Budget Beauty: Organic Shop Vibrant Raspberry & Acai Natural Volumising Shampoo, Conditioner & Hair Mask review

Thursday 29 March 2018

Organic Shop Vibrant Raspberry & Acai Natural Volumising Shampoo, Conditioner & Hair Mask review
If you're looking for affordable haircare that's 98% natural and free from SLS, silicones and parabens, you can now find ranges from Organic Shop at Tesco.  

Organic Shop are a budget-friendly Estonian brand who are popular throughout mainland Europe, and they've now launched some of their haircare products in the UK, which have been developed exclusively for Tesco. I tried out an amazing Avocado & Honey Express Repair Hair Mask from them earlier this year (check out my Winter Haircare feature here if you missed it) and was so impressed with it, that I've been eager to get my hands on more of their products! 

These new ranges are all COSMOS Natural certified by the Soil Association which means that all of these products are cruelty-free, have no GM ingredients, controversial chemicals, parabens or phthalates, and no synthetic colours, dyes or fragrances (you can read more about the COSMOS Natural standard here). They also contain some certified organic ingredients, which for such an affordable brand, is really great to see. I've been testing out the following Natural Volumising range for the past couple of weeks, so here are my thoughts on them.

Organic Shop Vibrant Raspberry & Acai Natural Volumising Shampoo* (280ml, £2.50)
The first thing that you'll notice about this shampoo is its gorgeous scent which is fruity and wonderfully uplifting. It's been formulated for normal-to-fine hair that needs a volumising boost and contains organic Acai to thicken and strengthen with Vitamins A, E and B, and there's the Vitamin C packed organic Raspberry extract to brighten and add shine. As this shampoo is SLS and SLES free, it uses Sodium Coco-Sulfate (derived from Coconut Oil), to produce a nice lather that doesn't upset my easily irritated scalp. It leaves my hair thoroughly clean, softer, shinier and much more manageable.

Organic Shop Vibrant Raspberry & Acai Natural Volumising Conditioner* (280ml, £2.50)
The matching conditioner is the product that I feel really helps to add some volume to the hair and it has a great overall texture and consistency to it. It uses similar ingredients to the shampoo and does a brilliant job of hydrating my fine hair, without weighing it down or making it look greasy afterwards, so it's something that I would happily recommend using if you wash your hair on a daily basis. I was very surprised by how much bouncier my hair was after using this and it smelt so good too.

Organic Shop Vibrant Raspberry & Acai Natural Volumising Hair Mask (250ml, £2.50) 
I love using a hair mask at least once a week to help keep my tresses in tip-top condition, and this one is really lovely. As expected, it has a much thicker and richer consistency than the conditioner above and gets to work in just 2-3 minutes which is perfect if you're in a rush. I prefer to leave it on for around 20-30 minutes for a more deeply conditioning treatment though, especially if you have drier hair like I do. After rinsing and drying, my hair definitely looks a bit more fuller and swish-worthy and for only £2.50 a pot, it won't break the bank!

Find the new fruity haircare ranges from Organic Shop at Tesco, both in stores nationwide and online at tesco.com

Have you tried anything from Organic Shop?

Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - March 2018 review

Wednesday 28 March 2018

LoveLula Beauty Box - March 2018 review
I've always found the LoveLula subscription boxes to be one of the best in terms of quality and generally good consistency month-to-month, but they've really managed to set an even higher standard with March's box!

Here's what I found inside this month:-

Laidbare Guess My Age Anti-Ageing Treatment Cream (full size, RRP £9.99)
Laidbare are a fantastic affordable natural skincare brand and their Guess My Age moisturiser is one of my mum's favourite anti-ageing creams. In fact, she'd just run out of her pot when the box arrived last week, so I couldn't wait to give her a new one! This moisturiser has been specially formulated for mature skin and works to strengthen the bonds between the skin's layers to create a more younger looking and lifted complexion. 

Sukin Purifying Shampoo & Nourishing Conditioner (50ml travel sizes, full size retails for £9.95 & £7.95)
I've been eyeing up Sukin's haircare recently after reading a couple of positive reviews online, so I was pleased to see two generous travel size tubes from them in this month's box. I received the Purifying Shampoo which is perfect for my oily scalp, and the Nourishing Conditioner, which again is ideal for my drier lengths and ends. I've only tried them twice so far, but I really like how soft they make my hair feel! Both of these are free from sulphates and parabens.

FOM Hydra Bright Night Complex (10ml travel size, full size retails for £79)
I've tried a couple of products from FOM and find them a little hit and miss for my skin type, but I've been enjoying trying out this Hydra Bright Night Complex which is a brightening and hydrating serum treatment. It absorbs into the skin beautifully, plays nicely underneath other products and has been a wonderful addition to my evening skincare routine. My skin feels smoother and more plumped up after just a week's worth of usage. The full size is pretty expensive though!

