The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% Review

 

First a little introduction on the brand, then I’ll go on to review The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%. If you’d prefer to just read the review then skip to the bottom!

 

About The Ordinary

The Ordinary arrived on the skincare scene with little fanfare of its own, but with much anticipation from the beauty community. Writers and bloggers up and down the UK, as well as Redditors from much further afield, heralded The Ordinary as a brand that promised skincare formulated with ingredients scientifically proven to work, but at a fraction of the cost of much bigger brands.

When I heard about a new skincare line that promised so much but cost so little, I simultaneously salivated at the mouth and raised an eyebrow: what’s the catch? Well, apparently there isn’t one. This range of skincare has taken the beauty world by storm – and it’s easy to see why: the products really do exactly what they say and are sold by a company that prides itself on science and honesty. Reviews of The Ordinary products have been overwhelmingly positive, so after a few months of research, I decided to take the plunge and order some for myself.

Because there aren’t any stores local to me, I ordered online. The Ordinary offer free delivery over £25, so of course I spent all that fabulous cash that I don’t have on a whole bunch of products (which I will review later). The interesting thing is, for £25 I managed to get 5 products. Yeah. FIVE WHOLE PRODUCTS. Somebody wake me up, I’m in a skincare dream!

One of those products was The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%. Until I ordered this I’d been using Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix pads, which were nice, but not £5.50 nice.

By the way, The Ordinary’s website IS SO FUCKING INFORMATIVE, OMG. Like, if all skincare websites went into this much detail, I swear we’d all be skincare experts and they’d all be out of business: “this moisturiser contains fragrance because…well…I guess scents are nice, right? We all want to smell like blueberry cheesecake even if it gives us red, inflamed skin, right? RIGHT??”. Moving on…

 

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% Review

So, a little background on what the product is: The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% is a chemical facial exfoliator. It contains Lactic Acid, which is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). AHA’s break down dead skin cells to make way for new ones. I used to struggle so much with flakes around my nose, even after physical exfoliation. I used to get horrible skin-barnacles around my nose whenever I’d wear foundation, but trying chemical exfoliation (AHA and BHA – read more about them here) has seriously helped me so much, not just with flakies but with skin tone and general glow too!

Here’s a little from the website about what it claims to do:

Lactic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin. This 5% formulation offers very mild exfoliation and is supported with a purified Tasmanian pepperberry known to reduce signs of inflammation and sensitivity that is often associated with exfoliation.

This formula contains a studied Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative to help reduce irritation associated with acid use. This derivative is of plant origin and varies in colour seasonally and this colour variation may be apparent in the formula from time to time.

It doesn’t actually mention it in any detail on the product page (except for in the ingredients), but the “HA” refers to hyaluronic acid, which is a super hydrating little acid that can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water.  This is a nice additional ingredient which can help skin hydration. You can read more about hyaluronic acid here.

How did it perform?

I’ve been using this for about 3 weeks and the results have been amazing. I use The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% about 3 nights a week (careful not to over-exfoliate) and my skin has honestly never looked better. I’ve been using a lot of new products, but I’d put improvement mostly down to this. I’ve noticed my skin looks brighter, smoother and less red than ever before.

I’ll admit the texture is a little weird. It’s very liquid, kinda sticky, and not that pleasant to put on my skin…but does that really matter? So what, my skin is a little tacky for 10 minutes, I’m only going to moisturise and go to bed!

I basically just put a little on the back of my hand, then rub it all around my face til it goes sticky. After about 10 minutes I moisturise and sometimes add a layer of Vasaline before bed (this makes my skin feel unbelievably smooth the next day, kind of like how I imagine a dolphin feels – I wouldn’t know what dolphins feel like because I missed out on the childhood magic of swimming with the slippy bastards).

Another plus is that The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2% doesn’t hurt my sensitive skin, but some may struggle with it – I can tell it’s pretty potent, even if it’s on the lower end of acid concentrations. I’ve used milder AHAs in the past, so it might be something those who’ve never chemically exfoliated work up to.

It’s also worth noting (and I’ve already mentioned it in passing) that this is best used at night. AHAs make skin super susceptible to sun damage, so it’s best used as a sleepy night-night treatment. If you’re going to use this in the day, give it a good hour before leaving the house and wear some damn sunscreen, you degenerate.

