Wednesday 7 October 2015

Spotlight on | Leahlani

When I find myself exceptionally stressed out I close my eyes, take a few breaths and imagine myself chilling on some sort of tropical island, with a huge coconut cocktail in my hand. While I have never personally been to Hawaii, there seems to be some sort of consensus that it is an absolutely beautiful destination. From the craziness of London, island leaving comes across like an escapist fantasy of gorgeous sunsets and easy going days (ok I'm sure life is never that easy anywhere, but you can't take away the scenery). While unfortunately I can't jump on a plane and be on the shores of Kauai, I sure can get at little Aloha in my skincare rituals.

Leahlani skincare range comes across deceptively simple: honey based masks, infused coconut oil, serums, body butters, island inspired perfumes. A closer look at ingredients and you realise that this is no simple DIY that anyone could whip up in their own kitchen, perfume blends in particular take both skill and talent. This Hawaiian gem of a brand is pretty popular amongst many bloggers, so I've been taking my time to see how I truly feel about the products. For the past year I have been slowly trying things out, growing my Leahlani stash one or two items at a time.

The mermaid mask. This was the very first product that I tried, and I'm not ashamed to admit that the reason why I got it was the name (yeah of course good reviews and the ingredients were also a factor but it was the name that made me want to get it). The jar itself is not that big 2oz (approximately 60ml and retails for around £15 depending on exchange rates), however the product is pretty concentrated and you need to use it up within 8 months of purchase (the shelf life is the same across all of the Leahlani skincare and bodycare items). As this is not the only mask that I use, I'm finding that it takes me pretty much full 8 months to finish a pot (however, Nic from Organic obsessions uses it 1-2 a week, and a pot lasts her about 3 months). As I ordered my Leahlani mask during colder months the contents of the pot were pretty solid on arrival, also a little warning be prepared for some strength exercises in jar opening, to make sure nothing spills in transit these babies have been closed up pretty tight (as on Hawaii the honey base would be pretty liquid). I would strongly suggest using a spatula to scoop some of the mask out, when it is on a more of a solid side add a little water to the mix before spreading on your face. Look in the mirror and enjoy pretending that you are a some sort of green goblin, or princess Fiona, sorry I mean mermaid.

This mask doesn't dry out because of the honey, so you need to time yourself, the suggestion is to leave it on for 3-5 minutes or longer. I normally have it on for about 5-10 minutes before jumping in the shower and letting water do its thing. I like doing it this way, because I'm pretty messy with most mask applications and while I love the wizard of Oz emerald green colour of this creation, it does inevitably end up in my hair and on my clothes, don't ask me how. It's just safer if I use it one the days that I'm washing my hair, plus since I'm applying this mask in the buff, I get an extra incentive to use my body brush, instead of randomly wondering around the flat creeping out Mr RF.

My skin is left feeling and looking pretty amazing, skin tone is even, pores look less noticeable and serums sink in like a dream after using it. I tend to buy more dry masks, there only 5 "wet" masks that I actually really like and would repurchase, mermaid is easily in the top 3. The scent is pretty unique, to me spirulina and sea buckthorn come across strongest, with a sweet hint of honey, the overall effect is a cross of  a tangy fruit jam and freshness of fennel (although there is no fennel in the blend).

Hawaiian raw organic honey, pure hawaiian spirulina, chlorella, luminess algae, sea buckthorn fruit, organic orange, chamomile, roman blue chamomile, bee balm (this is a name of a plant, not made from bees), geranium, palmarosa, lavender, ylang ylang, rose, white lotus, vanilla absolute, beeswax, coriander seed oil.

Honey love 3-in-1 cleanser, mask & exfoliator. The fact that I bought this at all is a testament to the power of samples, because if it wasn't included in with a previous order I would never have picked up the full size (I just wasn't interested in a microdermabrasion type product). The honey base is mixed with powdered hibiscus, lavender and chamomile flowers, and microdermabrasion effect is from corundum crystals. This is not the same as getting a microdermabrasion treatment in a salon, think of it as a physical scrub with very fine crystals instead of beads or nut shells. In a warm climate honey love is more liquid, so the crystals would naturally form a sediment at the bottom, making it easy to use as cleanser by scooping a little product from the top, or as a scrub by mixing it all up and scooping up an even mixture of ingredients. Which ever way you use it, you need to apply it to wet skin, you could also leave it on for a few minutes as a mask.

On the British isles the weather is rarely that warm, so instead this product seems so solidify with various pockets having more or less crystals. It turns out that the lighter areas have most of the crystals and the darker veins of the product have hardly any. I mostly use this a scrub, occasionally as a mask in the shower. The shower mask is especially great towards the bottom of the jar, when there are too many crystals left, I mix a bit of the product with water, applying to damp face making sure not to rub, the shower water completely removes the mask without any scrubbing happening. I generally find that physical scrubs work well with my skin, my pores are prone to blackheads and this product is pretty amazing at dealing with that particular problem. You do need to be careful when using it though, as you could easily end up with way more scrubbing action than you expected. Still for a while I thought this product was better than the Mermaid mask, but honestly can't decide between the two, which ever one I'm using at the time seems to be the better one! Maybe I should have had mermaid on half of the face and honey love on the other to test! Typical, only just thought of this when I run out so I can't do the comparison, how annoying. This mask comes in two sizes, the 2oz is about £12.

