Green Beauty: Weleda's #CleanerBeauty Campaign + 5 Ways To Spring Clean Your Everyday Beauty Routine

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Weleda's #CleanerBeauty Campaign
One of my favourite green beauty brands Weleda, has recently launched a Cleaner Beauty Campaign and I'm thrilled to be involved as one of their Ambassadors to help spread the word!

Green beauty, organic beauty, natural beauty, vegan beauty, clean beauty - call it what you like, there has been a huge growing demand from consumers for beauty products that are 'cleaner', but what does this actually mean?

Weleda's Cleaner Beauty Campaign
To put across one brand's point of view, Weleda have launched their Cleaner Beauty campaign to raise further awareness about this topic, and to help open up discussions about the many definitions that surround natural beauty and what it all means in general. I've been using Weleda products for years (one of my first ever proper blog posts was a review of their amazing Pomegranate Creamy Body Wash way back in 2012 - you can check it out here!) and as they have been promoting clean beauty since 1921, I'd say they're in a pretty good position to start us off in the right direction.

Jayn Sterland, Managing Director of Weleda UK, says: “For Weleda, cleaner beauty is about taking a complete holistic approach to your personal care routine, minimising the impact on the world around us and strengthening mind, body and spirit. Consumers are becoming more informed in the choices they make, highlighting their desire for the principles Weleda have held true for over 90 years. Whether it’s through the natural products we develop, our commitment to sustainability, biodynamic cultivation, nurturing our team of Wellbeing Advisors or pioneering in ethical practices, cleaner beauty runs through everything we do, and it always has”. You can read more about the campaign here.

Weleda's #CleanerBeauty Campaign
What Cleaner Beauty Means To Me
My viewpoint on cleaner beauty is very similar. I love the holistic approach and tying everything together because it makes a lot more sense that way, and I feel that when people see it linked like that, it helps them to fully understand it on a deeper level. I'm not 100% green or 'clean' with the beauty products that I use, but I've become more interested in the subject over the years, and especially since I've been studying Environmental Science and Social Policy at Uni. It's been fascinating to read about the natural properties of ingredients that have been used for centuries all around the world, and how often man-made ingredients haven't always been useful or beneficial replacements.

At the same time though, I've become increasingly frustrated with the lack of regulations in place in the beauty industry, which have allowed many unethical brands to hoodwink consumers via greenwashing (a marketing term used to deceptively promote the perception that an organization's products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly when they are not). This is why I strongly believe in certifications from independent bodies/associations on products so that consumers know who they can trust. For example, all of Weleda’s natural and organic cosmetics are NATRUE certified, and their products are also free from artificial additives such as synthetic fragrances, GMO ingredients, mineral oils, silicones and petroleum derivatives. If a brand doesn't have any certifications and doesn't properly list what they're free from, I'd suggest doing some more digging before buying from them. After all, there's nothing worse than thinking your hard earned cash is going towards something 'good' when it turns out to be the complete opposite!

Weleda's #CleanerBeauty Campaign
5 Ways To Spring Clean Your Everyday Beauty Routine With Cleaner Products

Want to get involved with cleaner beauty, but don't know where to start? Here are 5 tips to help you give your everyday beauty routine a spring clean!
  • Start with just three products. Think about three products that you use every single day; this might be shampoo, toothpaste and deodorant. Check the labels and if you don't like what you see, switch these three products to a cleaner alternative brand. This gives you a good starting point and allows you to experiment with some new products without overwhelming you.
  • Look out for certifications. Certifications are one of the easiest ways to see if what you're buying is the real thing. For example, if a product says 'organic' on the front, check to see if there is an organic accreditation from an organisation such as the Soil Association, NATRUE or EcoCert etc. If there isn't, question why or don't buy!
  • Do your own research. If you're reading this, you probably have internet access and a computer or a smartphone/tablet, so start to do your own research into ingredients and what you personally want to avoid using in your everyday beauty products. Concerned about parabens? Look into the natural alternatives. Only want to buy vegan? Search for vegan-friendly brands and find some new favourites.
  • Don't bin your unused products, donate them instead. There's always a desire to automatically bin everything that you own and buy a clean version instead, but throwing away unused products only adds to the growing landfill/waste problem. Either use them up yourself, give them to a friend or relative, or donate them to a charity like Beauty Banks who distribute beauty products via food banks to those who can't afford to buy them (this helps to fight hygiene poverty). Local charity shops will gladly accept toiletries and makeup as donations as well.
  • Use Facebook Swap groups and eBay to keep switching costs down. Buying cleaner beauty products can often be more expensive than purchasing the ones from mainstream brands because using things like organic ingredients costs more money for the manufacturers to use. Keep your personal costs down when switching by using swap groups on Facebook to swap your existing products with cleaner ones, or have a look at second-hand sites like eBay and Depop when you want to buy cleaner alternatives for a cheaper price (or sell the products that you no longer want on there). 
Weleda's #CleanerBeauty Campaign
Photographed: Weleda Luxury Three Drawer Gift Set* retails for £32 and contains 15 try me/travel size products - available from weleda.co.uk

