Eve Lom Rescue Mask Review: Does it live up to the hype?

A while ago, my skin was in a bad, bad way. One or two new spots would crop up every day, with older ones taking forever to heal and fade away. My skin was so dull, but even with all these spots, it wasn’t oily enough for me to use traditional spot-fighting skincare. I was at a total loss. After reading multiple glowing reviews of Eve Lom’s celebrated products, I decided to invest in a tub of Rescue Mask.

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At £55 this was a pretty bold move for me I must admit, but my skin was the worst it had ever been. I wanted to invest in something that had to work. So I started using it twice a week, applying a thin-to-medium layer over my entire face. The mask has a smell that you might not be familiar with – it contains camphor, a herbal ingredient known for its blemish-healing qualities. I don’t see it in many products and I get the impression it can be an irritant if used incorrectly, so it shows the quality of this mask that I’m able to use it on my sensitive skin. Along with camphor, the mask contains kaolin clay to absorb impurities, and honey to purify and soothe.

Once you apply the mask, leave it to dry, and then when it’s dry, you slowly rub your fingers all over your face, creating exfoliating beads that slough off dead skin and pore build up (do this over the sink!!!). It’s a really gentle process, but you won’t believe how effective it is until you touch your face afterwards. It leaves your skin so silky smooth and radiant – I’ve never used a mask that has such an immediate effect.

One thing to note it that this mask contains straight up alcohol – so if you have very red, irritated skin it may sting. However I believe that the alcohol is there to make the formula dry out when it’s applied (the alcohol is liquid in the pot, thus allowing it to keep the mask spreadable, but evaporates once it’s spread onto the skin). One of the things that makes this mask so incredible is that it exfoliates your skin SO well, but it can’t do that unless the mask is dry. Anyway, my point is, don’t let that put you off. As long as you apply a serum and moisturiser after the mask, you’ll be fine.

So how did Eve Lom’s Rescue Mask work on my out-of-control skin? Well…it’s one of three products I credit with saving it. After a couple of weeks I started to see a dramatic improvement in my overall skin condition, and I know that it helped my skin to become healthier, as well as fading scars and reducing the redness of current blemishes. Nowadays I save it for hormonal/stress related skin crises. It really does rescue your skin, so if you’re in a similar situation to me, give it a go if you possibly can. Get it here

If you want to read more about my skin transformation, click here

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Pixi Glow Tonic Review

Let’s get this out of the way first: my skin is sensitive. Like, really sensitive. Most moisturisers, toners, SPFs and anything with salicylic acid in it are totally off limits for me. So when I first started hearing of the hype around Pixi’s world famous exfoliating toner, Glow Tonic with 5% glycolic acid, my first thoughts were ‘definitely not for me’. That was until a friend (who has far more severe skin problems than me) and I wandered into Pixi’s Covent Garden shop, and she told me that her dermatologist has got her on a glycolic acid serum to treat her sensitivity. 

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It makes sense if you think about it – by gently exfoliating your skin with an acid toner you make the skin healthier – less dead skin to block it up, more chance for it to successfully regulate itself. As we spoke, I started to think it might be worth a go. After all, I have a boyfriend who loves to receive my skincare cast offs when a product doesn’t work out! So, I picked up a bottle of Glow Tonic, and tried it out that night.

Ok…I didn’t try it out that night. It took me about three days to pluck up the courage to sweep a cotton pad sprinkled with the tonic over my skin! I was so convinced that I’d have the same experience as I do with salicylic acid. Yet when I woke up the morning after, my skin was totally fine and calm. And it was fine the next time I used it too. So I carried on – slowly at first, only twice a week. Over the course of a couple of months I built it up to about five or six times a week, which is how often I use it now.

I have to say that Pixi Glow Tonic lives up to every hype ever created around it. My skin is radiant, soft, smooth, clear, scars and redness are reduced, plus I swear my skin is less sensitive now! I went through a bit of a purging period to begin with where some blocked pores came to the surface, but now practically every pore on my face is empty and invisible. Honestly I cannot believe what a transformation my skin went through! I’ve been working hard on my complexion for a long time, but this is without question the thing I was missing. Just look at my face now!

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This is how my skin looks 90% of the time now. I used to always have at least one spot hanging around, or a blotch of redness or a dry patch. Now my skin’s default position is this, which is amazing! For someone with such sensitive skin, it’s an absolute revelation to be able to use a product like this. I suspect there must be witchcraft in the formula – that or Petra Strand is a skincare genius.

