Sunday, 17 February 2019

Melvita Organic Rose Shower Gel

RRP: €14 for 250ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Organic Rose Shower Gel is soap-free and contains all the freshness of three wild rose extracts collected by hand. This shower gel gently cleanses skin and turns into a foam with a light floral scent like a shower of petals on the body. 99% of the ingredients are natural; 10% of the ingredients are organic. Made in France; certified organic by ECOCERT. Organic Rose Shower Gel is ideal for:
• Women wanting an organic shower gel which is both gentle and lovely to use 
• Gently cleansing skin 
• Its fresh, subtle rose scent for instant well-being
• Its light foam texture
• Its sulphate-free formula
• All skin types"

Mine was a travel version in a dark pink squeezy tube that stood up on its lid (as part of a Christmas gift set, the Mini Coffret Rose, available in France but not the UK). The full-size version is in an equally pretty but pale pink translucent bottle, accented by the dark pink lid, dark green Melvita logo, and botanical line drawing that emphasises the brand's valuing of natural ingredients. .

Just lather up in the shower as usual, apply to wet skin, and rinse. Job done.

Despite the pink bottle, the gel itself is clear, and leaves no visible residue on the skin.

Thanks to the use of damask rose, French rose, dog rose and sweetbriar rose (also known as eglantine), the scent of this shower gel is gorgeously intense and multilayered. Put simply, I loved it.

--Texture and consistency--
The gel foams into a fine white lather that feels luxurious on the skin, yet washes off easily when you need it to.

--Effects on the skin--
Skin feels beautifully soft after use and the scent lingers wonderfully. Reviewers on the Melvita website also report a reduction in skin redness.

--Value for money--
This makes a lovely gift (as mine was, from my sister-in-law this Christmas just past) and a luxurious addition to any bathroom. Highly recommended!

perfect partners
Organic Rose Body Milk, €15.50
Organic Wild Rose Eau De Toilette, €36
Organic Rose Soap, €5.90
Organic Rose Hand Cream, €6
Organic Rose Floral Water, from €7
Organic Rose Micellar Water, from €14.90
Organic Rose Cleansing Milk, €14.90
Organic Rose Multi-Use Balm, €11
Organic Rose Lip Balm, €6.50
Organic Rose Limited Edition Extraordinary Water, €29
Organic Rose Milky Cleansing Oil, €20.90
Organic Rose Face Mask, €19.90
Delicate Roses Gift Set, €34

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Bioglan Beauty Collagen Gummies

RRP: £18.99

--What does the promo say?--
"A NEW and unique collagen formulation for the UK, offering superior absorption and four modes of delivery to suit different lifestyles and budgets. Harnessing the power of Type 1 marine sourced collagen, Bioglan Beauty Collagen is scientifically proven to have a superior absorption rate (up to 1.5 times more efficient) than bovine or porcine collagen - the types most commonly available in supplement form. Type 1 Marine collagen is the most abundant form of collagen found in the body and the bio identical type found naturally in hair, skin and nails. Sustainably produced, clinical studies have shown that Bioglan Beauty Collagen helps to reduce wrinkle depth and increase moisture levels for all skin types. This superior efficacy of this unique new Beauty Collagen supplement is due to the peptide molecules being smaller in size. It’s more bioavailable and absorbable as a result.
  • Fewer Wrinkles: Marine collagen rebuilds tissues to increase skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Reduced Signs of Ageing: Marine collagen is rich in antioxidants, which block free radicals and protect skin from oxidation and ageing.
  • Healthier Skin: Marine collagen has been scientifically proven to help increase skin moisture levels and help protect against the harmful effects of UV exposure and photo ageing.

Beauty Collagen is available as a tablet, powder, strawberry gummie and delicious flavoured effervescent. Each dose also contains:
  • Vitamin C: contributes to natural collagen formation and healthy skin function
  • Biotin and Selenium: for healthy nails and hair."
The gummies come in a see-through plastic bottle whose pink, blue and white label gives all information clearly and succinctly. The screw-top lid makes it practical for travel.

