The Only Body Scrub You Will Ever Need

I can’t be the only person that just loves a good scrub.  There is not much that is more pleasing than sloughing off all that dead skin and yuck in the shower in the morning.  Over the years I have tried many, many body scrubs.  I always come back to one though: Soap & Glory Smoothie Star Oat Sugar and Shea Star Breakfast Scrub. 

 

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 What I adore about this scrub is that it is a good all-rounder.  I personally cannot abide a scrub that is weak and doesn’t do its job.  I am fortunate that I don’t have particularly sensitive skin on my body (except for when it comes to shaving my legs, but that’s a whole other struggle) so I can get away with a good scrubby scrub.  That is exactly what the Breakfast Scrub is; it has excellent little polishing bits (not a plastic microbead in sight) that take away the hard, dead, flaky skin that nobody wants.  It also manages to moisurise without being greasy or slimy.  That is probably one of my most hated things in life; a scrub that refuses to be washed off.  I’m not naming any names, but I happen to have one of those sitting in my bathroom at the moment.

I honestly think it is the perfect scrub, and I feel that I have tried enough to make this somewhat bold statement. If you haven’t tried it already, what are you waiting for? Go buy it! (here)

 

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My Evening Routine

After a lot of fiddling around with the products that I use in the evening, I have now had a long stretch of consistently using the same bits and bobs, and I thought I would share my routine for cleansing etc at the end of the day.

 

 

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I haven’t used an actual eye make-up remover for ages now, instead opting for Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water to do the job.  I find that this works just as well, and isn’t remotely oily – which some eye make-up removers can be.  It also doesn’t sting the eyes, an obvious risk when applying anything near the eyeballs.  I use a cotton pad soaked in the Micellar Cleansing water all over to get the majority of my make-up off, before continuing with the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser to thoroughly cleanse (more on the Nip+Fab cleanser here) 

The next step is a quick one; a speedy wipe over with the Clarins Extra Comfort Toning Lotion.  I have been using this for a few months (I mentioned it in my July Favourites) and I still love it for ensuring all the cleanser has left the building.  It is gentle – as the name would suggest – and doesn’t dry out my skin at all.  I follow this with either Alpha-H Liquid Gold or, more recently, I have been using the Ole Henrikson Invigorating Night Treatment * This contains – amongst other things – Glycolic Acid (read about my new best friend here ).  Glycolic Acid works by penetrating the skin layers and helping the dead skin to fall away (yes, this is the technical term). Thus leaving soft healthy skin behind, with less visible lines and wrinkles.

If using Liquid Gold (2-3 times a week) then I will stop there, as it is more effective when it is not followed by a moisturiser.  If not, then I will use Soap and Glory’s For Daily Youth , which I talk about more in-depth here.  Again, I have been using this for a few months and I really love it for light, but hydrating, moisturising.  I may need to switch it up for a heavier cream now that we are entering the colder months, as my skin will no doubt become dryer.

Finally, eye cream.  I actually have several on the go at the moment, but the one I reach for most is the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery EyeThis eye cream is pretty expensive (£24.50 for 15ml) and it’s fine, but not amazing.  To be honest, I bought it because Kiehl’s state that it will reduce dark circles.  I actually feel a bit silly admitting that I fell for this, as I suspect there is no product on earth that reduces hereditary dark circles (although if you know of one, please let me in on that secret!).  While it doesn’t do what I had hoped, it is very moisturising and gentle on the eye area.  As to whether it has helped with fine lines, well, who knows?! That’s the problem with fine lines and wrinkles, they are either there, or they’re not.  Who can really prove why they aren’t there, when they are not?

Having written all the steps down, it seems like a never ending process.  It’s all over in a few minutes though, and it is worth it for me.  I dread to think how haggard I would look if I didn’t take five minutes out of my day to properly cleanse and moisturise.  Ugh.

 

How about you, do you like to keep it simple, or do you have even more steps than me?

 

*This little pot was a PR sample and was part of a skincare set, everything else was purchased by me.

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Glycolic Acid : The Path to Smoother Skin

Stop the press! I have found the secret to smooth glowing skin: Glycolic Acid.  You have probably heard of it, maybe even used it yourself.

So, what is Glycolic Acid, and how does it work?  Despite the scary sounding name, Glycolic Acid is a natural ingredient, and is actually taken from sugar cane.  In very simple terms, it works by removing the very outer layer of skin, leaving behind fresh new skin underneath.  In skincare products that can be used at home, the concentration will be fairly low (probably under 10%) although if having a professional treatment it will be anything from 50% upwards.  It is normal to feel a little bit of tingling when using products containing Alpha Hydroxy Acids (of which Glycolic Acid is one) this simply means it is penetrating the skin and doing its job.  What you shouldn’t experience, however, is burning, redness, or peeling.

