Monday 12 December 2016

Speed Review: Benecos Pomegranate & Rose Shower Gel

I've only tried a couple of products from Benecos but have liked them. I've recently been using Benecos Pomegranate & Rose Shower Gel and wanted to share my thoughts.

On first impressions, I liked the tube packaging. It's functional and I liked that the design highlights the key ingredients and eco credentials (such as being suitable for vegans) without being worthy or preachy. I appreciated the inclusion of a use by date on the packaging and I was happy to have it on display in my shower.

It has a golden gel texture and I was able to work the product into a lather, despite the formula being free from nasties such as SLS. A bath puff would, of course, help with this.

As the name might suggest, Benecos Pomegranate & Rose Shower Gel has a classic rose fragrance with the zestiness of pomegranate, which makes for an unusual but pleasant combination. I didn't notice the scent on my skin following use.

Overall, I liked Benecos Pomegranate & Rose Shower Gel. It is reasonably priced at £4.95 for 200ml.

Saturday 5 November 2016

Speed Review: Espa Purifying Shampoo and Nourishing Conditioner

Earlier this year, spa brand Espa introduced Purifying Shampoo and Nourishing Conditioner to accompany their existing and highly popular Pink Hair & Scalp Mud, taking their haircare offering to three items. Whilst a spa brand wouldn't immediately be my go-to for haircare products, there is a synergy because the products are pitched as being pampering and after all, I tend to wash my hair after a spa treatment as a result of the oils, etc.. which are used so in that regard, it makes sense for Espa to offer them.

Espa Purifying Shampoo and Nourishing Conditioner are presented in green plastic bottles with functional pumps. The packaging is chic and looks expensive, in line with the spa branding. They feature clear directions and I liked that it is easy to distinguish between the shampoo and conditioner in the shower because the conditioner is presented in a different shade of green bottle, which is transparent. The downside of this is that the shampoo plastic bottle is opaque and as such, it's difficult to tell how much of the product is remaining.

Espa Purifying Shampoo has a thick, gel-cream texture which the pump is well suited to (I needed a few pumps to release sufficient product). Despite being free from SLS & SLES (as well as silicones), the shampoo produced a generous, creamy lather thanks to the inclusion of plant-derived cleansers and as such, a little goes a long way.

I absolutely loved the botanical scent which is in keeping with the spa branding. It's the result of a 100% essential oil blend of fresh bergamot, sensual jasmine and warm cedarwood and smells wonderfully luxurious- without doubt, it's one of the most luxuriously scented shampoos I've ever tried! Sadly, it didn't linger in my hair once it had been dried & styled.

The only downside was that it took a little more effort than I'm accustomed to to rinse out the rich formula so I probably wouldn't use Espa Purifying Shampoo if I were in a hurry.

Espa Nourishing Conditioner has a rich, thick & creamy formula and whilst the pump works perfectly adequately, a tube would be even better suited to the job. Again, a little goes a long way. Despite the thick texture, I found it easy to work the conditioner through my hair and likewise, to rinse it out. The same blend of essential oils as the shampoo meant that the conditioner was also beautifully scented although I found that I preferred the scent of it in the shampoo during use. Once my hair had been dried & styled, the scent lingered pleasantly when using the conditioner.

Following use, my hair was left feeling wonderfully soft and looking smooth, with flyaways diminished. Whilst my fine hair looked nourished and healthy, it wasn't weighed down but instead had body and movement.

Overall, I was highly impressed with both the usage and results of Espa's new hair offering. At £20 each for 295ml, it's a pricey duo but the luxurious experience lives up to the expectations that the hefty price tag brings.


Sunday 30 October 2016

Speed Review: Lush Sleepy Body Lotion

There's something comforting about Lush products which makes me particularly keen to reach for them in the cooler autumnal months. Case in point.. their new Sleepy Body Lotion. 

Lush Sleepy Body Lotion is made with an oatmeal infusion, creamy Fair Trade organic cocoa butter, calming lavender flower and comforting sweet tonka absolute. 

First, let's talk about the packaging. Basically, I hate almost everything about it. The Lush black tubs are ugly and I don't find tub packaging to be particularly functional or hygienic. That said, I appreciate the ecological message which is the Lush focus when it comes to packaging. 

Lush Sleepy Body Lotion has a lilac tinge and a comforting, powdery scent which made me feel like I was being enveloped in a cozy blanket. It lingers delicately on the skin following use, making this the ideal choice for evening use (I feel that it would interfere with perfume).

Despite having a lotion texture, it wasn't the most instantly absorbed product. That said, I loved that it didn't leave a greasy residue. Following use, I could still feel the product on my skin but it felt like a protective layer that was locking in moisture, rather than being sticky or uncomfortable. Skin was left feeling soft, smooth and hydrated. 

At £13.95 for 215g, I do feel that this is slightly overpriced but the fact that a little goes a long way does help to justify the price. It's a lovely product which I'll be reaching for time and time again as the temperatures drop.


Saturday 22 October 2016

Speed Review: Radox Feel Revived Shower Gel (with mandarin & lemongrass)

I'm never wowed by Radox shower gels but they do the job and are often on offer. In fact, that's the very reason why I picked up the subject of today's review, Radox Feel Revived Shower Gel with mandarin & lemongrass, as it was for sale in my local Boots for just £1.

Whilst the packaging reflects the affordable price tag, it is nonetheless functional with a plastic squeezy bottle & flip top lid. It was fairly easy to control how much product was dispensed, thereby reducing wastage. I like that the transparent bottle makes it easy to see how much product is remaining and what's more, I like the detail of being able to lift the top if you prefer to hook the product up in the shower rather than simply standing it on its base.

The thick, orange coloured gel reflects the uplifting claims. Given that Radox Feel Revived Shower Gel contains SLS (which I'd expect given the price), it was unsurprising that it produced a generous lather. I can find this to be drying on the skin but it's a compromise that is offset by the affordable price tag. Besides, I generally tend to need to moisturise my body at this time of year regardless of the type of shower gel I use.

I wasn't able to detect lemongrass notes but what really hit me in terms of the scent was how similar this is to The Body Shop's Satsuma fragrance- if you're a fan of that, you'll like this. It's a pleasant, zesty citrus fragrance but I can't say that I felt any aromatherapy benefits in terms of feeling revived. I was unable to detect the scent on my skin following use.

Overall, Radox Feel Revived Shower Gel isn't a bad shower gel. It does the job and for the price, it's hard to go wrong.


