Friday 28 January 2011

Scientific Experiment Involving Trilogy Everything Balm

Right, so back on the Trilogy Everything Balm post I promised to test out whether or not this product can be used like as a cleansing balm. This is not a suggestion made on the packaging but in the wake of a new era in cleansing, the balm now seems to be very real option. Yes, there is a new era in cleansing. And I think that this balm might just be up for the challenge. So in the name of being a bit experimental. I've tried it out.

Before we go on, let me present to you by means of a bullet pointed list how my current cleansing routine goes. I am alternating between the 'Usual' and the 'Alternative'. The 'Usual' is as follows:

  • Superdrug very cheap "natural" eye make up remover (it isn't really natural but it doesn't have parabens in and it doesn't sting so that's why I'm using it but I'll be straight with you here, I have suspicions about it, result pending)
  • Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish
  • Liz Earle Skin Tonic
  • Neal's Yard Frankincense Hydrating Cream
  • REN Active 7 Radiant Eye Gel
And the 'Alternative' goes:
  • Superdrug very cheap "natural" eye make up remover
  • Neal's Yard Chamomile Cleanser
  • Bit of Trilogy Everything Balm
  • Neal's Yard Frankincense Hydrating Cream
  • REN Active 7 Radiant Eye Gel
So then. The important bit in the above scenario is what happens between Neal's Yard Chamomile Cleanser and Bit of Trilogy Everything Balm. Sounds mysterious.

Well, at first I was removing make up with Chamomile Cleanser and then rinsing with water as it says on the pot. Often I would introduce a flannel at this point or a muslin cloth for extra but gentle exfoliation. So, water, rinse, pat dry. Then, warm a bit of Everything Balm in my hands and lightly lay over entire face before proceeding to the Neal's Yard and the REN.

But cleansing with Chamomile Cream was taking ages and I was going through whole farms worth of cotton wool pads. And although I like it- it was kind of dragging my skin a bit. Now I'm 27, I won't lie. I'm getting worried about 'the state of things on my face' aka Ageing. Therefore I decided I needed a New Cleansing Technique- the Balm. 

Neal's Yard do a very luxurious Wild Rose Cleansing Balm, but it's a bit steep at £30-odd and I already own the Trilogy Balm. I'm sure it's similar. Why not give it a whirl? 

So cleansing routine 'Alternative II' goes like this:
  • Superdrug very cheap "natural" eye make up remover
  • Bit of Trilogy Everything Balm but all over my face to dissolve make up
  • (hot water + flannel or muslin cloth)
  • Neal's Yard Frankincense Hydrating Cream
  • REN Active 7 Radiant Eye Gel
Well, the results were very impressive. I would like to present you a graph of my findings but I'm not sure how to plot either axis so I will describe. I was not faffing around for ages with bits of cotton wool stuck to my face. I was not dragging the skin around my precious eyes, which have seen far too much rough handling to make a good story, and I was very pleasantly satisfied with the removal of the day's grubbiness. Wonderful. The balm is so gentle, very silky (loving this word), really dissolved the cake of foundation I was wearing and was very easy to remove with a hot cloth. My skin felt so comfortable after this, not tight, not just a tiny bit tight, not squeaky, not sore, not red, not oily, not dry. Just comfortable and light and fresh. With definitely no need for moisturiser which is a first. But as you will see from the above set of bullet points, I continued in the rest of my routine and when I woke up next morning I felt slightly less worried about 'the state of things on my face'.

So, after that very scientific experiment, I can recommend the Trilogy Everything Balm does indeed have one more use. A very lovely and very simple cleansing balm. Well done Trilogy. 

