Friday, 30 March 2012

Dr Nick Lowe The Secret is Out skin care range

As you may know I have been using the Liz Earle skin care range for quite some time and have been loving it - my skin has been calm, happy and unblemished.  I know it has it's nay-sayers but I have got on really well with Cleanse and Polish, I think for me the fact that it has got me actually cleaning my face properly has made all the difference.  Back in the bad old days - before I read Beauty Mouth (Ness - the link there is for you! xx)- I had decided that my skin didn't tolerate water well so used cleansers I could smooth on and tissue off.  My head spins round thinking about that now!  I my defence back then I was also wearing much less make-up, but even so it would explain why my skin looked pretty crap a lot of the time.  Muslin or face cloth, makes no odds but using a cloth gives your face a mini-exfoliation each time you cleanse and its this that I think is key to clear, happy, healthy skin.  

Soooo, whilst I loved the Liz Earle Skin Repair cream and the C&P I had decided that perhaps at 45 I should be looking more at preventing the affects of ageing than I was.  I have already mentioned Beauty Mouth, if you have never read Caroline's blog I urge you too, her credentials are massive and her knowledge more so, anything I know about skin care has come from reading Caroline's blog.  She wrote a brief post here recently and it was the point aimed at over 40's in her precis at the top that hit home!  I had no idea which products contained Vitamin A and what peptides were let alone where I could find them.  At this point I should say if I had a big enough budget I would just buy every product Caroline ever recommended - I don't, so I needed to find some alternatives that I could afford.  I am completely aware that in doing so I am no doubt buying products with less active ingredient than their more high end counterparts, but I figure its a start!

Necessary peptides - did a bit of googling and apparently Matrixyl and Argireline are the top peptides to instantly reduce appearance and creation of wrinkles.  Hylauronic acid is also hailed as being massive in helping the skin to restore mositure.  So next I googled "skin care Matrixyl Argireline" and up popped this Dr Nick Lowe The Secret is Out Anti-Age lifting cream.

Ta dah! contains the necessary peptides and costs £25 - bloody brilliant! It also has Vitamin A, C & E and an spf of 15.
I had a look at the full range on the Boots site, then on the Dr Nick Lowe site, then I did some further googling for reviews and found several including this one here which pretty much answered all of the questions that I had at the time.  I was in the car and off to Boots faster than you can say early on-set dementia.

To make things even better Boots were running their 3 for 2 promotion on skin care so for £53 I got the Lift and Repair Night cream (£27.56) and the Lifting Super Serum (£25.52) and I got the Anti Ageing Lifting Cream (£25.48) free!

I genuinely hadn't expected to see any visible improvement in my skin, anti ageing is all about the long haul after all, but I was actually very surprised at how much better my skin looked even within a couple of days.  My complexion was clear and even and whilst I am aware that this makes me sound nuts, I did look younger.  Maybe this stuff has something into it that seeps into your pores and then into your brain and causes delusions, I have no idea, but I could literally see a difference.  

I am using the Lifting Serum in the mornings after cleansing.  It does contain some Dimethicone, so if that is an issue for your skin you might want to avoid this.  You know when you apply a primer that is just Lancane in a fancy tube or any product that claims to make your skin instantly feel like silk  that you have just masked your skins texture with a heap of silicone? Well this doesn't feel like that, I can still feel my skin through it.  What they say about it:
The Star Ingredients

  • Linseed Extract to improve skin's elasticity and firmness.
  • A powerful Peptide Complex that visibly refines the skin's surface, fading expression lines .

Additional features and benefits

  • Acai and Goji berries - extremely rich in antioxidants
  • A powerful Peptide Complex that visibly refines the skin's surface, fading expression lines
  • Vitamins A, C and E to help smooth, rejuvenate and protect the skin

I follow that with the Lifting Cream, this is a very heavyweight moisturiser that I can still feel on my skin - I apply it on my neck and decolletage as well - in the evening when I am cleansing.  I have dry skin and like this sort of heft in a moisturiser, I would strongly recommend going to Boots and trying this from the testers before buying if you aren't as dry skinned.  What they say about it:
  • New generation peptides Matrixyl®, ChroNOlineTM and Argireline ® to help reduce instantly, and over the long term, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Hyaluramine® and Hydralys® to help restore the skin’s capacity to retain moisture. With time, the skin recovers its supple and elastic qualities.
  • Anti Age Cranley Complex combining potent anti-oxidants Ferulic Acid, Pomegranate and Raspberry with Vitamins A, C and E.

