Saturday, 24 September 2016

Mashooq Deep Penetrating Oil

RRP: from £2.99 (travel size) to £13.99 (250ml)

--What does the promo say?--
"Do you want to say goodbye to bad hair days and have great looking hair every day? Mashooq's Deep Penetrating Oil is truly versatile and can be used for deep conditioning hair, protecting against heat and chemicals and to treat dry scalps. With regular use it will leave your hair baby soft, easier to manage and style with improved shine. Our Magic Oil is a unique blend of six natural oils - coconut, sweet almond, olive, sunflower, palm and wheat germ - packed full of vitamins and other nutrients to feed and protect your hair. It is suited to all hair types. Mashooq moisturises porous hair and is especially good for Afro-Caribbean hair that needs extra hydration. It also repairs and strengthens brittle hair that breaks easily or hair that has been damaged by heat from dryers, straighteners and curlers. Unlike other oils that coat the hair, Mashooq penetrates into the hair creating a protective screen allowing colours, perms and bleaches to work efficiently without risk of damage to the hair and scalp. For many years it was a secret among professional hairdressers and colourists as it enhances the colouring process while protecting the hair."

The yellow label on the bottle is bright and unusual, reflecting the sunflower oil that the product contains. However, I'd prefer a pump action bottle, as the screw top means you can't as easily control the amount of oil dispensed. 

Apply to the hair, concentrating on the tips. Then wrap in a towel and ideally leave the oil in overnight. In the morning, wash out with shampoo as normal (although perhaps shampoo and rinse twice to ensure that all oil is out). You can then dry and style your hair as you usually would. It's also noted by Mashooq that you can also use the oil to hair after it has been washed to make it easier to style - although I personally wouldn't do this as it's so easy to use too much, whereas at least with an overnight treatment you can ensure that it has all been washed out. 

A clear oil which leaves no visible residue in the hair after washing it out.

Nothing particularly detectable (perhaps disappointing given the sweet almond oil and coconut oil that this contains). The sunflower oil probably works to create a neutral olfactory effect.

--Texture and consistency--
Just like the sorts of oils you would use for cooking: slick and lissome. However, as mentioned above, shampooing and rinsing twice is enough to get it out of your hair after an overnight treatment.

--Effects on the hair--
Hair feels smooth, volumised and restored. You can also go a little longer before needing to shampoo again, as the hair feels nourished enough by the oil in the product to not overcompensate by beginning to produce its own oil again.

--Value for money--
While you could of course make your own mixture for less, using oils from supermarkets and health food stores, this is naturally more convenient and is actually not terribly expensive given both this convenience factor and the revitalising results for your hair. Equally, not much is needed each time, meaning that even a travel size bottle will give you enough oil for at least 5 treatments. I was sent mine for free by Mashooq's PR, but would definitely buy again with my own money. It beats many commercial conditioners both in terms of the purity of the ingredients it contains and the effects on your hair. Thanks, Mashooq! 

perfect partners
Hair Serum, £12.99 for 100ml
Calm, Relax, Revive Massage Oils Set, £12.50

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."

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.

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

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!"

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.

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

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

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."

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).

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.

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

Nothing detectable.

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.