I Think My Moisture Barrier is Damaged.

…and I haven’t been using acids! WHAT.
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My skin was in a state of dryness just after Christmas where just about my whole family looked at me and went, ‘why are your cheeks so red???’ Making me panic and check the mirror and yes, my inner cheeks¬†were unusually red. Now, I am prone to a state of ‘Asian flush’ when I drink (we were all reminded of that during the Christmas lunch…) and my family compared it to that too, but I hadn’t been drinking!

It’s true that acids aren’t the only cause of damage to the moisture barrier (I’ve been browsing horror skincare tales on Reddit too much, really) and in my case, it was most likely the winter cold or something else. Either way, not pleasant.

The signs I noticed were:

  • unusually smooth skin that didn’t match the rest of my face in texture. It was even like dry lips, but not flaking! It didn’t feel overly tight, though.
  • The unusual flushing.
  • Itchiness! I felt the strong need to scratch my inner cheeks sometimes!
  • At its worst, my usual go-to products stung my cheeks on application.
  • Some people have mentioned over-oily forehead before as a sign but my forehead is always, always oily. It has, however, felt textured quickly after cleansing which I can’t be 100% sure is unusual.

I’m already writing up plans for the annual skincare routine post but for now, it’s been stripped back a few layers. There’s not much in my routine at the moment to help with fixing a damaged moisture barrier but this is what my next payday earnings will go towards ūüėČ

Until next time,

X

Review: Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask in Vanilla

Hi everyone!

This Laneige lip sleeping mask has constantly been up there on my list to try because so many have raved about it. I never expected to actually buy it, though. It’s about ¬£16-20 a pot, normally! WAY out of my ideal price range.

However, K-Mall, an online store based in Korea, had them on a special sale for about ¬£7 with free shipping, too.  Isn’t that INSANE?? They offered the main berry flavour and also some of the special edition flavours like apple.

They often do cool ‘deals of the day’ where a very specific item drops steeply in price and they offer it with free shipping worldwide. Last time I checked, they were discounting many K-pop idol groups’ official calendars. It’s certainly worth checking out.

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The little tub contains 20g of product which is actually quite a lot for a balm, and I’ve barely made a dent in it in the few months I have had it and I have no doubts that it will last a year. I picked up the vanilla flavoured pot, which smells divine. The pot is sturdy and luxe and it comes with a spatula in an envelope although I think that’s a bit too much faff… I have yet to touch it, personally! I just make sure my hands are clean when it comes to touching the tub.

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This particular range contains a lot of fruit extracts and a mix of all sorts of emollients from shea butter to murumuru. It claims to melt away dead skin cells and make the lips feel smooth and elastic.

I like to use it when my lips are already sort of in a flaky condition since I have something else I prefer for when my lips aren’t flaking already, and I apply it in a very thick layer at the start of my nighttime skincare routine. Despite this sometimes it doesn’t feel substantial enough for winter time and I have been spreading a thin layer of Lanolips underneath it recently, which I feel has boosted its effects.

I might be back later this year when the weather is warmer to tell you what my thoughts are on using this in the summer compared to winter.

I’m not sure that I would ever repurchase this at full price. I keep thinking that there are probably many other products that can do what this does to my lips, and whilst this product does stand up to its claims it’s just… so pricey!

Overall, I am enjoying using this and will finish it all up, but it’s not worth the [full] price tag and other options, for me, do the job just as well.

What do you think of this balm if you have tried it?

Until next time,

X


Days since I last bought lipstick: 10

Lipstick last worn: Maybelline Creamy Matte in Brown Sugar

Review: Superdrug Calm Skin 2-in-1 Serum & Moisturiser

Hello everyone!

I spotted Superdrug’s new additions to their own-brand skincare line whilst shopping around for Christmas, and thought I would pick something up to try. The Superdrug Calm Skin range aims to de-stress skin and includes an overnight mask, a cleanser, a facial spray and a facial oil. None of which break the bank at less than a fiver (or even ¬£3) as far as I know!

The item that appealed to me the most was the Hydrating 2-in-1 Serum and Moisturiser (how does that work?) which costs £2.99 for a 50ml. It claims to instantly soothe, calm, and deeply nourish the skin as well as improving skin texture over at least 4 weeks. Well, mine has been in use for longer now, and regularly at that so I thought it was time to share my thoughts.

