19 Apr 2015

Review: How Sk:n saved my skin from spots

A long time ago, Sk:n Clinics contacted me about their laser tattoo removal service. I told them I don't have tattoos, but if there was anything which would save my skin from acne, I would love them forever. In they swooped with their anti-blemish range to save my skin. Having suffered from acne since I was a teenager, I have tried everything from antibiotics to Roaccutaine to save it, and usually settle for skincare which makes it slightly better. I started this range in the hopes that something might actually help a little more than "slightly better". 

Spoiler alert: It's amazing. My skin has never been as good. (skip to the end for comparison photos!)



I tested out the vitamin rich cleanser for oily skin, skin hydrator for oily and acne prone skin, pore refining lotion, blemish control lotion, intense spot cream and maintenance serum. When I got them I was really confused as to what product to use when, on what problem! However I read and re-read the leaflets inside and so I'll talk you through the review, grouped in when to apply them. 

The Morning Team


Mornings are the most confusing in this skincare routine. 

First you wash your face with the Vitamin Rich Cleanser for Oily Skin £16.75. This cleanser contains glycolic acid which exfoliates old skin cells and keeps skin really clean. It also is pH balanced and contains lots of nice vitamins for your skin. First impressions were scary - this is a slightly foaming cleanser and I haven't used anything slightly foaming in years because of my very sensitive skin. However I didn't have any bad reactions and felt my face was very soft and clean after using, rather than tight like other soaps for oily skin. The cleanser applied well and had a fresh scent, although my partner said it smelt like cottage cheese! 

Next you apply the skin hydrator for oily and acne prone skin. I think this is £20 although I can't currently see it on the website. This product is soothing and hydrating, and is a real must when applying lots of acids to protect skin. It also smelt a little odd, but at least wasn't full of artificial scents which could have irritated my skin. 

After 10 minutes you can apply the next product - here you have a choice of 2: the Maintenance Serum which contains malic acid and mandelic acid (an alpha hydroxy acid), or the Blemish Control Lotion (£26) which contains all acne sufferer's best friend, salicylic acid. The Maintenance serum works to reduce how oily your t-zone is and prevents spots from forming in the first place. It's a really good product but I did find that if you apply makeup over it, it tends to "pill" up and look like dry skin. It could be left to the night time but the leaflet suggested it was best during the day so I stuck to the rules. The Blemish Control Lotion  is for skin which inflamed, spotty and suffering. It reduces the redness and swelling in areas of spots and slows oil production and therefore bacteria growth. 

With all the acids, you have to make sure you are wearing an SPF during the day to protect your skin against damage. 


The Evening Team


Evenings are much more straight forward (thank goodness!). Again you wash your face with the cleanser and apply a thin layer of hydrator. However after 10 minutes (or after you've brushed your teeth and fed the cat), you apply Pore Refining Lotion (£27.25). This contains Vitamin A and more glycolic acid to clear pores, improve the texture of damaged skin (yes please on my acne scars!) and hydrate. 

If you have a spot crisis, the Intense Spot Lotion (£15.75) reduces the redness, size and bacteria in the spot to kill it quick. This has been a great potion to have in the cupboard and use only now and again. I can see it lasting for ages (unless my boyfriend keeps pinching it). 



So overall, how has it worked for me? Over the course of a month, I tested these products every day. I took horrible makeup free before photos and after photos and have compared some for you. Please don't say anything mean about a mid-20s person with teenage horror skin. 

 

My post-teenage acne face is a bit of a mess. I still get spots on my chin, and strange under the skin lumps. My nose is plagued by blackheads and I have an acne pitted scar on my right cheek which I am strangely ashamed of. My skintone is uneven and looks rough which isn't helped by the huge-looking pores and damage marks. 


 

 Yay my face!


4 weeks later, and here's how it looks, again with no makeup (apart from mascara)

My skin is so much better! I still have some marks from where recent spots are healing, but I think my skin tone has evened out a lot. I also think my acne scars are looking less obvious (or at least I'm less bothered by them). Although pores can't change in size, I think they are looking smaller and clearer, any my blackheads seem to have almost gone.




Here are some comparisons 



 Look how much that scar has reduced on my cheek! 


I think the main change is also that I'm confident! I'm bouncing into the bathroom after I've taken off my makeup and saying "look at my face!!!!!" to Sam and I've gone some days without foundation. The products are quite expensive, from about £10 to £30, but only around the same as Clinique or Dermalogica. However when you have acne, I think a lot of us agree that'd we'd do anything to improve our skin. If that means using my credit card once every 6 months to buy a lot of products I'm ok with it. Next on my skin renovation list: I'd love a chemical peel! After seeing how much change the acids have had on my skin, I'd love to try an all-over deep peel to show unmarked skin and turn a new leaf on my skin story. 
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17 Apr 2015

Review: Barry M Flawless Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit

I don't know how you all feel about contouring, but I was absolutely terrified of it until only a few days ago. I saw pictures of Kim K covered in stripes, saw the dark colours in the kits, saw some crimes against contouring out in the clubs and was put right off. However, when Boots have 3 for 2s on makeup, I love buying lots of stuff and used it as an excuse to get a kit and give contouring a go. 

