Affordable serums for parched skins. #shopyourstash

The month of January brings about ( especially in the Western Hemisphere) cold, bitter winds and also empty pockets. The last is true of most of us who celebrate Christmas. Come January, my dwindling funds and angry looking bank account is only less depressing than the sight of my grey, pallid skin.(yes even a permanent tanned moi can look pale)

I need all the help I can get for that funny shade of grey-iege that I become and I look to serums to layer under my skincare. Today I’m talking about the kind that infuse your skin with pure hydrating ingredients.(The over 30’s should be using a serum with active ingredients at night, this I would use in the day) Your skin drinks it up and it instantly looks dewy. It’s been the buzzword for skin care for a while, but glow has never gotten more love than in 2017 ( and it looks to be here to stay, not that I’m complaining. Glowy, youthful, skin…what’s not to love?)

A friend of mine threw me a challenge, she said that I should try talking about affordable skincare, those that more of us can buy. I know that a lot of us feel poorer in January than any other time of the year. So I rose to the challenge, and took it a step further. I shopped my stash. ie- I didn’t buy another serum ( even for research purposes which is always how I justify my skincare and makeup spending ) But I picked a bunch from my own shelf. And I kept it affordable.  I do believe that serums  are usually the most expensive  bit of skincare for a reason , ie. Serums are made to penetrate into the deeper  layers of our skin and hence contain a higher concentration of actives or Hyaluronic Acid (HA). This bumps up the price. Estee Lauder’s iconic Advanced Night Repair II ( or ANR as it is widely known) is the industry standard for a good serum. ( it retails at a whopping £53. And that’s its smallest bottle. Worth every penny, but that’s not the point here.)

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However companies like the Ordinary have practically turned the beauty industry inside out and raised the stakes, you can get lots of serums, oils and skincare lotions and potions that have either a single or a few powerful ingredients for as little as £4! Other brands have had to step up their game.

For the purpose of research, I have both stuck to budget( all of these cost under £20), and I shopped my stash. Just so that there was some sort of order to my thoughts( yes sometimes even I can be methodical.) I grouped them in the order of price, from lowest to highest.

1.) L’oreal Hydra Genius ( *£6.66 at Boots/ Superdrug)

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This is marketed as a cream, inspired by Korean Skincare, and its multi layered approach. But the ingredients contain HA which makes it more of a serum for me as it is too light to use on its own. I love its silky feel, and the slightly tacky texture that HA leaves. (I don’t have sensitive skin so there should be a warning here that it does have a lovely light fragrance, and this could be a potential irritant. Even the one aimed for sensitive skins.)

I do use this as a serum and for this price its a brilliant little multitasker. I will try this under an SPF in the summer which means that when I’m travelling to hotter climes ( a girl can dream) I don’t need to pack a serum + moisturiser. More room for eyeshadow palettes in my makeup kit.:)

2.) Lacura Caviar Power Serum ( *Aldi £7.99)

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Forget Kim K, this range broke the internet when it launched two years ago, hailed as a dupe for the La Prairie range, not just in its packaging but also its main ingredients like caviar and snow algae. The Serum also contains HA which makes it a whopper for the price you pay. The Bottle looks pleasing and luxe which is so important too. But thats not why I love it; it’s a beautiful texture, goes on smoothly and hydrates beautifully,(it must be said that it doesn’t smell fishy AT ALL) Now this range is targeted for dry, and mature skins, so those with oily skins should proceed with the rest of the range with more caution. This however, is one for us all, its just purely hydrating and it does its one job beautifully.

Buy it, and if you don’t like it, give it to your friend, sister, cousin, mum, or even me. I suspect however, that the occasion will never arise.

3) The Ordinary Matrixyl 10%+HA ( *£9.00 in ASOS)

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This viscous, but still light formula from the Ordinary is amazing. What the Ordinary have done is taken out the extras in your skin care, kept its packaging simple to keep the costs down. They usually stick to single or a few high quality ingredients. ( Downside is that you really need to research your ingredients as they are named after the scientific principal ingredient… the website however, does give you a reference grid of how to use each and every thing.)

What I love about this serum is that not only does it give you the hydration from HA, but it also has a high percentage of peptides. Does anyone remember Nadine Baggott and her pentapeptides advert? This was way back in the early 2000’s. But peptides was the buzzword before HA came to steal the scene. There’s no reason why the two can’t live in harmony however. And that’s what this serum does beautifully. Hydrates and nourishes. This serum from the Ordinary is anything but.

