How does Tretinoin work and how does it help acne?

Tretinoin is in the cream I’m getting in my Dermatica subscription to fight hyperpigmentation/melasma on my forehead. It’s strong stuff, so I’ve done research and thought I’d share my findings.

[Tretinoin is used for] Topical preparation to reduce hyperpigmentation of skin,
such as persistent freckles, dark marks (lentigines) or
melasma. Tretinoin works by increasing the skin cell turnover rate,
which helps exfoliate the skin and improve the signs of

from the leaflet in my Dermatica skincare subscription

Is Tretinoin a retinol?

Retinol and tretinoin are both retinoids (vitamin A) but tretinoin is more concentrated and therefore can give quicker results. It can also aggravate the skin more quickly as it’s stronger.

When I started Dermatica in May, the cream included 0.025% and it took 2 more months to take me up to 0.05%. I have recently reduced to 1 pump, instead of 2 at night, as my skin was feeling dry (it’s never dry) and slightly irritated. I took a few days off, with extra moisturiser, and it’s fine again.

You’re only able to get Tretinoin via a prescription, unlike retinol which is readily available online.

Being careful with retinoids

As with any intense skincare, such as retinoids, I personally take it day by day. As I’ve mentioned, my skin started to become irritated so I gave my skin a few days off and added lots of moisturiser to my morning and evening routine. Once I found my skin was back to normal and happy again, I introduced the cream again but only 1 pump this time instead of the usual 2. I’ve kept it at 1 as I feel that’s enough for my skin.

If this keeps happening, I’ll most likely ask Dermatica to reduce my subscription back down to 0.025% again.

What does Tretinoin do to the skin?

Tretinoin is used to treat skin conditions such as acne, scarring and hyperpigmentation. It helps to exfoliate the skin so although it helps with skin renewal, it can cause irritation because it’s so intense.

I use it in the evening before I go to bed. I put the cream on, then wait a few minutes (normally I clean my teeth) then I follow up with 2 moisturisers.

Since May, each monthly subscription has included Tretinoin and I’ve seen huge improvements to my melasma.

Tretinoin 0.05% / Niacinamide 4% / Azelaic Acid 4%
1st month on Dermatica, May 2023 – Tretinoin used 0.025% to treat melasma on my forehead/sides of cheeks
Dermatica personalised skincare with Tretinoin Hydroquinone Niacinamide Azelaic Acid
4th month on Dermatica, August 2023 – Tretinoin used 0.05%

Tretinoin with Hydroquinone

According to the leaflet I got with my Dermatica subscription, they both go hand in hand together.

Topical preparation to reduce hyperpigmentation of skin, such as persistent freckles, dark marks (lentigines) or melasma. Tretinoin works by increasing the skin cell turnover rate, which helps exfoliate the skin and improve the signs of photodamage. Hydroquinone is a depigmenting agent that interrupts the production of melanin pigment to help lighten the skin. Combining these active substances can help target and improve different skin concerns simultaneously.

Info from a leaflet in my Dermatica subscription

Using other products

When I use Tretinoin, I stay away from acids, such as salicylic acid or ascorbic acid (vitamin C) unless it’s in the morning (at a different time than using tretinoin).

I also moisturise more than usual, including lots of high SPF to give my skin as much protection as possible.

What skincare are you using?

I’ve been using Dermatica since May and I’m happy with the results. I started to see results within 6 weeks, with quite dramatic results within 3 months. See my full article on my 4-month experience with Dermatica here.

Tretinoin, 0.05% per tube - the first 2 months was 0.025 Hydroquinone, 4% per tube From looking at my upcoming formulas, they are introducing Niacinamide 4% and Azelaic Acid 4% in September (this will be my 5th month)
Dermatica personalised skincare review – with Tretinoin Hydroquinone Niacinamide

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Dermatica Prescription Skincare – 4month review before and after photos

After returning from holiday, I had full-blown hyperpigmentation from sun damage across my forehead and down the sides of my face. It wasn’t anything I’d experienced, mainly acne and oily skin. This was entirely new for me so I had some investigating to do.

Dermatica personalised skincare with Tretinoin Hydroquinone Niacinamide Azelaic Acid
Nov 2022 – My hot, abroad holiday seemed to worsen my skin as you can see here. Lots of pigmentation, and dryness not to mention (undiagnosed) fungal acne

I’d always had a slight discolouration on my forehead after getting burnt a few years ago, but going on holiday in the sunshine not only gave me a tan, but made the melasma so much worse as you can see. My forehead and sides of my cheek came out worse – this is in November 2022 just after my holiday.

I had no idea what it was, so obviously Googled it and found it’s Melasma which is similar to hyperpigmentation, but even after reading a lot, I’m still not 100% sure what the difference is. I think Melasma is symmetrical whereas hyperpigmentation is in smaller, more condensed areas. As soon as Dermatica saw my photos, they instantly told me I need treatment for Melasma so that was that.

Table of contents:

What is Dermatica and how can they help?

Dermatica offers personalised skincare with strong prescription ingredients, such as Tretinoin, which is what my formula includes, to reduce the melasma.

Dermatica personalised skincare with Tretinoin Hydroquinone Niacinamide Azelaic Acid
Different types of problems Dermatica can help you with – photo taken from the homepage

You start your consultation online by answering questions and uploading photos – this allows the Dermatica team to review to ensure they recommend the right products.

You upload photos every month or so into the online system so it’s really easy to look back and compare.

Dermatica personalised skincare with Tretinoin Hydroquinone Niacinamide Azelaic Acid
My progress photos in my Dermatica account

It’s a personalised service, which is one of the main things I was looking for. I wanted something to help that was tailored to me and matched my skin; I didn’t want something random from Boots or The Ordinary (although I love them) that’d be too harsh and worsen my skin. I wanted something to help as quickly as possible.

Tretinoin, 0.05% per tube - the first 2 months was 0.025

Hydroquinone, 4% per tube

From looking at my upcoming formulas, they are introducing Niacinamide 4% and Azelaic Acid 4% in September (this will be my 5th month)
This is my Dermatica product – simple but nice packaging with a helpful leaflet
Tretinoin, 0.05% per tube - the first 2 months was 0.025

Hydroquinone, 4% per tube

From looking at my upcoming formulas, they are introducing Niacinamide 4% and Azelaic Acid 4% in September (this will be my 5th month)
Each delivery includes a handy leaflet explaining the process and helpful information

What’s in the Dermatica personalised formula?

Your formula is personalised but I’m happy to share mine. I’m using Dermatica to ‘fix’ my melasma/hyperpigmentation.

This is why I was happy to go with Dermatica. The formula is personalised and tailored, meaning the formula is changed as my skin does. My skin has been using the above ingredients since my first order at the end of May (so let’s say June). My skin has had time to get familiar with the ingredients to reduce irritation before it changes.

My treatments so far:

  • 1st tube, May 2023 – Fluocinolone Acetonide 0.01% + Tretinoin 0.025% + Hydroquinone 4%
  • 2nd tube, June – Fluocinolone Acetonide 0.01% + Tretinoin 0.025% + Hydroquinone 4%
  • 3rd tube, July – Tretinoin 0.05% (increased from 0.025) / Hydroquinone 4% cream
  • 4th tube, August – Tretinoin 0.05% / Hydroquinone 4% cream

My 5th month is going to be in October rather than September, as I’m a little behind in product so I can skip a month. October includes – Tretinoin 0.05% / Niacinamide 4% / Azelaic Acid 4%. I’ve been putting it on every night so I’m not sure how I’m so far behind. The product seems to last for ages even with the smallish tube.

Before and after pictures

When you first purchase, you upload 3 photos – front, left and right. These photos are what the experts use to determine what to put in your formula to fix whatever problem you’ve mentioned.

The photos are also kept within your online account, so you can refer back to see how far your skin has come. You aren’t likely to notice a difference when you’re looking at skin every day, so it’s nice to see the photos side by side (if not a bit cringe).

