Thursday, 29 October 2015

What's The Difference Between Bloom Skin Essentials Polish for Oily Skin and Polish for Combination Skin?

I'm one of those I-want-to-try-a-bit-of-everything types. So when you tell me there are different versions of the same product designed to target specific skin types, I can't help but find myself at least a little curious. Often, curiosities pay off, and trying out Bloom Skin Essentials Polish for Oily Skin and Polish for Combination Skin is absolutely one of those times.

My skin is oily. There's no question there. I'm oily, congested and have dramatically oversized pores. It was only natural that I picked up the Polish for Oily Skin from Bloom Skin Essentials. I love everything about it (as demonstrated by my full review here); it has become a skincare staple and a consistent repurchase. But, as I said, I was curious what the difference was with the Polish for Combination Skin, and you know what, I found myself yet another staple to add to my collection.
The Polish products contain a very simple list of 100% organic and super effective ingredients (ingredients for Polish for Oily Skin listed here, ingredients for Polish for Combination Skin listed here). There are only three ingredients that these products share: rice powder, whole milk powder and coriander powder. Meaning it's up to the three remaining ingredients to make a difference, and yes, they make a very welcome difference indeed.

Described as an 'Everyday Brightening Polish', this is like a very mild exfoliator that is gentle enough to be used every single day if you please. It also doubles up as a face mask, to either be combined with Glow. or, my personal favourite, with water. The ground powders, milled petals and fruit peel act as a very delicate way to buff the skin, helping to remove dead skin cells and reveal that bright and lovely complexion hiding beneath. 
There are three types of Polish in total, for Dry, Combination and Oily, each designed to match the needs of your skin type. As I'm oily, I want a buff with a little bite. These products suit my sensitive skin perfectly, effortlessly unclogging pores and evening out my skin tone without disturbing or disrupting. Not sure on your skin type? Bloom has a neat little test here.

When used daily, I am far fonder of Polish for Combination Skin. This is just a tad gentler, offering the same brightening effects but with a softer touch. Its texture strikes the perfect balance of being heavy enough to effectively buff, while being soft enough to cushion the granularity. 

As a daily exfoliator, it expertly unclogs pores, instantly giving me a brighter skin tone. It also wonderfully smooths my skin, giving me a soft and flawless complexion without any need for that harsh over-polishing. Furthermore, it completely balances my complexion. I have a very uneven skin tone, due to redness and inflammation, and the anti-inflammatory powers of Polish for Combination Skin helps to restore equilibrium no problem.

Polish for Combination Skin makes for the ideal daily exfoliant. It's powerful, it's effective, it's gentle and it offers instantaneous results. This is absolutely my favourite way to balance and brighten my skin, without question.
As for the Polish for Oily Skin, this little fellow has become my staple masking partner. As usual, you'll need to combine this with an oil like Glow or just plain old water, to turn it into a paste. You then take that paste and apply it to your face, wait 10 or so minutes, then remove, massaging as you go, for that extra exfoliation and that extra circulation. 

This mask is absolutely incredible for decongesting my terribly congested skin. Any impurities are extracted, any rough skin is removed and any clogged pores are completely cleared. The Polish for Oily Skin gives skin a run for its money, instantly providing a clearer and brighter complexion. 

With regular use, this two products have provided me with gorgeously balanced, brighter and clearer skin. They never, ever fail me. Their gentle but scrubby textures, their wonderfully delicious fragrances and their unmatched results are all reason for me to place Bloom Skin Essentials Polish as a solid staple in my skincare collection. 

Bloom Skin Essentials Polish can be purchased from Bloom Skin Essentials for $40.00 / 6 OZ. ($20.00 international shipping, subject to customs fees).

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Completing My Balm Balm Frankincense Collection

Balm Balm are a brand that soared from who? to hero for me, and the Balm Balm Frankincense Range is the forerunner of it all. It all started with one little drop of the Balm Balm Frankincense Light Facial Oil (reviewed here), and I was hooked. I've finally completed this delightful Balm Balm Frankincense Trio and each and every product has a made a very welcome and permanent fixture in my skincare routine. 

Taking frankincense essential oils as the active ingredients, this trio is packed with skin rejuvenating benefits, particularly those of the anti-inflammatory variety. The frankincense featured in the Balm Frankincense Range is extracted from the boswellia neglecta and boswellia carteri (of the boswellia genus), by taking a component of the resin that is produced by the tree. All natural goodness, baby.

The Balm Balm Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm and the Balm Balm Frankincense Hydrosol Soothing Facial Tonic have been nurturing, revitalising and invigorating. My skin is hydrated, balanced and controlled. This range provides a truly luxurious skincare experience at a remarkably affordable price tag.

Balm Balm Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm

While I may have sold my soul to removing my make-up with oil cleansers, balms make for sort of their incognito counterpart. The Balm Balm Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm is more like a creamed balm. It is delightfully soft and gorgeously whipped. When activated, it melts into the most delicate oil, that feels truly divine on my skin. It's warm, it's comforting, it's superb.
This makes for one super effective make-up remover. My face and eye make-up is instantly melted away and easy removed with out any irritation or that nasty eye stinging. As water and oil don't mix, this is something that needs to be removed with a cleansing cloth. But that's perfect, as it effectively removes all the product and helps to stimulate circulation.