5) Vichy 89 Mineral ( *£14.66 at escentual)

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This latest launch from the pioneer of the serums company is only going to be good. It is supposed to have 89% mineralising water and just 11 other ingredients. I’m no skin care expert but from reading from the blurb on their website, I’ve gathered that this is meant to be suitable for the most sensitive and the dehydrated amongst us.

Ok… what it does for me, when my skin is feeling particularly sensitive after a dermarolling session ( watch this space ) or retinol treatments (again…watch this space )I turn to this serum under a repair balm. It just hydrates without any expectations nor activity. No strings attached. With some things in life, there is a free lunch after all!

4) Vichy Aqualia Thermal Power serum Dynamic ( *£16.66 at escentual )

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Anything that I have to say about this game changer of a serum has already been said, ( please read up what Sali Hughes has written about this in the Guardian). French pharmacies have been riding the crest of the skincare wave for so long that it’s a given that this will be good, this hydrates, pure and simple. It does it’s job  simply and beautifully. My dehydrated skin always looks beautiful after I’ve applied this. You only need a little penny sized amount to cover the face and neck.

I’ve purchased two backups just in case of any unforeseen emergencies.  Like the apocalypse maybe…

There are so many more budget friendly serums, Superdrug has a highly rated one for £2.99, The Body shop has an aloe one for £12.99. But the memo was to shop my stash, so I stuck to my promise.

And why do I give so many options? Because if one size fitted all, I’d be wearing Kate Moss’s Size 2 jeans darling! Love Elle xx

 

*PS- Prices go up and down, and the price mentioned was good at the time this post was written.

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.

 

 

 

My work makeup bag

I have a day job! I know, right? It’s hard to believe that with the amount of obsessive banter on forums, posts on Instagram and lets not even get to my safari search history. Let’s just say that Cult Beauty is my porn.

Anyway, I’m digressing…again! What I was trying to say was that going to office is my daily reality. I do really love my day job, but it’s as far removed from the beauty-sphere as can be possible. And I must admit that sat at my desk I still  make sure I have a few essentials that help me get through the day, either because of their functionality or just because… These can take me from day to dusk (should the occasion present itself; which must be said is usually, never. I come home, pick my kids up, down half a bottle of Pinot and its bed!)

What I end up carrying is far more than I actually need, but in true Girls Scout Code, I’m always prepared.

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In my little Nuxe travel makeup bag

I always have my Charlotte Tilbury Instant look in a palette in Beauty Glow (which has three eye shades, a cheek blush, a highlight pan and a contour shade) this is the perfect colour way for my complexion, but I do hope that Charlotte Tilbury brings out another colour way for more tanned skins as the contour is just barely noticeable on me. A more deeper toned complexion would struggle to use the contour shade. (Just a humble suggestion Miss CT:))

My current fave face product for travel touch ups is my trusty Bobbi Brown skin foundation stick,(shade 4.5 for those who want to know) this is portable and melts on contact with your fingers so you can touch up minute areas seamlessly. Its solid, so no spills plus its near impossible not to find shade for everyone. (This inclusiveness makes my heart sing with joy, thank you BB for paving the way and making a point. See… beauty can make a political statement and be functional. )

I usually throw in two lip products, one is Glossier Generation G Lippie, my current fave being Zip, which is a beautiful red, but is quite sheer and incredibly moisturising. This feels more like a lip balm. I also always have MAC’s Ruby Woo in my clutch, because one never knows when the occasion demands a red lip, it could be power meeting you’re suddenly expected to chair (and need the makeup equivalent of dutch courage) or after works drink date (and want to va-va voom your work outfit) either way I take my Ruby woo everywhere. She is my BFF.

I always have a sunscreen spray with me. This cheap as chips one from Garnier(Senstived advanced hydrating mist) packs a hefty factor 50 SPF in. Why do I carry one? Because it’s 2018, and the need for SPF has been established. We. Must. All. Use, and reapply. This can be applied on top of makeup and is hydrating too, which makes it a winner in my books.

I have an eye pencil, usually in dark brown ( Invasion by Urban Decay, and Charlotte Tilbury’s Barberella Brown are great) I find it less harsh than black for a daytime look, but also its a great touch up for eyebrows (should there be some fading).

A travel sized version of masacara, I always seem to have Estee Lauder Sumptuous Knockout lying around. This does what it says on the tin, can be layered on what you already had on this morning and doesnt leave me panda eyed.

A purse perfume, my favourite is (now sadly discontinued) Mary Greenwell’s perfume in Plum, its feminine without being sickly and overpowering. Travallo do great decanter bottles (which at the time of writing are £7 odd on Amazon) and you can spray your favourite perfume right into the dinky little bottle. My only request is to please be mindful of your colleague’s airspace and choose your fragrance with consideration.

