It’s Skin Q10 Effector review vs Q10 supplements: Inside or outside?

After my article yesterday about eating beautiful, I thought I’d talk about whether the It’s Skin Q10 Effector Serum is better than taking a Q10 tablet as a supplement to improve your skin, because it’s in a similar vein.

Q10 smaller

Basically, Q10 is a beauty ingredient that’s supposed to be good for anti-ageing, if we believe the L’Oreal advert and Naomi Campbell. Now, until I was about 27, I was completely in love with Q10 and it was the only thing I was using to make my complexion look good. One of my friends was getting seriously bad first signs of ageing (she liked coke, and I don’t mean the drink) and she was using the same products as me: Lacura (Aldi own brand) Q10 day and night cream.

Then, I had a bit of a problem. That cream seemed to become less effective. I needed more ingredients in my beauty regime, in a stronger cream. But I couldn’t find any better creams with Q10 in them that weren’t targeted at the over 40 crowd. It’s a bit soul destroying when you’re 27 and are contemplating creams that say 40+ on the back. Although, I think the cosmetics companies exaggerate to hit your self esteem and to make you think the creams for older people will work better. Certainly, at 28, I didn’t think Avon’s line of creams for women in their twenties was going to do a whole lot. But their next stage of products was for age 35+. What?? This was one reason I began beauty blogging: There’s a lot of nonsense out there, and finding the right products can be a minefield.

If anything, my skin has gotten BETTER since I hit 30, and I attribute that to two things: Diet and finding the right range of products.

So Q10… I’ve not been using a Q10 face cream since I was 27. But I *have* been taking Q10 supplements since I was 29. I think these have overall done good things for my skin. It’s not as instantaneous as vitamin E supplements, but Q10 doesn’t wear off as quickly, either. When I was taking vitamin E tablets, every day I didn’t take them, my skin looked worse. Vitamin E supplements also interfered with the vitamin K I needed to take, and it gave me bad headaches.

Because the effects of Q10 are subtler, it took me a while to decide if it’s been effective or not. Overall, I’d say it has, alongside all the other things I’m doing, and it gives my skin a bit of a boost when I can’t seem to get rid of the surface dryness which makes my makeup cake (when I actually wear makeup).

While I was in Korea over the past couple of weeks, I went shopping for loads of beauty products, and one of the things I bought was this incredible Q10 effector serum from It’s Skin. If I ever doubted the effectiveness of Q10, I know now that it’s definitely a good one for my skin. So which is better, supplements or direct application? The It’s Skin Q10 Effector Serum applies straight on my face, and it works really quickly and it complements the other products in my beauty regime. I’ve been away from my beloved Innisfree Soybean Energy Serum since I left China to go to America in February, then I spent 2 weeks in Korea, and that gave me a a great opportunity to try out this new serum.

Five stars, would recommend. The only drawback is now I can’t decide between the It’s Skin Q10 serum and my Innisfree Soybean Energy Serum on a daily basis. So I use one in the morning and one at night. Luckily, you don’t have that problem! It’s Skin Q10 serum is available in the US for about the same as I paid in Seoul, South Korea, and my favorite Innisfree serum is not. This is also half the price of the Innisfree one, so if cost is a factor, this one definitely wins out! Also, when looking at Korean products bear in mind that date written on the bottom is the date it was MADE not the expiry. ūüėČ Shop smarter than all the people who gave this product unfair shitty reviews.

Review: ROC Retinol correxion sensitive night cream

I’ve been trying a few different face creams recently and two have stood out as phenomenal. I don’t use the term “Holy Grail” usually, because I think it’s a bit of an exaggeration about most things, but when it comes to skincare, ROC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream and Olay Three-Point Regenerist day cream are now my Holy Grail products.

ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream for sensitive skin.
Packaging of ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream for sensitive skin.

I bought ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream from Amazon back in December and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s been a great addition to my usual skincare routine!

How the box says to use it: The instructions on the back say to use ROC retinol correxion at night, going two nights with cream then taking a break for two nights before using it for two more nights, and so on, until your skin gets used to it, then to use it nightly.

How I use it: I’ve been using it two nights on, two nights off for the last 6-8 weeks and I don’t feel ready to use it every night yet. Why? Because it’s effective! It’s working perfectly for me so why go overboard?

ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream tube review how to use
ROC retinol correxion sensitive night cream tube.

The immediate effect: When I first used this on my skin, it seemed to enlarge my pores and make my whole face look dry for about two days, then it completely settled down again and now my skin looks better than ever.

The long term effect: After about three uses, my skin got used to it and I found it seemed to be re-drawing my skin (I honestly don’t know what the word is, it was like an IRL photoshop airbrush) smoothing over all my fine lines and making my skin look more vital. It’s been completely amazing! It contains retinol which is drying to the skin so make sure to use a good day cream and maybe even face oil as well!

Negatives: Retinol increases your skin’s sensitivity to UV light, so make sure to use a sunscreen during the day when you use ROC retinol correxion night cream at night. I try to always use SPF-30 or above anyway, so it’s another reason to wear sunscreen. Also this stuff does nothing against blue circles, but that’s fine because the Olay Regenerist 3 Point day cream does.

The scientific bit: It contains Retinol which is a form of vitamin A that stimulates collagen production in the skin.

The packaging: It comes in a box with a clear window so you can see the tube of cream. Inside, there’s a plastic tray to hold the cream in place. I’d like to know if the packaging is recyclable or not.

ROC Retinol Correxion Sensitive Night Cream is available on Amazon.

