Zombie flu pick-me-ups: what's on my sick day tabletop (feat. Caudalie, Paula's Choice, Homeoplasmine, The Body Shop, L'Occitane, This Works)

Where: Southbank, London
When: last Friday, the first night of the Southbank Centre Christmas Market
What: mulled wine, all permutations of fat and carb combinations, and a screening of Tarantino's True Romance at the BFI

Basically a recipe for a great night, yeah?

It was just too bad, then, that I was starting to look and feel like a viral outbreak movie character, right before they turn into a zombie: cold, pale, sweaty, nauesous. Not even a double-shot hot toddy helped. I held it together until I got home, and spent the weekend feverish, aching, and doing my best impression of a consumptive invalid.

I wish I'd taken a photo of my bedside table -- think Tracey Emin's My Bed, but with more phlegmy tissues and less vodka #lifestyleblogger. Here are a few products that made me feel vaguely human.

The ones that smell good: This Works deep sleep heavenly candle and the Caudalie Beauty Elixir

The ones that smell good: This Works deep sleep heavenly candle and the Caudalie Beauty Elixir

Put this one in the not-sure-if-it-does-anything-but-it-smells-good category: This Works deep sleep heavenly candle isn't quite as soporific as the pillow spray in the same range, but I think the lavender and chamomile made me feel more zen than zombie.

The Caudalie Beauty Elixir is an old favourite (Six Word Review here), and I recently won a bottle from their stand at Stylist Live (which I also won tickets to -- just as well, because it so wasn't worth the £25!). The rosemary and mint essential oils act like a less repellent Vicks Vaporub (although I think Will feels differently...), and the citrus and rose components also help make it a good pick-me-up. It does contain alcohol, though -- it might be that or the essential oils that make my raw nose sting, so I spray it on my neck instead. 

The French pharmacy loves: Homeoplasmine and Embryolisse Creme Nutritive Douceur Mains

The French pharmacy loves: Homeoplasmine and Embryolisse Creme Nutritive Douceur Mains

On the subject of sore noses (and cracked lips because of all the mouthbreathing, holy crap), I like Homeoplasmine. This stuff is basically Vaseline, but... it's fancy French Vaseline! I picked this up when I was in Paris earlier this year -- totally an Into The Gloss-provoked purchase -- and it's a really good all-purpose balm. There's no smell, and it's far less greasy than actual Vaseline. (I've previously written about similar balms here and here.)

Another French pharmacy pick-up was the Embryolisse Creme Nutritive Douceur Mains. While lightweight, it's really quite softening and hydrating and non-greasy -- basically all I want in a hand cream but often have a hard time finding.

Is it a bird? Is it an amoeba? No, it's the Body Shop's Luxury Face Flannel!

Is it a bird? Is it an amoeba? No, it's the Body Shop's Luxury Face Flannel!

I barely washed my face (or showered, for that matter. YOU'RE WELCOME), but when I did I used the Body Shop's Luxury Face Flannel. This isn't your traditional terry cloth flannel or thin, rough muslin cloth. It's made from PVA, which makes it ultra smooth and soft after you wet it. I've been using it for a few months now, and it's so great for sensitive skin. I normally use it to remove my cleanser, and it's good at taking off makeup. Since it's basically plastic, it also dries fast and stiff which means you can mould it into weird shapes if you so desire.

The nourishing skincare: L'Occitane Pivoine Sublime Perfecting Cream and Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid

The nourishing skincare: L'Occitane Pivoine Sublime Perfecting Cream and Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid

Skincare-wise, I stuck with my usual Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid (previously reviewed here). This helped get rid of the flakies and cleared up any blocked pores. I always feel like I look better the day after I use it! L'Occitane were giving away luxury-sized samples of their moisturisers recently, so I tried out the Pivoine Sublime Perfecting Cream. It's a gel-cream formula which absorbs quickly and dries to a matte finish, and has a light rose scent. I haven't tried it under makeup yet, but I have a feeling it would work well on my oily skin. The pot format grosses me out a little -- pump bottles all the way -- but hey, that's what preservatives are for, right?

BRB, looking for my brain: I need it back at work this week!

Take it or leave it

Take it or leave it

Take it:

  • Base products! Make up is mostly about the skin for me, and as a result I have a slightly excessive foundation and tinted moisturiser situation. I like light to medium coverage and the whole "my skin but better" thing.
  • On that note, a brush (at the moment I'm using the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush*) or Beauty Blender for putting on that base. 
  • Eyelash curler. Short stubby lashes, rejoice.
  • Nail polish! They just make me happy, even if I often don't make the time to paint my nails.
  • Blush has really grown on me.

Leave it:

  • Body moisturisers, because I'm lazy and the body is just a lot of real estate to cover, ok? (Although I am trying, and getting better at using it.)
  • On a similar note, I use hand cream maybe once a month. 
  • Tanning products.
  • Lip scrubs. Use your toothbrush or flannel, save your money, and spend it on lipstick.
  • Excessively pricey cleansers with active ingredients. Just, no.

And you?

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Wham, bam, thank you ma'am: hot cloth cleansers from Liz Earle, No.7, Superdrug, The Body Shop, and balance me

Wham, bam, thank you ma'am: hot cloth cleansers from Liz Earle, No.7, Superdrug, The Body Shop, and balance me

I'm doing pretty well on my resolution to cleanse and treat my face as soon as I get home. This past week was my first week on full-time hours, and it's been a good experience taking a bit of time to slow down and unwind at the end of the day. 

I'd used them on and off over the past few years, but 2014 was the year of the hot cloth cleanser for me. They remove makeup and cleanse without feeling like you've stripped your face, plus adding a cloth of some kind helps to gently exfoliate things overall. I use chemical exfoliants, but sometimes you just want a bit of a scrub to feel like your face is clean, you know?

Granted, you could use a cloth with just about any cleanser--and I would argue that it makes them more effective, not to mention much more ecologically-sound--but generally legit hot cloth cleansers are formulated with oils and waxes, don't include the harsher surfactants, and are designed to be fairly gentle on the skin. I smush the hot cloth cleanser all over my face, which melts off the makeup I've been wearing, and then wipe it all off with a cloth. If you wear seriously waterproof eye makeup you may need to go in and clean up with a cotton bud, but it's never more than a few flecks for me. 

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