Fragrance – Friend or foe? (2 minute read)

Fragrance is perhaps the most hotly debated ingredient in skincare. Loved by many and hated in equal part, it can be a total dealbreaker for some. But is fragrance all bad?

Well, that all depends on your skin.

For some, fragrance can really mess with their skin. It can sensitise it, causing irritation and break outs. However, this isn’t the case for everyone. Some people can use fragrance with absolutely no problem at all. Depending on the scent and how strong it is, it can add an extra layer of luxury to a product and enhance the user experience. Sometimes unscented products can be a little underwhelming in that respect, but ultimately it comes down to personal preference.

The truth is that sometimes skincare ingredients don’t always smell the best and fragrance is often used used to mask it. However, there is a lack of transparency when fragrance is listed in the ingredients list. The single ingredient ‘Fragrance’ on the INCI list can be any number of fragranced ingredients all hiding under the one name, which makes it really hard to work out exactly what you’re intolerant to if it’s not listed in its entirety.

The tricky thing is, your skin can change how it feels about fragrance almost overnight (like in my case), though it is pretty uncommon. Where you were using fragranced products with no problems one day, you now have a cluster of breakouts.

So is fragrance-free the answer? Well… not really. Fragrance-free falls into the same category as ‘clean’ and ‘natural’ – it’s an unregulated term. Also, there may still be some sort of natural fragrance (essential oils or plant extracts) or scent masking chemicals added to minimise the bad, naturally occurring smell of the active ingredients. As we all know, essential oils are also one of the worst offenders when it comes to skin irritation, so going for natural fragrance often isn’t any better for the skin than synthetic.


Your stance on fragrance will be very personal to you and how your skin reacts to it.


There is no blanket right or wrong way to think about fragrance. Personally, I really enjoy it but my skin can’t tolerate it anymore, and that’s totally fine. I would prefer a small amount of fragrance because products that have no scent are really underwhelming from a self care point of view for me, but I actively avoid fragrance and essential oils to avoid break outs. If you find a fragranced product doesn’t work for you, that’s totally fine, you can just stop using it – and it’s as simple as that ladies and gents.

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Glow Recipe Banana SoufflΓ© Moisture Cream Review for Dry Skin

Glow Recipe is the ultimate aesthetic brand whose products are largely focused around fruit and cute pastel colours. When their Banana SoufflΓ© Cream launched, their first moisturiser, there was a lot of excitement from die hard fans and beauty enthusiasts alike. I was interested to try it for myself and see how it fared on dry, sensitive skin.Β Β 

Claims

The claims for this moisturiser seem to be to fix every skincare issue under the sun. It addresses:

  • Dehydration
  • Irritation
  • Sensitivity
  • Redness
  • Stressed out skin

It is also supposedly non-comedogenic and non-acnegenic (which I thought were basically the same thing but there we go).Β 

They also claim that this is good for all skin types. I’m always a bit weary of products that claim that they are perfect for all skin types as the needs for each one can vary so widely. This moisturiser basically promises to suit every skin type and concern, which I just don’t believe.Β 

Glow Recipe Banana SoufflΓ© Cream - Small Town Beauty Addict

The scent

The first thing you will notice is the scent. If you can’t stand heavily fragranced products, this probably won’t be for you. Quite obviously it’s scented like bananas. Quite a few people have said that they hate the artificial banana smell but like this smell? I hate both and would rather this were unscented or at least dialled down because the smell is not what I want to be spreading on my face. It is definitely bearable despite the smell, but it certainly wouldn’t be my choice of scent. It does dissipate pretty quickly – once it’s dried down you can’t smell it anymore which is something at least.

More recently I’ve been trying to stay away from fragranced products as they’ve been irritating my skin, but surprisingly this one didn’t. A few of my other friends who have sensitive skin have been able to use this, but that’s not to say that it will work for everyone who is sensitive to fragrance.Β 

The ingredients

If you take a look at the ingredients, you’ll see they’re actually pretty good. There are no added nasties here (no added fragrance/parfum, limolene, linalool, citronellol or essential oils) which is excellent to see. These are the main offenders when it comes to skin irritation. Although there is a very strong smell, it seems to come from the addition of Banana water.Β 

This is backed full of skin soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients, such as centella asiatica, turmeric root extract and aloe vera leaf juice. The addition of turmeric root extract also helps to brighten skin. It also contains hyaluronic acid to keep skin hydrated and squalane to moisturise the skin without feeling greasy.Β 

Looking at the ingredients, I can see why Glow Recipe claims that this could work for all skin types and could cover a wide array of issues, but ultimately its thickness limits the skin types it could work for.Β 

Performance

This moisturiser is very thin and runny. A little bit goes a very long way and I never quite felt like I could rub it in as it doesn’t dry down enough for you to stop being able to move it around. Even though the claims say that this will suit all skin types, I don’t agree with that. I don’t usually find that moisturisers this thin give me the level of moisture that I’m after. This did perform better than I was expecting in that my skin didn’t feel dry or desperately thirsty afterwards, but at the same time it didn’t feel quenched either. I usually prefer thicker gels or cream moisturisers that are targeted more towards dry skin types. Though I didn’t feel any tightness, after a few days of consistent use I started to get dry patches in both corners of my mouth where this moisturiser just wasn’t quite enough (I used to have eczema there when I was younger, so I think it made it come back). When I stopped using this, the dry patches disappeared and when I started again they came back. They’re not only dry patches but they’re areas of discolouration too which look a bit unsightly. As a result, I couldn’t use this as my sole moisturiser. However, I still wanted to use it up, so used the Pixi Rose Ceramide Cream after. I first started using this in March when it was still cold and I just thought that it wasn’t enough for the time of year. However, even in summer, this wasn’t enough for me. I think this would be really well suited for normal-oily skin, or those with dry skin that is more towards the normal end of the spectrum.Β 

This moisturiser supposedly addresses sensitivity, stressed out skin and redness (among heaps of other things). I can’t say that I noticed any real difference in redness while using this product. I also wouldn’t say that this really addressed sensitivity or stressed out skin either. I had a few breakouts caused by testing new products and I didn’t feel like this was the hero product in bringing my skin back to normal. I usually apply this after lightly misting my face and I would find that it would leave a weird stinging/tingling feeling that was pretty unpleasant but would disappear when I used my Pixi moisturiser on top. If you have sensitised skin or quite sensitive skin, definitely read reviews and look into the ingredients before purchasing this to make sure it will be okay for you to use.Β 

I’m pretty sure some people won’t be a fan of the fact this is in a jar rather than a tube. From a hygiene point of view, it’s not the best to be dunking your fingers into a jar full of product every day and it would be much cleaner to squeeze product out of a tube. Obviously you can use a mini spatula to scoop out the amount you need, but my little spatulas always go missing.Β 

Price

Let’s just talk briefly about the price. This costs Β£36 for 50ml. Personally, I think that’s pretty high and it was the price that was the major put-off of me buying this originally. I think you would be able to find a better moisturiser or at least one that performs equally as well for a lower price. My fave Pixi moisturiser is Β£24 for the same amount. Just saying.

Overview

If your skin is more normal-dry, this could be workable for you. I have a few friends with drier skin types that swear by this moisturiser but unfortunately it wasn’t quite what I was after. I can imagine this working very well for oilier/combination skin types because it is so thin and light. If you have dry-very dry skin or any eczema on your face, I don’t think this is the moisturiser for you. I didn’t find that it was heavy enough for me, even in summer, and would leave me with eczema-like patches either side of my mouth. However, I can imagine it being a pretty good go-to in the hotter months for others. I managed to use it all up in the end, but I would have to apply this moisturiser first and follow it up with a thicker one. I’m glad I was able to use it all up, but I won’t be repurchasing this in the future.Β 

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Why we’re no longer supporting Drunk Elephant (June 2020)

Would you believe it? There is Drunk Elephant drama again. This time it’s not accusations of bullying, or misinforming their audience that all skin types require the same products. No, this time it’s much worse and I’m not sure whether they will truly come back from this one.

**Disclaimer: if you personally still wish to support Drunk Elephant after reading this article, please go ahead. However, I personally expect a brand that holds this much influence to do better for our community.**

As I’m sure you know, the murder of George Floyd in the US has sent ripples in every direction. It was only a matter of time before they were felt in the beauty world too. Brands began to post black squares on their social media for #blackouttuesday and expressed their sadness at the events unfolding in America. Some even pledged donations to various charities. But questions began to be asked about whether these brands were just being performative and whether they were actually committed to real change.

