Homemade face masks with Latin Honey

Honey has been a beauty product pretty much since humans first learned how to harvest it. It’s anti-bacterial properties are well known, and is the reason that raw honey never actually goes off. This means it helps to reduce blemishes by eliminating bacteria, and it also helps to soothe irritation in some people because it purifies the skin without stripping it of natural oils. It also has some anti-inflammatory properties, and as if that wasn’t enough, honey is also moisturising, which makes it great for both the skin and hair.

I’ve never actually tried using honey in skincare so when Latin Honey invited me to try out their honey with a beauty perspective I was intrigued. Their honey is raw, organic, single origin South American honey and let me tell you before we begin that it is the best tasting honey I have ever tried. Raw honey is far more nutritious than pasturised honey as it contains enzymes that are apparently good for digestion, as well as some antioxidants.

But what does it do for the skin?

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My partner and I have very different skin types so we both had a go. Firstly I tried the Riviera Gum Honey* as a hair mask. I mixed it with shea butter and coconut oil, and applied it all over the front section of my hair. This part is very brittle, so it dries out and frizzes up much quicker than the rest of my hair. After I applied this mask and left it on for half an hour, it definitely felt different. The honey created a barrier to hydrate and to keep the oils in, and I’m absolutely certain that this mask repaired damage to my hair. It was very sticky and took a while to wash out, but my hair has been softer ever since.

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Then we tried the Volcano Sunflower Honey* as plain face masks – and this was amazing for me. After leaving it on for 10 minutes and rinsing with warm water my skin was so soft and smooth, with no sign of irritation or redness. In fact, some of the redness I already had was reduced, thanks to those anti-inflammatory properties! Some blemishes I had very quickly reduced afterwards too. I was really impressed that my sensitive skin looked so calm after using honey on it. I will definitely continue to use the honey this way, as I can’t quite believe how soft my skin was! It’s also worth nothing that because they’re raw, these honeys can be used to exfoliate thanks to the slight crystalisation that naturally happens in storage. I felt the granules when I was washing it off and it was very gentle, but definitely contributed to the smooth feeling.

For my partner, who has very oily, blemish prone and congested skin, we tried something a little more intense, and squeezed half a lemon into the honey before he applied it. The effect was amazing. His skin was much more radiant, mattified and super soft without being oily at all when he washed it off.

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We were so impressed by the honey’s effectiveness on its own. But of course we had to experiment, and we also discovered the best beard scrub of all time: mix a tablespoon or two of honey into roughly blended oats, and massage into the beard. This not only purifies the skin underneath facial hair by eliminating bacteria lurking there, it also softens the skin and hair, AND gets rid of dead skin buildup, allowing the hair to grow healthily. I think this could also be used as a really luxurious body scrub too, but I have so many scrubs to use up I haven’t gotten around to trying that yet!

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I am amazed by the quality of Latin Honey, they taste incredible, and the effect on my skin and hair is really impressive. By using a raw, organic honey as a face or hair mask, whether combined with ingredients or not, you’re also benefitting from using simple, pure skincare that you know is safe enough to eat – and when those kinds of products are actually effective, it’s definitely a good idea to give it a whirl! Latin Honey have a selection of four honeys which all look amazing, but here are the two that I’ve tried:

Volcano Sunflower Honey from Mexico: Tastes fruity and floral – this is amazing on toast. This is the honey I’ve used for face masks, which have left both my and my partner’s skin smooth, radiant and purified.

Rivera Gum Honey from Uruguay: Tastes buttery and toffee-like. I love eating this on porridge. It’s also apparently good for dandruff so this is the one I used this on my hair, and was very impressed with how soft my hair ended up.

Have you used honey in your beauty routine before?