A small bottle of moisturiser ( I love the dinky Olay day cream, spf 15 is a bonus) I usually also dab this round the eyes to perk the area around the skin up, this happens to coincide with the 4 pm blues. Much less calorific than an Oreo cookie.

A folding toothbrush, small tube of toothpaste and a breath mint spray.  Smelling that Ploughman’s Salad that you had for lunch is the fastest way to make friends and influence colleagues; NOT!

Some TeePee brushes or floss; many a good meeting has been ruined by the sight of spinach on teeth.

Body shop hand sanitiser, offices are germ ridden places, the need for one isn’t up for question so much as why I reach for this one above all else. It doesnt leave that chemical, alcohol after taste if you licked your fingers. ( What? Don’t say that you don’t do this…)

Bioderma Sensabio Micellar water which is infinitely kinder to the skin than the kindest face wipe out there. With a trusty Q tip, it will get rid of any smudges, makeup mistakes or even remnants of salad dressing.( Been there, done that, still doing it)

Q-tips and deodorant wipes( self explanatory and so good for wiping hands too…use a diffrent one for each purpose please) .

Phew!

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I know it sounds like a lot, but all except the sunscreen fits in the bag, and I can always be ready to go from desk to dinner to date night or in my case from desk to collapsing on the sofa and watching Netflix.

What do you carry? Do let me know, Love Elle x

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.

Moisturisers for dry skins: a few of my favourite things

 

Skin is in

“Glow is the essence of beauty”

Estée Lauder.  

Moisturiser must be its soul. My 35 plus skin cannot do without some form of external hydration – it’s  parched and dry and my skin practically drinks up whatever I throw at it. This is where moisturisers save the day and some are better (in my humble opinion) than others.

Pictured here are a few of my favourites. They come in at various price points, proving the fact that expensive needn’t always be better. I’ve only posted the day ones as I thought I’d put the night one as a separate post…yes, I have THAT many 😦

Also whilst some are multitaskers, most have been included purely for that warm, comforting, creamy blanket that they provide for my thirsty face. For active ingredients, I look to serums. ( that is a subject matter for another post entirely) by this I mean that my moisturiser is simply what is says on the tin; it moisturises. If it makes weird anti -ageing claims, then it doesn’t make the cull. If it claims to brighten etc. that’s an added bonus but this is the job of the serum so it’s not a priority.

Glossier

Priming moisturiser-

Its touted to be a buildable hydrating cremé, it does exactly that. I find that on nights where I’m doing the K-step routine, I use a light layer of this over an essence at night. But more often than not it is a day moisturiser over which I layer a thick sunscreen.

I use both – I definitely use the rich version during the colder days and nights when a light texture just won’t do!

Weleda

Believe the hype. Buy the tube. It’s inexpensive and is a beautiful ( and natural) skin soother.

Embryollise

Those French Pharmacies know how to get their products spot on! I keep coming back to the cream for no reason at all, its just comfort in a tube. The skincare equivalent of a cup of tea and a good book. Its unscented and moisturising without being greasy at all.  I just cannot imagine a scenario where this isn’t in my makeup drawer. That would be my idea of a bad dream.

La-Roche Posay

Toleriane ultra for those days when my skin’s acting raw and sensitive. ( which isn’t often, but it does happen…)

Hydraluron

Indeed labs  Hydraluron is one that I use as a serum and a moisturiser. This is a marmite product. I love it, though it has its fair share of critiques. ( I cannot understand why!) Hyaluronic acid molecules hold up to 1000% their weight in water and a boon for dehydrated skins! This reasonably priced Hyaluronic acid gel is half the price of comparable products and works just as well. It goes on slightly tacky and I would a wait a few minutes before adding other products, just to give it time to sink in,

Mixa

Cica repair balm, this one is an inexpensive French brand ( don’t you just love the French pharmacy with their exotique products?) aimed at sensitive skins. This thick, unctuous balm contains panthenol and is a great barrier repair cream if your skin on the face has had a rough run with retinol, acids or life in general. It can be used by all the family and a great cream to keep on hand for those days when life has taken its toll on you and you feel like keeping it calm with as little activity as possible. On your skin and otherwise.

Egyptian Magic

This solid balm like moisturiser which melts on contact when rubbed in your hands has a lovely orangey scent and the most bonkers packaging and owner. Google it. I’d like to say that its quirkiness is why I bought it, but I actually do love how its sinks into my dry as the Sahara feet and hands ( very occasionally the nostrils especially after the ‘lurgy). I do sometimes use it after a tretinoin treatment as my skin feels especially in need of TLC.

