The Winter Skincare Essentials

If the news is to be believed, it seems that this winter is going to be pretty brutal weather-wise. Personally I love bitingly cold winter weather, but I come from a family of people with skin that doesn’t react well to it – think heels and knuckles so dry they crack until they bleed. Because of this, I’ve had to pick up a few habits to survive the winter, and I thought it was time to share! Plus, we all know that when it’s dark and cold our mood can suffer. Self care and little indulgent rituals become even more important at this time of the year. So I’ve put together a little guide, starting with the products you need to get you through the winter, followed by a few little hacks and tips for dealing with cold-ravaged skin!

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Skincare products for the wintertime

More than one of your favourite lip balm – Keep them everywhere, by your bed, in your bag, your coat pocket, your socks, wherever. Being without your lipbalm is just not worth the pain and suffering. I love Hurraw! Coconut Lip Balm which is raw, vegan, smells nice and melts onto the lips instantly. I cannot stand the chunky, vaseline feeling of mineral oil lipbalms and if you feel the same way, I highly recommend this one!

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A good, fast absorbing hand cream – Having a hand cream that absorbs quickly means you will be more inclined to reapply frequently. If you have to sit with sticky hands for ages after applying, you’re much less likely to break out the hand cream throughout the day, which means that your hands are going to get dry and crispy much sooner than if you had a light, pleasant hand cream to use. Caudalie Hand & Nail Cream is the fastest absorbing hand cream I have ever used, it smells amazing and it’s seriously effective too. This is one you won’t be able to stop applying!

An extremely thick balm – Of course, even if you are good at reapplying hand cream, sometimes the cold weather is going to get to your hands, or other parts of your body, and dry them out, especially if you’re outdoorsy or have naturally dry skin. When this happens it’s a good idea to have a gorgeously thick balm on hand to protect, nourish and soothe. Weleda Skin Food is the ultimate multipurpose balm if you ask me. There are other great ones, like Antipodes Saviour Balm, Trilogy Everything Balm and MOA Green Balm, but Skin Food really is the best. Apply to dry hands (and dry anything else too, even your hair and face) before bed and everything will be better by morning. A multipurpose balm also comes in handy when you get a cold or the flu – for soothing a tissue-ravaged nose!

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A facial oil – Lots of people will switch to a heavier moisturiser in the winter, but I’m not convinced that’s the best course of action. Your skin type doesn’t actually change with the weather, and for me at least, using a richer cream leads to blocked pores and spots even if it does prevent dry patches and redness initially. I prefer to ward off dryness with ‘treatment’ products rather than permanent replacements so I can use them whenever I need to. A facial oil is perfect for this – they last for a long time if stored right, and they have the added benefit of soothing the skin along with protecting, nourishing and hydrating. I absolutely love Jurlique Balancing Facial Oil (particularly amazing for sensitive skin and smells heavenly), Korres Brightening Facial Oil (really does give you a radiant complexion!) and Caudalie Overnight Detox Oil, (brightens the skin and can even be used by people with spots) which are all aimed at normal to combination skin like mine so aren’t too heavy, but are still super nourishing. If your skin is naturally on the drier side, try Trilogy Rosehip Oil + Antioxidant, or Caudalie Overnight Recovery Oil, both a little rich for me but absolutely beautiful for drier skins! I also like Pure Potions Salvation Oil but I can’t find it to buy anywhere else apart from their website so there might be shipping charges there.

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A moisturising mask – Again, like with the face oil, having a moisturising mask on hand for days where your skin feels super rough and tight is a great way to nourish your skin, but also protect and soothe it from the irritation of being dry. A nourishing mask is perfect for this, and I absolutely love Caudalie Moisturising Mask which contains grape seed oil and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and nourish whilst strengthening the skin too. I wouldn’t say you definitely need both – a mask or an oil will suffice, but I wanted to add them both since they do have different qualities. You can also apply a really thin layer of this particular mask when you go outdoors to help protect your skin from chapping.

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A gentle cleanser – Over cleansing and stripping your skin of its natural oils becomes a much easier trap to fall into in the winter. If your skin gets dull, dry and rough, don’t be tempted to slough it away with a rough exfoliator or cleanser. Often, the skin can become more sensitive in the winter, so make sure you’re treating it nicely. I love Trilogy Makeup Be Gone Cleansing Balm for removing makeup, and Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser for washing my face.

A gorgeous body oil – Just the same as for the face, except there’s even more of a self-care element to it. After you get out of your bath or shower, apply your body oil all over and snuggle into bed, preferably with some cosy jammies, a hot water bottle and a couple of extra blankets. The act of massaging the oil in, enjoying it’s gorgeous scent, and waking up with silky soft skin is one of my favourite things to do in winter. Just try to make sure you apply it in a warm room! My current favourite body oil is Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Treatment, but you can see a wider variety of my faves here too.

