Wednesday, 30 September 2015

TruSelf Organics Clear Skin Foaming Cleanser; Relinquish The Foam Once More!

Foam. I wash my hands of it. Or, don't wash my hands, or my hair, or my face with it, as the case may be. Foaming cleansers are something that have been heavily on my avoid list for some time, and for good reason, too. As foam is usually a result of sulphates and other astringent chemicals, I figured trying an organic foam would offer the same sense of clean without all the nastiness. I was wrong. Enter saponified oils.

Saponification is the process of converting oils or fats into soap. While the process will differ from brand-to-brand, you can read an extensive overview of saponification on Dr. Bronner's An Overview of Soapmaking article or on good old faithful Wikipedia. Saponification can be used to create soft, hard and liquid soaps from a completely natural chemical reaction. All three of which can lather, offering a foaminess not too dissimilar to that created by chemical sulphates. 
Foaming cleansing agents are exceptionally powerful at removing oil, dirt, grime and anything that's generally a little tough to remove. The trouble is, when you use something that super strength on your skin, you are often at risk at removing essential oils and moisture as well. This can result in a disturbance of your skin's acid mantle, meaning your pH balance will be off-kilter. Ever wondered what that tight, dry feeling is after using a foaming cleanser? That's the disruption of your acid mantle, and that's not good.

The TruSelf Organics Clear Skin Foaming Cleanser is absolutely caustic on my skin. This sud-ridden froth lathers straight out of the pump-dispenser and leaves my skin with one of the nastiest, most uncomfortably tight sensations. It strips my skin past the bare bones, stealing away all my natural goodness and leaving me exposed and disturbed.

This liquid soap comes in a magical pump-dispenser that does all the foaming for you before you've even started. From the first pump you are supplied with a bubble mass with which you are to move around your face. It stings, oh how it stings. As you roll the soap around your pre-wetted face, the suds begin to multiply, converting you into a monstrous bubble. At this stage, my skin is already inflamed, I'm the sensitive type, I've gone beyond tingly and my skin is screaming out. There's difficulty in removal as the suds continue to breed and burst as I attempt to wash them away.

This cleanser is dangerous.

After finally removing all the foam, my skin is just outright irritated. I'm blotchy, I'm red. This isn't an allergic reaction, this is just an extremely corrosive cleanser. I feel dry now. My skin is alone and stripped bare. I layer on moisturiser on top of facial oils on top of hydrating mists, but nothing is doing the trick. My skin has been exposed and it's not something you can simply re-nourish.

This cleanser removes any nutrients from the natural barrier of my skin in an attempt to make sure I'm thoroughly clean. It's harsh, it's corrosive, it's stripping, it's skin-tightening, it's something I will be ostracising from my routine indefinitely. No. Organic does not mean skin-friendly. Foam is never, ever, friendly to my skin.

I contacted TruSelf Organics regarding the corrosive nature of their cleanser, I was told I could return the cleanser and receive my money back. How compensatory! When I brought up I lived in the UK, and the cost of return P&P would actually be greater than the worth of the product itself, I was effectively shown the door and asked to leave. It's good to see real-honest brands looking after our skins and our well-being.


Sunday, 27 September 2015

What's In The Beauty Box?

For the longest time now, I've invested in Beauty Boxes, and I find them to be the most charming and fun way to experiment with new regimes, new (or at least new to me) products and brands. As a specifically curated box - sometimes of mystery contents - their offerings often tend to be thematic; introducing you to a particular beauty method/regime/practice, a new collection of brands, or a complimentary selection of products, expertly curated to achieve results. What's more, bundling together like this usually offers a significant discount from the RRPs of the individual products. 
It started with the LoveLula Beauty Box and it grew from there. I loved receiving a little package of unknown goodies, and very often fell heels over head for products I may not have ever considered trying. From here, my love affair with all things Beauty Box blossomed. I'm hooked.

While Beauty Boxes aren't without their flaws, I have still considered them to hold high value for savers and opportunist alike. The trouble with Beauty Boxes is, different strokes for different folks must always be considered. However, when this stroke has to cover the massively variable nature of skin, it's like making sweeping strokes for all folks. Sometimes, these boxes will swing and miss. Sometimes they will be bang on. It's a gamble, sure, but one I like to invest in. 

I figure it would be responsible of me to share the contents of my boxes (from this point onwards), in order to highlight what charming little delights are available and a first-thoughts review of the goodies inside. So, without further ado, let's take a peek at some of the available boxes and why I purchase them:

LoveLula Beauty Box

LoveLula is where I do most of my shopping, and when I found out they do a Beauty Box, well, I couldn't be merrier. LoveLula's stocklist consists of a plethora of amazing natural and/or organic products, a huge number of which are certified by The Soil Association, The Vegan Society and The Leaping Bunny, allowing you to indulge yourself in luxurious safe and guilt-free products.
The LoveLula Beauty Box is delivered directly to your door on a monthly bases, featuring an average of 5-7 natural products, ranging from sample sachets, trial versions to full-size. While their monthly offerings are a random assortment of goodies, each box usually contains something for everyone.

As it's subscription based, these little loot drops are a brilliant way to experience the fun of beauty without the fuss of not knowing where to start. If you're a fan of mystery (who isn't?), this is a great way to treat yourself to a little surprise each month.

As LoveLula have an amazing stocklist of brands (full list available here), it's sometimes difficult to know where to start. The Beauty Box has introduced me to so many different brands and products that have now become solid staples in my routine. I couldn't be more grateful for the introduction as this boxes continue to flourish week-on-week.

This is the box that keeps on giving, as for each month there is a 20% discount for subscribers, for the purchase of any products from the brands featured in the box. So, if you liked one of the samples in the box, you can pick it up once more for a generous 20% off that month. Or maybe you didn't gel with that particular product, but like something else from the same brand, have that with a cheeky 20% off instead.

The LoveLula Beauty Box is a subscription box, priced at £12.50 (incl. delivery) a month. Payments are automatically taken and a 20% discount for featured brands is awarded to subscribers.

