Sunday, 14 July 2019

FutureYou Vitamin Supplements

Products tested: Co-Enzyme Q10+; Vitamin B Complex+; Vitamin D+; Vitamin K2+; Cranberry+
RRP: from £9 for 28 tablets (1 month's supply)

--What does the promo say?--
"Our range of natural health supplements are scientifically proven to deliver more of what your body needs.  We carry out research to create the highest quality supplements with proven absorption and clinical benefit.
The Company has close ties with Cambridge University and Addenbrooke's Hospital (Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust).

FutureYou's product development is supported by a high-profile medical board including, among others, Professor Alf Lindberg, former head of R&D at Wyeth and Aventis and former member of the Nobel Committee and Secretary of the Medical Prize; Dr Nicholas Shenker, a consultant rheumatologist and expert in chronic pain syndromes at Addenbrooke's Hospital; Mr Peter Kirkpatrick BSc MBCHB MSc FRCS, a leading Cambridge University vascular neurosurgeon and Michael Heinrich, Head of University College London's centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy."

Individual product descriptions can be read at .

All of the vitamins come in compact boxes containing 28 tablets each, in standard foil and plastic casings, making them practical for travel. The tablets are each individually labelled with days of the week on the foil that houses them, making you more likely to remember to take them each day. The images on the boxes clearly illustrate the capsules' content and/or their benefits, using relaxing ideas that evoke both relaxation and good health.

--Usage instructions--
Take one pill per day in all cases.

The fact of the pills coming in different colours is something that can be useful if you are taking more than one type (as you can see from the above, I was taking 5 during my one-month trial, thanks to the kindness of FutureYou's PR department). However, some might find the Day-Glo colours a bit disturbing in some cases: the Vitamin B Complex+, for example, is bright blue. However, they leave no visible residue in the mouth.

--Scent and taste--
None detectable.

--Texture and consistency--
Only mildly plasticky on the tongue - but as you swallow them whole with water, this metric is less relevant.

Addressing each of the supplements in turn:
  • The Co-Enzyme Q10+ has anti-ageing benefits, acting as a strong antioxidant. Your ability to produce this enzyme decreases with age - so to fight the free radicals that cause visible signs of ageing, this is a pretty good one to be putting into your body. Long-term, Q10 (also known as ubiquinone) has also been proved to combat Parkinson's disease, certain forms of cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure, leading to health as well as beauty benefits. The paradox of anti-ageing products is that if they're working, then nothing should happen. However, I did receive one compliment on my skin while using this product, which is encouraging. The Vitamin K2+ is also important for anti-ageing.

  • As well as the anti-ageing benefits outlined above, the Cranberry+ capsules have naturally moisturising qualities (by boosting collagen production thanks to a perfect balance of fatty acids: omega 3, 6 and 9), as well as containing enzymes that control excess sebum production. The high levels of vitamins A and C can promote healthy hair, increasing lustrousness and growth. All this could explain why I also received a compliment on my hair during this trial, as well as noticing a visible clearing of my acne.
  • The Vitamin B Complex+ contains a range of B vitamins which bring a whole host of benefits, including those mentioned above. Vitamin B7, biotin, also strengthens hair and nails. I mainly noticed a strenghthening of the nails during the trial period, with them growing more quickly than usual and seeming less weak overall. B12 also helps with this. In addition, B-vitamins reduce skin redness, which is something that I noticed occurring during the trial.
  • Finally, while I was testing the capsules, I got about my third cold in 6 weeks. This I attribute to a perfect storm of going from being at home with my baby for 6 months to returning to work in a school environment (where approximately 1 million children have touched *everything* before you), undertaking a course of sleep restriction therapy, going on a calorie-restricted diet, and my little boy bringing home all kinds of awful from the crèche. So what impressed me was that I got over this third cold MUCH more quickly than the previous two. While this could be down to a number of factors, I also can't ignore that I was taking the Vitamin D+; vitamin D is well-known to help fight disease. It also repairs skin damage faster, and as I'm a person who bruises easily, and whose bruises usually take a long time to fade, I noticed, too, that one recent one cleared up much more quickly than usual.
--Value for money--
The one-time purchase prices are as follows:
Co-Enzyme Q10+, £12 (28 days' supply; 42p per day)
Cranberry+, £14 (56 days' supply; 25p per day)
Vitamin B Complex+, £9 (84 days' supply; 10p per day)
Vitamin D+, £12.50 (84 days' supply; 14p per day)
Vitamin K2+, £19 (28 days' supply; 67p per day)

