Tuesday, 29 July 2014

My first youtube vid!

Ok so this is a little bit of an experiment. I have just finished my very first video (unrully hair, silly faces and all), I probably should've kept it to myself but hey, this took time and I am sharing it regardless!

The video is about the forgotten stash, inspired by the no spend challenge. I was just going through the bathroom cabinet trying to see what I can use up quickly, or what has been sitting there without use.

The products from the video in no particular order:

Kae argan oil. Not something I will be buying again, just not particularly remarcble, however nothing wrong with it either.

Dr Alkaitis soothing gel. I am rediscovering my love for this thanks to all the recent posts. I forgot I had it (yes absolutely terrible of me), but there was time when I could not have gone through the day without using it. This gel is like an old favourite t-shirt, everything about is just right, just has not been used for awhile.

Hei Poa frangipani. This used to be a staple, but it is not quiet clean enough ingredient wise, and clearly has not been getting much love from me lately, it will not be getting repurchased.

Oskia micro exfoliating balm. I have reviewed this in the past and it made a comeback into my stash even though I did not think it would. It has been neglected due to the hot weather but not really forgotten.

Lovea argan leave in conditioner. I'm not too keen on the scent but everything else about it is great. This has been repurchased a few times, but not so sure about the future, purely because I don't think it will be needed. Otherwise this is a pretty solid product.

Soapwalla deodorant cream. We just are not getting on that great, but I am slowly getting through the jar.

Organic pharmacy Jasmine night conditioner. This smells so good, but it is not a perfume, and unfortunately, it did not work for me as intended. I am loving it as a body spray, however it will not be a repurchase. I was wrong in the video, this product does not have alcohol in it.

I hope my first video was not a complete disaster. Do tell what you think.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Interview with George Jones (Bathing Beauty)

When I met George the creator of Bathing Beauty, the first thing that struck me was her energy. You can tell this is not a lady that sits still. As we were talking I just could not get over how glowy and radiant her skin was (without makeup as far as I could tell). Immediately I wanted to know all her beauty secrets.

From talking to her, I got the feeling that George doesn't hold back any punches when it comes to something she believes in. And after trying a few of her products (anoint oil for shy skin being a firm favourite), I strongly suspect that the secret ingredient is passion.


RF: What are the origins behind your brands product names? Why bathing beauty?

GJ: When it comes to names behind the products, like my children's names, I usually have the name first. I wanted every part of the product, from ingredients, labelling, graphics and packaging to reflect my ethos: to be functionally effective, to accept no compromise, to never sacrifice the purity of the product on the alter of profit margins.

I have a ridiculously busy life and I hate "flannel", unnecessary ingredients, and the "green washing" that surrounds the natural beauty industry. I like subtle humour. For example, My skin healing shave oils for men and women are called Up Close, And Personal. I feel it describes the purpose well, where you apply it, with the bonus of making me smile.

My company name Bathing Beauty, which I am delighted is now a registered trademark, follows that need for directness, honesty, and clarity. Plus I like a little alliteration!

RF: The legendary oat and honey soap was the first product you created for bathing beauty, but which one was the most fun to come up with?

I love all my products they are created in direct response to a need: mine, a family members or a patient. And I get such satisfaction when the positive feedback comes in.
Gauntlet, sock, soothe, jones the bones to name a few.

RF: Not all soaps are made equal, what sets yours apart?

GJ: My soaps are fantastic. Made by hand( mine!). They take a minimum of 4 WEEKS to make
It goes without saying that I do not use parabens, sulphates, or fragrance oil in my soaps.
I also do not use cheap bulking oils found in many natural soaps such as Palm oil. Or cheap nut oils such as sweet almond oil.
The Legendary Oat and Honey Soap now renamed Miracle, is my natural alternative to the petrochemical based eczema products.I use spring water from St Dyfnogs Well. A fifth century pilgrimage site and reputed to have skin healing properties. I use organic coconut, olive and sunflower oils. To this I had healing local honey, and calming organic oats. Miracle looks like flapjack, smells like butterscotch and lathers like a dream..

Like all my products, each soap has a purpose. Some even have a waiting list!

Every winter I make Seville, a fabulously Festive soap with cinnamon and orange essential oils. It is a limited edition soap that is only on sale from the end of October - January. I usually post on Facebook as the first batch goes to cure, within a couple of days the first batch has been reserved!.

Another soap that takes some making is Rosebud. I add melted Shea butter ( organic and Fair trade of course) and this creates a super luxe finish, which takes 5 weeks to cure. So special, Each bar is crowned with 10 rosebuds- Sandra from Beauty Balm loves it.

