Thursday, 28 February 2013

Product Empties - February 2013

Another month by already - who would have thought?

As predicted, I have managed to power through more products (with no sign of me slowing down in March!) - here's what will be sent to the recycling bin this month!

Body Products

Johnsons Baby Lotion - this is a regular 'guest' on my empties posts, so i'll not say much about it!

Treacle Moon Iced Strawberry Dream Bath and Shower Gel - If you read my review on this you'll know how much I loved it. Basically a very obvious £3 knock-off of the Philosophy Shower Gels, this was like showering in a strawberry milkshake. Without any stickiness. And questionable animal ingredients. 

Vaseline Active Fresh Deodorant - this is my favourite deodorant smell - fresh, clean, cotton-esque - and one which tends to linger on your 'pits, which is always handy. Just a shame Vaseline are owned by Unilever who test on animals. Sigh.


The Body Shop Love Etc EDP - A Perfume that has featured quite a few times on my blog, I love the fact it's an EDP, it's so inexpensive, it's cruelty free and (most importantly!) it smells so good! After I get through the perfume my Dad bought for me recently i'll definitely be buying more of this.

Maybelline Express Finish Black Nailvarnish - i've literally had this since the beginning of time, and it features here not so much because I had finished it, but because it had become a gloopy mess and I couldn't open the bottle any more!

Collection (2000) Skyscraper Mascara - One that everyone went a bit crazy for when it was sold in Poundland mid last year. To me it was a bit of a bog-standard mascara (therefore I was glad I only paid a pound) but I did quite like the plastic-bristle wand, which is quite surprising considering I normally hate plastic mascara brushes!

ELF Hypershine Lipgloss in Bubblegum - I feel rather guilty about this product, as when I first reviewed it here, I hated it! However since digging it out from my little-loved makeup pile and using it up, my opinion somewhat changed and I ended up really liking it. Oops. It's problem seemed to be trying to wear it over lipstick. If I wore it sparingly on bar lips it added a nice muted, long lasting gloss which I quite liked.

Face Products

Boots Essentials Cucumber Moisturising Lotion - another product that has featured on here at least once before, I've only really worked through these so not to be wasteful. It was a bit of a vanilla product - not offensive, but not amazing either. It is rather inexpensive, but packed full of synthetic ingredients, and as I want to strip back my skincare to be as natural as possible, I won't be buying this again.

Lush Tea Tree Water - a product I was actually sad to see the end of (although an end that did take a long time coming, as it seemed to last me forever!); you can read my full review of it here, but I liked the fresh effect it gave my skin, and the way it seemed to keep spots in check. I would definitely consider picking up another bottle - right now this empty bottle is being added to my 'back to Lush' stash so I can get myself a free face mask!

Have you got through many products this month?

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Review: Korres White Tea 3 in 1 Cleansing Water

After all the hype of the Bioderma Crealine H20 cleansing solution (of which I did a blog review here and also a Youtube review), I was (and am) determined to find a cruelty free, ideally chemically-minimalist and inexpensive alternative.

Cleansing waters (primarily used to remove makeup before 'proper' cleansing takes place) are surprisingly lacking, particularly on the highstreet/drugstore, and so I had to take to the internet to source my next product to roadtest in this particular category. 

I actually sourced today's product - the Korres White Tea 3 in 1 Cleansing Water - almost by accident on Ebay of all places, when I happened to search for cleansing water on a whim. 
Elsewhere, Korres is stocked in store (in the UK) at Fenwick (Newcastle and London), Liberty (London), Harvey Nicols (London, Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol) and House of Fraser (London and Glasgow), and also online from the likes of Asos and Feel Unique, with an RRP of £16.00 for 200ml.
I've also recently came across some Korres products in TKMaxx - such as their shower washes - so it's worth keeping an eye out.
A full list of Korres stockists (both UK and international) can be found here.

For the Korres virgins out there (I was one), the brand originates from the oldest homeopathic pharmacy in Athens, Greece, and was founded in 1996 by George Korres, who draws on his rich heritage to produce an organic skin and hair care range. 
The brand seeks inspiration from the natural environment, sourcing their herbal, fruit and floral infusions used in their products locally. 
You can find more in-dept information about the Korres brand on their website.

