Sunday, 19 July 2020

How To Buy What You Want For Less

When I first got into blogging, I thought that it would be an expensive hobby. However I find that you can still buy things that you want, and can also get some kind of deal too - it all depends on how much you are willing to wait. I wanted to write this post to shine some light on how I currently shop for the things that I want, beauty or otherwise. 

Black Friday

Black Friday is one of my favourite US traditions that has now came over to the UK. Although the US has better deals, anything electrical such as my MacBook Air and Dyson Vacuum Cleaner are the best items to buy as both products had a substantial saving which was around £150 off the original price. I actually start thinking about any Black Friday purchases a few months in advance and begin to write a list of what things I want to scout around for - this makes it easier for shopping on the day - as it's mostly done online. The things on this list aren't urgent things I need to buy and so I can wait a few months to ensure I get a better discount. This is also a great time to think about Christmas presents too as you will be buying the same thing around a month earlier and hopefully with a discount! 

Duty Free 

If I am going away I know I can utilise Duty Free to get some discounts on makeup, skincare, perfumes and sunglasses. I always ensure that I use this as although the saving might not be big, it is still a way to get the products you want for a better price. Duty Free is also a great place to buy handbags at a better price. I went to Heathrow back in February and spotted a Gucci Bag that was over £1100 that ended up being just around £980 in Duty Free. So Duty Free is a place where you can also make substantial savings too. 

Store Discounts 

Sometimes if you aren't going anywhere and Black Friday is too far away, I settle for normal store discounts. This can range from 10-20% which is still great, especially in stores like House of Fraser and Debenhams on their beauty products. I feel like sometimes we need something straight away and then we end up paying full price during times when these discounts aren't there, whereas if we shopped a bit smarter we would be able to get the same products for a better price. I always try and shop for the 3 for 2 deals in Boots and Superdrug too, as they can also save a lot of money in the long run, especially on products that I know I love and will use. 

Designer Outlets 

If you know me, you will know that I am a massive fan of Bicester Village, and I used to go there around every 2-3 months prior to COVID-19. I think it's such a great place to get brands that you love for a more affordable price tag. I think the trick with designer outlets is to not go there with a specific thing you want e.g. The Gucci Dionysus bag or the Dior Book Tote, but to have a vague idea of the style of bag you want and to see what they do have. I have bought a more than a few items from Bicester Village from Gucci, Coach, DKNY, Michael Kors, Hugo Boss and Monica Vinader just to name a few over the past few years. 

Joining Mailing Lists/ Memberships

Similar to store discounts, shopping during sales can also be advantageous. I'm a fan of online sales, where you don't have to go through hordes of clothes to find the one thing you want. Joining mailing addresses of the shops you love can come in handy. I'm a member of the H&M club, which gives free delivery to every member and also notifies members 24 hours before their sale launches and gives members access to shop the sale before everyone else, so that nothing is really sold out or not in your size. I have ordered clothes so many times at such a great discount that being a member and being notified via email is more exciting than annoying. If there is a particular store or brand you like, then I think it is worth joining a mailing list to get notified of any sales or discounts. 

So these are my top 5 ways of how to buy what I want for less, and it is about buying less impulsively. I think sometimes having time to stew over purchases also helps too as if is a faze, you can identify that quickly, however if after 3 months you still want the item then it may be worth investing in. If you would like to read more posts then be sure to follow me on Bloglovin to stay up to date! 


Saturday, 13 June 2020

Where to Save: Skincare Edition

My post around Where to Save: Makeup Edition is actually one of the most popular posts on my blog, which inspired me to create a skincare version which might help you on what bits and pieces you can save money on.

1) Serums and Treatments 
I am happy to spend my money on skincare, but I don't buy things purely because of the cost, I try to look for quality products, no matter the price-tag. My current serums and treatments are those which are affordable, but effective. I believe the key when looking for affordable serums and treatments is to find out what you might be missing in your current skincare - is it hydration, less congestion, to to treat acne or to reduce the appearance of wrinkles? You can get products that are an 'all in one' however those are the products which comes with a heftier price-tag, so if you narrow down what you are looking for, then you can definitely save some bucks. I've written a piece here which is a comprehensive guide to skincare.

