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The Body Shop Earth Lovers Shower Gel 22/05/2015

It's okay, but nothing special

The Body Shop Earth Lovers Shower Gel I’ve got a stockpile of Body Shop products in my room and a while ago I went rummaging through it and pulled out this Earth Lovers Lemon & Thyme Shower Gel. I don’t think the range is still available online, though it may be in store – but you might be able to get hold of some on eBay if you want. The 250ml bottle is 100% biodegradable and made of 100% recycled plastic. It looks like it’s The Body Shop’s attempt to move into the “natural cosmetics” market – the shower gel is soap-free and contains no sulphates, no parabens and no colourants. It doesn’t look particularly exciting, but the green and yellow coloured bottle is pleasant enough. The gel contains Community Fair Trade aloe vera to soothe and condition skin. I really love the smell of this product. It is fresh and natural without being overly herbal – some products containing herbs can be quite odd but this really is lovely. I’ve enjoyed using it to wake me up in the morning as it is very refreshing. The actual shower gel is clear and is very runny. It lathers up surprisingly well for a sulphate-free product, but I do end up using much more than I want to, just because it is so runny. I try to minimise this by washing with a sponge and being careful when I tip the product out, but I still end up using it very quickly, and I only have a small amount of product left despite only using it for a couple of weeks. The product is gentle on my skin and doesn’t cause irritation. I do have to moisturise afterwards, however, ...

Dr Nick Lowe Purifying Foaming Cleanser 21/05/2015

A good cleanser

Dr Nick Lowe Purifying Foaming Cleanser I have a lot of little bottles of cleansers that I’ve accumulated through monthly beauty box deliveries. I’ve cancelled them all so I can get on with actually using the products I have! One of these is the Dr Nick Lowe Purifying Foaming Cleanser. This product is an anti-bacterial foaming facial wash. It contains something called “Anti Blemish Cranley Complex” which is meant to deep clean pores and lift daily impurities. It replenishes and brightens with a deep-cleansing action. My bottle is 50ml, which appears to be worth £4, as a full-size 150ml bottle available from Boots costs £12. This isn’t a cheap facial wash, but isn’t the most expensive either. As well as Boots, it is available from the Dr Nick Lowe website at and online stores such as Makeup Alley. The bottle is simple white with black lettering, and a clear plastic top which you remove in order to press down on the pump. It comes out a bit like shaving foam – the small size of the bottle belies the amount of product you get, as one pump produces enough foam for the face. It has a very faint scent which isn’t unpleasant but isn’t anything special either. You are meant to massage the foam onto wet skin in gentle circular motions, rinsing off with lukewarm water and drying the skin gently. I find the product easy to use. The foam covers my face well and I don’t need to use too much. It feels very gentle on my skin and I find that after use my skin doesn’t feel tight or dry, which can sometimes ...

Andrea Garland Pink Palma Rosa Purifying Facial Scrub 20/05/2015

Good facial scrub

Andrea Garland Pink Palma Rosa Purifying Facial Scrub At Christmas, I got an Andrea Garland gift box in the sale from ASOS. This contained a number of skincare products. Andrea Garland is a relatively new British beauty brand. Andrea’s main product is lip balm and orange blossom body balm sold in various different containers, beautiful designs including some vintage compacts and pill boxes. When you have used up your lip balm you can send it back and get a refill of lip balm for a much lower price. The company also makes a number of other skincare products. I got this Pink Palma Rosa Purifying Facial Scrub in my box. My tub is a smaller 30ml one: a full size product is £15 for 60ml. This is quite pricey – would it be worth it? The scrub is a dusky pink colour which does look nice. It has an amazing floral, slightly old-fashioned smell. It is made of a base of natural loofah flakes and jojoba beads, which help to exfoliate the skin, and pink clay, which helps to remove oil. The scrub also contains lemon, which helps to tighten, and Palma Rosa, which helps to balance the skin. The scrub is quite fine, which is good for a facial scrub. It is fairly gentle on the face, and it isn’t scratchy or too harsh, but it seems to scrub well and feels like it is doing a good job. I only need a tiny amount at once, so it is lasting me ages as I only use it twice a week. On these occasions I use it in the morning, instead of my normal facial wash, and apply moisturiser afterwards. Despite the strong scent, the product doesn’t irritate my ...

