Friday 30 October 2015

Speed Review: Caudalie Beauty Elixir

The rather optimistically named Caudalie Beauty Elixir facial spritzer is somewhat of a cult product and upon using it, it's easy to see why.

As a general rule, I like Caudalie as a brand. It has that effortlessly cool vibe that comes with being a French brand, I feel that the price points are fair and the products enjoyable to use. Much like Ren, I originally discovered the brand through their body care but they now appear to be focussing far more on their facial skincare offering.

That said, I didn't want to like Caudalie Beauty Elixir for the simple reason that it contains alcohol as the second ingredient, which I don't feel is a beneficial ingredient in skincare (it can aggravate skin & cause it to overproduce oil as well as potentially increasing free radical damage).

The frosted glass bottle looks chic but whilst it's available in travel friendly 100ml and 30ml sizes, the weight and potential for breakage means it's far from practical for this.

The mist itself is fine enough to be refreshing without leaving skin looking drenched. I appreciated that it works well over makeup. 

I absolutely adored the botanical scent which comes from a blend of essential oils (which those with very sensitive skin may not be able to tolerate) including peppermint, rosemary, balm mint & rose. It smells expensive and not at all synthetic. I found the scent to be soothing whilst also uplifting- it's quite addictive!

It's so enjoyable to use that I found myself reaching for Caudalie Beauty Elixir throughout the day, helping to hydrate skin and providing a quick hit of indulgence.

At £11.50 for 30ml or £32 for 100ml, it's pricey but there's something about Caudalie Beauty Elixir which I really like & which means that I'll keep coming back to it.

Thursday 29 October 2015

Speed Review: Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner


Today's review is of the popular Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner which is described by the brand as a fresh, fluid exfoliating lotion to brighten, smooth & soften skin. 

The minimalist packaging is in keeping with the Clarins brand image. The directions are clear and easy to follow and I appreciated the responsible (& I believe, legally required) inclusion of a safe sun warning, which is particularly important when using chemical exfoliators such as this. The plastic bottle is sufficiently transparent so as to be able to tell how much product was remaining, which I appreciated. What's more, the hole in the top of the bottle allows for controlled dispensing without wastage.

Although described as a "fresh, fluid exfoliating lotion", the toner's texture is a clear liquid. It was quick and easy to apply onto skin using a cotton pad and felt cooling & refreshing. A little goes a long way and given that I only exfoliate my acne-prone, combination skin once or twice a week, the 125ml bottle will last a long time.

Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner has a floral scent but I could clearly detect alcohol too, which is unsurprising given that this is one of the ingredients. Whilst I'm not strict in my approach, I generally try to avoid alcohol in toners as they can aggravate the skin & cause it to overproduce oil. However, it is my understanding that its inclusion helps the Tamarind derived glycolic acid (which, along with salicylic acid acts as the exfoliant) to penetrate more effectively into skin.

I feel that Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner lives up to the name. It exfoliates skin gently & effectively, leaving it smooth and looking radiant. I was impressed that despite the inclusion of alcohol, this didn't leave my skin feeling dry or tight following use, which may possibly be owing to the inclusion of hydrating glycerin. I really enjoy using this and whilst I don't love it quite as much as my beloved Alpha H Liquid Gold, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it as a good choice for the majority of skin types.

I feel that the £25 price tag is reasonable considering the high quality of Clarins products.


Tuesday 27 October 2015

Speed Review: Elemis Pro-Radiance Hand and Nail Cream

When most people think of the Elemis "Pro" ranges, the bestselling Pro Collagen line is probably the first to spring to mind but there's also the Pro Radiance collection, from which I've previously reviewed the Cream Cleanser. Following on from that, today's review is of the Elemis Pro-Radiance Hand and Nail Cream.

On first impressions, Elemis Pro-Radiance Hand and Nail Cream looks luxurious thanks to the minimalist design of the tube and reflective silver cap, presented in a royal blue box. The tube is a generously sized 100ml and what's more, it's functional.

