The Ultimate lockdown Travel Beauty Videos

So we are in the 5th week of lockdown and it seems like we will be staying put for the forseeable. The only thing that helps me atm is dreaming of travel and a long session of really chilling with YouTube / Netflix. Since we can only afford to dream of luxe and sunny destinations… I’m really bingeing on and this imho is the ultimate lockdown travel beauty video collection.

I’ve rounded some of the best and greatest around. ( I’m looking at you Naomi Campbell!) You can’t have missed this! You just have to type Naomi + Fly and this iconic, slightly OTT, but quintessentially divaeseque , totally Naomi Campbell video pops up.

This is the OG of flying Beauty videos . Actually, this is the OG of videos. End of.

I love it, its excessive, and something I can’t quite pull off myself. However these videos are some ones I enjoy watching on repeat and can relate to( with some OTT one’s thrown in there, cos we EXTRA baby!)

  • Lisa Eldridge. Ok This OG ( Original Goddess ) is a makeup and beauty legend who’s a Beauty Boss with her own beauty line and those who don’t know her should stop reading this, and press search in Google. You’re welcome. Anyway, Lisa has some sound, practical and non sheet mask-ey advice. Calm, soothing and totally cool- Lisa doesn’t disappoint. Lockdown viewing sorted.
  • Arshia Moorjani Arshia is an American content creator of Indian Origin who has quite an impact with her list videos. Do please watch her top 5 mac red lipsticks for brown girl vids etc. Her travel beauty video is both boujee and extra, without becoming OTT and annoying.
  • Jonathon Van Ness. Because he slays it like the absolute Queen that he is. This inflight routine is OG, yet relatable. Boujee, yet not OTT. Cool and sassy. Please hit subscribe faster than you can type. And maybe one day, when lockdown is over- we can emulate this travel routine.
  • Matilda Matilda is an Aussie blogger who has made it big with stop motion style videos of her edits. Her travel bag contents read like a dream. And I’d not only hit subscribe faster than you can say Joey. But also save this to your travel beauty collection. ( wait, i sincerely hope you save your vids).
  • Huda of Huda beauty needs no introduction. Apart from being a trailblazer in the blogging world and launching her own beauty line to enormous success. The latest video is a treat and an aspiration. She flew her family, and team First Class. (I’d love to be in her team. A girl can dream!)
  • Jamie Genevieve. I love an accent and an intelligent person in an accent is lovelier still. Her extra AF beauty routine before and during a transatlantic flight and her humour is so relatable. She packs an extra pair of knickers in her carry-on… just in case. LOL right?

My Top 3 in flight must haves

  1. Hand Sanitiser
  2. Lip Balm
  3. Moisturiser

Everything else is optional, and totally acceptable. Most fellow passengers are side eyeing the free booze to pay you any mind anyway. And since we are probably only travelling from our bathroom to our bedrooms atm. We can aspire to and dream of luxury beauty, travel beauty routines and flying to exotic locations.

Do you like this #lockdown roundup of Inflight beauty routines ? Which one of these was your favourite? Do you have any others you like that I haven’t listed? Please let me know more in comments below~~ Lav xx

(OK confession time- please don’t judge me! I have this thing for inflight beauty. By this I mean, I pack a travel beauty bag, which i decant and use up every two weeks. And I don’t travel much at all. I do it for the fun of it. So this Lockdown period is just enabling me to keep changing the combo, adding and deleting beauty products. Repacking a travel beauty case. Because- you never know ;))

If you liked this list, have a gander at my other post ( bit oTT now I think, but have a laugh…) or this one which talks about exfoliating powders I love (no liquid, yayy!)


3 Beauty Podcasts you can catch up with while WFH

Corona has got us at home, and working from home WFH. We can sweeten the deal by listening to a few our our favourite things. In my case it’s beauty chat. So without further ado, my top 3 beauty Podcasts that you can listen to while WFH.

  1. Breaking Beauty Podcast: Hosted by Canadian beauty insiders Jill Dunne and Carlene Higgins, this funny and informative podcast is full of a beauty junkies treasure. Origin stories, Tips and tricks and lots of new product launch details. This has it all. It is also resassuringly long. But not too tedious. Download it and subscribe, its a beauty lover’s nirvana.

2) Naked Beauty : Brooke DeVard hosts this podcast which has nothing to do with being in the buff, but all about buffing, and with a great deal of realism thrown in. I really enjoy the guests that Brooke interviews. Whilst Brooke herself is a woman of colour, and sure the podcast is peppered with topics relevant to WOC. The podcast isnt limited to the BME demographic. There are lots of natural recipes- DIY face masks, Face oils, Cleansing oils etc. And prepare for some effing and jeffing.

3) Outspoken Beauty by Nicola Bonn: Nicola is funny, a bit clueless but really engaging and has a lovely conversational style. She’s English too, and that wonderful self deprecating British humour comes through. Nicola also has the most wonderful guests, topics- stories, brand introductions and a great dose of realism- expect a bit of swearing, talk about sagging boobs and a great deal about red lipstick too.

I really miss the work commute and my podcast ” quality time”. The ones I’ve listed above is how I connect to the “old me”. These are my three podcast reccos, but I’d to hear yours. ~love Lav xx

If you liked the list above you might like this one too.


Love in the time of Corona- my top 3 Nourishing Face Masks

( Items marked * are gifted/ unpaid PR and for more details please read the Disclosure /PR policy here)

Ok I take a ” break ” and what has happened to the world? This Corona virus has really taken 2020 by a storm, erm pandemic. I am taking this time “off” to do some long drawn out beauty rituals. These calm my corona-stressed skin, and show it some much deserved love. My face has been enjoying the attention, and going foundation free is making me glow! All this indoor air is drying me out a touch- and I’ve been using nourishing masks to help hydrate and replenish my parched skin. My top 3, that I’m enjoying at the moment are:

A sample of the Bioderma Hydrabio Range

Bioderma Hydrabio Masque*

What it promises:

Bioderma’s Patent, aquagenium which Intensely moisturises, Provides lasting comfort and Restores the skin’s suppleness and radiance

How to use it:

Use Daily in the first week for an optimum result, then as follow-up, once or twice a week.

  • STEP 1: Apply a thick layer of Hydrabio Masque on your face and neck, after cleansing with Hydrabio H2O or Hydrabio Milk (Cleansing milk) and toning with Hydrabio Tonique (Toner).
  • STEP 2: Leave on for 10 minutes.
  • STEP 3: Then remove any excess product with a cotton pad.

Suitable for:

Dehydrated Sensitive Skin


Water (aqua), Glycerin, Cyclomethicone, Dicaprylyl Ether, Dimethicone, Xylitol, Glycol Palmitate, Corn Starch Modified, Arachidyl Alcohol, Xylitylglucoside, Anhydroxylitol, Niacinamide, Pyrus Malus (apple) Fruit Extract, Rhamnose, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glyceryl Stearate, Peg-100 Stearate, Behenyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Titanium Dioxide, Arachidyl Glucoside, Fructooligosaccharides, Disodium Edta, Mannitol, Xanthan Gum, Hexyldecanol, C30-45 Alkyl Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Alumina, Stearic Acid, Caprylic/capric Triglyceride, Chlorphenesin, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (parfum).

