Full Review: Vichy Clay Mask- What’s The Difference Between Higher & Lower Brand Clay Masks? ANSWERED HERE.

Full Review: Vichy Clay Mask- What’s The Difference Between Higher & Lower Brand Clay Masks? ANSWERED HERE.

Hello ducks,

I am absolutely slaying in regular blog posts lately, what do you reckon? I suppose I’ve just come to a realisation that if I’d like a regular chat with you all, I best upload more regularly for something for us to chat about! I am currently sitting at home of a Friday night in my pyjamas, listening to The Beatles, drinking Coconut water and just seriously relaxing. I have just washed my face of the Vichy Clay Mask that was given to me in sample form by my beautiful cousin, Tori, who accesses little treat samples through work in a pharmacy. Let’s hope she throws more our way so I can keep you updated on what is worth buying! So incase you didn’t pick it up by now, I’ll add in this little disclaimer to state that this is not a sponsored post. Vichy sent me nothing. This mask was a gift and this post shall be of my own honest opinion.

I decided I’d review this for you the minute I saw how much it cost on THIS website. I was sort of expecting this price range because I understand that Vichy is a popular line, considered to be that bit more luxurious. But see, I’m mad for a bargain where I can get one. So the question I really wanted to answer in this quest was: is it worth it? 18 euro for 75ml of Clay Mask. Is it really worth it? That’s nine items in the pound shop. That’s like a full face of makeup on AliExpress. And I ain’t cheap- believe me. But personally, where alternatives/ dupes are available and equally as good, I don’t understand why people pay such high prices. In my opinion, they are essentially just paying for the brand name. So, I guess I wanted to see if this was about the brand name or the quality of product. And I did just that. So let’s chat about how I got on.

Firstly, let’s talk about the product itself. This product usually comes in a set of three but can be bought on it’s own. As I said, I was lucky enough to get it as a gift so didn’t avail of the other two products in the set. And I can’t speak for them either. However, the set of three (if you were to get it) contains a Quenching Mineral Face Mask, A Double Glow Peel Face Mask and, of course, the Clay Mask that we’ll be talking about in this post. To find out more about this set and where to purchase it, click here. And yes, you’re right. It sounds very similar to the mask set you can purchase in Penneys and all other major stores and pharmacies… the L’Oreal set. Click here to find out more about that. Now, to be honest, I’m really not aware which one came out first. But only the test will tell which one is better or if, just maybe, they’re both the same.

As mentioned above, this blog post will focus on the Clay Mask- and I’m gonna talk you through my whole process and experience. Firstly, I started off by prepping my skin. I was having a no makeup day. So to clean my face I just took a Johnson’s face wipe (mentioned in my last blog post as holy grail) and rinsed it with hot water before wiping my face. Then, using a cleanser by Salon Services, I deep cleaned my skin with cotton wool and cleanser. Then, taking a clean brush, I applied the Clay Mask in a thin even layer on my skin- which is specified on the instructions.

What I will say at this point is that I found it really impressive how little product was needed and how smoothly it took to the skin. It was like applying silk to my face. It didn’t clump, it wasn’t hard or stiff. I actually at one point remember thinking that it was almost a mousse-like consistency. Thumbs up on that one, Vichy. Also, it smelled yummy. Sometimes I find that clay masks can just smell completely like bugs and muck. But this mask had a lovely perfumed scent to it and was definitely not too much on the raw scent front. I also liked that. Nothing worse than spreading a mask all over your face that cost you an arm and a leg, only to realise you can’t stomach the smell or sting. So, another impressive part of the experience.

The instructions read: Apply a thin layer and let dry for 3-5 minutes. At first I thought, that’s a pretty short amount of time. But I was recently talking to someone who advised me never to let a clay mask completely dry on my face because apparently it’s really bad for your pores and oil levels. She recommended that I use a spritz during the active time of the mask to ensure it doesn’t drought my skin. So, I did this too. I used my a basic spritz that I picked up in Boots for about 5 euro- I think it’s cucumber flavour. And of course, I washed the mask off with warm water after about five minutes.

I found the mask dried at a pretty fast pace because I applied such a thin layer. But it didn’t feel uncomfortable. And it didn’t irritate me at all. It didn’t sting or pull my skin, it didn’t smell weird or anything like that. It actually has been one of the few masks that I’ve used and could call therapeutic. Yano like in the ads when they look all chilled with a mask on and they’re floating on a cloud or some shit? I felt like yerone. I genuinely had a really relaxing active experience.

