Murad Age-Balancing Moisturiser SPF 30 – honest review on acne-prone oily skin

I purchased Age-Balancing Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 30 | PA+++ on back in September 2021 and have been using it daily ever since. I wanted to wait before reviewing, to give me time to really understand how it’s changed my skin and what I think of it.

It was £65 back in September. It’s now £66 (+1.5%). You get 50ml for this price on

I purchased Murad as I wanted a really good moisturiser that also has SPF protection for my 30+yo skin. Honestly, I’ve never been bothered or had SPF in my moisturiser. I only (previously!) wore sun protection on holiday – usually abroad – never in the UK. It’s only now I’ve started to protect my skin daily – I hope it isn’t too late!

So far I’ve tried a few moisturisers claiming to act like moisturiser but have sun protection – unfortunately they’ve either been a horrible consistency that leaves white residue on my skin, or too thick and blocked my pores so bad I’d sweat within 2 minutes of putting it on my face, even if I wasn’t doing anything that caused me to sweat.

The SPF is 30.

I decided to try Murad as they’ve got a lot of credible reviews, everywhere – on Cult Beauty (who only stock brands they believe in), Marks and Spencer, Selfridges – you name it – all the top places sell it. I read a ton of reviews, and they all were excellent, so I decided to give it a go.

£65 was a little hard for me to part with for a moisturiser, but I figured I wear my face every day – it deserves a proper looking after for the first time in my life.

I also got these 3 small samples when buying from

  • AHA / BHA Exfoliating Cleanser Sample
  • Vita-C Eyes Dark Circle Corrector Sample
  • Vita-C Glycolic Brightening Serum Sample

Significantly improves hydration for youthful suppleness. Leaves skin hydrated, plump and smooth

Murad Age-Balancing Moisture SPF 30 50ml - £66 - my honest review of it
I’ve used it daily in a morning for over 8 months and absolutely love it – it balances out my oily forehead, is a great makeup base and smells nice

What’s the consistency like?

It’s like any other moisturiser – thick, but not as thick or oily like normal sun protection lotions. It isn’t so thick you can’t smooth it across your face easily, and it sinks in very quickly which is great for me as I like to do my makeup not long afterwards.

I use a pea-sized amount and this does my whole face plus neck, ears and hands. It feels very smooth and a high-quality product.

It smoothes my fine lines and crows feet, and makes my face look glowy – I look healthy.

There is a very faint smell – not too perfumed though which I really don’t like in products. It’s a ‘clean’ smell – not as in cleaning products (gross!) but a clean smell as in I love the feeling I get after moisturising – I know I’m clean and ready to start my day.

Which skin type is it good for?

According to their website, it’s good for combination, dry and balanced. I’m not too sure what ‘balanced’ means to be honest.

good for combination, dry and balanced skin types

I have an oily T zone, dry patches either side of my nose/upper lip (random I know), and normal everywhere else. I’m happy to say it’s worked a treat on all places – it hasn’t even made my oily forehead worse, which some moisturisers have done.

Rich Yet Fast-Absorbing SPF Moisturiser Replenishes with Long-Lasting Hydration. This moisturiser deeply nourishes dull, dry skin while improving elasticity to renew a youthful glow. Broad spectrum SPF shields skin against UVA and UVB light. Absorbs fast for a non-greasy finish that wears comfortably under makeup.

What’s my verdict?

I’m chuffed with it – not only has it smoothed my fine lines/crows feet, it’s helped reduce the sun spots I had at the top of my forehead. I didn’t unfortunately take before pics so I can’t show you the difference. Previously I used to apply concealer to the top of my forehead, but I don’t now as I don’t feel like I need it.

I feel like I’m really looking after my skin by wearing it. Even though I only use a pea-sized amount, my skin feels smooth and glowy. Having SPF protecting me as well as it feeling so good on my skin is win-win.

Buying it for £65 back in September and still using it now in April is well worth the money. It’s pretty empty now, but I think I can get a few more weeks out of it.

