I bloody love a new product, although now I’m living in an apartment I’ve had to seriously downsize my bathroom cabinet. As I’ve moved a million times since August (literally only a slight exaggeration…) I’ve been able to go through all the things that had either passed their best or that I didn’t use any move. Going from having a massive bedroom to myself, and lots of bathroom storage, to halving all the space is actually quite cleansing for the soul. I can’t believe how much stuff I had that I just never used, or had totally forgotten about and after a huge clear out I realised I should probably go back to basics. There’s literally no point clogging up valuable storage space with four cleansers, twelve half-filled hair masks and five night creams that are so old they were either solid or the branding had changed. Plus it meant I could treat myself to a whole lotta new stuff! My boyfriend is hilarious whenever I buy new products- he’s got this thing where he’ll read out all the elaborate marketing spiel on the front telling me exactly what it’s going to do to me. I think he was highly disappointed when my face hadn’t totally ‘rejuvenated’ overnight following the application of six drops of Caudalie’s Overnight grape vine Detox Oil, although I’m sure he was happy I didn’t wake up looking like a grape either!

 

 

When you have sensitive skin it can feel quite limiting sometimes. I tend to stick to the same brands and the same products. Since I’ve moved to London my skin has been grim. I’m blaming the pollution, but it’s probably a lack of water, poor skincare and general stress that’s really the root of the problem. I decided to treat myself to a few new things, some I got on with, some I haven’t. I also wanted to try brands I’ve never used. Recently, as I’ve mentioned before, my sensitive shell decided it hated Elemis- a brand I’ve used for years and absolutely adore. My skin appears to have discovered some sort of Mariah-style diva habit and throws a hissy fit at anything and everything that isn’t made exclusively for sensitive skin. ‘Natural’ products are no longer good enough it would seem… So here’s my new shizzle in all their glory. Any excuse for shooting a flatlay hey!

First up is the Erborian Black Cleansing Oil.

I originally went into SpaceNK to buy some Ren clay cleanser and was suggested this instead. Normally I’m a bit of a stickler for ignoring advice but I’ve heard so many good things about Korean skincare and the shop assistant reassured me it was suitable for sensitive skin.

It looks mental when you put it on, but it’s completely gentle and super effective at removing makeup. I wouldn’t say it’s rid my skin of spots but I’m never red after I’ve used it so it’s a winner from me! It contains herbs to soothe your skin, Glycerine so your skin doesn’t dry out (mega bonus) it’s also mattifying, which is good if your skin is dry yet prone to oil patches and breakouts.

£24 available from SpaceNK http://bit.ly/2AnkxGp

 

During a recent trip to Waitrose I spotted their ‘Pure’ range created for sensitive skin. I’ve tried own brand sensitive skin ranges before and paid a heavy price, however this is the don! I’m a big fan of Micellar water, as it’s so gentle on sensitive shells. I do always think you need to use a separate makeup remover for heavier foundations or for eye makeup but this has been so useful after I’ve cycled to work to wipe any grime from my face, or for daily makeup removing. It’s sulphate free and also suitable for vegans! I’m definitely going to try some other products from this range, it’s awesome! Good old Waitrose. My Dad will be so proud.

£2.50 available at Waitrose http://bit.ly/2Aq5Cvs

 

Ever heard of Pai? Me neither. I was given this as a freebie to test and I’m really enjoying it. It’s aimed at very sensitive skin and it’s really creamy rather than just a bland wash. My only beef with any shower gel/wash aimed at really delicate and sensitive skin is that it smells a bit odd. This is going to sound bizarre but it reminds me of eraser rubbings when you rub out a load of pencil scribbles at school. It’s a bit clinical but also a bit ‘woody’. I think this will be a definite contender to replace my SkinFix wash, however at £18 a pop it’s a bit on the pricey side. You do get a free konjac sponge but I now use this to clean the bathroom as it kept slipping out of my hand! I do love the fact I can use this after I’ve shaved my legs and there’s no irritation or redness. Definitely a brand I’d like to use more of.

£18 available at Beauty Bay http://bit.ly/2Awip1o

 

My BFF has been raving about the M&S night cream that supposedly makes you look like you’ve had eight hours sleep. I checked it out but wasn’t sure on ingredients so thought I’d give the M&S Marine Cream a go as my new day moisturiser. I’m going to put it out there now I reckon this is a fine dupe for the Elemi Marine Cream, don’t believe me? £16 says give it a go. I’m GUTTED my skin reacted to this. It contains natural ingredients to ‘improve the appearance of lines, protect skin and keep it hydrated. Sounded like just what I needed. As it’s free from parabens, synthetic fragrances and colour I thought this would sort out my face a treat. I’m starting to think my skin has a thing about essential oils, not plant extract but definitely essential oils as it reacts the same way to anything containing them.

