Those of us who live in the city are at a disadvantage when it comes to skin health, because pollution is damaging to the skin. To find out how pollution damages the skin and leads to breakouts and how to avoid this effect, keep on reading.
How does pollution affect the skin?
Our skin is a natural barrier, but it is still vulnerable to free-radical damage. In the air, there are many different types of nanoparticles (small pollutants) and gases such as carbon monoxide which can damage the skin.
When our skin comes into contact with these nanoparticles, it causes free-radical damage to the skin. In the short term, you could get negative effects such as clogged pores and acne, but in the long run, pollution can lead to premature ageing.
Because nanoparticles get stuck in pores, they can cause blockages within them which lead to spots. You might also notice a worsening of the appearance of your pores when living in high pollution areas, because of the trapped pollution in your skin. I personally notice an increase in pimples when I spend a lot of time in the city. This can be extremely frustrating for those with acne prone skin, but I think this blog post will help you with this issue!
In the long run, free-radical damage can lead to premature ageing. This is because oxidation of the skin over time will break down its lipids and collagen, weakening the structure of the skin prematurely.
Those with skin sensitivity or skin that is prone to redness may also see an increase in these effects when spending extended periods of time in a busy city, because of the constant disruption of the skin barrier.
But it’s not all doom and gloom; here’s what you can do to protect your skin from these unwanted effects!
What you can do to protect your skin!
Washing your face alone might not be enough to get rid of the free-radicals settling into your pores. Deep cleaning is essential for fighting the effects of nanoparticles. Consider double cleansing when washing your face, to really cleanse your skin effectively. If you’re unsure how to double cleanse, feel free to reach out to me or leave a comment below! For really cleansing the pores, it’s a good idea to use cleansers specifically designed for pollution, and keep an eye out for salicylic acid.
The best way to protect yourself from the oxidation is to shield your skin from airborne pollutants by using skincare with antioxidants. These limit pollution’s effects on the skin. The Ordinary produces some extremely affordable and effective antioxidant serums, such as their Alpha Lipoic Acid.
In conjunction with this, using exfoliants will really help cleanse the pores and get the free-radicals off your skin. In my skincare guide, I explain about the different types of exfoliants, such as BHAs and AHAs. I really recommend checking it out to find out how to find the right exfoliator for you. My favourite exfoliators for protecting my skin against the effects of pollution are glycolic acid and salicylic acid.
When your skin is under attack from free-radicals, it’s more important than ever to add nutrients back to your skin. Using hydrating products, such as hyaluronic acid toners and serums will really help to rebalance the skin. I like to use a nice, nourishing moisturiser at night to help soothe my skin (my favourite at the moment is Cerave’s Moisturising Cream).
Keep an eye out for barrier protecting or repairing creams, too. These are specifically designed to help mitigate the effects of pollution on the skin. I’m currently using Bellflower’s Tamanu Oil Barrier Relief Cream which I’m really enjoying. It’s gentle and lightweight on the skin, and I enjoy using it when I’m spending time in London.
Although the effects of pollution can be really frustrating for those with acne-prone skin (like me), making sure you cleanse effectively and help protect yourself from free-radicals! I hope you found this post useful, and please subscribe to be notified when I post; it really helps me to keep doing the thing that I love.
Comment below where you live and if air pollution is an issue there!
To find out how to discover the right SPF for you and your particular skin needs, check out this post!
We all know that it’s important to wear sun screen, but it can be really difficult to know where to start because there are so many different types of sun screen out there! Plus, is it best to use SPF before or after your moisturiser? And what about moisturisers with SPF in them?
The different types of SPF
Good news; not all SPF gives a grey shadowy look to your skin! There are two types of sunscreen; chemical and mineral/physical SPF. The type of SPF that typically gives a greyish tint to your skin is mineral sunscreen. This is not a bad thing, but it might be bothersome for those with medium to dark skin tones, as it can really show up! For those with medium to dark skin tones, I would recommend chemical SPF as it is usually invisible and doesn’t show up on the skin.
When you use a physical sunscreen, the minerals sit on top of your skin and reflect the sun’s rays. This stops them from being able to enter the skin and cause you damage.
On the other hand, chemical sunscreen works by absorbing the sun’s rays. When they enter the skin, the chemicals break down the UV rays and stops them from harming your skin. Because I have medium toned skin, this is my preferred choice of SPF. No white cast!
Here’s how to correctly use SPF
Depending on the type of SPF you’re using, the order of use within your skincare routine can vary. Generally, physical sunscreen should be used at the end of your routine, so they can sit on top of your skin and do their job. Chemical sunscreen can be applied either before or after moisturiser, but I like to apply them before moisturiser to allow them to be absorbed into my skin better.
When applying SPF, don’t hold back. You need to apply plenty to make sure your skin is being protected well (about a half a teaspoon is ideal). And make sure to reapply every 2-3 hours to ensure you’re getting your protection all day long (especially in sunny weather).
Also, try to go for high concentration SPF, such as 50+. The more protection, the better!
Are moisturisers and makeup products that contain SPF effective?
This is a tricky question. I think it’s better to always use a separate SPF and not rely on sun protection from things like moisturisers and makeup. This is because SPF should be applied liberally, and if your only form of protection is from a foundation you won’t be applying a thick enough layer to properly protect yourself.
