Mid-Week Pamper Treat: Fair Squared Apricot Facial Mask for Normal Skin + Cotton Facial Mask review #PlasticFree

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

 

Face masks are a pampering staple for me and I love trying out different formulas and formats. Back when I started blogging (many years ago now!), I used to use a lot of sheet masks as the K-Beauty trend was gaining ground in the UK then and everyone who was anyone was promoting them on YouTube and Instagram.

Oh, how times have changed! As we learn more about our impact on the environment and visibly see the pollution around us, the idea of using a single-use sheet mask these days just seems so wasteful and unnecessary. Yet they still pop up in many beauty subscription boxes and are increasingly popular amongst younger skincare fans who are all too keen to show off a Sunday selfie pic on Instagram.

So what are the alternatives to sheet masks?

Well, there are three clear options that I can see. Firstly, you could choose not to use any at all and instead stick to traditional face masks, either ready-made in recyclable packaging or try out your own DIY face mask recipes. Secondly, you could explore the emergence of 'eco-friendly' sheet masks which are made from 100% biodegradable natural materials such as bamboo. They're not perfect of course as they are still single-use, but they are a better option than using the mainstream plastic-based sheet masks. 


Or thirdly, you could try a reusable cotton sheet mask which is what I've been testing out for the past month.


The Mask

I picked up this Fair Squared Cotton Facial Mask* (£6.95, 1 mask) from LoveLula after searching online for a plastic-free alternative to sheet masks. I was pleased to see that not only is this mask made from 100% organic cotton, but it's also certified fair trade so you know that the cotton farmers are being paid a proper living wage for their work and that the extra fairtrade supplement helps them to invest in their local farms and communities.


The cotton mask feels soft, durable and can, of course, be reused time and time again - simply pop it into the washing machine afterwards and it comes up good as new. When it eventually wears out after potentially a few years of usage, it can be easily recycled with other textiles.


The 'Juice'

To use with the Cotton Facial Mask, I also picked up the Fair Squared Apricot Facial Mask* (100ml, £9.95, link) which is a ready-made liquid formula packaged completely plastic-free in a glass jar with an aluminium lid and a paper label. Fair Squared have two liquid masks of this nature on offer, an Argan based formula for dry skin and this Apricot mask which is suitable for normal and combination skin types. 


This vegan-friendly Apricot mask fluid has a beautiful silky soft texture thanks to a base blend of Apricot Kernel Oil and Olive Oil and it feels amazing on the skin. Not only is it nourishing and hydrating, but it also helps to reduce any redness or inflammation as it contains Chamomile extract and Vitamin E, so it's great for soothing flare-ups and sensitive areas. 


How To Use

Combining the two is incredibly easy, you'll just need a bowl! After cleansing your face, pour some of the mask fluid (or you can use your own DIY liquid formula) into a bowl and let the Cotton Facial Mask soak in it for a few minutes. If needed, you can add some more of the fluid if you feel it's not saturated enough. This part is a bit trial and error, but I found that 25-30ml of fluid was an adequate amount for each application.

Once the Cotton Facial Mask is saturated, apply it to the face, making sure to press it down firmly onto the skin to help it to have the most contact possible. Relax and leave on for 10-15 minutes, remove the mask and massage in any excess. You can then follow up with your usual moisturiser or face oil to finish.

Overall Thoughts

Using a reusable cotton mask like this definitely has many positives for both the environment and your bank balance, but there are a couple of differences that I feel I need to point out. 

  • A cotton mask is a much thicker material than the cellulose sheet masks so it doesn't adhere to the skin in the same way unless you use a lot of the mask fluid. My top tip is to ensure the cotton mask is thoroughly saturated before applying, and to use it on a cleansed face that's still wet or damp.

  • As it doesn't adhere in the same way, I would recommend using a cotton facial mask whilst you're lying down so that it stays in place better - it's the perfect opportunity to switch off and relax!