Fragranced formula. Non-comedogenic. Hypoallergenic.

Jane Scrivner Intense De-Stress Face Masque*

What it promises:

Jane Scrivner’s Masquerade is an anti-wrinkle face mask that also melts stress away. This intense facial treatment calms dry skin and balances pigmentation to promote a beautiful, noticeably even complexion. Infused with rosehip oil, the anti-ageing masque soothes and repairs the skin to help fade sun damage and fine lines with every application. Formulated as a decongestant for stressed skin and rich in antioxidants, the anti-aging face mask includes an abundance of Vitamin C, Vitamin B, Vitamin D, and Vitamin E. A touch of French clay draws toxins from the pores, calendula calms irritation, pure argan oil conditions skin and jojoba gives it a more youthful, beautifully even tone.
● Recommended for for all skin types 
● Apply to clean skin, let it sit for 10-15 mins and then rinse and pat dry

What it does:

● Repairs mature skin to precent dullness, wrinkles and lines
● Gentle, pregnancy safe, gluten free, organic and nut free 
● Refreshing natural scent of neroli and Ylang Ylang 

Suitable for:

  • Gluten free
  • Nut free
  • Plant based
  • Pregnancy safe
  • Vegan


Aqua, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Flour, Kaolin, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (o), Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Extract, Cetearyl Alcohol Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil (o) Prunus Armeniaca Kernel (Apricot) Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Coco-Glucoside, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Phytate, Phenethyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Glycol, Pelargonium Graveolens Roseum Oil, Rosa Centifolia Bud Extract, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Citrus Sinensis Peel Extract, Vanilla Plantifolia Fruit Extract, Styrax Benzoin Gum, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenethyl Alcohol, *citral, *eugenol, *farnesol, *linalool, *limonene, *geraniol, *citronellol, * benzyl benzoate, * benzyl cinnamate,

*naturally occurring in essential oils.   (O) Organic 

Beauty of Joseon Revitalise Sleeping Mask*

What it promises:

This is an anti-aging and moisturizing sleeping mask enriched with Hanbang (traditional Korean herbal medicine) ingredients. It contains elasticity-boosting soybean and ginseng extract. It leaves your skin extraordinary smooth and silky during the night. It has a pudding-like texture and then turns into thin film-like layer. This locks all the beneficial ingredients from your skincare products without any heavy or greasy feeling.

How to use it:

Apply this sleeping mask at the last step of your night time skincare routine. Sleeping with mask overnight and rinse off with lukewarm water in the morning. Recommended to use 3-4 times a week when you need extra care.

Suitable for:

It says for all skin types. And it is probably suitable for most as it contains Niacinamide. ( More on this in a post soon)


Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dipropylene Glycol, Glycerin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Niacinamide, Polysorbate 20, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, PEG-240/HDI Copolymer Bis-Decyltetradeceth-20 Ether, Betaine, Trehalose, Urea, Sodium Hyaluronate, Saccharide Isomerate, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Dimethiconol, Illicium Verum (Anise) Fruit Extract, Orchid Extract, Honey Extract, Scutellaria Baicalensis Root Extract, Adenosine, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, Glycine Max (Soybean) Seed Extract, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Beta-Glucan, Phenoxyethanol

To sum it up:

These nourishing masks do different things, that’s not a bad thing. Do you need all? No! should you have them all? Oh yes if the price is right. I appreciate that in this hard times, with job layoffs and uncertainties. (Thank you Corona) buying three masks may not be on the top of your list. But should you choose to look after no 1, I hope this review helps. I’ve given a breakdown of the ingredients so you can decide if ingredients are right for you. I’ll also leave links for ingredient checkers here and here, by and large these are suitable for all but the most sensitive. But if you have sensitised skin, you know to stay away from common sensitisers.



A conversation with Sali Hughes- Top tips for Beauty on the go!

Don’t press pause, don’t press reset. I have indeed attended a workshop with Sali Hughes. No I am not kidding. I was this close. THIS, CLOSE. And she said Hi. I’m not a bezzie, but she knows I exist? Okay? I learnt some top Makeup Artist ( MUA) tricks for putting on beauty products on the move. And let’s be honest, a lot of us get most our slap done sometime between leaving home and arriving to work/ wherever it is we arrive at ) A lot of us peeps rush to work in the morning and side glances aside we do our faces( beauty( on the go.( Btw if you side eye anyone who is doing their makeup on the train- shame on you. Unless they spray POISON – and I mean the actual stuff not the perfume … in your face.If I don’t look askance at you for downloading Porn, lipstick is okay too ?) Anyway rants aside.

Love me some Sali Hughes’ advice. ( if you don’t know who she is! GIYF?) Take it from a chic who is a huge fangirl, Sali has amazing skin. Now whilst her advice is tailored to her dry skin, she also mentioned how to tailor it for us combi peeps.  The only word of caution. Please do not try this in your car if you are driving that is. Follow the highway code lads.

Also Cue fangirl gush alert, Sali wasn’t given the brief about what she needed to do, and when she reached there, she was told that she had to makeover a person whilst talking us through the process; a live demo. Consummate professional that Sali is, she took this in her stride and sorted a person in the audience to be the model, and in five seconds flat, she sorted out the products needed; makeup and brushes included.

Sali Hughes top reccos:

  • Cream eyeshadow sticks are your BFF

Formula is king as the cliché goes, so is a great crease blending brush. You need a stick that will give you five seconds to line your eyes, and set with a buff brush ( using light car wiper motion movement. Do not forget to buff. Unless an eyelid glued shut is your thing. Sali reccomends Bobbi Brown taupe. The Beauty Pie sticks are very similar too. The VB pencils are great. I have the VB pencil in Bordeaux . May I suggest Kiko and NYX for affordable dupes? Don’t break your bank to get skincare/makeup guys. 

  • Don’t faff with concealer, go for a colour corrector

Colour correctors are genius. What wait? You are still in the era of Concealers? Is this the 80’s? Are you Linda Evangelista? Don’t skip this step. In fact read this. You can thank me later. This is simple genius. Bin your concealer! Ok Sali technically said choose your corrector not binning your concealer. But, hear me out. You have 8 minutes, before your stop. 2 seconds before you wake the sleepyhead nodding next to you. And you want to look alive ( corrector) not embalmed and dragged through the 90’s along with the Glamazons.( This pic by Peter Lindbergh.) Please don’t live under a rock. ( concealer) If you are guilty of red wine the night before, you’re likely to be dehydrated. Give your skin a break and go for the opposite end of the colour wheel. Light pink- caucasian, Peach- brown girls, and orange- deep toned ladies. Dab a bit. You will look insane. At first. I promise it gets better. Let it set. Then go over the entire area with your normal foundation. VOILA- Tres Magique. You will look fresher than before you started, before you can say Balwinder is your uncleji! Oh and pop some Anadin. Drink 25 litres of water… Sali reccomends Bobbi brown for matching a corrector for skins. And ill also throw in Becca . And if you’re deeper toned- try a red lipstick. ( No kidding- watch this video that will change your life!)

