1. I was recently gifted this duo by my best friend, which she bought during her solo trip to South Korea. These can be bought as a set or on their own, and I’ve included a couple of links to sites where you can acquire them for yourself in this post.

These two products claim to help to improve the elasticity, radiance, and the moisture of your skin with egg white and yolk extracts-I used to use egg whites on my nose and cheek area to tighten/firm, and these products ought to work the same way. I’ll see if they really do hold up to their claims!

egg mousse pack and soap, too cool for school

The Egg Mousse Pack: a whipped foam facial mask made from egg white and egg yolk extracts- smoothens and brightens skin.

Description:

This whipped, meringue-like mousse facial mask enriched with egg white and egg yolk extracts instantly transforms rough, dull skin into a smooth, radiant complexion in as little as five minutes. Egg white extract purifies and brightens, while egg yolk extract leaves skin hydrated and silky smooth. This unique, frothy facial mask deeply moisturizes and enhances the use of other skin care products for beautifully luminous skin. It contains no Sulfates or Phthalates. (Sephora.com)

My experience:

Out of the two, I was least impressed with this one. It left my face feeling soft, but I wouldn’t say it was any more hydrated or radiant than it was previously. I wasn’t really a fan of the smell, either. It smelt like grapes for some reason and I felt a mild tingling sensation.

I tried two ways of applying, since I looked up reviews after my first application and apparently it is recommended that you continue to massage the mask in instead of applying and leaving it on (like a scrub). I didn’t notice any difference, honestly.

I will probably continue to use it, but it didn’t wow me in any way. I did like how the mask expelled in a nice blob of foam (you only need to press the nozzle a little, it is very sensitive) and it was the right amount for my face. I love Lush’s face masks, but I’m not a fan of the constant dipping- especially with long nails, the mask gets trapped under your nails and it’s honestly quite unhygienic. No fuss with this one ūüôā

egg mousse pack and soap, too cool for school, kbeauty, korea

The Egg Mousse Soap (facial cleanser): A whipped egg white mousse cleanser infused with egg yolk extract that gently hydrates, purifies, and replenishes your skin.

Description: 

This creamy, meringue-like cleanser combines milk proteins, amino acids, and egg extracts to thoroughly cleanse your skin. Tiny particles are able to go deep into the skin, not only to dissolve oil and dead skin cells, but also to nourish for long-lasting smoothness and hydration. Egg white extract purifies, tightens, and brightens while egg yolk extract moisturizes. Your skin is left thoroughly clean, hydrated, and glowing. (Sephora.com)

My experience:

I liked this a lot more than the mask pack. Like the mask, the nozzle dispenses dense, white foam. I liked the scent a lot more, but you should be warned that like most of the products Too Cool for School has, their fragrance is quite strong. If you are someone who dislikes scents in anything skincare-related, I would advise against getting it.

The dense foam meant that I could easily reach awkward crevices and such, which I usually have to use a brush or foaming net to do. The nozzle dispenses a tad bit too much foam in one pump if you’re not careful, so use a light hand.

I rub in and massage, and my skin feels soft and supple afterwards. It is not a heavy duty cleanser, and I use it after removing all my makeup (certainly does not budge my waterproof mascara much).

I like that my skin does not feel uncomfortably tight like some cleansers leave me feeling, but I would not say you can entirely do without moisturiser altogether. Use your regular toner/ serum/ moisturiser after cleansing.

I am currently using the botanical toners from Garnier’s SkinActives range, which I will introduce in my August favourites at some point. I follow up with The Body Shop’s Vitamin E moisture cream (review here).

egg mousse pack and soap, kbeauty, too cool for school

Other similar products:

I have also used Tonymoly’s egg pore range, of which I still use the Egg Pore Silky Smooth Balm (review here). I wasn’t that impressed with the Tightening and Cooling pack or the Blackhead Steam Balm from the same range- but then again, I do not have very visible blackheads. The steam balm and smooth balm smells lovely, which is a huge plus for me since I have to leave it on my face for a while.

If you live in Singapore, you can buy the whole range on Qoo10 here ($5.99/$8.99 SGD).

tonymoly egg pore silky smooth balm

I have also tried the Skinfood Egg White Pore Foam¬†(150ml), which I wouldn’t say particularly impressed me. It was a cleanser that did its job, but that was pretty much it. It was a little drying, but probably more deep-cleansing than Too Cool For School.

