Saturday, 3 December 2016

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY: The Ordinary


I don't think I've ever seen such a kerfuffle about a beauty brand launch as I saw with The Ordinary twelve weeks ago. The brand's concept is 'Clinical formulations with integrity' and their ethos is to avoid the industry standard of taking a commonplace technology, masking it as 'groundbreaking' then slapping a hefty price tag on it. The Ordinary aims to bring effective proven technologies to the market with honorable pricing structures which as you can imagine is causing the beauty industry a headache or two but finally giving consumers products that actually work without breaking the bank.

Of course the products immediately sold out, Victoria Health were taking pre-orders and I wanted to mention this because I haven't ordered from them in years and I was reminded just how good their customer service and user engagement is. Gill sent out an email after the influx of orders to let customers know what was going on and when orders were to be shipped and also to re-assure customers that no payments are taken until the products are actually dispatched (this is often not the case from retailers). So on to the products I purchased and my thoughts:

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% and HA Spheres 2% - £4.90 for 30ml (Link)
So first off you're not going to get simple names with any Deceim product and The Ordinary is no exception but you get the gist, a high percentage Vitamin C formulation with Hyaluronic Acid. This formula now comes in a tube rather than the dropper based on recommendations from customers (thumbs up), it's quite a thick formula so got a bit messy with the original packaging so I understand the change. On to the actual product, vitamin c is a proven ingredient to reverse signs of ageing and visibly brighten the complexion, this formula maximises topical efficiency as it is water and silicone-free which means it is completely stable so doesn't degrade as rapidly therefore stays potent longer than a water based vitamin c formula, the serum also contains spheres of Hyaluronic acid to smooth the skin.
My thoughts after using this product are that it visibly brightens the complexion and gives your skin a lovely glow, there is a sting factor with it (which I like in products) as well as the slightly gritty exfoliation action, it has an oily texture which absorbs pretty quickly but I like to leave on about 15 minutes before my next product for maximum absorption and potency. My only issue is that the next day the skin on my hands and around my fingernails is slightly orange and like I've fake tanned badly; I looked into this and from my googling I concluded it was the oxidants on my skin reacting with the product, an easily solvable issue if you come across it by using surgical gloves when applying it.

Will I repurchase?
Probably not; as the formulation is thicker and almost oily I find it doesn't fit into my skin care routine very well, I don't dislike it but I am prepared to spend more on a Vitamin C product with a more user friendly application, Deciem recommend the NIOD ELAN 30% for a more advanced formula which offers as high a potency as direct L-Ascorbic Acid with minimum stinging and high stability but the ingredient cost is 30 times the one used in The Ordinary's formula and therefore the product is at a higher cost.

The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% - £5.00 for 30ml (Link)
Niacinamide is a derivative of Vitamin B which has shown to reduce blemishes and congestion which this serum is marketed towards but the ingredient has a lot more skin benefits such as some evidence that it stimulates cells in the dermis to produce more collagen and increases the production of ceramides and lipids to shield skin against moisture loss and protect it from bacteria and the environment. The Ordinary advise not to use this in the same routine as topical vitamin c therefore if you use one at night use the Niacinamide in the morning; I assume this is because Niacinamide is also has a lightening affect on the skin and can affect the stability of vitamin c.
This is the product I have used the most from the brand as it's slotted into my morning routine perfectly, I use it sandwiched between a Korean essence and my beloved La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+, it has balanced my oily skin very nicely without causing dryness and I've noticed a major reduction in the overall congestion of my skin as well.

Will I repurchase?
Definitely, I will likely try more advanced Niacinamide formulations on the market (if they exist) but this really ticks the boxes for what I wanted it to do all for £5.00 so I will definitely purchase another bottle when this one runs out. (For reference I use this every morning and after a solid 2 months of use I have about 2/3rds remaining!)

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 - £5.90 for 30ml (Link)
Hyaluronic Acid is the skin care ingredient of the moment and I make sure to have a HA serum in my routine each day, The Ordinary's offering to the market is a formulation combining low, medium and high molecular weights of HA for multi-depth hydration combined with the B5 which enhances the surface hydration. I have absolutely no complaints with this product, it does exactly as intended for £5.90 so total bargain; yes it's a bit of a basic bitch and again NIOD offers a more advanced HA serum (which i'm testing out next) but if you're in your 20's and in need of a HA serum you can't go far wrong with this.

Will I repurchase?
Absolutely, this is a great offering like I said it just works, there's no bells or whistles which sometimes you need in your routine, its a great day time serum because it doesn't disturb makeup and will be great for more sensitive or acne prone skins as it's oil free and fragrance free.

