Despite years of fingers in pots, there are a few beauty mistakes and misdemeanours that stand out... things I've done wrong, for too long, before realising the error of my ways.
My first confession comes in the form of Origins Incredible Spreadable Scrub. I've written about this before after a couple of uses and well, my skin never really saw the light. Recently, however, it occurred to me that I might simply smear the paste onto my arms, legs, bottom and thighs, once damp and hot from showering, leave it on for a few minutes, which is enough time for the scratchy salty granules to soften and begin to dissolve, and then rub, gently, until the formula disentegrates completely. The other thing I realised was that I didn't need to moisturise afterwards - the oils in the scrub do an admirable job. Bizarrely, ever since skipping the moisturiser and going easier on the scrub, my skin's been transformed - truly - and is as soft as it would be after a two week beach holiday. Happy days.
Other mistakes I've made in the past involve retinol. Where my skin has reacted (growing red, puffy or sore), I've felt assaulted and left the product well alone. As it turns out, anyone using retinol for the first time can expect a reaction - be it spottier skin than normal or a more delicate disposition. Bear with it, and reduce usage from every night to every other night (or 2/3 times a week) and things should improve. As the savvy facialist Sarah Chapman assured me - the moment she began using retinol, some ten years ago now, her skin went insane. But, once settled, she rarely suffered a breakout again - and her skin is even, clear and plump. That's proof enough for me. And with retinol usage of any kind, you must must must wear sunscreen every day afterwards.
Then there's mascara. I've lived the majority of my 30 years on earth convincing myself that I do not need it. I have dark lashes and big eyes and, well, mascara has just always been one of those things that seem too unnecessary a hassle to bother with in the morning. Then I learned that less is more. A great wand, jet black, rammed into the root of the lash and wiggled about before being drawn through upper lashes just once, is a real eye-opener. Since wearing mascara in this way, I've used far less make-up elsewhere - if the eyes are framed, everything else sort of falls into place. A great new wand that's got my vote is Lashfusion Pure Protein Lash Plump. Great non-cloggy formula. Thick, rich blackness. Lovely brush and impressive lash-fattening power. Chatecaille and No7 also make wonderful mascaras. I take a daily dose now and wouldn't dream of stopping.
The other product I've recently fallen for is hair removal cream. I know - hardly glamourous. For years, however, I was a waxer. I've always been fairly peach-fuzzy of face and like a clean jaw and top lip (despite hair being fair) and have discovered that by removing hair entirely from these areas, my face is immediately given a more chiselled appearance - the planes of the cheek and jawbones reflecting light in a seriously flattering way. Then 6 months ago, I decided to try IPL. Which was brilliant. Fabulous. Didn't hurt, hairs started falling out of their own accord, growing back lighter bla bla bla. The only problem was that regrowth could not be bleached or waxed in between - it had to be shaved (as if!!) or removed with cream. The latter was initially disgusting - it smelt bad, stung a little and didn't remove the hair entirely - leaving little burnt down stubs that looked like I'd leaned too close to a struck match. Then, for some reason, the second time I tried it, it worked brilliantly. I used Boots Facial Hair Removal Cream - left a thick layer on for about 10 minutes (well, it didn't sting, so figured that was okay - despite on-pack instructions) - then swept it all away et voila. All gone, all clear, all smooth. And, best bit, nothing grew back for over a month and what did was light and sparse.
Not groundbreaking life lessons I grant you, but, I'll admit, they were still enough to make my day.
8 hours ago