The founder of Uoma Beauty, Sharon Chuter, wanted to ensure that there was action behind these bold public shows of support for the Black community and created the Pull Up or Shut Up movement. The aim of the movement is simple – ‘pull up’ and publicly release the number of Black employees at corporate level and in leadership roles. The idea being to hold brands accountable that say Black Lives Matter publicly and then not have representation within their own organisations.Β 

Many brands have replied with their stats (no matter how good or bad) and the steps they will implement to foster Black talent and guarantee that they are recruited more widely at all levels. From small indie brands to the big beauty conglomerates, they’ve all replied.Β 

Now this is where Drunk Elephant comes in.Β 

Drunk Elephant are one of the biggest and best known brands in the beauty industry. They did a post saying they were donating to a number of charities (without specifying any amounts) and asked others to as well. They included petitions to sign, numbers to text and encouraged their audience to educate themselves. They also posted a black square with just hearts for a caption on black out Tuesday. The response to both these posts were overwhelmingly positive from their loyal followers. However as time went on and it seemed as though they wouldn’t be answering the call to ‘pull up’, people began to ask questions. On a picture of a cartoon human heart, they offered a message of support for those struggling to remind them they are not alone. Many people posted comments on this post about whether they would be releasing their statistics on their workforce, but comments kept disappearing. I posted a comment saying I was looking forward to hearing about their stats, but no one else was able to see it. Because I used the phrase ‘pull up’, Drunk Elephant had restricted those words so that they didn’t show up to anyone but them and me. They did this all day on Saturday 6th June to give the impression that there was only a positive response and to hide the question they didn’t want to answer. But why if they didn’t have anything to hide?

Eventually they replied to @prettyandmakeup. This was their first response before using a different copy and pasted message in reply to all other questions regarding pulling up:

Absolutely, and Drunk Elephant is made of a diverse team made up of women and men, BIPOC and LGBT, and we have always worked to ensure that opportunities for employment, advancement and representation are available equally.
β €
However, we feel very strongly that making a β€œhuman inventory” of our team and then using that information for marketing purposes is an incredible ethical violation of our employees right to privacy. It is just not something we would ever do or feel right about doing.
β €
We are focusing on remaining positive and taking care of the wonderful, diverse and inclusive community that we have, have always had, and making sure they are OK. We hope you understand. ❀️

Let’s dissect this.Β 

1. ‘Diverse Team’

You may well have a diverse team, but we can’t really take your word for it. We want proof. Words are one thing, actions that the whole community can see are another. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) also doesn’t specifically pinpoint the number of Black people, as specifically asked for by the Pull Up movement. It’s a way some brands have been trying to inflate their diversity stats while skirting the real issue at hand. They’ve also not said in which ways they ensure equal opportunities, advancement and representation within their company like others have.Β 

2. ‘Human inventory’

All companies of a certain size are required by law to submit these statistics. Even if they weren’t big enough to report this (they are), they would still have those statistics to hand. It suggests that they have something to hide. Other brands whose inclusivity figures have been pretty dire have pulled up, admitted it’s not good enough and have put plans into place of how to do better. By hiding behind an excuse of this kind just will not fly. ‘Human inventory’ is also a very bizarre phrasing to use…

3. ‘Ethical violation’

No it isn’t. Pull Up isn’t asking for names, addresses or even photos of their employees. It’s looking for a percentage. As I previously mentioned, a percentage that you already have and is not difficult to obtain. If you even search Drunk Elephant on LinkedIn (as many people have been doing), you’ll get a pretty good idea of how diverse their workforce is (not very). Let’s also just say that Drunk Elephant suddenly caring about their business ethics is laughable. They have appropriated other cultures for marketing purposes (Arabian Nights theme booth in 2018); they don’t correctly credit the origins of their ingredients and fabricate bizarre stories about them (Marula –Β  check out @leah.azad on insta for more info); they bully creators and get defensive when justified points are made; they blame other products or that person when a product of theirs doesn’t work for someone; they fail to understand that skin conditions such as rosacea and cystic acne require different products. Yeah that list is long isn’t it. So doing all of the above is apparently considered okay, but releasing information that the community is calling for to show that their support for BLM isn’t more than just empty words goes against their ethics. Please make no mistake in thinking that this info is somehow an invasion of anyone’s privacy. Like I said, it’s required by LAW. It is the companies that have been the loudest about not sharing this info that are now suspected of not being inclusive and performative.Β 

As I mentioned, this answer was only used once because of the backlash it caused. They later changed to a longer message that took out the parts about ‘human inventory’ and ‘ethical violation’.

Ultimately, it appears very surprising that a company as historically controversial as Drunk Elephant have it right straight out the gate. Their total lack of info on Black representation and ways in which they’re striving to ensure even greater Black representation in their organisation speaks much louder than they realise. As a result, they have been viewed as performative. A false ally to the BLM movement. And people aren’t impressed. Many people who had put up with their other scandals have turned their back on them this time. I’ve seen people posting stories of them throwing away Drunk Elephant products. People want to support brands that are doing the work and supporting the Black community, rather than ignoring the issue at hand. This time it’s a step too far.Β 

For anyone who thought that when Shiseido bought them last year that it would clean up their act, they were sadly mistaken. Shiseido has pulled up – but they own 9 brands and their figures obviously don’t show the breakdown within each company so it’s difficult to get a true idea of Drunk Elephant’s representation. Other companies have heard the calls and done the right thing, no matter how poor those statistics are.Β 

Let me also just point out, that all this controversy is about a week old… and they STILL haven’t released those figures. They haven’t posted anything more on their Instagram and haven’t bothered to clear up people’s doubts (like most upstanding brands would). For those who don’t understand why people are annoyed and are asking whyΒ should they share this info? Why shouldn’t they? If you’re a supporter of the wider Black community, you should be supporting the Black community in your workforce. It isn’t a performative if you actually mean it.

So please think again about the brands that you support. Do you research and be an ally.Β 

In case you’re confused, this is not me *cancelling* Drunk Elephant. They’ve been cancelled for a long time in my eyes but others who are not as involved in the beauty community on Instagram as I am should know the type of brand they’re buying from.Β 

DO BETTER DRUNK ELEPHANT.
YOUR SILENCE IS DEAFENING.

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Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 Review | Beginners Retinol

Vitamin A is considered the anti-ageing ingredient that everyone has heard of and everyone wants to incorporate into their routines. New products are coming to the market all the time promising incredible results, but as a beginner, it can be quite daunting and confusing to pick the right one for your skin. The Medik8 Crystal Retinal 1 is styled as the ‘beginners retinol’, so let’s see how this beginner got on with it!

I’m trying to avoid saying retinol during this article because although retinol is the most well-known name for this type of product, vitamin A is actually the most accurate label for the group. There’s retinol, retinaldehyde, retinyl palmitate, tretinoin and tazarotene – all are different strengths and some are easily available while others have to be prescribed. The Crystal Retinal is retinaldehyde, so it wouldn’t be quite right to label it as retinol, despite the fact that this has become an umbrella term for vitamin A.

The Brand

Medik8 is best known for their vitamin A products – and they’re known to be very good. They offer many different types and formulas of vitamin A, catering for young skin to more mature skin that needs a heavier hit. The benefits of vitamin A are well known – it increases collagen production and cell turnover, which in turn helps to reduce the appearance of sun spots, fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also been known to help reduce acne too.

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Crystal Retinal 1 is known as the entry-level vitamin A in the Medik8 range. It’s billed as being super gentle and ideal for those with even the most sensitive skin, without compromising on performance. It’s perfect for those that are new to vitamin A and want to start exploring the benefits that vitamin A can offer, without the side effects that notoriously accompany retinol.

Claims

  • Visibly minimises fine lines and wrinkles
  • Firms and plumps to resurface skin texture and soften the face.
  • Hydrates to deliver supple, even-toned and youthful looking skin.
  • Reduces blemish-causing bacteria
  • Younger, smoother, more radiant skin in 4 weeks
  • Low-to-no irritation

My skin before starting

I am 25 years old and I wear suncream every day. I really don’t have a great deal of lines or wrinkles at all and obviously have quite young skin. I am at the age where I could start to consider using vitamin A but any younger wouldn’t really be necessary.

Since late last year, my skin had been very reactive and sensitive. I would get breakouts very easily, mainly around my mouth and chin, especially when using new products. I stripped my routine back to just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF for four months. In early April, I added a face oil in at night time but kept my routine very basic. I was comfortable that my skin had become less reactive and decided to add in a vitamin A to deal with a few fine lines that were starting to appear on my forehead. My skin type is dry and I had been dealing with some dry patches and discolouration on either side of my mouth.

Application

After cleansing, I apply two and a half pumps on to my face and leave it for around 30 mins before applying moisturiser. There is maybe the slightest tingling when I first apply it but this goes away by the time it dries down. It isn’t a tingle as such, but it’s quite clear that I’ve put something of strength on my skin. It didn’t leave my skin feeling dry or parched before applying my moisturiser. It does have a slight scent that I can’t quite put my finger on but it is pleasant and dissipates quickly.

I started using this twice a week as recommended to get my skin used to it for the first two weeks. After that, I have used it three times a week for a total of a month and a half now. Every morning after using this (and every morning in general), be sure to apply suncream as this will make your skin more sensitive to the sun and more prone to damage if SPF isn’t worn.

It’s important to point out that when it comes to anti-ageing benefits, it takes a long time for these visible results to come to fruition. That’s absolutely fine by me and I won’t be commenting on any anti-ageing results as I can’t say I’ve noticed any, but the other results I have seen are certainly worth mentioning.

Since using it

A common problem with vitamin A is that it causes some trouble for your skin, whether that be purging (lots of spots) or flakiness. However, Crystal Retinal promises to skip the irritation phase and go straight to the results. I didn’t really experience any purging or flakiness, which for me was an enormous plus! It’s these two side effects that can often put people off of using a vitamin A altogether, so if you’ve suffered particularly with either side effect before, this formula is definitely one to consider.