Naturismo Discovery Box

Naturismo are a natural and/or organic retailer, focusing on ethical and sustainable beauty and well-being. Their stocklist features a high calibre of global luxury brands, all of which are highly coveted. The Naturismo Discovery Box is a pay-per-box model, meaning there is no subscription needed. The products featured inside the box are announced beforehand so you can decide if you want it or not. But be warned, these things fly off the shelves, and once they're gone, they're gone. 
The Naturismo Discovery Box is expertly curated around a particular theme, their contents tailored to provide answers to particular needs. Seven seems to be the magic number here, as these boxes usually feature seven beautiful natural product from a variety of brands. This is a fantastic way to get acquainted with natural beauty brands, new beauty regimes and discover new product releases.

The boxes offer an incredible discount from the products RRP, usually containing a value of over £40.00 for just under a tenner. They are an absolute steal. As this is something I can view before I buy, I can pick-and-choose the boxes I feel applicable for my needs. These boxes do move fast, you may want to consider joining the Naturismo mailing list, or keeping an eye on their Instagram.

The Naturismo Discovery Box can be purchased, when announced, for £9.95 (incl. delivery).

Caroline Hirons Cult Beauty Box

Caroline Hirons is an expert of all things skin. Having been in the cosmetics industry as a skin consultant, working alongside some of the biggest names in beauty, she knows a thing or two about what your skin needs and why it needs it. Caroline recently teamed up with Cult Beauty to provide a care-package of everything your skin will need in its day-to-day routine (at a heavily discounted price, may I add).
The Caroline Hirons Cult Beauty Box (of which there have only been two thus far, but I expect - and hope - for this to become a regular thing) is very much a luxury box, and thus, fairly pricey. Your eyes might water at the price-tag, but the contents are near-all full-size, or at least very generous trial sizes. They offer everything you'll need to start your daily ritual. Once again, this suffers from the issue of sweeping strokes for all folks, but will aid you to understanding each step to a routine, why it's important and what it actually means.

The boxes are fully revealed beforehand, allowing you to decide if you can fork over the best part of your monthly allowance for the possible advantage of your skin. But, these curated boxes come in limited supply, so be fast and be true. Following the Caroline Hirons blog will give you a heads up, as she always provides a waiting list. If you're on the list, you get a small priority window of which to purchase the box before it goes on general sale, but this still does not guarantee you a box. A lesson I sadly learned myself.

The Caroline Hirons Cult Beauty Box is available as an when announced for a varying price (usually over £100.00).

Peace & Beauty London Samples Box

Peace & Beauty London are an artisan eco-conscious beauty, home and accessories retailer, stocking some extraordinarily luxurious handcrafted, natural and British skincare products. They recently introduced their Peace & Beauty London Samples Box to help you discover some of the incredible brands they feature at an affordable price.
While there have only been two boxes thus far, I expect this to become a more regular service. Sure, their current selection of beauty may be minimal, but every single item in their catalogue is one I wish to try or experience and a Samples Box is an affordable and fun way to do this.

The box contents are always announced beforehand, meaning you can pick-and-choose which boxes you'd like to take away with you. As a sample size, you'll receive a miniature version of the full-size products, which is just enough for you to experiment and make your mind up if you wish to follow it up with a full purchase.

The Peace & Beauty London Samples Box is available as and when announced at a varying price (history determines between £5.00-£10.00). Postage is not included in that price. 

For any future Beauty Box purchases, I will feature them on the blog, with a run-down of their contents. I will provide initial thoughts on the box and its content, but I will not provide full reviews of the products until I have tried and finished their full-size versions.

This is not a sponsored post. All Beauty Boxes were purchased with my own pennies and all thoughts are my own. 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

#MissionEmpties: The Results Have Been Counted and Verified

#MissionEmpties has now come to a close, and I do not regret, not for a single second, taking part in this challenge, in fact, I'm all the better for it. My cupboards are (very nearly) empty, my face is looking just stellar and my consumer habits have switched onto a new way of purchasing. Visa card makes audible sigh of relief.
It has been a tough month, to accommodate these products into my daily routine, to try and use products that weren't entirely effective, or quite frankly, just dreadful. But for the most part, I have used some superb and wonderful products that I intend to repurchase or feature as a solid staple in my usual skincare, bodycare and haircare routines.

While I didn't manage to cross everything off this list, let's be honest, I gave it a good run for its money, right? Alongside the products in my original pledge, I did manage to empty some additional products, as listed in the Additional Empties category. Let's marvel, shall we?


  1. Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash
  2. Bee Good Honey & Propolis 2-in-1 Cream Cleanser (x2)
  3. Bee Good Honey & Wild Flax Daily Moisturiser
  4. Benefit the POREfessional
  5. Burt’s Bees Citrus Facial Scrub
  6. Clarins Instant Eye Make-Up Remover
  7. Clarins Ultra-Matte Rebalancing Lotion
  8. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
  9. Innisfree Jeju Volcanic Blackhead Out Balm
  10. JOIK Deep Cleansing Facial Oil
  11. La Roche-Posay Effeclar Duo
  12. Lovea Purifying Pink Clay Face Mask
  13. LUSH Enzymion
  14. LUSH Honey Trap
  15. LUSH Imperialis
  16. LUSH Tea Tree Water
  17. Lyonsleaf Natural Beauty Balm
  18. Mádara Brightening AHA Peel Mask
  19. Manuka Doctor Normalising Facial Oil
  20. Mario Badesku Silver Powder
  21. Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum
  22. Origins Super Spot Remover
  23. Origins United State Balancing Tonic
  24. Pure Chimp Super Face Cream
  25. Pure Chimp Super One (Natural Face Oil)
  26. REN Keep Young and Beautiful Instant Firming Beauty Shot
  27. Skin & Tonic London Calm Balm
  28. Skin Food Black Sugar Mask
  29. The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lips Make-Up Remover
  30. Trilogy Certified Organic Rosehip Oil
  31. Yes to Grapefruit Dark Circle Correcting Eye Cream
  32. Yes to Tomatoes Clearing Face Mask
  33. Yes to Tomatoes Daily Balancing Moisturiser



