Skincare Routine- New Additions

I haven't updated my skincare routine since September and that's because on the whole I'm still using mainly the same products, but there have been a few new additions over the last few months and I thought it was about time they got a mention! A new product I've also been loving but haven't mentioned here is the Rhassoul Clay Powder that I wrote about recently, which is definitely worth a purchase if you're all blemished and oily-nosed like me (don't I sound a treat!).

Champneys Spa Accessories Muslin Cloths £5
I really thought that muslin cloths were muslin cloths until I bought these, but they're definitely the best quality out of all the brands I've tried. These are 2 ply and 100% cotton with one smooth side and one triangular embossed side for slightly firmer exfoliation. Against other cloths I've used, it's like comparing your to your net curtains - they're softer, thicker and more durable, plus they don't stain like mad after just a couple of uses. These cloths come in a pack of two and are a really generous size (literally about 4 times the size of my face) which I find makes cleanser removal quicker, and even though they're pricier than other face cloths you can really see why as soon as you take them out of the packet.

Origins Make A Difference+ Rejuvenating Treatment £34.99
This is probably the priciest skincare product I own but I've been using it regularly for 6 months and I have about a third left of the 50ml, so this gel moisturiser has really worked hard for my money. The gel consistency means I only need a small amount for my oily skin but it sinks in really quickly and leaves almost a matte finish with no greasy residue. This is one of those products where I can't quite put my finger on a particular ingredient or even a particular job it does but I just know it makes my skin look so much better- it's brilliant for blemishes and seems to completely move them past the dry stage without a flake in sight, it smooths and softens any dehydrated areas while freshening my complexion without making me oily, and it just generally makes my skin look so much healthier too. This treatment contains Rose of Jericho, Lycee and Watermelon, and is a must-try if you have blemished oily but dehydrated skin.
I've also been trying out the Super Spot Remover from Origins but despite glowing reviews from others I don't think I'm a massive fan, Witch Hazel Gel works just the same (if not better) for me and it's less than a third of the Origins £14 price tag.

Skin Doctors T Zone Control No More Pores Night Refiner* £23.95
I was sent the T Zone Control range to review and this night cream is definitely my favourite of the lot. This is almost like an overnight mask as it contains Salicylic, Glycolic and Lactic acid to help remove oil and dead skin cells that can block pores and make the complexion look dull. While I haven't seen a big reduction in size of my large pores, I have noticed that this product helps to clear marks left by blemishes, make the skin brighter and smooth it out by reducing congestion and little bumps.
The water based Night Refiner is much richer and more emolient than I would expect from a product for oily skin so only a small amount of the thick white cream is needed each night, and its a definite must to avoid active blemishes and sensitive areas as the acids in the cream can sting on open skin. Overnight masks (or 'sleeping masks') are popular in Asian countries but we don't seem to get so many in the UK, which is a shame because this product works so well for me and I find it more convenient and effective than one time acid masks or home peels. To me both the packaging and the scents of the T Zone Control range suggest that it's aimed at a unisex market, so this would also make a brilliant gift for an oily skinned boyfriend or husband to add to their skincare routine.

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Cleanser £5.30
I tend to have more than one cleanser on the go as I wash my face first thing in the morning then double cleanse at night, and this has been such a welcome affordable addition to my routine. First sent as a PR sample and then repurchased, you can tell I really like this gel as there's barely anything left in the bottle! It has a tangy uplifting scent and foams like a traditional wash to remove dirt, grime and oil.
This product contains 2% Glycolic Acid which really helps to smooth out the skin texture, clear blemishes and fade dark marks, and I can really tell the difference in my skin if I take a break from using this to try something else. It doesn't tingle or sting but does its job quite inconspicuously (and does more than I would actually expect from a cleanser). I'm also on my second bottle of the Nip+Fab Pigmentation Fix Skin Stone Corrector Serum (£15.99), which sinks in so easily and helps to fade blemish scars and dark marks. For a generally affordable brand Nip+Fab have some helpful skin 'fixes' that I now wouldn't be without in my routine!

