You'll have seen the adverts all over your Instagram and Facebook feeds. The magical, influencer-backed Pink Clay masks, hailed as a 'miracle' by bloggers, YouTubers and Feefo reviewers alike. Infused with Australian Pink Clay, a new cult ingredient which draws out toxins and impurities, the masks boast promises of sorting out large pores, banishing acne scarring and making your skin glooowwwww. 

So, what's the catch? Well, the price tag isn't exactly purse-friendly. And with prices averaging between £30-40 for a jar, I must admit that when I first looked it up I had to close the browser with my eyes watering.

After watching the ads coming up on my social media for months on end and a lot of deliberating, I decided that I just had to get my hands on one. Partly because large pores has been a recent skincare struggle for me which I really wanted to sort, acne scars have been issue for a long time, and partly because I just was so intrigued by whether or not the claims on the ads were true!

I did a lot of research into which brand of Pink Clay to go for. In the end I got it down to the two main ones, Sand&Sky or Alya Skin. I went for Alya Skin in the end, based on the fact that it was a good tenner cheaper for more product, and the skincare sets were better value for money. 

I know there are a fair few dupes out there which are much cheaper, but I decided to go for high-end based on the fact that I wanted to see if the social media claims are true! Let me know in the comments if you've ever used a dupe and what you thought!

Giddy wasn't even the word when the parcel arrived! I picked up the Complete Set which contains the mask, a micellar cleanser, an exfoliating scrub and a moisturiser. I haven't tried them all yet though so I'll only be reviewing the mask for now.

I've been using the mask once a week for the last two months or so. I've seen in other reviews that people have used it up to twice a week but I started with once, mostly because I didn't want to use it up too quickly!

The first thing to say is that the Alya Skin mask is really lovely to use. It smells gorgeous, spa-like with just a hint of floral. It's a really lovely texture too, it's quite creamy but smooths onto the skin really nicely and definitely has a luxurious feel to it. 

You use it like any other mask, apply to dry skin (I've been applying with a brush because there's no way I'm wasting even a tiny little bit!), leave to dry for around 10-15 minutes, and rinse off with a face cloth. 

Okay, let's get down to the crunch; the results.


Let's start with the positives. My skin definitely looked more glow-y after using the mask. It felt softer, and as if all of the crap had been brought out of my skin without feeling too harsh like other clay or charcoal masks do. 

The biggest improvement I've noticed as a result of using Alya skin is my skin texture. I've mentioned before that large pores and uneven skin texture is something that I've only really experienced in the last six months or so, and I've not really been sure on how to deal with it. But as soon as I rinse off the Alya Skin mask, my pores look tighter and my skin looks so much more even. I'll be honest, I've been pretty down about my skin in the last few months but using this mask has helped to bring my confidence back!

BUT, I didn't see any difference in my acne scarring, especially not the larger scars. I would have been very surprised if it lived up to the claims of getting rid of acne scars completely but there wasn't really any change at all. 

So, do I think it's worth the money?


If you have the money to spend, fancy a splurge and suffer with large pores - yes. As someone who has tried all sorts of things for uneven skin texture, I would say this is the biggest difference that I've seen as a result of changing one thing in my skincare routine. And for me, paying £30 to get some confidence back when I've felt self-conscious about my large pores is definitely worth it. 

If your main concern is acne scarring, honestly, try something else. Based on the fact that I saw no difference at all, it definitely isn't worth the bold claims around banishing scars that you see in the social media ads.

With that being said, I would definitely repurchase the Alya Skin mask. I really look forward to using it every week, and part of the claims are true! Yes it's expensive, but I'm only around a quarter of a way through the tub as it stands, so a whole tub will probably last me 6 months or so with once-a-week-use. which doesn't sound as bad!

Have you ever tried a pink clay mask? I would love to hear what you thought in the comments!

Love,
Sian xo



Facebook has become a social media platform that I love to hate. No matter how often I roll my eyes whilst scrolling through, or mutter under my breath that I should just delete the app from my phone, I can't quite resist having a nosey through my feed every day. 

I find myself having the same thoughts almost every time I open up the Facebook app, so have a look through and see how many you relate to!