I recommend that literally everyone gives Pixi Glow Tonic a try – pick it up on the Pixi website for £18 – link

The products that transformed my skin

REN Gentle Cleansing MilkI’m so excited to share this post about my skincare journey. It was a long time coming, but I wanted to wait until my skin wasn’t just going through a temporary good patch. It took a lot of product, a lot of experimenting and a lot of perseverance, but I finally have GOOD SKIN! Read on to see how I got there. (P.s if you want to read more about any of the products, I’ve put all the links at the bottom of the page)

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Since I hit puberty I’ve pretty much always had spots. However, I never had acne. Genetically, my skin is great, it was just these constant painful spots that I couldn’t shift. This carried on until my early twenties, when I started working in the skincare industry, and learned that my skin is hella sensitive. It took me two years to get my skin looking like this and I used a lot of products along the way! I want to share with you all the products that really helped make a visible difference to my complexion. Obviously I didn’t use them at the same time – this is a long journey we’re talking about!

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After I realised that my skin was sensitive, I thought the most important place to start would be my moisturiser, considering that it was the only thing I was leaving on my skin at that point. I switched to pure rosehip oil and everything was looking up. My favourite was Fuschi Organic Rosehip Oil, which is great quality, super cheap, and lasts foreverHowever, after a while my skin started to get congested. I had blackheads and blocked pores which began to turn into spots. So I switched to the only moisturiser I could think of – preservative free, super calming Avene Skin Recovery Cream…
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Again, this was great for a long time (over a year!) and my skin was clear, calm and comfortable. I added in REN’s Omega Skin Oil for added hydration and a bit of nourishment, which really helped me to smooth my skin out. But then my skin started to look dull and a bit rough. I thought it might be the mineral oil in the Skin Recovery Cream – while mineral oil is great for protecting irritated skin, it’s too heavy to be a long term option. So when Avene launched their 99% natural, super light, preservative free Tolerance Extreme Emulsion I switched straight away. My skin went from ‘ok’ to RADIANT. Seriously, I’ll do a blog post on this one soon, as it’s probably one of the best products I’ve ever used on my face.

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As for cleansers – I hate cleansers. I find them SO easy to get wrong most either don’t clean properly, or totally strip my skin, and I don’t realise until my skin is either spotty or dried out. There are only two cleansers I’ve ever loved, and those are Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser for spring/summer and REN Gentle Cleansing Milk for autumn/winter. I’ve tried so many others, but I come back to these every time because they’re the only decent cleansers on the planet, frankly. A lot of people favour no-rinse products when they have sensitive skin, but my skin isn’t bothered by tap water anymore. If you’re struggling with your skin though, make sure you keep this in mind. I’m picky about make-up removers too – when I was first using the Avene Skin Recovery Cream I really needed to clear my skin out somehow (after using rosehip oil for ages!) so I used their Cleanance Micellar Water. This was great – it’s a very effective make-up remover and it really cleared my skin out. But it wasn’t something I could use in the winter, or for an extended period of time. I didn’t find another make-up remover I liked until I tried Trilogy Make-Up Be Gone Balm, which changed everything. It’s so gentle and soothing, but more importantly, so effective.

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Next up; toners and exfoliators! The Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub might not be for everyone – I know loads of people with sensitive skin who shudder at the thought of using a physical exfoliator, but I love it. Its gel consistency soothes the skin, while the small, gentle particles lift dead skin off without being too abrasive. It smells divine, and a tube will last you 6 months at least. I’ve tried millions of scrubs and this is the only one that leaves my skin soft but not traumatised. Around the same time as I started using the scrub, I added soothing Avene Water into my routine. After I finished cleansing I would spray this on and pat dry to remove the mineral compounds in London tap water. When my skin was raw and recovering, this was an essential. I still use it after I do intense face masks, but I’m happy to report that my skin is strong enough now to be able to skip this step for everyday! And finally…everyone’s favourite Pixi Glow Tonic. I have a friend with astonishingly sensitive skin, who’s dermatologist got her on a different glycolic acid product a few months ago. So when we wandered into the Pixi shop in Covent Garden, she convinced me to try it. I took it very slowly, once every three days at first, until now, I’m using it almost once a day. After the normal adjustment period, my skin looked incredible. And I even feel that it’s become less sensitive?! I really recommend giving this stuff a try, literally whatever your skin type. IMG_1970.jpg

