Just Charlie G

People who have been with me since this blog started will know that my skin has been an ongoing battle for a long time. Plagued with dryness and spots, as well as natural ageing and reactive skin, has meant finding suitable skincare has been not easy. Products designed for spots tend to aggravate my dryness while products for dry skin nearly always break me out. It’s frustrating! There have been several rave reviews of brands/products over the years all of which still stand, but for some reason I tend to find that after a while (often months) everything goes back to normal (bad). I have no idea why that is, but it means the search is only ever over temporarily.

That’s why I am blogging today with some hesitance! But I’m here to share my love for the Body Shop Vitamin E Range. The Vitamin E range is extensive and I certainly don’t have all the products in the line, but I’ve added the products I am using, one at a time, slowly so I can see what suits me and what doesn’t.

The Body Shop Vitamin EThe Vitamin E range can  help to protect against pollution and is great for premature ageing. What I really love about it is that it seems to be deeply moisturising, without being too rich for my skin. Quick reviews of all the items I have, below

Vitamin E Gentle Facial Wash  (£7.50 – 125ml) – This is brilliant stuff. I heard that foaming cleansers dry out your skin but I don’t think this one does. A little goes a long way and has no issues at all removing my make up. It’s lightly foaming, feels rich and creamy and doesn’t leave my face feeling tight and dry. Win!

Vitamin E Hydrating Toner (£7.50 – 250ml) –  Alcohol free toner that leaves my skin feeling ready to go!  Has a slightly thicker than water texture, as if it’s a gel maybe. I apply this twice a day religiously. Lovely stuff and a brilliant price. Actually the whole range is!

Vitamin E Aqua Boost Essence Lotion (£10 – 160ml) – This was my latest purchase and I wasn’t sure what it was for and I’m still not. I love it anyway because it just slots into my routine. Again this is not watery, like a traditional toner, it’s slightly thicker than the Hydrating Toner and I’d describe it as a serum/gel. You add a couple of drops to your hand and pat into your skin after toner, before moisturiser. It absorb very quickly, leaving no residue on the skin and I think just adds another layer of moisture and protection against free radicals.

Vitamin E Intense Moisture Serum (£14 – 30ml) – It’s been a long time since I’ve used a serum. I found nearly everything I tried in the past caused me to break out, either too rich or too packed full of silicones. This one is so light in texture, it leaves my skin feeling amazing after application and isn’t at all greasy.

Vitamin E Overnight Serum in Oil (£16 – 28ml) – This is the product I was most nervous about using, my spot prone skin doesn’t get on well with oils, but I’m pleased to say I’ve had no problems with this at all! I use four drops massaged into my skin every night before bed and wake up to soft moisturised skin.

Vitamin E Moisture Cream (£13 – 50ml) – Out of all the products I have, this is the one I think of as my hero product. I use it daily, morning and evening, after all the other products and I think it works like a charm, Containing not only vitamin E but also hyaluronic acid this is the product that I really think stamps out my dryness. If feels so moisturising, but not at all rich, it is light and smooths in easily and quickly without leaving residue on my face. All the other products help my skin be plumper, and less dry, this is the one that the keeps it this way

Vitamin E Nourishing Night Cream (£14 – 50ml) – This is the one product that doesn’t suit me too well. I kind of knew it wouldn’t be great for me when I bought it, but I was optimistic given my successes with the rest of the range.  It is just too rich for me, and applying all over my face definitely results in me waking up with blemishes, on my chin especially. I have however found it especially useful when my skin is really suffering. Like my nose was after a recent cold. I used this every night afterwards on my nose which was dry and red from constant nose blowing, and this really soothed and helped.

Vitamin E Refreshing Eyes Cube (£9.50 – 4g) – The name of this one annoys me because it’s not a cube! I know it’s supposed to be a play on Ice Cube, but still! Leaving that aside, eye cream is another product I’ve avoided for a while after two huge break outs under my eyes from creams that were too rich. Annoying because I know the skin around my eyes looks and feels so much better and less wrinkly when I use it. This one is fab! A twist up stick of cooling cream, although I’d describe it more as a balm, it glides on and cools. I use it morning and night and have had no issues so far. It’s worth mentioning that this has a tiny amount of sparkle, I find it very hard to spot, so you don’t need to worry about glittery eyes, but it’s worth knowing it’s there! My under eyes definitely feel plumper and smoother.