  1. Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray
  2. Human + Kind Conditioner (Orange)
  3. LUSH Shine So Bright
  4. Macadamia Nourishing Leave-in Cream

Additional Empties

  1. A'kin Macadamia & Wheat Protein Conditioner
  2. Andrea Garland Rose and Ginseng Revitalising Toner
  3. Andrea Garland Face Cream With Lavender and Rosehip
  4. Balm Balm Frankincense Light Facial Oil
  5. Balm Balm Tea Tree Organic Lip Balm
  6. Bee Good Honey & Wild Water Mint 3-in-1 Cleansing Water
  7. Bee Good Honey, Borage & Echium Intensive Hand Repair
  8. Herbacín Wuta Kamille + Glycerine Hand Cream
  9. Holika Holika Pig Nose Clear Blackhead Cleansing Sugar Scrub
  10. John Masters Organics Spearmint & Meadowsweet Scalp Stimulating Shampoo
  11. La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo [+]
  12. Lanolips Triply Buttermilk Body Balm
  13. LUSH Curly Wurly Coconut Shampoo
  14. Moss Skincare Clear Resolution Balancing Facial Oil
  15. Our Tiny Bees Über Balm
  16. The Natural Deodorant Co. Clean Deodorant Balm
  17. The Oxford Honey Company Beeswax Foot Cream
  18. Skin & Tonic London Brit Beauty Oil

For those of you who like statistics (who doesn't, right?), let's crunch some numbers, in the name of interest:
  • Of the 48 products from my initial pledge, I managed to empty 39 products, making that a shortfall of only 9 products.
  • I managed to empty an additional 18 products, making that a grand total of 66 products emptied.
  • #MissionEmpties ran for a total of 31 days, making that an average burn rate of 2.13 products emptied per day.
  • Of the 66 products I used, 7 of them I rated Essential.
  • Of the 66 products I used, 15 of them I rated Effective, repurchase.
  • Of the 66 products I used, 19 of them I rated Effective, don't repurchase.
  • Of the 66 products I used, of them I rated Ineffective.
  • Of the 66 products I used, of them I rated Not Suitable.
  • Of the 66 products I used, of them I rated Avoid.
  • The total value of all 66 products I used comes to £724.66. That statistic actually makes me feel a little queasy...
  • That's an average spend of £10.98 per product. 

To catch-up on how I did through #MissionEmpties, or to read the miniature reviews of each products, you can be accessed here:
There's still work to be done, products to be emptied, and @hiddenharmonyworld has already made plans for a future #MissionEmpties Challenge (let's be honest, I need it). Make sure you take part, the more the merrier!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

#MissoinEmpties Week 04: The Curtain Call

The #MissionEmpties Challenge is in its final week, and with it comes a whole new list of products I've managed to tick off my pledge list. On the round-up this week, we have a wonderful range of delicate and nurturing products, all of which keep sensitivity in mind.

You'll notice a sizeable amount of Bee Good products featured this week. That's because I picked up the Bee Good Bee Beautiful Gift Pack (£45.00) a few months ago, giving me the opportunity to try out (nearly) everything they have to offer, and boy, it did not disappoint.

So, for the final time, let's see what's graced my body this week, shall we?

I am terribly prone to cold sores, and, if you've ever had a cold sore, you'll know just how difficult it is to keep your lips hydrated without risking spreading the infection. Tea tree is a fantastic natural antiseptic, making it super useful to feature in a lip balm, as it helps to fight the cold sore infection while keeping the rest of the lips nourished and hydrated. This has to be my all time favourite product. It has a very balmy (clue is in the name) texture, that melts into a warm, nourishing oil. It has no greasiness or stickiness, just a smooth moisturising layer. There is a lovely inoffensive tea tree smell, making it the perfect partner when my lips are damaged or sore. Essential. 

I have a bit of a love affair with this cleanser (full review here). It has a lovely pillow-y texture that effectively clears the skin while helping retain optimum moisture levels. Don't get me started on the smell. This wonderful piece of cloud is scrumptious, hydrating, rich and refreshing. You can bet I'm bumping this thing up from Effective, repurchase to Essential.

As moisturisers go, this has to be the thinnest one I've used to date. This almost runny liquid easily glides and spreads over skin, absorbing instantaneously. Skin is left feeling light and fresh, allowing for that breathable skin sensation. It has a gorgeously sweet scent, that helps to make you feel, look and smell delicious. This moisturiser is perfect for helping any non-absorbing products to absorb. For example, with any particularly stubborn facial oils, when I apply a small amount of this on top, they sink into skin instantly. While I do love this, I think it is really rather too expensive, making it a tough purchase to justify. Effective, don't repurchase.

The 3-in-1 properties of this product include: cleansing, toning and refreshing, it can be used for any of the aforementioned. Similar to that of your typical micellar waters, it can be used to cleanse skin and remove make-up, or as a non-astringent replacement for a toner, or as a pick-me-up to help refresh throughout the day. I use this as a toner as it is very light and delicate, making it super suitable for sensitive skins. It offers an instant refreshing sensation that is cooling and nicely soothing; making skin feel fresh and clear. It's best for those more sensitive days, when skin is feeling a little delicate, but otherwise offering no real skin benefits. Effective, don't repurchase.

A considerable amount of bee-centric companies have their own gardener's hand cream, that is usually far more intensive than your average day-to-day one. This is no different. This supper intensive cream is fantastically hydrating, helping to keep hands protected. However, because it is super strength, I can only use it before bed, when I no longer plan to touch anything, as it leaves a white cast on hands, along with an almost sticky finish. The smell is pretty and fresh and my hands are left in very good care. Effective, don't repurchase.

This wonderful little oil helps to keep skin clear of blemishes while providing the utmost nourishment and hydration (full review here). This orange-green elixir can stain, so its important to fully blend in, allowing the oil to fully absorb and moisturise the skin. It's perfect for keeping blemishes at bay, and as it's completely non-astringent, it makes skin feel revitalised. Effective, repurchase.