 

Glycolic Acid: Alpha-H Liquid Gold, Nip+Fab Glycolic Cleansing fix, Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Serum

 

Back in July I went on a little shopping trip, and bought a couple of skincare items (here, if you would like a read) one of which was the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser.  I was a little nervous about using the cleanser initially, what with it having ACID as an ingredient, but eventually I decided to man-up (in a very female way) and try it.  It turns out that my hesitance was unnecessary; there was no burning or smoking from my face – just super smooth, soft skin.  Result!  Some may argue that the Glycolic Acid content is too low to actually do any good (it is 2%), but I am certain that it has made a difference to my skin.  In collaboration with this, I have been using the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Serum , which contains a slightly higher concentration of Glycolic Acid: 4%.  In all honesty, I haven’t noticed a dramatic change after introducing this serum, it is a very thick, sticky product, that isn’t especially pleasant to apply.  You do need to wait for it to dry before applying moisturiser, which can be a bit of a faff in the morning, when time is short.  It hasn’t had a negative effect, so I will continue to use it, but probably would not repurchase it.

 

The real star of the show for me though, is the Alpha-H Liquid Gold.  This hugely raved about cult product really is as good as everyone says.  I actually came to own this because I had heard great things about the Alpha-H Absolute Eye Complex.  While researching the eye cream, I came across the Discovery Collection, which contains four small skin care products and is a great way to try out a skincare range without committing to full size products.  (I have mentioned before that I absolutely LOVE it when brands do this, it suits my fickle nature down to the ground).

Anyway, I digress.  Liquid Gold has 5% Glycolic Acid, and brightens the skin by giving it a little boost.  Best used three or four evenings a week, simply wet a cotton wool pad with the Liquid Gold, and wipe over the face after cleansing.  It is actually recommended that the skin is left to work uninterrupted overnight, which means not applying moisturiser.  Having quite dry skin, it really goes against the grain to not follow up with a rich night cream, I can tell you.  I initially expected to wake up looking like the Crypt Keeper, but actually the opposite was true.  When I use Liquid Gold (and I don’t use it more than three times a week) my skin is plumped, refreshed and smooth the following morning.

The reason that I actually reached for it (because, as I said, it was just a bonus item with a much wanted eye cream) was that I became frustrated that I couldn’t seem to find anything that would smooth out my bumpy forehead.  I don’t suffer hugely with spots (well, until recently but that’s a whole other blog post) but I have always had a lumpy forehead, which I believe is caused by congested pores.  I have tried all manner of methods to rid myself of the pesky bumps, and the combination of these Glycolic Acid skincare items has done the trick.

 

I would expect that anyone with very sensitive skin should approach any skincare products containing Glycolic Acid with caution.  For anyone looking for skin that is as fresh as a baby’s bot though, I would recommend finding your Glycolic Acid soul mate – you won’t regret it.

 

 

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Primers – My Choices for Fabulous Skin

A couple of years ago I had never even heard of makeup primers, and now they are everywhere.  Primers are exactly what they say; products to prime the skin before applying makeup.  I can’t pretend I have tried them all, but I have sampled a fair few.  Here are my favourites.

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Smashbox Photofinish Primer Water:  I was full of disdain for this primer when I first tried it.  I had heard good things so I thought I would give it a go.   To begin with I was very disappointed; it doesn’t behave as I thought a primer should.  It doesn’t conceal pores, or even out skin tone.  What it does do is act as a refresher.  I like to use it after moisturiser, and before my other primers of choice, (keep reading for those…) for a blast of hydration.  It is also lovely as a little pick-me-up during the day.

 

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I always follow this with Too Faced Hangover Primer.  This primer feels very much like a moisturiser, it’s a light, non-silicone-y lotion.  It contains all sorts of wonderful ingredients like coconut water, probiotics and skin revivers, which apparently work together to boost hydration and smooth the skin.  It might sound a bit too good to be true, but this primer is just lush.  It is also vegan and paraben free.  I love it so much that I am feeling a bit nervous about coming to the end of my current tube.  It isn’t readily available in the UK (I bought mine on Amazon from a US Based seller) and although Too Faced do ship here, it would cost £22 for the primer, and almost another £20 for shipping.  A little bit steep for this Hangover fan.

 

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On days when my pores are looking a little obvious, or when I want a really long lasting flawless finish, I will use the L’Oreal Nude Magique Blur Cream This is a tinted silicone type primer that ‘blurs’ the pores on my nose and leaves me with smoother looking skin. It doesn’t ‘roll up’ like some products can, it just leaves the best possible base for foundation or BB cream.

Using three products may seem like a lot of fiddling around, but the whole routine only takes a couple of minutes, and it is definitely worth it for longer lasting makeup and (almost!) flawless skin.

 

What is your primer of choice?  Do you have more than one?

