Tuesday 27 December 2011

Speed Review: Rodial Glam Balm Wipes

I really like Rodial and although I may not always agree with their shock tactics when it comes to naming products, I do rate the range of results driven skincare and bodycare. I've recently been trialling Rodial Glam Balm Wipes. Regular readers will know that I don't agree with cleansing wipes but I do appreciate that they serve a purpose and I realise that many people can't live without them, particularly during party season.

As with all Rodial products, the packaging is seriously sleek and uber desirable. Personally, I'd prefer a "click" function to ensure the freshness of the wipes, particularly given that I only use wipes occasionally and find that they can dry out quickly with just a sticker seal .
The wipes weren't particularly moist so I found that I needed to use at least 2 to effectively cleanse when wearing full makeup and at £15 a pack, that's some pricey usage. I liked the scent which stays true to the Glam Balm range.
The wipes were thick and didn't rip as I moved them over my skin, as some cheaper brands can. They felt gentle and I didn't feel that that I was overloading my skin with nasties, nor stripping it of its natural oils.
Having said this, I just didn't feel that the cleansing was as effective as with other wipes I've tried.
At £15 for a pack of 25 wipes, they're not cheap (60p each!). In my opinion, you'd be better off checking out Good Things Total Wipeout Face Wipes and saving your money for one of Rodial's amazing moisturisers.

Monday 26 December 2011

Speed Review: Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser

I quite like the Burt's Bees range of natural products, particularly the ethos behind the brand which started out as a cottage industry selling homemade beeswax lip balms and hand salves at craft fairs. I get the impression that Burt's Bees is a responsible company, with its products presented in recycled or recyclable packaging and a percentage of profits given back to charity and environmental research projects. At its heart are products which are a pleasure to use and I've recently been trialling one of these, Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser.

Burt's Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser is designed to be used as a sulphate-free facial wash but the rich balm-style formula would also lend itself well to hot cloth cleansing. It feels gentle to use and effectively cleanses without stripping skin.
Unsurprisingly, given that I adore the scent of orange, I loved the uplifting scent of Orange Essence Facial Cleanser and it's this which makes it particularly enjoyable to use in the mornings. It also gets another "tick" from me for being presented in a handy tube, although for convenience, I'd have preferred a flip top rather than the screw on lid.
I haven't been using Orange Essence Facial Cleanser for long enough to comment on the long-term effects but my first impressions are very favourable.
What's more, I feel that this represents fantastic value for money at £10.99 for 123g. A little goes a long way and the price is very reasonable compared with other balm style cleansers.

Sunday 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing each and every one of my wonderful readers a very Happy Christmas!


Saturday 24 December 2011

The 12 Beautiful Days of Christmas- Day 12

Stocking fillers are one of those gifts which tend to get left to the last minute so I thought that it would be apt to dedicate today's post to some final ideas which I hope will help if you're panicking! Don't worry, they're still all under £10.

I sometimes wear false eyelashes when I go out and despite not normally liking 'sleb ranges, I really rate the Girls Aloud for Eylure range of falsies. Kimberley's design is my personal choice and, as I tend to use each pair just once, I'd be happy to find a pair in my Christmas stocking this year.
For film buffs, check out this handy Audrey Hepburn inspired accessories set which includes nail clippers, tweezers and a nail file.
Fun brand Anatomicals have put a festive spin on showers with their Jingle Bells, Santa Smells Shower Gel Baubles.

The 12 Beautiful Days of Christmas- Day 11 (belated)

Reed diffusers have gained huge popularity in recent years. They make wonderful gifts- part beauty, part interiors.

For fashionistas, look no further than the Orla Kiely Reed Diffuser, available in three scents. Choose from sage and cassis, basil and mint or fig.

I like the Rituals brand, although I feel that they have some way to go in breaking into the UK market and establishing their identity. If you're yet to discover the brand, why not check out their range of reed diffusers.

For green goddesses, check out the new range of reed diffusers from Neal's Yard Remedies, who have celebrated their 30th anniversary this year. The calming version is perfect for bedrooms.


The 12 Beautiful Days of Christmas- Day 10 (belated)

Handcare is an essential part of any beauty regime, particularly in the cold winter months.

Hand wash and lotion duos are a necessity in any chic bathroom, especially when you are expecting guests and Brit brand, Molton Brown, offer some of the best. I adore the sweet orange scent of Naran Ji whilst one of my good friends favours Thai Vert.