1. The Ordinary 'Buffet' (£12.70/30ml)
2. The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum (£5.99/30ml)
3. The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalene  (£4.90/30ml)

2) Lip Balms
This is probably the most known inexpensive product that you can buy, but you would be surprised at the amount of lip balms that are over the £10 mark. I can hold my hands up here that I have spent more than £10 on a lip balm before, however I find that I don't consistently buy expensive ones, purely because I do think cheaper lip balms are good too - especially when I feel like my money can be better spent else where.

1. Nivea Original Care Lip Balm (£1.99/4.8g)
2. Vaseline Lip Therapy Tin (£1.00/ 20g) 
3. Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Lip Care (£2.99/4.8g)

3)  Toners
I've recently shared my renewed interest in toners here. In summary, I think toners are a great way to add a small dose of treatment into your skincare, whether that's with turmeric, salicylic acid or something else entirely. I also love the fact that you can spritz on some throughout the day, especially when it is hot outside! Any toners that I have that don't have a spray bottle, I personally depot into into a spray bottle so that I can spritz directly onto my face. I find that this adds speed into my routine, but more importantly, it's better for the environment when you aren't using two cotton pads a day.

1. Garnier Organic Thyme Toner (£5.99/ 150ml).
2. Neutrogena Clear and Soothe Toning Facial Mist  (£5.99/ 125ml)
3. La Roche Posay Serozinc Facial Mist (£9.99/150ml)

4) Makeup Removers
I've had this blanket rule for quite a few years now that if a product stays on your skin for less than two minutes then you shouldn't be breaking the bank for it. So makeup removers, whether it's micellar water, oils, balms (or even the dreaded makeup wipes) should be cheap and cheerful because they are created to remove the first layer of makeup on your skin, and it should be followed up be a second cleanse of some sort!  So makeup removers are definitely a product you can save on!

1. Simple Kind To Skin Hydrating Cleansing Oil (£6.99/125ml)
2. Superfacialist Vitamin C+ Skin Renew Cleansing Oil  (£12.00/200ml)
3. Garnier Micellar Water Sensitive Skin  (£5.00/400ml)

5) Eye Cream
I think eye cream market has been taken over by high end skincare brands and so it's actually a bit difficult to find eye creams under £15 which is a shame. If we think around why wrinkles form, it's due to the skin becoming more dry as it ages and the skin becoming a bit thinner too. To help protect the eye area, we need to take care that it is more moisturised than the rest of our face. I want to stress that there are other factors that can cause wrinkles and dark circles around the eye, from genetic  and lifestyle factors and so moisturising your under eyes is not a miracle solution if you do have a particular difficulty with your eye area. I think it is a good habit to start taking care of the skin around your eyes, especially in your early to mid 20's as the habit of applying eye cream also helps to boost circulation too.

1. Vichy Aqualia Thermal Eye Awakening Eye Balm (£15.00/15ml) 
2. Simple Kind to Eyes Eye Balm Soothing (£4.02/15ml)
3. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Eye Awakening Gel (£12.99/15ml)

So those are the five areas where I think we can save when it comes to skincare. I always find myself gravitating to the products I have mentioned when I don't want to spend a lot of money and also when I actually don't need to either. I hope you liked this post, and I would love to hear about where you save your money when it comes to skincare, as I might be missing a trick.

If you would like to read more posts then be sure to follow me on Bloglovin to stay up to date! I have  some upcoming posts that you might also enjoy!


Wednesday, 27 May 2020

The Skincare Device That I Can't Live Without: Foreo Luna 3

For the last couple of years, I have been prioritising skincare over makeup - mainly because we only have one skin, so it's important to care of it. As well a trying out a few different topical products, I also love skincare tools - and I'm going to be talking you through my absolute Holy Grail which is the Foreo Luna 3 which I have been using for the last 6 months. 