Last but certainly not least, face masks! I use a lot of face masks, but these are the ones that really helped me achieve blemish-free skin. The first one I bought, two years ago, was the Eve Lom Rescue Mask – thinking that the expense would make it a good choice. I have to say, it really did help when my skin was very spotty and I even repurchased it – but I had to stop using it after everything calmed down. Now my boyfriend uses it instead. It’s a great option for blemishes, but it’s not the gentlest product in the world. Instead, a few months ago I opted for Origins Original Skin Mask, which is a gentler, cheaper version. I highly recommend this if you’re looking for deep cleansing and radiance. However, the mask that really, really made all the difference was Lush’s Rosy Cheeks fresh mask. With calamine and rose to calm and soothe redness, as well as kaolin clay to draw out impurities, this is everything that sensitive, red and spotty skin needs. I’ve been using it for over a year and I love it so much!

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I know that not everyone has skin that responds to conventional cosmetics, and have a much harder time with blemishes and sensitivity than I do. It’s also true that diet and lifestyle play a huge part in the condition of your skin – at the moment I’m happy and healthy, but I haven’t always been. My skin won’t always look like this, it’s completely unrealistic to expect to have perfect skin forever, and you should never feel bad if your skin isn’t completely flawless. That being said, I hope reading about my approach, and the things I did to improve my skin might inspire you to try a different method, or at least give you a few ideas about what to do next!

Here are links to all the products I mentioned:

Fuschi Organic Rosehip Oil – £14.50

Avene Skin Recovery Cream – £16.50

Avene Tolerance Extreme Emulsion – £13.50

REN Omega 3 Skin Oil – £25

Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser – £28

REN Gentle Cleansing Milk – £16

Cleanance Micellar Water – £16

Trilogy Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm – £20.50

Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub – £22

Avene Water Spray – £7

Pixi Glow Tonic – £18

Eve Lom Rescue Mask – £35

Origins Original Skin Mask – £23

Lush Rosy Cheeks Mask – £6.95

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REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Oil Review

Do you ever find a product that just slips so perfectly into your routine that you kind of forget it’s there? Then a year or so later you’re like ‘huh, I actually couldn’t live without this stuff’…

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That’s what REN’s Vita Mineral Skin Oil is for me. Their customer service team recommended it to me about a year ago – and I’ve just ordered my third bottle. I had pretty upset skin at the time, and while I’d just found a moisturiser that was working, I was really struggling to find a serum that would hydrate without irritating my skin.

The product is basically a serum, and I find that texture is quite unusual – it’s a fast absorbing oil that leaves your skin feeling really soft and plumped, as though you’d slathered on a great big layer of rosehip oil, without any greasy feeling at all. I have combination skin and it works great on both dry and and oily areas. Omega 3 Skin Oil contains rosehip oil for vitamin A, along with algae extracts for the omega content and rice germ oil for vitamin E. It’s quite a simple serum, with each ingredient carefully chosen to support the skin’s natural protective barrier, promote cell renewal and basically just keep the skin hydrated, radiant and revitalised without anything complicated or potentially irritating.

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This is the perfect serum for someone like me who has combination, sensitive, easily irritated skin. From the first day I started using it my face felt softer and smoother, and after trying a couple of ‘stop/start’ tests I can tell you that it really does make a difference, because my skin looks dull and dehydrated when I haven’t used it for a while! I’m so glad I found a serum that works for my skin, and even better, a bottle lasts for at least 6 months. Thanks for another great product, REN! Get it here for £25 – link

My Skin Saviour: Avene Skin Recovery Cream

I have never written a post on a moisturiser before. Seriously, have a look, I’ll wait. ‘What kind of skincare blogger doesn’t write about moisturisers?’ I hear you ask…

Well, one with very, very sensitive skin, is the answer. I had absolutely rubbish skin for the longest time. Spots, redness and dry patches were the norm for most of my life. It didn’t matter how expensive or gentle my moisturiser was. Two years ago I discovered rosehip oil and while this was a revelation in lots of ways, it still wasn’t the perfect moisturiser because it blocked my pores, so I was still (cautiously) on the lookout for my holy grail. I was definitely dubious when I tried Avene’s Skin Recovery Cream, but as their XeraCalm oil sorted my eczema out in no time at all, I decided to trust them. I have been using Avene’s Skin Recovery Cream and Rich Skin Recovery Cream for a year now so I thought it was time to talk about them…