Sunday 16 October 2016

Speed Review: Christophe Robin Clarifying Shampoo with Camomile and Cornflower

Regular readers may be wondering where I've been and the reason for my silence. If you don't follow me on Twitter or Instagram (Skindeepblogger) then you may have missed the news that I've been busily working on a new lifestyle online magazine, Livingologie. Livingologie is dedicated to the art of living well and comprises fashion, health & fitness, food, home, social, travel and love sections, along with (of course) beauty. It's far more editorial in feel than my blog so please feel free to check it out if that's something of interest. I really feel that it offers something for everyone and has been a real labour of love. The only downside is that there are only so many hours in the day and working on that, along with my day job as a writer, has meant that Skin Deep has had to take a bit of a back-seat. I have missed working on the blog, which will always be focussed on providing honest, no-holds-barred reviews. I'm going to try to ease myself back into blogging gently, with a weekly review as a minimum & see how I manage my time from there. I'd love to hear your thoughts. For now, let's progress to today's Speed Review which is of Christophe Robin's Clarifying Shampoo with Camomile and Cornflower.

Christophe Robin isn't a brand with which I'm overly familiar but I was recently sent a selection of hair care products from the PR and decided to incorporate the Clarifying Shampoo with Camomile and Cornflower into my Sunday pampering routine, which always includes a detox shampoo followed by a hair mask.

My first impression was that it was a luxury brand. The packaging is minimalist but chic and I was happy to have it on display in my bathroom. As a brunette, I was slightly concerned that the Clarifying Shampoo was described as a "progressive lightening treatment for natural, coloured or highlighted hair" but there is a brand synergy there owing to Christophe Robin's reputation as an expert hair colourist. The directions were clear and easy to follow and I also appreciated that the label highlighted that the shampoo is free from "nasties" such as parabens, silicones and SLS. I liked that the transparent plastic bottle enabled me to tell how much product was remaining but I'd have preferred the convenience of a flip top lid over the screw top.

In terms of usage, a little of the clear, relatively liquid gel goes a long way. I was impressed at the generous lather which the SLS-free formula produces. It has a fresh, clean and inoffensive scent which rather reminded me of the scent of bar soap! It didn't linger in my hair once rinsed. As a shampoo, it was inherently easy to rinse out.

I felt that Christophe Robin Clarifying Shampoo with Camomile and Cornflower worked effectively to remove build up without irritating my sensitive scalp. At £25 for 250ml, Christophe Robin Clarifying Shampoo with Camomile and Cornflower is undeniably expensive and clearly a luxury product. I enjoyed using it and if you can justify the price, it's worth a look particularly owing to the quality of the ingredients.


Sunday 29 May 2016

Speed Review: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Moisturising Shampoo and Conditioner (for lighter blondes)

John Frieda Sheer Blonde review

I was recently sent John Frieda Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Moisturising Shampoo and Conditioner (for lighter blondes) but being brunette, passed them on to my friend Ellie to try. Ellie has blonde highlighted mid-length hair. It's quite oily and as it's wavy, tangles easily. 

Ellie said that she's very familiar with the brand and has previously tried several of their products. The Beach Blonde Sea Waves Salt Spray and Luxurious Volume Blow Dry Lotion currently feature within her hair care collection.

On first impressions, she really liked the packaging and said that she would definitely be drawn to it if she saw the products on a shop shelf. The light colour immediately suggests use on lighter hair and the design is modern & looks quite luxurious. The tube presentation is functional for use and means that the entire product can be used, without wastage. 

But what did she think about the products themselves? 

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Moisturising Shampoo is designed to brighten & reveal the full spectrum of blonde tones & highlights. The company states that the moisturising formula, which contains jojoba oil, sunflower and white tea, smoothes hair as it gently removes darkening & dulling build-up. 

Ellie said that the directions for use were very clear & easy to follow. The Shampoo has a smooth consistency. Whilst it lathers quickly, Ellie felt that she needed to use a lot of the product to produce a  generous lather and this would put her off repurchasing. It rinsed out easily with no product build up. The shampoo smelt fresh with a citrus fragrance but she wasn't able to detect the scent once she had dried & styled her hair.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Highlight Activating Moisturising Conditioner is designed to replenish rich moisture & restore lush blonde tones whilst repairing & improving hair texture for glistening blonde perfection. The company states that the Conditioner helps repair damage by filling in dry, porous strands for supple, silky, shimmering blonde, without residue. It contains brightening extracts of natural lemon peel, chamomile and sunflower seed.

Ellie said that both the scent and texture of the conditioner were very similar to the shampoo. She said that it was easy to work into her hair & that it felt very smooth when she rinsed it out. 

Following use, Ellie said that her hair felt very clean and fresh. She felt that the products helped to eliminate build up, creating a feeling of weightlessness. She didn't notice any colour enhancing benefits. Nor did she notice any dramatic hydrating results but equally, her hair didn't feel drier.

Ellie said that if she were to repurchase either of the products, it would be the Conditioner as she particularly liked the smoothness & shine that it gave.

She feels that the products are reasonably priced at £5.89 each for 250ml.


Wednesday 18 May 2016

Speed Review: Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage collection

It's been quite some time since I last featured Crabtree & Evelyn here on Skin Deep.
I rather like Crabtree & Evelyn. They may not be able to generate the same buzz of excitement as some beauty brands and they lack the cult status that drives desire and ultimately, sales but I appreciate the brand because it's consistently dependable, with many hidden gems amongst their product line (the La Source handcare is a range that I love and come back to time & time again) and you simply know what you're getting when it comes to C&E.

Today's review is of Crabtree & Evelyn's Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage collection, which is inspired by the energising botanicals of Sicily. As the name suggests, the products contain antioxidant-rich Tarocco Orange, invigorating Eucalyptus & soothing Sage to revitalise & deodorise skin. It also blends notes of bergamot, neroli & cedarwood.

Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage

Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Skin Invigorating Bath & Shower Gel
It seems logical to start my review by discussing the Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Skin Invigorating Bath & Shower Gel, despite it actually being the third product from the range which I tried.
On first impressions, I liked the appearance of the packaging which is a plastic bottle featuring the orange design that's consistent with the other products in the line. I appreciated being able to tell how much of the shower gel was remaining. The bottle has a flip top lid and in terms of usage, I'd have preferred the functionality of a pump dispenser to allow greater control. Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Skin Invigorating Bath & Shower Gel has a thick gel texture and I found it difficult to squeeze out the desired amount, resulting in some wastage. The shower gel produces a generous lather despite being SLS free.
I enjoyed the uplifting fragrance which is quite high end. It's a fairly unisex scent which would make this a good choice for men & women alike. That said, I couldn't detect the scent on my skin following use.
At £15 for 250ml, I feel that Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Skin Invigorating Bath & Shower Gel is slightly overpriced but is a pleasant way to add a hint of indulgence to the everyday routine of showering.

Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Deep Cleansing Body Scrub
Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Deep Cleansing Body Scrub was the second product I tried from the range. Regular readers will be unsurprised to know that I liked the tube presentation with a flip top lid & clear directions. Whilst the presentation in a cream box with orange illustration makes it seem more of a gift item, I'm not convinced that this is necessary because the matte finish of the tube adds a high end effect in itself. Despite preferring the functionality of a tube, I felt that it wasn't well executed. The opening wasn't sufficiently wide so squeezing out the body scrub, which has a thick gel texture, took quite a bit of effort.
The gel texture has a relatively high concentration of smooth, exfoliating particles of sunflower wax. This isn't my favourite texture and as such, I'd be unlikely to repurchase. Even though the Body Scrub contains SLS, it doesn't lather & I didn't find it to be drying on my skin. It simply emulsified into a creamy texture but equally, I didn't notice any skin nourishing benefits.
The wax granules mean that its gently abrasive. I'd like to try the body scrub on dry skin before showering in order to intensify the abrasiveness but I feel that the gel texture requires some water to provide "slip".
I preferred the scent in this format to the hand cream (see below). It still has a slightly masculine element but it's also fresh& left me feeling clean. The scent doesn't linger on skin following use.
My skin was left feeling soft & smooth with no product residue so I needed to moisturise afterwards. Given the freshness and gentle scrub this provides, it would be a good choice for summer use.
Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Deep Cleansing Body Scrub costs £17 for 175g.

Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Skin Silkening Body Souffle
Tarooco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Skin Silkening Body Souffle is also presented in an outer cardboard box, which adds a gift item feel to the product. The design on the tub inside reflects the design of the outer packaging so it's aesthetically pleasing but regular readers will know that I dislike the functionality of tub presentations.
I was excited to try Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Skin Silkening Body Souffle as I like lightweight body moisturisers with a whipped texture, which I assumed this would have based on the name. It's actually a smooth cream texture so I feel that the Souffle name is a tad mis-leading. Nonetheless, I found it was easily absorbed and also noted that a little goes a long way meaning that the tub will last for a long time. There was a greasy residue after initial application but this dried down fairly quickly.
I enjoyed the refreshing scent during use and feel that it would be a good choice for summertime but as it lingered on my skin, the woodsy, citrus scent wasn't to my personal liking.
Following use, my skin was left looking healthy & conditioned and feeling wonderfully soft & hydrated.
At £22 for 250g, Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Skin Silkening Body Souffle is undeniably expensive but if you're looking for an indulgent yet effective body moisturiser to get skin into tip top condition ahead of summer, this may be worth a look.

Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Ultra- Moisturising Hand Therapy
As aforementioned, I've long been a fan of Crabtree & Evelyn hand care, with the La Source products being amongst my favourites of all time so I was excited to try Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy.
The presentation in a cardboard box, with the line's orange illustration, means it would make a good gift, either alone as a token gift or alongside other items. The hand cream itself is presented in a generously sized 100ml peach coloured, metallic tube. It's almost a little overwhelming as it would take a very long time to finish. It has a screw cap lid & the functional tube means it's easy to control how much is dispensed.
I loved the texture. It's silky but didn't feel silicone-laden (it does contain silicone but this is listed fairly far down the ingredients list, after nourishing ingredients such as macadamia seed oil & shea butter). The hand cream was impressively easily absorbed, with absolutely no greasy residue whatsoever, meaning I could apply & then quickly carry on with tasks. Admittedly, it's not the most nourishing formula and I needed to reapply throughout the day (so perhaps this goes some way to explaining the large tube!) but my hands were left feeling soft & smooth.
I love anything with an orange scent so I expected to enjoy the scent of Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy (the hand cream was the first product I tried from the range). The inclusion of eucalyptus & sage notes give a masculine element to the scent and it reminded me a little of Jo Malone Lime, Basil & Mandarin (as did the Body Souffle), which I personally dislike. As such, it unfortunately wasn't to my personal liking and this would ultimately put me off repurchasing despite enjoying the texture. That said, it's completely down to personal scent preference & I can appreciate that it's not a synthetic or cheap fragrance.
I feel that Crabtree & Evelyn Tarocco Orange, Eucalyptus & Sage Ultra-Moisturising Hand Therapy offers good value for money at £15 for the generously sized 100ml tube.

Friday 13 May 2016

New launch & review: Benefit Brow Collection

Ever since I attended the launch of Benefit's new Brow collection last month, I've been dying to talk about it but as a result of a strict embargo, haven't been able to... until today. Everything about the launch has me excited- from the well executed event, the brand's long association with brows to, of course, the products themselves which live up to my high expectations. 

As aforementioned, Benefit has a long history of solving brow dilemmas. Since the first boutique opened in San Francisco in 1976, Benefit has over 1800 BrowBar beauty lounges in 49 countries. Rightly so, Benefit see themselves as authorities in the brow arena and as a result, the collection has been created to target & solve each & every brow dilemma whether it be sparse brows, patchy brows or unruly brows. In the same way that women now treat, colour & style their hair at home & have reduced their reliance on traditional salons, Benefit hope that the new collection will empower women of every generation to become their own "brow experts". This is reiterated through an easy-to-use online brow product advisor on the company website along with the inclusion of a Magic Tips & Tricks leaflet with products. 

The Brow collection has been three years in the making and features thirteen products, in high-performing formulas, mistake-proof & believable shades and with custom-designed applicators for ease of use. Of course, as you'd expect from Benefit, the packaging is fun whilst also being functional and the product names are quirky & memorable. 

Benefit brows

I've long been a firm believer in the power of brows. I grew up in the 1990s when the aesthetic was "the thinner the better" & this extended from Heroine Chic seen on the catwalk models to women's faces, evident by a simple glance at their brows. Brows have the power to frame & lift the face, making it appear more youthful. A straight brow can give an androgynous appearance whilst a high arch can help to balance a rounded face. As we've moved on from simply tweezing at home, brow products have become as essential a part of our regime as mascara. 

First up, the UK's best-selling brow product, Brow Zings has been given a makeover.  Still costing £24.50, the colour range has been expanded from three to six shades. The adorable mini tweezers which were contained in the original Brow Zings are still included but the two mini brushes, which I think most people found fiddly to work with, have been replaced by an extendable double ended brush. It's better because the longer handle allows for greater control but I have to confess that I find the extendable brush rather flimsy. Comprising a mirror, tools, wax & powder (with the promise of up to 12 hours wear), this handy compact contains all you need to tame & shape brows.

