I’ve been having a lot of trouble with spots and blemishes recently, so to give you a bit of background for the whinging I’m about to do, here’s a brief history of my skin:
Before age 14; a fresh-faced, smooth-skinned child running around outside and reading Animal Ark and Jacqueline Wilson books (anyone?).
Ages 14 – 17; a spotty teenager. I didn’t have acne or extremely problematic skin, but I definitely had my share of classic teenage spots.
Age 17; I started taking the pill, and much to my delight, my skin started to become clearer.
Ages 18 – 21; Drinking, late nights and all the other stuff that comes with being a student meant breakouts and blemishes came along more often, but nothing too severe.
Ages 22 – 26; I got the odd spot, blemish and hormonal breakout, but on the whole things had settled down. I had ‘normal’, fairly easy to manage skin.
Age 27 (present day); My skin from ages 14 – 17 has somehow travelled into the future, affixed itself to my face, and then had the audacity to start getting even worse. HELP.
What I’m trying to say here is, my skin has been horrible for the past few months. Nothing seems to have helped, and stripping my skincare routine right back, which I was almost certain would have a positive effect, didn’t even register. If I’m honest it’s been quite the confidence knock – obviously I know it doesn’t matter, but it feels horrible to look at my face and see all these spots and blemishes that weren’t there before – not to mention how difficult it is to hide. If I was feeling self-conscious about my stomach I would just put on a smock dress, if it was my legs I would rock culottes, but when it’s your face…what are you meant to do, wear a mask?
Anyway, feeling sorry for myself aside, I’ve seem to have become quite the greasy faced gal; and since I had no idea where to start with cruelty-free and vegan skincare for oily skin, it was quite a relief when T-Zone asked if I’d like to try some of their Charcoal and Bamboo range. Mostly because you know, I really wanted to try something that might help, but also because I’m lazy and I couldn’t be bothered to research spot-busting skincare that was bunny friendly with no animal products.
Here’s what I tried and what I thought:
Charcoal and Bamboo Ultra Purifying Face Wash, £3.25*: I’m usually more of a balm or oil cleanser gal, but since they haven’t been working for me of late, it’s been nice to go back to a wash. This is going to sound like a ridiculous point to make about a face wash because well yes obviously…but it just makes my face feel so super clean. As in, cleaner than your average post-cleanse face. It foams up really well (no lathering disappointments, phew) so feels like it’s doing a thorough job. It’s not one for dry skinned gals, because it really fights oil and if this isn’t something you need you will find it drying. For me though, it’s helped my skin find a bit of balance – I’ve been using it morning and night for three weeks now and between that and a moisturiser my face feels Goldilocks-and-the-three-bears style not too oily, not too dry, but just right.
Charcoal and Bamboo Nose Pore Strips* (£3.99 for 6 or £5.99 for 12): I couldn’t rave about these more – they’re hands down the best I’ve ever tried (okay, I’ve only tried like 2 other brands before but still). They are the perfect size, they’re easy to use, apply well and don’t budge before you remove them (I hate it when they start peeling off before you intend to take it off yourself). It is so satisfying to peel these away – I don’t get too many blackheads but these really unclog the pores across my nose with visible results (sure you all wanted to know that). They sometimes leave a little bit of black residue around the edges where the strip has been but it’s easily removed with water or micellar water.
Charcoal and Bamboo Black Peel Off Mask £4.99*: This is not the kind of face mask that you remove to uncover newly radiant skin immediately, but it does a great job of unclogging pores. The first time I used it I slathered it merrily on, and despite it saying on the tube that if it feels too uncomfortable to peel off you should remove it by rinsing -and it was stinging to peel off – I persisted in ripping the whole thing off my face. What. An. Idiot. However, the day after using it my skin felt super smooth, so it was definitely effective! I have used it again since and rinsed the mask off with warm water which worked a lot better for me personally and made my face feel great the following day. If you want quite a heavy duty mask to address very clogged pores and blackheads this will be one for you.
My skin is still far from where I want it to be, but it is feeling less greasy than it was a few weeks ago; although you can never be sure what’s made the difference, the spots on the sides of my face have got a lot better (the ones on my forehead are resolutely sticking around though, cheers guys). I’d be interested to try a couple of other products from this range, since it’s natural, effective and super affordable. For me the nose strips in particular are a real star product and I will definitely be buying a new pack when I run out. I’ll also be tempted by another bottle of the face wash to have on rotation for greasy-faced days. (And also because Rob has been using the face wash every day too – I tried to ask his opinion but all he said was the word ‘good’. Not particularly articulate, but he’s been using it every single day, so I think he must be a fan.)
Have you tried any of T-Zone’s Charcoal and Bamboo range – what did you think? And do you have any other recommendations for spot-prone skin?