.

As you know, I love an eye cream, and the eye awakening gel cream (£12.99) does not disappoint. It applies well and is a treat for the delicate round the eye skin.

I use it during the day as it is super light ad behaves well under makeup.

I opted for the gel cream moisturiser (£12.99). It is soooo light that is perfect to be used at night with serums or oils.  There is also a water gel moisturiser, which is (ever so) slightly heavier.

Finally, some cleansing goodness with the geleé milk cleanser (£7.99). Quite a different product, it does not need water or rinsing. It is an efficient cleanser and leaves skin feeling hydrated.

Even though I am funny with no foam, no rinse cleansing products, I got on alright with this one. I don’t use it all the time, but it’s my go to for lazy, but thorough cleansing, especially on late nights!

You can get the Neutrogena Hydro Boost range from major retailers and supermarkets nationwide.

More info on the range, including more products (such as wipes, micellar water and more) can be found on the Neutrogena website.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

 

Protected city skin

My love affair with Nivea is long standing. I think I’ve already told how I remember my mum using the classic tins when I was a little girl!

To this day, my family in Brazil uses Nivea a lot – body moisturisers and sun cream mainly, so I thought it was great to bring the brand new Nivea Urban Skin Defence & Detox range, especially designed to protect our skin against agressor found in cities – a bit like a skin superhero.

The effects of pollution are as damaging as those of the sun and deplete skin of vitamins, while fumes as highly dehydrating.

The night and day creams are packed with anti-oxidants, including bio green tea.

The Daily Essentials Urban Skin Defence Day Cream has an SPF 20 and comes in a gel like form. It applies great, absorbing well and quickly, leaving skin fresh and super moisturised.

The Daily Essentials Urban Skin Defence Night Gel Cream is super light, which I love in a night cream. It supports cell regeneration and stimulates detox overnight.

I do love the moisturisers and been using for a month now, but must admit my fave is probably the 1 Minute Urban Detox Mask + Purify, which has white clay and magnolia extract.

Created to draw out impurities, such as dirty and oil, it is the perfect quick fix for clearer feeling skin. It also has some granules so it doubles up as entre exfoliation upon application.

I do love a bit of a mask and a scrub, and my skin feels amazing after use – clearer, smoother and fresh!

It also comes in + Moisturise and + Pore Refine, so you an tailor the routine to your needs – or mix and match!

It’s a simple and quick routine to add that extra protection to skin!

And the good news? It has just launched and the prices are fab – day and night creams at around £7.99 each (50ml) and mask £6.99 (75ml), and you can get it from major retailers nationwide.

You can read more about the range on the Nivea website.

At the moment, you can save up to 1/2 price on selected Nivea Essentials at Boots so stick up!

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

My skincare routine for problematic skin – Part 2

Getting the balance between ageing prevention and acne fighting

A few days ago I started talking about how tough it is to tackle blemishes and anti-ageing -basically how I balance a skin that decides to be a teenager and an old woman at the same time – and the skincare challenges I face trying to address both issues.

Think double trouble – when you are a little bit older (cough cough) and still suffer from breakouts, ageing is a concern but most acne effective treatments will drain your skin from hydration, promoting a dry, irritated and dull complexion. Which is wrinkle prone. Great.

Frankly, I don’t have time for that, on top of all the aggro acne has brought me, I now have a new set of issues to deal with, and they are the entire opposite end of the spectrum.

With make up not sitting well and not lasting, if your confidence is already knocked by the problematic skin itself, not being able to conceal it a little bit can be even worse.

So what to do Dani? Well, I have, through all these years, tried many combinations. I’m not going to lie: it is trial and error, and sometimes it just stops working, but hopefully my tips will be useful.

In short, I keep acne specific products for the night, adding a shot of deeper hydration, and favour shielding, protecting and moisturising products for the day. And I rotate a lot, depending on how my skin is feeling.

Because this post ended up huge (trust me not to shut up), I am splitting in two parts (read Part 1) and here, in Part 2, I talk about the rest of the routine – my beloved oils, night moisturisers, serums, masks, scrubs and some extras: eye creams and lip balms.

Oils

I know many people, just like me a few years back, would never consider oils for acne skin. In fact, I was terrified of them.

Truth is when you give it oil, your skin doesn’t feel the need to produce as much. And because the oil you are giving it is good, it won’t clog and cause inflamation the pores, starting the acne process.

At the moment, I am loving (really loving) the Votary Blemish Oil, which contains tamanu oil and salicylic acid. Other sweethearts of mine are Dr Jackson 03 Everyday Face oil and Caudalie VineActiv Overnight Detox Oil.

I have also recently started dabbling with the Samaya Ayurvedic Skincare Anti-Ageing Therapy oil in Kapha, which in the summer was a bit too heavy for my skin but in the winter worked out a treat – an individual review is coming soon!

