Introducing: ESSE Skincare - Probiotic Serum+, Ultra Moisturiser, Eye Contour Cream+ & Cocoa Exfoliator review

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

ESSE Skincare - Probiotic Serum, Ultra Moisturiser, Eye Contour Cream & Cocoa Exfoliator review
Probiotic skincare has been one of the biggest trends in the skincare world lately, and with its strong emphasis on skin health, it's been one that I've been welcoming with open arms.

What is Probiotic Skincare?
When I think of probiotics, I immediately think of their role in helping to maintain a healthy gut e.g via consuming yoghurt that contains probiotics. I'm sure most of us have heard about the importance of having lots of 'good bacteria' in our stomach which keeps everything happy and balanced, and in a rather simplified way, this is what probiotic skincare effectively does. It helps to support the microbes, keeping a good balance going which is essential for healthy and glowing skin.

What are the Benefits of Probiotic Skincare?
There are trillions of microbes living on and in your skin (each human cell has at least 10 microbes, so it's easy to see how they all add up!), so it's important to maintain a healthy balance as the right amount of good microbes can help to slow down the visible signs of ageing. This is the area that probiotic skincare really excels in - anti-ageing, as these specific skincare formulas help to "create an environment on the skin that favours the growth of beneficial microbes so that they can out-compete pro-ageing species", leaving your skin looking more radiant and younger for longer.

There are a handful of high-end skincare brands who are leading the way with scientific breakthroughs about how microbes work, and South Africa's organic brand ESSE is a key player in the skincare industry thanks to their investments and research into how probiotics can help to slow down the ageing process. I've tested out a couple of ESSE's bestsellers below to demonstrate how you can incorporate probiotic skincare into your own daily skincare routine.

ESSE Skincare - Probiotic Serum, Ultra Moisturiser, Eye Contour Cream & Cocoa Exfoliator review
ESSE Probiotic Serum+* (30ml, £96, link
For those who take their skincare seriously and have the cash to splash, a serum is always a worthy investment and the one product that I personally tend to spend the most money on. Why? The overall composition of a good serum lends itself to being better absorbed by the skin than other skincare products, so a high-quality serum in your skincare routine can really make a big difference, giving you the most noticeable results in both the short and long term.

ESSE's Probiotic Serum+ is the most expensive serum that I've had the pleasure of trying out and it's been named the 'world’s first live probiotic serum' thanks to its highly innovative BIOME+ technology which contains 1 billion live probiotics per millilitre that are activated by the moisture on your skin. It feels rich and oil based, and is incredibly nourishing and hydrating due to the Jojoba Seed Oil, Shea Butter and Marula Oil in the formula. ESSE state that this serum is suitable for all skin types, however, I think oilier skin types may find this too rich as it really does pack a punch when it comes to plumping up and hydrating the skin. I've trialled this serum for just over three weeks now, using it in the evenings, and my skin has definitely started to feel much smoother and firmer. It's such a pleasure to use and I'll be sure update my thoughts when I finish the bottle in a future empties post.

ESSE Skincare - Probiotic Serum, Ultra Moisturiser, Eye Contour Cream & Cocoa Exfoliator review
ESSE Ultra Moisturiser* (50ml, £52, link)
ESSE's Ultra Moisturiser is described as a super-rich treatment 'to feed and satisfy the most thirsty of skins', so if you have very dry skin, this may be one to add to your shopping list so that you can fully protect your skin during the colder months ahead. It contains active ingredients such as Rooibos Extract (a potent antioxidant to fight premature ageing), Grape Seed Extract (to help improve the production of healthy collagen and elastin), high levels of LMW Hyaluronic Acid (to drastically improve hydration naturally) and Kigelia (to lighten age spots and even skin tone), in addition to probiotics for the ultimate anti-ageing powerhouse. Sadly, this moisturiser was far too rich for my combination skin type, but I've passed it onto my mum who has very dry, post-menopausal skin and it's been working wonders for her. It's been amazing to see such a visible improvement in the texture of her skin, so she's very happy with it!

ESSE Eye Contour Cream+* (15ml, £99, link)
Finding a good quality eye cream that makes a difference is the holy grail for skincare lovers, and this one is definitely in my top 3 favourite eye creams that I've ever used. Designed as 'an all-round' eye cream, this multi-tasking superstar aims to address all of the most common concerns such as crow's feet, puffiness and dark circles. In conjunction with the probiotic Lactobacillus Ferment, it uses some incredibly interesting and innovative ingredients such as Bellis Extract (helps to significantly lighten dark rings by inhibiting tyrosinase production and reducing melanin) Albizia Extract and Darutoside (to protect and strengthen the dermis, helping to reduce puffiness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles). A little goes a very long way, and like the rest of these products, I've been using it for just over three weeks. Since then, I've noticed that my eye area feels super smooth and a little firmer, plus my eyes are much less puffy in the mornings, but I've yet to see an improvement in my dark circles yet. Only time will tell I guess!

