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Beauty & Other Things

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  • 10/14/12--10:50: Recent Skincare Empties


  • Currently I've been more focused at getting my skin in order so while I've not completely done a no-buy on makeup, I've have cut down considerably. I think I'm getting through quite a few bits of skincare so here are some of my recent empties:

    No7 Beautiful Skin Eye Make-Up Remover
    This is something I usually only get with the Boots £5 off vouchers, but I don't know if it's just me but this doesn't seem as good as I once remembered. Sure, it removes makeup well enough (an oil is still my preferred choice), but I find the bi-phase formula separates a bit too quickly, especially as you get halfway through the bottle and you get left with uneven amounts. I do prefer the newly revamped packaging as it's no longer a pump and just a screw-lid so if you need to dip in cotton-buds it's easier than before.

    Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser
    This is a lovely thick and creamy cleanser that is dense enough to massage over the skin for a few minutes before washing away with a flannel/cloth. If feels very gentle on the skin and leaves it soft, clean and comfortable. It has a pleasant light floral scent that is lovely to wake-up to in the morning. 
    I do have acne-prone skin so I usually look for a little more in helping to control this issue so while this is a very good cleanser, I don't think I would repurchase.

    Pai Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream
    I don't think I've ever used a moisturiser up as quickly as this one as it's been so lovely to use. It has a wonderful creamy, nourishing feel to it yet it is not in any way heavy or greasy and leaves the skin feeling naturally matte and surprisingly helps to control oil and I don't find myself getting as shiny. Some moisturisers for combination skin feel very light or have more gel type textures where as this feels like a proper cream which I prefer. This is definitely up there as one of my favourites.

    Ren Max Moisture Concentrate
    I was recommended this ages ago while having a facial to help address dehydration so when I had a discount code from Beauty Expert, I thought I'd give it a whirl. The texture of this is a light lotion/serum feel that sinks into the skin quickly without any residue or tackiness and then I use my regular moisturiser on top. While it seems to suit my skin fine, I was rather underwhelmed as I haven't noticed a great deal from using this. I am a fan of Ren and I absolutely adore many of their other products but sadly this is not one of them.

    Naturally, I have got a few new skincare items to use (the current Boots 3 for 2 coming in very handy:) so will report on those in due course.

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    10 months later the writing is wearing away

    Back in January, when Stila returned to a physical presence in Harvey Nichols (yay!), I picked up this eye liner, and 10 months down the line it is still going strong so it's well overdue a rave post.

    Stila stay all day waterproof liquid eye liner in intense black is a lovely, deep black liner that does exactly what it says on the tin - stays put. I took this with me on holiday and even in intense heat it didn't melt away.

    It has a slight sheen to the finish but not overly so like patent. The brush allows for very precise application so you can get a fine or thick line with ease.

    the brush still looks good

    Some pen/brush liners do not apply well over other eye makeup giving a weak looking line but this is not the case with this liner, it is intense from the off.  
    Even though I've had this for some time now it still applies as intensely as when I first purchased it which I am seriously impressed with as others by now would have dried up.

    Stila stay all day waterproof liquid eye liner intense black

    Stila stay all day waterproof liquid eye liner intense black

    Also I find that when removing it doesn't flake off like some other liners I have (*cough Illamasqua Precision Ink*) which can be annoying.
    With it's super staying power, it does require a good remover but my usual oils/balms make short work of it. 

    It goes without saying that I'd definitely repurchase this when it runs out as it's a product I use regularly.




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    I finished up my last sunscreen which was the Dermaquest ZinClear SPF30 about a month ago, and being a skincare junkie I naturally had another product waiting in the wings which was DeVita's Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+.
    I heard raves about this through Skincare Talk and noticed the brand is stocked on iHerb so placed an order along with some supplement bits.

    DeVita is a vegan, paraben-free natural skincare and cosmetic brand from Arizona that was created by Cherylanne DeVita after having suffered with chronic cystic acne. They use organic aloe vera as a key 'delivery system' and also have a line of mineral makeup that is infused with aloe.

    The Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+ is a mineral based sunscreen using 19% zinc oxide (no nano particles) that has been formulated for skin prone to acne (like mine!) and moisturises the skin as well as providing broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.

    I'm not a fan of sunscreens that feel like typical sunscreens with the slightly tacky/greasy/whiteish look and I'm happy to say that DeVita's offering is absolutely the opposite of this. It feels creamy, light and non-chalky and once applied absorbs quickly into a natural matte finish that is not discernible on the skin, so no whitecast!
    Another thing I like about this is the scent, so unlike any other sunscreen, it has a beautiful light vanilla/coconutty scent that adds to the pleasant nature.