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A restorative bath soak – Essential for several reasons! Baths warm the heart and soul and are a perfect way to counteract a chilly day. They lift the mood, calm the mind and relax the muscles. They are also fantastic for the sinuses! I absolutely love a good bath product, I’m not so fussed about bubble baths and prefer oils, salts and soaks; they’re richer in natural plant and herbal extracts because they don’t have a a cleansing base or soap or surfactants like a bubble bath does. I always shower quickly before a bath (yes, you should do this) and wash myself, so I don’t need soap in the bath itself. My absolute  favourites at the moment are definitely Olverum Bath Oil, but it is prohibitively expensive so when I run out I will buy from the much more reasonably priced ranges of Weleda and Kneipp Bath Soaks.

Winter skincare tips and tricks

  • If you’re pushed for budget, or just don’t want to buy too much, I would suggest that instead of buying a facial oil, mask and balm, just go for Weleda Skin Food instead because not only can you can use it on your face as a night treatment, you can also use it to protect your skin from harsh weather, and it can double up as a mask!

 

  • Always exfoliate before applying your face or body oil, and never exfoliate unless you’re going to apply an oil afterwards. This will ensure you remove the rough patches of skin that can build up in the wintertime without actually making them worse by drying your skin out.

 

  • If you’re spot prone but still get winter dryness and dehydration, use a very small amount of your nourishing balm only on the dry patches (in a similar way to how you might apply an on-the-spot treatment gel for a blemish) to avoid clogging up the rest of your pores. Focus more on the hydration side of skincare too – think hydrating serums, sheet masks, moisturisers…while many people can get away with just protecting their skin with oils, you have to take the more difficult route of perfecting your skin’s hydration instead.

 

  • Avoid using mineral oil based products unless you are specifically looking to apply a thick, protective layer over your skin. Mineral oil does absolutely nothing but create a layer that prevents water and oil loss.

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  • If your forehead gets irritated by wearing a woollen hat all the time, try soothing it with a calming facial mist instead of scratching it. It might feel weird to spray a traditionally summer-time product in the middle of the winter, but you’ll feel so much relief afterwards that you won’t care! I would recommend Avene Thermal Water or Caudalie Grape Water for this, as they are the two that I personally find the most soothing, and they come in travel sizes. My absolute favourite would be Glossier Soothing Mist but that only comes in a big size!

 

  • If your body skin is getting dry, rough and itchy, try this to help relieve it. Take a square of cotton (muslin is best but you can use anything as long as it isn’t heavily dyed) and pile half a cup of oats into the centre of it. Tie it up with whatever you have, could be string, an elastic band or a hair bobble, then drop it into a warm (not hot) bath. Soak in the milky water and let it calm and soothe your skin. If you have any raw shea or cocoa butter then you can put a a teaspoon or so in the pouch as well, to nourish and hydrate the skin while you bathe.

 

I hope this helps you and your skin survive the winter! Wrap up warm! x

 

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Scrub Love Body Scrubs Review

Scrub Love exploded onto the market recently and their cute packaging, 100% natural formulas and super interesting range caught my eye immediately. I’ve tried three ‘flavours’ so far, and am absolutely obsessed, so here are my thoughts!

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(Coconut Mango is the brown one on top, Original Coffee is at the bottom right and Avocado and Aloe is bottom left)

Avocado & Aloe Vera with Activated Charcoal Body Scrub – £13.95

This scrub was the first one I tried, and it was unlike anything I’d used before. It’s a completely dry powder, and when you apply it to wet skin, the charcoal powder and aloe vera juice turn into a grey paste while the coconut shell fragments deeply exfoliate the skin. I think this has got to be the most effective scrub I’ve ever used, it leaves my skin absolutely, perfectly soft and when I follow it up with a luxurious body oil…I’ve never felt anything as smooth in my life! You need to use a shower gel to get rid of the charcoal, and it doesn’t smell good in the packet, but I’m not remotely put off by either of those things because it’s SO effective. I have read some reviews of this product where people are absolutely horrified by the fact that it leaves charcoal residue on the skin, but it comes of so easily with shower gel, it’s really not an issue. I would say you don’t need to use it more once every couple of weeks because it works so well, so it’s also amazing value for money!

Original Coffee Body Scrub – £11.95

This one is totally different to the charcoal one, and uses coffee grounds and rock salt to exfoliate the skin. It is much wetter, and contains almond and orange oils to make it much more nourishing than the charcoal one – I would recommend this one for people who’s skin can get a little dry or delicate, anyone under 18 or people with sensitive skin. The smell is so strange – a combination of weak coffee and Terry’s Chocolate Orange, which isn’t unpleasant, but it definitely a bit weird. I really enjoy using this, but I love a deep, deep scrub so if I had to pick I would go for the charcoal one.

Coconut Mango Body Scrub – £12.95

Again, this one is completely different to the others. Formulated for drier skin, it’s super nourishing and rich in coconut and macadamia oils. There’s also mango fruit powder which gives it the most glorious scent EVER, and to exfoliate there’s a bit of coconut shell, coconut flour and coconut sugar. This is a really gentle, gorgeous product and I can’t recommend it highly enough to anyone, but especially to people with dry or sensitive skin types.