1. Okay, let's see what crap I can find to mindlessly scroll through...

2. Aw cute, a friendiversary! Wait... 8 years?! How has it been that long? When did I get so old?!

3. Ooooh, friend request! Let's see... Someone from primary school who I haven't spoken to since year 6! 

4. Still gonna accept though because, y'know, nosey.

5. I love my Facebook memories popping up with nights out from seven years ago, it reminds me of a time when I was fun.

5. Oh look, another engagement announcement. Lovely. 

6. Wait, am I jealous? No, no. Not jealous. Or am I?

7. No, definitely not jealous. I don't even want to get married yet anyway!

8. BUT LOOK AT THIS FRIEND OF A FRIEND WHO JUST GOT MARRIED OMG THE DRESS AND THE CUTE LITTLE BRIDESMAIDS... I'm fine.

9. Wish my nan would stop sending me Candy Crush requests. I thought that died in 2013. 

10. Oh goodie, another chain message from Aunty Sue. No, Aunty Sue, I'm not going to keep the candle going to raise awareness for the protection of donkeys.

11. Not that I have anything against donkeys.

12. Oooh, advert for that face mask I was talking to my friend about the other day. Must. Not. Buy.

13. WAIT. How did Facebook know I was talking about it?!

14. Life is a conspiracy. We must trust no-one.

15. Bloody hell, another baby announcement.

16. How am I already at the age where everyone around me is having kids. OMG am I going to be an old mum?!

17. Just gonna go and order my Zimmerframe now ready for the school run.

18. Oooh, Buzzfeed reckons it can tell me which Disney princess I am based on my star sign and favourite biscuit, GO ON THEN.

19. Aurora?! Disappointing. I'm clearly a Belle.

20. Screw it, I'm going back to Tik Tok.


The thing about lockdown, is that pretty much every routine I had has been changed (or become non-existent!) And that includes my beauty routines.

Don't get me wrong though, I've really embraced a different routine. I've been able to strip everything back, simplify my beauty habits and really look after my skin. It's been lovely not to put loads of make up on my face every day!

Seeing as I'm still going to be mostly at home for the next few weeks, I thought I'd share with you the products that I've been loving since lockdown started. Some I've mentioned before, others are old favourites I've rediscovered. Shall we dive in?


Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue

Complexion Rescue is somewhat of a rediscovery for me! It was a go-to summer base a couple of years ago, I ran out and never got around to replacing it. I purchased it again at the beginning of lockdown and I'm SO glad I did because I've been using it most days ever since. It's perfect for the days where you want a little bit of something on your face but nothing heavy. The formula feels super-hydrating, adds a teensy bit of coverage and a glowy, radiant finish. But at the same time feels like you're wearing nothing on your face at all! I think I'll be using this all summer, not just during lockdown because it's just so lovely and lightweight for the warmer months.
Shop here.



Glossier Cloud Paint Blush

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know that I rave about this product A LOT. The Cloud Paints are such a staple in my day-to-day routine and that hasn't changed even through lockdown! For anyone who hasn't heard of Cloud Paint before, it's the dreamiest cream blush, 
and has been the perfect companion for days where I want to put a bit of make-up on but don't want to spend long on my face to sit in my living room! Just pop a couple of dots on, blend with your fingers and done. Perfect, dewy, natural-looking flush of colour.
Shop here.


Mylee Gel Polish

I cannot express to you how much I miss my nail tech. SO much! I tried having bare nails and hated every second. I tried painting my nails with normal polish, but they were chipping after a day (and I hate having chipped nails more than I hate having bare nails!) So in the end I took the plunge and bought some gel polishes. After doing a bit of research, and reading Beth Sandland's post about the Mylee polishes, I decided to give them a go. The starter kit was really affordable, and the polishes themselves are reasonably priced, and are great quality. My manicures are lasting about 10 days - which I think is down to me needing more practice than anything! It isn't the same as going to see my nail tech every three weeks, but it fills a gel-polish shaped gap in my life.
Shop here.


Pixi Rose Tonic

Lockdown has had my skin feeling a bit sensitive, owing to a combination of stress, changes in weather and eating a lot of crap food! I tend to find that when my skin is this way, it's best for me to swap out my usual Pixi Glow Tonic for something a little bit more gentle. Rose Tonic has been a new discovery for me and I've been using it for a couple of weeks. It's lovely. It feels very gentle and soothing on the skin, smells gorgeous and leaves my skin feeling super soft. 
Shop here.

