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

Learn skincare with me. Lesson 3: SPF

To be honest, I don’t know why I haven’t made this the first post in the series because is there really anything more important?!

By now we are all aware of what the sun can do and what damage it can cause, so it’s ultra important to use SPF and protect our skin as best we can.

I know that pretty much everyone is aware of the qualities of SPF at this point so I won’t patronise in this post (I’ll try, anyway), but I will cover off the key details.

So…SPF!

Also known as?

  • Sun protection factor
  • Sunscreen
  • Sun cream
  • Sun block

What is it?

Sun protection factor – SPF – is literally what its name implies: protection from the sun.

The sun has two different types of damaging rays: UVA and UVB rays. On a very (very!) basic level, the easiest way to differentiate between the two is: the ‘A’ in UVA indicates aging, and the ‘B’ in UVB indicates burning. There’s a lot more to it than just that, but that’s a simple, basic understanding. UVA rays cause premature aging (as do UVB). Those dreaded wrinkles, fine lines and dark spots only appear sooner when we take no steps to prevent the damage. So in (sun)light of the above, we need to understand the ways we can protect our skin from aging before its time.

SPF comes in two main forms: mineral and chemical.

The general preference for people with sensitive skin is mineral sunscreen, as it’s less likely to cause irritation. If you’re looking to use an SPF under your makeup, however, mineral sunscreen may not be the best one for you as it sits on top of the skin instead of absorbing so much, acting as deflector against the rays. Look for an SPF with Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Dioxide if you’re leaning towards mineral.

Chemical sunscreens penetrate past the skin’s outer layers to absorb the UV rays before they can damage the skin. These are more suitable for use under makeup as they absorb more into the skin.

What are the benefits?

It should be pretty apparent what the benefits of using SPF are by now, but because it’s so important I’ll drill it in by covering them off more.

Delayed signs of aging. Of course it’s inevitable that we will all start to age over time and look older as we get older, but using SPF will surely slow down and delay the signs of aging. Let’s push those wrinkles and age spots as far down the line as we possibly can! Have you noticed freckles and pigmentation appearing that wasn’t there before? They will almost certainly be a result of sun exposure, so the sooner you start using SPF the better. And in addition to that, the higher the SPF the better! (I’ve usually opt for one with SPF50 PA+++).

Preventing sunburn. I don’t really need to even mention this as we’ve all had it somewhere on us at some point, but it is NOT fun. The less we have of that, the better. Not only because it’s really painful and uncomfortable at the time, but because once that burn fades into a beautiful tan the damage is there for good and you’ll eventually end up like a leather bag if you’re not careful.

Preventing skin cancer. Definitely the most important point of them all, we have to be so careful in the sun because of the risk of skin cancer. We all want to be around to spend that time with the ones we love, so please(!) protect yourself and encourage your loved ones to do the same.

Things to be aware of

There is an argument that chemical sunscreen is damaging to coral reefs, so if you’re (hopefully) eco-conscious, then that may also be an important factor to consider if you reside in tropical regions when it comes to deciding the right SPF product for you.

SPF must be reapplied every couple of hours, so don’t just pop it on in the morning and think you’re good for the rest of the day. There are specific sunscreens designed to require application once a day (I like Ultrasun), so where reapplying every couple of hours is a faff you could go down that route instead.

There are some sunscreen products out there that have such a low SPF it begs the question: why do they even exist? Using an SPF with a minimal SPF is about as good as trying to drink water out of a bottle with a closed cap – it’s there but it’s not doing anything for you. Sure, something is better than nothing, but when it’s so low it just becomes futile, so make sure you opt for a high SPF. The British Association of Dermatologists recommends a minimum SPF of 30. My mum has always used factor 50 at a minimum on us since we were kids because unfortunately her mother was a victim of malignant melanoma likely caused by sun exposure, so this is a topic I take very, very seriously.

Also, look for a broad spectrum SPF covering both UVA and UVB rays. Do your research to make sure the sunscreen you’re looking at covers all basis, as there are some rather basic ones out there. Don’t be tricked into thinking that just because you’re wearing sunscreen you’re protected; it needs to be enough.

A good sunscreen can be pricey, but it’s worth it. Don’t skimp on the most crucial part of your skincare routine.

Below are some of the sunscreens I’ve been really enjoying. Ultrasun is thicker and leaves a layer on your skin, whereas the other 3 (Missha, Biore and Purito) are all a lot more suitable for wearing with makeup. However, Ultrasun is definitely effective as I learned when I forgot to apply it to a patch on my face (!) which got a slight burn (grrr).

As always when it comes to skincare, always speak to a Dermatologist for proper advice, information and suitability for your skin. I am not an expert in any way – this is primarily just my own research, so please do your own research and speak to the relevant professionals if you have concerns about your skin.

I hope you take away from this the importance of SPF, and thanks for reading!

Learn skincare with me. Lesson 2: Hyaluronic Acid

The next instalment of ‘Learn skincare with me’ is focusing on another ‘top dog’ ingredient in the skincare world: Hyaluronic Acid.

It sounds scarier than it is – it’s definitely not going to erode your face when incorporated into your routine. In fact, the results are so good that you’re doing your skin a disservice by not using it.

So let’s get into a bit of the detail….

Also known as?

  • HA (Hyaluronic Acid)
  • Hyaluronan
  • Sodium Hyaluronate

What is it?

With a gel-like consistency, Hyaluronic Acid is a molecule that our body produces naturally with about half of our body’s production of it present in our skin. It holds a thousand times its weight in water, rendering it being incredible for keeping our skin moisturised by and retaining water.

It’s also a strong humectant, drawing water to the surface of the skin – building on that already-impressive ability to hydrate skin.

Hyaluronic Acid can be applied topically via the vast array of products available on the market, or in the form of a filler.

What are the benefits?

To be honest, we should really be asking what aren’t the benefits of this wonder-ingredient. The most prominent benefits that make it so popular include:

  • Hydrating and moisturising the skin (of course)
  • Keeping the skin healthy and supple, giving it that sought-after youthful appearance
  • Plumping fine lines and improving the elasticity of the skin
  • Giving a ‘glowy’ appearance to the skin

I mean really, who isn’t looking for all of the above?

Things to be aware of

Unlike Vitamin C, there aren’t really any ‘cautions’ when it comes to using HA as it’s such a friendly substance.

As our body’s naturally produce it, it’s incredibly unlikely that any adverse reactions may occur as it’s extremely rare.

It works well with pretty much any other product out there, so you can play around with other products and still use HS alongside it without any worry.

I’ve recently been loving Beautypie’s Triple Hyaluronic Acid to get my fix, which is so affordable and feels really nice to apply to the skin. In my opinion there’s a visible difference in the appearance of my skin when I apply this, reinforcing the above points I’ve found from my dive into the detail.

