The Only Skincare Products I Used During Lockdown

During lockdown I have tried to keep my skincare routine very simple. I have worn no make-up at all, therefore have been able to skip many steps in my routine. These are the only products which I have used on my face during this time. My skin is sensitive and breakout prone. I call it problematic. Thefore, if you have problematic skin like me then I would recommend these 5 products for you.

Cleanser– Fresh Soy Face Cleanser

This is a really creamy gel cleanser. I found it the perfect face wash to clean my skin in the morning and break down spf in the evening. Good for reducing redness and working on skin texture. I also found that despite not being advertised as a pore minimising cleanser, it worked well at keeping my pores clear.

Toner– 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant

I found this product to be a game changer. Having previously used acid blends which all seemed to irritate my skin, I was surprised that this toner didn’t cause any sensitivity and also worked better than anything else I have tried before. I apply it onto a reusable cotton pad every other day (Or every day when necessary). Concentrating it mainly on my chin area where I am most breakout prone. My only criticism of this product is that the bottle doesn’t last very long in comparison to others that I have tried. Next time I will order two bottles.

Mask– Veneffect Skin Calming Mask

The perfect mask for oily and sensitive skin. It doesn’t dry hard like other clay masks do, instead it stays quite a goopy texture. It can be kept on skin for 30 minutes all over or used as a spot treatment overnight. Great for uneven texture and particularly oily days.

Oil– Dr Jackson’s Everyday Oil

I have been using this oil instead of a moisturiser on and off for years now. Great for balancing oiliness and hydrating and soothing. It is a neutral smell, unlike many oils that I have tried. 100% Organic and just lovely.

SPF– Soleil Toujours Mineral Sunscreen Spf30

After trying this spf I find it difficult to use anything else. Another organic product. It does not block my pores or give me spots. Lightweight, hydrating and invisible on the skin but non-greasy. During normal times I would use this every day under my make-up and I will even wear it when on holiday and directly in the sun.

Thats it. The only products that I used in my skincare routine during lockdown. Honestly my skin has never been better. Please let me know if you have tried any of these or if you cut back on what you were using over the last few months.

The Rise Of At Home Beauty Treatments

For the last three months there has been no access to beauty salons. The reality has been do it yourself or not at all. Many of my friends have missed having their nails done and their roots dyed. I watched tutorials in order to help family members with their hair cuts. It made me realise after putting in the time, a lot of these treatments can be done from home.

What I have missed, is assistance with hair removal. This has always been a topic of interest for me. I find it bizarre that despite everyone having hair on their bodies, we are encouraged to remove so much of it. It is not essential but it is normalised and different rules apply to men and women.

I know that my hair removal methods and behaviours are not the same as that of my friends. In the past I have opted for a bikini wax every 5-6 weeks. I have had this done professionally. On a few occasions I had tried this on myself. Painful, time consuming and with bad results. Due to quarantine I have realised that there is no better time than the present to learn to do a half decent job. I purchased the appropriate hard wax kit off Amazon, hoping it would be a good investment. All going well it would save me a small fortune. I have listed the costs of the items which I ordered. I already had talc in the cupboard.

  • Pack of 100 wooden spatulas- £2.60
  • 500g Hard Wax Beads- £14.99
  • Electric Wax Warmer- £22.99

I found some information online about techniques for waxing and a pattern which I should follow. These were a lifesaver for a pain free wax. I can confirm that winging it is a bad idea. Always keep to the pattern.

I have completed this three times now successfully. After a bit of trial and error I have decided that I will keep up the at home method. At home treatments are the new normal and I personally prefer being able to have control over such treatments and not having to worry about booking an appointment in advance or squeezing it into my busy schedule.

To me, a bit of inconvenience is no bother when I am saving £30 each month. As much as I wish to support local businesses, this is a lot of money for me to save.

Couch to 5K Experience

10/10. Recommend to everyone.