My overall thoughts so far on The Ordinary is that i'm very impressed by the concept and the results of the products I've tried, I'm not the target market for the brand as I am a skin care connoisseur so NIOD is more suited to my needs however because the products on offer are effective and the prices they are available for are so reasonable i'll continue to try the remainder of range and future releases. I hope they continue to expand the range with some cleansers, masks and a few more acid based toners (they have lactic acid serums at the moment) and i'll continue posting my thoughts on the range as I want to balance out the more high end skin care with some more affordable options.

My philosophy on skincare has always been 'Buy the best that you can afford' but The Ordinary might just be my exception.

GIVEAWAY:

I have five bottles of the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + BA, I chose the HA because it's suited to all skin types and ages, everyone can get some use out of this serum whereas the rest of the range is more tailored to specific skin concerns. It's all going down on Instagram so head over to there to see how you can win a bottle. (Username: NicolaOBBeauty, there's a link at the top and bottom of this page too)

Monday, 7 November 2016

Turning 30 and Birthday Haulin'


Next week I am going to be experiencing turning 30. This terrifies me oh so much, mainly because I still feel the same as I did when was 21 and i'm in no way ready for kids; yet am pressured by society to get a move on with it all but i'm still not caving and enjoy my 'me time' and spending all my pennies on ME! I have seen so many like minded women who really don't feel the need to procreate as soon as possible, the older I get the less and less I want them particularly when I see the cost of child care, the stress and anguish parents go through and the affect it will have on my career. I will likely have a child within the next 5 years but I don't think I would feel incomplete if I discovered that children weren't a possibility for me, I have a 9 year old step son and to be honest he's all the child I could possibly need without the responsibility of keeping him alive most of the week. Perhaps that weighs in on my life choices but for now i'm happy as a two-some with an added third little person at the weekends. Please tell me i'm not the only one that feels this way??

On to the birthday Haul, my thoughts this year are 'feck it i'm 30 I can buy everything I want' hence all the age appropriate skin care you're about to hear about, although I won't likely purchase all at once as I'm not short on skincare so they will be purchased over the next few weeks/before Christmas. Plus every single website seems to be sending me birthday discount codes so it would be rude not to accept their most generous gifts!

Niod Sanskirt Saponins Cleanser £21.00 118ml (Link)
I haven't tried any Niod products as of yet as I find their 'Skincare for the Hyper-Educted' tag line a little understated as it's so frigging complicated. I swear they give you skin concerns you've never heard of but now want to correct (hence I want to try the whole product range but see - Voicemail Masque for the problem you've not known about) however once you have a read and a re-read the product description you sort of understand what the product does. This product is an intensive cleansing balm which targets build up, congestion and impurities without the use of synthetic sulphates, oils or micellar technologies, instead it focuses on an amino acid technology formulated with plant saponins. I've heard very good things so this is the top of my list as my skin easily gets congested.

Algenist Splash Absolute Hydration Overnight Mask £40.00 60ml (Link)
Another brand I haven't tried and one i've not heard much about, their brand ethos is based on micro algae as an anti-ageing sustainable ingredient which i'm intrigued about as the alguronic acid helps to regenerate and protect cells. I am obsessed with overnight masks and there's rarely a night that goes by that I don't sleep in one so one that promises hydration, smoothing and rejuvenating is one I need to try.

Algenist Perfect Clarifying Pore Corrector Mask £37.50 60ml (Link)
This mask uses the Alguronic Acid and sulphur to improve texture, brightness and clarity and the red algae extract to sooth and firm the skin. Lets face it this mask is red which may have had a part in my choosing of it but it sounds just like my kind of mask for when my skin is having a 'moment'

Niod Copper Amino Isolate Serum £38.00 15ml (Link)
Now this Niod serum does take a bit of a chemistry degree to understand the science behind the product but from what I gather the Copper Tripeptide-1 contained in the serum is what occurs naturally in our bodies and the percentage drops with age. The 1.0% pure CT-1 you mix with the activator and it targets signs of ageing, texture damage, uneven tone and basically gives you healthy young looking radiant skin. Basically I need this as does everyone older than 30, what I like is that there's a 1% starter at 15ml you can get to grips with before investing in a larger bottle or the 5% which is also available.

Kypris Moonlight Catalyst £56.00 47ml (Link)
More algea ... I must be getting all eco-warrior in my ageing years, this time it's Hawaiian sea algae with a cocktail of rose hip seed and sea buckthorn oils to replenish the skin as this overnight treatment contains pumpkin derived enzymatic exfoliants to gently resurface the skin. I'm all about chemical exfoliants and overnight treatments as waking up to a glowing youthful complexion fills me with all the joy I need.

Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic Acid Retinol Brightening Solution £72.50 30ml (Link)
I know, how much skin care does one person need? ... answer - ALL OF IT. This serum is a power house of acid and retinol which normally can cause sensitivity but this is formulated to gently correct pigmentation and stimulate collagen resulting in brighter, plumper and lifted skin. Due to Dr Dennis Gross' reputation I trust the products to do as they should without irritation or damage ... I also want to try their Alpha Beta Peel pads.