3 Kings is another seasonal soap. A wonderfully heady scent from pure frankincense and myrrh essential oils.Each bar is topped with 22ct gold leaf - It takes a very steady hand!

RF:You are one busy lady, do you have a morning ritual that helps you start your day? 
GJ: Ideally I like to have a glass of hot water and a slice of lemon. I used to drink it religiously when I was a model in Milan. My mother recently told me that her Italian grandmother also used to drink it in the morning to keep her complexion clear. Always wear sunscreen, at least SPF 30. I always apply it to my chest, like hands, this area is often overlooked and over the years can start to show signs of sun damage.
Without fail I always apply Balaclava protective face salve before going out in the mornings. It's an amazing product, like many of mine, it's anhydrous, water free, therefore doesn't chill against your skin. It's used by riders, runners, cyclists, gardeners. I fact anyone who needs climate control for their face.
I keep Sock foot Salve and Gauntlet hand salve on my bedside table. I try to rub some on whilst lying in the dark getting to sleep. I've recently added Rose Quartz Facial Rollers to my routine.I have a double ended roller. I find you have best effects by keeping them in the fridge. I use them as a toning and decongesting tool. In fact, I'm about to start stocking them - watch this space

RF: When life gets hectic skincare routines tend to be less strictly followed. Which beauty steps would you never skip?

GJ: I never skip sunscreen and skin nourishing (using Balaclava, or Anoint facial oil for Wise Skin depending on the time of year). I'm not championing any particularly natural sunscreens at the moment. That said I have been trying Lavera and want to try Josh Rosebrook's nutrient day cream with SPF 30.

RF:If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed, what products do you turn to? 

GJ: When stressed or exhausted I use Soothe Body Oil Infusion. The Infused St Johns Wort oil, is incredibly calming, it has a good neurogenic effect. The High Altitude Lavender is very soporific and soothing.

RF: Most importantly are you a tea or a coffee gal?

GJ: I have real trouble controlling my energy levels,  I have an underactive thyroid ,and if I'm anxious coffee can send me round the bend! likewise if I'm on an up and creating products, coffee will make me really hyper. That said I do appreciate a good coffee!I like a good cup of tea, made in a teapot, using Clipper Organic Tea. I get quite into Tick Tock Rooibos Tea in January when we do our annual detox!

End of interview

I think it is time for a little confession, I have been all over the Bathing Beauty website reading up on all the ingredients and descriptions of George's products. I have to say that if you ever saw her products in person, I pretty sure you would be just as obsessed as me. After thinking about it for hours I came up with my very own Bathing Beauty wish list of the products that I want to try the most.

The Mount Olympus body scrub stole my heart after the first sniff, I was trying out this alien thing to me, self restraint, at the LNLO show, and that is why I did not get it then and there. I am sort of kicking myself because every time I am in the shower I am imagining how fantastic it would be to have some of the fresh smelling goodness. George grows her own rosemary for this scrub, need I say more?

Face masks for Shy skin and another one for Troubled skin made it onto the list for obvious reasons. I love face masks! Well while the previous statement is true, it is not the only reason, not even the main one. Both of these are a sort of two in one: scrub and face mask, and they come in four individually sealed pots for freshness. The shy skin version consists of white clay, ground outs and freeze dried bananas. The troubled version is a mixture of my favourite rhassoul clay and freeze dried raspberries. I feel that between these two versions all my skin reincarnations would be covered.

One other product that has me intrigued is the Face tea, it also comes in the three versions like the other face products: for shy skin, for wise skin, for troubled skin. There was no picture but it is a mixture of loose dried herbs, so it is not hard to imagine what it looks like. I used to do these facial steams with chamomile flowers way back, and they were always great followed by a clay mask. Would be definitely interesting to see what a mixture of herbs could do.

Also how about that limited edition Seville soap? My soap obsession has no bounds and when you throw the magic words 'limited edition' into the mix, well my eyes light up and the little want monster gets out of control.

So have you guys tried Bathing Beauty, and if not what would your wish list look like?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Sunday Sample Files

This is proving to be harder than I initially anticipated. As Monday rolled by I made my picks, but I did not start using most of the until the middle of the week, and of course I found finishing them up a struggle. For that reason I gave myself an extension of an extra week for this batch of samples, but I do have a bit of the mask and soap left.

Last weeks picks:

Yuli Halcyon cleanser. I think Yuli has become my latest obsession, but I am not too sure about the cleanser. The sample I had was small, I managed to stretch it out to three uses, but it was not long enough to decide. I liked the gel texture, and that it only foams slightly. But I am not the biggest fan of the scent. Yuli don't create products based on how they smell, but so far I really enjoyed all the others, not this one though. Halcyon goes in to the maybe pile.