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The bottle is very similar to their other serums in different ranges, such as the Simply Pure Hydrating Serum which has long been a staple in my routine.¬†The textures of the Simply Pure and Calm Skin serums are similar, too. The Simply Pure feels fractionally less greasy which is part of why I love it, but there’s nothing particularly greasy about the Calm Skin so ??? I can’t pin it down either. Something is different but not largely so. The Calm Skin serum itself is also more translucent than the Simply Pure.

One of the things that made me drop my hard earned coins (literally, considering the price) on this was the inclusion of Niacinamide which is fifth on the ingredients list. Niacinamide is touted for its help with dullness or uneven skin texture caused by acne scars. The hyaluronic acid and chamomile are much lower down so unless you’re allergic to either, neither of those two should be the deciding factor if you’re considering buying this.

I have had both this and The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% Serum in testing and therefore both will have contributed to the recent improvement in my skin texture, particularly a deeper acne scar becoming more even, and blemishes gradually matching the rest of my skin (!). However, I tended to reach for this more often The Ordinary’s option, one of the reasons being that I don’t need to dilute it for use and can just slather it on.

After using this, I realised how much I had been taking for granted the scent-less Superdrug Simply Pure hydrating serum, once again. If you recall I did not like their B.Hydrated Essence Lotion largely because of the sharp scent. The Calm Skin Serum & Moisturiser product also suffers from this but not as badly. Overall, it’s not off-putting and I got used to it.

Overall:

  • I like that it has niacinamide which actually did something.
  • It’s hella cheap.
  • Fragrance, as always, is a personal thing.
  • Does occasionally cause makeup to pill but is it just me or is it really hard to find skincare that doesn’t do that?????? I need help in that department, friends.

As a final point, I am halfway through my bottle after almost-nightly use of 2 pumps, so sticking at this rate I will take 2 months to finish this bottle (1 month if I used it both day and night). Not bad.

Take advantage of the superdrug skincare offers they often do for their own brand if you decide to pick this up! This is worth a try if you have coins to spare.

Until next time,

X

Review: Dr Paw Paw Original Balm

Hi everyone!
So, a few weeks ago, I posted mini-reviews of the lip balms I have used before. I was pretty blunt there about how underwhelming I found this Dr PawPaw balm. However, I spotted the large sized product in TK Maxx for the same price as the small one (that I picked up at Primark) and ended up buying it. Why did I do that if I didn’t like it?
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On the left, the 10ml tube, on the right the 25ml/0.85fl.oz tube.
Here are the product details as swiped from the packaging.
Multipurpose soothing balm with natural fermented pawpaw.
For lips, skin, hair and beauty finishing, cuticles and nails. Fragrance Free.
Dr PawPaw balm provides relief for dry irritated skin, moisturises lips, nails and cuticles. Soothes dry cracked skin such as hands, heels and elbows. Use for adding finishing touched to hair and smoothing brows. Helps with insect bites and minor abrasions.
Don’t leave home without it!
First off, let me start that I absolutely did leave home without it. In fact, I’m not sure either of my tubes have left the house since I brought them home.
Ingredients:
Petrolatum, Olea Europaea (olive) fruit oil, Carica Papaya Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
What I specifically said about this product was it was essentially Vaseline (note the petrolatum at the top of the ingredients list) only with extra stuff in it. I still stand by that statement, and if you’re the type that swears by Vaseline then, well, it’s still a cheaper option than going out of your way to buy this. But if you ever get bored of the blue tub, or happen to find a large tube for ¬£2.50 instead of its usual ¬£6.95, there’s always this bright yellow thing.
Alternatively, decant your vaseline into a small squeezy tube from Muji.
So petrolatum/petroleum jelly is an emollient or in other words an occlusive agent, which means it covers the skin with a layer to trap moisture in. This is why it’s particularly effective for conditions like eczema where the skin sometimes cannot retain the moisture itself. Dr PawPaw is that, plus other things that I personally believe make no difference to how this product operates on my skin.
My lips have some very flaky days, and tend to do their thing mid-day, which isn’t really ideal when I want to go to university in lipstick. I can often feel it through tightness in the morning if my lips have been nice the evening before. However, with a liberal slathering of Dr PawPaw in the evenings, this doesn’t happen.
This is a very specific situation in which I use this product – if they’re already flaking away, there are other products I like to use.
I also prefer the tube packaging as opposed to a tub, but I like stick balms better for half-asleep application in the middle of the night when my lip balm has rubbed off.
Overall, I will use up my tube while continuing my search for my favourite lip balm, as this certainly has a place in my lip care routine.
Have you tried this before and is this a favourite of yours? Let me know!
Until next time,
X

A Lip Balm Collection Round-Up and Mass Review

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Lip balms, lip balms, lip balms. Where on earth would I be without these? They’re just an absolute essential in everybody’s handbags/purses/pockets/vanity. Mine usually live on my vanity as I wear lipstick out every chance I get, and tend to wear balm only in the evening and when I am at home all day.

