Friday, 27 December 2019

Cindy Joseph BOOM CALM

RRP: $44 for 4oz

--What does the promo say?—
“BOOM CALM is designed for extreme weather. It gently soothes, nourishes and restores your skin’s natural radiance after you spend time in the sun, wind or harsh temperatures. You’re left with beautifully restored, hydrated skin that feels cool (and soft) to the touch. This lightweight liquid moisturizer delivers a powerful blend of Aloe Vera Gel, essential oils and all-natural ingredients to soothe your skin from head to toe, leaving you calm and cool. Boom Calm enriches your skin with vitamins, minerals, natural enzymes, fatty acids and other nutrients to replace any dryness with beautifully soft, glowing skin."

As with all BOOM products, presentation is minimalist and clean-looking, with white being the prominent colour. BOOM CALM comes in the same type of bottle as BOOM CLEAN and BOOM SCRUB with a lid that flips up to dispense the product through a small nozzle. The logo is a cool green. The bottle is opaque so you cannot see how much is left whilst using it, although the decreasing weight of the bottle gives you a fairly good idea. Remember to unscrew the lid and remove the seal before trying to squeeze the product out through the nozzle.

Simply massage this lightweight, liquid moisturizer into any area of your skin that needs soothing. It’s quick-drying and is easily absorbed into your skin without leaving any oil or residue behind. You  can use this full-body moisturizer from head to toe to replace any dryness with beautifully hydrated, glowing skin.

BOOM CALM is an opaque liquid moisturiser and is a pale yellow colour.

BOOM CALM smells divine. The most pervading smell is that of geranium oil, which is extremely pleasant to have close to your nostrils and all over your face. Geranium oil is well known for reducing redness and calming skin. The scent is calming in itself and feels like an aromatherapy session. Very pleasant at bedtime!

--Texture and consistency--
The texture is thinner than Boom’s other moisturisers, probably because of the addition of so many essential oils. It resembles a serum in consistency and comes out of the tube very easily.

--Effects on the skin—
For the purposes of this review I used BOOM CALM on my face only as, testing it through the autumn, this was the part of my body most exposed to weather conditions at this time of year. (South of France: sun still quite hot but often very windy.) As with all BOOM products, a little goes a long way. My BOOM CALM arrived when I had just got back from a very windy autumn walk so I decided to use it straight away…and particularly across my sensitive lips. It worked well. There is an immediate sensation of coolness on application. At this time of year, I would recommend this product especially for winter sun and skiing holidays.

--Value for money--
I was given BOOM CALM free to trial for Bianca’s Blog (Thank you, BOOM!). At $44 for 4oz, this may seem an expensive product but as so little is used it lasts ages, especially if you are only using it on your face, as I did. I am finding that the combination of BOOM products on my skin has definitely improved the texture and quality of my skin tone so I would continue to purchase this for myself. With the gradual addition of its new products, BOOM is now providing for all your make-up and cleansing/moisturising needs. Am definitely a BOOM convert. Shipping from America needs to be added to the cost, so sometimes it is worth placing a bulk order with other BOOM products to increase value for money. International flat rate shipping charge costs $30 and it takes between 7 – 15 working days to arrive. Be sure to select this flat shipping rate option, or you may be faced with additional customs charges when your package arrives. My products took eight working days to get from America to my home in the South of France.

perfect partners
BOOM SILK moisturiser, from $29
BOOM COTTON moisturiser, from $36
BOOM NECTAR skin serum, from $58
BOOM CLEAN, from $34
by Sarah Cross

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Lush Toothy Tabs

RRP: £6.50 for 50g (around 100 tabs)

--What does the promo say?--
"Keep your mouth in mint condition. Cleansing kaolin and a triple whammy of minty goodness ensure this solid toothpaste will freshen up your mouth and make your teeth sparkle." 