ESSE Cocoa Exfoliator* (50ml, £30, link) 
If you love chocolate/cocoa, you'll love this gentle but effective manual exfoliator - it honestly smells good enough to eat! Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, this exfoliator is rich in Cocoa Powder that's blended with a range of nourishing natural oils such as Coconut Oil, Sesame Seed Oil, Marula Oil and Manketti Seed Oil, to give the skin a deep cleanse and polish. Cocoa is rich in antioxidants, helping to boost skin circulation and this is fantastic to use first thing in the morning to wake up the skin! My skin feels as soft as a newborn baby after using this and looks much more radiant too.

Overall thoughts?
ESSE's organic and probiotic skincare is not cheap, but given the level of investment and research that's gone into the formulas, plus their use of certified organic and fair-trade ingredients, I feel that their products are at a price point that is comparable to some popular mainstream brands who invest far less. Definitely a brand to check out if you're looking to try some new high-tech, anti-ageing skincare that's also natural and organic.

Shop the full range of ESSE Skincare via esseskincare.co.uk and lovelula.com

Have you tried any probiotic skincare before?

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Green Beauty: All Naturals Traditional Handmade Soaps review

Monday, 25 September 2017

All Naturals Traditional Handmade Soaps review
Soap is woefully underrated in my opinion, so it's great to see this staple coming back into our bathrooms. Lots of brands have been championing the humble bar of soap recently, including All Naturals who are set to launch in Boots within the next month.

All Naturals are a British brand who make all of their soaps by hand in Nottingham using an eco-friendly and traditional cold-pressed method. Founded by Julita Geary back in 2014, All Naturals was born as a way to find something natural that she could use on both her own and her daughter's eczema. She began experimenting with different formulas in her kitchen at home, and discovered the many benefits of using key ingredients such as Olive Oil and Coconut Oil to alleviate the symptoms of eczema. The formulas worked and All Naturals quickly began to expand, creating soaps for a range of common sensitive skin problems and for babies too.

All Naturals soaps are formulated without any of the following ingredients:-
  • No animal ingredients
  • No Genetically Modified ingredients
  • No synthetic colouring
  • No SLES, SLS or Parabens
  • No BPA plastic
  • No Methylisothiazolinone (MI)
  • No Preservatives
  • No Silicones
  • No PEG Propylene
  • No Detergent
  • No Alcohol
To celebrate the upcoming launch into Boots, I was kindly sent some soaps to try out:-

All Naturals Traditional Handmade Soaps review
All Naturals Traditional Handmade Soap in Spectacular Jasmine
My favourite of the three, Spectacular Jasmine instantly appealed to me as I absolutely love Jasmine scents and this soap smells incredible. It's formulated with a blend of high-quality natural oils and butters such as Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Palm Oil, Glycerin, Sunflower Seed Oil, Castor Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Jojoba Oil, Rosehip Oil, Cocoa Seed Butter, Beeswax and Vitamin E. It also contains Parfum near the very end of the Inci list which I was a little concerned about, but I haven't had any issues with it upsetting my eczema so far. This soap feels lovely and creamy on the skin, and the scent really lingers afterwards which I love.

All Naturals Traditional Handmade Soap in Skin Soothing Honeysuckle
Suitable for all types of skin, Skin Soothing Honeysuckle uses the same soap base as the Jasmine one above, but has a fresh and uplifting Honeysuckle scent instead. It does smell a little 'powdery' to my nose though, and is something that I prefer using as a hand soap, rather than all over my body in the shower. As it has the same base ingredients, it feels just as moisturising and creamy as the Jasmine soap, which is great for dry skin. Again it does contain Parfum at the end, but I haven't had any problems with it.

All Naturals Traditional Handmade Soap in Lemon and Spearmint
This one's been made especially for oily and/or acne-prone skin and whilst it has the same soap base ingredients as the other two, it also contains added Aloe Vera, Kaolin, Allantoin and Lemon and Spearmint Essential Oils (this formula is parfum-free). These extra ingredients really help to absorb excess sebum, rebalance and deep cleanse the skin, for a more purifying experience. I haven't used this on my face, but it works a treat for tackling 'backne' as my housemate can testify to!

All Naturals Traditional Handmade Soaps review
Overall Thoughts?
I really like these soaps, especially the Jasmine and Lemon & Spearmint ones. They do a huge range so I'm sure you'll find something that you love. My only criticisms are the use of Parfum in some of the soaps and the use of Palm Oil in the base formula, as although it's a natural ingredient, there are many in the green beauty world who disagree with its usage due to its links to deforestation and habitat loss. However, All Naturals have stated that they "carefully sourced all our oils from sustainable organic plantations and in the case of palm oil from accredited organic, RSPO-certified sustainable plantations". So it all depends on your personal preferences!