  • Forget a primer unless you have a lot of time, and oily skin

Sali has dry skin, no this is not a state secret. Its well documented, in her struggles as a kid ( Ichtyosis for those who need to look this up) and hates silicone primers. Not because it is bad ( Sali hates clean-washing more than anything else) but because it slips around on the face. And if you have dry skin, this is no fun. For us combination/Oily gals, this is the exact opposite. It looks like your face has been laminated. Pores appear to shrink and will give us that canvas to look polished. For dry skin girls, and if you have clear skin. ( I automatically hate you, but that’s beside’s the point) go for a primer with a bit of glow. Sali’s all time fave- is Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Filter. I would throw in a recco here- Milk’s Hydrogrip. And if you’re oily. Benefit’s porefessional is brilliant for all the reasons its terrible for drier skins. 

  • Mascara for the top and bottom lash

If you can get time for a mascara please make it one that you can do in a moving vehicle. Smaller brushes are better. You are less likely to poke your eyes out. Sali recommends : Clinique bottom lash mascara. Also read my previous post. Just been to my blog have ya? Right make a cuppa. Sit down. Read my previous posts. Love ya too. Interesting fact: Clinique bottom lash mascara is the same formula as their hero product High Impact, with a smaller brush. Save your cash. Buy only one. ALSO work from the outside of your eye…in. Also wait for the formula to dry. Give it a few seconds. And please don’t faff about with curlers. You’re in a moving PUBLIC transportation vehicle. Much as I shout about your right to makeup. I don’t intend to scare the co-passengers baby with an instrument that looks like a medieval torture device. Whilst we are here, also please don’t try putting on lashes. If it falls your fellow movers and shakers might pass out due to arachnophobia.

  • Powder is your second bff.

Many dry women make this mistake of skipping powder. They think its for the oilier amongst us. The right powder in the right places can make you look alive, and fresh. Sali reccomends Mac Mineralise SkinFinish, abd Charlotte Tilbury’s Pressed powder. I also reccomend Hourglass. Its invisible, blurring and makes you look like you’ve been sleeping 8 hours. When in reality; you’ve hit the red wine and apreś work canapes at the local pub. Don’t skip this step. Also please don’t try elaborate baking, and contouring, ie: Instaglam look. This is a throwaway tip from me. Camera makeup is strictly front of YT makeup. Don’t try this anywhere lads!

  • Blotting papers over a second coat of foundation for oily gals.

if you are dry as the desert, don’t bother to read this bit. Skip to the next step. But oily/ combo peeps- have you noticed how your skin looks orange when you repowder through the day? This is not because you are imagining it. The sebum on your skin does actually oxidise any colour on your skin. So reapplying powder or foundation or any colour product to your face will exacerbate this issue. Instead, Sali recommends to blot with a blotting paper. Also her top tip is that these should be where you save your pennies. And buy cheap. Clean n Clear do brillint ones that do the job just as well as Chanel ( black book- ridiculously expensive but oh so beautiful. ) and MAC ( I have this one, it lasts an age. But would definitely save my money not repurchasing this.) Blotting your nose and forehead and other areas will do the job better than any powder. This I’m trying.

  • Ace that base!

LISTEN to the pro okay? Full coverage is best suited to… nobody. Sali Hughes says that often young people in their 20’s are looking for a full coverage foundation. ( Armani Power Fabric; if you’re interested.) But most skins do not need to be covered up entirely. That is the job of the concealer. And/ or corrector. Find a tinted moisturiser, or stick foundation that is an exact match to your skin tone. ( Nars tinted, Bobbi Brown stick) And this is important- Undertone. I’m a neutral. Sali matched me- so I know it to be correct . Get matched. Take a sample. Make sure it’s an exact shade. If you want to warm it up, you can go for a bronzer. If you want to lighten areas- a shine free highlighter. Your base should be  the exact shade of your skin. No more, no less. ( You fellow brown girls- DO NOT GO LIGHTER, you will look ashy!)

  • A good Bronzer. 

Sali is a big believer in a multitasker. If you can fit only one- fit in a bronzer, it can be used as a blush. Not the other way round though. ( Nars- multiples and Milk sticks come to her mind) Cream over powder formulae. And figure of 3. Do not use your bronzer as a contour. ( A good rule of the thumb is- Bronzer= warm, Contour= cool) Contour is to mimic shadows( which never warm up in sunlight) and bronzer is on the highest points of the face. Where the sun naturally would warm you up. If you’re sitting in the sun, without sunscreen ( Again we need to chat. about this… have you not read my blog?) If you’re asian and darker, this would happen to you in the shade too. Also, read my post on Sunscreens. You’re welcome. If you’re oily, you might want to reapply this when you reapply your lipstick. It will have shifted a bit. But hey, you will wrinkle less okay. Its a good trade off.

You can leave your hat on, and don’t invade personal space… No’s: Anything aerosol. ( see I read Sali’s books, columns and remember her advice ) Also totally unrelated. But relatable. We got a goodie bag. This one. And it really had great goodies.

Goodie Bag from the Sali Hughes event
Goodie Bag from the Sali Hughes event

All in all, it took Sali 8 minutes on herself. Now if you don’t want to look like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards, I suggest that you trial this at home. Time yourself. And remember to add 2 minutes on top of that, to stare down the lad listening to loud music on his speakers. We are a polite society, if you please!

(I’ve written a mum on the run post about beauty on the move. It does have some tips on there.)

Do you have any tips for makeup on the go? I’d love to hear from you- Until next time- Love Elle xx                                                                                                            

Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post; pr samples have been kindly gifted by the company, but this has not affected my opinion, nor swayed it . And where gifted this is signposted as AD for clarity and transperancy  Please check the ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I have mentioned. If you are particularly sensitive or even if you’re not, allergies can happen suddenly, even with products that you may have used for years. If unsure, please do a patch test on your elbow, and wait 48 hours before using any of the products I’ve suggested. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.

Goodie Bag from the Sali Hughes event
Goodie Bag from the Sali Hughes event





The Primer dupe that shook me!

No words really…

Smashbox photo Finish Primer Water ( 116ml for £22, 30ml for £12) vs Primark PS…Primer Water (150ml for £2)wait let me digest this, a bottle thats 5 times the size of its smallest size and is 1/11th the price of it’s biggest size?

Shade range: It’s a transparent water based spray so it’s a universal shade.

My thoughts: OMG…is this even real? The Smashbox original works as a spray, that you spray under your foundation, and also as a setting spray and a refreshing spray if you so wish. It comes in two sizes and the travel size is really handy for throwing into your purse. It says that it is silicone free, alcohol free, and oil free. The mist is an amazing idea if its hot outside and a physical primer is a layer is a step too far, or you have oily skin and you want something light…I did the heavy foundation layer test (my term for putting on my thickest and heaviest foundation; Dermacol and wore both of them for a whole day) and I’m going to be honest neither of them are long haul primers. ( but they don’t claim to be)

I got four hours wear out of both…this weekend has been one of the hottest, we’ve had and I found that after about the 4 hour mark, the foundation wore thin around my nose , corner of my mouth and chin. The jury is out if its because I’m a face toucher or they are just a good short haul primer. The Smash box primer is invisible on skin, you just need one/two good sprays from a distance of 10-15 cm from the face, wait for it to dry ( about a second or two, I tend to pat it in with my beauty blender) and then off you trot with the foundation. The spray is not a fine mist but isn’t a fire hydrant either. Though the bottle says its a good makeup setting spray and refreshing spray, I’ve found that this doesn’t cut the mustard for me on both these claims. It claims to be hydrating  but I didn’t find it to be hydrating either, however I never expect primers to be hydrating (despite their claims) that’s the job of my moisturiser.