Moisturisers with SPF are fine to use, but the issue is that you need to reapply SPF throughout the day and you might not want to when you’re applying a thick moisturiser various times throughout the day.
Instead, I would recommend….
What SPF do I recommend?
I recommend lightweight, breathable sunscreens. My favourite ones are Korean because they’re great at formulating gentle and lightweight SPF. I highly recommend Purito’s Centella Green Level Unscented Sun lotion and Etude House’s Sunprise Daily lotion. La Roche Posay Antelios SPF and Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence are also non-greasy and comfortable on the skin.
I hope this post helped you on your quest to find the right SPF for your skin! If you have any questions, please leave them below! And consider subscribing to my blog to be notified when I upload, I would really appreciate that.
To find out if we need to wear sun screen every day, check out this blog post!
Our skin is incredibly sensitive and vulnerable to sun damage, and that’s why sun protection is the one skincare product that you should never skip! You don’t have to have a long skincare routine, and you don’t even need to have a skincare routine. BUT I would recommend using SPF on a daily basis. Now, let me explain why.
Although this is a beauty blog, skincare is not just about the appearance of skin, but the health, too. Wearing sun protection every day on your face (including when it’s grey outside or not very sunny) will protect your skin from unnecessary tissue damage and even skin cancer.
Here are 3 reasons why you should apply SPF to your face every day:
1) The sun’s rays can cause skin cancer
Prolonged exposure to UV rays over the years leads to deep tissue damage. This is the most serious type of tissue damage as it can lead to skin cancer! Skin cancer affects everyone; regardless of skin colour or skin tone. It’s often thought that black people can’t get skin cancer but this is absolutely not true.
It’s so important to not skip daily sun protection, especially if you live in a bright, sunny area. Please protect your skin!
2) The sun can age the skin prematurely
The sun’s UV rays also cause superficial skin damage which is a cause of premature ageing of the skin. The superficial tissue damage caused by the sun leads to a deterioration of collagen and elastin, which are two proteins that help to keep the skin bouncy, resilient and rigid. That’s why SPF is the biggest anti-ageing treatment out there.
It’s recommended to wear at least SPF 30 on a daily basis, and reapply every 2-3 hours, per the instructions of the sun screen. It’s also important to not neglect your neck as the skin there is thinner and so more prone to the first signs of ageing!
I want to mention that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with age showing on your face, but if you’re someone who would like to slow down the ageing process, wearing sun protection is a great way to hold back that tissue damage.
3) Exposure to the sun deepens acne scars
If you’re acne-prone, you might really enjoy the effects of wearing daily SPF on your skin. As someone who suffers from acne on my cheeks and along my jaw and chin, I know how annoying post acne scars are. You get rid of the spot and then you have to deal with a dark mark there for weeks and it’s so frustrating.
However, when you expose your acne scars to the sun, it deepens the colour (in the same way our skin tans when it’s in the sun). To help acne scars fade quicker, wear a high percentage of SPF (I recommend SPF 50), and reapply regularly.
Of course, it’s incredibly time consuming to apply SPF to your whole body every day and reapply frequently, so I must confess… I don’t apply SPF to my body unless it’s a sunny day and my skin is not protected by clothing. However, I do apply sun protection to my face every day regardless of the weather to help prevent my acne scars from darkening and to protect my skin from sun damage.
If you’re looking for a good SPF that doesn’t leave a white cast on your skin, I would recommend Korean sun lotions! Korean skincare is so effective and affordable, especially when it comes to SPF. Most Korean SPFs are factor 50 which is what you want for maximum protection. I highly recommend Purito’s Centella Green Level Unscented Sun lotion and Etude House’s Sunprise Daily lotion.
Next week I’ll be posting about the different types of sun screen and how to apply your SPF to make sure you’re getting the most out of your skincare! If you’ve found this post helpful, please comment below or share; I really appreciate it!
If you’re into skincare, you might be asking yourself why your skin is still rough, flaky and irritated even though you’re exfoliating and using hydrating and moisturising skincare products. Well, I’m about to give you 5 reasons why your skin is irritated that you might not have considered before!
There are lots of reasons why your skin might be irritated (no matter what you do to it!). Irritated skin can have dry, flaky patches as well as redness and small irritation bumps. It can be totally frustrating to have irritated skin, but it is usually possible to treat at home. When your skin is irritated, scale back your skincare routine to the most essential steps. You don’t want to be trying any new products nor doing too much exfoliation. Just cleanse your skin (double cleanse at night), then follow it up with a moisturiser with ceramides or madecassoside which will help repair the skin, and then apply SPF (during the day). This is all you need to help protect the skin and give it what it needs to heal and recover.
Here are the 5 reasons why your skin is irritated!
1) You’re being too rough with your skin
Often, skin irritation is self-inflicted. We can do a lot of damage to our skin without realising by being too rough with it!
Double cleansing is really important for getting all our makeup off and getting our skin really clean at night, but I wouldn’t recommend using makeup wipes for this. I outline this in more detail in my skincare guide which you can find here.
Makeup wipes are really rough on the skin, and they’re not very effective at removing our makeup which means we have to do a lot of rubbing (especially around the extra-sensitive eye area) to get all our makeup off. This can of course irritate the face. Instead of makeup wipes, I recommend using a nice cleansing balm or cleansing oil which you massage into the face to breakdown your makeup and then rinse it off. Plus, they’re less wasteful so they’re better for the environment!
