Friday, 17 February 2017

AA Skincare Peony, Bay and Brahmi Liquid Shower and Bath Gel

RRP: £5.94 for 250ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Balancing and soothing, this antioxidant rich formula will help give your skin an added boost, leaving it feeling soft, supple and well nourished.
Containing a delicate blend of traditional Ayurvedic herbs, pure essential oils and natural ingredients. This naturally inspired shower and bath gel is designed to be non - drying for the skin and the exquisite aromas make showering a real treat!"
--Packaging--
The white and pink bottle, while traditional, perfectly encapsulates the essence of the ingredients used in this bath and shower gel. The flip-top lid of the plastic bottle opens easily when you are in the shower, yet closes securely. The flow of liquid is also such that you don't end up with a rush of product (so no wastage).
--Usage--
Lather up under the shower and rub over wet skin before rinsing off. Alternatively, squeeze into running water for luxurious bath bubbles.
--Appearance--
The gel itself is completely clear, but lathers and froths with fine white foam on contact with water. This washes off without leaving any visible residue.
--Scent--
Floral without being heavy, and yet it has a depth and complexity to the layering of its scent that make it fresh, modern and unique. The exquisite aromas promised are definitely delivered.
Texture and consistency--
The gel is light and not sticky, without being runny or watery; it holds its shape. When lathered up, the foam is fine and smooth, with small bubbles.
--Effects on the skin--
Thanks to the essential oils included in the formulation, skin is left feeling truly moisturised, and sensitive skin soothed.
--Value for money--
Thanks to the high quality of the ingredients used, I would have expected this to be far more expensive, and as little is needed to create a decent lather, one bottle would last a long time, even if used for baths instead of or in addition to showers. The complex layering of scents and refined foam texture also creates a truly luxurious experience, and even though I was sent my bottle for free by AA Skincare's PR, I would undoubtedly spend my own money on replenishing stocks.
perfect partners
Peony, Bay & Brahmi Liquid Conditioner, £5.94
Peony, Bay & Brahmi Nourishing Shampoo, £5.94

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Phizz Rehydration Tablets


RRP: from £4.99

--What does the promo say?--
"Phizz combines a rehydration formula with vitamins & minerals in a delicious orange flavoured effervescent tablet. Taken after a big night, before a long flight or during a hard day's work, Phizz is putting it all back in. Rehydration - Phizz helps more water get where it's needed. Phizz contains the right balance of sodium & glucose in a hypotonic solution, so you can get the most out of your water. Vitamins - Phizz is packed with vitamins & minerals to help unlock your body's energy, reduce tiredness & fatigue, support mental performance, combat muscle fatigue, recharge your electrolytes & maintain a healthy immune system. PHIZZ - PLAY, TRAVEL, WORK."

--Packaging--
The yellow packaging - standard stuff in the soluble vitamin world - is lifted by the additional black and white band at the top of the plastic tube, helping to distinguish itself. The tube is sealed by a lid that you pull out when needed, which is easy to do and yet closes securely. It would be great, however, to see sachets also available for those who prefer more environmentally-friendly packaging options than plastic tubes.

--Usage--
Dissolve 2 tablets per day into 300ml of water. This perhaps seems excessive given that many soluble vitamins just require one tablet per day - of similar size - to be consumed. It's possible that Phizz's tablets are more concentrated, but equally, depending on your needs, one tablet per day may suffice.

--Appearance--
Light orange tablets dissolve in water to produce a bright orange liquid, which leaves no visible residue around or in the mouth, or in the glass.

--Scent and flavour--
Smells and tastes of orange - again, standard stuff for energy-boosting soluble vitamins.

--Texture and consistency--
The tablet dissolves quickly and effectively, with no grainy or chewy deposits to chow down at the end of the drink.

--Effects--
Phizz without doubt restores energy and ticks all of the promised boxes in the short term (I was sent a 5-day supply for free by Phizz's PR, so cannot comment on longer-term prospects). Beauty-wise, the vitamins and minerals that it contains have multifarious proven effects, including anti-ageing, cell repair, and improved hair and nail strength and shine.

