Saturday, 28 April 2012

New find: stark skincare

It has been raining for almost two weeks now and I find that weather does affect my mood. I think in an attempt to cheer myself up I overdosed on the no more dirty looks blog. Whilst going through all the entries (well probably not all, there are so many, but a gave it a good try) I came across the stark skincare review. I never heard of the brand before, I think it is comparatively new. Anyway I liked the sound of the products so I ordered the grapefruit cleanser which doubles up as moisturiser (I just love multi-use products) and the cypress purity defense oil.

My package arrived today and to my surprise I received the other two product in the line the toner and the mask as well (some promotion I didn't realise was on at the time?) so I'm super pleased.
I think this means I'm set with skincare for awhile now. I will defo update once I've given it a month or so.
The brand is Canadian so it isn't sold anywhere else as far as I know but they have an offer if you spend $75 (Canadian dollars) then you get international shipping for free.
One more thing, there is a photo contest going on 'Nature in the city' and there will be 10 winners for a lip balm which isn't sold yet and one winner for the entire range. The deadline has been extended till the 20th of May. For more details go to stark website. Good luck xoxo

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Facial oils

I can't quiet remember why I tried using face oils. I love trying new things and  there were a lot of articles in the magazines (probably still are I just rarely by mags nowadays) about how oils are not just for dry skin and so on.
I discovered that generally I prefer blends to single oils (exception being rosehip and coconut) and that some oils are too much on my skin on their own but perfectly fine blended.
It took me about 2 years to figure out that my homemade concoctions are just whatever in comparison to some things out there (I still make my own masks sometimes and body scrubs).
And about a year ago I finally realised that I have sensitivity to jojoba. I'm going to do a short review on the oils that I currently have and at the end my jojoba experience for those who are interested.

John masters organics argan oil
This is the second time I've tried an argan oil and even though it is a different brand my conclusion is still the same. It doesn't have the nicest smell but it isn't strong and it doesn't linger. It is fine on skin no irritations, brilliant for hair both as prewash treatment or smoothed on the ends of wet hair. It is a really good product but I just don't love using it. I would say 8/10, perfect if you like a simple routine. John Master's always include lots of samples of their products with every purchase.

Kora organics rosehip oil
This is a blend of rosehip, pomegranate and jasmine. Mine doesn't smell so good (apparently smell can depend on a batch depending on the essential oils but performance isn't compromised). I really like this one, it is brilliant at removing make-up (damp cotton pad a few drops of this and swipe) and really good as night oil. It is small bottle 20ml. I don't use it often enough to warrant a bigger bottle. Shelf life is six months after opening and I've had for five already and still have almost a quarter of the bottle left. For me this is 9/10 would get full marks if it had better smell. For more info go to kora. They changed packaging since I got mine and it is 15ml now.

Pai rosehip bioregenerate fruit and seed blend.
Since this has the fruit oil and seed oil this is more potent than standard rosehip oil. I absolutely love this product but I just wish there was a smaller bottle available. With the shelf life of six months there is no way I can finish this. I used it regularly through winter 3 to 4 times a week for two months and it looks practically untouched. I have oily skin so only need 1-2 drops few days a week at night. It is designed for face and body, so I'll start using it on my body. This smells gorgeous of dried rosehips (my grandma use to dry rosehips to use them as tea, love the smell and the tea). 10/10 for more info about this go to love lula.

Mv organic skincare energizig 9-oil cleanser
this has to be my favourite skincare product that I have right now. To me it is more of a treatment than a cleanser. The suggestions are that you use it on stressed or hormonal skin up to three times a week. Surface clean, then massage 1-2 pumps into dry skin for 1 minute. Hold a warm muslin cloth over your face for ten seconds don't wipe, press instead, repeat up to 4 times. Smells like spiced oranges. I use this in the evening and wake up to really nice skin. This is expensive and the price has gone up like by eight pounds recently so I use this when I need a treat or my skin is out of balance. Not sure how long this will last with regular use. Again 10/10, I get mine from content.

