All posts filed under: Reviews

Sensitive

It’s been a whole year since I started writing makeup and skincare reviews here at Fig & Pen, and I’ve enjoyed it more than I can say.  Since I only review things I like, I can be positive and promote the products I truly believe in.  And I hope I’ve been able to help others make more informed choices about what they spend their money on. When I began testing products, my skin was quite sensitive, and I hoped I’d be able to help guide others with the same skin issues, but over the past couple of months, I’ve found I can hardly deviate from my tried and tested skincare ritual without suffering some sort of reaction.  When a recent trial of a fairly innocuous cleanser led to an inflamed eyelid, I knew my days as a tester were numbered. This doesn’t mean I’ll give up completely but, going forward, I won’t be able to review products weekly the way I’ve done in the past.  What I will do is search out cosmetics for those of …

Olay Regenerist 3-Point Cream

A few weeks ago, I noticed I was running low on my usual night cream.  It’s quite expensive, but I do feel it works.  I’d heard about Olay’s Regenerist 3-Point Cream from a trusted YouTuber I follow, so I decided to give it a try.  If it’s as good as advertised, it could save me quite a bit of money. Because I’m sensitive, I went for the unscented version and I’m happy to report it works well.  It contains niacinamide, panthenol, hyaluronc acidm and an aminopeptide complex so it feeds as well as hydrates the skin.  It claims to firm and lift sagging skin, but I’ve not yet seen this effect.  The texture of my skin has improved, though.  The little lines under my eyes have diminished and my skin appears more hydrated and healthy. At £30, Olay Regenerist 3-Point Cream is a bargain, and I can honestly say it works as well as the £125 cream I’ve been using for the past year.  It agrees with my sensitive skin, plumps out fine lines and keeps my face feeling hydrated and …

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm

A lovely reader asked me recently how my beloved Emma Hardie cleanser compared to Clinique’s Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, £22.  Since I’d not used it before, it was the perfect time to buy a jar and try it out – and I have to say,  I’m impressed! When I opened the Take the Day Off, I was delighted to find it unscented.  As I’ve mentioned many times, my skin can be very sensitive, and fragrance-free products are less likely to irritate.  The balm itself was quite soft, and melted into a lovely oil on the skin. Where Take the Day Off really excels is eye makeup removal.  It easily dissolved my waterproof mascara and didn’t make my eyes water.  It also removed every scrap of foundation and left my skin feeling clean, soft and balanced.  Sadly, after a few uses, it caused the skin on my eyelid to turn that familiar shade of red, warning me not to continue lest I risk a weeks-long battle against inflammation.  I don’t think this cleanser would irritate most sensitive …

Gentle Morning Cleansers

I often skip cleaning my face in the morning – just a bit of warm water and a gentle buff with a muslin cloth works well, especially on my dry, sensitive skin.  When I do need to use a cleanser in the morning, it has to be super gentle. Natural Being Manuka Creamy Cleanser, £13, is one of the gentlest cleansers I’ve tried. Made with olive oil, macadamia oil, avocado oil and, of course, Manuka honey, it effectively cleans the skin without leaving it feeling tight or stripped of its natural oils.  It is pleasantly and lightly scented with essential oils, but this has never bothered my sensitive eyes or skin. Another good choice is MV Organic Skincare Gentle Cream Cleanser, £35.50.  Not only is it gentle, but with repeated use it can help combat skin sensitivity over time.  It contains camellia oil and chamomile, both known for their skin-soothing properties.  It’s also extremely gentle and doesn’t leave skin feeling over-cleansed or dry. If you want something fragrance free, Eucerin’s Mild Cleansing Milk, £9, is free not only …

Big Hair

Having grown up in Alabama in the 80s, I know a thing or two about big hair.  It’s not as fashionable as it once was, but I’m still a fan.  Even through the board-straight, flat-haired Rachel-from-Friends years, I loved big hair. There are a few ways to achieve big hair, but I’ve found the easiest and least damaging way is to use a lifting spray.  For the last year or so, my favourite has been SachaJuan Volume Powder, £22.  Just a couple of sprays of this product directly on the roots of your hair gives it tremendous lift and volume, and the effect lasts pretty much all day.   They also do a version for dark hair, and while it doesn’t leave behind the annoying white powder, it also doesn’t work nearly as well.  The trick is to ‘floof’ it with your fingers until the powder disappears.  If the whiteness doesn’t go away once you’ve worked it into you hair, you’ve used too much. If you’re after a cheaper version that works just as well, I …

