You Beauty Discovery Beauty Box – Jan

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This month’s You Beauty Discovery box is full of lots of little goodies and a full-size lip balm from Balmi in a gorgeous scent (Roseberry). With this beauty box you choose two products from a list that changes every month and you receive one or two little surprises in trial sizes. The box costs £6.99 a month which includes delivery and can be cancelled any time.

The two items I chose were:

Balmi Super Cube Lip Balm in Roseberry (full-size)

Lord & Berry Pailettes Eye Pencil in Sparkle Black (deluxe sample size)

My two bonus samples were:

Perfection Gel Cushions (1 pair)

Dr Organic Organic Snail Gel

This month’s box has a great selection. The lip balm (Balmi) has a gorgeous sweet jasmine-like fragrance and comes in a very bling gold cube but it was not as moisture-rich as I hoped but as a caveat I do have extremely dry lips due my Sjogren’s. The Lord and Berry eyeliner is very smooth and soft which surprised me as it does contain glitter. The glitter effect liner is not at all bling but very subtle and will make a nice alternative to the classic black liner.

The Gel Cushions will make a nice addition to my handbag armoury and then there is the Dr Organic Snail Gel. The Snail Gel sounds hideous but once you get past that it’s amazing. I have already been using Dr Organic’s Snail Gel and the Snail Gel Serum for months and it is so dewy and is great for firming and smoothing skin. I use the Snail Gel Serum to seal in my moisturiser at night and it has made my skin look much healthier despite of my many flare-ups. I can’t rave about it enough. The Dr Organic range that can be found  http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/shop/brands/dr-organic/#so=sort_topseller&totalNumRecs=225 has some great products that contain great ingredients at a great price.

http://www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk/

 

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Hello again!

These past few months have been the worst time in my life. I have had chronic conditions for 10 years and have never suffered this bad before. I am still very shell-shocked by it all and I’m extremely weak and confused but I’ve been stuck inside my house (majority of the time in bed) for too long. I am trying to force myself to start to pick up the things that I enjoyed before by doing at least one small task a day. I am trying not to feel sorry for myself but it’s so hard! everyone’s strength runs out at some point. I thought that my blog, make-up and you lovely people would be the perfect place to start my journey back. As a lot of time has passed I have a lot of catching up to do, so how are you all? xx

YOU Beauty Discovery Box Review Featuring NUDE Rescue OIL

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I went to the YOU Beauty website solely to purchase the Limited Edition CEW Box that I reviewed in the previous post. I was pleased to pay £19.99 for the box and was expecting the standard £4.95 for postage but on reading the postage terms I saw that YOU Beauty Discovery Box members did not have to pay postage so I looked into the YOU Beauty Discovery Box. I really didn’t need another subscription but as the Discovery Box only costs £6.99 and also has free postage it seemed rude and imprudent not to sign-up! I saved myself the £4.95 p&p that I was prepared to pay for the Limited Edition Box and got for two pounds more another box (see how my brain works?).

The YOU Beauty Discovery Box is the cheapest subscription beauty box that I’ve come across and allows you to choose two beauty samples from a selection that changes each month. You also get some extra treats in your box. As this was my first box I don’t know if the extra treats are always food/beverage related but all but one were were on this occasion.

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The two samples I chose were:

  • Nude Progenius Rescue Oil (5ml)
  • Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish (15ml)

The Exuviance Triple Microdermabrasion Face Polish contains Papaya Enzyme and Glycolic Acid, which helps to explain why it smells like Elemis’ Papaya Enzyme Peel. Anything that involves the word acid always makes me shudder even though I know that many of these acids naturally occur in the skin and the fact that is says ‘triple’ dermabrasion also left me a little concerned. After testing it on the back of my hand the other day and finding that it was gentler than expected I gave it a go on the face the following day. The Polish is a little gritty but you are encouraged in the instructions not to scrub at your face, just gentle massage it over. You apply to a clean wet face and then wash off after two minutes. The Face Polish does rinse well and quickly as some other products I’ve used that contain those scrubbing grains can be nuisance to wash off gently. My skin felt clean afterwards and not at all dry or tight and it didn’t even make my skin blush let alone red-up. Skin felt politely prepped for the application of my next sample choice.

