How to Combat that Blue Monday Feeling

How to Combat that Blue Monday Feeling

Monday, for most, is the worst day of the week, right? First day back at work, ruins a Sunday night with *the dread* and you have a whole 5 days until the weekend. Well Blue Monday is even worse and it’s upon us! Blue Monday is considered the most depressing day of the year, party season is over, new year’s resolutions are taking their toll, our bank balance is dwindling and it’s pretty cold and miserable… sounds great!

The good news? We have some amazing tips to help boost your mood and get you ready for the week ahead! After all, starting a week with a positive attitude will have you bouncing through the week! Say goodbye to Blue Monday…

  1. Sleep well

Sleep is essential for your mood and the amount of quality sleep you get on a Sunday night can make a huge difference to your week. If you don’t get enough sleep, you can wake up feeling grumpy and irritable which is not a good start for the week ahead. Remove any distractions from your bedroom and get an early night and you’ll have a much better chance of waking up in a positive mood and feeling refreshed!

  • Eat well

What you put into your body makes a massive difference to your mood and how productive you are. Eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables works wonders for your brain as well as your health. Looking after yourself gives your brain lots of positive endorphins which leave you feeling happy and fulfilled, a perfect start to the week!

  • Compliment those around you

Compliment the people around you. Spreading positivity not only makes other people feel great but it’s the best way to warm your own heart too! On Blue Monday, make it your mission to compliment a hand full of people before lunch time, you never know you might make their day!

  • Do something that makes you smile

The most depressing day of the year is the perfect opportunity to focus on yourself and do something that makes you happy. Whether that’s taking 5 minutes to yourself to meditate you going for a facial, using the time will only benefit you mentally and help give you a boost for the week ahead.

  • Avoid stress

Stress has a negative effect on so many different parts of the body and mind. It can accelerate ageing, mess up your hormones and generally affect your mood in a negative way. Try to take as much stress out of the beginning of the week as you can, meal prep, set out an exercise plan for the week, schedule in some chill time. By doing as much preparation as you can, it makes it much easier to stick to and takes the stress out of the week.

Even if you pick just one of this tips to implement for Blue Monday, you’re guaranteed to improve your mood and make the week that bit more positive!

Veganuary | The Best Vegan Beauty Products 2020

Veganuary | The Best Vegan Beauty Products 2020

Veganism has grown in popularity over the past few years and January is the perfect time to kick start a new regime. Veganuary is where people attempt to eat completely Vegan for a month, reducing their meat consumption and helping towards environmental issues. When you talk about veganism, most people assume you mean your diet. But what about other aspects of your life, like clothing and beauty products?

Pinterest recently reported that the searches for Vegan beauty have increased by 281% since 2017, with more and more people interested in products that are vegan.

Whether it’s for health or happiness, we think giving Veganuary a go is a great idea. Making sustainable choices in your lifestyle can only benefit your health, wellbeing and the environment. If you’ve decided to give it a go, it can be quite daunting trying to work out what beauty products you can and can’t use. To make things a little easier, on our website we have an entire Vegan section. Keep reading to find out what our favourites are!

Dermalogica Biolumin – C Serum £71.99

If you’re looking for a brightening serum that is high performance, then the Dermalogica Biolumin C is perfect. Not only is it completely vegan, but it contains ultra-stable Vitamin C and Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5 that dramatically reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

AHAVA Purifying Mud Mask – £11.25

Get beautifully clean, dewy skin in an instant with this mask full of mineral-rich Dead Sea mud. The rich formula gently extracts impurities from the skin and deeply moisturises for visibly clearer skin. All the AHAVA products are Vegan so you can stock up on a full skincare collection guilt free!

Fudge Clean Blonde Toning Shampoo – £18.99

If you have coloured blonde or platinum hair you can still use toning shampoos that are vegan! The Fudge Clean Blonde shampoo helps combat unwanted brassy and yellow tones in your colour-treated hair. The deeply cleansing shampoo effectively lifts away dirt and impurities while reviving the radiance of your blonde hair.

