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

Friday, 22 July 2016

Beuti Beauty Sleep Elixir

RRP: £42 for 30ml

--What does the promo say?--
"With its 14 precious plant oils Beauty Sleep Elixir supports skin barrier function and plays a key role in fighting inflammation. Packed with anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients that counteract irritation and inflammation. Beauty Sleep Elixir can be worn under makeup in the evening and boosts skin tone, acting as an on the spot blemish treatment due to its anti-inflammatory powers and brightens the complexion for no makeup days. During precious beauty sleep, skin renews itself thanks to this product's super boost of vitamins, minerals and a complete omega hit of 3,5,6,7 and 9, letting you wake up to beautiful glowing skin. Softalia, from a sustainable plantation in Australia, counteracts inflammation and has unique activity on the skin due to its ximenynic acid content, helping hydration and reducing fine lines. Caribbean coral neutralizes the enzyme responsible for skin ageing, acne and sunburn and is one of the worlds most potent anti-inflammatory ingredients."

--Packaging--
The opaque glass bottle is perfect for a product of this type as it enables you to see exactly how much is left at all times, as well as letting the beautiful amber colour of the oil shine through. Equally, the minimalist product information on the bottle and the silvery band and lid contribute to a classy effect. The pump-action mechanism is practical and minimises waste.

--Application--
Massage into face, hands or body for use as a moisturiser. You can also use it to cleanse or remove makeup with by massaging over the face and then removing the oil immediately with a cotton pad.

--Appearance--
A golden orange oil that disappears invisibly into the skin, leaving no residue.

--Scent--
The woodier scents are dominant in this, so I'm guessing the sandalwood is largely at play here. However, a citrus element is also detectable thanks to the sea buckthorn: a hard berry reminiscent of orange and lemon.

--Texture and consistency--
A smooth, non-greasy oil which absorbs quickly into the skin.

--Effects on the skin--
Has deeply moisturising properties which work well on all areas of the body as well as the face. Perfect for these sunnier times of the year when skin may dry out from exposure to the sun, the sea, or chlorinated swimming pools.

--Value for money--
A little goes a very long way and the product is clearly composed of high quality ingredients (which, for what it's worth, are 98% organic and 100% natural). An excellent multi-purpose product for affordable luxury moisturisation.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Tesco Cucumber Facial Wipes

RRP: £1 for 25 wipes

--What does the promo say?--
"Tesco cleansing wipes facial have been enriched with soothing cucumber and aloe vera. They have been specially formulated to gently ease away make-up (including water-proof make-up), cleanse, tone and moisturise, without upsetting the skin’s delicate balance."

--Packaging--
The white and green colour scheme is clean and unisex, with the circles evoking the cucumber inclusion perfectly.

--Usage--
Sweep over face to either remove makeup or freshen up on the go. Alternatively, they could replace your usual cleanser - particularly useful if travelling on hand baggage only this summer and not wanting to encumber your suitcase with liquids.

--Appearance--
The wipes are white and leave no visible residue on the skin.

--Scent--
The cucumber aspect is definitely there without being overpowering.

--Texture and consistency--
The wipes are sufficiently abrasive to remove makeup or excess oil without being abrasive. Equally, they are soft without being ineffectual.

--Effects on the skin--
Seems to cleanse well, getting rid of dirt accumulated throughout the day. However, for makeup you might need 2 wipes depending on how thick your foundation is, if you use primers or not, and so on. For me, 1 wipe was not always enough.

--Value for money--
While not perfect, at £1 per pack these are excellent value, refresh the face, and are perfect for travel.

perfect partners
Cucumber Facial Wash, £1.50
Cucumber Softening Daily Moisturiser, £1.00
Cucumber Toner, £1.50

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

BD Trade Secrets Dream Shimmer Highlighter

RRP: £7.99

--What does the promo say?--
"Add effortless shine to cheekbones, eyes and body with this stunning textured shimmer compact.  Delicately swirl across the skin to help enhance your features with a radiant sun kissed shimmer."

--Packaging--
The shimmer brick comes in a shiny gold-effect compact made of plastic, which closes securely using a click mechanism. Equally, the mirror is of a generous size.

--Application--
Sweep over face for a naturally sunkissed effect. Focus more on the cheeks for use as a blusher. Warning: a little goes a long way, so start sparingly and layer up!

--Appearance--
The brown shades dominate over the pink and white, but equally you can choose to dip your brush more in the pink shades depending on the effect you want. This is also why you should apply this sparingly if like me you are very pale and don't want to look like you've been Tangoed. Done correctly, however, the effect can be very natural-looking.

--Scent--
Nothing discernible.

--Texture and consistency--
Smooth and easy to blend.

--Longevity--
Perhaps needs touching up once during the day, but that's all. Generally lasts well.

--Value for money--
While the casing feels a bit cheap, and I personally would maybe prefer pinker tones to dominate, it's a decent bronzer/shimmer brick that stands up well to its main competitors this summer. Available now at Tesco!

