My skincare saviours

I have not been blessed with perfect skin. I never have and I probably never will. So skincare is my life. As a teenager I had VERY problematic skin (didn’t we all.) As an adult I have the definition of combination skin. An oily t-zone that just doesn’t hold foundation whilst everything else is incredibly dry. Add into the mix an occasional outbreak and you can see the issues. I’ve probably tried 90% of the skincare brands out there and still experimenting but I’m finally switching it up. I’m swapping high end, animal-testing brands for more animal friendly, easier on the pocket brands. I’m also vowing to stop being the laziest beauty person ever and setting myself a routine I can stick to.

Make-up removal

In case you’ve been living under a rock, let me give you this advice now. Make-up wipes are trash. I know they seem easy, and cheap but trust me. They. Are. Not. Worth. It. Switch to micellar water instead. My favourite is the Bioderma – I have tried Nivea as well but it feels a touch more drying then the Bioderma. I use this with the large cotton wool pads for the easiest make up removal and so much better than wipes. I take a bottle everywhere with me and keep one in my gym bag for when I’m finishing work and heading straight to the gym. I’m vowing never to use a single make-up wipe again.

My holy grail micellar watee

Evening

My evening vs morning routine whilst similar, is still somewhat different. When the news first broke about the micro-bead exfoliator scandal, I ditched any exfoliator I was currently using and went straight to The Body Shop and purchased their seaweed scrub. I haven’t looked back since and so this makes up the first part of my evening routine. It’s the perfect scrub that’s gentle enough for daily use whilst still buffing away the nasties. I tend to only use this in the evening as I like the idea of my skin working it’s own magic during sleep so the last thing I would want to do is buff all that magic away. My next step is cleansing. I mix up my cleanser routine depending on the condition of my skin. If i’m a little bit more on the blemish-y side I’ll use the foaming tea tree wash from The Body Shop but if I’m blemish free, it’s the Vitamin E cleanser. Next is the tea tree daily solution. This light liquid is perfect just to keep blemishes under control/at bay and soothes the skin in preparation for moisturiser. Finally, moisturise. Exactly the same with cleansing I switch it up depending on my skin. If I have some spots to fight it’s all about tea tree based moisturisers. If I’m on the dryer side then it’s the vitamin E aqua boost sorbet.

Morning

After what I hope is a good night’s sleep and skin recovery; as I’ve already mentioned I bypass exfoliation and try to keep it as gentle as possible. This usually means the Vitamin E cleanser, the tea tree drops and a trusty moisturiser. If my skin is really dry I’ll use something as intense as Nivea Soft but I’ll also use this to replace my make-up primer. If it’s less intensive I’ll top up with my Vitamin E aqua boost sorbet and apply a normal primer. Quick, simple, effective.

Vitamin E cleanser, tea tree drops and my choice of moisturiser

Make-up

I am the foundation queen. Not because I know my stuff, because I own SO MANY. I’m currently working with 5 of varying degrees of coverage/consistency/skin type to get me through my different skin days and I still don’t have my holy grail. For breakout days it has to be Vichy Dermablend 3D. The foundation contains salicylic acid to fight breakouts whilst you’re wearing it. If I’m having a mixed skincare day I use this almost like a concealer and combine it with other foundations. Where I can I try and wear as little face make up as possible and let my skincare work away. My biggest qualm with foundation at the minute is everything is clinging to my dry patches. As a serial blemish–proned sufferer this is completely new territory. My only other advice for skincare is wash your make-up brushes weekly at worst. I know it’s a chore and nobody likes doing it but your skin will thank you. I mean think about it, if you have bacteria build up causing blemishes why would you want to continually wipe that all over your face?

Weekly treats

Whilst i’m ‘generally’ lazy with my skincare there’s one thing I never skip. Pamper Sundays. I’ve got myself into the perfect little self-care routine on a Sunday which always involves a face mask. Every week, like clockwork. Since re-discovering 7th Heaven face masks I’ve become obsessed. I always used them as a kid at sleepovers because they were so easy to get hold of at any local supermarket but I didn’t appreciate what a fantastic brand they are. They’re completely cruelty free, have supported animal welfare for 30 years and have a mask for everyone. So if I’m more blemish-proned I love a clay or mud mask. Pores my concern? It’s a charcoal or seaweed peel off. In a rush, then it’s all about the 5 minute tea tree sheet mask. Now my skin is on the drier side I’m going to give some of their moisturising masks a go. Like I said, something for everyone.

