Friday, 17 January 2020

Top Products for Dry Winter Skin

Collaborative Post

It might be a massive cliché but January really is a pretty gloomy month isn't it? Christmas is over and done with, payday feels like it's years away and it usually starts to get really, really cold.
With the cold comes dry skin that needs a little extra love and I have a few favourite products I use to keep the skin on my body happy and hydrated.  A scrub with cult status, some lovely Aromatherapy body oils, pampering lotions and an OG bath bomb all feature. Read on to find out more about the bits I use on my body for a little less gloom and a lot more glow!

Top Products for Dry Winter Skin

Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish is my ultimate body scrub. Thinking back to a few years ago, I remember seeing this on US beauty blogs and feeling extremely left out! Fresh wasn't available in the UK at the time and I thought I'd never get to try the scrub for myself. Fast forward to present day and we have Fresh at our fingertips and their original product does not disappoint. Made with brown sugar crystals (a natural humectant), the body scrub smoothes and softens with a blend of evening primrose, sweet almond, apricot kernel and jojoba oil. Citrus oils are in the mix too and give the scrub that signature Fresh scent. Blissful.

Speaking of exfoliating, I have to mention Italy Towels. If you're not familiar, an Italy Towel (not pictured) is basically a textured, reusable mitt that you slip over your hand and scrub your body with. You can use an Italy Towel either with or without soap or shower gel and they're most effective after you've soaked in the bath for a while or when used towards the end of your shower. I really like mine and have found that a very light touch is enough (in other words, don't scrub too hard!) because these things are quite abrasive. Italy Towels are a Korean Beauty staple and are named as such because they're made from viscose rayon, which was originally imported from Italy. That's what the internet has told me anyway. They are truly excellent at smoothing the skin and getting rid of flaky bits so I imagine they'd be brilliant for pre-fake tanning sessions and equally as good at removing old tan. I found mine on Amazon where a pack of 4 is under a fiver.

Clarins Renew Plus Body Serum has been a favourite of mine for years. It's a bit of a spendy body lotion but a bottle lasts me a good while as I only use it on the upper part of my body. This stuff is fanstastic for keeping dry, flakey skin at bay because it contains gentle exfoliating ingredients including a pre-retinol and Wintergreen extract. It also has a sort of gel/lotion texture that means it sinks in quickly so you can get dressed pretty much straight after applying without feeling tacky or sticky. You can read my post dedicated to Clarins Renew Plus Body Serum here 

I'd settle for any of the Aromathery Associates body oils to be honest but the De-Stress Body Oil is one of the standouts for me. With arnica, rosemary and ginger, it feels incredibly soothing on aching or tense muscles and the coconut, peach kernel and jojoba oil base is neeply nourishing. I really rate the De-Stress Muscle Gel too. Heaven when massaged into an aching lower back. 

I came across Dove Purely Pampering Nourishing Lotion with Pistachio Cream and Magnolia in Boots quite recently. I'm borderline obsessed with pistachio scented things ever since I fell in love with the Laura Mercier Creme de Pistache Body Souffle without knowing it was limited edition! I've been looking for something similar ever since, and while this doesn't quite have the same luxury gourmand scent, I'd say it's a pretty good dupe. The fact that it's incredibly affordable is a bonus too. Aesop Geranium Leaf Hydrating Body Treatment was given to me last Mother's Day and it's still going strong so it's safe to say a little goes a long way. Geranium is my favourite Aesop collection (the body cleanser in particular is gloriously refreshing) with geranium leaf, mandarin and bergamot rind. The Hydrating Body Treatment blends skin-softening macadamia and sweet almond oils with antioxidant Vitamin E to leave skin glowing and subtly scented. 

Is there anything more comforting than a Lush Butterball Bath Bomb? One of the originals and one of the best, this little fizzer brings me so much joy. I'm not really a 'bath person' to be honest (give me a steamy shower please) but when I do soak in the tub, I always wish I had one of these in there with me! Packed with cocoa butter and featuring a comforting musk and ylang ylang scent, the Butterball Bath Bomb satisfyingly fizzes away to leave buttery, chocolate scented bathwater that leaves my skin smelling sweet and feeling moisturised enough to skip and after-bath lotions.

