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27 Sep 2016

Balance Active Formula Dragon's Blood Review

Now as much as I, like any other female Game of Thrones fan I know, wish I was Daeneryes Stormborn.  I must be 100% honest here.  There is absolutely NO dragon's blood in these products.  There is however, a sap from a plant called the Croton Lechleri (sounds like it comes from Jurassic Park) which is where the name comes from.

The products claim to lift and tighten the skin, I could definitely do with a bit of that! So to give them a good and honest test, I used them every day for my 3 week holiday in France.  Obviously, I used other products too, seen as there is no cleanser nor any retinol or an SPF, so I just used my standard go to products alongside these three.

At the end of 3 weeks, I am delighted to report I LOVED them.  I cannot believe how cheap they are for such high-quality products (you can pick up all 3 for a combined total of under £9 at Fragrance Direct at the moment).  The packaging is really the only sign that they are not high-end products.  The consistencies and the fragrance are fantastic.  But most importantly of all they actually work if, like me, you could  benefit from a little tightening to your skin, then I would whole heartedly recommend these. I honestly feel the skin around my eyes is tighter and looks smoother when I use these.

My favourite product is the lifting cream (I used it like moisturiser) it smells gorgeous is nice and light yet very moisturising and really seems to work.  I must be clear the results are purely a cosmetic effect not an actual change in the structure of the skin.  You can't buy over the counter products that do this, or they would be classified as drugs and your would need a prescription.  But, if you want something to give you a youthful, tightened look, at a bargain price, I would reach for this every time.  I am a big fan of the Balance brand, as I have used their hyaluronic serum before.  I  have just purchased their vitamin C serum now and can't wait to see the results.

24 Aug 2016

What Can I do to Reverse Sun Damage?

It’s that time of year again, when no matter how scrupulous you are applying sunscreen, you end up getting some sort of sun damage.

It is impossible to treat sun damage completely, the sun exposure has irreversibly damaged your skin cells and it can’t be taken back, you can, however, treat the external signs of sun damage.
Check out my cunning use of dried out old bark as a metaphor!

Before I say anything else, and I KNOW it is has been said a million times before, but you MUST use Sunscreen from now on! If you want to up your daily protection make sure you're using Vitamin C. If there is one thing that can really help sun damage, this is it.  It protects the skin from free radical damage which will help with the appearance of brown spots and boost collagen production to improve elasticity.  It works best when labelled as ascorbic acid on the ingredients list, but anything with ascorbic or ascorbate is usually vitamin C and therefore great for sun damage. I use the fab La Roche Posay Redermic C10 which has 10% pure vitamin C (it is actually the second ingredient on the list.)

Now, let’s get tackling the visible signs of sun damage.

Age Spots (Senile Lentigo, snappy name!)

What used to be cute freckles, is now clearly age spots.  Luckily this is one sign of sun damage that can be treated easily.  What you are looking to do is inhibit or reverse the melanin production (the bit that created your tan) so your skin returns to it's previous even tone. First things first, start the sunscreen to stop it getting worse, the screening will stop the UV rays triggering the melanin production and preserve any gains you get from the ingredients below.

I currently use the  Ultra Sun Anti Pigmentation SPF50+ £35 as it contains Vitamin C. You can still get a tan through this formula though, don't worry.  It is the best SPF I know for reducing pigmentation and keeping it away.  If you suffer from melasma then you must try this.

I would advise a combination of the following 2 methods;

1) Glycolic Acid, this will strip away the damaged older skin revealing fresher, even toned skin beneath - Pixi Glow Tonic or Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix would both be affordable solutions.  If you want to know more, read up here.  Which exfoliator is right for you?

2) Niacinamide (Vit B3)
I get my niacinamide from our trusty friend - La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, which really is a power house for the price.  It's being thrown in every other formulation at the moment though, so you may find you already have some in a product already in your arsenal, go check your ingredient lists.

You will hear a great deal about Hydraquinone for treating age spots, please don't go there. It has such a patchy safety record it's illegal in the UK for good reason.