    From iHerb this was around $20 for 75ml/2.5oz , which I find reasonable as I don't seem to need too much product so I think this should last a while yet.

    Ingredients:







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    I've slowly been working my way through the Pai range and finally got round to using their toner mists. Pai have two types - the Rice Plant & Rosemary (for combination/sensitive) and the Lotus & Orange Blossom (for dry/sensitive).
    My favourite of the two is the Lotus & Orange Blossom, as for me the Rice Plant & Rosemary, while lovely, I couldn't tell if it had done anything and it doesn't smell as beautiful as the LOB.

    I do have acne-prone skin that is a bit combination and a bit dehydrated, but I often tend to ignore labels that say it's for such and such skintype, and go more with the texture and feel on the skin. So with this one I was sold on the orange blossom scent!

    Even though this is pricey at £30 for 50ml, I find that it is quite a hydrating formula and makes the skin feel calm, nourished and soft so even if I don't slap on a moisturiser immediately afterwards - (like on a weekend if I'm home all day) my skin still feels comfortable. Also I don't know if it's my imagination, but it seems to give a tiny hydrated radiance/glow to the skin (which may be from the orange blossom as it's supposed to stimulate circulation and give a brightening effect).

    Oh and another thing - the mist action is beautifully fine and even - no horrible squirt as I hate it when brands plonk a lovely product into horrible packaging!

    Ingredients:
    nelumbo nucifera (lotus) root water**, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange blossom) flower water*, glycerin*, populous tremuloides bark extract, leuconostoc root extract

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    Rimmel Caramel Cupcake

    Today's nail look I've created using Rimmel's Caramel Cupcake and Nail Art - Nail Striping Tape that I received when I bought Selfridges (not-so-lucky) Lucky Bag.

    Caramel Cupcake is a lovely nude which is a touch pinky-beige in tone and I think makes a good nude for those with darker skintones. Pic shows two coats and as usual with Rimmel's polishes applies well and dries quite quickly.


    With the nail striping tape you get five little rolls in the box - gold, silver, black, red and white, which are each 20 metres long.


    The tape is self-adhesive and you need to obviously cut it and I found that applying it first onto the nail then cutting it off the roll with a small pair of eyebrow scissors worked better then if I was trying to hold it next to the nail or guessing how much to cut off first.
    It is fine tape so it is a bit tricky to apply at first, I used my craft scalpel to help lift and move the tape into position. Once it's all applied you seal it with a clear topcoat.

    It's a nice idea and the effect is lovely even if takes a bit of time and I should imagine that 20 metres should last quite a while.

    The nail striping tape can be purchased in Selfridges Beauty Workshop, which is a great addition to their beauty department but was poorly reflected in their recent lucky bag, I'm hoping their next offering is a bit more considered!

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    Happy New Year everyone! I thought I'd start off 2013 with a product that I come across last year that has been something of a skin rescue and that is MuLondon's Organic Hemp moisturiser.

    This little pot of wonder has been sitting in my drawer for a while, reserved more for skincare emergencies such as random patches of inflammation/smaller spots but over the past month I have been using it much more consistently so feel that I can give it proper consideration.

    MuLondon is a vegan, cruelty-free skincare range which uses natural and organic ingredients without any preservatives or fragrance (the products have scent from the essential oils that are used). The moisturisers for example do not have any water in them and are concentrated formulas that are deceptively effective at tackling skin issues.

    As my skin is combination, acne-prone and dehydrated, I opted for the Organic Hemp moisturiser as my first foray into the brand as this also has rosemary extract and vetivert oil to help with acne and balance the skin. The moisturisers come in two sizes - 60ml and 30ml. I have the 30ml which is £9, so they are really very reasonably priced for the quality of the formulas.

    The base of this moisturiser is shea butter so it has quite a solid feel to it and you take about a pea-sized amount and warm it in your hands and massage into the skin. As the product is being warmed, it can initially feel a little bit oily, but once massaged in, this disappears to a natural skin finish. You really only need a tiny amount so it's only if you've taken too much that it might leave shine/oiliness on the skin.



    I've used this both as a day cream and a night cream and for me they work well. As a day cream this works fine underneath my makeup and at night this offers welcome relief and restorative qualities as it seems to heal and soothe patches of inflammation like acne or dry areas without overwhelming the skin. When I'm at home and sometimes sans anything on my face, my skin seems to be more balanced and I feel that this moisturiser contributes to this overall calmness of my skin.

    The scent is also lovely, the Black Spruce, Vetivert and Cedar Wood essential oils give the cream a woody scent, but in a light and clean way that is not overpowering and adds a hint of facial-esque therapy.

    It does feel very different to moisturisers I've used before as the texture is quite unique, but I have gotten used to it and this is just as effective.