Dermatica personalised skincare before after pictures
This is in my online account – you upload photos every month or so to easily compare and look back to see if your skin has improved
Tretinoin 0.05% / Niacinamide 4% / Azelaic Acid 4%
1st month of using Dermatica – May 2023

From the first photo at the top of this blog back in November when I got home from holidays, I waited a few months as I wanted to finish all of my existing products. You are advised to reduce using other products with Dermatica as they can affect the results. You can still use SPF and makeup though, see more info further down this blog.

Tretinoin 0.05% / Niacinamide 4% / Azelaic Acid 4%
2nd month of using Dermatica – June

The lighting is different but you can’t see much difference. It says on the website it can take anything up to 8 weeks to see a change.

July, below, is probably the most dramatic change.

Dermatica personalised skincare with Tretinoin Hydroquinone Niacinamide Azelaic Acid
3rd month of using Dermatica – July
Dermatica personalised skincare with Tretinoin Hydroquinone Niacinamide Azelaic Acid
4th month of using Dermatica – August. These pics were taken just before my period so my forehead is more spotty than usual.

I’ll keep updating this blog with new months.

How long do the results take?

It says on the website results can take anything from 8-12 weeks. I saw a difference within 6 weeks but most noticeable after 2 months.

If you don’t see any results, you can get in touch with them to discuss and they will look at/change your formula. It’s personalised to you, so it should be working for you. If you aren’t seeing a difference, I’d double-check what else you are using – other products could stop Dermatica from working. Are you using enough product? I put at least 1 pump worth on each night before bed.

How and when do you use Dermatica?

I put one pump on my face before going to bed. I was using 2 pumps, but found my skin going slightly sensitive, so reducing back down to one has made my skin feel better again. I apply it then clean my teeth, giving the product at least 3 minutes to sink into my skin. I finish off with moisturiser.

How much is Dermatica and are there discounts?

Your first monthly order is £2.90 then it increases to £24.99 per month or you can buy as a subscription which gets you discounts, see the below photo (or use my discount code, see below).

Each month you get a tube of product which slowly changes to increase certain ingredients as your skin gets familiar with it.

Dermatica personalised skincare with Tretinoin Hydroquinone Niacinamide Azelaic Acid
Dermatica price options if you take out a subscription

Want a discount? Click on my link below to get your first month for £2.90 and 10% off your next one:

Click here to use my link then add ‘ahoybeauty’ to the discount box on the payment page – see below for what it should look like.

Can you use other products alongside?

They recommend you don’t, as it could stop Dermatica from working or interacting. You can still use it with SPF though, and make up.

Dermatica’s official stance is on their website:

The active ingredients that we use can increase the sensitivity of your skin. So, we recommend keeping your skincare routine simple. A cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen are more than enough during treatment. Exfoliants and toners containing salicylic acid, AHAs, BHAs, glycolic or lactic acids should be avoided. They can increase the sensitivity of your skin, and our treatments will help to exfoliate the skin. Products containing retinols can promote further peeling, and should also be avoided. Vitamin C can be used in the morning if you apply your treatment at night, and hyaluronic acid is fine to use. You will get a guide on how best to integrate your treatment into your current regime. Our dermatology team are also available when needed to check on any other ingredients.

In Dermatica FAQs

See the Dermatica full FAQ section here.

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Facetheory Skincare to the rescue after painful acne – my honest review

Facetheory is a UK-based skincare brand; Leaping Bunny & PETA approved. I’ve been using them for years, as being a bit lazy, I love it when a website makes it super easy to choose products right for you. I go for products to support with oily skin, acne and hyperpigmentation.

They have a ‘routine builder’ on their website which asks you a few questions and at the end, suggests several products. I did this, but I used it more of a guide. Once I knew the key products (moisturiser, vitamin c etc) I then looked and found my own favourites.

I’ve been using the Supergel moisturiser since 2019 but recently purchased more products, including some for my husband who has the opposite skin to me. Mine is oily, acne-prone and not very sensitive. His is very sensitive, dry and he has redness.

Get 20% off your first purchase with my friends and fam link >

My new routine with Facetheory after painful fungal acne

photo of my cheek with painful acne
Photo of my skin after holiday – painful bumps so I stopped all products and began with FaceTheory which has transformed my skin

After coming home from holiday, I had really sore skin. I haven’t been properly diagnosed, but I think I had fungal acne, caused by all the oils in the Elemis cleansing balm I was using to remove makeup 🙁

It caused such a big, painful flare up, I stopped using all products and investigated until I was 99% sure what my next steps were to be.

I cleaned out all products that contain anything that would aggravate the fungal acne (basically 90% of products) and purchased new products – the majority being from Facetheory.

Facetheory benefits
Facetheory benefits – from their website The products are super clean.

Get 20% off your first purchase with my friends and fam link >

My favourite things about buying from Facetheory are:

  • most products don’t contain anything that’ll trigger fungal acne
  • all products are vegan and cruelty-free
  • prices are affordable (although there’s been a recent 2023 price increase – more on that below)
  • setting up subscriptions for my favourite products so I never run out, plus get a small discount
  • you get offers and discounts often in your inbox and accrue points for each order (4 points = £1, but they have tiers depending on how much you spend – the lowest is 2 points per £1)
my favourite Facetheory skincare products
my favourite Facetheory skincare products

My favourite Facetheory products to use on my oily, acne-prone skin

Vitamin C

Regena C30 Pro Vitamin C Serum with 30% Ethyl Ascorbic Acid (£34 although I pay less with subscription)

I use a small blob of this every morning before moisturiser. It contains 30% Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, to target dull and uneven skin, signs of ageing, inflammation and acne bacteria. 30% is quite high, so Facetheory also make a 20% version.

It’s reduced my hyperpigmentation especially on my forehead, and made my skin look more awake.

Facetheory regena vitamin c serum - skincare review
Regena Vitamin C serum – I use 2 drops in a morning
Facetheory regena vitamin c serum - skincare review
Regena Vitamin C serum – I use 2 drops in a morning


Supergel Oil-free Moisturiser M3 for Oily and Acne-Prone Skin with Aloe Vera and Niacinamide (£16)

I absolutely love this moisturiser. It’s made for people with oily and acne-prone skin, but my husband uses it and he has very sensitive skin. He loves it as it’s “really thin, easily absorbed and doesn’t dry out my skin”. He’s bought his own tube now so I get mine back!

It contains Niacinamide which helps to reduce pore size. Salicylic acid helps congested skin without causing irritation or any redness. I use this moisturiser under SPF.

Facetheory supergel moisturiser skincare oily skin review
Facetheory Supergel moisturiser I use every morning. It’s super light-weight and slides into skin – no stickiness


Cera-C Pore Reducing Toner T1 with Niacinamide, Ceramides and Vitamin C (£15)

Next up is the toner, which has tons of goodies, including Niacinamide to balance oily skin and reduce pore size. It also contains Ceramides to help your skin retain moisture, Panthenol to absorb moisture, and Vitamin C to help fight breakouts and brightens skin.

I use this toner with a cotton pad. I use one side on half my face, then turn the cotton pad over and clean the other side of my face. I tip the bottle top vertically over the cotton pad, giving me about a pea-sized amount to work with. This is so I don’t go back over clean skin with the dirt from another area.

Facetheory cera c pore refining toner skincare review oily skin
Facetheory cera c pore refining toner – this bottle was a free sample but I now buy the 200ml beast size

… plus I use the Freshening Face Wash C4 (£11) for a cleanser and Hylafecta 2% Hyaluronic Acid Serum S14 (£22), which aren’t on my subscription list, yet.

Face Wash

Freshening Face Wash C4, £11

I use this both in the morning and at night. It contains Green Tea Extract to detox and remove impurities, and Aloe Vera to soothe and clarify. It’s £11 and comes in a chunky 140ml glass bottle with an easy-to-use pump.

Facetheory skincare review moisturiser vitamin c hyaluronic acid
My full morning staple routine from L-R: face wash, toner, vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, moisturiser

So basically my skincare is 90% covered with Facetheory. And my skin has never looked better for it.

What are the products like?