Fluffy socks and a face mask – pamper perfection

Easing on the purse

Prior to switching to all things The Body Shop, I swore by Clinique anti-blemish solutions and moisture surge. Here, the average price of each product is roughly £20. Compare this with The Body Shop at an average price of £10 and the savings are there to be made. Also, factor in the reward schemes I spoke about recently (link here) and the free £5 vouchers = saving big bucks. What’s more, o2 priority customers can regularly get discounts such as 30% in store or online and £5 off a £25 spend in store and online. 7th Heaven face masks are already an absolute steal at roughly £1 each but I try and be extra savvy and buy them in bulk when I’m back in Yorkshire where you can pick them up from Body Care at 89p. Whilst it’s only 11p, that’s essentially 11p per week making it what a fiver a year? Not exactly a monster saving but a saving all the same.

My beauty wish list

So where do I take my beauty to next? Well first on the list is nailing this dryness and foundation situation. I’m hoping it’s a serious case of winter dryness but with a skiing trip in March it clearly isn’t resolving itself soon. I’ve heard so many amazing things about The Ordinary for both foundation and hydrating products so they’ve jumped straight to the top of my list. I’m also interested in trying more from The Body Shop.

Do you have any recommendations that you think might benefit me? Why not leave me a comment with some of your beauty saviours?

NG x

You can shop all my Body Shop faves here

Northern Girl on… Joan Collins lash treatment

When I went to The Bloggers Hub Summer Penthouse Party they had the dreamiest giftbag and in it was the beautiful Joan Collins lash treatment. It recommends continual use for at least 30 days so I decided to give it a try throughout June.

The Product
It’s like a clear mascara that you apply on an evening before bed to help grow and enhance your natural lashes. The outer packaging itself suggests that with use you will feel like you no longer need to wear false lashes. It’s so unbelieveably easy to apply and the second you apply it you see an instant lift in your lashes. Its definitely worth applying it on an evening as suggested, there were the odd mornings where I tried to apply it just so I kept up with it and it definitely made applying my mascara more difficult as it simply hadn’t had time to soak in.

Before and after, instant lash lift

The packaging
Beautiful. It feels so classy and upmarket and the perfect look for sonething to stamp Joan Collins’ name on it. I love the entire feel of the Joan Collins cosmetics range for it’s packaging.


The results

Whilst the application showed an instant lift it certainly didn’t continue in the morning. I dont parricularly have small lashes anyway and with a bit of care on their own they can curl up to my brows, making false lash application actually really difficult, so maybe it’s aimed at people who need more lash lift than I do. At around day 30 the only thing I had noticed is that when applying my mascara my lashes were definitely thicker but this almost caused more issues as it made them clump together more. Overall i’m disappointed so far, I’m going to try and persevere with it for another month but if the results are the same I’ll be donating it to my sister (who does wear false lashes frequently)

Have you tried anything from the Joan Collins range? Let me know your thoughts!

NG x

Northern Girl on June’s beauty buys

Since moving to London I’ve tried to save a lot of my Primark/beauty hauls for when I’m back up north so when I went back at the end of May I made sure to stock up on what I would be needing for June. 

  • Silicon brush cleaner – Primark 

A little bit hit and miss for me. I’ve always had two different ways of cleaning brushes depending on if it was used for dry or wet products. This doesn’t work as well as how I normally clean my “wet” brushes but it certainly makes cleaning my dry brushes easier so since it was so cheap I don’t mind keeping hold of it.

  • Silicon beauty sponge – Primark

I can’t believe how late I am to the party but I adore this. I’m such a lazy brush cleaner so this is perfect for me. You don’t lose any product like you do in a brush and you can clean and dry it in a matter of seconds. I’ve only used this so far with my lightest foundation so I’m not sure what it’s like for heavy cover, mousse-like foundation but at the moment my foundation brush is certainly on the back burner. My only criticism? Why do you need 2 in a pack? Who on earth is needing more than one of these? Primark are driving me mad with this at the minute.  A year ago you could get a single beauty blender in a pack now, you need to buy 4. I don’t need 4! Sort it out Primark.

  • Beauty sponge – Boots 

My sister taught me how to bake my concealer when I was last home then I got back to London and realised I didn’t own a beauty blender. Since I couldn’t get one from Primark (see above rant) I just picked up this one from the Boots basics range. It does the job but I’d much rather use a proper complexion sponge that this completely flat one. 

  • Maybelline fit me matte foundation in shade 115 ivory – Boots 

This is my holy grail stage 1 foundation which I use when my skin is near perfect and just needs a touch of cover. It took me ages to find a perfect foundation for me so I’ll continue to go back to this.