The UK's second best-selling brow product is Gimme Brow. Frankly, I'm surprised that it's not the best-selling product and I assume that this is owing to it being a newer launch. I'm yet to come across someone (particularly those with skimpy brows) who's tried Gimme Brow & not loved it so it's easy to see why it's "inspired" countless imitations. As such, despite the product receiving a makeover, it remains just the same, fantastic product with the simple addition of a further shade so there's now three to choose from. The mini wand (it looks like a mascara wand for cats!) is undeniably cute & allows for a controlled, precision application of the water-resistant, tinted brow gel, which contains volumising micro fibres to create natural looking fullness & definition. I love Gimme Brow because it delivers on the claims, is long-wearing and doesn't feel or look crispy or uncomfortable to wear. The new design contains the same amount of product as the original and there's been no price change (I'm relieved there's no increase as I've always thought that it should be a few pounds cheaper) on the original £18.50.

Benefit Gimme Brow new packaging

The new collection also features some new brow tools and whilst it's difficult to get excited about such things, they've been created with such attention to detail that I can't deny that I'm impressed. 
Slanted tip tweezers which feature diamond-dust coated tips for superior grip have a bristle brush at one end to groom brows into place, without getting in the way when the tweezers are being used. The built-in brush is such a simple idea but one which is so handy that I can't believe I haven't come across tweezers with it before! I feel that it justifies the £15.50 price tag.

There's also a double-ended angled brow brush & spoolie for shaping & defining brows. It's not ground-breaking & as a result, I'd probably struggle to justify the £15.50 price tag on this one but nonetheless, it's the type of tool which I view as an essential within any collection. 

There's also an all-purpose sharpener (which I don't have) costing just £4, which can fit three sizes of pencil from standard to jumbo & it comes with a built in blade-cleaning tool. 

Now onto the new products... 

Benefit Browvo Conditioning Primer

Eyeshadow, face and even lip primers are now considered essentials within our makeup regimes but what about a primer for the brows? Browvo! Conditioning Primer is designed to work well as a base under brow makeup products, helping to enhance both colour & extend wear whilst the nutrient-rich formula (which contains keratin & soy proteins, known to help brows look thicker, healthier & fuller) boasts conditioning benefits so that it boosts the natural appearance of brows over time. Browvo! Conditioning Primer is presented in a twist up pen with rubberised tip for ease of application and is a clear gel which can be worn under makeup without interfering with its integrity or alone (even overnight!). At £21.50, it's not an essential within the collection as far as I'm concerned but admittedly, I haven't been using it for sufficient time to comment on the long-term benefits so it may be worth a look if sparse brows are a concern.

Personally, I find brow pencils the easiest way to fill in my brows. I was surprised to note that there's not just one but two brow pencils to choose from in the new collection (I feel that this is unusual) so there really is something for everyone. I find it particularly helpful when brow pencils are double-ended so as to incorporate a spoolie (in fact, it's a bugbear of mine when they don't!) so I was pleased to note that both brow pencils in the collection boast this feature. The brow pencils are available in six shades & claim up to 12 hours of waterproof wear. Each of the brow pencils costs £18.50 but it's worth noting that there's more than 3x the amount of product included in the Goof Proof Brow Pencil than Precisely, My Brow Pencil.

As the name suggests, the Goof Proof Brow Pencil is designed to be particularly quick & easy to use, making it the ideal choice for beginners. It features a retractable (no sharpening required) slanted tip pencil. The wide tip is handy for filling in uneven patchy brows (which I suffer from & therefore, love this format), whilst the pointed tip is useful to creating definition. 

Goof Proof Brow Pencil

As above, the other brow pencil in the collection is called Precisely, My Brow Pencil. As the name suggests, this one is designed to give a precision application and is particularly targeted at those with shapeless & undefined brows. I don't own Anastasia's bestselling Brow Wiz but the fine tip, specially designed to create hair-like strokes, makes me think of it. The packaging design is as well thought out as the product itself, with a retractable, no-sharpen functionality and a textured grip area. 

Precisely, My Brow Pencil

For those who favour a pomade style product, it's worth checking out Ka Brow! This cream gel (available in six shades) can be used to fill, sculpt & define brows and provides rich colour that promises up to 24 hours' waterproof wear. It's a good choice for those who like to be creative with makeup as it allows users to build up their brows from a natural to dramatic look. Built into the lid is a brush which can be removed, flipped & inserted back into the lid (doing this gives greater control during application). It costs £18.50 for 3g of product but as a little goes a long way, the product will last a long time & therefore, provides good value for money. 

Another product which recognises that many are now rather advanced when it comes to home brow care & as a result, are happy to be creative, is 3D Browtones which is a brow highlighting gel. This unusual product can be used on lighter brows to enhance their appearance, darker brows to soften the look or added as highlights to give more depth to natural brows. The brush features spiral bristles for even, mess-proof application and a mini-comb tip to fill the narrowest part of the brow. The single shade product is water-resistant for up to 12 hours wear and can be used alone or with other products from the collection (many are designed to be used in this way). It's by no means an essential, particularly when you consider the £18.50 price tag- in fact, I feel that of all the products in the new collection, this is the "added extra" which is designed to take brows to the next level.

When it comes to setting brows in place, clear brow gels are plentiful on the market and therefore, there's many affordable versions. As such, it's hard to justify the £18.50 price tag of Benefit's Ready, Set, Brow. That said, I appreciated the long-lasting control it provided, without crispiness or flakes. The rubber bristled wand features short bristles on one side to sculpt & shape hairs into place, the precision tip is designed to provide definition to the tail of the brow and long bristles evenly coat each hair, from root to tip, making it quick & easy to apply.

As a finishing touch, the collection includes two highlighting pencils. High Brow (a matte, linen pink for a natural looking finish) and High Brow Glow (subtly shimmering Champagne) are designed to be applied under the brow arches to give a brightened, lifted and more youthful appearance. The pencil format means that they're also ideally suited for creating a precision highlight on areas such as the tear duct or Cupid's bow. I love the colours and finishes but I wish that the pencils didn't require sharpening. Equally, I'd have loved to see a sponge incorporated at one end for on-the-go blending of the creamy formula (although I appreciate that some people find this unhygienic), which I feel would have made the £17.50 price tag a little more acceptable.

As a point of reference, shade 4 in the new Benefit brow collection works well on my brows, for which I usually use MAC's Lingering pencil, Maybelline Medium Brown or Tom Ford Taupe.

On the whole, I can't recommend Benefit's new Brow collection highly enough. I really do feel that it delivers on the claims and that there's something for everyone. It launches on 24th June.


Tuesday 10 May 2016

Speed Review: Lavera Macadamia Passion Cream Oil Body Wash

Lavera Body Wash review

I've previously reviewed Lavera's Macadamia Passion Body Butter (click here to read) and today's post follows on from that with a look at Lavera Macadamia Passion Cream Oil Body Wash.

