QVC TILI Beauty Box

The QVC TILI Beauty Box had me at Alpha-H Liquid Gold, and of course, the £20 price tag… Yes, yes, we all know I’m not meant to be buying more products, but with Alpha-H being on my list of items to try for a few years now, I thought I’d treat myself… again. I’m just going to stop making excuses from now on and just go with it. We all know there will be another!

I’m a total sucker for travel-size products and this box contained quite a few items that I knew would be just right for my next trip away. I initially thought that the only product that I may not use was the Vita Liberata Phenomenal Mousse. However, I think I might brave it and give it a whirl – perhaps when I don’t have anywhere important to be after the first test run!

If you don’t want to be tied to a beauty box subscription and prefer the option of seeing what is inside your box before you commit, then I’d highly recommend keeping you keep your eyes open for the next one of these, or the next Selfridges Box. It can get pretty out of hand, subscribing to monthly boxes, so a ‘spy before you buy’ option is always a good one if you don’t like wasting money on things you’ll never use.

The QVC TILI Beauty Box has been out for a while now (towards the end of July), but there still seem to be some up for grabs. There will be a new box available every three months, with the next being due out in October.

In your box: 

  • Essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers (13.5ml) – a classic sheer pink
  • Nexxus Nutritive Shampoo (89ml) – enriched with a Caviar Complex, this hydrating shampoo that gives dry hair a thorough cleanse while delivering moisture from roots to tips
  • Nexxus Nutritive Conditioner (89ml) – infused with pure elastin protein and a Caviar Complex, this restorative conditioner helps to maintain your hair’s natural protective barrier to leave it feeling balanced and flexible
  • Vita Liberata Phenomenal Mousse and Mini Mitt (25ml) – a fast-drying self-tanning mousse designed to last up to three weeks
  • Elemis Smart Cleanse Micellar Water (50ml) – a lightweight cleansing water that removes make-up, dirt and impurities from the skin to leave your complexion looking radiant and feeling refreshed.
  • Alpha-H Liquid Gold (50ml) – an overnight exfoliating formula to refresh and revitalise tired and dull skin, reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles and minimise the appearance of pores
  • Bareminerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Infusion (7.5ml) – a lightweight, hybrid serum designed to help revitalise and protect your skin from environmental elements and leave it looking luminous
  • Becca Backlight Priming Filter (6ml) – this weightless primer gives illuminating coverage, blurring the appearance of imperfections to create a flawless, dewy canvas

TILI Beauty Box £20  – worth £62.17

Until nex time x

My Hair Care Routine

Nope. It’s no joke… I’m writing a post about my hair care routine. It’s a well-known fact that I’ve actually got a pretty minimal amount of the stuff after chemo gave me the gift of baldness, but why on Earth would that stop me from having a routine now it’s all over? I’m often looking for things to do in my spare time.

In all seriousness, I think it’s doing me good. I quite like to feel as though I’m doing something to aid my hair growth, even though it’s still excruciatingly slow, due to my Herceptin injections. Just two more to go (or is it three?) and then those long luscious locks will be mine in no time. Hmm.

I think of all the things that I’ve had to deal with; I might just find the growing-out part of my hair the most frustrating. I’m vain like that, you see. Hair was always my thing. I’ve mentioned in the past that when it had to come off, I wasn’t that bothered, but growing my hair out again… well, that’s a totally different story!

Lush Shampoo Bar

I’ve been using the Lush soap bar since I lost my hair. At first, just now and then, to stimulate my scalp, then more frequently, as my hair started to grow back. It’s easy to use and smells nice (if you like cinnamon and peppermint). It does, however, turn to gloop if not used quickly enough. (well, mine did) – I am not convinced it’s worth the hype that so many people give it, but I continued to use it as I thought it was free of nasties. However, after a little Google search today, I discovered it contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (named as the first ingredient), something that I usually try to avoid. I didn’t notice this when I bought it in-store, so I probably won’t be using it for much longer… I’m undecided.

My Hair Care Routine

 

When the ladies at Beauty Expert heard that my hair growth had been incredibly slow, they offered to send me a few products to help speed things up. Aren’t they nice?!* These were the two products that came my way:

Nioxin Intensive Treatment Night Density Rescue – I’ve been using this every night for about six weeks. Over that time, my hair has become fuller, and I’ve lost almost all of my bare patches. I imagine this has a lot to do with the stage that I’m at with regrowth after chemo, but I really did notice a change in its appearance after a few weeks and feel that the product has helped somewhat. The packaging says to use two-four drops, but I felt that didn’t really go anywhere, so upped it to five or six.

