Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Kjaer Weis eye shadow

When a range of colour beauty products has been created by a makeup artist it always comes with high expectations. After all who knows more about flattering shades and great textures, than a person who uses these products every day on lots of different people.

Soon after trying my first Kjaer Weis eye shadow I knew I had to get my hands on a few other colours. Being not the biggest fan of loose shadows and generally picky when it come to eye make-up, my palette has become some what limited after switching from main stream brands. One of the great things about this brand is that all products come as refills. Not only does this allow me to create my own palettes, I also do not have to worry about disposing of the little tiny plastic pots that my council doesn't recycle. Select colours are vegan (all three eye shadows in this post are).

Earthy calm.

Is a warm brown ( a milk chocolate brown I would say). I really like this colour for day time use. Brown shadow is the one often recommended for blue eyed girls, but for the longest period I have sort of resisted it (even though I would use brown eye liner). Mainly because certain browns can make your eyes appear tired, almost as if you didn't get enough sleep. Well it does not happen with this colour, it just gives lovely definition and makes my eyes pop. All Kjaer Weis products are designed to be buildable, and this particular colour can be layered quiet intensely, which is how I use it when I apply it close to the lash line. It also looks great with a sheer application over the lid ( I also blend it out, for a more translucent effect), almost like when you apply bronzer to your eyes.


 Is a taupe, a mixture of grey, brown and violet (I would call it a mushroom brown). It is supposed to work for all eye colours and I can really believe it. I use this to line my eyes when I want a softer definition than a pencil would give, plus the colour is really quiet special. I don't think I have ever come across a taupe this flattering. I normally combine it with cloud 9 eye shadow, the two go hand in hand beautifully.


Is a browny gold, and is the colour I was most excited about adding to my palette. I love how it looks with a sheer application, it sort of makes me look a bit more awake, and makes my blue eyes look a little more vibrant. The golden undertone will make it a great addition to anyone's makeup bag. You can also layer it to appear darker, but it will not give as much definition as the other two colours. If you want to use it by itself, it is pretty perfect for a paired down look. I love combining it with earthy calm.

I really like the way this line approaches make-up. All the colours are vibrant and modern yet not really chasing the latest makeup trends. It is more about being flattering and enhancing. Although with the choice of colours in the range, you could pretty much follow most trends using Kjaer Weis, if you felt so inclined.

I only have one eye shadow case, the rest were purchased as refills, and went straight in to my z-palette. The quantity of the eye shadow does look less than some other brands, however you need to use it within 12 months after opening, and for me it is just the right amount of product. Any more and it would be wasted. All of the above colours have a slight pearlescent sheen to them, but they are not really shimmery (well maybe magnetic is somewhat shimmery, but even here shimmer is rather subtle). I find that this finish makes them more flattering than a completely matte brown would be.

The first ingredient in the eye shadow is talc, and I personally do not have an issue with it in regards to this particular product. I have not experienced any irritation, and my eyes can be sensitive. With regards to possible asbestos contamination, I feel that this company has made so many efforts in terms of sourcing their ingredients, and certification, that I am inclined to trust them and hope that their product is free from contamination. I do tend to be cynical when it comes to assurances from people who try to sell me stuff, but you do have to believe someone at some point, especially in the absence of a lab where I could test things myself.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Dahliana seabuckthorn berry creme review

I first mentioned Dahliana seabuckthorn crème in my spring routine post. My routine has somewhat changed and I will do an update on it very soon.

Initially I was using seabuckthorn crème as a daytime moisturiser, but now it is a night treatment in my routine. I first introduced this crème in to my skincare rotation mid February. So at this point, I have been using it somewhere between a month, and a month and half.

The product comes in a heavy plastic jar, which does look simple and elegant. The crème itself has a pale yellow colour and light consistency. It smells deliciously fruity and citrusy. Very fresh, and the scent disappears quickly enough after application, which is my general preference with face products.