  • The fit of the Fair Squared Cotton Facial Mask isn't great in my honest opinion as the eye holes are too far apart and I would say I have a 'normal' sized face. The mask did shrink a little after the first use which improved the fit slightly but the eye spacing is still way off as you can see in the photos above (the first photo was taken after the first washing, and the second after the fourth washing).

All in all though, I must admit that I was very impressed with the formula of the Fair Squared Apricot Facial Mask fluid and I'd happily purchase this again. However, I will be on the lookout for a better fitting reusable cotton mask or should I just cut out bigger eye holes in this one?! 

Have you tried any great plastic-free alternatives recently?

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Health & Lifestyle: 4 Supplements To Get You Through Autumn

Monday, 26 October 2020


The change of seasons can often be a stressful and difficult time as we adapt mentally and physically to the colder weather and fewer daylight hours. So it's more important than ever to ensure that your body is getting everything that it needs, and these four supplements can help to make the seasonal transition go much more smoothly.

Disclaimer: I have personally tested out all of the supplements below and they are all suitable for vegans, but please see a GP first if you have any queries, are taking any medication or you have any underlying health problems.

Best All-Rounder: Feel Multivitamins (£11.95 per month, link)

If you have never taken any supplements before or you're simply looking for a 'bit of everything' so that you have all your health bases covered throughout Autumn and Winter, Feel Multivitamins are the one for you. Hailed as one of the 'cleanest' multivitamins available on the UK market, Feel has come up with a superb in-house formula that boasts 33 of the best ingredients in their highest bio-availability and absorption rates. 

This ensures that taking just two capsules a day will deliver all of the essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs to perform at its best, plus some extra botanicals are included such as Reishi Mushrooms (for heart and brain health), Spirulina (for extra immunity support), Turmeric (for digestion) and Grape Seed extract (for heart health). These capsules are certified vegan-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free and free from all the main known allergens with no additives, fillers or bulking agents. 

In addition, Feel Multivitamins come packaged in a plastic-free biodegradable paper pouch and are delivered in a slim cardboard box every month direct to your door on a subscription basis - it doesn't get more convenient or sustainable than that!

Best for Women's Health (UTIs, BV, Thrush etc) & Boosting Gut Health: Kiki Health Body Biotics* (60 x 400mg, £27.95, link)

There's been a big focus on gut health over the past few years and rightly so, but did you know that by boosting your gut health, you're also helping to improve, treat and even eradicate many common women's health problems such as UTIs, thrush and BV (bacterial vaginosis)? That's because many beneficial bacteria strains that are often found in probiotic gut health supplements can provide antimicrobial support e.g Bacillus subtilis can inhibit the growth of Candida (AKA thrush) and Lactobacillus strains have proven to be able to help treat recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bacterial vaginosis (BV).

Kiki Health's bestselling Body Biotics is a unique blend of SBO (soil-based organisms) bacterial cultures and prebiotics with eight highly-effective friendly bacteria super-strains:- Bacillus Subtilis, Bacillus licheniformis, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, Lactococcus Lactis and Bifidobacterium Bifidum.

These strains are activated when ingested with water so it's recommended to take one capsule daily 30 minutes before a meal with a 250ml glass of water. You can then increase this to 2-3 capsules daily after a week to further maintain the benefits. Naturally free of gluten and wheat and made with a vegan-friendly hypromellose shell, the capsules don’t contain artificial colours, preservatives, sweeteners or fillers. Body Biotics does not contain salt, sugar, yeast, chemical solvents or artificial additives and comes packaged in glass.


Best for Stress, Anxiety & Fibromyalgia: Zen Bears CBD Gummies* (30 gummies, £39.95, link)

Perhaps the cutest supplements that I've ever had the pleasure of trying out, Zen Bears have been voted the UK's best CBD gummies and it's easy to see why. Made with all-natural and vegan-friendly ingredients, the THC-free CBD used is sourced from an organic hemp farm in Oregon, USA and each gummy contains 20mg


CBD has been making waves in the health world for its positive benefits that can help to alleviate mild anxiety, depression and stress symptoms, as well as mild-to-moderate pain associated with arthritis and fibromyalgia. With no known side effects, it's been touted as a natural alternative to mainstream medications but do check with your GP first if you have any concerns before taking them.


