Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Pai Echium Eye Cream


Prelude:
OK so the deal I have just made with myself is that if I am not going to drag my behind to the gym I am going to sit it in front of the laptop and tap this post out. So here I am. And here it is!

Synopsis:
A simple 'two thumbs up' for a beauty staple by Pai - their Echium Eye Cream. And a way of making me feel less lazy.

Full article:
I tend to use a facial oil morning and night and if you read this regularly you'll know I LOVE A FACIAL OIL! And I was doing OK without the use of an eye cream as I find an oil is usually rich enough. That was until now. For whatever reason, since I finished up working a month ago (OK, OK! 6 weeks ago) my sleep pattern has gone all awry. I'm turning a little nocturnal and my eyes are telling the tale on me!

To the rescue, I have turned to Pai's Echium Eye Cream for its rich and most excellent capabilities of smoothing out those crinkly badger eyes. As with everything Pai does, it's supremely gentle - a thick cream, that absorbs quickly and mess free. The pump delivers a healthy amount and the packaging is well designed. Let it be noted that I hate tiny little eye-cream bottles that get lost at the bottom of a make up bag or down the back of the dressing table. It's a minor thing but it makes a difference.

But nevermind all that, the real deal with this cream is the bountiful benefits of echium. Echium contains GLA, gamma linolenic acid which is an omega-6 with a great reputation for anti-ageing and cell regeneration. And not only that, it also contains stearidonic acid (SDA) which is a rare form of omega-3, further supporting these anti-ageing credentials.

Topical application of these EFAs is reported to have results on your skin but if you really want to up the effects of the essential fatty acids EAT THEM too!

Here are some shelled hemp seeds. Delicious! Nutty!

Hemp seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids that occur in a ratio that is most beneficial to our body. I buy shelled hemp seeds and put them in my porridge in the morning. So there you go. Echium Eye Cream at Night. Hemp seeds in the morning. Easy really.

Afterthought:
I didn't realise I was going to sprinkle this post with a titbit of dietary information. But I did! Quelle surprise!

Pai Echium Eye Cream is £24.00 for 10ml available online
Shelled Hemp seeds available online at www.thesuperfoodco.co.uk

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

rms beauty - skincare with colour


rms is rocking my world right now. The reason I'm so in to this make up brand is because it's really all about skincare. Skincare with colour. Food for the face. There's many a great philosophy on their website (which I highly recommend you read) but the plain truth is these products are super-high-performing make up products made with beautifully beneficial ingredients for your skin. What's not to love!

rms was created by make up artist Rose-Marie Swift - so you don't have to just take it from me that these are great make up products! After many years working as a make up artist, Rose-Marie began to suffer with her health, tests revealing she had high levels of heavy metals, solvents and pesticides in her body. When asked if she worked in the cosmetics industry, a connection between her illness and her work as a make up artist was made. Launching the line only in 2008, the brand is one of the first truly organic colour lines of its kind and I think it is a relatively undiscovered little gem here in the UK.
I bought 'Un'-cover up because I desperately wanted a concealer that wasn't adding to the problem of ageing around the eyes. I was convinced the one I was using (not natural) was thinning my skin and helping to deep furrows beneath my poor peepers. You'll agree that urgent and expensive measures were necessary. 

Although it feels like you're paying a lot for this TINY little glass pot (its £28.00 for 5.67g) let me stress that this is a very highly pigmented little product that packs a powerful punch, metaphorically speaking - no black eyes here! It conceals very well. Not mask-like mind, which is fine by me. And without deadening the skin too, which I think many uber-concealers do and is something I hate.

Even better you can also use this as a foundation too. This encourages you spot correct the areas that need a little coverage, like around the nose and mouth without the need for a heavy layer all over the face. I mean you can still do that (and I often do!) because with a product like this, you are only feeding your skin not suffocating it. It doesn't cake and with good blending it's quite undetectable on the skin.

It's very different to other mineral make up I've used and to your regular foundation/concealer. It's a very solid, opaque, pigmented 'balm'. It's not a cream. It's dense. But it is very oily. Please do not let that put you off.  This base of coconut oil is precisely why it's so good for your skin and what makes it special. Although I do feel the need for some kind of finishing powder (welcoming Lily Lolo mineral foundation here) I love the texture of this product. It spreads better than butter! And it doesn't drag the skin. And it's actually keeping your skin nourished and protected whilst you look fabulous. Besides the coconut oil we have castor seed oil, beeswax, cocoa seed oil, jojoba seed oil, vitamin E and rosemary extract, plus various minerals like titanium and iron oxides to give it its colour. And that's it ...I know! 

The other product I bought was the Lip2Cheek which (the name has probably already tipped you off) can be used as both a lip colour and a cheek tint. Multi-tasking to the max. The colour I chose was 'Smile' which is a beautiful coral (above). rms ask you to note that this particular shade is 0.2% safe synthetic colour - it seems not even nature does this kind of coral all by itself! Oh well. I can live with that.

The texture of this one is similar to the 'Un'-cover up but a little less oily. It dabs in very nicely on the cheeks and the lips, again it's very pigmented and contains a similar line up of natural base ingredients with various mineral pigments making up the colour (+ that 0.2%). It's the same price too, £28.00 but for slightly less product. But I say think of it as getting two products in one. (All the other colours in the range are 100% natural by the way. Typical I wanted the one that wasn't! Hah!)

I think it's fair to point out that I think these products don't have that 'last all day' factor like some make up promises to do (but never does either). But after all, why would you want it to? It's much nicer to top up your make up during the day, keeping it fresh and keeping out those nasty ingredients.

And one more thing! I also think it's important to point out that although these products mightn't last all day, they do LAST FOREVER! I have been slapping on the 'Un'-cover up literally all over my face in what I like to call the Three Layer Effect (using Madara Moonflower Tinting Fluid under it and Lily Lolo mineral foundation over it) and there is still loads of it left. The Lip2Cheek I have barely even dented with every day multiple applications. There is actually great value here.

And furthermore, compare these prices to those of the big beauty houses and there's nothing in it except that these products are uniquely designed to be nothing but nourishing on your skin, acting like skincare whilst performing like make up. And there's a lot to say for that.

rms beauty 'Un'-cover up and Lip2Cheek available at Content Beauty in store and online, which is  such a lovely shop and where I bought mine.





Monday, 5 December 2011

A word on 'Greenwashing'

Greenwashers can scram!!!

You know what, for a long time I wasn't going to do this - what I am about to do. I wasn't going to rubbish products as a way of promoting natural skincare. I wanted people to see the benefits in clean products for their own merits, not because they had been scared into using them over something else.

But now... Sod it! This greenwashing thing has really cheesed me off, one step too far. 

For some time now many synthetic chemicals used in our everyday products have been under question. Interest and research on this matter is growing and the natural and organic cosmetic industry has boomed - and still continues to boom. Great! Except that the big brands realised that the organic skincare industry had been taking a big bite out of their pie and in a disappointingly predictable way, they wanted in too.

