My Fickle Face: Soap & Glory

I have had a bit of a revelation on the matter of skin care.

Regular readers will already be aware of my slight obsession with the condition of my skin and the multitude of products available claiming to improve it! I have long been searching for that miracle product, or range of products, that will give me the gorgeous, blemish free, perfectly moisture balanced, glowing complexion of my dreams.

But, this recent revelation has shown my quest to be entirely misguided. It would seem that my skin, instead of needing one perfect product, actually responds better when I vary the products I use to cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise.

Almost no matter what products I was using, no matter how much they had improved my skin when I first used them; if I stuck to the same ones for 5-7 days or more, I would get blemishes cropping up in the usual places (forehead, chin and the sides of my nose, classic T zone afflictions!). However, changing between three or four products every two or three days seems to be noticeably reducing the frequency and severity of my break-outs!

It is largely due to my, now diminishing, beauty box subscriptions that I have accumulated a good variety of skin care products to dip in and out of in order to make this discovery. However, I am not solely reliant on beauty boxes (which is probably best as I’m distinctly losing my enthusiasm for them) and I have ventured out to Boots and picked up some proper products to add to my rotation.

At the moment Boots have a 3 for 2 offer on indulgent bathing that includes a lot of Soap & Glory products. I really like Soap & Glory, from the styling and packaging to the scents, product names, and also the fact that every product of theirs I’ve ever used has worked really well (without being ridiculously expensive)!
I picked up Face, Soap and Clarity 3 in 1 Daily Detox Vitamin C Facial Wash (£7), The Greatest Scrub of All Facial Exfoliator (£9) and  The Fab Pore Intensive Action Pore Refining Facial Peel (£8).

Unsurprisingly, none of these products have disappointed 🙂
All three products are easy to use, smell great and leave my skin feeling amazingly clean and smooth. I’ve been using the face wash morning and night about 4 or 5 days a week (usually with a gap somewhere in the middle to keep my variety method going), the exfoliator once or twice a week in the evening and the peel no more than once a week. So far so good, with the exception of one massive spot that popped up in my eyebrow, I haven’t had any major blemish complaints for about two weeks now.

I would definitely buy all three products again; Face, Soap and Clarity cleanses really well without being drying, The Greatest Scrub of All is a gentle exfoliator with small grains but still does a great job at making skin look and feel cleaner and fresher and, although I don’t have particularly large pores generally, The Fab Pore definitely makes my skin feel less oily and very soft.

Although it doesn’t have anything to do with the effectiveness I love the pink and turquoise colour combination of Face, Soap and Clarity too!

Depending on my finances, and whether the offer is still running at Boots, I might try out some different products from the Soap & Glory range too. I could really do with some more Righteous Butter.

Has anyone come across anything new in the way of skincare recently?


The secret to Pure & Clear skin?

About a month ago I splashed a bit of cash and overhauled my skincare regime. Again. While I have been finding progressively better products, I still can’t help wondering if there’s something even better out there!

While browsing on I saw a banner ad for Nelsons’ Pure & Clear range. I wasn’t familiar with Nelsons’, let alone the Pure & Clear products, but the advert promised blemish control and improved skin for all ages. As that’s pretty much what I’ve been looking for, a non-teenage-salicylic-acid-filled product range to help keep my skin looking fresh and blemish free.
I bought the Purifying Daily Facial Wash and Balancing Moisturiser. 
Nelsons’ products all seem to be based on natural plant extracts, and the Pure & Clear products are no different. 
The products don’t contain many of the common artificial cosmetic ingredients, including Parabens, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate and Polyethylene Glycol. Instead they utilise plant ingredients – the facial wash has a seaweed base – and extracts including tea tree, arnica, hypericum and calendula.
The products are also not tested on animals.
I’ve been very happy with the products and really think they have made a difference to my skin. 
I’ve been using the face wash every morning and the moisturiser whenever I’m not wearing make-up. I did try the moisturiser under make-up, but it made for a lousy base for foundation. It does moisturise well, my skin has been very soft and not at all dry, but it is oil free and absorbs really thoroughly so leaves your skin surface quite dry, in a matte way. That’s great when I’m not wearing foundation, but gave me absolutely nothing to work with when applying foundation.
Without the foaming effect of the sodium lauryl sulphate, the face wash doesn’t foam up, which takes a bit of getting used to if you normally use very foamy products. The foaming usually has nothing to do with how effective a product is, and this face wash certainly leaves my face feeling clean and well cleansed without it. The texture is a little strange, a bit more gelatinous than most face washes, due to being seaweed based, but not strange in a horrible way. It leaves my skin feeling fresh and not dried out.
Both products smell reasonably strongly of tea tree, which might put some people off, but I don’t mind it too much (especially if that’s all I have to put up with the get the great results!).
I have also been using Olay Daily Facial Cloths in the evening, instead of the face wash. Not that the face wash isn’t good enough to use morning and evening; I just liked the idea of very mild daily exfoliation, again to help prevent my skin getting congested and blemish-y. 
The three products in combination seem to have worked wonders for me. My skin isn’t 100% blemish free, I still get the odd couple here and there, but generally a lot fewer than I was getting. Areas which used to be quite congested are also looking better.
Hope you’ve been keeping well while I’ve been such a bad blogger :/