I hope this review was helpful for those of you who are thinking about incorporating some Korean skincare options into your routine, or are curious about the benefits of eggs in skincare ūüôā

I’ve been eyeing facial cleansing brushes for a while now, ever since they exploded onto the beauty scene a few years back… I could scarcely afford the Clarisonic at an eye-whopping ¬£155 (for the¬†Clarisonic Aria)- and still can’t- I would¬†be immensely reluctant to drop that kind of money on¬†something I was unsure about.

I scoured Google for reviews and comparisons, hoping to find a more affordable alternative, and the Magnitone repeatedly flagged up as a good competitor- some reviews even claimed it was gentler and more effective. The price on Amazon was £50, a third of the price- which I decided was pricey, but not too pricey if it did leave me with toned, baby smooth skin!

 

Magnitone Lucid cleansing brush, mint, facial brush

Magnitone Lucid cleansing brush in mint

I recommend purchasing it on Amazon– it¬†is ¬£20 cheaper than the price on the¬†Magnitone London¬†site. The delivery person just left it outside my front door, in full view of the street. How is that even allowed though? I don’t have a concealed front porch this year and I wish we still did- it was so handy for leaving parcels out for collection and you didn’t need to arrange for redeliveries quite as often.

The facial cleansing brush arrived in a very pretty box, with all the essentials- charger, USB, ziplock bag, and a one year warranty card that you register on their site.

Unpleasant delivery aside, I tried it out that very night and it left my face feeling oddly tight and toned. I had to apply moisturiser immediately since it was almost uncomfortably tight, but I guess that’s the difference for you. I¬†already currently use a foam cleanser to get to all the dirt in my pores, but that probably wasn’t quite enough.

The description on their site states:

“Vibra-Sonic‚ĄĘ Daily Cleansing Brush deep-cleanses pores, tones and beautifully conditions your skin. For skin that deserves to go BareFaced! wherever, whenever.¬†A combination of sonic oscillations + pulsed vibrations to deep-cleanse, massage and tone your skin at the same time, just like a mini workout.”

There are two modes on the facial brush- a normal one, and a toning mode that vibrates in short bursts. There is also an automatic timer that prompts you to move when you’ve been at a spot for too long, and after a minute it switches off completely.

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First-time users may experience breakouts as the gunk is cleared out, like I did, and it cleared up a little after three days. I routinely get bad hormonal acne, and this cleansing brush did leave my face feeling smoother and softer, but didn’t entirely eliminate all my acne woes. Granted, I have only been using it for a little over a week, and I will update this post after observing for a few more weeks.

The battery has good lasting power- I did not charge it at all when I got it, and it is still going strong! I just leave it in my bathroom and take it in the shower with me, and use it with my makeup remover and facial cleanser to take off makeup (it is entirely waterproof, so no fear of water damage!).

I like to use this with the innisfree green tea cleansing foam, as it is a thick paste¬†that foams up beautifully with the brush and doesn’t leave the brush dragging over your bare skin (which might be too much for people with sensitive skin). It targets acne-prone skin as well, which is perfect! If your skin feels sensitive after using the brush regularly, make sure to apply lots of moisturiser, ensure there is enough cleanser and water, and reduce usage to¬†2-3 times a week or once daily until your skin gets used to it.

Be warned that you should avoid the sensitive eye area- I accidentally dragged it over my eyes once and lost about four eyelashes (laughs), and you don’t want it tugging at your delicate eye tissue either.

Overall, I am pretty satisfied with the results for the price I paid for it- and it is worth scouring eBay to see if anyone is looking to sell theirs for cheap. My friend got a secondhand one that was pretty much brand new at only £25! She paid an additional £14 to get two backup brush heads (for sanitary reasons, but you can well disinfect it yourself). There are other brush options like a larger brushhead for body use, and changing between them is very easy.

I hope this review was helpful- especially when you are dropping ¬£50 on something, you want to do as much research as possible before purchasing it. Do let me know¬†your experiences with this product- has it helped you just like mine did? ūüôā

critiquesofacriticrimmelprimer

Rimmel Fix & Perfect Pro Makeup Primer in 002

Usually I can’t use any primers with my Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation as¬†it is a VERY fussy and nitpicky foundation- just smears and slides and looks awful!