The cream has a rich texture without being greasy. It felt smooth and velvety so I was surprised to note that it's a silicone-free formula. The cream was easily absorbed and I was very impressed that there was absolutely no greasy residue. A little goes a long way so I expect that the tube will last for a long time yet equally, I felt as though I needed to reapply fairly regularly throughout the day.

The strong white florals fragrance won't be to everyone's liking and whilst it lingers, it does settle down following application. It smells luxurious and expensive, not synthetic. Personally, I neither loved nor hated the scent.

My hands were left feeling smooth and nourished but at a rather pricey £25 for 100ml, I'm not sure that I could justify a repurchase purely because there are other, more affordable hand creams which I prefer.

Monday 26 October 2015

Speed Review: NYX Butter Gloss in Angel Food Cake

If you watch a lot of YouTube videos then you'll no doubt have heard the hype surrounding NYX Butter Glosses. I've recently been using the shade Angel Food Cake and wanted to share my thoughts.
On first impressions, I liked the packaging, which is a relatively compact tube. I appreciated that the dusty mauve pink colour of the opaque tube reflects the colour of the gloss inside, making it easy to find the desired shade in a crowded makeup collection such as mine. The doe foot applicator allows for a controlled, precision application.
When I first pulled the applicator out of the tube, the relatively thick formula looked as though it might be gloopy but I needn't have worried. The gloss applied evenly and once on the lips,  felt smooth & with just enough slip to be comfortable, although I don't feel that it offered hydrating benefits. I was pleased that it wasn't sticky (as I hate sticky formulas).
The colour of shade Angel Food Cake is a pretty & wearbable dusty mid-toned pink which is ideal for year-round wear. I feel that it would suit a wide variety of skin tones. The finish is more pigmented than most glosses I've tried but it's not as opaque as a liquid lipstick.
The sweet vanilla bakery scent won't be to everyone's liking but personally, I enjoyed it & didn't find it to be overpowering. I didn't notice the scent once the gloss had been applied.
NYX Butter Gloss isn't transfer proof, however, it lasted on my lips for in excess of two hours without the need to reapply, which I feel is impressive for a gloss (especially one without a sticky formula).
NYX Butter Gloss is a great, affordable gloss at just £5 a tube, that I feel is deserving of the hype.


Sunday 25 October 2015

Speed Review: Macadamia Deep Repair Masque


On a recent visit to my hairdresser, I got a serious telling off about the state of my tresses. Despite rarely using heated styling tools and generally taking care of my hair, my hair was ravaged by split ends and weakened so that it was prone to breakage. My hairdresser, who I've been loyally going to for over five years, put it down to recent stress and weight loss. She suggested that I add on the Phillip Kingsley Steam treatment to my hair appointment & snipped away a good few inches. She also recommended that I up my game at home, using a weekly hair mask as opposed to once every couple or few weeks. With this in mind, I thought it would be a good opportunity to try out blogger favourite, Macadamia Deep Repair Masque and it's quickly become part of my Sunday evening pamper routine.

Macadamia Deep Repair Masque is available in a 100ml tube, 250ml tub, 500ml value tub or trial sachet. Regular readers will know that I prefer tubes to tubs, finding them to be less messy and more hygienic, so it will come as little surprise that I opted for the 100ml tube, which is reasonably priced at approximately £9.50.

The brown and green packaging is aesthetically appealing, perhaps in part because it's so familiar to me after seeing various bloggers and vloggers rave about the product. The tube packaging is functional and well suited to the thick texture of the pearlised cream mask as it was easy to control how much was dispensed without wastage. The directions were clear and I appreciated the convenience offered by the fact that the mask gets to work in under 10 minutes.

Despite the thick formula, I found it easy to work the mask through my hair and subsequently, was impressed at how easy it was to rinse out. It has a very pleasant fresh, fruity fragrance. I was only able to detect this very slightly in my hair once it had been dried & styled (when it smelt fresh & clean).

