The definitive list of Skincare Ingredients

skincare, top tips

Suffering from a myriad of skincare ailments during my 25 years of life thus far has given me a natural interest in skincare, and ingredients used within skincare products.

Over the years I have experimentally tried various homemade concoctions and shop bought products in the search for perfect skin; ranging from grinding green tea leaves with Manuka honey and smothering the sticky mixture onto my face in a clumpy manner, all the way to using a £130 Chanel face cream, and actually being naïve enough to believe it would make me look ten years younger. I believe I have researched, reviewed, tried and tested so many skincare products that I have now become somewhat of a skincare connoisseur. What I have reluctantly realised is that informing yourself on ingredients is paramount to choosing the right skincare for your skins needs. Below I have compiled a list of what I have found to be the most popular and effective ingredients presently being used in skincare.

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A – Amino Acids – Formed to build Creatine, Amino Acids will support natural skin functions. Cells are stimulated to produce more collagen and elastin. This helps to maintain younger looking skin.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

Vitamin A – Topical Vitamin A used in creams and serums is proven by dermatologists as anti-aging. UV Exposure and other environmental factors cause the production of collagen to slow down, consequently causing early signs of ageing. Vitamin A (and Retinol / Retinoid which are derivatives of Vitamin A) ‘’turn on cells’’ that are responsible for producing new collagen, actively fighting signs of ageing and blitzing fine lines (Canyon Ranch, 2018).

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types – Vitamin A can be drying, use sparingly on sensitive & dry skin types]

B – BHA – BHA is an acronym for Beta Hydroxy Acid. This is the structural name for Salicylic acid that can be used to fight signs of acne. Salicylic Acid gets through oil and helps to normalize pores, reducing the production of blackheads and spots. Don’t let the word ‘’acid’’ put you off (skincare acids are not the type that burn through your skin, thank goodness because that would be worrying!), BHA contains naturally calming and exfoliating properties, giving skin a rejuvenating glow.

[Recommended for Oily skin & Acne sufferers]

C – Caffeine – Being a stimulant, caffeine can offer anti-oxidant benefits to skin. It penetrates skin and is ultra-soothing.

[Recommended for those with non-sensitive skin as Caffeine can potentially be an irritant]

Collagen – Perhaps one of the ingredients we are more familiar with, but what does Collagen actually do for our skin? Collagen is a protein found throughout our body. It is produced naturally within our skin, and one of its fundamental functions is to provide elasticity. However, with factors such as stress, ageing, pollutants and UV damage affecting skin over time – collagen production can slow down. Using skincare products with added collagen will help to maintain the skins elasticity and firmness that we associate with youthful skin.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

D – Vitamin D – When we talk about Vitamin D we generally think about UV Rays, However, Vitamin D oils and serums can be hugely beneficial to skin. Vitamin D helps to minimise acne, retain skins elasticity and lessen fine lines. UV Rays from the sun help the body to naturally produce Vitamin D; moreover if you live in a northern climate it is possible to develop a deficiency. You can orally take Vitamin D supplements, or search for skincare that contains Vitamin D.

[Recommended for Oily / Combination skin]

G – Glycolic Acid – Glycolic Acid exfoliates the skin, it is often used in toners / toning solutions. It helps to shed dead skin, giving a natural glow and radiance.

[Recommended for Oily / Combination skin]

H – Hyaluronic Acid – Ah yes the wonder ingredient that is absolutely everywhere at the moment! Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means that it is a moisture binding ingredient. It helps to keep skin plump, firm and younger looking. FYI – it is a naturally found compound in the body, which is also used (completely safely may I add) in lip fillers, hence the ‘’plumping’’ affect.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

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M – Marula Oil – Marula Oil is essentially made up of many fatty acids. Because of this it has the potential to deeply hydrate skin, healing skin and improving elasticity. If used regularly it can improve skin softness.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types / Particularly Dry Skin]

P – Peptides – When collagen breaks down, short segments of amino acids are formed. These are the tiny proteins and active molecules known as peptides. Peptides in skin care can provide significant anti-aging benefits (Mango Madness Skincare, 2018).