Trilogy Everything Balm £10.50 for 45ml available at Naturisimo 
Neal's Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm £35.25 for 50g available at Neal's Yard online and in store.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Daniel Galvin Jr Organic Haircare

The haircare issue is one I have found quite hard to get my head around (gah!!). Going natural on moisturisers and shower gels is reasonably easy if you know what to avoid and you shop in the right places. But I have previously been rather underwhelmed with the alternatives to haircare. Many shampoos that avoid the common chemicals found in shampoo and conditioner left my hair feeling a little lack-lustre. OK, but not great. And by the second day, or sometimes even just after washing, my hair often felt too flyaway or static. Now, this may be due to other factors, like central heating and such like, which does cause havoc with my hair, but these days are over. For I have found Daniel Galvin Jr. Amen.

So, what is so good about Daniel Galnvin Jr. Organic Haircare. And what is so bad about conventional shampoos? We're talking about pretty much the same ingredients as skincare, but lets ask Graham (remember Blind Date?) for a quick reminder...

SLS or SLES is a harsh detergent that strips the skin (and hair) of its natural moisture and protective layers, leading to dryness and potentially irritating skin conditions such as eczema. 

Parabens are the oestrogen-mimicking preservatives which can disrupt the natural hormone balance, which has put it under question in relation to breast cancer - excessive oestrogen is a factor in developing breast cancer.. 

Petroleum / mineral oil, can wrap skin, and hair for that matter, in a plastic like film, clogging pores and hair shafts and anything in its wake, upsettig moisture levels and potentially leading to dryness and chapping. 

Synthetic fragrances, something I haven't actually gone into much before but I should. These can be any number of chemicals, mostly undesirable for their carcinogenic properties. As fragrance ingredients are never itemised, this goes unvetted and therefore is completely untrustworthy. In my opinion.

Synthetic colours, again something I haven't banged on about but should. These are often listed as FD & C  followed by a number and they can include numerous carcinogens. 

And another new one which I promise will get its seperate post, Triethanolamine or TEA.This is a biggy. And also includes cousins DEA and MEA. It can be suggested on labels (the very cheek of it!) that this comes from a natural source - coconuts - often listed as cocomide DEA for example. But don't be fooled. As well as possibly causing skin and eye irritation, redness etc. it can combine with another ingredient -amines and form nitrosamines which are highly carcinogenic! Arghhh.

And there is one more to mention, especially relevant to haircare this time (although it blights many skin moisturisers etc.) silicones. Anything ending in -icone is genrally a silicone I believe. These are in conditioners as it gives the sense of silky hair. But your hair isn't silky. The silicone is. This might not bother some and certainly when you research it there are plenty of silicone supporters. But it is interesting that there is a move away from it. Tresemme for one have launched a 'natural' range. I use quotation marks there to highlight my scepticism on that but I will look into it. 

Anyway. That about covers the basics...

So Daniel Galvin Jr. Organic haircare. It avoids all these. I'm using the Hairjuice with honeydew melon extracts, suitable for all hair types. Same for the conditioner too. So it lathers beautifully. Smells delicious and very shampooey. All tropical and fruity. It rinses as you would expect and the conditioner performs in just the same way. Nothing untoward. A normal hairwashing experience. I highlight this because in days gone by, where natural formulations weren't that hot, what you would do for a little bit of lather was unmentionable. This, however is frustration-free. Happy days. And the results are just as satisfying. Clean, happy hair, no frizz, no tangles (at least no more, my hair loves a fight with itself) and a very silky finish. It looks good. Not just nice, not just like hair but lovely hair. If I do say so myself. The best bit. They cost about a fiver. AND you can buy it in the supermarket, at least you can if you shop in Waitrose. The range also includes products for coloured / treated hair and a range called Hangover Hair for sorting out stressed out locks. Thanks Daniel. And while we're here, if you fancy going for luxury level, his sister, Louise does a natural haircare range too...But I haven't tried that yet so we'll see...

Daniel Galvin Jr Organic Hairjuice £3.99 at Daniel Galvin Jr
Also availalbe at Waitrose.

Monday 24 January 2011

Lip Silk vs Lip Rescue

As Harry Hill would say, I like Lip Silk and I like Lip Rescue. But which is better? There's only one way to find out. FIGHT!

