Birchbox December 2015

My Birchbox arrived!!!!! Made my day, think I have a bit of a mini product obsession, they are just too cute!

I’m a massive fan of Birchbox, not only do you get good quality, good sized products but you also get Birchbox points for every box and review which you can spend in the store. I have done so on two occasions and my products arrived within 2 days! Love it. The customer service is great too.

The December box is actually a bag, a clutch for Christmas with 6 products (1 full sized).

  
1. Roloxin Lift Instant Skin Smoothing Mask – RRP £79(!) for 10 sachets. This is said to star:

a matrix of hydrophilic and hydrophobic (water-loving and –loathing) silica particles, which are deposited on skin during the 7-minute treatment.

I once had a boyfriend that did a masters on these particles, so this product is off to a bad start for me! But people seem to be raving about it. The price is just a bit prohibitive for me, so I’ll probably end up saving it for a special occasion and never using it!

2. Model Co Ultra Long Lasting Lipstick in Kitty – £15.50 

3. Ciate Paint Pot – £9 (for full size). I had the mini mani manor advent last year and I was a bit disappointed with the lighter coloured Ciate polishes as they were really streaky… 

4. Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream – £80 (for full size) I do love Elemis! So I’m hoping its claim to boost skin radiance in 15 days will be true!

5. Skin & Co Sicilian Body Gel – £15 (for full size) smells amazing! 

6. Benefit Puff Off! And They’re Real Push Up Duo – I love the eyeliner for its ultra long lasting line but it is a bit fiddly to get used to. And with all my hours in the office lately I think I’m going to need Puff Off!

So basically, I LOVE BIRCHBOX! 

Happy cleansing

ASW 

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Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser Dupe 

I love a good hot cloth cleanser, really feels like you are getting the dirt out of those pores.

  
When I think hot cloth cleanser, I immediately think of Liz Earle’s  Cleanse & Polish with its cute green packaging and muslin cloths. 

However, when I was first looking into double cleansing many moons ago (on the advice of the blog of Caroline Hirons) I did not want to pay £15.50 for it especially when I didn’t know if it would work and plus I don’t live near anywhere that stocks it!

I did my research and found that boots had a version that had really good customer reviews – the Sanctuary Polishing Hot Cloth Cleanser (approximately £10 from Boots). I know it’s not a massive saving but it brought it into budget for me and I also got boots points for it (win win).

I thought this product was revolutionary! I’d never used a hot cloth cleanser before and my face just felt so clean. It got rid of the pesky dry flaky bits from spots and my face felt like it was glowing. 

Being ever inquisitive I still wanted to try the ‘original’ so when I had accumulated enough Birchbox points I purchased the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish for a mere £5! 

I also loved this product. It smoothed my skin and exfoliated gently. 

There’s so little between them in my eyes I best get down to the nitty gritty.

Price

£10 vs £15.50

Muslin Cloths Included? 

1 cloth vs 2 cloths

Ingredients

Sanctuary  

 

Vs 

 Liz Earle 

 
Verdict 

Both are great cleansers. The sanctuary spa one is a screw top which isn’t always great in the bathroom whereas the Liz Earle is a pump top (good for measuring how much you need). The Liz Earle starter kit I got also came with a little makeup type bag that the product and cloths fit into. It’s such a close call! 

Happy cleansing 

ASW

Sanctuary Spa Hot Cloth Cleanser – http://m.boots.com/h5/cat_hub?path=%2Fen%2FSanctuary-Spa-Polishing-Hot-Cloth-Cleanser_1711755%2F&unCountry=uk

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish – http://m.lizearle.com/h5/hub?dl=true&id=/cleanse-tone-moisturise/cleanse-and-polish-hot-cloth-cleanser.html

Beauty Hack – Beauty Product Organiser £4.49!

I really am starting to build up a bit of a hoard of beauty products.. So much so that I have been known to forget about products for months before rediscovering them.

I’ve been looking for something to help me organise my beauty products for a while but most options seem very pricy for essentially some plastic boxes. 

