Skincare

Dermalogica Professional Skin Treatment | Selfridges, Bullring

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When I find something I love, I want everyone to love it! There are so many beauty treats I hail but I feel like everyone should try a facial. The heaven of this practice is one of my favourite things!

I recently had a complimentary Professional Skin Treatment with Dermalogica at Selfridges Bullring, with skin expert, Helen. There is a secluded treatment room on the beauty floor and a host of Dermalogica products were waiting. The treatment began with a snuggly dressing gown, a soft bed made extra toasty by a warming blanket and plush quilt, and the delicate music that makes you question why you don’t listen to twinkly piano sounds all day, every day.

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The best elements of the Dermalogica experience is that it is completely tailored to your own skin. There is no dry/combination/oily category to fall into; your own skin menu is created as a tailored process that is even customised to the different areas of your face. This is kicked off by a FaceMapping Skin Analysis, though you wouldn’t know it as you drift off into a blissful snooze. 

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Next will be stages of a deep double cleanse, tailored exfoliation, professional Galvanic current, a masque and hydrating finishing products, which sounds rather like a landscape gardener’s day job but is actually a therapeutic series of actual therapy for your skin, and even your mind and spirit. The reason I love facials is that you feel so relaxed and light after. It must be the combination of the way the techniques and massage affects your sinuses and releases toxins, and it’s a chance to completely zone out.

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Compared with facials I've had in the past, this felt supremely balancing and restorative. Once you wake up slowly and head back into the real world, at Dermalogica you have the chance to see the results of your skin mapping and delve into just what your skin is asking for. You’re not sent on your way or pitched the newest brand release; you are educated on the way your skin behaves and Helen was so insightful, and especially warm and chatty with a real passion for the results of the brand. You get to take away the map of your skin types and a list of specially chosen products, and for example the ‘touch sensitivity’ areas numbered in mine were completely the areas that turn a bright pink after patting in my moisturiser or smoothing on a serum each day despite how gentle I am!

I couldn’t resist picking up two new cleansers; the Ultracalming Cleanser, a light gel that is perfect for a no-fuss morning cleanse, and the Daily Microfoliant that I’ve owned in the past, an enzyme based exfoliator that clears those dead skin cells in the gentlest way by turning from a powder into a thin milk when you add plenty of water.

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The next time my skin feels off balance, congested and calling for some TLC, I’ll be following Dermalogica for their calendared weeks at the Selfridges treatment room. You can scope a live version of events in my weekly vlog below too!


A Body Shop Haul: 3 products you need, 3 you do not.

 

Is this blog title slightly click bait-y? Well considering when blogging first came about, we would use any manner of phrase or song lyric that had absolutely nothing to do with our 'content'. If we get back to basics, here are literally three products I re-purchased that I completely recommend and three that I will be gingerly using up and probably not revisiting! Do any of us have the time or funds to be buying products we begrudgingly squeeze, pump and scrape out with growing annoyance until that last satisfying drop when you know it's over - you have broken up with your cleanser/toner/lotion for good! Well I do not want to waste my pocket money so here is what a good £70 at The Body Shop looks like and what I rate or hate.

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Drops of Youth Collection - This juicy range hasn't stopped delivering since I wrote about it last year and each product (minus the unnecessary Wonderblur) is such a heavy hitter. There's nothing faux luxurious here - it's all about hydration and freshness and bouncy, plump skin. It literally feeds my skin! The Body Shop does three products for around £50 in a bundle and you'll be sorted for a few months. You need to try this if you have 20-something dehydrated skin and live in a polluted city. It's like you've walked through a botanical forest after adding these to your routine. That Bouncy Sleeping Mask is incredible!

Vitamin E SPF 30 - I snapped up a few products in a 3 for 2 deal along with the unpictured Camomile Cleansing Oil (slightly greasy but a great price) as I NEED an SPF in my routine. I'm so naughty for not using one every day! This one is fine and OK and just 'good enough'. It smooths on like a thick milk and sticks around for a few too many minutes in the morning. I have to pile my foundation on top and it just ain't pretty. Lovely smell and texture but not for the heavy makeup wearer like myself. The hunt is still on for a great SPF!

Vitamin E Aqua Boost Sorbet - I thought this could be a bargain replacement for the pricey Clinique Moisture Surge as it has suspiciously similar packaging, but my product was quite bitty and clumpy, as though the formula hadn't been mixed properly. The joys of Clinique MS is how is glides on smoothly, while this product felt stodgy. If it was whipped up a little further it could have been perfect. If I'm ever watching my pennies though, it could be a purse-friendly daily moisturiser.