    Ingredients
    Vitellaria Paradoxa (Shea Butter)*, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp Seed Oil)*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil)*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary Extract)*, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp Essential Oil), Picea Mariana (Black Spruce Essential Oil), Vetiveria Zizanoides (Vetivert Essential Oil)*, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedar Wood Essential Oil)*
    *Certified Organic Ingredients

    MuLondon can be found online at www.mulondon.com(not an affililate link)

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    A line that has quite recently been introduced into Boots is Superfacialist by Una Brennan who is a facial and skincare expert and has been treating clients for the past 17 years.

    The line has 3 ranges within it for specific skin concerns:
    Rose - to gently cleanse, hydrate and calm
    Neroli - Anti-ageing, firming and plumping
    Tea Flower - to deep cleanse, balance and mattify

    My skin is combination, dehydrated and acne-prone so in the colder months I tend to go for more creamy, nourishing products so went for the Rose products to begin with.

    Rose Hydrate Miracle Makeover Facial Oil

    Before reading information on this I immediately assumed this was a normal facial oil that you use kind of like a serum. I thought to myself 'I've got quite a few of those in my drawer to use up', so was going to pass on it for the moment until I read reviews (notably Jan's over at Beauty Diarist and also A Model Recommends) that it was made apparent that this is a pre-cleanse oil, so I use this in the evenings as my first cleanse, then follow up with a wash-off cleanser.

    I apply several pumps onto dry skin and massage for a few minutes. The oil is quite thick and is a perfect consistency for massaging the skin and does not emulsify so to remove you use cloth/flannel dampened in hot water. As the oil doesn't feel heavy or greasy on the skin, it doesn't leave any residue, only lovely, soft and refreshed skin. It does remove makeup but some more stubborn/waterproof eye-makeup it doesn't quite get it all off so I use a separate product.

    I absolutely love this, it is unlike any other facial oil I have used as it is such a sensory experience - it is full of a variety of different oils such as rose, geranium and raspberry that give it such a heavenly and therapeutic scent that it really is like having a facial everytime you use it. It feels like a pro product and definitely a stand-out for me and one I would totally recommend.

    Ingredients
    Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) seed oil, Persea gratissima (Avocado) oil, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (Sweet almond) oil, Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Rubus idaeus (Raspberry) seed oil, Cucumis sativus (Cucumber) seed oil, Pelargonium graveolens (Geranium) oil, Lavandula hybrida (Lavandin) oil, Eugenia caryophyllus (Clove) leaf oil, Pogostemon cablin (Patchouli) oil, Mentha arvensis (Peppermint) herb oil, Rosa damascena (Rose) flower oil, Acacia dealbata (Mimosa) oil, Viola odorata (Violet) leaf oil, Tocopheryl acetate, Calendula officinalis (Marigold) flower oil, Laminaria ochroleuca extract, Beta-carotene, Daucus carota sativa (Carrot) root extract, Daucus carota sativa (Carrot) seed oil, Ascorbyl palmitate, Citral, Citronellol, Eugenol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool.

    Rose Hydrate Calming Creamy Cleanser

    This is a lovely, thick white creamy cleanser - if you've tried Pai's cleanser it feels similar but Pai's is a bit denser where as this while thick, is a lighter consistency that washes off easily with water (big plus for morning cleansing!). I use as an AM and 2nd PM cleanse and it leaves my skin soft and clean but not stripped and a bit calmer too.
    The scent is rose but different to the scent of the oil, more of a slight petal rose fragrance (the oil has a more complex and aromatic scent). Again, a really great product!

    Ingredients
    Aqua (Water), Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) seed butter, Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl esters, Glycerin, Butyrospermum parkii (Shea butter), Rosa damascena flower water, Sorbitan stearate, Polysorbate 60, Rhus succedanea fruit wax, Phenoxyethanol, Pelargoneum graveolens (Geranium) oil, Parfum (Fragrance), Allantoin, Benzoic acid, Althaea officinalis root extract, Panthenol, Dehydroacetic acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium hydroxide, Salix alba (White willow) bark extract, Polyaminopropyl biguanide, Potassium sorbate, Sodium benzoate, Citral, Citronellol, Coumarin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Butylphenyl methylpropional, Limonene, Linalool, Dipropylene glycol.

    Overall I am really impressed with what I have used so far, especially as a lot of the products are under £10 and give the high-end a run for their money. The Calming Creamy Cleanser is £7.99, and the oil is £14.99, although Boots have upto £7 off the range until 29th January 2013.

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    My scalp is a bit troublesome, I often get periods of flakiness and irritation and it seemed to be playing up a bit these past couple of months. I don't think it helped when I run out of some of my other scalp soothing shampoos like Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic and started using something that I think ended up making my scalp drier then usual.

