Why I won’t be buying another Morphe Liquid Lipstick

I’ve come to love Morphe’s eyeshadows. I know there’s a divide among the beauty community around whether or not they’re good, but I’ve personally found them to be great value for what you pay (mostly, at least).

The lipsticks however, I’m not so sure…

I bought a few of them at once, which included one that I was giving to a friend. She absolutely fell in love with it and has bought the same one at least a couple more times. The nude colour was perfect for her, and lasted really well.

The darker ones that I tried are a different story though. Patchy pigment, difficult to use and just overall not worth it. Could it be that the darker colours are problematic and the lighter ones ok? I don’t know. I just know that after using a few of them and being quite underwhelmed, it’s too much of a gamble for my liking.

The deal breaker for me was the liquid lipstick. I like a liquid lip that you just need one pigmented layer of so you don’t end up with a cakey mess. Even 3 layers of this didn’t achieve the results I was hoping for, and expecting.

Shade: Bloodshot

I opted for this colour because it looked gorgeous. I also love the frosted-glass-style packaging – it looks simple and elegant. Unfortunately that’s all it really had going for it. As you can see from the picture, one swipe leaves the majority of the product at the bit it touches down on, and thins out considerably. This was with minimal force applied. In trying to even it out, patches are created in different areas instead. I just found it really difficult to work with and don’t feel inspired to use it again.

Maybe I’ll give the others another chance, but this is a no-go for me. I guess the risk with buying products online is that they may be less-than-ideal, and we have to accept that.

Have you ever had high hopes for a lipstick and been left very disappointed? I’d love to hear your stories!

Ultrasun SPF – Facial Sun Protection

I’ve been a fan of Swiss-made Ultrasun products for a few years now. I’m very particular about sun protection as I’ve had it drilled into me from a very young age.

After using Ultrasun body products for quite some time, I ventured further into the brand and tried their face products. At the time, there was a more limited range available, but it has grown a lot over time.

Face – SPF 50+

Initially I went with the Face – 50+. This really is a fantastic product which I still reach for to this day, just on a lesser scale.

The description is ‘Anti-ageing & anti-pigmentation sun protection for very sensitive skin’, providing protection against UVA and UVB rays.

The high level of protection is exactly what I’m looking for, and it only has to be applied once a day – a massive benefit for us makeup junkies.

The downside to this one is that it has a slightly more greasy, sticky consistency to a lot of those available these days. It also has a bit of a white cast at first. However, for me the benefits outweigh the negatives with this one, so I’m happy to wear it anyway (just usually on those days where it’s too hot to wear any makeup and have wilted in the heat, thus not caring about my appearance too much!).

Face fluid – SPF 50+

Next up is the facial fluid. I had my eye on this one for quite some time, as it allegedly is less greasy and better for wearing with makeup. I can attest to this!

The description is Brightening, Anti-Spot and Anti-Pollution, so it’s perfect for daily use in an urban environment. It also incorporates moisturising properties and suitable for sensitive skin, so what’s not to love?

A little goes a long way, and if you’re a bit overzealous at times like I am, then you might find yourself with a bit of a white cast initially while the excess product sorts itself out. Just don’t overdo it.

It really is less greasy for me as it’s fast-absorbing, and forms a great base for wearing makeup. This has been tried and tested by me in the sun when I didn’t apply it to a big enough area on my chest (I didn’t have any body SPF on me at the time…). Let’s just say I had peculiar tan lines after I got tanned around the area this was applied to, so I know it definitely does what I want it to do!

As well as the SPF 50+ UVA + UVB protection, it also protects against Infrared-A. Clearly there’s a lot of power packed into the small bottle! It’s also water-resistant so you can be confident that it will last.

There aren’t really any negatives a can think of with this, except perhaps the price as it might be a bit pricey for some.

SPF 50+ Transparent Face Spray

Last but by no means least, the SPF spray.

I saw the Garnier spray and wanted to try that, but of course when I saw that Ultrasun did their own I had to opt for that one above all others.

This is absolutely perfect for bringing in a handbag and topping up throughout the day. The key benefit of this one is that you can use it over makeup without disrupting your look. It also provides UVA and UVB protection, as well as Infrared-A and Blue Light. Blue light is especially something we don’t really think to protect our skin against, but there are products out there – like this one – that can help against the effects of it.

Although it’s a spray, it is alcohol-free, suitable for sensitive skin and non-comedogenic. As with one the above, this is also water-resistant, although there is a reminder on the back of the can to top-up after excessive sweating, swimming or towel-drying. It doesn’t feel remotely sticky, or as though there’s a layer on the skin which I really love.

However, there is a downside for me: I just don’t like facial sprays too much. I tolerate them, especially when they provide convenience and benefits like this one. I guess they just feel a bit invasive, and especially where this has the stereotypical sunscreen smell, it can be a bit overpowering. But the key is to hold your breath – and of course there is a warning of the can to not intentionally inhale.