I hope you enjoyed this post from my learning skincare series! I’ll be learning about more of the popular ingredients in skincare, so keep an eye out for some more ‘lessons’ coming up.

The skincare brushes you didn’t know you needed (you don’t… but you do)

I’ve always hated sticking my fingers in pots of products, regardless of how clean they are. It just feels like I’m contaminating the rest of it. I especially can’t stand when I have to scrape it out from under my nails afterwards (ugh!). Brands seem to be getting better at including spatulas etc, but there’s still loads of products out there that don’t.

So of course when I found out Sigma have a brush set specifically designed for skincare I had to add it to my birthday list…

I’ve had a few Sigma products over the years and I’ve never been disappointed, so I was more than willing to jump straight in with these and try them out. I can’t tell you how glad I am that I did!

What’s in the set?

  • A clay/mud mask brush
  • A serum brush
  • A moisturiser brush
  • A gel mask brush
  • An eye cream brush
  • A spatula brush (for mixing products)

Clay/Mud Mask Brush

Although a lot of masks come with applicators, this is a particularly nice one as it’s silicone and just feels like an upmarket tool to apply masks with. I’ve used this on a few masks so far and it’s made the application easy, smooth and most importantly – not messy!

It feels really good quality, and is really easy to use with any type of mask (in my opinion) because it’s sturdy enough but also flexible enough to spread the product over your face as required. It’s labelled as being suitable for ‘mud or clay’ masks, but I’ve used it with masks of other consistencies such as Herbivore’s Blue Tansy and Prism masks.

I’m really pleased with this mask alone as it just makes masking even more enjoyable without getting it all over your hands!

Clay/Mud Mask Brush

Serum Brush

This is a nice brush to have and apply serums with, but I still find myself applying serums with my hands half the time because it’s nice to have that sort of massaging motion to add to the pamper session. But I still like to use this brush the rest of the time, as there’s a weird feeling of luxury when applying serums with a brush! It’s got a two-tier bristle system: the bristles close to the handle are more dense, with more sparsely placed, longer bristles pertruding from them.

The only less-positive point with this one is that sometimes when it comes to cleaning, some of the product is still on the bristles so you really have to make sure to clean it properly.

This is definitely a nice addition to have, and tool to use for applying serums.

Serum brush

Moisturiser Brush

I’ve never heard of a moisturiser brush before, so I was pretty intrigues to try this one. In some ways it’s weird to apply moisturiser with a brush, but it’s actually pretty pleasant! I don’t bother if the moisturiser is in a tube, but if it’s in a pot then it’s so much more pleasant than digging my fingers in and getting in that dreaded product-under-the-nails situation I despise!

After applying using this brush I usually pat the moisturiser in to help it absorb properly. I don’t really know whether that’s necessary or not but I like to do it!

Moisturiser Brush

Gel Mask Brush

This is a nice brush, but it’s the one I’ve used least. I don’t think I’ll use it for its intended purpose, solely because the mud/clay mask brush (applicator) is my personal preference for all types of masks I’ve tried so far. This is a smaller brush which does actually apply gel masks onto the skin nicely (I used it with the Elemis Plumping Pillow Facial, which was a really nice duo admittedly) so perhaps I’ll use it with more masks from time to time, but I think I’ll find a different use for it in my skin care routine.

Gel Mask brush

Eye Cream Brush

This is a little gem in skincare, which not too many people seem to be aware of!

I know you’re not meant to drag the skin around your eyes at all, and I swear I try my best not to! But occasionally I find that I rub the cream into the skin around eyes instead of patting it in gently.

This little brush is perfect to really gently apply eye cream without accidentally dragging or mistreating the delicate skin in any way. An added bonus is the avoidance of dipping your finger into the eye cream (if you use a pot of it), so you can just pick a bit of it up on a clean brush and then apply it.

Eye cream brush

Spatula Brush

This little silicone beauty is hands-down my favourite one of from the set. Picking up products from a pot has never been easier – from cleansing balms to lip balms.

It’s super easy to clean in-between products (obviously, it’s silicone), so when I like to use it to scoop out my cleansing balm it’s ready in just a few seconds to scoop out some of my Nuxe lip calm. I then use it to actually apply to lip balm to my lips and spread it across, which works like a dream.

If I only had to go for one brush from the set, it would be this one. It’s just so versatile and makes everything so much easier.

Spatula brush

Have you tried this brush set or any of the individual brushes? I would definitely recommend giving them a try if you’re a skincare junkie.

I was a bit dubious over whether or not I would actually get on with these, as products like this often seem like a gimmick. But it’s been a big win for me so I’m really glad I have them now.

Links to the brushes:

Thanks for reading!

The 7 critical beauty commandments you need to commit to ASAP

(As per my opinion).

There are so many things that I’ve learned over the years that I absolutely should have given more weight to. I’ve gradually started to acknowledge them over time and doing better at looking after myself in these ways, but here are some of the key things I wish I started earlier…

1. Drinking enough water

Need I say more? This is literally the number one beauty product out there, and ironically one of the cheapest (is it really though?)

When I don’t drink enough water my skin is noticeably more angry, I feel bloated and I get headachey. I also find that I’m more fatigued, but that may just be down to my rubbish sleep… So I’ve been aiming to drink as much water during the day as I comfortably can and I must say I’ve been feeling much more energised, motivated and healthier. It’s nice to have my skin clearer for once as well – I always get hormonal spots around my jaw but even they have been kept at bay while I’ve been drinking a lot of H2O. It’s also probably best to try it out while I’m working from home as I’m running to the bathroom every 5 minutes!

So to summarise: a mood-booster, slimming, skin clearing miracle that comes straight from the tap was overlooked too much in my earlier youth. Are you drinking enough water? Set yourself a goal to drink a small glass on the hour, every hour if you haven’t got into the habit of it yet and see how you feel.

Source: Pexels

2. Using SPF

The other most important thing: suncream. When it comes to sun protection factor, of course the higher the better. But that’s not the only factor to consider (pun intended)…

As a lot of us know by now, there’s two types of damaging UV rays we need to be aware of:

  • UVA rays
  • UVB rays

The easiest way to differentiate between the two is by remembering A = aging and B = burning. UVA rays penetrate deeper in the skin, cause damage that results in premature aging and contribute to skin cancer.

Basically, if there’s anything we need to know it’s that we need a broad spectrum suncream that protects against both types of UV rays and preferably has a higher SPF. Any tan is skin damage!

Because skin damage is not only important for our complexion but also our health, here are some resources to learn a bit more about it:

3. Flossing!

Have you ever gone down that internet rabbit hole where people later in life tell you what they would have done differently?

