Beauty Pie – Can you really get high end products for low end prices?

I saw the brand Beauty Pie about a year ago and have been dying to try their products out ever since. They offer something differentย – they offer high end, luxury skincare and makeup for a fraction of the price. However, this begs the question, can you really get high end quality for high street prices?

If you’re unfamiliar with the brand Beauty Pie, they are a brand that sell luxury makeup and skincare at factory prices. They source their products from around 20 of the world’s leading labs that make the best formulas for make up and skincare. They currently source from factories in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Korea, Japan and the US. Each product has 2 prices – the regular price and the members/factory price. The members price cuts out the cost of retailerย mark ups, ‘mumbo jumbo’, middle men and other retailers (all stated by Beauty Pie on their site). They are extremely transparent about how they calculate the costs for their members prices, so if you’re interested just check out their FAQs.ย They currently only ship to the UK and the US, so keep an eye out!

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You have to buy a membership to get access to the lower prices, which costs ยฃ10. That gives you an ‘allowance’ of ยฃ100. Each month, you are allotted this allowance, and it is based on the original price of the product. This is kind of annoying because it limits you to maybe 2-4 products (depending on what you buy). When you first purchase your membership, they give you an extra ยฃ50 to spend, which is actually brill. The products I had my eye on were around ยฃ200 (original price) so I upgraded my membership to allow for ยฃ150 a month. But as I already had purchased the basic membership, my allowance for this month was ยฃ300. In order to upgrade, you have to buy the basic membership first and THEN purchase the add-on (which, again, is a little annoying)

The products I bought were:

  • Jeju Overnight Moisture Superinfusion – ยฃ7.76
  • Japanfusionโ„ข Hydra Prep Lotionย (Step 1) – ยฃ5.82
  • Japanfusionโ„ข Deep-treatment Serum (Step 2) – ยฃ7.88
  • Japanfusionโ„ข Supreme Cream (Step 3) – ยฃ10.08
  • Wondergloss Lip Oil – ยฃ3.80

The prices above are written as the members/factory price, NOT as the regular price. Below I will include the regular price in brackets.

Jeju Overnight Moisture Superinfusion – (ยฃ70) ยฃ7.76

This is formulated with volcanic basaltic microsand to detoxify and balance oils; tomato plant stem cells for antioxidant protection; F-cell vita to hydrate skin and flower stem cell extract to help protect the skin barrier and reduce inflammation. This product was made in Korea. This is a lovely, thick moisturiser. It is a little like a balm in that you have to apply some pressure in order to scoop the product out. It is quite a thick moisturiser, but does not sit on top of the skin for a long time. I think this one actually sinks in quicker than the Japanfusion Supreme Cream. I usually apply this as the final step in my skincare routine at night as it’s the most dense product I use. This definitely feels like a luxury product to me – the packaging is really minimalist and the texture is one that you simply cannot find usually at a lower price (get ready for me to say this a lot).

Japanfusionโ„ข Hydra Prep Lotionย (Step 1) – (ยฃ25) ยฃ5.82

All of the Japanfusion products I purchased are made in Japan. I decided to get all of the moisturising/hydrating products in the Japanfusion range. There was a cleanser too, but I’m drowning in cleansers at the moment so I gave that one a miss. This product is formulated with a Nmfission moisture-lock complex to deliver moisture and firmness while re-energising the complexion and reducing lines; Jabara Extract which is an antioxidant ingredient from the Japanese Citrus fruit to reduce the appearance of pigmentation and fight free radicals and Delamyth DNA+ which soothes the skin and counteracts UV-related damage. This Hydra Prep Lotion is a little bit like a toner in that you apply it with a cotton wool pad after cleansing . This has a very light smell that’s really nice and feels lovely after cleansing. It doesn’t leave your skin feel tight at all. This lotion instantly firms, lifts, tones and moisturises; reduces the appearance of pigmented spots and contains ingredients soothe the skin and counteract free radical damage. I already use a few products to reduce pigmentation so it’s difficult to attribute any reduction solely to this. I do enjoy using it – but this is probably the most ‘normal’ product of the 5 that I bought. It is essentially a hydrating water that, while it is nice to use, does not ooze luxury to me. However, you are unlikely to find a product that performs to a similar degree for the price.