Oils will go better at night, and I will wear them when at home during the day with no makeup on.

Night moisturisers

Admittedly, a mix of moisturisers and a serum. Blame my lack or coordination when photographing!

Night moisturisers are very tricky for me as my skin will complain about anything heavy and those are often quite rich; after a few days of use it will feel congested.

For that reason I usually reach out for very light products or mix with serums and oils to obtain extra hydration and nutrition, without the “weight” on my skin.

Again, this works features heavily. The no wrinkles midnight moisture moisturisers is a bliss. Potent but not super heavy, it’s great for my skin. With the no wrinkles night repair, it’s a winning night combo.

Vitamin C has featured heavily in my skin regime, and I love the Nivea Q10 Plus Skin Sleep Cream. It is light, absorbs quickly and skin wakes up refreshed.

Finally, the Botanics All Bright Night Cream; also super light, easily absorbed, affordable and effective, really promoting brighter, rested  skin.

Scrubs

skincare routine for adult acne - face scrubsTLC said I don’t want no scrub, and that type I will also pass, thank you very much. However, when it comes to facial scrubs, I am a little bit obsessed.

They are really important in my routine, and even though overscrubbing is aggravating to acne, a gentle exfoliation is great for renewal. I usually scrub once or twice a week.

My go to scrub is the Botanics Radiant Youth Microdermabrasion Polish and Alpha H glycolic scrub comes very close!

I have also been using the Previse  Marine Granules Skin Brightening Botanical Scrub. It is super light and suitable for super sensitive skin, vegan, naturally unscented, paraben, mineral oil, petroleum, PEGs free and counts with blend of fossilised algae, jojoba and botanical extracts. It is is also great to add to any cleanser for a deeper cleansing boost!

Face masks

Now, I love a bit of pampering and face masks just scream that. Here, I am not even touching on some fab sheet masks – hopefully I’ll have a few on the blog soon!

If my skin is feeling more sensitive, I opt for a hydrating mask such as Caudalie Moisturising Mask or dermalogica Multi-Vitamin mask. Even the Formula 10.0.6 Pores Be Pure, which has clay but is mild enough, for some purifying.

Otherwise, charcoal. I love the dermalogica charcoal masque or the BLAQ Mask which is a black peel off one (see those black heads popping off).

Also in heavy use is the Amie Spring Clean Deep Cleansing Mask, which I have recently discovered and is a total joy to use – it has French white clay, zinc, lime butter and tingly peppermint so it is a super cleansing, antibacterial and detoxifying mask I am a little it in love with!

All the other bits

Not blemish related but I always wear an eye cream – day or night – and my favourites at the moment are the DHC Beauty Lift Essence roll on, the Nivea Q10plus C eye cream and this works light time open eyes, dermalogica age reversal eye complex.

Also relatively new is the Marula 3-in-1 Rejuvenating Eye treatment with Marula oil, vitamin E, marula bright complex, and peptides and an amazing ceramic applicator which soothes, massages and freshens up the eye area on application.

On my lips, Elizabeth Arden 8-hour Cream before bed or Nivea Lip Butter 1000 times a day. Always.

Very important: this mini series talks about a maintenance routine. If you are suffering from (especially) moderate to severe active acne, I urge you to talk to your doctor to discuss treatment.

Once you start treatment, you will most likely stick to a prescribed skincare routine, but depending on what your main medical treatment for acne is, some products will be off the table.

Since I photographed this post, new skincare came into play, like the new Nivea City Skin range, which has gone straight into my skincare drawer… But you know what they say (do they?): the work of a beauty blogger is never done – they will soon be featuring.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

 

My skincare routine for problematic skin – Part 1

Balancing ageing prevention and acne fighting skincare

Once again I go on about my problematic skin. Get used to it. Working with Eucerin has given me a boost of confidence to keep talking openly about skin concerns affecting young and older people alike.

Think double trouble – when you are a little bit older (cough cough) and still suffer from breakouts, ageing is a concern but most acne effective treatments will drain your skin from hydration, promoting a dry, irritated and dull complexion. Which is wrinkle prone. Great.

Frankly, I don’t have time for that, on top of all the aggro acne has brought me, I now have a new set of issues to deal with, and they are the entire opposite end of the spectrum.

With make up not sitting well and not lasting, if your confidence is already knocked by the problematic skin itself, not being able to conceal it a little bit can be even worse.

So what to do Dani? Well, I have, through all these years, tried many combinations. I’m not going to lie: it is trial and error, and sometimes it just stops working, but hopefully my tips will be useful.