Olay Regenerist 3 Point Cream

Don’t you just love discoveries?¬†The perfect face cream was right in front of me this entire time, and I¬†didn’t know it! I am so in love with the Olay Regenerist 3 Point Cream (the day cream) that reviewing it has been really hard! I don‚Äôt know how to talk about this cream without just raving about everything I love about it.

Olay 3 Point Regenerist Cream day cream review
Olay 3 Point Regenerist Day Cream.

Consistency: Thick but not too thick, and still easily spreadable. I lightly run my finger over the surface of the cream and gently rub a small amount onto my face. Scooping it out and plastering it on would be a bad idea!

Scent: It is perfumed, but it’s a pleasant scent that doesn’t overwhelm you or irritate skin, and once the cream is absorbed, the scent disappears. When I have a cold, the scent doesn’t irritate my sinuses.

Effects: Firstly, it obviously moisturizes skin. My skin is usually normal-to-dry, and I find that a layer of this cream makes my skin look less dry. Secondly, it plumps out expression lines aka fine lines. I don‚Äôt know what it does on deeper lines or full blown wrinkles because I don‚Äôt have any to test it on. I like that it also seems to help with the redness I get between my brows, and I would say that it does seem to give me a more even-toned complexion when I wear it. Another effect of this cream, which I‚Äôve mentioned before, is that it helps get rid of blue under-eye circles (I don’t think they intended this use for this cream, but it’s a life-changer), and I discovered recently that it also works well on brown under-eye circles (I’ve got some other fixes for those, so I’ll write an article about that soon). I’ve been using it under my eyes for about 18 months but I hadn’t really used it on the rest of my face much until I ran out of Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden cream and now I’ve been using the Olay regenerist 3 Point cream regularly on my face and neck, I have so much love for this cream! There was an instant anti-ageing effect, and it took about a week for my skin to start showing noticeable results. When I stopped using it for a week, my skin looked tired again.

Feel: It doesn’t sting my skin, but I use it sparingly because it’s quite potent stuff. It makes my face feel fresh.

Compared to other Olay products: I’ve had some bad experiences with some of Olay’s other creams, with their Beauty Fluid being about as ineffective as not wearing face cream, and I was a little hesitant the first time I bought this, but from the first use I really liked it and will keep buying it. I buy mine from Amazon, and it always arrives in a plastic-wrapped sealed box, with an outer lid and an inner lid for the jar of cream.

Olay 3 Point Regenerist Cream day cream review
Olay 3 Point Regenerist Cream consistency.

Compared to other face creams: It was a bit like the Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden Active Reverse Day Cream, except the Olay 3 Point Regenerist doesn‚Äôt have any SPF. This is the biggest problem with the Olay 3 Point Regenerist, and for this reason I use it with the ROC spray on sunscreen, which I will review separately, but it’s not the ideal solution. UV damage can cause all sorts of beauty problems and I like to keep my skin protected even in the Miserable North of England where I‚Äôve been stranded for a few years.

It was thicker than the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine cream and I thought the Olay 3 Point Regenerist was better than the Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream in a couple of ways. Firstly, it makes my skin feel more moisturized. Second, it makes my skin look better overall.

It wasn’t as thick as the Manuka Doctor Api Nourish Night Cream, and I liked the thinner Olay 3 Point Regenerist better because it glides on easily and doesn’t need to be teamed with an oil or similar to keep my skin hydrated.

Science: The Olay 3 Point Regenerist cream is a peptide cream that contains pentapeptide (matrixyl). This increases collagen production in the skin and thickens skin, helping to plump out lines and eliminate veins and blue circles. When used with an exfoliant (such as glycolic acid, which dissolves dead skin cells and increases cell turnover in the skin) the effects are even better.

The bottom line is, this is my favorite face cream, and definitely replaces the Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden cream I was previously using. The only thing I don’t like about it is the lack of any SPF. You can get it here on Amazon.com

Have you tried Olay Regenerist 3 Point? What did you think of it?

Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil First Impressions + Review

This is a first impressions and review of the Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil.
Basically, it’s an oil blend that you rub on your face and it’s supposed to improve the condition of your skin.

Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil
Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil

I bought it because my skin suddenly took a turn for the worse about 2 weeks ago and no matter what I do, it just looks dull and unhealthy. I thought I’d try the Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil to see if it could help my skin perk up a bit. Here’s what it looks like in the packaging:

Manuka Doctor Replenishing Facial Oil

Manuka Doctor are famous for their bee venom products, their logo is a bee with a first aid symbol on its body. Because it’s Dr. Bee, which is freakin’ adorable. Anyway, the Replenishing Facial Oil has no bee venom in, but it does contain oil from the Manuka tree (which of course is where Manuka honey comes from, and Manuka honey is apparently really good for you).

Ingredients:
Hazel seed oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, grape seed oil, wheatgerm oil, rosehip oil, perfume, manuka oil, evening primrose oil, cranberry seed oil, sunflower seed oil, argan oil, borage seed oil, plum seed oil, peach kernel oil, blackcurrant seed oil, raspberry seed oil, tocopheryl acetate, beta-carotene, carrot root extract, carrot seed oil, ascorbyl palmitate, citronellol, coumarin, hydroxyisohexyl-3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, butylphenyl methylpropional, limonene, linalool, alpha-isomethyl ionone.

As you can see, it’s packed full of goodness.

The scent was sort of flowery but not in-your-face-floral; I quite liked it. The bottle had a nice dropper to make application easy, and it was nice to see how much I was using.

I have normal skin that’s very slightly sensitive, sometimes oily and sometimes dry depending on a range of factors.

