When The Spot Has Got to Go: 6 Simple Stages

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Spot popping; you shouldn’t do it. You know that, your entire family and friends have told you that…. but they’ve been there for weeks, these little lumps that are slowly getting bigger and becoming the only thing that you can look at in the mirror. One of them is pulsating so much that you swear it could actually be alive. It could probably legally qualify for its own birth certificate, that’s how big this demonic lump in the middle of your forehead is. And they’ve got personalities, the little fuckers, deviant personalities that like to spoil your big events and completely ignore your attentive skin regimen.

This is the method that I’ve learnt through personal experience and scrolling through the web in desperation 5 days before a night out; my 6 step advice for you if you can’t help but squeeze the nightmare spot that’s been bugging you all week:

1. Cleanse your face thoroughly with warm water to get rid of bacteria on the skin and to open up your pores (which will make it easier to remove the fluid inside of the blocked pore). 

2. ALWAYS use a cotton wool pad instead of your lovely sharp fingernails which will damage your skin and leave you with a bigger wound. Collecting the contents of the spot (gross, I know) on a cotton pad will also minimise the risk of the bacteria spreading to other pores. I usually separate my pad down the middle and then fold each side over so that they are smaller and easier to work with but still provide cushioning for your fingers. During the squeezing process swap the cotton pads when needed to try and keep everything as clean as possible. 

3. Gently press around the culprit, if its ready to come out it will. Continue to press and slowly move your fingers closer together until the fluid runs clear and the plug is completely removed. There may be some bleeding but this is to be expected. It’s really important to make sure that there is nothing left beneath the skin because otherwise you will end up with something even more unsightly that is likely to become infected or return as a larger spot. 

4. Use another cotton wool pad (your trusty friend in this procedure) to apply a cleansing liquid in order to clean the area and remove any blood that would cause a larger scab to form. I always use my Superdrug Tea Tree Cleanser & Toner (£3.29) because tea tree oil helps to kill bacteria. 

5. Apply some Sudocrem. Yes, that creamy product most commonly applied to baby’s bottoms; I’m asking you to rub it across your face. Sudocrem is an amazing antiseptic product that is perfect for healing the skin and will form a protective barrier (almost like a scab) to stop your spot from becoming infected. My family will often see me wandering around the house with blotches of this stuff dotted across my forehead. This will usually dissolve into the skin or wipe away when you are sleeping but I try to leave it there throughout the night. Remember to be gentle when cleansing your face to remove your make-up at the end of the next day (you don’t want to be opening up the wound again) and put on some more Sudocrem in the evening if needed. Once the scab has fully formed and your skin has started to heal then stop applying the Sudocrem as it can be quite drying and you don’t want to dry out the skin around the scab too much.

6. Make sure to keep your face (including the scab) moisturised and do NOT attempt to pick off the scab before its ready. It may be tempting to pick away the problem but if the skin underneath hasn’t healed properly then you are extremely likely to get scarring. I made this mistake on holiday last summer and was left with unsightly white patches that took weeks to heal. When the skin is healed the scab will come off naturally, until then you can apply a good  concealer during the day to hide it (I would advise a fairly moisturising one so it doesn’t settle into the dry patches) but just make sure to dab the make-up off of the scab at the end of the day rather than rubbing it in order to minimize the risk of accidentally scrubbing it off.

This healing process will usually take around 3-5 days and works for me so much better than just attacking the spot with my fingers. Whilst I don’t advise you to go popping every single spot that you may have, if you do choose to do it then I hope that this method will help you to minimize skin damage and to heal as quickly as possible.

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Living In a Female Habitat: The Top 4 Issues

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I live with three other women and my father (who may be slowly turning into one due to all the female pheromones and hairspray in the air). Women are tricky creatures and can be extremely difficult to live with, especially if you are one of them. These are the top four beauty related issues that I have with living in a female habitat:

1. What’s with all the hair?: There is hair everywhere. Constantly. You can brush your fingers across the carpet of any room in the house and have gathered enough human hair to earn yourself £50 on e-bay by sewing it together, attaching a few clips, and selling it to some sixteen-year-old living down the road from you.

The shower drain is the mother-ship when it comes to hair-prone areas in the household. Every day a new bundle of fur will appear by my toes and I will shriek with fear as I stand on it, convinced that I have crushed a newborn kitten that has entered the home and somehow managed to crawl into the bathtub with me.