--Value for money--
At £4.99 for a 5-day supply (10 tablets), this does not come cheap and the same effects could perhaps be better obtained longer term via a healthy, balanced diet which contains all of the vitamins and minerals mentioned above. As with anything, though, once you buy the larger tubes the value is increased: a combination pack of 30 tablets (15 days' supply), for example, is £11.99 (as opposed to the price tag of nearly £15 that would result if you scaled up the price of the smaller tube). We also all have down days where we've pushed ourselves too hard or need an energy boost, which can definitely be resolved through use of this product. It is especially good for travel, as it's convenient to carry and can counteract the poor diet often occasioned by chaotic schedules where you are frequently in transit. Definitely a good one to have in your bag for those occasions! 

Friday, 10 February 2017

Clean & Clear Advantage Oil Control Cream Wash

RRP: £4.99 for 150ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Clean & Clear® Advantage® Oil Control Cream Wash is clinically proven to help clear excess oil for fewer spots and leave skin looking shine-free for longer. This dual-action formula combines oil-absorbing PowderParticles and our patented Advantage® spot-fighting technology, to instantly remove up to 85% of excess oil* whilst helping to clear spots and blemishes. Oil-free. Won't clog pores. Won't overdry skin."

--Packaging--
The silver and blue colour scheme is nicely unisex, and the plastic tube is practical too, with a flip-top lid that's sturdy, but opens easily when you need it to.

--Application--
Rub between damp palms and massage onto the face, before wiping off with a wettened flannel.

--Appearance--
The cream wash is white, with white particles visible. No visible residue is left on the face after washing.

--Texture and consistency--
Thick and slightly clay-like, but easy to wash off once you have finished.

--Scent--
The menthol comes through strongly, which is most refreshing, but is not overwhelming.

--Effects on the skin--
Skin definitely seemed calmed and clearer, with dry patches sloughed away thanks to the PowderParticles. Overall, skin was more balanced, with oily patches also reduced within a week's use.

--Value for money--
Results are definitely visible in the short term, and the overall usage experience was undoubtedly pleasant and effective - especially so for a product with such an affordable price tag. I was sent mine for free by Clean & Clear's PR, but would definitely pay up.

perfect partner
Advantage Spot Treatment Gel, £4.35

Friday, 3 February 2017

Natural Collection Pressed Powder

RRP: £1.99
# of shades available: 3

--What does the promo say?--
"Natural Collection Pressed Powder has been designed primarily to reduce shine on your skin's surface. It sets foundation and finishes faces without adding colour or texture.

Apply Natural Collection Pressed Powder over your favourite foundation to set your make up for the day and reduce shine."

--Packaging--
The minimal daisy design is both pretty and modern, and the see-through plastic lid is equally advantageous, as you can always see how much is left. The only problem is that occasionally it can be tricky to get the lid to screw on flat, and you have to start again.

--Application--
Use a powder brush to sweep the powder over your face, after applying other base products (such as primer, concealer or foundation).

--Appearance--
The lightest shade suits me well, but the inevitable limitation of there only being 3 shades available means that this product won't match everyone's skin tone. 

--Scent--
Nothing particular.

--Texture and consistency--
Light, settles well and doesn't cake, making for as refined a result as many other higher-end powder brands.

--Coverage--
Again, pleasantly surprised by the high quality of coverage afforded by this product. Shine is also reduced.

--Value for money--
While I was sent mine for free by Natural Collection's PR, I would undoubtedly replenish stocks with my own money: a great result for little of your hard-earned cash.

perfect partners
Natural Collection Cover-Up Cream, £1.99
Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks, £1.99

Friday, 27 January 2017

Collection Illuminating Touch Foundation

RRP: £5.99
# of shades available: 6

--What does the promo say?--
"A luxurious silky foundation that gives medium to full coverage for a flawless, radiant finish that lasts. Joining the infamous Illuminating Touch Concealer, the Illuminating Touch Foundation provides a radiance-boosting, hydrating base in six classic shades."

--Packaging--
The mixture of opaque and transparent glass, combined to make outward-springing rays, creates an illuminating effect that cleverly fits the concept of the product. The black lettering and lid against the foundation colour adds a further sophisticated touch and the pump-action mechanism is practical as well.