Alberto Balsam Sun Kissed Raspberry Conditioner 19/05/2015

Bargainous conditioner

Alberto Balsam Sun Kissed Raspberry Conditioner I’m trying to save money at the moment, so I’ve been purchasing cheaper shampoo and conditioner products. One of my best purchases has been this Alberto Balsam Sun-Kissed Raspberry Conditioner. This brand has been around for a long time: I remember using it over a decade ago, and it’s still going strong. It is one of the most consistently cheap brands available, costing £1 in Tesco and Savers for a 400ml bottle, and varied, but always low, prices elsewhere. There are a number of different types around, each with a different colour. The raspberry conditioner is pink with a picture of raspberries on the front, and it is for normal to dry hair. The conditioner contains pro vitamin B5 to strengthen, and juniper and camomile extracts. It has a lovely fruity smell that is slightly artificial but pleasant nevertheless. It is quite runny, so I need to be careful not to use too much. I apply a 50p-sized piece to my hair, concentrating on the ends, after shampooing. The conditioner goes on well and rinses off easily. My hair doesn’t smell too much after shampooing, which is a shame as I do like the raspberry scent. There is a faint aroma, however. It is stated that the conditioner improves softness and shine, revitalising and moisturising the hair, and I have to say that this is true. My hair does feel soft and it does look reasonably shiny. I won’t say it’s a miracle worker but it does do an adequate job. The bottle has a flip-top lid which is easy to use, and the plastic is ...

Christopher Wicks English Laundry Signature Eau de Parfum 15/05/2015

Despite the name, this smells much nicer than laundry!

Christopher Wicks English Laundry Signature Eau de Parfum Recently, in a beauty box, I got a sample of a perfume called English Laundry by Christopher Wicks. The bottle was pale pink with white script writing. It was stylish but not very exciting. In fact, I can’t say that I was all that excited by the perfume at all. I didn’t think the name was very interesting, and I’d never heard of it before. The scent is meant to be an approximation of an English country garden. It has top notes of rose geranium and creamy white flowers, with base notes of wood, spice and musk. I’m not very good at identifying aspects of scents, and I couldn’t pick out individual floral notes for certain, though I could detect a hint of musk. However, once I smelled the perfume I realised that I had misjudged it – it was incredible. Floral, musky, spicy and warm without being overpowering. A very versatile scent, which I think could be worn during the daytime or for an evening event. It is fresh and beautiful, and I think women of all ages would appreciate it. The fragrance lasts for several hours on my skin, which is very impressive. The perfume seems hard to get hold of: I had trouble tracking it down online, and ended up on the Birchbox website, since it was in a Birchbox monthly beauty box that I originally got the sample. The full size bottle is pink-coloured fading into white. It costs £60 from the Birchbox website (eau de parfum) and it is also possible to buy a purse spray for £16. The perfume is quite pricey, but to be honest considering the quality ...

