Tuesday, 27 October 2020

The Beauty Edit at Marks and Spencer

(affiliate) If you don't already think of Marks and Spencer when you think of beauty shopping, you really should start because they often have some great deals. The latest, newly launched beauty bargain at Marks and Spencer is The Beauty Edit. A currated selection of skincare, bodycare, haircare, nailcare and makeup, this beauty line up is worth over £120 and is yours for just £20 when you spend £30 across clothing, home and beauty. I think this box of goodies would make an excellent Christmas gift - or a nice treat for yourself obviously. So if you've already got a few bits in your basket or were waiting for an incentive to spend at Marks and Spencer, this is it.

Here's what's in the box (mainly deluxe sample/ travel sizes but a couple of full sized products too:

  • Percy & Reed Define & Hold Finishing Cream
  • REN Evercalm Ultra Comforting Rescue Mask
  • Philip Kingsley Body Building Conditioner
  • Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Florale Multi-Purpose Dry Oil
  • Living Proof Perfect Hair Day 5-in-1 Styling Hair Treatment
  • This Works Deep Sleep Body Cocoon (Full Size)
  • Leighton Denny Renovate Intensive Nail Repair
  • Stila Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliner in shade Stingray
  • Eyeko Lash Alert Mascara
  • Prai - One of either the 24k Gold Wrinkle Repair Creme or Wrinkle Repair Serum
You can buy The Beauty Edit right now at Marks and Spencer but be quick - they're predicted to sell out fast!

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Aurelia Brightening Eye Serum

(Gift/affiliate) Aurelia is such a beautiful brand isn’t it? Every product I have tried to date has been a pleasure to use thanks to the lovely textures and scents and Aurelia’s latest launch is no exception.

Like all of the British brand’s creations, Aurelia Brightening Eye Serum harnesses probiotic ingredients to protect, restore and balance the skin, with this particular product designed for the delicate eye area. Hydrating, smoothing and brightening ingredients work to create a more youthful and rested look, and I know that I for one can always do with looking like I’ve slept better than I have.

This serum has a creamy texture that makes it more of a serum-cream hybrid than a straight serum, so it feels really nourishing and sort of comforting around the eyes.

It can be used anytime, day or night and is particularly good beneath under-eye concealer, as it sort of primes the area and creates an instantly smooth surface.

As mentioned above, the serum is designed to hydrate, smooth and brighten but it also works to enhance natural collagen and Hyaluronic Acid production and target sagging skin and crow’s feet. The formula includes Arnica extract, which is in the mix to reduce the appearance of dark circles and Shea Butter, know for its nourishing action.

To use, just apply 1 or 2 pumps under and around the eye, using ring fingers and a gentle tapping action. It also plays well with Aurelia’s The Probiotic Concentrate, so feel free to mix it with that for a good dose of probiotics.

As with all Aurelia products, the Brightening Serum smells excellent. Bitter Orange Flower Water is the first component on the ingredients list, and I can really smell its soft citrus scent on application.

Other ingredients include Aloe Leaf Juice, Damask Rose Flower Water, Milk Protein and Bifida Ferment Lysate – a probiotic derived from a type of yeast.

To find out more and explore the rest of Aurelia’s beautiful products, head over to Aurelia. The Aurelia Brightening Eye Serum is £48.

Thursday, 17 September 2020

L'AVES Skin Riches

(Gifted) Small batch, apothecary-style skincare products are often my favourite, so I was very much drawn to British beauty brand L’AVES.

L’AVES combine effective, high-performance ingredients with botanicals, clays, oils and natural actives to create skincare that not only works, but is very enjoyable to use.

L’AVES refers to its products as Skin Riches, a concept that basically means that ‘beautiful skin can make you feel ‘rich’ even if, like most of us, you’re actually not! The carefully formulated products certainly do look, feel and even smell very decadent, so I totally understand the idea behind this concept.

I have two L’AVES products I have been trying for the past few weeks – the Botanical Rain Mist + B3 and the Bright & Lift Extreme Performance Facial Elixir.

L’AVES Botanical Rain Mist + B3 100ml £40

Designed to be used both morning and night, this fine mist is packaged in a weighty, frosted glass bottle and has a number of benefits. The mist deeply hydrates, balances, detoxes, refreshes and restores cellular energy and contains humectants to continuously deliver moisture and hydration to the skin.

The mist has a very botanical scent (that dissipates after a minute or two) and to me, smells quite a lot like Fennel, which is probably down to the addition of the anti-microbacterial agent Sodium Anisate, which is derived from Fennel.

It’s non-sticky and basically feels like water on the skin, which makes sense because it contains a lot of floral waters including Chamomile, Orange Blossom, Rosemary, Bamboo Stem and Rose as well as Aloe Leaf Juice. The Botanical Rain Mist is rounded off with Nicotinamide (Vitamin B3) which has a number of benefits for the skin, including minimising/ tightening pores, improving barrier function and aiding the natural production of ceramides.

