Monday, 29 August 2016

Aviela Shea Butter Black Soap

When I went to the Love Natural Love You exhibition at Olympia London in July, I spent quite a bit of time hovering around the Aviela stand. I'd heard of the brand before and loved the backstory - founder Patricia Monney used unrefined shea butter to heal her two year old daughter's ankle problems (yes, really) and so began a journey of discovery of the wonders of this multi tasking ingredient.
Though I didn't purchase from Aviela at Olympia (their stand was pretty busy!), fate seemed to intervene when Aviela got in touch a few weeks later to ask if I'd be keen to try their Shea Butter Black Soap. Spooky.
Aviela Shea Butter Black Soap Review
The first thing I noticed about the black soap is that it's not actually soap at all. In fact, it is distinctly soap-less. Aviela Shea Butter Black Soap contains; Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera Juice, Palm Kernel Oil, Baobab Leaf Extract, Neem Leaf Extract, Water and Cocoa Pod Ash.
100% natural, black soap was traditionally used in Africa to gently wash babies and I totally get why. While it's mild, the black soap leaves skin feeling perfectly clean yet nicely moisturised and it really doesn't smell of very much at all. The soap is a multipurpose cleanser so I used  it all over. I liked it on my body and loved it on my hair but I have to say I didn't enjoy washing my face with it at all. I tried using it as a facial cleanser twice and both times it felt a bit tight and uncomfortable. My face is sensitive  to the most random things at random times so I will give it another go and see what happens. I've not written you off yet, black soap.

The soap can definitely be used in place of shampoo too. I've washed my hair with it a few times and loved the way it added a bit of volume and shine - some people might enjoy the fact that it's virtually scentless too, especially if you don't like your hair to smell like flowers/ coconuts/ unicorn tears etc.
I also really like the look of the shea butter black soap - it's like molten gold so it feels quite luxurious to use, which is always a bonus in my book.
Aviela Shea Butter Black Soap is £14 for 250ml from Aviela, Superdrug and LoveLula.

Post contains sample.


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.

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