After a month and a half of use, the most unexpected result for me was that it has kept my spots at bay.Β After the first application, I did notice that an existing spot that had been dwindling came back to life. It was joined by another new spot close by and a very small spot on my chin and forehead. The forehead spot disappeared within a day and the one on my chin within two. The spot that I had before starting decreased in size pretty quickly and it’s new friend came to a very small head before disappearing into a puff of smoke. I would say that within a week, all spots (new and old) were gone. I could feel the pre-existing one under the skin for a little while afterwards but even that has disappeared now. The turnover was way faster than ever before. I had been struggling for months to get rid of them all for good, with many lurking under the skin, so to have them all completely gone is a great result for me!

This is the most consistently clear my skin has been in 9 months. I have not had a single new spot since that initial flurry subsided. I had been struggling with a bit of pigmentation left over from a few of the bigger spots and they lightened up quite considerably too. My skin looks nice and plump, while also looking much more even-toned.

I’ve included some before and afters to show my results, see them below!

Before and After

Left side:

I had two reoccurring breakouts in the bottom corner of my face and a small spot in the crease of my mouth. After a month’s use, these spots (that had been near constantly coming and going for months) have finally gone for good. After a few initial spots when I first added this, I haven’t had a single new spot, nor an old one reappear.

Mouth and chin:

img_0495img_6774

I had a few small spots on my chin which have now cleared up. The big dry patch on the side of my mouth didn’t get any worse or irritated, which I thought it would.

Right side:

img_0487img_6770

This side of my face was already pretty good, but I believe that my skin has become more even toned. I had some dryness in the creases of my nose, which has since disappeared.

Full face:

img_0488img_6768

These are both horrendous pictures, but looking purely at the skin, I am so pleased. My skin is more even, less spotty, less textured and weirdly less flakey.

Overview

This has been an absolute pleasure to use. I was quite nervous to use this at first because my skin was just coming to the end of being really reactive and I didn’t want to risk setting it off again. It honestly couldn’t have gone better adding this in! This was gentle enough for sensitive skin and didn’t have any negative effects on dry skin either. I think this is one of those products that actually does suit all skin types and I couldn’t recommend this more. The difference in texture, plumpness and spots all went above my expectations and made this so worth while. It might seem a bit odd to recommend an primarily anti-ageing product without testing its anti-ageing properties for 12+ weeks, but ultimately the other results I’ve seen have been so fantastic that I would continue to use this even if it didn’t have anti-ageing results too. I’ll obviously keep using it long term and I’ll definitely be repurchasing this once it runs out!

You can purchase Crystal Retinal 1 directly from the Medik8 website.

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The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm Review

The Inkey List’s Oat Cleansing Balm seems to have taken the beauty world by storm. It’s all over Instagram and has quickly become a fave of the skinfluencers. It sold out everywhere when it first launched, so what is so special about this cleanser?

The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

The brand

The Inkey List are one of the brands that are cutting through all the beauty jargon to bring straight forward, easy to understand, affordable skincare. Personally I think they’re comparable to The Ordinary (in terms of price and single ingredient products) but are easier to understand. Their products often feature some of the most sought after and on trend ingredients of the moment. Their recent releases have been increasingly innovative and they’re an influencer favourite.

The Oat Cleansing Balm is 150ml for Β£9.99, which is actually loads of product for a really affordable price. With it being in a tube rather than a tub, it’s a lot more hygienic than dipping your fingers in to a jar. The ingredients list for this is pretty clean – there are no irritants included and it has no added fragrance, nor does it have any sort of scent. The inclusion of 3% oat kernel oil helps to keep skin moisturised; smooth and blackhead free, while 1% oat powder reduces redness and irritation. It sounds like a sensitive skin dream right?

My skin

When I started using this product, my skin was pretty sensitive and reactive to new products. I would get small breakouts on the lower part of my face within a day of using a new product that my skin didn’t agree with (and it didn’t agree with most things). I was interested to see whether this would irritate my skin or break me out.

Application

It’s a little hard to squeeze this out of the tube at first, but once it does come out, a little goes a very long way. You need to dampen the skin before applying the product to avoid a more abrasive application! I was daft enough not to read the instructions the first time I used it and applied it to dry skin – as a result it was quite rough (though my skin did feel nice and soft afterwards). Be sure to read the instructions!

The balm melts away pretty quickly into a thick oil and quickly gets to work on breaking down the day’s makeup with relatively little effort. The instructions advise to avoid the eye area but I found this was gentle enough to use there with no irritation afterwards. When it came to removing mascara, I was amazed by what a good job it did! Many other makeup removers tend to sting or hurt your eyes but this one was absolutely fine – you could apply it and open your eyes with absolutely no problems. Sometimes I felt like this left a slight film on the skin and other times it didn’t. Most importantly for me, it didn’t cause any form of irritation. This is one of the only products I’ve added in to my skincare routine that hasn’t caused any form of adverse reaction in months, so I’m impressed.

What’s so special about it?

  • Very gentle
  • FAST and effective
  • Free from irritating ingredients
  • Very affordable

Overview

This is a great cleanser for dry or sensitive skin. If you follow the instructions, it is gentle enough for even the most sensitive to use. It’s an excellent product for anyone who is new to the double cleanse or even the most seasoned beauty veterans who are tired of being blinded every time they remove their eye makeup. I dare say that in terms of performance, this trumps high end products. It is really effective at removing stubborn makeup with little effort; removed eye makeup with absolutely no irritation and didn’t leave a thick film on the skin. Unlike other balms, you don’t need as much product to break down the day’s makeup, so the tube (which is way bigger than you would think!) will last you absolutely ages! There has been quite a gap in the market for an affordable cleansing balm and it has now been filled.

Want to try?

You can find the Inkey List in the UK at Boots, Cult Beauty, ASOS, Feel Unique, Selfridges and Look Fantastic.

Xo

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How to fix your skin when it’s freaking out

In the last 6 months, my skin has been all over the place. Luckily I’m coming out the other side now, but I’ve picked up a few tips to help anyone else who is on a rollercoaster with their skin. If you’re here for a quick fix, then sorry, but you’re not going to find that here… or anywhere. Your skin doesn’t work like that. But if you are looking for some changes that you can make to your routine that should benefit your skin, then keep reading!

I should mention that, though it was never looked at by a dermatologist, I suspect I had a damaged skin barrier. I think it came from using a few strong chemical exfoliants and then made worse by the fact that I didn’t realise what was happening and tried to carry on as if everything was fine testing out new products. I had dry areas of skin that felt tight and breakouts on the lower half of my face (chin, around my mouth, jaw) that couldn’t often be seen, but then a few would get really big and come to a head (and not disappear for weeks).

The below worked for *ME*. This advice is mainly focused towards others who have a damaged/compromised skin barrier. I can’t guarantee that it will work for you, but I do feel that there are some key pieces of advice that *should* be a pretty universal take away from all this.

Strip back your routine

We spoke a little while back about the Skincare Diet (all the info in the link), but in short, it’s about realising sometimes long routines can do more harm than good. When it comes to finding what is irritating your skin, obviously the longer the routine, the more chance there is for irritation. When your skin is in freak out mode, it’s recommended to strip your routine right back to cleanser, moisturiser and SPF (for day time) – AKA the essentials. Not what you consider essential, but the actual essentials of keeping your skin clean, moisturised and protected. This might be a bit of a painful thought for you skincare addicts out there (as it was for me at the start), but your skin needs to focus on repairing.

Be gentle

Please, for the love of all that is good, don’t go in hard thinking babyfacial will fix your damaged skin. Likely story is that it won’t. Do not start hammering your skin with physical or chemical exfoliators, hold the retinol and leave the vitamin C for a little while. If your skin barrier is compromised, the last thing it needs is you doing even more harm under the illusion you’re doing some good.

Cut out irritants

Ingredients that previously never affected your skin may be causing some irritation. The key (possibly) irritating ingredients to cut out are essential oils, artificial fragrance (as well as Linalool and Limonene) and bad alcohols. If you’re ever in doubt about the ingredients of a product you’re using, I’d suggest heading to the incidecoder website – it’s really clear about which ingredients are possible irritants as marked by a yellow exclamation mark. If you have cut out all the typical ingredients and you’re still seeing some irritation, then it’s time to look at other ingredients that you could have an issue with. For me, I found that products containing niacinamide were also irritating my skin, so I had to cut anything out that contains that too.

Load up on good ingredients

When you skin is looking to repair, more simple ingredients decks seem to be the way forward (without the aforementioned irritants). However, it’s important to add in some saviour ingredients that will help to calm and heal irritated or damaged skin. The big one to add in is ceramides. They help to reinforce your skin’s moisture barrier (a damaged moisture barrier is a common cause of irritation) and increase hydration. Other good ingredients are Aloe, Niacinamide (if you’re a normal person), Centella Asiatica and Green Tea to just name a few.

Most importantly, give it time

Time really is the best healer. While we may want quick results, it’s just not always possible. The epidermis (the top layer of the skin) takes 12 weeks to repair itself, so cutting down your routine for a week and then adding it all back in so quickly will not help you out. Give yourself time to heal. You might not have the brightest, glowiest skin during this time but your skin will be on the mend. The aim of the game is to reduce irritation, in what ever form it is for you.

