Saturday 30 November 2013

Speed Review: Korres Milk Proteins Cleansing & Makeup Removing Wipes

Every time that I review cleansing wipes I remind readers that I don't agree with wipes as a cleansing method yet I can't deny that they come into their own on those times when you're either travelling or too tired/ drunk to bother with a full cleanse.  With party season rapidly approaching, it seems apt that today's review is of some cleansing wipes, namely the Korres Milk Proteins Cleansing & Makeup Removing Wipes.
Korres offer two different cleansing wipes within their range- as well as the Milk Proteins wipes which are the focus of today's review, there's also a Pomegranate version aimed at oily & combination skin types. The Milk Proteins wipes are suitable for all skin types.

Whilst I like the bold typographic design of the packaging (I believe that the wipes are being repackaged to a more plain, sleek design), I'd have preferred a clip rather than the sticker seal. I find clip fastenings to be more secure and given the low rate at which I use wipes, I find that those with sticker seals can dry out in between uses.

The wipes have a fresh fragrance & felt refreshing to use. They're a drier wipe than others I've tried, which is a downside as I found that I needed to use more than one wipe to remove my makeup. What's more, I was concerned that the drier wipes combined with the simple sticker seal on the packaging would mean that they'd dry out quickly between uses.
The fabric of the wipes appears to be quite strong- when I tried to tear them, they only ripped in one direction & that was with more force than they'd be put under in normal use. The wipes feel soft on the face. They are smooth on one side and textured on the other which made for a nice effect, although it didn't appear to serve any other purpose. I'm often unable to tolerate using wipes around my sensitive eyes so I was impressed that I didn't have any problems with these (& I noted afterwards that they are ophthalmologically tested) .
A slight residue was left on my skin which didn't feel sticky or uncomfortable- it was just the right amount of product to ensure that my skin didn't feel tight after using the wipe but without feeling like a layer of product was sitting on my skin.

At £7 for 25 wipes, Korres Milk Proteins Cleansing & Makeup Removing Wipes are approximately twice the price of drugstore wipes, which I find hard to justify as there appears little to set them apart. For this reason, I wouldn't repurchase them- I much prefer the (more affordable) Good Things Total Wipeout wipes.


Sunday 24 November 2013

Speed Review: Soap & Glory Clean On Me Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel

I'm yet to come across someone who doesn't like the Soap & Glory bath & bodycare range and I'm by no means an exception to this rule. As such, I was excited to try out their signature shower wash, Clean On Me Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel.

I realise that I'm more than a little late to the party in trying out Clean On Me but it was worth the wait- in fact, I'm not sure what took me so long.

Presented in a large plastic bottle which features the signature Soap & Glory retro style imagery and cute slogans, I found the packaging to be fun yet functional thanks to its pump dispenser.
The formula is that of a creamy gel which gives an impressively rich lather meaning that a little goes a long way- seriously, the 500ml bottle will last for a long time! As tends to be the case with Soap & Glory products, Clean On Me has an incredible scent because it's fragranced with the signature Soap & Glory "Original Pink" perfume. The feminine scent lingers delicately on the skin after showering.
Despite the high concentration of SLS, I was impressed to note that Clean On Me lived up the moisturising claims and didn't dry out my skin as is usually the case with SLS laden body washes.

Soap & Glory Clean On Me is a very popular product and it's easy to see why. It feels far more indulgent than the wallet friendly price tag would suggest. At just £6 for a very generous 500ml, I feel that Soap & Glory Clean On Me offers fantastic value for money and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Monday 18 November 2013

Speed Review: The Body Shop All-in-One BB Cream

As a blogger, I know that many in the beauty community are Beyond Bored of hearing about BB creams. After all, they've been one of the biggest beauty trends of recent years and their promotion has gone into overkill, with many brands jumping on the bandwagon. Most now offer a BB cream but some are better than others- with more than a couple of brands having simply repackaged their tinted moisturiser offering. Having said this, conversations with my friends and family who aren't involved in the beauty industry have shown that BB creams are a popular choice and many who shy away from foundations opt for BB creams as their base of choice. With that in mind, today's Makeup Monday review is of The Body Shop All-in- One BB Cream.

On first impressions, I liked the metallic effect tube packaging, which is functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.

The Body Shop All-in-One BB Cream is designed as a colour adapt BB cream so it looks grey-white when you first squeeze it out of the tube but is suppose to adapt to suit your skin tone upon application.

The cream has tiny specks in it which are pigment filled capsules that burst as the product is applied to skin. To be honest, I found this aspect of the BB Cream to be gimmicky and simply not effective as the cream appeared orange on my skin.