Biore: Reviewed

As I mentioned in my last post, the good people at Holler were kind enough to send me some samples of the new, relaunched Biore products. I received the Make-up Removing Wipes and Deep Cleansing Pore Strips.

I’ve had the products for about a week now, enough time to play with them, get to know them and give you my opinions on how I’ve got on.

Make-up Removing Wipes

I used the make-up removing wipes both to remove make-up and as a general cleansing wipe when I wasn’t wearing make-up. I was impressed on both fronts.
For general cleansing they removed a lot of dirt (I was a bit horrified at how much to be honest!) and for make-up removal they cut through even my thick eyeliner with ease. I was a bit concerned I’d need more than one cloth to remove all my make-up, but one handled it just fine.
In both cases my skin felt really clean and well cleansed. The cloths smell amazingly fresh too.
At £3.99 a pack, they are a fair bit more than my usual cleansing wipes, I tend to go for the cheap £1 Boots own brand wipes. I’m torn on whether I would use these again, they worked really well, but maybe not four times as well as £1 wipes. I would probably keep a pack around for bad skin days or when I’ve been wearing a lot of make-up for a long time, to help prevent breakouts.

Deep Cleansing Pore Strips

I had mixed expectations for the pore strips. I’ve always wanted to try them out as I hate the pores that come up on my nose, but wasn’t totally convinced they’d actually work.
I was excited to try them out an pleasantly surprised with the results. The strips are easy to use and the instructions on the pack are clear; I wet my nose, applied the strip and waited 15 minutes, then removed.
The results weren’t as obvious as in the advert, but that might just be that there wasn’t much dark dirt in my pores. When I looked closely I could really see tiny little spikes of gunk that had been pulled out of my pores! Amazing and disgusting.
It didn’t get absolutely all my nasty pores, but most of the ones that got missed were in areas where it was hard to get the strip to stick around the creases in my nose.
I was impressed with the results; I’m pretty sure my pores have looked better and the strips definitely made my nose really soft! I would probably consider buying the strips in future, but probably only if I had a special occasion coming up or was going through a particularly bad skin/pore phase.

I can’t really comment on whether these products have improved the quality of my skin overall, as I’ve made a lot of changes to my skin care regime lately. My skin has definitely been better than normal, but I don’t know if that’s the Biore products or something else I’ve been using (which I will also write about when I get chance!).

Biore seems like a good brand with products that work and I’d definitely consider trying out some of the other products in their range.

Has anyone tried Biore? Do you think you will now?

Hope you’re all doing well,


I recently received an email from a PR company about the relaunch of the Biore skincare range.
While I’ve known of the brand for a long time, I don’t think I’ve ever used any of their products before. However, as I am becoming increasingly obsessed with skin care, particularly more’ age appropriate’ skin care, I was intrigued by this relaunch.

The press release begins;

“Blemishes? Blackheads? Tired of cleansers that fail to effectively cleanse your skin or leave skin dry and irritated?”

To be honest, yes I am. I still suffer from outbreaks even though I’m in my mid-20s, and the cleansers I always relied on as a teenager are now too harsh for my skin and can often make my blemishes look worse.
Biore claim their products will help “break the cycle of problem skin” by “working effectively” to “remove dirt without causing an imbalance in natural moisture levels” and also “fitting in to our hectic schedules”.

There are seven products in the range, available from Boots and Superdrug amogst other places: Bioré® Deep Cleansing Pore Strips £7.99, Bioré® Makeup Removing Towelettes £3.99, Bioré® Ultra Deep Cleansing Pore Strips £7.99, Bioré® Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser £4.99, Bioré® Warming Anti-Blackhead Cleanser £4.99, Bioré® Pore Unclogging Scrub £4.99 and vBioré® Combination Skin Balancing Cleanser £4.99. 