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My Super Speedy Summer Everyday Makeup

If I am truthful, and truthful is my middle name, I only wear ‘full – on’ makeup maybe once every fortnight.  Twice at a  push.  This is purely because of a lack of time, not desire.  I LOVE to do my makeup; I find it strangely therapeutic.  I adore choosing what I am going to use, and experimenting with different eye looks.  However, I am already late everywhere I go without spending an hour blending out my eyeshadow beforehand.  So here, my friends, are the products that I can pop on quickly for a fuss-free look, when I will be just pottering around and running errands.

 

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I start with my Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, mixed with a little Dream Bronze Sunkissed Glow Perfector BB Cream.  The Bronze BB cream is designed to be used alone, but it is quite dark, even in Light/Medium, so I prefer to mix it with my favourite BB Cream.  Lovely Jubbly.  I then follow with the Freedom Makeup Pro Correct Palette.  This is a fairly new purchase, but I am really loving it for under my eyes and other areas that need a little more coverage.  It doesn’t completely cover my under eye circles – I have yet to find anything that does – what I like about it is the consistency. It is light and not at all drying, and I like being able to mix the exact shade that I need.  I choose not to set with any powder, because my skin can get very cakey if I am not careful.

Another new(ish) purchase is the Bourjois Aqua Blush in No.3 Pink Twice.  I am no stranger to cream blushers and cheek stains (I used the Body Shop lip and cheek tint for years, until quite recently), but this is the nicest I have ever used.  The colour is just right for my complexion (not the fairest of them all, but close) and it leaves a lovely hydrating little flush.  It doesn’t shift at all during the day either.  My bronzer of choice is the Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder in No. 2.  This is a really lovely bronzer; it is subtle and buildable, and not at all glittery.  It looks nothing in the pan, the shade I have is only slightly darker than a face powder, but it is magical on the skin.  Next up is highlighter.  On ‘natural’ days I like to reach for my Makeup Academy Shimmer Highlighter in Pink Shimmer.  This has just the right amount of glow; which makes it visible, but not blinding.

To finish I curl my eyelashes – of course – and add a little bit of my current favourite mascara; Maybelline Big Eyes Rebel Black. I love this little guy.  It is thick, but not clumpy, and the little mini brush is perfect for the lower lashes.   I then follow with Maybelline Brow Drama in Dark Brown.  This is the only brow mascara-type product I have ever used (other than plucking them I have pretty much left them alone until recently), so I don’t know how it compares with other similar products.  I find that it gives me just enough colour to fill in any sparse areas, and holds without going rock-hard or flaky.

And that is it.  I can usually slap this little lot on in around five minutes, and be out the door in another 120 minutes or so (do you have any idea how long it takes to get a baby and a three year old ready? Ages, that’s how long).

Disclaimer:  Despite appearances, this post is not sponsored by Maybelline, I just happen to like quite a lot of their products.

Thanks for reading, as always!  Let me know in the comments below what your favourite quick-face products are, and do you switch it up depending on the season?

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My Morning Skincare Routine

I like to keeps things fairly simple in the morning.  With a baby that refuses to sleep through the night, I can’t say that I leap joyfully out of bed in the morning, so I need a quick and straightforward regime. I am currently using only three products, with the addition of various primers when I apply makeup.  I haven’t included those, because they change with my mood, and I don’t consider them part of my daily routine.

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 Lush Angels on Bare Skin cleanser

I wash my face in the shower in the am, so I like a cleanser that can be washed off without the need for fiddly cotton wool, or muslin cloths.  My skin cam be very dry, so foaming cleansers are out too. I discovered this lovely cleanser a few weeks ago, and, as I mentioned in my May Favourites, it – along with a couple of other changes that I made recently – has changed my skin for the better.  It starts off as a solid, and as water is mixed with it, a paste is formed, which gently cleanses and exfoliates the skin.  My only issue is the little lavender flowers, I’m not convinced they need to be there, and they mostly end up being washed down the plug hole because they don’t mix in with the rest of the cleanser.

Origins GinZing Moisuriser

This is a fabulous lightweight moisturiser, with a lovely fresh fragrance.  Origins claim that it brightens, and while I haven’t noticed that, I do find it to be hydrating without being greasy, so my skin is left feeling smooth but not slimy.  One thing to note though is the lack of SPF.

Origins GinZing Eye Cream

In my eternal quest for an eye cream that will magically make my dark circles disappear, I stumbled across this little guy.  It can be used twice a day, but I only use it in the morning as I have a separate night eye cream.  I find that it doesn’t work especially well under concealer, so I often skip it if I am doing a full face, because it almost goes lumpy.  Because it is illuminating it does make me look slightly more awake, and a little bit goes a long way.  I can’t vouch for its depuffing qualities as I don’t have a problem with eye bags or puffiness, and I have no idea if it has helped in the battle against fine lines – ask me again in 20 years.

Do you like to keep it simple in the morning, or do you like to pamper yourself before you face the day?

 

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