Bare Minerals SkinLongevity Serum

This serum is another lockdown discovery and I can say HANDS DOWN that it's my favourite skincare product right now. Infused with Long Life Herb Extract and California Poppy, this little bottle of magic promises to nourish, promote anti-ageing and give healthy-looking skin. And ohhhh my goodness, does it deliver! The second I apply, my skin looks smoother, uber-glowy and radiant. I'm obsessed. It's a bit pricey, but 100% worth it in my opinion!
Shop here.

St Tropez Self Tan Purity Face Mist

I've recently got back into self-tanning, and I love it! It's amazing how much a little golden glow boosts your confidence. I got a mini face mist in my Latest in Beauty box a few months ago and it's fab! I've been spritzing it over my face as the last step in my evening skincare routine, and wake up in the morning with a nice healthy glow. Super-easy, no streaks or patchy-ness! AND when I'm a little bit tanned I feel like I can forgo the foundation which is a real bonus!
Shop here.

What have been your lockdown beauty heroes?

Love,
Sian xo




One of my favourite things about blogging is discovering new brands to try - whether that's through other creators' work or through opportunities that I'm presented with myself. There's just something super exciting about opening up a package from a brand that I've never tried before, testing it out and seeing the results... Oooh I just love it!

I was approached by a company called Good Molecules recently, a brand new US-based skincare brand who asked if I would like to try some of their products out. I sent over my skin type and skin concerns, and they sent over a lovely little parcel of goodies tailored to me!

Good Molecules was founded with a simple ideology: creating products that give real results, without paying over the odds. Good Molecules has been widely compared online to the Ordinary, and you can see why - they have a similar ethos, both no-nonsense, high quality, affordable skincare. The products start from just $6 (that's just under a fiver for us Brits) so definitely won't break the bank.

You can shop the entire Good Molecules range at Beautylish, where you get free shipping to the UK over £35!



I was so excited to try the products because Good Molecules seemed like such an up-and-coming brand. First thing to say is that the packaging is lovely! Really fun designs, but not so fancy that it detracts from telling you exactly what is inside the bottle. I love that on each product, you're told exactly when and how to use it, which makes it super-easy for anyone who is looking to up their skincare game to incorporate the products into their routine.

Shall we dive into the products?


Niacinamide Brightening Toner

I've never used Niacinamide before but I definitely had high hopes for this toner. It is designed to target uneven skin texture and reduce the appearance of pores, revealing a brighter complexion. I've been struggling with large pores and uneven skin for the last six months or so, but I've definitely seen a difference since using the niacinamide toner every day. My skin has appeared brighter and smoother, and while I was a little bit worried that my sensitive skin wouldn't like it, it hasn't been too harsh at all!

Would I repurchase? Yes!
Shop here.


Niacinamide Serum

Just like the toner, this serum has been brilliant at evening out my skin texture and refining pores. It is suitable to be used every day but I tend to use it every other day. I think the formula of the serum felt great on the skin, it was thick but didn't take ages to absorb, and didn't leave it feeling at all sticky. My only criticism is that the dropper doesn't work properly on my bottle! The pipette doesn't actually pick up any product, so I ended up just wiping the dropper onto my palm to get enough serum out of the bottle. Looking at online reviews, I think it may have just been my bottle, but it's such a shame when I really like what the serum does for my skin! I'll put up with it because the product is good, but it may put someone else off entirely.

Would I repurchase? Yes, provided I get a dropper that works!
Shop here.


Ultra-Hydrating Facial Oil

I think there's something a little bit luxurious about using a facial oil at night-time, don't you? I've been using the Ultra-Hydrating Facial Oil in the evenings underneath my moisturiser, and it's lovely. I've suffered with dry skin for a long time, even more so during lockdown when I'm not getting out and about as much, and this has worked a treat. It comes in a dinky bottle, but a little goes a long way and you only need a couple of drops for your entire face. It sinks into the skin so nicely, without leaving it feeling over-oily or greasy and I wake up in the morning with a super-soft face!

Would I repurchase? Yes!
Shop here.