With the amount of hair that escapes down our drains on a daily basis, I genuinely believe that one day a mass of dirty fluids will suddenly erupt from them and a blonde creature with brunette undertones will emerge. It will escape from its watery lair through some roadworks on the street and wreak havoc on the neighbourhood, leaving a stench of strawberry infused shower gel in its wake. I’m sure of it.

2. Apologies, I didn’t realize that was your tampon: That L’Oreal shampoo I spent an extra few pounds on because of it’s gold packaging is empty in less than a week. I look at it like an unfaithful lover, hands shaking with the weight of the large black TRESemme bottle I’m having to substitute it with. Drained and wrinkled, L’Oreal looks up at me from a damp bathtub corner as I lather up my head with an unfamiliar product. … You made your choice L’Oreal. Deal with it.

Women truly are monsters when it comes to stealing others beauty products. Nail varnishes, hairspray, even tampons; nothing is off bounds to a girl with chipped polish or a lack of volume in her hair. Face wipes, however, must have their own entire category. You will understand why soon enough.

3. Face wipes: Face wipes. Simple is the only brand to go with in this house, the majority of other supermarket options will leave you battling an outcrop of spots and plotting a skin blemishing revenge on those closest to you (of course I’m joking, you don’t mess with another girls skin regimen, that would be barbaric).

Whenever you buy a new stash of Simple wipes, three days later you will reach into the packet and feel an overwhelming sense of panic as your fingers brush against the plastic bottom. Even if you hide them in a drawer, someone having experienced the same panic earlier in the day will have undoubtedly found them and stolen them from you.

Due to the immense value of these face wipes, if you ever see a loved one living in your household mistreating one (such as using it as a cleaning product), any physical violence directed towards that individual may be pardoned. Strangling the offender with one hand, rubbing a soggy clump of toilet roll down your face with the other, and screaming ‘those aren’t Tesco Value wipes you fucking monster!’ is completely acceptable after witnessing them dusting down a windowsill or cabinet with such a precious item when you still have half a pot of Max Factor foundation smothered on your face. It really is that Simple.

4. Keep your tits out of my tops: When you see your twin sister with tits twice as big as your own wearing your new white crop top it can seem somewhat of an inconvenience. A heated debate may occur, harsh words may be exchanged… This is nothing in comparison to when one of them goes back to uni.

Of course you’ve secretly rummaged through their packed bags multiple times, what fool living with a woman of similar size wouldn’t?  You’ve said your goodbyes and waved her off. You’ve taken all the necessary measures of protection. You’ve gone up to your room and you have heard an echo as the door clicks open, revealing what seems like an empty cavern. Did she tape your stolen items to her fucking back?! I thought it was an odd decision for her wear an oversized jumper in this weather.

All you can do is send her a spiteful text and an inventory of all that appears to have been taken from you (1 low-cut crop top from Missguided, 1 new pair of cleated platform heels, and all hopes of pulling the hot bartender that you’ve been Facebook stalking since he served you last weekend).

So there are basically three main things that you can take away from this post: 1. Women’s hair malts…a lot. 2. They will steal anything from each other if it results in them feeling slightly less greasy, ugly, or unstylish. 3. Always check the wash basket before accusing someone of stealing all of your clothes and taking them to uni.

Favourite Seasonal Nail Sparkles & Shades

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Before beginning this post properly there is something that I have to confess to you: I am the female Wolverine. I have always been blessed with strong nails that grow ridiculously fast and, if shaped into a sharp enough point, could probably be used as a deadly weapon. However, if you’re not so fortunate I have seen these varnishes look just as great on shorter nails!

This winter I’ve decided to steer away from the traditional deep red shades that I have always reached for in the past and chosen far more neutral colours made eye-catching by glittery overcoats. Here are a few of my favourite nail varnishes at the moment:

IMG_12701.  Lychee Nail Paint by Barry M: £3.99: This nail colour is so gorgeous and perfect on its own or used for a neutral undercoat. It has a creamy-taupe shade that I really like but if you wanted to go for something slightly darker then I’d advise trying Almond in the Barry M range. A great thing about these neutral colours is that they go with anything so you wont have to be removing it to apply something different because your outfit doesn’t match.