Foreo is a Swedish brand that specialises in cleansing brushes, toothbrushes and even skincare. Foreo stands out because of their tools are made from silicone. If we think of typical facial cleansing brushes, what makes them unhygienic is the bristles, they cling onto water and can harbour bacteria, especially as they never fully dry in between uses. The bristles on the Foreo device are made from silicone, which means that the device dries within 5 minutes so bacteria doesn't have an opportunity to thrive. The silicone bristles  are also hardwearing and so do not get damaged with continued use, so no need to replace any heads.

Foreo, like other facial cleansing brushes, vibrates to help the cleansing process. Foreo has T-sonic pulsations which stimulate the skin, increasing circulation and also cleaning out pores more effectively. I use this device because it cleans my skin without stripping it. To use it, I wet the device before adding my cleanser, turning the device on and then applying it onto my damp face, so that it lathers slightly. I move the device around the different sections of my face in 30 second intervals and then when the timer is done, I wash the lather off my face. I use this as a second cleanse, so that it's exclusively cleansing my skin, and not removing my makeup. 

Foreo have many makes and models, I used to have the Foreo Play (£29), the travel version that has a 100 uses, which is a great starter device if you are unsure. You are able to buy slightly older models and different sized models too. What is also nice is that the 'Full-Sized' device is tailored to your type of skin, whether you have oily, combination, dry or sensitive, they have tailored the bristles on the device to match the needs of the user. I have the combination skin, which comes in the blue colour.

The Foreo Luna 3  (£169) is one of the latest models, and comes with an app which means you can customise the vibration strength, the amount of time you want to use the device when cleansing, and also teach yourself how to give yourself facials. The Foreo Luna 3 has these specialised grooves on the back of the device, which are perfect for facials and also for applying skincare too, and so this device doubles up as both an everyday  and occasional tool.

Although the Foreo Luna 3 comes with an app, it doesn't have to be used with the app, but it's nice to have the option there. You can start the device by using the app, or by double clicking the circle indentation on the back of the device to start the pulsations. In terms of battery, you don't need to charge this product regularly, it definitely lasts a few months in between charges. I think I have charged it around 2-3 times over the past 6 months, and one time was purely because I was taking it abroad with me.

Personally, I love my Foreo Luna 3 I think they've made such an innovative product and after 6 months of using the Foreo Luna 3, it still looks brand new. I don't think you need the latest model, but I would recommend Foreo if anyone was on the hunt to improve their skincare routine. Although this was on the pricier side, I can pair it with more affordable skincare which gives me the same result.

I would love to know if you use any cleansing tools in your routine, if so leave me a comment. I am always on the hunt to discover more tools. If you would like to read more posts then be sure to follow me on Bloglovin to stay up to date! I have  some upcoming posts that you might also enjoy! 


Sunday, 26 April 2020

Toners - Why I have Started Using Them.

If you spoke to me a few years ago, I would have completely dismissed the concept of toners, I thought it was an unnecessary step in you 'skincare regime'. Back in the day of cream cleansers, toners were actually necessary to ensure that makeup had been adequately removed from the skin - the 'second cleanse' from back in the day. Currently, we live in an age of oil and balm cleansers that can take off every single speck of make-up and so toners fell by the wayside. But recently, some brands have piqued my interest back into toners, and I have given it a second shot...

I am currently on my second bottle of the Garnier Organic Thyme Toner (150ml/ £5.99). This toner is so fresh on the skin and has Salicylic Acid, which was the major selling point for me. Salicylic acid is an ingredient that helps to prevent breakouts by chemically exfoliating deep in the pores of the skin. I've also tried a few different application methods, I used to pour the product out into some cotton wool, but I grew frustrated that the cotton wool was getting the majority of the product. I then switched to pouring the product directly onto my hands and patting it on my face, which was a greater improvement, finally I settled for moving the product into a spray bottle and so I spritz this onto my skin after it has been freshly washed and pat the residue onto my skin before starting my skincare regime. I highly recommend doing this as you get to use the all of the product and have more control on how much you use on application. I have found this product helpful when I have a few breakouts, as I find that this product helps calm and not make the situation worse. I have also noticed that the amount of time I am suffering from a breakout is also reduced which is great.