Rough, dry skin

Hyaluronic acid - A true friend to ageing skin, see a more thorough post here; Everything you wanted to know about hyaluronic acid but were too afraid to ask.  Hyaluronic acid is a humectant which means it traps moisture and plumps the skin.  It is only a cosmetic effect, but one which can make a massive difference to the appearance of parched skin.  I thoroughly recommend Madara SOS Hydra Repair Intensive Serum - £37 as it is a great mix of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Hyaluronic acid, Antioxidants and essential oils.  It is also beautifully packaged and organic.  This is a great product to hit most bases if your serious about re-hydrating your skin.

If you want a product that can be left on overnight to leave you with softened, hydrated skin the next morning, then I thoroughly recommend Avon Anew Hydra Recovery Mask £20.  I have been trialing this for a month or so and it makes a massive difference.  If, like me, you have oily skin, you will be amazed how light this feels on and how good it makes your skin look.  It contains both sizes of hyaluronic acid, urea and phosholipids, that trap moisture and help other products penetrate.  Well done Avon for producing such an affordable high-tech product.  It looks really cool in the jar too.

Fine Lines 


Retinol - Again, what is left to be said.  There is nothing better for repairing damaged skin, it isn't a miracle cure but its the nearest thing. I won't venture into Retinol land again, check out this post if you want further reading.  I will say that the Exuviance, Super Retinol Concentrate is a super-star in this over-crowded arena.  When I first trialled it, I was very impressed, I even got some minor peeling after my first use, see my full review here.  The only downside is that I can't switch back now and this one costs £50!

13 Aug 2016

Exuviance Coverblend Review

They specialise in scientific formulations with solid research to back up their claims (I know, crazy huh!)  Exuviance was created by the partners who discovered the beneficial effect of AHAs on skin so they really know their apples from their pears.  I've tried the Super Retinol Concentrate (it's always about the retinol!) and I was stupidly impressed, which is lucky considering this retails for around £50 for 30ml. I was delighted to get some minor peeling after my first use. This may sound bad to most people, but as a habitual retinol user, it NEVER happens as my skin, as it has become so accustomed to it.  This showed me that the retinol in this product is either stronger or better formulated than my usual offerings. The only downside is that I can't switch back now and the price is nearly double what I would usually pay.

Another product I find myself reaching for from this line is their CoverBlend.  This is formulated to be both a light weight foundation and a skin treatment.  It contains AHA's, antioxidants, sunscreen and moisturisers alongside a light reflecting foundation.  This is the perfect product to reach for when you have just had a facial treatment and want some coverage to hide the redness but don't want to ruin all the good work.  I use this on no-makeup-days (ha ha, what are those!, I should more honestly call them, minimal makeup days).  It provides light to medium coverage and feels super comfortable on your face.  It's absolutely ideal for Summer when your skin looks good and you want to keep it that way.  The finish is dewy but if you like it a little more matte, just apply with a buffing brush and buff in well. What I love about this is that you can be safe in the knowledge that your skin is being pampered while you rush around. I will be using this every day on holiday!

I also tried a sample of their Vespera Bionic Serum, which is absolutely sublime.  I am definitely going to have to buy a full sized bottle as it feels lush on the skin and gives you such a lovely healthy glow.  It is filled with antioxidants and AHA to give you skin real boost. I'm not usually a fan of oil based serums, and I usually opt for gels but this looks gorgeous on your skin and sinks in well.  I wouldn't use this before wearing a long stay foundation as any kind of oil will obviously just melt it away, but I would love to use it before bed for a super dose of all the goodies while my skin takes a rest.

Is anyone else using this brand, I would love to hear some recommendations as I am so impressed with the quality.

12 Aug 2016

The Superbrand You've Probably Never Heard About

The one thing that always amazes me is how many great beauty brands there are out there that I have never heard of before.  They may get a cursory mention in a beauty book or a footnote in a glossy, but to everyday folk they are practically unheard of.  This is such a shame, as some of my absolute favourite products come from these under-the-radar super brands.  Neo-Strata is one such brand.  It is so highly regarded in the industry yet barely heard of outside of the press and blogs.

