Saturday, 23 September 2017

Neutrogena T/Gel 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo Plus Conditioner

RRP: from £4.39 for 125ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Neutrogena T/Gel Shampoo Dry Hair cleans, softens, and conditions dry hair while also bringing immediate relief to the problem of itching and flaking scalps.

Dandruff can be a persistent problem for people with dry skin on their scalps. This shampoo contains salicylic acid, which breaks down and clears the flaking skin build up on the scalp, and also piroctone olamine, which is an antifungal that helps to manage the condition.
It is formulated to relieve the irritation that is often associated with dry hair and dandruff, but is gentle enough to be used daily as part of your normal cleansing routine. It forms a rich lather that helps to soothe and protect the skin on the scalp from drying out.
The added conditioners contained in this shampoo will leave your hair feeling cleaner, softer, and healthier, without drying it out."
--Packaging--
The clear pale yellow of the gel, visible through the see-through bottle and cut-out in the box, along with the baby blue of the box and writing on the plastic bottle, offers a calming influence, compounding the suggestion in the promotional material that irritation will be soothed and eradicated. Simply push the plastic disc at the top of the bottle cap down to reveal a small aperture; when you squeeze the bottle, the gel is dispensed in a very controlled way, reducing wastage.
--Application--
Lather into wet hair, then rinse. As this is a 2-in-1 product there is no need for a separate conditioner.
--Appearance--
Even though the gel is pale yellow, no visible residue is left. It lathers into a luxurious white foam.
--Scent--
Arguably clinical - those looking for richly scented hair products will definitely want to look elsewhere. However, Neutrogena's emphasis is on efficacy, not on a sensory experience.
--Texture and consistency--
The gel is smooth and lathers up abundantly into a rich foam, which rinses out easily when you need it to.
--Effects on the hair--
I noticed a reduction in dead skin flakes and hair was left feeling clean and soft for a number of days after use. However, I wouldn't say I felt I could wash my hair less frequently than usual (every 2-3 days), although the product never claims to reduce time between washes.
--Value for money--
At £4.39 for 125ml, this isn't the cheapest shampoo on the market. It's difficult to make comparisons at the 125ml level since quite simply not many brands make shampoo bottles this size. 250ml is much more common, and as Neutrogena offers this product in this size as well, it's easier to compare on this basis. It's fair to say, then, that this shampoo competes well in price with other leading brands, including TIGI, Schwarzkopf, Wella, Mark Hill, and Toni & Guy. It also is at roughly the same price as Eucerin's specialist shampoos. I was sent mine for free by Neutrogena's PR, but would purchase again given the travel-friendly size (albeit not for hand-baggage-only travel) and proven effects on the hair.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Johnson's Make Up Be Gone Refreshing Face Wipes

RRP: £2.50 for 25

--What does the promo say?--
"Provides skin with an instant fresh look and feel, removing waterproof mascara.

Dermatologically tested and suitable for sensitive and normal skin types. Contains skin loving minerals and no alcohol.

A blissful cleansing experience."

--Packaging--
The pink and dark blue combination is calming yet authoritative. The peel-back opening allows easy access to the wipes, while sealing securely, meaning the wipes don't dry out.

--Usage--
Sweep over makeup to remove. Can also be used to refresh makeup-free skin.

--Appearance--
The white wipes are soaked in an invisible lotion that leaves no traces on the skin.

--Scent--
Clean and powdery without being overbearing or clinical.

--Texture and consistency--
The wipes themselves are sufficiently strong without irritating skin; equally, the lotion soothes while effectively removing makeup. 

--Effects on the skin--
Makeup is removed effectively (bar some stubborn mascaras, of which some traces still remain come morning) and skin feels moisturised too.

--Value for money--
Face wipes flood the market, meaning you can access a full range of packs of 25 wipes for diverse prices, from under £1 if you choose a shop's own brand to £3+ if you choose a more luxurious make, such as Body Shop or L'Oréal. However, for me these do the job: they remove makeup without stripping skin of its natural oils, and stay moist for months, making them the perfect travel companion.

perfect partners
Refreshing Cleansing Lotion, £4.99

Monday, 18 September 2017

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pore & Shine In-Shower Mask


RRP: £4.99

--What does the promo say?--
"Introducing new Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pore & Shine In-Shower Mask. Get a shine-free, even complexion in only 60 seconds thanks to this breakthrough mask that works with steam of your shower. Its clinically proven formula reduces shine, helping to remove any excess oil for an instant matte effect without drying skin. It also helps to refine pores, cleansing deep down to unclog pores for visibly refined looking skin. Its fresh tangerine & lime scent provides an invigorating, fresh-skin feeling."

