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On My Bedside Table: Current Skincare
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It seems I haven't shared a skincare routine on the blog in the longest time! To be honest, I'm chopping and changing routine constantly so it often seems a bit disingenuous to share some kind of pseudo-regular routine. Saying that, I have actually been keeping to a routine lately as I've been having a nightmare time with my skin. I've been working full time for most of summer and I begin my Masters course this week; safe to say me (and my skin) are stressed.  

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In the AM, I like to use a gel cleanser. My usual pick is the Andalou Naturals Kombucha Cleanser but unfortunately I have just used it up and it has now been reformulated. I'm currently trying the Green People Oy! Clear Skin Foaming Wash* but I think, in the future, I would definitely prefer a thicker gel cleanser with a bit more oomph. This offering from Green People almost vanishes into the skin and I'm not really in to it. In the PM I preempt this with a cleansing oil and at the moment I'm loving the Vedani Botanicals Silky Face & Body Oil. This isn't currently on sale and I was very lucky to receive one from Mercedes as part of a giveaway prize. I absolutely love this oil and it also works as a great multi-tasker when I need to pack minimally for travel. I'm definitely not looking forward to when it finally runs out. It's absolutely fabulous at removing makeup but I do occasionally loosen off any heavy eye makeup with the Madara Micellar Water*.

Serum-wise, I'm currently testing some products from The Ordinary. They aren't the cleanest, but they use a selection of natural/organic ingredients and everything is cruelty-free and most products are suitable for vegans. I've been using the Advanced Retinoid 2% (now called Granactive Retinoid 2% Emulsion) in the evening as a super-charged de-clogging serum for my closed comedones. I definitely think it has been effective and I am happy to continue using it as my comedones are a constant battle that hasn't yet been improved that much by completely natural products. I've also been using the Salicylic Acid 2% as a spot treatment. It is the same strength as the Bravura peel but the thicker consistency makes it easier to apply to smaller areas. I haven't noticed a huge difference from using this but I may give it another go when it runs out due to the great price point of The Ordinary's products.

At the moment I am pre-empting any moisturising product with a good spritz of the Evolve Beauty Skin Defence Moisture Mist*. This is a relatively new release from Evolve and probably one of my favourite products of theirs that I have tried. I find this mist to be moisturising (without making my face greasy) and it provides a perfect base for any kind of face oil. I also love using it as a refreshing face mist post-gym! Skincare-wise however, I enjoy using it before my oil of the moment, the Vedani Botanicals Silky Skin Serum. Unfortunately this is also not available at the moment but if it ever pops up, pick this up. I absolutely adore this serum and I am going to be truly sad when it runs out - which will be soon. It's absolutely perfect for my skin, which is to be hoped as it was a bespoke blend from the lovely Mercedes. I really enjoy giving my skin a good facial massage with it before bed. In the AM, I'm loving the Hynt Beauty Sun Prep Broad Spectrum SPF30. This SPF is one of a kind in the green beauty world, in that it is almost completely transparent. It provides a smoothed and protected base before makeup and its light texture makes it perfect for combination/oily/acne-prone skins like my own. If you're going to try anything from this post, I suggest picking up a sample ASAP from Glow Organic.

What has been featuring in your skincare routine lately?

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Green and Vegan Sunscreens That Actually Work

Okay, I will admit it. I really have been dragging my feet when it comes to getting back into blogging. I've been struggling with getting back in to a productive routine that involves working full time, blogging, exercising regularly, and staying sane. But here I am. Finally. And what better way to launch myself back into blogging after a nice long lazy holiday in Croatia? A sunscreen round-up; what worked and what didn't so much. Let's go!

Organii SPF 50 High Protection Sun Milk
Okay, so let's start with the one that didn't work so much. In the run up to Croatia, I was freaking out a little because I needed a second bottle of sunscreen and I couldn't find my normal Lovea anywhere. Absolutely everywhere was sold out. So, in panic, I decided to try something new. Enter Organii. Unfortunately, I didn't really get on with it. Unlike what you would expect from such a high factor, the formula is super runny and so it was absolute pain to apply. The upside-down squeeze bottle packaging totally didn't work with the formula and it was so messy. It was also really hard to apply and I felt like I needed a ridiculous amount just to cover a single limb. I also found it really greasy which wasn't pleasant in the 35 degree Croatia heat. Therefore, I found that I could only use it before leaving for the beach, when I had a good amount of time to let it soak in and the time to apply it carefully. I don't think I will be repurchasing, especially at such a high price point (although the SPF50 does come with a free mini aftersun which I do like).

Lovea SPF 30 Moisturising Spray
And, on to my favourite! I've been using Lovea since last year and I really do love it. It does use only use titanium dioxide (inferior to zinc oxide in terms of sun protection), I have never burned while using it and while in Croatia, I actually got a hint of a tan... which is a first. I will point out that it does use nano titanium dioxide, which also has less UVA protection but the sunscreen does conform to strict EU standards and does state that it provides such protection. I will be doing some digging into its other ingredients to find out where this is from. The formula is amazing. It spreads easily, doesn't have too much of a white cast, and dries to almost a matte finish. It also smells delicious which is thanks to the inclusion of monoi de tahiti. 

