Unconditional Body Love Part 9: My Face Is Up Here! 

I’ve always had a narrow, long face. I’ve never particularly liked this fact, as I’d have preferred to have a heart-shaped, or at least smaller, face which would have meant that longer haircuts look better on me than short ones. As it happens, longer faces seem to run in the family and my dad has the same face shape as me, so maybe it’s in the genes. I tried different lengths of haircuts in my life to see which flattered my face more. At age 13, I wanted to have my hair in a chin-length Bob cut, and really liked it at the time. Over the years though, I realised that longer cuts make my face look longer and my hair look dull, lank and lifeless so have gone for shorter cuts to open up my face more and give my hair more volume. By doing this, I’ve achieved a look that’s right for my face shape and which makes me look and feel great. I’ve received countless compliments from others, too! My hair has always been very thin and fragile, more so because of the shunt operations I’ve had, where my head was shaved. I was always worried after every one as to whether it would grow back or not and it did, and lots of it. I have a lot of hair, but it’s still very thin. I use nutrient-rich shampoos and conditioners and especially like the Elvive, Pantene or Tresemme ranges. I use a hair masque once a week. I occasionally use an intensive treatment like Pantene One Minute Rescue Treatment to give my hair even deeper nourishment. My partner, apart from washing my hair, also dyes it for me. I really don’t like the smell of ammonia so go for ammonia-free brands of dye like Olia and L’Oreal Casting Creme Gloss in mahogany, brown or red colours, as they seem to show up most on my hair and highlight and compliment my natural dark brown colour. My favourite dye colour so far is L’Oreal Casting Creme Gloss in 565 (Berry Red) and a short while ago I bought Revlon’s Colour Silk Dyes in 35 (Vibrant Red) and 37 (Dark Golden Brown) which I have yet to try. The great thing about them is they are ammonia-free too. They were only €2.99 from Lidl, a real bargain! 

Now, onto my skin.Because of my heritage of having an Irish mum and English dad, my skin is pale, but not as pale as some people’s. I do tan if it careful in the sun, and wish I tanned easier and quicker. I got an interest in makeup early on, and luckily pretty much nailed it in terms of the colours that suit me right away. I began always using really natural shades such as creams and brown, then tried shades of purple and pale to dusky pink. I can remember when I was 11 I bought a Revlon palette with purple shades and used it on my first holiday to the USA. My mum always said I don’t need makeup to look great, but I believed otherwise as I had very low self-esteem for much of my childhood and teenage years because of having been very overprotected due to what happened when I was born, and the fact I have complex multiple disabilities. My escape from this was to concentrate on my appearance and I spent all my pocket money and later my own money on clothes, beauty products and makeup. Magazines have always been hard for me to read because of the print size, but I bought them to see the pictures of what was “in” at the time. Better so if they came with some kind of free product! I’d try the free products out, always saving the best ones for last and if I really liked a product, I’d find out ASAP where to get a full-sized version of it. 

My self- consciousness worsened when I was in my early teens as I got some acne breakouts. They weren’t as bad as many people’s at my school, but to me, they were just another reason for people to stare. I scoured Boots and Superdrug for the best treatments I could find, trying all the “spot-prone skin/ acne treatment” ones I could afford- OXY, Clearasil Witch Hazel, Neutrogena and even Boots and Superdrug own brand products. My skin felt clean after using them, but it also felt itchy and/ or red and sore. I especially noticed this with Clearasil and OXY- even a little despite using the “sensitive” versions of these products. I found the normal skin. versions way too strong and astringent and my skin would be dry flaky and sore for days after the initial use. This did even less for my self-confidence. As a last resort, I went to my GP who gave me a topical solution roll on, a bit like a deodorant, but for my face. This cleared my acne up and my confidence slowly came back. Luckily, I haven’t had acne like that since, and only get some isolated spots around my “time of the month.” Otherwise, my skin stayed clear since I used the product my doctor gave me. I can remember them telling me that it was good that I bought cleansing products and did my best to keep my skin as clean as possible. I’ve cleansed, toned and moisturised my skin for years and when I look for products for my facial cleansing routine, I look for ones that are good value for money as well as formulated with as natural ingredients as I can possibly find, to minimise the risk of unwanted redness or other skin reactions to the product. I’ve learnt to recognise the brands and products I like most too. I’ve tried cleansing lotions, milks and facial washes. I realise the importance of exfoliating the skin as well as having a good moisturiser. My skin routine now is much as it has been for years: cleanse tone and moisturise every morning and evening, use a face scrub once a week and also use a face mask once a week. This, I find, is easy to stick to and I’m so used to it now it’s automatic. My favourite brand of cleansers is L’Oreal, as their products are rich creamy and cleanse well without blocking my pores. I recently bought and reviewed the Cucumber Cleansing Milk from HEMA which I found really refreshing and a good cleanser as it was creamy. It only cost 2€ which is an absolute bargain for 250ml worth of product. I try and budget about 6€ max for a cleanser and would probably spend between £4 and £5 max. If I’m broke, I’ll buy Boots Fragrance Free or Cucumber Cleansing Lotions which are great value at £1.50 for 150ml, and a great “emergency buy.” I tend to spend a little more on facial scrubs, and again choose ones with a creamy formula and small grains so they’re not rough on my skin. Olay’s Facial Scrub is really good. I love face masks and think they’re the ultimate pamper accessory for my skin routine. I LOVE Superdrug’s masks. Because I’m a real chocoholic at heart, my favourites are the White Chocolate Mask and the Chocolate and Orange Mask. They smell gorgeous and do cost 99p a sachet, but I often get two applications out of the same sachet. I tend to look for face masks in tubes because they’re better value for money and can last me months. I especially like mud masks or masks with aloe and tend to get mine from Superdrug. I just feel so pampered and relaxed afterwards! 

