Friday, 29 August 2014

The starting over tag



Since I have been tagged for this by both Rachel (all natural aspirations) and Amber (Amber's beauty talk) there was really no way out. The idea behind this tag is that for some horrifying reason (truly this is what the nightmares are made of ) your beauty stash has disappeared entirely and to make the matters worse you can only get 16 items to replace those that are now somewhere in the black void.

Well at first I was thinking 16 items that is loads, easy... Yet, this has to include everything make up, skincare, shampoo... The truth is if I was doing this list last week it probably would have looked different, but at this moment in time it is a mixture of some tried and tested staples and a couple of things that I am lusting after. Why would I give up some of precious spaces to these unknown quantities? The truth is that is part of my character, even when I go to the shops to buy a replacement for something I often comeback with a product that I haven"t tried before, because I am curious about it. So even if I was starting from the beginning I wouldn't only buy things I know work, I would always want to discover something new.

Tried and tested.

Skin/body care:

1.S.W. Basics cleanser
2. Kris D'amour cleansing balm
3. S.W. Basics toner
4. Yuli Cocoon Elixir
5. George's Aloe vera spray
6. May Lindstrom Blue cocoon
7. Lina Hanson Global face serum
8. Kahina Lavender & Rosemary soap
9. R.L. Linden Deodorant

Make-up:

10.Kjaer Weis eyeshadow Wisdom
11. RMS beauty Lip 2 Cheek Beloved
12. Avril organic mascara
13. W3ll people tinted lip balm N.1 coral


The Unknowns.

14. Odacite peach + cypress serum
15. Yarok moisturising Shampoo
16. RMS lip shine Royal

This is my list, I had to think about it alot, the first 12 products were always unchanged through my deliberations. Those are the products that have been the corner stones of my daily routine ( the R.L. Linden deo being the only exception sinceI only have a travel size, but this will be rectified after the no-buy challenge). As I have been using makeup rather infrequently I only include my favourite and most used items.

Now that I had three spaces left for the untested items I just went for things that I will be trying to get in the near future. You will notice that there are no body oils/butters/moisturisers on the list, mainly because my skin is not dry, these are the things I can happily go without for long periods of time and if push comes to shove there is always olive oil in my kitchen.

To the nominations part, I am tagging:

Liz Smells Like a Green Spirit

Lilly Genuine Glow
Nic Organic Obsessions





Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Tabitha James Kraan dry shampoo review



The state of my hair can dictate my mood for the day. Is this shallow? Probably, but I am sure most of you can relate to what I am talking about. You wake up: hair tangled, no matter what you do flyaways don't stay in place and you are supposed to be out of the door in the next five minutes... Does not make a beginning of a wonderful morning. However when hair looks really good, all of a sudden you find yourself using less make up yet looking and feeling fabulous. A good shampoo and conditioner combo should do the ground work, but as every lady with long hair knows, washing your hair everyday is a no no. I tend to wash my hair every 3-4 days depending on how dirty/oily it gets and what I am doing (if I am staying at home it can wait an extra day... best friends wedding, it is getting a wash).

The thing is after the second day (and occasionally even the first) my hair does not look all that great. While the lengths are fine the roots (especially in the summer) are getting somewhat oily, the look reminds me of boys from Grease. While it may work for some, I am most definitely not pulling it off. The obvious solution to this problem is dry shampoo, but finding one that works proved to be a much more difficult task then previously undissipated.

My luck changed when Tabitha kindly sent me a dry shampoo* from her capsule collection. Tabitha James Kraan runs an organic hairdressing salon and an online shop of natural beauty products, as well as her own capsule collection of hair treats. The dry shampoo in particular took 18 months to formulate and comes in two versions one for fair and one for dark hair.

