Thursday, 30 May 2013

REVIEW: Sampar So Much To Dew Day Cream (Crème Source de Jour)

SAMPAR...Pioneer of Urban Skincare

The Brand

I'm completely obsessed with the French Pharmacy craze that has swept overseas to the UK over the last year...There's just something about french women and their perfectly clear and radiant skin that makes me want in on the action too! For this reason, I came across Sampar for the first time whilst scouring Feelunique online for french skincare brands and up popped Sampar... I just remember seeing some pretty powder pink bottles with the beautiful outline of the Paris skyline adorning the entire product. This of course really caught my eye and I felt I had to research further into the brand and hope that the product held within these gorgeous bottles would win me over as much as the packaging did! And the rest is history, as they say. Just as my bio says; I'm an avid enthusiast of all things beautiful and I can safely confirm Sampar sure is a beauty. 
Sampar's ambition is simple: "to awaken the sleeping beauty in every woman, uncovering and revealing her natural allure" and it aims to do this by using "smart ingredients" to allow for "smart skin" that can heal and repair itself from every day stressors and free radicals that we face. The key to doing this comes from Sampar's "Urban Advance" formulation which is present in ALL of it's products. This innovative formula really works at the heart of cells to wake them up and acts as an anti-pollution shield, if you like.

The Product

Isn't the design of this bottle so pretty? It really is a treat to have it resting on my bedside table waiting for me to apply every morning! The So Much To Dew Day Cream is dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic, paraben and alcohol free so this is a very skin friendly product that won't irritate even the most sensitive of skins, like mine. Hurrah! This bottle is 50ml full-size and retails at £29.00 and can be found in an increasing number of retailers both online and instore in the UK these days as Sampar continues to grow. My favourite place to browse and try the range of Sampar products is in the Marks & Spencer's beauty hall in Meadowhall but Feelunique.com also has a large selection of their skincare but sadly no So Much To Dew Day Cream as yet. There is free delivery and often discount days over on the official Sampar website - so keep your peepers peeled and get stocking up!
The instructions advise that you apply morning and/or night and apply with light massaging strokes to the face and neck area. So although this is primarily a day cream, the So Much To Dew moisturiser can also double up as a night cream! I really like using this as my night cream too as it's creamy but not too creamy and heavy like most night versions tend to be. I only need one full pump from this bottle and I rub together slightly in my hands before patting and massaging across my entire face and décolletage. If my skin is feeling particularly parched I might use two pumps for a more generous application.
 As you can see in the picture above, one pump gives a decent sized blob to play with and once smoothed over the skin it blends easily with no need for harsh rubbing. The texture is creamy yet light - the lower half of the picture shows the blob once blended slightly and you can tell it's quite fluid and not heavy. I love how quickly this product sinks in to the skin and how there is no rescue or stickyness left behind after application. The scent that surrounds you once applied is heavenly; a light floral/fruity fragrance, not at all overpowering but very refreshing. It really soothes the senses and I love it when a product that i'm using not only calms my skin but eases the mind through it's delicate scents. 

The Verdict

I'm a new Sampar addict and will be hoping to try lots more products from their skincare ranges after this successful discovery! This brand has it all - beauty and brains...I would say that although this is a cream that is definitely suitable for everyone and every age, I personally find it very pleasant to use with my combo/oily skin as it's so very light and sinks in quickly. It isn't too intense so i don't feel as though i'm getting sticky after a few hours of wearing it and it delivers just enough hydration to keep my skin feeling nourished throughout the day. I think this product is especially great for skin that can't handle too much moisture without breaking out but if you were looking for something a little more intensely moisturising, you might be better off with the Ultra Hydrating Fluid. I definitely felt hydrated and fresh all day long with no need to re-apply until after cleansing when I have been using it as a night cream also.

The Sampar website is packed full of information on their products and can help you get an understanding of the brand if you are interested in purchasing their products and don't forget to go and swatch or test the products in an M&S beauty hall near you! 

Have you tried this or any other Sampar product? If so, I would love to hear about it in the comment section below xo


Greenwood Organics: Natural & Handmade Pampering Duo!

"Always natural, always organic..."

My Powerful Pampering Duo
That's the statement that Zoë Greenwood, founder of Greenwood Organics promises to every single customer. Zoë has harnessed the benefits of blending ethically sourced organic oils to create a powerful range of products that nourish and care for your skin, no matter what skin-type you are or what stage in life you're in; there's something for you.

