WE’RE NOT ALL BAD

I’ve had thoughts on this topic for quite some time now and decided that it was about time I actually put pen to paper, or fingertips to keyboard so to speak. For the benefit of full disclosure, I’m both a PR and a blogger. I was a blogger before I was a PR and I’m grateful pretty much every working day that this was the case. It meant that I had experience of what it was like from the other side of PR, so I could take those lessons with me when I started a career in public relations.

Over the past couple of years, but definitely more recently, I can’t help but notice the amount of PR bashing going on. It’s disheartening, and just like how a few bad eggs can give the impression that an entire group behave a certain way, so too can one bad PR. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some terrible PR professionals out there, and as a blogger, I’ve been on the receiving end of them. Whether it’s being uninvited to an event an hour before, being treated as inferior to journalists or being seen only as a set of stats and not as a person who loves creating content. Trust me, I’ve been there, I know how crap it is and it’s undoubtedly shaped the way I develop the PR strategy for the brand I represent.

That said, you only have to take a look at the hashtag #PRFail or look up certain Twitter accounts to see the amount of unnecessary PR bashing going on. There’s an increasing trend by some – and I mean some – of not giving PRs enough credit, for example, that we don’t actually know anything about the brands/products we represent, that we don’t know when a blogger has paid for their following or that we only look at statistics and don’t take content into account. Obviously, there are some PR agencies, in-house press teams and PR professionals that are better than others, as is the case with any industry. Some have terrible practices (hello cold calling) and make huge mistakes, but I promise you, we’re not all bad! Some of us really, really believe in, and care about, the brands we represent and want to showcase this to the best of our ability. Some of us aren’t only concerned with stats. Some of us do treat journalists and bloggers as equals. Some of us do our research before we work with someone to ensure we’re not having the wool pulled over eyes etc… I’m sure you get my point.

I guess what I’m ultimately trying to say is if you work with PRs, please don’t paint us all with the same brush. Not all of us are “professional bullshitters” as I’ve seen some Twitter conversations refer to us as. I absolutely know that most people don’t think this at all, but for those that do, I just wanted to have my two cents. I personally want to be the best PR Manager I can be which means I do my research, try to be as professional as possible and am always open and honest with the people I work with. Just like I’m sure lots of other PR professionals do too.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, normal beauty blogging can resume!

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CLINIQUE MOISTURE SURGE CC CREAM REVIEW

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I’m not really one for full coverage foundation unless it’s for an evening out. I like my skin to look like skin, instead of having a chalky, mask-like finish. Naturally then, I’m quite fond of tinted moisturisers, BB/CC creams (the only difference between the two is marketing) and skin tints – products that even out skin tone, give you a bit of colour but still leave you looking like you living, breathing skin.

The Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream isn’t anything new, in fact, I think it launched well over 2 years ago now, but it’s only the past 6 months that it’s made it’s way into my makeup bag. Here are my thoughts:

THE GOOD

  • It’s fragrance-free, so if scent in cosmetics isn’t your jam, you’ll like this.
  • There’s decent protection in there, but I’ll caveat by saying that I don’t particularly like high SPFs in BB/tinted moisturisers – I think they can give the wearer a false sense of security.
  • On my normal/combination skin, it leaves it looking bouncy, dewy and fresh – everything you could hope for in a light coverage base.
  • If you’re having a relatively good skin day, a bit of this and some concealer and you’ll be good to go. I usually apply concealer over the top of it and so far have experienced zero cakey/flakiness.
  • Lovely sleek packaging – not on the top of everyone’s priorities list I know, but there is something very pleasing about the slim tube packaging.

THE BAD

  • A somewhat limited colour range from what I can see, it doesn’t really cater for the multitude of darker skin types, which is a beauty industry issue that continues to baffle me.
  • The texture is notably thick and quite firm. It does become more workable as you smooth it in, probably due to the heat from your skin. Application wise, fingers are fine, but I find it’s easier to work with when using a slightly damp makeup sponge – it just seems to leave a more seamless finish.
  • I wouldn’t say it’s especially buildable. This is definitely light coverage. It evens out my skin tone, but it doesn’t do any concealing which is fine by me, as that’s not its intended purpose.

