#42 - Skin Edit - It's not you, It's me

Let's be real here, how many times have you bought a product or have used a tester, only to find out that it doesn't really suit your skin? By then you may have already spent a fortune on those products and naturally, you can't return them.

I definitely have, especially with foundations.

For example, the tester for my Urban Decay All Nighter foundation was amazing. It really was, my skin looked absolutely flawless in camera with just one layer of this gorgeous full coverage foundation. So I bought the full sized product (30ml) for £27 to use on my wedding day. Something was fishy about it on my wedding day, where it was patchy and I haven't experienced this with the tester. Thankfully it wasn't anything major and the day went by without a makeup disaster.

And then it was another test shoot that I was doing... oh that was bad.... real bad. Not only did it patch up all over the face (forehead, cheeks, nose, chin...), it was also really difficult to work with the product . I had to wipe my whole face off and reapply the makeup - yes, it was bad enough that this was the best action to have taken!

So what went wrong? Well, whilst I am no longer fond of the product, but I have learnt to work with it; my skin had to be very hydrated and moisturised (well-prepped) for this product to work well. Was it the product's fault? Or was it mine, when my skin changes, becomes drier and this product no longer functioned as well?

I am 2 minds about this. On one hand, I feel that this should have worked regardless, that's the marketing and advertising, and that I have also invested in this product. Granted, it's onto the most expensive foundation out there, but still, I am expecting for the product to actually be worth the amount of money I paid for for it.

On the other hand, a product doesn't cater to my skin condition all year round. It's not a thinking thing and it certainly does not know my skin well. All products have some form of a shelf life too, just because it worked well when once new, doesn't mean they will always work in the same way. So maybe, it's not the product, it's me.

Now I'm sure not everyone will agree because, well, a product is supposed to do what it markets to do, and I get it, but no skin is made equal. One product would work amazingly for me whilst terrible for someone else and it is times like this we have to ask ourselves, is it really the product, or is it me?

Here are 5 examples:

  1. Foundation: how well the foundation goes on your skin depends on not only the product itself, but also your skin condition. If your skin is dry, chances are that thicker, full coverage foundations will patch up a lot quicker and you may have to prep your skin very well before applying it. There are also other factors such as the tool you are applying the foundation with, and what primer/moisturiser is layered under. There will be some products, like my Urban Decay All Nighter, that are a lot more unforgiving than other products, e.g. NARS, Illamasqua, MAC, Make Up Forever (and now we know why make up artists rarely have Urban Decay foundations in their kit!)
  2. Moisturisers:/oils: there are some "holy grail" moisturisers out there, and then there are some popular ones, then there are some cute ones... it's often hard to decide what is best for your skin and this is one of those products that you find you may have to change throughout the year for your skin to benefit from the product. Some moisturisers/brands that other people like may not suit you. I would say this is 50/50 - you have to pick one that works for your skin rather than just pick one that everyone likes. Occasionally you may have to break your perspective on certain type of products. For me this is steam cream - I had an amazing one from Skin Ceramic, and now I have one from Secret Key that I'm not necessarily liking, even if it's a steam cream. There may also be ingredients within moisturisers that may not work well with your skin at all and at this point, is it really the product? My skin does not mesh with oil at all, and I have even tried squalane, but this doesn't mean that these oils do nothing, it's just me.
  3. Exfoliators: so this one may be just me... when I first started using AHA and BHA exfoliators, I didn't think that my peel was working and dismissed the product for a while. Learnt that it should be used on dry skin rather than damp has changed my perspective on the product. Sometimes with products like this, it's not the product, but us not using it correctly for the product to really work
  4. Make up removers: whilst I will always condone a balm cleanser, this may not work for you. Many people I know use make up wipes and I am just not convinced that the wipes truly remove all make up because it doesn't work for me, whilst other people I know find it work well for them. Perhaps it is their make up habits, but even with light make up I definitely feel that I need some thorough cleansing before I feel that my skin is squeaky clean (and to prevent breakouts). Are the wipes bad? For me it is and I cringe every time I hear someone uses them solely for removing make up, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they are ineffective, especially for those who enjoy these products and feel it works for them

    (I still do not using solely make up wipes and I will always stand by this!)
  5. Toners/mists: honestly there are some toners and mists that are highly raved about and highly rated but I just cannot get along with them. One of which is Caudalie mist that everyone seems to love, but this product is far too fragrant and contains alcohol which doesn't sit well on my skin, nor do I enjoy the smell of it. That being said, there have been toners that I have enjoyed that have alcohol, but worked well on my skin (even though I still despised the smell). Time and time again I will give it a second chance because of travelling, but the fragrance is not something I prefer. Is this the product? No, this is definitely me


So, in conclusion, before your dismiss a product, ask yourself whether it truly is the product, or is it yourself that is the problem? Does the product just not work for your skin, are you using the product correctly, or are you using it under incorrect conditions?  This is why I will always trial a product for 3-4 weeks before writing up a review, unless I really love it upon first use, or would want to write up a first impression blog.

What are your thoughts? Do you give your products a second chance? How many circumstances are because of you and not the product?

#26 - Skin Edit - Leftover mask...?

So how many of you use masks? And how many are as stingy as me? The following may be obvious but hey, I was always taught "don't be afraid to state the obvious", so here goes - just a super quick one today! A bit like a quick tip!

When I use masks, because I tend to use really thin masks, the mask itself is already drenched in serum and I see a puddle being left in the packet. And I never really throw what's remaining away because why throw away when I can use it....

I have an ongoing collection of these packets where I've used the mask and the serum remains

I have an ongoing collection of these packets where I've used the mask and the serum remains

That puddle of serum tho.....

