Pretty Athletic Cool Down Cleanser review

Pretty Athletic is an active skincare brand that boasts some truly epic products, one of which being their Cool Down Cleanser, which I have developed quite a liking for.

I mean, have you ever come across a product that you love so crazy, madly, deeply that you feel the need to tell every stranger on the street and scream it from the rooftops. Yep. This cleanser.

I’m sure you’re thinking, why this cleanser? Well allow me to retell my epic love story with the Cool Down Cleanser. I came across this product in the goodie bag at the Indie Beauty Expo in London last year and thought the concept was pretty cool. Pretty Athletic was the brain child of a fabulous lady called Leyla who wanted to create post-workout skincare for women on the go. As a gym bunny myself, I loved the sound of a cooling cleanser, especially as I am someone who really works up a sweat and gets very hot and red.

This cleanser, quite obviously by the name, is aimed to calm and cool the skin after exercise, but it also rehydratesΒ and removes sweat and impurities that have built up during your workout. It combines botanical ingredients such as aloe vera, cucumber, chamomile and green tea with actives like hyaluronic acid and prebiotics to reduce oiliness, prevent exercise related breakouts, intensely hydrate and support your skin flora! Your skin goes through quite a lot when you exercise and this little powerhouse makes sure that doing your thing doesn’t have an impact on your skin.

It is a lovely, thick, gel cleanser that feels so nourishing and hydrating. I should mention that it is not thick in that it feels heavy on the skin or would clog your pores, but when you pump it out, it is quite solid and doesn’t run straight off your hand. As it is so thick, it feels amazing when you massage this into the skin (the brand recommends massaging in for roughly 30 seconds). I’m not sure what I was expecting when I first used this, but I really didn’t expect such a pleasant cooling sensation! It is in no way overwhelming or tingly on the skin, but it’s almost as if you have splashed your face with cool water. It instantly cools the skin down and you can feel the moisture and goodness returning to your skin as your massage. It does have a scent, but it’s subtle and to me it doesn’t smell artificial, so I don’t think it would cause an issue to anyone that has a fragrance sensitivity. It is also totally safe to use on your eyes and doesn’t sting them at all, even when you open them.Β One thing I’ve found with this which is a massive bonus, is that my skin is always much smoother after I use it. I don’t tend to leave this on for a massive amount of time, usually around 20-30 seconds, and my skin feels noticeably softer.Β 

Pretty Athletic Cool Down Cleanser

This is hands down the best second cleanse I’ve ever used! Don’t worry though, you don’t have to be a gym bunny to love this! This is extra nice to use when my skin is hot or red after the gym and you definitely feel the benefit of it, but it’s just as amazing after a long day at work/a short day at work/the best day of your life/any day of your life. Basically what I’m getting at is that this is an absolute banger and you need to try it.

I have actually started to have nightmares about running out of this cleanser. I am not even joking. I had two empties in the same day and that night I had a nightmare that I ran out of this unexpectedly. If you follow my Instagram, you’ll know that I have a massive thing for texture. I’ve had dreams about this texture too. THAT’S HOW DREAMY IT IS!

To top it all off, this is the only second cleanser that I have ever repurchased.Β I usually see second cleansers as a bit meh, a bit replaceable, but I can’t be without this one. As soon as I run out, I place an order straight away!

Try it. I guarantee you won’t regret it. Okay, I can’t guarantee it, but I’m pretty sure you will fall madly in love and never want to look at another gel cleanser again. If you go on the Pretty Athletic website and sign up to their newsletter, they often send out discount codes and their shipping is super quick!

*This review is not sponsored I just love it that much. I have received free products from Pretty Athletic in the past, but this was not one of them.*

Xo

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The double cleanse – is it necessary?

If you speak to any skincare addict, they will laud ‘the double cleanse’. What is this mystical ‘double cleanse’? If you’re already a skincare addict, then I’m preaching to the choir. But if you’re a skincare newbie, then lean in a little closer…

Well, the practice started in Japan and Korea and has made it’s way over to us in the J and K beauty crazes. Much like everything else in Asian beauty, the double cleanse has exploded in popularity within the beauty community – and for good reason.

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The idea is pretty straight forward – all you have to do is cleanse your skin twice, but (usually) with two different cleansers. The first cleanser tends to do the heavy lifting and and removes the bulk of your makeup and SPF, while the second cleanser removes any residual makeup and actually functions as a more traditional cleanser (aka to clean the skin rather than to remove makeup). If you’re new to skincare and want some more info on cleansers, check out my post on Skincare for Beginners!