I’d say that if you’re on the market for a new light coverage base definitely go to a Clinique counter to try it out first. Have a play with the texture, make sure you get colour matched properly (go outside and check it in normal sunlight) and if in doubt as to whether it’ll suit your skin type, ask for a sample. In my experience, I’ve always found the ladies and gents at Clinique counters happy to oblige.

Would I buy it again? Maybe, I do like it and I do like the finish it leaves and how it wears throughout the day. The only thing that would stop me from buying it again is purely the number of products out there to try and I’m somewhat of a beauty floozy.

Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream is £28.00 and available HERE.

*Purchased by myself

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THREE CLEANSING OILS REVIEWED

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Following on from my facial cleansing 101 post on Monday, I thought I’d share my thoughts on three relatively new cleansers I’ve been trying out.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil – (£28/HERE) – This is a really lovely olive oil-based cleanser that does exactly what it says on the tin. There’s nothing fancy about this, and there doesn’t have to be. I’m all for fancy pants cleansers with extracts of exotic flowers, but if you just want something to get the job done and aren’t bothered about frivolities then this might be just the ticket. The ingredients list is small which I like. Olive oil, sorbeth-30 tetraglyceride (which helps everything easier to rinse off), rosemary leaf oil, a couple of other emollients, vitamin E and that’s it. It’s no-nonsense and I have a lot of time for that. It’s fantastic for removing makeup, even the toughest of stubborn mascara will melt away, and it’s also a lovely AM/second cleanse too. One last note, this one is an emulsifier, but I’d always recommend removing with a hot flannel. 

Malin & Goetz Facial Cleansing Oil (£28/HERE) – Another rinse off, emulsifying oil, this time from Malin & Goetz. Lots of lovely plant oils in this formula, with some nice essential oils too, although if you have sensitive skin there is potential for irritation so always patch test (a good practice to get into anyway). I love the scent of this one, it’s very zesty, but for some reason, and I can’t put my finger on why, this is the one I turn to the least. Maybe it’s because I’m not all that familiar with the brand. If anyone has any Malin & Goetz recommendations shoot them my way.

Alpha-H Liquid Laser (£33/HERE)– My favourite of the three. It comes out as a gel but then melts down into a beautiful oil. There’s something very satisfying about the way it melts down, it almost remind me a bit of the Aesop Triple C Gel if you’ve ever tried it. It removes makeup well, but I would save this for your second cleanse so you get some of the ingredient benefits (although it’s worth noting that with wash-off products the ingredient benefits aren’t likely to have a huge impact when compared to leave-on products). Again, ingredients wise, this looks like it’s more suited towards more dry/mature skin types, but that’s not to say it doesn’t make a great cleanse for any age. It leaves skin feeling soft – there’s absolutely zero tightness once it’s removed. Speaking of removing, I take mine off with a flannel but this cleansing oil does emulsify very nicely indeed if you prefer to splash off. I’ve been turning to this when my skin feels a little bit stressed out from central heating and combined with other soothing, hydrating products it’s been working wonders. The only thing I’ve been slightly confused about with this product, and it’s not something that personally bothers me, is phenoxyethanol (a preservative) being so high up on the ingredients list. I don’t have a problem with phenoxyethanol, but I can’t get my head around why it’s so high up in an oil formula? If anyone knows the answer I’d love to know.

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LUCY ANNABELLA BATH MILK

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When it’s this cold, there’s nothing better than sinking into a hot, steamy bath to warm your cockles. Thankfully I got a fair few bath products at Christmas and have been working my way through my stash over January. One product in particular, that I just had to do a review on, is the Lucy Annabella Bath Milk. I got 2 mini versions in a gift set and they’ve been my go-to products to reach for over the past month.

Handmade in Ireland, these bath milks are of the highest quality and smell absolutely divine. It’s clear that a lot of time and dedication has gone into getting just the right balance of essential oils. So far I’ve tried Date Night which includes Palmarosa, Mandarin, Patchouli (my favourite) and Ylang Ylang – all of which are as seductive as you’d imagine – and Cloud 9, which is a more uplifting, zesty concoction of Lemongrass, Orange, Lime and Spearmint. All of the milks are made with beautiful plant oils too, including argan, coconut and soy to leave your skin silky soft and nourished.