Weleda cellulite oil. Luckily this particular issue is not a major concern for me, while I do notice some imperfections you really need to be up close and personal to see it. I am not sure if this oil has any real cellulite busting abilities, as I have not used it long enough, but it did make my skin very soft and it smells lovely. A maybe.

Red apple lipstick Vogue. Using this up just did not happen the first week. It is a nice colour, but because I could not take the sample with me to reapply during the day, it took forever to finish. Texture is superb, moisturising yet pigmented, Vogue also happens to smell delicious like sugar coated fruit.

I am not looking to buy any more lipsticks at the moment and by the time I do, I am simply not sure that it would get purchased, despite how lovely it is, it is just not a colour that I am very excited about. It goes to the no pile

Dr Bronners magic soap solid bar. I am not even going to guess how long I had this. I thought I would open it to give my brushes a clean. Normally I would use the liquid version, but since I use a solid product to clean my painting brushes, I thought i would try it out. It works just fine. I wet the brush, swirl it on the soap gently, then rinse. I did not use it up yet, but it is a start. I will be sticking to the liquid version in the future. The no pile.

S.W. Basics hibiscus mask. I absolutely adore this mask, it is one of the scariest looking when it is on, but it leaves my skin radiant. It is also very economical. I did experience some tingling, but my skin did not look red or irritated after I washed it off. This gets a green light.

The tally at the end of the week:

Thursday, 24 July 2014

The Summer Edit: beauty accessories

During summer I tend to have minimal makeup, and that means I actually do the things that I should really be doing all year round, to give my skin a helping hand. All these beauty accessories are not exactly summer specific, however in this household they only seem to see the light of day in the summer

If you have ever experienced a good facial, you realise that half of the reason for glowing and fresh looking skin is the facial massage incorporated in the procedure. Not only is it remarkably relaxing, it creates a rush of new blood, that helps to rejuvenate your skin. I am absolutely terrible at massaging my own face. I know all the techniques, yet the experience of self-massage leaves me frustrated and not at all relaxed. Jade roller to the rescue. Even if you are not a big believer in the healing capabilities of semi precious stones, like rose quarts and jade, you can not deny the benefits of a massage. The roller makes the whole process pleasant, and the initial coolness of the stone is always welcome in the summer (you can also keep it in the fridge if you like). This little gadget makes a huge difference when it comes to keeping your skin supple and toned. I noticed that there is a Rose quarts version available, and if I was getting one now, I think that would be the one I chose.

We all know that cucumber slices are great for depuffing your eyes, but I have never been keen on the idea. Instead I opted for this reusable eye mask. It has some sort of liquid encased in silicone. You can use it in two ways: popping it in the fridge and then on your eyes for the cooling effect,or immersing it in hot water and on your eyes a warm compress. I think the one I have is from Body shop, but there are a few around that you could choose from.

Every time I look at an eyelash curler I still think it is an instrument of torture. I blame Lilly from Genuine Glow for the fact that I even own one. I was debating what brand to go for but settled on Shiseido in the end. It is really easy to use and suits the shape of my eyes. Since I am not wearing mascara in the day in this heat, this little gismo gets used a lot.

I know the benefits of regular body brushing, but knowing and doing are not the same thing. In the warmer months however, I love it. It is very invigorating, and as I don't feel the need to have a few layers and a blanket on me at all times, I am more than happy to take my time doing it. I have tried a few body brushes over the years, and I really like this one from green people. It is quiet soft in comparison to some, so it doesn't create problems with my super touchy skin, and the handle is good length, plus the brush is not heavy. Everything about it is just right.

The last thing on the list is a wooden foot roller. I have had it for so many years that I have no idea were it came from. It is unbelievably helpful in releasing tension after a long day of walking around. You can even adapt it to a very light, soothing massage.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Bathing Beaity Anoint facial oil for Shy skin review

My skin tends to go through periods of sensitivity, partially due to all the changes in my beauty routine, partially to weather changes and stress levels. I am always on a look out for gentle products that I could turn to when the inevitable happens. George, the founder of Bathing Beauty, kindly swapped a few emails with me (more like an in depth consultation if I am perfectly honest), and recommended a few products from her line. At the earliest opportunity (which was at the beginning of spring if I recall correctly), I purchased Anoint Facial Oil for Shy skin.

