Just Charlie G

Mother’s Day is looming here in the UK and while I think about my lovely Mum lots, and my Mother in Law, I also think of myself. It’s not because I’m selfish, but rather that I’m required to put together a list for my husband of things I might like from the kids. I had some info through the other day from Institut Esthederm and I’ve got to say, a pamper package of their products sounds right up my street right now. Life is stressful and one thing I could really do with is a good pamper session.

Institut Esthederm products utilise Cellular Water, a key ingredient which optimises the cells’ energy environment and boosts activity. I’m not sure what that means really but I’m hazarding a guess that it basically means it optimises cell turnover which slows down as you age. Well since the ageing stick seems to have given me an almighty whack over the last year, I’m all for optimised energy environments!

If you, or your Mum are looking for a beautiful pamper package for Mother’s Day, give these products a whirl, I’m putting them on my list and crossing my fingers!

Eye Contour Lift Patches (10 x 3ml – £53). Ideal for those who are suffering with jet lag or stress, these promise to eradicate the effects of tiredness, revitalise the skin and plump and tone the eye area. Sign me up!

Intensive AHA Peel 12%, Concentrated Serum (30ml – £59.00). Restores Radiance, encourages the elimination of dead cells and refines the skins surface. Perfect for dull or oily skin.

Intensive Hyaluronic Mask (75ml – £31.00).This mask smooths the skin and rehydrates. By now, there can’t be many beauty lovers who aren’t aware of the benefits of hyaluronic acid, but just in case, hyaluronic acid is a molecule that is naturally present in the skin and it is the skin’s water reserve. This mask rehydrates both the surface of the skin as well as the deeper layers.Find Institut Esthederm at Feel Unique and Look Fantastic.

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!




Eucerin Hyaluron Filler ConcentrateEucerin Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate is the first Hyaluron product I’ve tried that I really can rave about. I know a few years ago hyaluronic acid was the must have ingredient, products were launched and bloggers waxed lyrical about it’s magical properties. The ageing process depletes hyaluronic acid, and as a result the skin’s connective tissue dips and forms wrinkles and fine lines. Hyaluronic Acid retains moisture and therefore helps fight against this ageing process. I tried several hyaluronic acid products, none made any difference to my skin at all and a couple broke me out incredibly badly, so I dismissed the ingredient as hype, not for me, and forgot about it.

I can’t explain what prompted me to try Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate but it ended up in my basket and here we are, several months on, and I’m ready to review.

For £31 (£23.25 at Boots currently) you get 6 5ml vials of product.

Eucerin Hyaluron Filler ConcentrateI have no idea why the product isn’t in one single 30ml bottle, it makes no sense particularly since the vials aren’t single use, but it’s not a complaint, I like the vials, they are cute to use. Apparently one vial contains a weeks worth of product, using it twice a day. I think that’s a conservative estimate, mine has lasted longer than six weeks and I frequently use slightly too much product. I wouldn’t be surprised if this lasted more like six months.  To use, you just shake the bottle and apply all over your face, neck and chest if required! As I say, a small amount goes a very long way.

Honestly, this stuff is amazing. First and foremost, no break outs, hooray! On application it is absorbed really quickly leaving your skin so smooth and soft its amazing. I usually finish with moisturiser, but not always, even though I love my moisturiser it just doesn’t leave my skin as smooth as this stuff does so occasionally I skip my moisturiser. Not only is this stuff really hydrating on my dry skin but it makes for an amazing make up base. I do usually follow with moisturiser though, like a good girl!

I believe this has eliminated my dry patches, its added a touch of glow to my skin and everything seems a bit plumper and less patchy and wrinkly in general. Genuinely impressive stuff. Suits my fussy 40–something year old skin very well and finally I’ve been able to see why hyaluronic acid has been so lauded.

Huge recommend!



Docteur Renaud iris lift serumI recently blogged about the Docteur Renaud Iris Discovery Kit which I really enjoyed using. The Kit included small sample of several products from the Iris Anti-Ageing range, including the Iris Lift Radiance Serum. Since then I’ve been trying out a full size version of the Iris Lift Radiance Serum. I absolutely lovely the bottle, there’s something so gorgeous about the white glass bottle, which is of course a hygienic pump.

Docteur Renaud iris lift serum

At £46 for a 30ml bottle its a relief that a tiny amount goes a long way.

You use the serum twice a day before applying moisturiser and in terms of texture, its an absolute dream, it’s incredibly light and makes your skin feel so incredibly smooth and soft. In terms of scent, it’s light and floral, not at all offensive to my nose, in fact it smells gorgeous and its pearly and pretty too.