As you can see, prices vary wildly. Value-wise, I'd be inclined to go for the K2+ myself if purchasing these again with my own money, as it covers many of the same benefits as the Co-Enzyme Q10+ and the Cranberry+ , as well as providing a host of health advantages, for less money overall. I would also consider the B and D packages at times where I noticed weakness that I needed to repair quickly, or times where I thought I might be more vulnerable (such as going into winter).
However, there are ways to save on whichever FutureYou vitamins interest you, either via their Subscribe & Save method, which gives you a discount for signing up for regular deliveries long-term, or by buying one of their bundles. (The Women's Health bundle, for example, costs £44 on a one-time basis and £35 on the subscribe & save package, whereas buying all of the supplements it contains individually would cost you a total of £62.50.) What I would really love to see is a beauty or anti-ageing bundle that would include maximum value for all the vitamins I trialled. FutureYou are doing great work producing high-quality supplements that I would definitely recommend.

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Bioglan Beauty Collagen Effervescent Tablets

RRP: £8.99 for 20 tablets (10 days' supply)

--What does the promo say?--
"Bioglan Beauty Collagen Effervescent is specially formulated with readily absorbed hydrolysed Marine Collagen plus carefully selected vitamins and minerals to help support the maintenance of healthy looking hair, skin & nails. Each effervescent provides 500mg of Marine Collagen in a delicious berry drink. Just add 1 tablet to a glass of water or your water bottle to provide a good top up of Collagen levels. Bioglan uses Type I Collagen, which is the most abundant form of Collagen found in the body and the type found in hair, skin and nails. Biotin & Selenium contribute to the maintenance of normal hair. Vitamin C contributes to normal Collagen formation for the normal function of skin. Selenium contributes to the maintenance of normal nails."

The hot pink and navy blue combination against the white background is really eye-catching; the lid also opens easily when you pull, but closes securely when needed. Long-term, though, I'd like to see the company moving away from plastic packaging, for all the obvious environmental reasons.

Dissolve 2 tablets per day in cold water, and drink. This is easy to do. I have one with breakfast and another as a refreshing afternoon cooler (perfect for the current hot weather!).

The tablets are pink and create a pleasing pink fizzy drink that leaves no visible residue on teeth etc.

As promised, the berry flavour of the tablets is really very pleasant, making taking these no hardship.

--Texture and consistency--
The tablets are a little powdery but fizz away completely in the water to create a carbonated-style drink.

This product promises to improve hair, skin and nails. I definitely got a compliment about the condition of my skin while taking these (and while not changing anything else) - so I'd definitely say it works on this front, and that was while taking only one tablet per day. So taking the recommended 2 tablets per day would show even more dramatic results. When I trialled the gummies from the same range, by comparison, I took the maximum dose and saw significant strengthening of my nails during that time. I cannot say I've seen drastic results regarding my hair - but then again, as mentioned, I wasn't taking the maximum dose, so this is hardly a fair assessment. Again, in my review of the gummies, a greater effect was seen when using the product exactly as recommended.

--Value for money--
Much of what I wrote on the review of the gummies remains valid here. Happily, the effervescent tablets are slightly better value for money, at 89p per day when taking the maximum dose (compared to a staggering £1.58 per day for the maximum dose of the gummies). So if I was going to continue, it would likely be with the effervescent tablets: they are easy and pleasant to take, and produce clear results. Would recommend.

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

Friday, 31 May 2019

Skin Doctors Exfoliating Crystals

RRP: £18.99/100ml

--What does the promo say?--

"Skin Doctors present the Exfoliating Crystals; a refining scrub that utilises microencapsulated beads to deliver a powerful exfoliating action, without scratching or damaging skin. Working to buff away dead and dull skin cells, the advanced crystals minimise the appearance of visible pores, wrinkles, pigmentation and uneven skin tone, revealing brighter, smoother results.
Infused with Melaleuca Alternifolia (Australian Tea Tree Oil), known for its anti-bacterial properties, its formula helps treat infections, acne and blemishes so you can experience visibly improved, refreshed and clearer skin with every use. Skin is left radiant and velvety soft. Suitable for use on the face and body."
The monochrome scheme, with a discreet band of silver above the lid, is both sophisticated and unisex. The flip-top lid is practical and easy to use. However, for obvious environmental reasons, it would be appreciated to see the brand moving away from plastic packaging in the future.
Cleanse the face thoroughly and pat dry before rubbing a small amount of the product over the skin. Dust off the crystals with a dry face cloth. Rinse the area thoroughly and then pat dry again. Use 1-2 times a week. All very straightforward.
A white paste/lotion with barely detectable white granular particles. It is emphasised on the Skin Doctors website that these are *not* microbeads (without telling us what they in fact *are*).
The tea tree oil is subtly detectable.
--Texture and consistency--
Satisfyingly scrubby while still feeling moisturising.
--Effects on the skin--
Mattifying and calming in the immediate instance, while improving complexion long term and giving a brightening effect.
--Value for money--
At £18.99 a pop this is in line with other premium brands such as Ren, Clarins, Clinique and Kiehls, and quality-wise compares well with them, producing clear results. Would recommend.

