Friday 22 March 2024

Speed Review: Alterna Caviar Densifying Foam Conditioner

I never hear too much about haircare brand, Alterna but I've been impressed with the few products which I've tried. As such, when I spotted Alterna Caviar Densifying Foam Conditioner in TK Maxx at a great price, I couldn't resist picking it up to try.
The packaging design is inoffensive with subtle branding and is well suited, in terms of functionality, to the unusual mousse format of the product. Given that the texture is a move away from the norm when it comes to conditioners, I felt it important that the directions be clear and easy to follow and can happily confirm that they are. The directions recommend to dispense an egg-sized amount of product and I found it easy to do this in a controlled manner. The white mousse was also effortless to work through hair, with a little going a long way and meaning that the can of product will last for ages! It has a fresh scent during use- and no, it doesn't have a fishy scent in case the Caviar name had you worried! I couldn't detect the scent in my hair once it had been dried and styled. The lightweight texture of the mousse meant that it required no effort to rinse cleanly from my hair, leaving no residue. Following use, I was pleased that my fine hair wasn't weighed down and nor was my sensitive scalp irritated but my hair was simply left silky, shiny, smooth and manageable. Overall, I've been impressed with Alterna Caviar Densifying Foam Conditioner and whilst it's not readily available where I live, I'd certainly repurchase if I saw it in store again.

Wednesday 20 March 2024

Speed Review: Etude House Soon Jung pH5.5 Relief Toner

It's been absolutely years since a toner (in the traditional sense) formed part of my skincare routine but my newfound love of Korean beauty has seen me finally reintroduce this step. I've introduced this as a step during my nighttime routine to ensure that I'm removing every trace of my cleanser before continuing on with the rest of my routine, although I stand by the fact that I haven't done this for years so it's more a "nice to add" rather than something I view as a necessity. Etude House Soon Jung pH5.5 Relief Toner appealed to me as a hydrating toner (it contains glycerin and panthenol) which is balanced to skin's natural pH to help maintain the health of the microbiome. It's aesthetically pleasing, presented in a squared off plastic bottle with minimalist design and I always appreciate being able to see how much of a product is remaining.
I like to apply this to a cotton round before sweeping over my face. It's a clear, watery liquid with no scent. A little goes a long way. The toner lives up to the claims and feels refreshing and soothing upon application. It's a gentle formula which can be applied all over, including around the delicate eye area. My immediate impression was that this would be a great choice for those with sensitive skin or perhaps, kept in the fridge and applied following sun exposure (although, of course, I don't recommend excessive or unprotected exposure to the sun's harmful UV rays!). Following use, skin is left feeling refreshed. The toner dries down quickly with no residue, leaving skin feeling hydrated and with no tightness or dryness and works well with the other products in my routine. Etude House Soon Jung pH5.5 Relief Toner costs £17.90 for 200ml.

Monday 18 March 2024

Speed Review: The Body Shop Shea Body Butter

The Body Shop's Body Butters are an iconic staple product for the brand and have been a bestseller ever since their introduction way back in 1992. Confession time.. I'm actually not the biggest fan and prefer body butters from other brands. I've historically found the ones from The Body Shop to be a little too far on the greasy side for my liking and I also find them to be pricey. That said, I thought I'd keep an open mind and revisit for the purpose of today's review, not least given the tough times the brand's currently experiencing. I've opted to trial the Shea version which is designed to target very dry skin. I will say that I like that the different variations target varying degrees of dryness and offers a point of differentiation, alongside scent preferences, to the line up.
The texture is a thick white butter which is practically solid at room temperature. For this reason, I found it a little difficult to scoop out of the tub and specifically, difficult to control the desired amount. I warmed the product in my hands before applying to my body where it was surprisingly easily absorbed. To me, the texture doesn't feel modern or elegant, nor does it feel like an indulgent product to use and it's the usage experience which would put me off repurchasing. That said, I appreciated that there was no greasy residue left on skin so I was able to dress promptly following use. I couldn't detect any discernible scent and whilst some may feel that this further takes away from any indulgent usage experience, I didn't mind as I prefer products which don't interfere with the scent of my perfume. My skin was left feeling soft, moisturised and nourished following use. Whilst the usage experience was disappointing for me personally, the results make it easy to see why The Body Shop's Body Butters remain so popular.