What I love the most about them is that they leave zero residue on the bath. Fellow bath addicts will appreciate that scrubbing the bath to get rid of scum from bath oils tends to somewhat negate the relaxing benefits of the bath itself. The Lucy Annabella bath milks disperse into the water to create a creamy, milky consistency that urges you to jump in.

Pricy? Yes. Worth it? I think so, I don’t think I would ever buy one for myself, but they’re something I’ll be putting on every birthday/Christmas list for the foreseeable future. I’ve got my eye on Muscle Quench and Restful.

You can buy Lucy Annabella Luxury Bath Milks from Space.NK and their website online HERE. I’ve also just spotted that they do treatment oils and candles. *Heads to nearest Space.NK*

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FACIAL CLEANSING 101 & A GUIDE TO DIFFERENT CLEANSERS

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I think I should start this post by saying that I’m not an expert. I’m a trained and practised Facialist, I’ve worked in beauty branding, trends and PR for 8 years and I read a lot on the topic of skincare in my personal time. That said, I still don’t believe think I could call myself an expert. I think you need experience – and qualifications – tenfold what I currently have before you could label yourself an expert and even then, it’s a continual learning process. So, disclaimer out of the way, I thought I’d put together a series of 101 posts. You might have seen my supplements 101 post last week, but today we’re talking about my favourite skincare topic, cleansing.

Cleansing, in my opinion, is the most important part of any skincare routine. It’s the cornerstone, making every other skincare step redundant unless implemented first. Expensive serums, fancy moisturisers – all useless on top of skin that hasn’t been properly cleaned. I started to write out everything I wanted to say on the topic of cleansing, but it turned into several beefy paragraphs, so I’ve decided to break it down into bullet points to make it easier to digest.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT CLEANSING

  • I’ve read in numerous different places that you don’t need to wash your face in the morning. I’m sorry, but this is absolute tosh. During your sleep, you sweat, your skin is busy repairing etc. Therefore, it just makes sense to clear all that away before putting anything else on top. I like to wash with an oil cleanser in the morning, but anything, so long as it’s not a foaming cleanser, should be fine.
  • If you wear makeup or SPF during the day i.e. products that are designed to stay on the skin, or live in a polluted city, then you’re going to need to double cleanse at night. The first cleanse to remove the makeup/SPF, the second to actually cleanse the skin.
  • Your skin has different needs on a daily, weekly, monthly basis so it’s worth keeping a few cleansers on hand to rotate between. I like to use thicker, more nourishing balms in the winter, whereas gel-to-oil cleansers are what I tend to use in summer or when my skin is feeling particularly congested.
  • A flannel is your best friend. Use them to remove your cleanser and make sure you use a new one every day. They don’t need to be anything fancy, cheap ones from the supermarket are fine. Also, forget this muslin cloth business – they don’t hold their heat like flannels do, nor do they have the same exfoliating properties.
  • Try to avoid mineral oil, if possible, particularly if you have an oily or acne-prone complexion. There are of course exceptions, and if you have a cleanser that contains mineral oil that works wonders for you, by all means continue to use.
  • Cleaning your face with soap and water is a big no-no. I’ll touch on this later, but soap is so stripping and ends up making most situations worse. If you’re happy using soap and water and it’s not causing you any problems then again, that’s fine, but in the long run, you’ll probably be doing more damage than good.
  • Many people just focus on their face when cleansing. Be sure to take it to your jaw, neck, and décolletage too.

MY CLEANSING ROUTINE 

Morning

  • Quick cleanse with either an oil or balm cleanser (micellar water won’t cut it), removed with a hot flannel.
  • Follow with toner (if using), then serum, moisturiser and SPF.

Evening

  • Remove makeup with micellar water so that when I go in with a ‘treatment’ cleanser, I’m cleaning my skin and not moving makeup/oil around my face.
  • Massage with an oil/mud/cream cleanser, working it into the skin.
  • Remove with a hot flannel, then splash with clean, running water.
  • Follow with toner (if using), then serum, moisturiser/facial oil etc.

