Friday, 19 December 2014

Gold: Butter London The Full Monty Review

Gold. Frankinscene. Myrrh. All my beauty inspiration is straight from the Bible. Actually, it comes from my sister. This is a Whatsapp Q + A I had with my sister about her new gold Butter London nail polish, in the shade The Full Monty. I was going to draft this into a little blog post, but I think I prefer the conversation like this. 

Kate: So. What's it like?
Sarah: Gold. 
Good as gold.
Kate: Thank you.
That wrote itself.
Sarah: Goes on nicely. Lasts quite well. It's like all the other Butter ones. Needs two coats to be opaque. Nice and festive. 
Kate: Sparkly or matt? 
Sarah: Bit more subtle than a normal gold because it's sort of shimmery, rather than glittery chunks. It's not a sheer one that you can put over a colour. 
Kate: Would you repurchase? 
Sarah: Yes, but I think it would better on someone more tanned or with darker skin. It's quite a pale gold. Rather than a brassy yellow. 
Kate: Make it into a story. What inspired this purchase?
Sarah: I saw gold nails on someone else. And had a magpie moment. And thought: I would like gold nails also. 
Kate: This is good. We can use this. 
Sarah: Went for Butter because I know they're good and non toxic. 
Kate: What else were they wearing?
Sarah: Can't remember. I always spy on other people's manicures. Because my nails refuse to grow, so I admire everyone elses. 
Kate: But you have tiny little mouse hands, not gnarly E.T. phone home fingers (like me). Thank you, this is perfect. love you. 

What nail polish gets you into the festive mood? 

All photographs and tiny mouse hands belong to Sarah Wild

Thrifty beauty: Cashmere Hair...Leave in conditoner review: John Masters and Giovanni

I've had a revelation about conditioner. If conditioner is the equivalent of moisturiser for your hair, then why am I washing it off immediately, and then complaining when my hair feels dry? 

I have short (freshly bobbed) thick, wavy hair, which is a sort of dirty gold. After accidentally leaving a prized bottle of Neal's Yard Remedies Rejuvinating Geranium Conditioner at my parents home, I returned to Oxford with only a large collection of organic shampoo. So I went to my sample stash in the hope of a solution. 

I put a dab of the John Masters Citrus and Neroli Detangler through my wet hair, and then couldn't be bothered to clamber back into the shower to rinse it out. 

All of my moments of brilliance are born from indolence. 

A few hours later, my hair felt soft and smooth, the way it does when I first get it cut. It also curled my natural waves slightly, the way it does if I put sea salt spray through my hair.

This is now my go-to routine. It saves time (on hair-masks) and money (on washing out expensive conditioner). I also feel as though I have discovered a secret beauty hack, but I think lots of women do this, especially in the Afro-Caribbean community. Either way, my hair has gone from wool to cashmere, and I'm saving on product.

John Masters Citrus and Neroli Detangler: Has a light citrusy fragrance, and really moisturises your hair. John Masters is the epitome of high end organic hair care, and I am yet to try a product I am disappointed by. If you are new to organic beauty, but want luxe hair products, John Masters should be your source. 

Giovanni Direct Leave in Weightless Moisture: Again, a citrus fragrance, but not quite as sweet as John Masters. This leave in conditioner has a light texture, but works better when you wash the product out, as opposed to the John Masters one, that can be adapted to my new routine.

What do you do to condition your hair? 

Monday, 15 December 2014

Shop Local: ofWoodstock Artisan Soap and Skincare

Raw honey cleanser by Hill Top Honey and Honey Moisturiser by ofWoodstock

Spiced Ginger Soap

Christmas shopping shouldn't be haggard, parched, under strip lighting. Christmas shopping should be like a Christmas market: cinnamon and dried oranges, crepes dusted with icing sugar, wood smoke and candles scented with essential oils. 

Unfortunately at the Oxford Christmas market I only found gifts for myself. 

This is the local artisan company I discovered: ofWoodstock. Their creams and soap are handmade in Oxford, using locally sourced ingredients, such as cold pressed Rapeseed oil from the Cotswolds. They are beautifully gift wrapped in brown paper, card and gold twine, embellished with feathers. The soap comes in little cardboard boxes that remind me of vintage match boxes. 

