Alcohol in Skincare Products

Topical alcohols have been a popular topical issue in the beauty world and causes the utmost confusion. It is found in almost everything you find in Boots, from astringents, moisturisers to face masks. Yet, if you asked a beauty enthusiast, the general advice is to plain right avoid like the plague. But I disagree though. The topical use of alcohol is much deeper than that.

Uses of alcohol in skincare.
Alcohol has been used in skincare products for decades. I still remember the thick Olay cream makeup remover I slapped on and massaged my face with after my ballet recitals, and the alcohol-laden agent swiped after. You see, this second agent was used to de-grease my greased-up face. Other uses of alcohol in skincare listed below:
1. Emulsifier – to blend substances together
2. Antiseptic – to kill bacteria, especially used in hand sanitisers
3. Stabiliser – to prevent separation of products
4. Preservative – to defer decay and minimizes bacterial growth
But do all alcohols do these wondrous things? No.

To keep things simple, there are “good” and “bad” alcohols.
“Bad Alcohols” are notorious for causing a riot in the beauty world and drying havoc on your skin. If you look at the ingredients list on your bottle, these are often “alcohol”, “ethanol”, “isopropyl…”, and “denatured alcohol” / “alcohol denat”. While great for their antiseptic properties and dissolving surface oil, they dry out skin and weaken the protective barrier making skin prone to irritation. They are often found in blue-tinged, drugstore toners and astringents targeted towards greasy-skinned teenagers. As alcohol irritates skin, more sebum is produced thus rolls on the hamster wheel.
“Good Alcohols” are underrated and cause a beauty shopper to freak out at the sight of “…alcohol” in the ingredients list. I wish they would be renamed to make it easier for consumers to tell the difference. If the word “alcohol” is preceded by another word, these are often the fatty alcohols which have emollient, thickening, skin-penetrating and/or moisturising properties. They provide a smooth velvety feel to the skin. Common examples include cetyl alcohol, myristyl alcohol, cetearyl alcohol.

Another thing to keep in mind is the “concentration” of alcohol in a product.
The ingredients list is not a random list of products, rather it is often in the order of concentration from highest to lowest. If you find it within the first 5 ingredients, I would probably stay away, especially if you have dry sensitive skin. If it rolls lower down the list, it is likely used in a lower concentration perhaps for beneficial uses listed above.

The General Advice
1. Check the ingredients list before you buy. If you find “alcohol”, “ethanol”, “isopropyl…”, and “alcohol denat” in the first 5 ingredients, stay away. And oh another thing, especially if you have dry skin, avoid that beautiful vibrant blue hue in skincare solutions as if it were a blue poison dart frog.
2. While “bad alcohols” do dry out the skin, applying them on the surface is not "toxic". You will not die (unless you drink them of course).
3. If you are really hell-bent on using those alcohol laden astringents, I would suggest reducing the frequency of use. Limit application up to 2-3 times a week.

Alcohol in Skincare Products

And just to add, here’s a list of "bad alcohol"-containing products (top 5 in ingredients list) I found in my cupboard:
Activbod Cooling Finish Lotion
Avène Cleanance Toner
Bobbi Brown Soothing Cleansing Oil
Cetaphil DermaControl Oil Control Moisturizer with SPF 30
Clarins Extra-Firming Body Cream
Clarins Sun Care by Clarins Spray Gentle Milk-Lotion Progressive Tanning SPF20
Eucerin Even Brighter Spot Corrector
Eucerin Sun Protection Sun Spray Transparent 50 High
Garnier Body Ultimate Beauty Oil
Garnier Peel-Off Mask with Vitamins A+C
Garnier Skin Naturals 2-in-1 Eye Make-Up Remover
Gillette Fusion ProSeries Intense Cooling Aftershave Lotion
La Roche Posay Anthelios XL Spf50+ Invisible Nutritive Oil
La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Protective Oil
La Roche-Posay Effaclar Astringent Micro-Exfoliant Lotion
Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Natural Bronze Gradual Tanning Moisturiser
Sanctuary Illuminating Moisture Lotion SPF15
The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Make Up Remover
Vichy Normaderm Hydrating Care
Vichy Purete Thermale 3-in-1 One Step Cleanser

You can tell these are mostly oils, makeup removers and toners. Alcohols in oils and heavy duty makeup removers sort of make sense as emulsifiers. But in toners and moisturisers? No no.