Also, when you’re washing your face, be gentle! Use lukewarm water rather than hot water and I swear you’ll see a huge difference overnight! Hot water is very drying to the face, so using slightly cooler water can really help keep your skin balanced.
Another important point for when washing your face is that there’s no need to rub too hard, and if you use a facial sponge or cloth, don’t pull at your skin! Be gentle with your face when washing it.
Pillowcases can also be responsible for sensitising our skin. If you think you might have sensitive skin, consider switching to a satin or silk pillowcase because these are a lot softer on the skin. I have recently started placing a satin hair scarf over my pillow and my skin and face feel so much softer!
2) You might be sensitive to fragrance
Many skincare products are fragranced with natural or artificial fragrance. I do enjoy fragrance in my skincare because it adds a nice refreshing or luxurious element do doing my skincare routine, but I’m aware that they can be irritating to the skin! For this reason, I try to buy unfragranced products where possible.
If you notice that your skin is irritated, try checking out your skincare products to see which ones contain fragrance. You can try not using them for about a month to see if your skin gets less irritated. Artificial fragrance is usually listed as ‘fragrance’, but natural fragrance is harder to spot. Keep an eye out for essential oils because these are used to add fragrance to a product naturally.
Many people avoid chemical fragrance and opt for essential oils in their products instead, but really, essential oils aren’t great for our delicate facial skin. Essential oils can be very sensitising and drying, so they’re best used on the body rather than the face. If you’re worried about fragrance in your skincare, I would cut out both artificial and natural fragrance.
3) You might be trying too many new skincare products
There is so much skincare out there now that it can be really tempting to try everything and have really long, extensive skincare routines. There isn’t anything wrong with trying new skincare products and ingredients, but it’s important to not overload the skin. Our skin is quite delicate and might not be able to handle too many different products at the same time.
When introducing a new skincare product into your routine, make sure you test it on a small patch of skin 24 hours before using it all over your face for the first time. This is a really great way to make sure a product isn’t irritating to your skin. For this reason, it’s important to not have loads of skincare products in your routine, because if you get irritation from your new products, you’ll have no idea which one it is!
It’s also important to bear in mind that it takes about a month to see the effects of a new skincare product, so when you start trying a new one, stick with it!
4) You could be over-exfoliating
Exfoliation is a great way to get smooth, glowing skin- when done sparingly! To exfoliate, you can use physical or chemical exfoliants such as lactic acid, glycolic acid and malic acid. For a full breakdown on how to use chemical exfoliators click here.
I personally recommend chemical exfoliants over physical exfoliants like sugar scrubs, because the exfoliating particles in many face scrubs are way too rough and have sharp edges which can irritate the skin. Also, many scrubs contain microplastics which are polluting to the environment.
If you use exfoliators, make sure to only use them 1-3 times a week. If you use a scrub, make sure it’s not too rough. When using a chemical exfoliator make sure it’s not irritating your skin. If it is, consider using it less frequently or using one that is a lower percentage (making it less strong).
5) You might be mixing skincare ingredients that don’t go together
Although most skincare ingredients are compatible with others, there are some which you shouldn’t mix. For example, vitamin C and retinol should not be used at the same time, as combining them can cause irritation on your skin. I outline which skincare products don’t go together here! Check it out for more information 🙂
I hope this post helps you identify why your skin is still irritated no matter what you do! Please subscribe to my blog below, and leave me a comment; activity on my blog helps me continue to do what I love.
Hey there! In this post I’m going to be talking about how to find plastic free beauty products in the mainstream! It can be really difficult to find plastic free skincare and makeup options but believe me; they’re out there!
Keep reading to find out some key tips for finding eco-friendly beauty products, and some plastic free recommendations of mine.
Why plastic free?
If you’re here reading this post, I assume you already know why it’s a great idea to try and replace some of our plastic beauty products with plastic free or low-plastic alternatives. But if you don’t know what it’s all about, you can find out here.
For a long time now, plastic has been the norm. Plastic in and of itself isn’t a bad thing; it’s a fantastically versatile material that has so many forms and uses- and it’s a cheap material. For this reason it’s everywhere, and it’s hard to find products that don’t come in plastic (and this includes beauty!).
Although plastic is very versatile and cheap, it’s bad for the planet. Some plastics can be recycled, but many can’t, and the majority of recyclable plastics AREN’T recycled!
Of all the plastic ever produced, only 9% has ever been recycled world-wide (source: National Geographic).
This means that most of the plastic which we use for our beauty products, cleaning products, food packaging etc is either incinerated, buried underground, sits in landfills or ends up in the ocean. All of these outcomes are harmful to the environment. The burning of waste is a huge contributor to global warming, and plastic waste is damaging to animals which is why I personally am trying to reduce my plastic consumption and opt for less harmful, more recyclable materials.
Some great materials to look out for instead of plastic are glass and tin. These are easy to recycle which is why they’re great alternatives. All we have to do is to rinse them and set them into the recycling bin!
It’s becoming more and more common to see beauty products in tins and glass jars and bottles. However, aluminium tubes (like the kind used for medicated creams) are often not recyclable as it’s not possible to rinse them out before recycling.