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2. Treasure Chest by Barry M: £3: I applied this over my Lychee colour as it is a clear solution containing glitter. The amazing thing about this nail varnish is that it’s made up of gold flakes which have a gorgeous shine to them. I applied two coats to make sure that there was plenty of coverage on the the nail and then used a clear top coat to set everything in place (as the sharp corners of the flakes looked like they could easily catch on something).

IMG_12773. Rimmel’s Glitter Bomb in Disco Diva: £3.99: This has got to be my favourite out of all three looks and yet again Lychee was my undercoat of choice. Although it’s difficult to pick up on camera, there is this sparkly quality to the actual clear varnish which catches the light and causes your nails to shimmer. There are also gold sequin-like flakes that are dispersed every so often by the brush as you sweep it across your nail. When I have this on I can’t help staring at my hands!

Now this post does come with a slight warning; taking a glitter coat off can be a bit of a nightmare, nothing that some nail polish remover and a cotton pad can’t sort out but I do find it to be a hassle sometimes.

As for the brand of nail varnish, I usually end up buying Barry M just because their colour range is so incredible and I’ve used so many of their products in the past. If I do find a shade that I’m really in love with I will try to find an Essie equivalent as their varnishes tend to apply more smoothly and don’t become as sticky after a few uses.

I hope that this has inspired you to try out a neutral coloured glitter nail yourself, I will definitely be wearing mine until the last of the festive lights have been removed!

Top 3 Benefit Products That You’d Be Crazy Not to Buy

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I purchased my first Benefit product about 8 years ago and I have been hooked ever since. The packaging of these cosmetics is enough in itself to get you interested but I’m more concerned with what’s inside and the quality of the products themselves. Benefit seems to be the fail-safe brand that my family and friends will turn to when it comes to buying my birthday or Christmas presents and for this reason I have been lucky enough to try out quite a few of their products over the years.

These are the three Benefit products that I use every single day and have taken pride of place inside my make-up bag for the last few years:

1. HOOLA: £23.50: This bronzer comes with an applicator brush in a rectangular shape which helps you to apply it to your cheeks for a contoured effect. The powder itself is free of glitter or shine which is what I look for in a bronzer because if I’m using it underneath my cheekbones as a shadow I don’t want any glimmer in the product causing the area to be highlighted at all.

The bronzing powder is dark enough so that you don’t have to use much but it also suits most skin types. For example; I am fairly olive skinned so I like to collect quite a bit of product on the brush before applying, my best friend on the other hand has a far lighter skin tone so she simply uses less.

I’ve been using Hoola for about 5 years now and haven’t been tempted to replace it with any other bronzing powder so far. Anyone that buys it seems to immediately love it and the statistics that I’ve found online support this: Out of 1147 reviews on MakeupAlley, it was voted a total of 4.1 out of 5 and 73% of those reviewers have said that they would buy it again. Most importantly (I think), it is currently the number 1 best selling bronzer in the UK – Now that’s got to make you buy it!

2. SUN BEAM: £19.50: I’d basically describe this complexion highlighter as liquid gold. It comes in a bottle with a small brush attached to the lid in order to apply the product to your chosen area. I usually dot it underneath my eyebrows to highlight my brow bones and on the highest point of my cheekbones. As this is a liquid formula you do have to use your fingers or a sponge in order to blend it enough to give your skin a natural glow.

I originally began using Benefit High Beam (a pinky-pearl coloured alternative) which I would suggest to anyone with a fairly pale skin tone. It was only when I was given Sun Beam as a gift a few years ago that I realized it suited my tanned skin a lot more.

When reading reviews on MakeupAlley the one negative point that I came across was that the formula seemed to smudge the foundation underneath it. I haven’t really found this to be an issue as long as you don’t use too much of it and you have given your foundation a chance to set. 70% of MakeupAlley reviewers would buy Sun Beam again and it was rated a 4.1 out of 5.

3. BROW ZING (in medium): £24.50: Oh Brow Zing, the one product that I cannot leave the house without having applied. The second I used this product I chucked my eyebrow pencil away immediately!

The Brow Zing set is made up of a pigmented shaping wax, a brown setting powder, a hard angled brush and a blending brush. There are also a small pair of tweezers included in order to remove any stray hairs.

