Sunday, 26 March 2017

Beauty Kitchen Abyssinian Oil Night Halo Sleep Mask

RRP: £19.99 for 60ml

--What does the promo say?--
"-Nourishing and Detoxing Overnight Mask
-Cleanses, hydrates and refreshes skin
-Glowingly beautiful finish 
Night-time treatment to nourish and detox your skin while you sleep like an Angel. The balm will absorb overnight to deeply hydrate and refresh your skin. Once you’ve woken up from your ‘beauty sleep’, cleanse your face with a konjac sponge or face cloth and admire your new glowing complexion! Suitable for all skin types."

--Packaging--
The yellow box that the pot of balm comes in is refreshing, cheerful and unusual, and of course is entirely recyclable. It tells you everything you need to know, without spin or clutter. The black plastic pot is practical too in terms of both ergonomics and size.
--Application--
Use on your face after cleansing, in place of your usual moisturiser. Let the excess sink in overnight, then cleanse in the morning as normal. Simples :)
--Appearance--
The balm itself is a pale yellow, but leaves no visible residue on the face.
--Scent--
The fruits and flowers are the most prominent, particularly the orange and rose, without any particular scent being overpowering. It smells rich and natural; utterly divine. The high quality of the ingredients is evident.
--Texture--
Smooth, with only a slight graininess (which dissolves once blended onto the face), and not at all runny. It massages into the skin well and sinks in beautifully overnight.
--Effects on the skin--
Wonderfully moisturising, and furthermore, conducive to sleep: I used it and had one of the best nights' sleep I've had in ages. Crucial as we have to adjust our sleep patterns as of today due to the changing clocks!
--Longevity--
You need so little at a time (a dollop the size of a 5p piece or so for your whole face) that one pot will last you ages.
--Value for money--
Beauty Kitchen's PR kindly sent mine for free, but thanks to the top-notch ingredients, clear effects and the fact that a little goes such a long way, I would gladly pay for mine. Bonne nuit!
perfect partners
Natural Cream Cleanser, £12.99
Intensive Daily Hand Treatment, £12.99
5 Minute Miracle Mask, £14.99
Intensive Eye and Deep Lines Serum, £14.99
Handbag Beauty Balm, £14.99
Aroma Facial Concentrate, £19.99
Facial Cleansing Balm, £19.99
Facial Moisture Cream, £19.99
Skin Care Starter Kit, £50 (saves you £31!)

Friday, 3 March 2017

Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks


RRP: £1.99
# of shades available: 6

--What does the promo say?--
"Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks are fine, soft powders that give a natural hint of colour to your cheeks."

--Packaging--
As with other products in the range, the minimal daisy design is pretty and clearly gives the products a sense of brand identity. It also leaves space on the see-through lid for you to see the product clearly and always be aware of how much you have left.

--Application--
Using a blusher brush, gently sweep over the cheeks (apples or cheekbones, depending on the kind of contouring you are looking for). Feel free to add an extra layer of face powder afterwards to give more of an impression of glowing from within!

--Appearance--
I was sent the Dusky Pink for free by Natural Collection's PR, which worked well for my pale complexion. It's not too dark or bright, and - dare I say it - looks very natural once on.

--Texture and consistency--
Powdery, but not unmanageably so, and easy to blend.

--Longevity--
Perhaps requires touching up a little during the day - but for £1.99, what do you expect?

--Value for money--
Gives a natural, attractive appearance at an affordable price. Would recommend.

perfect partners
Natural Collection Pressed Powder, £1.99
Natural Collection Shine-Away Foundation, £1.99
Natural Collection Cover-Up Cream, £1.99

Friday, 24 February 2017

Clean and Clear Deep Action Facial Wipes

RRP: £3.79 for 25 wipes

--What does the promo say?--
"Each wipe gives you an unmistakable tingling sensation that tells you your skin is being thoroughly cleansed and in one easy wipe leaves it feeling cool, refreshed and clear."

--Packaging--
The blue and green colour scheme emphasises the menthol included in the wipes, as well as being quite unisex. The protective sticker also reseals effectively, meaning there's no risk of the wipes drying out (unlike, arguably, the cheaper packets of wipes).

--Usage--
Wipe over face to remove all traces of makeup and dirt. I often fold mine over once I have wiped using one side, and then keep folding and wiping until I've used as much of the wipe as possible.

--Appearance--
The white wipe is soaked in clear fluid that leaves no visible residue on the face.

--Scent--
The menthol included is definitely detectable, which I personally like.

--Texture and consistency--
The wipes are made of strong, sturdy material, which means not only that your face feels really clean after use, but also that it doesn't tear or stretch during use, which again, can be a problem with some cheaper wipes.