One of the main things that drew me to Greenwood Organics is the fact that their products are handmade in England and contain only the finest organic oils and ingredients that can be found. There's something wonderfully comforting and reassuring about supporting local brands... Although I do own and continue to purchase products from elsewhere, I hold a special place in my beauty cabinets (yes plural, I can never have enough storage!) for English beauty products to sit with pride :)
Intensely Nourishing Face Mask
Each potent essential oil that goes into a Greenwood Organic product like my Jasmine & White Clay Mask, is carefully chosen for it's powerful effect on the mind, body and soul. The products go so much further than just nourishing the skin; it really is like bringing the spa home as I felt so relaxed and soothed after an evening of pampering with my Greenwood Organics duo.
Oh So Creamy...
The mask I've been using is £20 for 50ml and you only need a small amount to cover the entire facial area - it really glides across the face easily thanks to the creamy texture. French white clay helps to stimulate and tone the skin and is blended with rose water, sunflower oil and vitamin E to thoroughly cleanse and care for the skin. The main thing I loved about this mask is how nice a change it is to use a mask that doesn't dry out and feel tight after a few minutes! It never really dried but you could still feel it working its magic. I felt a slight tingling sensation around 2-3 minutes after applying but it was only light and went away for the rest of the duration. I left the mask on for the full 15 minutes but you can have a quick facial needing only 5 minutes for this little beauty to do its work. Jasmine is something of an obsession of late with me; if a product has jasmine oils in it, it's pretty much sold to me! I find the scent so soothing. The scent of this mask is nice and light and also unlike any of the jasmine products i already own - it smells divine and you can definitely smell the rose water mixed in there. After use, my skin felt so very soft, that's the main thing I noticed straight away. I like that it doesn't strip my skin whilst cleansing and that I'm left feeling balanced and soothed after.
Scent-sational Salts! Trust Me...
The product that really blew me away and has secured me as a new fan of Greenwood Organics is the Rosemary & Juniper Bath Salts... I've never smelled something so intensely refreshing! The scent upon opening the tub and taking a whiff is really quite powerful but in a good sense! When it comes to bath products, I'm usually disappointed by how lovely something smells in its container but smells of thin air once tipped into the bath. Not the case here. When I was opening this product, I eagerly stuck my nose almost straight into the salts and was quite pleasantly shocked at the aroma that shot straight up it! This product uses Dead Sea Mineral salts and Epsom salts  which are great for detoxing and have been to known to help diminish dimples/cellulite so i'm going to be using this on the run up to my holiday to help me get bikini ready. These salts are also excellent for when you're feeling a little rundown or have any aches and pains. The magnesium from within Epsom salts is a great muscle relaxer! This 250g pot should last me a few more baths, maybe a total of 5 baths and you could possibly make it last longer depending on how much you pour in - a handful or two is recommended. I can't believe they're only £9.00 most places I've come across selling similar retail them at around £25 so these are just a bargainous buy and it's nice not to be ripped off for something that actually works! Literally cannot praise these salts enough... If you try one thing from Greenwood Organics today, you have to try these bath salts.

I can pamper guilt free in the knowledge that once I have finished my products, I can easily recycle the violet glass jars at a bottle bank or clean and re-use for storing other things in. I think I'm going to thoroughly rinse my face mask jar out and try my hands at making a home-made face mask concoction myself! If anyone has any lovely recipes for me try, do let me know and don't forget to check out Zoë's natural and handmade range of beauty products over on Greenwood Organics :)

BB x

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Enlightening Skincare From Bodhi

100% natural skincare with a heart...

I'm so excited to be sharing my Bodhi discovery of super high quality natural skincare that benefits not only your skin but the world we live in too! 
A beautiful and eco friendly delivery from Bodhi
I came across Bodhi in the same manner I usually come across the majority of my skincare and beauty tidbits; via Twitter. I've been researching green beauty reviews for some time now and this brand kept popping up in most of my searches so I had to get in on the action and try it out for myself... I made a few enquiries and was fortunate enough to be sent the 'Love Bath & Body Giftset' alongside Bodhi's latest innovation; the Neroli Lucé Revitalising face Oil to try out and I didn't waste any time in putting these products to use! Before I begin my review of the actual products mentioned here, I'd love to share a bit of information regarding Bodhi Skincare with you, as the passion and total commitment to natural ingredients and looking after our environments whilst still delivering top quality products is so very inspiring.
 Elijah Choo, the founder of Bodhi Skincare, created these exquisite products and a wide variety more with a mind to educating people about the importance of their skincare rituals and encourages us to "rethink the relationship between our personal care and well-being routines, and the impact they have on the environment." If we are bathing and cleansing our skin in synthetic ingredients whether harsh or not, this can undoubtedly have a negative effect on our bodies and complexions - hypersensitivity, blotchiness and redness being some of the common culprits of chemical nasty ingredients that can be found in most high street/readily available brands. These get washed down the drains and end up polluting the environment we live in unnecessarily. Bodhi means "Enlightenment" - to awaken or to understand. I think most people could do with enlightening themselves regarding the relationship between our personal care and well being routines and how we can harmonise them. This is why i've chosen to start incorporating natural products that use high quality essential oils + perfumery grade absolutes so that I can reap the benefits both in mind and body as the experience is so seriously sensuous.
Love Giftset - Jasmine Falls
The Love Bath & Body Giftset is £25 and contains a full size Jasmine Falls Bath & Shower Therapy (250ml) and a travel sized Jasmine Falls Relaxing Body Moisturiser. I'm a sucker for anything jasmine scented so this giftset was perfect for me! The packaging that this duo came in was just stunning - simple and understated. The purple ribbon that adorned the box was just begging to be pulled loose to reveal its beautiful contents...You can pour this bath & shower therapy under a warm running tap for a heavenly scented bathing experience or you can use as a cleansing gel for the body. I did both of these at the same time as I just couldn't get enough of this fragrance so I wanted to be fully immersed in it! It's also lovely to cup your hands and breathe in the scent for a few seconds before washing with it as it's such a relaxing and therapeutic concoction.