The Primark dupe is exactly…. EXACTLY the same as the Smashbox Primer water right down to its packaging with one key difference; it is a bigger bottle so this is slightly bulkier to travel with. ( probably the only con I could find for the primer- as it’s silicone, alcohol and oil free too) On the heavy foundation layer test…it lasted exactly the same amount of time and performed in exactly the same way. No more, no less.

Cruelty free(CF)/Vegan: Smashbox isn’t CF, Primark PS Range is CF and Vegan…yay!

Ingredients: Smashbox Primer


                    Primark ps: Primer Water


*Ingredients wise: The PS Primer water wins slightly as it contains fragrance last down the list, and doesn’t contain Limonene, linalool, citral which can are common irritants.(But my position on allergies is the  word hypoallergenic is cod science…more on this on a later blog post)

Final Thoughts:

If you are in the market for a primer water spray, then I’d say head straight to your nearest Primark and buy the £2 PS: Primer Water dupe as it behaves in exactly the same way. Save your pennies for something like a serum or just save your pennies…no justification needed. 🙂

Would I repurchase?

Personally the spray didn’t behave as much as a primer as a face mist for me. So just for this reason, once I get through them both, I’ll have a think, as it does provide medium coverage priming (If that isn’t a beauty term, it should be) and so could be great in summer when you really don’t want much on your face, if I was going to go for one between the two it would be The PS: Primer Water HANDS DOWN . ~For £2 its not bank breaking and does the job very well for what it is. The Smashbox one is a definite no from me, if only because I can get something cheaper that does the same job and is CF (cruelty free) which is an added bonus…(though no judgements on this issue)

Love Elle xx

Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money . Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I mentioned. If you are particularly sensitive or even if you’re not, allergies can happen suddenly, even with products that you have used for years. If unsure, please do a patch test on your elbow, and wait 48 hours before using any of the products I’ve suggested. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.



GUEST BLOG “Sunscreens- Where science meets skincare; (boring) STUFF that you should really know”

So… before I pass the baton onto our guest blogger, Alkistis Klapsinou who has kindly agreed to write about one of our favourite topics: Sunscreens, this apart from our mutual love of Gin and hatred of cod science really got us chatting on a forum we are both a part of…I can hand on heart tell you this- what Alkistis doesn’t know about sunscreens or skincare for that matter, really isn’t worth knowing. Firstly I’ve got to show you what she looks like, so that you can see for yourself what a consistent routine with science driven skincare and daily SPF can make you look like ( especially if you’re in you’re 40’s…ps: it’s never too late) Now I’ll shut up and let Alkistis take over…

Stunning at 40 something…

We are in the middle of July and we are enjoying a heatwave the likes of which I have not experienced before in my 23 years in the UK. Well, I say “enjoying” – what I mean is I am enjoying it, while most of my friends’ reactions vary between tolerance and suffering with a lot of whinging thrown in for good measure. I, on the other hand, sit in pub gardens every evening, G&T in hand, without needing a cardi or a denim jacket. Bliss!

What’s all this got to do with beauty, you say? It’s the rule that you can’t have a heatwave without a blogpost (or seven) about sunscreen. It is most likely that if you are reading beauty blogs you are already using sunscreen. Aside from the obvious medical reasons, i.e. cancer, most people interested in beauty know that UV irradiation is the primary environmental factor of skin ageing. UV rays, and specifically UVA rays, are responsible for oxidative damage and breaking down of collagen in the skin ie: AGEING. The bad news is that unlike UVB rays (which are mostly responsible for burning and an issue in the UK between March and October), UVA rays are present all year round and they penetrate clouds and glass. Basically, there is no escaping them.

The problem is that there are no sunscreen products, at the moment, that protect just from UVA radiation, and which could, for example, be used just in the Winter months. So, we are stuck with using the same products all year round, or at least that is what we should be doing.

Pretty Little sunscreens all in a row? Nope these are powerful weapons against ageing and skin cancer

Another issue is that unlike Sun Protection Factor (SPF) which is a standardised way of measuring protection from erythema (redness caused by UV radiation – primarily UVB), there is no universal way of measuring protection from UVA. Some cosmetic companies use stars, some use PA followed by + signs, some give a Persistent Pigment Darkening rating, and some use a circle with UVA inside it. No wonder we are all confused. All these methods allow a product to be called Broad Spectrum, which means it protects from both UVA and UVB rays, but in all cases the UVA protection is only a ratio of the SPF/UVB protection. Therefore, it stands to reason that higher SPF sunscreens with as many + signs or stars as possible are the better option.

Now that we have established that we should be using a broad spectrum high SPF product all year round, the next question we need to answer is what the active filters in our sunscreen should be. We hear about mineral/physical/inorganic and chemical/organic and we need a degree in chemistry to understand what’s what. Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide are mineral filters.

The list of chemical ones is much longer and includes, among others, Avobenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Octisalate, Bemotrizinol, Tinosorb M, Mexoryl SX & XL (I will not even try to write down the scientific ingredient names!)

  • Mineral filters are photo-stable (i.e. they do not degrade when exposed to sunlight) and are less likely to cause irritation or an allergic reaction, so are recommended for sensitive and spot-prone skins. Their disadvantage, however, is that they have a thicker texture and can feel thick and greasy on the skin. They also cause flashback in photos, and can leave a white cast, especially on darker skins (which is why a lot of them are tinted). In more recent years the inclusion of nano-particles of mineral filters has resulted in nicer textures, but there is a lot of ongoing research as to whether these nano-particles can cross into the bloodstream and what the effects are. I will include some links below for further reading, so please do your own research on the matter.
  • Chemical filters have the advantage of nicer textures (which is very important, because if you do not like how your sunscreen feels, you will not use it consistently or apply the recommended amount), particularly when used under make-up. However, some of them degrade in sunlight (Avobenzone and Octinoxate are particularly bad for this – links below) and while some others are used as ‘stabilisers’, this is the reason why it is recommended to reapply sunscreen every two hours (and obviously after swimming, sweating, etc.).

At this point I would like to differentiate between incidental UV exposure and sunbathing or prolonged exposure when on holiday. Walking to the bus stop in the morning, going for a short walk during your lunch hour and walking back home in the early evening are all incidental exposure. Most people should be able to put their sunscreen on in the morning and, provided this sunscreen is photo-stable, still be protected in the evening. It is a completely different situation if one is on holiday and spends all day in and out of the sun. In this case they should definitely reapply every couple of hours (or more frequently depending on how pale they are) and after swimming, showering, etc.