All Naturals Soaps* (100g, £4.99 each) are currently available via allnaturals.com

Do you use soap?

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Currently Loving: RMS Beauty Mod Collection Palette - Review & Swatches

Sunday, 24 September 2017

RMS Beauty Mod Collection Palette - Review & Swatches
RMS Beauty are one of the most covetable luxe makeup brands around, so it's no wonder that I've fallen head over heels in love with their beautiful Mod Collection palette.

Created by celebrity make-up artist Rose Marie-Swift, RMS are an innovative, cruelty-free, green beauty brand who use only use raw and certified organic ingredients in their products, and choose to ditch the 'nasties' such as parabens, mineral oil, GMOs, synthetic fillers etc. Their main emphasis is essentially on makeup that's 'good for your skin' and they see their products as 'skincare combined with colour' which is something that I'm seeing more and more consumers actively seek out.

RMS have plenty of award-winning bestsellers which have caught the eye and makeup bags of A-listers and beauty junkies alike (their multi-tasking Un-Cover Up is a firm favourite of mine), and earlier this year, they released two signature set palettes which instantly went to the top of my makeup wishlist. I've now been able to get my hands on one and it's drop dead gorgeous!

RMS Beauty Mod Collection Palette - Review & Swatches
The RMS Beauty Mod Collection Palette is much smaller than I initially imagined it to be and comes packaged simply in minimalist, sleek white plastic. Due to the eco-friendly ethos of the brand, there's no mirror inside, which means that the whole packaging unit can be easily recycled once you've used the products up. Normally, I'd be a bit annoyed about the lack of mirror, especially as this palette isn't cheap, but when I read about the recycling reason, it made a lot more sense. Plus, I usually always travel with a separate mirror in my handbag anyway, so it's really not that big of a deal for me.

The Mod Collection Palette contains five products:-
  • RMS Master Mixer (1.1g) - A universally flattering rose-gold cream illuminator that can be used on cheeks, eyes and anywhere that you want to highlight and draw attention to. The warm golden tone looks super pretty on the skin and has just the right amount of fine iridescence in it to add that much desired 'glow' without being OTT. Instead, it's very subtle and natural looking, but perfect when you want something to make you look effortlessly beautiful in a matter of seconds.
  • RMS Living Luminizer (1.1g) - Living Luminzer is one of the best cream highlighters that I've tried when I want a more natural looking finish. It glides on almost sheer and has a delicate translucent pearlescent hue which manages to catch the light and make you look a million times more awake and healthier. Like the Master Mixer, it blends and applies easily, and it doesn't feel sticky or look greasy. 
  • RMS Lip2Cheek in Smile (1.1g) - That bright pop of sheer coral pink is one of RMS' much-loved products - their multi-tasking Lip2Cheek cream formula which can be used on both the lips and cheeks for an easy wash of colour. I really love this shade as a blush as it helps to brighten up a dull complexion instantly, but it looks equally as pretty on the lips too.
  • RMS Lip2Cheek in Spell (1.1g) - Spell on the other hand is a gorgeous contemporary nude with a rosy undertone to it. This one's a lot more sheer pigment-wise than Smile as you can see in the swatches below, so it's ideal for those who want just a hint of colour. I really enjoy reaching for this shade when I'm in a rush and need something quick and easy as a blush and as a fuss-free lip tint.
  • RMS Simply Cocoa Lip & Skin Balm (1.5g) - Along the bottom of the palette, you'll find a thin pan of the Simply Cocoa Lip & Skin Balm which is packed full of Coconut Oil, Beeswax, Shea Butter, Cocoa Seed Butter, Jojoba Oil, Argan Oil, Sunflower Seed Oil and Propolis. It's a deeply hydrating balm that can be applied on any dry areas to instantly soothe and heal, and I think it's a great addition to the palette themed around multi-purpose products like this.

RMS Beauty Mod Collection Palette - Review & Swatches
Overall thoughts?
The RMS Beauty Mod Collection Palette certainly lives up to my hopes and expectations, and I feel like this will be one of the most used palettes in my whole makeup collection! The multi-purpose products are all fantastic and it's such an easy palette to work with - it's particularly great for makeup beginners and minamilsts. The compact size is also perfect for travelling with as it takes up virtually no room at all, and it's a brilliant way to try out a range of RMS products before deciding whether to splash out on the full sizes. A word of warning though - you will probably want all the full sizes after trying them in this!

RMS Beauty Mod Collection Palette* (£42) is available from Lovelula.com who offer free worldwide shipping.

Have you tried anything from RMS Beauty?

Foodie Friday: YourZooki Omega V Zooki 3-6-9 Flax Seed Oil Supplement review

Friday, 22 September 2017

YourZooki Omega V Zooki 3-6-9 Strawberry Banana Supplement review
A healthy breakfast is the best way to kickstart your day, and for me, it's the easiest and fastest meal to throw together. I've been giving mine an extra boost with a drizzle of YourZooki's Omega V Zooki 3-6-9 Flax Seed Oil which is a tasty way to get your daily dose of vital omegas and essential fatty acids from a plant-based source.