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Murad Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum

Murad is a brand I’ve always been curious about, and on my seemingly endless hunt for the perfect serum this one jumped out at me as a perfect way into the brand. I’ve tried Avene’s Hydrating Serum, Weleda’s Pomegranate Serum and Caudalie’s Hydrating Serum and while I loved the Caudalie one, but the bottle didn’t seem to last very long. Long story short, I don’t recommend any of them. REN’s Omega 3 Serum was good for a while but a few months ago it completely stopped working for me. So I went back to the drawing board, and decided to give Murad’s Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum a try…

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The Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum is part of their Redness Therapy range, which is formulated to tackle the causes of irritated redness, and soothe the effects of it too. By intensely hydrating the skin with hyaluronic acid and glycolipids the Soothing Serum helps the skin to maintain its protective barrier. There’s also chamomile, cucumber and camellia extracts to soothe and calm any redness or irritation. Mallow extract provides an invisible protective shield to support the moisture barrier, and there’s also goji berry extract for, I assume, antioxidants. I was really surprised to see all these plant extracts in the formula (there are even more than I’ve mentioned here; ginseng, elderberry, ivy, arnica, seaweed and yeast extract all feature) because it looks like such a plain, basic product on the outside!

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I am so incredibly impressed with this Skin Soothing Serum. The texture is a bit like hair gel, but without being sticky. It leaves my skin super calm, it sinks in immediately and my skin is soft and plump all day, and it lasts for ages (I’ve been using it for months and it isn’t even half gone). It was nothing like I was expecting – I think Murad have struck the perfect balance between pharmaceutical and plant based skincare, and even though this serum is really simple, it’s amazingly effective. It’s perfect for anyone who’s skin gets tight after cleansing, or blemish prone skin types that can get dry patches (as these are usually caused by dehydration so you need to hydrate your skin rather than add oil to it). It’s also perfect for anyone with red patches or sensitive skin, and according to Murad you can even use it to soothe razor burn, sunburn and after waxing so you know it must be gentle!

I really like Murad’s Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum. If you’re looking for a good starter serum because you aren’t sure where to start with them or you have sensitive skin, this is definitely the one for you! Get it here for £47.

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Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser

Aesop is fast becoming one of my favourite brands, so when my boyfriend presented me with their Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser on my birthday, I was so excited to try it! This is a cleanser unlike anything I’ve used before, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

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The idea behind Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser is that it helps to keep your skin immaculately clean in polluted environments. Something I recently learned is that microscopic pollution particles stick to your skin like you wouldn’t believe – even after cleansing. Unless you have a layer on your skin protecting you during the day (obviously many of us wear foundation, but this is a flaky layer which doesn’t actually stick to the skin consistently) then you will end up with this sticky pollution layer which is slowly absorbed by your skin, and is almost impossible to get off with conventional cleansing. Because of the way Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser works, it is uniquely able to combat this problem….

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What looks like a pretty normal gel cleanser is actually an acid exfoliator as well. With lactic acid in the formula, it very gently eats away at the upper parts of the stratum corneum (layers of dead skin) – not just to leave your face smooth, soft and radiant, but also to completely remove that pollution! To use this cleanser, you gently dampen your face, then gently apply it all over, without massaging. Then, leave it on for a couple of minutes (they say moments but uhhhh, it’s £27 per 100ml, you leave that stuff on your face for 2-3 minutes baby). After that, you wet your hands and massage it into a lather, then rinse it off. My favourite way to use it is just before a shower, because I can wipe the excess gel onto my neck and chest without worrying that I’ll create a huge mess when I wash it off.

I was really expecting my skin to be at least a little bit red, flaky or irritated after using this, but it’s been completely calm. This is an incredibly gentle cleanser, and the exfoliating effect is just absolutely perfect! My skin is left feather-soft just after leaving it on for a couple of minutes. It’s been radiant and bright, and much softer than it usually would in winter.

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Along with the lactic acid, this cleanser contains a mixture of antioxidants – parsley seed extract, liquorice root and blackcurrant seed oil to help the skin to process the free-radicals it has already absorbed. There’s also soothing, anti-bacterial lavender, and two types of chamomile to calm the skin. The cleansing base is SLES, the more skin-friendly version of SLS, along with olive oil cleansing compounds. This means that it effectively washes away dirt, without upsetting the balance of the skin. The bottle has an open mouth, which I expected to make it difficult to dispense the right amount, but the gel is very thick so you have good control over it. The scent it a light herbal/floral concoction that is absolutely wonderful – soothing and refreshing all at once.

Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser is absolutely perfect for people in their 20s and 30s, looking to prevent ageing but also to give the skin what it needs right now – oil balancing, soothing, radiance and redness prevention. Yes, it’s a bit expensive for a cleanser, but you only need to use it in the evening, and you can use it 3-4 times a week to make it go even further. I’m confident that it will make a huge difference to my skin in the long run, as it’s made such an amazing difference already. Get the 100ml bottle from Beauty Expert, or the 200ml from Cult Beauty.

 

Five of my favourite face masks

I’ll be straight with you. These are not my 5 all time favourite masks. But I am obsessed with face masks, and I want to talk more about them! Think of this as part one of an introduction to my mask collection. These masks are all very different, and funnily enough I realised I’ve managed to pick five from different countries and different skin concerns! Let’s get stuck in!

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Antipodes Aura Manuka Honey Mask – A New Zealand skincare brand, Antipodes have some of the nicest smelling products in the world, the Manuka honey reviews are really good – their hand creams are divine, and I’ve been dreaming of their Juliet Brightening Cleanser for years (soon, my love…). I was very cautious about trying this mask because a lot of people with sensitive skin do react to honey in cosmetics. But I’ve found it to be unbeatable on problem areas! I don’t usually put it all over my face, but when I get hormone-chin it is The Best. It hydrates, soothe redness and inflammation, and purifies with the honey’s antibacterial properties. I will also often dot it on spots when I get in from work and leave it there until I go to bed.

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Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask – Origins are well known as The Mask Brand, and rightly so, their masks are out of this world. But I especially love this active charcoal mask both for myself when my skin is super congested, and for my boyfriend, who has oily skin and open pores. Because I trial a lot of skincare products, some of them don’t work for me and I do occasionally have a skin meltdown where a cleanser hasn’t been working well enough, or a face oil has been way too thick for me. This is my go-to rescue mask for when that happens – over the course of a couple of week’s use it clears my pores and prevents them from turning into spots. Love it.

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Tony Moly Aloe Sheet Mask – This is probably the simplest sheet mask of all time from one of the most famous South Korean skincare brands. With aloe vera to soothe and bamboo water to hydrate, this is a seriously cheap and cheerful mask that anyone can try. It leaves your skin plump, soft and calm. I’ve tried more complicated sheet masks, and they are great, but for me I like to be careful about what I leave on my skin (remember with these other masks they get washed off) so this has become my go-to for when my skin needs a moisture boost.

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Lush Rosy Cheeks Mask – Ok so I may have about 20 favourite masks but if I could only choose one as my all time favourite, it would be this. A pink clay mask with a beautiful rose scent, this mask has everything. Kaolin to draw out impurities and deeply cleanse, glycerin to hydrate, calamine powder to calm redness or irritation and rose extracts to soothe and balance. Honestly, it does everything, and it leaves your skin feeling absolutely wonderful. This is one of my top five all time skincare products. It is absolutely incredible.

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Caudalie Moisturising Mask – Everyone needs a moisturising mask in their collection, and this is one of the best. With hyaluronic acid to hydrate, grape water to soothe (also hydrate) and reduce sensitivity, and Vinolevuere, a hydrophilic active ingredient that draws water into the skin as it’s absorbed, this is a powerhouse of a moisturising mask. It also contains grape-seed oil, a nourishing but light oil packed full of anti-oxidants that will both nourish and protect your skin. This mask can be used on the eye area, which most masks can’t, so if you’re into multi-masking you can always put this around your eyes to give them a treat too.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this mini world tour of my mask collection! If you have any questions about any of these, let me know in the comments.

 

Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion

If you have sensitive skin, Avene is the only brand you need to know. They are the brand. The ultimate. No brand knows sensitive skin like Avene does. So when they launched a new range for all skin types with no more than seven ingredients per product, I was so excited. I was particularly excited by the new Tolerance Extreme Emulsion, and was immediately convinced that it would become my new holy grail moisturiser.