Japanfusionโ„ข Deep-treatment Serum (Step 2) – (ยฃ75) ยฃ7.88

This serum is so lovely to use. It is a little bit runnier than my Kiehl’s Hydro-Plumping one butย a little bit goes a really long way. It feels lovely and light on the skin, and sinks in super fast. It leaves my face feeling beautifullyย silky and smooth!ย All of the products inย the Japanfusion range contain the same key ingredients (Nmfission moisture-lock complex; Jabara Extract and Delamyth DNA+) so they all offer the same benefits. I would say that this performs very similarly to my Kiehl’s one (which cost ยฃ41). The original price of this compared to the member price is absolutely crazy(!) – BUT I can completely understand why it would cost this much money. Would I have bought this product if it were ยฃ75? Absolutely not. But at the Beauty Pie price? 100%. They are making beauty more accessible to the average person who wants to enjoy great makeup and skincare without paying the hefty price. It demonstrates thatย this level of quality can be achieved with a small price tag… but also makes you question whether you are paying for the ingredients/product or just the name plastered on to the side of the packaging.

Japanfusionโ„ข Supreme Cream (Step 3) –ย  (ยฃ100) ยฃ10.08

This cream is very light and goopy (in a good way). My first impression before using it was that it would be very thin, sink in very quickly but not leave my skin feeling quenched. This could not have been further from the reality! While it is a thinner, more gel like moisturiser, it applies really nicely on the face and you don’t need much at all. It’s thinner than the Jeju moisturiser, and when you scoop it up on your finger, it is quite goopy but doesn’t drip or run all over the place. It takes quite a while to fully sink into the skin and leaves you feeling really moisturised for hours after. This is probably my favourite product I’ve tried out of all of them. It is unlike any moisturiser that I have tried before and it is an absolute pleasure to apply. It really combines skincare with self care, as I really feel like I’m doing something good for myself when I use this.

Wondergloss Lip Oil – (ยฃ22) ยฃ3.80

I have never used a lip oil before but this is really lovely to use. It has a very slight colour to it and is a very natural coverage. It’s almost like a very thin gloss that gives a really nice glaze on the lip and isn’t sticky at all. It isย great on top of lipstick as it doesn’t taint the colour at all. On days where I wearย less make up, this would be great to just add a hint of colour and shine to the lips. Honestly, I had hoped for a little more colour, probably as I was expecting something a little bit more like a typical lip gloss. However I wasn’t disappointed with how this product performed. If I had paid the regular price for it of ยฃ22 then I would have been really unimpressed. But for ยฃ3.80, I have no complaints!

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Texture of Jeju and Japanfusion moisturisers

 

 

I am very lucky in that my skin is now very stable, clear and well moisturised, so when I use new products I don’t often notice any negative effects. If I notice anything, it’s that my skin is even softer than usual. These productsย certainly suit my skin type, which is normal to dry, but I’m unsure how much use someone with oilier skin would get out of them.ย That being said,ย these products make me feel excited to use them. They’re so easy to integrate into your skincare routine as they definitely play well with others. I’ve had no pilling or negative results from using these in combination with my other serums and night time oils. You really get a sense that these are luxury products – not because we are told the so-called ‘regular’ price (which we are unable to confirm), but because they have a formula that exceeds all expectation. I’ve heard rumours that you can work out which luxury brands these have come from by Googling the ingredients used, but after trying it I can’t say that I’ve found the high end originals. Honestly, I’m perfectly happy not knowing. I’ve found some great products that I would recommend and a website that I think can be trusted to deliver real quality goods.

Let’s talk a little about the ยฃยฃยฃ. When I was buying these products, it told me that I had saved ยฃ225 by becoming a member and purchasing them at the lower, factory price, which is absolutely RIDICULOUS. Honestly, I was a little suspicious when I first signed up for the membership as the constraints around how much you can spend a month seemed a bit odd to me (it’s obvious that they do it so you keep coming back, if you could get it all at once, they would potentially would only have one time customers). However, after speaking to their really helpful customer service team, I’m much more at ease. Their cancellation page on the website is a little confusing to get info from, but you are able to cancel your membership after 3 months without any charges. This is probably what I’ll end up doing, as I don’t have enough disposable income to be paying subscription to a service that I can’t afford to buy from every month.

In answer to my initial question of can you really get high end quality for high street prices – the answer is a definite YES!

Have you tried out Beauty Pie? What would you want to try out? Let me know!

Xo

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Glossier review

I have wanted to try Glossier since it came to the UK last year but never really got around to trying it. Being on Instagram and being part of the beauty community, you see Glossier absolutely EVERYWHERE. I knew I had to try it ASAP. I’ve had the products for about a month now, and these are my thoughts…

Products I bought:

  • Milky Jelly Cleanser
  • The Balmdotcom in Cherry
  • Cloudpaint in Dusk
  • Lidstar in Cub and Moon

I was literally so excited when my delivery FINALLY arrived! I felt as though it took such a long time to arrive, but I think that’s because I was so looking forward to it. Everything is so Instagramable – The stuff comes in a box that’s pink inside. You get stickers, a little bottle of perfume, a postcard and a bubble wrap bag.

