After following lots of beauty and skincare accounts on Instagram I’ve been blown away by the sheer number of products people have. I appreciate that if you have skincare as a hobby its easy to get carried away picking up beauty bargains or always wanting the next item to try. I have quite a hoard of products myself but am trying to make more conscious eco swaps from here on out.
I’ve always wanted a beauty advent calendar and this year was sorely tempted. 2 things put me off. The first being the sheer cost of some of them and the second being that I didn’t really need anything new on the beauty front. I leant towards buying Holland & Barrett’s calendar as this only included eco conscious. Then it hit me that the most eco friendly thing to do is simply not buy things I don’t need.
I got chatting to Jess from My Life As Jess Skincare on Instagram about this and together we hatched a plan which we’ve named #the12daysofskinmas.
What Is #the12daysofskinmas ?
It’s essentially your own DIY advent calendar which involves using up samples of beauty products you already have. We don’t care what this looks like, it’s the concept of using what you have that’s the important bit. It can literally be a big envelope or box you lucky dip pick an item out of each day to use. We plan to include anything we have like skincare sachets, mini hair care samples, a sheet mask and tiny perfume testers etc.
We hope that anyone keen to reduce their environmental impact, save some money, work through their beauty stash or rediscover what they already own will get involved.
How To Get Involved
Each day Jess and I plan to use up a sample or mini from our stashes. We will share a post or reel of what we’re using on Instagram between the 1st and 12th December with the hashtag #the12daysofskinmas. We’d love for you to do the same, you can get involved on one day or all of the days, it’s entirely up to you.
You’re welcome to tag both of our Instagram accounts if you wish. We will be sharing our favourite posts to our stories. We hope to get people in the Christmas spirit whilst spreading a fun message that the festive period isn’t all about spending money or having as much as possible.
The Final Word
I hope you’ll consider getting involved. Please spread the message far and wide to anyone you think might enjoy #the12daysofskinmas !
I’ve been a dedicated fan of Eucerin’s SPF since discovering it and think it’s highly underrated. I was quite content to just keep buying and using it. After all, it works well for me and is affordable but after I was fortunate enough to win an SPF bundle from La Roche Posay which included their Anthelios SPF50 I knew a VS review post was round the corner!
I’ve forever grateful for the acne and skincare community on Instagram for making me aware that so many acne fighting skincare ingredients make skin more sensitive to the sun. Wearing SPF every day makes me feel like I’m protecting my skin and caring for it for the future which makes up for the years I feel like I spent trying to nuke spots into oblivion.
Price (as per brand’s website or best I can find!)
£16 per 50ml
£18 per 50ml
Labelled as suitable for (as per brand’s description)
Oily and blemish prone skin with studies showing good tolerability on sensitive skin
Specially formulated for sensitive skin
Product claims (as per brand’s description)
Oil regulating, gives skin immediate dry touch finish, mattifying for up to 8 hours,
water and sweat resistant, non greasy with no white marks, not sticky, non eye stinging
Extras to note
Labelled as suitable for users of topical acne medication
Eucerin Oil Control SPF 50 Review
I’ve writing this having purchased 4 bottles. I picked up 2 last time they featured in Boots £10 Tuesday offer so I was well stocked and saving some pennies whilst protecting my skin. I have combination skin and find this a really effective product. It doesn’t cause any dryness on my less oily areas and doesn’t make me look shiny. It doesn’t have a typical sun cream smell or texture which is great. It’s never made me break out or caused any sensitivity. I haven’t had any major problems with this pilling.
I have experienced a bit of eye stinging with this but that’s generally only if I get tired and rub my eyes without thinking. This can then cause a bit of stinging that causes my eye to water but it isn’t a painful burning sensation. I’m incredibly pale and this doesn’t make me look any more ghostly so can confirm zero white cast for me.
La Roche Posay Anthelios Review
This was my first full sized bottle of this. I had previously bought a sample via Feel Unique’s Pick & Mix service. The first major difference with this product compared to Eucerin’s is the texture. It is very, very runny. Where I’ve been used to pumping a thick gel like cream texture and applying that squeezing this out of the bottle left it dribbling and running down my fingers. I found it quite hard to measure out an amount to apply and instead found it easy to squeeze 4 smaller sized helpings and dot these on my cheeks, forehead and chin before rubbing in.