This is one of those heavy duty moisturisers, when your skin requires something a little more powerful to protect and rehydrate. This is a balm that turns into a near grease-like texture on skin, and it will remain greasy, without absorbing. It has a bubbly consistency, that feels almost exfoliating. I find this perfect for helping to rehydrate and re-nourish after using a particularly strong face mask. It will help remove that tight, inflamed feeling, restoring my skin's balance. As always, it features that truly edible signature PureChimp banana smell. Effective, don't repurchase. 

As compliment to the PureChimp Super Face Cream (featured above), I use this facial oil to help nourish my skin when it is irritated, tight, inflamed or dehydrated. This oil is expertly nourishing, helping to restore, revitalise and care for my skin. I use this on both face and body, it will not absorb on the face, but it does absorb on the body, helping to soothe rashes and calm any inflammation. Effective, don't repurchase.

This little sachet appeared in the September edition of the LoveLula Beauty Box, I wanted to talk about it briefly as it inspired me to pick up the full size. This lovely orange-gold syrup has an uplifting and gorgeous mint fragrance. As it contains no sulphates, it doesn't actually foam, however, it still offers a thorough cleanse. My hair is left silky smooth and shiny. I honestly feel like I have advertisement-worthy hair. An absolute full purchase. Effective, repurchase.

This nutty and naturally fragranced conditioner is wonderfully conditioning and nourishing for my dry hair. My strays and fly-aways are contained, without this product being too heavy or making my hair lank/weighed down. This is the perfect conditioner to help lock-in moisture. Effective, don't repurchase.

Said to see you through a #QuarterLifeCrisis, this serum allegedly provides a pre-anti-ageing treatment (more on that in my full review here). This delicate little serum helps to improve skin condition by smoothing and redefine the skin, offering a more youthful appearance. Pores are made to appear reduced, and scarring and blemishes are diminished. While this doesn't delete dullness, it provides a much smoother complexion. Effective, repurchase.

Having spent a lifetime of holidays on Fistral Beach, Newquay, I am a big lover of ocean-fresh hair which can only be achieved by natural sea salt. While this product doesn't do much in the way of creating those beach waves, it does add a salty rough texture, which then can be styled as pleased. Applying the correct amount is key, use too much and your hair will become super try and matted, use too little and it won't take any effect. Effective, don't repurchase.

This is something I talked about a good while ago (full review here), and something I've completely changed my opinion on. I no longer like it. While it is aimed at combo skins (meaning it isn't really applicable to me), it doesn't nothing in the way of oil control. It is think and spreadable in consistency, but it doesn't exactly absorb. Nor does skin feel all that fresh, after a few hours of wearing I feel almost dirty. It's a fairly moose-cream type consistency that doesn't offer any hydration. Yet, it still features a wonderfully sweet smell, so there that is. Ineffective.

LUSH Imperiaus Facial Moisturiser £13.50 / 45G
This is a moisturiser I only use pre-exercise. As it has a light consistency, yet offers a heavy dose of hydration. This product is perfect for keeping skin moisturised while being in no-way suffocating. It's quite a refreshing product, lightweight enough to sweat through and still remain intact (full review here). Effective, don't repurchase.

I don't know what it is, clearly me and Andrea Garland don't see eye-to-eye as this is yet another product that I just can't stomach. It as been an agony to use this, and once again, the blames lies with the scent. Smelling like something in the way of used tea bag, this has a strong sharp and lingering scent. While said to help balance sebum production, this product does nothing of the sort. Instead, it makes me very oily, very quickly. It has a horrible heavy and thick consistency, that likes to sit atop of skin. While it's not all criticism, this moisturiser does effective balance my uneven skintone, helping to calm and reduce and redness. Avoid.

That's another 15 product empties, only 8 of which were on my initial pledge.Tune in tomorrow for the final tally. There will be many statistics. Don't all cheer at once!

To catch up on my initial pledge list and rule about the self-directed #MissionEmpties Challenge, please read the #MissionEmpties MASTER POST.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The #QuarterLifeCrisis; Do I Really Want To Be Anti-Ageing In My Early Twenties?

I have a very critical, and occasionally cynical, part to my mind that refuses to see the world for black and white. Nothing is ever what it is advertised to us as. A few months back, when Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum hit the shop floors, my feed was flooded with claims that any age-fearing human in their mid-twenties needed to add pre-anti-ageing anti-ageing into their routines. Red flag; my natural scepticism kicked straight in.

This isn't to say this product doesn't work, but really, would we ever know otherwise?

It's brilliant, really. A market that never existed before, has now been created. The product created for that marked has positively unmeasurable results. How do I possibly ever quantify whether pre-anti-ageing products work? I don't. I just close my eyes, continue to fork over the £32.00 bi-monthly and hope for the best. 

Without any possible way to measure whether this product will take any visible effect on my skin, lets talk about the immediate changes, the effects I can see happening now. And you know what, contrary to my thought on this scheme, this serum does actually have some merit.
Taking 1-2 pumps of this light mauve-pink serum into my palms - which is more than spreadable enough to cover the entire face - its silky thick cream-like consistency, feels almost velvety on skin. There is an instant pore-blurring effect, combined with the pinkish tint, it makes for the perfect skin smoother.

My skin condition has significantly improved. I have a much smoother skin, with the depth of pores minimised and any scarring or permanent blemishes drastically reduced in visibility. My skin feels so wonderfully supple and delicate and the only way it could possibly described as, is... youthful. There it is. They did it.

While I can't vouch for the anti-ageing effects, the potential is there and the Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum does have immediate skin improving qualities. However, the claim to delete skin dullness and enhance skin's glow are weak at best. In fact, my skin feels almost a little duller when using this. But glow can be added through other products as skin smoothing effects like this are difficult to come by.

So, where do I stand on pre-anti-ageing? I don't. I don't stand anywhere on it. It is just too impossible to quantify the results. By the time I show signs of ageing, I have no measurable way to say whether the Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum suspended the ageing process, accelerated it, or did utterly nothing at all. Maybe I'll come back in 20 years with some answers for you.