Blue Corn Scrub Mask - I purchased this from Grand Central in Birmingham when I was having a terrible skin week. I needed something to dramatically drive all of the oil, impurities and stress from my skin and a heavy high-street mask generally works. However I never feel the need to strip my face too often and this has languished in my collection. I find adding a huge dose of moisture to misbehaving skin actually does better than to scrub everything away, but having a mask in your skincare arsenal is useful when a bit of old-school TLC is needed in the form of a magazine, 15 minutes relaxation, and scaring your housemates when you pop your head round their door.

I'm going to try the new Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel (1/3 off in Boots at the moment) next and see how that fares!


Summer Skincare Buys

Hello lovers. I've been debating what to post from my long list of news but first on my memory card was a few new skincare updates since my last venture and ode to Caroline Hirons. After those new found favourites ran out, I dabbled in a few replacements that I already had in my stash and tried to stretch out the time until I had to spend another three figure sum on lotions and potions. This is what I've been using recently and some lived up to their former skincare stars, while others just weren't worth the purchase. Maybe you can help me use them more effectively though! I've been trying to keep on top of my routine but when I'm feeling lazy, I sure notice it in the morning.

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La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo+ - I and every other blogger has waxed lyrically about this moisturiser that actually unclogs your skin rather than lashing on layers. I use it whenever I have a breakout, which usually comes as a patch rather than one odd spot. This literally cools and clears overnight; I wish it was around while I was a teenager. It's always useful to have in your arsenal. I can't say I've noticed the '[+]' correct any marks, but my spots don't tend to leave marks.

Clinique All About Eyes - I think I had this with a free set or a Christmas gift but this really is a universally good eye cream. Lightly whipped and inoffensive, this settles calmly and restores moisture in the most delicate area of your face. If you're stuck of what to buy and don't want to go too heavy, you won't be disappointed.

MERUMAYA Everything Everywhere Beauty Oil - Despite rave reviews, this feels sticky and heavy on my face, and doesn't seem to absorb. I've tried patting it in and using a teeny amount of product but my skin refuses to 'drink' this! Is there another way I could try? If not I will add it to my hair and body routine!

Niod Photography Fluid - This was a complete impulse after noticing the insane reviews. It apparently anoints you with a beautiful glow under any foundation and gives a flawless selfie result that has lasting power, and some even ditched foundation. I felt it did help me get that glow on but a little goes a long way and it's easy to get a ghost face that looks like you've filmed the highlight challenge. After mixing a drop with MAC Pro-Longwear foundation, it is quite a shock to see the new sheen. The jury is out on this one - I need to experiment and test out different foundations. Also the packaging is absolute pants and the stuff gloops out the bottle when you pull out the pipette, which decants such a tiny drop that you need to keep plunging it back into the mess to get any more. Plus it's glass so this product is no travel companion.

Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Facial Serum - I bought this ages ago and hated it, but Caroline Hiron's praise intrigued me again. I STILL don't get it. It's such a clinical, uninspiring tube and consistency that I take no pleasure in applying it and see no visible results. Possibly I need to persevere and look for long-term results?

Origins GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturiser - This is so popular and I feel like that's more about the decent price point as I saw no benefits to any other light cream moisturiser apart from the smell that made me feel slightly queasy every morning. I couldn't wait to finish it! It did not give any hydration benefits. Boo.

Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser - This was an awesome freebie from Look Fantastic (among many others) and I was keen to try the Eve Lom hype. Much stiffer than Clinique TTDO, it took a while to warm up and while wouldn't get down to dissolving the day's makeup, as the morning cleanser it is enough to lift any over-night grease or grim for a quick refresh from your head being slapped to your pillow for 8 (or 6) hours. Lovely, but I wouldn't fork out for this.

I fancy trying Pixi Nourishing Cleansing BalmEye+ by SkinOwl and Kypris Moonlight Catalyst next - and NEED Clinique Moisture Surge back in my life! If I win the lottery, I'll go straight for the Sunday Riley and Zelens too.