As soon as I jumped out of the bath, I applied a liberal amount of the moisturiser; you're always best to apply whilst your skin is still warmed and prepped from bathing I find. My skin was left baby soft and totally nourished with a lingering scent of that divine jasmine playing on my senses for a while afterwards. It's fair to say that I was one very blissed out girly after my first bathtime using Bodhi's Jasmine Falls goodies...
Neroli Lucé Face Oil
I was so very excited to receive the recently launched Neroli Lucé Revitalising Face Oil (£32 for full-sized 15ml) as it aims to 'reveal clarity, tone and balance' all skin types, even combination oily types like mine! It is suitable for " normal, combination, dull & tired or bleish-prone skin" so whatever you have got going off with your skin at the moment, you can be sure that you can use this facial oil. The thing that really got me going was the fact that it mentioned being suitable for blemish-prone skin... I put off using face oils for so long due to the belief that applying oil directly to the face whilst already producing too much of my own oils could only result in a rather ferocious breakout of blemishes. I've used a few face oils now, the Trilogy Rosehip Oil and Willow Organic's Liquid Gold Face Oil and had no problems so far!  
Deep Amber Oil
This little beauty from Bodhi though has probably got to be my favourite as I love the fact that even though it's an oil, it manages to hydrate my skin perfectly without overdoing and somehow keeps my makeup in place and more matte for longer! Hurrah! It feels like a little miracle :)The scent is quite unusual to me, as I've never actually tried anything with Neroli in to my knowledge. I know, i've not lived! As with the Jasmine Falls products, this oil is very uplifting and therapeutic. 
1 Pump 
As you can see here, the oil is very amber in colour and it might just be me but it almost looks as though i have a very slight sunkissed glow after a double pump application - bonus! You only need 1-2 pumps depending for this product to work it's magic so the 15ml goes a long way and will last a long time. This is perfectly sized for popping in a travel beauty bag and I'm thinking of taking it with me on the long haul flight to Florida in a few weeks to keep my skin from getting parched. I don't want to arrivein Fliruda looking like a prune ;)
Overall
Bodhi have definitely just gained a new loyal fan! The products are top quality and you can really tell that a lot of thought and time has gone into their making. I'm already eyeing up what fragrances to try in my next bath & shower therapy product....I'm think Mint Thé or Galangal Spice for something of a change to the florals. We shall see!

If you want to find out more or checkout the full Bodhi Skincare range, pop over to their website and get ready to be enlightened...


Monday, 27 May 2013

Willow Organic... Luxury Organic Beauty

Organic & Gorgeous...
Natural Soya Wax Candle...
I've spent a lot of time researching organic skincare and beauty recently as I really want to refresh my makeup bag with more eco friendly and natural products. I'm starting to think of skincare and beauty products as food because whatever we put on to our skin eventually gets eaten up and ends up inside our bodies! If you wouldn't eat chemicals, why slather them on your skin waiting for them to be absorbed?! Making the transition to greener beauty isn't hard and I certainly haven't gone and thrown out my beloved must haves that don't meet the certified organic status, but by discovering brands like Willow Organic, I'm slowly finding new organic products that are replacing my old favourites :)
From left: Liquid Gold Face Oil £42, Fig & Wild Honey Candle £28 and Nourishing Night Cream £52
Willow Organic is Soil Association certified organic and was founded by Sue Stowell in 2006 who saw a niche for luxury organic beauty products. Now I love luxe and I can totally see how there's a gap for luxury in organic products/packaging. When i used to think of organic beauty products, I would see shabby/hippy-ish packing or just plain dark brown or blue bottles. There's nothing wrong with plain... Aurelia Skincare use the old fashioned brown bottles but have a simple yet sophisticated look. Same here with the Willow packaging; simple and elegant. It might sound vain but I like the products I buy to look appealing and it's fair to say these beauties will look lovely on my makeup desk. 
Beautiful candle...
 Isn't this candle just beautiful?! I cannot express just how much I love this candle from Willow Organic... I got the fig & wild honey fragrance which i wouldn't have opted for usually but I'm obsessed with the scent now! Not overpowering at all but very fragrant and unusual; it soothes me as soon as it has been lit as just looking at it is relaxing enough but in literally no time my room is filled with its divine scent. I think the rosebuds adorning the top of the candle look so natural and pretty. I'm definitely going to be stocking up on this when it finally burns out; it's made from natural soya wax and has an impressive 40 hour burn time! If I try another scent I think i'd go for jasmine & geranium or rose & sandalwood next as they sound lovely and are more typical of my usual picks but as i say, so very thrilled with the fig & wild honey candle.

