Monday, 29 April 2019

Poppy Sloane Tres Chic Mascara Reformulated

RRP: £15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

perfect partner
Bamboo Cleansing Cloth, £5

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Neurocosmetics: the future of skincare?

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

So far, so millennial.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Lush Beak Street Shower Bomb

RRP: £2.75

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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