The ingredient list is pretty impressive:

Tapioca (manihot utilissima)*, Rice (oryza sativa)*, Chestnut (castanea sativa)*, sodium bicarbonate Chick pea (cicer arietinum)*, Maize powder (zea mais)*, Burdock Root (arctium lappa)*, Chamomile (anthemis nobilis)*, Lemon (citrus limon)*, Comfrey (symphytum officinale)*, white tea (camellia sinensis)*, Potato (solanum tuberosum)*, Nettle (urtica dioica)*, Lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus)*, Rose Geranium (pelargonium graveolens)*, Rose Otto (rosa damascena), Myrrh (commiphora myrrha)*, (citral geraniol citronellol farnesol limonene linalool – all naturally occurring components of essential oils)

* Denotes Certified Organic Ingredients

I mean I was expecting baking soda and corn flour, and maybe even rice powder and tapioca are no great surprise, but chestnut? burdock root? rose otto in a dry shampoo?  That is pretty special. Of course the main point does it work? Yes it really does. What makes it stand out head and shoulders above its counter parts is that it does not cause my head to itch like a family of fire ants has made my scalp their home, it provides volume that lasts all day, and it doesn't make the lenghts of my hair dry.



The sleek golden packaging doesn't only look good it is actually very practical. The bottle is slightly narrower than other powders I have used and somehow this means I don't make a mess while applying it ( I still do this before getting dressed just in case, but my bathroom floor and sink don't end up covered in powder so this is a big step up). The application process that works best for me is as follows:

-Sprinkle a bit of powder on top of the head, quickly massage in to the roots to ensure even distribution
-Flip my head and hair to the side, sprinkle powder on the roots and a quick massage
-Flip my head to the other side and repeat
-Look down and distribute some powder to the lower part at the back of the head
- Get dressed and then brush my hair upside down

On the instructions it suggests that for more volume you should blow dry your hair on cold setting while brushing out your hair, sadly my hairdryer is a prehistoric thing with no such setting so I was not able to test this out. If you don't want the extra volume and your aim is just to get your roots looking a bit fresher, go ahead and brush your hair like normal and this dry shampoo will give you an apperance of a clean mane. The powder has a light floral scent that is very pleasant, not at all overpowering yet strong enough to mask that not so fresh hair smell.

The beauty of this dry shampoo is that it also doubles up as a texturising powder. When I use it this way I normally sprinkle some on my hands and then apply to my roots, scrunching up my  hair as I go along with my fingers. This gives fantastic volume that can be incorporated into an updo or left as is. You can tell that this dry shampoo was created by someone who knows hair, I have never had a pleasure to use a powder that was this fabulous and worked so well with my hair.


*This product was sent to me to try out, every word of this review is my own honest opinion as always

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Bodhi and Birch Rosa Rosa event



It is always exciting to here about new launches, but to get an opportunity to play with the products and chat to their creator, well that is just a dream come true to any self respecting green beauty addict. Especially if the brand in question is Bodhi and Birch.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you would have noticed that I have never reviewed anything from this brand, the reason is simple I have never tried any of their products. My knowledge of them was purely second hand, yet when I heard about (and saw the pictures) of the Rosa Rosa addition to the line up, I just knew that my impressive self restraint of the past few months (which is only impressive in the light of my usual shopping habits), was not going to hold out much longer.



The introduction of Rosa Rosa and the newly tweaked Bodhi and Birch took place at a lovely St Martin's lane hotel in central London. I arrived in the evening so stayed almost to the end. As I walked in, the first thing that hit me was how beautiful the display was, all the attention to detail was just breathtaking. And of course you could not help but notice energetic Elijah (the brain and the beauty, the creator of the collection) floating like a butterfly from one person to another, with product know how and a ready smile.

                                                                                                    Elijah & Rebecca

I was also very happy to be able to catch up with Rebecca (Biteable Beauty), who I haven't seen in absolute eternity, as I'm new to the brand she shared with me her personal favourites, and in the end we both came to a conclusion that Bohdi and Birch is one of those rare lines where everything smells good.

Within Bodhi and Birch there is a little division into the main range so to speak (which includes the shower and bath therapies, body lotions and now Rosa Rosa) and artisanal range that is packed in dark glass jars/bottles. The artisanal range is made in small batches every few months so the products you are getting will be really fresh, and they are very concentrated, they might appear smaller than their counterparts from other brands, but they will actually last you along while. There is something extremely appealing about the dark glass packaging, and these offerings from Bodhi and Birch artisanal range would no doubt make every bathroom look a little more decadent.