Another brand which instantly springs to mind when thinking of handcare is L'Occitane whose Shea Butter Hand Cream is renowned as a cult beauty product. For Christmas, the French brand has released a limited edition trio which pays tribute to the African origins of the wonder ingredient, Shea Butter.

They're not attractive but I swear by Bliss Spa's Moisturising Gloves. For Christmas, they've released the appropriately named, Two Turtle Gloves gift set.


The 12 Beautiful Days of Christmas- Day 9 (belated)

I'm quite fussy about my haircare so I personally don't quite understand the idea of giving haircare gifts unless they've been specifically requested. However, there's plenty out there so someone must be buying them and for this reason, I've decided to round up three top picks today.

For teens and party girls, check out Tigi Bedhead Party Girl Gift Set which contains three items to create party ready styles.

Moroccanoil has been one of the big hair success stories of recent years and although I don't personally find that it suits my hair, plenty of people swear by it.
I am, however, a big fan of Bumble & Bumble. I was disappointed earlier this year to discover that they had discontinued one of my favourite products, Bb Shine Spray but the range they released to replace it hasn't let me down.


The 12 Beautiful Days of Christmas- Day 8 (belated)

Electronics seem to be a popular Christmas gift and if my own Christmas wishlist is anything to go by, beauty electronics are also desirable.

I've been desperate for a deep skin cleaning Clarisonic for some time now and it's top of my Christmas wishlist this year.

Forget an i-pod, I'm wishing for an O Pod Heated Rollers set from Cloud Nine.

I haven't tried it myself but I've been hearing great things about the new Instyler hair tool from my fellow beauty writers.


Thursday 22 December 2011

The 12 Beautiful Days of Christmas- Day 7 (belated)

I'm a firm believer in adults still receiving Christmas stockings. My parents each had stockings when I was growing up (and still do!) so I have no intention of stopping the tradition any time soon. My one rule, however, is that stocking fillers shouldn't be too expensive, with approx. £10 as the limit.
Here are some beauty ideas...

The cute, collectable tins of multi-purpose moisturiser from Steam Cream make particularly good gifts for travellers as the cream can be used on face, hands and body.
As a teenager, I had a holiday and Saturday job working in The Body Shop and I still associate Christmas with their limited editions and gift ideas. For a festive treat, try Cranberry Joy Lip Balm.

Re-runs of classic childhood films such as Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and The Wizard of Oz are one of the guilty pleasures of the festive season and there's no better time to channel your inner Dorothy and paint your nails with a glittery red polish. I find the Pro-wide brush on OPI polishes one of the easiest to work with for home manis and pedis.


Monday 19 December 2011

The 12 Beautiful Days of Christmas- Day 6 (belated)

This is a good time of year to pick up beautiful, often limited edition, solid fragrances encased in jewel-like offerings.

Marc Jacobs' Daisy fragrance doesn't appeal to me personally- I prefer the original scent- but the white floral scent is hugely popular, making it a relatively safe bet for gifts. It'd be difficult to go wrong with this solid perfume, presented in a fun flower ring/ necklace.

Clinique's bestselling Aromatics Elixir celebrated its 40th anniversary this year and to celebrate, the brand has introduced some stunning, limited edition releases. One of the prettiest is this compact/ necklace which contains a fresher variation on the classic, patchouli laden fragrance.
For a chic, wearable option in every sense, try Swarovski Aura which is a softer, powdery fragrance.


Sunday 18 December 2011

The 12 Beautiful Days of Christmas- Day 5 (belated)

At this time of year, most people have their fill of turkey, mince pies, Christmas pudding, alcohol and chocolates so rather than giving more food, why not choose a foodie themed beauty gift instead? Indulgent and practically good enough to eat, here are some favourites...

I definitely wouldn't be disappointed to find Laura Mercier's Souffle Body Creme Sampler Set under the tree on Christmas morning. The set contains whipped body moisturisers in Creme Brulee, Almond Coconut Milk, Creme de Pistache and Fresh Fig.
I've loved Philosophy's foodie theme ranges for years. Admittedly, they're not the best choice for those who prefer natural products but they're certainly fun. Try the Warm & Toasty set which contains body washes in Hot Cocoa, Hazelnut Espresso and Hot Buttered Rum. Mmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

For a wallet friendly gift, check out Floozie by Frost French at Debenhams' Lip Balm Gift Set. For less than £10, the cute set contains a Cupcake Kisses Lip Balm, a Lemon Meringue Lip Balm, a suitably festive Plum Pudding Lip Balm and a Cupcake Kisses Lip Scrub. I've tried the scrub and although it's rather synthetic in feel, it's effective.