Unfortunately, I have been animating my two favourite lip balms and doing little voices and wrestler moves and making them fight like the chicken and Peter Griffin in Family Guy, but alas, there is no winner. Here's why I like both...

So Lip Silk is by natural brand Essential Care. It is a very simple, white tube of your usual lip balm style. Here it is.

It's quite a solid balm, with moisturising shea butter, beeswax, coconut oil and orange essential oil. All Essential Care products are certified organic. 

There is one very simple reason that I think it is important to be mindful about what you put on your lips; we gobble it up! The skin is the biggest organ in the body and absorbs everything we put on it but if there is one product that should be natural, given the proximity to your mouth, it should probably be those that get used on your lips. You can count on it ending up in your system by either being eaten off or readily absorbed by the thin skin on your lips. I know that I don't want to munch on a chemical sandwich nor swig a synthetic smoothie. And if you're going to go natural, even better to punch higher and go for organic!

So then, it works very nicely. I have a really bad habit of picking and poking and biting any dry skin on my lips (sorry, gross) and this does extremely well to moisturise and soften any dryness and discourage me from repulsing onlookers. And it lasts for ages! Even when I have been snacking. Many of you will know this happens often.

The smell is pleasant yet subtle, slightly orangey, from the orange essential oil I presume. Orange essential oil helps repair tissue and build collagen. My lips just feel very nourished with a lovely, protected, not-too-shiny-looking finish. Dewy. 

I'm trying these out as we speak to aid descriptions and so on my bottom lip I have Lip Silk. And on my top lip I now have Lip Rescue by Desert Essences. Oohh minty. 

This is a very smooth, less waxy formula, it gives more of a shine and is silkier, despite the other one actually being called Lip Silk it's not as silky as Lip Rescue. So that means it gives quite a nice glossy finish if you like that sort of thing. And I do. In it we have jojoba oil and aloe vera. Jojoba oil is the most similar, of all other compounds, to the oil our own skin produces so is very easily absorbed and used by our skin. This makes your lips feel comfortable and moisturised without the pesky tendency of drying out once the balm has gone/been eaten. 

Actually it's important to note both lip balms give that lasting softness and will not cause or exacerbate dryness like mineral / petroleum based lip products can. Nor create a dependency for it.

Lip Rescue is fragranced with peppermint essential oil which is ever-so-slightly medicinal but nice and fresh all the same and I like that, as opposed to daft 'flavours' of lip balms like chocolate and strawberries etc. which make me feel like I've got cake smeared all over my face. And not in a good way. 

Right then, to summarise. With both Lip Silk and Lip Rescue offering you wonderfully softened lips, with a choice of glossy or dewy finishes, why bother choose? They are as cheap as chips and better for you.

Essential Care Lip Silk £4.50 at Naturisimo rrp £5.50 
Desert Essences Lip Rescue £2.25 at Revital 
Also available at Planet Organic shops.

Sunday 23 January 2011

Green and Spring

I just managed to delete a whole post on Green and Spring and now I have to re-write the damn thing. So I will try to write in a calm manner but you will understand if my enthusiasm is blighted by anger and my sentences are short with a general sense of annoyance and impatience for the whole tedious task of repeating myself.
So here goes... 

Ohh, look at the lovely little birds (this isn't how the original went, it was less sarcastic) Aren't they pretty sitting on the lovely packaging... (there was more of this, less flippant)

What a lovely range of natural products. No they really are and I'm not being fair to Green and Spring because they are a lovely company. Let's hear more... 

Green and Spring are a British company where only native plants and herbs are used in the chemical-free, natural formulations. The range is all hand-made and includes your usual bathroom products, skincare, hand and nail care and natural wax candles too. They also only use 100% natural plant material, without parabens, SLS, SLES, petrochemicals, PEGs, glycols, synthetic colours and fragrances. 