    Anyway, I was looking for something to address these issues and had been meaning to try this particular range by Philip Kingsley for a while so now seemed like a good time!

    One thing I appreciate a lot are haircare brands that do smaller sizes in their products. As my scalp is so fussy I prefer buying the trial size to begin with as often in the past I have wasted money on full size products that do not agree with me so I very grateful to those who do trial sizes.

    Philip Kingsley is great in that the majority of his products come in various sizes so I purchased this kit which has the Flaky/Itchy Shampoo (60ml), Moisture Balancing Conditioner (60ml) and the Flaky/Itchy Scalp Toner (75ml).

    The Flaky/Itchy Shampoo is a normal clear, thickish gel consistency which lathers nicely and rinses cleanly out. It doesn't make my scalp feel tight or dry and has a soothing quality to it. Once rinsed out I do need to use a conditioner because it doesn't feel like it smooths or nourishes the lengths of my hair but that is where the Moisture Balancing Conditioner comes in to play. This stuff is amazing, it's a creamy conditioner that makes the hair feel sooo smooth and silky. My hair is slightly fine and wavy and this makes it less dry without weighing it down. Even after blow-drying my hair doesn't feel dried out.
    The Flaky/Itchy Scalp Toner provides welcome relief to the scalp as it's a watery type liquid that you apply to the hair in sections and it instantly feels cooling and soothing on the scalp. It is applied after towel drying but can be used as and when needed too. The pointed nozzle bottle makes it easy to use and allows for precise application.

    Since using these products, my scalp is definitely in much better shape and the irritation and flakiness has gone down considerably.

    Ingredients:

    I purchased this kit from Marks & Spencer

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    Dior's spring collection has some lovely little gems, and Rosy Bow is one of the things I purchased. I don't have many proper pink polishes, and this one fits the bill nicely as it's a perfect Barbie style pink which doesn't lean blue or coral. I think the closest shade I have to this in my collection is Rimmel's Rose Libertine which has a slightly more salmon/coral tone to the pink.

    The formula is a rich cream which is opaque in 2 coats (the pic shows 2 and then I've topped it off with Illamasqua's top coat).
    Even though I am a big fan of Dior's polishes, the paler creams are not my favourite formulas as I find them a tiny bit on the thick side although Rosy Bow is fine to work with in comparison to some of their other shades like Pink Porcelain (which I've previously reviewed here).

    I purchased this from House of Fraser.

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    I had completely finished up all my eye makeup removers recently so was on the look out for something new and the Clarins Instant Eye-Make-up Remover seemed like just the product.

    Even though I'm currently using cleansing balms to remove my facial makeup, I do like a separate product for eyes as I find some balms irritate my eye area.

    This one by Clarins has only recently been released along with a gentler version for more sensitive eyes. I went for the this one as I have quite a few stubborn mascaras that need something more effective so I don't get the whole panda-eye look.

    The Instant Eye-Make-up Remover is a bi-phase remover that you shake up like usual before use. What I like about this formula is that it's not oily like other bi-phase ones I've used before so it doesn't leave an oily residue, just a nice soft finish.

    It has a lovely light floral scent that I like and makes a nice touch as I appreciate a multi-sensory element to my skincare, and Clarins is a brand that excels in this aspect.

    As I wear quite a bit of eye makeup I have got through this bottle rather quickly but it is effective and thoroughly removes everything although some tougher formulas may need a few more passes.

    Ingredients:
    Cyclomethicone, Aqua/Water/Eau, Rosa Damscena Flower Water, Isohexadecane, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Chloride, Centaurea Cyanus Flower Water, Parfum/Fragrance, Benzyl Alcohol, Panthenol, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Disodium EDTA, Glycerin, Dehydroacetic Acid, Citric Acid, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Cl 42090/Blue1.

    I bought this from House of Fraser.

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    With this changeable weather we are having at the moment - one minute it's freezing then suddenly it's milder, my skin doesn't know where it's at so it can get rather dry. My skin is on the drier side anyway (especially my hands!) so I am always on the look out for products that will keep it nourished so the Elemis Skin Nourishing Hand and Body Lotion seemed ideal to tackle these issues.

    This body moisturiser is a lovely smooth lotion, it feels quite creamy for a lotion texture, but regardless of this, it is easily absorbed without being greasy, which is something I definitely prefer, especially with hand products.

    It contains concentrated Milk Protein and Camellia, Macadamia and Jojoba oils to nourish the skin and this does a good job of alleviating dryness with the added base of Shea Butter and Sesame Seed oil, leaving my limbs feeling softer as well.  It has a soft floral, slightly nutty scent that I love which lingers a little after application.