What Is It?
YourZooki Omega V Zooki 3-6-9 is a Flax Seed Oil supplement with a difference as it's one of the few that I've tried which tastes really good (if you've ever tried plain flaxseed oil, you'll know what I mean - it's something of an acquired taste!). The high-strength Flaxseed Oil in YourZooki is sourced from organic farms in Canada, and then blended into a smoothie/thin yoghurt type emulsion that's been optimised for taste, convenience and absorption. 

YourZooki Omega V Zooki 3-6-9 Strawberry Banana Supplement review
What Are The Ingredients?
Purified Water, Vegetarian Flaxseed Oil, Xylitol (plant-based sweetener), Glycerin, Vitamin E (D alpha tocopherol), Thickener (Acacia Gum), Sucrose (less than 0.1g), Acidity Regulator (Potassium bicarbonate), Oleic Acid, Natural Flavours, Natural Colours, Citric Acid.

What Are The Health Benefits?
Each 15ml serving provides 6mg Vitamin E, 3000mg Omega 3 (Alpha Linoleic Acid from Flaxseed), 800mg Omega 6 (Linoleic Acid from Flaxseed) and 900mg Omega 9 (Oleic Acid). Omega 3, 6 and 9, and Vitamin E, are all important to help protect the cells from oxidative stress, maintain normal blood cholesterol levels, support overall general health and wellbeing and they help to care for the maintenance of healthy skin and hair from within.

Who Can Take It?
As these omegas are derived from Flaxseed Oil and not fish oil, this plant-based supplement is suitable for both vegetarians and vegans, and can be used by all ages.

YourZooki Omega V Zooki 3-6-9 Strawberry Banana Supplement review
What Does It Taste Like?
It has a natural Strawberry Banana flavour and is sweetened with the plant-based sweetener Xylitol, so it tastes very similar to a strawberry banana smoothie! 

How Do I Use It?
YourZooki suggests taking 1-3 teaspoons a day for adults and up to 1 teaspoon a day for children. You can take it straight off the spoon, blend it in smoothies and protein shakes or simply drizzle it over toast, porridge, granola or yoghurt - the options are endless! I quite like it over a bowl of homemade granola (check out my recipe here), almond milk and fresh fruit as you can see above. Once opened, store it in the fridge and use by the best before date.

Overall Thoughts?
I'm a big advocate of taking daily supplements to boost your overall health, and this is a great way to get your daily amount of Omega 3, 6 and 9 without feeling like you're actually taking a supplement. It's so easy to add to your everyday breakfast routine, but best of all, it tastes great!

YourZooki Omega V Zooki 3-6-9 Flax Seed Oil Supplement* (450ml, £27.99) is available from yourzooki.com

Do you take any daily supplements like this?

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Beauty News: Madame LA LA Launches at Pretty Little Thing + Self Tan Mousse & Bronzing Ball review

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Madame LA LA Launches at Pretty Little Thing
Online shopping addicts may have recently spotted that fashion retailer, Pretty Little Thing, has launched a brand new Beauty section to their website and they now stock a wide range of mainstream and indie beauty brands.

One such cult indie brand that has been added within the past month is Madame LA LA who specialise in luxury self-tanning products. I've used a couple of their tanners in the past with excellent results (check out my previous reviews here), so it's great to see them available with more stockists. To celebrate their launch onto Pretty Little Thing, they kindly sent me a few products to try out to give you an idea of what you can pick up from the PLT site.

 Madame LA LA Self-Tan Mousse
 Madame LA LA Self-Tan Mousse* (200ml, £30, link)

Self-tanning is what Madame LA LA is all about and their popular Self-Tan Mousse is definitely a hero product for the brand. It contains an innovative formula which features Coco Water, Aloe, Green Tea and Vitamin E to hydrate and nourish the skin, whilst the organic and natural based DHA gives you a beautiful Californian style tan. Not many self-tanning brands use organic or even naturally derived DHA, so it's brilliant to have this option more readily available if you're looking for a more natural based self-tanner. 

Mousse is always my top choice when it comes to tanning at home and this one is super easy to use, plus I didn't experience any problems with streaks or anything like that when I was applying it. It glides on smoothly, has a brown tint to it so you can see where it's going and is easy to buff into the skin with a tanning mitt. It does have a bit of a fake tan smell, but it's not particularly offensive to my nose and soon disappears after a few hours. This tan develops in around three hours, but I always leave it on overnight to get a darker and longer lasting result. Love it! 

