The Key Skincare Ingredients That I Have Been Befriending

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…And just like that, I’ve completed the first year in my 30s. We all know how well I took to transitioning into another decade so it’s fair to admit that my birthday was mostly spent in the company of my good friend vodka.

I must admit, however, I’ve had a pretty good year. I now understand why many believe that your 30s are the best years of your life. For however great my 20s were, I’ve never felt as confident and as certain of what I want in life as I do now (probably because I spent the majority of my 20s partying).

Along with new found confidence, my 30s brings along clarification that my body is changing. My skin, in particular, isn’t what it once was 10 years ago. I’ve recently dabbled in private dermatologist visits to really understand what my skin needs now that the years are rolling by. Drastic measures needed to be taken along with a few tweaks to my current skincare routine to ensure that my 40s isn’t spent picking my face up from the floor.

Here are the key ingredients that I have been incorporating into my skincare routine now that my 30s are in full swing:-

Hyaluronic Acid

As we grow older, the moisture levels in our body reduces significantly. Hyaluronic Acid, for as scary as it sounds, isn’t what we would typically associate with acids. Hyaluronic Acid is found naturally within human genetics and our ability to produce Hyaluronic Acid declines with age. So what is Hyaluronic Acid I hear you ask – to put it simply, it is a jelly-like substance which cushions and plumps our skin. As we grow older, the cushioning begins to reduce and we’re left with swallow, dry, sagging skin with pesky lines and wrinkles! It’s no wonder why skincare brands go crazy for Hyaluronic Acid as an integral ingredient to many of their anti-ageing products.

I’ve been dabbling in the thought of derma fillers for some time. Popular methods such as Juvéderm use HA rather than collagen for its long-lasting power. Although I’m preparing myself for the years to come, I don’t think I’m quite there yet for botox (I’m also afraid of needles) so for now I’ll stick to topical use and for that I use none other than Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair. Estée Lauder was the first brand to bring HA to the mainstream beauty market and their iconic Advanced Night Repair Serum awards HA as its core ingredient for combating ageing skin.

AHAs 

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) sounds like something that you would never want to put on your face, but trust me when I say – you need it in your life if you have dry skin like mine!

AHAs, in simple terms, are dissolving agents for dead skin. Imagine a glue that bonds together debris and dead skin particles on the surface of your skin, exfoliation gets rid of them, but requires some vigorous rubbing to do so. AHAs are used as a gentle exfoliant to ‘eat’ the crap off of your skin without causing irritation. Sounds scary right? Not at all. If it’s done in a gentle way and with a small percentage, AHAs can be your skin’s best friend. The most common AHAs are Glycolic, Lactic, and Mandelic Acid. I won’t go into the science behind each one, but Glycolic Acid is my personal favourite as it has the smallest molecular structure therefore penetrating deeper into the skin.

My favourite favourite favourite product of all time is the Alpha-H Liquid Gold Concentrate; which uses 5%  of naturally derived Glycolic Acid to promote cell-renewal and skin resurfacing. Although I take care of my skin well, I suffer with uneven texture and pigmentation around my face. I’m a loyal exfoliator, but despite exfoliating my skin twice a week, I’ve never been able to rid myself of those pesky issues. That was, of course, until I started using Alpha-H Liquid Gold Concentrate; which has made skin appear brighter and more even-toned than ever before.

Retinoids 

We’ve all heard of Retinoids, but many of us are unaware of what it really is. Retinoids are a class of compounds; which are derived from vitamin A. Hailed as the ‘cure-it-all’ skincare saviour, Retinoids have been in our skincare products since the 60s.

The first FDA-approved Retinoid was first discovered over 40 years ago as a miracle treatment for acne. In addition to this, Retinol is now also famous for its anti-ageing properties. When Retinol and other Retinoids come into contact with skin, enzymes in the body convert the Retinol into retinoic acid, the active form of the vitamin. This puts the skin cells into gear by increasing cell turnover, stimulating collagen and encouraging elastin production. This also helps to fade hyper-pigmentation as well as helping the skin to stay hydrated and glowing without irritation. Thanks to all this healthy turnover, Retinol can treat and prevent everything from stubborn cystic acne and eczema to sun-induced wrinkles and dark spots.