It might not suit me but the very fact it’s made my skin break out in exactly the same way as the Elemis version got me thinking. If your skin can handle Elemis give this a go!

£16 available at Marks and Spencers http://bit.ly/2AW38rc

 

The harsh winter is definitely taking its toll so I’ve been using oil at night now. I think Caudalie is my favourite brand now Elemis has made an exit from my life. This is a dry oil and man it is SOOOOOOOO good. I think this will be a permanent fixture in my bathroom and has definitely replaced my Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Oil. Following the reaction to the M&S cream I was a little worried about using something else with oils, but these are plant oils and not essential- so keep an eye out on the ingredients list if you think your skin reacts to either. I swear this is the BEST thing I’ve ever used over night. Even when I’ve broken out and my skin is all blotchy it looks so much better after a night on this bad boy! Despite being an oil it’s not mega greasy and just seems to work wonders on my skin. Caudalie claims this ‘boosts radiance and fights irritation and redness’, and for me it does exactly what it says on the box. BOOM.

£30 available at Caudalie http://bit.ly/2jk1Egz

I’m a major mascara fiend and never really stick to one brand, so whilst shopping for all the products in M&S I came across this (how GOOD are their beauty department now BTW??) I’m a bit late to the Pixi party but thought I’d give this a go. I’m not sure that it lives up to its ‘lash extension’ declaration but you can definitely build layers and it’s far from clumpy.

It creates very natural lashes, so if that’s your thing give it a go. Being paraben-free and cruelty-free is a big perk but for me it’s just not thick enough. Good for the daytime however, or if you already have super long lashes and just wanted a nice fine coating.

£16 available at M&S http://bit.ly/2krBVpG

 

I’m still on the hunt for the perfect day cream and primer so if you have any recommendations hit me up!

 

Jem xx

 

PS How is 2018 less than a month away??!

This post was not sponsored.

My skin is more sensitive than an England fan on a trip to Iceland right now.  It’s probably all down to the horrendous hit of hay fever I’m enduring every day, that and the fact I’m pretty much allergic to air right now. When my skin needs an extra bit of help, or is likely to be more volatile than Britain after Brexit, then these hero products certainly offer a helping hand…

Elemis SOS cream: When your face feels like it’s on fire, you’ve been in the sun too long, or you just feel like you need more than a moisturiser- reach for this bad boy. Every time.  SOS Emergency Cream £52.50, Elemis http://bit.ly/29isT4n

Caudalie Beauty Elixr: Again another French hero product. I’ve been rattling through this- it’s great for all those hay fever days when your skin just needs a helping hand. It refreshes your face and feels like your coating your skin in luxury. Caudalie Beauty Elixr, £11.50, Feel Unique, http://bit.ly/29nbcE2 (always lots of offers on this site!)

Skincere facial serum:  I’m on my third tube of this since giving it a whirl last year.  It’s inexpensive and does what it says on the tin.  Use it underneath your moisturiser.  Skincere products NEVER ever irritate your skin, even if it’s super sore and sensitive.  Easy on the purse too- win win!  Facial serum, £19.99, Holland and Barrett http://bit.ly/29ns6Aa

Ren body exfoliator balm: When you have sensitive skin sometimes it’s easy to avoid exfoliating but actually it’s vital to help our skin. Slough away those pesky dry patches with this beaut of a product.  It leaves your skin with a nice kind of waxy finish rather than sore and itchy.  A little goes a long way too : ) Ren salt exfoliating body balm, £22, Look Fantastic http://bit.ly/29ncCyk

Neutral Cleanser: If you’ve never heard of Green People before and you have sensitive skin what the hell are you playing at?  This cleanser is my go-to hero product when everything else is ruining my face.  Fragrance-free, gentle and zero chance of leaving you with lizard skin.  Check out their other products too, their range is AMAZING!  Neutral scent free cleanser, £18.00, Green People http://bit.ly/29tBg05

Weleda body wash: Again another brand I can’t get enough of (see previous blog post here)  It’s rare when you have sensitive skin that anything you use in the shower can smell good and not leave you like you’ve been dipped in acid.  Hello Weleda!  Bloody love this, use it everyday!  It’s super creamy, doesn’t dry your skin and smells like holidays.  What’s not to like?!  Sea Buckthorn creamy bodywash, £7.95, Weleda http://bit.ly/29nsJcP

Darphin 8 Flower cream: My wonderful Mum introduced me to Darphin many years ago.  I LOVE love LOVE French skincare and this is just amazing!  I’m kinda new to this product but I use it at night if my skin is sore after cleansing.  Heaven.  Smells great without irritating your skin.  Perfect!  Darphin 8 Flower Oil Cream, 30ml, £43.33, Escentual http://bit.ly/29hA3t8 (1/3 off!)

