The best product for very dry, irritated skin: Aveeno Skin Relief Lotion

I suppose two years into a pandemic isn’t really the ideal time to share my holy grail moisturiser for very dry skin – but better late than never, right? The thing is, this product was first recommended to me by my dad, who had the driest hands of anyone I’ve ever known, and every time I thought about writing about writing this blog post, I would think of him, feel sad and then not want to write anything anymore. Not sure what it is about today, but I finally feel like I can get it done – so if you’re currently suffering from unbearably dry hands, whether pandemic related or not, today is your lucky day.

Aveeno Skin Relief Lotion has completely saved my skin on more occasions than I can count. In harsh winters my hands would previously get to the point of splitting from being so dry, and ever since I was young I’ve been plagued by rough red patches on my skin all year long. I genuinely think at this point that I’ve tried every product in existence – from steroid creams to natural oils and prescription emollients, but the only thing that consistently gives me relief is this miracle product. An unassuming, medium-thickness, fragrance-free cream, it sinks in after just a few seconds of massaging – which is really impressive for a product as nourishing and moisturising as this one. When used on dry skin, it sinks in wonderfully well, and when used on irritated skin, the soothing power is simply incredible. While on the surface it might just look like any other body lotion, this one really is different, and that’s for a few reasons…

OAT-BASED PROTECTION

Firstly, let’s talk about the oat ingredients in the formulation – oat flour, oat extract and oat oil combine to help protect, soothe and calm the skin. Irritation is an immune response – it’s your body noticing that the skin has been compromised in some way, and increasing blood-flow to the area to supply white blood cells to fight off potential threats. Protective skincare products are applied at this stage because once the skin realises it is protected, it will send a message to the body that the immune system can stand down because things are under control – and then the skin’s incredible healing processes can get to work repairing the area, beneath the protective umbrella of the skincare product. The reason that oats are so effective at soothing dry skin is surprisingly simple – oat binds to the skin, creating a natural protective barrier. No product actually ‘heals’ the skin – all they do is create that protective barrier on the skin so that it can heal itself, and oat is one of the most effective ingredients for doing that. There are many different compounds in oat that help the skin, such as beta-glucan, fatty acids and avenanthramides, which are anti-inflammatory agents, and Aveeno’s combination of three different types of oat ingredients ensures that those compounds are delivered as effectively and in as high concentrations as possible.

MICROBIOME SUPPORT

The formulation also has a pre-biotic effect, meaning it supports a healthy bacterial ecosystem on the skin’s surface. Pre-biotics have been shown to help soothe and calm the skin by increasing the population of ‘good’ bacteria. Many of the cosmetic products we use daily – shower gels, serums, lotions and so on, can destroy the microbiome because they contain powerful preservatives to keep them stable once opened – but those preservatives also kill bacteria when applied to your skin, thus affecting your microbiome, and inhibiting your skin’s ability to protect itself, leading to dryness and irritation. It’s a bit like how when you take antibiotics you’re supposed to introduce a probiotic into your diet, because the bacterial imbalance created by the medicine can wreak havoc on your body’s ability to digest food. Aveeno Skin Relief uses potassium sorbate to keep the product safe and useable, which is a totally different kettle of fish to the cheaper, more mainstream preservatives – it’s actually food safe, and is used in all kinds of food and drink as well as high-quality, skin friendly cosmetic products. Several years ago I started using facial skincare products with potassium sorbate, and the difference it made was extraordinary, so it made sense that a hand and body product preserved in the same way would be just as good.

TAKE MY WORD FOR IT

It’s all well and good me explaining the science behind the product, but let me give you some examples of a few specific times when Aveeno Skin Relief has saved my skin.

