Zelens 3t anti-aging complex cream

Brand: Zelens by Dr Marko Lens

Skin type: Dry skin

How to use: Apply the cream morning and evening after cleansing. Gently massage in until completely absorbed.

Ingredients: Water (Aqua), IsononylIsononanoate, Glycerin, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, BoragoOfficinalis Seed Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, CorylusAvellana (Hazel) Seed Oil, LinumUsitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil, OryzaSativa (Rice) Hull Powder, SesamumIndicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, TriticumVulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Chlorphenesin, Cyclohexasiloxane, Disodium EDTA, PyrusMalus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Panthenyl Ethyl Ether, O-Cymen-5-Ol, SimmondsiaChinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, AscorbylTetraisopalmitate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, CommiphoraMukul Resin Extract, Caramel, Silanetriol, Hydrolyzed Pearl, Hyaluronic Acid, Citric Acid, Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract, Sorbic Acid, Ursolic Acid, HimanthaliaElongata Extract, MalpighiaPunicifolia (Acerola) Fruit Extract, VitisVinifera (Grape) Leaf Extract, Linalool, AesculusHippocastanum (Horse Chesnut) Bark Extract, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, CrithmumMaritimum Extract, FucusVesiculosus Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, HamamelisVirginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, HelichrysumArenarium Flower Extract, Melissa Officinalis Leaf Extract, OleaEuropaea (Olive) Leaf Extract, PalmariaPalmata Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, ParietariaOfficinalis Extract, PhysalisAlkekengi Fruit Extract, PorphyraUmbilicalis Extract, Sodium Benzoate, PadinaPavonicaThallus Extract, Tocopherol

How does it smell? Not a great scent but the smell does disappear quickly

How does it feel? Heavy, not a great one for summer

Cost? £95 for 50ml/ $205 for 50ml (I’m not sure why there is such a discrepancy between pounds and dollars but $205 is the price listed on the Net-a-Porter site)

How long did I test for? 2 months sporadically

What I liked? I can’t lie it is hydrating. Now I only had a sample size but that was definitely enough to test out because it is such a rich cream you only need the smallest amount to see the benefits. Not only that it is packed with my superstar ingredients from Hyaluronic acid and Tocopherol to Linalool. All great for things like, boosting Vitamin C production in the skin, hydrating the skin, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant purposes. You may be thinking why buy something expensive instead of buying all those things in separate cheaper products. Zelens have managed to combine these ingredients and make them more potent working together – that is a really hard thing to achieve – the price is totally justified. If you can afford it then you should.

What I disliked? Really, I like lightweight moisturizers and this is not, you can feel it on your skin. Which some people might like considering its getting cold now, your skin is drier so the feeling of a heavy cream can be quite satisfying. I just don’t love it.

Would I buy again? No but primarily because I shouldn’t be spending £100 on a cream

Where can you purchase? Cultbeauty.com, Net- a-porter


30 days no Eye cream

What will happen if I stop using eye cream for a whole month?

My guess is not much, seen as I have never seen an improvement in my dark circles from using eye cream. You may therefore be thinking, “why even experiment if you are so sure of the outcome?”. That’s a good question and one that can be justified by my interest in what it actually does if it does something. Because it must as many bloggers, magazines and self- proclaimed beauty experts suggest, we NEED it. Allure magazine ran an article in 2013 on its importance, ‘because the skin around the eyes is thinner, and because of all the tiny muscles in the area, it’s more sensitive and prone to a variety of issues, like puffiness, discoloration, and fine lines and wrinkles. Plus, there are minimal oil glands around your eyes to help keep the skin naturally hydrated’.

But let’s say you have puffy under eyes, that is caused from fluid build-up often linked to sleep deprivation and excessive diet/alcohol consumption. Will putting on a soothing eye cream be more beneficial than trying to be healthier/drinking less? Which may seem like a big ask for some people but if you really want to help your skin then being healthy is a necessity and you might just save yourself £20. This experiment was born from the sheer frustration of eating well, exercising and using good products but still having dark circles. So, could it be genetics?

According to Darkcircles.net genetic hyperpigmentation is a problem that can be related to genetics but it exasperated by sun exposure and it easily treatable “In most cases, a chemical peel, laser resurfacing, or a lightening cream can easily get rid of these blemishes”. I didn’t take such extreme lengths because it seems contradictory to use harsh procedures on an area of skin that is thinner and more delicate than everywhere else.

“The difference is that hereditary dark circles are determined by genetics, so while you can do things to make them look worse or better, you can’t control whether you have them in the first place”. – Livestrong.com
But how do you know if it is hereditary dark circles? And to what extent does eye cream influence the appearance of them?

For this experiment, I recorded the amount of water and sleep I had every day for thirty days. These two factors seem to be the most prominent when discussing environmental influences in how much improvement can be seen in the appearance of the under eyes.

