My 2020 hit or miss list!


Happy (belated) Christmas & Happy (early) New Years! It’s officially the week of ‘what day is it?’ Isn’t it? Haha. Anyway, hope you all had/have a good one, even it it’s probably primarily indoors! I for one have eaten far too much chocolate, eaten too many Pringles and listened to slightly too many Christmas songs, but hey that’s what Christmas is for and life goes on right? Can someone please also tell me how 2020 is over tonight? Where the bloody hell has that gone haha! So I thought, what better way to finish the year than to give you the full low down on my beauty hits and misses! Lets go…

So for a bit of an insight into what’s to come here, I have trialled what feels like hundreds of products this year (possibly due to the endless amounts of free time this year has provided some of us with…) some which I love and some which ended up in the bin… needless to say, there as some absolute gems which I feel are obligatory to share with you! I also wanted to remind you of my skin type too, so you normal skin people out there (you lucky things) don’t go reaching for something that is definitely not suited to your skin; my skin is a lovely (some may say) dry combination type and with the added bonus of being really rather blemish prone (I know, I’m blessed…), but you know, life would be boring if I had normal skin I guess. This is what I tell myself on the reg anyway. I should also mention that none of the below are sponsored in any shape or form, just to clear that up early on…

So lets start with the HITS! …

  1. Retinol… Now I know I have mentioned this many, many times in my other posts (refer to my Retinol, retinol, retinol post for more information) but oh my word this stuff is good! Many skin interested people/aestheticians out there will agree with me no doubt when I claim that; retinol is the only proven anti ageing ingredient (really!) and can majorly help improve breakouts too. Is that possibly the best combination ever? Anyway my favourites at the moment are actually a little different to when I last posted last about retinol (back then my fave was: Pixi Retinol tonic. Which is great, but the following 2 products trump it in my eyes…). So fave product number 1 is: Beauty Pie Super retinol booster treatment. I love this, especially on my forehead. I won’t go into too much detail here about BeautyPie (I feel this is a story for another day) but i’ll briefly explain how it works… it’s a subscription where you pay a small (or larger fee, depending on how much you are looking to buy) and you can access high quality products for a smaller price. This so far is the only product I really love though mind you, but that’s just me and some people love it all. However, I am definitely keeping my subscription going for this beauty alone. Sorry, slightly contradicting I know, but you get my drift haha. Fave product number 2 is: The Inkey list, Retinol eye cream. Now let me start by saying, I use this everywhere on my face but my eyes, but bare with me… this works as a magic spot treatment, honestly! Now I know some of you may turn your nose up at this (I did exactly this when I read someone else writing this) and I know it’s not the most economical way to use a treatment (with it being smaller because it’s meant for around your eyes), but if it works then why not eh? You can dot it on where needed or slather over, but as always with retinol, ease yourself in gently. It is lovely and creamy though, so dryness isn’t a huge deal here, as long as you don’t use the whole tube all in a one’r that is…
  2. Concealer as foundation… This is something I have been meaning to mention on my blog for ages now (knew I’d get here eventually…), but believe it or not, in the last say 2 years, I reckon I could count how many times I’ve used foundation on one hand! Instead I use my good old trusty favourite concealer – Collection lasting perfection concealer. I feel I should mention here that it also costs just over 4 quid! It’s amazing. I tend to use two different colours (number 5 to cover where needed and number 10 to give me a warmer glow on my cheekbones/top of my forehead), blend it all in with a brush, powder and then if needed go over any areas that need that little bit extra coverage. It really works a treat andddd it makes you look like you’re not ‘caked’ in makeup, which personally I don’t favour on my face (nothing against anyone who does though). I’ve even got 2 friends on the bandwagon with this too who are loving it just as much!
  3. TempleSpa Be Strong serum… Where do I start with this one? I’ll give you some background to start… I was trained in TempleSpa when I worked as a spa therapist in 2018 and I’ll be honest, my initial thoughts were; they all smell lovely but they’re relatively expensive and they’re a ’spa brand’ rather than something ‘clinical’ so to speak, so I didn’t know if they’d do much. But oh my, how wrong was I. I quickly got to know this serum and used it on a regular basis alongside quite a few other products of theirs, needless to say my skin was the best it had been in ages! (I was at the time working in Italy though, so I partly wondered if it was the sun too, but the products definitely, definitely helped I later discovered). When I returned home I carried on using them but slowly transitioned to other brands (for no reason whatsoever & now slightly regretting it…) and I almost forgot about this serum… However, I recently introduced again and oh my does my skin feel calmer, hallelujah! My only slight gripe with this is it‘s £40 for 30ml, which is a bit steep considering how often you want to use it, but skin is worth an investment right? As always I’m also not saying it will work for everyone, but if you are a little dehydrated, sensitive or blemish prone (or all the above) it may just be worth a shot…
  4. My fave brow gel has to beL’Oréal’s eyebrow artist plump & set. This has been one of my makeup staples this year (along with the collection concealer) to make brows look slightly more tamed, shaped & loved. I’ve tried quite a few in my days, but this seems to do it all! As a little disclaimer though… I do normally pencil my brows in a little bit under the gel BUT you can definitely get away with not doing this, I just like to, well because I can haha. One thing that did annoy me recently (L’Oréal you’re being named and shamed here…) was that about a year ago roughly, the product was about double the size for the same price as it is now, hmm… When I found this out, I swapped to another brand in a bit of a “I’m not paying that” huff, however… it wasn’t quite the same and I cracked and gave in (that didn’t let long did it?). All in all though I can’t fault it, so maybe it is worth the whole £7.99 for a tiny bottle? Yeahhhh, go on then…
  5. Palmers coconut oil deep conditioning hair protein pack… (what a mouthful haha!) This stuff I discovered about 6 months ago and oh wow do I love this! Me and my hair haven’t been best of friends the last couple of years, as my hair suddenly became a lot finer and a lot more brittle (again, a story for another day here), so when lockdown hit and I knew we weren’t going to be going far I set myself a challenge to break the hair wash cycle (side note: If you haven’t done this and wash your hair often, as disgusting as it is at first, I can’t recommend it highly enough!), deep condition it often and just generally look after it better. I know this is a big statement coming here…. but my hair has really, really improved (yayyy!), I can’t be sure it‘s not just one product in particular which has worked the most but this has definitely helped with my dry ends. Don’t be fooled by the size of the packet either, I use my on damp hair overnight (before a wash) and you only need the tiniest bit. Then wash it out the next day (ideally also with a sulphate free shampoo) and you’re good to go!
  6. The best face powder going… Now this is a product that has been a staple for me the last few years (and it lasts blooming ages too which is a bonus), it is: Charlotte Tilbury’s airbrush flawless finish powder. Now I have to admit, her stuff is beautiful (packaging and products), but there is no lie in saying that it is rather pricey! However, something that lasts so long, in my eyes, is worth it. There are definitely more affordable powders that do the same, however if you want a do-it-all, non-cakey/invisible powder that doesn’t settle into creases or highlight blemishes, this is the one. I love it!