Lavera intensive neutral mask:  I’ve been trying to use this once a week, but usually fail.  I’ve always avoided face masks like the plague as normally they make my skin ten times worse when it’s feeling extra sensitive.  I got a sample of this after purchasing some other Lavera products and it’s fab!  Why shouldn’t we treat our skin just because it reacts to pretty much everything?! We put our faces through so much so give it a treat- it’s designed to calm allergy and sensitive prone skin.  Hurrah!  Lavera intensive neutral mask, £2.90, Lucy Rose Organics http://bit.ly/29qg9d8

Salcura Dermaspray: I’ve blogged about Salcura products before here. This spray is like a protective barrier for your skin- spray on before moisturising.  It’s made a MASSIVE difference to my Eczema.  Daily Dermaspray intensive, £16.99, Salcura http://bit.ly/29jV82m (10% off your first order)

Aveeno cream:  I have this on prescription now because I go through that much of it but it’s honestly the best moisturiser I’ve used in years!  I really need to switch up my regime a bit but this is an absolute staple.  I use it twice a day religiously and it’s never irritated my skin and has actually made a massive difference to my Eczema.  I could kiss my dermatologist for recommending this!  (See my previous blog post here).  Aveeno cream, £14.69, Boots http://bit.ly/29jZaaX

Let me know if you have any hero products for sensitive skin- I’m always on the scout!

J xx

So the only time I normally add salt to anything is with my poached eggs in the morning.

But over the last few months I keep hearing more and more about bath salts, salt scrubs and the power of the Dead Sea.  After a couple of my chums came back from Israel raving about the Dead sea benefits I decided that I’d look into seeing if there’s any salty goodness (erm…) around that doesn’t affect people with sensitive skin.

Que my discovery of West Lab Mineral Bathing.  As a sensitive little egg I always try and do my research before I splash out on something I’ve never tried before and I’ll admit I’d never even heard of them.

The benefits of sea salts isn’t a new commodity.  They’ve been used for centuries.  West Lab hasn’t quite been around that long, they were established in 2014, but they pride themselves on the quality of their products.   They are a UK company and I was really impressed when I discovered that they have a batch suitable for people with Eczema.  There’s no bleaching involved or use of harsh chemicals in their products and it’s refreshing to find a range that can be used by us sensitive shells.  When you have sensitive skin adding any old thing to your bath is a no-go, and you can forget those beautifully scented bath bombs!  I’m normally more of a shower person (usually because I’m in an eternal rush) and more so because there’s just not much you can add to your bath when you have Eczema.

To begin with I bought the 5kg bag which you can buy online for the sale price of £12.99 here.  The benefits of the salts is
that not only are they relaxing but their mineral content is absorbed through the skin as you soak in the tub.  Potassium balances moisture levels, Calcium is cell-renewing and anti-oxidant and Magnesium soothes and helps balance and repair the skin.  Alongside this Bromides help make that bath even more enjoyable- by relaxing the muscles.

As recommended I added about 1kg of Salts mixed with warm water.  The advice is to bath in water between 37-39 degrees.  I literally have zero idea how hot my bath was but I’m not burning my ass for anyone!  I’d like to be able to say I relaxed with a large Gin, however I was so hot I just nailed a pint of water in the bath instead… I did light one of my favourite candles though- I just adore all the Lilly-Flame range, this time I used their Lavender and Lime scent, which you can purchase here.

Normally if I have a bath my skin always feels really raisiny afterwards (that’s SO not even a word), unless I soak in oil- in which case I normally slip on the floor and vow to use showers forever more.

As a very wary customer I was half expecting to come out of the bath looking like I’d either been dipped in acid, or with no effect whatsoever.  When in fact it was completely the opposite!   This left my skin feeling AMAZING! Even the next morning I felt like my skin was a little less dry. I still moisturised as normal but it wasn’t that frantic ‘grab-the-cream-before-your-skin-falls-off’ scenario.  Anyone with dry skin knows all too well there’s only a short window between bathing and moisturising- miss it and hello lizard skin! I’ve been using the salts for the last couple of weeks, twice a week and I definitely think it’ll become part of my skincare regime.  Plus it forces me to have a bath and actually relax- something I NEVER have time to do.