Glossworks Nail Polish in Come Clay With Me (full size, RRP £12)
Easy to wear neutral nail polishes are my favourites in Spring and this shade called Come Clay With Me from Glossworks is absolutely gorgeous. It applies smoothly in just two coats for a gel-like level of coverage and has a lovely shiny finish, plus it's 9-free which is great to see. Sadly though, it's not the longest lasting, but I don't mind too much as the colour is so beautiful.

Elsa's Natural Deodorant in Ocean (full size, RRP £10)
The last product is a full-size Elsa's Deodorant and if you saw my feature on them last month (check it out here if you missed it), you'll know that these are amazing! They are hands down the best natural deodorants that I've tried so far and I'm thrilled that LoveLula have included them in their box for subscribers to try out!

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?

New In Beauty: GOSH Fake It! Lash Primer & Blown Away Mascara review

Tuesday 27 March 2018

GOSH Fake It! Lash Primer & Blown Away Mascara review
GOSH launched their shiny new S/S18 makeup collection last month, and two standout winners for me are the new Fake It! Lash Primer and Blown Away Mascara. Both are perfect for achieving an easy, wide-awake, lash look that you can wear to work or Uni every day. 

I've become a bit of a snob with mascaras lately, shunning the high street in favour of my higher-end favourites from Stila, Benefit and Ciate. Why? I've long since gotten bored with the disappointing clumpy tubes from the likes of Maybelline, Barry M and Rimmel, and I've been loving the instantly bigger, thicker lashes that the luxury brands have been promoting (and making much better formulas for)

However, as a student on a budget, my fancy mascara habit was getting expensive and I started to covet a more natural, 'my-lashes-but-better' look for every day. Which is why I've fallen in love with these two newbies from GOSH; they're cruelty-free, affordable (plus you can almost always find them on some kind of offer in Superdrug), and they give me the results that I want.

GOSH Fake It! Lash Primer & Blown Away Mascara review
GOSH Fake It! Lash Primer* (10ml, £9.99, link)
Lash primers are something that I dabble with every now and again, but they're not something that I would think to reach for on a day-to-day basis. The best that I've tried is from Benefit and I'd say that this new GOSH one is an excellent dupe for it, as it yields the same results. The Fake It! Lash Primer comes out a light grey colour instead of brown, but it dries quickly and leaves no lasting greyish tinge to the lashes, making it suitable for all hair colours to use. 

The perfume and paraben-free formula is said to be 'nourishing and strengthening' as it contains Hyaluronic Acid, but I can't say I've noticed much of a difference in that department after using it regularly for a month. Still, maybe it's more of a long-term thing?   I do love the thickening and lengthening properties of this lash primer though, and the skinny rubberised brush effortlessly coats each and every lash. You can use it underneath any brand of mascara and it will help your lashes to look longer and more fluttery - I really love it!

GOSH Blown Away Mascara* (10ml, £9.99, link)
Quick confession; I wasn't 100% 'blown away' by this mascara when I used it on its own. It was OK, but nothing amazing. So for the purpose of the rest of this review, I'm going to focus on how much I like it when I use it with the Fake It! Lash Primer which is what I've been doing for the past couple of weeks. Like the primer, the Blown Away Mascara has a rubberised wand, but it's thicker and has a clever 2-in-1 brush and comb (one side has longer bristles than the other). This allows the wand to apply just the right amount of mascara for the first coat, and then you can flip it to the other side and use the shorter comb to separate, which I feel helps to prevent the lashes from getting clumpy.

As you can see by the photos below, when used with the Fake It! Lash Primer, this mascara performs beautifully for a lovely 'my-lashes-but-better' finish. My natural lashes are not very defined at all, so I love the extra blackened definition and the length that these two products give. There's not much volume going on, but for every day, I'm simply smitten. It's not OTT, I don't look like I'm about to go clubbing, and instead, it's a more natural and fluttery look. Best of all, this combo lasts throughout the day without smudging or flaking, and yet it's easy to remove with any standard makeup remover, the latter of which is something that I can't say for my more pricier mascaras!   

Worn together: GOSH Fake It! Lash Primer & Blown Away Mascara

The new GOSH S/S18 collection is available exclusively in Superdrug stores nationwide and online via Superdrug.com

Are you a fan of GOSH?

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Introducing: Pure & Light Organic Skincare - Transformative Beauty Balm & Essential Face Cream review

Thursday 22 March 2018

Pure & Light Organic Skincare - Transformative Beauty Balm & Essential Face Cream review
Spring is finally on its way and I'm currently enjoying the process of swapping out some of my Winter skincare products and adding in some new additions in anticipation of the (hopefully!) warmer months ahead. These latest two come from Pure & Light Organic Skincare

Pure & Light Organic Skincare are a vegan and cruelty-free natural skincare brand that is one of those fantastic hidden little gems in the green beauty world. They have a strong emphasis on understanding what the skin needs and as a result, their skincare takes inspiration from Homeopathy, Aromatherapy and Herbal Medicines so that their formulas can adapt to suit any skin type, from hyper-sensitive and eczema prone, to oily, dry and everything in between. It's this innovative approach which drew me to the brand in the first place, as my skin is often sensitive and suffers from eczema flare-ups, especially during the seasonal changes. It's no surprise then to see that all of their products are free from mineral oils, alcohol, beeswax, parabens, sulphates, lanolin, animal products, artificial colours, artificial fragrances, synthetic perfumes and SLS.

