Friday, 30 September 2011

Cosmetics & Beauty News (September 2011)

Navigations through scent
With unisex fragrances becoming ever popular, it is no surprise that Molton Brown has capitalised on this trend with its Navigations Through Scent collection, which consists of five fragrances that can be equally enjoyed by men and women. As the brand's debut in the arena of artisanal fine fragrance, it was launched at Harrods in August and is now available in Molton Brown stores nationwide. Taking the consumer on a worldwide journey through perfume's history and heritage, it starts with the floriental-spicy scent of IUNU, which uses Egyptian white jasmine to create a sense of elegant opulence. LIJIANG leads to China, its floral-musky scent evoking silk and tea thanks to its lead ingredient, osmanthus absolute. SINGOSARI takes consumers to Indonesia thanks to its aroma of spices, patchouli and wood. The fourth scent, APLUDRE, is based on juniper berry, conjuring up English lawns and gin and tonics. The collection is completed with a Canada-inspired perfume, ROGART, which juxtaposes fire and ice thanks to balsam and maple. Molton Brown's principal perfumer, Jennifer, personally travelled to all of the destinations in question over the course of one year to intensify the creative process. All of the fragrances are priced at £55 for 50ml.

All I want for Christmas is...
Yep, it's the C-word! Despite it only being September, retailers are rushing out their Christmas collections to ensnare the most organised shoppers. Rhodes To Heaven allows consumers to select individual holiday treats from their All In One range to add to a black and fuschia gift bag, and starting from just £12, this makes an affordable yet opulent gift made from natural ingredients. From anise extract (nature's version of Botox, don't you know), juniper berries and wild sea fennel, to maca root and New Zealand wool, each All In One product is a fusion of goodness. Also available is the Santa Baby Christmas Special for the littlest members of the family - the £20 gift set contains three products, including Top to Toe Shampoo (containing rose, camomile, orange and lavender essential oils).
Think Skin Love Skin has also launched its range of new Christmas gift products to get us through what can at times be a stressful season. Its organic Serenity & Tranquility Gift Sets are designed for sensitive skin, use Dead Sea Salt, comfrey and calendula, contain bath oil and body oil to protect from the harsh effects of winter, and are priced from £13.99. The Balm Balm Bath Oil Set is favoured by celebrities, including KT Tunstall, for its blend of essential oils to help you detox, indulge, recover, refresh and relax. At £24.99, it also contains lavender, tea tree, frankincense and lemongrass to soothe skin.
For the festive season, Jane Iredale has also released a new edition of the brand's best-selling lip product, chocoholicks. Four chocolate-flavoured mineral petroleum-free lip glosses - Chocolate and Blood Orange, Chocolate and Espresso, Chocolate Very Berry and Chocolate Chili Pepper - are presented in a "chocolate box" that includes a retractable lip brush. The glosses contain peppermint oil and natural flavourings for taste and aromatherapeutic benefits, and the whole set of four glosses retails for £24.95. Tis the season to be jolly!

Happy Halloween
Celebrate All Hallows' Eve (an event a little closer to home than the big C, I think we'll all agree) with special Halloween products by Philosophy. Exclusive to Selfridges in London and Birmingham are the crispy marshmallow bar and caramel apple shampoos, shower gels and bubble baths made by Philosophy. The multitasking, 3-in-1 product costs £18 for the duo of bottles - and all in a cute Trick or Treat bag. Also launching from Philosophy, exclusive to Boots from November, is their Fruit Collection of bath and shower gels (pomegranate, tangerine, lime or grapefruit; £14), and, nationwide, their Keep The Peace range for sensitive skin (out now; prices from £30).

Crabtree and Evelyn at the Hilton
Crabtree and Evelyn's already popular Citron bath and body care product line is now being introduced to travellers at all nine DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels across the UK, as well as in more than 200 additional hotels across Europe and North America. Featuring natural extracts of lemon, honey and coriander, as well as orchard fruits and herbs, the products are botanically based. Shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, facial soap and body soap bars will be provided to travellers - and customers can sleep easy, assured that the products are also free from phthalates and mineral oil. Furthermore, the product packaging is also recyclable and biodegradable, meaning that the luxury guest is also a green guest. For those not travelling, the products are available via (with the exception of Citron hair care products, which will be exclusive to the hotels until late 2011).

