WHAT IS SELF CARE?

Ever since the concept of self care became a thing that we actively talk about, people have tried to define it in lots of different ways. I have to say, I’ve found a lot of these definitions lacking, because most of the time they seem to invalidate what one person does, in order to validate another person’s self care techniques. I’ve seen people laugh at and bully a wonderful internet activist who created an app reminding people to drink enough water. I’ve seen people describe taking a bath as ‘self care for people without any problems’. I’ve seen websites promote buying £200 weighted blankets for ‘luxury’ wellbeing, while these very same blankets are desperately needed by people with ADHD who often can’t afford them. I’ve seen people implying that the only valid form of self care is basic maintenance (sleeping, eating, drinking) whilst other people claim that meditation and mindfulness are the only true ways to perform self care. Others will tell you that self care is worthless if you don’t love yourself. The concept of self care is turning out to be quite a complex one, and I wanted to spend a little time unpacking it, to shed light on what has become so unexpectedly confusing.

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I believe that the root of the problem is consumerism. Brands have had a hugely negative impact on the way people view self care. Above, I mentioned a listicle of luxury self care items, and this is where I think the problem comes from. Most people will have first heard about self care in the media, so they see it as something luxurious, an indulgence. Something they have to spend money on. This makes many people who are truly in dire need of self care reject it, because it seems frivolous. It isn’t the bubble bath that’s the problem, it’s the women’s lifestyle website telling you that you need to spend £100 on accoutrements to go with your bubble bath.

This has led to people feeling that it doesn’t reflect what they actually need, and I completely understand. Just like the trivialisation of the word ‘triggered’ affected me in therapy, where we used the word when discussing trauma, thoughtless media treatment has put people off self care because they feel silly talking about it. This is why I’ve decided to spend time earnestly talking about it; I know how important it is, and want help other people see that self care isn’t a fancy lifestyle choice, it’s a basic choice that helps you live your life.

Some people have tried to get around this trivialisation by moving the goalposts – describing self care as being only things like taking meds, drinking water, brushing your teeth. But I believe this makes some very unhelpful assumptions, and doesn’t clear things up at all. First of all, it assumes that self care is only for people who are ill. It’s also very ignorant of the fact that illness and wellness both take many, many forms. You cannot make a statement about self care being one thing but not another, because you don’t know what other people need. At the Foodbank I volunteer at, we put bodycare products like lotion or bubble bath in with our monthly menstrual parcels, we put chocolate into all of the food boxes and we put lipbalm into every homeless food box. Why? Because people need more than just baked beans and tinned vegetables. They need to feel like a human being. Many people across the world go through terrible, horrible things whether it’s due to poverty, sickness, grief or abuse. They don’t just require basic self maintenance to feel better. I truly believe that there is a gross lack of empathy in a lot of conversations around self care.

The NHS describes self care as being the different ways you can look after yourself, both mentally and physically. What we really need to understand is that this looks different for absolutely every single person on earth. And we need to accept that we can never, ever know how much another person needs their self care, how hard their journey is or what’s going on with them. Self care can also be very hard for some people. Roxane Gay makes a very good point that this concept of self care seems to her like yet another thing women are expected to be good at, and I’ve been there; I used to suck at self care too. But you cannot expect people to be able to learn how to practice self care if it doesn’t sound accessible, or attainable. The only answer is to eschew rampant consumerism and to be empathetic when others talk about their self care. We should be open about how we like to look after ourselves, both the elaborate and simple methods, and be honest about how that doesn’t always mean doing what we want to do. You can’t change what self care is – it already is what it is.

What we should be spending our time doing is discussing how to ensure we make honest choices about self care, because it doesn’t always mean doing whatever you want. Being honest with yourself about what you actually need is essential. For example, you might really want to spend four hours cooking a fancy meal to cheer yourself up, but perhaps you only want to do that to procrastinate some less fun chores? Skipping school or work might be something you do need to do once in a while, but you must be careful – why are you skipping it and what are you doing instead?

Every human being on the planet deserves to practice self care, and some people find it harder than others. The most important thing to remember is not to be negative about what one person is doing to care for themselves, because you don’t know how much they need it, why they need it or what they’re going through. But next time you see a magazine listing the “40 Best Self Care items you need”, ignore it.