Lavera has strong eco credentials which appeal to me & I feel that these are reflected in the packaging. It's admittedly not the most exciting design but I appreciated the functionality of the tube packaging.

Lavera Macadamia Passion Cream Oil Body Wash has a gel cream texture. I struggled to work it into a lather but a bath puff would likely help with this.

Based on the name, I expected Lavera Macadamia Passion Cream Oil Body Wash to have either a floral or comforting nutty scent but I was unable to detect either of those notes. Instead, it has a tart milky scent which reminded me of yoghurt. It's delicate and not unpleasant but those who don't like it can be reassured by the fact that the scent doesn't linger on skin following use.

At £7.45 for 150ml, I feel that Lavera Macadamia Passion Cream Oil Body Wash is a couple of Pounds overpriced but otherwise, it's a pleasant body wash which is well suited to fans of natural products.


Saturday 7 May 2016

Speed Review: John Frieda Sheer Blonde Crystal Hold Hairspray

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Hairspray review

Today's review is of John Frieda Sheer Blonde Crystal Hold Hairspray which I asked my friend, Ellie to test as I'm a brunette. Ellie has blonde highlighted hair which is mid-length & wavy.

The company describes Sheer Blonde Crystal Hold Hairspray as having an ultra-light, non-sticky formula for easy shaping with lasting flexible hold. It says that humidity resistors guard against puffiness and wilted styles & non-yellowing ingredients which dry clear for blonde hair that shimmers & shines. Sunscreen helps to protect from UV damage. They claim that it won't weigh down hair or dull & darken blonde. So, what did Ellie think?

On first impressions, I liked the packaging and would definitely be drawn to it if I saw it on the shop shelf. The light colour clearly communicates that it's intended for use on blonde hair. I think that the design looks modern and quite high end. In fact, I'm familiar with the brand and have previously used several of their products.

I found the hairspray quite wet when first applied but it does dry fairly quickly. The scent isn't strong and I didn't notice that it lingered following application.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Crystal Hold Hairspray gives a very firm hold so I didn't find it particularly useful when I wanted flexibility in my hair. I think that it went some way to enhancing shine but didn't like that it left my hair feeling sticky and for that reason, I'd be unlikely to repurchase.

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Crystal Hold Hairspray costs £6 for 250ml.


Sunday 1 May 2016

Speed Review: Neal's Yard Remedies Bee Lovely Hand Cream

Ever since I read "A World Without Bees" by Alison Benjamin & Brian McCallum, anything which aims to protect our dwindling bee population captures my attention. With this in mind, it's unsurprising that Neal's Yard Remedies Bee Lovely Hand Cream appealed to me and not merely because the bright yellow packaging is uplifting & eye-catching.

Neal's Yard Remedies Bee Lovely Hand Cream

Neal's Yard Remedies' Bee Lovely collection comprises seven products which have been formulated with nourishing beeswax and moisturising organic honey, along with natural essential oils. Through sales of the range, the company is donating £10,000 per year to projects that help Save the Bees and has already raised over £70,000 since 2011 in aid of bee-friendly causes such as Buglife, Landlife and Pesticide Action Network UK.

The Bee Lovely Hand Cream, which contains energising orange essential oil, was originally introduced as a limited edition but has been added to the brand's permanent collection by popular demand. I actually first tried this product a year or two ago, when I received a free sample with a magazine and remember liking it so when I received a PR sample, I was excited to revisit the hand cream.

On first impressions, I really liked the aesthetic of the functional tube packaging, which clearly communicates the "Save the Bees" message.

Neal's Yard Remedies Bee Lovely Hand Cream has a classic lotion texture which is easily absorbed into skin. A little goes a long way so avoid applying too much because if you do, it leaves a greasy residue. With this in mind, the travel friendly 50ml tube will last a long time.

I loved the sweet orange scent which I found to be uplifting without being overpowering. I'd love to try products such as a lip balm or shower gel (which have actually been added to the range) along the same vein. The scent lingers delicately.

Following use, my hands were left feeling soft, velvety smooth (without the inclusion of silicones within the formula) and wonderfully nourished.

At £10 for 50ml, it's not the cheapest hand cream but it's one which is very enjoyable to use whilst also supporting a truly worthy cause. I'd highly recommend checking it out.

Saturday 30 April 2016

Speed Review: Radox Feel Relaxed Shower Gel

I like to use a different shower gel depending on my mood or the time of day. I reach for uplifting, energising fragrances for use in the morning, whereas in the evening I prefer those which are designed to help relax and unwind. As such, when I was recently sent Radox Feel Relaxed Shower Gel from the new Feel Refreshed Herbal Scents range, it was an obvious addition to my evening shower routine.

Radox Feel Relaxed Shower Gel

I like the ethos behind the new Feel Refreshed Herbal Scents range, which is inspired by the fact that Radox has been producing fragrances designed to transform mood since 1908 when they introduced their popular bath salts. The new range includes nine scents, with Feel Relaxed being one of the most popular.

It's clear from the packaging that Radox is an affordable brand and I was intrigued to learn from the PR that Radox is the number one shower brand in the UK, selling products to 17 million households each year. I liked that the key ingredients of lavender and waterlilly are highlighted in the design. The packaging is functional with the option of hooking it onto a shower fitting or standing the plastic bottle upright. I liked that the transparent packaging enabled me to see how much product was remaining. The flip top lid & non-drip value meant that it was easy to control how much was dispensed, without wastage.

Radox Feel Relaxed Shower Gel is a lilac tinted gel. As an affordable shower gel, I was unsurprised to note the inclusion of SLS within the formula and as a result of this, it produces a generous, soft lather & a little goes a long way. I felt the need to moisturise following use as I generally find products containing SLS to be quite drying.

I was surprised that Radox Feel Relaxed Shower Gel didn't have an obvious lavender scent but instead, had quite a warm, soft & powdery floral fragrance which I found pleasant & comforting. I was unable to detect the scent on my skin after my shower. Equally, I didn't notice any relaxing benefits but I can't say that I was particularly disappointed by this as I hadn't truly been expecting such results from an affordable shower gel.

Radox Feel Relaxed Shower Gel isn't anything special but as a basic shower gel, it does the job perfectly well.

Radox Feel Relaxed Shower Gel costs £1.99 for 250ml and as it's often on offer for just £1, I feel that it's fairly priced.

Friday 29 April 2016

Speed Review: Nanogen Root Boost Hair Thickening Spray

Nanogen Root Boost Hair Thickening Spray review

Nanogen Root Boost Hair Thickening Spray isn't the sort of product which I'd ever have tried, had it not been gifted to me by the PR. Despite the fact that I'm always looking for ways to add the appearance of volume & thickness to my fine hair, the minimalist packaging of this simply wouldn't have appealed to me if I'd seen it on a shop shelf.