Finally, and not pictured is the Vitamin E Hydrating Face Mist (£10 for 100ml). I don’t use this Face Mist as part of my skincare routine but instead keep it with my make up and use it as a finishing spray to set everything in place. I’m sure it’ll come into its own in Summer too!

So conclusions:

I read over on British Beauty Blogger that The Body Shop may be up for sale… this will just be terrible new for my face!

Anyway, I wholeheartedly recommend this range, so do head over to The Body Shop website and check it out!

*All Products purchased by me and opinions unbiased!




Carrying on with my recent Urban Decay purchase reviews, today I’m blogging about the Urban Decay Naked Skin One & Done Hybrid Complexion Perfector (£25).

Urban Decay One & Done

Urban Decay One & DoneI’m not sure how I’d describe this base product, so lets start off with the official description:

“The best of both worlds, this hybrid complexion cream combines the benefits of a sheer foundation with the coverage of a tinted moisturizer – and our high-tech, weightless formula feels amazing on your skin. One &Done provides all-day wear and covers a wide range of skin tones. But the best part is how it transforms the look of your skin! Light-diffusing spheres immediately help make flaws seem to disappear. Over time, pores appear smaller and skin appears firmer and more radiant”

So it seems to be a BB cream, light coverage, some skincare benefits and some optical blurring.

One & Done is available in six shades, and given their sheerness, these are workable for various skintones. The packaging is a plastic pump-tube that holds 40ml of product but I have to say it doesn’t seem that much when I compare it to my other foundation bottles! Time will tell when I see how long it lasts I guess!

Urban Decay One & DoneThe texture is extremely light, and as you might imagine, sheer, but thanks to whatever witchcraft Urban Decay have used when making this, the coverage on my skin is pretty great. I need concealer on any blemishes and shadows, but otherwise it’s great coverage. For most skins, you can probably skip moisturiser as this is a moisturiser in itself, however for my dry skin, I still need my moisturiser.

Urban Decay One & DoneUrban Decay One & Done

Urban Decay One & DoneAnother aspect of this products witchcraftery is the colour, whilst appearing a little orange hued on my arm swatch, it is nothing of the sort when on my face. The colour is perfect.

I feel like I’m always going on about my skin, but for reference and in case it helps anyone, my skin is very prone to dryness as well as acne, and in addition, I seem to get large cystic spots from lots of products, especially silicones and very rich moisturisers, but this has not caused me any blemishes, and nor does it stick in my dry patches when I apply it.

There aren’t many skin types I would imagine this isn’t suitable for, except perhaps those who require or desire a heavier coverage. If however your skin is plagued with occasional blemishes, don’t just skip this, you might be surprised at the coverage. It is perfect for anyone who wants a light coverage for summer (did I mention SPF20?) or  indeed all year round.

Just to finish up, here’s me wearing it.

Urban Decay One & Done

A definite recommend from me. I am wearing shade Light, and I wear 3.5 in the Naked Skin foundation. If you already wear the foundation, there is a guide on the website (In the product description for One & Done) which will tell you which shade would be best for you.

I purchased mine from the Urban Decay counter at Debenhams, where it cost me £25 for 40mls.

I recently blogged about a brand new to me, Elemental Herbology, and I really liked the products that I received to review, and they are all still very much in regular use. The Purifying Facial Mask is truly a skin saviour!

Since then I’ve been sent a couple more products from the range to try out, in the hopes of fixing my dehydrated and reactive skin. The first of these is the Elemental Herbology Vital Cleanser (£29/100ml).