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January Beauty Favourites!

I’m not sure if I’ve ever done a monthly favourites post before, certainly not for a long time! But I thought it would be nice as I’ve been loving a few specific things this month; a combination of new discoveries and some old favourites.

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Lush Rosy Cheeks – I picked up a pot of one of my most beloved face masks this month and I’ve been loving it just as much as I always do. Rosy Cheeks is made with calamine and rose oil to calm the skin, as well as kaolin clay to draw out impurities. It’s fantastic because it does it all – deep cleanses the pores, calms irritation and nourishes the skin, thanks to the rose oil. My skin has been feeling a little more sensitive than usual this month so using a mask that comforts, calms and cleanses has been great. 

Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask – I got the flu this month, and I had a few irritating stressful things to deal with as well. These things always give me spots, and I decided to use this gorgeous, calming, purifying mask to calm them down. It really worked, as it always does. This mask contains manuka honey which is like a holy grail skincare ingredient – it nourishes, calms, hydrates and is also antimicrobial so it’s perfect for clearing up spots. It feels gorgeous when it goes on, like a soft gel, and it smells divine too. Highly recommend! Read more about this miracle worker here.

Magic Organic Apothecary Green Balm – Ok ok, I picked a couple of spots and they got nasty. I was stressed! I applied my MOA Green Balm before bed to help them heal and prevent infection – and they healed perfectly. What a relief! This stuff is a total multitasker and I LOVE it. You can cleanse with it, use it on eczema, scrapes, all sorts of things. You can even gargle with it! Read more about it’s amazing healing properties here.

Glossier Body Hero Daily Oil Wash – Urghhhhhhhh this STUFF. It’s SO GOOD. It smells like absolute heaven, a light orange blossom scent that’s refreshing but indulgent at the same time, and it leaves the skin velvety soft. No shower gel, body wash or even oil wash has ever made my skin feel so wonderfully soft. It’s the perfect way to make your shower time a little bit special. Get it on Glossier’s website here.

Byredo Inflorescence Eau De Parfum – This is an absolutely beautiful fragrance. It’s extremely unusual but also quite familiar – it really does smell exactly like a garden bursting with fragrant spring flowers. It’s basically the essence of spring and I love wearing it whenever I need a pick me up – I’ve been feeling a bit down with the cold weather and it has lifted my mood every time I wear it. Byredo are a very high quality brand and you’ll find their fragrances wonderfully long lasting and flattering.

Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Toner – When my skin was really bad, I tried just using my trusty Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion to moisturise, thinking that keeping it as simple as possible would work. But my skin was very dehydrated from the winter weather and I found that I needed something else. Fresh’s Rose Deep Hydration Toner turned out to be exactly what I needed – it’s rich in hyalurinic acid to hydrate and rose to soothe. I applied it like an essence rather than a toner (pressing it into my skin) and it was perfect. Read more here!

Hope you enjoyed this quick little look at the products I’ve been loving throughout January 🙂

Knixwear: The Most Empowering Bras In The World! #ad

The topic of bras has always been a bit of a minefield for feminists, and it’s not hard to see why. Bras are often uncomfortable, horrendously impractical and outrageously expensive. So much focus is given to how bras (and the breasts in them) look, that most companies seem to have forgotten that the people wearing them have ribcages, plain t-shirts and active daily routines. It’s difficult to know what to do, when you know that this happens because of the objectification of women, but you also know that you need the support of a proper bra. Or it was, until an amazing brand popped up in Canada and changed everything…

Knixwear is a feminist company that makes bras, pants, loungewear and tank tops designed with actual human women in mind. Their products are extremely comfortable, flexible, and made to fit a wide variety of shapes and sizes. They move with you, instead of constraining you, which is something all clothes should do, but thanks to sexism, throughout history, women’s clothes never truly have.