As mentioned above, I have 3 products on subscription I get every few months. I love them all as they’ve completely changed my skin.

My husband uses the same moisturiser as me (Supergel) and swears by it even though we’ve got completely different skin. His skin is very sensitive so he usually doesn’t use any skincare because they make his skin worse, but he’s been using Supergel for months now and has even branched out to use the Amil-C Whip M5 SPF 30 and another moisturiser, Aventhra Moisturiser M2.

Supergel moisturiser is very light so a pea-sized amount is able to glide over and cover your whole face.

My discount code

Through my account I get a friends and fam code. Use this link to get 20% off your first purchase (I also get points if you do this!) with 20% off link >

Recent price increases

I have several products on subscription so I was able to lock in the prices before the increase in early 2023. Some increases are a few pounds, but others have increased quite considerably.

Regena C30 Pro Vitamin C Serum with 30% Ethyl Ascorbic Acid, 30ml, was £26.99 in Dec 2022. I purchased it again a month later (Jan 2023) for £22.94 then again at the end of March for £28. It’s now £34 on the website. I get it for £22.94 as I locked-in this price as a subscription.

The Supergel moisturiser was £12.74 in Jan 2023, and is now £16. It doesn’t seem much but it’s still an increase of 25%.

If you’re looking to purchase from them, I’d suggest signing up for an account and signing up to their newsletter. They have offers going all the time, so you’ll be sure to bag a bargain if you keep an eye out.

Or use my code to get 20% off your first order (I also get points if you do this!)

Get 20% off your first purchase with my friends and fam link >

• • •

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I started a new Skin Cycling Routine with new Products to help my oily, sore skin to improve acne

I’ve incorporated skin cycling as my routine for a few months now. I decided to do a big skincare reset after getting home from my holiday in December where I experienced painful acne, caused (I’m 99% sure) by Elemis cleansing balm which triggered fungal-acne (although I haven’t been properly diagnosed).

My skin was red raw and covered in spots; some had white heads, others were just tiny painful bumps all over my forehead. Since I stopped using Elemis and reduced the number of products I use, my skin has completely changed, even before, after, and during my period when I’d normally get worse acne.

What is skin cycling?

It’s a night time routine where you use different products over 4 days. The goal with skin cycling is to improve your skin by:

  • reducing the number of products you are putting on your face
  • stopping overusing products that might be causing irritation
  • giving your skin time to breath after using harsh products, like retinol

Skin Cycling Routine – before and after

photo of my cheek with painful acne
Photo of my skin after holiday.- painful bumps
This was my skin after stopping using the Elemis, and just starting the Malezia
This was my skin after stopping using the Elemis, and just starting the Malezia with Skin Cycling
This was my skin after using Malezia for a few months - pic 3/4
This is my skin in April after using skin cycling routine for 4 months

What is an example of a skin cycling routine?

Skin cycling is a 4-day routine. If you start on a Monday, you will reset on Friday and start again.

Night 1 – exfoliate.

Night 2 – retinol

Nights 3 and 4 – moisturise.

I go into detail below what I do on each night, and also what my morning skincare routine looks like.

I use Malezia moisturiser after both nights following Exfoliating and Retinol

Night 1 – Exfoliate

Your first night is to exfoliate, which gets rid of all old and dead skin cells allowing products to get deeper into your skin and therefore work better.

This is the exfoliator I use – Paula’s Choice. It’s fantastic

My routine looks like this:

  1. Remove make up.
  2. Cleanse and tone skin. I use both Face Theory Freshening Face Wash C4 followed by Cera-C Pore Reducing Toner T1.
  3. Exfoliate using only a few drops. I use Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, which I find perfect on my oily and acne-prone skin. The day after using this product, my skin is GLOWING and spots are gone. I really love this product.
  4. After 10 minutes, I finish with a moisturiser

Night 2 – Retinol

Retinols can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles, by restoring plumpness. They can be harsh, so go easy with it – only 1 or 2 drops of a low concentration to start with. I use Pixi Botanical Collagen & Retinol Serum.

This is the retinol I use on Night 2 – Pixi Botanical Collagen Retinol Serum

My routine looks like this (the same as Night 1 apart from number 3)

  1. Remove make up.
  2. Cleanse and tone skin. I use both Face Theory Freshening Face Wash C4 followed by Cera-C Pore Reducing Toner T1.
  3. Add a few Retinol drops, nabbing on gently. I use Pixi Botanical Collagen & Retinol Serum.
  4. After 10 minutes, I finish with a moisturiser if my skin is feeling dry – I don’t always do this though.

Night 3 and 4 – Moisturise and recovery

After nights 1 and 2, your skin needs a break from the harsh chemicals, so nights 3 and 4 are for deep moisturising.

My routine looks like this:

  1. Remove make up.
  2. Cleanse and tone skin. I use both Face Theory Freshening Face Wash C4 followed by Cera-C Pore Reducing Toner T1.
  3. Moisturise. I use Face Theory Supergel Oil-free Moisturiser M3 followed by a thicker moisturiser to keep everything in my skin – Malezia 5% Urea moisturiser.
This was my skin after stopping using the Elemis, and just starting the Malezia
My skin starting to improve after following skin cycling and using Malezia

Following day – start again, back to night 1 (unless you’re new to exfoliating/retinol, in which case I’d add on another recovery day to reduce any skin irritation).

How many products do you use in total during night skin cycling routine?

I use a total of 8 across the morning and evening but not using them all every day.

Every morning I use:

  • 1x Cleanser. I use Face Theory Freshening Face Wash C4
  • 1x Toner. I use Face Theory Cera-C Pore Reducing Toner T1.
  • 1x Vitamin C. I use Face Theory Regena C30 Pro Vitamin C Serum with 30% Ethyl Ascorbic Acid
  • 1x Hyaluronic Acid. I use Face Theory Hylafecta 2% Hyaluronic Acid Serum S14
  • 1x Moisturiser. I use Face Theory Supergel Oil-free Moisturiser M3
  • 1x SPF. I use La Roche-Posay Anthelios 400 SPF50.

Night routine over the 4 nights includes:

  • 1x Retinol. I use Pixi Botanical Collagen & Retinol Serum.
  • 1x Exfoliator. I use Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant
  • 1x Moisturiser. I use Malezia 5% Urea moisturiser plus sometimes the other one by Face Theory mentioned above if I feel my skin is needing even more moisture.

Do you moisturise every night with skin cycling?

I do personally, yes. After nights 1 and 2 of exfoliating and using retinol, I wait at least 10 minutes for the product to settle before moisturising.

I’m using 5% Urea moisturiser from Malezia as part of my routine. It’s one of my favourite skincare products. See my full review here.

How do you apply moisturiser when skin cycling?

If I’m using more than one moisturiser, I use the lightest/thinnest first followed by the thickest. This helps keep all products in your skin.

I use a pea-sized amount, and warm up for a few seconds between my clean fingers. Then I gently rub across my skin, patting the sensitive and thin skin around my eyes.

Does it change your morning routine?

No, skin cycling is for night time only. I don’t tend to change my morning routine no matter what day it is or what my skin is like.

My morning routine looks like this:

  1. Cleanse skin. I use Face Theory Freshening Face Wash C4.
  2. I then go in with a few drops of Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin C. I’m using both Face Theory Hylafecta 2% Hyaluronic Acid Serum S14 and Regena C30 Pro Vitamin C Serum with 30% Ethyl Ascorbic Acid.
  3. Moisturise and bronzer – I use Face Theory Supergel Oil-free Moisturiser M3 mixed together with a bronzer. The bronzer I’m using is Indeed Labs Nanobronze Bronzing Drops. A tiny amount is all you’ll need.
  4. I finish with SPF. I’m currently using La Roche-Posay Anthelios 400 SPF50.

Does skin cycling routine actually work?

Yes. I will NEVER not use this routine to simplify my skincare. Not only has it massively improved my skin, it’s stopped me over-using products which has made it easier on my bank balance as I’m buying less!

Can you use face masks when skin cycling?

