Showing posts with label Skincare. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skincare. Show all posts

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Skincare | Laser Hair Removal [Video Update]

It's been while since I've spoken about my laser hair removal progress on the blog (first posts here and here) but I've been continuing to have sessions every 2 months since May 2016. I had my 11th session a couple of weeks ago so decided to sum up my experience so far and answer the questions I've had regarding the treatment in the below video. 

Overall it has been successful but I haven't quite finished having sessions just yet. If you have any questions on the process let me know 

The Video 

Christine Stewart x

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Sunday, 29 October 2017

The UK just got Glossier

 started shipping to the UK earlier this month through their website and as they have their own warehouse here there's no long waits for deliveries or customs charges. The time to freak out is now.

I've already given a quick run-down of the brand in  post but in short there's two important things you need to know about Glossier. Skincare is essential, makeup is secondary. Founder Emily Weiss has created a brand that's beauty stripped back with products that are easy to use in a simplified regime.

The products are good quality, neatly packed (hello pink-accented packaging) and the pricing is fair for the quality. Each product is designed to enhance your natural beauty - it's intended to be killer skincare and products to nail that 'no makeup makeup' look. Whilst the range is small there's still over 20 products to explore (and that's not counting the different shades) so I've been trying to really get to grips with as much of the range as possible over the past couple of months to really suss out what's worth purchasing.

The skincare

I've always taken a simple approach to skincare. My ideal is an uncomplicated routine with quality products which work the way they claim they will. So far I feel like Glossier deliver on those aspects but I feel like they're targeted mostly to a particular skin type - dry with not many other skin concerns.

It's a pH balanced gel cleanser to remove impurities without irritating or drying out the skin. Interestingly it contains poloxamer which is a mild cleansing agent found in contact lens solution - so this product is safe to use around the eyes to remove eye makeup. It feels so gentle on the skin, leaving it fresh and clean afterwards but without that squeaky, tight feeling. It's a good cleanser but it's not the best makeup remover. I've found removing my mascara separately first is easier. I also always double cleanse in the evenings to ensure all traces of my makeup are gone, so I often use this after another cleanser.

It's stated to provide the ideal base for skin before makeup. It contains hyaluronic acid and mushroom plant extract to add moisture and plump the skin for a dewy finish. Tea and honey also soothes redness and calms the skin. It's a very hydrating moisturiser with a lightweight texture which you can build up as much as you need. It isn't tacky - it just leaves the skin soft and smooth. I like it but not enough for it to replace another 2-in-1 priming moisturiser I use from another brand which feels lighter and more ideal for my oily-prone skin.

Glossier has 3 skincare serums, the Super Pure contains niacinamide (Vitamin B3) and zinc which soothes redness and helps remove impurities as it's primarily for breakout-prone skin. I've now been using this instead of a couple of other products I have containing vitamin B3 for the past couple of weeks but I still think it's too early on to tell how much of an impact this serum has had yet. With other similar products I've seen decent results on congested skin but nothing extraordinary. I still get spots, they're just not lingering around as long as they can do so I'm hoping this serum will give better results.

I use a lot of face mists to prep skin before moisturising and to refresh during the day. It's key ingredients are rosewater, aloe vera, honeysuckle and glycerine which work together to hydrate and smooth the skin. This feels fresh on the skin, quite tingly and has a subtle herbal scent. I like it but I have other face mists which I'd use over this.

This is a multi-purpose balm for chapped and dry skin. I have a lot of very similar products but I've been using this more as it's not overly shiny. It's great for softening dry areas but I tend to only really use these types of balms on my lips. I mostly apply a thick layer before bed and when I wake up my lips feel so smooth. The original version is what I've been using most which is unscented / unflavoured but it's available in Coconut, Rose, Cherry, Mint and Birthday too. I picked up the latter recently and as it's inspired by Milk Bar's cake it's smells like vanilla and it contains a subtle shimmer, need I say more?

It's a hydrating treatment formulated with sweet almond oil, plant-based squalane, and hyaluronic acid. I use masks regularly for a serious skin pick-me-up and I have so many I love that this had big competition. I've tried this mask 3 times, twice after exfoliating with the PMD* (a device which sloughs off dead skin cells from the outer most layer of the skin) and this was the perfect combination. Each time I applied a thick layer onto damp skin. The product is creamy but gradually seems to sink into the skin after 20 minutes. After rinsing thoroughly my skin is always the softest I've ever experienced after using any kind of mask and I'm so impressed with this product I'd definitely buy it when it runs out.