Let me give you some context. I am reasonably fit. I wouldn’t call myself sporty but I did grow up in the countryside with parents who loved to take my siblings and I out for a family cycle, or to climb a hill at the weekends. To keep myself fit now, I walk to work and I try to swim once a week. This routine has worked for me.

Due to the 2020 pandemic I have found myself furloughed. This has been a challenge in many ways and my physical health is if course one of them. No longer walking to work, no longer standing on my feet for 7.5 hours and certainly not going for that weekly swim.

I first heard about Couch to 5K in 2019 when I listened to a discussion on the radio after the London Marathon. Having been out myself to support the runners, I was energised due to the achievements of others. I remember thinking that the programme sounded like an easy way to get a bit fitter and for the life of me I cannot remember why I didn’t download it right there and then.

After three weeks at home, going for one walk each day and taking part in home workouts which I discovered on YouTube, I found myself really lacking motivation. Uninterested and honestly quite concerned about letting myself go, I decided to try something different.

What surprised me the most was not how manageable the programme was, but how much I was really enjoying it. I found myself calling my mum after each run, glowing with pride and insisting that she must take part too. It put me in such a good mood. Although sleepy sometimes, it was the perfect start to the day. By week 6 I honestly felt fitter than I ever have been.

I have finished the programme now. Looking back, I can’t remember the person who would get a stitch after trying to jog for two minutes. I feel like a runner and I can’t believe how much nine weeks has impacted my life.

Hopefully this a hobby which I keep up and I hope that I can push myself do even better. I have decided to keep up the 30 minutes of running and I am going to aim for twice a week because I would be a fool to let all this good work go to waste. Perhaps in a years time I will consider training for a 10k.

I would love to hear about other experiences with the programme! Please let me know if you have started it or are debating giving it a go.

How I Deal with Hormonal Breakouts

I am 23 years old. My skin has never been perfect. However I have never strived for total perfection. Control is something which I try to achieve in many aspects of my life and despite it being my own face I struggle to maintain control of it.

I was 19 when skincare became my concern/passion/obession.

I had always had a few breakouts growing up. To be honest I don’t remember too well but it didn’t bother me any more than the average teenager. It wasn’t until I was due to turn 20, after coming off the pill that I started to get cystic breakouts surrounding my chin. My skin was angry and irritated. I struggled to deal with it, changing my skincare routine more than I should have and fuelling that rage. I was searching for anything that would help. After 1 year of struggling I actually got a job within skincare and I learned a lot. I am still learning. My skin certainly got worse before it got better due to eagerly trying everything that was recommended to me. Natural, active, organic, high-tech… I tried it all and that was of course the worst thing that I could have done at the time. However, I don’t regret it as I can look back now and say that I know what will work and what will not work on my skin (most of the time).

Prior to this I visited the doctor who gave me antibiotics which I tried for 8 months with no success. She also have me topical creams to dry out the problematic areas. Ouch! Dry skin around the mouth is not very comfortable. Again, I learned this the hard way and I don’t have to make that mistake again. What did work for me from the doctors recommendation was giving in and going back on the pill. Specifically one called Yasmin which was suggested for hormonal skin issues. I would recommend it highly. I stayed on this for about 6-8 months before changing to a pill which was more for longterm use. It was the hormones that kept my skin at bay alongside starting a skincare routine mentioned in a previous post.

Now I am 23. I have come off the pill again because I felt confident that my skincare routine would never let me get back to the same place I was before. Now I have an IUS. This is also hormonal but in a different way. I have had this for three months and of course my skin is not happy with the change. However I was prepared for this and am willing to see it through, hoping that my body will adjust to it with time.

Currently I am experimenting with diet. I am not a huge meat eater. I will cook mainly meat free meals but am now making a conscious effort to eat considerably less meat and dairy products while introducing a lot more vegetables. I have recently introduced fish in to my diet after never being particularly interested in it before. Alongside these changes I am trying to eat less processed food and waste less in terms of packaging. This involves a lot more meals made completely from scratch. Luckily I enjoy cooking when I do have the time so I am trying to prepare my meals in advance and better use my freezer.