Top Tips For Girls
Ever wondered how to tackle a rogue eyebrow without losing half of it? is a website that allows women and girls to give and receive advice on all subjects, from how to get approved for a home loan to reducing unwanted hair. The four-year-old site, founded by the editor of Tatler, has a 30,000-strong community, so questions can be answered quickly. In addition, a Top Tips For Girls blog has now also been launched, featuring creative ideas from around the web.

Long live the metrosexual
So is your guy one of the men who will spend 5105 hours grooming during his lifetime? According to new research, the average British male spends an average of 18 minutes every day getting ready. The research, conducted by QVC to celebrate the launch of new grooming range HIM, reveals that 54% of British men admit that their partners are the main reason they make an effort with their appearance. Just over a quarter of men admit to competing with male friends about who is more immaculately spruced, and 23% voted David Beckham as the man they most aspire to look like. He was followed (in order) by Daniel Craig, Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Jude Law, Orlando Bloom, Will Young, Hugh Laurie, Jason Statham (qui?) and Robbie Williams. In addition, 45% of men say their biggest grooming problem is knowing how to shave properly, followed by hairstyling gripes, while 10% named dark circles as their greatest concern.

The Scent

To launch its first female fragrance, Bottega Veneta has created two films with the guidance of photographer and director Christian Weber (the second of these short films is above). Conjuring up leather and florals thanks to the magic of oak moss, bergamot, patchouli and jasmine, the collection for women comprises eau de parfum, eau de toilette, shower gel and body cream; prices start at £31.

Raise money with L'Occitane
Launching on October 12th are L'Occitane's Get On Board For Sight Limited Edition Soaps, which support ORBIS, an NGO committed to ending preventable blindness. Inspired by the ORBIS plane, also known as the Flying Hospital, these limited-edition charity soaps are crafted in the shape of a plane wearing glasses. Nourished with shea butter, they come in two varieties - floral and fruity pink, and verbena blue. 100% of the proceeds from sales will allow ORBIS to launch a large-scale project in Burkina Faso. At only £5 each (or £13 for the Honey Candle, which supports the same cause), what have you got to lose?

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Beauty Byte: The Big Suitcase

A beautiful woman has been shopping in Bicester Village. She finds too many beauty bargains, buys a lot, and ends up with a big suitcase packed with her goodies. The gag is when she tries to hail a taxi and takes this big suitcase with her. The taxi driver is not aware that a video is being shot while he tries to accommodate the lady's bag in his car. 

Ladies - it is a dream come true. You know you have had a good day shopping when you have to hide the bags from partners, flat mates, friends or family. Imagine a suitcase!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Beauty Byte: Ex-Smokers Are Unstoppable


The Ex-Smokers Are Unstoppable campaign aims to emphasize the life-changing benefits of giving up smoking. The campaign wants to encourage and assist people to quit, moving towards a smoke-free Europe. There are also more personal benefits to giving up smoking: not only having more of life to enjoy with loved ones, and more money in your pocket, but also better skin and teeth, and the ability to kiss goodbye to the constant smell of cigarettes on your hair and clothes.

Tobacco is the single largest cause of avoidable death in the EU. The Ex-Smokers Are Unstoppable campaign aims to emphasise the life-changing benefits of giving up smoking. The campaign wants to encourage and assist people to quit with the help of iCoach, a free online health coach, hoping to ensure that up-and-coming generations live long and healthy lives in a smoke-free Europe.

Ex-Smokers Are Unstoppable is a three-year awareness raising campaign promoted by the European Commission. The campaign provides smokers with motivation to quit and - very importantly - with practical assistance at The campaign highlights ex-smokers as inspiring individuals and role models who encourage current smokers to quit. The site is free to use, and more tha 30% of people who start the program quit smoking. It adapts to your needs, time and goals, and enables you to speak to people like you, meaning you get support from a dedicated community.

For more information on the campaign please visit:

Garnier Miracle Perfector All-in-One BB Cream

RRP: £9.99/50ml
# of shades available: 2 (light and medium)

--What does the promo say?--
"Garnier's Miracle Skin Perfector Cream, inspired by the Asian skincare sensation, B.B. (Blemish Balm) Creams. Garnier BB cream for immediately perfected skin with even tone and boosted glow. Blurs imperfections and smoothes fine lines. SPF15 protection and 24hr hydration." 

The skin tone-coloured packaging is more reminiscent of a standard tinted moisturiser or foundation's packaging, in contrast to the usually more glitzy packaging of other BB creams I've seen from Asia. This may not immediately alert consumers to the notion that this product is supposed to do something different. However, the packaging is sturdy, reliable, and easily controllable - you won't get silly amounts of product ejected all over your hand unless you try really hard.