Lush Inhale Exhale 06/05/2015

Inhale, exhale, and relax

Lush Inhale Exhale Always ready to try new things, I was looking forward to sampling Lush’s new bath bomb Inhale Exhale. This is “a bath bomb of two halves”, created with the two halves of the Breath of God fragrance, Inhale and Exhale. The bath bomb itself is the standard round shape, however it looks pretty interesting as one half (Inhale) is orange and the other (Exhale) is blue. The bath bomb cost me £3.25, which is pricey but Lush’s products are good quality so I don’t begrudge paying this. Anyway, it’s cheaper than a glass of wine! The bath bomb is made with sodium bicarbonate and citric acid to allow it to fizz. It does not contain sodium laureth sulphate – good news for those of you who find this irritates their skin. The Inhale half contains neroli and rose oils and is a light fruity fragrance, while the exhale half contains ylang ylang, cedarwood and black pepper, and is a deeper, more intense and smoky scent. The bath bomb is suitable for vegans. As with most bath bombs, I decided to run the bath first before dropping the bath bomb into it, so I could watch it fizz. The product is designed to fizz away slowly, with the orange, lighter half dissolving first, followed by the blue half. The bath started with a lovely light fruity fragrance that was uplifting; as the bath bomb dissolved the smokier, woodier aspect to the scent became more pronounced, ending in the mingling of the two scents to create a smell just like the Breath of God perfume. The visual effects were pretty ...

Lush Unicorn Horn 02/05/2015

Magical bubble bar

Lush Unicorn Horn The Unicorn Horn is a bubble bar I spied a while ago on Facebook: it was a very limited edition product available at Lush’s (now closed) Covent Garden shop, and I didn’t manage to get hold of one. I was very pleased, therefore, when it arrived as a limited edition product this spring, available online and in all Lush shops. Suitable for vegans, the unicorn horn contains a mixture of sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar and sodium laureth sulphate which produce the unique texture and consistency enabling the bar to dissolve in the bath, as well as producing lots of bubbles. It contains lavender, ylang ylang and neroli oils to refresh and calm, as well as sparkling lustre. It is one of the prettiest bubble bars I’ve seen in a while, with coloured pastel stripes and stars. I also thought it had a lovely scent – not as “loud” or distinctive as others I’ve tried, but I found the scent to be gently uplifting, quite subtle and altogether pleasant. I only used half of the bar each time, crumbling it into the running water to be faced with a mound of lovely bubbles. I had worried that the lovely colours of the bar would turn the water a horrible murky colour when combined together, but this proved not to be the case: it ended up as a lovely lilac colour. When I got in the water felt extremely soft and the light uplifting scent wafted around the room. I felt thoroughly relaxed after my bath, and my skin felt soft too: I didn’t need to apply moisturiser. I also felt calmer and ...

Lush Witches Ball Bubble Bar 29/04/2015

Having a ball

Lush Witches Ball Bubble Bar A while ago my favourite shop, Lush, introduced the Kitchen, in which they made very limited edition batches of new and older products. This is how I got hold of the Witches’ Ball, a product first produced for Christmas 2008, and which has made several appearances in other seasons since (usually around Halloween time). I paid £3.95 for mine – this is pricey but normal for a Lush bath product, and I justify it by pointing out that it’s cheaper and healthier than a glass of wine and just as relaxing! In any case, I got two baths out of this – it’s not a single-use product, unlike the bath bombs. Witches’ Ball is unusual-looking, dark purple colour with “bits” in it, a blend of herb and spice essential oils. It is made with a base of sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar and sodium laureth sulphate, which help it to dissolve and turn into bubbles in the bath. It also contains dried cranberries and currants, as well as stuck-on dried star anise which do give it something of a “magical” appearance. The product contains peppermint, rosemary and sage oil as well as cloves and dried parsley – an unusual combination which accounts for the refreshing herbal fragrance, very unyusual especially in a bathing product! As with all bubble bars from Lush, I crumbled it under the running bath (after cutting it in half first and saving the other half for later) to allow it to dissolve. By the time it was finished and I got into the bath, the water was a pale purple colour, rather inviting, with ...