My Verdict

Pros:

  • It’s. So. Goddamn. CHEAP. Honestly, probably the best £5.50 I’ve ever spent on a skincare product.
  • There’s no added shit. Like bulking agents or fragrance. Just bare-bones stuff that really works.
  • It might not be too harsh for someone who isn’t too used to chemical exfoliators.

 

Cons:

  • It can be quite hard to get hold of. It only really stocks in its own London stores in the UK, otherwise you have to buy online (you can get it from The Ordinary’s own site or ASOS and probably other places but I’m lazy AF so Google it yourself!). I know they often have stock shortages, which is unsurprising because of how good/cheap the products are.
  • Possibly too harsh for the uninitiated. If you’ve never tried an AHA before it might be worth trying something a little less hardcore (perhaps the Glycolic Fix pads from Nip + Fab). But, then again, the bottle is so damn cheap it’s not like you’ve wasted £30 on something you won’t be able to use for a while.

Overall rating: 10/10 would put on a nice dress and let it take me to a moderately priced dinner and maybe go back to its flat if it bought me enough drinks and my legs were recently shaved.

 

Have you tried The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%? What did you think of it?

 

 

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What to Look for in a Moisturiser

As your body’s largest organ, skin can be a complicated thing. That’s why it’s important to understand it and its needs – a little like painting the walls of your house. Use the wrong formula for, say, the bathroom or the outside, and the walls could end up cracking and peeling away…not a nice image when you apply that thought to your skin!

So let’s discuss the basics of moisturisers and moisturising your skin!

There are 3 different classes of moisturisers:

Occlusives work by forming a hydrophobic (water-repelling) layer on the surface of the skin, trapping in moisture, so they’re best used on skin that already has some moisture in it (i.e skin that’s not dry and flaking).

Humectants draw water from the environment and put it into your skin, hydrating the skin’s upper layers. This can actually be counter-productive if the skin is already well-hydrated by drawing moisture away from the skin, so it should be followed by an occlusive to trap that moisture in.

Emollients smooth out the skin by filling in the gaps between skin cells. They soften the skin, making it more supple and less likely to become sore and cracked.

First things first, you need to identify your skin type. This will help you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing a suitable moisturiser that best meet your skin’s needs.

So what are the different skin types?

There are 5 skin types which are widely acknowledged in the skincare industry. These are: Normal, Dry, Oily, Combination and Sensitive. Each is unique and has its own characteristics, so it’s a good idea to tailor your skincare regime to your skin type.

Normal

Characterised by having no major issues. It produces just the right amount of oil needed to keep it balanced, supple and hydrated. Not too oily or dry, even tone, and no large pores. This might sound like it doesn’t need attention, but all skin needs something to keep it harmonised, so you still need to moisturise even if you have normal skin.

Best type of moisturiser: Emollient.

Dry

If your skin is dry, you’ve probably noticed how often it gets flaky, especially in the colder months. Your skin will probably feel tight and uncomfortable after cleansing. If you’ve never had the urge to buy powder foundations or if you find that makeup clings to patches on your face, chances are your skin is dry. This is because it’s not producing enough oil to keep it healthy and balanced. There are a variety of different moisturisers which are particularly helpful for drier skin types…but we’ll get to those later! It’s also worth noting that exfoliation will help tremendously with getting rid of those flakies – just be gentle by using a chemical exfoliant or a muslin cloth rather than a harsh scrubby type cleanser.

Best type of moisturiser: An occlusive, or better yet, a humectant followed by an occlusive.

Oily

This is the opposite of dry – meaning that your skin produces too much oil. While oil (or sebum) is necessary to help keep skin healthy, overproduction can cause skin to look shiny or greasy. You can identify oily skin if you touch your face and your finger feels like it’s coated, or if your skin feels comfortable (or even oily) shortly after cleansing. Problems like acne, enlarged pores, and blackheads are more common in this skin type.

Just because your skin is oily does’t mean you can skip the moisturiser! You can still get dry patches if you’re oily, so it’s important to keep the skin healthy. It’s just a case of finding a moisturiser that works well for you.

Best type of moisturiser: Probably a humectant, or an emollient. Try and choose something that is oil-free or has “mattifying” in the description.

Combination

This is like the lovechild of oily and dry. Unfortunately, you get the worst of both worlds – oily t-zone and dry cheeks? Yup, you probably have combination skin. Don’t worry though, there are plenty of moisturisers designed to meet your needs!

Best type of moisturiser: An emollient would work well for both dry and oily skins, so this would be a good choice.