But for now, the Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum is a delicate thick serum which helps to blur pores and smooth skin. It gives skin a youthful-esque delicacy, applied in a gorgeously velvety formula with a petite, fruity scent. Effective, repurchase.

As early-twenties anti-ageing goes, I'm still sceptical on you.

Origins Original Skin Renewal Serum is available from Origins for £32.00 for 30ML (full size). Alternatively, you can pick up the 15ML (miniature size) for £15.00. Which, if you by 2 of, actually works out cheaper for you. Go figure. 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Moss Clear Resolution Balancing Facial Oil, For Clearer, Healthier Skin

Moss: Modern Organic Sacred Skincare are a luxury organic skincare brand specifically focused on providing natural solutions to acne, congested and blemish prone skin types. As my skin type is oily, I am regularly burdened with large, inflamed blemishes along my neck and jawline. Moss Clear Resolution Balancing Facial Oil has featured heavily around my jaw these past three months, and I've got to say, I am so glad we crossed paths.
I'd never even considered the possibility before, that blemish control products could be carried as an oil. Sign me up! Championing the ingredients list is Guava Seed Oil, which helps to supply a healthy dose of Vitamin C. Black Cumin (Nigella Sativa) Seed Oil helps to reduce inflammation and soothe fussy skin. Followed by Ginger, Jasmine and Rose to help heal and nourish.

This super little mixture has helped my jawline to feel wonderfully nourished and moisturised. Forgetting the blemish fighting powers for a moment, this little wonder-bottle has helped to nurture and regenerate my skin, transforming into a gorgeous, supple and clear neckline.

The concept of nurturing skin to help sooth and calm is very welcome indeed. The serum helps to carefully heal the skin, without any need for harsh or astringent chemicals. Instead, it very gently takes my face in both hands and coddles it back to good health. My neck blemishes have now been banished. I saw immediate effects in reducing redness and inflammation, followed by prevention of any further outbreaks. My jawline is now clear and blemish-free! 

This is a very thick oil, yet surprisingly manages to disappear seamlessly. The serum is quite warm and friendly to touch, it's a very welcome and pleasant product. It is somewhat orange-green in colour and can stain the skin if not blended carefully, so make sure to double-check - I have been caught out a few times by that. The scent is pleasantly powerful, somewhat earthy, yet in a way quite tart, but almost certainly therapeutic.

Miraculously, this little bottle seems to break the Bekenstein Limit. How it managed to last three months, I'm clueless, as I applied a several drops both morning and night, daily. I loved that instantaneous nourishment I felt upon applying this serum. I immediately felt hydrated and revitalised, a sensation which, to date, has gone unmatched.

The anti-inflammatory and blemish prevention abilities of the Moss Clear Resolution Balancing Facial Oil are absolute. By marring ingredients with both blemish control and nourishing properties, this oil manages to excel against other harsher treatments, a true testament to the power of nature. Effective, repurchase.

Moss Clear Resolution Balancing Facial Oil can be purchased from Moss for $65.00 / 20ML.

Unfortunately, Moss are only based in the US, meaning you'll have to fork out for international delivery costs ($22.00) and potentially face customs charges.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

#MissionEmpties Week 03: Over the Hump

Week after week, I find myself increasingly satisfied with the sheer volume of products I am able to eliminate from my collection. While the countless emptied bottles, tubes and jars all speak for themselves, I can't give myself total credit. These featured products were already partially empty when I begun #MissionEmpties, ranging anywhere between 1 days use, to 4 weeks remaining, the majority of which, falling into the lower end of that scale. Because, let's be honest, nobody gets through 3 toners in a month.
This week has been an interesting rollercoaster of finding dreamy products I have fallen in love with, countered by a myriad of products I've found dull, useless, or just outright hated. Yes, this week has been tough. Let's go from best to worst, shall we?

I just could not love this cleanser more (full review here). While it creates a small lather, it is in no way stripping, instead, it's really quite moisturising. Its ability to unclog pores is unmatched. I have the clearest, cleanest skin imaginable after use. This product has become an absolute staple for me, degunking pores in the most comfortable fashion. Essential.

Through encouraging cellular function, this oil hugely improves skin condition, creating a healthier and plumper complexion (full review here). My skin looks fuller and nourished, given the optimum level of hydration. While a slightly heavier oil, it's perfect for use as a night-time moisturiser. Effective, repurchase.

This delicately light oil helps to improve skin's condition while regulating oil production (full review here). Skin is expertly hydrated, while revitalised through the rejuvenating properties of frankincense. My skin appears much healthier, offering a brighter complexion, the perfect substitue for a day-time moisturiser. Effective, repurchase. 

PureChimp Super Body Cream £12.95 / 120ML
I'm a big advocate for PureChimp, their simple natural formulas are, in essence, super foods for the skin. Their PureChimp Super Body Cream is a buttery little number, with an almost bubbly, whipped texture, which, once applied, melts into a rather thick oil. While it is fairly greasy, it is in no way sticky. Follow that up with a wonderfully banana-y scent, and you've got yourself the perfect creamy mix to keep skin supple and moisturised. Effective, repurchase. 

As someone who is always on their feet and always participating in sports or exercise, my feet are often left neglected, when really, they need the utmost care. I suffer with dry feet, blisters, cracking, you name it, I continue to put my feet through it. Beeswax has been the perfect solution for helping to moisturise and heal my poor bruised tootsies. The beeswax helps to create a thick protective barrier that moisturises and cures any damage. My feet are now super supple and soft. It's wax after all, so it's a little tough to spread, but it's wonderfully moisturising, perfect for evening use. Effective, repurchase.

My hair has always been dry and frizzy, and I've found one of the best ways to counter that is to cleanse my hair with moisturising shampoos without any over-stripping sulphates. The LUSH Curly Wurly Coconut Shampoo is very nourishing and caring, helping to leave my hair and scalp wonderfully hydrated, without making it heavy, greasy or lank. It contains desiccated coconut, which becomes tangled in hair, even after rinsing, as it's tricky to remove. I find it in my bathtub, on my floors, in my bed, stuck in my hair. It's very, very messy. Effective, don't repurchase.