With everything you need already included in the set, Benefit has made filling in your brows with this product really easy and it gives far more natural results than using a pencil in my opinion, especially if you have fairly sparse brows like myself. Due to the setting powder, Brow Zing lasts all day and is very unlikely to smudge. The only slightly negative point that I do have is that the brush hairs tend to get a bit worn before I have managed to use up all of the product (but it does take me about 9 months or more to get through so that’s to be expected!).

And finally, a few review results: On MakeupAlley this product was rated 4.2 out of 5 and a whopping 80% want to buy it again. Brow Zing was also awarded Best Brow Product in the Debenhams 2014 Beauty Club Awards (voted for by the public) and it has been the UK’s number 1 best selling brow kit for the last 5 years – Pretty impressive Benefit!

Contour Galore: My Product Pick For Contouring

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I have been researching into contouring products for a while and was unsure of what was best to buy. Many top YouTube beauty vloggers seemed to just use any product with a dark enough pigment, whether that be a matte eyeshadow or an eyebrow shaping palette. I tried this out on my cheeks using my Benefit Brow Zings powder and a fine make-up brush but the product was too dry to blend into the skin properly which left an obvious line across my face. I basically just looked like I had rubbed some soil into my face and was a bit dirty. Using it to contour my nose was slightly more successful but I still felt like there was a product out there that would be much more suitable for contouring. 

I’ve had my eye on coutour palattes by both Anastasia Beverly Hills and NARS for a while now (both around £30-£40) as they keep cropping up on make-up tutorials but the price has kept putting me off. I am fairly willing to spend my money on something a bit pricier if it’s worth the cost but due the size and design of these kits (very similar to Brow Zing but a mix of contour and highlighting powders), it seems like they wouldn’t contain much product. This is fine if I’m only using it on a small section of my face (like my eyebrows) but because I’d be contouring my entire face with it I felt like it would run out quickly. I was also worried that they looked quite powdery and due to my previous failure with using a powder formula I wanted something a bit more creamy that would be easily blended. In saying this, I have bookmarked these products on my computer and I am secretly itching to buy them.

The main reason why I didn’t choose to buy a contour kit is because I already frequently use two highlighting products that I am happy with (Benefit Sun Beam and my recent purchase Mary-Lou Manizer by theBalm). I felt like adding a third highly recommended highlighting product to the mix would just be ridiculous; they would all be fighting for my love like a hoard of attractive men that I’m unable to pick between and I just can’t deal with the stress of that. I will always want you contour kit, but for now, you cannot be mine. 

I’ll get on with my actual recommendations now because it’s about bloody time to be honest…. (Just a quick story for you first): Last weekend I stayed at a friend’s in London and whilst we were getting ready to go shopping she swiped this chocolate toned stick across her cheeks, blended it in a bit and suddenly had these amazing cheek bones. This NARS Matte Multiple (£30) has a creamy consistency and comes in a range of bronze tones or pinky blushes which can be used as a face contour, on your lids as an eyeshadow, or even on your lips. I have read a lot of reviews though explaining how the product can be very drying on the lips so I’d be inclined to use it only as a blush or a contour (depending on which shade you choose). 

So, I had my product. Just a quick stalk online to see some product reviews and brand alternatives…. Welcome Laura Mercier Bonne Mine Stick Face Colour (£26). Both products have extremely similar packaging (a fairly thick tube-like stick that you can twist the base of to access more product; similar to an oversized lipstick) and also have a similar consistency. The product reviews that I could find online were very positive but unsurprisingly limited as they both only came out in 2014 (although the regular NARS Multi was released a few years ago).

The thing that made my mind up in the end on which product to choose was a YouTube video by Dusti Kae called Fall Makeup Tutorial. Although this professional make-up artist is fairly new to the vlogging world and currently has relatively low view counts on her videos you can tell that she has a lot of experience in the industry and really knows what she is talking about. I have made a lot of my recent product purchases through her recommendations and the Laura Mercier Bonne Mine Stick in Bronze Glow is one of them. I’d really encourage you to check out the video yourself as there are loads of other great products that she uses but the Bronze Glow Stick just looked so amazing when applied and the way that she raved about it made it literally impossible not to buy. 

So. There you go. After all that, it’s Laura Mercier Bronze Glow!