Is this mandatory for everyone? Absolutely not. If you’ve worn no makeup or SPF that day, you should find that just one cleanse will sufficiently clean your skin and no further cleansing action is required. However, if you wear fairly heavy makeup (i.e. more than no makeup makeup), wear SPF or have very oily skin, then you will probably benefit from a double cleanse. If you’re wearing SPF (and you should be), you need to cleanse twice to fully remove it. If you’re super oily, then cleansing twice with cleansers suitable for your skin type can really help to keep oils at bay.

How do you know which cleanser is suitable?

For a first cleanse, oil cleansers or cleansing balms are preferable as they will break down makeup, SPF, oils and pollutants the best in one go. To add a bit of exfoliation, but also to remove the makeup easily and quickly, lots of people like to use either muslin cloths, softer cleansing cloths or Konjac spongesΒ (check my post I just did about them!) If you have super sensitive skin or active acne, I would personally recommend using the konjac sponge as they are really gentle on your skin. When I used a muslin cloth on my cystic acne, it became much more inflamed and was really painful. The konjac sponge was able to remove every bit of dirt/makeup and give me a bit of exfoliation while being gentle on my skin. These days I tend to switch between konjac sponges and softer cleansing cloths depending on what I have around. For your second cleanse, you should use a gel, milk or jelly. There are hundreds on the market and you just need to be sure that whichever cleanser you choose, it’s catering to your specific skin type and skin concerns. If you have oily skin and choose a rich cleansing milk, this might not have great results for your acne.

When would you double cleanse?

You would normally do this in the evening when removing your makeup and preparing for your evening routine. You would not need to double cleanse in the morning as you don’t apply makeup or SPF to bed. It would be excessive to double cleanse twice a day for most skin types, but I suppose it depends on what works for you. Often people will use their second cleanser as their morning cleanse as it is lighter and will remove any sweat or oils that have built up over night. Balms and oils tends to be more of a makeup remover, so a jelly cleanser or cleansing milk would work much better in the morning.

Will I notice a difference?

I love how clean my skin feels when I do double cleanse and how noticeably smoother and softer it feels. When I only do a single cleanse, I always feel like I still have makeup on. You should definitely notice a difference if you usually use white towels to dry your face as you’ll no longer get little orange marks from around your hairline or black smudges of mascara where you didn’t quite get it all off! If you use a toner, you will generally notice that the pad will emerge less dirty too.

First Cleanse

For your first cleanse, stick to a balm or an oil. Makeup wipes and micellar water do not count here. My current favourite first cleansers are Kiehls Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleanser (oil) and Beauty Pie Plantastic Apricot Butter Cleansing Balm. Both of them are really gentle, melt makeup away easily and don’t sting your eyes like some cleansers do. I’m actually preferring an oil cleanser at the moment because it’s just so easy to get everything off!

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Second Cleanse

For a second cleanser, you should use either a gel, milk or jelly. If you have any specific skin concerns (acne for example), this is where you would address it with targeted cleansers. My favourites at the moment are REN Evercalm Cleansing Milk and the Pretty Athletic Cool Down Cleanser. I think I prefer the Pretty Athletic one at the moment because I really enjoy the cooling sensation and The REN one seems to leave a little bit of a residue which I’m not a massive fan of.

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Some people might say that double cleansing is excessive, but really it all depends on what works for you. If you use a balm or oil as your first cleanse instead of wipes or micellar water, I honestly think you’ll notice a world of difference, not only in how much makeup you remove in one go, but the look of your skin, the texture of your skin and how your skin feels post cleanse. Try it out! You’ll never regret taking care of your skin.

Xo

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Skincare for beginners

Everyone has to start somewhere! If you are a skincare newbie, then you’ve found yourself in the right place. I’m going to give you the info you need to create your own skincare routine.*

If you follow the beauty community, you’ll know that lots of people’s skincare routines are very long and comprise of loads of products. When you’re starting out from scratch, you don’t need to include all of these! I’d say to focus on the basics: cleanser, moisturiser and SPF.

First things first: know your skin type. Oily, dry, sensitive, normal or combination. This will help you to choose products that are more catered for your skin.

  • If you find that by the middle of the day that your face is pretty shiny and you have blackheads and larger pores in the oiler parts of your face (generally the T-zone – across your forehead and down your nose) then you’re probably oily.
  • If you have dry patches around your face and need to use a lot of moisturiser, you’re probably dry.
  • If you skin is quite prone to irritation, blotchiness and redness, then you are probably sensitive.
  • If you don’t have any particular skin concern, then your skin is pretty ‘normal’.
  • Lastly, if you have a combination of these (e.g. an oily T-zone and dry cheeks), then you are combination.