I've never really used Neutrogena products, however I was intrigued when I saw the Neutrogena Clear and Soothe Toning Facial Mist  (125ml/£5.99) which contains Turmeric. Turmeric is well known in Asia as  a brightening agent, when applied topically. It also has anti-inflammatory properties, and so is good for both the skin and also your diet too. I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I tried this product, but I did like the result. Firstly this product contains a spray bottle, which delivers a fine mist - so the negatives with the Garnier are not present here. There is a fragrance, however it is not too potent or unpleasant. Again I pat this into my skin and I have noticed that my skin is brighter and not angry. Sometimes I have a few breakouts, and it causes my skin to be slightly sensitive around that area, however since using this, my skin has felt more calmer. It's more of a feeling than a visible result, but nonetheless I do really like this product.

What I realised is that I like toners that add something to my routine, an ingredient that might help with my complexion or texture of my skin, so a bit like a serum but in smaller doses. I alternate between these two toners depending on my skin which I have been enjoying doing in the last month.

If there are any toners that you particularly like, I would love to hear about them, so leave a comment below! If you would like to read more posts then be sure to follow me on Bloglovin to stay up to date! 

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

15 things to do whilst self-isolating

So March has been a long month and a lot has happened. As we are all isolating ourselves in our homes, I thought I would share some things that you can do while you are at home, to break the monotony and take advantage of the time that we have got. I will be sharing some examples of what I have been doing too!

1. Read a book (I finished Heroes by Stephen Fry, and would highly recommend)
2. Do a jigsaw/ Play a game (I've found a deck of cards last weekend!)
3. Draw/ Colour
4. Listen to your favourite albums (I've been listening to old Muse Albums)
5. Plan a workout schedule

6. Listen to Podcasts (My Favourite Murder/ No Such Thing as Fish/ Is it Just Me?/ Science(ish))
7. Do a manicure/pedicure (my sister has kindly gave me both!)
8. FaceTime/ phone friends (I have been doing this while walking)
9. Bake a cake/ Cook a new dish (I helped bake my own birthday cake)
10. Clean or reorganise a space in your home

11. Give yourself a facial (I knew that Jade Facial Roller would come in handy!)
12. Practice Yoga/ Mindfulness (Yoga with Kassandra on YouTube is my favourite)
13. Watch a new movie with the lights dimmed for a cinema experience (I've done this once and it was great!)
14. Experiment and try a new makeup/ hair look
15. Give yourself a massage (I am planning on cracking out the Tonic Body Treatment Oil from Clarins!)

I hope you found at least one thing that was helpful on this list! Let me know if you have any more tips and tricks on new things to try as I would love to hear them.

If you would like to read more posts then be sure to follow me on Bloglovin to stay up to date! I have  some upcoming posts that you might find helpful!


Monday, 27 January 2020

A Comprehensive Guide to Skincare Ingredients

In this day and age we are lucky to be given so much information, however sometimes information can be dangerous. In skincare, companies sometimes take advantage of this, hyping up ingredients to generate more sales. In todays blog I wanted to clear the air with the most common ingredients you might be aware of and what they actually do. I will be adding a few links to products which feature the ingredient in question if you are interested in finding out more. 

1) Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic Acid is a substance that is naturally found in your body, helping to retain water and moisture. Hyaluronic acid, when applied topically can help to hydrate the skin, and retain the moisture levels in your skin. It's commonly said that Hyaluronic Acid can retain 1000 times it's own weight in water, which shows how well this ingredient works. Hyaluronic Acid works well with humid weather, as it attracts the water in the air and binds it to your skin, so people in drier weather may have varying results. Personally, I view Hyaluronic Acid as a booster to your normal moisturiser, when applied to bare skin it can heighten the effectiveness and hydration of any moisturiser you add on the top of it. You can buy Hyaluronic Acid as a standalone product for a few pounds, however it is now commonly an ingredient that is formulated within moisturisers and serums.