The Balm Balm Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm leaves my skin in a very nourished condition after use. My skin feels super hydrated and balanced, with a clearer and more even complexion. It also makes for lusciously soft skin too, my delicate skin feels completely revitalised. Effective, repurchase.

The Balm Balm Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm can be purchased from LoveLula for £7.99 / 30ML. Alternatively, a larger value size (£15.50 / 60ML) is available here.

Balm Balm Frankincense Hydrosol Soothing Facial Tonic

Now, the Balm Balm Frankincense Hydrosol Soothing Facial Tonic, this, this has to be one of my all-time favourites. As a by-product of the steam distillation of frankincense essential oil, this tonic is revitalising, hydrating and soothing. Used as a toning mist, 1-3 spritz of this liquid gold provides instant hydration and nourishment.
This is a very lightweight toner that is easily absorbed. From the first spritz, skin feels hydrated and it helps to immediately balance out my complexion. You know what, it's also a superstar with aiding oil control. While I don't think this is the intended benefit of the product, it's a very happy side-effect. 

I can either use this where I would use a typical toner in my routine, or I can use this post-make-up application, to help set my make-up. That's right, if I use this after I've applied my make-up I get incredible oil and shine control. My skin is supported and nourished through the day, providing essential hydration and unmatched oil control. Essential.

The Balm Balm Frankincense Hydrosol Soothing Facial Tonic can be purchased from LoveLula for £7.99 / 30ML. Alternatively, a larger value size (£15.50 / 100ML) is available here.

The Balm Balm Frankincense Range is unequivocally an all-time favourite. Every product in the trio is one I've fallen heels over head for. I'm planning to repurchase all three of the frankincense delights and use them as part of a 1, 2, 3 step routine.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the fragrance of frankincense, it's gorgeously aromatic, a little sweet and a little botanical, but, most of all, utterly luxurious. 

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Are your empties even empty though?

I, as much as the next person, like to get my money's worth. I also loath wastage. Combine pricey cosmetics with flawed package design and we've got ourselves a problem. Are your empties really even empty though?

Product packaging is a toughy. I'll admit, I'm very often sold on pretty packaging, pretty fonts and pretty branding. All that's fine, it's all Capitalism, baby! But where I find fault is with packaging without real concern for function or design. How often have you come to what you rightfully assumed was the end of your product, only to find that there is a treasure trove hidden inside truly unreachable places? Apply intense pressure, summon the scissors, blind scooping, anything to get the product which you paid for out and onto your skin.

Functionality is everything. But functionality of packing has to mar with the type of product and its consistency. During the #MissionEmpties Challenge, I was able to burn my way through a whole heap of products in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Generally speaking, I found there were usually an additional 1-4 more uses in each product at the stage I would typically qualify it as 'empty'. The trick is, accessing those final 1-4 uses and making sure the product is 'really empty'.

Piecing together some of the products I've been storming through, I've noticed a crux or two with packaging flaws. I've had to get a little inventive, and some of it is a little frustrating, but anything, anything, to make sure I get what I paid for.


I have a soft spot for products that come in jars; they have to be the easiest of the bunch. I can simply twist or pop the cap off and evaluate just how much product is left. While it is not the most convenient packaging design for some consistency types, when used correctly, it can prove to be super efficient.

As a twist cap, they are easy enough to reseal and seal securely. They are portable, but generally (not always) come in a smaller size. 
When it comes to empting out your jars, it's usually simple enough. Just scoop up what you can see and carry on as normal. However, if you're using your fingers to scoop, you'll find that they aren't always the best at gaining purchase on a product. Usually, there will be a few traces left behind which involves a lot of twisting and turning your fingers in the jar until all is recovered. Alternatively, if appropriate, you can use a cotton pad/face wipes/muslin cloth to remove and apply any remaining product.

Fussing around with the cap can usually prove a little slippery post-use. I always find I need to dry and clean my hands before I can gain purchase again. But jars, jars are good, we like jars.

The squeezable ones you can cut

Squeezable tubes are very common amongst the more liquid-based product types. Think lotions and creams, anything that doesn't have a solid enough consistency to stand on its own two feet. Squeezy tubes are brilliant as you can pick them up, access your product and pack them away without any fuss.

However, squeezy tubes renders so much product completely inaccessible. There is product hidden in corners, hidden behind lips and it never wants to budge no matter how hard you squeeze and push. Cue scissors. 
Simply snip your tubes in half and, you'll have to do a bit of excavating here, but use your fingers or a spoon, or whatever instrument you please, to dig into the open tube and access your product. You'll be amazed just how much extra is stashed away in there. 

Once the product has been come open, I am often concerned about the product become oxygenated. Some products really don't like to be left in exposed air, it can reduce their shelf-life. So, if this is the case, I'll be sure to use cling film on the two halves of my squeezable tubes to keep them as air tight as possible. 

