Friday, 19 July 2019

ARK Skincare Age Defend Cleanser & Moisturiser

(sample) I had wanted to try ARK Skincare for quite a while so I'm really happy I've had the opportunity to try a couple of products over the past few weeks. Cruelty Free, vegan-friendly and utterly joyful to use, these two have been a welcome addition to my skincare stash but before I get into the details, here's a little bit about ARK.
Image of ARK Skincare Age Defend Conditioning Cleanser and Replenishing Moisturiser

The award-winning British brand are big on celebrating beauty at every age and use carefully selected bioactive natural ingredients in their formulas to complement and benefit different age groups. To help customers decide on the products most suited to them, ARK came up with a three step system.
Step 1 is age; there are three cleansers and three moisturisers that have been specially developed for three different age categories. Called the Age Intelligent range, these products are designed to treat age-related needs, so there is Age Protect, which is for teens and 20s, Age Defend for 30s and 40s and Age Defy for 50+.

Step 2 is concern; targeted treatment products called Skin Perfectors to treat specific concerns such as hydration, firming and clearing. Products in the Skin Perfectors range include serums, a masque and an exfoliator.

Step 3 is lifestyle; the Skin Essentials range is designed to complement and enhance the rest of your regime and includes a pre-cleanse, hydrating mist, primer with SPF30, eye cream and plumping lip cream.

As I'm in my 30s I've been trying out the Age Defend range which includes a conditioning cleanser and replenishing moisturiser and so far I've really been enjoying both products!

The cleanser and moisturiser both contain Kiwi and Passion Fruit lipids which are rich in Omega 3 and help to retain moisture levels in the skin. Blue Lotus also features in both products. Touted as the 'sacred flower of anti-ageing', Blue Lotus is an effective antioxidant which helps to maintain firmness and elasticity.
ARK Skincare Age Defend Conditioning Cleanser
ARK Skincare Age Defend Conditioning Cleanser
The award-winning Conditioning Cleanser (£25) is designed to cleanse, nourish and aid the skin's natural exfoliation process via a soothing gel formula. The cleanser contains Moringa Oil which is naturally rich in Vitamin C and A to help create a radiant, glowing complexion as it cleanses away makeup and dirt. 'Conditioning Cleanser' is a spot-on name for this formula as it's very comfortable to use - skin feels nice and clean but not tight or stripped. The Conditioning Cleanser also rinses away easily (this isn't necessarily a washcloth job) and is just really pleasant to use overall. It's worth mentioning that it also smells incredible - sort of herbal and both invigorating and relaxing at the same time. I realise that makes very little sense but you're just going to have to trust me on this.

ARK Skincare Age Defend Replenishing Moisturiser
ARK Skincare Age Defend Replenishing Moisturiser
The other product in the Age Defend range is the Replenishing Moisturiser (£35). First and foremost, I really, really rate this moisturiser. From the packaging through to the finish of the formula, I'm very impressed! A cream formula with a slight gel consistency, the moisturiser has a Shea Butter and Olive Oil base enriched with Co-enzyme Q10 and skin plumping peptides including Matrixyl. Along with the aforementioned Kiwi and Passion Fruit lipids and Blue Lotus, the Replenishing Moisturiser also contains Retinal Parmitate which is gentle enough for sensitive skin and works to increase collagen production and help to keep skin plump and resilient. Like the Age Defend cleanser, this moisturiser smells pretty amazing, which is always a bonus when it's going on your face.

I'm really impressed with both the cleanser and the moisturiser from the Age Defend range and ARK as a brand has certainly got my attention and I'm keen to have a play with more of their products. You can find out more about ARK and have a browse at

Monday, 24 June 2019

Merumaya Mineral Cleansing Paste

(AD/gifted item) I remember trying the Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm a few years ago when it launched (you can read the review here) so it's lovely to revisit the brand again and try another product.
The Mineral Cleansing Paste* at a glance is essentially an exfoliant and cleanser in one, but if you dig a little deeper you'll find that it's full of thoughtful ingredients which benefit the skin in some interesting ways.
Image of a tube of Merumaya Mineral Cleansing Paste
Merumaya Mineral Cleansing Paste

With sweet almond oil and glycerin at its base, the cleansing paste is nourishing and hydrating while the exfoliating action is down to something called Corindon 100 which is a biodegradable fine white powder made from crystals.

Other ingredients include Zinc (in two forms) which provides some antioxidant protection and has antimicrobial properties to help prevent breakouts and Magnesium for its anti-stress and anti-fatigue effects as well as its ability to help maintain the skin's barrier.

The Mineral Cleansing Paste also contains Copper which helps the skin to form elastin (which gives skin that lovely bounce and suppleness). Copper also aids in the production of melanin and the absorption of iron.