Using as a primer?

I don’t use this moisturiser as a primer, but I do put it on last in a morning before my makeup. You (apparently) should put SPF on last, so that’s what I do. I add other lotions (usually vitamin c) first, then this Murad Age Balancing moisturiser, then my makeup. I always leave at least 10 minutes after putting it on before applying makeup, to allow time for it to sink in. Don’t forget to take any moisturiser off your lashes before applying mascara – I realised this is why I always get really bad panda eyes!

See my quick tutorial on how I apply it each morning:

What’s the price?

It’s £66 for 50ml. I bought it in September and have used it once daily – there’s still a few weeks left.

Even if it lasted a few months, it’s well worth the money in my opinion. I’d spend this much money on clothes or bags without a second thought – why would I think about not spending this on my face – something that I see everyday!

Delivery is £3.95 or free over £30 on

Discount codes

Looking at their website ( they’ve got loads of offers on – 10% (sometimes 20%) for signing up to their newsletter; free gifts when you spend over £120; 25% off gift sets. Well worth checking these out. I’d also have a nosy at their social media accounts to see if they’re promoting anything else.

UPDATE June’22

I haven’t been using it this past week due to the heatwave, and my skin has gone pretty bad with acne – whether it’s from being hot and clammy, or from not using this, I can tell ya I’m 100% happier now I’m back using it.

UPDATE Sept’22

Ordered a new bottle using a £10 off voucher that’s currently running on – £56 total with a few samples! Still loving this moisturiser – it’s so thick but soaks in so well. I love it.

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CeraVe Foaming Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin – my honest review on oily skin

I’ve never used a cleanser – previously before bed, I’d splash water over my face to ‘clean’ it, or if I’d worn make up during the day, I’d use my Face Halo with Body Shop camomile cleansing butter to get rid of all the crap that had built up. I never realised that dirt built up on my face during the day that would take more than water to remove.

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin - photo of bottle

Developed with dermatologists, this non-drying face wash for normal to oily skin deeply cleanses, removes excess oil, and refreshes your skin without disrupting the skin barrier. This gel-based facial cleanser is an effective, yet gentle way to cleanse and care for your normal to oily skin.


I started seeing ads for CeraVe foaming cleanser and decided to do some research. I have sensitive skin on my face – acne prone, oily T zone, normal and sensitive bits, so I’m always careful what I put on it. I’ve tried lotions including moisturisers for oily skin have completely dried out my skin – or made the oiliness worse.

It’s gel-based that foams when you run it under water.

It’s non-comedogenic so it won’t clog pores and contains niacinamide that’s great for skin – it calms it down (by being the most potent anti-inflammatories in skincare)


How much is it?

I bought the 236ml size for £9.50 from It’s a medium size bottle and so far has lasted me since mid-December 2021 (3.5 months) and there’s plenty left too, even after using it at least once a day.

Buy the larger version, 473ml from Amazon for just over £12, here.

When do you use it?

I tend to use it in at night once I’ve washed my face and taken any make up off. I use it as a last defence to make sure I’ve taken off every last bit of dirt. I use it in a morning maybe once or twice a week, when I want an extra clean. I prefer to use it when in the shower, as the constant stream of water helps the increase the amount of foam – using it in the sink, sometimes I really struggle to get a good foam going if I don’t add enough water at the right time (it’s a bit fiddly but it’s probably just me).

CeraVe Foaming Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin - photo of bottle and liquid from nozzle
it’s pretty runny as you’d expect – it turns into silky foam when you rub with water

Are they an ethical brand?

No – they test on animals as they sell in China where animal testing is required by law. However on their website, they say they don’t test on animals:

No, CeraVe products are not tested on animals and they are cruelty free. 

This is in their FAQs but unfortunately they do test when required to by law – e.g. in China

Some of their products are vegan, so they don’t include animal products – but it’s not clear from which products are and which aren’t vegan.

Would you recommend?

