My Favourite Chemical Exfoliants | Nip and Fab, Pixi, Alpha H, Paula’s Choice

I am a big advocate for the benefits of using chemical exfoliants. In fact, as you may have seen in my Current Skincare Routine post I use them every single day and night! I used to have quite bad, spotty skin, and I still think I would if I didn’t control it to some extent with the help of these products. They essentially help your skin cells to turnover therefore hopefully lessening the chances of pores getting blocked and forming spots. I still have far from perfect skin, but it is much, much better than it was before I introduced products such as these into my routine. I am generally much happier being seen minus makeup and when I am wearing makeup it looks so much better because of fewer lumps and bumps.

And just in case you don’t have a clue where these would fit in your routine, they should be used straight after cleansing and before any moisturisers, serums or oils.


I love and recommend all of the products pictured but I thought I’d try to break them down to help you see which one might be best suited to your needs! Most of these are AHA (glycolic acid) products but there are a couple which contain BHA (salicylic acid).

If you’re on a budget…

The Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Exfoliating Facial Pads (£12.99) and Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads Extreme (£14.95) are absolutely amazing if you’d prefer to keep costs down. The prices in brackets are just the RRP but I’ve never paid full price for these as they are nearly always on some sort of offer at either Superdrug or Boots. I got this pot of the original pads for £5 from Superdrug last month – absolute bargain! I love these pads and they were the first chemical exfoliant product I tried and they completely changed my skin for the better with daily use. The extreme version contains both AHAs and BHAs so if you have particularly problem skin they could potentially be a good choice.

If you have sensitive skin...

I was surprised how gentle Pixi Glow Tonic (£18) was when I first tried it! The formulation is quite natural based and refined and it is an alcohol free formula which is great in terms of not drying out or irritating your skin. However, the ingredients list does include fragrance which surprised me as it doesn’t really smell of anything at all – maybe that’s the idea. Overall though I think this a brilliant option if you have a more sensitive skin type thanks to its gentle formula containing soothing ingredients.

If you’ve used glycolic products before and want something more extreme with noticeable results…

If you’re looking to brighten your complexion and even out your skin tone all whilst effectively resurfacing your skin to help prevent blockages, then Alpha H Liquid Gold (£33.50) may be a worthwhile investment. Again, shop around and look out for discount codes and offers and you can save yourself £££s off the hefty price tag. I do really think it’s worth a splurge though – this is my second bottles of it, which I got in a supersize! I generally use this as an intensive treatment overnight whereby I cleanse and then apply this to my skin and leave it overnight without applying any subsequent products. I find I wake up with my skin looking much brighter with less redness which is amazing.

If you’ve got oily and/or problematic, spotty skin and/or you don’t get on with glycolic acid…

This is my one recommendation that is a solely BHA product containing 2% salicylic acid. It is from Paula’s Choice and is called the Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant (£25). This is excellent at getting into pores and controlling spots thanks to the salicylic acid. It feels almost velvety on the skin when you apply it which I found surprising – it does not feel harsh at all. However, whereas with all the other products I have mentioned which I would use every day and night, with this product and the fact salicylic is stronger and more drying than glycolic, I would only suggest using this one a maximum of once a day either morning or evening. I found when I used it both morning and evening my skin began to dry out and look a bit flakey which would look awful when I applied makeup. So I reckon once a day or once every other day would be the ideal, depending on how much your skin can take! If you’re particularly oily maybe you could cope with it twice a day, but that definitely wasn’t the case for me as someone with normal/dehydrated skin.

I hope you found this somewhat helpful and that I’ve intrigued you enough to make you try one of these great products. I couldn’t imagine my skin care routine without a chemical exfoliant now!

Love Nicole xxxx

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This Evening’s Face

This is a bit of a rushed post as I had nothing scheduled or planned for today, but I’d been doing so well so far managing to post every day in October I didn’t want to let a day slip by with no post.

So I thought seeing as I’m going out tonight I’d share what makeup I’m planning on wearing. It could change but this is what I’m planning on trying and hopefully it’ll look good! My partying and drinking every Saturday is behind me but tonight I am going for a meal with my two best girl-friends to celebrate their birthdays (which are a week apart). We’re going for an Indian so I’m looking forward to that!

