OK, so any skincare fanatic will know that there are certain steps that people tend to follow: Cleanse, Tone, Exfoliate, and Moisturize. I am sure there are more steps that can be done (e.g. eye cream) but these are the four main ones. I first got really into skincare about 15 months ago when I developed pretty severe cystic acne and would thus follow these steps religiously. If there was a God of Skincare I would have been going to heaven for sure. And being consistent with your skincare regime is one of the most important things as switching products up constantly and not having patience with your particular routine can actually have worse effects on your skin. So as my skin cleared up (I should note I was put on medication for my acne, which I am now off, but it did change my skin type from very oily to normal/dry) my routine became a lot simpler. I only cleanse and moisturize twice a day. I don't use a toner because of my drier skin although I highly recommend the Lush Tea Tree Water if you have an oilier skin type. And I do gently exfoliate every time I cleanse my skin (which I'll explain later) but I don't use a separate exfoliating product, although a great one for oily skin is Lush Ocean Salt. When I had really oily skin (January 2011 till July 2011) I was a bit of a Lush fanatic. I used their cleansers, toners, exfoliators, moisturizers, eye creams and spot treatment gels. However I soon came to realise that, in all honestly, their products aren't all that fantastic. I found that my skin actually broke out a lot (and not in the good purging way) from using most of their stuff and one product was SO bad that the whole left side of my face looked like a margarita pizza the very next day after applying it. But I shall rise above it and name no names *cough Ultrabland*. But, ranting aside, I did use some amazing products from them and will give credit where credit is due. To this day I am *convinced* that Fresh Farmacy soap helped my skin begin the journey towards recovery. OK, I massively digressed onto divulging my love-hate relationship with Lush but I have moved on from such dark times from when I would sit up late at night looking into a magnified mirror and curse all sorts of rage and hatred upon Lush and their so-called skincare products. But moving on...
The first of the two products I'm going to talk about/review is my cleanser and the second is more of a cleansing tool. The cleanser I use currently is probably one of my absolute holy grail, ' oh my goodness does it get any better than this' product and that is the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. I LOVE this cleanser. Period. (Now I totally know I'm not American, but I must admit it I feel the word 'period' gives my statement much more significance...also I have just realized how I said 'I totally know I'm not American'...maybe I am American?) Anyway this is a must-have product for me; I started using it in April 2011 after a friend recommended it to me and gave me the starter kit to try out (containing a mini cleanser, toner and two moisturizers). Now at the time I thanked her for the gift but in my head thought 'Yeah right, I am not going to stop using Lush! That would be crazy of me' and then I put the little set in my drawer and continued to use my Lush stuff. Well I think it must have been a couple of weeks later when I started noticing reviews for the Liz Earle cleanser EVERYWHERE. The reviews where glittering all across the internet and sparkling in every magazine. So I thought I would give it a try. Now the reason I didn't start using it right away when my friend gave it to me was because I was (and still am) sceptical of trying new skincare products in case they react badly with my skin and I end up in a worse place than before, but I thought that this product had such great reviews that it couldn't possibly go wrong and it didn't! (Although if you've read my previous post an overly hyped product isn't always what it's cracked up to be). The cleanser comes with a muslin cloth which helps allow for a deeper cleansing of the skin and offers a light exfoliation as well. I started to see results with this cleanser in a matter of weeks. And by a couple of months my acne had significantly improved and my skin was much less oily. I continued to use this product despite my skin type changing from very oily to very dry (due to medication) and it still worked wonders on my skin, my skin was feeling so much softer. Although when my skin was at its driest I found that using a muslin cloth twice a day was too much so for a while I only used a muslin cloth at night and would just rub the cleanser into my face with my hands in the morning.