My dad was admitted to a palliative care ward for two months in the middle of the pandemic, and while I was in and out of the hospital visiting him, my hand washing habit (which was already a bit over the top before the pandemic) reached a new level of extreme. But my hands didn’t just get dry – it got a bit scary to be honest. They’d do this thing where they turned bright red, the skin was stretched, my fingers would swell up, and my palms would get hot and itch. Aveeno Skin Relief Lotion was the only thing I tried that actually helped. I was getting so scared because I started to think my hands were beyond repair – they were so uncomfortable that it hurt to use them, an added stress that I could have really done without at the time. No other product worked – I tried so many different ones. And then I picked up the bottle of this miracle lotion – the instant soothing effect was incredible, and so I kept using it. Before long, the reaction totally stopped happening.

When I first started taking my antidepressant, I broke out in a rash. This is apparently normal as long as it doesn’t become too severe, but it was uncomfortable. Teeny tiny red bumps from my neck down to my belly button – hot, itchy and very annoying. I slathered myself in Aveeno Skin Relief Lotion, and while it’s impossible to say whether it was my body adjusting to the medicine, or the product getting to work, the rash was immediately soothed and gone the next day.

Sometimes, I get dermatitis around my eyes. This can be from using unsuitable skincare products, but it also happens when I’ve been crying. Yes, my ridiculously sensitive skin is allergic to my own tears – causing bumpy redness and irritation. A thin layer of Aveeno Skin Relief Lotion takes care of this very nicely – which I’ll be forever grateful for because, to be blunt, the last thing you need when someone you love dies is an allergic reaction to your own grief.

My last example is about a different product from the same range – Aveeno Skin Relief Cica Balm. I hadn’t found much use for the Balm before this happened because every other problem I’d had was solved with the Lotion, but my god did it save me from a situation here. A few weeks ago, I woke up with an absolutely horrible irritation under one of my breasts – bright red, unbearably itchy and really distressing because it felt like the skin was ripping – and when I looked closer, I was horrified to see tiny little tear wounds along the area of irritation. It must have been some kind of contact dermatitis from the bra I had been wearing, because it was in a crescent shape on my chest, directly underneath the breast. Anyway, after I was done staring at it in horror in the mirror, I realised the Aveeno Skin Relief Cica Balm was on my bathroom shelf so I grabbed it and applied a thin layer. The effect was so wonderfully soothing – the painful itch started to abate immediately, and within a couple of days it was totally back to normal. I wish I could remember which bra I had been wearing so I can set it on fire, but at least I know if it happens again I’ll have a solution!

Aveeno Skin Relief Lotion comes in two different sizes – a 300ml pump bottle which costs £7.99, and a 200ml tube for £5.99 on Boots.com – they seem to be more expensive on other websites which is strange, but I suppose it’s each website’s choice. The Cica Balm is £6.99 for 50ml (remember that it’s a more concentrated formula), and when I was on Boots getting the links to share I realised they also have a Shampoo and a Body Wash in the Skin Relief line too! I’ll definitely be trying both of those soon. The Body Wash is £9.99 for 500ml, and the Shampoo is £9.99 for 300ml. You can also shop the full range of Skin Relief products here. This range is in my opinion extremely well priced – for the quality of the products and how little you need to use, I’m consistently impressed by the incredible value. I hope you have as much luck with it as I have!

The Winter Skincare Essentials

If the news is to be believed, it seems that this winter is going to be pretty brutal weather-wise. Personally I love bitingly cold winter weather, but I come from a family of people with skin that doesn’t react well to it – think heels and knuckles so dry they crack until they bleed. Because of this, I’ve had to pick up a few habits to survive the winter, and I thought it was time to share! Plus, we all know that when it’s dark and cold our mood can suffer. Self care and little indulgent rituals become even more important at this time of the year. So I’ve put together a little guide, starting with the products you need to get you through the winter, followed by a few little hacks and tips for dealing with cold-ravaged skin!

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Skincare products for the wintertime

More than one of your favourite lip balm – Keep them everywhere, by your bed, in your bag, your coat pocket, your socks, wherever. Being without your lipbalm is just not worth the pain and suffering. I love Hurraw! Coconut Lip Balm which is raw, vegan, smells nice and melts onto the lips instantly. I cannot stand the chunky, vaseline feeling of mineral oil lipbalms and if you feel the same way, I highly recommend this one!

