How moist. Spray on Moisturizer review + roundup.

Today I want to talk about spray-on lotion moisturizers, because moisturizing lotion is important.

I bought three recently, because I wanted to know whether Vaseline Spray and Go was really the best one out there, since a few others have recently been released.

spray on lotion

Up for test are:

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Rapid Moisture Spray $12 (I bought for £1.99 in a discount store)

Balance Active Formula Nourishing Spray Body Lotion (that links to UK Amazon – not available in the US) – I bought for £1.00 in a discount store.

Hydrate and Go Body Moisturiser Spray – I bought for 49p from a discount store, apparently not available on Amazon.

And they’re all being compared to my current favorite:
Vaseline Spray and Go Cocoa Radiant $6.20

First let me start by saying this whole experiment has proved how much I love the Vaseline Spray and Go in Cocoa Radiant.

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Spray Lotion:
The Palmer’s Cocoa Butter spray smelled similar to my usual Vaseline one, and I did like it after it rubbed into my skin, here’s a before and after:

spray on lotion
Before
spray on lotion
After

The only issue I had, which reviewers have commented on, was that the spray top didn’t work very well so it was very difficult to dispense product. Normally with spray lotion, I have a problem doing my right arm – because I have to use the hand that’s covered in lotion (from rubbing it in while I sprayed with the other hand) to spray the bottle. With the Palmers one, it was actually impossible to get the spray nozzle to press down with my lotion hand. It was too stiff and the bottle became too slippery. Aside from that, I liked it though, and if I saw it at £1.99 again, I’d buy it, but I’d never pay $12 for it!

Pro’s:
Silky soft skin afterwards
Smelled really nice
Nice thickness
No sticky residue

 

Con’s:
Sprayer didn’t work very well and I felt like I was fighting it a lot.

Balance Active:
The Balance Active one was less pleasant to smell – it smelled like that talcum powder that middle aged women used to use when I was younger, and deodorants with names like “Mum” or “Sanex” when they all smelled the same as each other. The spray also had issues – the actual sprayer seemed to work ok, the main problem was that the lotion separated when it was sprayed, so in the middle there was a white streak, and round the outside was watery colorless stuff. It looked a bit dodgy, if I’m honest, and I wouldn’t want to share photos of that as they’d get mistaken for jizz. Having gotten past that to actually putting the product on my skin, I found that it was moderately moisturizing but a bit too watery to replace normal lotion. It wasn’t sticky, but it didn’t leave my skin feeling as silky as the Palmer’s or my usual Vaseline spray lotions. I did find because the lotion separates when sprayed that it sprayed my carpet and furniture a lot more than my actual legs, so I was spraying it into my hand to rub in, instead of directly on my body, by about day 3. Here’s a before and after on the other leg to the one I did with the Palmer’s (above):

spray on lotion
Before
spray on lotion
After

Pro’s:
It was very cheap when I bought it.
It did moisturize my skin a bit.

Con’s:
It left my skin feeling dry again 12 hours later.
I didn’t see anything to substantiate the “anti-ageing” claims on the bottle.
The bottle’s too bulky for gym or travel use.
The lotion separates when it’s sprayed. This makes it difficult to aim.

Hydrate and Go:
The “Hydrate and Go” one looks like a Vaseline Spray and Go dupe. But it isn’t. I would say it was the worst of the four spray lotions I have tried. Like one or two other things that boast a “non-greasy formula,” this Hydrate and Go was sticky, leaving my skin feeling like I might not want to go outside in case wasps got confused and thought I was a can of coke. It was that bad. I actually had to go shower again after using this, then use my Victoria’s Secret (non-spray) Love Spell lotion to get rid of the sticky feeling. I hate stickiness. I wouldn’t buy it again. In fact, from the dust on the lid, you can see that I never used it again after the first use, and I only kept hold of it until now so I could show you a photo for this article. I don’t have any before or after shots for this one because I just wanted it off my skin.

Pro’s:
It didn’t cause me to catch on fire or get AIDS.

Con’s:
Everything else you can think of.

Vaseline Spray and Go:
I like the way it sprays, it’s a bit thinner than a normal moisturizer but it’s good for when I’m in a hurry. It’s a little bit bulky but nowhere near as bad as the Palmer’s or the Balance Active. It smells nice and is non-sticky. I only really looked for another one because it’s quite expensive to buy this in the UK compared to the prices I paid for the other three. However, I now know it’s also better than the other ones.

Pro’s:
Smells nice
Non sticky
Moisturizing

Con’s:
Expensive.

Conclusion:

I will be using the Palmer’s until it’s empty (if I can get all the product out with that dodgy sprayer) because I really like it aside from the sprayer issues, then I’ll buy more of the Vaseline Spray and Go. It’s the original, and it’s the best of all the ones I tried because it just works.

Have you tried any of these? What did you think of them?

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Review: Grande Lash MD vs Rapid Lash vs Revitalash Advanced

It’s time for my most epic review of this month; which is better, Revitalash Advanced, Rapid Lash or Grande Lash MD??

I used Rapid Lash for the first five months of 2015. I switched to Revitalash Advanced in May 2015 and used it through November 2015 (I stopped in mid November due to severe pregnancy sickness which was nothing to do with the Revitalash but it did throw my beauty regime down the toilet). As a result I wrote an article comparing Rapid Lash and Revitalash. I did find out that these lash products are not recommended for use during pregnancy due to lack of evidence about the effects. In February, when I was no longer pregnant, I was going to buy more Revitalash Advanced but then I saw there’s been an explosion of new lash serums onto the market. Scrutinizing the ingredients pretty cautiously (because this stuff is going on my eyes) I selected Grande Lash MD as my new lash serum because it didn’t look like a bad knock-off (a fake dupe – a dupe that doesn’t actually work but looks a lot like the real thing) of Rapid Lash or Revitalash Advanced (assume I mean Revitalash Advanced where I say “revitalash” in the rest of this article).  I have reviewed a couple of the lash serums that don’t have any proper active ingredients, to see how they compared to Rapid Lash, but spoiler alert, their lengthening effects were instant but those effects washed off again.