The Makeup

Throughout the summer I adopted a minimal makeup routine and I felt like my skin was generally less irritated and looked better for it. Most days I skipped foundation and tried to stick to using just the below products and a bit of mascara. My makeup was nothing over the top and the goal was always just beautifully glowing skin - sounds simple but difficult to nail without the right products.

in Quartz (£18/5.5g)*
I have nothing like this dual-formula stick. The outer ring contains crystal extracts (yes you read that correctly, actual crystals) and the oil core contains vitamins and moisturisers. It's the ideal non-glittery highlight for that dewy, lit from within effect. It looks absolutely beautiful swiped onto bare cheekbones - which is mostly how I wore it during the summer. Now it's colder I've been wearing foundation more often again and I find the Haloscope shifts around anything underneath if applied straight from the stick so I prefer to dab it on with my fingers. The result is a subtle glow and I really love that it's not immediately obvious I'm wearing this. This shade Quartz is probably the most universal but there's also Moonstone ideal for lighter skintones and Topaz for darker skintones.

in Dark (£15/5ml)*
It's referred to as 'stretch' concealer as it contains micro waxes which are meant to move with your face so there's no cakiness. It feels flexible on the skin and ultra moisturising that it leaves skin dewy-looking after application. This does settle into my smile lines and creases but I always find this with makeup products so I think it's a lot to do with how I apply and set products. I have a dark scar on my jaw currently and it does cover it well but at the height of summer in Manchester (which is pretty sticky and humid) I found this slipped around on my face and didn't really set so that's just something to bear in mind. Now my skin is drier and it's colder outside it's ideal.

in Black (£14/3.12g)*
I've been filling my brows in less and less lately, especially if I'm wearing my hair down as my hair covers them anyway. I like my brows to still be groomed however so this makes them look a little more polished and softly fills in some of the gaps and sparse areas. It seems very similar to Benefit's Gimme Brow which I've been using for the past couple of years but I've found myself reaching for Glossier's Boy Brow instead.

in Leo (£14/2g)*
It's the lip colour for that just blotted look and uniquely both matte and sheer - not a combination I've seen together. The shade Leo is a warm cocoa brown and can be worn be different skintones as the sheerness of the product means your natural lip colour is visible and affects how the product looks on. My lips are naturally dark purple/brown around the edges and pink in the middle and this shade makes the tone of my lips more even. The result is super subtle but I really love the way it enhances my lips without it being obvious that I even have anything on.

Glosses have been my weakness recently and I love that this gives my lips a super shine without being sticky or glittery. My lips feel buttery soft with this on - thanks to the Vitamin E in the formula - and it lasts well too even throughout eating and drinking.

Overall most of the makeup products were winners for me - they're easy to use and deliver on the type of look I like to create on a daily basis. With the skincare the emphasis is moisture - ideal but I feel there are better options out there which are more tailored to oilier skin types. I'll continue to use most of what I have but the only skincare product I'll be purchasing with absolute certainty in the future is the Moon Mask and I've already picked up the Birthday edition of the Balm Dotcom. I've also recently bought more of the makeup - the Cloud Paint blush in Dusk and the Perfecting Skin Tint (foundation) - but as these are still new I'll review them as I get to use them more in the next few months.

*Samples - read my disclaimer here.

Christine Stewart x

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Monday, 31 July 2017

Glossier is coming to the UK

Us Brits miss out on a lot of cult brands from across the pond but we'll be able to shop one more, rather than just swoon over on Instagram, very soon.  has announced that they'll be coming to the UK in October 2017.

If you haven't heard already, Glossier was born from website in 2014 (FYI it's an addictive hub of beauty goss and advice that's been around since 2010). It's founder and CEO Emily Weiss knows beauty and in Glossier world skincare is essential, makeup is secondary - something I've been learning first hand this past year. Their mantra is that makeup is not about covering up or 'perfecting' your look but having fun and celebrating your own, unique beauty. In their own words they create 'beauty products which work for real girls in real life' and that's a philosophy I'm on board with.

Glossier are taking their products internationally, recently announcing that they will be shipping to Canada before the UK this year and also France in 2018. In aid of the UK launch, Glossier hosted a few events in Baker Street last weekend. One was a pop-up giving Manchesterers a chance to get acquainted with (and drool over) their curated 'pared-down' beauty essentials.

The products at the pop-up were only there to test though samples were available for early birds to the event (which I was not). Luckily I had already received a few products during a dinner hosted by the brand the night before the pop-up so the Stretch ConcealerBoy BrowMilky Jelly CleanserPriming MoisturizerHaloscope and Lip Gloss* are now amongst my beauty arsenal. It's only been a week so I'll put them to the test more before reviewing. I've definitely got the Glossier bug following the pop-up and I've decided I also need the Cloud Paint blushes and the Generation G lipsticks in my life so they'll be my first purchases when the brand launches here in October.

*samples - read my disclaimer here.

Have you heard of / tried Glossier?

Christine Stewart x

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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Review | Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse

Skincare has definitely been more a priority for me recently and one of the most important things in my routine is cleansing. One of the cleansers I've been relying on for the past couple of months is the newly launched (£24/2x50ml). It's a 2-in-1 product with cleansers to both remove makeup and sunscreen and prep the skin for your nightly skincare.

I've only really become familiar with Pixi products since last year but the brand launched over 10 years ago in Manchester. Creator of the brand Petra Strand has a wealth of experience as a makeup artist and product developer and her mission with Pixi products is to bring out the natural beauty in all women.

In creating the Double Cleanse Pixi partnered with , a globally qualified advanced aesthetician who's one of the first beauty bloggers I started following several years ago. She's also a massive champion of 'double cleansing' (using more than one product to clean your skin). Caroline is so straight talking and knowledgeable in her field that she's main reason I grabbed this product.