Yes of course! But if they are exfoliating, use them on night one instead of your normal exfoliator so you don’t over-exfoliate your skin. I personally use Sand and Sky pink clay (and Aldi’s £3 version!).

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Lacura Aldi Pink Clay Mask to detox for clean skin – my review

After using Sand and Sky’s Australian pink clay for some time (which is around £36 per 60ml – see my blog here) I decided to give this a try after spotting it in Aldi for £2.99 for 60ml.

Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask – box and brush

I’ve recently been suffering with fungal acne (I think – not properly diagnosed) on my forehead and lots of spots around my chin, so I’ve been very careful about what I’ve been using on my skin as I don’t want to irritate it. I’ve reduced the number of products I’m using down to 5 in total (not all on the same day either) so after buying, I checked the ingredients online – it was an impulse purchase but not an expensive one!

Ingredients – what’s in it?

I use to check the ingredients of beauty products. It’s really easy – you simply copy and paste the list of ingredients into the website, and it says whether or not it contains fungal-acne triggers.

I’m not sure why but the list of ingredients isn’t on the Aldi website. I found it on a random website, It shows that none ingredients are a fungal acne trigger:

Ingredients checked for fungal acne triggers on

I also use another website, not just for fungal-acne: checks against a load of things including alcohol, paraben, sulfate, silicone etc.

Investigating the ingredients on

It shows Lacura Pink Clay mask is good for as it contains:

  • Dry skin (glycerin, Butylene Glycol)
  • Anti-aging (Citric Acid)
  • Sensitive skin (Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder)

But bad for:

  • Dry skin (contains alcohol)
  • Allergins (Limonene – perfume)
Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
It looks very creamy

Is it cruelty-free and vegan?

It says it’s cruelty-free on the Aldi website. Nothing about it being vegan unfortunately.

It’s cruelty-free according to the Aldi website
Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
It’s slightly less thick than Sand and Sky’s pink clay mask, but no difference in quality (in my opinion)

I decided to go ahead with it, even though it contains a few naughties (alcohol for one). My main concern was fungal-acne triggers, and as it doesn’t have any, I went ahead.

When I was in the store, I read the box which states:

draws out impurities…. refines pores, contains witch hazel

according to the box

I really wanted a mask to clear my skin – to give it a really deep down gentle cleanse.

As you can see from this photo, my forehead has a very uneven skin tone plus several bumps (which I think is fungal acne). I also get lots of black heads on my nose and chin I want to clear out.

Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
It feels lovely and creamy to apply but isn’t runny so it stays on your skin

Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
The brush you get within the box allows you to make a neat job applying the mask
Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
10 minutes later – lots of drying, and you can see the pores on my nose being cleaned out
Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
Lots of little bumps on my forehead are being cleaned out at this point
Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
It dried in just over 13 minutes and was flakey

How long do you leave it on for and how do you remove?

The box advises you to leave it on for 10 minutes then rinse off with a warm flannel. I did as instructed. Compared to the expensive Sand & Sky mask, it was a lot harder to remove. With Sand & Sky, I used to remove it in the shower and it took less than 30 seconds with warm water. This took me around 5 minutes. It was hard to remove and stubborn, so it took me longer as I was being extra gentle with my skin.

Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
I used a smooth, soft, warm damp flannel to remove the mask
Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
It took me over 5 minutes to remove as it was quite stubborn
Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
This was my skin BEFORE using the mask – you can see an oily forehead
Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
AFTER using the mask – a different light (sorry) BUT you can see my skin looks brighter and less congested
Lacure Aldi Pink Clay mask - box and brush
My skin afterwards was a little red from getting the mask off and my fungal acne on my forehead wasn’t happy and quite raw

This was my skin the day after – it’s bright, slightly red on my nose but my skin is SO much clearer. I’ve always got red on the sides of my nose, so don’t let that put you off.

The mask has massively reduced the bumps on my forehead and it looks much less oily:

The day after – my skin is so much clearer – still have acne, but it’s less red and the bumps on my forehead are reduced. I’ve always got red on the sides of my nose!

What’s your review? Would you use the Lacura mask again?

Yes I would absolutely use it again. It cleared out my skin and got rid of my congested areas. It hasn’t made the bumps on my forehead any worse. I’m 100% going to use this as part of my routine, probably using once a week.

The pot looks like it’ll last 6-8 times so for £2.99 it’s extremely cost-effective. I’ve reviewed Sand & Sky’s mask (retails around £36 for 60ml and also the pink clay mask by T Zone)

If you’re unsure, check out the reviews on the Aldi website – there are currently 75 reviews with an average of 4.8/5!

How much is it?

It’s £2.99 from Aldi for 60ml. You can get it from the Aldi website + £2.95 delivery.

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9 tips on how to reduce acne and take care of your oily, hormonal skin

For the past few years I’ve started getting a lot of spots the week before my period is due – bigger spots around my face and smaller ones across my forehead. Not only that, I also get spots throughout the month – on the sides of my forehead, my cheeks and my chin. After a lot of reading and getting advice from friends, my skin looks more glowy and any spots I do get fade a LOT quicker than what they used to.

Here’s my list of my top 10 things to do, and not do, to help reduce the amount of spots you’re getting:

  1. Don’t pop them!
  2. Review what you’re putting on your face
  3. Use clean towels
  4. Use clean pillow cases
  5. Are you removing all your make up?
  6. Clean your make up brushes
  7. What make up are you using?
  8. What vitamins are you taking?
  9. Get a spot clearing gel

Don’t pop spots

You don’t have to tell me how hard this one is. There’s not much else better than popping a good spot and having the gunk ooze out. But this is doing your face no good at all. The white stuff in a spot is actually magical liquid helping to GET RID of the spot. So guess what? By squeezing the white goodness, you are 1. removing the goodness fighting the spot 2. making the bacteria go further into your skin increasing the size of the spot and increasing the time it takes to go 3. probably going to leave yourself a scar.

Tips for leaving your spots alone

Don’t look in a mirror.

When I get in and take my makeup off, my most popular time of day for a good spot-popping session was after my evening shower, after I’d taken my makeup off. Spots look worse after a shower because the hot water makes your pores open.

After a shower, I don’t even go near my (amazing) magnifying mirror. I put my creams/moisturiser on without looking. I don’t see my face all red and by the time I look in a mirror, my face has cooled and any spots have reduced in size.

Review what you’re putting on your face

Be honest – how many products are you putting on your face in a day? When I did this assessment, I realised I was:

  1. cleaning my face with a product (morning)
  2. putting 2-3 moisturisers on (morning)
  3. putting primer on (morning)
  4. putting make up on (morning)
  5. removing make up with a product (evening)
  6. putting 2 moisturisers on (evening)
  7. putting on night cream moisturiser (evening)

So that’s a minimum of 9 different products I was putting on my face per day. Your skin is only thin – it can’t possibly hold this much. I figured something must be irritating it so I started to slowly reduce:

1. how much of each product I was using (1 drop instead of 2)
2. reduce the total amount of products I was using.
3. not putting products on all over my face – taking care to reduce the products added to my oily bits (forehead) in a morning

Now my routine looks like this:

  1. cleansing my face with a product (morning)
  2. add 1x 2 moisturiser including SPF (morning) I’ve stopped moisturising my oily bits in a morning which has done wonders for stopping my forehead being so oily by the evening. SPF still goes on all over, though.
  3. add primer sparingly (morning) not all the time if I’m not wearing makeup
  4. add make up (morning) not all the time
  5. removing make up with a product (evening) I use The Body Shop Camomile makeup remover on my eyes, but for my face, I use a reusable Face Halo pad
  6. NEW: cleanse & tone (evening) – cleansing and toning take off every last trace of makeup/dirt from the day
  7. putting 2 moisturisers on (evening) any other products such as Retinol 3x weekly – I use the same products but I use 1 drop instead of 2 and I don’t use harsh products on my dry patches like I used to
  8. add night cream moisturiser (evening) unlike the morning, I put moisturisers on my oily patches which can be washed off in the morning and doesn’t make my oiliness worse during the day

My skin honestly feels like it’s breathing again and my spots have reduced from this routine.

