Are you obsessed with French skincare yet? Because I totally am…

Beauty bloggers have been singing the praises of the French pharmacy brand La Roche Posay for a few years now. It took me a while to give into the hype, but ever since I started sampling the other French brands they share the shelves with – Vichy and Avène, to name a few – I can see why they’re all so popular!

If you haven’t spotted them before in Boots, they’re easy to single out when you know what to look for. The products usually have white, minimalist packaging, and very chic French-sounding names, like “UV Légère” and “Idealia”. Oooh.

At about £15-£20 on average, they’re at a pretty perfect price point à mon avis: that middle ground between cheap and blah drugstore options and premium brands like Clarins and Clinique.

And best of all, even though they’re “pharmacy” brands by trade, the ingredients are as well thought-out as the premium options.

The vast majority are paraben-free, for starters. Then you get onto labels like “non-comedogenic” and “hypoallergenic”, spot-busting ingredients like salicylic acid, moisture-locking gems like hyaluronic acid, added vitamins to prevent wrinkles, and both UVA and UVB protection.

Finally, most of the lotions and potions are fortified by some kind of thermal spa water. Although I’m not entirely sure what that means.

Either way, I’m hooked. And my skin is happy.

So if you’re currently shelling out for premium skincare options, or fancy stepping up from Nivea and Simple, why not give the frenchies a go?

Vous ne regretterez rien.

 

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I found an Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm Dupe!

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I come bearing gifts! Well, knowledge gifts. But gifts nonetheless!

An Emma Hardie cleansing balm dupe exists in the world and it only costs £11.50. And that’s for the big pot.

Emma charges £38. That’s a big saving, I feel. Even if Emma does give you a free flannel.

Anyway, it’s called Ultrabland. Lush makes it. Actually, Lush really enjoys making it – it’s the co-founder’s favourite product, or so the sales lady told me. Apparently it’s also something of a cult cleanser, but I clearly missed the boat on that one. Oops.

Directions for use:

1. Rub the product straight onto the skin. Actually I shouldn’t say “rub”, it sounds too abrasive. Let’s go with massage. Oooh.

FYI, you don’t need to use a lot of product to dislodge your makeup.

2. Wet a cotton wool pad and wipe it over your face to remove the cleanser and makeup.

3. Repeat 1-5 times with fresh cotton wool pads until you can no longer see makeup on them.

Tadaaa!

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Pictures borrowed from Lush. Because I write these posts on my way to work. And what.

Review:

With Ultrabland, I really feel like I’m removing every last scrap of makeup from my skin, which is always a first when you wear as much as I do. Crucially, I also don’t feel like I’m doing my skin any damage in the process.

A lot of cleansers (and especially face wipes) that can successfully remove multiple layers of long-wear makeup tend to use rather harsh chemicals. However, the ingredients in this stuff are much more natural (with the exception of those pesky parabens):

Almond oil, rosewater, beeswax, honey, fresh iris extract, glycerine, rose absolute, tincture of benzoin, methylparaben, propylparaben.

Rather than leaving skin feeling stripped and stinging, Ultrabland leaves it feeling, well, bland. As in, largely unaffected by the hardcore cleansing you’ve just done. I think the rosewater and rose absolute are handy in this sense, as both these ingredients can be very soothing for sensitive skin. Coupled with the moisturising effects of the almond oil and beeswax, it all makes for a very luxurious cleansing experience.

One minor bugbear I have is that the beeswax (presumably) can sometimes leave your skin with a bit of a waxy coating after you’ve finished. But this is easily remedied with some warm water and an extra cotton wool pad, or a toner if you’ve got one.

All in all, I’m a pretty big fan of this stuff. Oily girls like me shouldn’t be afraid of the rather rich balm cleansing method – it hasn’t given me any breakouts. Likewise, one of my drier-skinned friends tried Ultrabland and absolutely loved it. So in that sense it’s a bit of an all-round hit.

I’ll be buying a second pot!

EDIT:

So I bought a second pot. And I discovered that depending on who makes it at Lush HQ, you can either end up with a really nice, smooth product, or a slightly weird grainy one. The first time I bought this I got lucky and got the smooth stuff. The second time, it was grainy but still had the same wondrous cleansing effects. I hope you get lucky and buy a pot with a nice consistency!

It’s Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

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Guys guys guys.

Someone has finally turned the world’s finest hangover cure into an eyeshadow palette! And that someone is Too Faced.

The nine featured shades don’t exactly bring peanut-butter-and-raspberry-jam-on-toast to mind in their own right, but their names nod to it. So that’s something.

Also, they’re extremely pretty and wearable. Which is the key ingredient. *wink wink*

Anyway.

HERE’S THE PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY EYE SHADOW COLLECTION BY NUMBERS:

1 catchy title (ahem)

4 matte shades – Spread the Love, Extra Creamy, Peanut Butter, Nuts About U.

5 shimmery shades – Bananas, Peanut Butter Cup (incidentally the most delicious things ever), Peanut Brittle, Jammin’, Jelly.

0 actual peanuts – Allergic to nuts? No problem. You can get pretty eyelids without them puffing up everywhere. Hurrah!

28 British pounds – That’s how much it costs. I don’t know about you lads, but I’d pay it.

VERDICT?

It sounds like one of those scary concept palettes without many wearable shades, but this little number is actually full of flattering nudes. The two purple shades just give it a little edge on the numerous nude palettes out there.

That and the fact that it’s named after one of my favourite things. What can I say?