Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub

Lets talk about the best face scrub I have ever used.


I love physical exfoliation. I know lots of people are all ‘oh no, you should only use chemical exfoliants they’re much gentler’ but I’m just here like, my skin is designed to come into contact with debris throughout the day, it is definitely not designed to have weird chemicals applied to it in a ritualistic fashion. Not that I’m against chemical exfoliants, I love papain, and I used retinaldehyde for the first time last night! But I don’t think there’s any truth to the claim that you shouldn’t use a scrub tailored to your skin type once or twice a week. What you should do is avoid ludicrous exfoliating particles like giant shards of walnut shell that’ll create micro-cuts in your skin.

Mario Badescu’s Botanical Exfoliating Scrub is, frankly, perfect in every way for my skin. I have very delicate skin on my face – in fact, the other day I was literally told by a top cosmetic dermatologist that I have the kind of skin that ‘doesn’t get blemishes’ because it’s so fine (#humblebrag). I do get blemishes and am annoyingly sensitive, but still, she was 100% right in the sense that my skin is very fine so absolutely can’t handle anything too rough without getting dry or red or angry at me.

Botanical Exfoliating Scrub has a very thick, gel like texture that contains finely ground palm seeds – the thickness of the gel prevents the particles from being too abrasive, and the fine-ness of the particles means they aren’t that harsh in the first place. However, the gel also holds the particles in one place against the skin, which means they scrub in small circular motions instead of following your hands in gigantic sweeps (a sure fire way to get micro-cuts on your skin.)


The gel is made up of aloe vera, ginger, ginkgo, green tea and coconut – so it’s soothing, invigorating, antioxidant and nourishing all at the same time. The scrub has definitely made my skin smoother and more radiant, and I absolutely adore the smell, the texture, the way it glides over my skin and washes off in an instant. It’s hard to see in the picture, but when you squeeze it out it has this lovely opaqueness that almost looks glittery.

Mario Badescu’s Botanical Exfoliating Scrub is definitely the best exfoliator I’ve ever used on my combination, delicate and slightly sensitive skin. The antioxidants make it perfect for life in the city, the coconut is perfect for combatting winter dryness, and the thick, gentle texture makes it the kind of scrub you can use regularly for a very long time. Get it on Beauty Bay for £25! Link

P.S. Do you have oily, clogged, spot prone skin? I used to use a scrub that’s perfect for skin like yours. It’s too drying for me now, but my boyfriend is loving it for his acne-prone skin! Check it out.

My boyfriend’s face: REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask

My boyfriend and I have VERY different skin. While mine is sensitive, combination and temperamental, his is oily, prone to blackheads, spots and scarring. After suffering with severe acne as a teen and being treated with doxycycline, retinoids, Roaccutane, salicylic acid washes, benzol peroxide creams and chemical peels, he’s always understood the importance of a good skincare routine, but after the acne went away he was a bit lost.

Then along I came – beauty, skincare, science and health geek extraordinaire. Over the past year we’ve had a great time testing out products on his face, more so than on mine in many ways because his skin’s complete lack of sensitivity means there’s no stress involved! I thought, given how different our skin is, that it would be nice to share his skincare journey on here too, so that people with oily, acne-prone skin can come here for recommendations as well.


One of the first products he bought and really loved was REN’s famous Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. This is such a cult product for anyone with congested skin, and after using it for a month he could definitely see why. With open pores that are easily clogged, he struggles with blackheads a lot. After using this for a couple of weeks, James told me that a pore on his cheek opened up and expelled something so disgusting he wouldn’t even describe it to me. It must have been stuck pretty deep in there because I hadn’t ever noticed a gross spot on his face, so take that as evidence that Radiance Renewal Mask is ridiculously effective.


He loves how it glides over his face when he applies it, and (take note bearded people) if you have facial hair it actually distributes through it really easily. It also makes his beard less itchy and more comfortable  – by getting rid of the dead skin around the hair follicles. I like the way his face smells of apricots when he uses it, but I think he’s more enthused about the fact that it leaves his skin feeling soft, smooth and super clean!

James’s face has been brighter, softer and less oily since he started using Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask regularly, and his pores are getting smaller and smaller all the time. With it’s awesome blend of fruit acids and enzymes, it’s a gentler way of maintaining the harsh treatments he had as a teenager, and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who suffers with congested, acne-prone or scarred skin (remember that pore I told you about? Can’t even see the mark anymore).