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Trilogy Gentle Facial Exfoliant

RRP: £21.50

--What does the promo say?--
"The fast way to a fresh new complexion with glowing results you'll see instantly, Trilogy Gentle Facial Exfoliant is a gentle, creamy treatment that removes dead skin cells and surface debris that dull your skin's appearance. Formulated with jojoba wax spheres and camellia oil to gently buff away impurities and nourishing botanical oils to reveal softer, smoother, more radiant skin, Trilogy Gentle Facial Exfoliant is an essential part of your beauty regime."

--Packaging--
The red, white and silver colour scheme is a bit spartan, but at least unisex and practical, with the flip-top plastic lid proving robust. Gives you only the information you need and nothing more - so cuts the spin and makes it easy to read.

--Application--
Massage in circular motions onto moistened skin before rinsing off and following with moisturiser. Pretty simple really.

--Appearance--
Off-white, with barely visible grains. No visible residue is left on the skin.

--Scent--
The jojoba and camellia gives a really clean, natural scent that isn't overpowering.

--Texture and consistency--
To quote Trilogy's PR, "The Trilogy range has always been and will always continue to be free of plastic microbeads." This is a great thing, as not only is the environmental impact significant, but natural exfoliants always tend to be more effective anyway. The jojoba microspheres in this product are no exception - pleasantly scrubby without irritating the skin.

--Effects on the skin--
Further to this, the brand mantra is ‘maximum effect on your skin, minimum effect on our environment’. This is borne out by this product, which sloughs off dead skin while moisturising thanks to the natural microspheres and combinations of essential oils.

--Value for money--
While at £21.50 this seems expensive, you can shop around for good deals, and furthermore, this is a high quality product which lasts a long time (a little goes a long way!). You can equally be confident in the knowledge that by buying this product and not one containing microplastics, you are helping to protect the environment too.

perfect partners
Balancing Face Lotion, £26.50
Hydrating Mist Toner, £17.50
Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+, £26.50

Monday, 16 May 2016

The oil cleansing method

I promised a post on the oil cleansing method following my review of Kick Start Coconut Oil. And it's something that often seems more than a little surprising.

Oil, you say? I've heard of putting oil on my body, or even on my hair, but isn't putting oil on my face kind of gross?
And I already have oily skin as it is - won't this make it worse?
Cleansing with oil sounds messy and complicated!
Even if I do decide to do it, what type of oil should I use? I've heard that essential oils should be diluted and that you need to be careful with putting them on your face...

Time to debunk the myths, explain the method, choose your oil, and enjoy the effects. 

It sounds counterproductive, but putting oil onto already oily skin will actually do some good. The skin overproduces oil when the body thinks (rightly or wrongly) that it is undernourished. By letting it know that actually, it has enough (thanks to the natural oils you are putting on your face!) the skin scales its production of your body's natural oils right back to ultimately create a more balanced complexion. Naturally, the oil cleansing method also helps to hydrate dry, mature and combination skin types too.

So what is the method itself? Sometimes when you read about it online, it can sound overly complicated, but in the end you only need two steps:

1. Put oil onto your face. The easiest way of doing this is by putting the oil into a pump-action bottle (just clean the tube regularly with hot water to stop it from getting clogged) and pushing the pump down once to get enough oil out. If you are using a pot or bottle, you can always scoop with a spatula or pour (carefully!) into your hands before massaging the oil onto your face. (Got more oil than you need? Doesn't matter! Massage into your hands, neck, decolleté and arms too - you should moisturise everywhere anyway for maximum anti-ageing benefits.) The massaging action itself has benefits in terms of, say, your circulation - but what you really want to happen is for the oil to break down dirt, grime and makeup.

2. Wipe the oil off your face using a tissue or cotton pad. I normally go round twice, wiping with both sides of the cotton pad. Don't worry about getting off every last trace - part of the advantage of cleansing with oil is that the oil also serves as a moisturiser once you've wiped off any dirt that's accumulated during the day.

If I've been wearing makeup, I usually do this twice - once to get rid of the makeup and once to cleanse my face properly.

So what type of oil should you use for all of this? It's true that essential oils are highly concentrated and you need to be careful with them - so don't do anything silly like putting neat tea tree oil all over your face. However, you can also mix oils - so do feel free to put a few drops of any essential oil that helps you (e.g. lavender for sleep, or eucalyptus for healing) into your base oil. But what should this base oil be? Some of the most commonly-used are listed below:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Argan oil
  • Rosehip oil

Of course the oil can also be used as a hair mask and body moisturiser, so no matter what oil you use, it's a great multi-purpose product.

Obviously some of these oils will cost more than others, some will be more easily available than others, and some will work better for you than others (so do tinker with the type and balance of oils, as well as the frequency of use, before abandoning the idea completely). So it's a trial and error process - and if all else fails, make sure you've chosen a food grade/organic oil so that you can at least cook with it.

If you don't fancy making your own bespoke mixture, lots of facial, hair and body oils already exist that you can buy straight off the shelf - ranging from the bargainous Miaroma (around £3 from Holland and Barrett) and Dove, to the luxurious MoroccanOil, Decléor and Jo Malone, via the midrange oils by Wella, Fushi, Weleda and the Body Shop.

Oil cleansing is a method I've only recently begun to try, and I'm seeing good results so far - so do give it a go if you're feeling at a loss! The starting point could be right there in your kitchen.