So that’s my skincare routine. 

Now onto makeup……

Over the past few years, I joined the “Primer Revolution” as I come to think of it and now I love these products. My face base makeup started off as being Collection 2000 foundations and then progressed to tinted moisturisers from the same brand when I was a teenager and didn’t want to spend loads. then I tried Max Factor foundations which are still a favourite of mine today. I bought a lot of Rimmel London products too as I can remember as the brand used to be seen as one of the “cheaper” ones. I can’t say the same today though about that. The first primer I tried was Boots No7 Primer which I bought as I had a £5 off coupon from Boots, given to me during one of my “supply stock up” sessions. I found the product thick to use and it wasn’t comfortable on my skin so I didn’t ever buy that again. For the past two years, I’ve joined the “BB Cream Revolution” (any mention of a new type of product and I’m there and will buy it if it’s within my budget!). I first tried Garnier’s BB cream, which I still have some of. I bought this as I wanted a product that was multipurpose and quick to use instead of having to use separate products. I liked this as it had six benefits in one, providing colour and a moisturiser as well as SPF 15 amongst other benefits which I’ll talk about when I review it. After using that, I was browsing the Rimmel London makeup stand and found the 9-in-1 Supermakeup BB cream by them. This has SPF 20 and eight other benefits. So far I’ve used at least three if not more tubes of this and love it. I have the radiance version at the moment. That’s what I use now instead of foundation a lot of the time. I also like Sephora’s 10 Hour Foundation and 8 Hour Powder Foundation for if I want another look because they’re light with good coverage and don’t clog my pores. If I’m using the foundation products, then I’ll use HEMA’s Primer underneath them to provide a better base and make them last longer. 

I’m addicted to eyeshadow bases too, and love Urban Decay’s Primer Potion. I got samples of the four shades free with my Naked 3 Palette and I’ve used them all up. Make Up Academy (MUA) by Superdrug’s Primer or HEMA’s Eyeshadow Base make good value for money alternatives. I always use a concealer to cover any spots and blemishes. If they get really out of hand, I use Visibly Clear Spot Clearing Treatment by Neutrogena or a dab of toothpaste. I can remember how flattered I was when, while getting ready for my graduation from Reading University, the lady applying my makeup said I had great skin to apply makeup onto and that I have a great complexion with a wonderful texture. That made me smile no end! 

Many people have complimented me on my eye colour and I like it too. I still use neutral coloured shadows, purples and pinks but have added oranges and golds to the mix. I love mascara, and recently changed my usual black mascara to grey as, as I’ve now mentioned a few times on this blog, I find black looks harsh with my natural eye colour. It was hard to find a grey mascara that wasn’t an expensive designer one, but I tracked one down at HEMA for €4.25 and it looks great! Lipstick wise, I’ve always gone for lipstick rather than gloss, as my lips tend to be dry despite me drinking enough water as well as keeping them well moisturised, and I find many glosses just dry my lips out further. I have found a range of glosses that doesn’t do that though- the Kiko Makeup Milano Super Gloss range. I really like Sephora’s lipsticks as well as Kiko Makeup Milano’s and they’re what I have in my makeup bag at the moment. I have always worn nude to deep pinks, as well as reds. I like coral shades too. I’ve always been conscious of the need to moisturise my lips and apply lip balm then a lip pencil before the lipstick. There’s another product I use a lot of and which I discovered several years ago- it’s Lip Scuff by The Body Shop. This is practically the only product I buy from The Body Shop now but I haven’t seen lip exfoliator anywhere else at all. It does a great job of exfoliating my lips and leaves them really smooth. This is my first step in my lip care routine. 

With so much in the media about skin and ageing, I look after my skin as best I can. I’m happy with what my face is like and after all the operations I had on my body that I had no choice about, I don’t want to go under the knife to change anything about my face. I’m worried about wrinkles though, and as prevention is paramount, I recently bought my first Q10 Night cream from Lidl. I have a favourite facial moisturiser which is True Match Moisturiser by Garnier. I have been using HEMA’s Night Cream for the past few months too, and that moisturises well. Last but not least, let’s talk about my teeth. From an early age, my mum encouraged me and my sister to look after our teeth and we had regular trips to the dentist. Instead of spending money on sweets, I spent it on magazines and books or the odd bit of makeup. I’m so glad I did as this decision has paid off and I’m glad to say that at the age of 33 I don’t have any cavities or fillings at all and all my teeth are still my own. I did have one tooth taken out when I was about nine or ten, but that was because of overcrowding in my mouth (ie having too many teeth) which is the same problem my dad had. I seem to have a bit of an overbite and often bite my tongue when eating but that is probably to do with the coordination of my muscles. It’s always been the physical brushing of my teeth that’s been difficult for me, again that’s a coordination thing but also down to strength. My dentists were always aware of this and I have used an electric toothbrush for years. I can’t use regular dental floss, it just slips out my fingers and the precise action of flossing is extremely difficult for me. I really like whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes though. The more serious problem I have is bleeding gums which are often very sore. My dentist gave me a gel to use and it seemed to have helped a little. I’ve been told this has to do with my difficulty with brushing because I can’t brush my teeth properly and so end up brushing some areas more than others. My gums are weak anyway. 

In summary then, am I happy with my face? that’s a resounding yes! 

The makeup I’m wearing in the photo for this post is: 

HEMA Makeup Primer 

Sephora  8 Hour Powder Foundation in Light 21

Urban Decay Primer Potion in Anti Ageing 

Pale Pink shadow from Sephora Medium Make up Bag Palette as base shadow 

Urban Decay Naked Palette “Naked 2” Shadow. 

Kiko Makeup Milano Lipstick in 14



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