Monday, 31 August 2015

New and noteworthy | Weleda

 

 

After visiting Weleda gardens earlier this summer, I was incredibly impressed with their ethos and the care with which they approach both ingredient sourcing and product development. They have been very busy this year bringing lots of new goodies over the course of past few months, with the almond body collection launching tomorrow.

 

Both the products I'm reviewing are probably not something I would have picked up of the shelf under different circumstances. First of all I'm a diehard fan of artisan soap, and after my showers I tend to reach for a body oil. That isn't to say that I don't use shower gels or body lotions, I do, I like choice and occasionally these are the products that are most appropriate to my mood or circumstance. To be clear, I'm not setting the scene to tell you guys how all of a sudden I'm a convert because of these particular products, and now I can't imagine how I ever lived without shower gel and body cream, and so on and so forth. I want to put this review in perspective, so it will be useful to people who enjoy these types of products, and to anyone who is trying to figure out if it is for them.

 

Arnica Sports shower gel*.

 

 

I was very tempted to talk about the body lotion first (mm I clearly don't have a favourite between the two, there is no bias, none at all), but it makes sense to talk about the shower gel before the lotion, since that is what I would use first in the shower and all that. Plus it has been released earlier, about a month ago. So without any further glimpses at my writing process, what is the big deal about this shower gel? Well if you are a Weleda aficionado, you already know that their previous shower companions are actually creamy washes, so this is their first shower gel. I haven't tried any of their shower creams, so I can't make a comparison between the two, but my understanding is that arnica sports gel* was designed to give a good lather where the creams do not. While we don't really need lots of suds to get clean, it is what most of us are accustomed to, and it does make it a lot easier to spread the product. Many years of reading ladies magazines have drilled into me that "squeaky clean is for dishes, not for skin", but on the occasion when you feel extra grubby after excercise or extremely hot weather, I find myself craving that squeakiness. This is the bottle to pull out on those occasions, because the fact that you can make bubbles with this shower gels tricks me into thinking that I could make a frying pan shine with it, yet the surfactants used in it are way milder than the ones in a bottle of Fairy. More so, arnica shower gel has been formulated in a way to help protect skins natural moisture while cleansing. Now this of course doesn't mean that your skin will not experience any dryness, or that you won't experience any sensitivities, just that as far as shower gels go, it is well formulated and skin friendly, as long as you don't have personal sensitivities to the ingredients in it. Personally I quiet like it, I don't have dry skin to begin with but of course some shower gels, and even my beloved soaps, have had that effect on it (even causing some itchy dry patches, not at all fun). After washing with arnica sports shower gel my skin has been very happy, its normal self, just fresh like it should be after a shower.

 

Does the fact that it has Arnica do anything? Well since it is a rinse off product, and it is not on the body long enough, Weleda can not and do not make any claims that it eases weary muscles and such things as they do with the arnica body oils. When I excercise, I don't actually push myself to the point where I would feel the burn and all that, so while I do work up a sweat on occasion, I really can't say if there is any extra relief that my muscles would feel as opposed to using any other shower gel. I do however feel more perked up when I use it in comparison to my regular showers. Is it a placebo effect, or the effect of rosemary and lavender that are in here for their aromatherapeutic effect, is it arnica, or all of the above? It doesn't really matter, I feel refreshed and ready to face the day (or whatever is left of it).

 

The scent is quite sharp, I would describe it as unisex, to my nose rosemary is dominant. If you like to share your shower products with the other half it's definitely a good one to choose, although Mr.RF has been known to "borrow" my raspberry bubble bath, so I guess it all depends on your other halfs preferences. It works, the ingredients have been grown and harvested with care for the environment, and 200ml bottle is under ten pounds, it's in my good books.

 

Almond Body Lotion*.

I don't moisturise my body every single day, I tend to do it on the days that I wash my hair, because that means I spent a lot longer in the shower, and those are the days that I would normally use a body scrub too. I love my body oils, but there are some body lotions and body butters in my stash as well, just not as many, and no, they are not as favoured. So for me to like a lotion it has to have all of the following: smell good, sink in well with no greasy film, actually make some sort of difference compared to if no product was used, and smell good once more. Why am I being so fussy? Simply because body oils make a huge difference to how my skin feels and looks, so for me to use some other type of moisturising body product, it has to offer something as good or different. Normally what the body oils don't quiet offer is the full range of scents that I enjoy, and they lack that cooling effect that I get from a lotion that is especially nice when it's warm outside.

 

Time to confess, I love almonds and marzipan. Products that smell like the real deal are almost guaranteed to be a winner. While judging products on scent is not all and be all, there are a lot to choose from out there, and bar tackling a specific skin condition or irritation, the scent does have a lot to do with whether or not it will get a gold star from me. This lotion smells heavenly, it always manages to make me think of Nut cracker (my love of marzipan spreads to ballet as well).

