Wednesday, 12 July 2017

pH Matters: A Beginners Guide To Chemical Exfoliants & Cleansers

Natasha Kendall, Beauty Blogger, Cambridge Blogger, Skincare Blogger, Skincare shelfie Pinterest

(A gentle reminder that I support my blog through affiliate links. These are always included when I recommend products, but there is no obligation to buy through them!)

Chemical exfoliation is a relatively 'new' mainstream concept. With the likes of Pixi, Nip & Fab and even Superdrug own brand releasing new and 'innovative' chemical exfoliators, we're spoilt for choice! ... Or are we? Nope, we're not. Allow me to explain.

Your skin has something called the acid mantle. This is probably the most unknown yet important part of skincare - it's kind of like the o-zone layer for your skin. Brands occasionally slap on the bottles 'PH balanced' but you can't always believe this. Most of the time, brands create 'skincare' that strip your skin of all oils, as well as the make-up on your face - ever wondered why even the gentle cleansers for 'sensitive' skin still make you feel squeaky clean once you've rinsed off that foam? Yep, not great for the acid mantle. Your face shouldn't feel dry, tight and 'matte' after rinsing off a cleanser!

Lots of things can affect the acid mantle, but here are some common examples:
- Skin IrritantsThink lavender extract.. citrus extract... fragrance.. 'essential oils'. Sound familiar? these are popular ingredients in skincare. Cheap to source but the consumer always seem to fall for it being slapped on the labels of products - it sounds good and smells good, basically. And it makes people think that the lavender or tea tree oil is actually helping their skin, because why else would the company put it in the formula otherwise? "Lavender is relaxing, right?" .. "Tea tree oil is good for spots, right?" ... Nope. Often these essential oils are cytotoxic  - that means that they kill healthy, living cells!
- Soaps: Soaps usually have a very high pH. When you use bar soaps (charcoal, Dove, etc) your skin is always dry as a crocodile's back. People love it. Their pores look smaller, spots seem "dried out" ... It's all good. And then bam, oil production goes into overdrive and your poor skin becomes even more congested. 
- Weird Pinterest 'hacks': Lemon Juice has a pH of around 2, baking soda has a pH of around 8. They wreak havoc on your skin, all for the sake of 'drying out a spot'. And of course, they will dry out the spot, but many people promote these masks are a nighly or weekly thing, and that means that whoever does this is damaging their skin beyond repair... every night.

pH 1 battery acid 
pH 1.5 -2 = gastric (stomach) acid 
pH 2.5 = cola soft drinks 
pH 2 = lemon juice
pH 3 = vinegar 
ph = 3.5 orange juice 
pH 4.5-5.5 = healthy skin
pH 6.5 = milk
pH 8.5 = baking soda 
pH 9 = sea water 
pH 9.0-10.0 = hand soap, detergents 
pH 10.5 = milk of magnesia 
pH 11.5 = household ammonia 
pH 12.5 = household bleach 

You can see why people get confused by what is good, and what is bad.

Chemical exfoliators such as glycolic, lactic, salicylic (AHA/BHA) need to be at a pH of 3-4 to actually be effective as acid exfoliants. Anything higher will neutralise the acid and do.. well, nothing. And if you think that you can trust your favourite brands, you can't.

Pixi have released a glycolic acid product in the form of their famous 'Pixi Glow Tonic' - but the pH is 5. (The last time I saw this tested)
Nip & Fab claim that their glycolic acid still works at a pH of around 4 - 4.5. I've not tested this myself, but I'm leaning more toward 4.5 if they can't pinpoint it.
Garnier claim that the salicylic acid in their "Sensitive" Anti-Blemish range is going to combat spots.. but what is the pH of those products? If a cleanser needs to be at a pH of around 5, and the acid needs to be at a pH of around 3.5... Well, you get me... Useless.

Often, people think their skin is oily, dry, or a combination of the two.... But you can't possibly know your skin type unless you stop using harsh cleansers that are stripping away at your skin every day. Your skin isn't your skin if it's in a state of turmoil. Our skin naturally holds a pH of anywhere between 4.2 - 5.6. Cleansers should be no higher than a pH of 6.