The squeezable ones you can't cut

Not all squeezable tubes are tubes you want to cut. Sometimes, it's just plain inconvenient, stands against logic, or isn't designed in a way that can be cut open. I'm talking more specifically about any shampoo and conditioner and toothpaste bottles, I would never cut these open as it will be too messy and too difficult to control.
So, when you can't use scissors, you can use your next best asset: your thumbs. By massaging the top corners of the product down towards the lid, you can begin to force the product to the cap. Once there, you can push your thumbs into the cap, and, applying a lot of force here, squeeze out as much as you can.

While there will always be some inevitable bit of product still lurking inside your tubes, this is one of the only solutions I've found to accessing this product without scissors.


I generally only encounter pipettes will oil-type products: facial oils, oil cleansers, that type of thing. Pipettes are just tops for transporting oils and to help distribute a specified measurement. They offer a lot of control, and can help keep the packaging clean, as we all know how tough it can be to remove that pesky oil.
The most common trait with pipettes is, they just never seem to reach anywhere close to the bottom of the bottle. This means, you guessed it, you have no way of reaching those final few drops of oil. So, if you fancy, you can just turn the bottle upside down and have done with it, or you can tilt the bottle, to shift the liquid to a more accessible angle. 

Usually, not every last drop of oil can be squeezed out of the pipette. To solve this, I usually tap the pipette on the palm of my hand to remove those final drops, as squeezing the pump, usually seems to be tantamount to useless here.

Spray Caps

Mist toners are complemented entirely by the delicate and refreshing method with with you apply them: spray tops. Without a spray cap, there isn't really an alternative way to use these types of products, so they need to be designed in a way that means you can always access every last drop.
When down to the few remaining spritzes, you may have to tilt the bottle to make sure the liquid is inside the slim tube that is attached to the spray cap. A spray bottle with flawed design will have a short tube, that won't reach the bottom. If it doesn't reach the bottom, you probably won't be able to access the liquid in any sort of reasonable fashion.

So remember, tilt if needed. Other than that, you're on your own here, because part of the soothing experience with this type of product is usually in the spritz-type application.

The ones you can't see inside

Possibly the most frustrating of the lot; the products you just can't see inside. If you can't see inside your product's packaging, you can't ever be sure when you're about to run out.
This, coupled with not having a simple way to remove the remainder of the product leads to even more frustration. As I can't see inside these products, I don't know which way to tilt or manoeuvre, or which way to push and force. Some of them are completely indestructible and can't even be opened with scissors. 

Admittedly, these are generally the prettiest of all the packaged products, but I do always insist on functionality over aesthetics.

This #MissionEmpties Challenge has made me very aware of just how much product that might have escaped me. From now on I am super thorough; the product isn't empty until I have scooped, forced and cut my way to emptiness. 

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Alice & White Botanika Eco-Chic Subscription Box October 2015

Alice & White are a the most luxurious Scandinavian eco-retailer. Purveyors of natural skin/body/hair eco-beauty products, their stocklist is nothing but clean, free-from, eco-chic beauty. What's more, they have just launched their very own skincare subscription box, Botanika, containing a miscellaneous selection of 5 natural deluxe size skincare samples, allowing you to discover the beauty of natural.

The Alice & White Botanika Eco-Chic Subscription Box (199 SEK / per month + 100 SEK delivery charge for EU International orders, that totals in ~£24.00) is an indulgent selection of 5 luxury samples of skin and body products, including an additional sample sachet for good measure. The October box, the first of its kind, totals in at a value of ~528.05 SEK / £41.49 and contains the following eco-chic picks:
Interestingly, a lot of the brands listed here are British, or made in Britain (Aurelia Probiotic Skincare, Bodhi & Birch, Mitchell and Peach and Argentum Apothecary), so we have very much sent products overseas only to send them back. But, it is very lovely to finally get my hands on some of these brands and discover their natural powers.

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser

This delightfully rich yet lightweight cream cleanser feels so beautifully soft on skin as it expertly removes any grime or impurities. The Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser is completely gentle, making sure to clear skin without causing any bit of irritation and allowing skin to retain hydration.

This rich cream just feels wonderful on skin. It builds up to a nice thickness while gliding over skin, leaving nothing but a softer, clearer face in its wake. Fragranced with essential oils, the eucalyptus and bergamot are the strongest scents here, providing a gorgeously fresh and natural fragrance; the perfect compliment to a morning routine.

A miniature Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Antibacterial Bamboo Muslin cloth is provided with the cleanser, one of the more effective ways to remove cleansing products. This delicate little cloth is exceptionally soft, allowing the cleanser to be easily removed while ever-so-gently stimulating circulation. The woven bamboo fibres are in no way rough, making this an effective and gentle way to clear and revitalise the skin during cleansing.

The Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Miracle Cleanser can be purchased from Alice & White for 462 SEK / 120ML.

Bodhi & Birch Rosa Rosa Hydrating Toner

Pure floral waters are one of the most refreshing ways to hydrate and soothe skin. Simply spray this wonderfully fragranced and delicately gentle mist onto your face to be supplied with fresh and moisturised skin. 