In keeping with the cocoa butter theme, Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula will forever be a reliable treat for my skin when it's feeling a bit dry. It's affordable, effective and deliciously scented, though there are unscented variations of Palmer's products available. When a product is this iconic and so universally adored, it must be decent right? 

So those are just a few of my favourite products for dry winter skin. All perfect for the beginning of the year when skin needs some extra attention. Any favourites of your own you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments.

*Paid collaborative post

Thursday, 9 January 2020

REN Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Cleanser

(sample/aff links) I have been searching for a new cleanser recently (my previous one wasn't doing it for me) so the latest launch from REN couldn't have come at a better time.
The REN Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Cleanser is a tri-phase cleanser, which basically means it goes through three stages on application. The newest addition to the Perfect Canvas range, the cleanser starts off as a jelly, then transforms into an oil as you massage it onto your skin, before turning into a milk once water is added. Tri-phase cleansers in general are super effective at removing makeup and SPF and this one is no exception.

REN Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Cleanser

The key with using this cleanser is to make sure you start with a dry face - if it's already damp it will just turn into a milk right away, before it's had a chance to do its job. You just massage a small amount over your face and it will become a rich oil that gets to work removing makeup (including waterproof), then you either add water to turn it into a milk or go straight in with a warm, damp flannel.
If you're anything like me, you should be left with soft, clean skin that doesn't feel stripped or tight, but nicely hydrated and comfortable. In fact, my face looked and felt ever so slightly dewy once I'd dried off.

REN Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Cleanser

This is a really pleasant cleanser and I'm not sure I've tried anything quite like it. It's a really thick yet somehow light jelly with a very light natural fragrance and it removed my makeup in one go when I tested it last night. I purposely wore a waterproof liquid liner and the most waterproof mascara I own and found that the cleanser removed virtually every trace with very little effort on my part. The jelly also didn't irritate my eyes in the slightest, (when my dedicated eye makeup remover actually does a bit) so this will definitely be my go-to cleanser when i have a fair whack of mascara to remove.

The Perfect Canvas Clean Jelly Cleanser is a vegan product that contains 100% naturally derived ingredients inlcuding Grape Seed Oil, Meadowfoam Seed Oil and Sunflower Seed Oil. The oils work to melt away makeup and pollution while Glycerin, a humectant, keeps the skin hydrated.
In keeping with REN's clean skincare ethos, the cleanser comes in a tube made of 50% Post-Consumer Recycled plastic with a lid made from 100% PCR. I think this adds an extra incentive to buy the cleanser because we know by now how crucial it is to be conscious of the environmental impact of the products we use.

It's worth mentioning that REN are currently offering 20% off first orders with the code MY20. The new cleanser is included in the promo so if you're tempted, now's the chance! You can find it right now online at REN

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

Nourish London Vegan and Organic Beauty Gifts 2019

(Contains sample) I've blogged about Nourish London's vegan, organic skincare products a few times before- they really are lovely formulas that are a joy to use.
This year, Nourish London have some gorgeous gift sets on offer, all beautifully packaged and ready to present to your nearest and dearest, so all you have to do is take your pick.

This amazing looking set features the Radiance Firming Facial Oil, Argan Skin Renew Moisturiser and the amazing Antioxidant Multi-tasking Super Balm. I am a huge fan of the Super Balm (you can read my review here) and have tried the oil and moisturiser before and enjoyed both. A brilliant set for anyone who could do with a bit of a pamper this Christmas.

I actually have this set to review and it's just as gorgeous as expected. This gift contains the Kale Anti-Ageing Eye Cream, Kale Anti-Ageing Hand Cream and the T.S.L Tighten, Sculpt & Lift Neck Elixir. This trio of targeted products is a perfect present for anyone interested in sampling Nourish's anti-ageing products and works out to be great value as the price of the set is what you'd pay for the eye cream and hand cream, so the T.S.L Elixir is free. The eye cream contains peptides, vitamin-rich kale extracts, B vitamins and antioxidants to soften fine lines and reduce dark circles, while maqui berry and pomegranate enzymes work to reduce puffiness in the eye area.
Extremely hydrating, the Kale Anti-Ageing Hand Cream works to improve skin texture and pigmentation while protecting the skin against the effects of pollution.
The rich hand cream contains kale extract (to protect against pollution) and rose of Jericho, argan oil and hyaluronic acid to provide hydration and even tone.
Bioactive peptides and antioxidants are in the mix to stimulate collagen production and minimise fine lines, while Frankincense, Neroli and Myrrh repair and heal the skin.