Use clean towels

If when you wash your face, you dry it with the closest towel… stop! Your partner could have just used that to dry their feet. Or bum, urghhhh. The towel could have been sat wet for a time, collecting germs.

I never dry my face with a towel. I usually leave it to dry – it only takes 5 minutes. Or if I need to, I dap it with 2 small pieces if toilet paper. I never use something that’s already out, having been used already.

The same can be said if you use a reusable make up remover cloth. If you leave it out damp or wet, it’ll collect mould so it’s the last thing you want to use on your face.

Use clean pillow cases

I sleep for 7+ hours so that’s a lot of time my face is lay on something. If you have spots, the bacteria will rub off on to your pillow and stay there, so the next night, that bacteria will make its way back to your face.

I make sure to never sleep on the same side twice. I have spares so I don’t need to wash my pillow case and dry it before re-using.

Are you removing all your make up?

I’ve used Face Halo for a while now with The Body Shop Camomile butter make up remover to remove not only face makeup but also eye makeup.

My Face Halo’s have seen better days
The Body Shop Camomile butter – for removing make up

I therefore changed my routine a little. I still use the camomile butter on all my face including my eyes/face, but I also use a toner & cleanser afterwards to remove any last trace of makeup.

Clean your make up brushes

Easily forgotten! If you’re constantly hiding spots, you need to constantly be cleaning your brushes.

I use ISOClean to clean mine which takes literally minutes and they’re as clean as new.

Clean your make up brushes weekly or even daily

What make up are you using?

Do you have new spots appear during the day? If so, that could be a sign your make up is irritating your skin.

Your best bet is to try and see what works for you. Read online reviews and use to check out the ingredients before you buy. It shows you any ingredients that could irritate your skin, in particular if you have spots, dry skin or oily skin.

What vitamins are you taking?

I’ve been taking biotin for hair growth. It works! But at the same time, too much, you guessed it, can bring on spots. I found this to be true. Since I’ve stopped taking a daily biotin vitamin, my spots have reduced. I now take only 2 per week.

Get a spot clearing gel

I’ve used Dermalogica Breakout Clearing Booster for putting on angry spots to help them disappear. I’ve also used Benzoyl Peroxide which kills the bacteria in spots, but it’s very strong and dries out skin, so use sparingly and be careful.

Update: March 2021

I’ve just started using polyester pillowcases which are soft enough to help improve your skin. They don’t soak in the lotions and potions you put on before sleeping, unlike cotton. I’m using them instead of silk, which isn’t cruelty-free. Have a read of my article where I discuss my new polyester pillowcases & show how my hair looks after sleeping. I was happily surprised!

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Carbon Theory | Charcoal & Tea Tree Oil Break-Out Control Facial Cleansing Bar | My honest review

I was targeted for this on Instagram (damn you!!) and decided to purchase it. It cost £6 from their website + £1.50 delivery. Quite expensive for what’s essentially a soap, but I wanted to try after reading lots of positive reviews from adults experiencing acne, which I suffer from (at the grand age of 33).

Okay, I say it’s “essentially a soap” but it’s much more than that. Not only is it vegan and cruelty-free, it includes lots of fancy inflammatory products to clean your face and it actively reduces spots from looking big and red. I can honestly say from just a week of using it, my skin feels extremely clean and spot free (which considering it’s the week before my period, that’s really saying something).

The official photo from

What are the fancy ingredients and why do they help?

The soap includes:

  • Activated Charcoal
  • Organic Tea Tree Oil
  • Shea Butter

Plus everything else: Sodium Palmate, Sodium Palm Kernelate, Aqua (Water, Eau), Glycerin, Charcoal Powder, Melaleuca Alternifolia Leaf Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Sodium Citrate, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Sodium Chloride, Citric Acid.

Activated Charcoal

What does this do?

Super-absorbent particles to draw out dirt and unblock pores.

The holes in each particle act as a sponge to draw out bacteria and toxins

Each particle is naturally charged helping it to attract more dirt and excess oil

Smaller particles and lots of them mean a bigger active surface area

Quote from Carbon Theory website,

Organic Tea Tree Oil

What does this do?

This essential oil is derived from leaves of the Melaleuca tree.

Has purifying properties to cleanse the skin and kills bacteria

Natural antiseptic which reduces inflammation and clears breakouts

A natural astringent that can help reduce your pores

Quote from Carbon Theory website,

Shea Butter

What does this do?

Shea butter provides moisture without clogging the pores.

Has chemicals that mimic the bodies own hydrating properties

Rich in antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties

Shea butter’s fatty acid and Vitamin K concentration also helps your body to heal faster when your skin barrier has been compromised

Quote from Carbon Theory website,

How do you use the Carbon Theory bar?

I use it in a morning and before bed. It states on their website to “ditch the cleanser and face wash and use the Carbon Theory Cleansing Soap twice daily to experience The Theory of Every Skin which I’ve been doing. As I’m working from home, I’m not wearing makeup which to be honest, hasn’t really helped my skin as much as I thought it would. I get acne at the sides of my face (next to my eyes and across my forehead & chin) and I have oily skin. I also can’t resist a good popping session, which is obviously the worst thing to do.

This bar isn’t meant to take makeup off – you are advised to keep it away from your eyes too. If I’ve worn mascara during the day, I remove it first using Body Shop Camomile Cleansing oil with a Face Halo, and then use this bar to gently scrub away any remaining rubbish I’ve collected on my face from the day.

This is the size after a few days of using it – pretty standard

The instructions say to gently rub it into your skin for 30 seconds – exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve stopped using the toner and cleanser that I was using (both Body Shop) mainly because I love reducing the amount of things I use on my skin, plus the Carbon Theory message above suggests ditching them. After the 30 seconds is up, I rinse with warm water (hot water inflames skin and makes spots appear worse & therefore encourages me to mess with them – which only worsens the problem) and leave my skin to dry. I don’t use a towel because they’re normally covered in dirt resulting in making acne worse (part of my other blog on 9 tips to help reduce acne).


It comes in a resealable packet, making it perfect for storing away, out of sight when I’m not using it, and for traveling (what’s that? Cheers COVID-19).

Where’s my acne gone? Would I recommend? YES.

I can honestly say that for the week I’ve been using it, my skin has never felt so clean – extremely surprising considering this is the week before my period, which is normally when my skin is at its worst – acne all over, large red spots in groups and very oily skin. Even my skin feels less oily, unlike on a normal day, when by 3pm my skin feels like I’ve lathered myself in oil. In the afternoon my skin feels and looks the same as it did in the morning – no shine or feeling greasy! I’m very impressed.

I’m trying to stop popping spots too so the combination of that and using this bar has obviously done my skin wonders. I don’t look at my skin in the mirror after a shower which I realised is my most likely time to want to pop. #MotivationIndeed

The same pre-period (normally spotty) week in August vs September. Absolutely NO filters used, just taken at a different time of day hence the difference in lighting

Where can you buy it?

I bought it from the official Carbon Theory website but you can also get it from Boots. I didn’t manage to snag any discounts but if I find any, I’ll add them here.

UPDATE: use code dropgame for 10% off. You’re welcome 😉

What’s next?

I’ll give the soap bar another 3 weeks which will be a full month – plenty of time to see if this week has been a fluke or not.

Afterwards, I’ll probably get their moisturiser (such amazing reviews). And when my Soap and Glory face mask runs out, probably their facial scrub too.

From their website – this is a box set costs £44

Update: 3rd Jan 2021

Okay so I’ve just bought my 2nd soap – it’s absolutely amazing. I use it in a morning & before bed. If I have spots, in the morning they’re GONE! Even my usual big sore period spots have disappeared. I still get a few small spots on my forehead, but it’s nothing compared to before.

I’ve bought the Facial Scrub too that I use when I want a deep clean. I leave it on for 5 minutes, after using the soap, no more than twice a week. It’s got tiny little sand-type bits in it for extra exfoliation, so I give my nose & chin (blackheads) an extra rub, which gets everything out! Very pleased.