Whilst the brand's range is small, it covers all of the basics including moisturisers, serums, facial oils, body lotions and baby care. I decided to try out two of their best sellers as a starting point; the Transformative Beauty Balm and Essential Face Cream

Pure & Light Organic Skincare - Transformative Beauty Balm & Essential Face Cream review
Pure & Light Organic Transformative Beauty Balm* (50ml, £39, link)
You all know how much I adore having a good quality multi-purpose product in my skincare routine, and this Transformative Beauty Balm ticks all of the right boxes and then some! 100% natural and made with 99% certified organic ingredients, this luxury beauty balm can be used as an intensive moisturiser on the face and body (basically any dry patches that need some TLC so it's great for heels, elbows, lips etc), as a hydrating face mask (apply a thin layer and wash off after 20-30 mins for plumped up and super soft skin), and my favourite way which is as a cleansing balm (fantastic as a first cleanse to remove all traces of dirt and makeup, and as a second nourishing cleanse for the skin). 

Key ingredients include Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Argan Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Avocado Oil, Macadamia Oil, Rosehip Oil, Hyaluronic Acid and Roseflower Water, so it's packed full of hydrating and soothing goodness that's also rich in Vitamins A, C, D, E, F, and K and natural Omegas 3, 6 and 9. As is often the case with these kinds of products, a little most definitely goes a long way and the balm has a lovely subtle scent of Ylang Ylang, Rose and Sandalwood which gives it an even more spa-like and luxurious feel when you're using it.

Pure & Light Organic Essential Face Cream* (50ml, £34, link)
If you're looking for a new Springtime facial moisturiser to try out, I imagine most skin types will get on well with the Essential Face Cream. Like the Beauty Balm, it's packaged in an airless pump tube which keeps the formula at its best for longer - an important factor as it contains a whopping 27 active certified organic ingredients and is naturally rich in vitamins and antioxidants. 

This powerhouse moisturiser can be used by all skin types, but I feel that those who are concerned with the visible signs of ageing will benefit the most from using it, as it's rich in anti-oxidants, flavonoids and Vitamins A, B, C and E, which boost collagen production, support oxygenation of the skin, calm redness and irritation, smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, and naturalise free radicals for preventative benefits. Featured ingredients include Shea Butter, Vitamin E, Evening Primrose, Avocado Oil, Grapeseed, Macadamia, Carrot Seed, Tamanu and Rosehip. It won a Beauty Shortlist Award in 2016 and when you try it for yourself you can see why; it absorbs beautifully into the skin, plumps everything up, hydrates and smoothes, and just leaves your skin feeling well and truly cared for.

Have you tried anything from Pure & Light Organic Skincare?

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New In Beauty: REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic review #GlowClean

Monday 19 March 2018

REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic review
Last month, REN launched their first ever exfoliating tonic treatment and it quickly became one of the most anticipated skincare releases of the year so far with stock flying off the shelves. I was lucky enough to get my hands on a bottle and have been testing it out for around 4 weeks now to see if the hype is justified.

Why Do I Need An Exfoliating Tonic In My Skincare Routine?
A couple of years ago, I had never head of AHAs before and now they're popping up in so many different brands' skincare ranges that it's hard to keep track! If you're new to the world of AHAs, they are a group of chemical compounds called Alpha Hydroxy Acids and they can either be derived naturally (from sugars, fruits, milk etc), or created synthetically. The two that are perhaps the most well known and used in skincare are Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid. 

Due to their compound structures, AHAs are known as 'chemical exfoliators' (as opposed to manual exfoliators which contain physical scrubby bits), so they're incredibly useful to have in your skincare routine if you want minimized pores, smoother, brighter, clearer skin, and a more even complexion overall. They effectively dissolve the dull, dead skin cells and can penetrate the skin deeper, yielding more noticeable results. 

Who Can Use Them?
Exfoliating tonics can be used by all skin types and they are particularly useful for those who have oily, congested and blemish-prone skin which can be aggravated by manual exfoliators. However, it's worth noting that sensitive skin types should always do a patch test before using a product with AHAs in it, and it's also best to start off with a lower concentration as a precaution if you're new to them.

REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic review
My Thoughts on REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic
REN's Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic is a really good starting point if you want to introduce some AHAs into your skincare routine. Formulated with key bio-actives such as Lactic Acid (from yeast fermentation, not milk so suitable for vegans to use)Azelaic Acid (from grains) and Salicin (from White Willow Bark), this tonic will exfoliate, brighten and resurface your skin, but it's gentle enough to use every day. I've been using it in the evenings after cleansing and I saw a noticeable difference in my skin after about a week - bearing in mind though that I've regularly been using AHAs for about 2 years, so if you haven't tried them before, you may see a change straight away! My skin feels smoother, looks brighter and I've noticed that blemishes disappear a lot faster, especially if they pop up during 'that time of the month'.  

How Do I Use It & How Often?
REN's Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic has a convenient inbuilt pump dispenser, so all you need to do is flip open the lid, place your cotton wool pad on top and press down until it's saturated. Swipe it all over your face like you would any other toner, but take extra special care to avoid the eye area. You can use this one daily, and I'd recommend using it in the evenings after cleansing and before applying your serums and moisturisers.

If You Like This, Try...
This product joins REN's brilliant Radiance range which also features their popular Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask (pictured above) and Wake Wonderful Night-Time Facial, two products that I regularly use and love!

REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic* (250ml, £25) is available from various stockists including renskincare.com

Do you use exfoliating tonics / AHAs in your skincare routine?

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Women's Health: Talking About Periods + Bloom & Nora Eco-Friendly / Reusable Sanitary Pads review

Thursday 15 March 2018

Bloom & Nora Eco-Friendly / Reusable Sanitary Pads review
Reusable sanitary pads are something that I've been toying with trying out for a long time, but I just kept putting it off. Thankfully, I've started to see several women who I follow via blogs and Youtube, talking more about them recently, which has helped to somewhat 'normalise' the idea of reusable sanitary protection in my mind.

It's bizarre, isn't it? Ever since I started my periods, I've been conditioned to think of sanitary protection as merely these disposable things that should be wrapped up discreetly and binned after use. Out of sight, out of mind maybe? I remember my mum walking with me to Boots so that I could purchase a pack of Always pads and a Clearasil skincare starter set - two items that symbolise a 'rite of passage' into the beginning of womanhood for so many young girls. It was all so embarrassing and I remember trying desperately to avoid eye contact the (female!) sales assistant at the checkout. Then came the trauma of tampons slightly later on; that whispering in the girl's bathroom to your best friend in the cubicle next door, "how does it go in?!', and the tears that followed afterwards when you think that there's something 'wrong' with you because it feels so unnatural to have an item jammed up there, as well as the anxiety and sheer horror that I felt when I first read about TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome).

Needless to say, periods and sanitary protection weren't something that was discussed openly in my home or at school. My mum tried her best, but she was as embarrassed talking about it, as I was listening to her. I don't ever recall the subject coming up at school, other than in the context that you had to tell the P.E teacher (in front of everyone) that you were 'on', so you could be excused from having a shower - they even had a period register for it! I didn't have many female friends at school except my best friend, who was usually too shy to talk about things like periods with me, and my sister is much younger, so periods and what sanitary protection should be used was something that I had to largely figure out for myself. How I wished the internet and social media was a bigger thing back then!

Fast forward to 2018 and the world seems to have changed so much. There are now national campaigns to address the unnecessary stigma and embarrassment around periods, and there are charities that deliver sanitary pads and tampons to schools so that young girls don't have to suffer from period poverty (where girls skip school because their families can't afford to purchase sanitary protection - yes this happens sadly here in the UK). Nowadays, you can even get period subscription boxes delivered straight to your door every month too - I would have loved one of those as a teenager! We haven't managed to abolish the ridiculous Tampon Tax yet, but The European Commission says it is aiming to bring in a zero rate for sanitary products this year and the UK government has already legislated to allow this to happen as soon as the rules change, according to the BBC. 

Throughout all of these progressions, debates have started to rise up regarding the huge amount of waste that's generated by using disposable sanitary protection, most of which either ends up in a landfill or finds its way into the oceans causing further pollution problems there. Slowly, I've started to see women open up about periods and the products that they use via social media, blogs and YouTube, and as many of us are trying to do our bit for the Environment, reusable sanitary options make so much sense.

I've tried Moon Cups and Diva Cups, but neither worked out for me as a long-term solution, so it was time to test out some reusable pads. Bloom & Nora very kindly sent me one of their trial packs to try out and here's how I got on!

Bloom & Nora Eco-Friendly / Reusable Sanitary Pads
If you're an environmentally-friendly mum, you may have already heard of Bloom & Nora as their sister company TotsBots, are one of the leading independent brands of reusable nappies in the UK. Bloom & Nora specialise in eco-friendly reusable cloth sanitary pads that come in a range of sizes and styles. 'Bloom' are the bold and brighter pads that you can see above, and 'Nora' are the ones that are available in a bright white. I was instantly attracted to the more colourful Bloom options, so I decided to try out the Bloomers Trial Kit which includes:-

  • 1 x Mini Pad
  • 1 x Midi Pad
  • 1 x Maxi Pad
  • 1 x Mighty Pad
  • 1 x Out & About Bag

What are they made from?
The Bloom pads feature an absorbent core that's made from a soft surface layer of natural Bamboo fibre (and this feels SO soft against your most delicate parts - honestly, it's really nice not to have something plasticy down there!) and two layers of Polyester Microfibre. There's also a unique stay dry binding which provides a resilient barrier against leaks and locks everything away in the absorbent core, whilst the outer layer is waterproof for extra protection and peace of mind. 

