Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Perfectly Pampered

Perfectly Pampered spa hair mask
Perfectly Pampered spa hair mask
Perfectly Pampered spa hair mask in Orange oil
Montagne Jeunesse, Perfectly Pampered spa hair mask RRP £1.09*

As a member of 'BBloggers Unite', I was recently given the opportunity to review one of the Montagne Jeunesse 'Perfectly Pampered' hair masks.  The mask I received was the 'orange oil' one, a calming conditioner.

I don't think that I have ever used a hair mask prior to this... maybe when I was little and used to pick up odd bits and bobs in Superdrug/Boots when I went shopping.. so this was more of a first go at using one of these.

I was pleasantly surprised by the orange scent -- I have recently been using a face mask by Apivita which I received in my Glossybox a while back and the orange fragrance to that is very strong, especially to be left on my face for a good ten minutes.  I was assuming the hair mask would have a similar scent but it's a lot more tame.  I also tried to show how the colour matches the scent in the last photo but I couldn't squeeze too much of the product to the top as I was taking photos on my duvet...sorry!  But you can get the general gist of what the product looked like, I hope.

The packaging states that you can 'treat your hair with this luxurious conditioning mask.  Nourishing orange oil penetrates deep down to treat lifeless and brittle hair.  Unwind as the treatment fights the harmful effects of pollution to leave locks with an intensive healthy shine'.  I tried this mask out on my hair when it hadn't been conditioned the previous day, so I used this in place of my Herbal Essences 'Hello Hydration' conditioner.  I also did a sensitivity test before I put it anywhere near my head -- I never do the patch test with hair dye *slaps wrist* but this was slightly different as it said I only needed to leave it on my skin for five minutes to see if a reaction occurred (rather than the night before that I would have to apply it for hair dye...).  No reaction occurred -- hoorah! -- so I was able to continue with my trial.

To start with, I followed the instructions and shampoo'd my hair as normal, followed by a quick rinse.  I then added the mask and smoothed it throughout my hair, from roots to tips.  After the product was thoroughly massaged in, I left it for just over five minutes to let the mask work its magic as 'the moisture rich active ingredients penetrate hair'.  And once I had waited a little while, I was able to rinse it out and I have to say, I could instantly feel how silky my hair had become as I was running my fingers through it to get rid of all the product.  This silkiness stayed even after towel drying and I could really smell the orange scent that had locked into my hair -- it really did do what it said on the packaging! I'm very impressed!

I couldn't actually find this exact product on the Montagne Jeunesse website, but I found this hair mask on another site for £1.09.. which is very affordable in my opinion!  If you like to give your hair a bit of a change of products every now and again, I think this kind of thing is great.  I personally prefer to stick to my Herbal Essences products -- I think it's largely because I don't like sachet packaging and prefer to use a bottle.  But the Montagne Jeunesse hair masks would be really ideal for anybody going on holiday and doesn't want to have to cart round too many bottles in their luggage!  It also says on the packaging that you can use this mask two-three times a week as it is gentle enough to use as a regular conditioner, so for those of you that don't particularly want to wash your hair excessively whilst you're away, this would be very practical.  If this product was able to buy in the form of a bottle, I would certainly be buying it now!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Oh! Organics

Following up from my last skincare review, I have another little brand to discuss called 'Oh! Organics' -- Over at 'Oh!', all of the products have been developed in the UK by Michele Daramat (having spent the last eight years working on the items that feature on the website), who I was in contact with about doing a write up for a selection of her range.  Michele specialises in luxury organic handmade cosmetics.  Despite my review being based on their skincare collection, Oh! also produce handmade soaps, lip balms and candles -- vegan lip balms and candles too!

Oh! Organics business cards

As 'Rose' is a bit of a hit or miss fragrance for me, I chose to review the 'Melissa' range, which contains fruity scents (orange & lemon).  I received both the moisturiser and toner in sample sizes.  The moisturiser retails at £24.00 for a 60ml jar -- I think this would probably last you quite a long time (the website states 3-4 months) but I wouldn't be able to afford to purchase it for myself at the moment.  The toner is a much more affordable price at £7.50 for a 50ml bottle -- just to get an idea of how much product you receive for 50ml, the bottle in my images is the actual product size, but I received a sample amount inside that.

Oh! Organics moisturiser samples
Oh! Organics moisturiser samples
Melissa Moisturiser*:
The website description of this product states 'this lovely rich and luxurious and beautifully scented cream will sink into your skin, leaving it feeling soft but dry enough so you can apply your makeup on top and your makeup will last.  The oils that have been added to this cream will be absorbed by your skin throughout the day, balancing and nourishing it'.