These used to come in a cardboard box. Sadly now, though, they come in a plastic bottle. At least this bottle is recyclable - so you can either throw it into the recycling bin at home (unlike a normal toothpaste tube) or take it into a Lush store for recycling (recycle 5 in one shot and you get a free product). It was really this environmental factor that led me to switch from traditional toothpaste. The monochrome label is unisex and minimalist and so should appeal to all. The travel advantage is also obvious: the bottle is much smaller than any toothpaste tube and the tabs clearly don't count towards your liquid allowance when flying.

"For intensely icy airwaves," the website instructs, "simply nibble one between your teeth and start brushing." This really is as simple as it sounds (although I went in with some trepidation). 

This depends on the flavour you choose. Limelight is green with yellow streaked through, Boom! is black, and the two I went for - Dirty and Miles Of Smiles - are white. Not feeling quite brave enough to try the former, the latter two are more like traditional toothpastes in appearance, dissolving quickly in the mouth to create a white foam.

--Scent and taste--
Miles of Smiles is a really very minty concoction whose aftertaste lasts hours. As a result, I tend to use this in the morning, switching to Dirty in the evening, which is mint and neroli flavoured, and slightly milder as a result. It's an unusual combination, but taste-wise really works for me (although I've read reviews by others who disliked it - so it's definitely personal and you should definitely have a sniff in the shop before buying). 

--Texture and consistency--
These tabs are based on kaolin (clay) and bicarbonate of soda, leading to a chalky texture. This is fine and doesn't take long to get used to: the tabs are small, so break down quickly upon chewing and with the addition of water, the chalkiness giving way to a smooth, fine foam. However, I have found that the binding elements of kaolin and bicarb do tend to gel with any excess saliva in the mouth overnight, leading to yucky strings of white gel populating in my mouth that I then have to scrape out. Yep. Lovely. BUT other reviews don't suggest that this happens to other people. So I'd recommend trying it first before discounting the possibility.

--Effects on the teeth--
Teeth feel clean after use and the flavourings make breath feel fresh for hours. 

--Value for money--
At £6.50 a pop this isn't cheap - especially if it turns out not to be for you. As for myself, I really wanted to like this product as I so loved the concept. However, the mouth residue is not something I can live with long-term, which is such a shame. Once my 2 bottles are finished, I'll be looking for other toothpaste alternatives.

perfect partner
Mouthwash Tabs, £6.50*

*available in 3 flavours: clove & mint, mint, and lemon

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

ByKathryn Padstow Rocks Perfume

RRP: £35 for 15ml

--What does the promo say?--
"PADSTOW ROCKS is our Get Out Of Town perfume: Fresh and fragrant, inspired by coastal walks, feel the stress simply melt away. And breathe! BYKATHRYN has partnered with Surfing England and some of Team England’s top female athletes as they set their sights on the Tokyo 2020 Olympics . The partnership is underlined by the fresh ocean vibes of PADSTOW ROCKS perfume. A perfect fit for the surfer girls and for the effortlessly cool, laid back woman who takes each day in her stride & goes with the flow. Designed to be carried with you PADSTOW ROCKS comes in a hand luggage sized 15ml perfume spray bottle in colourful eye catching packaging so your perfume stays fresh and uplifting."

The orange box in which the perfume comes is vibrant and modern, emblazoned with the name of the perfume in bold white lettering. A beach scene is watermarked in the background, giving every impression of the sand being soaked in this scent at sunset. This colour scheme is reversed on the bottle itself, with orange lettering taking pride of place on a transparent glass spray bottle, enhanced by a gold-effect cap.

Spray onto pulse points behind the ears, on the wrists, and at the neck. 

The transparent liquid leaves no visible residue on the skin.

The promotional materials promise "ocean vibes" and there's a definite saltiness at the heart of this perfume that makes it truly unique. While in some ways, as with the brand's other perfume (Petrolhead), it's still more masculine than I would like (thanks to the cedarwood base), this would be my preferred choice from the brand. As someone who enjoys light, sparkly fragrances ordinarily, this fragrance is definitely lifted by the citrus head notes. Over the day it develops into a subtle yet sharp finish.

A powerful perfume that lasts all day.

