Posted in beauty, reviews

Review – Pixi x Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse

Hoo boy was I excited for this skincare release! I am a big fan of Caroline Hirons  and whilst I still like to test and research skincare products for myself, I generally find that her recommendations are good ones, and her skincare cheat sheet for routines has really helped me change up the way I take care of my skin – here, at 32 my skin looks the best it ever has and I accredit that in part to the wisdom of Ms Hirons.

One of the things that I’ve really taken to heart is the double cleansing technique – i.e. removing makeup then cleansing the skin. I normally use a balm cleanser for my first cleanse, then follow up with a clay or mud. This works really well for me, but you can’t have too much of a good thing and a cleanser developed by the lady herself was something I couldn’t pass up. I ordered it as soon as it was released… and thats where this review nearly fell on it’s arse.

I can safely say, the service from Pixi was some of the worst I’ve experienced in recent times. It took over 2 weeks for my order to arrive, and at one point the order was marked as dispatched more than a week before it was actually sent out! I gave it a full week of hearing nothing before I called the company, and was told that they didn’t know what had happened but that it was probably a popular product and they would call me back that afternoon. Nobody called me. Then, once it arrived, it had a huge air bubble in the cream side of the pot, so it was almost 1/3 empty. Not cool. I emailed customer care but never heard back. After the delivery debacle I just gave up at that point. If I repurchase, I won’t be using Pixi direct, that’s for sure! I understand that it was a huge release, but you think they would be prepared for that, and to not answer emails or return calls… that really is poor. All in all, if I didn’t love glow tonic so much I’d be tempted to stop buying from them altogether!

But bad service does not begat bad products, and I have to say, this is a bit of a winner. It has its problems (which I’ll go into a bit further down) but with such high hopes it is always going to struggle against expectations. The divided pot contains a first cleanse makeup remover in the form of a solid oil, and a soothing cream for a second cleanse. Neither product contains mineral oil or fragrance – it is designed to be functional and usable for the most people possible – so cutting out comedogenic or irritating ingredients. Of course, this makes it a less sensory experience than a more scented concoction, but as someone who has fallen foul of beautiful scented products irritating their skin this is welcome. Let’s look at this on a cleanse by cleanse basis:

First cleanse – the solid oil. This does not mess around. The oil melts into your makeup right away, obliterating all in it’s path. I can wear a full face, including double wear, liquid lipstick and lashings of mascara and it’ll be gone in seconds. No panda eyes, no foundation on my pillowcase, just clean fresh skin. It hasn’t been beaten by a product yet, and I can always rely on it to take the day off without rubbing or scrubbing.

Second cleanse – cream. This feels lovely on the skin. A real delight to use. Although unscented, it still feels like a luxurious treat and I love massaging it into slightly damp skin after I’ve wiped the oil stage off with a muslin cloth or flannel. It doesn’t sting, burn or clog and leaves me with beautifully soft skin, just waiting to have serum massaged into it. I also like it as a morning cleanse, as it doesn’t dry out skin so you end up with a lovely base for makeup, and a reduced amount of oil breakthrough during the day. That point leads me nicely on to my problems with the product…

Firstly – the ratios of each product. Aside from my cream cleanser being limited to begin with (eye roll again), because I tend to use this for morning and second cleanse when I’m travelling (which is the main time I find myself using this), the cream side is running out much quicker than the oil. It isn’t the end of the world, but if the 50:50 ratio was adjusted to account for this – I doubt I’m the only person that has this problem – it would be greatly improved. Because I think it is such a handy product to take on holiday with you, it would defeat the point if you had to take a second pot just to cover when you inevitably run out of the cream with a load of oil left.

My second issue is the design of the pot itself. I can’t deny that it looks and feels great. The swirl is a nice design and the pot itself is heavy and luxe feeling (it is plastic, but it still feels like a quality item that you have spent a bit of money on). However, putting the extra cover on before the lid is kind of a faff, and if you lose this element of the packaging, the cream is going to go everywhere when you carry it around. I keep remarking how much I like this as a product for travel, and on that note the packaging could cope with being a little less bulky. It’s a rather large and heavy pot – great for the bathroom, not great for reducing bulk in your luggage! It is still better than two large pots, but there is a lot of redundant heavy plastic that they could do away with. I’m nitpicking though and I know it.

So overall, would I recommend and will I repurchase? Yes and… probably. It costs £24 for 50ml which isn’t the best value when you look at similar products (for example, Clinique Take the Day Off balm is £22 for 125ml) but there is no denying that both cleansers work really well and leave yourself with lovely skin. It’ll be going on honeymoon with me as my sole source of cleansing and I feel confident that I won’t have any skin issues during that time despite the fact that I’ll be wearing a full face of makeup and SPF everyday. However, for everyday cleansing, I think I’ll be sticking with my tried and true combination of Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter (£10 for 90ml) for makeup removing and Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip (£35 for 125ml) as second cleanse – more on these coming soon when I post about my morning and evening routines. Looking at these price comparisons it does seem that you are paying a little more for the convenience of having one pot. Not a deal breaker for me, but I’ll definitely be saving this for when I travel.

