Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Shoes for People With Disabilities and Orthotics Wearers

Fitflop, Clarks Birkenstock, Hotter, Orthopedic, disabled, shoes, orthotics
Clockwise: Hotter 'Daisy' Shoes in Coral, Clarks 'Un Karely Sun' Sandals in Yellow Nubuck, Birkenstock 'Santa Ana' Nubuck Leather Shoes in Black, Fitflop 'Skandi' Waterproof Ankle Boots. 

Over my lifetime I have worn a number of different orthotics/leg braces and finding shoes has always been a stressful experience. To say 'limited options' is an understatement. Finding a pair takes a lot of research, trying on, ordering shoes off the slight chance they might fit and then sending back immediately. Even then I usually come up empty handed (or footed?). It can be hard to give or take advice on finding shoes to fit when you are wearing orthotics or leg braces. There are so many different kinds, everyones feet are different, we all have different needs/priorities not to mention actually liking the look of what you are wearing.

Whilst I can't say that I have a great deal of luck in finding shoes, I sure do have a lot of experience. So for anyone who is struggling here are a few places where your chances of finding something will at least be optimised! 


Fitflop are the main place I go to buy shoes and have for years. Designed to be ergonomic without sacrificing aesthetic, I have consistently found they are the best shoes for me. The cushioning impact of the Microwobble board soles has really helped my joints over the years, as well as improving my gait a little. Many of the styles have had removable insoles giving a little more space for any inserts or orthotics. Whilst not perfect, they have felt like the most 'normal' shoes I have ever been able to wear. Whilst I try to reject the ableist associations of specialist shoes being 'frumpy' it is still frustrating to be a young women unable to engage in this aspect of fashion in the same way as able bodied people. Whilst there styles are getting more diverse and sadly over the years I have had less luck finding suitable shoes, it is still one of the better companies for finding more accessible shoes. They can be a little on the pricier side generally (although not in comparison to many specialist shoe brands) but they always seem to have a sale on and offer pretty good discounts for first time shoppers. This month they are also donating 10% of the purchase price of their shoes to the charity Beauty Banks, who work to eliminate hygiene poverty.  

Hotter shoes are another company that offer a wide range of shoes suitable for people who struggle to find suitable footwear. They offer a wide range of fits and styles and the staff in their shops are very helpful. Not all of their options are for me but thats true of any brand! If you have a dive into their website you can find some really nice options that are in line with current highstreet trends and they offer standard, wide and slim fit on their shoes which is really helpful! When looking at the product details section on a selected shoe it also tells you if they have a removable insole which is something I find particularly useful! 

Clarks have been a brand I have worn since I was a child and were always one of the few place I could find shoes. For a long time my association with Clarks and school shoes (just me?) made me not really engage with them but in recent years I have noticed they make some really good contemporary style. Clarks has a range of shoes called Ortholite, that are designed with a cushioned footbed (great for anyone with bad joints or walking triggered pain conditions) and their website also lists whether they have removable insoles. 

Birkenstocks are famous for their classic two strap sandals and how comfortable they are, with a particular resurgence in recent years. I haven't has much luck with their classic style personally but they also do a number of different styles which feature their cork-latex footbed/sole. Many of their shoes also feature a removable footbed and as the brand is focussed on comfort can be a good place to look for shoes suitable for orthotics wearers. 

Have you tried any of these brands or have any recommendations of your own?
Let me know in the comments!!


Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Mario Badescu: Best Products for Oily Skin

Mario Badescu Oily Skin Acne Products Drying Lotion Oil Free Moisturiser Rosewater Facial Spray aloe Enzyme Cleansing Gel

Mario Badescu is a brand I have tried quite a few products from before. They are affordable and easily available, both online and on the highstreet. However, my skin has definitely gotten along with certain products better than others. I have quite oily skin and suffer with fairly bad cystic acne, my skin is also quite red and relatively sensitive, meaning finding products that suit my skin is not an easy task. 

About a year ago I started using the Enzyme Cleaning Gel because although my skin needs quite a bit of exfoliation, I was finding specific exfoliators too harsh. I realised that instead of a harsher treatment product (i.e one I would use once or twice a week) I needed to incorporate something much gentler but that I could use every day. I had previously had a sample of the Enzyme Cleansing Gel and whilst I liked it, there wasn't really enough to see significant benefit. However, having gone back to it and bought a full sized bottle, over the past year I have really noticed a long term difference in the quality of my skin. Firstly it is much smoother, to the extent that it is visibly noticeable and my foundation generally applies much more evenly. Secondly, I have also seen a small reduction in the amount of acne I have been getting. I have also noticed a significant reduction in the size of any clogged pores that tend to gather around my nose. Unfortunately I think my acne is hormonally related so no product is going to to cure it but I do believe through the gentle but increased exfoliation it has contributed to a reduction in the amount of cysts that have been able to form. 

In order to tackle the acne that does still push its way to the front, I have been using the legendary Drying Lotion, which really does live up to the hype. I don't need to sing its praises too much because its efficacy is hardly a secret amongst skincare enthusiasts but it really is worth trying if you haven't. It's recommended to use it at night and generally reduces the size of my cysts overnight, if not completely shrink them. Although it contains Salicylic Acid, which is a common acne fighting ingredient, I think it is the Sulphur and Zinc combo that really does the job. Coupled with the Enzyme Cleansing Gel my skin is the clearest it's been in about a decade! 

After cleaning, I then use the Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, both very soothing calming ingredients for skin and I notice a little less redness after application as well as a bit more hydration. I have used straight Rosewater on my skin for years and made a few of my own toners before using it as a base as it is a very effective natural ingredient for redness. I will admit that if my bank account is a little empty this is the product out of the four listed that I will skip if needed, but it is pretty affordable and does keep my skin a bit more hydrated and soothed. 

Whilst the other three products listed here I have heard a lot about before, I have never really heard much about Mario Badescu's moisturisers. Trying to find a moisturiser for oily skin is always challenge and I have never really had much luck with finding one. However, considering I hadn't heard much about it before, Mario Badescu's Oil Free Moisturiser is really great. It is one of the few I have found that doesn't break me out or irritate my skin but still gives just enough to keep my skin in good condition. It is quite a light, thin formula but it balances the need for moisture (because it's still super important for oily skin) without being too heavy to absorb fully. I would definitely recommend giving it a go if, like me, you have always struggled to find a moisturiser you get along with. 

I hope this was helpful oily skin friends! I
f you try any of these products let me know how you get on!


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