--Usage--
One pump is generous and likely enough to do your whole face, so be careful! Blend into a clean dry face, possibly after the use of other base products, such as primer. You can then follow up with, for example, concealer and powder.

--Appearance--
As the 'illuminating' name suggests, the effect is more sheer than matte, so do ensure that this is what you are after (I prefer a matte appearance normally). The lightest shade (Porcelain 1) works reasonably well for me (although is perhaps better for summer), and 6 available shades gives a reasonable range of choice.

--Scent--
Baby-powder style scent, which may appeal to some but not all.

--Texture and consistency--
Quite thick, hence why one pump affords generous coverage. It also blends well, which is a plus too.

--Coverage and longevity--
Overall, excellent.

--Value for money--
The staying power means it could easily retail at £8 or £9 without anyone batting an eyelid. Mine was sent for free by Collection's PR, and while I wouldn't repurchase this particular product due to my preference for a matte effect, I would recommend this to those looking for an illuminating foundation, and would be keen to try Collection's more mattifying products for myself.

perfect partners
Lasting Perfection Concealer, £4.19
Pressed Powder, £1.99
Sheer Loose Powder, £2.99
Primed and Ready Invisible Setting Powder, £3.99
Contour Kit, £4.19
Illuminating Primer, £4.99
Primed and Ready Concealer Kit, £4.99
Speedy Highlighter, £3.99
Cover Up Stick, £1.99
Contour Stick, £3.99

Friday, 20 January 2017

Crabtree & Evelyn Verbena and Lavender Cologne

RRP: from £20

--What does the promo say?--
"Creating a magical scent to last all day long. Our cologne has been created to subtly scent the skin with just a few sprays of this light fragrance. This light and easy to wear fragrance has been created with French lemon verbena and lavender essential oils blended with notes of cedarwood, white amber and tonka bean to create an uplifting scent. Perfect for both day and evening wear; by men and women alike.
  • Fresh, herbaceous scent of Verbena and Lavender de Provence
  • Inspired from the beautiful French countryside, with the natural perfume of two of the regions favourite botanical treasures carried on the warm breeze
  • Travel size
Fragrance: Vibrant, fresh verbena combined with the herbaceous, soothing lavender create a luxurious and lively lemony-lilt scent."

--Packaging--
The green and purple lettering on the glass bottle give an elegant and unusual effect while echoing the plants from which the fragrance is made. The spray mechanism is also targeted and effective.

--Application--
Spritz onto pressure points to diffuse the scent across your body, including wrists, behind the ears, and across the decolletage.

--Appearance--
A clear liquid that leaves no visible residue.

--Scent--
The verbena and lavender are clearly present without being overbearing. The citrus notes of the verbena are also complemented by the lemon and grapefruit that the perfume also contains, and the jasmine is also detectable.

--Longevity--
As promised, this perfume lasts all day thanks to the high-quality ingredients that it contains.

--Value for money--
This scent retails at around the same price per ml as other high-quality brands' fragrances, such as Ferragamo, DKNY, and Vera Wang, as well as certain 'celebrity' brands such as Christina Aguilera and James Bond. The provenance of the ingredients, and their subsequent staying power, makes this fragrance equally good value, and even though mine was free from Crabtree & Evelyn's PR, I would repurchase this sophisticated scent.

perfect partners
Verbena & Lavender Conditioner, £12
Verbena & Lavender Shampoo, £12
Verbena & Lavender Soap, £7
Verbena & Lavender Hand Therapy, £16
Verbena & Lavender Body Lotion, £16
Verbena & Lavender Body Cream, £22

Friday, 6 January 2017

Clean and Clear Hint of Tint Cover and Correct Cream


RRP: £6.99
# of shades available: 2

--What does the promo say?--
"Instantly conceals and helps clear spots for clear, beautiful skin. NEW CLEAN & CLEAR®Hint of Tint™ gives you instantly clearer, beautiful skin in one quick & easy step!"

--Packaging--
A bit functional and dated in its design, but as this suggests, it works well nonetheless.