The bottle states that you can take 2-5 gummies a day. On the one hand, taking 2 a day makes the bottle last longer (it would equate to a month's supply at a cost of 63p a day). However, I chose to take the maximum of 5 a day, on the basis that this delivers 75% of your RDA (recommended daily allowance) of biotin and vitamin C, and 82% of your RDA of selenium, even though this would mean the bottle would only last me 12 days. Taking the gummies itself is easy; you just chew them like sweets. (Beware: these are not vegetarian, as they contain bovine gelatin.)

The gummies are pink (without being lurid) and strawberry-shaped. No visible residue is left on the fingers or in the mouth.

--Scent and taste--
Perhaps very mildly fishy on the nose thanks to the marine collagen, but not enough to be offputting. The flavour is sweet and pleasant; taking these is no hardship.

--Texture and consistency--
These are chewy without being sticky; like wine gums, really.

This product promises to improve your hair, skin and nails, and long-term, to reduce and prevent the visible signs of ageing. Of course you would have to take this for far longer than the 12-30-day supply allotted to me in order to see the effects ageing-wise - and, ironically, the only way to know if anti-ageing products work is if nothing actually happens. (I write about this extensively here. In a post I wrote nearly 10 years ago. Erm...yikes?)
I would consider improvements to my skin and hair to be minor, but present: acne seemed mildly lessened and hair seems to be lustrous and strong (despite my 8-week-old son yanking on it). I'm quite grateful to have had this supplement on hand in my post-partum days given that recovery from pregnancy can see hair thinning and even falling out. However, the most significant improvement to my mind has been in my nails. They are usually very weak and split/break easily. But even in the 12 short days in which I have been taking this supplement, they seem to be significantly stronger (which is great, as I would always like to grow them!). 

--Value for money--
I was sent my gummies for free, but would actually keep buying for the nails reason alone - and if it happens to have any other benefits, then so much the better!
The question is which product in the range offers the best value, as £18.99 every 2 weeks (at a consumption rate of 5 gummies a day, costing £1.58 per day) might seem a bit steep. Of course, I could make one bottle last a month, but then I don't know if I might see the same effects or not.
So time for a bit of cogitating.
The Bioglan Beauty Collagen tablets cost £22.99 for 90 pills - but this is actually only 30 days' supply, as you take 3 a day. So this is 76p a day - more expensive than a 30-day supply of gummies (which, as I noted above, is 63p a day).
The effervescent tablets cost £8.99 for 20 (which equates to 10 days' supply, as you take 2 a day); this would come to 89p per day for 30 days' worth.
The powder is even more expensive: at £29.99 for 151g, this will set you back 99p a day for a month's supply.

The gummies are pleasant to take, and also the cheapest based on a 30-day supply whereby you take 2 gummies per day. If I wished to continue my 5-a-day rate, though, I would consider taking the tablets or effervescent tablets instead, as these would possibly be cheaper alternatives (all contain around the same levels of RDA on a 30-day basis, for what it's worth). People choose different formats for different reasons, of course, such as inability to swallow tablets, that may be more vital than price.
But the upshot of all this maths is that I would clearly very seriously consider continuing to take these on my own dollar (or euro...basically nearly all currencies are more stable than the £ right now!), as they are very effective, and pleasant to take too. Goal.

perfect partners
Bioglan Beauty Collagen tablets, £22.99 
Bioglan Beauty Collagen effervescent tablets, £8.99
Bioglan Beauty Collagen powder, £29.99

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Ellis Faas Lights

RRP: €32

--What does the promo say?--

"Ellis Lights are much more than just highlighters. Although liquid, they dry upon application. Lights have a wonderfully smooth finish, so you won't feel any stickiness and you'll avoid those pesky eyelid creases. To create the illusion of metallic eyes, both as a fully coloured eyelid, or used topically. In combination with Creamy Eyes, the Lights give infinite possibilities to play with shadow and light – which is exactly what applying makeup is all about."


