Tuesday, 26 January 2016

VLOG WEEK 18 - The Body Shop and the new fridge ;)

Another short and sweet one - I told you I was taking it easier in January! I'm off to L.A. tomorrow - suffice to say there will no Dettol in next week's vlog.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Empties January 2016

It's a big one. Hair, then body, then face. See you next week!

All details below the video. :)

Awapuhi Wild Ginger Shampoo - http://bit.ly/1ZX1M6z
Pureology Hydrate Shampoo - http://bit.ly/1WHI3T2
Rahua Voluminous Shampoo - http://bit.ly/1nhLVhb
Sachajuan Ocean Mist Volume Conditioner - http://bit.ly/1Tjq8Cc
Big Sexy Hair Color Safe Conditioner - http://bit.ly/1TjqiJI
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Extreme - http://bit.ly/1WHII70
Philip Kingsley Tricho Pro - http://bit.ly/1ZX2FMj
Unite 7 Seconds Range - http://bit.ly/1K5qYjK
Show Beauty Working Texture Spray - http://bit.ly/1nhMXtj

Anthony Invigorating Rush Hair & Body Wash - http://bit.ly/1nHYP8x
Hampton Sun Privet Bloom Shower Gel - discontinued (because they hate me, hence me begging over the phone for any leftovers)
Bliss Soapy Suds Lemon & Sage - http://bit.ly/1Tjs25T
Radical Skincare Firming Body Multi-Repair - http://bit.ly/1ZX41GQ

Emma Hardie Moringa Balm Travel Size - http://bit.ly/1TjsmRZ
Biologique Recherche P50 1970 - http://bit.ly/1Pez0Hz
Zelens PHA Bio-Peel Pads - http://bit.ly/1nHZAhR
Kate Somerville Line Release Under Eye Repair Cream - http://bit.ly/1PtdWPz
Pixi Lip Lift Max - http://bit.ly/20nbRGA
Chanel Le Volume Ultra-Noir Mascara - http://bit.ly/1OQjNbW






Caroline Hirons c/o
Gleam Futures
6th Floor
60 Charlotte Street
London W1T 2NU
caroline@gleamfutures.com  (skincare queries cannot be answered at this address)

Some links may be affiliates.
See my full disclaimer here:

The views expressed on this site are the author's own and are provided for informational purposes only. The author makes no warranties about the suitability of any product or treatment referenced or reviewed here for any person other than herself and any reliance placed on these reviews or references by you is done so solely at your own risk. Nothing on this site shall be construed as providing dermatological, medical or other such advice and you are always advised to seek the advice of a suitable professional should you have any such concerns.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

The women in my family have featured heavily on here at times, with the notable exception of my paternal Grandmother, pictured above. 
When my Nana died from cancer in 1986 she left a gaping hole in all of our lives. It was my first real experience of intense, searing, grief, and as anyone who has experienced such pain will attest to, it never leaves you. Every family gathering, every time we all meet up, she is noticeably absent. She never met my husband, nor her great-grandchildren.

If my glorious, hysterically funny, beautiful, happy Grandmother had gone for a cervical smear earlier, she may still be here. Maybe not, but we will never know, because she died when she was 60 years old, from cancer that originally started in her cervix.

I met up with The Eve Appeal again this week to discuss an upcoming project I am involved with, to be told that not only has the uptake of smear tests decreased since the introduction of the HPV vaccine, but that there is still some stigma around the vaccine itself.

It would appear that somewhere along the way, the message that there is a vaccine available that can help prevent some cervical cancers, is translating either into 'we don't need to get tested', or 'my daughter doesn't have sex, she's too young'.

This is not the case. Please, please, read the facts below, and for the love of sanity, if you have a cervix, keep up to date with your smear tests. If you are receiving reminders, make the appointment. If you have any unusual symptoms, please do not dismiss them. Make an appointment. 

If you have a teenage daughter, sign the consent to let her have the vaccine. It does not mean she is a slut, it means you are being a grown-up and acknowledging that one day, unless she turns into Julie Andrews and joins a convent, she will have sexual contact with someone else. One day. Most of us do. It's a normal human thing to do. Get rid of the stigma. 
Have the vaccine, have your smear tests. Take care of your Lady Garden people.

Being 'coy', 'shy' or just plain embarrassed, could literally be the difference between life and death. 

