Friday, 23 June 2017

Three Primers On Trial

You know it's summer when your make-up has melted off your face by dinnertime, right!? The office I work in has huge windows on two sides and no air-conditioning, so by about 11am it's a bit like working in a sauna... If there's one thing my make-up needs in weather like this, it's a decent primer! I've got three new priming products in my stash and the past couple of weeks have been the perfect time to give them a thorough testing. My skin is incredible oily and I have quite a few enlarged pores on my cheeks, so for me the perfect primer would be mattifying and blur those pores, as well as keeping my make-up in place all day.
Three Primers On Trial - The Hero Project, Soap & Glory and Collection
The Hero Project Double Blur® HD Ready Skin Perfector | £24/30ml here | I got this 10ml travel-size in my Build Your Own Gift Set from The Hero Project (post here) - the full-sized product comes with an airless pump for easy dispensing. I really love the blurred, airbrushed and mattified look this gives to my skin - it works so well to hide pores and fine lines, and leaves my skin feeling super-soft and velvety smooth. It also contains Glycerin which is fab for hydration - perfect for those warm days that can suck all the moisture from your skin! My foundation goes on beautifully over Double Blur and it does help to hold it in place, keeping me matte maybe a little longer than I'd manage without primer.
Soap & Glory One Heck Of A Blot Instant-Perfecting Power Primer | £10/30ml here | I tried the One Heck of A Blot powder and was quite disappointed, but had heard that the primer worked better. It's easy to apply and sinks into the skin quickly, but I've found that my foundation is a little bit harder to blend in over this primer. I don't mind this too much and I'd deal with it if the foundation would stay put once it was on... But honestly, I feel like this makes my base get oily more quickly and my foundation seems to break up around my nose and forehead, the oiliest areas of my face, within a couple of hours. I'm really not impressed with this one I'm afraid!
Collection Powered by Witch Primed & Ready Mattifying Pore Minimiser | £4.99/25ml here | This is a super-budget-friendly buy with a very silicone-y texture, which also contains Witch Hazel to (theoretically!) treat blemishes whilst you're wearing it - a great claim although I can't say I've noticed much difference in my skin since using it. It smooths out pores and fine lines really well and gives a good base for my make-up, and I feel like it lasts well without slipping, but unfortunately it doesn't keep me matte for very long and I find myself having to blot and re-powder within 2-3 hours.
Three Primers On Trial
So unfortunately, none of the primers I've been trying have turned out to be The One for me - the Collection/Witch one is nice but doesn't do much to keep me matte, and Double Blur is lovely but again not as mattifying as I'd ideally like - whilst the Soap & Glory one was just a massive let-down! Do you have any go-to priming products for summer? How do you keep your make-up looking fresh in the heat and humidity of Britain in June?

[*Post contains affiliate links.]

Friday, 16 June 2017

Blemish-Busters You Need To Try!

I've always suffered from blemish-prone skin, right from way back when I first started puberty aged ten. I've tried all sorts over the years to keep those pesky spots and blackheads under control, from those that don't really do much, to the downright ill-advised. I've also amassed a bit of a go-to arsenal which helps me keep my skin looking (mostly) clear and even - though nothing is failsafe and I will probably always get a few spots in the week before my period *sigh*
Five Products for Blemish-Prone Skins
Una Brennan Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Purifying Cleansing Wash | I can't sing its praises enough, I absolutely love this face wash - my skin always looks clearer when I use it consistently (every morning). It smells gorgeous, isn't at all drying on the skin, and works really well to prevent spots and blemishes forming for the most part - Salicylic Acid is great for blemish-prone skins as it exfoliates gently to remove build-up of oils and dead skin cells. | £7.99/150ml here (currently on offer at just £5.33!)
Merumaya Concentrated Spot Treatment | This is the old-style packaging (it now comes in a swish-looking pump-action bottle!) but I don't think the formula has changed - this is the most effective product I've used in terms of helping spots to heal more quickly, without leaving horrible patches of dry skin. | £14.50/10ml here.
Tea Tree Oil | I don't have a specific brand that I go for, I just ordered this little bottle off Amazon... I like to mix a couple of drops of tea tree oil into my moisturiser at bedtime, a couple of times a week, to fight off blemishes - tea tree has antibacterial properties that help prevent spots. I have also been known to dab a little onto active spots to help reduce inflammation and reduce healing times. | £2.18/10ml here.
T-Zone Spot Zapping Gel* | I actually didn't find this hugely effective on my skin, but I know people who swear by it, so I'm including it as a super-budget-friendly alternative to the Merumaya version. Again, this is just one to dab onto active spots which should reduce inflammation and help them to heal more quickly.| £1.99/8ml here.
Origins Out of Trouble 10-Minute Mask | This is one of my all-time favourite masks; it's a bit strong-smelling but it's more than worth it for me - I love this to really calm down any breakouts, reducing redness and helping blemishes to fade more quickly. I try to use this a couple of times per week to keep my skin looking clear. I've recently repurchased this after a few months without it, and I'm so happy to have it back in my routine!! | £25/100ml here.
Products for Blemish-Prone Skin
Have you tried any of these products? What are your go-tos for managing blemish-prone skin?
PS - I have a giveaway over on Twitter!! You just need to follow and retweet my competition tweet to be in with a chance of winning a Sleek Eye & Cheek Palette in 'All Day Soirée'!