Friday 15 March 2024

Speed Review: Youth To The People Superclay Purify + Clear Power Mask

I really like the brand, Youth To The People and having been impressed with the products I've tried to date, picked up the Superclay Purify + Clear Power Mask from Cult Beauty. I treat my skin to a weekly home facial (you may be familiar with my regular "Sunday Facial" series on Instagram) and inevitably, this incorporates a detox mask in one form or another so I felt justified in the purchase. It combines 2% niacinamide with triple clay, algae, salicylic acid and kombucha and is designed to purge pores of excess oil and dirt to leave skin clear, calm and balanced, without disrupting the skin barrier. It's vegan friendly too.
The packaging is in keeping with the cool branding of Youth To The People. Whilst I like the clean aesthetic, I'd have preferred the functionality of a tube which would allow for greater control when dispensing the product, as well as being more hygienic. As the tub is quite slimline, I do wonder how easy it'll be to access the mask as it nears the end. The mask itself has a thick yet smooth creamy texture, with no particles and is blue-grey in colour. The scent is slightly earthy. A little goes a long way- I like to apply a thin, even layer to clean skin which I've spritzed with a little facial mist to prevent any dehydrating effects. It applies easily, feels gentle and doesn't feel irritating in any way on my skin. I appreciate that the mask gets to work in just 10 minutes so it's easy to fit into a home pamper routine and as it's not a messy, drippy mask, I can carry on with chores while the mask is on. During the 10 minutes, the mask dries onto skin but it doesn't feel uncomfortable. It's satisfying to see where it's particularly getting to work as it turns white around patches of congestion and excess oil. After 10 minutes, the mask is easy to remove with a damp flannel (washcloth- this isn't included) and in my option, delivers on the claims as skin is left feeling clean but not compromised. I feel that this detox mask would be well suited to all skin types but particularly oily or blemish prone. It's a very pleasant mask and at £33 for 59ml, it's fairly priced.

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Speed Review: Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50+

Over the last year, I've really discovered and been impressed by Korean skincare products and notably SPF. Cosrx is one of the better known K-beauty brands here in the West, thanks to their cult snail mucin essence and they're also more readily available than some, for example, some of the brand's products are stocked in Boots so today, I thought I'd share my thoughts on their Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50+.
Typically for a K-beauty brand, the packaging is fairly miniamalist and almost clinical in design although it clearly communicates what the product is. The directions are clear and state to apply the "proper amount" (although there's no quantification over what this is). As an SPF50+ it appealed to me as this is the protection I tend to seek. It offers PA+++ protection but I'd have preferred the reassurance of PA++++ as this relates to the UVA protection against aging rays. It's a hybrid mineral and chemical sunscreen and is presented in a 50ml tube which is both travel friendly and functional for use too. As the name suggests, Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50+ has a fresh aloe scent which I found pleasant. The name also reflects the texture of the product, which is a thicker (white) cream than I was originally expecting (purely based on my experience of using Korean formulas). That said, I found it easy to work into my skin. The sunscreen didn't feel heavy on my skin following application but was more hydrating than others I've tried, such as the Beauty of Joseon SPF. This is reflected in the finish on the skin, which is left looking hydrated and healthy with a "real skin" finish. It's neither mattifying nor glow enhancing. The name also includes the word "soothing" and at a stretch, I'd say that it feels fresh and mildly soothing on application, although this could be psychosomatic because of the aloe scent! I personally experienced no issues with sensitivity when applying around my eye area (the packaging advises against this but I always use SPF around my eyes). The product layers well with other skincare products and makeup and I didn't notice any pilling, nor was there a white cast on my pale skin. I didn't experience any breakouts when using this on my acne prone skin. As tends to be the case with Korean skincare, I feel that Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50+ represents good value for money at £14.