Most of the products are available in three fragrance blends, Relaxing with lavender, comfrey and rosemary, Indulging with rose, jasmine, elderflower and red clover, or Revitalising with peppermint, dandelion and fennel.

I have been using the Indulging Shower and Bath Foam which is just gorgeous. A great product, lathers very well, smells incredible, doesn't leave skin tight or dry after showering. 

Along with this I have been enjoying the Relaxing Body Lotion, another amazing fragrance, it's difficult to choose between them all. The lotion is light, easily absorbed and the fresh fragrance lingers a little which is nice so you feel like you've been rolling around in a fresh springtime meadow full of flowers and butterflies. (That wasn't in the original.)

I also have a teeny tiny travel candle also in Relaxing, its burning very happily (it was, I put it out days ago shortly after beginning this post) and although the fragrance isn't immediate I have on very firm recommendation that Green and Spring candles do deliver a good strong aroma. Some natural candles burn more fragrantly as they get lower because the essential oils sink down through the wax during the cooling process. Interesting.

There are also quite a variety of gift sets, including the bumper deluxe wooden birdhouse (nice) complete with 12 fullsize bestsellers nestling inside. All for £275! If you can't quite stretch to that!? there are loads of beautiful little sets that make really lovely gifts which won't require a remortgage or the selling of any organs. On the whole, the range is perhaps a little more than your average brand but it has by no means a super-luxe price tag for the quality and the ethos and the delightful packaging! It all makes a wonderful present or a well deserved treat for yourself in this dull, dreary winter. Roll on (Green and...) Spring! 

Green and Spring Indulging Shower and Bath Foam £18 300ml (more in the bottle than your average brand too)
Green and Spring Relaxing Body Lotion £22 300ml
Green and Spring Home Candle £29 Travel Candle sets £18 for 3

All available at and Liberty's

Tuesday 18 January 2011

Ode to Lavender

Breathe it in. That luscious smell. That heady, wonderfully warm smell. I love it.

Lavender is very well known as a stress-relieving remedy, for calming and quieting the mind...

...(inhale)....and er, it's relaxing and stuff.

Sorry, so powerful was the effect of just looking at that lavender picture! I got a little unbothered about finishing this post. But no! Persevere.

So this isn't actually a skincare related post, although lavender is good for healing the skin and boosting circulation. This is actually just to say how very good it is at sending me to sleep - another well known effect, lavender is often used to help with insomnia. I don't really have insomnia, more impatience when it comes to snoozing. After the exhaustive process of cleansing face, teeth, toning, moisturising, maybe a little facial massage whilst we here, eye cream, have I missed anything... a bit of balm, a bit of hand cream...when I finally get to resting my head on that pillow I kind of just want to sleep NOW! I get bored trying.

Obviously there are sophisticated ways of filling the air in your room with the intoxicating pleasantness of this herb, like warming the oil in little bit of water over a precious little tea-light sat in a very round and contemporary oil burner. Or you could put just a few drops on your pillow (ok, a tissue to avoid any oily marks) and zonk out. This also conveniently avoids the dangers of falling asleep with a candle burning!

Although, it should be said that if you use too much of the oil it can wake you up a bit! So don't go crazy. Lavender, rather interestingly is a sedative in low doses and a stimulant in high doses. Other essential oils that help promote sleep are chamomile and marjoram... so look for those too if you'd like to make your own custom blend.

It is important to select a fine quality essential oil, naturally distilled without the use of chemical extraction because you'll end up inhaling that chemical residue.

For an easy alternative Tisserand and Neals Yard Remedies do a sleep promoting essential oil roll-on which you can apply to temples and pulse points. Lovely.

More on aromatherapy and essential oils to follow....

Monday 17 January 2011

What's in a name...a lawsuit maybe.

Well, not likely an actual lawsuit but I've changed my name all the same. For it has come to my attention that I was not the first person in the world to come up with the most clever of names, I was in fact the second. Which really gets my goat because I was quite proud of that. So after a long sleepless night I've come up with the very imaginative and groundbreaking, I'm sure you will agree, beskincareful. It took ages.