1. The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% and B5 (£5.90/30ml)
2. The Inkey List Hyaluronic Acid Serum (£5.99/30ml)
3. L'Oreal Paris Hydra Genius Aloe Water (£9.99/70ml)

2) Vitamin C

Vitamin C, great for your body, but also your skin. Vitamin C is high in antioxidants, which means that it helps to protect the skin from 'free-radicals' (a naturally occurring unstable atom that prematurely causes ageing and diseases). So 'free-radicals' are something that we want protection against, and Vitamin C can provide this protection. Vitamin C is also proven to brighten the skin and also helps to even out skin-tone. Vitamin C can be viewed as 'anti-ageing' due to being high in antioxidants and so this is why brands try to include Vitamin C in their products. What is important to know is that Vitamin C is a highly unstable ingredient, which isn't a cause for concern, but brands may make the Vitamin C in their products less potent for this reason, or they might have a solution of Vitamin C suspended in an ingredient to make it more effective. The reason for this is that Vitamin C doesn't react well in water, or with oxygen and so brands will keep this in mind. I recently did a post around the Vitamin C collection by The Body Shop, which doesn't have a high concentration of Vitamin C, however can be viewed as a good introduction to the effectiveness of Vitamin C. 
Vitamin C can be used by all ages, however I believe it is important to do research to see how Vitamin C can fit into your regime and whether it may interact with other products you might already be using. I would urge you to read The Ordinary Guide to Vitamin C , I find that this website is informative around the products in their range, and outlines how the products may interact on your skin. 

3) Retinol
Retinols have revolutionised the skincare game utterly and completely. I first heard about retinols around 5 years ago, when Sunday Riley brought out her famous Luna Oil. So what is retinol? Retinol is a derivative of Vitamin A and also one of the proven anti-ageing ingredients out there (alongside Niacinamide and SPF). Retinol is an anti-ageing ingredient because it increases the cell turnover in the skin, stimulates collagen and elasticity in the skin which keeps it looking more youthful. Sounds perfect, however retinol comes in different strengths and so it is important to acclimatise your skin to retinol, so this means not applying it every single day. Retinol is known to irritate the skin, and so it is not for everyone. Brands like Sunday Riley and Elizabeth Arden ensure that the retinol is applied with ingredients that will also soothe the skin, so the product is not as irritating, helpful because one product can do it all, however this is also why products may be more expensive. Like Vitamin C, you can buy retinol as a single ingredient however again research is important as correct usage and aftercare is key. Applying SPF in the mornings following retinol is a must as you are uncovering new skin and you don't want this to become pigmented by exposure of UVA/UVB rays. 
If you are pregnant or currently breastfeeding, you should consult a dermatologist/physician prior to using retinol. 

4) Acids
There are a lot of types of acids which can be confusing at first however I will group them and outline their functions. 
Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) is a water soluble acid which can help promote collagen, chemically exfoliate the skin which helps even out the skin-tone, and increases absorption of products.  Types of AHA's include Glycolic and Lactic Acid and only work on the surface of the skin.
1. Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads (£14.95/60 pads) 

Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) is oil soluble, and so can gravitate deeper into pores to help remove impurities, and so works both on the surface and at pore-level. BHA's has good anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and may be more suited for those with congested oily skin.  Types of BHA's include Salicylic Acid.
2. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion (£16.00/29ml)

5) SPF
Lastly, I want to talk about Sun Protection Factor (SPF) which I believe is the most important skincare ingredient that I could talk about and one that everyone should be using. There are two different types of rays emitted from the sun, UVA, which causes the skin to age and UVB, which causes damage to the skins surface and associated with sunburn and skin cancer. The SPF rating  (15, 30, 50 etc) tells you how long you are protected from the UVB rays before you begin to burn. Measuring UVA protection occurs through a rating scale from PA+ to PA++++, PA++++ being the most protection. Ensure that your SPF protects you from both UVA and UVB rays, this is sometimes called 'broad spectrum', however having the rating and SPF outlined clearly is optimal. 
The benefits of SPF are that it protects your from the sun, which accelerates the signs of ageing and  can darken hyper-pigmentation. Applying SPF on a daily basis can maintain an even skin-tone, especially if you are using Vitamins C, acids and retinols which are trying to uncover newer skin and so protecting this consistently is important. 