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Knix very kindly sent me their signature 8-in-1 Evolution Bras to try out, and I have to say that it delivered on every single claim they make. They began with a mission to make ‘the most comfortable bra ever’ and I really do believe it is. It’s so comfortable I keep forgetting I’m wearing it! The support is effective, but subtle; it doesn’t push your cleavage up under your chin, but it keeps everything right where it should be – for me the shape it gives is like a firmer, higher version of my natural breast shape, which I really love. The bra is reversible, seamless and wireless, but because of the brilliantly engineered material, it still has ‘cups’ so you don’t get that annoying single-boob look of other non-wired, crop top bras. You can run for a bus in it, you can bend forward in it; everything stays just where it should. I even tested it out in Yoga sessions and it performed flawlessly. Wearing this bra, I do feel truly empowered because I know it was made specifically to meet my needs, as a human being with a pair of breasts.

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Not only does Knix prove itself by selling the most comfortable bra in the world, you can see their empowering ideals shine through in all the products they make. You can get a pair of thigh savers to beat the chafe, leak-proof underwear that looks exactly the same as normal underwear and super comfy looking loungewear with POCKETS!! …Everything in their range looks fantastic, is there to make women’s lives more comfortable, and to make underwear shopping a fuss-free experience.

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So there you have it, I’ve actually found a bra that makes me feel like a valued human being, and to me, that’s true empowerment. No more angry red marks around my breasts at the end of the day. No more tight shoulders. No more boob sweat. No more underwire (!!!) No more poking my ribs as soon as I sit down. Hello to comfort, real support, and never having to think about how irritating my bra is ever again. Hello Knixwear!!!

This post was very kindly sponsored by Knixwear but every opinion expressed is my own. 

A Gender Neutral Valentine’s Gift Guide For 2018

It’s that time again! Time to celebrate and express the love, companionship, mutual respect and sexual chemistry that goes along with having a significant other. I’ve thought a lot about Valentine’s Day over the years and I’ve realised that just like with weddings and engagements, my problem isn’t with the thing itself, it’s how unbearably performative and consumerist they are. How we love doesn’t have to be controlled by outside forces; and what other people think and expect should never be a part of how you express your love for each other.

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But there simply isn’t very much inspiration out there for people who don’t want to browse through ‘for her’ and ‘for him’ gift guides which rarely feature anything your wonderful, unique partner would actually like. The decision to put something in a gendered gift guide is limited by the necessity that the things are masculine or feminine, and I think that’s a terrible way to choose a gift for your lover. So I thought I would try to help by providing some ideas for you to express your love with a thoughtful, unique and gender free gift! Throughout this guide, I’ve suggested a mix of luxury brands and smaller independent brands, so you can choose what kind of ‘special’ you want your gift to be!

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© Tartan Blanket Company 2018

A cosy blanket for snuggling under. I think these Tartan Blanket Company blankets are just absolutely delightful, and you can even get ones made out of 30% recycled fabric, which is awesome! They come in every colour type imaginable too so whatever your, and/or your lover’s home looks like you can find something that will be perfect!

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© Bloomtown UK

A massage oil or bar. Who doesn’t love a massage from their significant other? A luxurious oil, together with the promise that you’ll both get plenty of use out of it, is the perfect gift. There are so many different choices when it comes to scents and textures, but I think Bloomtown Botanicals has to be up there with the best. Their massage oils come in a variety of scents so you can pick one you know you’ll both love. One of my personal favourite massage oils is Aesop Geranium Leaf Hydrating Body Treatment which smells floral and heady without being too ‘pink’. It also leaves the skin phenomenally soft. If you want something with less packaging though, try a massage bar instead. Lush are definitely the masters of the massage bar, so check them out!

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© Life of Spice

Fancy herbs and spices. If your lover loves to cook, this is a great gift for them. Life of Spice make the most amazing herb and spices, both single and mixes and they’re available in sets too. I love the little tins they come in as well, very practical and cool looking.

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© Thought

Some really nice socks. Everyone talks about how socks are a super boring gift but seriously, have you put new socks on recently? It’s the BEST. Especially if they’re fancy, not a multipack from H&M. I don’t know about you but I wear my socks until they resemble a string vest because for some reason, buying myself new socks is an adult chore I’ve just never gotten into. Socks are a great gift, and I love the brand Thought for their sustainable selection which includes bamboo, wool and cotton. There’s a tonne of designs to choose from too!

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© Rustic Retro Furniture

A Bath Caddy. Does your love enjoy long soaks in the bath? A bath caddy is the perfect gift for anyone who likes to read in the bath too as there’s space for a book, candle and drink. They aren’t as expensive as I expected either, and this one from Etsy is really affordable, and has amaaaaazing reviews!