In short, I keep acne specific products for the night, adding a shot of deeper hydration, and favour shielding, protecting and moisturising products for the day. And I rotate a lot, depending on how my skin is feeling.

Because this post ended up huge (trust me not to shut up), I am splitting in two parts. Here, I talk about the beginning of the routine – cleansers, toners, serums and day moisturisers.

Cleansers

I double cleanse most days. First either with an oil pre-cleanse – my go-to are dermalogica precleanse cleansing oil or DHC Deep Cleansing Oil or a balm – my faves are this works light time cleanse & glow or Botanicals Hydration Boost Double Action Hydrating Cleanser.

Then I use a wash – always a foaming wash. If skin is a bit more sensitive, I use a mild one like the Evolve Daily Facial Detox Wash or Best Face Forward from Formula 10.0.6.

All of the above are very gentle, offering non-stripping deep cleansing.

If skin if feeling slightly tougher and can take more acid goodness, I love the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Cleansing foam or the Eucerin Dermopurifyer cleansing gel which are still gentle enough for my (most of the times) sensitive skin.

Toners

For the day, the Zenii Antioxidant Q10 Toner, Murad’s Essential-C Toner and dermalogica’s Multiactive Toner are ever so mild and efficient. At night, I use the Eucerin Dermopurifyer Toner.

If I am looking for something with a bit more bite, Pixi Glow Tonic and Clinique Anti-Blemish Solution Clarifying Toner are my go to (which incidentally need re-stocking!).

Serums

Usually during the day I apply the gorgeous Zenii Antioxidant Power serum and the lovely Lumène Valo Glow Boost Essence both for protection and promoting radiance. I use those mainly for day.

The Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum, from Evolve organic Beauty, and The Ordinary Niaciamide 10% + Zinc 1% solution are helpful additions when blemishes are present, and usually at night.

Day moisturisers

I am a bit promiscuous when it comes to moisturising. At the moment, I have, on rotation, for the day: this works light time skin plumper, Zenii Moisturising Sun protection, Nivea Q10plus C, Neutrogena Moisture Boost and Perricone MD Photo Plasma (which makes a great makeup base).

If the SPF on the moisturiser is not enough, I complement the routine with one of my favourite sun creams, such as Eucerin’s Sun Fluid Anti-Age.

Very important: this mini series talks about a maintenance routine. If you are suffering from (especially) moderate to severe active acne, I urge you to talk to your doctor to discuss treatment.

Once you start treatment, you will most likely stick to a prescribed skincare routine, but depending on what your main medical treatment for acne is, some products will be off the table.

In a few days, I will be talking excitingly about night hydration, oils, masks, scrubs and other skincare bits that are also part of my routine – do not miss!

P.S. Since I photographed this post, new skincare came into play, like the new Nivea City Skin range, which has gone straight into my skincare drawer… But you know what they say (do they?): the work of a beauty blogger is never done – they will soon be featuring.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Indulge on beauty!

Beauty. Heaven. There is no other way to describe the haven that is Indulge Beauty at Westfield Stratford.

Think makeup, nails, fragrance skin, hair and body care for men and women from over 120 cult, classic and emerging brands under on roof. For all tastes, all budgets.

I was really impressed with the quality and selection of the brands present. Being a beauty blogger, obviously I knew many, but there was a lot still to discover.

Also, the dedicated male beauty area caught my eyes – a comprehensive and approachable offer even for the shyer men starting to get into skincare and grooming.

And their fine fragrance section? To die for. Got me all in love with Eight & Bob (the Original) and I shall get my claws on it at some point.

I left the shop with a gorgeous Capsule box, which only lightly touches on the breadth of the beauty offering from Indulge; from well know Urban Decay, Glam Glow and Beauty Blender, to cult Skin Laundry and classic Clarins and GHD; this just a tiny sample of what you can expect from a place which seems to have it all.

The idea behind Indulge Beauty makes me even fonder of it: a place where the real YOU is celebrated, with their mantra: Be bold, Be brave. Be you.

The best thing? At Indulge Beauty you can get a routine tailored for you – think a shampoo from one brand, conditioner from other, mask from a third; eyeliner from brand A, mascara from B; day cream from brand X, day cream from Y… you get the idea.

Most importantly, advice is neutral, focused on your needs and you can get all in one place!

What better than killer beauty to highlight that bolder and braver you?

From the guys behind The Fragrance Shop, Indulge Beauty is located at Westfield Stratford (Unit 20, The Arcade, Montfichet Road, E20 1EH), in London (soooo close to me, how lucky am I?).

I also popped in (I do all the time) yesterday and was received with friendly, but not obtrusive or pushy smiles, great advice and fun chat (I talk too much so I always initiate).

You can also shop online at indulgebeauty.com, as well as read a bit more about them and what beauty revolution they are plotting!

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.