It's been a crazy year so if your anxiety has gone through the roof, why not try these? They come in a mix of fruity flavours with a sweet coating and you can start on one a day to build up to a higher dose if required. There are no artificial ingredients and the jar is made of glass.


Best Budget Option for Gut Health & Weight Loss - Jolly Jelly (60 gummies, £9.99, link)

Many gut health supplements can be pretty expensive so if you're on a budget, I would recommend trying Jolly Jelly which cost around £10 for a month's supply. Made with 95% organic ingredients, these tasty tapioca based gummies contain a carefully chosen blend of beneficial superfoods, vitamins and probiotics such as Apple Cider Vinegar, Tumeric, Ginger, Beetroot extract, Pomegranate, Vitamin B9, Vitamin B12 and the popular strain of Lactobacillus Acidophilus. 

Jolly Jelly can help to boost your overall gut health, whilst also helping to maintain a healthy weight (some people find that Apple Cider Vinegar helps them to lose weight) and a healthy metabolism. If you have a sensitive stomach, you may find these much easier to digest than other gut health-related supplements and the Apple Cider Vinegar content can help with bloating and sugar cravings too (plus they're more palatable if you find you can't tolerate drinking ACV!).


Which supplements are you currently taking?

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The Weekend Post: Boost your productivity and efficiency with these home office updates

Friday, 2 October 2020

 

Are you still working from home? Due to the coronavirus outbreak, more of us than ever before are working from home permanently, which means millions of us trying to work, answer emails and deal with clients, all whilst avoiding the distractions and discomfort of home working.

You can’t get comfortable, there are too many distractions, you’re constantly visiting the fridge and the cupboard, you can’t find anything and you seem to be trapped in a perpetual struggle of disorganisation and frustration. Well, enough is enough! 

If you’re facing months of home-working then you need to start taking it seriously. So, creating a home office that not only keeps you attentive and comfortable but one that boosts your productivity and efficiency should be your first task. Check out these home office updates below and afterwards head on over to my Work With Me page if there's anything I can help with to support your brand or company.

Lighting

One thing many office workers don't miss is the office lighting. Glaring overhead lights that trigger migraines and eye strain is hardly something you yearn for now you're working from home. However, lighting is still something you should take seriously. For those dull corner lamps and dusty ceiling lights, making the switch to LED lights – such as a gu10 bulb - can improve your comfort and productivity. 

LED lights are ideal for working environments, with cool, warm and daylight colour options all available in various styles that complement your d├ęcor and working space. It makes sense to switch to LEDs. Not only that but LED lights are also cheaper to run so in those dark winter months and those long nights of overtime you won't be worrying about your electricity bill. 

Get some more storage

More equipment? Files? Paperwork? Tech or stationery? It doesn’t take much for our desks to become cluttered and stressful, so investing in some additional storage is a simple yet effective solution. Installing some simple shelves so you can store boxes, a bookcase, or even a small filing cabinet will keep your desk and your mind clear, so you can focus on the task at hand. Make sure to keep your makeup and any deskside beauty essentials tidy with their own makeup storage unit so they don't serve as a distraction.

Play around with colours

If your office space is grey and bland then it's going to impact your productivity. Adding a little fire or spice to your walls will certainly give your attention span and your output a boost. You don't have to paint the room bright red or a zingy yellow but a simple feature wall in a bold colour can work wonders. 

If you’re renting and unable to redecorate, don’t worry. You can create the same effect by adding pops of colour throughout your workspace. Desk accessories, artwork, rugs, or even a brightly coloured chair to sit on could do the trick.

And finally, surround yourself with motivation

You don’t have an office manager telling you what you can or can’t have on your desk anymore. So, let your creativity run rampant. Surrounding yourself with motivation can help you get through those tough mornings and difficult deadlines. 

