The Good, The Meh and The Ugly

I have to admit, before I had Elsie, my skincare routine consisted of a once over with a Clean & Clear wipe followed by cheap face scrub in the shower and that was on a good day. Apart from the odd spot here and there, I never really gave it a second though. I thought I was one of those lucky people with ‘good skin’. I know. What an idiot.

Along with post-natal hair shedding, no one tells you that your skin can be massively affected by hormones, post-pregnancy. Two years on, it’s not the same as it used to be and I’m still suffering from sporadic bouts of really painful and embarrassing cystic acne.

After spending an hour trowelling on concealer only for me to fake an illness to get out of meeting a friend because I was so ashamed of my skin, I realised that enough was enough. I was going to have to get my shit together and take better care of myself or get professional help (something I know helps many people but something I’m not ready to do yet).

I was lucky enough to come across ‘Skin Guru’ Caroline Hirons blog –– via Mother of Daughters, Clemmie Hooper, on Instagram. Caroline’s blog covers all skincare related issues in an informative way and best of all she provides a range of alternatives in different price brackets for those on a smaller budget whenever she reviews products .

Four months on, my skin is nowhere near perfect thanks to a lot of scaring caused by cystic spots but it has definitely improved. I don’t feel like I want to hide and cry which was fast becoming the norm.

skincare January 2018 skin

Despite being obsessed with buying beauty products ‘on a budget’, I have spent a small fortune with varying results. Over the next few months, I wanted to share The Good, The Bad and The Meh products that I have tried out and hopefully encourage others to share theirs.

The Good

Liz Earle – Cleanse & Polish™ Hot Cloth Cleanser

Paid: RRP £16.00

About 20 people have recommended this product to me. Its one of the UK’s most popular beauty products, it promises to ‘leave skin feeling comfortable, balanced and exceptionally clean’. I must admit I was at a particularly low ebb when I tried this product and I wasn’t expecting great things but I absolutely love it.

It has a lovely creamy texture and feels nice to apply. It’s not dirt cheap but I don’t even need a full pump to clean my whole face.

After gently removing it using the cotton cleansing cloth provided and hot water, my skin feels fresh and throughly clean, not stripped and dry.

Elemis – Nourishing Omega-Rich Cleansing oil

Paid: £22.95 from All Beauty website (RRP £31)

Yes…an oil for my oily skin. Who the hell knew that oil was good for cleansing oily skin? This super luxe oil smells absolutely beautiful and magically removes all trace of my heavy duty Bobbi Brown long wear eyeliner, leaving my skin feeling super soft and not at all greasy.

Only downside is that it smells so good I actually want to eat it. Which of course I can’t. Because you know, it’s like, oily soap.

Nip + Fab – Glycolic Extreme Fix pads

Paid: £6.95 from Boots- They’re regularly on offer so it’s well worth keeping your eyes open (RRP £14.95)

Highly recommend these little pads. When I first started reading about skincare the word ‘Glycolic’ kept popping up and this was my first foray into the glycolic world. With a promise ’to refine pores, brighten the complexion and de-congest the skin through the improvement of the skin’s natural exfoliation process’ I was expecting big things and they have come up with the goods.

I have been using the pads a couple of days a week for a few months now and I have noticed that my skin is smoother and my pores definitely look smaller (Pores weren’t something I had ever noticed before but when you start to really looks at your skin they start to stand out!)

Please note: You will need to use SPF after using them as they can make your skin super sensitive to the sun.

La Roche Posay – Effaclar Duo+

Paid: £12 from Boots. There is 25% off on all La Roche Posay products at Boots at the moment.  (RRP £16.00)

As a teenager in the 90s, I used to swear by a little black and white tube of tea tree oil by The Body Shop. As if by magic, the little spots would magically disappear overnight after a drop or two of this potion. I tried it recently and I’m not sure if they changed the formula or my skin is just 20 years older but it doesn’t work as well.

These days my magic potion is La Roche Posay’s Effaclar Duo+. A couple of drops of this magic lotion takes the redness and heat out of my uncomfortable sore ‘under-the-skin’ cystic spots and helps them fuck off on their merry way.

The Meh

The Ordinary- Salicylic Acid 2% Solution – 30ml

Paid: £3.90 from Direct The Ordinary Website

A skin care range that promises to bring ‘Clinical Formulations with Integrity’ to the masses with a low cost and quality ingredients… where do I sign up? The hype behind this range online is immense and as a mama on a budget I expected big things from The Ordinary.

This was one of the first products that I tried out after reading advice that if you want to get spots under control you should look for Salicyclic Acid on the label. The Ordinary’s Salicylic Acid 2% Solution with it’s promise to “exfoliate the inside walls of pores to fight the appearance of blemishes and for better visible skin clarity with continued use” seemed like as good a place as any to start.

I used it twice a day for a month and it didn’t really do much. It didn’t take the heat out of cystic spots and it left a weird, gluey texture to my skin. A bit of a damp squib.

Clarins – Cleansing Milk With Gentian “Combination/Oily Skin
Paid: £15.50 from All Beauty Website (RRP £20.00)

I love Clarin’s products and so badly wanted to love this but I just absolutely hated the  smell. I think its meant to make you feel clean and fresh but I found it overpowering. It also left my skin feeling greasy and sensitive.

Despite my disappointment, I don’t think this isn’t the end for Clarins and I and I’m excited to try out more Clarin’s products in the future.

The Bad

Murad –  Blemish Control Cleanser and Toner

Paid: £19.50 (RRP £39.00)
I bought the clarifying cleanser and toner on the recommendation of a friend. From the first use, I knew these product wasn’t for me. They left my skin tight and dry but I quite enjoyed the tingle that the toner left on my skin after use and I assumed it was just the products working their magic. I persevered as long as I possibly could. I lasted a week.

The tingling I enjoyed on the first use of the toner, turned into a definite burn. The cleanser was drying and left my oily skin flaky- something I have never experienced before. After a week, my skin felt stripped and punished me by making my blemishes furiously red raw.  My hands also had a reaction to the cleanser and became so dry that they started to crack.

I get most of my skincare recommendations from blogs or Instagram would love to know what products you would recommend?

Coming up soon…

  • Emma Hardie – Moringa Cleansing Balm
  • Alpha-H – Liquid Rose Gold
  • Vichy – Idealia Radiance Boosting Serum
  • Vichy – Slow age eye cream
  • Dermalogica – Active Moist
  • The Ordinary- Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion

All products were paid for and not gifted unless clearly stated.

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