I’m a huge fan of oils and use a range of different ones to suit the demands of my skin at the time. When all my vials of oils are lined up my dressing table looks like a Victorian apothecary and I do treat them as my skin’s medicine cabinet. The Nude Rescue Oil contains Omega and Bakuchiol which is described in the accompanying booklet as ‘nature’s answer to retinol’. The oil claims to ‘refine and clarify’ the skin. The oil is very liquidy and almost melts mid-air before it reaches your palm which means it can be a bit messy if you don’t get it from hands to face super-quick. The oil glides on easily because of it’s runniness and your skin feels instantly smooth and soft. The effect on the skin in the morning is of a rested and clear complexion which is tough for me to achieve at the moment as I’ve been really ill and unable sleep despite being doped up on a cocktail of drugs. I probably used too much the first-time I used the oil, a little really goes a long way, there is a pump dispenser on the bottle despite it being a sample. Whilst a 5ml sample doesn’t seem huge because you only use a tiny bit for the whole face it should last a significant time. One thing to note though is that it doesn’t have a lovely smell, it’s not horrible but I think because of the Omega it has a little hint of the fish oil about it. I think I’ve just made it sound worse than it is as it’s a very subtle smell and I only generally pick these things up as I’m super sensitive to smells but I thought I’d let you know as you might be disappointed if you’re used to oils with floral smells such as Rose and Lavender.

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Still struggling with nausea at the moment so not tried any of the extra treats but teas are always welcome and I love strawberries so I hope I’ll be able to try then soon. The box was a lovely treat and well worth the money.

http://www.youbeautydiscovery.co.uk/

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

Elemis Treats Free with Marie Claire UK

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In this month’s edition of Marie Claire UK you get one of these two Elemis goodies for free. I love Elemis products. Elemis is a British brand that blends science with nature harmoniously to create effective but pure products. With Marie Claire you get either the Papaya Enzyme Peel or the Illuminating Flash Balm.

I ran out of The Papaya Enzyme Peel a few months back and haven’t yet replaced it as I’ve been distracted with new things courtesy of my BirchBox and GlossyBox subscriptions but I’m so glad to see it with Marie Claire as it made me remember how much I loved it. Firstly, it smells divine and conjures up an image of tropical sunsets (always appreciated in damp and grey England). It is gentle but invigorating, pepping up the skin by kindly buffing the surface leaving behind clean, supple skin with a fresh-faced can-do attitude.

I’m still using my first full-size Elemis Illuminating Flash Balm but I have to say that I can take it or leave it. It is pleasant enough to use and has a similar fresh and peppy approach to the skin but I’ve found I’ve used other products more, such as: Benefits Porefessional, Clinique’s Smart Custom Serum (reviewed in an earlier post), Liz Earle’s Skin Tonic, even Ultrasun’s 30 Face which is a sun screen acts as a pretty good pre-foundation perk-up. It can sometimes make my skin a little too pink and flushed but this is probably due to my Lupus and Sjogren’s sensitivities which can make me prone to blotches and redness.

Elemis’ Pro-Collagen Marine Cream and Elemis’ Cleanisng Balm are in my first division of skincare essentials. Elemis’s Pro-Collagen Marine Cream is my summer moisturiser, it’s light, gel-like texture make ideal for summer skin unburdened by winter blights but its moisturising and anti-aging credentials mean that although light to touch still deliver powerful effects.