One of the ones that always pops up is “better dental hygiene”, weirdly enough! This one really stuck out to me. When I started using flossing harps, I really noticed why dentists say that just brushing your teeth isn’t enough. It’s pretty gross how much is still left wedged in after brushing…

Our smiles are something that is so easy to take for granted, but once you need any teeth removed the damage is irreversible. And I for one don’t want a gappy smile to that extent! I’ve also got an irrational fear of the dentist, so there is that. But seriously – the earlier you start looking after your teeth properly, the less likely the chance of anything going wrong.

I’ve been using some biodegradable flossing harps from Amazon – link to them here. This makes me feel a bit better because it’s such a wasteful process otherwise! I’m trying to be more eco-conscious and find better alternatives for everyday products like that.

Of course this is on top your brushing twice a day, as well as mouth wash if necessary. My dentist doesn’t feel that mouthwash is necessary if you brush and floss adequately, but I personally like the trio just so I know I’ve done all that I can to look after my teeth.

4. Binning the face wipes!

Following on from the wasteful comment, for one thing face wipes are another product that just litter the earth and contribute to the damage we’re doing.

They’re also rubbish in a skincare routine! They don’t remove enough product to properly have cleansed your skin, and the pulling and dragging of the skin when used is closer to ‘skin damage’ than ‘skincare’. They remove eye makeup and lipstick a reasonable amount, but come on – give your pores a bit more respect than that. I guess the best time to use these to remove makeup and cleanse your skin is when you have no other option (aka when I’m already almost comatose in bed and there’s no way I’m making it to the tap, but that rarely happens I swear!). It’s also not worth putting the delicate skin around your eyes through the trauma. No thanks, saggy eye skin! (Could it sound any more gross?).

I will admit to using face wipes to ‘tidy up’ my makeup when I’m applying it, for example if I’ve got a wonky wing, but I only use biodegradable wipes and just for a quick clean-up around the edges.

The real takeaway here is: cleanse thoroughly and be gentle when removing your makeup.

5. Getting enough sleep

When I don’t get enough sleep I feel disgusting in every way. I feel unwell, I look tired and I just feel generally ‘yuck’.

Another absolute necessity when it comes to beauty is this simple hack: sleep. No matter how many benefits products may be able to boast, there’s nothing that trumps getting enough sleep. Bags under the eyes and bad skin don’t get fixed in a bottle – your best bet is to hit the sack and get into a good routine. 7-8 hours per night is the recommended amount, but to be honest I could do with 1000 a night.

There are wider implications to lack of sleep that affect your appearance too: when we’re tired, we’re more likely to snack more (junk food) which in turn affects our skin. This will also increase the likelihood of weight gain, especially as we’re less likely to exercise when we don’t have the energy, so there are multiple reasons why we need enough sleep.

My cat is a pro at getting enough sleep

6. Maintaining a good diet

I’m a fine one to talk… I yo-yo like nobody’s business.

Which is why I’ve noticed the importance of a good diet, because when I have a bad period after being healthy for a bit my skin will tell me about it.

Piggy-backing off the point from eating junk food after not getting enough sleep, a bad diet will cause weight gain and break-outs. It’s also less likely that you’ll be getting the vitamins and nutrients your body needs for balance and general health, which will also be evident in your skin.

Do the research and make sure you’ve got enough of a balanced diet and packing in the nutrients and vitamins you need for a natural glow to add to the skincare glow we’re all chasing!

Source: Pexels

7. Being gentle to the skin around your eyes

I think we all know that glorious feeling when you’re running you’re eyes and it just. Feels. Good.

Well I’m double-weird because I love that feeling when taking off my eye makeup! There’s something so therapeutic when it comes to using a warm flannel and a bit of cleanser and giving your eyes one of those massages that you really shouldn’t do. Just me? Oh, ok.

This is somewhat a follow-on from the facewipe section further up this post, because in my teens I was one for removing my eye makeup with a faceup and jusr draaaaagging my skin around like there’s no tomorrow. Well there is a tomorrow: it doesn’t look pretty and it comes around WAY too soon. Hello, skincare regrets at 26. Looking forward to meeting the rest of you.

The skin around your eyes is so much more delicate than the rest of you, so you really need to be careful and loving towards it at all times. It’s super thin so pulling at it and just generally being rough will soon show. Concealer under your eyes takes no prisoners when it wants to highlight what you’ve done wrong over the years. I also have to be extra careful with mine because my eye skin is hyper-sensitive and I had to use steroid-based eye creams when I was being harassed by eczema as a kid.

In addition to not being rough, moisturising is crucial to keep any skin happy, so don’t slack when it comes to your eyes! In fact, just moisturising in general is crucial whether it be eye skin, face skin or body skin.

This article from a Dermatology PhD student gives a heap of useful information. I may rabbit on about things but it’s so important to be educated and learn about these topics from the experts.

So there you have it; my thoughts on the minimum key requirements for a beauty routine. As I always like you let you know, I’m by no means an expert so please do enough of your own research. These are just some of the points renowned for a better complexion.

Learn skincare with me. Lesson 1: Vitamin C

Vitamin C: one of the superheroes of skincare.

I could dive right in and ramble on about vitamin C in my typical fashion, but I actually want to structure the information as it’s a pretty important topic when it comes to skincare. I’d be pretty surprised if you’ve not heard of the wonder-nutrient in skincare by now, so you may already know a fair amount about it. But read on and see if there’s something you didn’t know!

So I’ve been doing some research over time and learning about lots of different things during my skincare journey, and I want to share that with any other skincare lovers out there. So without further delay…

Also known as:

  • Ascorbic Acid
  • L-Ascorbic Acid
  • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate

It has many different scary sounding names, indicative of the form of the antioxidant – the most popular and active being L-ascorbic acid.

What is it?

Vitamin C, or one of the other names it goes by, is an antioxidant that provides a plethora of benefits to the human body, not just the skin.

The nutrient is essential for tissue repair, however it isn’t something we produce ourselves and therefore we have to find ways of getting this onto our skin (and into our bodies, but that’s not the focus for today).

We can ingest vitamin C to benefit from it, but it’s far more effective when applied topically. 20 times more effective, in fact! No – you’re not meant to just rub half an orange onto your face… there’s loads of amazing products out there to use instead!

What are the benefits?

One of the most popular and appreciated benefits is that it is brightening. This is perfect for people with hyperpigmentation and discolouration, as it evens out skin tone without altering the rest of your skin.

It promotes collagen and elastin production, tackling fine lines and giving a more youthful complexion by plumping the skin and keeping it firm.

As touched upon in the into, it aids the skin’s regeneration process to repair damage. It has been identified as reducing damaged caused previously by UV rays, and being more effective in preventing damage (when used with SPF, of course).

It neutralises free radicals, such as pollution and UV rays. This is particularly beneficial for someone who lives or spends a lot of time in big towns/cities as damage from pollution is so easily missed! This neutralising of free radicals is key for preventing premature aging.