If you haven’t tried the brand and don’t mind spending a few quid on SPF, it’s definitely worth giving it a go. I’ve only had good experiences with it so far!

Herbivore Botanicals – Blue Tansy Mask

Where do I start?

Herbivore Botanicals has to be one of my favourite skincare brands. From the product quality, to the packaging design, to the range available – they’re just perfect for me!

I had a bit of a buying spree of Herbivore last year and I definitely don’t regret it. I found some staples for my collection in doing so and I expect them to stay there for a long time.

If you’re interested in finding out what I’ve tried and tested from the brand, stay tuned as I’ll be updating as I go along and try more of the products out.

First up, we have the Blue Tansy Mask. This has to be one of the brand’s most popular products, and for good reason. It’s an exfoliating mask made up of BHAs from willow bark, fruit enzymes and Aloe. The key ingredient, however, is Blue Tansy Oil which benefits skin with its calming, anti-inflammatory properties.

What it’s like

The colour ranges from a deep aqua-blue to mossy green. Mine started off with a gorgeous blue hue, but then soon after turned mossy. I know there’s a lot of concern about this out in the market as people think the product has gone off. I have been assured both by Cult Beauty as well as Herbivore Botanicals themselves that there is nothing to worry about, and it’s just that the natural ingredients change over time but are still safe and effective when used.

The smell is quite difficult to describe, and the Herbivore site’s description of ‘deeply herbaceous and slightly medicinal’ is probably best! It’s by no means unpleasant, but it reminds me ever so slightly of Vicks. I’ve come to really love it – it feels really refreshing!

The texture is gooey and gloopy (think a less sticky syrup), and you definitely need a cloth to fully remove the mask as it stays on pretty well when washing it off. Otherwise, just rinse and gently rub your face enough to be sure that the product has been completely removed.

Application

When it comes to applying the mask, less is more. As I’ve mentioned before, my skin can be quite temperamental, so if I apply too thick a layer then it tingles and gets hot, leaving a nice red ‘mask’ on my skin afterwards. It settles down really fast, but it doesn’t do this when I apply just a thin layer. It’s always best to test these things out before going full-throttle with them.

You can apply the mask using the little plastic spatula, which doubles as a tool to pick up the product without contaminating the rest of the jar with your hands, and a tool to spread it onto your skin. I often just use my hands once it’s on my skin, though, as it’s just easier to get a more even application this way.

I would use the mask 2-3 times a week and it lasted a fair while when doing so.

Results

I was really pleased with the results. Aside from the initial redness after using too much at one time, my skin looks and feels more smooth and even. It also seemed less oily and blemished overall. Whether or not this had anything to do with the mask or just drinking more water/time of the month, I can’t say for definite. But what I can definitely say is this mask has had a very positive impact on my skin as a whole, and I have already bought another since this was almost out…

This is a very gentle mask compared to a lot on the market, so if you’re used to a higher-intensity chemical exfoliant, you may not notice that this does as much as you’d like it to. Alternatively, if your skin isn’t used to too much strength in a product, then this is a good option for something to try in the early stages of skincare.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Herbivore Blue Tansy mask, or even the brand overall. I’d definitely recommend giving this a try if you’re looking for a new product! Of course these thoughts and opinions are just my own observations, so as usual please seek professional advice to find the most suitable products for you and follow the guidelines for each product.

Why your winged liner doesn’t come out ‘right’

Have you ever tried to recreate a look from a picture/YouTube video that you really like that involves winged liner, but it just won’t go right?

I like to think of myself as pretty experienced with winged liner at this point. I’ve been doing it for about 14 years (I can’t count the amount of times I was asked to take my makeup off at school), but even I get frustrated when someone’s liner looks completely different to mine, even if it’s been applied in the same way.

The reason? Your eye shape.

You can perfect a technique 1000 times and it still won’t come out looking like it looks on them. That’s because one of the main things to take into consideration is eye shape. None of this ‘I’m never any good at applying liner’ or ‘it just doesn’t come out right’. You just need to find what looks best for your eye shape.

The best way to do this is by trial and error on methods and/or wings that are suited to your eyes. Of course the first thing you need to do is establish exactly what that shape is…

A couple of the things I found most affect how my eye makeup, and particularly my liner, looks is that my eyes are fairly hooded and deep-set. My liner can look perfect when it’s been applied with my lid in a certain position, but the moment I open my eye it looks strange.

Doing a bit of research comes in handy, as there’s so much information available on what makeup suits different types, and getting advice from a professional is probably the best option to really get the most out of your makeup overall, but definitely to determine your eye shape and how best to apply liner.