Following use, my hair was left looking shiny, smooth and with frizz diminished. It felt soft & I was pleased that my fine hair wasn't weighed down but instead had healthy movement and bounce.

I feel that this is improving the condition of my hair. It's a joy to use and one of my favourites of the hair masks I've tried. I feel that it's definitely deserving of the hype and I can't recommend it highly enough.

Saturday 24 October 2015

Speed Review: di Palomo Wild Fig & Grape Enriching Hand & Nail Cream

di Palomo isn't a brand which I've heard much about so my only impression of it is from having seen the products in rather dated local gift shops. That said, I love anything with fig so when I had the opportunity to try the brand's Wild Fig & Grape Enriching Hand & Nail Cream, I decided to keep an open mind.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, given that the brand is inspired by Italy, the colours & design on the box give a Mediterranean impression & this is reflected on the label of the black tube inside.  I wouldn't say that the tube is particularly luxurious but nor is it offensive. Inherently, as a tube, it's functional.

The cream has a lightweight texture and I appreciated that it was easily absorbed with no greasy residue.

During application, the scent was very delicate and hardly noticeable. As I consider this to be a gifting brand, I expected more of a scent to add to the sense of indulgence.  I was initially disappointed that the Wild Fig & Grape name didn't appear to be reflected in the scent because, as aforementioned, I usually love anything with a fresh, masculine fig fragrance. Interestingly, the scent seemed to develop on my skin and I found the fig to be more noticeable as time progressed.

Following use, my hands were left soft and looking & feeling smooth and hydrated.

di Palomo Wild Fig & Grape Enriching Hand & Nail Cream costs £8 for 75ml.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Speed Review: Tommyguns Bergamot & Inula Shampoo


I've tried a fair number of Tommyguns products & most recently, have been using Tommyguns Bergamot & Inula Shampoo which is designed to protect & prolong colour treated hair. It contains Inula to protect & give structure to hair, strengthening the hair shaft & leaving it smoother & stronger, along with Bergamot to enhance shine & colour brightness. I may not be best placed to review this product seeing as I don't have colour treated hair but nonetheless, I wanted to share my thoughts on the shampoo.
The Tommyguns packaging always appeals to me & I feel that it looks chic and higher end than the price tag thanks to the sleek square bottles with rounded corners. I thought that the coral colour of the shampoo looked pretty through the clear plastic bottle & what's more, I appreciated being able to tell how much product was remaining. The directions were clear and I found the flip top dispenser convenient.
I found it easy to work the shampoo into a lather, meaning that a little goes a long way. This is perhaps unsurprising given that the formula contains SLS. As a shampoo, it inherently rinsed out easily.
I thought that the scent was interesting. It has a fresh, fruity & fizzy scent which reminded me of lemonade. It's pleasant and not sickly sweet. I didn't notice the scent in my hair once it had been dried & styled.
Following use, my hair was left looking shiny & healthy. What's more, I was impressed that the shampoo didn't irritate my sensitive scalp.
On the whole, I liked Tommyguns Bergamot & Inula Shampoo. Whilst I can't comment on its colour protecting benefits, at £5.50 for 250ml, I feel that it's a good option if you're looking for a wallet friendly option and would recommended.


Sunday 18 October 2015

Speed Review: Mark Hill MiracOILicious 2 Minute Intensive Treatment

I like to treat my tresses with a nourishing hair mask every week or so, usually on a Sunday after I've used a clarifying shampoo. I particularly appreciate the convenience of those which get to work quickly so when I noticed that the mask from Mark Hill's MiracOILicious line promises to leave hair  revitalised and feeling smooth, strong & looking shiny in just two minutes, I was intrigued.

On first impressions, I wasn't the biggest fan of the packaging. It's not offensive in terms of appearance but I dislike tubs, finding them to be messy and unhygienic. That said, I found the directions clear and easy to follow.

According to the brand, MiracOILicious contains an exotic mix of 14 of the world's finest essential oils and plant extracts including Moroccan Argan Oil, Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Sage, Sandalwood, Spearmint, Palmarosa, Orange, Patchouli and Clove to name just a few. As such, I expected the mask to have an incredible, indulgent fragrance so I was disappointed to note that it had an intense, sickly sweet scent which I personally hated. This alone would put me off repurchasing.