 Madame LA LA Bronzing Ball
 Madame LA LA Bronzing Ball
 Madame LA LA Bronzing Ball
  Madame LA LA Bronzing Ball* (5g, £14, link)

The newest product to the Madame LA LA range is this Bronzing Ball; a cream bronzer that you can use for contouring and highlighting. The domed shape means you can apply it directly to the face and then blend it out with just your fingers. I have to admit that I thought this was rather gimmicky at first glance and I wasn't sure about the colour, but it's surprised me! It's definitely the wrong shade for me to use a contour, but as it's more of a peachy-meets-golden bronze colour, it's perfect as a shimmery blush or warm-toned highlighter, especially on tanned skin.

The ball was a little hard and felt waxy at first, so it did require some warming up with my fingertips before I could apply it, but after that, I've found it easy to use and it blends really well. A word of warning about the packaging though; when I threw this into my makeup bag I noticed that one side of the clear plastic lid had started to crack slightly, so I wouldn't recommend it for travelling with - best to keep it on your vanity or in your makeup drawer instead.

 Madame LA LA Bronzing Ball swatches
  Madame LA LA Bronzing Ball - Swatches!

Check out the new beauty section at Pretty Little Thing & shop the Madame LA LA range at prettylittlething.com

Have you tried anything from Madame LA LA?

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Luxury Beauty: Trying Out A £50 Foundation - Image Skincare I-Conceal Flawless Foundation - Review & Swatches

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Image I-Conceal Flawless Foundation - Review & Swatches
Back in July, I featured some amazing sheet masks from a high-end brand called Image Skincare in my Monthly Favourites post (check it out here if you missed it!). As the name suggests, they're mainly all about skincare, but they do have one makeup product in their range; the I-Conceal Flawless Foundation which is an interesting makeup-meets-skincare hybrid.

There are lots of brands who are including skincare benefits in their makeup, especially with base products such as primers and foundations, but Image Skincare have taken this approach to the next level. The brand prides itself on its clinical, evidence-based formulas which are at the heart of all of its skincare, so it's easy to see why they've developed a foundation which has some pretty bold claims. 

Who Is It For?
Image's I-Conceal Foundation is suitable for all skin types, but its main USP is that it helps to 'heal' the skin, as well as concealing visible imperfections. This makes it highly suitable for anyone who has pigmentation, acne scarring, redness etc or is recovering from post-surgery/laser treatments and is dealing with bruising or cosmetic scarring. As I have some old acne scarring and I'm always up for trying out a new foundation, I was curious to put it to the test!

Image I-Conceal Flawless Foundation - Review & Swatches
The Formula
The I-Conceal Foundation is made up of an innovative formula which includes Biodynes TRF Collagen that helps to increase oxygen in the skin cells to speed up the healing process and increases collagen production. There's also Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate and plump up the skin, and EpiCalmin TCM to soothe any irritation and redness, whilst helping to strengthen the skin's natural defence system against free aging radicals, plus Peptides and Plant-derived stem cells to reduce the depth and appearance of wrinkles after 28 days of continued usage. This foundation also contains broad spectrum SPF 30 to further protect the skin against aging on a daily basis.

Coverage, Blendability & Finish
This foundation offers an excellent level of medium-to-full coverage depending on how much you apply, and it's easy to build this up without it being cakey on the skin. It feels surprisingly lightweight for a foundation of this nature (I was expecting to it be much heavier), yet the overall texture is quite thick and a little goes a very long way! It blends out beautifully though, and I've tried it with both a brush and a beauty blender sponge, each delivering flawless results. The overall finish looks very natural and it gives a stunning healthy looking glow to the skin - perfect if you want an illuminating foundation to perk up a dull complexion. It wears incredibly well throughout the day, staying put for a good 10-12 hours before a subtle touch-up is needed, and this foundation is also water-resistant.   

Image I-Conceal Flawless Foundation - Review & Swatches
Packaging
For a premium foundation that retails for £50, I was expecting it to be packaged in glass as most of my high-end foundations that are around the £30 price point are all packaged in this way, almost as an industry standard. However, this one is packaged in plastic as it features an interesting twist up pump to keep the foundation as airtight and hygienic as possible. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this as it sometimes gets a little stuck on the way up, but for the most part, it does the job.

Shade Range
There are currently six shades available and I've swatched the two that I was sent below; Beige and Natural. I'm usually a typical 'beige' in most foundation ranges, but this one was a little too pink toned for my skin, so I like to mix a bit of the yellow-toned Natural shade to even it out to give me a perfect match for my skin tone. Not cheap though!

Image I-Conceal Flawless Foundation - Review & Swatches
Image Skincare I-Conceal Flawless Foundation in Natural and Beige

Did It Help My Acne Scarring?
I tested out this foundation for just over a month and I'm happy to report that I did see some minor changes to my acne scarring - mainly that it was becoming a little bit lighter and was much easier, as a result, to cover up, as I have some quite dark marks on my chin area. The biggest difference that I saw with this foundation though was when I had a hormonal breakout around 'that time of the month' and I noticed that the redness and blemishes which popped up, calmed down considerably quicker than usual which I thought was very impressive! 