They speciialise in scientific formulations with solid research to back up their claims (I know, crazy huh!)  Neo Strata was created by the partners who discovered the beneficial effect of AHAs on skin so they really know their apples from their pears.  I've tried the Super Retinol Concentrate (it's always about the retinol!) and I was very impressed, which is lucky considering this selld for around £50 for 30ml.  This may sounds bad to most people, but as a habitual retinol user, I was delighted to get some minor peeling after my first use.  This NEVER happens as my skin is so used to it, it just expects to have retinol.  This showed me that the retinol in this product is either stronger or better formulated than my usual offerings.The only downside is that I can't switch back now.
Another product I find myself reaching for from this line is the CoverBlend.  This is formulated to be both a light weight foundation and a skin treatment.  It contains AHA's, Sunscreen and moisturisers alongside a light reflecting foundation.  This is the perfect product to reach for when you have just had a facial treatment and want some covergae to hide the redness but don't want to ruin all the good work.  I use this on no-makeup-days (ha ha, what are those!) I should moe honestly call them , minimal make up days.  It provides light to medium covergae and feels super comfotable on your face.  It's absolutely ideal for Summer when your skin looks good and you want to keep it that way.

2 Aug 2016

Sjal - The Skincare Brand for Russian Oligarchs

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I was slightly amused/intrigued when the lovely people from Sjal inquired whether I would be interested in trying their opulent brand.  It's billed as being charged with precious materials including, gold, silver, platinum, diamond and ruby, and I REALLY wanted to see what it would be like. The brand has many famous advocates of likes of Angelina Jolie, Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomi Watts, Jessica Biel and Uma Thurman.

I genuinely wanted to not like it, mainly because it’s hardly a bargain buy, but unfortunately for me and many investment banker husbands, it’s lush!

I tried the Balans Deep Pore Cleanser which is a gel-like cleanser designed to reduce pores, increase oxygenation, soften and sooth.  I found it hopeless at removing eye makeup but fantastic as a second deep cleanse after the first oil based cleanse to remove makeup.  It leaves your skin feeling super clean but not at all stripped.  I tried it on both damp and dry skin, and found it worked markedly better on dry skin.  You don’t need a massive amount, perhaps a 20p worth and it smooths on easily allowing you to massage it in easily. I can’t say I am a fan of the packaging but I don’t really care much for packaging anyway. My favourite result from the cleanser is the immediate reduction in pore size, which as I get older is the bane of my life.  If you are struggling with open enlarged pores this may well be worth a try.

I also tried the Mineral Kalla Energy Tonic which is very much in the vane of a Korean Essence.  It hopes to lock in moisture alongside healing and protecting your skins barrier.  It uses hyaluronic acid as the main moisture retention ingredient along with a plethora of “natural” extracts which, to be frank, I haven’t the slightest clue what they do.  This left my skin feeling divinely refreshed and again no tightening due to the moisture imparting ingredients.  I was pretty gutted when this finished mainly due to the price for replacement.

At £47 for 150ml of toner, I can’t say I will be rushing out to repurchase, but if I could buy it on offer or as a gift I would be very interested.

What are your feelings on top end skincare?  Do you subscribe to the mantra that "you get what you pay for"?

1 Aug 2016

Get Ready for Summer, in 1 hour!

It’s here, no it’s not, it's here, nope gone again!

With the constantly changing British weather, it is no suprise our beauty routines don't know which way is up.  Here is my super quick "Get Ready for Summer with Me" for when you've been invited to a BBQ and the weather is actually going to be summery

Here goes!

First get everything ready (5 mins) You best put some Summer songs on to get you in the mood.
In The Shower
  • Exfoliator
  • Razors
In The bathroom
  • Crispy Towels
  • Fake Tan & Mitt
In The Bedroom
  • Foot File
  • Foot Butter
  • Acetone & Cotton Pads
  • Nail Polish
  • Cuticle Oil
  • Body Moisturiser
  • Nail Strengther
  • Facial SPF
Let's start with a shower,

Step 1 - 2 mins Exfoliate like a MoFo, I adore Soap and Glory’s Pulp Friction for this as the grains are quite fine, and it smells gorgeous.  Alternatively do as the Korean's do and buy an Italy Towel, they're just a couple of pounds on Ebay and make light work of dull flaky skin. Now lets get depilating.