[*Product provided for consideration. Post contains affiliate links.]

Monday, 5 June 2017

Introducing | Newtons Labs T-Zone Skincare*

T-Zone Skincare is a brand I remember using in my early teenage years, so when I was contacted recently with an offer of trying some products from the line, I was keen to see what had changed. The brand originally launched in 1998, so it's almost 20 years old! I was kindly sent a few products from the range, which I've been using over the last month or so.
Newtons Labs T Zone Skincare
I was sent two products from the original line; the Clear Pore Facial Wash and the Spot Zapping Gel.
The facial wash claims to remove grease, oil and bacteria that can cause spots; "Clear Pore Facial Wash contains antibacterial Tea Tree, refreshing Menthol and skin-clearing Salicylic Acid to effectively cleanse and unclog pores to help prevent spots." Sounds promising, and Tea Tree and Salicylic Acid are two ingredients I already know my skin reacts well to, so I was pleased to try this - on its own in the morning, and as a second cleanse in the evening. The tea tree and menthol do indeed give it a refreshing scent, and it certainly works well to leave my skin feeling clean and soft. I was a little dubious about the SLS on the ingredients list - it doesn't seem to strip my skin, but I'd be careful if you're prone to dryness at all.

"Spot Zapping Gel rapidly targets, prevents and calms spots and blemishes. This cooling and quick-drying gel combines naturally antibacterial Tea Tree and Witch Hazel with clearing Salicylic Acid to help promote great looking skin." Again, sounds promising, and I've had plenty of blemishes lately to test it out on! Unfortunately I don't think this is particularly well suited to my skin, as I've not found it to calm blemishes down or reduce healing time - but I know people who swear by it, and it's cheap as chips so might be worth trying if you're after a blemish treatment.
Newtons Labs T-Zone Skincare
I was also sent two products from T-Zone's new Charcoal range; the Charcoal Nose Pore Strips and the Charcoal Black Cleansing Wipes. Charcoal is supposed to help draw out impurities, so it makes sense to include it in pore strips - this is probably the product I was most excited to try, as I suffer terribly with blackheads around my nose. "Charcoal Nose Pore Strips are enriched with antibacterial Tea Tree, to help prevent spots and keep skin clear, while Charcoal acts like a magnet to draw out impurities and excess oil." I think these have worked the best of any pore strips I've ever tried, you can really see the evidence on each strip after use... which is a bit gross, but oddly satisfying!

Finally - cleansing wipes aren't a product I use very often (literally only on the odd day when I go to the gym after work and want to remove my make-up before I work out!) but are always handy to have. "Charcoal Black Cleansing Wipes effectively cleanse skin, remove make-up residue instantly and absorb dirt and excess oil. Enriched with naturally ultra-purifying Charcoal which acts like a magnet drawing out impurities from the skin." I've only used these a couple of times so far but I have to say I've not been impressed, as they seem to leave a lot of make-up on my skin - but in fairness that's a complaint I have with all cleansing wipes. They're certainly handy to have but I wouldn't rely on them alone to cleanse my skin

So all in all, I've found the T-Zone range has some hits and some misses - I'll definitely be buying the Charcoal Nose Pore Strips again, and I'd consider the Clear Pore Face Wash, but I'm not really sold on the Spot Zapping Gel or the Charcoal Black Cleansing Wipes. You can find out more about the T-Zone range and their stockists here; all the products are budget-friendly and are available on Amazon and Fragrance Direct amongst others. Have you ever tried T-Zone Skincare? Are there any products you swear by for treating blemishes?

[*Product provided for consideration.]

Friday, 2 June 2017

Hello June!

