Tuesday 30 April 2013

Less is more hair care protein spray and lavender smooth balm review

Less is more is hair care is an Austrian brand. Products went through a testing process in a salon in Vienna (so this is a natural salon brand, i.e. professional, natural). What drew me to them is the simplicity of the packaging. Minimalistic yet stylish. All the products I have tried smell absolutely incredible.

The line has a lot of styling products as well as your standard shampoo and conditioner combos.

Less is more Lavender smooth balm. This is a leave in conditioner for dry and thick curly hair. It is white in colour and has a consistency of slightly heavy lotion (I have struggled getting it out of the bottle on few occasions). It is supposed to help when heat styling, I air dry my hair so I can't comment on that.

I use it on those days that my hair feels more dry. It has been a life saver in the winter (long hair and central heating..... not good). I rarely use wash of conditioners (I do have a few at the moment that I am trying to finish) I prefer to use leave ins on targeted areas. So after washing my hair I apply about 1 and a half teaspoons of lavender smoothing balm from the nape of my neck down to the ends (never to my roots). Then I brush my hair with a tangle teezer (it isn't good to brush wet hair, so you need to use something that you know won't cause damage, that one works for me). Do not skip this step, if you don't use a brush, gently comb through with your fingers. Basically you need to make sure that the product is evenly distributed, otherwise you will end up with part dry part greasy hair.

My hair is very long that is why I use quiet a lot of product. That is also the reason why I need more nourishing products from time to time, as the natural oils from my scalp don't quiet reach the ends even though I make sure to brush regularly.

I really like this as part of my hair care routine. Makes my hair feel soft and manageable. I am not the biggest fan of lavender in haircare (I really don't know why) but this one doesn't seem to bother me. Smells lightly of lavender and the scent does not linger for too long, so no interference with your perfume.

Aqua, *Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Distearoylethyl Dimonium Chloride, *Cyamopsis Tetragonoloba (Guar Bean) Gum, Cetearyl Alcohol, *Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, *+Cocos Nucifera Oil, *(Soy- )Lecithin, *Althaea Officinalis (Mallow) Root Extract, *Lavandula Angustfolia Oil, *Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Oil, *Cedrus Atlantica Wood Oil, *Parfum (*essential oils incl. Benzyl Benzoate, Farnesol, Geraniol, Citral, Citronellol, Limonene, Linalool), *Alcohol, Arginine, Glyceryl Caprylate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Levulinic Acid, p-Anisic Acid, Tocopherol
*ingredients issued from organic farming+fair trade

Less is more Protein spray. This is probably my most used conditioning product. It is a light moisturising spray that helps with flyaway hair and makes it feel soft.

It really does not way your hair down at all, if you have fine hair it will be perfect. I just wash my hair and use this as a conditioner. Spray on damp hair, distribute it with my fingers (again I do not use it on roots, just the lenghts). The smell is wonderful from flower waters and some essential oils, mixture of rose and orange blossom (every time I smell it, it reminds of cherry blossom, which is not an ingredient). It works great on its own and in the summer I rarely use another product. Occasionally I will use the protein spray and then follow with lavender balm on the very ends. Both products work really well together. Again the scent doesn't linger for very long (but I wish it would).

Aqua, *Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, *Alcohol, *Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Water, *Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, *Equisetum Arvense (Horsetail) Extract, *Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Sweet Orange) Peel Oil Expressed, *Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Oil, *Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil, Arginine, Chitosan Lactate, Coco-Glucoside, Glycerin, Glyceryl Oleate, Lactic Acid **Benzyl Benzoate, **Benzyl Salicylate, **Citronellol, **Farnesol, **Geraniol, **Limonene, **Linalool

* Certified Organic
** From essential oils

Just to put it out there the shampoo I use is Acure the argan version. And I used Lotus Wei Serum before shampooing and protein spray after, this is what my hair looks like after that.

By the way taking hair photos is hard! I look like a love child of the Samara from 'The ring' and cousin Itt in most of them.

In UK you can get the products from Content, the lavender smooth balm also comes in a travel size, the protein spray does not seem to be on the site at the moment. You can of course order directly from Less is more.

Aromatherapy: Lotus wei Infinite Love Balancing Serum review

Recently I had a twitter exchange with beauty huile about Lotus Wei Infinite Love Serum and I realised that I have not posted a review about it! (Really shame on me, should've done it months ago).

I have done a post about Lotus Wei in the past if you want to catch up. When you read the name "balancing serum" it doesn't actually mean that it will balance your skin as in "balancing for combination skin" etc. This is not really a skincare product, balancing refers to your personal state of wellbeing, it will balance how you feel (feelings of stress, moodiness and so on).

Just like with the sprays there is a range of six. The serum really is an extension of the line and has exactly the same benefits aromatherapy wise. These are used in spa treatments as massage oils (in fact you can book yourself a Lotus Wei facial at Content).

If you are not sure which one to choose you can always use the flower game. I mentioned in my previous post that Joy Juice was my least favourite, however there was a period that I was incredibly sad and I found that it smelled amazing, and now I don't like it again (I was seriously surprised by this).

Back to Infinite Love Balancing Serum. I chose it because I just love how it smells. It smells pretty much like the spray version, maybe just a little more citrusy (overall smell is not really a citrus smell, it is more sweet rose with just a hint of mandarin) I have yet to meet a person who did not like this.

The description on the bottle is "awaken loving-kindness toward yourself and others, enhance your unique charm and magnetism". The idea is that this is the potion you would use when you have been a little hard on yourself, irritable and feeling lack of love. I can be some what of a perfectionist and therefore am frequently hard on myself, also everyday stress and irritability seem to go hand in hand. I am never too far from this oil or spray.

You are supposed to apply it to face and pulse points, massage ears and neck, use regularly until the bottle is finished.  According to Lotus Wei most people feel a difference within 2-3 days, with accumulative effects after that. When regularly used bottle would last 6-8 weeks.

I have had my bottle longer than that but it is only about 1/3 full right now. They are not sold in UK at the moment so I ordered mine from Spirit Beauty Lounge. I try not to place overseas orders very frequently and was determined to make it last.

I use it when I really want a pick me up and on those special occasions that I just want to feel super confident and smell good. This is a blend of essential oils and flower elixirs in a base of Safflower oil infused with calendula. Safflower oil is generally pretty good for all skin types, it is very moisturising for dry skin yet it has a comedogenic rating of 0 which means it will not clog pores. Even though it is not technically skin care you can still use this as part of your routine if you want to.

I only use lotus wei serum on my face at night times; during the day I like to use it as a body oil on my legs, arms and also neck.

Yesterday (being jealous of Beauty Huiles massage treatment with this serum) I had an epiphany. I gave myself a head massage and also spread it over the whole length of my hair, like I would've done with coconut or argan oil. Washed it as normal and sprayed some protein spray (review to come) and wow. I was seriously freaking out about the fact that Ctonics were no more, but I am ok now, this works great.

I have mentioned that Infinite love spray was the one product I would choose if I couldn't have anything else. I would even suffer dehydrated skin for the heavenly smell. Well I don't have to anymore, I can smell good and be moisturised (in your face desert Island).

Monday 29 April 2013

May Lindstrom The Clean Dirt review.

I feel like I am a little late to the party with this review. So many gals raving about this gem of a product.

