Summer skincare goals

Hello!

A little while ago I was sent an ENORMOUS package of skincare from the gorgeous folk at Murad (I’ve never met them, but when I picture them, they all have perfect flawless skin). This is following my consultation I had with Murad in Debenhams, Bullring about how I can best utilise my skincare regime to boost my skin. My main concerns were pigmentation and hydration. And since then it’s been sunny for like 5 minutes, so sun protection too.

I’ve saved my PR unboxing on my instagram stories so if you’re as nosy as me you can catch up on all my excitement on @birminghambab

It looked a lot like this:

 

IMG_0421.PNG

(Quite clearly, I have zero chill).

I want to specifically take time to thank Murad Skincare for sending me such a generous package, particularly Miriam for all their support and kindness!

All of these opinions are my own however, and I’m not about to lose my loyalties to the truth.

So! Let’s get started.

I’m a big fan of Murad. It’s a sort of in between brand because it’s pricing is luxury/high end but it has a very scientific-factual no nonsense feel, which I quite like. You feel like you’re using something that’s come from a laboratory and is designed to work, over say, just look pretty on your shelf. Talking of #shelfies, if you’re into minimalism, you’re going to be in to Murad.

IMG_0419(1).jpg

From the City Skin collection I have:

  • Overnight Detox Moisturiser (50ml/£60) This is my favourite product that I was sent to try. It comes in a fancy pump and I apply it liberally before I go to bed and I wake up with princess pillow skin. I think that this is THE product which has made the most difference to my overall complexion. The product contains a lot of vitamin C and uses plant stem cells to neutralise pollutants. Who knew.
  • Age Defence Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (50ml/£55). It’s an every day sun cream to you and me. It’s just won the 2018 Image Beauty Awards and I can see why, it’s lightweight and 100% mineral. It also protects against blue light, pollution, UVA, UVB, Infrared and bell bottom jeans*. (*probably). It does smell like sun cream, which is weird, I don’t know what I expected but it keeps reminding me every day that I’m not going on holiday which is a bit of a bummer. I haven’t frazzled to a crisp over the past few days though which is a clear sign it works. However, and this is a big however, it’s a small bottle for £55 and the instructions say to use a lot, so I’m not entirely sure that this is the best suncream at the moment. I’ll have to look into it more.
  • Essential-C Day Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (50ml/£60). This girl is thick. Large and in charge. Not only does she hold moisture all day, but also protects against UVA/UVB with her SPF 30. This is the type of moisturiser that when you get to 40 you’d wished you’d started using earlier in your twenties. You probably should get this one.
  • Intensive-C Radiance Peel (50ml/£55). Now. This peel promises exfoliation, smoothing, hydration and an instant brightening to the skin. It uses glycolic acid so it does deliver. I use it once a week and it is a bit sore/stingy I can’t lie so just be aware of that when you use it. However, as my mate pointed out it does say peel so what d’ya expect? It’s a milky liquid that dries clear on your face over the space of about ten minutes and then you wash it off. It makes me go a bit pink, but I do genuinely feel so clean after it and my skin is super smooth.

From the Age Reform range I tried:

  • Hydro-Dynamic Quenching Essence (30ml/£65). This is such a dramatic name for a product it makes me giggle a little bit. In a nutshell, it’s a hydrating serum. I love it, I target it to problem areas on my face and use it just before my main moisturiser. I find it helps my moisturiser sink in more and keeps my face glowy all day. If you’re after a natural glow, this is the product for you.
  • Hydro-Glow Aqua Peel (4 pack/£40) You’d use one of these once a month. It’s a two step face mask and we all know I LIVE for a face mask. The first part is essentially a cotton wool swab stick which you swish all over you face which contains lactic and glycolic acid which exfoliates your skin. The second is a traditional sheet mask containing hyaluronic acid, aloe extract and vitamin B3 which helps moisturise and minimalise lines on the face. I actually think they’re a steal for £40 for 4 because you have 4 months worth of product where the results are more than what you’d get in a facial. It’s worth it.