Ellis Faas continues to provide a modern and innovative pen-style applicator made of high-shine metal. Just twist the end of the pen to make the eyeshadow appear in the brush.


The Ellis Faas website advises: "Use the brush to paint on the Light over any ELLIS FAAS eye shadow, even though it can also be used on its own. For the strongest effect of metallic intensity, let the Light dry where you have painted it on the eyelid. For a more subtle effect, dab it with your finger before the Light has dried completely." These methods prove easy, fun and versatile in all their incarnations.
Shade E306, which I was kindly sent by Ellis Faas' PR, is a gorgeous subtle shimmery beige that's a lighter shade of gold, perfect for those hoping to strike a classy note this party season. Needless to say, I now want to try *all* the others, from the unusual Holographic Bordeaux to the elegant Antique Silver. Wears well alone or combined with Ellis Faas' other eyeshadow ranges.
The liquid shadow dries powder-light, with no grittiness.
Don't worry about your Christmas or New Year's party: this will see you through the night and into the morning with not a crease in sight.
--Value for money--
Would make a stunning gift for others or yourself - anyone who loves a touch of sparkle will love this, and a little goes a long way, thoroughly justifying the price tag.

perfect partners
Glazed Lips, €27
Creamy Eyes, €28

Thursday, 13 December 2018

How ethical is your beauty routine?

I recently did this quiz online, hosted by webzine Stylist. It asked about the ethics of my beauty routine, ranging from packaging to ingredients and stopping at a whole host of other topics along the way. I didn't get a very high score - and to be honest, I'm not surprised. Here's why:

Q1: How important is packaging when it comes to beauty products?
I'm not as conscientious about this as I should be, in truth - and I have no excuse. I enjoy brands such as Lush, which is a famous forerunner in terms of providing packaging-free and sustainably- and recyclably-packaged products, as well as offering initiatives to its customers that encourage this (if you bring in 5 empty pots, for example, they recycle them for you, and give you a free face mask to boot). I also try to use bar soap rather than the liquid kind that comes in pumps. It's true that some packaging-free products, or products that come in more sustainable forms, such as tins, are not always that practical, so I tend to steer away from them for this reason. However, I tend to be more driven by the product itself. Nevertheless, I definitely could be more ethical in the beauty product choices I make when it comes to packaging. The trouble is, most brands are not - which can make it difficult to avoid. This still isn't an excuse, though, as I already do a lot of my shopping online, which makes it easier to find ethical brands, such as SW Basics (with their glass bottles), Gallinée (with its paper wrapping), and Organic Essence (with its plastic-free deodorants). If you're more of a high-street shopper, you can return empty Guerlain products to John Lewis for recycling (and a discount on more Guerlain), purchase Neal's Yard products from their boutiques (which are housed in glass bottles), buy from L'Occitane (which emphasises refills and recyclable pouches), or use Beauty Kitchen's fully compostable wet wipes (which you can buy from Holland and Barrett). Yes To's wipes (which you can buy from Boots) also are completely biodegradable. Furthermore, plenty of makeup brands are packaging their products in bamboo and metal. So could I do better? For sure.

Q2: Do you look for ingredients that are responsibly sourced?
Truthfully, no. It's hardly ever a consideration and just comes down to a lack of effort on my part. FOR SHAME.