I really love how the formula feels on my skin, it is hydrating and not at all heavy. It doesn't feel like I have a layer of product sitting on my face. It seems to slightly even out my skin tone and my pores appear less noticeable after use. On the box it mentions that sensitive skin types may experience slight flushing and tingling during initial use, and to use less frequently until skin becomes accustomed to the product. And indeed I did experience those effects, it normally goes away after about 15 minutes. However after over a month of getting used to it, I still can not use this crème more frequently than every other day (actually every other night, since I no longer use it during the day).

I always take the anti-ageing label on products with a grain of salt, what I am personally looking for, is for a product to help maintain the look and feel of well hydrated skin, as dehydrated skin always makes you look older (of course hydration comes from within, but topical products do help). I also want my skincare to provide a glow, without making me look shiny and not to exaggerate the look of my pores (it is surprising how many moisturisers do just that). Generally I believe in pro-aging, i.e. in maintenance and prevention rather than reversal. And I feel that this is a great product in that respect, it almost ticks all the boxes. When it comes to performance I absolutely love it, it really does deliver on the promises.

But there are some issues that I do have with it. First of all due to the active ingredients, for best results. you need to use this creme up within 3 months of opening. It says so on the Dahliana website, but not on the box or the jar. They also mention in their general Q&A area, that all jar products should be used within 4 months of opening, but the pump serums are ok until expiration, which is a year after you receive them. Since I bought this from a third party, and not directly from Dahliana, I don't really have any way of knowing when this product expires, as there is no expiration on the packaging.

And my last concern is about the Grape fruit oil in the product (just as a side note the full ingredient list for the products is not available online). Grapefruit essential oil has a low risk of phototoxicity, and is considered safe to use in that respect if it is used in a concentration of 4% or below, for products that will be left on the skin (anything above that level and skin must not be exposed to sunlight or sunbed rays for 12 hours).

When I contacted Dahliana with regards to the method of extraction of their grapefruit oil, and my concerns over it being phototoxic, I received a very prompt reply (within 30 minutes), which left me a little baffled. First I was assured that they used only the smallest amount of grapefruit oil in their products, that made me feel pleased, but the next sentence sort of threw me. They pointed out that they use cold pressed oils, and that cold pressed oils do not have problems with photo toxicity. Well that is simply not true, essential oils that contain certain types of furanocoumarins are photo toxic (bergapten happens to be one of the phototoxic FCs, and is a component of grapefruit oil), FCs are generally found in expressed (cold-pressed) citrus fruit oils, but not in distilled citrus fruit oils.

I was also directed to a post about citrus oils and phototoxicity, which I was already familiar with, and advised to always wear daily SPF when outside. I will address my personal SPF policy in an upcoming post, but when I wear SPF, I do not have a moisturiser underneath, as my skin just doesn't like it when I try to layer a lot of different products. I was inclined to believe their statement about the low levels of grapefruit, but followed by a sentence that made no sense and after looking at the ingredients list a little closer, I am not so sure. Grapefruit oil is listed number 8, and there are 14 further ingredients that follow after, that are supposed to be listed in diminishing quantity (and seabuckthorn is listed 10th). Assuming that grapefruit oil is at 4% level, that would mean that the other ingredients are even less than that (which yes is entirely possible), since I have no access to their formula I just decided to veer on the side of caution and use it only at night.

I purchased the Seabuckthorn Berry Crème when a beautiful world were having their Pink Friday  flash sale, and I also had a ten pound voucher, so I paid £19 instead of the usual £54. With my every other nightly use, it is not very likely that I will use it all up in the 3-4 months period that is recommended, however I do feel that results that this product gives are very good, and I would not hesitate to purchase it again, if it was on offer, but I can't really justify getting it full price every 3 months. I only need about a pea sized amount for my entire face (I couldn't use it on my neck, which seems to be super sensitive to most products), and after more than a month, the jar still looks barely touched. I am normally not that bothered about products in a jar, but if it would help with prolonging the freshness of this crème, I would rather it came in an airless pump container. It uses phenoxyethanol as a preservative (as I have mentioned before, I don't completely avoid this ingredient, but I do try not to use too many products that have it).