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Milky Jelly Cleanser – ยฃ15
This has been the biggest hit of the lot for me. I had seen so many people say that this was completely amazing and they weren’t wrong. This cleanser is absolutely beautiful. I’ve been using this as my second cleanser after a cleansing balm and it is the perfect product to remove the remnants of my eye make up. I find that one pump is enough to use on my whole face. If I’m using this as a first cleanse, I’d probably use 1 and a half pumps. There is a slight smell to this, but I don’t think that it is fragranced – it just smells authentic. It leaves the skin feeling beautifully soft and very clean without feeling tight.ย It is extremely gentle on the skin and is safe to use on the eyes, you can even open your eyes with it on the lashes without any irritation. I feel as though my skin has become softer and smoother since I started using this (and I thought it was pretty good before hand!) I think this is a really reasonable price for a top performing product. All of the cleansing balms I have are much more expensive for far less product.ย I will definitely be repurchasing this when I run out (or well before I run out!)

The Balm Dotcom – ยฃ10
This is a really nice lip balm. Would I usually spend ยฃ10 on a lip balm? No. I’m very happy with my Palmers Lip Balm (ยฃ1.50) but I wanted to try it out cause I liked the idea of a natural lip tint that I could wear with a minimal make up look, The first thing I noticed when trying this was how much air came out of the tube before any product came out. I felt as though the tube was pretty deflated by the time anything came out, and when I’m paying ยฃ10 for a lip balm, I do expect it to be completely full. I got the colour Cherry which is a pinkish-red shade. It stays on the lips for a very long time and gives them a very natural flush. You don’t need very much to cover your lips, which is a major plus. It can leave a little bit of a line under your bottom lip if you apply too much where there is a bit of a build up of product. I’d really like to try the roseย shade of this which is a nice neutral pink. I usually find that most lip balms make my lips crave more moisture once they wear off, but this one lasts a really long time and leaves your lips feeling really nice afterwards.

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Cloudpaint – ยฃ15

Everyone online seems to have this and absolutely loves it. I’ve never really used a liquid blush before and I was quite weary of having a thick pink stripe on my cheek. I got the shade ‘dusk’ because it looked most like my usual blush shade. Like the balm dotcom, I had to squeeze the tube a lot before anything came out. As with the lip balm, I was pretty unimpressed with that. In terms of the actual product, you need very little of it for some serious pigment. I started using it with my fingers but found that it was a little hard and time consuming to blend in. So instead now I use a flat topped foundation brush to apply it and I find that it blends much easier and much more evenly. It is a little intimidating putting so much pigment on your cheek to begin with, but it blends out so nicely and just gives your cheeks a natural flush that is still buildable.

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Lidstar duo – ยฃ25

Like everyone else, I had seen the hype around these from the Oscars and was super interested in trying them. I have to say, I had a little trouble getting these to work for me. When I first tried them, I tried them at night over the eyeshadow I had worn all day and had no problem applying it.ย However, when I tried to apply it on fresh make up, it completely removed it. I tried it over freshly applied foundation/concealerย and over a nude eyeshadow and both times the product was completely gone underneath and my redder eyelids were exposed. More recently I’ve been wearing it as theย only thing on my lid when I’ve been wearing no face makeup andย by mixing the two it creates a nice shimmery lid that is reallyย subtle. I think I initially expected theseย to beย dupes of the Stilaย liquid eyeshadows and was a bit surprised when they didn’t perform that way.

What I really love about Glossier is that it is about enhancing your natural beauty, not about covering your beauty up. I love full coverage make up, but I feel inspired to use these lighter products for a more minimal make up look. I was pretty unlucky in that I placed my order the week before Lash Slick was launched, and I would have loved to try that. I think overall these Glossier products perform really well and really make me feel confident about how I look when I use them.

Have you used any Glossier products? What are your thoughts?

Leave me a comment on here or Instagram and let me know!

Xo

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Isle of Paradise Light Self-Tanning Drops – Is it pale girl approved?

I saw the Isle of Paradise Self-Tanning Drops and wanted to give them a go. I liked the sound of a non-streak tan/glow so that I can wear no foundation in the summer. Let me just say – I am very pale. I have skin that burns very easily so I don’t spend much time in the sun or sunbathe at all. I’ve pretty much given up on tanned skin, and that’s fine with me. HOWEVER, these got me wondering what life on the tanned side would be like…

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I was quite weary using these for the first time because I didnโ€™t want to end up looking like an Oompa Loompa. Iโ€™m after a natural glow. To use these, you are supposed to mix these in with a moisturiser and apply from there. They recommend using between 1-12 drops, mixing it in with your favourite moisturiser and applying it from there.

I used my usual Nivea Soft moisturiser, added two drops in and mixed it together. These drops are completely clear but the scent is a strong sweet smell that I canโ€™t quite place. However, once you rub it into the skin the smell subsides. I didn’t want to start by going in too heavy, so went on the side of caution. I woke up the next day with no difference in the colour of my skin, which was a little disappointing.