Sensitive

If your skin is sensitive, chances are you’ll already know about it. Does your skin burn when apply certain products, or look red and sore after cleansing? Then it’s most likely sensitive. This could be due to a number of factors, mostly due to sensitivity or (or even allergies) to certain ingredients. Most common triggers for sensitive skins are alcohols, fragrances, and natural ingredients, like lanolin and essential oils.

Best type of moisturiser: Depends on the underlying skin concern (you can have oily/sensitive, or dry/sensitive). But you’ll want to look for something that’s fragrance and colour free, with any alcohols listed as far down the ingredient list as possible (this means it’s in a lower concentration, so will be less harsh on your skin). Try to avoid overly “natural” products as these often contain essential oils and plant extracts which can irritate sensitive skin – Remember, “natural” ingredients are not inherently better. Looks for a simple formula (that means a short ingredient list) with things like glycerin, hyaluronic acid and oat milk listed in the ingredients.

Other things to consider

  • It’s great to use a nice, basic moisturiser, but there are some ingredients which can be beneficial to the skin. These include antioxidants such as green tea extract, or anti-aging ingredients like retinoids and various “peptides”.
  • It’s also important to use an SPF, which is great for preventing skin from premature ageing.
  • Another thing to remember is to exfoliate regularly and gently – take a look at my post on chemical exfoliants for more information on this.
  • Always patch-test new products (a small amount applied to your most sensitive or spot-prone area) for a few days before applying all over your face.

Product Recommendations

Occlusives: Straight up Vaseline, Aquaphor, or any moisturiser with mineral oil or petroleum listed at the top

Humectants: CeraVe, Eucerin Dry Skin Relief

Emollients: Avene Emollient Cream, E45, Clinique Dramatically Different Gel

References: Skincare Addiction, and again

My Handbag Essentials

If you have a large handbag, it’s so easy to take everything bar your vanity mirror with you on your daily ventures – after all, you never know when you might need to reapply that lippie, or spontaneously stay at a friend’s house overnight. But if you don’t like toting around a comically large Mulberry, or find that dragging your entire makeup bag everywhere is weighing you down, then it might be worth having a sort through your stash and narrowing your beauty essentials down to a few multitasking products. These are my handbag essentials for travel:

Dr Jart+ BB Beauty Balm is great for multitasking as it keeps skin hydrated and acts as a light coverage foundation. This is quite thick for a BB cream, which I think is perfect as it’s very moisturising, and gives decent coverage. Great for perking up post-partying skin. I also take NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer with me most places. It’s great because it takes up so little space, and gives me that little bit of extra coverage if my dark circles are looking particularly pandery the morning after a visit to Monsieur Raptor’s. Using this plus the Dr Jart+ BB cream eliminates the need to bring a moisturiser, primer and a foundation.

A lipstick is also a great idea, as it can really pull a look together, but that’s not the real reason I love to bring it along – my Clinique Different Lipstick is the kind of shade that can double as a blush! I just rub a little on the back of my hand, then apply it to my cheeks as I would a cream blusher. No one will suspect a thing!

I also love to include a petroleum jelly product, such as Vaseline, or this Papaya Gold Paw Paw Moisturising Balm in my bag-stash. Not only is it great for chapped lips, but can also be used for removing makeup, highlighting cheekbones, grooming eyebrows, and even as a thick moisturiser if you’re stuck somewhere overnight and your skin needs a drink.

A perfume also never goes amiss. I love Jo Malone’s 30ml bottles because they’re so dinky and handy to keep in a bag – the bottles may not be the most exciting shape, but that makes them excellent for travel. At the moment, I’m loving Blue Agava and Cacao because it’s a great Winter scent for day or night.

What bag would be complete without a resident hairbrush? I’ve had this one for years as it’s a great size and shape for storing in my handbag’s secret pouch. You could go for one of those mirror/brush contraptions, but I find them rubbish for brushing my hair, so I prefer to use a regular brush.

Lastly, not pictured here is Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Powder Compact, which I occasionally take with me on my travels to Monsieur Raptor’s when I have work the following morning. This is great because it pulls together my makeup look by mattifying the BB cream, but there’s also a little mirror and sponge included in the compact, so you don’t need to bring a separate mirror or powder applicator.

What are your handbag essentials? 