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A good, fast absorbing hand cream – Having a hand cream that absorbs quickly means you will be more inclined to reapply frequently. If you have to sit with sticky hands for ages after applying, you’re much less likely to break out the hand cream throughout the day, which means that your hands are going to get dry and crispy much sooner than if you had a light, pleasant hand cream to use. Caudalie Hand & Nail Cream is the fastest absorbing hand cream I have ever used, it smells amazing and it’s seriously effective too. This is one you won’t be able to stop applying!

An extremely thick balm – Of course, even if you are good at reapplying hand cream, sometimes the cold weather is going to get to your hands, or other parts of your body, and dry them out, especially if you’re outdoorsy or have naturally dry skin. When this happens it’s a good idea to have a gorgeously thick balm on hand to protect, nourish and soothe. Weleda Skin Food is the ultimate multipurpose balm if you ask me. There are other great ones, like Antipodes Saviour Balm, Trilogy Everything Balm and MOA Green Balm, but Skin Food really is the best. Apply to dry hands (and dry anything else too, even your hair and face) before bed and everything will be better by morning. A multipurpose balm also comes in handy when you get a cold or the flu – for soothing a tissue-ravaged nose!

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A facial oil – Lots of people will switch to a heavier moisturiser in the winter, but I’m not convinced that’s the best course of action. Your skin type doesn’t actually change with the weather, and for me at least, using a richer cream leads to blocked pores and spots even if it does prevent dry patches and redness initially. I prefer to ward off dryness with ‘treatment’ products rather than permanent replacements so I can use them whenever I need to. A facial oil is perfect for this – they last for a long time if stored right, and they have the added benefit of soothing the skin along with protecting, nourishing and hydrating. I absolutely love Jurlique Balancing Facial Oil (particularly amazing for sensitive skin and smells heavenly), Korres Brightening Facial Oil (really does give you a radiant complexion!) and Caudalie Overnight Detox Oil, (brightens the skin and can even be used by people with spots) which are all aimed at normal to combination skin like mine so aren’t too heavy, but are still super nourishing. If your skin is naturally on the drier side, try Trilogy Rosehip Oil + Antioxidant, or Caudalie Overnight Recovery Oil, both a little rich for me but absolutely beautiful for drier skins! I also like Pure Potions Salvation Oil but I can’t find it to buy anywhere else apart from their website so there might be shipping charges there.

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A moisturising mask – Again, like with the face oil, having a moisturising mask on hand for days where your skin feels super rough and tight is a great way to nourish your skin, but also protect and soothe it from the irritation of being dry. A nourishing mask is perfect for this, and I absolutely love Caudalie Moisturising Mask which contains grape seed oil and hyaluronic acid to hydrate and nourish whilst strengthening the skin too. I wouldn’t say you definitely need both – a mask or an oil will suffice, but I wanted to add them both since they do have different qualities. You can also apply a really thin layer of this particular mask when you go outdoors to help protect your skin from chapping.

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A gentle cleanser – Over cleansing and stripping your skin of its natural oils becomes a much easier trap to fall into in the winter. If your skin gets dull, dry and rough, don’t be tempted to slough it away with a rough exfoliator or cleanser. Often, the skin can become more sensitive in the winter, so make sure you’re treating it nicely. I love Trilogy Makeup Be Gone Cleansing Balm for removing makeup, and Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser for washing my face.

A gorgeous body oil – Just the same as for the face, except there’s even more of a self-care element to it. After you get out of your bath or shower, apply your body oil all over and snuggle into bed, preferably with some cosy jammies, a hot water bottle and a couple of extra blankets. The act of massaging the oil in, enjoying it’s gorgeous scent, and waking up with silky soft skin is one of my favourite things to do in winter. Just try to make sure you apply it in a warm room! My current favourite body oil is Aesop Geranium Leaf Body Treatment, but you can see a wider variety of my faves here too.