--Effects on the skin--
Thanks to the menthol, skin feels really cool and refreshed in the immediate moments during and after use. Furthermore, the inclusion of salicylic acid means skin condition is also improved in the longer term. Nevertheless, the use of a separate cleanser and moisturiser is still recommended, as there's always a risk that wipes will not remove *all* dirt and makeup, and these particular wipes do not contain a specific moisturising agent, so it's important to keep your skin balanced as well.

--Value for money--
While these may be slightly more expensive than some other wipes on the market, these are still affordable and high quality, and most refreshing to use, while cleaning your skin. Great for travel - or even just those nights when I can't be bothered. Clean & Clear's PR sent mine for free, but I'd still fork out.

perfect partners
Oil Control Cream Wash, £4.99
Dual Action Moisturiser, £3.25

Friday, 17 February 2017

AA Skincare Peony, Bay and Brahmi Liquid Shower and Bath Gel

RRP: £5.94 for 250ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Balancing and soothing, this antioxidant rich formula will help give your skin an added boost, leaving it feeling soft, supple and well nourished.
Containing a delicate blend of traditional Ayurvedic herbs, pure essential oils and natural ingredients. This naturally inspired shower and bath gel is designed to be non - drying for the skin and the exquisite aromas make showering a real treat!"
--Packaging--
The white and pink bottle, while traditional, perfectly encapsulates the essence of the ingredients used in this bath and shower gel. The flip-top lid of the plastic bottle opens easily when you are in the shower, yet closes securely. The flow of liquid is also such that you don't end up with a rush of product (so no wastage).
--Usage--
Lather up under the shower and rub over wet skin before rinsing off. Alternatively, squeeze into running water for luxurious bath bubbles.
--Appearance--
The gel itself is completely clear, but lathers and froths with fine white foam on contact with water. This washes off without leaving any visible residue.
--Scent--
Floral without being heavy, and yet it has a depth and complexity to the layering of its scent that make it fresh, modern and unique. The exquisite aromas promised are definitely delivered.
Texture and consistency--
The gel is light and not sticky, without being runny or watery; it holds its shape. When lathered up, the foam is fine and smooth, with small bubbles.
--Effects on the skin--
Thanks to the essential oils included in the formulation, skin is left feeling truly moisturised, and sensitive skin soothed.
--Value for money--
Thanks to the high quality of the ingredients used, I would have expected this to be far more expensive, and as little is needed to create a decent lather, one bottle would last a long time, even if used for baths instead of or in addition to showers. The complex layering of scents and refined foam texture also creates a truly luxurious experience, and even though I was sent my bottle for free by AA Skincare's PR, I would undoubtedly spend my own money on replenishing stocks.
perfect partners
Peony, Bay & Brahmi Liquid Conditioner, £5.94
Peony, Bay & Brahmi Nourishing Shampoo, £5.94

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Phizz Rehydration Tablets


RRP: from £4.99

--What does the promo say?--
"Phizz combines a rehydration formula with vitamins & minerals in a delicious orange flavoured effervescent tablet. Taken after a big night, before a long flight or during a hard day's work, Phizz is putting it all back in. Rehydration - Phizz helps more water get where it's needed. Phizz contains the right balance of sodium & glucose in a hypotonic solution, so you can get the most out of your water. Vitamins - Phizz is packed with vitamins & minerals to help unlock your body's energy, reduce tiredness & fatigue, support mental performance, combat muscle fatigue, recharge your electrolytes & maintain a healthy immune system. PHIZZ - PLAY, TRAVEL, WORK."

--Packaging--
The yellow packaging - standard stuff in the soluble vitamin world - is lifted by the additional black and white band at the top of the plastic tube, helping to distinguish itself. The tube is sealed by a lid that you pull out when needed, which is easy to do and yet closes securely. It would be great, however, to see sachets also available for those who prefer more environmentally-friendly packaging options than plastic tubes.

--Usage--
Dissolve 2 tablets per day into 300ml of water. This perhaps seems excessive given that many soluble vitamins just require one tablet per day - of similar size - to be consumed. It's possible that Phizz's tablets are more concentrated, but equally, depending on your needs, one tablet per day may suffice.

--Appearance--
Light orange tablets dissolve in water to produce a bright orange liquid, which leaves no visible residue around or in the mouth, or in the glass.

--Scent and flavour--
Smells and tastes of orange - again, standard stuff for energy-boosting soluble vitamins.

--Texture and consistency--
The tablet dissolves quickly and effectively, with no grainy or chewy deposits to chow down at the end of the drink.