I’m so so happy with this ūüôĆūüŹľ definitely¬†recommend! Think I got it on Amazon UK for ¬£5+ so it’s VERY affordable.¬†I’ve tried Smashbox primers over the same Estee Lauder foundation and it didn’t work out either ūüėě and this is literally 1/4 the price¬†and works so much better!

It goes on so smoothly and does not leave any chalky residue like the¬†W7 Prime Magic Face Primer did. I got the W7 primer¬†on Amazon UK for ¬£3 and it does leave your face feeling deliciously smooth and covers all your pores really well, as if it has been airbrushed, but any application of liquids makes it flake right off. Which is reaaally not ideal. I use it only if I can’t be ars*d having foundation on, but still want my skin to look smooth.

The W7 primer is very similar to the TONYMOLY Egg Pore silky smooth balm and The Body Shop all-in-one instablur, which I did a review of previously here.

It helps manage my oily skin too, which is a huge plus point. In fact, I had to go over with the Mario Badescu facial spray¬†and skip a setting powder because it started looking a bit dry and I didn’t want it to end up cakey.

selfie with rimmel primer

yes my liquid lipstick smeared go easy on me hahah

PRODUCTS LIST

Primer: Rimmel Fix&Perfect makeup primer 002
Foundation: Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation in 2W0 Warm Vanilla + Maybelline FIT Me! Liquid Foundation in 120 Classic Ivory
Blusher: Albeit Cheek Stick in Nectar
Contour: Sleek Contouring and Blush palette
Mascara: Clio Salon de Cara Mascara (Volume x Curling) + Maybelline the Rocket Volum’Express
Lips: Sugar tinted lip balm in Rose under Kat von D Everlasting Liquid Lipstick in Lolita II
Brows: The Body Shop Brow & Liner Kit (03)
Eyeshadow: TBS brow powder + Charlotte Tilbury The Retoucher Concealer (03)
Spray: Mario Badescu facial spray with aloe, herbs and rosewater
Tools used: Real Techniques sponge + Real Techniques brushes core collection

Everyone loves candles- scented ones freshen up a room immediately and make for great decorations as well. But why fork out £20+ for a Yankee Candle when you can easily make one at home yourself for so much less? You can customise the scent to your own preference and these are beautiful, affordable gifts to make- and oh-so-useful! Your friends and family will thank you (;

Supplies needed

  • Soy wax (you can get this off¬†eBay)
  • Mason jar, glass jar, or any container of your choice
  • Pre-waxed wicks¬†(must be slightly taller than the container)
  • Glue dots or double-sided tape
  • Disposable chopsticks or kebab sticks
  • Measuring jug
  • Saucepan (must be deep enough to sit your measuring jug)
  • Spoon

Optional:

  • Fragrance oil¬†or¬†essential oil
  • Crayons
  • Glitter
  • Ribbons,¬†markers, washi tape, striping tape, chalkboard labels and other decorative items

(*none of these links are affiliate links. I’ve purchased them with my own money).

DIY candle, UK, critiquesofacritic, manchester, crafts, crafty, home, candles, scented candles, coffee

Essential supplies

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Pots and containers

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Decorative materials

 

Make sure your container is clean and oil-free. You can rinse your containers with a bit of dishwashing liquid and leave to dry before starting. Adhere your wicks to the base of the container you have chosen using the glue dots or double-sided tape, making sure to place the wick firmly in the centre.

Make sure the wicks are slightly taller than the container you have chosen, any excess length can be trimmed off afterwards.

If you are struggling to get the wick to stick, or if the container is too tall, you can use chopsticks to carefully position the wick and hold it in place. Certain containers have rounded bases, which makes positioning the wicks harder.

Pour the soy wax flakes into the measuring jug and measure out the amount you want depending on the volume of the container.

Fill the saucepan with water- about two-fifths- and place the whole jug into the saucepan to create a water bath.

Avoid filling the saucepan up with too much water, as it may run the risk of boiling over into your measuring jug.

The water bath ensures the soy wax is heated up slowly- heating the wax up too quickly will cause the finished candle to sag only in the centre, instead of burning evenly. And no one wants a saggy candle! Make sure to stir regularly during heating, and the stove should be placed on the lowest setting possible.