Have you guys tried Dahliana? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Let's talk chocolate

When I was a kid I swear there was no better food than chocolate. Maybe it was the fact that I didn't really get to eat it all that often was what made it more special, or maybe it really was a different recipe back then. Because I still remember how good a plain milk chocolate bar tasted when I was six, and the thing is, it really doesn't taste the same to me now that I am older.

Nowadays I have chocolate once in a blue moon, not because I am on a diet or deny myself sweets, I am just not that bothered. When I do have one, I prefer it to have some sort of filling, like a lemon mousse, or pieces of strawberry.

When I came across sacred chocolate I was very intrigued, it has quiet a few different varieties with one thing in common, organic raw chocolate made out of the whole bean, nibs and husks included. A little heart shaped bar will set you back £6.95, but promises an indulgent experience like no other plus an antioxidant boost. I have to say I did like the idea of a sweet treat that can also be a supplement, so I chose to try the bars in Twilight and Immuno Mushroom variety.

As I was munching on my chocolate bar (which are just a single portion, the heart fits comfortably in the palm of my hand), I decided to do a little research on the benefits of raw chocolate. And of course what I found made me want to crawl under the duvet and hide away forever, because as usual it is not straight forward. Some think that chocolate is an amazing super food, yet others argue that it is something to be avoided and that it is addictive like a drug.

I do not want to paraphrase people, as nutrition is not a subject that I feel I have a lot of knowledge in, but there seems to be two camps, those who are strongly for it and those that are against.
So here is a link about the founders of sacred chocolate, the whole website has a lot of information on the virtue of raw chocolate. And here are links to a different view on the subject:  number one and number two.

After reading everything ( I did read a lot more than just the links above), I came to a conclusion that I will carry on as normal. I will continue to eat chocolate when I feel like it, the whole chocolate is good for you reminds me of those articles about the benefits of red wine. As resveratrol is an antioxidant it appears that drinking red wine is great for you, but the alcohol part is not good though, which leaves a question: how much is beneficial and how much is actually harmful? I do enjoy an occasional glass of red wine and I do enjoy an occasional piece of chocolate, but I don't think over indulging in anything is a good idea. Yet the argument against having chocolate ever makes me feel like I should put on a space suit, as everything is bad for me and germs are everywhere and out to get me (ok I am being a bit melodramatic here). It just gets a little tiring having to think about how everything we eat, or put on our skin, or clean our house with can be potentially harmful, even if it is organic. It feels like I need to have a degree in chemistry, and nutrition, and medicine just to do my weekly shop.

Back to the topic at hand.
The sacred chocolate bars taste very creamy, to be honest I have tried a few organic chocolate bars and these are the first ones that I actually liked. The immuno mushroom is dark chocolate with a slightly earthy after taste ( I am guessing the mushrooms?). The twilight chocolate has a faint vanilla note instead, but otherwise they are both equally as smooth. I think that twilight is more traditional and the immuno mushroom could be for an acquired taste.

However Mr. RF, who considers himself to be some sort of chocolate connoisseur, did not like the twilight bar, he said that the blend just did not work, and he point blank refused to try the mushroom one.

I find the bars to be quiet rich, I can only have half of one at a time. I would be interested in trying the milk chocolate version, but overall it is a pleasant but pricey treat. I guess it all depends how much you like your chocolate, generally I prefer papayas and watermelons any day, and sacred chocolate is no exception.

Which shade of red?

Red lipstick has become a classic, it is never really out of fashion and it is my go to for an evening look. You can let your lips do the talking and leave your eyes completely bare, or pair it up with a little flick of a liquid liner or even go for a dramatic cat eye to make a statement. It really depends on the occasion and your personal preference.

If super bright red lip is something you prefer to admire from afar, there are plenty of toned down reds that look absolutely gorgeous.

Kjaer weis in passionate and burt's bees tinted lip balm in rose are your perfect daytime reds. Kjaer weis is slightly less glossy and I do prefer the texture of it, but otherwise they are really close to each other (practically interchangeable).