--Appearance--
The limited number of shades available means that this definitely won't suit everyone. The 'light' shade (which I was sent for free by Clean & Clear's PR) is acceptable on me, but I would still maybe prefer to only wear it in summer. Furthermore, the result is a bit sheer for me, but that's a matter of personal preference rather than being an inherent fault in the product.

--Scent--
Nothing of note.

--Texture and consistency--
Smooth and blends well.

--Coverage--
Doesn't really deliver on this score; you will likely need to top up with concealer and/or powder.

--Value for money--
As I prefer a more matte, heavier-coverage finish, I probably wouldn't purchase this. However, others with different needs could give it a go.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Wild Olive Luxury Bath Melts

RRP: £14.95 for a box of six

--What does the promo say?--
"Deliciously delectable and sumptuously indulgent, these beautiful Bath Melts make a fantastic gift for anyone; or a luxurious treat for yourself after a long, hard day’s work. Decorated to look like yummy cupcakes and arriving in the sweetest pink egg box, this is a tub of treats nobody will be able to resist - and better still, no calories!
The gorgeous gift box contains 3 tranquil bath souffles and 3 soothing sundaes, all enriched with creamy cocoa butter creating super soft skin and a gorgeously indulgent bath.
Create a unique atmosphere with each Luxury Bath Melt, whether it’s natural and fresh or romantic and sensual; each bath melt is fragranced with a different essential oil to suit every mood."
--Packaging--
The pink egg box is original, pretty and eco-friendly, as well as protecting the melts securely, and while the papers are tricky to peel off the bath melts initially, they come off quickly once the melt has been immersed in your bath water for a couple of seconds. This wrapping, too, is recyclable, so the company's philosophy and innovation in packaging design is certainly to be applauded. The only minor gripe would be the proofreading errors on the packaging itself, which detracts slightly from the brand's professionalism.
--Usage--
Drop the melt into the bath and let it melt away. The paper case can be easily slipped off and discarded after a couple of seconds. Very easy.
--Appearance--
Beautifully decorated and designed to resemble cupcakes and fairy cakes, these bath melts catch the eye, and their natural origins are augmented by the decorations of dried flowers, which float in the bath once the melt has dissolved for an extra luxurious touch. Some bubbles of cocoa butter will float on the water's surface as well. Depending on which bath melt you drop in, the bath water can appear opaque, milky, glittery or translucent. No visible residue is left on the skin.
--Scent--
The melt perfumes the entire bathroom stunningly well, not just thanks to the essential oils used but also due to the dried flowers used to decorate. The scent is natural, too, rather than being overridden by artificial soap smells.
--Texture and consistency, and effects on the skin --
The bath water feels smooth and moisturising, and thanks to the melts' high concentration of cocoa butter and essential oils leaves your skin feeling wonderfully soft.
--Value for money--
The highly appropriate size of these bath melts (especially compared to Lush's, which some may consider oversized), along with the luxurious experience evoked by the scents, pretty styling, and the moisturising effect on the skin, make these of excellent value, and a wonderful gift at any time of year. I was sent mine for free by Prezzybox, but will definitely be buying as a present for relatives this Christmas.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Laura Mercier Mineral Pressed Powder

RRP: £31
# of shades available: 8

--What does the promo say?--
"Composed of a custom blend of Pearl Powders rich in amino acids, Laura Mercier Mineral Pressed Powder offers a natural, buildable foundation for sheer to full coverage. With its creamy texture, the oil free, water-resistant formula adheres to skin for a colour-true finish all day."

--Packaging--
The square plastic compact looks elegant and sleek thanks to its minimalist black and silver design. The package in general, and specifically the click mechanism, seem robust, and the compact contains a goodly-sized mirror also. Unfortunately the applicator is a sponge (albeit generously-sized) rather than a brush (my own preference).

--Application--
The brand recommends that you use the sponge to continue layering the powder until the desired coverage is achieved. Easy enough, even if I do prefer a brush (see below as to why).

