Saturday, 17 September 2016

Crabtree and Evelyn Pomegranate, Argan and Grapeseed Body Scrub


--What does the promo say?--
"Instantly reveal smoother skin with the gentle exfoliation of our Pomegranate, Argan & Grapeseed Body Scrub with sunflower wax beads. A nourishing blend of pomegranate, sunflower, jojoba, pumkpin and sesame seed oils replenish and soften the skin while antioxidant-rich grapeseed extract helps to protect the skin.  
  • A nourishing blend of pomegranate, sunflower, jojoba, pumpkin, and sesame seed oils replenish and soften
  • Antioxidant-rich 
  • Conditioning and smoothing 
Fragrance: The tart sweetness of pomegranate coupled with a burst of citrus and fresh fig leaf.
Discover more from our restorative Pomegranate, Argan & Grapeseed collection."

--Packaging--
A chunky tube with a plastic flip top lid which is well thought-out ergonomically speaking, as well as aesthetically: the white and red colour scheme is unusual, dynamic, and beautifully composed.

--Appearance--
A creamy pink lotion in which particles are visible. No visible residue is left on the skin.

--Scent--
Fruity without being heavy; the citrus lifts it. 

--Texture and consistency--
Creamy yet effective in its exfoliation; grapeseed is wonderful for sloughing away dry particles without irritating skin.

--Effects on skin--
Skin feels really clean, and thanks to the seed oils, moisturised rather than stripped.

--Value for money--
At £17, it may seem expensive, but the ingredients are of good quality, the tube is of a generous size, the effects on the skin cannot be argued with, and it's on offer at the moment on the Crabtree and Evelyn website (3 for 2 on selected products from the range). So shop around - you can't go wrong. 

perfect partners
Shower Gel, £15**
Body Lotion, £16**
Body Mist, £15
Body Cream, £22
Hand Wash, £15***
Hand Therapy, £21*
Soap, £18 for 3
Shampoo, £25 for 500ml or 2 for £30
Conditioner, £25 for 500ml or 2 for £30

* also available in travel size
** also available in both travel and maxi sizes
*** also available in maxi size

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Rapid White Instant Whitening Toothpaste

RRP: £7.99

--What does the promo say?--
"A patented blend of PVP and Pentasodium Triphosphate synergistically working to remove stains and preventing tartar and plaque build up. A whitening silica maximises whitening and cleansing yet its gentle abrasive action will not harm tooth enamel. Fluoride to help strengthen and remineralise tooth enamel to protect against tooth decay. Intense mint flavour for long lasting freshness.Instantly transforms your smile by whitening teeth up to 1 1/2 shades whiter after only one brushing! This proprietary formulation safely and efficiently whitens and brightens teeth, removes stains, removes plaque and polishes the surface of the teeth. Get that "WOW" sensation now!"

--Packaging--
The white, silver and blue tube is energetic and vibrant (an effect also created in part by starburst-style graphics) even if lacking originality. The screwtop works in the usual way.

--Usage--
Foams up quite a bit in the mouth, so do use sparingly. Apart from that, proceed normally.

--Appearance--
A white paste which leaves no residue in or around the mouth after rinsing.

--Scent--
Quite a strong mint flavour.

--Texture and consistency--
As mentioned, foams up quite a bit more than normal toothpaste, but not really unpleasant.

--Effects on the teeth--
I am aware that I speak as someone who's had fluorosis ever since their adult teeth came in - knowing, therefore, that I'm a bit of a special case. I wouldn't say that I experienced instant whitening - mitigated for, of course, by the packaging promise that I would see my teeth being "up to" 1.5 shades lighter after just one brush. However, I did notice that in the long term, any mottling on the teeth was definitely reduced and they were on the way to looking whiter as well. So you may need some patience - but this is still a good product.