Rose & Manuka Honey Nourishing Night Cream
I've never opted for anything too heavy in terms of night creams and this one from Willow is quite intense and creamy. I always get a fear of the dreaded breakouts from using anything too heavy duty but this wonderful cream goes on like a dream delivering maximum hydration overnight allowing you to slip off to the land of nod on what smells like a bed of roses! I'm a bit fussy with my rose scented items, some smell heavenly for the first five minutes before making me nauseous but this cream though quite strongly scented didn't become overpowering the longer I wore it, phew. I didn't experience one blemish whilst using this product, only seriously soft skin. Wowza!
Overnight Skin Food
Just look how creamy it looks n its tub... I think i may have found the perfect night cream! Rose oil and Manuka honey combined harness the power to visably plump and rejuvenate the skin whilst you sleep allowing for a brighter complexion when you wake. My skin felt radiant the next day after just the first use! Organic creams really do feel like they get to work on the skin much faster than chemical nasty products. I'd recommend this to anyone, as i have sensitive/combi skin so this isn't just for dryer/more mature skin types as a lot of people sometimes think when it comes to night creams. Don't delay looking after your skin; prevention is cheaper than the cure!
Liquid Gold Face Oil
I was a complete newbie to facial oils until a few weeks ago but now I wonder how i ever coped without them! I use them only on days when I feel I need that extra boost of moisture or when my skin is feeling and or looking a bit tired and in need of TLC. The Willow organic website states 'our miracle face oil will light up your skin and leave you with a dewy and radiant complexion' - quite a statement and set really high expectations in my mind. It certainly didn't disappoint and used every other night or atleast 2 x a week for me personally alongside my Willow night cream has definitely made a difference to the luminosity of my skin. I just feel like i'm glowing from within! It delivers a concentrated and intense hit of moisture so you wouldn't need to use it every night; unless you really suffer from dry skin. Again, a lovely rose scent lingers on the skin as rose oil is used but I find it to be much lighter than the cream so even when combined you still don't get an overpowering fragrance. 

For anyone wanting to introduce organic beauty into their daily routines, be sure to give Willow Organic a try! Investing in your skin and it will thank you in the years to come... 

Take a peep at the beautiful selection of organic beauty products available at Willow Organic and let me know if you've tried anything from the range or what you'd like to try soon! x

REVIEW: Clarins BB Skin Perfecting Cream (01 Light)

 I have been on the hunt for the perfect BB cream for my holidays since what feels like forever, or atleast since I came off my last holiday ;) Last September I went to Fuerteventura and foolishly took my usual liquid foundation which ended up melting down my face after just a short while in the blazing sun; never a good poolside look! I had to make do with going au natural during the daytime in the end and just use my foundation in the cooler evenings but this time I want to be prepared and take something light that won't feel too heavy in the heat but will still help me cover up any flaws.


I was lucky enough to be sent a full sized Clarins Skin Perfecting BB Cream by the the lovely @EscentualEmma, a fellow beauty junkie and editor for Escentual.com! I was particularly excited about this BB cream because when I was researching it via the usual routes - youtube/blogs etc, I kept hearing the same thing... that this BB cream was very warm in all its shades, even the lightest! When I hit the sun, I tan pretty quickly and darkly so it would be fine for my hols and other than the warmth comments I was pleased to see that it received overall very positive reviews, so I was very chuffed to get the chance to try it out. I've been using the BB cream for just over a week on and off when I've been wanting sheer coverage, especially for when I've been exercising or just for when I've been out and about enjoying the sun that seems to have blessed us of late. It has a fairly generous SPF 25 which comes from 100% natural mineral sun filters, so for me it's ideal for when i'm outdoors running to give me that slight dewy fresh faced look without being overdone and adequate sun protection. 


As you can see from the picture above, there's nothing particularly 'light' about the 01 Light shade of this BB cream! But, in it's defence, I'm a very fair olive skin type and this blended out very well and actually gave me a bronzed glow in my pale state. It didn't look ridiculous or out of place, just warmer than the rest of my body so I had to dust a light coating of Guerlain's Four Season's Bronzer over my shoulders and around my neck to ensure I matched my face. So I would say even if you are very pale, if you are willing to use a touch of bronzer on your décolletage you should be fine as it really is quite light being a BB cream and all. See below for a swatch of the above after blending out.

 The application is very easy; it smooths across the face easily whereas some BB's I've tried had been quite hard to blend and needed lots of product to cover the entire face. It feels very light on the skin and gives a light to medium satin and super soft finish. I've even worn it over an application of face oil on a day where my skin felt particularly parched. I wore it over my Bodhi Neroli Luce Face Oil which feels light in the first place so I didn't end up feeling too moisturised or greasy. The scent of this product is a big plus for me; it's not overpowering but has a definite slight floral fragrance which is lovely and soothing. 


