My latest skincare review

Skincare brands

Self-care is so important. And one way to do that is to take care of your skin. I’ve always been into finding the perfect cleanser and creams but recently, I’ve started to indulge even more. Here are some reviews for my latest finds.

Simple Water Boost skincare line

Price: £6.99

Let me start off by saying, this review is going to be a little long. I’m not listing these in any particular order, but man, for the price, this skincare line really works and deserves a top spot. Not only is the price tag small, but my very sensitive Scandinavian skin LOVES this line.

I decided to try it last winter because I suffer from dry flaky skin in colder months. The first product I fell in love with was the Simple Water Boost Hydrating Booster. You put this on the dry spots on your face, or all over, and follow it up with your normal moisturiser. I immediately saw a difference. Most of the time I didn’t have any flaky skin, and if I did, it was way less severe than normal. Plus, it didn’t break me out and the ingredients are, well, simple and very gentle.

In September, I had my very first facial. The facialist mentioned I needed to get a more hydrating night cream because my cheeks were dry. My bank account and my super sensitive skin put their guard up as I searched the internet for night creams and saw endless high price tags. When I popped into Boots one day, I noticed the Simple Water Boost Sleeping Cream – £6.99. I tried it and – no more dry skin! No nasty breakouts! Just hydrated, supple, clear skin. And I haven’t had a single dry patch on my face all winter – even when I went back to snowy Connecticut and the temperature was well below freezing. Life saver.

Garnier Moisture Bomb Pomegranate Hydrating Face Sheet Mask

Price: £1.99

Garnier sheet masks are easy, cooling, hydrating inventions that I just can’t get enough of. My personal favourite is the Pomegranate Hydrating Face Sheet Mask which contains pomegranate extract, hyaluronic acid and plant serum. After one use, you can see a difference, and it doesn’t cause breakouts or weird rashes! There are various sheet masks to choose from depending on your skin needs. My favourite time to use them is in the summer because they stay icy cold without having to put them in the fridge – it’s a perfect way to cool down and relax.

Bioderma Micellar Water Hydrabio H2O

Price: £5.20 (100ml), £10.80 (250ml), £15.80 (500ml) or £12 (2 x 250ml)

Although the Simple Water Boost line is one of my favourite finds over the past year, this Bioderma Micellar Water is my favourite in the past couple of months. It’s so gentle yet gets every bit of make up off without irritating my skin. It doesn’t create that dry, tight feeling. It’s step one in my skincare routine every day and I love how clean and hydrated it leaves me.

I know there are knock-off brands like Garnier and Simple, but for some reason this one reacts best with my skin. A little goes a long way – it’s worth it.

Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser

Price: £8 (60ml) or £15 (177ml)

I’m sure you’ve seen this cleanser all over social media. Let’s be honest, Glossier’s marketing is spot on and the hype over this brand is real. So when I ordered some of their makeup and got this cleanser as a sample, I fell in love.

The texture is like jelly but it never goes foamy, it smells slightly of rose, but not overpowering, and it’s super gentle. It doesn’t break me out and it leaves my skin feeling so clean and soft. Because the consistency remains jelly-like, it’s perfect for giving yourself a little facial massage in the morning or evening.

I use this in the morning and then use a salicylic acid based cleanser at night to help keep breakouts at bay. I used to use a salicylic cleanser both morning and night and had good results. However, since swapping out one wash with this gentle cleanser, my skin has been even better. It’s balanced and blemish free (except for the occasional hormonal breakout). I strongly recommend this! Plus, the price tag isn’t too bad compared to some other popular skincare lines – especially since Glossier is a cult classic right now.

Aqua Réotier Fresh Moisturising Mist

Price: £15 (50ml)

I bought this last summer to boost hydration and keep me feeling cooled and refreshed during the day. I didn’t notice any massive difference with hydration, but it definitely is refreshing.

The scent is a bit strong, so if you’re sensitive to fragrance, I’d avoid this. And to be honest, something in this broke me out. It doesn’t seem to bother my neck and chest area so I still use it there when I’m feeling over heated (can’t waste it), but considering the amount of product you get and the higher price tag, I’d say skip this one. Sorry L’Occitane!

The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Solution 12%

Price: £8.90 (30ml)

The Ordinary is an amazing brand that skips the over-priced marketing BS and gives you what you want for a few quid. And this particular serum was really nice! I have to say, it made my skin glow like crazy and I noticed a difference really quickly.

But annoyingly, it did break me out. Surprise, surprise.

As mentioned before, my skin is so sensitive so I don’t blame the brand or even the product for this one because it really did seem to do what it said it would. I still use it on my neck and chest as it doesn’t irritate me there. Oh how I envy those with high tolerance…

Just to note: I recently order The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane (£10.79) so I’ll follow up with a review shortly. My mom and a few friends are currently using the 2% one and love it – but if you’re new to retinol serums like I am, then I suggest starting off with the lowest percentage and working your way up.

Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Organic Hand Sanitizer

Price: Approximately £3-4 (60ml)

I know, I know, this isn’t your typical “skincare product” but I’m counting it because I love it.

The lavender scent is to die for and is a nice way to find balance when you’re busy at work and feeling a little anxious. It kills bacteria and bad vibes (wink, wink).

The spray dispenser is great because it makes the product last even longer. I use this all the time and got it in December and I’m barely below the top of the label. I carry it everywhere I go so I stay clean and calm.

You can find this at any organic store like Whole Foods, Planet Organic or online.

Do you have any skincare recommendations? Comment below!

The five biggest lessons I’ve learned …so far

With every lesson, comes a lot of learning. Here are the ones I live by.