The only three I’ve found that definitely work to grow your lashes are Rapid Lash, Revitalash Advanced and Grande Lash MD.

That’s not to say these are the only three that work, just the only three I’ve tested and found to work.

All the products I talk about in this review really work to grow your lashes, the question I want to answer in this lash serum review is: Which one is better?

This is what Grande Lash MD looks like:

grande lash md1
Grande Lash MD
grande lash md2
What Grande Lash MD looks like on the inside
grande lash md3
A close up of the brush for Grande Lash MD
rapidlash vs revitalash
And these are Revitalash (top) and Rapid Lash (bottom)

I really liked the packaging for Grande Lash MD – the metallic orangey bronze colour was a refreshing pop against the Revitalash and Rapid Lash packaging, both of which are silvery.  I have noticed most of the cheap knock offs of Revitalash and Rapid Lash have silver packaging as well – presumably to get you to think they’re just as good.  I actually chose Grande Lash MD out of a long list of lash serums on Amazon.com because it looked a bit different to the others – it stood out.  I liked that it dared to be different with packaging.  I know it doesn’t affect the quality of the product… but still… I liked it.

Grande Lash MD works the same way as Rapid Lash and Revitalash.  It makes your lashes grow using a special ingredient called a “bimatoprost analog” (an analog of prostaglandin, used in glaucoma drugs and Latisse).  When the product is applied to the lashes once a day (usually at night, so that your mascara doesn’t interfere with it), after 4-8 weeks the lashes should be longer.  I tried Grande Lash MD for 3 months to see how it stood up against Revitalash and Rapid Lash.
It’s in a long tube with a thin brush inside. You use the brush to paint the product over your eyelashes at the base. The product is colourless and transparent, and it dries invisible with no residue or sticking of the lashes.

And here’s a handy table of comparisons:

A comparison table of Revitalash, Rapid Lash and Grande Lash MD www.delightandinspire.com
A comparison table of Revitalash, Rapid Lash and Grande Lash MD

As you can see from the comparison table, they all have the same active ingredient.  There’s a lot of new lash serums on the market that claim to be good but don’t have any useful active ingredients.  Call me a sourpuss, but if people put “eyelash serum” or “eyelash conditioner” on the label of a product, I expect them to have at least made an effort to put something into the product, some ingredient or other, that will actually make my lashes grow.  That’s why these three are so great.

Grande Lash MD vs Revitalash:

If you’ve got the money for Revitalash, I’d buy Revitalash for 2 reasons – 1. the results were faster.  2. The results were better.  So my lashes grew to their longest overall length with the Revitalash and the results started being visible from week 3.  After 6 weeks of using the Revitalash, my lashes were phenomenal lengths.  If it was easier to photograph eyelashes on my phone I’d definitely have comparison pictures.  When I can afford a Macro Lens I will add some better pictures of my eyelashes.

If you haven’t got the money for Revitalash, your only options for actual lash growth are Grande Lash MD or Rapid Lash.  I’ve already written a comparison review of Revitalash vs Rapid Lash.  Let’s see how Grande Lash MD and Rapid Lash compare to each other:

Grande Lash MD vs Rapid Lash.

Grande Lash MD is already winning because it’s cheapest of the two, and if money is your main concern you will actually get better value for money from the Grande Lash MD.  The results I got were not as good as with the Rapid Lash, BUT there was no irritation (for me personally) with the Grande Lash MD.  If you remember my article comparing Rapid Lash and Revitalash, I complained that the Rapid Lash left a dark line above my lashes and it also irritated my eyes.  I have had absolutely no bad reaction to the Grande Lash MD – even when I used it twice a day for a week to see what would happen (which I tried with the other two as well).  The effects I experienced with Rapid Lash won’t happen to everyone who uses it, so it’s likely that you will not have this problem with Rapid Lash, but for me, Grande Lash MD is the better option because it didn’t harm my eye area.

Where can I buy them?

I get these from Amazon because they are a LOT cheaper than paying full price.  Revitalash is also available from beauticians (their website has a search option) and Rapid Lash is available from some drugstores (Boots in the UK sells it), but Amazon is the cheapest place to get them.  Here’s the affiliated links:

Revitalash

Grande Lash MD

Rapid Lash

How did I test them?

Obviously you can’t use them on different days at the same time to test them because the results take a while to show.  I started with Rapid Lash, using it once a day (at night) coating the roots of my lashes with it for a few months.  I also tried using it twice a day for a week.  This did accelerate results quite well but also made the irritation a LOT worse leading to me using it less.  I moved onto the Revitalash and used that once a day (at night, as instructed by the packet), covering the base of my lashes, as shown on the video, which is slightly different to the application method described on the tube.  The tube says “at the base of the lashes, like eyeliner” but the video that Revitalash made shows that’s not how you use it.  I found the method shown on the video to produce good results.  I tried using Revitalash twice a day and my lashes did get longer but I also noticed that my eyes were looking more sunken.  One huge downside to Revitalash is that it reduces the amount of fat around the eye (I can’t find the scientific study that showed this but Latisse has the same effect) – so if you use too much of it, it can make you look aged while you are using it for the initial 4-6 weeks.  Once your lashes have reached their best length, you can scale back to using Revitalash one or twice a week, I found twice a week was best to maintain beautiful long lashes.  At this point, your eyes will go back to normal if you were affected by fat loss.