The Bodhi & Birch Rosa Rosa Hydrating Toner is a delicate blend of Damask Rose, Orange Blossom and Camomile, making for a fresh and fruity scent, while delivering instant hydration. As a floral water, this toner comes in a pump mechanism designed to be sprayed directly onto the skin and left to dry. The act of being sprayed directly is instantly refreshing and the water absorbs wonderfully, making sure to supply your skin with all the hydration it needs.
While defined as a toner, this water can be used during your daily skincare routines or as a refresher throughout the day. As it effectively absorbs, its the perfect pick-me-up for when skin needs a little kickstart. The toner helps to hydrate, soothe and calm skin.

The Bodhi & Birch Rosa Rosa Hydrating Toner can be purchased from Alice & White for 339 / 100ML.

Antipodes Joyous Protein-Rick Night Replenish Serum

This protein-packed little bottle helps to restore, purify and protect throughout the night. While serum by name, it's an oil in texture. A gorgeously rich consistency that is super comforting and nurturing to skin. This intensive blend of 100% natural ingredients is the ultimate night-time treat to help restore and hydrate.
The Antipodes Joyous Protein-Rich Night Replenish Serum has a very subtle scent, but it is very deep and a little only the bitter side for me. As a night-time serum, it's fairly heavier than your regular day-time oil. It absorbs brilliantly around my neck and décolletage area, where my skin is a little drier, but takes a little longer to absorb on my oilier face. By the morning, it's absorbed and I wake up to a brighter, healthier looking complexion. 

This thick, rich oil is brilliant for providing comfort when my skin is dehydrated or irritated. It's gentle and nurturing, giving me soft skin by the morning. While the scent is something I disapprove of, it does provide just the softest feeling skin.

The Antipodes Joyous Protein-Rich Night Replenish Serum can be purchased from Alice & White for 425 SEK / 30ML.

Mitchell and Peach Flora No. 1 Luxury Hand Cream

This super lightweight hand cream effortlessly hydrates skin without leaving any of that greasy residue behind. It absorbs into skin after just a few massages, and leaves nothing but heavenly moisturised hands. I'd describe this as more of a lotion than a cream, as it a little on the runny side, but that's perfect, as it spreads just wonderfully.
The Mitchell and Peach Flora No.1 Luxury Hand Cream contains a healthy dose of Vitamin E, lavender oil, shea butter and English honey, all masters at moisturising and softening skin. My hands are instantly nourished and delicately soft.

The scent is lovely and fresh and very floral. Rose definitely being the championing fragrance here. But nothing here is overpowering, it just a pleasant, calming fragrance to compliment a pleasant, soothing hand cream.

The Mitchell and Peach Flora No.1 Luxury Hand Cream can be purchased from Alice & White for 239 SEK / 60ML.

TEATOX Pure Beauty

Drink yourself beautiful. Tea is a centuries-old remedy said to wield all manner of health benefits, even beauty. While I don't exactly buy into that theorem, tea definitely does help to cleanse and purify the body. Taking that philosophy, the TEATOX Pure Beauty is a loose leaf organic tea, said to improve and restore the appearance of skin.
This detoxifying tea is jam-packed with antioxidants to help promote healthy and glowing skin. It's a mildly aromatic tea, usually to be taken neat with water (hot or cold if you fancy). It's cleansing and clearing and with long-term use, should detox the skin from the inside out. 

The TEATOX Pure Beauty can be purchased from Alice & White for 149 SEK / 50G.

Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie Face Cream

In addition to the above 5 deluxe samples, Alice & White also included a cheeky little sample sachet of the oh-so luxurious Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie Face Cream. This anti-ageing face cream is a unique synthesis of powerful active ingredients: Silver Hydrosol and DNA HP.

Silver Hydrosol is, you guessed it, silver. These little silver particles suspended in purified water have several antibiotic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. DNA HP (Hyper Polymerised Deoxyribonucleic Acid (what?)), is something I'm a little unclear on, besides the description listed. It claims to have anti-oxidant properties, while fighting free-radicals, but this is something I'm a little hazy on, and would like to have cleared up.

As an anti-ageing product, this will be going in my little stash of products that I will one day have to face for real.

The Argentum Apothecary La Potion Infinie Face Cream can be purchased from Alice & White for 1,899 SEK / 70ML.

I have already subscribed to a 6-Month delivery plan for this box, yes, I decided already just how much I like it. If you buy 6, you get one free. As stated above, these boxes can be purchased individually for 199 SEK + 100 SEK EU International postage. That works out around £23.58. Subscribers are also gifted with a 10% off code for brands featured within the box. 

To subscribe to Alice & White Botanika Eco-Chic Subscription Box, a monthly delivery of a random selection of natural and eco-chic beauty products, go here.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Cult Beauty Box by Caroline Hirons: My Thoughts (and they're all good!)

Caroline Hirons. If you haven't heard of her, what are you even still doing here? An expert in her field, Caroline knows a thing or two about your skin, and if you and you skin have yet to encounter her wisdom, believe me, you will both be ever grateful for it.

Caroline has recently started a joint venture with Cult Beauty to bring an expertly curated Beauty Box, filed with a collection of skin treats to help improve and nourish any complexion. Bearing in mind here, sweeping strokes for all folks, some products may be a hit for some and a miss for others. But you know what, every single thing in this box was an absolute hit for me.

