Stay Cool

So, I need to fess up and admit to the fact that with all the best intentions in the world, when starting this blog I haven’t been dedicated enough in maintaining it. I know, I am a terrible blogger but I do miss it which is why I am talking the time to write this post. There are no excuses as to why I let the blog go, but in the hope that you may all forgive me, I am going to list them out…

  1. I have a full-time job
  2. Running around London in 30 degrees heat takes up a lot of time
  3. I actually like to spend my weekends not looking at a computer screen (counter-productive to blogging)
  4. The impossible happened and I have managed to tie down a boyfriend for a whole 6 months who actually quite likes me 
  5. I spend a solid hour most days being racked with guilt about quitting the gym over bikini bod season
  6. I spend a lot of time eating and overindulging on cocktails (whilst simultaneously feeling guilty about the gym)
  7. I like seeing my friends 
  8. I try and see my family as despite complaining about them, I quite miss them

So whilst I realise all of the above doesn’t justify my laziness I hope you can relate forgive me? Can I tempt you to read on and let me tell you about how to battle the HORRENDOUS CITY, SUMMER HEAT and help you stop your make-up from sliding down your face? 

If you are lucky enough to live on a glorious beach, a yacht or have permanent access to a vat of cool, water (and no I don’t mean your niece’s paddling pool) then don’t read on. If however you are currently sitting at your desk with sweat sliding off your hands, your hair flat and frizzy and make-up that is land-sliding down your face you may like me, be in desperate need of some help. 

STAY COOL
The first piece of advice I have is so bloody obvious but try and STAY COOL ladies. Bar the obvious eg squashing your face against the air con whilst it shoots an icey cold breeze, up your nose and drink plenty of the good old H2O, here are a couple of neat tricks that will lower your body temperature. 

  1. Put an ice cub in your mouth, it will lower your body temperature as well as calm you if you’re having a particularly stressful day.
  2. Wash your hands for a couple of minutes under an icey tap – pulse points help cool your entire body.
  3. Have a cup of tea – your system has to cool it down in order to digest it, thus cooling you down.
  4. Do you have to take the tube? Sure it’s quicker but it’s utter hell in this weather. I’ve started taking the bus home and whilst it’s an additional 15 minutes, it leaves me feeling a lot less hot and bothered. It’s also a great opportunity to see the sights of London.

PRIME TIME

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The next piece advice I have is invest in a good primer which will stop the hideous foundation land-slide look that I have been recently sporting. With even dryer skins becoming prone to shine in this heat, and combination skin types like myself beginning to resemble an oil slick, everyone can benefit from one of these beauties. Here are my personal recommendations:

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer
A favourite amongst celebs over in the States, and sister company of Clinique, Smash Box offer an array of brilliant primers that adhere to every skin’s needs. Created to withstand intense studio lighting, I am fan of Photo Finish Light which gives you an oil-absorbing canvas, whilst being suitable for dry skins and not being over-mattifying. Gently pat over your entire face for creating the perfect base.

£25 for 30ml

Benefit, PoreFessional
Great for us girls who have open pores and oilier complexions. A combination of vitamin E and silicon this wonder-balm creates mattifying, smooth canvas to give you that film-screen flawless look. Pay particular attention to the your T-zone.

£24.50 for 22ml

PICTURE-PERFECT

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Once you’ve applied your make-up with clean brushes, not your sweaty, gross hands you’ll need something to set it with. I love Bare Minerals, Mineral Veil in Original which is a soft pink, loose, translucent powder which creates a barrier between your foundation and the outside heat and environmental factors that cause your make-up to slide. It’s so soft it doesn’t add to anything to your final finish other than airbrush perfection. 

£20 for 8g

Over one of our heat-wave weekends, a friend introduced me to Urban Decay’s All Nighter Long Lasting Make-Up Setting Spray which really does do what it says on the tin. During a particular boozy weekend, my make-up withstood sand, sun and wind for a full day at the Beach Polo! The spray features patented Temperature Control Technology which actually lowers the temperature of your make-up. I highly recommend this baby! Here is a photo of my won’t budge make-up and the boyfriend of 6 months who quite likes me:

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£20 for 118ml

SPICK, SPOT

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As Mary Poppins would say. A summer in the city means acne for my combination skin. The mix between pollution, office air-con and the sticky heat results in break-outs across my complexion. I’ve been trying to combat this with a regimented regime of double cleansing as recommended by French beauty experts whereby I remove the first layer of make-up and grime off my face with a micellar water (I love Avène Eau Thermale Avene Cleanance Cleansing Water which is super refreshing and targeted a blemish-prone skin, £14.40 for 400ml) and then follow up with a hot cloth cleanse. The second cleanse works to give your skin a deep clean rather than simply removing your make-up. A cult classic, I’ve rediscovered Liz Earle’s Hot Cloth Cleanser (£14.75 for 50ml) which cleared up a particularly nasty bout of spots within a week.

After toner and moisturiser, before bed, I apply a layer of Clinique’s Anti-Blemish solution (£20 for 30ml) over any blemishes or under the skin volcanoes that are threatening to wreck my day. This little beauty is like Superman for spots, working its magic in a matter of hours.