 

On the bottle it states that this lotion is PH skin balanced, a very good thing since even hard water can bring skins ph out of balance, combined with some over vigorous scrubbing during the shower, it's definitely good to follow that up with something that would help bring things into balance. Almond body lotion sinks in like a dream, leaving only super soft skin behind.

 

 

 

The bottle itself is an airless pump, so there is no finger dipping involved. Also while I was looking at the nozzle, I noticed that there is this sort of clear plastic type of thing that looks like it's blocking it or something. At closer inspection the lotion comes out around the sides of this tiny circular contraption, so there is never any cream oxidising and blocking the nozzle, very clever.

The almond range will become available tomorrow and I will update my links as soon as.

 

PR samples, opinions expressed in this post, as in all my posts, are my own, honest, influenced purely by my personal taste and based on experience with the products that are being reviewed.

 

 

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Itha lip glow

As my love affair with lipstick, balms and tints continues I'm falling more and more out of love with lip glosses. That doesn't mean I don't miss what we once had, the sheer perfection of a hint of colour with alluring shine, that makes lips appear plumper with a swipe of a wand. But of late I have been finding the texture so irritating that I just can't look past it. Luckily for me there is a new kid on the block, that has all the virtues of a gloss yet none of the drawbacks.

 

Itha Lip Glows are a perfect cross between a tinted lip balm and a sheer lip gloss. It comes in two formulas: vegan or vegetarian (vegetarian contains beeswax). I have a bit of a collection of these pots, five in total, 3 have been sent to me for review and I purchased 2 at the LNLO show at a later date. That really says it all, I am putting my money where my mouth is, so there really is no question about how much I like them. Now let's talk about the colours and different formulations.

 

 

The base of organic oils is the same in both versions: Jojoba, castor oil and cocoa butter. In the vegan incarnation candelila wax is used instead of beeswax. I do find that the lip glows with beeswax are ever so slightly more emollient and give a glossier finish. When it comes to texture, vegetarian lip glows are a winner for me, but I prefer the colours from the vegan range. All the glows have very fine shimmer that isn't at all obvious yet imparts radiance, in fact it was only noticeable in very bright sunlight, and I really loved the effect. Each colour is paired up with a differen flavour/scent, making it a pleasure for the scences.

Vegan range:

Bare babe

 

Bare babe strangely has become my most used of the bunch. The reason why that is odd is because as the name suggests the colour effect is bare. In the pot and when you swatch it looks like a a light peachy pink, but the colour doesn't show up on my lips, leaving them looking glossy yet still like my natural colour. Normally I like my lip products to give a bright dose of colour, but in this case it was the strawberry scent mixed with chocolaty fragrance of cocoa butter that has trumped my love of colour. Combined with the fact that my lips feel so nourished when using it, Bare babe has become my favourite companion.

 

Cherished

 

Cherished is a cross between light mauve and pink. While it is very close to my natural lips, the effect is a slightly more dressed up pout. I can't quiet put my finger on the scent but it is berry like. Absolutely delicious.

Infatuated

 

Infatuated* is the most dramatic colour of the lot, burgundy wine. How intense it appears will depend on how you layer it, you can blend it to just the hint of colour or go more showy, but it will still keep that slightly see through texture that glosses are known for. It is paired up with a delectable cherry scent.

 

 

Veggie range:

Sweet bomb* is a bright pink that smells like confectionery. Again the colour intensity depends on how much you use.

Rose kiss

 

Rose kiss* is a slightly more intense pink with a scent of roses. On me it looks the most pigmented and doesn't really require layering for an intense colour that looks almost like a bubblegum pink. Absolutely gorgeous. Also I would say that it has the most noticeable shimmer of the lot.

 

 

 

It was a little difficult to capture the true colours on my lips in the photos, the ones I took of sweet bomb didn't come out well at all, the colours are more intense in reality, I will try and get better pics and update this post with them. Now I love playing with my colours and after talking to the founder of Itha she mentioned that she mixes Infatuted and Rose kiss. Naturally I had to try it and I absolutely love the look.

 

If my arm was twisted, I would say these are uber glam glossy lip balms. They keep your pout well hydrated and with a dose of colour, but you would need to reapply more often then with a lipstick. Colours are extremely flattering and the scents are beyond delicious. For me the definite winners are Bare babe for the amazing scent and an easy chic pout, rose kiss for a healthy dose of pink, and infatuated for a little more drama. But for the time being I don't have to choose, I'm enjoying all five.

 

 

*PR samples, opinions in this post and every post are my own, completely honest, based on personal experience with the products. I liked these so much that I went and bought two extra colours before any of the PR pots ran out, and I'm currently sitting here sniffing my lips that are still covered in lip glow (mm chocolate cherries)


Friday, 21 August 2015

Zkin Hydrating Mist

 

I can not imagine my beauty routine without a toner. Cleanser is a key to having healthy balanced skin, face oil or moisturiser is what provides extra nourishment and protection from the elements, but somehow without a decent toner it all falls apart for my skin. It is that bridge that makes the transition between cleansing and moisturising work. There are different types of toners, some you would use to wipe off the remnants of a cleanser or a face mask, others are sprays packed with a cocktail of powerful ingredients. This is the type that I use to give my skincare routine a boost, often instead of a serum, my skin can not handle a lot of product layering, but a hydrating mist has always been a welcome addition. Choosing the right mist in the summer is often the difference between having clear skin or breaking out like crazy.