--Value for money--
It's actually quite unusual to find a perfume in this 15ml travel format - so to compare prices I had to look for perfumes retailing at around £70 for the more standard 30ml. This leads us to brands such as Michael Kors, Giorgio Armani, Clinique, and one of my all-time favourites: M Micallef. All of which are far more widely known than ByKathryn. But that's inevitable for a new brand and with luck will change over time. Quality-wise, what the brand offers is undisputed, and as such worth the money. What I'm mainly hoping for is that their next scent will be more in my usual territory: something light, floral, sparkly and sweet. Third time lucky?

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

FutureYou Super Vitamin D with K2+

RRP: £19 for a 28-day supply

--What does the promo say?--

"Super Vitamin D with K2+ combines 25µg (micrograms) of vitamin D with 180 µg of vitamin K2 in the form of menaquinone-7 (MK-7).
The body produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, hence why it is regularly referred to as the sunshine vitamin.
Vitamin D contributes to musculoskeletal health. It allows calcium and phosphorus to be absorbed normally, contributes to the maintenance of normal bones, and plays a role in the maintenance of normal teeth. It also contributes to the normal functioning of the immune system, maintenance of normal muscle function and contributes to normal blood calcium levels.
Vitamin K2 works together with vitamin D3 to mobilise calcium from the blood vessels into the bones, maintaining bone health. Vitamin K2 is found in particularly high concentrations in fermented foods. These include sauerkraut, hard cheese and natto, a traditional Japanese dish made with fermented soybeans.
The vitamin K2 included in Super Vitamin D with K2+ has been the subject of 19 research studies, highlighting the importance of vitamin K2 in bone and cardiovascular health."

The yoga pose on the outer cardboard box evokes both relaxation and strength, and as such, good health. 
The capsules come in traditional plastic and foil blister packaging, and the foil is clearly labelled with days of the week to help you remember to take the capsules regularly.

Take one capsule per day, swallowing it whole with liquid. I usually take mine at the start of the day with breakfast.

The capsules are an off-white colour, leaving no visible residue in the mouth.

Nothing discernible.

--Texture and consistency--
The capsule coating is thin and smooth enough so as to not be difficult to swallow, while not melting too quickly in the mouth.

While most of the benefits of vitamin K2 are not immediately visible (such as its positive impact on heart health and bone density), it's also starting to be hailed as a beauty supplement due to its healing properties. As a result, my habitually acneic skin definitely seemed clearer while I took this supplement, with the vitamin healing existing spots more quickly and preventing new ones from appearing. Skin also seemed less red and more 'glowing' - so I was definitely impressed by my 28-day supply (sent to me by FutureYou - thank you!).
It's also posited that K2 has anti-ageing properties, although of course the irony is that if this is working in this way, then nothing will happen - so in the short term, I won't be able to tell if it's really doing this.

--Value for money--
At 67p a day, it's up to you if you think this is worth it. For me, it is. The cost also goes down when you subscribe and save (£15 a month, or 53p a day) - arguably a small price to pay for both the internal and external benefits of vitamin K2.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Should teenage girls wear makeup?

I try to read a variety of media, and while the Times and Financial Times are mainstays, I also read the Guardian regularly, and from time to time reactivate a free trial of the Telegraph. In the latter, I recently read Annabel Jones' 'Should teenage girls wear makeup? I think it's fine - and here's why' - and I tend to agree with her.

I started playing with makeup in the pre-teen years: when I was 11 or 12.

Puberty is starting younger and younger - I started my periods a month after my twelfth birthday and developed acne at the age of 10. This is also now happening to even younger girls, due to environmental factors such as diet. So if you do have acne, it's natural that your self-confidence would feel dented - and even though I do see the argument of letting the skin get some air (and even as an adult ensure I have at least two makeup-free days a week), I also think a bit of concealer does more good than harm (especially if, like I was, you are also bullied). This is one of the first points made by the Telegraph's beauty editor also.

I would probably just go for a lighter mineral concealer, rather than the cheap stick foundations and concealers that I used to slather on, which were quite thick and cakey. ELF does good affordable ones that will cover blemishes while allowing skin to breathe.