As you can guess there's two parts to this product - side 1 and side 2 and it's intended for use in the evenings. The Solid Cleansing Oil in side 1 does most of the dirty work to remove makeup and sunscreen and it's formulated with natural oils including Macadamia, Evening Primrose and Avocado. To use I scoop out about a pea-sized amount (you really don't need a lot) and massage onto dry skin. After a few seconds of working the product into the skin my makeup feels like it's melting off my face and it's at this point I remove everything with warm water (or you can use a moist facecloth if you'd prefer).

After the first step my face usually feels pretty clean but I've always gone in a second time with the same or another product to ensure all traces of my makeup are gone. Caroline recommends cleansing the skin with different types of products depending on what needs to be removed from the skin. The Cleansing Cream in side 2 is richer and feels like applying a moisturiser. It's described by Pixi as a luxe cleansing cream and it's intended to prep the skin for the next steps in your nightly skincare. It's so buttery, I just rub in and once it's rinsed off my skin feels so soft.

Together the two parts work well and I have loved using this product nightly for the past couple of months. I've tried a few cleansing oils before to remove makeup and some have made me breakout with regular use, I suspect as they had coconut oil in which this doesn't so I'm assuming that's why so far I've had no trouble with this. The only thing I don't like about this product is the packaging. It's quite bulky given that there's only 50ml of each cleanser and I prefer to have a pump rather than scoop out of a tub but it's not a deal-breaker. Neither of the sides drip despite the design of the tub - I've actually knocked it upside down by accident and the product barely budged so you can travel with this if needed. I now have about a third left in each side and I'm planning to grab another Double Cleanse when this runs out.

Have you tried anything by Pixi?

Christine Stewart x

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Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Skincare | Frank Body

I've always been a bit obsessed with body scrubs so it was only a matter of time before I got my hands on Frank (Frank Body products that is). Famed for their coffee scrubs, the Aussie brand has taken Instagram by storm and 'babes' across the globe (myself included) are hooked on the so called 'Frank effect'.

I grabbed the Original Coffee Scrub (which I've now finished), Coconut Coffee Scrub, Body Cream and the Lip Scrub and Balm duo at the end of December. My skin was looking pretty lacklustre at the time, partly from a neglected bodycare routine and the cold weather just made my skin so dry. Since I've noticed continued use of these products together has helped my skin feel the softest it's been for a long time.

My favourite product of the bunch is the Coconut Coffee Scrub (£13.95/200g) which contains only a few (all natural) ingredients including brown sugar, Grapeseed oil, Vitamin E, Jojoba beads, sea salt, coconut flakes and, of course, coffee. The ingredients are stated to help with a number of skin-concerns including stretch marks, psoriasis, cellulite, eczema and acne. Huge claims right? I apply the scrub on damp skin in the shower and scrub well before allowing to sit for a couple of minutes and rinsing. It's messy so I tend to do this on days I have time to spare but the results are so worth it. The oils in the product keep moisture locked into my skin and I've noticed scarring and dark patches on my legs are gradually lifting though old stretch marks on my inner thighs seem the same. I'm not crazy about the packaging as I find awkward to scoop the product out of, but there's always the option to transfer the scrub to a pot. The scent does linger on your skin too which some will love or hate. I don't find the Coconut Scrub too overpowering but with the Original Coffee Scrub I used a little shower gel afterwards to dull the scent before exiting the shower.

The Lip Scrub and Lip Balm Duo (£12.95) are also solid favourites and they smell so delicious. The balm contains natural ingredients including Coconut, Safflower and Olive Oil and Lanolin which absorbs and keeps in moisture. I reach for the balm daily but only need to dab a little on to keep my lips soft and hydrated. I tend to use the Lip Scrub weekly and it contains raw sugar, beeswax, Macadamia Oil, Coffee and Coffee Seed Oil. Again I only need a little product to smooth and buff away flaky patches. Together these are perfect.

The Body Cream (£17.95/200ml) like the other products contains natural ingredients and literally has the scent of cake icing. It smells beautifully sugary and I get so hungry (for cake) when I've applied it. This cream is so thick and rich I find it takes time to really settle into the skin. I usually have to dot small amounts onto my body and work it in well. Of the products here it's the only I don't think I'd repurchase as it just takes too long to apply and I find I'm reaching the other creams I have first.

Overall I'm in love with most of the Frank Body products I've tried and the Body Balm and newly released Glow Mask are now on my wishlist.

Have you tried Frank Body or Coffee-based products?

Christine Stewart x

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Monday, 9 January 2017

Skincare | Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix

Founded by Maria Hatzistefanis (aka Mrs Rodial), skincare brand  aims to provide 'premium skincare and everyday prices' with most products retailing between £8 - £25. The brand creates a whole host of products aimed at helping improve skin hang-ups like cellulite, scarring and anti-aging. I've been using a variety of their products which were sent over in September last year but the range has held my attention most.

Glycolic acid helps clear blocked pores, remove dead skin and deeply cleanse. I've dabbled with applying home chemical peels in the past including Glycolic acid (see here) and it made a massive difference to my skin. The problem was I like skincare to be convenient and I found the process of using home peels a bit cumbersome. I'll admit I am lazy with skincare. I like to apply a product and just leave it to work it's magic but this is where Nip + Fab really have it nailed. There's a lot of products to choose from in the range so it's easy to get your ideal 'fix'.