Have you added any new products into your skincare routine recently?


Traditional Beauty Products from Salèya- Rhassoul Clay Powder and Powder Kohl Eyeliner

If you like things a little bit different when it comes to beauty products, then Salèya might be a good place for you to check out- inspired by her North African routes, Salèya creates traditional and 100% natural products of spa quality for both salons and consumers. The products are based on 'rituals of the hammam' and many have been in practise for hundreds of years, with twists on product ideas that are familiar to us, and concepts that might be new to us such as this Shaving Styptic. The ingredients are sourced from North African countries and produced in France, but are dispatched from the UK with reasonable charges and next day delivery available.
I was sent four products to test out, and I've divided them into two posts;
 there's overlap in some of these traditional products as many can be used on the face, body and hair too, but the Rhassoul Clay and Powder Kohl Eyeliner are the two that I've mainly been using on my face (as you might expect from an eyeliner!).

I'm a big fan of clay masks and the Organic Rhassoul Clay Powder (£8.99) really intrigued me, and with good reason- this clay can be used on the face, body, hair, and alsoeven as a mild body deodorant. For the face, the scentless 100% natural mineral clay powder is mixed with water for oily skin, or water and Argan Oil for dry skin, and used as either a wash or left to set as a mask. One of the reasons I really like this product is that because the mask created is thin in texture it dries so quickly, and you don't have to wait around for ages for it to set on the face. I find if I use this product for a few minutes in the evening then any threatening blemishes are brought to the surface by the next morning, which is great for someone with skin as blemish-prone as mine. As it imparts minerals such as magnesium, potassium and calcium as well as removing oil and impurities, the clay leaves skin really soft and smooth, and I haven't had any problems with it drying it out my skin no matter how long I've left it on for. I've also been dusting the clay dry on my skin to absorb excess oil on no makeup days as it can tend to get too shiny if I don't give it any attention and used in this way it feels silky and not 
at all gritty.
Used in the hair, the clay adds volume and texture, and on the body it cleanses oils and smooths the skin which I find especially useful for my neck and shoulders. I've also tried adding the clay to cream and liquid facial cleansers if I feel they need a bit of oomph which definitely makes them more effective and adds a little bit of an exfoliating texture. My only gripe about this product is about the packaging, and it isn't really much of a problem, but because the label on the pot lid is paper rather than plastic the ink started to run once it had one drop of water on it. This obviously doesn't affect the product inside, but it's the reason I haven't shown the product labelling in the photos above. 
I've been using this pot a few times a week for the last couple of months and I haven't even used a quarter of it so at £8.99 for 100g this will make a really long lasting product. It's really a must have for oily skin.

The Traditional Kohl Eyeliner (£15) is one of the most interesting beauty products I've ever seen and it isn't easy to tell what it is until you take off the top of the hand carved wooden bottle. Traditional Kohl has been used in the Middle East and North Africa for hundreds of years and is made from ground natural minerals, which give it a shiny glint in the bottle but make it matte black on the eyes. I've never seen eyeliner applied with a stick before, but it's surprisingly easy- the stick is soaked in olive oil overnight before the first use and is then dipped into the powder before being run sideways on the inner rims of the eyes. This doesn't hurt at all (like I worried it might) and I find it much quicker than a pencil trying to get in there at the lashline. Despite the excess initially collecting in the inner corners, once this is wiped away the kohl lasts hours on the waterline and tightline.
When used outside the eyes you'll need a soft brush on hand to wipe away the fall out as it's a loose powder, but it lasts even longer on the skin (you can view a really helpful video tutorial by Salèya herself showing these methods here). 
This makes such a brilliant addition to any makeup collection (especially if you find lining inside the eye difficult) and would also make a really amazingly unusual gift for any beauty lover friends!

