Thursday, 26 June 2014

Alpha-H Instant Facial | Review

I was honored to attend the launch of Alpha-H's new product,  Instant Facial  in Sydney recently. The evening was hosted by Michelle Doherty, the owner and founder of Alpha-H. There is something quite unique and special about hearing the owner of a brand talk about not only their products, but share their personal skincare story as well. It gives you a more holistic view of a brand to hear about it from its infancy, to the present day. Alpha-H is a successful, internationally acclaimed, award winning Australian skincare brand. I have been using Alpha-H products for about a year now, and I have been using chemical exfoliants as a part of my skincare routine for around 2 years.

Instant Facial is a product designed to slot in to your existing skincare routine. It could be described as a hydrating/exfoliating toner hybrid. Used after cleansing, and before your serum and moisturiser, it's glycolic acid goes to work exfoliating dead skin cells and encouraging the formation of collagen, whilst a blend of natural plant and herb extracts provide hydration, contain soothing anti-inflammatory and antiseptic benefits, and also temporarily smooth and refine the texture of the skin's surface. Sound a bit too good to be true?

Instant Facial  is described by Alpha-H as "Botanical Brilliance" in a bottle, so let's have a look at some of the ingredients...

Witch Hazel... the second ingredient listed, it is well known for its astringent properties, and often seen included in skincare products, or used on its own as a toner. Known to refine pores and hydrate the skin,  as well as provide antibacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits. I can notice a subtle scent of witch hazel when I use Instant Facial.

Glycerin... a very common ingredient in many skincare products, it draws water from both the environment and the deeper layers of skin, pulling it  into the outer layers of skin. It is hydrating and protecting.

Glycolic Acid... one of the most common AHA's ( alpha hydroxy acid ) typically derived from sugar cane. As I mentioned above, glycolic acid is an exfoliator, removing the layer of dead skin cells from the surface, allowing the fresh new skin cells to be revealed. Its ability to dissolve dead skin cells aides in the clearing of blocked pores and blackheads, it can reduce fine lines, scarring and hyperpigmentation. It will also, importantly, allow your skin to be able to absorb more efficiently those lovely serums, oils and moisturisers that we rely on to nourish, protect and repair our skin.

Plankton Extract... known to be used in skincare products for it moisturising, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. I did come across a small amount of literature which did suggest that the majority of marine extracts ( Marine Algae ) are thought to be comedogenic. I have not noticed any increase in congestion or comedones forming on my skin, and I am of the belief that the glycolic acid present in the product would counteract any such effect, if it does indeed occur at all.

Chamomile Extract, Thyme Extract, Arnica Flower Extract, Aloe Leaf Juice...a nice cocktail of soothing, anti-inflammatory, and skin repairing ingredients. Arnica is also known for its healing properties, stimulating the formation of new tissue.

Cypress and Barley Extracts... Cypress is know for its hydrating and pore refining qualities, while Barley is anti-inflammatory, and is also known to be a source of zinc, which aids in healing and repairing the skin. Worth noting is that Cypress and Barley do appear towards to end of the ingredient list, which generally means they are in smaller quantities.

I actually saw results after only a couple of days of using Instant Facial, and my skin is quite accustomed to products containing glycolic acid. I think the beauty of this product, is that its effects are both immediate, and ongoing. We all want that fresh, bright smooth complexion, and often look to makeup, or expensive serums and moisturisers to achieve it. 

Both alcohol and oil free, Instant Facial does smooth, and reduce the appearance of my fine lines...and I do have fine lines yes!! It has also reduced the appearance of my enlarged pores. Now, if pores had their very own little muscles, they would be able to close and open. Unfortunately, they don't, it is not possible for pores to be 'closed' as such. However, I do find that my pores are "less noticeable". My skin looks more radiant, even toned, and just healthier. Fresh. Glowing.

Instant Facial is packaged in a spray bottle, however I prefer to spray it onto a cotton round and then apply to my face. I like to be precise with where I am putting glycolic acid. You can spray directly onto your face if you wish, however you will need to cover your eyes. Two sprays directly onto the cotton round is the perfect amount for my face, neck and decollatage. Through my own experience of using this product over the last 5-6 weeks, any more than that seems to be excessive, and leaves an almost tacky residue on my skin. Less is more for me.