I adore all three of these scrubs but for different reasons, and also for different uses; I’ve actually started to use the Charcoal one for my legs, feet and arms, the Coconut Mango for the softer skin of my torso, and the Coffee as an all rounder to travel with. I would recommend them all, and can’t wait to try more from this gorgeous range! You can see the full range on their website, here.

 

22 Products I’ve Repurchased More Than Once

I think that one of the most glowing accolades a product can have is that someone would use an entire bottle/pot/tube of it and then go out to buy another one right away. Even more so, when someone has done that more than once… in a world of millions of beauty and cosmetic products to choose from, repurchasing is definitely the best measure of quality! So with that being said, here are some products that I have purchased, in full size, multiple times. I know, it’s A LOT. I won’t be offended if you just scroll through and skim read until you get to a product or product type you’re interested in 😉 The list includes cleansers, skincare, makeup, haircare and bodycare products. Enjoy! And share some of your ‘most bought products’ in the comments 😉

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Cleansers

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REN Evercalm Cleansing Gel, £15. This is my everyday cleanser for morning and evening. It’s very gentle and soothing, and the perfect cleanser for anyone with delicate or sensitive skin who wants a rinse-off product that won’t completely dry out or strip their skin of natural oils. I’ve used about two bottles of this, and it’s a great, basic cleanser.

Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser, £22.50. I’ve been using this stuff for EVER and I love it. It’s perfect for combination skin types that can get a little on the oily side – I love to use this three or four times a week to deeply cleanse, or in the evening when it’s been a hot or long day, as it really feels like it removes everything without leaving your skin tight or uncomfortable. I must have gone through about four bottles by now, no matter what else I’m using I always have to have a bottle of this on the go too!

Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub, £23. I’ve been using this for about three years and am on my third tube – this stuff lasts forever! It smells gorgeous and the thick gel texture, rich in aloe vera, protects and soothes the skin. There’s also ginger in there to refresh, coconut to moisturise and camellia to soothe. The scrub particles are gentle and rounded palm seed fragments – so they are biodegradable too. I find that this scrub is very gentle, but really effective. With most scrubs that perhaps might slough off a lot more, they can actually be really irritating for the skin, so it’s best to use a gentle one more frequently than a harsh one less often. I highly recommend this one as a great option!

Caudalie Makeup Removing Cleansing Oil, £18. This is such an amazingly fuss-free product – all you do is massage three pumps of the oil over your face (including eyes), emulsify it into a milk with a little water on your hands, and then when all your makeup is melted, rinse off with more water. It takes seconds! The only makeup remover that has ever come close to being as good is Trilogy’s Makeup Be Gone Cleansing Balm, but you have to use a flannel with that one so it’s not as practical (that being said though, you don’t need to double cleanse with the Trilogy product and you do with this, so I guess they’re about equal really). I must have gone through four bottles so far, and I have a travel size…

Skincare

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Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion, £13.50. I’ve been using this pretty much exclusively as my moisturiser since it launched two years ago, and I love it as much then as I do today! This moisturiser has only 7 ingredients and is completely free of preservatives and fragrance. Now, I love fragranced products but my skin can be picky, and ever since I introduced this into my routine I noticed that my skin has been much calmer, less sensitive and better hydrated than ever before. Which is a delightful finding. I would recommend this, not only to people with sensitive skin, but anyone who wants a light moisturiser that will protect and lock in hydration. I wrote a more in-depth review of what makes this moisturiser so special here.

Caudalie VineActiv Serum, £36. Oh GOD I love this serum. I’ve been using it since January and am on my second bottle. The idea of this serum is that it contains a really powerful complex of antioxidants that will help your skin to combat the free radicals that we encounter every day, which can cause dullness and premature ageing. And it really, ACTUALLY works. My skin had an inner glow after I started using this, and I was super stressed and working in London so that’s pretty impressive! I can’t attest to it’s anti-ageing powers because I deliberately started using it before my skin started to age, but I have no plans to stop using it so if my skin starts getting saggy and wrinkly, I’ll let you know. But judging by the way it made my skin so glowy, I doubt that will happen!

Hurraw Coconut Lipbalm, £4.99. This natural coconut scented lipbalm is the best I’ve ever tried. It melts onto the lips so doesn’t have that horrid thick feeling of many wax or mineral oil based lip products. With coconut, almond, cocoa, jojoba, olive and castor oils, it is super nourishing and leaves even very chapped lips feeling soothed and comfortable.

Lush Rosy Cheeks Face Mask, £7.25. This has been my favourite face mask for years! It does everything – deep cleanses with clay, soothes and nourishes with rose and reduces redness (from spots or sensitivity) with calamine. The scent is absolutely beautiful – pure rose to calm the senses, and the price is very reasonable.

Makeup

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NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation and Radiant Creamy Concealer, £34 and £23. These have been my absolute holy grail for a flawless, full coverage makeup look for about three years, I am obsessed with them both and have repurchased each three times. However…as I was writing this post the announcement came that NARS have started to sell in China. Now, my opinions on brands that sell in China aren’t black and white for several reasons, but a brand intentionally taking its business to China when they KNOW (because brands didn’t always know) what is going on, makes it clear that they are only out for money, and I don’t agree with that, so I won’t be buying these again when they run out.

