Acne 101 – Products that really work

Acne 101 – Products that really work

There are a hell of a lot of products out there claiming to zap your zits, and a lot of them are quite pricy. I suffered from acne for a couple of years – don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t severe or anything and I’ve seen a hell of a lot worse, but over the years I tried so many products. A lot of the products I tried made no difference, but some really did. So I’m going to share with you what worked for me, so you can skip straight to trying the good ones.

Before I get into this, I want to be clear that in the end I had to go on antibiotics to clear up my acne, so none of these products completely zapped the whole lot like that. In truth though, that isn’t going to happen – acne is an infection and needs antibiotics (either topical or in the form of tablets) to truly get rid of it. However, I found some really great products along the way that helped heal spots quicker, helped with the dry sore skin that comes with acne, and really helped me to avoid any scarring. It’s now three years since I started my antibiotics for my acne and for the last year my skin has been fantastic – I probably get 1/2 spots a week now, and there’s not a single scar from the acne.

The first product, which I cannot recommend enough, is aloe vera gel. I tend to use the brand Fruit of the Earth or Banana Boat. It is honestly a miracle worker. It’s such a natural healer and can be used for a huge variety of skin problems. My dad suffered from scoliosis on his leg for about 40 years, but after a few weeks of applying this cream it healed up and completely disappeared. I really think the aloe vera made a massive difference to my skin, it was moisturising and at the same helped my skin to heal really quickly. It’s so cheap and can be found in most pharmacists or failing that, on Amazon. It doesn’t make your face look shiny and feel horrible like most products, and I actually used it as a primer under my make-up for years as it really tightens your skin. It’s so worth trying and I swear by the stuff! (Just don’t get it anywhere near your eyes because damn that stuff stings)

Next up would have to be Palmer’s cocoa butter oil. This stuff is great for scars – I recently had some really bad bites on my leg and this has really really helped to fade the scars. I also think it worked really well on my spots. Acne is known for leaving garish scars behind, the bigger the spot usually the deeper the mark – so this was something I was really worried about.

What’s the point in clearing it all up if afterwards I’m still going to be covered in marks? When the antibiotics kicked in and my spots started disappearing I did still have lots of red dots where they’d been for a few months – but when I started using this oil they quickly started to fade and now I’m scar-free. It’s an oil, so obviously its quite greasy. At first I used it day and night, i used to put it on under my make-up – which wasn’t a good look but it was important to wear it as often as possible while I had a chance to reverse the damage. After a while though, I just wore it at night, and now I don’t need it at all! Again, this stuff is available at most pharmacists and isn’t expensive at all.

I couldn’t not sing the praises of good old Sudocrem. My Mom has been an avid Sudocrem user for as long as I can remember – I’d fall over in the playground and I’d have sudocrem straight on that graze, I got sunburn, a rash, a bite.. always Sudocrem. It didn’t fail me when it came to spots either. I’d pop a bit on each spot before I went to bed at night and it would always be half the size and half as red the next morning. However, I will warn, don’t just slather it over your entire face because that will 100% dry your skin out. Even when I was pore spot than clear skin, I’d sit and dot each individual spot – a bit time consuming but by far worth the work.

Boots also do an amazing range of witch hazel and tea tree products that are kind of drying, but in moderation really do the trick. I also found that their back spray is fantastic for spots on your back and chest – I still use it when I get occasional flare ups on my chest and it zaps the lot in a few days so I would 150% recommend that stuff. It’s really cheap too!

Lastly, if you want a hardcore moisturiser that won’t double your spots, Nivea is the way to go. Their everyday oil-free moisturiser isn’t too greasy and won’t make your skin worse at all. You can also get aloe vera moisturisers – like the gel but extra moisturising. Tesco do their own aloe vera moisturiser with a minimum added extras and it’s really great for your skin. I used to slather layer after layer of these two moisturisers on when my skin was super dry, and they always made a huge difference within 24 hours.

I thought I’d also mention some home remedies that I thought made a difference. I tried just about everything from rubbing potatoes on my skin to slathering it in honey – I hope that’s given you a good image of me. There were two things though that I thought really helped, salt water and avocado. I found that Avocado mixed with just a tiny bit of antibacterial honey and milk was a good moisturising face pack. Salt water was also good for healing my skin – just don’t over too it, once a week is plenty, you don’t want to dry it out.

Don’t get caught up my brands with lots of celebs shouting their name – they’ve been paid to love them. I tried lots of popular brands like freederm and Proactiv, but in the end found that the best products were the more natural and less heard of ones.