I wasn’t sure how much to write for this ¬†– on one hand, it’s lip balm… On the other hand, it’s lip balm! Important necessity!! Anyhow, here are some mini-reviews.

 Rimmel Lasting Finish Kate Moss Lip Balm SPF 15

First bought in a teeny haul two years ago. It’s simply a clear balm – I like the sweet smell, it’s a little greasier than I would like, and it doesn’t last long on the lips as it’s thin – it just melts onto my lips when I apply. I imagine if I had actually used this every day, I’d have finished the tube in two months or even less. It costs ¬£5.49 for 3.8g, which is pretty pricey and I can’t recommend it when there are better value options. Nothing at all stands out about this¬†balm, even in the ingredients.

Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Lip Balm Stick SPF20
Despite the higher SPF than many of my other lip balms, this has the slight taste of something that shouldn’t really be in one’s mouth. Apart from that, it ticks the right boxes – it’s unscented (but has a generic cream smell and tastes a bit funny), it’s moisturising and nourishing. It also has a drier formula which does decently at sealing in moisture. ¬†Also, what is Norwegian about this formula? I want to know. The main website says it’s the inclusion of Glycerin in the range of products but I can’t seem to spot it on the ingredients list! This is ¬£2.50-89 depending on where you buy it for 4.8g.

Blistex Daily Lip Conditioner
I liked this, I really did, but then I decided tub lip balms were not going to have a place in my life. That was years ago and it mostly still applies. I really do prefer tubes and sticks much more because the less of my fingers needed, the better. That aside, whilst it also had a thin texture I found this to be generally good at keeping my lips soft and moisturised, and Derp seems to really like this and actually uses his tub.

Blistex Intensive Moisturiser
This is nice as a change from a lip balm – I like to let this sink in before layering with something else on top. It’s not really all that ‘intensive’ though and doesn’t last as long on the lips as other balms.

Lipsmackers
I’m not sure what to say about these – they’re a classic (but sort of novelty) option for sure but they’ve served me well through many lipstick-less days. They’re generally an OK option for conditioning and such (better than the Rimmel, by the way) and the dry layer on my lips comes off way easier after having a thick layer of this on for two hours. I seem to always have a tube in rotation.

Dr Organic Lip Balms
After a friend gave me one to try, I used up a whole tube in three months – which is probably a new record, and I attribute that to the fact that I actually wear this nightly almost without fail!
I like to slather this on overnight and it just so happens to give me really nice lips in the morning. It’s a ‘melts-on-the-lips’ kind of product but not as much¬†as the Rimmel option.
It’s a bit more expensive than the usual drugstore balms but still very affordable. I also have a gripe with the packaging as it doesn’t twist the same way as others to get the product out, and with a little pressure, it’s easily pushed back into the tube. This is ¬£3.49 for 5ml.

Dr Organic Hemp Oil Lip Serum
I was expecting something that, like the Blistex Intensive moisturiser, would be a good option to layer under a more oily balm, but it turns out this probably has more oil content than the balms – bit of a dumb moment for me as the product does state it’s a Hemp Oil Lip Serum! As an intensive treatment, I think this packs even more of a punch than any of these other options. This is, surprisingly, cheaper than the balm (per ml) at ¬£4.49 for 10ml.

Dr Pawpaw Original Balm
I keep seeing this everywhere so I wanted to give it a go and bought the tiny pocket sized tube in Primark. This was very underwhelming. It’s essentially just Vaseline with an added extract that, in my opinion, does nothing for me.

Dr Palmer Cocoa Lip Balm
This has a strange texture that’s a cross between a silicone and a wax. It contains 4g of product for under ¬£2. This isn’t bad, but nothing about it stands out either, so I probably won’t buy it again.

I am moving on to trying more lip mask products like Laneige and possibly the Nuxe Reve de Miel. I hear lots of good things about the Lanolips range too. I can’t try them all at once, though – they’re all a bit more expensive than the ones listed above.

I hope you found this helpful and thank you for reading! Let me know what your favourite balms are, too.

