Saturday, 23 December 2017

Cindy Joseph BOOM COTTON

RRP: from $27 (get 10% off now by entering BOOM10 at the online checkout)

-- What does the promo say?—
“BOOM COTTON is a unique shine control moisturiser. Your skin will drink it up, leaving no trace of oil or shine, only a healthy glow. Protective, nourishing and healing moisture for your entire face and body. BOOM COTTON is organic and pure. We use no emulsifiers, binders, parabens, phthalates, colours or perfumes of any kind. Cruelty, gluten and GMO free. Boom Cotton, as all of our skin care products, is handmade in small batches by our bee keepers in Hawaii. Stimulates collagen; attracts and retains moisture; suitable for sensitive skin; protects from environmental toxins; and is naturally healing.”

-- Packaging--
BOOM COTTON pots are simple white plastic pots with the colourful pink and red BOOM logo printed on the side. hey look quite elegant and pure in the bathroom. On first opening the pot has a seal which is easily removed.

-- Application--
A little really does go a long way. I have been using this for over a month and am still only halfway through the pot. BOOM COTTON can be applied on the delicate area around your eyes, over your entire face and neck and even your lips. (Really excellent lip balm!) Just take a small quantity on your fingertips and apply it wherever you want to moisturise. There are tiny micro-capsules in BOOM COTTON which need to be blended in. You can either do this in your hand before applying or apply directly and massage them in gently using circular movements, which is what I tend to do.

-- Appearance--
A yellow, creamy looking mixture which looks quite ‘solid’ in the pot and does not move if the pot is turned on its side. We are told on the website that the colour may vary because the bees are collecting pollen from different flowers through each season, so your BOOM COTTON may be more yellow, or more green, depending on when the pollen was collected for your particular pot.

-- Scent—
As with all the other BOOM products, there is no scent. Perhaps a faint sweet smell, but that is all.

-- Texture and consistency--
Thick, creamy and slightly grainy, it is a substantial moisturiser. You are not paying for water! I love the fact that it is thick and that you only need a tiny amount to do your whole face.

-- Effects on the skin—
When I wrote my review for BOOMSTICK GLO I said that I did not feel that it was a suitable night cream for my skin, which is dry and needs lots of moisture. BOOMSILK fulfilled that need for a while as I trialled it for this blog. However, BOOMSILK does leave your skin looking quite shiny after application, which is fine on your body but not everyone wants that effect on their face. Cindy Joseph responded to customer comments about this and invented BOOM COTTON for those who do not wish to have a shiny effect. Having used BOOM COTTON for over a month now, I love the way it makes the skin on my face feel and it has now taken over from BOOM SILK for my face. I prefer BOOM SILK on my body (it seems easier to apply across larger areas, being more fluid) and I use BOOM COTTON purely for my face, lips and neck. 

-- Value for money--
I am definitely a BOOM COTTON convert. No other moisturiser for me from now on! These BOOM products have really hit the spot as far as I am concerned and I shall definitely be ordering more. The price compares well with other good quality moisturisers on the market, even though the international flat rate shipping charge costs 13.95$ (tracked) needs to be added to this. Remember that at the time of writing you are also eligible for a 10% discount by typing in BOOM10 at the checkout. If you are too late, by signing up to their newsletter or following on social media you will be the first to hear about any future discounts.

perfect partners
BOOMSTICK GLO, $27 (see below)
BOOMSTICK COLOR, $27 (see below)
BOOMSTICK GLIMMER, $27 (see below)
BOOMSTICK TRIO, $76 (a saving of $5)
BOOM SILK, from $27
BOOM MASK, from $42 
by Sarah Cross

Friday, 22 December 2017

Bomb Cosmetics Countdown To Christmas Advent Calendar Gift Pack

RRP: £19.99 (and in case you feel like buying now and opening all the doors at once...or just keeping it for next year...currently reduced to £9.99)