--Packaging--
The green and white colour scheme is both vibrant and unisex, with the Neutrogena label displayed prominently, while the coloured band at the top followed by the white band at the bottom of the tube clearly marks it as part of the brand also (all Neutrogena masks, scrubs etc have this design, with just the colour changing for different needs or scents, such as pink for grapefruit). The plastic flip-top lid is light while remaining sturdy and practical.

--Application--
Rub all over your face while in the shower, leaving it to sit for a minute or two while you shave or wash your body (I'm not going to list alternative in-shower activities...you're on your own there!). Rinse off under the shower or at the sink when you emerge. Use 1-2 times a week.

--Appearance--
The product itself is white, with no visible traces left after use.

--Scent--
Lively and zesty, although I think this mostly comes from scents added later that may be artificial, as only lemon peel is explicitly listed.

--Texture and consistency--
Creamy and luxurious. While slightly lumpy or grainy in appearance, it's not like an exfoliator, serving no scrubbing function, as you can't feel these lumps or grains on your skin during usage of the product.

--Effects on the skin--
The effect in just 1-2 minutes is certainly impressive - perfect for modern, busy lifestyles. Skin is indeed mattified and visibly less oily, with pore size appearing reduced and tightened temporarily. Skin also feels really refreshed thanks to the citrus element, and moisturised too, due to the mask's creamy texture.

--Value for money--
At just under £4 this definitely isn't breaking the bank and the time saved is equally valuable. If waiting 20 minutes for a mask to dry doesn't appeal, then this is definitely for you. I was sent mine for free by Neutrogena's PR (thanks guys!) but would pay up in future. I'd also be interested to try the rest of the range in future, and/or to see face wipes added to the range, as they're good value, effective products that offer a pick-me-up in the morning too.