Posted in beauty, reviews

Custom Highlighter Palette – Makeup Obsession

If you’ve popped into a bigger Boots store recently, you may have noticed a slightly different looking makeup stand hovering around the cosmetic and gifts section. Makeup Obsession is a brand I only heard of earlier this year, when I noticed their large display in the Manchester branch and I picked up a couple of their eyeshadows to test both the quality and my skin-tones tolerance for reddish eyeshadow shades. I was pretty impressed with the colour payoff for the price (deeper and frosted shades are much better than the lighter ones) and decided to go back today and build myself a highlighter palette.

Basically the MO of MO (I astound myself, honestly) is that they are an affordable way to create custom palettes and that everything fits with everything else. They offer two sizes of empty palette (12 pan or 6 pan) and a series of lip, eye, cheek, contour and highlight pans. Great thing #1 – all the pans are the same size. This means that you could build an entire face into one handy palette – great for people that travel a lot, or to keep in a handbag or gym bag. Great thing  #2 – the pans pop out of the compact case they come in and pop straight into the palette with a plastic surround; no faffy depotting, no fussing with magnets, and a much cleaner palette at the end as you don’t have the empty space between the pans. Of course, if you would rather de-pot into a z-palette as I did with the eyeshadows I bought, you can but the pans themselves are stuck into plastic and are not magnetic. Not the end of the world, but when I first purchased I thought I didn’t have to do this and was a bit disappointed! Once the pans are in you can take them out and refill at any time – so you can change up your go-to palette regularly. I really like this flexibility and if I am happy with the products, I’m thinking a 12 pan could be a great travel companion for my upcoming honeymoon.

All pans are £3 and the empty palettes range in price from £4-£8 depending on size and finish. Gutted that the rose gold finish is only available on the 12 pan version!
I went with a gold palette because – let’s face it – I’m a magpie, and decided to fill it up with just highlighters. Highlighters are something I am really into at the moment, and I liked the idea that I could try playing with some more unusual colours without paying a high price. With that in mind, I went a-swatching and built this beauty:

The shades I picked are:

Finger swatches

The colour payoff is nice without being garish and they blend pretty well, especially considering the price. I’m not sure when I’ll use the strobe cream (precious) but the colour was too amazing not to pick it up – it looks like ultraviolet light! 

I’m excited to get using these, and I’ll be checking more of the Makeup Obsession collection out in future – you could easily build a palette of looks for a holiday and really slim down the packing! 

E x

Posted in beauty, reviews

Review – La Roche Posay Rosiliac AR Intense

Over the last couple of years I have really upped my skincare game in terms of routines and really looking at what my skin wants and needs. This has led me to try a lot of new products and also to learn a lot more about why my skin acts the way it does. One of the things I really wanted to concentrate on was targeting the redness I have across the tops of my cheeks. In order to do this, I splashed out the hefty £85 for a bottle of Good Genes by Sunday Riley (available in store and online at Space NK and online at Cult Beauty). At first I loved it – my skin was noticeably less red and (once I got over the smell!) it was something I used regularly overnight.

After a while however, it became too strong for my skin and in place of the red flush in my cheeks, my right cheek developed a bright, almost purple red, raised bumpy patch. It was itchy, hard to cover with foundation and seemed to get worse not better with the Good Genes. I stopped using it, but I couldn’t shift that patch of red. It really got me down – I felt like it was very noticeable and was worried that it would spread. Some internet research indicated that it was likely rosacea. Now before I go any further, two things I should point out: 1. I have not been to a dermatologist – I’m terrible for not going to the doctor, especially for something that isn’t worrying me in terms of death or disease! 2. I have pictures of my skin below – and you’ll see the patch I’m talking about but you will also note that in relation to how severe rosacea can get, my case is very mild – I’m lucky and I appreciate that I’m not testing this product on a heavy case, so please do bear that in mind.

So I picked up this product in Boots – it was £17, so much cheaper than the Good Genes, and the bottle is 40ml – for the amount you use I don’t think that this is a bad price at all, it’ll last for a while. I hadn’t heard anything about this before I bought it, but it was described as a “localised redness intensive serum” and I was prepared to stake £17 on clearing up the redness on my skin.

I took a picture of my skin in the harsh bathroom light at the start of the trial. I then used it as directed twice a day before applying moisturiser. I made no other changes to my skincare routine bar cleansing, which I mix up frequently. I then tested this for 3 weeks. Skin before:


Skin after:


It worked! I’m really pleased with how this has reduced the redness on my cheek, which you can hopefully tell from these pictures – it is still there, but so much less noticeable, and now I am much more confident in how my skin looks without makeup. What doesn’t come across as well in pictures is the difference in my skin texture – it’s huge. My skin texture is now smooth and uniform, no more raised bumpy angry patches, it looks and feels great. It’s not a quick fix, my skin isn’t cleared yet but it is improving and I will continue to use this. You can clearly see where the patch was, but every day it is that little bit better – I’ll update again if I ever completely get rid of it.


So would I recommend? Absolutely – if you need it. This is very targeted skincare. If you don’t have redness or rosacea there is no point in getting this, you’d be much better off using a hydrating serum or similar to perfect your skin – don’t waste money on something you don’t need! Similarly, if you have more than a mild-moderate case of rosacea I’d recommend seeing a dermatologist before starting any non-prescriptive treatments – it probably wouldn’t do any harm, but likely wouldn’t do anything else either.

I’m still using this as I really want to get to an even skintone as possible and there is still some redness there. But the bumps are gone, the angry deep red is gone, and the itching is gone. All for £17 (and I’ve still got most of a bottle). Thumbs up – a product that delivers what it promises.