The thing is I got The clean dirt from Spirit Beauty lounge last August as soon as it was launched on their site (it was not available in UK at the time). I did fall in love with it even before I tried it (I am not going to tell you how many times I watched those videos of May using her products). And that is the reason why I had to physically restrain myself from writing my review prematurely (I am sure we all had those times when we liked the idea of the product and its packaging more than the product itself).

Enough time has passed for the novelty to wear off, yet every time I use this face wash I feel excited like when I was a kid trying to make my first perfume (I was 8 and it went horribly wrong, note to self mixing apricot shampoo with water and rose petals does not make a perfume).

At its core this is a mixture of clays and spices. It looks like a face mask that you would need to mix with water (and it does make a good face mask if you are so inclined). All the ingredients are wonderful: turmeric, nutmeg, rose petals, red rhassoul clay (I didn't even know there was a red variety of rhassoul until this) amongst others are all great for brighter, softer skin.

 The ingredient that stands out for me is actually sea salt. Generally speaking whenever I manage to go on a beach holiday (unfortunately it is not very often) my skin gets to be the very best version of itself. Sea water (provided that there isn't some sort of environmental disaster) is very healing, if you ever had a cut or a scrape whilst on holiday and swam regularly in the sea or ocean, you would have noticed how much quicker it heals.

I use it pretty much as directed. Wet my face, pour a teaspoon amount in to the palm of my hand, wet my other hand and let the drips from it fall into the mixture, repeat as necessary, than gently mix it for a more even distribution of water. Gently massage it onto my face and let it sit for a minute. Wash off.

 It feels a little tingly on the skin from the spices. You do need to make sure that you rinse this of thoroughly otherwise your towels will not be so white. I normally pat dry my skin with MV organics muslin cloth (it is soft, as huge as a towel and I can wash it immediately if needs be). You could remove it with a muslin or a flannel if you wanted to, just make sure you do it very gently as you don't want to over exfoliate your skin.

The clean dirt smells like a spice market and when you add water it foams ever so slightly, turning into a slightly gritty mousse (makes me feel like an alchemist every time).

Packaging is gorgeous, very hefty feeling dark glass bottle. Absolutely reusable for your home made body/bath oil, or  what ever else you choose to do with it (I think a bouquet of field flowers will look great in it).

I don't use it very often at the moment (every one or two weeks and I didn't not use it through out September) so let's say after 6 months of unevenly distributed use I still have at least 1/3 of the bottle (a little hard to tell I think it is closer to 1/2 but not sure). The effect is very visible after each use, skin is brighter, more even and feels very soft.

Good value for money despite the initial price and a pure delight to use. My enthusiasm for it didn't not diminish at all.

One other thing that is great that this is truly an artisan skincare line. Mixed by hand with carefully sourced ingredients. I do enjoy mixing my own thing occasionally and they all work wonderfully yet they do not have the same luxurious spa experience that May Lindstroms products do (and if you can mix something like it then you really need to start selling).

If you are in UK you can get it from Content, if you have super sensitive skin they provide a sample service you will only need to pay for postage. ( I am turning into a running commercial of Content, they just seem to have a lot of  innovative natural lines that I like)

Sunday 28 April 2013

The Organic Pharmacy Skin rescue oil

Last year there were a few launches of oils including RMS beauty that have Tamanu oil as one of the ingredients.
It is said to help with appearance of scars including acne scars, and to be an anti-flamitory as well as moisturising. I waited for that oil with eagerness only to discover that it also had jojoba.

I was convinced that I was missing out and proceeded to find something with tamanu that I could use.

In comes the organic pharmacy rescue oil. It was not a new product in there line, I had previously ignored it because it is formulated for dry stressed skin. But who cares about skin types when it has magical tamanu?!

It is a very rich oil and I was glad for it in the cold seasons. I think the name "rescue oil" is very apt. My skin and wind are really not friends and this little baby was a huge help (put it on at night and that weather bitten look was gone, granted it wouldn't have happened if I moisturised properly that day but hey I can be caught off guard by the weather).

The first ingredient is Chickweed  which is high in fatty acids and reduces itching. All the oils in this are nourishing and are good for stressed skin (unless you have very specific sensitivities to them).

The oil sinks in pretty well and leaves your skin really silky.Even though the directions say to apply morning and evening I only have used it at night (it is very rich for my aiming towards oily complexion) so I don't know if it is good under make-up. You can use it for target applications on the areas that are stressed out (like cheeks or nose) and use your normal products everywhere else. Smells incredible of rose and a hint of sweetness.

I have a fair amount left and with warmer weather no longer use it as intended. I do a sort face scrub/wash variation of suki lemon grass cleanser (ok it isn't really the same but maybe slightly similar). Take a little bit of sugar (smaller granules are more gentle), a few drops of this oil (about 2-3) and foam from a face soap ( I used a drop or two of foaming gel wash before, but I ran out and not planning on repurchasing). Mix it all up in my hand and apply to wet face, then wash off. Works just like the suki wash but with added moisture. I do that at night a few times a week and don't need to moisturise after. Wake up with smooth hydrated skin.

This would be a great oil if you have dry skin or for winter months if your skin goes flaky or red with cold weather. It is definitely a treatment oil rather than an everyday face product. I will not hesitate to buy it again if I have any skin dryness due to weather (or something else unexplainable, doesn't normally happen to me but you never know) in the future.

Ambre botanical gentle face soap and rhassoul clay face mask review

Ambre Botanicals is a British brand that hand makes their skincare treats in small batches. The whole range has that old school apothecary feel about it. The bath oil and body scrub look especially gorgeous with plants visible inside the bottle. Formulations don't contain any water and because of that no chemicals. Expect highly concentrated pure botanical formulations. All their soaps are made using a traditional batch cold-process which retains the ingredients’ natural goodness in the final soap bar.

The whole range looks great, what caught my was the facial soap and the mask (I
haven't had much luck finding pure rhassoul clay that was high quality).

Ambre Botanicals Gentle face soap with Avocado and Calendula. Some how I have managed to delete the photo of this soap in its original packaging. It came in black cardboard wrapping that was open at the sides and tied with a string, all very cute and presentable.

I cut it in half when travelling, it is round but tall and I wanted it to fit in to one of my old lush tins (from when I used to use their shampoos). You can see the calendula petals (I really like that, I love unusual looking soaps). It does not have any essential oils and although it has some sort of smell from the ingredients it is so faint that the best way I can describe it as "clean".

Lathers really well but not as sudsy as commercial soap. Feels very creamy (like it could melt in your hands when you pick it up, but it doesn't). I like to use it a couple of times a week in the mornings on those days that I feel my skin is a little more oily. It does not leave me with a tight face, skin feels pretty comfortable and I don't have any residue (I have had that in the past with some face soap yuk).

Gorgeous product and a pleasure to use, great for sensitive skin. You could use it on the body too (however the bar is 50 g and my body is nowhere near as sensitive as my face). I have not had a face soap that was better than this.