Here’s what I’m planning on chucking on my face…



Nars Semi Matte Lipstick in Scarlett Empress


Nars Semi Matte Lipstick in Scarlett Empress

For my face I’m going to use Becca Backlight Priming Filter (£32) all over face and then some Too Faced Primed and Poreless Primer (£24) on my nose and apples of my cheeks, as this is where my pores are largest and most noticeable. For foundation I’m going with Nars Sheer Glow (£31) which I have in the shade ‘Mont Blanc’. My favourite concealer is still Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer (£4.19) in the shade ‘Fair’ so I’m going to use that under my eyes and on any redness that’s still peaking through. I’ll then set my under eye area with the NYX HD Finishing Powder (£8) in the shade ‘Banana’ which is brightening. I’ll then set the rest of my face with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder (£40) which I have in the shade ‘Diffused Light’ (this is virtually empty now, can’t bring myself to repurchase it with that insane price tag)!

To add some colour and life back to my skin I’ll use the Nars One Shocking Moment Cheek Studio Palette (this was a limited edition palette). It has the  Laguna (£28) bronzer and a great shade for contour. My favourite blush is the palest pink one so I’ll probably go for that one. For highlight I think I might go with this one called ‘So Hollywood’ from Anastasia Beverly Hills. This too was unfortunately limited edition and I can’t find it anywhere linked online, sorry!

For eyes I’ll go in with the Urban Decay Primer Potion (£16) and curl my lashes with these cute eyelash curlers from Primark. To line my upper and lower water line I use the Lily Lolo Eyeliner Pencil (£6.99) in black. I don’t like faffing around with eye shadow so I think I might go for my fanciest eye shadow stick which is By Terry Ombre Blackstar (£29) in ‘Misty Rock’. I’ll then probably just define my crease with Makeup Geek Eyeshadow (£5.50) in ‘Creme Brulee’ which I always do as it looks so pretty and defines the eyes beautifully. For mascara I am absolutely loving theBalm Mad Lash Mascara (£15) which I wrote a whole post about which you can read here if you would like! I might add some falsies but we’ll see how I am for time! Got so much to do… paint nails, straighten hair, do makeup, choose outfit! And I can never be without some eyeliner, so I’ll just line my upper lash line with some Soap and Glory Supercat (£6).

For eyebrows I absolutely love NYX Brow Pomade (£5.50) which I use in ‘Brunette’. This stuff is awesome and can still look really natural or you can go bolder. Great stuff.

I’m still very unsure on which lip colour to rock, but I’ve yet to don a dark, berry lip shade this Autumn (how criminal of me) so I am considering going for the Nars Semi-Matte Lipstick (£20) in ‘Scarlett Empress’. But, let’s be honest, no lipstick is going to last the course of me eating an Indian meal anyway so a top up will be essential!

So that’s my current thinking for tonight’s makeup… What do you think? I hope you enjoy your Saturday night whatever you’re doing.

Love Nicole xxxx

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Trilogy Make-up Be Gone Cleansing Balm (Review)

I thoroughly enjoy trying new cleansers but I do like to try and keep within more affordable brands. Cleansers don’t spend all that long on your face so I don’t believe you should have to spend a fortune on them. However, unfortunately for me, through trying different products I found I have an overriding preference for cleansing balms – which tend to err on the more expensive side of cleansers.

I have loved Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm (£38) and Elemis Pro-Collagen Cleansing Balm (£40) which are both rather pricey! I tried samples of them both and they are awesome but I just couldn’t bring myself to purchase a full size. So, instead I searched for a cleansing balm with a more attractive price tag. I came across Trilogy Make-up Be Gone Cleansing Balm (£20.50) and I have been really impressed!


This is a beautiful natural product, rich in oils that makes it feel luxurious to use and removes makeup brilliantly. It’s not quite as smooth as the two aforementioned, more expensive cleansing balms, it’s seems to be slightly more gritty but once it’s melted onto the skin it’s just as smooth and beautiful.

I haven’t tried to properly remove eye makeup with this but it does remove base makeup exceptionally, completely melting it away which you can then remove with the cloth that the product comes with.