Retinoids should be approached with caution as many of them would be prescribed to you through a professional dermatologist. There are several over-the-counter products; which include the use of Retinol should you wish to test the waters without having to commit to expensive dermatology visits. Peter Thomas Roth’s Retional Fusion PM is a great alternative to medicated Retinoids and should be used as part of your nightly skincare routine. If you do chose to dabble in Retinoids, please please please remember that SPF must be worn during the day as Retinoids have a tendency to cause sun-sensitivity.

 

What are your favourite skincare ingredients? Comment below with suggestions of what I should try out next.

Why I’ve Become Obsessed With Tea Tree Oil (again)

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Let’s be honest, I obsess over many things. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I have an addictive personality, but there’s a reason behind my severe OCD! There are times, however, when my obsession is justified. Cooking, travelling, shoe shopping, makeup – these are all obsessions which have fulfilled my life immensely and for good reason (arguably). Much like the above, tea tree oil has also become an obsession which has long surpassed its label of being a mere ‘phase’.

Studies have shown that scents have the power to trigger emotions or evoke memories. Tea tree oil is one of those scents; which brings me right back to my adolescence. My teenage years were filled with an array of scents – The Body Shop’s White Musk, cherry lipgloss, burnt hair (from all the crimping), and so on, but the pungent punch of tea tree oil sends me travelling down memory lane like no other.

Many of us are aware that tea tree oil is used widely across Australia and has been for many years, but where does it come from? Well it’s the essential oil derived from their native plant Melaleuca Alternifolia; which is indigenous to the south east region of Australia. Its volatile strength and antiseptic properties makes it a popular choice for natural remedies of viruses, fungi, mosquito bites and all sorts of bacteria. Coined as the ‘medicine in a bottle’, tea tree oil is one of those multi-purpose products; which you cannot afford to exclude from your home.

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Along with its eye-watering effects, tea tree oil has many cosmetic benefits; which we can incorporate into our every day routine. Most popularly known for its ability to fight against acne due to its anti-bacterial properties, tea tree oil is the perfect blemish treatment on the cheap. Although I’m not a ‘spotty’ person, I do get the odd stress spot (pimples that come up at the most inappropriate of times) and a dab of tea tree oil literally dries them out overnight . Tea tree oil can also be used to cure minor skin aliments such as ringworm, scarring (acne or chickenpox), boils, skin tags and rashes.

I will warn you, however, that tea tree oil must not and I stress MUST NOT be used directly on the skin. This stuff is not for the faint-hearted and although it’s a natural substance, it can cause severe irritation for even the most robust skin. Personally, I would use toxic waste on my skin if it promised a youthful glow, but even I’ve experienced the ‘burn’ from pure tea tree oil on my face.

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The simplest way to use tea tree oil is to dilute 8-10 drops with some water and store in an air-tight container (as above). You can use a carrier oil if you’re using the solution as an all-over treatment i.e. facial oil, but simple water will do just fine for blemishes. Use a cotton bud to apply the solution directly over the spot and leave it to ‘dry-out’ overnight. I did once use my fingers, but as a contact lens wearer, let me warn you on how idiotic that idea was.

You can pick up a bottle of tea tree oil from pretty much any drugstore-related retailer on the high street. I picked mine up from Superdrug for a measly £3 and each bottle has lasted me around 4 months. The Body Shop’s infamous Tree Tree Oil range is also a good place to start if you are acne-prone and want to safely transition into a full skincare line. I recently wrote a blog post on my DIY drying lotion; which is also a great alternative to using pure tea tree oil on your skin. If you do decide to go down the authentic route, ensure that you are using pure, organic oil for best use.

Would I recommend tea tree oil to my family and friends? Absolutely! I’ve dabbled in various blemish treatments over the years and although I have come across some great contenders, tea tree oil is by far one of the best homemade remedies for drying out a spot. If you can get over the smell, it pretty much does all the hard work of keep your skin clear and beautiful while you sleep; which is, of course, my preferred kind of beauty treatment!

What are your favourite uses of tea tree oil? Comment below.

My Experience With Lip Masks | Do They Really Work?

