Thursday, June 27, 2013

Label addict

I have been wanting to write this post for ages but I've finally gotten down to sitting down and writing it following a discussion I had over twitter with my friend Jen at the weekend who you can find over at Daisy Rose Beauty about problematic skin.  I was hesitant because it's the first ever post I have written with no pictures!

Over the past two months I have become completely label obsessed.  Not designer label, I'm talking ingredients labels.  Particularly in skincare.

I am absolutely NO expert in skincare at all.  I love reading about it and getting recommendations for new products and my two favourite blogs for skincare are Caroline Hirons and Rebecca at Be Beautiful.  The way these two ladies write has given me a real interest in what I am putting on my skin and I feel I have learned about different ingredients, their benefits and the building blocks of a good skincare routine.

My interest started after I had a horrific experience in January with Liz Earle cleanse and polish cleanser.  It broke me out horrendously, I have never had such instant, deep routed and painful spots.  They sat under the skin, quietly raging away and never came to a head.  My skin made me want to cry.  Even though I stopped using the Liz Earle after 3 days it took 2 and a half months for my skin to recover.

Mistakenly I thought Liz Earle contained Shea Butter and immediately started telling anyone who would listen it was the Shea Butter in it that was making me break out and I actively avoided any product with Shea in it on my face.

It wasn't until I one day realised that the Ren Number 1 Purity Cleansing Balm contained Shea Butter. I was using it and loving it so I went back for a second look at the Liz Earle ingredients.  No Shea.  But it did contain both Beeswax and Cocoa Butter which I have heard can cause breakouts for some people.  Ahhhh mystery solved I thought.  Shea = good.  Beeswax and Cocoa Butter = avoid like the plague.

Then I realised that the Kiehls light moisturiser I used every day contained Beeswax.  Wow.  So maybe Beeswax isn't an issue either.  I just needed to avoid Cocoa Butter.

Currently I have just started using the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Moringa Cleansing Balm as my evening cleanser.  Ingredients in the balm include Beeswax (but no cocoa butter) so I wondered how my skin would react.  The first couple of days were ok then I started getting spots around my jawline.  I used it for 6 days and then travelled to Cairo.  In my travel wash bag I had thrown the Ren No 1 Purity Cleansing Balm and over the last 5 days my skin has totally cleared up.  Since I have been back I decided to give the Emma Hardie another try and so far so good.  But I have really stripped back my skin care to try and see if this is what is effecting me.  Also it is VITAL in my opinion that you use a flannel to remove this properly from your skin-trying to wash it off just doesn't cut it and leaves me feeling like I have a film of product on my skin.

I'll be honest, it's a frustrating process.  I like to read all ingredients labels now before I buy.  And if a product doesn't have the ingredients listed I won't buy it.  I spend a lot of money on make up and skincare, I want to at least know what I am putting on my face.

There are SO many ingredients in skincare that I don't recognise or understand what they are supposed to do.  So many of the ingredients use the Latin derivative and it can be a complex and confusing process.

I've also learned that Shea Butter is sometimes listed as Butyrospermum Parkii and Beeswax as Cera Alba.

If my skin breaks out over the coming days I will know it's something in the Emma Hardie as the rest of my skincare routine will remain the same as before I used the EH.  I will assume it is the Beeswax in it but to be honest there are so many ingredients in the EH it could easily be something else.

Other things I have learned through Caroline and Rebecca are that;
-I should be double cleansing especially as I wear SPF (I'm not-well until I see what happens over the next few days)
-I should be toning using an exfoliating and hydrating toner.  (I'm not, I am back to using Alpha H every second day to sort my skin out and it is working
-Neither of them rate muslin cloths for removing cleaner, both prefer flannels (which should be washed after every use).  I now use flannels to remove my cleansing balm in the evenings and to remove any face masks I put on before a final rinse with water.

I know Carolines perfect skin care routine involves a non foaming cleanser in the morning followed by double toning, any serums (heaviest last), hydraluron and then moisturiser.

In the evening double cleansing (balm then milk or gel). double cleansing, oil, serum then moisturiser.  It may seem heavy but Caroline says she is a fan of piling it on.  In all honesty I'm not, I prefer to start with a base cleanser and moisturisor and if my skin is ok slowly start to introduce other products into my regime.  I know many many people are eagerly snapping up Carolines recommendations and spending their hard earned cash on multiple products and starting anew-but if your skin breaks out how do you know what is irritating it.

Having said that, best line ever from Caroline has to be 'facial wipes are for flights, fannies and festivals'.  I don't use face wipes.  Or cleansing water now unless I am on a flight and it's the easiest way to remove make up or I am drunk and can't be bothered with the whole routine.

I have also learned that my skin CAN tolerate shea butter.  I loved the Ren cleansing balm.  I also know my skin tolerates rose and almond oil as ingredients and that Glycolic acid (which is an AHA) was my skin saviour in March when I tried the Alpha H Liquid Gold.

I've learned a whole new vocabulary-I know what Salycilic acid is (and how to pronounce it!), that hyluaronic acid holds 1000 times it's own weight in water so is great for plumping the skin.  I know mineral oil and parabens are skin nasties. I know Retinol A is a great anti-ager and and AHA's are acids but good acids.  I know silicone makes my skin feel so silky but also puts a barrier on the skin so is best in products like foundation primer.

As I have said I am stripping back my skin care at the moment to see if the Emma Hardie is causing me to break out.  Once I know or not I'll be slow introducing other products into my skin care routine.  I don't think it will ever be a perfect science but I am definitely happy to be more conscious of what I am putting on my face.

How have you ever gotten to the bottom of an ingredient that doesn't suit your skin?  Do you always read the ingredients before buying anything?


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