                                                                                                   Rosa Rosa display

Rosa Rosa range consists of a cream cleanser, mist toner and a face cream/lotion and the ingredients that it revolves around are rose, chamomile, rosehip and neroli (in the cream products). I tried everything on my arms and really liked the consistency of the products. They are formulated for normal to dry skin, yet the cream products did not feel heavy. If you are not a fan of rose scents (which is one of the ingredients in the range), the cream products actually smell more dominantly of neroli (the scent is not very strong which I for one appreciate in my face products). The toner (this really made my eyes sparkle from desire) a wonderful blend that includes rose water, orange blossom and chamomile, has a very faint scent to it and felt really wonderful on the skin no stickiness whatsoever and is apparently completely edible, so no worries about having your mouth open when you are spraying your face with this beauty (yes I admit, it happens to me more often than I would like).

                                                            Moustache cup: enjoy your cuppa whilst keeping your tash tea free and fabulous

The highlight of the evening was the moustache cup... No of course I am kidding, as fabulous as it was, the undeniable highlight was talking to Elijah Choo. It is always encouraging when the founder of the brand is in love with his own creations, and it was very apparent that Elijah is very passionate about his line. I did make him choose his favourite (yes yes so horrible of me, but I just could not resist), and it is the Rosemary Chi salt scrub. I must say it did look and smell very good, very fine pink Himalayan salts in a mix of softening shea butter, carrier and essential oils, very hard to deny my skin such a wonderful sounding treat. As we got talking about Rosa Rosa and skin types Elijah pointed out that for my skin (combo towards oily in the summer) during winter the cleanser and toner in the range are the ones to go for, but to swap the face lotion for Neroli luce face oil instead.

                                                                            The wonder scrub between the temple and lip balms

I left the event on a high feeling better than when I arrived (possibly something to do with the delicious food on silver trays that was carried around, and the healing aromas of Bodhi and Birch products that were wafting through the room). I did not leave empty handed, I believe the goodie bags content varied at random, but the luck pixies were clearly on my side as I was blown away by Jasmine falls and the shower/bath therapy in this scent was one of the things that was in mine (now I can literally bathe in jasmine and feel like Cleopatra). The other item in the bag was Rosa Rosa daily moisturiser, now even though I was told that it is probably not for my skin, since I have my hands on it, I really want to try it (I rarely find cream products that my face likes so if it works I will be over the moon), as soon as it is colder I will be opening it and crossing my fingers for success, it just sounds so good and it felt wonderful on my arm, I am keeping it to myself and no one can stop me.

Rosa Rosa and some wonderful travel/try me sets from Bohdi and Birch should be available in September.

And here is a short video blog to recap the event:







Sunday, 10 August 2014

The Sunday sample files




If you were wondering why there was no sample files last Sunday it is because me and technology are no longer friends. The pretty much finished post that I drafted in the blogger app did not upload and was completely gone, photos for this post (and a few others) somehow got deleted, and of course this was only noticed once the samples were used up and long gone in the bin. Luckily I did take a photo on Instagram the previous Monday, but I was just too frustrated to start the whole thing over on Sunday evening after work.

I think after this one, Sunday sample files will go on a little vacation (2-3 weeks) just so I can concentrate a bit on the #beautychallenge10 and use my full sized products a little more.

Moving on to last weeks selection:

Weleda pomegranate regenerating body oil. This was a nice enough body oil, but it is not something that wowed me after one use. Pleasant fruity aroma, not overpowering, nice enough texture. It is supposed to help accelerate natural skin renewal by 50%  in as short a time as two weeks, however I am not at a point where I would be looking for that sort of thing, so it is just not an appropriate product for me. It goes to the no pile.

100 % Pure cabernet grape nourishing body cream. In all my time since going "green" there has been only one body cream that I liked, and that is why I wasn't really expecting much from this product. Yet I absolutely loved it. The consistency was gorgeously buttery, still managing not to be heavy, the scent was just gorgeous (just like Welch's purple grape juice, that I used to be obsessed with). The sample would have lasted me to uses but I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing when applying it so I accidental squeezed the whole thing out (well I felt very smooth). There is only one thing, I am not fully convinced by their proprietary preservative system, so while I am happy to buy their powder foundation and maybe a few other makeup items, I am not sure if I want to get a body moisturiser. At the moment this is a maybe.

