Are commercial brands like Neutrogena suitable for sensitive skin? 

opinion piece

*Disclaimer; I am not a trained cosmetologist or scientist, opinions included within this post are based on my own experience, skin type, research and opinion* 

I know I have previously mentioned all of my hundreds of skincare concerns, however I am going to reiterate for the sake of this post. My skin seems to incessantly hate me, for it doesn’t matter how much time or money I spend trying to love it – it still misbehaves almost instantaneously. The main problem is that I have suffered with acne for the last 10 years, meaning my t-zone is naturally full of oil. I was taking accutane for a year to treat my acne (a very strong drug used to treat cancer and other ailments). This drug severely dries out your skin, so now I have both permanently oily and dry skin. Oily overall with dry peeling patches. So not ideal really. 

Over the last few years, I have tried and tested a myriad of skincare brands and products. And there seems to be one thing in common with a majority of them.  They are super stringent on sensitive skin, and consequently cause an over production of sebum – making any skin issues worsen. You see, if you strip your skin of its natural oils, as a defence mechanism your skin will start to product more sebum (oil). An over production of sebum is what causes acne. This is counter productive to treating your oily skin problem, as you are in fact adding to the issue. 

If your skin feels tight after your skincare regime, you may be using a cleanser containing alcohol. Or simply over cleansing. A lot of drugstore / commercial brands use alcohol within their face washes and toners. 

I recently attended a press event for Neutrogena, where I received these skincare products in my goodie bag:Using these products just emphasised to me how there is an entire branch of the skincare industry misadvertising. If we take the above cleanser as an example, ‘gently cleanses..’ – there is nothing gentle about this cleanser I can assure you. I have attempted to use this cream wash and it totally dried out my skin. It contains alcohol AND salicylic acid. Now, although salicylic acid is known for its acne fighting properties. What these advertisers often don’t mention is that prolonged use can dry and thin skin, and cause excessive dryness. The combination of these two ingredients plus a whole host of other chemicals makes these products very drying. There are also websites where you can check if a product contains irritant ingredients, this is helpful as you can check before investing. It’s important to remember that some of these ingredients are necessary, however try to choose products with less harmful amounts of these irritant ingredients. 

I’m sure that these products may be suitable for those with less sensitive skin. However the fact that some of the ingredients are harmful to skin, rings alarm bells in my mind. 

If you do have sensitive skin, I would avoid brands that make products similar to this. Remember to check ingredients before purchasing. Here are some other tips to stop you from over-drying your skin; 

1. Limit chemical exposure 

If you can, try to cleanse with a plain oil or water. Of course you can use a gentle oil or make up remover to take off make up beforehand 

2. Tone it down 

A lot of toners are stringent and drying. They often contain perfumes, alcohol and salicylic acid. Check the ingredients, and remove them from your skincare regime 

3. Creamy dreamy 

Invest in an appropriate moisturiser for your skin type. Especially for over night moisturisation, this will help to repair skin and leave it replenished in the morning 

The conclusion is that you must be over careful when purchasing skincare products. Always check and research ingredients – and be aware of what your own skin can handle and needs. Every facial wash out there is going to emphasise how brilliant it is – we must learn to read between the lines. I think as consumers we can often become lazy, and we trust certain brands because they have a huge reputation. This does not necessarily mean that they always have our best interests at heart. Products are produced on a mass scale to make money. Sometimes, you have to stop and think about what exactly you are choosing to lump on your skin. 

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November beauty heroes 

product review

The past month has been crazy busy; and what has been a flurry of beauty reviews, starting a new job and alcohol fuelled event launches has just flown by. Having a superabundance of products to try is certainly nothing to complain about, but it does however making choosing the best of the bunch a hard job. 

Here is what I’ve loved this month and why: 

1. Protect the skin your in 

What skin needs, Skin balm, £9.99 

Forever fighting a battle against my skin, I’m always on the lookout for ‘miracle’ products to surpress my ever growing list of skin concerns. This skin balm works at reducing several types of irritations, including eczema, dry skin, acne and sunburn. It is made in Australia, and derived from a Phyto Activated plant extract. From the first night I used it, I saw a visible difference to my skin condition. An absolute steal at £9.99. 
2. Perfect for Christmas, perfect for you 

Ghost sweetheart gift set, £38 

This gift set is amazing value for £38. It contains a 50ml version of the Ghost Sweetheart perfume (which is absolutely enchanting, without being overpowering), two nail varnishes, a candle, a make up bag and body butter. Everything smells divine, everything has rose gold on it. It’s a beauty bloggers dream. This would make a perfect Christmas gift for a loved one, or why not for yourself!? 