Would I consider myself a vain person? Probably not, but I’m sure many of my friends and family would disagree. Being a beauty enthusiast means that a number of assumptions are attached to your title. For me, it’s not about vanity. I enjoy beauty products and all the glory that comes along with purchasing them. Despite their obvious intentions, beauty products, for me, aren’t all about how they can alter my appearance.

I’ve lusted over the notion of bigger lips for quite some time. Not so much a ‘trout pout’, but a perkier set of smackers that would enhance my facial features (I promise that wasn’t vanity). I wouldn’t say that I have thin lips, in fact, they’re already fairly full, but like many women, they are uneven and have an undefined outline. 9 times out of 10 that problem can be rectified with a good lip liner, but who has time to line their lips every day?! I certainly don’t and if I can alter my lip shape without having to layer on the makeup every morning then I’m all for it.

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Lip masks are a fairly new concept to the beauty community; which is strange considering that Hollywood starlets having been sporting ‘enhanced’ lips for quite some time. Pop culture icon Kim Kardashian paved the way for lip masks after she posted an Instagram picture of her favourite weekly treat, KNC lip masks. Whether you love her or hate her, everything that Kim Kardashian touches becomes instant phenomenon and this has certainly been the case for lip masks.

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So what is a lip mask I hear you ask. Well imagine a facial sheet mask for your lips. Most lip masks mimic the look, feel and packaging of a traditional sheet mask, but in the form of a cute little ‘lip-shaped’ style. Some masks, like the Nugg Lip Mask, offer the same service in the form of a lip balm. Others, like the KNC lip mask, offer a thick hydrogel ‘sticker’ infused with a serum.

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Like many great beauty products available in the western world, the idea of lip masks originated from the Korean beauty market. We all know how I feel about Korean beauty products, so trying out a lip mask was a natural progression for me. What I want to know is – how do the Koreans do it?! I seriously can’t keep up; which may be a good thing as I would be seriously broke if I lived over there.

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Applying a lip mask is very similar to that of a traditional mask. The cloth/hydrogel patches can be applied just like a sheet mask – peel off the inner and outer lining and smooth directly over the lips. The ‘lip balm’ versions can either come with a tiny brush to paste onto your lips or can be applied directly with your finger. If you plan on eating, drinking, talking or breathing with these masks on…think again. They’re mainly meant for overnight use or for the obligatory #lipmaskandchill selfie. The great thing is that 10-15 mins with lip sheets is all you need to achieve maximum results; which means you can slap it on along with a face sheet mask, add some under eye patches and freak your husband out as you sit and wait for him in a dark room (no? just me?). Lip masks like the Nugg Lip Mask require pasting on and allowing to absorb overnight. The ‘lip balm’ style lip masks aren’t particularly uncomfortable to wear overnight, in fact, they feel like a very thick layer of Vaseline on your lips. However, if you like to move around or you’re a dribbler you may find remnants of it on your pillow case the next morning. In my opinion, lip sheet masks like the KNC, Tony Moly or Starskin options offer a great excuse to take 15 minutes out of your day to wear and they’re more suitable for travelling or whipping out whilst you browse your wardrobe for your night out.

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The main question here is – do they work? Well yes and no. It all depends on what you’re looking for from a lip mask. If you’re looking for a lip mask to fulfil its promise of needle-free plumping then you’re going to be massively disappointed. Here you can see my result from using the Starskin Dreamkiss lip mask and as you can tell, there’s not much difference in terms of lip shape. If you’re looking for intense hydration then lip masks will be your best friend. Most masks are infused with collagen, Vitamin E and essential oils. The Starskin Dreamkiss lip mask contains molasses, pomegranate, honey and flax seed; which all serve the purpose of nourishing your lips. You certainly get a deep level of moisture from lip masks; which is always a welcomed feeling, particularly in the winter. However, you would need to maintain a weekly routine with these and top up with lip balm in between sessions in order to maintain suppleness. That might be too much to ask for from the average Joe, but if you like to treat and pamper yourself (like me) then upholding a routine with these shouldn’t be a problem.