Other:

  • Hydrating Toner (180ml/£26) Again, this is a strong favourite. I’ve been using toners for a really long time and up until about a month ago I couldn’t tell you what purpose they served. Since I’ve introduced the use of acids into my skincare regime it’s important that the pH levels of my skin are as normal as possible to maintain a healthy skin (quite obvious really). To do this, the toner restores my natural pH through moisture and antioxidants so my skin is ready for the essence and moisturiser I’d use after. I love that it comes in a spray bottle. Literally anything at this point which reduces the amount of cotton pads I burn through is a blessing. It smells cute too.
  • Invisiblur Perfecting Shield (50ml/£80). This is the product that I wanted to like the most as I’d heard the most about it and to be totally truthful, I just didn’t ‘get it’. The unique formula of mushroom peptides (I’m dead serious) is used to reduce the appearance of lines, improve the texture of the skin and be used as a primer for makeup. It does feel like a thin veil across your face, and I can totally understand how this would be beneficial for more mature skin, but for me it just came out as a primer and well – I wasn’t overwhelmed. Definitely one for your mam and her mates, I’m not the target audience.

I’ve been using exclusively Murad skincare for just over 2 weeks now. My skin is glowing. Here’s a shameless selfie of how clear and sparkly it is:

IMG_0213

We’re going to ignore the glaringly obvious gap in my eyeliner. For having better skin I’ve completely knocked off using foundation. Most days I’ll only wear a CC cream. Previously, I had quite bad redness and mini-breakouts on my cheeks and that’s virtually gone completely.

In all honesty, I’ve always had rather problematic skin, not with acne or anything like that, but with severe dehydration. My face is super dry (eczema prone) and super sensitive to anything. The skincare that I’ve been doing has settled my face and I feel like I’ve found a rhythm with the products that will be easily, and actually enjoyable, to continue to use.

I’m not an expert though, by any stretch of the imagination, even if you stand far away and squint. So I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a consultation or even just a quick chat with a skincare specialist at a Murad store/stand. They’re easy enough to find in big Debenhams’ or by using their online tool: https://www.murad.co.uk/personalized-skin-care/

Please let me know if you guys try anything out from Murad and what your thoughts are I’m always interested to know how everyone else gets on!

Summer ready skin, here I am.

Ruby x

The lows and the lowers.

I’m talking about vaginas. And it’s very swear-y.

I’ve uhm-ed and ahh-ed a lot about doing this post. It’s rather personal and I had to pick apart why I didn’t want to talk about it and that was because I was embarrassed about talking about my ‘princess parts’. However, I’ve come to the conclusion that if this page of ramblings helps just one other person get checked out, then it’s worth it.

In my mid-teens I had anaemia really, really bad. At my worst I was fainting and on around 7 tablets a day to control blood loss. I was tired all the time, horrendously moody and just having a not very good time. Fast forward to 2018, and whilst the blood loss isn’t as bad, (or it is, and I’ve just gotten used to it) the pain is a lot worse and I decided enough was enough and that I needed to get it checked out. There have been days where standing up hurts because of the pain in my hips and legs, I’ve felt sick and blood is coming out fast from every orifice. EVERY SINGLE ONE.

Naturally, myself and Dr. Google came to the diagnosis that I was dying. I organised to see a consultant who specialised in gynaecology. Nearly crawled up my own arse talking to him about it and what was happening. He asked me why I hadn’t seen a doctor sooner given my severe symptoms. I didn’t have an answer. Embarrassment isn’t really a currency in a hospital, is it?

My consultation made everything very real. Words like ‘infertility’, ‘surgery’, ‘hysterectomy’ and the worst, ‘ovarian cancer’ were bounded about, and truth be told, I completely blanched. I was told that because of my previous blood disorder (anaemia) I wasn’t the best suited for exploratory surgery. Well Jesus be Joseph, man, I didnae remember asking for it.

The consultant asked about the removal of my reproductive organs. This hit me like a truck. I’m 24, I’ve not been out of full-time education a year yet. I’m not entirely sure what I want from the chip shop let alone if I want kids in the near future. It’s always something I’d just assumed I could do, should I want to, at some time in the vague future. I gave him a firm ‘no.’

The next thing to be tested was cancer. Jesus fucking Christ. I’d pride myself on being quite hardy but the triple whammy that this consultation brought, took me to my knees. I left a broken girl and with an appointment for an ultrasound scan the next week.