I have 6 of the 10 products in the Glycolic Fix range and, whilst I've loved all of the ones I've tried, realistically it's quite difficult (and unnecessary) to use any more than 2-3 products in the range at a time, especially if you're looking to still use other products/brands alongside them. My favourite products of the 6 I have are the Cleansing Fix (£7.95/150ml)*, Night Pads Extreme (£14.95/60 pads)* and Radiance Shot (£19.99/30ml). 

The Glycolic Cleansing Fix sees the most use as I tend to reach for in the morning and at night. I've used this cleanser consistently since I got it and you only need the tiniest amount. It cleanses so well and my skin feels so smooth and moisturised afterwards. I've already purchased a replacement for when this runs out so this is now a staple in my skincare routine. 

I use the Night Pads less often - usually 2 or 3 times a week just before bed as recommended - and my skin feels brighter in general and less congested. The name 'Extreme' makes it sound scary but you barely feel the product on the skin and I've not found any redness or irritation when using these. The pads are soaked with 5% glycolic acid (the highest concentration in the range) alongside salicylic, lactic and hyaluronic acid. They're not as concentrated as the home peels I mentioned above but the convenience of using these sold it for me. I usually just smooth a pad over my face before my head hits the pillow and that's it. There's enough product on the pads and the tub hasn't dried out since I've been using them. As you don't need to use these all of the time they last for months and are well worth the price.

The Radiance Shot launched fairly recently is the priciest of the bunch and the size of the product is quite small at 30ml but this is ideal for more targeted treatment. I didn't really need it (as it's effects are quite similar to the Glycolic Fix Overnight Purifying Gel I already have) but I bought it anyway. I was kind of swept up in it being new and I was totally sucked in by the packaging. I have no regrets though as I've been massaging a couple of drops of this directly onto any scarring and stubborn areas seem to disappear much faster than usual. You can also mix in a couple of drops of this with your usual moisturiser.

Overall I was a bit dubious about how much difference this range could actually make to my skin but having used a few of the products consistently I have noticed improvements. The tone and texture of my skin feels more even and smoother so I'll definitely continue to use products from the Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix range.

*samples - read my disclaimer .

Have you tried anything by Nip + Fab? 

Christine Stewart x

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Monday, 28 November 2016

Skincare | Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra Removal 2016

Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra, often shortened to DPN, is the appearance of small mole-like lumps on the skin. I've had DPN appear on various parts of my body since being a teen and whilst they cause no known medical problems I've had them removed from my face (twice) as I just don't like how they look.

I've spoken about DPN previously on my blog (here) but as I've had my second treatment to remove them recently I thought explain the process in more detail in a video. I really hope this helps anyone considering the treatment as when I was first looking for a solution for DPN a lot of clinics I went to didn't know or understand what it was. My skin isn't totally clear (I still get mild acne and I have some DPN left) but I am so much happier with how my skin looks now. The treatment was definitely worth it for me and I would go back again for a third time.

The Video 

As ever, if you have any questions let me know in the comments

Have you heard of DPN before? 

Christine Stewart x

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Tuesday, 7 June 2016

My Current Skincare Routine

I've had several requests recently to create an updated post for my skincare routine though in all honestly not much has changed since my last post in May 2015. I stick to the same methods and mostly the same products. As a teen with acne I used a lot of different products which promised the earth but they very rarely delivered. All I look for now is products which simply don't aggravate my skin and the below work well for me.

 | (Citrus Orange) |

Cleansing & Exfoliating  
It's a bit excessive but I have 3 different products to cleanse my skin. Dr Bronner's Magic Soap (in Citrus Orange) is my go-to most days and I've been using this beauty solidly for over a year. I love that it's mostly made up of natural oils (like coconut, jojoba and olive) and it's one of those products which has so many uses. I bought the of this soap this time last year and I'm only just reaching the end after decanting into a smaller bottle. I tend to use this to remove as much makeup as possible in the evenings or as a quick cleanse in the morning. 
When I'm not using the Castile Soap I've been relying on the Garnier Pure Active 3-in-1 Wash, Scrub & Mask. I've used this previously and I love the gritty texture which gently exfoliates and prevents my skin getting as oily. The formula includes eucalyptus and salicylic acid which gives a tingling sensation on the skin and really helps with waking me up on early mornings! I tend to use the Garnier Pure Active Micellar Cleansing Water as a final cleansing step to ensure all traces of makeup are gone or to remove makeup from delicate areas like the eyes. I'm currently using the version for oily skin but having tried the various types available I haven't found much of a difference between them.

