Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Five things that make life good...February

Grown up jam tarts with fresh raspberries. From the frozen section in Waitrose. Serve with organic creme fraiche.

The smoothies at Joe's Juice in Solihull (other branches are in London). This was avocado, apple and lemon. 

Another way with raspberries: studded on peanut butter and wholemeal toast. My version of peanut butter and jelly.


First snowdrops. Spring is coming! 

Aloe Dent Whitening Toothpaste Review

This is the second best natural toothpaste that I've found. That sounds like an insult - it isn't. It's really tricky to find a natural or organic toothpaste that isn't made of twigs or bicarb of soda. 

I bought this toothpaste because it was recommended by Rachel on All Natural Aspirations (a natural beauty blog that I love). It's her toothpaste of choice, and you can pick it up in Holland and Barrett (a British health food shop that is found on most high streets).

The ingredients are reasonably good: aloe vera, silica and peppermint oil are the ones that make me the happiest. 

I prefer the gel texture of this toothpaste (due to the aloe vera). Natural toothpastes often have quite a chalky texture (including my best ever natural toothpaste). It whitens lightly, and has the zingy minty freshness that you expect if you've grown up using conventional toothpastes, rather than gnawing on Sarakan roots. 

However: I think Jason PowerSmile is slightly better. It makes your teeth whiter (especially if you love black tea and red wine) and I feel like the minty freshness lasts longer. You can read my full review here. 

I really need to stop watching All Natural Aspirations YouTube videos: I now have a shopping list that includes Honey Pie Minerals Foundation, Zoya nail polish in Kennedy, India Lee Blemish lotion and Squalane oil. I really trust her reviews: a lot of bloggers only review products that they absolutely love, but Rachel is happy to explain why a product is a bit rubbish. So when she recommends something, I know it's worth trying. 

At least, that's what I'll tell myself when checking my bank statements.

Full ingredients list for Aloe Dent Whitening Toothpaste

Glycerin, Sorbitol, Hydrated Silica, Aloe Barbadensis Gel, Aqua, Xylitol, Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Mentha Piperita Oil, PVP, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Menthol, Melaleuca Alternifolia Oil, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, Citric Acid, CI75810.

Jason PowerSmile it is £4.99 for 170g. The Aloe Dent Toothpaste is 3.99 for 100ml. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Thrifty Beauty: Benecos Lip Liner Review

The one thing I constantly lament about natural and organic beauty products is that you can't pop into somewhere like Boots and pick up a couple of lipsticks or lip liners for under a tenner; like you can with Rimmel. Skincare, yes. Lip Balms? Certainly. You can find natural lip balms in Waitrose. But makeup? Not so much. 

Which is why I'm so excited by these lip liners by Benecos. They are £3.99 each! Do you know how rare it is to get a natural beauty product and still have change left over from a fiver? It's really rare. Trust me. I've done years of research. 

So, they're cheap. But are they good quality? Well, the ingredients are good: Jojoba oil, fatty acids from coconut oil, mica (for the colour), mango seed oil, silica  Meadowfoam seed oil, Shea butter, candelilla wax, Macademia nut oil, Carnuaba wax, vitamin E and vitamin C. The colours are gorgeous: a true classic red, a sweet, vibrant pink and a rosy neutral brown. They're soft, moisturing (because of the Jojoba and Macademia nut oils) and they provide a good, long lasting base for most lipsticks. I also love wearing them alone, with a clear lip balm for shine; but you will need to reapply if wearing them like this. At this price, you can collect all three, without feeling guilty. 

I'm unsure about trying the eyeshadows and lipsticks in the Benecos range - although they are excellent value - they also contain talc, which I tend to avoid as an ingredient. But I'm happy to be contradicted on this. My sister is less fussy, and loves her pink Benecos lipstick. You can see photographs of her wearing it with the lip liner in this post. But I love their super soft Kajal eyeliners (£3.95). You can read my tips on how to use the white one in this post. I'm currently plotting to stockpile the violet and olive versions. 

