Monday, 24 June 2013

Ancienne Ambiance Argan Goddess Collection

   

I have been intrigued by the brand Ancienne Ambiance for a little while now, they have such a unique concept behind the company. All the products in the range are inspired by Ancient Cultures, think Ancient Greece, Rome or the Egyptians. This niche family run business has also been dealing in genuine Antique artefacts for many years before adding the skincare collection to their list of ventures.

I have been using samples of the gorgeous Argan Goddess collection* and I have fallen head of heals in love. Now when I received these beautifully wrapped goodies I began to think of images of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, elegant and beautiful but striking at the same time, whist I make no guarantees that they will make you look like Liz, the range is fabulous and has a special feel to it. The products are from petrochemicals, paraben's and synthetic fragrances. They have also received awards from both Biteable beauty and The Beauty Shortlist, two blogs I love and look to for recommendations.

With the simple packaging with the elegant gold writing contrasting against the deep purple wrapping the products are beautifully presented and would look great on any bathroom shelf or dressing table, they would also make great gifts. The thing that excites me most about the range is the gorgeous natural scent that runs through it, it is a very pretty sweet Vanilla that isn't overpowering at all but lingers long enough to be enjoyed.

Argan oil has been hailed as a bit of a miracle ingredient for a little while now, popping up in lot's of hair care and skincare and even as an ingredient in food. Cultivated from the Argan nut, this precious oil has a host of skin benefit's and is deeply nourishing. It can be used on the face, body and hair and it is an ingredient that I rate highly. The Argan oil used by Ancienne Ambiance is organic and sustainably sourced.

Argan Goddess hand and body wash: Is made using the traditional Marseille technique which involves a 100% vegetable oil base and natural glycerine. This gives a fantastic clean feeling to the skin without being drying, which I have experienced with other Castile Soaps before, it is very concentrated and a little goes a long way creating a luxurious lather.


Argan Goddess Beauty oil: Argan oil is blended with Grape seed oil and sweet almond oil to create a deliciously scented treat, this is my favourite product out of the three although it was hard to choose. The oil is light easily absorbed and feels wonderful on the skin, it leaves it feeling soft and smooth, I particularly like to use this after a bath. It is also being released with a spray pump which I think will make application fuss free. 


Argan goddess soap bar: Again made with the above Marseille method, this luxury soap has convinced me use soap bars, whereas previously in the past I haven't been a big fan, I have been reaching for this more and more in the shower. Just like the body wash you get a lovely clean fresh feeling without being at all drying.


Ingredients:

Goddess Argan Beauty Oil:Vitis vinifera seed oil, *Argania spinosa kernel oil, Sweet almond (Prunus dulcis) oil, Fragrance, Tocopheryl acetate, Paprika oil, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Benzoate, Hexyl Cinnamal

  Goddess Argan Hand & Body Wash: (made using the ancient/traditional Marseille technique, 100% vegetable oil base with natural glycerine) Aqua, Potassium Cocoate, Glycerin, Fragrance, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cocos Nucifera oil, Lauryl glucoside, Polyglyceryl-2 dipolyhydroxystearate, Potasium benzoate, Potassium sorbate, *Argania spinosa oil, Tocopherol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Benzoate, Hexyl Cinnamal

 Goddess Argan Soap Bar: (Marseille technique, as above) Sodium palmate, Sodium palm kernelate, *Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Fragrance, Aqua, Coconut acid, Glycerin, Sodium chloride, Tetrasodium edta, Tetrasodium etidronate, CI 77891, CI 77492, 77499, Benzyl salicylate, Coumarin, Citronellol, Geraniol, Hexyl cinnamal, Linalool


    Full ingredients lists are not currently listed on the site (although that may change in the future) so I have listed them here for you for all three products, I will admit that I do prefer it when I can see ingredients lists before buying and I think many people feel the same way. Also I feel I should point out that the products do contain some ingredients that some of you would find a bit more controversial such as Tetrasodium EDTA. Before reviewing the products I exchanged several emails with them about it's use, the brand were helpful and answered all of my questions very thoroughly, which is always reassuring. I still am undecided on this particular ingredient but I do enjoy the range and it is present in a very small amount (less than 1%) so I am willing to make an exception.


