Sunday, 25 May 2014

Skincare Series: Sebaceous filaments

Skincare series:

A Field Guide to Sebaceous Filaments.

One of the most common complaints I see covered on skincare commercials are blackheads, usually accompanied by overacting from the latest flavour of the week 'teen idol'. Whilst blackheads are a legitimate condition, if you're looking at your nose, cursing those teensy little black spots, chances are that these aren't blackheads, but sebaceous filaments.

You know the oily sensation you feel on your face? That's sebum! It's a natural, waxy substance our skin produces to help protect our skin and keep bacteria from feasting on our faces. However, the glands in our skin will often get blocked, these frequently lead to whiteheads (closed comedones) where the clog is under the skin and blackheads (open comedones) where the clog has broken through the surface of the skin and has begun to oxidise. Neither of these however seem to be as common as sebaceous filaments and should not be confused for one another. Sebaceous filaments are tiny dots usually found on the nose, upper cheeks and chin that, when squeezed, produce little wiggly worms that are creamy-yellowish in colour. It's a bad idea to squeeze them but, i'm sure everyone has occasionally so you know what you're looking for.

Sebaceous filament, In its natural habitat.

Sebaceous filaments are indentations in the skin that contain cells that have been shed from the hair follicle, sebum and bacteria. Sounds gross but I assure you it's a natural part of your skin and nothing to be too concerned about. But, i guess you wouldn't be reading this if you didn't want some kind of help with them!

The bad news is that sebaceous filaments will refill themselves over a period of a month or so, you are never going to be permanently rid of them. The good news is that there are some ways you can try and help with their appearance.

1. Pore strips.
If you don't know what a pore strip is by now, then I can only assume you've been hiding under a rock since the late 90's. But, in case you have, pore strips are fabric strips with adhesive on one side that you stick to wet skin on your nose and that grab all those little filaments when they dry. When you remove the strip, the filament plugs are literally ripped from your skin along with other skin cells you probably wanted to keep on your face. In case you hadn't noticed, I don't believe this is an ideal practice. Pore strips have been rough on my skin and although there's no way I can prove it, I believe they may have been a contributing factor to the spider veins on my nose. Also, overdoing of pore strips can lead to irritation of the skin so if you decide they're the best bet for you, only use them as often as the manufacturer recommends.

2. Salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) commonly used in skincare products. There is reported evidence of salicylic acid assisting with the appearance of sebaceous filaments. Salicylic acid, like all BHA's allow the cells of the outer skin to shed rapidly, remove buildup from pores and neutralise bacteria within the pores slowing the growth of the filaments. It's certainly an effective exfoliant and I can testify that it does indeed help with the appearance of sebaceous filaments. I've been using salicylic acid as part of my daily skincare routine for months now and my sebaceuos filaments have been quite nicely reduced. Now, it does sound expensive, and certainly can be, but I don't have the money for expensive BHA products. Fortunately, Boots produce their Skin Clear Deep Cleansing Lotion that's under £3 and often on half price. It's one of my holy grail products and would recommend it to anyone who doesn't have sensitive skin. Simply splash a little on a cotton pad, wipe over your face and you're done!

3 Oil Cleansing.
Now, this is probably going to sound crazy but slathering your face with oil is a very effective way to cleanse your face. Oil cleansing in practice is a wonderfully gentle way to help remove clogged pores such as sebacueous filaments and a method I would recommend to anyone with sensitive or dry skin. Oil cleansing works on the scientific principle that oil dissolves oil, the oil you're rubbing into your face is effectively dissolving all of the oils backed up in your pores. The most important thing that needs to be considered when oil cleansing is how comedogenic the oil is, or basically how likely it is to clog your pores up again. A lot of people swear by their own blends of expensive oils but I find that good old fashioned baby oil is just perfect. It's just scented mineral oil which has a very low comedogenic rating and is insanely cheap, you can often find Johnson's baby oil in your local pound shop and a bottle will last you for months! I sometimes add a couple of drops of essential oils (like lavender) when I feel like being fancy. Oil cleansing in itself is really simple, take a tablespoon of oil, warm it in your hands and massage into your face and neck in small circular motions. You'll often feel sandy 'grits' as you massage which are clogs coming out of your pores. After you've massaged, a lot of people just wipe the oil away with a clean washcloth and leave it at that, however I prefer to use a gentle foaming cleanser to remove the oil and moisturise as normal. This step isn't neccessary but it is a personal preference!

