PS Love to Glow Face Mask

I’ve got my daily skincare routine down. I am also (unapologetic boast coming up) really good at sticking to it every day without fail, even when extra tired or under the influence of a few gins (find my evening skin care routine video here). I am not very good, however, at regularly applying face masks. I love the Lush fresh face masks but am guilty of forgetting to use them before they expire. Then when you factor in my sensitive skin and preference not to spend a fortune on face masks, I haven’t actually tried that many. SO you can imagine my delight when I discovered the PS Love to Glow face mask, at only £3, was a hit!

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First things first, I have it on reliable authority that this is not a dupe for the famous Glam Glow masks. There was a fair bit of hype when the Primark skincare range launched including speculation that the mask could be a dupe. I haven’t tried Glam Glow myself, but I have read enough comparison reviews to be able to say with confidence that they are not very similar. That doesn’t mean this PS Love product isn’t a great one though.

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The packaging is pretty classy. The glass tub has some weight to it, giving it more of a luxury feel than the £3 price tag suggests. I would describe the scent as a little clinical and a little on the strong side for my preference, but not a deal breaker. The texture is clay-like without being too sticky and I find it easy to apply with an old make up brush.

I love how it immediately provides a cooling sensation on the skin, without being tingly or uncomfortable. After 10 minutes (the recommended time to leave in place) the colour definitely darkens and the product feels tighter on the face, but again without being at all uncomfortable.

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As it is removed, the mask has an exfoliating effect and leaves my skin feeling soft and looking brighter. I am really pleased with the effect this has had on my skin and I am yet to react to it despite there being some potentially inflammatory ingredients such as fragrance, but it seems to be far enough down the ingredients list for it not to be a problem for me. The ingredients that seem to ‘do it’ for me in this are Kaolin (clay), Shea butter and Argan oil. Now all I need to do it remember to use it!

Ladival Sun Protection for Sensitive Skin

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Two days before my recent holiday to the Canary Islands I wandered into Boots for a few last minute purchases including sun protection. I’m no sun worshiper and having learnt the hard way (painful burns) and wised up to the dangers of sunbathing I now avoid it. Unless I’m swimming or involved in some kind of day time activity, you will find me in a shady spot reading a good book (or the occasional trashy novel!) instead. Having been blessed/cursed with fair, freckly skin that is prone to multiple dermatological complaints including eczema, dermatitis and keratosis pilaris, my choice of SPF has to be a careful one, especially as once the temperature soars you can add prickly heat to that list. I’ve previously written about my tried and tested tips for dealing with prickly heat (here) and my breakthrough in realising there are ingredients I should avoid when selecting sun protection (more details in the prickly heat post). This led me to Eucerin as my brand of choice last year but on this particular trip to Boots a different product caught my eye. Ladival not only ticked the boxes for ingredients but was cheaper and on offer. Having used it for two weeks, here are my thoughts including a comparison to the Eucerin products I fell in love with last year…

Like Eucerin the sun protection from Ladival contains no mineral oils or petrolatum (ingredients that trap heat under your skin making certain skin problems including prickly heat more likely to occur). Even better, it contains no perfume or fragrance (some of the Eucerin products do but it is the last ingredient on the list so the amount is negligible). This means the Ladival creams have what I would describe as a slightly clinical smell, although not unpleasant and very subtle. One of the ingredients is titanium, intended to reflect and filter harmful rays. This means the creams, especially the factor 50, tend to leave a ‘white cast’ on your skin which might be off putting to some, but I don’t mind adding reflective skin to my poolside look which otherwise consists of frizzy hair and uneven eyebrows!

The creams are easy to apply, the factor 30 more so than the 50 due to its lighter formula. Both factors need a good shake before use (which is recommended on the bottles) otherwise it tends to flake a bit but if properly mixed this didn’t occur. Once absorbed you don’t feel like you have anything on your skin, which could be a positive or negative attribute depending on your point of view, but I just use a systematic approach to make sure I didn’t miss any patches of skin. I applied this very liberally and didn’t suffer any break outs on the face or body, so it didn’t seem to clog my pores, although it’s worth noting I’m not typically prone to spots. One huge advantage the Ladival has is that I found it far less likely to stain clothes compared to the Eucerin products.

So the big question, what about prickly heat? I still developed it; I’ve never been to a climate warmer than the UK and escaped it completely. However it was far less widespread or severe, and settled down far quicker than previous trips abroad. Overall, I’m pleased as punch with both these brands and will use either for my ongoing sun protection at home or abroad – the best special offer is likely to swing it for me when I next need to stock up!

I bought the SPF 50 and SPF 30 in 200 ml bottles for £13.50 each, on a ‘buy one get one half price’ offer.