The 12 Beautiful Days of Christmas- Day 4 (belated)

I always think that the best gifts are things that you want but don't necessarily need, i.e. the items which you'd feel guilty buying for yourself. For me, luxury candles fall under that category. Luxury candles are a great gift at any time of year but are particularly fitting at Christmas.

If you're unsure of where to start, look no further than NEOM Luxury Organics which I've previously raved about as one of my favourite candle ranges (click here to read). Previously known as Natural Magic Candles, NEOM Luxury Organic Candles are made using only vegetable wax and pure essential oils so they don't release potentially harmful pollutants as they burn. With 3-wicks, they look chic and give powerful therapeutic benefits. For Christmas, choose the Christmas Wish candle which combines Cinnamon, Ginger, Mandarin and Tonka Bean for a wonderfully festive fragrance. What's more, it stays true to the Christmas spirit as for every candle sold, NEOM donate £1 to the Make A Wish Foundation which grants wishes to children and young people fighting life-threatening illnesses.

Diptyque Candles make a true style statement and, as violet is one of my favourite scents, top of my personal Christmas list is Diptyque's stunning Violette Scented Candle.
Diptyque Candles may be pricey but you only need to burn them for a short time for a room-filling fragrance. If you're unsure of which scent to choose, the ever-popular Baies is a safe bet, whilst Figuier is a unisex fragrance which makes a good choice for couples.

Finally, travel candles make a great gift for someone who is always on the go. Jo Malone is the go-to brand and this year's offering of a trio of candles, comprising a Pine & Eucalyptus, a Pomegranate Noir and a limited edition Roasted Chestnut is sure to fly off the shelves.


Thursday 15 December 2011

The 12 Beautiful Days of Christmas- Day 3

One of my good friends has a low maintenance approach when it comes to beauty but her one indulgence? A weekly pampering session and soak in the bath, every Sunday night. I always try to remember this when choosing a gift for her. Proving that bathing needn't be boring, today I've rounded up 3 Christmas Gift Sets for those bathing beauties.

Origins' Ginger range is wonderfully warming and perfect for this time of year, so what better gift than Go Ginger Gift Set, £20. Containing miniature versions of Ginger Souffle Whipped Body Cream, Ginger Burst Savoury Body Wash and Incredible Spreadable Ginger Body Smoother, the products would be a fantastic treat to come home to after a brisk winter's walk.
Check out my review of the fabulous Incredible Spreadable Ginger Body Smoother, included within the set, by clicking here.

Lush are arguably the High Street kings of bathtime and their Christmas pre-wrapped gifts offer the ideal, ready-made present for time pressured shoppers. Their Mr Frosty knot wrap is almost too cute to use but is worth opening as it contains a Golden Wonder Bath Bomb, So White Bath Bomb and their infamous Lil Lush Pud Bath Bomb.

Regular readers will know that I'm a big fan of Aromatherapy Associates' Bath & Shower Oils. Frankly, I think the world would be a nicer place if everyone used these (ok, I realise they are somewhat pricey). Their Little Star Gift is an adorable way to introduce someone to the brand this Christmas and is priced at a wallet friendly £10. What's more, once you know that they like Aromatherapy Associates (which they will), you'll have gifts wrapped up for years to come as they discover the extensive product range.

Wednesday 14 December 2011

The 12 Beautiful Days of Christmas- Day 2

Everyone knows at least one person who is practically impossible to buy for. It's hard to go wrong with a washbag or cosmetics purse- they're forever functional and even though the recipient is likely to have one already, it's handy to have a selection of different styles.

If you really want to spoil someone, Smythson is suitably luxurious. I'm totally lusting after their brush roll this year.

I absolutely adore Lulu Guinness and her quirky designs. Years ago, I used to work for the company and can confirm that the designer herself is as lovely as you'd imagine someone who creates such cute pieces to be. I already own a few pieces by Lulu but next on my wishlist is this Lipstick Top Zip Purse with its rather apt slogan. It's the perfect gift for makeup fans and as British design classic, would make a nice present for those living overseas.

I'm a big fan of ZPM's fun prints and practical wipe clean fabrics. Their hanging weekender has five pockets so is sufficiently roomy for essentials and more, making it a good choice for those who "don't do" packing light. My personal favourite prints are Tattoo, Glamour Gals and Alice Allover.