Alternatively, you can heat the wax flakes in a pan directly over low heat, lifting off the stove occasionally; or heat the flakes in a bowl in the microwave.

If using a microwave, first heat for 30 seconds, then in 10-second intervals, stirring regularly, until the wax flakes are fully melted.

Here, we are using a 500ml container, and although the measuring jug is filled to about 500ml with the flakes initially, as it melts, add more flakes in order to adequately fill the container. The final volume should be made up to roughly 400ml in height of liquid wax.

After the wax has been entirely melted, you can choose add fragrance oil or essential oil to the warm mixture. If you are using essential oils, you may need to add more for a stronger scent. I usually find adding 2-4ml of fragrance oil is sufficient for a very strong smelling candle. If you are sensitive to scent, you can skip this step entirely.

Optional:

If you want to add colour to your candle, cut a thin section of a crayon (roughly the thickness of your finger if you want a subtle, pastel colour, or you can vary according to your preference) and stir into the wax mixture.

Worried that it might add harmful chemicals? Don’t worry- most crayons are formulated to be non-toxic as they will be handled by kids.

Add the crayon before the scent if you want a coloured candle- the oils may interfere with the mixing of the colours and create an uneven colouring.

Allow the mixture to cool slightly (but not set) and pour into the container of your choice. Ensure the wick is held firmly in the centre by clamping it between two sticks and leave to set for a few hours.

Jazz up your container with a ribbon or a handy chalkboard label with your recipients’ names on, if you are making a few as gifts! Washi tape and striping tape also make for easy but beautiful additions to a plain glass jar. The pretty glass jar is from PoundWorld and only cost £1 for two containers! Bargain!

DIY candle, UK, critiquesofacritic, manchester, crafts, crafty, home, candles, scented candles, coffee

There are so many ways and alternatives you can experiment with. Now that you have mastered the basics, why not try out these ideas?

glitter candles

Jen from SomethingTurquoise has a lovely tutorial for glitter candles here!

teacup candles

Make your candles extra quirky by using vintage teacups (complete with saucers!) for the perfect tea party. Why buy boring tealights from IKEA when you can make your own?

3-colorblockcandle

These colourblock candles are so easy to make, and look so good in little glass cups!

 

Happy crafting!

Eve

 

 

*of course, this is MY list, which means it is relative. Definitely, someone else has bought these product(s) and thought they were terrible and worthy of a long rant like I did here, so please don’t come after me with a rusty axe.

This is a post in response to my very cheeky post from 2 weeks ago:¬†Top 5 Most Useless Things I bought from The Body Shop¬†in a vain attempt to ensure I’m not sued. These purchases are things I genuinely enjoy and purchase repeatedly. I stockpile them whenever there are sales on, which means¬†always¬†(there is a sale every week and I don’t understand why, but I’m not complaining. The Christmas sales are the best)- so I end up with a lot of these.

Whoops.

***

1. Body Soaps

I prefer bar soaps to liquid soap. There’s something simply satisfying about scrubbing it all over yourself, and I find you feel cleaner and firmer for some reason?? With liquid soaps it feels like you’re rubbing conditioner all over yourself and it doesn’t feel CLEAN. I give up trying to explain this concept because there’s obviously some science-y mumbo-jumbo and mind trickery that I am no good at so you need to try it out for yourself.

My favourite is the Chocomania bar soap.¬†All the UK and Singapore stores have phased it out, unfortunately- but I stockpiled 5 of them last year during the sale because it was going at only ¬£1 (50% off!). What is it with The Body Shop and getting rid of nice things?? Why can’t we ever have nice things? The US stores still sell it but it comes in the shape of a heart.¬†Wish they’d ship it to the UK ffs- I’m running low and need my soap fix asap.
Edit: went to Canada and they don’t stock it either. Looks like the US is hoarding them all.

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The Chocomania soap comes with little gritty bits in them that serve as an exfoliator. Just like how you expect a cookie to be chocolate chip and bite into a raisin cookie instead, the little gritty bits are actually pieces of coconut shell.
Such heresy.
I wanted to bathe in the ruined dreams of broken chocolate bits.

