Bright Eyes

Due to my Sjogren’s Syndrome I have a very sensitive eyes. I struggle using some eye makeup and when it’s really bad I can’t wear any makeup around my eyes at all. Everything in and around my eyes can get sore. I have zero tear production so I need to use drops daily and I get eczema around my eyes. As well as this I have concerns over dark circles and redness from the fatigue. I have been given loads of different medical ointments from steroid creams to E45 but the only immediate relief I can get comes from Liz Earle’s Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion. The lotion uses natural ingredients, the main ingredient being a tiny used in old remedies that was called eyebright (in this instance the old wives new best). The ingredients also include witch hazel water, aloe vera and cornflower extract. It is cooling without stinging and calms any puffiness whilst the eyebright does seem to reflect away any darkness. It is really relaxing when put on cotton wool and laid over closed eyes for 10 or so minutes. I have used it to take off light makeup as it’s very gentle but it wouldn’t take off anything heavy. I am grateful for this modest hero.

http://uk.lizearle.com/eye-treatments/eyebright-soothing-eye-lotion.html?ingredients

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I wish I could be quite so effusive about an eye cream but I am still searching for an eye cream that I can use that gives great results. I have tried creams ranging from a few pounds to £50 and whilst some have been ok I’ve never found anything that makes me go ‘wow!’. I’m using Balance Me’s Wonder Eye Cream at the moment due to having found a deluxe sample in one of my reserves drawers and so far so pleasant. The cream is light to use but keeps the area moisturised all day, I can’t say that I’ve noticed much lift but I have only just started using it. Dark circles are being managed well by the cream so far and it is kind to the skin. The Wonder Eye Cream boasts 99% of it’s ingredients are from natural origin which is something I do try to look for nowadays as I do seem less sensitive to products that are more organic. This is certainly a good cream and one of the best I’ve used but I still can’t find myself able to rave about it – but I can’t really criticise it either. Perhaps I am asking too much from one cream? Most likely my weird symptoms are just too much.

https://www.balanceme.co.uk/face/product-family/extra-care/extra-care-wonder-eye-cream-7ml/wonder eye cream

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The Perfect Balance

I struggle with foundation. I am very pale-skinned and most ranges don’t go pale enough add to that my very sensitive skin and my pool of choices becomes very shallow. I like BareMinerals Original Foundation but whilst it’s great most days it can look cakey and clumpy on my skin on bad days when my skin is dry. I love a lot of BareMinerals products as they are extremely non-offensive to my skin and often have great staying power but I wondered if a liquid foundation would better suit my skin on its off-days.

I try to choose products that are as natural as possible and when Liz Earle (whose skincare products are incredible!) brought out a make-up range a few years ago I thought I’d give their liquid foundation a go. It was a lovely foundation with moderate coverage and lovely skincare benefits. I split my foundation days between Liz Earle and BareMinerals happily until Liz Earle ran out of the foundation (I heard it may have been due to ingredient sourcing problems) – I was so annoyed! I had finally orchestrated the perfect routine – BareMinerals gave Matte coverage for shiny days and Liz Earle gave dewy sheen for dry days – but then it was over almost as quickly as it was found. So for many months I looked at other foundations but could not find anything near as good as what I had but then when I almost gave up BareMinerals released their first liquid foundation – BareSkin.

I received a weeks sample of BareSkin from my local BareMinerals counter after being colour matched. The foundation needs to be shaken before use at also contains a serum and it can be layered up to get basic to moderate coverage, although I managed to get quite a full coverage after only a few layers. The foundation is smooth and light on the skin and it didn’t dry out my skin at any point in the day.BareMinerals advise that people use their new ‘revolutionary’ brush to apply this particular foundation. The brush is quite stubby and has a ‘dip’ carved out of the middle that the drops of liquid foundation sit in, you then buff the foundation onto the skin just like the Original Foundation. I hate it when brands try to flog an extra product onto another stating that it works best in conjunction because if one product will only work with another then they should come as a set, in my opinion. The brush is quite expensive and I’ve not had good experiences with BareMinerals brushes in the past as they’ve moulted terribly. However despite their claims for the brush I found the foundation worked very well without it. Overall I’ve been very impressed with the BareSkin foundation and would happily buy it…but I’ve just seen Liz Earle’s foundation is back on the shelves and I’m not sure which one is better…although Liz Earle’s Signature Foundation requires no additional purchase to work its best.