Monday 11 March 2024

Speed Review: ARKIVE All Together Now Co Cleanse

This is the first product I've tried from ARKIVE, the haircare brand by hairstylist Adam Reed. It's a brand which has appealed to me, despite typically finding it difficult to be excited by haircare, as I've heard positive feedback from those who have tried it. The brand is a certified B Corporation and products are both cruelty free and vegan friendly, with recycled plastic used in the packaging. I was sent ARKIVE's All Together Now Co Cleanse for review. It's been a while since a co-wash featured in my hair routine. They were popular a few years ago and at the time, I was intrigued by the marketing, which essentially re-branded the "Wash and Go" adverts I remembered from my childhood! I've not heard a huge amount about them since that resurgence.
On first impressions, I liked the packagaing. The bold, block colour feels modern after years of beauty minimalism with brands such as The Ordinary and Glossier adopting clinical designs. It's fun but not out of place with the likes of Hair by Sam McKnight, Trinny London, Skin Rocks and Byoma all opting for similar in their packaging. The main downside is that it's hard to see how much product is remaining. I found the directions clear and easy to follow although it'd be useful to have quantification over how much a "generous amount" to apply is. The directions also advise taking a little longer to rinse than you normally would which did make me question the rinsability and may have been offputting if I'd seen this in-store. The product itself is a thick, white cream and for this reason, I feel a tube rather than the bottle with pump may have allowed for improved functionality. I found it easy to work through my hair. It has a neutral scent. I was only able to work the product into a slight lather but I did appreciate how gentle it felt during use. Rinsing did take a little effort but I'd still say that it took less time than using two separate products and it certainly wasn't so cumbersome as to put me off. After showering, I combed through my damp hair and noticed that it felt more conditioned and I experienced fewer tangles than I recall from other co-washes. For me, this really sets ARKIVE All Together Now Co Cleanse apart from other similar products and would make me more likely to repurchase. After drying and styling, my hair looked the same as it does when I follow a traditional routine and I appreciated that there hadn't been a noticable compromise as a result of using a 2-in-1 product. Admittedly, it didn't feel quite as soft and silky but the trade-off was that my fine hair felt thicker, with more volume and less weighing down than it sometimes can. I also appreciated that it didn't irritate my sensitive scalp. I'm not going to swap my usual two-step routine for a co-wash as I do feel I need the additional conditioning benefits but this is a good product to have on hand for days when I'm short on time (the antithesis of "Everything Shower" days!). It'd also be a welcome addition to a gym bag and I think those with fine hair would particularly enjoy the results. It's a generously sized 300ml yet costs just £13 which I feel is very reasonable indeed. Everything about ARKIVE All Together Now Co Cleanse- from the branding to the usage and results- feels more premium than the price tag suggests. Overall, I'm impressed!

Thursday 7 March 2024

Speed Review: Molton Brown Flora Luminare Hand Cream

Molton Brown are a long-time favourite brand of mine for pampering hand creams and I always think they make great gift ideas too. Today's review is of the Flora Luminare Hand Cream.
On first impressions, the tube hand cream is aesthetically pleasing. I love that it features my favourite colour, yellow, to impart an instant sense of happiness! Plus, it's practical as it means it's easy to find in a crowded handbag. The 40ml size is travel friendly and the twist off lid means that it's secure from leakages. The fragrance is described as "London via Tahiti", tying in with the sunshine yellow packaging. The description perfectly captures the scent, which is reminiscent of warmer days and holidays. If you like Elemis' Exotic range, then you'll also enjoy this as it features the same notes of tropical frangipani together with some of my favourites such as orange blossom, ylang-ylang and vanilla. The texture is a true cream and feels silky to apply. It absorbs effortlessly and, key for me, doesn't leave a greasy residue so I can apply it then carry on with tasks. Hands are left feeling soft and conditioned, with a beautiful, uplifting scent. I really do like everything about Molton Brown's Flora Luminare Hand Cream and am keen to try more from the same scent range. The Hand Cream costs £12 for 40ml so I feel it's an accessible luxury.