This cleansing water is a soap and alcohol free, three-in-one product with 84.6% natural ingredients that removes everyday impurities, face and eye makeup and tones the skin in one step and is suitable for all skin types and even contact lens wearers, due to the use of natural cleansing agents which ensure excellent compatibility with the eyes and skin.

As the name suggests, the key ingredient of this product is Organic White Tea extract (15%); a rich source of polyphenols which demonstrate rich antioxidant action and improve skin microcirculation.
Hamamelis extract, due to its astringent action, tightens skin pores, while soothing and calming the skin. 

Other ingredients:
Polyglyceryl-4 Caprate
Cocoyl Proline
Radish Root Ferment Filtrate
Pentylene Glycol 
Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract
Witch Hazel
Parfum (fragrance)
Sodium Coco-Glucoside Tartrate 

I also love and have been impressed by the 'formula facts' of this particular product:

To use, you apply the product with cotton wool pads to the face, neck and eyes, and can either be used as a leave-on product (i.e. just using the cotton wool pads) or can be rinsed off. 

I personally have been using this just as an eye makeup remover, as I found that I was going through it incredibly fast when I tried to use it as an all-over facial makeup remover and hence decided it wasn't very economical when you consider it costs £16 for 200ml - which is where the Bioderma product wins considering it can be found for around £12 for 500ml online.
I do occasionally use it as a skin pick me up on days I haven't been wearing makeup, or in the morning before applying moisturiser however. 

It is incredibly gentle, and has not irritated my eyes (or indeed the rest of my skin) at all, and has a very mild, pleasant scent that isn't really noticeable on the skin. 
Like the Bioderma, it is not a miracle one-swipe-removes-all product, but like I said in my Bioderma review, for a product to do that it often has to be very heavily oil-based, which this isn't, and so it has to work twice as hard to remove make-up gently yet effectively. 

In terms of the packaging, the plastic bottle comes in a box, and although they both receive green plus points as they can be recycled, I feel it is a bit of a waste of a tree to have the bottle in a box - why not just do without?

The flip-top lid is quite handy if you plan on keeping the product in one place, but for travelling I would imagine it would be a nightmare, as mine flips open very easily and would allow product to spill everywhere - maybe a screw top would have been better?

I have really liked this product and I am now very keen to try other products from Korres - I would love to hear from you if you have any you would recommend.
Wednesday, 20 February 2013

BIG Collective Haul Part 1: Shoes

In a wee change of events from the usual empties/review posts that have become so standard of late, I have a haul post for you - the first of three in fact.
This isn't because i've suddenly won the lottery and bulk-bought a load of stuff, but rather is a way of 'showcasing' things i've accumulated (shall we say) over the past few months (including Christmas presents and whatnot).

So not to bore everyone to tears (and give myself a serious headache trying to put it all together), i've decided to split these posts (and hopefully youTube videos) into: 
1. Shoes 
2. Clothing/Accessories (such as handbags and jewellery) and 
3. Everything else (which includes everything from my MacBook Pro to my Hello Kitty jewellery stand!).

So for today's post...

A Pair Of Shoes Can Change Your Life. Just Ask Cinderella.

Jewelled Sandals - Next via Ebay £15 (RRP £35)
I have a dance/ball to go to in March (watch out for pictures!) and needed some pretty yet practical sandals to wear with my dress. I couldn't resist these when I spotted them on Ebay.

Tan ballet pumps - Primark £3 (Sale)
As if Primark couldn't get any cheaper! A girl can never have too many little flat shoes, and these will be ideal for work (when the weather gets warmer and i'm prepared to give up my socks!)

Blink Hi-tops in Bronze and Gunmetal - TKMaxx £24.99
Yes, that's right, I bought two pairs of the same type of trainer. Even though they're not technically my style and I haven't a CLUE what i'm going to wear them with. But you know what? I love them!

Ankle Boots - Matalan £18
For everyday wear, I live in these kind of little boots: practical yet chic. I love the gold detailing on them.

Emu Sheepskin Mini Boots - TKMaxx £27 (sale - RRP £125!)
This was a bit of a guilty purchase. I know they are basically the devil incarnate in a shoe for many people, but I just couldn't resist. They weren't even meant to fit me (labelled as a size 6 when i'm a 7), but something made me try them on and before you know it their marshmallow cosiness had me walking to the checkout with them. Sorry.

