Thursday 30 October 2014

My Current Morning Skincare Routine - October 2014

This is something that changes quite a lot but I feel that I've found a combination of products that really work well for my skin and what it needs at the moment. I've done separate reviews on some of these products (there will be links below) and I might do a video on my YouTube channel to go with this post eventually but I thought it would be useful to have it all written down somewhere... so here it is!

Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser - when I first tried this I wasn't that sure, it felt almost drying on my skin but now my skin is generally less dehydrated it's really doing a lovely job of cleansing my skin every morning. And I do prefer to use this in the morning, I want a rich balm cleanser in the evening. £35

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads - to brighten, tone and exfoliate, these are gentle enough to use every day but really effective. You get sixty pads per pot and since using them I've had no more dry patches on my forehead and visibly brighter skin. You can read my full review of them here. £20.50

Pixi Glow Tonic

Pixi Glow Tonic - this has become a cult product and is the one to go for if you want a cleanser with no alcohol in it. This is my absolute favourite desert island toner, I trust it completely. Gently exfoliating it removes dead skin cells for healthier looking skin - you can read my full review of it here. £18

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum
Ole Henriksen Truth Serum - again the difference in my skin since using this has been incredible. A real morning boost, quickly absorbed. I've done a separate review of this here. Not cheap worth the money, and frankly a lot cheaper than a lot of serums out there. £18-£65

Yves Rocher Inositol Vegetal - I've been trying to write a full review on this for ages but I just never seem to get round to it and it's possible to find much info on it from Yves Rocher. I love this product.I use it most mornings and it's made my skin noticeably more radiant after consistent use. It contains citrus and AHA's to renew and resurface. Currently £6.50 instead of £19
Yves Rocher Inositol Vegetal


Wednesday 15 October 2014

Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes

I wasn't going to review this for two reasons. The first was that I used to work for the publishers so it may seem like sucking up. It's not. The second is that it has so many reviews but then I remembered that this is my blog and I'll do what I bloody well like.

Pretty Honest: The Straight-Talking Beauty Companion has made me question whether I should keep blogging at all. When I started this blog in 2006 it was partly because I was always being asked advice by my friends (based on the obscene amount of products I owned. I thought if I put it down in writing it would be there as an online reference. Now all you need to know is here in one book.
Pretty Honest by Sali HughesMy writing is nowhere near the standard of Sali's but it's where I hope I'm heading. We both have an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge and an almost obsessive interest in beauty and skincare that I don't think is that common. Yes there are tons of beauty blogs out there but I wonder how many of the writers relentlessly read and research the ingredients in all their products so they can know more about how everything actually works. I am one of these people. And so is Sali Hughes.

When I first heard about this book it was described to me, and I've heard Sali describe it, as a series of essays it put me off rather. I didn't want to read essays on someone's opinion on skincare and make-up. This is not what it is. Yes I suppose technically you could call it essays but the book does not read like that. It is sections on everything from your daily skincare routine (with all skin types properly covered) to anti-aging, foundation to blusher, bridal make-up, pregnancy and pretty much everything in-between.

Friday 10 October 2014

Quick Review - Ole Henriksen Truth Serum

I am love with this serum...

Available in the UK from Feel Unique, Selfridges,

Available in the US from Sephora, Ole Henriksen,

See my full review here.

Monday 6 October 2014


I am a make-up artist but I am a huge, huge believer in, and fan of, skincare. If you ensure that your skin is the best it possibly can be the better your make-up will look and the less you will need (if you want less...) but for many people it seems a cheaper, quicker fix to neglect skincare and slap on more make-up.

I can completely understand why this is. You get immediate results from make-up. Spend £30 on a foundation you've tested on the back of your hand in the shop and see it working as soon as you use it. Spend £30 on a serum and, well who knows if it's ever going to work at all? But that's why I write this blog. I'm here to help. 

Since I started concentrating on my skincare my skin looks and feels so much better but it takes a while to work out what your skin needs and when. If you have problem skin it's really worth going to a skincare specialist and seeing what they recommend and what's on offer - some brands you can only get from a salon so it is worth doing some research if you think you need something tougher. There are also some great brands available at more affordable prices on the high street so you don't always need to spend ridiculous amounts to get the best results though I have yet to find a high street serum to beat the more high-end ones I've tried.

If I can convince one of my friends to cleanse, tone and moisturise I'm very unlikely to be able to get them to add a serum into the mix but using a serum has been a big game changer for me. So I've done a little bit of research.

What is a serum and why use one?
Serums have high concentrations of certain active ingredients (hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C or glycolic acid for example) to give intensive focus on one or two things like anti-aging, dry skin etc. Moisturisers are formulated to be absorbed into the very top layer of the skin but also add a barrier against the elements and whereas serums have smaller molecules to be easily absorbed deeply into the skin. Serums are more expensive than moisturisers because they are more concentrated but you need less product and you don't have to use it every day if you can't afford to.

Why shouldn't you use a serum?
People with eczema or rosacea - conditions that weaken the skin barrier - may want to avoid serums as they can cause irritation. There are some that say they are fine for use with eczema and other skin conditions but I would definitely find a way to try them out before you buy.

When to use a serum?
Apply after cleansing and toning before your moisturiser (after your eye cream if you use it). But your skin will only absorb what it needs so don't use so much, a pea-size amount is usually enough. If you have sensitive skin then it's best to wait ten minutes after cleansing to apply the serum. As with all skincare take it down your neck and decollete.