On my most recent look round discount store Boyes a set of craft boxes caught my eye!

  
There are lots of different sizes and combinations but I just wanted a place for my most prized products so I just bought two, totalling a massive…. £4.49!

The lids come off so you can use the divider section and the lid as storage compartments. 

  

I popped mine on top of my IKEA Malm chest of drawers (http://m.ikea.com/gb/en/catalog/products/art/60218015/).

  
I think I enjoy organising my products a bit too much!

I hope you do too.

ASW

Dry me up! Mario Badescu Drying Lotion 

A friend of mine (with beautiful skin) recommended this product to me as well as a couple of other items from the range.

I only purchased one as I didn’t want to break the bank on a new range of skincare when I have loads of unused products. 

The lady in Harvey Nichols took one look at my skin and recommended the drying lotion above all else. She looked like she was going to have a fit when I started shaking the bottle (apparently you aren’t supposed to shake it…)

  
This is definitely not a product to wear under your makeup, I put it on my spots over night to let the astringent properties soak in and hopefully dry everything up. 

I dipped my cotton bud into the pink sediment at the bottom of the bottled and dotted away. I liked covering them up as it stopped me from picking them!

I literally can’t stop picking! I almost enjoy it (anyone feel like that?!) so I applied this over a big spot I couldn’t resist popping on my chin and after 1 night it really made a difference and after 2 it’s almost like it wasn’t there. Well, the massive swelling and redness went down loads.

  
I think this lotion is better on certain types of spots, more active ones perhaps because it doesn’t seem to have done much for my cystic acne type spots on my jaw line. Although it does help whiteheads.

   
 
It does give some great results but I think the effectiveness depends on the type of spot. I will be adding this product to my nightly regime!

Anyone got any tips on how to use this most effectively?

Happy spot fighting!

ASW

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo – Days 3 & 4

So I’ve had a few teething problems with this product over the last few days. On Saturday I woke up and my skin was quite red and dry from the use of this product. 

My skin looked quite inflamed but… I think I popped it on a couple of times on Friday as I could feel spots brewing so perhaps it’s my fault!

Today my skin was quite congested, hence my last post, and needed a bit of tlc (damn hormones). The results below are perhaps more down to the Lush Catastrophic Cosmetic face mask but I have continues to use La Roche morning and night. 

Day 3 – Day 4 (right cheek)  

Day 3 – Day 4 (left cheek)

  
Perhaps this is the culprit for my bad skin however…..

  
Or this….

  
Best get on the water and stop squeezing this week!

Happy cleansing

ASW

The Big Guns Are Out! 

My skin has been so terrible over the last few days and I’ve been self-extracting (eek!) which is always a bad idea.

Self-extracting is just my fancy way of saying picking/squeezing etc but it does sound a bit less dire.

I know it can scar and I know it’s bad for my skin but sometimes I just can’t stop myself.. The last couple of days have been a bit of a skin write off and not even my La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo has been helping. Therefore, I’ve had to get the big guns out!

  

  1. Acne-Free Sensitive Corrective Acne Cleanser (my dad gets this for me from Wallmart when he goes to the USA but you can get some on Amazon)
  2. Acne-Free Facial Brush (again from the USA but available on Amazon AcneFree Advanced Cleansing Brush https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00B9615HQ/ref=cm_sw_r_awd_NS3wwb2TR9RB5)
  3. Lush Catastophic Cosmetic Face Mask (£6.75)
  4. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo (as per my other posts)

I started off using the Acne Free sensitive cleanser with the soft facial brush. This brush isn’t as astringent as some of the others and I just use it occasionally to really clean out my pores.

The Acne Free products are quite cheap from Walmart and drug stores in the USA (I live in the UK so I have to get my dad to buy them when he is over on business!) and they have some really potent stuff in them. It does work but be cautious, it does over dry and I wouldn’t recommend frequent use.

That said, if you are cautious it can really help on those days when you just want to put a bag over your head to leave the house. Even the sensitive cleanser is packed full of spot fighting ingredients. Just don’t use your favourite towels or bedding.. It does bleach! 