Nanogen describe Root Boost Hair Thickening Spray, which is a new addition to their range, as being a light, fast-absorbing hair thickening spray that lifts each root & thickens every strand.

Despite the packaging not particularly appealing to me from an aesthetic point of view, I appreciated the clear, easy to follow step-by-step directions. I also liked that the clear plastic bottle enabled me to see how much product was remaining. The spray was easy to control, both in terms of targeting the spray and controlling how much was delivered to the desired area. I absolutely loved the scent which was comforting & luxurious but unfortunately, I couldn't detect it once my hair had been dried & styled.

I feel that Nanogen Root Boost Hair Thickening Spray delivers on the claims. My hair was left looking noticeably thicker, fuller & texturised. The downside was that it left a sticky residue in my hair (similar to that which can be left by some dry shampoos) & whilst this may add grit for styling, I personally didn't like the feeling and couldn't wait to wash my hair. It also left a mattified finish to my hair.

Nanogen Root Boost Hair Thickening Spray costs £9.95 for 100ml which I feel represents good value for money.


Saturday 23 April 2016

Speed Review: The Body Shop Beautifying Oils (Coconut, Chocomania, Satsuma)

The Body Shop Beautifying Oils review

Regular readers will know that I love using oils within my beauty regime- whether it be a hair oil, a facial cleansing oil or a body oil, I simply can't get enough of the formula. With this in mind, I've recently been trialling The Body Shop Beautifying Oils, specifically those in the Coconut, Chocomania (discontinued but returns in the regular sales) and Satsuma fragrances.

The Body Shop describe Beautifying Oils as being made with a lightweight blend of nut oils including Community Trade macula oil. They say that the oils can be used on face, body and hair to give instant hydration and a shimmering finish. There are eight scents available including Shea, Moringa,  Mango, Olive, Pink Grapefruit and Strawberry.

The 100ml plastic bottles seem quite small on first impressions but I actually grew to like the packaging. Each scent is clearly communicated through the design on the front of the bottle. It's functional, with a flip top lid for easy & controlled dispensing. I liked that the transparent bottles allowed me to see how much product was remaining. What's more, the 100ml size means that the multipurpose oils are travel friendly. That said, I haven't tested the Beautifying Oils on my face or hair, preferring to use them as body oils and I was surprised at just how long the bottles lasted using them in this way. It's fair to say that a little goes a long way!

Used as body oils, The Body Shop Beautifying Oils are easy to apply to skin. I like to use them by applying to damp skin after a shower in order to lock in moisture and thereby, obtain optimum benefits from them. The oils absorb easily. Whilst I was able to tell that there was something on my skin immediately following application, it felt like a lightweight dry oil rather than being sticky or greasy.

The oils all seem to be the same in terms of texture and are distinguishable by their scent so it's simply a case of choosing the fragrance which suits your personal preference. I found the chocolate scent of the Chocomania version to be quite fun. The Satsuma version boasts the brand's popular scent of the same name and the Coconut version has a warming, tropical fragrance. That said, I found it difficult to detect the scent on my skin following initial application, which I personally liked as it means that it doesn't interfere with my perfume.

The Body Shop Beautifying Oils cost £10 each for 100ml which I feel is a fair price given how long the bottles last.


Friday 22 April 2016

Speed Review: Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF30

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF30 review

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream shade 1

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream swatch

Whilst a foundation is my base of choice, I understand the appeal & popularity of BB Creams and have recently been putting a few to the test. BB Creams are one of the big beauty trends of the last few years and today, I wanted to share my thoughts on Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF30. 

Clinique describe Age Defense BB Cream SPF30 as a medium, buildable coverage cream that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, helps conceal imperfections & enhances skin's complexion. They state that the formula calms skin & helps protect against UV and environmental damage while working to help balance the skin and provides oil & shine control for all day wear. 

The packaging in the signature Clinique colours isn't the most exciting but the slimline tube is admittedly functional and also convenient for travel. Whilst I tend to avoid foundations with SPF owing to the risk of flash back in photography, I feel that a true BB cream should contain an SPF. The inclusion works well for me given when I'd choose to wear a BB cream- i.e. on more casual days when I want a minimal makeup look and am unlikely to be photographed and as such, I appreciated the inclusion of SPF30. That said, I have tested this for flashback & noticed that a white cast is apparent.

The BB Cream is available in four shades. I opted for shade 01, which has a pink undertone & is the lightest shade, and I found it worked well on my MAC NC15 skin. In keeping with the Clinique branding, there is no fragrance.

Clinique Age Defense BB Cream SPF30 has quite a thick consistency but nonetheless, I found that it applies smoothly, blends fairly well and builds to a medium coverage, thereby delivering on the claims. Skin tone was evened out & I only needed to do minimal concealing work. It left a dewy, skin like finish which looked very natural, fresh and youthful. I also tested this under foundation and found that it worked well underneath, for those who prefer a fuller coverage.

My mum (who is a regular BB Cream wearer) hated this product & said that she felt as though she was putting cement on her skin because she found it heavy and as such, those with oily skin may not like this. Conversely, (as aforementioned) I tend to use foundations more than BB Creams and I personally thought that it felt quite lightweight & comfortable on my skin.

In terms of the wear, I noticed some transfer throughout the day, e.g. onto my mobile after a phone call but overall, felt that it held up fairly well, bearing in mind that I don't tend to find that BB Creams have the longevity of foundations. 

Clinique state that the BB Cream may look a little light on initial application but that the tone will even out in 10-15 minutes. Personally, I couldn't notice any oxidisation of colour (either initially or during the day) and for me, this was a good thing. Even on my oily areas (in my T-zone), the coverage stayed in place without breaking down although I did notice some patchiness in other areas of my face after approximately 5 hours wear.

Overall, I really enjoyed the usage of Clinique Age Defense BB Cream and for me, the only downside is that it causes my acne prone skin to break out, which is a real shame. For this reason, I'd be unlikely to repurchase despite really liking the BB Cream itself. However, if you don't have such issues then I'd highly recommend this and feel that it is fairly priced at £28 for 40ml.

Thursday 21 April 2016

Speed Review: Good Things Deep Clean Blackhead Exfoliator

Good Things Deep Clean Blackhead Exfoliator review

Good Things scrub review

I tend not to like physical exfoliants as I can find them to be too harsh and instead, prefer the effective exfoliation offered by chemical exfoliators. That said, I've generally liked everything I've tried from the Good Things brand (my only complaints have been minor, packaging related gripes) and trust its founder, Alice Hart-Davis so when I was sent the Deep Clean Blackhead Exfoliator, I decided to keep an open mind. 