In the evening I am using the Avene Emulsion reviewed here and then the Lift and Repair night cream, this is my absolute favourite of all the products. It has a body butter like consistency and an orange flower smell that I just love, its soothing to apply and the fragrance is so relaxing, if this was giving me warts I would still be tempted to use it! What they say about it:
This rich, readily absorbed cream works during the night helping to tone and firm the skin. The advanced tightening and hydrating formula with Sodium Hyaluronate, peptides and super fruits Acai, Blueberry and Pomegranate also helps to replenish and revitalise. With regular use, fine lines and wrinkles appear reduced the skin looks more youthful, fresher and more radiant.

I think by now you have got the gist of this post!  I am really loving this range and wish I had found it years ago.  I asked the kids for the Cleanser and am not completely loving it, it does seem to be more aimed at smooth on tissue off cleansing and I am not going there!  I think I am going to buy a balm cleanser too and then alternate between the last of my C&P, this cleanser and the balm to keep my skin in tip top condition.  From the range I'd like to try the Neck and Decollete firming cream too and maybe the Instant Face Lift too, just to see what happens *ping and I'm 9 all over again* maybe?! Has anyone else tried any Dr Nick Lowe products?  What did you think?  I am rushing around recommending this to anyone that will listen!
Top: Serum, Middle: Day cream, Bottom: Night cream
Serum ingredients:
Aqua (Water), Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Glycerin, PEG-12 Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Alcohol, Euterpe oleracea Fruit Extract, Linum usitatissimum, Lycium barbarum Fruit Extract, Xanthan Gum, Lecithin, Carnosine, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Potassium Sorbate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Sorbic Acid, p-Anisic Acid, Tocopherol, Silymarin.

Lifting Cream ingredients:
 Aqua (Water), Glycerin, Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, Butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cetearyl olivate, Dimethicone, Sorbitan olivate, Glyceryl polymethacrylate, Hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycans, Butyrospermum parkii (Shea butter), Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylamide, Pullulan, Methylparaben, C13-14 isoparaffin, Parfum (Fragrance), Propylene glycol, Butylene glycol, Rubus idaeus (Raspberry) leaf extract, Cucumis melo (Melon) fruit extract, Ferulic acid, Propylparaben, Punica granatum (Pomegranate) extract, Sodium lactate, Algae extract, Laureth-7, Disodium EDTA, Phospholipids, Sodium benzoate, Sodium hydroxide, Potassium sorbate, BHT, Carbomer, Polysorbate 20, Retinyl palmitate, Quaternium-15, Caprooyl tetrapeptide-3, Dextran, EDTA, Tocopheryl acetate, Ascorbyl palmitate, Palmitoyl oligopeptide, Palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7

Lift And Repair ingredients:
 Aqua (Water), Cetearyl ethylhexanoate, Glycerin, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (Sweet almond) oil, Cetearyl alcohol, Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Cyclopentasiloxane, Polyacrylate-13, Punica granatum (Pomegranate) sterols, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene glycol, Cetearyl glucoside, Polyisobutene, Parfum (Fragrance), Salicyloyl phytosphingosine, Benzoic acid, Disodium EDTA, Isoquercetin, Sodium hyaluronate, Sodium lactate, Euterpe oleracea pulp powder, Polysorbate 20, Decarboxy carnosine HCL, Sorbitan isostearate, Dehydroacetic acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium hydroxide, Vaccinium myrtillus (Blueberry) fruit extract, Potassium sorbate, Sorbic acid, Hexapeptide-9, Benzyl salicylate, Hexyl cinnamal, Butylphenyl methylpropional, Limonene, Linalool, Alpha-isomethyl ionone.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Avene Ysthéal+ Emulsion & eye contour cream

If you have trawled through this blog you may have noticed posts on the Avene anti-redness range, I used to suffer from mild roseacea and very flushed, red, sensitive skin.  I had spent fortunes on all sorts of products and never really saw any genuine improvement in  my skin, until I spotted the Avene range in Boots and decided to give that a whirl.  It is no lie to say that the relief was instant and the results long lasting.  My skin has now really calmed down, due I think in part to changes in my diet - I each much less bread and sugar than I used to! - but I keep some Avene products handy just in case I get a flare up. 