You can see some serums working pretty much immediately but it's best to use them consistently to see the best results.

Which serum to use?
Oily skins - will want a water-based serum and you may want to use it instead of a moisturiser so you are getting an intensive treatment without over-loading the skin.
Dry skin - can use water- or oil-based serums. Retinol can help accelerate cellular renewal and brighten the skin and make it appear more luminous but can irritate if used too much. Essential oils and fatty acids can help the skin repair itself overnight and make sure it's barrier function is working. If you have dry skin then you should use a serum and a moisturiser.
Anti-wrinkle - you need to choose an anti-oxident rich serum (Vitamin C for example) as these work well at preventing oxidative strain from pollution and UV which also makes them ideal for use in the morning. Peptides will help boost collagen and elastin production and restore firmness to the skin.

A few serums that you may want to look into trying out...

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster - I've done a full review of this which you can read here. I love this and think it suits all skin types. It's water based so good for oily skins but is really rich in vitamin C so fantastic for dry or more mature skins. If you are not sure which one to go for this is the one I'd recommend £47.
Sunday Riley Juno - I haven't tried this but I am desperate to, I've heard nothing but good things about it. Rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9 and Vitamin C so this suits dry and mature skins. It's one of the most expensive at £98.
Liz Earle Superskin Concentrate - best for use overnight and actually great for normal to oily skins (my sister loves this one and she has combination skin) though if you have an oily skin you may want to skip moisturising afterwards. Full of plant oils this award winning serum is available in 3 different sizes, the smallest being 2ml (£6) so you can try this before you have to buy the full size of it.£6-£40.50
Elizabeth Arden Advanced Night Repair Sychronized Recovery Complex II - yet another one I haven't-yet-but-want-to-try. For all skin types, a reformulation of an original product that a lot of people swore by, this version has stepped it up a notch. To be used before moisturising at night (obviously) this serum is another multi-award winner. £49
Sisley - I haven't tried any of these serums but I trust Sisley when it comes to skincare and have heard great things about their Black Rose products so worth having a look if you are already a fan or wanting to try something out from their range. From an eye-watering £138

Friday 3 October 2014

Friday Video - Three Non-Glamorous Products I Wouldn't Be Without

YouTube is full of people reviewing glamorous designer make-up products so I thought... what are the three least glam things in my bathroom that I buy over and over again. And here they are...

Derma-Lac Lotion by Environ
In-Grow Go by Skin Doctors
JML Ped Egg

My original Ped Egg review is here

Wednesday 1 October 2014

The House of Glam Dolls

House of Glam Dolls Glam Shed
The Glam Shed
It’s very hard to talk about the House of Glam Dolls without talking about David Horne, for the small but perfectly formed studio space in North London is the culmination of David’s many years at the top of the make-up artistry game. David helped establish MAC in the UK. He was, until recently, the Creative Director for revolutionary brand Illamasqua and he is the author of The Art of Male Makeup, the first book of its kind. Here is a man with incredible talent, passion and ambition who’s love of teaching has led to him setting up his own studio, along with his good friend and fellow MAC alumni Chinyee Chu where they teach courses and develop new products. The first product being SuperGlamDoll lashes which are only £5 (and postage) and of absolutely fantastic quality. The second product is top secret at the moment but I’ve seen it and it is absolutely stunning. And as soon as I'm allowed you will be able to read about it here first.

House of Glam Dolls Vintage Makeup cabinet
Vintage Make-up Cabinet
I was given the opportunity to go and have a look around the House of Glam Dolls and it was not what I expected at all. I’ve been to a lot of make-up studios and I can definitely say I’ve never been to one with a shed for an office. The ‘Glam Shed’ is the first thing you see on arrival. It’s here where the computers live and the lashes are sold from and the shed walls are covered in pictures, dolls and trolls. In the rest of the space there’s not one mirror surrounded by lights, not one white surface, no swivel chairs. No boxes of tissues for these guys, hot pink loo roll is available from either end of the big square black table in the middle of the work space. The make-up is kept in roasting trays and there is a cabinet in the corner filled with vintage make-up and David’s inspirations from his time at Illamasqua. 
What I keep coming back to when thinking about the House of Glam Dolls is that you have the opportunity here to be taught by an industry great. The make-up industry has exploded in popularity in the last decade. Make-up artists are celebrities in their own right and it is harder and harder to get assisting work and the training can often be intimidating, in soulless, white rooms with bright lights and white surfaces with your work on display for all to see (which you do need to get used to!) Here is somewhere where you can learn, be creative, try things out, ask questions, sit and flip through the fantastic books. 

The Make-up Chest
The courses range from a five day intensive course to one-to-one mentoring, and these courses often fill in the gaps left by other colleges. Whether you want to focus on vintage with the ‘House of Vintage Makeup’ course, get more confident in colour and creativity with the one day ‘Beyond the Rainbow’ or start at the beginning with the ‘Introduction to the Art of Make-up’ a three day course giving you a taste of what it takes to be a make-up artist there really is something for everyone here. Check out all the courses here and see which one suits you - I am going to be signing up for the ‘Finishing Touches’ course as soon as I save this copy! 

House of Glam Dolls reference shelf
Reference library

House of Glam Dolls drinks
Tea? Coffee? Crisps? Jelly Baby?

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