While oily, my skin often does become dehydrated or in need of some TLC. For those times, I'll pick up and intensive moisturiser to help sooth and rehydrate my skin. The Body Shop Vitamin E Moisture Cream is very cooling to touch, helping to instantly sooth and calm. It is a very loose, spreadable liquid that quickly absorbs, offering an instant boost of hydration. The smell is just divine, very natural and pretty. Effective, don't repurchase. 

During my initial pledge, my other half said he would help me get through my products. This is the one and only product he used... and you guessed it, his comments on it are dry at best. "Yes it smells good and yes it does good.": in response to my questioning. But, well, that's not useful to anybody, so I used this body wash myself (even though I'm an self-proclaimed soap lover). Geranium is one of my all time favourite scents, and combined with grapefruit creates the ultimate complimentary blend. The wash is wonderfully moisturising and effectively cleans. If I were a body wash user, you can bet I'd repurchase this. But sadly, I'm not. Not Suitable.

As a face mask with a consistency similar to a treacle syrup, it manages to be both moisturising and exfoliating, turning skin into a much smoother and balanced canvas. This mask continues to stay wet, not drying on skin, meaning skin continues to feel hydrated and cherished. My skin feels very supple and soft after use, as, upon removal, the sugar granules create a nice gritty method of exfoliation. My complexion is balanced, meaning any redness or inflammation is significantly reduced. However, the smell somehow manages to be both sickly sweet and powerfully chemical, not nearly as delicious as it initally sounds. Effective, don't repurchase.

This product is the face scrub equivalent to the Skin Food Black Sugar Mask Wash Off (as seen above). Once again, it uses sugar to exfoliate, leaving behind much smoother skin. As sugar very readily dissolves in water, the scrub begins fairly gritty and once the granules begin to dissolve, becomes quite soft and gentle. It's bound inside a thick, sugary syrup which has a very fake an synthetic scent. Effective, don't repurchase.

I'll admit, I was a little dubious about this product, as I assumed it was going to be astringent. Instead, I found it to be really quite gentle. But this is where my praise ends. This tonic is utterly useless. It does nothing in the way of balancing, calming, toning or refreshing skin. While my skin does feel comfortable after use, the lack of any other redeeming properties make it really quite pointless. Ineffective.

This has to be one of the most pointless and ineffective products I have used of late. Supposedly, this product melts away blackheads after you message the soft-scoop balm into skin for around 3-5 minutes. It does nothing of the sort. The soft balm, melts into a very thin milk-like texture and disappears. There is no sensation while massaging and no visible after effects. It clogs pores horrendously; I can see the product trapped in my skin, so have to cleanse and exfoliate immediately after. Ineffective.

LUSH Tea Tree Water £4.25 / 100G
Since becoming enamoured with toning mists and sprays over the past few months, I figured this was a blanket truth for me, but after using LUSH Tea Tree Water, I quickly learned how wrong I was. This is not something you want to spray directly onto your face, ever. As it's a toning water, it's far thicker and heavier than your typical mist. It fires out of the bottle with such vigour, and leaves a very, very wet mess behind. It doesn't absorb, so bring out the welcome mat for the cotton pads. Spray directly onto your face, or apply via the cotton pad. Either way, keep this thing away from your eyes as it stings without mercy. As a tea tree toner, the fragrance is subtle and its antibacterial properties seem absent. Its only real redeeming quality is that it is very refreshing. Skin feels extremely fresh and clean after use, and nothing more. Ineffective.

I'll be honest, I found this utterly useless. Sadly, we just didn't click. This eye cream is of an extremely light consistency that manages to spread too far, too much. You have to be extremely sparing with your portion size, as the cream seems to slip and slide around skin, getting everywhere without ever actually absorbing. You are going to have to dedicate some real time to get this product to blend in. Besides the hassle, that's also the part where this cream doesn't work. My eye area is not brighter, or revived, nor am I hydrated. In fact, my eyes are often left feeling tight and exposed. Whatever you do, do not get this product in your eyes. It stings horribly and will leave irritation for at least 30 minutes afterwards. I don't need to tell you, Avoid.

As my cleansing routine is dominated by oils, I struggle just justify ever needing a dedicated make-up remover. When I consider that this is just specific for eyes and lips and requires a cotton pad to apply, it just seems too wasteful. When we also consider that this product is to be used specifically on the eyes, the very least we can expect is that it doesn't actually sting the eyes on contact, right? Well, enter The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye & Lip Make-Up Remover the most irritating product I have ever used. My eyes sting, weep and itch after use. To top that off, it just isn't effective, or nearly as efficient as an oil. While it does remove make-up, it takes such a huge amount of product to do a proper job. Avoid.

Andrea Garland Rose and Ginseng Revitalising Toner £12.50 / 100ML
This. Oh, my goodness. With only three organic ingredients, I would imagine you'd be very hard pressed to go wrong. Sadly, this is the most pointless, useless and ineffectual product I have ever used. Taking a small amount onto a cotton pad, and wiping it along skin, the initial scent is unpleasant, but not unbearable. After several moments the scent seems to sour and, quite honestly, smells like urine. It's powerful and unmasked. The grotesque scent sits with me all day. There are no toning, balancing or purifying effect here, only horrific smells. Avoid.

On that note, yes, I'm looking forward to returning to my usually routine. It has been tough, biting my tongue and getting through some of these products. I hate the thought of being wasteful, which I why I need to become far more savvy and responsible with my buying.

Of the 16 products listed here, 11 are from my original pledge, making the current standings at 17 left to empty.