What about Latisse?

I really *really* want to try Latisse for a fair comparison, if the manufacturers would like to send me a sample I would be only too happy to try it out and write about it.  There are mountains of evidence from clinical trials that show that Latisse works, but it would be fantastic to see how much better (or worse) it works than these other serums.  Sadly, it’s not available in the UK because we have an NHS and so there’s no market for doctor-prescribed lash growth serums, it’s seen as an un-necessary expense.  If it becomes more normal in the UK for people on a middle income to choose a private doctor’s consultation, perhaps in the future Latisse will be available in the UK.  In the meantime, since 90% of my readers are American, perhaps you could add any experiences you have had with Latisse to the comments to help other readers?

And a warning:

One disturbing trend I’ve noticed on the internet is people are buying Bimatoprost from online pharmacies in America at generic drug prices, to try and get cheap Latisse.  Young teenagers are making videos telling people to do this.  This is highly dangerous because the concentration in generic Bimatoprost is very high (it’s specifically formulated for people with glaucoma; it’s actual mechanism is designed to reduce eye pressure) and it will cause the pressure in your eye to drop too low, causing a medical condition known as Hypotony which can lead to loss of vision.  As with many pharmaceuticals, this will not happen instantly, the effect will get worse over time but once you have damaged your vision it’s not reversible.  Please, please don’t be stupid, long lashes are NOT worth blinding yourself for!!  That is why, if you cannot afford Latisse or it isn’t available in your country, it’s better to get Revitalash, Grande Lash MD or Rapid Lash, these products are made to go on lashes and if anything goes wrong, these companies are accountable.  If you buy actual glaucoma drugs on the sly to make longer lashes and you go blind, it is your own fault.  As an analogy, using pharmacy-grade Bimatoprost to grow your lashes is like using thick house bleach to dye your hair.  Would you dye your hair with the bleach you clean your toilet with???  Of course not, the concentration is far too high! Save yourself the horror and buy a real lash serum.

I will remind readers that I use Amazon Associates because Amazon offers best value.  This does not affect the price you pay, but if you want to pay more for your products, I have also offered alternative places to buy them.

Exfoliators Reviewed! St Ives, Sanctuary, Tesco

I really love to exfoliate, and feel it’s a must-have in my beauty regime.  Over the past 3 months, I was looking for the “perfect” exfoliator.  I bought four exfoliating scrubs and two exfoliating mitts and tried them all out to find out which was best.  Exfoliating gets rid of dead skin cells, revealing newer vibrant skin, yada yada yada you all know why exfoliating is important for hygiene, stimulating cell renewal, looking your best, and all that lovely stuff.

The exfoliators I'm reviewing today: Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator, St Ives Microdermabrasion, Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish and the Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub.
The exfoliators I’m reviewing today: Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator, St Ives Microdermabrasion, Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish and the Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub. The gloves are Home Bargains Exfoliating Glove (89p, left) and Tesco Exfoliating Glove (99p for 2, right)

 

Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub: 8/10.

Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub
Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub

I really loved this one, and it’s scented with a cucumbery sort of body wash smell so leaves me feeling fresh out of the shower. Size: 150ml tube.

Pro’s: It was very gentle and you get a lot of product.  It contains sodium laureth sulphate, which is a surfactant (cleaning agent), and a lot of scrubs don’t contain any surfactant, so this one doubles up as a shower gel.

Con’s: The little microbeads were a bit few and far between so I wouldn’t be able to use this as my regular exfoliator.

A swatch of Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub.
A swatch of Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub on the back of my hand.

Tesco Exfoliating Face Scrub Ingredients:  Aqua, sodium laureth sulphate, polyethylene, cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Crosspolymer, Cocamide DEA, Glycerin, Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Panthenol, Parfum, Sodium Chloride, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Magnesium Nitrate, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.

Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish: 5/10.

Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish
Sanctuary Spa Warming Microbrasion Polish. The tube is in a bit of a state at the top and bottom because I wanted to use it for long enough for it to have a fair review.

 

I was really in love with the idea of this but the reality was less pleasing.  It claims to warm your skin (presumably to open pores and draw out impurities) but the warming effect lasts like 2 seconds and only while you’re actually applying it, so your fingers get warm because they’re constantly touching it, but your face doesn’t get this benefit.  It seems like a waste of a perfectly good chemical reaction.  Size: 100ml.

Pro’s: It does scrub your face, and the actual particles are quite small.

Con’s: Something about the chemicals used to make it self-heating seems to make my face unhappy and I always left the shower with a really (really) red face which was pretty annoying, and my face was also left quite sensitive so I couldn’t put my moisturizer on afterwards.  When I put it on my insensitive, normal-skin arms, the same thing happened.   I really don’t think this was suitable for my age.  While the heating part didn’t work, this product still had some skin-burning ingredients in it.  Maybe it’s aimed at people with more mature skin that needs attacking with dynamite to perk it up (why why why don’t 99% of skincare companies put a guide age on the packaging)?!

A swatch of Sanctuary Warming Microbrasion Polish.
A swatch of Sanctuary Warming Microbrasion Polish.

Sanctuary Spa Covent Garden Warming Microbrasion Polish Ingredients: PEG-8, Zeolite, Kaolin, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Hydrogenated Jojoba Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Cera Alba, PEG-150, CI77891 (titanium dioxide), Cetyl Alcohol, PEG 100 Stearate, Trticum Vulgarae (wheat) Germ Oil, Solum Diatomeae, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder, Maltodextrin, Xanthan Gum, Hydroxypropylcellulose, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, Geraniol, Citronellol.

St Ives Microdermabrasion: 9/10.