This picture is the blob of BB cream pictured above but blended out slightly into the back of my hand. You can quite clearly see the warmth it had added to my skin - looks slightly rosy in comparison to my paler surrounding skin. I could have blended it a bit further but I wanted to show the colour before it became too transparent. 

VERDICT

Overall i'm really satisfied with this BB cream, I think it's definitely secured a space in my beauty bag and will be coming with me in a couple weeks to Orlando and Miami! I will definitely have to do a follow up post letting you know how it actually fares in the Miami heat when I hit the beach etc. I love the warmth this product has as it looks like a light bronzing BB cream which to me is a brucey bonus but for those with the fairest of skins wanting a true to colour BB it might not be quite right. Visit a Clarins counter and get swatching as this really does feel amazingly light and blurs most imperfections perfectly!

You can buy this Clarins BB cream from Escentuals for £22.40 (RRP £28)





Friday, 17 May 2013

Review: SoukSouk May 2013 Box

The Little Green Beauty Box...
May 2013 SoukSouk contents
What is SoukSouk?
A monthly 'green and clean' beauty box that aims to introduce ethical beauty lovers to new brands and products that are either certified organic and natural; are free from certain chemicals; and are not tested on animals! Wheww, finally, a truly guilt free beauty box... Subscriptions cost £14.95 (this includes £2.95 p&p) and get you 4-5 'green' beauty samples to play with and a copy of the SoukSouk magazine! The magazine is well worth a read and contains all the latest beauty and gossip news alongside any updates of what is going off in the world of green beauty. Did you know that on the 11th of March 2013, the EU implemented a ban on animal testing for cosmetic products and ingredients within the EU? Hurrah :)
May 2013 Box Contents
Here's a little look at what I received in my May box:
  • Dr Bronner's Magic Soap 18-in-1 Hemp Rose (59ml)
  • Green People Moisturising Shower Gel (30ml)
  • Green People Nurture Body Lotion (30ml)
  • BalmBalm Lip Balm (full sized 7ml version)
  • Inika Eyebrow Pencil Brunette (full sized) 


I'm going to talk about my favourite picks from my box first and my absolute fave is the BalmBalm lip balm; it smells dreamy! I got the rose geranium version and I'm so glad I did as this would have been the one I went for if I was buying it myself. I adore floral scents and these two flowers combined make an enticing fragrance that just soothes my mind upon applying and has the added bonus of soothing and repairing my chapped lips! This natural emollient balm is suitable for all skin types and can be used pretty much anywhere that you have dry skin that needs some TLC... Who doesn't love a great multi-tasker?!


I've never really used brow pencils before so I was happy to see the Inika pencil for brunettes nestled in my box. I don't know what it is about using actual pencils to fill in my brows that I find so much harder than using my current Benefit Brow-Zings palette and angled brush? But I just never seem to get the application right; too heavy or too light. After trying this pencil though, i'm feeling a little more confident about making the switch as this applied smoothly and didnt feel like I needed to really press hard to make it leave the desired amount of product. 
As you can see from my swatch, it gives a lovely rich chocolate brown shade - perfect for brunettes ofcourse as the name states and maybe even for the darker of the lighter brows. Just don't apply it as thickly. Glides on effortlessly! It even comes with a sharpener that you can attach the opposite end of the pencil for on-the-go sharpening. Really impressed with this product.
I love the pretty bow that is wound around the contents list paper turning it into a scroll; it adds nicely to the overall natural feel of this product and is different to the usual silk ribbons that adorn most beauty boxes. The Dr Bronner's Magic Soap is something i've only heard about before so it was good to try it, but I wasn't keen on the scent. It's rose so i thought i'd love it but sometimes there's certain rose scents that just make me feel a bit nauseous and sadly this is one. I'm definitely going to use it as the scent is still quite light so it won't give me a headache but it's not something i would repurchase. It can be used for a variety of things as the name suggests which is fab if you are wanting to cut down the clutter you have in your bathroom cabinet, for example! On the back of the bottle it says you can 'enjoy only 2 cosmetics, enough sleep & Dr Bronner's Magic Soap'... That's quite a statement! Some of the things you can use this soap for is as a bath oil, massage oil, deodorant and even pet shampoo! To find out even more of this soaps wonderful uses do visit SoukSouk's blog and if you can think of any more uses be sure to let me and SoukSouk know! 
Little Green Magazine
Again i was introduced to another new brand in this month's box; Green people. The samples are 30ml so there is plenty to play with and they are perfectly sized for packing away in a travel bag. I've tried both and i'm in love! The body lotion is very nourishing and doesn't take long to fully sink into the skin which i always look out for when sampling new moisturisers. I hate that sticky feeling from the ones that just sit on your skin and this lotion is free from alcohol which probably explains why it's so good at what it does. Alcohol is very drying I find when it's included in skincare products. Team this lotion with the moisturising shower gel and you're going to have silky soft skin with the lightest and most delicate fragrance of orange blossom. I can't wait to try more of the Green People range now... Highly recommend!
Overall
I adore my first SoukSouk beauty box experience! I love everything about it... I've been trying to be more green beauty conscious of late and I'm finding that I'm really not that clued up when it comes to what is on offer in the world of ethical and clean beauty; there's just so much choice! It's nice to have a monthly lot of handpicked samples delivered to my door, taking the hard work out of finding green beauty brands. I love how SoukSouk include the stamps that certify organic products, free from animal testing and vegan certified approved on their contents summary page making for very easy reference. The magazine that comes with the box is one of the best I've read from all the boxes i've subscribed to... very different and most importantly very informative. It was nice to see a section at the back that lists the 'Good Guys' when it comes to purchasing beauty and skincare if you just can't wait for your next box arrive... ;)