Elemental Herbology Vital Cleanser Elemental Herbology Vital CleanserThis glorious golden elixir is just what my skin needed. As you might imagine, given it’s colour it’s made with 10% Manuka Honey, also included is Vitamin C, Organic Sea Buckthorn Berry Oil, Apple Serum, Green Tea, Grapefruit, Mandarin, Seaweed and Papaya Extract. All of these gorgeous ingredients combine to cleanse deeply (without foaming and therefore without drying my already parched skin – yay!), while improving the radiance and vitality of the skin. I can’t say that my skin looks a huge amount more radiant if I’m honest but there is a general improvement in texture, because the dryness is a thing of the past… everything looks a bit better. It removes my make efficiently meaning I can dispense with a double cleanse routine and just stick to this product, hot water and flannel. My skin feels just fine after use, with no hint of that horrible tight feeling I often get if a cleanser is a big mistake. I have been enduring the most awful break out this past week but I’m actually putting this down to other factors, a high stress level, as well as a change in routine. Changing from one skincare brand to another is often a trigger for a break out for me and while my skin is not clear, new blemishes have stopped appearing, which I think means I’m settling down into the new routine.  I really like this stuff and its far nicer than the cleanser I was using before which dried me out terribly.

The other product I’ve been trying out is the Elemental Herbology Calendula and Rose Damask Facial Moisturiser (£37/50ml).

Elemental Herbology Calendula and Rose Damask Elemental Herbology Calendula and Rose DamaskThe Calendula & Rose Damask Facial Moisturiser is formulated for sensitive skin. And while I’m not sure if my skin is typically sensitive, I think I’d do well to switch out all my products to sensitive versions to avoid break outs and dryness. This hygienic pump bottle houses a beautiful moisturiser for soothing and nurturing. While it’s texture is light it does a brilliant job of hydrating my skin. I’ve always had this suspicion that products for sensitive skin are not as effective, but this proves that just isn’t the case. The two products mentioned in this post have made dry skin a thing of my past. When I apply my foundation now it goes on smoothly.  I honestly think this is great stuff and I can’t fault it. I mentioned my current breakout, well this moisturiser calms any redness and banishes flaky patches from healing blemishes while NOT creating more spots for me to deal with. Another highly recommended product.

In all honesty, I have tried lots of skincare lines, many so bad I couldn’t even been bothered to review, and I mean it when I say this line is brilliant. I’ve a mental shopping list to include the sensitive cleanser to try out, Vital Glow Overnight Resurfacing Cream as well as the Radiance Peel and don’t even get me started on the beautiful sounding Body line…

If you’re looking for new skincare products, do head over and check out the Elemental Herbology website. I can’t promise they’ll work for you but I can say for sure they are worth a look.

*Products received free of charge for review purposes

Elemental HerbologyWhile I have no doubt that there are new brands cropping up all over the time, its not too often I get to try them out. Elemental Herbology are not actually a new brand, having been established in 2008, but they are new to me. The brand’s area of expertise is using therapeutic levels of plant compounds, herbal extracts, botanical oils, vitamins, minerals, essential oils to create natural skin and body care products that really work. The entire range is based upon the Five Element Theory from traditional Chinese medicine and each product relates to each element, wood, fire, earth, metal and water and Elemental Herbology believe that a balance of all the elements is needed depending on your skin type. With my skin being all over the shop, this concept is one that really appeals to me.

I’ve been trying out three products recently and I’ll start by telling you about the Facial Souffle Overnight Cream from the Moisture Replenish line.

Elemental HerbologyThe product having the word Souffle in its name is very definitely appealing to me! And this beautiful Facial Souffle doesn’t disappoint. Usually with products that promise a lot of hydration I have concerns that they will break me out, but so far so good with this overnight treat. Designed for mature or dry skin (I am both) this overnight cream really moisturises and suits my sensitive skin really well. I wake up with my skin soft and comfortable. It is not a cheap product at £47, but a little goes a long way and I have no doubt this will last quite some time. Do have a look at the reviews on the website, they are really brilliant.

Next up is the Facial Detox Purifying Facial Mask.

Elemental HerbologyThis is a product my chin and nose has been crying out for. My skin is cursed with blemishes, even at the grand age of 41, but what I really struggle with is that the spots are in combination with dry skin and sensitive skin. Often products designed for spots, are far too harsh or drying for me. This beautiful mask is made with Honey, Aloe and Calendula to soothe, Oat Flour and Allantoin to exfoliate gently and Clay to help eliminate the toxins. Its the combination of these, that mean this is helpful for my skin and it allows me to use it all over (instead of just the problem areas) without risking aggravating my dryness. It smells amazing (eucalyptus, cedarwood, lavender and rosemary) and is a pleasure to use. I have some congestion and I have found it helps to bring the bumps out. While it is suitable for my fussy face, if you have more tolerant skin you might find it a bit too gentle for you. For me this is a must have product, but at £38 for 75ml, you’ll want to be sure it suits your skin.