Like an annoying little pimple, I cannot leave this blog alone for poking about in its settings and such. So if you are a frequent reader (!!) please do contact me for your Spot the Difference game card I have devised, detailing up to twelve differences... Obviously, I quote Funhouse here, there are  'prizes to be won!'

So do be in touch.

Friday 14 January 2011


What a lovely looking chemical compound I hear you say! And you'd be right, but what exactly is the deal with phenoxyethanol...

During my research for the last post I got diverted trawling through ingredient lists and noticed that an ingredient I've seen popping up in natural products that I use and have mentioned- phenoxyethanol- was now popping up on all over websites reporting worries over its safety. Uh-oh.

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative and is present in many formulations where parabens have been shunned.  For a while all was well. The cosmetics industry has welcomed phenoxyethanol into the fold and held a party in its honour.

But the Japanese have been putting limits on its use. The FDA in America warned that it can cause the shut down of the central nervous system! vomitting! and contact dermatitis! The European Union classifies it as an irritant! All this whilst I was slapping it all over my face! Blimey.

So what is the story...The issue lies in the concentration levels of this ingredient. Many things that are deemed safe are only so if the concentration is limited. And phenoxyethanol seems to be one of these things. Typically the concentration in cosmetics is 1% or less. But that means in an average 200ml bottle of lotion, body wash, whatever, there's a teaspoon's worth of pure phenoxyethanol. I think that seems like quite a lot. And you must consider this - does it make a difference having that teaspoon all at once or consuming it gradually over the course of a few months?

It's inconclusive, but there is a question mark over it now. The cosmetics database make clear that any reactions studied were caused by phenoxyethanol itself and not by products containing it. So that's comforting!  It seems it is something I'll have to keep an eye on... Just how many times did I write the word phenoxyethanol?

One last time. Phenoxyethanol.

Put to the Test: Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic

I have previously admitted on here that I have not always toned. There once was a time long, long ago where I wasn't really into the traditional 3-step of the cleanse, tone and moisturise. I'd obviously take off my make up. This used to be with such damp rags those make up remover wipes (which I now believe cleanse your face about as well as a sneeze from a stranger. Sure it looks clean but is it really... you know, clean?). Prior to that and we're talking a long time ago now, a bit of eye make up remover and rubbishy face wash.

Oh how things have changed...

I have grown to love a good cleanse. And another Liz Earle product, the famous Cleanse and Polish, had a lot to do with that. But we all know about this cleanser. It's in every magazine, it's reviewed on many a beauty website and it deserves to be a cult favourite because it is a dream for your face. And the method of softly buffing it away with a hot muslin cloth, although not unique to Liz Earle, plays an important part of the cleansing process (it's my favourite bit) and a very effective way of gently exfoliating too!

Right. Sorry. So I'm getting to the point. This toner was sent to me as a free sample from the Liz Earle website when I bought the cleanser. And boy! did I feel special receiving unexpected little hand-wrapped presents. I may have fallen for the trick but now I love this toner. It smells like baby powder in a very floral and old fashioned way which is so refreshing!

So after cleanisng, be it with the Liz Earle classique or another (I like to dabble but always return to it in the end) I now always sweep a little of this beautiful toning water across my squeaky but very comfortably clean skin. Morning and night. It freshens the skin and uplifts the spirit! It's contains calendula, chamomile and cucumber and natural vitamin E. All very soothing. Lovely. It also contains essential oils of lavender, rose geranium and sweet orange. And is a heaven-scent!

BUT. I'm afraid there is a but. And it is in bold. Fourth on the ingredients list is a PEG! (Before you despair there is a happy ending to this. Sort of.) A PEG?! Yes! It's PEG - 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil.