Dr Paw Paw Hot Pink Balm – £5.95

This balm is a multipurpose product that can instantly brighten your complexion with a shade that is guaranteed to suit all skin tones. The nourishing formula is enriched with an award-winning blend of Pawpaw (Papaya fruit), Aloe Vera and Olive Oil.

Elemental Herbology Bio Cellular Super Cleanse – £19.99

This is a luxurious milk cleanser that is rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9 and skin brightening botanicals which help to gently purify the skin and stimulate cell turnover. All the Elemental Herbology products are vegan and they have a beautiful collection of skincare products that are performance driven to give you the best results.

FD Beauty Mini Miracle Blending Sponges £4.50

That’s right, not all makeup tools are vegan! These FD Beauty sponges are great for getting in all the hard to reach areas. They’re perfect for applying product to the skin with a smooth and natural finish. Top tip: dampen your sponge slightly before application to stop it soaking up all your makeup.

Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Day Cream SPF30 – £49.99

Many of the Elemis skincare products are vegan and hallelujah because they are incredible! This is a daily moisturiser with SPF 30 that protects your skin throughout the day while also gently resurfacing the skin by stimulating the natural cell renewal cycle. This helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles but also keeps you super hydrated throughout the day!

Dry January for Your Skin

Dry January for Your Skin

New year, new you? If like us you’ve overdone it a little this Christmas, you might be jumping firmly onto the Dry January wagon. Dry Jan is the UK’s monthlong no-alcohol challenge, which helps millions of people get back in control of their health after the heavy festive period.

Taking a break from alcohol, partying, and unhealthy eating is a great way to get your physical and mental health back to its best for the new year ahead. If you’re joining in with Dry Jan this month, good for you!

What does Dry January involve?

For most people, Dry January means giving up alcohol for 31 days, from New Years Day until the end of the month. However, there aren’t any strict rules when it comes to taking on the challenge.

You might choose to quit alcohol, smoking, unhealthy eating or other bad habits to kick start the year. Anything is better than nothing, and whether you’ll be saying no to a drink or skipping parties altogether, Dry January can be a great way to get in control of your habits for the new year.

How can Dry January help?

The results can vary from person to person, depending on how much alcohol you usually consume and how healthy you are. Many people enjoy benefits like better sleep quality, weight loss, and even better skin when they cut out the alcohol and focus on healthy habits.

  • Improved health overall

Excessive or binge drinking can cause serious health problems like high blood pressure and cholesterol. When you cut out alcohol, you do plenty of good for your body, including improving your overall health and reducing the likelihood of complications in the future.

  • Improved sleep quality

Though alcohol can make falling asleep easier, having a drink can harm the quality of your sleep. Whether you’ve had a little or a lot, alcohol can interfere with your sleep regulation and reduce the amount of REM sleep you get. This means you’re more likely to wake up feeling groggy and unrested even after a full night’s sleep.

As well as improving the quality of your sleep, removing alcohol from your routine can mean more cosy nights relaxing on the sofa. When you skip the nights out and go to bed on time, you’re more likely to get a good night’s rest and wake up feeling energised in the morning.

  • Strengthened immune system

Giving up alcohol for January can give your immune system a much-needed boost, helping you fight off any new year colds that might be going around.

  • Weight loss

If you’re in good shape and usually lead a healthy lifestyle, you shouldn’t expect to lose any more weight throughout your Dry Jan, though you’ll be healthier inside.

However, if you’ve been drinking excessively for some time and you have a little weight to lose, cutting out alcohol for a month can be a great way to shake off a few pounds.

While spirits are mostly low in calories, sugary mixers, wine, and beer are packed with them. If these are your drinks of choice, cutting them out will also mean cutting down calories. Alcohol can cause bloating, too, which means you might find yourself feeling a little slimmer after just a couple of weeks sober.

Of course, if you’re looking to lose serious weight, you’ll need to ensure you’re eating a good diet as well as cutting out alcohol.

  • Save money

Easy! Whether you’re staying home or opting for soft drinks, Dry January is a great way to save a little money in the new year. Non-alcoholic options are always cheaper than their boozy counterparts, while drinks like lime or blackcurrant and soda are sometimes free.