J xx

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 1. The end of summer

Despite Game of Thrones-style warnings that ‘winter is coming’, anyone with sensitive skin knows it doesn’t make a damned bit of difference.  You can arm yourself with enough balm to clog up the Parisian sewers but once that dry skin of yours decides to crack then there’s nothing you can do.  Brace yourselves…

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2. You leave a part of you wherever you go

If you have Eczema/dry skin you will always be followed by that little magical dust cloud of skin.  Peeling off your skinny jeans, you’ll wonder how you’ve any skin left judging by the atomic mass billowing in the air.  Remember when someone brought in that snakeskin to show off at school?  You could TOTALLY relate.  Gross but you hear me right?

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3. The inevitable questions

‘’What have you done to your ______?!’’ *insert ‘face’ ‘hands’ ‘leg’ or whatever has decided to flare up this time*

It’s like when someone tells your six-foot-three friend ‘’ooh you’re tall’’.  No shit.  I am sure they already knew this.  As I am more than aware that my hands could provide Zombie close ups in the Walking Dead but you don’t need to tell me because, guess what?  I’ve already seen them. I don’t understand why people I barely know think its ok to mention anything at all.  Unlike the communal mugs at work, not everything is for sharing.

I find it equally frustrating when people try to ‘fix’ you.  It’s amazing that doctors can train for years but your colleagues can become dermatologists in seconds.  I’ve tried every trick and every product, so don’t even bother.

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4. You’re so cynical but you just can’t stop spending

It’s always a game of skincare-roulette when it comes to trying new products.  You’ve just spent half a month’s salary on the latest moisturiser for sensitive skin; slather it on only to find the next day your epidermis looks more like a painting by Pollock than a Vogue cover.

Yep, we’ve all been there.  Taken in by the promises schmoises of the latest wonder cream that will turn us all into Victoria Secret models. Over the years I think I’ve become wise to these ‘success stories’.  The day something really changes my skin forever will be the day I ride away on my pet unicorn.

However, anything that DOES make your skin feel anything slightly smoother than sandpaper requires you to remortage your house or rob a bank.

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5. Thinking that diet will save you

You’ve been eating that many Blueberries you’re starting to resemble Violet Beauregarde (if you have to Google her then shame on you!) Then weeks later you come across a blog post warning that if you want the skin of an angel you need to steer clear of all berries!  When my skin is bad one of the first things I blame is my diet, but how the hell do you know what you’re actually SUPPOSED to be eating?!  For every ‘safe’ food that will help sort out your skin there’s a conflicting opinion telling you the opposite.  I still have no idea whether I’m supposed to bathe in a vat of tomatoes or avoid them like an 80’s mullet.  The only real way of testing foods is an elimination diet, and to be honest who has the patience for that
shizzle?

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6. Tanning is a no-go

Ahhh, the Sun.  That glorious Vitamin D provider.  If you’re paler than a pint of milk AND your skin is more sensitive than a Westlife album then it’s pretty much game over.  The sun is either friend or foe.  It’ll help heal your skin, or you’ll get that prickly rash and the only option is to slather on that much sun lotion the chance of getting any shade of brown is slim to sod all.

Equally trying to fake tan is COMPLETELY out of the question- you’ll either blow up from an allergic reaction or end up looking like you suffer from ringworm when it sticks to all those sneaky dry/sensitive patches.  Ugh.  The tanning struggle is VERY real.

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7. You just can’t trust yourself, your clothes, or your washing powder

Ever woken up with blood under your finger nails?  Even if you’re the healthiest person in the world, use the best skincare products, and only wear clothes crafted using cotton hand-picked from clouds, what your body decides to do in your sleep is the one thing you can’t control.  That itch will won’t scratch itself…

I’ve gone to sleep thinking my skin isn’t so bad only to wake up looking like I’ve been in bed with Wolverine.

When it comes to buying clothes and washing powder- who the hell do you trust?! And you can forget buying that woollen jumper, you might as well wear a cape of fire.  You can also forget that sweet smelling fabric conditioner.  You’ll look more ‘elephant in poison ivy’ than ‘Amazon rainforest’.  Anything that smells remotely pleasant must be avoided at whatever cost.  This includes perfume, body butter, and those bath bombs I shudder at the mere thought of using.

