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Don’t get fooled!

This week’s blog is all about the terminology that catches us out. Most labels are there to look pretty and entice us to buy the product. But how much of what is written is true? How much of what we read has real meaning or value? And how many products are we buying under false pretenses?

The first thing to remember when shopping for skin care, hair care or makeup is that magazines and advertising have close relationships with PR companies. PR companies work for beauty companies. So, beauty companies pay PR companies lots of money to promote them, therefore most of the quotes you read in the speech bubbles by this ‘expert’, or that ‘celebrity’ are indirectly sponsored. The truth, is rarely posted in big bold letters. The point I am making is, that the ‘experts’ are rarely actually ‘experts’ and this does make it super confusing to ever get sound medical or scientific advice about what you are buying. I recommend to anyone having trouble with their skin, read Dr Anjali Mahto’s book called ‘The Skincare Bible’. She is one of the UK’s leading dermatologists and this book has been my bible whilst learning about skin care over the years. Link below, Amazon £9.76.

Brands take advantage of the fact we don’t understand the long scientific terminology they print on their packaging and therefore usually baffle us. I will reference some quotes that have helped me through the minefield that is the skincare aisle.

“Hypoallergenic: This is a manufacturer claim that a product will cause fewer allergies than others. It is not, however, a legally binding term; there is no minimum industry standard to prove the product causes fewer allergic reactions.” Mahto, A. (n.d.). The Skincare Bible. p.47.

“Non-comedogenic: The literally means ‘will not block pores’ and is often found on the label of skincare for those with acne or oily skin. If an ingredient is comedogenic, it will encourage blocked pores and the formation of black heads. Traditional gold-standard testing for comedogenicity was carried out on rabbit ears. Chemical ingredients were simply applied to the rabbit’s ears and scientists would look to see if comedones or blackheads developed. Many cosmetic scientists and dermatologists felt it was inaccurate and misleading and many influential dermatologists later discredited its use. The EU has now banned animal testing and comedogenicity test commonly take place on humans.

The main problem with products labelled as ‘non-comedogenic’ is that, yet again, there are no industry standards or regulation… therefore, it can still clog pores.” Mahto, A. (n.d.). The Skincare Bible. p.48-49.

“Clinically proven: This means it is almost NEVER a robust clinical trial with a sound scientific methodology, an adequate sample size or appropriate statistical analysis.” Mahto, A. (n.d.). The Skincare Bible. p.49.

“Dermatologically tested: Another term deliberately meant to lead you astray. In the UK, there is NO legal definition of the term. According to the EU guidance, the implication is that a dermatologist has supervised the testing on humans. However, there are no standard tests for the safety of efficacy of cosmetic products.” Mahto, A. (n.d.). The Skincare Bible. p.49.

“Natural: Some have suggested that ‘natural’ should mean that at least 5% or more of the ingredients are found in nature. It’s definition, however, is not regulated in the US or UK. The biggest mistake I see is that people equate natural skincare with somehow being safer than products lacking the label. Botanicals’, herbs and essential oils can still cause irritation and allergies, and these are commonly documented in scientific literature.” Mahto, A. (n.d.). The Skincare Bible. p.51.

“Organic: The organic label in skincare is also not regulated in the UK. It loosely means a product with ingredients that are grown without the use of artificial chemicals. The majority of these types of products that are certified organic have non-organic ingredients also. As there is no legal definition and the various certification bodies have different criteria to meet for product labeling, there is no beauty industry standard.

Things are a bit better in the US, where the USDA (United Department of Agriculture) provides guidelines for organic labeling in cosmetics. For a product to be labelled ‘organic’, 95% of its ingredients must be certified; ‘organic-derived’ products need only contain 70%. Ingredients are listed in descending order of their percentage of a products composition.” Mahto, A. (n.d.). The Skincare Bible. p.51-52. So it’s always important to check the label.

“Some have concerns about having products with ingredients that are pesticide-free. However, there is little evidence to show that pesticides in skincare products can penetrate the skin barrier.”- Mahto, A. (n.d.). The Skincare Bible. p.53.

“Organic and natural skincare products are a choice. Some will prefer to use these as they feel like a healthier lifestyle option, and that’s okay. But remain mindful that they may not be any better for your skin. The label itself may not be the halo you first took it for.” Mahto, A. (n.d.). The Skincare Bible. p.53.

“Fragrance Free: This should mean exactly what it says on the tin but this is not always the case. The only way to be certain is to check the ingredients list.” Mahto, A. (n.d.). The Skincare Bible. p.51. Refer to book for list of fragrance ingredients to look out for if your skin reacts to fragrance and also be mindful that essential oils fall under a different category but will also contain fragrance.

“Free from chemicals: Now, this one is definitely a label to ignore. Technically speaking, everything is made from chemicals.” Mahto, A. (n.d.). The Skincare Bible. p.55.

Ah, we reach my favorite term we are seeing more and more of… “Vegetarian/Vegan: In the UK, there is no legally binding definition of a vegetarian or vegan product and you are very much relying on the manufacturer to not be making unsubstantiated claims. Organisations such as PETA provide a list of animal-derived ingredients to avoid; the Vegetarian Society has several approved products. It can be difficult to be entirely certain whether manufacturing process uses animal-derived agents that do not appear in the final product.” Mahto, A. (n.d.). The Skincare Bible. p.56.