I’m not going to sit and pretend I can give any real advice on what another individual should do with their liner… because I can’t. I’m not qualified to do so, but I’ve picked things up along the way on what works for me specifically. If you get the right guidance and understanding then it should be the same for you too.

The main message here is to not knock yourself down for being ‘bad at eyeliner’. You likely just need to apply it in the right way and then you’ll be way better at it!

Caudalie Mousse Nettoyant Fleur de Vigne (Instant Foaming Cleanser)

We all know how important the double-cleanse is, especially for those of us that use a lot of products and are heavy makeup wearers.

I absolutely love my stash of cleansing balms, but I realised I didn’t have enough variety of non-balm products (or so I told myself…)

I was just looking at some foaming cleansers on Look Fantastic and this popped up as a duo: 2 x 150ml for £22! Of course it’s always easy to find a discount code somewhere as well so I decided this is the one for me to try.

What it is

A soap-free liquid to foam cleanser (the pump dispenses foam) that is designed to effectively remove makeup and make the skin feel clean without drying it out.

How I got on with it

I’ve been really enjoying this cleanser and it’s certainly going to be a re-purchase once I’ve got through what I have stashed.

There is a distinct, strong scent which is almost too much for me as it’s quite intense, but it’s a really lovely smell so it’s not much of an issue. It’s a really fresh scent, but I think it would be a bit too much for someone who doesn’t like fragrance in their products as it’s probably one of the most fragranced products I have. I’m personally not too fussed by fragrance in products, so for me it adds to the experience, but it could do with a little bit of toning down.

I’ve been using it as part of my double cleansing routine – sometimes first, sometimes second – and it does a great job regardless of whichever stage I use it. My skin feels really clean fresh, without feeling tight and dry as a lot of foaming products can do. I only use it once a day as I use a different cleanser in the mornings, however this is gentle enough to use twice a day while still being effective.

The texture of the foam

The bottle is a really good size and so far has lasted me a couple of months (I only use this one once a day, as I use a different morning cleanser) and is really easy to use. Is it a bit weird that it’s quite satisfying to pump?

One thing I would say, however, is that most of the time I don’t feel it would be enough just on its own. That may be down to my habit of double-cleansing that now means I don’t feel clean enough using just the one product. If I’ve had a lazy day (yes, I do occasionally get them with skincare and sometimes I’m naughty by putting next-to-no products on – but it’s rare!) then it definitely would be enough if I’ve just been lolling around the house with no products on my face. If I’m out and about and/or I’ve been good and used skincare and makeup, then I’ll feel like I need something a little more heavy duty.

But that doesn’t take away from this product. It’s a great cleanser and I’m really, really pleased that I’ve found it. I plan to try out more Caudalie products at some point (I definitely don’t need to go buying any more skincare at the minute!!) based on my experience with this cleanser.

The last thing I want to point out is that, while the majority of reviews I came across were raving about this cleansing foam, there are a few that experienced their skin getting drier over time. This is something to bear in mind if you have particularly dry skin and want to try the cleanser: it may be worth just getting a small size to make sure you get on with it properly. My skin is very temperamental and would be classed a combination, so sometimes it can lean towards the drier side if it feels like it, but I’ve definitely not had any issues off the back of this.

I’d be interested in hearing your experience with this if you’ve tried it too!

IT Cosmetics

I have found my new holy grails in base makeup.

For a long time I’d seen and heard about the It Cosmetics CC+ Cream, but as a heavy-coverage foundation lover I didn’t feel I could justify the brand’s price price for a CC cream. It was only after I received a sample of the foundation alongside a different purchase that I got curious and gave it a try.

I’m a bit of a sucker for a good deal, so when the Black Friday deals were flying around in November, I picked up a few products from the brand to try them out. Boy, am I glad I did!

The products I bought are:

  • Your Skin But Better Foundation
  • Your Skin But Better CC+ Cream (SPF 50 UVB)
  • Bye Bye Undereye Full Coverage Anti Aging Concealer
  • Bye Bye Pores Poreless Finish Airbrush Powder
  • Concealer Brush

I also got a makeup bag which included some other bits from the brand (mascara, brow powder, moisturiser, cleanser etc) which I won’t include in this post as I want to focus on the great products I’m now loyal to.

Your Skin But Better Foundation

I’ll start with this as it’s the first product I tried from the lot.

As I mentioned above, I tried this from a sample out of curiosity. I wouldn’t normally be that fussed about foundation samples, but for some reason I was drawn to trying it. I was astounded by how it just became one with my skin!

Instantly I noticed my skin looked more refined, almost as though there was a filter on it. The coverage was exactly what I was looking for, and the tone was perfectly even with a matte finish. I also noticed that it’s less sticky than other foundations, and doesn’t transfer anywhere near as much.

