Skincare can be a minefield… one which can encourage you to spend hundreds of pounds on products you do not need. I’ve whittled down my favourite skincare products that are under £20 and are really very great.
If you like to dry out your spots, this one is for you. I have found this paste is great for pustules (spots with whiteheads) and dries them out literally overnight. It contains salicylic acid which is great for tackling angry, red spots.
A cult classic – I am obsessed. This is a hydrating, 5-1 cream which works as a moisturiser, primer, cleanser, hydrating mask and after-shave product. It is a really hydrating cream that grips make-up so well. Also… who doesn’t love a multi-functional product?
I bang on about the importance of SPF, so of course I had to include one. This SPF is a very lightweight cream that glides on the skin without leaving that dreaded white cast. It is also not greasy, which is perfect for the face!
I love a good clay mask to pull out any impurities in the pores. This mask often sells out (and for good reason), as it is super effective and a great price. It also contains salicylic acid, so is great for those who are prone to blackheads and breakouts.
Our skin barrier has a major impact on our overall skin health – so here’s how to look after it.
The skin barrier is a watertight seal that keeps the outermost layers of skin smoothly together. When these outer layers are healthy your skin will feel soft and look supple and plump. However, if these outer layers are damaged, skin may look dull and feel rough, sensitive or dry.
Our skin barrier’s can weaken as a result of ageing and genetics as well as external contributors, like over-cleansing, harsh products, stress and UV exposure. The ‘stress’ hormone, cortisol, can weaken the skin barrier and cause water to leak out of cells, dehydrating the skin and causing dullness, fine lines and sensitive skin.
Not surprisingly, a damaged skin barrier also makes it difficult to repair signs of ageing and post-breakout marks, so it’s super important to protect it!
How to take care of your skin barrier:
Always use lukewarm water – water that is too hot or cold can irritate skin.
Use products with ceramides in them – ceramides are your best option for strengthening the skin barrier. The best way to think of ceramides is by imagining skin cells as the bricks and ceramides as the mortar in between, sealing in moisture.
Use a gentle, leave-on exfoliant as opposed to harsh scrubs.
Use fragrance-free skincare products. Fragrance makes skin more sensitive and can rob it of the replenishing ingredients and skin-barrier-repairing ingredients that it needs to stay healthy.
Don’t overdo it when using active ingredients like AHA, BHA or retinol. If you are noticing your skin barrier is rather weak, avoid products that have active acids, like salicylic acid for example. They strip the skin of its natural oils, leaving the barrier dry, exposed and susceptible to irritation.
Use SPF everyday. Sun exposure is one of the major causes of a damaged skin barrier so use a broad spectrum SPF of 30 or greater.
I am obsessed with this product – no wonder there is so much hype around it. Fortified with only 11 ingredients, including Hyaluronic Acid and 89% Vichy Thermal Mineralising Water, the fresh, light gel-like formula strengthens the skin’s barrier to defend against environmental aggressors.
I have found some new beauty gems and I need to share them…
Okay, so a few of these finds are probably not ‘new products’ per say, but I have newly discovered them and boy, am I glad. I spend a lot of money on beauty (too much money), but at least it means I can share with you all – I like to say that I spend all my money trying products so you don’t have to! Let’s get stuck in…
Unless you have been living under a rock recently, you will have most likely seen this baby popping up everywhere. Is it worth the hype? Absolutely. This product is so great if you have red marks/pigmentation or are just looking for some light coverage on your face. It is a green coloured cream when you apply to the face but when you start blending, it blends to your skin tone! It’s magical. I normally just dot it all over my face and blend in with my fingers.
I really wanted to try this for ages as I read such great things and no wonder! It has the creamiest, blendable texture and really does stretch like it says it does. I love how buildable it is as well, so it doesn’t matter what kind of coverage you like, this concealer has you covered.
Okay, I realise I am very late to the party on this one, but in all fairness I have never really been into haircare so this is new for me. I really wanted a product to give my hair a little TLC so of course bought this and gosh it’s good. I noticed my hair looks healthier and shinier within one use! I leave it on damp hair for 30 minutes and then rinse out.
Apparently it is great for strengthening hair, so will see what happens after mores uses!
Have you found any new beauty treasures recently? Let me know in the comments!