Do you have a favourite sun care brand for sensitive skin? I’d love to hear about it in the comments…

Why do I need a nipple balm?! Dr Lipp Review

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One of the best things about beauty blogging and vlogging is how infectious your passion for all things make up and skincare can be. Friends and family often seem excited to ask my opinion on a product or tell me about their discoveries. This happened recently when my Mother-in-law returned from a holiday with a gift for me in the form of Dr Lipp Original Nipple Balm; something I’d never seen nor heard of before. And let me tell you it’s an absolute beaut….

 
I know what you’re thinking; my nipples are fine as they are and don’t need their own beauty product thank you very much! But this is so much more than a nipple treatment. Yes, according to birchbox.co.uk (one of the sites it is stocked on), it was originally developed with breastfeeding mothers in mind but the beauty world has since realised it’s full potential and apparently Dr Lipp is a staple for many models and make up artists.

 
As for my opinion, I’ve now been using this for a couple of months and it is hands down the best lip balm I have ever used. Bold statement I know. The formula is thick, colourless (once applied) and odourless. It sinks into the lips and feels immediately nourishing rather than sitting on top of the lips and feeling more like a barrier (my personal pet hate with lip balms). The effects last pretty well too and it acts as a great primer for matte lipstick. I’ve also used it to keep my brows in place and soothe my sore nose during cold and flu season! I’ve now checked out the Dr Lipp website to find out 20 recommended uses, which I have listed below, and having perused these I’m interested to try the balm out as an eye gloss for that model-esque glossy lid look.

  1. Long lasting lip-gloss
  2. Cheek shine
  3. Eye gloss for dewy look
  4. Eyebrow shaping
  5. Lip primer
  6. As a mixer for pigments
  7. Perfect for ‘glitter lips’, eye glitter and diamantes
  8. Skin primer
  9. Smooth away fly away hair
  10. Gloss nails naturally
  11. Chapped lips
  12. Dry cuticles
  13. Dry skin patches
  14. Fine lines under eyes
  15. Split ends
  16. Eye lashes
  17. Itchy and sore skin
  18. Small cuts, burns & abraisons
  19. Sore noses from blowing
  20. Sore nipples from breast feeding

Any downsides? The price may put some people off; at around £12 for a travel size product (15 mls) it is definitely in the ‘high end’ category for a lip treatment. However, considering the multiple uses and that a little goes a long way I think it is well worth it and will definitely be repurchasing. I’ve also read some negative reviews from users stating it feels like a ‘glorified Vaseline’ but I disagree; colourless and odourless like petrolatum yes but far more nourishing. I find petrolatum actually dries my lips out but this does the opposite. It can be difficult to get out of the tube due to the thick nature of the formula but warming the tube up in your hands if it has been kept somewhere cold easily rectifies this. A final point of interest to some might be that the product is 100% medical grade lanolin, so to my knowledge is not vegan friendly (although this is an area I know little about so feel free to educate me in the comments!)

 
Overall? This is now my go to lip balm and I don’t leave home without it. In addition to Birchbox, you can also find Dr Lipp stocked at Space NK and Beauty Bay (where at time of writing Dr Lipp is on offer!)

High End Beauty at Marks & Spencer

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Over a year ago I noticed that Marks & Spencer had upped their game in the beauty department. Gone are the days of Lavender hand cream and bath salts, and instead (at least in the larger stores) you can find a decent selection of high end beauty brands (and some more budget friendly too). More recently the available selection seems even better and it’s great place to shop for brands that can be otherwise difficult to come by unless you are lucky enough to live near a Space NK or Selfridges. I will list the full range of brands available at the end of the post, but I’ve picked a make up, haircare and skincare brand that interests me to demonstrate just how great Marks and Spencer can be for beauty obsessives!

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I’ve loved the handful of Stila products I have tried so am keen to try more. The brand is pretty easy to find online but what if you want to handle and swatch the products before you buy?. Yes, you can find it in some Boots stores but in those I’ve found it, they seem to stock a limited selection. My local M&S has the full collection. My favourite products are the ‘One Step Correct’ primer and the ‘In The Light’ eye shadow palette. I’d love to try the liquid liner. Let me know of any other Stila recommendations in the comments!

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I only recently discovered the brand Mio and it was by accident when I happened upon a free sample. I fell in love with ‘The Activist’ firming active body oil so purchased it when I had the chance to go into a Space NK (you can find a haul on my YouTube channel here). Now that I know I can pick up Mio products literally around the corner from my house I know I will be trying more from the range!