Silicone-Free Priming Moisturiser

As someone with dry skin, the amount that I've loved this moisturiser has really depended on the day. On days where my skin isn't too dry, I think it's fab. I love the pump, it feels lovely and lightweight and does the job of moisturising, plumping and priming ready for make up application. I've been mixing it with my Dermalogica Barrier Defence Booster [gifted] and it's such a dreamy combination. 

BUT, on days where my skin has felt particularly dry, I've had to steer clear of this one, simply because it isn't enough. On these days, my skin feels tight after a couple of hours and I have to go back and put on something else. 

While I'm finding I do keep reaching it at the moment, I think that come the winter months, I'll just have to leave it alone because it won't do enough for when my skin is really dry. However, I do think it's a lovely summer moisturiser and does exactly what it says on the bottle. For my dry-skinned babes, maybe give another moisturiser a go!

Would I repurchase? Potentially, as a summer moisturiser. But I wouldn't be rushing to replenish it.
Shop here.

My overall thoughts? I think I'll definitely be going back at some point to try some other Good Molecules products. Everything did exactly what it said on the bottle, my skin is definitely feeling happier and for the price, you really can't go wrong!

Let me know what you think to these products! Do you think you'll be picking anything up from Good Molecules? If you do, be sure to head over to my socials (@siankathrine on Instagram & Twitter) and let me know how you get on with them!

Love,
Sian xo

I remember the days leading up to lockdown, muttering to my colleagues over our 11am cup of tea and biscuits. Muttering over the anxiety that came with still trying to work when everything felt so uncertain, and how we would find it difficult to cope if we had to stay totally at home for any prolonged period of time. My heart was going out to those who had to self-isolate, because I just couldn't see myself doing well with it.

And then, I sat in front of the TV whilst Boris told us all we were to Stay At Home. It wasn't totally unexpected, but I still felt as if there had been a lot of speculation and little actual warning, and our day-to-day lives as we knew them were turned upside down.

After an incredibly anxious morning, I was put onto the furlough scheme, and the next goodness-knows-how-long stretched out in front of me. A vast expanse of time with no clear end date.

When you put someone in that situation who, on one hand, is a workaholic, checks her work emails constantly and lives at 100mph and in the same breath has crippling anxiety when it comes to the unknown and not having control of a situation, you'd assume it'd be a disaster.

After laying on my bed, staring at the ceiling and fretting for an hour, texting my mum in a panic and speculating with the rest of the group chat, I tried to gain a bit of perspective.

Before lockdown, I was having panic attacks every morning about going into work and dealing with the general public. I was obsessively wiping down my desk, washing my hands and picking things up with tissues. I was now to stay at home, safe. Not everyone else had that privilege. I could now try to make this experience as positive as possible, despite all of the awful things that were going on.

I sat down, and as I often do when I'm trying to calm my anxious mind and take control of a situation, I wrote lists. Lists of everything that I could fill my time with over the coming weeks. Walks. Online exercise classes. Declutter. Write. Read. Practice make-up. And everything else in between. I instantly felt calmer. I can get through this.

And got through it I have, so far. Some days have been better than others. Some days I've woken up with a sunny outlook, bouncing out of bed knowing I can spend the whole day working on my blog, the kind of time I've been longing for for months (under better circumstances!) Other days I've felt nothing short of naff, exhausted and wanting to spend the day under my duvet eating Doritos.

One of the biggest things I've learned has been that in such a turbulent situation, you have to let yourself feel how you feel, whilst keeping perspective. Even though I'm very privileged to be able to stay at home, myself and my family are all healthy and my furlough pay is still enough to pay my bills, it's okay to admit that the situation is still pretty shit. I've been worried for my job security, for my loved ones. So, when I feel the need to spend the day in my pyjamas, eating my feelings and watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off for the millionth time, that's exactly what I've been doing.

I'm missing a lot of things about 'normal' life. Seemingly odd things. Like reading a book in a coffee shop, or having my mum text me to see if I'm home for a cuppa, as she almost always does on a Sunday afternoon. I miss walking around central London, listening to the sounds of the city and being surrounded by people. I miss saying 'screw it, I can't be bothered to cook, pub for tea?'

I miss seeing my friend's little ones grin at me when I walk through the front door, the eldest dragging me off to play princesses or handing me an imaginary cup of tea. I miss squeezing my uni friends after not seeing them for a few months and laughing over cocktails.