This box of luxury goodies contains 6 full size and 2 trial size products, the thematic of which is to de-stress and offer glow and hydration to those complexions a little on the side of lacklustre. I know what you're thinking here, but Lucy, you're oily skinned! Well, yes I am. But there is a place here for every item to slot happily in my routine.

Totalling at a value of just a little over £170.00, this box retailed at £100.00 and contains the following:
Now that is quite the line-up of oversees, indie and cult beauty brands, a lot of which have been on my wishlist and watchlist for quite some time. What surprises me most (in the most pleasantest way possible), is a lot of these brands are natural and/or organic and every last one of these products stand to merit. 

RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream

Once upon a time, I assumed that solidified coconut cream was just solidified coconut cream. It didn't differ from brand-to-brand, or even coconut-to-coconut. Oh how very wrong I was. The RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream contains the most divine and luxurious coconut cream I have ever had the pleasure of gracing my face with. 

As it has been solidified into a cream - or what I would ascertain as a balm - this wonderful light coconut oil is easy enough to scoop up and apply directly to your skin. While there are multiple uses for coconut oil, I used this solely as a cleanser for removing make-up. Once heated by the warmth of your skin, this balms melts into a wonderfully thin and comforting oil. 

Make-up is no match for this oil. It expertly removes every last trace of make-up (yes, even that hard-to-remove stuff we use on our eyes) and it's safe and gentle enough to cause no irritation. I find my skin is left feeling nourished - none of that tight, irritating stuff here, thank you - and my eyes are not reddened or itchy. The sensation and effectiveness of this product is so indulgent my skin can't help but feel treated.

While coconut is one of my favourite fragrances and flavours, I may be a little bias here, but the scent of this oil is absolutely decadent. It's sweet, it's light, it's delicious. This is absolutely something I want to use on my skin when I want to pamper and treat. Effective, repurchase.

The RMS Beauty Raw Coconut Cream can be purchased from Cult Beauty for £12.50 / 70G.

Skyn ICELAND Pure Cloud Cleanser

This Skyn ICELAND Pure Cloud Cleanser is a clay-based cleanser that is incredibly gentle and cooling, helping to softly clear and calm skin. This cleanser always seems to remain cool, rousing skin with an instant hit of refreshment.

While clay-based, this cleanser is always wet, meaning it's perfectly easy to spread while the nice rich texture of the cleanser remains, allowing you to effectively massage the product, keeping your hands well-lubricated. I often use this product for several minutes, giving myself a full facial massage at the mercy of this gentle cleanser.

I supposed I'd refer to myself as an oil girl, meaning this is a cleanser I just wouldn't use for make-up removal. However, for a morning cleanse and a second cleanse, this product is ideal. My delicate skin is cooled, refreshed, cleared and soothed. As to be expected, it smells like clay, giving it a core natural and earthy scent. Effective, don't repurchase.

The Skyn ICELAND Pure Cloud Cleanser can be purchased from Cult Beauty for £22.50 / 5OZ.

Pixi Glow Tonic

The Pixi Glow Tonic has had so much traction, and it's all for good reason. Said to help tone, brighten and exfoliate skin, this 5% glycolic acid toner deserves its praise. But we run into a slight snag here, the active glycolic acid, doesn't really take much effect on my oily skin. That isn't to say this product isn't without its merit as I still used and adored it, but it doesn't offer me the same results as it would other skin types.

To understand more about what acids actually do and which acid is suitable for particular skin types, read Caroline Hiron's The Top 10: Acid Toners and Honesty: How To Tell Which Skincare Acid You Should Be Using

While it isn't necessarily applicable for my oily skin, the Pixi Glow Tonic is a non-astringent, gentle and refreshing acid toner that keeps skin revived and refined. This cult gem has rekindled my love for liquid and acidic toners once more. This tonic offers the ultimate hydration hit, giving my skin instant clarity and refinement.

Helping serums and moisturisers to penetrate deeper and absorb more effectively, this toner has helped to decongest and clear my skin in a completely gentle and non-irritating way, while keeping my skin fresh and hydrated. Effective, repurchase.
The Pixi Glow Tonic can be purchased from Cult Beauty for £18.00 / 250ML.

SkinOwl Eye+ Concentrate

I was one of those unfortunate people to receive one of the affected concentrates that had activated during transit. The hot LA weather had spoiled the active ingredients, turning them far more enzymatic that advisable. Meaning, you guessed it, horrible, horrible burning. But, I didn't let that sour my judgement. I got on the blower to both SkinOwl and Cult Beauty who sent me out a fresh jar straight away, and boy, how I love this little concentrate.

Gelatinous in texture, this ultra light and absorbent gel is the ultimate way to refresh the eye area. SkinOwl Eye+ Concentrate is instantly cooling, helps to balance any kind of discolouration and soothes any irritation. My eyes are instantly revitalised and brightened. My eyes are quite honestly looking bigger and brighter than ever before.