Farsali Rose Gold elixir

The whole world, the internet and its cousin have raved about this amazing elixir, and when it made its unctuous way to the UK (which despite its exotic Eastern name, has originated in Canada)I just had to buy it. It’s essentially a rosehip oil with gold flecks in it, which sounds like a gimmick. But it works! The gold flecks dissolve, are not chunky at all, and the rosehip moisturises. All in all it leaves THAT INSTAGRAM GLOW, which its creator Farah Dhukai is famous for and really does what it says on the tin. ‘Tis not cheap though, so I use this very sparingly to make the bottle last and use it on those special occasion days.

Simple Hydrating Booster

On the opposite end of the price spectrum to Farsali is the Simple Hydrating booster, but no less a heavy hitter. I use it to add punch to an existing moisturiser ( much like those Dermalogica boosters but for 1/10th the price, its £6 or something like that) but I also use this underneath CC creams just to add a bit of heft to the cream. Thus totally eliminating the need for a traditional moisturiser.

Astalift day Moisturiser

A fantastic cream from the company that created the Jelly Aquarysta, this contains some of the same collagen inducing ingredients as its sister product. The range is amazing ( again another one where the story of its creation and the company that created it FUJIFILM no less…is one to google) the only downside is that it is easier to spot a Blue Moon than it is to find this product in the UK. I found it in my local TK Maxx. Maybe you will find it in yours? It is still available to order from other parts of the world however.

Aldi Lacura Caviar Day cream

Just. Buy. This. 

It’s meant to be a dupe for La Prairie caviar cream and to be honest, I’m quite surprised that Aldi have gotten away with imitating the packaging to the extent that they have. This may be a dupe but is in no way its poorer cousin. It feels luxe, rich and just lovely. the serum and night cream are amazing too. I have bought backups for my backups. (at £12.99 for a set of full size day and night cream and intensive day and night treatment I can afford to splurge and still have pennies to spare for my Patisserie Valerie Macaroon habit too)

Estee Lauder Re Nutriv Ultimate Diamond Transformative Energy cream

This is a cream with a hefty price tag, which is why all you can see this is a teeny sample size. This bad boy is supposed to be transformative and it can make your skin glow. At £265 for a full sized version, I’m not sure my budget could stretch to buy this once I run out. But a girl can dream right?

Olay Total Effects 7 in one day cream

They were the first ones in the business to talk about pentapeptides, with lots of R&D backing the brand, it’s the budget brand you know you can trust. When budget is a constraint, do what Sali Hughes says and go for brands that are backed by money and research. There are many variants to this 7 in one cream, you can even get one with a sun-kissed glow. They are also invariably either reduced or on offer in Superdrug and/or Boots. They are cheap, cheerful and for that price you know it’s a reliable staple that won’t let you down and great active ingredients if you are looking for that.

There are more moisturisers than those that made the list, but I had to curate my list or this would be an encyclopaedia not a blog post. And those are no fun. There is something in the list for everyone ( I hope) . I would love to know your faves and why. 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 a ny 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.

Moisturisers for dry skins…what I love and why I love them.

IMG_2634

Skin is in

“Glow is the essence of beauty”

Estée Lauder.  

Moisturiser must be its soul. My 35 plus skin cannot do without some form of external hydration – it’s  parched and dry and my skin practically drinks up whatever I throw at it. This is where moisturisers save the day and some are better (in my humble opinion) than others.

Pictured here are a few of my favourites. They come in at various price points, proving the fact that expensive needn’t always be better. I’ve only posted the day ones as I thought I’d put the night one as a separate post…yes, I have THAT many 😦

Also whilst some are multitaskers, most have been included purely for that warm, comforting, creamy blanket that they provide for my thirsty face. For active ingredients, I look to serums. ( that is a subject matter for another post entirely) by this I mean that my moisturiser is simply what is says on the tin; it moisturises. If it makes weird anti -ageing claims, then it doesn’t make the cull. If it claims to brighten etc. that’s an added bonus but this is the job of the serum so it’s not a priority.

Glossier

Priming moisturiser-

Its touted to be a buildable hydrating cremé, it does exactly that. I find that on nights where I’m doing the K-step routine, I use a light layer of this over an essence at night. But more often than not it is a day moisturiser over which I layer a thick sunscreen.

I use both – I definitely use the rich version during the colder days and nights when a light texture just won’t do!

Weleda

Believe the hype. Buy the tube. It’s inexpensive and is a beautiful ( and natural) skin soother.

Embryollise

Those French Pharmacies know how to get their products spot on! I keep coming back to the cream for no reason at all, its just comfort in a tube. The skincare equivalent of a cup of tea and a good book. Its unscented and moisturising without being greasy at all.  I just cannot imagine a scenario where this isn’t in my makeup drawer. That would be my idea of a bad dream.

