Tuesday, 31 January 2017

5 Beauty Gifts for Valentine's Day

Whether you're treating yourself (woo!) or someone else (ahh!), here's my pick of 5 perfectly pampering beauty gifts for Valentine's Day this year.

Sanctuary Brimming Full of Love Gift  £12.50

I quite like Sanctuary as a brand because they offer a bit of accessible luxury at a reasonable price point and this gift set is no exception. They've fully tapped into the Valentine's spirit with the Brimming Full of Love Gift which was created in collaboration with Artist Frederick Wimsett, who is known for his stunning interior murals. At a purse friendly £12.50, the set features a Body Scrub, Body Lotion and Body Wash in the White Lily and Damask Rose formula. There's also a limited edition White Lily and Damask Rose Bath Float for £10 which is rather pretty and very obviously Valentines-centric. Sanctuary is available at Boots and is currently on 3 for 2.

Sanctuary Brimming Full of Love Gift and White Lily and Damask Rose Luxury Bath Float

Therapie Love Me Life Kit £42

If you're in need of a truly relaxing and luxurious treat, the Therapie Love Me Life Kit is a perfect option. It's not cheap but the higher price point is well justified - if you've ever tried any products from Therapie you'll understand what I mean. The brand is all about self love and nurturing so this kit is perfect for February 14th. It contains 'deluxe discovery sizes' of Awaken Skin Rehab Scrub, Joie Bath Infusion, Cherish Skin Repair Serum (which by the way is stunning) and the Love Candle presented in a beautiful black box complete with a red ribbon. Therapie is available at Cult Beauty.

Black Chicken Remedies Love Your Body Oil £54

Australian brand Black Chicken Remedies first got my attention a few years ago when I had a facial at Beauty Works West (now Lazeo) using their gorgeous products. I'm so happy that Cult Beauty are stocking Black Chicken now because a few years ago it was near impossible to find their products online. The Love Your Body Oil is a beautiful, uplifting blend of nourishing oils and is refreshingly unisex in scent so men and women can both indulge. With key ingredients such as lavender, patchouli and ylang ylang in a hazelnut, rosehip and coconut oils, it's perfect for slathering on after a hot bath or massaging your significant other. I have a bottle on the go at the moment and my skin is practically drinking it up. Available at Cult Beauty.
This candle/ massage oil hybrid has been on my lust-list for so long now! As a massive fan of Oskia Micro Exfoliating Balm I'm a little ashamed to admit that I haven't tried anything else from the brand - nope, not even the coveted Renaissance Cleansing Gel. The Rose de Mai Massage Candle just sounds so decadent and ritualistic - I love the idea of letting the candle burn and filling the room with a rich rose scent before letting the oil cool slightly and pouring it from the little spout! Warm oil + rose scent? It's a yes from me. You can find the Oskia Rose de Mai Massage Candle at Cult Beauty.

Fresh Barely There Mini Lip Duo £20

Left over from Fresh's Christmas gifting collection, this lip duo makes a neat little Valentine's gift to yourself. The set features a pot of the much loved Sugar Lip Polish and a pot of Sugar Nourishing Lip Balm Advanced Therapy. I haven't tried either of these products but I am a fan of the brand's lip balms and am yet to try a Fresh product I don't like! If you live in London you can pop in to the store otherwise the Barely There Mini Lip Duo is available at Fresh online. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Gatineau - Discovering a Classic Beauty Brand

Gatineau is one of those brands that I'd never really given a second glance. I can't really give a valid reason for my past disinterest in the iconic French cosmetics brand, other than perhaps I subconsciously associated it with women 'of a certain age'! How this is actually a bad thing, I do not know but I do know that I'm glad I discovered the brand recently. Better late than never, right?

I was actually introduced to Gatineau back in November courtesy of a Marks and Spencer Beauty Christmas press evening (thank you M&S!) and got to try some Gatineau products in the form of the brand's Discovery Collection. I also spilled a canape all down my front that night, but that's a tale for another day.
Gatineau Discovery Collection

First of all, at £20 this collection is excellent value for money. Gatineau is by no means a budget brand so 6 decent sized products for 20 quid is a pretty sweet deal.
The collection is an edit of Gatineau's most loved and best-selling products, so it really is a brilliant introduction to the brand.

The Gatineau Discovery Collection features:
Gentle Eye Makeup Remover - 50ml
Melatogenine Refreshing Cleansing Cream - 50ml
Radiance Enhancing Gommage - 15ml
Melatogine Futur Plus Anti-Wrinkle Radiance Mask - 15ml
Melatogenine AOX Advanced Rejuvenating Cream - 15ml
Age Benefit Integral Regenerating Cream - 30ml'