Now, obviously, I’m not going to take the word of a press release for granted, and I wouldn’t expect you too either! (Especially not one that equates 39.15% to ‘nearly half’, I’m a scientist and would lose any credibility if I made a similar claim in my work!).
But, never fear dear readers! I have been sent a couple of the products to try out; the make-up removing wipes and deep cleansing pore strips. I’ve always wanted to try the pore strips, so am particularly excited I get to give these a go. I’ll be playing with the products over the next few days before I write a review of them for you.

Biore also now have a YouTube channel with videos about a couple of the products; the pore strips, make-up wipes and balancing cleanser. Here’s the pore strip video for you to find out a bit more about them before I let you know what I think.

Have any of you ever used Biore products before? What did you think?

Hope you are well,

The Budget Stylist: Winter Skin Care

Now, I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels a need to slather myself in moisturiser in the winter. A combination of cold air, winds, heating and woolen fabrics all conspire to leave my skin dry and dull. As a result, I’m always on the look out for new skin care products to try out.
So, when I saw an article on The Stylist website about ‘Winter Skin Savers‘, I was excited. However, on flicking through their recommended products, I was disappointed. Everything was so expensive! The average cost of the products featured was £51.65, with the most expensive being £216 (Sisley All Day All Year Essential Day Care)! There were a few cheaper products; a Kores lip butter at £5.10, Neutrogena Cracked Heel Cream at £5.98 and Yes to Carrots Body Butter at £8.99, but I was left with the distinct feeling that more affordable products were severely under-represented.
I’m not having a go at The Stylist, I’m sure they know their audience better than I do, but I just have a thing about what I consider to be overpriced products, or at least, lack of acknowledgement of the fact that not everyone has massive beauty budgets and that budget beauty is as important as high-end products. Everyone, no matter what their income, should be able to look after their appearance and treat themselves if they so desire. Yes, expensive products have a place, some people like the luxury of the brands, maybe they do work better, but cheaper brands can still work well!

Anyway, I didn’t just write this to rant. I thought I’d put together my own little selection of winter skin savers, for under £10.

Boots Simply Sensitive Day Moisturiser. 125ml. £2.79.
This is my current face moisturiser of choice. It’s as effective at keeping my skin soft and moisturised as any other product I have ever used, and is ridiculously cheap. It’s light, non-greasy and has added SPF 15 protection. My skin can get quite oily and this doesn’t make that worse. I use it day and night and I think it’s great.

Olay Classic Beauty Fluid. 100ml. £4.79.
This is the product that I replaced with the Boots moisturiser, not because I was unhappy with how it worked, it really was a cost cutting measure. Olay Beauty Fluid is a classic, and products like thiss have stuck around for a reason! There is also a sensitive skin version.

Yes To Carrots C Through The Dry Spell Deliciously Rich Body Butter. 250ml. £9.25
Ok, I haven’y actually used this product, but when I need a new body butter, I’ll go for this one. Yes to Carrots was the runner-up in The Ecologist’s Eco-Beauty Heroes of 2011, and that’s what’s sold it to me!

Bio Oil. 60ml. £7.70.
I have used Bio Oil for years, primarily for its scar reducing properties. As a moisturiser, it’s really intensive, I use it on properly dry skin (feet, eww) and on my elbows which get especially dry and chapped at this time of year. It really does work on scars as well, and, although I’ve never tried, I’m sure it will on stretch marks too.

Figs and Rouge 100% Organic Balm. 17ml. £4.99
I actually have the pomegranate version, but though coco vanilla sounded yummy too. I initially bought it as just a lip balm, but with having a cold I found it is also really good for the dry skin I got on my nose, and I’ve also used this on my elbows. It uses all natural ingredients, smells gorgeous and properly moisturises you lips (or skin) rather than just putting a waterproof barrier on them like some petroleum based lip balms.

Soap & Glory The Righteous Butter. 300ml. £10.21
Ok, so this is a bit of a cheat as it’s a bit more than £10, but I couldn’t not include it. If you haven’t already tried this then you’re missing out. Smells great, moisturises really well, pretty packaging. Soap and Glory products always make me feel like I’m properly indulging myself, and I love them.

So, there you go, a selection of great products for your skin in this cold weather, without breaking the bank. Then again, there’s always Vaseline!

Hope you’re enjoying your weekend,

How should I feel about Anti-Wrinkle Creams?

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that I’m 26 (rapidly heading towards 27) and have a bit of an obsession with my skin and how a 26-year-old should be looking after theirs.
I’ve touched on the idea of more ‘grown up’ skin care before, and speculated about using anti-ageing creams, although, as yet, I’ve still not bought one. However, as a result of my beauty box subscriptions, I am increasingly getting the feeling that the beauty industry is strongly of the opinion that someone my age should definitely be using some sort of fancy potion to ward off any future signs of ageing. To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about this.