Clinique Smart Custom Repair Serum

I LOVE magazine freebies. I’m a sucker for anything free in the title especially when it’s a beauty freebie. Not only is this month’s UK issue of In Style magazine giving away a beauty freebie but it’s a new launch beauty freebie – Clinique’s Smart Custom Repair Serum. I have been trialling the serum for over a week now. The product claims to ‘respond to skin’s individual needs. Visibly repairs lines and wrinkles, dark spots, uneven tone, firms, imparts radiance.’ There is not much written information regarding the product’s ingredients so I’ll just mention a few that are named on the box: grapefruit, mulberry, grape, barley and cucumber. I have to say I have never heard of barley being used before, does anyone know what it’s benefits are?

The sample is a generous size for a serum (10ml). It’s pretty costly in it’s full-size form the retail starting price is over £40. The serum’s texture is not like any other serum I know in that it’s thicker and creamier as most other serums are oil-based. It’s texture is similar to that of a primer such as Benefit’s Porefessional and I think the link between primers and this serum extends in the airbrushing effect that this serum has had on my skin. The serum has evened-out my skin-tone and redness and, most notably for me, reduced the look of my pores – just like a primer would. Except the serum is skincare not makeup, so the effects stay and improve over time. I’ve seen an improvement in tone and radiance over just seven days. As for its effects on wrinkles I confess that due to my age I’m probably not the best person to test that line of the product on.

As those of you with chronic conditions may attest my skin will never be stable, even if I had all the creams in the world so I have learnt to build up an arsenal of skincare weaponry to fight any battle conditions. I have my rosehip oil for extreme dryness, my Liz Earle oil for calm, for example but if I can get over the price of this serum I would very much like to add it to my skin care arsenal to fight uneven terrain.

N.B. On the box it says apply morning and night so it may be viable for some to forgo a primer and use this serum instead in the mornings.

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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?

The Skincare Equivalent to Hot Chocolate

I recently tried Birchbox’s beauty box delivery and have loved how it has opened me up to experiencing new products and often unheard of (to me at least) brands. One of my most prized ‘discoveries’ has been the Masque Crème Fraiche by Nuxe. It must be good as I hate masks; I hate the mess, the time it takes, the texture and the tight, often stingy feeling that gets left on my face. The Nuxe mask is different.

The mask is gentle right from the way it is applied through to how it is removed due to it’s milk-like texture (it can be gently removed by cotton-wool or a damp cloth). It’s smell is subtle and calming and takes just a few minutes to work, so easily applied even if your bed-bound. As it’s not harsh it could be used a few times a week for a moisture boost and the moisturising effects are long-lasting. My Sjogren’s acts as a massive sponge taking away all my skin’s moisture and when it’s very active I sometimes have to apply quite rich moisturiser a few times during the day just to keep my skin ‘stable’. This masque means those applications are less during the 24 hours after I applied it. Effective and lovely to use. A comforting layer for those harsh winter days – ‘uuummmm!’.

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Masking your Woes

I think if there is one thing that unites all of us with chronic illness(es) it is disturbed sleep: too much, too little, too heavy, too light – we can rarely get it right. Poor sleep is synonamous with poor skin, which is unfortunate. Beauty brands capitalise on masking a bad nights sleep with various ‘anti-fatigue’ related products and test their products on a sympathetic pool of volunteers. Well, if a brand really wants to claim to be ‘anti-fatigue’ they should try it on us! If it works on us it truly is a miracle cream. It seems, however, no brand has been brave enough to take that test which is a shame, as if there ever is a group of people that would appreciate a great product it would be us. And if it works on us it would work on anyone! I guess we’re too big a challenge.

Whilst waiting for the miracle products to take away any sign on our skin of the suffering we feel there are some products out there that can and do make a difference. And sometimes, just the promise of a skin benefit can lift the spirit (a beauty placebo). So whilst this blog may never discover the dream cream it plans to share those small comforts and joys to be found in taking the time to care for your outside, to distract from what cannot be controlled in the inside.

I hope this makes some sense. I haven’t slept.