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What I've been using for the past couple of months

So I FINALLY managed to find some time to sit down and put fingers to keyboard, and this time I'm sharing my thoughts, in somewhat-mini reviews, on these 5 products that I've been using for the past couple of months.

But first, let me tell you a bit about my skin..because as with all skincare and makeup reviews, they are highly subjective and what works for me and my skin, may not work for you and yours, and vice versa.

So...I am 39 with combination skin, which during the warmer months is definitely on the oilier side. Fine lines (and a few not-so-fine ones!) are beginning to be a concern, sun damage is a major concern, and I still deal with the occasional hormonal breakout here and there, which, by the way, is SO annoying...the rule should be that if you have to deal with wrinkles, you sure as hell should NOT have to worry about zits too! As a teen, I had very problematic skin and was prescribed all the antibiotics, all the creams and lotions and potions, different birth control pills, you name it. But the only thing that REALLY worked long-term for me was Roaccutane, which I was on and off a few times during my late teens/early twenties. It's funny how the universe works, because all the trauma I experienced with teenage acne, really just ignited my passion for skincare, so much so, that I landed up studying it for 2 years, and working as a skincare therapist for 8 more! I really just enjoy helping people along in their skincare journey while I am rediscovering my own. Anyways, I digress...lets get back on track...     

I feel like I should start off with my least favourite one, and save the best for last. 

1. Beauty Sleep Cream - Pixi

Claims: "A nourishing night treatment to comfort and soothe skin"

Price: £24 or about R650 from resellers.

Packaging: Comes in a 35ml pump-action tube, but now that I'm nearing the end of the tube, I find that I need to unscrew the pump lid in order to squeeze the last bits out manually..not ideal.

Consistency: A white creamy consistency that absorbs right down, leaving no residue at all.

Fragrance: Lavender....not a huge fan personally.

Overview: I really wanted to love this product, because as you may or may not know, I am a huge fan of this brand, but unfortunately I just feel like this one didn't really do much for me and MY skin. Yes it absorbs right down, but my personal preference in a night cream, is something slightly more nourishing and hydrating, (even though I have oily skin) which I just didn't find here. I didn't have any bad reactions, but i didn't have any great ones either. I will finish the tube, but I will not be repurchasing this one. 

2. Enchanted eye cream - Lush

Claims: "Simple, refreshing and softening"

Price: R275

Packaging: Pump-action plastic bottle containing 45g of product.

Consistency: A light fluid, absorbs really well.

Fragrance: I am not loving the smell of this. The best way I can describe it is, it reminds me of those medicinal aqueous creams.

Overview: I've been wanting to try some Lush products for a while now, and I was in need of a new eye cream, so I decided to give it a bash. They are however, way more well-known for their bath and body products like shower gels and bath bombs etc, which I still definitely want to try. When it comes to this eye cream, it does what it claims...simple, refreshing and's full of natural ingredients like lavender honey water, almond oil, jojoba oil and glycerine. The bottle contains a lot of product, and a little goes a very long way, so I can tell this will last many months. Would I repurchase it? The answer is no...I just wasn't blown away...its nice, and I will finish this bottle, but it's JUST nice. I'm afraid my crows feet require a little (lot) more oomph at this stage of the game. *cries quietly in the corner*

3. Bubblegum Lip Scrub - Lush

Claims: "Perfectly polished pout"

Price: R105

Packaging: 25g of product in a glass jar with a plastic screw-top lid.

Consistency: A pink, sugary texture.

Fragrance: You guessed it...bubblegum...and it smells A.MAY.ZING!!

Overview: This product is soooooo good! The texture of the sugar scrub is perfect, not too rough, just rough enough. I find it works best when you use a dry finger to scoop out the product and apply it to dry lips. I think when you use it with wet fingers and lips, the sugar dissolves slightly, making it less effective. It also contains organic jojoba oil, so it moisturizes, without leaving an oily residue, and its safe to lick off any remnants for a sneaky sweet treat...bonus! It comes in a few different flavours like popcorn, chocolate, mint and honey, and I plan to try them all! Use it 2 or 3 times a week.