Tuesday 5 March 2024

Speed Review: Allies of Skin Multi Hyaluronic Antioxidant Hydration Serum

I really like the brand, Allies of Skin, thanks to their curated collection of science-led and quality products. The Multi Hyaluronic Antioxidant Hydration Serum initially appealed to me as a multi-level hyaluronic (this means that it has different molecular sizes of hyaluronic acid to effectively penetrate the skin) but I also appreciate the inclusion of 8 antioxidants, Resveratrol and Peptides, which makes it a brilliant multi-tasking serum, ideal for those days when you're short on time and want a streamlined skincare routine. These multiple benefits also go some way towards justifying the price tag, which is undeniably hefty.
On first impressions, the packaging looks chic and I like the functionality of the pump dispenser (which I prefer for a serum over a pipette) but the opaque design means that it's not possible to see how much product is remaining. The product has a lightweight yet creamy serum texture (it's not a clear liquid) which absorbs effortlessly into skin. It has a woodsy, botanical scent which won't be to everyone's liking but I personally found it to be comforting. It feels very comfortable both on initial application and throughout the day, maintaining skin's hydration. I appreciated that it works well layered with other products and there's no sticky residue. As you'd expect, it leaves skin feeling hydrated and looking more plump. I feel that most skin types would benefit from this serum- it's certainly benefitted my dehydrated, combination skin and I've not experienced any issues with breakouts as a result of using it. Head to my Instagram (@Skindeepblogger) Product Reviews Highlight if you'd like to see it in use. At £80 for 30ml, this is a luxury purchase. Thanks to the price, I hate that I love it so much but it really is a quality, results-driven product and if you're looking to treat yourself, I don't think that you'd be disappointed. I'm already on my second bottle.

Sunday 3 March 2024

Speed Review: The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm

The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm is one of the affordable brand's bestsellers and it's easy to see why. According to the description, the cleanser is formulated with 3% oat kernel oil to help maintain skin moisture levels as well as helping to smooth and reduce blackheads. It also contains 1% oat powder which helps to reduce redness and irritation.
Despite the wallet friendly price tag, The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm is presented inside of a box. Inside, you'll find a generously sized tube in the brand's signature monochrome design. The descriptions on the tube make it foolproof to use, clearly stating the purpose of the product, at which stage in a routine to use it as well as the time of day. Incidentally, it is stated as being suitable for morning use and whilst there's nothing stopping you from using this first thing, I personally don't feel the need to use a balm cleanser when I'm not yet wearing makeup or SPF. I always appreciate a multi-tasker so it's worth noting that The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm can also be left on skin for 10 minutes as a nourishing face mask. I've tried this too and it leaves skin noticably softened. I liked the functionality of the tube dispenser which feels more hygienic than sticking fingers into a pot. The texture of the balm is relatively thick but sufficiently soft so as to be able to squeeze out the desired amount and I've never had any issues with the tube clogging. A little goes a long way. Despite the thick texture, I found it easy to work the Oat Cleansing Balm into my skin although it doesn't have as much "slip" as some. I also feel that you may prefer something lighter if you have oily or congested skin. To me, this feels perfectly suited to dry and sensitive skin types. I enjoyed the scent which feels nostalgic and reminiscent of one of my first forays into cleansing balms with Lush's original Ultrabland. Upon contact with water, it transforms into a lightweight milk and removes easily with a warm, wet flannel to gently cleanse skin of SPF and makeup. It left no residue on my skin. Following use, skin was left feeling thoroughly cleaned, fresh and conditioned, with no dry or tight feeling. The Inkey List Oat Cleansing Balm costs £12 for 150ml which I feel represents fantastic value for money.