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Preservative and mineral oil free, with only 6 ingredients, this is a pretty incredible product from the start – a facial moisturiser with so few ingredients is practically unheard of!  A moisturiser will usually have anywhere from 20 to 50 ingredients, sometimes with three or four different preservatives that could irritate or leave your skin unbalanced.

So what does it actually do? The idea behind Tolerance Extreme Emulsion is that it soothes the skin whilst providing protection and all day hydration. The oil free formula doesn’t actively mattify the skin, but it does sink in without a trace, thus making it a wonderful base for makeup. The Emulsion gives normal to combination skin everything it needs to function healthily, with nothing that could be potentially irritating. It’s perfect if you have sensitive, redness prone or combination skin, or if you just want a light moisturiser that doesn’t have any hidden nasties in it. It’s also 98% natural!

Since I’ve been using this moisturiser, my skin has been quite simply amazing. Before when I was using a cream with mineral oil in it, I felt that my complexion was getting a bit dull (mineral oil is great for protecting irritated skin while it heals, but isn’t ideal for long term use.) After using Tolerance Extreme Emulsion for three months, my skin was radiant, calm and clear. I didn’t have any blocked pores, dry patches or redness. Makeup would sit happily on my skin all day. And I found that I was able to use a wider variety of products on my skin without it reacting – the formula had actually made my skin less sensitive!

Here’s my skin:

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You might be thinking ‘Oh my god no, I need this, this and this in my moisturiser otherwise my skin will look awful!’ and that’s true if you have a skin problem like acne or extreme dryness. But here’s something a lot of people don’t understand; the thickness of a moisturiser prevents a lot of ingredients from penetrating deep into the skin, where things like micro-hyaluronic acid, retinol, anti-oxidants and collagen boosters can make the most difference. For those, you need to use a serum. Everyone should use a serum tailored to their individual needs, and when you do, follow it with Tolerance Extreme Emulsion to give you the perfect hit of moisture and protection without another unnecessary load of ingredients.

Ready to try this innovative, game changing yet uniquely simple moisturiser? Click here to buy it at Boots for £13.50!

Fairydrops Scandal Queen Waterproof Mascara Review

It’s impossible not to fall in love with Fairydrops as soon as you catch sight of the adorable, unique packaging. I mean I almost didn’t even care about the product itself (though don’t worry, I have LOTS to say about it now!) Intended to give a high volume, 360 finish with intense pigmentation, length, lift and lash conditioning, the brand was created by a Japanese celebrity who felt that all other options on the market fell short in one way or another.

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I bought a tube this summer for my best friend’s wedding (and boy did I need it) and I’ve used it several times since – in fact I really need to get the non-waterproof version because I find myself wanting to use it daily, I love it so much!

The brush is wonderful to use – you can feel the formula gliding over your lashes as you apply.  What seem like fairly large fibres sink into place as you brush, lengthening your lashes but despite that, you don’t end up with any of that horrible dust getting in your eyes during the day. In terms of waterproof? It survived my ugly-crying at the wedding (and subsequent partying) completely intact, so that’s a big fat tick there! And I also find that it does a wonderful job of staying on if you accidentally rub your eyes, which no other mascara ever seems to.

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The formula itself is rich in jojoba oil, hyaluronic acid, collagen and panthenol to hydrate and soothe the eye area whilst conditioning the lashes. This is certainly something I really notice when I use it – there’s no irritation at all. I don’t wear it often because I have sensitive eyes and don’t want to irritate them with the rubbing required to get it off – but to be honest it’s not as cement-like as other waterproof mascaras, and dissolves quite well with a generous application of micellar water!

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I am so impressed with Fairydrops Scandal Queen Waterproof Mascara. It looks gorgeous, is lovely to apply, and works SO well on all counts. The Quattro (non-waterproof)  version is definitely on my wishlist for everyday use! Get them both from Beauty Bay for £18.50

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…