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These moisturisers saved my skin. I started with Skin Recovery Cream as I had lots of blemishes and wanted something light. From the first day, I could see that this cream was different. It sank into my skin immediately, leaving it comfortable and hydrated without any oily residue (or tightness, my skin can go either way). Make-up sat perfectly on it, and within a week I could see the redness and irritation I’d grown so used to was disappearing. I honestly never thought I would be able to find a moisturiser that could do this for my skin. It felt incredible.

After a while, my skin started to get a bit drier, which always happens to me in the winter. Instead of having to panic about needing to change my moisturiser, I simply switched to the Rich version. With shea butter added to the formula, it nourished my skin but still absorbed immediately, leaving a perfect base for make-up.

So what is it about these creams that make them so perfect for my skin, when NOTHING else worked? I think it’s to do with the fact that there are no preservatives in the formula. This is pretty much unique for a cream – even E45 and other aqueous creams contain preservatives, even if they say they don’t. Brands get around this by using ingredients called ‘incidental preservatives’ which are registered as performing a different function (in the EU every cosmetic ingredient has to be registered with a specific use), but also have a microbial effect. Why is this bad for the skin? Well, it doesn’t matter why you’re applying an anti-bacterial agent to your skin, it still has the effect of killing bacteria. And for sensitive skin, your microflora levels can really make a difference between hot, irritated, red skin, and calm, soft smooth skin. I’ve tried so many moistuirsers over the years that I really think this must be the answer.

Of course, if brands could make a formula without preservatives just like that, everyone would be doing it. Avene have to be very clever about how they protect this formula, and they do it with the packaging. This cap is called a DEFI cap, and it prevents any air or contaminants from getting into the tube when you squeeze the product out. You see the circle in the middle, with the smaller circle inside it? When you squeeze the tube it comes up, and the product comes out around the smaller circle.

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Through a series of valves, this cap ensures that the product inside doesn’t come into contact with the air, so there’s no need to preserve it. It a bit weird to use to begin with as you actually have to concentrate on squeezing it, (the valve is pretty stiff) but that is a very small price to pay for smooth, calm, clear skin.

These creams have transformed my skin, and I am so happy I found them. They are my HG product and the fact that I can go make-up free now because my skin is so calm has genuinely changed my life. Get them from Boots, or online at Look Fantastic – link

Do you have sensitive skin? What do you find works for you?

REN Rosa Centifolia™ No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm

I really struggle to find a morning cleanser that fits my needs and isn’t outrageously expensive. I want something nourishing and hydrating, brightening, exfoliating and deeply cleansing to balance my sebum levels, but that will also moisturise and prevent breakouts. Eve Lom’s Morning Time Cleanser fit the bill for most of these, but at £50 a pop there was no way I was going to carry on using it, especially since I found it started smelling like fish after a while (literally the nastiest thing to wake up to ever, thank you very much Eve Lom).

IMG_8205I’m fully aware that my skin’s needs pretty much encompass everything skin could possibly need (dry, dehydrated, oily, breakout-prone, dull…come on skin, give me a break somewhere) but that’s just the way I am. I know that cleansing balms work great for me as they don’t dry it out, or leave a load of residue (like most tissue-off formulas) to get oily later. So when I had the opportunity to try REN’s Rosa Centifolia™ No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm* I jumped at the chance, being, as I am, a huge REN fangirl.

The first thing you notice about this balm is that the smell is absolutely stunning. Light, fresh roses – perfect for a happy morning routine. The texture is beautiful too – it’s smooth and spreads over the skin like soft butter (only not as greasy!) which makes for an incredibly enjoyable cleansing process, as you have to massage the balm into your skin for one or two minutes. I really felt my skin was deep cleansed after using this, and I think that massaging it in like this made a huge difference. Plus, I was living in Central London for most of the time I was using it. Massaging my sinuses every morning and evening definitely helped me to cope with the pollution!