Get the special edition supersize on Cult Beauty for £32 – here

Lush R&B Hair Moisturiser

The first time I used Lush’s R&B Hair Moisturiser was a couple of weeks before I went to the Amazon Rainforest for two months. I wanted to bring bio-degradable everything but had found it nearly impossible to get green shampoo and conditioner that would suit my dry, frizzy, curly, thick hair. So I decided that if I just had a really good moisturiser, my hair would be ok with whatever I was going to use to wash the sweat, flies and grime out.


Naturally, I headed to Lush, where I found this gorgeously fragranced, super rich hair moisturiser. I was head over heals in love with it, but I realised as soon as I stepped off the plane in Peru that I was going to end up as insect bait with this stunning scent in my hair, so I had to make do with leaving conditioner on my ends the entire time!

Fast forward two years and I found myself in Lush again, poring over the amazing new products in the Oxford Street store. I picked up the tester tub of R&B and as I smelled that incredible scent the memories of Peru came flooding back. I put a little on one of my curls, and seeing the way it instantly left my hair smooth, shiny and soft, I took a tub to the counter immediately.

R&B Hair Moisturiser is a powerhouse of hair nourishment, with avocado butter, olive oil, cupuacu butter, coconut oil and candelilla wax to protect, intensely moisturise and smooth frizzy, thick, dry, curly hair. Jasmine and orange absolutes give it a heady yet fresh, tropical scent that transports me back to the Amazon every time. The great thing about R&B is that it’s designed to help care for the scalp too, with soothing oat milk, easily absorbed jojoba oil and purifying bay oil to calm and nourish the overworked roots of the curly-haired. However, not only it it genuinely amazing for the health of your hair, it is the ultimate, perfect styling product for me.


I use R&B Hair Moisturiser once a week when I wash my hair, and always apply it to damp/wet hair, after spraying it all over with some Palmer’s Coconut Moisturising Spray. It says on the R&B instructions that for the naturally curly you should apply to dry hair, but I find it’s perfect for ‘setting’ my curls after they’re washed. It takes me FOREVER, but I painstakingly separate every curl from root to tip, and smooth a fingertip of R&B through it. I follow this with a quick slick of Twisted Sista Serum. Now, I’ve had a similar haircare routine (spray, cream, serum) for a long time, and the Palmer’s and Twisted Sista products have been a staple forever, but I can honestly say my hair is the healthiest it has ever been since using R&B Hair Moisturiser. It smells utterly divine, and it’s very telling that I’ve been compelled to take selfies like the above so much recently…my hair did NOT look like that before I started using R&B Hair Moisturiser…


As if you needed any more proof that this product is absolutely amazing, look at the size I’ve started buying it in. Literally a bucket, and quite possibly one of the best investments I’ve made in my hair for a very long time. Although to be fair, at £34.95 for 450g, R&B Hair Moisturiser actually pretty incredible value. Try one of their smaller sizes to start with – £11.95 for 100g or £22.75 for 225g. Though if you have dry, thick, curly, frizzy or damaged hair I have no doubt you’ll end up buying the huge tub! Thanks for the perfect product, Lush.

REN Rosa Centifolia™ No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm

I really struggle to find a morning cleanser that fits my needs and isn’t outrageously expensive. I want something nourishing and hydrating, brightening, exfoliating and deeply cleansing to balance my sebum levels, but that will also moisturise and prevent breakouts. Eve Lom’s Morning Time Cleanser fit the bill for most of these, but at £50 a pop there was no way I was going to carry on using it, especially since I found it started smelling like fish after a while (literally the nastiest thing to wake up to ever, thank you very much Eve Lom).

IMG_8205I’m fully aware that my skin’s needs pretty much encompass everything skin could possibly need (dry, dehydrated, oily, breakout-prone, dull…come on skin, give me a break somewhere) but that’s just the way I am. I know that cleansing balms work great for me as they don’t dry it out, or leave a load of residue (like most tissue-off formulas) to get oily later. So when I had the opportunity to try REN’s Rosa Centifolia™ No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm I jumped at the chance, being, as I am, a huge REN fangirl.