  • Maybelline erase concealer in ‘light’ – Boots

Probably the closest concealer I’ve ever had to covering my dark circles beating every colour corrector and ‘specialist’ eye concealer. It takes a bit of patience to get the product on the sponge using the twist mechanism which makes it a little harsh on the skin if you’ve not waited enough but that’s honestly my only criticism. It’s super light, super blendable and I won’t say it yet but it may end my concealer search…

  • Nyx frame and tame brow pomade in shade 04 espresso – Boots 

    I’ve obviously seen everyone’s rave reviews about THAT high end brow pomade but as my brows take such little maintenance I simply couldn’t justify the cost. Normally I just use whichever brow kit is on offer but my sleek palette was crumbling to pieces so I figured it was time for new brows. I had actually intended to just pick up another brow kit but I saw this and knew that I just had to have it and I am so so glad I picked it up. The effect is essentially the same as the brow and wax I normally use except it’s in one handy little pot. The only issue I have now is that I need a new compact mirror as my brow kit was the one I has on me constantly.

    I am obsessed with the RCX nails Insta page; from the amazing colours Rachel creates to the therapeutic pourn videos – I can’t get enough. The second I saw the stunning holographic silver I knew I needed it. I also picked up sand & sea as it’s my favourite shade for summer and the only thing missing from my existing nail collection. I love them both so much that they’ll be getting their own full post next week.

    • Sunflower under-eye patches – Primark

        For the price these were a great little pick up. I’ve only used one out of the two sets but as far as first impressions go, I’m happy. The results aren’t like ‘knock your socks off amazing’ but they did slightly improve my dark circles  (they’re pretty beyond help tbh). I quite enjoyed the feeling of a proper pamper session and I’ll certainly be keeping up with them. It may even become a 2-weekly treat.

        What are your recent beauty pick ups? NG x

        Northern Girl on… HD brows 

        It took me so so long to find a good brow stylist and by good I mean someone who understands individual brow shapes. I’ve had brow stylists in the past where it’s been so blatantly obvious that they applied the same shaping to everyone. Yes it was cheap but I didn’t love my brows. Whilst I wouldn’t ever recommend breaking the bank for beauty, I do think it’s important to love and be happy with the results even if it means spending a little more.

        I’ve been seeing my beauty therapist Jess for a couple of years but that also means I don’t have her down in London with me now, booo. So if I’m ever travelling back to visit family I try and ensure I fit a brow appointment in. 

        I’d always just had a very basic tint and wax in the past and it always did the trick. My brows are very dark so the tint didn’t always keep it’s impact once I’d applied foundation but it meant that it could be touched up easily with just a brow powder. 

        I’d seen on Facebook that Jess had recently trained in HD brows and it had to be said the results were incredible. I’d been intrigued by HD brows for years but had struggled to find someone local to go to so I made sure that on my next visit up north I would finally give HDs a go.

        The procedure 

        HD brows combines more techniques than a standard tint and wax to create a fuller, stronger effect. The brows are tinted as normal and are then waxed but using a more gentle formula than normal which means less redness after. They’re then threaded and plucked to achieve the perfect shape. Once this is complete the brow stylist will then use a variety of brow make-up products to polish the overall look. The whole procedure tends to take around an hour due to the precision and perfecting that takes place to create the finish. The overall idea is to create the perfect brow that doesn’t need any additional touching up after. The make up isn’t permanent and will wear off eventually but that all depends on your brows. The stylist will then go through all the aftercare with you before you leave. 

        My before and after. Photo credit Instagram.com/j.beautyandbrows

        Is it worth it? At the salon I was at HD brows are over double that of a tint and wax but for me it is unbelievably worth it. The effect lasted ages. I try and wear very minimal make up generally but nearly always like to define my brows. Even with wearing foundation I didn’t need to touch them up until at least a week later – a huge difference from touching them up the same day after a tint and wax! Even nearly 2 weeks down the line the shape is amazing and touching them up is an absolute breeze on a morning.

        Still so perfect after a week

        Overall I honestly don’t see myself not having HD brows every time. I just love them. I can be quite last with my brows so I’m going to try and keep on top of the shape a bit more so I don’t need to go as frequently but it will be HD every time!

        Have you had HD brows before? What are your thoughts on them? Drop me a comment.

        NG x

        You can find your nearest HD stylist here – http://beautyinhighdefinition.com/salon-finder/