I will recommend this cleanser as soon as they become a cruelty-free brand. Unfortunately, testing on animals is against everything I stand for, so I won’t be buying this or another CeraVe product until they change this status. In future, I won’t rely simply on the brand’s FAQs and will do thorough research before buying again 🙁

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Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Face Mask on my acne-prone oily skin- my honest review

I wanted to share my thoughts around this clay because it’s one of my staple products I’ve consistently used for years (although I only use a couple of times a month due to the price).

What does sand and sky pink clay mask do?

I bought it because I wanted something to help with my oily skin and to clear out all the rubbish accumulated throughout the day. I also wanted a mask to help (or at least not worsen) my acne.

  • Detoxifies and brightens the skin
  • Cruelty-free
  • Great for clearing oiliness, congestion or pigmentation
  • Good for acne

This is exactly what S&S does. It detoxes skin by removing dead skin cells, leaving newer skin underneath which makes your skin look brighter. It also helps with acne by reducing inflammation.

A photo the benefits of Sand and Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask, including no sulfates, no silicones, no parabens, no phthalates, no PEGS, no gluten and cruelty-free
from their website at the time of writing – confirmation on what the clay doesn’t include, plus the PETA stamp of approval
from their website at the time of writing – lots of goodies included in the clay
Analysis screenshot from showing a list of the ingredients and what they're good for (& not good for)
I use to checkout ingredients in products – it lists everything that might not be suitable (dry/oily skin)

I add ingredients from products into which then tells me what that product is good for, and what it’s bad for. As you can see, Sand & Sky Clay ticks lots of boxes, especially the ‘fungal acne’ one which is what I look out for because I suffer with this on my forehead. You’d be surprised at how many acne-fighting products include an ingredient which makes this worse.

How do you use the Sand and Sky clay mask?

You use it like a mask – spreading it thoroughly all over your face with the small brush that comes with it. This is the 60g tub – you’d need to check if it comes with the travel size (I’m not sure it does). Using your fingers is easy too, just a bit messy.

A photo Sand and Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask with brush
You get the small brush tool in with the price
A photo of my face whilst using Sand and Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask
it goes on shiny pink but within seconds it starts to dry a white colour

Within seconds of it being put on, it starts to dry. It feels really smooth and it’s thick too, so it feels very expensive and you feel hopeful it’s going to do wonders for your face.

A photo of my face whilst using Sand and Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask
excuse the ridiculous face – this is after a few minutes so as you can see, it’s starting to dry thoroughly
A photo of my face whilst using Sand and Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask
my large pores on my nose are visible – this is after around 10 minutes

Excuse the happy face followed by the sad face. I usually clean the bathroom whilst it’s drying hence looking fed-up!

As the pink clay dries, it turns white and tight on your skin. Not too tight it’s unpleasant though. I leave it on for 10-15 minutes then rinse off with cool water. I usually rinse it off in the shower to reduce any mess made but in the sink is easy enough too.

A photo of my face after using Sand and Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask
meh bad angle and not the clearest of pics, but as you can see, I’m happy with the result – pores have been completely cleaned out, and reduced in size

What does the clay mask do for skin?

I feel it cleans out the rubbish I’ve accumulated which my other products haven’t picked up.

  • My pores are clean
  • blackheads are gone
  • my skin feels fresh and smooth
  • any spots are reduced in size/redness
  • any oiliness is completely removed for a few days (yep, a few days).

I feel 1x or 2x a week is enough for this product, mainly due to the price but as it’s quite a deep clean, my skin might not like it – it’s not good to remove oils from your skin so often because oil is actually healthy for your skin (just not too much of it).

I’d thoroughly recommend this Sand and Sky pink clay mask. It’s a product I’ve used for years, even though it’s expensive (more on that below). I feel like it cleans my skin better than almost anything else.

Should you moisturise after pink clay mask?

Yes! Always after using masks, you need to moisturise afterwards to stop your skin becoming too dry.

Can I leave pink clay mask on overnight?

