Supporting Small

Hello and Happy New Year! I hope your celebrations weren’t too disrupted by the whole, you know, pandemic that we all thought would be over by now. Talk about wishful thinking! Of course, it didn’t seem like unfounded optimism back in March. I think what most upset me about it dragging on, besides the obvious death and illness, has been watching small businesses try to hold on, make sacrifices just to stay afloat one more month hoping for an end to lockdown, then have nothing to show for those sacrifices when it all falls apart. I urge you, if you’re one of the luckily ones with financial security, splash a bit of cash for your struggling friends.

One of the few benefits of this time at home is research, rather than defaulting to the first brand I know of off the top of my head, which is probably, definitely, not a small and struggling business. I’m actually quite looking forward to giving some earnest and ethical gifts this year. And I might even buy them now to keep some store open just a little longer.

One such thing I’ve been researching is a new Niacinamide toner. A toner can absolutely mark or break your skincare routine, but I’ve found that so many people don’t use one! And Niacinamide is such a versatile ingredient that I’m not worrying about what skin type the giftee has, because chances are this will be perfect for them. So I’m not ashamed to say when I found one made by a small, family run business, I bought a lot. Like, a ridiculous number of toners. It turned out that my sister had already tried that specific one, so I knew it was quality.

Independent or small skincare companies can sometimes be hit or miss. I once bought a moisturiser from a local brand which turned out to be a home-brew, with no cosmetic knowledge behind it, or testing! But hey, the pot was made out of the ‘impurity purging‘ powers of crystal quartz… so of course that made it better. Who knows if the guy even wore gloves while making it. I guess the point of this story is to still do your research! I was so eager to shop small, I forgot that some people are just trying to make a few extra dollars on the side, unlike others who really put their heart and soul into their work. I can tell this new toner brand I’m investing in really cares.

Obviously skin care isn’t something everyone can afford, but I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as a luxury either. Acne can be considered a medical condition, right? And our health does rely on using a cleanser. At least, everyone deserves to be able to comfortably take care of their skin. Bout those small sellers who do sell luxury items, well they deserve some love as well. Artists, crafters, wood workers, resin pourers, jewellery makers… hell, even scrunchie sewers, still need an income. From what I’ve seen, a lot of these sellers are university students trying to pay their way despite awkward hours, people who can’t work due to medical or mental struggles, and stay-at- home parents. They deserve just as much love as us nine to five workers. So let’s show it! Disposable income willing, give back to those struggling. And if you’re a struggling business, comment belong so we can all check you out!

Organic or Natural?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the advertising strategies of companies who have organic, or natural, products. Is there such a huge difference? Whilst I’ve always been very interested in the organic cosmetics movement, I do worry about going too far. I know that using synthetic ingredients can sometimes be bad news… but have you ever really liked one as well? I accidentally started using one that a friend gave me and I’ve found I actually really like the results… Help!

Let’s chat about Acids.

When you think about acids, do you think about someone having their skin start to melt off, or the headlining story on a trashy magazine? Or maybe science lessons in high school? I remember doing a unit on corrosion and leaving a very weak acid to drip into a large rock over the weekend. Riveting stuff!

I’ve noticed recently a lot of acids on the skincare market, be it for hydration or exfoliation, and if I’m completely honest its made me feel a little lost. Weren’t we always told not to put acid on our skin?? And don’t even get me started on retinoids, AHAs and all those other things that peel away your skin. I know they’re incredibly popular, but I’ve always wondered what kinds of people read about them and thought ‘yeah, I’ll put that on the most visible area of my skin, sure!’ Ridiculous.

That might just be my naturals/organics focus, looking for products that fit those boxes often mean the most gentle and soothing options. Acids can be natural, I suppose, but I’m still not sure how I feel about them. Except one. Of course! Did you really think I was just going to have a whinge and say see you next week? Of course not. If I can pride myself on anything, it’s not leaving my blog with an overarching sense of dread.

The one I have learnt to love comes under one the acid categories I mentioned above. Hydration. As someone with fussy dry skin, it can be a bit of a trek to find something that ticks both criteria. But I have. Hyaluronic Acid serum is the best! Not to be confused with hydraulic acid, as I’ve heard some people call it, hyaluronic acid is super moisturising, so long as you do it right.

No, there’s no risk of burning off your skin cells, but you can dry them out. The whole gimmick of the ingredient is that it draws moisture into itself to hydrate your skin. The moisture comes from a damp face, or a humid atmosphere, or, failing that, from deeper down in your skin cells. Not good! Then you just end up with less moisture, because the water your body was storing deep down comes up and is at greater risk of evaporating.

Wicked witch of the west style dehydration and wrinkles are on their way to you!