The ingredient list is: Pure natural saponified oils and butters of: Avocado Butter (Persea Gratissima), Unrefined Shea Butter (Butyrospermum Parkii), Rice Bran Oil (Oryza Sativa), Castor Oil (Ricinus Communis), Sunflower Oil (Helianthus Annuus), Soya bean Oil (Soja Hispida), Coconut Oil (Cocos Nucifera), Palm Kernel Oil (Elaeis Guinensis). Non-GMO Natural Vitamin E (D-alpha Tocopherol), Rosemary Antioxidant (Rosmarinus Officinalis). Calendula petals. Sandalwood powder.

Rhassoul clay face mask. This is just pure very fine Rhassoul clay of great quality. What is great about this type of clay is that it is super gentle and never over dries your skin and is very versatile (you can use it as a face wash or hair treatment).

The sachet is 15g which is enough for 3 uses as mask. So if you want rhassoul clay for other things you will need to get it somewhere else (or buy a large quantity, might be a bit pricey).

Whenever I make a fresh carrot juice I mix a little bit with rhassoul clay and voila, antioxidant mask that also draws out impurities. I do feel that this clay is on the pricier side but it is of very good quality.

I am really liking this brand and it is nice that it is handmade in the UK. Next I have my eye on that bath oil and the Pumpkin seed and Kokum face cream once the summer is over (what am I the only one that does wish lists for specific seasons?)

I got my stuff from Content but if you shop from Amber botanicals website they have mini kits for
£20 with 4 products (for face or body).

Saturday 27 April 2013

Day at Buy My Wardrobe event and Whole foods

Today did not start well. I woke up tired, my toilet decided to leak and the dress that I planned to wear got washed with a piece of paper and was covered in white bits.

I was thinking about skipping this event because I was just so stressed. But I already had the tickets and I was looking forward to it, so by sheer force of will I carried on getting ready.

Miraculously the trip to central London was uneventful.

This was my first time at Buy My Wardrobe event but not my first time at Roof Gardens (although I have not been there during the day before). It is one of my favourite clubs, cocktails are great, it is fairly intimate, good music and the gardens themselves are beautiful.

Buy My Wardrobe is a website where you can buy and sell (if you are chosen) your preloved clothes, shoes and accessories (designer and good high street brands). Every year the hold an event where fashion bloggers and stylish ladies get there own rack and an opportunity to sell their unwanted items face to face.

I regularly go to London Fashion Weekend and was expecting some similar ques. In fact I didn't have to wait that long to get in. It was all very stress free and fairly laid back.

I had a normal ticket so no extras, but if you had a VIP pass you got an extra hour of shopping (from12-16 as opposed to 13-16), a glass of champagne and a goodie bag.

It was busy but not stresfully so. You could get some beauty treatments, chill with some wine, get a bbq and of course shop.

I set a budget of fifty pounds (I am trying to cut spending) and I exceeded it by ten, so I am pretty pleased that I didn't go shopping crazy.

I got myself a blue shirt, light blue/sea green t-shirt and a red patterned scarf. It turned out to be a wonderful event and I am super pleased that I went.

Roof Gardens are literally around the corner from Whole Foods in High street Kensington and naturally that is where I went afterwards (ok so probably most people went for cocktails and stuff but I love love that store).

Magically I did manage to stay away from the beauty section (well I looked through it but just took pictures of things I wanted for future reference)

Here is some of the things I did get.

Stocked up on tea including tea pigs, energy bars, organic fruit beer (I only ever see those in whole foods), some loose rose petals (great for tea or home made rose water equivalent), and tamarillo fruit (it is just delicious, cut it in half and scoop out the flesh yum). Also could not resist Grumpy mule coffee (apparantly that is an accurate description of me when I don't get enough sleep)

It turned out to be a pretty great day despite the start and I even managed to get home before the rain!

Friday 26 April 2013

Badger balm SPF 35 face stick

Finding a natural sunscreen that you like can be a struggle. Because they provide a physical barrier (they just sit on top of the skin and don't let the sun rays penetrate the layer of sunscreen, like clothes) the texture of most is not as light and airy as those of the chemical variety.

I do think that you need to try a few products and see which ones work for you, because even if you follow recommendations you might find that the texture of certain sunscreens is a deal breaker.

This is my third Badger balm face stick and I replace it every year (you should do that for all sunscreens as they do lose potency). It is what I use on my face whenever it is sunny, be it a shopping trip, a day on the beach or in the park.

They have redone their packaging slightly and rebranded it as a sport sunscreen since my last purchase. One other thing that changed is that the vitamin E that they use in this product is solely derived from sunflower (before it used to be from a mixture of sources).

For sun protection it has Non-nano uncoated zinc oxide 22.5%. The base formulae is:
*Olea Europaea (Organic Extra Virgin Olive) Oil, *Cera Alba (Organic Beeswax), *Theobroma Cacao (Organic Cocoa) Butter, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Organic Shea) Butter, and Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E).
* = Certified Organic

I like that it doesn't have a huge amount of ingredients as my skin can be super reactive, and with a long list, I can't figure out if it is a particular ingredient or simply too many things for my skin to cope with.

In the three years I have not once had a reaction to this product.

I like everything about but I can see that not everyone might, so I'll just give the brake down on the product with out telling you how much I love it (I mean I keep buying it over and over!)

OK so the packaging is pretty much your standard pritt stick. Light, the lid doesn't fall off, great for chucking in your bag.

Smells like shea and cocoa butter (I would say it is not an intense cocoa smell but you can detect it if you smelled cocoa butter before) and it does not have any essential oils or other perfumes added.

When the product is new it goes on really easily, I have noticed that after 6 months it feels a little more solid and less creamy. I try to warm it up before applying straight to my face when I notice it being more solid. Texture is thick when you initially apply, once rubbed in, it feels comfortable and after 30 minutes I don't feel it (well you might feel it if you are touching your face).

My application method is as follows: draw zebra stripes all over your face and tops of ears, rub it in with fingers.

This does have a whitening effect that is visibly reduced after being rubbed in. After half an hour it is even less noticeable.

Normal and oily skin types would not need a moisturiser with this, dry skin types might.

It is water resistant for up to 80 min. If your skin is susceptible to clogging just make sure to remove it properly once you are at home (I haven't experienced clogged pores because of it but better safe than sorry).

UVA rating is 4 stars out of 5 (this is the long term damage from the sun, premature ageing etc.). SPF is 35,  which means that if say you would normally burn after 10 min in the sun 10x35=350, theoretically you could stay in the sun without reapplying for 5 hours and 50 min. The recommendation however is to apply about every 2 hours, because people often spread sunscreen too thin.

 I don't really know how quickly I burn, I try to avoid it. If I am out all day in the sun I reapply about 2-3 hours and if I am working or shopping and am not going to be outside much I just apply in the morning without further top ups. This works for me as I haven't burned (use your judgement if you burn very easily you might need to use it more frequently, otherwise you can get away with less).

I use it for my whole face but you can have it as an addition to your normal sunscreen for areas like nose and tops of ears that are more susceptible to sunburn.

The best thing for me is that my skin looks pretty matt all day (I think it is because of zinc, as it can help with oil production and in general zinc is essential for healthy skin) despite it being hot and my skins tendencies towards oiliness.

The slight whitening effect seems to even out my skin tone so I am pretty happy to go make-up less. I have used bronzer on top of this before without problems (but I would give it a few minutes to sink in before using make-up).

Not sure how it would hold up when doing sports and sweating, but it does well in water just make sure you reapply once you are out.