I was a happy user of this product before seeing how some PEGs have caused a sniff of suspicion. This discovery upset me. What could Liz Earle possible want with a PEG? Why would you do that to us Liz? I've been reading up on this... Pay attention.

Castor Oil is a common enough thing and comes from castor beans. It contains triglycerides or fatty acids which are useful in restoring the skin's moisture balance and alleviating dryness. The process of passing hydrogen through it gives it a thicker consistency and makes it more stable at room temperature. It is often included in cosmetics for it's preservative action. It's considered organic because both the oil from the beans and the gas are natural things. Great.

The PEG bit means the hydrogenated castor oil has been mixed with polyethylene glycol. And here lies the question. Is it bad? One of the issues I mentioned when discussing polyethylene glycol was that it can penetrate the skin and therefore allow other (harmful) ingredients in too.

But ...if the source is pure, with no nasty contaminants and the other ingredients in the product are also of trusted sources then it might mean that the polyethylene glycol allows the good, active ingredients to work their way deeper, taking their good properties to those hard to reach layers of your skin. Sound's OK.

The other issue with this ingredient is its use on damaged skin. My research on this hasn't helped dispell this and it remains to be unadvisable with the possibility of it causing kidney damage. Oh dear. Though we are talking about seriously damaged skin here. So, you know not your average face.

It's confusing. But Liz Earle are clear about their philosophy regarding the selection of ingredients and promise to use natural and the highest, purest grade available. So, although this skin tonic is not a true natural wonder, I am still loving it for its fresh feel and revitalising qualities. Let's not forget the anti-inflamatory and healing properties of calendula and chamomile! This is in no way your usual harsh, astringent toner. In fact the majority of the ingredients, after a quick google search are very moisturising and very soothing on the skin. But Liz, listen up! I'm blaming you if my kidneys fail.

So there. I've learnt something in writing this. I will certainly check for the presence of PEG ingredients in products and will avoid using them if my skin is in anyway inflamed or damaged. And if you see those PEGs where there are parabens and other such nasties then be warned, they might be working their way right down in to the darkest realms of your dermis, running amuck!

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic £11.75 for 200ml
Available at Liz Earle and in store at John Lewis

For a very helpful insight into PEGS see here.

Thursday 13 January 2011

Trilogy Everything Balm

This is a very clever balm that does in fact do everything. It put the kettle on, it took the bins out, it's even writing this post. Awesome. 

Look at it in its happy little box. Of course it doesn't quite stretch to any of that. But it is very helpful in any manner of dry skin conditions! 

The soothing and softening action comes from the many skin nourishing oils including marula, olive, rosehip, jojoba and evening primrose. Its a solid balm which, when you gouge a bit out with your eager digit and warm it up in your hands, quickly becomes the most silky oil you can apply to anywhere for anything. Use it as a lip balm, to soften those dry patches on your hands, elbows, knees, as an impromptu facial moisturiser should you have forgotten yours, use it to soften cuticles, as a massage oil and maybe just maybe (I haven't tried this yet so it's a completely unfounded bold suggestion) as a cleanser with a warm muslin cloth. (I will try this and report back) It's fragranced with the essential oils of Lavender, Rose Geranium and our new fav Frankincense. What's not to like?

Trilogy are a company from New Zealand and rosehip is the basis of all of the products. Rosehip oil is recognised as wonderfully beneficial for skin, containing natural tretinoin or retinoic acid, derived from Vitamin A, proven to delay ageing of the skin.  

You can find out more about the magical effects of rosehip on the Trilogy website here.

I also really rate their neat Rosehip Oil which you can use like a moisturiser, layer up under your usual moisturiser, or as an intensive night treatment. But maybe more on that another time...

Trilogy Everything Balm 45ml RRP £12.50 and 95ml RRP £20.50
(but cheaper at Naturisimo and Lookfantastic so shop around...sshhh!)