Mark Hill MiracOILicious 2 Minute Intensive Treatment has a white, pearlised thick cream texture which felt silky and was easy to work through my hair. A little goes a long way meaning that the tub will last a long time, offering good value for money.

Whilst in the shower, I felt that the mask rinsed out relatively easily, however, after I'd dried & styled my hair, it felt as though there was product residue remaining. Whilst my hair felt soft, it wasn't as shiny as I'm accustomed to and my flyaways were less diminished than usual. Having said that, my fine hair wasn't weighed down and I was thankful that the sickly sweet scent of the mask didn't linger and that my hair simply smelt fresh & clean.

At £7.99 for 200ml, Mark Hill MiracOILicious 2 Minute Intensive Treatment is an affordable option, however, in my option there were too many downsides to this product and for that reason, I wouldn't repurchase.

Friday 16 October 2015

Speed Review: Origins Make A Difference Rejuvenating Hand Treatment


After years of neglecting my hands, I've recently been on the hunt for my holy grail hand cream, resulting in me reviewing a number of different brands here on Skin Deep. The most recent to capture my attention is Origins Make A Difference Rejuvenating Hand Treatment.

I loved the packaging. The matte, mint green tube is both aesthetically pleasing and functional for use. What's more, the 75ml size means it's travel friendly.

The texture is a rich gel-cream, almost akin to a balm but less heavy. It absorbed quickly and left a "barrier" on the skin. It wasn't a greasy residue as such but I could definitely tell that there was product left on my hands. They felt protected and I feel this would be a good choice as we head into the winter months.

The scent- a slightly medicinal fragrance in which I thought I could detect aniseed- wasn't to my personal liking but whilst strong, it didn't linger.

My hands were left feeling soft and smooth however, at £19.50 for 75ml, I'd struggle to justify a repurchase particularly because I've tried other hand creams which I prefer (not least owing to the scent).

Sunday 11 October 2015

Speed Review: Bumble & Bumble Creme de Coco Masque

I like to indulge in a weekly Sunday pamper session and feel that taking some "me time" is both a pleasant end to the weekend as well as a good preparation for the week ahead. This sometimes involves a face mask or mini manicure but inevitably will include using a clarifying shampoo followed by a hair mask.

I've recently been enjoying Bumble & Bumble Crème de Coco Masque, which is designed as a once-a-week masque with a trio of tropical butters (murumuru seed butter, shea butter & mango butter) to provide intensive moisture, softness, silkiness and gloss.

As Bumble & Bumble is one of my favourite hair care brands, it will come as no surprise that I tend to like the appearance of their packaging and am happy to have the products on display in my bathroom. Bumble & Bumble Crème de Coco Masque was no exception and what's more, I appreciated the functionality of the tube dispenser with flip top lid. It allowed for controlled dispensing, with no wastage.

The directions are clear and I liked that the masque gets to work in under 10 minutes, although it can be left on for longer to intensify the treatment.

Bumble & Bumble Crème de Coco is a smooth cream and as the name suggests, boasts a fragrance which is reminiscent of holidays. Unsurprisingly, coconut is the dominant scent but there's also an undertone of tropical fruits which I enjoyed. The scent was barely noticeable in my hair once it had been dried & styled.
The masque was easy to work through hair and effortless to rinse out.

Following use, my hair was left looking shiny, smooth and healthy. It felt incredibly soft and I was pleased to note that my fine hair wasn't weighed down but had body & movement. That said, I did notice that it looked more limp than usual the following day so it may not be the best choice for those with very fine hair (& this is stated on the Bumble & Bumble website). I feel that it delivers on the claims.

At £25 for 150ml, Bumble & Bumble Crème de Coco Masque is pricey but I feel that the results justify this. I feel that this would be a good choice for a range of different hair types (all except the oiliest) and would recommend checking it out.