On my skin, it spread easily and absorbed after about 10 minutes, leaving my face feeling nice even though I couldn’t see any magical improvements to my skin. Maybe something’s happening at a microscopic level, because after a couple of hours I had to concede that my forehead was looking less washed-out and so were my cheeks. I’m going to try it for a few weeks to see what the longer term benefits are, but overall I’m fairly happy that this oil will replace the macadamia face oil I was previously using (which ran out this week), and if it does a better job than the macadamia oil, I’ll let you all know.

Costs: ¬£16.92 from Amazon UK. That’s how much I paid for it and that’s where I got it from. It’s not available on American Amazon.com but you can get it at Skinstore.com.

Have you tried any Manuka Doctor products? I want to try the night cream with bee venom but I don’t know if I’m brave enough!

Exfoliators Reviewed! St Ives, Sanctuary, Tesco

I really love to exfoliate, and feel it’s a must-have in my beauty regime. ¬†Over the past 3 months,¬†I was looking for the “perfect” exfoliator.¬† I bought four exfoliating scrubs and two exfoliating mitts¬†and tried them all out to find out which was best. ¬†Exfoliating¬†gets rid of dead skin cells, revealing newer vibrant skin, yada yada yada you all know why exfoliating is important for hygiene, stimulating cell renewal, looking your best, and all that lovely stuff.

The exfoliators I'm reviewing today: Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator, St Ives Microdermabrasion, Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish and the Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub.
The exfoliators I’m reviewing today: Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator, St Ives Microdermabrasion, Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish and the Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub. The gloves are Home Bargains Exfoliating Glove (89p, left) and Tesco Exfoliating Glove (99p for 2, right)

 

Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub: 8/10.

Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub
Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub

I really loved this one, and it’s scented with a cucumbery sort of body wash smell so leaves me feeling fresh out of the shower. Size: 150ml tube.

Pro’s: It was very gentle and you get a lot of product. ¬†It contains sodium laureth sulphate, which is a surfactant (cleaning agent), and a lot of scrubs don’t contain any surfactant, so this one¬†doubles up¬†as a shower gel.

Con’s: The little microbeads were a bit few and far between so I wouldn’t be able to use this as my regular exfoliator.

A swatch of Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub.
A swatch of Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub on the back of my hand.

Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub Ingredients:  Aqua, sodium laureth sulphate, polyethylene, cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Crosspolymer, Cocamide DEA, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Parfum, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Magnesium Nitrate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.

Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish: 5/10.

Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish
Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish. The tube is in a bit of a state at the top and bottom because I wanted to use it for long enough for it to have a fair review.

 

I was really in love with the idea of this but the reality was less pleasing. ¬†It claims to warm your skin (presumably to open pores and draw out impurities) but the warming effect lasts like 2 seconds and only while you’re actually applying it, so your fingers get warm because they’re constantly touching it, but your face doesn’t get this benefit. ¬†It seems like a waste of a perfectly good chemical reaction. ¬†Size: 100ml.

Pro’s: It does scrub your face, and the actual particles are quite small.

Con’s: Something about the chemicals used to make it self-heating seems to make my face unhappy and I always left the shower with a really (really) red face which¬†was pretty annoying, and my face¬†was also left quite sensitive so I couldn’t put my moisturizer on afterwards. ¬†When I put it on my insensitive, normal-skin arms, the same thing happened. ¬† I really don’t think this was suitable for my age. ¬†While the heating part didn’t work, this product still had some skin-burning ingredients in it. ¬†Maybe it’s aimed at people with more mature skin that needs attacking with dynamite to perk it up (why why why don’t 99% of skincare companies put a guide age on the packaging)?!

A swatch of Sanctuary Warming Microbrasion Polish.
A swatch of Sanctuary Warming Microbrasion Polish.

Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden Warming Microbrasion Polish Ingredients: PEG-8, Zeolite, Kaolin, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Cera Alba, PEG-150, CI77891 (titanium dioxide), Cetyl Alcohol, PEG 100 Stearate, Trticum Vulgarae (wheat) Germ Oil, Solum Diatomeae, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder, Maltodextrin, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxypropylcellulose, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Geraniol, Citronellol.

St Ives Microdermabrasion: 9/10.

St Ives Microdermabrasion
St Ives Microdermabrasion.

As far as bottles of exfoliating gloop go, the St Ives wins hands down. ¬†I felt my face looked fresher and more radiant after I’d used it and it never looked¬†red and scratched. ¬†The only reason it loses a point is it’s slightly dehydrating to my face because I have dry skin. ¬†Size: You get 125ml of this in a tube.

Pro’s: ¬†It’s WAY more gentle than the Apricot Scrub. ¬†It left my skin looking its best. ¬†It was good for use on most of my upper body (I don’t exfoliate my boobs), especially the neck/decolette.

Con’s: It’s not strong enough to work its magic on my¬†legs, and I was still flaking when I came out of the shower throughout this entire tube of scrub which I detest. ¬†If you don’t have dry skin in this area, this may not be a problem.

A swatch of St Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub
A swatch of St Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub

St Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub Ingredients: Aqua, Hydrated Silica, Glycerin, Sodium Methyl 2-Sulfolaurate, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylates/Palmyth-25-Acrylate Copolymer, Acrylates Copolymer, Disodium-2-Sulfolaurate, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed extract, Primula Veris Extract, Chamomile Recutita (Matricaria) extract, Sambucus Nigra Flower extract, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Polyacrylamide, Propylene Glycol, Sorbitol, DMDM Hydantonin, Parfum (fragrance), Linalool, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional.

Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator: 7/10.

Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator
Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator. Size: 100ml.

Pro’s: ¬†It smells nice, the liquidy part of the scrub is very kind to the skin and does leave it perked up and feeling renewed.