Ilia bang bang and lily lolo French flirt are muted down reds, they look different on the lips. Bang bang is glossier and slightly see through, and a little brighter. French flirt is more pigmented, the sort of colour that is not out of place during the daytime, but would also look good when having cocktails.

Now to my favourite bright reds. Rms beloved and Ilia wild child are similar in shade, but beloved is a little more versatile. It goes on sheerer, therefore you can vary the intensity of the colour. Wild child on the other hand has the ease of the tube application. They are not exactly the same, Beloved is just a little bit more poppy red. I do feel that they are somewhat interchangeable, but I like this  particular colour so much that I feel the need to have both.

Ilia Crimson and clover is a slightly deeper red, that leaves an absolutely gorgeous clover/raspberry stain behind. This is a bit of a chameleon lipstick and an absolute staple for me. This is the lipstick that I go for when I feel indecisive. I normally put on just a little bit of mascara, crimson & clover, and I am ready for an evening out.

Xenca cherry is the latest addition to my reds, and I feel that the picture does not do it justice. The hue is a little cooler than the other colours, it is a true cherry red and it is so so vibrant. It is the most long lasting out of all my lipsticks ( as long as I am a little careful when eating/drinking, I don't even need to reapply at all).

My collection is almost complete, I feel that it is missing a darker red, I have been using rms diabolique and beloved to achieve that colour, but once diabolique runs out, I'll probably try to find a single product to fill in the gap.

The following lipsticks have carmine: burt's bees in rose, kjaer weis in passionate, lily lolo in French flirt.

Rms, xenca and ilia do not contain carmine.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Sample to purchase: Vapour

So not so long ago I did a little Vapour beauty trial, with all the samples that I have collected, and of course after realising how good the products were, I decided to get some of the colours I most enjoyed. But being true to myself, the shades that I actually purchased were not the ones I tried. Why get something that you know you like, when you can get something brand new, which can turn out to be completely awesome or entirely unsuitable (hey it made sense at the time).

I am now the lucky owner of two vapour mesmerize eye shadows and two siren lipsticks (one of the lipsticks will be in a different post). I really love the texture and the performance of the eye shadows, and nothing has changed since the acquisition of these colours in that respect.

Mesmerize eye shadow in sugar is described as a golden peachy pink shimmer. Well it is definitely pink, and when it goes on it looks like very light pink shimmer, which does look lovely. However I wanted the part with the golden peach too, and I just see pink. I loved the effect of cinder, which is described as smokey pink, and comes across as a lovely beige shimmer on my skin, I just wanted something with a little more gold, well sugar was not it. Once this tube runs out I will be sticking to cinder (unless they come up with a gold shade).

Nightfall eye shadow does not have the benefit of the added sparkle, and is described as a soft grey brown. I think this is pretty accurate. It does look more grey in the tube and more brown on my skin. This colour is gorgeous and a real keeper. I like to use it both as a little wash of colour from the middle to the outer corner of my eyelid, mixed with something sparklier in the inner corners, and a more intense concentration of colour close to my eyelashes, applied with a brush. Just warm up the eye shadow on the back of my hand, pick up pigment directly from the tube with a flat angled brush and apply close to the lash line.

As I was obsessing over the nude lips in anticipation of spring, I was buying lots of lipsticks that would go well with certain nail polishes (not very successfully might I add). Siren lipstick in desire was one such colour. It is a warm light pink, that looks completely different on my arm to what it looks like on the lips (but I found that true of other vapour lipsticks), and is also a dupe for the Alicia Silverstone by Juice Beauty, that has been discontinued. On the plus side now I don't have to search for a replacement when AS JB runs out, on the downside I have two colours that are practically identical. One thing I want to mention is that the siren lipsticks smell amazing! It did not come across on the samples, those smelled of nothing. The full sizes smell like fruit and berry smoothies ( I do find myself sniffing the tube after I already applied my lippie from time to time, I just can't help it). Lipsticks are really moisturizing and I love how they look on the lips, I do need to reapply after eating/drinking.