The following night I tried again, more determined to notice a difference this time. I added three drops and mixed it in. I had enough moisturiser on my hands to apply two layers and had some left over, which I just rubbed into my hands.ย I mention this only because after a few hours, a different scent starts to appear… the typical fake tan smell. I was asleep and I was aware of this smell and couldnโ€™t work out what it was or where it was coming from. In the morning I saw my hands and it was apparent what it was. There is a distinct line on my hand that looks as though Iโ€™ve been playing in sand and itโ€™s left that dark residue. My face is definitely darker too! The brand claims that all of their products are colour correcting, and I would agree with this. You could still see some of the red pigmentation I have on my cheeks, but my skin was definitely less red than it usually is and was more even in tone. The colour of my skin was probably a touch darker than what would be a natural tan for my skin tone, and I felt like my skin looked a little dirty. I was a bit embarrassed and thought my parents would mention the odd colour of my face (they didnโ€™t). So maybe my face wasnโ€™t actually as dark as I thought it was and Iโ€™m just not used to being fake tanned. After the first day, I didn’t notice that my face was as dark (either it faded or I just got used to it).

I will say that the jump from 2 to 3 drops in terms of colour was quite a big one. I have tried 2 drops on my face 3 times now and I don’t feel like there is much difference in my skin tone, whereas 3 drops is a serious tan for me. I felt like it was maybe a little too dark, but I am not someone who usually fake tans at all, or even tans naturally. Maybe it was very dark because I essentially put on two layers of 3 drops because I had so much moisturiser left, so I’ll have to be brave and try 3 drops again.

What I will say, is that the tan coverage certainly was even. The drops do claim to be streakless, and I was a bit sceptical at first as all fake tan tends to be streaky. It was interesting that when the tan faded on my face, there were no streaks or patchiness like you would get with a regular fake tan. I was a bit nervous that I would have to scrub my face to get rid of the colour, so I was really pleased when it seemed to just fade back to normal! I was a little disappointed that the usual fake tan smell appeared during the night. It was clearly quite strong as it woke me up wondering where it was coming from (little did I realise it was my own face). I thought that the strong fruity smell meant that there would be no fake tan smell and was really pleased, so that was a little disappointing.

I am enjoying trying these drops out. I’m quite interested to see their effect on the body too – as they do claim to be for the face AND body. Youโ€™d probably have to use quite a lot of product to add to the moisturiser to get any sort of pigment, so maybe it would be better to go for the mousse instead? *UPDATE* You don’t need to use much at all! I used two drops to a moisturiser and applied it to my arm, and it was a great shade for my skin!

The price of the drops was ยฃ19.95, which I think is a little steep for the size of the bottle. I’ve had some really nice results so far and have started using this as a way to avoid wearing foundation in the warmer weather. Iโ€™m definitely going to continue using these drops! My goal was to have a natural glow on my face so that I donโ€™t have to wear foundation in the summer and I can safely say that I can achieve it with these drops.

Have you tried these drops or any other self tanning drops? Let me know what you thought on here or instagram!

Xo

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Lookfantastic April beauty box review

So at the end of April, I thought I would take the plunge and sign up to a beauty box subscription service. I had a look around and likes the look of the Lookfantastic one as it had a few brands that I was eager to try out. This is what this month’s box contained:

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Clockwise:

Nip + Fab – Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads
PรœR – Fully Charged Mascara
GLAMGLOW – Supermud Clearing Treatment
Nuxe – Crรฉme Fraรฎche de Beautรฉ
Emma Hardie – Moringa Cleansing Balm
Dr Botanicals – Vegan Bergamont & Poppy Seed Soap

I have only tried two of these brands before – Nuxe’s Rรชve de Miel lip balm and the GLAMGLOW Thirstymud Hydrating Mask – so I was really excited to try out the rest.

Emma Hardie – Moringa Cleansing Balm

First impressions
I used this to remove my eye make up after a long day at work. It has quite a strong smell, but nothing overbearing. When I first started to apply it, it felt very waxy but it quickly melted away into a really smooth balm. I was a little sceptical that it would remove all my eye make up, as even my trusty Take the Day Off Balm leaves some parts behind. When I got out of the shower, I was actually really impressed to see that it was completely gone!

Final impression
I really like this. This cleansing balm feels smoother than my Clinique Take the Day Off Balm, and I would definitely consider buying this once I have finished off my other cleansing balms. It removes my make up really well, even stubborn eye make up that the Clinique one often leaves on.