To find out more and to subscribe to SoukSouk's little green beauty box click here! Be sure to give them a follow on twitter too.

Did you receive the May box also? Let me know what you thought, I love to hear your thoughts x

Friday, 10 May 2013

Review: Aurelia Skincare; Cleansing Balm and Revitalise & Glow Serum

"A beautiful mix of science and natural luxury"
Since I discovered Aurelia Skincare a few weeks ago, I now question how I ever lived without it! I'm something of a skincare fanatic at the moment - I've been having a spring clean the products I've been using for a while and I've been on the search for skin friendly products specifically aimed at sensitive skins. I first came across Aurelia Skincare in a tweet from one of my favourite beauty tweeters, Mary Greenwell, a fab makeup artist who constantly tantalises me with twitpics of her favourite beauty and skincare items. Low and behold, there was Aurelia, nestled between another of my cult beauty brands; Sisley. The pretty packaging stood out straight away; a fuss-free powder pink box with the words 'Miracle Cleanser' imprinted in metallic gold.. Did you know that the bottles, card and paper are all 100% fully recyclable?! Aurelia Skincare is a British company that manufacture in England; something I'm increasingly on the lookout for when replacing my old skincare products when they run out. There's something quite reassuring about keeping it British. Their unique botanicals are sourced from Africa but the true essence of everything Aurelia is put together in Britain. They NEVER test on animals; the little leaping bunny mark can be found stamped on all of their products! 

Guilt-Free Skincare
The most important factor for me when purchasing new skincare of late is how natural the ingredients list is or how large the 'free from' chemical nasties list is at least. I don't want to be smothering my skin; a living and breathing cell/organism, in chemical nasties. With some careful consideration and research, there's really no need to be using anything other than pure and 

Aurelia really do tick all of the boxes for whatever I am looking for in skincare... Nothing is left uncovered! All products are free from synthetic fragrances, mineral oils, silicones, paragons, sulphates, propylene glycol, phthalates, GMO, TEA, PEGs and DEA. Wheww! I love how extensive this 'free from' list is as usually a lot of brands will advertise just being free from a handful of these baddies but still hoard a hazardous mix of the others. 

The Miracle Cleanser £34 120ml
This really is a miracle product for me! This cleanser "fuses probiotic and peptide technologies with BioOrganic plant and flower essences" which help to dull and dehydrated skin by delivering much needed moisture and giving a powerful radiance boost.  Now I've used the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish which has a similar texture and I still have half a tub abandoned in my bathroom cabinet as I struggle to use it without getting a flare up of teenage skin - you know, those angry big blemishes around the jawline that stay for ages. There was also a very strong fragrance with the Liz Earle cleanser that I disliked but Aurelia's cleanser has a much more delicate scent which doesn't take the breath yet is strong enough to help sooth and relax the mind whilst the creamy cleanser itself soothes and nourishes the skin
I can honestly say after switching to this cleanser, my skin has never felt so calmed and soothed. I love how creamy it is and how it manages to lift the most stubborn of makeup from the face and eyes, even waterproof mascara! Gone with a few swirls on the bamboo muslin cloth as though it had never even been there. I think the pricing is spot on, and by far better value than say Eve Lom which starts at £40 for 50ml and you need a 'Morning Time Cleanser' too at £40... You get a whopping 120ml with Aurelia for just £34  which is for day & night and this includes their fabulous and unique bamboo muslin cloth! 
Bamboo Muslin Cloth...Perfection
Just look at how beautiful this bamboo muslin cloth is... It really does stand apart from the rest of the cleansers on the market which mostly have a plain, bog standard rather rough textured cloth that gradually softens with use. This is super soft so doesn't feel harsh when applied to the skin but is very effective all the same! You don't need to scrub at the delicate skin on your face to rid yourself of the impurities it has gained throughout the day; the creamy cleanser does the hard work for you! I really do love this cloth so so much, it makes all the difference to the cleanser and the overall experience too.

