Sheet Masks Review (part 2) – Neutrogena Hydrogel Recovery Mask

Check out part 1 – my review of Sanctuary Spa Bubble Mask HERE

The second sheet mask I’ve recently tried was the Neutrogena Hydrogel Recovery Mask. I’ve been eyeing up the Neutrogena Hydro Boost range for quite a while and I thought a good first step into trying the range was to test out their new sheet mask. It’s strap line on the front of the packaging explains this products as “hydrogel cooling technology 100% made from active serum. Intense hydration for noticeable supple skin. One mask = one month usage of serum” Sounds pretty promising right?!

As I took it out of the packaging the first thing I noticed was the texture of this mask. It’s like a jelly silicone material soaked in the Hyaluronic Acid, and comes in two parts in order to fit better to your face. I will save you the face-mask selfie for this post as it did look a little strange as the mask was almost see-through – made me look plastic, but gave the husband a bit of a fright when he walked in so it’s worth it just for that! What I did like however is that the eye and mouth holes of the mask could be covered by the mask material if you wished to give your whole face a moisture boost. One thing I did love about the texture of this mask is that there was no dripping from the mask, which often I’ve found with soaking wet sheet masks.

So did it bring ‘one month usage of serum’….? I’m not convinced at this statement! I left the mask on for a total on 30 minutes. As I removed the mask from my face, my skin did feel very soft and bouncy – between you and me it felt quite soothing after a night of drinking the night before…! But as a regularly user of  Hyaluronic Acid, I didn’t feel this mask brought me any extra hydration in comparison to applying a serum the night before.

Question is then – would I buy again? I think I might in two different scenarios… The first, for travel. This sheet mask would be perfect to pack in your suitcase to save you carrying around a separate Hyaluronic Acid product – which often comes in a glass bottle. And the second for a hangover (shhhh! Just between us remember?!). Used on the morning of the night before, this mask is really soothing and cooling on the skin so makes you feel refreshed ready for the day ahead. And as this mask is only £3.50, I might pick a couple of these for emergencies 😉

Have you tried anything from the Neutrogena Hydrogel range yet?

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Sheet Masks Review (part 1) – Sanctury Spa Bubble Mask

I’m not the biggest lover of a sheet mask if I’m honest. Don’t get me wrong, some sheet masks are very nice on the skin as well as being easy to use and great to travel with but I struggle with the overall wastage from sheet masks. First of all, every sheet mask I’ve used tends to have a lot of product leftover on them or in the packaging– it always seems a shame that you can’t often use these more than once. Which also brings me onto my next bugbear -sheet masks aren’t very environmentally friendly. After one use, you throw them out whereas with a face mask from a tube or a tub, they give you multiple uses.

My sheet masks views set aside, I have been recommended a couple of masks to try  – Sanctuary Spa Purifying Charcoal Bubble Sheet Mask and Neutrogena Hydrogel Recovery Mask, so I thought I would give you my review of these across two post (2nd part coming on Thursday!). First post, I’m starting with Sanctuary Spa Purifying Charcoal Bubble Sheet Mask.

Recently I’ve noticed quite a few brands popping up with bubble sheet masks, trying to bring something new to the skincare aisles. They generally work by creating small bubbles underneath the mask to cleanse and withdrawn impurities under the skin. The Sanctuary Spa Purifying Charcoal Bubble Sheet Mask says it’s a “deep cleansing sheet mask drawing out skin clogging dirt, grime and pollution with the purifying power of a million microbubbles.” This masks comes in two parts in order to better fit to the face and as you take it out of the packet you can feel the black sheet soaked in cleanser.  As I applied it to my face, I instantly felt the bubbles going to work underneath. The one thing to note here however was that I was a bit confused on the fit of this mask as both sections (top and bottom) both covered the nose area – I’m not sure if I fitted this incorrectly, whether it was just excess mask (and therefore a waste!), or if the double layering of the mask is to gain extra strength to an area of the face commonly known for dirt build up. If anyone can help me with this – please do let me know!