Here are my 5 top tips to finding plastic free beauty products
1) Check out your favourite beauty brands to see if they have any eco-friendly options. It’s always great to start with brands that you already know and trust. Sometimes, you’ll get lucky and discover they carry products that are in eco-friendly packaging! For example, I recently noticed that The Body Shop have quite a few products that have very little plastic packaging.
2) Try to support small eco-friendly brands I highly recommend supporting eco-friendly brands (especially when they’re not very well-known), as these guys could do with our support more than the bigger brands! I think as a consumer it’s really nice to put your money into brands that really care about the causes you believe in!
3) Be ready to shop around I will warn you now: Not every plastic free or low-waste option is a winner! Sometimes it can take a while before you find that new favourite product- but stick with it!
4) Ask around When I’m looking to replace one of my beauty products with plastic free options, I always ask my family and friends if they know of one that comes in little to no plastic packaging. This way, you find options that you might not have found otherwise and you also raise conversation on shopping plastic free!
Here are some plastic free or low-waste skincare options!
I’ve seen cleansing balms come in glass jars and metal tins before! I’m currently testing out The Body Shop’s Chamomile Cleansing Balm (tin packaging), and I would like to try Beauty by Ané’s Cleansing balm (glass jar).
Likewise, Revolution Beauty have recently released a cleansing oil that comes in a glass bottle (with a plastic pump). I’m trying this one soon!
There are several options for plastic free facial cleansers. I always repurchase Carbon Theory’s Charcoal Cleansing bar (for my review of this one, check out this post) which comes wrapped in paper. Face Theory and Revolution beauty also make facial cleansers that come in a glass bottles with a plastic pump.
It’s easy to find serums in plastic free or low-waste packaging as many brands opt for glass bottles and glass droppers anyway as these protect the ingredients well from UV rays. A brand which packages all of their serums in glass is The Ordinary, sold under Deciem. I really love this brand and I have written several reviews of their products recently. To give these a read click here!
It’s a bit tricky to find facial moisturisers that are low-waste or plastic free. This is because using a squeezy tube helps to keep bacteria out of your product. You could look out for glass bottles with a pump or glass or tin jars. Face Theory carries a couple of facial moisturisers in glass jars with tin lids! Also, you could opt for facial oils such as rosehip oil and squalane oil which are easy to find in glass bottles with a pump or dropper. For example, Lyonsleaf and The Ordinary carry some great facial oils.
For the body, it’s really easy to find plastic free moisturisers, as you can be less picky about the ingredient list. What I mean here is that you wouldn’t want to use something too heavy for the face, whereas this is just right for the body! I was recently gifted Lyonsleaf body moisturisers and I really enjoyed them (to read a review of their whole range check out this post), and you can also make your own body moisturisers really easily! I enjoy making my own because it’s fun and it’s nice to know exactly what’s in your products. If you’d like to make one but you don’t know where to start, here is a recipe.
I haven’t found a plastic free SPF yet but I will update this post when I do find one. Please comment below if you know of one!
It’s relatively easy to find plastic free lip balms. Even humble Vaseline is a great plastic free option. If you’re looking for something more moisturising though, check out Literary Lip Balms. Their stuff is really cute and is really good for the lips.
Here are some plastic free or low-waste makeup options!
For mascara, you can try cake mascara. Cake mascara is the OG type of mascara that was used before the 1960s. This is a thicker type of mascara which comes in a tin. To use cake mascara, take a reusable mascara wand (or recycle one from an old mascara tube) and roll it gently in the tin until it is covered. Then brush it over your lashes like normal. Clean Faced Cosmetics on Etsy make 2 different types of plastic free mascara, one of which is cake-mascara in a tin and the other is a liquid mascara in a glass jar.
Here are some plastic free or low-waste haircare options!
It can be tricky to find plastic free haircare! Nevertheless, Anita Grant produces shampoos and conditioners that come in a glass bottle with a pump, and the Afro Hair and Skin Company also produces some of these as well as an eco-friendly hair butter. These two brands also make shampoo bars (and so does Lush); which are shampoos in solid bar form. These are great plastic-free and zero-waste options as they don’t need to come in packaging.
I’m very excited to share these two eco-friendly haircare brands which focus on afro haircare! Seeing as this is a black-run blog that tries to be as inclusive as possible, it makes me really happy to shed some light on some plastic free options that are designed with black people in mind.
I know that it takes time to find zero-waste, low-waste or plastic free options, but finding new products and brands which are eco-friendly is a fun process! It might not be possible to find eco-friendly versions of everything you’re looking for; but that’s ok. The main thing is that we’re trying!
I personally still have many plastic products in my collection, but I think it’s good that I’m always trying to support smaller brands and eco-friendly brands where possible.
This post is a review of The Ordinary Squalane Cleanser. If you’d like to find out if this oil-based cleanser is worth the money, keep on reading!
Who are The Ordinary?
The Ordinary are a fuss-free, super affordable skincare brand that focuses on making great skincare accessible. Their products are around £4 to £10 (super affordable!), and they have dozens of different products for different skin types and skin needs.
Because of this, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when wanting to try some of their products, which is why I’m highlighting and reviewing some of their products here on my blog.