 

Zkin hydrating mist* stands out from the crowd for summer use in particular as it has been developed to target UV damage. It has an interesting combination of ingredients:

Aloe barbadensis (Aloe vera) leaf juice*, Lavandula angustifolia (Lavander) flower water*, Leuconostoc/Radish root ferment filtrate, Glycerin*^, Parfum (natural preservative), Fucus vesiculosus (Brown seaweed) extract*, Lavandula hybrida (Lavandin grosso) oil *, Linalool#, Vanilla planifolia (Vanilla) fruit extract*, Cananga odorata (Ylang Ylang) flower oil*, Pogostemon cablin (Patchouli) leaf oil*, d-Limonene#, Benzyl benzoate# (natural from Ylang Ylang), Geraniol#, Coumarin#. (*certified organic, ^palm oil free, #natural component of essential oil)

97.45% organic of total

 

Aloe Vera is something that most people are familiar with as a treatment for sunburn, it speeds up healing and has moisturising properties, making it beneficial pretty much to all skin types, but I feel like it is an especially good friend to someone with oily skin that is prone to breakouts. This toner has lavender flower water, a by-product of lavender essential oil production, and lavender oil has wound healing properties with probable benefits of countering UV damage (ref. Tisserand). The reason for the claims of targeting UV damage on the front of the bottle however is Fucus vesiculosus extract, a brown seaweed, under the proprietary name of Maritech® Bright. It has been specifically developed as a brightening treatment to even skin tone and reduce age spot pigmentation, it also has Cosmos organic certification ( so does the toner as a whole).

Parfum is listed with an explanation of being a natural preservative, the reason for this is that in this product Naticide is used as a preservative. It is a proprietary name of what is effectively a blend of vegetal derivide fragrances that under INCI rules has to be listed as parfum. It has been reviewed by Australian Certified Organic and found to be natural and safe.

I have been using Z'kin mist* for about two months, and for the most part it has been replacing a moisturisier and serum for me. Following the directions, I shake the bottle, spray on face and neck, and then gently press the toner into my skin. I guess that this is done to make sure that everything is absorbed and doesn't just sit on top of the skin. The only time I do it differently is when I'm following it up with a face oil, on those occasions I will press a few drops of face oil while the skin is still damp, effectively pressing toner and oil into the skin at the same time. Most days I follow the mist with sunscreen in the mornings, and use it on its own at night. My skin has been incredibly happy with this routine.

 

The scent to me is predominantly lavender, despite other essential oils present, lavender is the note that my nose picks up the most. If you are a regular reader of this blog you probably picked up on the fact that I'm not really a fan of the lavender scented products, and it is no different in this case, I don't like the scent. It is not however offensive enough to my nose that I would stop using a product on this basis alone. This hydrating mist has earnt it's place amongst my most loved skincare solely based on its performance. I have no problem admitting that I can be shallow when it comes to beauty products, scents and packaging matter to me. I guess this particular toner is the exception that proves the rule. I am not a fan of the scent, and the packaging while perfectly functional is also not appealing. What attracted me to this product was the ingredients, and what has won my affections is the performance.

 

When I started using it I was replacing a toner that worked really well, and I thought it would be a tough act to follow. In fact the transition has been very smooth indeed. I find it a little difficult to judge claims of radiance from beauty products, having skin that tends towards oily, lack of glow has never been an issue, however the overall appearance of my skin has definitely improved. It looks smoother and has been less prone to congestion. When it comes to active mists I'm looking for topical hydration that won't exaggerate my pores or cause blotchiness, an antioxidant boost to help defend against UV damage and something that would work on evening out skin tone. I feel that Zkin hydrating toner* delivers on every single one of these points, making it an excellent choice year round and not just during summer. It is supposed to be really good for sunburnt skin, while I'm prepared to go far for this blog, it didn't seem sensible to burn on purpose just so I could test it. I do find that my skin feels a lot calmer straight after I use it. My skin can be touch sensitive, it will go very red in places after I use a towel, it has been a lot less frequent since I've been using this mist. I can report no breakouts this summer, and even though my skin can get a bit overwhelmed by sunscreen it has not happened this year, and I do attribute it to this toner. I have been more than a little negligent with my weekly treatments, aka scrubs and masks, so I know for sure that my basic skincare routine is behind my happy skin. Since my routine has been consisting of cleanser, Zkin toner* and sunscreen, it is not very hard to see why I think so highly of this toner. I am very much looking forward to seeing how it will perform once the seasons change, I have a sneaky suspicion that it will continue to be an excellent treat.

 

*PR sample, all opinions are my own, honest and based on personal experience with the product