Con’s: I didn’t like the scratchy bits (what do you call them – clearly not beads). ¬†They were badly distributed through the product and they were of differing sizes. ¬†I think they were supposed to look “all natural” (like you’d just be walking through a forest and be like, ZOMG there’s some exfoliating scrub growing out of that tree!!), but I wanted it to exfoliate my delicate facial area and I felt it was too harsh in the parts with the larger particles and too ineffective in the parts with the smaller particles/no particles. ¬†This left my face with some angry red scratchy patches in some area and other areas didn’t look like they’d been cleaned properly at all. ¬†I suppose this is intended to balance out over time but I don’t think I’d buy it again when I could spend the same amount of money and get a lot more of a lot better product from St Ives.

A swatch of Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator.
A swatch of Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator.

Alternative Use: ¬†I found it was really good for attacking the cellulite or stretch marks (or whatever that stuff is) on my ass!!! ¬†My ass is far too insensitive to care about distribution of scratchy particles, it could barely feel this stuff, and it did leave the skin in this area looking fresh and happy, so I added points for this because it was useful. ¬†So there you have it, this one’s actually good for a shiny hiney¬†rofl!!

Sanctuary Radiance Exfoliator Ingredients: Glycerin, Aqua, PEG-60, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polysorbate 60, Glyceryl Stearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Prunus Armeniaca (apricot) Seed Powder, PEG-100 Stearate, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, /vitis Vinifera (Grape) seed powder, Lactobacillus/Cucurbita Pepo Ferment Extract, Limonene, Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Benzoate, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) peel oil, Citris Nobilis (mandadrin) peel oil, Disodium EDTA, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Carica Papaya (papaya) fruit extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) fuit extract, EDTA, Citric Acid, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide.

Home Bargains Exfoliating Glove: 2/10.

Home Bargains Exfoliating Glove
Home Bargains Exfoliating Glove

Home Bargains has some phenomenal bargains and it’s a shop I trust when I want to try new things. ¬†This was the first exfoliating glove I’d ever tried in my life, and in the shop I’d gently rubbed it against my palm to find out what the texture was like, but somehow I misjudged this.

Pro’s: ¬†You could use it as an offensive weapon.

Con’s: The fabric on the “exfoliating” side¬†turned coarse, hard and rough when it got wet, and I only put up with it for one shower because it was horrific. ¬†For all that pain, you’d expect to emerge squeaky clean right? ¬†So I was profoundly disappointed that it had removed NOTHING and all my dry flaky skin was covering my towel. ¬†I HAD TO GO BACK IN THE SHOWER AND USE THE ST IVES TO FIX THIS, DAMNIT!! ¬†I really don’t think this¬†exfoliating glove¬†was designed for anyone with skin and I strongly recommend not bothering with exfoliation if this is your only option. ¬†I don’t know why I still have this in my bathroom, except to make me feel safer when I’m¬†in the house alone in the shower, because of the previously-mentioned potential for¬†use as an offensive weapon.

Tesco Exfoliating Glove: 10/10.

Tesco Exfoliating Glove Mitt
Tesco Exfoliating Glove

Pro’s: This was the second-to-last thing I tried, and after all the others, I can definitely say this was far-and-away the very best thing I have exfoliated with recently, and it now lives looped over the handle to my shower door. ¬†I know you’re supposed to use both of these gloves one on each hand, but I generally only wash myself with one hand at a time so I put the second glove aside so I can use it when I throw this one away. ¬†It’s gentle enough for the face and neck but strong enough to properly get rid of the dry skin on my lower legs. ¬†I used it with my usual shower gel, which is the Original Source Lavender and Tea Tree shower gel, and my skin has been really happy with this one.

Con’s: None, really.

So that’s my round up of exfoliators. ¬†My conclusion? ¬†Save a boatload of cash and buy a 99p fuzzy exfoliating glove in your choice of fun colors. Or, if you really don’t like that idea, grab the St Ives – it won hands down for a liquid exfoliator.

The miracle anti-ageing cream that really works

Today, I’m going to reveal to you… the miracle anti ageing cream that really works!

So I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now and a lot of people have asked me what my secret is. You see, I’m turning 30 in November and I still look like this:

Wednesday Addams cosplay tutorial
Wednesday Addams cosplay from the tutorial I did on Wednesday.

For those people who want to know, I’m here to tell you that I have been using a miracle anti-ageing cream for many years. My aunt is going to be 60 in a couple of years’ time and she uses the same cream as me, every single day before she leaves the house – she looks like she’s in her late 30’s or early 40’s. It’s a very inexpensive cream and you can generally find it in many shops which is always good.

I really like this cream because, unlike retinols and peptides, your body doesn’t develop a tolerance to this one. It also protects you from cancer and, if you make the effort to find the right one that suits you, it makes a fantastic facial moisturiser for under make-up.

Buying face creams is a bit of a minefield, but I have checked and this one is available in the US (although if you can find something similar with a lower price tag, you might want to try that instead). One thing that really makes the difference is that a lot of people buy the body lotion and put it on their face (which overloads the delicate facial skin and clogs pores) but I buy a special face one.

It is (dun dun dun….) facial sun cream. Okay, so it’s April 1st and I wanted to write something with a humorous twist but everything I’ve said in this post is still 100% true. Sunscreen is the best anti-ageing ingredient you can buy. I’ve talked about the benefits of wearing the right sunscreen before. The suns rays basically age your skin… even if it’s not a bright sunny day! They can even do it while you’re indoors.

I prefer the Boots Soltan facial suncreams because they have UVA and UVB protection. ¬†You can buy the Soltan Sensitive Face Factor 30 here on Amazon.com although if there’s a cheaper one that’s as good, that’s available in the American market, you should probably buy that one instead.

You can also buy Soltan Face and Soltan Sensitive Face at Boots shops in the UK.