So there you have it ladies, a couple of tips on being cool from the UK’s sorriest blogger. Forgiven me?

Avène – The Review

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Asking me to convert from Neutrogena to another skin care brand would be a tall order indeed. After searching for so many years to finally find an excellent and inexpensive skin care regime that works perfectly for me, I would be hesitant to change it.

However in an attempt to be a ‘proper’ blogger I accepted I would need to give up my beloved Neutrogena and test at least one other brand. I had heard great things about a French make (surprise, surprise) called Avène so got in touch with their PR company and requested some samples to try. I asked for the Cleanance range for oily, blemish prone skin remembering that it had been pretty good after I cheekily borrowed it from a French girlfriend’s bathroom.

I have always made it clear with PR’s (being one myself) that I will only ever write up a review if I think that the products I have been sent actually do work. Honesty has always been my policy. So here it is… I LOVE Avène. I am converted.

Neutrogena, I will always love you and highly recommend you but for the time being, I am an all-singing-all-dancing Avène convert. I have been using the range for just over two weeks and whilst normally I would give a new regime a good month to take effect, the results have been so instant that I feel ready to write up my review now. I will re–cap in a month’s time to let you know if I am still raving liking a lunatic, however only a few moments ago I was complimented on my skin… something I crave yet rarely feel I deserve. I must admit, it is certainly looking the clearest it ever has, belmish-free and much cleaner pores.

Even after a savage night of drinking a week ago, the range passed the ultimate test. I was fully prepared the next morning to see my skin’s usual response to alcohol – obscenely dehydrated resulting in breakouts. Whilst I still had that general hint of green and those dilated pupils which will always give you away, I was pleasantly surprised to see that my skin looked clear.

So how is it that the French do sexy men, great cheese and amazing skin care? What can’t they do other than British manners? (Sorry to all my French friends but nothing beats the polite reserve of an English gentlemen). In order to get to the bottom of the technology and innovation of Avène as a company, the first thing I did was google map them.

Yes, I am geographically savvy enough to realise that Avène is an actual place. It was nothing to do with the fact that it was a complete stab in the dark because the name sounded like ‘Evian’. Anyhow, you only need to look at the satellite map and see the grassy, green mountains and crystal clear blue lakes to know that this stuff is coming from a pretty special source.  I feel hydrated just looking at it! As early as 1874, the Avène spring thermal water, located in a small town in the South of France, has been renowned for its soothing properties and treating skin infections.

Cleanse

After removing all traces of make-up, I begin my strict cleanse, tone, moisturise routine (TWICE a day ladies!). I have always been a wash-off cleanser kind of gal… not only is it refreshing to splash your face with fresh water to remove the daily grime but it gets to the route of my oilier skin. Using a pea size amount of the Cleanance Soapless Gel Cleanser and a couple of drops of water I lather it up between my hands and gently massage into damp skin taking time on the oilier parts of my face such as the cheeks and nose. After a few splashes of water, my face feels squeaky clean and fresh. Moreover, it has that lovely, clean, comforting smell that make you want to sigh a big ‘ahhhhh’. A bit like when you get into a bed that has freshly laundered sheets!

Tone

After a nice deep clean, I use the Cleanance Toner.  I shake the solution up and down to activate the matifying powder and then gently sweep a load cotton pad over my face, concentrating on the t-zone and taking it right down to the neck. This product is my new favourite trick for making my make-up last all day. This crafty mix of Avène thermal water and powder has a long-lasting anti-shine effect which creates an excellent, clean base.

Moisturise

In the mornings, I finish of this process with the Cleanance Emulsion Gel. Its oil-free formula creates the silkiest yet matt base. The general feeling is so smooth and clean that I actually found myself stroking my face the other morning. Combined with the rest of the regime this gel-moisturiser creates the perfect base for applying make-up to.

At night, I prefer a little more intense hydration and am still neurotically obsessed with fading the marks on my face. Thus I am continuing to sumptuously massage Bio Oil in so the blood is encouraged to pump around my face. Together the deeply cleansing Avène mixed with the ultra-nourishing Bio Oil works towards my goal of flawless, perfect skin.

Combined with a tan (fake or real – I can’t be without some colour), I would now say I feel confident enough to venture out completely make-upless which for those who know me is quite a big deal (tragic I know).

For ladies with an oilier or combination complexion that have mild or frequent breakouts, this is the range for you. It is very reasonably priced, starting at £8.25 (200ml) for the Soapless Gel Cleanser, and seems to be lasting forever! It’s tough enough to tackle oil and blemishes whilst being sensitive enough to not irritate the skin – a common problem for those who have heavy–breakouts.

A friend of mine has similar skin concerns to me however she has also always been incredibly sensitive with drier patches so I recommended the standard Avène gentle toner for sensitive and dry skin mixed with the Cleanance Soapless Gel. So far, so good. She has also noticed a visible difference in the condition of her skin.

It really is about working out what is right for your skin. Everyone is different, which is why it really does just boil down to trial and error. For those with sensitive and dryer skin, I can only expect very good things from the other ranges of the Avène brand. Available at Boots stores nationwide.