I really hope this helps anyone out their suffering from acne and you can skip straight to using the products that actually are worth buying. If you know of any great products for spots, let me and other readers know in the comments! Thanks for reading – feel free to check out my previous post ‘LaLaLab – polaroids to your door‘ and use my £5 discount code! Or you can find me over on my Twitter and Instagram!

Teeth Whitening – products that really work

Teeth Whitening – products that really work

I’ve recently been on a bit of a mission to get my teeth looking really white. But teeth whitening at the dentist is bloody expensive – I believe it’s around £400-£600 in the UK, which is a lot. So, over the past few months I’ve tried a few affordable products that are available in England and tested them out so you guys can skip straight to the ones that really work.

However, I’ll just say that – I wouldn’t describe my teeth as particularly stained or discoloured, so how the products worked on my teeth might be different to yours.

Blanx white shock tooth paste

It recommends on the box that this tooth paste is used twice a day for four weeks – which I did. The paste supposedly reacts to light and brightens teeth when exposed to light. It is non-abrasive and contains no bleach. After using the toothpaste for three weeks, I did have a couple of people tell me that my teeth were looking pretty white and although they weren’t white-white, they looked pretty stain free after using Blanx white shock.

The toothpaste cost me £5, which is a pretty average price in the way out whitening toothpastes, so I felt pretty neutral about the price really. I used the toothpaste with my regular toothbrush. Although the paste seemed to lighten my teeth, I never felt like my mouth was very fresh and and clean like I would with a regular tooth paste. It seemed to whiten them a little though, although it definitely wasn’t a ‘white shock’. I’d say that for the price, the tooth paste is definitely worth a try – especially if you’ve got quite stained teeth.

Colgate max white expert white toothbrush and whitening pen

I was kind of hesitant to try this brush and pen as it cost £10.50 which seems like a lot for what it is, especially as I wasn’t convinced that the toothbrush would do anything special. In hindsight, I feel like the toothbrush probably was a good brush as it has ‘polishing bristles’ and ‘stain removers’, which are basically little bits of rubber that feel really weird against your teeth. However, I will say that when I’d brushed my teeth with the brush they felt exceptionally clean and smooth – kind of like they do when you’ve been to the dentist and had a good clean.

The pen itself is kind of a weird concept as you put the gel on and then don’t rinse it off. So the first few times I used it I kind of just awkwardly walked around for half an hour smiling, not sure when to close my mouth and let it wash off in my mouth. I also was unsure about swallowing it, but it must be safe for them to tell you specifically not to wash it off right? It does contain hydrogen peroxide though, but only contains 0.1%. Although, I guess that’s also a good sign that it can’t have any harsh chemicals in that are ruining your teeth, on the bright side.

I’d say after I’d use the pen for about a week I could definitely see a difference. My teeth looked shinier and brighter and they constantly felt super smooth and clean. I feel like this made a difference. I used them for the recommended three weeks and by the end I’d definitely say there was a noticeable difference – definitely not the bright white on the models in the advert though, but I knew that wouldn’t happen. I feel like the difference the Colgate brush and pen made were more noticeable than the Blanx White Shock toothpaste. The only down side is that when the gel is on your teeth, they feel awfully furry and unclean – but I reckon the furriness is worth it.

Pearl Drops instant natural white toothpaste

The Pearl Drops toothpaste is actually meant to be £7 – which is really expensive for a toothpaste – but I managed to get it from B&M Bargains for £1.99 so figured I may as well try it for that price. The toothpaste promises “instantly whiter teeth after just one week’, and after using it for four weeks, I would say my teeth looked really clean and had that kind of sparkle to them that you get after a good five minutes of scrubbing, flossing and mouth washing. However, I don’t think it did anything for the colour of my teeth.

Similar to the Blanx toothpaste, it didn’t leave my mouth feeling minty fresh like regular toothpastes do, but my teeth did feel pretty clean. If you can get it from B&M like I did, I’d say it’s worth trying. However, I don’t think I’d pay the full £7 for it – I just don’t think it’s worth that.

Overall, if I was going to purchase any of these again, it’d definitely be the Colgate brush and pen. It was the only product that I noticed a significant difference with, and although it was the most expensive out of the three products, you do get a toothbrush out of it.

Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried any products that you think really worked so that I can give them a go! Also let me know if you try any of these or already have, I’d love to know what you think of them.

Thanks for reading and make sure you subscribe to my blog by popping your email in the subscription box to your right so you get notified when I put up my next post! I’m putting up my room tour post tomorrow, so make sure you come back and check it out! In the meantime, why not check out my last post ‘Boosting your domain authority’ or connect with my on Twitter or Instagram?