Tuesday 13 December 2011

The 12 Beautiful Days of Christmas... Day 1

I didn't want to go into overkill with Christmas gift ideas on Skin Deep but nor did I want you all thinking of me as some sort of Scrooge character either. The compromise? A countdown of 12 beautiful days of last minute Christmas gift ideas (and yes, I do realise that the official 12 days of Christmas starts on 25th but I'm allowing myself a touch of creative license!). I hope that you'll enjoy the suggestions. On with Day 1...

I love a good coffee table book and feel that they make a good "wow factor" gift if you can find one which perfectly captures what your recipient is all about.
I've had plenty of enjoyment from my copy of The Essence of Perfume by world renowned "professeur des parfums", Roja Dove. It's a beautifully put together book which walks the reader through the history of perfume, highlighting examples of iconic modern fragrances such as Thierry Mugler's Angel. I'd highly recommend it to any fragrance fanatics or if you know someone who'd simply like to learn more about the wonderful world of scent.

Next up is The Green Beauty Bible from the fabulous Beauty Bible series by Sarah Stacey and Jo Fairley. I've returned to my copy again and again as a wonderful source of reference and although it's now a little outdated, I still rate it for those who want to expand their knowledge of natural and organic beauty.

Last but by no means least is a book which is on my personal wish list this year, Alex Box by Rankin, a collection of beautifully photographed creative makeup looks from Illamasqua's famous makeup artist.

Saturday 10 December 2011

Speed Review: Amway Artistry Time Defiance Intensive Repair Daily

A long time ago, I was set an A-level Business Studies project on Amway but I've never tried any of the products before now. I was recently sent a sample of Amway Artistry Time Defiance Intensive Repair Daily, which I've been using approx. a month. Now, I either did a really bad project or they have seriously upped their game because I imagined Amway to be pitched around the Avon, Vie at Home level. However, once I received the sample, I was impressed with the sleek packaging which felt far more luxurious than I had been expecting. The directions are clear and straightforward. Simply apply to clean skin ahead of moisturiser in the same way in which you'd use a serum.
I liked that Intensive Repair Daily has very little scent as my sensitive skin has been playing up recently and I'm trying to avoid aggrevating it. My favourite aspect was that the smooth texture didn't feel sticky when I applied it to my skin and I certainly couldn't feel it "sitting" on my skin.
I'd say that you need to use quite a lot in order to cover the entire face and neck so I'm not sure how long the bottle would last and for me, this was definitely a downside.
I'd recommend this for people in their mid 20s- mid 30s who are starting to see or worry about the first signs of aging. It's not a miracle worker but I certainly felt that my skin benefitted as a result of Intensive Repair Daily being incorporated into my regime.
The only compaint I have (and this relates back to how much you have to use) is the price. At £74.50 for 30ml it's not cheap and although I enjoyed using it, I'd struggle to justify the expense.

Friday 9 December 2011

Breaking News

I am absolutely thrilled that Skin Deep has been featured on Channel 4 Beauty's round up of the Best Skin Care Blogs.
So what did they have to say?

"A new-ish kid on the block, this has become one of our go-to blogs for clear, no-nonsense reviews of skin care products, both luxury and budget. We love the intelligent, detailed descriptions, clear layout and smart design. Reading it is like flicking through the beauty section of a glossy magazine. Lovely."

...Click here to read the full feature.

Thursday 8 December 2011

Skin Deep talks to...

Lesley Chivers, Head of In-house PR for one of my favourite wallet friendly cosmetics brands, Bourjois and their natural sister brand, UNE. Lesley has worked in PR for over 15 years.

SD: So, why beauty PR?
LC: Beauty is my passion, I'm a real product junkie. I originally trained as a makeup artist before moving into beauty PR. My makeup skills and knowledge of application and colours have certainly helped with my role over the years.

SD: What is the best aspect of your role?
LC: The best aspect of my role is every day is varied and unpredictable. Seeing the results of efforts put in, by way of positive press editorials, is always rewarding.

SD: And the worst?
LC: Keeping things to myself. As a PR you are often confided in and the worst you can do is tell!

SD: What would you be doing if you weren't working in beauty PR?
LC: Definitely in the creative field, most probably as a makeup artist. I still love to get my brushes out. I'm also a qualified manicurist and find it very therapeutic giving someone a manicure.

SD: What is the best insider tip you've picked up?
LC: Massage your face every day after cleansing- it really gets the circulation going, brings natural colour to your cheeks and helps to firm and improve the tone of your skin.

SD: You have five minutes to get ready... what do you do? LC: In five minutes I can do my makeup- a touch of base, blush, mascara and lip colour are a must!