I was lucky that it was around the time of Black Friday deals, because I went on to the site to buy it and then decided I also wanted to try a few more products which got me some killer deals (30% off, free gifts and the like).

One thing that I really love is that it doesn’t look cakey or over-the-top in natural lighting – it just looks as it describes itself: your skin but better. It claims to improve your skin over time when used regularly, but I can’t attest to this as it’s too difficult to attribute any improvements I’ve seen in my skin to this as opposed to the extensive skincare routines and various products I use, so I’m focussing on how this performs as a foundation only.

I can whole-heartedly say that this has shot right up to the top 3 foundations in my list – perhaps even claiming the spot 1 or 2 (too difficult to REALLY rank them, though) – and one I’ve already bought more of and will repurchase again and again.

CC+ Cream

This is pretty much in the same category as the foundation for me: insane coverage yet not heavy.

I really love that this contains SPF, although it’s important to point out that this wouldn’t be enough on its own – you should always use a proper SPF and enough of it! As I’ve eluded to earlier in the post: I wasn’t convinced that a CC cream would do it for me. To be honest, I think that’s my own issue for not doing enough research and understanding what a CC cream is (I just associated it with a tinted moisturiser and BB cream).

I’m not sure whether I prefer this or the foundation as they’re both on par with one another, so I find that I alternate between the two as I love them both. As with the foundation, this gives a full-coverage (although maybe slightly less full) with matte finish and doesn’t budge or transfer too easily.

This is a product that I also already have a backup for without having finished my first tube, and expect to repurchase it again and again.

The only description I can think of for this, along with the foundation, is they’re like an undetectable velvet veil that perfects your skin and tone.

Bye Bye Undereye Concealer

I think this would be the next in line for comment, as I apply it either before/after whichever of the above I’m using on the day.

Now first a warning for you: don’t do what I did and just go for whichever colour you think might work for you if the colour you would have chosen is out of stock… I’ve ended up with 2 different colours which I mix to create the perfect colour for me. Initially I went for the lighter colour and looked ridiculous! So I bought a darker one to counterbalance and I was lucky that it blended to create the right colour. What with lockdowns galore I just couldn’t muster up the energy to return the light shade so I was lazy and hoped for the best. Don’t try this at home is all I can say…

Anyway, as I was lucky enough for the two shades combined to give me the correct shade, I could really notice and appreciate the full effect of the product. I went in with too much at first, at which point it went cakey very fast (this would happen with any concealer, so I wasn’t put off). When I removed the excess and used it a couple more times with less, and I could appreciate the amazing coverage and smoothing effect. This is one of those products where I can honestly say a little goes a long way and it makes quite the impact.

I felt like a doll after using this and the foundation/CC+ cream!

I also got the concealer brush to apply this with and I’m really glad I did. I don’t think it’s really necessary but it definitely makes it easier and gave the effect I was looking for. I use the flat end to gently apply the concealer and blend it with the fluffier end. Each end of the brush has a cover which makes it perfect for carrying around with you. I use this every time and haven’t wanted to use anything else since I first tried it.

One thing I will point out, however, is that the concealer can go ever-so-slightly cakey under the eyes and highlight lines if you don’t set it properly. I have chubby cheeks and I smile/laugh a lot (easily pleased), which really doesn’t work well with an unset concealer. That’s why I’m really glad I bought the powder. Which brings me on to the next point…

Bye Bye Pores Finishing Powder

There are loads of finishing powders out there that are plain excellent, so this isn’t something I would say is 100% necessary, but I fell in love with it alongside the rest of the products.

It’s a super fine, translucent powder that really does perfect skin. It appears white in the pot, but when applied just enhances the skin without altering the colour or tone.

It’s mattifying and I would dare to say quite blurring. I really enjoy using this to set the concealer under my eyes (see above – absolutely necessary!) which does an incredible job, as well as using it on the rest of my face to give that perfected, blurring effect we’re all striving for. It’s perfect for me as a matte fan (I’m not a dewy-skin person as I feel like I just end up looking sweaty!).

I do struggle to dispense it occasionally, which is my only gripe. It comes with a really cute little puff which basically blocks the powder from being dispensed so I have to carefully dislodge the puff slightly in the hope that powder won’t go flying. It’s not that big an issue though, and certainly not anything to make me want to stop using it.

I bought all of the above from the It Cosmetics site, and some other bits from Cult Beauty but I’ll save that for another day as those discussed here are my staples.

It’s safe to say I’ve been converted to an IT Cosmetics fan. I know not everyone gets on with it but from what I’ve seen people have largely had the same positive experience as I have. This is all my personal thoughts and feelings on the products after using them myself for a while now. All pictures are my own,

My Influenster VoxBox Experience (UK)

When I first found out about Influenster I got right on it. I had not heard much about it before but for the chance to try out complimentary beauty products it was ideal (I buy way too many, I’m weak!).