* | * | * | | *

Moisturising & Sun Protection 
Since the beginning of the year I've been using a few skincare items from Kiehl's to hydrate dry patches and give my tired-looking skin a boost. The Ultra Facial Cream sees the most use and I apply a little most mornings underneath makeup on the dry areas of my skin. It's so light and provides hydration without making my skin oily or greasy. I use the Creamy Eye Treatment less often, but it's so thick and rich I only need a tiny amount to perk up dry and tired eyes. During the evenings I tend to skip moisturiser after cleansing and simply apply a few drops of Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate. So little is needed and by morning my skin feels so soft.
I've been taking sun protection seriously in recent years and since I've noticed less dark spots (more on reducing those ). I've been using the Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield recently which is a primer, moisturiser and SPF all-in-one. It's the perfect concept though I'm not sure how well it protects my skin (review ). As a result, I tend to rely on the Solait Fluid most as I feel like this truly gives my skin the ultimate protection against the sun. Despite claiming to be matifying, I always have to go heavy on powder with the Solait Fluid (even when I don't actually want to wear makeup) as my face looks super oily otherwise. I find it doesn't really hydrate dry patches either so I still have to use my regular moisturiser on top. Ideally I'd love to simplify this area of my skincare routine as much as possible. I've had such a good experience using Kiehl's I'll be replacing the creams and SPF here with the eventually. It's just a shame the moisturisers I have already don't have SPF in!

*sample - read my disclaimer .

What do you use on your skin?

Christine Stewart x

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Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Review | Murad Invisiblur Perfecting Shield

I've been shaking up my skincare and makeup routine with a few new products including this (£55).* The Invisiblur is a 5-in-1 product which Murad claims can replace your skin treatment, primer and SPF to blur fine lines and combat the signs of aging. It's made with mushroom peptides, barley, sunflower and cucumber extracts which are stated to all work together to give the skin a youthful appearance and moisture.

Whilst I've been familiar with the Murad brand for some time, I've never actually bought their products before, mostly as they're a little out of my price range. I've often tried samples (free with fashion magazines) and loved them so I had high hopes for the Invisiblur. You can wear this product alone, but I've mostly been using it as a primer, underneath makeup. It has a gel-like texture which feels light on the skin. You don't need much product and it blurs the skin texture, reducing the look of pores instantly. For me the smoothing effect was most noticeable after applying makeup. My foundation sits better and is much smoother, so I've been relying on this product daily for the past couple of months. I haven't yet noticed any improvement in fine lines or wrinkles, though that's not a major skin concern of mine currently. I've still got quite a lot of product left too so perhaps I'll see an improvement with my skin in months to come.

I love that this product has SPF as I'm always conscious of wearing sun protection. Products with SPF I've tried in the past have often left my oil-prone skin greasy. The Invisiblur is not oily and as it can be used as a moisturiser it is ideal for combination skin. The transparent formula means it doesn't make my foundation look ghostly either. The flaw however is that you only need to apply a very small amount of this product (as it has a tendency to ball up if you use too much), so it's questionable how much sun protection it provides to my face.

I do love it as a primer and will continue to use the Invisiblur but I can't help be disappointed that I may still also need to use SPF separately to protect my skin from the sun. Would I buy it? Only if Murad started making a smaller bottle a third of the price. It's a great product but £55 is too pricey for me.

You can get from the

*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried Murad?

Christine Stewart x

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Sunday, 21 February 2016

Skincare | Getting Rid of Dark Marks

Hyper pigmentation is something that has plagued me as far back as I can remember. Dark spots (or hyper pigmentation) occurs when there is an over-secretion of melanin (the pigment responsible for skin colour). This can be caused by various reasons, including hormone imbalance, acne scarring, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, stress and pregnancy. It’s best to check with your GP to find out what the cause is for you but when they do occur you’ll be glad to know there are a few ways to get rid of pesky dark marks.

1 Hydrate
Dark patches and discolouration is often evident in dry skin and dryness is worsened by extreme weather, both hot and cold. Drinking plenty of water will help keep the skin hydrated, but try to moisturise daily too. It’s best to use gentle, unfragranced creams suitable for sensitive skin to prevent causing any irritation. When washing, avoid scolding hot showers as this can dry out the skin. Also swap out any harsh soaps or shower gels for more moisturising formulas with natural oils like jojoba and sweet almond. 

2 Exfoliate
A build up of dead skin cells can lead to clogged pores and uneven skintone. Counter this by gently exfoliating as often as you find necessary. Exfoliation also encourages the formation of new healthy skin, making your skin appear brighter and fresher. You can use a scrub (like  one), body brush or exfoliating gloves to slough away any excess skin. 

3 Natural masks
By raiding your kitchen cupboards you may find a natural solution for dark marks. Lemons, potatoes, milk or tumeric can be mixed and matched together into a face mask to help even out the skin. It's best to do these treatments at night, particularly as they tend to have a subtle bleaching effect which might make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Apply for at least 10-15 minutes to give the mask time to work and moisturise afterwards to keep the skin hydrated. Natural masks are not an instant fix so repeated applications will be needed depending on the severity of your dark marks.

4 Ditch shaving
Using a razor regularly irritates the skin and the resulting short, sharp hairs from shaving can grow back into the skin causing bumps and discolouration. You can either lessen how often you shave to prevent problems or switch to using hair removal creams or wax to get rid of any pesky hairs. The latter methods pull hair out from the root and generally don’t have to be done as often as shaving, preventing dark marks from occurring. 