Are you interested in switching to more cleaner beauty products?

Women's Health: LIVIA 'The Off Switch For Menstrual/Period Pain' - 3 Month Trial Review

Thursday, 17 May 2018

LIVIA 'The Off Switch For Menstrual Pain' - 3 Month Trial Review
Period pain is something that affects a huge percentage of menstruating women, and levels of its severity and impact on day-to-day life can vary from woman to woman - there's no singular pain factor that's the same for everyone. 

My experience with Period Pain
Some women can go through much of their adult lives and not have their periods bother them that much, but for others, they can be absolutely awful, and I've struggled a lot with severe period pain ever since I started menstruating at the age of 11. I remember having to take a lot of time off school because the pain was so bad, and after countless trips to the GP, I was simply told to take some higher-strength Ibuprofen and basically 'get over it'. For the first couple of years, this seemed to work to some degree as it dulled the worst of it, but by the time I was 16/17, my body had built up a tolerance to both high-strength Paracetamol and Ibuprofen, to the point where they no longer did anything and I still have issues with them doing nothing for me to this day.

At college, a friend recommended that I visit her female GP who was more understanding of these issues, so I requested a transfer and was accepted at her surgery. She asked me a lot of questions about the pain and prescribed Mefenamic Acid, an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) which worked wonders! It even helped with my heavy periods and I felt happier than I had done in years. My periods were no longer a problem, until two years later, when the Mefenamic Acid suddenly stopped working. The crippling period pain was back, so I made an appointment and saw the same GP, who then prescribed Naproxen, a different type of painkiller. I had a lot of side effects from it (heartburn, nausea, headaches etc) and eventually stopped taking it after five months when I started to get heart palpitations. The GP suggested trying Mefenamic Acid again which I did, but it no longer worked for me. That was the point where she shook her head and suggested I look at alternative methods, as I had exhausted all of the options that she knew of.

LIVIA 'The Off Switch For Menstrual Pain' - 3 Month Trial Review
Here's Livia in action - the gel pads are slightly higher up than usual as I was getting more pain in those areas on the day that I took this photo, but you can adjust them to wherever you need them to be and you can use them on your lower back as well.

I've done a lot of Googling and chatting to other women over the years, and have tried so many different methods to manage the severity of my period pain. These include exercising more, acupuncture, diet changes, different painkillers, taking different versions of the Pill, and even trying hypnotherapy. Some helped more than others, but none of them had a noticeable impact.

Last year, I came across a news story online about a new drug-free solution to period pain called Livia. The startup business behind it had successfully crowdfunded over $1.7 million dollars via Indiegogo, which perhaps gives you a good indicator of how many women worldwide have been looking for an alternative like this!  

What is Livia and How Does It Work?
Livia is basically a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) device which works as a pain management treatment system by using electrotherapy. The device is composed of a rechargeable unit which sends light electrical pulses into the body through the skin via two electrodes which are placed over the areas where you're experiencing the pain. This means that the high-frequency electrical signals sent out by the device effectively 'blocks out' the pain signals and stops them from being delivered to your brain, so that you no longer 'feel' the pain. Low-frequency bursts of mild electrotherapy also help to activate the natural pain control response that we all have, by releasing additional beta-endorphins - pretty clever stuff eh?

How Do I Use It? 
The first thing you'll need to do is charge the Livia unit for 12 hours before using (it's easy to charge it via a USB or phone charger). Once charged, you simply attach it to the waistband of your trousers/skirt etc, and plug in the electrodes which are attached to flower-shaped gel pads. Stick these onto the area where you're feeling pain, making sure that they're at least 10-15 cm apart in distance, and then switch Livia on. You can increase and decrease the strength as you wish by pressing the plus and minus buttons. There's no time limit for how long you can use it for, but I found it most effective for around 15-20 minutes as the effects continue for a little while afterwards. As always, I recommend reading the instructions in full before using any new device.