I was regularly reviewing products and completing all my ‘snaps’, and just enjoying the overall experience. I wasn’t solely there for the free products as it gave me a chance to talk about products I do and don’t like without going on too much on Instagram, but let’s be real – we all love free stuff.

I actually realised that a a few months ago I was selected as a potential candidate for a campaign, and I was fuming that I’d missed it. I’m one of those people who never deletes unwanted emails so my inbox is full of junk and things get missed…

Back to just doing my thing and seeing other people’s ‘received complimentary sample from Influenster’ reviews I was happy just posting about what I was enjoying at the time. I’m an optimist so I thought at some point I might be selected for a Voxbox, but there’s no rush. Some people never seem to get chosen and some people get chosen regularly, so I knew it’s a bit of a gamble.

So when I got another email for a potential campaign I was excited to see what it was! Then I saw: kitchen appliances. Considering my interests and reviews etc were all beauty product-related I wasn’t sure how they concluded that I would make a good candidate for kitchen appliances. I opted out of that one as there would be someone else who probably would benefit from it more than I would, and would have a genuine need/interest.

Influenster

Then I got the email.

“Are you the perfect fit for our next campaign?”

The way these work is: you’re shortlisted for a Voxbox campaign, and you have to select whether you want to opt in or out. In the initial email there’s no indication as to what the campaign in question is about, but if you click the opt in option you’re directed to a questionnaire to complete. There’s a series of questions to establish whether or not you would be suitable, and at this point you’ll get a good idea of what the campaign is about.

For this one, it was self-tan related and focused on Bondi Sands tanning products. I have used self-tanning products in the past on and off but I don’t do it religiously – usually just for an event or night out for example. But I was definitely interested in trying some out because I’ve never found the right products for me.

Less than a week later I got the notification that I was in for the Bondi Sands VoxBox. I was so excited! I thought It would take ages for it to arrive but I got a surprise when there was a knock on my door the next day. The postman made my day better when I realised it was already here.

I already knew what was included but I couldn’t wait to open it and see. I was greeted by 3 full-sized products from the Bondi Sands Pure range:

  • Self Tan Foaming Water
  • Self Tanning Face Mist
  • Self Tanning Sleep Mask

I won’t go into the details too much on what I thought of each product as this is more about my experience of getting a VoxBox, but I’ll give a brief overview.

First up, we have the Self Tan Foaming Water

I used this on my body and I really liked the results. I was a bit dubious at first as it’s marked as ‘dark’ and I’m pretty fair, but it gave a really gorgeous glow without being too much. It was a pretty even finish and lasted a few days before fading. The application was pretty easy (using a mitt) but a bit of liquid came out when I was expecting just foam at one point which ran down my leg and resulted in an intense patch on my foot. This wasn’t too big a deal and only happened the once so I wouldn’t lower its ranking just for that. I had no adverse effects after using it – my skin texture was the same afterwards just with more colour.

Next up we have the Self Tanning Sleep Mask

I wasn’t really too sure what to expect from this, and I was a bit apprehensive in case I would wake up with an over-the-top patchy tan on my face. Despite my apprehension, I was really impressed with it. The tan was even and gave a really beautiful colour that wasn’t too orange and lasted really well for a few days. I just applied it with my hands which worked perfectly.

Lastly, we have the Self Tanning Face Mist

I used this mist a few days after I used the sleep mask so it had a few days to wear off, and I didn’t expect to like it as much as I liked the sleep mask. That was the mistake. I LOVE this – I think it is my favourite product from the lot. I wasn’t convinced I’d enjoy spraying a tanning product on my face but it wasn’t unpleasant and it developed into the most gorgeous tan over the next few hours (note: I did spread it across my face with my hands, I didn’t just spray and leave it at that. If I’m going to buy any of these in the future, it’ll be this one, although I’ve been swayed to marking this as my go-to tanning product for the Summer.

All of the products contain Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C which is a really nice touch as it feels like you’re doing your skin a bit of good by using them. They’re also all colourless and odourless which makes for a very pleasant experience in comparison for previous self-tanning products I’ve tried. The packaging is also unique: ethically sourced, 100% recycled plastic. The drive for eco-conscious packaging and products is more important than ever, so this is a really great attribute. This is a range I can really get behind.

The only point of contention (although, not really a point of contention) is that it would have been ideal if it came with a mitt from the brand. Fortunately for me I already have one at home, but not everybody who was selected for this VoxBox may have had one.

After I had used all of the products and given them a chance to work their magic, I went into my Influenster app to post my reviews. The process was super easy – on my profile there was an option under ‘my campaigns’ to review each product from the VoxBox and rate them out of 5 stars. I already knew what I wanted to say and comment on, but there is a section with some guidance on points to discuss for those who weren’t sure what to mention. It’s also super easy to add pictures, so once I did all of the above for each product I was notified that I had completed the campaign.