I don’t really want to add anything more about acids, because I really don’t know a lot, and I only tried the hyaluronic variety because a friend with similar skin begged me to. Do you like/use other acids? Please tell me your stories of success and horror!

Girls night out

I recently went out with some friends for a night out at this new restaurant which is decked head to toe in fairy lights and real plants, the instagrammer’s dream. It was an early reservation, the only one we could book, meaning we were all coming straight from work with fingers crossed at least one of us would make it in time to secure the table before they started handing chairs out to people off the street.

Because I knew there were going to be an unholy number of photos of me being uploaded at the end of the night, I had to look drop dead gorgeous from the second my foot stepped inside the establishment. So I woke up at the crack of dawn. Well, 6am, but that’s the earliest I’ll wake up before it’s really still night time. 5am is reserved for athletic nut jobs and uni students pulling all nighters… It’s not for the rest of us to populate. So after fumbling in the dark trying to find the light switch, I’m up and ready to put on my makeup. Before you all ask me what I use on my face, I’ll give it to you quick. I love my Lunar Glow Primer and Setting Spray, this foundation, and to round off everything else my Zodiac kit. I like to go for a more subtle look, I’ve never really gotten into winged eyeliner. But I do put some pride into being a little adventurous. As you can tell, I like my stars, with Lunar and the zodiac, and I’ll be honest I am a bit of an advice follower based on my star sign. This week, the main takeaway was to be nice (and I’m sure that helps narrow which one I am down!).

Work was so so. I sat at my desk, talked to some customers, even went on a coffee run for the team. We get on so well, which sometimes makes it hard to focus. I don’t want to zone in too much on what I’m doing in case I miss a fun conversation! Never thought I’d be wishing for some boring colleagues. We did have one hilarious customer that wanted to speak to me specifically, because apparently I sounded the most calm on email. But she was talking absolute rubbish, wanting this and that, really pushing me to treat her like some kind of royalty. I rolled my eyes at my manager, and ripped into her. Nicely, of course, but the underlying lack of care was sharp. It was the best part of my day, I would never speak to someone else like that!

That being said, it hit 5pm and I was out the door before anyone could get a goodbye in edgeways. Zoomed, I did. And I was the first one there. That’s fine, I thought, only a minute late. I saved the table, and set myself up facing the door so if anyone came in I could give them a big wave. Checked my makeup, still looking fresh. Like it was still 6:30am in my poorly lit bathroom, except the lighting here was magical. A few more minutes, starting to get worried. Messaged the group, letting them know I was there. I probably shouldn’t have, they most likely took it as a sign to relax and take their time!

Ten more minutes, I’m starting to get worried. No one’s replied to me yet. The waiter has asked me to order drinks three times now and I’ve given in. Sipping nervously on wine in the corner of a gorgeous restaurant with a waiting list. I’m thinking to myself if they ask me to order food, I’ll have to say yes. Ten more minutes.

Then, like a flash of lightning, Sophie walks in wearing a sparkly dress brighter than the sun. She sees me and hurries over in a flurry of apologies. She went home to change. Then the rest started flooding in, with one excuse or another. And then Lillie asks me “How did you get here so fast? When did you have time to do your makeup?”

“Uh, this morning. I prepared,” I told them, and their jaws just dropped. They couldn’t believe it had stayed in tact, and so glowy! I told them all about my setting spray, how it was extra lucky because we were under a penumbral eclipse. I think they might all go out and buy one now! It’s safe to say, I looked the best in all the photos to follow. With wine, with food, with each other, beside every wall, surface and prop the place had to offer. But it was fine, because we weren’t the only ones doing it. Meg touched her face at one point and took off a spot of makeup. Just a finger sized gap on her cheek, as you do. If you follow me on Instagram be prepared for a bombardment of pics!

Re-establishing My Bearded Origins

I’ve been trying out some new products on behalf of my wife but I felt like it was about time we got back to what I originally was into and that’s beard products. Now I know some of you might not know how beard care goes so maybe we should go over the basics just so we’re all on the same page of what qualifies as essentials for beard care. Now let’s go back to basics.

For those of you with fully grown beards who don’t have the most intimate knowledge of male grooming and the things that you might need to know that come with caring for you beard then here are a few of the things you’d do well to remember. First of all you’ll need a few tools in order to tame your mane in the long term scheme of things. You’re going to need a pair of beard/moustache scissors and yes they do make those specifically although it might seem excessive you’re going to be using these on your face so maybe a fresh, clean, and dedicated pair will serve you better than the ones you’ve got lying around in the kitchen. Next would be a beard brush and maybe a beard comb if you’ve got the budget and feel like you need both, you’ll need at least one of those two for your daily grooming routine. And then comes your beard wash which is probably more important than any of the tools I mentioned before because you need to keep that thing clean and regular soap or shampoo just isn’t good for your beard. Beard wash is helpful because it helps you get it clean without stripping it of too much of the essential oils it needs, if you use a beard wash you can get it clean without drying it or your skin out. The last essential that you’re going to be needing is a beard oil that you apply to feed you beard. Now things like styling wax for your moustache or any other miscellaneous products for your facial hair aren’t completely necessary but add and subtract these4 from your routine as necessary.