June. Summer is well and truly here, theoretically at least - a few weeks of sunshine would be nice, but then again I live in the North of England so the few days we had in May could have been the extent of summer for us! The sixth month of the year is looking a bit quieter than May but as always, I'm setting myself a few goals to work on in the coming weeks...
Hello June!
Finish at least one book. I got myself back on track in May with my goal of twelve books in 2017, so I'm hoping to keep the progress going in June and finish my sixth book of the year - I'm about halfway through Always with Love by Giovanna Fletcher, which has been a nice light, easy read so far, so hopefully this will be an easy goal to tick off!
See friends at least twice. Another standard monthly goal for me, but as I say every month, I do find that setting this goal means I make a bit more effort to actually see my friends, rather than giving into the temptation to spend every spare second hiding under my duvet! I've actually already been for dinner at my best friend's house with a few friends, so I'm halfway to completing this one too!
Have a barbecue. This one might be a bit of a challenge as my family don't actually have a barbecue (I KNOW!) but I love a good barbie and hopefully we'll have some half-decent weather. I'll be happy with a little disposable one!
See the new Pirates of the Caribbean film. I loooove the POTC films, I know most of them word-for-word off by heart and that's not even an exaggeration, so you can imagine how excited I am for the fifth instalment! If the weather's not brilliant I'm hoping to go this weekend but I definitely need to see it at some point soon.
 Cut back on sweet treats. I'm carrying this one over from May as I really didn't do very well with it last month - I think there was just too much going on for me to focus on it properly. I'm hoping that June will be a bit quieter so I can focus on sorting my diet out a bit, by which I mean not spending every afternoon at work eating chocolate and/or biscuits.
Complete the Blogilates 30 Day Abs Challenge. I did a few days of this challenge some time last year (or maybe the year before!?) and then kind of forgot about it, so I'm going to give it another go and hopefully see it through this time! A friend of mine has been doing it and I did day 11 with her and found it totally do-able, so with any luck it won't be too hard? Ha! Wish me luck!!
June 2017 Blossom
I don't think I've got anything planned in June aside from the first Total Warrior weekend of the year towards the end of the month, which I'm really looking forwards to! We've also got the General Election coming up next week, and I'm still not sure how I feel about that - I honestly don't know which way it's going to go, which is pretty scary. I hope you're all registered to vote if you're eligible!
Are you up to anything exciting this month? Are you setting yourself any goals for June?

[Post contains affiliate links.]

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

In Retrospect | May 2017

It's been a funny old month, hasn't it, May? The last couple of weeks have been very quiet here and even over on social media - there's just been so much going on, and I haven't had the time, energy or inclination to sit down to blog, schedule tweets or even open my laptop at all some days. I've also been struggling with a major lack of inspiration for this little space, with no idea what to write even when I have felt motivated to sit down and write something... I'm sure we all know the frustration! I'm hoping that getting my monthly review post written and posted will help?! Any tips to overcome writer's block gratefully accepted...
May In Retrospect

May Empties.

I didn't think I'd done very well with the empties this month until I came to take these photos and actually there were loads more than I thought there was going to be - I think I finished a few early on in the month that I'd forgotten about!
May Beauty Empties
Will Repurchase: Swimovate PoolMate Swimmers' Shampoo | This smells lovely and coconutty, and works well to stop the chlorine in the pool damaging my hair now I'm swimming twice a week again. Winner. // Ojon Damage Reversing Thickening Spray | This smells gorgeous (you know those foamy banana sweets? Like those) and leaves my hair feeling soft, and with a bit more volume. Love it! // Kind Natured Coconut & Monoi Foaming Sugar Scrub | I cannot overstate how much I love this stuff! It smells incredible and works so well to exfoliate my arms and legs. I already have a couple more tubes... // Sure Maximum Protection Anti-Perspirant | I don't think we need to talk about how this is my favourite deodorant, I say it every time I finish one! I don't buy anything else now. // Super Facialist by Una Brennan Salicylic Acid Anti Blemish Purifying Cleansing Wash | Longest product name ever but also my favourite face wash ever, it works so well to balance my oily skin and keep blemishes at bay. I adore it.
Empties May 2017
Might Repurchase: Green People Scent-Free Shampoo* | This is a bit more than I would usually spend on shampoo, but I might buy it again if my eczema was having a particularly bad flare-up. // Garnier Matcha & Kaolin Purifying Face Mask | I'm not sure whether this did much for my skin but it was nice to use and, at £1 a sachet, there's a good chance I'll give it another go at some point! It was also a pleasing shade of bright green which is always a winner for me. // T-Zone Charcoal Nose Pore Strips* | I've not used any nose pore strips in ages but I was sent these recently and have been reminded how satisfying they are!
May 2017 Beauty Empties
Won't Repurchase: Real Techniques Deep Cleansing Brush Gel | I wanted to like this but I just felt it was over-priced and not that effective. I'll be sticking to my antibacterial handwash from now on, I think! // Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Lotion | I didn't dislike this but I didn't feel like it was anything special, and for upwards of £20 I'm definitely wanting special. It was nice to try it but I wouldn't go out of my way to buy it again. // Natural World Argan Oil Hair Mask | Again, I didn't dislike this per se, but having used their Macadamia mask as well, I much prefer that one and, given the choice, would choose it over the Argan Oil one. // The Organic Pharmacy Double Rose Rejuvenating Face Cream | Another one - it's nice but not nice enough for me to justify the price tag.

May Samples.

I feel like it was a bit of a poor effort on my part this month, but two samples is better than no samples, right? Right?! In my defence, I've been working through the samples pretty solidly, so my options are dwindling... 
May Beauty Samples
Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Targeted Wrinkle Filler with Purified Bee Venom | I didn't really feel like this did much, although maybe I'd need to use it for more than a week or so to notice the effects? It's good in theory but seems quite expensive for a product I'm not even sure I like... | £14.99/15ml here // Origins Out Of Trouble 10 Minute Mask | I finished a full tube of this a while back and actually really missed having it in my stash; this sample reminded me how fab it is, and I've since repurhcased a full-size tube. It works so well to calm down my skin, reducing redness and the size of any active blemishes. | £25/100ml here.

May Goals.

Finish reading two books. Proud to say I smashed this one and am actually halfway through my third book of the month, which means I'm actually ahead of target for my goal of twelve books this year - whoop! I think this has largely been a side-effect of not blogging as much - I've found myself reaching for my book in the evenings rather than turning on my laptop, which has been nice.
See friends at least twice. Well, two of my friends had a little housewarming do in Sheffield, which was lovely, and I met a friend from Uni for a cheeky Nando's a classy and sophisticated lunch whilst I was there. I also squeezed in a fire on the beach one evening after work with a couple of friends, and a celebratory night at the pub.
Get sweet treats back to "treats" rather than daily snacks". I've not done very well here... Whoops! I just have a major sweet tooth and I'm not very good at limiting myself... I'm going to give this another go in June and hopefully do a bit better.
Get out on my bike at least once a week. May has been a beautiful month for the most part, which has made it pretty easy to get out on my bike for an hour or so in the evenings after work. I've started using Strava recently and I have to say, it's pretty addictive tracking my rides and seeing my times improve!
Get a place on the Clinical Psychology doctorate programme. I didn't think my interview had gone very well but obviously it wasn't as bad as I thought as, amazingly enough, I've been offered a place to start in September! I'm honestly thrilled and can't wait to get started; my contract at my current job runs until the end of July so it's looking like I'm going to have August off before starting in September on the course. I'm so excited!!!
So that leaves me on four out of five in May - I'll take that! Considering how much has been going on, I think I did pretty well.

May 2017 Sunset Sandside

May Loves.

I haven't been reading a lot of blogs, either, through May, but I did love Roxie's post on Tarte's gorgeous Maneater collection; the leopard-print packaging basically makes it my ideal collection and I love the look of the palette. Dorota's post on skincare for glowing skin was an interesting read and certainly gave me a few ideas for products to try when I get chance! First on my list will be The Ordinary's AHA/BHA Peeling Solution which sounds pretty incredible.
Here on The Indigo Hours, I shared my picks in building my own custom eyeshadow palette with Essence Cosmetics, and some thoughts on the eczema-friendly Scent-Free range of beauty products by Green People, so do check those out if you missed them!

May 2017 Sandside Cumbria

May In Summary.

I feel like I can't finish this post without mentioning the horrendous events in Manchester towards the end of this month; as a North-West girl through and through, it's been heartbreaking seeing events unfold and hearing about the beautiful people we've lost because of one person's incomprehensible actions. Manchester has done us proud in its response, though, and I think it's safe to say it'll take a lot more than that to keep the Mancs down. My heart breaks for those who have lost loved ones and I hope they are able to find some solace in the love and support that have been so forthcoming in the days since the attack.

[*Product provided for consideration. Post contains affiliate links.]
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