26 February 2017

My Face My Story

In today's post I'm going to take you back to one month ago, the 31st of January to be exact. It was a rainy grey day and I had just finished the morning shift at work which started at 6:30am so I was feeling pretty tired and definitely not looking my best! My skin was feeling terrible, in fact, the worst it had ever been. Throughout my teenage years I was always very lucky with my skin. I got the odd breakout but nothing that couldn't be covered with a little concealer. It's only been in the last year or so that my skin has started to be a problem. I thought your skin was supposed to get better after your teens not the other way around! So there I was, just finished work with the worst skin ever (I'm talking spots all over my chin and jaw and a mountain on my cheek!) looking at the grey, gross skies. All I wanted to do was go home and hide my face from the world but instead I had agreed to let a lady analyse it...oh yeah and I was going to film the whole thing for my Instagram story too!

Despite my trepidations (the last thing I wanted was for anyone, let alone a beauty therapist to be touching my gross face!) I went along to the Look Fantastic salon in Worthing for my Dermalogica Face Mapping experience. I had no idea what to expect but as soon as I met my skin therapist, Emma, I started to feel at ease. She explained to me the different sections of my face and what she was going to be looking for. She would then prescribe to me the Dermalogica products she thought would best help my skin. The face mapping divides your face into 14 sections and is very thorough.

Something Emma picked up on immediately was de-hydration, especially in my forehead area. I was surprised by this because I'm always drinking (my mum calls me a fish!) but apparently just drinking lots of water isn't enough for our skin. It's very important to use a hydrating moisturiser to help our skin keep hydrated.

The first thing that Emma did to my skin was use a pre-cleanse. This is something I hadn't even heard of before! I was also wary about using it because it is oil based and my skin can get quite oily, but Emma reassured me that oil attracts oil so using an oil based product is actually one of the best things you can do as it helps to bring the unwanted oils out and get rid of them!

One of the biggest pieces of advice Emma gave me was to double cleanse. She told me it's one of the most important parts of your skin care routine.

I came out of the face mapping experience feeling totally different. Despite my breakouts, my skin felt smooth and refreshed. I went home happily and emailed preen.me with my prescription and they soon sent me some products to try. They include:

- Dermalogica Precleanse

- Dermalogica Dermal Clay Cleanser

- Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

- Dermalogica Active Moist Moisteriser

Overall my face mapping experience has taught me so much about my skin and the importance of looking after it. If I neglect my routine for even a day then it shows!

If you would like to know more about the products I received and my daily skin care routine then you can watch the video below!

I hope this post and video has taught you something about your skin! Do you have a favourite Dermalogica product?

See you soon,

Beth x

*The products featured in this post were sent to me for review, however all opinions are and always will be, 100% my own

18 February 2017

Are Comment Pods Really Cheating?

Before we begin can we just take a step back because woah I am uploading a blog post twice in one week! This literally never happens even though I wish it did, but juggling a uni course, part time retail job and a blog whilst some how trying to find time to write scripts and relax means that's unfortunately not possible. Oh well I feel like a profesh blogger right now and I'm going with it!

The reason I felt so strongly to update my blog today is because of a post I read couple of days ago about the sudden rise in Instagram comment pods and how they are faking engagement. This stopped me in my tracks because I never viewed it this way. I then saw some other bloggers talking about their dislike for them on twitter yesterday which really got me thinking and it's been playing on my mind ever since. 

What even are comment pods? 

In case you don't know what comment pods are I'll give you a quick briefing. Comment pods are basically Instagram group chats with about 10-15 other people (usually bloggers) where you can share your latest picture. The members of the group will then like and comment on the picture. You then do the same for them when they upload something. I first discovered them through the Instagram posse Facebook page last summer and they have become more and more popular since then. They originally started off as something you had to do through this group. You would fill in an application form and the admins would group you with other people in a similar niche. However recently groups of people have been creating their own pods and now it seems almost every blogger is doing it. 

The main point being brought up against them is that the engagement you are receiving is organised and fake and you are therefore tricking brands who see your Instagram account into thinking you are more influential than you really are. If this was a couple of years ago and Instagram was what it used to be like then maybe I would agree but in reality it's just not as simple as this anymore. 

The scary, evil Algorithm.