Benefit Bathina ‘Take a Picture, it Lasts Longer’ Body Balm, £23.50. Ok I know, this is a really weird thing to have bought more than one of, but when you’re pale and have no intention of being anything else, it’s a great way to give your skin a summery sheen without using bronzer. I use it on my legs and arms when I’m going out in the summer, and it leaves my skin just looking a little more…alive. Ha. Plus is smells SUPER gorgeous. Here is a full review!

DHC Oil Blotting Papers, £4.50. I use these constantly; for preparing my eyes before I apply eye makeup, for just blotting on super hot and oily skin days, and for prepping my skin to receive more product if I’m going out in the evening and want to layer over my workday makeup. They come in a lovely little cardboard holder, and don’t disturb any makeup, including eyeshadow!

Serge Lutens Fleurs D’Oranger Eau de Parfum, £75. This is the most expensive cosmetic item I own and it’s SO worth it that I’ve bought it twice. This perfume is my perfect scent, I don’t have much more to say about it other than if you like your fragrances light, floral but not ‘pink’ (if that makes sense) then pop down to your nearest House of Fraser (or Liberty) and have a smell, because this is the most beautiful fragrance I have ever worn. Also, I get compliments constantly, so…

Bodycare

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Lush Elbow Grease, £5.95. This was SUCH a revelation when I first bought it. Originally it was one of the exclusives on offer in Lush’s Oxford Street store but it became so popular that they made it available anywhere. Not only is its greaseproof paper packaging one the most sustainable ways of storing a body oil/lotion, it is honestly one of the most beautiful products I own, and I think I’ve gone through three or four now. The scent is a rich, tropical, floral concoction and the product melts into a nourishing oil as soon as you massage it in. You can use it on your hair too! Read more here.

Korres Bergamot Pear Shower Gel, £8. I’ve bought this so many times that I have memorised at least 5 different stores near me that stock it. This is been my favourite shower gel for about three years now and nothing so far has beaten it! It leaves my skin soft and refreshed but it’s the SMELL, guys. Oh my GOD. It’s sweet and fruity from the pear but has a fresh citrus notes from the bergamot. It’s just the freaking BEST.

Avene XeraCalm Cream, £16.50. My partner and I are both prone to the occasional bout of eczema or contact dermatitis. This cream from Avene actually works on the itch receptors in your nerves to stop you from itching, whilst also protecting the skin and adding oil back into it – basically everthing you need to heal a plaque of eczema. I also use it as a hand cream in the winter time to prevent eczema from forming. It really works, and I would recommend it to anyone with super sensitive dry skin too.

Lush Silky Underwear Dusting Powder, £5.95. While I will be the first to admit that I own a lot of ‘princess products’, I do like to think that at least some of them are valid as products with practical applications, as well as being a little bit indulgent and pretty. This is definitely one of them. A jasmine scented ‘dusting powder’ certainly fits the description of a product you really don’t need but makes you feel all nice when you use it. And it really does! But over the years (yes years, I bought my first back in like..2013?) I’ve found it to be indispensable for preventing thigh chafe, for applying to the underarms at night to prevent them smelling in the morning, for freshening up your sheets when you’ve just had a bath but it’s not time to change them, for applying to your feet on hot days… it might be a silly sounding product, but it fits perfectly into my life and I will never be without it.

Pit Rok Salt Spray Deodorant, £4.05. I’ve been using this for about four years now and oh my GOD if you’re still using anti-perspirant just stop already. Ok, it’s not the same for everyone, I know that, and actually my boyfriend still uses anti-perspirant because his job is very active, but if you work in an office, you should really try using a salt deo instead, it’s just so much better for you, and Pit Rok’s works soooo well! I hardly ever have noticeable body odour, and even then it’s not like that smell where you walk past someone and recoil, it’s only if I actually smell my underarms. But even for that, there is a solution…

Weleda Sage Deodorant Spray, £9.50. I keep this at work (hence why it’s not in the photos) for those days when the tube journey in was hotter than hell, or when I’ve been to six meetings in a row and arrive back a sweaty, flustered mess. Just to make sure I don’t accost my colleague’s nostrils with any possible smell! It’s absolutely perfect for this, as it completely eliminates odour. I work in an office where you can reapply your deo while sitting at your desk, but if you’re in a more formal environment, Weleda actually make a mini size that you can bring to the loo with you. If you’re still not convinced, I have also written a post about how to go anti-perspirant free 🙂

Haircare

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I think of myself as someone who never experiments with haircare, but actually I was looking back through my blog the other day and saw the products I was using when I first started blogging, and not only do I not use any of them anymore, I can’t even remember why I thought they were good! The products I’m sharing here though? A M A Z I N G.

Lush RnB Hair Moisturiser, £11.95 per 100g. I have literally repurchased this 8 times, 6 of those times in it’s largest, 400g tub size. I am utterly addicted to it, it sinks into my hair faster than any other hair cream I’ve used before, it creates beautiful, soft, smooth and defined curls, and it smells divine. Read the full review and then go buy some if you have curly/dry/textured/thick or long hair!!!!

