The “Hit, Miss and Maybe” Series – Face Masks

Another week, another “Hit, Miss and Maybe” post. So far, we’ve had a look at micellar watercleansing lotions and wash and facial exfoliators. To date, the posts have been really successful and lots of you seem to enjoy reading about the products that I love and the ones that amount to a skincare disaster, in my opinion. Of course, you haven’t all been in agreement with my choices but that’s half the fun – I’m having a great time sifting through the comments and picking up some skincare tips along the way.

This week, we’re going to talk about face masks. A face mask isn’t really an essential step in one’s skincare routine but everyone deserves a little bit of luxury. I’m a big fan of these type of products and usually apply a face mask once a week or more often, if I’m going on a night out. Here are some of the products that I love and, of course, some of the ones that I hate..

“Hit” Products:

PHYT’s “Masque Révélateur” (€24) – Available Here from PHYT’s Ireland:

 

PHYTs Masque Review

In previous posts, I’ve mentioned that PHYT’s is one of my all-time favourite skincare brands. They produce organic, natural and cruelty-free products that contain active ingredients which means that although they’re gentle, the products REALLY work. This product is a radiance mask, which means that it’s designed to brighten dull, tired skin. And, I can confirm that the results are instantaneous.

If I have lots of time to get ready before I night out, I will apply this mask after cleansing my skin and allow it to work its magic for fifteen minutes while I curl my hair. The ingredients in the mask including camphor, mint and sunflower extract work together to soothe tired skin, smoothing the surface and brightening the area – this product is gentle enough that it can even be used underneath the eyes to diminish dark circles. I rinse the mask off using lukewarm water and a facecloth and my skin looks instantly plump and refreshed, as though I just had a good night’s sleep. After using this formula, foundation sits far better on my face and doesn’t cling to any dry skin. If you have an event coming up, I would 100% recommend taking an extra few minutes before applying make-up to use this product.

ESPA “Optimal Skin ProCleanser” (£31 – UK) – Available Here from ESPA:

ESPA Optimal Skin ProCleanser

Alright, so technically this product is marketed as a cleanser but, it’s actually a multi-tasking formula. When it comes to removing make-up, I prefer to use the ESPA “Hydrating Milk Cleanser” which I wrote about here but I think that the “Optimal Skin ProCleanser” is the bees knees when used as a face mask. One of the main ingredients in this formula is actually bees wax so a little goes a long way. This mask is very luxurious and has a strong scent, reminiscent of a day spa. I tend to use this one before showering because it does contain some exfoliating beads and can be a little messy. To use this one, you simply massage it into the skin and allow it to work its magic for 15 minutes before rinsing off. The brightening effects are instantaneous and because this formula also works as an exfoliator, skin feels super soft after use.

Image Skincare “Clear Cell Clarifying Masque” (€35) – Available in Salon Only:

Untitled-1

Image Skincare is a great brand for really strong and effective products, which is why they’re only available for purchase in salons where trained Image Skincare specialists can recommend specific products to suit your skin type and to help combat your individual skin concerns. This “Clear Cell Masque” is a brilliant option for anyone who suffers from problem skin. Now, 99% of the time, I have really clear skin but if I’m feeling under pressure and stressed, my skin tends to break out. On these occasions, I tend to apply this product to the specific problem areas and rinse off with cool water after about 15 mins. Because I don’t have oily skin, I don’t apply this product to my whole face but if you suffer from acne, I think this may be a great product for you. I find that the glycolic and salicylic acid in the formula really helps to draw impurities to the surface of he skin, while the green tea extracts in the product soothe sore, red skin.

Again though, Image products are professional products so I do recommend that you get the advice of your local Image specialist before purchasing this mask. For any Cavan girls, I recommend my local salon, Essential Beauty Skin and Laser.

“Maybe” Products:

 

TonyMoly “I Am Real Aloe Mask Sheet” (€3):

 

TonyMoly Aloe Mask Sheet

I know that the world is going mad for these sheet masks at the minute and I can’t really argue with that €3 price tag but, I just wasn’t blown away by this product. I love sheet masks as much as the next person, but I have to question whether they’re really just a gimmick. This product is definitely soothing and cooling on the face but, I didn’t really see any noticeable results after use. My skin didn’t appear more plump or any healthier so this one only gets a “maybe” from me – it’s great for relaxation purposes but, don’t expect and drastic visual results. If you’re looking for a hydrating sheet mask, Image Skincare also have a gorgeous option that’s more expensive, but worth looking in to.