Overall this was an amazing VoxBox to get an I’m really grateful for Influenster for giving me the opportunity to try these. I hadn’t tried the Bondi Sands range before and to be honestly I probably wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for this. The end-to-end experience was great from Influenster and I hope to be lucky enough to be chosen for future VoxBoxes.

Pointers for being chosen for a Voxbox:

  • Link all of your socials – the more reach you have, the more likely you are to be chosen for a campaign
  • Review regularly – build up your Influenster presence and contributions. Leaving 1 review and not doing anything else is unlikely to earn you a spot
  • Engage, engage, engage! Post polls, discussions, questions etc and engage with others on the app. The more you engage the more of a presence you’ll get which is always a good start

I hope you enjoyed learning about my experience of the Bondi Sands Pure VoxBox from Influenster. All of the opinions and comments are my own and from my own experience, and all product pictures are mine.

Learn skincare with me. Lesson 8: Ceramides

Ceramides are one of those words I’ve heard thrown around in skincare a lot, but never knew too much about what they were until I did a bit of digging. A lot of skincare products include ceramides (for good reason, of course) so back in the day when I was throwing products on my face without much skincare knowledge, I knew they contained Ceramides but I didn’t know why. I do now!

What is it?

Ceramides are what are called ‘Lipids’ (fatty acids, but I think the word Lipid sounds nicer!) that occur naturally in the skin. They form around 50% of the skin barrier and play an important role in keeping that barrier happy and together, preventing the skin barrier from becoming too permeable, thus keeping in the moisture our skin craves. In simple terms: they bond the cells together at the surface level and create a plump and protective top layer that retains moisture.

Even though these are already present in our skin, their presence diminishes over time with aging, which is why they’re such a fundamental component in anti-aging skincare.

What are the benefits?

First and foremost, moisture is locked into the skin. Moisture isn’t lost via the skin barrier when Ceramides have anything to do with it.

As a result of moisture getting locked in, signs of aging are reduced. When the skin is dry and dehydrated, some unwelcome characteristics are more prominent. This is because skin is less plump when it’s dry and dehydrated, so hydration and moisture really are key to fighting and hiding signs of aging.

Ceramides also aid in fighting environmental aggressors and protecting the skin. They essentially help the skin barrier do just that: be a barrier for keeping the good stuff in, and the bad stuff out.

They’re not known as a ‘powerhouse ingredient’ for no reason!

Things to be aware of

This is one of those perfect ingredients that are compatible with everyone as we all produce them naturally – they’re what are known as ‘skin-identical’ ingredients. They can be used on all types of skin, including sensitive and delicate as they pose such a low risk of any damage.

It’s always nice to know you can use an ingredient freely and without needing to consider any risks!

So, a shorter post but Ceramides keep it short and sweet! A simple, but special ingredient that features in some of the most iconic skincare products for good reason.

I hope you enjoyed reading! I haven’t updated my blog in a while as life has been busy but I’ll be trying to post a bit more regularly. As usual, I’m not a skincare expert and this is based on my personal research and experience. For any concerns, please contact a professional to make sure you get the most well-suited advice for your needs and your skin type.

Pharrell’s Humanrace skincare: 3 minute facial

First of all, happy new year to my wonderful followers and any newcomers! I hope you all enjoyed the festive period as much as you could under these circumstances (cough, Covid!). I haven’t been very active on here because, well, life. But I’m back and I’ll be posting more regularly on products and more.

So, I don’t think I was alone on being way too excited for Pharrell’s skincare line ‘Humanrace’ to drop back in November. I also had to endure the long wait for international shipping, so when it got here I was more than ready to abandon any other routine I was currently doing after I’d seen all of the posts from other customers who had already got theirs.

Before getting into the detail of the products, I think it’s only right to discuss the unique elements of the brand itself. Humanrace’s mantra is ‘skincare for everyone’ – and I genuinely feel this is very much the case. The packaging is made from reclaimed waste materials, and the dispensers containing the products inside are replaceable. In an age where the majority of us endeavour to do our best by the environment, it’s refreshing to feel less guilty when finishing a product and being able to replace a smaller element rather than throw away the whole thing. I was also very pleasantly surprised to find that braille was featured on the routine kit’s box as well as each individual product. This really speaks volumes about the thought that had gone into achieving the goal: ‘skincare for everyone’. Pharrell’s ambition was to create skincare that everyone can use regardless of gender, race or any other obstacle that might dissuade someone from looking after their skin.

The line includes a cleanser, an exfoliator and a moisturiser.