A lot of women believe that the SPF in their skincare or make-up provides enough protection for incidental exposure. This is a complete myth for various reasons. For a start, unless one checks the ingredients list of a product very carefully, there is no guarantee that a foundation with SPF20 will provide broad spectrum protection. Most importantly though, none of us apply as much product as one needs to achieve the advertised protection. (SCIENCE ALERT :SPF is calculated based on 2 mg of product per square centimetre of skin. For most people this is between 1/4 and 1/3 of a teaspoon just for the face. This is A LOT.) If I apply 1/4 of a teaspoon of foundation on my face I will look as if I am wearing a mask. No-one applies that much which is why we need a separate dedicated sunscreen.

In the last couple of years we keep hearing about anti-oxidants and how they “boost” the effects of sunscreen. I am not sure if “boosting” is the right term. What anti-oxidants (e.g. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Resveratrol, Astaxanthin) do is prevent the oxidative damage to the skin caused by UV radiation. They work in synergy with the sunscreens. A lot of sunscreen products include anti-oxidants in their formulations, but using a separate one will do no harm and more often than not will help. I do feel this needs a separate post though, as I have waffled on enough.

As a last point, I can hear a lot of people asking “but what about Vitamin D?”. Vitamin D is synthesised in the skin via a reaction that is dependent on UVB radiation. More and more people are diagnosed as Vitamin D deficient and an increasing number of studies seem to link low Vitamin D levels with mental health problems. There is also ongoing research trying to establish Vitamin D’s role in autoimmune disorders like Lupus and Multiple Sclerosis. A healthy person needs approximately 20-30 minutes of unprotected daily exposure of their forearms to synthesise enough Vitamin D. The problem, in relation to sunscreens and beauty, is that in the UK we can only synthesise Vitamin D from late March to early October, because the rest of the year the angle of the sun in the horizon is such that UVB does not penetrate enough to trigger the aforementioned reaction in the skin. UVA, however, is present all year round. So, we get all the skin damage, without any of the benefits. It goes without saying that if you are concerned about your Vitamin D levels, you should consult your doctor.

To sum it up:

  • Use a high SPF broad-spectrum photo-stable dedicated sunscreen all year round
  • Use enough of it (2mg of product per square cm of skin)
  • Top up if you are in the sun for prolonged periods of time
  • Use an anti-oxidant alongside your sunscreen

Product recommendations(these are what I use and love – each person is different so your mileage may vary):

Lancôme UV Expert Youth Shield Aqua Gel SPF50 PA++++£38 ( Elle says: Good luck trying to find this one in the UK…only place its’s available seems to be at Duty free in the Airports)

Armani Luminessence Bright Revelator BB Fluid SPF50 PA+++ ( Elle says this is discontinued…thanks AK ❤)

Vichy Ideal Soleil SPF50 Mattifying Face Fluid Dry Touch ( Elle says that it’s £11.55 at the time of writing on All Beauty, and Escentual usually has year round deals)

Skinceuticals Ultra Facial UV Defense SPF50 ( Lowest price found at the time of writing is £33 from Effortless Skin)

La Roche Posay Anthelios Spray Anti-Shine SPF50 (as a top up)( Cheapest found is £9.33 from Escentual at the time of writing)

These are all from the L’Oreal/La Roche Posay group of companies, because for me and my skin Mexoryl SX and XL are the best filters and the patents are owned by L’Oreal/LRP.”

Further Reading – References:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/phpp.12112   (everyone must read this)







Written and researched by Alkistis Klapsinou

( Elle says…Alkistis to me is the last word on sunscreen, Alkistis researches this topic constantly and even discusses this topic with Doctors. I couldn’t think of a better person to write about Sun protection, so it was extremely kind of Alkistis to take the time out to research and write this for me. Thank you AK…I owe ya big time.xx)

Just an addendum with AK’s blessing, I really rate the La Roche Posay Anthelios XL fluid  version which can always be found in deals online.

Love Elle xx

Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money . Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I mentioned. If you are particularly sensitive or even if you’re not, allergies can happen suddenly, even with products that you have used for years. If unsure, please do a patch test on your elbow, and wait 48 hours before using any of the products I’ve suggested. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.



Why the world is going ga-ga over this serum ( hint … it doesn’t break the bank :))

Name: Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Hyaluronic Acid Solution (Phew haha)

Price: Varies, depending on the seller, but its near the £12 mark on Amazon.

Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium…aka serum of dreams

Range: Ok the Hada Labo range has so many derivatives for each item ie (the serum comes in so many varieties from its white range, to the mentholatum range, the retinol this gold hydrating hyaluronic variant and a few more variants… plus every range has a lotion, moist, serum variant. Confused? Yeah so am I…

Cons:  The bottles are usually written in Japanese, so buyer beware.

Review: This out of the way… this serum has 5 different molecular weights of HA. This means that each type of HA penetrates the skin at different levels. Ensuring that your skin is hydrated from within, or if even if this is cod science( a blog post coming on this topic very soon).

I know that the minute I used this serum, it was LOVE<3 . With a capital L. This is a light transparent lotion and it has no fragrance ( to my knowledge) It sinks in easily, but expect some tackiness – this is a HA after all, and I would give it a few minutes to sink in. After this I’d follow it with a milky serum, the reason being that HA attaches itself to molecules of water, and if left too long on the skin, it can suck in atmospheric water and evaporate.( Trans-epidermal water loss… a topic which deserves a post of it’s own)

If you had to buy just one serum, or save one item of your skincare from a burning house. It would be this… BTW really…. its unfair for me to be expected to choose, I have (thirty)three on constant rotation, any I digress- I cannot recommend this highly enough. It suits just about everyone( there’s always exceptions…) This is cheaper than more expensive HA serums in the market, but it beats them out of the competition by far. IMHO. If you have oilier skin, then this one is lighter ( as it supposedly has three Hyaluronic Acid molecules as opposed to 5 in the gold version…again, I’m sceptical about the science behind how this claim makes a difference ) anyway its runnier and lighter than an already light lotion. So its worth thinking about.

Ingredients List:

Water, butylene glycol, glycerin, PPG-10 methyl glucose ether, hydroxyethyl urea, sodium acetylated hyaluronate (super hyaluronic acid), sodium hyaluronate, hydrolyzed hyaluronic acid (nano hyaluronic acid), hydroxypropyltrimonium hyaluronate (skin absorbent type hyaluronic acid), sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer (3D hyaluronic acid), aphanothece sacrum polysaccharide (sacrum), hydrogenated starch hydrolysate, glycosyl trehalose, diglycerin, sorbitol, pentylene glycol, triethyl citrate, carbomer, polyquaternium-51, PEG-32, PEG-75, ammonium acrylates crosspolymer, disodium EDTA, potassium hydroxide, diethoxyethyl succinate, disodium succinate, succinic acid, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben

Final thoughts:

Stop reading this post NOW, look for it on Amazon , your skin will you for it. You’re welcome and you can pop that cheque in the post 😉


Elle xx

Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money . Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I mentioned. If you are particularly sensitive or even if you’re not, allergies can happen suddenly, even with products that you have used for years. If unsure, please do a patch test on your elbow, and wait 48 hours before using any of the products I’ve suggested. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.