Anyway masks fitted (yes, I look ridiculous!), I laid down on my bed and set the timer on my phone for 15mins. I have to say, I do quite like this about sheet masks – because you can’t really move around with these masks on as they will slip off your face, so it does force you to physically laydown and relax. As I lay there chilling out, I constantly feel a tingling sensation all over my face as the bubbles did their work which felt really nice! Once the 15 minutes were up I walked back into my bathroom and had a look in the mirror. I was a little taken aback to find the top of the mask had foamed up too and I was left looking a little like The Moon – Noel Fielding style (anyone a fan? I’ve just gone into a YouTube rabbit hole at watching these videos!). As I removed this mask from my skin, you could see all the tiny microbubbles still all over my skin, which I then rubbed into my face before rinsing my face with warm water at instructed.  

Once I rinsed the mask off, it did leave my skin feeling very clean. It did also feel a little tight which I thought might have been the case with the charcoal element of this mask, so following up with a good moisturizer is necessary. My skin didn’t however feel stripped of moisture which I thought might have been the case with a foaming type cleanser. Overall I did really enjoy this mask, however the curse of the sheet mask product wastage was definitely present here. I definitely felt I could of used this product twice however the nature of the foaming meant it was far too messy to save any excess product and I had to throw the mask in the bin once I had finished.

Would I buy this again? I’m still a little torn as I don’t like the wastage from this sheet mask, but I do like the after effects of this mask and also the need to take 15mins to relax and let this sheet mask work its magic. I might therefore pick this up again if I’m looking for a special pamper treat but for regularly face mask treatments, I might stick to the Beauty Pie  Super Pore Detox Black Clay Mask which almost does the same job.

Have you tried out the Sanctuary Spa Bubble Mask before? Or tried any other bubble masks?

Some of my recent and favourite reads…

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Little Black Book – Otegha Uwagba
The essential career handbook for creative working women
If you need a kick-up the backside – this will give you some inspiration! It’s a tiny book which I read in one day during my commute to work and back. Written by Otegha Ueagba who is a brand manager, this gives lots of tips and advise from; how to build your own brand, gaining success in your career, through to how to negotiate a pay rise. A great read for all those busy working women out there.  

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine – Gail Honeyman
Believe the hype with this book – I thoroughly loved it! I’ve spoken to so many people about this book, three of which just starting to read it. All three gave a really skeptical expression about the book explaining they really weren’t sure if they were going to like it. They all said “I don’t really like the main character so not sure if I’m going to like this book”. And it’s a fair point! To start with you will question who the hell is this character, what is this story all about. I however have begged those three starting to read this book, and you if you decided to give it a read to stick with it because I, along with everyone else I know who has read this book – loved it!  It’s a type of story I’ve never read before and covers some really interesting topics.

Everything I Know About Love – Dolly Alderton
I’ve reviewed this book recently HERE so will let you read the full review over on that post, but what I will say is that I really loved it! If your a twenty something female, there are a lot of things that will resonate. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried with this book and I’ve also recommended it to all my girlfriends.

The F Word – Lily Pebbles
A Personal Exploration of Modern Female Friendship
I’ve followed Lily Pebbles for years now, even when her blog was named – ‘What I Heart Today’. She is one of those bloggers I can really relate to, I think because we are similar ages and going through the same life stages as similar times; moving home, getting married, etc. The F Word is her first book and it’s all about female friendships – the best friends, the sister and even the toxic friend. It’s a book I finished in a couple of days and there is something in there which every female can relate too. It was such a heart-warming book that it really made me feel so grateful for my friends.