So, I can't pop into Boots and get these products (yet) but it's truly refreshing to see a natural brand that can match the prices of a drugstore brand, without loading up on parabens and petroleum. 

And they're pretty.

You can find Benecos online at Lucy Rose. 

Saturday, 21 February 2015

The work appropriate manicure...Butter London in Yummy Mummy

I love Butter London shades, They're perfect. They feel like shades a woman would actually want to wear, rather than those that have been cooked up in a red glittery cauldron of Betty Boop versions of femininity (although if red glittery nail polish is your vibe, then go with it and love it). 

This Yummy Mummy shade is simply what I want to wear on my nails everyday: it's an indescribably beautiful shade of taupe/lilac/soft grey. An expensive looking beige shade, that is equally suitable in the office as it would be clasping a cappuccino. This nail polish is the equivalent of a loose cut silk t shirt, or some grey marl from The White Company. It's chic, polished without being stuffy, casual without being scruffy, and just cool enough. A new neutral, unlike the clawing French manicure or frosted pink shades of years past. It has a subtle shimmer, but not enough to overpower the colour. Like all Butter London polishes, it's easy to apply and is free of the three main toxins found in nail polish: formaldehyde, toluene and DBP.

My one concern? Like all natural nail polishes I've come across, Butter London chips quite easily (although they are far better than Scotch Naturals and Honey Bee Gardens). I find that two coats of their Hardwear Top Coat are enough to see you through Monday to Friday, but I find little chips quite dispiriting, especially in a colour as beautiful as this. So whilst I absolutely love this colour I'm looking for a dupe - a slightly tougher, natural dupe. Zoya's Kennedy is a contender. 

Until then, I'm refusing all requests of washing up and gazing at my taupe fingernails. 

You can find Butter London at Naturisimo, for £10.75 each (Topcoat and base are £13.50) with free worldwide delivery. 

Friday, 20 February 2015

Lily Lolo Mineral Eye Shadow Review (Gold Digger and Soul Sister)

Lily Lolo Mineral Eyeshadow in Soul Sister

Lily Lolo Mineral Eyeshadow in Gold Digger

I really want to be the person who decides eyeshadow and nail polish names. How do you get that gig? Or paint, I'd be happy with paint. The eyeshadow namer at Lily Lolo isn't worried, though, 'Gold Digger' is the perfect name for this rich, burnished hue, and 'Soul Sister' is also pretty apt for a smoky cocoa with bronze undertones. 

Mineral eyeshadows are a loose powder, which give a rich colour, with natural glitter from the mica. The colour in the pot is exactly the colour you will get on your lids.The two shades I've selected here work perfectly together: sweep Gold Digger all over your lid, then smudge Soul Sister into the crease for definition. Both shades would work well for a range of skin tones. 

The shadows can be used dry or mixed with water, like watercolour pencils. I find that they need a primer: at the moment I'm using plain Shea butter, but I would love to hear any recommendations for a natural primer (I find the Lily Lolo Eyelid Primer works better for me as an under eye concealer). 

Did I mention that they are 5.99? And that they come in an array of colours, not just the uniform Naked palette neutrals? (There's also a David Bowie Life on Mars turquoise called Pixie Sparkle). 

I'd always opt for gold, though. 

You can buy Lily Lolo Mineral eyeshadows from Lucy Rose, or their own website. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Some people collect shoes...I collect organic face oils

My face oil collection: Five mini reviews...

1. Boots Botanics Organic Face Oil - the inexpensive everyday option...

Beautifully light, and perfect for an oil cleanse because of the almond oil (smooth the oil onto your face, and remove with a flannel that you have soaked in hot water). It's also pretty inexpensive (ten pounds) and you can buy it from Boot's Chemist (the main drugstore in Britain) who often have special offers. Perfect if you are just starting an organic beauty routine, and don't want to commit to an expensive online order.

Ingredients: Sweet almond oil, argan oil, rosehip seed oil, rose geranium oil, orange leaf extract, bergamot fruit oil and lemon peel oil.