--Value for money--
Around the £8 mark is standard for specialist whitening toothpaste: big brands reputed for this area of expertise, such as Blanx, The Breath Co, and Arm and Hammer all charge this sort of money. So it isn't out of step. However, compared to 'normal' toothpastes, it is a little steep - although if, as mentioned, you find you need to use less of it than a normal toothpaste, meaning that the tube lasts longer, and you get the specific result that you're hoping for, you're likely to pay it.

perfect partners
Instant Whitening System, £35
2 Week Whitening System, £20
1 Week Whitening System, £10
Pro Clean and Polish System, £65
Pro Clean and Polish Paste, £10
Pro Clean and Polish Heads, £10
Daily Whitening Toothpaste, £8.50
Blue Light Tooth Whitening System, £30
Express Sensitive 5 Minute Dissolving Tooth Whitening Strips, £23
Express Max Effect 5 Minute Dissolving Tooth Whitening Strips, £23

Saturday, 3 September 2016

New Nordic Melissa Dream Tablets


RRP: £14.99 for 40 or £29.99 for 100

--What does the promo say?--
"New Nordic's Melissa Dream tablets are recommended to people who want help to maintain a healthy calm sleep and relaxation. The B vitamins in New Nordic Melissa Dream Tablets can help maintain the normal functioning of your nervous system.

The unique bioactive micronutrients and herbal extract combination contained in each tablet is manufactured in Sweden and contains a lemon balm extract, L-theanine amino acid, chamomile extract, B vitamin complex and magnesium. The content of B vitamins contributes to normal psychological and nervous system function. Helps support restful sleep and focus your mind. Helps maintain the normal functioning of your nervous system."

--Packaging--
The bright yellow box gives a feeling of optimism and echoes the rising sun - suggesting that you will be woken up naturally after a night of deep, restful sleep. Equally, the colour scheme replicates the yellow centre of one of the key ingredients, camomile (which looks like a giant daisy).

--Usage--
Take 2 tablets an hour before going to bed. The tablets are a little larger than average size, but shouldn't pose considerably difficulty for most people in terms of taking them comfortably.

--Appearance--
Disappointingly the tablets are an almost grey/muddy colour - but I suppose most people would prefer this to an artificial colour being added. 

--Scent--
Nothing detectable.

--Effects--
I wasn't actually expecting these to work terribly well. I am a long-term insomniac who falls asleep easily but frequently wakes in the night and finds it very difficult to fall asleep again. So the placebo effect cannot be blamed, in my view, for the fact that I actually started sleeping very well from the moment of beginning to take these tablets. Not only did I continue to fall asleep easily but I was able to sleep peacefully throughout the whole night. Hoorah!

--Value for money--
As far as supplements go, these are very reasonable value (particularly if you buy the larger pack and/or are able to capitalise on Holland and Barrett's buy one, get one half price deal). I was sent mine for free, but would happily continue to pay to take them as for me at least they seem to ensure a decent night's sleep the natural way. 

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Sensodyne Repair and Protect Daily Repair Fluoride Toothpaste

RRP: £4.50 for 75ml

--Packaging--
The white and blue colour scheme lacks originality but is vibrant nonetheless and accompanied by Sensodyne's standard 'rings' design to distinguish it from its competitors. The screw-top lid is easy to use and clicks shut securely.

--Usage--
Brush teeth twice a day as usual.

--Appearance--
A white paste that leaves no visible residue in the mouth.

--Scent--
A spearmint-style mint flavour; not too strong, and with none of the slightly strange taste that some toothpastes for sensitive teeth have. 

--Texture and consistency--
Slightly sticky on its way out of the tube, so squeeze sparingly. However, it foams up easily in the mouth and there is no difficulty rinsing.

--Effects on the teeth--
My dentist recently told me that my teeth seemed more 'porous' than they should be, as if I'd been drinking a lot of fizzy drinks (I don't). However, since using this toothpaste, my teeth have felt stronger - definitely repaired and protected.

--Value for money--
In line with the other market leaders: Oral B and Colgate both retail in this price bracket. It does what it says it will do, and I would definitely recommend it to others.

perfect partners
Precision Toothbrush Soft, £3.60
Pronamel Daily Mouthwash, £4.49 for 450ml

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Shu Uemura Pure:Nu Gentle Cleansing Oil-in-Gel

RRP: £24

--What does the promo say?--
"Inspired by our iconic cleansing oils, this revolutionary facial cleanser purifies skin without stripping valuable moisture. Cleansing oil-in-gel gently removes makeup and impurities leaving skin refreshed, clarified and soft. The new fluid gel texture can be used with dry or wet hands. The eco-conception formula is gentle to skin and the environment."

