Cleansers: The current line-up

Following my previous post – The Importance of a Good Cleansing Routine – I thought I’d review the current crop of cleansers that are frequenting my bathroom cabinet!

Since starting to double cleanse at night, I’ve found that when I tone I often don’t have anything left on the cotton pad! My skin feels like it absorbs my next products better and I do feel my skin is in a much better and balanced state since being more religious with my cleansing.

Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Cottonseed

OMG, my Holy Grail cleanser. It’s as simple as that. Ive used this cleanser pretty much non-stop for about 6 percent years. It’s soft on my skin, but so effective at melting my makeup. I’m a recent convert to Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation, and y’all know that doesn’t budge! This, though gently breaks down my full cover and my layers of mascara. I’m sold for life!

Botanics Hot Cloth Cleansing Balm

I have used other cleansing balms before but had never got round to repurchasing. When in Boots one day it was 3 for 2 on skincare so I decided to pick this up and give it a go! I’m a sucker for a spa-like scent and this has got just that! I use this as my second cleanse, or when I’ve had a makeup free day. It melts to a rich oil texture as massaged into the skin, and instantly relaxes me as I use it. I don’t use the muslin cloth included, as I prefer a flannel mitt but I always feel completely clean after using. I find I need the flannel texture to get the oily residue off my skin post cleanse, so this probably isn’t best for an oily skin, but for my dry and dehydrated skin it’s amazing! 

Bobbi Brown Cleansing Oil   I caved a few months ago and ordered this to see what the fuss was about with cleansing oils. Again, I use this as my second cleanse onto dry skin to make sure the last bits of makeup have been removed. It’s gentle, but I’m not a huge fan of the smell. I imagined it to be more herbal from the description but it’s quite plain. I like that this can be removed just with water, it emulsifies and changes to a milky texture so comes off the skin very easily. I’ve enjoyed using it, but wouldn’t repurchase. 

Estée Lauder Perfectly Clean Face Wash and Refiner  I often keep this one in the shower to use in a morning if I’ve used the Cleansing Balm first. It really removes all the last traces of the cleansing balm, and makes my skin squeaky clean and with its really gentle small beads, it softens and brightens the skin for that perfect prep for my next products. It’s a gel so is fab at purifying an oily skin, but is gentle enough for other skin types to use as a gentle scrub a couple of times a week. 

Urban Decay Makeup Meltdown  This is a pre-cleanse product that melts your foundation and makeup away from the skin by gently breaking down all traces of makeup before you follow with your cleanser. You can also use it as a quick mask before you’re due to go out! All its goodness plumps and brightens the skin so you’ve got a great base to put your makeup onto! 

I still have a bit of a wish list of cleansers to try so watch this space for some updates! 

xx

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My Acne Journey: The Routine

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I got some really good feedback from my Acne Journey post last week, so I thought I’d show you exactly what I’ve been using and doing in order to improve the state of my skin.

Cleanser
My favourite cleanser to remove makeup is Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with cottonseed. I’ve used this for years and it just gets rid of everything!! I use this as a my main first cleanse to remove my makeup at night. It’s soft on my skin but just dissolves makeup so easily, I couldn’t be without!
One of the main changes to my routine was using a cleansing balm. Both of the ones I’ve used are organic and just give me that extra deep clean feeling afterwards. I’ve used the Jennifer Young Improve and Remove Cleansing Balm, and a DIY one. I’ve found that massaging these into dry skin after my first cleanse seems to work wonders. For one thing it relaxes me before going to bed, but my skin feels soothed and rejuvenated by just a 5 minute massage!
I saw the DIY Cleansing Balm on Gemsmaquillage a while ago. Click the link to see how to make it.

Toner
I’m not great with toner, but again I’ve been using the Jennifer Young Facial Spritz after my cleanse. It instantly refreshes my skin and preps it for whatever I use next.

Serum
For the morning I like moisture, so I reach for the Clarins HydraQuench Bi Phase Serum. So light, but so powerful and effective for dehydrated skin! Although I have acne, my skin is definitely dry/dehydrated so getting water and moisture into my skin is a priority!
For evening, I’ve been loving the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair 2. A tiny drop of this and I’m warding off any early signs if ageing as well as intensively hydrating and repairing my skin!

Moisturiser
For morning, I follow my Clarins serum with the Clarins HydraQuench Cream. This range is all about boosting water levels, so even if your skin is oily, you can use this range. You just need the right texture. The cream is for a normal/dry skin. It sinks into my skin so quickly, and instantly feels comfortable and ready for primer or foundation.
For night I’ve been using a slightly richer formula, the Jennifer Young Improve and Remove Moisuriser. This one can be used for daytime too, I just find it’s slightly too rich. However, it’s perfect for nighttime. It smells like a spa and just relaxes me before bed!

Exfoliator
I try not to over exfoliate my skin, but I’m aware that it improves the results of all other products you use so try to do it around twice per week (oily skin should only really need it once). I flit between a chemical exfoliant, Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner, and a manual scrub, Clarins Gentle Refiner. I sometimes even mix a little of both of these products at the same time, as they do a similar thing in their TriActive Facials.