Simple really: squeeze a pea-sized amount onto the back of your hand and then distribute evenly over your face, rubbing it in, avoiding the eye area. You can do this in between concealer and powder if you like.

A thick, skin-coloured cream that blends in well with my pale skin tone. At the edges, though, you have to be careful to blend the product well as there is the danger of tide marks or it looking slightly orange. The overall effect is a dewy one (hence why I prefer to set it with powder for a more matte look for work) and I wouldn't say it covers blemishes brilliantly on its own.

Slightly fruity, slightly floral - it's possibly the geraniol that does this. Very pleasant and very different to the tinted moisturisers and foundations currently available to consumers.

--Texture and consistency--
Blends very well, although as I mentioned, be careful at the jawline and hairline for tide marks. Definitely feels different to a foundation or tinted moisturiser - it's more creamy, rather than giving a powdery or paint-like feel. Not runny at all and very easy to control.

As mentioned, not fantastic, even with a fairly heavy-duty concealer being used underneath it. As for wrinkle/fine line coverage, I wouldn't know - I am only 25 after all and so don't have many.

--Effects on the skin--
With reference to my comments above, this product does contain an agent that acts like a temporary 'plumping' agent to fill in fine lines and wrinkles, but nothing noticeable jumped out at me in this respect once the product was on my skin. The dewy finish probably contributes more to the awake-looking appearance than the caffeine it contains, and in any case, presumably the effects of the caffeine, like the vitamin C and SPF that it also contains, wouldn't be visible in the short term anyway. On the up side, though, I did notice a general improvement in the condition of my skin while using this product - in terms of testing out the claims on Garnier's website, redness did seem to be reduced, complexion seemed more glowing, radiant and unified, and blemishes seemed reduced as well (although curiously the product contains no immediately obvious blemish-reducing agent).

--Value for money--
In spite of this product's shortcomings (and speaking of which - only 2 shades available, Garnier? Come on.), I have found myself pleasantly surprised. I know I was lucky that the light shade was suitable for my skin (which was the one I chose when Garnier asked what I wanted), and I know that its ability to conceal definitely leaves something to be desired, but the texture is really pleasing and the effects on the skin more than satisfactory (although to say in the promo that skin will be 'immediately perfected' is more than a bit of an exaggeration). Nonetheless, I shall be interested to see how this product competes with Clinique's attempt at a European BB cream (Asian ones tend to have whitening as their goal), as well as with bona fide BB creams from Korea and Taiwan.

perfect partner
Caffeine Anti-Dark Circles 2-in-1 Roll-on, £10.20  

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Illamasqua Concealer

RRP: £13
# of shades available: at least 9

--What does the promo say?--
"The Illamasqua woman knows how to conceal.  Cover blemishes and problem areas to create beautiful skin that feels smooth and looks flawless. Tested under the harsh lights of film sets, Illamasqua Concealer is guaranteed to keep your secrets and let you take centre stage."

The small square compact, made of black plastic, has a good-sized mirror and is easy to open when you need it, and keeps securely closed when you don't. Largely unadorned except for the word 'Illamasqua' in small lettering on the side of the compact. The curves in the square add something unique to the product, and is common to the Illamasqua line, helping to give the brand its own identity. Nice.

The Illamasqua website recommends the use of a small blending brush for this product, but you can of course just get straight in with your fingers if you choose.

I took a punt on a now-defunct shade, 220, which was, if I recall correctly, on sale online. I had heard good things about Illamasqua and wanted to try the product. However, as a result of this slightly devil-may-care gamble, the shade is totally wrong for me, its yellow undertones totally contradicting my pink and white complexion. It therefore would not be suitable for me to wear on its own as the patches of yellow across my face are very obvious, even though it looks OK once I've applied foundation and powder over the top. I accept that my own stinginess is to blame for this. There are other reasons, though, why the overall appearance of the product on my face is not good - see below for more.

Nothing discernible; perhaps a surprise given that it contains carnauba, candelilla and and bees waxes.

--Texture and consistency--
Not easy to blend, though probably easier if, unlike me, you actually choose the right shade and use a blending brush as recommended. The formula also seems to 'split' a little in the compact, with small droplets of an oily yellow substance having formed at the corners of mine. This, however, does not seem to affect how well it works on the face, and is probably to be expected given the use of natural waxes.

