Organic Skincare: S5 Calm Serum & Illuminate Serum review

Friday, 17 February 2017

S5 Calm Serum & Illuminate Serum review
S5 are an organic green beauty brand who I've tried a couple of things from before in the past, but they are mainly known for their targeted treatment serums. Each serum addresses one of the five most common skin concerns (blemishes, sensitivity, dryness, hyperpigmentation and premature ageing), and they can be mixed and matched to meet your individual needs.

What I find really interesting about this brand is that use bioactive ingredients which are found in the most extreme ecosystems around the world. Being an Environmental Science student, I find ecosystems particularly fascinating, and the more extreme one is, the more I'm enthralled by it! The general idea behind using these ingredients from places like The Artic, Desert, Rainforests, High Altitude regions and the Sea is that whatever plants have thrived in these extreme regions have evolved over millions of years to be highly resilient to the elements around it, meaning that they're pretty badass. 

So S5 have taken this concept and used these bio-actives to create highly effective skincare formulas to resolve our skin concerns and help it against the stresses of our modern day world. Everything that S5 produce is Ecocert organic certified and all the formulas are made from naturally derived ingredients so they're free from 'nasties' like SLS/SLES, parabens, mineral oil, silicones, GMO ingredients etc. 

I've been testing out two of these targeted serums for the past six weeks:-
S5 Calm Serum review
 S5 Calm Serum* (30ml, £44, link)

As you can probably already guess by the name, S5's Calm Serum is for anyone who is experiencing redness, irritation or has overall sensitive skin. My skin has always been on the troublesome side of things - sometimes it's OK, other times it acts like a screaming toddler! As the sensitivity problems for me can flare up badly on occasions, having a reliable and effective calming serum like this one in my skincare stash sounds very beneficial. Key ingredients in this serum include;

  • Marine Bioactives - help to reduce persistent redness by 20% and also reduces signs of hyper-reactivity.
  • Natural Hyaluronic Acid - a fantastic ingredient that I always look for in skincare as helps to lock in moisture, keeping skin hydrated and diminishing the signs of fine lines.
  • Desert Glycoproteins - produced by a unique bacteria in the Wadi Desert, they help to increase hydration and reduce any roughness.
  • Marine Peptides - improve the appearance of skin's vascularisation. 

The serum is a typical slightly thin and runny formula which is easily absorbed and doesn't feel greasy or sticky. To my nose, it doesn't have any strong scent, just a very subtle 'freshness', and it applies smoothly onto the skin. As with all of my serums, I've been using it in the evening after cleansing and toning before applying my moisturiser, and this has been working really well at reducing the redness around my nose and cheeks. However, this did take at least a fortnight of regular use before I started to see any differences in my skin, but now after six weeks, my skin definitely feels less sensitive overall and much smoother than it was before. 
S5 Illuminate Serum review
S5 Illuminate Serum* (30ml, £44, link)

S5's Illuminate Serum, on the other hand, is designed as a targeted lightening treatment for hyperpigmentation and for helping to even out an uneven skin tone. I have some minor hyperpigmentation around my mouth and chin which isn't that noticeable in all reality, but it's something that I would like to have lightened/evened out so I can feel more confident about wearing less makeup day to day. My skin also looks dull quite a lot, especially during the winter months (a common problem for many Brits), so I've been keen to try an illuminating serum to see if it would help brighten things up! I did try a small sample of this a few years ago and remember getting some good results from it and therefore I've been curious to see what it would be like to try it on a longer term basis with a full-size bottle. This serum contains an expert blend of key ingredients such as;

  • Alpine Bioactives - help to increase skin's lightness by 15%.
  • High Altitude Maca - helps stimulate cellular renewal and reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Marine Actives - protects against sun damage and reduces UV cellular damage.
  • Papaya Enzymes - these are great as they gently exfoliate without the need for manual 'scrubby' bits so one to look out for if you have sensitive skin.