    If you are looking for a range that makes you feel special then you should definitely explore the brand. You can find all the products mentioned on the Ancienne Ambiance website, the sample sizes I have featured are coming soon, but the beautiful full sized gift set pictured below is currently available and you can also buy the products individually. You can also connect with the brand on Twitter.



Ana x
*PR sample


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Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Upcycled candle container: Make up brush holder



A few weeks ago I finished my M&J English summer candle and I decided to up-cycle it into a make up brush holder. I am a bit of a candle fanatic and I will admit that previously I have just put the containers in the recycling bin, whilst speaking to Jennifer one of the founders of M&J London about their candles she encouraged me to up-cycle the glass tumbler and this is the result!

It is the perfect size for makeup brushes, mascaras and eye pencils. This glass tumbler is very chic and looks better than any of the other storage solutions I have used previously. Candles can be a fairly expensive luxury so doing this means you have something left over when you have burnt all of the candle wax away. Here are the steps that I used to upcycle my candle holder:


  • Burn the candle until there is no wax left and then blow out the wick, the glass container does get quite hot as the candle nears the end so be careful not to handle it until it is cool.
  • When the glass container is cool enough to handle you can remove the wick and put it in the bin, I just used a knife to pop it out, as the wax will still be soft this should be easy.
  • This candle is made from soya wax which is water soluble so I just placed it under the hot tap to rinse. To get your container extra clean I recommend using a small amount of castile soap and then rinsing well.
  • The M&J candles come with stickers which you can either remove or leave on, I chose to remove them for the make up holder, they peel off easily and no residue was left.
  • And finally fill your holder with the items of your choice.
Really simple way to reuse something that would otherwise get thrown away and I am really pleased with the results! For those of you that don't want to use it as a make up brush holder this could be used as a glass or to hold toothbrushes or pens the possibilities are endless.

Ana x
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Sunday, 16 June 2013

Make up crush: Kjaer Weis Lip tint review

   






    One of the things that I miss the most about being able to walk into a regular department store and buy make up is the lust worthy limited edition items and beautiful packaging. I thought that I had to give up make up that was beautiful or that had brilliant on trend colours to buy safer alternatives. Recently though some amazing natural brands have stepped into my life that have proven me wrong, one such brand is Kjaer Weis.

    Developed by make up artist Kristen Kjaer Weis the brand is revolutionary in terms of it's approach to make up, by recognising health and beauty equally and using safer ingredients without compromising on luxury or contemporary design.

    I have been testing out two beautiful lip tints* in the colours Passionate and Romance and a lip brush* from the brand and I feel that it is one of those where once you have dipped your toe in the water you want to throw yourself in and buy more.

    The range uses organic ingredients certified by the CCPB, the Italian organic certifying authority alongside natural or wild crafted ingredients to product their fantastic formulations. The lip tints include some great nourishing ingredients such as Castor seed oil, Shea butter and jojoba oil.

    The unique refillable packaging is designed to be forward thinking and stylish but also socially responsible. I have to say I don't usually enjoy refillable systems but I have changed my mind after trying this one, it as is beautiful as it is practical and it looks and feels like an expensive item of jewellery. You can swap the lip tint pans very easily, you just need a pin, there is a small hole in the back and the pans pop out simply with no fuss. The refill pans come in a simple cardboard container ready to be put into the packaging.

    The colours are beautiful, Romance is a true bright pink perfect for the summer months and Passionate is a beautiful deep berry red/brown. Both are very wearable, the pigmentation is on the sheerer side but these are designed to be a tint rather than a lipstick, you can build up the colour by applying a few layers, once applied they leave a nice stain to lips even as they fade.


