Green Beauty: 5 Natural & Organic Lip Balms To Try (All Under £5)

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Green Beauty: 5 Natural Lip Balms To Try
Lip balm is an absolute beauty essential for me. I have countless tubes in every bag, every drawer, and on most surfaces scattered about in my bedroom. In my stash, I have an assortment of various brands and flavours, but there is one thing that unites all the lip balms that I own together.

None of them contains any mineral oil or any other petroleum derivatives. 

I used to religiously use Vaseline on my lips throughout my teens because everyone else that I knew did, and I had no idea why my lips still cracked or felt dry. I thought it was because I wasn't using enough of it, so I'd apply more and more just to stop my lips from feeling dry all the time. As those little round tins of Vaseline were always cheap in Boots, I never really properly thought about it until I started beauty blogging. I finally ditched the Vaseline for good a couple of years ago and I've bought natural based lip balms ever since.

I can definitely say that my lips are much, much happier! Some people can use products with mineral oil in and have no problems with it, but for me, things like Vaseline just didn't work in the long term, and when something doesn't work, it's time for a change! 

I've tried out a LOT of organic and natural lip balms over the years and I've become somewhat addicted to buying them. Below are just five that I'd recommend if you're looking for a new natural based lip balm to keep your lips smooth and hydrated.
Green Beauty: 5 Natural Lip Balms To Try
Hurraw! Chai Spice Lip Balm* (4.3g, £4.99, link)
Hurraw! are one of my all time favourite lip balms brands. They have a huge range of different flavours available where you can pick up anything from Root Beer to Earl Grey, and all the ones that I've tried have tasted pretty damn good. Of course, flavour isn't everything with a lip balm, and I'm happy to report that the vegan-friendly formulas of these are just fantastic. They're made from all natural, raw, organic and fair trade ingredients comprised of a blend plant-based oils and waxes for soft, moisturised lips every time. I also love the curved oval shape of the balm which fits the contours of my mouth perfectly for easy on-the-go application.

Skin & Tonic Peppermint Lip Balm* (4.3g, £3.50, link)
British brand Skin & Tonic have created an excellent peppermint lip balm that's 100% natural and 100% organic (Soil Association accredited) for a bargain price and it shares the same cool oval shape as the Hurraw! lip balm above. It's made with just four ingredients; Shea Butter, Beeswax, Coconut Oil and Peppermint Oil, so if you're looking for a simple and fuss-free natural lip balm, give this one a go.

Naked Lips Organic Lip Balm in Superfruits* (4.25g, £4, link)
Naked Lips are a recent green beauty discovery for me and I've been really enjoying this lip balm in the Superfruits flavour. They have a good range of flavours and carry some tinted lip balms as well in various shades which look great if you want a sheer wash of colour on your lips. Their formulas are 100% natural and 97% organic (Eco-cert certified) and feature a mixed base of natural oils and waxes blended with Vitamin E and antioxidant ingredients.

Epic Blend More Moisture Lip Balm in Grape* (4.2g, £3.99, link)
If you have extremely dry or cracked lips that need a super strength lip balm, check out this one. Epic Blend offers some special 'more moisture' formulas alongside their regular lip balms, and these are perfect for anyone who is battling with the drying effects of Winter. The More Moisture lip balm is packed full organic ingredients such as Cocoa Butter, Beeswax, Coconut Oil and Shea Butter, plus this grape flavour smells and tastes amazing!

Fairfield Gardens Lip Balm in Raspberry Rose* (4.25g, £3.89, link)
My final recommendation for this post comes from the British brand Fairfield Gardens who use a mix of organic beeswax, plant oils, pure essential oils and botanical extracts in their balms. They source at least 80% of their ingredients from the UK to minimise their carbon footprint for a more eco-friendly lip balm. I like this flavour Raspberry Rose as it's a classic fruity-floral coupled with a moisturising balm texture.

What are your favourite natural and organic lip balms?