--Effects--
Phizz without doubt restores energy and ticks all of the promised boxes in the short term (I was sent a 5-day supply for free by Phizz's PR, so cannot comment on longer-term prospects). Beauty-wise, the vitamins and minerals that it contains have multifarious proven effects, including anti-ageing, cell repair, and improved hair and nail strength and shine.

--Value for money--
At £4.99 for a 5-day supply (10 tablets), this does not come cheap and the same effects could perhaps be better obtained longer term via a healthy, balanced diet which contains all of the vitamins and minerals mentioned above. As with anything, though, once you buy the larger tubes the value is increased: a combination pack of 30 tablets (15 days' supply), for example, is £11.99 (as opposed to the price tag of nearly £15 that would result if you scaled up the price of the smaller tube). We also all have down days where we've pushed ourselves too hard or need an energy boost, which can definitely be resolved through use of this product. It is especially good for travel, as it's convenient to carry and can counteract the poor diet often occasioned by chaotic schedules where you are frequently in transit. Definitely a good one to have in your bag for those occasions! 

Friday, 10 February 2017

Clean & Clear Advantage Oil Control Cream Wash

RRP: £4.99 for 150ml

--What does the promo say?--
"Clean & Clear® Advantage® Oil Control Cream Wash is clinically proven to help clear excess oil for fewer spots and leave skin looking shine-free for longer. This dual-action formula combines oil-absorbing PowderParticles and our patented Advantage® spot-fighting technology, to instantly remove up to 85% of excess oil* whilst helping to clear spots and blemishes. Oil-free. Won't clog pores. Won't overdry skin."

--Packaging--
The silver and blue colour scheme is nicely unisex, and the plastic tube is practical too, with a flip-top lid that's sturdy, but opens easily when you need it to.

--Application--
Rub between damp palms and massage onto the face, before wiping off with a wettened flannel.

--Appearance--
The cream wash is white, with white particles visible. No visible residue is left on the face after washing.

--Texture and consistency--
Thick and slightly clay-like, but easy to wash off once you have finished.

--Scent--
The menthol comes through strongly, which is most refreshing, but is not overwhelming.

--Effects on the skin--
Skin definitely seemed calmed and clearer, with dry patches sloughed away thanks to the PowderParticles. Overall, skin was more balanced, with oily patches also reduced within a week's use.

--Value for money--
Results are definitely visible in the short term, and the overall usage experience was undoubtedly pleasant and effective - especially so for a product with such an affordable price tag. I was sent mine for free by Clean & Clear's PR, but would definitely pay up.

perfect partner
Advantage Spot Treatment Gel, £4.35

Friday, 3 February 2017

Natural Collection Pressed Powder

RRP: £1.99
# of shades available: 3

--What does the promo say?--
"Natural Collection Pressed Powder has been designed primarily to reduce shine on your skin's surface. It sets foundation and finishes faces without adding colour or texture.

Apply Natural Collection Pressed Powder over your favourite foundation to set your make up for the day and reduce shine."

--Packaging--
The minimal daisy design is both pretty and modern, and the see-through plastic lid is equally advantageous, as you can always see how much is left. The only problem is that occasionally it can be tricky to get the lid to screw on flat, and you have to start again.

--Application--
Use a powder brush to sweep the powder over your face, after applying other base products (such as primer, concealer or foundation).

--Appearance--
The lightest shade suits me well, but the inevitable limitation of there only being 3 shades available means that this product won't match everyone's skin tone. 

--Scent--
Nothing particular.

--Texture and consistency--
Light, settles well and doesn't cake, making for as refined a result as many other higher-end powder brands.

--Coverage--
Again, pleasantly surprised by the high quality of coverage afforded by this product. Shine is also reduced.

--Value for money--
While I was sent mine for free by Natural Collection's PR, I would undoubtedly replenish stocks with my own money: a great result for little of your hard-earned cash.

perfect partners
Natural Collection Cover-Up Cream, £1.99
Natural Collection Blushed Cheeks, £1.99

Friday, 27 January 2017

Collection Illuminating Touch Foundation

RRP: £5.99
# of shades available: 6

--What does the promo say?--
"A luxurious silky foundation that gives medium to full coverage for a flawless, radiant finish that lasts. Joining the infamous Illuminating Touch Concealer, the Illuminating Touch Foundation provides a radiance-boosting, hydrating base in six classic shades."

--Packaging--
The mixture of opaque and transparent glass, combined to make outward-springing rays, creates an illuminating effect that cleverly fits the concept of the product. The black lettering and lid against the foundation colour adds a further sophisticated touch and the pump-action mechanism is practical as well.