Dermalogica “Charcoal Rescue Masque” (€48):

Dermalogica Charcoal Face Masque

Alright, so last week I wrote about a Dermalogica cleanser that I love, so as you can imagine, I had high hopes for this product and at first, I loved it. The brand promise that this formula works to detoxify skin, eliminating impurities such as spots and blackheads. This is a claim that the product actually lives up to but after prolonged use over a few months, I found that this formula was a little drying on my skin and that’s why it’s on my “maybe” list. Plus, the charcoal makes it really, really messy. However, if you’ve got oily, acne-prone skin and enjoy a good exfoliating mask, this would probably suit your skin type.

“Miss” Products:

 

Montagne Jeunesse Face Masks (€1.50):

 

 

All of the memories from your teenage years have just come flooding back to you, haven’t they? These face masks, a firm favourite at girly sleepovers in the 90s and 00s are available in pharmacies nationwide for the dirt cheap price of €1.50. But, there’s a reason that they cost less than a family sized bar of Galaxy chocolate. These products are fun to apply and often smell fab but the truth is that they just don’t do anything. In fact, my skin often felt greasy after using these products, which is never a good look. Honestly, I think that there’s a good reason that these masks only cost €1.50 and, you’d be better off buying that bar of chocolate if you want to treat yourself!

 

And there you have it, another selection of “Hit, Miss and Maybe” products. If you have any opinions on the products listed or feel that you could add some different products into these categories, please do let us know in the comment section of this post or the corresponding Instagram picture..

Rouge x

The “Hit, Miss and Maybe” Series – Cleansing Lotion and Wash

When I wrote the first post in my new “Hit, Miss and Maybe” series, I didn’t really know how it would be received by my followers. Lots of us have completely different skin types and complexions and so, lots of us have differing opinions on certain brands and cosmetics. However, it seems that the majority of my followers really liked the post and enjoyed the opportunity to interact on social media, telling us all about your favourite products and the ones that you think are utter crap! And, I really enjoyed reading the comments and taking on board some new recommendations.

So, I think that we’ll make the “Hit, Miss and Maybe” posts into a regular feature on Rouge Writing Hood. We’ll start with skincare products, taking you through an entire skincare regime before moving on to make up. My opinions may be controversial but sure, it’s all in the name of “authenticity”.

This week, let’s talk about cleansing lotion and wash. Cleanser is probably the most important step in a skincare regime. If you’re not taking your make up off properly at night, then you’re wasting your money on fancy moisturisers, face masks and foundations. So, find a cleanser that’s right for your own skin type, removes every trace of make up and is gentle on your skin – set the bar high and if you have to spend an extra few euro to get great results, I recommend doing so.

 

“Hit” Products:

PHYT’s Lait Nettoyant (€25) – Available Here:

 

Phyts Cleanser Review

PHYT’s are one of my favourite skincare brands. The brand are organic, cruelty-free and their products contain active ingredients for actual results. This cleanser is one that I use on a daily basis, after I’ve taken the bulk of my make up off using a micellar water or my “Cleanse Off Mitt”. “Lait Nettoyant” is a really creamy cleansing lotion that is perfect for dry skin. I apply it directly to my face, massage in upward, circular motions and rinse off with a warm facecloth. This formula leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated but I would stress that I feel it needs to be rinsed off properly (I never remove it with dry cotton wool) or you will feel a little residue of the lotion on your face. This product is perfect for dry/dehydrated skin but, if you have oily skin, I would recommend steering clear of creamy cleansers and opting for a cleansing milk instead.

ESPA “Hydrating Cleansing Milk” (£24) – Available Here:

ESPA Hydrating Cleansing Milk

This cleansing milk from ESPA is another one of my long-time skincare favourites. I first discovered the ESPA brand years ago when my Mum purchased this cleanser from the spa at Powerscourt Hotel in Wicklow. We both fell in love with the product and have since repurchased it, on numerous occasions. The ESPA “Hydrating Cleansing Milk” is a really gentle cleanser that I would say is best suited to combination skin. It removes all traces of make up and excess oil but doesn’t leave the face feeling tight or dehydrated. I find this cleanser to be very soothing on the skin and it helps to alleviate redness, which ESPA put down to the inclusion of marshmallow extract and chamomile in the ingredients. I usually double cleanse with this product, which means that I apply it to my face twice, to ensure all make up is removed. Again, this is a cleanser that needs to be rinsed using warm water.