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A restorative bath soak – Essential for several reasons! Baths warm the heart and soul and are a perfect way to counteract a chilly day. They lift the mood, calm the mind and relax the muscles. They are also fantastic for the sinuses! I absolutely love a good bath product, I’m not so fussed about bubble baths and prefer oils, salts and soaks; they’re richer in natural plant and herbal extracts because they don’t have a a cleansing base or soap or surfactants like a bubble bath does. I always shower quickly before a bath (yes, you should do this) and wash myself, so I don’t need soap in the bath itself. My absolute  favourites at the moment are definitely Olverum Bath Oil, but it is prohibitively expensive so when I run out I will buy from the much more reasonably priced ranges of Weleda and Kneipp Bath Soaks.

Winter skincare tips and tricks

  • If you’re pushed for budget, or just don’t want to buy too much, I would suggest that instead of buying a facial oil, mask and balm, just go for Weleda Skin Food instead because not only can you can use it on your face as a night treatment, you can also use it to protect your skin from harsh weather, and it can double up as a mask!

 

  • Always exfoliate before applying your face or body oil, and never exfoliate unless you’re going to apply an oil afterwards. This will ensure you remove the rough patches of skin that can build up in the wintertime without actually making them worse by drying your skin out.

 

  • If you’re spot prone but still get winter dryness and dehydration, use a very small amount of your nourishing balm only on the dry patches (in a similar way to how you might apply an on-the-spot treatment gel for a blemish) to avoid clogging up the rest of your pores. Focus more on the hydration side of skincare too – think hydrating serums, sheet masks, moisturisers…while many people can get away with just protecting their skin with oils, you have to take the more difficult route of perfecting your skin’s hydration instead.

 

  • Avoid using mineral oil based products unless you are specifically looking to apply a thick, protective layer over your skin. Mineral oil does absolutely nothing but create a layer that prevents water and oil loss.

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  • If your forehead gets irritated by wearing a woollen hat all the time, try soothing it with a calming facial mist instead of scratching it. It might feel weird to spray a traditionally summer-time product in the middle of the winter, but you’ll feel so much relief afterwards that you won’t care! I would recommend Avene Thermal Water or Caudalie Grape Water for this, as they are the two that I personally find the most soothing, and they come in travel sizes. My absolute favourite would be Glossier Soothing Mist but that only comes in a big size!

 

  • If your body skin is getting dry, rough and itchy, try this to help relieve it. Take a square of cotton (muslin is best but you can use anything as long as it isn’t heavily dyed) and pile half a cup of oats into the centre of it. Tie it up with whatever you have, could be string, an elastic band or a hair bobble, then drop it into a warm (not hot) bath. Soak in the milky water and let it calm and soothe your skin. If you have any raw shea or cocoa butter then you can put a a teaspoon or so in the pouch as well, to nourish and hydrate the skin while you bathe.

 

I hope this helps you and your skin survive the winter! Wrap up warm! x

 

My 5 Favourite Hand Creams

Hand cream and I have a long and complex relationship. My hands are so dry that during particularly cold weather, I often can’t bend my fingers without a slick of hand cream. If I go too long without moisturising in winter, my knuckles can actually crack too. So it’s safe to say that my house is constantly littered with tubes of hand creams, and I’ve tried nearly every brand out there. Over the years there have been a few that I’ve kept reaching for, or that I’ve missed once they’re gone. Or that I’ve bought recently and am bloody well obsessed with. Since it’s dry hand season now, I thought I’d share these with you.

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From left to right: Korres Almond Oil & Shea Butter Hand Cream, Weleda Almond Hand Cream, Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream, Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Cream, Dexeryl Cream. 

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Dexeryl Cream £6 – This very light but effective emollient feels quite watery when you rub it in, but it is extremely nourishing. It’s the perfect hand cream for on the go, and is also amazing for when your skin loses its mind and starts cracking or breaking out into rashes, because it’s formulated for eczema sufferers, so is super gentle. With no fragrance and minimal ingredients, this is the perfect emergency care for the hands.