So then, on to the next stage: washing it off. I took to the bathroom when my timer beeped and rinsed the mask off with some warm water. I dabbed my face dry with a clean, fluffy towel. I then began to give myself a good scan in the mirror to see if it had magically transformed my face. And…. well, I was still the same. And because I was given the sample bottle I was a little bit unsure about what was actually supposed to happen because not much was written on the little 15ml pot. So I went to the Boots website. And it reads:

This mineral rich formula infuses two fine white clays [Kaolin + Bentonite] to penetrate deep into the skin’s surface to immediately eliminate excess sebum and impurities, leaving skin feeling purified and cleansed. Also enriched with two plant extracts [Allantoin and Aloe Vera], Vichy’s Clay mask instantly treats damaged and fragile skin, leaving it feeling soothed and soft to the touch.

Who is it for?
Designed specifically for those with combination to oily skin with congested and clogged pores. Suitable for sensitive skin.

Immediately pores are unclogged and look less visible
The rich clay minerals eliminate excess sebum and impurities
Skin feels instantly smooth, hydrated and revitalised
Designed specifically for those with combination to oily skin with congested and clogged pores.

It’s smooth, clay texture can be applied effortlessly to provide a pampering moment to the skin’s surface.

Lemme start by saying that my skin is oily/ combination. So I’m a suitable candidate. And in basic summary, it did leave my skin soft and the product was super relaxing to use and a really pleasant consistency on the skin. But lads, my pores looked the exact same after the treatment. I wish I could say different considering people pay 18 euro a pot. Now, I will say at this point that I do have really stubborn pores. But I will also be completely honest and say that after using the clay mask, I went back in on my skin with the Black Mask I got on AliExpress. And that shifted them. So, take from that what you want. And I understand some masks take a while to work and perhaps that is the case and that would be fab. But if that was the case, it shouldn’t promise immediately less visible pores, then, should it?

Anyway moving forward, I got to questioning whether or not people are just paying for the brand name. So I checked up on the ingredients of the L’Oreal Clay Mask- just to do a basic compare & contrast.

The ingredients of the L’Oreal Clay Mask are HERE and the Vichy ingredients are HERE.

And if you clicked on those links you can see that the ingredients of each product are not the same. But I came to a further conclusion. Vichy’s Clay mask contains more ‘organic’ ingredients like the aloe leaf powder (for sarcastic example) but it also contains alcohol and NO CHARCOAL. The L’Oreal Mask actually contains lava clay (as a clay mask should contain at least one clay based ingredient), charcoal power (which is so good for them pores) and has NO ALCOHOL. Incase ya didn’t know, never put alcohol on your skin if you can help it. So, so, so, so bad for you. I linked why in my last blog post. Click here to read that. 

So to conclude, I have tried the Vichy Clay Mask and I found it to be a relaxing and pleasant experience. But the results were not so fab. Unfortunately, and I really mean that, my pores didn’t really look any different. Which is one of the promises I was depending on. My skin was however softer.  But most importantly, this experience made me question why there’s such a price different between clay masks that claim to do the same thing but have different brand names, so I compared the ingredients and… on paper, the cheaper, more generic brand looks like it has more to offer. And on my travels, I found a blog post from Pippa O’ Connor who claims she loves the L’Oreal line and swears their masks work wonders. Click here to read Pippa’s views.

All in all, I am not knocking Vichy. I think the product was nice. But I personally would not pay 18 euro a pot for something that does not carry out it’s claimed primary purpose- to minimise my pores immediately. And, there are testimonials from really reliable sources stating that L’Oreal’s masks are wonderful. And I’m gonna be super honest and say I have not tried the L’Oreal masks BUT if the reviews are anything to go by, I’d much rather spend 9 euro than 18 euro. So, there ya have it.

Anyway, if you have ever used any of these products please comment below and let me know how you got on! Which do you think is better? Are any of these your holy grail? Tell us why!

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What Is Mental Health? | Mental Health Awareness Week w/Not Another Beauty Blog

What Is Mental Health? | Mental Health Awareness Week w/Not Another Beauty Blog


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Hello darlings!

I’m just gonna get straight into the writing without an update for two main reasons: 1) Absolutely nothing important has happened in my life & 2) We have A LOT of work to get through!