Kiehls “Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil” (€35) – Available Here:

Kiehls Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil

This new release from Kiehls is the only cleansing oil in my skincare collection. Even though I have dehydrated skin, I don’t usually opt for an oil based cleanser but because I adore the Kiehls “Midnight Recovery Oil”, I thought I’d give this product a whirl. I’m so glad that I did. Ingredients in this formula include: squalane, a planted-derived lipid with a natural affinity for skin; evening primrose oil, which is rich in omega-6 fatty acids; and lavender essential oil. This means that the product nourishes the skin, while removing any stubborn make up. And yes, it removes even the most stubborn of make up! This is the only cleanser on my list that I can use to remove my eye make up. Usually, I use a separate eye make up remover but, the cleansing oil eliminates the need to do so. Goodbye, panda-eyes.

“Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil” exudes a gorgeous lavender scent so it’s a perfect addition to anyone’s night time skincare routine. To use this product, you apply three pumps to your face, massage in for about 30 secs and then emulsify the oil using warm water. Massage for a further 30 secs and rinse off with water. When I use this product, I don’t feel the need to double cleanse so even though it’s pricey at €35, it lasts twice as long as the other products mentioned. However, because it’s an oil formula, it is a little messier than my other “hit” options so I tend to use it at night time, rather than first thing in the morning.

Vichy “Pureté Thermale 3 in 1 Step Cleanser” (€15) – Available Here:

vichy_purete_thermale_3_in_1_one_step_cleanser_200ml_1

This cleanser is the cheapest in my “hit” section (currently on offer from Meaghers Pharmacy for €11.21) but the quality of the formula is great. Now, I don’t believe that the product is a “one step” skin routine but it’s a damn good cleanser. I usually use this product if my skin is feeling a little oily because it leaves my face feeling spotless, without making skin feel sore or sensitive. For that reason, I think this is a great option for oily and sensitive skin types. The gel texture of this cleanser is gorgeous. It’s a water-based product so it feels smooth and lightweight on the skin and I also find it very cooling so it’s a good option for the summer. The cleanser is soap-free, alcohol-free and fragrance-free so again, it’s a great option for sensitive skin. My only criticism would be that it doesn’t remove waterproof mascara very well but, that’s what they invented eye make up remover for. Over all, this product is a winner and I would definitely repurchase.

“Maybe” Products:

So here’s the thing – I don’t believe in “maybe” products when it comes to cleanser. I either like a product, or I don’t – there’s no sitting on the fence allowed in this category of skincare. I honestly believe that cleansing is the most important step in any beauty routine so this week, we don’t have any “maybe” products.

“Miss” Products:

 

Simple “Kind to Skin Purifying Cleansing Lotion” (€5.49):

Simple Cleanser Review

Alright, so I know that this pick will be controversial because LOTS of beauty fanatics rave about this cleanser but, I just don’t get it – at all. Why on earth would you use this product on your face? It is horrific. First of all, it’s impossible to squeeze a decent amount of product out of the container without maximum effort. Secondly, the texture of the product is thick and slimy and errghhhh. And finally, it doesn’t seem to remove your make up unless you apply three or four coats of it, rinsing each time. It’s one of the few cleansers that I’ve ever used that has caused me to breakout and it makes me pores appear enlarged. So, even though I know that every teenager in Ireland tries this product at some stage, if you’re still using it, I would urge you to try something new – there are so many better options out there. Simple’s “Kind to Skin Purifying Cleansing Lotion” may be extremely cheap at €5.49 but, I wouldn’t pay that amount of money for it again.