I’ve never experienced eye stinging at all with this product, this is the only major perk it has for me over the Eucerin SPF. Upon application I find this makes me initially look a bit shinier than the other product but this does die down very quickly and I don’t find it off putting. In terms of similarities to my trusted Eucerin Oil Control SPF 50 this also doesn’t cause me to break out, doesn’t make me look paler and has no white cast. I’ve also not had any pilling issues with this one.
For me these two products have such similarities and do such a good job. Neither make me break out, cause sensitivity, give me white cast, smell bad or pill excessively when reapplying. I’ve popped into a table below the only real notable differences I’ve found.
Can I pick a winner? No. I honestly can’t. I think the Eucerin product is really underrated, it is slightly cheaper and I personally much prefer the texture as it’s less messy to apply. It is also very morning proof, if like me, you struggle to wake up and need something you can just throw on. The La Roche Posay requires shaking to activate which I have definitely forgotten to do a few times when dozy. I love that I can apply the La Roche Posay with zero concern about eye watering.
So which would I repurchase? It’ll come down to which is the best value for money at the time I need to restock but I’d happily buy both again.
Product marked with *** is a winner for me for each category
Eucerin Oil Control SPF 50
La Roche Posay Anthelios SPF 50
*** More of a gel, cream texture, easy to apply with pump bottle to measure out
took some getting used to to avoid sticky fingers and it dripping into my rings when squeezing it out the bottle
mild and very rare occurrences
*** zero eye stinging
Zero shininess on application
*** I don’t feel shiny at all after applying this
I notice I look a little more glowy or shiny but this dissipates not long after application. It’s not enough to put me off or make me think I look like an oil slick
As a brand I love what REN are doing. I’ve tried their Ready Steady Glow toner and really like it so a combination of the two makes me keen to try more from REN. A wonderfully kind Instagram follower sent me a deluxe sample of this product which I’ve now almost emptied so here comes the review.
Why I Like REN As A Brand
They’re tag line is “clean skincare”. At the time of publishing this 68% of their product meet the brand’s zero waste pledge. They anticipate being zero waste by the end of this year. They’ve also joined forces with a handful of other skincare brands pledging to make positive changes and all be zero waste by 2025 noting that the impact will be greater if they work together. REN are actively making changes such as designing the world’s first aluminium skincare sample packaging which they anticipate, based on their yearly forecasts, could save 900kg of plastic from landfill in 2021 alone. They’ve removed things like harder to recycle pipettes in favour of new packaging designs to reduce waste. Their packaging is all designed to be recyclable, containing recyclable materials and suitable for reusing. Materials include glass, aluminium and post-consumer-recycled plastic so it isn’t virgin plastic. They strike me as a brand that doesn’t just talk about wanting to do better for the planet but one that is implementing changes and fast which I love to see.
I’ve previously only ever tried 1 product from REN which is their Ready Steady Glow exfoliant. The more exfoliants I tried from other brands the more I’ve been keen to return to this. The product was not only eco friendlier than the competitors I tried but more effective with the formula doing the job I wanted it to.
Review Of REN Evercalm Day Cream
It retails for £38 for 50ml.
I have seen this on the TK Maxx website selling for £14.99 which is much closer to what I’d typically spend on a day cream. I personally wouldn’t pay £38 for it but that is no reflection on the product and more on my spending limits for beauty!
It has a beautiful luxurious scent to it that is gentle and I find it really calming. I’m fully aware this is a day cream but I have used this a few times during my evening skincare routine as I find the smell so de-stressing and relaxing. It feels like a real moment of self care to use which is on a whole other level compared to my usual products. The best way I can think to describe the comforting scent is that it felt like a hug for my face. Given that this is designed to nourish and combat skin discomfort I was a little surprised by the scent, assuming it to be fragrance free, but this didn’t irritate my skin in any way.