However, if this isn’t a priority on your list and you’re perfectly happy in scrubbing yourself off with coconut shell, these exfoliator thingamajigs are perfect: you can get clean and smooth at the same time. Especially if you’re really¬†lazy. It’s now winter and you don’t need to get your legs out so you can skimp on full-body exfoliation I guess. Though I still have dry scale-y snakeskin on my legs that show no sign of wanting to budge and probably needs some sort of industrial-strength cleaner, it does slough off some of the dead skin and makes it feel soft.

With the Chocomania soap sadly out of stock in stores everywhere here, I would recommend going for the Shea soap if you liked the scent of the Chocomania one, or the Coconut. I would recommend popping into one of the stores to sniff surreptitiously at them like a drug addict and run home to nab one of the¬†“exclusive” and “limited-time” (read: forever ongoing) sales. It is much cheaper than buying the soaps¬†in stores because you can usually get them for 30-60% off with free delivery even. Sales are best from November-January but you need to decide if you want to hold out for the massive Christmas sale around 20-25 December and risk having the items go out of stock, or get them earlier, but at a lower discount.

I sound like such a cheapskate seasoned shopper gosh.

At full price, most of these soaps are £2. Other ranges can go up to £4-6 if I am not wrong (e.g. the hemp one), but I prefer the basic ones.

2. Ginger Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

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I admit I mostly¬†bought this because I’m a huge fan of ginger and ginger tea. I had occasions of dandruff 2-3 years ago¬†whenever I got stressed, nothing major so I didn’t think it was anything I should worry about. To tell the truth I didn’t think this would help much. You know how products promise loads of things and never actually do any? (wow what a cynical b*tch I am)

Surprisingly, it did help, and it smells amazing. The smell doesn’t last as long as the cheap ones you get from the pound store and costs four times as much but a little goes a long way and I promise you, it makes your hair and scalp feel great. It feels really cooling and a little tingly and I don’t know if I should attribute it to this shampoo- but my hair grows out a lot quicker and looks fuller. Most importantly, I don’t have issues with dandruff even though the second year of uni is stressing me out beyond belief. It would be perfect if it could help with oily scalps (the product claims to help dry scalps) but I guess you can’t have it all!

I sometimes mix it with cinnamon powder because it smells amazing together and makes your scalp less oily but make sure to rinse it out properly or you will leave cinnamon powder that looks like gritty brown dandruff everytime you move your head.

After I got a light¬†perm 3 months ago I found that this isn’t enough to moisturise my hair, so I’ve been using argan oil (pure argan oil from my old workplace, not the one TBS is selling) and a¬†conditioner¬†from the Rainforest range.

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I usually get the jumbo-sized 400ml ones and I bought far too much last Christmas¬†(three bottles). It’s Christmas again soon and I’m STILL on my first bottle. Huh. Admittedly if you’re¬†buying it for your family it’ll go down quicker, but it is still impressive nonetheless.

Get the 250ml at £4.50 or the 400ml at £6.50.

3. Absinthe Purifying Hand Cream

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This baby is NOT cheap and I would highly recommend going in-store to make sure whatever hand cream you’re getting is something you like the smell of/ works for you. I like the smell of this as it is very fresh and wakes me up but it still needed some getting used to. One of my best friends absolutely loathes the smell though.

I like this one because it’s light enough to not leave an oily film on your hands yet moisturising enough (more than the rose one). I only switch this out for the hemp hand cream (which smells even worse) for heavy-duty moisturising during winter. I even apply it to my nose if it’s feeling really dry and I don’t have any face moisturiser on hand. It’s so light it doesn’t break me out.

In terms of how heavy the different hand creams are, ¬†from what I’ve tried: (heaviest to lightest)

Hemp > Almond > Absinthe > Wild Rose (SPF 15)

They’ve launched a whole bunch of fruit ones but I’ve not tried those yet.

My boyfriend got this for me nearly two years ago (the 100ml one) and it’s still around, though very squashed and crinkled. I’m not sure what I feel about these tubes because they look very pretty, but they don’t bounce back to shape and I’m definitely going to cut the tube to scoop out the remaining hand cream hiding in the cracks I couldn’t smooth out.

Get the 30ml at £5 or the 100ml at £11. I find the 100ml a lot more difficult to misplace, lasts longer, is more bang for your buck and still compact enough to fit in the small pockets of your bag.