SD: Any favourite treatments?
LC: Definitely eyebrow shaping. I have this done professionally, more regularly than facials.

SD: What are your desert island beauty essentials? LC: Hydrating facial spray, SPF cream and UNE sheer lipbalm.

SD: Finally, what do you predict will be the next big thing in beauty? LC: More youth promoting ingredients in cosmetics and multi-purpose time saving products.

Saturday 3 December 2011

Speed Review: Dermalogica Ultracalming Relief Masque

Sorry for my silence lately readers- I've been under a lot of pressure and sadly Skin Deep has had to take something of a back seat in my attempts to prioritise. Aside from an apology, this also brings me to today's post rather fittingly.
I've always been lucky with my skin and have never really suffered from severe breakouts. However, my skin definitely mirrors what's going on in my life; I get one or two hormonal spots on my chin when it's that time of month and quite a few tiny pimples on my forehead when I'm stressed. This isn't helped by the fact that, like many women, eating well and getting sufficient sleep fall near the bottom of my "to do" list in times of pressure and I've noticed that this can make my sensitive skin more reactive.
Step forward: Dermalogica Ultracalming Relief Masque

I like Dermalogica and always find that the products perform well. As a mid range brand with more of a focus upon science than nature, I wouldn't necessarily veer towards Dermalogica over other brands but it is one that I come back to every now and then and remember that it's actually a very good quality line.

Ultracalming Relief Masque is part of the sensitive skincare range from Dermalogica. Having tried the Ultracalming Cleanser and been impressed in the past, I had high expectations of this mask and I'm delighted that it didn't disappoint.
It's a delicately scented, gel cream formula which is easy and mess-free to use. Simply apply a generous layer to dry, clean skin, wait 10 minutes then rinse off with warm water. I really liked how easy it is to rinse off and although 10 minutes is a little longer than I'd like (I'm more of a 5 minute mask kind of girl), I found it a good way of forcing myself to unwind.
Although I didn't notice a dramatic difference to my skin, it was left feeling calmed and conditioned and I'd say that the product delivers on its promises. I'd definitely keep a tube of this in my bathroom for times when my skin needs some extra support, be it through stress, late nights or simply the change in seasons.
My only complaint is that I do feel this is quite an expensive mask at £37.60 for 75ml and although it feels high quality, I'm not sure I'd commit to using it regularly enough to justify the price.

Thursday 24 November 2011

Speed Review: Guerlain Midnight Secret Late Night Recovery Treatment

If I was told that I could only use one beauty brand for the rest of my life, I would choose Guerlain without hesitation. From my favourite perfume to their stunning cosmetics and effective skincare, Guerlain epitomises luxury beauty at its finest.
Discovering Beauty Blogger recently asked me for night cream recommendations and one of my favourites is Guerlain's Midnight Secret Late Night Recovery Treatment. As the name suggests, it's something of a must-have for today's busy women, whether you're putting in the hours at the office, a party girl or a new mum. Famously loved by supermodels such as Sophie Dahl, it's my personal go-to night cream when I know I'm not going to get much sleep but still want to wake up looking fresh faced.

There's something about the satisfyingly weighty gold and blue bottle that harks back to a more glamourous era and this is reiterated when it comes to applying the wonder cream. As I expect from a luxury product, it's well thought through with a functional pump dispenser and sufficiently transparent packaging that you can see how much is remaining.
Unlike many night creams, Midnight Secret Late Night Recovery Treatment has a lightweight formula which is easily absorbed. Skin is left feeling velvety. One of my favourite things about Guerlain products is the fabulous scents and this doesn't disappoint, with a delicate floral fragrance.
Guerlain Midnight Secret Late Night Recovery Treatment isn't going to work miracles 100%. If your partying could rival Pete Doherty's then sooner or later it's going to be reflected in your appearance. However, I feel that Midnight Secret Late Night Recovery Treatment delivers on its promises and this (and perhaps a dab of YSL Touche Eclat) will certainly help to disguise the telltale signs of one too many late nights.
Now, at £62.50 for 30ml, noone can deny that this is a pricey product but a bottle will last you for a considerable amount of time as you need to remember that it's not intended to be used every night. What's more, it feels so luxurious that it really is a treat to use, a little goes a long way and most importantly, it delivers. Everyone should try this.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Speed Review: Elemis FreshSkin Peachy Perfect Gentle Face Wash

You may remember that I recently trialled a couple of products from the Elemis FreshSkin range which launched earlier this year, aimed at those in their teens and early twenties. I've only just gotten around to trialling Peachy Perfect Gentle Face Wash and although I'm not in the target market for the FreshSkin range, I wanted to share my thoughts.