The trial kit includes four sizes; Mini (light flow), Midi (regular/medium flow), Maxi (medium to heavier flow), and Mighty (heavy flow, night & postpartum use). Each size is available to purchase individually or in packs of three. For my body shape and needs, I found the Mighty pad to be much too large for me, so I used the Maxi size as my night time pad instead. I'd recommend checking the sizes/lengths on the website before ordering if you are a more petite woman. 

Bloom & Nora Eco-Friendly / Reusable Sanitary Pads
From L-R: Mighty, Maxi, Midi and Mini Bloom Pads

Testing them out
The poppers on the outside attach neatly to your underwear and I found the pads were very comfortable to wear; they stayed put and I didn't experience any problems with them - no leaks, no disposable/plastic 'rustling' noise, no discomfort. I was so nervous at first about wearing them outside of the house, but I needn't have been. They did the job perfectly and I felt fully protected at all times. I found the pads to be a lot more absorbent than disposables, and I particularly noticed this on heavier flow days - I definitely needed less trips to the loos throughout the day which was appreciated and I  only needed to change the pads after a few hours of wear. I've never been one to buy fragranced/scented disposable pads, but for those who are curious, I didn't notice any 'bad smells/odours' from using these. 

Washing & Drying
I followed the info on the Bloom & Nora website and washed them as normal in non-bio liquid with the rest of my laundry, but without any fabric conditioner, as this will coat the fabric fibres of the pads and reduce their absorbency. I generally wash everything on the standard eco setting on my washing machine which is pre-set at 30 degrees and I didn't experience any problems - they came out perfectly clean. To prevent any staining, I gave them a quick pre-rinse in the sink with cold water before putting them into the laundry (never use hot water as this sets stains). The pads are fast-drying, so you don't really need to tumble dry them (they can change shape if you do). Instead, I popped them onto the radiator to air dry naturally. 

Bloom & Nora Eco-Friendly / Reusable Sanitary Pads review
Bloom & Nora Eco-Friendly / Reusable Sanitary Pads review
The Trial Kit comes with an Out & About Bag which I found very useful! It has two separate waterproof sections so that you can easily store your clean and used pads without any fuss. Wash the whole bag with your used pads and you're good to go! There are even convenient little poppers on the sides so that it can be folded down into a more compact size, and this bag will store 4-6 pads. 

Overall thoughts?
I'm so happy that I had such a positive experience with these Bloom & Nora pads and I'll definitely continue to use them. During my trialling of these, I did use some disposable pads alongside them as the kit only contained four pads, so I'll certainly be ordering some more for next time. I think the only time that I would now use disposables are for holidays and longer trips away where I wouldn't have access to a washing machine, but for every other time, I'll be sticking with these!

Bloom & Nora Bloomers Trial Kit retails for £33.95* and is available from totsbots.com

Have you tried reusable sanitary products before?

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Introducing: Phase Zero Liquid Lipsticks, Lip Glosses & Lip Toppers - Review & Swatches (plus DISCOUNT CODE!)

Friday 9 March 2018

Phase Zero Liquid Lipsticks, Lip Glosses & Lip Toppers - Review & Swatches
If you haven't heard of Phase Zero before, it might be because it's not available to purchase anywhere, except on Love Me Beauty. That's right, a beauty subscription box has recently dropped one of the most exciting makeup launches of the year so far, and everything is cruelty-free and super affordable!

In the often over-saturated world of beauty subscription boxes, Love Me Beauty was one that managed to stand out, as they were the first in the market to let their subscribers choose the products that they wanted to receive. I subscribed to them almost five years ago and really enjoyed the variety of brands that they offered, so I was thrilled when I was added to their press list (you can read my previous reviews of Love Me Beauty here).

Last month, I received a very exciting email from them detailing a new makeup launch called Phase Zero, and a brand new approach to their subscription business. They have now gravitated towards a business model that's akin to Beauty Pie, where for a small subscription fee of £5 per month, cosmetics fans will be able to purchase Phase Zero makeup at affordable factory prices with 77% off the full RRP.  

Phase Zero Liquid Lipsticks, Lip Glosses & Lip Toppers - Review & Swatches
Currently, Phase Zero have released a range of lip products which include Liquid Lipsticks, Lip Glosses and Lip Toppers (all £3.50 each at the factory price), in a variety of classic and on-trend shades and finishes. I have to admit that I had no idea what the makeup was going to be like, but I was pleased to see that they had made everything cruelty-free, so I was curious to try it out!