I personally wouldn’t – the Sand and Sky website says to leave it on for 10 minutes, so this is what I do. It might dry out or irritate skin if left on for too long.

How much does it cost?

It’s around £36.50 depending on where you look for a 60g pot. Several of the usuals have it: Cult Beauty, Beauty Bay. Personally I would visit the Sand & Sky website to see if they’ve got any sales on – at the time of writing this, they’ve got 25% off everything using the code ‘celebrate’.

Failing that, have a nosy around their website then visit YouTube, and a bunch of social media accounts – they might retarget you with an offer.

It’s expensive at £36 now £34 for 60g but worth it – make it last

Unlike the pics above to show what it looks like, I make it last by only putting it sparingly on the bits of my face that need it, such as my oily patches and not putting it on my dry bits (side of nose).

Using it once a week and you’ll get a good 4-6 months out of it. Pretty good going as an average if you ask me!

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Make up

Full review of Il Makiage’s Foundation on my oily, acne-prone 35yo skin

After being bombarded with Insta & Facebook ads for months, I finally purchased Il Makiage foundation ‘Woke up like this’ – here’s my full Il Makiage review!

I’ve been looking for a new foundation because I was becoming more and more uncomfortable wearing my current foundation, Estée Lauder Double Wear, because it’s not cruelty-free, unlike Il Makiage who are cruelty-free. I bought it in 2019 so figured I was due an upgrade. I have combination skin & Double Wear leaves my forehead at the end of the day as oily as a frying pan – I’m hoping this new one isn’t the same.

the brand is cruelty free - photo of a rabbit outline

Is Il Makiage cruelty-free and vegan?

Never. We never test products or ingredients on animals, nor do we allow suppliers or affiliates to conduct testing on our behalf. Animals > Everything. Not 100% of our products are vegan, but most are, including our foundation. Contact us for a complete list of our vegan products.

As per their FAQs

Shade matcher POWERMATCH – how does it work?

They have a shade matcher “power match” on their website which I must say, is pretty accurate. After answering several easy questions (2 minutes tops), it suggested 35 for me. I also messaged on Facebook the Il Makiage team, and after sending them my photo, they recommended 40 – right next to 35 in the list so very similar, I ended up going with 35 though and it turns out, the POWERMATCH is spot on because it’s the right shade for me.

It takes 2 minutes to answer questions based on your skin concerns, skin type, preferred coverage & finish etc.

Il Makiage Woke Up Like This foundation - the skin matcher is brilliant
answering a few questions on Il Makiage’s power match quiz gives you a shade recommendation

Il Makiage #35 less yellow-y than my current foundation, Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay In Place, 1W2 Sand. Il Makiage’s 35 is in my opinion a much better colour for my skin. Estee Lauder’s would probably suit me with a tan.

Woke up like this foundation shade 35

Il Makiage Woke Up Like This foundation - comparing this to Estee Lauder Double Wear stay in place foundation. Il Makiage is the clear winner in terms of matching my skin better.
the same photo but with different lighting – comparing my current foundation (double wear 1W2) which I’ve never thought matched me properly, to my new Il Makiage #35 – a much better match
Il Makiage Woke Up Like This foundation - comparing this to Estee Lauder Double Wear stay in place foundation. Il Makiage is the clear winner in terms of matching my skin better.

My YouTube video shows how I apply the foundation with a sponge: (just had covid so yes, I look rough, which is actually really handy to show you just how much this makeup makes me look less dull!)

I bought a pack of 4 sponges from Amazon for £5 – here’s the link. Don’t forget to dampen the sponge first for the best coverage.

How does it cope with my combination skin?

I have sensitive eyes; my forehead & sides of my nose are oily; around my mouth is sensitive & dry; the rest is normal.