--What does the promo say?--
“Bomb Cosmetics uses only the finest natural ingredients in an indulgent range of
handmade bath treats, body scrubs, essential oils and gift packs. The Power of Essential Oils – These little gifts from Mother Nature are found in each and every one of our products and are extracted from plants, flowers and fruit. They have to power to soothe the soul and are chock full of magic to heighten, change or enhance your mood. We use natural ingredients wherever possible. That’s right, we are changing all our glitters to a bio-degradable version made from plants and we don’t use microbeads either. We believe that neither animals, humans or the environment should suffer for our luxuries. We pride ourselves on making products that not only smell and feel wonderful on your skin, but also look beautiful too and made completely by hand thanks to our team of over 250 Bomb-er Lomb-ers! Moulded, mixed, rolled and piped entirely by hand, our gorgeous crafters ensure that each and every product is unique, but ultimately perfect in its own little way. (Just like you, you cheeky little Bombshell!). We even hand draw the designs on the gift wrap and the decorations on the blasters! We NEVER have and NEVER will test any of our finished products or ingredients on animals, nor do we employ a third party to do so on our behalf. As much as we’d love to extend our Bomb family past the 72 countries we already supply to, we simply refuse to add any country to this list that requires animal testing to be done by law. All of our soaps, candles and potted and bottled products are suitable for vegans, as well as a load of Blasters, Creamers and Mallows. Look out for the vegan symbol on our website.”

-- Packaging —
I treated myself to this Advent calendar on December 1st and, so far, I have not been disappointed. The packaging is fun – I chose the blue reindeer version rather than the pink one as I wanted to share it with my man. I know men can ‘do’ pink, but my husband prefers blue and it looks better in my green bathroom. The calendar is quite ‘thick’, meaning that you get a decent sized sample of a different product each time. Most of them virtually fill the space provided (3.5cms x 4cms – products around 1.5cms thick).

The blasters in the calendar are small hearts and dense rectangles which fizz away (some into glitter) in the bath water (which sadly does not always remain on the skin). All products are lovely colours, with beautiful swirls in the soaps. Some mallows and creamers are embellished with small flowers, stars, or glitter. All in all, the presentation is colourful and fun.

The calendar creates wonderful fragrances in the bathroom as a different door is opened each day. The bath bombs it contains are full of Christmassy scents that smell authentic, natural, and in some cases, fabulously fruity. The tags on Blogger are limited to 200 characters (and a maximum of 20 tags!), so I couldn't put them all in, but they also include clary, citrus fruits, coconut, geranium, safflower, marjoram, carrageenan, and others. As good as the market leader easily.

--Texture and consistency--
Bath blasters leave no foam or bubbles, so if you want that, you will be disappointed.

--Effects on the skin--
The creamer from the calendar was magnificently smooth.

--Value for money--
Excellent value; would buy again.

perfect partners
Mistletoe Kiss Candle, £7.99
My Favourite Things Bath Blaster, £2.99
Holly Soaks Gift Pack, £17.99

by Sarah Cross

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Beuti Pomegranate Glow Enzyme Cleanser

RRP: £35 for 50ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Improve skin tone and texture with the Pomegranate Glow Enzyme Cleanser from Beuti Skincare. Infused with fermented Pomegranate, an ingredient that delivers the benefits of Glycolic Acid without causing irritation, the gel balm hybrid transforms into a milk upon contact with water to effectively exfoliate and buff away impurities. A blend of Rose Clay and Copaiba Balsam work in tandem to smoothen and refine skin, whilst soothing and protecting against inflammation for long-lasting comfort. Featuring a 3 flower essence (Iris, Laurel and Myrtle), the luxurious cleanser gently clarifies your complexion to leave it looking radiant, youthful and revitalised. Can also be used as a mask for a more intense treatment."

The red and white packaging gives a refreshing and fruity impression that clearly evokes the pomegranate on which the product is based, in a modern and minimalist way. Sadly the bottle seems cheaply made (lettering etc rubs off quickly) and the pump-action was tough to use as well (you had to press down quite hard to get the product to come out).
Simply rub over wet skin before rinsing off.
A gorgeous rosy brown colour that transforms into a milky substance on contact with water. No visible residue is left on the skin.
The rose clay and florals are detectable without being overwhelming; they combine to create a delicate scent that clearly comes from high-quality, authentic materials.
--Texture and consistency--
The product upon initial emission from the pump-action bottle is a smooth paste. It doesn't lather up like traditional cleansers, which can take some getting used to. It thins out significantly on contact with water to make a milky substance, which I unfortunately felt led to some wastage as it seems that no matter how little water you add, a good deal of the product runs down your wrists while you are trying to apply it to your face.
--Effects on the skin--
My acneic skin was definitely calmed down thanks to using this product; it's non-irritating and calms redness while reducing dryness. 
--Value for money--
This product is effective thanks to its high-quality ingredients, and quite luxurious to use as well. However, I would need to see improvement in the packaging and texture before repurchasing. Nevertheless, I feel this product has real promise, and as I love the brand's Sleep Elixir too, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for any expansion to the range.
perfect partner

Monday, 27 November 2017

Odaban Antiperspirant Spray

RRP: £10.49 for 30ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Excessive sweating and body odour causes sufferers untold misery and leads to a loss of confidence and much social embarrassment. Sweat dripping from the forehead, hands or underarms is a nightmare, however, this problem is now controllable. For 40 years, Odaban antiperspirant has offered targeted yet gentle help.