I tend to use a face wash in the morning for convenience and the packaging of Elemis FreshSkin Peachy Perfect Gentle Face Wash certainly facilitates this. It's a functional pump bottle and it's transparent so that you can see how much product is remaining. If I were to be picky, I'd say that you can tell it's a cheaper sub-brand from Elemis as it lacks the sophistication of the main line but this could well be intentional so that it's not intimidating to the target market. I found that the dispenser gives a generous pump of product and in fact, I felt that I was wasting some of the cleanser due to not needing the full amount that was dispensed.
The name of the product is fun and I imagine that it would appeal to teenage girls. I was a little concerned that this would be reflected in the scent of the product but it's surprisingly fresh, with a delicate hint of peach which isn't at all sickly sweet.
Elemis FreshSkin Peachy Perfect Gentle Face Wash is a gel formula, suitable for all skin types, which contains hydrating chicory extract, conditioning elderflower and skin-awakening lemon extracts. Although I didn't find that my skin was as deeply cleaned as with, say a balm cleanser, I did find this comparable with other gel face washes I've tried. My skin felt clean and soft, with no tightness although I did need to moisturise.
At £12 for 100ml, it's more expensive than youraverage high street cleanser but if you're looking to introduce good skincare habits or want a better quality product that won't strip skin in the way that some mass market brands can, I'd recommend checking this out.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Speed Review: Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil

I'm not exactly what you'd call a gym bunny. In fact, I don't own a pair of trainers. So it's probably not that surprising that I rarely pay attention to muscle soothers but lately, I've been suffering from aches and pains in my neck, shoulders and back. Whether it's the result of carrying heavy bags, being hunched over a desk or simply a sign that I'm getting old, I'm not sure but short on time to treat myself to a massage, I reached for the next best thing. Step forward: Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil.

I've long been a fan of Aromatherapy Associates' incredible Bath & Shower Oils but hadn't yet had the opportunity to try the De-Stress Muscle version.
I decided to use this as a shower oil, by applying it all over my dry skin before stepping into the shower. Whilst a long soak in the bath may seem preferable, I find that by applying the oil directly onto my skin, the results are more noticable than if I'd diluted the oil in the bath. De-Stress Muscle is a much more liquid consistency than the other Aromatherapy Associates Bath & Shower Oils I've tried and whilst I found that this encouraged massage when applying, I found it a little difficult to control how much I was pouring out of the bottle (and at nearly £40 for 55ml, you certainly don't want to waste any!).
As tends to be the case with Aromatherapy Associates, the scent of De-Stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil is incredible, combining lavender, rosemary and ginger essential oils. I really liked that the blend of pure essential oils made it enjoyable and indulgent to use and challenges the assumption that muscle soothing products have overwhelming, unpleasant scents. I didn't feel that I needed to use moisturiser afterwards as my skin felt nourished but not greasy.
I have to admit that I was initially a little dubious about how effective De-Stress Muscle Bath & Shower Oil would be but having used it, I'm absolutely amazed at how well it worked to soothe my muscles. Immediately after my shower, the knots and tension felt loosened and as the evening progressed, the pain drifted away almost entirely. What's more, I felt mentally relaxed. Highly recommended.

Monday 21 November 2011

Speed Review: Bliss Fabulips Softening Lip Balm

I'm a big fan of Bliss (whose founder, Marcia Kilgore is one of my beauty heroines) so I was excited to try out their new lip balm, Fabulips Softening Lip Balm. Lip balm is one of my most used beauty products- I always have some with me and am firmly of the opinion that a girl can never have too many, something which most likely comes from my teenage years when my friends and I would collect various flavours then sit in class and reapply them constantly.  
Fabulips Softening Lip Balm is the same lip balm which is used in every Bliss Spa facial treatment.
On the packaging front, it gets the thumbs up from me for being presented in a practical stick format for easy, mess-free and hygenic on-the-go application.
The formula contains shea butter, jojoba and grapeseed oils along with Vitamin E and it does feel as though it is melting onto your lips when you apply it. It feels soothing to apply and doesn't leave a sticky residue, just a glossy finish. I loved the sweet orange scent. I found that I needed to reapply regularly in order to maintain the moisturised feeling.
Admittedly £12 is more than your average lip balm costs and I did find that I was getting through the tube at an even more alarming rate than usual so I'd question how long it is likely to last and this might put me off repurchasing. It's not the best lip balm I've ever used but I have enjoyed using it.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Speed Review: Healthspan Nurture Protect Day Cream SPF 15