HPV is a very common virus. Up to 80% of people will be infected with a HPV infection at some time during their lives.
There are over 100 different types of HPV.  Around 40 types of HPV affect the genital area, of which 13 of those can cause cancer (high-risk HPV).
In women, high risk HPV can cause: cervical, anal, vulval, vaginal and some head and neck cancers.
Girls in Scotland are routinely vaccinated against HPV from aged 11, whereas the rest of the UK routinely vaccinates girls from ages 12 – 13; up to their 18th birthday. 
Your very first sexual experience may put you at risk of infection.
You are still at risk of contracting HPV even if you do not have penetrative sex as the virus is transmitted through genital skin-to-skin contact.
Infection with HPV does NOT imply either infidelity or promiscuity.
If you get high-risk HPV you will not require treatment nor will your partner. However, if your cervical screening test detects abnormal cells and high-risk HPV you may be sent for further examination.
For younger women who are eligible, the HPV vaccination helps reduce risk. It protects against four types of high risk HPV that cause 70% of all cervical cancers.
The immune system can help your body to clear an HPV infection. Yet, smoking can make it harder for the body to clear HPV.
HPV vaccine is 98% effective in preventing cervical abnormalities associated with HPV in those women who have not yet been infected with HPV.
Despite the fact that the vaccine cannot protect women from existing HPV infections, it can prevent reinfection.
The body can clear the HPV virus naturally, but when seen on a smear, the next smear test done is called a “test of cure” to make sure the body has cleared the HPV virus away.
The HPV vaccines are not a substitute for cervical screening. Having the vaccine reduces the risk of developing cervical cancer; however, it does not protect against all cervical cancers. Therefore it is vital that when invited to attend cervical screening that you do so. 
Cervical screening:
It is NOT a test for cervical cancer, it is a screening test to detect abnormalities in the cells of the cervix at an early stage, which if left untreated may develop into cervical cancer.
Between 90 and 94% of all screening results are negative.
Cervical screening saves 5,000 lives a year in the UK.
Having regular cervical screening offers protection against developing cervical cancer
A total of 4.31 million women aged 25 to 64 were invited for screening in England in 2014-15 and 3.12 million women were tested, representing a fall of 3.3% from 2013-14.
Cervical screening can prevent around 45% of cervical cancer cases in women in their 30s, rising with age to 75% in women in their 50s and 60s, who attend regularly.
Around a quarter (24%) of cervical cancer cases in England are detected by screening.
In England, Northern Ireland and Wales; women aged 25–49 are invited every 3 years for a cervical smear and women aged 50–64 are invited every 5 years. Whereas in Scotland, women aged 20–60 are invited every 3 years. However this is due to change on 1st April 2016 to conform with the other countries eligibility criteria. 

For more information on The Eve Appeal, go here: www.eveappeal.org.uk

And her blog: quarterlifecancer.com

Saturday, 23 January 2016

What to Buy? The Body Shop

I've been using something from The Body Shop, in some shape or form, for over 30 years. The modern day Body Shop retains Anita Roddick's values, while having the financial capabilities of literally providing something for everyone in the world of beauty, particularly skincare.

It is nigh on impossible to limit myself to say 10 items, so where possible I am including entire ranges as one choice.

The Can't Live Without:

No surprises for my first pick. The Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter destroys makeup, leaves no residue and does not strip the skin. And it does it all without mineral oil, something that The Body Shop refuses to use in any of its products. *sing choirs of angels*

Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter is £13.00 for 90ml available here: www.thebodyshop.co.uk/camomile-sumptuous-cleansing-butter

The Runner-up:

I use the Camomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover as a micellar water when I'm traveling. Again, it destroys makeup effortlessly. and is gentle enough to use all over the face whether you just want to, are incapacitated in any way, are too tired to cleanse or are on a long haul flight and are desperate to get your makeup off before it sucks the life out of your skin. You can of course, just use it the way it is designed to be used and use it as a first cleanse in the evening to remove your eyes before you crack on with the rest.

Camomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover is £9.00 for a whopping 250ml available here: www.thebodyshop.co.uk/camomile-gentle-eye-make-up-remover - they're literally giving it away.

Nutriganics is easily the most underrated range in not only the Body Shop, but possibly in the industry. The Night Cream, shown here, the Day Cream, the Eye Cream, the Mask, all brilliant for performance and price point - they all come in under £20.00. 
If you are looking for an affordable range to help sandwich your more expensive serums, check these out.

Nutriganics - £9.00 - £18.00 available here: www.thebodyshop.co.uk/nutriganics

Oils of Life launched last year for The Body Shop and has proved hugely popular. Like long-haired 80s rock bands, it would be hard for me to pick a favourite*, such is the quality of the entire range. Pay particular attention to the facial massager tool, which is great over a face mask while you watch telly on the sofa.

Oils of Life are priced from £15.00 - £28.00 and available here: www.thebodyshop.co.uk/oils-of-life

Removing blackheads and picking spots are one of the great joys of life. The Body Shop's Double-Ended Blackhead Remover is the perfect tool for helping extract the yuk. If you're unsure how to use these watch Dr Pimple Popper here.

Double Ended Blackhead Remover - £4.00 available here: www.thebodyshop.co.uk/double-ended-blackhead-remover

Stuck in a rut with a sore face and don't know what to do? Aloe Soothing Rescue Cream Mask may help. It's fragrance, colour and alcohol free, and hydrates while it calms. A no-brainer, and good to finish up the Sunday Facial after the exfoliating and clay stages.

