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’…

IMG_1017.JPG

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.

IMG_1012.jpg

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

Advertisements

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…

IMG_2530.jpg

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.

IMG_2465.JPG

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 Look Fantastic; here’s the original version, and here’s the rich version.

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

Trilogy Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm Review

I absolutely hate taking my make-up off. It’s a hassle, its not a particularly comfortable experience for my delicate skin (cotton pads scraping across my face, urgh) and most of the make-up removal products I’ve tried leave my skin irritated. Wipes and micellars are a nightmare, and most creams leave my skin feeling dirty. It’s a hard life. I’ve found a few gems though, so let me tell you about my latest love…

IMG_2957.jpg

I’ve been curious to try Trilogy products for years, but I’ve just never gotten round to trying them. However I was invited to try something from the range and I settled on Make-Up Be Gone Cleansing Balm.* I was actually pretty sceptical, because the things I’ve heard people say about this product defy belief. That it lifts make-up away effortlessly and completely, that it leaves skin perfectly cleansed, that even sensitive skin becomes soft, clear and comfortable after using it…

To use, you scoop out a serving (I push my thumb in and gouge out enough to generously cover my nail) and massage it well into dry skin. If you’re wearing eye make-up, eyebrows or lipstick, give it a really good massage to loosen the make-up. Dampen the soft facecloth that comes with it (or another clean flannel/face cloth – just make sure you only use them once and then wash them! NOT OPTIONAL!!) and wipe the balm off your face. I usually rinse the flannel, turn it over and go in for another swipe afterwards, just to be sure.

After this, you’d probably assume that you’ll need to double cleanse, to really get the make-up off, right? Wrong. Trilogy’s Cleansing Balm has removed every iota of make-up from my face every single time. I check by spraying my face with Avene Thermal Water Spray and gently wiping my face with a cotton pad…my face is always perfectly clean. It’s insane, I don’t understand how a balm can be so effective!! But there it is. Now, I never use waterproof mascara or heavy eye make-up because I have very sensitive eyes, but I can tell you that it removes normal mascara as easily and quickly as it removes the rest of my make-up.

The balm is a blend of sunflower, olive, coconut and their famous rosehip oils, together with soothing camomile extract and antioxidant vitamin E. It smells gorgeous, and I love the way it instantly melts onto the skin.

Would I buy it if I hadn’t been gifted it? Yes! Despite it seeming fairly pricey, it’s lasted twice as long as my other favourite make-up remover and I still have some left, so it’s definitely worth the price!

Get it on Look Fantastic for £20.50 – link

Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion

I’ve used Weleda’s Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion on and off for years, so I thought it was time I finally wrote about it!

IMG_2243.JPG

This is a very basic, simple product that I come back to time and time again, particularly when my skin is playing up and I need a gentle make-up remover. With only seven ingredients, it’s perfect for people with sensitive skin who need to keep their exposure to skincare ingredients to a minimum.

IMG_2809.JPG

Just in case you needed proof that I really love Almond Cleansing Lotion! I bought a load on Black Friday to keep me going. I know no matter what other products I have on my shelf, I’ll end up reaching for it frequently.

The consistency is kind of like a thin facial cream – not quite liquid, but not entirely solid either. When you squeeze it out it looks like there’s little balls in it, but you can’t feel them when you massage it into your skin. I squeeze it out onto my fingers and apply it all over, rubbing lightly and in small circles to loosen the make-up. Then I wipe it off with cotton pads. Usually I have to apply and remove twice to get all the make-up off, unless I was wearing a bb cream, in which case once is fine.

IMG_2810.jpg

The smell is lovely, it’s a light almondy/marzipan scent, though obviously the product is fragrance free. Despite having two lovely, nourishing oils in it, the lotion leaves my skin feeling so clean and fresh, and for that reason, I find myself reaching for it when my skin is oily. This deep cleansing effect comes from lactic acid (an AHA) and alcohol, so I wouldn’t suggest it for people with dry skin, but for any other skin type, it’s great!

I love this cleanser. I started using it around the time I first realised I had sensitive skin, and the fact that I’ve come back to it so much ever since really says something about it’s effectiveness, gentleness and quality. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Weleda are cruelty free and environmentally conscious! Get it for £9.95 off Look Fantastic – link

Skincare and make-up for sensitive eyes

I have the most outrageously sensitive eyes. At the faintest whiff of stress, harsh products, or god forbid, heavy eye make-up, they get weepy, and the skin around them breaks out in eczema patches. I have recurrent styes in my right eye too, which is particularly annoying as it means I can’t buy expensive mascaras or eyeliners since I have to chuck it out every time I have one! I have a skincare and make-up routine in place now that has kept my eyes in check for a long time now, so I thought I’d share!

Skincare

IMG_2576.JPG

Cleansing and eye make-up removal can be a big problem for many people with sensitive skin, but the solution for me was a lucky find – Klorane’s Gentle Eye Make-up Remover. Despite having fragrance and colour, this eye make-up remover is the most soothing product I’ve ever used. Even when I have eczema flare-ups (yes I still use make-up, leave me alone), it doesn’t sting. After cleansing, I use a normal eye cream most of the time, but when my eyes are bad, at night I apply XeraCalm Cream from Avene*. This stuff is super thick, and unbelievably soothing. It’s so so good for eczema flare ups. I love doing a little ‘eye mask’ with it in the evenings, and it’s great for my extremely dry, often itchy hands too. I can’t use it during the day though, as it’s so thick, so in the mornings I apply a soothing aloe vera gel like this one.

Make-up

IMG_2572.jpg

It took a loooong time for me to come to terms with the fact that I couldn’t wear mascara when my eyes were irritated  – and even longer to get my every day make-up to a point that I was actually happy with the way I looked without it. I’m more than happy with this look though – I love it! It’s pretty basic, but I’ll explain anyway. I start with Nars All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation all over my face, and then dot their Radiant Creamy Concealer on blemishes, and on the inner corners of my eye area. After that, I brush a thin layer of Clinique Almost Powder all over my face, followed by Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Luminous Flush on the apples of my cheeks. I fill in my brows with Benefit Brow-Zings, and then finally, on the outer corners of my eyes and over a bit of the lid, I pat on some BareMinerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener. The Brow-Zings and brightener are kind of like a replacement for mascara – they give my eyes a wide awake, noticeable look, equivalent to that of mascara. Here’s the finished look:

IMG_8217

I usually throw on a bit of Lipstick Queen Frog Prince too, which balances my face out nicely. Even though I do put the foundation, eye brightener and powder near my eyes, it doesn’t affect them because they are high quality products, and they aren’t absorbed. In fact, they form a protective layer which is actually quite good for the skin!

Do you suffer from sensitive skin or eczema? How do you cope? I hope you found my skincare routine helpful!

REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk

Let me tell you a little story about REN and this cleanser.

IMG_2226.JPG

I went to Scotland a couple of months ago, and when we were halfway up the motorway I realised I’d forgotten my bottle of Gentle Cleansing Milk. I panicked, and tried to use REN’s store locator on my phone, but with the shoddy signal it wouldn’t load. So, I took to twitter…

ren 1 copy.png

Just a couple of minutes later, REN replied:

ren2 copy.png

I loaded the address into my phone, and an hour later we were back on the road (because we stopped for lunch too, obviously) with a new bottle of Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk in my bag! Thank you REN!

So anyway, you’ve probably worked out that I have some pretty strong feelings about Gentle Cleansing Milk by now. Here’s why.

This cleanser has not only cleared up the red patches I was getting because of sensitivity, it’s also smoothed out flakiness, improved my skin’s radiance, AND kept blackheads and oil at bay. This is an absolute powerhouse of a cleanser, and when you look at the ingredients it’s easy to see why!

IMG_2230.JPG

To nourish the dryness so commonly associated with sensitive skin, Gentle Cleansing Milk has sesame oil, sunflower oil and shea butter, three rich oils that are easily tolerated by reactive skin.

Calendula and geranium extracts are both gentle antibacterials, so help to keep the skin healthy and promote healing – something that sensitive skin needs more than most. Then fennel extract helps to decongest and reduce puffiness, while chamomile soothes and calms. Finally, ho wood oil helps to relieve irritations by cooling the skin.

As for radiance? Blackcurrant seed oil helps to reduce roughness and has a rejuvenating affect on the skin, while oryzanol (rice bran extract) is great for sun damage and as it’s easily absorbed, can have a lasting affect on the condition of the skin even in a cleanser. Then there’s Sea Buckthorn extract, which is fantastic for radiance, with high concentrations of vitamins A, C and E as well as omegas and anti-oxidants.

IMG_2232.JPG

The texture is wonderfully thick and creamy, which makes it a joy to massage into the skin, and the scent is beautiful – it’s like a warm, slightly floral scent with a bit of a woody undertone. Another thing I love about this cleanser is that it’s quite versatile in terms of removal. You can rinse it off like I do, but you can also use a face cloth or cotton pads if your skin is very dry and you can’t use tap water on it. This is such a good option to have!

If you have sensitive skin and you’re looking for a fuss-free, gorgeous, and not-too-expensive product to leave your skin perfectly clean without being stripped of oil, I cannot recommend REN’s Gentle Cleansing Milk enough! Get it here for £17 – link

Stress, eczema and Eau Thermale Avène

I’m not going to go into much detail about why I abandoned this blog (a blog that I was really quite proud of to be honest) for six months. What I will say however, is that about two months ago I woke up to an itchy rash all over my torso. Having never seen anything like it before, I was horrified. Apart from dry hands I haven’t had any issues with the skin on my body at all. I ran off to my doctor immediately, and was diagnosed with eczema. When I told the doctor that this was the first time I’d had it, he seemed confused. Was I under any particular stress, he asked.

After I described to him exactly what kind of stress I was under, he sent me off with a steroid cream prescription, an IAPT appointment and instructions to come back if it got any worse. Suffice to say, I am coming out of this experience MUCH stronger, and FAR wiser.

IMG_5247

As I walked from the GP’s to get the prescription, my skin was on fire. I sent my boyfriend a text screaming for help, and he suggested a bath. What on earth was I supposed to put in a bath when I had this all over me? Everything I use is full of essential oils something you should never put on eczema. Lucky for me, my lovely local pharmacist knew exactly what I needed. Eau Thermale Avène Lipid Replenishing Cleansing Oil.

IMG_5402

I put about five pumps of this into a mildly warm bath, and my skin was so, so soothed. The irritation went right down, and I actually didn’t need to use very much steroid cream at all. I used the Cleansing Oil for about two weeks in the shower after that, by squeezing it onto a sponge and using it like soap. It foams up really nicely, and leaves the skin feeling clean and soft.

If you’re struggling with your skin I can’t recommend it highly enough. The soothing nature is incredible, I found that my skin felt calmer as soon as I rubbed it on. I’m so happy I had it.

IMG_5403

Since my skin healed quite quickly, I wasn’t sure what to do with the rest of the bottle (you get a LOT for your money). Then one night I ran out of the makeup wipes I’d been using. I thought this stuff, being so gentle, must be ok for use on the face, and boy was I right! My waterproof mascara melted away after I lathered up twice. So if you decide to try the Cleansing Oil for a pesky skin condition, (which it then ends up curing) I highly recommend using the rest as a makeup remover.

I was having a rough time, and I would like to take a end by saying that IAPT stands for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies, and is the NHS’s attempt to make sure people can get help when they first need it. If you’re struggling with something in your life, and haven’t gone to a doctor about it, you CAN now. This initiative is designed to prevent irreparable damage being done to your mental health, and no matter how mild you think your problem is, they have something in place for you.