So let’s begin…

The aesthetic

I’ll be completely honest and say this isn’t pretty skincare. Some products and brands jump out at you solely for how they look, and this isn’t one of them (at least not in the usual way). The intense green packing disrupted by a white text goes with the brand’s overall aim as it isn’t the usual type of product marketed towards just women – it’s pretty basic and unisex/uni-anyone (that a word?). However, it’s definitely not unpleasant by any means. It’s just different!

The Rice Powder Cleanser
This is the first powder cleanser I used and I’m not going to lie, I kind of love it.

To use it, you wet your hands, pop a bit of the powder onto them and rub them together. This instantly turns it into a gorgeous, light lather that is a real treat to use. One thing to keep in mind though, your hands need to be wet enough to ensure the powder turns into enough of a lather, otherwise the cleanser doubles as an exfoliant with the grainy texture. This isn’t really an issue though as it’s super easy to make sure it’s used properly.

There’s not really any scent to it, so irritation from perfume isn’t really a concern. On that note, any form of irritation seems to be pretty unlikely (on my skin, at least). It’s really gentle and does a great job. My skin feel clean and fresh without feeling dry and stripped.

The ingredients on the front include fruit AHAs, Snow Mushroom and geranium. Delving a little bit deeper into the list, the first ingredient is Kaolin, which is a clay. This is perfect for oily and combination skin as the ingredient gently extracts oilsimpurities without upsetting the skin. Think about it, clay masks are MASSIVE when it comes to brightening and clearing the skin, so including this gentle but effective clay in the cleanser is a stroke of genius. The next ingredient is, unsurprisingly, rice powder. It’s a very, very mild exfoliant (hence my earlier comment around the texture and lather!), and the rice also absorbs sebum making this cleanser DOUBLY great for oily skin. The list goes on with wonderful ingredients, so I won’t go through them all and make this go on as well…

I’ve been enjoying using the cleanser everyday as advised by the brand.

The Lotus Enzyme Exfoliator

This has to be one of the most gentle exfoliators I’ve used, it really is gorgeous.

Firstly, I love the dispensing method! Pushing down on the top of the dispenser provides the perfect amount to use on your face, so you’re not using too much or too little. It’s kind of therapeutic pushing down on it…

Anyway, the texture is almost cream-like so using it is a very pleasant experience. Again, I haven’t experienced any irritation while using it so it’s ticking all the boxes so far.

On the face of the product, it lists 8% Glycolic Acid and 2% fruit AHAs. This ingredient list also contains rice powder, and as far as I’m aware there is no issue with using this ingredient in both the cleanser and exfoliator as it’s so gentle and the exfoliator isn’t meant to be for daily use. The combination of chemical and physical exfoliation in this really makes it special. It also contains lotus leaf, which Humanrace describes as a “natural antioxidant that protects skin from free radication damage and environmental aggressors such as pollution and UV rays.” It really packs a punch.

My skin appears brighter and really smooth, without feeling like it’s gone through something to get there as it can do with some skincare. I use the product 2-3 times a week, aiming for 3.

The Humidifying Cream

Last but by no means least… the moisturiser.

I can’t get enough of this. From just the first use my skin was noticeably softer – I’m talking REALLY soft. The consistency is enough to have me swooning at it is; it’s super light and absorbs really well. There’s no heavy residue that makes you feel like you need to wash your hands after touching your face (although, we all know we shouldn’t be doing that right now as it is…)

Like the cleanser, the cream contains snow mushroom which is amazing when it comes to moisturising. The ingredient list also boasts hyaluronic acid and squalane to really draw in that hydration and keep it there. Perfect for this time of year, and my skin is really reflecting that. Another interesting addition which I had not heard of before is ‘adaptogens’. Humanrace state that the formula is adaptogenic: adapting to your skin type. Of course I can’t validate this but so far I believe the brand is very transparent and has good intentions, so I trust it. Plus, I will reiterate: my skin is loving this so I wouldn’t discount any of the benefits posed by Humanrace.

Overall this is a brand I can honestly say I stand behind, and would recommend to anybody. It’s a bit pricey, as are most products these days (especially celebrity-brand products) but it’s worth it. I bought the 3-step routine for $100 (plus shipping and duties), but the cleanser, exfoliator and humidifying cream are priced individually at $32, $46 and $48 respectively. The refills are $30, $42 and $44, which collectively cost more than the 3-step routine which is something I would hope Humanrace will change and perhaps do a refill set at a similar discounted price.

A couple of things to add: some of the positives the brand highlights is that the products are vegan, cruelty free, dermatologist tested and microtear safe. I think it’s safe to say this really is a universal brand that anybody can enjoy.

I’ve been using the brand for a month and these are my thoughts, feelings and experiences so far I’ll leave it there for now and update if anything changes. As usual, please don’t take anything from l my review as advice as I am not an expert – just an
enthusiast!

Learn skincare with me. Lesson 4: Retinoids

I first heard about the benefits of retinoids in my early 20s, and thought that’ll probably be something I need to start using soon.