I tried shade 02 which is for medium tones so perhaps I'd have more luck with 01, for lighter skin. There are three shades available- light, medium and dark.

The BB cream has a very light coverage, one of the lightest I've tried. It did absolutely nothing, it didn't help to even out my skin tone where I have some redness, e.g. around my nose, let alone disguise blemishes. I found this particularly disappointing because The Body Shop describe it as having light to medium coverage.

What's more the BB cream has a very strong floral fragrance which I found overwhelming and unpleasant. I felt as though it would irritate my sensitive skin. If you don't like strong scents then be sure to smell this in the shop first.

The Body Shop All-in-One BB Cream felt greasy, but not sticky, on my skin and left my combination skin looking very shiny. I'm all for a dewy glow but this simply looked like an oil slick. As such, although it's suitable for all skin types, I doubt that those with oily skin would like this.
You could use a powder over the top to counteract this but I prefer to use a BB cream on dress-down, lazy days when I can't be bothered with a full makeup routine and simply want to apply a bit of BB cream, perhaps some concealer and a slick of mascara so I wouldn't want the fuss of having to layer products. Admittedly, the shininess did die down after approx. 20 minutes- with the finish is still glowing but it seemed to have settled into the skin a little better. I could definitely feel the product on my skin. Although it feels as though it's sitting on skin, the texture felt quite velvety smooth and although silicone is relatively far down the ingredients list, this could be used as a good base for makeup. I just would never use a BB cream in that way. What's more, I feel that a true BB Cream should contain an SPF which this doesn't.

I was already unimpressed with The Body Shop All-in-One BB Cream but more disappointment came when this irritated my sensitive skin and made me break out. I'm not sure whether this was down to the strong fragrance or the ingredients but when I mentioned this in my local Body Shop store, the sales assistant agreed that this was a common complaint. As such, those with sensitive skin might be advised to avoid this or at least try a sample before purchasing. There are lots of rave reviews on The Body Shop website which I simply don't understand- did we try the same product?!

At £12 for 25ml, I don't feel that this is a very sophisticated product and not worth the price tag. There are better high street BB creams available, e.g. from Maybelline. I didn't get on well with this at all and certainly wouldn't recommend it.

Saturday 16 November 2013

Speed Review: Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm

Wow, talk about being late to the party with this blog post! I must be one of the last bloggers to review the cult Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm but nonetheless, I wanted to add my two cents.
I purchased my tub of the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm earlier in the year and remember being surprised at the price. Whilst it's by no means a budget product, I had anticipated spending more than the £34 for 100ml particularly because I used to be a devotee of the pricier Eve Lom cleansing balm (we're talking years ago before my skin decided to become acne prone & in the days when I wasn't so fussed about mineral oil).

The flaws in the packaging are well documented. First up, it's presented in a tub- as tends to be the case with cleansing balms. Regular readers will know that I find tubs to be messy and unhygienic. I understand that since I purchased my Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm, it has been repackaged so the taller jar (which was somewhat awkward as I neared the end of the product) has now been replaced with a short, squat jar containing the same amount of product. What I fail to understand is why on earth the company spent time and money redesigning the packaging yet from what I hear, the basic design & its flaws remain the same, it's simply the shape of the tub which has changed. My tub has cracked, leaked and is certainly not suitable for travel. It's such a shame because I really feel that the poor packaging takes away some of the luxurious quality in what is otherwise a very indulgent and enjoyable product. This isn't the thickest of balm textures which I've come across so I'd love to see it presented in a sleek and functional tube.

Despite the packaging flaws, Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm is enjoyable to use, with an indulgent spa-like scent thanks to the inclusion of high quality essential oils (it's worth noting that the high amount of essential oils- & specifically citrus oils- may prove irritating to those with very sensitive skin but otherwise, it's suitable for all). As tends to be the case with cleansing balms, the texture lends itself well to facial massage. A little goes a long way and the golden balm melts into the skin, lifting off makeup (including heavy eye makeup) easily.

I don't actually follow the directions which state "mix a few drops of warm water with a little Moringa Cleansing Balm in the palm of your hand to create a cream. Apply to the face, neck and eye area using circular motions & massage thoroughly to melt away makeup, excess oils and grime. Always remove with the unique dual action polish and perfect cleansing cloth." Instead, I follow the hot cloth cleansing method whereby I apply the balm (not mixed with water) directly to my dry skin and remove with a basic flannel/ washcloth. Perhaps mixing a little with water would make the product go even further but nonetheless, I've been impressed that my tub has lasted for months despite using it most nights.