Step 2 - 5 mins -Now lets get smooth, I'm really not one for waxing as you have to wait for it to grow back (urgghh!) Don’t worry my fellow blade lovers, I have found a new razor every bit as good as your man's top end Gilette for a fraction of the price and in a nice turquoise/jewel design. The Bic Soliel Bella, is only around the £5 mark for 3 instead of the £10 plus you would pay for the cartridges from Gillette.  Every Razor has 4 blades each, a swivel head, a moisturising strip and most importantly they shave SUPER close, result!. I'm a fan of using "whatever is hanging around" as a shaving gel, I'll happily use, any shower gel or conditioner, to be honest, if it slips, it'll do.

Step 3 - 1 min - Now you're done in the shower towel off with a good crispy towel (one you dried outside or on the radiator, not a fabric conditioned/tumble dried thing.)  We need the extra exfoliation here to give your skin a glow and remove and dull skin.
DON'T MOISTURISE YET! (it'll ruin your fake tan)

Step 4 - 10 mins (of which 5 is drying)   Now let's get some colour going on. Because we didn't moisturise earlier (it can change the colour of your tan) you will need to go steady on your knees, elbows and ankles to avoid over-saturation, I recommend either Garnier Summer Body Gradual Tan, if you're a bit of a tanning scardy cat, or for a more convincing instant colour, break the big guns out and get yourself some Vita Liberata on.  I use a mitt with both for the most smooth even application.   The Vita Liberta gives the MOST realistic tan I have ever had, plus it goes on a dream.  The best bit is it fades naturally without that pixelated effect you get from most tans as they break down.  If you're feeling a bit brassic, then go for the Garnier Summer Skin it's only £2.50 at Boots at the moment. It smells of Apricots (well for the first hour or so anyway) and gives a lovely even colour.  Both dry really quickly so you can be slipping into your dressing gown within 5 minutes. But before you go on take the time to swipe a bit of facial tanner on.  I will happily use the Vita Liberata on my face, but for a better more tailored result I love the James Reed Facial Tanner, it works really fast and a little goes a stupidly long way.

Step 5 -5 mins - Let's sort our feet out now, Dinosaur feet be gone. I love the Scholl Velvet Smooth Wet & Dry Foot File, it really is the ultimate re-chargeable foot grinder. It's crazy fast to use and leaves your feet velvet soft (like the name)  I reckon I can do both feet in 2 minutes, but I'll give you 5.

Step 6 - 1 min -Next slather your feet in the strongest, greasiest foot lotion you have. You need to do this before you remove your old nail polish or the oils will make your nail polish go all blobby and weird.  The most intense foot cream I have ever used comes from English brand called SBC it's their Honey Body Butter and when they say butter they mean it.  This stuff is awful to get out of the massive tub but is so moisturising it’s ridiculous. You could ice skate across your bathroom floor with this on so be extra careful to only apply to the tops and sides of your feet.

Step 7 - 3 mins Now remove your old nail varnish, you need to get rid of every last bit. There really is nothing like Acetone for this.  I don’t care how moisturising some varnish removers say they are, they just don’t cut it on dark nail polish. Use a cotton bud to get every last bit from your cuticles for a perfect finish.

Step 8 - 10 mins - Now your nails with a vivid bright colour.  Something that looks awesome with a tan, think neon pink or fuschia.  Orly has developed a 2 step gel nail polish (Epix FX)  that is actually neon, like a highlighter pen, it's called "Put The Top Down"! You will need 2 coats of the polish and then one of the top coat, if you're looking for the ultimate summer toes then this is your baby. It should last a good 3 weeks too, result!

Step 9 - 3 mins -While your tootsies dry let's moisturise our bodies.  If you want some extra help evening out your skin tone go grab a bottle of Palmer's Anti-Ageing Smoothing Lotion with AHA's, or if you prefer something to get you in the mood for sun, just use your favourite low factor sun lotion.  I find the smell of Hawaiian Tropic is so divine that I happily use it as a moisturiser.
You're nearly there now.