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Cleanser

Generally there are two types of cleanser: one that takes your makeup off and one that actually cleans your face. Sometimes they can do both, but more often than not they are separate. If you are still using makeup wipes or micellar water, put them down and step away from them now. Makeup wipes don’t do a good job of cleaning your skin, which is why you probably need to use a few to get all your makeup ‘off’. You’ll probably be tugging on your skin too, especially around your eyes to remove stubborn mascara, which can lead to premature ageing. There’s even been research to suggest that instead of cleaning the skin, wipes just spread dirt and bacteria around your face and push bacteria further in to your skin. Micellar water is also not a great makeup remover. Like makeup wipes, it can be incredibly drying and you have to use a lot of product to get makeup off. Micellar water was originally only to be used when you have no access to water, like backstage at a runway show, so don’t be lazy!

INSTEAD:Β Consider switching to an oil or a balm to remove your makeup in the evening! Apply these to your hands and rub them gently into the skin. They will both melt your makeup away really easily and will remove your eye makeup with ease. You don’t have to use much product to get really good results either. Go with the less is more approach and add more product if necessary. You can either use warm water or a soft flannel to remove it. Let me tell you, your skin will feel so much more hydrated than when you use a wipe or micellar water! These products don’t need to cost a bomb. Yes they will cost more than makeup wipes, but the results should be far superior and they’re way more gentle on the skin. Here are a few different options for different price points:

Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil – Β£12
Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish – Β£10
Clinique Take the Day Off Balm – Β£24
Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter – Β£10

BONUS: If you have ever heard of someone ‘double cleansing’, this is when you use one cleanser (usually an oil or a balm) to take off their makeup followed by another (thinner) cleanser to actually clean the face. If you have any skin concerns like acne, this would be when you address this. These cleansers usually are more likely to be a gel (for oily skin) or a milk (for drier skin). You can often use this ‘second’ cleanse as your morning cleanser too.

Mario Badescu Glycolic Foaming Cleanser – Β£14 – GREAT for acne prone skin (my personal skin saviour when I had cystic acne). DO NOT USE EVERYDAY.
REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk – Β£20 – Great for dry or sensitive skin.

Moisturiser

Regardless of whether you have oily or dry skin, you should be using a moisturiser. Probably not with the same one, but your skin will need moisture even if you have very oily skin with bad acne. Quite often when our skin is dry (usually from stripping the skin with aggressive products) all the natural oils that the skin produces are removed. In a panic, your skin will actually produce more oils – not less – because it’s so dry and theΒ  natural reaction is to try and re-moisturise with oils. You should be applying moisturiser in the morning and evening. They don’t have to be the same – you might prefer a thinner one for day time and a thicker one for night time depending on your skin type, but this is all down to preference.

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Mat – Β£16 – Oily skin
Clinique Pep Start Hydro Rush Moisturiser – Β£25.50 – Dry/Normal skin, morning moisturiser
Nivea Soft – Β£4.29 – Even with all my other expensive moisturisers, I ALWAYS have a tub of this around. This is a good all rounder that may be a touch too thick for oily skin, but great for normal-dry skin.

SPF

SPF is your absolute best friend. YOUR BEST FRIEND. Whether you are at work all day in an office or walking out in nature, you need to be wearing SPF. Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean that you are not exposed to UV rays. Quick rundown of UV rays – there are two main types: UVA and UVB. UVA penetrates more deeply into the skin and causes aging, while UVB penetrates less deeply and causes the skin to burn. Just because it’s the middle of winter and cloudy all the time, doesn’t mean that UV rays don’t exist. They penetrate through the clouds and come through windows just as strongly as when you’re outside, so you need to be covered! This would be the last step in your skincare routine before you apply your makeup. SPF that is included in your foundation or moisturiser is not sufficient cover – you need an extra line of defence.Β SPF should be applied 15-20 mins before you go into the sun and you should roughly apply half a teaspoon to your face for sufficient coverage. The Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50Β is a really nice SPF that isn’t too much money on Amazon. It’s a really watery consistency and is much nicer to apply than regular sun cream. It’s also factor 50 so will give you all the protection you need. I really like the Beauty Pie Ultralight UVA/UVB SPF 25Β because the consistency is amazing, but you have to be a member so if you really do want to get into skincare you might like to take the plunge. Ideally you would go for something between SPF 30-50 (I just love the consistency of the Beauty Pie one too much). If you’re out in the sun all day, be sure to apply every 2 hours or so, otherwise it’s your makeup base.

You can add in extra products to your routine with time, but these are the main steps that you should include. These steps are vital to ensure that your skin is kept clean, moisturised and protected from any sun damage.

I hope this run down has been useful for any skincare beginners reading – I have a few people in my life that I’ll be sending this article to! Please let me know in the comments if you have any product recommendations for various skin types and hopefully it can help someone else!