Think of it this way, when you keep using cleansers that are the wrong pH, you (every morning and night) strip the delicate skin of absolutely everything - both good and bad. So sure, there won't be a scrap of make-up left on your face, and it'll feel tight and clean.. but it means that over time, your skin struggles to produce the correct amount of oil; Cleansers aren't selective, no skincare product is. As much as brands claim to have developed "smart" products, they're not alive. They don't know what part of your face needs healing or extra moisture, they just strip the skin over and over again, and do the job that they were formulated to do.

My recommendations for cleansers that won't strip the skin:
All skin types: Kiehls Ultra Facial Cleanser - This cleanser is my all-time favourite. It is super thick and hydrating and it doesn't foam a lot, which believe it or not, is ideal in a cleanser. It's also the right pH levels. It's never usually on offer anywhere, but the price tag is always worth it. (Plus, it lasts forever!) £16.50

All skin types: Garnier Micellar Gel Face Wash - If you're on a budget, this is the product for you. It's not the most hydrating cleanser of the bunch, but it does the job if you're pinching pennies and need to have an affordable skincare regime that won't dry out the skin. Almost always on 1/3 off at Boots. £3

Dry skin: Simple Cleansing Grapeseed Oil - Non pore-clogging and it easily emulsifies with water (goes milky and doesn't stick to your skin like olive oil on a frying pan) and it's almost always on offer in Superdrug or Boots. £3-£6 (This is a first cleanse/make-up remover - you'd need a gentle foaming face wash after this product)

All skin types: Hylamide High Efficiency Face Cleaner - A beautifully formulated product from Deciem. Hylamide is the sister brand of The Ordinary (Read my review here!) and with higher prices, come far superior formulas - the "cleaner" being no exception! It hydrates whilst removing all make-up without a trace. Gentle but powerful. Also stocked at Beauty Bay, ASOS, Boots and Cult Beauty. £19 (This is a first cleanse - you'd need a gentle foaming face wash after this product)

Dry skin: Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser - Gentle, and the perfect first cleanse. It's also a great dupe for the Liz Earle C&P. It's fantastic for dry skin and is a very gentle product that won't foam, it has the consistency of a very thick moisturiser. £4.99 (This is a first cleanse - you'd need a gentle foaming face wash after this product)

My recommendations for acid exfoliants with the correct pH:
Oily/Combo skin: Paula's Choice 2% Liquid BHA - Although best for oily and combination skin types, this product can work well on dry skin too. It's a god send in a bottle, and at £25 for 118ml, it should be. It's the correct pH, and you don't need much to transform your skin. I use this every single night. Find this product on LookFantastic or Paula's Choice official website. (I perfer LookFantastic, as it has better shipping options!)

All skin types (arguably): The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution -  The best skin re-texturizing product you can get for the price. I was shocked when I saw this initially released from Deciem for a mere price of £6.80! It works wonders for producing even and radiant skin, and it's suitable for many different skin types.
I really hope you guys enjoyed this post! I've been wanting to take my blog in a different direction for a little while, but been a little "scared" to make that transition. I want to move on to being more skincare focused. Of course, I still love make-up, but skincare is probably my biggest passion right now. I love researching and finding out more about products, ingredients and formulations. I'm no expert (I wish!) but I do enjoy helping people to understand more about what brands, ingredients and products you should be avoiding. Did this post help you?

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

I Never Expire: #ChangeDestiny*

Do you use anti-aging? I do. After all, prevention is worth a pound of cure, right? I think pretty much everyone I know does in some way. It's usually just an eye cream, or  a thick night cream, but we're still all looking to turn back the hands of time and look younger in our own way. You might not even know that you're using it. These magic 'actives' are in pretty much everything, and their marketing is sometimes scarily present in our everyday lives. But is there a deeper meaning behind anti-aging for many of us? Are we slathering products on to look younger for someone other than ourselves?

In Korea and China, many women face pressures to get married and have it "together" by thirty, or other big age 'milestones'. In China, there is even a day called "Bare Branches Day". November 11th. It's pretty much a "Singles Day" and consumers are encouraged to spend online to drown out the voice in the back of their head that says "you need to get married and complete your life" constantly. 

SK-II are promoting the idea "I Never Expire" in their short film on Youtube. It's a huge step forward for a large beauty brand to start to developing a blockade against social stigmas and pressures in 2017, and this is an outstandingly positive message that is seeping through the cracks of our everyday marketing for products - and that is what makes it so interesting.