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New In Beauty: DHC Quick Film Smoother, Gel Pencil Eyeliners EX & Coenzyme Q10 Sheet Mask review

Monday, 20 February 2017

DHC Quick Film Smoother, Gel Pencil Eyeliners & Q10 Sheet Mask review
Cult Japanese brand DHC, released some new skincare and makeup products last month and I've been busy testing them out.

I have a major soft spot for anything Japanese (Tokyo is still one of my favourite cities that I've had the pleasure of visiting and I desperately want to go back!), and DHC are probably one of the easiest Japanese brands to buy over here in the UK. Their Deep Cleansing Oil is a fantastic oil-based makeup remover which removes everything (and I mean everything!) and I regularly see many of their other skincare products popping up on my Instagram feed.

But anyway, let's check out these shiny new products, shall we?
DHC Quick Film Smoother
 DHC Quick Film Smoother* (25g, £17.50, link)

The Quick Film Smoother is a light moisturiser with a primary aim of reducing the appearance of fine lines by plumping them up and softening them, and it also gives the skin a bit of extra moisture. It uses key ingredients such as ESM (Egg Shell Membrane) Peptides to give an immediate smoothing effect, Seaweed extract to instantly lift, and a Soybean Protein complex to draw in moisture and help protect the skin's elasticity through long term use. 

As I'm still in my twenties, I don't have any wrinkles yet, but I do have some fine lines around my eyes from staring at screens all day and this does work on those to gently smooth them out. It seems to be more of a temporary quick fix though because as soon as I wash my face in the evening, the fine lines are back. However, I much prefer to use this product as a makeup primer as it helps to create a nice smooth surface, and the light gel cream texture feels great. Mature skins will definitely appreciate this more, but I will happily keep it in my makeup bag as a primer.
DHC Gel Pencil Eyeliners EX in Black & Brown
DHC Gel Pencil Eyeliners EX in Black & Brown
 DHC Gel Pencil Eyeliners EX in Black & Brown* (0.1g, £9.50 each, link)

I wasn't aware that DHC even had a makeup range until these new eyeliners arrived, and if they're anything to go by, I'll definitely be checking out some more from them! I use gel eyeliners probably as much as I use liquid ones, and these are really good. These twist-up liners apply smoothly and they don't smudge or budge for a good 7-8 hours which is impressive for me as I have quite oily eyelids, so they may last longer on you if you don't have this problem. The tips are small and fine so they're great to use for tight-lining to achieve a precise finish, and I personally love using them on my lower waterline when I'm in the mood for a smokey eye.

I've tried out both the brown and the black shades, and I have to say that the brown is more richly pigmented with one swipe than the black, but the black is still strong and it's great to build up for a more dramatic evening look.
DHC Gel Pencil Eyeliners EX in Black & Brown swatches
 DHC Gel Pencil Eyeliners EX in Black & Brown
DHC Coenzyme Q10 Sheet Mask
DHC Coenzyme Q10 Sheet Mask* (1 mask, £4.50, link)

You guys all know that I love sheet masks so I always get excited when I get the chance to try out a new one. I've used some other sheet masks from DHC before and they were just OK, but this newbie definitely gets a thumbs up from me. The Coenzyme Q10 mask is mainly for moisturising, firming and targeting fine lines and wrinkles, yet I feel that anyone who has dry or dehydrated skin will see a positive result from using this, regardless of your age. 

It's formulated with Coenzyme Q10, a popular and powerful antioxidant enzyme which has been proven to help support the production of collagen and fight free radical damage, whilst Vitamins C & E have been included for brightness and hydration. I've only tried this mask once, but after 20 minutes, my skin felt instantly smoother and softer. Oddly enough though, I noticed that the results became better and more visible a few hours later, as I began to see a bigger difference in how plumped up and hydrated my skin was. A good one to try if you love moisturising sheet masks!

Have you tried anything from DHC?

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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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