    I also like the fact that it comes in a pump bottle, it's much more convenient and I do end up using it more because of this.

    Ingredients:
    Aqua/Water/Eau, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Butrospermu Parkii (Shea butter), Cetearyl Alcohol, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Stearate, Glycerin, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Myristyl Myristate, Sodium Lactate, Phenoxyethanol, Macadamia Ternifolia (Macadamia) Seed Oil, Fragrance (Parfum), Sodium Polyacrylate,  Benzoic Acid, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Cocodimonium Hydroxypropyl Hydrolyzed Milk Protein, Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Cinnamyl Alcohol, Citronellol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexane Carboxaldehyde, Linalool, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone.


    *PR sample*



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    L'Oreal have cheered my nails up nicely this week with their new Color Riche Confettis (916) topcoat. This is a clear based topcoat with black and white dots of various sizes suspended within.

    As with L'Oreal's other nail varnishes, this dries pretty quickly and the finish lasts well, at the moment I've just got 2 coats over my natural nails, creating an easy monochrome look I'm rather liking.

    I purchased this from Superdrug.



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    Live Native is a unique skincare range that uses raw ingredients to create their products. As the ingredients are harvested and produced without heat, this raw element helps to retain the beneficial properties such as enzymes and nutrients contained within the living ingredients.
    They are also free of 'colourings, preservatives, parabens or phthalates, petroleum by-products, synthetic fragrance, alcohol, water, unnatural stabilizers or any of the usual skincare 'nasties'.

    Live Native Exfoliating Earth Cleanser
    This is a very interesting and unique looking cleanser, as the name suggests it looks very earthy but it's much more than how it appears.
    This has a base of Oat Kernel Meal and Rhassoul Clay, the texture reminds me a little of Dr Hauschka's Cleansing Cream although Live Native's feels like a more separated consistency rather than the more paste like quality of the Dr Hauschka (Live Native's also smells way better!).
      
    You take a bit and mix with a little water to form a paste then gently massage onto the skin and rinse off. I find that if I try to mix a thicker paste it can get a little messy as cleanser falls off my hands as I go to put it on my face, so if I mix with more water to get a slightly thinner texture, this is easier for me to work with. Messiness aside, the end result is much softer, velvety feeling skin and it lessens the need for a separate exfoliation product. It feels gentle to use daily although I prefer this as an evening cleanse after removing makeup as the scent is quite refreshing and relaxing at the end of the day. 





    Ingredients:
    Oat (Avena Sativa) Kernel Meal*, Rhassoul Clay (Montmorillonite)*/***, Chamomile Macerate in Sunflower oil*, Argan (Argania Spinosa) Kernal Oil*/***, Coconut (Cocos Nucifera) Oil*, MSM (Dimethyl Sulfone) from Pine Trees, Chamomile (Chamomilla Recutita Matricaria) Flower*, Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) Root Powder*, Kelp (Ascophyllum Nodosum)**, Marigold (Calendula Officinalis) Flower Oil*, Vitamin E (natural d-alpha tocopherol), Glyceryl Caprilate, Grapefruit (Citrus Grandis) Seed Extract in vegetable glycerin, Acerola cherry (Malpighia Glabra) Fruit Extract*.
    * organic   ** wild harvested   *** Fairtrade


    Essential Mist MSM Toner
    I am a fan of rose water based toners, I feel they are rather calming and softening on my skin so I was keen to try the Essential Mist MSM Toner as this has rose water as it's base along with MSM which is an organic sulphur extract from the pulp of pine trees that helps to build collagen. Other ingredients include acerola cherry which is an antioxidant, naturally high in vitamin C and essential oils of rose otto, sandalwood and frangipani.

    This mist is incredibly fine (as a mist should be!), and is absorbed quite easily into the skin. I use it as a prep before moisturiser or if my skin needs a little bit of a rescue as it's soothing and feels comfortable on my skin.

    The smells quite strongly (to my nose anyway) of rose but there is something in this that gives it a little sharpness in a way that if I spray it directly on my skin, it gets in my nose and makes me cough a little. It feels quite potent (or maybe I'm just sensitive to something in it, I don't know!) I think this is just me as my sister has tried this and doesn't experience anything of the sort.
    It hasn't stopped me from using it but I apply onto a cotton pad rather than directly on my face.