A selection of the anti-ageing product samples I have been given

The angry, self-righteous feminist in me wants to scream and shout about how the media/beauty industry shouldn’t dictate what beauty is, what I should look like or what I should plaster on my skin, and when. Surely, my ageing status and desire/requirement to use any beauty product is my own decision? Then there’s the more, rational and realistic (but still feminist) side of me that wants to look my best now and in the future, accepts that anti-wrinkle creams will likely play a part in that at some point sooner or later and that my beauty knowledge can be somewhat lacking.
Up until now, I’ve put all my anti-ageing samples to one side and ignored them, clinging on to my right to be youthful, young-at-heart and not having to think about wrinkles. But now I’m getting paranoid, if these people who know about beauty products think I should be using something in the anti-ageing line, maybe I should be. Maybe, if I don’t start soon, I’ll look like one of those wrinkly dogs by the time I’m 40! Maybe it’s already too late!

Picture from Pinterest

Ok, so I’m not quite that paranoid yet, but I have decided to start giving the creams a try. Unfortunately, as these treatments are meant to be pre-emptive, it’s kind of hard to judge their effects. Plus, as I’m only going to be using samples, I’ll be chopping and changing products, so I’ve no idea if they’re still going to work.

Do any of you use any sort of anti-ageing product? What do you use and when did you start?

To be honest, if I had any spare money to be spending on these things, I’d probably just get something from the Boots Protect and Perfect range, as I’ve heard good things about that. For now, random samples of otherwise expensive products is all I’ve got.


Living In my Skin

A while ago I wrote a post about my realisation that, at 26, I probably shouldn’t still be using the same skin care regime as when I was a teenager (here). At the time I was suffering from a particularly bad skin period and my knee-jerk reaction was to resort to my old habits and throw witch-hazel, tea tree and salicylic acid at my face in an attempt to rid myself of my blemishes. So, it seems I still hadn’t fully learnt my lesson!
Since writing that post I’ve taken on advice from friends and the internet and am now much more aware of how I should be treating my mid-twenties skin. I needed to let go of my teen spot treatments and embrace a more age appropriate way of caring for my skin.
At first, I assumed that getting a more suitable, twenty-something skin care range meant spending more money. Dermalogica was recommended to me. I was aware of Dermalogica and, through GlossyBox, have tried a few of their products. However, my current tight budget didn’t really allow for that kind of expense (at least £60 for cleanser, toner and moisturiser!). In the end I settled for Clinique’s Anti-Blemish Solutions 3-Step System at £30.

In general, I was pretty satisfied that the products were better for my skin than anything I was using before. My skin was definitely clearer, not totally flawless, but I wasn’t expecting a miracle!
I found the cleansing foam a little strange, I’m not sure what the benefit of it being a foam was, but it did cleanse my skin nicely. For the first week or so I used all three products religiously day and night, but after a while I started skipping the clarifying lotion as I found it could be quite drying. The moisturiser was good, but it came in such a small tube I was scared to use too much and often would supplement with the cheap Boots Simply Sensitive moisturiser I featured in the last skin post, which I am very impressed with (especially at £2.79 for 125ml).

While I wasn’t particularly unhappy with the range, I wasn’t overwhelmed either and was open to the idea of trying something else. So, when I read this post by The Sunday Girl, I was very excited and placed my order almost straight away.

This collection is half the price of the Clinique set, or less if you get it on 3 for 2 like I managed to!
While I liked the Clinique range, I love this one (yes the price does influence that a little). Even after the first use my skin felt so soft, I was honestly stroking my cheeks! Having been using the products for a while, they are definitely keeping my blemishes at bay, again not completely flawless, but still great results, and aren’t at all drying like the Clinique range was. It’s another foaming cleanser, which I’m getting used to the idea of, at least this one is a bit thicker than the Clinique one. I’ve only used the scrub a few times as I only need it once a week, twice at most, and find it works well. The moisturiser is also nice, light,easily absorbed and non-oily, plus it’s got the added benefit of SPF 15 (important for preventing skin damage and premature aging).  The whole range smells really nice and fresh, definitely not chemically, which I think is part of the point of the Botanics range. From what I can tell, the ingredients are also a bit more natural than a lot of skin care products too.
The Sunday Girl had a toner from the same range, which I would really like, but I couldn’t find it online. If I can get my hands on that then this range will be pretty much perfect in my mind and I think I’ll be sticking with it for a while.
Another win for more budget orientated beauty!

Any other suggestions for great, reasonably priced beauty and skin care finds are always welcome!