Ice Cream for Breakfast – Laura Jane Williams
How Rediscovering Your Inner Child Can Make You Calmer, Happier, and Solve Your Bullsh*t Adult Problems
I can honestly say this book for me was life changing! I read this book at the perfect time of my life. At the time I was going through a royally crap time with my job and near to hitting rock bottom. Laura talks about all different kinds of stressful situations and then describes how a child would react and asks the question on why we don’t do the same? For example – when a child doesn’t want to do something they say no and do not care for other opinions. So why do we as an adult? When looking after a child you want to make sure they get a full night’s sleep so they don’t feel unwell. So why do we as adults put sleep low on our priority list? This book will always be a special book for me and I would recommend it to anyone who is feeling stressed or overwhelmed with life.

Still Me – Jojo Moyes
This is my current read (currently a third of the way through). This book is the final of a trilogy following the main character Louisa Clark through her life. The story first began in the book ‘Me Before You’ which is now a film adaptation. I first read (well listened) to this book on Audible during my train commute to work and it left me in an embarrassing state of tears on my way home one evening. The second book ‘After You’ was my holiday read last year and I could not put it down. Although I can’t say much about the third book just yet, want I can say is that if you like a good book series – this one from Jojo Moyes is well worth checking out.

What are you recent book recommendations?

The Sunday Times Style Beauty Box

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Spoiler alert: the best beauty box I’ve ever received!

In celebration of The Sunday Times Style Beauty Awards, Sunday Times have partnered with Latest In Beauty to give people the chance to try out the shortlisted products before you vote. If you haven’t heard of The Sunday Times Style Awards, it is annual awards with winners chosen by readers. With a whole range of categories from best skincare brand, best lipstick, all the way to best eco-friendly beauty brand, readers can select their favourite products with also a chance of winning prizes.

The Sunday Times Style beauty box costs just £25 (+ P&P at £2.95) and allows you to pick six products from a list of 60 shortlisted products from the awards. The amazing list of brands range from; MAC, Rodial, Charlotte Tilbury, Benefit, Real Techniques, Paula’s Choice, Elemis, Burt’s Bees…and the list goes on! There is also a great range of full size products you can pick from too which is amazing! Be warned however there are a lot of products coming in and out of stock.

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Here is what I picked for my Sunday Times Style Award beauty box –

  • MAC Lipensity Lipstick in Clouds in my Coffee –  nominated for best lip product
  • Rodial Dragon’s Blood Sculpting Gel –nominated for best premium skincare brand
  • Soaper Duper Vanilla / Shea Body Wash – nominated for best eco-friendly brand
  • The Body Shop Japanese Matcha Tea Mask – nominated for best natural brand
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA – nominated for best skincare brand
  • Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Oil-Free Moisture Cushion – nominated for best premium skincare brand  

I’m unsure how long these beauty boxes will be available for so you might need to be quick! Voting for The Sunday Times Style Awards closes on 6th May – so don’t forget to vote for your favourite products! Link – HERE

Skincare Stress Relief

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It’s been quite a busy time for me recently, I’ve been planning my best friend’s hen do (which was a success!) and it has also been busy at work. I don’t know about you, but when life gets hectic I can become stressed and it shows all over my face with break-outs. I’ve also been testing quite a lot of skincare recently and I think I’ve gone a little overboard with my skin not knowing if it’s coming or going. This has left my skin looking a mess!

Unless you are extremely lucky, I think all of us goes through a stage of our skin being unmanageable at least once in our life. It’s crap and quite frankly can make you down and want to hide away from the world. When it gets to this stage, I rein my skincare in and go back to gentle products which I know I can trust! Here are the products which has got my skin back on track which I use in the evening…

Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm – This is my first pot of Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, and I really love it for my first cleanse in the evening to remove my make-up. It’s the balm consistency I love the most as I can really massage it into my skin, removing every last scrap of product from my face. It’s also fragrance free so there are no unnecessary ingredients which can irritate the skin.

Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser – I’m probably on my 15th bottle of this stuff. If you have read my blog for a while you will know this is my trusty cleanser which will always be in my bathroom cabinet. It’s one of the first proper cleansers I ever used and my skin has always loved it. My skin loved it even more when Liz Earle brought out the rose and lavender version as I found it calmed my skin even more. If I wasn’t such a beauty addict and wanting to try new products all the time, I would use this every day.

Pixi Glow Tonic – If I don’t use some form of toner in my routine, whether it be an acid toner, a standard toner or even splashing my skin with cold water after cleansing, I find my risk of getting spots will be higher. This is simply because after cleansing, my pores are left wide open to get dirt in them or clogged with heavy products such as moisturisers, which will lead to sebum (oil) building under the skin creating spots. The Pixi Glow Tonic is hands-down my favourite! It’s known as an acid toner as it contains 5% glycolic acid. This acid reacts to the top layer of the skin breaking down dead skin cells giving you a more smoother and brighter complexion.

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid – Just a hyaluronic acid in general is needed to give my skin a boost of hydration. I haven’t found a favourite hyaluronic acid product just yet but I’m currently using this one from The Ordinary. It does the job just fine leaving my skin soft and bouncy in the morning.

It is a combination of using these products and leaving the fancy face masks, or new special creams well alone which has got my skin back to normal. I’m still using this routine and once I’m feeling more confident I will start introducing other new products into my routine to try out – Oh, the perils of a beauty addict when I know I should be sticking with what works!

What are your fail-safe products to get your skin back to normal? Do you have any tips for getting your skin back on track?

Monthly Favourites: March 2018

6865E7E0-A23A-4251-BB51-5E15D21F3FF1.jpgHappy Easter Sunday everyone!! I hope everyone is enjoying their Easter weekend and having chocolate eggs for breakfast. My weekend so far has been starting some spring cleaning and today I will be traveling to Hertfordshire to visit family. Such a lovely way to finish March, and here are my favourite products of the month which I’ve been enjoying-

Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser in Rose and Lavender
This month my skin has been quite problematic with breakouts and experiencing a whole range of different textures – dry, oily, then dry and flaky – it’s been a mess! When this happens I strip my skincare right back and go back to the products I know and trust. My staple cleanser which you will always find in my bathroom cabinet is Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser. I’ve used this one on and off for nearly 10 years and I can always rely on this to getting my skin back on track. I’ve been using this all month and my skin is finally getting back to normal!

La Roche Posay Cicaplast Levres Barrier Repairing Balm
This was a new find during the month of March. After watching Nadine Baggott’s video – Why Most Lip Balms Are Bad For Your Lips (and which really work) she recommended the La Roche Posay Cicaplast Levres Barrier Repairing Balm. Naddine explains in her video that those lip balms containing Mint, Menthol, Peppermint, Spearmint, Rose, Camphor, Lemon derivatives and even capsaican (a chilli derivative) actually irritate the lips, whereas the La Roche Posay Balm contains none of these ingredients just simply Panthenol to help sooth chapped lips. I’ve been applying this every morning and evening before bed, as it has really helped soothed my lips.

MAC Cream Colour Base in Hush
During these winter months, I tend to stick to a more heavier coverage foundation because my skin hates the cold so I try all I can to cover it. These bases however tend to remove all glow from my complexion so a cream highlight for me is a must. There are two cream highlighters I have in my collection – Glossier Haloscope in Quartz (a common favourite in the beauty blogger community) and MAC Cream Colour Base in Hush (which I picked up after the Pixiwoo sisters raved about it). Out of the two however, its been the MAC Cream Colour Base in Hush which I have been loving the most. It really suits my skin tone and gives me a really lovely glow on my cheek-bones. This also featured in my recent post – How Much Is Your Make-Up Bag as this has been in my everyday make-up bag for the past couple of months. Have a read of it – HERE

Bleach London Make-up
If you read my last post (HERE) you will know I’ve recently tried out Bleach London make-up range and for the whole of this month I’ve really enjoyed it! The eyeshadows (or Louder Powders) do not budge and are really pigmented, plus only £3 each – I’m looking forward to trying out more of these. The contour is my most favourite though. The highstreet and in fact some high-end brands have not managed to bring out contour shades for all complexions but Bleach London have managed it. This colour for me is light and subtle for everyday use – me and my round face have loved it all month!