Grow Gorgeous Hair Growth Serum – Another product that promises thicker hair as well as to improve visible hair length in eight days. I keep forgetting to use this one on a regular basis as it’s meant to be applied in the morning but am definitely going to get on it when I’ve finished my Herceptin injections in six weeks or so. This one states that you should apply twenty drops to the hair, massaging well into the scalp. It’s only a small bottle and with my very short hair, I feel that about ten drops are plenty. I see they do an intense version as well, which would probably be more suited for me… *eyes up another purchase*

This made me chuckle (because I still don’t have a full set of brows) –
“Please Note: Do not apply to eyelashes or eyebrows…”

Tempting. Very Tempting.

Fountain Hair Care

The problem with trying so many hair growth products at once is that you never really know which one is working. This is my second bottle of Fountain – The Hair Molecule. A liquid complex of Silicon, Biotin, and Hyaluronic Acid – It claims to work from within and promotes healthy hair with a shine. I’m game… and got it at a discount price so what the hey, why not try it all!

Brazil nuts to aid hair growth

Last but not least. I have taken to eating two Brazil nuts a day (or rather on days that I remember). Aside from being appetizing, they contain Selenium, which is apparently great for hair growth. Don’t over do it though or it will have the opposite effect!

Fingers crossed that I’ll have my luscious locks back soon and that my hair care routine involves me plugging in my hairdryer and styling it up for a change… It’s been far too long now.

Until next time x

*Not sponsored – They are just very nice ;)

My Introduction to Decléor

There’s no getting away from the fact that I love trying out new beauty products. I’d be the first to admit that my beauty shopping binges get a little out of hand at this time of year (I blame all the Christmas offers), but you know what… I don’t give two hoots. It keeps me happy and keeps my skin even happier!

When Beauty Expert asked me if I wanted to test out a few products from Decléor, my first thought was… um, yes please! No brainer. I’ve always eyed up the Decléor counters in many a department store, but just haven’t got round to bagging any of the goods. Silly me, my skin will not thank me for that.

Anyway, I finally got my hands on some and for the past few weeks I’ve been testing out the Decléor Micellar Oil and the Aromessence Neroli Oil Serum. Were they any good? Well, let me just say, Alex is getting a tad bit fed up of me asking him to feel my face. Smoooooth is the word.

Decleor Micellar Oil

The Decleor Micellar Oil offers up a blend of essential oils, including sweet almond and vegetal squalane (derived from olive oil), which maintains the skin’s optimum hydration. You apply it to dry skin (I personally like to gently massage in a few small pumps for a good amount of time), before adding a little water and then washing off with a warm cloth. As someone who currently has no eyelashes, it’s hard for me to say if it removes all traces of makeup including mascara, but it really does seem to get down into the pores and removes all other makeup, including my stubborn eyeliner.

My guess is that mascara would be no problem for this stellar product and I highly recommend it. It has definitely made it into my list of top three cleansers, and the fact that I don’t need to use a toner afterwards just adds to it’s greatness. I’d feel happy enough skipping my usual double cleanse on occasion, but not all of the time… It’s just a habit that I’ve got too used to and can’t seem to break out of.

My Introduction to Decleor

The star of this show for me has to be Decléor’s Aromessence Neroli Oil Serum, and it turns out that this was the brand’s first ever super serum (created in 1974). This stuff is the bomb. I’ve been using it every few days in the morning. It can be used twice a day. but I like to go a little easy on the more concentrated oils due to the fact that my skin is prone to little break-outs if I go overboard.

Since using this product, my skin has been so soft and supple. I have also had a few comments about how good my skin looks recently and one of them was from the beautician that was up close and personal giving me my new cosmetically tattooed brows. When I apply this product in the morning I can still feel the effects on my skin well into the evening, especially if I haven’t applied any makeup and have just gone au-naturel for the day. I love this stuff and if you are a fan of oils, then you will too!

Have you tried and Decléor products, and if so do you have any recommendations?

Until next time x

My Chemo Skincare

With one more chemo to go (tomorrow – YAY!), I thought I’d share some of the products that I’ve been using throughout my treatment. To be honest, my chemo skincare hasn’t been that far off from my usual routine, which is a definitely a good thing because it has been an expensive enough business having breast cancer, as it is.  I try to stick to products that aren’t too harsh and as someone with dry/normal skin, I spend a lot of time trying to hydrate it.

No one really went into too much detail about how my skin would react to chemotherapy at the hospital, which I’m guessing is because every case is totally different. I was just told to protect myself from the sun, which is never too much of a problem in the UK, and definitely not a problem when you spend a great deal of your time recovering in bed after each treatment. I was also told to drink a lot of water, so have upped my game in that department, as I massively failed to do so before.