Odaban Antiperspirant spray is gentle and effective offering long lasting protection for most areas of the body. Whether making an important business presentation or holding hands on a date, no matter what the ambient temperature, Odaban will bring you freedom to concentrate and of course, a new found confidence. Dermatologists, Pharmacists, Podiatrists and Doctors have long recommended Odaban Antiperspirant spray worldwide. The convenient and unique pump spray is 100% free from perfumes and allergy inducing products.

Odaban is the most effective and safest antiperspirant for the control of excessive sweating (Hyperhidrosis) and the associated complications of body odour, sweat rashes, “Athlete’s Foot”, sports blistering and chafing, especially that experienced by the wearers of artificial limbs.

Odaban can be used to control the complications of excessive sweating for the below areas of the body:
  • Head and Face
  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Underarms
  • Back and Front torso
  • Intimate areas

How does Odaban work
Radio-isotope tests have shown that the active ingredients of Odaban do not stop the sweat glands from working. The drying effect of Odaban is produced by poral "plugs," formed from a combination of aluminium and skin protein. It is the partial blocking of the sweat ducts by these poral "plugs" that causes a re-routing of the perspiration to the blood capillaries where it is transported to areas of the skin from which evaporation can take place more easily or to the kidneys for excretion. The net result is to leave the treated skin area dry and without compensatory sweating elsewhere on the body.

Why is Odaban different
The unique, non-aqueous, silicone formulation helps prevent the skin irritancy experienced with other products; whilst Odaban's hermetically sealed container prevents the damaging water contamination associated with roll-ons and felt tip dispensers. Odaban's revolutionary pump spray also ensures an accurate and consistent dose that helps avoid over application; this means that even children and those with sensitive skins can experience the swift relief that comes with having dry skin."

The white and blue spray bottle is slim and unisex - perfect for travelling. The spray mechanism allows for precise application and wide diffusion simultaneously.

Apply onto clean dry skin at night. You can also apply talcum powder afterwards if your skin is sensitive. Wash off the deodorant in the morning. This is simple and quick to achieve.

A clear spray that leaves no residue or white marks on the skin.

Clinical, really; at least this makes you feel like it will work even if it lacks a sense of luxury.

--Texture and consistency--
No sticky residue is left; it dries powder-light.

--Effects on the skin--
Sweat and chafing is effectively combated, and long-term too: the once-to-twice-weekly recommended use is accurate.

--Value for money--
Seems expensive, but is far more effective than commercial antiperspirants and is in line with other market leaders such as Driclor. I was sent mine for free by Odaban's PR, but would spend my own money on this. It works well and one bottle lasts ages. What more could you want?

perfect partners
Hand Cream, £9.55 for 75ml
Foot Powder, £10.50 for 50g

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Personal Consultation Experience: John Bailey, Master Parfumier

“You must meet my friend and neighbour, John the perfume man,” said my sprightly 87 year old mother. So, on a recent trip back to England, we arranged for the two of us to go for coffee one
rainy morning in July. We sat in John’s immaculate conservatory looking out over a bower of flowers. Despite his experiences from London to Paris and Grasse to Geneva, it seems it's Hertfordshire that he prefers. Deep blue pots set against a background of luscious green, running water and, in the corner of the garden, John Bailey’s perfume studio. Perfect.

John is passionate about flowers (particularly roses), scents and perfume, and has been a fellow of
the Royal Society of Arts and Founder of the Perfumer's Guild (Bespoke English Perfumery) since
1981. He is co-author of “British Perfumery – A Fragrant History”, a book celebrating the 50th
anniversary of the British Society of Perfumers, of which he is an elected ambassador. He was
Chairman of the inaugural Middle East Fragrance Foundation FiFI Awards Jury Panel in 2010, is a
former Liveryman in the Worshipful Company of Gardeners, and was also awarded the title High
Sherriff of Hertfordshire in recognition of great and valuable services to the community. He is a real
font of knowledge and has a wealth of experience, recognised further by his appearances on The
Apprentice and at the Chelsea Flower Show. Listening to him, it was easy to be drawn into the
fascinating world of fragrance. Arriving in his wooden garden studio was like stepping onto the set
of a film, with cabinets full of famous perfume bottles, modern and ancient, of all shapes and sizes.
All my favourite fragrances over the years were there and the memories came flooding back. A
perfume version of Proust’s madeleine in “A la Recherche du Temps Perdu”, I suddenly saw myself :