I also used to love messing around with nail varnishes with my cousin, and would argue that such experiences are good for bonding - though this is also an argument for cheap clothes and nail polishes, as well as plenty of nail varnish remover, as chances are it will go everywhere! I didn't have a particular favourite brand, but used to go for the classics that pervade the aisles at Boots and Superdrug - Maybelline, 17, and so on. I was mainly about the colours, rather than brands, and especially all about the glitter, for which Barry M is a good choice. It also teaches you about science - namely, not to use nail varnish remover to clean up accidentally spilled nail polish from the top of a plastic TV casing...

Experimenting with eyeshadows - especially pink glittery ones - was another favourite pursuit, and as well as being just plain fun, helps you to see what colours suit you so that you can develop a sophisticated style long-term. I wouldn't be so keen on pink glittery eyeshadows now, but would go for dark purples, blues, browns, metallics or even greens to highlight my grey eyes.

This argument is even more persuasive when it comes to foundation. While young skin doesn't specifically need it, there are plenty of lighter foundations available, as well as tinted moisturisers, and even BB creams, which didn't exist when I was an adolescent but are a great option for teen skin, not just for breathability but also their other functions (such as SPF). I wouldn't recommend cheaper options in this case - even now, I'd say investing in the base is everything so as to not damage your skin. Furthermore, more expensive brands tend to have a wider range of shades available, meaning you have a greater chance of a good-looking result. It's perhaps more important and higher-stakes than you might think to get this right at a young-ish age - I went for my first job interview when I was 15, and who wants to go with a massive tide mark along the jaw line because the shade isn't right? It's a good lesson for young people too: if you want to wear makeup, then look professional. While quite a few of the cheaper high street brands have upped their game since I was trying out foundations for the first time, most still have their 'palest' shade pitched either too dark or too orange - so I would recommend trading up. Try Lily Lolo for mineral foundations that are kind to acneic skin.

Even though I started wearing makeup at a young age, I'm forever grateful to my (otherwise strict!) parents for their laissez-faire attitudes regarding this. Annabel Jones mentions in her article about picking your battles and not restricting the amount or type of makeup your teen wears - and I tend to agree, as doing the opposite would only breed resentment. It's something your teen has to work out for themselves - and, as I have mentioned above, in their own time (and plenty of it).

As she also mentions, good skincare routines and products are vital too. Steer clear of the cheap and artificial as far as possible - brands like Lush, Zao, Couleur Caramel, and Lamazuna are environmentally friendly too. Conversely, don't be afraid to seek prescription products if really needed for teen skin conditions.

Annabel Jones' most important comment though, is that makeup is about enhancing - not disguising - who you really are. And that, for teenage girls who may be feeling more insecure by the day, is crucial.

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Yes to COCONUT Ultra-hydrating moisturising coconut oil stick

product photo
RRP: £9.99

--What does the promo say?--

“Yes to going (coco) nuts for coconut oil and this first ever, do-it-all moisturising miracle in a stick, which is a clean, easy, mess-free way to apply it. It can be used on the face, body or anywhere you need extra hydration. It has a non-greasy texture and melts on contact with the skin. Consider this your holy grail of head-to-toe hydration, especially when on-the-go.”


The product is in a wide stick dispenser, with a clear, screwtop lid and a twist-up mechanism at the bottom.  Of course, as with so many beauty products these days, it is a ‘single-use plastic’ and needs to be recycled. Attractive and eye-catching, it has a brown and white label with golden coconuts on it and a wide gold band around the lid.  Full instructions can be found on the back of the label. The advantage of a moisturiser in a stick is that no matter how much of the product is used, the stick will always stand neatly in your bathroom, unlike tubes which tend to topple over when nearly empty.  It is also a handy travel size and would fit into your handbag if you wanted to re-moisturise during the day whilst at work. As on all Yes To packaging, "Literally, front and centre on all our products you’ll find our seal showing each and every product contains at least 95% NATURAL INGREDIENTS." (See their mission statement on their website for more!)