The smell is very non offensive, just quite natural!

I really enjoy using this, it gives me everything I love about using a cleansing balm but for half the price of buying Emma Hardie or Elemis. If you buy from sites like Look Fantastic or Feel Unique you could easily get it for not much more than £15 with the discount codes and offers they have.

Overall a really lovely product and if you, too, love cleansing balms you should definitely give this a try!

Love Nicole xxxx

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Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF30 Review

Today I’m going to talk about an awesome daytime moisturiser from Paula’s Choice. This is the second tube I have bought which demonstrates how happy I am with it! As a daytime moisturiser it was important to me that it had a decent SPF, which this one definitely does. I chose this one specifically because it is a physical/mineral sunblock with the active ingredients being Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. This makes it more appropriate for sensitive skin. Also, I had read some scary things about chemical sunscreen ingredients causing counter-productive chemical reactions on your skin and possibly disrupting hormones. This was why I really wanted to find a trusty mineral SPF.


The formula as you can see is thick and white and a little goes a fairly long way. The blob above on my hand would have been more than enough for my face and to go down my neck too; it is important not to be stingy though as otherwise you won’t get the sun protection. The finish is definitely not matte but it does provide a perfectly fine base for makeup – personally I still use primer anyway. Because of its consistency you do have to make sure it’s rubbed in properly to avoid any white cast but this has never been an issue for me.

The product is aimed at normal/dry/very dry skin however I don’t think it’s enough on its own if you have dry or very dry skin. I don’t actually find it that hydrating and prefer to use a hyaluronic acid serum underneath it. This is possibly because zinc oxide as an ingredient can be drying for some, but this would never put me off as I’d rather zinc oxide than some horrible chemical sunscreen ingredient! Used in conjunction with a serum my skin has been staying at relatively ‘normal’ levels, not getting too dry or too oily.

Along with SPF it is also apparently packed full of antioxidants too which all helps towards protecting skin from environmental factors and ageing. The 60ml size is also pretty generous for a moisturiser. It sounds pretty great right?! You should try it. I personally have bought it via Look Fantastic (£28) both times I’ve purchased it as they offer free delivery and always have discount codes floating around so you shouldn’t ever have to pay the full price. 20% discounts are quite common and make sure you’re signed up to their mailing list to be notified of any codes.

Love Nicole xxxx

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What’s on my Dressing Table?

I’m really happy with my dressing table now, in the summer I DIY’d it up and painted it with some white chalk paint (I used this one exactly) and used some marble sticky back plastic to make it look cute (as well as being practical because it’s wipe clean). I also have bought some cute golden knobs (hehe, knobs) to put on the drawers but I’ve yet to get around to changing these (need to ask Dad how the hell I do it).

All of my makeup is stored in the turquoise and pink drawers set (which I got years and years ago from WHSmith, this one is similar) and the grey three drawer tower. I think this is a good restriction for me to stop things getting too out of hand makeup wise. I of course store quite a few things on the top but I try not to buy anything unless I can fit it in here! On top I have my brushes in a wire mesh stationery holder I bought from Wilko and some of my many lipsticks stored in an acrylic lipstick holder I bought on eBay (I think, or Amazon).


My dressing table, painted with Rustoleum Chalk Paint in Chalk White


The mirror is from Ikea and was just what I was looking for for my dressing table at a bargainous £10 (I do wish it was white or metallic though). Below it in the tray I store my Wet Brush, some tweezers, hairgrips and a pocket mirror. To the left side I have some hair products – Batiste dry shampoo and some Charles Worthington Texture Spray. I also have a huge tub of cotton buds that are lasting me ages which I bought from Lidl.

My lamp was from Wilko and the little cupcake is actually a tealight holder, not sure where this was from, I think it was a gift! I then have my trusty GHD’s which must be nearly 10 years old, I cannot believe how long they are lasting, truly amazing considering I use them most days and they’ve travelled with me abroad and on trips in this country – very well made and well worth the money. The grey drawers were a gift from my friend and the little “All you need is love…” block my Dad bought me from a car boot sale and it speaks such true words.❤

Thank you to my beautiful kitty, Princess, for making a cameo. I love her so much! And thank you for reading.

Love Nicole xxxx

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