    Ingredients
    Rosa damascena (rose) floral water*, Dimethyl sulfone (MSM from pine trees), Malpighia glabra (acerola cherry) fruit extract*, Rosa damascena (rose otto) essential oil*, Santalum austrocaledonicum veill (sandalwood) essential oil*, Plumeria rubra (frangipani) absolute, (*denotes organic) contains the following components of essential oils: citral, citronellol, eugenol, farnesol, geraniol and linalool.
    * organic

    I bought these from www.livenative.com   (not an affiliate link)








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  • 03/15/13--15:45: MakeUp Picnic on Bloglovin
  • Hi peeps, just a quick one if you'd like to follow my blog on Bloglovin, here's the link:

    http://www.bloglovin.com/en/blog/2400262/makeup-picnic

    Thank you xx

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    I am somewhat intrigued by this whole BB phenomenon and have dabbled in a few variants, the latest of which is The Body Shop's All-In-One BB Cream*.

    I think of BB creams as some sort of tinted moisturiser hybrid and to be honest saying 'BB' on the packaging does not mean much to me but I do appreciate new formulations and will happily explore the actual product.

    The Body Shop's offering is a light cream texture that has colour-adapting technology, that releases pigments when blended into the skin, supposedly matching your skin colour well.

    This comes in 3 shades (01, 02 & 03), and I have the BB Cream for medium skin tone (02) 




    It starts off as a light, white-ish cream and once you start blending it the colour changes and blends into the skin.





    My skin is yellow-toned and I feel this shade goes a bit too tan/a tiny bit orange on my skin (you can see this a little in the pics).

    The formula feels quite hydrating and a bit dewy-finished, so if you have drier skin this may be better as I use a bit of powder on top as my skin is a bit combination in places.
    This offers little in the way of coverage - it evens things out a bit but as it's sheer doesn't do much to cover my acne marks so I use a separate concealer on those. This falls a little short on perfecting qualities as I feel I get a better evenness when using a tinted moisturiser product.
    On a positive note my blush seems to stay better on top of this which is an issue I have when using blusher over some foundations.

    Overall this doesn't blow me away as I like a bit more coverage and the colour isn't quite right on me.

    *PR Sample

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    My hair and scalp has been an increased priority the past year or so since I noticed my hair was thinning a bit and generally has less volume. I have been trying to remedy this internally but I'm using topical products to help the progress along. Currently I'm using the John Master Organics Deep Scalp Follicle Treatment and Volumizer for thinning hair.

    My hair is slightly on the finer side, wavy andmy scalp is quite sensitive and can get easily irritated by the wrong shampoo or using overly stripping products (or eating too much crap!), so as well as helping the thinning, I like using scalp specific products as they do seem to calm it and promote a healthier scalp.

    The John Masters Organics Deep Scalp Follicle Treatment and Volumizer for thinning hair is 'a unique combination of 19 certified-organic herbs andessential oils improve the scalp by promoting nutrient intake, stimulating circulation, balancing sebum production and eliminating free radicals. Select ingredients work to enhance hair volume and shine. Safe for colour-treated hair'.

    Key ingredients:
     

    Thyme - scalp stimulant; antiseptic
    Irish moss - natural detoxifier
    Arnica - healing to the scalp; anti-inflammatory
    Che qian zi - reduces inflammation
    Gotu kola - anti-inflammatory; anti-irritant

    I use this on damp hair after washing and conditioning. I section the hair and spray a small amount at the roots then style as normal.
    What I notice with this it that it does seem to give my hair a bit more substance and volume at the roots so it doesn't appear as fine. With continual use I think my hair does feel better so for me it's doing what it says on the tin. For scalp comfort I personally prefer the Philip Kingsley Scalp Toneras that has a bit more cooling, soothing feeling, but overall I like the John Masters more for the volumising element.
     
    I was a bit critical of Phylia de M.'s Connect as that is rather pricey for the amount you get but the John Masters product works out almost the same if you're comparing by mls as the Connect is £45 for 120ml and this is around £21 for 59ml.

    I really can't put either product against each other as I like them both and feel they are both unique in their approach to hair health. 
     
    Ingredients: 


    Aqua (water), glycerin, sorbitol, panthenol (vitamin B), centillica asiatica (gotu kola) extract,* chondrus crispus (irish moss) extract,* plantago asiatica (chegian zi) extract,* arctium lappa (burdock root) extract,* hydrolyzed wheat protein, urticia dioica (nettle) extract,* yucca schidigera (yucca) extract,* hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) distillate, arnica montana (arnica) extract,* anthemis nobilis (chamomile) extract,* hyaluronic acid, camellia sinensis (white tea) extract,* lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract,* calendula officinalis (calendula) extract,* tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), carica papaya (papaya) extract, cucumis sativa (cucumber) extract,* soy protein, sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil,* triticum vulgare (wheat germ) oil,* thymus vulgaris (thyme) oil,* linum usitatissimum (flax seed) oil,* rosmarinus officinalus (rosemary) oil*

    * Certified Organic

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  • 04/04/13--13:01: GlamGlow Mud Mask

  • When it comes to facial masks, I am a bit of a devotee of Ren's fabulous face mask offerings, but I'm always on the look out for other effective masks, especially clay ones as many brands I've tried just don't cut the mustard. I want the ritual and the results!