The company state that Deep Clean Blackhead Exfoliator has been specially formulated for skin which is prone to breakouts and congestion. It is my personal opinion that those with active breakouts should avoid physical exfoliants which can take the "head" off blemishes and cause bacteria to spread as well as increasing the risk of scarring. 

The exfoliator is described as containing smooth micro-beads to polish away dead skin cells that block pores & make the skin appear dull. It contains anti-inflammatory, brightening & clarifying licorice, exfoliating papaya extract to boost radiance and soothing willow bark. 

On first impressions, I liked the packaging which is lighthearted and in keeping with the affordable price point. The fact that it highlights the inclusion of superfood ingredients appealed to me, as did the fact that it's free from "nasties" such as parabens. The functional tube has a flip top lid & allows for controlled dispensing of product. The directions were clear & easy to follow although I disagree that the Blackhead Exfoliator should be used daily in the morning and evening as I feel that this encourages over exfoliating which can cause problems with skin. Whilst I appreciate that regular exfoliation is key to sloughing off dead skin cells which can cause pores to become blocked, over exfoliating can over stimulate skin & cause it to process excess oils, which isn't beneficial to those with acne prone skin. 

Good Things Deep Clean Blackhead Exfoliator has quite a runny, gel texture with a high concentration of finely milled exfoliating particles. I was both surprised & disappointed to note that the exfoliating particles are small polyethylene granules (plastic) which is not environmentally friendly (owing to plastics ending up in the oceans). To me, this isn't in keeping with my perception of the brand (for example, the brand's cleansing wipes are biodegradable). That aside, the exfoliant feels quite gentle on the skin whilst the scrub still provides a deeply cleansed feeling.

Despite the formula being sulphate free, I was able to work Good Things Deep Clean Blackhead Exfoliator into a lather. It has a tart, fruity fragrance (I couldn't detect a licorice scent) which was pleasant if a little overpowering. Parfum is listed fairly high up on the ingredients list so it's perhaps unsurprising that I found the scent to be a little strong during use. I wasn't able to detect the scent afterwards though.

Following use, my skin was left feeling soft & smooth, with the texture looking refined. 

There are some elements which I hate about Good Things Deep Clean Blackhead Exfoliator but if I put those aside & focus solely on the usage and results, then it's a good basic scrub which I feel is a better choice than many which are offered at such an affordable price. I'd love to see Good Things offer a chemical exfoliant or one based on fruit enzymes, which I feel would tie in well with the brand's focus on super fruit ingredients.

Good Things Deep Clean Blackhead Exfoliator costs £4.99 for a generous 150ml.

Wednesday 20 April 2016

Speed Review: Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo

I rarely use dry shampoo, with the reason being that I have an easily irritated sensitive scalp (which dry shampoos tend to aggravate) and I usually wash my hair on an every day basis. However, there are inevitably times, particularly when travelling, that dry shampoos come into their own. The Philip Kingsley version appealed to me because the brand is known for its emphasis on good scalp health and I'd heard that their One More Day Dry Shampoo is less likely to irritate than most.

Philip Kingsley Dry Shampoo review

In keeping with the brand's image, the design on the packaging is minimalist and it's unlikely to have caught my attention on a shop or salon shelf if I wasn't already a fan of the brand. Having said that, I appreciated the aerosol spray functionality, which allows for a targeted application and also liked that the 50ml can is travel friendly. The directions are clear and easy to follow.

Both upon and following application, the scent is incredibly subtle and I was barely able to detect it. Although Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo is suitable for use on colour treated hair, I noticed a white cast on my natural brunette hair if I sprayed too much product. For this reason, I'd recommend applying with a light hand. That said, the white cast was effortlessly massaged away and I was pleased that I couldn't detect any sticky or gritty product residue. It's not the most volumising product (and nor does it claim to be) but it did help to freshen my style and add a subtle yet revitalising lift to third day hair. The main benefit of this product is that it is very effective at absorbing grease and therefore, I feel that the One More Day name is fitting.

Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo is available in a travel friendly 50ml size for £6.50 or 200ml for £14.50.

Tuesday 19 April 2016

Speed Review: Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil

origins cleansing oil review

Regular readers will know that I love to cleanse my skin using oils & I'm always keen to try different cleansing oils, with the latest one that I've been reaching for being Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil.

Origins describe Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil as having a lightweight formula with non-comedogenic olive, sunflower, sesame & safflower oils to remove dirt, makeup & pollutants with high efficiency. They say that it also contains kukui nut & macadamia to help protect natural moisture, vitamin E to help reduce the effects of environmental irritants & the energising aroma of grapefruit, orange & lime to renew spirits.

On first impressions, I liked the minimalist aesthetic of the packaging which reflects the "clean" name. The directions were clear & easy to follow and I liked that the transparent plastic bottle allowed me to see how much of the product was remaining. That said, I absolutely hated the functionality of the bottle with its screw top lid and pouring system (instead of a handy pump) meaning that it's difficult to control how much is dispensed, resulting in wastage.  A pump is available to buy separately but I feel that for the price of the product, it should be incorporated into the design of the product itself. It's this, aside from any other factor, which would put me off repurchasing.

That said, the oil itself is pleasant. It has a medium density, silky texture which means that it is easy to apply to the face and as an oil, inherently lends itself well to facial massage. The delicate citrus fragrance is indeed, uplifting (but not overpowering) and makes Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil particularly well suited to use in the mornings.

I found Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil effortless to remove. It rinsed away quickly & easily,  efficiently & effectively removing makeup and leaving no residue.

Origins Clean Energy Gentle Cleansing Oil costs £23.50 for 200ml.


Monday 18 April 2016

Makeup Monday- Speed Review: theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick

The trend for matte lips combined with our desire for pigmented colour that doesn't need to be constantly reapplied means that liquid lipsticks are hugely popular at the moment, with brands ranging from Anastasia & Stila to Essence & Bourjois offering them.

ASOS recently sent me four of the five shades (there are 12 shades in total & a good range of hues) that they offer from theBalm's Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick line and I wanted to share my thoughts.

theBalm Meet Matte Liquid Lipsticks review

theBalm Meet Matte Liquid Lipsticks review

theBalm describe Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipstick as having a long-wearing formula with a comfortable matte finish.