Friday 1 March 2024

Speed Review: Ultraviolette Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF50+

I'm baaaack! I posted a poll on my Instagram and the general consensus was that a reignition of my blog, which I first started over a decade ago, would be welcomed... so after a much-too-long hiatus, here we are again! My plan is to focus on product reviews and I'll try to post a new review every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. It seems fitting to kick things off with a review of one of my favourite products... my favourite SPF. It couldn't come at a better time either, with a recent furore splitting social media into two camps: the SPF devotees (where I sit) and those who are less keen, to varying degrees, with the most extreme making (unsubstantiated) claims that it's a dangerous product to use. I've heard many excuses over the years from those who don't use SPF daily, ranging from the fact that it's bad weather (the sun is still there, even when it may not seem like it and those harmful rays can penetrate!) to the arugment that their makeup contains SPF (this is typically a low rating and a sufficient amount to obtain the advertised level is unlikely to be applied in a makeup product). Often, people claim that they don't like the feeling of SPF on their skin (modern formulas have come a long way!) or that it breaks them out (this is more likely to be the result of not thoroughly cleansing at the end of the day). I strongly urge those who remain unconvinced to check out Ultraviolette, the brand which is making SPF cool and this is partly down to their packaging which features unapologetically bright colours (I love that this makes the products easy to find in a crowded washbag!). My favourite of the Ultraviolette products I've tried is Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF50+ and it seems I'm not alone, with this regularly topping the bestselling lists at the likes of Space NK.
The packaging clearly communicates what the product is and how to use it, reiterating the daily use message. I appreciate the high protection rating at SPF50+ and it is also broad spectrum, offering both UVA and UVB shields. It's a hybrid sunscreen and the description also claims that it protects against damaging blue light emitted from screens although I remain on the fence about this. Furthermore, the formula is infused with peptides and kakadu plum which is rich in vitamin C so provides the additional benefits of antioxidant protection to fight free radicals too. I feel that the packaging of Supreme Screen is far superior to that of the brand's other cult bestseller, Queen Screen which is presented in a glass bottle with pipette dispenser. I'll forever be biased towards tubes with pumps- so chic, hygienic and functional- but I also find the packaging to be better suited to travel than Queen Screen (although, SPF is for life not just for holidays!). The 50ml size is flight friendly too although it is now available in a supersized bottle if of interest. The packaging allows for controlled dispensing without wastage- don't forget that you need to apply sufficient product (2-3 fingers worth) to obtain the advertised SPF level. This is easy to do with Ultraviolette Supreme Screen Hydrating Facial Skinscreen SPF50+ and I personally like to apply lots of thin layers. I find this best in terms of usage experience, allowing for easy absorption and also as it reassures me that I'm thoroughly covering my skin without missing areas. I find it layers well with other products too and I've never noticed any pilling. It is also effective as a primer before makeup... after all, SPF is fairly grippy as it's intended to remain on skin! Supreme Screen has quite a thick, cream texture (it's certainly not a lotion) but whilst it feels hydrating on the skin, it never feels heavy or uncomfortable. It's an elegant and modern formula. It is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive and those with sensitive eyes, and I've never experienced any issues with it causing my acne prone skin to break out. On initial application, I sometimes notice a slight plastic scent but it's not particularly offensive and doesn't linger in any case. When dispensed, the cream has a very subtle tint but it offers no coverage. I don't notice any white cast but admittedly, I do have pale skin so can't comment on how this would measure up on darker complexions. As the name suggests and as aforementioned, it feels hydrating on the skin and in fact, in hotter weather I find that I can often forgo a separate moisturiser when using this on my combination skin. It simply leaves skin feeling soft and I trust the protection that this gives me. I absolutely love it. Yes, there are cheaper SPFs on the market but I'm very happy to pay £34 for this and have already repurchased countless times. I can't recommend it highly enough, especially if you're seeking a hydrating SPF.
© SKIN DEEP | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig