Foodie Friday: Top 5 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar + Comvita Manuka Honey Apple Cider Drinking Vinegars review

Friday, 29 June 2018

10 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar has been a staple in my kitchen for a few years now after I first started looking into it as a way to help some of my IBS symptoms, and I'm still in awe of the many benefits that this popular natural superstar has to offer.

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?
Apple Cider Vinegar is traditionally made from a blend of apples, yeast and a little sugar. The yeast helps to kickstart the fermentation process, and it's this stage which ensures a final result that is high in a number of minerals such as phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, and calcium, as well as producing levels of healthy bacteria.

Not All Apple Cider Vinegars Are Equal Though...
Although ACV has been used as a common remedy for various ailments over the centuries, it was the '70s that saw ACV have its moment in the mainstream that helped to solidify its status as a health product. Since then, the quality of some Apple Cider Vinegars has dropped to meet the increase in consumer demand, so it's important to pick one that's unpasteurised, GM-free, and with 'The Mother'.

What's 'The Mother'?
'The Mother' is a strange sounding term that sounds like something from a horror film, but it's actually just all the good stuff that should be in your ACV. It's easy to spot because it gives a naturally cloudy appearance to the vinegar in the bottle (if you see an ACV that is crystal clear it's been filtered and pasteurised so it won't have 'The Mother'). 'The Mother' basically holds together all of the proteins, healthy bacteria, beneficial nutrients and acetic acid, and without it, you won't get anywhere near the number of proper benefits that ACV has to offer. 

Comvita Apple Cider Vinegar
Due to Apple Cider Vinegar being used so widely by so many people over the centuries, its name has become attached to virtually everything - from curing hiccups to fighting off certain types of cancer. Some of these claims have absolutely no substantial medical evidence to back them up, so I wanted to focus purely on the areas where ACV has helped me personally and what most people use ACV for. Here are my Top 5 Apple Cider Vinegar benefits!

1. Helps IBS & Digestion
Thanks to the gut-friendly, healthy bacteria in ACV, it can help with things like indigestion and heartburn, as well as minor tummy upsets and some IBS symptoms like bloating, due to neutralising stomach acid. I find that it really helps to reduce the bloating aspect if I consume a teaspoon in a glass of water before having a meal.

2. Sore Throat Soother
If you feel a sore throat coming on, mix a little ACV with warm water and gargle it. This seems to work as many of the germs causing the sore throat can't tolerate or survive after being dowsed with the acidic vinegar.

3. Supporting Your Immune System
The combination of healthy bacteria and acetic acid in ACV can help to stave off mild colds, and whenever your gut is in a healthy working state, your body as a whole can usually recover quicker from minor infections. 

4. Lowering Blood Sugar Levels
If you eat a lot of carb-heavy meals, drinking a glass of water with 2-4 teaspoons of ACV helps to prevent blood sugar crashes and spikes, keeping your levels better balanced.

5. Boosting Skin Health
It's not just internal benefits that you can reap from ACV. You can use ACV topically as it's naturally high in antibacterial and antifungal properties. I've used it as a facial toner before (diluted with water in a spritzer bottle) to fight off blemish breakouts during Summer, and it can keep your skin look clearer and smoother thanks to its natural exfoliating action.

How To Take It?
Due to its acidic potency, you must always, always, ALWAYS dilute your Apple Cider Vinegar. A good way to enjoy many of its benefits is to stir a teaspoon or two into a glass of water and drink it. It does have an acquired taste though, so if you prefer something a little sweeter to take the sour edge of it slightly, you can try Comvita Apple Cider Vinegar with Manuka Honey* (750ml, £7.99, link). This one is a lot more palatable and makes a delicious salad dressing when mixed with a little olive oil!

Comvita Apple Cider Drinking Vinegars review
Comvita Manuka Honey Apple Cider Drinking Vinegars* (250ml, £2.99, link)
Whilst I was trying out the Comvita Apple Cider Vinegar, I also came across their Drinking Vinegars which are ready-to drink infusions of New Zealand Manuka Honey, Apple Cider Vinegar (with The Mother), and purified water. Each bottle contains two teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and Manuka Honey, and it's still only 26 calories per drink. I tried two of the flavours, Natural and Golden Kiwifruit. Both of these are surprisingly refreshing, especially when they're ice cold, but they do have a light vinegary taste so they're a little tangy! Something to try out if you're looking for an all-natural drink with a difference though?

Are you a fan of Apple Cider Vinegar?

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New In Beauty: CND Vinylux Boho Spirit Summer 2018 Collection - Review & Swatches

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

CND Vinylux Boho Spirit Summer 2018 Collection - Review & Swatches
One of my favourite things about the Summer months are all the new nail polish collections that come out, and CND's Vinylux Boho Spirit collection is giving me some serious holiday and festival vibes. Bring on the bright shades and try on some new pastel-esque hues while you're at it!