On first impressions, I liked the packaging and quirky product name which is in line with theBalm's fun branding. The outer box features clear directions. The colour is referenced on the top of the box and is visible through the clear tube inside, making it easy to pick out your desired shade in a crowded makeup collection. The shades I was sent were Committed (rose toned nude), Honest (warm coral), Devoted (bright red with a hint of cherry) and Chivalrous (bright pink), as pictured from left to right.

theBalm Meet Matte Liquid Lipsticks swatches

I found that the doe-foot applicator allowed for a precision application of the product. Whilst the colour pay-off is good with one coat, I found that it built well with two coats to give fully opaque colour. The formula felt lightweight & it quickly dried down to a matte finish, without stickiness or gloopiness. I loved the vanilla mint fragrance, although I wasn't able to detect it following the initial application.

Whilst they're obviously not a hydrating formula, I didn't find theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipsticks to be drying, certainly not to the extent that MAC's Matte Lipstick formula is. I found them comfortable to wear.

The lipsticks aren't 100% transfer proof but there was very little movement throughout the day. I found that there was some slight bleed & as such, I'd recommend lining lips if opting for the brighter shades.

I'd say that the colour stays on lips for approximately five hours, throughout eating & drinking and wore off evenly and as such, feel that it delivers on the long-wearing claims. Even when the colour had worn off, a pretty stain was left on my lips. When it came to removing the liquid lipstick, I found that I needed to use an oil-based makeup remover but when I used one, it made light work of the removal process.

I'd highly recommend theBalm Meet Matt(e) Hughes Long-Lasting Liquid Lipsticks, which I feel are reasonably priced at £13.50 for a 7.4ml tube.

Sunday 17 April 2016

Speed Review: Avene Soothing Moisture Mask

I've been trying to get into the habit of using face masks on a regular basis, rather than simply adding them into my regime as & when I feel that my skin needs something extra and I recently included Avene Soothing Moisture Mask within my Sunday evening pampering routine.

Avene Soothing Moisture Mask review

Avene describe Soothing Moisture Mask as being designed for dehydrated and weakened sensitive skin which has become reactive, showing signs of redness, tightness & stinging. They state that the pampering mask is very rich in Avene thermal spring water to soothe, nourish and moisturise, thereby promoting skin hydration to leave skin soft, supple & radiant. 

The simple white packaging is in keeping with the Avene branding. The functional matte tube is presented in an outer box. I didn't mind that the mask is presented in a relatively small 50ml size. It means that it's travel friendly and seeing as it's rare that I finish up an entire tube of mask before the "use by" day, I'd probably be more likely to finish the smaller size. On this note, I liked that the packaging features a "use by" date and what's more, found that the directions were clear & easy to follow. 

The mask itself is a white, lightweight, milky lotion which I found easy to smooth onto skin. The texture was lighter than I was expecting. As the name suggests, Avene Soothing Moisture Mask felt soothing on the skin both during the initial application and during use. It has a pleasant, fresh scent which was reminiscent of lotion.

The mask needs to be left on skin for 10-15 minutes which seems to be the standard suggested time for most moisture masks. After 15 minutes, the mask had absorbed into my driest areas. It was easy to remove the remaining residue with a tissue. Following use, my skin was left feeling nourished and looking plumped & moisturised.

It's worth noting that Avene Soothing Moisture Mask contains mineral oil so it won't be for those who prefer to avoid this ingredient. I feel that the mask would be a good choice for those with dry skin but the formula may be a little rich (despite the lightweight texture) for those with acne prone skin.

Avenue Soothing Moisture Mask costs £11.50 for 50ml. 


Friday 15 April 2016

Speed Review: TIGI Bed Head Superstar Queen For A Day Thickening Spray

TIGI Bed Head Thickening Spray review

When I watch YouTube videos, my most recurring emotion is hair envy. I wish I had good hair. You can get away with a lot when you have good hair. Alas, I have fine hair which seems to have a mind of its own, despite the fact that I follow a good hair care regime. As such, any product which claims to boost volume or thickness appeals to me so it's no surprise that when I was sent TIGI Bed Head Superstar Queen For A Day Thickening Spray, I had high hopes.

TIGI claim that Bed Head Superstar Queen For A Day Thickening Spray creates long-lasting volume, body & lift, with light hold & natural feeling, without stickiness. It is aimed at those with fine to medium hair texture, of any length.

On first impressions, I liked the packaging. The bright spray canister and fun name is in keeping with the young, party-loving target market of the brand. I found the directions a little difficult to follow and was initially unclear as to whether the product should be applied to wet or dry hair (it is heat activated and should be applied to wet hair prior to blow drying). I was also unsure whether the product offers any heat protecting benefits.

That said, I found the packaging functional for use and was pleased to note that it delivered a fine spray. It was quite a liquid spray but I found the lightweight "lotion" easy to distribute through my hair. I applied a generous amount in the hope that it would really volumize my fine hair & create the impression of thickness.

TIGI Bed Head Superstar Queen For A Day Thickening Spray has a fresh, fruity fragrance which reminded me of sweets but which I didn't find sickly. When it lingered delicately in my hair, it smelt fresh and clean.

Following use, my hair looked sleek and shiny. Whilst my fine hair wasn't weighed down, I wasn't able to notice any thickening results. One positive was that I wasn't able to detect any sticky or uncomfortable residue in my hair but nor did I notice the hold which the company states that this provides.

Perhaps the thickening benefits are more apparent when TIGI Bed Head Superstar Queen For A Day Thickening Spray is used in conjunction with other products from the range but at £14.95 for an admittedly generously sized 311ml, I'd like to see this product being a bit more results driven on its own.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Speed Review: Ruby Red Reviving Body Cleanser

Ruby Red Body Cleanser review

Today's review is of Ruby Red Reviving Body Cleanser, which I've recently been using as my morning body wash.

On first impressions, I loved the effortlessly cool packaging which I was happy to have on display in my shower. The brown plastic bottle is sufficiently transparent so as to be able to tell how much product is remaining.

The functional pump dispenser works well with the relatively liquid formula of the body wash. Despite being free from SLS, I was able to work the body wash into a lather.

Ruby Red Reviving Body Cleanser is naturally fragranced with pure essential oils from the peel of ripe limes and red mandarin, crushed coriander seeds and wild cedarwood to invigorate and energise. I absolutely loved the fragrance which I found delivered on the reviving & invigorating claims. Fresh lime is the predominant note but I was also able to detect cedarwood, which added a grown up depth to the scent. It's a fragrance which would appeal to both men & women and which is wonderfully fresh, not synthetic. Unfortunately, I couldn't detect the scent on my skin following use.

I didn't find the shower gel to be particularly drying on my skin but I did need to moisturise following use.

At £32 for a generously sized 500ml, Ruby Red Reviving Body Cleanser is undeniably expensive but I thoroughly enjoyed using it. I feel that this would make a wonderful gift or simply as a special treat to self to add extra enjoyment to the everyday ritual of showering.
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