Monday, 30 May 2016

3 Shampoos for Oily Hair Tested - which one was best?

I haven't really had greasy hair since I was a teenager so it's sort of taken me by surprise that my hair's started playing up again. Lately I've found I can't go more than two days before things start really oiling up and I don't know if it's the change in weather, something funky going on with my hormones or another explanation but I do know that it makes me feel pretty gross. I like to have fresh, swishy, yummy smelling hair as much as the next girl so for the past few weeks I've made it my mission to track down an affordable shampoo that would banish the grease, not irritate my scalp and keep my hair looking nice. That's not too much to ask for now, is it?
Best Shampoo for Oily Hair

Neutrogena T/Gel Shampoo - Greasy Hair

At £6.99 I had high hopes for this one. I know that T Gel is an incredibly popular shampoo for people with dandruff and itchy, irritated scalps and while I don't really have dandruff, I thought I'd give the Greasy Hair formula a go. This one contains Salicylic Acid, Tar and Zink that work to essentially exfoliate the scalp, removing excess sebum and breaking down dandruff. This stuff doesn't smell great (but obvs better than oily hair) and reminds me of the old school coal tar soap that my Dad has used for as long as I can remember.
Did it Work?
Heck yes it did. I like the dual function of the product - tackling greasy hair and dandruff all at once. By day two my hair was still looking pretty fresh, so it definitely does the trick. The downside? Well it doesn't smell very excellent and it's pretty expensive at £6.99.

L'Oreal Paris Elvive Extraordinary Clay Anti-Dandruff Shampoo

(Currently on offer at Boots for £1.99) I'll admit I blundered when I bought this. I thought I was buying the Rebalancing version but neglected to actually read the label so I ended up with the anti-dandruff variation. I digress, this shampoo is still primarily designed for people with oily roots and dry ends with the added bonus of treating dandruff too. The addition of 'clay' in this formula is what really piqued my attention - after all, clay face masks are brilliant for oily skin so I figured popping it on my head would mop up the grease in a similar fashion. I also bought the matching hair mask, which thus far have found to be more effective than the shampoo in terms of banishing oil.
Did it Work? Yes and no. The immediate effect is brilliant - volumised, bouncy, fresh smelling hair that appears lifted at the roots. Unfortunately for me, the freshness and volume just didn't last that long. In fact, my hair only really felt and looked nice and clean the day after (I tend to wash my hair in the evening). It does smell nice though and I'm not going to completely write it off as a decent product - I'll just make sure I buy the rebalancing version next time and see if it has a better effect.

Alberto Balsam Juicy Green Apple Shampoo 

I'll admit I usually don't give Alberto Balsam shampoo and conditioner a second glance when I'm browsing in Boots. I'll put this down to some kind of shampoo snobbery that I didn't realise I was actually suffering from until now. That said, I decided to buy the budget bottle of green shampoo after extensively googling phrases like 'best shampoo for oily hair' and 'greasy hair shampoo' and finally accepting that Alberto Balsam was probably appearing in all the searches for a reason. This shampoo is only £1 so I thought there was every possibility that budget product equals budget result.
Does it Work? Oh how wrong I was to doubt this. Like the previous two shampoo's, this one is by no means natural and contains a fair whack of SLS but I personally have no problem with that because I don't have a sensitive scalp and I've never had a reaction to suds on my head. When it comes to shampoo, so long as it does the job I'm happy and this one ticks all of the boxes. Not only does it smell fresh and delicious (like apples, go figure) but it keeps the oil at bay for the longest out of the three shampoo's I've tested. This shampoo also makes my hair feel soft and swishy and just generally good - the clear winner for me with the added bonus of being £1.

Even though Alberto Balsam Juicy Green Apple Shampoo won this round, honourable mention needs to be given to Lush Big Sea Salt Shampoo which is utterly lovely and a joy to use!