Step 10 - 5 mins - I tend to wear just a Nail Strengthener like OPI Nail Envy in Summer.  Allowing your nails to get sunlight helps them grow long and strong so don’t hide them under dark varnish, just coat with a super shiny layer of this and let them speak for themselves.  No fiddly/perfect painting needed just a quick slick and a couple of minutes to dry.

Step 11 - 1 min - Last but not least, get a really good high factor sun screen on your face.  You can really reduce the amount of damage, skin texture change and sun spotting by applying a top quality sun screen.  I am currently loving Ultrasun’s Anti-Ageing SPF 50+, which is tinted and leaves a nice matte yet healthy finish.  It is pretty thick but even with my oil-slick skin, all is well.  I have found spritzing on an oil reducing toner like Serozinc before helps keep the shine at bay.

Step 12- 1 min -Last Step, now those toes are dry, paint a little OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil on your cuticles to give a lovely softened look.
And that my lovely ladies, is It. Total Time 52 minutes
You are now ready to go share your lovely self with the world.

4 Apr 2016

Miller Harris - Perfume for the discerning

If you're a little bored of celebrity fragrances and generic designer scents then perhaps it's time to try something a little more special. I was delighted to spend some time perusing the shelves at Miller Harris' Mayfair store on Bruton Street as it is a such a special treat.  When you enter it is so serene,  after the hustle of Berkeley Square. It feels like a chinese tea room or a library, it is somewhere you would go to appreciate carefully curated items.

Miller Harris is British brand which was created by Lyn Harris and named after her father.  Harris trained for 5 years in Paris before relocating to Grasse (the world famous home of fragrance) to train for a further 5 years.  She has an amazing "nose" an can identify 1000 different fragrances by smell alone. Miller Harris has grown quickly since it first came on the scene and has become known for it's grown up fragrances.  The perfumiers is a favourite of Kristen Scott-Thomas, Madonna and Sophia Copolla.

Miller Harris started with just a core collection of 4 fragrances but has since expanded to over 30. There is something for everyone and each is tied to a story such as an afternoon in Southern France or a morning cup of tea, if you read the description of each perfume on the website you can learn what inspired each fragrance.

Miller Harris works hard to ensure they only gets the most premium ingredients for their perfumes and wait months for just the right batch.  The perfumes aren't cheap but neither are they especially expensive at around £60 per 50ml of Eau de Parfum.  I was pleased to learn that they don't do Eau de Toilette, which I think is fantastic because who wants a watered down perfume, what's the point?

We were there to sample the new fragrance called Vetiver Insolent which is a bold fragrance for either men or women.  It is a truly distinctive smell and goes beautifully with so many of my other fragrances.  I use it as a long lasting base note upon which to layer more sweet and sharp top notes.  It smells of Vetiver, Lavender, Amber and Cardamon. For anyone who is as clueless as me, vetiver is the root of an exotic grass and has a distinctive smell often found in high-end male fragrances.  It is a smoky, woody, incense like smell, but also a little like mown grass and patchouli, that 70's hippy fave.  Vetiver Insolent is the creation of Perfumer Mathieu Nardin and I was delighted to learn that all  3 of the fragrances I liked best were his creations.

We were lucky enough to smell the myriad of fragrances on offer and my absolute favorites were Tea Tonique

Like hearing a captivating story for the first time, Tea Tonique’s energy infuses your surroundings without overwhelming them. Beguiling and cultured, it engages its audience with musical tones and an unpredictable nature. With an infusion of Italian Bergamot suggesting smoky birch tar, it is equally at home in the English countryside or a London cafĂ©, rejoicing in the many-layered characteristics of an aromatic tea.

and Rose Silence.
The week is gone, the room is your own. A beam of light streams in through the curtains and you wake slowly, breathing the scent of a fresh white pillow. An unexpected embrace: faint, fresh rose with undertones of sandalwood and patchouli, untouchable yet crisp, possessing an intoxicating magic. An intimate, thrilling moment.