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Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm £19 – This is a very thick, luxurious formula with a beautifully uplifting scent. With almond and coconut oils to nourish, and a fragrance blend of mandarin, cedarwood and lavender, it’s a gorgeous experience for the senses. Definitely better for using before bed as it is quite heavy, but the gorgeous scent is also ideal for a pre bedtime ritual as it’s so soothing and indulgent. Again, hands are left very soft and smooth.

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Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream £12 – This is thick, rich and luscious with a beautiful orange blossom scent. Despite being so thick, it absorbs very quickly and immediately leaves your hands ready to go back to whatever you were doing beforehand. It contains antioxidant polyphenols from grape seeds which helps prevent your hands from ageing, as well as avocado oil and shea butter. The reviving scent makes it perfect for the morning, to refresh your senses before you leave for work – and your hands will be soft for hours afterwards too.

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Weleda Almond Hand Cream £9.95 – Being 100% natural this one is perfect for anyone with sensitive skin who only wants to use natural products. I love how this one transforms into an oil as you massage it in, and I love to use it when my hands are painfully dry – it just seems to soothe that tight feeling better than anything else. Plus, it smells of marzipan.

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Korres Hand Cream with Almond Oil and Shea Butter £9 – This comes out of the tube like a body butter, and has a beautifully warm, cosy scent. The formula is extremely thick and nourishing but actually absorbs pretty well. Like with all the others, hands are soft and smooth for hours afterwards. There’s aloe vera, jojoba and beeswax in this one to soothe and protect the skin as well. With its comforting scent and intensely nourishing texture, this is definitely a perfect winter hand cream. Actually, while we’re talking about Korres, has anyone tried their new Bergamot Pear Hand Cream?! That is my favourite body care scent, I must get my hands on one…

Elizabeth Arden Fragrance Free Eight Hour Cream

I am SO disappointed in this product. I don’t write negative reviews very often, because it doesn’t feel good, but I recently realised that it really wasn’t fair to people who are trying to work out whether or not they should spend money on something. So, here we go…

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The product claims are promising. It’s supposed to help moisturise flaky skin, dry hands and cracked lips, you can use it to shape brows, (though I have no idea what this brings to the table that an eyebrow pencil would not) and to ‘revitalise shine’ (I’m assuming this translates to ‘makes you shiny’).

Over the Christmas period I was getting a few flaky patches on my face, and being a sensitive skinned individual, I decided to try the Fragrance Free version of Eight Hour Cream. I have to say, I completely swallowed the hype. Looking at the ingredients now (salicylic acid, lanolin, petroleum jelly, corn oil, vegetable oil, castor oil and two plant extracts, one of which doesn’t have any skincare benefits – seriously, tonka bean extract is JUST a perfume) I don’t know why I bought it, I should have known better.

My skin was not happy about it. First of all, it did nothing but make my lips and hands sticky when I tried it as a lip balm/hand cream, and it smells vile. I put it all over my face as planned, for three nights in a row. I used it for three nights despite hating the texture and smell because I wanted to give it a fair chance at getting rid of my dry patches. Well, they actually got worse. Plus, by the end of the three nights the rest of my face was red, oily and I was starting to get spots. Usually, I have a very even complexion, and spots are a rarity.

I think perhaps I had too-high expectations for this legendary product. I’ve used it as a foot cream a few times since and it’s very nice for that, but I haven’t liked it for anything else. I know some people say they use it for eczema but I tried that on my hands and it made me so itchy! It could just be that my skin really is quite sensitive, and a thick balm with salicylic acid in it (although I really did think the simple base would make it ok!) just isn’t going to work for me no matter what. Either way, Elizabeth Arden’s Fragrance Free Eight Hour Cream is just like every other multipurpose balm, but with a ridiculous £26 price tag and a dreadful smell. You’re much better off spending a tenner on some Weleda Skin Food because at least that smells good and will actually do something about flaky patches.