perfect partners
pH Balancing Cleanser, £12.99
Gamma Hydroxy, £41.99

Monday, 29 April 2019

Poppy Sloane Tres Chic Mascara Reformulated

RRP: £15

--What does the promo say?--
"We have listened!  We have now made this more volumising, whilst retaining all the great features of the original formulation, and it is now vegan too.
This smudge proof mascara is fantastic for its waterproof, flake proof and smear proof qualities. Completely coating and tubing your lashes, this mascara is super stylish – there are no fibres as bamboo has been added to give extra volume and avoid a mess with the added bonus of being anti-microbial – good for eye health. It is easily removed with plenty of water and a little bit of friction. No special makeup removers are required and it’s best not to use makeup wipes or cotton wool/pads – just water and your fingers or a flannel.
  • Want to open up your eyes? Tres Chic mascara lengthens and volumises with a great curling and lifting effect with fantastic lash definition
  • This waterproof mascara is made entirely in the UK. It is not tested on animals and is now completely vegan 
  • The water resistant formula repels water, sweat and tears
  • Sensitive eyes? This mascara is hypoallergenic and free from parabens, palm oil, bismuth, lead, mercury and phthalates. As no harsh makeup removers are required it’s great if you have sensitive skin or eyes. It’s actually best not to even use makeup wipes or cotton wool/pads – just water and your fingers or a flannel. Perfect if you like swimming or wear contact lenses
  • The pigment that we use is based on an ingenious coating technology which feels unique. We offer an innovative formula based on selected raw materials which are especially suited for sensitive skin."
The look of this is really sleek and modern thanks to its black and silver colour scheme. However, I would perhaps prefer the tube to be made of bamboo so as to be more in keeping with modern sensitivities regarding the biodegradability of packaging - or, at least, to have more information about whether or not this tube is recyclable.

It's noted on the website that you can apply this product just like a normal mascara. They recommend building up layers quickly so that increased volume can be achieved before the mascara fully sets on your lashes. To avoid clumping, I usually apply one layer on the top lashes, then one layer on the bottom lashes, before going back to the top lashes and then finally repeating along the bottom - rather than repeatedly building up layers on one set of lashes before moving on.
It's also recommended that you don't use any primers or lotions before applying the mascara, as it needs a dry clean surface in order to properly set.

Increased length and volume is promised and delivered. The fact of it being available in black only suits me as my lashes are already very dark - but people with much paler lashes might wish for it to be available in lighter brown shades (which hopefully will be along in the near future).

--Texture and consistency--
I mentioned earlier about avoiding clumps - but the application technique described above is something I do as a general rule, with all brands of mascara. It may not be strictly necessary with this one as the formulation is extremely smooth, making it easy to apply.

This mascara definitely delivers when it comes to its waterproof qualities. I used it while swimming and even rubbed my eyes, but it didn't come off - a sheer testament to its powers and highly impressive compared to many of the flakier, heavier waterproof mascaras on the market.

Again, as promised, this is easy to remove when desired, according to your chosen method, or even just with slight pressure and normal water.

--Value for money--
This brand compares favourably to other high-end favourites in this price bracket, including butter LONDON and Dr Hauschka. The thought put into the ethics and quality of the product is obvious and it does exactly what it promises, performing well in the pool. Would definitely recommend.

perfect partner
Bamboo Cleansing Cloth, £5

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Neurocosmetics: the future of skincare?

With the rising trends of veganism and plastic reduction, UK-based luxury vegan skincare brand Vida For You looks like it could be a good shout. Made with sustainable, ethically-sourced, and cruelty-free ingredients (including no parabens and no gluten), it's focused on by-products of food production and inspired by the Mediterranean. The packaging is also eco-friendly, as it's fully recyclable and plastic-free. 

So far, so millennial.

But in a truly modern twist, Vida For You also claims to be part of the neurocosmetics revolution.

To a non-scientist like me (and I suspect many makeup fans), this can be tricky to get one's head around. So a little bit of Googlerummaging comes up with this:

Vida For You is of course not the only neurocosmetic range (although I suspect they might be among the first to also be vegan). AO Skincare makes clear links on their page between emotional stress and the effect of this on the skin - and how their neurocosmetic approach can "ensure skin stays healthy and youthful for longer." Taiva is also currently using patented neurocosmetic formulations such as Neuraguard and Neutrazen, which allegedly stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis, soothe irritated skin, and protect skin from UV light.