Overall Thoughts?
Given the price point, I know this foundation won't be accessible to everyone, but if you are in the market for a new high-end base and you want to see if the skincare benefits will work for you, this is definitely something to try out. I can't fault the performance, finish or coverage either - as a stand-alone quality foundation, it's up there with the likes of my favourite Charlotte Tilbury, Chanel and Giorgio Armani foundations.

Image Skincare I-Conceal Flawless Foundation* (28g, £50) available from imageskincare.com

Are you interested in makeup with skincare benefits?

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Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - September 2017 review

Monday, 18 September 2017

LoveLula Beauty Box - September 2017 review
LoveLula's monthly beauty boxes are something that I always look forward to receiving and their September edition is an amazing selection of natural perfume, skincare and pampering treats! Let's take a closer look, shall we?

 Walden Eau de Parfum Gift Set
Walden Eau de Parfum Gift Set (RRP £30)
The star of this month's box is a beautiful gift set from Walden, featuring their complete range of Eau de Parfums in 5ml trial-size bottles. I was lucky enough to try out the range before it launched earlier this year and I raved about the release back in May (read my review here) where I featured my two favourites, Castles In The Air and A Little Star Dust. All of these perfumes have been created with the finest natural absolutes, resins and essential oils, making them a must-try for anyone who wants to explore a new line of luxury natural fragrances. Needless to say, they all smell gorgeous and completely different to anything that you can find on the high street.

ESSE Gel Cleanser (10ml travel size - full size is 100ml for £25) 
I was pleased to see an ESSE product included as I'm currently testing out some of their probiotic skincare (review coming soon, keep your eyes peeled!) and this Gel Cleanser sounds perfect for my skin. It contains Peppermint and Spearmint Oils to improve micro-circulation and help to get rid of toxins, so it sounds like a really refreshing cleanser to reach for at the end of a long day.

LoveLula Beauty Box - September 2017 review
Kimberly Sayer Skincare (Sample Set)
This set contains 1.5ml sachets of four best-selling skincare products from Kimberly Sayer; Light Cleansing Lotion, Gentle Face Cleanser, Restore Anti-Aging Cream and Healing Light Night Cream. I've used a few Kimberly Sayer products in the past but I haven't tried any of these before, so I might save them for a weekend away. 

JOIK White Chocolate Bath Truffle (1 truffle)
I do love how the label warns you not to eat this product because it smells delicious! I've used these before (featured them back in my Valentine's Day Gift Guide here earlier this year) and absolutely love them. They're packed full of rich nourishing ingredients such as Cocoa Butter and they are a wonderfully indulgent pampering treat for dry skin. Did I mention that they also smell like creamy, sweet white chocolate?! 

Balm Balm Beauty Balm (full size, RRP £16.50)
The last product from this month's LoveLula beauty box is a jar of Balm Balm's fantastic Beauty Balm. This multi-purposing skincare gem can be used as a balm cleanser to remove daily grime and makeup, as an exfoliator and as an ultra-hydrating /intensive moisturiser. Suitable for all skin types, a little goes a long way with this product whichever way you use it, so this jar will last you a good few months.

LoveLula Beauty Box* is a monthly subscription box priced at £13.95 with free postage in the UK. Visit lovelula.com to find out more.

Have you subscribed to LoveLula's Beauty Box?

Foodie Friday: The Vegan Kind Box - Taste Test review - September 2017 #TVK47

Friday, 15 September 2017

The Vegan Kind Box - Taste Test review - September 2017 #TVK47
Earlier this week, this month's The Vegan Kind box arrived and although it was a little squashed, most of the products had survived the rough handling! 

The Vegan Kind is a monthly subscription box and whilst it mainly contains food, there's usually some kind of 'lifestyle' product also included. I've been subscribed to them for over a year and always look forward to the boxes arriving - it's a lovely treat and a great way to find new vegan-friendly, dairy-free, and often gluten-free goodies.

Here's what I found inside September's box:-

 Lenny and Larry White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie
 Lenny and Larry White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie (113g, RRP £2.50)

These enormous protein cookies from Lenny and Larry are hugely popular (I see them on Instagram all the time!). Their White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut flavour is brand new to the UK, and this flavour combo is amazing! Each cookie contains 8g of fibre and 16g of protein, so it's ideal as a post-workout treat. They taste a bit like cake and I highly recommend warming them up for a few seconds in the microwave first, for a deliciously indulgent, warm, sweet dessert! Free from dairy, soy, eggs, GMOs, trans fats and artificial sweeteners.