My face has different concerns – I have sensitive eyes; my forehead & sides of my nose are oily; around my mouth is sensitive & dry; the rest is normal. My current Double Wear foundation makes my forehead very oily by the end of the day – so much so when I get in from work (after 10 hours) I’m dying to get it off. It also flakes on my dry patches. I can’t deny it though, Double Wear gives amazing coverage. If you have normal skin, I can imagine it stays on all day and looks amazing, but it’s not cruelty-free so a re-purchase for me is off the cards.

According to Il Makiage website, the ‘Woke up like this’ foundation:

50 shades for all skin tones
Lightweight texture
Buildable medium-to-high coverage
Natural matte finish
Optically-corrective powders
Enriched with: Vitamin E for anti-aging benefits Hyaluronic acid for hydration, protection and filling wrinkles

…. flawless, uniform natural matte finish

I have high-hopes it won’t leave my skin a flaky greasy mess by the end of the day. I also work out after work, when I’ve got makeup on – this will be interesting.

My Tiktok showing how I apply the foundation:


my full @IL MAKIAGE ‘woke up like this’ foundation make up routine. I’m shade 35 & was matched using their powermatch quiz #makeuproutine #ilmakiage #ilmakiagefoundation #ilmakiagereview

♬ ALMOST HOME – Mad Adix, Marc Steinmeier
Here’s what the foundation looks like via my Tiktok!

What’s the coverage like? How much product do I need?

I like a light coverage. I’m 33 so I feel too much makeup looks worse due to the texture/fine lines that are appearing. ‘Woke up like this’ is buildable so I guess you’ll be able to pump as little or as much as you want.

Il Makiage Woke Up Like This foundation - showing you how much gets you out of a pump
1 pump in all its glory
Il Makiage Woke Up Like This foundation on my skin after 1 pump
1 pump; the redness on the side of my nose has been reduced (but not hidden) and you can still see small pumps on my forehead. It’s a nice light coverage though and the colour matches my skin perfectly

One pump gives a lovely finish – not everything is covered as you can see, but on the most part, it’s given my skin a glow and evened it out a lot. The redness either side of my nose has been reduced – but is still visible, as is the bumps on my forehead. It’s also covered small acne scars and uneven skin colouring on my cheeks and forehead.

Buy from their website,

It goes on very light and melts into my skin. It feels lovely. It isn’t thick, so I’m able to move it around my skin quickly and easily without any pulling of my skin. I buffer it in using circles with a brush, to make sure I get an even coverage. (UPDATE: I now use sponges for foundation (thanks tiktok) £5 for 4 here from Amazon:

Il Makiage Woke Up Like This foundation on my skin after 2 pumps
2 pumps – a lot better coverage, still feeling light-weight and not oily which is what I wanted – it blends really well

I have 2 pumps on here – plus added blusher. The redness around my nose has 95% been hidden. My skin looks even but it doesn’t look like I’ve got a lot of makeup on.

Primer is recommended

Before I put the foundation on, I moisturised with my Murad which has SPF in it. Then I went in with primer. It says on the Il Makiage website to use a primer to ensure the foundation stays on for as long as possible. That’s fine by me! I used a bit of Revolution Ultra Face Primer. I’ve now purchased Il Makiage’s primer – see blog links below. Obviously with it being the same brand, they work best together (and I can confirm it really is amazing – helps it stays on all day, including the concealer).

UPDATE: Here’s my blog on Il Makiage’s Primer – I’ve recently tried it after repurchasing the foundation. It’s brilliant and they work really well together – as you’d expect.

Post-workout – did the foundation stay on?

I worked out and got sweaty – I don’t know about you but my skin actually looks better. Dewy but not greasy. The foundation also stayed on; it didn’t go clumpy, melt or anything else.

Il Makiage Woke Up Like This foundation on my skin after a hard day - my review
after a sweaty workout – nice dewy skin with foundation still intact!

Buy the foundation from their website,

Instagram post – what’s it all about?

Okay so this instagram post is pretty convincing. It looks like one swoop covers her skin flawlessly. My personal opinion is for this woman to get full coverage like that in that small area, it would take at least 1 full pump. I used 1 pump to cover my whole face as I like a really light coverage. To get this fuller coverage over the whole face, you’d need at least 3 pumps.