3. Sometimes natural 
Kiss Lash Couture Eyelashes in Little Black Dress, £5.32 

As a serial lash wearer (I feel terribly bald without them), it’s difficult to find daily lashes. The trouble of searching for a glamorous false lash that isn’t totally ridiculous in the workplace. I think I have finally found a feasible solution! Kiss’ latest Lash Couture range uses faux mink lashes, which are soft and easy to use but give a good length. They look really pretty on, a lovely flirty natural lash. 

Kiss Lash Couture Lashes in ‘Little Black Dress’

5 signs you are in a toxic friendship 

opinion piece

There are numerous songs written about the pains of heart break. Losing the one you love, the emotional and physical side affects of people’s worlds seemingly falling apart. However when it comes to friendships, we have more pride. When you break up with a good friend, you act as if you don’t care. When really, it can be just as painful as any relationship break up. We’ve all been there, having had a best friend that you thought would be around forever. Things change and people move on. But how do you arm yourself from falling victim to a fake friend in the future? 

There is no sure fire way to tell a friends intentions, especially at the beginning of friendships. Naturally over time peoples true colours will shine through, until then keep your guard up and your observation on point. 

Over the years I’ve come across many friends and acquaintances; a diverse range of people. It’s difficult to correlate any similarities in my individual friendships with these people and why they turned out to be so fake. It’s hard to pin point. Moreover, there are some similarities that I have noticed. If only I had been warned in hindsight I may not have wasted my time with such individuals. Below are my 5 main signs that your friendship is not as rosy as you anticipated. 

1. It’s always on you 

This is one of the more obvious signs, but it doesn’t always show in long term friendships, as people can get complacent and comfortable. If you feel within your friendship that the effort is one way – maybe it’s time to stop trying. Frankly, if someone who is part of a generation of people who walk around with their phones glued to their hands (sorry to stereotype millenials) can’t find 30 seconds in their day to message you; Perhaps, really you ought to accept that they don’t care as much as you do. 

Wasting your time chasing someone who isn’t interested in spending their time with you can be draining, and demoralising. The only way to stop this is to either approach your friend and discuss how you feel, or simply to stop making the effort. The way in which your friend reacts can often be a sign of how they view / value / don’t value your relationship. 

2. They are severely selfish 

Don’t get me wrong, your twenties are the perfect time to be utterly and completely selfish. And I get that. There’s levels to selfishness though – the trick is to tell who is around because you are of beneficial use to them? And who is around you because they genuinely enjoy your company? 

The reasons why your friends want to meet up, why they want to see you. Will often be a huge giveaway if their subconscious intentions are pejorative. For example: if a friend only contacts you when they need something from you, this pattern will emerge with clarity after the passing of time – try to nip it in the bud to avoid further hurt. 

3. Going with the flow 

If one of your friends seems passive in conversation, they could just be genuinely shy, or they could secretly hate you but despise confrontation? Alarm bells should start ringing in your mind if this person who is supposedly close to you, cannot express an opinion when they conversate with you. That portrays that they either don’t agree with something about you, they are secretly jealous or they talk about you to others. Of course, we can’t spend our lives being massively paranoid – we wouldn’t trust our own mothers. But if your friend exhibits a few of these traits, there could be some underlying reasons why. 

4. Misery needs company 

Good friends will contact you whenever they can, within reason. If you only hear from a friend when they are down, it could be that they just want you as a shoulder to temporarily cry on. This is fine as friends will help each other through tough times, the problem arises when this particular friend no longer has an interest in you when circumstances in their life become happier. This is pretentiousness. This is an example of narcissism. They need you to stroke their ego when things are not going smoothly, when all is well you get dashed to the side like an unwanted child’s toy. 

5. Enjoy the party 

We all go through chronological phases in our lives. The entirety of life is a learning curve. Most people at some stage have a phase of partying in their life – no matter how regularly they go out or how wild they are they enjoy the party scene. The party scene is great for temporary thrills. Sometimes it’s difficult to see amidst the alcohol fuelled nights out and drug binges who your true friends are. Stop partying and see who’s still around? Who wants to actually know you as a person when you become ‘boring’? 

Friends should be around regardless. Regardless if you want to get smashed everyday or you chose to read a book in the library. Why should it even matter? You accept diversity within people, and you accept them for who they are. 