Shea Moisture Raw Shea & Cupuacu Conditioner, £10.99. I always used to think I HAD to use expensive hair masks instead of conditioner, because my hair is so thick, curly and porous. I mean, when I was still using measly European hair products I did, but since discovering Shea Moisture a few years ago (before they hit Boots I’ll have you know), I realised that was no longer the case. This conditioner detangles, smoothes and nourishes my hair better than anything from any other brand I’ve ever tried, and I’ve tried at least 50 different conditioners in my life, aimed at pretty much every hair type there is, and this is my favourite.

Hei Poa Monoi Oil with 1000 Fleurs, approx £11. I first discovered this while browsing a Monoprix in Paris, and I’m SO annoyed that it hooked me the way it did – because you can’t get it over here! However, you can buy it from Cocoon Centre, which is an international website that uses distributors to ship worldwide. This oil is normal Tahitian Monoi oil, which is known for it’s beautiful fragrance and ultra-nourishing properties, but it’s infused with a concoction of other flowers too, giving it the ‘1000 fleurs’ name. This scent is almost indescribably beautiful; think of the most tropical thing you’ve ever smelled, then times it by 10 and imagine smelling it in 30 degree heat, surrounded by palm trees, watching the sun set over a calm sea. I apply it to my hair after conditioner and then wrap it up in cling film for an hour, for the softest hair ever. It solidifies at room temperature, which means that it doesn’t wash out as easily as a normal hair oil, which makes it perfect for this. I’m about to start my third bottle.

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I hope you enjoyed this! As a bonus I thought I’d share some more products that I definitely plan to repurchase but don’t need to just now, because I haven’t run out yet, or am getting rid of a few things in my stash first: Perricone MD No Lipgloss Lipgloss, Trilogy Makeup Be Gone Cleansing Balm, Pixi Makeup Fixing Mist, Jurlique Rosewater Mist, Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Oil, Aveda Dry Remedy Shampoo, Caudalie SOS Thirst Quenching Serum.

Sonic Chic Electric Travel Toothbrush Review

I’ve been an electric toothbrush user for ever. I’ve had periods of time where I’ve used normal toothbrushes, but nothing has ever made my teeth feel clean like an electric. However, I really struggle to cart my enormous everyday one around when I travel, and it’s SO annoying to find somewhere to put the heads. I always end up putting them in a plastic sandwich bag that is disgusting by the end of my trip (I’m super obsessive about germs so I can’t just put it in my washbag!) – this means that if I’m going somewhere for a long time, I bring a normal toothbrush and HELLO FURRY TEETH. Urgh. So when I had the chance to try an electric TRAVEL toothbrush, I jumped at the chance. Say hello to Sonic Chic!

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Sonic Chic’s Electric Toothbrushes are SO pretty, and I love the gold colour of the Deluxe model. It has everything going for it – USB charging, a hygienic ventilated lid, slim lightweight design and serious cleaning  power with up to 32k strokes per minute.

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I usually use a very heavy duty electric toothbrush which kind of feels like the dirt is being mechanically drilled off my teeth – not the most gentle sensation, so I was surprised by how little this seemed to be vibrating when I first used it. But that’s the beauty of sonic toothbrushes – they leave your teeth perfectly clean without shaking the hell out of your mouth. The Sonic Chic Toothbrush is also much quieter than a normal electric, another thing that makes it perfect for travelling! It has this really cool feature to help you get the most efficient clean as well – the toothbrush automatically turns off after two minutes, but it vibrates at thirty seconds, one minute and one minute thirty to tell you to move onto another quadrant of your mouth, making sure you don’t get distracted and spend five minutes scrubbing your left molars.

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The Sonic Chic Deluxe Travel Toothbrush is small enough to fit into even my most compact wash bag, and everything about it is innovative, well designed and incredibly effective at what it does! I am SO happy to have one, and a few stints in hotel rooms recently, I have found it to be absolutely perfect for the job. Get it from Look Fantastic for £29.99

 

Would I buy this if I hadn’t been gifted it? Oh my god, yes! If I had known toothbrushes like this existed, I would have been first in line to get one, it is amazing. 

My 5 Favourite Hand Creams

Hand cream and I have a long and complex relationship. My hands are so dry that during particularly cold weather, I often can’t bend my fingers without a slick of hand cream. If I go too long without moisturising in winter, my knuckles can actually crack too. So it’s safe to say that my house is constantly littered with tubes of hand creams, and I’ve tried nearly every brand out there. Over the years there have been a few that I’ve kept reaching for, or that I’ve missed once they’re gone. Or that I’ve bought recently and am bloody well obsessed with. Since it’s dry hand season now, I thought I’d share these with you.

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From left to right: Korres Almond Oil & Shea Butter Hand Cream, Weleda Almond Hand Cream, Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream, Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Cream, Dexeryl Cream. 