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I am yet to try any products from Living Proof but I will be now that I know I can get my hands on them! An American brand priding themselves on using ‘proper science’ to create hair products designed to give you beautiful hair. Co-owned by Jennifer Aniston who has been giving us hair envy since 1994 which is why I will be heading straight to M&S once my current hair care stash runs dry!

Full listing of brands available (according to the M&S website):

Alice & Eliza, Amazing Cosmetics, Ambre Solaire, Ameliorate, APTIVIA, Apothecary, Autograph, Barry M, Bliss, Blue Harbour, Burt’s Bees, Butter London, Collezione, Crabtree & Evelyn, Crystal Clear, Cowshed, Diega Dalla Palma, Dr Hauschka, Fake Bake, Filorga, Floral Collection, Florentyna, Formula, Fragonard, GLAMGLOW, Global Escape, James Read, Josh Wood, Jurlique, Korres, L’Occitane, Living Proof, La Maison de Senteurs, Leighton Denny, Limited Collection, Lola, Mamma Mio, MakerAide, Mio, Monotheme, Morgan Taylor, Murad, Nails Inc, Nature’s Extracts, Neal’s Yard, NUXE, Percy & Reed, Per Una, Philip Kingsley, Pixi, Pure, Pur Minerals, Ragdale Hall, Red Carpet Manicure, REN, Rituals, Rodial, Roger & Gallet, Royal Jelly, RUSH, Sampar, Shay & Blue, Skyn Iceland, STILA, St Tropez, Strivectin, Studio 10, Sun Smart, Swell, Tangle Teezer, T LeClerc, Ultrasun.

5 Tips – for prickly heat

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As I mentioned in my previous post reviewing Eucerin sun care (linked here), I am a long time prickly heat sufferer. I honestly don’t think it’s something I’ll ever be able to avoid completely, but over time I have picked up tips that either keep it at bay for longer, or make it more bearable when it does decide to make an appearance. I’m sharing my ‘top tips’ with you today! But first I should remind you I don’t claim to be an expert on any subject (as mentioned in by ‘about me‘ page). This means the information I’m sharing is simply coming from experience (although most of the time I’ve tried the tip out after reading up about it). I guess what I’m trying to say is, I don’t know if all of these the tips are backed up by medical evidence, but I do know they work for me!

Having said that, I’ll start with some science. In order to understand how to combat prickly heat, I’d say it’s a good idea to find out what it actually is. For this I’ve turned to trusted medical site NHS Choices. Here’s what they have to say…

“Prickly heat, also known as miliaria rubra, is an itchy rash of small, raised red spots that causes a stinging or prickling sensation on the skin.

Prickly heat usually develops when a person sweats more than usual, such as during hot or humid weather.

The condition is caused when the body’s sweat glands become blocked. Excessive sweating can result in sweat becoming trapped beneath your skin. The trapped sweat causes skin irritation and the characteristic heat rash.”

Bearing this in mind the best way to prevent prickly heat? Avoid heat, humidity and sweating of course! However if you live in a warmer climate or enjoy your holidays on sunny shores that’s not always possible. Which brings me on to my ‘top tips’.

1. Take an antihistamine

You should of course talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medication but taking an antihistamine daily for 2-3 weeks before travelling to a warmer climate (and the duration of my trip) makes a difference for me. I don’t find it prevents prickly heat completely, but when it does appear it’s far less itchy and uncomfortable.

2. Pay careful attention to your sun protection products

This has been more of a recent realisation for me, but one that has made the biggest difference. As prickly heat is in part caused by the sweat glands becoming blocked, I found using a sun protection product with fewer ‘pore clogging’ ingredients made a huge difference on my most recent holiday. Namely these ingredients were Paraffin, Petrolatum and mineral oil. If, like me, you are sensitive skinned no matter the climate you might also find products low in or free from alcohol and perfume can help. I used Eucerin but as I only recently discovered this tip, I have no other recommendations I’m afraid! However, I found the post ‘Sense and Sensitivity’ from the blog ‘Get The Gloss’ an interesting read (linked here). Don’t forget to apply the same principles to your after sun!

3. Spend 2 hours per day in a cool area

One of the things I hate most about getting prickly heat is missing out! While my fellow holiday makers might be frolicking on the beach all day, sightseeing for hours on end or laying by the pool from sunrise to sunset, I’m more likely to be the one hiding in the shade or going back to the hotel early as I just can’t be in the heat any more. However, I’ve found that spending a couple of hours in the middle of the day in a cool environment really keeps the prickly heat under some sort of control. A long lazy lunch in an air conditioned restaurant is my favourite way to do this. Or make like the Spanish and have a siesta in your room; have a cold shower, whack the air con up high, set an alarm and get into bed. You’ll then be refreshed for more afternoon fun and will have hopefully given your prickly heat a chance to recover.