Sunday 9 January 2011

REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash

My New Year's resolutions are going quite well. That blanket I told you about now has 1.75 squares ready to patchwork together when that momentous day comes. And I'm currently roasting potatoes. With rosemary and seasalt and crushed garlic. So I'm not doing too badly in all.

So then, naturally that brings me to the REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash!!

I got a lovely set of REN body washes and lotions for Christmas from my sister. I've used these before but for some reason, this time around I love them so much more! The shower gel lathers beautifully, very creamy and nourishing and the smell from those Moroccan roses is gorgeous. After showering, it leaves your skin feeling comfortable, smooth, supple and without the desperate need to replace any moisture with body cream. (One of the very pleasant effects of an SLS-free formula!) However, in the set I have is a lovely Moroccan Rose Otto Body Cream and so I will happily use them together for that extra skin boomf! This is quite souffle-like, it's light, and quickly absorbed with the same delicate rose fragrance. Delicious. Rose Otto is an expensive and treasured essential oil, used in aromatherapy to ward away depression, it also soothes skin and aids deep relaxation.

The REN ethos is 'bio active skincare' and presented is a very interesting range of natural products with a scientific edge. They proudly declare on their packaging 'NO petrochemicals, sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, synthetic colours, TEA, DEA, glycols, silicones, PEGS et al.' Good. You know what your getting here then. High quality, well researched skincare that works. A few of those naughty ingredients I haven't actually mentioned in my list of nasties to avoid but this will be researched and brought to your attention so we can all know why to avoid them and why REN is so good.

And just to mention there are three more fragrances to try out in the body wash range. Neroli and Grapefruit, Seaweed and Sage and Lavender and Bergamot. I know I will be...

REN Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash £17.00 200ml
Available at Ren Skincare
John Lewis and loads of places actually so have a look.

Friday 7 January 2011

Neal's Yard Frankincense Hydrating Cream

I LOVE this cream. I love Neal's Yard and everything they stand for. I love that they give you green tea when you go to their shop. I love their lovely blue glass bottles and jars so you can pretend your dressing table is an alchemist's laboratory. I love their range of products, oils, teas and therapies. All you need to look and feel fabulous can be found at Neal's Yard.

So about this particular cream. It's a daily moisturiser. I say 'daily' because I use it every day, morning and night, it's not 'everyday' and therefore not special. It's very special. Here's why.

Chapter 1
In my first post I made mention to a little skin rash I had when I was doing my make up training. It wasn't so much little. It was all over my face, both cheeks, around my hairline, and spreading onto my neck. It itched. It looked horrendous. And it lasted for two solid weeks!

It was the result of extremely stressed skin and what would have probably been, in normal circumstances, a mild reaction to a glue we use to stick on facial hair and wigs. In this case this reaction sent my already stressed-out skin into allergy overdrive.  (For those wondering, I look very good in a pair of false side burns)

I had a sample of this cream free from a magazine and it turned out to be my knight in shining blue glass. (Except the tube was plastic!) It soothed, rehydrated and calmed my skin where nothing else felt good.

But once the tube ran out and the rash had packed its bags I forgot about this cream and went on to pick and choose my way through other various moisturisers... Until now.

Chapter 2
I was working on a film which took about 6 months to shoot. That's 6 months of getting up at 5am, getting home about 8 or 9pm for SIX days a week. Its was tough. I looked terrible. Towards the end of the shoot, as winter really took hold, I started getting little dry patches on my face... mmm lovely. I was using this rather pricey moisturiser thinking it was all natural and doing me good. Except these patches of dryness kept getting drier. I had a question mark over the moisturiser I was using. It contains dimethicone and I have suspicions on this particular ingredient. (More on this another time) Now it's a month after I finished the film. I don't look quite so tired because I've been working very hard at sleeping... but these pesky dry patches remained. So I switched moisturiser and after an emergency trip to my most local stockist Lo! and Behold! Frankincense Hydrating Cream to the rescue, they have gone. Love it.