 Aged 16 and falling in love with ‘Gary’ in Saint-Tropez. My first introduction to the male
scent “Eau Sauvage”. How was I to know then that this olfactory experience would remain
with me for the rest of my life….
 My happy student days, wearing “Opium” at Exeter University
 Remembering a dear university friend, now sadly passed away, who introduced me to YSL’s
“Rive Gauche” along with wearing stockings, a seductive combination
 “Chanel 19” and my ‘Headmistress years’
 Clarins’ “Eau Dynamisante” – the fragrance of a love affair
 A visit to the States and Calvin Klein’s CK One
 White musk, one of my father’s favourite scents
 “Dune”…the smell of my mother….

As I got lost in my memories, finding ‘old friends’ amongst John’s cabinets, he was carefully
memorising my perfume preferences and building up a picture in his head of my ‘perfume persona’.
He picked up that I liked fresh, lemony and citrus fragrances; my current favourite is Dior’s “Escale à
Portofino”. He also noted that I am prepared to wear ‘heavier’, more sophisticated scents in the

On the shelves there were small bottles of raw materials used to make fragrances. We talked about the difference between lavender and lavandin and exotic ingredients from all over the world. On the wall were posters detailing the four main perfume families – taken from “Fragrances of the World” by Michael Edwards. The key to everyone’s likes and dislikes in choosing fragrances is an understanding of how the four main families - FRESH, FLORAL, ORIENTAL and WOODY – have evolved.

Fresh fragrances heavily feature citrus zests, balanced by the other families. Musk and tea accents add modern dimensions to this category of scents. Floral scents are still the most popular, however, with new headspace technology  allowing perfumers to identify and clone bloom scents from which oil cannot be extracted traditionally, and bringing to light new notes and molecules every year to revitalise floral perfumes. Oriental scents are sensual, full-bodied and heavy, including vanilla and musks. The final family is that of the woody fragrances, which include cedar, patchouli, pine, sandalwood and vetiver.

Back in the conservatory, I was astounded to discover that perfumes I loved, that I had always
considered to be quite different from each other, were all in fact from the same perfume family.
And, guess what? The “Eau Dynamisante” by Clarins that was the signature scent of a passionate
affair turned out to be specifically produced as a female version of “Eau Sauvage”. So, that Saint-
Tropez experience at the age of sixteen had clearly never left me and I am, it seems, more
predictable in my perfume tastes than I had realised.

My preferences were for the lemons, mandarins and oranges in the fresh family, combined with  elements from floral family. My evening perfumes often had elements from the oriental family, vanilla, musk, frankincense and patchouli. (Oh, the sixties and the seventies have something to answer for there!)

John dipped long pieces of white absorbent card into various scents he created to see my reactions
and hone down his choice for me still further. We then went on to chat more about the art of
creating perfume – a subject it is easy to become passionate about in John’s company. He took me
into his library where there were floor-to ceiling books dedicated to perfume-making, many of them
highly technical, covering an entire wall. On the opposite wall, a similar number of tomes about
flowers. I could easily have gone on talking with John for hours and felt all set to begin a perfumery
course, depart for Grasse in the South of France, not too far from where I live, and begin a whole
new life of study. Very tempting!

Two days later, through my Mum’s letterbox, came his brochure and a package containing the perfume, called “Sarah”, which he had created especially for me. Inside the minimalist, stylish packaging of purple corrugated card with white ribbon holding his business card (which John calls ‘Le Wrap’), were TWO small bottles. I was astonished and delighted to see that John had created not
one perfume for me, but two…a day blend and an evening blend. The day blend is fresh and light and stays on for hours. The evening blend is a more ‘heady’, sultry and sensual version. I wore it one evening and it was still on my wrists the following morning, even after taking a shower!

Once back home in France, I tried my perfumes out on my husband. It came as no surprise that he fell for the sensual evening version and swiftly ordered me a bottle for Christmas. Presented in a 30ml natural spray bottle for £50 (not including P&P), it more than rivals any perfume I can buy on the market. The bottle came in a lovely white bag with gold lettering and purple ribbon. There was also a scroll describing my perfume in detail.

So now I have my own signature scent. Whenever I wear it people comment on what a wonderful
scent it is and I am proud to tell them that it is my very own “Sarah” perfume, made especially and
exclusively for me, by John Bailey, parfumier extraordinaire! How ‘chic’ is that?