"If we haven't ticked all the right boxes,
are we worth less after turning 30?"

The short film "I Never Expire" is about age-related pressure to marry, and essentially have someone next to you because you're expected to by family, friends, and social pressures. The "expiry date" is visibly clear and "worn" by the women featured in the video on their arm. It's seen by everyone, and the clock is always ticking for them, no matter where they are - travelling on the train, at the gym, or at a nightclub. SK-II are encouraging women to feel proud of their achievements and who they are, no matter how old they are. There is no expiry date on being successful and proud of yourself for your achievements.

It's a very powerful feminist message that definitely resonates with me more as it is coming from a beauty brand, and we all know that they typically encourage us to moisturise away wrinkles, exfoliate away dead skin and rejuvenate ourselves to look younger every day. It's almost like a friend saying, "Sure, you can use anti-aging creams, but you don't need to use them for anyone but yourself."

We have all felt the pressure of expectations at some point. We see on social media when our friends move upward in their careers and "life timeline" quicker than us, and we're hyper aware of photoshop, money and what society tells us to do.. which is exactly why I love this campaign. It promotes a fiercely passionate and feminist approach to change. It's promoting loving yourself and forgetting about anything but that, in the best possible way.

"Can we decide for ourselves?"

What do you think about the campaign? 
Do you believe that "expiry dates" for women are as strong as ever, or is society changing?


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This post is a paid advertorial for the campaign 'I Never Expire' by SK-II

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

AN HONEST REVIEW: Beau Belle Brushes

This week I'm reviewing some brushes I have been sent by the brand Beau Belle Brushes.
The brush set I was sent is priced at £59.95 on the website. You can also purchase it on Amazon. My initial impressions were "wow" as I'm a bit hot and cold about this price, given that the brushes are synthetic and the brand isn't well known yet; as most people probably would be. But I was honestly surprised by the quality of these. 
Beau Belle Brushes UK Amazon Review Honest
Included in this set you get:
Powder Brush
Stippling Brush
Angled Contour Brush
Foundation Brush
Angled Brow Brush
Large Shader Brush
Angled Shading Brush
Blending Brush
Shader Brush
Tapered Blending Brush

For the entire set, each brush works out at around £6. I think that it's an okay price. Would I pay £6 for some of them? No. I thought some of them were a bit useless and didn't leave me impressed, but others left me thinking "wow!" The ones I loved, were the powder, stippling, foundation, and tapered blending. I don't really like brush sets that mix and match eye and face, as it just seems incomplete. If I'm buying a brush set, I generally know whether or not I want the face or eye brushes included. I can sort of see someone's Mum buying this for them though. 

My thoughts on each brush:
Powder Brush: This is a thick, fluffed out but not-too-soft brush that is perfect for bronzer or powder products that you really need to pack on. I think this is my favourite powder brush ever right now, it even beats my Real Techniques one. I love it when bigger brushes aren't too soft, as they tend to make the foundation slide around the face and bronzer can turn muddy, but I didn't have that issue with this one. When using it for the first time, one or two hairs came out, but since then I've had nothing. Phew!

Stippling Brush: This is a really huge stippling brush! I love it to apply strobe cream with and it doesn't go patchy. It's pretty run of the mill, nothing impressed me so much about this brush that I'm going to rave about it, but I do like it. (I'm not usually a fan of using stippling brushes in general as they make my foundation look dreadful!)

Angled Contour Brush: This might be too soft for a contour brush for some people. I perfer this is a great option for blush! It works wonderfully with the Colourpop Super Shock Blushes and diffuses the colour gently, as to not ruin your make-up. I like that it's white - because you can see just how much product is packed onto the bristles, meaning you don't end up going overboard and looking like something from a tacky Disney film. 

Foundation Brush: Nice brush. I mean, it's a flat foundation brush - is there much to rave about? It applied my foundation nicely and didn't shed. I enjoyed using this.

