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.

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.

 

Ayurvedic botanicals for your skin

A while ago, I got my hands on the Samaya Ayurvedic Skincare Kapha Anti-ageing Treatment Oil, but it took me a while to fall for it.

The weather was warmer and being the rich oil it is, it didn’t quite work for my skin. However, when the winter came I decided to give it another go, and I now understand why this oil has rave reviews.

All natural, its main ingredients are fine high-performance Ayurvedic infusions such as ashwagandha root extract, sandalwood, vetivert and frankincense oils which have anti-ageing properties as well as a calming and soothing scent, helping bring tranquility.

It also contains high quality almond, turmeric root, apricot kernel and got kola oils, paracress flower extract, so overall a mix of antiflammatory, healing, balancing, cleansing, antioxidant properties to pamper the skin.

And the senses! As it is based on Ayrvedic principles, it helps restore balance – the brand name combines two Sanskrit words: sama, ‘balance’ and alaya, ‘place’ to create a ‘place of balance.

I felt my skin calmer, especially on the breakout front. It also felt nourished and replenished in the morning (I only use it at night, alone).

In the summer, I am going to mix a drop or two with a moisturiser at night, and see how it works for me, as I really loved using it.

It does retail for £79 for 30ml, but I can assure a little goes a reaaaally long way.

You can get the Samaya Ayurvedic Skincare Kapha Anti-ageing Treatment Oil from the Samaya website and also selected retailers such a Whole Foods and Fenwick.

You can also browse all the range, including the other doshas Vata and Pita – you can even do a test on their site to discover which one is your dominant!

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 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.

A vitamin C boost to tackle dull skin

Valo [Light] Glow Boost EssenceWho’s with me in no longer bearing the winter? Thought so. I had enough. London is so miserable in the winter so I cannot wait for those longer, brighter days.

While those don’t come, my skin keeps suffering with the brutal wind and heating. Dullness ensues.

A while back, at my favourite place, Liberty, I came across Lumene, a gorgeous Finnish brand and its equally gorgeous Valo [Light] Glow Boost Essence.

Now, we all love a bit of glow and we know highlighter can only do so much. I only “discovered” some glow in my skin in the last few years, so I am doing everything I can to retain even if a tiny bit of it.

Valo [Light] Glow Boost Essence

This light serum is loaded with vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, which makes it the perfect hydration and glow potion to fight the winter effects on the skin.

Its consistency very fluid, colourless and feels so smooth on the skin, which drinks up very quickly. I use about 3-5 drops for my face and it is suitable for all skin types.

I do feel it helps reset my complexion, especially when used at night. It also helps maintain the plumpness and hydration which my skin tends to lose in the course of the day, when I apply in the morning.

Valo [Light] Glow Boost Essence

Apart from brightening vitamin C and moisture preserving hyaluronic acid, The Valo Glow Boost Essence contains Arctic cloudberry extract a and pure Arctic spring water.

Altogether, they works to help achieve plumper, smoother and more radiant skin, which subsequently appears more youthful.

I use it mainly at night, at times combined with other serums and oils and at times with some other vitamin C products on top. I sometimes add it in the morning too, with some more vitamin C products on top, because you know, bitch gotta glow.

You can get this the Lumene Valo [Light] Glow Boost Essence from Liberty (always worth a trip over). It costs £29.90 for 30ml and you can also get it from feelunique.

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 blemish rescue oil. Yes, really

Votary Blemish Rescue OilThis year you haven’t heard it: oh how I love a facial oil. And this is a gem from a brand I got to know quite recently: Votary, which makes this post that little bit more exciting.

Now, my personal battle navigating between aggressive, drying blemish fighting and hydrating, nourishing age fighting products is known to an extent here (and I’ll publish a full piece on it soon), but this little hero addresses just that. Tamanu oil and salicylic acid, make it nourishing with blemish fighting properties.

Votary Blemish Rescue Oil’s 2% salicylic acid goes down deep in the pores dissolving dead skin cells and exfoliating all the way to the surface. This helps with the congestion that usually brings spots about.

And the blend of natural plant oils including rice, oat, tamanu and rosemary essential oil aids quicker recovery and promotes  balance.

Votary Blemish Rescue OilIt’s a great targeted, non-aggressive solution which is a bliss to use: it doesn’t feel heavy or greasy, and even though it’s for use on the spot, I feel it works wonders on the whole face or areas, like the chin, to help prevent breakouts.

And for that, I really want to get the Votary Clarifying Facial Oil, as I think it would be a very powerful duo for problematic skin.