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To Tone or not To Tone?

I have talked about how much I love Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish it is my one constant. Whilst I’m forever altering, tweaking or completely overhauling my other products and regimes I always use Cleanse and Polish even when I’m really ill it is one thing I insist on being able to do. But one thing I almost never do is tone. A toner is not part of my regime – is this a terrible a thing to admit?

When I first started reading beauty magazines in my teens the skincare mantra was cleanse, tone and moisturise, but that instruction is surely out of date now. Serums would have to be added, so would masks, eye creams/gels, lip balms, topical treatments etc. Skincare has advanced, yet when it comes to toners I feel that have stalled what is the point of them now, was there ever a point? Toners were supposed to remove the last bits of cleanser, close the pores, prep it for the moisturiser but any good cleanser wouldn’t need a toner to clean up after it and serums have far more functions and benefits than toners – don’t they?

The main reason that I don’t use toners is that they were generally awful when I was starting out in skincare and I came to see them as an uncomfortable and unnecessary expense. Most toners need to be applied with cotton wool and I hate cotton wool. Even cotton wool is scratchy and irritating to my sensitive skin. And the toners were mostly contained alcohol and left my skin tight, tingly and damn right sore that I came to hate them and whilst toners have improved I still can’t bring myself to like them. The Liz Earle toner has a gorgeous fragrance and is calming on the skin when used as a spritz in the summer but I don’t even like using that as its primary role as I don’t see a difference. The Elemis Apricot toner is quite pleasant to smell and non-offensive on the skin but again I feel no benefit, no motivation to use it in my skincare routine. I would rather use the money I save on a toner to pay more for an excellent serum or moisturiser. So am I missing out? Do you tone?

It’s all about the base

I’m a firm believer that the best base for make-up is good skin but good skin is so hard to achieve when you’re sick, tired and being pumped with various medications, which for a quite a few of us is a daily occurrence. I had no real interest in skin care, no routine other than soap and water (soap? – I know!) but that changed when my symptoms started when I was 20 years old. My skin came out in rashes and became super-sensitive to even the lightest of touch. My skin was extremely dry and very flaky especially on my face. Make-up only accentuated the dryness and my confidence was punctured by it all. Suddenly I cared about skincare because I had to.

Being a practitioner in the belief that knowledge is power I set about to find help. I tried different things, from premium beauty to high-street chemists but nothing worked they either stung the skin, dried it out or made it too greasy. I researched what I could online but only became more confused. I could never work out what type of skin I had as my skin had multiple personalities so finding the right products was nigh impossible. Then I came across QVC and Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish, a product that literally saved my skin. I was ambivalent about trying it at first as being a newbie to the beauty world I hadn’t heard of Liz Earle but feeling secure in QVC’s incredible 30 day money back guarantee (even if you’ve used it!) I took a chance.

Cleanse and Polish suits all skin types so whatever mood my skin happened to be in it adapted to it. It was gorgeous and so gentle to use and because you use a damp cloth it was something I could even use myself if I was stuck in bed provided my Mum had wet it for me in the first place. When I went into hospital it was the first thing I asked Mum to bring in from home when I was taken in as an emergency admission (at 11 pm) and it was comforting to know that I had it with me to soothe my skin (a bit of calm amidst the turmoil of hospital).

Cleanse and polish made and continues to make my skin clear and stable which makes the use of serums and moisturisers more effective, it also made it possible for me to wear makeup again. So whilst I still get some Lupus rash it doesn’t show or feel anything like it was. Good skin like many things starts with a clean slate.

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