Angled Brow Brush: This was just too thick, so much so that it just seemed pointless trying to use it on my eyebrows (which are thick anyway!) I think that it lacks precision, which you need in an eyebrow brush as to not end up with 'block' brows. I didn't like it, but I think this would make a really great tool to create eyeshadow looks with. It's just the right thickness to use with matte powders to cut the crease or line the underneath of your eyes with a pop of colour. So yes, it's a good brush.. just not for your eyebrows.

Large Shader Brush: This is a great, sturdy brush for me. I loved using this to apply concealers and cream contour from the Anastasia palette. The sturdy, dense bristles allow me to pick up a lot of product from what is usually a very tough cream product, which is great. It's a brush that I have been missing from my collection but didn't realise I needed!

Blending Brush: (The white brush from the set) This was a really soft brush, in a good way. I like some of the smaller brushes in my collection to be softer, and this is just the right size for the waterline or for blending out highlighter under the brows (if you're into that..) I do really like this brush and as it's white, you can see how much product is on it - perfect for if you're using it to line the waterline with colour or apply black!

Shader Brush:  Do we really need two shader brushes in a small set like this? Not really. This is possibly a bad choice from the brand - but Zoeva have done this too with their Rose Gold collection, just chosen lots of random brushes to shove in. I mean it's a good brush - I have the same things to say about this one as I do the Large Shader Brush... this is just smaller. 

Tapered Blending Brush: (The black brush from the set) This is not too dissimilar from the Zoeva 228 in that it's super wide and fluffy - perfect for a transition shade. It held up well, didn't shed and washed like a dream, and reshaped easily.

Things that I would improve:
  • Put the name and/ornumber of the brush, on the brush handle - like Zoeva, Mac and any other brush company do. I'm guessing the reason these aren't a blogging or youtube hit yet, is because it's so darn hard to tell people what brush you're using! 
  • The sets could be more cohesive. Eyes and face in one set, never really seem complete. 
  • The bristles differ too vastly on each brush. The powder brush vs contouring brushare so different. The powder is a "scratchier" kind of bristle, like Zoeva, wheras the angled contour brush is ultra soft, similarly to Spectrum.

Overall, I think that these are really good brushes! They're better than Spectrum, which break like nobodies business, but we'll see how these pretty rose gold handles hold up over time. I do like the fact that they're synthetic, as having the choice between natural and synthetic bristles can be handy for different products. I would recommend these brushes and I do really like them. 

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Friday, 19 May 2017


*This post contains affiliate links.

Spring is upon us! I'm a huge fan of dewy skin, even in the Winter, so when the warmer months come around once again, I'm always happy that dewy skin becomes a 'thing'! My skin is quite dry, so matte foundations are a no-go anyway, but that's perfectly okay with me. Summer is all about having fresh and radiant skin. I don't really like a matte base, but in the hot weather, it's nigh impossible to keep it looking great, so you may as well give in and go for a dewy glow instead!

Curated by John Lewis, this Beauty Edit is inspired by bronzed, summer beauty. The look centres around fresh, hydrated skin and that glow from within that you often see on Pinterest!

I picked up:

This is literally like summer in a bottle. I can't say I'm usually a huge fan of fragrance in my make-up and skincare, but this smells really, really great. It has been featured on Allure magazine and has had a really welcoming reception from lots of fellow beauty bloggers, so naturally, I was intrigued! This is like a mix between Fix+ and Urban Decay's All Nighter. It's the summer-friendly, dewy version of the All Nighter spray! It's high end, without a doubt, but it's not so expensive that this couldn't be a gorgeous addition to your make-up battle station.

I really like the fact that this is 'buildable' - you can use one spray for a dewy finish, or even three to four, and you'll be even more glowing! This really is a must-have for any high-end lover, but you might not like this if you have sensitive skin. It's fragranced, contains coconut alkanes and coconut oil, which can pose an issue for acne-prone skin, and they're in a high quantity, so it's up to you whether or not you decide to get this product. I'm personally not sensitive to fragrance or acne-prone, luckily!

The mist is very fine, just like Mac's Fix+. At first I was a little 'woah' when I went to use it, as it's a stark, white liquid. But because the mist is so fine, you won't have any issues unless you go totally ham with this and spray your face twenty times, a la Jeffree Star style.