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Dexeryl Cream £6 – This very light but effective emollient feels quite watery when you rub it in, but it is extremely nourishing. It’s the perfect hand cream for on the go, and is also amazing for when your skin loses its mind and starts cracking or breaking out into rashes, because it’s formulated for eczema sufferers, so is super gentle. With no fragrance and minimal ingredients, this is the perfect emergency care for the hands.

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Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm £19 – This is a very thick, luxurious formula with a beautifully uplifting scent. With almond and coconut oils to nourish, and a fragrance blend of mandarin, cedarwood and lavender, it’s a gorgeous experience for the senses. Definitely better for using before bed as it is quite heavy, but the gorgeous scent is also ideal for a pre bedtime ritual as it’s so soothing and indulgent. Again, hands are left very soft and smooth.

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Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream £12 – This is thick, rich and luscious with a beautiful orange blossom scent. Despite being so thick, it absorbs very quickly and immediately leaves your hands ready to go back to whatever you were doing beforehand. It contains antioxidant polyphenols from grape seeds which helps prevent your hands from ageing, as well as avocado oil and shea butter. The reviving scent makes it perfect for the morning, to refresh your senses before you leave for work – and your hands will be soft for hours afterwards too.

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Weleda Almond Hand Cream £9.95 – Being 100% natural this one is perfect for anyone with sensitive skin who only wants to use natural products. I love how this one transforms into an oil as you massage it in, and I love to use it when my hands are painfully dry – it just seems to soothe that tight feeling better than anything else. Plus, it smells of marzipan.

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Korres Hand Cream with Almond Oil and Shea Butter £9 – This comes out of the tube like a body butter, and has a beautifully warm, cosy scent. The formula is extremely thick and nourishing but actually absorbs pretty well. Like with all the others, hands are soft and smooth for hours afterwards. There’s aloe vera, jojoba and beeswax in this one to soothe and protect the skin as well. With its comforting scent and intensely nourishing texture, this is definitely a perfect winter hand cream. Actually, while we’re talking about Korres, has anyone tried their new Bergamot Pear Hand Cream?! That is my favourite body care scent, I must get my hands on one…

Massive September Empties Post

So at the end of August, I decided enough was enough and it was time for a spending ban. I didn’t buy a single product for myself – no cosmetics of any kind, whether I needed them or not. And I finished off a massive TWENTY products! My drawers are so much lighter, and I’ve decided to carry it on throughout October too. But of course, I had to share my thoughts on all these used up products. Read on to find out which I loved and which I didn’t.

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I decided it might make it a bit easier if I broke the photo up throughout the blog post – so here’s 1-4:

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1.Boots Extracts Cocoa Butter Scrub – Do not, and I cannot stress this enough, DO NOT buy this. The stickiness is unreal. Both my boyfriend and I have been completely unable to rinse off the sticky residue this scrub leaves behind. I couldn’t even tell you if it leaves my skin smooth, because it’s just STICKY. Plus, Boots were very patronising when I moaned on twitter – they told me ‘The instructions say to rinse it off’. Seriously. That was their response. If by rinse you mean ‘attempt to get it the hell of your skin by washing with every shower gel and shampoo in your bathroom before eventually giving up and cringing as your sticky legs stick to your towel’ then yes, Boots. I will rinse it off. This one isn’t empty – I just cannot stand to use it again.

2. Lush Elbow Grease – I am OBSESSED with this solid body oil. The fragrance is a tropical and flowery, with orange blossom and ylang ylang. It nourishes the skin wonderfully, it lasts for ages and the packaging is so sustainable! It’s literally just a bit of greaseproof paper. Also, the only time it melted was the hottest day of the year, and I’m sure if I’d just put it in a dark corner, it would have been fine. I’ve already bought a new one because I couldn’t stand to be without it!

3. Caudalie Divine Body Scrub – This is a gorgeous scrub, really luxurious and nourishing. My skin feels incredible after using this, so soft and smooth, and yet the scrub itself actually feels really gentle on the skin. This is the perfect way to pamper yourself with a little bit of luxury, and the smell is HEAVEN.

4. Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser – love this stuff, always have and always will. Its gentle formula deeply cleanses without stripping the skin at all, and I have no doubt that had a huge part to play in me achieving the best skin of my life.

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5. REN Rosa Centifolia No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm – A good, effective cleanser with a lovely scent, but one I simply cannot recommend to anyone. If this gets anywhere near your eyes, the stinging is unbearable – honestly it hurts more than shampoo, shower gel, anything. It’s such a shame because otherwise it’s a really nice product, but nothing should sting that much, and it’s not like I’m even properly getting it in my eyes, this is just an everyday occurrence when you use it.

6. Klorane Eye Makeup Remover – This is another product that I loved when I first bought it, but I felt like it became less effective the longer I had it. Maybe it evaporated a bit, because it started to smell very chemically too – almost acrid, like nail polish remover. I didn’t have a reaction or anything, but I certainly didn’t enjoy using it as much as I had, and I’ve found other products I prefer.

7. Korres Bergamot Pear Shower Gel – Still my all time favourite shower gel, this is the best scent on the planet and leaves your skin clean and super smooth. I love it, and will repurchase foreeeeever.