Soap and Glory “Peaches and Clean Deep Cleansing Milk” (€9.99): 

Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean

Soap and Glory are my guilty pleasure brand. We’ve been told time and time again that heavily scented products aren’t really good for our skin and yet, I could bathe in the Soap and Glory body butters and I love their shower gels. So, I was kind of expecting to love this cleanser when I purchased it a few years ago. And, at first, I did. I loved the scent and the creamy texture but, at the end of a three week trial, this product irritated my skin and left my face feeling sore and sensitive. The formula smells fruity and divine but because it’s so heavily perfumed, I feel that it strips the skin of all moisture. I also don’t think that that the cleansing milk actually removes make up all that well. It’s not as ineffective as the Simple option but, it fails to remove any eye make up and actual stings and irritates eyes in the process. Lots of people love this cleanser and maybe if you have oily skin, it would be a good option but it’s just not for me – I won’t be repurchasing.

The Body Shop “Tea Tree Skin Clearing Foaming Cleanser” (€9.50):

Body Shop Tea Tree Foaming Cleanser Review

Let me begin here by saying that this cleanser from the Body Shop is marketed as a formula specifically for acne prone skin. I have to say that this isn’t my skin type so there’s a fair chance that I didn’t like this product, simply because it doesn’t suit my own skin. However, I did trial it during exam season, when my skin was stressed and experiencing a few breakouts and I just didn’t like it. Yes, I love the scent of the tea tree ingredients and the foaming cleanser does have a cooling effect on skin but, for me, it wasn’t very effective for clearing skin and I’m really conscious of the fact that this formula contains lots of chemicals in the form of sulfates and emulsifiers. The product does remove make up really well but my skin felt very dry after use – it should be noted that I would never recommend using a foaming wash on dry skin because it will worsen the problem. Overall, the product just doesn’t live up to its claims (in my opinion) and it’s been banished to my “emergency” skincare drawer, never to see the light of day again.

And there you have it, a new list of “Hit, Miss and Maybe” products.. Feel free to agree or disagree with my picks in the comment section or over on the corresponding Instagram post – I’d love to hear what you think! 

Rouge x 

The “Hit, Miss and Maybe” Series – Micellar Water

As most of you will already know, there’s lots of controversy surrounding Irish beauty blogs this week. Many people are asking why bloggers, like myself, write more positive reviews than negative. Are we terrified to annoy PR companies, fearing that we’ll never receive press samples from them again? Are we being paid to pretend to like a product thus writing inauthentic, inaccurate reviews?

Honestly, maybe some of the community are taking advantage of their audience for monetary gain but most of us are not. I blog because I’m obsessed with make up but I don’t believe that it’s the be all and end all. I don’t need to wear it on a daily basis because I am confident about my own appearance. I enjoy cooing over new lipstick formulas and shades, but I work five days a week and I can afford to purchase a new release, should my heart desire it. So, the answer is no – I’m not afraid of annoying PR companies or brands. I’ve received many a press sample that has never made its way to my blog or social media feeds because it didn’t suit my complexion/skin type or simply because the formula was crap.

Keeping all of this in mind, I’m taking some constructive criticism on board and a leaf out of the book of my favourite, truth-telling blogger, Sinead Kavanagh. This post is the first in a series of “Hit, Miss and Maybe” product reviews, focusing on specific types of product. Some of these products are excellent, some are mediocre and some weren’t even worth mentioning – until now.

Let’s start with micellar water, a cleansing agent that should be in every gal’s skincare kit. While I don’t think these non-rinse formulas are suitable for a full cleanse, they’re super handy for removing the bulk of your make up before you cleanse with a lotion or wash. They’re also great for cleaning up application errors. However, of course, some of the formulas are much better than others. So, let’s have it!

“Hit” Products:

ESPA “Purifying Micellar Cleanser” (£24) – Available Here:

 

Espa Micellar Cleanser Review

At £24, this micellar water is, by far, the most expensive option on the list but, it’s also the best. The formula is filled with hyaluronic acid, rose water and witch hazel which work together to leave skin feeling plump and hydrated. Micellar waters are often very drying on the skin but that’s not the case with this offering from ESPA and that’s what makes it the stand out product in this post. I use this formula most mornings by soaking a cotton pad and sweeping it along my face to remove impurities and any traces of yesterday’s eyeliner. It soothes tired skin and doesn’t leave the skin too dry for the immediate application of make-up.