Charlotte Tilbury's Matte Revolution Lipstick in the shade Pillow Talk*
The key to balancing out any dewy look, is to keep the eyes and lips matte. I usually wear matte or satin lipsticks anyway, so the Matte Revolution ones seemed perfect for me. I was debating which lipstick to get from Charlotte Tilbury, and I pondered for a long time.. The brand is so luxurious! But at £24 a pop, you really want to be sure on the shade, and I personally think that Pillow Talk really is an amazing all-rounder for lots of skin tones. It's the perfect balance between pink and brown, and would wear well with an array of different shades on the eyes, which is perfect if you want to use bright eyeshadows in the summertime!

Charlotte Tilbury's Wonderglow Flash Primer*
This really is a luxury - this primer is a dewy goddess' dream. It softens the skin and blurs imperfections, leaving you looking bright and glowing! Charlotte Tilbury has quite a few indulgent skincare products in her range, and this primer doesn't leave anything to be desired. And at £38.50, it shouldn't! It does everything she claims, and is a really great summer buy. It blends out into a subtle, champagne finish and makes you look that little bit more awake. Just like Strobe Cream, you could get away with this without foundation if you wanted to look like you've just been on holiday, or have the porcelain skin of a supermodel! In line with the price, you don't really need much of this product, which is always a plus when splurging on high-end products. This is a real game changer if you're into high end products.

 So what will you be picking up for Spring and Summer? Will it be high end, or drugstore? 
*Gifted items

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Tuesday, 11 April 2017


Glossier is one of the cool brands that you always see on Instagram and Pinterest, but never really pay proper attention to. I think that is probably down to the fact that it's only available widely within the US, which makes getting it to the UK a bit of a hassle - and I find that people tend to just ignore brands that aren't fuss-free and readily available on Beautybay or Asos (who have a damn good beauty range right now!), which is a shame - I really want a UK retailer to start stocking them! Anyway, I ordered my balms via my usual method, MyMallBox. I have a complete guide here, so you can easily work out how to get stuff from the US to the UK (kind of) easily.
Glossier Balm dotcom rose,Beauty blogger review uk, glossier uk shipping, how to get glossier to the uk, glossier friend code, glossier referral code, glossier promo code

Glossier are all about 'clean' and polished beauty. Their products are super minimal and their branding reflects that. Nope, you won't be getting Mac Studio Fix type coverage from this brand! Nuh-uh. They advertise gorgeous, dewy skin and promote a more natural beauty, which is rather refreshing in a Instagram world full of matte skin and drying liquid lipstick! Their break out product has been the Balm Dotcom. Priced at $12, it's a universal skin salve, and it can be used anywhere - cuticles, lips, elbows.. anywhere that needs a hydration pick me up. It's quite a small tube, (I was expecting it to be bigger) so it's perfect for purses and handbags. You can actually get 20% off your first purchase via a friend referral code - here is mine - so this works out at a pretty decent price.

Product claims: "Hypoallergenic, dermatologist tested, long-lasting moisture, paraben free, fragrance free, cruelty free"
Ingredients: 'Petrolatum, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Beeswax/Cera Alba/Cire D'Abeille, Lanolin, Dipalmithoyl Hydroxyproline, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Extract, Tocopherol, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract'

I think that the sightly 'above what you'd usually pay for a lip balm' price is justified for the product after seeing the actual ingredients. It's full of plant oils which are great for hydration and lanolin is a great chapped lip saviour too! Of course you can go out and buy a plant oil for a little cheaper, but it doesn't stay on for longer than 5 minutes (believe me, I've tried), therefore this is a great all-rounder.

Glossier Balm dotcom rose,Beauty blogger review uk, glossier uk shipping, how to get glossier to the uk, glossier friend code, glossier referral code, glossier promo code

Glossier Balm dotcom rose,Beauty blogger review uk, glossier uk shipping, how to get glossier to the uk, glossier friend code, glossier referral code, glossier promo code
I also picked up the flavoured balm in rose
Honestly, I have tried a lot of lip balms in my time, and none have come close (except maybe this) to Glossier's balm dot com. It's a really great addition to my handbag, bathroom and make-up desk because of the size; It's a small tube, but you don't need much at all because of the super dense and thick formula (seriously, this stuff comes out the tube so slowly - in a good way!) I kind of want to try everysingleproductever now from the website after being so impressed with this! (But also because of the uber-cute stickers that the brand send out with each order.)