My jojoba story
 To cut a long story short in general my skin looked better after switching to natural skincare but I would get those rash like spots from time to time. I just figured that my skin is sensitive (which it is to a point) and try a different product. Needles to say I had a lot of products in my bathroom. And then I tried neat jojoba oil (technically a wax, so weird why do they call it oil if it is a wax) on my skin. It is apparently so close to our own sebum that it is great for sensitive acne prone skin. Well my skin became itchy and I got those under skin bumps and one cystic spot (I still remember the pain). That gave me an idea and I looked at the ingredients on those products that didn't suit me, every one of them had jojoba high on the list. Further inspection revieled that my face wash and sunscreen that I  used in the summer, my occasional shampoo also had it... Apparently only 1 or 2 people out of a 100 have sensitivity to jojoba. Well it is not fun being one of them, since almost every natural product for sensitive or oily skin has jojoba as an ingredient, most conditioners and about half of the shampoos. The weird thing is I can use jojoba lip products without a problem. I think maybe I wouldn't get a reaction if it was in a small quantity with other ingredients but I just don't want to chance it. Since using products without jojoba I have had no break outs and only an occasional hormonal pimple that would clear in like 2-3 days.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Space nk haul

I'm in a bit of a pickle. My favourite moisturiser (organic apoteke gel) has not been produced for like a year( the brand is having some sort of change of direction). So I'm reluctant to buy said moisturiser from the only place on the internet that still has it as I'm not sure how fresh it could be (nothing worse than putting expired skincare on your face). The problem is that I have sensitivity to jojoba (I'll do a separate post about that) and I have tried all the moisturisers available on love lula and content that don't have jojoba and none of them I liked. It was time to brunch out, hence my trip to Space NK. They stock couple of natural brands including Tata Harper and Nude skincare however they don't put up ingredients lists for most of their products on the web.
After reading lots of boxes and dipping fingers in numerous jars this is what I left with. Wei Tibetian Safflower age defying face cream.

I've never heard of Wei before but I liked the texture and the smell wasn't strong, love the packaging.
Hope I like it, will update once I know one way or the other.
I would like to mention how impressed I was with Space Nk staff. No one pounced on me, there was always someone to help but they let me browse without anyone breathing down my neck. So many times I go into department store and feel the need to stare at my fee,t whilst trying to get to the far corner where they have natural products, for fear of being attacked by over eager sales assistants. I understand it is there job and things have been tough lately but that's the type of behaviour that puts me off coming to the stores. I'm very pleased with space nk service, they also included couple of sample which is always nice (couple of them were even natural brands).

Here is the list of ingredients:

It isn't up to my normal green standards so I will be hoping to find something cleaner in the future.
If you have any recommendations for natural moisturisers without jojoba that are suitable for oily sensitive skin I will be most grateful xoxo

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Bottom of the jar

If I'm honest through the years I've given away or thrown away a lot of skincare and make-up after only couple of uses. I have super sensitive skin so it took me awhile to figure out what ingredients to avoid and even then some products can be disappointing even if they don't cause irritation. I would always try a sample first if available, however most reasonably priced brands don't have readily available samples, so my friends are on the receiving end of  a few 3/4 full bottles of moisturiser. What I'm trying to say is that finishing a product for me is a big deal. It feels great to know that I didn't waist my money on something unsuitable yet again.

Evolve gentle cleansing melt
This is a sugar based, rinse off cleansing balm designed for normal to dry skin (it is also certified organic by ecocert and has a leaping bunny logo). Now my skin is not normal and it isn't dry. In fact it is oily but easily dehydrated and sensitive. Basically a skin type that no one seems to cater for (apart from Vaishaly who has a regimen for dry skin on the surface and oily/congested underneath, I haven't tried it but it sounds like what my skin could be?).
At first i used this as a make-up remover and then I would use a foaming cleanser after ( I was afraid it would be too moisturising for my oily skin). In the past few months I was just using this without a follow up cleanser and it is fine. My skin feels just clean once I pat down my face with a towel.
Method of use: I dip my finger in a jar and scoop some product out (I had to play around with the quantity for a bit, if you take too much it feels sticky and too little it doesn't emulsify well), massage product into dry skin, splash a little water on my face and massage some more repeating until it rinses clean. The whole process takes about 2 minutes. Cleanser has a sticky gel type texture which melts on contact with your skin (feels like an oil based balm when you massage it in) and it smells like toasted sunflower seeds (very faintly, it has no added perfume, sunflower oil is one of the ingredients). I like using this and it removes most  make-up fine from first go, but if I have my w3ll people narcissist on I need to double cleanse. I don't enjoy it as an eye-make up remover it does an ok job but if I have more than some mascara I'll use a different product. Over all it gets 8/10 from me.
I've head about 3 months of every night use and occasional morning use ( I think I have about one more week left in it). It retails at £13.99 at the moment. For ingredients and more info go to love lula.