Save the money you’d usually spend in bars or on supermarket booze or find somewhere more productive to spend it. Why not count the amount you’re saving? Putting aside just £50 each weekend throughout Dry January means you’ll have £200 saved by the end of the month. That’s enough to cover a gym membership with plenty to spare.

  • More radiant skin

This is the benefit that’s really enticing to us. Anything for more radiant skin, right? Cutting out alcohol can help improve your skin’s hydration, tone, and elasticity.

What does alcohol do to the skin?

When you drink alcohol of any kind, the drug metabolises into a compound which makes blood vessels relax. This is what causes that tell-tale red flush and puffiness that often comes along after a few drinks – no thank you.

As well as affecting your skin’s tone, alcohol is super-dehydrating. When you drink, you’ll find yourself visiting the toilet more often than usual, which means losing water quickly. When you’re dehydrated your skin suffers, with fine lines and wrinkles appearing more visible too.

Need more? Alcohol also reduces your vitamin A levels. Less of the collagen-producing antioxidant can be a nightmare when it comes to your skin’s appearance. Collagen is one of our skin’s most important proteins, and when it lacks, skin can appear weak and dull.

Finally, sugar. If your drinks of choice include fruity cocktails and sweet white wine, you’re sure to be consuming an excess of sugar every time you indulge. It’s no secret that sugar is bad for our health, but did you know that the sweet stuff can also lead to breakouts?

Can Dry January make a difference to the skin?

Yes! Your skin takes around 28 days to renew itself. That’s just less than the 31 days of Dry January, which means taking the pledge will give your skin enough time to reap the benefits.

Taking a month off from alcohol allows you to experience your skin at its best, which might encourage you to say no to a drink a little more often in the future. After a month alcohol-free, your skin should feel more hydrated, plumper, and more even in tone.

How to have fun in Dry January

Saying no to the alcohol doesn’t mean saying no to the fun. Many people even find that their mood is improved after a break from the booze. Whether you’re regularly stressing about money or you suffer from the dreaded hangover anxiety, there are plenty of ways Dry January can help improve your mood.

Save the money you might have spent on drinks and plan a day out with some friends or family. You can still join in on dinners and drinking events throughout your Dry Jan, just opt for a freshly squeezed lime and soda or lemon water to replace your G&T perfectly.

Enhancing your skincare routine

If you’re diving into Dry Jan and expecting to see results on your skin, why not give yourself a boost by switching up your skincare routine?

Introducing a new moisturiser or night cream into your daily rotation can perk up your skin after the heavy Christmas period. Combined with a Dry January, adding a new product to your skincare routine is a great way to see results.

Our favourite post-festive tradition involves taking a little of the money saved in Dry Jan and splashing out on a new luxury skincare product. This year? We’re going for Elizabeth Arden’s iconic Eight Hour Cream and Dermalogica’s nourishing Special Cleansing Gel.

Searching for more inspiration? Keep exploring the Fragrance Direct blog for plenty of tips and tricks that’ll have you feeling like your best self in 2020.

Hypoallergenic Beauty – The Best Makeup & Skincare for Sensitive Skin 2020

Hypoallergenic Beauty – The Best Makeup & Skincare for Sensitive Skin 2020

Choosing the best skincare products can be tough. With so many tried-and-tested options available and brilliant brands emerging year after year, knowing which ingredients and formulas will work for you can be tricky. If you have sensitive skin or an allergy, the problem becomes even more difficult to avoid.

Well, we’re here for you, no matter what your skincare needs. In this guide, we’ll run through some of the biggest sensitive skin and skincare allergy questions, help you search for solutions, and recommend some of our favourite products to keep allergy-prone skin healthy.

Identifying sensitive or allergy-prone skin

One of the most important elements of skincare is being able to understand your unique needs. Every face is different, and whether you have dry, oily, or combination skin, you might suffer from allergies and sensitivities to some ingredients.

If you break out in an itchy or red rash after using a cosmetic, it’s a clear sign of an allergic reaction or irritation.