This is a work in progress and I will be interested to see how my diet influences my skins behaviour, if at all. As I said before I do not need perfection but I would like to have more control and hopefully this will bring me one step closer to that.

Skincare Tips for Swimmers

Swimming for me is the most relaxing way to excercise and a great way to clear my head. However, the chlorine dries out my skin and the goggles that I wear cause a lot of irritation. 

At my work I am regularly asked by mature ladies how to help with elasticity around the eye area. Goggle marks has been highlighted as a concern too because the dents created can take a long time to bounce back. As always, prevention is the best remedy. I was told during my make-up training to be careful when removing eye makeup because it pulls on the ‘delicate eye area’. However, when I swim I wear goggles and I’m sure that the pressure and the red rings which linger after must be more aggressive. Here are a few of my suggestions to prep your skin before swimming.

Products are most effective when massaged into the skin. Whether time is spent using hands to massage or a tool such as a jade roller. The small end is ideal for around the eye area to help stimulate muscle tone and bring oxygen to the skin. After using my roller my skin always feels tight and plump. Movement is important in our skin and it will encourage elasticity. This is the best way to make sure our skin bounces back. Alongside this, an eye oil is ideal. Kora Organics Eye Oil or Bioeffect Eye Serum will both be great because they have rollers built in. Other products include Odacité Eye Contour which is amazing for crepey skin texture.

Eye patches are great too. Not great for the environment as they are often only designed for one use. However they are cooling on the skin, great for intense hydration and tightening. Also perfect for any puffiness and inflammation.

Beware of trying new products in line with swimming days. I have tired products previously which seem fine on my skin and then as soon as I get in the chlorine I have developed a rash. Avoid high percentage retinol and strong AHA’s and BHA’s. Calming products are ideal. Ren Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask is perfect for soothing irritation and taking down any redness instantly. 

These are a few tricks that I have tried recently to keep my skin looking healthy after swimming. 

What to do When You’ve Done Too Much

A common concern among skincare enthusiasts is that their skin starts doing the opposite of what they want. Breakouts become more persistent. Dry patches appear alongside redness and tiny bumps under the skin. This is what happens when your skin starts to reject the numerous new products that you are so eager to try. The skins barrier is compromised. Here are a few recommendations for products which will help to rebalance your skin and bring it back to ‘normal’. I personally can’t say that I have ever had normal skin but this is the closest that I can get. You will notice that for this particular concern I have some brands which I trust and always go back to.

Step 1

Lets start with cleanser. A double cleanse is what I would recommend. However if I am wearing heavy make-up then my preference is to start with Garnier Micellar Water. (This is a gentle way to remove make-up and it is how I avoid spreading my eye make-up all over my face.) Therefore that becomes a triple cleanse. After that, my personal favourite combination includes Caudalie Make-up Removing Cleansing Oil and Veneffect Pore Minimising Cleanser. The Caudalie oil will soften your skin and remove all traces of make-up. The Veneffect cleanser will calm the skin, remove excess oil and help to keep pores clear.

Step 2

Toner is a step which can be missed out for this routine. You don’t want to use any products containing strong AHA’s or BHA’s. Not while your skin is irritated. If you however want something for extra hydration or if you like the cooling feel of toner on your skin, then you can use Caudalie 100% Grape Water. This is a very simple mist which will hydrate your skin and reduce redness. Another option is Darphin Intral Toner. This is specifically for sensitive skin and you can use cotton wool or your finger tips and splash onto your skin.

Step 3

My number one serum recommendation is not really a serum. It is the Face and Eye Essence from Dr Jackson’s. This is a lightweight, non-greasy gel. It is perfect for layering with other products or ideal on its own for oily skin. Nothing is more calming on my skin. It is great for breakouts yet is perfect for hydration. It can also be used as an eye cream. If you want a more traditional serum however I have two recommendations at complete opposite price points. First, SOS Serum from Caudalie. The other is Dr Sturm Calming Serum. The texture is quite different and although I find Calming Serum much more nourishing I cannot rule out S0S simply because of the cheaper price point.