Until next time,

X

Review: The Creme Shop Sheet Masks

Since hearing that TK Maxx in the UK had begun to sell K-beauty items, I have made a point of dropping by more often to scour their messy shelves full of open products. You do find gems there occasionally. They’re also fantastic for the odd bit of gorgeous stationary in the notebooks section!

Most recently, I bought two packs of sheet masks from The Creme Shop Fusion Mask line. The Creme Shop are actually a US brand (based in LA) but the masks are made in Korea, which they mention proudly along with the fact that their products are cruelty-free.

The mask multipacks cost £4.99 for a pack of five individual sheet masks, which means each mask is about £1. This is a decent price in my opinion, and its US source is probably the reason why seeing as actual Korean-branded masks are usually sold for £2-3 individually at the same store! Price markups are scary.

Now, here’s a little pointer I have to mention. I noticed soon after purchasing my masks that they had an expiry date in 2016. We are well into the second quarter of 2017 now so that is a little concerning (Although not as bad as some 4-year old mask horror stories I’ve read!) I did patch test the essence just to make sure it wouldn’t immediately burn my face, and during my first use I kept the mask on for less time than I normally would have (twenty minutes as opposed to my usual hour or two) just in case.

I decided to make an exception and not return these masks seeing as sheet masks are individually sealed and my skin is generally unreactive. However, in future, I will definitely be checking for expiry dates and erring on the side of caution as to not buy them.

I don’t think in the UK we have expiry dates on cosmetics, just shelf life recommendations, so I don’t think there are any laws concerning any expiry dates on cosmetics anyway. With the rise of global products in cosmetics and especially the popularity of sheet masks recently, I hope regulations on cosmetics expiry dates and retail are considered soon in the future.

EDIT: From the cardboard packaging I had assumed these were expired, but on the individual mask packets the expiry date is listed as 2019. EH. It really shouldn’t be this misleading.

Without further ado, here are my thoughts on the Fusion Masks! I bought two varieties – the Green Tea and Latte, and the Honey and Lavender.

(Displayed on packaging for both masks)

Fusion Masks – The benefits of 2 masks in 1

The Creme Shop’s fusion sheet mask is designed to deliver the benefits of two masks with just one application.

Directions:

  1. Cleanse and dry skin.
  2. Pull out sheet mask from package and place mask on face. Use the excess essence in packet on neck and parts of face not covered by mask.
  3. Leave mask on for 20-30 min or until dry.
  4. Remove mask. Do not wash off or pat dry. Allow skin to absorb remaining nutrients.
  5. Proceed with routine skin regimen.

For a cooling effect, store your mask in the refrigerator.

Not only is each mask infused with two nutritious ingredients, it is also rich in the ultimate moisturiser: hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid’s superpower: Retains moisture. One gram can hold up to six liters of water. When skin lacks moisture, it can become cracked, aged and dull. Hyaluronic acid keeps skin young and perfectly dewy.

One of the first things I noticed was that The Creme Shop really play up the Korean inspiration of their masks. Since sheet masks became the next new thing, we have seen brands from Superdrug and Garnier to Estee Lauder and Charlotte Tilbury bringing out their own variations. I am aware that some brands do manufacture theirs in Korea as well. The Creme Shop is the first brand I have seen put Korean text on their packaging. Honestly, at a glance, I thought it was a proper Korea-based brand and that is what made me check out the products in the first place. Interesting move.

Green Tea and Milk 

Green Tea’s Super Power: Combats age. Antioxidants in green tea create a barrier to protect skin from free radicals while preventing deep, fine wrinkles.

Milk’s Super Power: Smooths out skin for a soft, silky complexion. Proteins and lactic acid in milk nourish the skin and gradually repair skin discolouration.

Ingredients:

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Xanthan Gum, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tricadeth-10, Betaine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Beta-Glucan, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Milk Protein Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Allantoin, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance

Compared to the Honey and Lavender, I found this mask to be more pleasant to use.¬†Largely because the smell is less strong and more tolerable, and doesn’t induce the visual of putting straight-up bar soap on my face. Otherwise, the fit was alright. There is a bit of awkward nose shaping but that’s not really new.

There is quite a bit of essence dripping from the mask so I did end up with extra to rub down my neck and arms.

Honey and Lavender

Honey’s Super Power: Filthy rich. Honey is rich in natural sugars and minersla, providing skin with essential nutrients. As a humectant, it traps in moisture to create silky, hydrated skin.