I used to get it from Love Lula, this year had to purchase it from Amazon (couldn't find it anywhere else in UK).

Tuesday 23 April 2013

New discovery: Bulles et Molecule handmade soap

Beautiful looking soap is somewhat an obsession of mine. I loved handmade soap ever since I came across lush (yeah lets not try and remember how many years ago that was) and Haus of Gloi with their beautiful creations.

I was reading Jessica's LaFleur spring must have list and I saw this soap 'banana bread'. I just couldn't believe that I did know about it. A few short minutes later I was completing my Etsy purchase.

Bulles et Mollecules are a Canadian brand that sells natural handmade soaps and bath products. In their Etsy store they sell soaps and lip balm.

Originally I was going to get Banana bread soap, but then I saw all the other ones and couldn't decide (typical me behaviour) so I got a sample pack.

You get 5 sample soaps of you choice. I asked for banana bread and that they make the rest of the choices for me (for fear that I would be staring at my computer for hours otherwise, plus I love surprises).

The soaps came in lovely paper wrapping as you can see in the pic. I absolutely love how they look.
So far my favourites are Citrus and Black pepper (spicy lemony/orange scent) and Coffee Chocolate and Orange (exactly that smell, I can see it becoming my morning fave).

Those dinky sizes are great for taking on holidays and thinking further ahead (much further in the year) great stocking fillers.

Finding it really tempting to order the whole range (that won't be practical or very green but I really really want to).

W3ll people Universalist review

I'll start of by saying that I really liked the original well people products. A lot of the time when companies reformulate their products and change their packaging, products suffer. In this case they really did change for the better.

The most obvious thing that has changed is the packaging. Now it is similar to Vapour packaging as opposed to pritt stick like before. But they also changed the formulae.

To be honest I liked the old packaging, the new packaging is also nice. What makes me happy is the fact that I find that the new version looks more flattering on me, they have some different colours and the biggest bonus is that it now lasts 24 months after opening (I can't be the only person that struggles to finish make-up before it goes bad).

I was struggling to choose a colour for a while and ended up buying it in number 6 satin blood orange and asking for a sample of number 5 creamy crimson. (Yes I have got them from Content, I think this is the only place that sells them in UK at the mo)

Universalist 6 Blood Orange. The name is really appropriate. The colour is exactly that, just like the inside of a blood orange (which just happens to be one of my favourite fruits, I think it was the name that decided me on picking it). It is an orange with a hint of red. The brightness depends on how you blend.

The texture is very light (a little similar to the vapour aura stain multi use blush, but it does not behave the same and is a little more creamy/powdery). It feels very creamy/gel like but when I apply it to the skin it can feel a very slight powdery texture, more so on my lips than on my cheeks (a bit like bubble blushes by guerlain or those mousse blushes by maybelline). Because of that nature it doesn't have that glossy/shiny look, just looks like a natural flush on your cheeks.

I am quiet happy to apply this on my lips, cheeks and eyes. The instructions for application are as follows: Warm, tap, and blend product onto the complexion using fingertip, or use W3ll people foundation brush. Build to the desired level of colour impact. Do not apply directly to face.

Who has time for brushes? I go directly with my finger, tap the colour on to my cheeks (3 dots making sure not to go past the two finger zone) then blend, repeat if I want more colour. For lips I use a lip balm first and then colour on top again applying with my finger (that way I find that it looks more flattering and I don't feel the powdery texture at all). What ever colour is left on the fingertip goes on my eyes. This way I get a little hint of colour that brightens up my eyes without any of it travelling up into the crease (if you laid it on thick that is much more likely to happen).

Universalist 5 Creamy crimson. I only got a small sample of this, enough for about 2-3 applications if I go for a more natural look. Texture seems to be the same in both colours. This is a really wonderful cherry red. You only need the tiniest amount for a natural looking flush.

Application method was exactly the same. This colour is significantly brighter/more impact both on cheeks and lips.

Overall the lasting power is really great (pretty much all day) on the cheeks. On the lips this has a slightly see through quality (like are you wearing something or maybe not), a hint of it did remain after eating but I do feel the need to reapply (however I do that with all products as I like that just applied look).

Also I was messing around with both colours and when mixed together you get that candid apple look (I love that colour and have been trying to recreate it ever since mac's limited edition blush).

I will be purchasing creamy crimson in the near future (or maybe someone will get it for me as a birthday pressie, that would be great).

W3ll people have definitely improved their products. Oh the smell is similar to what it was before but not as strong (kind of earthy/herby very natural smelling, I only smell it if I am intentionally trying to sniff it out).

Monday 22 April 2013

Stark skincare review

OK so this review has been a long time coming. I have been using these products occasionally since summer (I was trying to finish older products first, but I just couldn't help myself and occasionally dipped into these beauties). They became a proper part of my regime in the autumn.

I stayed with my family through out September and it was really hot (like +25C and sometimes +30C). For that reason I left the grapefruit cleanser behind (I thought it might be too heavy to use during that kind of weather) and took the toner and cypress oil with me.

White willow bark perfecting tonic. When I made my first purchase with stark I didn't actually order this product (when I contacted Jessica it turned out that she posted it and the mask by mistake). Anyways I think it was some sort of serendipity (well I guess it is a little shallow to think that powers that be are concerned about me having good skin, but hey I'm just glad I got this).
I like my rose water and have been very happy with it. To be honest all the toners that I have tried (other than floral waters or home made apple cider vinegar toner) have been somewhere between rubbish, pointless or downright damaging (serious skin irritation).

I was a little apprehensive about spraying this at first, because it has willow bark (a natural, slightly less concentrated version of salicylic acid) and my eyes are really sensitive. But once I did I have not had any irritation. I started using it once a day (evening or morning depending on how I was feeling). As this has quiet a lot of active ingredients it is not recommended to use more than twice a day unless you are experiencing very oily skin or breakouts.

Now I use this twice a day most of the time. I use it in the morning before cypress oil  and after grapefruit balm in the evening. I find that it provides light hydration and helps with keeping my skin clear (must be witch hazel and willow bark).

The smell is really pleasant, light citrus scent. I still alternate between this and rosewater, but I have noticed that lately I've been reaching for stark toner more often.

The bottle seems to have changed to the screw top and pour. I definitely prefer it to be spray on so I will keep mine and decant once I reorder.

Cypress purity+defense oil. This oil is good for all skin types but especially beneficial for combination or sometimes problematic skin. That has me written all over it and this oil is the main reason why I was so excited that I came across this brand.

This is the first oil that I have been able to use during the day as well as at night. If I use  dermalogica skin classifications my skin type is normal to oily (i.e. pain in my butt). Pretty much everything is too heavy or not moisturising enough. Cleansers are either overly drying or clog my pores and so on and so forth.

Since I have started using cypress oil my skin has been getting better and better. My skin tone is more even and I hardly ever get any pimples (even the hormonal ones have become rare). Also when flying my skin used to become a mess, that changed since I started using this, skin looked the same at the beginning and the end of the flights and no break outs the next morning either.

It smells really clean, a woodsy scent that reminds me of pines for some reason (could be because of cypress)

Amongst the ingredients you can see rice bran oil which can help skin to reduce absorption of UV rays. Also the bergamont in this oil is bergaptene-free so you don't have to worry about photo sensitivity.