So as we all know, I work around mental health all year long. However, due to the fact that it is MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2016, I have a special week planned for all of you wonderful readers that keep me afloat during my tough times. You are all fabulous and I appreciate every single reply, response and kind message or thought you send in. It really does mean so much to me and to show you just how much, there will be a HUGE competition on my Facebook page at the end of the week- the cherry on top of a week full of wonderful reading!

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My Experience With & Thoughts On Self-Harm | Not Another Beauty Blog

My Experience With & Thoughts On Self-Harm | Not Another Beauty Blog

If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you’ll know that I’ve been away in London having a fabulous time with my other half! So, if you’ve been missing me-that’s where I’ve been. Pictures are on my Facebook page if you’d like to have a nose through what I got up to! 

Now, back to the topic. The main reason that I started this blog was to distract me from myself and my problems, give myself somewhere that I could write freely and share with you all my illnesses, experiences, feelings. Over time, that has changed because as I have recovered, I have been more eager to try new things to write about, do reviews and travel. Which is great but we musn’t forget the basis of this blog. I am a mental health advocate and enthusiast. And although I may get distracted by shiny things, the grittiness of this blog lies with the shadows of myself. The reason I share the dark parts with you all is for one reason only- to help you. In hope that you can relate, in hope that you can feel a part of something, in hope that you aren’t so lonely anymore. So, without any further distraction, I will share with you my experience self-harming along with some studies I have collected on the topic. I really hope this inspires someone out there to speak out, try recovery or even just get through another day. Because not everyone makes it through their bad days. And although we may not feel it, we are the lucky ones.

First off, I’m gonna share with you guys some information I got off leaflets from my college about self-harm. Some people are lucky in that their college or school will be open to speak about or raise awareness for things like this and some people aren’t. So, let’s begin.

Self-harm is when someone deliberately hurts or injures themselves.  This can take a number of forms including: cutting, overdosing, punching oneself, throwing their bodies against something, pulling out hair or eyelashes, scratching, picking or tearing their skin causing sores or scarring, burning, inhaling or sniffing harmful substances, driving dangerously or excessive use and abuse of alcohol and/or drugs.

Some young people self-harm on a regular basis while others just do it once or a few times. A few people that self-harm may go on to complete a suicide, generally this is not what they intend to do. In fact, self-harm can be seen as the ‘opposite’ of suicide as it is often a way of coping rather than giving up.

Young people who self-harm have often had very difficult or painful experiences or relationships. These may include: bullying or discrimination, losing someone close to them such as a parent, brother, sister or friend, lack of love or affection or neglect, physical or sexual abuse, a serious illness that affects the way they feel about themselves. Other young people may start to self-harm as a way of dealing with problems and pressures of everyday life. Low self-esteem can be a huge factor. Peer pressure can occasionally be involved.

Understanding why you self-harm can have a huge influence on your recovery. Stopping is easier if you can find other ways of expressing or coping with your feelings. To do this, you need to understand what makes you do it. It may be useful to think about:

  • What was going on in your life when you first began to self-harm
  • How you feel just before you harm yourself
  • Whether you would find it useful to keep a ‘mood’ diary, writing down your feelings at different times
  • Whether you are always in the same place or with a particular person
  • If you have any bad memories or thoughts that you can’t tell anyone

Safe alternatives of self-harming are:

  • Finding a safe punching bag (like some pillows)
  • Putting your hands into a bowl of ice cubes for a short time or rubbing ice on the part of your body you feel like injuring
  • Use a lipstick or felt-tip marker to mark your body instead of cutting
  • Putting a rubber band on your wrist and flicking it
  • Putting plasters on the parts of your body you want to harm

Self-harm can be really hard to stop. It may take time and there are likely to be ups and downs along the way. Sometimes, however try you hard on your own, you just can’t cope with your feelings. If you can’t stop wanting to hurt yourself its best to get help from someone you can trust. This means finding someone who you can talk to about your problems and who can give you practical help.