8. Weleda Almond Cleansing Lotion – I like using this to remove my makeup – it’s very gentle and reasonably effective. But if you use it to remove eye makeup it leaves a horrible oily film over your eyes. I used to love it, but I’ve definitely discovered better makeup removers recently (that, like this one, are also 100% natural).

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9. Lush Big Shampoo – This is Lush’s salt shampoo, (you can’t see because I decanted it ages ago into a smaller pot) and is supposed to volumise the hair without stripping it of oils. I used it once on my scalp, and while I think the concept is solid, the salt is just too rough. My scalp felt raw and I was really concerned about the effect the jagged crystals would have on my hair. I used it on my feet and the backs of my arms instead – but even on them it felt a little too rough.

10. The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter – This is such a shit product, honestly. It leaves a layer of grease on your skin after rinsing, doesn’t remove makeup properly in the first place, and cannot remove eye makeup at all. It smells lovely, but it doesn’t even have a natural formula. I really don’t think there’s any excuse for cleansing balms or oils not to have natural formulas as the natural oils are the bits that do all the hard work, and this product 100% proves that theory. Someone on instagram suggested to me that I use the rest on my legs when I shave, and it did a very nice job as a shaving balm. But I would obviously only recommend that if you’re trying desperately to use up this tin of rubbish you spent £10 on – otherwise stick to shower gel and remember how to prevent ingrown hairs!

11. Serge Lutens Fleurs d’oranger – My one and only, beloved perfume. I can’t imagine ever wearing another scent. It fits me perfectly. I’ve been using it for a year now, and it makes me happy every single morning.

12. Jurlique Jasmine Shower Gel – This is one luxurious shower gel. Both price wise and quality wise. The jasmine fragrance is heady and intense, while the later is super thick and rich. It lasts for ages too, and I think it makes a great treat for yourself or someone else (unless paying £17 for 300ml of shower gel is just par for the course in your life in which case go forth and enjoy!).

13. Eve Lom Cleanser – This was described by Vogue as ‘probably the best cleanser in the world’ and to be honest, yep. It is amazing, however it is also prohibitively expensive, and sometimes the oils in it smell like fish. I think Trilogy’s Cleansing Balm is a much better option for these two reasons, though I do accept that this is a particularly gorgeous balm.

14. & Other Stories Fig Fiction Body Scrub – These sugar scrubs are so nice, and really cheap! They smell amazing, and are lovely to use. They’re only £5 and come in a wide variety of fragrances, making them a pretty solid choice.

15. L’Occitane Peony Shower Gel – This shower gel put me in a good mood whenever I used it. The foam was lovely and my skin felt soft, and the scent is uplifting, sweet and clean. I adore the smell of peony, and I’ll definitely keep an eye out for this next time I need a new shower gel.

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16. Kerastase Oleo-Curl Cream – I liked the smell of this, and it did a reasonably good job of re-defining my curls between washes. But it wasn’t very nourishing, and it has a shimmer in it for some bizarre reason. Probably ok for people with less porous curls, but not something I enjoyed using, or saw any benefit from.

17. Pit-Rok Salt Deodorant – This is just about the best natural deodorant that exists. It keeps smell at bay, ALL DAY EVERY DAY. Can you believe that? It’s just salt. It works so well. You must try it. I use it every morning.

18. Weleda Sage Deodorant 100ml – I keep the 30ml in my bag at all times incase of any underarm smell throughout the day. It’s really good at eliminating body odour, but does absolutely nothing to prevent it. I’ll keep buying the 30ml, but I don’t need the bigger version as I only use it on the go.

19. REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk – I used this last winter, and kept a tiny bit back in case my skin ever reacted to any new cleansers. I loved it – my skin got very dry last winter and this helped to keep it smooth and soft, but still really clean! I would use it twice, the first time I’d apply and then wipe my makeup off with cotton pads, and the second time I’d wash it off to refresh my skin. I decided to finish it off this month, and it was just as wonderful as I remember.

20. Nuxe Prodigieux Scented Shower Oil – Honestly don’t know what the point of this shower gel is supposed to be. It has a gold shimmer in it – which doesn’t leave any effect on the skin but which they feel the need to mention on the packaging, and the scent is really artificial and boring. My skin did feel reasonably soft after using it, but if you want nourishment from your shower product, use Eucerin’s shower oil instead.

Phew! That was a long one. Congrats if you made it to the end. What did you think? Did I slate any of your faves, or warned you off something you were just about to buy??

A beginner’s guide to body oils

Several years ago, a colleague of mine was talking to me about how much she loved a body oil made by the company we were working for. I replied that I didn’t really understand oils – didn’t they just make you sticky? She insisted that I take home a bottle (perks of the job if you work in beauty) and told me I would end up addicted to the silky soft feeling of freshly oiled skin sinking into bed.

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A good body oil won’t make your skin sticky, just silky soft and smooth. Nothing soothes skin after shaving like an oil, and nothing feels more luxurious. I’ve been obsessed with oils now for ages, and I know that there is SO much choice. Unlike with skincare, you don’t really have a body skin ‘type’ so I thought I’d make it easier for you to pick your new favourite bodycare by talking about the different types of oil out there (and sharing some faves of course!)