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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

JOIK Lemon and Vanilla Body Scrub

I've written about a product from Estonian brand JOIK before - a delicious powdered chocolate face mask you can read about here- so I already had a pretty good idea that I'd enjoy more of their creations. Because I'm a fake tanner and I enjoy a general pamper, I like to have a decent body exfoliator on hand  but it's important to me that scrubs meet three important criteria: They need to smell great. They need to actually exfoliate effectively and they absolutely need to be free from microbeads - because, you know, I care about the environment a bit.
Joik Lemon and Vanilla Body Scrub

JOIK Lemon and Vanilla Body Scrub covers all of this criteria and then some. I have used the scrub once, just now actually, and not only is my skin beautifully scented, but it's as smooth and soft as a baby seal's bottom. If you know what I mean. 
This body scrub is a proper scrub. By that I mean it's not a liquid or gel with some granules floating around in it, in fact it's almost solid in the jar. The lemon and vanilla scrub is sugar and seasalt based and spreads really easily on damp skin. I was worried at first when I scooped a little out that it wasn't going to spread at all but it really does do the job rather well.
The key ingredients in the body scrub are:

  • Seasalt and Sugar - to exfoliate
  • Shea and Cocoa Butters - to smooth and moisturise
  • Olive Oil - to nurture
  • Sea Buckthorn Oil - to stimulate the natural cell renewal of the skin. Sea Buckthorn Oil contains Vitami A, E and C

The body scrub gets it's delectable scent from lemon and vanilla essential oils resulting in a fresh and comforting fragrance that lingers on the skin a little once you're all rinsed and toweled off. In terms of 'scrub performance', this one kicks all kinds of goals and did a magnificent job of annihilating some old fake tan from my stomach with very little effort on my part. When it comes time to rinse, the scrub emulsifies and transforms into a milky sort of substance that's easily washed away and doesn't leave a greasy feeling like many oil based products. 
All in all, a great, sweetly scented scrub that I would repurchase and think would make a lovely gift. JOIK create a variety of other scrubs too, including a coffee scrub and a shimmering raspberry scrub which I'm sure are equally as delish.

I bought the JOIK Lemon and Vanilla Body Scrub from Love Lula for £14.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

UltraSun High 30 SPF Tinted Face

Like pretty much anyone who grew up in Australia, I had it drummed into me from a young age- sunscreen is important. If you don't wear it, you're going to get burnt and that's going to really hurt. If you don't wear it, you'll end up looking like an old leather handbag by the time you're 50. If you don't wear it, you could end up with a skin cancer and that could actually kill you. Sorry to be grim but it's true.
A few weeks ago I attended a lovely breakfast hosted by Ultrasun UK and listened to MD Abi Cleeve chat about all things Ultrasun. As well as introducing us to a fantastic range of products, Abi also revealed a number of sun-related facts and figures.

I'm big on skincare and taking care of my face in general so one of the products that really caught my eye was the Ultrasun High 30 SPF Tinted Face. SPF is an important step in your skincare routine if you're going outside anyway but it's SO IMPORTANT if you are an avid user of acids and acid toning. Because acid toning exfoliates the skin deeply, the 'new' skin is more sensitive and therefore more susceptible to sun damage, so you really do need to keep an eye on the products you're using from day to day. As a person who uses an acid toner of some sort most nights, I have become super diligent about using an SPF when I venture out into the sun so I was really keen to put Ultrasun's tinted offering to the test. I wore this on my face during that super hot weekend we had recently and it certainly served its purpose.

The tinted formula is ultra lightweight (which is unexpected since it is a suncream) and can be used in place of your daily moisturiser. Think of a sheer tinted moisturiser and add a hefty dose of protection from UVA and UVB and that's pretty much it. The sunscreen contains the anti-aging enzyme 'Ectoin' which is ideal for sensitive skin and protects against cell damage caused by UVA. The sunscreen also contains Vitamin E and Superoxide Dismutase (amusingly abbreviated as SOD) which is another enzyme that neutralises free radical activity stimulated by sun exposure. Rounding things off nicely, the tint in the formula is complemented by light reflecting particles which work to create a healthy looking lightly bronzed glow while protecting your face.

As I mentioned earlier, I used this over that crazy hot weekend we had over here a few weeks ago which also happened to be one of the most active weekends I've had in a while. By active I mean I cycled quite a bit, walked quite a bit and was generally outside quite a lot, and you know what? I didn't burn. Applied once in the morning each day, this stuff stayed on my face, did what it was supposed to do and made my complexion look pretty good at the same time. You can't really ask for much more than that.

I was kindly given the Ultrasun High 30 SPF Tinted Face at the breakfast event but you can find it at a range of retailers including QVC for £26. More information about this product and the rest of the Ultrasun range can be found here.

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