Have you tried Glossier's balm dotcom, or any of their other products?

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Saturday, 8 April 2017

Life Lately [& WIN Benefit's Galifornia Blush!]

*This post contains affiliate links

University Update
Second year of university has been crazy. It really has gone by so fast!
People say university is the 'time of your life' and that it goes by quickly, but when you're in the moment, you never notice. It's only when you're a few weeks from your final exams, that you truly realise how fast time goes by when you're not looking. As a second year, I'm now expected to get some work experience over the Summer.. and I've managed it, thank the lord. I'm going be spending two weeks with a great PR company in my city that work with a wide range of brands and local business'. It's been something that I have been stressing over for a little while, as it's hard to get work experience in a city where there's two universities, countless schools and about 500 applications for any one job.

Over the past year or so, I have managed to find tune my interests, mainly due to blogging. I never want to be a full time blogger. As much as people glamorise it, it's never something I have wanted to do. However, I have realised that working alongside bloggers, managing brands and building client base for people who need that help is something that really interests me; PR/Marketing are industries that are constantly changing and adapting to new ways of marketing - e.g. bloggers, social media and the like, and I think it would be exciting and challenging to work in that industry.

I have exams coming up - eek. I am kind of freaking out about this and I don't feel very prepared yet. I've got to finish (and start..) a short story (they're so much harder that you think!) alongside a 1,500 word critical commentary of my work (fun). I also have another module that I am finishing off work for - all of this needs to be done before April 29th aka MAY aka EXAM MONTH... And then I will have 2 weeks until my exam dates to flat-out revise for them, I have this all planned, but I'm not sure how well my plan will really work. Oh, and did I mention, I'm currently under pressure to fine-tune my choice for my dissertation next year? Stressed is not even the word. But hopefully it's all worth it in the end.

Within the past year or so, I've lost a fair few friends. In university, especially when you don't live in halls, or with your friends in a student house, there is often a tough period in which you've grown apart from people, but haven't made new friends yet. There are also times, when you realise those "friends" are just fair-weather, 'convenience types, which can really suck. I've gone through both of those situations within the past year or so, and it's safe to say that I have felt a bit rubbish because of it. I found myself making effort that was wasted on people. My boyfriend would tell me to stop being a doormat and told me that if people were really interested in me, they would make the effort, even if it was just a text... but I didn't listen. I made excuses for people and gave them the benefit of the doubt. It can really hurt seeing people you thought were your best friends having fun without you on Snapchat when you didn't even know they were going to go out.

"Maybe they didn't invite me because it was a last minute thing.. for the 6th time this month".

It can hurt seeing people not invite you, or talk about WhatsApp groups the you're not in, right next to you. At the end of the day, it's healthy and normal go go through stages in life where you find yourself cutting people off, because sitting there thinking "well I need SOME friends" and allowing yourself to be treated like rubbish means that you're less likely to find friendships that you really value in life, because you're wasting time on people that don't value you.

I've recently tried to be a 'better blogger' ... but it just isn't happening. I think it's down to the pressure I feel trying to make my content perfect. I don't post as much as I used to, because I work a lot and I'm in second year now, but mainly because as I mentioned in this blog post, your photos need to look like something from a magazine before anyone will even entertain the thought of reading it.  I have about 40 posts written up, some fully finished posts that need photos taken for them, some are just little ideas and snippets of my thoughts, but I still feel as though only 1/20 photos will come out at the standard I'd like my blog to feel. I'm sure others feel this way, too, but it is annoying, because I feel like I don't have the time to take a million photos for one post. I wish I could just snap a photo with flash on sometimes, but in the blogging world, it sometimes feels like your photos are more important than your writing.

I've decided to give away the brand new Benefit Galifornia blush! It's super cute and I'd love for you to enter. It's the perfect shade for Summer. RRP: £24.50. I'll be announcing the winner on the 1st May 2017! The giveaway is open to UK RESIDENTS ONLY. Good luck! xo GALIFORNIA Giveaway

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Sunday, 2 April 2017


That right there, is 17 year old me, burning away in a tanning bed.

