Skin Solutions: Step 2 – A beginner’s guide to acid toning

As I’m getting a bit older (and frankly I don’t think it’s age, its lack of sleep courtesy of child number two!) I’m definitely noticing the signs of aging in my skin. Alongside my problematic breakouts that have dogged me throughout my adult years, it’s sparked a new interest for me, in trying to make the best of what I’ve got. I’m not into cosmetic surgery, or the explosion of fillers and botox that is being widely embraced (yet!) but I am more than ready to dip my toe into the world of more powerful skin care and with that I’ll hand you over to Penny, who has been guiding my way down the skincare rabbit hole. Today, she’s talking acid…


Acid exfoliants are everywhere these days and come in many forms, types and strengths – from gentle lotions to more full-on home peel kits. Today I want to talk about toning with glycolic acid – it is widely available, suitable for most skin types and tends to give results quickly. A glycolic acid-based toner (used post-cleansing and pre-serums/moisturisers) will gently remove dead skin cells, leaving fresh-looking, radiant skin beneath. Those with acne, uneven skin tone and visible pores can hope to see clearer,
more even-toned skin; those with dry skin will benefit too as the acid creates an easily penetrable base for your lovely serums and moisturisers to do their thing. Basically, it’s good news for everyone.

However – it pays to ease in gently. I am guilty of getting excited and over-aciding to start with (my skin type is dehydrated/sensitive so I should have known better) and ending up like a scrubbed ham – not a good look. Don’t be a plum like me – ease in to a regime
that includes glycolic acid, or any active ingredient, by using a gentle product and/or using every other evening to begin with. On first application you can expect a tingle – but it shouldn’t feel any worse than that.

After toning, proceed with the rest of your normal routine. I have learned it’s best for me to follow with a hydrating toner (more of that next time!) and/or hyaluronic serum to pack the moisture back into my dehydrated skin before moisturising. Then always, always apply sunscreen – AHAs increase photosensitivity so this bit is non-negotiable!

A brief side-note: very sensitive types looking for something gentler than glycolic might like to investigate mandelic and lactic acid products. If you have very badly congested skin and glycolic isn’t cutting it – salicylic acid might work better.

Happy aciding!

Glycolic acid toners – Pennys’ top picks

Superdrug Naturally Radiant Glycolic Toner, £5.95
I managed to get this half price, which it often is. It doesn’t feel quite as nourishing as the Pixi version (see below), but if you’re using other hydrating products then who cares. Absolutely brilliant for the price.

Bravura London Calendula Toner, £12.40
This gorgeous toner combines glycolic and lactic acids and healing calendula

Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix Cleansing Pads, £12.95
You can always find these discounted somewhere – scour TK Maxx, Superdrug and major supermarkets. The pre-soaked pads are particularly handy to pack for travel. For those on a super tight budget – Aldi Lacuna do a decent dupe of these for mere pennies if you can track them down!

Pixi Glow Tonic, £18
Pixi’s fabulous best-seller and my personal desert-island beauty product. Love it.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold, £33
A cult product with a deserved reputation, Liquid Gold is not an everyday toner, but an intensive overnight treatment (product suggests using 2-3 times per week but I tend to use once a week). Excellent for resurfacing, smoothing lines, evening skin tone and brightening up dull skin.

Penny // @BrazFace

I don’t mind admitting, I’ve been using the Pixi Glow Tomic on Pennys’ recommendation for about 4 months now and its definitely made a difference to the frequency of my breakouts and just general skin brightness. I’ve also added in the liquid Gold (courtesy of the M&S Beauty advent calendar 2 years ago!) as a bit of a trial before shelling out on a full size bottle. I’d love to hear your experiences and tips if you’ve got any! – Rebecca x

Skin Solutions: Step 1 – Cleanse

Good Morning everyone! I wanted to introduce to you today a new series of posts we will be doing here at Florence Finds, from a not so new face! Some of you might remember Penny from her music series when FF was a little more active (In fact I’ve known her since the Rock My Wedding Days!) and she recently started a skincare Instagram. I didnt know about her personal skincare mission but she has been dedicating some serious time to sorting her own skin out and in doing so has become quite the guru. I’ve already switched up some of my routine on her advice (clueless newbie over here!) and the good news is she going to be sharing it with you guys on a semi-regular basis here! In between you can catch her on Insta @BrazFace

A post shared by Penny (@brazface) on

Step one: Cleanse

I have always thought my skin type was oily/spot-prone, so it came as a bit of a Scooby-Doo head-tilt moment when a beautician told me that my skin was, in fact, enormously dehydrated. It had become sensitised thanks to the procession of harsh, spot-fighting (some of them GP prescribed) face washes and treatments I had been putting on my hormonal-acne-addled skin. These products occasionally gave me short-term results, but long-term they had been making my problems worse.

I started investigating gentle, more balancing cleansers, triggering a skincare obsession that’s still going strong. My first cleansing oil (from Sanctuary, details below) had such an immediate impact on my poor, neglected skin that I was hooked. My under the skin, cystic spots reduced hugely, and my complexion started to look smoother and more even.

The discovery of double cleansing came next; two cleanses in the evening, first to remove makeup and second to wash the skin beneath. The concept has been around for a long while now and I came late to the party – entirely because I am lazy and the thought of so much as hot cloth cleansing every night sounded like a massive hassle. These days however, I am converted. This more involved routine has yielded such good results that I weirdly enjoy doing it. It’s virtually meditative – plus a good excuse to lock the bathroom door for a bit of peace.

These days I am constantly switching my favourite cleansers in and out of my ever-changing routine and I’m always on the lookout for new things to try. Here are just some of my personal picks (particularly for problem skin like mine), I would love to hear about yours in the comments…

Sanctuary Ultimate Cleansing Oil, £12.
Beautifully easy to use, feels luxuriously hydrating but still gentle enough for sensitive skin.

Superfacialist Vitamin C Skin Renew Cleansing Oil, £10.99.
Cheerfully brightening and invigorating with a seriously citrusy fragrance. A good starter cleansing oil.

Coconut oil, £5 – £8, from any large supermarket or health food shop.
This one may seem unorthodox, but bear with me…I whipped a jar of coconut oil out of the kitchen cupboard and started using it as a pre-cleanse when I ran out of cleanser one time. My skin was being particularly bothersome and reacting to everything. You know what? It calmed my skin down a treat and made my face smell like a Bounty bar. Full marks!

The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, £10.
TBS always have some killer deal or other on, so you can often get this for less than a tenner – which is astounding given how good it is. The balm melts on contact with your face, which is very pleasing, and it cleanses thoroughly without stripping.

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish, £15.
The famous hot cloth cleanser – a classic for all the right reasons. Manages to simultaneously cleanse, soothe and hydrate, all whilst smelling all nice and natural which always makes me feel virtuous!

Elemis Balancing Lime Blossom Cleanser, £23.50.
I bought this when my skin was in a particularly stroppy period – so stroppy that I was willing to throw twice as much money at it than usual. I’m happy to say it did the job. It’s a cream cleanser (and I like so few of them so this is high praise!) brilliant for balancing tricky, combination skin.

Penny // @BrazFace

We would love to hear about your cleansing routine – do you double cleanse? And if you have any questions, lets hear them!

Beauty Box: Diorshow Mascara

For quite some time now I have been a devotee of Bobbi Browns Extreme Party mascara but I have been steadily getting more irritated that it really doesn’t last. The tubes always seem to run out (or dry out – I’m not sure which) in less than 6 months, and whilst I know it’s recommended to change your mascara regularly for hygiene reasons, well, I ahem, don’t.

I happened across a free sample of the Diorshow Mascara recently however and have become a convert. Perhaps I should say I resurrected my devotion to it as I’m sure I have in years past used this particular mascara, along with YSL. I am a bit fussy when it comes to mascara. I like a super fat brush and a formula that doesn’t put big blobs of mascara on the lashes, particularly at the corners. Strong fragrances also put me off (take note Lancome,) and I want it all when it comes to effect – lengthening AND volumising, plus a bit of curling please. I don’t want spidery lashes, but super fat lashes that look like they will cause a draft when you bat them. I don’t ask for much clearly but Diorshow has got it covered. If you fancy treating yourself I’d highly recommend it. Available in all good department stores and Boots, it’s about £25.

Happy Friday readers!

Love, Rebecca xo

Five on Friday…

Since the house is kind of getting there (i.e. the builder is more outside than inside now…) I’m thinking about the best methods of cleaning. Microfiber and e-cloths were a revelation for me in the fight against dust and dirt so I love posts like this one from Real Simple on the best cleaning supplies.

Do you smile then apply your blusher? I do, but wondered if that look was getting dated (after all, I’ve been doing it for at least 10 years!) so this post on how to apply your blusher perfectly was well timed.

Dana from one of my favourite interiors blogs House Tweaking is giving a whole house tour right now. She is working on an epic renovation and I love her style, so head on over for some serious interiors porn.

This weekend we are decorating the nursery and in an about turn after this moodboard, we’re going (surprise surprise, ) grey with this stunning paper. Check out their Ostrich paper too for a healthy dose of quirk that would look great in a bathroom or bedroom.

As this is the first proper weekend Pete and I have to ourselves with the new kitchen in, I’m planning on making the most of it and cooking a weekend breakfast. Pancakes are top of the list and I might try this recipe from Jamie Oliver’s protege, Anna Jones (she was one of the first trainees at Fifteen,) and her book is on modern veggie recipes – A Modern Way to Eat, check it out… (and the recipe here.)

Happy Friday readers,

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Triple Temptation: Berry Lips


Stila Crush Lip and Cheek Stain in Cherry £16 // Albeit lipstick in Plum £14 // Marquisette Rouge – & Other Stories £12

Now the mercury has dipped to freezing I’m thinking about pink cheeks and berry lips for a festive look. Equally good for a trip to the Christmas Markets in the day time or brought out for a Christmas get together. I actually purchased the & Other Stories shade in London last week and can vouch for the creamy texture and berry-perfect shade. I also own the Stila lip glaze and was inspired to get it out after seeing Bella wear it a couple of weekends ago (in another shade) but it remains less moisturising than the creamy texture of the lipstick.

Now, what I’d like to know is if you guys can recommend any other brands or shades for a berry pout this winter? Have you tried a berry lip?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Tried & Liked… Beauty

Just recently I happen to have tried quite a few new beauty products for various reasons, so I thought I would do a little round up of some of them here along with my thoughts, in case any of you were looking to make a purchase.

Vichy LiftActive Serum 10 Eyes and Lashes (Available instore at larger Boots branches or here online)

Earlier in the year as part of January Joy, I made some skin care resolutions, including applying eye cream and finding a super serum. So when I was asked to try this Vichy Eye and lash serum I was keen to have a go. The product is supposed to ‘illuminate the eye, smooth surrounding skin and fortify the lashes’. I have to admit, I was very interested in anything that would improve my lashes and had been disappointed to recently find that my renewed enthusiasm for applying my usual eye cream was leading to puffy eyes in the morning, so I was pleasantly surprised by this light serum. Applied with the finger tips around the socket area, as per any usual eye cream, you finish by stroking the serum over the lashes and it feels quite refreshing. As you know the jury is always out for me on whether any anti-aging product works but if you’re looking to invest in an eye cream I really liked this one which is also suitable for super sensitive skins.

Sanctuary 5 minute Thermal Detox Mask, Boots (£3 for a sachet or £10.50 for 100ml)

When my skin is in trouble, I often turn to a mask to calm it down and prevent future breakouts. Previously my favourite has been Eve Lom’s Rescue Mask but having recently run out and always a fan of warming masks I thought I’d try this one. I absolutely loved it – Not only was it really lovely and warm on the skin but it was really effective. It dried up my skin a treat, calmed redness and I felt that it really put an end to the hormonal breakout I was experiencing.

Elemis Freshskin Purifying Facewash (£9.99 online from Superdrug)

Another of my beauty resolutions in January was to try not to go to bed with my make up on. My plan at the time was to keep face wipes by the bed which I did do but another weapon in my arsenal is this face wash. I haven’t used a true face wash in years, finding them drying and leaving my skin uncomfortable afterwards – hence my love affair with the oil enriched Eve Lom. This was a freebie from the Cosmo Blog Awards and I thought I’d give it a go. Despite low expectations I have actually found myself going back to it time and again, when I simply want to freshen up, or when I just want a super quick cleanse. I just wet my face, squeeze out a blob of the cleanser, wipe it all over my face and splash off. Done. Admittedly it’s not super moisturising but it doesn’t leave my skin dry or flakey either. This is actually aimed a young skin and also has purifying ingredients too but I don’t think it matters and would suit any skin as long as it’s not too dry. Great for the shower too.

So, I’d love to hear if any of you have any great recent beauty finds to recommend or if there’s something you want a recommendation for, just leave a comment and I’m sure the readers will have some suggestions!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Recommended: Deborah Lippmann

A little while ago I wrote about the new and more adventurous nail trends that I’ve been spotting everywhere and in the process of researching them, came across a polish that I just fell in love with – Deborah Lippmann‘s ‘Glitter In The Air‘.

A super pretty delicate pastel shade of minty blue, with dusty pink and tiffany blue pieces of large hexagonal glitter as well as some tiny glittery dust in there too, it stole my heart. I should at this point say that these polishes are not new and have been storming the blog world for quite some time now, but I had always assumed I wouldn’t be able to get them as they are often featured on US blogs. Off I headed to my trusty Amazon and snapped one up for £10.75

One of the things I wasn’t sure about was whether the glitter would actually spread onto the nail as when the polish is dragged over, I worried the glitter would just be swept off the edge with the brush. Not so, a bit of strategic re-sweeping was required but the glitter goes on in a pleasingly random fashion without any need for putting on big gloopy drops of polish that take ages to dry.

The other nice thing is that even at this shade of blue, the polish is lovely and transparent. I can’t vouch too much as I haven’t yet tried it ‘nude’ i.e. without a base colour, but as you can see from the before and after pictures, even over this candy fuschia shade I was sporting when I layered the polish on, it just made the polish a slightly cooler, sorbet tone.

Next stop, my minty blue H&M polish with the glitter over it.

Best of all, even though the last time I wore glitter on my nails may well have been the nineties, this just seems fresh and pretty and rather grown up. For a bit of celebratory sparkle, hunt some down and tweet me a picture of yours @FlorenceFinds :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Florence’s Favourite: Concealers

I have to say, although I am a bit of a make-up addict, I do tend to stick to some staples – I’m a creature of habit and if it ain’t broke, I say why try and fix it, so I stick with my favourites. I also find that as I’ve got older, I’ve really gotten into creating the perfect base – flawless but not caked on and have learned this is down to more than just one product, primers, tinted moisturisers or foundation, concealer, highlighter, powder…

More recently I seem to be stuck in the middle of an irritating hormonal break out and it has lead me back to my concealers – not an item I use every day, but one that when I do use it, I expect minor miracles from. After all, nothing restores your confidence better than a flawless base right?

So today, I’m going to share my favourite concealers and I hope you’ll all share any that you think are particularly worthy of mention too.

First up, my long time favourite(s) from Laura Mercier.

The reason for the elaborate graphic here is that I use the little pot of magic at the bottom, the Laura Mercier Undercover Pot. Hopefully The image illustrates that you can purchase one of these and try out several different products for minimal outlay. That said, I actually bought it pre-wedding, so had use for all of them, but if you just need one or another of them you might prefer to purchase individually.

Secret Camouflage is the key item here, which normally comes in a compact with 2 shades to blend for different areas of your skin (even on the face there can be a couple of shades difference) but you just get one pre-blended on in the pot. The reason I love it, is probably partly down to the dry looking formula that just blends fabulously and the brush that goes with it for said blending. (At extra cost.) I don’t know about anyone else out there but I find if you have dry skin or have picked and ‘gasp’ created a scab from a particularly troublesome spot, if you blend a cream formula in with fingers you don’t cover the top but form a ring of product around the problem, the just highlighting it. With this feather light brush it’s like airbrushing the problem away. Set it with the powder tucked under the pot and you’re good for the day.

The other item in the pot is the secret concealer. This is great for under eye shadows on those extra tiring days or when you’ve burnt the candle at both ends. I apply it with a different brush, or my finger and think it gives great coverage.

Next up, a relatively new find purchased when in desperate need off a flight to New York with Jess. After sinking the best part of a bottle of wine on board and the most marathon catch up ever, we emerged with a full day to make the most of in Manhattan looking like we hadn’t been to bed the night before. (I should speak for myself!) We headed to Sephora where I picked up the Smashbox High Definition Liquid Concealer. I actually wanted it to sort out my under-eye shadows, but have since found it to be a bit of an all around miracle worker. I part it in with my finger, or more often than not use this concealer brush I dug out from my kit to blend it in – it’s particularly great for areas of increased pigmentation around the nose or chin and for evening out larger areas.

Florence’s Tips:

  • Use the right brush. It might seem like extra expense but you only buy them once then clean them on face wash or shampoo then dry to keep them perfect for year after year.
  • Use the sales assistants! I never buy a product without trying it first. I had a Saturday job on the Lancome counter as a teen and know first hand they are dying for someone not to just run away from them. Doing a mini-make-over passes the time and I often then don’t buy there and then – particularly if I want to see how the product wears. A polite ‘Great, Thank you; I’ll see how it wears and pop back later.’ is absolutely fine so don’t feel pressured to buy. It’ll definitely save you money in the long run.
  • Although I’d normally be saying that if you use adequate sunscreen your skin tone won’t change much with the seasons, the fact is it can, so make sure you’re not using a too pale one in summer or a too dark one in winter. It just highlights the bits you’re trying to conceal and that is one of the bonuses to blending with the secret camouflage palette above.

So those are my recommendations for all of your concealing needs. Please do let me know if you rate any of these or if you’ve found a star product I should be trying :) I’d love to hear as usual!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Festive tan-tastic

This morning I hope you’ll all give a warm welcome to Louisa, from Makeup Trends who is guest posting for Florence Finds today. Louisa is a pro when it comes to the topic she’s covering – Self Tanning products, and she’s hoping to help you all get perfectly bronzed before you hit the Christmas party circuit…

Ok so, you’ve sorted the party dress, booked the blow-dry, had your nails done and are preparing yourself for Operation Legwax. However, one look at your legs tells you a little bit more than de-fuzzing needs to happen before you have gorgeous Christmas ready pins!
I have been using self tanners (sounds nicer than fake tanners) for years now and have tried every brand under the sun. They have come a long way from the orange streaky messes they used to be and investing in a good self tanner can not only keep you away from damaging UV rays but also give you a healthy sun-kissed glow.

Here are my top five which, as long as you exfoliate and moisturise beforehand, will help you on your way to being a party princess!

1. St Tropez Self Tanning Bronzing Mousse 240ml £30
The mother of all tanning lotions is still one of the best. They haven’t become this popular by being average and when their lotion first hit the shops in 1996 (yes, it was that long ago) it developed a celebrity following almost immediately. By the early noughties normal people like you and me had caught on and it flew off the shelves. The concept of slapping it on in a rather blasé fashion without worrying too much about streaks and patches was a method so alien to users it took a while to get used to. You mean, I don’t rub it in!? However it set the brand apart from its rivals and now has a cult following, and a very worthy one at that. The mousse produces a golden colour, which may be slightly too subtle for olive skins, however a second application soon sorts that out! Perfect for fair skinned girls.

2. St Moritz 200ml £2.99
Yes, I kid you not, this is a review for a fake tan costing under three pounds. When I discovered this little gem I was extremely proud of myself as I walk around muttering the mantra, ‘You get what you pay for.’ Not so, not with St Moritz anyway, as it is one of the best self tanners I have used. It is remarkably similar to St Tropez and comes in both lotion and mousse form, both work well and so it is really down to personal preference. I would recommend paying a little bit extra and investing in their self tanning glove as the product does work far better in conjunction with this, leave it on over night and voila! It gives a lovely golden tan, doesn’t have the giveaway smell and lasts for five to seven days.

3. L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Self-tanning Gel (for face and body) 150ml £12 approx
I have used this for years as it gives a fabulously deep-bronzed colour which lasts for weeks if you moisturise every day. There is a tinted and non-tinted version, I thoroughly recommend the tinted version so you get an even tan – even fake tan pros can get it wrong. This self tanner does require it to be rubbed in quite well leaving no streaks and patches before you go to bed but if you take care over your application the results are brilliant.

4. Fake Bake Original Self Tan lotion 170ml £25.50
One of the market leaders in gravy browning, Fake Bake are known for their dark, streak free tans. Simply apply with a tanning glove, being careful not to rub the lotion in too thoroughly and leave overnight for a deep bronzed look. When I say dark though, I mean dark! This is a great tanner for olive skinned girls who want a boost or for the die-hard TOWIE fans, but if you are fair skinned, this is one to avoid.

5. Garnier Body Summerbody Moisturising Lotion Deep Sun-Kissed Look 250ml £3.49
This tanner used to only be for sale in the Summer months but due to demand Garnier have started to produce it all year round. It is easy to apply, although does need to be rubbed in thoroughly and builds up gradually for a nice natural look. It is great for novices as the colour is very gradual so if you make a mistake it won’t be too much of a disaster!

For all you scardy cats out there, self tanners are really easy when you get the hang of them, I promise! They inject a little life into pasty winter skin and cover a multitude of sins. Go on, give them a try, with this lot you have nothing to lose!

Thanks Louisa!

We’d love to hear your opinions on Louisa‘s recommendations and if there are any you would recommend that aren’t mentioned here… drop us a comment in the box below :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS Read more of Louisa’s Makeup tips, tricks and trends at MakeupTrends.co.uk, follow her on Twitter @MakeuptrendsUK or check out the Makeup Trends Facebook page

Florence’s Christmas Gift Guide #1

Ok ladies, without wishing to strike the fear of God (or Christmas Shopping) into you all, it’s 5 and a half weeks to Christmas and that means it’s time to turn our attention to gifts.

I’ve been purposely putting off gift guides not wanting to engage in starting the ‘Christmas Fear’ too early this year but you know what, I haven’t bought a single present yet so this is as much a guide for me as you!

I know as I’ve got older (read ‘busier with more presents to buy’) Christmas shopping has become less of an enjoyable thing to do and more a chore to tick off. Of course there are still people I love shopping for, but many of my friends and family are so darn difficult it just becomes an added stress and pressure. The idea of these guides is that you get to find some little gems that perhaps your friends won’t have seen before and as a result you get bonus gift-buying points! They’re all available online too to make life even easier. :)

I’m starting with an easy one… finds for beauty queens and some retro style gifts.

  • I always try and get something limited edition for friends who are addicted to make up and it’s always such a treat to recieve so goes down well with any woman in your life. I love this Laura Mercier Face Illuminator (Limited edition) – Rose Rendezvous £31
  • Wipe clean make-up bags are an essential for travelling and organisation but not often as pretty as this Key-Per Triple Pouch, from Fossil – £35
  • New make-up brushes are always good for a beauty queen and this set from Marks and Spencers covers all the basics for a bargain £15. Try Mac for more specialist shapes.
  • We all have lots of basics in our make-up bag but sometimes don’t splash out on the real McCoy when we’re on a budget. Why not upgrade your friends trusty essentials to the top of the range brands? For the last word in lash curling get the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers or for brows, these Tweezerman for Benefit slant tweezers.
  • Got a friend who always has perfect nails? Update her nail wardrobe with the Nails Inc Heavy Metals collection – bang on trend metallics for party nails – £25
  • Everyone knows someone who’s addicted to lipgloss and this set has a good range of wearable colours in a cute gift box. Ticket to Glossy Town, Benefit – £19.50

Have you spotted something here that you know someone will love or are you cheating and compiling your own Christmas list?

Is there something you would like to see Florence’s gift guide cover to help your Christmas shopping? Drop me a comment below and I’ll see what I can do!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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