The shelves in just about every store selling cosmetics are crammed with products that reference natural plant extracts either in their very name, the product description or its packaging. Words like 'pure' and 'natural' along with pictures of leaves and flowers and slow motion footage of coconuts breaking open on a lovely rock by a lagoon in paradise - it all works towards creating a brand image. One of purity; of trustworthiness; of superiority and ultimately effectiveness. 

But guess what? These lovely, effective and trustworthy natural extracts are in a base of chemical penetration enhancers, flow enhancers, detergents, fragrance and preservatives. A whole mixture of things that can upset skin, triggering allergies, contact dermatitis, eczema, chapping and dehydration. And yet so many of these more subtle effects are probably never attributed to the product and that isn't even hinting at the long term potential harm that some ingredients could cause.

The labelling laws surrounding cosmetics are laughable. With terminology becoming meaningless. 'Pure', 'natural' and even 'organic' mean very little when printed on the front of a product because there is no legal definition on these kinds of words. Although 'organic' is a standard that is certified by various organisations (with varying criteria and therefore varying standards of 'organic'), this need only apply to one ingredient and this can be in miniscule proportions in the formula. Known carcinogens are permitted for use in toiletries simply due to the argument that in small enough doses, they are harmless. Skin irritants are used for the same reason. Nevermind that these ingredients can be present in every single product you use during the course of a day. 'Limited exposure' is suddenly not so limited. All such suspect ingredients are used simply because they are cheap and the industries surrounding their manufacture are huge. 

To vilify just a few, brands like Simple, Herbal Essences, The Body Shop, Palmolive, Radox, Sanex, Garnier tout around their natural ingredients like a badge of honour, deceiving the regular consumer into thinking they have in their hands something good, something 'pure'. We know now that in cosmetics this means nothing. PR is big bucks and companies like this know how to prise the pennies out of our well-meaning wallets. And I've had enough!

What prompted my outburst here was reading this on Twitter by @BeautyShortlist about Nivea Pure and Natural:


This bold advance by Nivea into the the natural beauty sector had not gone unnoticed by me. They have formulated this range without the use of parabens, silicones, mineral oils and colourants, yet browsing through their ingredients lists they still use parfum, other odour masking ingredients and preservatives that can all upset skin. Naughty Nivea indeed. After reading a call to arms on the Beauty Shortlist website I had to break my own rule and flag this up. Please do read the post on the link above.

So here's what to do...

For the worst offenders check my Hit List Page which is a very basic list of the some of the most common and yet most easily avoidable ingredients (I will continue to add to this as it is by no means exhaustive).

Check out anything you are suspicious of on the SkinDeep Database by the Environmental Working Group. This is a great resource to see what research has indicated in the safety of the chemicals in our products.

Another great site for reference is at the Green Pages of the Beauty Bible website. I do recommend reading The Green Beauty Bible as a great introduction to why it matters to pick clean, green, natural and organic products and gives great recommendations on products tested by regular consumers. But beware the rest of the website does not have these issues at heart and even within these more natural brands promoted by the book there are still some guilty parties!!)

So Final Words:
People! READ THE LABELS! Do not trust everything you read on the front of a bottle! No matter who makes it. Do not trust the marketing fatcats! Use your purchasing power! Know what you are buying! And please, please, please share this! Viva La Revolution!

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation




I admit I am very late to the mineral foundation party. I mean years late! It's not that I was unaware just uninterested. But I'm not trying to deliver breaking news here, just wanting to share a little favourite. I have been using this foundation for ages now and although it is no surprise I haven't yet written about it (considering a distinct lack of activity since the zombies took over my life) I can't actually believe I still haven't written about it! Gah!

So here's the story. I was sceptical on mineral foundations. I was sceptical of loose formulations especially. Only because those I had seen wear them just had a cakey kind of finish which is something I'd prefer on a plate rather than my face. (Mmm... cake) It all seemed a bit messy and not very portable. Well. The portable thing is still an issue with me but this, Lily Lolo Mineral foundation, has undone a few preconceptions making my foundation of choice right now - and it has been for many many months.

It's very silky. You can really buff it in which is the key to this kind of make up. Buff and double buff. It's simple really and the Super Kabuki brush I bought at the same time makes easy work of this. I bought the shade 'Blondie' after seeing it recommended as a 'suits all' shade for fair skins in some Sunday supplement and I think it probably does. It gives great, buildable coverage (did I mention the need to buff enough?) and a nice subtle glow with matte finish which doesn't even sound possible but it is. I use a layer of Madara Moonflower Tinting Fluid before applying as I like to optimise this glow and boy that really does it.

Quick aside: I really hate heavy coverage foundation that blanks out skin and looks too even, too mask-like. The thing with coverage (I keep finding myself saying this) is that if your skin needs a little help, going for full on warpaint only emphasises uneven texture and can highlight problem areas, like spots etc. If you go for a lighter, slightly more sheer formula (which is the good thing about this kind of application - you can gently build it) you get a finish which makes skin still look alive! And then you can target problem areas with precision concealing and colour correction. It's far more effective for a real look. Sorry rant/lesson/opinion over. Back to Lily Lolo...

The nice thing about Lily Lolo is that it really is a pure brand. Other mineral make ups of this type can contain fillers, dyes, bismuth oxychloride, nanoparticles etc which is misleading when you are trying to flex a bit of buying power and choose natural. And there are a lot of 'mineral' make ups out there, from practically every major make up house. But not all are made equal. Read the labels and don't be fooled!

The bonuses of natural mineral make up are plentiful! There is a natural SPF with titanium and zinc oxide (though this isn't accredited) as these both align on the surface of the skin helping to reflect the sun. Plus both these ingredients can have an anti-immflammatory effect. Since the minerals stay on the surface of the skin (if they aren't nano-sized), nothing gets absorbed which keeps pores clear and prevents anything unwanted ending up in you body and damaging cell health. The absence of liquid means there is no need for preservatives, keeping it even more natural. The Earth has a million colours and somewhere out there is a rock that can be crushed into your prefect match - no need for chemical dyes. And in this particular case, Lily Lolo mineral foundation is really cheap! Half the price of some at £12.49 and of superior quality in my opinion. So that really is a high scoring round. Triple bonus points.

Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation is £12.49 for 10g (which is normal and way more than it sounds)
Super Kabuki Brush is £14.29 (brush in picture above is a powder brush not the kabuki one)

Take a look here
www.lilylolo.co.uk

P.S. You can get smaller 0.75g samples of all colours from the website and try a selection of colours with their trial kits making it really easy to give it a go.




Thursday, 17 November 2011

Pai Lotus and Orange Blossom BioAffinity Toner (You can't say that in one breath can you?)



So then. First on the long list of posts I need to catch up on is the.... here we go... Pai Lotus and Orange Blossom BiAffinity Toner. And what a start to the day that is!

The BioAffinity range includes the Lotus and Orange Blossom Toner for dry/sensitive skin and the Rice Plant and Rosemary Toner for combination/sensitive skin. I have tried both, though the Lotus one is my favourite so I'll jump straight to it...