5 Sunscreen
It's not just fair skin that needs an SPF. By applying a liberal amount of sun protection every day (yes even in Winter) your face and body is shielded from the sun rays, preventing sun damage. Several makeup and skincare brands now include products with small amounts of SPF to make protecting your skin easier. If you want maximum protection it's best to apply sun protection separately underneath your foundation. Look for products which claim to protect against both UVA and UVB damage. 

6 Professional Treatments
If you find your dark marks particularly embarrassing a professional treatment on the recommendation of your doctor or dermatologist might be your best solution. Popular treatments which help lessen the appearance of dark marks are laser treatments, microdermabrasion and chemical peels. These treatments are more invasive than using natural products, so the effects can be more dramatic and seen much more rapidly. 

How do you get rid of dark marks / hyper pigmentation?

Christine Stewart x

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Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Skincare | Bravura Manchester Chemical Peels

I rarely make any dramatic changes in my skincare routine but something I've introduced in the last couple of months is consistently using chemical peels from . I've refrained from blogging about these peels for a long time as I wasn't really sure how well they were working until now.

Chemical solutions (like and ) can be used to help lift dead skin and unclog pores. They can be particularly beneficial to acne-prone or oily skin and can help if you suffer from milia (trapped oil under the skin which create little bumps with no head) which is the main reason I started buying peels from Bravura Manchester way back in 2013.

I like to keep things simple with my skin so for a long time I found it really hard to get into a set routine of using these. My use of chemical peels was really inconsistent but recently I've committed to using both Glycolic and Salicylic acid on alternate days as they both have different benefits. Glycolic acid is great for reducing hyperpigmentation, whereas Salicylic is better for acne-prone skin.

All of the products come with full instructions so you know exactly what to do. You have to start with thoroughly cleansed skin that has had time to return to it's usual ph (which is roughly after 30 minutes). If you're strapped for time (or impatient like me) you can apply Bravura's Ginseng toner (pictured above) before your peel which only needs 5 minutes to sit.

The peels come in glass bottles with pipettes and it's best to dispense a few drops separately into a glass dish and then apply this to your face with a synthetic brush (like ) or use your fingers. Depending on the peel you use, with the first applications you start off quite small, only leaving them on for a few minutes at a time and gradually with each use you can add a minute to your application time. When you've finished you just rinse your face with cold or tepid water. As I do these at night I usually just apply a little natural oil or after my peel is rinsed to keep it moisturised.

When I first used these I worried that my skin might be red raw after use or would get worse but I've never experienced any redness or irritation. The peels are actually quite mild and the main benefit has been smoother skin. Specifically the Glycolic acid has helped get rid of some stubborn dark marks and the Salicylic acid has really shifted some blackheads on my nose. My monthly breakouts have persisted and I still have annoying bumps under the skin (milia) but as it's only been a couple of months I'm hoping I might see more benefits in time to come.

Have you ever tried chemical peels?

Christine Stewart x

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Monday, 18 May 2015

Skincare Routine | May 2015 [Video]

I haven't made a skincare routine post since Spring last year so I thought I'd run through what I do and my favourite products to use on my YouTube channel.

I really love to keep things simple as my skin is spot-prone and can get irritated quite easily. I've found that since I started using milder or natural products my face has been a lot clearer, though my skin isn't perfect.

The Video:

What's your skincare routine?

Christine Stewart x

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Friday, 27 February 2015

Review | Root2Tip Natural Hair Butter

I was sent a few Root2Tip goodies for Christmas, including the Triple M Miracle Moisture Milk (£13.99)*, the Root2Tip Protein Balance 'Elasticity Retention' Hair Masque (£12.99)* and the Natural Hair Butter (£10.99)*. The Moisture Milk and Protein Masque are already amongst my favourite hair products which I've been using and purchasing for some time. I've never tried the Natural Hair Butter before though and I've ended up relying on this product more for my skin than hair.

Root2Tip is a natural haircare brand and this butter is full of skin-loving ingredients, primarily Shea butter. The product is made for all hair types and has many uses including providing shine and hold to a curly hair (or curly sets). I've found Shea butter is just too heavy for my hair, which gets weighed down easily. As a result I prefer to only use this product pre-shampoo treatment on my ends. I warm the butter up a little in my hands and smooth it down the lengths before stepping in the shower and it stops my hair getting stripped during the shampoo process. My ends feel so smooth and buttery post-wash I love it!

The product is also recommended for use on the skin and I use the product on my body the most. I've been applying it to my knees, elbows and hands a lot recently to banish any dryness. It works wonderfully at keeping my skin super soft and hydrated and I only need to use a little product at a time. My skin has felt amazing combining applying this butter regularly along with a weekly body scrub using  DIY.

Overall this is a great product with a few uses, though I love it more for my skin than hair.  products can be purchased from their website.

*sample. Read my disclaimer .

Have you tried anything by Root2Tip?