I have never come across a facial oil that was lighter or easier absorbed than this. It has performed well in hot weather and British winter (I know it is not as cold as say in Siberia but it has been pretty cold the last few years).

Now a little bit about how I use it. I use it pretty much every morning when I am not using sunscreen (I do not use any products under sunscreen because that overloads my skin) and occasionally I have moisturiser free days in the summer when rosewater is enough for me. So let's say on average I use it 5 times a week during the day. In the evenings I use it after I wash my hair (I prefer to wash my hair before going to sleep), that works out to be 2 times per week. I use 2 drops and that is enough for face and neck.

This is truly a multi purpose product and you can read stark blog for some ideas. I mix it up with some aloe vera gel to make my own refreshing gel moisturiser, mixing two drops of oil to a tiny squirt of aloe vera gel works like a charm, nourishing yet cooling on skin (btw lilly of the desert aloe vera is the only store bought one that doesn't cause a reaction on my skin).

I also have tried using it as addition to home made deodorant and it does work well (I will give it some more time before doing a post on it).

Grapefruit cleanse+hydrate balm. Originally I thought this would be a great two in one products. Cleanser and moisturiser in one. Well this really does not work as a moisturiser for me (my skin just doesn't need as much moisture as the balm provides). But as a cleanser it has surpassed my expectations.

I was never a fan of balm cleansers that need to be removed with a cloth. They never seem to wash off properly and leave a film on my skin. I don't have that feeling with this balm.

A few months back I had a question about this balm from a reader, because  the consistency of her balm has changed. When I got this it was really smooth and at the time of the question my balm was still exactly the same. About a month or so ago it has changed and became grainy like you can see in the picture. The smell stayed the same (mouthwatering grapefruit) and it worked the same, still melts on the skin. I figured it was due to cold weather but I thought I would do some research for this post and I found the answer on starks blog. As I suspected it is completely normal and nothing to worry about, just shea butter going solid.

Anyways back to the balm. I use this in the evenings on the days that I didn't have make-up on  (You could use this for make up removal but like I mentioned in my Jane Iredale post I do not). One fingerful is plenty (pea sized amount), I give myself a face massage with this until it is all melted and than wash it off with a muslin cloth. I follow it with stark toner and that is it, no further products are needed. My skin is very soft and smooth looking straight after this little routine and remains so in the morning.

Also my guilty pleasure is a hot shower. So when I feel like I can't resist the need for a ridiculously hot shower, I put a layer of grapefruit balm before jumping in and it protects my facial skin from over drying and getting sensitive (overly hot water is really not good for skin).

Honestly since I started applying less products and sticking to stark my skin has been looking and feeling much better. For me a huge plus is the fact that with proper care this balm can remain fresh up to 18 months. I do use it frequently but not every day (and yes a I am skin care magpie so I have more that one cleanser on the go, I am trying to change that though) and you do only need a small amount of it, so longer shelf life gives me plenty of time to use it up.

Also this makes a great cuticle and nail treatment, just massage it in and leave over night.

Green Tea detox clay mask. This is a powder mask that you need to mix with water (or tea, or floral water...some sort of liquid). It is a mixture of two clays: green clay and Rhassoul. Now anyone can mix two types of clay together (provided that you have good quality clay) and achieve some nice results. Clay masks have been my go to since I was a teenager. What makes this special is the addition of the extracts of green tea, apple and lime.

You get all the benefits of the clay mask (drawing out of impurities etc.) plus some mild exfoliation fro the apple fruit extract and green tea is a powerful antioxidant. I love clay masks but sometimes they can make your skin feel a little tight and dry after use. I never had that with stark mask. My skin looks very clean and fresh, but normal (not really moisturised yet not dry).

You only need to use half a tea spoon, mix with a little liquid (I use water since I am lazy but you can mix it up for even more benefits). Spread it over your face, leave it on for 10 minutes and then wash off. I like the fact that you don't need to sit around for 30 minutes with a mask on (nice for an occasional pamper session but not on regular basis).

It is recommended to use twice a week, however I use whenever I remember which can be from as recommended to once a month (I am sure my skin would look super if I remembered to use it more frequently). I see great results even with my infrequent use.

Oh and the mixing bowl you see in the pic is from MV organic skincare and the fan brush is from dermalogica (I have had it for about 8 years now so don't know if they make them anymore, but you can use an old foundation brush just as easily).

A few things have changed since I first discovered Stark. They have a few more products (I am so ordering the body oil next time) and they no longer offer free International shipping (fingers crossed some one in UK will pick it up and I won't have to worry about that). But I still love it, I love that it started on Etsy and that it is now growing, as if I am part of stark history somehow. I like the quirky packaging, that it is made for life in the city and most of all that everything works. This is the first time that not only can I use the entire line of products but I also like every single one of them. In the world of natural skincare these products are more reasonably priced than most (more so worth every penny) and that is a huge bonus.

You bet all of them are going on my hero list.

Friday 19 April 2013

What happened to CTonics?

UPDATE: Just received a reply from Spirit Beauty Lounge (great customer service, love them) and they said that Ctonics is closed and out of production until further notice. I feel so sad.

Ok so I was about to write up a review on the CTonics shampoo and conditioner and I can't find it anywhere but Ebay!

I am seriously annoyed because I actually love the products. They took me on a bit of a journey because they are unusual and the written recomendations didn't work for me.

I had the CTonics Passion which is ment for dry hair and the Elixir Milk that is sort of suitable as light conditioner for all hair types but especially good for oily or fine hair.

The whole use it for 7-8 times before your hair settles didn't work form. I am not going to do a full review (since it is pointless in the view of the fact that they don't seem to be available) but what I want to say is that this worked absolutely amasing the very first time. My hair felt like silk.

This is duo is honestly better than any mask for my super long hair (it is down to my bottom at the moment).

Not good as your only shampoo, great as a treatment every few weeks.

This is what my hair looks like when I use them


Now I have enough product to last me a month maybe two, so I am freaking out a little.
 Does anyone know what happened? Is this temporary or is the company gone for good?
Do you know of something that is similar to Ctonics?

 I think I'll drop an email to Mise Beauty, maybe they will have some info. Hate it when my favourite products get discontinued (how i wish it wasn't true!)

Thursday 18 April 2013

Ilia Beauty multi-stick and illuminator review

Last year Ilia Beauty introduced multi-sticks. Naturally I was super excited and got one as soon as they were available at Content.

The thing is I messed up in the colour selection. I should have gotten the All of me, but no, I had to have something different from what I would normally wear (warm pinky/red blushes). So I chose the tangerine version (that doesn't really work for me). Obviously I was disappointed because of that. However I soon figured out how to make it work, so as well as a review I will show what I do.

Ilia Beauty Multi-stick in I put a spell on you. This colour is described as hot tangerine that would accent peachy undertones. My skin tone is like super pale slightly olive and this particular colour, well lets just say it doesn't look good.

However, I would say that once on skin it is definitely more apricot in colour (and even in the tube it is not as bright as tangerine is in my mind). There is no strong smell, don't really think this smell of anything to be honest. The texture is very thin, a bit like a mixture of cream and gel (similar to Becca cream blushes).

What you see in the picture is the full amount of product before I have used it. My initial thought was gee that is not a lot, but you really use only a small amount so it will last a good amount of time.