Now then, this isn't your average toner, where regular water has a nice smell and some clever extracts put in it if you're lucky (alcohol and inactive extracts if you're not), offering little benefit to skin and maybe even drying it out (boo!) No, the Bioaffinity range is different. Made with 'living water' as Pai puts it, that is water taken directly from the plants, which not only contain all the benefits of the plants used but at a pH level that is exactly like skin.

The reason this is so much better for your skin is because skin is slightly acidic at 5.5 and at this pH, the natural barrier function is optimum, keeping bacteria at bay and protecting it from the elements. Regular water, although being pH neutral at 7.0 can make the skin slightly more alkaline, interfering with the natural barrier function making it easier for bacteria to cause breakouts (argh!)

So alongside it being pH friendly, you also get the added benefits from the plants themselves. Lotus is very calming (something to do with cutaneous neuropeptides which I don't pretend to understand but am very impressed by) and also helps protect skin from free-radical damage. Orange Blossom has a brightening effect as it stimulates circulation. Great!

It is very fresh. It's a very light spritz, not too much of a soaking. The smell is slightly sweet but not over-powering in any way, I can't detect anything orangey but that's OK. I usually go for 2-3 squirts in the morning and evening after cleansing and then apply a facial oil whilst it's still drying to get that extra bit of mileage. Simple really.

I can't really skip this step now. I have myself hooked on it. I love a bit of science behind my skincare and the reasoning makes sense to me. I think it's really easy to go overboard when cleansing, stripping the skin of it's natural barrier, even with something as gentle as water. And so bringing back at little life in a handy pump spray in an attractive heavy frosted glass bottle has definitely got my vote. Pai, you've done it again. Well done.

Pai BioAffinity Toners are both £30 available from their website.

Baby, I'm back in the game


I admit I have been back in the country for over a week now. Alas, the World War Z days are over. The zombies have been put to bed. My make up kit has finally been cleared out of the hallway and it's about time I got on with the ever-longer list of wonderful things I have to tell you about. Baby, I'm back. OK, LET's GO!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Antipodes Grapeseed Butter Cleanser



So, when my Suti cleansing balm ran out I grew quite distressed. What to do next? I didn’t really want to try anything else, because it truly has become a firm favourite. But in the name of research, I sacrificed my own feelings for the good of the blog and went out in search of another. (Sorry Suti, I’ll come back to thee soon.)

What I came home with (after a trip to Whole Food Market) was Antipodes Grapeseed Cleansing Butter. You may be able to tell, if you know either cleanser, that I was really trying to find something the-same-but-different. It is a lovely balm, with slight texture, to massage in and remove with a nice hot cloth. It works on the eyes too, which is a must for me as I hate the fuss of taking off eye make up. And it does do its work bravely, making easy work of mascara. It is actually quite grainy (from the hibiscus flower it contains), nothing that would hurt and certainly nothing that would endanger your eyes. 

And I tell you what, its lasting blooming ages. I bought it about two months ago and I reckon I have another couple months worth in there at least! Maybe longer. In fact, I’ve started using more and more of it just to try and run it out. For fun!

The main players are sweet almond oil, shea butter and coconut oil so you know you are definitely getting good cleansing action with these babies. Plus there is harekeke seed oil which is a new one for me, intended, along with blue chamomile to soothe the skin. It also is a good antibacterial which is what you need in a cleanser.

And here is the really good bit, it also contains the sauvignon blanc grapes of New Zealand, the Vinanza Gold grape seed extract, which gives your skin that lovely, relaxed glow that usually only comes after a nice glass of dry white. Wonderful.

Antipodes Grapeseed Butter Cleanser is £24.99 for 75g

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Pai BioRegenerate Rosehip Oil: Revisited



I love Location Location Location and Relocation Relocation. And also Grand Designs. But I really love each one of those programmes when they repeat them with an extra part - REVISITED! Kevin McCloud pitches up in his Barbour and boots with a whole monologue of insightful and slightly irritating architectural analyses written on the back of his hand and you get to see how that stainless steel conservatory worked out or what they did with that dated old 'two up two down' with front garden and side access and a rotten roof. So, you know what? I thought I'd do the same and revisit Pai's lovely Rosehip oil as I have been using it solidly for ages now and it really is something special.

I wrote a post a wee while back now so read the original here.

I ran out of a particular facial oil I was loving (Suti) and with the inconvenience of buying online when you are working all over the goddamn place and trying to track down natural products in the usual rubbish high street stores I decided to stick with something that I already had and was a tried and tested hit.

The BioRegenerate is such a potent rosehip oil which is excellent for straightening out your skin, repairing damage, keeping oil production in check and bestowing a youthful glow upon one’s bonnie wee cheeks.

I have been using it and nothing else, morning and night for well over a month and I have to say, after switching completely to facial oils maybe even six months ago now, my skin has definitely become more refined. It seems less congested around my nose. There is a certain smoothness or dare I say plumpness to my complexion, which given that I'm getting an average of 5 hours sleep a night what with work and all, I think that is nothing short of fantastic.

I can’t recommend using facial oils enough in place of regular moisturiser. And if you really don’t like the idea of only using oil at least make the switch at night time when your skin goes into it’s repair phase. But it’s worth reiterating here that I really don’t feel it makes my skin oily or takes too long to absorb. After cleansing my face, I put maybe three drops into the palm of my hand, press it in and by the time I have inspected my brows for plucking, I’m ready to go ahead with the rest of my make up. So please don’t be put off using it in the morning. I really think it makes a difference. So there you have it. Pai BioRegenerate : Revisited.

Pai BioRegenerate Rosehip Oil is £20 for 30ml

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Lavera Self Tanning lotion



So whilst we are on the subject of tanning and whilst there is still a glimmer of sunshine to our days, I thought I’d tell you about Lavera’s Self Tanning Lotion.

I bought this because as I said in the previous post, I’m no major tan-fan but I do look pretty pale in the bluest kind of way. If you were to be unkind you might call my natural pallor “Up All Night Grey” or maybe “A4 Invisible”.

I’ve tried a few of the usual culprits in the past (non-natural, boo!) that turn you funny colours and although orange and tan are very seasonal trends right now, I’m not feeling the look head to toe, front and back!

Lavera do a great wide range of natural products all very well priced and affordable. This is a really nice colour on me. I do go quite a yellow-tan colour so orangey versions do tell tales on me and this feels a little more real.

It goes on easily, it’s quite a thick cream actually and it smells quite nice - that is until it develops, obviously, which is my only issue with these things – the colour might look real but if you stink of fake tan, you’re fooling no one!

But nevertheless, you can’t have everything and the compromise is worth it. It’s great to have options in this area and be able to choose a natural product that gives good results. Be warned about streaks, it really isn't a problem if you're thorough, but it was around the hands that gave me away, where I tried to wash my palms clean but left silly patches all around my wrists. Gah! And if you've made this silly blunder, unfortunately it does last a good couple of days. If you're a little more adept at putting it on and wear gloves like you're supposed to, this won't be an issue and you'll have a lovely glow for a while.

I will definitely keep using this one and I would buy it again, but I do like a gradual tanner as it gives you slight more control and also I'm keen to try Lavera's Self Tanning Spray with a hint of colour which is just genuis really isn't it? You mean, I can actually see where I'm putting it when smothering it all over myself? Inspired!