Q3: Is animal testing something you consider?
This was the most ridiculous question in the quiz by a country mile. Firstly, according to Cruelty Free International, "From 11 March 2009, the EU banned the testing, within the EU, of cosmetic ingredients – irrespective of whether there were non-animal alternatives. It had already banned the testing in the EU of cosmetic products. The bans are known as ‘the testing bans’. From 11 March 2013, the EU completed the ban on the sale of cosmetics animal-tested after that date anywhere in the world. The ban applies to both cosmetics products and ingredients, again irrespective of whether there are alternatives. It is known as the ‘marketing ban’."
For now, Britain is still in the EU, so this still applies. However, what about Brexit, I hear you ask?
Fret not. According to Speaking of Research, "The UK has some of the strictest animal research regulations in the world, guided by the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act, 1986 (ASPA)[...]ASPA says that animal procedures can only:
  • take place in research institutes or companies which have appropriate animal accommodation and veterinary facilities, and have been granted an establishment licence
  • be part of an approved research or testing programme which has been given a project licence
  • be carried out by people with sufficient training, skills and experience as shown in their personal licence (read more about getting a personal licence). Licences are only granted if:
    • the research cannot be done using non-animal methods
    • the minimum number of animals will be used
    • dogs, cats or primates are only used when other species are not suitable
    • any discomfort or suffering is kept to a minimum by appropriate use of anaesthetics or pain killer
    • the potential results are important enough to justify the use of animals (the harm-benefit analysis)
    • researchers and technicians conducting procedures have the necessary training, skills and experience
    • research premises have the necessary facilities to look after the animals properly (as laid down in a Home Office Code of Practice)."
    So one could hope that at least after Brexit the quality and ethical rigour of products made and sold in Britain might still be protected - although of course there are no guarantees.
So, no, this is certainly "more of an afterthought" or "something I forget to check" according to the quiz's possible responses. The point is, you don't have to think about it. The law has already thought about it for you. But most UK consumers still don't know this.
"Always [looking] for the Leaping Bunny logo" would be equally silly. Using and licensing the Leaping Bunny logo (even if certification is free) attracts a cost and many smaller brands simply can't afford it. Not having the logo therefore doesn't mean that a brand fails to meet Leaping Bunny criteria for ethical standards.

Q4: How natural are your beauty products?
I use the full range. Some pure unadulterated, others bulked by artificial agents. To my mind it would be foolish to rely on an over-simplistic 'natural = good, artificial = bad" dichotomy. I talk about this at length here.

Q5: What do you do with your products when you've used them up?
This is dependent on your answer to Q1. Naturally, if you've already chosen a brand with reusable or recyclable packaging, it's far easier to pick an ethical answer to this question.

Q6: How important is it for your beauty brands to have a cause?
Plenty of beauty brands - Lush, for one - have actually been criticised for "having a cause", so it seems they can't win! For me, it depends if having ethical ingredients/packaging counts as a cause *in itself*, or if this question means something different. So the wording and definition could be clearer. For many - perhaps including myself - if the brand *does* have ethical ingredients/packaging, does anything else matter? Is, say, a charity donation essential, nice to have, or just posturing and superfluous? For me, product quality will always be paramount.

So while I feel that my quiz answers are to a degree justifiable, they also illuminate areas where I could generally be more responsible. Probably true of most of us!

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Ellis Faas Glow Down

RRP: €20
# of shades available: 3

--What does the promo say?--
"An invisible mattifier that sets makeup with a porcelain matte finish, enhancing any complexion with a natural appearance and revealing smooth skin. ELLIS FAAS Glow Down is non-powdery and transparent while feeling soft to the touch, with a veil of natural-looking mattifying effect. NOTE: this is a refill to fit into the cap of the Ellis Holder. ACTIVE INGREDIENTS - Vitamin E, amino acids, omega-3 oils, rapeseed oil, ginger root, galangal plus a Antipollution Green Complex. Use the velvety side of the revolutionary, double-sided powder puff to dust the face. Recommended for each skin type, age or style.
Vegan. No parabens. No scent. No animal testing."
The Glow Down face powder comes in a standard metal pan, with a circular white sponge for application. No protective lid or plastic film is supplied beyond the cardboard nude-coloured box it comes in, so the Case (see below) is a recommended add-on.
Using the sponge (or a brush if you prefer), pat over the skin after the use of foundation, concealer, and any primers. Standard.
I'm lucky that the Fair shade matches my skin tone perfectly; however, with only 3 shades available, others might not be so fortunate. Provides a perfect finish.
Nothing discernible.
--Texture and consistency--
Disperses evenly on the skin without being too 'powdery' in the pan: zero wastage, so great for travel.
--Effects on the skin--
As promised, delivers a matte effect, and helps to cover imperfections while appearing smooth and natural. Over time, one would also expect the ingredients to have positive effects on skin conditions such as acne, as well as having general anti-ageing effects.
--Value for money--
A high-quality product which does what it says on the tin, and perfect for travel too. Mine was sent for free by Ellis Faas' PR (thanks guys!) but I would easily spend my own dosh on this.
perfect partners
Skin Veil, €65
Concealer, €29
Case, €10