MV organic skincare Gentle cream cleanser.
This has to be the most expensive cleanser I have ever bought. This is an Australian brand by Sharon McGlinchey a facialist who specialises in sensitive skin. According to their website this is a water soluble cleanser but you need to use a muslin cloth to get the most benefits as it is designed to be an aromatherapy product plus the muslin cloth gently exfoliates. I have a smaller bottle of 70ml (you can also get120ml). I originally purchased a travel pack from content and it came withe a handy tool that you can use to scrape the last remains of the cleanser that won't come out with the pump action (the travel pack they stock now is a bit different but it probably still has it) and the muslin cloth was also included. I have about 3 uses left after about 2 months of morning and evening use (I have slightly changed my approach now but at the time a used cleanser twice a day). Now, since I want to be completely transparent, I have had only a little left since I've started using evolve cleanser, I wasn't sure if it would suit me and wanted to have something that I know works just in case. I have been using it now and again on a damp cotton pad to remove make-up and it works great this way too. It has a very creamy texture and smells delicious of rose and mandarin. I would apply it on dry skin then add a little water and massage for 30 seconds or so, dampen my muslin cloth in warm water and use it as a compress holding it up to my face, gently wipe down and repeat the compressing part 2-3 times. Takes about 3-4 minutes. It removes make-up brilliantly but I don't like to then spend forever getting my muslin cloth clean so I would use some damp cotton pads and a little oil to take off my make-up first. This gets 9/10 from me. Here is more info. Oh and 70 ml bottle is £29.50.

RMS beauty Raw coconut cream.
This is the ultimate multitasker. technically sold as a make-up remover but can be used as a moisturiser for body, face (if you have dry skin), hair treatment and according to rms even a deodorant although I haven't tried. This has one ingredient coconut oil. I mainly use it as eye make-up remover. Occasionally to remove make-up from my entire face , body moisturiser, or as a protective balm on my face when I wash my hair (I have very hot showers and it isn't good for facial skin hot water dries it out). To remove make up I just massage a small amount over my eyes or face and remove with damp cotton pads (or cotton pads soaked with rose water if I'm feeling like a treat). There are cheaper versions of coconut oil available however I don't believe all oils are created equal. When you buy olive oil for cooking different brands taste different same with this so since I like this one I'm sticking with it. It is £12.50 for 70g and the shelf life is 24 months from opening which is good since I've had this for more then a year now. it gets used about 4 times a week. For me this is great value for money. Oh yeah it melts above 24 Celsius so this jar is not great for holiday travel I normally put a small amount into a muji container to avoid leakage. You can get this at content.

Pukka organic rosewater
I have tried a few rosewaters some cheaper some more expansive, this one is by far the best. it has a very faint rose smell and not at all over powering. It doesn't contain alcohol or any other extra ingredients. It is lightly moisturising and in the summer I don't need any other moisturiser after using this. Comes in a handy spray bottle. i am very generous with my sprays (and some times I use it 3 times a day) so a 100ml bottle lasts me three months. This is the most repurchased beauty product  for me, I have been using it for at list two years now. I get it from my local health store, whole foods or love lula. Just noticed that the price has gone up. The last bottle I got was £10.50 and now it is £11.45 hm.

Just in the name of disclosure, once these run out, I won't repurchase any of the products for at list couple of weeks as I have some unfinished cleansers and toners that I don't enjoy using but I guess they work ok (they won't get used if I have something nicer).

One last note about love lula. They have a rewards scheme that you get points on products you buy and then you can use those points as payment on their site and also beauty bible frequently has a discount code for 5% off and a free present if you spend more then £20 at love lula.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Emergency shopping and new products

Well when I say emergency shopping I am slightly exaggerating. The short version is I have pretty weak nails and there is only one product that helps me. It's Burt's Bees lemon butter curricle cream. I always use it at night when my nails aren't painted. I have a tin of this somewhere in the house but I have not been able to locate it (I'm sure it will shortly reappear since I bought a replacement). I waited two weeks in hopes finding it and finally I could wait no longer so I popped into my local department store and obviously something else caught my eye.

The company is called Indigo wild but all the products that I saw seem to start with Zum. I almost got a selection pack but then decided to be more sensible and get two products that I use most often since I already have enough beauty stuff at home. So I went for Zum bar goat's milk soap in almond (gorgeous bitter almond scent, should be a treat in the morning shower) and a Zum kiss stick in vanilla. I also liked the tangerine one but vanilla is my all time favourite for lip products. I tried the lip balm already and I think it is very nice I don't think it is better than my usual burt's bees or hurraw. I think I'll need to use it a bit longer to see if it makes into my hall of fame. Soap was £4.95 and lip balm £3.65 and products by indigo wild are natural and have some certified organic ingredients.
I also received some of the things I ordered online. This is just pictures I will do the proper review once I used them.