Lavera Self Tanning Lotion is anywhere between £10 and £14 for 150ml so shop around!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Lovea Natural Sunscreen SPF 15



So long ago when I was filming in Malta I promised I would write about natural sunscreen. However, as filming goes, my life fell by the wayside and suddenly it’s almost the end of the summer and the dawn of autumn and who cares about sunscreen! Especially when you’re in Glasgow which is where I have been for the past two weeks. However, I can’t go back on what I said so I’ll tell you my thoughts on the Lovea Natural Sunscreen SPF 15 for all it's worth!

Now then. First outing was, in short, a disaster. But I can safely say this was user-error as it definitely proved itself after this lobster-red event. Here's what happened.

Day off. Paradise Beach. A whole day on the beach was a tough first challenge but if it’s going to work, this will be where I notice it the most. So there I was, as pale as a sheet of A4 as my loving colleagues referred to me as. And I applied lashings and lashings and I baked and I baked and I re-applied time and again. I may have just  exaggerated how thorough I was here because I did indeed turn a sickening shade not unlike the colour of rage. And boy was it sore. I still have tan lines.

So what went wrong? The formula is nice, it’s easy and straightforward to use. All I can say is I think I just regrettably missed a fateful window when I was supposed to reapply and once your skin has burned, there is no going back…

Alas! I did not give up. I gave it another shot over the coming weeks and you know what. I didn’t burn once. But it didn't end there. See I’m a born and raised Brit so I am programmed to want to go charging outside as soon as the sun pokes through the clouds and although I’m definitely not obsessed with tanning, I want to go a nice golden brown. So maybe I’m the only one in the world but I thought that sunscreen allowed you to stay in the sun, whilst tanning, yet not get burned. The Lovea sunscreen, and I believe this to be the case with all natural sunscreens, does not actually allow you to tan. Now, I might be completely mistaken on this and I have tried to research it but with little success. So I can only go on what happened to me. Where everyone around me was turning into the deepest shade of bronze, I seemed to be getting paler (not referring to the burn which stayed a happy red for some time).

And you know why this is… that I wasn’t tanning AT ALL? Because natural sunscreen puts a barrier between your skin and the UV rays that cause skin to react to produce melanin (your tan). Titanium and Zinc oxide are most commonly used to block the sun’s rays, literally aligning themselves as pretty shaped little particles into a complete blanket over your skin. So you don’t even get a look in. Clever. But rubbish if you’re out to get brown!

Now. I’m not into chemical sunscreens either. And I’m not into burning. But given a choice of the two, I’d probably opt for the former - GULP! Did I just say that on here! What a traitor!

No! What I really think is this: I could cook myself all day if I wasn’t going to burn. But I do. So I think we should be sensible in the sun. Covering ourselves in chemical sunscreen is really just a fool’s answer to the problem, for the chemicals in sunscreen could well be more harmful and leave you more vulnerable to cancer than you would be put at risk of developing skin cancer without it. But’s it impossible to qualify what is more likely and what isn't. So I won't go into a debate about this. For me the bottom line in the cancer causing issue is limiting the factors that weaken our cellular health. There are many such factors and chemicals in products interfering where they are not wanted is only one. But I digress...

I think a little gentle sun exposure with nothing on (sunscreen, clothing, whatever!) is actually fine, enjoy it! Make some vitamin D! Just don’t go mad! So much of the time we are told how bad the sun is for you. But we all know how good it makes us feel so I think it's silly to deny ourselves a slice of sunshine. And after you’ve warmed up a bit and your skin is happy, then reach for the SPF and then make it natural. Gradual is good. So, I better take my own advice next time! 

Lovea Natural Sunscreen is anywhere between £10.75 and £11.99 so shop around. I bought mine in Whole Foods though.



Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Yantra Mat - finally!


I feel really guilty for not getting this up here sooner. The Yantra Mat, though clearly not a skincare product, still has some interesting contributions to make in the 'looking good, feeling good' arena. I'm a firm believer that feeling good means you look better. And the Yantra Mat reduces stress, increases circulation and can help improve sleep which I think all helps to brighten you up and put a smile on your face!

Let's jump straight in. The Yantra Mat works the same way as accupressure does, stimulating points all over the body to release endorphins in the brain which makes you feel shiny-happy. Cue REM music. This is partly due to the slight sensation of pain caused by a thousand-million spikes! (Think of the old Indian theraputic device, the 'bed of nails'.) Stay with me here, slight pain. Not much. 'Pain' is counteracted in the brain with the happy-hormones, endorphins, so although the feeling of lying on the mat is quite something, it is definitely bearable and almost fun!? 

So the mat itself is about the length of your upper body, from your shoulders to your waist and you can lie on it any which way you want. Put it under your legs, bum, back, stomach, even your face. Or roll it up and put it under your neck. Put it on your chair and sit on it. Maybe don't kneel on it though. That is a little bit too much pain for me!


It's all about weight distribution. If you spread your weight evenly, the sensation is a little sharp to say the least. But with a larger surface area, the spikes feel more tingly than spikey. And clothes dull the feeling so much more, making it very comfortable. And you definitely build up a tolerance to it too. Have I convinced you to lie back and try it?

There is something peculiar about this mat that makes people just want to have a go. I've had my whole family queue up for it and then they want to try it every which way.

So it's good for easing sore muscles and relieving stress and to add to these therapeutic effects Yantra have also worked out a yoga-like routine you can perform on the mat, incorporating certain poses and stretches that will further lull you into a calm and peaceful being!

Being a make up artist, I find if I'm not lugging about my kit (which weighs something similar to a small family of elephants), I'm craning over whomever is plonked in my chair. After being on your feet for anything up to 18 hours a day, I can end up feeling like an 80 year old woman. Made out of straw. Which was left outside and went soggy in the rain. Having something to collapse upon that will soothe those aches and ease those pains is a very necessary piece of equipment.  It comes with a carry bag and a foam pad inside which can be removed to reduce its size and make it much easier to carry around. I am currently filming in Cornwall so I have brought it along with me to liven up the evenings at my hotel which I'm calling the 'real Fawlty Towers'.

I do love lying on it. All you need to do is stay still and r e l a x. But I do find it quite a challenge to stay still for 20 mins without a voice to lead me up a visualisation of a garden path. But like I mentioned earlier, it is kind of fun. I have even boldly suggested Stephen Fry give it a go on Twitter. I wonder if he did?

The Yantra Mat is available online and RRPs at £39.99 but is on offer (save £10) at Lifes2Good so take a peek.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Inika at John Lewis



Ooh how exciting! I was there doing a spot of imaginary/online shopping for my house on the John Lewis website and I stumble across this babygem of information... Inika is now sold at my favourite department store.

Now I'm not certain if this is online or in store too because I couldn't wait and instantly started writing this...hang on...nope, I can't deduce from the website whether its online only. But I do see that it is a bit more expensive...but anyway, what this means is really something! I love that slowly but surely the mainstream market is catching up. 