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Rapid Clear Treatment | Review

After suffering an horrific face-plosion of whiteheads on my chin (the result of a poor choice in moisturiser) and clearing most them with with some benzoyl peroxide, I thought I’d look for a gentler solution that I could use every day, or every other day, without upsetting my skin too much. I knew the BP would be an extreme treatment, so I had no intention of using it every day, so I went into Boots to find something with a strong enough concentration of salicylic acid to not just prevent spots (like La Roche Posay’s cult favourite Effaclar Duo), but to actively combat them.

After perusing the ingredients of nearly all the spot treatments in the skin care aisle (!!!) I finally settled on this Neutrogena Visibly Clear Rapid Clear Treatment gel. It has salicylic acid listed as the 5th ingredient, so it looked promising.

I took it home and slathered a load of it on my chin, which had a few whiteheads and sebaceous filaments, and on a spot on my cheek. Slept, and dreamt of clear skin. Woke up to find the condition of my spots significantly improved – the SF’s had cleared very well, some of the whiteheads had just about gone, and the overall texture of my chin was about 80% better. The spot on my cheek had also reduced in size and redness, although not completely disappeared.

I tried it again the next night, and woke with similar results – whiteheads reduced again, and the overall texture and appearance improved a lot. 

It claims to reduce spot size in 4 hours, but I’m not so sure of this claim – that being said, I haven’t tried it and checked the results 4 hours later; I used it overnight. I still think it takes a day or two of use to really make a difference though – and I’m totally okay with that, I wouldn’t realistically expect a spot treatment gel to completely get rid of spots in a mere 4 hours.

The one thing I would say is don’t use this, then put moisturiser on straight away, then hope to apply foundation; it’s not going to work, and you’re going to end up with bits of moisturiser/spot treatment turning into slugs and slithering off your face. I’d recommend you leave it a good half hour to do its job/settle before applying a moisturiser and any makeup over it. For this reason, I think it’s better suited to use at night, probably before you go to bed.

Obviously it stings a little because it’s a spot treatment, but it doesn’t irritate my skin like the BP did. The BP burned and brought me out in a nasty reaction which needed to be controlled with hydrocortisone (rough, bumpy skin, dry flakies all over the place), but it did get rid of my spots. I’d leave the benzoyl peroxide as maybe a once a month treatment, and stick to the Neutrogena Visibly Clear Rapid Clear Treatment gel for 2-3 days a week usage on any breakouts – but that’s just me, you might have no problems whatsoever with BP and be able to use it daily.

Have you tried Neutrogena Visibly Clear Rapid Clear Treatment?


Consistency: It’s an almost clear gel.

Sensitive Skin Suitability: It’s a spot treatment, so it does sting, but I only used it on my chin, so it was okay. I’d be careful with it though if you do have very sensitive skin. 3/5

Price: £4.99 for 15ml. Quite reasonable if you ask me.

Overall Rating: 9/10. Does the job well. It would be nice if there was a spot treatment gel I could use every day that would work as effectively as benzoyl peroxide but without the nasty irritation.

A-Derma Skin Care Cream | Review

Ever had a skin care product you love so much it becomes your Holy Grail? Your staple, your desert island product – something you genuinely believe you couldn’t live without? Well, I recently discovered mine was breaking me out. I can barely contain my grief. I recently found the cause of my disgusting chin whiteheads was my by beloved Aveeno Skin Relief moisturiser, which I’ve been using for about 3 years. I’ve always struggled with one or two (or 8) whiteheads** on my chin, but they always seemed worse when I used this, and I recently tried the lighter version of Aveeno (one with a green label instead of blue) and that made my chin erupt in whiteheads. After checking the ingredients, I found this one was slightly more abundant in Isopropyl Palmitate – an emollient notorious for being extremely comodogenic. It’s no surprise really – it is a body cream. Anyway, I lamented, cleared it up with Benzoyl Peroxide and went on the hunt for a replacement. 

There was a set of criteria that had to be met by my new moisturiser. It had to a) hydrate, b) not irritate my delicate skin, c) perform well under makeup, and d) not break the bank. Not exactly a demanding list, but surprisingly hard to meet all of these at once. I found that some moisturisers hydrated well, but stung my skin, or mattified my skin beautifully for makeup, but didn’t hydrate enough, or ticked all the boxes but cost £830. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!

After searching high and low (I tried Olay, Boots no7, Boots Simply Sensitive, Nivea and so many more) I discovered this diamond in the rough – A-Derma Skin Care Cream. If you don’t know much about the brand, they’re owned by the same French pharmacy company than owns Avene. The lines are similar, but where Avene’s angle is some kind of fancy-schmancy jumped-up French water that thinks it owns the place, A-Derma’s star ingredient is the humble oat. I find this line much gentler than Avene, and I’m a big fan of their cleansers as they don’t irritate my skin. (Psst – it’s also cheaper, just sayin’.) 