Dr Botanicals – Vegan Bergamont & Poppy Seed Soap

First impressions
I was excited to try this one – it had a very strong scent that you could smell as soon as you opened the beauty box. I was also really interested to see how smooth my skin would be after using the bar. I have quite dry, rough skin on my arms and recently I’ve had a lot of dryness on my hands that I just can’t get rid of. When I initially read that you should turn the shower off while applying this, it seemed like an inconvenience. BUT this was really enjoyable to apply. The surface is smooth to begin with but as you rub the soap over your body more, this layer breaks down and the poppy seeds come to the surface and give your body a really great exfoliation. After my shower, my skin certainly feels a little smoother though not incredible amounts more than before. The skin on my hands feel MUCH smoother than before, which I’m really happy about. I’m excited to keep using this and see what happens!

Final impression
This has definitely made my arms smoother after a few uses. It’s really satisfying to use and despite rubbing the bar all over, the size of the bar doesn’t decrease that significantly between uses. I think that this bar will last a really decent amount of time. I don’t usually bother with lotions and scrubs for my body, so it’s quite a nice treat. Bear in mind that it can be quite a rough exfoliation, so consider switching sides and rubbing with light pressure.

Nuxe – Crรฉme Fraรฎche de Beautรฉ

First impressions
This has a very strong floral scent, but not the nice kind of floral scent. It is a nice thick moisturiser that sank into the skin really quickly and my skin felt really quenched afterwards. I had initially thought it would be quite a thin moisturiser, so I was really pleasantly surprised.

Final impression:
This is a really nice moisturiser. It’s nice and thick and holds moisture in very well. However, I already have at least 4 thicker moisturisers that are all mostly full, so I probably won’t be purchasing this any time soon. Plus I’m not wild about the scent.

Nip + Fab – Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads

First impressions
There is a very slight smell to this that is nice and fresh. These were much thinner than I had expected them to be, but they’re probably the thickness of a make up wipe. These were great to use after you’ve taken your make up off to make sure that it’s all off. Despite removing my make up thoroughly, the wipes ended up orange! They removed so much more that I had thought had been removed, so I was really glad to have used them. They also left my skin feeling fresh and dewy, and my skin didn’t feel tight like it often does when I remove my make up.

Final impression:
These are really cool. It’s so nice to see what extra they can clean off the face when you think you’ve managed to get it all. They leave the skin feeling really refreshed and moisturised, which is really important for me. I would definitely consider purchasing these – I looked up the full size and was pleasantly surprised by the price (ยฃ14 ish). I thought they would be much more expensive, so this is probably something I’ll be buying next month! (I ended up buying the full size of these a few days after I wrote this lol)

PรœR – Fully Charged Mascara

First impressionsimg_9942
This was quite difficult to put on, mainly because it was a mini mascara and the arm of the applicator was very short. It was a really pleasant surprise – it looked just like my Benefit Roller Lash! I actually applied Roller Lash my left eye and Fully Charged to my right, and you would never notice the difference!

Final impression:
I like this mascara. The formula is really good, and maybe is a little less drying to my eyes than the Roller Lash. However, the Roller Lash wand is shaped much better and it’s easy to get the lashes on the outer eye. While this was good, my Roller Lash has a similar formula and a better shaped wand, and I feel quite loyal to it.

GLAMGLOW– Supermud Clearing Treatment

First impressions
Before trying the product, I thought it would be a peel mask for some reason. When a thick, dark grey mask came out I was a bit surprised, but not at the same time as it looked like actual mud. I wasn’t sure whether I’d actually try this because I don’t get breakouts anymore and it didn’t seem like it would suit my skin type, but I tried it anyway! It applied thick, and had a cooling sensation… which quickly turned to a tingling/burning sensation. I had to remove it after about 3 minutes (it’s recommended to wear the mask for 5-20 minutes). I only applied it to my nose and the area around it, however these areas were left pretty red once I’d washed it off. The skin did feel smooth, but I’m not sure I’ll be using this one again. I’ll give it to my sister for her to use instead. I really like the look of Glamglow masks though, and would loooove to try some of their other masks, but I’m just too broke to afford them at the moment lol

My favourite products in the box were probably the exfoliating soap, the cleansing balm and the cleansing pads. These beauty boxes are such a great way to try out new products from different brands, and probably a lot of stuff you would not usually gravitate towards.

I’m currently testing the products for the May beauty box, so I’ll get back to you with my thoughts on that soon!

Xo

 

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Products that helped me through Roaccutane

If you are currently taking Roaccutane or have ever tried it, you will know that the side effects can be brutal. For all the good it is (hopefully) doing for your skin, you certainly feel the effects in other places. Here are some saviour products that helped me through my course of Roaccutane:

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For dry lips:
Palmers coco butter lip balm (ยฃ1.50)

This was absolutely brilliant. I tried so many different lip balms, some which were very expensive, and this super cheap lip balm was by far the best. The only high end lip balm that worked for me is also listed below – don’t bother wasting your money on others. I still use this now and actually haveย one of these in each bag I use regularly and by my bed.