To catch up on my initial pledge and rules about the self-directed #MissionEmpties Challenge, read the #MissionEmpties MASTER POST.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Balm Balm Frankincense Light Facial Oil

Balm Balm are a brand I've been introduced to through subscribing to the LoveLula Monthly Beauty Box. Without this introduction, I'm not sure whether I would have ever even thought to try Balm Balm. Since my subscription - which I have been subscribed to since June - I have had the pleasure of trying the Balm Balm Fragrance Free Organic Face Balm (£6.99 / 30ML), the Balm Balm Tea Tree Organic Lip Balm (£3.50 / 7ML) and the Balm Balm Frankincense Light Facial Oil (£7.99 / 10ML). All of which, I have thoroughly enjoyed, the lip balm especially so. As my routine goes, this is a brand I want to feature heavily, as their products are wonderfully nourishing, minimal and perfectly effective.

As one of the oilier skin types, whenever I hear the words 'light facial oil', I swoon. The Balm Balm Frankincense Light Facial Oil is a super light, yet very moisturising, facial oil, which helps to maintain optimum hydration levels throughout the day. It's a relatively thin oil that quickly and fully absorbs into skin, leaving a soft, hydrated complexion. 

Frankincense Oil (INCI: Boswelia Neglecta Oil) is listed 5 out of the 6 essential oils found in this product. So, what properties have you got Frankincense that deserve to put your name on the bottle? Frankincense has incredible rejuvenate effects, helping to improve and revitalise skin's condition. It has helped to refresh my skin, give me a brighter and more balanced complexion, while supporting skin's hydration levels.
Due to this oil being lightweight and absorbent, I use this it as a day-time moisturiser. My skin is wonderfully nourished throughout the day and my complexion is even and aglow. By helping maintain hydration, my skin's oil production is significantly reduced. While I still need to use a primer to help support oil control, the Balm Balm Frankincense Light Facial Oil moisturising properties are not something to bat an eyelid at. 

This is wonderful for improving skin's condition. I do find my skin to be rejuvenated and revitalised, giving me much healthier skin and a brighter complexion. It has a faint yellowish tinge, which doesn't stain skin as it quickly sinks away. The smell is utterly divine. A very rich and deep scent, its aromatic properties helping to calm and relax.

The Balm Balm Frankincense Light Facial Oil expertly keeps skin hydrated, refreshed and balanced. This delicate little thing is easily absorbed and something that will definitely be featuring in my routine in future. Effective, repurchase.

Balm Balm Frankincense Light Facial Oil can be purchased from LoveLula for £7.99 / 10ML. Alternatively, a larger value size can be purchase for £13.50 / 30ML here.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash: The Ultimate Cleanser for De-Gunking Pores

There are two words, which, without fail, always make my skin crawl. 'Face Wash'. There, did you feel it, too? 'Wash' often implies sulphates, surfactants, chemicals and all manner of harsh foaming agents designed to strip my skin of all its natural oily goodness.  But, with a 98.7% natural formula, Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash manages to create a gentle and moisturising lather which effectively clears skin without over-stripping. 
In order to create that lather, the Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash contains decyl glucoside and lauryl glucoside (both natural sugar-based co-surfactants), which are both derived from coconut and fruit sugars, used for their foaming and conditioning properties. The way this cleanser foams is unlike any other, as it is bound inside the lovely moisturising gum, which aids in the retention of skin's moisture.

When I say foam or froth here, I'm not talking about bubbles and suds, I'm talking about a gentle creamy lather that leaves a gum-based residue. The cleanser has a sticky gelatinous quality to it (a parallelism to which, I'm not going to draw out loud), but when it is activated on skin it becomes soft and slick, like a nice thick mousse. The gummy consistency leaves skin supple, instead of the usual tight and stripped sensation given from other foaming cleansers.

Now, this is where Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash really comes into its element. This cleanser is absolutely bloody brilliant at de-gunking pores. My pores literally transition from grey and clogged before use, to clear and empty after use. Any build-up or grime that is trapped in my pores is instantaneously and gently whisked away effortlessly, leaving me with the ultimate clear complexion. This is the most effective face wash I have ever used, bar none.

When it comes to removal, the cleanser is partially water resistant, meaning water appears to just slip off. So, this is another job for our friend, the trusty flannel. I have used this product around eyes, but they were closed tightly. It is recommended on the tube to keep eyes firmly shut when using. Those are explicit instructions. You've been warned.

The scent of this product is fairly chemical. It has a somewhat acidic, burnt fragrance to it that is fairly unpleasant. Not unpleasant enough to stop me from using it, but it's definitely something to be aware of. However, when you weigh up a few fleeting moments of a disagreeable scent, versus utterly unclogged skin, there's only one clear winner here.

As you might have guessed, this is definitely something I want in my routine. It's clearing, moisturising, cleansing and the most effective product I've found for unclogging pores. Essential.

The Balance Me Pure Skin Face Wash can be purchased from Balance Me at £11.00 / 50ML. Alternatively, a value size is available at £16.00 / 125ML here, and a sample size at £3.50 / 15ML here.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

#MissionEmpties Week 02: Halfway Checkpoint

We're halfway through the #MissionEmpties Challenge and I have been storming through my empties. Admittedly, the majority of products here were part-way used, trail versions, or virtually empty to begin with, but that's still one less product cluttering my shelves. 
For the most part, the products listed here were just wonderful, and I'm glad to have given myself the opportunity to finish them off. However, there are one or two featured that I felt were a little pointless, so I'm honestly glad to see the back of them.

Mádara Brightening AHA Peel Mask £20.00 / 60ML (Sample Available: £5.50 / 12.5ML here)
This product was featured in the Naturismo Cleanse & Polish Discovery Box, giving me the opportunity to try my hand at my very first peel, and you know what, this is not half bad. I was frightened at first, believe me, mask-based acid exfoliation was always something I figured my skin would be far too sensitive for. Actually, this product is super gentle. I literally couldn't feel it on my skin. It caused no tingling, no redness and no irritation. It is a very thin peel, once dried, leaves behind a thinly layered film to be removed. It has a very cooling and refreshing sensation; it's very soothing to wear. With 99% natural ingredients, it offers a brighter complexion, providing that lovely glow for when my skin is behaving dull and lacklustre. This is definitely something I will be trying again full size. Effective, repurchase.