Bioderma’s “Sensibio H2O Micellar Solution” (€11.50) – Available Here:

Bioderma Micellar Water Review.png

At over half the price of the ESPA offering, this Bioderma micellar water is almost as good. This formula, which is one of the most popular skincare products on the French market, is designed specifically for sensitive skin so it won’t leave your skin feeling irritated or dehydrated. I think that this micellar water is the most effective product in this post, for the removal of heavy or stubborn make up. It removes eyeliner with a single swipe and, therefore, eliminates the need to purchase a separate eye make up remover. Again, highlighting its value for money. I’ve repurchased this micellar water four times – other products at the same price point just don’t compair!

“Maybe” Product:

Garnier Cleansing Micellar Water (€5.35) – Available Here:

 

 

Garnier Micellar Water

I know that lots of people rate the Garnier “Micellar Cleansing Water” as a “holy grail” product in their make up kit but, for me, it’s just OK. At just over €5, it’s really cheap and I can’t argue that it doesn’t remove make up really quickly. However, I found it a little drying – nothing that a little moisturiser couldn’t sort out but, I wasn’t wowed.

Now, it should be noted that I used the entire bottle of this micellar water when I purchased it, every last drop but I didn’t rush out to buy it again. However, I do tend to purchase the mini version of the product if I’m going on holidays as Boots in Dublin airport always have it in stock. Like the Bioderma formula, this micellar water is great for removing eyeliner and mascara. So, keeping all of this in mind – I’d buy it if I was on a strict budget, to use as an eye make up remover or, if I was travelling because it’s inexpensive enough to leave behind when you’re abroad without feeling any guilt.

“Miss Products”:

Super Facialist by Una Brennan “Probiotic Micellar Cleansing Water” (£6.99 – Purchased from Boots, UK):

 

Una Brennan Superfacialist Probiotic Micellar Water

This product is easily the worst micellar water that I have EVER used. The idea of a “probiotic” cleanser is lovely in theory but that just didn’t translate into reality. This product fails to remove anything more than a trace of foundation, never mind stubborn eye make up. This formula claims to sooth skin, with cucumber extract listed as a main ingredient, but I found that it irritated my skin (which is not particularly sensitive) and left it stingy and dehydrated. The micellar water also has a very soapy feel, which is very unusual for non-rinse products. A complete, without hesitation, thumbs-down from me.

Botanics “All Bright Micellar 3 in 1 Cleansing Solution” (€6.49):

Botanics All Bright Micellar Water Review Blog

I had really high hopes for this product, because I actually like a lot of the products in the Botanics range from Boots. However, this formula was a little disappointing. The “3 in 1” formula promises to remove make up, unclog pores and remove impurities and as far as I can tell, it doesn’t live up to these claims. The formula removes a decent amount of make up but isn’t half as effective as the Bioderma, ESPA or Garnier products. This micellar cleanser also attempts to provide the user with a gentle chemical exfoliation but honestly, I found this ineffective and my skin was left feeling tight and dehydrated after use. However, this product might be perfect for those with very oily skin – so that’s something to keep in mind.

And there you have it, my “hit, miss and maybe” micellar water recommendations. I have to stress though, that what works for me, doesn’t necessarily work for everyone else. So, if you have any differing opinions on any of the products listed, we would love to hear them (just use the comment section) or, if you have more recommendations to add to the list – let us know!!

Rouge x

My Top “January Sales” Picks

Christmas is over and the festive season is firmly behind us. But, fear not – returning to work means a brand new paycheck which also means hitting the January sales. You only regret the things that you don’t buy but I’ve complied a little list of my favourite bargains to give you a little inspiration.

 

 

 

LanaiBlo Professional Hairdryer – Available Here:

 

lanaiblo-hairdryer

After reading The Beautiful Truth’s “Luxury Christmas Gift Guide” and watching her Snapchats, I found myself lusting after this LanaiBlo styling tool. Santa heard my plea and dropped one of these babies down the chimney and, I have to say, it’s definitely worth the money. The 2400 watt LanaiBlo is the brainchild of Irish entrepreneur Katie-Jane Goldin and it drys hair at a much faster rate than my previous hairdryer. It now takes me about 10 – 15 minutes to dry my hair which is pretty long, falling far below my shoulders. This hairdryer also uses ionic technology to provide an anti-static result. I rolled my eyes at that too but it actually does work! I’m finding less and less of a need for my GHDs.