--Packaging--
The bright green packaging is really vibrant and unusual, and emphasises the inclusion of bamboo, as well as the green tea scent. The flip-top lid is sturdy and practical, and the tube doesn't overwhelm you with information, giving you all that's necessary in a minimalist manner.

--Application--
As mentioned, you can use this in dry or wet hands, rubbing it over your face before wiping off (with a flannel, tissue, or whatever your preferred apparatus is).

--Appearance--
A translucent white gel which leaves no visible residue on the skin.

--Scent--
Some reviewers criticise the green tea scent for being too strong, but at this end it just seems fresh and neutral - not overly masculine or feminine, or enough to interfere with any perfume you're wearing.

--Texture and consistency--
Doesn't foam up at all, which comes as a surprise to anyone used to a foaming cleanser. However, it's a good surprise, and the peace of mind that comes with knowing your cleanser doesn't contain SLS is satisfying too. Glides over the skin and rinses off easily.

--Effects on the skin--
Not sure how it does it, as the medicinal effects of bamboo are hotly disputed, and the green tea is present only as a scent rather than as a raw ingredient, but somehow skin seemed balanced, clarified, less red, and less stressed. Fab.

--Value for money--
£24 is not cheap, I grant you. And don't expect to get a discount either: Shu Uemura controls its distribution very tightly and I don't think reductions are part of their business strategy. But it's so effective, and you need to use so little each time to get a good result, that I would probably pay for it again. If only they made a toner and moisturiser to go with it too!

Monday, 15 August 2016

That’so All In One SPF 20-30-50+ Protective Dry Oil Spray


RRP: £18.95

--What does the promo say?--
"Stay safe in the sun with this revolutionary SPF. That'so have been working hard in or labs to make your life easier with our internationally patented SPF. Unlike a conventional SPF that only gives you the level of protection is says on the bottle, All In One gives you 3 different levels with each application. Spray on the dry oil SPF once and it gives you SPF 20. Wait 3 minutes and apply again for SPF 30. Wait a further 3 minutes and apply a final third time for SPF 50. Contains patented formula allowing increase of SPF (20/30/50) with each spray using PROGRESSIVE SPF. Contains MELANUP, a patented ingredient which allows for the production of melanin without the need for sunlight. Contains TYR-EXCEL, a tanning activator which also ensures it develops evenly. Contains anti-ageing and moisturising ingredients: avocado, jojoba oil and Vitamin E. Water resistant.

--Packaging--
The yellow and purple colour combination is vivid and striking - very unusual compared to other commercial suncreams, which tend to rely on the old faithful fallbacks of orange and white. Equally, the spray can format is unusual, as most of the usual options are squeezy bottles or tubes.

--Application--
As mentioned in the promotional materials, the number of layers you need to apply depends on the amount of protection you require - 1 layer for SPF20, 2 for SPF30 or 3 for SPF50. Just spritz over the body and rub in, waiting a few minutes between layers. Despite having to apply multiple layers for higher protection levels, I wouldn't say you run out of this any more quickly than conventional sunscreens, as the oil-based formula goes much further and wastage is minimal.

--Appearance--
An invisible oil which won't stain clothes and doesn't leave the white film of many commercial sunscreens.

--Scent--
A long-lasting, coconutty, sweet scent which is most pleasant.

--Texture and consistency--
Despite the high proportions of natural oils, this does not feel greasy at all and sinks into skin rapidly.

--Effects on the skin--
As well as effectively protecting even sensitive skins from the sun, it also moisturises well. Bonus!

--Value for money--
£18.95 for 200ml is concurrent with other high-end sunscreen ranges, such as those by P20, UltraSun, and Heliocare. Equally, it makes packing much more convenient if you don't have to carry 3 different sunscreens to the beach with you, as this does it all in one. I was sent one for free, but I'd still buy it. Good one, That'so!

perfect partners
All In One After Sun, £18.95
On The Go Clear, £18.95

Friday, 12 August 2016

Avene Sensitive Skin Saviours Kit


RRP: £20 for 2 cleansers, a toner and a moisturiser

--What does the promo say?--
"The answer for those whose skin feels tight, blotchy and uncomfortable, this gentle routine contains all the steps needed to soothe, comfort and protect the skin and helps to reduce skin sensitivity long term. Hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic. Free from fragrance, parabens, colouring agents and alcohol."