We are finally into spring – thank goodness! Here are some of my spring beauty must-haves…
I absolutely love spring – the gorgeous flowers, lighter evenings and more sun – and with the change in season, comes a change in my beauty routine. Often I incorporate pink tones into my make-up and lose the bronze/brown tones, I swap matte looks for a dewy glow and like to wear fresh fragrances.
The holy-grail beauty product for that dewy glow! Pop it on before you apply your makeup and you will most definitely notice a different in your complexion! It is also non-comedogenic so won’t clog up your pores.
I received a tester of this fragrance this week and oh my days, it’s gorgeous! It’s elegant, fresh and floral… the perfect Spring fragrance that blend seamlessly into Summer. I will be buying the full size for sure!
Leave your spring beauty essentials in the comments – would love to know!
My mum has taught me every trick in the book, and my gosh am I thankful.
As you can tell from the image above, my mum knows a thing or two about beauty – she really is the most beautiful person (inside and out) with gorgeous skin I can only hope of having when I am her age. Thanks to my mum, I now work in the beauty industry and have qualified as a facialist thanks to her encouragement. I am absolutely obsessed with beauty, but ironically, this hasn’t always been the case. When I was an early teenager, I refused to use anything on my face other than a face wipe – honestly the thought gives me a funny feeling in my tummy now. My mum, a beauty therapist lecturer, would come home from work with the most wonderful products from Dermalogica and Murad and I would refuse to use them – I kick myself because now I would love to be given such amazing free products to use!
My mum has been wonderful at teaching me beauty tips, but has never pushed or pressured me which means I now appreciate them all and incorporate them into my day-to-day life. Here’s everything I have learned from her:
Every morning and every evening – and in the evening cleanse twice to make sure all make up is removed. Like I said, my make up was normally removed using wipes (or micellar water) and that was my skincare routine. I have learned that no matter how tired I am, or how much I cannot be bothered, always cleanse and make sure every bit of make-up is removed before heading to bed.
Don’t touch your face!
Being prone to breakouts means I found myself poking and prodding at spots – to be fair I still do! I remember squeezing spots when I was younger and then trying to hide it from my mum as she could obviously tell! Anyway, we all know the importance of not touching spots and avoiding touching the face – it’s a sure fire way to spread bacteria and cause more spots – so don’t do it!
Drink lots of water
This one is pretty self explanatory – my mum always tells us (my brother, sister and I) about how important drinking water is for our skin – it keeps our skin elastic, plump and more radiant. I now have a water bottle basically surgically attached to me wherever I go…
Less is more
My mum is a fan of an ‘au natural’ look, and so am I. When it comes to skincare, dressing and make-up, less is always more and it’s something I swear by. When I am doing my make-up and I think of adding that bit more, I stop. Mainly because I know that a natural look suits me way more than a full beat, but also because I love the way my mum does her make-up. Neutral tones with pink, bronze and browns are our go-to’s.
Spend your money on good products
If I think about the amount of money I have spent on rubbish products looking for quick fixes… actually I don’t want to know. Mum has taught me to spend my money on products I know are good and to be patient with them. She swears by products from Dermalogica, Ren, Murad, Caudalie, Beauty Pie, Kate Somerville and La-Roche Posay… these are all amazing brands but they are that bit pricier than your classic drugstore brands. Definitely worth the money though. If there is any advice I would give to my younger self it is to save up the money I would spend on those harsh scrubs (St.Ives… gosh no), and cheap cleansers that promised to clear my skin in 7 days and just buy one good product.
SPF, SPF, SPFFFFFF
I think this is probably the most drilled in beauty tip from my mum, and I’m sure my brother and sister will agree. Mum has always made us weary about skin damage from the sun. She is so unbelievably vigilant with SPF on holidays and always wears fabulous hats to shade her face. When we went on family holidays when we were young, we were told to wear hats, top up our SPF every couple hours and we were always, ALWAYS, kept out of the midday sun. As soon as it hit 12pm, we were in the shade – no questions asked. Now I am super careful when it comes to skin damage – I’ve never been on a sunbed and I wear SPF50 everyday. Sun damage can cause ageing, dark spots and in some cases even skin cancer, so it’s super important to be vigilant. I’m hoping I still look 30 when I’m 50 thanks to my efforts!