Horrendous photo. I do apologise. But you get the gist. 
'Palomino' Boot - Jones Bootmaker (Christmas present)
There's something about a good pair  of black leather boots that always makes me feel more 'pulled together', and so I was delighted when I got these for Christmas (after much hinting). Very sturdy and comfortable yet stylish too (...I sound like my mother.)

'Tulsa' Boot - Jones Bootmaker £40 (sale)
I love these. I have already ran down a street in them and didn't die - albeit I was drunk and probably would have bounced should I have fallen over. 

So what do you think? A bit excessive on the shoe front, or are you as bad as me for footwear?
Monday, 11 February 2013

Review: NSpa Melting Cleansing Gel

As you may have noticed, I am very into my skincare of late, and have been trying out various products in the hope they will be my skin's saviour and do miraculous things for me. 
Whilst I do not claim to be a Caroline Hirons (aka skincare boffin) by any means, I feel it is my blogger duty to report back my findings (...goodness i'm coming across all 007 on you) as I go along!

This time it is the turn of the Melting Cleansing Gel by NSpa, a brand for which I have already reviewed their Hot Cloth Polish, and as such I won't ramble on too much about them, other than to say this particular range is an affordable line of skincare produced by Nirvana Spa for Asda.

Like the other products in the range, this is very reasonably priced at £6.00 for a 125ml super-squeezy tube of product - far more practical than some of the packaging types on the market!

When it comes to skincare, it's can be quite surprising how 'influential' textures are (for example super-thick creams sometimes make me think that they are instantly going to be too heavy for me, and likewise watery consistences can be as equally off putting), and as a gel consistency, whilst feeling undoubtedly luxurious(main ingredients include essential oil of Neroli, grapeseed oil, vitamin E and Ginsing), the oiler/combination skinned of you out there might find this a bit much (and so might want to opt for something more astringent), despite being marketed as suitable for all skin types (including sensitive).

I like the fact that being gel-based in consistency makes the oils contained in this cleanser more 'practical' for use (i.e. you can easily massage them into your face without them running everywhere!), and as a little goes a long way, you can afford to use this quite sparingly (I used a ten-pence piece sized amount).

I also quite like the scent, which I would struggle to say exactly what it is (I'm rubbish at describing smells!), but if I had to pick one i'd probably say orange-scented baby shampoo (yes I do know there's no such thing - smell it  yourself and you'll see!) very mild and subtle, yet with a hint of citrus.

The unique properties of this cleanser mean that when the gel is combined with warm water (after massaging onto a dry face) it emulsifies and turns into a cleansing milk to remove make-up and other impurities.

I have tried to use this on it's own (using a ten-pence sized blob of cleanser as shown above) to remove my standard everyday facial makeup (foundation, concealer, blusher), but despite massaging my face for several minutes, the gel does struggle to break down heavier makeup such as foundation, and therefore using it alongside a face/muslin cloth (or even a facial cleansing brush, for those of you with Clarisonics out there) is recommended, especially if you struggle to get away with wearing more than just a spot  of concealer here and there!

Another alternative is also to use it as a pre-cleanse product, or a post-makeup removal cleansing product (i.e. after Bioderma, for example). 

A big plus however is that it does not dry out my skin despite containing alcohol (something which is a big factor for me in choosing skincare) or leave a residue (when used with a facial cloth), nor has it irritated it thus far (unlike the Hot Cloth Polish from this range which I found could sting my skin occasionally). 

A quick breakdown of the ingredients (none of which are parabens, hooray):