Not as good as I had been expecting, and the other main reason why I found that the appearance of this product did not come up to standard. Several layers are required both before and after foundation to get a result you're anything like being happy with.

--Value for money--
Even though Illamasqua certainly does have shades that are more appropriate for me (such as 115 and 130), I'm not sure I would try this product again even with the correct shade in hand, due to the shoddy coverage that I experienced while using this product. I was surprised and disappointed, since as well as its range of colours, Illamasqua is famed for the level of its coverage. For my £13, I'll stick with my beloved Sonia Kashuk Hidden Agenda Concealer Palette (which costs roughly the same in US$ if bought online) to get the effect I want.

perfect partners
Cream Blusher, £16.50
Rich Liquid Foundation, £21.50
Matt Primer, £19.50
Illuminator, £13.50

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Beauty Byte: Flower Girl

Flowers are definitely great birthday gifts. But for beauty-based floral gift ideas for women, there is certainly no shortage of ideas on the web or in department stores.

In my series on different perfumes, I looked at all aspects of the fragrance wheel, from fruity to fougère. I also naturally looked to floral scents for inspiration, naming such examples as Cacharel's Anaïs Anaïs, Yves St Laurent's Paris, and Daisy by Marc Jacobs, which utilise floral essences from all around the world, including rose, lily, jasmine and mimosa. All of these would make superb gifts at any time of year - the Cacharel classic in particular is one of my favourites.

But what if the person you're buying for isn't into perfume? (Believe me, it is possible. Some women see putting perfume on in the morning as being as much a part of their routine as brushing their teeth, while others barely think to put it on.) Molton Brown's Ziao Jao hair wash is floral and botanical without being sickly, while Logona is another brand famed for its use of herbal extracts and floral distillates in its makeup. Garnier's Vital Restore Daily Beauty Serum also smells beautifully of orchids - while other brands have not really capitalised on the orchid craze beyond their packaging, Garnier has really used it to its advantage.

Or why not combine the two concepts, building up thank you gifts into a cornucopia of fresh flowers, solid scents (such as Clinique's Aromatics Elixir Solid Perfume, which is convenient for travel, smells of camomile and rose, and has a beautiful floral design engraved on its compact lid), and other beauty products (body lotions and shower gels, such as those by Bath and Body Works, also offer a comprehensive range of flowery-smelling choices)? It's really easier than you think to create a gift that'll never be forgotten and thank someone with garden scents that they can use and enjoy all year round.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Beauty Byte: Sudocrem Beauty Blogger of the Month

Yep, you've guessed it - it's me!

Sudocrem have named me their Beauty Blogger of the Month for September. Thanks! Good choice guys :p

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Cosmetics Contemplations: A Girl's Best Friend?

I was lucky enough to be able to peruse hundreds of diamond engagement rings online before choosing the one to be bought for me back in 2009. Certainly the newly-affianced of my parents' generation usually had to make do with whatever was available down the local jeweller's, whereas these days there is an infinite wealth of choice. I choose the phrase 'wealth of choice' not without significance - we're not all lucky enough to be able to afford diamond rings, and even my now-husband and I were only able to get mine by going Dutch on its cost (how thoroughly modern of us) - but that doesn't matter, because it's mine and I love it. So how can we all add a touch of diamond sparkle to our lives without breaking the bank?

Sadly real diamonds will always come at a cost - but I think that cosmetics and treatments containing diamonds still offer remarkable value for money. Crème de la Mer's Refining Facial, for instance, does cost £59 - but you're only going to get two or three inferior facials at best for this price in a salon, whereas the 100ml tube is going to offer at least 10 treatments. And for the money, it's certainly worth it for its ability to smooth skin, tone redness, and make visible pores apparently disappear (sadly only temporarily) as if by magic. 

Another brand harnessing the power of diamond powder technology is Larynn Crystalline, whose products, for the record, I have not yet tried. Using "the healing powers of gemstones and plants", the products are supposed to unlock our natural beauty and radiance. Its Diamond face cream is of a comparable price to Crème de la Mer's mask, with a single pot in its smallest size priced at £65. Containing plankton extract, squalane, black oat seeds, maca root, apricot kernel oil, seaweed extracts, avocado oil and honeysuckle alongside pure diamond powder, it is intended to combat wrinkles, regenerate skin, act as an anti-inflammatory, increase collagen stimulation, moisturise, and increase radiance and luminosity (although I can't say I'd want to be the lucky individual who gets the job of measuring something as intangible as radiance).