The composition of this serum is very similar to the Calm one above, but maybe ever so slightly a tiny bit thicker. It's still easily absorbed, non-sticky/greasy, and doesn't have any strong or offensive scent. I was expecting to see a slow start to any noticeable results as the Calm serum took a while to kick in, but this one performed much quicker for me as I saw a difference after only a week. My skin had a much more noticeable, brighter glow about it in the mornings and I saw some very subtle lightness on my hyperpigmentation areas. I would say that this serum benefits from being used in conjunction with a good quality SPF to further protect the skin, and it's certainly one to look into if you want a brighter, more even skin tone.

S5 products are available from Naturisimo.com who offer free worldwide shipping

Have you tried any S5 skincare?

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Beauty Box: Love Me Beauty - February 2017 review

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Love Me Beauty - February 2017 review
After seeing a couple of spoilers on Instagram for the Love Me Beauty makeup bag this month, I was looking forward to mine arriving as I can't get enough of cute designs like this!

If you're new to Love Me Beauty, they're a beauty subscription box with two main differences. Firstly, you get to choose the products that you want each month from an online 'Edit' with 'credits', and you can purchase additional credits if you want more products, and secondly, you receive your products in a makeup bag instead of a box which usually means that it'll fit through your letterbox. My friend Sophie gifted me a six-month subscription with them for Christmas, and I've been enjoying it so far as they have a lot of brands in their Edits which I love (this month's had NUXE, Kat Von D, Aromatherapy Associates, Makeup Forever and Charlotte Tilbury to give you an idea). 

From February's Love Me Beauty Edit, I chose the following:-
Love Me Beauty - February 2017 review
NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Or in Golden Shimmer (10ml travel size)
If you haven't smelt the classic Nuxe Prodigieuse fragrance, then you need to - it's one of my favourite scents and I always have to have a bottle of the original oil in my beauty stash because it's so versatile. This is the Golden Shimmer version which is infused with lots of light reflecting shimmer in that fantastic multi-purpose oil base. You can use it anywhere on the face, body and hair, and I tend to save it for the summer months to use on my arms and legs when I've got a tan on holiday because it adds such a lovely, healthy looking glow. One for the holiday bag for sure!

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper (0.2ml travel size)
This is a seriously amazing liquid eyeliner with a nifty fine tip for getting that coveted cat eye flick nailed down. It's richly pigmented, waterproof and long-lasting - what more could you want from a liquid eyeliner?!

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick in Mercy (1.2g travel size)
I seem to be collecting mini lipsticks at the moment, but I just couldn't pass up on this beauty. I have another one of these in the shade Magick which I swatched here a while back, and I absolutely loved the formula so I was keen to try out more. This shade Mercy is a stunning deep berry, plum colour on the lips with some violet shimmer to make it stand out. I don't have anything like this in my makeup collection - it's quite different and surprisingly wearable for a vampy evening look. 

NUXE Reve de Miel Lip Balm (15ml full size - RRP £9.50)
Regular readers will know about my love for this lip balm and I'm happy to be reunited with it once more! I've gone through my fair share of these pots of honey infused balmy goodness and it's still very high up in my best lip balms on the planet list. If you're a lip balm addict and you haven't yet tried this, you must!

For more info on Love Me Beauty, check them out here.

Do you subscribe to Love Me Beauty? 

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Mid-Week Pamper Treat: Unwash Hydrating Masque review

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Unwash Hydrating Masque review
When I first started looking into SLS-free formulas for my hair care, there wasn't a whole lot of choice available. Nowadays though there are more gentle cleansing products for hair than ever before as consumer attitudes have changed, and there's a much bigger focus on maintaining 'healthy' hair, rather than going in for a quick fix that's loaded with silicones.

At the same time though, no-one wants to be spending a long time washing or caring for their hair. A girl's got better things to be doing with her precious time - am I right?! One such brand that's spotted this change in the market are Unwash, a cruelty-free USA company who have developed some pretty nifty and innovative haircare products around the concept of the 'New Clean', which is basically simpler sulphates and parabens free shampoos and conditioners that are gentle and also safe for colour treated hair.