--Usage--
One pump is generous and likely enough to do your whole face, so be careful! Blend into a clean dry face, possibly after the use of other base products, such as primer. You can then follow up with, for example, concealer and powder.

--Appearance--
As the 'illuminating' name suggests, the effect is more sheer than matte, so do ensure that this is what you are after (I prefer a matte appearance normally). The lightest shade (Porcelain 1) works reasonably well for me (although is perhaps better for summer), and 6 available shades gives a reasonable range of choice.

--Scent--
Baby-powder style scent, which may appeal to some but not all.

--Texture and consistency--
Quite thick, hence why one pump affords generous coverage. It also blends well, which is a plus too.

--Coverage and longevity--
Overall, excellent.

--Value for money--
The staying power means it could easily retail at £8 or £9 without anyone batting an eyelid. Mine was sent for free by Collection's PR, and while I wouldn't repurchase this particular product due to my preference for a matte effect, I would recommend this to those looking for an illuminating foundation, and would be keen to try Collection's more mattifying products for myself.

perfect partners
Lasting Perfection Concealer, £4.19
Pressed Powder, £1.99
Sheer Loose Powder, £2.99
Primed and Ready Invisible Setting Powder, £3.99
Contour Kit, £4.19
Illuminating Primer, £4.99
Primed and Ready Concealer Kit, £4.99
Speedy Highlighter, £3.99
Cover Up Stick, £1.99
Contour Stick, £3.99

Friday, 20 January 2017

Crabtree & Evelyn Verbena and Lavender Cologne

RRP: from £20

--What does the promo say?--
"Creating a magical scent to last all day long. Our cologne has been created to subtly scent the skin with just a few sprays of this light fragrance. This light and easy to wear fragrance has been created with French lemon verbena and lavender essential oils blended with notes of cedarwood, white amber and tonka bean to create an uplifting scent. Perfect for both day and evening wear; by men and women alike.
  • Fresh, herbaceous scent of Verbena and Lavender de Provence
  • Inspired from the beautiful French countryside, with the natural perfume of two of the regions favourite botanical treasures carried on the warm breeze
  • Travel size
Fragrance: Vibrant, fresh verbena combined with the herbaceous, soothing lavender create a luxurious and lively lemony-lilt scent."

--Packaging--
The green and purple lettering on the glass bottle give an elegant and unusual effect while echoing the plants from which the fragrance is made. The spray mechanism is also targeted and effective.

--Application--
Spritz onto pressure points to diffuse the scent across your body, including wrists, behind the ears, and across the decolletage.

--Appearance--
A clear liquid that leaves no visible residue.

--Scent--
The verbena and lavender are clearly present without being overbearing. The citrus notes of the verbena are also complemented by the lemon and grapefruit that the perfume also contains, and the jasmine is also detectable.

--Longevity--
As promised, this perfume lasts all day thanks to the high-quality ingredients that it contains.

--Value for money--
This scent retails at around the same price per ml as other high-quality brands' fragrances, such as Ferragamo, DKNY, and Vera Wang, as well as certain 'celebrity' brands such as Christina Aguilera and James Bond. The provenance of the ingredients, and their subsequent staying power, makes this fragrance equally good value, and even though mine was free from Crabtree & Evelyn's PR, I would repurchase this sophisticated scent.

perfect partners
Verbena & Lavender Conditioner, £12
Verbena & Lavender Shampoo, £12
Verbena & Lavender Soap, £7
Verbena & Lavender Hand Therapy, £16
Verbena & Lavender Body Lotion, £16
Verbena & Lavender Body Cream, £22

Friday, 6 January 2017

Clean and Clear Hint of Tint Cover and Correct Cream


RRP: £6.99
# of shades available: 2

--What does the promo say?--
"Instantly conceals and helps clear spots for clear, beautiful skin. NEW CLEAN & CLEAR®Hint of Tint™ gives you instantly clearer, beautiful skin in one quick & easy step!"

--Packaging--
A bit functional and dated in its design, but as this suggests, it works well nonetheless.

--Appearance--
The limited number of shades available means that this definitely won't suit everyone. The 'light' shade (which I was sent for free by Clean & Clear's PR) is acceptable on me, but I would still maybe prefer to only wear it in summer. Furthermore, the result is a bit sheer for me, but that's a matter of personal preference rather than being an inherent fault in the product.

--Scent--
Nothing of note.

--Texture and consistency--
Smooth and blends well.

--Coverage--
Doesn't really deliver on this score; you will likely need to top up with concealer and/or powder.

--Value for money--
As I prefer a more matte, heavier-coverage finish, I probably wouldn't purchase this. However, others with different needs could give it a go.