I must admit, I wasn't hugely fond of the smell.  When I read that the product contained fruity extracts including lemon, mango and kiwi (their oils/balm), I did think that the scent would be fresh and 'summery'.  However, the smell of the product didn't settle so well with me, I found it quite sickly and overpowering.  Despite my issues with this, I tried applying it to test whether it does what it sets out to.  The website says that the target audience for this product is anybody with younger skin, preferably somebody between their late teens to the age of thirty.

I have to say, the product did make my skin feel smoother upon application (after cleansing) -- you only need to add the tiniest amount (less than the size of a 5p coin) to notice a difference.  Once the moisturiser is rubbed in circular motions, you will start to feel your skin softening slightly.  I did still feel a bit of a film over my skin though, so I'm not sure how well my makeup would set on top of this -- so if you were to use this daily, I'd advise you to leave it a little while before applying anything over it.

Oh! Organics Melissa toner sample
Melissa Toner*:

The Melissa Toner is made from flower water extracted from essential oil distillation process.  The toner contains similar ingredients to the moisturiser (Lemon balm, Geranium and Orange flower waters; Witch Hazel and Glycerine).  The product is used to revitalise your skin and can be used after cleansing with a cotton wool pad for application, or can simply be spritzed throughout the day to make your face and body feel refreshed -- which is a great idea in the hot, summery weather.  The toner does not include alcohol -- something that I certainly try to avoid when it comes to facial skincare (I used to use the Clean & Clear one but it really aggravated my skin).

I used this toner as a spritz in the hot weather and I certainly preferred it to the moisturiser -- it is a very light product and the smell was much more diluted, more to my acquired taste!  I wasn't quite sure how much to spray so I just used enough to make my skin feel refreshed.

At £7.50, this product is far more affordable than the moisturiser but it would need to be used sparingly to get the longest use out of it.  I would recommend it to anybody that may be going on holiday over the next month or so -- it would be ideal to carry in your handbag/beach bag on a hot day to make your skin feel revitalised!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Botanicals Natural Skin Care

Botanicals natural skin care flyer
Botanicals natural skin care sample
Botanicals natural skin care sample
Botanicals natural skin care sample cleansing melt
Botanicals natural skin care sample skin polish
Botanicals natural skin care sample skin polish
I was contacted by Botanicals a week or so ago, asking if I would like to write a review of any of their products from their site.  I have started to pay more attention to my skin over the last year and so I was really excited about this opportunity!  Out of all of their products, I decided I would most like the try out their 'Natural face cleansers' range.  The two products I received were in the scent, 'Rose & Camellia'.
Below is a little (okay fairly texty..) insight to how I got on with them!

This was the first of the two samples that I tried -- I wasn't quite sure how I would get on with this product going by the fact it is a cleansing 'melt', something that I haven't experimented with before.  The description claims that it is designed to 'penetrate the skin's lower layers; removing impurities and restoring natural balance'.  Botanicals say that 'most facial cleansers strip the skin of its natural oil, forcing it to go into overdrive to produce more oil, and causing the skin to become imbalanced and problematic'.  Having said that, the moment my skin was in contact with their product, I could really notice that it was oil-based -- this gives it the intention to dissolve make up, dead skin cells and other impurities whilst retaining the skin's natural balance.

Despite the idea that the oil-based product is supposedly good for your skin, I was very weary when it first came to applying the skin to my face.  As I was spreading it across my skin, I tried to avoid areas that are typically oily (particularly my nose and forehead) just in case I didn't react well to it.  The next step was to remove the product using a hot cloth -- for this I used my muslin cloth that came with my Liz Earle hot cloth cleanser*.  As I was rubbing the product off with the cloth and hot water, I didn't notice any change to my skin.  It wasn't until when I dried my skin with a towel that I noticed how dramatically smooth it had left my face.  The product had left my face feeling very refreshed -- I can't vouch for how well it would remove makeup, however, as I used this cleansing melt to freshen myself up in the morning.  The melt made my skin feel silky, and the oily feeling was no longer there (which was around my T-zone when I first woke up).

This pot contained 4g worth of the product and the smallest size on the website is the 'regular' pot, which holds 50g, costing £16.95.  The product does what it sets out to, but I don't think that I could stray away from my Liz Earle cleanser -- I already find that a bit of a stretch for my purse and I don't think that I could afford the regular sized pot of the Botanicals Cleansing Melt each month.  If you don't mind paying £16.95 for the 50g pot, then go for it -- the product does make your skin feel highly refreshed!  But with me being recently made redundant, I don't think that I could personally afford it.