I was really pleased to be sent some of the Avene anti-ageing skin care for review.  Now that my redness issues have settled the fine lines and incipient wrinkles are a much bigger concern!

The  Ysthéal+ Emulsion comes in a pump dispenser and is a nice rich, peach coloured cream that I have been applying in the evenings after cleansing.  It is aimed at normal to combination skin and so I have been applying it and letting it soak in well before applying a little of my night cream as I just need a tad more moisture over night.  The Emulsion is designed to both prevent, yay!, and correct the signs of skin ageing - whilst I like something that makes my skin look better I LOVE anything that is working to prevent it from looking worse!  It contains Retinaldehyde and Pretocopheryl, I am not going to pretend I know what they are!  According to the Avene website Retinaldehyde is the most effective form of Vitamin A and Preotcopheryl is a powerful anti-oxidant, which is as science'y as I need to get! Full list of ingredients is here:


Emulsion at the top, eye cream at the bottom

Well done Avene for having ingredients listed on their website.  I was a tiny bit concerned when I read the leaflet enclosed with the Emulsion that sensitive skin might sting a little initially when using the product, so I was very tentative at first and would have stopped using it had I experienced any stinging, I haven't experienced any stinging or discomfort at all when I have used the Emulsion, my skin seems to love it!  I think with all anti-ageing products it's a case of looking back in years to come with much less lined and wrinkled skin than you might have had and knowing that applying products with key ingredients have worked, nothing actually, visibly diminishes the appearance of fine lines over the course of a fortnight!  It's unrealistic to think "cure" I have to be thinking "prevention"!

I was also sent the Ysthéal+ Eye Contour Cream to try, this is again a rich, peach cream in a pump dispenser - I found a full pump of this was more than I needed and Em benefited from some proactive eye wrinkle prevention - fortunately you can squeeze out less than a full pump which prevents waste.  I have been using this cream at night, along with the Emulsion and whilst it's rich it's not greasy so I am not waking up with puffy, over-fed eyes.  You may have seen my post about the No 7 roll-on eye cream, this has a brightening effect so I am using that one under make-up in the day and the Avene one at night, the combination of the two is perfect for me and I am seeing a visible improvement in my under eye area.  I think that I had overlooked it horribly in the past and the skin was very dry and papery, constant application of eye cream morning and night has really helped plump up this area and as a result the fine lines are much less visible. The key ingredients in the eye cream are again Retinaldehyde and Preotcopheryl. The full ingredients of the eye cream are here:

The Emulsion costs £22, in Boots and the eye cream is £17, both are at the higher end of the price range for Avene products but still not expensive when compared to other anti-ageing products. That said I would certainly purchase the Emulsion again, I would probably also purchase the eye cream for use at night, although I am drawn towards eye creams which offer brightening for use during the day.  Has anyone tried any of the Avene range?

These products were sent to me for consideration for review.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Revlon Lip Butters - at long last

I have wanted these since I first saw them blogged about and the waiting has felt like ages, so worth it though!

Looking at previous blog posts I wasn't sure if Candy Apple or Cherry Pie would be my best bet, as it was Boots only had Candy Apple so I had no choice.  I decided to go all out and get Tutti Fruitti too, have a fancy for a nice bright orange and then I hemmed and hawed for ages and opted for Raspberry Pink although wasn't sure at all that it would be a colour I would wear.

Candy Apple, Tutti Fruitti and Raspberry Pie - seriously is there anything nicer than a brand new lippy? Three maybe!

Was so excited had to do an immediate swatchathon!  Top pic is Candy Apple, middle is Raspberry Pie and finally Tutti Fruitti.  I have to say I think Raspberry Pie might be a surprise fave.  Not entirely sure that Tutti Fruitti is working on me, but you know who it does look fab on???
I should have said - this is Emily, she gets her looks from me, obvs!
Bloody typical!

I am guessing everyone that got to Boots today came away with a handful, enabled as we all were by the 3 for 2 offer and quite possibly the extra bonus of £2 off Revlon with the latest Advantage card mailer.  So come on, share, which ones did you get?