Christine Stewart x

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Saturday, 7 February 2015

Skincare | DIY Coffee Body Scrub

I love making DIY scrubs, though I usually stick to sugar and oil combos (like this one ). Blogger beaut LaaLaa from  recently posted about  and I couldn't help be intrigued by using coffee on my skin. Aussie company  has received a lot of hype on the internet over the past year, and with totally natural ingredients which can help improve skin concerns like cellulite, stretch marks, psoriasis, eczema and acne it's not hard to see why. LaaLaa explains perfectly in her post the benefits of each ingredient in the Original Coffee Scrub and it's the caffeine from the coffee powder that I'm hoping to reap the most benefits from.

As I have most of the ingredients for the above product stashed in my kitchen cupboards I made a batch to see how well a coffee scrub would work for my skin. This takes literally minutes to throw together and I've been storing the scrub in a jar for easy in-shower application.

Basic recipe:
6 tablespoons of Coffee Powder
3 tablespoons of Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons of Rock Salt
2 tablespoons of Sweet Almond
1 tablespoon of Vitamin E Oil
10 drops of Orange Oil
1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerine

I kept the ingredients mostly the same as the Frank product but added some glycerine to make it more moisturising as my skin has been quite dry recently. I tripled the recipe above to fill up my 0.5L jar. I've tried this scrub a few times and the main difference I've noticed in my skin is that it's very smooth and soft after using. The coffee does make a bit of a mess and I found the smell quite strong, but I actually love the smell of coffee! The scent doesn't linger too long but I might try this again adding vanilla fragrance or try a version of Frank's Coconut Coffee Scrub.

Have you tried Frank products or a similar body scrub?

Christine Stewart x

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Thursday, 29 January 2015

New In | Beauty Edit

It's fair to say that my purchases in general slowed a little following Christmas. I even avoided the boxing day sales and seem to have curbed my ASOS addiction (for now at least). There have been a few items however that have slipped into my beauty stash which I've not tried before, most of which have been on my wishlist for some time.

I mentioned this product in my Everyday Makeup Video . It's one I've been dying to try as my oily skin means my makeup never lasts quite as long as I'd like. I've been mulling over this purchase for some time as I just couldn't get my head around the concept - you spray this mist over a full face of makeup and somehow this makes your makeup look better. After trying a dupe which didn't quite work I bit the bullet (and closed my eyes when I confirmed the payment online) and thankfully so far the product does exactly what I expected. It refreshes my skin leaving a 'dewy' natural finish and helps my makeup last longer.

This mascara came with a whole host of other L'Oreal goodies which I got for Christmas and I absolutely love the wand which is more like a comb than a brush. It works perfectly at grabbing and defining my smaller and lower lashes especially.

This beauty was another gift and probably a product I wouldn't have bought for myself. I see toners as more of a luxury than a necessity as my skincare routine has almost always consisted of simply cleansing and moisturising, with the occasional exfoliation session. Weirdly I've already become accustomed to slotting the Daily Energizer into my routine, applying a little to my face each morning, post-cleansing, and it gives my winter-beaten skin a kick-start. My skin seems to look fresher and generally less dull as a result.

I've been looking for a new cleanser for some time. I usually just use Cidal, a natural anti-bacterial soap, but it's been leaving my skin so dry lately. This Liquid Soap by Dr Bronner cleanses my skin so well without stripping it of essential moisture.

in Mocha (£15.50)
I've definitely become a lipstick hoarder. I made myself get rid of a few that had been gathering dust in my Muji drawers at the end of last year but have ended up simultaneously replacing them with new lipsticks, including this Satin Lipstick by MAC. This lipstick shade is so pretty, which is why I couldn't resist it, but it's definitely more of a pink/peach than the name mocha suggests. It's really easy to wear and works especially well for medium skintones. I love the semi-matte finish but it can feel a little dry so I usually remedy this by wearing a dab of lip balm underneath.

What beauty products have you been loving lately?

Christine Stewart x

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Sunday, 14 December 2014

Review | Glowwbox December 2014

There's various subscription beauty boxes on the market currently (like Glossybox, Birchbox and Jolie Box) and though I'm a self-confessed beauty lover they're pretty uncharted territory for me. I was contacted by , a monthly beauty subscription service for women with darker skin tones, and I was excited to be sent December's box - the 'Party Season' Edition*.

Inside this month's box is Black Mascara (£7.31), two  products I received Motions Natural Textures Deep Conditioning Mask (approx £5) and Motions Natural Textures Moisturising Cleanser (approx £4), Mineral Eyeshadow in Celebration (£12.99), Face Glove (£4.50), Super-food Face Mask (full size £44) and Absolute Intensity Lipstick in Raspberry (£12).

The subscription costs £10 per month plus £3.95 postage and packaging, so you get quite a lot for the price. Glowwbox is a UK company but also ships to Ireland and EU companies at an extra cost. At least 5 products are included in each box which can be a variety of sizes including sample, trial and full size. In this particular box I received 7 items and the only product which wasn't full size was the Inlight Super-food Face Mask.

You can tell by the product selection in this box that it's all about the prep that goes into a big night out. The Lord & Berry Lipstick is my favourite item included. The shade I received - Raspberry - is richly pigmented and leaves a smooth buttery finish. The lipstick fits into my makeup collection perfectly and is definitely something I would personally buy. Another favourite from the box is the Bellapierrre Eyeshadow in Celebration, a shimmery gold mineral eyeshadow. I'm a bit of an eyeshadow novice but the colour is absolutely gorgeous and perfectly apt for the makeup looks I'll be donning this season. I'll be pairing the mineral shadow with the Mehron Black Mascara also included in the box which claims to thicken lashes without dreaded clumping.