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert at the Instagram algorithm because I'm really not but one thing I know is that Instagram are making it harder and harder for smaller accounts to be seen and to grow. That's why relevant hashtags are important but honestly it's not enough. Remember the outcry last year when they revealed they were changing the order you see your timeline in? It's basically that. No longer do you see pictures in chronological order but instead in order of popularity. So for example, if you post a picture and it gets 20 likes and 5 comments in the first 5 minutes, it's more likely that your photo is going to get seen by more people and in the long run get more likes and comments than someone who gets 10 likes and 0 comments in the same time frame. The more likes you get, the more chance there is of your posts actually being seen by your followers. So can you really blame people for using the pods? 

Here's another thing people don't seem to get - not all of the engagement is coming from the pods! In most pods there are only about 5-10 active users. So this means 5-10 extra likes/comments on your post. Not quite the "thousands of boring and repetitive comments" some people on twitter were claiming the pods create. The idea of the pods is to help you to gain real engagement, not just to get "fake" engagement. If all the engagement was from a bot or a pod member then yes it would be fake but that's not what really happens. 

Brands play a big part

A lot of the negativity towards comment pods is focused on how using them is basically lying to brands. But I think that brands actually have a lot to answer for. Maybe if they cared more about our content and what we had to say rather than the number of Instagram followers we had then maybe people wouldn't feel so inclined to use comment pods to help them grow their accounts. In fact, the whole of the internet and social media would be a much more enjoyable place if brands (and everyone else) rated quality over quantity. 

Pods create a community

Another argument raised was that the comments being received on the photos were repetitive, boring and unrelated to the subject whist the people who are commenting wouldn't even care about the photo if they weren't in the pod. Whilst this may be the case with some pods, it definitely doesn't have to be and isn't with the two I am in. 

It's really important to make sure you are in a group with people who have similar interests and style to you because then the comments you send and receive are actually genuine and it's more enjoyable. That's why many groups of friends and bloggers are making their own pods together, so they never miss each other's posts and can help each other. It's really no different to when my group of friends from college would ask each other to like their pictures from time to time. I've also found that the comment pods I am in have become little support networks. We celebrate each other's victories, we give advice and even rant to each other sometimes too. After all, social media is supposed to be just that - social - and I've never experienced Instagram to be such a social network until I joined the pods.

So are comment pods cheating?

No, I don't think so. There are many ways you can cheat on Instagram such as buying followers/likes or using automated comment bots but I honestly believe that comment pods are one of the most authentic ways you can grow your account. Real people you have connected with or are friends with never missing a post and helping you get your photos seen rather than being buried by the algorithm? That' far from cheating in my eyes.

I believe that the comment pods are something really positive and honestly if you're not in one already I suggest you join one or set one up with your friends. 

What do you think? Is using comment pods lying to brands? Is it cheating your way to the top? Let me know your opinions in the comments below! 

See you soon, 

Beth x


15 February 2017

Do We Over Use The Word Love?

So yesterday was Valentine's Day and it really does feel like love is all around us. Maybe I'm just getting to that age but every time I log onto Facebook I see more childhood friends announcing engagements, pregnancies and births. However whilst this is wonderful I do believe that the word "love" has become so overused in the rise of social media and is taking away from special moments like these.

I remember a while ago I was watching a Casey Neistat video where he was asked if he loved his fans and he said no. He appreciates them and he's grateful to them but he doesn't love them. At the time I thought he was just being over the top but recently I've come to understand his point.

This dress is from Primark. I got it for £5 in the sale!

All you have to do is log on to Instagram and you will see the word being thrown around like it's nothing. I am guilty of it myself. Someone posts a photo of their new lipstick and there are hundreds of comments saying "oh I love that shade." Someone posts a photo of their new outfit and somebody else comments "I love your shirt!" and so on. Do you really love that shirt or that lipstick? Is love the right word?

Obviously there are much worse issues going on in the world right now but since it is the time of year where we talk so much about love I thought it would be an interesting thought to address. To me, the word "love" is strong. If you tell someone you love them then it's important. You're saying you care deeply for them and they have impacted your life - do you really feel that way about someone on instagram's lippy? Who knows, maybe you do! I just feel that the word is losing it's meaning by being so over used on social media, in my own comments and everyone else's!

So I'm going to try and stop using it so much on social media and save the I love yous for the people who really need to hear it, my parents, boyfriend, dog and of course, Papa John's pizza (Papa Bless).

What do you think? Is the word overused or am I just reading too much into it? Let me know in the comments below! 

See you soon,

Beth x

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