What Does It Feel Like?
I tried out the lowest setting first and it felt like a series of gentle, small vibrations. It's a little strange at first, but definitely not painful. As I adjusted to the higher settings, the vibrations get more intense of course, so I'd suggest working your way up to them, rather than going straight in at the deep end. That said, once you get used to the sensation of it, you quickly realise that it's not painful - it just feels weird to begin with!

LIVIA 'The Off Switch For Menstrual Pain' - 3 Month Trial Review
Did It Work For Me?
I tested out Livia for three months to see if the results or feelings would change from period to period, and I found that it was pretty consistent throughout. I get the most period pain during the first three days of my period and I found that Livia definitely helped with the severity of the cramps. However, it didn't make them go away completely and I still experienced some moderate pain during those first three days each time, though it was a lot less than I usually felt. If you have milder period pain, it may eliminate all of that, but as a severe pain sufferer, I'd say it helped to reduce the pain by about 50-60% to give you a rough idea, though I appreciate that we're all different with our pain levels.

Overall Thoughts?
Livia is by no means the miracle product that I desperately wanted it to be, but it has certainly helped me to discover a much better method of period pain management and I'm thrilled that it's something that women can try which is a drug-free option. I strongly believe that many young girls and women are taking far too many painkillers on a regular basis for period pain, which can result in a tolerance being built up that may have problematic consequences for them later in their lives (I know it has done this for me), so I fully support any methods that could help to reduce that dependency. 

I do feel that Livia is very expensive for what it is though, and you could probably find a similar TENS device for a much cheaper price (you must factor in purchasing additional gel pads etc). But for those who have the budget for it, it's a wonderfully convenient piece of kit to have in your handbag, ready to blast away those pesky cramps so that you can get on with your day.

LIVIA* is currently on offer as a complete kit for £119 (original price £149) and is available direct from mylivia.com

Would you use a product like this for period pain?

New In Beauty: Living Nature Ultimate Day Oil review

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Living Nature Ultimate Day Oil review
Launched last month, Living Nature's newest release, Ultimate Day Oil, is a Summer must-have that all skin types can enjoy.

You guys know how much I love a good quality face oil and my collection of them has grown considerably over the past few years. I always used to shy away from face oils due to my oily/combination skin, but they are honestly one of the best products that I've ever incorporated into my skincare routine, partly because they help to balance the skin so that it produces less oil over the long term - clever stuff eh?!

The latest face oil that I've been testing out for the past 4/5 weeks now is from the certified natural brand, Living Nature, whose products I've featured on here many times. Their new Ultimate Day Oil comes packaged in a beautiful frosted red glass bottle (the product is a regular yellow oil colour inside) and contains a blend of certified organic oils including Rosehip, Evening Primrose and Calendula. Packed full of natural fatty acids and antioxidants, Ultimate Day Oil is far more than just a regular facial oil as you can also use it anywhere on the body (it works wonders for dry areas like cuticles, as well as damaged and scarred skin, so it's a good one to try on stretch marks and acne scars), making it a multi-purpose must-have for your Summer holiday bag.  

Personally though, I've been mainly enjoying it as an anti-ageing treatment in the evenings to give my skin a rejuvenating boost as the ingredients can help to minimise fine lines and wrinkles, as well as providing essential daily hydration. I love how smooth and soft my skin feels after using this and it's brilliant as a facial massage oil too. As with all oils, you only need 2-3 drops per application and it absorbs nicely into the skin without any greasy or sticky feeling afterwards. If you're looking for a new facial oil to try out for Summer and like the idea of one that you can use on the body as well, definitely give this a go. Vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and certified natural by BDIH.

Living Nature Ultimate Day Oil* (30ml, £30) is available from various stockists including mypure.co.uk

Do you use facial oils?

Foodie Friday: Chocolate Protein Pancakes (Vegetarian recipe)

Friday, 11 May 2018

Chocolate Protein Pancakes (Vegetarian recipe)
With Summer just around the corner, I've been trying to fit in some more exercise sessions to tone up, and I'm now including more protein in my daily diet to help build up and repair my muscles. These Chocolate Protein Pancakes are one of my favourite ways to up my protein intake and they are super easy to make.