 The Revitalise & Glow Serum... £47 30ml

If you've learnt anything about me through reading my blog or twitter, you'll know I hate moisturising. I've always struggled to find the balance between moisturised and feeling greasy. This serum is a dream to use! I was worried like many of the serums i've used before it would end up sitting unused on my desk after finding it had made my skin feel oily or given me breakouts due to clogging my pores. But no, this is very lightweight and actually sank in straight away. As for the scent....well, it's like being transported to a summer garden in full bloom. Such a wonderful scent, I can't rave about it enough. Jasmine, Plumeria, Tuberose and Mandarin give a floral and fresh fragrance which lingers lightly on the skin for about half an hour and is totally addictive and utterly relaxing.


The Verdict...
Overall, I am astounded to have found Aurelia Skincare and overjoyed to have gotten on with the products so well that they are now being implemented as my new daily skincare regime. I actually look forward to cleansing now, especially in the morning, as the fragrances that these two products have really awaken the senses and relax the mind at the same time. Basically, mind and body are both relaxed, irritations are and redness is a thing of the past and only fresh glowing skin is ahead... If there's one thing I'm slightly disappointed with, it's that there is currently no eye creams/serums in the range. I think that would be a wonderful addition and complete my skincare routine perfectly. 


I love how passionate Aurelia Skincare is about responsible sourcing and being eco-friendly; they partner with 'not for profit' organisations and pay a fair trade price to the communities that help harvest the powerful botanicals that go into every jar. A truly guilt free purchase...


I was excited to see that you can purchase Aurelia Skincare from Netaporter; one of my favourite sites! To find out more or to purchase this amazing skincare duo I really do insist you head over to Aurelia where you'll find lots of expert advice and information on how to achieve glowing and radiant skin.




Thursday, 9 May 2013

Beautecobox...Say Hello To The Beauty Box With Options!

Say Hello!

This month has seen the launch of Beautecobox; the new subscription beauty box that gives YOU the choice as to which box & products that you'll receive through the post! I've waited for something like this to come along for so long now and I'm thrilled to bits with my first box which I was lucky enough to have won on their Twitter giveaway last week. The first thing I noticed was the sizing... No teensy tiny samples in these boxes! Let's hope it stays that way :) Click here to go pick your first Beautecobox now and never waste another £10 on a box full of duff samples again!
The 1st Box (menu 3)
How does it work?

  • Choose which box you would like to receive from the menu on the Boutique page of Beautecobox which lists all the contents so that you know exactly what you'll be getting! It's as simple as that. 
  • Each box will always have at least FIVE samples included!
Click here to go pick your first Beautecobox now and never waste another £10 on a box full of duff samples again! 
My Faves
Melvita Milky Cleansing Oil 35ml
My absolute favourite product from the box has to be the Melvita Milky Cleansing Oil... I've been interested in this brand a lot recently but never got around to buying anything yet so I'm super glad this was on the menu. Melvita describes itself as "a pioneer in organic beauty and has grown to become one of France's leading brands of natural and organic cosmetics" So if you're obsessed with the hype over French Pharmacy skincare and beauty like me, you're going to love this brand!  It's 35ml - a decent size as it's an oil cleanser and you only need a little bit to go a long way. It takes off the most stubborn of makeup, especially eye makeup that you might need to usually go over with an eyemakeup remover after using a normal cleanser. First impressions of Melvita are impressive, they get a thumbs up and i look forward to trying more of their range in the not so far future.
Mitchell and Peach Body Cream 50ml
I had never heard of Mitchell and Peach before, but I'm glad I discovered them thanks to Beauteco Box... this body cream is amazing! That subtle creamy scent that lingers on the skin after applying is divine; I love anything that has that yummy honey scent to it. It's organic, blended in England and quite simply pure indulgence, so I love it!
Dr Bragi Age Management Moisturiser 5ml
I wasn't that excited about the Dr Bragi Age Management Moisturiser at first, it retails at £120 for 60ml and I just thought it would be another one of those unheard of expensive creams that is just hopes to gain followers through the idea that it's just luxe due to being expensive whilst not actually really making a difference to your skin. Or atleast not £120 worth! I became slightly more interested when i read the blurb on the back which says 'Think serum, moisturiser and eye cream one...' Eeep! If it actually did all of these things then it would most certainly be worth a £120 as it would cost me far more than that to buy all three things separetly. I've only used it today but so far so good, it feels nice and light on and sinks in well over half an hour. I'd need to use it longer before I'd decide whether i'd swap to this instead of using serums and eyecreams too though. I will update!

In every menu for this month's boxes is the full sized Anatomicals Body Scrub £3.49 and Hand Cream £3.00. I don't use handcreams but my mum was pretty chuffed to have been given it and says it's working really well and given her softer hands already. The body scrub works perfectly fine as i've had from Glossybox or similar before and buffs away all that nasty dead cells that dulls skin instantly.

So what are you waiting for? Click here to go pick your first Beautecobox now and never waste another £10 on a box full of duff samples again! 

Do pick your box carefully as you cannot change your mind after selecting. If you have forgotten to choose your box before it is sent out, relax, the Beauteco box gals will send you the box that they think is best based on your previous selections! 