That puddle of serum tho.....

So, because it makes absolutely no sense to my stingy self that I should throw away any of this, I usually keep it on the side in the bathroom with my other products so I can reach out for them the next morning to pat on my face, or in the evening when I may not have time for a mask (it's getting increasingly difficult with a new 8.30-6. I want to say 9-5 but no one really has a 9-5 any more, it's usually more than that....).

This serum is the same as your face mask so essentially you're just skipping out on the masking aspect and applying this as your would your other serums. For hydration masks, the residue I love using in the morning to give the skin a much needed boost.

I normally pour out the serum and pat it on my skin, or "scoop" it out and apply like cream. Then apply rest of the products in your routine and you are done!

That's it! Do you already do this? What masks do you use and what works for you?

#14: Skin Edit - Top 5 things I do to prepare my skin for beauty shoots

I get it, not everyone has big events or big shoots that they have to do, but I still hope there is something useful to take away from this post!

Beauty photography is basically a close up of the face, often featuring makeup and it's the kind of images you'll see in your everyday beauty and makeup product marketing and advertising materials. This means that the makeup artist need good skin to start with to create a flawless look. Although what you see is down to retouching, much of it is actually done in-camera and I've been on many shoots where makeup artists have created absolutely flawless skin before the shot was even taken.

Sometimes, we're not so lucky to get retouching done to the images and boy have I had a fair share of images where I just hated my skin. No matter how good the makeup artist is, bad skin will show over time and this happened last year when I was modelling for camera demos and some of these attendees' images are printed out in large print on the day.

I've transformed my skin since then but with every shoot, regardless of nature of the shoot, I will always make sure my skin is well prepped, even if I have decent enough everyday skin, and for everyone else who may have a big event coming up, e.g. wedding, attending a wedding, graduation, company party, party....etc., these will be useful in helping you prep your skin before makeup application on the day.  Remember - the skin you have today is a byproduct of your habits and what you've done the day(s) before.

Here are the top 5 things that I preach and do for skin prep.

1. Cleanse and exfoliate

When: the day before, or 2 days before
Products: peeling pads and clay mask (I don't personally condone scrub exfoliants, but if you do use them, I'd recommend using them 2-3 days before so your skin is less irritated and gives it time to calm down before the day)

If you've read my post on masking tips, you'll know that these are essential to making products in the mask to really sink in the skin. This also resets your skin to a (relatively) blank canvas before makeup application, so it's less likely for makeup to cling on to dead skin, patchy areas, sebum, and all that stuff that starts to pop out when you start applying makeup products on to the skin.

2. Using super hydrating masks

When: the day/night before, or if you have time, consecutively for a few days
Products: super hydrating sheet masks, rubber masks, gel masks... I personally prefer thin sheet masks, but whatever you feel benefits your skin the best

This is literally the top thing I do for skin prep. If I was feeling lazy and not deep cleansed or exfoliated, I would still without fail use a sheet mask prior to the day - the more hydrating, the better. As someone with dehydrated skin, this will transform the skin to being more supple, less prone to dry patches (you may still get them), oil control as the oil/water balance is there, as well as fading scars and acne (this might not be the case for you). Another important point is that hydrating masks don't really do harm to your skin or cause your skin to react, which is important because you really do not want any reaction on the day. Your skin will also feel really soft too and that generally is such a lovely thing to touch. With a smooth canvas now, foundation will go on a lot better and you may find that you will also have a very natural glow to your skin when it's drank enough water.

3. Only use serums in the evening

When: the night before
Products: serum or ampoules that you use for your normal routine or more

I never felt that using serums on the day have done much for my skin. As you rest, serums and your body will work overnight so you wake up with better skin. Additionally, if you use serums on the day, you may find that your skin can be overloaded and don't feel as fresh faced as you would. If you have to use one, I'd recommend hylauronic acid that isn't too thick and can be quickly absorbed into the skin. With serums on the face, you'll have to remove layers of them before makeup application, or find yourself having to clean your skin again because you've got too much stuff on the face for makeup to stick on and adhere to. Makeup application always begins with a fresh face, save the serums for the night instead!

4. Doing the "7-skin method" 

When: the night before, or on the day. I love doing it on the day as it gives your skin an instant natural glow from drinking so much water
Products: super hydrating toners, personally I prefer the thinner toners than the thick, gel-like ones as it's easier for the skin to absorb and feel less sticky. Although this really depends on the product!

I'm not gonna lie, this method changed my life. I first saw it on Gothamista's channel/video, which in a nutshell is, patting on 7 layers of hydrating toners after cleansing. The link will show you the video explaining more about the 7-skin method and tell you how to do it and ever since I've started using it I've had so many compliments by makeup artists who worked on my skin. The skin has transformed to be soft and supple and there is a really good glow after application and of course, creates a really, really, good base for makeup, which would just go on like a dream.

5. Using lip masks

When: the night before
Products: leave on lip masks, my favourite one is the Laneige lip mask - I've talked about it here

If you are blessed with soft lips with no lip lines, this need not apply, but I'm not - in fact I just have dry lips throughout the year and this is particularly annoying when you want to wear lipstick, particularly matte liquid lipsticks. This particular Laneige lip mask that I use not only moisturises, but also exfoliates the lips through the night and in the morning, I just wipe away dead skin on the lips with tissue before applying lip balm for the day. And now you have soft, supple, dead-skin free lips that would be perfect for lip makeup application.

And that is it! It honestly isn't a lot and it's totally worth the while to do it if you want amazing skin on the day. Makeup on amazing skin really enhances how good you look, stay on for longer and has a better finish. 

What do you do for skin prep? Are these already in your beauty routine or would you be trying some of these out?