Of all the facial sunscreens I’ve tried over the years (including the Avon ones), the Boots Soltan Face cream SPF 30 (and Sensitive Face) are the best ones because they has unparallelled UVA protection. When choosing a sun cream, the UVA protection isn’t actually related to the SPF – but it’s the part that stops you ageing when you catch the sunlight (I talked about this more here). On British products, there’s usually a stamp with a bunch of stars at the back – you want four or five stars to get the anti-ageing benefit. ¬†That’s why you can’t rely on the SPF in cosmetics to keep your skin safe – they rarely if ever have a UVA protection in them.

I rarely leave the house without some sort of sun protection because I want to grow old fabulously. I highly recommend ignoring SPF (as long as it’s over SPF 20) and going for a five-star UVA sunscreen (that’s why I use SPF 30 instead of 50 – 30 is good enough to prevent burning and I’m really after the UVA protection). ¬†I can’t believe how many people neglect this all-important step in their beauty routine and don’t take the time to find their perfect daily facial sunscreen.

I’ll leave you with the following public service announcement from Baz Luhrmann (director of Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge):

Purple Circles Under Your Eyes? 5 Ways To Kill Them No Make-Up (and one quick fix)

Looking to permanently fix those under eye purple circles? ¬†I discovered there was no real information about how to permanently get rid of purple circles under the eyes, after I wrote my article on how to get rid of blue circles¬†(you might want to¬†read that too)! To fix¬†that, I’ve written about how to cure under eye¬†purple circles here and hopefully you’ll get here BEFORE you’ve wasted years on Google on unhelpful articles about getting rid of dark circles which are to do with ageing! Purple under eye circles affect anyone of any age and getting rid of purple circles¬†without using make-up doesn’t take a lot of work.

Purple under eye circles are different to dark circles under the eye because dark circles are caused by hyperpigmentation due to ageing. Purple under eye circles have similar causes to blue circles but they are more responsive to permanent remedies!  So here are five ways to permanently solve the problem of under eye purple circles and one quick fix for in the meantime while you wait for the purple circles to heal, all without using make-up.

First, let’s talk about the quickest fix to get rid of purple under eye circles without using make-up (why no make-up? Because 50% of people with purple and blue circles under their eyes are men, and they don’t really want to be using make-up; a lot of women don’t want to be covering their purple under eye circles up with make-up either).

All links take you to Amazon as I’m an associate and find Amazon¬†very convenient, and every product I mention on this page is one I’ve actually used to get rid of my own purple and blue circles under my eyes and have used and recommended to help other people with the under-eye purple and blue circles problem too:

If you want a quick fix:
Fake (or real) tan: Getting a product with a small amount of fake tan in it, and building it up over the face is a subtle way to get rid of those under-eye purple circles – it works to a moderate extent but it’s not a permanent fix because as soon as you wash the tan off, the circles will come back. However, it is the fastest way to get rid of purple under eye circles without make-up because as your skin darkens, the purple circles under the eyes become much less noticeable! It’s basically the same as blending them out. In addition, the orange and yellow base pigments in most “hint of a tan” type products does the same job as under-eye colour corrector to get rid of those purple circles under your eyes. My favourite is the Dove Summer Glow with a hint of sunless tanner and even though it’s a body lotion, I just use it on my whole face morning and night for a full weekend, then go back to my normal skincare routine because it’s not a face cream, then I make sure to reapply the Dove summer glow once every couple of days, to get a circle-covering glow. About four applications should start to reduce the purple circles (but remember to use it on the rest of your body occasionally as well, so you don’t just have a darker face and whiter everything else).

To ditch those circles permanently:
1. Eat more broccoli and kale: These are both extremely high in vitamin K, the vitamin everyone forgets when they’re planning their diet. Vitamin K is the one that gets rid of redness and helps with chapped lips, and it also helps get rid of purple circles by preventing your blood from being too thin. This is the cheapest but slowest way to get rid of those circles, but they should be improved within 6 months.

2. Try Vitamin K Cream¬†for your face: Vitamin K cream is the wonder solution to get rid of all sorts of dark under eye circles; purple circles, blue circles and brown circles. At $7.94 (inc shipping), it’s also the very cheapest cream you can try so I would try this Vitamin K Cream¬†first before any other permanent solution for purple under-eye circles. ¬†It also works to fade out bruises! ¬†You should get results on purple circles under the eyes in 2-4 weeks. ¬†This vitamin K cream is also safe for children, making it perfect for pageants. ¬†If you’re on blood thinning medication such as warfarin or aspirin, you need to be careful with vitamin K and consult your doctor.

3. Take a vitamin K supplement: Vitamin K supplements are fantastic for people who don’t like eating their greens. It works internally to ensure all your blood is the right thickness, which will also make you bruise less easily! Vitamin K supplements cost more than the cream but the results last longer, so¬†this one is good value, but it will take a month or two to work so keep at it. ¬†As above, consult your doctor if necessary.

4. Check your iron levels: Another huge cause of purple circles is low iron levels. When your iron level gets too low, it’s clear in your face because you start to get dark purple or blue circles under the eyes, usually more of a navy blue¬†line than a purple circle. The only solution to an iron deficiency is to eat more iron-containing foods (hot chocolate made with pure cocoa is the most overlooked source of iron. ¬†Vegan? Use soy milk) on a regular basis. Covering up purple circles under the eyes caused by iron deficiency is not a good plan, you need to solve the cause or they just get worse.