4. Rinse off that chlorine

Chances are if you are prone to prickly heat, you also have generally sensitive skin. Well it’s logical to me anyway! And you know those showers you find next to every swimming pool? They are there for a reason! Jumping in the pool regularly is a great way to cool off but surely leaving the chemicals (and whatever else may lurk in the pool!) on your skin is asking for trouble? I now hop under the shower and give myself a good rinse after every dip in the pool and immediately feel the comforting effect on my skin.

5. Consider your clothing 

When I’m shopping, sightseeing or even exercising in the heat I obviously want to prevent sunburn. So as well as slapping on the sun cream I tend to cover up with more clothing compared to beach or poolside relaxation. But when I thought about it, if prickly heat is triggered by blocked glands, and I then cover those glands with a layer of clothing I’m bound to make matters worse. My fears where confirmed when I did some Googling but the NHS choices website recommends loose cotton based clothing, as natural fabrics are less prone to trapping heat. Dilemma solved then!

If you have any tried and tested tips I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments…

Eucerin Sun Care – a sensitive skin dream come true?

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Every time I go on holiday, I curse my sensitive skin. If you share this affliction but love the hot weather you will literally feel my pain. My complexion is fair, I’m very prone to prickly heat and also have skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis; not the best combination for pool side lounging! When a friend mentioned I should try a sun protection formula that doesn’t contain paraffin, it peaked my interest and I turned to Google for more information. Armed with a bit more knowledge I scoured the shelves in Boots for a product free from paraffin, petrolatum and mineral oil. These ingredients are likely to clog pores and aggravate allergies or prickly heat. I also wanted a perfume free or low perfume formula as I knew from experience heavily fragranced products and my skin do not mix well. I found that a lot of brands or products claiming to be “for sensitive skin” or “allergy protection” contained some or all of the above ingredients so was pleased to come across Eucerin’s range as this ticked all the boxes. I bought three products, and used them on my recent 10 day holiday in a hot and humid climate. I loved them and won’t be going back to any other brand now. Read on to find out the specific products I used, how I used them and why I loved them!

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Sun Allergy Protection Sun-Creme Gel SPF 50 – £19

I use SPF 50 all over for the first few days of any sun drenched holiday, and continue with this high factor in the most sensitive areas for the rest of my time away. The formula of the creme-gel is reasonably thick, but I find the same with any SPF 50 product. Despite this it was easy to blend over the skin and absorbed really quickly. It left no white streaks or marks and I also found it to be really moisturising. When reapplied regularly, I didn’t burn. I’m also convinced it helped to prevent prickly heat as I ran out 6 days into my holiday and couldn’t purchase more where I was. I therefore had to buy something else and as soon as I switched, the prickly heat reared it’s ugly head! Any downsides? For me just the staining. In my experience, most sun protection products do tend to leave a yellow stain on light (especially white) clothing and I found this worse then most. However, for me the negatives are far outweighed by the positives. It’s also worth knowing despite the absence of the ingredients I’ve previously mentioned, I does still contain alcohol so may not be suitable for all sensitive skin types.

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Extra Light Lotion SPF 30 – £18.50

After a few days in the sun without any reactions, I swap to SPF 30 on less sensitive areas. The formula of this lotion is exactly as claimed – extra light. This glides on so easily and a little goes a long way (although I always apply it generously just to be safe). This formula is free of paraffin, petrolatum and mineral oil but unlike the SPF 50 does contain perfume. However, it is the last ingredient on the list so not one of the main ingredients and as I only used in on my legs it didn’t cause me any problems. I was well protected with regular application and it did not cause as much staining to clothes as the SPF 50.

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Sun Creme Face SPF 50 – £16

I use SPF on my face all year round, and always SPF 50 for prolonged sun exposure. Thickness wise, this formula sits somewhere in between the sun allergy creme-gel and the extra light lotion. The ingredients list is very similar to the creme-gel in SPF 50. My face is definitely the most sensitive area and in the past applying any lotion to my face having spent a few days in the sun causes stinging or other uncomfortable feelings, but I had no signs of sensitivity with this. I did find this did not sink into the skin as well as the other two products so was prone to leaving a white cast over the face. This wasn’t a deal breaker for me as I wasn’t wearing any make up pool side, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it for an every day SPF to wear under make up for this reason.

Overall, I was so pleased to find a product that enabled me to enjoy the sun without painful after effects. The brand is definitely priced at the higher end of the spectrum but worth every penny for me. It also appears to be on offer frequently, as I purchased during a ‘3 for 2’ promotion in Boots, and at the time of posting selected products from the brand have 25% off (again in Boots).

Do you have any sun care tips for sensitive skin?