The packaging is simplistic in chunky clear plastic topped with sleek white lids, but the typography gives it a cool and contemporary feel. I received an assorted package of their lip products, and having tested them out for a few weeks, they've managed to exceed all of my expectations. Everything has a sweet vanilla cupcake type of scent and there are some definite winners in this new range. 

Let's check out some swatches!

Phase Zero Lip Topper in Prosecco Kiss
 Phase Zero Lip Topper in Prosecco Kiss

The Lip Toppers have been designed to be worn on their own or over any lipstick of your choice to give your lip look that 'X-factor'. Prosecco Kiss is definitely one that can be worn on its own, as you can see above, it's much more pigmented than I thought it would be! This is an incredible metallic rose-gold with the most beautiful foil type of finish. It feels comfortable on the lips, isn't sticky or drying, and is surprisingly long-lasting. I don't have ANYTHING like this in my makeup collection!

Phase Zero Lip Topper in Holographic Girl
 Phase Zero Lip Topper in Holograph Girl

Holograph Girl is another unique Lip Topper, but this one is definitely on the sheer side as it features holographic glitter in a clear lip gloss base, which you can see in the swatch above. It looks particularly pretty over brighter shades like hot pinks and would be perfect to wear at Summer festivals and parties. 

Phase Zero Lip Gloss in Baby Pink
Phase Zero Lip Gloss in Baby Pink

Moving onto the non-sticky Lip Glosses, Baby Pink is a classic light milky baby pink that makes the lips look fuller and poutier in just two swipes. A really easy to wear, every day, no-fuss, goes with everything, pink gloss that you can apply without a mirror. 

Phase Zero Lip Gloss in Goth Gloss
Phase Zero Lip Gloss in Goth Gloss

You'll certainly need a mirror for Goth Gloss though, as this darker burgundy/aubergine shade is a bit tricky to apply without one! I found it a little patchy when worn on its own, but this looks absolutely killer when swiped over a dark berry lipstick and has a tiny hint of shimmer.

Phase Zero Lip Gloss in Postbox Red
Phase Zero Lip Gloss in Postbox Red

Postbox Red is one that surprised me as it pulls considerably brighter on my lips than I was expecting, and offers an almost full-coverage red with a huge amount of mega-watt glossy shine. If you're looking for a juicy bright red lip gloss, this is the one you're after! 

Phase Zero Liquid Lipstick in Pink Suede
Phase Zero Liquid Lipstick in Pink Suede

Now for the Liquid Lipsticks and these are really, really good. These all dry down quickly and apply so smoothly, with a gorgeous velvet-matte finish. Plus, they're long-lasting and don't feel drying on the lips at all - winner! Pink Suede is one of those covetable, modern classic pale nudes that has just the right amount of pink in it.

Phase Zero Liquid Lipstick in Chai Latte
Phase Zero Liquid Lipstick in Chai Latte

At first, I wasn't sure if Chai Latte suited me, but when I paired it with a smokey eye, it started to grow on me. It's very Kim K and needs a good contour and glowy base to make the most out of this straight-up pale nude.

Phase Zero Liquid Lipstick in Gingerbread
 Phase Zero Liquid Lipstick in Gingerbread

Yes, yes and yes! Gingerbread is my kinda shade that I would happily wear every day, regardless of whether I'm going out or staying in. It's just beautiful! The most perfect blend of 'my lips but better', with a slightly darker, reddy-brown undertone thrown into the mix.

Phase Zero Liquid Lipstick in Classic Red

Classic Red is just that and it's one of those reds that I imagine would look amazing on all skin tones. The comfortable formula of Phase Zero's Liquid Lipsticks is really appreciated here and it applies so nicely.

Overall thoughts?
If you love makeup and buy it on a regular basis, the new Love Me Beauty will be right up your street, and the quality of Phase Zero has really impressed me so far with these gorgeous lip products. I also like the fact that if you don't want to subscribe, you can still purchase Phase Zero at the higher RRP if you'd prefer, although even with the minimum 3 month contract, it would probably still work out cheaper to sub for this length of time, buy the products at the factory prices and then cancel. Either way, it's fantastic to find a brand new range of cruelty-free makeup at affordable prices and I'm very excited to see what they launch next!

Exclusive reader discount code: use EVELYN5 to get £5 off your first purchase!

Phase Zero* is available exclusively online at lovemebeauty.com

What do you think of Phase Zero? Will you be subscribing?

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Budget Beauty: Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser review (aka Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish dupe)

Wednesday 7 March 2018

Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser review (aka Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish dupe)
Superdrug's cheap as chips own-brand skincare range regularly appears on my social media feeds, and if you haven't tried anything from them before, why not start with this budget-friendly Liz Earle dupe? If you read my recent February Empties post, you may have spotted a little spoiler about this product, and I don't think I've ever had as many personal requests to do a review on a skincare item before!  

Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser is a British beauty classic, and I've been using it on and off for years. In fact, there's almost always a tube of the stuff somewhere in my bathroom or skincare stash. It's easy to see why it's one of the best cream cleansers on the market as it absolutely destroys makeup in a matter of minutes, and always leaves my skin feeling thoroughly clean and refreshed. 