CND Vinylux is a specialist long-wearing nail polish range, and when used in conjunction with their Weekly Top Coat (which I've reviewed in the past here), you can usually get around 5-7 days worth of chip-free happiness on your talons. The brush is the perfect size for getting an easy level of coverage on in two quick coats and the shade range is vast and beautiful, with new collections being released all the time. 

Here are some swatches of CND's latest Boho Spirit Collection for Summer 2018:-

CND Vinylux - Gypsy
CND Vinylux - Gypsy

Most of the oranges in my nail polish stash are bright neons that often veer onto a matte-ish finish, so it's refreshing to come across a shade like this which still retains a summery brightness, but has a much more creamier and smoother finish to it. Gypsy is such a beauty and looks amazing on toes too.

CND Vinylux - Unihibited
CND Vinylux - Unihibited

If you're looking for something that's classically pretty and office-friendly, Unhibited ticks all the right boxes. It's a stunning peachy-nude pink that looks very flattering on and goes with pretty much any outfit. Applies easily in just two creme laden coats and although I was half-expecting a hint of golden shimmer with a shade like this, it's completely shimmer-free like all the colours in this particular collection.

CND Vinylux - Offbeat
CND Vinylux - Offbeat

I'm a sucker for a hot pink-red and Offbeat did not disappoint. It brings all those coveted bright summery vibes that will finish off your look in no time at all. I literally live in shades like this and it's going to be hard for me to want to wear anything else this Summer! Two easy coats gives you the shiny result above.

CND Vinylux - Vagabond
CND Vinylux - Vagabond

I'm not gonna lie - the first time that I set eyes on Vagabond, I simply thought it was going to be one of those colours that I really dislike because these creamy, pale, mustardy yellows can be super tricky to pull off. Surprisingly though, it's been growing on me, so if you're looking for something new, different and on-trend to wear, definitely check it out.

CND Vinylux Polishes* (15ml, £9.95 each) are available from various stockists including NailPolishDirect.co.uk

Which one is your favourite shade?

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Introducing: Badger Balm - Mineral Lip Tints, Cuticle Care & Sleep Balm review

Monday, 25 June 2018

Badger Balm Mineral Lip Tints, Cuticle Care & Sleep Balm review
Badger Balm is a popular natural and organic skincare brand that I often see pop up on many of the green beauty blogs that I follow. They have a whole range of brilliant balmy type products, as well as sunscreens, and with their adorable packaging, I just had to include them in my Introducing series for anyone who hasn't come across them before!

Like many successful business ideas, Badger Balm was created when founder Bill Whyte was looking for a natural product to use on his weather-worn hands which always cracked during the bitterly cold winters in New England, USA. After trying various remedies, he finally struck upon the idea of blending Beeswax with Olive Oil, which resulted in the first Badger Balm product back in 1994. Since then, this family-owned company has developed several different types of balms that heal and moisturise a variety of skin concerns, alongside aromatherapy based balms and more recently, natural sunscreens and tinted lip balms. 

I was kindly sent two of these newly reformulated Mineral Lip Tints to try out, which arrived with two of their popular balm products.

Badger Balm Mineral Lip Tints review
 Badger Balm Mineral Lip Tints in Rose Tourmaline & Garnet* (4.2g, £5.99, link)

Tinted lip balms are something that I seem to use more and more of these days, and the main reason is because they are just so low maintenance and easy to use! These zero fuss, twist-up sticks can be thrown into any purse/handbag/suitcase and within seconds, you can simply swipe them on and get a nice wash of colour on your lips without having to get a mirror or lip liner out. 

The Badger Mineral Lip Tints come in a range of colours and I received Rose Tourmaline (a subtle hint of pink), and Garnet (a deeper plum-red hue that gives off a 'just bitten into a cherry' vibe). Both are incredibly moisturising and creamy thanks to a blend of Beeswax, Olive Oil, Cocoa Butter, Coconut Oil and Shea Butter, and they have a slightly sweet but floral sort of flavour to them. Perfect for Summer when you want to keep your look light and fresh!

Badger Balm Cuticle Care & Sleep Balm review
Badger Balm Cuticle Care* (21g, £5.99, link) & Sleep Balm* (21g, £5.99, link)

Two bestsellers from Badger are the Cuticle Care and Sleep Balm. Packaged in their iconic round tins (available in mini and larger sizes - the 21g mini tins are shown above) that feature the brand's adorable mascot, it's easy to see why they are so popular from the minute that you try them.

The organic Cuticle Care balm is an intensive and super hydrating formula which will give even the most cracked and damaged cuticles, the moisturising TLC that they deserve. Packed full of Shea Butter, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Castor Oil and Beeswax, you only need to apply a small amount of this thick balm to your cuticles before going to bed, and you'll see a big difference in their overall condition in the morning. It also contains Rosemary extract which helps to encourage strong and healthy nail growth so that's a welcome bonus too!