Livias Kitchen Salted Maca Caramel Biccy Boms
 Livia's Kitchen Salted Maca Caramel Biccy Boms (40g, RRP £1.79)

Biccy Boms are another new sweet treat that has launched onto the market recently and they're made by Livia's Kitchen. You get two of them in a pack and they're kind of like a small crumbly biscuit covered in a raw cacao coating, with a sweet salted maca date centre. My pack got squashed during transit but they still tasted good!

Pop Chips Sea Salt and Black Pepper
 Pop Chips Sea Salt and Black Pepper (23g, RRP £0.85)

I try not to eat too many crisps but when I do, I tend to opt for the healthier options like Pop Chips, so I've had these many times before. They're 'popped' not fried, so they still have a good crunch to them, and this Sea Salt and Black Pepper flavour goes well with any kind of sandwich or soup to liven up a simple lunch. 

Greenfrog Botanic Natural Bodywash in Relaxing Geranium & Peppermint
 Greenfrog Botanic Natural Bodywash in Relaxing Geranium & Peppermint (100ml, RRP £3.95)

This month's lifestyle product is an all-natural body wash from Greenfrog Botanic in a generous travel size tube. It's made from 100% plant-based ingredients, is free from parabens and sulphates, and contains organic Soapberries which are moisturising and gentle to the pH balance of your skin, so it's kind to sensitive and eczema prone skin. I love the scent of this which is really refreshing and I can see why it's won awards!

Cheeky P's Curry Flavour Roasted Chickpeas
 Cheeky P's Curry Flavour Roasted Chickpeas (52g, RRP £1.30)

Cheeky P's are another new product launch and these are so moreish! I love anything curry flavoured and these roasted chickpeas taste so good! Each pack contains 10g of protein and they're also high in fibre, making them a healthy snack to reach for when you want something savoury and crunchy to nibble on. I'll have to keep an eye out for more of these!

 Beloved Date Nectar
 Beloved Date Nectar (340g, RRP £3)

My kitchen cupboard is full of natural sweeteners that I use when I'm baking, but I've been missing a bottle of Date Nectar for a while now, so it's great to have it back in my life with this one from Beloved. Made from just 100% dates (sourced from local community farmers in Oman, not Israel - yay!), you can use this as you would any other sweetener; drizzled over porridge, in tea or coffee, and of course in baking and cooking, etc. A little goes a long way too. 

Revolution Foods Protein Sample
Revolution Foods Protein Sample (31g)

The last product is a sample of Revolution Foods' Premium Plant Protein which is blended with a superfood formula to give you an extra boost of energy. It contains 22g of protein and this sample pack makes one protein shake. I got the Wild Berry flavour which was really nice and filled me up until lunchtime!

Also in the box: This month's recipe card is for Hazelnut & Coconut Bliss Balls (yum!) and September's chosen charity is Animals Asia who rescues and rehabilitates bears and other captive animals from across countries such as China and Vietnam. 

To find out more about The Vegan Kind, visit their website here. £10 + p&p each month in the UK, with worldwide shipping options available. 

Have you signed up to The Vegan Kind?
What's your favourite, non-beauty lifestyle subscription box?

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Introducing: Playa - Luxury Natural Haircare from California - Pure Dry Shampoo, Ritual Hair Oil & Endless Summer Spray review

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Playa Pure Dry Shampoo, Ritual Hair Oil & Endless Summer Spray review
Californian girls certainly know a thing or two about hair and how to achieve those covetable beachy waves, so I was over the moon when a package arrived from a brand called Playa, straight from Venice Beach, LA.

There is something incredibly cool about the spirit of LA and California in general, and I think us Brits are obsessed with their way of life over there, as much as the rest of the world seems to be! I know it's been at the top of my own wanderlust list for a very long time and when finances allow, I'll be booking a trip to sunny SoCal as soon as possible! Until then, I'll have to be content with experimenting with as much Californian beauty products as humanly possible, starting with these natural hair goodies from Playa.

Playa is a brand new botanical based hair care brand which only recently launched back in May, but it's already caught the attention of the likes of Byrdie, Vogue and The Wall Street Journal, which is hella impressive, to say the least. Founded by a former fashion stylist named Shelby Wild, the young entrepreneur packed her bags and moved from New York to LA to be next to the beach and reconnect with nature.  She studied Herbalism and after years of development, Playa was born.

Shelby very kindly sent me a couple of Playa's best sellers to try out and even though the weather has taken a turn for the worse in rainy old England, at least my hair has been looking good!

Playa Pure Dry Shampoo review
Playa Pure Dry Shampoo* (145ml, $26, link)

Dry Shampoo is a massive lifesaver for me, especially when I'm running late or I simply haven't had the time to properly wash my hair. I also have naturally oily roots and I find that if I did wash it every day, it becomes even oilier, so a good quality dry shampoo is a must! Playa's Pure Dry Shampoo features a blend of botanicals and minerals to refresh and absorb excess oil. Key ingredients include Rose Powder which is great for sucking up grease and keeping hair soft, whereas Star Anise extract helps it be kind to sensitive scalps and eliminates any impurities. The end result is super fresh hair that has some extra volume to it, but without any build-up or residue afterward. I'm really impressed with this - it's easy to use as a spray activated dry shampoo, and it keeps my hair feeling fresh all day long.