Aloe Soothing Rescue Cream Mask is £14.00 for 100ml and available here: www.thebodyshop.co.uk/aloe-soothing-rescue-cream-mask

Finally, one for the combo/oily/acne skins. Instead of picking at your skin for hours, or using those hideous nose strip things (WHY anyone would use anything called 'strip' on their face is beyond me but...), why don't you try applying Warming Mineral Mask and sit and let it warm the gunk out of your face. If you haven't used it before, apply it and wait. That's all I'm saying. :)

Warming Mineral Mask is £11.00 for 100ml and available here: www.thebodyshop.co.uk/warming-mineral-mask

*Bon Jovi. Obvs.

Friday, 22 January 2016

10 Random Things that affect your Skin

Ah skin. That pesky thing that shows clearly what you've been doing, or not doing, to those that can spot the signs.
When someone asks me about their skin, they frequently look surprised when I fire off questions that are outside the normal spectrum of 'How do you wash it? What moisturiser do you use?' etc etc - so I've been keeping track of the most reoccurring issues and list them for you below (in no particular order):

  1. Are you sleeping well?
    Lack of sleep is killer. It shows in your system., it shows on your face. There's a reason sleep deprivation is classed as a war crime. Do whatever you can to get better sleep.
  2. How much sugar do you eat?
    This is nearly always greeted with an eyebrow and 'I'm trying to give it up.' I love a Crunchie as next as the next person but if you're caning all forms of sugar outside of the odd period-craving chocolate bar, maybe have a rethink for the sake of your face.
  3. Do you like a take-out/eating out?
    Junk food - for the purpose of this think of junk food as anything out of a packet or with more than 5 ingredients (with obvious exceptions like salads), or both. If you have to pierce the film to cook it, you aren't getting the best out of your food. Rethink.
  4. How much water do you drink?
    Dehydration is the pits for your skin, but more importantly, for your brain. It gives your headaches and makes it impossible to think clearly. Don't drown yourself, I'm not suggesting you near hyponatremia levels, but do stay hydrated. 
  5. How much alcohol do you drink?
    Booze does nothing for your skin. Alcohol and sugar. Literally liquid sugar. If that's your bag, carry on. Your skin will show it though, even if you sit there on your pedestal with a good red. It's still booze.
  6. Have you been ill?
    Your skin is a direct reflection of your general health, if you've had the flu, your skin won't be great. If you have any illnesses, long-term diseases, problems with your immune system etc, it will show on your skin. Also true of problems with your gut or reproductive system. There's very little you can do about it except ride it through and enjoy your skin when it's behaving.
  7. How's the weather?
    If you're in and out of the cold, if the weather has changed suddenly from warm to wet, from cold to hot, all of that will affect your skin. Easiest things to remember re weather fluctuations: Change your coat? Change your moisturiser. Change the season? Change your cleanser. 
  8. Are you a salt addict?
    Why yes, thank you, I am. Salt is my crack. On a crisp. On a chip. I've slowly weaned myself away from it as I've gotten older but when I was a teen the running joke was 'Are you having any dinner with your salt?' NOW I recognise craving salt as my anaemia playing up, as it can be for a lot of people. There is a difference between preferring salty foods, and craving them. If salt is also your bag, do some research, it could be an underlying hint that something else is amiss. It might just be that you like a bit of salt. Either way, skin-wise, it can make you puffy. Puffy face, puffy eyes, puffster. If you get puffy, think about your salt intake.
  9. Office/airplane/travel environments
    Have you been on an airplane? Do you work in an air-conditioned/heated office? Recycled air is the pits for your skin. You need oxygenated air. Get out of the office. Go for a walk. When you're on the flight, take your makeup off and spritz often. Stay hydrated.
  10. Poor product choices.
    This is probably the biggest one. Cleansers that are too harsh, toners that are full of alcohol, moisturisers that are too thick or oil-free when you might need oil, choose wisely. Do your research, be led by your skin, not ads or people on counter who are trying to make a target by selling you the entire range. Please note: the majority of my friends on counter absolutely do not do this, but every industry has its bad apples.

If your skin is not up to scratch, if you're not happy with it for any reason, ask yourself all of the above. do your research, proceed!

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Productivity Tips - Managing lists

Part of 'trying to run my schedule and not let my schedule run me' for 2016 includes speeding up things that I have to do every day that are time consuming, to free up more time for things that I want to do. 

I've always been a big list maker, but I became increasingly aware that I was writing the same things down daily, weekly, and especially when it came to things like food shopping and travel.

After moving my diary online last year, this year, I did the previously unthinkable and followed it with my lists. And frankly I'm sorry I waited so long. This from the self-confessed stationery addict.