--Appearance--
I purchased the lightest shade - Tender Rose. Eight shades represents reasonable availability, although other high-end brands provide many more. Tender Rose works well for me, matching skin tone flawlessly and providing the requisite level of coverage. However, throughout the day it does appear to cake more on the skin, clumping together in patches, which means that it looks a little more uneven as the day goes on. This could, however, perhaps be remedied by applying with a brush instead of the supplied sponge.

--Scent--
Smells slightly nutty, which is a little surprising as none of the ingredients appear to indicate the presence of nuts. But it's not in the least unpleasant.

--Texture and consistency--
Very light on the skin on first application, and doesn't feel like it weighs the skin down throughout the day. 

--Value for money--
Coverage is good until it starts to clump, and skin tone matching is equally promising. The ingredients promise to do the skin good, and one compact lasts a long time. All of these elements justify the price tag. My only complaint - as you can probably tell - is the sponge applicator. Use a brush instead - they are easier to clean and the powder will likely stay even throughout the day as a result.

perfect partners
Blending Brush, £32
Long Lash Mascara, £19.50
Hydrating Foundation Primer, £29
Second Skin Cheek Colour, £21.50
Kohl Eye Pencil, £19
Silk Creme Moisturising Photo Edition Foundation, £35

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

LQ Liquid Health Skin Hair and Nails

RRP: £29.99 for 10 x 50ml

--What does the promo say?--
"LQ Skin, Hair & Nails is a scientifically formulated daily liquid supplement and is part of the LQ Liquid Health Supplement range. Each daily bottle contains multiple key active ingredients and includes marine collagen (7000mg), hyaluronic acid, resveratrol, silicon, glucosamine, selenium and vitamins. Collagen is the most abundant, naturally occurring protein in the body and each bottle contains 7000mg of high bioavailability Peptan™ marine collagen. High grade resveratrol is extracted from red grapes.

In addition to the multiple key active ingredients LQ Skin, Hair & Nails contains:

- Vitamin C which contributes to normal collagen formation for the normal function of the skin. It also contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress
- Selenium which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and hair
- Biotin (vitamin B7) which contributes to the maintenance of normal skin and hair
- Vitamin E which contributes to the protection of cells from oxidative stress."

--Packaging--
The magenta labels are bright and vibrant and the plastic bottles themselves are practical for travel thanks to their small size and secure screw caps. They are also recyclable, so a win-win situation all round.

--Usage instructions--
Drink one 50ml bottle per day. This can be mixed with water (fizzy or still) if you choose.

--Appearance--
An opaque orange colour reminiscent of the passion fruit it contains. When diluted it turns slightly yellower. No visible residue is left on teeth, lips, tongue or drinking glasses.

--Taste--
A very sweet, rich taste. Luckily, despite this, it's only 31 calories a bottle, so even those on calorie-controlled diets can easily take advantage. This does, however, need to be clearly labelled on the packaging so that dieters are not deterred.

--Texture and consistency--
Slightly cough-syrupy, but mixing this with fizzy water makes it a more palatable supplement to consume. It's also very smooth, not at all bitty, so in this sense it's no struggle to drink either.

--Effects on the body--
As this is supposed to maintain normal skin, hair and nails, the product embodies the same irony as with anti-ageing products: if it works, then nothing should happen! However, nails appear to be strengthened and skin seems clearer. Longer-term use is possibly necessary for effects on the hair to be perceived.

--Value for money--
At £29.99 for 10 shots, and with a minimum of one month's use apparently required for results to be visible, you're talking about a cost of nearly £90 for one month's supply, which is a luxury for most people. Even if you take advantage of deals such as Boots' current offer of 3-for-2 on the product, that is still a monthly cost of £60, which for many is difficult to justify. People would need to see real tangible results after a month to continue investment in the product. If LQ can find a way to bring the price down, more people would potentially be persuaded to buy. This could potentially be done by reducing packaging costs (e.g. sachets containing dissolvable powders, instead of ready-mixed bottles, which also are heavier and cost more to ship than sachets). In short, the product has potential, but still requires improvement in order to boost sales.

perfect partners
Joint Care, £24.99
Advanced Skin Care, £29.99
Heart Care, £24.99