Saturday 10 October 2015

Speed Review: Champneys Spa Indulgence Distant Shores Shower Mousse

I usually use shower gels but I've recently been reaching for Champneys Spa Indulgence Distant Shores Shower Mousse.

The bright pink colour of the plastic bottle appealed to me. The packaging is functional with a pump dispenser and I liked that the bottle is sufficiently transparent so as to be able to tell how much product is remaining.

The pump dispenses a light foam. It's a soft lather as opposed to the rich and creamy texture which you might associate with a shave gel, for example. I felt as though this saves a little time as there's no need to work the product into a lather.

I liked the scent, which is described as passion fruit, mango and citrus. It's a pleasant tropical, fruity floral that wasn't at all sickly. Unfortunately, it doesn't linger on the skin after showering.

I had been concerned that the mousse formula would prove drying on the skin but I didn't notice any particular dryness or tightness on my skin following use.

I enjoyed using this product and may be tempted to pick it up again in future. Having said that, I'd only do so if it was on offer (the brand is often on offer in Boots) because I feel that the £8 for 200ml price tag is a little too much.


Tuesday 6 October 2015

Speed Review: Soap & Glory Butter Yourself


I'm notoriously lazy when it comes to moisturising my body. For convenience, I usually use an in-shower body moisturiser or a "spray & go" format in the mornings and take the time to apply richer formulations at night. I've recently been reaching for Soap & Glory Butter Yourself, which is designed to soothe & soften even the driest skin thanks to a blend of shea, cocoa and moringa butters.

I like the Soap & Glory packaging which is always on-brand. The pink bottle with its retro image is unapologetically girlie but it's also functional with a handy pump dispenser. I liked that the plastic bottle is sufficiently transparent so as to be able to tell how much product remains.

The texture is richer than a lotion but not as heavy as a cream or butter. A little goes a long way so the generously sized bottle will last for a long time. I was impressed at how easily absorbed Soap & Glory Butter Yourself was. Unlike many body butters I've tried, it sank into skin effortlessly, leaving no greasy residue.

I wasn't the biggest fan of the scent during application and if anything would put me off repurchasing, it would be this. Although I had anticipated the pink packaging to be reflected in the scent with the brand's signature fragrance, Butter Yourself actually boasts a fresh, fruity fragrance. It combines the freshness of fig with the sweetness of mango and orange but I'm not convinced that it's a scent combination which works. It reminded me of cheap fragrances such as the old school Body Shop ones. I wasn't a fan, particularly as it's a rather strong fragrance.
It does linger on the skin but settles down to fresh fig with a warm almond element that I much preferred.

Skin was left feeling soft, smooth and hydrated following use. As tends to be the case with Soap & Glory products, Butter Yourself offers good value for money at £10 for a generous 500ml bottle.

Monday 5 October 2015

Speed Review: No7 BB Lips (shade Ballerina)

I have somewhat of a love/ hate relationship with No7 BB Lips. Taken on its own, I like the product but I hate the comparisons to Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfectors, to which they are often called "dupes". In my opinion, they are not dupes and if you pick up a No7 BB Lips expecting this, you're likely to be disappointed.

I picked mine up when Boots were offering the No7 coupons and I chose the wearable pink shade, "Ballerina".

The functional tube looks relatively high end with a reflective silver screw cap and silver writing. I liked that the colour of the tube reflects the colour of the product inside. The slanted tip applicator hugs the lips & allows for a controlled, precision application.  Furthermore, the squeezy tube allows for control of how much product is dispensed.

The formula is smooth and comfortable to wear. It's not gloopy and the formula is non-sticky.

I wasn't the biggest fan of the plasticky scent, however, I liked the flattering, hint of pink colour and medium- glossy finish. It can be applied without a mirror.

I appreciated the inclusion of SPF15 and I also feel that this goes some way to justifying the BB name which I'd otherwise find rather gimmicky. Lips felt hydrated for approximately two hours following application. I keep No7 BB Lips on my desk and find it to be a nice product which is easy to use and wear but I don't love it so much as to rush out and pick up other shades.