If you suffer with burning, cracked or sore lips then a good lip mask would be a real treat for you as most of them offer cooling properties. This usually entails a tingling sensation when applied to your skin, but I didn’t experience that with the Starskin Dreamkiss lip mask. They also offer a reduction in fine fines and wrinkles around your mouth; which is normally exaggerated by age, smoking and consisted pursing of the lips (that’s right ladies…kerb the pouting). Do I think that this claim is true? Can be! Fine lines and wrinkles are normally remedied by deep conditioning (i.e. moisturising) and although they can’t be completely eliminated, lip masks can certainly help along the way (just be sure to apply a lip mask outside of the perimeter of your lips if you’re going for a ‘lip balm’ style mask).

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So where can you get these masks from? Well ‘lip balm’ style masks are readily available in the UK beauty market (Nugg and Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask are some great options). The lip sheet/hydrogel masks, however, are a little hard to come by on this island. The Starskin Dreamkiss lip mask is the most widely available in the UK; which is why I chose it to test for this blog. The more ‘Korean’ brands (if there is such a way to describe them) such as Tony Moly or Etude lip masks require a little searching around the net. I’ve found a great site called Yesstyle.co.uk; which offers a lot of the Korean brands with shipping to the UK.

Wow – I didn’t realise that I would have so much to say about lip masks! On that note I leave you with my final review on my experience with lip masks. Are they life changing? No. Are they essential in your skincare routine? Probably not. Do they offer a quirky gimmick to make you feel special when indulging in a pamper night? Most certainly yes. Finally, would I continue using them? 100%. When I’m indulging in a face mask, sheet mask or any other pamper session, I see no reason why I wouldn’t include a fun lip mask to my routine. They certainly offer the short-lived hydration that I look for when I’m treating myself and they give me the perfect excuse to take a silly #lipmaskandchill selfie. So pucker away ladies! Lip masks are here to stay!

Prepare Your Skin For Halloween

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Halloween isn’t particularly my favourite time of the year. I’m a complete chicken when it comes to scary stuff. Ghosts, goblins and ghouls are definitely not my cup of tea. Hell, I’m still afraid of the dark at 30 years of age. However, there’s no better occasion than Halloween to exercise my creative skills as a makeup enthusiast.

I’ve been a witch, a blood-sucking creature, a demented doll and an evil sorceress – but that’s enough talk of my PMS symptoms. This year, I really wanted to push the boat out for Halloween (as you can see from my Instagram pictures). It hasn’t been an easy task to complete. From liquid latex to spirit gum, I’ve had it all on my face this week. Whilst the fun of Halloween is still running through my veins, taking it all off has been a welcomed affair. Halloween makeup can be harsh and abrasive against the skin. Skin preparation is vital to protect your delicate faces against the layers of ‘unnatural’ makeup. Plan, prepare and protect – the three Ps; which I abide by every Halloween if I am to avoid looking like an evil troll naturally.

Here are my steps in ensuring that your Halloween creations don’t destroy your heavenly faces:-

Exfoliate – Starting off with a clean base can put you on the right path for flawless application. That’s usually the case for a beautiful foundation routine, however, the same applies to Halloween makeup. Exfoliating your skin means that the dead cells are removed and your skin is smoothed to perfection. This is essential for makeup creations using face paints; which emphasise every last imperfection on your skin.

Moisturise – Moisturising adds a layer of protection to your skin. Face paints and cream colours are usually applied in abundance and Halloween makeup dramatically reduces the level of oxygen that reaches your skin. Applying a good moisturiser before the dousing yourself in fake blood will ensure that your face isn’t screaming bloody murder.

Prime – Much like moisturising, protecting your skin with a primer is equally as important. Primers will ensure that your base makeup doesn’t slip and slide, as well as acting as a ‘glue’. Presumably, you’ll be wearing your halloween creations for a prolonged period of time, so keeping it all in place will be at the top of your priority list.

Use quality products – Halloween makeup can get expensive – trust me I know! It can be very tempting to cut costs by using ‘cheap’ halloween palettes/kits/sets. I’m not by any means naming any names, but reading the allergies list on the back of many Halloween makeup kits, it’s a wonder how they’re able to sell them. Novelty contact lenses also falls within this category. Please please please look into the products you are using, whether it’s face paints, wigs or coloured lenses. Halloween makeup can be horrifically fun, but if you don’t invest into quality products you could be living with a long term nightmare.