John Bailey pioneered niche perfumery in the 1980s to promote the art, creativity and individuality of
fragrance, marrying rare aromatic ingredients to clients' personalities. He welcomes calls and emails
for his ‘à la carte’ “Scents Direct” service, which enables private clients to purchase hand-blended,
limited edition and bespoke fragrances directly from an artisan perfumer and scent maker. They are based on the client's own interactive, sensory and enjoyable personal journey of discovery, helping to
create an exclusive fragrance that is perfect for them. Consultations can be carried out in person, over the phone or by filling out a questionnaire. Fragrances are untested on animals and are environmentally friendly. The Perfumers Guild has been featured and listed in all the leading Cruelty Free Guides in Europe.

John’s career started as an apprentice in the laboratories of a manufacturing chemist, druggist and
distiller, where he learned the art and science of formulating pills, potions and perfumes.

The Perfumers Guild “Scents of Luxury” are beautifully presented in elegant bottles tailored to your
needs, from a simple flagon to cut glass, fine crystal, or even antique bottles. The simple but stylish
“le Wrap” packaging is designed specifically for recipients to receive their fragrances in pristine
condition, but with minimum packaging. All compositions – vintage or contemporary – are carefully
hand blended with the finest quality essential oils and aromatic essences – all formulae incorporate a
skin moisturiser for a velvety feel and longevity.

Personal consultations and commissions are welcomed for anniversaries, weddings, birthdays, thank-
you gifts or just self-indulgence.

For a customised fragrance consultation and bespoke service – please see the Perfumers Guild Limited website on or contact:
JOHN BAILEY – Artisan perfumer and Founder of The Perfumers Guild Limited

Sarah Cross
South of France correspondent

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Carun Active Hemp Face Cream

RRP: £16.99

--What does the promo say?--
"Carun Skin Cream is naturally anti-inflammatory and antibacterial so it is suitable for regular daily use and problematic skin, helping to maintain and restore balance and a healthy appearance.

Carun Skin Cream has been created to help sufferers of acne, rashes or dry skin but it can also be effective on other common ailments such as inflamed or irritated skin, blisters, eczema, psoriasis and itching."

The squeezy metal tube is practical rather than luxurious, but does the job well, minimising wastage and with clean, unisex deisgn and colour scheme.

Apply to clean, dry skin after cleansing. Is light enough to be used in the daytime, while moisturising suitably during the night.

An off-yellow cream that blends invisibly into skin.

Has a refreshing scent that comes from the rosemary, but which is tempered by the lavender and lemon, which are not really detectable, but prevent it from being overpowering.

--Texture and consistency--
Slightly greasy, and yet blends in quickly, and does not leave a slick layer on the skin.

--Effects on the skin--
My acneic skin was greatly calmed by the use of this product, toning down redness and reducing blemishes.

--Value for money--
At £16.99 this isn't cheap, but it is effective and one tube lasts a good few months, as a little goes a long way. I was sent mine for free (thanks, Carun PR!) but I would purchase with my own money and recommend to others, especially in conjunction with the Active Hemp Soap.

perfect partners
Hemp Ointment, £16.99
Hemp Body Oil, £13.99
Hemp Bath Spa, £19.99

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Cindy Joseph Boomsilk

review by Sarah Cross

RRP: from $27

-- What does the promo say?—
“One body, one moisturiser! Protective, nourishing and healing for your entire face and body. Apply to the delicate skin around your eyes, your lips, your face and neck. But don’t stop there! Smooth BOOMSILK over your entire body with the knowledge you are applying only the most protective, safe and healing ingredients to your skin.”
The same ingredients as for BOOMSTICK GLO have been blended into a luxurious cream that can be used anywhere on your body.
They are purified water, organic extra virgin olive oil, beeswax with propolis and pollen, raw Pupekea wildflower honey, and d-alpha Vit E.

  • Boomsilk is more alive than other skin care products which is one reason it works so well, moisturising, healing and revitalising the skin.
  • Honey is a natural collagen stimulator and attracts and retains moisture. It is a natural preservative that is the perfect ingredient for an overall eye, face, lip and body moisturiser, suitable for even the most sensitive skin.
  • Bee pollen is the primary food source for bees. The vitamins, minerals and amino acids are easily absorbed by the skin.

Remember, whatever you put on your skin ends up inside your body. (It’s why the patches work!) BOOM SILK is pure and clean. There are no emulsifiers, no binders, no colour additives and no perfumes. As with BOOMSTICK GLO, there is no SPF included because of the controversy surrounding these products."