When it rains it pours

A lot of stuff’s been going on recently. Some of it’s been good and some of it’s been not so good but overall I can’t complain. If anything all the recent events have just been keeping me really busy dealing with everything. No worries though I’ll be rolling out another article real soon!

Best practices for using Makeup Primer

 

Applying Makeup Primer or as the french say base de maquillage is a step that a lot of people tend to skip and it probably doesn’t get as much love as it deserves. Which is a little sad because taking that extra couple of minutes could prove life or death for your makeup regime as the day drags on. So let’s go over how Primer should be utilized so that you can start incorporating it into your daily routine.

Obviously you’ve got to buy Primer first but you don’t know which one to choose. First you need to know what you want from the Primer as there are tons of Primers on the market consider your skin and the benefits you need for it. There are primers to help with wrinkles, discoloration, matte primers for oily skin, so think about the problems your skin has and find a primer that addresses your skin personally.

Once you’ve found a primer that works for your skin and have made that fated first purchase it’s time to start application, or rather prepping for application. Wash your face with a gentle cleansing product to remove and dirt or things of that variety from the surface of your skin. Make sure your hands are spotless as well since you’re going to be using them to apply the primer and if your hands are dirty that’s not going to bode well. Feel free to apply moisturizer as well before the primer itself if you’re really concerned about your makeup perhaps being too heavy then fear not as there are primers that come with the secondary benefit of having moisturizing properties.

Get a small amount of primer maybe around the size a pea and put it on the center of your face. Try to split it between the bridge of your nose and spread it gently across your face using a circular pattern to really make sure it spreads nice and even. Make that you get your whole face so don’t forget any spots and you can even include the lips if you have dry lips so you’ll have an easier time with your lipstick later on.

And just let it dry completely, this shouldn’t take longer than a couple of minutes. Once the primer is dry then you should have a much easier time applying your foundation on top of it. And that’s all there is to Makeup Primer not complicated at all and so worth the effort.

Sometimes Nice Wholesome Produce is hard to come by!

Sorry for my recent absence folks! I wanted to continue building the good momentum I had going with this blog, but it turns out that finding new wholesome products to write about is sometime easier said than done!

Despite this a few have seemingly landed on my doorstep. I’m finishing up some new posts on them now and they will be available shortly.

Another Great Product

Now for something a bit different! I was beginning to think that all of you were getting bored of the beard chat on this blog.

Although it is one of my favourite subjects I feel it is important to switch it up a bit every once in a while, so for the time being I am going to park that topic.

Without veering too far away from the world of cosmetics, I want to mention a new item I tried not long ago.

Ever since I’ve know her, my wife has always been banging on about how important skincare is. For me, that would usually be one of the subjects that I would instantly switch off to and essentially not listen to.

Around a month ago though a close friend at work actually commented on my skin, and the comment wasn’t positive. I consider this person quite a close friend, so I don’t think they were doing it to spite me; I genuinely think they were being honest and letting me know that my skin wasn’t looking great, like a good, honest friend would.

I hurried home that evening and immediately told my wife – She laughed insisting that I should have listened to her all those times before when she stressed the importance of a good skincare regime.

After looking in the mirror for way too long, I came to the conclusion that my skin definitely wasn’t looking great. What had gone wrong!?

Looking for wrinkles in the mirror

I hadn’t done anything different recently. I hadn’t changed anything in my diet, sleep, or exercise, so I really couldn’t explain it. Oh well, these things happen as time goes by don’t they – They’re inevitable!

Despite this I was keen to take some action to counteract my rapidly degrading skin. The answer was supplied to me by my (at this point) incredibly helpful wife.

She suggested I kick things off with a face serum. It sounds extravagant I know, and she assured me that it was powerful stuff. I reasoned that I might as well jump in at the deep end and agreed to give it a go. She decided on something called Lunar Night Elixir Repair Serum. I can’t really remember her reasons for choosing it, but it has done a pretty damn good job so far.

My next move is to study the ingredients from this product intently, to see if I can get something similar in a cream or moisturiser form. I feel that would be the ultimate skincare product for me. I’ll have a look and will update this post once I’ve found one. Thanks for reading 🙂

More from Gabe

Hey! Gabe here. I just wanted to let you know that my next full piece will be up and running very soon. Without giving too much away (and without tooting my own horn too much!) It’s an interesting read and one definitely worth coming back for. Check back in a few days.