I find the ritualistic aspect of removing the balm with a hot washcloth therapeutic and what's more, the light buffing motion makes for a gentle yet effective manual exfoliation. My skin never feels dry or tight after using Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm, simply clean, cared for and with a glowing appearance.

What's more, the balm can be used as an all-purpose balm to treat dry areas or, my favourite, applied to skin and left on for 10 minutes as a mask (this works particularly effectively if you take a hot, steamy bath whilst sitting with the balm on as a mask) - skin is left looking film-star radiant.

Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift & Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm is a much hyped product but I feel that it is deservedly so and would highly recommend this.

Thursday 14 November 2013

Speed Review: Lush Happy Hippy Shower Gel

The combination of the cold wintery weather and me not being a morning person mean that it's practically a necessity for me to have an uplifting and energising shower gel on hand to tempt me out of bed at this time of year. Step forward Lush Happy Hippy Shower Gel.

Lush Happy Hippy Shower Gel is presented in a transparent plastic bottle with flip top lid. It's hardly the most luxurious packaging but it's functional- I like that I can see how much product is remaining and the flip top lid makes for easy dispensing when I'm only half awake.

The product itself has a pale yellow colour and a slightly jelly like texture. With a high concentration of both fresh pink grapefruit juice and grapefruit water along with grapefruit, bergamot and frankincense oils, it has a very pleasant, fresh citrus scent and ticks all the boxes for having an uplifting and energising effect, making it ideal for mornings. The scent doesn't linger on my skin after use.

The only downside is that it contains SLS, albeit in a lower concentration to most shower gels (although it still creates a fairly generous lather), which I find drying on my skin and I certainly can't forgo moisturising when I use this.

I really enjoy Lush Happy Hippy Shower Gel and although it's not the cheapest shower gel starting at £3.50 for 100ml, I'd highly recommend it. In fact, I've already repurchased.

Sunday 10 November 2013

Speed Review: Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover

Today's review is of a beauty blogger favourite, Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover. So, is it worth the hype?

Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover is presented in a bright pink plastic tub which is very girlie and easy to find in my bathroom. The functionality of the packaging is a key selling point of the product. Once you twist off the lid, there's a black sponge inside which is saturated with nail polish remover. The sponge has a hole cut into the centre into which you place your finger, twist and polish is easily removed. I like that the sponge is black so that it doesn't look messy following use.

I've previously tried this style of nail polish remover from other brands and whilst I've liked the idea & appreciated the convenience, particularly during travel, I've never been very impressed. Bourjois Magic Nail Polish Remover has completely wowed me. It's simple to use and amazingly effective at removing nail polish. I'm extremely impressed and rarely reach for my traditional nail polish removers these days- although I do still need them for removing nail polish on my toes.

The 1 second claim is slightly excessive- I tested this out and would say it's closer to 5 seconds to remove polish on each nail although still very quick. There's a strong chemical scent during use, as with most nail polish removers but following use, there's a scent of red fruits and vanilla, which is pleasant not sickly. Thanks to the inclusion of nourishing sweet almond oil, an oily residue is left on nails following use, which I didn't personally like so simply rinsed it off. The formula is acetone free and as a result, I didn't find it damaging to use on my nails.

The tub is a little bulky and as such, might not be the best for travel- although it would save on the need to take a bottle of polish remover and cotton pads. What's more, it's under 100ml so could be packed in hand luggage. It feels sufficiently weighty that I don't expect the sponge to dry out quickly.
After a while, I did notice the sponge starting to break up slightly- with a few little flecks of the sponge appearing on my nails but nothing that would put me off.

At £4.99 for 75ml, it's at the pricier end of the scale for a drugstore nail polish remover but I feel that it offers good value for money because it's a quality product which delivers. I've been raving about this to my friends and I'd highly recommend this.

Saturday 9 November 2013

Speed Review: Marks & Spencer Formula Age Defence Facial Cleansing Wipes

Today's review is of Marks & Spencer Formula Age Defence Facial Cleansing Wipes which have been specifically formulated for those in the 30+ age bracket. Designed to protect against the first signs of aging and helping to prevent fine lines & wrinkles, the wipes contain amino acids and antioxidants from vitamin C and white tea, are made in Britain and are paraben free.

Frankly, I'd like to think that those in the 30+ age bracket should have their skincare regime sorted to the extent that they don't rely on facial cleansing wipes. Having said this, there are always going to be times when you can't deny the convenience of facial cleansing wipes- whether you're a 30+ partier, new mum or undertake a lot of travelling.

The matte finish on the minimalist packaging gives a grown-up and expensive feel to the wipes. I only use wipes on an occasional basis so I prefer those which incorporate a clip, rather than a sticker, fastening which is more secure and helps to prevent the wipes drying out between uses. With this in mind, I was disappointed to note that these only have a sticker closure. I was impressed that they are made in Britain.