It is recommended for normal, dry or sensitive skin. I was a little apprehensive at first because my skin is combo towards oily in the summer, but it does tend to be a little more normal over colder months, in the end I went with my gut instinct and trusted George (trusting someone else to pick my skincare, that does not happen very often).The ingredient list is very simple which is a dream come true (I do love a facial oil with a super long list of all the latest  ingredients, but my skin does need a break from time to time).

INGREDIENTS: Vitis Vinefera, Borago Officinalis (borage oil), Punica Granatum ( pomegranate oil), Citrus Reticulata (mandarin oil), Anthemis Nobilis, (chamomile oil), *limonene, *linalool, *geraniol*, * naturally occuring in essential oils

 Do not be thinking that this blend is not powerful, the few ingredients that are used are all incredible for healing and keeping your skin supple. Borage oil is absolutely fantastic for sensitive skin, and it is also a lighter oil, so it does not overwhelm my skin. You might know borage by another name - starflower. It is an edible flower that is often served in restaurants. Borage oil can be taken as a supplement (the ones suitable for internal use that is), or with salads, but you should not cook with it.

Pomegranate oil is an antioxidant power house, it is supposed to help with healing skin that has been damaged by pollutants and generally beneficial for keeping your skin nourished. Mandarin oil is one of the friendliest citrus oils for skin and has a lovely fragrance, chamomile calms and soothes the skin. The blend has a very delicate light scent of the two essential oils, but you can tell by how mild it is that the concentration of the them is just right, and won't overwhelm the skin.

I almost feel bad for keeping this blend to myself for so long, because it works so well. The instructions on the bottle tell you to apply 6-8 drops to clean face at night, that is just too much for me, I use about 3-4 drops. When it was colder I was using it 4-5 times a week, then 3 times a week, and now only about once or twice a week, because my skin is getting too oily with the hot weather. I have to say that I did notice a difference after first not in how it looked, but in how it felt. When I go through a sensitive phase my skin feels super itchy, even my hair touching my face becomes a problem. After using this blend for Shy skin at night, the next morning my skin was calm, no itching, nothing. After a few weeks I noticed a difference to my complexion, it was a bit more glowy, more happy looking.

I love facial oils, and I have tried quiet a few, this one has made it into my special cabinet, reserved for most loved products. It will be indispensable this autumn, as my skin really hates the transitional seasons (i.e. autumn and spring). It is simply a product that looks after your skin and does it well, with no side effects.

A few words about the packaging: it comes in a dark brown glass bottle with a dropper. I really like the simplicity of the label, it is straight to the point and still esthetically pleasing. Apothecary style packaging happens to be my weakness, so Bathing Beauty ticks all the boxes for me. 

You get 25 ml of oil, but so far I haven't used up even 1/5 of the bottle, and I thought I was using it pretty regularly throughout spring. Luckily you can keep it for 12 months after opening, so all is not lost.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

New launch: RMS Beauty

Ever since Net-a-Porter started to stock beauty products they started to lead the way with exclusive pre-launches. If you browse their selection you will notice a few natural brands that managed to crossover and become popular outside of green beauty community.

I have reviewed RMS products on many occasions, but this new summer (or is it autumn?) collection that will be available from August (and already available  exclusively on Net-a-porter), is more exciting than any other colours they have introduced (I apologise to my RMS stash, I do love you all).

Lip 2 Cheek curious orange.

My search for a truly orange lip colour is over. I like to use orange lipstick every summer, it is a happy colour, looks great daytime or evening, and if you are lucky to have a tan than it is a match made in heaven. However, I have not been able to find a natural lippie that would be actually orange, they always tend towards peachy/coral or red. Now there is nothing wrong with that, all of those are beautiful, yet not what I wanted.

I thought I would do a quick colour comparison with the other orange lipsticks that I have. Ilia Dizzy is a sort of melon orange, and due to its sheerer nature, on my lips it turns a bit peachy. Ilia Voila is more of a red orange and is much brighter.

Curious has similar texture to Beloved (possibly Diabolique too), which is a little different to the other Lip 2 Cheek colours in the RMS family. It's texture is a little harder, therefore you pick up a little less pigment initially if you are using your fingers to apply it. That also means you can go down the sheer effect rout without having to work for it. Just a little hint of orange brightens up your face, and doesn't require much courage. With a second or third layer (depending on how orange you want to go), you get the full force of Curious. Mind you this shade is not overpowering, it sort of works with you, it manages to be very orange, very intense, yet soft and flattering. It is some kind of orange miracle. If you were expecting a neon bright colour however, Curious is not it.