The Votary Blemish Rescue Oil costs £35 for 15ml (it goes a looooong way!) and you can find the gorgeous Votary products at Liberty – I mean, any excuse for a trip over there – or online on their site.

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.

Gimme vitamin…C

I’m no stranger to the Nivea Q10 range; a while back I was introduced to the antioxidant properties of Q10, which is a co-enzyme present in our skin.

Now Nivea has just boosted these properties with amazing vitamin C, also known for its antioxidant properties and to deliver radiance and energy to the skin.

The Q10plusC Anti-Wrinkle + Energy Eye Treatment (£10.99) is my favourite – you know I love an eye product.

It’s light and super smooth, I find perfect for the day as it keeps the area moisturised and bright, but also great for the night as it is not heavy and works wonder de-puffing and refreshing dull and tired skin.

The Q10plusC Anti-Wrinkle + Energy Skin Sleep Cream (£10.99) is a delight. It is a very fluid cream that glides and sinks so well in the skin.

It feels so light but works wonders: skin wakes up refreshed, rested and plump.

Last, but not least, the Q10plusC Anti-Wrinkle + Energy Day Cream with SPF 15 (£10.99).

Of course, any sun protection is always welcome and on top of it you have fantastic skin protecting antioxidants.

It has a firm consistency but spreads smoothly and behaves extremely well under makeup.  I don’t know if it’s me but it feels like it creates a good, non-greasy and even base for foundation.

This range went straight to my bedside table (ok, not a bedside table, but the packed everyday skincare drawer more like) and I’ve been using very regularly since putting to the test.

Oh, and the smell on the face products is rather nice; slightly reminiscent of the classic Nivea, but fresher and not overpowering. I love it!

You can check them out on the Nivea website and you can get them from major retailers, such as Superdrug and Boots.

written by Dani

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

A beauty lift for eyes

Eye creams: I’m obsessed! No secret, I use them day and night and I juts love the feeling of applying and of course, having hydrated  round the eye area all day long.

DHC brought the Beauty Lift range out a while back and although it didn’t quite work for my skin, the Beauty Lift Eye Care Essence Roll-on is a complete different story.

Start with the three tiny metal beads that form the roll-on. They mean a more delicate and targeted multipoint gentle and cooling massage on application to ease puffiness.

Inside, a very light and fluid serum like formula containing firming and smoothing oat kernel extract, also firming mevalonolactone and ceramide 3, plus hydrating and lifting pentapeptide-18.

It’s light enough for multi-use. For the day, first thing is the morning, it’s a godsend to help with puffy and bed eyes. At night, it’s a refresher to wake up hydrated and refreshed.

I also like the click pen that delivers the exact shot for one application! No excess product or waste.

And how pretty does the pearlescent pink packaging look? Dreamy!

The DHC Beauty Lift Eye Care Essence Roll-on costs £24 for 6ml, but it’s currently on sale until 30/11/17 for £20, a real bargain! You can get it directly from the DHC website.

written by Dani

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

British natural skincare

Often I go on about the joys of discovering new beauty brands and when Evolve Organic Beauty popped in I was delighted to give a go.

And not just because I didn’t know them before; the fact they are natural and hand made in the UK with organic ingredients is a massive bonus. They also got me by sending all time favourite skincare: facial mist and eye serum.

The Daily Defence Moisture Mist contains prickly pear, known for its calming, firming and protecting properties, African moringa, which has skin protectant peptides, skincare sweetheart and water holding hyaluronic acid for extra hydration. all laced with gorgeous orange flower and rose water for a delightful fragrance.

I love applying in clean skin, under it over makeup for a quick burst of hydration and freshness. Kept in the fridge it’s an even better treat! Mine was made by Leanne and is 99.4% natural and 20.5% organic.

The dinky roll on Hyaluronic Eye Complex is still a little secret waiting to be told. It’s ever so light and perfect to keep the round the eyes area well moisturised during the day!

It contains active botanical cells, hyaluronic acid and is 99% natural and 34% organic. It was made by Freya and should be available early 2018.

As a(nother) bonus, I got a very special edition Tranquility Essence, which is great as a little tool to aid mindful breathing, with lavender, cedarwood, bergamot, mandarin and grapefruit oils, blended by Laura and made by Grace.

If anything, the should have a little less alcohol in the formulation (it’s not an issue for me but I see many having one).

Evolve has a great range of natural products, with some organic ingredients, all lovingly made in Hertfordshire, UK. I love the fact the gave the name of the person who made it on the label and their prices are really good – well worth checking out (Miracle facial oil at £30, I’m looking at you).

The Daily Defence Moisture Mist costs £20 for 100ml and can be bought at evolvebeauty.co.uk.

written by Dani

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