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Estee Lauder Idealist - pore minimizer skin refinisher

I decided to lash out and spend £38 on something to reduce my pores, even though apparently nothing can in fact reduce them because they don't actually ever increase in size.  The skin refinisher comes in a lovely aqua coloured bottle and it smells heavenly, so if you like pretty bottles and nice smells this might be right up your street.  Unless you find smearing your face with a tonne of silicone gives you bloody great spots all over your chin. In which case it wont be.

I have on my desk a pre-paid envelope addressed to Estee Lauder, any moment now I will be popping my bottle of skin refinisher into it and sending it off for a refund.

Since I stopped using this I have discovered that my ELDWL actually wears better without it underneath - it seemed to make my foundation look powdery, presumably because I have dry skin and it was very mattifying so any "glow" I might have had was mopped up and whisked away, leaving me cake faced, yuk.

(Whilst I was in Boots trying to hand my skin refinisher to the nice lady on the Estee Lauder counter from whence it had come - no bloody chance! - I made a teeny purchase of some anti-ageing skin care.  Post due soon but so far, loving it - you wouldn't believe me if I told you I could see a visible reduction in my fine lines and wrinkles almost right away would you? Well, I did!)

Monday, 12 March 2012

Kerastase Bain de Force & Ciment Anti-Usure

A word of advice - never, ever buy your salon brand shampoo when you have your other half in tow.  Nipped to Leeds yesterday and spotted an open Regis Salon, OH followed me in and handed me three pound coins to pay for my shampoo, he was joking, sort of!  When we got outside after I had parted with £15.90 he said in a rather horrified voice "did you just pay SIXTEEN POUNDS for SHAMPOO?"  I didn't think that telling him I had got the conditioner for £14.90 instead of £18.90 because where I bought it had priced it incorrectly was going to help!

So yes, it's expensive.  But is it worth it?  I have dry hair that's prone to frizz that I wash, blow dry and straighten (a little) every single day and which is home coloured every 3 weeks, if I can be bothered.  It's had started to look pretty damaged and dry and I had some pretty serious split ends happening.  Anyone that has read this blog for a while will know that I am a bit hair obsessed, usual fat girl thing - I control rigidly the stuff I can control; hair and nails and try not to think about the other stuff I "can't". (Slimming World sorting that out tbh, update post coming soon).  So a bad hair day takes on epic proportions and a bad hair cut quite seriously is "the end of the world I'll stay in til it grows out don't tell me it doesn't look as bad as I think what the hell do you know" cause for a total meltdown.  As a result of a dire cut back at the start of November I haven't had my hair cut since then, see I wasn't kidding.  I am going to have to go back soon but I will be holding my hairdressers bollocks in one hand with a pair of scissors in the other whilst he tells me back exactly what I have asked him to do and promises to do that and that alone.  

So, my hair needs some love. For years I used Paul Mitchell Super Skinny shampoo and conditioner and for a very long time it worked really well but then it just didn't seem to be giving me the same effect.  I then tried Aveda smoothing shampoo and conditioner and whilst the results were a marked improvement I didn't think the additional cost was getting me much better results and it was a total pain to have to order on line as nowhere near here stocks it - I do all my really serious spending in cash, from the secret stash, on line shopping comes out the bank account and has to be "discussed" ahem!  So I decided to try Kerastase.  I started out using Bain Satin 1 which made my hair feel dry and coarse until I applied the conditioner, which wasn't quite what I had hoped for and I felt perhaps my hair needed something more nourishing.  I decided to give the Ciment Anti-Usure conditioner a go - this is designed to reinforce weak, damaged and hair and right from the word go this worked brilliantly.  

My hair looks fantastic and feels much healthier, its soft, glossy - I look like a celeb from a Pantene advert to be honest, if you squint, quite a bit.  I have now added the Bain de Force, which is the shampoo for weak, damaged hair and combination of the two is working wonders, I am really pleased with how much better my hair looks.  

With regard to price, I bought the Bain Satin and conditioner around the 15th December and they have both probably got about a weeks worth left in them (which I am going to have to force myself to use up!) So my £34.80 hair care lasts about 3 months, so works out at £11.60 per month - which you could easily spend in Boots on something that wont give anything like this kind of result.  Did that sound like I was frantically justifying my appallingly spend thrift behaviour?

Hair pics - sorry didn't have time to take these yesterday!

Swishy & glossy, that's me!