Speaking of Iron, it's also included in the mineral cleansing paste as it gives skin a healthy glow and also has anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates collagen production.

Silicon is in the mix as it's a key player in collagen formation and also helps to improve elasticity and resilience.
Merumaya Mineral Cleansing Paste Texture
Merumaya Mineral Cleansing Paste

Designed for all skin types, the cleansing paste can be used every day, but I'd say the frequency of use would be determined by just how sensitive your skin is and how often you feel like you want to use a physical exfoliating product (though this is very gentle).
I've been using it a few times a week (alternating between an acid exfoliant and this) and I'm pretty pleased with the results.
In the short term, immediately after use, it leaves skin beautifully smooth and sort of 'polished' and ready to receive serums and moisturiser.
In the long term (I'm talking two weeks here rather than months), skin is overall brighter and smoother and I'm certain that sebaceous filaments (little dark spots often mistaken for blackheads) are reduced and my overall tone is more even.

To use the Mineral Cleansing Paste, you just squeeze some out of the tube, massage it all over the face (obviously be careful around the eyes), add a bit of water and massage a little more and then rinse away.
It really is quite a lovely product and if you're a fan of gentle exfoliating products or you're looking to add one to your stash, you can find the Mineral Cleansing Paste at Merumaya.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Nourish London Antioxidant Multi-Tasking Super Balm

(ad/gifted) Like most people I can appreciate a decent multi-purpose product and the newly launched Super Balm from Nourish is a great one! I'm already a fan of Nourish (you can read my posts about some of their other products here ) so I was pretty excited to try the brand's latest offering, the Antioxidant Multi-Tasking Super Balm.
Nourish London Antioxidant Multi-Tasking Super Balm
The 100 percent vegan balm is super rich and luxurious and features a unique formula that helps to strengthen and protect the skin from free radical damage. The formula contains omega-rich oils as well as a patented French Marine Algae extract to help tone, firm and smooth.
Here's a little overview of the key ingredients in the Antioxidant Multi-Tasking Super Balm including their functions:
Antioxidant Tea Oil - Protects the natural lipid layer on the skin
Macadamia Oil with Linoleic Acid - balances sebum production in combo skin and helps to supplement lower sebum levels in more mature skin
Oil Soluble Vitamin C - to aid the production of collagen
Tocopherol, Vitamin E - to improve moisture levels
Borage and Pumpkin Seed Oil - to help reduce sensitivities
Bisabolol and Ginger - to help prevent damage from free radicals
Kale Extract -a 'detoxifying' antioxidant that helps to protect against pollution
Patented French Marine Algae extract - a protective antioxidant that (as mentioned), helps to tone and firm.
In a nutshell, the balm is omega-rich and full of protective antioxidants, so it's generally going to be doing great things for your skin, no matter how you choose to use it, which leads me to my next point.
The Super Balm is designed to be used in three different ways; as a cleanser, as a mask and as an intensive moisturising treatment.
To use as a cleanser, massage a small amount onto damp skin (though I use balms on dry skin too), dampen the organic face cloth that comes with the balm and use it to gently remove the product. The face cloth also provides a gentle exfoliation as you remove the balm, leaving the skin with a beautiful glowing finish. These days I always double cleanse, whether I'm wearing foundation/SPF or not and so far have used the balm as the first cleanse and can confirm that it does a brilliant job removing makeup.
I am yet to use the balm as a mask, but if you fancy an intensely nourishing treatment, just apply a thin layer to the face and leave it for 20 minutes before removing. Alternatively you can leave it on overnight.
As a moisturiser, I have used the Super Balm on my knees, elbows and hands and was pleasantly surprised by how well it absorbed. As a moisturiser, it left my dry bits feeling and looking smooth and soft, so it's particularly good for getting your limbs ready for the warmer weather.

Overall I'm really pleased with the Nourish London Antioxidant Multi-Tasking Super Balm. As well as its multi-use formula and plethora of excellent ingredients, the balm also smells beautiful - quite herbal and relaxing and I can really smell the rosemary and geranium oils that also feature in the ingredients. It's also worth mentioning that the 50ml of product is housed in a heavy glass jar, so it definitely has a luxurious feel to it.
If you're keen to give the Antioxidant Multi-Tasking Super Balm a try for yourself, it's available at for £32.

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

DAYTOX Beauty in Balance; The Clean Beauty Brand from Germany

(AD/Gifted) DAYTOX Beauty in Balance is not a brand I'd heard of until a few weeks ago but in a nutshell it's a vegan skincare brand from Germany that you can shop online at Ocado!
I know Ocado already stock a few beauty brands but it's always interesting to try something new and it's extra appealing when you pop it in your virtual trolley along with the weekly food shop.