What do you think of Eight Hour Cream? Did I use it wrong? What do you use it for? If you’re looking for a good multipurpose product, here are some links to a couple I’d recommend:

Lush Elbow Grease

Dr Paw Paw Balm

Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm

Hand creams and I, we have a special relationship. Being something of a germophobe, and having naturally really dry hands (thanks dad), balms, creams and lotions have their work cut out when they meet me. I reviewed a lot of mediocre hand creams back in the day, but I’ve decided that now, I’ll ONLY be reviewing the creams that really make me go wow. Maybe when I accumulate a load of crap ones I’ll do a post on them, but for now, lets focus on Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm.IMG_6761

The nourishing ingredients packed into this botanical mixture, are quite something. Shea butter, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, cetaryl alcohol (a fatty acid and amazing moisturiser), glycerin, cocoa butter, wheatgerm oil AND soybean oil. Like, whaaaat? Most hand creams would only contain one or two of these, but the combination of all of them means you get all of their individual benefits too. For example, coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, almond oil helps to protect the skin and wheatgerm oil is high in antioxidant vitamin E. The texture of the cream is gorgeous, while it’s an incredibly rich balm it melts into the skin so easily. The perfect combination of nourishment and easy-absorbency for any busy person with a dry hand problem.

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The botanical ingredients in Resurrection Aromatique are seriously out of this world. Orange, cedarwood, lavender, grapefruit and rosemary combine to make an intense and complex fragrance, that really does bring the senses to life. There are so many amazing ingredients in this balm, I want to talk about them all! There’s soothing aloe vera, anti-ageing tocopherol and carrot oil in there too.

So on paper this sounds like the best hand cream around, right? I have to say, I genuinely think it’s one of my favourites. I use it every morning before work (I massage it in while I’m walking out of my flat, covers up the smell of central London nicely) and it absorbs really well. Since using this I’ve realised that not only have I stopped having to use a hand cream throughout the day, my hands now look younger too! If you have constantly dry hands, this is such a good option for you, I cannot recommend it enough. It certainly isn’t a budget product, but at £21 for a 75ml tube, it’s not the costliest, and the luxurious formula really is worth it, especially if you struggle to find good hand creams. Get it here – link.

I’m really keen to try more of Aesop’s products, do you have any recommendations?

Dr Paw Paw Tinted Ultimate Red Balm

I’d heard about the Australian love of paw paw as an ingredient years ago, when I used to use Aussie hair care (I am aware that Aussie isn’t Australian, don’t worry). So when people started talking about how paw paw ointment is a staple in every Australian’s life, I was curious. Dr Paw Paw isn’t actually Australian, but it’s a great product and I’ve really enjoyed using it.

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I stumbled across Dr Paw Paw in Urban Outfitters and decided to go for the red tinted one because I’m always on the lookout for fuss free ways to apply pigment to my lips (lipstick stresses me out SO much). As well as the un-tinted original, they do a peach pink colour, and a giant tube of the original version.

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The reason for the giant tube is that paw paw ointment is a multipurpose antibacterial and antimicrobiral balm. Fermented paw paw (aka papaya) is an antioxidant, and helps repair the skin. There’s aloe in there to help calm and soothe, as well as olive oil to nourish and petroleum jelly to protect. This is one of those multipurpose magic balms that does it all for chapped, irritated or dry skin. I put mine to the test on the dry, cracked skin between my fingers. Aside from looking distinctly pink from the red pigment, the skin is smooth and soft, with no white bits at all. That’s something that almost all hand creams and balms struggle to get rid of, so I’m very impressed, and will be purchasing an original colourless balm as soon as I can!

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As you can see, the Ultimate Red Balm is a gorgeously rich colour, and I’m actually really impressed with the colour payoff. It’s subtle, but way better than any other coloured lipbalm I’ve tried. Because my lips are quite full and there isn’t a clean line between my lips and the skin around them, I find it really hard to get lipstick to look good. So a balm like this is perfect.