To collect the data, I made an excel spread sheet that consisted of two categories; amount of water I drank a day and number of hours I slept every night. A tedious task but I managed to record it everyday. Below are the averages from all 30 days:

Average hours slept (Hours) 6 hours 30 Minutes
Average water drank (litres) 0.93 L

So why did I choose these two things as variables for my experiment? Well as Dr, Dennis Gross once said, ‘Sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your skin,’ because it is in repair mode. Working to regenerate new skin cells and make the most of the nutrients you have.

From this excerpt, taken from the telegraph, it is evident how this links to dark circles, ‘Lack of sleep can put your body into flight or fight mode, which means your brain, like other vital organs, leaches every single molecule of oxygen it can from the blood, so a darker more deoxygenated blood flows through our veins to the other areas of the body’. This dark blood is most visible in the transparent skin under our eyes and is what causes the appearance of those discoloured rings.

And water? Well that one is a bit easier because there are tons of obvious benefits with this one, that I’m sure most people know. The big one is flushing out toxins, this a remedy used all over the world to reduce puffiness and keep the skin clean. Here in the UK, 2 litres is the recommended daily allowance so I aimed for that.


So the results. Well first let see some picture of how I looked during and after the experiment had taken place. Please excuse the morbid look on my face in most of these.

IMG_20171119_151513_558[1]  Picture 1, At the beginning of the experiment.

IMG_20171119_151744_892[1] Picture 2, half way through, looking grumpy due to my dissertation

IMG_20171119_152046_332[1] Picture 3, the first time I put eye cream on in a month

IMG_20171119_152058_389[1] Picture 4, today, I’ve been off the experiment for around 2-3 weeks

Okay, well let me just state that I look dead in all of them so its hard to decipher which one shows the worst dark circles but I think I am right in saying that the today picture has the least amount of darkness underneath the eyes.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to tell myself that well because I see myself everyday so I asked some of my closest friends if they thought anything was different. The answer was a resounding ‘I can’t see any difference’. Disappointing but aligned with what I thought.

Now the biggest surprise for me was that throughout the experiment I was in discomfort. My eyes felt so dry and itchy. I was constantly blinking to try and increase moisture. I narrowed down the reasoning for this to two reasons; lack of eye cream or weather change. Or both. It wasn’t something I was expecting but it impacted me greatly. I couldn’t focus as much and I was constantly thinking about the lack of hydration under my eyes.

I didn’t consider this before because I had never experienced it before. I.e. before I used eye cream, when I was a child I don’t remember ever having this problem. So did my eyes become too comfortable with receiving extra hydration? eye cream resistance? I had a look and couldn’t find any substantial scientific articles that suggest this is a thing but I think the idea of almost mollycoddling your skin to the point where it doesn’t fend for itself might be a real issue that people see in the future. I am totally going off on a tangent but I think it is interesting to see if there will ever be any negative side effects of using so many products on the barrier of the largest organ you have.

That said I craved my eye cream, I just wanted the comfort of knowing I could put something around my eyes that made them feel better and made me feel like I was doing something beneficial for my dark circles. So I don’t think I will stop using it anytime soon but I will keep my expectations lower.







Tatcha Water Cream


Brand: Tatcha

Skin type: Normal, Oily skin, Combination, Sensitive

How to use: Scoop a pearl-size amount of cream with the gold spoon. Massage onto face, neck, and décolletage in upward strokes. Use daily, morning and night
Ingredients: Water, Saccharomyces/Camellia Sinensis Leaf/Cladosiphon Okamuranus/Rice Ferment Filtrate*, Dimethicone, Propanediol, Glycerin, Diglycerin, Diphenylsiloxy Phenyl Trimethicone, Gold, Belamcanda Chinensis Root Extract, Rosa Multiflora Fruit Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Sophora Angustifolia Root Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Lecithin, Pistacia Lentiscus (Mastic) Gum, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Citrate, Mica, Peg-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Peg-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Phenyl Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disodium Edta, Tin Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Parfum/Fragrance, Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol. *Hadasei-3

How does it smell? Aquamarine – That is literally what comes to mind whenever I use this

How does it feel? Light and silky

Cost? £78 /$68 for 50ml

How long did I test for? A good month and a half

What I liked? The cream itself is great but I’m not going to go on about the usual things that make this cream amazing (like the fact that it has Japanese wild rose and leopard lily). I particularly like this cream because I am working on developing the functionalities of gold nanoparticles and this cream also has gold in it! To me that screams innovative and futuristic because gold has so many useful properties when it comes to protecting and healing your body. In skincare, it is ultimately used to tighten the skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It does this by stimulating skin cells.