4. Retinol Cream - LilyAna Naturals

Claims: "Soft, healthy and naturally radiant skin"

Price: $20-$30 or R450-R600 from resellers.

Packaging: 48g of product packaged in a plastic airless pump bottle, so very hygienic and protective of sensitive ingredients.

Consistency: A thickish pale yellow cream, leaves skin feeling super moisturized without it being too heavy.

Fragrance: None

Overview:  Ok, as far as I'm concerned, this one ties for first place with the Glow Peel Pads below. I am really, REALLY enjoying this retinol cream, which by the way, sits at 2.5%, which is pretty decent for an over-the-counter retinol. I feel like I could write an entire post just on this, (which I will do another day) but in short, just to clarify, retinol is a type of retinoid, which in turn, is a form of vitamin A. So on the spectrum, retinol is a mild retinoid...stronger than retinyl palmitate, but not nearly as strong as isotretinoin, which is the retinoid found in prescription strength creams/gels. For retinoid virgins, retinol is the perfect gateway drug, so to speak. But be warned...addiction is imminent!

It says on the bottle that it should be used twice a day for best results, and that it can also be used around the delicate eye area. Since this was my first time using a retinol cream, I was a bit nervous about starting off on such a high percentage, so I started off using it only at night, so that my skin could get accustomed to it. I did experience slight dryness for about the first week or so, but nothing to write home about at all. There are so many wonderfully moisturizing and soothing ingredients in this one, that I think they really counteract whatever dryness you may experience. It contains things like aloe, hyaluronic acid, jojoba oil, shea butter, vitamin E, vitamin B5, green tea extract and propolis extract. What it does NOT contain is parabens, petroleum, artificial colours and fragrances, in fact, they say it is 71% organic. I have noticed a big improvement in the texture of my skin, and I wake up feeling hydrated and plump. Haven't seen too much improvement on my sun damage yet. Sadly, I have years of sun abuse and even stupidly baking myself on sunbeds in my misspent youth under my belt, so I can't realistically expect miracles, but I will persevere. Know better, do better...and sunscreen is an absolute MUST, but even more so when using retinoids. 

I will most definitely be purchasing this one again. 

5. Glow Peel Pads - Pixi

Claims: "Advanced exfoliating treatment pads to reveal a glowing, youthful-looking complexion". 

Price: £24 or about R650 from resellers.

Packaging: White plastic tub with a screw-top lid.

Consistency: 60 x liquid-soaked, slightly textured pads.

Fragrance: Smells fresh with a slight rose scent.

Overview: Its no secret that I'm a huge fan of acid toners, so when I came across this one with 20% glycolic acid, I HAD to try it! Bear in mind, that I have been using some or other acid toner consistently for many months now and I would not recommend first-timers using this particular product. 

As soon as I apply this, I can immediately feel the tingle/sting, (I kind of like that feeling though, because I'm a savage like that) which could be a bit more pronounced on my skin because I'm an avid acid user and therefore my skin is already quite exfoliated. I would suggest anyone with extremely sensitive skin or rosacea stay far away from this. They say that you should only leave it on your skin for 2-3 minutes before washing off to neutralize. There were however, quite a few times when I left it on for longer without my face falling off, but its not recommended. Slight redness is normal, which does subside fairly quickly, but you are left with the smoothest, softest skin, rid of all the dead skin cells (thanks to the glycolic acid) and ready to optimally absorb your other skincare products. Other ingredients include rose water (to hydrate), aloe (to soothe) and retinyl palmitate (to promote collagen production). I didn't experience any harsh side effects like dryness, peeling or flaking at all. I would say twice a week usage is ideal, so 1 tub will easily last more than 7 months! Tip: Keep the lid tightly closed to prevent the pads from drying out. 





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