The Iris flower is wonderful for the skin thanks to it’s ability to strengthen the dermis and to limit the degradation of proteins that constitute skin structure, therefore, its the ideal ingredient for an anti-ageing range. I find the serum offers an immediate effect on my skin, with fine lines looking less obvious and everything looking a touch plumper, in a good way. The radiance aspect of the serum is the bit I find more gradual, and I do believe that after a good month of use (including the small sample size I had before) my skin does indeed look a little brighter. I am still suffering with spots, but they have got no worse, and to be frank I’d not expect this product to address that issue, it is however a relief that it has not made this problem worse. Serums are often “trigger” products for me, causing me terrible break outs, but this has not been the case with this product, even with prolonged use.

If you have skin like mine, that seems to break out with everything, then I’d definitely recommend checking this out if you want to add a serum to your routine. I’ve been without a serum for quite some time now and am very pleased to have filled that gap.

You can purchase the Docteur Renaud Iris Lift Radiance Serum at Skin Evolution where it is £46 for 30ml. Remember a little goes a very long way and I’d estimate that my bottle is well over half full still, after twice daily use for approximately a month.

*Product 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.


It’s one of the great ironies in my life, that I’m so passionate about skincare products, but I can’t try many as my skin reacts quickly and violently to products that aren’t right for me Okay, so violently may be something of an exaggeration but if I’m not using the right products for me then my skin either dries out horribly or breaks out horribly and if I’m especially unlucky then its a combination of both.

One brand I can always trust is Aromatherapy Associates. And I’ve been trying out the Aromatherapy Associates Instant Skin Soothing Serum* for a couple of months now and it’s time to report back.

Aromatherapy Associates Instant Skin Soothing SerumI’ve been using the Soothing Face Oil for a long time now and I love it, it moisturises but doesn’t break me out so I was keen to give this a whirl too. Actually, if memory serves me well I have tried this product before, but it must have been a long time ago.

I’ve said before that I’ve never had a dud Aromatherapy Associates product and that still holds true, I’m aware that I sound over-enthusiastic sometimes but the products really are this good and the Instant Skin Soothing Serum is no different.

The serum contains prebiotics to maintain the skins barrier, Cotton Thistle Extract to support the natural process of skin renewal, while arnica and camomile soothe irritated skin. As with all Aromatherapy Associates products, it smells gorgeous, but what I love best of all is how well it works on my skin, whatever its condition. If I’m a bit dry, this hydrates, if I’m spotty this soothes and cools redness, helping to reduce swelling, its just a great addition to anyone’s skincare routine, whatever your issues might be.

The texture is light and traditional (in terms of serums) and skins in fast meaning you can just go ahead and apply your make up on top, but I tend to go use this under my moisturiser.

As with all Aromatherapy Associates products I find the price is higher than I think I’d like but when you try the products out, its easy to see they are extremely high quality.

This is a truly effective range of products, and if they suit your budget I would absolutely encourage you to try them out.

The Aromatherapy Associates Instant Skin Soothing Serum is £47.00 for 50ml and you can purchase it from the Aromatherapy Associates Website.

*Product received free of charge for review purposes.

Balance Me Facial Expression FillerIf ever there was a product that made huge promises with just it’s name alone, Balance Me Facial Expression Filler* is it. I had visions of looking botoxed and fillered to the max with this product, but no, its not that much of a miracle, I’m not sure such a product even exists in terms of skincare, but for £22 this little tube does have some great effects on my skin.

I love the Balance Me brand, they use great ingredients and this serum contains rose, frankincense and bergamot which smell beautiful of course but are all useful ingredients too. But then there’s acacia gum to firm, lift and refine the surface of the skin and acmella oleracea extract which soothes and relaxes contracted muscles. And added into that potent mix the current must have ingredient, Hyraluronic Acid to plump and smooth the skin.  You’re looking at a winning formula.

To use, you just need a tiny amount of product, patted directly onto any lines you wish to diminish, so forehead, around the eyes, sides of the mouth and so on before applying make up.

I felt the product was slightly mis-named. I was sort of expecting a product that literally filled lines, to provide a flawless base for make up, and that is not what this is. This is a nourishing, effective, daily use serum that plumps and nourishes the skin so that fine lines are diminished. And for that purpose it really works very well indeed. I noticed lines were less obvious, particularly around my eyes, from the very first use. I am not sure if the effects are cumulative, or if they are wash off at the end of the day, but I think I’m seeing an improvement in my lines even at the end of the day when I’ve washed my face. They’ve not gone, but they are certainly less visible.

So, Balance Me Facial Express Filler, if you’re of a certain age, and those lines are starting to make a nuisance of themselves, I think you should definitely add this little product to your arsenal. I’m really impressed and think this might just be the product I can’t bear to be without!

Available from the Balance Me Website at £22 for 15ml.

*Product received free of charge for review purposes.


I’ve seen a lot of blog posts about this so far so sorry if this is a bit of overkill readers, but to spice things up a bit, this isn’t a review. Generally speaking I like to do reviews only on my blog unless it’s something really exciting, in which case I’ll share it without a review.