Photos of your children, postcards from places you’ve travelled to, something you painted or made, your greatest achievements framed and placed on the wall above your desk. Surround yourself with things that bring you joy and your productivity will flourish! 


[In collaboration with ledhut.co.uk]

[Image credit: Mudassar Iqbal via Pixabay]

Currently Loving: September Beauty Faves

Thursday, 1 October 2020

 

My September Beauty Faves are a small but sweet edit of natural skincare and body care which all have a focus on hydration to help move you seamlessly into Autumn. I always find this time of year quite challenging for many reasons, but luckily it's easy to keep your skin in check with these little helpers!

The Body Pampering Treat: Tropic Perfect Skin Resurfacing Body Lotion* (200ml, £28, link)
For all-over silky soft smoothness, Tropic's Perfect Skin Resurfacing Body Lotion is cleverly formulated with plant-based AHAs which help to slough away dull dead skin cells on the surface to reveal fresher, smoother skin underneath. It features sugarcane-derived Glycolic Acid, Pomegranate Enzymes, Noni Fruit extract and Papaya oils that work together to resurface the texture of the skin, whilst also hydrating and boosting cellular turnover. Anyone can use it and it's particularly useful for those who have the common Keratosis Pilaris (aka 'bumpy chicken skin') on the arms etc as it drastically improves the appearance of this. Like all of Tropic's products, it smells great and works a treat!

The Budget-Friendly Face Oil For All Skin Types: Exfolin Herbal Face Elixir* (30ml, £12.99, link)
I'm always being asked to recommend more budget-friendly alternatives and about two months ago, I was introduced to a natural and cruelty-free skincare brand called Exfolin. Their Herbal Face Elixir is priced at just £12.99 and it's by far one of the best facial oils that I've tried which is under £15 - what a bargain! Comprised of just six natural ingredients, it blends together the best of both worlds as it's hydrating, but also boasts antibacterial properties to fight off blemishes and breakouts. I find it effective for soothing any redness/inflammation and for reducing 'maskne' too. Definitely worth a try and finally something that won't break the bank either.

The Super Luxe Multi-Purpose Oil for Hair, Skin & Body: Dyana Russet Pure Marula Oil* (50ml, £54, link)
Marula Oil is incredibly popular these days and Dyana Russet makes it easy to see why. Their Pure Marula Oil is simply 100% cold-pressed, organic Marula Oil at its finest and is sourced from South Africa before being bottled in London. I love Marula Oil because it has such an interesting antioxidant and nutritional profile as it's one of the richest plant-based sources of Omega 9 and is also high in Vitamins E & C, as well as being loaded with anti-ageing antioxidants and amino acids. It's also a true multi-purpose superstar because it can be slathered onto dry hair to intensely nourish, incorporated into your evening skincare routine as the last step to deeply moisturise dry skin and it can be applied all over the body to improve elasticity, reduce inflammation and simply soothe and soften the skin. Marula Oil is also a great choice for pregnant ladies who want to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, and whilst it's expensive, a little does go a long way thankfully! For those who are interested in what it smells like, it has a lovely subtle floral and nutty natural fragrance.

The Protective Facial Mist: Nourish Antioxidant Peptide Mist* (100ml, £22, link)
I was so excited to try this new release from Nourish as soon as it arrived on my doorstep and I'm happy to report that it doesn't disappoint! The main reason for the excitement is because this Antioxidant Peptide Mist contains everyone's favourite skincare ingredient Hyaluronic Acid with the anti-inflammatory benefits of Turmeric, alongside specially selected Peptides and Probiotics - all fantastic ingredients for hydrating, brightening, soothing and protecting the skin. There's also Liquorice extract to further add brightening and radiance qualities and a blend of calming essential oils to help elevate this mist above its competitors. A wonderful new addition to my morning routine and one that's certified 91% organic, vegan, cruelty-free and alcohol-free. Give it a try!

What beauty products are you loving right now?

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