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Cindy Joseph BOOM SCRUB

RRP: $45

--What does the promo say?—
“BOOM SCRUB is a simple and effective deep pore cleanser and light exfoliant that is safe to use every day. With a quick five-minute mask application, this scrub gently strips away the dull, lifeless skin from your face and reaches down deep to release all excess oil, dirt and make-up from your pores, leaving your skin simply radiant. Each ingredient in our new scrub has been carefully formulated to our highest standards, sustainably sourced and chemical free. While other scrubs use crushed sugar or bran that can led to micro-tears in your skin, BOOM SCRUB features small round oak kernels that gently roll across your face. With no harsh peeling abrasion or chemicals, BOOM SCRUB will give you vibrant, healthy skin every day.”

As with all BOOM products, presentation is minimalist and clean-looking with white being the  prominent colour. BOOM SCRUB comes in the same type of bottle as BOOM CLEAN, with a lid that flips up to dispense the product through a small nozzle. The BOOM logo on the label has been altered to a sandy colour to differentiate it from BOOM CLEAN. The bottle is opaque so you cannot see how much is left whilst using it, although the decreasing weight of the bottle gives you a fairly good idea. I have never had reason to criticise BOOM packaging in the past but I’m afraid that I would have preferred the SCRUB in a tub (as for BOOM COTTON, BOOM SILK…) rather than the squeezy bottle, as I find the product extremely difficult to extract. The bottle won’t stand upside down on its top (so that gravity might help this thicker product descend) and you have to squeeze really hard to get the product out through the small nozzle. Cutting the bottle in half towards what I think might be the end of the product will definitely be necessary in order to avoid severe wastage. As the plastic bottle is considerably harder than the tubes normally used for this type of product, I hope I don’t stab myself with the scissors in the process! Please can we have this in a tub, BOOM?

Boom scrub can be used over the basin or in the shower. It should be applied generously to a clean and moisturised face. Allow the scrub mask to penetrate your skin for five minutes for a deep pore cleansing and light exfoliation. Rinse thoroughly with water.

BOOM SCRUB is a light sand colour and is thick and opaque with small granules of oak kernels evenly distributed throughout.

BOOM SCRUB smells slightly lemony. The scent is enough to make you feel refreshed without being invasive.

--Texture and consistency--
A thickish paste with tiny pieces of oak kernels that provide a delicate and gentle exfoliation.

--Effects on the skin—
Only a small amount is required to scrub the whole face. The scrub mask spreads easily over the face. It rinses off easily leaving skin feeling fresh, deep-cleansed and silky to touch.

--Value for money--
I was given this product free to trial for Bianca’s Beauty Blog (thank you, BOOM!). At $32 for 4oz, this may seem an expensive product but as so little is used it lasts ages. I am finding that the combination of BOOM products on my skin has definitely improved the texture and quality of my skin tone so I would purchase this for myself. With the gradual addition of its new products, BOOM is now providing for nearly all your make-up and cleansing/moisturising needs. Am definitely a BOOM convert, even though shipping from America needs to be added to the cost; sometimes it is worth placing a bulk order with other BOOM products to increase value for money. The international flat rate shipping charge costs $30 and it takes between 7 – 15 working days to arrive. Be sure to
select this flat shipping rate option, or you may be faced with additional customs charges when your package arrives. 