A self-proclaimed clean beauty brand, DAYTOX uses 'allergen-free' perfume oils in place of synthetic fragrances and use something called BioDtox in their formulas. BioDtox is an active ingredient complex consisting of aloe vera, broccoli and citrus which the brand says strengthens the body's defenses and stops the formation of free radicals, therefore  protecting the skin from oxidative stress.
As you've probably gathered from the name, DAYTOX as a brand has a strong focus on the concept of detoxifaction, with every product designed to intensify the natural detox processes of the skin. They are a certified detox brand with products that are Dermatologically proven to be effective. While I'm not 100 percent comfortable with the use of the word 'detox' in topical beauty, I can always get behind a good product, which is exactly why I'm talking about them here today. 

I was sent two different DAYTOX products to try - the Day and Night Face Oil (£24)* and the Firming Day Cream (£26)* , both of which have already garnered quite a fan base here in the UK.
The Daytox Firming Day Cream is a rich facial cream with a triple hyaluronic complex to intensely moisturise, plump and firm.
DAYTOX Firming Day Cream

The cream is invitingly glossy (a bit like an Italian meringue) and feels lovely and hydrating on. It's fairly 'inoffensive' in a way and I imagine most people would get on well with it. It absorbs beautifully and performs well under foundation and has a light, slightly sweet and clean scent.
Like the other products in the line, the cream is free from silicones, parabens and artificial colours and fragrances.
DAYTOX Firming Day Cream

I have tried a lot of facial oils over the years and can safely say that the Day and Night Facial Oil is a good one. It absorbs quickly, leaving a dry-touch sort of finish and contains a blend of almond oil, argan oil and meadowfoam oil.
DAYTOX Day and Night Face Oil

Designed to use any time of day (but I prefer facial oils at night as a general rule), it has a blend of antioxidants, essential fatty acids and Vitamin E to rejuvenate and stimulate the skin. As with most facial oils, you just massage a few drops into the face and neck after cleansing.
DAYTOX Day and Night Face Oil
As mentioned, DAYTOX products are available in the UK through Ocado. As well as a range of facial skincare products, they also have some bath and body bits including a body wash, scrub, bath salts and body oil.
*Gifted Items

Monday, 13 May 2019

LQ Liquid Health Skin, Hair and Nails

[AD/Gifted] While I'm not entirely convinced about beauty supplements on the whole, I did quite fancy trying a supplement in drink form. I'm not excellent at swallowing large pills so the fact that LQ Liquid Health Skin, Hair and Nails comes in single shot form definitely appealed to me- just unscrew the cap, down the drink in a couple of gulps and off you go. Easy!
Close up image of LQ Liquid Health Hair, Skin and Nails

The 50ml bottles come in packs of 10 (I believe there are other pack sizes available) and the idea is that you consume one bottle a day.
The drinks are designed to support healthy skin, hair and nails and have a faster absorption rate than standard supplement tablets. They're also generally easier on digestion too and can be sipped at any time, not necessarily with a meal like most supplements. Sounds pretty good right?

If you've read this far you're  probably wondering what's actually in the LQ Liquid Health drinks and the answer is a load of active ingredients including:

Collagen (derived from fish) - Each little bottle contains 7000mg of high quality marine collagen to contribute to a plump and glowing complexion
Hyaluronic Acid - for hydration
Biotin - contributes to the maintenance of 'normal' skin and hair
Resveratrol - a natural antioxidant derived from the skin of red grapes
Vitamin C - helps collagen formation and has an antioxidant effect
Vitamin E - an antioxidant
Silicon (not to be confused with silicone) - a mineral naturally found in hair, skin and nails.
Image of three bottles of LQ Liquid Health Hair, Skin and Nails

The drinks also contain passionfruit concentrate juice and sweeteners in an effort to make them palatable but I need to be completely transparent here and say that I do not like the taste of these at all. I really dislike sweeteners in any form and I actually think I'd find these easier on the tastebuds if they were bitter or something. That said, I'd still rather take a supplement in liquid form than swallow a large tablet everyday, so it's not a deal-breaker for me by any means. I have read reviews by people that like the way Liquid Health tastes so you'll just have to try it for yourself to find out if the taste will be a problem for you!

I trialed a 20 day supply of the supplements and took a drink each day for 8 consecutive days before I came down with some kind of bug that meant I took a break for a week or so. I've now finished all drinks and have found that the most marked improvement has been in the strength of my nails and I have noticed slightly less hair fall than usual. My skin is feeling less dehydrated than before though it is tricky to pinpoint whether that is down to Liquid Health or the latest night cream I've been using.

Overall, I'd try LQ Liquid Health Skin, Hair and Nails again, despite the taste because they really are full of active ingredients and more convenient for me personally than tablets. You can find LQ Liquid Health Skin, Hair and Nails at Boots where you can also find an Advanced Skincare version and Joint Care supplement.

*The 20 day supply was gifted to me with no expectation of a review