That completes my comprehensive guide to the mainstream skincare ingredients you might come across! I hope that this post makes sense. I really enjoyed compiling this post, I am by no means an expert but I love learning about skincare and how ingredients interact with each other. Let me know if you found this helpful and if there is any ingredients that you would like me to feature. 

If you would like to read more posts then be sure to follow me on Bloglovin to stay up to date!

Monday, 20 January 2020

The Body Shop Vitamin C Range

Vitamin C is a skincare product that goes in and out of mainstream skincare. Vitamin C is an ingredient which is packed with antioxidants and ultimately protecting your skin from the environment, which can prematurely make the skin show signs of ageing - wrinkles, sagging, pigmentations you name it. Vitamin C is a great addition to any skincare regime. 
I was given some of The Body Shop Vitamin C range as a gift from friends, and after using it for a few months, I wanted to share my thoughts. 

The Cleanser:
Vitamin C Glow Boosting Facial Cleansing Polish (£11.00/125ml)
This cleanser was the first thing I tried from the range, and I'm around halfway through using it. This is a gel cleanser which contains Vitamin C, and also contains micro-beads to gently exfoliate the skin topically, helping to brighten the skin on two levels. A pea-sized amount of product is enough to lather the skin and as a whole this cleanser doesn't strip the skin. I use this product as my second cleanse in the evening with my Foreo Luna 3, and I find this combination is a really nice mix. 
The exfoliation is minimal which makes this a great daily cleanser, and if you are sensitive to smell, this product is not scented a particular way which I love - it just smells fresh. I like the packaging too, it's just simple, however when you have both the cleanser and the scrub, it's easy to grab the wrong bottle as they are almost identical!

The Scrub:
Vitamin C Glow Boosting Microdermabrasion (£18.00/100ml)
I use this scrub daily (which I know isn't the best for your skin!) but it has fine particles and isn't as harsh as your typical St. Ives, imagine salt versus coffee granules! 
With this product I find that I need to use quite a lot of product if I want a 'proper' exfoliation so this product was my least favourite product from the range because I find that there are other products that are similar to this type of scrub (No7 do a very similar one for £11.00). I think I would want a higher concentration of Vitamin C and perhaps an element of a 'leave-on mask' if I was paying £18.00 so I wouldn't purchase this again. 

The Moisturiser:
Vitamin C Glow Protect Lotion SPF30 (£15.00/50ml) 
This moisturiser was one of my favourites from the range. I like this because it has Vitamin C and you leave it on the skin. I don't get when scrubs and cleansers have Vitamin C, because it's on the skin for less than 2 minutes, and I'm not sure how much of an effect that will really have in the long term. This product however works on three levels: first it's a moisturiser, a physical barrier on the skin to protect it from your daily life, secondly it has Vitamin C, an ingredient proven to brighten and tighten the skin and thirdly, this contains SPF, my holy grail that works to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays that can cause pigmentation to the skin, even if it is not sunny outside. If that's not enough, the formula is rich but also light on the skin, absorbing nicely but also moisturising the top layer of skin which is perfect for these winter months. I think the combination of the Vitamin C and the SPF has made my complexion brighten, and also has helped to keep it that way too. 

All in all, I am a convert to Vitamin C. I think it has so many benefits, and after I am finished with these, I want to purchase Vitamin C as a standalone ingredient with higher potency and try and find a place for it in my routine. I think if you are on the fence about using just Vitamin C,  The Body Shop's range is a good place to start. 

I would love to know if you have tried this range and what you thought about it? Have you tried Vitamin C and are there any products you would recommend?

If you would like to read more posts then be sure to follow me on Bloglovin to stay up to date!
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