Masks
I have recently been using the Origins Clear Improvements Charcoal Clay Mask once per week. It literally feels like it’s drawing everything bad out of your skin. Although, I don’t really like how my skin feels after using it, so I whack on some Clarins (surprise surprise!) HydraQuench Cream Mask. This again just gets more moisture into my skin.

I feel that routine in itself is what has helped my skin so this is the basics of what I do:
Evening – Double cleanse, toner, eye cream, serum, moisturiser
Morning – Single cleanse with cleansing balm, toner, eye cream, serum, moisturiser
Twice per week (usually at night)  Double cleanse, exfoliate, mask x2, eye cream, serum, moisturiser.

I have also kept these products for a good few months. I’ve not been chopping and changing what I use, which I also think has helped.  My skin is settled into this little routine and it seems happy with it, so I’ll be sticking with it for a while.  The only thing I’d really like to try is the Alpha H Liquid Gold. Anyone tried it?

Thanks for reading!

Nina

Links from this post (not sponsored):
Clarins HydraQuench range
Jennifer Young
Origins
Estee Lauder

My Acne Journey

Ever since starting my blog I’ve wanted to talk about my skin. I have referred to it when talking about products, but I wanted to speak more openly about my trials and tribulations!

I have had acne since the age of 14, I’m now 25 and still suffering from angry looking redness and scarring over most of my face. When I refer to ‘scarring’ I don’t mean pock-marks where skin is dented, just extremely red marks from where spots have been. (I will be including some pictures throughout this post to illustrate different things.) The scarring is not painful and most of it is smooth to touch. I do still get bruise-like spots under the skin, and the usual ‘monthly’ type but I can usually deal with them and cover them up until they depart. It’s the red scarring that I’ve not been able to rid.

That’s how my acne is at this moment, but over the years it has changed. At around 14-16 it was on my forehead, chest and back. I used to keep my hair really long so that it would cover my back when I was wearing vest tops or anything that showed part of that area. Between 16/17-21 it started to ‘drain’ down my face. Where I had never had any skin issues (cheeks), I started getting a spots, and, more importantly, scars. (FYI my forehead/chest/back are not scarred at all.) At around 22 I felt I was starting to grow out of it, when another health issue arose meaning I needed to take a very very high dose of steroids over a short time frame (5 days). This dose was so high the pharmacist questioned if my prescription was correct. Since I had to take this type of dose two years running (2011/2012), my skin has never really calmed down.

In terms of looking after my skin, I’d say I haven’t been the best and haven’t been the worst. I trained as a beauty therapist and worked for a luxury skincare brand for 4 years, I know how to look after my skin. However the one thing I neglected on a semi regular basis was removing makeup at night. I know , I know there was a huge intake of breath then(!), but to be honest, I was just a bit lazy! Obviously I would thoroughly cleanse in the morning so my skin always got a good daily clean, I was just too lazy of an evening.

I know many people will say that that was the culprit of my bad skin, but I have to say I partly disagree. How can my mom (1/2 same DNA) have spot free skin her whole life when I’m stuck with what I’m stuck with! I really believe it is more down to a hormone imbalance and probably a lack of drinking water, (I really do not get the time/opportunity to drink during the day) combined with not removing makeup at night.

Since I am a girl, I’m lucky enough to be able to cover most things on my face with the joy of makeup! It was only when my makeup started to look terrible and wear off too quickly that I thought I should really give myself a talking to.

The pictures below show a few images of the redness at its worst.

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Admittedly the iPhone flash is the worst camera flash in history, so some images look worse than I felt it was in ‘real life’ but you can see how angry it is.

I have been sporadically taking pictures of my skin over the last 18 months or so. Mainly to just keep a tab and compare for myself, maybe I always knew I’d start a blog and talk about it! So the 9 above are anything from 18 months ago to 9 months ago.

The next two images show me immediately after a Clarins Tri Active facial treatment. This one was also taken in daylight.

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You can see I have some enlarged pores on my cheeks, but luckily I don’t get too many blackheads. The redness is obviously still prominent but it’s less angry than the first images. These two were taken around 8 weeks ago.

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These pictures have been taken this week. I took them just before I did my Cat Flick makeup look. To me, my skin seems much calmer, less irritated and looks much smoother. In real life, I may be tempted to leave the house without makeup, only on a day off though when I won’t see anyone I know!

I think I’ve come a really long way from the first set of images, and I think most of the improvement has happened in the last 5 months. The one thing that I can say I’ve done in that time is to stick to a routine. That has consisted of an evening routine of removal of my makeup followed by a second cleanse with a cleansing balm, exfoliate around twice a week, use two different masks once per week, and apply a serum and hydrating moisturiser afterwards. I have been trying to do this as soon as I get home from work, but if not that I have always done this before I go to sleep.

I will most likely do a post on the products that have been helping me over these past few months, but I feel I’ve babbled a bit much now! I’d love to hear what you use if you have similar skin issues to me, or link me to a post if you have done one.

Happy weekend guys!

 

EDIT
Other posts about my acne journey:
Skincare Routine
How I cover my scarring and redness