It retails for £6.50 for 50ml, or £12.50 for 150ml – which is great value – so I decided to try the smaller size incase I didn’t like it. I checked the ingredients (there’s very few of them, so less chance of irritating) and ran them through CosDNA to find that only two raised flags for comodogenecy (is that even a word?) and irritation. Both of these ingredients rated 2 out of 5, so I didn’t worry – Isopropyl Palmitate rates 5/5, and that didn’t break me out terribly, so I took my chances.

It’s mostly water, glycerin and mineral oil based, so I knew it would be pretty hydrating – but would it go well under makeup? I supposed if it didn’t I could always use it up as a night cream. Turns out I don’t need to – it’s beautifully hydrating AND dries down to an almost matte feel, much like Aveeno does. It hydrates amazingly, but doesn’t feel greasy. Makeup glides on smoothly. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

It’s very thick when it comes out of the tube, then goes sort of watery when applied to the face, then dries matte, and doesn’t irritate at all. It’s so perfect, I could marry it, have its babies, then rub them all over my face (…)

**can we find a different name for “whiteheads”? They sound fucking gross. I propose we call them “magic facial beauty bubbles” or something instead. Just a thought.

What’s your Holy Grail moisturiser? Have you tried A-Derma Skin Care Cream? What is the colour of happiness? Tell me!


Consistency: Perfect – sluggy, wattery and matte at the same time. Buttery, is probably how I would describe it – wait no, WHIPPED. Like whipped cream. That’s the badger. 

Sensitive Skin Suitability: 5/5. Like a snuggle for the face.

Price: £6.50 for 50ml or £12.50 for 150ml

Overall Rating: 10/10, my knight in shinning mineral oil.

NUXE Masque Creme Fraiche de Beaute 24 hr Soothing and Rehydrating Fresh Mask | Review

Oh my gosh, what an absolute mouthful! I received this full size bottle of NUXE Masque Creme Fraiche de Beaute 24hr Soothing Rehydrating Fresh Mask as part of October’s Glossybox subscription. Turns out I unsubscribed at the start of the month, but not in time to avoid being charged and sent this month’s wares. It’s okay though – I’ve been wanting to try this brand for a long time, so I’m actually quite pleased to have received a full size bottle for only £10 (plus the various other bits and bobs you get from Glossybox).

I find this product a little confusing. It’s a “24 hour rehydrating mask”; the instructions on the back say you can either apply it to the face, leave it 10 minutes and wash off, or massage it in and leave it on. Okay. What, exactly, is the point in washing it off? I’d understand if it contained ingredients that could irritate the skin or if it left a residue like clay masks, but I don’t see the point in going to the trouble of removing it if you can just as easily rub it in and gain more benefits. It sounds like a glorified moisturiser to me. 

Anyway, it’s performance: it’s a very light lotiony type consistency, and doesn’t irritate when applied, even around the eye area. It smells lovely – fresh and delicate, but not overwhelming. It feels like it hasn’t absorbed properly, leaving a sort of sheen. I guess this is why it says you can wash it off? I still think it would probably be okay under makeup. I left it on overnight, woke up and my skin was still sort of sheeny. After washing my face, my skin look beautifully plump and hydrated.

Great results, but honestly? I get the same kind of effect applying a layer of Vaseline or Nivea Creme when I go to bed. Perhaps it delivers a surge of moisture in a shorter space of time, hence why it says you can wash it off after 10 minutes? I don’t know. Either way, as nice as it is, I wouldn’t buy the full size version of NUXE Creme Fraiche de Beaute 24hr Soothing and Rehydrating Fresh Mask *inhales deeply*.

Have you tried NUXE Masque Creme Fraiche de Beaute 24 hr Soothing and Rehydrating Fresh Mask? Does your jaw ache after saying that 5 times? Because mine does.


Consistency: Light and fresh feeling.

Sensitive Skin Suitability: 4/5. No irritation and suitable for the eye area. Watch out for that fragrance though.

Price: Usually £19.50 but currently on offer a FeelUnique.

Overall Rating: 7/10. Taking NUXE Creme Fraiche de Beaute 24hr Soothing and Rehydrating Fresh Mask as it is, it works great, smells nice, doesn’t irritate. Lovely product, but I definitely think there are better (and less expensive) products out there that deliver the same or better results.