-- Packaging--
BOOMSILK pots are simple white plastic pots with the colourful pink and red BOOM logo printed on the side. On first opening the pot has a seal which is easily removed.

-- Application--
A little really does go a long way. BOOMSILK can be applied on any part of your body. Just take a small quantity on your fingertips and apply it wherever you want to moisturise.

-- Appearance--
A yellow, creamy looking mixture. We are told on the website that the colour may vary because the bees are collecting pollen from different flowers through each season, so your BOOMSILK may be more yellow, or more green, depending on when the pollen was collected for your particular pot. Cindy also warns that because BOOMSILK is such a natural product that the ingredients may separate, which means you may find a little pool of olive oil in the centre of the pot. This can easily be blended back in with a clean finger or other implement. I used BOOMSILK for over a month (in a hot climate) and this never happened.

-- Scent—
No scent.

-- Texture and consistency--
Smooth and silky, quite thick and rich. Perfect for dry skin!

-- Effects on the skin—
When I wrote my review for BOOMSTICK GLO I said that I did not feel that it was a suitable night cream for my skin, which is dry and needs lots of moisture. BOOMSILK fulfils that need. As BOOMSILK is manufactured as an ‘all-over’ body moisturiser, I decided to give it the biggest challenge it could have, which was to moisturise my feet after a summer of exposure to pool and terrace. Just a few applications at night helped my cracked and dry heels heal and returned them to their soft, silky selves. BOOMSILK does leave your skin looking quite shiny after application. (BOOMCOTTON has been produced for those who do not wish to have this shiny effect – review to follow.) It is also worth noting here that BOOMSILK has been reported as helping to calm or even cure eczema and, apparently, teenagers have also reported that their blemishes or acne has disappeared. I don’t have these problems so cannot report on this.

-- Value for money--
8 oz of BOOMSILK costs $58. This price compares well with other good quality moisturisers
on the market, particularly if you are using it for many purposes and not having to purchase
other creams for hands and feet etc. So I would purchase again, even though shipping from America (fast, efficient and tracked) needs to be added to this. The international flat rate shipping charge costs $13.95 and they say it takes between 7 – 15 working days to arrive. My products took eight working days to get from America to my home in the South of France.

perfect partners
BOOMSTICK GLO, $27 (see above)
BOOMSTICK COLOR, $27 (see above)
BOOMSTICK GLIMMER, $27 (see above)
BOOM COTTON shine control moisturiser, from $32
BOOM MASK rejuvenating, cleansing and moisturising mask, from $42


Customer service is speedy, efficient and friendly. Any questions by email are responded to quickly. Packages are tracked every step of the way.
The website is very user-friendly and has videos showing how to apply the make-up and explaining the philosophy behind the products. All ingredients are listed. There is a Facebook page and a blog, and you can even join the BOOM CLUB to be notified of special offers and discount codes.
Cindy’s videos “Saturdays with Cindy” and her articles on her cover a range of inspiring topics and include tips for covering undereye circles, ageism in our culture and transforming the way you think about age. I particularly enjoyed her reference to the Japanese art form ‘kintsugi’, where aged things are even more beautiful. That true beauty ‘reflects the whole of life and the process of growth and change’. What a refreshing thought! Join the pro-age revolution! Get connected, get inspired and feel good about yourself!

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Carun Active Hemp Soap Bar

RRP: £4.99

--What does the promo say?--
"Organic Cannabinoid rich gentle cleansing soap bar.

Naturally effective hypoallergenic skin maintenance and protection.

Naturally Antibacterial, analgesic, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory.

Made from 100% organic oils, Carun soap is an incredibly gentle cleanser, helping to balance and maintain your skins natural PH and moisture levels."

Packaged in a very environmentally friendly manner, the soap bar comes in a cardboard box with the white, blue and green colour scheme which characterises it as part of the Carun line. 

Lather up under running water to create a foam which you can rub over clean dry skin and then rinse off.

The soap is a creamy light cacao/off yellow colour which lathers into a white foam, leaving no visible residue on the skin. The Carun name and its trefoil logo is carved simply into the bar.

Again a creamy scent with a slightly refreshing zest to it, most likely thanks to the cacao and sea buckthorn.

--Texture and consistency--
The foam is fine yet luxurious.

--Effects on the skin--
The soap effectively rebalances the skin, reducing the amount of sebum production and generally calming the skin's condition, leaving it feeling moisturised.