John Lewis pleases me particularly because they already stock a fair few natural brands, Neal's Yard Remedies, Nude, REN, Trilogy and the 'less natural than they would have you believe but still better than most' - Liz Earle, plus a few others like Balance Me, Evolve... oh there's a good helping for your average consumer who isn't aware of the natural and organic issue but will happily buy quality products that are beautifully designed. So to welcome a natural make up brand onto the sales floor, or screen as the case may be, I am very impressed, because if only by accident and intrigue, more and more people might just give natural a try. Which might just get them turning their bottle of foundation round and finding out just what is actually sinking into their skin everyday.

Praise Be. Now, back to choosing a lamp.


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Madara Moonflower Tinting Fluid


Now I know I promised to keep up with this blog whilst filming here in Malta. But I'm getting up at 3.30am, getting in at 9.30pm and you can imagine there isn't much time for even the essentials like sleeping and eating. And I know I also promised my next post would be about The Yantra Mat but it isn't. Sorry. I will follow with that one when we get back because I want to try a few more things out with it... Sounds intriguing non?

I really want tell you about Madara's Moonflower Tinting Fluid which is perfect for hot, hot summer days like it is here.

So this is like a tinted moisturiser but this grey area of skincare confuses me so I always use it as a base or a pre-base and not a moisturiser. The texture is really light, spreading very easily and quickly over the skin, in no way a greasy kind of cream. Fluid is exactly the right name for it. This makes it feel very light on the skin, which means it's comfortable in hot weather, or in fact in any weather, and it doesn't clog or cake.

And the colour, either a paler, pink toned (Moonflower) or a warmer, yellow toned (Sunflower) gives the most radiant sheen to the face for that nice sunny glow.

Now, please note I hate shimmer. I hate looking slicked and reflective or glittery or sparkly. I like a subtle kind of glow. And this is exactly what you'll get. It disappears into skin, not providing coverage but definitely evening out skin tone for that subtle no-make-up-make-up.

With a dab of concealer in the right places, it's all you need to prep the skin. And you can re-apply all day without feeling like you're trowelling more on. Skin stays fresh. Can you tell how much I love it?

Madara Eco Cosmetics are from Latvia and base all their products on the plants and flowers of the Baltic region. The smell of this cream is indeed like a summer meadow. Heaven.

So, be it a moisturiser, be it make up, there's no need to decide. It's lovely either way. A definite favourite.

p.s. I won mine on a competition on Facebook - what an added bonus! And it's lasting ages though I will  surely repurchase on the event of its sad but inevitable demise.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Greetings from Malta!

Hello there!

I just thought I would tell you about all the things I promise to write about whilst I'm here.

So far all is going well! I'm Skypes' biggest fan, spending most of my free time gassing away to long lost loved ones back home but I solemnly swear I will catch up on the many things I want to write about.

The first thing is the Yantra Mat and that will definitely be the next post so if you're wondering what the bejesus a Yantra Mat is, then stay tuned...

I also have been LOVING Madara's Tinting Fluid in Moonflower so I will give you a full write up on that very soon, too.

And I have brought with me a natural sunscreen by Lovea which I'm yet to try out but will give you an honest opinion on. So if I burn or look like I'm covered in lard, I'll let you know! And I will DEFINITELY be letting you know if I miraculously turn into a bronzed Goddess too!!

The reason I haven't even tried it yet is because after arriving Wednesday/Thursday I have pretty much been cooped up inside beavering away til dusk on all the many things I have to do to set up ready for shooting in two weeks time... with background crowds of 1000 strong. Gulp.

Today has been my first day off and we're on six day weeks so I have been making the most of it but the weather is rather hazy and humid and not really sun-tanning appropriate. That is surely set to change though. It better!

So that's the latest. I won't bore you with any more though I could turn this into a diary, I'm not sure anyone would appreciate that! So I will move on to the next post and get typing!

Love BEskincareful

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Up, Up and Away!


Hello one and all.

Now then, the times they are a-changing. I have gone and got an actual job. A film job I mean. A proper one. So I am all up in the air at the moment. And soon I will literally be up in the air as I'm jetting off to Malta for a month (maybe more). I'm also up to my ears already with massive amounts to do before then and on my return I will be up to my eyes and beyond with yet more work! Sheesh!

I have so many things to write about still and I will definitely do my best to keep the posts coming, as and when I can grab a spare half hour. But with working 14 hour days (and that's being optimistic!) for the rest of the year I'm just warning you now this may not be as often as you expect!!

So, if any of you lovely readers have your own reviews for your favourite all-natural products, why not send them to me and I can publish them on your behalf... I think it might be nice to have some guest-writers on here and maybe we can all learn something! Or maybe you have been trying out something I have recommended in which case maybe you'd like to share your thoughts on that?

If you would be interested email me at beskincareful@gmail.com or my regular email if you know it.

And I will try and keep you updated on my shenanigans in the meantime too!

I don't know the Maltese for goodbye so 'Adios' for now!!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Suti - Feed Your Skin

Stockists

I came across Suti at the Natural Products Show in April and shortly after I was sent some lovely products to test out.

With facial cleansers and moisturisers being my most favoured products I was sent the organic Facial Cleanser, the Rose Water Facial Toner, and two of their hero products, the facial oils - a Rejuvenate Face Oil and the Nourish Face Oil for Night.

I was completely wowed by the look of the products (and the generosity of Tina, co-founder of the range, who sent me the products - thank you!) The glass jars and bottles are solid and serious whilst the design and colours are light and pretty. It's a beautiful range. And the contents all surpass your highest expectations. They are gorgeous...


Starting with the cleanser, this is a buttery balm that can be used to dissolve make up and daily dirt,  all removed with a muslin cloth (included), which is my cleansing method of choice. I love this texture, it's very luxurious, very rich and smells incredible thanks to the lime, mandarin, lavender and geranium oils. In a base of shea butter and avocado seed butter are yet more delicious skin loving oils - apricot, olive, sunflower and cocoa seed butter and calendula extract too. All these ingredients work to sooth, nourish and revitalise skin.

When applying this, by gouging a bit out of the pot with my finger (I'm not proper enough to use a spatula as recommended!) and working around in a massagey-motion, my skin actually starts to look even better mid-cleanse than it does still with make up on pre-cleanse. This is a weird point to make but it really does! If I could go around with this stuff smeared all over my face then I would! Sure I might look a bit greasy but also even-toned and radiant. Luckily, this effect does indeed last after cleansing!  I have been using it very happily for weeks now and my skin has loved it. It's smoother and more even and less congested-looking. And there is still loads left in the pot too. Glorious.



Following cleansing, I use the Rose Water Facial Toner which is a very juicy spritz of pure Rose Damascena flower water, cultivated and prepared under a full moon to harness the lunar energies! Cosmic. The pure flower water delivers all the benefits of rose and is not to be mistaken for water sprays with rose added for fragrance (where aqua is listed as the first ingredient). I love the feeling of spritzing it lightly all over my face, it's uplifting, calming, refreshing and provides a little moisture which helps to massage in the facial oil in the next step.