Iope Cushion Foundation

Cushion cosmetics have been around for years, but I’ve stayed away from them for a few reasons – the main one being they appear gimmicky and are not good value for money.  So much investment goes into the packaging that the product inside is often a fraction of the amount you’d get if you bought the same formulation in a bottle. Most cushion formulas come in the form of a compact.  There is a sort of sponge or mesh ‘cushion’ inside which distributes the product when pressure is applied via a puff-type applicator.  While issues of hygiene do niggle at the back of my mind, I was willing to give a cushion foundation a try.  A friend recommended I try one from Iope. As a foundation for mature skin, Iope sounds perfect.  Made up of 30% pure water and containing an array of peptides, vitamin B5, vitamin E and an SPF of 50+, it should work well with ageing skin.  I wanted something lightweight for spring and summer, and I was sure this would be exactly want I was …

Cheap & Easy Makeup Brush Cleaning

Good makeup brushes are expensive, so it’s important to take good care of them.  This means regular cleaning, which can be a bit of a pain.  I used to dread the task until I discovered a cheap, easy, and very quick way to gently get my makeup brushes squeaky clean with minimal fuss. For this method, you’ll need two things: A silicone pet brush like this one from The Groom Room.  You want one with little bumps on one side and soft spikes on the other.  Don’t spend a lot!  The one above comes in at £8.50 and should last years. A bottle of Dr. Bronner’s liquid Castile Soap.  This comes in a variety of scents as well as an unscented baby version, so choose the one you like best.  Again, you don’t need to spend a lot.  I buy it by the litre for around £14 and it lasts ages. To get started, lay the silicone brush in a sink exactly as it’s pictured above with the larger soft spikes pointing down.  Squirt about a …

Makeup-Removing Cleansers

I’ve mentioned before that I can’t be bothered faffing about with a double cleanse.  To me, it seems a waste of time and product, and it doesn’t work well with my sensitive skin.  Over cleansing leaves my face tight, dry and very unhappy, so I like to use one effective cleanser to remove makeup and clean my skin at the end of the day.  If you’re the same, here are three you might like. If you prefer a cream cleanser, Skyn Iceland Pure Cloud Hot Cloth Cleanser, £22.50, will remove every speck of makeup while leaving skin soft and smooth.  It’s fragrance free, which I love because it doesn’t sting or burn when used to remove eye makeup.  It comes with a good-quality muslin cloth that is gentle, yet effective. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, £21.50, removes even the heaviest makeup, including waterproof mascara.  Its formula is simple – mainly olive oil – and it does not contain any fragrance.  It does, however, contain an emulsifier so it rinses away cleanly without leaving any residue behind. …

Quick Fixes for Skin Emergencies

We all have them – those days when we discover something’s gone wrong.  For me, this usually takes place before a big event like a wedding or party.  Horribly dry skin, blemishes, or severely chapped lips?  There’s a fix for that. You’ve come home after a long day, cleansed your face, and are shocked to discover a spot forming.  It could be a simple surface blemish, or it might be one of those insidious, painful lumps that threatens to erupt into an eye-catching zit that no amount of makeup will cover.  Don’t panic!  Just dab a little Super Spot Remover, £15, from Origins, on the affected area and go to bed.  In the morning, the swelling will be reduced and the spot on its way back from whence it came.  I would not have believed this stuff works as well as it does, but I’ve used it many times and have never been disappointed. If you find yourself with severely chapped lips, give Mama Mio Keep Calm Nipple Balm, £12, a try.  With triglycerides, lanolin, calendula, and shea …

Extremely Helpful Gadgets

I am not one of those ladies who refuse to admit when they need a little help, and am all for having my life made a little easier.  Here are three beauty gadgets I cannot do without. Facial hair.  Ugh.  I seem to be sprouting new ones daily.  I used to tweeze, but honestly, there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  So now I use an Emjoi Travel Epilator, £29.95.  Just a quick run over my upper lip and chin keeps me comfortably deforested and confident.  It’s a bit nippy at first, but after a few uses it isn’t painful at all.  It’s also deeply satisfying removing those unwanted whiskers.  Just a quick note – if you do choose to remove hair this way, it’s super important that you exfoliate regularly to prevent ingrown hairs. I’m too unsteady to use an epilator on my brows, so I still need to tweeze there.  My eyesight isn’t what it was, so I rely on my Babyliss Illuminated Magnifying Mirror, £24.99, to help me see what I’m …