The one things all the bloggers noticed was just how different the perfumes smelled on each of us.  Our personal PH, the food we had eaten and the level of oils in our skin, changed the smell of the perfume on each of us dramatically.  Never again will I just buy a perfume by smelling a tester strip.

I loved the personal hand engraved bottles we each received, it is such a beautiful touch.

Miller Harris fragrances can be bought online here, but I would definitely visit the store if you live near by so you can try the fragrances on and get a real sense of what works for you.  It feels like such a treat visiting them store in person and everyone we met was insanely knowledgeable about fragrance.

10 Mar 2016

How cute are these!  

I don't know about you but I'm the laziest Mum ever when it comes to name labelling my children's school clothes.  With 3 children, it is pretty much laundry marker all the way for me, that is till I found these adorable name tags, that require NO sewing, NO ironing and stick to most anything.  I have heard of My Nametags before, but never gotten around to ordering anything from them.  These arrived within 1 day of placing the order which is fantastic if you're in a rush.

I've put mine on lunch boxes, shoes, pencils, clothes, coats and even Kindle's. I waited for a few washes to see if they stood up to the wear and tear of real life use and I'm glad to report they do, they even survived the dishwasher!

I think these would be ideal for nursery or reception children who struggle to read their name, as they are so easily recognisable for them.  My daughter is 9 and still loves these though, so defiantly not just for little ones.  My only slight gripe is that you can peel them off if you want to, which could be good if you are handing down clothes to friends, but is a pain when unscrupulous mum's pull the tag out of items of uniform then just re-label it as their's, grrrr!

See them here, they are just £14.95 for 56 which should do even the largest uniform and still have plenty left over.

*sample provided for review purposes.

4 Feb 2016

Face Camp Before and After Review

I'm sure you'll remember that I started a course at treatments  at Face Camp with Face Gym at Selfridges the week before last see original post here.  I promised to keep you updated as to how it went and here are the shots.

Can you see any difference?

Both taken first thing before applying any makeup - arggghh!

I'll let you decide whether my skin looks any better as I try to be as objective as possible.  The "work" I had done was on my jawline, with the main aim of reducing puffiness.  I also was hoping for a more even skin tone.  It was ridiculously hard to get 2 identical pictures as the light has changed since 2 weeks ago and also I have re-highlighted my hair, even pulling the same face was really hard!

I have worn a lot less foundation since I started the treatment, really only using concealer under the eyes and around my nose.  I feel that my jawline has definitely improved.  I think this is something you would need to get done regularly for the results to be maintained though.  Here is a makeup shot so you can see what I looked like after the treatments (I wear makeup most days)

What were the food suggestions like?

I was given a detailed plan of food and drinks to consume between appointments and I am sorry to say I mostly failed on this.  The main guidelines were to avoid gluten, dairy, caffeine and alcohol which I think is too tall an order for a dedicated french style eater like me.  I love all things bread, cheese, coffee and wine, so I was pretty much going to fail no matter what.  I did however manage to triple the amount of fruit and veg I consumed.  Here are a few of the lunches I ate, please excuse the photography, I am not a food blogger for good reason.

Ha Ha! luckily this feta, courgette & mint frittata tasted a lot better than it looked.

Ultra-predicatble avo on toast with egg & pink pickled onions (look at my very un-instagram friendly bread)

Roasted Butternut Squash, Sunblush Tomatoes, Red onion, Avocado, Feta and Rocket Salad.

Overall I liked the recipes in provided, but I really wasn't a fan of the smoothies and juices as I only really drink water, coffee and wine in my "normal" life, so anything sloppy and sweet are not my thing. It all reminds me too much of baby food so I stuck to the eating my vege's and fruits whole as nature intended.  I must also mention the no alcohol was a complete fail.

Would I go back for more treatment, and which would you choose?

I would definitely return if I had a big event coming up.  I left the treatment without any redness and so it's ideal as it can be done on the same day as an important event.  I think the Radio Frequency has the biggest effect on my skin and so I would go mainly for that and the massage, I would also try something new just to see what it's like.  I would probably go for the Front Row Face as it includes a super deep cleanse and a peel, I like that it's only £120 too.