Finally I’ve been trying out Hand Nutrition Intensive Hand and Nail Repair Cream.

Elemental HerbologyI’m a bit of a horror when it comes to hand creams, I have them, I have them everywhere, on my desk, on my bedside table, in my handbag, but I always forget to use them. I don’t get terribly dry hands so I guess that has something to do with why I’m so bad, but I have forced myself to give this a good go and I’m pleased I have. Hand Nutrition is for dry and sun-damaged hands and is rich in Omegas 3, 6 and 9. It smells nice and seems to moisturise well. Since I’ve been crocheting up a storm I do tend to notice when I have dry patches as they snag on my yarn, and in addition, its also important that when I do use a hand cream it absorbs quickly so I can carry on with my work. This cream isn’t the fastest to absorb I’ve ever tried, but it doesn’t take ages either, and it doesn’t leave a residue if I rub it in properly. It stops any snaggy bits of dryness there and then. What more could you ask for? This one is £16.

I’ve been really impressed with the Elemental Herbology products I’ve tried, and keen to explore the range further and see if I can find a routine that would suit my skin for once and for all, my only hesitation with that is the prices are a little higher than I’d like, but for the right products, I’d pay whatever was necessary within reason!

Oh and final comment, I love the beautiful, simple packaging. Its very attractive.

Please do take a look at the Elemental Herbology to see the full range of products and for more information.

*All items received free of charge for review purposes

Happy Monday!

Today I’m blogging about a brand I’ve never tried before, Docteur Renaud, and in particular the Iris Discovery Kit.

I adore trying new skincare products but with my skin, trying new things rarely agrees with me. I’m 41 so, I guess you’d say I was ageing (in skincare terms), I have a terribly dry nose, and frequently get spots on my chin. In addition to this charming sounding skin, lots of products seem to break me out. As a result of this I blog far less about skincare now than I used to. I remember the heady days when I was chosen as one of 4Beauty’s top ten skincare blogs, sadly these days that just wouldn’t be possible!

That said, I do still try things out from time to time, I’m still perfecting my routine. I’m just more careful about what I try.

I hadn’t actually really heard about Docteur Renaud until Samantha from Coco Butter Blog mentioned it in her Bloggers Talk Beauty feature. I was then delighted to be given an opportunity to try the range out for myself. Namely the Iris Discovery Kit.

Docteur Renaud Iris The Docteur Renaud is a French brand devoted to the finest natural ingredients and harnessing the power of plants to create effective, natural skincare products and treatments.

The Iris Discover Kit is aimed at Anti-Aging results and contains Iris Lift Mask 20ml, Iris Firming Lift Cream 5ml and Iris Lift Radiance Serum 5ml, all housed within a beautiful box and who can resist products that come wrapped in tissue paper! The Kit retails at £9.

Docteur Renaud IrisAll of the products are lovely. The Iris Lift Mask  aims to stimulate collagen synthesis for a smoothing and firming effect.  I found that after use my skin did feel incredibly smooth to touch but also a tiny bit plumper and therefore fine lines looked slightly diminished, I can’t say anyone would notice, but it was enough for me to notice (in my x5 magnifiying mirror!) and I would definitely use this again (and indeed I have some left so will keep going until its gone). I can only imagine that results would be greater combined with the rest of the range and with regular use.

The Iris Lift Radiance Serum is just what I have been looking for as my regime is lacking a serum at the moment as so many I try break me out. Not so with this one. It’s a highly concentrated fluid that promised to lift the features on application. As with all claims such as these, don’t go looking for miracles, they don’t exist, but absolutely everything (particularly under my eyes), looked a bit less saggy!

Finally the Iris Firming Lift Cream, a really beautiful moisturiser. Often with anti-ageing products, they are too heavy and rich for my skin, but this is lovely and moisturising while not being too heavy. It sinks into my skin nicely and leaves it feeling moisturised. A very nice moisturiser indeed.