I'm going to start off by being completely honest and admitting that I'd never have given Healthspan Nurture Protect Day Cream SPF 15 a second thought and certainly wouldn't have tried it, had it not been for the fact that I completely trust the opinion of their knowledgable PR. So.. what had put me off? Firstly, I associate Healthspan with vitamins and supplements and whilst we all know the importance of taking care of the inside of our bodies in order to look good on the outside, I wasn't convinced that they'd be able to create a skincare line to compare with my usual brands. I also feel that you should spend the most you can afford to on skincare and as an affordable range, I probably wouldn't choose this personally although I know that it's my duty as a blogger to review a variety of products at different price ranges. Finally, the packaging is clinical and bland. I doubt I'd even notice it on a shop shelf, let alone choose it.
But it turns out that you really shouldn't judge a book by its cover. I was really impressed with Healthspan Nurture Protect Day Cream SPF 15. I've given it a fair trial, testing it for over a month without changing other aspects of my skincare regime.

I still think that the presentation is aesthetically boring but I loved the functional pump dispenser. My only complaint would be that as the packaging is opaque, it's difficult to tell how much of the product is remaining. The cream itself feels rich yet is easily absorbed and didn't leave my skin feeling greasy. I like that it incorporates an SPF, something I wear every single day and which I feel justifies the "Protect" name, yet it doesn't feel heavy on the skin. A little goes a long way. It's fragrance free which might make it appealing to those with very sensitive skin, although I admit that I missed the luxury which I associate with beautifully fragranced products.
By far the best thing about this product is the price. It's just £9.95 for 50ml. I know I said that you should spend the most you can afford to on skincare so this is something of a contradiction but I really was impressed at just how well this product performs for the price. It's quite a cultural change to use an affordable skincare product and something which I'm still getting accustomed to. However, I'd definitely consider repurchasing this, particularly if money was tight.

Available at http://www.nurtureskincare.co.uk/

Saturday 19 November 2011

Speed Review: Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser

Sorry for my silence readers. I've been oop north in Leeds and following a nightmare journey home, Skin Deep is back to business. So, on with today's review...

I really like balm style cleansers, which I feel are one of the most effective ways of deep cleaning my face but I admit to not always using them. For example, in the mornings, I opt an easy-to-use face wash for convenience.
Recently, I've been using Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser. As regular readers will know, Elemis is one of my favourite beauty brands although I tend to prefer their bodycare to the skincare line. Having said this, I've been seriously impressed with Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser. As the name suggests, it's a thick cream formula as opposed to a cleansing balm but it works in the same way. The cream needs to be massaged into dry skin where it melts away makeup and works to lift off dirt when wiped away using a warm, damp washcloth. It's easy to use but I do find the process takes a little longer than simply using a face wash, the trade off being that I feel I've cleansed more effectively.

Elemis products are always a treat to use and Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser doesn't disappoint. I liked the convienient pump style dispenser and although the packaging is a little plain, it's sleek. With it's rich texture and incredible scent which combines Sweet Brazilian Orange, Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Patchouli, Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser feels luxurious to use. It feels as though you are putting a product made with quality ingredients onto your face and as it is packed with anti-oxidants, it might be a particularly good choice for city dwellers.
My skin was left feeling clean yet the moisturising benefits meant that my face didn't feel tight or stripped after use. I'd definitely recommend this.
I feel that £27.60 for 150ml is a fair price for this quality product, particularly given that (as tends to be the case with Elemis products) a little goes a long way.

Wednesday 9 November 2011

Speed Review: Lush Friends with Benefits Massage Bar

I'm really loving Lush at the moment. I tend to get like this around this time every year when their Christmas offering never fails to put me in the festive spirit. Having said this, today's product review isn't from their Christmas range but is a new introduction. Step forward Friends with Benefits Massage Bar.

I've never tried a Lush Massage Bar before. I don't really go in for home massage and frankly, there's just so many other products I'd choose to spend my money on ahead of a massage bar, oil or gel but seeing as I was sent Friends with Benefits Massage Bar, I figured I'd give it a go.
The idea behind the Lush Massage Bars is that they are a solid, environmentally conscious, preservative and packaging free alternative to oils in a bottle. I really like this sentiment. It's innovative and stays true to the Lush brand.
The bar itself resembles a soap in appearance and has a pretty raised floral design on the top. The bumpiness of the design means that it doubles up as a clever massage tool to really work into deep knots.
The scent is absolutely incredible- a tempting chocolate orange that's practically good enough to eat. If you did want to choose one of these as a Christmas gift, it's a nice twist on the traditional Terry's Chocolate Orange stocking filler!
Made with a base of organic, fair trade cocoa butter and shea butter, the massage bar melts upon contact with warm skin to leave a lubricant layer which encourages massage. As it heated up, I found it very slippery and difficult to handle although perhaps this would be easier if someone else was applying it to you.
Friends with Benefits Massage Bar contains chocolate-scented tagetes essential oil from African Marigolds which boasts skin soothing and healing benefits, making it ideal for use this time of year when skin is dried out. It's incredibly moisturising and I'd happily use this as a change from my everyday lotion on occasions when my skin needs an extra boost or simply if I want an indulgent treat! You only need to gently sweep the bar over skin and a layer of moisturising residue remains so I think that the bar would last a long time. If you're thinking of investing, I'd definitely recommend buying one of the massage bar tins to keep it in good condition. I'm all for the idea behind the paper wrapping and I like the old-fashioned feel of it but in a busy bathroom, a tin is infinitely more practical.
Friends with Benefits Massage Bar definitely feels more like a sensual treat so if you're looking for a deep muscle soother, I'd say there are better products out there for the job.
At £6.50 for 65g, I probably wouldn't repurchase this for the same reasons that I wouldn't have tried it in the first place if it hadn't been sent to me. It's good and I enjoyed using it but I simply don't use massage products. However, if you do, I'd definitely recommend checking this out.

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Speed Review: Clarins Daily Energizer Cleansing Gel

I'm a big fan of Clarins but I have to admit that I do think of them as something of a "mummy" brand. It's not that I think of them as old-fashioned or fussy and I certainly find their products desirable so perhaps it purely comes from the fact that I've grown up noticing the recognisable red font in my mum's bathroom, or maybe it's because they are so well established? Part of the problem may lie in the fact that they are firmly rooted in the department store mid-market category which I associate with a certain type of sales assistant, or maybe it's down to the price of some of the products. Anyway, it turns out that I'm not alone in this perception and earlier this year, Clarins launched Daily Energisers, a skincare range specifically targeted at a younger market, with prices to match.
I've recently started using Clarins Daily Energizer Cleansing Gel and although I haven't been using it for long enough to comment on the long-term effects, I've been impressed so far.
I like using a face wash in the morning when there's an emphasis on speed and convenience. I've already deeply cleansed my face free of makeup the night before so it's simply a case of removing any night cream residue and freshening my skin for the day ahead and for this purpose, a wash serves me well.
Clarins Daily Energizer Cleansing Gel is lightly foaming and a little goes a long way. It's easy to apply and feels gentle on the skin. It has a gorgeous fresh scent which stays true to the brand's roots. Skin is left feeling clean and soft.
At £10.50 for 75ml, I feel that this offers good value for money and is worth checking out whether you're new to the brand or simply looking to discover the range.

Monday 7 November 2011

Speed Review: Lush Rose Queen Bath Ballistic

I tend to opt for showers rather than baths and on the rare occasions that I bathe, I like to use a bath oil such as Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath & Shower Oil or Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Bath Oil. Having said this, there is something about Lush Bath Ballistics and when I was recently sent their new Rose Queen Bath Ballistic, it offered the perfect excuse for a relaxing soak in the tub.
To me, Lush Bath Ballistics are the original and the best. Invented in 1987 by Lush co-founder, Mo Constantine OBE, they are one of the brand's bestselling products and count the likes of Angelina Jolie, Kylie Minogue and Sarah Jessica Parker as fans. Fun, ethical and enjoyable to use, they're also reasonably priced and make good gifts (their Christmas editions are the ultimate stocking fillers).
Rose Queen Bath Ballistic is a bubblegum pink colour when solid and is presented in minimal packaging in line with Lush's ethical policy. To use, you simply drop the ballistic into an already-run bath and watch it fizz away. Rose Queen Bath Ballistic combines rose absolute and geranium with amber notes of rock rose. It's a delicate, feminine scent which filled the room beautifully.
I love the indulgence of lying in a bath filled with warm, pink coloured water with tiger lily, apple blossom and larkspur flower petals floating on the surface. It feels like the sort of product Cleopatra would go for if she were around today. The only downside is that, unlike Cleopatra, I don't have legions of slaves to clean out the bath afterwards and wiping away the mess caused by the petals does undo the relaxation factor somewhat.
At just £2.50 for 95g, it's an affordable treat.
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