Things to be aware of:

It has been found that vitamin C is incompatible with, or can cause irritation when used with certain products:

  • Retinol (although it can be used with retinol, it is advised not to use them together)
  • Niacinamide
  • AHAs/BHAs

There are multiple products out there for applying the nutrient to our skin, but allegedly serum is the best method. However, this doesn’t meant to say you shouldn’t use cleansers, moisturisers and other products containing vitamin C (on the basis it’s in conjunction with compatible products/components! See above). If you’re not used to it, start gently with a low dose and build up to a higher dose as it can cause some irritation. I’ve been using the Dear, Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin Drop serum and Beautypie Superdose Vitamin C Oxygen Boosting Moisturiser which I’ve found to get on with well.

Further to the above, it can be irritating to sensitive skin in general.

It can be quite unstable and oxidises easily when exposed to air and light, so it must be stored properly to avoid deterioration. The most obvious sign that it has gone bad is discolouration. A lot of brands are using appropriate packaging (aka dark packaging, and ideally a pump as opposed to a dropper to prevent air exposure for the rest of the product), but this is usually for higher end – and thus higher price – products. As most of us can’t afford to fork out high-end prices, we just need the awareness and understanding of how to keep and use the products we have. You can see an example of oxidised vitamin C serum below – two of my products (one unopened, one opened for a while and exposed to light) are very different colours. The yellow/orangey colour is oxidisation:

So that’s the knowledge I’ve gained about vitamin C so far in a nutshell! I hope you enjoyed reading this post, whether you’re a skincare expert or just starting out.

As usual I’ll finish off by saying I am not an expert, and the above information has been found online by me. Always consult an aesthetician or dermatologist for advice on skincare concerns so you can get the most suitable guidance for your skin.

Why all the hype around Olaplex?

I’ll tell you why: it’s amazing.

I’m going to be completely honest here and admit that I very rarely cut my hair (I know, terrible!) so it’s almost always in need of some TLC. I’ll give it a trim myself occasionally (you can get away with it on long hair, I swear!), otherwise it’s just split ends galore. I just can’t bring myself to pay those salon prices…

So I can’t comment on the salon-quality Olaplex – obviously – even though I’ve heard amazing things, but I’ve tried the Olaplex you can use yourself, which I’m honestly so impressed with. I tried the ‘Holiday Hair Hair Fix’ set, which includes 4 100ml bottles :

  • No 3 Hair Perfector
  • No 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo
  • No 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner
  • No 6 Bond Smoother

No 3 Hair Perfector

This is the first product I tried, of course. I used a reasonable amount, but I didn’t need too much of it as it’s easy to spread through your locks. My hair instantly felt softer and smoothed, but that’s always the case with any sort of conditioner for me so I waited to see the real results afterwards.

I cant say I have particularly wild hair but it does have a bit of a mind if its own at times, however this noticeably changed it. The more accurate word I can think of is “sleek”. Honestly, it made such a difference.

I then followed it up with the shampoo and conditioner…

No 3 Bond Maintenance Shampoo and No 4 Bond Maintenance Conditioner

I’ll address the smell first: I really liked it! It’s not too intense at all, but it’s there enough to add to the experience and make it more pleasant. I don’t really know what I was expecting, perhaps something more ‘chemically’ but I was surprised at how nice it was.

The shampoo lathers really well, I used the ‘normal’ amount I would use of any shampoo, and it was waaaaay too much of this! My hair was super foamy (which actually felt amazing, to be honest) so I used less of it from then on. I love that you don’t need too much of it, because when you have long hair you really get through shampoo and conditioner!

I didn’t find that I needed too much of the conditioner either – obviously it doesn’t lather like the shampoo but I did find it very easy to work through and make sure my hair was covered enough.

The results were amazing. I’ve found that my hair lasts longer between washes, perhaps by a day or two – an unexpected bonus as I don’t like to overwash my hair but equally don’t want to go out looking like a greaseball!

My hair overall feels much easier to manage and is so much smoother than it was. It doesn’t tangle anywhere near as much, and I’m constantly brushing my hair with my fingers (weird habit, especially when I’m talking to people and it looks like I’m flirting!) so I can really feel how soft it feels.

My split ends are still definitely there. I mean, I expected good things from this but I have to be realistic at the same time: they’re not going to disappear completely! But I would say they’re better than they were. I’ll still be giving them a trim soon (either myself or actually go to a qualified hairdresser!) just to tidy them up a bit.

No 6 Bond Smoother

For me, this product is more if a nice-to-have than a necessity. I’m so used to having flyaways that I’m past the point of caring and have just generally accepted that they’re there and it’s ok.

I will admit that this certainly did smooth them, and it was nice to have hair that felt pretty much completely under control.

I didn’t use too much of this one as I hate the feeling of having ‘stuff’ on my hair, especially when it gets on my hands after I tie my hair up, but I can’t say I noticed much residue at all.

Overall I’m so pleased with this purchase and I must admit I’ve already invested in another set because of the amazing value…

I’ll also make the shampoo and conditioner my staples because of the results they’ve had on my hair!

Picture below of my hair looking smooth i(my opinion). It had been tied up for a while before this picture, so this is after a quick brush. That’s another thing I found: almost always my hair will be tatty and misshapen after being tied up, but since using Olaplex I’ve found it much easier to manager and stays sleek and just generally nice. Note, the picture is just using numbers 3,4 and 5 – not the bond smoother.

My experience with Beautypie part 2: Makeup

Naturally, after reviewing the skincare products I’ve used from Beautypie it makes sense to follow-up with my thoughts on the makeup products too…

I haven’t used as much of the makeup range as I have the skincare, but that definitely doesn’t mean I haven’t found some products that have earned their permanent place in my makeup bag warehouse.

I’m not going to go into the detail around Beautypie as a company again, as it’ll literally be exactly what I covered in my previous post (see: My experience with Beautypie part 1: Skincare), but it’s fair to say that they have hold a good weighting in my cosmetics cupboard for a multitude of reasons!

So without further ado, onto the products I’ve tried and tested.

The products I have tried

  1. EVERYDAY GREAT SKIN FOUNDATION

Personally I’m a fan of full-coverage foundations, so I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. I’m also dubious of ordering a foundation online as it’s really difficult to find your colour easily – even with comparison charts. I dropped BP an email and asked whether they would be able to send me some samples of the foundations in appropriate shades for my skin tone. I told them which shades I use in specific brands, and they sent out 3 small pots of foundation to try which was super helpful. I’m not sure if they’re still doing this now as you can order a set of foundation testers on the site (£6 or £5.44 for members) in sets for fair-medium/medium/deep tones, but it’s always worth a try to see if they can send you some samples free of charge!