Only last week I was scorched by the liquid venom of a perfume promoter in Boots, spraying carelessly in my direction blissfully unaware of the hell I’d be in later.

All you can do is ask yourself- will it make me itch, will it burn me from the inside out, and is it worth it? Probably not…

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8. From the lowest self-esteem to extreme vanity

Yes it might be a ‘first-world problem’, and there are far greater issues than a bad skin day!  But when it’s more like a bad skin year you REALLY start to hate yourself.  Sometimes, when it’s only acceptable to walk out the house with a hat covering my head,  I think I’d actually rather be bald than have skin that rejects everything it comes into contact with. At least I could wear a wig!

On the other hand it’s PERFECTLY acceptable to flounce around like Beyonce Barbie leaving the salon on those few, and far between, occasions where your skin and body decide to work in perfect harmony and actually look like they should.  Take a bazillion selfies, put on those hot pants and pour yourself a glass of champagne.  Just be ready for the next morning when your outermost organ will decide it actually hates alcohol now too…

Owning a shell that is of the sensitive persuasion means the things you want to take part in- trips to the beach, running through fields (because, let’s face it- we all wanna do that), cuddling your best friends new dog/cat/rabbit- all come with serious risks and more often than not running your red raw hands through the hair of a Guinea Pig is simply not worth the
hours of pain and itchy misery.

There are few benefits of having an outer layer of hell but it’s vital to milk every single one!  I use my pathetic dermis as an excuse for all sorts of things.  It brings an end to all those crappy shower gel sets at Christmas, which leaves room to suggest something you actually want.  I can also avoid cosmetic counter slaves, washing up, cleaning, weird food, bad cups of tea, and it allows me to be a complete bedding snob (350 thread count minimum) and also adorn myself in only the best skincare I can get my itchy little mits on.

For anyone with sensitive skin- it’s tough out there.  You have my deepest sympathies.

J xx

I am a moisturising addict. I go through more pots, tubs and tubes of the stuff than any other beauty product.  Having Eczema never makes skincare easy but anyone who suffers from sensitive or dry skin knows that skipping on your moisturiser is never worth the pain.

Admittedly sometimes at night  I slather so much on if I had silk sheets I’d probably shoot right out the other side of the bed!  So finding a good quality, natural product, that isn’t too greasy, is always on my hit list.

I’ve used Aveeno hand cream for years but I’d never tried their moisturising cream and I was pretty surprised when my dermatologist actually prescribed it to me.  Firstly I was ecstatic because it means that I get two massive bottles for the cost of one prescription, which means a mahoosive saving on the usual price.  Right now at Boots (UK) you can buy Aveeno moisturising cream for £14.46 for 500ml and there’s a 3 for 2 offer so you can stock up

I reckon a 500ml tub lasts me about 6 weeks, but I’m slathering it on every day religiously so it’s good value!

If you read Sensitive Shell a lot you’ll know I’m a huge fan of natural products.  It’s really important to me that I’m not just coating my skin in a load of chemicals.  The ingredients list on the back of the simple cute packaging is pretty short (always a good sign) and it’s gentle enough to use on babies.  I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s helped get rid of my Eczema but my skin is in the best condition it’s been in for ages and I’m sure this bad boy is partially responsible for this. I’ve seen all of my usual dry patches disappear, it’s the best cream I’ve used in ages and definitely does what it says on the tin!

I am a massive fan of oats, although I normally like my porridge first thing in a morning not on my skin, but Aveeno have been using oats in their products since 1945 so why not?! Go through pretty much any homemade skin scrub blog and oats will usually always feature heavily so I think it’s no secret that they are actually pretty good for us, inside and out.  The Aveeno moisturising cream smells so fresh, and even though their products are fragrance free the oats make for a deliciously delicately scented cream.  Almost good enough to eat, almost.

There are so many benefits from oats: moisturises- restores dehydrated skin, soothes, creates a protective film on the skins surface, and helps to return skin to normal PH levels.  I also love love LOVE the fact that this doesn’t leave my skin all greasy.  A lot of products for dry skin are very thick, heavy and you need to leave them to sink in for an eternity.  The Aveeno absorbs super quick and feels SO good.  Nothing like any of the moisturisers any of the doctors/dermatologists have recommended for me before.   I’m definitely going to give their shower oil a try, in fact I’ll probably be buying most of their range in the hope of swapping things up a little, but this love affair with the Aveeno moisturising cream won’t be ending any time soon…

J xx