5. Sometimes the skin is the problem, rather than what’s underneath it: When you’re sure it’s not a deficiency, it’s likely that you just have thinner skin under the eyes. Luckily, there is a solution for this: Regular use of any face cream containing Matrixyl will help get rid of blue circles permanently. The Olay Regenerist 3 Point Cream (which I talked about in my article on blue circles) is the absolute best cream I’ve tried for getting rid of purple and blue circles under the eyes (only use a TINY bit because it’s powerful stuff). How does it work? The Matrixyl actually helps to thicken the skin so when it’s applied to the under-eye area it helps the skin to grow thicker and when it’s thicker, it’s less transparent and less delicate, meaning this cream gets rid of the cause of the purple and blue circles under the eyes. If you don’t have $40 there’s a cheaper alternative here from Andre Lorent at $20; although I found it was slightly greasier, it did still work to reduce my dark circles, so it’s up to you.

After living for years with blue circles that turned purple on a regular basis, my own method was to do all of the above together to really kill those blue and purple circles, and now they only come back if I stop doing all of those things for several months (such as when I was pregnant – I have no idea if any of these things are safe for pregnancy and had bigger things to worry about than purple or blue circles so I’m working on getting rid of my under eye circles again now, which is why it seemed like a good time to write another article about this).

Blue Circles? How to get rid of under eye blueness, purple circles, and veins.

So you tried Googling “how to get rid of blue circles” and read a bunch of articles about how to get rid of DARK circles, and are feeling pretty disillusioned? ¬†I’ve been there. ¬†I’ve had them as long as I can remember and have tried every concealer to no avail. ¬†Then I did some scholarly research and found the answers. ¬†Now I will share with you what to do and what not to do to get rid of the blue circles you get under your eyes. Some people’s blue circles show up more purple; the solutions here will also work for purple circles where the root cause is the same. ¬†Note this won’t work for those brown ones you get with age, this is just for blue circles or purple ones! ¬†Most of the stuff about dark circles is really talking about brown circles, and they tack “and blue circles” (or “and purple circles”) onto their generic articles just to drive you nuts in your quest for answers. ¬†Why don’t they differentiate? ¬†Well, that would mean you wouldn’t keep buying products that won’t work, then they’d be making less money! ¬†Let me start by stating I have no interest in discussing make-up because it’s not an option for many people, and it won’t address the root cause of the problem, which with blue veins and blue circles is almost always your first task. ¬†To use an analogy, why put a rug over a cracked floorboard when you can just fix the floor instead? Having said that, at some point I will do an article about color correcting with make-up because it’s worth knowing about, if you can wear make-up. I will link here once I’ve written about color-correctors.

What Causes Blue or Purple Circles?

Really the key to killing them is to work out what actually causes them in the first place.  Basically, the blue circles are caused by the veins standing out and becoming visible through the skin.  So two things are contributing to blue circles:  Enlarged veins, and thin under-eye skin.

Enlarged under-eye veins are caused by:

Caffeine (including those under-eye caffeine treatments that are marketed at getting rid of the other type of dark circle), and other stimulants such as energy drinks and certain medications Рthey dilate blood vessels.  In brown circles, this improves blood flow (and oxygen) to the under eye area, which helps.  In blue circles, it makes the problem worse.  Solve it: To really reduce those blue circles, cutting out coffee is number one.  This will, after a couple of months, allow the veins to go back to normal, eliminating those pesky under eye blue circles.

Allergies – Not the sort that put you in hospital, the sort that make your eyes feel sleepy, runny nose, itchy eyes, or a feeling of being gunked up inside. ¬†When we are allergic to something, the immune system produces histamines to try and fight it. ¬†These histamines make blood vessels swell. ¬†This puts a lot of pressure on your under eye area, especially when you blow your nose, which increases physical blood pressure to the face. ¬†This all causes blue circles under the eye area to look far worse than they would otherwise. ¬†Solve it: Take an antihistamine, if you’ve never used them before, start with Loratadine or Cetirizine (the cheaper of the two – that’s $8-ish for 100 cetirizine pills vs $7-ish for 30 loratadines), and work your way through the others until you find the best one for you (they put strain on your liver so go with the lowest one available, usually the two I just mentioned are safest especially for long term use e.g. if you’ve a dust allergy and work anywhere with dust), and pinpoint and remove the source of the allergy as much as you can. ¬†Hayfever typically strikes when flower pollen is at its height, but tree pollen can also be a cause and it’s found earlier in the year (March to May in the UK, this varies by plant succession and climate around the world). ¬†Dust allergy is most commonly associated with year-round rhinitis (snot) and “hayfever relief” tablets work well for dust allergies too. ¬†Move onto Benadryl only if you’re having no luck with loratadine or cetirizine (in England, Benadryl’s active ingredient diphenhydramine is used in sleeping pills). If none of the over-the-counter allergy tablets work, it’s time to pull out the big guns and ask your doctor to prescribe you the prescription strength ones, but only go for these if you really need them, as they will take a toll on your liver. ¬†The clue about whether this is the cause is that you will have the other symptoms of allergy such as runny nose, hives etc, not just blue circles.

Iron Deficiency or Anaemia – If you can’t see any blue veins through the skin, just more of a continuous blueness radiating from the tear ducts, your blue circles are probably down to an iron deficiency. ¬†This can occur in meat eaters and vegans, and can be¬†associated with heavy blood loss e.g. due to your period. ¬†Solve it: ¬†Get some iron tablets, I’ve discussed which are best in this article. ¬†Continuous use of iron tablets has side effects. ¬†To determine whether your blue circles are down to iron deficiency, get a blood test done at the doctor’s, and check whether you have any other symptoms such as fatigue¬†or¬†poor concentration. ¬†Consult your pharmacist to check¬†if you can take iron, some people can’t. ¬†Pharmacists always know best about these things, they are a cove of free knowledge.

