Beauty: Budget Facemasks for Sensitive Skin

My skin is strangely sensitive. It isn’t (overly) spotty if you ignore the hormonal breakout that occurs with impressive regularity, but it definitely objects to certain ingredients. I’ve not managed to quite work out all of these ingredients, although one of them appears to be Vitamin E oil – strange I know, but this brings sore, swollen eczema-like patches all over my face. Ever-so attractive of course. Now, in the past six months or so I’ve loved nothing more than snuggling up to a #lbloggers chat whilst pampering myself with a face mask. It’s the perfect chance to treat any issues my skin decides to present (which varies from oily blackheads, to hormonal pimples, to dry patches), and I’ve managed to try a few different masks. You can read about my Lush experience here, but here’s my latest loves and hates.

 photo dec2879f-3ec2-47a9-b769-b0717ac569f0_zps011d59aa.jpgMy favourite mask of the bunch just so happens to be the first one I ever purchases. Bodyshop’s Warming Mineral mask is very spa-like – smells gorgeous (a little spicy) with just the right amount of warming to feel tingly without worrying my face will fall off. It’s a little difficult to rinse off, but the results are worth it. Any muck is drawn out of pores, and my skin is left feel soft. It is a little drying, but I’ve found even if I don’t moisturise and go off to bed my skin is fine the next day. I’ve also found that I get little spots if I don’t use this at least twice a week, so it’s now firmly in my bathroom for after-hairwash use. Love love this one!

 photo 8955f3a5-a301-4212-8a6d-b1f5409204fd_zps3bc5f81a.jpgNow it’s on to the hates. I was probably inappropriately excited when I found out Aldi were releasing two facemasks. Something affordable and that I can pick up on my weekly shop, what more could I want?! The first disappointment was the price. They were £3.99 which I felt was a little pricey for Aldi. The boxes seemed big enough though, so I trundled off to the tills with both in my basket. Second disappointment? The size of the actual bottles. These are pretty tiny, and I can’t say I’m impressed. Most of the money seems to go on the brush, which in my opinion is just a gimmick. The worst thing though was the reaction I had to the Nutri-Build-Up mask – a bright red face, swelling, itchy and a lot of discomfort. If I’m being kind, it did leave my skin nice and soft, but so, so, so not worth it. I’m now scared of trying the Anti-Fatigue one, has anyone tried it?!

 photo 86ce84e2-3617-4f75-b418-9be7ad7aea25_zps719e33ce.jpgI always want to finish on a high note, so now I’ll talk about my latest purchase – Bodyshop’s Aloe Protective Restoring Facemask. A bit of a mouthful to say, but (other than the play-doh scent) it’s comes with a definitely highly recommended by me! Moisturising without making me feel oily, this is great for repairing my skin after several days in the air-conditioned office. This is my favourite for relaxing in as it doesn’t need to be washed off, I also tend to apply a small amount before bed instead of a moisturiser which is working well. So it is possible – a moisturising mask that doesn’t cause breakouts, don’t aggravate sensitive skin, and doesn’t break the bank compared to some I could name…a winner in my eyes!

What facemasks do you use?

Beauty: Pampering with Lush

Confession time: I’ve never really liked Lush. I don’t particularly like the bath bombs (without fail all the ones I have tried have left me with sore skin), and the smell really, really puts me off. I can’t stand the smell of the bathroom after one has been used, let alone a full shop of them. I’ve used a couple of products in the past; Volcano foot mask (effective, but messy); King of Skin (probably my favourite, but hard to use – I would repurchase this if I could brave the store again!); and some form of solid cleansing bar that I can’t find on the site (caused spots galore). You get the impression, I’m just not a Lush kinda gal! Even so I couldn’t help get excited when my boyfriend came home from work with a bag crammed full of goodies. Here’s my mini-reviews of what I received.

 photo 2014-07-08103846_zps74c21797.jpgDisclaimer: These products were given to my boyfriend free of charge by our local Lush store, something to do with the neighbouring shops helping each other out. They were unaware of my blog, and all opinions are my own. I haven’t marked this with a * as it isn’t really a blog ‘freebie’ as such!