This is a fantastic way to try out products and I really enjoyed using them all, each is lightly, but beautifully, scented and they are a pleasure to use.

I can’t thoroughly review in terms of the effects on my skin because there isn’t enough product to thoroughly test but I can say I would definitely be happy to recommend the products as my two main skin concerns (dryness and acne) were not aggravated, while the dryness was helped. For someone with skin as tricksy as mine, that’s really good going.

The Docteur Renaud Iris Discovery Kit is exclusively available from Skin Evolution who are the only UK stockists of the brand, they stock the whole line as well as the Carrot Discovery Kit which is designed for a glowing complexion.

*Products received free of charge for review purposes.


I’ve tried many a highlighter over the years in creams and gels and powders, some have been great, some have been average and some have been terrible. Somehow though, I’d not managed to try the cult Mac Strobe Cream.

It’s fair to say that I love powder highlighters best of all, but finding a good one can be difficult, many are far too shimmery or far too glittery, and they often don’t look natural. Which is fine if you are young but at 41 I’m looking for a subtle highlight. Powders are also, in my opinion, the quickest and easiest way to add a touch of glow, but, as mentioned, it’s not always the most natural look.

Mac’s Strobe Cream  has long been loved by professionals and consumers alike for its ability to brighten dull skin, not only by highlighting but with ingredients carefully chosen to do good, such as vitamins and green tea.

Anyway, I treated myself to the Sized to Go travel size Strobe Cream recently, which at £10 for 30ml seemed like a good way to give it a go.

Mac Strobe CreamActually, you need so little product, this 30ml travel size will last me a very long time indeed. The full size is 50ml and retails at £24.50 so unless you highlight lots of faces daily, grab the travel size!

It smells lovely, and its moisturising too, and as I’ve mentioned, a little goes a very long way. While it is officially a cream, it has a gel like feel to me. It’s really light and cool on the skin, but it applies like a cream. I suppose if you didn’t need much in the way of moisture, you could use this alone but with my dry skin, I find it works best over moisturiser.

Mac Strobe Cream Mac Strobe Cream

You can use this in several ways, apply it all over under your foundation for a dewy finish, or mix it with your foundation for more glow or alternatively you can blend in where required on top of your base to highlight specific areas. I’ve tried all ways and they all work well. If you choose to wear it on top of foundation it can take a little care not to mess up your base, but it is possible with the two foundations I tried.

The effect is magic. It doesn’t look like you’re wearing a highlighter, it looks like your skin, or foundation are glowing.

Mac Strobe Cream Mac Strobe CreamI absolutely love this product. I’m permanently tired and headachy and this helps me fake a healthier look with ease. With my spot prone skin I was concerned this might break me out, but it does nothing of the sort, it’s just so light.

I would highly recommend this product to tired mummies, those with dull or tired skin or anyway looking for a bit more oomph in their complexion, I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to try out. A word of warning though, add too much and although you won’t look glittery, you’ll be so glowy you’ll look like a mannequin so go lightly, if you’re nervous, definitely go for the under foundation option, its the most natural effect.

I bought mine from my local Mac Store.

Hello! I’m back from our week in Cornwall, which was, in truth, up and down but I think I’ll save that for another family post as no doubt it’ll be a bit of a depressing ramble.

Today we’ll stick with happy, lovely beauty products and I’m delighted to share with you some new products from Balance Me.

Meet the Balance Me Restore and Replenish Collagen Boost Cream Cleanser and Face Cream*.

Balance Me Restore and ReplenishI really Balance Me. I like their whole ethos of combining natural ingredients with science to create effective skincare, and I like that the products deliver as well.

As I’ve explained in recent skincare posts, this isn’t so much a review as I’m too scared to chop and change products at the moment, but more of a look at this new launch here post.

So, the Restore and Replenish products have been two years in the making, thanks to the science-led peptide complex to protect, and maintain skin cells healthy, youthful structure. This complex contains Tri-Peptide to support and stabilise the collagen helix, Pea Peptide that contains 22 amino acids, making this a concentrated source of nutrients, Hyaluronic Acid for immediate skin plumping and Blackberry Leaf Extract, a powerful anti-oxidant. Combined, these ingredients promise to increase collagen synthesis, as well as protect the skins structure while plumping and smoothing the skins surface.