Vitamin K deficiency – This goes hand-in-hand with iron deficiency, as vitamin K deficiency causes you to have increased blood loss, and it will cause the rest of your face to have redness as well as those blue circles from blood deposits as vitamin K makes your blood clot and without it, it doesn’t clot properly (it also helps you absorb calcium). ¬†Many iron-rich vegetables are also great sources of vitamin K – such as kale or broccoli, or other dark green leafy things. ¬†Solve it: ¬†Vitamin K supplements. ¬†Read my article on Vitamin K for advice on all things Vitamin K related, as well as the other effects of vitamin K deficiency and the interaction (bad) between Vitamin E and Vitamin K (always leave some hours between taking E and K supplements and buy them as separate supplements or they cancel each other out). ¬†Avoid Vitamin K supplements if you have thrombosis or are taking anticoagulants (e.g. warfarin) as they cause problems, although if you think your blue circles are down to thinning of the blood, it is worth seeing your doctor if you’re on anticoagulants/blood thinners as they may need to adjust the dosage. ¬†Consult your pharmacist before taking Vitamin K if you need to; their advice is always free and while they can’t generally advise on the effect a vitamin will have on you, they can definitely ask the right questions and tell you whether there is any reason you shouldn’t take it. Many pharmacies don’t actually stock Vitamin K because so many people don’t understand its benefits, I buy mine from Amazon; here’s a link to the Vitamin K I’ve been buying (it’s vegan, they’ve changed the ingredients which is why I’ve changed to this one; the quality is better than some of the more expensive ones). If you’re in the UK, you can get it here although if you’re on a budget, I recommend the (not available in the US) Pure Nature Vitamin K; the packaging’s a bit weird but I tried it this month and I’m halfway through my first pack and the quality of the supplement is nearly as good as the first one I linked; get it here (UK only)
(I only recommend things I’ve bought myself).

Thin Skin under eyes: ¬†This can be something you were born with, sometimes it’s caused by a broken nose (it stretches and thins the under-eye skin) or it can just be a natural sign of ageing. If you’re really unlucky, it’s all three. When the skin under the eyes is too thin and pale, the blood vessels underneath will shine through like a shadow puppet show making delightful dark circles under the eyes. Luckily, some anti-ageing creams can help (even if you’re not ageing). ¬†Solve it: ¬†Creams marketed as “anti-ageing” are not created equal, but look for one with the ingredient Matrixyl in – this has been shown in double blind independent testing by the University of Reading (no pharma connections here, this is an unbiased study) to solve this problem. ¬†Common products include Olay Regenerist 3 Point (has to say 3 point on it) Age Defying Moisturiser (this is the exact one: I’ve found it to be more expensive in shops than on Amazon); Sanctuary Covent Garden Spa Power Peptide Protect Day Cream SPF 20 (NOW DISCONTINUED as of December 2016). ¬†Just Google Matrixyl Cream to see what comes up if you want to browse all the options, there’s loads, and they all put different amounts in, so if one doesn’t work for you, try another, although I highly recommend the Olay Regenerist 3 Point as I’ve found it to be fantastic and it’s had some excellent reviews compared to more expensive products. Use it VERY sparingly under the eye (I use tiny dots). ¬†The other solution is “laser resurfacing” but it costs thousands of dollars and I’ve not seen a single good review or success story for undereye work so I wouldn’t go there personally. Get it here if you’re in the UK

What doesn’t work:

1. Anything that says “banish dark circles” they’re usually marketed towards brown circles for people in their late 30’s onwards, and generally work by thinning the skin and bleaching it (which makes it more transparent, which as you and I both now know,¬†makes blue circles worse).

2. Caffiene under eye roll ons or creams: ¬†These dilate those blood vessels, which means they make them bigger, which makes blue circles worse!! ¬†I wish I’d known that before I tried one of these for 2 years!

3. Concealers and color correctors: ¬†I’ve heard of people using tangerine concealers to get rid of blue circles but I don’t think they work if your skin is very light or very dark. I’ve tried all of them (even the MAC colour corrector), I’ve watched countless application videos and not one single one worked to just make my under eye area look like the rest of my pale face – they all either left it a bit too white, orange or brown (or yellow) and some of them sparkled, which made people think I’d been punched in the face by a glitter fairy (illuminating glow? ¬†Who are they kidding??). ¬†Maybe these work on a different kind of blue circle, and to be fair, they do cover it up on camera, but face to face in real life for normal people they’re no good. ¬†Make up in general is no good¬†to cover this up for those of us who are pale, prone to activity, like walking from A to B, or who don’t like to waste time, as the blueness tends to show through after an hour or so of even the thickest plasterboard of make-up.

4. Normal eye cream: I’ve not actually found any normal eye creams to be useful for any of the common complaints around the eye area, particularly blue circles. ¬†Most of them are too watery or burn my under eye area which can be a sign of cell damage leading to ageing effects in the future so I discontinue use right away if anything burns.

5. Honey or beeswax – This bleaches things because it contains a low concentration of ammonia; honey is actually used to lighten hair “naturally” by some people. ¬†If you use it regularly under the eyes when you have blue circles, it will keep lightening the skin, which makes it more transparent, which will make your blue circles or veins stand out even more. It has it’s uses, but this isn’t one of them!

Update 2016: I also did this shorter article about purple circles (because mine are sometimes purple)
Got any more tips for blue circles? ¬†Share ’em in the comments! Click here to find out about the 3 brands I work with and find out how to get bigger lips without using fillers.