As much as I'm interested in health and fitness, there's one thing that I can't stand (actually there's quite a few, but let's keep on track here), and that's protein shakes. I've tried a lot of different brands and flavours and nope, I'd still rather eat my protein, rather than drink it! So what's a protein shake-hating girl to do? Make Protein Pancakes of course!

These pancakes are ridiculously easy to make and they really help to refuel your body after a sweaty HIIT workout. They also feel like more of a 'treat', so if you're finding healthy food boring or are tiring of the ultra-dry taste of most protein enhanced snacks, give these a go instead. You can use any kind of Chocolate flavour protein powder that you like, but if you fancy switching it up, why not try a different flavour like Vanilla or Strawberry? Top with fresh seasonal fruit and you're set for the day.

Chocolate Protein Pancakes (Vegetarian recipe)
Ingredients: (makes 2-4 pancakes depending on how big/thick you want them)
  • 2 Bananas (very ripe ones work best)
  • 2 scoops of Chocolate flavour Protein Powder (I used Prana Protein)
  • 2 Free-Range Eggs
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • Fresh Fruit (optional to serve)
  • Honey or Agave Nectar (optional to serve)

Method:
  • Roughly chop up the Bananas and add them to a blender with the Eggs and Protein Powder. Blend until you get a mostly smooth, batter-like consistency.
  • Heat the Coconut Oil in a frying pan and pour out the pancake mix into your desired portion sizes. Cook the pancakes for a minute or two on each side.
  • Transfer to a plate and serve with Fresh Fruit and a drizzle of Honey. Enjoy! 

Chocolate Protein Pancakes (Vegetarian recipe)

Do you prefer to drink or eat your protein?

Summer Fragrances: Pacifica Perfume Roll-On - Waikiki Pikake, Island Vanilla, Tuscan Blood Orange & Hawaiian Ruby Guava review

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Pacifica Perfume Roll-On - Waikiki Pikake, Island Vanilla, Tuscan Blood Orange & Hawaiian Ruby Guava review
Looking for a new Summer fragrance? Or simply want to find something travel-friendly to pop into your suitcase for your holiday this year? Look no further, Pacifica's range of Perfume Roll Ons will keep you smelling sweet and fresh all Summer long!

Pacifica are one of those amazing brands that seem to do a bit of everything; from makeup to body care, to soaps and candles, they inject a fun and vibrant vibe into all of their products. Based in Portland, Oregon in the USA, Pacifica are one of the most popular and affordable brands on the green beauty scene. Their colourful ranges are inspired by travel and adventure, and all of their products are natural, handmade, cruelty-free and suitable for vegans, as well as being free from lead, parabens, mineral oils, GMOs and phthalates. 

The brand are most famous for their unique fragrances which can be easily found across many of their main product lines, and I've had my eye on their Perfume Roll Ons for a while now. These are made using a base of natural, pure grain-derived alcohol, which is blended with a little water and a mix of essential oils. With Summer on the way, I decided to pick up these four scents to try out. 

Pacifica Perfume Roll-On - Waikiki Pikake, Island Vanilla, Tuscan Blood Orange & Hawaiian Ruby Guava review
Pacifica Perfume Roll-On in Waikiki Pikake*
Waikiki Pikake is described as a homage to the lush wooded and flowered paradise that represented old Hawaii, and this fragrance is a beautiful fresh floral with a woody undertone to it. Notes of exotic Jasmine are the most dominant here, but there's a lovely warming Sandalwood base which helps to balance it out.

Pacifica Perfume Roll-On in Island Vanilla*
Vanilla fans will adore Island Vanilla which is one of the nicest 'sweet' scents that I've come across in a long time! I was worried it would be a little cloying at first, as it starts off quite strong when you initially apply it, but it soon dries down to a sultry, sexy, floral Vanilla fragrance that would be perfect to wear on hot Summer nights.

Pacifica Perfume Roll-On in Tuscan Blood Orange*
If you like bright, fresh and citrusy scents, Tuscan Blood Orange is a must-have. Featuring a blend of zesty Orange and Italian Mandarin, it's a comforting and sophisticated perfume which helps to lift your mood and always make me feel like I've got an extra spring in my step.