Useful contacts & organisations are:

  • SAMARITANS- 24 hour confidential phone line for people who are in despair and need someone to talk to. Tel: 1850 60 90 90 or email Jo@samaritans.org
  • AWARE (DEPRESSION AWARENESS)- operates a helpline service, providing a listening ear for people in distress and their families. Tel: 1890 303 302 (10am-10pm)
  • CHILDLINE- offers 24 hour support for children and young people in distress. Tel: 1800 66 66 66
  • BODYWHYS- offers support, information and understanding for people with eating disorders, their families and friends. Tel: 1890 200 444 or email alex@bodywhys.ie

Guys, these support systems have been put in place for people that aren’t coping very well. And although you may deem it embarrassing as I once did, sometimes, there just has to be an end to feeling horrible. Sometimes, taking a leap and calling someone, opening up or admitting ‘Yes, I have a problem’ is the only way to get out of your own head and move on to the brighter things that you deserve.

I started self-harming at a very young age. I was twelve the first time that I cut my wrists and I did so because I was being bullied. I did it to punish myself because I believed what the mean people said about me. As mentioned above, it doesn’t have to be a regular thing. And for me, it wasn’t. I didn’t self-harm again until I  was fifteen but it only got worse. I realised people could see it on my arms and this made me anxious about it, so I started cutting my legs- thighs and ankles.I have also punched myself, thrown myself, attempted suicide, pulled hair out, pulled eyelashes and eyebrows out, burned myself. BUT, I have also called Samaritans, seen counsellors, been to meetings, hospitals and psychotherapists. Hell, I’m missing college tomorrow to go to see a psychiatrist AND a counsellor. And by looking at me walking down the street, I know that you couldn’t even tell.

I was abusing alcohol, too. And when I got a little bit older again, seventeen-in fact, the two mixed and it did not end well (not that it possibly could). I began drinking heavily and blacking out. This resulted in me waking up covered in blood and cuts but I couldn’t remember how or why. I discovered that in my drunken states I had become upset and been unable to control myself. This happened regularly up until recently (the beginning of summer just gone) and my counsellor then strongly advised me to seriously rethink my alcohol consumption. 

I’m on strong enough anti-depressants and to mix them with alcohol can be harmful enough internally, without me going ahead and harming externally, too. So, I have had to cut down drastically on my drinking and going out. At the beginning, it was hard. I was scared of what I might miss. But I actually haven’t missed anything. Weirdly enough, I’ve gained more. I can remember my nights out, I can enjoy looking good and meeting new people. It takes some getting used to but in the long run, I know that it’ll benefit me.

People say that once you talk to someone it fixes it- how you feel about yourself, your life, your situation. I spoke about it when I was twelve. I’m twenty now and I still battle a lot of the time with my feelings, anxieties and moods. If you are unfortunate like me in that you have been plagued with depression, anxiety or OCD, nothing is ever going to be fixed. It’s a working progress and you just have to learn to get through each day at a time. It takes your whole life to perfect. But, I’ve made it through all of my bad days so far so I am a lucky person. There are people younger than me dead for the same reason that I self-harmed. I count my blessings. I am not sure what the future holds or whether I will resort to unhealthy methods of coping again but for now, I count my blessings.

So guys and gals, I know I only lightly touched on my experience with self-harm and I only lightly introduced some thoughts behind it but I’m hitting 1,400 words and I feel like maybe developed thinking on this matter is for another day. I hope, though, that for now this has put some food in your thought-tank. Maybe try to be kinder to the shy kid or draw on your wrists instead of cutting them.

We all dislike something about ourselves. Whether it’s our weight, a feature, our past.. or simply everything. And we all have battles. But in this life, we only get one chance. One chance to make something, be someone at the very end. Although we struggle, we could at least try our best to turn that into some sort of positivity, if not for ourselves, for someone else.

Until next time,

J x

My Experience With Deferring College | Not Another Beauty Blog

My Experience With Deferring College | Not Another Beauty Blog

I recently received a message on my Facebook Page from a girl (about a year younger than me) asking about my choice to defer college for a year. This girl was in a different situation than I was but she was just wondering how it benefited me and if I would recommend it. I gave her the best advice I could, based on her situation, however, it got me thinking: there must be so many people going through something, struggling or just having doubts- leading them to think about deferring. For me, I was really lucky because in the college I attend (IADT, Dun Laoghaire), they are super supportive and have an excellent Student Union that were there for me every step of the way. And, as well as that, actually getting the deferral granted sometimes isn’t the problem, it’s figuring out what you’re going to do with a year, further more, if you’ll regret taking the time off in fear of having wasted it. Let me start by noting to you all that this is simply my college deferral experience. I am no expert but I have been there so by sharing my experience, I hope you gain some knowledge that furthers your decision.