I've been trying out their popular Hydrating Masque once a week for nearly a month now and I have to say that my notoriously fussy, fine, dry and frizzy hair has been lapping it up like a kitten drinking a bowl of milk. 
Unwash Hydrating Masque review
This Hydrating Masque has been specially formulated to re-balance your hair's natural moisture levels and in a way, it sort of 'resets' it back to a normal state. Well, my hair has never really been normal to begin with, but because it's so dry this mask has certainly been helping to address that issue by efficiently hydrating it where's it needed the most (the lengths and ends) without overloading my fine hair. Ingredients-wise, it's not completely natural based, but it does contain Coconut Oil, Argan Oil, Hemp Oil, Quinoa, Silk Amino Acids, Keratin, and Borage Seed Oil to nourish and repair the hair, making it stronger and healthier, and there are no harsh sulphates so it won't strip your hair's natural oils.

The texture is nice and thick, and it has a fresh, clean scent. It gets to work in just 3-5 minutes (I tend to leave it on for the full five minutes, sometimes a little longer for the best results) and afterwards, my hair is left much smoother, shinier, less frizzy, hydrated and a lot more manageable. Great to use as a once a week treatment to keep your hair in tip-top condition, and the curved design of the bottle looks really cool in my bathroom too!

Unwash Hydrating Masque* (190ml, £17.26, link

Have you heard of Unwash?

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High-End Beauty: Too Faced Love Flush & Sweethearts Blushers & Bronzer review

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

What could be more appropriate on Valentine's Day than a special feature on Too Faced's gorgeous range of heart-shaped blushers? Get ready to swoon! 

Too Faced are one of the best high-end, cruelty-free brands when it comes to pretty, girly, want-it-right-now packaging, and the makeup itself is equally as impressive. From chocolate scented eyeshadow palettes to these heart-shaped blusher beauties below, Too Faced have got it going on.

Here are some of my faves to add to your wishlists!
Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush in Candy Glow
 Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush in Candy Glow* (5.5g, £24, link)

The Sweethearts range of blushers come packaged in sturdy heart shaped boxes (similar to Benefit's boxed blushers) and inside you'll find a beautiful baked blusher with a trio of wearable shades that you can either use individually or swirled altogether. Candy Glow features stripes of rose pink, coral and peach, all of which have a fine gold shimmer for extra added glow. The baked formula is perfect for just a subtle flush on the cheeks with one easy swish of your brush. This isn't a scary, super-pigmented blush at all, but you can build it up slightly if you want a more pronounced finish and it lasts a long time on me without needing a touch up (around 8 hours). Personally, I love how natural and pretty it looks as it can be easy to go overboard with things like blusher (that China Doll look just ain't my thing), so if you're a makeup newbie or just want a natural-looking, pale peachy-pink blush with a hint of glowy shimmer, check this one out!
Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush in Something About Berry
 Too Faced Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blush in Something About Berry* (5.5g, £24, link)

If you're after a bolder, berry pink shade, Something About Berry is the colour for you. This cutie has three stripes of blush across its heart; a straight up girly light pink, a pinky gold toned highlighter shade running through the middle, and a deeper berry pink - all with fine gold shimmer blended in. Swirled together, this blusher will give you a bright medium pink shade with lots of glow. I found this one to be more pigmented than the Candy Glow above, but wear time and performance were still the same and it was really easy to work with.
Too Faced Sweethearts Bronzer in Sweet Tea
 Too Faced Sweethearts Bronzer in Sweet Tea* (5.5g, £25, link)

Like many, I've been so obsessed with contouring that I've neglected my more natural looking bronzers in favour of matte darker shades, so it was such a nice change to try out this one! Sweet Tea shares the same fantastic baked formula as the Sweethearts blushers and it looks amazing on the skin. There's not a hint of orange here at all and it has two colours; one half is a lighter brown, and the other half is a darker, warmer brown. Both sides have fine gold shimmer, and when mixed together, they become just a beautiful, natural looking, luminous, healthy glow bronzer that would be ideal for fair skin tones, or used as a golden highlighter for medium skin tones. I managed to get around 6-7 hours of wear out of this before it started to fade, and like the others, it was easy to blend and work with. 
Too Faced Love Flush Blusher in Your Love Is King
Too Faced Love Flush Blusher in Your Love Is King
Too Faced Love Flush Blusher in Your Love Is King
 Too Faced Love Flush Blusher in Your Love Is King* (6g, £25, link)