Don’t go back to your old ways too fast

When things start to go back to normal and your skin stops being so reactive/sensitive/dry, please don’t add all your products back in immediately. Tread carefully and add things back in slowly, just as you would do when you’re trying new products. Add a new product and wait for 3 or 4 days to see how your skin reacts. If you have no reaction, then you would be okay to add more in. But think about what your skin actually needs, rather than just adding in heaps of products because they’re trendy or because you used them before your skin freakout. If you’ve survived this long on a basic routine, you can go a bit longer without your 10 step routine. Ease yourself back in with gentler acids and use them more infrequently than you would have done before. Add things in very cautiously and up things very slowly. We don’t want to undo all our good work!

It took my skin 3 months to stop breaking out at the tiniest change to my routine. I’m feeling hopeful that my skin is on the mend, but I’m not going to risk it and overload it with new products! I’m going to still try and avoid the bulk of irritants for the near future if possible just to play it safe. Let me know how you get on!

Xo

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Do you need to put yourself on a skincare diet?

Usually in the new year, people turn their attention to their lifestyle – to start moving more and eating better. But what about a skincare diet? Maybe you’ve tried every product under the sun and yet your skin goals remain elusive. Or maybe your 10 step K beauty routine just isn’t delivering the same results anymore. Perhaps it’s time you went on a skincare diet.

There are so many different types of products, with an offering from each brand, that the merry-go-round of trying out new products never ends. But do you really need them all? Let’s be real, every single one of us has bought at least one product based on someone else’s recommendation that was a total flop. Can you hand on heart accredit a change in your skin to every single product in your day-to-day routine, or do some of them just fly under the radar – not really performing but a ‘nice addition’?

The glamour surrounding the multi-step Korean routine that exploded a few years ago is starting to dwindle. The pendulum has swung back towards simplicity- the anti-thesis to the over-complicated K beauty regime. Even the Koreans have moved away from an excessively long routine, so surely it can’t be long before the rest of the world follows suit.

The premise of the skincare diet is simple: by having these long routines, we can actually cause more damage than good. We can overuse active ingredients, use products that don’t agree with our skin and cause irritation, be that in the form of redness, sensitivity or breakouts. The solution? Strip your routine straight back, to just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF.

Krave Beauty recently started the #PressResetChallenge which is exactly what has been mentioned above – streamlining the process to just cleanser, moisturiser and SPF in order to better evaluate what your skin actually needs. The initial 15 days are to heal any irritation, regulate the skin and to take note of how it’s reacting to the minimal routine. After 15 days, you assess what your skin is craving (not what you want to add back, but what your skin actually needs in addition to the basics). This should allow us to have a much greater understanding of our skin, its needs, our goals and how we can reach them. This could also place greater emphasis and encourage greater education about key ingredients and the wonders they can work for our skin.Β 

Liah Yoo was always at the forefront of the skincare diet movement, so it’s great to see that she is using her brand’s platform to further educate her consumers and fans of the brand on the importance of stepping back from their shelfies and really focusing on what is needed. It encourages people to declutter their collections and donate products that are wasting away unusued to those that will enjoy them more.

Looking at the #PressReset/skincare diet movement in a greater context, it links in well with the no buy/low buy movement and goes against the tide of beauty releases. It encourages you to follow a simple routine and stick to it, rather than trying every product just because your friend told you it’s the best thing since sliced bread. Even skincare experts like Susan Yara (see Mixed Makeup on Youtube) have pledged to streamline their routine – even they can recognise the excess! Beauty in general this year is taking a step back towards simplicity and it can only be a good thing.

So, does this sound like something you need? Now this may not be a solution to your problems depending on what they are, but it may offer an insight into your current routine. By slimming your routine down and slowly adding things back in, it can help to identify triggers of any irritation you might have.

This is actually something I’ve been trying myself and I’ve seen a reduction in irritation and breakouts. I’ve been using a moisturiser that’s packed with ceramides to repair my skin barrier and it’s been working an absolute treat. I’ve been doing it the whole of January I might keep it going for a little longer!

Do you think you need a skincare diet?

Xo

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Regrets? Reviewing my 2019 purchases

Like any beauty addict, I’ve bought a lot of products this year. Some have been massive hits, while others have seriously missed the mark. One thing that’s for sure, there are a LOT of products.

By Terry Gem Glow Trio Highlighter – Β£28

This was a repurchase. I bought this BEAUTIFUL highlighter and needed another to keep perfect in my collection. I’ve never really bought products to keep them as a collectors item before, but after trying this, loving this and being bowled over by the appearance of it, I just needed to have another. I haven’t used my original one that much since buying it last December so I’ll have to dig that out.

Marc Jacobs Enamored Lip Gloss Sticks in Mocha Choco Lata and Uh Huh Honey – Β£22 each (Β£44)

If you haven’t read my full review on this product you can find it right here! The lip gloss stick is easily one of the most innovative products I’ve seen. It is the perfect hybrid between a lipstick and a lip gloss – it’s amazingly comfortable on the lip, isn’t sticky and is almost like a very pigmented lip balm. I have repurchased Mocha Choco Lata a few times now as it is a fantastic nude shade that I will continue to buy. Uh Huh Honey is much more of a 90s brown that personally looks a bit too cool toned on me and I have barely used it.

Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skinβ„’ Ultralight UVA/UVB SPF25 – Β£7.19

This is the best formula of SPF I’ve ever tried. It doesn’t feel greasy or smell of alcohol like some on the other end of the SPF spectrum. The only down side to this is that a) I can’t find it for the life of me, but more importantly b) it is only SPF 25. I personally like to have maximum protection on at all times but I would (when I could find it) use this in the winter when the UV index is lower. I’ve heard a lot of people saying the same thing, so it would be amazing if they came out with a factor 50.

Beauty Pie Super Retinol Anti-wrinkle Eye Cream – Β£6.67

I used this eye cream consistently at the start of the year but didn’t see any results. Booo

Beauty Pie Super Retinol Anti-aging Hand Treatment – Β£6.53

I was a bit paranoid about this because you can supposedly use it at any time of day, but it contains retinol which you shouldn’t really when the sun’s out. I don’t think this formula was really thick enough for my hands and didn’t see any long lasting moisture or improvements in the appearance of the skin.

Lani Tropical Super Serum – Β£16.99

This was a total dud for me unfortunately. I had seen this brand really hyped in the Instagram beauty community but the oil felt really thick and smelt super bad. I think it was supposed to smell like Jasmine… but it doesn’t smell like that if you know what I mean. I used it once or twice and cast it aside.

Ole Henriksen C Your Best Selfieβ„’ Brightening Moisturizer & Eye CrΓ¨me Set – Β£18.70

I did a blog post on this duo a little while back (FIND IT HERE!) and this moistuiser and eye cream were okay, but only okay. Both products smelt amazing and felt pretty good on the skin, but not good enough to justify such a large price tag for the full size products.

WowYou Beauty Glow to Sleep – Β£18

This is a retinol moisturiser that is nice and thick. The inclusion of retinol in products always confuses me and makes me feel nervous. I would use this in the same routine as the Super Serum and it made my skin ridiculously smooth and soft… until it broke me out.Β  I thought that maybe I wasn’t supposed to mix those two products but it’s recommended by the brand on their website. I stopped using both products and haven’t revisited them since.

WowYou Beauty Super Serum – Β£18

A friend of mine always bigs up this brand so I placed an order. It is a lovely solid gel consistency that glides on really easily. Something about this serum always made me feel a little nervy but I can’t really put my finger on it. I need to revisit this one as well.

WowYou Macaron Lip Butter – Β£7 (thrown in for free)

I am very loyal to my Palmers lip balm but this got thrown in with my order and I’m so glad it was! This lip balm is EXCELLENT. If I hadn’t found such a good balm for a fraction of the price, then this would without a doubt be my go-to balm.

Mac Fix+ x2 – Β£16.15/Β£17 each (Β£33.15)

MAC Fix+ is a firm favourite of mine that sets the face and makes everything look a bit less powdery. Have gotten through so many of these over the years and will always repurchase. You get quite a lot of product and it lasts a very long time.

Nars Sheer Glow in Gobi – Β£33.50

This was a repurchase in an updated shade that actually suits me! Gobi is my perfect pale shade – I knew that this foundation was a winner already for me. I nearly ran out my old shade (Mont Blanc) which was never my shade to begin with but sometimes sales assistants don’t know how to shade match. It is a medium coverage that can be built up or sheered out. It gives the ultimate your-skin-but-better look!

Ole Henriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner – Β£22

This product was soooo overhyped and really didn’t do much for me. I did a dedicated blog post on it that details my full experience with it, but in brief, I didn’t like this. I may have over used this on my skin type despite the claims hat it is gentle enough for everyday use. Knowing that I have normal-dry skin, I probably should have only used it a few times a week. It dried my skin out, especially around my nose and mouth and actually caused discolouration there. I would potentially give this another go, but this time I would only use it on my cheeks were I feel I do have some pigmentation.