This is the case with the Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster. Being described as the generation of self tanner, this certainly is a great new innovation. Suitable for all skin types this is essentially a gradual tan kind of product. It’s a small bottle of serum, 15ml to be exact, but don’t be alarmed, it’s not terribly expensive at £18 and a little goes a very long way.  Basically, mix 1,2 or 3 drops with your day or night cream and apply as usual for a sun kissed glow that is both natural and customisable. So instead of putting tanning products on your face and a) risking break outs if you are that way inclined, and b) risking a streaky orange mess, this is a gentle gradual subtle colour. You can use 1, 2 or 3 drops as I already said and top up as often as required to build up the colour you wish.

It’s properly clever stuff I think!

Now the reason I’ve not tried this (yet) is that I have a proven track history of utterly failing with ALL tanning products, be they gradual or otherwise. I am so pale everything looks orange and unnatural on me and I always get at least one big streak. I do have faith in this product and I would be prepared to try it on my face and I would trust that it would be streak free…but when I’m so deathly, milk bottle, glow in the dark white, I can’t see how having a golden glow on my face won’t look odd….

Until I crack tanning my body, I’m not overly keen on walking around with a mismatched face! BUT, if I was going to, this is the product I’d try it with!

It is usually available from www.clarins.co.uk but is currently out of stock, but I would recommend checking your local counter. I’m sure it will be restocked soon online.

*Disclosure – Sample received free of charge for review purposes*



Kiko Neon Glow Light Effect Serum

I’m late to the Kiko party I know but I really like everything I’ve tried so far. I think the products are well priced, excellent quality and I think they do packaging both exterior and interior, exceptionally well. They make products that look exciting and enticing.

Step forward the Neon Glow Light Effect Serum (£13.90) from the current Dark Heroine collection.  This limited edition product comes in a very glamorous box and inside is quite the pretty thing.

Kiko Neon Glow Light Effect Serum

My husband laughed when I was showing him this because all I could manage to blurt out was “It looks like science!!!!”.

Okay so I thought this was just  primer the give you glow but apparently there’s more to this. Essentially what we have though is a clear gel, the gel promises to hydrate and smooth whilst the helix suspended in the clear gel contains the  brightening reflective pearl particles. Combined the two should hydrate and give you that glow but if that’s not enough they’ve bunged some anti ageing ingredients into the mix too.

When you pump the bottle the the two parts of the serum combine to give you this…

Kiko Neon Glow Light Effect Serum

Once blended out on the skin it is a little on the shimmery side, but magic happens when you put your foundation on top. It masks the shimmery aspect leaving only the glow and it’s really rather lovely. It is not a primer, in that it won’t mask your pores or promise to help your make up stay put longer, but that said it makes a lovely smooth base for your foundation.

A really nice product. I’m not sure it’d work too well if you were to wear a heavy foundation such as Double Wear but for anything light or medium coverage, this will add some nice glow to your skin. Neon is a bit of a misnomer though, but that’s a good thing. No one should look like a human disco ball!

The Kiko Neon Glow Light Effect Serum is £13.90 and is available from the Kiko website.

*Disclosure – PR Sample*

Well hello there. I bring glad tidings!

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex

You may well have already heard but in case you haven’t here’s the skinny. Estee Lauder Advance Night Repair (which I LOVED but stopped using as I wasn’t sure it was helping my spots thanks to my shoddy skin), has been totally revamped and is back and better than ever. I loved this though and got through two bottles. I decided to ditch it when my skin started to get really bad. I don’t blame this at all, but I stripped my regime right back and this had to go. I missed it though as I always felt my skin looked good in the mornings. Anyway, I digress.

Now I won’t lie, I’ve got the press release here and I’ve read and re-read it but it’s way too sciency for me to regurgitate here, I’m not good on science, but here’s what I can glean.

The bottle looks very similar to the previous Advanced Night Repair, the dropper is still there.  Essentially this is less heavy on the silicones, but I think they are still there, don’t quote me on that, I’m not able to find out for sure right now. But other than that it’s been totally reformulated.

It  has new technologies which help the skin to fix and cleanse itself  over night as you sleep, all whilst adding moisture and being less sticky and heavy than the previous formula. Hyaluronic acid is in the mix too for those keen to get on board with beauty’s latest must have ingredient. All of this works together with antioxidants and other sciency sounding ingredients to reduce your wrinkles and to repair along with reducing damage caused by pollution. Result!

If that doesn’t sway you, how about the fact that it’s been put through its paces in trials on over 1,000 women around the world over four weeks and is proven to be suitable for most, if not all, skin types, including those of us with spotty skin. Hoorah.

I hope to be trialling this for myself really soon, but if this doesn’t happen, then I’ll be more than happy to buy and try it out for myself. Sounds amazing.
Prices 30ml £48 and 50ml £65. Cannot wait!

Available Nationwide from August but previewing now  on www.esteelauder.co.uk.