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© Emina Botanic Boutique 2018

Bath Salts. If you read my blog you should know there was no way I would ever not recommend buying someone a nice bath product. And if your love doesn’t have access to a bath, or doesn’t like them, what about a gorgeous body scrub? Soothed muscles and soft skin are a great gift to give someone you love. One of the best body scrubs to give as a gift is Aesop’s Geranium Leaf Scrub which contains pumice and bamboo suspended in a thick, geranium scented gel. It’s absolutely beautiful and very luxurious. If you’re looking for a luxurious bath oil, go for Olverum – it’s one of the oldest bath products in the world and has an absolutely stunning rosemary scent. If you’d like something by a small-maker, Emina Botanic Boutique does a gorgeous range of bath salts, as well as a Grapefruit Body Scrub. Or if your lover likes to exercise, what about this post-workout relaxation kit from Golden Rooster Balms? I also love the look of these Himalayan Bath Salts, it has jasmine and green tea in it! Can you imagine how soothing that must be? I think I might just treat myself to that one…

 

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An amazing cookbook. Another one for people who love to cook, or someone who wants to cook more from scratch. I cannot recommend Anna Jones highly enough, her recipes are beyond delicious and very nutritious in a ‘taste comes first’ kind of way. She uses ingredients and combinations that may seem unfamiliar at first, but will quickly become staples in your home because of how easy to make, and utterly delicious they are. I have all three of her books, A Modern Way to Cook, A Modern Way to Eat and The Modern Cook’s Year and any of the three is a great choice.

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© James Barker Draws

A cactus, succulent or houseplant. What could be more romantic on Valentine’s Day than adopting  a baby together? Just kidding. But still, everyone needs more plants in their life (unless you’re me and you live in a literal jungle already, in which case, what about a cute little plant themed embroidery gift? Or a leaf print shopping bag?) If they live in a small flat, what about a little selection of succulents from Plant Parcel, or a pretty little Pilea from Geo-Fleur? Or if they have a bit more space, a beautiful Monstera Deliciosa?

I hope these suggestions have helped inspire you! Happy Valentine’s Day when it comes!

 

 

Moroccanoil Curl Collection* Review

Late last year I was delighted to be invited to Morccanoil’s launch event for their Curl Collection range. Moroccanoil is obviously a very popular choice with curly people as their treatment oil is super nourishing and fantastic for anyone who’s hair is frizzy, dry or damaged – all common problems for curls! This new range is formulated to support the Moroccanoil Treatment Oil, with an innovative curl wash, styling creme and moisture spray. Let me tell you more about them!

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Moroccanoil Curl Cleansing Conditioner – £26.85

This is a super interesting product. I was so surprised when I first used it! Designed to work as a shampoo and conditioner, the product is free of any harsh cleansing agents that can strip curly hair of precious natural oils. Instead of foaming up as you massage it in like most shampoos, this product foams as it comes out, like modern foaming facial cleansers do! I think that’s super clever, and looks really cool. The product distributes through the hair really easily too. It contains tea tree oil to cleanse the hair and scalp, as well as Moroccanoil’s signature argan oil. I’ve found that my favourite way to use it is to apply it first to my scalp and massage it in to remove buildup, then rinse it off and apply more to the rest of my hair, followed by a generous helping of the Moroccanoil Treatment Oil.

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Then, I detangle my hair with a Tangleteezer while the products are still on, and finally rinse. Doing it this way leaves my hair feeling really soft, and I found that the Cleansing Conditioner and Treatment Oil together are fantastic detanglers! I don’t find the Cleansing Conditioner to be nourishing enough on its own, but I think for a lot of other curly haired people definitely will be – my hair gets very dry. I find it great for holidays, hiking and swimming too – it’s the perfect way to wash out salt, sweat or chlorine at the end of the day without disturbing the natural oil balance of your hair. I can’t wash my hair very often because it turns to straw, but with this, I can finally do activities where my hair might get dirty, without worrying!