I would really recommend having a look not just at the above products but also at the Salèya range as a whole as there's such a interesting collection of traditional products, and they would make the best gifts (don't forget Mother's Day is coming up!).
In my next post I'll be talking about the two products I've been using on my body and hair, including organic Black Olive Soap!


Reduce Hair Removal Woes with RazorPit and Epicare

Hair removal is one of those things that you either love or loathe- for those who love it their skin reacts well to having hairs yanked out or sliced off and aftercare can be kept to a minimum, but those who loathe it can be left with irritation, rashes, ingrown hairs and the bitter taste of razor-resentment. Despite being a loather I still want to look and feel like a smooth shiny slippery seal (ok maybe not so slippery) and I wanted to share with you a couple of products in my hair removal arsenal which make the task that much easier to bare.

RazorPit Bump Foam* is quite simply a shaving foam that 'prevents razor bumps'. Presented in a unisex bottle with colours that slightly remind me of hospitals, it dispenses out as more of an airy lather than the whipped-cream-style shaving foam that might've entered your mind. This product can be used all over the body and it's main irritation fighting ingredients are antiseptics, notably Alcohol and Chlorhexidine. I have to admit I was quite sceptical when trying this, but from the first use I noticed changes for the better, especially on my legs. Where there used to be red bumps, itchiness and ingrown hair I just had smooth irritation-free skin, and it works equally as well under the arms although a little bit less so on the lady area. I think with coarser hair there comes the potential for irritation from the act of shaving as well as from trapped bacteria, but even though I still get a bit irritated I'm pleased to report that since starting the Bump Foam I haven't had one ingrown hair around the bikini line.
The antiseptic ingredients in the foam also keep your razor blades free from bacteria so you're not transferring it to your skin, which is something I'd never thought about and I find I can get a greater amount of comfortable shaves from one blade than I could before. Despite the alcohol content of the product I've had very minimal dryness and only on my legs, which has been nothing a couple of drops of body oil couldn't sort out in a flash. While the Bump Foam doesn't make hair removal any less of a physical chore, it definitely makes shaving and the after effects much more comfortable and bearable, plus one bottle will last you ages!
The RazorPit Bump Foam is available from Look Fantastic for £11.95.
Moving away from the body to the face, longer or thicker than normal hair can be embarrassing and a pain to remove. I would describe mine as half way between peach fuzz and wild wolf woman, and I've tried everything from creams to wax, all of which leave me sore and spotty. You might have seen me talk about the Epicare* wand before, but it definitely deserves another mention for being an ingenious product and budget friendly too. This is essentially a spring with calculated tensions and coils that mean when its bent into a U shape and rolled against the skin it pulls out all unwomanly hairs and leaves you with a lovely soft smooth face. It does hurt but its much less than waxing, and you get used to the feeling pretty quickly. It's also really easy as the only preparation you need is to have clean skin and a mirror handy, I use my Epicare while I'm watching TV and it doesn't take long to do my cheeks and chin as it doesn't really require much skill or concentration once you get the hang of it.
The wands are available in 8 colours, and theres a choice of 2 colours for the Epipouch, I went for pink and blue as I think beauty products could always use a bit of jazzing up and the pouch helps to protect the Epicare from dust or damage (and curious feline friends!). I find that as long as I keep the spring clean it doesn't cause me much in the way of irritation at all except a bit of redness which subsides within about 20 minutes. This easy threading/epilating device needs to be replaced about once a year, which definitely makes it the most cost effective way I've found to remove unwanted facial hair.
The Epicare is available online for £10.95 with the Epipouch costing £3.95