How to Treat Spots and Blemishes

I’ve never been one to struggle with spots. During my teens I was fortunate enough not to suffer from acne; my skin teetered on the fence, sometimes swaying towards normal, sometimes dry, but always sensitive. Which is why, as a 22 year old, it confused the shit out of my when my chin suddenly erupted in whiteheads, blackheads and who-knows-what-else. I feel that teens today have a much better advantage over people my age and over when we were teens, as we didn’t have quite as much information available to us at the touch of a button – I’m talking of course about the internet. Ten years ago or so, if I’d been plagued with the same issues, my first instinct would be to hit the GP surgery to see a doctor, and perhaps get referred to a dermatologist if the issues were particularly complicated  – but in today’s technologically advanced world, my first port of call was my good friend Mr. Internet. Or rather, the depths of Reddit: the Skincare Addiction sub-page. Normally I wouldn’t recommend self-diagnosiis by using the internet, but when it comes to skincare, it could be a while to get a GP appointment, so I think it’s an exception.

So anyway, I asked a few questions, read a few older posts, and got a few ideas on how to treat the issue. Here’s what I’ve learned are the most effective ways to treat problem skin:

First things first…

Identify the cause. Is your acne caused by hormones? Are you using a harsh cleanser, stripping your skin and causing your skin to overcompensate by producing too much oil? Is it something you are eating? In my case, it was a moisturiser I’d recently switched to with highly comodogenic ingredients. You can check the ingredients of your products using CosDNA, which is infiniitely useful in pin-pointing if something you are using is causing breakouts or irritation.

While you’re figuring out what’s causing your skin concerns, here are some treatments:

Chemical Exfoliants

These are much gentler than physical exfoliation, which can cause micro-tears and long-lasting damage to the skin. They come in two forms: AHA’s (alpha-hydroxy acids) and BHA’s (beta hydroxy acids). Alpha hydroxy acids work by dissolving the bonds between cells in the upper surface of the skin, allowing it to regenerate quicker and easier, promoting new cell growth and revealing a healthier looking complexion. BHA’s work differently in that they unclog pores and provide a mild inflammatory effect, making it great in the treatment of acne. Common AHA’s include glycolic acids, and common BHA’s include salicylic acid. You’ll find that these work great as part of an every day routine in order to prevent breakouts – just make sure you patch test first, and introduce them slowly, starting with a low strength, and don’t use AHA before sun-exposure as it makes skin more susceptible to damage. (Well, okay you can, but follow it with a high-SPF, you rebel without a cause!)

My experience: I’ve been using these together about 4 times a week with great results. My skin looks more glorious and radiant. Great for preventing spots and treating mild breakouts.

Recommended products:

AHA:

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliation Pads. I use these and love them; they’re quite a low strength at 2.5%, which I find effective yet gentle enough for nearly every day use.

St. Ives Exfoliating Pads. These have a stronger percentage of glycolic acid, although I’m not quite sure what it is exactly – I think it’s about 8%.

Pixi Glow Tonic. This is a raved about cult-product in the blogging community, and with good reason – it’s got a sold 5% glycolic acid in it.

BHA:

Stridex Daily Care Acne Pads. These contain salicylic acid, and are favoured among the SCA community.

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Rapid Clear Treatment. I found this very effective at clearing up a large spot overnight.

Benzoyl Peroxide

This is a really popular acne treatment which used to be commonly prescribed by GP’s here in the UK, also being available over the counter, however it’s recently disappeared from pharmacies due to EU laws. You can still get it online though. It’s an antibacterial product, so it works by killing the bacteria on the surface of the skin that cause acne. It’s sold in a number of strengths starting at around 2.5% going up to 10%, but it’s recommended that you don’t go higher than 2.5% as this works just as effectively as the higher concentration, but with less adverse reactions (redness, irritation, burning etc). As it contains peroxide, it’s best not to use this near dark clothes, as it will bleach things!

My experience: I ordered some of this online because I couldn’t find it in any UK pharmacies. I ordered the 2.5% one, and applied it all over my chin. When I woke up the next day, all my spots had decreased in size and some of my whiteheads and sebaceous filaments had cleared up. After about 3 days, it was basically all gone.

Product Recommended: Benzac 2.5% gel seems to be the most popular. I bought mine on eBay.