Thank you my gorgeous mamma, I love you!!! Also, I blame you for the amount of money I spend on products every month…
Vitamin C is one of the most beneficial ingredients to add to your everyday skincare routine… So how do you use it?
I feel like I am seeing more and more people talk about Vitamin C in their skincare and there’s definitely a reason for it! Vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid, has many proven skincare benefits such as diminishing acne scars, reducing signs of ageing, evening out skin tone, hydrating skin, and protecting it from pollution. I’m going to run through them all and explain the best way to use Vitamin C.
How does Vitamin C benefit the skin?
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that fights against free radicals which cause ageing and a handful of skin issues like breakouts, dark spots and ageing. How does it do this? Vitamin C is a known brightener and using it regularly has the ability to even out skin tone and reduce the sign of scarring, pigmentation and fine lines. It also helps stimulate collagen production which helps skin stay firm and plump and look less ageing. Furthermore, it reduces inflammation, so if your skin is prone to breakouts, Vitamin C can make spots less angry.
How should you use Vitamin C?
The component features in countless face masks, toners, mists and moisturisers, however the most efficient way to deliver it directly to your skin for the best results is via a potent, targeted serum. It’s a selfish little molecule which likes to be used on its own!
How can you incorporate it into your skincare routine?
While Vitamin C can be used in the morning or evening, as it’s an antioxidant, it makes more sense to apply it during the day, so I normally use it in the morning. It acts as a shield to deflect pollution and other environmental aggressors. After cleansing, toning and exfoliating, apply the rest of your products in order from thinnest to thickest texture (e.g. vitamin c serum, moisturiser, treatments). During the day, always finish with SPF.
There are some studies that show Vitamin C should not be mixed with Niacinamide, but more recently, some studies show that they can be used together. For now, I am avoiding mixing until there are clearer signs indicating I can indeed use them together (this is because I am having some skin issues right now with bad breakouts), but it is up to you! The only concern is that they will both counteract their effectiveness but it won’t damage your skin if you use them together.
Chances are if you have researched Vitamin C serums – this will have popped up more than once. I truly love it – it is a little pricey, but so worth it!
This serum is known for leaving skin feeling softer, more hydrated and glowing. It contains pure Vitamin C to brighten skin while Hyaluronic Acid plumps skin with moisture to soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also contains Salicylic Acid to gently exfoliate away dead skin for a brighter, more even tone and texture. Whether you are suffering from scarring, acne, wrinkles or dull skin – it has you covered!
2020 was a year of lounging on the sofa with chocolate, and I have zero regrets about it. However I knew it was time to get back ‘on it’ and this is how I did it…
I don’t think I’m the only one that found 2020 hard in terms of exercising enough. Not having access to a gym and also being constrained to my London flat for the majority of the year didn’t do me much good and I found myself getting lazier and lazier by the day. I really don’t give myself a hard time about it, it was a tough, very different year and I was out of my normal routine, but I did start to notice by the end of the year my mental health started to take a hit and my energy levels were really low. I knew a lot of this was down to my days consisting of rolling out of my bed, heading to my desk then heading back to my bed or the sofa, so it was time to get moving again!
I’ve always been fairly active – in fact pre-lockdown I had started with a personal trainer and was starting to feeling really fit and strong! A big problem I have had with exercise is the fact that I get bored – very easily. I also find it hard to put a workout together or to figure out how to do a good workout that would benefit me. However, recently I have taken up two different types of exercise I never thought I would – dancing and pilates.
I used to dance when I was little, but to be honest, I wasn’t very good. I have always been very lanky with no coordination and get self conscious in front of people, but a couple of years ago I started going to a Zumba class and really enjoyed it – I also found myself not caring about what people thought about me. I loooove following a routine – it almost takes my mind of working out and by the time I’ve finished I’ve had a great workout and moved every part of my body! When lockdown hit, I took to following YouTube dance workouts and loved it equally as much. After a couple years, I know that I still look like a drunk giraffe when dancing, but do I care? Absolutely not.