This foundation has surprisingly decent coverage and is buildable, so it can be sheer enough for someone who doesn’t want that extra coverage. The price for my shade is £7.36 for 30ml, however the prices across all of the foundations range from £6.75 up to £9.99 (members prices). BP addressed the price disparity across the range in an email update from June, where they explained that the prices on the products are directly related to the prices paid to the factories when Beautypie make the bulk purchases. To take advantage of the lower prices, they need to order big batches. However at times where they had have to make smaller orders to restock particular products, the impact has been that those specific products/shades of foundation if this case have had a slight increase in their price and thus have a different price to other shades. Personally, I’m not too fussed as the prices are still amazing for what you get.

This is officially my go-to everyday foundation now. At that price why would it not be?! I do still like to use my MAC studio fix at times, but the Beautypie foundation is such incredible value that I feel stupid having anything else as my primary. It has a matte finish and doesn’t feel like a heavy product, regardless of the coverage. It does transfer a bit if you’re not careful, but setting the foundation does help and it lasts all day. It just makes my skin look the way I want it to, I guess that’s the best way I can explain it!

I apply the foundation using a Beautypie makeup sponge (BeautyBlender style), which I’ve bought a few sets of as they’re really good too and so affordable.

2. ÜBER VOLUME BOOST MASCARA

Unfortunately I don’t plan to repurchase this mascara as I found is a bit disappointing.

Perhaps I just wasn’t holding the wand properly, but I found it quite difficult to work with at times and ended up getting mascara around my eyes and not just on my lashes! I’m still using it to use it up but I have to be very careful holding the wand now. I also found that it transferred under my eyes throughout the day a lot more easily thank other mascaras I’ve tried. It sits around at the bottom of my makeup bag a lot while I’m slowly using it up.

It does do a reasonable job of enhancing my lashes once I’ve got it to apply properly, but it’s not overwhelming. I also found it can go clumpier than I would like – yet another reason I wouldn’t recommend it. Other people may get on with it better than I did, and it’s by no means a bad mascara or even the worst I’ve tried, but it’s not a product I’ll go for again. Let me know if you’ve tried it and had a different experience!

3. SUPERBROW™ LUXE PRECISION PENCIL

I fell in love with this the first time I used it and never looked back. What else can I say other than this is a KILLER product?!

I would say this is a pretty decent dupe for the ABH Brow Whiz; it’s really pigmented, you can do lighter/harder strokes for different strengths of the product and it lasts really, really well. You can create little ‘hairs’ with lighter strokes which can be pretty convincing! There’s also a little spoolie at the other end to really get the desired shape and effect of the look you’re going for. I would say it lasts at least a couple of months (unless you love a really bold brow, so at £5.44 it’s a steal, and I may or may not always have at least 2 in back-up at all times…

Following the foundation, this is the second BP makeup product that holds a high ranking in my makeup bag and is a staple. I use the shade Hot Coffee on a daily basis.

Spoolie with the brow pencil
Brow pencil point
It’s easy to create different strokes

4. QUANTUM BRONZER MATTE

I’ll say it straight: this is a good bronzer. It’s not particularly special, but it does the job.

I opted for the shade: Goldielux, described by BP as: “subtle bronzing for lighter skin tones“, but I feel it’s that it’s veering towards being a little bit too dark for my skin tone and easily goes patchy if not applied carefully so not much is needed. It’s particularly good for the summer when you want that extra-tanned look but for me there are days where it can otherwise just feel that little bit too much.

Don’t let that take away from the fact that it’s effective though, and a product that I would recommend buying if you were looking to try out a new bronzer without breaking the bank. When it’s on it lasts and does exactly what you want it to do. It’s easy to apply and picks up well on the brush due to the fine pressed powder, so it’s pretty great for £8.76 members price. Plus, it comes with a little mirror which is always useful!

It would be good if Beautypie were able to offer more shades, but it’s understandable that they can’t offer loads of varieties of every product.

5. FUTURELIPSTICK™ – MATTE and FUTURELIPSTICK™ – SATIN

I bought these in 2019 in the shades: Knockout Punch (A Pinky Brown) as a satin lipstick, and Shade : Cowboy Nude (A Brown Nude) as a matte lipstick. I’m not sure whether Knockout Punch is still available as I couldn’t see it on the site, but Cowboy Nude still is.

I actually ordered Knockout Punch first and I was so impressed with it that I bought a second one the next month. These are really lightweight, pigmented lipsticks that don’t dry your lips out – even the matte one. There’s a great variety of shades for each type, and I adore the colours of these ones.

Admittedly I don’t wear them enough but since rediscovering them recently (mainly to test them out for this post) I’ve been wearing them a lot more! The application is really easy and doesn’t drag your lips, and the lipstick lasts really well – only needing a top-up every now and then. My lips still feel soft and happy after using these – a feeling I don’t often get with lipsticks (especially mattes!).

At £4/£5-ish each these are so worth trying out. Beautypie also have a great range of lip liners…

Left: Satin lipstick in Knockout Punch; Right: Matte Lipstick in Cowboy Nude
Left: Knockout punch; Right: Cowboy Nude

6. WONDERGEL LONG WEAR LIP LINER

I got these in the shades Damzel and Reckless Red, which are both good shades for pairing with other lipsticks (of course the red will only really pair with red shades).

These are really easy to use and just glide on, making applying lipstick fast and easy. Both of these last really well, and the formulation I find to be really comfortable and pleasant to wear. It’s quite a creamy consistency and not irritating on the lips. I also think the shades are really pretty, and there’s a good variety to choose from! The members price for all of the lip liners is under £4 – incredible value in my opinion. I plan to get more of these (and the lipsticks, of course) because of the amazing quality and value.

It’s really easy to sharpen these as well, which is always a bonus. IT’s so frustrating when you sharpen something and it breaks or just doesn’t seem to want to be sharpened!

Top: Damzel; Bottom: Reckless Red
Left Damzel; Right: Reckless Red

I’ve also used the SHAPE & SMUDGE EYESHADOW BRUSH which comes in handy, but it’s not one I would reach for super often. I find it good for applying shadows along the lower lash line as it picks up the colour really well and makes the shadow easy to apply.

That concludes my Beautypie review for now until I get some new bits to try. I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for visiting!

My experience with Beautypie Part 1: Skincare

If you haven’t heard of Beautypie and you’re into makeup or skincare, you must have been living under a rock. I’m a bit late to the party in opining on the brand so please forgive me. Better late than never and all that jazz, and trust me: Beautypie is still very much relevant!