Colourpop Yellow Mascara – Β£6.11 ($8)

This one was a little left field for me, but I really wanted to try a mascara that’s a fun pop of colour! I used this in a graphic liner look I did on my Instagram and really enjoyed it! It was a pretty good mascara and the yellow was super vibrant. Obviously, with it being yellow, it isn’t the most wearable mascara in the world – it certainly isn’t your every day look. That said, when I feel like doing something a little different, I do turn to this and it delivers.

Colourpop Numero Uno Black Liquid Liner – Β£6.11 ($8)

I was doing a Colourpop order anyway and this liner had just launched along side the coloured mascaras so I decided to pick this up. I didn’t feel like I had discovered the perfect black liquid liner yet and wanted to give it a go! This was really black and lasted well, but the felt tip was quite thin and made it a little harder to apply. I don’t like thick liner but I find that a thicker tip would have made liner easier for my exact style. I don’t know that I’d repurchase this at the moment because I’m enjoying the Eyeko one (mentioned further down) and Colourpop is a bit of a pain to get to the UK.

Colourpop She Palette – Β£12.22 ($16)

I bought this palette at the end of last year in the Colourpop sale and then promptly lost it. This was the repurchase and I remembered it being a bit better than it was. It has a lot of pinks that can sometimes bring out the pink in my own skintone and makes me look like I have an eye infection. I tend to use the shimmers more than the mattes but even still, this generally sits in my drawers.

Revitalash – Β£39

Unfortunately, this was quite a big waste of money. Initially I felt as though there was a good result quite quickly and then it flatlined. I got a ‘6 week supply’ which lasted far more than 6 weeks but my lashes are now even stumpier than before. And itπŸ‘πŸ»wasπŸ‘πŸ»expensiveπŸ‘πŸ». I spent a lot of time worrying that it was going to run out before I got my desired results, which never materialised.

Fenty Sun Stalk’r Bronzer – Β£23

This is only the third bronzer I’ve ever used and it’s fabulous – here are all the details you need. Fenty came out with a bunch of shades for so many different skin tones and my shade (Inda Sun) is the perfect shade for very fair skin tones. It’s lovely and warm, builds well and blends like a dream. It’s quite hard to over do it with this, which is a massive perk! It’s a little pricey but lasts a really long time! I’ve hit pan now but there’s still loads left.

Beauty Pie Flawless Foundation Blending Sponge Duo x2 – Β£4.08 each (Β£8.16)

These are excellent beauty sponges that are a fraction of the price of one Beauty Blender. The blend exceptionally well and they are very easy to clean. The only thing I will say is that I’ve had a few instances of mould in the sponges that is super gross. Take care of your sponges.

Beauty Pie Jeju Overnight Moisture Superinfusion x2 – Β£9.04 each (Β£18.08)

This is my absolute favourite moisturiser for PM. It is AMAZING. It is a lovely, thick moisturiser that would be perfect for anyone with normal-dry skin. I tend to mix this in with the BYBI Buriti booster and it’s just heaven.

NYX Micro Brow Pencil x2 – Β£9 each (Β£18)

This is my go-to brow product and I don’t see this ever changing. It’s reasonably priced and it lasts a reaaaally long time. Ash Brown is the perfect shade to match my hair colour and I don’t think any other brow products could ever replace this.

The Ordinary 100% L-Ascorbic Acid Powder – Β£4.90

I wanted to add some vitamin C into my routine and thought this would be some sort of mask I could add water to and apply. It turns out, it wasn’t. I didn’t do enough research initially and when I got it and looked into how to use it, it was really tricky to use. Because I didn’t want to damage my skin and didn’t feel confident in mixing anything in with it, this has just sat in my drawer.

Milk Hydro Grip Primer – Β£27

There was a lot of hype around this and I was super interested to see how it worked – I even wrote a review on it. I have normal-dry skin and I assumed that this would hydrate my skin and hold my makeup on. It felt very sticky but left my skin looking pretty dry once foundation was applied. On top of that, it made products apply patchy and made it difficult to blend. I don’t feel like it did very much for the longevity of my makeup either and I thought that products lasted better without it.

Hugo Boss The Scent for Her Eau de Parfum 30ml – Β£38.95

I bought this scent on holiday last year and I loved it. I managed to find a really good deal on this on allbeauty.com, which has really good deals on a lot of fragrances. I’ve nearly run out of it now and I adore the scent. It’s very sweet and smells amazing in summer time. I wish it lasted on my skin a little it longer on my skin as it does fade quite quickly.

Weleda Skin Food – Β£12.50

I’ve been suffering with some serious dry skin on my hands (I suspect it may be a bout of eczema) and wanted a hand cream that would really pack a punch. This wasn’t it. Oh my gosh it is so greasy. I would put it on and it would smell like a garden (some sort of herb) and then it would leave my hands totally unusable for a long while, or until I wiped them off. Not sure where this is now but I don’t miss it.

Sjo Skin Happy Honey Oil – Β£34Β 

I did a lil review of the Happy Honey Oil and it’s a really nice oil. I think this would be a good oil for people that haven’t delved into oils before or those who don’t like most other ones. It’s very thin and sinks in very fast so can be used in the morning or evening. I personally like something a little heavier but it’s a great oil nonetheless.

Klairs Gentle Black Sugar Facial Polish – Β£15.36

I bought this as dupe for the Fresh Sugar Face Polish but for a fraction of the price. This is not as good as the Fresh scrub. It is a lot harsher on the skin – the sugar particles are a lot bigger and don’t melt away. It feels like like the particles were scratching the skin, though it did feel softer afterwards. It was after this flopped so hard that I knew I would eventually shell out for the Fresh exfoliator.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ x2 – Β£15.02 each (Β£30.04)

I bought this SPF last year and it was just incredible. I decided to repurchase it and it doesn’t seem as though I got the same formula. Kao, the parent company of Biore, announced that as of Feb 2019, they would be releasing a ‘new and improved’ formula of the essence and gel versions of this SPF… but the formula really is not improved at all. The previous formula was just beautiful – it was cooling, it spread and absorbed easily and was nourishing too. My main issue with the new formula is that you can smell the alcohol and you can feel it too. The second ingredient on the INCI list is ethanol which is one of the bad alcohols that dries out the skin. I could tell as soon as I put the new formula on the skin that it wasn’t the one I fell in love with originally. I ended up giving these away.

Pretty Athletic Cool Down Cleanser x5 – Β£18 (Β£63.18)

Can you tell I love this stuff by how many I’ve bought? If you want aaaaaall the details, you can find it here. I hate running out of this stuff and always need a back up. In the Black Friday sale, I picked up 3 backups which should last me most of the year now!

CliniqueFit Foundation x5 – Β£13.67/Β£20.50 (Β£88.84)

Without a doubt, this was the BEST product I tried this year. I wrote an entire review on how much of a banger this foundation isΒ and I am still in love. I am seriously worried that this has been discontinued because it is now out of stock on their website and on Selfridges and has been for some time, but I really hope it will come back because I adore this! In my panicked state, I bought 3 more back ups of this because I can’t bear to be without it! It suits my lifestyle perfectly in that it is very longwearing and lasts beautifully throughout my long day.

Milk Stick Bronzer in Baked – Β£17.42

I bought this stick bronzer to avoid using powders in the summer time, plus I had been wanting to try Milk for ages and when they finally arrived at Cult Beauty, well it was fate. I went for the lighter of the two bronzer shades but was a bit worried that it would still be a bit dark for me. Actually the shade was perfect! I really loved using this though it was quite a faff. It was much more time consuming to apply than a powder bronzer, but I didn’t have to worry about my face turning to sludge in the heat. I would generally use a different sponge to blend this in to avoid applying the bronzer to other areas of my face by accident, though this did happen a few times. Once the weather cooled off a bit, I put this to one side and picked my Fenty bronzer back up. I’ll definitely be revisiting this very soon and if you like stick products, you’ll love this! You get heaps of product and I’d be surprised if you ever managed to use it up!

Milk Stick Blush in Werk – Β£17.42

Everyone raves about this blush from Milk, but honestly I just couldn’t make it work for me. I find stick products quite difficult to work with and whenever I used this I would apply too much and end up looking like Bridget Jones when she goes to Mark’s lawyer dinner with bright red cheeks. It is a really lovely shade, probably the most natural/neutral in the line, but whenever I would over apply it it would look a lot like a bad sunburn! Maybe it’s unlucky for me as I am quite pale and it is the exact shade I go when I’m burnt, but it made me quite nervous to use it because I would mess it up every time.

Milk Glow Oil in Glimmer x3 – Β£12 each (Β£36)

I bought three of these, one for me and two to give away. I preferred this glow oil to the blush because it is less pigmented and way easier to blend out. However, I’m really just not a massive fan of stick blush and I’ve barely used this.

Pixi Glow Mist – Β£16

I needed a new mist to work with my Hourglass Vanish Stick Foundation. If I don’t have a very dewy base then it’s too dry on my skin. I got a bit confused by this spray because I felt like there was some highlight/makeup in it and that put me off using it as a skincare product. There was actually no need for me to be put off it so I’ll have to pull this out and get using it again. Plus I need to use up my Hourglass stick.

Benefit Roller Lash x2 – Β£17.60/18.60 each (Β£36.20)

My favourite mascara ever! I think the formula can be a little dry on my eyes sometimes but it’s just the best mascara I’ve ever used. I’ve been using this mascara for about 5 years now and it’s just excellent. I know exactly what I’m getting with it and it lengthens and lifts my lashes beautifully.

Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner in Brown – Β£6.30

Used it once, never used it again. I’ve tried the black gel liner before and it’s pretty good but it dries up really quickly.

Beauty Pie Fresh Glow Breathable Setting Spay x3 – Β£5.28 each (Β£15.75)

When I got the email for this, I knew I wanted to try it. I bought two on the day it launched and fell in love with it as soon as I used it. The bottle is pretty small (50 ml) but it lasts a really long time. Unlike other sprays, you don’t have to fan it down to dry it. It is a really natural finish that makes makeup look much more life like.

LancΓ΄me L’Absolu Mademoiselle Shine Lipstick in 157 – Β£24.30

I fell in love with this one after I say Allanaramaa on Youtube using it. It was a lovely sheer red shade that looked perfect for summer! I wanted to have it for my summer holiday… and then I saw the price – Β£27 for a sheer lipstick! I nearly fainted. In the end I managed to get this with some sort of discount on it otherwise I wouldn’t have picked it up! It was a lovely colour but I probably didn’t get as much wear out of it as I should have done.

Kiko Lipstick – Β£6.99

This is a sheer red lipstick that I bought as a dupe for the more expensive Lancome one. It did work really well and is really quite comparable! But I still couldn’t resist the pull of the luxury lipstick.

Kiko highlighter – Β£5.99

I had just purchased the Milk bronzer and blush and regretted not picking up their highlighter to have the triology. When I found a stick highlighter in KIKO, I was really pleased! It was a really lovely light gold shade that looked a great dupe! However, when I applied it to my face, it stayed quite sticky and my hair would get stuck to my cheek throughout the day. It was REALLY annoying and I haven’t worn it since.

Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil x4 – Β£12 eachΒ 

This is a great oil cleanser that is really affordable. I tried this after I used the Kiehls Midnight Cleansing Oil and fell in love with cleansing oils but didn’t have the budget to consistently repurchase it. This is a great, more affordable alternative that removes makeup and SPF brilliantly.

Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Cream – Β£13

I used this eye cream pretty consistently for a few weeks and literally noticed no difference. I don’t know if I just expect too much from eye creams but they always let me down.

Body Shop Drops of Lightβ„’ Pure Resurfacing Liquid Peel – Β£18Β 

This ruined my skin lol. It is a gel consistency and when you apply it to the skin and rub it around, balls of gunk come up where the dead skin cells are exfoliated. It’s very satisfying to use and see the gunk but I think it was too strong on my face. Immediately after using, everything stung for days. I have not used this on my face since. I thought it could work well on my arms as I have Keratosis Pilaris and while it feels okay and a touch smoother straight after, it doesn’t last.

Body Shop Roots of Strengthβ„’ Firming Shaping Essence Lotion – Β£17Β 

This one never really got a fair shot. I got it at the same time as the resurfacing liquid peel and this made my skin sting when I used it because the peel over exfoliated my skin. I was too nervy to use this again.

Sol de Janeiro My Sol Stick x2 – Β£24 (Β£48)

I repurchased this twice since this summer and it’s been a dream. The scent is just beautiful – it’s different to the standard bum bum smell and is a mix of caramel and nuts. It’s really user friendly and perfect for on the go, it comes (obviously) in a stick and is great for reapplying as the day goes on. It can feel on top of the skin a bit if you don’t rub it in, but it’s easily remedied.

Sol de Janeiro Samba Foot Fetish – Β£25

I had heard really good things about this but I don’t think that this foot cream was the most moisturising. It does have that amazing bum bum cream scent, but I don’t think it is quite nourishing enough for my feet. In the end, this was pretty basic moisturiser with a nice smell, but not one I would repurchase for Β£25.

Kosas Tinted Face Oil – Β£30

I wrote a mini review of this on my Instagram a while back (here it is!) where I basically said this is okay but pretty overpriced for what it is. It’s light coverage but does manage to cover a fair amount, but it’s not the longest wearing foundation ever. I always need a longwearing base as I work in the city and commute each day, but if you’re not doing much in the day or only need to wear your makeup for a few hours then this will probably work very well for you. I managed to get this with a Β£10 off voucher on Cult Beauty because I refused to pay full price for it. In my mind, the more coverage a foundation offers, the more justified a high price is. However I just don’t think it’s lighter coverage foundations warrant such a high price tag.

Eyeko Eye Do Liquid Liner – Β£16

This was a repurchase and it is a very black liner that is really easy to apply. It is the darkest black liner that I own and I know I can rely on it. The felt tip is really nice and thick so it is much easier to try and get the shape that I want. It doesn’t dry out like some other felt tip liners do so it lasts a really long time!

Garden of Wisdom Vitamin C Serum 23% + Ferulic Acid – Β£10

I had heard great things about the GOW vitamin C and it’s so affordable I decided to give it a go. I used it consistently for a little while but didn’t notice much of a difference. When I received some of the I Dew Care products, I swapped over to their vitamin C instead. Now I have finished that one I need to change back over to this, if it’s still good.

BYBI Boosters – Β£12 each (Β£105)

I purchased the Strawberry, Buriti, CBD, Blueberry and Bakuchiol boosters from BYBI. My absolute fave is the Buriti booster which I like to add a few drops into my moisturiser in the evenings. I’ve repurchased the Bakuchiol and Buriti boosters the most times, Strawberry twice and have only bought CBD and Blueberry once. Strawberry is for drier skin, CBD is for acne prone skin, Buriti is for sensitive skin and Blueberry is to protect from blue light. I got a few little spots from the Strawberry and CBD one but just adjusted the amount I used (AKA didn’t douse my face in oil and added a few drops to my moisturiser instead).

The Ordinary Rose Hip Oil x5 – Β£9 each

I think I’ve repurchased this five times this year and I will continue to repurchase this going forwards. I adore this oil, it’s a firm favourite of mine and I can’t bear to be without it. It’s so affordable and gives me such super soft skin that I don’t think I’d ever try a more expensive rosehip oil.

Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence – Β£15.59

Another repurchase that I didn’t realise I would miss until it ran out. This essence (I suppose like most essences) preps the skin really nicely for all the products to follow and makes me skin feel really soft and smooth. When I ran out of my first bottle, I didn’t repurchase it because it’s a bit difficult to get hold of. In the UK this is quite expensive and I didn’t want to make a Yes Style order for a while. In the time I didn’t have this, I noticed that my skin wasn’t as soft and things just felt different. It took me quite a long time to pinpoint what was missing but eventually remembered that I had run out of this. I did a Yes Style order straight away and will continue to repurchase this!

Ole Hendriksen Phat Glow Facial – Β£42

When this product launched, EVERYONE raved about it. Ole Hendriksen is really overhyped to me having tried three of their other products and it won’t waste my money on their products again. I used it twice in one week and broke out immediately.Β  I got breakouts in places where I would never usually get them (on my cheeks) and caused a massive spot near my mouth that I couldn’t shift for over a month. It was really disappointing at the time because I bought this as a reward to myself for losing a stone. I think this was probably the product that messed my skin up and I’m still fighting now (in December) to sort my skin out when I used this in mid-September. I don’t know if this over-exfoliated my skin and compromised my skin barrier but it only did it in one area? I stuck to the recommended usage (twice a week) so I’m not impressed at all.

Dr Jart Ceramidin Cream – Β£26.35

If you have dry skin, this will be your best friend. This honestly is a moisturiser like no other. It is aimed at dry to very dry skin and it is probably the thickest moisturiser I’ve ever come across. I’ve repurchased this 3 times I think and I will continue to repurchase. I keep this on reserve for when my skin is going through the ringer in winter and it always sees me right.

Japanfusion Supreme Cream – Β£9.92

Another repurchase that I’ve enjoyed for a long time. This is my go-to am moisturiser – it’s lovely and light for the morning and I think it would suit both dry and oiler skin types. It’s a gel moisturiser that absorbs quickly and leaves no heaviness. If I had oily skin, I would use this at night instead of in the morning.

Beauty Pie Japanfusion Deep-treatment Serum – Β£8.17

This was a repurchase of a serum I forgot about, not because I didn’t like it but because whenever my allowance updates on Beauty Pie, I’m always looking to pick up their moisturisers that are total HG for me. This is a great serum that is really moisturising and hydrating and my skin now misses it. It’s quite thick and is a bit gel like which I think makes it pack more of a punch.

Beauty Pie Superactive Capsules Pure 3% Resveratrol Microsponge + Exotic Fruit Oils – Β£10.10

I was really curious about the capsules that BP offer and so I picked these up. It took ages for me to try them out and honestly I’ve only used one once. They felt very thick and silicone-like and that really put me off. I will eventually use these again, but I think I would add a squirt of hyaluronic acid in there so that it spreads much easier across the skin. I think this is also probably a lesson in only buying skincare that you need, rather than aimlessly buying ‘cool’ looking stuff with no idea what it does or why I need it.

Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara – Β£13.60

I bought this over and over again a few years back but was frustrated with the size of it and how quickly it would run out. I decided to repurchase it as I was getting sick of my lower lash mascara transferring under my eyes and making me look daft. Of course it didn’t disappoint but has run out really quickly. For Β£17 (yes, Β£17) I wish they would make it bigger because it’s exorbitant for the amount of product you actually get and it does give really good results. The brush is really small so it coats each lash and there is minimal transfer. I’ll begrudgingly repurchase this again because it is so good.

Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips 2 in JK Magic, Glowing Jen and Dancefloor Princess – Β£23 each (Β£69)

When the Hot Lips 2 collection came out in the summer, I fell in love with them. I always think that it is quite hard to judge shades online, so when I tried them in store, I fell for all three shades. Without a doubt the most beautiful shade is JK Magic – it is the ULTIMATE nude and by far my most used shade. Dancefloor Princess is very similar to JK Magic but with a pink undertone rather than a nude/brown while Glowing Jen is considerably darker and is described on the website as ‘a ‘tawny rose’ shade (whatever that means) and is just a darker pinky nude. I haven’t really worn Glowing Jen or Dancefloor Princess that much (GJ only once, DP maybe twice?) so I’ll have to work on that in the new year.

Kiehls Midnight Cleansing Oil – Β£25.72

I got the smaller size of this last year and it was really nice. I love the Midnight Recovery Oil so I had a pretty good idea that I’d like this too. I bought this as a treat to myself just before my birthday as something a little more luxurious. It smells like Lavender and does contain lavender essential oils, so if that’s not your thing, you might not like this too much. However, it works really well to remove stubborn makeup, leaves the skin feeling really soft and smells amazing.

Charlotte Tilbury Rock n Kohl Eye Cheat – Β£15.28

This was another repurchase for me – my other one lasted months and months. I wanted a good nude eyeliner for my waterline to open my eyes a bit more and give a brighter look. I’ve been doing this for years and find that nude looks so much more subtle than white, which can look really quite stark and obvious. My eye looks are never complete until I line my waterline with a nude. This eyeliner is expensive for what it is, but it lasts absolutely ages!

Belif The True Cream Moisturising Bomb – Β£29.82 (€34.94)

I have been lusting after Belif products for aaaaages but they’re next to impossible to get a hold of here in the UK. When I went to Sephora in Spain, I knew I had to pick it up. This is a really nice moisturiser – it probably suits my AM routine a bit more as it’s probably not quite thick enough for nighttime. It is really moisturising but has seemingly been breaking my out. I have a troublesome patch around my mouth which breaks out really easily at the moment. When I first tried this out, there were no issues around that area so I know it’s my skin rather than the product.

Belif Moisturising Eye Bomb – Β£33.23 (€38.95)

Like the Moisturising Bomb, I had my eye on this one for a long time. I had heard great things about it and it’s a great consistency. It’s pretty moisturising under the eye but if I’m being super picky, I would probably want it a bit more. Because it is lightish (it’s not heavy at all), I’d use this in day time. I need to test it some more – I keep forgetting to use it!

YTTP Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask – Β£30.67 (€35.95)

Youth to the People is really hard to get a hold of in the UK so I went a bit wild when I went to Sephora in Spain. I wanted to try the Superberry Dream Mask but have only tried it once so far on the night I got home from the airport super late and couldn’t be bothered with my entire routine. My skin felt good the following morning, but I haven’t really had a chance to give it a proper go because my skin has been a bit troublesome lately.

YTTP Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream – Β£40.91 (€47.95)

This moisturiser is esssspensive. Despite it being called the ‘Deep Moisture Cream’, I don’t find it to be the thickest consistency and was surprised by how thin it was. Regardless I bought it because I wanted to try it out. I haven’t used it on my face yet because of my troublesome chin, so I’m still waiting to use this! I don’t think I’d repurchase this because a) it’s hard to get a hold of in the UK but b) I have other great moisturisers for far less money.

YTTP Superfood Cleanser – Β£8.49 (€9.95)

This cleanser had me super curious so I bought a mini of it. It is an excellent texture on the skin – it’s quite a thick gel that lathers a little bit and leaves the skin feeling VERY soft. Hoooowever… this broke me out 😦 I think my skin is just in a really rubbish place at the moment and I need to address the underlying problem before I can keep using

Peace Out Spots – Β£16.16 (€18.95)

I’ve been interested in trying out pimple patches for a long time but was unfortunate enough not to get any spots???? Well luckily my luck has changed and I finally had the chance to use them. I can’t say I had the awesome outcome that others have had where loads of gunk comes up on the patch, but it did go down over night after I used it. This has happened a few times but I’ve never noticed that these had incredible results.

Marc Jacobs Beauty See-quins Glam Glitter Eyeshadow in Pop Rox – Β£21.80 (€25.55)

I had been looking for a glitter eyeshadow for the longest time in a shade that actually appealed to me. Pop Rox is a lovely light pink/purple shade and doesn’t have too much fall out. It does tend to get less pigmented on the eye the longer you wear it but it still looks very pretty.

Marc Jacobs Beauty O!mega Glaze All-Over Foil Luminizer in Showstopper – Β£38.86 (€45.55)

I got totally dragged in here. I tried this shade over the top of the highlighter I had on and it had the most beautiful pink shift to it. I didn’t buy it on the spot, but I literally couldn’t take my eyes off my cheek bones all day and had to go back for it. Since buying it and using it on holiday, I haven’t used it a great deal. I really need to get more use out of it, but it’s so massive (It’s the same size as the O!mega bronzer), she isn’t going anywhere fast.

Sephora Vivid Earth palette – Β£11.90 (€13.95)

This is a copper/gold/khaki eyeshadow palette and it was total crap. The shadows were really chalky and sometimes they would blend out too easily and other times they would not blend at all. I destroyed it instead.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA – Β£6.93

This used to be a holy grail of mine and it really helped to get rid of acne scars on my cheeks. I stopped using it for a few years when I felt my scars had gone and decided to repurchase it. It isn’t agreeing with certain areas at the moment, so I’m only applying it on my cheeks where I’m trying to reduce some pigmentation.

Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% AHA (50ml) – Β£24.75

I purchased this because I wanted to try more Paula’s Choice and I wanted to try some different AHA treatments. I am a physical exfoliant girl but most other people seem to prefer chemical exfoliation and I want to see what all the fuss is about. Like I’ve said before, my skin is a bit troublesome right now and I think this poked the bear. I’ve stopped using it for now but I’ll revisit this.

Paula’s Choice Resist Anti-Aging Eye Gel – Β£24

This is a really snazzy eye cream. I use this in the morning before makeup and it’s a lovely thin gel with a metal tip applicator. Not only is it cooling because it’s a gel, but the metal applicator really freshens up the under eye. I can’t say that I’ve noticed much of a difference from using it, but I haven’t been using it for long.

Fresh Beauty Sugar Face Polish – Β£43.20

I got a deluxe mini of this last year and I knew very quickly that I wanted a full size of it… until I saw the price. I tried to find a less expensive dupe but it just didn’t measure up. I managed to get it on sale at John Lewis for 20% off and had to make the most of it. Despite being a physical exfoliant, this is very gentle. The exfoliation beads melt under the fingertips and into the skin and leaves the skin silky smooth afterwards. There is honestly no comparison to the Klairs polish I thought could dupe it with. It’s just amazing.

Colourpop Single Shadows – Β£3.43 each ($4.50) (Β£20.58)

The single shadows from Colourpop are banging. They have excellent pigment, not loads of fall out and blend really easily. I got mainly nude shades (shock) and would definitely buy single shadows from Colourpop again.

Colourpop Ultra Glossy Lip – Β£5.34 each ($7) (Β£10.68)

I picked up two new lip glosses and have well and truly fallen for one shade in particular. Me V World is the most amazing orange red shade that is PERFECT for autumn. It lasts really well on it’s own and works really well over lipstick to make the look last even longer. Obviously with it being a gloss it does come off when you eat and drink, but it keeps the colour very well and it’s more the shine that goes.

Sol Body Shimmering Dry Oil in Warm Gold – Β£7.63 ($10)

I got a mini of the dry oil and it looks AMAZING. I’ve tried it on my hand and it is an excellent formula. Despite being an oil, it doesn’t stay wet or sticky at all (like I’ve seen from other formulas). It leaves a shimmer on the skin that would look amazing in the summer time, so I’m going to reserve this for warmer weather when I get my legs out.

Sjo Skin Happy Honey Mask – Β£33.60

This one was a repurchase. I absolutely adore this mask! This is the only mask that I ever notice a real difference with whenever I use it. Admittedly I do keep it on for a few hours each time, but my skin feels instantly softer after I take it off and any issues or blemishes I have are massively reduced the following day.

Colourpop Just My Luck Palette – Β£6.41 ($8.40)

I’m not really sure what got into me here. This palette was launched on St Patrick’s Day and is an all green palette. I have been wanting to try more khaki shades, which this palette doesn’t have a lot of (lol). I have green eyes, so I’m interested to try these shades out and see what I can create. Green obviously isn’t the most wearable shade for everyday (and would probably get some strange looks at my day job)

Colourpop Made in the Shade bundle – Β£11.76 ($15.40)

This was part of the recent coconut collection – the bundle contained the two lip crayons and the Go Coconuts palette. The lip crayons are both really lovely shades and feel great! They may suit people with lighter skin tones better but they do have pretty decent pigmentation that could work as quite light nudes on darker skin tones. The palette is a great cool nudes palette if you don’t have anything similar. The white shimmer shade is very chunky with quite a bit of fall out and no real colour pay off. I’d say if you already own nude palettes or singles, then you definitely have these shades. They come in a plastic palette (boo) that seems to be magnetic. Weirdly 5 of the shades completely fell out of my palette despite not being knocked or forced out. Overall, it’s a pretty good little palette for anyone who is new to eyeshadow.