perfect partners
BOOMSTICK GLO, from $27 (or as part of the TRIO for $76, saving 6%)
BOOMSTICK COLOR, from $27 (or as part of the TRIO for $76, saving 6%)
BOOMSTICK GLIMMER, from $27 (or as part of the TRIO for $76, saving 6%)
BOOM SILK all-over face and body moisturizer, from $27
BOOM COTTON shine control moisturizer, from $32
BOOM MASK rejuvenating, cleansing and moisturizing mask, from $42
BOOM NECTAR skin serum, $54
BOOM CLEAN, from $32

by Sarah Cross

Friday, 26 October 2018

Post-Stoptober beauty

For those who are valiantly slogging their way to the end of Stoptober, or Sober for October - well done!

Afterwards is arguably most important, though. Stoptober is not meant to be a virtue-signalling month where you quit the cigs or booze for 30 days and then return to your old ways. The question is how to sustain it.

This should be a holistic approach that involves mind, habits, and body.

If you have given up alcohol this month, then this probably involves having quite a few drink-free days a week, and/or alternating alcoholic with non-alcoholic drinks when out, in a bid to reduce your overall consumption. For ex-smokers, it might involve having something to hold or fiddle with when you would normally smoke, or taking up a new hobby that will engage your hands. For both groups, it may involve reconsidering how much time you spend with certain friends, changing your route home from work, or finding coping strategies for stressful situations that would normally send you reaching for a corkscrew or lighter.

The power of mindfulness - extending to techniques such as hypnotherapy - is also surprising for its capacity to calm and rewire your mindset. This is easy and quick to do, and often free. Having prepared for birth using the iHypnobirth app, and used the Surf City Sleep Well app to improve sleep quality, I have seen noticeable results in terms of feeling calm, relaxed and prepared, as well as being able to develop clear strategies to help me fall and stay asleep more consistently. As you can imagine, there are plenty of apps to help you quit smoking or eat mindfully.

Wellness is just one part of health and beauty. Some people also like to continue the good work they have started in Stoptober using commercial products - such as whitening toothpaste to improve nicotine-stained teeth, or face creams containing vitamin C and antioxidants to boost skin quality (sagging and lines are just some results of smoking). You could also consider nail kits and nail whiteners to help reduce staining.

The effects of alcohol consumption (and, let's be honest, most Brits drink unhealthy amounts, even if this falls within social norms) are perhaps not as immediately or obviously visible physically, but they are there. Rosacea, for example, can be linked to alcohol consumption, as can obesity.

As a result, we should remember that beauty also starts from within. Consider drinking more water (alcohol dehydrates the skin), improving your diet and exercise plan (alcohol is just empty calories, after all), or even taking supplements to help detoxify (from a reliable retailer, of course), as alcohol deprives the skin of vital vitamins and nutrients. Some of the products linked to above can also help with this.

None of this is said to be preachy. None of us are perfect. And I know it isn't always that simple. I've tried every acne-busting product under the sun (well, nearly), been a clothing size 10 to 14, consume minimum dairy and have even given vegetarianism a go, but that hasn't stopped my face and body being plagued by spots from the age of 10. I'm now 32. (Thanks, PCOS!) The only thing that has improved my skin even remotely has been pregnancy! But we all have to do what we can. So if you've started with Stoptober - why not keep up your good work?

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Cindy Joseph BOOM Clean

RRP: from $32

--What does the promo say?—
“Boom CLEAN is made with a gentle cleaning agent designed for sensitive skin. Safe for everyday use on all skin types.”
Enjoy beautifully refreshed skin with a daily cleanser made from the purest ingredients. Carefully formulated to our high standards, Boom Clean gently removes dirt, makeup, and pollutants without stripping away nutrients or moisture.
Boom Clean is Safe, Boom Clean is Pure
Our carefully blended formula is good for the skin as well as body and gentle enough for everyday use. Made only with hand-selected ingredients that meet our high standards. No soaps, perfumes or impurities—just clean.”