Bee yummy skin food. This sample was part of the a beautiful world summer box. I remember getting a sample pack from bee yummy about 4 years ago, but I just could not remember much else about it. And the I opened the jar and it all came back. To my nose this smells horrendous. The dominant smell is of propolis, if you ever took this as a supplement you will be familiar with it, personally I really do not like it, but if you do then you won't have problems with how this product smells. Moving on past the scent, it makes my skin blotchy (which in turn makes my whole face look unhappy). That happened four years ago and it happened now. I ended up using it on elbows just so it doesn't get waisted. No pile.

Vapour startus skin perfector. This primer/skincare has piqued my interest in the past so this was my second attempt with it. Sadly the results are the same, something here just does not agree with my skin. The texture is really nice and there is a choice of colours, could be a real winner for someone just not me. No pile.

Tata Harper refreshing cleanser. I have been loving a few things from Tata's range from afar, but this cleanser was not even on my radar. It is a pink cream (or gloop to quote Mr RF), with a pleasant aroma that leans towards florals. The sachet was supposed to be for one use, for me it was plenty for two uses and I could have stretched it to three if I tried. It left my skin really fresh and calm as well as thoroughly cleansed (please note I did not use makeup on those days, but I would have used an oil to remove my makeup beforehand even if I did). I am rather picky with my cream cleansers and I have been pleasantly surprised by this one. This one is a Yes.

The final tally:


Thursday, 7 August 2014

Kris D'amour cleansing balm review



Love natural love organic event was a blast and I was happy to walk away with at the time unreleased cleansing balm from Kris D'amour* that was given to me for review. At the back of my mind I could not shake of the feeling that I have heard of the brand before, even though I have not yet tried any of the products. It was not untill a few weeks later, after organising my beauty stash, that I found some products from this line still unopened! They were part of the Souk souk box that marked their birthday month.

Back to the balm, packaging is a plastic tub which is pretty functional for this type of product, and the jar is also light, making it easy to travel with. I like the look of it, it is not overly fussy, clean lines, does not look out of place in my bathroom cabinet.

When the lid comes of that is when the magic happens. Even before I notice the aroma, my eyes are exploring the curious texture. This balm is of the emulsifying variety, meaning on contact with water it turns into a milk, and in turn this means you do not have to use a cloth to remove it. This is not the first emulsifying balm I have used, but never have I seen one with a whipped, buttery texture. It reminds me of the frosting like consistency of the shea cream from Elizabeth Dehn (when she had her line of products back in the day).



The fragrance is very light, a hint of mandarin and some flower notes. Overall it has some gentle lulling charecteristics in the way it smells, a pleasure to use after a long day.

It took me a few tries to figure out what was the best amount to use, and for me it is about a 10 pence sized blob is just right. It is enough of the product to emulsify, but not so much that it becomes difficult to massage my face or remove.

I was so excited to try this, that I used it the very same evening I came back from the LNLO show, which was a bit of a risk with my skin since it is more oily in the summer. But it actually worked so well, I have been using it pretty much every evening since then for the past month (I do use a different product twice a week as part of my routine). Most of the time this is my only evening cleanser, however if I wear a full face of makeup I always double cleanse, and on the days when it was extremely hot I would follow this up with a gel cleanser.

I am more than a little impressed by this balm, to a point that I really would not want to be without it. This beauty leaves my skin really clean, yet feeling soft and calm. Most of the time I just follow this with a spray mist and my nightly skincare ritual is done. In the morning skin looks fresh and clear. Kris D'amour cleansing balm just ticks all of the boxes for me: easy and enjoyable to use, good ingredients, actually works with my skin and smells nice.

Now you can only imagine how happy I am that I already have a little treasure trove of goodies from the line to discover (feeling like Dora the explorer), but after this cleanser I am having some pretty high expectations.


*This product was generously provided for a review, the opinion is my own and honest as always, otherwise what is the point really?

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Rahua vs Yarok




Ladies and gentlemen please get comfortable for the fight of your life. While your are relaxing in the comfort of your own home (or maybe having a sneaky peek at this post while at work?), two shampoos will be battling it out for the privilege of washing your hair.