Ren Evercalm Global Protection Day Cream 27/04/2015

Good cream, but expensive

Lush Rose Bombshell Bath Bomb 23/04/2015

Bombshell in the bath

Lush Rose Bombshell Bath Bomb As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m a huge fan of the store Lush and I always try to sample their new products. They’ve released a lot of limited edition items this year already, starting with Valentine’s Day then on to Mothers’ Day and Easter. This Rose Bombshell bath bomb was released as part of the Mothers’ Day range, but as my mam doesn’t particularly like Lush, I bought this one for myself! Rose Bombshell is easily overlooked in the Lush store, its simple round shape and white colour, decorated only with a single rosebud, is easy to miss compared to the other brightly coloured, bizarrely shaped items. However, it’s definitely worth seeking out. Suitable for vegans and costing £3.50, the bath bomb is made with a base of sodium bicarbonate and citric acid which helps it to fizz. It also contains soya milk powder which helps to moisturise. Orange flower absolute, rosewood and Turkish rose oils provide a gorgeous floral scent while red rose petals scatter around the bath. As with all bath bombs, I ran the bath first before dropping it in so I could watch it fizz. It fizzed away slowly and dissolved, releasing rose petals into the bath. Interestingly, the inside of the bomb was a dusky pink colour and this spread around the bath, meaning I had interesting pink bath water instead of the white I had expected. The smell wafted around the bath and the water felt silky-soft. After my bath, my skin felt soft and I didn’t need to apply moisturiser. The smell lasted on my skin for ...

Lush Mother Superior Bubble Bar 21/04/2015

A superior bath

Lush Lonely Heart Bubble Bar 16/04/2015

Owner of a lonely heart

Lush Lonely Heart Bubble Bar Despite my dislike of Valentine’s Day, I was still happy to get hold of Lush’s limited edition Valentine’s products. One of these was the Lonely Heart bubble bar, an attractive product, being a red heart with a golden glittery colour. I broke it in half (a broken heart!) and used it in two separate baths. The bubble bar is suitable for vegans and is made with a base of sodium bicarbonate, cream of tartar and sodium laureth sulphate to create the crumbly texture of the bar and help it create bubbles. It’s worth noting, though, that SLS can cause skin irritation in some people – something to be aware of if you have sensitive skin. The bubble bar contains lemongrass oil, bergamot oil, jasmine absolute, rose absolute and oakmoss extract. It has a rich sensual scent which I really like, as it has a rather refreshing edge to it. I thought it smelled lovely – floral with added sweetness. The bar cost me £3.50, which is about normal for this kind of thing from Lush. I crumbled half of the bar into the water as the bath was running: it created lots of bubbles. The water felt really soft and was a gorgeous red colour too. There was a hint of gold shimmer throughout the water as well. I thoroughly enjoyed my bath and felt really warmed up by the end of it. My bath felt relaxing and the smell wafted around the room. Afterwards, I didn’t need to use too much moisturiser. The scent lasted on my skin for a while, too. There was a very faint shimmer present, though not a great deal. I ...

Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream 14/04/2015

Decent but not worth the price

Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream In a beauty box I got a sample of this Eslor Firming Collagen Day Cream. This cream is an anti-ageing cream from the Eslor brand, which I hadn’t heard of before. The cream contains hyrdolyed marine collagen (whatever that is) and a variety of botanicals which contain nutrients. These help to lock in moisture, boost radiance and enhance elasticity. The cream does not contain parabens. It is rather pricey at £50 for 50ml but it does contain an interesting range of ingredients. The cream comes in a tapered brown tub which seems to my cynical mind to have been designed to look like it holds more cream than it actually does. Having said that, I only had to use a small amount of cream at once so it does last a while. The cream is fairly thick and has a faint smell. However I didn’t find it too greasy, which was a pleasant surprise as I do have slightly oily skin and thick creams can sometimes make my skin too greasy. It went on easily and sank into my skin well; I experienced no skin irritation. The cream proved an effective base for makeup, and overall I had no problems with it. After using the cream for a couple of weeks, I was happy with the condition of my skin but in general couldn’t see that it had improved hugely in the intervening period. In fairness, two weeks isn’t really long enough to see a difference, but to be honest I don’t really have any wrinkles anyway so I’m not sure I’d see a difference at all. Overall, I quite liked this cream and it might be worth a try ...
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