Colourpop Aquarius Ultra Glossy Lip – Β£4.27 ($5.60)

This was a repurchase because it’s my go-to lipgloss. It’s a lovely pink nude shade that I often put over my nude lipsticks to just give more of a sheen. It does have quite a lot of pigment to the gloss, but it never overpowers the lipstick I put it over.

Colourpop No Filter Concealer –Β  Β£3.47 ($4.55)

RawBeautyKristi loves this concealer so I wanted to see what all the fuss is about! For $4.55 (on sale), it’s a total bargain! The shade range really impressed me – it had a massive range of shades and undertones and it went up really slowly with no big gaps. I went for Fair 08 and was amazed that for once I wasn’t the palest shade! Even this is quite light on me, which never happens! I think this has the shade range to rival a high end brand and seemingly a really good formula too. I need to test this one out a little more, but so far it’s two thumbs up from me. The only downside is how long it takes to get to the UK from America.

Colourpop Blush Stix –Β  Β£4.27 ($5.60)

I picked up this blush stick in More is More as a dupe for the Fenty Match Stix in Trippin’. Both are pink shades with a coral shift, though the Colourpop one is a much creamier formula. Because it is creamier, it means it’s much easier to get a lot of pigment, so use this sparingly.

Colourpop Bronzer – Β£3.74 ($4.90)

Now that I’ve reached pan on my Fenty bronzer, I wanted to find a newer, cheaper dupe. Colourpop have a really good shade range when it comes to bronzers so I picked one up. It is very pigmented formula but there is a LOT of kickback in the pan. Normally I’m not that bothered by fall out but there was SO MUCH OF IT. It managed to get all over a grey jumper of mine somehow, which I wasn’t too impressed about! You’ll have to use aΒ much lighter hand with this than you would with the Fenty one or you’ll end up with a band of brown across your face.

Fourth Ray Mellow Milk Mist – Β£4.27 ($5.60)Β 

I see a lot of people using and loving mists and I’ve never really got the hype? A lot of mists can be quite pricey and I’m just not prepared to spend a fortune on something I’m just going to spray on my skin and use up quickly. I haven’t used this yet, but it looks pretty good and it’s very affordable. I found it very strange though that the full ingredients list was no where to be found on their packaging (the bottle or the box). They have their ‘key’ ingredients on the box, but I’m interested to know how high they are on the INCI list.

Pat McGrath LuxeTrance Lipstick x2 – Β£10 each (Β£20)

These lipsticks are usually Β£35 EACH. On Cyber Monday these went down to Β£10 each and every gal and her nana were picking these up. I had never swatched these before and had never even tried Pat McGrath before (because of the price). I used Temptalia to see reliable swatches and picked Donatella and Unnatural Natural. These both looked quite different when I got them in person but I’m going to force myself to use them to get the most out of them.

~

TOTAL – Β£1,945.48 (YIKES!)

Looking back at my purchases from this year is pretty terrifying but so productive. I tried out so many hyped brands and products and ultimately so many of my purchases weren’t worth it. There are brands that I now would not revisit because they’re products are pretty bang average. I’m surprised I spent as much as I did to be honest but I know for sure that I won’t spend that much this year coming. It is quite eye opening to review my purchases like this but it’s a really great learning exercise.

Did you try any of these products? What did you think?

Let me know!

Xo

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The CBD Salve that’s a total lifesaver

I’ve seen many people turning to CBD to help manage chronic pain and a whole host of other illnesses but I never really thought that it would have that much of an impact… until I started using it.

I discovered came across Sweet Mary Jane at the Indie Beauty Expo this year and got chatting to the brand owner, Dee. She was a Sports TV producer on a whole host of massive US TV networks and would often get chatting to people who wanted something for their aches and pains. From there, Dee and her ex-husband created a line of CBD products that were both effective and attractively packaged.

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In case you’re not familiar with CBD, it is derived from the cannabis plant and actually interacts with our own endocannabinoid system. All humans and animals have one but l not too much is known about it as it was only discovered in the 90s. What we do know is that we have these receptors all throughout our body, which CBD is so effective when dealing with a whole host of issues, such as epilepsy, arthritis, anxiety, migraines and so much more. CBD is non-psychoactive which means that you will not get high from using it. Be careful not to confuse it with THC (the psychoactive compound) – CBD will not get you high.Β 

If you know me in real life, you’ll know that something is always going wrong – whether it’s my knees, my legs or my back. I first used this cream on my knee one morning and the pain dissipated nearly instantly. That’s when I had the idea to apply it on my back. I’ve been suffering with really bad back pain for quite a few months now. I’ve had to stop exercising and no matter how I sit or lay I’m in pain. I’ve obviously heard about CBD and the effects it can have medically but had always wondered whether it did in fact live up to the high praise. It does.

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Their CBD Soothing Salve has been life changing. For me, this works as a topical pain killer and I apply it just before bed. A little bit goes a really long way – it spreads well across the back without any pulling the skin and sinks in very quickly. I personally detest body moisturisers that linger on the skin and take ages to absorb and I have no issues with this. It has a cooling sensation, most probably from the inclusion of menthol, which has been proven to reduce back pain and muscle strains. Depending how much you apply, it is quite a strong sensation in that it’s noticeable and can make you feel a little chilly, but isn’t uncomfortable or painful in the slightest. This is the ultimate reset for my back and gets it back into a good place for the following day. Sometimes my back pain can spread through into my hips and as soon as I apply this to the affected area, the pain subsides. I’ve never used anything like this before and I haven’t been able to stop raving to my friends and family about it. This is an absolute MUST for me now.

On top of the pain relief, my quality of sleep has improved massively. I drink a lot of green tea which contains quite a lot of caffeine and had been struggling to fall asleep before I tried this salve. Now I fall asleep with no problem and sleep through the night, something which I never used to do. With my back pain, I had also been struggling to sleep as no matter the position, I could feel a pull in my back. I sleep with no pain or pulls now.

All of Sweet Mary Jane’s products are made in Oklahoma in small batches.Β This balm comes in at $30, but honestly with the results I’ve had, I would pay double for it. It is absolutely invaluable to me. If you’re looking for something to ease any sort of ailment, I would definitely suggest giving CBD a go.

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*This product was gifted by the brand and is SO unbelievably appreciated. It has honestly changed my life.

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Luxury Hyaluronic Acid – Sylaine Paris Hyaluronic Acid Review

Sylaine Paris are a French skincare brands that produce capsule skincare products. They currently have two products – Hyaluronic Acid and a Starry Night Serum that brightens the complexion. They were kind enough to gift me their hyaluronic acid to test out and after a long time testing, here are my thoughts!

Let’s start with the packaging – it’s beautiful. You can definitely tell that this is a luxury product by the beautiful box that it comes in. Inside the box are 30 capsules filled with hyaluronic acid. I found that each capsule contains far more than 1 day’s supply, so the 30 capsules lasted much longer than one month (bonus!). The capsule itself has very clever packaging! You have to screw the top off to squeeze out the product, but if you then turn the top upside down, it has a little stopper that you can then reseal the capsule with. I personally have never seen this on a capsule before, so I was really impressed and pleasantly surprised!

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The formula is just lovely – it isn’t sticky or tacky at all (like some other HAs – *cough* The Ordinary) and it leaves the skin feeling very smooth and plump. Other hyaluronic acids I’ve tried haven’t offered much in the form of hydration, but have just left my skin feeling sticky and thirsty. This delivered a heavy dose of hydration and didn’t have me rushing to get my moisturiser on. I’d definitely say that this is the nicest Hyaluronic Acid I’ve ever tried. But then again, for Β£75 it should be. That is perhaps the only downside to this product, as the price is probably a bit too high to encourage people to take a step up to a more luxurious feeling HA.

If HA is your THING, then I think you would really enjoy this. To be honest, I think you would really enjoy this if HA wasn’t your thing. However, what I mean is, if HA is a must-have, can’t-be-without ingredient for you and you want to invest in a luxury one, then this is your girl.

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A slight concern for me is the plastic packaging. Is it recyclable? Is it eco-friendly? Is it going straight to landfill? If these little capsules are made of plastic and are not recyclable, this is something that the company needs to change ASAP. With climate change being as big and as prominent a problem as it is, beauty aficionados everywhere are looking to cut down their beauty-related waste. While having daily doses of HA is convenient to travel with, it isn’t so convenient for the planet. I can’t say for fact whether this isn’t recyclable as I can’t find any info about it on their website or social media, but I find it quite odd that the brand hasn’t posted anything about the sustainability of their products.

Overall, this is a fantastic Hyaluronic Acid – by far the best I’ve tried. I personally would not repurchase this with my own money because the price tag is that bit too steep for my current situation, but I have really enjoyed using the product.

*Items gifted by Sylaine Paris

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