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Moroccanoil Treatment Oil – £29.50

I can’t believe it took me so long to get around to using this cult product. I am obsessed with it and use it all the time now, when I wash my hair, when I style it, and when my hair is getting a little frizzy as washday approaches. It nourishes the hair so effectively and it is completely effortless to use. Every curly haired person NEEDS this in their life! They do a lighter version for people with thinner hair, but I find that the original actually has a really light texture too (though just to clarify; I have thicker hair than anyone I’ve ever met so make of that what you will) and doesn’t weigh my hair down at all. It leaves the hair shiny and soft for days after using it.

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Moroccanoil Curl Defining Cream – £25.45

This is a really, really good styling cream. I combine this with the Treatment Oil too, and it leaves my hair very, very soft and well conditioned. The end result is a little bit less defined than I would usually go for – it’s much lighter than my usual products, but I thought it looked great. For me, this bouncy look is perfect for going out, when I want my hair to be a little bigger and more noticeable than it does on an everyday basis. I loosely twist it through each curl strand when wet, to define them and tame the natural frizz. Another thing I really like about the styling products is that my hair seems to dry naturally a lot quicker than with other products I use. I can’t use heat on my hair, so this makes it super convenient as well, and means that if I am going out in the evening, I can wash my hair in the morning and know it’ll look perfect! If you do use heat on your hair, this product is supposed to work with the heat to create a more set curl look, which makes it a multitasking product too!

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Moroccanoil Curl Re-Energizing Spray – £17.85

This spray is great – I use it to finish off my styling routine as it gives a lovely shine, and I also use it to refresh my curls during the week. It smells lovely, and is really, really effective at getting rid of frizz. I think it works better than pretty much any anti-frizz spray I’ve tried before, and that’s saying something! Used alongside the Treatment Oil you won’t believe how smooth and shiny your hair will be.

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I’m so impressed with Moroccanoil’s new Curl Collection, it seems like they’ve created products with curly haired people in mind – they’ve really thought about what we need from our haircare and what will make life more convenient for us. I highly, highly recommend it, and I can’t wait to try more of their products soon!

The 17 cleansers I used in 2017!

2017 was a lot of things to me; the year I got married, the year I had a mental health breakdown, the year I quit my job to pursue a dream. But for me, 2017 was also The Year of Clean Skin. I couldn’t quite believe it as I was packing up my cosmetics when we moved house not long ago, and saw how many cleansers I was putting into a box. When I counted them James and I couldn’t quite believe it but I’d used 15 cleansers in one year! Adding the two new cleansers I tried after we moved house, I couldn’t resist writing mini reviews of each of them to look back, to mark the end of That Year, and the start of 2018!

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Aesop Parsley Seed Cleanser – £40

Urghhhh I love this stuff. The light exfoliating action is perfect for removing pollution at the end of the day; essential if you’re working in one of the most polluted places in Europe, as I was for most of 2017.

Eve Lom Cleanser – £55

You can’t really argue with this product – it’s an extremely effective cleanser and I defy anyone not to love it. But the price, for heaven’s sake… listen friends. I’ve worked in the skincare industry for five years, and I’m here to tell you that there are limits to production costs. A cleanser never, ever needs to cost more than £30 because there is NOTHING you can put in one that would push the price beyond that! Especially not Eve Lom’s Cleanser. Looking at the ingredients I would estimate this probably cost a maximum of £5 to produce, if that. The tub is plastic and the main ingredient is the cheapest skincare ingredient on the market; mineral oil.

Trilogy Makeup Be Gone Cleansing Balm – £20.50

I was SO surprised by how amazing this cleanser is. In my opinion it’s every bit as good as Eve Lom’s Cleanser, but even better because of it’s ethically sourced ingredients, cruelty free status and the fact that it’s less than half of the price of Eve Lom’s! This is also the ONLY makeup remover I’ve ever used where I didn’t feel the need to do a second cleanse afterwards, and it makes my skin radiant, soft and clear.

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Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser – £30

This is the best cleanser I used in 2017, hands down. I’ve been using it for about 4 years and despite changing cleansers constantly, I always, always come back to it. It’s just SO lovely. It leaves my skin perfectly balanced, SO comfortable, and all of my ‘best skin’ periods of time have been when I’ve been using this. I adore the smell, and the foamy texture too. I’ve never found a cleanser I love more than this one.

Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion – £10.50

I enjoy this 100% natural, super ethical cleanser for removing makeup, but it’s very oily so you absolutely have to double cleanse. It partners very well with Glossier Milky Jelly as a nighttime cleansing duo! It does remove eye makeup, but you might need to go back in with a micellar water to get the last of it. It was my favourite makeup remover until I discovered Trilogy Makeup Be Gone and Caudalie Cleansing Oil.

Caudalie Deep Cleansing Exfoliator – £20

Every time I put this on my skin I brace myself for an extremely uncomfortable experience – I can’t shake the idea that this extremely grainy, grapefruit scented scrub is going to rip the skin off my face. But it doesn’t, at all. Even though it feels like I’m rubbing creamy sand on my skin, every time I rinse it off, my skin is left feeling smooth and super calm! I love this scrub so much for its effectiveness. I don’t use it often, because I think it’s probably easy to overdo it, but when I do, ohhhh I love it.

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Caudalie Micellar Cleansing Water£9, £15 or £19

I travelled loads this year and when I travel I love to use a micellar water instead of my usual cleanser because it means that a) I only need to bring one cleanser and b) different water types aren’t going to mess up my skin. Caudalie’s micellar is the only one that hasn’t irritated my skin in some way, and it’s very effective at removing makeup. Just remember to finish with a toner or facial water to remove the dregs of the cleanser!

Korres Olympus Tea Cleansing Cream – £15.30

I was sooo excited about this one; it’s full of antioxidants and is supposed to be great for removing pollution – a cheaper version of the Aesop Cleanser, perfect for someone who’s going freelance as I did this year! But it didn’t quite deliver. I love the smell and texture but I think the ‘pollution removal’ claim is just because the cleanser is quite harsh and strips the skin. I found that my skin got really dehydrated after a while of using. If your skin is oily though, I think you’d love it.

Garnier SkinActiv Micellar Gel Wash – £2.66

Good god this is a shit cleanser. It barely took ANY of my makeup off, let alone any dirt, pollution and grime as it claims to. It stung my eyes like you wouldn’t believe, comes from a crap mega-company and claims to have ‘soothing grape extract’ in it but it’s the second to last ingredient … avoid, my friends. I started using it to clean my makeup brushes and it wasn’t even good for that! This launched in 2017, so really, are we surprised that it sucks?

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Caudalie Foaming Cleanser – £15

This is a great cleanser for gently but very, very effectively deep cleansing the skin, especially good for people who get stress breakouts, which I did A LOT earlier in the year. If you’re getting stress breakouts you might not need a cleanser for acne-prone skin, just something gentle to keep your skin super clean without over-stripping it. This beautiful foam is absolutely the product for you.

Pacifica Cactus Revive Face Wash – £10

I picked this up in America on my honeymoon because hellooooo it’s got CACTUS in it. This year, I’ve really gotten into my plants because I really needed their soothing, air purifying, green goodness. And now that I’ve moved into a new, lighter place, my cacti are flourishing. So I was really excited to try this, and I do love it! The smell is very natural (it literally smells like the inside of a plant) and I absolutely adore the texture; it’s super thick, and turns into a very milky foam when you add water. I find it leaves my skin perfectly balanced too! It’s hard to get in the UK but I’m pretty sure Whole Foods sell it.

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Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil – £18

Yep I used a lot of Caudalie this year. Why? Because I worked for them until I quit to pursue my dreams! I loved the company and the people but my mental health was suffering so much and working a 9-5:30 in central London wasn’t doing me any favours. Anyway, this is one of my two favourite makeup removers, I love how easy it is to use. Caudalie’s founder created it as a replacement for makeup wipes (which are terrible for your skin and the environment), and I actually think that this oil is both quicker and easier to use than makeup wipes, and obviously WAY better for the skin.

Skyn Iceland Glacial Cleanser – £19.50

This is a clay cleanser that is supposed to deeply cleanse all skin types. I found it ok, but just ok. It didn’t irritate my skin but I did find my skin was looking a bit lacklustre after using it, and it left my skin feeling like there was a weird residue on it. Don’t get it in your eyes either, oh my good god it stings.

Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash – £16

I think this cleanser is probably aimed at slightly oilier skin types than mine, because when I used it my skin was left unbelievably tight and ended up flaking overnight. My partner who has oily skin didn’t like it either though, so perhaps it’s just a bit rubbish!

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Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser – £15

I couldn’t wait to try this and was on the website the second the UK site launched! I really like it, it’s very gentle and went perfectly with my recovery from my breakdown, where I was trying to make everything I did to myself as gentle as possible, because pretty much everything about me was run ragged. It’s so gentle and lovely to use; I think it’s perfect as a second cleanse or to use in the morning in the shower.

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser – £11.50

I think of this cleanser as a more watery version of Glossier Milky Jelly. It’s just as gentle, but slightly better at removing makeup – in fact, it can remove mascara and bb cream all by itself! I’m not wild about the cucumber smell but that’s just personal preference. I absolutely love the gel texture, and it leaves my skin perfectly balanced and soft.

Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub – £23

This has been my regular exfoliator for about 3 years now. I love the thick gel texture, subtle plant-ish scent and very gentle exfoliating beads that get the job done without irritating or drying out my skin. Rich in coconut and aloe extracts, it hydrates the skin while you exfoliate. I love it, and could never be without it!

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So, there it is! All 17 cleansers I used in 2017. Not sure if I’ll manage to get up to 18 this year, but we shall see! 2017 was a rough year, but it’s little, enjoyable things that make your worst moments more bearable. Washing my face is a hugely important part of self care for me, and I’m very fortunate to be able to try out so many cleansers, so I can recommend (or recommend avoiding them) to you. Happy New Year!

 

Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil Review

I feel like it’s been ages since I wrote a straightforward product review, I’ve been really enjoying writing skincare guides and talking more about self care lately. However Jurlique’s Skin Balancing Face Oil deserves a review all of its own, and I have been meaning to write one for about four years! Seriously, I’ve tried SO MANY face oils over the years (check out the face oil photo in this blog post) and this has come up top time and time again, nothing even comes close. Let me tell you more about it….

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Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil is formulated for normal and combination skin types and the consistency is a light, almost dry oil. A dry oil is an oil that absorbs very quickly without a trace, but while Skin Balancing Face Oil absorbs fast, unlike most dry oils, it also leaves your skin feeling plump and soft. I love this because when I use something like almond oil, my skin still feels rough afterwards which makes it hard to know if it’s working!

This oil is formulated to protect against moisture loss, which makes it the perfect addition to a winter skincare routine, as it will help prevent central heating and bitingly cold weather from dehydrating your skin. Dehydration leads to unbalanced skin because by not having enough water, your skin produces more oil to compensate which leads to a huge mess (if you’ve ever thought “what the hell is going on with my skin?! Everything is wrong with it!!” then you probably have unbalanced skin). With this light, hydrating and protective oil the skin stays soft and supple, and the herbal extracts keep it calm and comfortable too.

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The oil base is amazing; avocado, rosehip, safflower, jojoba, macadamia and evening primrose oils, together with shea butter. These all have different qualities, for example avocado oil is rich in vitamin E, rosehip is rich in vitamin A and both are great for evening out the skin tone. Evening primrose oil is rich in brightening vitamin C, whilst jojoba oil is the closest oil to our skin’s natural sebum, so it’s the most effectively absorbed, and therefore helps the skin to absorb all the other goodness in the oil. Being so high in antioxidants, this is an amazing oil to help protect agains pollution as well as weather and central heating.

The herbal extracts are perfectly balanced too. With viola extracts to smooth roughness, chamomile to calm redness, calendula to support healing and comfrey to soothe, it leaves the skin feeling super comfortable and looking clear and balanced. Another amazing thing about this oil is the smell – imagine if honeysuckle and jasmine had a lovechild; sweet but not sickly, heady but not overpowering, fresh, floral, cheerful… every time I use this oil it puts a smile on my face.

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By hydrating, soothing, protecting and nourishing the skin, Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil is absolutely perfect for all skin types, but I think it’s particularly amazing for normal or combination skin that suffers in winter weather. I use it at night whenever my skin is looking dull or feeling tight and it leaves my skin soft, smooth and glowing by morning. A 50ml bottle is a generous size, and I find that it lasts for well over a year. Get it from Look Fantastic for £38 – click here