Bright & Lift Extreme Performance Facial Elixir 30ml £65


Firstly, this elixir is beautifully packaged in heavy glass with a dropper dispenser and wood-effect lid. It feels really luxurious and weighty in the hands, which I think adds to the ritual of actually applying it. This is one of the brands's best selling products and has numerous benefits for the skin including reducing stress, nourishing, restoring elasticity, restoring luminosity and creating an immediate radiant effect.

The lightweight elixir is oil based and when massaged into the skin, absorbs beautifully, leaving a slightly dewy finish. To me, it smells a bit like honey; gently sweet and sort of floral. A pleasant, comforting scent.

The L’AVES Bright & Lift Facial Elixir contains a blend of flower, fruit and vegetable oils including Camelia, Rosehip, Cucumber Seed, Tomato Seed, Broccoli Seed, Pomegranate and Neroli. Rosemary Leaf Extract, Vit E, Sugar Beet-derived Isoamyl Laurate (a kind of natural alternative to silicone), Olive Squalene and Algae Extract are also in the mix, which is designed for use morning and night on the face, neck and décolleté.

L’AVES products are 100% vegan, 100% natural and 90% organic, cruelty free and contained in recycled packaging. For more info on the brand and the products (there really is a lot to explore), visit L’AVES.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Sol de Janeiro Travel Light Set

(Affiliate Link) This little travel set of two body creams from Sol de Janeiro is not only great for throwing in your hand luggage but is also a brilliant way to sample a couple of products. I’ve previously blogged about the iconic Brazilian Bum Bum Cream but hadn’t tried the brand’s newer offering, Coco Cabana, before I got this set. I was pretty desperate to try the Coco Cabana to be honest and at £12 for this kit, it’s probably the most affordable way to do so.

Each pot of cream is 25ml, so they are pretty tiny but provide more than enough product to test both the consistency and scent to decide whether you’d commit to the full sizes. Bare in mind, these products are very generously scented and just the smallest amount of cream will likely be enough to have you smelling delicious.

Sol de Janeiro Travel Light Set

Speaking of scent, if you don’t already know Bum Bum Cream basically smells like a sort of boozy, tropical dessert, with notes of salted caramel and pistachio. A lot of people absolutely love the smell of this stuff but there are some who can’t stand it. If you’re not into sweet scents, it probably won’t be for you.

Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Cream Close Up

Coco Cabana on the other hand is very coconut-centric. With notes of warm vanilla, toasted praline, sandalwood and tropical orchid. It’s quite a sophisticated coconut scent, absolutely perfect for warmer months, with a lightweight fast absorbing texture. It’s almost gel – like and a lot lighter on the skin that the Bum Bum Cream. Coco Cabana also doesn’t smell as in-your-face as Bum Bum, which some people might appreciate.

Sol de Janeiro Coco Cabana Cream Close Up

Bum Bum Cream also has Mica added into the mix to add some lustre to the skin, while Coco Cabana doesn’t. They’re both beautiful, slightly unusual, tropically scented products that make a perfect pair.

You can find the Sol de Janeiro Travel Light Set at Feel Unique.

Monday, 10 August 2020

The Inkey List SPF 30 Daily Sunscreen

A lot of chemical facial SPFs sting my eyes so I'm always keen to try any new mineral sunscreens that come out. The Inkey List SPF 30 caught my attention because, even though it's a mineral formula, it's claimed that it leaves no white cast on dark skin and mineral SPFs are notorious for this. 
This SPF is formulated with 22% Zinc Oxide- which is usually known for leaving a 'chalky' sort of look and offers broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection. 

The typical chalky appearance of the Zinc Oxide is counteracted with the addition of a slight tint (Caramel), to help the cream blend into the skin - no matter what colour that skin might be. The suit-all tint blends out on my skin to leave a virtually unnoticeable finish. I am light skinned with a slight tan but I have read a few reviews of this product from people with black skin through to people with very light, white skin and most have been impressed with the finish of this SPF.

The Inkey List SPF 30 Daily Mineral Sunscreen

The sunscreen is also formulated with Shea Butter and something called Pollustop® which acts to protect the skin from pollutants and helps to prevent premature aging.
Like most mineral sunscreens, this SPF is ideal for sensitive skin and the non-comedogenic formula means it's suited to people with breakout-prone skin. It's even marketed as 'low-irritation' which I'm sure will be a very attractive feature to those of us who get watery eyes at just thought of facial sunscreens!
People who wear foundation will also be pleased to know that the daily sunscreen was made with makeup in mind and is designed to play well with bases. I have tried it myself under my Estee Lauder Double Wear Light and can confirm there was no pesky pilling!

The Inkey List SPF 30 Daily Mineral Sunscreen Swatch
The Inkey List SPF 30 Daily Mineral Sunscreen Blended

With a silky cream texture, and very faint sort of sweet smell, the Daily Sunscreen feels incredibly light on the skin. Last summer I tried a tinted mineral sunscreen that basically felt like I had a layer of clay drying on my face. Not the case with this one at all. With an almost-but-not-quite-matte finish, the Daily Sunscreen feels comfortable and barely noticeable really.