I was overall very impressed with the treatments and the 2 ladies who provided them  It was a lovely relaxing experience and it helped me raise my game with regards to what I eat and thinking about it in terms of my skin not just my health and waist.  I am very happy with results and will be bearing it in mind for when I next need a pick me up.  I really liked the convenience of it and that it was non invasive.

29 Jan 2016

Which Exfoliator is Right For You? A Guide to Acids.

If there is one step in your skincare routine that makes the biggest difference, then it's exfoliation. 

The regular removal of dead skin cells makes skin look brighter and more fresh.  It helps keep spots at bay by keeping our pores clear and can also help absorption of creams & serums. I'm a convert as you can tell, and now that there are so many ways to effectivly remove those dead skin cells, there is a good option for most budgets and skin types.  The only word of caution would be those with very sensitive skin or who have severe acne who should consult a GP or derm before starting using exfoliators.

If you're a Exfoliator Virgin you should start with the gentlest formulations and a lower frequency, say every other day or on nights only.  This gives your skin time to adjust and should stop any adverse reactions.

There is such a wealth of exfoliators available now that it can be slightly overwhelming, there are primarily two types,

  • BHA also called Beta Hydroxy Acid and there is only one of them called Salicylic Acid which is a derivative of Aspirin.
  • AHA's or Alpha Hydroxy Acid's, the most talked about are Glycolic acid and Lactic acid.

BHA's are best at removing trapped dirt deep down in the pores, as it has a smaller molecular size.  They are great for blemish prone and oily skin.  AHA's are best at improving brightness as they work on the upper layers. They work by dissolving the binding agent in your skin which releases the top layer of dead skin more quickly that it would naturally, which reveals the brighter skin beneath.  The skin takes this as an "attack" and therefore produces more collagen which helps thicken & protect the skin making it look younger.

So basically BHA's for spots and oil, and AHA's for ageing.

This still leaves an enormous section out there, so here are a few I have personally used and can recommend.

Beginner Acid Exfoliators

The safest ones to start with are staples such as Pixi Glow Tonic £18.00 or Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix £6.45 on offer. These can be used from your twenties onwards and are gentle enough for using both morning or night. Both of these are based around glycolic acids and are good for brightening up your complexion and increasing cell turnover.  They are also both under £20 so ideal if you just want to dip in your toes.

Intermediate Acid Exfoliators

You can then up the game to something a little stronger like Nip+Fab Extreme Glycolic Fix £7.45 on offer or Skinceuticals Resurfacing Activator £35.00.  The Nip+Fab Extreme contains Glycolic and Salicylic acids which make it a perfect choice for those of us prone to breakouts and clogged pores. The Skinceuticals Resurfacing serum is a unique formula using hydroxyethyl urea which is an excellent exfoliator and humectant (traps moisture) it also contains hyaluronic acid to further promote moisture retention in the skin.  I really like that the Skinceutical's formula can be used both day and night, it sinks straight in and makeup can be applied immediately.

For a complete bargain a super cheap and easy exfoliating mask can be made using 2 dispersible aspirin dissolved in a tbsp of water and smoothed into the skin.  You leave it for 5 mins and voila! A bright, fresh complexion for about 10p.

Masters Acid Exfoliators

For those who have been using exfoliations for a while or need something stronger to slough away their skin I would recommend Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Extra Strength £57. These are a 2 step process and you can feel them working straight away. As the name suggests, they contains both AHA's and BHA's. I keep these for the day before special occasions, so that my skin gets maximum effect.  For those willing to go the extra mile then Biologique RecherchĂ© P50 is the undisputed queen of exfoliators but is only available through salon stockists as they like to know people are using it correctly and at the right strength for their personal needs.  This sounds like a bit too much to be honest, just a few lines on the box about proper use would do.

Hopefully this has helped you feel more confident about giving acid's a go, or if your already use them about upping your exfoliating game.

Does anyone have any other acid's to recommend?  I am coming to the end of the Dennis Gross which I will definitely will repurchase and would like to try something similar so recommendation definitely appreciated.

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