Nuts for Coconut Oil

 

 

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Following on from this post, in which I explained my recent foray into the world of coconut oil and its mythical powers, I decided to write a little post on how I’m getting on with my tubs of coconut oil, and whether I feel it’s worth the hype being lavished upon it. As I mentioned previously, I bought my über-glam plastic tubs in the foreign food aisle in Tesco for €1.99. You can buy coconut oil for as expensive as you’re willing to pay, particularly in health shops. While I haven’t tried any of the pricier options, I really can’t see them performing any differently to my bog-standard pure coconut oil, except for the inclusion of a coconut scent. As much as I love all things coconut-scented, I doubt I’ll be paying the guts of €20 for the privilege…

I’ve been using coconut oil predominantly as a make-up cleanser, and I’ve been very impressed with how every last bit of foundation just melts away as I massage it in. Being honest, it feels far more luxurious than the average micellar water, and much gentler too. Ever try to cleanse with a cotton pad that’s too dry? None of that with coconut oil, I tells ya! On top of that, it makes short work of waterproof mascara and liquid eyeliner, which is ideal if your eyes are prone to sensitivity, or you don’t like pulling at them. With the weather being so warm here in Ireland lately, the oil has softened and I’ve simply been scooping out a €1-sized blob of coconut oil, massaging it in for a minute, and then wiping off with a hot cloth. Simple as that. I do follow it up with a clay-based cleanser, to ensure there’s absolutely nothing left to clog my pores, but generally my skin feels very clean even before the second cleanse.

While coconut oil is too heavy for me to use as a daily facial moisturiser, I’ve found it to be the business for stubborn, thick dry areas like elbows and ankles. You only need to spread a small amount on the area and, sure enough, it’ll be softened and soothed in no time. I have an unfortunate patch of dermatitis/psoriasis/pain-in-the-neck-itis at the front of my scalp, right on the hairline. Some nights I apply lashings of coconut oil directly onto the patch, and wash it out in the morning (making sure to shampoo twice). The itchiness is soothed really nicely, which is a godsend, and the entire area is far less flaky and gross. Coconut oil is possibly the cheapest intensive moisturiser out there; you’d be mad not to try it!

Another nifty little use for coconut oil is leg shaving. It’s possibly the least glamorous but most basic form of personal maintenance, but coconut oil makes it that bit easier. Just smooth a dollop onto wet skin and off you go. I was worried it would make things very slippy, resulting in a nasty nick or too. But it’s just as easy as using shaving foam (or hair conditioner, in my case…), and no cuts in sight yet! I love using it during a luxuriant bath, actually. I find I can get a closer shave using coconut oil and, perhaps the best part, it leaves a residue on the skin that sinks in and moisturises with minimal effort. If I can shave my legs and moisturise them in one go, then I’m one happy, lazy girl.

Lastly, I’ve been using coconut oil here and there in my cooking. While I’m not completely sure about its nutritional value, I believe that coconut oil contains more good fats than regular cooking oil, and is supposedly one of the best fats to cook with. I find it perfect for frying chicken and vegetables for stirfries and curries, and I’d imagine it can be used in place of olive oil in almost any recipe. I’ve been supplying my boyfriend’s house with coconut oil for their cooking, as they can’t buy it in their local Tesco… it’s not just some girly fad, apparently!

I have even more experiments planned for my humble tub of coconut oil. One of these days I’m going to buy lavender and tea tree essential oils, and mix a little of both with the oil to create a hydrating, antibacterial, soothing, spot-fighting treatment for my skin. Also, if my hair starts to dry out while I’m on my holidays in Spain, my coconut oil will be waiting diligently at home to put my locks to rights once more. Where there’s coconut oil, there’s a way…

 

How do you use yours?

Em X

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La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo[+]

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La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo[+] has gained cult status since its release, with beauty bloggers singing its praises like nothing else. And when I first tried the original Effaclar Duo, I too was really impressed with how brilliantly it helped my congested skin. A short spell over winter last year when Effaclar Duo was absent from my life led to a god-awful breakout, but it was soon soothed once I reintroduced Effaclar Duo to my skincare regime. I’d been using it twice a day since, until I went to repurchase it, and found Effaclar Duo[+] in its place. Not only did it promise the pore-unblocking powers of the original, it also claimed to fade acne scarring too. Sold? Yes I was.

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The basic premise of Effaclar Duo[+] is to unclog pores, reduce shine and refine the skin’s texture, all the while being suitable for sensitive skin. It contains that wonderful spot-fighting ingredient, salicylic acid: a great thing to look for in acne-related skincare. The packaging is clean and hygienic, with a tiny nozzle to ensure minimum contamination. A tube of this, costing roughly €17-€20 (depending on where you shop), lasts me about three months or more of twice-daily use. In that regard, it’s pretty good value for money.