Stealing the top spot for the most jaw-droppingly gorgeous blusher that I own, Too Faced Love Flush Blushers are just all the heart eyed emojis brought to life! I mean just look at it - it's heart shaped and there are bunnies on it!!! It comes in a sturdy shiny plastic compact with a mirror (always a bonus in my book) and the powder has a lovely silky softness to it, yet it's firm enough to avoid loads of fallout when you put your brush into the pan. There's no shimmer with these ones, but the colour manages to avoid looking flat, and this shade Your Love Is King is the most wearable plum-pink blusher that I have in my makeup collection. I found that it didn't live up to its 16-hour wear claim though, but it still managed to stay put for around 8-9 hours which is nothing to complain about in my opinion!

 Too Faced Love Flush Blusher in How Deep Is Your Love?* (6g, £25, link)

How Deep Is Your Love? is a bright watermelon pink that looks bolder in the pan than it translates onto the skin. It's slightly less pigmented than Your Love Is King, but that same silky softness is still there, and it's easy to work with and build up if that's what you want. It's matte, however like Your Love Is King, it doesn't look powdery or flat, and it brightens up my whole face - a good choice for Spring!
Too Faced Love Flush Blusher in How Deep Is Your Love?, Love Flush Blusher in Your Love Is King, Sweethearts Bronzer in Sweet Tea, Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blusher in There's Something About Berry & Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blusher in Candy Glow.
Swatches! From Top to Bottom: Too Faced Love Flush Blusher in How Deep Is Your Love?, Love Flush Blusher in Your Love Is King, Sweethearts Bronzer in Sweet Tea, Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blusher in There's Something About Berry & Sweethearts Perfect Flush Blusher in Candy Glow.

Are you a fan of Too Faced? 
Have you tried any of these?

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Worth The Hype: Tangle Angel Brush review

Monday, 13 February 2017

Tangle Angel Brush
It's no secret that I have a penchant for the macabre, and I love gothic style things (my inner 00s emo kid will forever be with me). This theme doesn't come up all that often in the beauty world, but when I locked my eyes onto this hairbrush, it was love at first sight. Thankfully, it's also a pretty damn amazing brush too, and hairbrushes aren't something that I tend to get excited about!

You may have seen the Tangle Angel Brush on numerous blogs and beauty sites before. It had a lot of hype around it last year when Kim K posed with one in her Wonderland magazine spread, but the main reason that people went ga-ga for it is because it's made by Richard Ward - the celebrity hairstylist who does Kate Middleton's hair, and this is the brush that he uses on her to achieve his famous 'Chelsea Blow Dry'. 

I'm guessing the Duchess probably has it in pink though...
Tangle Angel Brush
Tangle Angel Brush
Aside from its cool angel shaped and moulded wings aesthetics, I've been loving using this brush because it's just so easy to get a flawless looking finish with. So what it makes it different?

Well for starters, its ergonomic shape means that you can get a really good grip on it. The handle is slim, but comfortable to hold without it feeling like it's going to slip out of your hands, and the angel wings part allows you to securely grip it by the body to use it that way. The graduated bristles have a coating on them which makes the brush anti-static so it's goodbye to frizz and flyaways. 

Next up, it's heat resistant (the bristles can withstand temperatures from hairdryers up to 115C) so it's the perfect companion for blow drying, and it's also water-resistant so you can use it in the shower or on wet hair to detangle it. In addition, it has anti-bacterial properties which keep the brush safe and hygienic to use, meaning your hair stays cleaner and looks shinier for longer.

Shiny, frizz-free, Princess hair anyone? Erm, yes please!
Tangle Angel Brush
The Tangle Angel* retails for £14.95 and is available in a variety of colours including Gr8 Graphite shown above. Available direct from tangleangel.com

 What's your favourite hairbrush?