perfect partners
Pore & Shine Daily Wash, £4.99
Pore & Shine Daily Scrub, £4.99

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Cindy Joseph Boomstick Trio


review by Sarah Cross

RRP: $76 for the trio; $27 separately
--What does the promo say?—
“In purchasing this product you have joined me in the pro-age revolution.  It is time for every generation of women to wear their age and features proudly. Boom is for women who want to reveal their genuine beauty with an honest and realistic approach. I find women are most attractive when they are taking a joy in living.  Experiencing pleasure revs up a woman’s circulation bringing colour and sheen to her face. Boomsticks create that same colour, glow and radiance in one easy application. Boomsticks are environmentally conscious. No extra-packaging, no animal testing, no parabens or phthalates, made with safe ingredients.
Initially conceived as a range of cosmetics for the mature woman, the Boomstick Trio, consisting of Boomstick Glo, Boomstick Color and Boomstick Glimmer. can be used by women of any age who want to cultivate a natural look.
[Boomstick Glo is] a clear 100% organic moisturiser! It adds a sensual, dewy glow while nurturing your skin.  Seals moisture in and keeps dryness out. A multi-tasking moisture stick you can apply to the delicate skin around your eyes, all over your face, neck and lips. You can even use it on your cuticles and anywhere you want protection, sheen and moisture.
[Boomstick Color] a multi-tasking stick for all your colour needs! Use it as a lipstick, a blush and an eyeshadow. You can apply it anywhere you want sheer, creamy and believable colour, creating a natural, healthy blush to your skin. Boomstick Color is for every skin tone.
[The Boomstick Glimmer is f]or all over lustre and radiance! Tinted the palest champagne, this Boomstick will add a pearlescent shimmer to eyelids, lips, cheekbones, brow bones, shoulders or wherever you want an extra special glimmer to your skin.” ”  
--Packaging--
As the promo states, there is no superfluous packaging. BOOMSTICKS are simple 8g make-up sticks that you swivel to use, like a lipstick. The containers are chubby and white with the colourful BOOM! logo in pink and red. Each stick has a different coloured label on the top so it can be easily identified. Once you take the lid off the stick there is a clear cap for protection inside.
--Appearance--
The Boomstick Glo (the image on the left in the picture above) is a solid, waxy-looking, honey-coloured stick that leaves moisture, no colour, when applied.
The Boomstick Color (in the middle in the above image) looks quite dark red and has a lovely shimmer. It is initially quite dark on the face when applied. Rubbing in accentuates this redness for a while but, once the skin has calmed down, the result is a natural, healthy blush so be patient! Used as a lipstick, it is the perfect shade to enhance your lips without exaggeration.
The Boomstick Glimmer (in the right in the picture above) is a solid stick with a creamy, shimmery, champagne-coloured appearance. It leaves a beautiful iridescent lustre wherever it is applied.
--Application--
A little goes a long way! For the Boomstick Glo, use sweeping strokes across your face, neck and forehead, including the delicate eye area and then spread using your fingertips.
The Boomstick Color can be smoothed over cheeks, forehead and lips for natural colour. It can also be applied lightly outside the corners of eyes then spread using your fingertips.
The Boomstick Glimmer is applied in the same way as for the other Boomsticks but only on areas that you want highlighted. It does not need to be rubbed in. Gently slide the stick all over the eyelids or simply on brow bones, cheekbones and collar bones. It can also add a shimmer to Boom Color on lips (although this will make some of Boom Color come off on your Glimmer stick). I also like to add a touch on my nose and just above the cupid’s bow on my lips.
--Scent--
The Boomstick Glo has only a slight scent of honey that is not invasive or cloying - reflective of its origins in Hawaii, where it is handmade by beekeepers.
I like the fact that this make-up has no strong scent. Some foundations have strong fragrances that clash with one’s chosen perfume. The Boomstick Color is quite neutral by comparison.  
--Texture and consistency--
The solid stick slides smoothly across the skin, leaving just the right amount of moisture. It is not greasy or sticky despite the slight shimmer. You can apply as much or as little as you like.  Good for lips too. No disappointments here!

--Effects on the skin--
The Boomstick Glo leaves a healthy glow on your skin. Skin feels soft and moisturised after application.  A pleasant day moisturiser, this is not a night cream or a ‘heavy duty’ moisturiser. For those with very dry skin, a thicker moisturiser might be needed at night.  
The Boomstick Color goes on easily, is nicely moisturising, and yet stays on well too. The first time I applied it I went for a bike ride and was immediately struck by how fresh and light my skin felt. It really felt as though my skin was ‘breathing’ and taking the oxygen in. Because it is light and not ‘cover-all’ make-up, it does need re-applying if you are going out in the evening. (But who cares? It’s speedy and fun to do!) It should be noted that BOOM COLOR will not cover flaws or spots, so you may wish to use a concealer or a light foundation underneath. There is no SPF included in this make-up because Cindy Joseph is aware of the controversial nature of ingredients used in sun protection and has decided to leave this to her customers’ own discretion.  
The Boomstick Glimmer completes the radiant and alive look. Some youtube reviewers who purchased all three sticks have expressed doubts as to whether they will actually use Glimmer on a daily basis but as far as I am concerned, it is the icing on the cake. To me, it is the essential partner to Boom Color.  
--Value for money--
The Boomstick Glo costs $27. This price compares well with other moisturisers on the market.  Shipping from America (fast, efficient and tracked) needs to be added to this. Their international flat rate shipping charge costs $13.95 and they say it takes between 7 – 15 working days to arrive. My sticks took eight working days to get from America to my home in the South of France.
My husband’s words are worth quoting here. He is not a make-up or marketing expert and has no shares in BOOM!  
“It’s all you need.  It lets YOU shine through.”
So, Cindy Joseph’s philosophy about not covering yourself up under loads of heavy make-up but revealing yourself instead, was clearly achieved by the application of these three products. As far as I am concerned, I am a Boomstick convert and the idea of travelling around New Zealand in a camper van next March with just three Boomsticks and a mascara fills me with glee!  
Cindy Joseph’s ‘pro-age’ philosophy was one of my main reasons for wanting to try the Boomstick Trio. I liked the idea of natural beauty, natural colour, glow and radiance and also the fact that you don’t have to ‘put on your face’ because you already have one! Cosmetic companies are obsessed with ANTI-age, and ANTI-wrinkle and Cindy claims that this is ANTI-US! We should celebrate our age, not be ashamed of it. The fact that all you need are three simple sticks to complete your look is also very appealing. Easy to carry with you and great for travel.
I particularly enjoyed her reference in the aforementioned videos to the Japanese art form ‘kintsugi’, where aged things are even more beautiful. That true beauty ‘reflects the whole of life and the process of growth and change’. What a refreshing thought!