A Skincare Transformation

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Last year I felt the urge to trade up my skincare. I was just really fed up of scrimping and feeling lacking. A final ripple of a quarter life crisis, I was ready to splash some hard-earned cash, even though it eternally feels like you do not have enough. I see friends and colleagues around me saving and going without for months, only to get on the property ladder and then have to scrimp even more! I work hard but I've decided I'm not going to spend my 20's stopping myself from doing things because I'm saving hard for the future. The future is now! And alongside a little saving, I can do a little spending. I've spent a couple of years really stepping away from luxury brands and skincare, visiting even Boots and Superdrug once in a very blue moon, and avoiding any impulse purchases. Well you only live once, and I'm still saving each month but I'm also spending a little, making the most of years I can't get back and perking up my life.

And I bit the bullet with my skincare! Mine was just not the one - I'd swipe away makeup with micellar water and splash on some moisturiser, then exfoliate when my skin was feeling especially drab or I was about to apply a lot of makeup. When your routine is minimal and has no real thought behind it, the last thing you want to do is go out and buy more products, clogging your face with layers of product and scent. I even had a few expensive oils but now I see there was no point in using them when my base was just not prepped. I never really cleared my skin to a high degree, and I never really fed it well. It was a cycle of not completely refreshing my skin and not feeling the benefits of any goodness.

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It began when I dived into Caroline Hiron's blog. Beauty bloggers rave about it and one day it was time for me to open my mind and listen to the skincare gospel. I'm not going to reiterate Caroline's advice but I can say that her routines work. Her advice works. It just does! I would start by reading her cheat sheets, the most succinct being the Routines cheat sheet that details the steps you should take. At first the sound of cleansing twice followed by acids (yikes), eye creams, oils, serums, moisturisers etc all in one morning seemed insane. In fact it's miraculous. After using products in this sequence, each step either perfects and clears my skin like nothing else, or gives it litres of goodness. Clogged, rough, irritated or heavy does not come into the equation. If you're not convinced on the need to double cleanse, check out this cheat sheet. To start formulating a shopping list back in September, I then browsed the other sheets that listed recommendations in each of the product categories, noting them down and shopping around websites to find which I could get the best deals on. Once your haul has arrived, visit the application cheat sheet to see which amounts best to use. Then you're on your way!

Since I've actually tried, tested and used up these products, here are my thoughts. You can search for them on Caroline's blog to hear the benefits of each one and why they are in her good books. I made orders on Feel Unique (great service and freebies), Cult Beauty (4 day delivery costs £4 and it came in ugly packaging) and on the high street, using discount codes and cash back sites to get even better deals.

Clinique Take The Day Off Balm - I thought Clinique was a brand all about the hype but it turns out it really does offer great skincare. I don't know how previously I was too tired or time-stretched to wash my face properly, and yet now it's something I look forward to as I know it's going to go well and I will end up with clear, clean and prepped skin, You get a mega 125ml of product so even four months later I have enough product left to last a couple more weeks, and teamed with a bog standard flannel, this takes off all of my makeup, including MAC Pro Longwear foundation. You don't necessarily need a specific balm if you don't wear heavy makeup every day, but I'm sure your face is covered in enough junk from transport, office air-con and pollution to justify it anyway. This is a definite repurchase. I toyed with Emma Hardy but this is half the price, or the Una Brenan oil which is always on offer in Boots.

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Ren Clarifying Clay - Now that most of your makeup is erased, the second cleanse can treat your skin type. I'm prone to a few blemishes and my skin can be clogged with city life so I chose a clay cleanser. This transforms into a milk, has a soothing botanical smell that is right up my street, and after a swipe of  flannel my skin is now just so clean and balanced. It's the best feeling, its almost addictive. The product is inside a sachet in a pump bottle, so in order to get all of the product out, I had to crack open the bottle somehow and cut into the sachet. Not very handy! But I would repurchase this, though I also considered the Clarins Extra Comfort Cleansing Cream which I would pick up if it was a better deal.

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Pixi Glow Tonic - I love exfoliators and when you don't take your makeup off properly, those dead skin cells really stack up. Previously my exfoliator gave me that fresh, smooth skin that was so ready for primer, foundation and concealer, but now I realise that is too harsh. The toner step in the iconic 'cleanse, tone and moisturise' routine that we all know was originally designed to be an acid toner, but the high street has taken the term and now any sort of water with a splash of chemicals can be called a toner. You're meant to use an acid to do all of the exfoliating work and not those scratchy, harsh beads or scrubs. Pop a touch of Pixi Glow Tonic on a cotton pad every night and you never ever feel the need to exfoliate with a scrub. Tight, flaky foundation is a thing of the past and my blusher and contour does not go patchy the way it used to. Your skin does 'glow' but in a natural way, not a red rashy way. I considered the Clarins Clarifying Lotion or the First Aid Beauty Pads but the Pixi toner has lasted me way longer than the 60 FA pads would have. I may try the Clarins lotion next as you can only get Pixi in certain places, but Caroline has stated only to use it a few times a week.