So far, I’ve had a really great experience with this brand. Some of their things don’t work for my skin at all, but others have become staples in my skincare routine.
I have previously reviewed their Alpha Arbutin serum, which you can check out here!
For reference: I have combination acne-prone skin.
What are oil cleansers?
Oil cleansers are cleansers that contain no water; they only contain plant oils or synthetic oils. They can be made of many different plant oils such as sunflower oil, rosehip oil and squalane oil (like this one!). Synthetic oils aren’t necessarily bad, but some aren’t biodegradable. This means they won’t ever break down, which makes them really polluting to the planet! In order to be a bit more eco-friendly, check the ingredients of your cleanser before purchase to make sure they are environment-safe.
Oil cleansers are usually used before water-based cleansers (such as foam or gel cleansers), but if you have dry skin, you can use an oil cleanser as your main cleanser. The method of using two cleansers is called ‘double cleansing’, and it is a great way to make sure you’re really cleansing your skin well. In fact, you can use an oil cleanser to remove all your makeup!
To use an oil cleanser, rub the oil onto your dry skin. Massage in small circles, and then add some water to your hands and continue to massage a little bit, then rinse! After this, follow up with a water-based cleanser to properly cleanse your skin. For a complete breakdown on how to double cleanse, check out my skincare guide.
About this cleanser
This is an oil cleanser that contains a high percentage of squalane oil, a really nice moisturising oil. I personally love using a squalane oil on my face at night, after using a water-based moisturiser, as it really helps lock the rest of my skincare in.
This cleanser comes in a plastic tube. I am constantly looking for plastic-free skincare options, so for this reason, I would not repurchase this one. It’s really difficult to squeeze out all the cleanser for the tube, so to use it all up, I would cut the tube to get the last bits out!
I really love the texture of this cleanser. It feels like a gel which then turns into an oil on the skin. You do need to use quite a bit of it to do the whole face though, which is definitely a draw back for me.
As all of The Ordinary’s products are, this cleanser is unfragranced and has no noticeable scent. This is actually great for your skin, as fragrance can be irritating for a lot of people.
Does the cleanser work well?
I think this is a good oil cleanser. Although you need to use quite a bit of it to cleanse the whole face, it really works in getting your makeup off. It breaks down makeup and mascara quite well (although I sometimes have to use micellar water to get off all my waterproof mascara), and it emulsifies really nicely. When you add a bit of water to it, it turns milky immediately, making it super easy to remove.
My favourite thing about this cleanser is how it makes my skin feel after using it. It leaves my skin feeling really moisturised and soft! This is how I was introduced into how nice squalane makes your skin feel, and now I use it all the time. However, for this reason, I wouldn’t recommend this cleanser to people with oily skin, unless you double cleanse afterwards to remove the oils from the skin.
The cleanser is so affordable, it’s hard not to fall in love.
Would I recommend this?
I would recommend this cleanser to anyone looking for an affordable first cleanser, or an oil-based cleanser. For the price, this is a fantastic, no frills cleanser that leaves your skin cleansed and soft as anything.
I personally won’t be repurchasing this one right away as I have some plastic-free ones that I want to test out. However, if they ever started selling it in a tin or jar, I would buy that straight away!
I hope you find this review helpful! If you do, please subscribe to my blog below!
This post is a full review of The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% +HA serum. To find out what Alpha Arbutin does, and whether it actually works, check out this review!
This post is one of several upcoming The Ordinary reviews I’m going to post, as I’ve tried so many of their products now. So many of their products are fantastic, but some have been big fails for me. So, to make sure you don’t miss these reviews, subscribe to my blog at the bottom of the page!
Who are The Ordinary?
The Ordinary are a fuss-free, super affordable skincare line that focuses on making great skincare accessible. Many of their products are low-waste and some are even plastic-free, which I think is great. As someone who is trying to be more eco-friendly, it makes it easier to find eco-friendly products that work.
Their products are around £4 to £10 (super affordable!), and they have dozens of different products for different skin types and skin needs.
Because of this, it’s easy to get overwhelmed when wanting to try some of their products, which is why I’m highlighting and reviewing some of their products here on my blog.
So far, I’ve had a really great experience with this brand. Some of their things don’t work for my skin at all, but some of their products have become staples in my skincare routine.
For reference: I have combination acne-prone skin.
What is Alpha Arbutin?
Alpha arbutin is an active ingredient that gradually and gently fades scars and hyperpigmentation marks on the skin. This allows your skin to look more even and clear. Don’t worry, this will not whiten or lighten your skin, it only fades marks and scars!
Alpha Arbutin is a great skincare ingredient for those who have post inflammatory inflammation, acne scars or melasma (age spots). I’ve also used it to fade an old brown scar caused by a burn, and it faded it significantly. So I really recommend this active ingredient to those with stubborn marks that won’t fade away.
About the serum
The Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin serum is vegan and cruelty free, and it’s formulated without silicones and oils, making it great for all skin types. The Alpha Arbutin is also formulated with hyaluronic acid, which is great as it makes the ingredient more stable. Plus, hyaluronic acid is a really good hydrator, meaning the serum will also bring a plumpness to your skin.
The serum contains 2% Alpha Arbutin which is fantastic, as it’s a high concentration of the active ingredient.