What I disliked? I really can’t think of anything I don’t like

Would I buy again? Yes – 95% (Its expensive)

Where can you purchase? Tatcha.com, Sephora.com


Found in Farmacy’s invincible serum 

I love this because it feels very holistic to use – natural at its best. Or in other words the name given to all nine species of flowering plants that are from the daisy family. It has a very extensive history, dating back to the early 20th century. It is very often used for problem skin, not to differently to what native American tribes used it for in aliments.

Generally found in North America, it is a shrub that grows purple flowers with many properties including; healing, anti-bacterial, antibiotic. In terms of skin it can; fight acne, diminish wrinkles and all down to its anti-bacterial properties, it can be used as a disinfectant on brushes, cuts.

Not only does it have uses in skincare but as mentioned above it can be used as treatment for bladder infections to malaria.

A very powerful tool.

*Couldn’t get a good molecular structure to draw – I know I’m such a major let down but I wanted it to be accurate, so please use a pretty picture of my serum as a apology. 


AHAs and BHA

So, you’ve been in the skincare community for a while now, I’m assuming you’ve heard of these. But there are so many brands coming out with them. How do you possible choose which one is the right one for you? Do you know how to use them properly? 

You probably also already know what they are but just encase you missed it – They are exfoliants in a nut shell. There acronyms stand for; alpha hydroxyl acid and beta hydroxyl acid. I don’t know about you but if I didn’t know much about chemicals that sounds like something I really don’t want all over my face. But to work as effectively they generally have to be in a pH range between 3 and 4. They work by ‘ungluing’ the dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.

AHA = work on the surface of the skin and are water soluble. Better for dry skin.

BHA = works on surface + inside the pores, oil soluble. Better for sensitive skin.

But people swear by them! Why? Because over time, as our skin gets older our self shredding properties (as I like to call them) work less efficiently. That why sometimes we need to give it a little help. The result of which is pretty alluring, addictive soft, supple, even skin.

Now that’s where the trap comes in and people I’m speaking from experience here when I say you CAN over use it, especially if you still have young skin. Even though it is a gentle exfoliator you never want to overuse them. Your objective with skincare should always be to support it, not overpower it.

Lists – I’ve complied another one because it’s my favourite thing to do. This time on my favourtie products that include AHA/BHA and some good substitute products that you can use in-between acid days.


Paula’s Choice 


Skin perfecting 2% BHA Liquid – $29 for 3.3 oz/ £25 for 118 ml



GMWMicellar water – Currently £3.33 at:



AHAAHA and BHA mask – £6.30 for 30ml




Mega bright Illuminating treatment lotion – £29 for 200 ml


Okay, I don’t wanna make a huge list because I don’t think your gonna wanna buy all of them and there are some that are quite expensive.

The paula’s choice is one that I am really interested in and I love that brand because it is really driven by science, which makes me trust it.

Deciem is great for a mask and something which I use as “I’m I desperate need to look alive” product.

The Origins toner is super soothing and reall quite calming – great to tone with for rest days.

And everyone should own micellar water for a nice clean, Garnier was the first one I ever tried. I always buy this one now.


Disodium EDTA


Found in – Omorovicza, Queen of Hungry mist

Widely used in the cosmetic industry, working as a stabilizer, chelator (a binding agent that suppresses chemical activity) and preservative.

Because of its metallic chelating activity, as it can counteract the adverse effects of hard water – water that has a high mineral count, generally formed when water has percolated through lime stone/chalk. Which means, you guessed it, its high in calcium and magnesium carbonates!

Hard water can come out of your taps which is why this is quite useful. It binds to the metal ions and stops them from deposited in your skin, hair, scalp, etc.

Like most things it can actually be found in a wide range of products, not just beauty, even food and cleaning products!


*Picture courtesy of Wikipedia – Sorry I didn’t draw one this time, but all my attempts looked awful!

REVIEW: Mario Badescu Hyaluronic Eye Cream

Brand: Mario Badescu

Skin type: Dry, Normal, Oily skin

How to use: Pat a small amount of cream under and around the eye area using the ring finger. Follow the orbital bone from the inner corners to the outermost corners where crow’s feet tend to form. If product gets into eyes, rinse well with water.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water, Eau), Glycerin, Paraffinum Liquidum (Mineral Oil, Huile Minérale), Cetearyl Alcohol, Olus (Vegetable Oil, Huile Végétale), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Petrolatum, Ceteareth-20, Tocopherol, Hyaluronic Acid, Euphrasia Officinalis Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Propylene Glycol, Glyceryl Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, PVM/MA Copolymer, Polyquaternium-24, Sodium Chloride, Diazolidinyl Urea, Propylparaben, Methylparaben, CI 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 15985 (Yellow 6)

How does it smell? No Scent

How does it feel? Typical lightweight cream

Cost? £15 or $18 for 14ml

How long did I test for? 2 1/2 months

What did I like? As with most eye creams it provides a nice, instantaneous hydration that makes you look more awake. It also contains Glycerin, a humectant that restores and replenishes skin. I am starting look for more products with this, just because I want to incorporate it more into my skincare.  This is a plus for this eye cream. I think it is more suited to people who have less discoloration under their eyes and are really just looking for something, light and moisturizing for warmer weather. Discolouration, however, is a big concern for me and I didn’t see much change here.

