Naked

How do you feel when you look in the mirror? And that would be before you have a chance to put your make-up on. Are you happy with what you see?

For a lot of women, the act of putting on make-up is not merely an act of embellishing their natural beauty but a necessary mask to protect themselves against the world. They see themselves as being inadequate and unattractive without it. In fact a recent study showed that almost half of the women surveyed have negative feelings about how they look without make-up.

I love make-up and whilst I do feel prettier when wearing it, I will admit that I’m lucky if I actually manage to get some on most mornings. My view is that I get precious little enough sleep so if I can get another five minutes in the morning and sacrifice the make-up, so be it! I have been known to put it on sitting in traffic jams before now (not recommended) but as a general rule, I can’t bothered.

I am lucky though in that whilst I have the occasional random spot, I basically have very good skin. As long as I cleanse it in the evening and make sure to slap masses of moisturiser on it, it stays on a relatively even keel until my hormones start butting in. That said, if I had more issues with my skin, I’m sure that I would be ladling on the foundation and concealer like there was no tomorrow.

But when did women go from seeing make-up as an exciting luxury to an absolute necessity? As much as I seem to spend my life blaming the media, I do think that they have a certain responsibility. We are bombarded by images of celebrities that have been airbrushed into perfection. There are new foundations being brought out every week (or so it feels), offering light-reflecting particles, liquid light, better coverage, etc, etc… Is the implication that anything is an improvement on our own skin?

I know people who feel compelled to reapply their make-up (on top of their existing make-up) two or three times a day, making sure it looks “perfect”. I’ve read articles about people who will wear make-up to bed so their partner never sees them without concealer or mascara. Are they really so scared that someone might see beneath the make-up, beneath the mask that so many women wear? What made us all so scared to be seen?

I think it is a bit of a sad statement on the human condition that in this time of alleged freedom for women and equality so many of us feel compelled to hide our faces from the world, that we feel shamed by how we really look. I don’t know how we got here. I don’t know why we got here. I do think that we all need to become more comfortable with the skin we live in and our true faces, before we add the make-up. They are the only one we have and by not accepting that image in the mirror, we deny who we truly are. And if we cannot accept who we are, how can we really accept anyone else?

Are you a die-hard make-up wearer who would never be seen without having put at least foundation and mascara on? Or are you more like me, happy to wear it but equally happy when you don’t?

Average Josephine x

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Brighten up

As I might have mentioned once or twice, I suffer from severe insomnia. It has lots of rubbish side effects but one of the most frustrating is the fact that your skin gets ridiculously dull. It’s bad enough that you feel crap, knowing you look crap as well just adds insult to injury.

My skin is being a bit temperamental at the moment, patches of eczema around my eyes are flaring up randomly so when I started looking for brightening products, I started looking within brands I already use. I figured there was probably less risk of my skin having a total tantrum…

I’m currently using (and loving) the Elemental Herbology Purify and Soothe cleanser and when I was looking around their website I found that they did a Weekend Facial kit which included their Facial Glow, Facial Detox and Facial Soufflé. The Facial Glow is a biological and mechanical exfoliator containing fruit enzymes to loosen dead skin cells and spherical jojoba beads to gently remove them. The Facial Detox is a clay based mask to help reduce any blemishes and the Facial Soufflé is an intensive, overnight hydrating treatment.

Elemental Herbology Weekend Facial kit

Elemental Herbology Weekend Facial kit

None of these treatments are particularly cheap on their own and being the obsessive person that I am I did calculate the value of the kit compared to the price of the individual products. Suffice it to say that the kit costs £25 and the value, based on the price of the full-size products, is £59.40. Not bad.

As for the products themselves, when I opened the box they were sent in, I was greeted with a gorgeous, slightly fruity, slightly herbal smell as well as mini sizes of the cleanser, facial glow and a sachet of the cell food serum which was a bit of a bonus. I decided that as my skin is fairly dry at the moment I would skip the clay mask this time round and went straight from the exfoliator to the moisturising mask.

Unlike a lot of biological exfoliators, the facial glow doesn’t sting going on which is a good sign that it isn’t going to irritate any eczema patches. It smells quite citrusy and fresh which is always nice. It rinsed off cleanly without any problems and definitely left my skin looking perkier.

The facial soufflé is designed to be left on overnight although I was a bit confused about the application. Did you rub it in like a moisturiser or apply a layer like a mask?I went for the mask-esque option and applied a decent layer and then settled into bed with my kindle. After half an hour most of the product had sunk into my skin but at this point I had some serious reservations as my skin felt a bit tight. Come the next morning, I got a real surprise in that my skin felt softer and more moisturised than it had in a while.

This is a weekend facial I will happily keep performing for as long as the kit lasts and I would say it’s probably good for at least another five or six weekends. Given that works out at about £4 per facial, it is 10% of the cost of a high-street facial and actually, I prefer the results.

The Weekend Facial kit is available from elementalherbology.com and priced at a reasonable £25.

So, will you be giving it a go or do you have your own weekend facial ritual?

Average Josephine x