How cruelty-free is my skincare routine?

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So if you know me, you’ll know I like trying my best to be eco-friendly and cruelty free – a lot of my old blog posts discuss ways and products that are better for nature and better for animals and a year or so on, I thought I’d look at my recent skincare routine and see what items are cruelty-free, eco-friendly and if they are good or not!

I’d reckon my skin type is combination/oily and extremely acne-prone. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have at least one pimple on my face and even if I didn’t I have unfortunate scarring from years of skin picking and breakouts. I’ve also tried to get into a habit of doing a full-blown, some may say high maintenance, skin-care routine each night after watching YouTube videos where people discuss practising the ‘Korean 10-step skincare routine‘, which involves a lot of products but apparently is the secret to getting your face in good condition. However I don’t have the money or motivation to get every part of this 10 step yet, so my routine at the moment is inspired by the routine but not quite!

  1. Cleansing

For cleansing, I am currently using the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. I was extremely lucky to receive a Liz Earle gift set for Christmas from my mum with a full bottle of the highly rated cleanser. The formula is enriched with cocoa butter which helps make my skin super smooth and the chamomile and eucalyptus in it is such a lovely smell and using it right before bed is extremely soothing and comforting. In terms of cruelty-free rating, Liz Earle has recently been given the BUAV seal of approval so it has the ‘cruelty-free’ rabbit attached to it, meaning it has not been tested on animals!

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2. Cleansing Part 2

According to the 10 step routine on SokoGlam, they say it’s important to do a double cleanse to ensure you get rid of all the residue of makeup or built up dirt that the first cleanse might not have got. They recommend a water-based cleanser for this so currently, I am using Botanics by Boot’s All Bright Micellar 3 in 1 Cleansing Solution. I’ve quite enjoyed using this as it leaves my skin feeling quite refreshed and isn’t drying and there isn’t much of a fragrance either so it’s not overwhelming. In terms of cruelty-free, the entire Botanics range is advertised as being mostly organic and natural, however maybe I’m not looking far enough, but there aren’t any definite claims online from the company that they are cruelty-free but a lot of websites saying they are classed as cruelty-free skincare and they are vegetarian friendly but not vegan friendly since some Botanics products contain beeswax!

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3. Exfoliator

I’ve only recently purchased (literally bought it this morning) my facial scrub, but I can definitely confirm I bought it due to it being cruelty-free, microbead free, vegan-friendly and paraben free! The Sukin Revitalising Facial Scrub is from the Australian brand Sukin Organics which aim to be Australia’s number one natural skincare brand. All products are made with ingredients that are naturally derived, vegan-friendly and cruelty-free which is amazing and I am very grateful I came across this scrub in Boots. I’ve only used it once but it was very soothing, not at all harsh or rough on the skin and smelt lovely!

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4. Toner

Another Liz Earle product makes its way in here! (Can you tell I’m a fan?) For toning, I have been using the Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic which also has a gorgeous scent to it, which makes me excited to use it because I feel it leaves my skin feeling fresh, awake and smelling lovely! It contains calendula, chamomile, aloe vera and Vitamin E all to hydrate and refresh your skin. Like I mentioned before, Liz Earle has been given the Cruelty-Free bunny sticker so it’s a great CF addition to my routine! Another little thing I love about it is the lid which has a little opening can be screwed open and close so you don’t find yourself wasting large drops of the liquid when applying it to a cotton pad! Compared to a bottle top that you have to try to be careful with when tipping.

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5. Essence/Serums

Now this is where the routine got confusing to me, a mere lazy girl who spent most of her adolescence with a skincare routine of just splashing hot water on her face before school and using pound shop makeup wipes each night to remove makeup and maybe using a face scrub in the shower if she could be bothered. The SokoGlam website describes an essence as ‘toner/serum hybrid made for hydrating and aiding skin repair’. However I haven’t really got any of these, and the one product I have that says ‘serum’ on it, I’ve been using as a moisturiser! Maybe this is where I’m going wrong! So instead of them, I have been using an oil on my face maybe once or twice a week to try to aid my skin and get rid of my acne scars! The one I have been using is the Yes To: Miracle Oil Evening Primrose Oil. My first few tries with this oil I thought I had made a bad choice since I’d find myself getting it all over my pillow and my hair sticking to my face, but then I chose to spend more time massaging my face with it and doing it a bit earlier each night to let it set in and I can definitely feel in the morning that it has made my skin softer!