After you’ve massaged it in, you apply a little warm water to turn it into a milk, massage it a bit more and then wipe away with a facial cloth (one comes with the balm, but if you’ve ever ventured into the world of cleansing balms before no doubt you have a few extras kicking around). I find that it comes off with absolutely no effort, which really surprised me because the balm is really quite rich! My face was left soft, but so, so clean. I really started to see a difference to a lot of areas of my face while I was using Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Balm, particularly in the congested area around my chin. It cleared my forehead of blockages almost completely, all while keeping the dry areas soft! I loved this balm so much.

However, I’ve had to stop using REN’s lovely Cleansing Balm recently. I moved house twice in the months that I was cleansing with it, and in that time I had a flare-up of eczema around my eyes which led to my whole face going completely out of control sensitive. The lovely essential oils in this balm made my eyes sting, so I had to move on to a different routine (still using REN though, my love runs too deep!) which, now I’m settled into a proper flat, I hope to talk about soon!

REN’s Rosa Centifolia™ No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm is an absolutely beautiful cleanser, and I highly recommend to anyone with normal or combination skin, especially as winter is fast approaching. If you’re very sensitive, eczema-prone and you’re planning to try and move house twice in London in the space of a couple of months, I wouldn’t recommend it, but to be honest, I’d probably try and talk you out of your crazy decision before I tried to talk you out of using this gorgeous cleanser. Link

Review: Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser

Ok. It took me a helluva lot longer to review my Jurlique Balancing Foaming Cleanser than it should have. Almost as soon as I bought this, I knew it was the best decision basically ever.

Though I adored my previous one, the Replenishing Foaming Cleanser, I noticed that as the weather got hotter my face was getting oilier. I thought this one, with a tonne of chamomile, calendula and marshmallow in it, would be perfect.

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Also, I really like the colour? I’m weird. But it looks really old fashioned and natural you know, which makes me feel like I’m really doing my skin some good. The other thing I love about it is that it FOAMS. So much. Look at this.

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That is one small pump’s worth of product. It’s a lovely soft foam, that leaves your skin feeling so clean. Not squeaky clean, which is actually really bad for you, but fresh, smooth, and soft. It isn’t drying, although I do of course moisturise afterwards.

Like all Jurlique products, it contains a glorious plant cocktail to get your skin to do what you want. Let’s take a look:*

Aloe Vera – Soothing, moisturising

Calendula – Antimicrobial, soothing, healing, anti-inflammatory

Chamomile – Calms, soothes, reduces redness

Daisy –  Evens skin tone

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Grape Seed – Antioxidant, healing

Green Tea – Antioxidant, limits sun damage, reduces redness

Honey – Antibacterial, healing, protective

Marshmallow – Protective, healing, moisturising, reduces redness

Rosa Gallica – Combats acne, smoothes wrinkles, heals irritations

Self Heal – Anti-viral, healing, calming

Turmeric – Anti-inflammatory, evens skin tone, calms irritations, maintains youthful suppleness

Violet – Combats acne, eczema and flakes

Witch Hazel – Astringent, anti-inflammatory, smoothes

It should be pretty clear from that list that bad skin doesn’t stand a chance against this cleanser. I’m obsessed, in love, and delighted with it, and so it my skin. The scent is really lovely too – it’s herbal, fresh and reminds me of aloe vera a lot for some reason – even though I don’t think there’s much aloe in there. I think the aloe and mallow leave an invisible protective layer on your skin – you won’t notice it but it’ll be there. The reason I think that is that I spilled it the other day (I was being an idiot, don’t be like me) and after being covered in it for ages, my hands had this amazing smooth layer on them even after washing.

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One bottle of this stuff lasts for ages (this is a new bottle, long story) – my other Jurlique foaming cleanser lasted about 6 months!! Jurlique’s Balancing Foaming Cleanser is perfect for anyone with skin that goes from dry to oily whenever it pleases, and I think it would be great for skin that’s slightly oily all the time too. It regulates oil production whilst keeping the skin clean and free of spot-causing bacteria. In fact, since I’ve been using it, I’ve only had spots in two places, and I know these breakouts happened in spite of this amazing cleanser (hello, hormones). I can’t recommend this highly enough, especially for summer. Get it here!

*OH ALSO!! By now you’ve probably spotted one or two of my posts about protecting Kew Gardens. You might be interested to know that Kew had a hand in completing this post! Their Species Browser provided me with the medicinal uses of several plants I didn’t already know, including daisy and self heal.