Another little beauty, the facial oils seems to be the signature products from Suti. This oil is my favourite out of the two I was sent simply due to the smell and that it can be used both day and night. And previously I would usually never use an oil in the day time, but I am well versed on how good oils are for the skin - much more understood and received into the skin than creams. I bravely ditched my moisturiser and opted for using only this, morning and evening. 

You know what, I'm hooked. It absorbs so fast it doesn't leave me feeling greasy, it certainly doesn't mean you feel oil-slicked half way through the day either. My skin loves it.  I love it. Pure magic. The oils in this blend include rosehip, frankincense, argan and evening primrose, all famed for their impressive effects on healing and repairing skin, improving elasticity and tone and dimishing lines and sun-damage. You can't beat it.

And the Nourish night oil provides equally delicious results but I have to say the smell, predominantly jasmine and patchouli, which ordinarily I would love, is a little too strong for me and I like something a little softer especially at night when going to sleep.  

The Suti range was created by Suzannah Jenkins (The Su- in the name), a homeopath, aromatherapist and alternative medicine practitioner and Tina Steadman (the Ti- in the name), graphic designer and brand manager. Knowing this, I can really see how each has had their influence on creating this gorgeously packaged and beautifully blended range. And I have really been enjoying using the products together as a holistic skincare system. All the products really compliment each other and have really changed what I regularly use, I wouldn't want to leave any of the products out of my routine. All the ingredients are so pure, ethically sourced and sustainable, certified organic where possible to be so and fair trade. The range is available to buy online from the equally attractive (and very informative) website as well as a couple of others but there are very few shops to stock it yet. Suti really is a skincare secret so get in there before the rest of the world beats you to it!

Suti Cleanse Facial Cleanser £26.00 for 50ml includes muslin cloth
Suti Rose Water Facial Toner £18.00 for 100ml 
Suti Rejuvenate Face Oil £28.00 for 30ml
Suti Nourish Face Oil £28.00 for 30ml

All available at www.suti.co.uk





Sunday, 15 May 2011

Eve of St Agnes



What a wonderfully poetic name for a natural skincare brand and in case you didn't know (which I didn't) it is in fact from a poem by Keats, The Eve of Saint Agnes.

So then, what has a saint got to do with natural skincare? Well, Aggie is the patron saint of virginity and it is the purity of nature that is at the heart of this natural, British brand. Obvious really! The poem references the rituals a young maiden performs on the eve of the feast of St. Agnes which is supposed to reveal in her dreams the man she will marry. Now then, I have been using the Palmarosa Nurturing Body Cream for several weeks and I'm not saying it's true, but I've been dreaming about Sir Johnny of Depp a lot recently. (I wish!)

Anyway, whether or not this range has the power to reveal to you your future husband, it is still worth a look to discover a new, very reasonably priced natural brand. 



The Palmarosa Body Cream is a very light weight, creamy, moussey kind of texture that quickly absorbs leaving skin feeling like...well, like comfortable skin. It doesn't leave you sticky, and it doesn't leave you feeling like a slippery eel either. In fact I can't really tell I've used it after several minutes, but I don't think that is a bad thing. I think that means my skin has done what it wanted with it and that's that. See, I don't have excessively dry skin and I don't really feel the need for body creams since ditching the SLS, so I can't comment on its performance for such desperately dry condtitions. But I'll still use a body cream in the name of research and this one is a kind of 'does what it says on the recyclable plastic tub' cream.  

It contains shea butter, the darling of natural body moisturisers, very rich and nourishing. Borage oil for improving elasticity, hemp oil for soothing and calming inflammation and aloe vera for even more of the same. These ingredients are the top four listed on the product, after aqua (water) which means they are in highest concentration and are therefore the most active. It smells very calming, quite a powdery sweet smell, with top notes of something or other and a base note of stuff. I'm not very good at describing smells but there is vanilla extract in there and it is very pleasant. 

Going back to that recyclable plastic tub, I like that Eve of St Agnes have taken a stance on sustainability and have aims to make all their packaging recyclable later this year. They have also phased out their use of unsustainable palm oil, the manufacture of which is having a grave impact on the deforestation of the rainforest, and have sought out suitable, sustainable replacements, like babussa oil. Very commendable.

I have also been testing a lip balm which I really want to comment on. I love the balm, which comes in a little slide - top tin, very discreet and easy to carry in pockets etc... 


Here he is nestling on the corner of Mr. Macbook. The formula is quite a hard balm that quickly softens on contact with the skin and doesn't leave lips feeling too sticky or glossy. It's very nourishing, very softening and, as the name suggests, smells like pineapple and coconut. Yum. The absence of nasty mineral oils means this balm will actually keep your lips soft and happy, as oppsoed to drying them out even further when the initial slick has worn (or has been eaten) off as so many standard balms do. I was quite impressed to find out its vegan credentials, opting for a base of almond oil instead of the common beeswax, so if you're into that then you can sleep easy with this lip balm. And maybe, if you are lucky enough you'll dream of puckering up with your very own Mr. Depp!!

Eve of St Agnes Palmarosa Nurturing Body Cream £13.50 for 175ml (currently on sale at £9.95)
Pineapple and Coconut Lip Balm £2.95 for 7ml
Available on the Eve of St Agnes website.






Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Balm Balm Face Balm


I love the name Balm Balm. It makes me think of Bam Bam from the Flintstones. And then makes me want to hit someone over the head with a club whilst shouting 'BAM BAM!' Which then makes me think of Timmy Mallet and the Mallet Mallet game. And then I forget what I'm talking about... Oh yes, why I really like the name is because it is a strident and happy declaration of exactly what it is, a range of beautiful balms. Simple.

The Balm Balm Face Balm is one of my favourite kind of products, one you can use everywhere for anything! Why stop at your face? Use it on any dry skin, anywhere; elbows, hands, knees, feet. Use it on dry ends of hair, on lips, rub into cuticles. The list goes on... I love a good multi-purpose product and if something doesn't say it is multi-purpose, I'll often end up using it in all sorts of ways anyway!

Once such bright idea came after getting a little too much sunshine recently, I used it on my shoulders and chest for a major boost of nourishing skin-loving oils that my dehydrated and rather cross skin was screaming out for. And it was very nice indeed, putting a sock in the mouth of my complaining skin! Take that, sunburn! BAM! (add your own sound effects)

The little tube (30ml) is great for travelling around although it isn't a measely size. The balm is fragranced with rose geranium which is gorgeous and there is also a tea tree one and an unfragranced version too. The balm is quite thick but happily squishes out of the little tube and when in contact with the skin, turns all melty and oily. It is quite a lingering oiliness so if I was to put it on my face I'd only use it on say, my cheeks at night, because I inevitably don't have time to wait for it to absorb properly before putting on make up. But I'd merrily use it on hands and feet etc... I squashed some into my hands when I started this post and although it hasn't fully absorbed yet I'm not leaving too many sticky finger prints all over the keyboard! It is also worth noting that this balm is 100% natural and 100% organic so that's a double whammy right there. BAM BAM!