But the first mention I found of neurocosmetics comes to us all the way from 2013. The researchers - Morganti et al - emphasise the nano element of neurocosmetics - namely, their ability to penetrate multiple skin layers. They also provide handy background information, such as the basis of neurocosmetics not just in traditional Chinese medicine, but also in our nervous, immune, cutaneous and endocrine systems. Of course, our brain communicates with our skin, via the activity of various peptide-signals, in order to cause mitosis (cell generation) and apoptosis (cell degeneration). We've all heard of penta-peptides thanks to various skincare adverts, so this is all starting to sound familiar - and more than mere flimflammery. 

Nanoparticles of substances such as hyaluronic acid (yep, you've heard of that one too) present in neurocosmetics help to neutralise negative environmental signals (such as UVA/UVB). It appears that "brain and skin may be influenced by ingredients that activate many processes of cellular protection and regeneration, slowing down or stopping the premature cell apoptosis".

Two years after the appearance of this research, Gabrielle Moro and Pierre-Yves Morvan gave a webinar further linking the ageing of neurons to the ageing of the skin. Further to this, also in 2015, industry expert Belinda Carli commented on the increasing use of "feel good" chemicals that then "prolong cell life and/or regulate inflammatory responses" - promoting the idea of skin wellness, and tying in well to Vida For You's idea of enhancing the healthy appearance of the skin, while reducing fine lines and combating sensitive skin issues.

Vida For You's products claim to use ingredients that can stimulate the brain/skin signal exchange, which are also known as pattern-referred adaptogens. These adaptogens can affect the skin and respond to external stress and pressure by increasing internal protective forces, stimulating the immune system, and having a positive effect on the wellbeing and health of the user.

Founder Eddy Emilio said: “The mind-body connection is not a new philosophy and the relationship between emotions and skin reaction has been recognised for decades. The key to this exchange is neurotransmitters and the messages sent between the skin and the brain, so by activating or reducing this action our products are able to directly influence skin behaviour. Consumers will see dramatic differences in the overall wellness of their skin, including reduced sensitivities, wrinkle reduction and an overall rejuvenated glow, while bringing back their natural balance to help ensure skin stays healthy and younger for longer.”

In short, it sounds like this could be just what the current generation is looking for: ecological, ethical and effective skincare that meets individual needs, and all via veganism.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Lush Beak Street Shower Bomb

RRP: £2.75

--What does the promo say?--
"This luxurious Easter treat will sing a serenade to the senses thanks to its sweet and spicy scent. Take a sniff (and a selfie) before stepping into the shower and allowing this indulgent shower bomb to foam up in the palm of your hands. Sweep the custard-coloured foam all over your skin to lavish in the moreish fragrance of buttery popcorn while maize flour gently exfoliates. You’ll be in beak condition in no time."

In typical Lush style, this is minimal. Mine came in a brown paper bag.

--Usage instructions--
Rub over wet skin while showering to create a glorious foam!

This limited-edition shower bomb, made especially for Easter, is called Beak Street, thanks to being shaped and coloured like an Easter chick's beak. Its vibrant yellow-orange pyramid breaks down into a bright foam on contact with water. No visible residue is left on the skin.

While described as akin to popcorn in the promotional materials, I found that there was a citrus element too, which is more in keeping with the "sweet and spicy" description. I chose it because it seemed to have a lively and refreshing fragrance - perfect for waking you up in the morning or for that post-gym shower. I was not disappointed.

--Texture and consistency--
The foam is luxurious and plentiful, making for a real treat. However, it also has a gently exfoliating element thanks to the maize and flour starch that the shower bomb also contains.

--Effects on the skin--
Skin felt moisturised and exfoliated. I'd say that's a win.

--Value for money--
Your £2.75 gives you a generous shower's worth of foam. If you are careful (and have a tin in which to store the remains) you could be more conservative and make it last two showers. This makes it definitely a lot more expensive compared to a normal shower gel; we are definitely in treat territory here. However, it's cheaper than a bath bomb, and overall represents a smart move from Lush: in these times of increased environmental concern, it's worth promoting showers over baths, and proving that the former can be as luxurious an experience as the latter. As I love the scent, I'm hoping they will transfer it to other products available for longer-term purchase once Easter has passed - and in the meantime, I look forward to trying other shower bombs too.

perfect partners
Other shower bombs available (all at the same price): Karma, Sleepy, Strawberry Hill, Koyaanisqatsi, Not Sleepy
Shower Body Conditioners, from £8.50
Naked Shower Gels, £8.95
Shower Jellies, from £8.95
Shower Gels, from £5.95
Carrot Shower Oil, £4.95
Oaty Creamy Dreamy Shower Cream, £12.95

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!