Having a gorgeously fresh cucumber scent (following suit on the age-old tradition of placing cucumbers on the eyes), this potent little gel has helped to smooth out rough, bumpy skin I had under my eyes. I'm talking completely smoothed out. I had, what I referred to as dragon scales under my eyes. It was a rough skin, that I just couldn't seem to shift. Well, I finally found my elixir.

I also suffer with dark circles; these are mostly self-inflicted due to my consistent failure to go to bed early. But now my eyes are brightened, my eyes look lively and awake. I have found what my eyes have been looking for. This jar will take up a permanent residence in my skincare routine. Essential.

The SkinOwl Eye+ Concentrate can be purchased from Cult Beauty for £36.00 / 0.8OZ.

REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Serum Oil

The REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Serum Oil falls into a unique cross-category of both serum and oil. This clever synergism of consistencies leads to a very rich and thick oil-like texture, providing an instant hit of hydration.

Due to its richness, this lends itself to more of an impermeable serum, meaning, my skin just can't absorb it, so I reserve it strictly for evening use. You can combine it with your moisturiser or use it as an outright serum. It is a little on the greasy side for me, but I really don't mind that when used in a PM routine.

The serum is very refreshing, instantaneously I can feel the revival of my skin. While it is a fairly warm oil, it effectively hydrates skin. In terms of glow and radiance, I've seen nothing of the sort. But I peg this more on my skin type, as I just cannot absorb it. Effective, don't repurchase.

The REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Serum Oil can be purchased from Cult Beauty for £25.00 / 30ML. 

Odacité Hydration Serum Concentrate Pomegranate + Rose Geranium

The Odacité Hydration Serum Concentrate Pomegranate + Rose Geranium is another one of those potent oil-serum type hybrids. This truly organic serum is made from nothing but essential oils and essential vitamins, helping to supply skin with all the nutrients it needs to keep well fed.

Being fairly thick, it doesn't absorb well with my skin type, therefore reserved only for PM use. This rich oil is very, very powerful, this is the ultimate skin treat that wraps my skin in a snug barrier of goodness. It's very warming and comforting, providing optimum hydration and protection. 

This little bottle (and we're talking very little and very expensive bottle here) contains a very small dose of the concentrate, as it's so powerful, you really don't need to apply very much at all. The rich texture is very fluid, allowing for a seamless application. The scent is rich and powerful, an all-natural botanical scent. Effective, don't repurchase.

The Odacité Hydration Serum Concentrate Pomegranate + Rose Geranium can be purchased from Cult Beauty for £33.00 / 5ML.

Alpha-H Essential Hydration Cream

This is one of the lightest moisturisers I've ever had my hands on. The Alpha-H Essential Hydration Cream is an ultra lightweight moisturiser that instantly absorbs into skin, providing a cooling and refreshing sensation. This gentle moisturiser disappears instantly, while effectively providing essential hydration and moisture without all the heaviness.

With a near cloud-like consistency, in essence, this moisturiser completely absorbs at first touch. It's light as air to touch and super gentle and lightweight on application. The silky smooth texture allows it to be applied effortlessly.

There is an instant cooling effect when applied. This product seems to remain perpetually cool, helping to amplify that hydration hit. This is one heck of a refreshing moisturiser. The cool, freshness of the product offers an instant revival. It's minty, it's cool, it's fresh, it is essential hydration for skin, for sure. Effective, don't repurchase.

The Alpha-H Essential Hydration Cream can be purchased from Cult Beauty for £35.00 / 50ML.

Pommade Divine Nature's Remedy Balm

The ages-old remedy of Pommade Divine Nature's Remedy Balm is one that has stood the test of time, and for very good reason, too. This golden-brown soft balm is an all-natural medicinal balm designed to cure and repair all manner of physical aliments. Said to cure dry skin, scrapes, cuts, bites, burns, you name it, this little wonder-balm can help soothe it. I used this primarily on eczema, chapped skin and as a therapeutic chest rub. Whatever takes your fancy really!

The gorgeous burnt woody scent of this product is enough alone to make you feel cured. It has an amazing warmness to it, it seems to very delicately heat up during application. The consistency is similar to a soft syrup, it's a super thick product that spreads gorgeously and helps to protect wherever it has been applied.
I used this product mostly for medicinal purposes. I have very sensitive skin and this is careful and gentle enough to be applied to the most delicate of places. I used it under my nose when suffering with a cold as my skin has become insufferably chapped from all the blowing into tissues. This worked a dream at healing the skin and the burnt smell was very welcome indeed. I also use this on cold evenings when I go for a late-night jog. I rub a little on my chest to stop the cold getting on my lungs. This is definitely a wonder-balm that is well-deserving of a place in my cabinet. Essential.

The Pommade Divine Nature's Remedy Balm can be purchased from Cult Beauty for £19.80 / 50ML.

This luxury box of treats has been an incredible investment, introducing me to a number of products that have no become solid staples in my routine.

Being the second of the two boxes released so far, and having heard confirmation that Caroline will be releasing a Christmas box, you'll have to keep an eye on the news for as an when these boxes are announced. You'll have to be quick, as these boxes get snapped up quick (and rightfully so).