After my first two sessions of EC chemotherapy, things were bad. My skin totally dried out and on a few occasions my face flared up with a really nasty rash. The doctor prescribed me with hydrocortisone cream, but there was no way I was using that for more than a few days. Combined with antihistamines, it did the trick, but as a skin-thinning product, I decided it wasn’t one that I wanted to use regularly. I was already seeing a lot more fine lines appearing on my face, as well as some weird markings around my lower cheek area, so thinning things out was certainly not an option… eek, no thank you!

As time has progressed and each session has passed, I’ve found that my skin has been plumper (the water?) and I’ve lost the redness that I used to have before chemo. After the first two chemo treatments, things calmed down and my skin is actually a whole lot softer than ever before. Personally, I put this down to a combination of the products that I’m using and the amount of water I’m drinking. I have been straying a lot from my wheat-free diet, due to the effects chemo has been having on my taste, and my skin doesn’t seem to be reacting quite as badly as it used to. Always a bright side to everything, I suppose!

Chemo Skincare products

From left to right:

My shower gel of choice is by Caudalie and is bit of an investment, coming in at around £9. I picked mine up in Paris, where it was a fair bit cheaper, but I’d say it’s worth the money, as it’s free from all nasties and has lasted well. It also smells amazing! I’ve been lucky enough to have absolutely no problems with dry skin on my body during chemo and think that the combination of this and Garnier’s Body Lotion Repair has really helped to keep my skin in good condition. Unfortunately the body lotion didn’t make into the pics because someone (Alex) has knocked it behind my drawers and I can’t reach it! #PICCLineproblems

I use the Superfacialist Rose Intense Moisture Mask a few times a week and absolutely love it. It really hydrates my skin and I’d definitely recommend it to those looking for softer skin. The rose scent isn’t my favourite, but overall this has got to be one of my most preferred hydrating masks so far.

My day starts and finishes with a hot cloth cleanse – The Superdrug Vitamin E Cleanser is great value for money and really makes my skin feel nice and soft. I’ve tried a lot of more expensive versions and this has exactly the same results. Why spend more?!

 

Chemo suncream

These three products are ones that I’ve used on and off throughout my treatment…

The BIODERMA Photoderm MAX Cream SPF 50+ is one of a few sun creams that I bought for my face. It has proved to the best, as it didn’t go all bitty like the others and dried into my face quickly ready for make up application. It doesn’t clog up my pores or feel heavy on the skin as some sun creams can do.

Another one from Super Facialist – This is my second tube of the Vitamin C+ Glow Boost Skin Serum. My skin just soaks it up before I add my moisturiser. It brightens, softens and smells divine. I usually wait for Boots to reduce it, or offer some sort of offer on the Una Brennan Super Facialist products… I mean, who doesn’t love a deal!

I actually bought the La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Soothing Repairing Balm for my naughty boob, ahead of my scheduled radiotherapy sessions, but started to use a little on my face when my skin was really suffering. I found it really helped with the intense dryness, after a few days. It is a really heavy cream, so I like to rotate it with other moisturisers, but it does work wonders, which I’m sure my boob will be glad to know ;)

 

Chemo Skincare

Bioderma Sensibio H2O – Micelle Solution
Every scrap of make-up must come off! I bought this tiny bottle for travelling, but have been through quite a few large ones now, too. I generally pick them up when I’m in Paris, to save money. It’s definitely one of the best at taking off the day’s dirt, but I always cleanse afterwards as well.

Hand Chemistry:
This is a new purchase that I’ve been using for just over a week now. I’m suffering with sore fingernails and am almost certain I’ll lose them, thanks to the Docetaxel chemo treatment I’m on. Since being diagnosed, I’ve been pretty persistent with my moisturising routine, as I was told that if you stimulate the nail area it helps prevent nail loss. Although this product is more expensive than many of the creams out there, I’ve noticed a difference in just a week. My hands have transformed and are really smooth… my nails however, may not be so lucky!

Cold-Pressed Almond Oil:
I love this product. Aside from being really cheap (£1.69), it can be used for a range of things. When I had hair, I’d run it through the ends a few times a week before bed. Now I’ve lost my hair, I rub it all over my head when my skin feels rough. It really helps! I also use a few drops on my face, a few times a week when I’m not using any other oils. It doesn’t clog the pours if you use just a little, but be careful not to over do it. I‘ve also been known to treat the dog with a little Almond fur-pampering session ;)

Vichy Noraderm Night Cream:
This is a night cream aimed at people with a lot of spots/acne. That’s not me (at the moment), but I purchased this at the start of my chemotherapy treatment and have been using it since. Perhaps another reason why my skin hasn’t been looking too bad lately. It’s got great reviews elsewhere online so if you are suffering with spots, then maybe give it a go. Used alongside an oil, it didn’t dry out my skin as some acne treatments can.