I really like the texture of this serum. It’s a clear, lightweight serum which sinks into the skin in seconds. I find that it doesn’t leave my skin sticky at all. Even better, it doesn’t break me out at all or make my oily areas oilier. It’s just light and comfortable on the skin.
Does it work?
YES! I really like this serum. Not only is it super affordable, but it really works.
I apply it after toner and before thicker products such as lotion or moisturiser both morning and night. I only apply it to the areas I have marks I want to fade; I don’t apply it all over the face as I don’t need it everywhere. I recommend using it like this to avoid wasting the serum and your money! Plus, it’s best to use the least amount of products possible on your skin to avoid irritating it or overworking it.
As with all skincare, you won’t see an immediate effect with this serum. When I first started using it, I noticed an improvement after about 2 weeks of using it, but it wasn’t until I had been using it for about a month that my hyperpigmentation faded significantly (and completely in some areas).
I find that this works to fade spot scars and brown marks really well, but I think it might struggle with very dark age spots. I say this as I have one mark of hyperpigmentation which is quite pronounced, and it hasn’t faded completely even though I’ve been applying this product to it for about 2 months. It has lightened slightly though.
Would I recommend The Ordinary’s Alpha Arbutin?
I would definitely recommend this serum. It’s a quick step to add to your skincare routine and the effect on the appearance of your skin is huge. If you have acne scarring or hyperpigmentation, I really recommend adding this one to your AM and PM skincare routines.
Make sure to use SPF in the morning if you start using this serum, as active ingredients like this will make your skin more susceptible to sun damage.
I hope you found this review useful! For more reviews like this one, make sure to check out my previous blog posts, and subscribe to be notified via email when I post my next The Ordinary review!
This is a brand review of Lyonsleaf, a British-based eco-friendly skincare company! They kindly gifted me some of their products for review. In this post I’ll be talking about their Soften and Rejuvenate Facial Oil, Beauty Balm, Zinc & Calendula Cream, Calendula & Marshmallow Balm, Calendula Cream and Natural Body Butter.
About the brand
Lyonsleaf are a small brand who have a focus on simple and gentle products. This is a clean, eco-friendly brand which makes me really excited! My package arrived in 100% recyclable and compostable packaging which I think is fantastic.
Their products only contain oils (essential oils and plant oils) as Lyonsleaf believe that the skin can be healed and moisturised through fatty plant-based oils. They also claim that all of their products are can be used on the face as well as the body.
Now, I’m a bit sceptical of this.
Sometimes, the skin needs more than plant oils to heal. I suffer from eczema, and when I’m having a flare-up I need ceramides in my skincare, and sometimes even cortisone cream (more on this later). Also, essential oils can be drying to the skin so I wouldn’t recommend that everyone use them on their face, especially without patch testing them beforehand! Plus, some of their products contain plant oils like shea butter and coconut oil which are too oily for a lot of skin types.
But with everything, everyone is different and you might love these heavy oils on the face!
For reference: I have combination acne-prone skin on my face, and very dry skin on my body (which requires daily moisturiser).
Soften & Rejuvenate Facial Oil
This is my favourite product of theirs. This is a facial oil with a really pleasant and earthy rose smell. It’s cold-pressed, meaning it contains many nutrients which are great for skin health. It comes in a beautiful brown glass bottle with a pump.
Although it is an oil, it doesn’t leave you feeling very oily and it sinks in quite quickly!
Ingredients This oil is made up of different oils; it mostly contains sunflower oil, and it also has rosehip oil, avocado seed oil and borage seed oil. Sunflower oil is perfectly safe for use on the face, and it is a very good moisturiser for the skin! If you have acne-prone skin, test this one with some caution at first in case it breaks you out, but I didn’t experience any clogged pores or spots.
It contains some essential oils so if you have sensitive skin you should do a patch test 24 hours before using it on your face.
Would I recommend it? I would recommend this oil! It feels super nice on the face, and using it is quite luxurious. A word of caution; if this is the only moisturiser or skincare you use on your face, try to incorporate a hydrating toner, essence or serum to make sure your skin is getting enough hydration. Moisturisers regulate your skin’s oil production but hydrators like Hyaluronic acid keep your skin hydrated and plump. This refers to the water levels in your skin. For more on this, check out my skincare guide!
This moisturiser comes in a beautiful brown glass jar with a metal lid. I love the eco-friendly packaging, and I’ll definitely be repurposing this jar. The cream has a fluffy, thick texture that feels kind of whipped.
Lyonsleaf state on their website that this balm is a makeup remover as well as a moisturiser. They claim that you should massage it into your face to break down your makeup, then take a hot towel to remove all the oil.
Now, I am all for double cleansing but I would NOT recommend using a moisturiser this way. Our skin needs a good cleansing at night (think of all the makeup and pollutants sitting on your skin by the end of the day), and using a moisturiser is not going to cleanse your skin.
You can use an oil or balm cleanser, that emulsifies (turns milky) when coming into contact with water to help take off your makeup before going into a gel or foam cleanser. This is actually a really effective way to cleanse your skin. BUT, this oil-based moisturiser will not clean your skin and it will not rinse off of your face with water (imagine trying to wash an oily pan with just water and no soap).
My favourite balm cleanser is Banila Co’s Clean it Zero. For more information on double cleansing I would recommend my skincare guide!