If you have trouble getting to sleep like I do, a product like Badger's Sleep Balm may help. This specialised, all-natural aromatherapy balm has a base of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Castor Oil and Beeswax, which is infused with pure essential oils of Bergamot, Ginger, Rosemary, Lavender and Balsam Fir. Dabbing a tiny amount onto the pulse points and temples helps to create a relaxing aroma that calms and balances the mind - ah, bliss! It's a handy one to have in your travel bag if you're a nervous flyer as well.

Have you tried anything from Badger?

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Luxury Skincare: Dafna's Eye Care & Revival Bio-Active Beauty Mask review

Friday, 22 June 2018

Dafna's Eye Care & Revival Bio-Active Beauty Mask review
If you haven't heard of Dafna's before, they are Spain's most exciting luxury and organic skincare brand, and they recently won the Best International Skincare Brand 2018 at the Beauty Shortlist AwardsDafna's have been making waves across the green beauty world for some time now, and I imagine that they're going to be catching the eye of many beauty editors and skincare gurus fairly soon. 

The overall concept behind Dafna's is to marry luxury organic ingredients with the newest advances in pioneering biotechnology, and they also take inspiration from the Slow Beauty movement too. Couple those ethics with a hefty dose of Ayurvedic philosophy, and you have a natural skincare brand that's going to appeal to a wide consumer base of people who enjoy taking the very best care of their skin. Slick, minimalistic, black glass packaging houses their innovative clean formulas, which are all free of parabens, unnatural preservatives, silicones and other petroleum derivatives, artificial fragrances and unnecessary additives. 

I've had the pleasure of trying out two products from Dafna's recently; their Eye Care, which I've been trialling for about six weeks now, and their popular Revival Bio-Active Beauty Mask, that arrived on my doorstep at the start of the month.

Dafna's Eye Care review
Dafna's Eye Care* (20ml, £50, link)

The skin around your eyes is the thinnest of the whole body, so it's no wonder that the first signs of ageing show up here, and if your under eye area is anything like mine, they may be super dry too, which makes fine lines appear even more visible. Needless to say, splashing out on a high-quality eye cream is a worthy investment, and Dafna's Eye Care is certainly one to try if you're concerned with puffiness, dark circles and fine lines. 

The convenient inbuilt pump dispenses a small amount of product which is loaded with 16 potent natural actives, which all work in synergy to create a powerful anti-ageing treatment for the delicate eye area. There's Chicory Root and Hydrolyzed Soy Protein to enhance healthy collagen production, whilst Rosehip Oil tackles the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Aloe Vera and Calendula extract are also included to reduce puffiness which is something that I struggle with in the mornings (I'm certainly not an early bird!)

I was expecting this Eye Care to be on the heavy side, as most anti-ageing targeted formulas typically are, but I was pleasantly surprised by its incredibly light and gel-like texture which makes it feel more like a silky lotion. This absorbs into the skin beautifully without any stickiness, so it's great to use in the AM and/or PM as part of your regular skincare routine. Within just a week of using it daily, my under eyes were much smoother with all the visible morning puffiness gone, and in a month later, the skin felt much tighter and lifted overall, with my fine lines looking almost non-existent. No wonder this is a staple amongst the A-list Spanish actresses! 

Dafna's Revival Bio-Active Beauty Mask review
Dafna's Revival Bio-Active Beauty Mask review
Dafna's Revival Bio-Active Beauty Mask* (50ml, £78, link)

Coming in at an eye-watering £78, Dafna's Revival Bio-Active Beauty Mask is one of the most expensive face masks that has ever graced the surface of my complexion. It's not surprising then to learn that this mask has been specially formulated for regular jet-setters and busy city dwellers because this isn't something that you would use on skin that doesn't have any issues!

Instead, the Revival Bio-Active Beauty Mask is an intensive facial treatment that works on a two-phase basis. Firstly, it gives the skin an intensive shot of hydration with low-weight molecules of Hyaluronic Acid, whilst Ginseng and Reishi are included to energize and 'wake up' tired skin. The second phase then incorporates those tiny black particles that you can see in the mask below. These are pieces of encapsulated Charcoal which effectively draw out any free radicals on your skin, which in turn inhibits their oxidation impact, and gives your overall complexion a more balanced look (so it's brilliant for assisting with an uneven skin tone for example).  

Dafna's Revival Bio-Active Beauty Mask review
To use it, you scoop out a small amount with the included spatula and gently 'tap' it onto a dry, clean face, making sure that you don't rub it in. Leave it on to do its thing for 5-10 minutes and then with damp fingers, massage the mask into the skin. This breaks up and activates the encapsulated Charcoal, and you need to allow it to work for a further 5 minutes before rinsing it off.

This is an incredible face mask to use if you've recently been travelling (especially if you've been flying and are suffering from jet lag), have spent a lot of time in a polluted city, and/or have had a  particularly busy and stressful week. It'll make you look like you've just had an expensive facial with the skin feeling fully hydrated and plumped up, whilst looking brighter, younger and simply more 'alive'. At this price point though, that's what I was expecting and it thankfully didn't disappoint.