Now I had a look at my makeup collection, and there is no way I am adding anything to it until I use somewhere between 10-20 products. Hopefully, when do end up making another makeup purchase, I will remember to pick the colours I originally planned to get, and request samples of the ones that caught my eye, but somehow that seems completely out of character.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Spotlight on: Osmia

I have been dropping Osmia products in some of my posts here and there, I feel that it's time (drum roll please) to put this brand in the spotlight!

If you are an avid lover of bees, you might think that is where the name for the brand came from, however the real origins are a little more subtle. The founder of Osmia comes from a medical background, and the words describing different conditions involving sense of smell (hyperosmia, anosmia, parosmia), all have one common part. I guess you can see where this is going, the name and the products revolve around the importance of taking your time to notice your surroundings, and enjoying the therapeutic benefits of different scents.

For people who enjoy their showers:

My love for soaps is rather obvious, I do normally like very creamy bars, the ones that feel like they could possibly melt in your hands (of course if they actually melted it would not be good). Osmia bars are a little harder than my normal preference, but nothing about this brand is quiet as what it seems at first glance. The soaps come wrapped in partially recycled watercolour paper, and apart from looking super cute, it is compostable and biodegradable, including the label.

Zucca spice is a pumpkin orange slice of freshness (only botanical colourants are used). I find this bar to be exfoliating even though it doesn't have any granules like I would normally see in an exfoliating soap. If you look closely you can see little red specs, that would be the rosehip powder that helps to slough away dead skin cells. After each use my skin feels really clean, almost as if I used a sea salt scrub. This bar was brought out especially for winter, but I can see myself loving it all year round. It did come in a generous chunk, which I cut in half. To me the scent is not at all overpowering, there is a little of spice to it, but mainly it reminds of fennel. Regardless I can not get enough of it. It turns my morning/evening showers into a mini spa experience.

Milky rose soap is your ultimate indulgence. It is just a smidgen more moisturising than Zucca spice, and it makes my skin feel marvellous. My skin on the upper chest and back can be a bit on the sensitive side, this soap always calms things down. It doesn't have rose oil in the mix (you can read about it here), but the rose petals on the top of the bar are still fragrant. The scent itself is a little difficult to pin point, it is definitely feminine, but not overpowering, and it doesn't smell overly floral.

Evergreen shea is the one soap I would happily get for my man (and then use myself when he is not looking). From the first sniff you get transported to a pine forest, skin is left feeling clean and soothed. I have to say that all the soaps I have tried are fabulous, and really good for sensitive skin.

The one product I was really excited about is the Soap travel bag. I like to take my soap with me and it can be tricky to transport after you have used it, for some reason it is hard to find a good travel case. What is great about this bag is that you can put your wet soap in it and since it is breathable, your soap will be able to dry. Also it will make your clothes smell fantastic, when you pop everything in a suitcase.

For people who enjoy their baths:

I do love a good soak, there is just something so relaxing about it. However it doesn't feel like a proper bath unless I add something to the water, it is like a compulsion.

Organic milk bath was a bit of a surprise. I would normally add some salts, or a bath bomb, not a powder to my bath. Oh I didn't realise how much I was missing out. The milk bath has a slightly sweet, pleasant scent. It turned my bath water completely opaque ( I felt very excited about that). But most importantly it completely transformed the water. My skin felt so soft, and I didn't even have the dreaded crinkled hands and feet bath syndrome after my soak (well maybe a little but hardly noticeable in comparison to the usual). And what's more my skin felt nicely exfoliated, I mean baby soft, with no effort from me.

After washing:

Your instinct would be to reach for a towel, but what you really should do is grab a bottle of Osmia body oil instead. The oil is best applied to wet skin (or at least damp, if you can't help yourself), yes it takes a little getting  used to, but the results are really worth it.

The oil I have is water lily, which sort of smells like a beautiful pond in the middle of a forest. Very sensual yet refreshing. I honestly have not come across such a wonderfully zingy smelling oil before. Again I don't feel overpowered by  the scent, but it does linger, so I would think that perfume is optional.