Unfortunately I have recycled my empty pot prematurely, so I can't give you guys the exact list of ingredients that I had, but there have been some changes. Here is the current ingredient list:

Hawaiian raw honey, organic hibiscus flowers, organic chamomile flowers, organic lavender flowers, leahlani balancing essential oil blend, organic vegetable glycerine, rosewater, rosemary antioxidant complex, organic jojoba oil, vitamin e, vitamin c, corundum crystal powder.

Coco Infusion Pua Lei. I love coconut infusions, my absolute favourite is monoi de tahiti with frangipani (which I unfortunately can't find since I've started being more selective with brands and ingredients). They make a brilliant multipurpose product for hair and body. Leahlani's in particular is a mixture of:  coconut oil, kukui oil, macadamia nut oil, seabuckthorn fruit, vitamin E and a blend of organic fragrances. Pua lei is a mix of puakenikini flowers and tuberose. The scent is intoxicating, it is what I would call a girly floral. It is feminine but not like a femme fatale, but a youthful playful fragrance, reminiscent of exotic holidays and summer romance, flirty, sexy, but not dangerous.

While the scent is strongest when first applied, it does linger for several hours, so if someone is close enough to kiss you on the cheek, they will notice it, but you are not walking around in the cloud of fragrance. My skin drinks this up, yet a little goes along way. I find that I need to be careful not to have too much product out all at once. As with most coconut oil based products it is practically solid at room temperature, however as it comes in a plastic bottle, I can easily squeeze some out (or you can always run the bottle under a hot tap to make it melt a bit more). It works beautifully as a hair treatment oil too, personally I don't use it as such because I have a few others, but I do like rubbing the tiniest bit between my hands and smoothing it through my hair to tame flyaways and for the scent. It comes in two varieties, plain or kula version which has sparkles (there is also another scent, Mahana, coconut and vanilla).

Mango Body butter. From the start I did not get on with this product. First of all I would not describe it as a butter, the consistency, look and feel is that of a yogurt. As I was expecting a solid butter, I wasn't very careful when opening the pot, so almost a quarter of the butter did end up on my bed, due to the way I was holding the jar. Now obviously there is nothing wrong with a cream consistency if that is what you are looking for, it can feel very soothing and refreshing, however I prefer balms and oils. There are only two body creams/lotions that I repurchase, and both are because I love the scent. I do not love this scent, at all. I have had mango body butters in the past and just adored them, this to me smells a bit like bubble gum (I'm not sure if something went wrong with my batch, but I really don't smell mango and I did ask Mr RF to sniff test it, we both seem to smell the same thing). Generally speaking the consistency is fab, it sinks in really well and moisturises wonderfully, so if you like lotions it is a lovely one, however this particular scent is really not working for me. In the light of the fact that I loved the coco infusions, and all the scents of other Leahlani products, I am really surprised that I disliked the body butter quiet this much.

The jar is around £14 for 8oz.

shea butter, veg glycerin, sunflower and olive oil, vit e, coconut oil, caprylyl glycol from coconut, glycine derivative preservative, fragrance and essential oil blend, rose ether

Perfume oils. At present I have three Leahlani perfumes: Pua Lei, Pikake, and Lychee. While I like all three it is probably obvious that Pua Lei is the favourite, since I have the coco infusion in the same scent. It is just absolutely gorgeous, the roll on is a little more intense than the body oil in terms of fragrance, but otherwise they smell the same. Pikake is a sharp floral that sort of reminds me of carnations a little, it comes of a bit stronger than the others originally, and settles down after a few minutes. I think of it as a floral for people who like to stay active, the fragrance is sort of bouncy and spirited, like a quick step dancer. Lychee is an odd one, while it doesn't smell like the fruit, and generally makes me think of vanilla when I sniff the bottle, on my skin it smells like a summer berry jam, but not nearly as sweet as it does in the bottle. There is an undeniable powdery note which I normally don't like in perfumes, but it somehow works here.

The perfumes need to be used within 9 months of purchase and are around £16. Some of the blends use fragrance oils, but they are alcohol and phthalate free.


As I was looking at the Leahlani etsy store to link up products for this review, I noticed that some of the ingredient lists are missing entirely and others are different from the listings on the pots. After asking Leah, it appears that there are lots of changes happening at once so things will be getting updated in the near future. As a rule of thumb I don't purchase from brands that don't list ingredients online. I have pretty strong feelings on the subject, and I really dislike it when brands don't have this information, due to personal skin sensitivities and in general, like many green consumers, I tend to make my purchasing decisions based on the ingredients list, so lack of them normally would loose me as a customer. In this particular instant I already tried and fell in love with the products, so I am just waiting for the updates to happen (if you don't want to wait and are happy to email, Leah is not keeping secrets she will send you all the info you need).

There are some exciting changes taking place with Leahlani, new packaging and products, that I am personally looking forward to. A lot of thought goes into creating this range and the products are made to order. Leah, the formulator and the belle behind the brand, is a trained esthetician who also went through a lot with her own skin, the range grew from a personal journey, and I think that is one of the reason why so many people are loving the products. For me both masks and the coco infusion are the winners. The masks especially stand out from the sea of facial care products as something that delivers wonderful results while still being very gentle with your skin.

Have you tried anything from the Leahlani range? Any favourites? Anything on the wish list?

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