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

The store loyalty cards you need in your life

It seems like every shop you ever visit wants to offer you their latest, exclusive discount/store card. So which actually carry the best rewards? I’ve put together the ultimate guide to my favourite reward cards and exactly what they have to offer.

Beauty
  • The Body Shop – With their “love your body club” card you get 10 points per £1 you spend. 500 points = a £5 voucher with an extra £5 on your birthday. You also get exclusive invites to in-store events and discounts are on offer. I really love this reward scheme as they instantly tie it to your account so when you buy online you don’t actually need to input the card details (providing you use the some account you registered with).
  • Boots – the Boots advantage card is the absolutely classic of all the ‘reward’ cards, established in 1997 it’s easy to see why it has survived the test of time. You get 4 points per £1 when you spend and each point is equivalent to 1p to spend back in store. They regularly hold exclusive ‘point’ events offering up to 10 points per £1 spend and they will mail point booster vouchers every quarter. Boots have also recently launched an app which allows you to easily see your point balance as well as load further point boosting offers straight to your card to redeem in store. My only slight niggle about the Boots card is that you have to pay the full amount in points, you can’t part pay in cash.
  • Debenhams – If you’re a regular Debenhams shopper then they Debenhams Beauty Club card is perfect. It offers 3 points per £1 spend. 500 points = a £5 voucher and an extra £5 voucher for your birthday. Other advantages include being the first in the know for new samples and a complimentary Benefit eyebrow wax/Elizabeth Arden facial for your birthday. They also offer free Click and Collect delivery for Beauty Club members.

A recent body shop haul, saving £5 with the loyalty card

Fashion
  • John Lewis – My favourite feature about the John Lewis card is that you can get a free regular hot drink and cake in their cafes. One of the most unique features of the John Lewis rewards is the option for the ‘Kitchen Drawer.’ This means that you can store all your receipts to your phone making it easy access for items under warranty. You also get exclusive invites and offers such as early access to clearance events.
  • Boux Avenue – The Boux Avenue VIP card gives you points per £1 spent to redeem on future purchases. Each point is worth 3p so 300 points = £3. Points can be used in full or as part payment and further benefits include exclusive VIP events and sale previews.
  • ASOS – everyone’s favourite site, ASOS offers their A-list scheme. Every £1 spent = 5 points. 500 points = a £5 voucher valid for 6 months. With 4 A-list “levels”, additional perks include extra points days and 48 hour preview access to sales.

Some of the featured cards including my Boux avenue card!

Supermarkets
  • Tesco – another point per £ offer, each point is then worth 1p so 150 points = £1.50. Every 3 months Tesco will send you vouchers based on your points value which you can spend in store, online or with one of their partners. These can include anything from cinema tickets, to meals out and even Uber credit. One of the best feature about Tesco is there are so many ways to collect. They even give you two handy key fobs so you don’t have to carry your card and since you can redeem points on Esso fuel it really helps remembering to collect those points.
  • Sainsbury’s – the classic nectar card. You can pick up your card in store or online, you can link an additional card holder to your account and you can collect points in SO MANY PLACES. Travel on Virgin Trains? You can collect nectar points on that. Bank with Sainsbury’s bank? Get nectar points. Shop at Argos a lot? Well you get the picture. They’re the largest loyalty scheme in the UK with over 16 million users regularly shopping at Sainsbury’s. 1 point per £1 is on offer with them direct on groceries and this increases depending on partner. Points can be spent just as easily as they are earned with redemption available on huge brands such as EasyJet, Vue Cinemas and Pizza Express. Failing that you can always use them on your next Sainsbury’s shop where 500 points = £2.50 off.
  • Waitrose – if you live anywhere south of the northern border you’ll know that Waitrose is a major deal. In terms of locality Waitrose is my second closest supermarket at home and probably my closest at work. Whilst they’re not the cheapest I have to say I’m impressed by their loyalty scheme rewards. It’s less of a point collector and more of a get stuff for free. Benefits include a free hot drink whilst you shop, free access online to the good food guide and 10% discount at the Waitrose Cookery School.

Are there any store cards I’ve missed that you love? Why not leave me a comment with some of your faves.

NG x