To exfoliate the lips (DO THIS EVERY DAY):
Nurse Jamie NuLips RX Moisturising Lip Balm + Exfoliating Lip Brush (ยฃ22)

This product was an absolute saviour. I tried loads of lip scrubs and none of them could get rid of all the dry skin on my lips.ย Often they’d get rid of only some of theย skin andย leave the lips feeling really stripped of moisture.ย The exfoliating lip brush was really gentle, and all you had to do was wet your lips and rub the soft plastic bristles around and it got rid of EVERYTHING. Then you’d apply the moisturising lip balm which would sink into the lips very slowly and last a long time. It wasn’t sticky at all but just left the lips feeling good for once! When you’re used to your lips peeling all the time, this finally will give you some relief.

Face skincare:

Let me say, that my skin is dry. So when trying to fight my acne, I also didn’t want to dry my face out. Plus a lot of the skincare I tried actually made my outbreaks worse, so I just stuck to a few products that kept it at bay. Make sure you moisturise your face! This medicine will DRY. YOUR. SKIN. OUT. Be kind to your skin. I used my Nivea Soft moisturiser, which is my everyday moisturiser anyway.

Dudu-osun African Black Soap (ยฃ3.30)

I remember seeing Jackie Aina talk about black soap, and that’s what first got me interested. I first thought this would be a miracle product and completely cure my acne. Obviously it didn’t, but it definitely helped to keep it in check. I would use it twice a day, morning and night, and I’d find that my acne would be a little less inflamed when I woke up the following morning. Ifย I forgot to use it one evening, it was clear on my cheeks the next day. It does make your skin feel squeaky clean, but not gasping for moisture. I still use it now, probably 3 times a week, to make my skin feel really nice and clean, or when I notice some texture.

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser (ยฃ14)

I had heard of Mario Badescu products before as amazing for acne prone skin so I gave glycolic acid a go. It’s actually something I still use when I feel like my skin is starting to get a bit textured. I used to use this every other day to make my acne feel really soothed. It always made my skin feel really clean, healthy and smooth. It adds the moisture back into your skin a bit after the black soap. The smell of this also makes me feel really relaxed and happy (:

Konjac sponges

I always use these to take off my make up rather than using a muslin cloth. I had gotten the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish with the muslin clothes for Christmas when my acne was at it’s worst and I remember thinking that the cloth was super rough on my skin. It felt like I was wiping my cleanser off with sand paper. The next day, I woke up and my skin had gotten worse and I remember feeling like crying. The konjac sponges are so soft on the skin and my skin never got any worse after using them.ย  They are naturally deeply cleansing and give your skin a soft exfoliation as well, leaving you skin feeling fresh and smooth (as it can be with acne). The sponges are made from Korean plant roots and are 100% biodegradable and natural. They’re not too hard to find these days, I usually buy mine in bulk at beautybay, or in Sephora when I was living in Spain.

Hands:
Palmers Coco Butter Hand Cream (ยฃ2.99)

This was really moisturising on the very dry patches I was getting on my hands. It takes a little while to sink in, but nothing horrendous. I would have to apply this quite a lot for my hands to feel really soft because I don’t have very soft hands anyway, plus if I didn’t the skin would crack.

Body:
The Ritual of Sakura Body Cream (ยฃ19.50)

I got a sample of this in an order from John Lewis and thought I would try this on my dry hands and forearms. This worked really well to moisturise. It has a feminine scent, which might not be too appealing to everyone, but it is not irritating to the skin or unpleasant to smell. It was a nice, thick moisturiser that soaked into the skin quickly.

Dry nose
Vaseline

Trust me, this will quickly become your best friend. My nose would (oddly) get very runny, but still be extremely dry, so much so that I would have a nose bleed at least every week, if not 2/3/4 times a week. Make sure that before bed and before you leave the house you coat the inside of the nose with Vaseline to give it some moisture. Vaseline also stops bleeding, so if you’re struggling with a small bleed, apply some.

Dry eyes

Murine dry eye drops

I had horribly dry eyes while taking Roaccutane. However these eye drops would give my eyes the moisture they craved. I tried some more watery formulas, but there was no real relief when I put them in and I would be adding more after 10 minutes. However the Murine formula is almost gel like (totally eye safe) and really gives your eyes a sense of relief when they’re put in. They feel nice and wet again and really hydrated for a while.

Brolene eye drops

My eyes would get so dry that they would get reoccurring eye infections where one of my eyes would get extremely red and bloodshot. To stop this happening, not only would I apply my regular eye drops, but I’d also use brolene, which are eye drops with medicine in them to combat any developing eye infection/use it as a preventative step.