Lasting power on the face is about 8 hours as long as you don't touch your face after application. I did not like this on my lips at all (just something about the texture, might be different for the other colours). I do like this on eyes.

The finish is glossy so you do need to be careful in not applying to much. If you have ever used Ruby and Millie face gloss, this is the kind of look this gives but with a much nicer texture. The trick is to not blend this in too much as that will just remove all the colour. If you have oily skin you will need to use matifying product before using this (I apply it over my stay matt foundation and they work well together).

All in all this is a good product to use on cheeks and eyes for a subtle colour and gloss look. Great for an understated day look. If you have drier skin this will be a perfect product as it is moisturising and gives that well hydrated glowy look.

Ilia Beauty Illuminator in Sway. This is a product that is supposed to give you a sun kissed glow.
And it truly delivers.

The colour is just what I was looking for, pearly chocolate (not glittery, not orange tan, just perfect).
The swatch is just applied from the tube, you can tone down by blending. Just like the multi-stick the more you blend the less colour you will have.

This stays on for about 8 hours if you do not keep touching your face (which I am occasionally guilty of).

In comparison to the multi-stick illuminator is less creamy and more gel like. It is also much more glossy looking. It is a perfect highlighter but you really need to be careful not to over apply (you will turn into shiny disco ball).

I use this in the corners of eyes, cheek bones and along the nose.

At the moment I like this much better than the multi-stick (but it might change once I try the other colours).

I find that the combination of the two product plus Ilia beauty lip conditioner in Dizzy really works for me.

Since I don't like the multi-stick on my lips, this is the colour that I use. Dizzy is a muted orange, it is pretty similar to the I put a spell on you colour (maybe a shade brighter).

So this is what it looks like.

Here I have Dizzy on my lips, I put a spell on you on cheeks and eyelids, Sway on the inside and outside corners of the eyes, bridge of nose, cheek bones and under the blush in the hollows of the cheeks.

When I use sway on its own I apply it to eyes, cheekbones and occasionally bridge of nose.

I can't use I put a spell on you by itself. It is definitely a colour for people with peachy skin tones.

You can get Ilia Beauty from content, mise beauty (in UK) or spirit beauty lounge if you are in the states.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Oskia skincare review

I first discovered this range in 2011 (when Love Lula started stocking them I bought my first product). After using their products on an off for the last 2 years I feel pretty confident about this review.

This is still a relatively new brand in the world of skincare yet it has managed to get pretty rave reviews from magazines like Vogue and Tattler. Their product have one a few awards including a  Anti-ageing Beauty bible best mask  for the renaissance mask.

 Instead of having products formulated for different skin types this line is formulated for an age period of mid twenties to mid forties (products help fight against premature ageing so the line will be most beneficial for ladies and gents in this age range, but of course other age groups can also use these products).

The star ingredient is MSM (Methyl Sulphonyl-Methane), which is a  nutritional supplement that helps with production of collagen. One other thing that unites all the products apart from the eye gel is the signature rose-lychee scent. it is sweet yet not overpowering. It is definitely one of my favourite things about the line. Every time I use the product I get that sense of well being you get in the spa.

One other ingredient that they use in a lot of the products is Zinc glycine. Zinc is super important for healthy skin ( personally I have noticed that whenever I use products with zinc my skin looks better), according to Oskia the zinc glycine combination helps with absorption of zinc into the skin.
There website is a really great source of information about the ingredients that they use and they also have full ingredients lists for all their products.

Generally speaking I do like the whole line. I feel that all products are good and if you have ever felt that lack of luxury when you started using natural products (or if lack of luxury prevented you from trying natural products), give this a try. Everything from glass packaging to how the formulations feel and perform screams high end.

On their website it says that their products consist from 98% natural or nature identical ingredients the other 2% are ecocert and soil association approved preservatives. Out of the 5 skincare products that I am reviewing currently 3 contain phenoxyethanol.  I am not sure if they will be reformulating since phenoxyethanol is no longer approved.
All the products stay fresh for up to 9 months after opening.

Oskia Perfect Cleanser. After doing all the pictures I realised that I forgot to include this in my main photo. Must have been subconscious since this is my least favourite out of all the products.

Don't get me wrong it is a perfectly nice cleansing balm, with the same lovely scent as the other products. This was the product that I wanted to try the most (all the anticipation must have made my expectations too high). The thing that sold me was the fact that you don't have to use a muslin cloth with this. You smooth over dry skin (you can do a massage if you have a bit of extra time) like with any other balm cleanser, then add water and this turns milky. Rinse of and voila.

 Well I have oily skin and the thing is that for oily skin it is actually recommended to use muslin cloth with this balm. I really wanted to be able to use it with out the cloth since I am stubborn and it didn't work. With the cloth it does work great in terms of leaving your skin cleansed and hydrated at the same time, but I feel that it is a product that works better for slightly drier skin than mine.

The packaging is pretty handy especially if you are one of those people that don't like to dip your fingers into a jar. I am almost finished with my tube (that is why it looks so out of shape) and I have not had problems with separation until now. I think it is because of heat, so I would be a little careful taking on holidays to hot countries. One other thing If you are using this for make removal you need to use a muslin cloth otherwise your  skin won't be completely free of make-up and this is not suitable for use on the eyes. The balm does not contain phenoxyethanol. It also comes in a travel size.

Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm. A lot of the ingredients in this are the same as in the perfect cleanser. When you open the jar it has this little extra lid that helps with keeping the product fresh ( this is a rather thick balm and I have never seen it melt apart from on contact with skin).
This is a physical exfoliator and it contains micro silica and MSM granules for this purpose. They are truly micro as the balm appears smooth when you look at it, you only feel the granules when applying the balm.

 Now you can use this in a few different ways with the same results. You can carefully smooth the balm over your face, then add watter and softly massage the skin (the granules dissolve with water so the more water you add the less of an exfoliation effect). Just like the cleanser the exfoliation balm turns milky with water. Make sure not to massage this in before adding water in order not to irritate or damage your skin. Then rinse off.

The other option is to wet your skin first then massage in the balm, add more water and massage again. Then rinse off. The results are the same skin feels smooth and hydrated. This is pretty much a three in one treatment if you use thin in the morning. It cleanses, exfoliates and moisturises in one go (depending on your skin type you might not need any further moisturising).

How I use this: I spread it carefully in a fairly thick layer on dry skin (you don't really need that much, about a fingerfull or two), then jump in the shower. Before ducking my head under the shower I wet my hands and massage lightly. I let the running water do the rest while washing my hair and other things. When I come out my skin still feels hydrated but much smoother. I do this once every 2-3 when I feel that my oily skin needs some extra help.

The exfoliation effect is pretty mild the way I use this product (not like say from something like Suki lemongrass cleanser) and you don't get that squeaky clean feeling, so you don't have to worry about interfering with your skins normal processes or damaging it in any way.
As I use this fairly infrequently the 50ml pot tends to last me somewhere around the 9 month mark.
Does not contain phenoxyethanol


Oskia Renaissance Mask. This really is the star product from this line. To be honest I don't think there is a comparable mask out there, natural or other wise.