This is the Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit and is £6.49 at Boots. I was drawn to it because it said flawless, had pictures on how to use and was from Barry M. Fickle but it worked for me. 


The kit contains a guide on how to apply the product for best results, and there is also an online guide for how to contour on their website. (on their guide, they used the products from right to left, opposite to the guide on the box!) The kit colours are a highlighing powder (pale one), a bronzer (middle one) and a contouring colour (darkest one)



So first off, this is my face. I have applied concealer and foundation to prep for contouring



Look I do have cheekbones somewhere under this permanent puppy fat!

First I applied the highlighting powder to the areas suggested on the lid of the box. You can't really see a difference


Then I used a small bronzing brush to pick up some bronzer and apply



Eek! Looking bronzed. I haven't properly blended it in so you can see the colour. You apply this to your nose, cheeks, forehead and chin - places where sunlight would give you a tan naturally.

Finally, I used the brush to pick up the dark contouring colour...



So stylish. Glad nobody walked in at this point! You use this colour under your cheek bones, either side of your nose, around your hairline and jaw. 

Finally, I got a huge powder brush and blended the colours in, making sure I didn't blend them out of their suggested locations on my face! 


I then applied my usual eye makeup, lippie and a touch of blusher. 

Here are the results:


I am actually impressed by the result and I don't think I look like too much of a crime against makeup. I noticed the kit gave me a bit of colour thanks to the bronzer, which makes me look healthier. However I also think it has made my cheekbones stand out a little more, my nose look a little narrower and my square jaw (which I am quite self conscious of) looks softer. 


See I do have cheekbones!

I think for the price, the Chisel Cheeks Contour Kit is really good and is worth taking home and playing with when you've got nothing on. It gives a big impact which is great for nights out and photos



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15 Apr 2015

Review: Seventeen Falsifeye Mascara

Seventeen Falsifeye False Lash Effect mascara was a recent purchase to replace the sample of Benefit Rollerlash I was using. I love a lengthening mascara, so anything which promises false lash effects always interests me. I picked this up for £6.49 from Boots the other week which is also more than half the price of Benefit mascaras!


The packaging is simple - a matt black tube with pink and gold writing, although I found the square shape really chunky and hard to hold when applying mascara. The brush is huge and bushy rather than a plastic comb-like applicator which again made precise application challenging and I found I got a lot on my eyelids.

Here are the results (quick apologies for the pre-threading eyebrow horror!)


I found the mascara more thickening then lengthening although it lengthened the odd lash and not others! I felt it made my eyelashes clumpy and spidery than long and false-looking. It also didn't give the lengthening effect I wanted (and was used to from Rollerlash) leaving me feeling like a had stubby little spider legs attached to my eyelids! You can see I have a lot around my eyes which I didn't clean up to show you the effect.

Overall, I was left a little disappointed by this mascara. It wasn't terrible, but for a false lash addict like me it didn't have the oompf. I'd much rather stick to my L'Oreal False Lash Telescopic mascara which is only a little more at £10.99 and has an easier to handle brush which gives better effects (see my review here)
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14 Apr 2015

Date Night Outfit: Sequin Leggings

At the weekend, my boyfriend and I did loads of work to the garden (we're pulling up the horrible paving slabs and replacing them with grass!). As a reward for the work, we decided to go out to Pizza Express with a voucher we got for Christmas. 

I got all dressed up in my new sequin leggings, MAC Girl About Town lippe and tried pushing my fringe back. What do you think of fringe-less? 


I wore my H&M Sequin trousers which I got for £7 in my local shop (although they are £15 online). I'm not sure what came over me when I bought them but I love them! I teamed it with a grey t-shirt (also H&M) and my pink tReds heels which are soooo comfy!


We had a bit of an embarrassing nightmare at Pizza Express in Portsmouth though! The bill came, but we were relaxed (even though we were broke) because we got a gift card for Christmas. However the waitress said the giftcard was empty and had never been topped up. Cringe. We had to pay the full price, and my debit card was silently, shamefully exchanged for a credit card. However when I got home, I checked the balance online and the whole amount was still on it! I have emailed Pizza Express because I want my pizza money! Hopefully it'll be resolved.


