Pretty|Cheap – 8 Favourites from the Clarins Counter!

My 8 favourites from Clarins’ skincare and cosmetics range


Let’s face it, no one likes spending money, and no matter how much you try to convince yourself that makeup is an essential, you’ll never be able to convince your bank balance.

I’m usually an advocate for spending as little as possible and simply ‘working it’ as if you’d spent double the price, but sometimes spending a little extra can get you a long way.

Clarins is my favourite example of this.

After discovering their range of skincare and cosmetics, I’ve discovered that looking good and feeling good are both achievable and affordable, even on a student budget.

After suffering from acne since my early teens, it’s fair to say I’m incredibly sceptical about what I’ll put on my face.

With this in mind, I believe the fact that my entire skincare regime and most of my makeup is exclusive to their range says a lot about both the quality of the products, and the visible results I’ve had from them.

Here are my eight favourite products, and why you should definitely try them too!

Pure Melt Cleansing Gel with Marula Oil – 125 ml – £21

pure melt cleansing gel

I bought this after reading how ineffective wipes can be for removing makeup. To apply, simply squeeze out a drop the size of a five pence piece and massage into your skin. As the gel liquefies, you can quite literally see your makeup melt off of your face. The beauty of this is that it even removes eye makeup, and no matter how heavy your coverage was, it only 20 seconds to wash it all off. I’m now using this every night before I go to bed with the comfort of knowing my skin is as clean as it feels.


Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Tamarind – 125ml – £20

cleanser with tamarind

I mean it literally when I say that this leaves your skin squeaky clean. It’s that hydrating and firming that you will genuinely hear it. When massaging the cream into your skin, you’ll see the exfoliating blue pearls breaking down as they get to work on clearing out your pores. My skin is incredibly sensitive and many exfoliators I’ve used in the past have consistently resulted in painful acne breakouts. However, this has been the only one I’ve found that is gentle enough to use daily.


Pore Minimising Serum – 30ml – £28

pore serum

The serum just does exactly as it says. I’ve always had very visible pores around my nose and even with makeup they were always visible. I trialled this after deciding that it would be better to tackle the pores altogether, rather than just filling them up with a heavy concealer. I started using the serum about four months ago, and since then I’ve noticed that the severity of my blackheads has reduced significantly. While I use it every morning, I’d also recommend reapplying just before your makeup to maximise its effect, as its prompt results are great for that quick cosmetic fix.


Hydra-Essential Cooling Gel – 50ml – £36

hydra essential gel
I apply this straight after the pore minimising serum every morning and it’s another of my absolute favourites. As a gel, it’s far lighter than creams I’ve tried in the past and doesn’t leave you with that oily glaze that many other products seem to. I’ve had this for over four months now, but as you need to apply so little, the pot is still three-quarters full. I have days now where even with my spots, my skin feels so fresh and hydrated afterwards that I’ll skip the foundation altogether. My skin would be lost without it!


Lotus Face Treatment Oil – 30ml – £33

lotus oil

I apply a couple of drops of the Lotus Oil to my skin every evening as the last step of my routine. Many with combination skin types often avoid using oils over fears that it will only exacerbate the oiliness of their skin. However, this treatment is perfect for those with oil imbalances as it refreshes and hydrates overnight, without leaving you that greasy layer to wake up to. Many creams can be a nightmare for blocking up pores leading many of us to just drop them from our routines. However, this I’ve found helps to tighten them, leaving my skin nourished and smelling great too.


Truly Matte Pure and Radiant Mask – 50ml – £23

pure and radiant mask

Face masks were another territory I usually avoided because I was so afraid of irritating my sensitive skin. In the past, many gel masks had left my face feeling pretty tight and dry. This instead has a creamy texture and is much more effective at softening and deeply moisturising the skin. Another perk of this mask is that it functions as an exfoliant too, and while it can only be used once a week, it’s like the Tamarind Cleanser in the sense that it’s gentle enough for all skin types.