If you have a friend who exhibits more than one of these traits towards you, then you need to seriously reconsider your friendship. It can be difficult and awkward to confront these things, but, as with most things in life – honesty is the best policy. Talk through how you feel and how it can be resolved. Otherwise just leave. Go and get yourself a better, loyal friend who’s there for life. Not just the parties or the good times. Forever friends. 

Winter miracle: Balmkind Alpine & Lysine lip balm 

product review

I have previously mentioned in my blogposts that I suffer from an overactive bladder, without boring you with the medical details – this means I take medication to relax the bladder muscles. One of the most annoying side effects, is the severe drying I encounter on my lips through taking these tablets. This means my intense struggle to find a stable lip balm to see me through winter, is an uphill one to say the least. 


Desperately trying to soften my medically induced dry lips I have tried a plethora of lip balms including, but not limited to: Burts Bee’s, Vaseline (both the stick and the pot versions), Carmex (my usual go-to) and also Eve Lom. A majority of the mentioned lip balms provide temporary relief from the dryness, but do not condition the lips with any longevity. 

Super excited to try a new lip balm I was sent from Balmkind, I was filled with a hopelessly optimistic glimmer of hope that I may have finally found ‘the one’. 

Balmkind is a relatively new brand which was launched earlier this year, the lip balm is infact the only product they currently sell. I really like the fact they use antixiodant rich ingredients; Alpine Rose and Lysine (an essential Amino Acid). This means the lip balm not only nourishes, but aims to improve the overall condition of the lips, especially over longer periods of use. 

How did it perform? 

It has a lovely consistency, it’s not sticky or gloopy. It sits on your lips, and provides a lovely natural pink tone. I did find it to be brilliant at nourishing my lips, and it would be a good buy for anyone who suffers with parched lips. When testing lip balms I generally like to carry out what I call a ‘Re-application test’. This refers to the amount of time I take to feel as if I need to re-apply the balm, you know that dry nagging that almost hurts – it’s at that precise despairing moment in time we reach to re-apply. Balmkind lasted 35 minutes without me needing to re-apply, and that is pretty darn impressive by my standards. 

Our lips are often one of the areas we neglect, however it is mandatory to exfoliate and moisturise them accordingly; if not regularly, this should be done every once in a while as part of our skin care regimes. It is part of our skin after all. 

Overall score – 8/10 

The lip balm is £14 and available here

Versatile Blogger Award nomination

award

One of the fundamental reasons I started blogging is because of my passion for writing; one of the reasons why I did a Bachelors degree in Journalism, and arguably one of the only things I am actually good at. Blogging for me encapsulates my love for writing, and gives me the creative control to write about what I want, what I enjoy and what inspires me. Initially I aimed to write about deeper issues with the beauty and fashion industries; however holding down a full time job gives me severe time restrictions and so my longer, in-depth, opinion pieces are somewhat limited. Publishing reviews (still well-written and not one dimensional) has proceeded to become my forte.

I’m so honoured to be nominated for this award; it still amazes me that anyone would read anything I write – beyond close friends and family. Let alone over 400 people (the number is ever increasing, not to sound conceited at all!). It feels great that my writing can reach so many people, and if it entertains, inspires or helps even just one of you – then my job is done. I would like to thank Multibendybeauty for nominating me, what a sweetheart!

About the Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award is pretty self-explanatory; the aim is to recognise bloggers who publish well-written and unique content.

If you are nominated, you’ve been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award.

There are some simple rules when being nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award;

  • You should post about your nomination, and thank the fellow blogger who nominated you
  • You must nominate 15 other bloggers you follow that inspire you
  • You must use one of the approved pictures for your feature image on your post
  • You are advised to include 7 facts about yourself

My 15 nominees for The Versatile Blogger Award are (in no particular order):

 

Seven (random) facts about me:

IMG_5469

  1. Those who know me on a personal level will already know this; but I have a worrying obsession with cars. My blog is focused on beauty, so a lot of you don’t get to see this side of my life – but cars make up a huge part of my life.
  2. I’m naturally brunette but have been colouring my hair since I was around 15 (and yes, luckily I do still have some left which is a miracle)
  3. I used to love piercings, and I have 3 not including my ears. I have my tongue pierced, my belly button and a medusa piercing above my lip.
  4. I don’t have any tattoos, and I don’t think I would get any unless it had a significant meaning. I have nothing against them, I just find it’s increasingly difficult to design unique designs – and I would not want to be stuck with one the rest of my life for the sake of it. It’s got to be worth it.
  5. I have a cat called Gucci. And yes she is just as high maintenance as her name.
  6. Food is another huge obsession of mine, infact this is a massive understatement. Most of my life revolves around food. How I am not obese is truly astonishing.
  7. I speak German and my dad is German (Mum is English).