Paperless is a brilliant app if you:
  • repeat a lot of the same things every day/week
  • find yourself carrying around heavy notebooks full of lots of different lists
  • stop every few minutes to write something else down
  • have lots of different lists - separated by Today/This Week/Don't Forget! etc...
  • wake up in the middle of the night, go for a wee, remember something, and scribble it down in the dark in the notebook that you keep by the bed because you are a sad note taker and wake up to this: 'sndkfksnf hjsnvksnvf cksnfkng'

The obvious bonus of this is that you are utilising something that you (probably) have close to you at all times. No more carrying heavy notebooks, no more flicking to the correct pages etc... You open the app, find your list and add/untick/tick accordingly.

It is ridiculously easy to use. Type out something in your list, and it will save it for you. When you've done it, you uncheck it. The genius of Paperless is that when you have checked it, it simply fades it to grey and moves it to the bottom of the list, so that if you need to add it back to your list - ie something like 'big shop' or 'Dettol', you know, things that make a regular appearance, ;) you never have to retype it!

I check off the things that I have on my 'Daily' list throughout the day, and when I go to bed, I 're' check what I need to do again tomorrow. Another genius part - anything you didn't do today, moves to the top of the list so that it is front and centre the next day. I've added things like 'omegas' to my list and it has definitely helped me take them more frequently.

It is unbeatable for food shopping. There are over 150 items on my food shopping list, I may not buy them weekly, but the time saved is massive.

You can add as many lists as you can physically manage, alphabetise them or not, move them up and down or not, ad icons or not, it's just too good if you have a lot to do, and have bought all the notebooks in the world but still found yourself coming up short.

It syncs between your phone and iPad, meaning if you come across inspiration while reading something, you can add it to your list without picking up a pen.

The only thing that it doesn't do is let you set alarm reminders, so you have to be disciplined enough to actually look at your 'daily' list...

So far, so good. If you like a list and need to make a lot of them, all the time, repeatedly, maybe check this out.

Paperless: Lists + Checks is available here on iTunes. You'll need to buy the non-Lite version for £2.29 if you want to make a lot of lists, but it's well worth it.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016


Annnd we're back. Nothing hugely exciting this week folks. A little rambling is all. :) This week and next week will be better. Promise.

All info from the vlog is in the description box underneath the video. Click 'watch on YouTube' in the bottom right corner.

See you next week!

Monday, 18 January 2016

L.A. here I come!

I'm off to L.A. next week and although I'm working pretty much solidly, I will have at least one day off and so instead of wandering aimlessly in Target/Ulta/Sephora (blood pressure is rising as I type) etc, I wanted to ask if you had any particular brands that you would like me to check out while I'm there. I have a few in mind, but I'm willing to take one for the team (HAHAHAHA) and shop beauty like a demon in the limited time off that I have. I know that a lot of you are based in the US, and I am sometimes asked about brands that we just do not have access to over here, so will definitely be on the lookout for those.

Please do leave me some ideas/requests in the comments. I have a large baggage allowance and am not afraid to use it.

And also....food recommendations please! Otherwise I'll set up shop in Tender Greens and never leave.

*SO EXCITED, makes California playlist*

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliator Pads

What are they?
'Improve skin elasticity and bid a permanent farewell to dull skin with radical age defying exfoliating pads.'

Acid toning in a pad.

Who are they for?
All ages but particularly recommended for those worried about signs of ageing. Slightly more 'grown-up' skins. 

What’s in them?
Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycolic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol Denat., Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Salicylic Acid, Centella Asiatica Extract, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Allantoin, Echinacea Purpurea Extract, Resveratrol, Malus Domestica Fruit Cell Culture Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Water, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Pca, Propylene Glycol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Sodium Benzoate, Xanthan Gum, Glycerin, Lecithin, Limonene, Linalool

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
essential oils
alcohol - although most acid toners need either alcohol, witch hazel or vinegar for the acids. It is worth bearing in mind that alcohols used with acids have a different effect on the skin than astringent 'toners' where alcohol is the first or second ingredient, and you can literally feel your face drying out out as you swipe.

Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?
Man-made loveliness, vegan

Tested on animals/sold in territories that advocate testing?

How do you use them?
Apply after cleansing, all over the face, including eyelids and lips. Flip over, go again.

What’s good about them?
I love these pads. They contain the usual acids along with willow bark for lazy pores, Osilift for toning and tightening and witch hazel as a mild astringent. They give good sting, but no burn. They also have resveratrol and centella asiatica, two ingredients I always keep an eye out for. In a good way.
These pads are in my 'must-have' acid selection and I keep a back-up. I also love the ethos behind the brand, if you aren't aware of Radical start here: www.radicalskincare.com/our-story

What’s not so good about them?
They're £48.00 for 60, so not the cheapest option. However, if you are using them once a day it's £24.00 a month, which is more on a par with most of the others (mid-range and up) on the market. A lot of the other pads on the market come in packs of 30. Always look at quantity vs price. Skincare is no different from buying fruit. ;)

Similar products?
All the other pads. Zelens, First Aid Beauty, Malin & Goetz, PTR - all of them have something individual from these and are worth checking out. Acids and cleansers are what I keep the biggest collection of. They're like good music and excellent tea. You can never have enough. 

Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliator Pads are £48.00 from SpaceNK.com and $78.00 from Sephora.com

Saturday, 16 January 2016

What to Buy? Tata Harper

Where to start? I've never met a Tata product I didn't like. So good is the choice, that the hardest part for this type of review is singling out individual products.

So as not to go completely overboard, I am limiting myself to one cleanser (OHGODHELPME), and excluding the Rejuvenating Serum that I wrote about last month here, for no other reason than it's in the Hall of Fame, it was in my Cult Beauty Box, it's an obvious choice. So let's assume that's a given.

All products and further information are available from TataHarper.com but they don't ship everywhere so there are also local links below.

The Can't Live Without:

OK this has a back story. I mentioned on Twitter a few weeks ago that I was thrilled to find an amazing product that was going into the Hall of Fame the next day, and then it didn't happen. In a nutshell, the juice in this product is phenomenal. The packaging, however, is not appropriate for it. The formula is slightly too 'firm' to be in a tube. I squeezed it so hard that I split the seal on the tube. This needs to be in a pot, or the formula adjusted to lessen the viscosity. But that of course is a concern, because if they mess with it, it may not be the same, and that would be a great shame, as this is a beautiful eye product. The team at Tata are working on a solution.
That aside, it has not stopped me using it. I don't use it as a mask. I apply it on the under-eye area only, and I do not remove it. It softens the skin and plumps out wrinkles almost immediately. It is easily the nicest thing I have used on my eyes in a long time. I will absolutely not be without this when I fly at the end of the month. If I have to, I will take scissors to it, and decant it all into a Muji pot. No problem. If you have a Tata stockist near you, visit them and put some of this on your eyes. It's just WOAH. And it was a lovely surprise. I would never have thought that an eye mask would be so good, but there we are.

The Boosted Contouring Eye Mask is £115.00 for 30ml from BeingContent.com or $150.00 from TataHarper.com - but you may want to check yours before you buy or keep an eye out for different packaging in the future. *wields scissors*

Purifying Cleanser is the one I went for in the end. It's one of my first choices for morning cleanse, or the perfect second cleanse in the evening after a particularly 'grimy' day. It's refreshing, feels like a runny clay and wakes up your skin and your mind. More info here. I would avoid this if you're using retin-a creams - I mean prescription strength, not over the counter. They're fine.

Purifying Cleanser is £45.00 from CultBeauty.co.uk or $58.00 from Sephora.com

Replenishing Nutrient Complex has been on here before, just over a year ago, when this also went in to the Hall of Fame. It is a no-brainer. This is a beautiful, nourishing, serum-oil that has slowly replaced my Clarins Skin Beauty Repair Concentrate, which I now find a little too fragranced if my skin is sensitised. It's light, absorbs beautifully and is suitable for all skin types. I carry the rollerball version everywhere when I travel, and for that reason, it is my preferred size.

Replenishing Nutrient Complex starts from £36.00 from CultBeauty.co.uk and $45.00 from Sephora.com

Hydrating Floral Essence is another no-brainer. Probably, pro-rata, the product I have used the most since discovering this brand. I use it at the spritz stage, so if you are watching your budget, this is one you can pass over for something more affordable such as Serozinc. If however, you have addiction problems when it comes to all things spritz, this is great. It's a mix of aloe vera, sodium hyaluronate, rosewater and gotu kola and gives a light mist as opposed to drenching your face like the shower. Beautiful.

Hydrating Floral Essence starts at £50.00 from CultBeauty.co.uk and $65.00 from Sephora.com

I know I know - another eye cream. But I have used this on and of for years and I love it. Light, penetrates, soothes lines and puffiness and is just generally a really good eye cream. Zero irritation. Lovely.

Restorative Eye Cream is £60.00 for 15ml from CultBeauty.co.uk and $90.00 from Sephora.com

I love and use both of Tata's moisturisers, but this one pipped the Repairative Moisturiser due to its ability to hydrate really well, absorb perfectly and act as the perfect barrier on top of all the other loveliness underneath. Made for combination/oily/dehydrated skins, but I would happily recommend this and the Replenishing Nutrient Complex to someone with dry skin.

Rebuilding Moisturiser is £80.00 for 50ml from CultBeauty.co.uk and $100.00 from Sephora.com

That's the Top Six. Honestly, I could easily pick 5 more. But it's January and I'm showing restraint. ;)
Safe to say, if you are ever at a Tata counter, and can't decide whether to buy it or not, proceed.