Dr Nick Lowe – Supercharged Day Cream:
I generally rotate day creams, because my drawer is so full of products and I usually lose them for a few days here and there… A girl needs a back up, until it resurfaces again! This cream is again, pretty lightweight and contains SPF. Oddly though, it seems to have disappeared from online shopping stores as have all Dr Lowe products. I’m assuming he is no longer trading, but currently can’t find any news that confirms this.

Olay Regenerist Eye Cream:
I’m never too convinced by eye creams, but am really struggling with ‘dry eye’ at the moment – a side effect of the chemo, which isn’t helped by the fact that I have currently have barely any eyelashes. My eyes are streaming constantly and my under eye area is starting to look a little worse for wear. Eye cream to go under my make-up is a must at the moment, so I’m testing this one out for now. It’s pretty hard to say if it’s doing it’s job, but I’m sticking with it.

 

Chemo nail protection

OnicoLife Drops for chemo nails:
I’ve been using these drops since day one of chemo and my nails are suffering pretty badly now on my Docetaxel treatment. It feels as though I may lose a few, but I’ll keep you posted, as they are still there and it could just be that this product saves the day. The drops are said to help prevent, brittle or tender nails, nail ridges, split nails and yellowed or blackened nails. Mine haven’t really discoloured and seem to be as strong as they were before, so it must be doing something. I do however, have funny markings on most of my fingernails and that has got worse over my last few treatments. I have opted to cover them with nail varnish when I go out at this stage so as not to gross anyone out. I’d rather let my nails breathe when I’m at home though, so will continue to use the drops as much as possible.

Cien Hand Gel:
A cheap and cheerful Lidl must, for those having chemo or not. Best to keep the germs at bay – especially if you continue to work in clubs with over a thousand party people!

Best Serum

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair
Alex’s mum kindly gave me this as she didn’t get on with it. I’ve been loving using it in the mornings, rather than at night, as I find it helps provides a great base under my make-up. It leaves my skin lovely and smooth ready for the day. It does need a little time to sink in though, which is probably why it’s a night serum and not a day one. I’ve generally got the time though!

Best Natural deodorant

Keep It Kind Missy Roll-On Deodorant
Last, but not least. When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I immediately wanted to move from the deodorant that I was using, as it contained aluminium. I wanted a more natural product, however after trying a few, none of them really did the trick. This Missy Deodorant, however, has been great. No whiffy pits – It does the job and is reasonably priced as well.

My Chemo Skincare

So, there you have it –  This is only a little of my collection, but some of the products that have helped me through… We don’t really talk much about my beauty addiction out loud in this house. We just hide it all away and hope for the best!

Until next time x

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First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

I’ve been left with a very swollen face since I had my tooth implant last Friday and it has only just started to die down today. Oddly, as soon as it puffed up, I lost all redness and my skin was clear for the first time in ages, but alas, as it slowly deflates it’s all coming back. What’s the heck is that all about?! About a month before my appointment, I decided to slightly change my skin care routine in a bid to try and fight for my right to a good complexion, and one of the products I tested out was the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads (quite a mouthful eh!).

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads are designed to brighten, tone and exfoliate the skin. There are 60 pads in a pot and each is saturated with what seem to me like quite low levels of lactic and glycolic acids; cucumber and Indian gooseberry (for toning) as well as lemon peel and licorice root (for brightening). They contain no parabens, harsh chemicals or colourants and are said to improve skin clarity, reduce visible pores and diminish the appearance of fine lines. Marvellous!

First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads

After trying these out for about three weeks, I did feel that there was an improvement in the redness of my skin, and overall they seemed to have a calming effect when used on a daily basis. They were also very softening. For one of the trial weeks, I used them twice a day and things looked even better again. My skin looked a little brighter and the pads were a refreshing boost to my morning routine. I didn’t however notice any improvement to my pores and when it comes to fine lines… I have absolutely no idea! Who can tell these things in such a short time, without using a microscope?!

Would I buy them again? Hmm, I’m not sure actually. They come in at around £20 a pop and if you use them twice a day that’s a monthly installment that could be used more effectivly elsewhere. I feel that they are worth a try if not only for the refreshing feel they give after cleansing, however I do wonder if they would have as many benefits for those that are used to more abrasive products on their skin. Saying that, I did wipe one on my fiancee’s face one day and he said it stung a little. He’s a bit of a weed don’t you know! I might just find myself adding it to my basket again, but probably as an ‘every now and then’ option. I still swear by my dermalogica daily microfoliant and like to use that as often as possible – so far that’s been my favourite form of exfoliation.

If I’m totally honest the thing that has given my skin the best boost has been my daily kale and cucumber juice, but I really really can’t hack it every day. So, on with my quest to find a full skin routine that suits me best…

Have you tried the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads? What do you think?