Sun protection
Make sure you are wearing suncream every day! Roaccutane will make your skin VERY sensitive to the light and to sun damage. You will notice that your skin will burn much easier and get freckles very quickly after short amounts of time in the sun. I wouldn’t recommend sunbathing at all during your time, or even prolonged periods in the sun. I managed to avoid sunburn completely while I was taking the medicine, and I on it from March – the end of August.

If you have any questions about Roaccutane, feel free to leave a comment on here or on Instagram and I’d be happy to help in any way I can!

Xo

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My Roaccutane story

Generally speaking, I’ve always had very good skin. Like most other people, I would get spots at certain times of the month and when I was stressed, but I would never go so far as to say that I had ‘acne’. My skin type is normal/dry, which is not the typical skin type to get bad acne.

I used to take Tetralysal for my skin when I was about 14 (2010ish) to deal with the spots mainly on my chinย and at the time it did clear them up, but my spots weren’t serious. When I stopped taking it, I didn’t notice any difference.

When I started to take the pill (2013), I was sure to find one that was skin friendly, as my first pill (Microgynon) made me break out. However, the pill started to affect my mental health, so I was switching pills pretty regularly to boost my mood. After nearly 2 years of being on crappy pills, I decided the pill was not for me and opted to have an IUD fitted in the May 2015. I was told that the Mirena IUD (the coil with hormone) had the potential to cause skin problems, but I went with the hormone option as it was supposed to be better for my mood. For the first few months, everything was great: my skin stayed the same, my mental health was much better and I was feeling much happier. However, when I moved to Spain for my year abroad in September 2015 my skin went downhill fast. I remember noticing in October time around my birthday that I had a lot more spots than usual, they were much bigger and in places I don’t usually get them. The main difference was that these were big, red spots that didn’t come to a head, unlike the spots I had before. I started to get cystic acne on my cheeks which moved down onto my jaw. I couldn’t work out what was causing it! I started using a new skincare kit, but didn’t see any sort of progress.

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ย December 2015

As I was living abroad, I didn’t feel as though I could go to the doctors about this as I didn’t really know how to vocalise my issues and my medical Spanish was practically non-existent. I went to the doctors at home when I was back for Christmas and was given a topical cream called Differin to keep things in check. This did help a little, but didn’t offer me the results I was really hoping for. I did some research online about African Black Soap, which for me helped to keep my acne under control. I would wash my face with it twice a day and it would visibly lessen any flare-ups by the next morning. If I didn’t use it one day, I would notice an immediate difference.ย I started to do research online for some solutions and came across Roaccutane. For anyone who has ever looked into Roaccutane, you will know that the list of possible side effects are looooooong and pretty scary. They go from minor things like dry lips to really serious things like depression and suicidal thoughts. I was worried whether my mental health would be okay if I were to take this, but I knew that I wanted to try it. I sussed out eventually that it was my IUD that was causing my acne, but again I didn’t feel like I could get it taken out in Spain.

When I got home in June 2016, I pushed to see a dermatologist. My parents had private health care and I got to see a private dermatologist about my skin, which was possibly the most disappointing appointment I’ve ever had. Despite the fact that I have dry skin, the Harley Street ‘expert’ tried to tell me that I probably have acne because I use too much moisturiser, which was pure bullshit. I knew that if I stopped using my moisturiser that my skin would feel like it was about to crack and that the Differin would completely dry me out. As my acne was considered ‘chronic’ by the private healthcare providerย (which I knew mine wasn’t), I couldn’t continue to get my dermatology on privately and had to go through the NHS (which has a 16 week waiting list). I tried to get my IUD out as soon as possible (in the summer of 2016), but couldn’t get it taken out until November 2016. By that time, I had gone back to the doctors and really pushed for Roaccutane. To be able to get it, you have to have tried 2 other medicines first that haven’t worked. It is seen as a last resort medicine because of how heavy duty it is. In the meantime, Iย had been prescribed Trimethoprim which is actually a drug to deal with bacterial infection and happens to have positive effects on acne. This actually really helped to tame my skin, but it was definitely not a long-term solution. I got the approval to get Roaccutane and started my journey in March 2017.

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November 2016ย 

Roaccutane works by reducing the amount of natural oil that your skin produces so blockedย pores are less likelyย (as acne is often caused by over-active oil glands, for people with oily skin – again, I was the exception). It also kills the bacteria that causes acne, and relieves redness and soreness.

