Wednesday 14 December 2011

Pai Echium Eye Cream

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!

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.

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

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!