Designed to be mess-free, this way of applying moisturiser is unique and highly successful.  You simply swipe it across the areas you wish to moisturise. I found that one swipe the length of my arm enabled me to moisturise virtually my entire arm (I do have quite thin arms though!).  The product spreads even further once you have applied it. It is definitely a clean and mess-free way to apply moisturiser as you do not have to rub it in if you do not wish to.
A thick, opaque, creamy-looking solid stick. Once on, it leaves your skin with a wonderful silky shimmer after application.  It looks great on tanned legs too. A finishing touch for going out on a summer evening.
Delicious and unmistakable.  Great if you like coconuts! Reminiscent of suntan lotion - though others may find it overpowering and sweet.
--Texture and consistency--
The texture is thick and creamy. Silky on application and non-greasy, as promised.
--Effects on the skin--
This moisturiser is a WOW for dry skin.  Lines and dryness disappear completely. Some people may find it rather too shiny and thick on the face but on the body it is just what dry skin needs.
--Value for money--
Compared to other products on the market, Yes To products are extremely well-priced.  You need to bear in mind, though, that you probably need to buy these sticks more frequently than you would buy a large tube or pot of moisturiser, especially if you are using it over your entire face and body - my satisfaction with the quality of this product has meant that I am already on my second stick.
perfect partners
Yes to Coconut 2-step lip kit, £4.99
Yes to Coconut Ultra-hydrating paper mask, £2.99
Yes to Coconut Ultra-hydrating Micellar cleansing water, £6.99
Yes to Coconut naturally smoothing lip balm, £3.79
Yes to Coconuts Coconut oil cleansing balm, £9.99
Yes to Coconuts Energising Coffee 2-in-1 scrub and cleanser stick, £9.99
Yes to Coconuts Energising Coffee super eye mask, £2.99

by Sarah Cross

Saturday, 17 August 2019

Petrolhead by ByKathryn

RRP: £35 for 15ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Our PETROLHEAD perfume packs a punch and empowers you to Write Your Own Rules: Fearless and modern, vivaciously bold. Live life on your terms!
Jo Polley, racing driver, is our PETROLHEAD perfume Ambassador. We are so excited to be headline sponsor for her Mini 7 S Class for the 2019 racing season. Jo simply embodies our PETROLHEAD vibe.
Designed to be taken with you PETROLHEAD comes in a hand luggage sized 15ml perfume spray bottle in colourful eye catching packaging to keep your perfume at peak performance."
I received a 2ml sample/travel size from ByKathryn's PR - thanks for your generosity! So mine took the form of a glass tube around the size of my pinky, with a spray top, and encased in a paper sleeve decorated with an iridescent oil design. Very attractive by all accounts that gives a good impression of the brand's packaging overall.
Spritz onto pulse points such as behind the ears, onto the wrists and - one random one I heard lately - behind your knees. You can also spray the air and then step into the fragrance so that it spreads more evenly over your hair and clothes for an overall effect.
The liquid appears mildly yellow in the bottle, but leaves no visible residue on skin or clothes.
The notes on ByKathryn's website describe this fragrance as having citrus in the top notes, jasmine and woody scents at its heart, and a spicy, almost oriental base. 
I love jasmine (it appears in some of my favourite perfumes) but I felt it to be overridden by the woody notes (the website says conifer), making this fragrance a little too masculine for my taste.
I would describe this perfume as leathery and smoky - definitely great for making a unique first impression and without doubt living up to the product description: fearless, bold, vivacious and modern.
Despite the fragrance not being truly what I would normally go for (preferring fresher, sparklier scents), I was genuinely impressed by the staying power of this one, compared to many other lesser-quality perfumes whose scents fade away much more quickly over the course of the day. I could still smell this on myself by the end of the morning and I am told it was still detectable by the time I went to bed at night as well - so I would say it lasts at least 12 hours.
--Value for money--
This was a little tricky to compare as 15ml isn't actually a usual perfume bottle size; most are available in 30ml, 50ml, and 100ml bottles. So comparing to bottles that are around £70 for 30ml, or £110 for 50ml (as opposed to ByKathryn's £35 for 15ml), this is priced equally to high-end brands such as Tom Ford, Dolce & Gabbana, and Ralph Lauren. I would argue that this is worth it for the quality of fragrance provided, even if I myself would not choose the Petrolhead variant. I would certainly be interested in testing ByKathryn's other fragrance in future, named Padstow Rocks, which promises a more floral scent (accented by citrus notes), and which I think I would prefer. In short, ByKathryn is definitely a brand worthy of your time and money - especially as there are options available for every budget (see below).
perfect partners
Travel Lite Minis, £5
Petrolhead Perfume Sachet, £6.50
Mini Perfume Gift Set, £7
Luxury Perfume Gift Set, £65
Write Your Own Rules accessories pouch, £16.50