Unfortunately, symptoms aren’t always quite so easy to spot. Some allergies can lead to dryness, flakiness, bumps, and an uneven skin tone. Reactions like these are often dismissed because, for some people, they seem like an unavoidable problem. Before you start searching for more products to combat your skin issues, consider allergies. If you’re allergic to some skincare, the key will be removing or replacing steps from your routine.

The types of skin reaction

There are a few different ways to talk about skin allergies and reactions. For example, dermatitis is the term used to describe red, itchy, patchy rashes or skin irritations.

Contact dermatitis is the type of dermatitis caused by something that touches the skin. If you’re allergic to your haircare, deodorant, skincare, or makeup, you might break out in contact dermatitis of some kind.

Most cases of contact dermatitis are irritant contact dermatitis, which means that they’re caused by something you’ve touched but don’t involve the immune system. These reactions are only present on the skin.

Finally, allergic contact dermatitis is a true allergy to something. If you have allergic contact dermatitis and your skin comes into contact with a trigger, your reaction will usually be more severe and last for up to a couple of days.

What does a skincare allergy look like?

If you’re suffering from contact dermatitis, your symptoms might include:

  • Raised bumps
  • Itchy skin
  • Redness
  • Small blisters
  • Dryness
  • Dehydration

None of these symptoms sound like things you want to deal with on your face, or anywhere else on your body for that matter. That’s why recognising the signs of a skincare allergy or intolerance can be so helpful. The sooner you spot the symptoms, the sooner you can get to the bottom of what’s causing them.

Why am I allergic to skincare and beauty products?

Contact dermatitis is more likely to affect your face than on another part of your body because the skin there, particularly around your eyes, is thinner and more sensitive.

If you’re allergic or intolerant to some skincare, there isn’t a lot you can do. Thankfully, there are plenty more fish in the sea (in our case, products on the shelves), which means switching up your routine shouldn’t be too tricky.

Can I become allergic to products I’ve always used?

Yes. Irritant contact dermatitis, the type that doesn’t affect the immune system, can develop over time. This is because, if you’re using a skincare or makeup product every day, your skin can become overexposed to it. Applying a substance to your skin every day can wear down its ideal state and cause a reaction over time.

That’s why it can be a good idea to change your skincare and makeup routine occasionally. If you use harsh products on your face, like a cleanser or exfoliator that leaves your skin feeling clean and tight, it can be a good idea to switch these products for gentler alternatives for a while. You can always go back to them, but giving your skin a break might just help you avoid a reaction.

Which beauty products might I be allergic to?

Everyone’s skin is different, which means it’s impossible for us to tell you which ingredients and products you’re allergic to. However, some ingredients are more likely to cause a reaction than others.

A lot of people are allergic to fragrances, which can be found in skincare and haircare products. There are plenty of fragrance-free options available to combat this problem, so give them a go if you think you have an intolerance. Fragrance-free products are usually best for sensitive skin, whether an allergy is present or not.

Some preservatives can also cause contact dermatitis, though unfortunately they’re needed in most skincare and beauty products.

Finally, colourants. People who are allergic to colourants in food are also likely to be allergic to them in cosmetics.

Can I be allergic to natural beauty products?

Yes. Natural ingredients can cause contact dermatitis just like artificial ones. Just like we can be allergic to natural things like pollen, nuts, and fruits, we can be allergic to natural ingredients in skincare and cosmetics.

Essential oils are frequent offenders, with many people experiencing skin reactions to products which contain them, especially in high concentrations.

So, if you’re having a reaction to a cosmetic product, don’t dismiss your natural or organic products straight away!

Figuring out which products you’re allergic to

This can be tricky. If you’ve noticed an immediate reaction to a new product, you’ll be able to remove it from your routine without any difficulty. However, if you’ve started experiencing mild symptoms and you aren’t using any new products, you’ll need to put in some work to figure out what’s causing dermatitis.

Try removing products one at a time to see if symptoms improve. It can take a couple of weeks to see a difference, so you’ll need to be patient to get to the bottom of it.

If your symptoms are severe or won’t go away, it can be a good idea to visit a dermatologist. A dermatologist can perform a patch test to tell you which ingredients you’re allergic to.