Green people limited edition gold shimmer bronzer.
Finally a natural make-up product with marble effect hopefully it is as good as it looks. You can get more info here. Green people make-up is eco cert certified.
I also ordered Ctonics shampoo and conditioner.
i have been curious about this for awhile and since my favourite shampoo doesn't seem to work for me anymore I thought might as well. On the box it says that there is a transition period between 5-7 washes. Does this mean my hair will look like crap until that transition period is over?(that is a worrisome thought). Well I'll give it ago and hope for the best.

Aromatherapy: Lotus Wei

My first aromatherapy product (not counting scented candles) was Neal's Yard remedies to roll. I got energy and study. Loved them both. I can't really remember what on earth possessed me to try those products as at the time I wasn't into yoga or green lifestyle... I think I just saw them in a shop liked the smell and the novelty. And what do you know now I'm a believer (yes I am being a little over dramatic here).
I came across Lotus wei products on the content website a little over a year ago. It took me awhile to try them as they are pricey and I was hesitant. I know that aromatherapy works (it could be partly in my head but we all know a power of good scent, so this is no different in my opinion). I wanted to try the selection of mini bottles but at the time they weren't available at content so I left it. When my Neal's yard energy mist run out (I can't remember the correct name but it has lemon scent) I was faced with a choice to get it again or splurge out on Lotus wei.
Being to lazy to go to the Content shop so I could choose the smell I liked most ( in fairness their shop is forever away from me) I entertained my self by pressing pictures of flowers on lotus wei official website and hoping to choose the correct product for me. The idea is that you choose a picture of the flower you are most drawn to once you click on it they give you the description of the flower itself and the name of the product that has it as an ingredient, so your sixth sense chooses what you need most right now. You can try it here.
Well did that and chose a completely different product just because I'm contrary sometimes. I chose infinite love. And don't regret it for a second.
Lotus wei energising mist Infinite love
The way you use it is you spray it around your head and around your shoulders in a sort of aromatherapy cloud and inhale. The smell is amazing (and I'm not the only one who thinks that as other people commented on the delicious smell after I used this). I am really struggling to describe this as I have never smelled anything like this. It reminds me of delicious flower and fruit tea mixed with honey yet the smell itself is not quiet edible, I would've said hibiscus but when you look at the ingredients it has no hibiscus (my nose you are letting me down). Though there is no question of how it makes me feel. I feel energised and happier and ready to face the world. In fact if I could only have one product on a deserted Island this would be it (yes my skin and hair would probably look horrible but I would smell so no mirrors on the island right?).

Lotus wei mist minis
As you can see on the picture above I managed to finally get the mini collection from Content. I won't go in to a lot of detail as to be honest Infinite love is my firm favourite. I like the convenience of tiny bottles as they fit even in my smallest handbag and awesome for travel (especially with all those liquid restrictions on plains). The pack has a little flower game
I think Quiet mind and Inner peace had similar effect on me and the smell reminds me of field flowers, very relaxing. Inspired action  and Pure energy had citrusy notes, I really liked those two. And Joy juice is the one I didn't really like (this one has hibiscus so I was like I'm gonna love this, but no).
I probably will get a full version of Pure energy, definitely get another bottle of Infinite love once mine runs out, and will be getting the mini collection again. I like the choice but I don't use the other scents as much to warrant getting a full size.

In conclusion I would like to share my minor annoyance. Lotus wei also has serums and now they released perfumes in the same scents but they are not sold in UK. I guess I could order them from America but the import tax would be ridiculous. I guess I'll have to hope that someone will start stocking the full range (sad face).

Oh almost forgot here is the link for the products.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Face and nails of the day

As requested by my sister I have painted my nails with Priti NYC festival  gitana (she wanted to see what the colour looks like). Like i mentioned before you need two coats with this colour. It isn't my favourite from their range but it is different, so I do like it for summer. The colour looks like you mixed up yellow and orange together (a bit like raw egg yolk).
And then I thought that I should match my eye make-up to my nails.
I used mac eye shadow in yellow chrome on my lid and espresso shade on the lash line (from the middle to the outside corner on both upper and lower lash line) for a little more definition. Both colours are matte. If you want a more natural alternative to the yellow eyeshadow bellapierre has a similar colour called money (however the bellapierre colour has shimmer). I will be switching to bellapierre once my mac shadows run out.
On my lips I used ilia lip conditioner in bang bang-red. It is a darker strawberry red rather than a tomato red. It isn't as intense as red lipstick although you could intensify it by applying more. I find it a great day to night lipstick. When it fades it leaves a strawberry stain.
One last thing about the eye shadow. It looks more intense in the natural light than it does indores with electric lighting. So  I prefer it as a daytime look I wouldn't have it on a night out, it just doesn't have the same effect.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Ag jeans