--Value for money--
At £4.99 this is hardly going to break the bank and it indisputably calms acneic skin down, especially in conjunction with the Active Hemp Face Cream. One bar lasts ages and is not costly to replace. I was sent mine for free, but would buy again.

perfect partners
Hemp Ointment, £16.99
Hemp Body Oil, £13.99
Hemp Bath Spa, £19.99

Friday, 20 October 2017

Blooming marvellous

Flowers have been central to health and fashion from the very beginnings of beauty products, tinctures and accessories. Indian Ayurvedic medicine uses hibiscus to give thicker, fuller locks. Calendula has been deployed since Roman times for its anti-inflammatory properties. The bacteriologist Dr Edward Bach pioneered his eponymous - now famous - homeopathic system, which utilises such flowers as honeysuckle (for living in the past), rock rose (for terror and fright) and water violet (for isolation). And we all have memories of mashing up our own flowers and mixing them with water as children to create our very own 'perfume'.

Floral delivery company Bloom and Wild not only celebrates a range of flowers in their beautiful bouquets but has now gone a step further by evoking the power of flowers in art with its new Matisse collection, which includes such plants as alstroemeria, gerberas and chrysanthemums. Evoking different moods and cultural significance as well as sheer ornamentation, the company's new infographic (pictured right) enlightens us as to the use of different flowers by artists throughout the ages, from Botticelli to Jeff Koons.

The infographic also mentions the use of specific flowers that are still used in some of my favourite perfumes today. Anaïs Anaïs, by Cacharel, is a bit 1970s and has a slightly powdery tone to it, but has sentimental meaning for me. It doesn't just contain jasmine - mentioned by Bloom and Wild as having prominence in Indian art for its symbolism of love and fertility - but also orange blossom, hyacinth, rose, lily, and sandalwood - making for a sexy mix overall. My other choices, however, would be Jasmin Noir by Bulgari (a really top-quality fragrance that lasts), and Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf, for a sparklier setting.

This latter fragrance also contains lotus flower - another bloom highlighted as significant for its use in Egyptian and Asian art form. Representing life and creation, it adds real freshness to fragrances - as equally exemplified by another favourite of mine, Hermès' Jardin Sur Le Nil.

The final flower mentioned in the infographic is ivy, which was meaningful in Ancient Greek art for its links to the harvest and theatre. The iconic J'adore (by Dior) and Lolita Lempicka fragrances use this grounding ancient plant.

But I couldn't do a post without flowers without mentioning the new cult floral favourite in the world of beauty: Kailijumei's flower lipsticks, which are the latest hit from Hong Kong. The clear jelly lipsticks have dried flowers embedded in them, and thanks to the natural ingredients (such as cocoa butter, candelilla and lavender oil), lips are kept moisturised as well as slightly tinted. The flowers used include rose - which of course, being a classic, is included in Bloom and Wild's Marguerite bouquet - available now as part of the Matisse collection to further indulge our love of flowers.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Neutrogena T/Gel 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo Plus Conditioner

RRP: from £4.39 for 125ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Neutrogena T/Gel Shampoo Dry Hair cleans, softens, and conditions dry hair while also bringing immediate relief to the problem of itching and flaking scalps.

Dandruff can be a persistent problem for people with dry skin on their scalps. This shampoo contains salicylic acid, which breaks down and clears the flaking skin build up on the scalp, and also piroctone olamine, which is an antifungal that helps to manage the condition.
It is formulated to relieve the irritation that is often associated with dry hair and dandruff, but is gentle enough to be used daily as part of your normal cleansing routine. It forms a rich lather that helps to soothe and protect the skin on the scalp from drying out.
The added conditioners contained in this shampoo will leave your hair feeling cleaner, softer, and healthier, without drying it out."
The clear pale yellow of the gel, visible through the see-through bottle and cut-out in the box, along with the baby blue of the box and writing on the plastic bottle, offers a calming influence, compounding the suggestion in the promotional material that irritation will be soothed and eradicated. Simply push the plastic disc at the top of the bottle cap down to reveal a small aperture; when you squeeze the bottle, the gel is dispensed in a very controlled way, reducing wastage.
Lather into wet hair, then rinse. As this is a 2-in-1 product there is no need for a separate conditioner.
Even though the gel is pale yellow, no visible residue is left. It lathers into a luxurious white foam.
Arguably clinical - those looking for richly scented hair products will definitely want to look elsewhere. However, Neutrogena's emphasis is on efficacy, not on a sensory experience.
--Texture and consistency--
The gel is smooth and lathers up abundantly into a rich foam, which rinses out easily when you need it to.
--Effects on the hair--
I noticed a reduction in dead skin flakes and hair was left feeling clean and soft for a number of days after use. However, I wouldn't say I felt I could wash my hair less frequently than usual (every 2-3 days), although the product never claims to reduce time between washes.
--Value for money--
At £4.39 for 125ml, this isn't the cheapest shampoo on the market. It's difficult to make comparisons at the 125ml level since quite simply not many brands make shampoo bottles this size. 250ml is much more common, and as Neutrogena offers this product in this size as well, it's easier to compare on this basis. It's fair to say, then, that this shampoo competes well in price with other leading brands, including TIGI, Schwarzkopf, Wella, Mark Hill, and Toni & Guy. It also is at roughly the same price as Eucerin's specialist shampoos. I was sent mine for free by Neutrogena's PR, but would purchase again given the travel-friendly size (albeit not for hand-baggage-only travel) and proven effects on the hair.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Johnson's Make Up Be Gone Refreshing Face Wipes