 

4. Madagascan Vanilla Perfume Oil (15ml)

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This perfume oil¬†is from¬†the Scents of the World range, which is pretty popular in Asia but is apparently being phased out of a lot of western stores for some reason. I have huge issues with this. The Body Shop discontinued their original,¬†wildly popular vanilla perfume oil to huge outcry and I was glad they brought it back in the form of this perfume oil. However… it seems like this is going the way of the Dodo again. I don’t understand it, they must not want to earn money. Stop wasting money marketing new ranges and please bring back all the good things!

Maybe it’s time to start hoarding bottles when I fly back to Singapore in June.

This perfume oil lasts for ages and is not overly cloying. Standard spray-on perfumes tend to overwhelm upon initial application and fade quickly, but this stays on for hours and hours consistently, which I love.

I often layer this with my Chlo√© perfume because that doesn’t last long, and I like the additional musk. Often, vanilla-based perfumes have the tendency to make you smell like a bakery but this manages to keep the vanilla note without making you out to be a breathing,¬†living cupcake.

If vanilla isn’t quite your thing, you can check out the other scents in this range. They also come in other forms, like a body mist, shower gel, and body lotion. I¬†bought it for $22.50 SGD if I’m not wrong, which is probably around ¬£10-11. I’m not quite sure if you can buy it still but you could try scouring eBay.

5. Vitamin E Moisture Cream

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This is one of the best moisturisers I’ve used and it cleared up my acne for the first 2 months of usage. After that the acne bacteria probably got used to it and developed some sort of immunity? I have zero clue about how this¬†works please don’t lecture me about it thanks #badscience

I got it before they started offering the larger 100ml size but it was a bit¬†cheaper then, ¬£11 compared to ¬£12 (they’ve changed the packaging now to a very patriotic British flag design). I got it during a sale, 50% off so I got it at ¬£5.50. I probably wouldn’t buy it at full price (why is my whole blog post about me talking about discounts? I’m so Singaporean) when there are much cheaper alternatives, but if you’re extremely frustrated with your skin and would like to try a cream that is suitable for combination skin, I would recommend giving this a go.

A little honestly goes a long way and I would like to see this cream in a pump dispenser, which will be more convenient and infinitely more hygienic than repeatedly dipping my fingers that have touched every surface possible- even if I washed my hands before application, exposure to air/dust etc isn’t very good either. I used a tiny spatula that was originally used for ice-cream to apply it, but it was a hassle half the time.

The original price for the 50ml is £12. The 100ml is £18 (admittedly the better deal).

BONUS: Body butters

This post cannot be complete without the product that probably made The Body Shop so well-known all over the world- body butter!

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 17.24.43

Before they started marketing it as such, other brands called moisturisers, moisturisers. Now, every brand is coming up with their own version of body butter in various fruity scents. Sounds fancier, I guess.

In high school, we weren’t allowed to use perfume so the girls would apply these body butters after P.E. (gym) to smell nice. Everyone had their own ‘signature scent’ and when someone happened to buy the same scent there would be inevitable bitching in class with snide remarks (ahh, how immature we were). The¬†class would always smell¬†like a bloody fruit salad after P.E.

Still, at least it masked how bad the guys smelt.

My favourites have got to be the Papaya (limited edition, OOS), the Raspberry, and the Shea (which I have never owned but have always wanted to). These tubs never seem to run out and I have only managed to finish one. I have 6 unfinished ones, because The Body Shop keeps sending me free tubs along with their sales, or I pick up some because they are 60% off or something and I couldn’t resist.

***

I hope this post didn’t end up being a shameless plug for products. These are things I have honestly tried and loved and they worked for me. Of course, I would recommend visiting a store to try them out (the staff members are usually very generous with samples) and please, please, do patch tests for stuff you put on your face especially if you have sensitive skin. I would recommend waiting for sales and purchasing the products online, unless money isn’t an issue and you can’t be bothered with deals and sales.

The Body Shop is definitely more expensive than drugstore alternatives like Nivea, but I like the extra care they put into packaging and their various campaigns to help the environment and people in need. Plus, if you wait for the sales, some of their soaps and moisturisers can be cheaper than the drugstore alternatives too.

Read my other post where I lambast useless Body Shop products here (fairly, of course)!