All Hail the Kale £55

Nourish have a unique kale extract that is used in a lot of their formulas for its anti-oxidant effects, so it makes perfect sense that they'd create a special set dedicated to the superfood. This set includes the Kale 3D Cleanse, which is a brilliant colour-changing cleanser, the Kale Enzymatic Exfoliator that contains pomegranate enzymes to slough away dead skincells, the Kale Anti-Ageing Eye Cream and the Kale Anti-Ageing Hand Cream. A fantastic gift celebrating the skincare benefits of kale really!

Nourished Hands Trio £20

A great gift for anyone looking to give their hands a little bit of love, this trio features the Kale Anti-Ageing Hand Cream, Lavender Hand Lotion and Damask Rose Hand Lotion. The lavender and rose hand lotions are limited edition so this is a good way to grab both of them at once before they sell out, too.

This gift is basically a facial in a box with a cleanser, serum, moisturiser and mask all included, so it's a great present but also a good way to try out a whole Nourish regime for yourself. This set fetaures the Kale 3D Cleanse, Argan Anti-Ageing Peptide Serum, Argan Skin Renew Moisturiser and Probiotic Multi-Mineral Repair Mask. This set works out to be particularly good value too as you're paying for the argan serum and moisturiser and getting the cleanser and mask free. If that's not a good excuse to go for it, I don't know what is.

There's also a limited edition Bergamot and Cardamom Shower Cream, limited edition Lavender Hand Lotion and a Damask Rose Hand Lotion, which I think would make great Secret Santa gifts or stocking fillers.
You can find all the above gifts and more at Nourish London.

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

EcoPanda Reusable Bamboo Makeup Remover Pads

(Gifted Item) Sustainable products are everywhere at the moment and it's so good to see existing brands making the effort to adapt their existing products, But what's really exciting is all the new sustainable brands coming out with sustainable products designed to replace the usual disposable kind. One such brand is EcoPanda - a small UK brand creating sustainable products from renewable raw materials. So far, EcoPanda have created reusable makeup remover pads from bamboo which are completely washable, reusable and biodegradable.

EcoPanda Reusable Bamboo Cotton Pads in bamboo jar

I have the pack of 18 that come in a bamboo box (which has a cute panda illustration on the lid) and is complete with a wash bag. The presentation of this is so lovely, I think it would make an excellent gift for the eco-conscious beauty enthusiast in your life! You can also purchase a pack of 16 rounds that includes a bamboo face cloth and wash bag.

EcoPanda Reusable Bamboo Makeup Remover Pads

The pads themselves are made from 80% bamboo and 20% organic cotton and feature 2 layers, so they're thick enough to feel like a good quality cotton pad. Designed for any skin type, they feel perfectly soft and pleasant to use (because if they didn't, why would you?) when using them to take off eye and face makeup and when using them to apply toners and acids.

EcoPanda Reusable Bamboo Cotton Pads

EcoPanda Reusable Bamboo Cotton Pads

I will admit, I mainly use these to apply product rather than take it off, because I don't generally wear make up every day, and they perform in a very similar fashion to standard cotton pads.

How do you Wash Reusable Cotton Pads?

To keep the reusable bamboo cotton pads looking good and performing at their best, EcoPanda have the following recommendations:

  • Give the pads a quick wash after you've used them. Warm water and bar soap works best.
  • Before popping them in the washing machine, make sure they're in the supplied laundry bag. this will prevent them becoming frayed.
  • If the pads are heavily soiled (eg, they've removed a lot of foundation and mascara), give them a soak in warm water with a little white vinegar and soap
  • Wash the pads in your machine at up to 60 degrees Celsius
  • Don't add fabric softener, stain removers or bleach on the cotton pads (I'm thinking using these might break down the fabric).
  • EcoPAnda recommend that in place of fabric softener, just use a little white vinegar and a few drops of your favourite essential oil - the vinegar will soften the pads while the essential oil will disappate the smell of vinegar and leave them pleasantly scented
EcoPanda Reusable Bamboo Cotton Pads

EcoPanda Reusable Bamboo Cotton Pads

Bare in mind that it's going to be nearly impossible to keep the pads completely white - products like waterproof mascara will almost certainly leave their mark over time. This obviously doesn't mean the pads are any less effective, but it's good to have realistic expectations!