The LanaiBlo is currently reduced from €99.99 to €89.99.

AYU “Chloe Brush Set” – Available Here:

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Again, this pick is one that I already have. I ADORE my “Chloe Brush Set” from AYU and used it almost every day over the festive season. It contains pretty much every brush you’ll need for a full face of make up, although I would recommend purchasing a stippling foundation brush too for fast application. I love the royal purple and gold colours in this set and because the brushes are made from synthetic fibres, they won’t absorb and waste product.

The AYU “Chloe Brush Set” is currently reduced from €60 to €45.

ESPA “The Replenishing Collection” – Available Here:

replenishing-collection

 

This gift set from ESPA is on my January wishlist because it contains all of my favourite skincare goodies from the brand in one box. ESPA is a gorgeous spa brand, available online and in luxury Irish resorts like Castlemartyr and Powerscourt. I absolutely adore their “Hydrating Cleansing Milk” which is in this set along with their “Hydrating Floral Spafresh” toner, “24 hr Replenishing Moisturiser” and “Overnight Hydration Therapy” which I have reviewed in full here. I’m actually running low on my ESPA products at the moment, so a sale is the perfect excuse to stock up. I would recommend these products for all skin types but, I think that dry and dehydrated “winter skin” would really appreciate the TLC that ESPA provides.

The ESPA “Replenishing Collection” is currently reduced from £60 to £42 and, ESPA are also offering a free full-sized cleanser to those who spend over £60 online.

Mugler “Angel Muse” Gift Set – Available Here:

mugler-angel-set

As some of you will already know, I included Mugler’s “Angel” in my “Christmas 2016 – Fragrances for Her” post. Now, Debenhams are offering 25% off this gorgeous “Angel Muse” set which includes a 50ml refillable eau de parfum and a complimentary 5ml miniature for your handbag. “Angel Muse” is a slightly sweeter fragrance than “Angel” and is lovely and fresh for everyday wear.

The “Angel Muse” gift set is currently reduced from €89 to €66.75 at Debenhams.

Benefit “Blushin’ Babe” Gift Set – Available Here:

Benefit Blushin Babe Set.jpg

Arnotts are offering a massive 33% off this gorgeous gift set from Benefit making it cheaper than one full-sized blusher from the brand. Benefit blushers are arguably the best on the market, loved by make up addicts worldwide. And, if you purchase this gift set, I highly doubt you’ll find any need to purchase another blush product for years. With five well-sized options to choose from, you’ll have the perfect shade for every occasion. And, Benefit have also included a mini “They’re Real” mascara and liner and a “Watts Up” highlighter.

Benefit’s “Blushin’ Babe” is currently reduced from €43 to €28.81 at Arnotts.

Juvi “Egadi Round Pendant” – Available Here:

web_rez_0007_1

I am OBSESSED with Irish designers Julie and Vincent Tynan’s creations. You can read my piece on their new “Initials Collection” here. This gorgeous pendant is available at a discounted price with a number of gemstone options. Labradorite is one of my favourite gemstones so I think that the option pictured is gorgeous, but it’s worth checking out the Juvi website for the other options including ruby and rose quartz.

The “Egadi Round Pendant” is currently reduced from €95 to €66.50.


Skincare Travel Essentials for Summer ’16.

“I haven’t been everywhere but it’s on my list”. – Susan Sontag.

 

So, anyone who follows Rouge Writing Hood on social media will already know that I’m currently in New York on an extended holiday. I’m here for a month so I’m sure you can imagine that my suitcase for flying out literally weighed more than I do – which seemed like a fabulous idea until I had to haul it from JFK to Grand Central Station.

Given that I carried so many outfits, shoes and handbags over with me; I really had to cut down on my skincare and make up collection. So, I thought I’d show you how to do the same. These are my skincare essentials for long haul trips:

 

ESPA “Purifying Micellar Cleanser” (available here):

 

 

ESPA Micellar Cleanser

Now, I’ve tried every micellar water under the sun and this one is by far my favourite. Unlike other formulas that I’ve tried, it isn’t drying or harsh on skin. Instead, the ingredients such as organic rosewater, chamomile and witch hazel sooth skin whilst removing make up quickly. This formula eliminates the need for eye make up remover as it removes even the most stubborn of waterproof mascara.