    Luckily this mask is much more than it's swanky packaging. GlamGlow mud mask is quite a potent concoction, it is clay based but has a fine pumice-y/earthy texture and also bits of green tea in it that give it an exfoliator feel. Because of this texture, I find that I have to be quite gentle when applying it so that I am not rubbing the skin.



    The mask does dry and it goes tight so you can definitely feel it on the skin as it's a slightly cool, tingly and quite active sensation. The first time I used this it did feel a little stingy on the first few seconds but I had used another treatment product beforehand which I didn't need as this packs a punch on it's own. I would proceed with caution if you have sensitive or dry skin as this might feel like too much.
    I leave on for around 10 minutes and it removes quite easily with water but as I'm removing I let the water soften the mask and then I massage it a little and then rinse off.

    This makes my skin a bit brighter and much smoother, and I do not encounter any redness after use but because the mask is drying, I make sure to give it nourishment by following up with a hydrating serum and moisturiser.

    Personally I don't think it's quite as effective for spots, although I've come to the conclusion that those buggers are best dealt with a 'kill them with kindness' approach so rather then trying to dry them out, I use oils and creams that have nourishing, anti-inflammatory ingredients.

    The packaging has a nice, weighty feel and is a bit razzle-dazzle although I quite like that:)

    Ingredients:
    Aqua (Water), Montmorillonite (Volcanic Minerals), Kaolin (French Sea Clay), Magnesium Aluminum Silicate (Purified Clay), Polyethylene, Pumice (Micro Volcanic Rock), Camellia Sinensis Leaf (Green Tea Leaf), Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract (Green Tea), Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract (Chamomile), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract (Marigold), Cucumis Sativus Fruit Extract (Cucumber), Hedara Helix Extract (Ivy), Symphytum Officinale Leaf Extract (Comfrey Herb), Lavandula Hybrida Oil (Lavender), Glycerin (Vegetable), Parfum, [Benzyl Benzoate, Hexyl Cinnamal, Limonene, Linalool], Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea.

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    In the past I have used several products from The Body Shop's Vitamin E range, although never the moisturiser so I was interested to see how I fared with this as I feel a bit more willing to experiment as my skin has improved on the acne front these past few months.

    The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream is part of their range of skin products containing vitamins to help 'hydrate and protect' the skin and 'leave it soft and healthy-looking'.

    The texture of the cream feels light and absorbs quickly so at first I wasn't exactly hopeful that this would provide adequate hydration as in the colder months I normally lean towards moisturisers for normal to dry or sensitive skin as even though I'm a little combo, I'm also dehydrated and apart from my t-zone, the rest of my face can feel a little dry in this changeable weather.




    To my surprise this provides just the right amount of hydration without feeling I have much on my skin and I find that it works well when layering with other products as the formula is light.

    Overall a good moisturiser, but it does leave me craving a little something extra in my skincare as now I'm in my late 20's (approaching 30 in July!) I have been taking a few more preventative measures skincare wise.

    Ingredients:
    Aqua (Solvent/Diluent), Isopropyl Palmitate (Emollient), Sorbitol (Humectant), Lanolin (Emollient), Glyceryl Stearate (Emulsifier), Cetyl Esters (Emollient), Steareth-2 (Emulsifier), PEG-100 Stearate (Surfactant), Ceresin (Stabiliser), Triethanolamine (pH Adjuster), Tocopheryl Acetate (Antioxidant), Steareth-20 (Emulsifier), Carbomer (Viscosity Modifier), Methylparaben (Preservative), Parfum (Fragrance), Benzyl Benzoate (Solvent), Butylparaben (Preservative), Ethylparaben (Preservative), Hydroxycitronellal (Fragrance Ingredient), Isobutylparaben (Preservative), Propylparaben (Preservative), Limonene (Fragrance Ingredient), Geraniol (Fragrance Ingredient), Linalool (Fragrance Ingredient), Citronellol (Fragrance Ingredient), Cinnamyl Alcohol (Fragrance Ingredient), Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone (Fragrance Ingredient), CI 14700 (Colour).

    *PR sample*

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  • 04/15/13--13:02: Shower Time Selection

  • When it comes to shower and bath products, I'm all about the scent and tend to go for products that are uplifting and refreshing for everyday use, with lovely textures so thought I'd share my current selection.