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

R – Retinol – Retinol is essentially a large dose of Vitamin A, used for anti-aging in skincare. Retinol, like Vitamin A, will boost collagen production – banishing fine lines and wrinkles. It is important to remember to only use one Retinol treatment at a time, and to use sun protection – Retinol can thin the skin layers by gently scrubbing away at dead skin cells. This can leave skin open to sun damage if you use Retinol daily for longer durations.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types – Vitamin A can be drying, use sparingly on sensitive & dry skin types /Also recommended for Acne & Hyperpigmentation]

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S – Squalane – Often named as the replacement for Argan and Coconut oil, Squalane oil offers many benefits for skin. It is derived from plants, and the same oil is naturally produced in our bodies. Using it topically helps to main Squalane oil levels as we age. It is also noncomedegenic, which means it is one of the oils least likely to clog pores (Popsugar, 2017).

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

V – Vitamin C – We all aware of the health benefits of Vitamin C, as it is often recommended to fight to common cold. But did you know this Vitamin is also a powerhouse for skincare? Due to its anti-oxidant properties Vitamin C helps skin to fight off any oxidative stress. Results show that over time Vitamin C will help your skin to enhance its natural defence system.  Vitamin C is also great for anti-aging.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types] 

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How to stay motivated as a freelancer

opinion piece, top tips

It’s that question that we all dread at family functions; if you’ve studied a subject and are now working a ‘normal’ job until you are able to get into what you want. Then you’ll fully understand.

‘So what’s your new job then?’

‘It’s an admin job. ‘

It’s at that point they stare at you with both confusion and dismay. But you studied journalism, aren’t you working for the BBC?

Anyone who studies / studied any of the subjects that come under the diverse umbrella of ‘creative industries’ will understand my struggle. Creative industries are highly competitive – and experience based. Meaning, if you are not funded by financially supportive parents it can be very difficult to enter such an industry. Often, journalists are expected to complete several unpaid internships before being able to compete for an entry level job.

Sometimes I feel real low about this. I feel like a failure because I’m not where I want to be. But it takes time. I write, I write as much as I possibly can. On top of my blog that you are reading right now, I’m also doing a freelance internship at The Beauty Guild Gazette (pictured the latest Easter issue).

Which is the most read beauty trade magazine in the industry. But when the stresses of life and your day to day admin job hit you – it can be difficult to keep your sights on how well you are doing and how far you’ve come.

Here are my top tips for any freelancers in any of the creative industries:

1. Networking is key

Networking is going to be your best friend. If you are socially inept now is the time to re think your strategy. Most of my best opportunities to write have come from chance meetings at blogging events. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely you are to meet the right people who can help you. Remember, social media is great – but maintaining and creating a real life connection with someone is sometimes priceless.

2. Don’t lose focus & keep practicing

Set yourself a goal to keep yourself in check. For example ‘I’m going to publish at least one blog post per month’. This helps you stay on the right path, and will keep your focus in the forefront of your subconscious mind. Otherwise, when you are juggling a normal job and a freelance career – it’s easy to get comfortable in the normal job as it becomes a routine. Writing, as with most other creative practices are talents that need to be practiced in order to be maintained. Every single time I write my passion is reignited.

3. Lower your standards

I mean this in the sense of, not expecting to graduate become to editor of Vogue magazine. Of course, we can set our sights and visions high and this is a positive attribute. However we must also be realistic, or we set ourselves up for failure. Have the highest standard of goals, but by realistic of when you can achieve them. You’ll find by comparing yourself to others or setting unrealistic goals only makes you less motivated. Think about your goals and focuses with a logical mind. As previously mentioned, you’ll also need to be willing to do a lot of work for free.

Never give up on your dream.

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. 

Why staying in is the new going out 

top tips

For me, staying in at the weekend is a sensible choice. I don’t mean being a total social recluse – but choosing to stay in once in a while rather than going ‘out out’. You know, wasting ridiculous amounts of money in pretentious clubs and bars, surrounded by pretentious people you pretend to like. Don’t get me wrong, you can have a great night out partying when you are celebrating an ocassion. Or attending an actual event. But for me, long gone are the teenage days when I got shit faced for no reason; or to drown my sorrows. Because you know what, getting drunk to blur out your dull reality does not work. And quite often it’s an expensive mistake. Both emotionally and on your pocket. 

I am approaching 25 this October; I actually can’t think of anything better than chilling with a close friend, watching a horror movie with a night filled full of carbs. 


We are part of a millennial generation whom can’t afford cars. We can’t afford to leave our parental homes. I can’t understand what everyone is celebrating every weekend? 