Caring for skin after a reaction

If you do have a reaction, you’ll need to care for your skin properly to help it heal as quickly as possible. Most contact dermatitis will go away on its own, as long as you stop using the product that’s caused it, but there are some things you can do to help the process along.

  • Treat the affected area gently
  • Don’t scrub or scratch
  • No perfumed soaps or lotions
  • Apply a thin layer of Vaseline or soothing ointment

With the right treatment and time to recover, your skin should go back to its normal healthy state in no time.

The best hypoallergenic makeup and skincare

If you’re looking for new products to avoid contact dermatitis, these gentle and hypoallergenic options are a good place to start.

Gentle soaps and cleansers

Gentle moisturisers

Looking for more skincare and beauty tips? Keep exploring our blog for all the latest in skincare, makeup, beauty, and fragrance.

New Year’s Beauty Resolutions We’re All For Making In 2020

New Year’s Beauty Resolutions We’re All For Making In 2020

Every January marks the occasion of a new year and new goals. What resolutions have you already set for yourself? No matter how big or small, progress is progress and if you pair determination with passion you’re bound to achieve them in no time. So, you’ve had a little think about it but have you given any attention to the beauty department? Today, we’re pledging (with you) to stand by the following New Year’s Beauty Resolutions to start the decade living our best glamourous lives.

I will… learn more about ethical brands

A new year calls for a fresh focus on something new. When it comes to ethics in fashion and beauty, many of sustainable brands are often overlooked because not many people know much about the topic. Which, to be honest, is a little bit scary when you think about all the products you could potentially be using that have been tested on animals or may even contain animal products and you don’t even know it. It’s always a challenge to steer away from some of your favourite beauty products, but 2020 is not only a new year, it marks the start of a new decade. Make a change today!

January’s Brand Of The Month who kick-started 2020 is Love Beauty & Planet who are an incredible sustainability-led hair and skincare brand who create products with amazing cruelty-free and vegan formulas. In addition to this, their products are packaged in 100% recycled plastic bottles and jars, helping you to give a little bit of love back to the planet. They believe in the power of small acts of love to make both you and the planet more beautiful every day with phenomenal,ethically sourced ingredients. You can shop the range here at Fragrance Direct where you’ll also be able to take advantage of unbelievable discounts.

I will… invest in a skincare routine

We’ve all said it before but how many times last year did you get back in from an evening out and “accidentally” sleep in your makeup? If not to that extreme, there have most likely been a few occasions where you’ve gone to apply your mascara in the morning and noticed the brush doesn’t glide through as effortlessly because you’ve still got traces of yesterday’s on. Completely removing all traces of makeup isn’t difficult when you have an array of cleansing and hydrating skincare products to choose from.

I will… regularly clean my makeup brushes

Speaking of wanting to improve and take better care of our skin, the brushes and sponges we use to apply our makeup every day are just as important to look after. This is not only to keep them in good condition for optimal makeup results, it’s to keep them clean. All you need is a brush cleaner and a surface to lightly scrub them against (we’ve got trays too) and you’ll be good to go. A useful tip for whenever you run out or are waiting to stock up on supplies, a pea-sized amount of washing up liquid will do just the trick.

I will… be kinder to myself because I deserve it

Self-care is a topic we, as a society, are becoming more and more open to talking about especially regarding mental health and its surrounding topics. Implementing self-care practices is easy enough to do, it’s just about setting aside some time to relax and take a break. One of the best ways to inject feel-good vibes into your weekly routine is to indulge in a pamper session. Bath & Body goodness is just waiting around the corner!

I will… aim to get more sleep each night

Beauty sleep is a thing. It’s actually defined as a night’s sleep filled with extra resting time aka the hours gained by catching z’s before midnight hits. So many of us are guilty of endlessly scrolling through our phones while in bed and it’s not that good for us. Instead, this year, why not light a candle and start that book you’ve been waiting to read or simply keep technology time downstairs before taking yourself up to bed. You should find that it makes a big difference. To take things up a notch, why not try out a sleeping spray too?

Which of these resolutions will you be making for yourself? Be sure to tag us your progress @fragrancedirect on social!