La Roche Posay Serozinc - This slipped out of my routine as I didn't really see the point! It doesn't add any benefit that's even comparable to the other products so why do I need a spray of water? It's a placebo product I feel!

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Body Shop Drops Of Youth range - I have reviewed these products already but they are all repurchases - especially the Bouncy Sleeping Mask. I use the eye serum morning and night and the other two exclusively at night. I want to try more of the Vitamin A and C ranges next so I have my eye out for a discount code! The Body Shop always exclusive their best products from their endless discount codes which is annoying.

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum - After I've cleansed, toned and rolled on the Body Shop eye serum above (do this before the following), I move onto an oil/serum and moisturiser/treatment. In the morning I use a serum and moisturiser, and in the evening I use an oil or the Body Shop concentrated serum above, and then a treatment like the Sleeping Mask. The Vichy serum was a great price in comparison to many serums and it's great under makeup as it sinks in beautifully. An oil or treatment that sticks around would really upset foundation. I'm not too dedicated to this though and may try another high street serum or maybe Clarins Hydraquench - can you see a Clarins theme here? They have good free gifts at the moment with multiple purchases hmm...

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Clinique Moisture Surge - I've ran out of this baby and I need another pronto. It's just perfect! Other brands offer similar gel moisturisers but this is so flawless under makeup, over the Vichy serum. I'd toy with exploring high street gel moisturisers though as I don't think its 'wet' formula is too unique, and a moisturiser can afford to be one of the cheaper products in your routine (ironic words there!) as it's just a barrier, rather than a treatment. I'm also sizing up the Indeed Labs Fillume.

Bio-Essence Aqua Droplet Sleeping Beauty Mask - Caroline Hirons flipped out about this mask but I felt stronger results in the morning from the Bouncy Sleeping Mask. Reading Caroline's review again, my rubbing motion may be better as a wipe and pat so I'll try that tonight as I never felt any 'droplets bursting'. I have quite a lot left so I'm unsure if it's a repurchase yet. It smells strongly of artificial watermelon and I'm not entirely sure that's on purpose. It's very cooling and like a whipped gel or very light jelly. It just doesn't feel like it sinks in and in the morning I can't spot a difference!

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So now I've ran out of my Ren second cleanser and the Clinique Moisture Surge, and I'm almost out of the Clinique TTDO, Pixi Glow Tonic and Body Shop Bouncy Sleeping Mask, although I have plenty of Bio-Essence left. The eye serum and serum concentrate from The Body Shop are still going strong, and the Vichy serum bit the dust first. Do you have any recommendations similar to these? I'm about to repurchase a bunch of things but I'm awaiting some great discount codes nearer the end of January! 


The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Collection #BloggersSkincareGuide‏


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The Body Shop approached me at just the right time to discuss skincare advice for 20-somethings as I've been on a major skin hype recently. Major! It all began when I hit 26 and found out that from the age of 25, it's all downhill for your skin elasticity. Hoping to continue to party around the world well into my 30s, I want my body to be a temple and so it all begins with your face. It's the thing everyone sees the most, the basis of all of my beauty buys, and gets the most abuse from my lifestyle. Daily full coverage foundation, office air-con or heating, my commute pollution and the sun's rays all contribute to those fine lines, gaping pores, dry patches and stiff, dehydrated skin. I was also fed up of my budget skincare routine but not ready to land £85 on a face oil. My micellar water never left me feeling totally fresh-faced and my moisturiser sunk in straight away without a trace. Combination didn't even cover the sensitive, tight areas like my forehead and cheeks, but then my T-zone could move around any foundation by 2pm.

Throwing money at the problem is no way to begin a skincare overhaul; I needed to get my entire strategy in check. I started to read the cheat sheets on Caroline Hiron's blog and woah, I was finally awoken to the definition of skin care. I previously thought 'less was more' when it came to applying products to your skin, but Caroline's 5-7 step routine involves a concoction of oils and acids to remove all of the day's harsh effects and then to inject the hydration back in. Finally I could scrutinise an ingredients list, understand which products to choose for myself and take out the noise from a beauty world full of jargon like 'anti-ageing'. You can't physically age backwards, but you can take careful care of your skin, especially with the fast-paced and demanding life of your '20s.