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In terms of cruelty-free, the Yes To brand is known for being a brand that is ‘free of nasties and filled with goodies’, with a lot of their skincare products having fruits and essential oils in them to benefit the skin. Their website claims most of their products are vegan (some have beeswax/honey), contain no phthalates and they do not animal test and that they are part of the Leaping Bunny Program which is awesome!

6. Skipping Treatments, Sheet Masks and Eye cream and straight to Moisturiser and SPF!

So like I mentioned before, my skincare routine isn’t completely 10 steps so unfortunately, I have to skip doing treatments, sheet masks and eye cream as I don’t really own any! So my next step is straight to moisturising and during the day SPF cream! For moisturiser, I have been using the Superdrug Calm Skin Hydrating 2-in-1 Serum and Moisturiser.  I bought this mostly because I love any products with chamomile in as they normally smell very soothing and do good for my skin, however I feel like I’m yet to see any major effects of using this product – it claims to improve skin clarity after 4 weeks of use however my skin hasn’t changed much and it doesn’t really reduce any stress or redness. It is lightweight like it says though and smells very nice! Like most Superdrug own products it is also definitely cruelty-free and vegan-friendly!

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For SPF, although I can’t claim to be good at remembering to put on SPF every day, I have been using the Superdrug Solait Anti-Aging Fluid in SPF 50 since I picked it up last summer. I really enjoy this SPF cream as it doesn’t have that overpowering suncream smell and doesn’t leave white streaks if applied minimally. Again this is a Superdrug own product so it is cruelty-free and vegan friendly!

So as you can see, I’m really proud of myself and happy to know most of my skincare is cruelty-free! In the past I have also dabbled with using Soap and Glory’s Vitamin C Facial Wash that although is cruelty-free, actually contains microbeads so I threw it out, I have also used Superdrug’s Vitamin E toner which was cruelty-free and very refreshing to use in the summer but I have also used the Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit scrub which isn’t cruelty-free at all, so don’t worry if one or two of your products right now isn’t cruelty-free because when you have emptied them there is plenty of cruelty-free brands out there to switch too!

What products are you using at the moment? Any cruelty-free recommendations you’d like to share?

Thanks for reading!

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I disappeared again (ft. elizavecca hell pore clean up mask review)

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It’s been too long, I wonder if you guys can even remember my name?! I’m so sorry for disappearing again. Life is still being hectic for me or I’m avoiding every responsibility by lying in bed or playing Overwatch (I may have a slight obsession with it). It’s T-Minus 13 days until I go and get the keys to my university accommodation and around 3 weeks until I actually start I believe. As well as that I got a notification off WordPress yesterday saying it’s my 1 year anniversary of starting this blog?! How time flies.

So I decided to return with a silly little cosmetic product review because A) I bought a cute Korean product off Amazon that I wanted to share and B) the packaging is TOO cute not to share widely on the internet. The product is ‘Elizavecca: Hell-Pore Clean Up Mask’ and is a face mask that eventually firms on your skin and you peel off to deep clean pores and remove impurities. One of the biggest things that annoys me about my face is the fact my pores are the most open/obvious thing ever. Especially on my nose and chin area; a lot of the time makeup never really sets well on some areas of my skin and throughout the day it’ll become oily and the pores will be obvious. I’m yet to find a cruelty free primer that makes my skin look almost pore-free but I guess that’s life ey? Everybody has pores and I think me and probably a lot of others forget there’s a softener tool on social media so people can SEEM like they have flawless pore-free skin…

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I purchased it here!

So this is the box it came in! I’m absolutely in love with the design, the colours are so bright and the illustration on the box is so cute and funny. I love the little devil pig that looks like it’s going ‘huff huff!’ in annoyance of the blackheads! As I said this product is Korean so a lot of the text on the box is not in English aside from this one side, which was quite helpful!

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This side of the box basically explains what the product is meant to do and the warnings just in case of allergic reactions! This product is basically a face mask that dries on your skin and when you peel it off it should remove impurities such as blackheads and whiteheads from your pores. I instantly thought of those nose peel masks you can get to try and individually cleanse the pores on your nose or of the clay masks that help firm your skin and remove dead skin. So let’s go through the application and my outcome!

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My silly face up there is how my skin looks when I’ve taken off my makeup and prepped my skin for this face mask! If you look closely you can see I have quite a few blemishes on my cheeks and chin, as well as that my nose and the patch of skin in between my eyebrows have quite open pores or tiny, tiny blackheads. Has anybody else got those tiny blackheads in their nose, that have seemed to be there since forever but are yet to find a way to get them out without making your nose break out?