What I like about Balm Balm most is the super-simplicity of their products. The range is very non-fussy, with few ingredients, of which all are certified organic by the Soil Association. The design of every product is clean and simple and although the packaging is appealingly candy-coloured, the products inside are as wholesome as could be. A great little family-run, British, ethical company. Go get 'em!

Balm Balm Face Balm in Rose Geranium is £6.99 for 30ml
Available in good health food shops and online from Balm Balm

Monday, 2 May 2011

Spiezia Facial Cleanser


Spiezia are keeping it real. Very real and very natural. I can't believe I used that phrase. But it is true.

This brand, whose products are all organically grown and hand made from Gear Farm in Cornwall, are one of the purest and most green-hearted I have come across. With a mantra of "Made for Life" their philosophy is to breathe out in to the world that which you wish to breathe in. This means taking a responsible attitude to packaging, recycling, wastage, animal testing, the environment, organic farming and clean ingredients.

I met the lovely people from Spiezia at The Vitality Show back in March and they kindly gave me a tester of their Facial Cleanser. 

Cleansers are becoming my obsession. It's the first product I'll want to try out of any range and so I was a very willing guinea pig.

Let's cut to the chase. This is a very rich, beautifully smelling, gooey balm that massages into skin like a dream. A dream about Brad Pitt. It's a very buttery, melty texture and makes light work of removing eye make up as well as cleansing the full face. (Use dampened cotton wool for this.) Taking a moment with a hot cloth over your face (always the recommended technique with these kind of balm cleansers) is simply heaven. It not only gently wipes away the day's muck and make up,  but makes a great wind-down too, which I think is an important part in the 'getting ready for a good snooze' routine. In a base of coconut oil, a very nourishing oil for the skin, are essential oils of eucalyptus, clary sage and clove. This blend creates such a warm and restorative fragrance, perfect for inducing the Zzz's. And the ingredients are also selected to decongest pores, melt away impurities, regulate sebum production and avoid disturbing the barrier function of the skin, keeping it soothed and softened. It will not make your skin feel stripped of it's natural oils. It will make you feel like a hot cup of tea and crumpets. And a dream about Brad Pitt. 

There is far more to Spiezia than meets the eye. They make very lovely, very clean natural products and the whole range is 100% certified organic, but it doesn't stop there. The small scale production and green work ethic means this is a company with admirable credentials. Offering signature Spa treatments and even a campaign for complimentary treatments to women diagnosed with cancer,  there is a distinct dedication to improving and fostering a sense of well-being, above and beyond skincare. Which is pretty impressive and worth supporting. Well done Spiezia. 

Spiezia Facial Cleanser £22.50 for 50ml or £32.75 for 100ml

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Neal's Yard Rose Formula Hydrating Eye Cream


As I mentioned in the last post, I had a lovely facial at Neal's Yard (again you can read it here) a while back and along with the Lemon Balm and Rose Tea I was also given the Rose Formula Hydrating Eye Cream. How nice!

So the reason I was given this particular cream was because although I was concerned about the onset of fine lines around the eyes (in which case the White Tea Toning Eye Gel is also a good option) I was actually more interested in finding a cream to plump out my under eye area for a more wide awake look. So many eye creams drone on about relieving puffiness and being cooling etc... as if you might suffer from a permanent black eye on the brink of swelling up like a baboon's behind. Now I might be alone in this but I don't really get puffy eyes (unless I'm sobbing my heart out to Beaches or something) so I'm not really in the market for this kind of effect. Instead, I'm more prone to the reverse, looking a little sunken if that isn't too scary a thought. And obviously, I know the only real cure to this is to get more sleep, but I think it's almost too late for that. I might have to live out the rest of my days asnoozin' on the veranda, stacking up the Zs to chase away my dark shadows. By which time I might wake up in my nineties and my sunken eyes won't be the problem,  it'll be my hips, my knees, my teeth! Good god what a shocking glimpse of the future. Ugh.

Anyway. Luckily I have help before we get to that stage. The Rose Formula Hydrating Eye Cream is a very soothing and very, well... hydrating treat for the eyes, that has now become firmly lodged in my skincare routine. 

Years ago, I didn't really care much about eye cream. I guess I didn't have to. But the more I think about it the more I realise how important it is to protect and feed the skin around the eyes, as it's the thinnest, most delicate and the first place to go, so to speak, when age sets it.

The rose formula is suitable for all skin types as it's extremely gentle and calming. I use it twice a day and like to take a minute carefully patting it in though it does absorb really fast. Witch hazel is the first ingredient, not aqua (water) which is almost always the first ingredient in a cream. And witch hazel is a great toner but apparently it also has an anti-oxident effect to reduce those fine lines for a smoother appearance. It's got a whole host of other goodies in there too, like pomegranate seed oil, avocado oil, starflower oil and propolis extract. It tightens the skin in the nicest possible way. And it promotes collagen production. All that, along with the hydrating effect, will help to get that lifted, plumper look.

It's a real nice and easy cream and I love that the pump delivers exactly the right amount. But it maybe more helpful to praise this cream for what it doesn't do as I have used many eye creams that have left me a bit underwhelmed - where I haven't noticed I've applied it at all except for that sticky, tacky feeling. This one isn't too rich, isn't too icky, spreads very smoothly and quickly, absorbs very fast, doesn't leave a residue, doesn't have a weird smell, actually smells quite nice, but not too strong and isn't mega expensive. In fact it's quite reasonable.

You just can't go wrong.

Neal's Yard Rose Formula Hydrating Eye Cream £22.50 for 10ml
Available online and in store at Neal's Yard Remedies


Friday, 22 April 2011

Neal's Yard Lemon Balm and Rose Tea


I have long enjoyed green tea, so much so that I can't really muster up much interest in a regular cuppa these days (Earl Grey I will still make time for you, of course). But in recent months I have really been hitting the herbal teas and one of my favourites is Neal's Yard Lemon Balm and Rose Tea.

I was given this tea when I went for my facial at Neal's Yard (read about it here) as it was something that was recommended for my overall wellbeing after the holistic consultation. The infusion is a great nerve tonic, relieving symptoms of tension and stress and promoting calmness. And its yummy. And very easy to drink.

But with all this lovely hot weather, sometimes a hot cup of something isn't really what you fancy. I'm feeling quite pleased with myself for having the bright idea, in this lovely balmy sunshine, of brewing it and then chilling it, to make lovely iced tea. (Except I can't be bothered with the ice part, my fridge is pretty cold.)

It makes such a refreshing drink and is even better than water, which is a very bold thing for me to say because I am the self-titled QUEEN of EVIAN. Seriously.

So for an even healthier alternative to water why not try your favourite green or herbal tea chilled instead of hot!? You can even get a little bit of cucumber and lemon in there and pretend it's a Pimms! Or maybe add a Pimms? Maybe not.

Anyway, Happy Easter and Happy Sunshine. I'm going for a picnic, with a flask of lemon balm tea!

Neal's Yard Remedies Lemon Balm and Rose Tea £3.90 for 50g
Available in store and online

Saturday, 16 April 2011

US Glamour Speaks Out


I just wanted to share this with you for anyone who has missed it on Facebook or Twitter etc..