--Customer service--
facebook.com/boombycindyjoseph

Some shoppers can be reluctant to order online and/or to order from overseas, so this is a topic worth covering. Customer service is speedy, efficient and friendly. Any questions by email are responded to quickly. Packages are tracked every step of the way.
The website is very user-friendly and has videos showing how to apply the make-up and explaining the philosophy behind the products. All ingredients are listed. There is a Facebook page and a blog and you can even join the BOOM CLUB to be notified of special offers and discount codes.

Cindy’s videos “Saturdays with Cindy” and her articles on http://blog.boombycindyjoseph.com cover a range of inspiring topics and include tips for covering undereye circles, ageism in our culture and transforming the way you think about age.

--perfect partners--
Boom Silk, face and body moisturiser (from $27)
Boom Cotton, shine control moisturiser (from $32)
Boom Mask, rejuvenating, cleansing and moisturising mask (from $42)

Friday, 1 September 2017

Perspirex Original Antiperspirant Roll-on


RRP: £8.49
also available in Strong and Comfort

--What does the promo say?--
"Perspirex Original Antiperspirant Roll-On is clinically proven to effectively control excessive sweat and odour. Perspirex Original provides long lasting protection from wetness and odour. Its unique active skincare system helps to reduce underarm irritation. Perspirex's unique patented formula is clinically proven to give strong and lasting protection against excessive sweat and odour. One application provides protection for 3-5 days. Its unique active skincare system helps reduce skin irritation. Perspirex Original is unfragranced and suitable for normal skin."

--Packaging--
This minute roll-on means it's perfect for travel as it can easily slip into any bag or pocket. The screw-top lid is secure and the roll-on mechanism itself works efficiently. The minimalistic colour scheme is also quite unisex and focused on the product's purpose.

--Application--
Apply to clean, dry skin before going to bed and ensure that the product has dried before you put on your nightclothes. In the morning, rinse off. You do not need to reapply the product after doing this. This procedure needs only be followed 2-3 times a week. So simple - but different to your usual deodorant, I expect (unless you have used a direct competitor such as Driclor - then the process will be familiar to you).

--Appearance--
The antiperspirant rolls on and dries colourlessly. No white marks are left on clothing.

--Scent--
Quite clinical; some would say even a little harsh. Put it this way: if you are looking for the floral or citrusy scents of standard deodorants, you won't find them here. However, this suits me fine, as curbing excess sweating is a greater priority for me than scent.

--Texture and consistency--
Rolls on and dries smoothly. No flaky white bits to contend with once it dries!

--Effects on the skin--
This definitely does what it says on the pack - it will curb excess sweating, no questions asked. However, just make sure you follow the directions in terms of not applying it too often, as skin can become overly dry and flaky otherwise. I usually alternate with a cream deodorant, such as Aurelia Probiotic, to keep the skin calm and smooth.

--Value for money--
It's ostensibly expensive, but remember you are only applying it every 2-3 days, so one lasts a very long time. I was sent mine for free by Perspirex's PR, but would definitely repurchase.

perfect partner
Hand and Foot Lotion, £13.50

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Molton Brown Vintage With Elderflower Bath and Shower Gel



RRP: £22

--What does the promo say?--
"Explore the sparkling fragrance of Molton Brown's Vintage 2016 with Elderflower Bath & Shower Gel, inspired by a cool cellar of vintage cuvée. Infused with English Elderflower Extract, the luxurious body wash gently refreshes and softens skin, whilst enveloping the body with notes of uplifting Petitgrain, Grapefruit and Vetiver for a truly magical bathing experience. Housed in a limited edition bottle with a wine bottle style label. Featuring the finest ingredients from a vineyard in Champagne-Ardenne, this luxurious lotion evokes the extravagant spirit of the festive season."