Have you tried anything from Dafna's?

New In Beauty: Tropic Clarifying Hair Wash, Hair Smooth Radiance Oil, Hair Feast Deep Conditioning Treatment & Scalp Massager review

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Tropic Clarifying Hair Wash, Hair Smooth Radiance Oil, Hair Feast Deep Conditioning Treatment & Scalp Massager review
Tropic are on a roll with their new releases and these SLS-free products are part of their latest haircare range. 

Many of my regular readers will know that I'm a big fan of Tropic (you can check out my previous reviews of their products here), but this is the first time that I've tested out any of their haircare. Often, when a skincare brand launches haircare I'm a little dubious at first, as many brands don't always get it right, but I'm pleased to say that my hair has been getting on well with these over the past few weeks!

Tropic Clarifying Hair Wash, Hair Smooth Radiance Oil, Hair Feast Deep Conditioning Treatment & Scalp Massager review
Tropic Clarifying Hair Wash* (250ml, £16, link)
Despite having combination hair (oily roots with dry lengths and ends), I only wash my hair twice a week because if I over-wash it, I find that my scalp just produces too much oil and it gets greasy really quickly. In between washes, I use a dry shampoo to refresh it, and I always prefer something more clarifying for when I actually want to shampoo it properly. Tropic's Clarifying Hair Wash is ideal for people like me as it removes all product build-up from the hair, but doesn't leave your scalp feeling stripped or dry afterwards.  This pH balanced hair wash contains Coconut-derived cleansers, Aloe Vera Juice and Babassu extract, to gently cleanse and hydrate. As it's also a concentrated formula, you only need to use a small amount each time, so although it's pricey, one tube will last you a good couple of months if you're not using it every day. It smells gorgeous too!

Tropic Hair Smooth Radiance Oil* (75ml, £24, link)
As my lengths and ends are so dry, I often use a hair oil as a leave-in treatment to keep my tresses in tip-top condition, and this Hair Smooth Radiance Oil is something that I've been reaching for a lot lately. Composed of a blend of beneficial oils such as Abyssinian, Maracuja, Argan, Jojoba, Tamanu and Vitamin E, this oil is surprisingly lightweight and does a brilliant job of keeping my hair hydrated, soft and shiny. I generally apply half a pump after towel drying, but you can also use a tiny amount to smooth frizz and flyaways after styling. 

Tropic Clarifying Hair Wash, Hair Smooth Radiance Oil, Hair Feast Deep Conditioning Treatment & Scalp Massager reviewTropic Hair Feast Deep Conditioning Treatment* (200ml, £18, link)
Once a week I like to treat my hair to an ultra conditioning hair mask, and Tropic's Hair Feast Deep Conditioning Treatment is a must-buy if you have dry or damaged hair that's in need of some TLC. Reassuringly thick in texture, Hair Feast is packed full of natural ingredients including Aloe Vera Juice, Glycerin, Jojoba Oil, Tamanu Oil, Vitamin B5, Keratin, Murumuru Butter and Maracuja Oil, to name but a few. It smells lovely and fresh as there's also Blood Orange, Lemon, Peppermint, Spearmint, Coconut and Vanilla in the formula, and it gets to work quickly in just 5 minutes, though I would recommend leaving it on for longer if you want a more intensive treatment (I often leave it on overnight for the best results!). After rinsing, my hair is wonderfully soft and feels so silky.

Tropic Scalp Massager* (£8, link
If your scalp is prone to build-up, dryness or flakiness, or you have fine or thinning hair, you may want to incorporate a scalp massager into your weekly haircare routine to help stimulate the circulation and improve the blood flow to your scalp. This one features a range of supple silicone bristles which come down into points to allow you to effortlessly massage your scalp, removing dirt and build-up, whilst also boosting the overall circulation. You can use it as often as you like and once you get the hang of it, it's actually quite relaxing!

Shop the full range of Tropic haircare online at tropicskincare.com

Have you tried any of Tropic's haircare range?

Green Beauty: LoveLula Beauty Box - June 2018 review

Monday, 18 June 2018

LoveLula Beauty Box - June 2018 review
When it comes to beauty boxes, the LoveLula ones are always consistently good and June's box is no exception. Let's take a closer look at the contents, shall we?

L'Odaites Gentle Polyphenol Exfoliator
 L'Odaites Gentle Polyphenol Exfoliator (full size, RRP £39)

The star of this month's box is a full-size jar of L'Odaites Gentle Polyphenol Exfoliator which is new to the LoveLula website. I've heard a lot of positive things about this natural Parisian skincare brand, so I couldn't wait to slap it on in the bathroom as soon as I saw it! Packed full of polyphenols which are derived from the pits of dates, this rich manual exfoliator also includes Sunflower Seed Oil, Aloe Vera, Honey and Olive Leaf extract, so it feels quite moisturising afterwards. It does a brilliant job of polishing away dead skin cells, and I'd be more happy to continue to use this once a week or fortnight as part of my skincare routine.