 

Blogger wishlist – make-up, homeware, clothes, books & more

Blogger wishlist – make-up, homeware, clothes, books & more

I’m currently on a bit of a spending ban as I’m trying my very hardest to save my money up. Therefore, I’ve accumulated a bit of a wish list lately and I thought I’d share some of the items on my wish list – maybe you can encourage me to buy them?

First up would have to be the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette. I swear this palette is all I ever hear anyone talk about and I’ve had multiple bloggers recommend it to me. So this is definitely high up on my list, I will treat myself to this palette eventually.

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Next up is a TV. My TV I have in my bedroom is now about 8 years old and isn’t a Smart TV or anything fancy. I recently bought myself an Amazon Fire TV Stick to try and substitute investing in a new TV, but the stick just doesn’t seem to work well with my TV – perhaps because it is so dated. I also feel like the TV is on its way out, it keeps playing up and I just feel like it is about to leave us. So I fancy buying myself a new TV, and a bigger one too. Obviously though, this isn’t going to be cheap so I’ve been putting it off but I’m getting closer to caving. I’d really like one of these two TVs, (Samsung on the left and Phillips on the right) both of which are Smart and 4k Ultra HD and 49″. Only problem is, they’re not exactly cheap. However, it will probably last me well over ten years and when I move out I’ll be able to take it with me so I’m convincing myself by calling it an investment for the future.

I’ve got a huge Amazon basket full of books I want to buy (perhaps I should do a whole other post on my book wish list?) but two books I desperately want to purchase at the moment are Since You’ve Been Gone and The Unexpected Everything, both my Morgan Matson. Go look them up on Amazon because they look like such great reads!

I really want to treat myself to some new homeware bits for my bedroom. I’d like some cushions to go on my bed – maybe some more summery ones. I particularly like the cushions at Asda and Dunelm, they sell some really pretty ones and I particularly like this one, this one and this one. I’d also like to invest in some new blinds and voiles. Therefore, I’m planning to order maybe some white or pale grey blinds and voiles, maybe on my next pay day.

Lastly- and I could use some recommendations here – I would really like a pair of loafers. I’ve looked at so many shops, both online and in store but just can’t seem to find a pair I like. I’d preferable like them to be black but the difficult part comes here… I can’t find any that aren’t really stiff. I can’t deal with stiff shoes because my feet are so boney they just rub and it kills. I also don’t want them to be really really flat soles, my boney feet need some cushioning. So if you’ve got a pair of black loafers that you love and are no more than £30 then please hit me up with links.

If you’ve got any recommendations for loafers, TVs, homeware bits or books then please let me know in the comments! Keep your eyes peeled for a ‘Beauty Bloggers Made Me Buy It’ post coming tomorrow, and in the meantime you can find me on my social media accounts here. Thanks for reading and be sure to follow and like the post if you enjoyed it!

emmachxrlotte

Healthy hair hacks

Healthy hair hacks

Before I start, I just want to whack in a bit of shameless self promo and let you guys know that I’ve made a separate Snapchat for fellow bloggers or people who read my blog, so if you’re interested in seeing more of me and getting to see behind the blog then add my snapchat ’emmachxrlotte’! And finally, these are my Instagram and Twitter accounts. Now that that is out the way, let’s get on with it!

This post is just going to be some tips and things I’ve learnt over the years that help me to keep my hair fairly healthy. Trust me I’ve abused my hair a lot since the age of about 15, and after completely ruining it several times, I’ve definitely learnt the hard way how to revive it and keep it healthy. It’ll probably get a bit waffly so I’ll put the main point of each paragraph in bold if you’d just like to skim read!

The first thing I’m going to say (because it’s the most important) is get your hair trimmed. If you’re growing your hair, like me, this is probably the last thing you want to hear. Honestly though, I went about two years without having it trimmed at all and by the end of the two years I ended up having to have it cut really short because it was just split end central. Even if you don’t use any heat on your hair, don’t colour it, and treat it really well, you will still develop split ends and your hair will still need a little trim. I won’t lie, I absolutely hate getting my hair trimmed, but even if it is just half an inch every twelve weeks (that is all I do) then that is better than nothing!

Make yourself a hair mask with ingredients that we’ve all got in our kitchens. I like to make a coconut and olive oil hair mask once a week and leave it on my hair for an hour with a hot towel wrapped around it. It doesn’t take a lot of effort, it’s really cheap and makes a real difference.