Andalou Naturals Untinted Beauty Balm with SPF30
Come on now, do I really need to explain? Just look here.

What natural SPFs have you tried this summer?

Recent Empties #5

Time for another empties! I promise that I have been trying to use things up but it seems that I am being less than successful...

Andalou Naturals Illuminating Clementine + C Toner
I'm a bit unsure about this one. Some weeks, I thought it worked; and others, not so much. All in all this is a lovely brightening toner with lactic acid - however, I'm not sure if I can vouch for its efficacy. Repurchase? Maybe.

Odylique Tea Tree and Herb Shampoo
I'm LOVING this new shampoo. I mentioned it in my updated haircare routine and I have been using it ever since. I really enjoy its tea tree/minty scent and it's working incredibly well in terms of keeping my hair clean and shiny. I also really enjoy the packaging which comes with a super handy pump mechanism. A lot less fiddly for the shower! Repurchase? Already have, twice.

Bodhi & Birch Mint ThΓ© Shower Therapy*
I received this lovely shower gel a super long time ago (AKA last September) from the lovely Elijah. I'm still quite shocked at how long it has lasted. This has the most amazing scent (Rach will agree), and I'm definitely going to miss it in my routine. However, I am trying to reduce my use of liquid soaps and will now be moving to using up my bar soaps. Repurchase? Maybe - when all my soaps are gone.

Natural Wisdom Clarifying Gel Cleanser
I got this as part of my trial kit from Natural Wisdom. I've briefly mentioned some of my favourites from the trial kit but unfortunately, the cleanser was a little average. It isn't drying at all - which is fantastic - but sometimes I feel that it leaves a film on my skin. Not let this stop you from trying the brand though, their other products are brilliant! Repurchase? Probably not. Unsure whether it's available anymore.

Acure Organics Argan Oil Shampoo
I don't really think I need to explain this one anymore. I bought a bottle shortly after realising that shampoo bars weren't for me. I've thankfully found a much better replacement (see above), so this shampoo has become a little redundant. Repurchase? Nope.

Review: Andalou Naturals Turmeric + C Enlighten Serum

I'm so thrilled to finally be reviewing one of my absolute favourite skincare finds of this year - the Andalou Naturals Turmeric + C Enlighten Serum.  I've always been a fan of Andalou Naturals but I was specifically introduced to this little gem through one of Brianna's Youtube videos. This serum (as the name suggests), contains the skin brightening wonder ingredient - turmeric - and claims to smooth and brighten skin overnight. I've used turmeric as part of past mask concoctions but it can get a little messy so it's great to have an alternative option. Frankly I was a little skeptical after hearing Brianna's rave review, but BOY was she right. This stuff works.

Redness is an unfortunate side effect of my struggle with stress-related adult acne. Although I mainly suffer from closed comedones and blocked pores, these areas can become red and patchy if I'm being naughty and touching my skin a lot. This serum has been absolutely brilliant at practically dissolving this redness overnight, making my acne a lot easier to conceal under minimal everyday makeup. I even considered doing a before and after photo for this post as it's almost unbelievable how noticeable its effect is. And not only does it heal redness, but it's also great at smoothing out the skin and prepping it for your nighttime oil or moisturiser because of its aloe vera base. I wouldn't really choose to wear this serum in the daytime as it does contain its fair share of photosensitising ingredients. But don't get me wrong, this serum really does contain some great ingredients and everything is non-gmo verified, organic certified, and fair trade.

I really love Andalou as a middle-end cost-effective brand and this serum is another really great product from them. I've also tried their Clementine + C Illuminating Toner and it's just as effective. I would definitely suggest checking them out if you're looking for a immediate-gratification brightening line. They've also recently become a lot easier to get hold in the UK as the brand is now stocked by both Amazon and Holland and Barrett. On top of this, H&B is currently holding a BOGOHF offer on Andalou Naturals so there's never been a better time to try them out!

Ingredients for Enlighten Serum: Aloe Barbadensis Juice*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil*, Vegetable Glycerin, Cyamopsis Tetragonolobus (Guar) Gum*, Fruit Stem Cells (Malus Domestsica, Solar Vitis) and BioActive 8 Berry Complex*, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Extract*, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Lauric Acid, Cetearyl Alcohol, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitis Vinifera (Grape Seed) Polyphenols, Borago Officinalis (Borage) and Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Oils*, Glyceryl Monolaurate, Linum Usitatissimum (Flax), Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) and Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Oils*, Camellia Sinensis (White Tea) Extract*^, Laminaria Digitata (Kelp) Extract, Allantoin, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Phenethyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil* 

Non-GMO verified   *Organic   ^Fair Trade

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