The second product that I tried was, again, from the Rose & Camellia range.  This time, I tried a facial polish, another alternative to the melt.  The scent of this product was ever so slightly stronger than that of the melt, but not overpowering (which I was surprised by as Rose is normally quite a strong, sharp smell, in my opinion).  I preferred the texture of the polish to the melt -- it wasn't as smooth/shiny upon application so I wasn't so cautious in case my skin didn't react well to it.  This product is a natural exfoliator, and as with the previous sample, it is made from 100% natural ingredients -- which you can tell from the scent almost immediately.  This sounds irrelevant and I am yet to try out a sugar scrub, but from photos I have seen of those, the texture of this skin polish looked very similar.

Some exfoliators have quite large 'beads' in them.. I don't know how to describe them in any other way, but I'm referring to the parts that brush against the skin!  The skin polish by Botanicals feels very delicate in comparison, which I personally prefer -- especially if this product is designed to be used on your face.  I know how a lot of exfoliators can be a bit too tough when used on legs!

The website states that this is a great product for anybody that suffers from combination or sensitive skin (like me) and that the cleanser is ideal for normal to dry, and mature skin types.  It also says that the 'product is concentrated (does not contain water) so only a small amount is needed.  Which also makes it great value for money as a little goes a long way'.  I felt that this is an accurate description and the 'little goes a long way' saying could go for both of the products that I trialed.  On this occasion, this sample pot contained 5g of the cleanser and on their site, the 50g (regular) size costs the same price as the cleansing melt, £16.95 -- which leaves me with the same question, would I pay so much for a cleanser?  Sadly, my purse wouldn't stretch far enough for me to treat myself to this product on a regular basis.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

'Toxic Lips' Lip Transfers Review

I always love to find new potential replacements for my best loved beauty products and experimenting with new looks using them.  One of my 'can't go out the house without' makeup products has got to be my Kate Moss lipstick -- I use Rosetto (shade 05) from the Kate Collection.  My lips literally feel naked without a coat of this!

Some of you may have recently seen my posts testing out lip transfers, leaving me with the possibility of swapping my trusty Rosetto for something slightly different...  The last transfers (Vicious Lips) that I used were from the Lynx Nails and Beauty range.  This time, I have a new little brand to open your eyes to.
I have recently been in contact with a company called 'Toxic Lips'.  For those of you that have not yet heard of this brand name, they specialise in lip transfers, with all of their designs costing £5.95, which is good competition for Lynx Nails and Beauty (whose designs cost £6.95 for a pack of three transfers).  I was sent two of my favourite designs from their website (although I also had my eye on their glitter patterns!).  The designs I received were 'Pink Polka Dot'* and 'Zebra'*, both of which I couldn't wait to try out -- each packet came with two sheets of each pattern.
I'm going to start by saying that I was SO happy to see these transfers were pre-cut, and just needed to be pressed and popped out from the card.  The last few attempts with LN&B didn't work quite so well for me because I was required to cut the shape from scratch to fit the shape of my lips.  The transfers I received this time had guidelines on the back, showing possible cutting lines depending on how long/short or wide/thin you required each piece.  When it came to sizing, I cut the design on the closest line to the centre to get the best length for my lips, and with regards to depth, I used the second dashed line as my guide in the correct direction (i.e. for the top lip, it states 'do not cut or trim from the TOP of the lip' and vice versa for the lower one).  By this point, I realised that despite being given the guidelines, the upper lip was not going to fit mine so well..  I found that the upper lip wasn't curved enough, so it went straight across the middle rather than following the curves of my mouth (even making an 'ahh' face).  I didn't have this issue so much with the bottom lip though.
Upon application, I found these transfers FAR easier to come away from their packaging than the LN&B ones; the slightest dab of water and I could already see the design forming on my lip.  As I was given the guides, the application was far less messy than last time -- I knew that once I removed the card, I wouldn't have to peel away any excess pattern that had gone over my lip line.
As far as the design goes, I must admit, as much as I loved the outcome of the pair, I wouldn't have the confidence to go out wearing the Zebra print.  The Pink Polka Dot pattern was far more neutral and closer to my natural lip colour -- I nearly had to answer the door wearing it and I wasn't even phased!  The two of these patterns have also given me the idea to possibly experiment with one of my lipsticks as a basecoat, some eyeliner (sounds bizarre, I know...) to draw animal print, and a topcoat to keep it in place once I run out of transfers.
(I apologise for the terrible quality of this photo, my SLR camera ran out of battery just after I put these on!)