I do feel the 'tingle' that comes with glycolic acid products. It almost feels 'prickly' to me. I feel it immediately on application, and it usually lasts 10-15 seconds before dissipating. It is normal to feel this to some degree. As I mentioned earlier, I have been using AHA and BHA exfoliants for the last two years. When I first started to incorporate exfoliating toners into my routine I started gently, using them 3 times a week at first to see how my skin would react. I then built up to every second day, and then finally to daily use. If you are just starting out with acid exfoliators,  don't feel like you need to rush into twice daily use is ok to take your time, and approach them gently.  

It is recommended to use alone for an intensive treatment, if you wish. I believe that this allows the glycolic acid to work its magic without being hindered by other products being layered on top of the skin. It is important that exfoliating preparations have a low pH, in order for them to work efficiently. Healthy skin actually sits at a pH of 4.5-5.5, which is naturally acidic. Although it does contain hydrating and water holding ingredients, it does not provide enough hydration on its own for me, so on a daily basis I will continue on with my serum and moisturiser. I do like to wait about 2-3 minutes after application for it to absorb and settle on my skin.

To keep it all in the context of my skincare routine, I am using other products that I am very happy with, that I believe are also contributing to how I see my skin looking and feeling at the moment. Some of them are from Alpha-H, some of them are not. I think the cleansers, serums, and oils that I use, along with Instant Facial are improving the overall health of my skin, helping reduce the length and severity of breakouts, and giving me more of a glow. Because we all want a little bit of glow don't we?

Do let me know in the comments below if you have tried Instant Facial! Do you have a favourite exfoliating product? I would love to hear from you!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Lou xo

This product was gifted to me by Alpha-H for review. This does not affect my thoughts or opinions shared about the product. I will indeed be spending my own money and repurchasing this product when I run out.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Manicures of the Month #2

So another month has flown by, and I have been sorely neglecting my blog in the last 2 weeks due to life just being busy with work and four little children! It is so hard to find that balance between giving all you need to your family, and trying to savour a little time to follow your own passions and dreams...does anyone else feel this way? Do tell me I am not alone here?!

It's round 2 of Manicures of the Month today... these are some of the pictures I share on Instagram of my nails. I have recently aquired some new polishes from SoNailicious Boutique that I will be featuring  in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for those...they are spectacular!!

Anyway...on with today's post!

Essie's 'Bahama Mama' .... This type of "ox-blood" shade was all the rage with bloggers last year. This is two coats, nice formula, just didn't wow me for some reason?

Powder Perfect's 'Tristan' .... a quintessential mint green with the slightest hint of blue. Opaque in two know how I feel about Powder Perfect polishes! Always on point...and I believe Jacinta has just released a new collection...*tries to control self*

Mode Cosmetics 'Boysenberry'... you may be interested to know that this polish will set you back just under $3.00 AU... this beauty is almost opaque in one coat, I just prefer two coats as it adds to the depth of stunning. Highly recommend this shade!

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure 'Cafe au Lait' ... the search for a truly great nude polish can be difficult, and a lot of it comes down to finding one that suits your skintone. As you can see from the picture above, I am about a quarter of the way through this bottle, which says a lot considering how many nail polishes I have. This shade has a very fine silver shimmer running through it. Though difficult to see when on the nail, it gives the shade a beautiful glow, and that is what I think really brings this one to life. Lovely formula, and a brilliant wide curved brush. Probably my favourite mani this last month.

Revlon 'Super-Powered' ... part of the Spiderman 2 colour collection that Revlon released recently. This is a stunning sparkling blue with a very subtle purple/teal shift. Lovely smooth formula, two coats and you are done. Pretty! 

Essie Van D' Go ( base ) and 'Set in Stones' glitter ... so this mani was admittedly a fail for me. The pretty turquoise stones you see are a nail decal from Nailene. After placing them towards the base of my nail, I then filled in the half moon with Set in Stones, which unfortunately was flowing with clear base and not much glitter for me that night!! Half of my decals are not centred properly, and I had flooded cuticles and not much glitter. There are many times when I think that I should have quit while I was ahead, and left it as a pretty, peachy pink mani... sometimes less is more with nails too!!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


Lou xo
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