I want to start off by telling you why exactly I deferred. I deferred college because I was diagnosed with mental issues that affected my ability to perform academically. I had depression and anxiety and was also suffering terribly with panic attacks and nausea. For the whole of first year, I was fine! I got mostly B’s and C’s and furthered to second year. For the first three months of second year, I guess I was okay. But when my Christmas exams and end of term work started piling up, I just couldn’t handle it. Every time I set foot on campus, I’d just cry. I tried to force myself to work, one day, in the library while I was crying and having a panic attack. I sat there for nearly two hours barely breathing properly forcing myself to read Psycho by Robert Bloch. I had to call my Dad to talk me down so I could drive home safely. 

I can talk about it now and it doesn’t seem real. It seems like I’m talking about a different person. I was so ill and I actually didn’t realise, at all, just how sick I was (to become). Anyway, my parents sat me down and told me that I couldn’t go on like that. Considering we pay my fees with all of our wages (pitched in), we couldn’t afford to waste a year tuition to have me repeat or even drop out. So we made the decision to apply for a deferral. The Student Union of IADT all helped me write my letter to the head of the college and on my grounds of being unwell (along with a doctor’s letter), I was granted a deferral. 

I was so embarrassed and devastated. I’m an ‘all-go’ kind of girl and I had this plan that I would graduate when I was twenty-one and do such and such. I had it so planned out in my head what was going to happen, that I wasn’t even really sure what was going on. Anyway, I looked into part-time college courses and tried to go to work part time but eventually I got worse and had to go on sick leave for a while. Then when I went back to work, I got bad again so I had to stop working. I spent days in bed, not eating, just throwing up.I didn’t know why but I couldn’t stop crying- I mean, whaling. At one stage my mom was convinced she’d have to hospitalize me fully in order to see any recovery! It was horrible, so surreal. I started to make myself do small things like get up and make a cup of tea. Go to the garden and water something. Drive to the shop and get something. Go see my nan. And eventually, I wasn’t afraid of the world anymore (not as much as I was!). Then I got a full-time job in a really nice café (where I still work now and love!) and eventually with the help of both counselling and medication, I have gotten better. When I say that, I don’t mean that I am the best I can be. I mean that I am better than I was yesterday or six months ago. 

If I hadn’t of applied for the deferral, I would never have addressed any of my problems and they would still be compressed and festering today. I would never have learned certain lessons that I am so glad stand by me now. I have learned how to be an adult. I get up, I go to work, I deal with people, I go out with friends, I see my family, I’m still with my amazing boyfriend that (I DON’T KNOW HOW) stayed by my side through all of that. I needed that time, as much as I didn’t want to admit it. As much as I wanted to graduate at twenty-one (instead of a year later), I know that this year has made me who I am going to be for the rest of my life. By taking a time out, I’ve learned patience and responsibility. I’ve also learned the most important thing- which is how to love and respect myself- which I could never understand or do. 

So, all in all, on my half of it, yes, I recommend the deferral. I think it was the best thing I could have done, even though I didn’t want to believe it at the time. I gave myself a break. I let myself have time to breathe, reflect, learn and just live. I’d never just lived before, I was always waiting for someone or something. I was always worried about something- don’t get me wrong, I still worry most of the time- but I just let myself have a break. And just because it was the best for me, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you. Just because that was my reason, doesn’t mean you need the same one. There are ways and means around everything! So don’t get your panties in a bunch, look at other options, ask around, do your research and hopefully you will know in your heart what the best thing for you to do is. Trust your gut. 

Regarding an update, I have applied for the same course to pick up where I left off in September. I have purchased all of my notebooks and pens and I’m excited to go back, I feel ready to learn more. I still have bad days where I cry, get sick, stay in bed, but I know that it will pass so I try to stay patient and let myself have that moment of downtime. I still take my medication daily, however, I haven’t needed counselling since May. Which is a miracle considering at one stage it was all I lived for.

So, there you have it, me in all my vulnerability! I hope I’ve helped some of you learn more about my decision to defer. My main point in this blog is that I am so happy with my decision and if you are having any doubts at all, find out more first because every college is different. However, don’t think that it’ll be the end of the world if you give yourself a break. There’s always next year and everything doesn’t have to happen right now. The college isn’t going anywhere, the course isn’t going anywhere. Hopefully, you’re not going anywhere. So let yourself have some time to grow. Come back to it when you’re feeling fresher. I don’t see anything wrong with that.