Walden See The Moonlight Perfume Rollerball
 Walden See The Moonlight Perfume Rollerball (10ml, RRP £17)

A new Walden perfume, how exciting! You guys know how much I love this range (check out my previous review here) because these fragrances are completely different to anything else that I have in my perfume collection. This newbie is called See The Moonlight and it features an interesting blend of fresh Bergamot top notes, sultry Jasmine, delicate hints of Rose, and a deep base of Sandalwood and Ambrette Seed. A lovely scent for Summer, the handbag-friendly rollerball is ideal for travelling with.  

JOIK Refreshing Facial Toner
 JOIK Refreshing Facial Toner (full size, RRP £10)

Another full-size product this month is JOIK's popular Refreshing Facial Toner which I've been meaning to try out. It's 100% natural, alcohol-free and contains Sea Buckthorn Oil to repair and condition the skin, Aloe Vera to soothe any irritation or inflammation, and refreshing Peppermint and Grapefruit Oils to wake up your complexion. I've really been enjoying using this in the mornings, though I might decant it into a spritzer bottle as it doesn't have a pump.

REN Skincare & Now To Sleep Pillow Spray
 REN Skincare & Now To Sleep Pillow Spray (10ml travel size, full size is £18 for 75ml)

Next up, I found a travel size bottle of REN's latest & Now To Sleep Pillow Spray which I've seen all over social media recently. This unique blend of essential oils helps to balance your natural sleep patterns by using Frankincense, Hops and Lavender to help you relax and drift off to the land of nod. Lavender is quite dominant in the mix and it has an overall earthy, natural scent to it, so if you like the sound of that, you'll probably love this!   

JOIK Sweet Orange & Mint Body Butter
JOIK Sweet Orange & Mint Body Butter (sample)

Lastly, there's a small sample of JOIK Sweet Orange & Mint Body Butter which smells gorgeous. It's very fruity and refreshing, and I really like the rich texture too - very tempted to get a full-size of this at some point soon!

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?

Introducing: Dr. Konopka's Natural Herbal Skincare - Cooling & Regenerating Face Masks, Soothing Hand & Body Wash, Regenerating Eye Cream, Multi Purpose & Restoring Foot Cream review

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Introducing: Dr. Konopka's Natural Herbal Skincare - Cooling & Regenerating Face Masks, Soothing Hand & Body Wash, Regenerating Eye Cream, Multi Purpose & Restoring Foot Cream review
I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and when I first saw the skincare range from Dr. Konopka's, I knew I had to get my hands on some to try out!

Dr. Konopka's is a budget-friendlynatural, organic and vegan approved skincare brand, whose products are all based on herbal recipes that were developed by Dr. Konopka when he was working as a pharmacist in the 1930s (hence the cool apothecary style packaging). In 1931, he opened his own small pharmacy in the suburbs of Tallin in Estonia and his passion for working with herbs and plants grew as he developed his own natural remedies for various common ailments.  Throughout the '30s, he created product after product, including a popular wound-healing cream which was made with the extracts of 48 beneficial herbs, antibacterial soaps and countless body and hair products which were tested on his beauty obsessed wife. He also came up with over 150 oil formulas just for hair!

Fast forward to the present time and Dr Konopka's original natural herbal recipes were re-discovered in 2013 by the Estonian Eurobiolab who developed them with modern technology for a wider audience, all in keeping with the company's strict ethical and organic certificates and standards (you can check these out here)

It's wonderful to see a brand like this come back to life, so I was keen to try out some of Dr. Konopka's for myself when the opportunity recently arose. I picked the following products to give a little overview of what they have to offer, but they do have an enormous range! Everything is free from parabens, mineral oils, paraffin, synthetic dyes and artificial fragrances.

Dr. Konopka's Cooling Pore Refining Face Mask & Regenerating Face Mask
 Dr. Konopka's Cooling Pore Refining Face Mask* (75ml) & Regenerating Face Mask* (75ml)

Regular readers will know that I'm somewhat obsessed with face masks so naturally, I'm going to start with these two! Both come packed in recyclable aluminium tubes which I was really pleased to see and you get 75ml of product in each one which will give you plenty of applications. 

The one on the left is called the Cooling Pore Refining Face Mask and this has been developed for normal and oily skin types. It features a base of White Clay, Rosemary Oil, Organic Mint extract and Shea Butter, which is blended in with Dr Konopka's Herbal Essence No. 54 to help deeply cleanse the skin, unclog pores, remove impurities and hydrate the skin at the same time. I love these types of masks because it always feels like you're getting the best of both worlds as it's clarifying and moisturising, so your skin won't feel dry or tight afterwards. I left it on for 15 minutes and it has a pleasant cooling, slightly tingling effect for the first couple of minutes. After rinsing it off, my skin definitely looked clearer and less congested, felt nourished, and I noticed that some stubborn blackheads from my nose had also been removed. Result!