I tried this moisturiser as a facial cream, but it didn’t work for me. It was far too heavy and oily for my face, but where I love it is on my body. My body loves oils, and this one has a nice dry oil feel to it. When it absorbs my skin feels suuuuuper soft.
Ingredients This cream is gently fragranced with rosemary and patchouli essential oils. It also contains shea butter, macadamia nut oil, almond oil and jojoba oil which are all really good moisturisers.
Would I recommend it? As a body moisturiser, I would definitely recommend this, but I wouldn’t recommend this as a makeup remover.
Zinc & Calendula Cream
This cream is designed to be gentle and healing for sensitive or rash-prone skin by forming a barrier to protect the skin from drying out.
I used this on two areas where I have eczema; one being a lot worse than the other. I didn’t find that this cream soothed or helped to calm the skin. However, the way it forms a barrier is quite useful for acting as a liquid shield against water loss. I liked using this after my medicated cortisone cream and it helped it work better by keeping all my skin’s hydration and moisture inside.
A word of warning; this skin leaves quite a visible white cast on the skin so it’s best used in smaller areas.
Ingredients This cream contains calendula and zinc oxide, which can help to soothe eczema, rosacea and dermatitis, and mashmallow root to repair the skin. To moisturise, it has sunflower oil, babassu oil and borage oil. This cream contains no essential oils so it is unfragranced.
Would I recommend it? Not really. It does form a barrier over the skin but I couldn’t recommend this as an all-over treatment as it changes your skin colour and it didn’t improve my eczema.
Lyonsleaf also sent me a mini sample of their Calendula & Marshmallow Balm, their Calendula Cream and their Natural Body Butter.
Calendula & Marshmallow Balm
This unfragranced balm has a beautiful warm golden colour. I enjoyed using this one on my lips, cuticles and dry patches of skin (such as my elbows). It’s a very firm balm, but it melts on the fingers.
It softens and moisturises well.
Ingredients Like the previous cream, this balm contains calendula and marshmallow root extract. It doesn’t contain essential oils.
Would I recommend it? Yes! As this is a very intense balm; I would recommend it for dry patches of skin or lips and cuticles, rather than being used all-over. It reminds me of a more moisturising Vaseline.
This cream has a lovely thick and creamy texture. It melts to the touch and turn into an oil, so a little goes a long way. It makes a really nice body butter as it leaves the skin feeling velvety. It’s quite similar to the Beauty Balm.
I love the subtle scent of this cream!
Ingredients It contains essential oils, and its main moisturising ingredients are almond oil and shea butter.
Would I recommend it? I would recommend this as a body butter (not for the face as it’s very rich). Like the Beauty Balm, it moisturises the skin nicely.
Natural Body Butter
This is the last moisturiser that I was sent to review. This is quite similar in texture to the previous cream, although it doesn’t sink in as quickly. It has a rich, coconut scent which quite nice.
Ingredients This body butter moisturises with shea butter, coconut oil and avocado oil. It contains essential oils. If you have body acne watch out for coconut oil as it can clog pores.
Would I recommend it? This body butter is OK, but it’s less luxurious than the Beauty Balm and the Calendula Cream.
Overall, I think Lyonsleaf’s products are really nice. My top picks are:
1- Facial Oil.
2- Beauty Balm and Calendula Cream for the body only.
3- Calendula and Marshmallow balm for those extra dry areas.
If you want to use an oil-based moisturiser on the face, watch your skin carefully to see how it reacts (especially if you have acne-prone skin).
I really hope you found this review useful, and please subscribe below for more brand reviews!
If you’re into K-Beauty, you probably know that Korean brands are the masters of lip tints. But does the Holika Holika Water Drop Tint Bomb stand up against the likes of Peripera and 3CE?
If you’ve never heard of lip tints before, they’re sheer lip products that stain the lips for 4-12 hours. This means you can wear your lip colour all day without needing to reapply! Even better, as they stain your lips, lip tints often are undisturbed by eating; even eating greasy meals. For more information on lip tints check out this post.
This Holika Holika lip tint is super cute. It is a lip balm that is shaped like a droplet! The fact that it is a lip balm AND lip tint is a really unique thing. In theory, you get two benefits at the same time: lip hydration/moisture and a long-lasting lip colour! But is this really moisturising, and is the tint flattering and long-lasting?
I bought the shade Peach Water, which is really pretty bright orangey pink. It is bright on the lips and lifts the complexion without looking too fake at all. It gives you a glow-from-within kind of look which I really love. I bought it in Korea, and paid 3000₩, which is around £2 or $2.50, which is obviously super cheap! I don’t know much about the brand Holika Holika, but I do know they’re a K-beauty brand.
Because of the droplet shape, the balm has sharp edges which makes application quite easy. And because it’s a watery balm it glides over the lips super smoothly. This is actually a texture that I have never experienced in a lip product before. When it comes in contact with the skin, it feels like actual water, or like tiny little bombs of water are exploding on your lips! I think that explains the name of the product!
Although this lip tint claims to be hydrating, I’m not so sure about that (but at least it doesn’t dry out my lips like many lip stains). The tint dries down really fast, and it doesn’t leave a creamy feeling on the lips unlike most lip balms. It honestly feels like there isn’t anything on my lips, so I don’t think it’s a true replacement for lip balm.