Moogoo “Ground Oatmeal Cleansing Bar” (available here):

Moogoo Oatmeal Cleansing Soap

In an effort to avoid carrying too many liquid products, I always bring this solid cleanser from MooGoo on holidays with me. The formula is an all-natural one and is nice and gentle on skin. This is a great multi-tasking product because it can be used to wash your face, body, make up brushes and tanning gloves. If you don’t have one of these cleansing bars, you definitely need one!

PHYT’s “Crème Hydra Riche” (available here):

PHYTs Moisturiser

I’m a huge fan of PHYT’s skincare and this formula is my must-have moisturiser. This formula is quite rich but it absorbs quickly. I have normal/dehydrated skin so I use this one morning and night. The great thing about this moisturiser is that, because it’s made from all-natural and organic ingredients, it can also be used as eye cream. That’s one product less for your suitcase.

Dermalogica “Solar Defense Booster SPF 50” (available here):

Dermalogica SPF

Of course, I landed in NYC in the middle of a heatwave and being a ginja ninja, I definitely need all of the SPF that I can get. The problem with SPF is that often, it can be oily and sticky – yuck! But, not this one. Dermalogica have formulated the perfect facial SPF and it may be pricey, but it’s worth every single cent. This formula absorbs really quickly and make up sits perfectly over it.

Dermalogica “Protection 50 Sport SPF 50” (available here):

Dermalogica Sun Protection

Since I loved the facial SPF from Dermalogica, I had high hopes for the full body version. And, it didn’t disappoint. Again this formula is non-greasy and fast absorbing. I haven’t gotten even a patch of sunburn yet (which is remarkable for a redhead) so I’m pretty sure that the formula is really effective.

ESPA “Nourishing Lip Treatment” (available here):

ESPA Nourishing Lip Treatment

Extremely warm weather combined with air conditioning always leads to really chapped lips. It’s really difficult to actually find a lip product that works but this one from ESPA is great. The formula has an oil-like texture which is light and can act as a primer for matte lip products. A tiny bit goes a long way so the product is great value for money and should last for ages.

And that’s it folks. Every skincare product that I brought to NYC with me. What do you think? Have you tried any of these products? Or, do you have your own travel favourites? Let us know in the comments.

Rouge x

ESPA “Overnight Hydration Therapy” Face Mask.

“Motivate. Hydrate. Feel great”.

The one question that readers of Rouge Writing Hood ask me time and time again, via Snapchat (username: rougewriting), is how I keep my skin in good shape. The fact is that I’m genetically blessed with both an extreme lack of co-ordination and relatively clear skin. However, it isn’t naturally flawless. An insufficient amount of sleep and an overly sufficient amount of cocktails can leave my skin dull, irritated and hideously dehydrated. The solution to this self-inflicted problem? Why, “Mask Monday”, of course. Every single Monday, I take 15 minutes out to double cleanse, tone, exfoliate and apply a radiance boosting face mask.

If you’re a regular reader of Rouge Writing Hood, you will already know that my “quick fix” skin solution for dull skin is REN’s “Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial” (review here). However, if I have a little more time on my hands, I always reach for ESPA’s “Overnight Hydration Therapy” mask; for a more enduring remedy.

 

 

ESPA Overnight Hydration Mask

ESPA’s “Overnight Hydration Therapy” is a nourishing treatment mask for dehydrated skin. For those of you who plan to go a little mad on the partying front over the June “Bank Holiday Weekend” in Ireland, I would recommend adding this to your virtual shopping cart ASAP. It’s a saviour for hungover skin, especially when you need your make up to sit evenly on your face the next day. Flaky face – be gone!

The formula is marketed as an overnight treatment, but when I’m short on time, I’ve found that it does offer significant results in 15-20 mins. Basically, the mask is filled with natural, miracle inducing ingredients such as: seaweed extract, vitamin C, natural sugar complex and hyaluronic acid. And, these ingredients combined, allow your skin to restore and replenish itself at a faster rate than it would if it were left to its’ own devices.

To use the mask effectively, ESPA recommend that you massage the “Overnight Hydration Therapy” onto a clean face and neck until the formula turns white. Then, allow five minutes for the formula to sink into your skin before retiring to bed. Finally, rinse off any residue in the morning. Easy peasy, right?