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This balm is great. It’s only £6.95 for a 25ml tube, and leaves the skin soft and nicely coloured for a good while. I think the clear one will go down really well with my boyfriend, who’s lip cracks in the middle a lot (poor baby), as well as with my cracked hands. After applying the red stuff between my fingers, it’s actually kept the dryness at bay for about 3 hours now, which is really impressive!

Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Hand Cream

Sometime in mid-January, boyfriend and I were having a conversation and got onto the topic of flowers and Valentine’s Day. I wasn’t a fan, I told him, of people buying unsustainable roses for massive amounts of money when they’d just die in a couple of days anyway. I do like cut flowers, they brighten up a room nicely, but I personally don’t like to get them as gifts. I like my gifts to last!

Anyway, when Valentine’s rolled around, I did get some roses. They were mashed up, with beeswax, geranium, aloe vera and soya oil. And poured into a tube with Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Hand Cream written across it.

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This is the best hand cream I have ever used. And no, I’m not saying that because my boyfriend bought it for my first non-single Valentine’s Day (I’m not that nice), it is straight up AMAZING stuff.

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I was interested to see that this contains rosehip fruit oil, rather than seed oil. I moisturise with rosehip seed oil, but I also drink rosehip tea (made from the fruit) every day, and I firmly believe it’s an incredibly rich source of antioxidants. It makes me feel SO good. People in the Andes have been drinking it for centuries because of its health-giving properties, and I love that the fruit extract is in this hand cream.

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The hand cream is 92% organic, which is great for the environment. It has beeswax to protect the hands, sweet almond oil to heal and nourish, and aloe to sooth. This is a combination that’s perfect for someone like me, who’s hands get so irritatingly flaky and red that even cotton catches on them sometimes. It sorts them right out.

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Though the texture appears a bit lumpy, it doesn’t feel that way at all, and absorbs into the skin really easily. Natural hand creams don’t do that very often unless they aren’t very moisturising in the first place, but this stuff lasts almost all day! The cream has a strong, uplifting scent of geranium, ylang ylang and patchouli, which I really adore.

IMG_5562If you saw my post about my makeup bag from the other day, you’ll have seen my horrible flakey hand. I hadn’t been using this cream when I took those photos, and look at my hand now that I have! Soft and smooth. I am very happy. Well done boyfriend!

And thank you Neal’s Yard! You can get Wild Rose Hand Cream from their website, for £10.

Bringing the beauty – a Travel Post!

I’m super excited. Tomorrow I’ll be going to New York for the first time! And then up to Canada, to stay with a friend. I can’t wait, and I thought that before I go I’d share how I roll when it comes to travelling.

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These are my essentials for hand luggage. A good book. Palmer’s lipbalm. Weleda Skin Food (for my face). Weleda Rhinodoron spray for my nose (the dry air doesn’t like my sinuses). A mini Jurlique Rose Hand Cream (luxurious and nourishing, because I’ll be using a tonne of antibac hand wipes too). Pacifica Coconut Milk Wipes (for freshening up). Urbanears Headphones (the best, and prettiest). Gin Gin ginger sweets (for ear popping purposes). Benefit’s They’re Real! (because my eyelashes are more or less see through so I need mascara at all times). Buddha Nose Girl Balm (the smell is calming and refreshing at the same time).

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I’m so glad I invested in a few new mini bottles to decant all this in. Because it went from all that…

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To just these! So satisfying. I’m going to need to wash my hair while I’m away which is annoying, because I need to use so much shampoo and conditioner I have no choice but to bring whole bottles. But being able to shink the rest of the products down to just this has helped SO MUCH. Most of these bottles came from Muji, with the exception of the Travalo perfume bottle, and the oil bottle, which actually came from a Weleda Body Oil set.