Skin & Tonic London Steam Clean £27.00 / 50G (Sample Available: £11.00 . 15G here)
Also featured in the Naturismo Cleanse & Polish Discovery Box, the Skin & Tonic London Steam Clean is perhaps my favourite cleansing balm of all time. It is silky smooth, gliding onto skin in the most nurturing way. It melts away just divine, turning into a thick, yet breathable, oil that effectively dissolves make-up and removes grime. It needs to be removed with a cleansing cloth, thankfully it comes supplied with an Organic Cotton Cloth (£3.90 / 1 PIECE), which does a wonderfully good job of removing the product and gently exfoliating. Spearmint and thistle are definitely the strongest scents of the 6 organic ingredients listed here, giving a lovely fresh and renewing sensation. As it's a balm, it's very hydrating and moisturising, leaving skin undisturbed but effectively cleansed. Will I be picking up a full size? You bet'cha! Effective, repurchase.

Still in the Naturismo Cleanse & Polish Discovery Box, the Green People Fruit Scrub Exfoliator is a delightful little scrub that can be used on either face or body. Free from microbeads, this 88% organic scrub effectively exfoliates and softens skin, creating a glowing complexion while helping to retain skin's moisture. The natural granules are neither too harsh or too weak, they effectively exfoliate skin without causing any irritation. The cream is super spreadable, helping to carry the scrub, and has a somewhat fruity yet somehow bitter fragrance. Effective, don't repurchase.

Lanolips are most certainly one of my all-time favourite brands. I have loved each and every one of their products, and this has to be my most favourite of them all. Featuring natural lanolin (the wax from a sheep's wool), this forms a protective barrier around skin, allowing it to retain moisture and repair. This balm is just so wonderfully hydrating; my dry skin is instantly relieved. While buttery in colour, it blends in lovely, making skin feels suppler and softer. The smell is just so gorgeous, I can't get enough. Absolute Essential.

This oil is intended for combination and oily skins to help balance oil. Unfortunately, I find the scent just too overbearing and pungent that it is not something I can justify keeping on my face. Instead, I use it has a body oil. Waste not, want not. It's a very thick and heavily oil, but it manages to absorb into skin effectively, leaving behind a wonderfully natural glow. It's actually fairly dry in that respect, it isn't in the slightest bit sticky and it doesn't transfer onto clothes. However, as the facial oil goes, I have to score it Ineffective. 
I received this product as part of the August drop of the LoveLula Monthly Beauty Box. This box is usually always a big hit with me, but unfortunately, having to blanket match such varying skin types, the products aren't always suitable. This is one of those occasions. At 23, I don't need anti-ageing skincare, but I tried it anyway. YOLO. This serum has a very liquid-y gel-like consistency that spreads effectively, but has a slight stickiness to it. It has an ever-so-slight tingle to it, with no visible skin changes other than leaving a fresh sensation. I am dismissing this review as it is Not Suitable for my current age category.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil £21.50 / 200ML (Sample Available £4.50 / 30ML here)
This is one of the first oils to get me on the oil cleansing and double cleansing bandwagons (full review here) and it still has a solid place in my heart. This wonderful bottle of golden liquid features a pump-based mechanism, making it super easy to control and use. The oil is incredible for removing dirt, oils and heavy make-up without any real effort. It does not irritate eyes and it is super easy to remove with water alone. It leaves no residue and skin remains hydrated after use. Effective, don't repurchase.
This is a product I thought I loved. At the time, I did (full review here), but having used so many better face masks since, I find I just don't have a liking for this any more. It's a white powder that needs to be mixed with water to form a paste and then applied to the parts of skin that are affected by blackheads and sebacious filaments. It then extracts any gunk from your pores, with a pulling power similar to that of a clay mask. However, when the paste dries, it turns back into a powder, littering your home with little bits of white dust. It's messy to use and the results just don't compare to other similar products (see TruSelf Organics Detoxifying Mask if you are looking for a much better alternative). Ineffective. 

Herbacín Wuta Kamille + Glycerine Hand Cream £3.60 / 100ML (Sample Available: £1.00 / 20ML here)
This little product took me by surprise. I have exceptionally dry hands which can easily be irritated through over washing, pot washing, sulphates, etc. and it's especially difficult to find a hand cream that is caring and protective without leaving a white cast. Cue Herbacín, a super hydrating hand cream that leaves skin silky and supple without that sticky or slippy after cast. Perfect for keeping my hands protected and well moisturised. The only drawback is the fragrance of this product is a little over perfumed. Without wanting to cause offence, it reminds me of the elderly. But, I really like it, so it stays! Effective, repurchase.
I only ever describe this product as cake for your face (full review here), as it is super spongy, yet gritty, and smells truly delicious. At 99.6% natural, you'll find no microbeads here, yet the scrub itself feels delightful to use, effectively exfoliating and clarifying the skin. After use, I have a brighter complexion with a more radiant skin tone. Effective, don't repurchase.
Primers are my ultimate tool for helping me to control oil. This is a luxuriously silky primer that has a velvet-like finish when applied to skin. Its pore blurring effects are minor, and its oil controlling abilities range from 2-8 hours cover. I liked this product, I honestly did (full review here), but it was recently pointed out to me that Benefit DO test on animals. That's a red-flag from me and I'm opting out. Avoid.
I suffer with extraordinarily dry hair. Extra-strength conditioners, leave-in conditioners, hair refreshers, you name it, I use it and I still can't combat the frizziness and dryness. This hair moisturiser is a leave-in cream that effectively moisturises hair without making it lank or sticky. It helps to control any fly-aways without leaving a trace as it seamlessly blends in. Unfortunately, the scent doesn't sit right with me. It has that typical clinical 'fresh' fragrance of a hairdresser's salon and it something that keeps with me all day long. Effective, don't repurchase.

My empties collection is now starting to dwindle. Of the 12 products listed here 10 are from my original pledge, making the current standings at 28 products left to empty.

To catch up on my initial pledge and rules about the self-directed #MissionEmpties Challenge, read the #MissionEmpties MASTER POST.