    Intelligent Nutrients Harmonic Body Wash


    I love Intelligent Nutrients, ever since I first used their Harmonic shampoo I was completely taken by them, so when they recently brought out the matching body wash, I did not hesitate to give it a whirl.
    This has the same light, creamy texture as the shampoo and also the same beautifully refreshing scent from the peppermint, spearmint, rosemary and menthol.
    Cleans well without stripping the skin of moisture. Wonderful stuff!

    Ingredients:


    Madara Fresh Mint Soap


    This is my first foray into Madara and so far I am liking this lovely and gentle soap. Madara is a Latvian natural skincare brand, that uses ingredients from the Baltic region in it's products and is free from synthetic ingredients, perfumes and preservatives.

    This one has a slightly lighter texture, sort a gel like soap but again it doesn't strip the skin and effectively cleans with a fresh mint scent. I don't think its as complex or aromatic as the Intelligent Nutrients, but it's honest in it's simplicity and does a good job. I use this one as a hand soap as well.

    Ingredients:



    Nourish Uplifting Shower Gel


    When I saw this on online, I was taken by the cheery yellow packaging and by the 'uplifting' in the name, and this certainly lives up to that. This contains high omega shea butter to nourish the skin yet it doesn't overwhelm and washes cleanly. A good consistent gel texture with a wonderful sweet citrus scent, this just makes me happy when I use it, what more could I ask for?

    What I'm liking about the Nourish range is that the price points are rather reasonable for the quality of the products with many of the formulas containing over 90% organic ingredients. For body products I have mostly converted to natural brands, but I probably don't venture as high price-wise as I would with my skincare so it's nice to have a brand that is a bit more purse-friendly.

    Ingredients



    Life NK Jump Start Sugar Scrub


    This was a bit of an impulse buy from Space NK as I was taken in by their bold typographic packaging and the zingy grapefruit scent.
    A lovely simple scrub which a good gel-like consistency that feels refreshing and rinses away easily without any greasiness.
    The only gripe I have is with the packaging - the texture of the scrub is quite thick and the hole in the tube small so you have to really squeeze it - I'm taking the scissors to this as I find it a bit annoying!

    Ingredients


    *All products purchased by me*

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    The MuLondon Face washes have been on my radar since their launch but seeing as I had a load of cleansers I wanted to use up first I've only recently got round to giving them a go.

    There are 3 different cleanser types:

    Rose - dry, irritated or sensitive skin types
    Lavender - all skin types, including dry and sensitive
    Fragrance free - all skin types, especially sensitive

    I am rather crazy for rose in skincare so naturally I went for the rose variant. MuLondon uses organic and steam distilled Rose Otto oil (30 roses are used to make one drop of oil). Rose is beautifully healing and soothing for the skin as well as giving the cleanser a wonderful fragrant rose scent.
    Along with the Rose Otto, Rosehip extract is used which is a great repairer and helps with scarring and wrinkles as well as rehydrating the skin.

    The base of this cleanser is an organic castile soap, free of synthetic detergents (like SLS) so it gently cleanses the skin without stripping it.

    I've had a good experience using their Hemp moisturiser, but there was a part of me that was a little hesitant about this cleanser as (a) it is made from castille soap and I've used other cleansers with this as an ingredient and I wasn't particularly keen; and (b) it is foaming. But MuLondon is unlike those others and indeed these doubts were soon case aside after I used this cleanser, it feels unlike any cleanser I've used before.

    Once you dispense some of the product in your hands it looks like a light foam but as soon as you start massaging it, it produces a light, creamy lather that feels lovely and soft on the skin, no soapy bubbles!



    On the face of it this seems like a simple cleanser, but as I have found with their moisturiser, this still is remarkably effective. It leaves the skin feeling soft and has a little bit of a calming and clarifying effect. Initially it does have a little bit of a squeaky-clean feel once rinsed (which I'm not keen on in particular), but I found that if I've used nourishing products like oils and serums at night or during the day, then once I've cleansed my skin I get less of this sensation, and am left with more of a natural feel.

    This makes a great morning cleanser but I think it works even better as part of a double cleanse. In the evenings I've been removing my makeup with organic jojoba oil and a warm washcloth (I always use a separate product to remove makeup) then following up with the MuLondon cleanser and it works a treat.


    Ingredients:
    Aqua (Water), Potassium Sunflowerate (Saponified Sunflower Oil)*, Potassium Cocoate (Saponified Coconut Oil)*, Glycerin (vegetable, naturally occurring)*, Potassium Chloride, Potassium Citrate (Potassium Salts), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil)*, Rosa Damascena (Rose Otto Essential Oil)*, Rosa Canina (Rosehip Extract)*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary Extract)*    *Certified Organic Ingredients

           


    The cleansers come in a trial size (50ml) and the full size (150ml).

    I purchased this from mulondon.com



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