I have just had a look on Look Fantastic and you could buy both of these for £29.55 from them, conditioner here and shampoo here, if you can purchase on line without having to explain every penny to your other half I would recommend this for the huge saving!

So, what's your absolute holy grail hair product?  Or what is the one thing you'd love to try if you had no budget?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

In support of bloggers who have worked hard to drive their readership figures up and who have lost so many of them since Google got rid of Google Friend Connect - if you have noticed that some of your favourite blogs have disappeared  click on the above link so you can find them again and select an alternative way to follow. (I have no clue about how all this works, you'd be much better off reading this post by Charlotte aka Lipglossiping, or her update today)

Don't miss out on your favourite blogs! 

Sunday, 4 March 2012

No 7 Vitality Eye Roll-on

Those bloody Boots £5 No 7 Vouchers, I never know what to buy with them as am seriously not a huge fan of No 7 products but it always feels like such a waste to just not use them.

Staring hard in the mirror the other day I realised that my eye's are starting too look very dry and I am aware that its an area that I tend to neglect.  Seemed like the perfect opportunity to try a No 7 product and get rid of one of those pesky vouchers!

I opted for Vitality eye roll-on initially because of the 3 little roller balls, in my head they are going to feel lovely and cooling and like a little mini eye massage every day!  Then I squeezed some of the product out and it is a pearlised pink so will instantly add some radiance to the eye area, so for £7 (its £12 without the voucher) it seemed like the way to go.

3 little rollerballs
Brightening pearly pink'ness
This is available here on the Boots website.  So come on, what do you spend your No 7 £5 vouchers on, please tell me!  

I also snagged the one and only bottle of Max Factor Fantasy Fire nail varnish whilst I was in Boots, tempted to use it but have a little giveaway planned so might hang on to it for that!

Of course as I paid for my purchases and was delighted to get rid of one of my £5 vouchers I received another at the till so I definitely need your recommendations!! 

UPDATE - have been using this for a week and LOVE it! I can see a difference in how hydrated the skin under my eyes is, whilst I didn't really have dark circles I do think the whole area looks brighter, probably just for not being so dry and dull looking.  I love using this, it feels really cooling on my skin and isn't greasy at all - get your £5 vouchers out ladies and go shop!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Estee Lauder Double Wear Light

Just to finish off my EL related blog posts!  I mentioned in my last post that as well as getting a sample of Invisible Fluid I also got one of Double Wear Light.  

I have never sought out long lasting foundation, primarily because I assumed it would be too drying for my dry, 45 year old skin.  It wasn't until I tried ELDWL, as it will henceforth be known on this blog, that I realised what I was missing.  This stuff is teflon for your face!  Seriously, this morning I went to the gym for an hour and came home with my make up intact, which is amazing, a little disconcerting - it can't be good for you to sweat through your make up? - but amazing nonetheless.  I have been using ELDWL for 4 days now, initially I was being too heavy handed and slapping on loads, then I tried applying it with my brush - serious cake face, not a great look.  This morning I decided to apply it with my fingers and to only apply it lightly and that was the winner.  In spite of being quite mattifying, not something I need, I have found that I still have a glow, but no shine.  I am lightly powdering my nose and chin only and the wear is exceptional - it is now 8.15pm and this has been on my face since 6.15am, including that gym session and it still looks bloody good.  What is even  more wonderful is that it seems to lend some of its longevity to the other products that I have put on top - my blusher hasn't faded, my eyebrows that are 90% drawn in with a pencil haven't rubbed off and my eye make up is still looking good.

These pics were taken yesterday when I had applied it with a brush and that is why it does look a bit too heavy.

 Today applied with a lighter touch it is approaching HG status!  One of the other things that I love is that my glasses don't smear this off my nose, it just stays right where I put it.

So decision made on Friday I am buying this and I am also very tempted by an Estee Lauder Idealist serum, rather fancy the pore minimising one - has anyone tried any of the Idealist serums?  Please let me know what  you thought if you have thanks very much.  I am also in need of a Lancome L'Absolu Nu, if I can find one that warrants a £21 spend.  I am also very tempted by the Champneys Watermint shower gel, scrub and lotion spritz.  Again if anyone has tried either the Lancome lippy or the Watermint range please let me know what you thought, it all helps in the buying decisions!


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