Ever Matte Skin Balancing Foundation – 30ml – £28

evermatte foundation

Having oily skin, this has been the only foundation I’ve found that doesn’t melt off during the day, keeping my skin looking matte and smooth. When it came to concealing blemishes, I used to either over-apply to conceal them, or leave them completely clear hoping they’d be less irritated and disappear sooner. This is no longer a problem as it’s so highly pigmented and oil-free. This reduces its comedogenicity while ensuring you’re left with a solid and consistent coverage. It was bittersweet to learn of its recent discontinuation after hearing the great reviews surrounding its replacement – Clarins Pore Perfecting Matifying Foundation. I expect it’ll be a new addition to this list very soon!


Instant Light Radiance Boosting Complexion Base – 30ml – £26.50

instant base primer

Each of the three available shades serve a different purpose. While their main role as a primer is to provide a lightweight base to preserve your makeup, they all offer their own additional benefits. I use a combination of two shades– 01 Rose and 02 Champagne. The shade Rose was great for brightening my skin for example, whereas Champagne was better at concealing my red areas and smoothing out my patchy complexion. While they are tailored to harmonise with different skin tones, they’re light and versatile enough that an exact colour match didn’t prove necessary.


Let me know what your favourite Clarins products are in the comments!

Acne myths and skincare miracles

Allow me to debunk some acne myths and expose my skincare miracles.

Many of our insecurities are usually seen as fixable or at least concealable, but what happens when the problem covers your face in bruises and oily blemishes?

After nine years of severe acne, it’s fair to say that other than the nuclear-level treatments, I’ve tried it all.

My acne has definitely improved over recent months, so for fellow suffers, allow me to debunk some acne myths and expose my skincare miracles.

“Exfoliating every day prevents spots from forming altogether”
Myth! Whilst exfoliating once or twice a week will help unclog your pores, doing so on a daily basis strips your skin of its natural oils, forcing it to overcompensate. For those with oily skin, this additional oil (sebum) will mix with dead skin cells to block up the pores you’d just cleaned out. Not good.

“Applying makeup with brushes is cleaner than using your fingertips”
Myth! Makeup brushes may improve the look of your makeup but they’re no cleaner than your fingertips. Both hold bacteria, and while washing your brushes regularly will reduce the build up, there’s no such thing as a clean brush.

“Popping zits makes your acne worse”
True! During weeks where I’ve had no new spots, my face still shows scars from pimples I’d popped months ago. Popping spots will inflame the area, increase it’s risk of infection and prolong it’s lifespan indefinitely. Last week I had a whitehead the size of a fist, but in four days it had gone. I even found it easier to cover with makeup than the red mark it would have left. Resist the urge!

“Cheap products give you spots”
Myth! Price may correlate with quality, but rarely comedogenicity. Even the most expensive brands will offer oil-based foundations, and for those with sensitive skin, these are a nightmare when it comes to clogging your pores. I recently switched from Rimmel to Clarins and I’ve fallen in love. Their EverMatte oil-free foundation wiped out most of my spots in under a week. Whilst this product cost me £28, there’s plenty of cheaper alternatives. I’d also recommend exploring their skincare range. Whilst pricey, their lotus oil, hydra-essential moisturiser, pure melt cleansing gel, and micro-pearl foaming cleanser have worked miracles on my acne, reducing it by at least 80%.

No acne treatment is universal, and as horrendous as the search for your own ‘miracles’ may be, something will eventually work, regardless of your pessimism.



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More th>n beauty

Former Miss Teen Lincolnshire Danielle Terry reveals how pageant queens can no longer rely on a pretty face.

When former Miss Teen Lincolnshire Danielle Terry entered the world of pageantry, it’s fair to say that she did so with the same apprehensions that any of us would, unnerved by the stigmatized shadow that shows like Toddlers and Tiaras cast over the cat walk.