This is a quick post to share my delight with my new summer jeans. I spotted these bad boys a few weeks back and have been trying to persuade myself that I didn't really want them but alas I lost. So as I was readying myself to at list try them one it turned out that my size (26) was sold out. But thanks to my friend google I managed to find a pair at They have arrived today and may I say I am almost as excited about the box they came in as I am about the jeans themselves ( like a three year old at Christmas who finds the packaging more fascinating than the present inside). This is the first I've placed an online order with matches so I wasn't quiet sure what to expect.
The box (although an overkill for just a pair of jeans) will come in very handy as I needed one to store my sketch books and pencils etc... All in all i am extremely pleased with the service. Delivery was quick and it could not have come nicer presented.

The jeans themselves are by Adriano Goldschmied the style is called stilt (skinny cigarette leg). The colour i went for is neon-orange (looks peach to me). The fabric is so soft and the fit is perfect (no horrid gap behind and it doesn't show underwear once seated). I would say it fits true to size. I couldn't be happier with my purchase.

They are meant to be ankle length I'm 5'4" and would need to shorten them by at list an inch for that to happen but I'm happy with how they look with the current length. There are three other colours for this style available at matches.

Do you guys find it difficult to find jeans that fit properly?

Ilia beauty and Priti NYC nail polish review

Before I start this review I would like to make a short foreword so to speak. I have been trying to switch my beauty routine to all natural (or as natural as possible) for the past 2 maybe three years. It started from my body care, then skincare and last year it reached my make-up. It was my personal choice due to so many reasons and I am not going to go into the whole natural versus conventional debate here. There are still couple of things that I repurchase that aren't natural (or organic), certain becca products being  one of the examples. I'm not trying to persuade anyone to go green there is so much info on this subject everyone can make up their own minds. So my reviews are not on the virtues (or downfalls) of the products because they are natural, but on how good they are in general.

Priti NYC nail polish in Blue eyed brunette

I love priti nail varnishes. They are really good quality and long lasting. I have a little collection of them actually. The colour I am reviewing is the bottle on the far right. On the above picture it looks a bit like a pastel peach but in reality it looks a bit like a slightly muted coral (picture below is fairly accurate).

It is a very pretty spring/summer colour and makes a nice change from the red that I tend to favour in the winter ( who am I kidding red is my go to colour for lips and nails any season). Normally I need only one coat with these nail polishes however with this colour (and the yellow that is called festival gitana) that it needs a second coat as it is too see through with just the one coat. As usual it lasts me 5 days without any need for touch ups (it is also the only brand that I've ever used that lasts this long on my nails including the supposedly long lasting kinds). I am fairly lazy with my nail varnish application and don't tend to use base coats and top coats, I'm sure you could make it last longer with those things. I will post pictures and descriptions of the other colours at a later date. Smaller bottles that i have purchased are from content and the bigger bottles are from cult beauty. They seem to stock different colours at different times hence the mixture in my collection since the price is slightly cheaper on cult beauty and for a bigger bottle (12ml as opposed to 9ml) that is the place I check first.
Here are links to both: . Some colours are also available on amazon.

Ilia Beauty Shell Shock - coral lip conditioner

Lip products by this company have become my absolute favourites. I have several colours which will be reviewed in a separate post including a multiple that recently came out. Lip conditioners by ilia are meant to be like an all in one lip tint and balm (like laura mercier's tinted lip balms or mac).  This goes on like a really creamy lipstick. The effect is really unusual it is matte yet glossy. It leaves a stain behind once the lipstick wears off and if you are to reapply on top of that stain the colour becomes more deep (brighter and more pronounced I would say). It is in a shape of a lipstick and personally I see it as a really great moisturising lipstick ( in my mind it is closer in texture to mac slimshine lipstick than any other lip product that I can think of but it isn't the same). If you have particularly dry lips you need to apply lip balm before first application as colour could settle in the cracks but you won't need to use any more lip balm later on as this does take care of the lips really well. As to the colour it is marketed as a coral but in my opinion it is a very pinky coral, I'm used to my corals having a bit of orange to them. I always get complements when I ware ilia lipsticks no matter what the colour but I quiet like how this one warms up the complexion and I like it with my Blue eyed brunette varnish.
It is not an exact match (or the best picture) but they are fairly similar. Here is a link to the product:
I've noticed that the lipsticks are fairly often out of stock which can be a bit annoying as they are great for summer. Some of the colours are available on mise beauty.                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Do you have favourite products that are difficult to get hold off?