I'm trying to find comfort in the little things. Little things like how I feel so much lighter after a FaceTime chat with my friends. But also knowing that it's okay to leave my phone in another room for a while if needed.

Little things like getting totally lost in a book and coming round to reality hours later.

Not having a garden or any form of outside space in lockdown has been one of the things I've found the most tough, but instead I've been finding little sun-spots around the house where I can lie on the floor and feel the sun on my face. Yep, like a cat.

I've been relishing having the time to work on my content. Making to-do lists knowing that I can sack it off halfway through the day if I fancy it in favour of watching Disney in my duvet with a share-bag of chocolate buttons to myself. The rest can wait until tomorrow.

Nine weeks in (I think?) and I'm now facing the possibility that I'm going to be back at work in the next week or so. And that comes with its own anxieties and worries, but perhaps that's a conversation for another day.

But for the most part, my worries about coping with staying at home and not being able to live my life as usual weren't necessary. I guess it just goes to show the resilience of people and how quickly we can adapt to a new normal.

Whether we're in lockdown for another week, three weeks or nine weeks, we'll be okay. On the not-so-positive days, I'll just keep in mind how good it's going to be when I can squeeze my little sister again knowing that it's safe to do so. How much I'm going to savour my first pub tea, or taking an extra second or two to breathe in the sea air on my first post-lockdown trip to the coast.

However you're coping with lockdown, whether you find each day a battle or are adapting, I'm proud of you. Whatever your coping mechanisms, keep going with them. We've all just got to do what we have to in order to get through.

Love,
Sian xo






For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember that I worked with Crownbrush on some content way back in 2018. Earlier on this year, the PR got back in touch and asked if I would like to try some more products, and I jumped at the chance, because I still use the brushes they sent me two years ago all the time! (If you want to check out my original post, you can have a read here.)

Before I started using Crownbrush, I was the kind of person who grabbed the cheapest brushes she could find in Primark and thought 'that'll do.' But this brand has taught me the important of a good quality brush and not only how much easier it is to apply make up with something of a better quality, but also how much easier they are to clean and how much longer they last.

But Crownbrush also proves that you don't have to spend a total fortune on decent brushes. All of their products are really affordable too! I'm so thrilled to be working with them again, so let me talk you through the products that I've been testing out recently.

Brushes

This time around, I picked up three brushes. The C451 Small Round Buffer BrushC405 Angle Contour Brush and C429 Duo Fibre Crease Brush. Crownbrush prides itself on the fact that their brushes are favoured by a lot of professional make up artists and to be honest, I can see why. The brushes themselves are beautiful, they look sleek and professional which I love. 

I've used all of the brushes now for a couple of months, and I've used the buffer brush every time I've worn make up. I've tried it with both liquid and powder foundation and it works really well with both, and although it's denser than a lot of brushes I'm used to, I think it does such a good job of blending out make up flawlessly. 

These brushes really stand the test of time, they wash really well and look as good as new once they've dried, and I already know from the last set of brushes I received from Crownbrush that even after a couple of years they'll be in great condition. (even if you're like me and aren't 100% on top of cleaning your brushes every week!)


Glamsticks

As much as I would love to tell you that I adored every single product I was sent, I have to be honest and say that the Glamstick eyeshadow sticks left much to be desired. I'm such a huge fan of eyeshadow sticks in general because they're just so easy and fuss-free to use for days where I'm either in a rush or just can't be bothered to do something elaborate. I picked up the shades Pearly White and Gold Dust, and I was really intrigued to see what they were like because they seemed a real bargain at £1.99 each (on sale from £3.99).

Unfortunately, they just didn't do it for me. It took a lot of work to get any colour pay off at all, and when you did get it, it was a little underwhelming. While I feel like you can't really complain too much for a couple of quid each, I'd sooner spend a little more on others that I know you get much more bang for your buck.

HD Under Eye Primer

I've always had a big problem with dark circles under my eyes, due to a combination of working long hours and relying on caffeine rather than making sure I get enough sleep! I've quickly become obsessed with the HD Under Eye Primer after using it for the last couple of months. It comes out of the tube looking almost iridescent which seems a bit odd at first, but when you apply it sinks into the skin really quickly. It does such a good job of brightening the eye area, and reducing the appearance of dark circles. The eye primer has become a daily staple for me - both for no make up days and for under my concealer to help it go on more smoothly. And I think for £5.99 you can't really go wrong!