The lasting power of Curious is pretty decent. I can not go more then 2 hours without having a drink in this heat, and after drinking carefully, pretty much most of the colour stayed on. But it did not survive lunch. So taking all the eating/drinking in to account, I would say you need to reapply every 3-4 hours.

Eye polish Inspire.

 First thing I noticed a]is instead of an eyeshadow this is called an Eye polish. I immediately needed to know why. This comes in two colours, I chose the blue shade. Blue is my favourite colour, but it doesn't always work when it comes to make. As this polish is meant to be worn sheer, I was just too curious about the effect (and I figured that if I love it, I could maybe put some money aside for August for the other colour).

It sort of reminds me of blue ice, like in cartoons and illustrations. Once blended you don't really see the blue, it looks silver, but a silver with a hint of warmth to it. A lot more flattering than any white shimmer eyeshadow I have ever used. For those who like simple makeup looks this is perfect. This colour is really flattering all on its own, you don't need to define your eyes with a darker shade close to the eyelashes, as is often the case with pale shimmers.

Now I have not used any eye make for the past month due to hayfever related itchiness, but I felt I needed to for the review (oh the sacrifices that I make, who am I kidding nothing would stop from trying this out). The texture of the eye polish feels slightly firmer than of the other RMS eyeshadows I have, it is almost as if it is a little dryer. Which is weird since ingredients are exactly the same ( am I imagining things in my old age?), but this could probably explains why I have noticed significantly less creasing with Inspire (it still creases a little after 4-5 hours, but it was less noticeable, and it took more time before creasing). Another explanation for better performance could be that it is a lighter colour, so creasing is less noticeable, who knows...

 I did not prime my lids with powder, which is what I often do for the eye shadows, because I did not want to overload my eyes at the moment.

Intensity wise i find that after initial fade after blending, it stays the same intensity for about 4 hours, then the colour fades a little more, but all the sparkliness stays, so it still looks very pretty. The finish is see through metallic, almost glossy with super fine shimmer.

Do keep in mind that I have been testing it over rather hot days, when most eyeshadows under perform, even more so cream formulations.

I am very pleased with both of these, and keep changing my mind which one is a favourite. I would love to add the other two products to my collection (Lip shine in Royal and eye polish in Imagine), I love purple hues for autumn, and these look very promising.

As it is now almost a tradition I could not resist a few colour combos (you can have a look at previous colour combos here and here).

Mixing Sacred and Curious creates a very bright, punchy coral, which would look spot on in the evening.

Karma and Inspire makes a beautiful silver grey, which could make low key smokey eye and would look beautiful with red lips.

For those who are into their vegan ingredients, there is no carmine in these, but they do have Beeswax.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

The Summer Edit: lip care

In the body oils Summer edit I was talking about the importance of boosting your skin with antioxidants. One thing that is often forgotten is that lips also need protection from the sun. But I have yet to see anyone applying sunscreen to their kissers ( I am sure there is someone out there who does, we just haven't met yet).

Luckily there are products specifically designed for lips that do contain SPF.

Hurraw lip balm spf 15. My love for Hurraw knows no bounds, the range of different flavours is astounding, packaging is pleasing to the eye and they are made with raw unheated ingredients. The sun balm, however is the true rock-star of the collection.

Not only does it smell pretty darn delicious, it also protects your lips from the harmful sun rays. Despite being in my bag during some pretty hot days, this little beauty has never melted. And have I mentioned the adorable shape of the tube? For sun protection as well as oils of raspberry, pomegranate and seabuckthorn, this balm has non-nano zinc oxide at the level of 10%.

But of course, as was the case with body care, SPF is not quiet enough, an extra antioxidant boost is needed to truly take care of your lips, especially in the summer.

Yuli cellular lip conditioner. This brand keeps going from strength to strength with truly unique concoctions. This luscious lip oil is a perfect partner to an SPF lip balm (you can use it on its own, but I like it better layered).

Full of skin repairing oils like Rosehip, Seabuckthorn, Raspberry and Pomegranate, this lip oil is a serious force against sun damage. It does feel a little different when you first start using it, almost as if you are applying a lip balm that melted. It is not something that I would use under lipstick (if you do give it 10-15 min to sink in) but it works great layered with a lip balm (like Hurraw above) for extra protection from the UV rays. The lip conditioner has a faint scent that smells very clean, reminds me of grass for some reason. Now this product has a short shelf life of 5 months after opening, so if take of the lid make sure you use it all up, it is way to precious to waste.

If I am going to be spending the day outdoors I will apply Yuli lip conditioner first, than Hurraw SPF balm. Reapplying the SPF balm regularly throughout the day, and then in the evening I use Yuli again as after sun care.