I hope this post was helpful. Leave a comment below!

| The Skin and Beauty Blog

Essie Spring 2016 Nail Polishes - Lounge Lover and High Class Affair Review Swatches
Essie Spring 2016 Nail Polishes - Lounge Lover and High Class Affair Review
I have a soft spot for Essie nail polishes. It must be that adorable white cap or the square-ish easily organisable shape that lets you tuck them in an old shoebox in a pleasingly orderly fashion. What's better than normal Essie polishes are the Essie Spring Polishes, full of vibrance with an "its-almost-summer" vibe and a touch of girly pastels thrown in. I've picked up two from this collection - see below!

Essie Lounge Lover Nail Polish Review Swatches
Essie Lounge Lover Nail Polish Review Swatches 
Essie Lounge Lover Nail Polish is a coral pink on the verge of neon. It reminds me of Model's Own Nail Polish in Shades, but a touch less neon. It's such a bright warm shade for the upcoming sunny season and it has been permanently residing on my toenails for the last few weeks. Two coats is perfect. I love it!

Essie High Class Affair Nail Polish Review Swatches
Essie High Class Affair Nail Polish Review Swatches 
Essie High Class Affair Nail Polish is a light peachy nude. The application isn't as easy as Lounge Lover. It requires a bit of patience and at least 3 coats to look good. Make sure to wait a bit in between swipes to make sure the layer beneath has dried enough. It stands out quite a bit with my skintone (NC25-30). This could be a perfect nude shade for paler pink-toned complexions.

Have you had a chance to look at the new Essie collection? I would suggest Lounge Lover to complement an evolving tan... *wink wink*

Love it or Leave It? Leave a comment below!

| The Skin and Beauty Blog


The Purpose of Makeup in DH's Eyes

Laura's blog BuyNowBlogLater is one I frequent and she recently posted answers to this tag.

You basically present a list of makeup products to your partner and ask them to define its uses. It was interesting to hear her husband's answers, esp with special construction analogies.

I decided to take on the tag and see what my DH (cue geeky medic) had to say and what he casually osmosed up from bearing witness to my makeup obsession over the last decade. I'm actually surprised at his some of his ideas. Let's get crackin'.

Is that what you put over foundation? I don't know. To be fair I hardly wear primer!

It's what you use on your skin as a base to make it even.

You use it to give your skin a matte finish. Not always the look I was going for but hey!

It's to cover spots, blemishes and uneven skin pigment. Nice definition, I like it!

It's used to make you look more tanned. Do I use it? Not often. Yes I do, everyday!

It's what you wear to make your cheeks look rosy red. You don't need it though; you have a natural redness to your cheeks. Thanks love!

It's what you use on your nose to make it look bigger. Lol!

To make your lashes longer and fuller.

I find this the most peculiar thing that humans do. It's similar to what clowns wear. Does it make me look like a clown? Sometimes. Cheers...

Eye Liner
It's what is says, to line your eyes and make them more prominent.

Brow Pencil
To make your eyebrows look fuller and thicker.

To make your lips look more pink or red.

Setting Spray
What is that? To be fair I hardly use this too.

BB Cream
Is that Bobbi Brown's cream?

Good try!

He's done pretty well defining the products I use. Interesting to find out his outlook on the eyeshadow though. I wonder if other men think that way...

Try this tag with your other half, and keep a straight face! Let me know, I'd love to check out your answers.

Love it or Leave It? Leave a comment below!

| The Skin and Beauty Blog

Models Own Rose Gold Domed Contouring Brush and Real Techniques Bold Metals Rose Gold Brushes Review
Models Own Rose Gold Domed Contouring Brush and Real Techniques Bold Metals Rose Gold Brushes

There's nothing like a new rose gold brush to brighten up my day. I've got the beautiful Models Own Rose Gold Domed Contouring Brush to share with you. I literally squealed when I saw this pop up on my regular 'Rose Gold' search from ASOS. Trust me, its quite a frequent occurrence, that, 'French Connection Dress' and 'scallop'.

When I received this brush, I was surprised at how huge the brush was. It's pretty much as long as the Real Techniques Bold Metals Brushes. Those pictured above are 301 and 300. The rose gold tint is practically the same. They have a similar pink tint to the bristles. The difference lies in the handle. The Real Techniques ones are more polygonal compared to the rounded Models Own.

Models Own Rose Gold Domed Contouring Brush and Real Techniques Bold Metals Rose Gold Brushes Review
Models Own Rose Gold Domed Contouring Brush and Real Techniques Bold Metals Rose Gold Brushes Review
In terms of bristle quality, they are soft, synthetic and very similar to RT. The packing of the bristles with MO are a bit more loose whereas the RT ones are more compact and firm.