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Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2017: Part Two

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Valentine's Day Gift Guide 2017 Love Lula
The second and final instalment of my Valentine's Day Gift Guide is here, and this part is dedicated to all the loved up green beauties out there who want to share their passion for natural and organic products. Here are my Green Beauty picks just for you!
JOIK White Chocolate Bath Truffles
 For Bathing Beauties: JOIK White Chocolate Bath Truffles* (310g, pack of 6 bath truffles, £10, link

Looking for a chocolate themed gift with a difference? These luxury bath truffles from JOIK are made from 100% natural ingredients and are loaded with skin softening cocoa butter for an indulgent pampering bathtime experience. Best of all though, they smell just like white chocolate so you can get a guilt-free hit of chocolatey goodness and baby soft skin at the same time. Genius! One truffle is all you need to use per bath making them an affordable way to pamper yourself at home.
GK Natural Creations Himalayan Rose Bath Salts
 For Rose & Spa Lovers: GK Natural Creations Himalayan Rose Bath Salts* (300g, £7.50, link)

If you want to avoid gifting a cliched bouquet of roses, but still want something that includes this romantic flower, why not try these bath salts from GK Natural Creations instead. You'll find dried Rose petals mixed with Pink Himalayan Salt crystals which are infused with essential oils of Lavender, Rose Geranium and Grapefruit for a relaxing, spa-like bath. I've been really enjoying using these to help me unwind after a long stressful day and they smell beautiful.
Balm Balm Single Note Eau de Parfum in Petitgrain
 For Natural Perfume Fans: Balm Balm Single Note Eau de Parfum in Petitgrain* (33ml, £22, link)

Last month I raved about how much I'd been loving the single note perfumes from Balm Balm in Ylang Ylang and Mandarin, and on the recommendation of the lovely Sandra from Beauty Balm, I decided to pick up another one in Petitgrain. All of these single note fragrances are just that - a pure and simple perfume that features just one high quality organic essential oil, and you can then layer them with others in the range to create your own individual fragrance or wear them alone and enjoy the natural simplicity of a single note. Petitgrain is an uplifting and relaxing woody fragrance with a hint of citrus. Very versatile and great for everyday.   
Trevarno Organic Handmade Soap Collection
 For Those Who Simply Love High-Quality Soap: Trevarno Organic Handmade Soap Collection* (375g, pack of 5 soaps, £19, link

Solid soap bars are having something of a comeback moment as more and more consumers demand less wasteful and unnecessary packaging from the products that they buy. I've always been a fan of good old-fashioned soap, especially for using to wash my hands with as I feel it sort of defeats the object of cleanliness if your dirty hands are fiddling around with a plastic container that has a pump that decides to stop working after three uses. No thanks, just give me a bar of soap instead and I'll be happy! Introduce someone to the eco-friendly world of soap with this organic handmade collection from Trevarno. Inside, they'll find five SLS-free soaps (Propolis, Lavender & Geranium, Rose & Jojoba, Calendula, and Chamomile), which have all been made with pure and natural ingredients.  
LoveLula Beauty Box
For Subscription Box & Sample Addicts: LoveLula Beauty Box* (£12.50 per month including UK postage, link)

For the gift that keeps on giving, how about a LoveLula beauty box subscription? Each month, your recipient will receive a box packed full of organic and natural beauty products from a vast range of brands that LoveLula stocks on their website. Pictured above are the contents of last month's January beauty box which contained Balm Balm Face Balm (full size), Laidbare Pack Your Bags Eye Cream (full size), REN EverCalm Day Cream (15ml travel size), John Masters Organics Evening Primrose Shampoo (60ml travel size), and Apple & Bears Body Silk (50ml travel size). The overall value of the box was £37 making it a great value for money option for green beauty fans looking to try out some new products.

*All of the gifts above are available from LoveLula.com and have been personally chosen by myself as part of the LoveLula Blogger Program.

Check out Part One of my Valentine's Day Gift Guide here

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