The Happiest Foundation in the world…Meet Benefit’s Hello Happy Soft Blur Foundation

Hello Happy Soft Blur Foundation SPF15 in Shade 6

Price: It retails for £25.50 for 30ml  (but I’ve seen it on Allbeauty for £22.50, there’s also the cutest travel sized version which retails for £7.65 for 6ml  on Allbeauty )

Shade range:  12 shades ! Which is not very good; Benefit, we live in a post Fenty world and would love more shades so that everyone is catered to,  my summer shade is 6…I suspect that my winter shade will be between 5&6. It’s a step up for Benefit though, who only do their concealer in 3 variants . Having said this , 12 is not enough… I Hope they expand their range both ways so that everyone is covered. Literally and figuratively. So whilst it has darker shades than mine and lighter shades than mine, would I call this every girl friendly? Yes and no, with 12 shades there is a good mix from light to dark… but it’s in no way enough.

My thoughts:

Life can only get better from here right? It has manga’esque” vibes and shoot me now for admitting this, but I love it.

First lets talk about the packaging , its comes in a simple squeezy bottle with a metallic pink cap. Nothing fancy, not too many graphics which I like , I know that a lot of people say that this is taking muddying the already muddied waters of the Benefit packaging graphics. I have to admit that it doesn’t even look like a Benefit product to be honest. But, I like it. It is simple and I know ive said this before… cute.

Plus, as pathetic as the next bit will sound. It is nice to go into a store and get my shade, without a hundred million efforts at blending,  a counter assistant’s sheepish expression when it fails, and then their attention divert tactics to a completely different product to the one I came in for. Sound familiar to anyone?

This is a sheer to medium coverage foundation with SPF15 ( meant to be a dupe for the Chanel Vitalumiere aqua which only comes in an unacceptable 6 shades and has a factor 15 spf built into it )which shouldn’t really be a hassle as spf 15  is a  very low spf and will not flashback much like the Chanel Vitalumiere aqua. But I cannot say for definite as I’ve never worn the Vitalumiere Aqua( 6 shades… boo!) The Benefit website is very good with samples(to my knowledge), in fact when I first went on their website, and clicked on the Hello Happy Benefit foundation, I got the choice to order a blister pack of three samples that would be nearest to my shade range. They are pretty good on counter too.

Vegan/Cruelty free: It sells in China, and its policy is clear on the fact that they will test on animals where required by law. Which is a crying shame as my skin just loves this.



Would I repurchase?. Yes

Final Thoughts:  I wish Benefit as a brand would decide to go Cruelty Free, I’d be over the moon. I also think that it is weightless, but if you want it to last a day, you’d have to build it up with a few more layers.  And set it with powder. It is meant to look like your skin but better, and does a fantastic job of that. But long lasting is not a claim it makes, so I’d look elsewhere for that.

What it is good at is blurring your freckles slightly, still letting them show through, whilst evening out your skin tone. It really does look blur imperfections and  fine lines without appearing cakey. I do hope they realise that if they expanded their shade range , they might be onto a winner with this formula.  Happy times ahead… ❤

Love Elle xx

Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money . Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I mentioned. If you are particularly sensitive or even if you’re not, allergies can happen suddenly, even with products that you have used for years. If unsure, please do a patch test on your elbow, and wait 48 hours before using any of the products I’ve suggested. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.



Elf Prep & Hydrate Balm… first impressions

Product name:  Elf Prep and Prime Hydrate Balm

Is it Cruelty free: Yes, and so is Milk Makeup for that matter…

Price: £8.99 is the cheapest I found in Superdrug, but watch out for deals.

Shade range: This is a clear balm, it has no tint, it’s transparent. So it’s brown girl friendly yayayy!

Elf Prep &amp; Hydrate Balm
Cooling balm in a stick? Is it a Milk dupe?

My thoughts:

My first thoughts were, though I’ve never used the Milk Makeup cooling stick this does sound like a dupe. But since, I’ve never really used the Milk Ice Stick, I can’t really do a side by side comparison .

But what I can say is that,I’ve loved using it to hydrate skin, both on top of makeup at work, instead of a mist, which don’t get me wrong- I do Love  ( but this bar smaller so fits in the handbag, especially whilst travelling.) plus a mist has a tendency to go everywhere, and some inevitably ends up on my hair. Which is fine on most days…I still love a good mist. ( I have a collection that would rival Imelda Marcos’s shoes) but for a spot application under the eyes, or a subtle daytime work appropriate sheen…I’m loving this.

Plus whilst its soft  it doesn’t shift makeup and somehow so cooling and hydrating so a great touch up under the eyes- it cools the eyes down whilst hydrating them. It says prep, but I don’t think it’s a great primer. I find it is particularly brilliant when I’m spending long days on the computer, or roasting inside my office (thanks to this glorious but, too hot for me heatwave that we are experiencing), or flying. It’s great for the latter, as its under the liquid threshold in weight, plus as it’s a solid stick…it actually doesn’t count towards your liquids allowance; unless you are flying out of Manchester Airport- who I swear are a law unto themselves!

Water (Aqua), Propylene Glycol, Bis-PEG-18 Methyl Ether Dimethyl Silane, Glycerin, Sodium Stearate, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate (Ve), PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacoa (Coco) Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Fragrance (Parfum), Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid, Blue 1 (CI 42090), Yellow 5 (CI 19140)

Would I repurchase?

Yes. Ive already got a backup. I live in constant fear of them being discontinued!

Final thoughts:

I’ve never tried the Milk Ice cooling stick. Is this a dupe? Can you please let me know in the comments below?

Have a great day

Elle xx

Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money . Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I mentioned. If you are particularly sensitive or even if you’re not, allergies can happen suddenly, even with products that you have used for years. If unsure, please do a patch test on your elbow, and wait 48 hours before using any of the products I’ve suggested. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.



Marc Jacobs Gel Eye Crayons…Mini review


Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayons

Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayons
The new Holy Grail for Gel Eye Pencils

Price: £20 (but now sadly discontinued in the UK, you can only buy it online off Net-a-porter )

Shade range: There are a whopping 22 shades in this range available in the UK (More Stateside). There are also 6 in the Matte Highliner range.(which I have not tested).Therefore there is one for every skin tone in the spectrum

Review: For the longest time, I have resisted buying these .Colours I have tested and loved, Blaqueur (Blackest black), Rococoa ( a limited edition glittery black liner) and Brown(out) a deep dark ever so slightly glittery brown.

I had been sitting on my hands when it came to these, for the longest time. The L-O-N-G-E-S-T time. Everyone and their Aunt Millicent has been raving about these, but let’s be honest. Its £20. Ok…so we’ve got the only painful bit about these out of the way.

They are touted as being the best in the club for tight lining( for those who don’t know- this is it is the technique of drawing eyeliner inside the lash line). And trust me as someone who’s worn kohl liners all my adult life, I have tried almost everything in the drugstore, plus a few luxury ones… I did have a previous favourite, so I was reluctant to try these.

But then something compelled me to buy them, and boy am I glad I did ! They are soft enough to tight line eyes without any struggle, and don’t chug along like wellies on a wet slide. But then they set. AND HOW! No amount of tears, rain, swimming( even hail…I promise you it’s been British weather tested) will shift it.