It's really easy as someone with naturally fair skin, to want to be tempted to lay in the sun for 3 hours or hop onto a sunbed in order to tan quickly. When the sun and hot weather rushes in and out quicker than you can say 'get the BBQ out!', us paler girls are always behind everyone else in terms of looking 'healthy' or 'glowing' as some people describe it. We're all wanting to be brown, but what even is brown? Sun damage. Literally.

I've always been self concious of my skin tone. I hated my pale skin growing up and I'm still not fond of it now, but looking back, I could slap myself. Why? Sunbeds. They're so dangerous, yet they're the least regulated 'danger' in the UK it seems. From my previous experiences, it's always been young girls working there, or an older lady with a magazine at the front desk that just wants to finish reading the Kim K article, which means they usually don't ever check for ID or advise you to take it slowly. In fact, I was so infrequently asked for any proof of age when I was 17 that it's really quite worrying to think that any young girl can use a sunbed if she pops some make-up on and acts confident - that's really all it takes.

A lot of people don't realise that here is no such thing as safe tanning. If you're going brown, that's your skin trying to protect itself against UVB/UV rays. I wish I could have told myself this years ago when I used to leave the sunbed salon smelling burnt. If I didn't climb out of the sunbed smelling that familiar smell - I'd go back in for another 5 minutes until I could smell it. Burnt skin. I cringe at the thought now. Did you guys know that every time your skin burns, it doubles your risk of skin cancer. And just because your skin isn't blistering red, it doesn't mean it hasn't burnt, especially if you're pale. It might just feel a little warm, itchy, tender.. or you may not even notice! UV rays don't just affect skin, either.UV can penetrate deep into the skin's layers and damage the DNA in our skin cells. This damage can happen before your skin goes red or looks burnt. And in case you need it spoon feeding to you, cells that are damaged by UV are at greater risk of mutating and then dividing uncontrollably, which is what happens in cancer.

At the end of the day, no amount of £24 Kiehls Ultra Facial Moisturiser or £70 Estee Lauder Serum can save your skin in the long-term if it's damaged by the sun for years on end. We have one skin. We can't replace it or fix it once it's damaged. There are some really interesting studies online where sets of twins have been compared - one a sun lover, one an avid sunblock user.. the results are shocking. Suncream might not be glamorous, and yes, fake tan smells like biscuits and peels off quicker than a natural tan, but looking after yourself in the sun and not using sunbeds are two of the easiest ways to prevent damage to your skin in the long term.

"Just getting my skin used to the sun for my holiday!"

This is such a popular belief, it's crazy to me. Lots of people, who don't usually use sunbeds will go on them for a few weeks before going on holiday to 'prepare' their skin, or to get a 'base tan' .. but this does nothing. It doesn't prepare your skin or suddenly stop you from burning once you're underneath the sun in Egypt. Your skin doesn't 'get used' to the sun - it burns. Your skin will still burn underneath that tan, because 'At most, a sunbed tan is the equivalent to a sunscreen with SPF of just 2-4' [Source]

A few years ago I cringed at the thought of sunbed shops being illegal - they were my stop along the way home every single day after college, but now I can't honestly think of anything better now than just to ban them totally. They are always taken too far by people as it's so easy to get a tan if you have the time and money. SPF is not 'boring' or 'uncool', it protects your skin from irreversible, long-term damage. If I am honest, I wasted an awful lot of money on sunbeds, and it took a long time to build up a tan - it's just not worth it. And even if the expense has to put you off, let it - because unless you have a lot of money every week for a long time to build up a nice layer of sun damage aka tan, don't expect it to be a
 cheap way of looking cute.

Not such fun facts
Using a sunbed before the age of 35 increases the risk of cancer by 59% [Source]
Sunbeds provide no positive health benefits. [Source]
UVB rays can penetrate clouds. Live in the UK doesn't mean we're immune to needing sunscreen everyday.
Short, intense and irregular UV exposure, like you receive from sunbed use is the fastest way to damage your skin. [Source]

So there is my little moan for the year. Just kidding, there will be many more posts in which I write about my frustrations with products, people and other bits and bobs - but isn't that what blogging is about? It's not always flowers and a very cute marble background. Sometimes we really need to touch on the important subjects and inject a little opinion and controversy into the community. So tell me in the comments - do you think that sunbeds have a place in 2017? I would really love to know your point(s) of view! 

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