Sure it’s great to let your hair down and relax. And everybody has different ways of doing so, I get that. However, we work damn hard for our money. And with the current economic climate, unless you happen to be in a very generously paid job. If you are young, living at home, or even alone… chances are you are struggling financially like the rest of us. So don’t go out every weekend getting drunk because you feel it’s the socially normal thing to do. Think for yourself. Do you really want to waste over £100 every Saturday night? You could save up and do something much more productive, without the hangover. 

So next weekend, or maybe even the weekend after. Consider this: staying in with a friend, getting some awesome carby snacks and watching a movie. I guarantee the entire night will cost you under £15. Bargain! 

Of course you can’t stay in watching films every weekend. But there are cheap alternative days / nights out; 

1. Find a gem of a restaurant 

Once I discovered Tortilla, which is basically the subway heaven of Burritos -my life changed. All this for under a tenner. You need to find your Tortilla, and it can be your go to restaurant every time you are trying to save money. 2. Free events 

Time out is great for advertising free events around London, or cheap nights out. They also advertise when restaurants do free food or giveaways. Great if you want a free lunch / dinner. 

3. Find your interests, attend events 

We are lucky enough to have some of the best museums and events in the world in London. And I feel young people don’t exploit this fact enough. Many of them are free to enter, you can spend your weekend exploring cultural and historical facts. Who knows, you may awaken a new hobby or interest. 

I hope everyone has a blessed weekend 💋

How to create aesthetic flatlays on a budget 

top tips

Flatlays have become the epitomisation of every lifestyle blogger on Instagram. I have gone to extreme lengths to create beautiful configurations; butchering my parents garden to find pretty petals, taking the same picture (but ever so slightly different) 500 times, waking up extra early in order to catch that sunrise glow, perfect lighting for my pictures. If you take blogging seriously, you need good content. Flatlays are aesthetic af, and can aid your brand image. They create a consistent theme throughout your Instagram. However you don’t need to spend a lot of money in order to create beautiful flatlays… 

I went shopping this weekend specifically for flatlay items – I purchased all the above items for £10. Quite unbelievable. Everything pictured is from Primark, Wilkinsons and Poundstretcher. 
Here’s how to create great flatlays on a tight budget; 

1. The white rug 

Almost every blogger has a white sheepskin rug that they quite often use as backgrounds for their flatlays / pics. You can purchase a faux one from eBay for around £8. It’s a great cheap background especially for beauty products. 

2. Get creative with what you already have 

Use old magazines to create collages, use make up to create interesting backgrounds. Anything you have at home already could be used for pictures, so hunt around and create a box for all flatlay items. Also spending time being creative can be therapeutic. Especially for anyone suffering with anxiety or panic attacks. The creativity will relax you, and inspire further creativity. 

3. Think outside the box 

For example I reviewed a natural range for http://www.reallyree.com, consisting of a bath/body oil, body scrub & moisturiser. Now because the specific brand [Elemental Herbology], pride themselves on using natural, healing ingredients. I thought the images should reflect this, so I took some really natural shots in my garden of the products placed in the dirt, grass and flowers. Nature is so beautiful – and absolutely free to use in images! 

4. Establish a theme 

Write down 5 key colours that you want to use in all your flatlays. This will create consistency, and means you can search for items you already own that fit the theme. 

5. Shop smart 

If, like me, you start to run out of ideas and you decide to shop for flatlay items; be sure to shop around. Budget stores like Primark and Wilkinsons (plus more) have great homeware and stationery sections. Charity shops and car boot sales will also have great bargains. 

Enjoy, and happy flatlaying girls! 

Three reasons why you need an anti-pollution spray 

product review, top tips

So I’ve been using Verso’s anti pollution mist for around 1 week now; and to be honest nothing has changed. My skin is exactly the same as it was before. Ah I hear you cry, why are you still using it? It is not only about the visible differences, it’s not about improving skin texture. Ultimately it’s about protection. 

As we are all aware pollution is at a dangerously high level, particularly in London. And not only can it affect our physical health, it can also cause premature aging. 

Here’s why you should buy an anti pollution spray; 

1. Plan ahead 

So of course you won’t know right away if your skin is being protected, but think of the future. You don’t want damage to your skin – especially when given the choice to avoid it 

2. It’s an investment 

Some of the high end sprays can be quite pricey. But this is because the anti pollution sprays are still relatively new to the beauty scene, once they are mainstream, like anything they will be readily available in your local Superdrug for £10 and under. But it’s an investment in your skin, and you only get one skin after all 

3. Hydration 

Pollution can also cause drying of the skin, so using the mist before or after make up application can protect against drying elements. Brilliant for summer and winter.