Texture-wise it is a cream formula with a little going a long way. I first squeezed out the same size quantity as my usual gel moisturiser and was there for quite some time rubbing it all in with my face looking very ghostly in the process. Once I’d got used to using a smaller amount I didn’t have this issue but I will say it required more rubbing in than most moisturisers I’m used to including Cetaphil’s Rich Night Cream which is a thick cream texture.
Did it make me break out? No, not at all. Given the amount of rubbing needed for this to absorb into my skin and it being thicker than usual formulas I’m used to I was a little hesitant but can report no extra spots as a result of introducing this into my routine.
It helped to soothe and ease sensitisation after I accidentally went in a little heavy with some new skincare that had active ingredients in.
The Final Word
Would I buy this? Whilst writing this review I had the TK Maxx tab open to where it was on offer for £14.99 and couldn’t bring myself to close it. I was on the fence because whilst I wanted to buy it I had a few reservations. Pros for buying included that it met my requirements for being more environmentally conscious as I’m really trying to make better product choices with this in mind. I was also aware that my skin tends to need a bit of extra nourishment in winter. I felt that this would be great for that time of year and I didn’t have anything lined up in my stash.
The only thing which put me off this purchase is that I’ve been dedicated to my day cream, the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+ now for over 6 years. It does a wonderful job of addressing breakouts and helping me to manage my acne prone skin, removing this from my routine feels unsettling. I see it as a trusted friend. But I have other products in my routine like The Ordinary Niacinamide serum which addresses spots and hyperpigmentation and being without the LRP during this trial period has been fine. It may be labelled as a day cream but I can see myself reaching for this more in the evenings which means this would replace the Cetaphil Rich Night Cream that I relied on last winter.
Long story short, I placed an online order for £14.99. It’s a product that I really enjoy using, I was able to justify space in my routine for it, it’ll mean an eco swap and ultimately I was never going to own a bottle at full price.
Estee Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair remains the most expensive product to have ever graced my face. Given the title of my blog “Forever Saving For A Rainy Day” I’ll forgive you for wondering why this product is featuring given that it isn’t cheap. I ended up using the ANR out of sheer desperation a few years ago when my acne was at it’s most aggressive and I was willing to try almost anything that might help me. Given its cult favourite status I thought I was in good, trustworthy hands. Read on for my thoughts on both of the serums.
Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum Review – RRP £60 for 30ml
The disappointment of this product is real. I first used this 4 or 5 years ago and sadly noticed zero difference to my skin. It’s a sad story when the best that can be said about a product experience is that at least it didn’t make my acne worse but that’s all I can muster for this. Whilst I didn’t experience any negative side effects I didn’t notice any positive changes to my skin either. I never expected this to be a miraculous acne solution but I did expect to see some improvements. I’ve only struggled with acne across my jawline and chin area but didn’t notice any difference to even my cheeks or forehead when I applied this nightly until it ran out. I didn’t feel as though my skin was any more hydrated, nor were my oil levels any more balanced and I didn’t feel it gave me more of a glow. I don’t recall it providing any assistance with pigmentation either. It felt lovely to apply but truthfully I’m not sure what it did – not a whole lot.
Earlier this year I received nearly 2 weeks’ worth of samples of their newest formulation of this product. I did like the texture of it but again I didn’t find this did anything for me. I appreciate 2 weeks is a very short period of time but given I was experiencing drier patches caused by prescription acne treatments I had hoped this would help soothe my skin but it didn’t provide any real relief.
I know for many this is a cult favourite but for me it was not a hit – it was a hard miss.
Estee Lauder Perfectionist Pro Brightening Serum – RRP £64 (approx) for 30ml
Last year I took advantage of a temporary deal on the Estee Lauder website which enabled me to get a gift with a small purchase and free delivery. The free gift included a 7ml sample of this serum which I’ve been using most mornings for about 2 months now so a little goes a really long way. On their website the 7ml sample retails for £10. If it weren’t for the gift opportunity I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to try this product given my previous experience with Estee Lauder serums.