So far, so eco.

But the best part? The scents. My interest is always sparked at the promise of shea butter and macadamia nut oil, but when I sampled their Honey Moisturiser all thoughts of my Christmas list for others was lost. This moisturiser is like Greek yoghurt with honey and chopped banana, all whipped up into a little glass jar. It has high quality, pure ingredients like vitamin E (to nourish the skin) zinc oxide (as a natural sun cream) and pure natural honey. I'm combining it with my raw honey cleanser for a antioxidant rich skincare routine.

I also picked up a handmade Spiced Ginger 'Old Fashioned' Soap - this was a difficult choice, especially combined with the Mint and Lime 'Mojito' soap, or the Coffee and Cinnamon 'Scrub' Soap - the latter of which has a rich, spicy scent, and would be perfect as a gift for men, or a coffee aficionado. Lots of their soaps have natural exfoliators, such as nutmeg or cinnamon or poppy seeds, which I love.  

ofWoodstock are at the Oxford Christmas market until the end of the week, but you can also select their products online. 

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Stocking fillers: natural and organic beauty

What did haphazard Christmas shoppers do before speedy internet deliveries? Panic, I suppose. As a dedicated internet shopper (with a cup of cacao hot chocolate) here are my recommendations for natural beauties...

Under five pounds

1. Gwdihw Balms: Welsh multi purpose balms made with minimalistic ingredients (coconut oil is usually the base) Sweet packaging. Perfect for teens. £4.49

2. Benecos Lip Liners: My favourite lip liners, and an absolute steal. Three colours: red (classic red) pink (a pretty, blushing pink) and brown (a rosy pink brown). £3.95

3. Trevarno Soap: These are handmade in Cornwall, using only the purest ingredients. I bought the rose speckled one as a treat for myself, but I also love the lavender and geranium or camomile versions. Trevarno also do divine gift sets: from petal studded bath melts, to handmade chocolates and luxurious orange and vanilla bath oils. You can buy from their website, or from Not On The High Street. £4.00

4. Fair Squared Lip Balms: These are my new favourite lip balms, a recent discovery from a Love Lula Beauty Box. They're a lot chunky than the size of traditional lip balms, so you are getting more balm for your money. Don't be fooled by the minimal packaging (as I was) these balms have gorgeous scents and pure, natural ingredients. Love. £2.99

5. John Masters Citrus and Neroli Detangler and Giovanni Direct Leave in Weightless Moisture ConditionerThese are samples of slightly more expensive products, but, as they are a leave in conditioner, you don't have to use as much. And why not get your friends and loved ones hooked on expensive organic and natural products? Both of these leave in conditioners have light, citrus based fragrances, and a small dab with nourish the most weather beaten hair. £2.50 and £2.49

6. Posh herbal tea. If your recipient is a herbal tea aficionado, then this could be a thoughful present. Make sure that it is a special version, though, not an everyday tea. I love Pukka's Nightime and Golden Camomile. Tea Pigs are good too. Both can be bought in Sainsbury's and Waitrose, and Pukka can be bought online at Naturisimo. £2.39

Slightly more expensive...

1. Dr Bronners Pure Castille Soap: Dr Bronners should be under every Christmas tree. It's so useful: this simple soap can be used to wash your body, delicates, makeup brushes, and mixed with an organic oil it makes the perfect shaving oil...see my post here. I've also written a post on what personality suits each Dr Bronner scent type here, so you can use that as a gift guide. £5.99

2. Joik Citrus Bath Truffles: I recieved one of these in a Love Lula beauty box, but sadly you can't buy individual truffles. But a box of these would make such a lovely present. When my sister and I were younger, we used to think that we were allergic to bath bombs and those stupid little soapy bath pearls that people would give you for Christmas...turns out, they were just crammed  full of toxic ingredients! Joik's bath truffles aren't. They're basically just bicarb of soda (for a little fizz) shea butter (to moisturise) and essential oils. These citrus ones are like little orange chocolates, and I would be tempted to eat them if that wasn't lunacy. A box full is worth the money. £11.90

3. This Works Sleep Balm: A lovely balm for pulse points, and a thoughtful gift for those who have trouble sleeping. This balm includes soothing essential oils of lavender, camomile and vetiver, and is the posh beauty equivalent of a cup  of herbal tea. £12.00 This Works also have some lovely gift sets, including little navy blue crackers with mini products from their deep sleep range, all for under ten pounds. You can find them at Boots or Naturisimo.