It does come out easily with a Bi phase makeup remover, or any oil, balm cleanser without too much trouble though.

I always feel slightly apprehensive recommending something pricey (I take my money, and definitely others’ hard earned dosh very seriously) and especially not something as subjective as tighlining.(However a lot of Holy Grail kohl liners that others swear by, have made me look panda eyed.) This one, however seems to have been loved and raved by everyone who’s used it… various ages, eye shapes and skin types.

I even love it slightly smoked out for the easiest smokey eye ever. The colour payoff is amazing. The black is a pure black, the brown is a great shade etc etc.

My current look is Brown(out) smoked out with a taupe from the Nyx warm neutrals palette and a peachy shimmer ( 3INA single is my current fave) shade for a slight pop. It is understated enough for a corporate setting, and its can be deepened for a more intense look should you wish to swing by for a sushi and some sake´ after work.

PS: and you’ll never have to hunt for a sharpener with this. It has an inbuilt one( so handy…)


Vitamin E and Rosa Canina Seed Extract: Soothe, soften, and protect the delicate skin around the eyes.
Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Isohexadecane, Isododecane, Polyethlene, Synthetic Wax, Silica, Ceresin, Polyisobutene, Methicone, Rosa Canina Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Iron Oxides (Ci 77499).

Will I repurchase?

Yes. (unfortunately its online only in Net-a-Porter, so you can’t test for shades etc and it’s slightly more expensive.  You get some unfortunate person to become your makeup mule and schlep it from the EU or USA…as it’s definitely cheaper in the USA.)

Au Revoir Marc Jacobs Beauty from all of us in the UK, we hope you come back soon… 

Love Elle xx

Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money. If this was to change at any point, I will disclose this and it will not affect my opinion. Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I have mentioned. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.



39 thoughts at 39…


keep-calm-im-only-39-happy-birthday-to-meI’ve had a self imposed blogging break recently, I’m back and hope you’re still around, and if you’ve just come here, welcome! (I’ve got lots of product reviews, unboxing and even a few VERRRY exciting give-aways coming up! Do please follow  my account @Itsmelle on Instagram for the most up to date information.)

Anyway, Ive turned 39 today and instead of sticking to a blog post on skincare, Ive had some thoughts on life which I thought I’d share .I’ve been noting a thought a day for the last 39 days, so its kind a 39 thoughts, done over 39 days, to celebrate my 39th birthday.

I’m not a spiritual guru, nor am I a celebrity so why would the world care about what I had to say? Because of reason no 1.

  1. You have one shot at life, if you want to out your thoughts on paper, follow your passions especially hobbies…do it.
  2. Love your body. Oh it’s almost a trend now, body positivity- plus size models, disabled models, but I’m talking the average Susan she still sees retouched photos and images all around her. Your body is the only vehicle for your soul. Stop hating on it( been there done that) if you’re unhappy about your size do something about it. But, don’t turn it inward. Weight loss is not the same as winning at life. 
  3. Learn to grab opportunities just outside your comfort zone. You never know where this may lead you.
  4. Learn how to do one killer smokey eye look, perfect it. It’ll come in handy.
  5. Sometimes life will hand you lemons. You can make it into a fizzy drink or take a bite of that and complain or option c you could be the one that brings the lemons to the party – there’s always margarita.
  6. It’s never too late to make friends. Don’t think that the only mates that you are stuck with are the ones from school.
  7. Travel. Catch a flight by yourself, take a train – don’t feel shy just because you might not have a travel companion.
  8. If you have a book with you, you are never alone. Carry a book always.
  9. Taking care of yourself is not vanity. Let no one tell you it is. This having said inner beauty counts too. This last  bit is non negotiable.
  10. Always dress smart, this isn’t because you’re being judged by others, but because in an increasingly spiralling world. You’ll feel that much better pulled together.
  11. Don’t go on a diet. It’s not worth it.
  12. Memorise point 11, And always bear it in mind.
  13. Wear SPF always. It’s non negotiable at any age, but especially yours. (Also make your concealer your best friend.)
  14. This is the last time I’ll bring up age. Let no one tell you that you “must act your age” this is your roller coaster- you determine what you want to do.
  15. There’s a difference between doing things for yourself and being selfish. It’s a fine line. I hope you’ll always bear that in mind.
  16. This having said, you are now in a place where you don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
  17. Nor do you ever have to chase anyone for their friendship or love. If they don’t have it for you, it was never yours to have.
  18. Be there. For those who love you.
  19. Following on from above – love freely and let those in your life know you love them
  20. Don’t forget to say something nice to everyone in your life.
  21. Don’t forget to speak up, speak out. But for Pete’s sake be polite about it.
  22. Your opinion matters. Use it and vote in your local elections
  23. You enjoy fashion. Don’t apologise for it.
  24. Always keep lipbalm. In every nook and cranny you can find, in your bag, home, workplace.
  25. Handcream too, as above.
  26. Sanitisier too.
  27. Lift weights. It’s good for you, and you love it. Yes… that means dreaded early morning wakeups.
  28. There will be people who don’t get why you don’t want to “grow old” ignore them. As you’d ignored those bullies on the playground all those years ago. Trying to change their minds is futile.
  29. People will assume that you must be unilaterally minded so hence cannot be a feminist whilst wearing a red lipstick. They cannot understand that we can do/ be both. Ignore them too.
  30. Throw parties, I know you struggle with the hassle of pre and post party prep- but you’ve always loved playing host.  Do more of what you enjoy.
  31. Write poetry, share them. Who cares if they are good/ bad. That’s subjective; but you’ll have fun?
  32. Don’t forget to have fun and seek adventure. Dance when your hear music you like. Who knows? You might start a flash mob.
  33. You love wearing heels, who cares if you touch the ceiling…wear them.
  34. Pay no mind to intellectual snobs, this is an odd one – but at 39, you don’t need to answer to anyone about your reading or life choices, this having said…your kids are watching :0
  35. Laugh…deep, belly ones. Your time is finite, pay mind to those who matter. The rest are white noise.
  36. You enjoy a filthy joke, don’t apologise for it, (refer to point 1)
  37. Be a role model to your kids by being your most authentic self. They will suss out fakery.
  38. Sometimes good enough has to be enough
  39. Wear red lipstick, when and where you can… There isn’t an occasion where a red lip would look out of place. (Perhaps a funeral, and the gym, but that’s about it!)

And one for the year ahead…

Read the above, memorise them and tear up the list. Make up the rules as you go along. Life doesn’t come with a rule book… so why should you?


Elle xx

Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money. If this was to change at any point, I will disclose this and it will not affect my opinion. Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I have mentioned. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.

Sensitised skin guide… a cautionary tale.

You heard it here, I wrote about my dry, parched Rhino hide of a skin last year in 2019. Today I’m writing about how I managed to sensitise my skin. I’ve also suffixed my post saying, that its a cautionary tale. It is! In my enthusiasm to blog about skincare, in my quest to find that next holy grail… I did a few things wrong. Badly wrong. And I wrecked my skin’s protective barrier. Its acid mantle. ( SPOILER ALERT :There’s a happy ending luckily). Here are the Top 5 mistakes that I made. Please don’t do what I did.