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Kalme Skincare Basic Kit

RRP: 39.95GBP

--What does the promo say?--
"The Basic KALME Skin Care Kit contains the Kalme Day Defence SPF25, Kalme Night Cream and Kalme Cleanser.
The Kalme Range is a combination of unique skin care innovations to reduce redness.
Five separate actives work together to nourish, repair and protect you skin.
Derma Sensitive is a natural active from young caper buds. Scientifically shown to create clear and uniform skin tone. It also reduces skin's reactivity and increases feelings of skin comfort and suppleness.
A broad sprectrum Sun Filter SPF25 with UVA & UVB coverage
24 hour moisturisation from a natural plant active keeps your skin supple and comfortable.
A super antioxidant active neutralises free radicals and lowers the oxidative stress on your skin.
Perilla seed extract is a naturally rich source of skin beneifical Omega 3 and Alpha Linolenic Acids."
The green and white packaging reflects its botanical content and the flip top lids are generally practical. However, the day cream is quite runny and often seeps into the lid, so consider storing upside down. Long-term I'd also like to see the recyclability credentials of this packaging increasing.
--Application and usage--
"Suggested regimen for the Kalme skincare pack:
AM: Cleanse with the Kalme Cleanser do not rinse off with water.( If using) first apply Undercoat then the Day Defence SPF25 to whole face, or just Day Defence on its own. If using then apply Kalme Chameleon Concealer to whole face rubbing in gently until the required tone match is achieved. Additional cosmetics can then be applied if required.
PM: Cleanse with the Kalme Cleanser do not rinse off with water.( If using) first apply Undercoat then apply Night Repair Cream, or just the Night Repair Cream on its own."\
This is all very easy to do. It also works fine if you use a damp flannel or muslin to remove the cream cleanser.
All three products are white lotions of varying thicknesses. None leave a visible residue on the face.
All smell fresh and natural.
--Texture and consistency--
The cleanser is very thick, creamy and luxurious, whereas the day defence feels more like a very runny sunscreen. The night repair cream is somewhere in between, feeling more like a normal moisturiser. None are greasy or sticky and the moisturisers absorb well, leaving no residue. The night cream and cleanser especially feel luxurious to use.
--Effects on the skin--
Redness is dramatically reduced, as promised, and I also saw an improvement in my acne. However, I felt like the day defence dried out my skin too much, especially on my neck, so I ended up using an alternative day cream to rectify this. The cleanser also removes makeup effectively (I cleansed twice in order to achieve this), and I love that the day cream contains SPF25 (I can confirm that I did not get sunburnt while out and about with this on!).
--Value for money--
Individually this amounts to just over 13GBP per product, which seems reasonable. This is a significant reduction compared to actually buying the products on their own online (they retail at 14.95GBP-19.95GBP). So the bundle of products is definitely the way forward if you want a complete regimen. I also think it's worth the money in terms of the effectiveness of the cleanser and night cream - though for myself I would give the day cream a miss. Nonetheless, I would recommend the range for anyone with sensitive skin.
perfect partners
Chameleon Concealer SPF20, 19.95GBP
Kalme Skin Care Kit (Full Range), 52.95GBP*
Kalme Undercoat, 9.95GBP
Day Defence Cream+SPF30, 19.95**

*contains all the products from the basic kit plus the concealer - representing a saving of 6.95GBP.
**note that this differs from the SPF25 cream included in the basic and full kits

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