I can have any flavour pizza I want?!


In the end I had my favourite pizza, the Padana which is all goats cheesy. Delicious. Sam had the American Hottest which was just explosively spicy. Too much for me but he loved it. We also had the sharing dough balls for starters (delish) and I had a lemon curd sorbet and cup of tea for pudding. Despite the embarrassing episode, we had a lovely treat and enjoyed our first date night in a long time! 
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13 Apr 2015

Review: Seventeen Phwoarr Paint Concealer (spoiler: it's amazing)

As I said in my haul video the other week, I can't believe I haven't reviewed this concealer before!

This is Seventeen Phwarr Paint. Described as a heavy duty under eye concealer, this nifty little pot conceals all sins and is my go to bad skin day saviour. I use the colour "fair" which is perfect for my very pale skin, although I don't think the colour range is huge. 


The packaging is minimal, but comes with a good mirror making it perfect for keeping in your handbag for bad skin days.


The concealer has a very thick, creamy consistency which spreads very easily with a brush and finger tips. This makes it great for under-eyes where you don't want to be dragging your skin when applying products. I also find it really stays put over spots and blemishes throughout the day and because it's creamy without being "wet", it covers a spot evenly without going patchy or snagging in dry spots. In consistency and concealing power, I would say it's a dupe for Benefit Boi-ing.

I have found under-eyes will need some sort of priming or plumping eye cream, otherwise it sinks into fine lines which isn't flattering (see my review of the best eye cream ever).

Anyway I'll let the results speak for themselves. These photos are all taken without any other makeup on so you can see the result of the concealer only.

Here are my under eye shadows before (left) and after (right)


Also here are my spots before (left) and after (right). Particularly noticing the way it hides the spot under my nose really well.



As you can see it covers big blemishes, dark areas and old spot scars really well. For only £5.49, this hardworking concealer is something I will be repurchasing over and over again. Seventeen Phwoarr Paint, you're a winner.
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11 Apr 2015

Barkbeats Doggy Subscription Box (plus discount code!)

We've all heard of beauty subscription boxes - monthly deliveries with little samples of lots of brands (some good and some not so much). However I never knew there were other types! A few weeks ago I was contacted by the BarkBeats team, a UK company doing subscription boxes for our dogs! They send out a monthly surprise box full of 5-6, full sized special treats, tailored to the size of your dog. 

We got ours and straight away little Teddy could definitely smell something delicious




Inside the March box we had:

A Busy Buddy waggle which you can put treats in. This may be Teddy's favourite toy ever, it's kept him quiet for hours and he carries it around all the time. 






A Trixie Roller pop which is a roll-on deodorant style treat! The one Teddy got was bacon flavour and it's perfect for training because it's a quick treat without wasting time chewing! Teddy loved it but smelt like smokey bacon crisps for hours after! 


There was also a Barks & Sparks brownie in chicken liver and yogurt flavour which we're saving for his 1 year birthday next month (oh god we've turned into those dog people...), HovHov cookies (great for recall training) and some Arquizoo wipes which are perfect for cleaning his eyes! 

The boxes typically contain really great brands such as Kong, and are seasonally selected. The shipping is free and there is no comittment to stay subscribed for set periods like with other subscription boxes. Plus you can get 50% off your fist box with the discount code LAUREN so try it out now!

If you order a box, you can also feel like you're doing your bit for other doggies too, because 10% of all BarkBeats profits go to animal charities. 


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5 Apr 2015

Molly Makes Weddings Craft Book

With 2 of my very closest friends getting married this year, weddings seem to be all around me at the moment! However I have definitely embraced it as a great opportunity to make lots of things for their weddings and be creative!

When my favourite craft supplies shop, Hobbycraft, contacted me asking if I'd like to peek at one of their craft books, I was attracted to this book straight away so I could share it with the girls. This is Molly Makes Weddings by the Molly Makes team who do the awesome crafty magazine. 


The book had loads of wedding-ready crafts like cake toppers, cute table decorations and wedding invite papercraft. I thought I'd share some of my favourites with you.


A button bouquet is super cute as a decorative piece, not sure this is something my traditional friends would want me to make. I might give it a go anyway, I have so many buttons!


I love this picture idea


I've never tried cross-stitch but I think it's something I'd like to try. The book comes with a template for the cross-stitch and some instructions on what to do too. It looks soothing and creates something really cute.


My favourite oiece was these love cushions for top table


They're designed by my favourite crafty person ever - Zoe from Love from Hetty & Dave  who makes gorgeous things out of leather in her online shop. I love the cat shoes I bought there a while ago.

In the back are the templates for how to make them.


I'll share with you anything I make! I think I'll give the cushions a go for my sofa sometime soon!
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