This drug is definitely heavy duty. You have to have a blood test before they can prescribe you to make sure that you’re in good enough health to take it. Then for the first month you have to go back for another blood test to make sure there is no negative effect on you. You only get given a months dosage at a time, so you have to go back each month (which for me was super inconvenient as the dermatologists was a 20 minute drive away when I had no means of getting there). They calculate your dosage based on your weight. I was having 75mg a day which was super high. You also have to bring a urine sample to each appointment so your doctor can do a pregnancy test. From the very start they are very clear about the fact that you SHOULD NOT get pregnant while on this medicine, as it can result in foetal deformities. You’re also told you should not drink too much alcohol as this medicine already has to be processed in the liver, and adding alcohol into the equation too may effect how effective the medicine is.

The side effects were no joke.

Mine were:

  • Dry skin on my body and hands
  • Veeeery dry lips
  • Extremely dry eyes (which often led to eye infections where my eyes would get craazy blood-shot)
  • Extreme light sensitivity (both my eyes and my skin)
  • Tiredness
  • Feeling emotional over small things
  • Having a really runny nose but also a CRAZY dry nose
  • Getting really hot and sweaty very easily
  • Big nose bleeds all the time
  • Sensitive gums

I went through a few phases of having massive nose bleeds on a daily basis, including at the library while studying for my final year exams and on holiday in Rome. However, for all the side effects I had, this medicine was totally worth it. My skin instantly got better, and I can honestly say my acne has been cured. Towards the end of August, everything started to get a bit much side-effect-wise. I was on holiday with my boyfriend in Rome and I was having really bad nose bleeds every day, including once over dinner. I was super tired, was snapping at him a lot and getting really emotional over silly things, and I made the decision to stop taking my medicine. A course of Roaccutane lasts for at least 5 months. Having started in March, I should have finished in July. However, I was told that because I started on a half dosage that I’d have to take it for at least another month. That would have taken me to the middle of August, so I had done my time. After about a month, I noticed my side effects start to lessen. My dry lips and skin eased fairly quickly, but things like the tiredness persisted a little longer. The only side effect that has persisted is the sensitivity to sunlight, which is kind of annoying but if that is the price I have to pay for perfect skin now, then I’ll take it.

I have not had a single spot since I stopped taking this medicine in August 2017. My skin is better than it ever has been. I do still worry about scars on my cheek, but I’m not sure whether this is an issue that actually exists or whether it’s in my head. I know that my acne was caused by an external factor, rather than because of oily skin or genetics.

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My skin currently (April 2018, without make up)

Now I have 0 spots. My skin is completely smooth and feels amazing. When you’ve had such bad acne, it’s such a blessing to finally have clear skin. It’s certainly not anything I take for granted anymore.

I’m very aware that Roaccutane doesn’t work for everyone, or that some people have to do many cycles of it. I was one of the lucky ones whose acne was cured first time round. If you have bad skin, consider exploring Roaccutane. Do your research well, and weigh up whether you are willing to endure the side effects. They may be different to mine, or you might have exactly the same ones, but it is a personal choice that only you can make.

Things that I’ve learnt:

  • Don’t overload your skin with new products – While it’s super frustrating to have inflamed spots or a breakout, don’t immediately buy loads of new products and try these on your skin. I did this with a bunch of Mario Badescu stuff and it caused a breakout far worse than my skin before I tried the products (see the second picture).
  • Don’t reach for drying lotionsย – If you have cystic acne that are red and inflamed, unfortunately a drying lotion probably won’t help much. Perhaps if you have spots that come to a head (contain yellow puss) this may be a possible solution to reducing the size of the spot without popping it. Drying your skin out too much can actually be worse for it, as your skin will start producing MORE oil to compensate for the oil it’s losing.
  • Wearing/not wearing make up makes no difference on your skin – I’ve had people tell me that it ‘must be bad for my skin wearing so much make up’. Bullshit. This comment often comes from someone who has one spot every 3 months. As long as you take your make up off before bed and don’t sleep in it, and perhaps watch the ingredients you use, I noticed no bad effects from wearing make up. It was integral for my self esteem and made me feel normal when nothing else could. When I was on Roaccutane, I rarely wore make up but that was mainly because I was living in the library as I was in my final year of uni.
  • Ignore people that think they know better about your skin: From a dermatologist who wouldn’t listen to what my skin type was, to a taxi driver who told me people get acne from not washing your face, people think they know everything when it comes to acne. At the end of the day, no one knows your skin better than you do. You know what will cause flare-ups, which kind of products your skins likes and which to avoid, whether your skin gets worse in certain weather or certain times of the month. Sometimes the experts get it wrong. Find another expert. My NHS (non-private) dermatologist was far better, more understanding and had a greater knowledge of acne than the Harley Street doctor (FYI, Harley Street is private healthcare avenue in London, where you supposedly go for the best healthcare).

I hope you have found this post really useful or interesting. I love skincare and now love my skin after this long and frustrating journey, but every part of it was worth it.

Xo

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