My two best websites for natural and organic beauty are Love Lula and Lucy Rose...both have tons of products, quick delivery and a points system, so that you can collect points each time you buy

Thursday, 11 December 2014

White teeth: A Natural Toothpaste and Mouthwash that aren't rubbish...Jason Powersmile and Sarakan review

The only two products that my sister uses that aren't natural or organic? Toothpaste and dry shampoo. 

I have a homemade recipe for the dry shampoo one of the first posts I ever wrote. But what about toothpaste?

Natural toothpaste is a difficult product to transition to. Like conventional shampoos, conventional toothpaste uses Sodium laurel sulfate, a foaming agent that gives that frothy, sudsy texture that we associate with cleanliness. They also have a super sharp, mint flavour, whereas in contrast organic and natural toothpastes can taste a little...herby. 

Conventional toothpastes can include the aforementioned SLS (foaming agent, irritant), fluoride (hotly debated whether this is toxic or beneficial) and artificial sweeteners. 

Jason PowerSmile is the only natural toothpaste I have found to make a significant difference to the whiteness of my teeth. It includes baking soda, which probably helps with this. The ingredients are pretty clean, and it tastes like peppermint. That's all I need. 

I also really like this Sarakan mouthwash. This is a really unusual flavour (really herby) and is flavoured with natural oils of peppermint, clove and geranium. It is also alcohol free and approved by the British Dental Health Association.

It also contains an extract from the Salvadora Persica, a tree that has been used for centuries as a natural toothpaste. If you have adapated to they herby and natural flavours and scents of organic beauty products, then I would recommend this, but if you haven't then you should probably give it a miss, and opt for the Jason Mouthwash. 

Natural and organic toothpaste brands that haven't worked for me (but might work for you)

Green People: really clean ingredients, but they had a chalky texture. Good taste though. Didn't whiten my teeth. Would recommed for children. 

Kingfisher: A good basic, one I reach for if I've run out of Jason PowerSmile (Kingfisher is stocked in Waitrose). Do not try the fennel one. I tried it once to be whimsical. It's like a sickly, aniseed poison, and yes, I did force myself to finish it. Kingfisher give you the opportunity to have their toothpastes with or without fluoride, depending on where you stand on that debate. I appreciate this. 

Sarakan toothpaste: a really unusual herby taste, but I really liked it. My sister and a friend were staying at my house and they tried and liked it too. A wildcard. Didn't whiten my teeth.

The other real difference made to the whiteness of my teeth - and this is a boring one - was switching to an Oral B electric toothbrush. I used to be really disdainful of electric toothbrushes, but it is genuinely a far better tool for keeping your teeth and mouth clean. There's a reason why people no longer have Dickensian bleeding gums. This is progress. 

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Review: Neal's Yard Pressed Mineral Eyeshadow in Barley

Neal's Yard Remedies Mineral Pressed Eyeshadow in Barley 

This photograph was taken really early on a frosty morning, which is why the light is so cold looking.

My top is Clements Riberiro cashmere (by way of T K Maxx, shhh) and my earrings are vintage, they used to belong to my mum. Other makeup: RMS Un Cover Up Concealer in 11, Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation in China Doll, Lily Lolo blusher in Cherry Blossom, Benecos White Eye Liner (on my waterline) Lavera Lip Liner in Apricot Beige with the REN Vita Mineral Lip Balm to give a glossy effect on the top. 

I think I've found my perfect eyeshadow shade. 

As I've confessed in previous posts, eye make up scares me slightly. Beauty blogger confession: I've never done a cat eye. I've never even owned a liquid eyeliner. My default eye is either a nude neutral or a smudgy cocoa/gold/bronze/grey smoky-ish eye.  