If your skin is normal, dry or mature, I'd recommend the Regenerating Face Mask which is infused with Dr Konopka's Herbal Essence 49, Glycerin, Sage Oil and Organic Rosehip extract. It has a lighter, creamier texture than the mask above and contains a range of vitamins and minerals, as well as several skin-friendly natural moisturising ingredients to hydrate. This is a lovely mask to use once a week to keep your skin feeling smooth and supple, and it gets to work in just 15 minutes. 

Dr. Konopka's Soothing Hand & Body Wash
 Dr. Konopka's Soothing Hand & Body Wash* (500ml)

For the bathroom, this multi-purpose Soothing Hand & Body Wash is SLS-free (it uses Sodium Coco-Sulfate which is naturally derived from coconuts to produce a mild lather instead), which my sensitive skin loves. It contains Lavender Oil so it has a classic, naturally relaxing fragrance that always helps me to sleep better whenever I use it. Ideal to use in the shower, bath or as a hand soap, it'll gently cleanse your skin without stripping it.

Dr. Konopka's Regenerating Eye Cream
 Dr. Konopka's Regenerating Eye Cream* (20ml)

I was drawn to this Regenerating Eye Cream because I've noticed that a lot of the eye products that I've been using lately have been on the luxury/high-end side of things, so I've been on the hunt for a more affordable alternative for a while now. I must admit that I wasn't expecting any miracles from this, but after using it for a month, I can say that it has exceeded my expectations and I've really been enjoying applying it in the mornings before putting on my makeup.

Made with 98.9% natural ingredients and featuring Dr Konopka's Herbal Essence 49 base and Organic Angelica extract, this eye cream has a light and easily absorbed cream texture, but it still manages to fully hydrate dry undereye areas, and would be suitable for sensitive skin types to use as well. It smoothes and gently tightens the skin, helping the eyes to look more youthful. If you're searching for an affordable eye cream, this is definitely one to try.

Dr. Konopka's Multi Purpose Cream and Restoring Foot Cream
Dr. Konopka's Multi Purpose Cream* (75ml) and Restoring Foot Cream* (75ml)

Multi-purpose products are a constant staple in my skincare stash and this Multi-Purpose Cream is ideal to use on any area of the face and body that feels irritated, sensitive, dry or just needs some extra TLC. Packaged in the same recyclable aluminium tubes as the Face Masks, this cream contains an expert botanical blend of Organic Rose, Cloudberry and Mulberry extracts which are all rich in vitamins and minerals to help repair and restore the skin's natural barrier and improve its elasticity, whilst Shea Butter deeply moisturises and nourishes, eliminating any redness and dryness. As you'd expect from a product like this, it has a thickish texture and a little goes a long way.

To pamper your feet, you can use the Restoring Foot Cream which is a life-saviour if you've been travelling or have simply been on your feet all day. It has a rich Shea Butter base which is infused with Organic Raspberry and Lavender Oil to replenish and restore moisture to dry, cracked heels, leaving them feeling as soft as a baby's bum afterwards!

Find out more about Dr. Konopka's via naturesdream.co.uk

Have you tried anything from Dr. Konopka's?

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Sustainable Beauty: 4 Ways To Reduce The Amount Of Plastic In Your Makeup Bag

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

4 Ways To Reduce The Amount Of Plastic In Your Makeup Bag
The world is finally waking up to the fact that its plastic consumption needs to change ASAP, and whilst there are some amazing developments underway with regards to future sustainable packaging, beauty consumers can start to take some steps forward today by making sure that as many of their next makeup purchases are as plastic-free as possible. Here are four tips to give you a head start in the right direction!

4 Ways To Reduce The Amount Of Plastic In Your Makeup Bag
From top to bottom: NEEK Skin Organics Natural Lipstick in Come Into My World* (4.5g, £15.99, link), Aveda Feed My Lips Pure Nourish-Mint Lipstick in Acai* (4g, £17, link), Ilia Tinted Lip Conditioner in Arabian Knights* (4g, £26, link) & NEEK Skin Organics Natural Lipstick in Mystify* (4.5g, £15.99, link). 

No. 1: Start With Lipsticks
If your makeup bag is anything like mine, you'll open it up and find a sea of lipsticks, but luckily for all of my fellow lipstick junkies, lipsticks are one of the easiest make-up products to buy plastic-free - especially if you love your higher end brands. Ilia are a firm favourite of mine and all of their Lipsticks and Tinted Lip Conditioners come packaged in recyclable aluminium tubes (be sure to check out their Illuminators and Multi Sticks which are packaged in the same way too)

The new Aveda Feed My Lips Pure Nourish-Mint Lipsticks collection all feature tubes that are made from 40% post-consumer recycled aluminium and the cap can be easily recycled again after use. They have a wide shade range and the formulas are brilliant! 