As with all BOOM products, presentation is minimalist.  BOOM CLEAN is sold in a white bottle with a lid that flips up to dispense the product through a small nozzle.  The BOOM logo on the label has been altered to blue so that it stands out from the other products as a cleanser. The bottle is opaque so you cannot see how much is left whilst using it, although the decreasing weight of the bottle gives you a fairly good idea.

Instructions for application are as follows:
Apply to wet skin and massage over the entire area with fingers. Use washcloth if desired. Safe to use on eyes. Rinse off thoroughly with water.  Moisturise with Boom Silk, Boom Cotton, or Boomstick Glo.

BOOM CLEAN is a clear, gel-like substance.

Despite the coconut-oil derived products listed, BOOM CLEAN actually smells more of fresh lemons - which likely comes from the grapefruit peel oil that the product contains.

--Texture and consistency--
A viscous substance with a uniform consistency that feels silky on application. 
Only a small amount is required to cleanse the whole face.  It gently foams as you massage it in.

--Effects on the skin—
Skin feels fresh and deep-cleansed after rinsing. If you do not wear a lot of make-up (for example, if you are only wearing the BOOMSTICK TRIO), then this cleanser will remove it.  It will even remove a fair amount of mascara…although it is not meant for this purpose.  An eye-make-up remover is needed to clear lashes of all traces of mascara. It should be noted that if you wear more heavy-duty make-up products, then you will need to remove them properly before using BOOM CLEAN to benefit from the deep cleansing.
--Value for money--
I was given this product free to trial for Bianca’s Beauty Blog (thank you, BOOM!). At $32 for 4oz, this may seem an expensive product but as so little is used it lasts ages.  I am finding that the combination of BOOM products on my skin has definitely improved the texture and quality of my skin tone so I would purchase this for myself - even with the shipping costs included. S
ometimes it is worth placing a bulk order with other BOOM products to increase value for money. International flat rate shipping charge costs $30, and it takes between 7 – 15 working days to arrive (though some shipments have taken as little as 5 days to arrive in mainland Europe). Be sure to select this flat shipping rate option, or you may be faced with additional customs charges when your package arrives.  

perfect partners

BOOM SILK all-over face and body moisturizer (from $27)
BOOM COTTON shine control moisturizer (from $32)
BOOM MASK rejuvenating, cleansing and moisturizing mask (from $42)
BOOM NECTAR skin serum (from $54)

reviewed by Sarah Cross

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Joy by Dior Eau de Parfum

RRP: from £54 for 30ml

--What does the promo say?--
"The new JOY by Dior fragrance is immediate, clear and generous. Joy is finally captured in a scent, marked by both enveloping softness and energy. An ode to pleasure and life. An Eau de Parfum illuminated by the vibrant smile of flowers and citrus fruits, the smooth caress of woods and the serenity of musks. A fragrance with a thousand nuances and facets, yet crystal-clear. "JOY by Dior expresses this remarkable feeling of joy by offering an olfactive interpretation of light. This perfume resembles certain pointillist paintings that are rich with a precise, yet not too obvious, technique. It is constructed with multiple nuances, a myriad of facets that lead to an expression that is clear and self-evident." (François Demachy, Dior Perfumer-Creator)
Zested Bergamot and Mandarin explode in unison with flowers. Grasse Rose, in both Essence and Absolute form, as well as heady Jasmine, blend with these delectable fruits in a vibrant smile. Warm and creamy Sandalwood embraces us in softness. An intimate signature, the clear and powdery whisper of musks creates a tender and sensual skin-on-skin effect. Its bottle is both luminous and precious. Its femininity shines through in the brilliant silver and radiant pink of this instantly attractive juice. A bright shining silver thread wraps around the lid, like a light jewel delicately engraved with its name, which curls around in a perfect O."

The bottle is ergonomically pleasing and elegant, and the silver touches prove sophisticated and yet modern in their femininity. The spray mechanism is decisive without being wasteful and I always enjoy a completely see-through bottle (so you can always see how much is left while being able to enjoy the fragrance's colour) - though naturally this means you have to keep it away from direct sunlight.