St Ives Microdermabrasion
St Ives Microdermabrasion.

As far as bottles of exfoliating gloop go, the St Ives wins hands down.  I felt my face looked fresher and more radiant after I’d used it and it never looked red and scratched.  The only reason it loses a point is it’s slightly dehydrating to my face because I have dry skin.  Size: You get 125ml of this in a tube.

Pro’s:  It’s WAY more gentle than the Apricot Scrub.  It left my skin looking its best.  It was good for use on most of my upper body (I don’t exfoliate my boobs), especially the neck/decolette.

Con’s: It’s not strong enough to work its magic on my legs, and I was still flaking when I came out of the shower throughout this entire tube of scrub which I detest.  If you don’t have dry skin in this area, this may not be a problem.

A swatch of St Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub
A swatch of St Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub

St Ives Microdermabrasion Scrub Ingredients: Aqua, Hydrated Silica, Glycerin, Sodium Methyl 2-Sulfolaurate, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Acrylates/Palmyth-25-Acrylate Copolymer, Acrylates Copolymer, Disodium-2-Sulfolaurate, Tocopherol, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed extract, Primula Veris Extract, Chamomile Recutita (Matricaria) extract, Sambucus Nigra Flower extract, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Cocamidopropyl PG-Dimonium Chloride Phosphate, Sodium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Polyacrylamide, Propylene Glycol, Sorbitol, DMDM Hydantonin, Parfum (fragrance), Linalool, Limonene, Butylphenyl Methylpropional.

Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator: 7/10.

Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator
Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator. Size: 100ml.

Pro’s:  It smells nice, the liquidy part of the scrub is very kind to the skin and does leave it perked up and feeling renewed.

Con’s: I didn’t like the scratchy bits (what do you call them – clearly not beads).  They were badly distributed through the product and they were of differing sizes.  I think they were supposed to look “all natural” (like you’d just be walking through a forest and be like, ZOMG there’s some exfoliating scrub growing out of that tree!!), but I wanted it to exfoliate my delicate facial area and I felt it was too harsh in the parts with the larger particles and too ineffective in the parts with the smaller particles/no particles.  This left my face with some angry red scratchy patches in some area and other areas didn’t look like they’d been cleaned properly at all.  I suppose this is intended to balance out over time but I don’t think I’d buy it again when I could spend the same amount of money and get a lot more of a lot better product from St Ives.

A swatch of Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator.
A swatch of Sanctuary Spa Radiance Exfoliator.

Alternative Use:  I found it was really good for attacking the cellulite or stretch marks (or whatever that stuff is) on my ass!!!  My ass is far too insensitive to care about distribution of scratchy particles, it could barely feel this stuff, and it did leave the skin in this area looking fresh and happy, so I added points for this because it was useful.  So there you have it, this one’s actually good for a shiny hiney rofl!!

Sanctuary Radiance Exfoliator Ingredients: Glycerin, Aqua, PEG-60, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polysorbate 60, Glyceryl Stearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Prunus Armeniaca (apricot) Seed Powder, PEG-100 Stearate, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, /vitis Vinifera (Grape) seed powder, Lactobacillus/Cucurbita Pepo Ferment Extract, Limonene, Diazolidinyl Urea, Sodium Benzoate, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) peel oil, Citris Nobilis (mandadrin) peel oil, Disodium EDTA, Carbomer, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Carica Papaya (papaya) fruit extract, Sodium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Ananas Sativus (Pineapple) fuit extract, EDTA, Citric Acid, Benzoic Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide.

Home Bargains Exfoliating Glove: 2/10.

Home Bargains Exfoliating Glove
Home Bargains Exfoliating Glove

Home Bargains has some phenomenal bargains and it’s a shop I trust when I want to try new things.  This was the first exfoliating glove I’d ever tried in my life, and in the shop I’d gently rubbed it against my palm to find out what the texture was like, but somehow I misjudged this.

Pro’s:  You could use it as an offensive weapon.

Con’s: The fabric on the “exfoliating” side turned coarse, hard and rough when it got wet, and I only put up with it for one shower because it was horrific.  For all that pain, you’d expect to emerge squeaky clean right?  So I was profoundly disappointed that it had removed NOTHING and all my dry flaky skin was covering my towel.  I HAD TO GO BACK IN THE SHOWER AND USE THE ST IVES TO FIX THIS, DAMNIT!!  I really don’t think this exfoliating glove was designed for anyone with skin and I strongly recommend not bothering with exfoliation if this is your only option.  I don’t know why I still have this in my bathroom, except to make me feel safer when I’m in the house alone in the shower, because of the previously-mentioned potential for use as an offensive weapon.

Tesco Exfoliating Glove: 10/10.

Tesco Exfoliating Glove Mitt
Tesco Exfoliating Glove

Pro’s: This was the second-to-last thing I tried, and after all the others, I can definitely say this was far-and-away the very best thing I have exfoliated with recently, and it now lives looped over the handle to my shower door.  I know you’re supposed to use both of these gloves one on each hand, but I generally only wash myself with one hand at a time so I put the second glove aside so I can use it when I throw this one away.  It’s gentle enough for the face and neck but strong enough to properly get rid of the dry skin on my lower legs.  I used it with my usual shower gel, which is the Original Source Lavender and Tea Tree shower gel, and my skin has been really happy with this one.

Con’s: None, really.

So that’s my round up of exfoliators.  My conclusion?  Save a boatload of cash and buy a 99p fuzzy exfoliating glove in your choice of fun colors. Or, if you really don’t like that idea, grab the St Ives – it won hands down for a liquid exfoliator.

The miracle anti-ageing cream that really works

Today, I’m going to reveal to you… the miracle anti ageing cream that really works!

So I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now and a lot of people have asked me what my secret is. You see, I’m turning 30 in November and I still look like this:

Wednesday Addams cosplay tutorial
Wednesday Addams cosplay from the tutorial I did on Wednesday.

For those people who want to know, I’m here to tell you that I have been using a miracle anti-ageing cream for many years. My aunt is going to be 60 in a couple of years’ time and she uses the same cream as me, every single day before she leaves the house – she looks like she’s in her late 30’s or early 40’s. It’s a very inexpensive cream and you can generally find it in many shops which is always good.

I really like this cream because, unlike retinols and peptides, your body doesn’t develop a tolerance to this one. It also protects you from cancer and, if you make the effort to find the right one that suits you, it makes a fantastic facial moisturiser for under make-up.

Buying face creams is a bit of a minefield, but I have checked and this one is available in the US (although if you can find something similar with a lower price tag, you might want to try that instead). One thing that really makes the difference is that a lot of people buy the body lotion and put it on their face (which overloads the delicate facial skin and clogs pores) but I buy a special face one.

It is (dun dun dun….) facial sun cream. Okay, so it’s April 1st and I wanted to write something with a humorous twist but everything I’ve said in this post is still 100% true. Sunscreen is the best anti-ageing ingredient you can buy. I’ve talked about the benefits of wearing the right sunscreen before. The suns rays basically age your skin… even if it’s not a bright sunny day! They can even do it while you’re indoors.

I prefer the Boots Soltan facial suncreams because they have UVA and UVB protection.  You can buy the Soltan Sensitive Face Factor 30 here on Amazon.com although if there’s a cheaper one that’s as good, that’s available in the American market, you should probably buy that one instead.

You can also buy Soltan Face and Soltan Sensitive Face at Boots shops in the UK.

Of all the facial sunscreens I’ve tried over the years (including the Avon ones), the Boots Soltan Face cream SPF 30 (and Sensitive Face) are the best ones because they has unparallelled UVA protection. When choosing a sun cream, the UVA protection isn’t actually related to the SPF – but it’s the part that stops you ageing when you catch the sunlight (I talked about this more here). On British products, there’s usually a stamp with a bunch of stars at the back – you want four or five stars to get the anti-ageing benefit.  That’s why you can’t rely on the SPF in cosmetics to keep your skin safe – they rarely if ever have a UVA protection in them.

I rarely leave the house without some sort of sun protection because I want to grow old fabulously. I highly recommend ignoring SPF (as long as it’s over SPF 20) and going for a five-star UVA sunscreen (that’s why I use SPF 30 instead of 50 – 30 is good enough to prevent burning and I’m really after the UVA protection).  I can’t believe how many people neglect this all-important step in their beauty routine and don’t take the time to find their perfect daily facial sunscreen.

I’ll leave you with the following public service announcement from Baz Luhrmann (director of Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge):

The Beauty Blogger Tag

So I’ve been nominated by Brandie at The Striped Coyote to do the Beauty Blogger Tag!
Thanks to Brandie for nominating me for this tag!  I’m going to try to answer the questions as best as possible!

face of the day again
Face of the day brought to you by blinding daylight in my bathroom!

The Rules for this Tag:

Tag the blogger that nominated you
Answer the questions you were given
Nominate 10 bloggers whose blog is about beauty/lifestyle/fashion
Name 10 questions for your nominees to answer
Inform the bloggers you chose that you nominated them.

Have you ever done yoga and did you like it?
My primary school used to do yoga so I did it with the rest of the kids (it was a very small school with a total of 32 pupils in the entire school) whose parents couldn’t pick them up straight after school. It was okay. I think people like most things at that age. I incorporate some yoga moves into my warmup/cooldowns for my workouts nowadays, but I don’t even think about where they came from any more! I’ve never taken a proper grown up yoga class though!

What products do you splurge on?
Nothing really. I’m flat broke at the moment so I can’t really afford anything fancy. When I do have money, I tend to buy high end primers and concealers because they’re the most important thing to get right. Oh, and good hair products of course!

What products do you save on?
Eyeshadow! I bought a pallette called the Jazooli pallette for £14.99 about 2 years ago, and it’s got literally every colour of the rainbow, so I use it in pretty much all of my Youtube tutorials, especially the most outrageous ones!  I’d like some fabulous high end eyeshadows but this will do for now.  Apart from my Laura Mercier neutrals, that’s all the eyeshadow I own!!

What is your best tip for maintaining healthy skin?
Drink lots of water. I know it’s a cliche but it totally works.

What do you use to remove your makeup?
I use cotton wool and rosewater, but I get the stuff that’s in the cooking aisle at the supermarket, not the stuff that’s in the drugstore, because I want the one that’s just 100% water and roses!

How do you maintain your eyebrows (example, threading/waxing)?
I did a video on Youtube on this last week. I shape them myself then draw the brow in to fill it out.

What is your favorite mascara?
L’Oreal Million Lashes. I’ve got the MAC Extreme Dimension as well, and it was my favourite when I first got it, but over time I’ve found Million Lashes still looks perfect at the end of the night, whereas Extreme Dimension always needs topping up. Also after about 6 months Extreme Dimension started burning and flaking, but Million Lashes still doesn’t do that and I’ve had it for over a year.

Where do you buy most of your makeup?
All over the place! Basically I just buy it wherever I see it – I got to like four different department stores because they all have different counters, I go to three different drugstores and two independent beauty shops as well as Amazon and other online retailers.  Sometimes I buy at the supermarket as well.  It totally depends who’s got the item I want.

What is your favorite shade of lipstick?
Nudes. If it’s got “bare” or “nude” in the name, chances are good that I love it. I also really like brown shades because they suit my complexion WAY better than pinks (I’m neutral toned, bordering slightly on warm toned).

What is your favorite perfume?
That’s such a hard question to answer! I honestly don’t know which one I love the most. I love so many different ones for different reasons. I guess Glow by JLo will always have a special place in my heart, it’s so fresh. I also love Chanel No. 5 (because it’s the polar opposite to Glow), and Avon’s Perceive has been a longtime favourite. I like something understated for daytime and something that matches my outfit for evenings! I think wearing one perfume all the time is like wearing the same pair of shoes – it’s just not going to go with every outfit or situation!

Nominations:
Rianne Mitchell
Just Nadiene
Smile Sweetie HQ
Beautiful Butterflies Bethany
Chenhe Yang
Fashion Mimo

Questions:
Do you prefer matte or dewy foundation?
What’s your favourite high end product?
What’s your favourite drugstore bargain?
Do you spend more time doing your hair or your makeup?
Do you co-ordinate your shoes/purses?
If you could only use one brand of makeup for the next month, which would you choose?
What’s your skincare routine?
Would you ever/have you done the no-poo shampoo method? If you’ve already done it, what were your results?
What’s the most unexpected thing you’ve found about blogging?
Name your go-to lip balm?

I can’t wait to see your answers everyone!

Purple Circles Under Your Eyes? 5 Ways To Kill Them No Make-Up (and one quick fix)

Looking to permanently fix those under eye purple circles?  I discovered there was no real information about how to permanently get rid of purple circles under the eyes, after I wrote my article on how to get rid of blue circles (you might want to read that too)! To fix that, I’ve written about how to cure under eye purple circles here and hopefully you’ll get here BEFORE you’ve wasted years on Google on unhelpful articles about getting rid of dark circles which are to do with ageing! Purple under eye circles affect anyone of any age and getting rid of purple circles without using make-up doesn’t take a lot of work.

Purple under eye circles are different to dark circles under the eye because dark circles are caused by hyperpigmentation due to ageing. Purple under eye circles have similar causes to blue circles but they are more responsive to permanent remedies!  So here are five ways to permanently solve the problem of under eye purple circles and one quick fix for in the meantime while you wait for the purple circles to heal, all without using make-up.

First, let’s talk about the quickest fix to get rid of purple under eye circles without using make-up (why no make-up? Because 50% of people with purple and blue circles under their eyes are men, and they don’t really want to be using make-up; a lot of women don’t want to be covering their purple under eye circles up with make-up either).

All links take you to Amazon as I’m an associate and find Amazon very convenient, and every product I mention on this page is one I’ve actually used to get rid of my own purple and blue circles under my eyes and have used and recommended to help other people with the under-eye purple and blue circles problem too:

If you want a quick fix:
Fake (or real) tan: Getting a product with a small amount of fake tan in it, and building it up over the face is a subtle way to get rid of those under-eye purple circles – it works to a moderate extent but it’s not a permanent fix because as soon as you wash the tan off, the circles will come back. However, it is the fastest way to get rid of purple under eye circles without make-up because as your skin darkens, the purple circles under the eyes become much less noticeable! It’s basically the same as blending them out. In addition, the orange and yellow base pigments in most “hint of a tan” type products does the same job as under-eye colour corrector to get rid of those purple circles under your eyes. My favourite is the Dove Summer Glow with a hint of sunless tanner and even though it’s a body lotion, I just use it on my whole face morning and night for a full weekend, then go back to my normal skincare routine because it’s not a face cream, then I make sure to reapply the Dove summer glow once every couple of days, to get a circle-covering glow. About four applications should start to reduce the purple circles (but remember to use it on the rest of your body occasionally as well, so you don’t just have a darker face and whiter everything else).

To ditch those circles permanently:
1. Eat more broccoli and kale: These are both extremely high in vitamin K, the vitamin everyone forgets when they’re planning their diet. Vitamin K is the one that gets rid of redness and helps with chapped lips, and it also helps get rid of purple circles by preventing your blood from being too thin. This is the cheapest but slowest way to get rid of those circles, but they should be improved within 6 months.

2. Try Vitamin K Cream for your face: Vitamin K cream is the wonder solution to get rid of all sorts of dark under eye circles; purple circles, blue circles and brown circles. At $7.94 (inc shipping), it’s also the very cheapest cream you can try so I would try this Vitamin K Cream first before any other permanent solution for purple under-eye circles.  It also works to fade out bruises!  You should get results on purple circles under the eyes in 2-4 weeks.  This vitamin K cream is also safe for children, making it perfect for pageants.  If you’re on blood thinning medication such as warfarin or aspirin, you need to be careful with vitamin K and consult your doctor.

3. Take a vitamin K supplement: Vitamin K supplements are fantastic for people who don’t like eating their greens. It works internally to ensure all your blood is the right thickness, which will also make you bruise less easily! Vitamin K supplements cost more than the cream but the results last longer, so this one is good value, but it will take a month or two to work so keep at it.  As above, consult your doctor if necessary.

4. Check your iron levels: Another huge cause of purple circles is low iron levels. When your iron level gets too low, it’s clear in your face because you start to get dark purple or blue circles under the eyes, usually more of a navy blue line than a purple circle. The only solution to an iron deficiency is to eat more iron-containing foods (hot chocolate made with pure cocoa is the most overlooked source of iron.  Vegan? Use soy milk) on a regular basis. Covering up purple circles under the eyes caused by iron deficiency is not a good plan, you need to solve the cause or they just get worse.

5. Sometimes the skin is the problem, rather than what’s underneath it: When you’re sure it’s not a deficiency, it’s likely that you just have thinner skin under the eyes. Luckily, there is a solution for this: Regular use of any face cream containing Matrixyl will help get rid of blue circles permanently. The Olay Regenerist 3 Point Cream (which I talked about in my article on blue circles) is the absolute best cream I’ve tried for getting rid of purple and blue circles under the eyes (only use a TINY bit because it’s powerful stuff). How does it work? The Matrixyl actually helps to thicken the skin so when it’s applied to the under-eye area it helps the skin to grow thicker and when it’s thicker, it’s less transparent and less delicate, meaning this cream gets rid of the cause of the purple and blue circles under the eyes. If you don’t have $40 there’s a cheaper alternative here from Andre Lorent at $20; although I found it was slightly greasier, it did still work to reduce my dark circles, so it’s up to you.

After living for years with blue circles that turned purple on a regular basis, my own method was to do all of the above together to really kill those blue and purple circles, and now they only come back if I stop doing all of those things for several months (such as when I was pregnant – I have no idea if any of these things are safe for pregnancy and had bigger things to worry about than purple or blue circles so I’m working on getting rid of my under eye circles again now, which is why it seemed like a good time to write another article about this).

No-One Wants To Know The Real Truth About Parabens

Parabens. It’s seen as a dirty word amongst the “natural beauty” movement and the “mainstream” cosmetics industry is trying its best to ignore it, right? Because of parabens, many people are spending more money than ever on cosmetics and personal care products to avoid those scary-sounding paraben ingredients.

Today I want to step (mostly) aside from the quibble over whose scientific paraben research was more inaccurate, to examine the bigger question; who really benefits from the fears surrounding parabens?

To get at the answer, we need to do some digging. You may have noticed the unbelievable number of very expensive “natural beauty” paraben-free organic natural companies that have sprung up over the past couple of years. They charge you an arm and a leg for beautifully coloured, luxuriously scented containers of goop with names such as “thermal spa minerals bath elixir” “cleansing water mist” and “nourishing body souffle.”

Paraben free products are not necessarily being marketed by ethical companies.

Okay, so some of you are thinking “what is going on? Has she been paid to say this?”

I am an independent researcher, sitting at home writing this, and I look at all the information I can get my hands on and I base my conclusion on the information I find.

Here’s some things you need to know about the people telling you to avoid parabens:

1. The “natural beauty” companies who are selling the paraben free products are operating on a much higher profit margin than conventional companies. It doesn’t cost them more money to avoid putting an ingredient in a product because they’re not replacing parabens with something else that costs more. Here’s an analogy: Think of a cake, if you made a cake without chocolate powder, so it was a plain flavoured cake, would it cost you more to make that cake, or a cake which used chocolate powder? When all the other ingredients stayed the same, the chocolate cake would cost more to make. So why is the plain cake costing so much more to buy? Why are the paraben free products costing up to ten times more than their paraben-containing counterparts? It’s very profitable to make paraben-free products.

2. The “big beauty companies” that some sensationalist self-styled “health journalists” are criticizing? Most of them are benefiting from the paraben myth in some way. Here’s a list of well-known beauty companies who have at least one product that they’re marketing as paraben free:

Clarins, Clinique, Ojon, Pureology (and by extension, L’Oreal), Dead Sea Spa, Aveda, Morrocan Oil, Vaseline, Revlon, Dr Organic, Physician’s Formula, Burt’s Bees, Bare Escentuals (and Bare Minerals), L’Occitane, Origins.

This is where the biggest money behind the anti-paraben hype is overtly coming from, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only people making megabucks from scaring you away from parabens.

3. A lot of the smaller start-up companies (such as all the new startup sellers of natural, paraben-free, organic, very expensive products) don’t have to list their board of directors or key shareholders, particularly if they’re not floated on the stock exchange or aren’t incorporated. This means that, to start a smaller start-up company that makes big bucks from the current “natural beauty” craze, a larger company can finance it for a share of the profits, guide product development and marketing, then step back and let the smaller company turn a profit – who then repay a percentage of that to the larger company. We’ve seen this time and again on Dragon’s Den, you think they’re the only people doing it? Everyone in business with investment capital is doing it! If the smaller company goes bankrupt (such as “organic skincare” company Davina Peace… they had a waiting list of clients when they launched in 2010. You can find Davina Peace halfway down this list of insolvent companies in administration in 2012, along with the date of insolvency), the larger company washes their hands of the whole thing because it was nothing to do with them. If anything, they end up on the list of creditors (people owed money). If and when the current “natural skincare” craze ends, and the consumers start looking for something else, the larger company comes out of this beauty trend totally unscathed, with their reputation in tact when everyone goes back to buying “normal” stuff again. It is impossible to know behind the scenes who is financing and guiding these companies. It is impossible to know if any company is truly independent because corporate accounting strategies are inscrutable. Smaller companies are less accountable than larger ones.

4. You know whose products still contain parabens? The Body Shop! They’re an independent company not affiliated to any others, they are all about “natural” skincare and beauty, but their products are still packed with parabens. Why? Because they want to kill you? Uh, reality check, if cosmetics companies kill their customers, who’s going to be left alive to buy cosmetics? They use parabens because the evidence for the current paraben-noia is flimsy, it all comes from studies where at least one of the same people were involved, they all use very small sample sizes (the latest one, the one that “proves” parabens are dangerous? 40 participants.  All in Britain. That’s 0.0000000006% of the world’s population (or 0.000000012% of the population of America). And the researcher was forced to conclude that parabens are “only part of the bigger picture” which is scientist speak for “I’ve spent nearly a decade of my life barking up the wrong tree.” Why was this conclusion made? Well 7 of the 40 participants didn’t even use any cosmetics in the underarm area, so they weren’t getting any parabens from those products and yet the tissue samples still contained parabens. No deodorant, no body lotion… do you know anyone who doesn’t use any deodorant, any lotion, anything at all under their arms, who ALSO wears face cream or make-up? Who bathes regularly?? I don’t. These things tend to come in groups – people who don’t use deodorant (including natural ones) or body lotion tend not to use other products. Such as shower gel. And that’s if we totally ignore her first study on the effect of parabens, published in January 2004, which had a sample of twenty participants (also in Britain) and didn’t have a control group (a group of people who didn’t have cancer, or who didn’t use parabens, for example, to check if their paraben level was the same), which is the study everyone keeps misquoting.

5. Research is driven by funding.  Without funding, people don’t research things.  Every job in science has to be paid for and accounted for.  Researchers have to justify why they need money in most fields.  By studying parabens, an oncologist (for example) would no longer need to depend on funding from public health bodies (such as the nearly-bankrupt British NHS, Britain being the country where all of the research on parabens was carried out by the same lead author) or charities specialising in cancer research, and instead, that researcher could open up a huge avenue of funding for the university they work for, from cosmetics companies (or subsidiary research institutes funded by straw-man companies funded by cosmetics companies) who stand to gain from the results – if those results mean they can sell more paraben-free products.  Additionally, these big companies don’t require the results to be very rigorous (unlike health organizations) as long as they’re sensational.  Just like the beauty blogger who sells her scruples for a free mascara, the researcher claims that “all opinions are my own” although in science-speak, that’s “the research method was robust.”  For good measure, the researcher could get other people they know to peer-review it (everyone in the same field knows each other).  This is sadly how a lot of corporate-relevant scientific research is being done nowadays – fund a university, they can claim they’re independent, the company might even guide the university’s researchers about sharing the results with the world to get maximum impact but because it came from a university lab, we believe every word as infallible.  This is how many people get a PhD these days!  It all depends how financially malleable the researchers are, but there are hints that this happens all over academia, especially in the research areas most relevant to the pharmaceutical, nutritional and cosmetics industries.  If the research had showed parabens were not implicated in cancer, the cosmetics companies would gain less overall.  When was the last time a newspaper ran a story that said “fresh broccoli doesn’t cause cancer” (for example)?  It doesn’t sell products.

Cashing In

So what, exactly am I trying to say, and who do I think I am that I can say this? Just like animal testing, the truth behind these “natural beauty” companies is surrounded by a mystique of obfuscation, corporate financial backing and bad science… which makes them no better than the regular cosmetics companies. I wrote this because I value honesty and I was compelled to show that you don’t need to spend large amounts of money on “paraben free” products. These companies are cashing in on our biggest fears.

I think that in order to really get to the heart of the paraben issue, we’ve got to examine why we react so strongly to allegations that products are dangerous: Fear.

The Role Of Fear

We fear cancer more than anything else because we feel powerless, most of us know someone who has died of cancer. Breast cancer is terrifying because we don’t know why some people get it and others don’t. We don’t know why cancer seems to be getting more common than ever before. Personally, I believe it’s down to processed food; I think there’s something about all those condiments, sauces, ready meals and so on. But that doesn’t net an attention grabbing headline, that’s never going to produce viral content, so nobody writes about it or researches it for long because they can’t get funding.  Research is driven by funding – especially at universities.  Who funds research?  Companies who stand to gain from it!

Look at the recent evidence linking bacon to cancer. What was the public’s response? Oh, I love bacon, I’m never going to stop eating bacon! It hardly made the news for a week before disappearing! These are the same people avoiding cigarettes and parabens! The reason I wanted the world to know what fuels the paraben myth is because people think that if they avoid parabens they get some kind of points, that they can then use to smoke, drink and eat bacon. It doesn’t work like that. The things you eat, drink and smoke are the real culprits here.

Japanese women have a lower incidence of breast cancer than anyone else in the world because of their diet. Tokyo is a very polluted urban environment; have you ever been there? Huge skyscrapers, people’s living space is tiny, ventilation is complicated, and yet those women are getting breast cancer less often than women living in the Great Plains. Do Japanese women use parabens? Of course they do! They may use some “traditional Japanese” products, but when was the last time you used a “traditional” product of your own nationality? The only traditional English beauty product I use is rosewater from the supermarket (the stuff in the beauty shop is full of alcohol – which DOES cause cancer when ingested), and if I’m honest, I don’t use it as often as I should.

By avoiding parabens, consumers are being given a false sense of control, a false sense of security, a false sense of everything’s fine. Clearly, everything is not fine. Vegetarians and meat eaters are getting cancer at similar rates. Natural organic homeopaths are getting cancer at the same rate as people using branded products full of parabens and “chemicals.” The lie is that we are safe if we avoid parabens and other molecules labeled as “nasties.” We are not safe. None of us are. That’s the truth about parabens: You can avoid any ingredient with more than ten letters in the name as much as you like, it’s not going to help you. All this is doing is letting the real culprits get away with murder for longer while the cosmetics companies get even richer than ever from people’s fear.

Cosmetics companies are experts in using fear to sell products – fear of looking old, fear of really being old… those anti-ageing creams are cashing in on people’s fear of mortality. Fear of being ugly, of not looking attractive… make-up cashes in on people’s fear of being alone, people’s fear of rejection. The cosmetics industry has a long track record of subtly using fear to motivate women to buy their products. I’m not telling you to start buying products full of parabens, or to stop buying cosmetics; you should look how you want to, but you need to be aware of the truth about parabens. Avoiding parabens is not going to save you. We will all get old. We will all be alone sometimes. We will all die one day. And that’s the real truth about parabens.  It’s a shame everyone’s so busy being scared of parabens to understand what’s really at play here.