2 Motions Hair products from their Natural Textures range are also included in the box out of 4 options - the Deep Conditioning Mask, the Gloss Serum, the Smoothing Conditioner or the Moisturising Cleanser. It was really hard to find accurate pricing for these products online in the UK but generally the Motions Hair products retail for between £2 and £8. I've been familiar with the brand for years but I've never really been interested in using their products until recently as the brand has finally stepped up it's game with a recent packing revamp and more of their products now contain decent ingredients. I've not yet tried the Natural Textures Deep Conditioning Mask or the Moisturising Cleanser so I was excited to see that the full-sized products were included in this box, especially as I get through so much product due to the length and thickness of my hair.

I'm also excited to try the products by British organic skincare brand Inlight. I've had so much success using the  I'm curious to see how the Inlight Face Glove, which helps gently exfoliate the skin, will compare. The Super-food mask boasts a pretty impressive ingredients list too so I'm hoping this will give my winter-beaten skin the pick-me-up it needs, though it's a shame the sample sachet wasn't a little bit bigger.

Overall, I'm really impressed with the contents of this particular box as the product selection was well thought out and good value for money. I love that Glowwbox seeks to cater for women of colour as this really sets it apart from the plethora of beauty boxes on the market currently. If every box was like this I would definitely get myself a subscription. My only criticism would be that this box aims to please all women with darker skintones 'whether you're Black, Asian, Mixed or another beautiful brown hue' - a great concept but very difficult to deliver on. With this particular box for example I think the Motions hair products, which are marketed towards women with Afro-Caribben hair, won't appeal to many asian women with fine or straight hair. Beauty box subscription services in general need to offer more options to tailor the products included as it's impossible to appeal to everyone, regardless of skin colour. It looks like Glowwbox are working on 'a feature' to help better tailor each box to the buyer which makes the subscription service more appealing to me, though I have to admit it is exciting to try products I wouldn't ordinarily pick for myself.

*Sample. See my disclaimer .

Have you tried Glowwbox or other Beauty Box Subscription services?

Christine Stewart x

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Monday, 3 November 2014

Review | Bravura Manchester Dermaflannel

I rarely change my skincare routine from simply cleansing twice a day and exfoliating when I feel like it (more info ) but I have been looking for a way to get deeper exfoliation to remove some stubborn scars. I purchased a couple of scrubs, but nothing quite gave me the results I was looking for and with that, cue the  Dermaflannel (£11.99).

My interest in this product peaked when I read the description on the company's website - it's been coined a 'Facial in a Flannel' strong enough to achieve the same results as a chemical peel. I felt dubious about the claims but intrigued and naturally I had to at least try it.

When I first took the flannel out of the packaging I still couldn't conceive how a flannel could make any difference to the appearance of my skin. It felt and looked like an ordinary flannel but using it made me realise it was entirely different from your standard flannel.

So how does it work? The flannel has a 'unique weave' made of tiny fibres which helps remove dirt and oil on the skin, making it a great exfoliator. As you'd expect, using this product couldn't be simpler as all you need to do is give it a rinse then sweep it over the skin whilst it's still damp. You can use the flannel with a little of your usual cleanser if you prefer, but the beauty of this product is you don't need any products at all.

Soft upward strokes are enough to lift away dead skin cells and this flannel is so gentle I didn't realise how well it was working initially which led me to rub my face really hard on the first use. Luckily my mistake didn't do any lasting damage and I was just left with a little redness.

My skin has continued to be super smooth after each use of this flannel and my face has started to generally look more even in tone. I definitely underestimated how well this product would work on my skin and I'm excited to see how much more my skin will improve with regular use.

Have you tried anything by Bravura Manchester?

Christine Stewart x

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Sunday, 5 October 2014

Review | The Body Shop Vitamin E Serum-In-Oil

I've had quite a few dry patches on my face recently so picked up (£13/28ml). This product is a blend of natural oils, including jojoba, wheat germ and sweet almond oil, with a serum. It's a light and silky texture which aims to recharge and moisturise the skin.

When you have oily skin there's often the temptation to only use products devoid of oil, but when I've relied heavily on such products previously they've only served to make my face oilier, irritated and extremely dry in places. I now work on balancing the natural oils on my face (rather than stripping them away completely) and this product is quickly proving to be great for my skin.

I've been using the serum-in-oil every couple of days before bed after cleansing for the past few weeks and it's been keeping my skin really soft and moisturised. The dry areas of my face in particular feel much smoother and even. It's easy to apply, absorbs quickly and doesn't leave my skin greasy.

As Vitamin E is usually great for fading scars I really hoped this serum-in-oil would provide relief from some scarring on my face. So far I've not noticed any improvement but my skin has seemed brighter in general.

I'll definitely continue to use this product nightly to keep it soft and hydrated. I imagine I'll be reaching for this more often as the temperature drops and my skin gets drier.

Have you tried any products from The Body Shop?

Christine Stewart x

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