What I disliked? I’m sure everyone knows Hyaluronic acid has great hydrating effects but for me and although I do appreciate that I look more awake when I first apply it, that look doesn’t last. I can’t say that I’ve seen everlasting effects with any eye cream that I have previously used so I can’t be too harsh here. Maybe under eyes are completely down to genetics.

Would I buy again? No probably not, there are many eye creams to try and I’m still on the hunt for an eye cream that has a drastic effect. Unfortunately, I am fully aware I may never find one.

Where can you purchase? Liberty of London, BeautyBay.com, Ulta.com

Review: Kiehls Hydro plumping re texturizing serum concentrate


Brand: Kiehl’s

Skin type: All types

How to use: Cleanse skin thoroughly prior to application. Apply Hydro-Plumping Re-Texturizing Serum Concentrate into the palm of your hand and then smooth over entire face and neck.

Ingredients: Aqua/water, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Propanediol, Dimethicone/ PEG- 10/15, Cross polymer, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Butylene Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Sodium Citrate, p-Anisic Acid, Disodium EDTA, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Sodium Hydroxide, Adenosine, Perilla Ocymoides Leaf Extract, Citric Acid

How does it smell? No strong/distinct scent

How does it feel? My favourite thing about this product – it feels very soothing because of the utilization of liquid to serum technology which makes it feel like a gel.

Cost? £41/$58 for 50ml

How long did I test for? 6 months on varying days.

What I liked? I must admit that there is an instantaneous rehydration of the skin after application and as I mentioned before I really like the application. I quite like that fact that it has Shiso leaf extract in it. It is a powerful antioxidant that sooths sensitive skin and I think that cooling, soothing effect is what I enjoy most when I apply this.

What I disliked? My major concern here is that the hydrating effects are not long term as I don’t see them last long enough through the day to say that it is. Having said that in all instances any skincare should be reapplied to work well. The two main ingredients, as advertised by Kiehl’s, are Glycerin and Shiso leaf extract. Glycerin is a humectant, which basically means it hydrates the skin by drawing in water from its environment. Also, it prevents water loss by creating a protective layer over the skin. This is great when your environment is humid enough to provide the humectant with water but when it isn’t this could lead to the Glycerin taking up water from the lower levels of the skin. This is maybe why I don’t feel that the hydration lasts as long as I’d want it to.

Would I buy again? 75% I do really like the consistency and the instant brightening effect. It is pricey so maybe as a treat because I could probably get a serum that hydrates my just as well but more cheaply.

Where can you purchase? Selfridges, House of Fraser, Nordstrom, Debenhams, JohnLewis.com

Review: Kiehls Midnight Recovery Oil

Brand: Kiehls

Skin type: Combination

How to use: Apply 2-3 drops of Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate on cleansed skin. Gently press fingertips to cheeks, forehead, and chin to evenly distribute the application before gently massaging it into the skin. Can be worn alone or under moisturiser. I always apply alone I always wake up glowing so never feel the need to use anything with it.

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Squalane, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Coriander Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Lavender Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Linalool, Rosemary Leaf Oil, Citronellol, Geraniol, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Cucumber Fruit Extract, Turmeric Root Extract, Limonene, Citral, Sclareolide, Rose Flower Oil, Jasmine Extract, Sunflower Seed Oil

How does it smell? Delicious lavender scent. Probably helps you unwind at night, considering this is night time elixir.

How does it feel? It’s a rich but light fluid, it feels very silky.

Cost? £38 for 30ml

How long did I test for? 6 months, not every night but at least twice a week. This past week I have used it every night.

What I liked? First of all, 99.8% of the ingredients are naturally derived, which is a pretty hard thing to achieve so I am super impressed. So, the active ingredients here are evening primrose oil, lavender essential oil and squalene. Primrose oil is high in essential fatty acids which are used by the body to build up cell membranes and hormones. Hence, this oil can provide security for the skins barrier and increase the skins radiance. Lavender oil has various ways in which it can help make the skin look calm. It soothes inflamed/irritated skin creating a more even tone. And squalene is amazing for retaining the skins natural moisture. I can safely say I see the effects of these properties!

What I disliked? Nothing, my skin feels so hydrated right after and all day after I use it.

Would I buy again? 100% – I can see this as a part of my OG collection.

Where to buy? Feelunique.com, Selfridges, House of Fraser, Sephora, Debenhams