LOreal Mega Volume Miss Baby Roll mascara in waterproof
Regular readers of StephiSays will know I have horrible lashes – they are straight and very stubborn. I am really fussy when it comes to mascaras, and only waterproof mascaras tend to hold a curl in my lashes. My absolute favourite mascara has always been L’Oreal False Lash Architect but when I couldn’t pick this up recently in my local Superdrug as it was out of stock, I decided to pick up LOreal Mega Volume Miss Baby Roll mascara. Apparently its new from LOreal and I picked it up to try because it was on offer and waterproof. Turns out it’s pretty good! Might have to do a closer comparison on these mascara soon – stay tuned!

What have been your March beauty favourites?

First Impressions: Bleach London make-up

Doing my usual browse around Superdrug, out the corner of my eye I saw the perfect contour shade – actually a whole range of shades for all skintones. I then looked up and realised that it was from the brand Bleach London…I thought they only did crazy colour hair care products?! From the stand in Superdrug (I was in the Brighton store), it seems they have now turned their hand to make-up. Well if they are so good at bright hair colours, go figure they would be good at colour make-up!

Intrigued at what they had to offer I had a thorough browse of their stand. Their collection consisted of; eyeshadows in a huge selection of colours from neutrals shades right through to the brightest glitter shades I’ve ever seen, lip-kits, amazing bright highlighters, contour powders – all with the common theme of coming in a great range of shades and in beautiful, bright colours. Their packaging was quite interesting too. The collection is based around building your own palette with the majority of their products (contour powder, eyeshadows, highlighter, etc) coming in pan form within cardboard sleeves. Very clever marketing Bleach London – as for me just wanting to try out one of their contour shades resulted in having to purchase a small palette to store the product. Well seeing as I have a small palette now, I might as well try a couple of their eyeshadows to also go into my new palette…

My Verdict:

I ended up buying 4 products from Bleach London’s make-up range – Contour Shade called Countor-Nuity in Bones 4, two eyeshadows named Louder Powders in the shades TDME (red-ish shade) and in BME (bronze shade) and I also brought a small palette for £8 to house my three new make-up items.

Starting with the contour shade, as I mentioned above their range of shades really caught my eye as they offer a contour shade even for the palest complexion. I picked up the shade Bones 4 and I’ve worn it everyday since I brought it. I’ve tried many contour shades in the past, my favourite being Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in medium but deep down I know it can look a little too dark for me. This shade however is so perfect and subtle for a little bit of everyday definition. It was also an absolute steal at only £4.50!

When it came to picking a couple of eyeshadows to also try from the range I really wasn’t that adventurous, and stuck with shades I would normally wear – bronze and red tone shades (which I now love thanks to the Urban Decay Heat palette). For a £3 price tag for each shadow, I honestly didn’t hold much hope for these eyeshadows but they are amazing! They are so pigmented and have a strong staying power on my lid – even without using an eyeshadow primer! The girl who served me in Superdrug also sung their praises saying these were the best eyeshadows she has ever tried! I think she is right..!

The palette itself is practical but it’s no MAC empty pro palette which you can fill. It’s first of all made of cardboard and a magnetic lid with a flimsy plastic window. This will get grubby and I am a little bit terrified of putting this in my make-up bag and having something stab through the front of the palette and making a mess. I can however forgive Bleach London for this as the make-up products themselves are fantastic and really well priced! Overall I would really recommend checking out Bleach London Make-up range if you haven’t already!

Have you tried Bleach London make-up before?