Trust your intuition

“We think we’re mundane beings with no powers, but in reality, our superpower is our intuition.”

This is the rule to live by – it encompasses all other rules. Does something feel right? Trust it. Does something feel wrong? Trust it. We think we’re mundane beings with no powers, but in reality, our superpower is our intuition… our natural instinct. There have been times my intuition has saved my life, and other times where it opened up wonderful opportunities. I wrote and published my first short story Rust based on a real experience I had. It’s the biggest lesson I’ve ever learned, and I honestly believe nothing will ever beat it.

Let go of toxic people

Feeling anxious, unhappy, maybe even sick? Look at the company you keep. You’ll probably make excuses at first.

“But if I let them go, I’ll have no friends?” However, if you let them go, you might actually be happier and attract healthier people, you know, the ones who are actually good friends.

“But he has been good to me in the past, like.. remember that one time?” Whether it be a boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend or family member, emotional abuse is a real and very valid thing and I’ve had strong firsthand experiences with it. Do I remember the occasional good time with that person? Sure. Does it override the bad? Absolutely not. And to be honest, I’m so much happier without them – and that’s not a bad thing to admit.

Never live up to other’s expectations over your own

“If you stay true to yourself, you won’t regret your choice when you’re on your deathbed.”

People will clobber you with their own opinions, limitations and expectations. But your right as a living, breathing human is to own your choices and your path. If you have a vision for your life, one that will make your soul sing, then go for it. If someone else thinks it’s boring, small, lame or out of reach – don’t listen. Lead a life you value. The right people will support you. And maybe the people you love the most won’t understand and that’s okay. If you stay true to yourself, you won’t regret your choices when you’re on your deathbed.

Believe in the impossible, because it’s possible

This is kind of linked to the previous point, but it’s an important lesson to learn.

I want to be a screenwriter. The first thought in your head was probably, “But Sal, nobody makes it.” You’re actually wrong, tons of people make it. You know that show you’re binging on Netflix? Whoever wrote it was told the exact same thing. But guess what? They didn’t believe you. They believed in themselves. And now they have a show on Netflix.

There are people who love you …and people who won’t

“Stop tearing yourself down just because someone else doesn’t click with your uniqueness.”

….and that’s okay! You will never make everyone happy. You will never click with every single person. It may be uncomfortable, but that’s the beauty in life. You think you’re an outcast? You’re not! There’s someone out there who will totally dig you. Feel like you can’t make someone happy? Stop trying! You’ll be enough for someone else. Your crush isn’t into you? Next! There will be someone who shares your feelings.

Stop tearing yourself down just because someone else doesn’t click with your uniqueness. Think about everyone you’ve ever disliked – are they bad people or just not your cup of tea? Striving for someone’s affection and approval when they just won’t give it is toxic and exhausting. If you accept it, you’ll be a happier person, and you’ll have more time to appreciate the ones who adore you.

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned? Comment below.

Sincerely,

Sally

 

Review: Sunflower Yoga and Zumba at Nutmeg’s Dance Studio

Company: Nutmeg’s Dance/Sunflower Yoga

Price: $15 (Yoga drop in) & $10 (Zumba drop in)

Rating: Image result for 5 stars

Fitness is my therapy. When I’m stressed, when I’m happy, when I’m bored – it’s always there for me. And one of my favourite things to do is try a new workout.

Almost three years ago, I visited my family in Southwick, Massachusetts. Around the corner was this fun dance studio called Nutmeg’s Dance with Zumba classes run by Meg, a warm, smiley, and inspiring instructor. I boogied, dripped with sweat and smiled my way through that class. It was a blast, full of great choreography, full body toning and a fun, refreshing way to get some kick-ass cardio in. Did I mention she was four months pregnant with twins at the time? Yeah, she’s cool to say the least.

I recently returned to the US for Thanksgiving and just had to stop by one of her classes. This time, it was next door at Sunflower Yoga for a 60 minute vinyasa flow.

I started dipping my toes in the yoga pond a few years ago, but never really tried traditional styles like vinyasa – and any type of yoga was done via online subscriptions in my living room. So I was confident enough that I wasn’t going to fall on my face, but still pretty nervous for my very first live class.

“Meg made me feel completely at ease and excited to dive in.”

But that changed when welcoming Meg came into the room. She somehow recognised me from three years before which showed how much she pays attention to her students, and made me feel completely at ease and excited to dive in.

The room was warm and dark, with gentle lighting and an aromatherapy oil diffuser that gave out the most calming scent – which I sadly forgot to ask about. There was soft music and plenty of space – only about ten women in total. The mats were in great condition and clean, with blankets, blocks and straps available to use. It was very spa-like.

As soon as I said I had never used blocks or straps, Meg grinned widely and assured me she would change that.

She didn’t lie! The blocks intensified certain toning moves and the straps deepened the stretches. The flow was slow, but not too slow. The workout was relaxing and rejuvenating, but still made my muscles ache the next day. It was a perfect balance of therapy and fitness.

“The only downfall? She has set impossible standards for any future yoga class that isn’t at her studio.”

During savasana, she dimmed the lights even more and told us to use the blankets for props or to snuggle under. And as we laid there in pure bliss, she walked around to each of us, rubbing essential oils in her hands and giving us head massages – was this a dream? Luckily, no!

The only downfall? She has set impossible standards for any future yoga class that isn’t at her studio.

So guys, tell me – where is your favourite yoga studio? And do you have any recommendations for studios in Notting Hill or nearby? I’m a new addict, thanks to Meg.

Sincerely,

Sally