Follow Caroline Hiron's blog or subscribe to the Cult Beauty mailing list to stay in the loop for the next box.

I purchased this box myself, meaning all opinions are rightfully my own.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

LoveLula Beauty Box October 2015

With each passing month, the LoveLula Beauty Box continues to get stronger and stronger, and the October Box is no exception to that rule. This month contains a total of 5 incredible products (3 full size, 1 trail size and 1 sample size) to help cleanse, hydrate and restore. There's usually a superstar in every box, but within the October Box, I'm finding it really tricky to settle on just one favourite.

Balm Balm Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm (£7.99 / 30ML)
Yes to Coconut Hydrate & Restore Cleansing Wipes (£3.99 / 25 WIPES)
Fair Squared Lip Balm Vegan Vanilla (£2.99 / 4G)
Pommade Divine Nature's Remedy Balm (£19.80 / 50ML)
Dr. Bronner's Lemongrass Shikakai Soap (£7.29 / 356ML)
Taking into account the relative size for value of the samples, this box totals in at just under £18.00 worth of kit. Not too shabby, eh? These five brands are some of my all-time favourites, each of which being either/or ethical, natural, organic, safe and caring, these are products that have a thoroughly well-deserved place in my skincare routine.

Balm Balm Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm

Balm Balm are just tops. There's no two ways about it. Their balms are 100% organic, approved by the Soil Association, natural, safe and kind to skin. I don't think I could admire this brand more. The Balm Balm Frankincense Range has been a big hit with me, having tried and loved their Frankincense Light Facial Oil (reviewed here) and the Frankincense Hydrosol Soothing Facial Tonic, the Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm has been on my need-list for quite some time, I can assure you.
If you're in want of a luxury balm cleanser at an affordable price, then look no further. This balm is truly decadent, offering an absolutely divine sensation as it's massaged across skin. This is a very soft balm that melts away into a hybrid balm-oil cleanser as it's heated. Its rich texture means it takes a thick consistency as it warms over skin. 

The balm is truly soft, making this cleanser ever so gentle and nurturing. Make-up is no match as this balm effortlessly takes away both base and eye make-up, leaving behind a hydrated and fresh face. The Balm Balm Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm is completely balancing, restoring any redness into an even and glowing complexion. 

The almost fruity fragrance of frankincense is a welcome luxury as this balm provides, clearer, balanced and even skin. You can bet I'll be repurchasing this one.

Balm Balm Frankincense Deep Cleansing Balm can be purchased from LoveLula for £7.99 / 30ML.

Yes to Coconut Hydrate & Restore Cleansing Wipes

Facial wipes have a definite place within my skincare routine. Caroline Hirons gave wipes a bit of a bad reputation - she has very valid points on this, all of which I subscribe to - but, if used correctly they can actually be really useful. I already own the Yes to Coconut Hydrate & Restore Cleansing Wipes and I'm down to my last few, so this restock couldn't come at a better time. Hello serendipity! 
Firstly, coconut. Oh how I love the fragrance of coconut. These refreshing cleansing cloths have an all-too-delicious scent that makes using them all the more pleasant. They are very lightweight and gentle, delicately gliding across skin without stripping and causing no irritation. 

The Yes to Coconut Hydrate & Restore Cleansing Wipes leave me fresh faced and hydrated. I cleanse with facial wipes either pre-exercise or post-exercise, when I need something quick, simple and effective, and these clothes are effective. They remove make-up and clean the skin with little-to-no effort needed and leave my skin with a refreshed and revitalised sensation. The perfect complement to any exercise.

Yes to Coconut Hydrate & Restore Cleansing Wipes can be purchased from LoveLula for £3.99 / 25 WIPES.

Fair Squared Lip Balm Vegan Vanilla

A sentence I couldn't be more happy with is Fair Squared Lip Balm Vegan Vanilla. I'm a huge fan of Fair Squared, I have an uncontrollable (yet much wanted) collection of lip balms and vanilla happens to be once of my all-time favourite scents and flavours. Win, win, win. Fair Squared focus in natural products while advocating fairly traded ingredients. Their lip balms are all vegan-friendly and feel absolutely divine. 
As a silky-smooth balm, this lip balm glides effortlessly along the lips, transferring the creamy balm and leaving a wonderfully glossy finish. My lips are lovely and shiny without any of the nasty stickiness left behind by a typical lip gloss. Instead, the balm helps to keep my lips smooth and snag-free

The transparent butter keeps my lips smooth, hydrated, all while smelling and tasting delicious. This lip balm gets big points from me and is definitely something that should be on everybody's lips.

Fair Squared Lip Balm Vegan Vanilla can be purchased from LoveLula for £2.99 / 4G.

Pommade Divine Nature's Remedy Balm

This is a product that I already have on my skincare shelf, and for good reason, too. This soft golden honey is a generations old medicinal "cure-all" formula, for, well, literally anything you can think of. Pommade Divine Nature's Remedy Balm is a multi-purpose balm that I use for dry/chapped/damaged skin, colds, warming-up, like I said literally anything.