Friday, 3 May 2013

Birchbox UK Review: April 2013 Spoiler

Birchbox UK's April 2013 Beauty Box
I'm a self confessed beauty box addict and I've tried a fair few over the past 2 years... I'm a sucker for travel sized/miniature beauty products as it gives you the chance to try lots of different things without committing to one brand or product straight away. They also fit snugly into a clutch without taking up all the space!

There's just so many skincare and beauty products being released every month that it's hard to keep up with what's hot and what's not so, for me, beauty boxes provide the perfect opportunity to test and try some of beauty's best kept secrets...for only £12.95 a month! Bargainous.
Who is Birchbox?
Birchbox launched in September 2010 quickly acclaimed cult status but was only available in the U.S at the time. It gave beauty lovers a chance to discover more products from the brands they already loved and brands they had never had the chance to try before. In January 2013, Birchbox debuted it's first UK box and subscription service so that us Brits can get in on the action after only being able to read and swoon over our favourite American beauty bloggers reviews of their boxes. Huzzah!
What Do I Get?
Each month, Birchbox subscribers will get a personalised box containing beauty and lifestyle booty. This can be haircare, makeup, skincare and even the occasional tea or sweet treat! You also get a magazine that keeps you uptodate with what's happening in the world of beauty and some step by step instructions for things such as nail art. Some of my fave brands that may be included are:

  • Agent Provocateur (here's to hoping they include some naughty knickers in one of my future boxes!)
  • China Glaze
  • OPI
  • Vichy
  • KMS California
  • Korres
  • RMK

 What's In My April 2013 Box?
From Top Left: La Société Parisienne De Savons, Weleda Skin Food, Natio Renew Foam Cleanser, Mirenesse Glossy Kiss, Birchbox Paname Paris Miror and Gerda Spillman Renaissance Age Serum
I'm addicted to that element of surprise you get with every box; it's like having a birthday every month! It's one of the main reasons I subscribe; they're like lucky dip bags :) They're not all the same, some boxes contain a few core products and so only so many of certain products to distribute between the boxes, so it's always good to post a review or tweet the contents of your box so that you can share your goodies and see what you (luckily or not so luckily) missed out on! P.S, it's a good thing to mention here that you should probably include the word "spoiler" in your titles so that those who are awaiting their boxes still don't get their surprise ruined for them ;)

Here's what I got and my thoughts on each product...

* La Société Parisienne De Savons - Full Sized £8.50


I really like the vintage style of this soap, it almost looks too cute to use! The scent coming from this soap filled the whole box and smells divine; a light creamy scent with a hint of lavender. For this reason it was a pleasure to use, the fragrance for me was very relaxing. It says 'Cold Cream' on the packaging and this makes me think of the old fashioned emulsions that get rid of makeup and dirt with no fuss and left skin feel refreshed and cooled (hence the name cold creams). 

* Weleda Skin Food - 10ml (£8.95 for the full-sized)



This is the product i'm most pleased to see in my box! I've been reading the reviews of this 'all natural' moisturiser recently and everybody is raving about...even Victoria Beckham swears by it! That's good enough for me ;) I've been using it on my knuckles where I sometimes suffer from dry skin and so far so good! Skin is left very soft and supple without feeling greasy.

*Mirenesse Glossy Kiss No:14 'Perfect Kiss' Full Sized £17.50



This lipstick is a deep coral shade with a hint of gold shimmer... such a gorgeous shade for summer! I'm really wanting to try the coral lip trend so this was a fab item to receive!


Just look how pretty it is! I think this shade should suit all skintones, but it's going to really pop with a tan I think! 
This swatch of the lippy shows the slight gold glimmer finish. You can definitely make this as sheer or intense as you want - it's easily build able.


I also got the Natio Renew Radiance Foam Cleanser 20ml (full sized costs £9.20) which I was thrilled to get originally. I would have definitely chosen this cleanser over the gentle version that went out in some boxes but after using I felt that my skin was a little to taut/stripped almost for frequent use. It has a lovely delicate scent that i can't quite put my finger on, slightly lemony? I don't know but it's nice. Brilliant for those with oily skin or those looking to brighten dull complexions, but remember to moisturise well after.  The Gerda Spillmann Renaissnce Age Serum is quite dinky being 3ml but it has packed a punch in just the first few uses! I just love how potent serums are... I've been using it at night with my normal moisturiser and in the morning my skin feel quite soothed and nourished. Always good to start your anti-aging regime early rather than too late... Prevention is better than the cure! There was an 'lifestyle extra' in the April box which was the Birchbox 'Paname Paris Mirror' which is worth £7.50 which is now nestled nicely in my bag ready for any touchups I might need during the day.
Overall
I'm very pleased with the contents of my first Birchbox - it's all very useable and i've learnt about some new products and brands that I never even knew existed before! I'm already excited for the May 2013 box which sees Birchbox supporting Fashion Targets Breastcancer. 30% of all sales from their e-shop will be donated to this charity and for every friend that is referred a further £5 will be donated... there's never been a better time to join if you haven't already... Click here to subscribe or find out more about Birchbox and start your own beauty discovery today!