But even cheaper products are now getting in on the act. Skin79 BB Cream uses diamond powder and jewel complex to help strengthen and fortify skin - and all at the perfectly reasonable price of £17.99. High street luvvie Soap & Glory are also at it, with its anti-ageing gem, Wish Upon A Jar, containing its patented YouthFake diamond spheres as well as shea butter and anti-oxidants - and all for under £15. Even Avon went as far as to bring out its Skin So Soft Mineral Gems Diamond Blush range of body and hand care this year, which contains trace elements of minerals and diamonds, allowing you to get your mitts on some sparkle for under a fiver. Avon doesn't stop there, either, with their Diamond Eau de Parfum also being available.

You can also give your nails the diamond treatment (just the look, or the real deal) with polishes such as Maybelline's Express Finish Diamonds and Leighton Denny's Diamond VIP Nail Buffer (the latter contains nearly 10% diamond). Give yourself a pedicure, too, with the Diamond Sole Mate Foot Scrub, which contains sea salt, pumice and diamond to kick dry skin into touch.

But naturally these products all run out and need to be replaced. If you really want diamonds to be forever, consider eternity rings - diamonds stretch around them in an everlasting line and can be had for as little as £60 from Amazon, Tesco and Argos. Same price as that Crème de la Mer mask I linked to before in fact. Convenient.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Montagne Jeunesse Weather Screen Lip Balm

--What does the promo say?--
"Are you a Busy outdoor Bee? Then protect your best feature from the elements with Wheatgerm & Black Pepper for a subtle tingly sensation, and flavour with a kick. The Olive Oil safeguards your skin whilst Shea Butter and 100% pure Beeswax soothes and locks moisture in."

The honeycomb cartoon on the front of the tube is cheerful and the pull-off plastic lid stays secure, but is not difficult to remove when you do need to use it. More balm is exposed by twisting the bottom of the tube. It also features the Vegetarian Standard mark from the Vegetarian Society, but I don't know if the tube itself is recyclable (although the paper and plastic sleeve it comes in definitely is).

Slap on to clean, dry lips and go about your daily business. Simples.

The balm is a fairly solid white-yellow creamy block that leaves a slight, barely detectable sheen on the lips once applied.

The smell of shea and cocoa butters is dominant, which is a little boring; given the emphasis on beeswax, a honey-scented product might have been more pleasant and different.

--Texture and consistency--
Smooth, soft and absorbs well.

--Effects on the skin--
Softens and smoothens lips, but no better or worse than any other commercial lip balm. I also don't really "get" the weather screen part - it contains no SPF, so I don't see how it would provide any beyond-superficial protection to your lips. If the variety of essential oils that have been used do in fact have this effect, it needs to be explained on the pack, as it isn't really common knowledge.

--Value for money--
The main appeal of this product is its 99.5% natural claim. However, there are definitely other products out there for the same price that do just as well or better - Fair Squared's lip balms, for instance, are not only 99% organic but also vegan due to their lack of beeswax; Jason and Optima also offer natural lip balms for this price, and Optima's contain SPF too. This means that Montagne Jeunesse needs to constantly keep its eyes on the competition so as to constantly develop its products for the better. I'm loving the all-natural thing, but would prefer such a product to have a more obvious SPF in it - and if that SPF can be natural, so much the better.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Salcura Skin Therapy Spray

RRP: £2.99 for 15ml travel size; other sizes from £9.99

--What does the promo say?--
"Cooling, soothing and calming solution for individuals with hypersensitive skin or babies, children or infants with skin problems like skin rashes, dry skin or eczema. The safer natural alternative to treating your baby or your sensitive skin.

Gentle Skin Therapy Spray is a 100% safe and natural topical spray that helps to support, soothe and heal hypersensitive skin or baby skin that is prone to eczema, nappy rash, cradle cap, skin rashes and irritations, and dry skin. It is very effective at killing bacteria and fungus and also stops skin itching.

 Intensive is a 100% safe and natural topical spray formulated to provide skin with minerals, oils and vitamins that will repair, strengthen and support skin in its own natural healing process.
Like all Salcura products, it is free from steroids, paraffin, alcohol, parabens, lanolin, anti-biotics and any other harmful chemicals."