I wore these for a short amount of time in order to properly show you all how they both came out, so I cannot vouch for how long they would last without being touched (their website says that it should be between four and eight hours, long enough for a night out!).  They came off reasonably easily, well, a large amount peeled off on the upper and lower lip when I tried to remove the transfers, but I struggled getting rid of the little bits around the edges of my mouth, which resulted in my lips feeling a bit chapped -- I tried to remove these bits with water and just scratching at them with my nails..  it's kind of like when you would use arm 'tattoos' as a kid, and after a few days you're left with just traces of the picture?  The website does say you should use baby oil and a wipe to remove them easily but sadly I didn't have any baby oil in my house -- hopefully you guys do if you decide to try these out!

All in all, Toxic Lips are really good value for money.  Their website offers a good range of designs including Leopard print, glitters and rainbows.  I found the company very customer-friendly and easy to get in contact with via Twitter.  Their delivery was exceedingly fast too, so Toxic Lips are in my good books.


Saturday, 14 July 2012

The Soap District

The Soap District very kindly sent me these beauuutiful-smelling samples recently -- I have to say, they made the whole of my morning post smell incredibly good!  I was very surprised with how generous the sizes of the soaps were that I received (and the fact that I received three!).  The samples that they sent to me are all very different, allowing me to have a clearer idea of the rest of their range.

The Soap District rose bath melt
The Soap District rose bath melt

Rose melt, £1.89*

Aesthetically, this was my favourite of the three soaps -- the texture of it is unusual and it's sizing is very handy.  However, I wasn't quite so keen on the scent.  I'm always fairly cautious when it comes to Rose-fragranced products.. for some reason, I find them rather headachey and I have to be careful with any contact due to my sensitive skin.  I don't think that the scent of this soap is very youthful and I could imagine it more as a complimentary hotel soap (if that makes sense?).

Despite saying this, I am yet to put this soap into bathwater so the scent may be toned down a little... With my review for Gelicity, I commented on the fact that the Lavender and Jasmine fragrances became more subtle as they were broken down by the water so the same could possibly be said for this little bath melt!

The Soap District Satsuma soap
The Soap District Satsuma soap

Satsuma soap, £2.19*

Oh my, the smell of this soap was SO good... if a soap was edible, this would be gone by now.  This Satsuma soap from the essential oil range was so refreshing and felt very summery with the citrus scents.  I know that some of you may not be fans of citrus products but this was by no means overpowering.  The sample size I was sent was very large so this would last for ages!  I also loved the little fruity/jelly pieces trapped in the middle -- upon contact with my skin, it felt very smooth and quite creamy.. as if I had melted chocolate on my hand?  I love the feeling of this product and I would recommend this as a bathroom nust-have.  This soap is paraben free and suitable for sensitive skin, perfect for me!

The Soap District Strawberry Fields soap
The Soap District Strawberry Fields soap

Strawberry Fields soap, £2.19*

As with the Satsuma soap, I fell in love with the Stawberry Fields one -- the smell is good enough to eat and even the website says that it's 'good enough to make your mouth water'!  I love any product that has a strawberry fragrance to it.. I find the scent very relaxing and I love to have that rub off on my skin.  This sample was a great size too, the same as the Satsuma soap, and it also comes from the essential oils range.  This bar feels very creamy on your skin, but it's not the kind of soap that is difficult to wash off due to this.  I'm more of a shower person and The Soap District say that you can use this as a replacement to shower gel, so I'm certainly going to try that out.  I absolutely cannot fault this product -- I was very happy with what I received!

For any of you that like to add a bit of colour to your bathroom with decorative soaps, I'd say that these are great.  Not just for display purposes obviously, they do exactly what they claim to!  I also only looked at the prices of these after they had arrived, so that I could include them in this post, and I am very surprised at how low they are -- great for what you receive!  I normally go to The Body shop for soaps, I can't help but get dragged in by all the vibrant colours of theirs, but I really would recommend The Soap District to anybody now.  All of my samples arrived the following day since talking with the company and they offer great customer service.  Finally, I was in no way influenced to say any of the things I did in this post.  I was genuinely so happy with what I received! :)

Monday, 9 July 2012

G-Spa 'Relax' Bath Gel by Gelicity

G-Spa 'Relax' bath gel - Gelicity (£9.99)*

I was recently given the opportunity to try out Gelicity's 'Luxury bath soak' and share my thoughts and opinions on the product with you all.  To begin with, Gelicity specialise in skincare, with bath and body products that are slightly different from those already on the shelves in the highstreet stores.  The idea behind the product I was sent is to enjoy a relaxed bathing experience whilst thoroughly caring for your skin (through exfoliation, rehydration, deep cleansing, heat therapy, aromatherapy and detox).  When bathing in the luxury bath soak, Gelicity's aim is to make you feel like you are in a spa in the comfort of your own home.

