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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How To Exfoliate Sensitive Skin

When your skin is delicate, easily irritated or frequently tight and uncomfortable, it can be tempting to avoid exfoliation all together. If you have a medical condition that affects your facial skin, like eczema or rosacea, you might be right to avoid it. However you just have sensitive, delicate skin, not only are you really missing out, you might even find that exfoliating helps your skin to become less reactive! Yes indeed – removing all that dead skin can better allow your natural skin oil and your added moisturisers to work better, which has an amazingly soothing effect on sensitive skin.

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However, there are a few secrets to successful exfoliating when you have sensitive skin. The first is to pick the right kind of exfoliator. Chemical exfoliators, scrubs, face brushes and sponges are all popular ways to slough away dead skin, but for delicate skin you have to choose carefully. Personally I would avoid exfoliating sponges like konjac sponges because they create a lot of friction, even with a creamy product on them. They feel lovely, but I find my skin to be red and irritated after using them, and not very well exfoliated. Face brushes like the Magnitone or Clarisonic are a good option but they are expensive and it’s hard to know whether or not your skin will get on with one. Unfortunately they don’t make testers of these, so it’s a bit of a risky investment whenyou have temperamental skin! Chemical exfoliators can be a good option but you must be very, very careful with them. I’ve written a post already about how to use a chemical exfoliator when you have sensitive skin, you can read it here.

Finally, we get to scrubs. I find that when you choose the right scrub, they are the easiest, most convenient way to exfoliate delicate skin. You can easily control how deeply you exfoliate by the way you use it; how much of it, when, where, and even how you massage it onto the skin. I thought I’d tell you about my favourites and then give you a few general tips and tricks on using them; that way even if you find a different scrub that you’d prefer, you can still benefit from these exfoliation hacks for sensitive skin!

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Caudalie Gentle Buffing Cream – £20

This is undoubtedly the richest scrub I have ever come across – the thick, creamy consistency contains small jojoba beads to very gently lift away dead skin and grime. The thickness of the cream protects delicate skin from the exfoliating particles, making it super gentle! It contains grape seed oil and honey to hydrate and soothe the skin, and it’s also perfect for dry skin types because of it’s nourishing, oil based formula. Tip: If you really want the gentlest exfoliation possible, try mixing a scrub with a creamy cleanser (like Caudalie Gentle Cleansing Milk). I was amazed the first time I tried this – I was expecting it to achieve absolutely nothing! But my skin was left super soft, clean and nourished. Get it here

Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub – £23

This is my favourite scrub ever. It’s not quite as gentle as the other two, but I only exfoliate twice a week so my skin can tolerate it really well. The exfoliating particles are made from finely ground palm seeds, and the super-thick gel texture creates a buffer between the granules and yours skin, meaning that they aren’t nearly as abrasive as theysound. The gel itself is very calming and hydrating, it’s an aloe and coconut base infused with gingko and green tea. It smells utterly delightful, and leaves the skin perfectly clean and unbelievably soft. Tip: if there are areas of your skin that are more sensitive than others, try using your exfoliator only the places that actually need it – for me that’s places like my hairline, jawline and nose, whilst I tend to avoid my cheeks which are very delicate. Get it here

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant – £48

This is a total cult product, and I absolutely love it. It comes out as a powder that you apply to wet skin, where it transforms into a beautiful milk with very soft exfoliating granules. It contains a whole host of exfoliating ingredients, including rice enzymes and papain as well as salicylic acid. There’s also gingko, colloidal oatmeal (which you can totally smell when you use it!) and green tea to soothe the skin as you exfoliate. I know so many people with sensitive skin who love this, and I have never had an issue with it because the exfoliating enzymes are rinsed off (I can’t use any of them in products you leave on, but my skin loves them here). Tip: Massage your exfoliator in small, slow circles over your skin, applying light pressure. This means that your scrub will be less abrasive, because you will reduce the amount of friction between the granules and your skin, but it will still be just as effective. Get it here

I hope you found this little guide to exfoliating sensitive skin helpful! Let me know if you have any questions, or your own holy grail scrub to recommend!

Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask

There are so many  bad and important things going on in the world at the moment that I’ve been finding it really hard to think or talk about beauty recently. There have been a few stressful things going on in my life that my skin hasn’t taken to very well, and with the added stress of the absolutely dreadful events tearing through nearly every corner of the world, I was recently treated to a horrendous stress-breakout over my chin and right cheek. It was really painful, and impossible to cover. So I absolutely had to share with you my saviour, Trilogy Mineral Radiance Mask*

*PR Sample; all opinions given are my own

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Trilogy is a 100% natural, cruelty free and vegetarian brand. This product is also vegan, and Trilogy’s ingredients support ethical trading by having a traceable supply chain. They work with worker collectives, non-profits, the UN, and even directly employ their their own supplier for their bestselling rosehip oil. For a worldwide brand, this is very impressive if you ask me. You know when you’re reading the ‘ethical statement’ of a brand and you can tell (perhaps it’s just from working in the beauty industry for 5 years, I don’t know) that they’re manipulating words, trying to convince you that they are far more ethical than they actually are? Trilogy are the opposite.

They hold themselves to a genuinely high standard and it’s inspiring. Their prices are honest too; the mask that I’m about to (I promise, we’ll get there) tell you about is £20.50, which is a good, honest price for a brand with great ethical trading standards, top quality ingredients and lots of research behind it. Anyway, sorry. If I was a more business-minded person my dream would be to work as an Ethical Trading Manager so I tend to get carried away on brands that really do the work! On to the Mineral Radiance Mask

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The mask has a super thick, buttery smooth consistency that spreads gorgeously over the skin. It doesn’t really dry out so if your skin is delicate or dehydrated you don’t need to worry about it being uncomfortable, and it rinses off really easily. The main ingredient is kaolin clay which is a sticky, fine type of clay that attracts ‘surface debris’ like dead skin and excess oil (from inside the pores). This helps restore radiance to dull complexions but also helps to reduce breakouts by deep cleansing the pores. There’s also rosehip oil in there; Trilogy is famous for its Organic Rosehip Oil (I still haven’t tried it but I know so many people who love it!) which is a light oil that helps to regenerate, calm and soften all skin types. Pohutukawa extract (a native New Zealand plant) helps to tone the skin, whilst aloe vera gel, chamomile and sweet almond oil soothe and hydrate. Finally, detoxifying carrot and rosemary oils are great for microcirculation and skin repair.

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I find that after I use Mineral Radiance Mask, my skin feels incredibly fresh, looks far brighter and is really soft. And after using it regularly for a couple of weeks, my breakouts dried up and completely disappeared, with no new ones taking their place. My skin is quite sensitive but it absolutely loves this mask! However, it contains essential oils and salicylic acid so if you have allergic skin or eczema, I would avoid. Every other skin type though, I think would really benefit from it. It gets rid of dead skin cells, deep cleanses, soothes and hydrates whilst also being kind to the planet and its inhabitants. What’s not to love? Get it here for £20.50

 

Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer Tint SPF 30 Review

I have to admit, when I first tried Perricone MD’s Face Finishing Moisturizer Tint on the back of my hand, I wasn’t really sure it was for me. It seemed like a good moisturiser, but I’m a pale person, I don’t like tanning, and I’m way too lazy to get fake tan done. So why would I need something with a tint? Well, luckily for me I decided to try it out anyway, and I was VERY pleasantly surprised! This isn’t just a tinted moisturiser with a good amount of SPF. This is an advanced, sophisticated moisturiser that does WAY more than I ever expected it to.

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The first thing you notice about Face Finishing Moisturizer is the scent. It’s a gorgeously creamy rose fragrance, which is a lovely thing to smother on your face in the morning! The next thing is the texture. This is like a firm mousse, it turns to cream immediately after you start to massage it in, but the ‘moussiness’ makes it much easier to scoop the correct amount of it out of the pot (with a mini spatula or product spoon please!!). If you look at the above photo you’ll see little brown flecks too – these are the pigment capsules, which you can see below, disperse immediately after you massage it in, adapting immediately to your skin tone. I really didn’t need to worry about the tint; it actually imparts a lovely healthy glow rather than the ‘tan’ I was worried about.

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With a super-hydrating base yet oil-free base, the Face Finishing Moisturizer Tint smoothes the skin and keeps it soft all day without making it greasy. For a lot of people with combination skin, who have to deal with both dry and oily patches, it can be a huge challenge to find a moisturiser that works. I find that this does the job perfectly, and what’s more, makeup sits on top of this wonderfully. The glow from the product’s tint, as well as the hydrated, smooth skin you have after you apply, is also the perfect base for any type of makeup, light, medium or full coverage. I also think it’s a very impressive formula for such a high amount of SPF – it’s unusual to have something that sinks in so well and feels so light with an SPF of more than 15, let alone 30!

The product contains an anti-oxidant called Alpha-lipoic acid imparts the product with anti-wrinkle powers, whilst also having an anti-inflammatory effect, and inhibiting several other side effects of ageing that can lead to sagging skin or wrinkles. It also contains stabilised vitamin C, which very importantly helps prevent free-radical damage from pollution and daily skin stressors, as well as having a long-term brightening effect on the skin.

I was really expecting my sensitive skin to freak out when I applied this – I’ve had a terrible time with moisturisers and SPFs – so many have made my skin react badly. However I have had literally zero issues with Perricone MD’s Face Finishing Moisturizer Tint, if anything my skin is particularly calm, soft and blemish free after using it! I really recommend giving it a try, not just for summer, but as we go into autumn, you’ll love the healthy glow and soft, smooth skin it gives you.

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.

Spring Skincare Favourites

While I don’t believe in changing your body in preparation for warmer months, I do think there’s a lot we can do with our skin. In colder weather the skin can wind up dull, dry, lifeless and clogged, and unfortunately it’s often ignored because full coverage foundation and concealer are much easier to slather on in 7am half-darkness while you’re still basically asleep (this is how I spend my winter mornings, don’t know about you). I get a red nose in cold weather too, so there’s no point even thinking about going foundation free! In the spring, all I ever want to do is take a layer of makeup out of my routine, but to do that and feel confident, I need radiant, smooth and soft skin. Over the past few months I’ve been using some amazing products that have renewed and rejuvenated my complexion, so I wanted to share!

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The first product I wanted to talk about is Caudalie Vine[Activ] Glow Activating Anti-Wrinkle Serum. This serum contains a complex of four anti-oxidants that increase your skin’s ability to product anti-oxidant enzymes by 255%, thereby helping protect the skin from pollution and stress. which for someone who works in central London, doesn’t sleep very well and is stressed all the time, is an absolute lifesaver. I’ve been using this for four months (one bottle lasted 2.5) and I have never seen a product work such wonders on my skin – it literally glows from the inside out, as well as being super hydrated, calm and smooth. It absorbs immediately, smells gorgeous and is 98% natural. It’s oil and silicone free, contains an exclusive anti-oxidant patent created by Caudalie, and is just about the highest quality product I’ve ever used. Get it for £36.

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Next up is Aesop’s Parsley Seed Cleanser. I adore this thick, gel cleanser and it’s gentle exfoliation from lactic acid. It leaves my skin soft and ready to absorb my skincare. I’ve been using it for quite some time now and it is honestly the best cleanser ever for helping to boost your skin into ‘only wearing BB cream’ territory. If you’re worried about pollution, using this together with the Caudalie Vine[Activ] Serum is the absolute dream team, because the Aesop Parsley Seed Cleanser helps to slough pollution particles away from the skin at the end of the day, while the serum defends your skin from the free-radicals during the day. Get it for £27.

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I feel like I’ve been looking for a BB Cream that won’t make my skin react or break out since the beginning of time. The Bobbi Brown BB Cream is the only one I’ve found that has a good SPF without containing any of the ingredients that my skin hates, and I absolutely love it. It’s so important to use an SPF everyday, so if you want to use a lighter product than your usual foundation and you have sensitive skin, this is PERFECT. The formula gives much higher coverage than I expected, and I feel like it evens out my complexion flawlessly – obviously it doesn’t cover blemishes completely, but I actually don’t feel the need to use concealer under my eyes, which is a bloody miracle. The coverage lasts all day and my skin feels nice and soft when I use this too. They have 9 shades and definitely don’t serve the darkest skin colours, so I wouldn’t usually recommend it, but my skin is SO picky and this really works for me. Get it for £29.50.

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Pixi’s Makeup Fixing Mist has become my favourite part of my morning ritual. It’s gorgeous light scent and fast-drying, refreshing consistency is absolutely perfect for perking my face and my mind up. I feel like it puts me in a positive mood whenever I use it, and it helps my makeup stay put ALL day. Seriously, it’s soooo good. My skin also loves it as a primer to help prepare for a full coverage face, but recently I’ve just been using it over the Bobbi Brown BB Cream and it’s leaving my skin looking smooth and radiant every day. Get it for £16.

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The last product I’ve been obsessed with over the past few months is Jurlique’s Skin Balancing Face Oil. This stuff is perfect for when your skin is just losing its mind, which always happens to me at the change of the seasons. It contains a blend of herbal extracts including marshmallow (protects and soothes), evening primrose oil (heals), macademia oil (nourishes without being heavy) rosehip oil (anti-wrinkle, healing) and chamomile (calming). I find that when I use this at night, dry patches and areas of irritation disappear. The scent of this product is absolutely unbelievable, it smells like a fragrant meadow in the sun, which just makes it even more perfect for use in the warmer months! It might not be suitable for hypersensitive skin types though, as it’s heavy on the essential oils. But I absolutely adore it. Get it for £38

What are your spring skincare essentials?

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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