When you open this it also has that extra plastic lid like the exfoliating balm. The consistency is not as thick, it is somewhere in between a gel and a balm. It has this light pink colour but if you massage it in it turns white ( the recommendation is to spread it whilst lightly massaging it in so it turns white, wait for 10-15 min, add a little water and massage again, then rinse off).

That is how I use it most of the time. I also frequently use this in the shower. I apply like before. Let it sit on my face while I brush my hair or a quick body brush (normally around 5 min) than just jump in the shower. Works just as good both ways.

The effects are pretty amazing. Clearer, brighter skin with less visible pores (I know your pores don't physically shrink but I guess they appear smaller because all the dead skin cells are gone).
This mask provides what is known as chemical exfoliation, due to fruit enzymes of papaya and acids from pineapple, passion fruit, lemon and grape (the dead skin cells are dissolved with fruit acids without any physical rubbing).

What is great about this mask is that as well as having a brightening effect it also has plumping/moisturising effect because of all the other ingredients like ribose and lactic acid that increase cell turnover.

I use this every 1 to 2 weeks depending on my skin during the cold months, less so during summer. The 50 ml jar lasts me on average about 5- 6 months. This is my must have product for winter.
This mask contains phenoxyethanol. It comes in a travel size.

Oskia Get Up & Glow. Again this is a pretty unique product, maybe not in terms of claims (instant radiance etc.) but definitely in terms of appearance and performance.

It comes in this glass pump bottle. I like the packaging it looks great, good from a hygiene point and I haven't had any problems travelling with this. The consistency is of a watery gel and this absorbs in seconds. The colour is this sort of beige gold with slight mother of Pearl effect. Looks gorgeous. It is definitely iridescent and not a glittery effect.

 For my face all I need is one pump. When rubbed in the skin appears glowy but I can't see any of that pearl effect that it has before being absorbed by the skin.You can use this like a serum or instead of moisturiser (that is what I do). It works great in terms of hydration (it doesn't have oil control and doesn't claim to have it, but what I notice is that when my skin is well hydrated it stops being so oily looking by itself without those type of products).

I also used to use this half and half with kora organics tinted moisturiser. Always got complements on my skin with that combo ( I still like that tinted moisturiser it just seems silly to order from Australia just for one maybe two products).

Apparently you can use this on top of makeup for extra glow effect but I never got round to trying that out.

Now the problem that I have with this is that despite the fact that the bottle is 30ml I do not use it up before the 9 months run out (you can see in the pic that I have 1/3 of a bottle left and the 9 months are gone so it will be used on my legs and arms now). This happens because I hardly ever use this during summer (if I use a sun screen I don't use anything else my skin really does not like layering of multiple products). And during the rest of the year I use this about 3 maybe 4 times a week, and like a mentioned previously my skin only needs one pump.

 So I was super excited when Oskia announced mini sizes, unfortunately this is one of the products that doesn't come in a smaller size. I would love love if they did a travel size of this for people like me who don't use this every single day as at the moment this is the only reason that I do not purchase this product every time it runs out.
It does contain phenoxyethanol.

Oskia Eye Wonder. This is the only eye care product that I use. I am not a fan of eye creams (natural or not) I have tried a few and they always seem to either irritate my eyes or give me those tiny bumps next to the eye area.

This comes in a pump bottle similar to get up and glow. It is a gel serum that you can apply under the eye are and over the lids (literally from temple to temple). A little goes a long way, I only need about half a pump, so you do need to be careful with how hard you press. It feels really fresh and cooling when applied, and eye area does look instantly more hydrated and for lack of a better expression less tired. It claims to visibly brighten dark circles, smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, increase radiance, reduce puffiness and protect DNA.  Apart from the fine lines and wrinkles (don't really have those yet) and DNA (not sure how you can measure that with the naked eye) it really does deliver on those claims.

You can use this both AM and PM , I only use once in the AM (no particular reason just what I do). And the 15 ml does lat me the full 9 months (well maybe a few days less).
You can also use this like a treatment mask for extra tlc: apply a thick layer and cover with an ice-cold damp cotton-wool pad. I have not tried this but I don't see how it could fail to work as this gel is just really good even in a small quantity. It is fragrance free. Contains phenoxyethanol.

Oskia Pure MSM. The last product that I have is the MSM supplement. This has 45 vegetarian tablets. You can take either 1 or 2 as a food supplement before food.

I only have 4 left and I have been taking them 1 a day ( maybe 2 or 3 times I took 2). I find that with all supplements consistency is key, you do really need remember to keep taking them every day to see any results (however I do not take them the whole year round, more like a course of treatment, once it runs out I take a month or so break).

 As I mentioned MSM helps with healthy collagen production, which in turn helps to have healthy skin, nails, hair and more importantly helps with cartilage in the joints. So outwardly improvements can be subjective and hard to attribute to the supplement alone.(you can't be sure whether it is the skin care that is making your skin look so glowy or the supplement, I tend to think it is the combination of both). One thing that I have noticed is that when I take this my nails are definitely stronger (and I have been super lazy about nail care this last year I haven't even been using hand cream more than like 3 times this winter, so I know it is these babies for sure).
Refill sachet available.

Just to sum up my review I have been trying to cut down on the amount of beauty products that I buy (since I hate throwing away unused products or having to give them away because they don't suit me), I have been creating a list of the products that are my hero products. The ones that made it on to this list are the renaissance mask, get up and glow, eye wonder.
And I also have the mai tie massage candle on my wish list.

At the moment Oskia has a little competition: if you like them on facebook you could win a Perfect Face Gift Set.

You can get their products from cult beauty and content amongst other websites, but if you get them directly from oskia you get £10 off for you first order (if you type the code "welcome"), if you refer a friend both of you will get a £15 voucher.

Friday 12 April 2013

Brand focus: Jane Iredale.

Jane Iredale is a mineral make-up line that has been around since 1994. It is marketed as being great for sensitive skin (I think all mineral make-up lines do to be honest) as there are no fillers.
The line is famous for foundations and being amongst the pioneers of make-up that also has skin benefits.

 I want to share and review my personal favourites from Jane Iredale.

Mascara, Magic mitt, lip and cheek stain. I actually have one more product from the line which I love (blotting papers) but I will do a separate post on them.

Jane Iredale Magic mitt. This is a make-up removing cloth in the shape of a mitt that is made from specially knitted micro fibres, and it does all the make-up removing without any additional cleanser.

I have had mine for about 3 years now. It totally works. It has passed the white towel test and the first time I used it I also went over with a toner, and the cotton wool was completely clear. It really does remove every trace of make-up. You can remove eye make-up  with this (I tried to see if it lives up to the claim, however I still prefer to use coconut oil for that).

What is great about this is that it is designed specifically so it won't disturb skin natural acid mantel (super important for all skin types, but especially so for oily skin as it is so easy to over cleanse when you are trying to battle oiliness).

When I am done I wash it with Goat milk and olive oil facial soap that I know doesn't cause any sensitivities for me and hang it up to dry.

My mitt is in great condition (looks pretty much like new) for a few reasons. When I first got it I only used it on holidays and I started to use it as my main make-up remover about a year ago. As mentioned above I do not remove eye make-up with this. And the last reason is I don't use make-up every day (depend on a week, could be 2 time, could be 4, could be not at all). I only use it for make up removal although you could use it for gentle exfoliation a bit like a konjac sponge if you wish.
If you were to use it quiet frequently I think you would need to replace it once a year.