In the left corner we have Yarok, he looks like a happy go lucky chap with a slight hippie vibe. In the right corner we have Rahua original, looking like an upmarket dandy trying to appeal to your inner warrior.

Let the battle commence!

Round 1 Packaging:

While visually I find Yarok slightly more appealing (it gives me that I am a "green" product vibe, while Rahua looks like it would be at home in any mainstream salon), in the shower Rahua is a lot more user friendly. It can be a little tricky getting the product out from Yarok when you used up half of the bottle, no such problems with Rahua.

This round goes to Rahua.

Round 2 Smell:

Yarok has a scent that is a mixture of sweet grasses and wild flowers, I get an image of a sunny meadow every time I use it. Rahua original has a herby scent much stronger than Yarok  Rahua voluminous smells similar to the original, maybe a little sweeter. While I don't mind the Rahua scent I am not too keen on how strong it is.

This round goes to Yarok.

Round 3 texture and foaming action:

Yarok is a little more liquid than Rahua, both foam nicely which is rare in the natural shampoo world. Still not the kind of suds you get with your conventional products, but plenty enough to easily spread it around. I think Rahua foams a little more, and as it is not as runny, it is easier to use overall.

This round goes to Rahua.

Round 4 time laps before it works:

Both Yarok and Rahua needed a two week adjustment period before they started to work with my hair. After that my hair looked and behaved exactly the same after each wash.

This round is a draw.

Round 5 hair manageability and need for conditioner:

With Yarok I need hair conditioner every other wash. When my hair was shorter it was really easy to brush, when it is at the current length (slightly below the middle of my back) it gets a bit knotted. Rahua for the first few washes required use of conditioner every wash, but after I could skip it most of the time. Hair was ridiculously easy to brush, a few times the brush was not really needed.

This round goes to Rahua.

Round 6 volume and hair drier compatibility:

Well Yarok gives nice volume and Rahua original can't beat that since it is not a volumising shampoo, so that is not surprising. When I blow dry my hair (requirement in winter) I look like stepped out from a salon, and I am not skilled when it come to styling, so it literally all is thanks to Yarok. With Rahua however my hair looked a poofy mess, so clearly need to use something extra (be it skill or products) to make it work.

This round goes to Yarok.

Round 7 value for money:

Rahua is more expensive per bottle to begin with. A 8.5 oz bottle of Yarok lasts 3-4 months and so does a oz bottle of Rahua. But by my calculations I would use more conditioner with Yarok. So it works out that in terms of total hair care expenditure it is about the same.

This round is a draw.

After 7 rounds ( 3 to Rahua, 2 to Yarok ), Rahua original is Victorious, however in the winter I will be sticking with Yarok.

Bonus round with Rahua voluminous:

Well this one did not require any adjustment period for me, the very first use resulted in beautiful hair, and then it all went down hill. Rahua voluminous smells similar to the original, maybe a little sweeter. After the third wash it was drying out my hair and giving me an itchy scalp. I came to the conclusion that it could work well as a shampoo after oil treatment, or just for occasional use but not as regular shampoo on my hair. Since I like to have just the one shampoo and not a small collection for different occasions, this one was quickly out of the running.

Now that Yarok has released a new moisturising version, maybe we will need to have another battle...

Monday, 4 August 2014

May Lindstrom stash



Since the start of the no-buy challenge I have been trying to avoid browsing for the latest and shiniest beauty products in favour of rediscovering what I have in my bathroom cabinet. May Lindstrom products have a prominent position on the shelf. This is what I reach for if I want to feel extra pampered. A sense of well being envelopes me as soon as I catch a scent of anything from the line.

I may look like something from a childhood nightmare when strutting around in one of the masks, but I feel wonderfully relaxed and content. A few candles, some music, and my humble abode is transformed into the most luxurious spa.

My collection began with clean dirt (something that gets repurchased whenever a bottle is finished) and has steadily grown over the past two years. I did a little video going through everything that I have, and I am off to spray myself with the jasmine garden.





Products in the video:

clean dirt
honey mud
blue cocoon
jasmine garden
limited edition I am love face oil