The Dior website recommends preceding application with the Dior body milk before spritzing the EDP onto pulse points (on wrists and neck, and behind ears). Even if you only have the fragrance itself, though, this makes for an easy addition to your morning routine and a prolonged enjoyment of the scent.

The rose-coloured liquid is perfectly evocative of the roses from Grasse that are used in the fragrance, while remaining invisible when sprayed onto skin.

Some will be pleased to know that the rose element is not dominant; indeed, it is one that can be risky to use due to its tendency to be overpowering. It's therefore present as an accentuation rather than the main event. The woodier aspects - i.e., the jasmine and sandalwood - are the most noticeable, while being tempered by the slightly lighter bergamot (again, a scent that tends to divide the crowd). It's a well-balanced fragrance that unfortunately was too heavy, maybe even taking a slightly powdery turn, for my particular taste - I was disappointed to find the mandarin virtually undetectable as I prefer perfumes with sparklier top notes. Nevertheless, a grownup and sophisticated effect is created.

The headier components of this fragrance are what enable it to deliver in terms of staying power; the fragrance settles down nicely so that you shouldn't have to reapply during the day.

--Value for money--
This has been one of Dior's biggest fragrance launches and I had been looking forward to trying it. If you enjoy the sandalwood and jasmine base notes then this is definitely the perfume for you; the ingredients used are clearly of high quality and despite the slightly eye-watering price tag you can be confident that a bottle will last you a while. Sadly, it's not for me.
perfect partner
Joy by Dior Moisturizing Body Lotion, £42.50 for 200ml

Monday, 3 September 2018

Gatineau Purifying Primrose Gel Cleanser

RRP: from £21

--What does the promo say?--
"A must-have product for oily skins, our Purifying Primrose Gel Cleanser removes all traces of make-up and impurities whilst normalising surface oils. Rich in primrose extracts, this foaming gel unclogs and tightens pores with a non-drying formula. Perfect for those prone to breakouts and blackheads, this conditioning cleanser refines the complexion leaving your skin perfectly clear and shine-free. Suitable for all ages, particularly those with oily/combination skin types."

The see-through bottle means you can always see how much is left and the flip-top lid is practical too. The logo is minimalist and sophisticated.

The Gatineau website says you need to "lather a small amount between hands before applying to the face and neck in circular motions, avoiding the eye area. Rinse off with cool water in the morning and warm water in the evening." I actually did this twice to ensure that not only was all makeup removed but my skin cleaned too. The double-cleanse sounds wasteful but a little goes a long way - so you're not sloshing loads of product around.

The gel cleanser is a pleasing coral colour in the bottle, while leaving no visible residue on the skin.

A largely scentless experience, which is great for those who value subtlety in their products and don't want something overly perfumed.

--Texture and consistency--
A really smooth gel which lathers sufficiently to remove makeup as well as daily grease and grime.

--Effects on the skin--
As mentioned above, a double cleanse will ensure that all makeup is removed as well as cleaning the skin. I was really impressed that it actually did remove makeup and did not feel harsh and abrasive on the skin. Skin also felt and looked calm and mattified. It's also gentle enough to remove eye makeup without stinging the delicate eye area, while still removing even tough eyeshadow and mascara in one go.

--Value for money--
I actually bought mine as part of a gift set, which gave me 4 products for £28 (cleanser, toner, exfoliator and flannel). I'd always recommend going this route wherever possible as it's a great way to try out products before committing to buying them individually. Unfortunately the set I bought is no longer available, so where this fails, I'd always recommend shopping around - and while I would actually pay the RRP for this cleanser, as it's so gentle but effective, I also do love a good bargain, and have found this cleanser for £9.95 via FragranceDirect, which is an absolute steal. Shame the primrose toner no longer exists - but Gatineau's wide range means there's something for everyone, and the Gentle Silk Toner I recommend below should suit oily, sensitive 
and combination skin types. 

perfect partner
Gentle Silk Toner, £21
Sérenité Multi Protective Cream, £65