Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Weekend Bath: Living Naturally Coconut Rose Milk Bath Powder

I think that I was initially drawn to Living Naturally's Coconut Rose Milk Bath Powder because the name includes so many things that I love: coconuts, roses, milk. This is exactly the experience I want from a luxurious weekend bath - a momentary Cleopatra type existence. 

This bath powder is perfect for anyone who has a ingrained suspicion of bath products - as I am - believing as a child that I was allergic to gelatinous bath pearls and glitter laced bath bombs, when in actuality they were full of inflammatory ingredients. The ingredients are flawlessly clean, simply: coconut powder, sodium bicarbonate, soapnut fruit powder and rose petals. 

The scent from the tin is heavenly: such a sweet, natural, coconut fragrance. This scent fades when used in the bath, but could only really be kept by the addition of essential oils or fragrance; which would compromise the simplicity of the natural ingredients (and make the product less suitable for those with sensitive skin). Living Naturally also have a Coconut Chai Milk Bath, which is lightly scented with cinnamon, ginger and clove. Surely this must be like having a bath in a creamy chai latte? 

Surprisingly, there are also other uses for this bath powder: it works as a gentle exfoliator. I like a tablespoon mixed with frankincense serum for my body (elbows, hands, heels, d├ęcolletage). I've even mixed a teaspoon with my Pai Camellia and Rose Cleanser as an exfoliator for my face: I wouldn't usually use bicarb of soda there, for fear that it would be too abrasive; but for some reason this works. Possibly due to the soft coconut or soapnut powder. 

This bath power looks so pretty, as you can see from the photographs above. The rose petals look luxurious scattered in the bath, so much more so than humdrum bubbles. I'm not particularly fond of the packaging; but when I buy this again I will simply decant the powder into a glass Kilner jar. 

A good test (when considering a repurchase of a beauty or bath product) is whether you miss it when you have used up every last trace).

I miss this coconut rose milk powder. 

p.s I've also reviewed Living Naturally's Herbal Hair Rinse Conditioner in a previous review...take a look, if you want. 

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Sample review: Kimberly Sayer, Jason and Tata Harper Love Potion Perfume...

Sample stash. 

I was really disappointed with these Kimberly Sayer samples. CloudyApples: Youtuber and natural beauty blogger highly recommends them, and I usually love all of her skincare tips. I'll make this quick, because disappointing natural product reviews make me sad inside. They all have a sickly, citrusy scent, like old fashioned sweets. Some of the ingredients are good, but others - like usng Japanese Honeysuckle (a naturally occurring paraben) are slightly more suspect. They're also pretty expensive - although you can try these samples for free at Love Lula. Pros: the formulas are incredibly lightweight, which I really like. If you are transitioning from conventional beauty products to natural skincare, then these might be the right products for you, as they don't feel too dismillar to high end conventional moisturisers. 

I posted a picture of this perfume sample on my Instagram a few weeks ago with the caption: 'If this perfume works, then I am devoting the rest of my life to finding Tom Hardy.' Tom hasn't turned up yet, but this perfume has a rich, gorgeous scent, with citrus top notes and a heady deeper layers of jasmine, frankiscene and sandlewood.  The ingredients are completely clean, which was good, because I managed to spill the tiny glass sample bottle all over myself (Every time). My one criticism is that £32.00 is quite expensive for 5ml (as a comparion: Neal's Yard rose and frankincense fragrances are £37.00 for 50ml). But I imagine that the Tata Harper fragrances are comparatively less expensive in America.

Does not provide you with the man of your dreams. 

Jason is a natural brand, who, like Burts Bees, confuse me. I find that some of their products I love, and some that I absolutely loathe. For example: toothpaste and mouthwash: love. This rose hand and body cream: loathe. I am a rose scent aficionado (now there's something to admit to!) but I really don't like this rose scent. It manages to be sickly and old fashioned at the same time. I couldn't use up the tiny sample, which was upsetting. 

But then.

The Vitamin E Pure Natural Body Oil was a real find. I loved the texture - it was slightly thicker and stickier (in a good way) than other oils, which is probably due to the Vitamin E. Vitamin E is a natural antioxidant, which you include in your diet by eating lots of avocados, nuts and olive oil.