Step 4

Moisturiser is something that I always struggle with. Personally I find an oil much better on my skin. Dr Jackson’s Everyday Oil is my favourite, it is hydrating but balancing. However Kate Somerville’s Goat Milk Moisturiser is a lightweight yet comforting formula. Perfect for anyone with sensitised skin.

Step 5

I enjoy using a mask once or twice a week. Exfoliating masks and clay masks however can compromise the skins barrier. One which I have found to have amazing results for bringing my skin back to life is Ren’s Ultra Comforting Mask. Although it has a slightly sticky consistency, it instantly takes down redness and the bumpy texture of broken skin. I use this on my hands to treat my eczema and the results are instant. Leave on for ten minutes and then tissue off the excess before bed.

For inflammation which appears throughout the day, I enjoy Veneffect Skin Calming Mist. It helps to reduce heat on the skin and acts as a hydration booster.

These are my best recommendations for sensitised skin. Tried and tested by me, someone who has tried far too many products and is now trying to bring their skin back to normal levels.

Why I Changed to Silicone Free Hair Products

I have thick hair which gets greasy quickly. I find that when I use products such as Moroccan oil, I have shiny hair on day one. Then by day two I feel like I already need to wash it. The shine turns to grease. I cannot tell the difference between my natural oil and the product build up. I have tried to make some changes.

Step 1: Get rid of all haircare products. Shampoos, masks, primers, hairsprays the lot…

Step 2: Choose a routine containing no silicone.

I chose Briogeo Be Gentle Be Kind Apple and Matcha Shampoo and Conditioner. Three products from Living Proof; Frizz Nourishing Oil, Frizz Instant de-frizzer for lightweight moisture on day two after washing and Restore Perfecting Spray for heat protection. Lastly I chose IGK First Class Dry Shampoo for when I need a bit more help.

As I have an oily scalp, I rinse and repeat with my new shampoo. However, I use a very minimal amount of conditioner. This particular one goes quite far. When out of the shower I wrap my hair in an Aquis Hair Turban and leave it for as long as possible. The hair turban is great for removing water from hair without roughly towel drying it. I have been told that towel drying can roughen the hair cuticle causing damage and enhancing frizz. When I take my hair out of the turban, I brush it and apply one pump of the oil, avoiding going too close to the roots. If I am blow drying my hair then I spray the perfecter. If not, then I leave it to dry naturally or put my hair in plaits. 

The result of this routine is that the appearance of my hair is quite matte on day 1. By day 2 the shine returns and I restyle it accordingly. Day 3 will involve a messy bun and dry shampoo at the routes to recreate the texture of day 1. 

Without the use of silicone in my products I find that although my hair is not as shiny on the first day, I can however add shine products. I don’t need to use dry shampoo as often or as soon after washing. I can comfortably only wash my hair every three days. Of course this routine is not for everyone. I have thick hair, it sits above my shoulders and has a wave to it. I have never dyed it so the condition is reasonably good. This is why oiliness and product buildup is one of my main concerns. I have been following this routine for about 5 weeks now. My hair feels good but I am curious to see if I will notice any more results as time goes on.

WHO I AM

I trained originally as a Make-up Artist. Beauty is my number one passion and although I wanted to be a Make-up Artist because of my creativity, I soon realised that great skin creates great make-up application. Since then skincare has been my obsession. A happy life can influence happy skin and vice versa.

Over the past three years I have been working within beauty retail. Learning about both make-up and skincare and making recommendations to customers. I have been lucky enough to learn from some real experts and try out some truly great products. Some however, were not all that.

Here I plan to write about the products which I love, the trends and sustainable practices that I recommend, my top beauty tips and of course the products which are not worth your time.