Neal's Yard Remedies Pressed Mineral Eyeshadow in Barley falls under the latter category, with spectacular ease. It's a sort of taupe colour, a very soft, warm brown, with subtle gold shimmer. This would be suitable for anyone who suits warmer colours (such as gold, bronze or oyster) and I think it would look wonderful on darker skin tones as well. 

The ingredients are really clean: a mixture of natural minerals (mica, titanium dioxide, ion oxides) with organic oils (rosehip fruit oil, sunflower seed oil, olive fruit oil, pommegranate seed oil). It also includes corn starch, which gives a smoother texture. It's pretty long lasting. If I was wearing it for the whole night I would top it up, but it also fades in a really nice goes sort of softer, without creasing. 

My one problem with this product? All packaging based. There's a reason why there aren't more pictures of the eye shadow on this blog...I smashed it. Confession: I'm really clumsy. Jack Frost, delicate wine glasses and high heels are not my friends. Anything breakable will be broken, unless it's something like a debit card or keys, in which case I will lose it. 

So yes, my pressed mineral eyeshadow is now just a mineral eyeshadow. I also don't like the plastic case the eyeshadows are packaged in. This case is the main reason I didn't try one of these eyeshadows in  the first place. It's such a shame, because I love all of the other Neal's Yard packaging, from their inky blue glass bottles; to their tree embossed blushers and mineral foundations. 

I wholeheartedly recommend this product. I really want to buy this for my Mum, because I think it would really suit her;  and I really want to try the other shades. Oat is my perfect gold neutral, and Wild Plum would make my eyes look greener. 

I just need to try not to smash them this time.

Mica, zea mays (corn)starch*, Ethylhexyl stearate, Zinc stearate, Squalane, Ethylhexyl palmitate, Tapioca starch*, Olea europaea (olive) fruit oil*, Punica granatum (pomegranate) seed oil*, Rosa canina (rosehip) fruit oil*, Tocopherol, Camellia sinensis leaf (white tea) extract, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, CI 77891 (titanium dioxide), CI 77491 (iron oxides), CI 77492 (iron oxides), CI 77499 (iron oxides).
*Organically produced ingredient. Made with 61% minerals and 16% organic ingredients. This is a vegan product.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Thrifty Beauty: an organic eyelash conditioner for six pence

Green beauty blogger truths: you know it's winter when your coconut oil solidifies. 

In the lead up to the festive season, I want to share some broke beauty tips, so that you can indulge in beauty rituals, without worrying about allocating funds for Christmas presents or parties.

Coconut oil is an ingredient in so many organic D.I.Y recipes: toothpaste, foot cream, deodorant, it's a base for them all.

But for those of you that don't enjoy crafting your own personal care products, here is a simple D.I.Y that will make your eyelashes look thick and lustrous. 

This is only really inexpensive if you already have a jar of coconut oil in your cupboard. Coconut oil is great in vegetable stir fries, curries, or used as a substitute for butter in cooking. I also like to stir some into a homemade hot chocolate. Coconut oil is good for you because its full of essential fatty acids. Make sure you opt for cold pressed, virgin and organic. A 300 ml jar costs about £6.00, and you only need about 30 ml for a few weeks worth of lash conditioning. 

Simply decant some of the oil into a small glass container, and apply to your lashes with an old (washed) mascara brush each night. You can also apply to sparse looking eyebrows if you want them to look thicker. 

As it is a frosty time of year, your coconut oil will have completely solidified. If you want a buttery texture that is easier to put onto the brush, then simply whip the coconut oil with an cake mixer, or pop it in a blender. I tend to be too rushed and impatient for this step, so I might just warm a little of the coconut oil in my hand, before coating the mascara brush.  

An extra bonus is that some of this lash conditioner will nourish your delicate under eye area. 

What's sad is that I used to do this trick with Vaseline as a young teenager. I had no idea what I was rubbing into my skin. The coconut oil works a thousand times better...I really hope that teenagers and young women will read my blog and try these tips and recipes.