  
I absolutely love this face mask, I’ve been buying it when my skin is at its worst since about 2009 when me and my friends got a free Lush workshop to make the mask from a purchase of Clipper Tea! 

We got to see everything that went into making the mask and it was so fresh and all the ingredients were natural. My skin has literally never been as good as when I used the freshly made mask. 

I have noticed that the mask is definitely better in the first week of getting it and the best before date really does need to be stuck to.

Happy cleansing 

ASW

 

 

Empties (and a re-purchase!)

I rarely use all of a product, I get bored with them if I don’t think they are working.. Therefore, for me to finish a product must mean it’s really good! 

  
My empties this month are:-

  1. Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil (£32 http://m.clarins.co.uk/lotus-face-treatment-oil–oily-combination-skin-/C010401003.html)
  2. Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle (£14 for 236ml https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/beauty-protector-protect-detangle)

I swear by Clarins Lotus Oil to regulate my oil production it’s also a great alternative to a night cream. I can’t bear slathering my face in cream, it just makes me break out.

The Beauty Protector is one of the only set angling products that I rate. It’s subtly brilliant and I didn’t event realise that I was reaching for it after every shower until it ran out. I have really long thick hair and it really made my hair more manageable.

 

Repurchase! 

Happy cleansing

ASW

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo – Day 2

It’s only been 2 days.. I shouldn’t expect so much! I’ve been secretly wishing for a miracle and the spot fairy to come and replace my spots for pound coins. 

My skin has felt a little tight but the pustule spots that came up last night (the I just had to squeeze) dried up much faster than they would normally.

See below for some underwhelming/modest results. 

Day 0 – Day 2 (left cheek) 

 
Day 0 – Day 2 (right cheek)

  
Happy cleansing 

ASW
 

SAD Skin

With the dark nights and blustery weather, it’s not just my mood that’s affected. My skin is suffering from SAD too!

Not only do I get acne, oh no, lucky me I get dry itchy skin too. Especially when it’s windy and cold. 

So as much as I want to slap on the spot fighting creams and dry the hell out of my breakout, I can’t without severe discomfort.

Here are my winter heros for oily/acne prone skin that’s a bit under the weather at the moment.

  1. Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil (£32 on the Clarins website but cheaper on John Lewis and House of Fraser for Black Friday – approx £29. I got my mini sample for free from the lovely lady at Clarins Boots Leeds Trinity)
  2. Avène Cleanance Lotion (I got this one when they changed the name for £3 in the boots clearance rack. I believe that the Avène Cleanance MAT Mattifying Elmusion is the same thing and this is £11.50 at Boots)
  3. Bepanthen (about £3 from you local chemist)

I cannot live without the Clarins oil, I’ve read a lot of reviews and articles about it and it’s definitely worth they hype. I wear it alone at night over my spot cream/serum and in a morning for protection against this nasty weather I mix in a little with my Avène moisturiser.

The Avène moisturiser is the only one I’ve found that my skin can tolerate. I often feel like the cream just sits on my skin and makes me feel more greasy. 

The Bepanthen is a new find of mine from some research on the Internet on what’s the best thing to soothe dry lips. It does feel a bit weird at first putting bum cream on your lips but it’s actually really good! And just make your lips look soft and glossy. Maybe one to apply when you are alone though..

Happy moisturising 

ASW

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo – Day 1

(Warning – photos of a distressing spot nature below)

I started using Effaclar Duo yesterday evening after a particularly bad breakout/squeezing session. 

My skin does feel nice and the urge to pick (you know that itchy feeling) has gone. Also, my skin can get quite dry with acne products but I haven’t experienced any of that yet.

 Day 0 – Day 1 (right cheek) 
Day 0 – Day 1 (left cheek)

  
As you can see the spots are still there but some of the redness has gone down. No amazing results yet though…

Let’s see what tomorrow brings! Excited to apply my next lot already. 

Happy cleansing

ASW