--Packaging--
The cleansers come in see-through plastic bottles, while the toner comes in a spray can (which I have been assured by Avene is suitable for cabin baggage travel). The moisturiser comes in a standard plastic tube. Nonetheless, all good sizes to help you save space in your suitcase. The white and coral colour scheme is calming and unusual.

--Application--
Avène advises applying the cleanser to your skin and wiping it off with a cotton pad. However, it lathers well, so feel free to rub onto wet skin before removing with a damp flannel. The toner can be sprayed directly onto skin, or onto a cotton pad before rubbing over the face. Finally, the moisturising cream should be rubbed into clean dry skin until absorbed. All fairly straightforward really.

--Appearance--
The cleanser takes the form of a pearlescent liquid soap-like substance, which lathers white. The toner is just water really - and the moisturising cream is also white. None leave any visible residue on the skin.

--Scent--
Cotton-like and clean, with no artificial fragrances added. The spring water's minerality is what dominates.

--Texture and consistency--
As mentioned, the cleanser is soap-like and lathers well. The moisturiser is opulently thick, but absorbs well and doesn't leave a greasy or sticky film.

--Effects on the skin--
Skin is visibly calmed and less red, with dry patches combatted, although acne itself does not specifically diminish (but then again the product never claims to do this and Avene has a whole other range for this purpose).

--Value for money--
Avene's PR kindly sent mine over for nothing, but £20 for a travel pack compares favourably to the prices of all of these products separately (£29.50). Equally, it's averagely priced for the travel cosmetics market - and to get 300ml of product for this price is very good. My only change would be to take the toner out of its can so as to see more clearly how much is left. Otherwise, effective and well-packaged products to keep skin calm in the face of sun, sea and sand.

perfect partners
Avene Tolerance Extreme Mask, £15 for 50ml
Cold Cream Body Lotion, £20 for 400ml
Very High Protection Spray (SPF50+), £20 for 200ml
Gentle Eye Makeup Remover, £9.50 for 125ml
Soothing Eye Contour Cream, £10 for 10ml
Hydrance Optimale Skin Tone Perfector (available in multiple shades), £16.50 for 40ml

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Klorane Seboregulating Shampoo

RRP: £8 for 200ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Detox your scalp with the Klorane Nettle Shampoo, a deeply cleansing formula for those prone to oiliness. This gentle, effective treatment shampoo gives you more time between washes, working to regularise the amount of oil your scalp produces while slowing its spread throughout the hair. The star ingredient of the shampoo is scopoletine, an extract from nettle, which restores balance to the scalp. Hypoallergenic and extremely mild, the Nettle Shampoo enhances volume and detangles for soft and bouncy hair that lasts. After sustained use, oil secretion is regularised, enabling you to wash your hair less frequently."

--Packaging--
The botanical drawings on Klorane's packaging are always beautiful and really stand out against the white label, with the green colour of the shampoo itself reflecting the nettle used in the product very well. The clear plastic bottle enables you to always be able to see how much is left and the flip-top plastic lid is practical too.

--Application--
Massage into wet hair before rinsing thoroughly. The Klorane Mango Butter conditioner is recommended as a follow-up if you have oily roots and dry tips.

--Appearance--
A green, translucent gel which becomes a white lather on contact with water. Leaves no visible residue on hair or skin.

--Scent--
More minty, if anything.

--Texture and consistency--
A smooth gel which lathers and rinses well. Not at all stubborn or sticky!

--Effects on the hair--
Leaves hair clean, soft and volumised, but would likely need sustained use as suggested by the manufacturer in order to reduce the frequency of washing.

--Value for money--
Although I was kindly sent mine for free by Klorane's PR, this is priced in line with other high-quality brands, such as Vichy, Label M, Green People, Rene Furterer and Schwarzkopf, and produces decent results from little product. I'd be interested to see the effect on hair from long-term use, as well as how its performance is boosted further by other Klorane products.

perfect partners
Nettle Seboregulating Dry Shampoo, £8
Mango Butter Conditioning Balm, £8.50

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

This Works In Transit No Traces

RRP: £17 for 60 cleansing pads

--What does the promo say?--
"Improving skin moisture whilst removing all traces of dirt or make-up, the this works In Transit No Traces pads can be used morning and evening and work to effectively cleanse the skin whilst maintaining its pH balance. Infused with gorgeous rosewater and water mint, these pads are convenient and fast acting and will definitely be a welcome addition to your routine.
  • Removes impurities and dirt
  • Effective on make-up
  • Suitable for use day and night
  • Improves skin's moisture"
--Packaging--
The red and black colour scheme of the box is vibrant and unusual, and the black luggage-style stamps give an authentic yet quirky feel. Equally, the red continues to stand out on the white screw-top plastic container, where minimal information keeps the pot uncluttered and sophisticated.