Friday, 15 January 2016

Budget Skincare - Waitrose Pure Range

I am constantly asked for budget friendly items and I love finding them, but they have to actually do something, not just 'be cheap' in order for me to recommend.

I hadn't looked at the Waitrose Pure range properly in a while, and when I saw it instore today, I figured it was time to revisit.

While they won't win any prizes for innovation, and the packaging gives new meaning to the word 'basic', you could do a lot worse than to check these four out if you are looking for skincare and your budget is your priority, or, you simply refuse to spend a lot of money on skincare. Fair enough.

The name of course, is a stretch, you can call it "pure' all you want, it's not going to turn this into an organic range. It is however, fragrance free, vegan, everything is recyclable etc - so it's ticking a lot of boxes that more expensive brands don't even attempt.

Performance-wise, again, as expected, it's basic, but it's a lot better than brands that claim to be simple in their formulations and are actually anything but. 

Standout products for me are the four above. 
I would avoid the eye gel if you have sensitive eyes as despite saying it's for sensitivity, it contains a little menthol - which is unnecessary and odd in an eye cream. If, however, you suffer from tension headaches. migraines, work in schools/hospitals etc, if you apply a little after your moisturiser (back to front), you may find it gives light relief to the area.
The hand cream is non-sticky and perfectly adequate for all but the most dry of skins.
The moisturiser contains shea butter but is actually extremely light to use - to the point where it may not be enough for really dry skins, but normal/combination should be ok.
The facial oil is your best bet. It's not completely pure, it's not 'green', but if you are young and want a starter oil, are watching the purse strings, or just like collecting different products to dabble in and out of, try this out.

There are other products, including a face wash and face wipes, which I would still avoid, but then we know that. :)

The price points are beyond affordable - and at the moment they're 50% off, meaning that the average price is £1.49, so you could buy all of the above for under £6.00.

Pure Face Range is available from Waitrose.com and Ocado.com (the offer is not valid on Ocado. They're a whopping £2.99 each.)

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Most Used Products of 2015

Apologies if you caught this the first five minutes it went up. There was something wrong with the upload so I had to redo it.

Anyway: I decided to go for 'Most Used' as that's literally how I picked all of the products.

See you soon!

Products mentioned:





DAVINES OI CONDITIONER - http://bit.ly/1Zqzi4T

OLAPLEX HOME TREATMENT - http://amzn.to/1W4upZI

VOTARY CLEANSING OIL - http://bit.ly/1N5xq5b








Monday, 11 January 2016

A word about 'key ingredients' and incis.

I know I've touched on this subject numerous times before, but here we are in 2016 and some retailers and brands are still refusing/just not bothering to list the full ingredients of the products they sell on their websites.

Why? Who knows. I can tell you this though. I'm so over it. Ingredients are absolutely key as to whether I personally make a purchase or not. I made a stand about listing them in full in every review some time ago and the response from all of you was very positive. It seemed I was not alone. If you are expected to lay out your hard-earned cash for something, in a lot of cases, something very expensive, you want to know what is in it.

In the UK: Retailers including Selfridges, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Harvey Nichols, even you John Lewis, not an inci to be had on any skincare item I searched. Not one. I realise you all have one major thing in common, you're high street first, web second. But still. Not good enough. Stop making us search.

There are notable exceptions, and some that do it brilliantly. The Body Shop, Marks & Spencer, Cult Beauty, Victoria Health and Content Beauty - all are outstanding for content and information, but the rest don't fare much better. You can devote entire pages to your returns policy, but we have to search everywhere else outside of your site, notably on blogs and beautypedia.com in the hope that someone has taken it upon themselves to type up your ingredients for you.

And brands. You set the tone. Some of the biggest brands in the world still do not list their ingredients.

I searched for the bestselling items across every major brand and not one listed the ingredients on their own websites. Oh there's some talk of 'key ingredients' and how the flowers are harvested by vestal virgins at dawn, but no actual 'here is what is in this product that we would like you to buy'.

If you think of the people that own the parent companies of these brands, I highly doubt that they put a cream on themselves without checking what's in it. Why do they not get that their customers want to do the same thing? 

Please stop relying on us to do your job for you.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Hall of Fame - Chantecaille Just Skin

Shiny new logo for a shiny New Year!

After discussing Chanel's new foundation earlier this week and mentioning this, it occurred to me that it has hardly been mentioned here, despite me using it for 10+ (or thereabouts) years. Chantecaille Just Skin 

How is it described?
'This exceptionally versatile three-in-one formula represents a new approach to foundation, powered by the latest Japanese technology. It provides excellent coverage, smooths fine lines and offers sun protection.'

For me, it's a cross between a tinted moisturiser and a foundation, but it's closer to the moisturiser end of the spectrum.

How many shades?