Stop with the tight ponytails. I know how easy it is to wake up in the morning and decide that you can’t be bothered to do anything with your hair and just stick it into a tight high pony, but this is so bad for your hair. You’re yanking on the delicate hairs at the front of your scalp which can eventually lead to hair loss if you do it often enough. Not to mention the fact that where your hair tie/hair band sits often breaks the hair shafts. So, if you do have to have your hair up, opt for a loose ponytail and use a soft fabric hair band to minimise damage. If I need my hair back I tend to just loosely french plait my hair, the looser it is the less damage.

It goes without saying that you should avoid bleaching your hair, but if you want to be blonde, there’s not really any way around it. However, if you are going to go blonde, or you’re already blonde and keep bleaching your hair, check out products that are kinder to your hair, like Bblonde by Jerome Russell. They have an extensive range of products, they’ve got something for everyone, and they’re all really kind to your hair – so why not check them out if you’re a fellow blonde, you can find their website here. As I’m growing out my blonde, in favour of my naturally dark blonde colour, Bblonde recently sent me one of their toners and their lightening spray. The toner was great on my hair, it removed all the yellow brassy tones, with absolutely no peroxide whatsoever. It was really quick and easy and smelled great too. Their lightening spray is also great if you’re looking for a natural sun kissed blonde look – as it isn’t an all over bleach it won’t be as harsh on your hair but will still lighten it. I’m going to use the lightening spray in the summer as I always like to go a shade lighter in the summer, so I’ll update you then on what it’s like!

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Try vitamin supplements! You should always check with your doctor or at least a pharmacist before you go putting yourself on any vitamin supplements, but if your hair is dry or damaged, maybe you should consider it? For your hair to be happy you should make sure you’ve got plenty of vitamins A, B, C, D, & E, Iron, Zinc and Protein. Each of these play vital roles in keeping your hair healthy so if you’re low in any of them, re-think your diet or try a vitamin supplement. I had a blood test a few months back and found that I was really low on Vitamin D, but since taking supplements I’ve found that my hair is really shiny and soft again. Holland & Barrett do some Hair, Skin & Nail supplements at a really decent price. I’d always be very careful about where you buy tablets from, but Holland & Barrett are definitely somewhere that you can trust!

Don’t use too much heat. Notice how I say not too much, rather than none at all? I realise it’s more or less impossible not to use any heat, so why not just limit it? Maybe put your straighteners on a lower heat setting and only go over each piece of hair once. Don’t hold your hair dryer so close to your head and only dry the roots, let the ends dry naturally. Only use heat every other day and when you do use heat ALWAYS use heat protector spray first. You can also find alternative methods for straightening and curling your hair (try Youtube, there’s tons of ideas out there), they don’t work for everyone but I use the headband curling method regularly and it always works well for me and means that I never ever have to curl my hair anymore! As in the picture below, you put a stretchy headband around your hair when its damp, wrap your hair around it and sleep on it. Then the next morning you wake up with curly hair like this (sorry for the super posey pic).

 

Pick your shampoo and conditioner wisely. Lots of shampoos contain toxic ingredients that can do your hair and body a lot of damage. Next time you buy yourself some shampoo or conditioner make sure you check you’re not buying a products with any of these ingredients; sodium laurel sulfate, potassium sorbet, phenoxythanol, polysorbates, or polyethylene. Some of these ingredients have been found to irritate the scalp, and for your hair to grow and be healthy, you need your scalp to be happy – so watch out for nasty ingredients! Oh and after washing your hair, ALWAYS finish with a cold rinse to close the pores, this is a big one that makes a world of difference.

Lastly, don’t over wash your hair. I know what it’s like, there’s nothing worse than the feeling of greasy hair, (in fact mine needs washing now, I’m off to do it after I’ve written this) but washing your hair too often is going to dry your hair out and that’s just going to mean more split ends. You’re literally washing the oil away that helps your hair to stay healthy and grow, so if you’re washing your hair everyday, maybe see if you can go every other day. Having said that, I know it’s hard. I personally have really greasy hair – I’ll wash my hair in the morning and by the afternoon it will already be a bit greasy. But, if you’re persistent and push your hair to last longer, it’ll eventually get used to it and won’t get as greasy as quickly. But remember, that oil is actually good for your hair, so don’t feel so grossed out by it!

Now that I’ve finished waffling, let me know if you have any healthy hair tips because I’d love to hear them! Thank you for reading and make sure you come back tomorrow for a post full of revision tips and tricks to help you survive your exams! Or if you’ve finished school, make sure you keep an eye out for a skincare post on Saturday!

P.S. I just want to say sorry for the lack of posts on my blog this week – I normally write all my posts at the weekend and schedule them for during the week, but I was feeling really ill at the weekend and didn’t end up writing anything. So, I’m really sorry about that, but better late than never right?

emmachxrlotte