Retinoids

I have no used these, but I understand that they work by unplugging the cells that line hair follicles, which causes blackheads and whiteheads. Tazarotene and Adapalene are both retinoids, which are only available by prescription. Their side effects include skin irritation, redness and sun-sensitivity.

If you’re struggling with skin issues, I’d highly recommend a visit to r/SkincareAddiction, as there’s a wealth of knowledge on so many skin-related concerns. But please, if it’s really getting to you, make an appointment to see your GP and get referred to a dermatologist.

Big thanks to r/Skincareaddiction, Skincare Addiction and Hoojoo Skincare for making the information used to write this post so readily available – and for helping me fix my skin!

What are your favourite spot remedies?

 

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish | Review

You know the dilemma you face when you need a new cleanser, but haven’t shaken up your routine in so long you don’t really know what the best option is? That was me about 3 months ago. After doing a whole lot of research on cleansers, I decided to try out the famous Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish hot cloth cleanser. Praised by many a beauty blogger and winner of numerous awards, I thought it sounded great. Add in the claim that it’s supposed to be gentle on sensitive skin, and I was sold. Or rather, this product was (to me).

http://johnlewis.scene7.com/is/image/JohnLewis/000147598?$prod_exlrg$
http://johnlewis.scene7.com/is/image/JohnLewis/000147598?$prod_exlrg$

You probably know the drill, but for the sake of this review, I’ll go over the concept: It’s a sort of creamy, balmy substance made with lovely natural ingredients (mostly cocoa butter) which you rub all over your face (either with your makeup on to remove it, or after you’ve removed it by other means for an even better cleanse). You massage it into the skin for a few minutes, then take one of the muslin cloths (you can either buy them separately or they can be bought as part of a set with the cleanser), soak it in warm water, wring it out, then use that to remove the cleanser (and all the dirt and crud from your face). The muslin cloths provide gentle physical exfoliation, which is great for getting rid of any dry, flaky skin.

I had a a very mixed experience with this. The first week I used it, I thought it was breaking me out on my cheeks, where I don’t normally get blemishes. After persevering (partly due to it being so highly regarded, and partly because it’s so damn pricey I was determined to use it all up), my skin looked gorgeous and glowy for a few weeks. Then I started getting blackheads and whiteheads all over my chin. I put it down to this cleanser, and stopped using it. However, the issues on my chin are currently still there, which leads my to think this cleanser isn’t the culprit, so I may have to try eliminating a few other products from my regime to single out the cause. 

Anyway, when it performed well I really liked it. I was worried the eucalyptus would be a nightmare for my sensitive skin, but the SA convinced me it would be fine – and it was. I must stress that no matter how strongly this smells of eucalyptus, you really can’t detect it on your face – you know that cooling sensation you’d get with vapour rub or something? You really don’t get any of that with this.

It was also great at removing makeup. I mostly used it after removing mine with a makeup remover, but on the occasions when I just used this, it was awesome, even with waterproof mascara. 

The combination of creamy, hydrating cleanser and gentle exfoliation is a winner for me. My only issue is that it may have broken me out. I’ll keep you posted if I find out what the case of my breakout was, and it it turns out this is blameless, I’ll definitely keep using it.

Have you tried Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser? What do you think of it?


  • Consistency: Very thick, buttery, creamy. Lovely.
  • Sensitive Skin Suitability: While Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish doesn’t sting or burn, I’m worried it may have broken me out.
  • Price: £14.75 for the starter kit, which includes 100ml pump bottle and 2 muslin cloths.
  • Overall Rating: 7/10. Great cleanser, just worried about the breakout. This would go up to about an 8 if it’s not breaking me out, the reason being it’s quite expensive, especially if you have to keep buying the muslin cloths.

Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser (normal/combination) | Review

After being blown away by Liz Earle’s famous and well-respected Cleanse & Polish hot cloth cleanser, I had really high hopes for this moisturiser by the same brand. I like Liz Earle’s ethos of being natural and gentle, even though I don’t always agree that natural is better (as I’ve probably made abundantly clear in numerous other blog posts), and the fact that all the ingredients are traceable and ethical as possible only makes the brand more likeable. Which makes it a shame, really, how disappointing this moisturiser was.

During a visit to Monsieur Raptor’s far-away home, I discovered that I’d forgotten the most important step in my skincare regime – moisturiser! As my skin dries out really easily when I skin this product, I needed some ASAP, and the fact that my skin is ridiculously temperamental made it very hard to choose something that wouldn’t irritate. As I had plenty of my usual moisturiser in stock at home, I thought it would be fun to try something new, and after having great success with Cleanse & Polish, it made sense to try this. The SA in John Lewis recommended the normal/combo skin version because even though my skin is typically dry, I wanted something that would perform well under makeup.