“Filters are great, but great skin is better!”

So there we have the loves, now onto the ones that are (personally) not quite so loved…

  1. A cleanser that reallyyy didn’t agree with me… Now, this is a product which has sooo many rave reviews and is loved by many, however, I was sadly not one of those for The Inkey List Salicylic acid cleanser. I feel really bad slagging this off as I love this brand, but despite the fact they claim this is ‘non drying’, that certainly wasn’t the case for me. I feel the bottom line though here is that my skin generally just cannot tolerate acids and that’s it. I know many people can and this product has worked wonders, but if you’re like me, I would advise spending that tenner on something gentler! But if you’re feeling ballsy, give it a go and prove me wrong haha!
  2. I’ve ditched my Foreo Luna… Okay, I know i’ve raved about this before but after about a year of using (and noticing pretty much no difference in my skin whatsoever) to put it bluntly, I have fallen out of love with it. I know I always say this, but again I know some people love theirs and that’s absolutely fine, but after reading Caroline Hirons’ book ‘Skin care’ she pointed out that due to the little ‘nodules’ on the brush, could there be a surge in broken capillaries in say 50 years time after years of using these constantly and due to the motion of them on your skin everyday. It’s food for thought isn’t it? She also said (if you haven’t heard of Caroline, she’s a top aesthetician, so you could say she knows a thing or two about skin) that using a sonic face brush supposedly isn’t any better than a good old manual double cleanse with a clean flannel. And that ladies and gentlemen, sold it to me. So now my luna is firmly stowed in my drawer, possibly just for now, but we’ll see… Sad times.
  3. Masks and blemishes do not mix well… Now I feel like I need to start this with stating that I am definitely not a mask wearing refuser at the moment, at all and they are 100% necessary to keep everyone safe with this virus called coronavirus that’s about, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it? It’s no biggy… ;). But, all jokes aside, there is no lie in saying that wearing a mask day in, day out definitely has an impact on your skin. Even more so if you’re blemish prone, yay! Even though this isn’t technically a product, I wanted to add in anyway as I know this is a problem for many too and I wanted to say you’re not alone in getting frustrated with the vicious cycle of masking up. The best thing I’ve found (and this is slightly pointing out the blooming obvious here, but anyway…) is to not wear much/any makeup underneath, apply a good moisturiser beforehand and try to wash and treat your face as soon after removing the mask as you can! Also, I have found that disposable surgical masks (sorry environment) and silk masks (sorry vegans) are not quite so bad at causing ‘maskne’.
  4. The most revolting whitening toothpaste ever… Another product to swerve if you ask me is… Colgate’s max white ultimate catalyst whitening toothpaste, bit of a random one here but it needs to be said. First of all it tastes pretty god damn disgusting and chemically, secondly it’s 20 quid!!!! Sorry Colgate but this is stupidly hard to use as it tastes so foul/strong and the few times I have used it, I haven’t noticed the tiniest bit of difference in whiteness, so don’t waste your money peeps! As always, if you love it, good for you, if not turn to pearl drops toothpaste, these are my personal faves as far as toothpaste goes. Bet I’m reallyyy selling the Colgate one to you here aren’t I?

Just like that, there we have it; my list of love/hate products! As usual, I had all intentions of writing brief things about each item, but guess what? Of course that didn’t happen haha! Also fully aware I sound really quite tight with my references to money… I’m not really, you just have to be critical right?

Anyway, as 2020 draws to a close, I think we can all agree and say “what the hell was that?’ Right? But there have been some perks this year and I personally, feel as though a lot of things have changed for the better this year, i.e. is now a thing! Who’d have though it eh? But no, in all seriousness, I really hope that everyone has had a half decent year and as rubbish as some parts have been (for us all) there must be at least one good thing that’s come out of it for you. If so, hold onto that and lets end the year on a positive note eh? Cheers to 2021!

See you next year (Feel like I wait all year to say that line haha…) and if you’re a Englishman reading this, see you on the other side in a country which is no longer in the EU, oh my word what a mix of emotions tonight is going to be…😬

Take care & look after that skin of yours,

Lots of love, Ella x

3 thoughts on “My 2020 hit or miss list!

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