Ensure your tools are clean – Just as you would ensure that your face is clean before applying Halloween makeup, your tools need to follow suit. Applying makeup with a dirty sponge or mouldy brush can actually work against you, making the application process very messy and prone to spreading bacteria all over your face.

Use oil to breakdown the product – Halloween makeup is seriously potent stuff. If you’re going for facial re-definition i.e. using liquid latex, it can be a real pain to get off. First rule of thumb – don’t pull it off! Yes it may be tempting and it can provide you with an unconventional exfoliation technique, but pulling at your skin causes premature ageing. Using an oil-based cleanser like the Body Shop’s Camomile Cleanser, or even a cold-pressed natural oil like coconut oil can breakdown the robust Halloween makeup.

Cleanse, cleanse again, then cleanse some more – Once you have broken down the product using an oil-based cleanser, it’s important to follow up with a good cleansing routine. On a normal day I double cleanse my face, regardless of how much makeup I apply. In this case, a double cleanse may not suffice (depending on how dramatic your creation is). I say triple cleanse! What’s the worse that could happen? You may dry out your skin slightly, but you’re going to treat your skin later. So in the name of clean skin, there’s no such thing as too much cleansing.

Treat and soothe – Applying a soothing face mask can provide your skin with a boost of hydration; which your skin will be in desperate need of. Sheet masks are my favourite way of adding moisture back into my skin, as well as giving myself some relaxation time. There is a vast array of sheet masks available on the market and, in all honesty, they all do the same thing. Whip a sheet mask out, apply it to your face for around 20 minutes and then massage the remainder of the ‘solution’ into your skin for the deepest hydration you will ever feel.

Seal in the moisture – After massaging your sheet mask solution into your skin, you will want to seal it all in. Facial oils is what you need to provide you with a sealant for all that moisture. Apply a couple of drops to your fingertips, rub together slightly to create some warmth and pat over your face whilst adopting slight massaging techniques – your skin will thank you later!

What Sleeping In Your Makeup Really Does To Your Skin

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Guilty or not guilty? – that is the question. How many times do we hear the cardinal rule of never sleeping with your makeup on? It’s ingrained in our minds from the moment we discover the true meaning of mascara, but how many of us actually adhere to the rule?

I’ve been guilty of it in the past (many many times over). Late nights, one too many strawberry daiquiris and just plain laziness all get in the way of self motivation. The last thing that I want to do after a heavy night out is spend precious snoozing time wiping off the slap. So much so that I actually justify leaving it on – ‘if I sleep really really still then maybe, just maybe my lipstick won’t end up half way up my forehead’. Of course, that never works out for me and I awake from my deep slumber looking like something that’s been run over (twice).

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So running a makeup wipe over your face before bed is a good thing right? – wrong! I spent many of my youthful years believing that a simple makeup wipe would suffice for my night time skincare routine. That, of course, was when I was young, dumb and full of…fun, but now that I’m old(er) my skin needs so much more! Makeup wipes do wonders in taking off the initial layer of makeup (the Neutrogena All In One Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes are by far my favourite wipes ever), but in order to get the real nitty gritty out from your skin you need a proper cleansing routine (check out my nighttime skin care routine here).

Sounds like a lot of work? It is! I can’t tell you how jealous it makes me feel when my husband flops straight onto the bed after a late evening leaving me to perform nothing short of a mini surgery on my face before I can even think about going to bed. Perhaps jealous is a harsh word to use, but I’m definitely envious – some of us aren’t born naturally as beautiful as others (I’ll take my cheque in the post husband). However, what if I were to tell you what happens to your skin when you don’t take your makeup off at night? Would it change your perception on things? Well let’s take a look shall we?…

Enlarged pores and blackheads – The most obvious result of not cleansing your face at night. Makeup, along with daily dirt and grime can cause excessive build up of your skin’s natural oil glands. Excess oil, mixed with other substances cause your pores to clog making it difficult for the natural oil to flow freely. This, in turn, causes the pore itself to enlarge to allow for the additional oil, but with great difficulty. Barriers such as makeup cause the oil to become trapped (particularly around the nose) and therefore leads to issues such as blackheads.