A bit of information about the “brand”

Beautypie is essentially a beauty subscription service whereby subscribers pay a monthly fee to get access to the extremely reasonably-priced products available on the site. It was founded by Marcia Kilgore, who also founded Soap & Glory and FitFlop. Depending on the subscription you go for, you’ll have a ‘spending limit’: this isn’t the limit on the actual price you’re paying (the member’s price); it’s on the typical price of the products outside of the Beautypie world (the full theoretical price if you will). For example: if you opted for the lowest subscription available which is £5, your spending limit is £50, and if you were to go for an eyebrow pencil with a typical price of £15 but on Beautypie for £4, your spending limit would reduce by the £20 typical price – not the £4 actual price.

If you didn’t buy anything for one or two months, your allowance would roll over each month so you’re not losing out. For example: using the same £5 subscription, if you didn’t use your £50 allowance in the first month it would roll over to the second month and you would have an allowance of £100 for that month.

This is perfect if there are a few things you have your eye on, but you don’t want to pay for the shipping charge on multiple orders – you can just let it roll over for one or two months and then do one big order! Looking at a few of my previous orders, the shipping was £3.36 for all of them, so it’s not loads but it’s nice to avoid paying that multiple times over.

So, all in all the costs are: subscription fee + product (member) prices + shipping = total payable.

You may be wondering what the point in paying a membership fee as well as paying for the product is, but when you can get a pretty good quality retinol serum that allegedly RRPs for £80 and pay £13 it all makes sense!

Beautypie claim that it works by the company going directly to the various labs in different territories and cutting out the “middle men”, celebrity marketing and retailer mark-ups. The below extract from www.beautypie.com details the breakdown with an example of the costs for one product for some clarity:

Every product I’ve come across is also certified cruelty free and “clean beauty”. Yet another reason to love the brand – win-wins all round!

Now we’ve got some background on the brand, it’s time to move on to the products! I won’t go through the ingredients on this post as you’ll be reading for days with the amount of products I have to get through, so I’ll touch on how I got on with each product individually.

The Beautypie products I’ve tried and tested

  1. JAPANFUSION™ PURE TRANSFORMING CLEANSER

I’m starting with my #1 favourite beauty product of all time from BP. Don’t click the red X just yet, I know a cleanser is pretty boring for my favourite product but I can’t tell you how amazing it is for the price! This is 100% up there as one of the best cleansers I’ve ever used, and it’s been the one I reach for above any others since I first got it however long ago.

The member price for this is £6.83 (!), which gets you 100ml of some serious cleansing (I actually thought it was a lot more than 100ml as it’s lasts months – and I use a reasonable amount to get the cake off my face!). I apply this across my face and (closed) eyes and leave it for half a minute or so to do the job. I then sweep it all off with a damp face cloth and it leaves no trace of makeup, lash glue or any other products. I really wasn’t expecting much when I first tried it so I was genuinely blown away, and it is honestly my holy grail of cleansers. It comes out as a kind of light cream/gel and then melts once it’s on your face and turns to a milk cleanser when water is applied. Beautypie’s description is: “A superlight triple-texture gentle facial cleanser that transforms from gel to oil to milk (in contact with water).”

NB: don’t do what I did at first and try and apply it to your face and wash it off like a foaming cleanser straight away. It didn’t do anything much – it needs the warm, damp cloth to work its magic after a short time dissolving it all!

I would say this is, in some ways, a dupe for the Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm as it removes makeup just as well. The only difference is that with Clinique I find there is a slight residue, but not with the Japanfusion cleanser. Even better!

2. SUPER RETINOL CERAMIDE-BOOST ANTI-AGING FACE SERUM and SUPER RETINOL (+ VITAMIN C) NIGHT RENEWAL MOISTURIZER

I’ll start with the serum first as I use this before the moisturiser. A little really goes a long way with this serum, so for 50ml of product at £13.18 this is almost literally a steal. There is a slight smell to it, but it’s really not unpleasant in any sense. It’s almost quite nice (?!), but it’s not fragranced intentionally – I think it must just be the scent of the formulation, but it’s barely there.

Now, I said I wouldn’t go through ingredients but I’ll just mention the dream mix in this: encapsulated ceramide complex, concentrated ceramides, hyaluronic acid and lactic acid. So it’s not only a wrinkle-fighting serum; it moisturises and exfoliates as well!

Now I’m not at an age where I have particularly noticeable wrinkles, but I am getting to the point where I’m noticing those dreaded fine lines making their unwelcome appearance. I noticed a reduction in them after using the serum (combined with the moisturiser), especially on my forehead. I don’t need a particularly strong retinol to fight them, so this is perfect for what I’m looking for and it really does the job well!

You don’t need much of the moisturiser either as it’s very effective with a small amount, and spreads easily over your face upon application. At £10.74 for 50ml this is another product you’re almost obligated to buy with that value. There isn’t much of a scent with this.

The ingredients list boasts encapsulated slow-release retinol, shea butter, Ferulic Acid (antioxidant) and vitamin C to name just some of the superstar ingredients.

There’s always the warning around irritation with retinols, but I can’t say I noticed anything of the sort with these products. Perhaps that’s due to the other skin-friendly ingredients working to counteract those nasty effects, but I’m still conscious of wearing my SPF after using it regardless. Side note: I know I keep saying this in posts, but SPFs are so important, especially after using products that render your skin more susceptible to damage – such as AHAs/BHAs and retinols as prime examples.

Both of these products are particularly popular among the Beautypie members for good reason, and I must admit to already having my replacements of each of these in my skincare drawer….

Side note – I also used the retinol eye cream previously which had similar effects!

3. SUPERDOSE™ VITAMIN C OXYGEN BOOSTING MOISTURIZER

I really liked this moisturiser for quite a while when I first tried it, and got through 3 tubes of it consecutively. I’m still very much a fan of it, but I must admit I haven’t been reaching for it as much in the wake of trying out other products and I’m not desperate to go back to it.

I do find it to be very lightweight and moisturising, and it sits under makeup pretty well. It absorbs quickly, a quality I always look for in a daytime moisturiser, which is a big plus for this. There’s no scent and I didn’t find it irritating at all.

I’ll definitely go back to this moisturiser at some point soon and I’d really recommend it to anyone looking for a good daytime cream with a good injection of vitamin C, so perhaps I’ll realise I missed it a lot more than I initially thought when I do.

4. FRESH GLOW BREATHABLE SETTING SPRAY

This is one that is a nice-to-have as another step in your routine, but I can’t say I was particularly overwhelmed with it. That may just be because I’m not too fussed by setting sprays as, in my opinion, they’re not revolutionary,

I would say it set my makeup fairly well, but it’s not life-changing for me. There’s a nice light scent to it, and it feels pretty refreshing to put it on. I would keep using it as my go-to setting spray if I had one as it’s nice and costs just £6.30 (members price, of course) but that’s just it: it’s just “nice”. It is useful in the summer when you’re out and about and melting, so it fits in your handbag and serves as a refresher when you need it.