Lavender’s super power: Kills softly. Lavender is known for its therapeutic purposes, but is also effective in combating acne. They key to unblemished skin.

Ingredients:

Water, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Xanthan Gum, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Tricadeth-10, Betaine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Beta-Glucan, Lavender Extract, Honey Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Lavender Oil, Allantoin, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Disodium EDTA

Okay, when I opened this particular mask, I noticed the bubbles. When I took the mask out, I also noticed the bubble on the eye holes. This being a lavender mask, it totally smelt of lavender soap.

I found it was dripping in essence, and if I had not been erring on the cautious side, I would have used it all. The essence is clear and runny.

The mask fit was decent. As usual, there’s a lot of excess around my chin but the rest of my face fits alright. I should also note that the cotton is standard – thicker than My Beauty Diary, about the same as Etude House. If you’ve tried any sheet mask chances are you’ll be familiar with this type of sheet.

Overall, a decent experience with these masks but I’m not sure I will go out of my way to buy either of these in future!

What have been your beauty finds at TK Maxx recently?

Until next time,

X

Review: My Beauty Diary Aloe Vera Sheet Mask

My Beauty Diary sheet masks are routinely praised on the Asian Beauty Subreddit, so I have been wanting to try out some of their masks for a long time. They are a Taiwanese brand also well known for their version of the blackhead-removing peel mask, which was one of the first I had heard of and I dare say helped kick off that trend.

An unlikely opportunity to try the masks arose in the form of Joyce, destashing her masks in her blog sale (Her beauty blog is also a joy to read, so do check her out!). I caved in and bought all the MBD masks she had, plus a backup of my beloved Bourjois Beau Brun lipstick. It came to about 80p per item including delivery costs when I bought them so I think I snagged a good deal there.

My Beauty Diary sheet masks can also be purchased online on Amazon, Ebay, and YesStyle. In packs, they come to about £1.10 a mask. Separately, they can go for up to £3 a mask! Therefore, I would recommend waiting for some sort of a deal to arise or just buying a well-priced box with a reputable seller.

As usual, these come individually wrapped. Lately, I’ve been very aware that individually wrapped sheet masks lead to a lot of packaging and subsequent waste especially if used daily but, for my very occasional masking habits, these are appropriate for me. If I were to ever up the ante to a daily mask, I’d consider trying the Lululun brand who pack 7 masks in one resealable bag.

These come in smaller packets than other masks I have tried. This is nice if you only have one shoe box to stuff 19 masks in (coughmecough)! It also means generally less packaging that goes to waste. However, I guess this is countered by the plastic backing these masks have which need to be peeled off before you can wear the mask. In this case, it turns out to be helpful in getting the mask unfolded as this one is so unusually thin.

This mask has a clear, runny essence. I used to think that Etude House masks had a lot of essence, but My Beauty Diary masks have enough for DAYS. It dripped everywhere. I rubbed it into my arms and legs and even after five minutes of doing this the mask essence was still dripping all over my chest.

Unsurprisingly, I did have an issue with essence dripping into my eyes, which stings a little but doesn’t last forever.

Ingredients

Water, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Hydrolysed Yeast Protein, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Morus Alba Bark Extract, Lemon Extract, Triethanolamine, Kiwi Fruit Extract, Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Fruit Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin, Licorice Root Extract, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Lactate, Citric Acid, Hydroxyethanol Urea, Hydrolysed Jojoba Esters, Polyglutamic Acid, Codium Tomentosum Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Grapefruit Extract, Lecithin, Polysorbate-80, Glyceryl Glucoside, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, iodopropynyl Butyl Carbamate, Fragrance, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycosphingolipids, Tocopherylacetate.

Now, I’m not sure about Taiwanese Ingredient-labelling regulations, but I have noticed that Aloe Juice is on the ingredient lists of all the MBD varieties I have, and in the cases of the Hyaluronic Acid, Mexico Cactus and Apple Polyphenol Varieties, it appears higher on the list then¬†the Aloe mask itself. Curious…

Me trying to open my eyes after flooding them in Aloe Vera essence and taking a photo at the same time. 

The mask is super thin – much thinner than other masks I have tried, apart from the Muji Compressed sheet masks. I can see the awful state of the skin through it! It clings super well thanks to the sheer amount of essence in the packet. It’s still not the perfect fit for my chin but this is normal with my face shape. It’s a bit small on the forehead side though and I haven’t experienced this kind of problem in fit before.

Overall, I do really like this mask and I am looking forward to trying out the other varieties that I have!

Until next time,

X