Sensitive skin – Sleeping in your makeup causes a lock-down on your skin. Foundations, concealers and practically any form of makeup that you put on your face creates a barrier against natural elements. Sounds like a good thing, but in actual fact, you’re reducing the amount of oxygen and moisture that your skin would otherwise receive if you had no makeup on. Irritants are essentially ‘locked’ into the skin, exacerbating allergic reactions. Feed your skin, like you would with any other part of your body when you’re ill and your skin will love you for it.

Dryness – Much like my previous point, lack of moisture and oxygen leaves you with parched skin obviously. However, not taking your makeup off at night reduces your cell renewal process therefore creating a backlog of ‘dead’ skin. This dead skin is further exaggerated by foundations and other base makeup. It’s a vicious cycle, but it can all be avoided by cleansing your face in the correct manner before you go to bed.

Eyelash reduction – Read what you will of the latest mascara to take the makeup world by storm, but the bottom line is – it’s a chemical that you’re applying to your natural lashes. Weighty chemicals worn for a prolonged period of time on your lashes can cause a breakdown of the hair follicles and therefore reduce the amount of lashes that we naturally reproduce. Treating your lashes to a growth serum or even a natural oil will encourage growth and ensure that your lashes stay in place.

Eye irritation – We naturally rub our eyes without thought. Now imagine rubbing mascara, eyeliner, shadow, glitter and all that in between into your eyeball therefore aggravating irritation. Allergens in mascara have been associated with contact dermatitis as well as conjunctivitis. You may not see it straight away, but continuously sleeping in your eye makeup can cause serious infections that can put a damper on your next night out.

Premature ageing – I once heard that sleeping with your makeup on for just one night can cause your skin to age by three days! Times this by 365 and you could like several years older by the end of the year! Sounds scary, but premature ageing is massively exaggerated by lack of makeup removal at night. Pollutants stick to makeup, causing what is known as Oxidative stress where skin is attacked by harmful free radicals. These molecular compounds cause damage to various cellular structures in the skin therefore decreasing the production of collagen. Collagen is needed to provide a little plumpness to the skin and if your skin is lacking it then things start to turn south, leaving you with folds and creases that you’ve never seen before.

Dry lips – I’m a firm believer in applying copious amounts of lip salve/balm to my lips before bed time. Not only is it a treat for the lips, but the feeling of soft lips in the morning is wonderful. Chemicals in lipsticks, particularly liquid lipsticks reduce the amount of moisture in your lips leaving them parched. Not forgetting that left-over lipstick smeared across your face in the morning is never a good look.

Lacklustre skin – Dull skin is caused by ‘dead’ skin build up on the surface area of your face. Anything that deprives your skin of much needed oxygen and nutrients will result in a dull skin tone that can only be relieved through cell renewal. Regular exfoliation and the right nutrients can encourage cell renewal providing free blood flow throughout your skin and therefore allowing you to shine from within. Don’t forget that no matter how much highlighter you may wear, if your skin’s texture is not on point, it will never look good.

It’s fair to say that removing your makeup at night is essential for clean, beautiful and healthy skin. Someone pass me the soap!

Japanese Beauty Edit: Daiso Natural Pack Black Peel Off Mask

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Teppanyaki, cars, Muji, fashion, Hello Kitty and the love of all things cute and kitsch – it’s fair to say that the Japanese know how to get things right. When it comes to beauty, the western market takes a massive backseat against the innovative products that the Japanese have to offer. Since the release of Shiseido and SK-II and Shu Uemura into the mainstream market, Japanese beauty products have caught the eye of makeup artists, beauty editors and enthusiasts around the world.

The Japanese take a hugely different approach to beauty as to what we’re used to in the western world. Design, packaging and natural ingredients take priority in majority of their products; which provide solutions to almost any beauty ailment you can think of. Open pores, fine lines, dark patches, and so much more are all addressed in the Japanese beauty industry; which is not hard to believe as Japanese women are incredibly blessed with beautiful skin.

In recent years, the breakthrough of lesser known Japanese brands such as DHC and Suqqu have paved the way for Japanese beauty to become more accessible to our shelves. My skincare cabinets are filled with sheet masks, snail creams, lotions, potions and all that in between as I have discovered that the fountain of youth really does exist in Japan. Not only are these products oh so cute to look at with their kitsch designs, but the formulas exceed way beyond anything that I’ve ever bought in Boots or Superdrug. The Japanese just know beauty and they have dominated the beauty market beyond belief.