Secondly, pilates came into my life only recently, but I just love it. It’s slow and controlled which means I am again focusing on the movement and not on the pain – ha! I also really enjoy feeling the burn and knowing my body is getting stronger. Pilates also involves a lot of focusing on breathing and stretching, which I find helps with my mind too.
Overall, I’d say the biggest thing I’ve learned is to try everything and see what you enjoy. I always used to think running and doing weights was the only way to exercise – never did I imagine myself dancing and doing pilates, but there we go! It’s also really important to start slow. Originally I started working out twice a week and am building back up slowly. If I’m tired, I rest or if I’m feeling low and don’t feel like it, I just stretch and do some breathing. I never push myself too far so that I resent working out – I always want to enjoy it!
Here are some of my favourite videos and platforms to use:
I love Pamela Reif’s dance workouts (actually all of her workouts are great). Quick, effective and easy to follow!
MadFit’s dance workouts are so fab – her music choice is spot on.
My favourite celebrity trainer to follow, Megan Roup, has an app called The Sculpt Society, which I think might be my favourite app right now. It has both dance and pilates workouts as well as breathing exercises, stretching and sculpting. Really it’s a dream – £14.87 a month.
If you are looking for free pilates workouts – Blogilates on YouTube is great.
Every now and then your skin just needs that little boost…
I don’t know about you, but my skin has been going through dull spells throughout lockdown. Considering that our daily routines have drastically changed, it’s no surprise that our skin is also feeling the effects. Stress, disturbed sleeping patterns and not getting as much fresh air can all contribute to lacklustre looking skin.
Furthermore, because we’re sitting at home, doesn’t mean our skin isn’t experiencing a build up of dirt, oil, environmental aggressors and pollutants. Impurities like these can block pores, making a flawless, smooth complexion difficult to achieve.
In addition, we shed 1000’s of skin cells every hour to make room for new ones. Not all dead skin cells readily leave your body, they often stay on top of your skin building up like dust on the face, causing a gloomy layer of skin that doesn’t reflect light.
If you feel like you can relate and are noticing a more dull complexion, I have four simple steps to get your glow back….
As I said above, your skin will most likely be looking dull due to dead skin cells settling on top of you skin. The best way to slough them away is by exfoliating. I would aim to exfoliate 2-3 times a week to ensure your complexion stays fresh. The Kate Somerville ExfoliKate gentle exfoliating treatment is a great option. It combines papaya, pineapple and pumpkin enzymes together with lactic acid, to counteract dullness, dryness and uneven skin tone by loosening and sloughing away dead, dulling cells to reveal the brighter skin beneath.
2. Face Mask
Face masks should be part of everyones weekly routine – men, I’m talking to you too! There’s nothing like a gorgeous face mask to clear out the pores and rehydrate the skin for a much needed glow. I loooove the Pixi Glow Mud Mask – it’s like a facial in a bottle. The mask is enriched with purifying Kaolin and Sea Salt and balancing Ginseng and Aloe Vera, to revitalise skin for a glowing complexion. It is also designed to absorb oil, draw out impurities, fight breakouts, and provide an energising boost to your complexion.
3. Facial Massage
This is my faaaavourite thing to do. My sister actually pointed out to me how I spend so much time in the evening doing my skincare routine and it’s probably because I get carried away every evening doing my facial massage. Facial Massage has all sorts of benefits including lymphatic drainage and increasing blood flow which in turn gets rid of nasty toxins and encourages new cell renewal. I love doing my massage with my Gua Sha from The White Company and my Beauty Pie Plantastic Facial Oil but you can literally just massage your face with your own hands and moisturiser/serum/water. This a great tutorial without a Gua Sha and this one is great with Gua Sha.
Without a sufficient amount of water, your skin can’t function at its best and it will it become dry, tight, flaky, dull and even more prone to ageing.
Our body loses large quantities of water every day, so if you don’t replace it by drinking more water, your skin will suffer the consequences. Water helps your skin maintain moisture, which increases your elasticity – the more elastic in your skin, the fewer wrinkles you will see! Furthermore, water can help flush toxins from the skin and shrink your pores, making them less likely to clog and cause breakouts. So make sure you are getting in those 8 glasses each day!