I have tried all of the products in the set but my favourites are the Radiance Enhancing Gommage, Melatogenine Cleanser and the Age Benefit Integral Regenerating Cream.
The Radiance Enhancing Gommage is one of those products that had me at Hello - the formula contains fruit acids for a gentle (yet very effective) enzymatic exfoliation that really does make my skin glow. Containing Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin C and Apple Extract, the gommage looks like thick honey that liquefies when massaged into dry skin. Once it turns to liquid, it's removed with a damp cloth and glowy-ness ensues. Using this is an extra indulgent step in my skincare routine that I reserve for evenings when I'm in the mood for a nice deep, luxurious cleanse. If you're a fan of the effect of acid toners, this product will be right up your street.
The Melatogenine Refreshing Cleansing Cream is a soap-free cream cleanser that foams as you activate it. Touted as a cleanser, toner and micro-exfoliator in one, the cleansing cream is pearlescent and souffle-like in appearance and texture. In case you're wondering what on earth Melatogenine is, it's Gatineau's very own 'Youth Activating Molecule' which was developed to help reduce the appearance of fine lines/ wrinkles and it's the star ingredient in this cleanser along with Sweet Almond Oil. Despite the lack of soap in the formula, I find that this cleanser leaves my skin feeling 'soap-clean' if you know what I mean, so I'd file it away in the 'summer cleansers' category because I prefer that soap-clean feeling when it's warmer outside. The cleansing cream is aptly named because it certainly does have a refreshing quality to it. It's a joy to use.
The Age Benefit Integral Regenerating Cream is designed to fight the first signs of ageing. In other words, it's best for 30+ skin (as is the rest of the kit really, though I tend to pay little occasion to 'age' restrictions on beauty products - if it feels good, buy/ use it!). The thick, rich cream is absolutely ideal for December/ January/ February because it feels so incredibly soothing on application - perfect for dry complexions, especially throughout winter. The cream contains Artichoke Leaf and Hibiscus Extract as well as Calcium to contribute to hydration and smoothing of facial lines and wrinkles. It's worth mentioning that the Age Benefit Integral Regenerating Cream retails at £97 for a 50ml jar - in the Discovery Collection you get a 30ml jar, along with five other products, for £20. So if you're already a fan of the face cream, buying this set is a very affordable way to keep yourself stocked up.

The Gatineau Discovery Collection is available at Marks and Spencer stores and online - though if you are going in store, call ahead to make sure it's in stock! 

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Beauty & Go Drinks

'Beauty Drinks' have always interested me. I remember when Fountain and Collagen Shots debuted a few years ago and, even though I never actually got round to trying either for myself, I was admittedly a bit intrigued by the whole concept. I totally get that a healthy, balanced diet can play a huge part in the appearance and resilience of your skin, hair and nails - but can a dedicated product developed to target specific beauty concerns actually make that much of a difference?
That's where Beauty & Go comes in - each drink (there are 5 different ones) has been blended up using ingredients known to help out with various specific skincare needs.

With names like Skin Revive, Skin Brilliance and Skin Vitality, you'd be forgiven for thinking that these are topical face creams or serums. but the claim goes much deeper than that, quite literally, as the drinks are designed to make improvements to your complexion from the inside out. The drinks contain 'MacroAntioxidants' which are powerful antioxidants derived from orange peel. These MacroAntioxidants are proven to be an effective anti-ageing ingredient and contribute to healthy looking, glowy skin.

I've tasted and tested 4 out of the 5 Beauty & Go drinks available:
Skin Revive - Improves skin elasticity, Firms, Reduces Wrinkles
This is the 'red one' and has a lovely, refreshing taste you'd expect from a juice made from red fruits. Skin Revive contains Pomegranate, Raspberry, Collagen, Persimmon, Hyaluronic Acid, Orange Fibre, Manganase, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6.

Skin Detox - Detoxifies, Purifies, Cleanses
This green drink with a slightly tart taste claims to kick-start the metabolism so is probably best chugged down in the morning. It contains Persimmon, Spirulina Algae, Pineapple, Apple, Artichoke, Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Orange Fibre, Dandelion, Zinc, Manganese, Melon Extract, Vitamin C and B6.

Skin Brilliance - Illuminates the Skin, Hydrates, Glowing Effect
The pink one and probably my favourite in terms of taste, Skin Brilliance contains Red Grape, Pomegranate, Persimmon, Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Orange Fibre, Aloe Vera, Citrulline, Olive Fruit Extract, Resveratrol, Zinc, Manganese, Apple, Cherry, Melon Extract and Vitamins B6, B12 and C.

Skin Vitality - Revitalises the Skin, Anti-Fatigue Effect, Invigorates
This is the citrus-y one and doesn't taste dissimilar to something you'd drink at breakfast at the hotel buffet on holiday. It contains Mandarin, Mango, Persimmon, Collagen, Hyaluronic Acid, Orange Fibre, Ginkgo Biloba, Pantothenic Acid (also known as B5), Manganese, Guarana, Melon Extract and Vitamin C, B6 and B12.

The 5th Beauty & Go Drink is 'Winter Skin Protector' and is designed to strengthen the immune system and skin at the same time. It contains Blackcurrant Extract, Royal Jelly, Echinacea, Collagen and Hyaluronic Acid. Although I didn't try this one, i'm sure it's just as palatable as the rest!

As I tried the Beauty & Go Drinks only once, I can't really comment on whether or not they made any improvements to my complexion but I am impressed overall by the taste and ingredients list of each drink. Every drink is gluten free, but rather surprisingly not vegetarian. This is due to the addition of collagen which in this case has been derived from cows. It's also worth mentioning that the drinks do not contain any added sugar and are sweetened slightly with Stevia.
The drinks are designed to be consumed daily and I believe 30 days is the recommended time frame to see visible effects - if I had to choose which one to drink every day for a month it would definitely be Skin Brilliance because I really enjoyed the sweet combination of red grape, pomegranate and persimmon.
Beauty & Go Drinks are £2.99 each at Selfridges and you can find out more at Beauty and Go online.