I’d recommend this to anyone who feels a setting spray is necessary in their routine, but it’s not a must-have otherwise.

5. DR GLYCOLIC™ MULTI-ACID (6.5%) MICROPEELING PADS

The clue’s in the name: Glycolic Acid! Working with niacinamide, natural fruit AHAs and polysaccharides, this provides a gentle resurfacing of the skin. I found these caused no irritation and were pretty gentle yet effective. I could notice a difference in my skin: it was smoother, softer and I believe clearer, so I considered these a ‘good’ purchase.

However… there are only 30 pads in each pot, which are one-time-use only. For this reason I don’t think I’ll repurchase these (I did re-order a second pot just to fully test them out for a fair review) as it’s quite wasteful in that respect. There are also so many resurfacing and chemical exfoliant products on the market now that last longer than 30 uses.

6. TRIPLE HYALURONIC ACID & LIPOPEPTIDE SERUM

Ok, now this is another superhero product from BP in my opinion! This regularly makes an appearance in the batches I order.

This feels so silky and light, and absorbs pretty quickly. My skin feels instantly hydrated after I use this and I’m always tempted to use more! Yet again, a little goes a long way and has a massive impact. I often don’t bother with an official ‘moisturiser’ and just use this, never feeling like I should have used a moisturiser too. I’m noticeably more dewy, which is very welcome!

For some reason the second batch I got had changed colour from the pink dispenser to a clear dispenser and serum (pictured below), but so far I haven’t noticed a difference. They have addressed this on the product’s page: “Please note: Our current batch is packaged in our original white bottles, but the formula is exactly the same! (Going forward, our pink bottles will return as our permanent go-to.)

In my opinion, this is a must-have for anybody with dehydrated skin in need of a boost, or to be honest anybody who just wants to keep that hydration and moisture flowing in their routine.

The ‘normal’ packaging of the triple HA

7. PLANTASTIC™ MICROPEELING SUPER DROPS

These little drops are gems of brightening miracles!

I used these in addition to my usual resurfacing products with no issues whatsoever. They’re pretty gentle and contain derivatives of fruits to smooth and resurface the skin, and are made up of 95% natural ingredients.

These are a key part of my skincare routine (I do have a break from when when I’m trying out stronger resurfacing products just to make sure my skin isn’t being stripped of everything it has, but I always find my way back to them pretty fast as they really are a miracle product for my skin.

Now I am no expert so please don’t take this as skincare advice, but I would have thought these would be su8itable for even sensitive skin to benefit from due to their gentle yet effective properties. But everybody’s skin is different so it’s always important to take care when trying new products.

8. SUPERACTIVE CAPSULES ESSENTIAL CERAMIDES +

Erm, first of all can we just address how pretty these look?!

Now I need to be honest: I’ve tried a few of these but I don’t feel I’ve tried them enough to be able to give you a real review. So until then, I can only tell you that I encountered no irritation or adverse effects when I tried these out. They’re really fun to use and there’s enough product in each little capsule to cover the face and neck adequately.

Sorry I can’t give you a proper in-depth review of my experience, I’ll update in due course! For now, enjoy the aesthetics…

9. QI ENERGY™ BREATHABLE MOISTURE GINSENG BEAUTY SLEEP MASK

Whew, nearly there…

This mask is a dream for while you dream!

With its hydrating, skin barrier-repairing, age-fighting goodness, this mask really is a top-notch product in my opinion.

As we’re getting into winter, I know I’ll be heavily relying on this to see me through. When I wake up after using this overnight, my skin feels SO soft and happy with me. There’s no sign of any dryness, and certainly no signs of irritation after I indulge my skin in this sleep mask.

This is the first sleep mask I tried (I think) and I was very impressed with it. This is yet another product that just. makes. sense. At £8.77 (members price, again) it’s so worth giving a try to (hopefully) get the same results!

10. PURE CERAMIDES ELASTIC BOOST EYE MOISTURE SERUM

Have I saved the best until last? Maybe, at least alongside the cleanser.

These keep going out of stock for a good reason – they’re amazing! I periodically whine about the hyper-sensitive skin around my eyes (yes, we all have sensitive skin around them but mine comes at me with a vengeance!) and this has been a life-saver at times.

I layer this under my usual eye-cream (at least the ‘usual’ that I’m using at the time), but to be honest there are occasions I’ve used this on its own and it’s gone to WORK. The effects are incredible. It’s so hydrating, absolutely no irritation whatsoever, and I’ve found it really soothing at times when I need it. The rollerballs are so relaxing and it’s a bit of a treat to use these after a long day when I’m in need of a self-pamper session. They really help to de-puff in the mornings as well which is always welcome.

Plus they look REALLY cool! The only downside is that there’s not enough of it in the tube as it’s easy to get through it quickly, so it’s a pain when there’s a wait for restock. But it’s worth it! The popularity of this product is evidenced by the note BP have put on the product page: “Demand has exceeded expectations and we are awaiting packaging from a supplier

This has had a big impact for me in my routine, so I would really recommend it to anyone who needs that hydration around their eyes!

The eye-catching product up close

So there we have it! This post was in no way sponsored by Beautypie – I’m just a massive fan of the products. (guilty). I must admit I really adore the simplistic style of the packaging as well. I find it so appealing! I’ll do another post at some point when I’ve tried some other skincare bits from there.

For now, I hope you enjoyed reading and I’ll be doing a (shorter) post on the makeup I’ve tried from Beautypie next. Thanks so much for reading!

My experience with Facetheory skincare…

I’d had my eye on Facetheory skincare for quite some time, but early in the year I went for it and bought a few products.

Initially I had just bought the cleanser, night cream and the serums. After a few weeks I went back and bought the eye cream and the sets of 2 of each serum. I’m sure that’ll give you a good idea of how I feel about their products already…

A bit about Facetheory

Facetheory manufacture their products in Sheffield, which I love because it’s supporting a UK-based brand, thus reducing my carbon footprint somewhat when I order their products instead of ordering from overseas brands. They genuinely care about their products: the quality, the ingredients and how the customer gets on with them. One thing that I love is that many products are available with scent or unscented, so they strive to make their products suitable for everyone. Not all of them are available scented, but all of them are available unscented.

The products themselves take advantage of the benefits of both science and nature, with a big push for natural.

The packaging is either a glass jar or a metal tube as they don’t want to use plastic which is amazinggg as they’re all recyclable. They have also been approved as cruelty-free, which is so important in beauty and more still needs to be done on this. Seriously, what’s not to love about this brand so far?!

How do they treat customers?

I think the most important thing to touch on first is their customer service. Facetheory was already on my list of brands and products to review, but my recent experience with them is what prompted me to do it sooner rather than later.