--Application--
Sweep a pad over your face to remove makeup, using both sides of the pad if necessary. The same can be done to simply cleanse - and as they're pre-soaked with fluid, they're perfect for on the go.

--Appearance--
The pads are white and textured, and slightly translucent thanks to the fluid in which they're soaked. This leaves no visible residue on the skin, however.

--Scent--
The rosewater is the dominant scent, leaving a clean, cotton-like, fresh smell. The mint, however, is undetectable.

--Texture and consistency--
As mentioned, the pads are textured, which adds extra exfoliation to the process of cleansing. However, this is not overly abrasive. and the fluid in which the pads are soaked has a soothing, cooling effect.

--Effects on the skin--
An effective all-in-one cleanser, toner and moisturiser, although does not thoroughly remove the most heavy-duty makeup.

--Value for money--
Despite the brand prestige and the quality ingredients, £17 amounts to 28p a pad. Some people will decide this is worth it due to the eco-friendly and other ethical credentials of the brand, while others will think it's a shade too expensive. Nonetheless, it makes for an affordable luxury from a celebrity-endorsed brand.

perfect partners
First Aid, £16 for 8ml
Camera Close-Up, from £30
Muscle Therapy, £18 for 50ml
Skin Defence, £29 for 40ml

Thursday, 4 August 2016

The Breath Co Fresh Breath Dry Mouth Mandarin Mint Lozenges

RRP: £8.99 for 72 lozenges

--What does the promo say?--
"The Breath Co. Mouth Wetting Lozenges are effective in eliminating bad breath including strong food odours such as garlic and onion, Morning Breath, and smoker's breath.Our mandarin mint lozenge is inteded to help relieve dry mouth symptoms when used as directed.Grab a few individually wrapped Lozenges to take on the go. Pop one after a meal or whenever your mouth tastes umpleasant or feels dry."

--Packaging--
The green and orange colour scheme is vibrant and different to other mints on the market. However, the box itself is quite large and wrapped in plastic. Equally, all of the lozenges are individually wrapped, which is great for convenience, but not for the environment. I like the recyclable nature of the box, but it could be made smaller (in the style of Ricola lozenges) and not packaged individually.

--Usage--
As mentioned in the promotional materials, suck or chew on one for instantly fresher breath. Do not take more than 7 per day, as they have laxative effects.

--Appearance--
A small, square, white mint which appears to leave no residue on the fingers or in the mouth. These are individually wrapped in clear plastic sachets.


--Scent--
The mint smell is evident before you even open the box. It is very strong, and as such may not be for everyone.

--Taste-- 
Again, mint dominates, but mandarin is detectable, again, giving the product a distinctive feature compared to other breath mints.

--Texture and consistency--
Soft enough to chew, but hard enough to suck, as per your preference. Not grainy or sticky.

--Longevity--
You'd be hard pushed to consume (or exceed) 7 of these a day as the flavour is strong and long-lasting without being overpowering. 

--Value for money--
The strength of flavour leads to good value in this sense: if you were to consume 3 of these a day, a box would still last you nearly a month if you did this 7 days a week. As I'd probably normally consume 1 or 2, five days a week, a box would probably last me between 2 and 3 months. However, at 12p per lozenge, there are still many cheaper alternatives on the market, even if these lack the scientific additions of zinc (for bad breath busting) and paracress (for mouth moistening purposes). It really depends what your priorities are, and whether or not these could also be met by the range's mouthwash, chewing gum and toothpaste. Nevertheless, this still makes for a convenient and effective option at a price that is not unachievable - particularly for those with severe halitosis.

perfect partners
Chewing Gum, £4 for 10 pieces
Oral Rinse, £13.99 for 500ml
Toothpaste, £8.99 for 75ml