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DIFFERENT TYPES OF CLEANSER

MICELLAR WATER – A typically clear water solution that takes its name from micelles. Micelles are tiny balls of cleansing molecules that float in the water. Once you apply the product to your skin, the micelles are attracted to the dirt, oil and pollution on your face, allowing it to be cleared away, usually with cotton wool, quickly and efficiently. Bioderma is probably the most well-known micellar water, and I have to say, it’s what I continue to buy again and again, but there are plenty of cheaper alternatives on the market nowadays. They’re best used in the evening for removing makeup before you go in for a second cleanse. I personally would never use on its own.

Recommendations: Bioderma (HERE), Garnier (HERE).

EYE MAKEUP REMOVER – Some eye makeup is notoriously hard to remove, in which case you’ll probably need to use a dedicated eye makeup remover. Typically they’re oil-based so they’re able to lift away stubborn makeup and waterproof mascara. I very rarely need to use an eye makeup remover, but when I do it’s the Clarins Instant Eye Make Up Remover – a dual phase remover you shake together before applying to cotton wool.

Recommendations: Clarins Instant Eye Make Up Remover (HERE).

FACE WIPES – Convenient and handy? Absolutely. Good for your skin? Probably not. I don’t think there is anything wrong with using face wipes every now and again to remove makeup, but they should never be used purely on their own. They’re typically soaked in all sorts of chemicals to keep them moist for a long period of time. Use as a last resort, not every day.

Recommendations: None, but if you want something you can quickly wipe over your face, soak some large cotton wool pads (Muji is my cotton wool of choice) in micellar water and store in a well sealed Tupperware tub.

CLEANSING BALM/OIL – My favourite way to cleanse, mainly because you can really massage your skin when using one. Oils don’t need to be warmed or melted down between your hands, you can get to work straight away, whereas balms do. You can also use some oils/balms to remove makeup, but I’d reserve the cheaper ones for this. There’s the misconception that oily skin types shouldn’t use oils. I promise that this isn’t the case and that most skin types will reap the rewards of oil/balm cleansing. Just be sure to remove it with a hot flannel and splash with clean running water to ensure there is no residue left over.

Recommendations: Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Oil (HERE), OSKIA Renaissance Cleansing Gel (HERE), Alpha-H Liquid Laser Cleansing Oil (HERE), DHC Cleansing Oil (HERE). 

CLEANSING CREAM– Very similar to oil/balm cleansers in that you apply to dry skin then remove with a hot flannel. If you don’t like the ‘oily’ feeling of balms then a cream cleanser might be a good option to try. The most famous cleansing cream is probably Liz Earle’s Cleanse & Polish. It’s a good place to start, but throw the muslin cloth away that you get with it and use a flannel instead – they’re about as useful as a chocolate teapot.

Recommendations: Clarins Extra Comfort Cleansing Cream (HERE), Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish (HERE). 

FACE WASH – Typically you apply to damp skin, massage in, then rinse off. I have a bit of a problem with face washes because I’ve never come across one that doesn’t leave the skin feeling completely stripped. Most face washes foam, which is bad news in my books, as they tend to leave your skin feeling ‘squeaky clean’. This isn’t a good thing and is a sign that your skin’s barrier function has been compromised, making it a breeding ground for any bacteria that might be lurking about. For this reason, I strongly recommend that all, but, in particular, acne-prone skin types, stay well clear of them.

Recommendation: None. Sorry but the Facialist in me just can’t do it.

MUD CLEANSERS – I use a mud cleanser about twice a week as a second cleanse, or if I’ve had a particularly sweaty night (sorry) then I’ll use one in the morning. Due to their high clay content, they’re fantastic at soaking up any excess oil on the skin to leave it feeling balanced and soft. It’s worth noting that there’s no harm in using a slightly diluted mud mask as a cleanser. I do this a lot in summer when my skin is feeling sticky/grimy.

Recommendations: Pixi Glow Mud (HERE), May Lindstrom Honey Mud Cleanser (HERE), Ren Clarifying Clay Cleanser (HERE).

Well, that turned into a bit of an essay, but I think I’ve covered everything. As always if you’d like any more info on anything I’ve mentioned please don’t hesitate to get in touch via commenting below or tweeting me (@leer31).

No affiliate links were included in this post, but there are PR samples present in the photography. All products mentioned are my hand-on-heart recommendations. 

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