Balance Me Restore and ReplenishThe Restore and Replenish Cream Cleanser (£18/125ml) is designed to remove all traces of make up, without causing dryness or irritation. And it sure does, not a scrap was left on my face when I tried this out. Suitable for all skin types, this leaves skin clean and refreshed. It also smells beautiful.

The Restore and Replenish Face Cream (£40/50ml) is beautiful. As with the Cream Cleanser, the smell is gorgeous. It hydrates my dry skin very well, without causing blemishes, and my skin feels smooth to the touch. Its really lovely.

As I say, I am not doing a full review of these products as I am sticking with my usual skincare line for the time being until my face is back on an even keel, but if you are in the market for new skincare and you are looking for anti-ageing products suitable for sensitive skin, as well as an emphasis on natural ingredients, look no further. Despite my limited trial of these products I would not hesitate to recommend. Balance Me have never let me down!

Available from Balance Me online.

*Products received free of charge for review purposes.



First of all, a huge apology for radio silence on the blog at the moment, the Summer Holidays are proving “testing” and I’m struggling to find time to blog, and once the kids are in bed, there’s a lack of energy! Today however I’ve managed to snatch a bit of time to write 🙂

I didn’t really know anything about Lavera until recently, but I’ve learned that they are an award winning organic and natural skincare brand. Actually their products don’t just include skincare, there are cosmetics, body care, dental care products and much more.

All products are 100% natural with organic ingredients meaning there’s are no synthetic scents, parabens, silicones and other similar ingredients, products are also of course, cruelty free.

I received a couple of items from the Lavera Basis Sensitive Q10 Skin Care Range which has just launched.

Lavera Basis Sensitive Q10I was sent the Basis Sensitive Anti-Ageing Eye Cream with Q10 (£13.95)* as well as the Anti-Ageing night Cream Q10 (£14.95)* to try out.

The Eye Cream is proven to reduce wrinkle depth but also to smooth and firm the skin with the main ingredients being  Co-enzyme Q10 which is full of antioxidants, it also stimulates skin cell regeneration. Also included are Organic Mallow to nourish, soothe and soften, its especially good for sensitive skin, and finally Organic Shea Butter also smooths and moisturises.

It feels wonderfully rich when you apply it but magically isn’t greasy and heavy, I find it quick and easy to gently pat into my skin and I notice an immediate plumping effect which really when it comes to the eye area is half the battle, once the skin is plumped and moisturised it looks less wrinkly! Magic.

The Anti-Ageing Night Cream Q10, I have to confess I haven’t put this through a rigorous trial, simply because I’m so afraid of chopping and changing my skin care given how fickle my face is. The cream itself is light in texture and doesn’t seem to be greasy at all, while it promises to firm the skin as well as increase skin elasticity. It’s formulated with Co-enzyme Q10, as with the Eye Cream, along with Organic Jojoba and Shea Butter.

Both of these products are ideal for ageing skin, especially (but not exclusively) if your skin is sensitive. The soothing ingredients make these products ideal. Also in the range is a Moisturiser and Face Mask.

These products are available from Whole Foods, Holland & Barrett and selected organic stores, as of 1st August.

24. 07. 2015

Sad times have slowly happened over the last six months or so. I’ve been using Aveda skincare for years now, and have recommended to everyone, its amazing stuff that my skin loved…until it didn’t anymore. After several months of terrible skin it was time to face facts, my skin care routine wasn’t working for me any more. It’s definitely not Aveda’s fault, the products didn’t change, but I guess my skin did, its pretty much happened with every brand I’ve ever used.

My realisation that I need to switch things up came, unfortunately, at a time where I had not a huge amount of money, and of course its an absolute nightmare to find products that work on acne, but that aren’t designed for oily teenage skin. I’m not sure what led me to Mario Badescu, I know that sometime ago someone recommended the range to me, alas I can’t recall who it was, but regardless, I’m glad I tried it out.