And that's where the Drops Of Youth collection came in, much to the delight of someone who has been stalking The Body Shop emails for a discount code for months. There are so many good things said about the Bouncy Sleeping Mask and I was also shopping around for an eye treatment, so alongside landing £100 on a new Hirons-approved regime (I'll blog more on my haul next), the DOY collection was a seamless addition to the mix. The organic collection boasts that it aims to restore and replenish skin, and as someone that feels like they've aged ten years in the past two years, I would love to press rewind and get myself in check. After double cleansing, acid toning and spray hydrating, I move onto the Drops Of Youth Eye Concentrate. Any eye creams of the past have left my eyes streaming but I've been rolling this around my socket line and patting in any excess. I didn't realised before just how dehydrated my eyes were as I just assumed that the under-eye skin is naturally sensitive, to the point where any buffing brush felt scratchy if I blended out concealer and any smudge of mascara was an impossible pain to rub off. A few days into using the Eye Concentrate and my under eyes are stronger and much more comfortable. I like the gel formula as it sinks in effortlessly with a nice cooling finish. Now I've started using an eye cream, I can literally never go back!

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Onto the serum - it's imperative at night to use an ingredient-rich oil or serum before your moisturiser to really get to work. A moisturiser is more of a protecting coat rather than a treatment, so I examined the results of the Drops Of Youth Concentrate carefully as I had high hopes. Despite the instantly reliving effects of deep hydration, it does change the actual surface of my skin. My previously tight, restricted skin suddenly breathes a sigh of moisture as the thick gel is patted in. A few drops warmed up in your hands covers the face in a solution that sticks around, rather than absorbing and dragging. I wouldn't use this before make up but actually you will still see the effects the morning after anyway. With skin 100% hydrated, moving a make up brush of foundation around it feels totally comfortable! Compared with a water-based serum, the deep texture of this concentrate really gives a high dose of pampering that takes a few minutes to sink in and is 99% natural and all organic, so your skin can't really get enough.

Now the hero of the range: the Drops Of Youth Bouncy Sleeping Mask. I had my eye on it for so long as I looked at it like a cheat product. Anything that can make me disguise my lack of sleep due to late night Tumblring is a win. Apply a layer after the serum according to this helpful massage guide beginning with a move called 'over the rainbow' (really). Wake up with replenished, soft, indeed 'bouncy' skin. Happiness! OK seriously this stuff just works - you get a huge 90ml and a sweet little scoop which I actually keep inside the jar, and when applied to your beautifully serum-soaked skin, it acts as the final layer to keep the levels of moisture in your skin super high across the night. You do get that look of an undisturbed night's sleep as your skin is softened, has a lot of 'give' and is the perfect canvas for the day ahead. If I do my skincare as soon as I get home (on a good day!) and finish with this mask, even a few hours later I can still see it on my face via my skin looking dewy, shiny and plumped. After such a long skincare routine, your skin doesn't cling onto any products and suck them up - it lets them penetrate evenly and each product has chance to do it's rightful job. I will definitely be taking it on the plane for my Dubai holiday and reapplying religiously!

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And onto what I would call the bonus of the range, the Drops Of Youth Wonderblur. It's almost like a primer that's so hydrating, you wouldn't actually use it with make up. Hear me out here: I find silicone primers with an almost-perfect plastic effect are better to hold layers of make up. The Wonderblur would be perfect if you chose to wear no make up or had a beach day as it smooths out those lines and pores without the artificial feeling. Make up that's good for your skin? Yes please!

I just can't say enough how such an intensive skincare regime has left my skin feeling so much lighter, brighter and younger than before in such a drastic way. I will tell you about other products I've purchased recently soon, but I can wholeheartedly say I will be repurchasing this collection if the generous products ever run out! In the mean time I'll be trying to ensure I relax more often, keep the sugary treats to a minimum, get back in that gym, drink 3ltrs of water a day, and try to not read the entire internet before I eventually send myself to bed. I'm keep to try The Body Shop's Vitamin C range next, have you tried it? I also did a video below - my first 'sit down' video in so long! It was quite straight-forward to film so I might do some more in the future.