Pacifica Perfume Roll-On in Hawaiian Ruby Guava*
My personal favourite scent out of these four though is definitely Hawaiian Ruby Guava which literally smells like a tropical paradise. The fresh, fruity, juicy Guava notes are obviously the strongest in here, but there are also some underlying hints of Coconut which adds to the overall exotic island vibe. Delicious! 

Overall thoughts?
These Perfume Roll-Ons are a great way to try out Pacifica's signature fragrances and they are super convenient to pop into your bag. They all start off quite strong at first, so don't be put off when you apply them as they do dry down nicely to a more subtle fragrance within a matter of minutes. Being natural perfumes, they're not as long-lasting as mainstream brands, but the handy roll-on applicator means that it takes no time at all to re-apply them throughout the day. Having tried out these four, I definitely want to try all of the other scents!


Pacifica Perfume Roll-Ons (10ml, £12 each) are available in the UK from LoveLula.com. If you like these scents, you can also purchase them in full-size bottles, as well as in solid perfume tins.

Have you tried any of these fragrances from Pacifica?

QVC The Big Deal Offer: A'kin Skincare Hydration Collection review

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

A'kin Skincare Hydration Collection review
I've been a fan of the Australian natural skincare brand A'kin for a long time now, and I recently featured some of the many ways that I use their amazing Rosehip Oil in my routine. There's a lot more to A'kin than just their superstar oil though, so I wanted to share this fantastic offer from QVC on their Skincare Hydration Collection.

I don't know about you, but my skin is feeling a bit parched after that recent Bank Holiday heatwave (which was absolutely glorious wasn't it?!), and if yours is also in need some of essential hydration, this four-piece skincare set will be right up your street! 

Comprising of some of A'kin's bestsellers, it's a great value-for-money way to try out the brand, and all of the products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free and free from a long list of 'nasties', e.g there's no sulphates, parabens, silicones, PEGs, phthalates, mineral oil, artificial colours or synthetic fragrances, which makes them suitable for all skin types to use. In the Skincare Hydration Collection, you'll receive all of the following:-

A'kin Skincare Hydration Collection review
A'kin Certified Organic Rosehip Oil (20ml)
Certified organic by COSMOS, this 100% natural Rosehip Oil contains a minimum concentration of 80% essential fatty acids (Omega 3, 6 & 9), to give your skin an ultra-hydrating and nourishing boost. There are just two ingredients in this concentrated formula; pure Rosehip Oil and a small amount of Rosemary Leaf Extract to further boost its antioxidant content. This multi-purpose oil can be used in various ways; massage a few drops on the face after cleansing as a hydrating treatment, or rub a little into any dry skin area like cuticles and knuckles to give them some instantly softening TLC (check out my post here on my top 5 ways to use Rosehip Oil).

A'kin Cleansing Micellar Water (150ml)
Remove all of the day's dirt, impurities and make-up with this super easy to use natural micellar water which is infused with Organic Coconut Water, Green Tea, Cucumber and Lavender extracts. Soap-free and pH balanced, this is one of the most gentle micellar waters that I've tried, yet it does a brilliant job and feels nice and refreshing on the skin. I love using this as a quick first cleanse (just pour onto a cotton wool pad and sweep over the face), on days when I'm wearing mineral-based makeup as it removes all of this in less than two minutes.

A'kin Hydrating Mist Toner (30ml)
No hydrating skincare set would be complete without a refreshing toner and this travel-size bottle will be perfect for throwing into your handbag or suitcase this Summer. Like the Micellar Water above, the Hydrating Mist Toner is also infused with Organic Coconut Water and Green Tea, and it feels so lovely to use, especially on a hot day! Simply spritz all over the face as part of your regular skincare routine or whenever your skin needs an instant shot of hydration.

A'kin Hydrating Antioxidant Day Cream (50ml)   
To finish off the collection, there's a full-size Hydrating Antioxidant Day Cream which is worth £20 on its own! Packed full of ingredients such as Coconut Water, Aloe, Macadamia Oil, Shea Butter, Niacinamide, Olive Fruit Oil and Rosemary Leaf extract, this day cream has a gorgeous texture that absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving it feeling softer, plumped up, thoroughly hydrated and protected against the elements. You can also easily skip using a primer as this works so well underneath makeup, creating a super smooth base for a flawless look.

 A'kin Skincare Hydration Collection* is currently The Big Deal offer on QVC for one week only priced at just £29.98 - strictly whilst stocks last! 

Have you tried anything from A'kin?

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