No7 BB Lips costs £9 for 11ml.


Saturday 3 October 2015

Speed Review: Korres Fig Shower Gel

I've recently been using Korres Fig Shower Gel and wanted to share my thoughts in today's review.

I like the packaging of Korres shower gels, which have an effortlessly cool aesthetic which appeals to me. What's more, the flip top lid means that it's functional for purpose. Having said this, I don't like the list of "free from" ingredients on the side of the plastic bottle- it frustrates me that there is an extensive list of ingredients which aren't included (e.g. mineral oil, silicones, alcohol, etc...) yet it still contains SLS, which I find to be drying on the skin.

Despite the inclusion of SLS, the lather is average- I'd recommend using Korres Fig Shower Gel with a bath puff to make the bottle last longer. I didn't notice any nourishing benefits and needed to moisturise following use.

As I love anything with a fig scent, it's unsurprising that I was a fan of the fragrance. It's green, fresh and unisex but has a warmth to it that adds an elegant sophistication. However, the scent didn't linger on my skin following use.

At £8 for 250ml, Korres Fig Shower Gel isn't the cheapest option but it is an easy way to incorporate a sense of indulgence to the everyday task of showering. My favourite scent from the Korres shower gel range is Guava but Fig is a close second so I'd certainly consider repurchasing, either as a treat for myself or as a can't-go-wrong gift idea.

Friday 2 October 2015

Speed Review: Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream


It is said that Her Majesty The Queen is a fan of Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream- perhaps answering the eternal question of "what does The Queen carry in her handbag?". Well, if it's good enough for Her Majesty, I was keen to check it out for myself.

The bestselling hand cream contains soothing Sesame Oil and fortifying Japanese Mulberry and is designed to soften, protect, hydrate and strengthen nails.

Presented in a slimline tube, Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream looks chic and is functional for use.

The cream has a lightweight silky texture (I wasn't surprised to see Dimethicone in the ingredients list), which absorbed quickly and easily into skin, leaving no greasy residue. I loved the comforting citrus scent which lingered on the skin following application.

Following use, my hands were left looking smooth and feeling soft & nourished. It's not the most moisturising hand cream- the results were short lived meaning that I needed to reapply throughout the day but it's so enjoyable to use that I didn't mind.

It's easy to see why Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream is so popular. At £21 for 100ml, it's pricey but nonetheless, I've really enjoyed trialling this and would highly recommend it.

Thursday 1 October 2015

Speed Review: The Sanctuary Body Scrub

Today's review is of The Sanctuary Body Scrub, which is designed as a gentle, polishing gel scrub which can be used daily.
I tend to like it when body scrubs are presented in functional tube packaging because I find it more hygienic and less messy (compared with tubs). I also liked that it was easy to tell how much product was remaining. In terms of aesthetics, it's clear from the packaging that the scrub is from an affordable brand but I didn't find it to be offensive.
The body scrub is presented as a gel texture with a high concentration of finely milled pumice, which forms the exfoliant. Despite the texture being akin to a shower gel & the formula containing SLS, The Sanctuary Body Scrub doesn't produce a lather.
The gel is an orange colour and I'd have liked this to have been reflected in the scent, however, it has the same scent as others in The Sanctuary signature range. This is described as patchouli and orange but I personally find the scent to be plasticky and it's not to my liking. That said, it didn't linger on my skin following use.
The Sanctuary Body Scrub delivers on its claims as being a gentle scrub even though the exfoliant is concentrated within the formula. This wasn't to my personal preference, as I prefer scrubs which are satisfyingly abrasive and for that reason, I'd be unlikely to repurchase. However, if you're looking for a gentle scrub, e.g. to maintain a tan, then this may be worth a look. The Sanctuary Body Scrub costs £5.50 for 200ml but given that I felt I needed to use quite a bit each use, I'd recommend waiting until the products were on offer (which they regularly are in Boots).
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