For something completely different, why not try NEEK, an organic and natural Aussie brand whose Natural Lipsticks are not only 100% natural and vegan-friendly, but they are packaged in sustainable bamboo casing with an aluminium tube. Two of my favourite shades from them are Come Into My World and Mystify, which you can see pictured above.

From L-R: Charlotte Tilbury Bar Of Gold Skin Gilding Highlighter* (sold out) & PHB Ethical Beauty Pressed Mineral Eyeshadow in Almond* (3g, £9.95, link).

No. 2: Embrace Cardboard
Makeup packaged in cardboard nowadays is a lot sturdier than it used to be, and card-based options are fantastic for travelling with because they are so lightweight. The majority of makeup that I have which comes in cardboard casing features an aluminium metal pan to hold the product, so after you've used it up, you can dismantle it and recycle both parts. 

There are many green beauty brands which now use cardboard packaging, including PHB Ethical Beauty who sell pressed mineral Eyeshadows, Finishing Powders, Primers, Blushers, Bronzers and Foundations in this format, so that's just one brand with lots to choose from!

It's also worth checking out some of the mainstream higher end brands like Too Faced, Benefit and Charlotte Tilbury who all offer blushers, bronzers and highlighters in iconic cardboard boxes. 

From L-R: Josie Maran Coconut Watercolour Cheek Gelee (5.1g, £18, link), KIKO Cream Crush Eyeshadow in Pearly Chocolate (5g, £6.90, link) & Becca Ultimate Coverage Concealing Creme in Butterscotch (4.5g, £24, link).

No. 3: Make Friends With Glass
Glass is perhaps one of the most environmentally friendly packaging options to look out for because it can be recycled indefinitely without losing its quality. This is in comparison to plastic which can only be recycled around 7-9 times before it loses its structure and, even paper can only be recycled a handful of times before its fibres get too short to be of use.

A huge number of beauty brands have regularly used glass pots for years to house all manners of formulas such as cream eyeshadows, concealers, potted eyeliners, and many multi-purpose products like cheek and lip tints also often fall into this category (the popular Josie Maran Coconut Watercolour Cheek Gelees are a good example of the latter). 

Again, higher-end brands like RMS, Tata Harper and Becca are more likely to use glass as it's a more expensive material and makes a product feel more luxurious, but some of my high-street faves are starting to repackage some of their products into glass such as KIKO, so be sure to keep an eye out on your next shopping trip.

No. 4: Refillable Makeup
Makeup that you can refill has been a popular option in the green beauty world for many years, with luxury brands like Kjaer Weis (Lip Tint in Rapture* pictured, 3.5g, £41, link) leading the way and making the most beautiful cases that you'll want to keep and refill forever. Seriously, these weighty metal beauties are like a collectable work of art! 

As is often the case with refillable makeup, the initial outlay is usually quite expensive, but when you factor in only having to pay for the refills thereafter (as well as the environmental win of using a lot less packaging in the future), they can work out more affordable in the long term. 

Other brands that offer refillable makeup include Ecco Bella, Living Nature, Pure Anada, Alima Pure and Zao Organic Makeup, and I imagine many more will be launching their own refillable options in the near future!

Are you wanting to reduce the amount of plastic that you buy?

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Summer Beauty: Friction Free Shaving Gift Box review #MeetRose

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Friction Free Shaving Gift Box review
The weather has been glorious this weekend and I have definitely been making the most of it by getting my legs out in some pretty summer dresses! If you choose to remove your body hair, you'll want to check out this beautiful Gift Box from Friction Free Shaving for the smoothest shave of your life!

Friction Free Shaving Gift Box review
Friction Free Shaving have become well known for their subscription boxes, which deliver high-quality razors, refills and shaving products direct to your door, operating as the world's first and only shaving club that's exclusively for women. In the first box, you'll receive the razor of your choice (which can be engraved with your name for an extra £5), a set of refills and the option to add full-size shaving products if desired. In the months that follow, you'll be sent a fresh set of refills so that you can say goodbye once and for all to dull, dirty blades and hello to a silky smooth shave every time! Plus ditching disposable razors and only buying refills is much better for the environment and your wallet. 

FFS also have one-off gift boxes available to purchase, and I was very kindly sent one of these last month to review. It contains everything that you could possibly need and is a fantastic introduction to the brand.

Friction Free Shaving Gift Box review
When I opened the box, I let out an excited squeal because not only is the razor ROSE GOLD (aka the best colour EVER), but it also had my name engraved on it and everyone knows that personalised products are the fastest way to impress someone when you're sending them a gift. This engraving is a free service as part of the gift box too - win win!

The razor itself is the best quality razor that I've ever had the pleasure of using. It's the world's first metal razor which has been specially designed for women and features a full 90 degrees pivot head to fit the natural curves of a woman's body. The handle is also weighted and has a rubberised grip underneath so it feels sturdy and comfortable to hold. And that gorgeous rose gold colour? It's not only pretty to look at - it's chrome plated to prevent rust meaning that your razor will stay happy in the shower and looking its best for longer.