However, it's pricey at £15 for just 100ml, so I'm not surprised that so many people have asked me about a cheaper dupe for it. The beauty industry has seen this demand too, as a lot of brands nowadays sell their own version of this classic cleanser, and Superdrug's Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser is one of the most popular alternatives.

Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser review (aka Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish dupe)
Packaging & Size
The most notable difference, other than the price, is that Superdrug's version is packaged in a large 200ml tube as standard. There's no inbuilt pump like Liz Earle's, which makes dispensing it a little tricky as it's very easy to squeeze too much product out, but practice makes perfect. However, Liz Earle's larger 200ml cleanser size comes packaged in a similar tube without a pump! Currently, there are no travel size versions of the Superdrug one, whilst Liz Earle offers a range of different sizes. Superdrug's comes with a complimentary muslin cloth in the box, whereas Liz Earle only offers these as part of their Starter Kits or sets, or you can choose to purchase them separately. 

As mentioned earlier, Liz Earle's is £15 for 100ml or £26 for 200ml. Superdrug's is just £4.99 for a whopping 200ml. That's a pretty big price difference!

The ingredients for Liz Earle are:- Aqua (water), Caprylic/capric triglyceride, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl esters, Cera alba (beeswax), Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan stearate, Eucalyptus globulus leaf oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, Humulus lupulus (hops) extract, Chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower extract, Propylene glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Panthenol, Benzoic acid, Dehydroacetic acid, Sorbitol, Limonene, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyaminopropyl biguanide, Citric acid, Sodium hydroxide.

Ingredients for Superdrug:- Aqua, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil, Parfum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Panthenol, Alcohol Denat., PEG-35 Castor Oil, Polysorbate 20, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A), Inositol, Calcium Pantothenate (Vitamin B), Linoleic Acid (Vitamin F), Biotin (Vitamin H), Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol, Citric Acid, Coumarin, Linalool, Buthylphenyl Methylpropional, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Disodium EDTA.

As you can see, there are some similarities between the two, with the first four ingredients being exactly the same, and they share a couple more ingredients throughout the INCI list. That said, there are a lot more 'undesirables' in the Superdrug formula, such as Alcohol Denat, Parfum and Disodium EDTA to name a few, which is often common with cheaper products in general. Both cleansers are certified cruelty-free, but only the Superdrug one is suitable for vegans as the Liz Earle contains beeswax.

Anyone who has ever used Liz Earle's will either love or hate their iconic fresh Eucalyptus scent. Personally, I love it, but I know many who don't! Superdrug's doesn't contain any Eucalyptus and instead has a sweeter, more Cocoa Butter based scent.  

Texture & Performance
Both have a thick and creamy texture, but I'd say the Liz Earle is definitely thicker, as the Superdrug feels more like a rich moisturiser or sun cream. I tested them side by side to see how well they compared with removing a full face of makeup and it was a tough call to be honest! They both removed waterproof eye makeup including stubborn mascara, and they easily made short work of full coverage liquid foundation. The Liz Earle definitely felt more luxurious and refreshing to use though, but both left my face completely make-up free and feeling soft afterwards.

Overall thoughts?
Maybe it's my nostalgia for having used and loved the Liz Earle for so long, but I think I'll always continue to use it and have a tube in my stash. I much prefer the Eucalyptus scent of the Liz Earle and found the Superdrug one to be a little cloying at times. However, I am seriously impressed by the performance of the Superdrug cleanser which makes it a worthy dupe in my opinion. I'll most likely rotate between the two which will give my bank balance a happier compromise!

Superdrug Vitamin E Hot Cloth Cleanser* (200ml, £4.99) is available in stores nationwide and online at superdrug.com

Have you tried any dupes?

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Skincare Favourite: A'kin Certified Organic Rosehip Oil review & 5 Ways To Use It

Tuesday 6 March 2018

A'Kin Certified Organic Rosehip Oil review
Rosehip Oil is one of the most beautiful and beneficial oils that you can add to your skincare routine and it's certainly been coming in handy during this recent cold snap!

I honestly can't remember how long I've been using Rosehip Oil for. I first heard about it as a useful ingredient to look out for in skincare when I was researching products that could help with acne scars. Naturally, Rosehip Oil popped up and the more I read about it, the more I knew I needed to try it. I purchased a bottle from a local health store several years ago and I've never looked back.

There are a lot of brands out there who have their own versions of this superstar oil, but the two key things to look out for are purity and organic certifications. For the best results on your skin, you want a pure Rosehip Oil that doesn't contain any additional 'nasties' such as parabens, sulfates, silicones, phthalates, mineral oil, artificial colours or fragrances. I'd also recommend looking out for a organic certification logo on the packaging, as many are marketed as 'organic', but are not verified in any way.