La-Roche Posay

Toleriane ultra for those days when my skin’s acting raw and sensitive. ( which isn’t often, but it does happen…)

Hydraluron

Indeed labs  Hydraluron is one that I use as a serum and a moisturiser. This is a marmite product. I love it, though it has its fair share of critiques. ( I cannot understand why!) Hyaluronic acid molecules hold up to 1000% their weight in water and a boon for dehydrated skins! This reasonably priced Hyaluronic acid gel is half the price of comparable products and works just as well. It goes on slightly tacky and I would a wait a few minutes before adding other products, just to give it time to sink in,

Mixa

Cica repair balm, this one is an inexpensive French brand ( don’t you just love the French pharmacy with their exotique products?) aimed at sensitive skins. This thick, unctuous balm contains panthenol and is a great barrier repair cream if your skin on the face has had a rough run with retinol, acids or life in general. It can be used by all the family and a great cream to keep on hand for those days when life has taken its toll on you and you feel like keeping it calm with as little activity as possible. On your skin and otherwise.

Egyptian Magic

This solid balm like moisturiser which melts on contact when rubbed in your hands has a lovely orangey scent and the most bonkers packaging and owner. Google it. I’d like to say that its quirkiness is why I bought it, but I actually do love how its sinks into my dry as the Sahara feet and hands ( very occasionally the nostrils especially after the ‘lurgy). I do sometimes use it after a tretinoin treatment as my skin feels especially in need of TLC.

Farsali Rose Gold elixir

The whole world, the internet and its cousin have raved about this amazing elixir, and when it made its unctuous way to the UK (which despite its exotic Eastern name, has originated in Canada)I just had to buy it. It’s essentially a rosehip oil with gold flecks in it, which sounds like a gimmick. But it works! The gold flecks dissolve, are not chunky at all, and the rosehip moisturises. All in all it leaves THAT INSTAGRAM GLOW, which its creator Farah Dhukai is famous for and really does what it says on the tin. ‘Tis not cheap though, so I use this very sparingly to make the bottle last and use it on those special occasion days.

Simple Hydrating Booster

On the opposite end of the price spectrum to Farsali is the Simple Hydrating booster, but no less a heavy hitter. I use it to add punch to an existing moisturiser ( much like those Dermalogica boosters but for 1/10th the price, its £6 or something like that) but I also use this underneath CC creams just to add a bit of heft to the cream. Thus totally eliminating the need for a traditional moisturiser.

Astalift day Moisturiser

A fantastic cream from the company that created the Jelly Aquarysta, this contains some of the same collagen inducing ingredients as its sister product. The range is amazing ( again another one where the story of its creation and the company that created it FUJIFILM no less…is one to google) the only downside is that it is easier to spot a Blue Moon than it is to find this product in the UK. I found it in my local TK Maxx. Maybe you will find it in yours? It is still available to order from other parts of the world however.

Aldi Lacura Caviar Day cream

Just. Buy. This. 

It’s meant to be a dupe for La Prairie caviar cream and to be honest, I’m quite surprised that Aldi have gotten away with imitating the packaging to the extent that they have. This may be a dupe but is in no way its poorer cousin. It feels luxe, rich and just lovely. the serum and night cream are amazing too. I have bought backups for my backups. (at £12.99 for a set of full size day and night cream and intensive day and night treatment I can afford to splurge and still have pennies to spare for my Patisserie Valerie Macaroon habit too)

Estee Lauder Re Nutriv Ultimate Diamond Transformative Energy cream

This is a cream with a hefty price tag, which is why all you can see this is a teeny sample size. This bad boy is supposed to be transformative and it can make your skin glow. At £265 for a full sized version, I’m not sure my budget could stretch to buy this once I run out. But a girl can dream right?

Olay Total Effects 7 in one day cream

They were the first ones in the business to talk about pentapeptides, with lots of R&D backing the brand, it’s the budget brand you know you can trust. When budget is a constraint, do what Sali Hughes says and go for brands that are backed by money and research. There are many variants to this 7 in one cream, you can even get one with a sun-kissed glow. They are also invariably either reduced or on offer in Superdrug and/or Boots. They are cheap, cheerful and for that price you know it’s a reliable staple that won’t let you down and great active ingredients if you are looking for that.

 

There are more moisturisers than those that made the list, but I had to curate my list or this would be an encyclopaedia not a blog post. And those are no fun. There is something in the list for everyone ( I hope) . I would love to know your faves and why. 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 a ny 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.
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