What's in it?
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Noepentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Peg-400, Magnesium Sulfate; May Contain: Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Dimethicone/ Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Mica, Silica, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Phenoxyethanol, Dextrin Palmitate, Methylparaben, Tocopherol, Methicone, Alcohol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Algae Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Preregen, Nectapure, Edelweiss GC, Rose Water Concentrated E4445, Colorants, Talc, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Stearic Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide

How best to apply?
I apply with fingers. It's almost like a moisturiser.

How's the coverage?
It covers but it's sheer. You can still see skin underneath.

Do you need a primer with it?
No, but I use one.

Can you feel it on the skin? Is it breathable?
Extremely breathable, this literally feels like a face cream as opposed to a foundation.

Does it give good glow?
This being Chantecaille, of course. Skin is luminous after application.

What's the staying power?
I can happily apply once in the morning and it will last most of the day. If I was going out in the evening however, I would have to reapply. Due to the high water content it will go patchy if you are dehydrated. I take this as my cue to add a ton of hydration after the evening cleanse.

Does it block pores?
No. It's light and doesn't sit 'in' the skin.

Best skin type/age?
You will need more coverage than this if you have particularly problematic skin. It's brilliant if you have fairly good skin, and across any age, but I think it would be most appreciated by a slightly older skin - and by that, I mean 30+.

Anti-ageing benefits? And would they/do they work?
Yes. And yes, in my experience.
Hyaluronic acid, 'botanical anti-pollution and antioxidants' including honeysuckle, green tea and edelweiss.

SPF content? Chemical/physical?
15 - physical - titanium dioxide

Who is it best for?
Anyone wanting light-medium coverage, it is buildable, but not for you if you want heavy-duty coverage.

Does it service WOC with the shades?
No. I love Chantecaille but they have a long way to go with darker colours, not just in this, but in Future Skin and the Compact Makeup also. And some of the names of the darker Future Skin colours are just 'no', but that's for another conversation.

Like I said, I've used this for years, it's in my permanent stash and my backup stash. I switch between Tan and Wheat, depending on my sun exposure, the time of year etc.
I won't be without it.
A little goes a long way, I probably use two tubes a year.

Chantecaille Just Skin is £58.00 from SpaceNK.com or $69.00 on Nordstrom.com

Saturday, 9 January 2016

What to Buy? Kate Somerville

One of my most-asked questions on social is 'What should I buy from XXX brand?'. There are lots of brands that contain within their offering things that I think everyone should at least check out - not necessarily buy, but perhaps consider them as an option when deciding where to invest your hard-earned cash.

When I was on a panel at a Harvey Nichols event a couple of years ago, I was asked what brand I would pick if I could only choose one for the rest of time. There is no way I could pick one, I answered with three. So I'll start with one of them. The other two will be next.
Kate Somerville kicks off this new little series. Feel free to leave questions in the comments.

There are a lot of options in the KS range. Since the Unilever acquisition we can expect more NPD to be added much more frequently than in the past, but for now, what should you be checking out?

The Can't Live Without:

When I die, they will have to bury me with Deep Tissue Repair. I'm not a big believer in the afterlife, but one shouldn't take too many chances.
Firms, softens, eliminates dryness, restores elasticity, immediately alleviates any visible fine lines, feels like velvet. An absolute, 'must-have at all times' for me.
Top tip: I use this as a serum/cream hybrid. Apply a thin layer and add moisturiser on top. Makes it go further. This, for my skin, is about as good as it gets. More detail coming in a blog post this week.

$150 for 1oz (just under 30ml) from Sephora here or KateSomerville.com for US peeps.

The Must-Haves:

Settle in, there's a few.....

In my Top 3 moisturisers of all time, Nourish is simple in its feel, but packed in its formula. This moisturiser is so 'wet', that it immediately relieves any hydration worries, whilst simultaneously sealing in moisture and anything underneath it, in my case usually Deep Tissue Repair or Age Arrest. It is loaded with peptides and retinyl palmitate and should be more expensive than it is. (Safe for pregnancy)

$65 for 50ml available from Sephora.com or katesomerville.com

Goat Milk is what I reach for if my face needs a cashmere blanket and a cup of tea. Sensitivity/redness/rosacea - if your skin is in any way upset with you, maybe check this out. Jojoba, avocado, grape seed, aloe all nestled with lactic acid to help resurface without irritation. A winner on all fronts.

$65 for 50ml available from Sephora.com or KateSomerville.com

Line Release Eye Repair is one of those products that is subtle in its delivery, yet works like a charm. If you're worried about lines, this is worth looking at. It's basically a bottle of peptides, which are designed to attack all the problem areas of the eyes. I use this more for lines/wrinkles than dark circles.

$125.00 for 15ml available from Sephora.com or KateSomerville.com

Really great Vitamin C products are always hard to find due to their volatile nature, but this one is lush. Brightening, antioxidant, glow-giving, protecting, this little beauty does it all. The Vit C is micronized at 10% and separated from the main formula, which is predominantly omega oils to help prevent any irritation. You may still get a zing. I do love a zing.