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Effaclar Duo[+] has a thin, white serum-type formula that sinks into the skin almost immediately. If your skin isn’t too oily, it would make a great primer as it gently mattifies the skin. The scent is difficult to describe; all I can say is that it smells typical of French pharmacy products, pleasant without being overly perfumed. Although it is supposed to be suitable for sensitive skin, I have found it to sting particularly bad spots, and my skin is fairly robust. That being said, I use it as much as I brush my teeth, so there is always scope to use it on a less regular basis if it’s a little harsh.

I think the most important thing to understand when using Effaclar Duo[+] is that it’s not an overnight skin fixer. It’s not going to clear up any active spots, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t see results instantly. Instead, it seems to work deeper in the skin, combatting those red, painful cystic spots that seem to cause the most havoc and take the longest to heal. Give it a month to let it do its thing before you write it off. I still get the odd mini-Vesuvius around that time of the month but, on the whole, it keeps the ugliest feckers at bay. I still get plenty of congested pores but my skin is a very difficult beast at the best of times, and I’d imagine that most people would see a great improvement in their skin using Effaclar Duo[+] regularly. I mostly keep using it out of fear of the consequences of forgoing it; I did it once and it was bad enough not to let it happen again! Unfortunately the [+] aspect of Duo is where it falls down for me; my acne scars haven’t really faded at all in the few months since I began using this. It’s a bit disappointing but I understand that these things don’t heal overnight. I’ll keep up Effaclar Duo [+] anyway, because it’s an effective element in my overall routine, and I could end up seeing results eventually!

Overall, I definitely would recommend Effaclar Duo[+] to anyone with problem skin. We’re all different, and I can only give my opinion based on my experience, but it’s absolutely worth a trial. 

Have you tried the Effaclar range before?

Em X

Clarins Everlasting Foundation

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Another day, another foundation review. This purchase was borne out of a desire for a foundation which offered decent coverage while not masking my face entirely.  Full coverage is all well and good, but summer is in full swing over here, and the last thing I want to do is plaster on the slap like I would in the middle of winter. Continuing my Clarins love affair, I first researched their Ever Matte Foundation before deciding its coverage may not be up to the task, and looked into their Everlasting Foundation instead, which promised higher coverage and a long-lasting formula. At first glance, this is pretty reminiscent of a certain Estée Lauder number, but Clarins Everlasting Foundation is a different beast.

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The packaging is stunning;a real dressing table piece, with the frosted glass bottle and gold lid. Sure, it’s not one for tossing into the handbag but it feels weighty and substantial – not a bad thing for the €31 price tag. Also, there is a pump, rather than a fiddly open-necked bottle. Rejoice.

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After some humming and hawwing, I plumped for the shade 105 Nude. Kudos to Clarins for a decent shade range on the paler end of things; ordinarily I would find the palest shade in a particular foundation to be the tiniest bit too dark, but 105 is actually the second-palest, with 103 Ivory being truly pale. For someone who is sallow and tans quite well, my usual skintone is surprisingly pale. 105 Nude is a great match for my white-ish jawline, with the perfect amount of both yellow and peachy warmth.

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Clarins Everlasting Foundation makes quite a few claims, which are largely true, I’m pleased to say. As well as what’s mentioned in the above photograph of the classic red box, it promises 15 hours of ‘impeccable coverage and total comfort’, using a ‘high-fidelity system’ to leave an invisible veil on the face, setting the foundation for even, long-lasting wear. And as if that wasn’t enough, ‘Clarins’ exclusive Light-Optimizing Complex instantly captures, diffuses and magnifies light. Fine lines and small imperfections are visibly minimized and the complexion appears even and luminous’. So there you go.

I can’t vouch for any fancy-pants technological gimmicks, or state for certain that they actually work. All I can tell you is that this is a lovely foundation to wear. The finish is something I’ve never seen in a foundation; it’s not a flat matte, more of a satin matte of the kind I’ve never seen before. It gives the skin a soft, supple appearance and it is incredibly flattering, even on problem skin. In fact, my boyfriend noticed the difference it made, judging by his ‘You face looks nice’ comment in the cheese aisle at Tesco. And they say romance is dead.

The coverage is medium-full, which I’m pretty happy with. Concealer is necessary, but that goes without saying when you’ve got skin like mine. The real selling point here is a decent level of coverage that doesn’t blot out any natural radiance; a tough balance to strike. Wear-time is pretty decent, with primer. It does tend to separate around my nose after maybe 7 hours, but it’s nothing a little powder won’t fix. Shine does tend to show through, which is worth noting if you’re after a true matte finish. For an Everlasting Foundation, there is a pretty substantial amount of cleansing to be done at the end of the day. Mission accomplished, I’d say.

The photographs I took don’t really do justice to the gorgeous finish of this foundation. Trust me though, it’s lovely. Also, I was pretty tired that evening, and rushing out the door for dinner with the parents; hence the odd expressions.