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride: oily liquid made from coconut oil.
Glycerin: present in all natural fats (whether animal or vegetable).
Vitis Vinifera Seed Oil: Grapeseed oil.
Aqua: Water
Sucrose Laurate: fatty acid esterified form of sucrose and lauric acid widely used as an emulsifier in the cosmetics industry.
Sucrose Palmitate: skin conditioning agent used as an emollient and emulsifying agent.
Parfum: fragrance.
Citrus Aurantium Flower Oil: Neroli oil
Panax Ginseng Root Extract: Ginseng extract used to rejuvenate and invigorate.
Prunus Armeniaca Kernal Oil: apricot oil.
Persea Gratissima Oil: avocado oil.
Tocopheryl Acetate: vitamin E acetate.
Sucrose Myristate: natural origin food grade emulsifier used to create gel that washes off easily.
Isopropyl Myristate: otherwise known as liquid paraffin. Synthetic oil.
Phenoxyethanol: preservative - new alternative to parabens.
Ethylhexylglycerin: weak preservative - another alternative to parabens.
Linalool: naturally occuring alcohol chemical found in many essential oils including lavendar, rose and orange.
Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone: fragrance ingredient.
Limonene: naturally occuring hydrocarbon which smells strongly like oranges. 
CL 16035: colouring                    
CL 19140: colouring.

Did you know that on a product label, the ingredients are listed in order of predominance, with the ingredients used in the greatest amounts listed first, followed in descending order by other ingredients?

That means that although this cleaning gel does contain some synthetic ingredients, the great majority of ingredients are natural goodies, and in the greatest amounts.

Overall this cleanser gets a thumbs up from me. 
Just like the Hot Cloth Polish is a good (obvious) dupe for the Liz Earl product, this would be a good alternative for the much more expensive Elemis Melting Cleansing Gel, and suggest you pop one in your basket next time you're in Asda!

Have you tried anything from NSpa?

Sunday, 10 February 2013

30 Before 30: another one off the list

Pensions are not the most exciting of things to talk about in a blog post, but I thought i'd give it a wee mention as it was one of my 30 Before 30 items!

As No.18 on my list of things to do before I turned 30, getting a pension wasn't particularly high on the list of my priorities. 
However when I was given the opportunity by my work to start/contribute in to one, I took the chance and now feel a lot more responsible and grown up (coming from someone who is nearly 25)!

What I really want to do next is look into getting a mortgage, but this might fall behind saving for a DSLR and going to New York...

Monday, 4 February 2013

Product Empties - January 2013

Okay, okay, you got me, I'm pretty sure in my last empties post I said I was going to do many other posts than just empties ones, and that still just seems a month goes a lot quicker than I realised!

Before I launch into this post, just a wee note to say i'm currently one of the February advertisers over on  Steph's Blog (who coincidentally also did my amazing blog revamp recently), so make sure you check out her blog and the other bloggers who are advertising there this month too :)

But back to the matter in hand; here's what I got through this month...

Johnson's Baby Lotion
I'm pretty sure this was in my December empties too; if it was it's not surprise as I go through tons of the stuff, slathering it on as a body moisturiser after a shower. My mum uses it as a cleanser too (and coincidentally has lovely skin!)

Angel EDP by Thierry Muglar
One of my most favourite perfumes, this is a bit of a Marmite product: the heavy/spicy chocolate notes which are so appealing to many people such as myself can at the same time be very off putting to others! I personally love it, but  it tends to be a Christmas/birthday treat as it is rather pricey.

Calvin Klein Lipgloss in 'Sparkle'
I have never seen Calvin Klein cosmetics available anywhere but TKMaxx in the UK (and some places online, such as Fragrance Direct), and i'm pretty sure this came as part of a set from there. It was a bit of a love/hate product for me: I hated the smell/taste (very sickly) but liked the gloss and the relative staying power (it is rather thick in consistency).

The Body Shop White Musk Deodorant
As someone who is attempting to become entirely cruelty free in terms of the products I use and so on, deodorant has proved to be one of the toughest to pinpoint, particularly if I want to find a product that is not only effective, but is inexpensive too. I had high hopes for this one, as I had heard so many reviews raving about it, but I found it a bit 'meh' (it didn't keep me at all dry, and at £4.00 isn't the cheapest option out there) and have since moved on to Superdrug's own brand deodorant.

Lush Rub Rub Rub Body Scrub
One of my most recent reviews, you will like this scrub if you like salt-based, 'hardcore' scrubs, that do exactly what they say on the tin. Since my review I have tried this on my hair, and although mid-hairwash I did have a moment of 'holy crap, what have I done?!', once I managed to wash it all out it did leave my hair incredibly clean. Maybe one for folks with hair somewhat shorter than mine...

So there we are, only a relative few empty products for you in comparison to other months. I've already got through 3 products this month and it's only the 4th, so looks like February's Empties post could be a jam packed one!