The cream is quite thick, though Neals Yard do another, even thicker one called Frankincense Nourishing Cream which is very heavy and probably better for a more mature skin. But although it is thick it applies very well and doesn't hang around too long either, sinking in nicely.  Also it doesn't leave me oil slicked in the morning like a rich cream can when used at night.

There are some top skin care players in this cream. Frankincense is very well known for its rejuvenating properties and helps promote healthy skin cell growth. Wow. It also contains Myrrh (this is shaping up to be a promotional tool for the Three Wise Men) which helps to balance hydration, remove toxins from the skin and encourages skin repair. Bonus. And there is Borage oil in there too, rich in gamma-linolenic acid and with strong anti-imflammatory action for soothing and clearing eczema and other dry skin conditions. Cashback.

So there it is. My favourite moisturiser to date. I dare say I may stray away and try out some others. But this one is reliably good and a little investment in the anti-ageing bank too.

Neal's Yard Frankincense Hydrating Cream RRP £23.50 50g

Wednesday 5 January 2011

Bamford Hand Cream

It's winter. Everyones skin has shrivelled up. We know this happens every year. My hands have not escaped this. I was telling my Mumma about a lovely Ren hand cream which I kept testing out in John Lewis during numerous visits whilst Christmas shopping and which I still don't actually own but will and when I do you'll hear about it. And she saw my Ren and raised me a Bamford. I love the name Bamford. It refers to Lady Bamford (of the blue blood variety) I believe and also a lovely luxury natural skincare range.

I was not disappointed when I used this. In fact I was very happy and rather grateful to my Mum! After applying only a smidge my hands felt divine. Softer than soft. No one can argue with that! It contains jojoba oil, beeswax and aloe vera and is fragranced with chamomile, geranium, lavender and tea tree. 

Lovely stuff.

Bamford Organic Camomile Hand Cream, £15.00 for 75ml
Available at Liberty's and Daylesford Organics

'Big Bad I Said NO!'

This isn't actually about Stop it and Tidy up. It's nothing to do with it. It's about the ingredients in products I generally try to avoid...
There is a lot of information out there on these so if you wish to know a little more do have a dig around. I won't go into too much detail because, in all honesty, I don't actually have a chemistry degree. But it's good to have a little bit to go on...
These are almost in order according to me...

Monday 3 January 2011


Well, as we all know it's the New Year and this year my resolution is to be more active. I say that in a very vague way but what I mean is simply DO more. Top of my list is 'knit a blanket' and I'm pretty proud of myself for buying the wool for that one so that's almost ticked off. You will also see that 'cook more' and 'read more' appear on this list of mine. Last night I made a pasta bake. Admittedly it was out of a jar but it still involved the oven.  And today I have been reading a lot of stuff online... all in the name of research for this - Introducing the next thing in the line designed to make me more involved with my own life!

I'll start by explaining why I want to write about natural skincare and what use it is to anyone.

As a girl with two sisters I've always loved make up and dabbled with all sorts of beauty type products. I've always cleansed, not always toned but definitely always moisturised. And I have always had an interest in natural health, drummed into me I'm guessing by my Mum who was forever telling me I needed more zinc for those white specks on my nails or that I should have some pineapple as it had bromide? bromine? something in it that's good for your skin....... anyway... So this interest in natural health led to an interest in natural beauty and when I trained to be a make up artist I became very aware of the damage and stress we cause to our skin sometimes by trying to look after it! (Recalling two week rash I had all over my face and neck whilst at make up school) So as I've gone along my merry way I've gladly told my friends and colleagues (whether they asked or not) how best it is to avoid parabens, to give SLS a miss and such like and now I feel like telling you! So here you'll find the products I like and have enjoyed using on myself and in my make up kit and I invite you to tell me about the products you like too. I think I'm going to use this as a way of educating myself and anyone who's interested about those nasties lurking in that enticingly packaged, sweet smelling promise in a bottle on the bathroom shelf.