May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt £48.00 200ml (Link)
This is a powder cleanser which you mix with water before applying to face; containing clays, salts and spices that rid the skin of impurities and regenerate the complexion this is a great cleanser for dull complexions as the powder micro exfoliates the skin each time it's used and I think my skin will love this. A point to note is this is actually great value for money as you only use a tiny bit with each application and you get a whopping 200ml which will last forever.

Zoeva Zoe Tote Makeup Bag £42 (Link)
I saw this tote bag on Anna's snapchat and instantly knew this was a must have purchase for my life despite not having tried a single Zoeva brush, I often spend nights away from home and as you may have gathered quite serious about my skincare so don't like to de-pot or use alternatives so a great big old three sectioned makeup bag is exactly what I need. Like I said there are three compartments so more than enough space for my rather elaborate skin care routine (see my Instagram - NicolaOBBeauty for more details) plus my makeup and there are also loads of segments for brushes. Winner!! 

Aerin Amber Musk EDP £92.00 50ml (Link)
Another grown up purchase, I was even sensible enough to purchase a little sample off eBay before taking the plunge because although the notes of amber, musk and florals sound like my perfume heaven sometimes the blend can make or break a fragrance and whilst usually I would just order blind I wanted to find the right sophisticated scent and I definitely chose perfectly with this perfume. It is stunning, so warm and inviting but sensual at the same time. Exactly what a woman in her 30's should be smelling like.

So those are my 'shit i'm 30' purchases .... I should probably concentrate on the baby desires instead of spending all my time researching skin care ingredients and what to buy next ... perhaps thats a 31 year old's goal. 30 shall be spend doing exactly what I like. 

Monday, 29 August 2016

FAVOURITES: August 2016


Elegant Touch Rosie Bea Hibiscus Nails £5.49 (Link)
I have to admit i've never heard of Rosie Bea before these nails showed up on my welcome matt so I can't claim any particular blogger bias, Elegant Touch have always been my favoured press on nail brand and these almond coral beauties have been the perfect speed manicure for my summer occasions. I like them particularly because they're not too big or long like most almond shaped press on nails, the petite-ness means they don't look overly fake and the Elegant Touch glue means you never have one ping off as it's the best I've come across.

Beuti Beauty Sleep Elixir £42 (Link)
This oil is perfect for all skin types, if you have dry skin it will hydrate your complexion leaving you with glowing skin day and night, if your skin is more blemish prone the anti-inflammatory ingredients help heal and calm the skin. It is packed with 14 different plant oils,100% natural and made in the UK and will do your skin world's of good.

Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Watermelon Soda £16 (Link)
There has been some controversy surrounding Jeffree Star and his cosmetics brand so I wasn't really interested in trying the products but apparently all it takes is for a product to smell like watermelon for me to snap it up, I have to say I had a very smooth transaction and my order arrived within a week from the States which I was pleasantly surprised by. The lipstick itself is a gorgeous neon watermelon pink, the smell is really good as expected and in terms of formula it is slightly streaky which you can even out easily, it's not the most drying liquid lipstick i've ever used but not the most hydrating either and the lasting power is really good. I'd like to try a more subdued colour for everyday use but for a night out this colour rocks and lasts all night. UPDATE - BeautyBay are now stocking a selection of his products so easier to get hold of.

Stila Perfect Me, Perfect Hue Eye and Cheek Palette in Fair/ Light £28 (Link)
I have been obsessed with this palette since receiving it, containing five shadows and two blushes the Perfect Me, Perfect Hue palettes come in four shades each designed to work with your own skin tone for a natural look but with an extra hue to create a more dramatic look. I love this palette, having everything in one place with a big mirror beats all my other palettes hands down so I've been using this none stop. The decision to make the base colour shadow in a larger pan is genius as it's the one I always run out of first, the shadows are so soft and blend-able and the blushes really lift the complexion.

Essie Nail Polishes in Angora Cardi (Link) and Cocktail Bling (Link) £7.99 each
I wouldn't say Angora Cardi is the most summery shade however it's one that I searched high and low for having seen a picture on pinterest of these beautiful dusty rose nails which is so sophisticated and flattering dare I say the perfect autumn shade. Cocktail Bling is a gorgeous grey toned light blue perfect for any season and the blue equivalent of my all time favourite Essie shade Maximillian Strasse Her.

Tigi S-Factor True Lasting Colour Oil £14.65 (Link)
I recently chopped off most of my hair and lightened the colour,  I've managed to find the perfect method for no heat curls so finding this hair oil has been instrumental in this as it conditions, detangles and smooths my hair without adding any weight so my curls stay in tact all day and my hair gets all the TLC it needs.

Those have been my monthly favourites, another whirl wind month with no time for blogging and I swear this year will be over before we know it which is scary, although I'm looking forward to September and the start of jumper and tight season (is it bad that i've already bought two coats and jumpers already?).