So there you have it! Hopefully this guide to things that live in your face has been helpful, I'll be continuing the skincare series over the next few weeks so keep your eyes peeled for more!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Closet Child Review

Hey lovelies! So a very short while ago I ordered something new and fancy from Closet Child and thought I'd do a review of their service.

I found the Btssb cafe print candy JSK and matching headbow on their site while I was on holiday in Spain at the end of June. i fell in love immediately and knew I had to have it. I waited until I got back into the UK and checked to see if it was still available and I was delighted to find that it find was! On the Monday I decided to place my order. Closet Child is technically a store that is purely in Japanese but they do make it exceptionally easy for international buyers. Their international order guide walks you through the checkout process step-by-step and makes it super easy to order from them, if like me you barely speak a word of Japanese!

After my order was placed I received an automated email immediately confirming my order. It was then that I realised I had forgotten to add an item I wanted to my basket! I've not had great experiences with altering orders from japan (or anywhere really) before but thought it was worth a shot. I replied to the automated email (as it seemed to be a general address for the company) and asked if it was possible to add the item to my order. Obviously it took a while for me to receive their response due to time zone differences but as soon as I got into work the next day I had an email in perfect English from the delightful Tagaki-San letting me know they would be able to amend my order for me! Woo! She also let me know that I would be waiting for about 3 days as they had to weigh the items and let me know how much the postage would be. At this point I still hadn't paid a penny and had the right to back out if the postage was too high for me.

Sure enough, A couple of days later I received another email from Tagaki-san letting me know how much the total would be including shipping, I immediately agreed and confirmed my paypal email. I awoke to an invoice the next day and paid it immediately. This is where things got amazing.
I was not expecting much to happen for a week or so but BOY was I wrong! My parcel got shipped out from Japan on Monday and I got a final email from Closet Child confirming my tracking number. They also let me know that they would be marking my parcel down to avoid customs fees which I was delighted about as they are a total rip-off in the UK! I tracked it a couple of times (not obsessively every 5 minutes or anything *cough*) that day and saw it had left Tokyo by the end of the day, pretty standard as the Japanese postal service is really efficient in my experience. I went home that night thinking it would be at least a couple of days before it had moved on. imagine my surprise the next morning when it had already arrived at my nearest depot and had been loaded for delivery! UN-FRICKING-BELIEVABLE! When I got home from work there was the usual 'sorry you were out/we couldn't be bothered to ring your doorbell' card letting me know my parcel had been left at the post office across the street. I booked it over as it was due to close in half an hour. And then... it was mine!!!!

The parcel itself was in perfect condition with no damage whatsoever.

Inside it was all individually packed in cellophane bags and all the accessories were very well wrapped in bubble wrap.

OPENED! I was barely breathing at this point, haha!

Accessories - The headbow, which I'm in love with as it's off to one side. It's wired too which I was not expecting! And my (nearly forgotten) chocomint milky way clip! Only slightly disappointed with this as the website showed a picture that had all pink stars on it, but I don't really mind all too much. I've wanted one for so long that I'm just happy to own one.

And the JSK itself. It's a good fit, a little short for me but then what brand isn't?! The bane of being a tall loli I guess! I love the neckline on this, it's very low so allows me to really show off any blouses or cutsews with fancy necklines underneath. The waist-ties are amazing as well, I'm not fond of waist ties at all and usually detach them when I can but these are so slim and delicate, they're just perfect! The bottom is covered in scallops, beautiful quality lace and insane amounts of ruffles! The JSK is fully lined but it's not got a layer of tulle sewn in to it like my Angelic Pretty JSK has. The only imperfections I've been able to find is that the zip's a bit sticky. It's a lot easier to do the JSK up and slip into it than to try and do it up while I'm wearing it. Bit of a shame as I'd expected better quality for a brand piece, but it's not a massive cosmetic flaw.