If you have congested skin (like myself) you will know how frustrating it is to tackle it. Thankfully I have found some great ways to manage congestion…
Blackheads, large pores, bumpiness, whiteheads and a dull complexion… ring a bell? It certainly does with me. Ever since I was around thirteen years old, I have suffered with congested skin, which has normally led to acne. Congested skin isn’t just one thing; it’s the summation of a lot of things – you may notice you have comedones (blackheads), large pores, little bumps under the skin and normally just an overall dull appearance
Congested skin occurs due to overactive sebaceous glands, producing too much sebum (a substance produced to keep our skin lubricated) which often clogs up pores. The over production of sebum is mostly triggered by hormonal fluctuations, an unhealthy diet, an inconsistent skincare routine and using incorrect skincare products. It is mostly noticeable on the t-zone and blackheads which is why you will most likely find your blackheads there.
So how do you tackle it? Persistence and consistency. The best way to keep congested skin at bay is to have a thorough skincare routine in place that involves adequate cleansing, exfoliation and hydration. I have also found that finding non-comedogenic skincare products has really helped my skin. Non-comedogenic skincare is basically a skincare product or cosmetic that is formulated in such a way that they are not likely to cause pore blockages, leading to congestion.
Here are some of my favourite products for dealing with congestion…
The perfect cleanser if you have oily, acne-prone skin like mine! I find a lot of cleansers for oily skin really strip the skin of hydration, however this one doesn’t. It is fragrance free, does not block pores (non-comedogenic) and matches the pH value of skin, making it an ideal everyday cleanser.
I don’t think I have words to describe my love for this mask – I have used it for 2 years now and even my mum (the skincare queen) loves it! This purifying clay mask is the best mask for clearing out those pores as it contains a mix of all the skincare superheroes – Glycolic, Salicylic and Lactic Acids, Kaolin Clay, Bamboo and and Eucalyptus… I mean!!
I use this on my T-Zone twice a week for a good detox and clear out. It works wonders, trust me!
I think this product has featured in nearly every blog this year? But hey, if I stand by a product, I really stand by it! This is easily the best exfoliator I have ever used. It exfoliates dead skin cells both on the surface and deep inside pores to reveal smoother, clearer and glowing skin. The product also contains BHA (salicylic acid) which anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce blackheads, blemishes and redness. If used daily, it works wonder on congested skin!
This is a cult product for a reason. The peeling solution combines AHAs and BHAs to offer deep exfoliation and help battle blemishes and comedones for improved skin radiance and texture. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) exfoliate the skin’s topmost layer for a more even appearance, while beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) exfoliate the skin more deeply to clear pore congestion – together, they magically improve the appearance of the skin’s texture and reduce the look of fine lines, scars and blemish marks. It also leaves skin feeling petal soft too!
This is literally a facial in a bottle… or tube? It contains my all time favourite acid, salicylic acid, which helps unclog pores and prevent blemishes as well as glycolic acids to slough away any dead skin cells that may be causing blocked pores. All you do it put it on for 5 minutes and remove to reveal visibly glower skin (it actually does do this in 5 minutes).
By far my go-to fragrance. It’s woody and warm but also floral and fresh – the perfect combination. I have had so many compliments on it and know others who have had them too, meaning it is probably a sure winner if you are looking for a fragrance gift!
The ultimate sexy perfume. It comes in the most INCREDIBLE bottle (as you can see from the image) and a divine scent to match. It is an oriental fragrance that merges jasmine, tuberose, Tonka beans and cacao – it is quite strong but not overpowering. As soon as I spritzed it for the first time, it instantly gave me a feeling of confidence which is always a good thing.
Okay, I don’t just like this lipstick because it is named after the Spanish equivalent of my name, but that may play a slight part in it… It’s the perfect creamy lipstick which doesn’t dry out or flake (we all hate that). The colour is the perfect nude/pink hybrid and I find it is perfect for both day and night!
The perfect luxurious mask for a pamper. This is such a gorgeous, great quality mask that is so good for a skin pick-me-up and a burst of hydration. Everyone I know who has tried this mask loves it, so I doubt you can go wrong with it!
No hair salon, no problem. If you’re other half loves a good day in the salon chair, this is a fab gift! It’s a high-performance, rich and creamy deep-conditioning mask formulated to improve hair’s texture, elasticity, shine and manageability. In fact, I might gift myself with it this year!