The wipes themselves are made of a fairly thick fabric which was able to withstand my "tear test" without ripping when I tried to pull the wipe apart. The major downside for me is that these are on the drier side compared to other wipes that I've tried so I had to use a couple of wipes to remove a full face of makeup. The wipes have a pleasant and fresh fragrance and felt refreshing on the skin.

The wipes are described as being "4-in-1" although it's somewhat unclear as to what the four properties are. They certainly aren't suitable for eye makeup removal as I found that they stung my sensitive eye area when I tried to remove my eye makeup. Having said this, on closer inspection of the packaging the directions do say to avoid direct contact with the eyes and what's more, I'd be concerned that the drier wipes would pull at the delicate skin in the eye area.

I feel that the claims of skincare benefits- some of which I mentioned in the introduction but there's also claims such as "skin is left moisturised and feeling smooth and conditioned", "help skin appear brighter and delay the first signs of aging", "help protect your skin from environmental damage" and "give you a healthy glow"- are more than a little overzealous and I certainly wouldn't recommend using these with sufficient regularity to be able to be able to gain the so-called skincare benefits (if you really want skincare benefits, follow a proper skincare routine).

On the whole, I'm afraid that I wasn't impressed with these wipes. Despite the affordable price tag of £4 for 25 wipes, I feel that these are a false economy because I had to use 2 wipes to remove my makeup. I wouldn't recommend them.


Tuesday 5 November 2013

Speed Review: NARS Gentle Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover

As I suspect is the case for the majority of people, I tend to think of makeup when it comes to NARS, however, I was intrigued to try an item from their skincare line, namely the Gentle Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover.

NARS Gentle Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover is presented in a square bottle which I felt looked very chic and was more than happy to have on display in my bathroom. It has a screw top lid with a small hole in the top of the bottle for controlled dispensing of the product, with no wastage. I liked that the bottle was transparent so that I could see how much product was remaining.
It is a bi-phase (2 layer) product which you need to shake before use so that the layers combine.
One of NARS' claims is that the eye makeup remover is suitable for contact lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes thanks to the inclusion of soothing cucumber and chamomile. I fall into both of those categories and can attest to the fact that it felt cooling on application and didn't cause any irritation.
It quickly made light work of even the heaviest smoky eye. Whilst I don't use waterproof mascara, I've recently been reaching for long-wearing eyeliners and found that the bi-phase formula lent itself well to effective removal. It's worth pointing out that I did notice some residue of the product, which contains glycerine, silicones and other emollients, on my eye area after use but nothing that particularly bothered me.
Thanks to its effective formula, a little goes a long way and the bottle has lasted well. Having said that, I'd still struggle to justify a repurchase given the hefty pricetag of £18.50 for just 100ml.
Eye makeup remover isn't something that I personally feel the need to spend a lot on- there are good options at the drugstore that I'm more than happy to use & I'd prefer to put the money towards a good cleanser or moisturiser instead. However, if you're in the market for a new high-end eye makeup remover then I'd definitely recommend NARS Gentle Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover.

Friday 1 November 2013

Speed Review: Philosophy Hazelnut Espresso 3-in-1 Shampoo, Shower Gel and Bubble Bath

I've always liked Philosophy and remember lusting after their cute and original packaging when the cookbook collections launched all those years ago so I was excited to try the Hazelnut Espresso 3-in-1 Shampoo, Shower Gel and Bubble Bath.

As with all of the brand's foodie products, the plastic bottle features a recipe for making Hazelnut Espresso which adds a fun twist. I've never actually tried to recreate one of the recipes so I'm not sure how successful they'd turn out but do feel that the combination of beauty & a recipe makes this the range a good gift idea.
The plastic bottle is transparent with a flip top lid making it functional for use.

I only used this as a shower gel so I can't comment on how it performs as a shampoo or bubble bath. Thanks to the inclusion of SLS, a generous lather was produced but for me, this would be a downside as I generally find SLS laden products to be drying on my skin.

My drink of choice is a hazelnut latte so unsurprisingly, the scent appealed to me. As the name suggests, it has a foodie scent which incorporates a sweet and comforting hint of chocolate.

I enjoyed using this but the trouble is that Philosophy's bath and shower products have been much copied. Whilst imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, there's no longer anything sufficiently unique about the products to justify the high price tag. Personally, if I was going to spend so much money on a shower product, it would be something more indulgent & grown up with aromatherapy benefits and without SLS. It's a fun gift but not something I would repurchase with my own money.
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