Primed, sans foundation.
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Foundation only, no concealer etc. I’m pretty in love with this shade, I must say.
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Full face, including wonky eyeliner. Oh, well.
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Have you ever used Clarins foundations before? Which is your favourite foundation for summertime?

Em X

Beauty Blogger Problems

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Do you ever have one of those days where you want to blog about something, but you’re not sure what? Well today is one of those days for me, so I thought I’d do something a little more light-hearted instead! Being a beauty blogger is really enjoyable but, like anything, it comes with its own little bugbears that I’m sure other bloggers will get!

1. Not being able to find decent lighting in your house, so all your artfully posed photographs look painfully dull.

2. Being really impatient to write a review on something, but you just can’t make up your mind on it, so your post makes absolutely no sense.

3. Your bank balance looking terribly forlorn, and your wages performing an elaborate disappearing act every week.

4. Forgetting to upload your photos to your computer before beginning a new post.

5. Having no room in the bathroom for all your skincare; a third of which you might use on a daily basis.

6. Getting the urge to blog at a terribly inconvenient time, like 11:30pm on a Sunday. Been there, done that, drunk all the coffee on Monday.

7. Not being able to make an impromptu beauty purchase anymore. Must. Research. First!

8. Rotating the same two pairs of jeans and four tops because you’ve spent too much on make-up, again.

9. The compulsion to scrutinise everyone’s make-up. I’m pretty sure I’ve been caught staring at people on the bus, whilst merely wondering what foundation they’re wearing.

10. The magnetic pull of any Boots store, especially when there isn’t one where you live. It’s like Mecca for me.

11. The cost and research involved in building up a foundation wardrobe; the most unnecessary necessity ever.

12. The fear of wasting great make-up on an insignificant day.

13. The dire consequences of a skincare experiment gone wrong. 

14. Beauty blogger envy, be it of their products, their photography, or their way with words.

15. The disaster that unfolds when you mess up your liquid eyeliner.

 

Anything to add to the list? 😉

Em X

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner: First Impressions

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My apologies for a slight lack in posting recently; a spot of blogger’s block combined with tiredness are to blame. Regardless, I’m back, and I have a big list of reviews and photographs to arrange into some semblance of order 🙂

And yes, I finally invested in the spotty girl’s Holy Grail product, the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner. As anyone who’s been reading this blog somewhat regularly will remember, this has been sitting on my wishlist for a couple of months but I’d somehow never gotten around to parting with the cash. Ten days ago I finally took the plunge and, having used it every night since, I think it’s time for a little first impressions chinwag.

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The Clarins Brightening Toner is another variation of the chemical exfoliator beast, designed to gently slough away dead skin cells to reveal a fresher, clearer complexion. According to Clarins, it uses extract of tamarind to banish flaky, dead skin cells, and white nettle to refine enlarged pores. Many a beauty blogger has raved about this skincare classic for its renewing properties, putting an end to acne scarring and dullness – two of which my skin is abundant in. 

As I said, I’ve been using the Clarins Brightening Toner every evening after my usual cleanse, applying it liberally with a cotton pad. It smells really pleasant, almost fruity, and has an odd consistency – not ‘wet’ like water, but far more fluid than a cream or lotion. As with all AHA-based products, it’s really important to avoid the sun for the next eight hours after using the toner, and to use SPF when one does venture out. I’ll admit to not being the most diligent when it comes to SPF but I will try harder from here on in!

Naturally, it’s going to take at least a month for me to see any real difference in my complexion from using this toner, as is the case with most skincare products. However, I am beginning to notice some promising changes, which, if anything, affirm my decision to fork out! Firstly, it’s hard to not notice the instant brightening effect the toner has on the complexion; my skin looks brighter and perkier literally as I apply it. My skin is definitely becoming softer in texture too; a big plus as it’s been riddled with little bumps along my jawline, which are slowly subsiding. The slightly flushed appearance in my cheeks is reducing too (hopefully the nose will follow). And best of all, any spots I currently have are healing over and fading at a far faster rate than they ever have. Little spots that had been lingering under the surface are finally coming to a head and then disappearing just as quickly. I’m pretty confident that, as time goes on, my scarring will be all but gone. And that, my friends, is totally worth €31.

I’ll keep you updated as I continue to use the Clarins Brightening Toner and, hopefully, I’ll be just as enthused about it in the future as I am now. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I’d thoroughly recommend this little wonder product to anyone whose complexion is in need of a really big boost. My skin is able to tolerate nightly use but those with more sensitive or dryer skin may need to limit it to 1-3 times a week. As with anything, your skin will dictate its own pace. But hopefully you’ll love it as much as I do!

Have you ever tried skincare from Clarins? Let me know in the comments!

Em X