This is my first try of a facial product from The Inkey List and I've got say I'm really impressed. I'm so pleased to have found a mineral sunscreen that is actually pleasant to wear. I also love that the tint is added to counteract the natural chalkiness of the Zinc rather than to add purposeful colour that won't suit a lot of people.
For now you can find The Inkey List SPF 30 Daily Sunscreen at The Inkey List and Cult Beauty for £14.95.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Estrid Razor Subscription Review

(Gifted) If you have a social media account of any kind, chances are you've already heard of Estrid. The cool, minimal Scandinavian shaving brand is all about pastel hues and effortless imagery, with an ergonomically designed, effective razor at the forefront.

Estrid is a razor subscription brand, created to counteract the massive markups we see in the realm of female hair removal.

We've known for quite some time now that as women, we pay significantly more for our razors, so Estrid have come onto the scene to provide a female and non-binary razor at a fair price. Because why should we be paying above the odds for shaving our body hair, if we choose to do so?
To get started, first you choose your starter kit. Priced at £7.95, with free climate-compensated delivery, the kit includes your razor handle (choose from 4 colours), a matching wall mounted holder and two 5-blade cartridges. You then go on to choose how often you want your pack of 4 cartridges delivered; here you have the option to select once a month, every second month or every third month, depending on how frequently you shave.
Once you get through to the billing page, you'll see that you're only charged for your starter kit and won't be charged for your first round of replacement cartridges until the following month. Bare in mind that you can skip, pause or cancel the subscription if you try out the starter kit and decide it's not for you, or if you don't think you're going to need replacement blades as soon as you thought. You're really not locked into anything here.
Close up of Estrid 5 blade razor head
Cruelty-Free and Vegan (yes, apparently that's a thing) the razor itself is obviously pretty aesthetically pleasing but I was pleasantly surprised by its durability. It's got some expensive-feeling weight to it (you know what I mean?) with a steel handle with a rubber underside for good grip. And we all know how important a firm grip is when it comes to wielding a razor. Ergonomically shaped to comfortably fit into your hand, the razor comes with a 5-blade, removable and replaceable head with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E for a smooth, close shave. It probably sounds odd but I'm impressed with the Aloe Vera and Vitamin E bit. It's not like one of those glued on lubricating strips that goes gloopy and swells up after it gets wet once and it doesn't fall apart, leaving bits all over you. It's sort of stone-like but satisfyingly slippery when wet. I have shaved my legs relying only on the lubrictaing bit of the razor for slip, and it glided over my skin beautifully.
Estrid Razor in Peach Orange

Close Up of Estrid Razor in Peach

This razor really does provide a beautifully close shave that leaves me with no irritation, so even though I was given the razor for review, I am tempted to subscribe for the replacement cartridges. It's worth mentioning that subscribers have the option to purchase a few extras to complement their shave, including a Shave Cream, Body Lotion and Body Oil Wash priced from £7.95 to £8.95.
You can find out more and subscribe by visiting Estrid. If you do choose to subscribe, use the code EQUALITY and Estrid will donate one euro to Fawcett Society, the UK's leading membership charity that campaigns for gender equality and women's rights at work.

Sunday, 2 August 2020

Pixi Dream-y Mist

I love a good facial mist and I really love a good pillow spray, so when Pixi released a product that combines the two, I was always going to buy it. Pixi Dream-y Mist is designed to gently hydrate and seal in your night routine, while getting you in the mood to snooze. The light lavender and chamomile scent means it can also be used as a pillow or room spray. Perfect.
Pixi Dream-y Mist

The multi-purpose mist contains plenty of oils and extracts that are both beneficial to the skin and have aromatherapeutic properties.
The mist contains Jasmine, Lavender, Chamomile, Roman Chamomile, Rosa Centifolia, Korean Dandelion and Evening Primrose extract along with Bitter Orange and Geranium oils, that combine to soothe the senses and help you relax.
Dream-y feels light and fresh on the skin, with no oiliness, despite the various oils in the formula.
Humectant Panthenol and Sodium Hyaluronate help the skin retain moisture and antioxidant Vitamin C and Vitamin E are also in the mix.
Pixi Dream-y Mist details and instructions

Multifunctional uses aside, the addition of Melatonin is what really drew me to this product. I know that Melatonin is a hormone we naturally produce in our brains to regulate our sleep cycles and that there is a synthetic version that many people take by mouth to help with jetlag and sleeping problems. But I'd never actually heard of it as a topical ingredient until now. It turns out that it may just be the next big thing in skincare, with brands adding it to products based on findings that when applied topically, it stimulates the skin's natural antioxidant enzymes, defending against free radicals from UV and pollution.
In terms of whether applying Melatonin to the skin has any effect on feeling sleepy, there seem to have been a few studies with varying results so there's not really any conclusive evidence to say that it has any effect. I still think it's a nice touch though to be honest.
Pixi Dream-y Mist

I'd describe the scent of Pixi Dream-y Mist as that sort of typical sleep spray smell, but it's not massively strong or overwhelming. The scent doesn't seem to linger on my face or my bedding for long, but it is proving to be a very pleasant little ritual immediately before gettingt tucked in. A liberal misting over my face after my regular skincare and a few sprays on my pillow and I'm ready for bed.
At the moment in the UK Pixi Dream-y Mist is exclusively available at Pixi and Cult Beauty