Thank you for reading this post. I wish all nominees the best with their blogging careers, and heres to many more successful years of blogging.

Missguided Babe Power: Perfume of the moment 

product review

I have loved Missguided as a brand for a few years now; my love affair with them started whilst I was at uni. They allowed for my former broke student self to purchase affordable going out clothes on a whim. They started as an online only retailer, and now even have stored in Westfield – they seem to be doing alright! Based off my love for the brand I was super excited to try their perfume. 


Following the success of Babe Power Perfume which was launched this year (and I had never tried), I was recently sent the atomiser version to review. Being a high street perfume, I must admit I did have my reservations on what to expect. However I turned out to be pleasantly surprised. 

The smell is absolutely divine, and it has fast become my daily perfume (Elie Saab has temporarily been dashed to one side). With notes of vanilla, orange blossom and peony. This sweet combination makes for an alluring scent; it embodies every expectation which you would succumb to imagining a Missguided babe to be. Sweet, sensual, sassy and sexy. 

The atomiser version comes in a 15ml shiny rose gold casing, and features another 15ml refill. I think this is excellent value, in reality you are purchasing 30ml for £15. 


What are you waiting for? Get the scent of the season. 

48 hours in Berlin 

top tips

Going on a mini-break can be exhaustive; you rush around trying to do / see everything humanly possible with a limited amount of time. You may even end up feeling as if you need a second holiday just for recuperative recovery. Yet we still love mini-breaks! 


The end of October I did 48 hours in Berlin, and when it came down to it I was so under prepared it was slightly embarrassing. I’m going to be kind, and give you a hindsight heads up. So that you won’t waste hours looking for a destination that you are in fact standing in, get on a bus travelling in the opposite direction or, perhaps the worst of my naive mistakes, get caught out shopping in the middle of a dangerous storm. 

1. Weekend blues 

Okay now this one is REALLY vital to anyone planning a trip to Berlin that involves any type of shopping. 

If your trip happens to fall on a weekend, it’s important to know that shops close on Sunday. Yes, no limited hours for retail workers. Completely and utterly closed for the entire duration of the day of rest. It’s better to use this day for exploring restaurants / bars / tourist attractions. 
OH and just as a side note, it’s worth checking local news and weather warnings every day of your holiday. Or you may wind up caught in the middle of a somewhat dangerous storm like I did. It was wet windy and unpleasant. 

2. Research is key 

Of course, we all lead busy lifestyles and it’s difficult to find time to do just about anything. But we all have access to Google on our phones, and a little research before your trip will go a long way. Especially in a huge, diverse city like Berlin. 

I would check: 

The main tourist spots to visit (and how to get there, the Berlin public transport system is just as confusing as the London one, except every mode of transport is exceptionally punctual). 

This research will be vital, the city of Berlin is rather huge and has many central sections (much like London). When you have limited time the last thing you want is to waste time going round in circles. 

3. Dress sense 

You will notice, pretty much as soon as you land in Germany that there is a feeling of conservativeness. To avoid awkward amounts of staring I would suggest the appropriate dress to be casual / smart. If you go around autumn / winter time it’s also blisteringly cold, so you won’t be able to dress up anyhow. I would suggest the good ole trusty ‘nice top and jeans’. A warm coat, a scarf and an umbrella. (Of course I had none of these). 

4. Food is life 

Just a few things to note when it comes to ordering food / drinks. 

  • Typically German people drink sparkling water as a rule, always check your water is still if you purchase bottles from shops (assuming you don’t like sparkling) 
  • Germans have a random obsession with marzipan so if you don’t like it, be careful when ordering cakes from bakeries. Sometimes it’s even hidden underneath icing. They get it in every nook and cranny 
  • If you usually drink Diet Coke, they have Coke Light which is practically the same thing, no need to panic 
  • If you ask in store for chips, you will be handed crisps. Chips are pomme frites (just like the French equivalent) 

Food is life, I thought anyone would need to know these helpful tips. 

And on that note I would like to say that I found Berlin to be absolutely enchanting; there is a huge amount of historical context to be explored. Architecture and art to be viewed, and wonderfully tasty (and fatty) food to be consumed. Enjoy, auf Wiedersehen.