I absolutely adore this and do not use anything else for face make-up removal. One last thing it dries really quickly (faster than muslin cloths).

Jane Iredale pure lash lengthening mascara. This is my favourite natural mascara. I got introduced to eat about 4-5 years back when I had a mini make-over at the organic pharmacy counter. At the time they haven't launched a mascara in their line and the make-up artist used this on me to finish of the look. I loved it ever since. I have tried 5 or 6 others but nothing beats this for me.

The colour I use is black/brown (I also tried black but it doesn't seem to have the same thickness for some reason). The brush is nothing special: thinner at the top slightly fatter towards the bottom. The packaging is really lovely. I have no problems with clumping. Most if not all natural mascaras claim to be conditioning and improve your lashes with use, out of what I have tried this is the only one that actually really does do that.

Now they also have an eyelash conditioner that works together with this (it is a white gel, you apply it first and then use your mascara on top). It costs exactly the same as mascara. What it is supposed to do is make your mascara last longer as you would need to use only one coat of mascara in conjunction with this. I find it unnecessary. Looks the same to me with one coat conditioner and one coat mascara or just to coats of mascara. So either mascara lasts longer or I have to buy mascara twice as often, money wise makes no difference as both products cost the same.
However my sister uses both and is convinced that the conditioner works miracles ( I gave both to her as a present since conventional mascaras were really irritating her eyes, now she won't use anything else).

My eyes have gotten more sensitive as I got older (must be all the eye make-up overload when I was a teen) and this never has caused me any problems. And I have not had any problems with smudging.
Once opened you can use it for up to 12 months. Which is great if you are like me and don't really use it every day, as you can happily wait a year before replacing for hygiene reasons.

Jane Iredale just kissed lip and cheek stain. This is one of those products that looks different on everyone because it changes colour depending on your personal body chemistry and mood (like that too faced mood changing lip gloss). It is supposed to be your personal most flattering shade of pink. I don't know how it works for other people but it really is super flattering on me. Unfortunately I can  not show you how it looks in the tube as I ran out (literally just scraped some to get this picture so you can see how it looks on my lips) but it is a sort of pale honeysuckle pink.

Picture really does not do it justice. It is kind of bright but slightly see through shade of pink ( a lot like those l'oreal rouge carres lipsticks). As it contains jojoba I haven't tried this on my cheeks, however judging how it looks on lips I think it will look great. This is a stain so some form of colour will remain, all day it just won't be as bright as when first applied. This seems to be a spring/summer favourite as I have noticed, it is frequently out of stock during this period  (it is out of stock right now and I am super annoyed). It is one of those lippies that you can wear both day and evening.

Thursday 11 April 2013

Quick lunch with Dr. Karg crisp bread.

I don't like to eat a lot of food in one sitting, it makes me feel sleepy. If I am at home I just sort of eat fruit, nuts or seaweed snacks if I'm feeling peckish. I love snack food (bite sized carrots with hummus, olives, those sort of things).

 My latest obsession is Dr. Karg bread of distinction. I like all the flavours really but my favourite is definitely classic 3-Seed. Tastes absolutely great, is organic and all the seeds are a really good source of healthy fats. Most often I just eat it by itself, occasionally with a dip.

This is what I had for lunch today.

Dr Karg 3-seed crisp bread (two slices broken up for dipping). A couple slices of Parma ham ( I don't eat a lot of meat but I absolutely love Italian ham). Green olives. Pepper and aubergine dip (this one is store bought because I was lazy, but I do  normally make my own ). And for the drink I had a Virgin Marry.

Virgin Marry:
Tomato juice, Tabasco to taste (I like mine spiceeey! so I as wasn't adding pepper or the other sauce I put in about 10 drops), a lemon wedge (squeezed a little and then thrown in as well), celery stick (with a few cuts along the bottom of the stalk to add flavour). This is not a classic recipe as I didn't have any Worcestershire sauce at home and I also skipped the black pepper (just didn't feel like it).

Home made pepper and aubergine dip:
Roast 7 peppers and 1 aubergine (roast them whole in the oven or under the grill, should take about 40-60 min on medium heat, you want vegetables to be really soft). Peel peppers and aubergine once they are slightly cooled down but not completely cold. Cut the peppers really small. Mash aubergine with a fork. Mix it all together with a little olive oil , salt and pepper to taste. You can also add 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic and some finely chopped fresh herbs if you have them.

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Wednesday 10 April 2013

A great offer!

 So if anyone was interested in the company that I have mentioned recently studio Paris 78,there is a great offer on naturisimo spend £25 and get the Studio Paris 78 mascara for free when you enter code STUDIO. (while stock lasts, you know the usual)

And they also offer free worldwide shipping

Intelligent nutrients lip delivery antioxidant gloss review

In my teens I was all about lip gloss. I wouldn't even look at lipsticks in the store. Now it all changed, I love my lipstick and tinted lip balm. Don't even miss lip gloss really (lip gloss hair anyone?).

Yet when I saw this one last year I was intrigued.  OK guilty, I really liked the packaging. So a few months ago I went against my lip gloss prejudices and got it in cranberry glow.

What is so different about intelligent nutrients lip delivery antioxidant gloss? (gosh I sound like an infomercial!) Basically this product is food grade and mineral free (no mined minerals and no synthetic colourings). The pigment I am guessing is from berries which are in the ingredient list.

Actually here is the ingredient list for the cranberry glow colour:

Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil,1 Beeswax (Cera Alba),1 Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil,1 Agave Americana Leaf Extract,1 Cranberry Extract,1 Sweet Raspberry Natural Flavor,1 Vanilla Bean Natural Flavor,1 Caramel Cream Natural Flavour,1 Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter),1 Euterpe Oleracea (Acai)Fruit Oil,1 Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter,1 Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax,1 Coconut Cream Natural Flavor,1 Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil,1 Rosa Moschata (Rosehip) Seed Oil,1 Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Seed Oil,1,2 Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil,1,2 Rubus Idaeus (Red Raspberry) Seed Oil,1,2 Vitis Vinifera (Red Grape) Seed Oil,1,2 Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil,1,2 Tocopherol (Vitamin E)

Personally I really like the smell, a bit sweet and a little fruity, reminds me of home made jam.

It comes in 4 colours: Clear frosting, purple maze, pink hibiscus and the one I got cranberry glow.

Texture is a little unusual if you haven't tried a natural gloss before. It is sort of silky and maybe even slightly oily (not in a bad way) ... not sticky or gel like texture of normal gloss. I actually prefer it.

Now the colour is like a caramely red (redish brown or browny red) and it is not a very bright colour but it is pigmented, so does not look see through when you first apply. It is very nourishing and I think because of that it seems to be absorbed by the lips rather quickly (within the hour the pigment seems to be gone). On the plus side lips are super hydrated, on the minus - if your are using for colour you will need to reapply frequently.

Overall I like it as a day product and I do not regret getting it. I think it will be great for summer or on flights, when you don't want to wear make up but just a hint of something that will also keep your lips protected. But for my glam evenings out (or glam nights in) I will stick to lipstick.

Oh also forgot to mention that it is USDA certified organic, gluten free and of course cruelty free.

Have you guys tried this?