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Beauty Pie Luxury Beauty Subscription Including Popular Makeup Products – My honest review

Beauty Pie sells luxury beauty products at a fraction of the price of high-end products on the market. I first saw them on Facebook as I was targeted with one of their ads. I didn’t buy straight away but kept a note of their brand and decided to try them once I’d run out of my current products.

All products are cruelty-free and some are vegan. Check out the individual ingredients listed on every product page.

At BEAUTY PIE, we do not believe in or authorize animal testing for our products or the ingredients that go into our products. This means we do not do animal testing, our suppliers do not do animal testing, nor do we pay people to do animal testing for us.
Each of our product information files contains a declaration from the supplier that their products are not tested on animals, and that the ingredients comply with the European Ban on Animal Testing.

From / April 2020

Beauty Pie Membership explained

A membership gives you access to buy products at a discounted price but you still have to pay for products on top of the membership fee, and the amount of products you can buy is capped depending on your membership.

If you buy a £10 per month membership, that gives you a £100 “spending limit” to buy products based on their full “typical price”, rather than the discounted member price.

If a moisturiser is normally £40 but with a membership it is £20, you will pay £20 plus a monthly membership fee, and the £40 will come off your £100 “spending limit” balance, leaving £60 left to “spend”. You can make as many orders as you like as long as you stay under the spending money amount. 

If this doesn’t make sense, go on their website and add a few things to your basket. Hopefully it will become clear. They give you access to products at a cheaper price with a membership, but stop you from buying too much because they want to keep you paying monthly for a membership. Memberships start at £10 (or £99 annual). 

I started with a £10 monthly membership for a minimum of 3 months. As I signed up as a new customer, I got extra spending limits (instead of the normal £100 per month) with this membership plan. I had to sign up for 3 months minimum, then I cancelled the membership because I’d bought all the products I wanted. Unlike other subscription services, cancelling was easy. I just emailed them and they replied to confirm my account was cancelled. I didn’t get any sales tactics which I appreciated. 

The membership will roll over, so if you don’t use all of your “spending limits” in a month, it will roll over to the next. So if you buy a membership in January costing £10, you will get £100 “spending limit”. If you don’t buy anything in January or February you will have spent £20 on membership fees but will have 2 months worth of spending money saved.

If you buy a £10 membership to get a £100 “spending limit” a month but you want a product that has a full price of £120, you’ll need to save your “spending limit” up, unless you buy a more expensive membership plan. 

To help you understand the pricing and membership, here is the receipt for my first order.

My ‘typical price’ came to £191 (£70 + £75 + £28 + £18) which was under the £200 I had to spend. I made my first purchase in December 2019.

For making my first-ever purchase and for signing up, I got a free £50 boost to my spending limit on top of my £100, making £150, which isn’t shown on the receipt, and free Plantastic Micropeeling Super Drops. I also bought a £50 extra spending limit of £5 (shown on the receipt), so I had enough spending limit to buy everything I wanted. As mentioned I took out a 3-month membership at £10 per month which is shown as STANDARD PIE MONTHLY.

In total, I purchased £191 worth of products but because I am a member, I got them all at the members’ price which ended up being £40.61 including delivery. My spending limit for my first order was £200, so £9 rolled over into my next month.

I have purchased from Beauty Pie:

  • Super Retinol (+ Vitamin C) Night Renewal Moisturizer
  • Super Healthy Skin™ Sheer Tinted Oil-Free SPF20 (Medium)
  • Smart Powder Blush (Shade : Go Rouge (A Pink-Orange))
  • Plantastic™ Micropeeling Super Drops
  • Jeju Daily AM/PM Moisture Superinfusion™

I’ve been impressed with the products. They’re lasting ages and I feel like they’re good quality. Even the bottles feel high-end & luxurious but the prices aren’t high at all. 

All of their products are cruelty-free.

Products review

Jeju Daily AM/PM Moisture Superinfusion™

Jeju Daily AM/PM Moisture Superinfusion™

Typical price – £70 / Members price – £11.94 (Members price has gone up since I bought it for £8.87 in December 2019

Hydration junkies – strap on your beauty helmets, because our JEJU DAILY AM/PM MOISTURE SUPERINFUSION™ might be the most mind-blowing face cream ever. Jeju Volcanic Sand gently blots shine from your oily spots, while a multi-active Hyaluronic-Acid hydrating complex transforms dull, dry skin to be positively dewy.

From / April 2020

I put a small amount on in the morning under makeup and before bed (with the Super Retinol). It’s thick but soaks in skin quickly and isn’t greasy. I absolutely love it. The texture is gorgeous and it smells lovely. I don’t normally like smells in things (I think it makes the product seem cheap) but I don’t mind this one at all as the smell isn’t strong and doesn’t linger. The pot for this is huge, so I doubt you’d use more than 1 a year! Really good value for money.

Super Retinol (+ Vitamin C) Night Renewal Moisturizer

Super Retinol (+ Vitamin C) Night Renewal Moisturizer

Typical price – £75 / Members price – £11.46 (Members price has gone up since I bought it for £8.82 in December 2019)

This superstar Swiss overnight formula has everything anti-aging in it _encapsulated retinol (resurfacing), ficucell vita (antioxidant), shea butter (nourishing) , vitamins E and C (elasticity+), ferulic and hyaluronic acid (plumping, hydrating), it’s super-smoothing, fine-line and wrinkle tackling, brightening, and we think this is possibly THE best retinol night moisturizer ever.

From / April 2020

I use this 2 or 3 times a week. Retinol dries my skin but this doesn’t as long as I don’t use it daily. I use it before bed so my skin can have a good rest. I use 2 pumps. It isn’t oily or greasy, it soaks in quickly. My skin is brighter after using this. I would buy it again.

Super Healthy Skin™ Sheer Tinted Oil-Free SPF20

Super Healthy Skin™ Sheer Tinted Oil-Free SPF20

Typical price – £25 / Members price £6.77 (Members price has gone up since I bought it for £5.50 in December 2019)

Imported from Italy, our Super Healthy Skin™ Tinted SPF20 delivers beautiful, natural, sheer coverage, sun protection, and a radiant all-day gorgeous soft-focus glow. Oil-free, fragrance-free, with a velvety skin finish, it’s probably the best multi-action BB Cream you can buy.

From / April 2020

I bought this in Medium but what a mistake! I re-ordered in Light after seeing myself in a mirror at work. Holy moly, it was too dark even for my olive skin. I use it usually instead of foundation if it’s a nice day or my skin is nice so I feel I can go without make-up. I’ve also worn it under make-up and I haven’t noticed any problems. I put it on with a brush and it blends well into my skin. I have an oily forehead which didn’t get worse (or better) by using this product. You only need a tiny amount.

The SPF is a great plus for this product (I’m 32 so taking more care of my skin these days!).

Smart Powder Blush, Shade : Go Rouge (A Pink-Orange)

Smart Powder Blush, Shade : Go Rouge (A Pink-Orange)

Typical price – £18 / Members price – £5.23 (Members price has gone up since I bought it for £4.06 in December 2019)

In just a sweep of a blush brush this unbeatable superlight formula lays down delicate, soft, second-skin colour that effortlessly mimics mother nature!
It’s got a smart, silky, slightly blurring, skin perfecting powder finish, infused with UV protective red-algae and biosaccharides.

From / April 2020

I love this blush. It stays on all day, blends in well and is a gorgeous colour. I would buy this again.

Plantastic™ Micropeeling Super Drops

Plantastic™ Micropeeling Super Drops

Typical price – £50 / Members price £9.42 (Members price has gone up since I bought it for £7.62 in December 2019)

Well, a couple of drops of this every day, and you might be in awe of your own. The best thing for keeping breakouts at bay, skin looking bright, pores-refined and tight, our Plantastic Micropeeling Super Drops are an easy, everyday addition to your skincare routine. Use once or twice a week for maintenance, or daily if you’re battling breakouts. With fruit-acids, micro-purifying biosurfactants, natural brighteners. It’s a 24/7 glow-giving one-serum wonder.