Have you ever tried Crownbrush before? 

Love,
Sian


I loved writing my last Beauty Empties post so much, that I'm back with another!

This one is a little bit skincare-heavy, but that isn't surprising as I've only been wearing make up once a week to go to the supermarket recently! But there's plenty of skincare and haircare bits that I've been loving over the last few months, so let's dive in!


Garnier Ultimate Blends Haircare

Okay so I'll admit, I might have only bought these for the banana scent. But I'm so glad I did! I've just finished the shampoo & hair mask (the conditioner is still hanging in there, why do they never run out at the same time?!) and I'm definitely putting in an order for some more. They smell divine, like foamy banana sweets, and the shampoo does a really good job of thoroughly cleansing even my thick-af hair. I tend to use the mask once or twice a week, and it leaves my hair feeling so nourished (and again, smelling incredible. Not that I'm obsessed or anything!) But as a combination, the products do a really good job of keeping my hair in good nick, despite how much I punish it with a lot of heat.
Shop the shampoo here
Shop the mask here

L'Oreal Professionnel CC Cream - Blonde

A couple of months ago, I decided to switch up my blonde slightly and go for more of an ashy shade. My hairdresser recommended that I use this colour correcting cream once a week, and it's been an absolute game changer in keeping my blonde ashy and looking fresh. I pop it on towel-dried hair, wait 5-10 minutes (usually by having a sing-along session in my bathroom), rinse. Brassy tones are banished, and my blonde looks brighter. It also smells like the salon, so by the time I'm done I feel like I've just stepped out of the hairdresser's, and I really dig that to be honest.
(Word of warning though, it's bright blue. And messy. But it's worth it, promise.)
Shop here

Beauty Pie Japanfusion Cleanser

I've just finished my second bottle of this cleanser, and I loved it as much as the first. I generally use it as my morning cleanse, which I think it's absolutely perfect for because of the light texture and refreshing feel on the skin. I pop it onto dry skin and I feel like it literally melts away any grime that my face might have picked up through the night, and provides the perfect base for the rest of my skincare routine. I'll be honest, if you're wanting a super deep cleanse, this cleanser probably isn't it, but because this is so lightweight, it's perfect for even sensitive skin like mine.
Shop here


Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant 

(In the interest of transparency, this item has been gifted to me by the brand previously, however I paid for this particular bottle out of my own money.)
I will never, ever be without this exfoliator again. It's gentle enough to use every day but leaves your skin feeling like new every single time. As a skincare fan, a daily exfoliator is almost unheard of, but the particles are so tiny, almost like a powder, so it doesn't feel abrasive on the skin at all, and has never irritated it at all.
I've been continuously using it for almost two years now, and it's been an absolute revelation as someone who's suffered from dry skin for years. Don't get me wrong, at £51 for a full-sized bottle, the Microfoliant isn't cheap, but in my mind, it is worth it and the full-sized bottle lasts me well over a year with daily use.
Shop here

The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter

If I had to describe this cleanser in one word, it would be dreamy. I've been a die-hard fan of micellar water for removing make up for years but I must say, it's been fully replaced with this cleansing butter. It feels super luxurious on the skin, and takes off every scrap of make up (it's even okay to use to take eye make up off) and leaves my skin feeling really soft. The camomile feels really soothing for when my skin is having a bit of a sensitive episode, which I love. I'm now onto my second tub and I think it's going to be a staple on my bathroom shelf for a long time!
Shop here

Benefit Gimme Brow 

This is possibly one of my most repurchased products ever. And since we've been on lockdown, it's become even more of a staple, because when I do fancy putting on just a touch of make up, I'm all about a bit of Gimme Brow, BB cream, mascara and done. Minimal effort!
I've never found a brow gel that compares to Gimme Brow, it instantly grooms and adds volume to brows, with just a touch of colour which is locked in all day. 
Shop here

Tell me which beauty products you've been loving lately in the comments!

I hope you're all staying safe and well!

Love,
Sian xo