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Daiso is Japan’s equivalent of Britain’s Poundland. With goods priced at around 100 Yen each (approx 73p), it’s a beauty lover’s haven. To be honest, I’m not particularly partial to trying any beauty products from the pound store (snob alert), but when it comes to Japanese beauty, I’ll give it a go.

I first discovered Daiso’s Natural Pack, Black Peel Off Mask when researching solutions for my enlarged pores and annoyingly obvious blackheads on my nose. I’m forever researching into the latest skincare trends and I was on the look out for a natural alternative to the typical nose strips that are readily available in the stores.

Having researched into the benefits of charcoal, I knew that this was the core ingredient to look out for when I’m looking to draw out impurities. I don’t normally gravitate towards charcoal as I feel it quite drying on my already parched face, but I love the feeling of squeaky clean skin and charcoal was definitely my best option. Apparently the Japanese have been using charcoal for many many years to maintain clear complexions and, well let’s be honest, you and I both know that if the Japanese smeared cow dung on their faces to maintain a beautiful complexion, I’m going to follow suit!

Daiso’s Natural Pack, Black Peel Off Mask works just like a standard peel off face mask, but supercharged with active ingredients to not just draw out, but practically vaccum all the bad stuff out of your face.Although it’s recommended for the entire face, I have been a little skeptical of applying this all over, mostly because the formula is so strong that I’m worried I’ll be left with only one layer of skin and no eyebrows. I do, however, love applying this to my nose area to really deep clean and extract what doesn’t come out with my regular skincare routine.

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The packaging is fairly simple, but not much can be expected for a couple of quid. I like the fact that the formula comes in a squeezey tube rather than a tub, but the white packaging can become quite dirty after some use. It certainly doesn’t help that the ingredients, description and instructions are all in Japanese, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure it out. Instructions of this mask found online does state that it is not to be used more than twice a week; which I would only recommend to those with problematic skin. I use this as a nose pack once a week; which leaves my skin completely clear and super soft for days after.

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It’s recommended to apply a fairly thick layer of the mask to your face or chosen area in order to get the maximum benefits when peeling away the mask. You get around 80g in a squeezey tube, which will last you a fair bit, but considering how much you need to put on, I could have done with a bigger size. The product itself is a black, sticky consistency; which dries fairly quickly so you have to work quick. Luckily it doesn’t stain your fingers like some charcoal masks and certainly doesn’t smell like the remnants of a bbq.

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I won’t gross you all out with the results of my nose peels, but just know – this is by far the most powerful and effective peel off mask that I have ever used! You can visibly see the ‘gunk’ that you never knew existed on your skin (and I like to think that I have a fairly maintained complexion). It even works well at removing the small hairs that may exist around your face. I’ve always found that my foundation never sits well around my nose and forehead areas due to the tiny bumps of clogged up pores, but this mask has made the world of difference. I must warn, however, that this mask is perhaps not suitable for those with sensitive skin, but for someone like me, it’s like taking an airbrush to your skin.

Upon first application, the formula feels somewhat cooling on the skin, almost mint like. My husband has also tried this mask and he felt it a little itchy and uncomfortable to use, but to be honest, he has a completely different skin type to mine. The mask takes no longer than 15 minutes to dry to a complete matte finish; which indicates that the mask is ready to be peeled off. If you’re going to apply this all over the face, I recommend that you do not talk, eat, drink or basically breathe during the time that you have it on as stretching of your facial muscles can cause the mask to lose its adherence to the skin.

So where can you purchase this Japanese miracle? Well it’s not easily sourced in this country, that’s for sure. I searched high and low for retailers in the UK offering the mask close to its RRP, however, I could only locate it on Amazon and eBay. I personally purchased mine through Amazon, because of it’s next day delivery (thanks Prime), but it did mean that I paid slightly more than other stores. Hopefully one day I can find myself shopping the beauty aisles of Japan, but until then this gem of a mask can be found here and here.

What Japanese beauty products have you tried? Comment below with suggestions of what I could try next.