From / April 2020

I can’t say for sure my skin has reduced in acne due to this particular product (as I’ve been using others) but I’ve had no new breakouts for a whole month, even before my period which is usually when I get a lot. This liquid is super thin so absorbs extremely quickly. I put a few drops on before bed, along with the Jeju and retinol. The bottle is huge so I can’t see myself going through more than 1 a year! Really good value for money.

I’ve always used Vitamin E and Vitamin C products such as The Body Shop’s BB Cream and Skin Reviver because they help moisturise and keep skin from drying out. Another great primer I’ve used in the past is Mabel + Meg’s Lumilixir Serum which is amazing for under makeup. It targets acne too.

What are Pie Days?

Pie Days are days when you can order products that won’t be taken off your monthly spending limit. You get access to Pie Days a few times a year, but only if you’ve bought the annual membership (starting at £99 for £100 per month spending limit).

Overall review

Even though all of the products have increased in price (some by a whopping 28%) since I made my order in December 2019, the prices are low enough that Beauty Pie is worth trialling, even for a minimum of 3 months.

The products are so good you don’t need much, and with the size of the bottles/pots, you won’t need to purchase another for (I expect based on my experience) a year. I’ll update this blog when I run out of anything.

The wrapping is lovely – it makes me happy when I open a parcel that a company has gone to the trouble of wrapping. I’ve noticed in the Facebook comments a lot of customers are asking them to remove the brand logo from the paper so they can reuse, it to save on rubbish – what a great idea.

I will use Beauty Pie again to either buy the same or new products. I have my eyes on the Uber Boost Mascara, Vitamin C Moisturiser and Hair Volume Booster so watch this space – I probably won’t be able to resist.

Discount codes

Use my recommend a friend link below to get your first month for free (new customers only). I will also get an extra £50 boost – hurrah!

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Aurelia Natural Probiotic Skin Care – Deodorant, Moisturiser & Miracle Balm – My honest review

I’d never heard of Aurelia before, until I saw Emma Watson in a live Insta video showing the contents of her bag (don’t judge me). She said how much she loved the deodorant so I decided to look myself.

I hadn’t been looking for a new deodorant but getting pretty tired of having to wait for the better ones (in my opinion) to dry before putting clothes on.

Over the last few weeks I’ve tried these 4 products:

  • Aurelia Botanical Cream Deodorant
  • Aurelia Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser
  • Aurelia Cell Revitalise Day Moisturiser
  • Aurelia Refine and Polish Miracle Balm

They are all cruelty-free.

From the Aurelia website 8.2.2010

Aurelia Botanical Cream Deodorant

I Googled & read reviews on multiple sites – Aurelia, Cult Beauty, Google, Amazon and Look Fantastic to name a few. I was blown away from the positivity. After composing myself from seeing the price (£18) I decided to purchase the 50g tub from the Aurelia Skincare website. I got a 10% discount (use discount code WELCOME10) and free sample tub of Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser 20ml. All-in, I spent £16.20 (free delivery when you spend £15+).

I really like how the deodorant includes lots of gorgeous natural goodies, to name a few:

  • Shea butter (gently hydrates)
  • Essential oils: Tea tree, Eucalyptus and Peppermint (antiseptic and antibacterial)
  • A slight whiff of Lavender and Bergamot (bergamot is a plant that produces oil that’s used in medicine)

The Botanical Cream Deodorant is a multi award-winning, natural, aluminium free, uniquely powerful wellbeing revelation that really works.

Quote from the Aurelia website,

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare’s Botanical Cream Deodorant offers a highly effective gentle and natural alternative for all those concerned about the effects of aluminium and who may want to avoid this questionable ingredient. Aluminium-based antiperspirants work by using aluminium salts to block and alter sweat ducts. This interferes with our body’s natural response. It has been clinically proven that aluminium is absorbed through the skin but currently there is not sufficient evidence to establish a causal relationship between aluminium exposure and the augmented risk of developing breast cancer.

Quote from the Aurelia website,

My first day of trying the deodorant was my first day in a new job. Not ideal. I was more anxious, nervous (+ sweaty) than usual. By lunchtime I could smell my pits, and not in a good way. Luckily I’d taken wipes and the deodorant (it’s a great size to fit in your bag and doesn’t look like deodorant if anybody spots it) so I cleaned up and re-applied. This seemed to do the trick, I was fresh all afternoon.

The second day was the same; I had to clean up and reapply around lunchtime. The third day however; was the game changer. No smells apart from gorgeous minty freshness. I figured my body needed time to get familiar. Since then, I’ve not noticed any smelly pits and it lasts a full day – 7am until bedtime, around 10pm.

It comes in 2 sizes. I have the smaller size (50g) but they do a larger one – 110g for £30. The size I have (50g) would probably be handier in your bag whereas the larger would be more beneficial to use at home.

When you apply it, you use your fingers and smooth it over your underarm. It goes on as cream but as you rub it in, it feels more like a powder. It dries instantly. I haven’t noticed any issues with the deodorant discolouring my clothes. You don’t have to wait for it to dry; I have put the deodorant on under my clothes and gone about my day!

I am very happy with the Aurelia deodorant. Knowing I’m not putting rubbish on my skin is a huge plus. Also not having to wait for it to dry, but knowing it will keep me dry and smell-free all day is a winner.

I will update this post when it eventually runs out. I’m guessing it’ll last 3 months. The price-y upfront cost does seem steep but considering £16.20 is £5.40 a month (£1.35 pw), I’m more than happy with that.

Update 22.4.2020

I’ve had to stop using the deodorant as it stopped working. It made my pits smell within a few hours even though I’m at home working (lock-down!) without doing anything strenuous!

Update 4.2.2021

Yep! Nearly a year later, I’ve been using this in-between my current hobby of trialing natural deos. It still works! It still takes at least a day to stop smelly pits but it works well once my skin gets used to it. I’m going to try a few, but to be honest, I wouldn’t have much hesitation about buying this again.

Cell Revitalise Night Moisturiser

As mentioned above, I received a free 20ml pot when I bought the deodorant. The normal price is £58 for 60ml. This is pricey for me. Especially for a night cream. I usually spend ~£10 on The Ordinary and The Body Shop for a moisturiser.

The Aurelia website states:

This multi award-winning ultra-rich hydrating night cream fuses probiotic ingredients with plant and flower botanicals to hydrate and soothe, transforming the skin’s luminosity. Aurelia’s signature probiotic ingredients continuously protect, restore and balance the skin from within. Probiotics expertly calm the natural immune triggers in your skin which can be overstimulated by pollution and stress and they reduce the damage these immune triggers cause to collagen, elastin and healthy cells.

Supercharged, targeted BioOrganic botanicals include Baobab, which is rich in precious Omegas to revitalise the skin, firming Kigelia Africana, Rosehip and antioxidant-rich Hibiscus to fight oxidative stress. Borage, Mongongo and Avocado oils offer abundant levels of natural fatty acids offering long-lasting hydration and a youthful glow. Deeply nourishing Shea butter and cooling Aloe vera enable this cream to melt delightfully into the skin.

A delicate, relaxing sleep-time essential oil blend of Neroli, Lavender, Rose and Mandarin helps you wind down and prepare for a restful night’s sleep.

Overall I’m very impressed with the night moisturiser. In the morning my skin feels less clogged with oil and is definitely smoother. From using other moisturisers I often have clogged pores full of (the only way to describe) small hard yellow spots (usually on my forehead).

It does have a perfume smell but it’s not overpowering. The pot is lasting quite long actually so I’m impressed. I’ll more than likely buy this when it runs out (check out the discount codes I’ve found at the end of this article).

Cell Revitalise Day Moisturiser

After buying the deodorant where I got the free night moisturiser which I was very impressed with, I decided to fork out for the day moisturiser. I have acne-prone skin which is very oily. I emailed the Aurelia team to ask what product they would suggest I try. They suggested this, so I looked around for the best price.

I found it on Look Fantastic – 20ml is £22. I saved money on this price though using discounts – see my hacks below.

