Monday, 25 July 2016

Isla Apothecary Refine + Radiate Mask

isla apothecary face mask

Coconut milk plus turmeric does not always equal curry. Small batch skincare brand Isla Apothecary demonstrates that beautifully with their Refine + Radiate Mask - a blend of red sandalwood, turmeric and coconut powders. The just-add-water dry mask formula is designed to soothe, nurture and restore moisture to the skin in one fell swoop while managing to smell very, very tasty indeed. 

I have a real thing for dry face masks and cleansers that you hydrate yourself, it just makes the whole ritual that little bit more special. Like other dry formulas I've tried, this one can be mixed with water, honey or floral water/hydrosol to create your own bespoke experience. So far I've only tried it with water but I'll be mixing it with honey next time because I pretty much love putting honey on my face.

To use, you blend a teaspoon or so with the liquid of your choice then apply to the face and leave it be for up to 15 minutes. It does dry in this time but to me it didn't feel uncomfortable in the slightest. The mask is removed using warm water and circular movements, which adds a lovely element of gentle exfoliation. While my skin felt incredibly soft and happy after I'd removed the mask, I did have a slightly jaundiced tinge to my skin, which is not unexpected when applying  bright yellow turmeric powder to one's face. The yellow removed really easily with a swipe of toner-soaked cotton wool but would have come off in the shower just as easily if I'd used a flannel on my face after I'd removed the mask. Scent wise, the Beautifying Mask smells deliciously coconutty - a smell that doesn't dissipate as you wear it, which to me just adds to the joy. The Isla Apothecary Refine + Radiate Beautifying Face Mask is a gorgeous little facial treat that I think any natural beauty enthusiast will absolutely love.
The mask is £22 for a 120g jar at Isla Apothecary and you can find out more about the brand and ingredients here.


Saturday, 18 June 2016

Why I Deleted Crowdfire

Now I usually steer well clear of writing about anything 'blog related' here. That's because this is a blog predominantly about beauty. I created it for people in general, not just specifically for other bloggers and definitely not for people looking for any kind of advice that isn't in some way related to stuff you put on your face. I'm not particularly tech savvy, I'm not even very good at SEO (in fact I don't pay nearly attention to it when it comes to the blog). That said, I do like to explore various apps that are supposed to help me do this whole thing a little better. Social Media is such a big deal and we already know how important it is (and if done badly how detrimental it can be) for businesses and blogs alike so I didn't really surprise myself when I gave into the temptation to try something that could, in theory, grow my 'following' on social media. I've always felt kind of grossed out by the terms 'following' and 'followers'- it implies there is some kind of leadership involved when in reality I usually feel I go about my bloggy business rather unnoticed - far from being a leader of any sort!
This uneasy feeling I have about the whole following/followers thing is probably why my trial of using a third party to 'grow' and gain more exposure for my site was not an enjoyable experience. I first noticed Crowdfire on Twitter a while back- I started to see automated tweets from fellow bloggers that said things like 'I just found the x amount of people who unfollowed me via @crowdfireapp, seeya!' or 'x amount of tweeps followed me today, welcome!'. As much as automated tweets make me want to scream profanities, the concept intrigued me. I thought this could be a really great way to determine what kind of people like what kind of content, what is a turn off/turn on to which kind of general demographic etc. So, I signed up (for free) and downloaded the app. Now, Crowdfire is legitimate. It's not about buying fake people to pretend to like your stuff or that sort of nonsense, it just pretty much tells you who has followed and unfollowed you across social media platforms you link to it as well as inactive accounts you might be following. I'm sure a lot of people get a lot of use out of it and find it to be a handy little tool, but for me? It was a mistake to even go there.

Crowdfire shows you who has recently followed and unfollowed you across you social media as well as those who do and don't follow you back. I had it linked to both Twitter and Instagram and started off opening up the app every now and then, you know, just for some 'insight'. I'm slightly ashamed to say that what began as curiosity soon became a bit of an obsession, for lack of a better word. As well as notifying me of the obvious - those accounts that stick out like a sore thumb as being complete popularity-chasers had hit 'unfollow' almost as soon as they had followed- this thing told me on more than a few occasions that bloggers and accounts who had been 'following' me and interacting with me for years had dropped me, and it hurt my feelings. It really upset me, which is rather irrational, to say the least.  Equally, I felt hurt when large, influential skincare or beauty Instagram pages would follow me, I'd hit follow back because I've thought 'oooh, I like this brand!' and felt flattered they were interested in me, only to find they too would drop me (one within minutes) as soon as they had a new follower ticked off their list. I have always despised the whole 'follow for follow' culture on social media because I really feel it achieves nothing genuine, but when I signed up to Crowdfire, that was almost what it became about. I found myself becoming a bit bitter too - some accounts I was really, genuinely interest in weren't following me back and I unfollowed quite a few, all because I was butthurt. All that achieved was me missing out on great content and beautiful images because I felt bitter! How sad is that?

I decided pretty early on that my very brief fling with Crowdfire was never going to be a full blown serious relationship so it was best to just call it a day. It was making me feel like my online presence had become too far removed from the kind of person I really am and I didn't want my social accounts to become like one of the many, many disingenuous ones out there. My blog is precious to me and so are my Twitter and Instagram accounts. They are small and their success reflects the effort I put into them, which at times is very little, so why shouldn't my 'numbers' reflect that too? I have gone back to following Instagram and Twitter accounts simply because I enjoy them and I just don't care whether or not they follow me too. It sounds ridiculous but I feel weirdly liberated having deleted the Crowdfire app from my phone. Plus, now I have more storage space available for stuff that really matters.

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