$90.00 for 30ml from Sephora.com or KateSomerville.com

ACIIIIDDDDD! I couldn't list my favourites without these gems. The Clinic-To-Go Resurfacing Peel Pads contain lactic acid, niacinamide, phenol, onion, sage and usnic acid, but no glycolic, making these the closest thing to the original P50 1970 formula that you can buy, but in a buffing pad version. I will not be without these. I use once/twice a week, meaning they last over two months. Always in the evening. Follow with heavy duty serums and comforting moisturisers and you have yourself a perfect skincare storm.

$52.00 for 16 pads from Sephora.com or KateSomerville.com

As regular readers will know, I do not recommend oil free moisturisers as a rule. This is a glorious exception. Adult-onset acne is a huge complaint and one of the biggest growing sectors in the market and I don't like to be a cliche, but it happened to me. This moisturiser is soothing, hydrating and minimises any danger of blocked pores/aggravating breakouts by being loaded with algaes and good sugars. It almost stands alone in a market full of moisturisers whose only USP is that they contain no oil, by remembering that people with problem skin still want protecting from the signs of ageing. Products these days need to do more than just claim to be 'oil-free' and this one does.

$65.00 for 50ml from Sephora.com or KateSomerville.com

RetAsphere Micro Peel is included because it blows out of the water the 'never use acids with retinols' old way of thinking. This is 10% glycolic acid and lactose built with a retinol time-release system that basically means the acids open the door to let the vitamin A enter. It's a peel that you leave on, which is my preference, and causes me no irritation. Smoothing and firming, if you want a vitamin a product with kick, try this out. Diminishes fine lines and the look of pores. 

$90.00 for 30ml from Sephora.com or KateSomerville.com

Finally, Age Arrest Advanced Reviving Cream is what I would call a cross between an anti-ageing serum and moisturiser. It's full of peptides and algaes and also pays attention to lengthening the life of the cell via telomere technology, something a lot of brands are starting to use. If you're budgeting and have to cut corners, you could use this or Deep Tissue Repair as your serum and moisturiser in one.

$90.00 for 50ml available from Sephora.com or KateSomerville.com

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Temple Spa In The Beginning Deep Cleansing Melt

You may say the world does not need more cleansing balms. I'd agree with you but then we'd both be wrong. 

*YOU MAY WANT TO READ QUICKLY - I just found out this is on a two for one. See below!

What is it?
'Temple Spa In The Beginning Deep Cleansing Melt contains beads that gently exfoliate the skin leaving it looking radiant before melting to release deeply cleansing ingredients'.

Who is it for?
Dry/dehydrated - first am cleanse and second pm cleanse 
Other skin types - pm massage stage

What’s in it?
Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Peg-100 Stearate, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Ocimum Basilicum (Basil) Oil, Geraniol, d-limonene, Linalool

Possibly acne/allergy/troubling for some ingredients?
essential oils - it smells more of the basil than the others

Natural? Organic? Man made? Vegan?
I assume natural, they don't seem to make organic claims, and vegan.

Tested on animals/sold in territories that advocate testing?
No/Unknown (but I don't think so)

What's not in it?
Shea butter - making it an option for acnaic, but it's built for dry/dehydrated.

How do you use it?/Where to use in your routine?
Apply a small amount - around 5-10p size. 8p size! ;)
Massage throughout the face in sweeping up and down movements. Think Madonna in the Vogue video, no circles.

What’s good about it?
You only need a teeny bit of this to get good massage, which is what I'm primarily concerned with when using this. It smells very 'spa', so if you want unscented, this is not for you. It gives great grip, and is the closest I would probably get to a scrub, the fatty beads in this dissolving upon application and massage.

Remember when massaging: Less is more. GRIP NOT SLIP.

Massage well, remove with a warm flannel - you will probably need three goes with the flannel. If you feel any residue afterwards, you haven't taken it off properly. Your skin should feel soft, smooth and comfortable.

What’s not so good about it?
Not much, perhaps the smell for some, but I like.

You don't need this if:
You have really active acne.
You already have a good massage cleansing balm.

You need this if:
You have dry/dehydrated/dull/mature skin that needs oopmh.
You don't have a good massage cleansing balm. 
You don't like acids and need to exfoliate without scrubbing your face off.

Similar products?
Champneys Super Rich Cleansing Balm (which I think is discontinued now)

The Deep Cleansing Melt is £28.00 for 60ml and available from Templespa.com  and at the time of publishing is on a TWO FOR ONE!

(I have not forewarned the brand about this post. I don't know how much stock they have or how long they will keep the promotion open.)

It's also available from VictoriaHealth.com if they sell out.

£28.00 for 120ml. SCORE.

*no affiliate links