Customer service is about as important as the products themselves – or not far off at least. With social media, reviews and the extensive reach we all have these days when it comes to voicing our opinions on companies (and even each other!), companies can’t afford to be lax and give bad customer service (although that doesn’t appear to phase some…) and Facetheory certainly take that seriously.

I fell in love with the clarifying cleanser I bought at the beginning of the year which had a 12 month life. Unfortunately, the salicylic acid crystallised ever so slightly and created little shards in the cleanser. I contacted Facetheory as I was a little concerned as to what these were and whether the product was contaminated, and they explained that this occasionally happened in the previous formula when it got cold in transit. They had since updated the formula, so I was comfortable that the product was still safe to use, and they had suggested mixing it in my hands a bit to melt the crystals which worked a bit. I concluded that I would just need to keep melting the crystals for a bit before using it on my face.

I thought that would be the end of the conversation, so I said thanks to the representative for her help and left it at that. She replied after a while to ask if I tried what she had suggested, and when I replied she asked for a couple of details. After I gave them to her she asked if I preferred a refund or a replacement free of charge, which I was initially a bit stunned by as I thought the exchange was over. I didn’t contact them looking for any sort of compensation; merely just an assurance that I was safe to finish up my existing tub of cleanser. I was so grateful that they were so quick to make sure I was happy without me even asking for anything.

This is the sort of service that really stands out in my opinion! I wanted to highlight this as I put a lot of value on brands that treat their customers well, and wanted to share this so other people could give them a try as I trust the brand as a whole: their products and their service – and their ethics!

The products I have been using

Anyway, on to the products themselves!

I can’t go on to the site without being lured in by the incredible range of products available, not to mention the amazing ingredients and formulations. So for now I’m going to have to keep away before I buy up the whole site!

My first purchase: cleanser, night cream, BHA exfoliant serum and Porebright N10 serum

Clarifying Cleanser

On the label, the description is: “An AHA/BHA triple cream cleanser that removes makeup and impurities”. Now I’m a heavy product wearer: I layer on the skincare, SPF (yes it has a category in its own right – it’s important people!!) and makeup so I need a good cleanser to get rid of it all. I use this as my second cleanse after a thorough cleanse with a cleansing balm, and I never skip this step because I can really feel the difference it makes. My skin feels like all the layers of ‘stuff’ have been removed after my first cleanse, but it’s only after the second cleanse using the Clarifying Cleanser that I really feel clean. I use this second because I really need something strong enough to get the gunk off my face – this isn’t appropriate for getting rid of my eye makeup – and then something to give it that deep clean, which the ingredients in this product are certainly good for.

Also – the smell! This has a ‘mandarin’ scent, and it really is gorgeous. It doesn’t smell artificial either (I really hate artificial scents), it just smells light and fruity. I’m not usually one for scented products as I find they give me a headache a lot of the time, but I’ve never had that with this. However, I think next time I’ll opt for the unscented version, as the scented version contains mandarin essential oil and I like to avoid essential oils in my skincare. It has not caused any issues for me, it’s just my personal preference.

The texture is really unique as well. It’s almost like it’s whipped! I can only describe it as something between a heavy cream and a mousse, which I personally really enjoy.

I’ll stop there otherwise I’ll become a novelist by the end of this post…

The serums

The BHA serum is described on the bottle as having “2% salicylic acid with green tea extract”. I use this after my cleanser, and after using this combo a few times I could really tell that my skin was looking clearer and brighter. This doesn’t have a scent, and it feels really nice and silky when it glides on the skin.

The ingredients include some industry favourites including Glycerin, Squalane, and Lactic acid to name a few; all big names in the skincare community now. They also have a lot of naturally derived ingredients and components in the mix. Another thing I love is that their ingredient list is explanatory: it gives you a brief idea of what each ingredient does/means – example below. Let’s be honest, a lot of companies name big words and most of us aren’t dermatologists so we’re often left in the dark as to what each one means unless we want to delve deep into the scientific details. I just want to know what I’m using is right for my skin and understand what it’s doing to it, I don’t want to be halfway to a PhD while finding that out!

This is effective but gentle on the skin; I have no irritation after using it.

Source: http://www.facetheory.com

The Porebright N10 serum is another key contender in the fight for which products I want to use and when, and is described as “Non-comedogenic 10% niacinamide and azelaic acid serum.” The brand claims are that this will reduce pore size, reduce redness and brighten skin. As with the BHA serum, this feel really nice to apply to the skin and glides on really easily. There is no scent in this one either.

The azelaic acid is the main warrior against pores in the formulation, whilst the niacinamide will work to even out skin tone amongst many other benefits. The formulation also contains salicylic acid like the other products, so it’s important to be mindful of which products have certain ingredients so you don’t overdo it while using them together!

I feel that this has helped to even my skin tone and my pores are a bit smaller, however – and perhaps I had just set my hopes too high – I was hoping my pores would be even smaller after using the serum. Nonetheless, there are many benefits I have noticed from using it that I’ll continue using it as it really does make my skin look and feel much better!

The eye cream

I’m going to be completely honest with you – I haven’t used this enough yet to give a fully informed review. The skin around my eyes is extra sensitive and has bouts of irritation, so I’ve had a bit of a stint of relying on my ‘tried and tested’ during times of crisis. As such, I’ve not had a chance to properly evaluate the impact of the eye cream on my skin yet.

What I can say is that it hasn’t irritated or caused any adverse reaction to my skin when I have used it. I found it to be moisturising and I am impressed with it so far, so I’ll give more of an update once I’ve really given it a chance. Facetheory claim that it will reduce dark circles, but I don’t really have them under my eyes so I won’t be able to judge. Two of the ingredients are vitamin C and liquorice; both renowned for their benefits to skin. I’m looking forward to giving it a proper try and updating.

Relaxing night cream

Last but by no means least: the night cream.

I’ve been pretty impressed with this cream and I’ve nearly finished the first pot. As with all of the aforementioned products, a little really does go a long way. This is an unscented cream, which packs a punch. I used to notice my nose was almost scaly (gross!) where it was getting so dry, but I haven’t noticed that at all since I started using this. I use this after I’ve cleansed, toned and used all my serums, sometimes topping this off with a night oil once the cream has been absorbed.

It contains hyaluronic acid, of course, as well as ferulic acid which I hadn’t heard of before. It’s an antioxidant and “helps enhance the stability of vitamin E” as described by Facetheory. It also boasts glycerin, shea butter and argan oil, so your skin doesn’t stand a chance at getting dry after being slathered in this!

I’ll definitely be re-investing in another jar of this after I run out, but it has lasted me a few months already. I really love this cream!

I hope you enjoyed my thoughts and opinions on the brand and the products. I am not a skincare professional so please take any ‘knowledge’ and information lightly, as this is essentially just my research online and may not be accurate.

Thanks for reading!