The first thing you notice about this balm is that the smell is absolutely stunning. Light, fresh roses – perfect for a happy morning routine. The texture is beautiful too – it’s smooth and spreads over the skin like soft butter (only not as greasy!) which makes for an incredibly enjoyable cleansing process, as you have to massage the balm into your skin for one or two minutes. I really felt my skin was deep cleansed after using this, and I think that massaging it in like this made a huge difference. Plus, I was living in Central London for most of the time I was using it. Massaging my sinuses every morning and evening definitely helped me to cope with the pollution!

After you’ve massaged it in, you apply a little warm water to turn it into a milk, massage it a bit more and then wipe away with a facial cloth (one comes with the balm, but if you’ve ever ventured into the world of cleansing balms before no doubt you have a few extras kicking around). I find that it comes off with absolutely no effort, which really surprised me because the balm is really quite rich! My face was left soft, but so, so clean. I really started to see a difference to a lot of areas of my face while I was using Rosa Centifolia Cleansing Balm, particularly in the congested area around my chin. It cleared my forehead of blockages almost completely, all while keeping the dry areas soft! I loved this balm so much.

However, I’ve had to stop using REN’s lovely Cleansing Balm recently. I moved house twice in the months that I was cleansing with it, and in that time I had a flare-up of eczema around my eyes which led to my whole face going completely out of control sensitive. The lovely essential oils in this balm made my eyes sting, so I had to move on to a different routine (still using REN though, my love runs too deep!) which, now I’m settled into a proper flat, I hope to talk about soon!

REN’s Rosa Centifolia™ No.1 Purity Cleansing Balm is an absolutely beautiful cleanser, and I highly recommend to anyone with normal or combination skin, especially as winter is fast approaching. If you’re very sensitive, eczema-prone and you’re planning to try and move house twice in London in the space of a couple of months, I wouldn’t recommend it, but to be honest, I’d probably try and talk you out of your crazy decision before I tried to talk you out of using this gorgeous cleanser. Link

Bisexual Visibility Day

This week is bisexual visibility week, so I thought I’d take a moment to talk about my experience with dysphoria as a bisexual woman in a heteronormative world. Don’t get me wrong here, consider my privilege well and truly checked. I’ve never experienced physical abuse because of my sexual orientation, or gender and I’m white. I know my experiences could have been worse, but that shouldn’t stop me from sharing my story, because I also know a lot of very unhappy bi kids have experienced similar things to me.

See the thing is, until about a year ago I never truly believed that I was bisexual. From the day I came out as a 13 year old I thought I was lying to myself. I told myself I was doing it for attention, that I was secretly straight, I just wanted to seem different (bear in mind, I thought this at exactly the same time as literally being attracted to women). Then about two years ago I hadn’t found a man attractive for a while, so I started thinking I was gay (this is after years of sleeping with men I genuinely wanted to sleep with). On the outside I have always been resolute about my sexual orientation, unwilling to contribute to the prejudice against bisexuals by expressing my own prejudices against myself. But inside it was a different story.

This wasn’t helped by the attitude of some of the women I’ve dated, who towards the end of our relationships have made passive aggressive comments about fake bi women lying because they want to experiment. Apparently, if you’re bisexual, even lesbians think you have to be attracted to every woman who walks the earth in order to validate your orientation. By accusing me of being straight, this made me hang on to my attraction to women even harder.

It is a very strange feeling to know something about yourself but at the same time not believe that thing exists. When I stopped finding men attractive for a while (I’m sure many bisexuals can attest to finding that their attractions to different genders fluctuates over time) I was so relieved. Despite all I know about sexuality, I convinced myself that you could just stop being bisexual one day. I could finally just give it up and be gay, never have to worry about being judged for being with a man or called a liar for being with a woman. At last, people would take me at face value, and my orientation would have an identity.

Of course, shortly afterwards I met the love of my life, I became happier than I’ve ever been, we became best friends and I learned more about myself than I ever thought I could know. And because the universe has a sense of humour, it just so happens that person is a he. But the funny thing is, since being with him I’ve never felt so secure and confident in my sexual orientation. That feeling of being so entirely adored by someone has brought me so much inner peace and understanding of myself, and his questioning of my doubts about myself left me secure in the knowledge that I AM bisexual. Plus, we both fancy girls, which is great. 