Il Makiage Woke Up Like This foundation instagram post that got me influenced!
we’ve all seen her!

Final thoughts – love it

this is my skin naturally without anything on – you can see the red patches on my cheek and nose
Il Makiage Woke Up Like This foundation on my skin after a hard day - my review
very happy with the finish & coverage – covers all red patches and 2 pumps, doesn’t feel heavy at all, and stays on throughout the day
Il makiage review - using woke up like this foundation
the ‘before’
Il makiage review - using woke up like this foundation
The ‘during’ – Shade 35 in Il Makiage’s woke up like this foundation
Il makiage review - using woke up like this foundation
The finished result using Il Makiage’s foundation in shade 35
Il makiage review - using woke up like this foundation
This is me after a 17 hour day – including sweating and walking in the rain!

Buy from their website,

Ok so I didn’t want the world on a stick…. I wanted a foundation that:

  • didn’t make my oily/dry skin worse
  • I could wear all day (10hr+)
  • stays on after a workout or if I get sweaty/rained on
  • doesn’t break me out in spots

Il Makiage lives up to that above. I’m really pleased (for once) I was targeted on Instagram!

I also wanted a cruelty-free and vegan brand, which I got. Il Makiage products are all cruelty-free and most are vegan – this foundation is one of their vegan products (check out their FAQs).

I would recommend this foundation. It works well on my skin.


Even though they don’t give out free shade testers, the fact I got the suggestion from their customer service team gave me confidence I ordered the right shade – and they were right!

I’m not dying to take my makeup off by the end of the day because it doesn’t worsen my oily skin. After wearing for 10+ hours, my skin still looks fresh with uneven skin tone & imperfections still covered – not as good as the morning but still impressive.

If you want to use a tool to suggest your shade, use their POWERMATCH. I did and it’s perfect! Although if you don’t get a good match they offer an amazing returns policy which gives peace of mind.

Skin prep tip – a must to keep foundation looking its best with dermaplaning

Make sure you dermaplane your skin to smooth it out as much as possible. I do this once every few weeks and it makes SUCH a difference. ‘Dermaplaning’ is basically a fancy way of saying you ‘shave your face’ but it also removes the dead skin cells making your skin super-smooth. I can confirm after years of doing this, hair does NOT return thicker/darker.

Make sure to prep your skin thoroughly and leave enough time in-between for the products to sink in your skin. I moisturise then leave 10 minutes before putting primer on, then another 10 mins before putting makeup on (foundation first then concealer).

How much is the foundation and where can I buy?

It’s £36 + delivery, £3.95.

Delivery is free over £40 which is kinda frustrating as their most popular product is just below the threshold.

UPDATE 27/4/22: Hadn’t seen this at the time of buying, but they offer ‘try it for 60 days’ if you use their POWERMATCH tool to find your shade match; see the promo below. I’ve not known a makeup company offer returns on foundation! This would help massively if you get the wrong shade, you can simply return it, instead of (like me) try to re-sell on eBay for a 1/10 of the price. Link here for their foundation POWERMATCH.

only just seen this promo – try before you buy! returns! never known this to be available for makeup.


As mentioned above, use welcome10 for 10% off from their website Il Makiage.

Final tip (and most important)

Don’t drop the bottle on a hard floor or this will happen. *cries*

Don't drop your Il Makiage Woke Up Like This foundation or you'll regret it!
don’t be a clumsy fool like me ARRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH *cries*

Update: 30 April 2021

I bought the Il Makiage Primer and it’s worked wonders for keeping the foundation on all day without any crustiness around my dry patches. I would recommend (oh I repurchased the foundation!)

Other Il Makiage products worth mentioning

So far I’ve tried this foundation, F*ck I’m Flawless concealer and No Filter Poreless Base primer. I’m very impressed with all 3 products and would recommend them.

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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!