The base for all the oils is the same, and it is only the fragrances that differ. There is also an unscented version, for those who prefer no fragrance. Because the base contains jojoba, I was being very careful to only apply on my arms and legs (I tend to use face products on my upper chest anyway, so it is not really different to normal). It doesn't leave a film and just feels like super soft skin. The scent combined with how it affects the skin, makes this a truly unique product.

For your face:

There is a lot of information about how you shouldn't use soap on your face, my experience  has been completely different. No I don't think you can use just any old soap, but hand made facial soaps are absolutely fantastic.

I have a little sample of Rose clay facial soap, but as I spotted it contained jojoba I just did not want to risk it. What I can tell you is that it smells a little like rose geranium to me, and that the lather is very soft. I have been using it to clean my Jane Iredale magic mitt, after removing makeup.

They have introduced a new Luz enzyme facial soap which does not contain jojoba, and I am sure I will be adding it to my shopping basket next time I order.

I like to think that I take good care of my skin, but sometimes I don't drink enough water, or don't sleep enough, or use something that doesn't agree with my skin. That is when I start getting spots. Now is the time to bring out the emergency treatment.

When I first saw the spot treatment, all I could think about was how small the bottle is. The truth is, after using it a dozen times over the last few months, it still looks untouched, so I really should not have judged it based on the size. What can I say, it really works, it works quicker on the red spots than the ones with a head, but that is quiet normal for products that don't dry out your skin. For me it has worked a lot better than any other treatment I have tried in the past, and more importantly it doesn't have tea tree, which can be a little too much for my skin. It is a very concentrated product and smells fairly potent, mainly of lavender. The roller ball applicator is small, which makes it great for target application.

When your skincare routine is finished and you feel like giving your lips a break, but you still want a little bit of colour, lip luster gloss is here for you. It is one of the nicest smelling lip products, it smells of pure deliciousness, like a honeyed edible flower. It is a berry shade that looks dark in the tube, but goes on with just a hint of colour. There are some new additions to this lip gloss, simmer - a flattering looking orange, and whisper, which is a lighter pink than luster. How I am itching to get my hands on simmer!

With every order that I have received from Osmia, they kindly included some samples without me asking for them. That is how I got to try some of their wonderful products. When I order from outside of the UK, I always try to consider how much the import tax will be, which means I normally order fewer products than I would have wanted. And that is why it is so fantastic that Osmia is generous enough to let you discover other things in their range, it gives me an opportunity to choose products that I know I will love when I order next.

I also really like how elegant and simple the packaging is, opening a package from them feels like receiving a thoughtful gift. There is so much information on their website and Sarah's blog is totally worth a read.

P.S. if you are wondering why I didn't mention the deo in this post, well it is because I am working on something that will be up very soon and it will be included in there.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Behind the scenes: the konjac sponge company

I started using Konjac company sponges pretty much as soon as they launched, I have tried a different brand before and did not enjoy them as much. Despite the fact that I have been using them on and of for ages (has it been 4 years now, or more?) it wasn't untill this winter gone that they have become a more prominent part of my routine.

Simple reason is the event that that Konjac company held last summer, where as a bonus I got to meet lovely Mayah from Call it Vanity. I liked the sponges already and I though I already new everything there was to know about them, obviously I was wrong.

Let us start from the begining.

Konjac sponges are made from the edible Konjac root, that has been ground into powder.

The powder itself looks very smooth, but feels a little gritty to the touch ( looks like normal flour, yet doesn't feel as smooth). It actually is food grade Konjac flour, however I wouldn't advse eating your sponge.The sponges are made on the Island of Jeju, and all the water used in production is filtered through volcanic rock.

Here is the production process in full detail:

1. Prepare refind konjac powder and Jeju pure water.

2. Mix specially processed refind Konjac powder with drinking grade of pure water using a stirrer.

3. After mixing them by stirrer the materials become jelly form.

4.Put the jelly form into plastic molds and then put them in to the mature room at room temperature for 24 hours.

5.After maturing process, sort out any faulty shape products by QC team. And then put those molds in a steamer.