Most expect self-love to be the cynical reason for applying, rather than a beautiful consequence. It’s a lot easier to hate someone for loving themselves than it is to encourage it, and other than masking disguised jealousy, I’ll never understand why.

Danielle at the Miss Teen Great Britain final in 2015
Danielle at the Miss Teen Great Britain final in 2015 – Paul Carrol – Monsignor Photographic

I went to secondary school with Danielle, and for someone who struggled greatly with self-image, I’d never have predicted pageantry as being the next stage in her life.

“They are not just looking for pretty girls. It’s about your confidence and grace. Nothing is about the face. Even when I had my makeup on, I still made sure I looked like me.”

The more she refuted the term ‘beauty’ pageant, the more intrigued I became. However, after reading their ethos, Miss Teen Great Britain was far different to what I’d expected.

With 50% of the overall score reliant on a successful interview, it was clear that character was important. This is far from the “How would you save the world?” rehearsed answers that judges can sob over. No, this is a real character exploration. Winning is something they earn through effort and experience, not through a spray tan and flippers.

Expanding on such experiences, she explained the plethora of charity work that the girls get involved in prior to the final. Last years contestants raised over £40,000 for Together For Short Lives.

Danielle collecting donations for Together For Short Lives.
Danielle collecting donations for Together For Short Lives.

“I had such an amazing year in the build up to the pageant. It’s not just about the actual day, it’s about representing your local area and getting involved. I wanted to do something valuable, and my platform allowed me to do this.”

Regardless of our cynicism, the face of pageantry has evolved. Greeted with her elegant posture and glamorous hair and makeup, it was initially difficult to look past the stigma, but as we spoke, I felt her confidence and her genuine desire to advance herself exude through her smile.

“I never entered with the expectation of getting a crown. I wanted to make new friends and experiences, and that’s what I did.”

For these girls, winning is now simply a bonus.

Danielle pictured on the far left after Misha Grimes is announced as World Teen Supermodel UK – Paul Carroll – Monsignor Photographic




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Pretty|Cheap – Pt 2

Does the price of your make up really determine its quality?

Whilst we gawk over air-brushed inner-beauty campaigns, a genius spinning on an office chair somewhere has just come up with the next gimmick.

In a market where consumers prioritize brands over innovation, it’s easy to correlate quality with a price tag. Whilst it’s usually true that ‘you get what you pay for’, with the hunt for ‘dupes’ becoming increasingly more popular, there’s even more reason to experiment with new affordable brands.

To work out just how superior these glossy brands really are, I’ll compare two products, one big brand and one budget bargain.

Hypothesis? “The more expensive the make-up, the better you’ll look.”



Eye Shadow



Urban Decay NAKED 2 Eye Shadow Palette – Shade: BUSTED

Urban Decay – NAKED 2 Eye Shadow Palette – Shade: BUSTED – RRP: £39.50 at Debenhams.

In terms of presentation, the palette looks beautiful. There’s 12 shades to choose from and they’ve been coordinated so that they can all work together.

The best shade for me was Tease. It has a matte effect which sits really nicely and looks much tidier than the glittery shades. This is the only matte shade in the palette though so it’s worth researching the type of eye shadow the palettes offer before purchasing to make sure it suits your preference.

The shade I’ve used here is BUSTED, and although it’s a little darker than what I’d normally go for, it is a beautiful shade.

The double-sided brush you receive with the palette made it really easy to apply as one end is designed for precision and the other for blending.

However, the tenacity of the palettes shades means that if you’re twitchy when applying it (like me) and suck at blending (guilty), then cleaning up any errors can be hard unless you have time to start from scratch (which you never do).

Whilst the colours are buildable and offer great coverage, the glitter loses its sparkle when blending unless you dab on a little extra at the end.

Whilst the results still look great, it does mean you’ll run out sooner, and with a retail price of £39.50, any downside becomes pretty hard to overlook. Then again, you could argue that even if the golden shade (HALF BAKED) really consisted of gold flakes, you’d still gag at dropping £40 on it.