The one that I've been using the most often over the years is A'kin Rosehip Oil which is certified organic by COSMOS (one of the highest and strictest organic accreditations on the market). It contains just pure Rosehip Oil, with a little Rosemary Leaf extract to help 'turbo-charge' the antioxidant content, with nothing else added, so it's naturally vegan-friendly.

A'Kin Certified Organic Rosehip Oil review
Why Is Rosehip Oil So Good for the Skin?
Rosehip Oil is derived from Rosehip Seeds which are naturally high in essential fatty acids, carotenes and antioxidants. These are fantastic for the skin as they help to keep it healthy and hydrated, as well as improving skin tone and texture, brightening the complexion, diminishing marks and scars, and also helping to reduce any redness and irritation. It's often touted as an 'anti-ageing' oil thanks to its Vitamin A content which helps to promote healthy cell renewal and regeneration to keep skin looking younger for longer. The purity and multi-benefits of Rosehip Oil makes it suitable for all skin types to try out, but as with all skincare products, please do a patch test first if you have sensitive skin.

5 Ways To Use Rosehip Oil
  • Hydrating Facial Oil Treatment - massage 1-3 drops into cleansed skin before applying your moisturiser, to give dry skin a hydrating boost.
  • Boost Your Moisturiser - alternatively, mix a few drops directly into your current moisturiser to supercharge your morning and/or evening skincare routine.
  • Dry Skin Saviour - massage a couple of drops into any area on the face and body that feels dry or cracked. It's brilliant for heels, elbows, knees and even on the lips!
  • Hand & Nail Treatment - rub in a few drops directly into dry hands, paying particular attention to the cuticles, knuckles and nails to give them some moisturising TLC.
  • Frizz & Flyaways Smoother - apply 1-3 drops (depending on the length and thickness of your hair) into your hands and smooth over your lengths and ends to tame any frizz and flyaways for a sleek finish.

A'kin Certified Organic Rosehip Oil* is QVC's 'Supersize Product of the Month' throughout March - pick up a massive 45ml bottle for only £25.68 (link)

Have you tried Rosehip Oil?

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Weekend Style: Zessoo Leaf Leather Wallet review #SlowFashion

Sunday 4 March 2018

Zessoo Leaf Leather Wallet review
Sustainable fashion has never been more on-trend than it is now, and with a growing number of consumers looking for stylish alternatives to leather goods, more companies are now using eco-friendly materials for products like wallets and accessories. Zessoo is one such British brand that's helping to lead the way.

Launched late last year, Zessoo was set up by AJ Joshi, a London-based tech entrepreneur whose eyes were opened to the horrors of animal cruelty after watching popular documentaries such as Black Fish and Cowspiracy. This spurred on a desire to become vegan and a passion to help others live a more cruelty-free and sustainable lifestyle. After travelling through Asia and meeting local communities who were producing products by hand using only locally sourced materials, he had the idea for a range of vegan-friendly fashion accessories. 

Zessoo now has a range of flagship wallets that are made from 'leaf leather', a durable eco-friendly material which is made from fallen leaves, bonded together by natural sunlight, hand-stitched and coloured using natural dyes. Each wallet is handmade making it completely unique as no two leaves are the same, making it a very special gift idea, or simply a wonderful treat for yourself.

Zessoo Leaf Leather Wallet review
Zessoo Leaf Leather Wallet review
As a blogger, I'm incredibly lucky as I frequently get sent a lot of really amazing products from a wide range of brands to review, and when Zessoo got in touch to ask what I thought about their leaf leather wallets, I got pretty excited! It's such a privilege to receive a handmade item like this and I've been fascinated by its quality ever since it arrived.

Each wallet takes around 6 weeks to make and Zessoo has a range of different styles and sizes available in several colours. I was kindly sent a Gandhi Card Wallet* (£19) which is based on a traditional fold-out design. The wallet has compartments for cash (notes) and six cards, with extra space behind these slots to store things like receipts or additional cards.

The 'leaf leather' blows my mind though. It feels very lightweight, yet incredibly durable and is much thicker than I imagined it would be. Another interesting aspect is that this material doesn't have any noticeable 'scent' to it - something that has always bothered me about leather goods is that slightly nauseating smell that it has. The natural texture of this leaf leather gives it a cool 'distressed' look which I love, and I've never had so many compliments or questions about a wallet before from friends and family, since it's been in my handbag! 

Zessoo Leaf Leather Wallet review
If you're looking for a new wallet that's 100% cruelty-free and from an innovative company that has admirable eco and ethical credentials, I can't recommend Zessoo enough.

This wallet even arrived wrapped in 'Zessoo paper' - a special type of plantable paper which is made with seeds so that you can create a little patch of wildflowers in your garden to help out local bees and butterflies - how cool is that?! Alongside their range of wallets, they also sell jewellery and are looking to branch out into other leaf leather-based goods such as backpacks in the near future. I can't wait!

To find out more about Zessoo and to shop online, visit zessoo.com

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