I know all the things that bi-phobics are thinking as they read this, because I’ve berated myself with the same things since I was 13. ‘You’re not bi if you’re with a man’, ‘you were just experimenting’, ‘women aren’t bisexual, just sluts’. None of that is true.

I think a big part of the confusion about bisexuals comes from the lazy way we’ve adopted sexual orientation into things that are completely irrelevant. For example, ‘gay marriage’ is marriage – calling it gay not only sets it apart from the supposed ‘normal’ marriage, it also excludes bisexuals, because how do we have a wedding without erasing our orientation entirely? If my partner and I got married it could easily be labeled queer, but what about one bisexual with one completely straight/gay partner?

I’ve had a lot negative experiences as a bisexual woman, there’s no denying it. But I no longer see my orientation as a negative, confusing thing – it’s just part of who I am, a left-wing, vegetarian, curly haired bisexual. If you’re reading this in a similar situation, you need to accept it too, because it’s who you are. Accepting who you are is an essential part of life, even if you’d rather be something simpler. There are a lot of people in the world who want to mock you, and more still who don’t think you exist. Believe in yourself and what you are, so you’ll have the confidence to call people out when you see bisexual erasure or biphobia, and help make the world a better place for everyone!

If you’re bisexual and you’re experiencing bullying, abuse or mental health difficulties, please don’t stay silent. Talk to a friend or call the LGBT Switchboard on 0300 330 0630 – and if you like, click here for more info first.

The Sweater Weather Tag

Before being tagged by the hilarious, wonderful Jess at Half Girl Half Teacup I have to admit, I’d never really considered the way that autumn has been packaged, bottled and had a price tag slapped all over it. Well, now I know, and I’m bitter about it. I’ve always loved autumn, my birthday is in November so whenever people ask what my favourite season is (which if you think about it is a really weird question), I always say autumn, so I’m looking forward to doing this. That being said, this tag is American, so let me just get this out of my system to start with:


Anyway…let’s get to it…

Favourite candle scent? As long as it’s Diptyque, I don’t care. I have an addiction. 


We’ve worked out that if we buy the mini ones we can try more of the scents without breaking the bank quite so hard

Coffee, tea or hot chocolate? Coffee until I can’t drink any more coffee, then tea. I can only drink hot chocolate when there’s coffee in it (mmmm hi, Costa Mocha, how you doing?)

What’s the best fall memory you have? When I was a kid we used to combine my birthday with bonfire night and have a huge party in the wild bit down our garden. Either that or walking around Kew Gardens on a warm birthday last year with my (then) new love. 


He dresses better now

Which make-up trend do you prefer: dark lips or winged eyeliner? My lips are huge and bouncy, I look terrible with dark lipstick – I’m crap at winged eyeliner but I do love it. If I ever develop the patience for it maybe I’ll wear them more than twice a year. 

Best fragrance for fall? Do people seriously change their perfume based on the season? Fleur d’Oranger is my perfume, why would I ever change it? (Fun story, a lady came up to me in a restaurant on Saturday to tell me how perfect it was on my skin. Whaaaaa?!)

Favourite Thanksgiving food (or fall food if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving)? I don’t condone America’s odd tradition of celebrating colonisation, but I did have an American style cornbread/apple/cranberry stuffing dish once that was pretty bloody incredible. 

What is autumn weather like where you live? Unpredictable – I’ve had birthdays where we could barely even go outside it was so cold, yet last year boyfriend and I walked around Kew Gardens like it was June (probably global warming). It’s always wet though.

Most worn sweater? A light grey beauty from & Other Stories

Football games or jumping in leaf piles? I’ve never seen a leaf pile that could support the weight of a human, but I’d certainly like to. That or women’s football, otherwise nope.

Favourite type of pie? Cherry.

What song really gets you into the fall spirit? ‘Happy birthday to you’ (yes literally all my memories of autumn are skewed by the fact that November is my birthday month, don’t judge me).

Is pumpkin spice worth the hype? Unless it’s in a fucking dessert, NO.

Favourite fall TV show? I was so prepared for a sarcastic response to this one about there being no such thing as seasonal TV and then I remembered Twin Peaks. It’s Twin Peaks.