First thing to mention is that its not an easy brand to find in the UK. The only stockist I could find was Beauty Bay. The other thing to mention is the range is huge and its hard to know which products to start with, and that’s where the Mario Badescu site is amazing. Not only can you sort products out by skin concern on the site, but you can also fill in some questions and have a regime prescribed to you, which they’ll send to your inbox. If that’s not good enough or if you have specific questions, they have live customer service which I used twice and got excellent advice on both occasions.

My skin had become incredibly dry and flaky, all over my cheeks and nose, while my chin was absolutely covered in a wide variety of spots, from big cystic spots to small bumps under the skin and whiteheads thrown in for good measure. I bought all the products recommended to me.

Mario BadescuThe Enzyme Cleansing Gel (£11.95) is a non foaming gel cleanser and contains papaya extracts as well as alpha hydroxy acids. It feels great on my skin and removes all my make up with no worries, even mascara and liquid liner. I found it totally non-drying and my skin felt clean and soft after washing. I rub in and rinse off with hot water and a cloth.

I follow this step up with the Seaweed Cleansing Lotion (£12.95), which is actually your toner. Containing no alcohol, this does contain witch hazel, seaweed and aloe to soothe and disinfect dry, sensitive skin.

My day moisturiser is the Oil Free Moisturiser (£16.50). It’s so simple and no frills, I was hesitant, but along with the rest of the products it seems to be doing the trick, my cheeks and nose had lost their flakiness within about three days and it’s never returned. It’s non-comedogenic and fragrance free and quickly absorbed.

My night cream is the Seaweed Night Cream (£18.75). This little pot of green cream is magic. Oil free and non greasy it contains collagen and hyaluronic acid and softens, hydrates while not clogging.

Finally I bought the famous Drying Lotion (£12.50).

Mario Badescu Drying LotionThis little bottle contains calamine and salicylic acid and is for use on whiteheads overnight. You dip a cotton bud into the bottle, down into the pink layer (don’t shake the bottle!) and apply to any blemishes. It will dry in little white/pink patches on your face and if your husband is juvenile like mine is, he will laugh at you. It will reduce spots really quickly and it doesn’t seem to dry out my surrounding skin at all.

While I was pleased with the moisturising-without-clogging, and I liked the drying properties of the Drying Lotion, I felt the spots were still coming thick and fast, which at 41 is pretty depressing. So I decided to buy a few more products to step it up a notch.

Mario BadescuThe Buffering Lotion (£15.50) is similar to the Drying Lotion but this time you need to shake it, and its for cystic spots, the deep big kind.  It’s sulfur based and is quickly absorbed into the skin. It also contains ingredients too soothe and take away redness, while promoting  healing. I love it. Nothings going to get rid of cystic acne in record time, but this does stop them getting quite so big and takes a day or two off their life span I reckon.

The Glycolic Foaming Cleanser (£13.30) is a foaming cleanser for dull, congested skin. I only use this twice a week (mondays and thursdays if you’re interested!). It leaves my skin feeling unbelievably clean and smooth without feeling dry.

The Glycolic Acid Toner (£15.50) is an exfoliating toner for dry and sensitive skin. Containing 2% glycolic acid, grapefruit extract and aloe it exfoliates, refreshes and is a Beauty Bay best seller. I use this as my evening toner, every day, while the Seaweed Cleansing Lotion has now become my morning toner.

I can’t believe I have never reached for Glycolic Acid before, it seems to be the key ingredient my skin has been missing. All my congestion as gone, my skin felt bumpy to the touch, but thats all gone now, but it took a little while to for the results to show. I find my skin is more glowy and plump looking which in turn makes my fine lines look far less obvious.

I cannot recommend these products highly enough, for me they have been fantastic. I suspect I’m always going to be spot prone, but now they are far less frequent and they go much faster, and my skin is smooth, and well moisturised, with moisturisers that don’t give me spots.

Highly recommended, and as I say, the range is huge so whatever your skin type, there are products for you. I bought all of these products with my own money and have already replaced the Enzyme Cleansing Gel once, a great, well priced, effective brand and I’m amazed I don’t read or hear more about them.