Friction Free Shaving Gift Box review
But it's not just the razor handle that's impressive. The refillable German-engineered blade heads consist of a lubricated Vitamin E strip and six stainless steel blades which are diamond coated to give you the closest shave imaginable. I'm used to using razors that have three or four blades, and using one that has SIX really does make a massive difference (and I'm sure the sheer quality of the blades that FFS use also add significantly to its overall performance). These blades glide effortlessly across the skin and they whip off every hair that they come into contact with, even those tricky shorter ones that other cheaper or disposable razors might miss.

Flip the head to the top side, and you'll find a clever inbuilt bikini styling blade which is perfect for tidying up the bikini line and eliminating any strays - very handy to travel with!

Friction Free Shaving Gift Box review
To complete the Gift Box, you'll find three full-size shaving products from FFS:-

Pre Shave Scrub (100ml) - A gentle exfoliator which is made with tiny pieces of Walnut husks to get rid of any ingrown hairs and prevent any annoying razor bumps. I always find that exfoliating before shaving is a key step to prepping the skin and definitely shouldn't be skipped.

Shave Cream (100ml) - An award-winning Shave Cream that's packed full of moisturising ingredients such as Manuka Honey, Shea Butter and Coconut Oil. I loved using this and it complements the razor so well without it getting continually clogged.

Post Shave Balm (100ml) - Finish off your shaving routine with an ultra-soothing and hydrating Post Shave Balm which will instantly calm any irritation and leave your legs feeling in the best shape possible.

Friction Free Shaving Gift Box* (£32, link) or check out FFS' monthly subscription deals from £5 at ffs.co.uk

Have you tried Friction Free Shaving?

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Green Beauty: Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Firm & Replenish Body Serum & Botanical Cream Deodorant review

Friday, 8 June 2018

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Firm & Replenish Body Serum & Botanical Cream Deodorant review
Aurelia are well known for their probiotic-infused skincare, and are a firm favourite amongst beauty editors, skincare gurus and green beauty lovers alike. Having been introduced to their incredible Eye Revitalising Duo (which I featured in my Hayfever post here) recently, I was very keen to try out some of their much-loved body care products, so I've been testing these two in my bathroom for the past couple of weeks.

Try if You Want to Indulge in Some Luxury Pampering: Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Firm & Replenish Body Serum* (250ml, £48, link)
As I have dry skin, I tend to use some kind of body moisturiser every day, and especially after baths and showers. My bathroom cupboard is full of body lotions, butters and balms, but this is perhaps the first time that I've had the pleasure of trying out a body serum.  Suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, Aurelia's Firm & Replenish Body Serum is a brilliant luxury product to use if you're showing a bit (or a lot!) of skin this Summer as it's rich in antioxidants and helps to smooth out and firm up the skin's texture. The formula contains some of my favourite ingredients, including Shea and Cocoa Butters, Argan Oil, and Aurelia's signature African botanicals, Baobab and Kigelia, and it has a beautiful spa-like, fresh and clean scent thanks to a blend of steam-distilled essential oils (Mandarin, Angelica Root, Lemongrass, Chamomile, Bergamot and Cedarwood). 

Texture-wise, it's very lightweight and is somewhere between a lotion and a serum in consistency. It sinks in quickly, but leaves a bit of tackiness if you apply too much, so I'd recommend taking your time by using smaller amounts and layering them for a more pampering experience. My skin feels instantly soothed and nourished whenever I use this, and it's also lovely to use as an aftersun product.

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Firm & Replenish Body Serum & Botanical Cream Deodorant review
Try if You're Looking For a Natural Deodorant for Summer: Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Botanical Cream Deodorant* (50g, £18, link)
I've been using natural deodorants for a couple of years now and I find that the ones which work the best for me often have a cream-to-powder texture, which perfectly sums up this Botanical Cream Deodorant. Having won numerous awards, I was keen to put it to the test over this recent hot spell we've been having in the UK and so far, it's been holding up incredibly well. 

This deodorant is aluminium and parabens free and includes only natural ingredients such as Corn Starch, Shea Butter, Arrowroot, Lavender, Vitamin E, Kaolin, Tea Tree, Peppermint, Orange Peel Oil, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Rosehip Oil and Jojoba Seed Oil. The ingredients all have their own unique functions such as Arrowroot and Kaolin, which help to keep dry absorb perspiration throughout the day, Shea Butter to moisturise and soothe the delicate underarm area, and essential oils to provide antibacterial properties and a fresh scent to keep you smelling good. It comes packaged in a luxe glass jar and you only need to apply a small amount directly to your underarms, so 50g of product will last longer than you might expect! This is one that I'd definitely recommend if you're on the hunt for a gentle, but effective natural deodorant.

Explore more from Aurelia Probiotic Skincare at aureliaskincare.com

Have you tried anything from Aurelia?

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