Unfortunately, I found Liz Earle’s Skin Repair Moisturiser is not particularly hydrating, but also greasy – like it didn’t sink in, but rather sat on top of my face. This made it terrible under makeup, causing my foundation so slide off and look patchy, while also giving my random patches of dryness around my face, something that never happens when I use my HG moisturiser.

It has quite a nice, earthy-herbal sort of smell, and looks and feels thick and luxurious, but it turns sort of watery and thin when it’s on the face. I think it leaves an oily film on top of the skin because of the high oil-content. The ingredients list looks impressive and natural, but I just think it wasn’t hydrating enough for my dry/sensitive skin.

While I wouldn’t say it was irritating, as in it didn’t hurt or sting, it did leave my skin quite red and dry, so for this reason, I probably wouldn’t recommend for sensitive skins.

Perhaps if I’d purchased the dry/sensitive skin version, it would have worked better for me – the reason I bought this is partly my fault, and partly the sales assistant’s fault: I expressed that I needed something that would go well under makeup, but had dry skin; she suggested this when she was aware that I had dry skin. It’s okay though, she was only trying to help, and probably didn’t know how dry my skin would be, and thought this would work.

Have you tried Liz Earle Skin Repair Moisturiser? How did it work for you?


Consistency: Looks/feels thick and luxurious, until it goes on the face, then it’s watery and thin.

Sensitive Skin Suitability: 2/5. Didn’t itch, burn, or sting, but made my face red.

Price: £19.25 for 50ml

Overall Rating: 5/10. I feel it’s unfair to give this a really low rating as it’s not the appropriate product for my skin type, and might work really well for those with oilier skin. I also like that it’s not tested on animals, so it gains points for that.

Dr. Jart+ Regenerating Beauty Balm

I bought this after I decided I needed a lighter foundation for summer, with more sun protection. This does the job perfectly, with a sheer, but buildable coverage, that adjusts to my skin tone beautifully. 

From the Boots website, here’s what we know about it:

  • Suncream to help protect the skin.
  • Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil to lubricate the surface of the skin.
  • Snail Secretion Filtrate to hydrate and moisturise
  • Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil for calming and smoothing out the skin.”

FYI, I’ve just found this out now: I had NO IDEA it contained snail gunk before I bought it!? I don’t know how I feel about this…

Anyway, it’s hailing itself as being a “wonder product“, making skin look “smooth, perfect and natural“, and that it “moisturises, protects and corrects“.

Fair play to this, I doubted it would live up to all these claims (most BB creams I’ve tried rarely do), but it actually does. I’m a little bit amazed, actually. I apply a little onto the back of my hand, and the blob of product looks grey and ashy. I then apply it to my face, and it still looks ashy, but when I start buffing it in, it blends to my exact skin tone, making my skin look perfect without looking like I’m wearing makeup. It has a surprising amount of coverage, while still looking natural. I genuinely think I could swap my everyday foundation for this and a little concealer for any glaringly obvious blemishes. 

The fact that it’s also a moisturiser and sunscreen is great. I still apply moisturiser underneath, because my skin dries out really easily, but with this on top my skin is hydrated all day, looking dewy and lovely. The SPF of 30 is a perfect amount, not just for summer, but for winter too. 

And there’s no irritation. It just feels like a lovely, soothing moisturiser. I guess it does have a thick feeling, like you’re applying a sunscreen (which you essentially are) or a really thick moisturiser, but I don’t really mind.

The packaging is really nice – it’s a little metallic tube, which is hygienic and great to save on product and mess. My two current foundations (NARS Sheer Glow and Estee Lauder Double Wear) are both pumpless, so this is a Godsend.

I don’t often say this, but this really is a wonder product, and I love it to bits! 


Consistency: Very thick, but doesn’t feel gross on the skin. A little goes a long way, so use sparingly.

Lasting Power: I think it does rub off a little after a few hours, but it’s mostly okay for 5 or more with powder and if you don’t touch your face too much.

Sensitive Skin Suitability: 5/5. Actually find it soothing some days!

Price: £21.00 for 30ml normally. I bought it on sale for £9, but I’d happily pay full price.

Overall Rating: 10/10. Great everyday BB cream. I love it.