Top 5 Skin mistakes ( that sensitised my skin)

  • Overexfoliation– Do you read too many blogs where you are “told” that you need to use an acid toner every night? This could be very disastrous for a lot of skins. Mine was one of them. Apparently acid toner was one of the most googled search terms last year ( next to masking and Korean Skincare). If this is you, and you feel the need to exfoliate every night. Or have and dont know how to stop. Think! In the good ol’ days of walnut scrubs ( yes I went there, and I sure did that. You know who you are… don’t deny you didn’t use them. You are telling tales, I can see your nose growing from over here) Anyway in the golden days of ” physical” exfoliating, we were advised and knew to use it once or twice a week max. Nothing much in terms of the advice has changed much really. Overexfoliation/ scrubbing /mis-using of acids can lead to weakening of the skin’s acid mantle. (The top layer of the skin that protects us from the elements) This can lead to over sensitised skin that flares up, is weak and often has itchy rashes. Was this the case for me? Check, check and check. I did warn you about this being a cautionary tale right? Every other day is plenty enough. If you have hardy skin, lucky you. I envy you 😉 Quit showing off 😉
  • Using too many new products at once – I have serious FOMO when it comes to seeing other people’s skincare. Funnily enough I don’t seem to have it in other aspects of my life. However, when it comes to skincare, I’m always thinking that other people have it better. I want to own every product that is hailed as being the next Holy Grail. I want to own every shiny new piece of skincare. And I will absurdly believe all the marketing spiel spun by a company.  Even if I know deep down that its cod science. Im the ultimate marketeer’s dream! I also then proceed to use all the new stuff on my skin at once. Thanks to the overexfoliation, and my already weakened acid mantle, my skin has being going into overdrive. From being as tough as a rhino hide, I now have rosacea, sensitised skin and constant breakouts. There is a moral of this story, add new ingredients or products one at a time, slowly. Caution against the temptation of the skincare magpie, and treat your skin as sensitive always. Even if it’s not.
  • Not giving your existing skincare time to work – This is really following on from the point above. But is a precautionary piece of advice in and of itself. I just jumped from product to product without allowing it time to work its magic. The skin cycle is 6-8 weeks, and because I was Icarus so busy chasing the sun ( aka the Holy grail serum in this case) I didn’t really didn’t allow anything to work their magic. Don’t get me wrong, if something doesn’t work; ie. reacts you should absolutely stop using it…immediately! But for serums that are otherwise not showing any immediate negative reactions ( nor any perceived positive ones) the idea is that they are trying to do their job. Just not one that is immediately noticeable. Give it time to work. ( I mean after 3 months, it does nothing then by all means it needs to be broken with.) Otherwise I’d say be patient. Also Alison Young, Skincare specialist and Beauty presenter QVC recommends that if you are changing your skincare, don’t change it during “that time of the month” . Your hormones will be up and down and it is not indicative of how it may necessarily react with your skin. This is one viewpoint of course. But worth bearing in mind?
Usually the following serums or antioxidants are used for their respective properties:

Vitamin C: Is an anti oxidant that is known to make skin brighter.

Vitamin B3: Niacinimide: Another antioxidant which is known to target brown spots and fade scars.

Vitamin B5: Helps with Hydration and another antioxidant that helps collagen repair and appearance of wrinkles is diminished.

Hyaluronic Acid: It is a molecule that is found widely naturally in the human body, it is known to hold 1000 times its own weight of water molecules. So topically applied its a powerful hydrator.

Vitamin A: ( collectively called retinols) Are known to help cell turnover increase and rebuild collagen.

Peptides: A variety of Vitamin B which help rebuild collagen and ” repair” the skin from within by helping heal scars and also wrinkles appear diminished.

The point is that, if your serum contains one or more of these ingredients, often it takes time for the effects to show. Especially with Peptides and Vitamin B3, B5. Don’t be hasty.

  • Don’t stockpile your favourite skincare – Now this is a toughie. For me and a lot of enthusiasts. And of course there is no real right answer. Just a (gentle) nudge towards this opinion. I should know. Buying tons of my favourite skincare in case they discontinue it, or just to get free shipping or worse… its the Black Friday sale( Often the latter in my case) is a lot like stocking up on milk during a snowstorm. ( A ) the deluge never happens ( B ) It often goes off before you can use it. Makeup and more importantly serums and the likes have a short life span, and shorter yet… if stored in warm bathrooms and cosy bedside vanities. That central heating that keeps you toasty at night? It cooks your skincare and shortens it’s lifespan. And no, storing it in the refrigerator is not the solution. The temperature is too low ( despite what some influencers may say.) The solution is to buy little and use it up. One backup or even two is acceptable, I think… 20 is a problem my friend. ( One noticeable exception is specials/ one off’s or seasonal edits)
  • Dont try to fix it if it ain’t broke baby – Argh, if the last point is a toughie…this one is Einstein level hard. * Throws self on sofa and weeps * I’m so guilty of this, I need skin rehab! ( I told you that it was a cautionary tale) On this road does sensitive skin lie. No…really! If you have a good thing going, don’t mess it up. Just don’t. I’m not sure who started that malarkey about your “skin getting used to skincare” but I won’t be surprised if it was an influencer trying to sell you the latest sponsored skincare they got for free. Do your research, and stick with your products for a good 3 months to see your results and if they work… stick with it. Sometimes your serums, lotions and potions can stop being effective or can get over reactive and this is when you look at changing it up. Otherwise just don’t mess around with a good thing. Just say NO!

There is a moral of the story here

Long and short. KISSKeep ISimple Silly. Don’t overdo it with actives. Let your serums work. Give it time. Don’t hoard skincare. And don’t be a Serum tart. Also never ever, ever, ever ( did I forget to say something? Oh yeah… EVER ;)) never forget your sunscreen. Now if only someone could imprint this in my conscious, so I could follow my own advice. I would be über grateful. I would even name my first born after you. ( oh wait, he’s already got a name ;)) Never mind, you get the gist.

PS: Sensitivity can flare up at any time, and skincare and ingredients in skincare is only one reason. Hormones, Stress, Medication, Pregnancy are many other causes. I’m only exploring one cause. I’m not a medical professional and this advice is not to replace any given by your healthcare professional. Please make sure that you have ruled out underlying health issues before you embark on any skincare switch- up regime.

Do look out for the post for my skincare switch ups and products I’ve had to stop using. Also do please subscribe to my blog so that you don’t miss new posts 😉

Let me know what you think of this post, I’d love to hear from you~~ Love Elle xx.

Further reading ( come on, you know you love it really) and guides that I love from well balanced viewpoints
Exfoliation : I love Michelle’s entire blog. Michelle could write about the phone book ( or talk about it in her youtube videos) and I’d be devouring her words. So it’s no surprise that I love her guide to exfoliation, both physical and chemical. Do read it, Michelle comes from a place of science. But manages to make it non condescending, high brow or geeky in an intimidating, incomprehensible way.
This post on Overexfoliating by the Skinnerd ( Jennifer Rock ) is another great post. Worth reading and bearing in mind.
Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money. If this was to change at any point, I will disclose this and it will not affect my opinion. Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I have mentioned. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.


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