This oil would be perfect as a scar serum, or even on your face in colder months (although it includes sunflower oil, which doesn't always work for my skin). The macademia nut oil in this is lovely - so nourishing and luxurious for the skin. Of all the the samples in this review, this is the one I will definitely repurchase: in summer, for tiny cuts, sunburn and as a rich body moisturiser. 

Thursday, 22 January 2015

I just put kale on my face: Nourish Kale Enzymatic Exfoliator Cleanser Review

Sort of. 

It was actually a sample of Nourish's Kale Enzymatic Exfoliating Cleanser, which has organic kale extract. But I would put kale on my face. There's something delicious about the idea of getting the nourishing qualities of vegetables into a facial (I recognise that this is impossible). 

Mini review

The texture. I love the texture of this cleanser. It is like a very pale whipped avocado mousse. I also loved the pomegranate exfoliating particles. They are so gentle, not gritty or abrasive. I've written before about my aversion to harsh face scrubs, such as sugar D.I.Ys (which are actually great, but only on your body). I found that this cleanser made my skin slightly tingly and dry, so I would recommend adding a drop of oil to your moisturiser afterwards (I used rosehip oil). After this my skin felt incredibly soft.

The ingredient list: There are some lovely ingredients here: glycerine, jojoba oil, aloe leaf juice powder, kaolin clay and pineapple fruit extract (another good natural exfoliator). Nourish are certified organic by The Soil Association, who are pretty discerning with their certification. 

The versatility: This product can be used as a cleanser, exfoliator and mini facial . I opt for once a week as an exfoliator or mask, and remove it with a hot muslin cloth. 

The scent: Quite lemony.

The packaging (of the full size product). I know this sounds like a strange thing to get excited about, but I'm really into typography, and I absolutely love the font of Nourish's brand. I also like the clean minimalism of their packaging. 

Skincare is a tricky thing to trial and recommend. There have been so many times I have been tempted by products that are the beloved by other beauty bloggers. But they don't have my skin. I have my skin. I prefer using richer, more buttery cleansers, like a Suti Facial Cleansing Balm or the Pai Camilla and Rose Cleanser. If you are looking for a light, delicately exfoliating, certified organic cleanser; then I would recommend this product. I would love to buy this for my mum, if only to guide her away from the crushed glass* exfoliator cleanser she uses at the moment. 

*I'm joking. But only just.

Gratuitous close up of some organic kale. From Riverford Organic. 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Five things that make life good: January

Blood oranges from Riverford Organic.

Organising my stash of skincare and makeup.

Cacao hot chocolate with raw honey.

Winter textures: silk, cashmere and wool.

Lemon and garlic. In everything. Antidote to winter. Also, the glass lemon juicer that my mum gave me. 

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Bloom Remedies: Cornish Natural Beauty That is better than Clotted Cream

My memories of Cornwall... Mousehole, story books detailing star gazy pie with pilchards, sea shells being sold on doorsteps, pastry on Cornish pasties, trying Creme Brulee for the first time, blustry winds, handmade ceramic jewellery, icy sea, clambering over rocks.

Bloom Remedies is a British natural beauty brand, handmade in Cornwall. I was given these soft buttery balms by my sister for Christmas (she found them in Infinity Foods, Brighton). My sister is sometimes nervous when choosing a gift for me: she has seen the way I appraise ingredient lists. So her default is to opt for products that are so clean, they could be used on babies.

Which is exactly the ethos of Bloom Remedies.

Devised by Aromatherapist Marie Hall, the ingredients include cold pressed oils and carefully chosen essential oils, with natural, gentle preservatives, like beeswax.

The three balms I received: Orange, Geranium and Cardamon Body Butter, Lavender, Rosemary and Thyme Hand Balm and Peppermint and Lemongrass Foot Balm simply have the most divine scents I have experienced in a natural beauty brand. These scents are rich: the lemongrass foot balm is exactly like lemon rind, whereas the rosemary and thyme hand balm is like a summer herb garden. The texture of each balm is quite similar, and quite like a typical lip balm, although the shea butter, rosehip and almond oil skin quickly into the skin.