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I’ve kept it super simple with make up. To be fair, my make up routine is very simple all the time anyway, as I rarely experiment. I just decanted a couple of broken eyeshadows into my tiniest travel pots to save a little space.

So that’s it! I’m really pleased with how much space I’ve saved with those Muji bottles. Happy travels, touch wood! And if you’re going away yourself this summer, I hope you have a great time 🙂

Sample reviews – REN, Adore, Carmex, Egyptian Magic

Over the past few months I seem to have developed quite the collection of beauty samples. I really don’t know where they’ve all come from, but I thought it was high time I got through a few of them and told you what I thought.

Adore Nourishing Hand and Body Lotion

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This is a brand that I’ve never seen anywhere, apart from a shop near Bond Street where they tried to convince me I needed to spend £100 on some exfoliator that didn’t actually do anything. I picked this up on my way out, and I have to say, it doesn’t really do anything either. It smells horrible – I can’t stand white musk, and this is the muskiest of them allIt’s a light lotion that absorbs fine, but it doesn’t do anything else. Glad I saw through their sales pitch! Want a quality hand cream that smells gorgeous and actually moisturises? Check this one out!

REN Ross Centifolia Cleansing Gel

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A while ago I asked REN for a sample of one of their masks, as I wasn’t sure how my skin would react to it, but they sent me this instead. Well, it was free I suppose, but I can’t help but think they shot themselves in the foot slightly by sending me something completely unsuitable for my skin, instead of the thing I already wanted to buy. Unsurprisingly, I did not get on with this one bit, it made my skin very flaky, tight, and didn’t leave it feeling the slightest bit clean. Although it smells beautiful, it has a strange gel like consistency that doesn’t later or spread out over the skin very easily. All in all, not a fan.

Carmex

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Isn’t this adorable? They were handing them out in Westfield Stratford City on Valentine’s Day. I had forgotten that Carmex even existed, and after opening one of these up I remembered how much I love it, and went out to buy a tube. So if you’re reading this Carmex, your Valentine’s Day marketing was a success! Though I’m sure you already knew that 🙂

Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream

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I’ve read a lot of rave reviews, and I’ve read a lot of ‘what on earth is all the fuss about’ reviews. I fall squarely in the second category. The simple ingredients sound great on paper – with all those bee products they’re certainly doing the worldwide insect population some favours. I’ve tried it on as many things as I can – spots, dry patches, hands, hair and a small bit of my body (I only got a small sachet!) and it hasn’t had any affect at all. Very disappointed, as I like simple things like this. Oh well.

Have you tried any samples recently? Anything you bought after trying it out? I have loads more samples in the works so I’d love to know if you like this kind of post – I’ll do more if so 🙂

Hand Cream Review: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Concentrated Cream

Next up in my quest for the perfect hand cream collection is the lovely Cocoa Butter Formula Concentrated Cream by Palmer’s. This is also available in their Olive Butter Formula (I would love to try that one too, but I must say I really hope they do a Coconut Milk version someday!) I feel like I haven’t been doing much beauty blogging recently – but what can I say, the jungle is a compulsive topic. I’ve recently changed almost all of my beauty routine anyway so I’m still working out how I feel about it all (feeling good though so new posts soon!)

This is a quick post because there isn’t much to say about this super simple, seriously effective hand cream. It’s easily absorbed, long lasting, and feels great going on. I love it, and I think its perfect for summer because it has that gorgeous cocoa butter scent.

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I like that cocoa extract is the second ingredient after water, because their expert use of plant butters and oils is the reason I’ve always loved Palmer’s – they’ve saved my hair and skin on countless occasions! This cream also contains vitamin C which is great for protecting the skin.

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Love the colour. This cream is really thick but light at the same time, and it absorbs so quickly. Ideal for using at your desk! It does have a slight scent of mineral oil to it, but its paraben and pthalate free – all things considered, this is a great hand cream. I find that it gives immediate relief when my hands are really dry, and it carries on working for ages. And even better…its only £2.13 from Boots!