I have to mention the texture of this product because it feels incredible to apply. It is silky, smooth, doesn’t pill and feels incredibly luxurious but then I would hope that given the price tag. It also has what I can only describe as a high-end glorious smell that is subtle. This was my first experience using a Vitamin C serum. It didn’t cause me to break out, there was zero irritation and no dryness. I’ve been applying this across my jawline and chin where I often break out and as a consequence struggle with hyperpigmentation. This has helped improve dark marks left behind spots and I noticed positive changes around weeks 3-4 of using. Regrettably, although I’ve loved using this product, I won’t be purchasing it purely because I can’t justify spending £60+ on a serum but I’m so pleased I had the chance to try this. I’d happily use it again if I’m able to pick up another mini sample and shall keep an eager eye out on Feel Unique’s Beauty Kit products in case this makes an appearance.
Although it sounds like a bit of a tragedy to say until then I shall stick with my £5-8 The Ordinary Niacinamide Serum as I find this low cost formula helps me with pigmentation as well as active spots.
Estee Lauder will be a brand that always holds a special place in my heart despite the ANR experience. Their Double Wear foundation transformed my confidence and when my adult acne was most affecting my self esteem it helped me go from feeling down to ready to face the day. I would happily use the Perfectionist Pro serum again if I can get my hands on some well priced minis or an exceptional deal but I’m afraid I’m through with trying to make ANR work for me.
I do love birthday months for getting extra samples at no cost. It’s a brilliant opportunity to try new things or have a little treat from brands you love. Any regular visitors to my blog will know that I’m a huge skincare fan and love trying new products without breaking the bank after spending years trying to address adult acne. Brands with a more environmentally friendly approach also have a very special place in my heart so I’m thrilled to be able to try plastic-free make up remover that doesn’t require cotton pads from The Body Shop as well as a new REN mask at zero cost this year. If you aren’t signed up to some of these loyalty schemes that offer birthday perks you’re missing out! There are plenty more out there but I’ve chosen to focus on beauty related ones as I find those the most exciting.
On the 1st of the month I received an email from Space NK inviting me to pick up my free birthday gift in store with no purchase necessary. It is possible to get this online but when I’ve contacted them about this a purchase has been required. Last year I ordered a £6 REN Ready Steady Glow toner and got free delivery to receive my beauty gift but this ear it didn’t cost me a penny. I was so happy to pick this up as it contained a facial tanner and I’ve been keen to give one a go as well as a vitamin C serum and glycolic product from REN. I’m a huge fan of REN for effective formulas and eco ethos. I definitely prefer this gift to last year and it came with the most amazing printed tissue paper with cult beauty products on it!
Via the app I got offered double points for the entire of my birthday month if I loaded the deal to my advantage card. I did this as soon as I saw it as I love getting extra bonuses for things I intended to buy anyway. I didn’t go out of my way to make the most of this but purchased a couple of essentials a few weeks early to make the most of in store offers and the double points deal. I’m a big fan of buying ahead for saving money.
I got a free £5 voucher from TBS for being a Love Your Body Club member. I redeemed this on a mini of their Chamomile Cleansing Butter which I will say looks absolutely tiny! Whilst the larger size worked out at far better value for money I didn’t want to spend the remaining £6 on the larger £11 tin when truth be told I’m not in desperate need of a cleanser. By choosing the mini one there was zero spend involved and I still get to try a product I’ve been excited about for a while. I’ve seen it is Caroline Hirons approved as well as TBS being a more eco conscious beauty brand than most available high street options.
Via Shopmium, a cashback app largely for groceries, as I’m a gold member I was offered a free box of Celebrations chocolates. Whilst I don’t really eat dairy I decided to pick these up as I could always gift them on to someone else if I decided I didn’t want them. The offer was £3 cashback, due to Tesco Clubcard prices I paid £2 so ended up making a £1 profit. To be a gold member of Shopmium it is totally free, I think you just need to submit a certain number of cashback requests initially and then one each month to stay in the gold level. I’ve found this really easy to do.
Reading this you may think I’ve gone mad but I decided not to claim my birthday gift from Rituals this year. Their free gift for loyalty club members is a silky full size shower oil worth £8.50. However; as I don’t live near a store and couldn’t find a free delivery code online I was going to have to spend around £6-7 on products and postage to get the freebie and there wasn’t anything I really needed. I did consider making the most of this and saving the products for Christmas gifts but my heart wasn’t in it.