Rating: 4/5


Natural Collection Eye Shadow – Shade: Crushed Walnut

Natural Collection – Single Eye Shadow – Shade: Crushed Walnut – RRP: £1.99 at Boots.

In its pot, this shade is almost identical to BUSTED from the NAKED 2 palette in colour, although at £1.99, comes at barely a fraction of the price.

Once applied, the colour seemed a lot lighter, although its subtlety instead worked in its favour as this colour turned out to be far nicer than I’d expected.

Even though I’d taken care not to over-apply, it still felt as if I were throwing ash-infused talcum powder onto my face. Seriously, I don’t understand where all of this dust was coming from. My lower eyelids ended up having the same coverage as my upper ones.

With it being so easy to smudge, the colour faded pretty quickly, eventually setting up camp in the creases of my eyelids. I’d guess that a decent primer and a little patience would allow you to overcome most of this, although these are both things I’m yet to acquire.

For those prepared to reapply once or twice during the day, or those with bags that would make a dusty shadow unnoticeable in the first place, this budget-friendly alternative isn’t such a bad choice.

Rating: 3/5



£40 for something that you’ll wash off in 10 hours does seem a little pointless, although the price difference isn’t as drastic as it first seems. Ultimately, Urban Decay are giving you 12 harmonious shades (that equally dazzle on their own) simultaneously . 12 of Natural Collection’s budget eye shadows would still cost you £24, and considering the quality of the palette and the distinctiveness of each shade, I’d argue that extra £16 was worth it.

Pretty|Cheap – Pt 1

Does the price of your make up really determine its quality?

Whilst we gawk over air-brushed inner-beauty campaigns, a genius spinning on an office chair somewhere has just come up with the next gimmick.

In a market where consumers prioritize brands over innovation, it’s easy to correlate quality with a price tag. Whilst it’s usually true that ‘you get what you pay for’, with the hunt for ‘dupes’ becoming increasingly more popular, there’s even more reason to experiment with new affordable brands.

To work out just how superior these glossy brands really are, I’ll compare two products, one big brand and one budget bargain.

Hypothesis? “The more expensive the make-up, the better you’ll look.” 




MAC False Lashes Mascara – Shade: STAY BLACK!

MAC – False Lashes Waterproof Mascara. Shade: STAY BLACK! RRP: £19.50 at Selfridges.

I’ve been in a polyamorous relationship with Rimmel’s SCANDALEYES and WONDER’FULL mascaras for years, and whilst they’re both fantastic products, I thought I’d treat myself to an ‘upgrade’.

Despite looking like a vape pen, the wand is beautifully designed, but in terms of creating a “false lash” effect, this mascara simply didn’t. Put bluntly, anyone with short eyelashes would be wasting their money. The brush is far too thin and cylindrical to actually scoop your eyelashes.

Once applied, it dries almost instantly, making it impossible to fix any crossed lashes and clumping.

To be fair to the product, it truly lasts all day and is very water resistant. Even after washing it off in the evening, I still wake up with a slight panda eye, which i suppose is good?

Ultimately, with a price tag of £19.50 and very little to show for it, this mascara is certainly a step down from MAC’s usual standard.

Rating: 2.5/5

Natural Collection Mascara – Shade: Black

Natural Collection – Lash Length Mascara. Shade: Black RRP: £1.99 at Boots.

With the negative stigma that surrounds Natural Collection products, it’s fair to say that I was truly surprised with how instant and impressive the results were.

My lashes looked thick and full, evenly spread across my eyelid without any noticeable clumping.

The shape of the wand/brush was however pretty basic and prototypical, sometimes making it awkward to apply and style, especially towards the corners.

Nevertheless, at only £1.99 and with such beautiful results, you’d be mad not to consider this as your next go-to.

Rating: 4/5


If a saving of £17.51 isn’t enough to convince you to switch to the cheaper alternative, at least let the results.

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