I just adore this thick, protective balm. It has a gorgeous woody, almost burnt scent that instantly reboots the senses and puts you on back the path to good health. The balm quickly melts away from first touch, warming and heating as you begin to massage, becoming quite a comforting sensation. 

This protective balm is something I will continue to keep in my medicine cabinet. The fragrance, the warmth, the protection and hydration are all essential for keeping anyone in good health. This is one luxury balm that's worth keeping around.

Pommade Divine Nature's Remedy Balm can be purchased from LoveLula for £19.80 / 50ML.

Dr. Bronner's Lemongrass Shikakai Soap

Dr. Bronner's know soap. It's what they do. Their Shikakai Soaps come in a range of delicious fragrances, and since lemongrass is on of my favourites, I pulled the long straw here. Shikakai is an Asian plant, which has been combined with Dr. Bronner's pure-castile soap to create a subtle, emollient lather. 
Dr. Bronner's Lemongrass Shikakai Soap is very, very hydrating. I am one of those don't-put-any-foam-near-me-as-my-hands-get-too-dry people. But you know what, this foam is subtle and gentle enough that it treats my delicate skin with all the care it needs. My hands are left all soft and moisturised, with absolutely no irritation and certainly no dryness.

The thin orange liquid transforms into a delicate white emollient foam. This does not froth or bubble, in fact, it barely foams at all, instead it just effectively cleans skin, while providing that rich and wonderful moisture. 

Dr. Bronner's Lemongrass Shikakai Soap can be purchased from LoveLula for £7.29 / 356ML.

Another month, another amazing box. You can subscribe to the LoveLula Beauty Box here. At £12.50 a month, the box is automatically delivered to your door and features 4-7 wonderful mystery natural products.

*This post is not sponsored. This box was purchased by myself and all opinions are my own. 

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Burt's Bees Peach and Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub For A Very Scrubby Way To Scrub

If there's one thing I've said before, and it's one thing I'll continue to say again, Bee Conservation is so bloody integral to our survival, and it's one thing that should never go ignored. Burt's Bees production ethics are bob-on in terms of sustainability, conservation and partnering with charities to help maintain our bee populace (you can read about their policies here). 

What's more, Burt's Bees also avoid microbeads in their products, featuring natural alternatives instead, such as fruit and nut kernels, milled petals, jojoba beads and ground seeds. Microbeads are little plastic spheres that are too large to dissolve, making them a deadly pollutant as they are consumed by countless marine life. You can find out more about microbeads, alongside a list of products containing microbeads specific to your country, here.
Burt's Bees offer three different types of facial exfoliators, all of which I've purchased and all of which I love for different reasons. The Anti-Blemish Pore Refining Scrub (reviewed here) is the softest one of the group, using jojoba beads to exfoliate, this scrubs provides lusciously smooth and clear skin. The Citrus Facial Scrub (reviewed here) is a cakey little number that provides clear and balanced skin, using ground almonds to exfoliate. As for the Peach and Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub, I'd refer to this as the mastodon of the group. This really is a heavy-duty scrub. While I love it for my oily and congested skin, I'd always err on the side of caution if your skin is unsteady around a exfoliator that doesn't hold back.

This 100% natural facial scrub, uses nothing but the finely ground stone of a peach to - what we must refer to as fairly aggressively - exfoliate the skin. Now, this is indisputably heavy duty, designed for a skin type like mine, that has a quick cell turnover (an onset of which, a build-up of dead skin and clogged pores). Even I can only use this once every 2 weeks. 

While finely ground, the peach stone is still rather large and can very much be felt. As they aren't perfectly spherical, the stones can be almost sharp and gritty, their jaggedness is present as I roll them around my skin. For me, this isn't neccesarily a scratchy product, but it is something I can only apply with very little pressure indeed.

The ground stones are carried in a very lightweight and easily spreadable cream. This cream is thin, so thin in fact that it disappears as you begin to lightly scrub. This makes it quite a raw process, the cream is almost like a lubricant, to help you get purchase on the stones, allowing the peach do to its magic without impeding the process. 

With a name like Peach and Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub, you're going to expect some results. Well, if your pores are easily clogged like mine, I've found this scrub to very effectively 'empty' them, leaving me with a much clearer and smoother complexion. Any dark build-up that was trapped in my pores is removed, making my skin tone appear far more neutralised and all-round balanced. 
Interestingly, after watching Wild Organic Beauty's vlog recently (I know it's really late, but would you like to see my August favourites?), she mentioned that this scrub was far, far too aggressive for her face and instead used it as a foot scrub. I gave that a go myself, and you know what, she's onto something here! This product makes for a really effective foot scrub. Our skin here is usually a little tougher and if you're prone to hard or dry skin on your feet, this little gem might just do the trick. 

I do like this, I honestly do. If my skin is ever craving a heavy-going exfoliation, this is the scrub I can rely on. But once again, I would go on the explicit advice of your own skin. My skin can take a little brutality (product depending), or  it occasionally needs some tough love, so me and the Peach and Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub get on like a house on fire. Just be warned, this scrub pulls no punches. Effective, don't repurchase.

The Peach and Willowbark Deep Pore Scrub can be purchased from Burt's Bees for £11.49 / 170G.