Price: £9.99

2. Frankincense Anti-Aging Botanical Oil - the luxe, handmade locally made one...

Bought from a local fair trade boutique in Oxford. Nourishes my skin, especially in the winter. Is host to a glut of glorious, nourishing ingredients, including frankincense and cranberry seed oil, which makes it perfect for Christmas time. I reach for this when my skin is parched from winter. It's locally made, but if you contact the independent store in Oxford, they might be able to post you some.

Ingredients: Cranberry seed oil, rosehip seed oil, calendula, vitamin E, lotus extract, borage, orchid complex, rice bran oil, carrot tissue oil, apricot kernal oil, essential oils of chamomile, elemi, frankincense, geranium, jasmine, lavender, neroli, patchouli, rose sandalwood and sweet orange.  

Price: £22.00

3. Pai BioRegenerate Rosehip Oil - the magic healing potion...

The cult classic. I always keep a bottle of this in my stash. It is made from both the fruit and seed oil of the rosehip. I absolutely love, the colour, it reminds me of Lucozade, which I associate with healing (I used to have it when I was ill as a child). This is fitting, because Pai's BioRegenerate Rosehip oil is excellent at healing the skin - I use it on blemishes, scars, and as a night time serum. It also gives a healthy glow when I wear it under foundation.

Ingredients: rosehip seed extract, rosehip fruit extract, natural vitamin E. 

Price: £22.00

4. Zatik Rosehip and Black Seed Face and Eye Organic Serum - the richer, nuttier one...

I discovered this serum in T K Maxx, my secret mecca for unusual, reduced organic and natural beauty products! It has a delicious nutty scent, and is quite a rich oil, due to the... I like to mix a drop into a water based moisturiser in the colder months, or into an unscented hand cream for extra nourishment. If you're from the UK you might have to track this one down in T K Maxx, it's pretty tricky to get hold of otherwise.

Ingredients: Safflower oil, jojoba oil, argan oil, black seed oil, rosehip oil, calendula oil, baobab oil, pomegranate oil, vitamin E, orange oil, sandalwood oil. 

Price £12.00 (in T K Maxx).

5. Balm Balm Little Miracle Rosehip Serum - the sweetly scented one...

I recieved this in the September Love Lula Beauty Box. It's certified organic by the Soil Association and is a mix of rosehip and jojoba oil. I love the geranium range from Balm Balm - I used to have their single note perfume and the scent always reminded me of rose Turkish Delight, and therefore The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I love this British company - they are also certified by the Soil Association.

Ingredients: Rosehip fruit oil, jojoba seed oil, borage seed oil, frankincense essential oil, palmrosa oil, rose geranium oil and mandarin peel oil.  

Price: £13.25

Monday, 9 February 2015

Minimalist Beauty: Oliva Soap

In my minimalist beauty series, I will review products that will help you to have a natural and organic minimalist beauty routine. 

Oliva Natural Olive Oil Soap will make you want to skip the body moisturiser. When I used this soap continually, I never felt the need for a scented body oil or balm, because nothing was being stripped from my skin. 

It's so gentle and moisturising, I occasionally use it on my face (which I never do with any other soap, not even my beloved Dr Bronner's). This makes it perfect for travelling, although Greece, France and Spain often have beautiful, locally made olive oil soaps - such as Savon de Marseille. 

It has three natural ingredients: saponified olive oil (made from unrefined olive oil), water and mineral salts. It is suitable for the most sensitive skins, is vegetarian and is 100 % biodegradable. The olive oil makes it slightly richer, so you can use it as a shaving cream without irritating your skin. The scent is clean and earthy...it reminds me of wood and straw. And olive oil, I suppose. 

This soap is the beauty equivalent wholegrain brown rice - it goes with everything, and nourishes your body in a calming, unassuming way. 

It also costs around £1.19, which makes it the most inexpensive item on my beauty product wish list. You can buy it from Holland and Barrett. When ever I go, I stock up on a couple of bars. 

Which isn't very minimalist of me.