 photo 2014-06-28212331_zps1e8baf15.jpg photo 2014-06-28212650_zps7b2898dd.jpgCupcake is a chocolatey face mask, and was the product I was most excited about. The day of receiving this I happily slapped it on my (normal-dry) skin, and persuaded my boyfriend (combination skin) to try it too. Not sure if it was a coincidence, but my trip to see Coldplay at the Royal Albert Hall had me fashioning a side-fringe to hide the growing mountain on the side of my forehead. It wasn’t pretty, and it didn’t come alone. Yep, pretty sure this mask broke both of us out. My love for Lush certainly wasn’t growing at this point…

Things started to look up with the Brightside Bubble Bar. I love all things citrus but rarely get to indulge seeing as my sister has a severe allergy. This zingy bar produces loads of bubbles and bright orange water, smells delicious and leaves my skin soft. It does feel odd to soak in orange water so I do shower down afterwards – but this did win me over.

 photo 2014-07-08103827_zps6f7b2e86.jpgOnto another facemask; Oatifix has actually really impressed me. The smell isn’t pleasant, but it isn’t the typical overpowering Lush smell so I can cope. Yes it looks like you have spread sick around your face, and it does make a bit of a mess, but for me the results are worth it – this leaves my skin soft, hydrated and glowing. And, wait for it, it doesn’t break me out! I’d actually buy this again, if I could work out how on earth you could use it all before the best before date. I was unable to, and I only had a teeny tester pot…

Now soap. I love bar soap, I’ve even confessed to use one as my cleanser of choice. I was intrigued by Noriko soap, particularly as I can only find this one the US site. Having said that, mine looks nothing like what is featured there, so I wonder what I’ve actually got! I actually adore the smell as its subtle, fresh and just rather nice. It’s also a pretty moisturising soap too – I’ve taken to using it instead of a shower gel as it also has a teeny amount of scrubby bits. Bonus, it looks great on the bathroom side too!

 photo IMAG2306_zps1496a0b4.jpgI’ve still got a couple of products to try; Mask of Magnaminty (the one I have is self-preserving, something I’m quite intrigued by as one of my problems with Lush is the short shelf life) and Hair Doctor. I can’t say I’m particularly willing to try Hair Doctor due to reports of it stripping colour out – I’m pretty picky about my hair colour, and having had my preferred and back up colours both discontinued I’d sooner not dye my hair unless absolutely necessary!

I have to admit, some of these products have changed my mind slightly about Lush. I still won’t be tempted to venture into a shop, but I’d consider an online order if I needed a gift for someone and a few treats for myself.

What are your favourite Lush products?

Budget Buys: Personalised Pampering Gift Set

I love making up hampers and gift-sets as presents for friends and families – it looks like so much more effort has gone in that picking something up off of the shelves, and you can personalise it to their individual tastes. I thought over the next few weeks I would do a few posts on some of the gifts I have made up over the years, and some products I would recommend. First up is a girly-night-in pampering set!

2013-11-25 14.19.41Basically, this little series is going to be all about what I would love to receive in a gift like the ones I am describing!

If someone was going to make me a gift set of pampering goodies, I’d love them to go more on the treats rather than the beauty products (I find they are such a personal thing – I for one hate really scented body lotions, which are commonplace  in most pre-made budget options).

I’d love a pair of slippers (I treated myself to the ones in the picture in Primark, for £2), some girlie magazines (if they have freebies, so much the better!), a cute mug (Cath Kidston is the obvious choice, but Wilkinson’s have some great ones too!), and some chocolate goodies.

On the beauty side of things, I personally would prefer to be given nail polishes, maybe a nail file – things that aren’t going to irritate skin or cause fear that the recipient smells! This set was £2 and I talk more about it here.

I reckon you could make a great set for £10, and I know this is the type of present I love to receive!

 

Do you make up your often gift sets or hampers?