--Packaging--
The detachable jingle bells near the opening are a festive delight that accentuate the glitter in the shower gel itself, which is visible through the transparent plastic bottle. The golden label is chic and in keeping with the celebratory champagne feel.

--Usage--
Press the top of the lid downwards and then squeeze the bottle to expel the shower gel. Lather up under the shower and then rub over wet skin as normal before rinsing.

--Appearance--
A translucent cream gel with gold glittery particles that leave a delicate sparkly sheen on the skin - perfect for Christmas time (yes, some of us do start thinking of our gifts in August - what of it?).

--Scent--
The vetiver grounds the scent without being overpowering, just as the grapefruit subtly lifts it, but the champagne is the dominant flavour (NB don't eat it!). Elderflower is also delicately detectable; overall, a well-balanced and sophisticated fragrance.

--Texture and consistency--
The gel is thick and luxurious without being heavy or sticky; this lathers to a fine white foam that washes off when you want it to.

--Effects on the skin--
Apart from the shine from the embedded glitter (which can last beautifully depending on how liberally you've used it in the shower), skin is left feeling soft and moisturised.

--Value for money--
At £22 this is only a little more expensive than Molton Brown's usual shower gels of the same size and would make a beautiful upscale Christmas present for anyone who's already a fan of the brand - or even someone who's a Molton Brown newbie. At the launch you were even able to personalise the label with the recipient's name, and I hope this will be available to the mass market also. A gorgeous gift with which to ring in the new year.


perfect partners
Body Lotion, £26
Single Wick Candle, £42
Festive Bauble, £12

Friday, 4 August 2017

Liz Earle Sweet Orange and Mint Cleanse and Polish

RRP: £22.75 (includes 2 muslin cloths and 150ml of cream cleanser)

--What does the promo say?--
"Reveal smoother, clearer and brighter-looking skin while uplifting the senses with this energising twist on our cleansing icon, beautifully presented in a keepsake canister. Zesty notes of sweet orange oil entwine with the refreshing scent of just-crushed peppermint to create a blend that’s a fresh, reviving treat morning and evening."

--Packaging--
An altogether brighter version of the usual mellow teal packaging of the classic Cleanse and Polish pump dispenser - the white background illuminates while the beautiful flower illustrations add explosions of colour that evoke the orange and mint added.

--Application--
Dispense one pump's worth of cream cleanser and rub over your face. Then soak one of the provided muslin cloths in warm water and use this to rinse the cream from your skin.

--Appearance--
The white cream has a slightly grainy appearance. No visible residue is left on the skin, however.

--Scent--
The orange and mint blend subtly so that one doesn't overpower the other. However, the orange could perhaps be intensified so as to amplify that festive feeling (this limited edition is being rereleased for the Christmas period, as it was in 2015).

--Texture and consistency--
The cream cleanser emulsifies beautifully on contact with heat and/or water to glide across skin smoothly. This rinses off easily thanks to the muslin cloth.

--Effects on the skin--
The mint is refreshing, as promised, and skin is left feeling soft and calmed on both a short- and long-term basis.

--Value for money--
The two muslin cloths alone would normally cost £4.50, leaving the cost of the cleanser itself at £18. This is £2 more than Liz Earle's normal Cleanse and Polish, but makes for a beautiful gift for anyone who hasn't tried the product before, or who would enjoy this variant on the classic. This cost is also in line with similarly high-end botanical brands such as Aveda, Kiehl's, Balance Me, and Jurlique. Liz Earle's PR sent me this for free, but I'm sold on it and would definitely recommend gifting this to any beauty lover or novice for anniversaries, birthdays or Christmas while stocks last. 

perfect partners
Orange Flower Hand Repair, from £6
Orange Flower Botanical Body Wash, from £14.50
Orange Flower Hand Wash, from £15

Friday, 28 July 2017

Rosehip Plus Hydrating Day Cream

RRP: £24

--What does the promo say?--
"This Hydrating Day Cream is a 100% pure and natural Australian Certified Organic facial moisturiser. It has been formulated with RosehipPLUS® 100% pure Certified Organic cold pressed Rosehip Oil as well as a blend of chamomile, avocado and rose geranium, which supports and encourages a healthier looking skin."