I’ve had a few days hiatus, life’s been a bit busy (even though the girls have been away for a couple of days), but anyway, here I am back again with another Fortune Cookie Soap post. I only did my last one last week I think but I had my soap box arrive this morning and I couldn’t wait to blog about it!

I’m not a fan of subscription boxes. Never have been, I think a box full of samples I don’t want is totally unappealing (although once or twice there have been exceptions), until I learned about the Fortune Cookie Soap (FCS) Box Subscription. As you may already know FCS are based in the states, and regularly release new themed bath and body collections, but four (I think?) times a year they release big seasonal collections. The Box subscription allows you to get a box of 8 samples (decent sized ones at that) from the main collections, before the collection is released, so you can plan your orders and get a good first look. As well as a generous amount of samples, you also get a $10 (£6.52) voucher for your next order. Each box costs $34 including shipping which works out at £22.17. I’d say it’s well worth it. Its a real treat.

Soooo, I got my Spring Soap Box this morning and the theme is Wonderland. I imagine its a theme that will appeal to many.

Fortune Cookie Soap WonderlandP1160521I’d be surprised if you’ve seen a nicer looking subscription beauty box!

So lets take a closer look at what’s inside!

First of all, this little cutie, its a sweet touch.

P1160525Onto the products.

Starting with the Almost Alice Fortune Cookie Soap

P1160532Fresh green snap peas, juicy pears, sweet pea flowers, freesia and ripe berries. Really fresh and floral.

Twisted Tea Party Bath Tea

P1160530 This is incredible, I’m just gutted I don’t enjoy baths. I think what FCS excel at is innovative fun products and this fits the bill. It’s a tea bag for your bath. Green tea, sweet herbs, vanilla bean, cucumber, golden amber, neroli, geranium and spearmint. Just toss it in your bath and infuse!

Who Are You? Incense Cones

P1160528 P1160529Crisp ripe pear, limes, vanilla orchid and raw cane sugar, these are fabulous. Pop one on a non-flammable surface, light the tip and let it burn for 10 seconds, then extinguish. The scented smoke will fill your room. if thats not your thing, pop the sachet in your undies drawer for perfectly scented pants 🙂

It’s Only a Dream Whipped Cream

WhippedcreamThe Whipped Creams are one of my favourite FCS products. Light and fluffy but deeply moisturising. The scents have really great staying power on your skin and this pale pink beauty is gorgeous. Verbena, lemongrass, calla lily, citrus, leafy greens, ylang-ylang, rosewood, ozone and hints of rose and soft musk. It’s Spring in a jar. Gorgeous.

Off With Their Heads Bath Bomb

P1160531The classic bath bomb in mini version, this sweet little heart is covered in dried rose petals. The scent is Meyer lemons, oranges, wild roses, violets, star jasmine, bergamot and egyptian musk. Again I’m sorry I dislike baths so much, it smells beautiful.

Futterwacken Body Wash

P1160524Sun warmed lilies with grapefruit and fresh air. A beautiful spring, morning wash. The body washes are all excellent.

Eat Me Perfume Oil

P1160535My absolute favourite FCS products, the perfume oils are amazing blends of amazing ingredients. Eat Me is yellow cake with vanilla frosting, pineapple and cilantro (coriander). The coriander makes this really interesting. It’s not your average foodie scent. I applied at 10am, I can still smell it now. Beautiful.

Finally, We’re All Mad Here OCD

OCDI love the OCD’s. In fact I have far too many to get through. Bascially handbag sized hand sanitizers, these are heavily scented and not at all drying (well not if you don’t use them too much – I’ve not experienced any dryness). I have one on my desk, one in my handbag, one on my bedside table, one in the kitchen, one in my car and a few more in storage and I’m not particularly OCD about cleanliness! This pink beauty has a hint of shimmer and is mint water, rich cedarwood and leafy greens. Super clean and very Spring-like!

All in all, a very impressive box. A couple of products I won’t use because I shower rather than bathe, but I’ve already got swaps lined up for those.

I’d highly recommend the FCS Soap Box for anyone, they are beautiful, unusual and smell glorious. You can’t sign up for this box as they are all sold (but the Wonderland collection launches very soon), but you can sign up for the Summer box now. All the info you need is HERE.