Before we begin, there are a few things all body oils should have in common. Their base should be natural oils such as jojoba, almond, rosehip, coconut, sacha inchi, sunflower, avocado and apricot kernal. They shouldn’t be based on mineral oil, as this really defeats one of the main purposes of body oils – that the skin is able to absorb it fully, and really benefit. Their fragrance should also be totally natural – given that they’re absorbed so completely, do you really want some weird-ass ‘blue’ or ‘amber’ notes being sucked into your skin? The oils and extracts used to fragrance an oil should usually have some skincare benefit too, or at least smell like heaven in a bottle. Anyway, lets get started!

The All Over Body Oil: These are oils that can be used on your hair and face as well as body. Most oils can be used like this but some are specifically designed for this purpose – they tend to use rosehip, jojoba and almond oils which are lighter and particularly beneficial for the skin of the face, and easily absorbed by the hair. Their perfumes tend to be gentler as well. Divine Oil from Caudalie is a wonderful example of this – although it’s intensely nourishing and has a heady, sensual scent, it’s really gentle and sinks straight in. This also makes it perfect for the summer!

The Coconut Oil Body Oil: Everyone should own a coconut oil based body oil if you ask me. The heaviest oil you can put on your body, we all know about it’s miraculous qualities. You can use it on your body for intense nourishment, and the hair as a daily or pre-shampoo treatment. Good coconut oil products will be solid at room temperature (anything that isn’t is either very diluted or very chemically – avoid). Hei Poa make the best ones, using monoi which is an absolutely heavenly scent. They aren’t easy to get in the UK but Amazon carries them.

The Detox Oil: These are often marketed as anti-cellulite or slimming oils (especially in January.) I’m fine with this claim in many ways – first of all, many actually do help, and second, how are you supposed to know what they do if they don’t write it on the box? But at the same time, there are brands that will say things like that to play on women’s insecurities. I trust a brand like Weleda to be doing it for the right reasons, and their Birch Cellulite Oil is magic for not only getting to the dimples that exercise can’t, but also giving your skin more radiance, by stimulating drainage and circulation. Look for oils containing stimulating ingredients like rosemary, birch, lemon and cypress. If you that one’s not for you, an alternative can be found at forskolin online.

The Stretch Mark/Scar Fading Oil: These are usually marketed towards pregnant women, but there’s no reason that anyone with stretch marks or scars can’t use them. To be honest, most oils will help as they feed the skin and help it to renew. For pregnancy, ones with arnica are great as they help with the stretching, and for scars, anything with rosehip and jojoba is best as these are most similar to the skin’s own sebum which means they get absorbed really effectively. You can even use rosehip on acne scars, it’s that effective! Look for healing ingredients in oils like these, such as arnica, rose, vitamin E, calendula, lavender, and if you’re really serious about this, retinoids – but NOT when you’re pregnant, ok?! Save retinoids for when the only contact you’re having with a baby is cuddles.

The Budget Friendly: Once you’re addicted to oils, your regular body lotions and butters will be about as appealing as a sticky an old tub of aqueous cream. So you might need something a bit cheaper for your everyday post-shower routine. There are lots of options, but this is where you get into the territory of rubbish, artificial flavours and mineral oils. Play it safe and get Lush’s Elbow Grease, not only is it the best smell on the PLANET, but it’s super nourishing, lasts for EVER, and comes in cheap for what you get at £5.95.

The Sports Oil: If you do lots of exercise, are planning a big hike or are just about to start a new spin class, it’s a very good idea to get an oil specifically for soothing and relaxing aching muscles. I love Weleda Arnica Massage Balm which has a massive amount of arnica in it, but look out for oils with peppermint, thyme, rosemary and ginger too.

The Massage Oil: Any oil can be used for massage, but sometimes it’s nice to get one especially for a nice rub down with your partner (and you can make sure they like the scent too!) – For this, I always recommend Lush’s massage bars. They have a massive range, and because they’re solid they’re perfect for a long, slow massage as they don’t sink in as quick.

The Eczema Oil: Now I’m not a medical professional and never claim to be, and eczema IS a disease, so check this with your doctor or derm if you feel you need to. The key when looking for an oil for eczema prone or hypersensitive skin is to look out for simplicity. You do not want essential oils anywhere near you. Look for calendula, chamomile, evening primrose, rosehip, sesame, safflower, almond or jojoba. They should be 100% natural, and ALWAYS patch test first!

The Luxury Oil: Everyone needs a treat every once in a while, and a really nice way to treat yourself, or someone else, is with a really luxurious, beautiful body oil. Applying oil is an act of self care, especially if done slowly, after a bath and before bed. REN’s Moroccan Rose Otto Body Oil is rich, beautifully fragranced with rose oil, and amazing for the skin. At £34 it’s not super expensive either! When buying a luxury oil, look for a story behind the oil or the extracts it contains. You’re looking for something precious to pamper yourself with!