Playa Ritual Hair Oil review
Playa Ritual Hair Oil* (40ml, $38, link)

Alongside dry shampoo, I always keep a stash of hair oils handy to help me make some sense of my notoriously frizzy locks, and they come in really useful when my hair is feeling damaged or dry. I was excited to try the Ritual Hair Oil as it contains a super blend of Kukui, Apricot and Sunflower Oils in a Coconut Oil derived base, and I have to say that it did not disappoint. It has an ultra convenient dropper applicator and I've found that I only needed a couple of drops to get the best results each time. I was a little worried that the oil was going to be too rich for my fine hair, but the formula has been specially designed to be weightless and easily absorbed without the need for silicones, so my hair has been loving it! It works wonders for taming frizz and flyaways, and my dry ends and lengths feel stronger and look much shinier since I started using it. Amazing stuff!

Playa Endless Summer Spray review
Playa Endless Summer Spray* (108ml, $28, link)

As I mentioned earlier, my hair is very fine, so it needs all the help it can get when it comes to volume and creating texture in hairstyles. The delightfully named Endless Summer Spray is a must-have for anyone who wants to get those covetable beachy waves without the annoying crunch or sticky residue. It uses Sea Salt that's harvested from Southern California and contains a Marine Complex which helps to add volume and shine, plus there are natural UV filters included in the formula to shield your hair from the worst of the sun's damaging rays. This styling spray is really easy to use too; a quick spritz here and there gives you instant texture and a little volume boost without making my hair feel dry. All I need now is a holiday to California!

Shop the full range at Playa.ca and keep an eye out for a UK launch early next year in Space NK and Liberty.

Are you a fan of Californian beauty brands?

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Green Beauty: Relax & Pamper Yourself With Westlab

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Green Beauty: Pampering with Westlab
Stressful or busy week? If the answer's yes, it sounds like you need some well deserved 'me time', so relax and get ready to feel all zen again with these pampering treats from Westlab.

If you're new to Westlab, they're an all-natural British brand who specialise in bath and body products that contain soothing and beneficial minerals such as Dead Sea, Epsom Salts and Magnesium Flakes. I've used their Epsom Salts many times in the past as they're perfect for when you need a deeply relaxing soak in the tub after a long day.

Last month, I raved about a Westlab Detoxing Salt Body Scrub and Bath Soak (which you can read about here if you missed it) and I was contacted by the brand soon after asking if I'd like to review any more products from them. Given how much I've been enjoying using the Scrub & Soak, I eagerly said yes and picked out the three products below to try out.

Green Beauty: Pampering with Westlab
Westlab Supersalt Himalayan Body Cleanse* (1kg, £7.99, link)
In addition to using Dead Sea, Epsom and Magnesium minerals, Westlab also have a couple of products available which use Himalayan Salts and this Body Cleanse is one of them. I'm a huge fan of Himalayan Salts in bath products as they have some interesting and relaxing therapeutic benefits, so I was very keen to try these. This Body Cleanse is basically a bath soak that contains Himalayan Salts which are infused with extracts of Seaweed along with Lemon and Rose Essential Oils. Himalayan Salts have a naturally pale pink colour to them and these smell just as beautiful as they look! To use them, you just add a couple of handfuls to a bath and enjoy a relaxing soak for at least 20 minutes to reap the full benefits. After using these, I always feel much calmer and they're ideal to use before going to bed for a restful night's sleep. A must-try if you have anxiety, insomnia or suffer from any stress!

Westlab Muscle Spray* (50ml, £6.95, link)
This Muscle Spray is a new launch for Westlab and it's been specially formulated to be a 'natural first aid remedy' for sore muscles. It features Epsom Salt, Spearmint and Eucalyptus to refresh and soothe aching muscles, whilst helping to revive fatigue at the same time. I've found this to be very useful after Hot Yoga and Pilates sessions if I've overstretched something, and the convenient travel sized bottle makes it the perfect product to pop into your gym bag.

Westlab Reviving Salt Body Scrub & Bath Soak* (500g, £18.45, link)
For a spot of luxury pampering, you really can't beat this 2-in-1 Body Scrub and Bath Soak which is made from 100% pure Epsom Salts that are blended with natural botanical oils, and nothing else. It has an incredible fragrance of Rose, Lime, and May Chang and feels so refreshing! I love using this as a body scrub since it leaves my skin feeling super smooth and pampered afterwards, but it's equally as good used in the bath as a relaxing soak. No wonder it won a Finalist Award in the Natural & Organic Europe Awards last year!

To shop the full range of Westlab products, visit westlabsalts.co.uk

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