Thursday, 28 December 2017

LUSH Cosmetics Skin Care Routine - Acne Prone Skin

Working for Lush within this past year or so has meant that I've  been able to test out lots (and lots!) of the products that I perhaps wouldn't usually. It also means that I can share my Lush Sales Assistant wisdom to anyone reading as well as my own experiences with the products - specifically the skin care. 

Before I continue it's vital to remember that every skin is hugely different. What works for one person may be hell on earth for another. Skincare is a minefield that must be trodden carefully, especially if your skin is acne prone or sensitive. 
Lush will never categorise people into different 'skin types' and for a good reason too. Your skin will change depending on your diet, hormones, water intake and often the seasons will affect it too. Therefore,  it is important to try and 'listen' to your skin and adapt your routine to what the skin needs at that particular time. Luckily, my skin doesn't seem to change too drastically from season to season but even I find myself needing/wanting slightly different products throughout the year.  Having said this, the routine I am about to describe seems to be the 'base' or standard for me.

My skincare usually begins at night. I use 'Ultrabland' to remove my makeup. The first ingredient is almond oil and as a carrier oil, this beauty works by carrying (hence - 'carrier oil') all the other lovely ingredients down to the deeper levels of the skin. Additionally, almond oil is incredibly moisturising, softening and gentle on the skin with a low comedogenic rating. Honey is a natural humectant which essentially means that it locks in the skin's moisturiser. You may have started to notice a theme of hydration and moisture with this product already. When I find my skin needs that extra boost of moisture I simply use this product as a moisturiser rather than a cleanser and find that it's a powerful solution to dryness.
As the Lush founders' No. 1 Desert Island Product Ultrabland is the perfect, gentle cleanser that every skin needs.

To use Ultrabland you simply scoop a little out of the pot and massage into the skin. Then, using a damp cotton pad or flannel remove the product.
My personal routine makes use of Lush's 'Tea Tree Water'. I spray a cotton pad with the product until damp and use the toner to remove Ultrabland. Having tested taking Ultrabland off in different ways, I have found that using a toner water has been the most effective - particularly if using to remove makeup. The tea tree water and grapefruit water in this product work in harmony to be both antibacterial (perfect for acne prone skin) and gentle.
Normally, I find myself double cleansing and using the Burts Bees Anti-Blemish Solution wash after Ultrabalm however, this is not essential.

After cleansing, you should always moisturise. It is a common thought that those with oilier skin should not moisturise. in fact, it is essential that you do so to prevent your skin from producing excess sebum. 
For me, cocoa butter in Lush moisturisers breaks me out massively. 'Vanishing Cream' is a cocoa butter free moisturiser that contains rose and lavender meaning that it is aids in the reduction of redness and is balancing on the skin. Acne prone skin is often due to an imbalance and lavender can help resolve this. Vanishing cream is also Lush's lightest moisturiser yet the shea butter adds the needed moisture. 

Following the moisturiser, I use 'Grease Lightning' on any areas that are particularly problematic. I have also found that the combination of aloe vera, witch hazel, tea tree and lavender has been particularly effective in my acne scarring. there has been a significant reduction in red marks on my skin since adding this to my permanent routine. 

'Mask of Magnaminty' and 'Ocean Salt' (both in the self-preserving variation) are staples in my routine that get used 2-3 times a week. The self-preserving versions of these products mean that they keep them self 'clean'. By increasing the amount of honey in Mask of Magnanimity and glycerine in Ocean Salt, Lush has been able to create products without the need of preservatives.

Though Ocean Salt is labelled a scrub I often find myself using it as a mask also. This is because of the fact that vodka infused lime. Lemon/lime are said to be lightening agents and so for me, this ingredient works well to reduce the red marks caused by the previous acne. This citrus element is also very brightening and really awakens dull and tired skin.

Let me know which (if any) Lush products are a most for you! I will also most likely be doing more Lush posts and reviews in the future so I would appreciate any suggestions!

Aida x

Thursday, 31 August 2017

A Level Survival Guide - How to endure two awful years!

It is common knowledge that A Levels are hard. It is also common knowledge that the jump from GCSEs to A Levels is more like a leap of faith. However, what isn't common knowledge is how to land on both feet, after you jump into the abyss.

The Choice
Your choice of A Levels itself will be a huge determining factor to how easily you manage. During these two years, you will see your strengths more explicitly than ever before as well as your weaknesses. By choosing subjects that you love, rather than ones you think you should choose you'll drastically reduce your chance of failure. For example, I always knew that no matter what I would choose English Literature for A Level. Despite the hell that this subject has put me through, it is still a firm favourite of mine. My biggest regret is that I didn't choose my other subjects with the same passion. Selecting a subject you're already not the biggest fan of, is the sure way of ruining your own studies because the chance of you liking it over the next two years is little to none.

Hit the ground running and keep running
The first term of studying A Levels (September - December) is arguably the trickiest in that it may shock you. I found that for me, personally, the GCSE to A Level jump was more of an issue of workload rather than difficulty. The amount of work you're expected to do and retain information from is intense, particularly coming off one of the longest summer breaks you'll have had to this point. Having said this, I would argue that the hardest term in both years is the second. It is easy to start the year with a high level of organisation, motivation and energy, however, it is immensely difficult to keep that work ethic consistent after Christmas. Be prepared to give yourself that kick to ensure you stay on the right path, the second term of your second year will be a killer.

The Balance
One of the trickiest parts of these two years is the balance between your social life, your school life and any extra activities you may do. Although this won't be what you want to hear, I'll say it anyway - prioritise school! I juggled a part time job (12 hours/week), 7 or so hours of volunteering per week and sixth form. The balance is possible but it may be at the sacrifice of your grades. I always wonder if I hadn't tried to do all three in the second year, would the outcomes be any different. But, the truth is I gained valuable experience that I wouldn't change for the world. You have to decide for yourself whether going out every weekend is something you desperately have to do, or can it be more of an occasional treat. You will see people who go out every weekend and still get AAA at the end, but be realistic about your own abilities and be willing to sacrifice the social life every now and again.

When in class, ensure that you write down everything. Don't bother fooling yourself into believing that you'll remember, you won't. Make sure the way in which you are note-taking is clear and that you'd understand it regardless of your attendance to that class, e.g. would a classmate asking you for your notes to catch up on understand? If the answer is no, change it. Every subject requires a slightly different form of note-taking, you'll quickly recognise which technique works best so my biggest advice for organisation would be not to go in with preconceived notions. If you go in with an idea of how you'll organise your work, you'll end up buying 50 folders trying to change the system in October half term.

Have Fun
It is not a sin to enjoy the pleasures of life once in a while. Organise something with your friends when you feel the stress is getting too intense. Any sort of break from A Levels will be a holiday for your mental health. School is important but place your mental health at the foremost of all your actions. Don't let yourself break for the sake of grades.

There is no easy way to say that the next two years of your life will be a struggle. I'd go as far as saying that they were the worst two years of my life. But just remember, that it will pass. This time isn't forever so give it your all so you leave with fewer regrets.

If you've read this far and you still have any concerns give me a shout in the comments and I'd be more than happy to answer any questions regarding the new A Level syllabus, University Applications, University Entrance Exams or even applying for part time work.

Aida x

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