Bloom Remedies are perfect for gifts: their products are beautifully packaged and gentle enough for new mothers and children. I'd love to give the Cornish Sea Salt Bath Melts made with shea butter or the Serenity Slumber Sleep Aid with a lavender and cedarwood pillow mist and roll on. The gifts are all reasonably priced, and I would compare the quality to Neal's Yard Remedies.

It's always lovely to find an independent British brand to support. If you live locally in Penzance, you can actually pop into the workshop and collect your order in person, with a fifteen per cent discount.

As if you needed another incentive to live in Cornwall.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Rediscovered Moisturisers: Estelle and Thild and REN

As part of New Year's resolution to not perpetually dance on the line between black and red finances; I'm using up lots of beauty products. And - this is the really crucial bit here - I'm not immediately purchasing new ones.

If you've read my blog before, you'll know that I'm devoted to Pai Skincare. They've yet to make a product that I don't love, a proper desert island, ship wrecked with only this one product love.

But I've started to see their products as essential if I want good skin, which although reasonable (I see an immediate improvement in my skin when I use their Camilla and Rose Hydrating Cleanser and Geranium and Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream) is not entirely true. Good skin needs lots of water, tons of sleep, a diet rich in omega and essential fatty acids. It can't simply be bought in a pretty frosted bottle.

So as a result, I've been rediscovering forgotten moisturisers...

The first is REN's Clarimatte T Zone Balancing Gel Cream (the name has changed slightly). I had a glut of REN samples to work through, but had foolishly thought that this moisturiser was only supposed to be used on your T zone (what would be the point?) Of course you can use it all over your face, and even better, it has mattifying properties, so would be perfect if you wanted a lightweight moisturiser that doubles as a primer. A must for anyone with combination skin, and it's also good if you want to skip the foundation or powder, but don't like the look of a shiny, moisturised face. I'm really tempted to buy the full size version of this, and twenty one pounds is the perfect price for an everyday moisturiser. Must focus.

The other is the Estelle and Thild Fragrance Free Night Cream. I loved this when I first tried it in the summer, except that I was combining it with their Fragrance Free facial Oil, and the sunflower oil mixed into in that just wasn't right for my skin. The fragrance free night cream also has sunflower oil, but is just lovely. It's both creamy and light, with a delicate, nutty scent. You know when you're putting something on your skin, and it just feels so wholesome and nourishing? This night cream is like that. The chicken bone broth and kale for the skin. The ingredients are incredibly clean: rose distillate, shea butter, almond oil, natural vitamin E extract, aloe vera extract, and fatty acids from olive oil and sorbitol.

I also love the pretty, Swedish design of the packaging (a beautiful bathroom shelf is a January essential). Estelle and Thild isn't an inexpensive option, but if you are craving some clean, wholesome skincare - and Pai doesn't suit you - I would urge you to sample this brand. I discovered this moisturiser in T K Maxx, so it's also possible to find these products there, too.

I love rediscovering beauty products in my stash...

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Burt's Bees Lip Shine in Smooch and Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus Review

I was stuck in a rut with my lip products. 

I always reach for a coral, or that sort of pinkish rosy neutral that is universal to lipstick shades. I think my slightly goth/punk teenage years had made me reluctant of a berry stain. I thought that it would take me back to my time of ringed kohl and corpse bride lips.

I was completely wrong.

I was given a Burt's Bees Lip Shine in Smooch and a Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus. Both give a sheer, glossy plum stain to the lips, which I love. They were a gift from my Grandparents, under the close tutorship of my Auntie Heather. The heather in the photograph - which is a good match for both stains - surrounds the Heath near their home in Suffolk, and I stole this spring from their front garden. 

What I love about both of these products is that they have the nourishing, moisturising quality you would expect from Burt's Bees (due to the beeswax, apricot oil and cocoa seed butter) but with with an rich colour. The balm is a rosy wine stain, and far more sheer. The gloss - which, like the Neal's Yard lip gloss, isn't sticky at all - has more of a blackberry shine. Both are perfect for cold, wintry days, woodsmoke and gunmetal skies. 

Tinted Lip Balm in Hibiscus (the sheer balm) and Lip Shine in Smooch (the gloss).