US Glamour have printed a great article in their most recent issue warning of the dangers of the chemicals around us, in our environments and the products we use. I have found out some really horrifying stuff but also some great tips on how you can minimise exposure - and why you should!

It's great to see some research that is helping to change people's attitudes about the safety of what we manufacture and consume. Let the tide turn I say, towards a more informed, greener and health-orientated way of living.

Read the PDF version from Not Just a Pretty Face and their article about Glamour's article here.

Good work everyone.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil



When I met some of the lovely people of Pai at the Vitality Show the other week, I was given their newest product to try, the Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil. Now, I'm a big fan of oils for the skin and rosehip especially. I have used rosehip oil before, as a nourishing night treatment and so I know a thing or two about what makes a nice oil, and I'll give you the verdict first up: this is excellent.

I want to dispell any myths still lurking around that oil is bad for your skin. Mineral oils aren't good for your skin because they clog pores and suffocate it. But plant oils, like rosehip, jojoba, almond, these are all very, very good for for skin. This is because skin just gets oil. It produces it as sebum, and contrary to what is often feared (that applying oil to skin makes skin become more oily) I think it actually allows skin to better regulate oil production as it knows how to absorb and use it. 

Rosehip Oil is known for it's powerful skin healing properties and lots of companies have jumped onto this old wagon. The benefits of this oil have been proven for 30 odd years now so obviously it has been appearing in all kinds of anti-ageing potions. But not all rosehip oil is made equal...



As you can see from this proud little bottle, Pai's rosehip oil is bright orange. I mean vivid! And this is testament to just how potent it is. The colour comes from the high concentration of carotenoids with an anti-oxident effect to seek and destroy free radicals (which damage cell health.)

It is also abundant in trans-retinoic acid which is a naturally occurring form of vitamin A. Because it is naturally - occurring and also in total balance with other essential fatty acids, this makes it very bio-available, healing sun damage and scar tissue and repairing the lipid barrier of the skin. This helps to smooth out wrinkles and fine lines and it is great for boosting collagen in the dermis too. Your new best friend then.

And here's what makes Pai's oil so potent and so rich in colour... they extract from the fruit and the seed, which is quite rare really. All the rosehip oils I have come across only use the seed. The fruit, I have been told, is hard to deal with. Something about it being tricky and messy (I'm picturing vats of sticky, squashy fruit dripping everywhere and spilling all over the place in some kind of magic factory not too unlike Willy Wonka's!?) But they plain do it anyway because it contains twice the sterols (with an regenerative effect) and five times the carotenoids. Determined!

The oil is thicker than some of the others I've used which kind of confirms to me it's better! I use a couple of squirts from the dropper, whatever I feel like really, and massage into face and neck at night time. There is no fear here, slap it on I say! And I usually do get a bit left over which I also attempt to apply to Mr. BEskincareful who isn't in the slightest bit interested in being careful with his skin... And then he moans a little bit about the smell. I admit, the smell of rosehip oil isn't the nicest but it's not awful! It's not going to make you wince! (Unless you are Mr. B who is a little bit of a wuss.) And anyway, you don't use it because it smells good... you use it because of it's anti-ageing prowess! So don't whinge about the smell. Nevermind!

Like with all anti-ageing products,  I find it difficult to tell what effect it is having and won't know until later down the line, but I'm certain it's money in the bank where rosehip oil is concerned... I haven't been using it on stretch marks or scars etc... so I can't quite comment on it's regenerative capabilities on these things but I do think it makes my skin a little more refined and even toned by morning! I'd love to hear how any of you get on with it...

Pai BioRegenerative Rosehip Oil is £20 for 30ml
Available direct from Pai and all sorts of other lovely shops too.




Monday, 11 April 2011

The Konjac Sponge Company and the wonderful Konjac Sponge


There is something round and squishy sweeping the beauty industry and it's called the konjac sponge. At the Natural Products trade show I had the pleasure of meeting the lady behind the Konjac Sponge Company who has introduced the konjac sponge to the UK market. Lovely to meet you Michele! And I'm trialling the French clay konjac sponge for normal to oily skin.

I have a list as long as my arm of posts I have to write but I have allowed this one to jump the queue because I'm all excited about it and I want to share it with you whilst the buzz is still buzzing!

The konjac sponge has already impressed in Japan, China, Korea and the USA and it's set to do the same here. If you are into your cloth+cleanser routine, where you remove your cleanser and make up etc with a lovely warm muslin cloth then listen up. Incidentally, if you're not of that school of cleansing and you like a classic face wash, then this is equally for you too! In fact, everyone, gather round, this is good...

Here's the happy little fella.

See, the konjac sponge is essentially a sponge that cleanses and lightly exfoliates your skin, also leaving it feeling moisturised. All by itself! It's a very simple, very peculiar object, enticing, squishy, friendly and so easy to use. It's also extremely gentle. And this is really what sets it apart from other cleansing apparatus (!) ...I can't stress this enough. If you have easily upset skin, if using flannels or muslin cloths leaves any redness behind or exfoliation dries out your skin, good god you're going to love this.

Originally intended for babies, the texture of this sponge is like no other, it absorbs a ridiculous amount of water and really holds onto it, but when you prod it, it leaves no actual wetness behind, it's like magic. It leaves skin feeling refreshed, very, very smooth and comfortable. Again, if normal washing of your face makes skin feel tight, give this a go.

The konjac sponge is made from 100% natural konjac plant fibres. Amorphophallus Konjac or the konjac potato grows wildly across Asia and is eaten in Japan, where it is called Konnyaku. Interestingly it is also used in making vegan gelatin.

How it benefits the skin comes down to its pH balancing effect (which also helps cleanse away oil and dirt) as well as its actual texture. Massaging the skin increases blood flow and improves circulation and the soft texture prevents damage to the protective barrier layer, keeping your skin happy.

My favourite way to use it is in the morning, when I don't feel like I need a full cleanse (no make up to remove) but still want to freshen and awaken my skin. I don't know why I find it so fun to use, but I do! It's just so squishy (the word to describe it) and soft in a jelly kind of way! And it occurs to me this is also perfect for those reluctant males, as it's a very quick and fuss-free way of cleansing without the need for extra products, (you can use it in place of or as well as your usual cleanser.) I still need to chase the very reluctant Mr. BEskincareful around the house with a palm full of moisturiser, but it's definitely a good start! 

The Konjac Sponge Company have also included in the range charcoal and mineral rich french clays, which all act differently to further support different skin types. The charcoal blend is especially helpful in balancing oily or blemish prone skin, as is the green clay sponge for more normal to oily skin. There is also red and pink clay blends which help soothe and nourish dry, sensitive or mature skins. So there really is something for everyone here.

And just to reiterate, this is 100% natural, with no colourings, no additives, it's sustainable, bio-degradable (they need replacing every three months or so) and made from natural konjac grown at high altitude free from pollutants. Can you sense my excitement?!

The Original Konjac sponge is £5.25, Charcoal £5.75, French Clays £5.75 
Available from the Konjac Sponge Company 
(I have seen them retail at over twice this price so beware!)

P.S. I'd love to hear from you if you've given it a go too! Feel free to comment