This also depends on what you are looking for because cruelty-free products are different to vegan/vegetarian products. One is about whether that product has been tested on animals and the other is whether that product contains any ingredients derived from animals. It’s worth remembering also that just because a product hasn’t been tested on animals doesn’t mean that the ingredients haven’t been tested on animals individually.

“Preservative free: Preservatives are an important component of skincare and are added to beauty products to enhance their shelf-life by preventing the growth of bacteria, yeast and mold. Clearly, this is a good thing (and it would be far worse to not have them); smearing germ-contaminated products around the face or near the eyes is likely to lead to infection.” Mahto, A. (n.d.). The Skincare Bible. p.57. For more details on common preservatives see page 57 of the skincare bible.

So, take it from the dermatologist expert and not me. I have done a fair bit of research and can say I have found lots of evidence to back up everything she says in this book. Next time you go to the shops to buy a beauty product and you decide to buy a product that is £150.00 because it’s ‘Clinically tested’ or ‘organic’ make sure you know what you are buying. Also make sure a product isn’t being sold for a fraction of the price with the exact same ingredients on a different aisle!! I frequently go from high end to low end comparing products of all different prices and by doing that you can find some fantastic low budget products! I hope this blog has helped your understanding of label lingo!

As it’s October, here is a slightly more scary selfie from last years halloween!


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Why Do We Wear Makeup?

Why do we wear makeup? This is a question that I feel we don’t ask enough. Equally, I feel it’s a question that society presumes to know the answer to. Even someone who wears makeup regularly will judge other makeup wearers. Have you ever seen someone with what, in your opinion, looks like a lot of makeup on, and presumed they must have low self-esteem? Common misconceptions that people who wear makeup suffer from vanity, self-confidence issues or promiscuity need to stop.

Feeling your best often means looking your best, and this general rule of thumb counts for men, women, children and all whom are in-between. I have a beautiful step-daughter who is 6, and if she has a pretty dress on, some clip-on earrings and something sparkly, the way she carries herself noticeably changes. She will dance around confidently, with a smile on her face, and will enjoy catching a cheeky glimpse of herself in the mirror and she skips past. Is this vain? No, of course not. This is the most innocent image of self-confidence, self-worth and happiness. Now imagine doing this as an adult. You may laugh at the thought but isn’t this what we strive for? Wearing the right outfit, the right shoes, the right makeup can bring out the best version of ourselves and we can channel confidence, body positivity and happiness.

Anyone who can stand there and say, ‘God I’m glad I don’t have to spend hours putting that s**t on my face!” obviously has no idea of the joy makeup can bring to someone. Personally, my favourite thing about makeup isn’t even wearing it- it’s putting it on! The presumption that we drag ourselves out of bed earlier than we want to, to paint our faces just to try and impress other people needs to stop, as in most cases, this just isn’t true. Also, the notion that not partaking in skin-regimes, makeup trends and manicured nails somehow makes you better and less self-absorbed than someone who does do all those things, is just stupid.

The word feminism to me means two things; equality and freedom. Possessing the ability and freedom to create different makeup looks every single day makes me happy. I can go for a 50’s style one day, to Gothic the next and all that’s between, and quite frankly I feel sorry for the people who don’t exercise that right who want to! I feel that men may have the least amount of ways to change their appearance and more power to the ones who find a way that brings them variety and happiness!

Makeup is in the eye of the beholder and it is a tool to be used as armour, to be used as art and to be used however we damn well want it to be. I’m fed up of people assuming I only like makeup because I’m female, or because I’m vain, or because I want attention from men. I wear makeup because I love the way it makes me feel about myself and it creates a version of me that I want to show the world each day! I enjoy the quiet time I spend putting it on; I enjoy going to the makeup counters and buying beautiful products that come in beautiful little bags; I enjoy seeing my partner’s face when I’ve finished getting ready; I enjoy following makeup bloggers, artist and influencers and sharing ideas.

But most of all, I love sharing my knowledge with others and showing other people how to make the most out of their make-up bags!!
I hope you enjoyed this blog post – feel free to share on your social media and, as promised in my first blog post, I will upload a picture for each post of some makeup I am proud of. This was the first time I contoured my collar bone successfully!!
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Hey Guys,

Thanks for landing on my page! If you have any suggestions on how to make my site better and easier to use, please feel free to leave me a message on my contact page.

So, blog post number one isn’t that exciting I’m afraid! However moving forwards I hope to create some really interesting and useful blog posts for you all to read. I hope to do some reviews of makeup, giving you my ever honest, non-bias opinion. I hope to do some posts about my favourite products to use and cheap hacks to achieve the look without spending hundreds of pounds on all the latest palettes etc. I will 100% be doing posts on each skin type and how to create a skin regime tailored to your individual needs. I will also be venturing outside the ‘cosmetic’ category and writing about things that interest, annoy or intrigue me!

For each blog post I do I will upload a selfie of some makeup I am proud of. This is not for vanity but because I don’t always have a model around that I can try things out on, so my experimentation gets done mostly on myself. So if any of the images you see inspire you, and you want to learn how to recreate them, get in touch on my contact page! Disclaimer: I also promise that I will never upload filtered selfies. My work is always photographed with good camera equipment and good lighting. I think it’s important for us all to look at realistic images, so not to give us false expectations or body confidence issues.

So for now, I hope you like the site and like the sound of the services I offer and I hope to meet some of you in person soon!

Beth x-X-x