Sunday, 5 October 2014

Caudalie Crushed Cabernet Scrub

RRP: £21.50 for 150g
 --What does the promo say?--
"A professional treatment used in Caudalie’s Vinothérapie® Spas in Bordeaux, France, this natural, grape-rich body scrub made with exfoliating grape-seeds, rich honey, softening brown sugar and 6 essential oils, leaves the skin smooth, ultra soft and silky. For anyone looking for deep exfoliation combined with slimming action. 99% natural ingredients."

As mine came as part of a gift set from my sister-in-law, it was in a tiny kilner jar. This appears to be in a plastic tub with a black screw-top lid. The advantage of both is that you can get right in there with your fingers to scoop out the last dregs (as opposed to, say, a tube). However, the opening mechanism of the kilner jar may be easier to grab hold of in the shower when you're trying to open or close it with slippery fingers.

Caudalie's website recommends usage twice a week on damp skin. I was using mine every day to attack the dry skin on my feet and didn't suffer any ill effects from this, so you probably could use it more frequently on really tough areas. Twice a week, however, is probably a good idea if you are just trying to maintain normal skin condition.

A brown, grainy scrub in which the crushed grape seed and sugar granules can be easily seen.

Despite all of the essential oils this contains, the only scent I could pick up on was the bitter, anti-oxidant smell of the crushed grape seed. Luckily, this isn't overly bitter or overpowering, so perhaps the essential oils used serve mainly to balance this out, rather than to be the stars of the show themselves.

--Texture and consistency--
Very good for a gentle yet effective attack on dry body skin. However, it might be too harsh for use on your face, just in case anyone was thinking of trying it: as mentioned, the exfoliating agents used are clearly visible and exist in quite large granules. The essential oils make the scrub smooth, not sticky, and the scrub as a whole is easy to rinse.

--Effects on the skin--
Clearly diminishes the quantity and appearance of dry skin, and then subsequently manages skin condition. Skin is smoothed and moisturised simultaneously, leaving you feeling like you've had a luxurious yet effective experience.

--Value for money--  
While the price may initially seem a little steep, here are some thoughts to consider: a) you get the desired results; b) the experience of using this product is spa-like rather than purely utilitarian; c) if you want high-quality ingredients, then you have to pay; and d) even my tiny jar lasted ages, so this cavernous and heavy-duty pot should endure for an eternity. Would recommend.

perfect partners
Contouring Concentrate, £24
Draining Herbal Teas, £10
Nourishing Body Lotion, £20

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Scholl Nail Beauty Set

 RRP: £40

--What does the promo say?--
"This useful Scholl Nail Beauty Set includes 13 different manicure and pedicure attachments, and an integrated nail dryer."

The box is Scholl's usual cheerful blue and yellow, which means you immediately associate it with a trustworthy brand, and implies that the product will be effective. The nail beauty set itself is compact and practical, meaning you could easily take it with you on holiday or to a sleepover, without it a) falling open in your bag and spilling all the attachments everywhere, or b) it taking up too much space. Each attachment has its own individual space in the carry case, and the nail drier is well integrated into the tray as well. The lid is an attractive blue-green colour and is made of see-through plastic, evoking images of sea, spas, and swimming pools, which all adds to the general notion of well-being. There's room enough, too, between the lid and appliance to ensure that there is enough space for the mains wire (no matter how haphazardly you shove it in there) and the instruction leaflet (which comes in English and Arabic).

The aforementioned instruction leaflet is clear and concise, and comes with a handy diagram that labels each attachment with a letter for logical identification. It would be even better if each attachment had the corresponding letter marked on it, or if the kit came with stickers for you to mark them yourself - some attachments are quite small and look similar to others. Still, you could always do this yourself with a permanent marker. The two-speed manicure pen is easy to use and not at all painful (even if the whirring sound is a little reminiscent of a trip to the dentist), and can be used either wirelessly or while plugged into the mains (the same is true of the unit itself when you wish to activate the nail dryer). The attachments are also easy to clip into place and then to remove, which along with the painlessness of treatment makes the set ideal for beginners who may lack confidence with professional-seeming instruments.

The various files shape nails and cuticles effortlessly, leaving a smooth rather than ragged finish. The buffing discs are also effective once you've finished evening out the nails that have a rougher texture. However, the cones for removing rough skin are perhaps the stars of the show, transforming your lizard feet in moments. The integrated nail dryer is also convenient and does the job well.

--Value for money--
The efficacy and simplicity of this kit makes the £40 price tag a pleasant surprise. Scholl could easily charge double for it and it would still be worth it. However, the £40 RRP keeps it accessible for all, and it's perfect for keeping your feet in top condition in between (or perhaps even in place of) professional pedicure sessions. I was sent mine for free by Scholl's lovely PR, but would definitely pay out for it and recommend it to others (FWIW, Amazon and Argos are the main suppliers).

perfect partners
Velvet Smooth Essential Moisture Cream, £5.99
Velvet Smooth Foot Soak, £6.99
Colour Pop Foot Spa, £30 
Fungal Nail Treatment, £19.40