I adore the fact that this product is filled with encapsulated lavender that activates when your head hits the pillow, encouraging a better night’s sleep. However, I do find the formula a little messy – I recommend wearing a shower cap to bed to save yourself waking up for work with hair that’s plastered in white gunk. Overall, that’s a very small price to pay for radiant, replenished skin.

“Overnight Hydration Therapy” would also be a great option for travellers who often find themselves on long-haul flights. I think I will be packing this one for my next trip to New York.

You can purchase ESPA’s “Overnight Hydration Therapy” mask here on their website. I think the product is very reasonably priced, considering that an average facial costs €60+. This formula is practically a facial in a jar!

What do you think? Would you consider purchasing? Or, do you have another cure for dehydrated skin that you would like to share with us? Let us know in the comments!

Rouge x

“Back to College” – Daily Skincare Routine with ESPA.

College life can really take a huge toll on our skin. Greasy food, lack of sleep and lots of alcohol consumption can leave skin tired, dehydrated and prone to break-outs. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a good skincare routine.

I first discovered ESPA products at Castlemartyr Resort in County Cork, when my Mum went on holidays and brought back the gorgeous ‘Hydrating Cleansing Milk’. So, when ESPA kindly offered to send me some sample sized goodies to try out, I jumped at the chance. I have been using said products religiously for approximately 3-4 weeks and can honestly say, that ESPA will be my ‘go-to’ skincare brand in the future – I am in love!

  

So let’s talk about the skincare routine. First up, remove your make-up using the ‘Hydrating Cleansing Milk’. This product is very mild and soothing so, perfect for irritated skin. Before, introducing this cleanser to my routine, I was sampling quite a lot of products and my skin did not appreciate playing ‘guinea pig’ – it was sore, blotchy and prone to blemishes. This formula is filled with wholesome ingredients like sweet almond and soya bean oils so it will nourish dehydrated and damaged skin. Yes, I’m looking at you with the glass of wine in your hand!

  

Next up, add a little ‘Hydrating Floral Spafresh’ toner to some cotton wool and wipe face in a circular motion. This will remove the last bit of debris from skin and strip away any excess oil. It is also soothing on skin and is filled with rose extract. If you are on a very tight student budget, I think you could skip this step but if you want to pamper your skin, I would definitely include it.

  

One or twice a week, after cleansing and toning, I have been using ESPA’s ‘Optimal Skin ProSerum’. This is to be used at night when your skin is feeling especially worse for wear. It is enriched with omega and vitamins to rejuvenate skin, giving it a healthy glow. And, even more importantly, it promises to protect against early ageing. Trust me, you want to enjoy your time spent in college without having the wrinkles to show for it. Just note, that the facial oil can feel a little ‘slimy’, so I wouldn’t attempt to apply it underneath make-up.

  

Moisturising is a key element of any skincare regime and ESPA’s ’24 Hour Replenishing Moisturiser’ is a ‘holy grail’ product. It is filled with delicious ingredients such as frankincense and vitamins to help stimulate cell renewal. You only need to apply a ‘pea sized’ amount of this product to your skin, so I’d imagine that the full-sized version would last throughout your entire college year.

  

Finally, I complete my skincare routine by applying a tiny amount of ESPA’s ’24 Hour Replenishing Eye Moisturiser’ to the top of my cheek bone, just below the immediate eye area. The eye area is very sensitive because your skin tissue is much thinner, compared to the rest of your face. Therefore, regular moisturisers are too heavy to be used and a specific eye cream is essential to banish bags and dark circles. This is particularly handy during exam season when ‘all-nighters’ are the norm!

All in all, I think I have found my favourite skincare brand. Since undertaking this routine, I have noticed a huge improvement in my skin – it appears more firm and blotchy areas have been banished. ESPA isn’t cheap but then again, I have yet to find skincare products which are really luxurious yet available at a low price tag. I would recommend this routine for anyone with normal or dry, damaged and dehydrated skin. I will be posting a routine for oily skin in the next few days so stay tuned.

ESPA products are available online here, in Harvey Nichols or in selected spa resorts such as Castlemartyr Resort or Powerscourt Hotel.

Let me know what you think if you try the products.

Rouge x