RRP: £2.50 for 25

--What does the promo say?--
"Provides skin with an instant fresh look and feel, removing waterproof mascara.

Dermatologically tested and suitable for sensitive and normal skin types. Contains skin loving minerals and no alcohol.

A blissful cleansing experience."

The pink and dark blue combination is calming yet authoritative. The peel-back opening allows easy access to the wipes, while sealing securely, meaning the wipes don't dry out.

Sweep over makeup to remove. Can also be used to refresh makeup-free skin.

The white wipes are soaked in an invisible lotion that leaves no traces on the skin.

Clean and powdery without being overbearing or clinical.

--Texture and consistency--
The wipes themselves are sufficiently strong without irritating skin; equally, the lotion soothes while effectively removing makeup. 

--Effects on the skin--
Makeup is removed effectively (bar some stubborn mascaras, of which some traces still remain come morning) and skin feels moisturised too.

--Value for money--
Face wipes flood the market, meaning you can access a full range of packs of 25 wipes for diverse prices, from under £1 if you choose a shop's own brand to £3+ if you choose a more luxurious make, such as Body Shop or L'Oréal. However, for me these do the job: they remove makeup without stripping skin of its natural oils, and stay moist for months, making them the perfect travel companion.

perfect partners
Refreshing Cleansing Lotion, £4.99

Monday, 18 September 2017

Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pore & Shine In-Shower Mask

RRP: £4.99

--What does the promo say?--
"Introducing new Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pore & Shine In-Shower Mask. Get a shine-free, even complexion in only 60 seconds thanks to this breakthrough mask that works with steam of your shower. Its clinically proven formula reduces shine, helping to remove any excess oil for an instant matte effect without drying skin. It also helps to refine pores, cleansing deep down to unclog pores for visibly refined looking skin. Its fresh tangerine & lime scent provides an invigorating, fresh-skin feeling."

The green and white colour scheme is both vibrant and unisex, with the Neutrogena label displayed prominently, while the coloured band at the top followed by the white band at the bottom of the tube clearly marks it as part of the brand also (all Neutrogena masks, scrubs etc have this design, with just the colour changing for different needs or scents, such as pink for grapefruit). The plastic flip-top lid is light while remaining sturdy and practical.

Rub all over your face while in the shower, leaving it to sit for a minute or two while you shave or wash your body (I'm not going to list alternative in-shower're on your own there!). Rinse off under the shower or at the sink when you emerge. Use 1-2 times a week.

The product itself is white, with no visible traces left after use.

Lively and zesty, although I think this mostly comes from scents added later that may be artificial, as only lemon peel is explicitly listed.

--Texture and consistency--
Creamy and luxurious. While slightly lumpy or grainy in appearance, it's not like an exfoliator, serving no scrubbing function, as you can't feel these lumps or grains on your skin during usage of the product.

--Effects on the skin--
The effect in just 1-2 minutes is certainly impressive - perfect for modern, busy lifestyles. Skin is indeed mattified and visibly less oily, with pore size appearing reduced and tightened temporarily. Skin also feels really refreshed thanks to the citrus element, and moisturised too, due to the mask's creamy texture.

--Value for money--
At just under £4 this definitely isn't breaking the bank and the time saved is equally valuable. If waiting 20 minutes for a mask to dry doesn't appeal, then this is definitely for you. I was sent mine for free by Neutrogena's PR (thanks guys!) but would pay up in future. I'd also be interested to try the rest of the range in future, and/or to see face wipes added to the range, as they're good value, effective products that offer a pick-me-up in the morning too.

perfect partners
Pore & Shine Daily Wash, £4.99
Pore & Shine Daily Scrub, £4.99