I was sent these tiny sprays from Salcura after participating in one of their Facebook publicity campaigns. The packaging design is similar across the Gentle (intended for baby or sensitive skin) and Intensive versions, but the bold green and blue make differentiation easy. The spray action is effective, targeted and easy to use - if, for instance, you had dry skin or eczema just on your scalp, you would have no problems spraying it directly onto your parting without messing with your hair. The only bad thing was that one of the spray pumps came unscrewed and so leaked into my travel toiletry bag :(  Not that the smell of lavender isn't nice, but yknow. I'd have rather kept and used it.

The Salcura website recommends use of the spray "2 – 3 times a day. Simply shake the bottle and spray onto the skin from about 2 – 3 inches away. You can leave the liquid on the skin and let it absorb or you can gently massage it in. You can apply the spray as many times a day as needed depending on the severity of the eczema, psoriasis, dry or itchy skin." All very easy. If you are using the product on your face, it's easier to spray onto a cotton pad and then to wipe the cotton pad over the skin as you would with an ordinary toner.

A completely clear liquid that is invisible once sprayed on.

The dominant smell in both sprays is lavender, although perhaps as you would expect, the scent is less strong in the Gentle version.

--Texture and consistency--
Surprisingly, given the amount of different essential oils contained in this product, it is completely non-oily or greasy so shouldn't bother anyone in this regard, even if you are using it directly on the face.

--Effects on the skin--
Even though I don't suffer from eczema or psoriasis (acne is sadly the name of my game), I was amazed by the degree to which the instinct to touch my face reduced. Definitely an anti-itch product! It was also cooling, soothing, and seemed to calm redness significantly - and even though I wasn't using a cleanser at this time (due to wanting to test the sprays and Salcura's moisturiser, Zeoderm, on their own), I was very impressed, too, with the smoothness and cleanliness of my skin, excess oil being blasted into the stratosphere.

--Value for money--
It's great that Salcura allows you to try these products before you buy at the reasonable price of £2.99 - they should do this for their other spray, Antiac, as well. Once you have decided on the right product for you, I think a starting price of £9.99 is very reasonable, and naturally the value for money increases as you go up in size. I was impressed enough with these two sprays to buy Antiac, Salcura's spray for acne sufferers, and am hoping I haven't just taken yet another punt on a so-called saviour product for nothing.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Body Shop Mango Bath Shower Gel

--What does the promo say?--
"This soap-free shower gel contains real mango seed oil and has a deliciously exotic scent."

Coming in a range of sizes (250ml, 400ml, and, as part of the Mango Mini Gift Cube, 60ml for travel) means that there is something to suit your every need. The plastic flip top style bottle, while potentially fragile, in fact travels well without leakage. The see-throughness is also handy; I hate not knowing how much of a product is left. Information on the bottle tells you everything you need to know without being overcrowded.

Lather up under the shower, or in the bath, and rub all over the body, keeping it away from the face, eyes, and other sensitive areas, and then rinse off. Easy AS.

A slightly viscous and translucent yellowy-orange gel which replicate the mango's natural colour faithfully. It lathers into a fine white foam which rinses off easily (but not too easily now), leaving no visible residue on the body.

As with the colour, the scent is very accurate - just what you would hope for in a mango shower gel. Rich and natural-smelling, even though the natural mango extract is supplemented by artificial fragrances and limonene.

--Texture and consistency--
Has the reliability that we have all come to expect from the Body Shop - lathers up instantly and favourably, is not sticky at all, and washes off well when you want it to. Good work.

--Effects on the skin--
It seems to leave skin soft enough, but nothing exceptional. The same could be said of the smell; it smells amazing when you're actually in the shower, but doesn't last for hours on the skin.

--Value for money--
Scaling only to the dizzy heights of £5.50 even for the largest size, I'd say you're buying into a good deal here, as even the dinky 60ml bottle lasts ages, and this shower gel delivers a pleasurable truly multi-sensory experience all round. However, if you're more concerned about buying something more environmentally conscious, you could always try the shower gels by Faith In Nature, which are similarly priced and seem to contain a higher proportion of natural ingredients. Nevertheless, I'm not planning on giving up on Body Shop completely - its range of new and unusual scents is virtually unrivalled elsewhere, and with such temptations on offer as moringa, dewberry, arber, kistna and bakula, who could possibly resist?

perfect partners
Mango Soap, from £2
Mango Body Butter, from £12.50
Mango Mini Gift Cube, from £5
Mango Lip Butter, from £4
Mango Body Scrub, from £12.50
Born Lippy Mango and Peach Lip Balm, from £2
Mango Whip Body Lotion, from £8