The product is to be used in two stages, so the packaging contained two different sachets of powder.  I must admit, I felt like a bit of a child trying out the bath soak.  As soon as you pour the 'step 1' contents into the bath, little gel bubbles form almost immediately and I have never used a product quite like this.  Along with the formation of the bubbles, the gorgeous aroma starts to form, consisting of Lavender, Jasmine and Bergamot -- all scents that you would typically associate with relaxation.  For a little background information, some of you may know that I used to work in Clinton Cards, where I was constantly working around the scents from the Yankee Candles we had on display -- I was never fond of the Lavender/Jasmine candles as I found their fragrance overpowering, often leading to headaches.  When I first read the scents on the packaging, I thought I was heading for trouble due to past experiences with Lavender & Jasmine but I was strongly mistaken.  The addition of the powder to the bathwater was in no way overpowering, and if anything, the water toned down the scent a little.

As you can see, the colouring from the powder starts to spread throughout the water, and what once started as a vivid purple colour (almost like dye) becomes a lovely shade of lilac.  I love bath things that make the water sparkly, pink, purple.. anything that adds a bit of colour so this was a great addition to the concept of the product.  I think I may have gone a little OTT with how much powder from the step 1 sachet I added to the amount of water I had... but it was trial and error I guess!

Whilst I'm on the topic of the powder, I must say that I would personally prefer the contents to be kept in a bag that could easily be resealed, or even small jars/tubes as I had to be especially careful not the spill any of the remaining product on the floor (but I'm sure this would raise the production costs and therefore make the bath soak a little more expensive for us to purchase).  It is currently only £9.99 which I think is very reasonable for how much you receive in the box.  When I was first asked if I would like to try out the bath soak, I was under the impression that it would be way out of my price range -- the design on the front of the box fits the idea of 'luxury' in my opinion.  The packaging says exactly what the product is and how you use it, with a fairly basic logo which I personally find quite eye catching.  I told Beth from Gelicity that I was very surprised with how affordable all of their products are.  I certainly didn't realise the box would be as large as it was when it arrived in the post!

In these photos, you can fully see how the small bubbles form under the water and how they stick to your skin.  They feel like small pieces of jelly and like I said earlier, I did feel like a big kid playing around with this product.  In my opinion, it's fun and step 1 does exactly what it sets out to do.  I noticed that the more you move in the water, the more the product sticks to you.  In the last photo, I ran my hand through the water fairly quickly and managed to hold quite a lot of the product.  If you use this bath soak, I would strongly recommend that you have your hair tied up in the bath as the little jelly pieces can be difficult to wash out (they easily wash off your skin though!).  The product makes the bath fairly slippy too, as cautioned on the box instructions, so you must be careful climbing in and out of the bath tub.

My skin did feel refreshed from using this product, but it was hard to judge whether it was just in my head or not.  I personally loved how step 1 worked -- the scent, the formation of the gel and the lilac coloured water were all a great bathing experience.  However, when I came to using 'step 2', I didn't find that it worked for me.  The instructions claimed that the white powder would turn the creamy gel back into normal bathwater, but I was still left with lots of the product around the bath tub.  This may be down to me adding too much of the purple powder though, so I would need to try it out once more with equal proportions to come to a full conclusion about the second stage of the process.  I wouldn't let the downfall of the second stage put me off purchasing another product from Gelicity though -- from the start, I was more interested in the creamy gel than sitting in plain bath water (despite the fact that the latter part is for a bit of a detox) so I would be perfectly happy just to use the contents from the first sachet only.

All in all, I think the product is great for it's key aim, relaxation.  As I touched upon before, Gelicity specialise in skin care and I do believe that my skin felt refreshed too -- I would like to try the product on a fairly regular basis to see if it dramatically improves my skin!  For any of you that favour a bath over a shower, I would highly recommend Gelicity's products -- their website is very well set out so navigation is easy and you can search for a product for your every need (revive, relax, soothe, refresh, cool, soothe feet).  Their customer service that I experienced was fantastic too!  I was in contact with Beth from Gelicity and she was very friendly to talk to about the product and was highly informative.  I also prefer to deal with companies where the members are shopper-friendly and willing to deal with any queries I may have, talking to me on a personal level.

I hope this has helped to introduce you to a lovely new brand!
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