Well I still use it now and my skin type leans much more towards normal than dry. However about a month ago I was having a bit of a skin crisis. I think this was a combination of stress and being taken off acne medication...this was now the first time in 5-6 years that I hadn't been using any spot treatment as I had been on roaccutane for 7 months previously, been on antibiotics for 2 years before that, and I had been using a prescribed acne cream for 3 years before those. So this was the first time in years that I was using absolutely nothing that directly fought acne, so during my little crisis I decided to take the plunge and splurge on a Clarisonic Mia. Now if you're a beauty addict you will know all about this little device and how it is praised. But you will also know that it costs a bank-balance-crushing, £120. But I was convinced that you get what you pay for and that this would pay off. Now my Liz Earle cleanser with a muslin cloth had done wonders for my skin and my active acne, however what it could not do was tackle the problem of my acne scarring. The cystic acne I had once had was long gone but while the battle with cystic acne had been a victory for me, my spots got the last laugh by leaving pretty bad scarring behind. I have a lot of pits on the skin and a lot of hyper-pigmentation also. So a cream cleanser and a cloth alone were not going to be able to reduce these battle-wounds and with that I gulped, apologized to my online bank account, swore never to admit the price to my mother (thankfully she has perfect skin and would never think a glorified toothbrush for the face would be that price...so I'm in the clear for now) and I hit 'go to check-out' and hoped for the best. OK, so when I got my Clarisonic I was so excited to use it, it was like I was 9 years old and it was Christmas morning. Well very much like many of my Christmas mornings, I open the box, my body fills with happiness, only to find out that it needs to be charged for 24hrs before its first use. Emotions of happiness now replaced with irritation and disappointment (and the odd curse word). My once beloved muslin cloth was now looked at with complete apathy. I was planning on using something better tonight but you'll have to do won't you? (more cursing directed towards Clarisonic, and all electronic devices of my childhood for that matter, of course). But yes I charged it and used it the next evening instead and I loved it from the get go with my Liz Earle. My skin felt so much cleaner, my skin even looked glowing. Although this may be because I had read a review online in which the author stated that her skin glowed from the first use and, after spending so much money, I just had to see it. But the results did show. After about 2 weeks I had noticed that my acne scarring had faded quite a lot and that my skin just looked and felt a lot better. I of course had a purging session in these first two weeks but the spots that came about were eradicated by the Clarisonic over-night. My skin was improving and I was feeling absolutely delighted with my purchase...
However, disaster struck. I had been using my Clarisonic Mia twice a day for about 3.5 weeks and one night as I was sitting drinking a cup of tea, eating chocolate digestives and watching beauty video after beauty video on YouTube, my complete state of bliss was interrupted as I felt like my face was just a little greasy and after having 8 months of normal/dry skin I was a bit confused. I needed to get this makeup off my face. So I got a wipe and felt a hundred times better. I used my Clarisonic as usual and went to bed and put my weird grease incident to the back of my mind. Woke up the next morning with what seemed like a layer of oil on my face. I quickly rushed to the bathroom mirror and saw HUGE holes all over my face. My skin looked atrocious and I felt atrocious. I went back to my bedroom and thought of what it could be and despite not wanting to admit that my beautiful and, more importantly, (insert expletive) expensive Clarisonic could do this to my skin, I knew it had to be. Well I trawled through the Internet looking for negative views on the Clarisonic and let me tell you now that's difficult. Every review seemed better than the last, but I finally located a few different reviews which had something bad to say. And what they described hit home. Cleansing twice a day with the Clarisonic seemed to have enlarged my pores and made my skin feeling a lot oilier than it had been before. I was devastated. However that day I just cleansed with my hands and the very next day my skin was already feeling better and looking better. So whilst the Clarisonic seemed to have done wonders for my skin, it was apparent that twice a day was too much. I have now decided to cut down my use of the device to once a week until my skin has recovered. I am still in love with the device and amazed at how my acne scarring now looks, but using it too often led to over-exfoliation of the skin and thus over-sized pores and oil production ensued. So word of warning, the Clarisonic is a lot more intense than it looks!
You can breathe a sigh of relief as I think I will end this blog post here. To summarize, Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish is an absolute star (also I should just mention that it retails for approx. about £12 per 100ml). I would recommend this to anyone and everyone! The Clarisonic Mia however I will have to get back to you on that one. I love it for what it has done to my acne scarring but loath it for what it has done to my pores. But if using it less often helps to create a balance behind rapid acne scar fading and causing pores to become the size of France, I will forgive it.