EcoPanda Reusable Bamboo Makeup Remover Pads Bamboo Box Lid

You can find the reusable cotton pads on Amazon and find out more at EcoPanda. The set with the bamboo box is currently £20.90 on Amazon while the set of 16 is £10.49.

Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Christmas at TK Maxx

(Gifted Experience) Over the last few years I've become quite a frequent shopper at TK Maxx. All year round it really is a total treasure trove of unexpected finds, absolute bargains and a whole lot of weird and wonderful things I never knew I needed. But at Christmas? There's even more to explore. Every visit to TK Maxx is different because there is always something new to discover and in my opinion, the bigger the store, the more fun there is to be had! Imagine my excitement then when I was invited along to the Oxford Street TK Maxx store to explore all that was on offer. My mission? To find unique and thoughtful Christmas gifts for my friends and family.
Opened in June this year, the Oxford Street TK Maxx is absolutely massive and is laid out across 4 floors with lifts and escalators to acces the different areas. I prefer stores that are planned out this way rather than just one big floor as I find it less overwhelming and easier to navigate.  During my visit I found some great items for my boyfriend, sister, son, Mother in Law and even my Secret Santa!

Christmas Gifts at TK Maxx

The Oxford Street store has an entire floor dedicated to men so if you're looking for Gifts For Him, this is the place to go. You can't go wrong with socks for Christmas (it's almost the law isn't it?) so I picked out a few warm, good quality pairs for Rich as well as a designer jumper in a neutral green colour I know he'll wear.

Socks and green jumper for Christmas from TK Maxx

For Gifts For Her, TK Maxx is an obvious choice and I spent a long time looking through the Gold Label racks and Women's Accessories to find a scarf I know my sister will appreciate (it's actually a scarf with a zip so it converts into a poncho which I though was quite cool). I also picked her up a new hairdryer because I know hers recently blew up.

Hot Chocolate, Candles, Soaps and toiletries gifts from TK Maxx

I also picked up a cute soap and a pampering gift set from the Body, Bath and Beauty section for my Mother in Law and a lotion and handwash from one of her favourite brands. I spent way too much time sniffing the scented candles from Candles and Home Fragrance on the Home level and chose a couple in fragrances I know she'll like. The Home level was probably favourite section to visit actually - there's a huge selection of acessories and furnishings for every room in the house and it's particularly exciting at this time of the year. There's a lot to choose from for the Foodie in your life too and I chose a Hot Chocolate Gift Set (complete with marshmallows) for the brother and sister in law to get stuck into.

Hairdryer and Hot Chocolate Gifts from TK Maxx

There are loads of Gifts For Kids and Babies on offer, so it was easy to find a few bits for my toddler. The little one loves books (there is a decent selection of books for kids) found a sound book that I know he'll love and an educational book and block set (he's very much into stacking things up at the moment so I think this will be a hit). I also spotted a Christmas Eve box that we can add a few goodies to for him to enjoy the night before the big day.

Book Gift Sets for Children from TK Maxx

Finally, my Secret Santa this year is a fan of gin so when I spotted a Gin Cocktail Set within the budget, I thought it would be perfect.

I think I did a pretty good job choosing gifts for some of my loved ones - it was a lot of fun visiting the store and really easy to find presents for everyone from babies through to grandparents. Having so many categories under one roof takes a bit of stress out of Christmas shopping and it's always nice to find quality and branded products at such great prices. If you can't get to a store yourself or don't fancy braving the Christmas crowds, you can shop Christmas Gifts online at the TK Maxx website.

*I was gifted a £200 TK Maxx giftcard. All words and views my own.