--Packaging--
The orange and white colour scheme is new and different, with the rosehip plant clearly silhouetted. The flip-top lid is practical also.

--Application--
Rub a small amount into your clean, dry face post-cleansing. A little goes a long way, so beware!

--Appearance--
The white cream dissolves invisibly into skin, leaving no residue.

--Scent--
Surprisingly citrusy, although not overpoweringly so.

--Texture and consistency--
As mentioned, blends well without any greasiness or stickiness.

--Effects on the skin--
The product's claims are perhaps a little vague and those with acneic skin may not find that it helps to balance oiliness. Those with drier skin may benefit more from the cream's alleged hydrating properties.

--Value for money--
While the quality of the sourced ingredients is undisputed, and the cream is pleasant to use, it didn't seem right for my skin type - a shame. I have had better success with oil cleansing methods in the past, however, so would be keen to try the rosehip oil from the same range instead.

perfect partners
Rosehip Oil, from £15
Skin Boost Roll-On, £10
Nourishing Night Cream, £29
Daily Cream Cleanser, £19

Friday, 21 July 2017

Triple Dry Nourish

RRP: £6.45

--What does the promo say?--
"The new formula offers advanced protection against heavy sweating with the added benefits of Jojoba oil to nourish the skin, making this the perfect solution for those who want to care for their under arms, but still benefit from added protection. The new, high performing, anti-perspirant is clinically proven to work around the clock, keeping you sweat-free for up to 72 hours and working with your body to provide extra protection when you need it most.
The secret to its performance is in its unique blend of three active ingredients, giving you peace of mind so that whatever life throws at you, perspiration isn’t an issue.
  • -Jojoba oil nourishes skin
  • -Skin is left feeling soft and smooth
  • -Clinically proven 72 hour wetness protection
  • -The first ever anti-perspirant roll-on tube for better application."
--Packaging--
The grey and yellow packaging manages to be both cheerful and unisex, and the tube is practical too, as is the rollerball mechanism.

--Application--
Apply at night before going to bed before washing as normal in the morning. There is no need to reapply after showering, swimming or sports. There is nothing tricky about this, even if it involves a small alteration in your daily hygiene routine.

--Appearance--
The deodorant glides on invisibly and crucially leaves no white marks on clothes.

--Texture and consistency--
The smooth liquid dries powder-light, with no resulting stickiness.

--Effects on the skin--
As well as deodorising effectively, and reducing the amount of perspiration, it perhaps most importantly does not irritate underarm skin - which some 48 hour+ deodorants can be wont to do as they are so strong.

--Value for money--
This is priced in keeping with other 48h deodorants, being in the same bracket as high street brands Driclor and Mitchum, as well as some more luxury or pharmacy brands such as Neal's Yard and Vichy. Triple Dry's effective results and moisturising qualities mean that even though I was sent this for free, I would spend my own cash on it too.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Compeed Cracked Heel Overnight Cream

RRP: £4.99

--What does the promo say?--
"COMPEED®Cracked Heel Overnight Cream contains a unique blend of Urea and Lactic Acid and intensively moisturises to improve the appearance of cracked heels while you sleep."

--Packaging--
The blue and yellow packaging is summery and appeals to both men and women. The tube is also practical, with the lid closing securely enough that you don't have to worry about it leaking during travel. At 75ml, it's also suitable for holidays when you might be travelling with hand baggage only.

--Application--
Rub into clean feet at night before going to bed. If you like, you can wear socks after application to encourage even deeper moisturisation.

--Appearance--
The cream is white, but rubs in invisibly.

--Scent--
Clean without seeming artificial; perhaps slightly citrusy.

--Texture and consistency--
Sinks into skin quickly, and importantly lets skin breathe.

--Effects on the skin--
Soothes any itchiness that you may be feeling, and visibly reduces the amount of dry flaky skin within 1-3 weeks.

--Value for money--
One tube probably lasts 3-4 weeks, and it's one of the best I've used. Even though I was sent mine for free, I'd pay the affordable price tag to replace it once it runs out.