Models Own Rose Gold Domed Contouring Brush and Real Techniques Bold Metals Rose Gold Brushes Review
Models Own Rose Gold Domed Contouring Brush and Real Techniques Bold Metals Rose Gold Brushes Review
I'm impressed by how Models Own has amped up their makeup brushes and if only the price point was a bit more drugstore than high street (£19.99), I would probably pick up another one. I've got the Models Own Rose Gold Hollow Foundation Brush in mind. It seems like a prettier shinier rose gold version of the Bare Minerals Perfecting Face Brush...

What do you think? Leave a comment below!

| The Skin and Beauty Blog


NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Review
NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Review 
I present to you the latest "NARS Velvet Matte".

I haven't come across anything from that begins with "NARS Velvet Matte" that I haven't enjoyed. The NARS Velvet Matte lip pencils are what brought me into the NARS frenzy in the first place.

And I was hoping this new NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint would deliver.

I've used this for a week on my combination skin and here are my thoughts.

1. Does not need powdering if you want that natural finish.
2. Lasts for a couple of hours on an oily nose. Use a primer to make it last even longer. It works well on top of Clarins Beauty Flash Balm!
3. Good coverage for a "skin tint".
4. Lightweight breathable texture.

1. Poor shade range. Only 12 shades at present. You'll be lucky to find your match!
2. It has the tendency to sit on dry patches, you need a well moisturised base underneath. Perhaps not for dry skins.
3. It lightly oxidises, so you might find you get tanner as the day goes on (which isn't always a bad thing - make sure to paint your neck though).

NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Alaska NC25-30 Review
NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint Alaska for MAC NC25-30 Review

I've been one of the lucky few to find a shade match in the shade Alaska, although I'm a bit surprised. I tend to go for the Medium 1 option, for my NC25-30 skin. Alaska is described as Light 2 with a neutral balance of pink and yellow undertones. Perhaps this shade range is trying to stretch itself out to accommodate a variety of skintones.

In terms of that 'mattifying' effect, I find it safe to say this sits between NARS Sheer Glow Foundation and NARS Sheer Matte Foundation.

Overall I'm enjoying NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint for an everyday type of foundation. For more glammed up events, I will still be reaching out for the classic NARS Sheer Glow Foundation as it is far more photogenic with better coverage.

Love it or Leave It? Leave a comment below!

| The Skin and Beauty Blog


L'Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Review
L'Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Review 
"It's green."

Were the first thoughts that came to mind. An unnatural shade for any skincare/hair care product and yet this was meant to be applied on the scalp.

But as a greasy-roots type of gal with sebum production paralleling life's stresses eg. worse with on calls at work and less so if I'm off on the weekends, the promise of oil-reducing hair clay instantly grabbed my attention.

L'Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Masque Pre Shampoo Treatment. This stuff is interesting. The texture of this masque is quite unique. It's a lot more bouncy and not as thick as I had imagined. It has an easily work-able texture that doesn't cling on to strands. I find myself thinking "I could get used to this". And perhaps branch out to trying other hair treatment products.

I apply a blob half the size of my palm and smooth on damp hair. Using scalp massaging strokes, it feels like a treat. After gently massaging, I wait about 5 minutes then rinse out, followed by the shampoo.

This works excellently at stripping out flakes and oils from the hair; and it also works well to prevent build up of sebum on the scalp. It's a wonderful product!

L'Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Re-Balancing Shampoo. This blue tinted shampoo, like the clay masque, has a somewhat bouncy lightweight texture. After a rinse, it leaves my hair semi-squeaky clean. Not super clean to completely strip out the oils, but it does feel a lil squeaky. Compared to the pre-shampoo treatment, somehow this isn't as oil controlling, and perhaps is not really a must-have.

Now if you're wondering about the conditioner, it wasn't on my radar. I hardly use conditioner as I find they apply too much weight on the hair and most leave quite a bit of residue. Perhaps once my current tube of Moroccan Oil conditioner runs out, I might purchase the Extraordinary Clay variant.

And the effect?

L'Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Review
L'Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Review

Well after using this for the past week (every other day), I can say my hair is kept happy and healthy. I've noticed my roots don't get as oily as quickly as they have done in the past and my hair doesn't dry up to strands of well-made chips either.

If you're looking for a haircare range to grease-proof your hair, this range is right up your alley!

| The Skin and Beauty Blog