But then I saw the price of retinol products and though SCREW that!

Fortunately, the skincare sphere has changed pretty fast and there are now brands that have made retinoid products far more affordable and more accessible.

Retinoids are a big, big player on the skincare field for a multitude of reasons, so I’ve been doing some deeper digging to really understand them.

We’re going to focus on the topically-applied retinoid: “Retinol”. This is thought to be the most tolerable form of retinoid that the average person can use to see improvements in their skin, and reap the benefits of the retinoid spectrum while minimising the risk of irritation.

Also known as:

Retinyl Palmitate (weakest form of retinoids)
Retinol (most tolerable, strongest after the above. The focus of this post)
Retinaldehyde (stronger than retinol)
Adapalene (strongest OTC)
Tretinoin and Tazarotene (prescription-only, extremely effective but more irritating in relativity)

What is it?

A vitamin A derivative, retinol is made up of molecules that burrow deep into the skin’s layers to work its magic. Where the majority of topical skincare products work primarily on the surface of the skin and just under, retinol provides a multitasking approach: penetrating the epidermis (the skin’s outer layer) to really change and improve what’s under the surface, whilst exfoliating the surface.

It’s developed a reputation throughout the skincare community for being a spectacular product because of what it can do.

What are the benefits?

I mean really, what aren’t the benefits of this? This has to be the number 1 skincare ingredient out there, but it doesn’t come without it’s problems. We’ll come on to that though… for now let’s focus on the positives!

One of the main reasons people use retinol is because of the immense anti-aging benefits. It is the best thing you can use to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, unveiling more youthful skin over time and benefitting from its firming properties. There is evidence that it actually slows down the body’s aging process as well, so it’s not just a ‘quick fix’; it pays off long term.

Unsurprisingly, it also smooths the skin as well, giving a healthy glow. It reduces redness and dark spots adding to an even complexion.

I was surprised to learn that it is also used for acne and spot treatments. Retinol helps to reduce spots as well as pores, so it literally seems to be a ‘does-it-all’ product.

So why don’t we all just use retinol all the time?! Well, you’re about to find out…

Things to be aware of?

Retinol isn’t just a slap-on-and-go type of product; there’s a lot to know.

The two most pressing, and important points are:

  1. Wear SPF after using retinol. To be honest, you should be wearing SPF anyway as we’re all aware of the impact of UV rays at this point, but this is especially important when using retinol. Your skin will be particularly vulnerable to further damage when it’s gone through the ringer with retinol. As we now know, retinol stimulates cell renewal, so do you really want to be exposing those brand-new, shiny cells to UV damage straight away? I would suspect not. That renewed skin is more sensitive and susceptible to sunburn, so it really is critical to use a broad spectrum SPF. Night time is believed to be the best time to use retinol, for this reason as well as the fact there can be a short period of irritation, so while you get your beauty sleep your skin can benefit from the application but also recover from it too. See my recently post “Learn skincare with me. Lesson 3: SPF” for more information on sun damage.
  2. Don’t go in full-throttle. You must go in easy when you start using retinol, because it can be so irritating to the skin. Your skin will need to build a tolerance to it, so it’s recommended that you start off small (1-2 times a week) before building the usage up over time. Take it easy at first so your skin has time to adapt, and it’s always a good idea to get advice from a dermatologist first, so if you’re unsure or just want an expert’s guidance on it then that’s probably the smart thing to do!

Unfortunately, you’re not going to see instant results the next morning after you apply it for the first time; it takes time to see the results. The general consensus is that the improvements will be noticeable in your skin after approximately 3 months. Interestingly, it is also stated that the cell-renewal benefits don’t tend to continue after 3 months of use, so it is often advised that you use retinol for 3 months, and then stop for 3 months as it will become futile after continuous use.

Retinol is known for drying to the skin. Some people’s skin may be too sensitive for use full stop, for example people with eczema and psoriasis may suffer from adverse side effectives more than the average. Again, it’s so important to consult with a dermatologist as it is, but especially if your skin is sensitive or has any condition. For anyone else, the best thing you can do it: moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!

In doing my digging, I learned that you shouldn’t use AHAs and BHAs when you are applying retinol. The reason for this is retinol will provide the exfoliation that you’re looking to achieve when using the acids, so in combining the ingredients you’re at risk of overdoing it, thus causing easily-avoidable irritation and damaging the skin barrier. Let’s not do that, let’s keep our barriers happy!

I was personally surprised to find out that retinol does so much more than what I initially would have thought. I hope you enjoyed reading and learned something new from this post, even if it’s just something really small!

I’ll end here by adding some of the retinol products I’ve been enjoying. Thanks for reading!

Elizabeth Arden, Beautypie, Medik8 and Pixi