W7 Matte Lipsticks- Magic Matte Cheeky and Go West Perfect Pink & Powder Pink

For some reason in the winter more than the summer I have trouble keeping lipstick on. I'm a chronic lip chewer/licker so it might be that when they're more chapped I subconsciously think they need more biting, and my lipstick doesn't stand a chance.
Matte formulas are always more long-wearing on me than high gloss, and I prefer them over satin which can have a strange neither here nor there formula that can't decide what it wants to be. I picked up the W7 Go West Matte Lipstick in Perfect Pink (£2.50) and the Magic Matte Lipstick in Cheeky (£2.99) on a bit of a whim, and as lip swatches were few and far between I took a bit of a gamble on the colours.
The first thing to note about the Go West Perfect Pink lipstick is that it isn't really matte, despite being described as matte by the brand. You can see the sheen on the bullet in the photos compared to the texture of the darker lipstick and its something I wasn't expecting. I do, however really like the texture, it melts onto the lips and glides across them like a lipbalm while still having pretty good staining power. It's very much what I wanted the MUA number 7 Lipstick to be. When it has dried down a bit and been blotted, then it appears matte and I've shown Perfect Pink blotted on my lips in the top left swatch above. I think it takes better to blotting than some other lipsticks as it looses sheen but not much colour so you don't need to blot and keep reapplying. I'm a big fan of the colour, a bright bluey pink is just what I like, and even though the formula wasn't what I was expecting from a matte I've been pleasantly surprised by how moisturising this product is. You can see in the photos above it looks reasonably smooth even though my lips were quite horribly chapped when I took that photo, and it doesn't accentuate the flaky bits too much. This product has an RRP of £5.99 but it's discounted at a lot of places online and I bought mine for £2.50 from Xtras which I think is a pretty good deal! I'm not sure about the name though, Go West makes me think of the Wild West and cowboys, but I'm pretty sure I've never seen John Wayne in a nice bright pink.
I was recently sent the W7 Go West Lipstick in Powder Pink* (top right swatch above) which arrived while I was drafting this post and I thought I'd slip it in, which is why I have a swatch photo but no photo of the product in the tube. I have only worn this shade a few times so far but I really like the colour; it's very bright and also brightening to my complexion, it verges from a pink into a coral colour, and under artificial light it can glow almost neon. Unfortunately this colour isn't as forgiving on dry lips as Perfect Pink, it still glides across easily but has slightly less of a sheen when un-blotted and can clump around dry areas to look a bit chunky. The colour does, however, look lovely on smooth lips, or under a gloss like the the W7 Super Pout in Mady (I'm loving the Super Pouts and I'll write about them in another post). Wearing a gloss over the top slightly defeats the point of buying a matte lipstick, but you really can't sniff at £2.50 for such a gorgeous colour!

The colour of the W7 Magic Matte lipstick was the biggest gamble, and Cheeky turned out a bit darker and redder than I was expecting, but it's that deep berry that gets well-loved in the winter time. The formula of this lipstick is so much better than much more expensive matte formulas that I've tried, and it's hard to believe you can buy this for just £2.99. It glides over the lips with practically no tugging, and it has a beautiful velvet finish that makes it look almost strokable, although it does give a bit of a sheen in strong light. When just applied it smooths over dry areas, but when blotted it does make dry lips look a bit parched and crinkly as it turns into a super matte stain-like texture. (Bottom left swatch above- applied straight from tube, bottom right swatch- blotted). On normal lips it's a beauty, and I still can't believe the price. A lipliner or cotton bud swept around the lips is needed to achieve a really crisp line, but touch ups are easy peasy and it isn't all that drying when worn for a few hours. This really stains the lips which I like as it ensures the colour lasts for hours even when the product has worn off. Be careful when swatching this on your hand though, you'll need a good scrub or oil cleanser product to remove it!

I would really recommend trying the W7 Matte lipsticks if you're looking for a new budget matte, or if you want to test out a new range as an alternative to a pricier product. The Go West lipsticks are definitely worth a go as well as the colours are gorgeous even if they're not quite matte.

I've got a bit of a collection of W7 products to review, both that I've bought and have had sent to me, so keep your eyes peeled for posts coming up soon. Check out my review of the Africa and Candyfloss boxed powders to keep you going until then!

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