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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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

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. 

Current beauty faves that you need for Winter 

product review

Not to brag or sound terribly conceited but recently it seems I am being  sent products constantly! Several boxes arriving every week out of nowhere – it’s actually a little overwhelming. Amazing, but overwhelming. However, there are some products that are absolutely outstanding, and will be essential for the upcoming Winter season. These are the ones I need to inform you of. 

I have combination skin, meaning it can be oily and dry at the same time (it often is and it drives me barmy). It means that my face will be dry to the point of peeling skin, whilst also managing to look like I have been dipped in a chip fat fryer, all at the same time. So any products I find that can quench the dehydration my skin insistently suffers from is an absolute godsend. 
1. Spritz your worries away 

Mario Badescu facial spray, £7 

This bad boy is only £7, and contains some great ingredients to help feed skin in desperate times of dryness. Cucumber, Aloe Vera and Green Tea are all known for their renewing and rejuvenating properties. The spray is great because it provides a moisture boost before you even apply make up for the day; and I have the miniature version so it’s great for travelling and handbag use. 

2. Contour contour contour 

Nars bronzing powder in Laguna, £29

I really felt my usual girly pink shade of Blusher just wouldn’t suffice for winter. Winter make up should always be darker, in correlation with the weather and subsequent darkness we must endure. This Nars bronzer is great for dusting over cheeks to give a tanned effect, but it’s also great at one of my favourite tasks. Contouring. It gives definitive lines, and also has a slight shimmer so looks great on cheekbones. A worthy investment. 

3. Crusty lips 

EveLom KissMix, £16

This lip balm provides a cooling sensation which hydrates and protects lips, even in extreme weather conditions. Mandatory in the winter months which can leave lips chapped and damaged. A must have. 

Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara: Influenster Vox Box review 

product review

I’ll be totally honest here, I have no clue how to use Influenster. Perhaps I’m just getting old (25, quarter of a century I’ll have you know), some of this technical social media online stuff I just have no clue about. I had been playing around with it, posting random reviews of cleaning products (how glamorous) and make up I had used many moons ago. But didn’t think much of it, however last week I received my first Vox Box from Influenster. 


Amazingly, my first box *which was received for complimentary purposes* was from Marc Jacobs Beauty. It certainly looked the part. It was their new Velvet Noir Mascara. It appeared luxuriant, with it’s classy monochrome design.  

Does it perform as well as it looks? 

The mascara has a rather large brush, and in this case size does matter. The width of the brush allows you to apply the mascara efficiently and equally.

The mascara ensures that lashes look naturally long, and are far from clumpy. There is one criticism – I did notice that it’s difficult to build up the layers, whereas with similar high end mascaras you can build layers for more volume quite easily. Is it worth the £22 price tag? I’d say, if you don’t own any other high end mascaras then invest in this one. If you do, then it isn’t really worth it; it’s not particularly special for the price. I believe you can get better. But it isn’t half bad either! And it’s a lovely producy aesthetically, it will look great on your dressing table. 

Overall : 8/10 

Beauty Blog Collective: an intro 

Events & launches

As some of you may or may not know (I have mentioned briefly in the past), I used to write and review beauty products for Really Ree. However, a couple of weeks ago myself and the other contributors were sent a message explaining that Ree no longer wanted us to write for her. She was changing the direction of the website, and wanted to focus solely on her reviews. 

We had a fantastic time reviewing products for the site; receiving some amazing products and receiving exposure from one of the biggest beauty blogs in the UK! A truly great experience. 

After some consideration, we decided that we weren’t done with it. It wasn’t the end for us, seven of us decided to create our own beauty blog. Beauty Blog Collective is now up and running, at its humble beginnings just yet…but we’ve got amazing plans on the horizon. 

It’s really inspiring to work amongst such hard working women. We’re all extremely, terribly busy people – but we all seem to manage to find time to do what we love. Beauty is a passion that we share, and we’re all normal women. That is exactly what we aim to represent, different types of women who have a passion for beauty. 

Here’s to the future! 🥂 

Make Up Revolution ‘Midnight Unicorn’ eyeshadow palette review 

product review

Forever an advocate for amazing budget beauty; Make Up Revolution have been absolutely killing the game recently. Launching cult highlighters, lip kits to rival Miss Jenner…and now this amazingly pigmented Eyeshadow Palette. 

It certainly looks the part! With 16 colourful shades, there really is a myriad of looks you could create using this palette. The blurb claims that the shadows are heavily pigmented, and suited for professional and SFX use.


So does it perform as great as it looks?

The performance (da da daaaaa!) 

I decided to use the palette for the first time on my birthday weekend (great excuse to go OTT with the eye Make up). The colours are as vibrant as they appear in the palette, and they are super easy to blend. I used the pink and black shades, and they lasted 8 hours of drinking cocktails, formidable English rain and a rather humid sushi restaurant. It’s fair to say they got staying power. My only criticism would be the standard brush that comes with the palette is quite hard, it’s stiff and it makes application awkward. I used another of my brushes and they blended nicely. 


Overall 9/10 

I actually can’t pick any faults with this palette. And the fact that I am over excited to get the chance to use it again, really accentuates how fab it is! And you know the best best best part? It’s only £6 😱 

If you don’t buy it, I will seriously have to question your sanity.