Ultrasound scans. They’re a funny thing aren’t they? Are you picturing a baby ultrasound scan like I was? Let’s take that idea and put it back in your pocket because holy fuck, was I mistaken. The correct term was a ‘transvaginal ultrasound scan’. Fuck my entire life. I mean, credit to the nurse and doctor that did it, they were great. I think my eyes nearly popped out from aggressively not making eye contact with the doctor as what can only be likened to a submarine’s periscope went up me whilst my stomach was moved about moving ‘the bowel loops’ out the way. My joke of ‘are you going to put them back?’ went flat. It wasn’t as invasive as what I was ready for. I’d heard ‘it’s like a big dick’ and thought that maybe my weekend would be starting early. But that wasn’t the case, it’s more like a twig with a lot of lube on it.

He told me pretty much straight away that it wasn’t cancer and the sense of instant relief was what I can only imagine taking heroin would be like. I’d hadn’t been sleeping properly the entire week before, lost my appetite, emotional and just a bit of a hot mess. I could have cried has his hand not been a good 5cm into my vagina. Idk, I just feel like it would have been weird if I’d have cried then.

Cancer being struck off the list left us with one culprit, and that was endometriosis. I hadn’t heard much about it either. After it was suggested that this is what it could be I became a leading UK expert on it within a week. It fucking sucks. It means that the lining of my womb is attaching to other parts of my body. Weird isn’t it? Obviously, I can’t feel that happening it just really hurts (think white heat). To cure it, you have to whip it all out. As appealing as it would be to pickle my princess parts and put them on a shelf. I feel it’s a bit premature. It doesn’t mean that I can’t have kids either. It just means that I’d have to try harder and be more careful. Every cloud.

The week where my own imagination was left to worst case scenario of ovarian cancer has really resonated with me. We all know to check regularly for breast cancer or any irregular moles/bumps. What do you look for with ovarian cancer?

  • feeling constantly bloated
  • a swollen stomach
  • discomfort in your stomach or pelvic area
  • feeling full quickly when eating, or loss of appetite
  • needing to wee more often or more urgently than normal
  • persistent indigestion or nausea
  • pain during sex
  • a change in your bowel habits
  • back pain
  • vaginal bleeding – particularly bleeding after the menopause
  • feeling tired all the time
  • unintentional weight loss

These were taken from the NHS website. It’s probably nothing, but if you’re having a few of these symptoms just bring it up with your GP. Endometriosis and ovarian cancer don’t discriminate based on age, ethnicity, size, health, whether or not you wear crocs. If you’re having extreme pain, it can be managed. If you’re bleeding so much you’ve gone through 5+ pads a day and would laugh in the face of a tampon, you can get it checked out. You’re your own makers, ladies, and you don’t have to suck it up all the time. I also think you’d be surprised at exactly how many other women this happens to.

As always, if you have any questions or want to talk to me about it more, just ask.

Sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their frickin’ heads

Right. Let’s have a frank and open chat about not head hair.

I’m writing this and I’m almost embarrassed for myself. I remember a time when I’d have read an article like this and cringed for the author but have read it through perverse curiosity and compared notes. So this article is for you guys. I’ve just had my three year anniversary of laser hair removal and I bloody love it.

So y’might be wondering why, or more specifically where, I had the treatment, and it was my face lads. I’ve the whitest skin and dark hair, it was all fun and games until I hit high school and all I had was what is affectionately referred to as ‘peach fuzz’. One of the biggest regrets in my life (to date) is that I messed with it. If you’re living in the land of milk and honey that is only peach fuzz, please understand that the grass is greener your side. It only took a lingering stare and a bitchy comment in an argument with my first boyfriend and it became the forefront of my mind. In my mind I was the bearded lady and some kind of circus freak. In short, I was mortified. Why the fuck was this happening to me? The thing that I became most embarrassed about was that I thought it didn’t happen to anybody else. I thought I was the sole bearer of this burden. The only lass in the world with a pre-pubescent lad ‘tache and a 5 o’clock shadow.

I’ve come to realise that this is not the case. My Southern Asian and Southern European and trans sisters, I believe, feel me deeply in my pain. After many imposing questions I realised most of my friends and family did too. And probably so do you, curious reader. I’m here to tell you it’s alright. I’m also here to tell you that you are no less feminine/attractive/validated because of it. It’s also massively common. Everybody has hair on their face, this is a wee fact, as humans this is what we have. It helps do a thing or something I don’t know the science behind it, all I know is that we have it. More to the point, it has a variety of variables that make it different for everyone. If you have more testosterone in your body, the chances of you having hair is higher. It’s also higher if you’re on certain types of medication or as a side effect to a medical condition like Poly-cystic Ovary Syndrome. Different races have thicker and darker hair. Or, if you’re like me and just have a shitty gene pool. It’s the luck of the draw.