The dark grey face mask is contained in a tube so you can use the amount you require and easily seal it back up afterwards which is really useful! So I applied a thin layer to my face making sure all the nooks and crannies such as around my nostrils and under my chin were covered so I can catch them tiny blackheads and I left the mask on for around 20-30 minutes. Definitely make sure you do not accidentally put the mask on your eyebrows because that will hurt when it comes to taking the mask off.facemaskselfie

After a lovely little session on Snapchat pulling stupid faces and trying to sing songs whilst my face was basically feeling like cement (the face mask dries very firmly) I decided to start peeling off the mask – let me warn you, I completely forgot about the practically invisible tiny hairs on the bottoms of my cheek but instantly remembered them when I peeled this mask off! I swear it may have plucked a couple out cause it stung a bit, but after I got past that it was very easy to peel off!

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I did notice my skin felt a lot firmer when I peeled the mask off and the pores on my nose were dramatically smaller. I tried to inspect some of the mask I had peeled off but I’m not sure I could see much aside one or two bits of dry, dead skin. To conclude, I think this mask definitely worked in a small way. Perhaps I may have expected a bit much of a face mask cause I was expecting to see all my blackheads suddenly pulled out but I think that was me dreaming too much. Although I am super happy to see my pores reduced and think I will keep using this mask, maybe even just around my nose area instead of the whole face to help keep my pores minimized and tight!

I hope this was a good read guys and I hope it helps anyone planning to buy this product or looking for something new to try in their skincare!

Thanks for reading,

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Skin Picking

So my disclaimer to this post is that it might gross people out a bit. It’s a habit I’ve had for a good few years now that people always give me disgusted looks for or even get impatient with me when they catch me doing it.

Since puberty my skin was obviously cursed with the despicable teenage acne. I used to get really bad crowds of whiteheads on my back, chest and face. My nose and upper lip has always had blackheads and my face would always get those annoying under-the-skin, throbbing pimples at least every other week. I am thankful my acne is not as bad as it was when I was in high school or college, however every often I still get bad spots. Makes it even worse that I pick. I scratch and squeeze at spots that I get and if I don’t do that, I spend the day stroking and touching the bit of skin that has the blemish on it. At first when growing up, I used to pick and scratch at acne because I wanted it gone, part of me thought if I picked out the gross pus or dirt underneath the spot, I would help get rid of it quicker.

However now in recent years, I’ve noticed I do it when I’m stressed or anxious. If I’m anxious about going out and getting ready I find myself scratching at spots. When I’ve had a bad day, going up to a mirror and squeezing and roughly picking any blemish I can find on my face – even a blackhead not even someone with perfect vision would probably notice – distracts my mind and calms me down. Doing my own research, the skin picking seems very relevant to my anxiety and possibly ‘BDD’. When I am anxious or stressed, I become preoccupied with my skin and picking and scratching feels like I am getting rid of dirt or bad stuff on my skin. It is almost relaxing to me but at the end of the day I really damage my skin and end up with scabs and wounds that last longer than a spot would or even acne scars that last months.

I write this post today because, although the past few months I’ve gotten way better at not picking at my skin, I am having a regression week where two spots on my face I  can’t stop picking and the day after they heal with yellow scabs and I end up picking them off again. I hope maybe admitting to my problem on ‘paper’ might kickstart me not doing it again. But I also wanted to share some tips I have, in case anybody else believes they might have a problem with acne/skin picking.

  1. Putting plasters on pimples or blemishes when at home/in private to prevent picking.
  2. Face masks! Not only do they help cleanse and soothe your face but also prevent mindless picking.
  3. Always clean your makeup brushes and take makeup off before sleeping. This prevents any blemishes from dirty makeup. Which then prevents picking.
  4. If you do unfortunately scratch, wash your face and then finish washing with cold water. Cold water helps close open pores preventing further dirt entering.
  5. Gloves – admittedly I don’t do this often, but I’ve heard on other blog posts that people with compulsive skin picking have written, gloves can create a barrier.
  6. When you feel like picking, paint your nails. This gives you a reason to keep your hands still.
  7. Continuing the painted nails – if you feel like picking your skin, pick at the varnish on your nails instead.
  8. If you can, stroke a pet when you feel like picking. This is a numbing situation in which you can zone out whilst stroking your pet, much like you might zone out and relax when picking or after squeezing a spot. Plus your pet will love you!

If anybody else can share any other tips – believe me I’d appreciate them!

Thanks for reading,

Helena x