One thing that really threw me off about this balm at first is the taste. It’s not like I go around eating lip balms, but you know, sometimes a little bit gets in your mouth, right? No? Oops.
But seriously, it tastes like glue stick. I haven’t eaten a glue stick either (I promise), but it really doesn’t taste like a lip product. I try really hard to not lick my lips at all when wearing this because I hate the taste.
How it looks on the lips
When I first started wearing this tint, I only applied one layer. I was not impressed, as it looks super patchy. It clings to dry patches and it doesn’t apply evenly. I then out of curiosity (and boredom), applied one or two more layers and all of a sudden, I had an even application of a really stunning tint. I’ve mentioned this before, but it looks like it glows and makes your skin look brighter. This does mean that you end up with quite a bright result.
Is the tint long wearing?
YES! One million times YES. When I apply two or three layers of this tint, it stays until bed time. It’s pretty crazy! I usually use an oil or balm cleanser to break it down when I’m ready to remove it (to find out more about double cleansing check out this post), but usually a subtle tint still remains.
Overall, I think this is a really fun product. It definitely makes a fun gift for those who enjoy K-Beauty. Although the taste is… unfortunate, and it applies patchy at first, I think I would recommend this tint. Just apply a couple of layers and enjoy a lip tint that will last all day! And don’t be afraid to use lip balm on top if you notice your lips getting a bit dry; this is not a replacement for lip balm.
I think I will repurchase this one!
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This blog post contains affiliate links. If you purchase this product through my site it doesn’t cost you anything extra and I can earn a small commission.
To discover some black-owned beauty brands, check out this post!
This year has been a wild ride.
I have been active about the Black Lives Matter movement on social media, particularly on my Instagram (to find out more, find me here). Today, I was originally going to post a beauty product review here on my blog but that just didn’t feel right, given what’s going on in the U.S. (and across the world).
Instead, keeping with my blog’s theme of beauty, I want to highlight some black owned beauty brands. Some of these are eco-friendly, which is something I’m passionate about here on my blog. These brands featured here are from all over the world; some are American, some Caribbean and some British.
Being British, finding black British-owned beauty brands is important to me, and I found it surprisingly difficult to find sustainable, black-owned beauty brands. Nevertheless, here is a list that I think you’ll enjoy!
I’m starting off this list with by far the most luxurious product. Oui The People produce beautiful, sleek looking safety razors (those traditional razors that are reusable). They’re called safety razors as they came after the original Sweeny-Todd-esque razors that were just essentially sharp knives that were dragged along the skin (scary times).
These are totally reusable and the only waste they produce are metal blades which can be recycled, rather than plastic heads which are impossible to recycle. And they’re a million times more sustainable than disposable razors!
This British-based company really excites me. I will placing an order of their products soon and I will of course write a review here on my blog.
This cruelty-free company makes sustainable skincare and haircare products. Not only are their face and body products eco-friendly, their hair products are suitable for Afro Caribbean hair. I love seeing eco-friendly hair products, especially when they’re designed for Afro hair!
They make some beautiful shampoo bars (shampoo in solid bar form so you don’t need plastic packaging!) that are sulphate free. Shampoo bars are shampoo in solid bar form, so you can go without plastic packaging! They also have shampoo and conditioner that comes in glass bottles with a pump if you like the classic formulation.
For the face and body, they have face masks and moisturisers.
This is another British brand that produces eco-friendly products. These are also suitable for everyone, but they’re designed with Afro hair in mind. They also produce shampoo bars, as well as a hair oil and hair butter.
If skincare is more your kind of thing, you can find a sustainable facial oil and clay mask here! I will also be trying this brand at some point in the near future, as I’m really curious about the hair butter.
Mielle Organics is such a popular American brand right now. They’re making quite a name for themselves in the world of hair care!
This brand produces shampoos, conditioners, hair masks and hair oils suitable for curly hair. Their most famous product right now is their Babassu Oil and Mint Deep Conditioner; I’ve heard really good things about this hair mask.
This company also does some skincare; they sell lotion, hand cream, cleanser, serum and a face mask. Unlike the previous two companies, this is not an eco-friendly brand.
I was drawn to this brand as they’re a Trinidad and Tobago based beauty company. I haven’t mentioned this here on my blog before, but I am half Trinidadian and half Spanish. So, when I came across this brand, I had to delve deeper!
They’re a cruelty free makeup company who gained popularity for their Buttercup Face Powder, designed to withstand the heat and intensity of a Caribbean Carnival. Aside from powder, they also make foundation, blush, lip products, eye shadow and some glitters that truly look amazing. These Pure Jewels glitters are made for carnival so you just know they’re going to be colourful and blindingly bright (just as we like it).
This makeup brand was founded by a Nigerian born, LA and London based woman named Sharon Chuter. This brand produces high quality face products, lip, eye and brow products. They’re becoming more and more popular right now and for good reason; they have fantastic reviews.
This is another black-owned beauty brand. The style of this brand is quite pretty; most of their products fit into the colour palette of nude tones. They’re stunning shades, plus: they’re nude shades that are actually made for black people.
Mented make face products, lip products, eye products and even carry some pretty nail polishes.
I hope you have enjoyed this post, and if you want to learn more about why people are protesting, please click the above link which I’ll place here too.
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