* I am by no means a skincare expert. In my opinion, these are the essentials. If you want to look into anything in more detail, go to Caroline Hirons’ blog, read The Skincare Bible or visit the expert advice section on Paula’s Choice. The products mentioned may not work for you – it happens. What works for one person doesn’t work for everyone. It’s a trial and error process, so make sure you do research on the products, read reviews and make sure the product is made for your skin type.

Xo

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Pampered skin routine

After a long hard day of smashing life, every so often I like to come home and really go to town on my skincare routine as a treat. This usually happens over the weekend and is one of my favourite ways to unwind and prep my skin for the week ahead.

Here is my step-by-step routine for perfectly pampered skin:

Cleanse

If I have makeup on then I’ll double cleanse, otherwise I’ll just use my second cleanser. For a more luxurious first cleanse I love using the Beauty Pie Plantastic Apricot Cleansing Balm. It’s a super rich texture that feels beautiful when massaging into the skin to break down your makeup. It feels super smooth and washes off really easily.

To carry on the facial massage, I love using the Pretty Athletic Cool Down Cleanser. It is a gel cleanser that cools down the skin and feels amazing. You’re supposed to massage it in for 30 seconds before rinsing off. Because of the soft gel consistency and the cooling sensation, it feels so luxurious and leaves my skin completely clean and my mind relaxed.

Exfoliation

I always see exfoliation as a treat to myself. My favourite at the moment is the Fresh Sugar Face Polish. Made with brown sugar and strawberry seeds, it’s strong enough to exfoliate away any dead skin cells but gentle enough to not feel like the exfoliants are ripping into your skin. As it’s made of sugar, the grainy particles will eventually exfoliate away into the skin, leaving you with baby smooth skin. There’s something super relaxing about not only massaging the face but feeling the grains dissipate away to nothing…

Mask

My favourite mask to use is hands down the Sjo Skin Happy Honey Mask. This brand is all over Instagram and is a firm favourite of influencers because it is the ultimate multi-tasker mask. I use this mask mostly to calm my skin and to make it smoother. I usually keep this on for an hour at least (if I can) and my skin emerges smooth as anything and feeling really rejuvenated. If I’m feeling really boujee then sometimes I will double mask and use something like the Farmacy Honey Potion Mask before the Happy Honey Mask (Clearly there’s something about honey that I like!)

Essence

This might not be an essential product for everyone, but it’s become a step in my evening routine that I don’t like to go without. Essences prepare the skin for the next products you apply to your skin and helps them absorb more easily. I find that it is just a good base to have that makes my skin feel more hydrated and makes it easier to spread other product out across my skin. I use the Cosrx Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence.

Serum

If I’m treating myself, I will always use my Kiehls Re-Texturising Hydro Plumping Serum. This is very gel like in consistency and makes my skin feel unbelievably smooth and as though I’ve had a big glass of water.

Moisturiser

This one is a bit of a tricky step. If I weren’t to apply an oil after the moisturiser, I would hands down use Dr Jart Ceramidin Cream because it is the most beautiful, thick moisturiser. I love thick moisturisers because I have fairly dry skin and I don’t find that the thinner moisturisers give me any long lasting moisture. The only problem with this one is that it pills sooooooo badly. One I have been enjoying recently before I apply the oils is the new Dermalogica Intense Moisture Balance. It’s quite a thin moisturiser, but still is thick enough to really back a moisturising punch and more importantly doesn’t pill when I put oils on top of it.

Oils

Because I’m extra, I really like to apply two oils. The first is The Ordinary Rosehip Oil and the second is Kiehls Midnight Recovery Concentrate. I ran out of the rosehip oil recently and noticed that my skin was not as soft as before, so quickly repurchased it. I probably saw the biggest change in the texture and feel of my skin with the Kiehls oil, so I’ve never turned away from this product. It makes me feel so relaxed to massage this oil over my face (it’s a very smooth oil, the rosehip oil is a little thicker and sits a little heavier on the skin) and I like to hold my hands over my nose for a few seconds and breathe the lavender scent it. Lavender aids with sleep so this is always my last step before turning in for the night.

To add to the pampering mood, I love to burn candles. My favourites are super budget friendly – they’re from Home Bargains and cost just Β£2.99 for a massive one! They do various different scents, but my favourite hands down is the Gingerbread one. It makes me feel all cosy and ready to relax.

I hope you found my pampering routine useful. Let me know how you wind down and treat yourself!

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 (Β£1.50)

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 haveΒ 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 (Β£22)

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.Β Often they’d get rid of only some of theΒ skin andΒ leave the lips feeling really stripped of moisture.Β 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 (Β£3.30)

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. IfΒ 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 (Β£14)

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.Β  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 (Β£2.99)

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 (Β£19.50)

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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