I’ve seen a few articles and YouTube videos now where women are refusing to remove their facial hair and part of me is like ‘fucking yas, you do you’ and I’m jealous of their self-confidence and liberalism. I truly understand why they do it, looking in the mirror every morning and seeing something that is so rejected within society, really fucking gets you down. It made me feel ugly and like some kind of burly bloke. But it’s a part of who you are, whether you choose to love it or hate it. They chose love it and embrace it, and that’s something I fully support. Personally though, I couldn’t wait to give it the final fuck off a moment longer.

I went through a variety of methods. I tried waxing, shaving and threading before laser. Those viral make-up videos I’ve seen going around encouraging young girls to shave their faces before they apply make up is the biggest lie and most misleading thing I have ever seen. When they say ‘the hair doesn’t grow back’ or ‘it just comes back the same’. Fucking bullshit hun, just ask anyone that shaves their arms what it comes back like. Or any bloke. It’ll come back darker (or ginger, hair colour dependant) and brittle. You’ll be sporting a full beard, maybe not a wizard-esque one (which is kind of a shame really) but stubbly bits will be there. I’ve no reason to lie to you, all self-preservation and dignity at this point is out the window.

Waxing and threading really fucking hurt. The skin on your face is sensitive (obvs) and whilst the hair comes back maybe softer or less, it’s not a permanent solution. Shaving damages the skin and as it doesn’t remove the follicle of the hair entirely, the broken hair where it’s cut off BY RAZORBLADES ON YOUR FACE  makes the regrowth quick and the hair stronger and more brittle. It’s fighting a losing battle, and I’m not doing it for life, lads. I’m too lazy. Talking about female face-shaving is the most difficult part of this that I’ve written so far. The big taboo that girls don’t talk about. We’d sooner own up to shagging some minge-cringe of a lad at uni than picking up a Gillette. But there you go, I’ll take on for the team.

I started looking at more permanent forms of hair removal and bar cutting off my face, laser therapy sounded like the most effective and reasonable solution, but it sounded painful and expensive. With a few very close friends I talked about it and they all assured me that it wasn’t necessary and they couldn’t see what I was on about, ‘you don’t need it, Ruby’ they cried. But they hadn’t seen me pre-8am.

January 2016, when I found myself physically upset over the state of my face, I was just getting more and more self-conscious. I called The Laser Clinic in Menai Bridge (http://laserclinicnorthwales.co.uk/) just to enquire because enough was enough. This is going to sound like an outrageous advertisement/endorsement for them, and it is, in a way, I guess. Ruth and Ellen changed my life. I had a consultation and my first treatment on the same day and I haven’t looked back. I was so preoccupied with how embarrassing it was to go there and the state of me, I didn’t realise everyone else was in the same boat. For my entire lower face I paid around £60 a pop, because that’s the bit we all wanna know right? That and ‘does it hurt’ – well. Yes. Like the title of this post, I have frickin’ laser beams pointed at my face. (It was an Austin Powers reference, if you missed it).

‘But what does it feel like?’ My openness about the whole situation with those I’m around when I say ‘I’m off to get my face lasered’ is often met with curiosity and then being used as a confidant. ‘Wait? Do you have a moustache too? Is that how you get rid of it?’ I’m no Houdini, ladies, it is indeed an achievable super power, me and my aerodynamic skin. But back to the main point. What does it feel like? Hm. It’s hard to explain. You’re made very comfortable, lying on a treatment table, eyemask and goggles on – I can only imagine I look like an FHM Top 100. They pop a thick gel over the area that going to be treated and then the laser is like hot pokes with an elastic band (?). Really hot. That move periodically across your face. And you start to smell like burning hair, because that’s what it is. It only takes 5-8minutes to do my entire lower face, some areas are worse than others. Upper lip really fucking sucks.

To put it into perspective though, I would have my upper lip done 400 times in a row for the results it gave and the difference it made to me in my day-to-day life. I had to pop back at first every 4 weeks, then 6 weeks and now I’m on 12 weeks, and then I’ll be done. Maybe a top up every couple of years, if needed.

Laser treatment isn’t just for hair removal (and they can do it anywhere by the way) but it also treats acne. A top tip for any of you out there. Also totally ok for lads too.

A solid two thumbs up from me. If you’ve any specific questions hit me up.