Overall the quality of the customer service from Closet Child was impeccable. I was more than impressed with their customer service and shipping. I will definitely be ordering from them again in future!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

First Gyaru Meet!

So a couple of weeks ago i went to my first ever gyaru meet!!!
I grabbed my falsies, strapped my little boots on and grabbed the less than magical coach to London to meet with the fabulous Delight Gals!

Getting to London was a bit of a bore. The coach was really busy and I foolishly sat next to a rather errr.... 'wide' guy, to put it politely.
Fortunately we stopped off at heathrow and he got off, leaving a whole double seat for me! Luxury!
When I arrived in London it was the first time navigating the tube on my own, it was kinda scary :/ But the TFL guys at the stations are awesome and really helpful! I eventually got to Leicester Square, even if I was half an hour late OTL.
By the time I got there everyone had moved on to PURIKURA!! Fortunately the purikura place is the ONLY place I know in chinatown so I plodded on over to finally meet with the gals!!

I had literally never seen so many gals in the same place, everyone had so many diverse styles! It was really breathtaking :D We all had a bit of a quick touch up on makeup and the it was PURIKURA TIME! :D :D

We basically tried to squish as many people into the booth as we could! It was so funny, everyone kept falling over each other XD

After Purikura we headed over to the trocadero for super-awesome arcade tiems!! Ame and I had a play on a ddr-alike machine that was full of k-pop :D. Now, I will say that I know absolutely nothing about k-pop *fail* so I'm so glad I had Ame there to choose the songs!! I had to go on easy for all of them, it's been years since i played ddr. it was actually quite sad as I used to be good back in my teens, but now i'm all fat and uncoordinated! lulz XD

After the arcade we went and sat in the troc and waited for a few more gals to show up. We did proper introductions and I mumbled my way through a few conversations. Lolz, i was feeling super-shy that day and really didn't speak unless spoken to. Really quite unlike me!

After we collected all the Gals, we made our way over to meet up with a few of the Lolis who were filming for a documentary about UK lolitas!! I got to see my darling Chrissii who I'd not seen in faaaarrr too long and we got a couple of decent pics :D

Big Group Shot. Lulz, i have derp face.

Me, Chrissii and Ame

After saying goodbye to Chrissii, Doudou, Kyra and the other lolis we made our way to Karaoke! I SUCK at karaoke, unless of course I am drunk XD. I kept pretty quiet while the other gals did a fab time of wrecking up the mic. Emmie, Maire and Ananya did a fantastic job of singing Patchwork and I nearly split my sides! But then... A WILD GAGA APPEARED! It was super-effective against my shyness :D ended up BELTING out bad romance with everybody! Such a fab end to the afternoon. We then paid up and made our way outside, a welcome breath of air at this point as the karaoke bar was like a sweatbox D: urrrrgh. Sadly at that point it was my time to go, I said goodbye to everyone and went to grab the tube home.


Cue a frantic rush back to victoria that took nearly an hour from earl's court. Sadly by the time i got to victoria station it was too late. I had missed my coach. For those of you that know me well enough, it's actually tradition for me to miss my coach in London XD. After a quick, reassuring call with the Boyf I went and did exactly what i should have done instead of panicking. Went and bought Coke, Vodka and a Train ticket home on my credit card!! There was a party happening back at home and if I got the train I was going to be there much sooner than if I got the coach anyway! So i proceeded to get rather drunk on the train home on my own like the classy bitch I am.

When I arrived back at the station I bumped into a couple of cosplayers on the way back from expo! One was dressed as a meido Hatsune Miku! I gushed over her for ages lulululz. Then, quick as a flash i jumped into a taxi and was swept away to a party in full swing!!! i drank and danced myself silly! Got a couple of great pics from the night. This is my favourite tho; me, my bff kay and my guy-bff's boyfriend james all pretending to be JELLYFISH!!! :D

All in all i had a fantastic day and the Gals from Delight are absolutely fab, every single one of them :D :D :D i really hope i get to see them again soon and hopefully be a bit more talkative next time :) :)