Beautiful Saturday: Primer Review

So I got Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer recently. ¬†I have been using Avon’s Anew Primer before, because it was the best primer I’d ever found, and before that I was using Clarins’s primer, which I received as a gift for Christmas 2013 and mistakenly thought it was an eye cream until I read the packaging in more detail. ¬†I thought I’d do a review of them all because I thought they were all so very different.

In order, then:

Clarins Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch:

What it looks like in the packet: ¬†It comes in a screw top jar that’s really tiny. ¬†It’s unusual for a primer, because it’s solid. ¬†I found it a bit like putting butter on my face, but it did melt in nicely and provided a reasonable base for my foundation.

What it looks like on my face: ¬†I used L’Oreal True Match and Benefit WOW Oxygen foundations with the Clarins¬†primer. ¬†I did find that they sat on top of it rather than settling in, which I thought was normal for primers at the time because I’d never used one before, but now I know better I don’t think I’m as happy about this. ¬†A finishing powder is a must with this primer. ¬†Also it didn’t fill in the potholes. ¬†You know, the pores you get in summer. ¬†It kinda made them worse because it sat on the higher bits so exaggerated the pores making me look old and haggard. ¬†At 26 that wasn’t really what I wanted from a primer.

What it looks like when you wash it off: ¬†It made no difference to how the make-up wore or came off, it didn’t prolong the wear of the foundation.

clarins primer

Overall rating: ¬†It was my first, and my least favourite primer. ¬†At the time, I didn’t really think it was useful as an addition to my make-up routine since I hadn’t tried any other at that point.

Avon Anew Skin Transforming Primer

What it looks like in the packet: It came in a pump action cylinder. ¬†It’s a thick white creamy substance that has the consistency of frozen soft serve ice cream. ¬†It’s not this one, it’s a different range, and it’s NOT an eyeshadow primer either!

What it looks like on your face: It fills in the surface and smooths out the summer pores nicely, I also found it covered up fine lines quite well and provided a good base for both foundation and eyeshadow. ¬†The foundation sank in slightly but not enough to dry out or form a crust (if you have even slightly dry skin and have ever been fooled¬†into using powder foundation on bare skin, you know what I’m talking about).

What it looks like when you wash it off: I find this primer makes it easier to wash off any make up I wear, leaving far less residue than any other primer, or foundation with no primer. ¬†I also find it isn’t remotely moisturising, so it’s important to use a proper day cream underneath, especially if you’re trying to preserve your youthful vigour for as long as possible before any of the obvious signs set in. ¬†I would certainly say that while it has no “anti-ageing” properties in the scientific mumbo-jumbo kind of way, it certainly creates a good visual and makes you look more flawless.

avon anew

Overall rating: I only bought this for my wedding, because I was an Avon rep at the time, but I’m still using it (long after I quit being a rep) and really love it. ¬†At ¬£9 I thought it was a bit expensive, but I got it at ¬£4.50 and when I think about how much the other two primers cost, I think I got one heck of a bargain. ¬†Avon’s usually VERY hit or miss but this primer is a big hit.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer:

What it looks like in the packet: It’s a squeezy tube. ¬†When I first opened it, there was this very greasy fluid (like, the exact opposite of viscous, it was about as fluid as acetone) that went straight down my hand and reached my elbow before I could wipe it off. ¬†After that first time, it’s always been a see-through colourless gel like silicon, almost like the lubricant we used to use on the milkshake machine at McDonalds.

What it looks like on your face: It goes on like silicon as well, so I would guess that it’s probably made of mostly silicon. ¬†It provides a phenomenal base for foundation and when I used it for a music video this week it made the foundation look totally flawless and that foundation stayed put all day on both days of filming. ¬†It also gave a good finish with the pigmented finishing powder I used (foundation alone tends to make one look pasty when you’re filming with bright lights) and this was the result:

smashbox primer provides a flawless base

smashbox primer provides a flawless base

What it looks like when you wash it off: ¬†It really lets itself down here. ¬†Maybe I’ve been spoilt by the Avon primer, but this one did something to make the foundation into a highly pigmented emulsion and it took over 10 minutes to wash it off with warm water and a sponge. ¬†Cold water just beaded off it. ¬†I guess that this is the flipside of using silicon. ¬†I didn’t use soap because soap is designed to get rid of oil-based things (such as most dirt) rather than silicon.

smashbox primer

Overall rating: I really loved the perfection this one created, it really did a good job at making skin look great on camera, and I would not hesistate to recommend the Smashbox Primer for anyone working in film and photography because underneath foundation and finishing powder it’s the best primer I’ve used for this purpose. ¬†I wish I’d had it for my wedding.

Overall Comparisons:

I don’t think there is any situation where the Clarins one would win. ¬†It just doesn’t do anything very well. ¬†I guess if you want something that’s 100% plant-based, you might want to give it a look, but I’m really scraping the bottom of the barrel for a positive because I’m not convinced on the provenance of the ingredients. ¬†See my article “what’s all natural and what are chemicals” for more explanation on this. ¬†I would ALWAYS use the Smashbox primer¬†for moving pictures, and any time I want to make a Youtube video from now on I will use the Smashbox Primer because it is really phenomenal at what it does. ¬†However, for a day-to-day primer if I was to get a job where I needed to wear makeup every day, I would not choose this one. ¬†Instead, I would pick the Avon Anew Primer. ¬†Why? ¬†Because it washes off easily, and when I’m working in a job where I have to wear make-up (professional ice skater, entertainment host, make-up sales rep, receptionist; all on my CV, and all GENERALLY jobs where you will get frowned upon¬†if you don’t wear make-up)¬†, my biggest pet hate is spending up to fifteen minutes trying to get the day’s foundation and mascara off, when I could be in bed getting more sleep. ¬†I’d rather look a bit less HD ready for day to day life and save the Smashbox stuff for filming.