I use this moisturiser before makeup. Although it isn’t a primer, it keeps my makeup on all day. It smells gorgeous (although some reviewers aren’t keen).

Inspiring a radiant, dewy complexion, the intelligent moisturiser combines concentrated BioOrganic 100% pure botanicals with probiotic and peptide technologies to soothe, hydrate and revitalise the skin’s surface. Its dose of fatty acid-rich Borage oil locks in moisture; Kigelia Africana and Hibiscus botanicals deliver a firming and soothing effect and help combat oxidative stress; and Baobab expertly revitalises with its rich source of omega 3, 6 and 9.

Infused with a fragrant essential oil blend of Jasmine, Plumeria, Tuberose and Mandarin, the antioxidant-packed moisturiser will leave skin soft, hydrated and radiant. Doubles as a perfect makeup primer due to its potent peptides that hydrate the skin’s surface for a smooth, flawless finish.

Free from synthetic fragrances, colourants, parabens, mineral oils, silicones, sulphates, propylene glycol, phthalates, GMO, PEGs, TEA, DEA, MI, formaldehyde, urea, mercury, lead and bee venom.

Refine & Polish Miracle Balm

This is my favourite out of all of them and I believe it’s what has made the best difference to my skin (although the moisturisers are also likely to be making a difference!) The miracle balm can be used daily as an exfoliator or 3ish times a week for 5 mins as a face mask. I do both. I love it so much.

Suitable for all skin types, the Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Refine and Polish Miracle Balm works to combat dull, rough and congested complexions.

Fortified with the brand’s unique Probiotic and Peptide complexes, the innovative treatment rebalances and revitalises skin, whilst natural Rice Bran beads deliver a mild exfoliating action to gently buff away dead, dry skin cells for a brighter, smoother and more refined appearance.

Transforming into a milky fluid upon contact with water, the balm boosts circulation when massaged into skin to leave it clear, purified and glowing with a luxurious fragrance of Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Rosemary and Bergamot Essential Oils. Can be used as a five-minute mask or instant exfoliator.

I use a thumbnail-sized amount, first rubbing it together using my fingers then gently all over my face. It goes from being gooey to a milky texture when you add water to it.

I’ve used it every day and my skin has never been as bright. I haven’t had dry skin around my nose since using this either.

Discount deals to cut the costs

On the Aurelia website, you can complete their Skincare tool questionnaire to get £10 off your next purchase. I got the discount code after I’d finished it. The tool itself is pretty handy for suggesting products based on your answers.

Like I’ve mentioned above, I bought:

  • Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Cell Revitalise Day Moisturiser 20ml
  • Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Refine and Polish Miracle Balm 75ml

… from Look Fantastic. They had a 20% off code available so I used that, plus free next day delivery as I spent over £55. I spent £22 on the moisturiser and £57 on the balm, totalling £63.20 with the 20% off. Use my referral link where we both get discounts (I don’t know how much) but just remember to look around their site for any available codes. LF20 (on LookFantastic) is a popular one.

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Mabel + Meg Lumilixir Serum review

I first found Mabel + Meg Lumilixir Serum through a beauty blogger on Instagram. She put a few blobs on her makeup brush, along with her foundation, and began sweeping it across her face. It seemed to blend perfectly and gave her a dewy glow. I can’t remember who she was, but she was really happy and posted a fab review (not to mention, a bloody gorgeous selfie).

Now I’m not sure about you, but I always think…. “do you REALLY think that….. or are you being PAID to think that?” so I decided to buy some for myself.

Mabel Meg Lumilixir Serum review

When I looked into and read the reviews, it seems it’s not just a primer. It helps to (from their website):

  • Plumps and hydrates skin
  • Smooths complexion
  • Brightens skin
  • Paraben free
  • Oil free & non-comedogenic
  • Fragrance-free
  • Absolutely no animal testing (hurrah!)

It’s described as something you can use as part of your morning and evening routine, applied over a cleansed and toned face. You can moisturise beforehand, but you need to wait for it to absorb before applying.

It’s vegan and cruelty-free 😀

Mabel + Meg Lumilixir Serum – How do you use it?

It comes in a bottle with a dropper, so you can control how much you’re using (and it looks really professional). I use 3 drops on my fingers or makeup brush, then rub lightly all over my face. Once done and it’s still slightly wet, I apply my foundation. I use The Body Shop Fresh Nude foundation which glides on amazingly even. I then add concealer & blusher.

What are your results from using it then?

My skin looks fresher and dewy. I have an oily T zone, which has continued to be oily, so it hasn’t helped it (or made worse) It makes my face feel light, clean and brightened. My makeup also stays on all day, which didn’t before using this.

I get spots on my forehead and chin but since started using this, they’ve reduced massively. I still get them, but they’re tiny and not as noticeable. If I do get a breakout of bigger spots, I use this twice a day (once before makeup and once before bed) and the day after, they’re almost nothing.

Let’s get down to brass tax…

The bottles come in 20ml or 30ml, starting from £29 up to £39 for the 30ml. For me this is very expensive – my foundation and concealer comes to £50 so spending this on top makes me think “jeez, is it really worth it?”. So there’s only 1 way to find out…. coughing up £29 for the smaller bottle!

Mabel Meg Lumilixir Serum

I bought directly from their website, with £4 shipping fees. I’ve since bought it from Cult Beauty where I paid no shipping (over £40 though).


If you buy from Cult Beauty make sure you first go through Top Cash Back – at the time of writing, “new online customers” can get 8% back. I’ve used it for years and I’ve had thousands back from it. It’s a cashback site – you visit Top Cash Back and find the brand you want to buy from. You click on it and find out what the cash back available is. You usually get a lower % if you’re already an existing customer of that brand. It takes ages to get paid out but you will eventually get it.

This is a screenshot of my Cult Beauty payout of £3.33 in my Top Cash Back account:

Cult Beauty payout from Top Cash Back


If you choose to buy it from, look out for the popups where you can get 10% off if you sign up for their newsletter.

Is it worth the money??

Honestly….. I’ll continue to buy Mabel + Meg Lumilixir Serum until I need the money elsewhere. £39 is pricey, so I’ll buy as and when – maybe a couple a year. 3 drops a day will last a good month… or 2. I don’t do as per the instructions and apply in the morning and evening – it wouldn’t last as long (unless I have spots, see above!) and I only want it to help glide on makeup. If I wanted it to stretch, I’d go down to 1-2 drops and only use a few times a week, or on nights out.

If you wanted to use it as a moisturiser then applying morning and evenings would be good for improving your complexion quick, even though you’d use it up faster. Even if it lasted a month, a month’s worth of high-quality moisturiser is well worth it.

UPDATE: 9th March 2019

I still use Mabel and Meg to this day. I usually buy in bulk as that’s when you can get the discount. I still use just 2 drops each morning after I’ve moisturised and before my makeup. It keeps my skin looking fresh, helps reduce spots and keeps my makeup on all day. I love it.

UPDATE: 17th February 2020

Yep… still using it. Had a few months off towards the end of 2019 whilst I was using other things (blogs to come; Beauty Pie, Aurelia probiotic to name a few) but I’m back to using this. It really is absolutely amazing at keeping my makeup on all day. I still get spots during my period week (NOTHING has helped with this, argh) but my oily forehead definitely is better after I use this. I still only use 2 small drops per day. I give it 10 mins to settle on my skin before I put make up on. Love this stuff. Don’t forget to find discount codes from my above tips if you decide to buy! Oh one last thing, the price is still the same – no increase!

I haven’t (unfortunately) been paid or received any goodies for this review. It’s from my own experience so you can believe it’s 100% honest.

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My photo, hi I'm Rachael

Hi, I'm Rachael.

This is my beauty website where I review lots of different products, from make up, to CBD coffee and vegan moisturiser. I've been using products for over 20 years, so I hope I've gathered some tips and tricks to share, plus I'm always learning so I'll be sharing them too. I have oily-skin, that's acne prone, so join me as I navigate this new age being a millennial!