Skinny jeans or leggings? Depends on the activity. Skinny jeans for faffing around London, leggings for hauling my ass up the side of whatever mountain my boyfriend and I can make it out of the city to on the weekends.


I love London, but leggings, boots and the Lake District make for an incredible weekend.

Combat boots or Uggs? Combat boots if I ever had the aesthetic, but I never will and don’t want to, so neither. I don’t care how comfortable Uggs are, I will never leave the house with two loaves of bread on my feet. 

Halloween- Yay or Nay? Halloween is great for a debauched house party, but even my scrooge parents get more into the ‘kids trick or treating’ thing than me. I’m a ‘turn the lights off close the curtains so people think I’m out’ kind of douchebag.


A friend of mine did a halloween insect dinner and this was there (check out Hot Buzz if you’re in LDN)

Fall mornings or evenings? Impossible to choose. Crips autumn mornings are refreshing and make you feel excited for the rest of the day, but sunsets in the autumn remind me of my childhood like nothing else.IMG_4720

What do you think about Black Friday? Consumerist hell, a day that leaves my faith in humanity utterly decimated, especially since in the UK we don’t even have the sodding holiday that precedes it. 

One Fall 2015 trend you love? Umm… jumpers?

I nominate:

Lucieleanne XO

Polished by Amy

The Beauty Sanctuary

Aubergine Reverie

Tea at Midnight

Lush Elbow Grease

I’ve been posting about Lush a lot recently (see here, here and here). This adoration is well deserved, because their new products are seriously amazing, and I think this melty, fragrant and intensely nourishing Elbow Grease moisturising bar might be one of my favourites.


A fragrant, rich moisturising bar that can be used anywhere you need to nourish some dryness, Elbow Grease contains a gorgeous mixture of butters and oils held together seemingly by magic. The nourishing coconut oil, cupuacu and murumuru butters keep it in a bar shape, but only just. It’s so finely balanced that almost as soon as it comes into contact with your fingers it melts into a rich, thick oil. There’s candelilla wax in there too, which protects the skin like beeswax does. I keep my bar in its original paper to make sure it doesn’t melt on me. I’m sure it won’t, as it does hold its shape really well when your skin isn’t in direct contact with it, but still.


I’ve never seen a product do this before (not even coconut oil on it’s own melts this quickly) and I absolutely love it. Melty gorgeousness aside, one of the best things about Elbow Grease is the smell. Holy crap, this stuff smells like heaven. It’s an intoxicating blend of neroli, orange blossom, rosewood, sandalwood and ylang ylang that wakes you up and makes you smile as soon as you smell it. Apart from the gorgeous fragrance, there were a few other reasons I bought it. First, I thought it would be good for the rough skin that I sometimes get on my hands and feet (to put on at night since there’s no way I’d be able to use my hands after slathering it on!). Then I thought it would be perfect for softening, perfuming and conditioning my underarm hair. But finally, and most importantly, I had an inkling that Elbow Grease would be amazing for my thick, dry, coarse, frizzy and curly hair.


And that’s what this post is really about, because seriously, I was RIGHT. The first time I tried Elbow Grease on my hair, I had it up in a frizzy, annoying ponytail. I was in a rush so I just pinched a bit out and rubbed in between my fingers before smoothing it through my hair… and the frizz was gone. I had smooth, shiny curls all day. I’ve used it several times since, particularly when my hair gets that annoying bouncy frizz thing going on. Every time I use it end up with defined, shiny and nourished curls. Here’s the proof:



Same handful of hair, but before the second pic I quickly ran some Elbow Grease over each curl. Now, it goes without saying that if your hair is thinner, oilier or generally more well behaved than mine, Elbow Grease will not have such a subtle and desirable effect on your hair. However, my boyfriend, who’s hair is completely normal and acceptable, has started using it about once a fortnight on his hair before he goes to bed, to soften and nourish it like an intense mask, and it looks gorgeous. He’s sitting with it on right now and actually it doesn’t look oily at all!

I am SO impressed with this stuff, and am secretly hoping I end up with my annual ‘winter dry hands’ so I have an excuse to use this on more parts of my body. I’m gonna get them anyway, may as well have a reason to look forward to it! Get Elbow Grease on Lush for £5.95 – link