6.Cooling those jelly forms of product at room temperature after the steam process.

7. Place them into a freezer for freezing for more than 3 days. Repeat freezing and de-freezing process for many days to get natural form of Konjac puffs or sponges. And then cleaning the sponges using water and spinner.

8, Dehydrate these products in a dryer for more than 36 hours. After the dry process, the sponges turn into completely dry types of Konjac sponges. Check any faulty products by QC after the dry process.

9. For dry type sponges, go to #10 packing process. In case of wet type sponges, do the wet type process with antibacterial liquid and then dry the sponges using spinner. In case of new dry types, wet the dry sponges with water and then place them into a Freeze-dryer machine for 24 hours.

10. Processing the hot seal packing or shrink wrap packing while checking any faulty products by QC team.

11. Place the individually packed sponges into inner boxes and cartons.

The range of products consists of facial, body and baby sponges. Baby sponges are made from pure Konjac without any clay additives, and the slim round sponge can also be used for makeup application.

One of the face sponges is also pure konjac, the rest have different clays added to benefit specific skin types, and there is a bamboo charcoal variety for oily and spot prone skin. At the time of the event the most popular type of sponge in UK was the pink clay for sensitive skin, and it is the one I also prefer. Yet in Spain the most popular variety was the french green clay for combination skin. Now I do wonder, are there more people with sensitive skin in UK? Maybe it has something to do with the climate.

Using the sponge is pretty straight forward. You drench it in water, making sure that it is fully hydrated, gently squeeze the water out and rinse it. Squeeze out excess water and massage the skin in small circular movements with the damp sponge. Let your skin air dry, like you would after using a toner (or if you are using a face oil, take advantage of slightly damp skin). You don't need to use a cleanser with the sponge, but it really comes down to personal choice.

The ridge of the sponge can be used for gentle exfoliation of the eye area, so for people that get milia this is a really good option, since the way to get rid of milia is with exfoliation, but you can't really use exfoliators on your eye area. You have to be very gentle and make sure not to rub hard, personally I prefer to use the plain version of the sponge for this, as my eyes are super sensitive.

After you are done cleansing, rinse the sponge, squeeze out the excess water and hang it up somewhere it can air dry (preferably not the bathroom, especially if your bathroom does not have windows). You need to let your sponge dry after each use to keep it in good condition. Sponges should be replaced every 3 months or as soon as they start to tear up. They are completely biodegradable including the string, so chuck it in the compost or take it out with your food waist when you can no longer use it.

The wave body sponges act exactly the same, however they do not have a string (they are bigger, because of that the weight of the sponge and the string simply did not work together). So between uses you can pop it on a bamboo type soap saver, that way air can get to the bottom of your sponge.

The konjac sports sponge, is smaller than the wave sponges and comes with a travel pouch. This product is slightly different to the others as it is dry-frozen, and feels completely solid to the touch.

How I use my sponge:

I have tried all the facial sponges apart from the red clay one, and at the moment the pink clay feels more appropriate (however their was a point when I thought that the bamboo charcoal was the best). In the past I used to use it a couple of times a week as a gentle exfoliator, and it does work well in that capacity. However the best results I have noticed were this winter, when I started to use my sponge daily, my skin feels smoother, and the pesky hormonal break outs on the jaw line seem to be a problem of the past. I do get complacent and flake on  my routine, and that is how I know that the sponge is largely responsible for my skin looking better.

I do use it with a cleanser a couple of times a week ( May Lindstrom honey mud), but the rest of the time I use it on its own. I very rarely use it twice a day, even though the sponge is not abrasive and won't damage the lower layers of skin, it is still not good to overexfoliate. Using the sponge actually helps your other face products work better, but once a day is all your skin needs.

When I am done I hang it up on the wash line, and it really helps to preserve my sponge. It still looks like new, but it is probably time to replace it. Good job I have a little stash of them from goodie boxes.

The sponge that I have been using lately was a PR sample from the event, but I have purchased them on numerous occasions myself. As usual the review is my own opinion.