Ingredients:

Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Euphobia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax , Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Cera Alba, Rosa Rubiginosa Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Gardenia Florida Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopheryl Acetate. May Contain +/- Mica, Titanium dioxide (CI 77891), Carmine (CI 75470), Iron oxide (CI 77492), Iron oxide (CI 77499), Iron oxide (CI 77491). Certified Organic by the CCPB - Italian certification agency (95% of the raw materials in this cream blush are organic).

    For those of you who avoid it these do contain carmine, I personally prefer it if I can find lip products without it but I will admit that I am willing to make an exception for this brand especially because the colours are so good, which is rare to find from a natural company.

    The lip brush is superb quality and applies the product perfectly, I personally do not mind popping it in my purse to reapply as needed, I even got some lovely comments from other women that saw the products. The formulation is lovely and moisturising on the lips, I don't use a lip gloss so for me the glossy finish is exactly what I look for in a lip product, they are also extremely comfortable to wear.

    I am very impressed with these, also available are cream blushes, eye shadows and a newly launched mascara, all equally as beautiful as the lip tints. Prices are £32 for the lip tint, £16 for the refill and £13 for the lip brush, all available at Naturisimo which offers free international delivery and has many great natural and organic brands.

    Have you tried anything by Kjaer Weis? Are you as tempted as I am?

Ana x
*PR samples


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Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Aurelia probiotic skincare: Cell revitalise day moisturiser rave review




As soon as I saw this range it was love at first sight, the beautiful packaging and wonderful descriptions drew me in and I knew I had to try something. Aurelia blend natural ingredients, luxury and cutting edge technology with ease.
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Sunday, 9 June 2013

Angela Langford Sample service

(Photo courtesy of Angela Langford)

I love trial sizes and samples, I like to test things before I buy not only to see if they suit my skin but also to test whether I enjoy the product. My latest sample purchase has been from Angela Langford, I followed the brand on twitter and noticed they offered a free personalised sample service where you pay only for postage and packing. You complete a questionnaire about you skin concerns and the samples are chosen for you and sent promptly.

Angela Langford is a natural company that uses high quality natural and organic ingredients wherever possible, it is free from Petrochemicals, Synthetic fragrances and colours as well as paraben's. Everything is hand made in small batches in Somerset and where possible airless packaging is used to preserve the ingredients.

I really love that this isn't just another set of samples, the kit comes with lot's of information about the product ingredients and how they perform on the skin. There are thorough descriptions and instructions for use, a lot of thought goes into these little packs making them one of the best sample services I have used so far.


    The samples come in these individual bottles and wrapped in a pretty pink bag. I was sent:

Sweet Cheeks Cleanser: This is a very light cleanser a cross between a milk and a gel, it is non foaming and is mild enough to be used twice a day. This contains Rose Petals and Papaya to keep pores clear, it did a good job of cleansing my skin and it felt clean and fresh afterwards, I do wish you got a slightly bigger cleanser sample as you use more product in each use than you would an oil or a serum, but I did enjoy this and it was enough to test for a reaction.

Perfect Pores serum: This is a fruity smelling serum with a gel like texture. Designed to keep pores clear, this serum has Rose Petals, cypress, Juniper and Lemongrass as well as Hyaluronic acid for hydration. I was impressed with this serum and I will definitely be picking up the full size, I did notice a slight reduction in pore size, certainly enough to convince me to continue using the product. My skin is sensitive and I struggle to find suitable exfoliants which can lead to congestion, so I think this may be a useful addition to my routine and it smells delicious! Definitely may favourite product and perfect for keeping skin clear in the warmer months!

Bloom and glow facial oil: I adore the smell of this oil, it's a little bit like incense, spicy and warm. You only need a small amount so I feel like the sample size is more than enough to test whether it's suitable for my skin. I didn't notice any major changes to my skin with this oil, but it did maintain the condition of my skin nicely, if you don't already use a good quality oil I can imagine you would see a significant difference. I have so many facial oils at the moment to use up but I would buy this in the future.

I can see clearly now: Is a mild eye makeup remover, it has Argan oil and Thistle in it. I rarely use a separate eye makeup remover as I tend to take all my makeup off with a balm, but this was lovely and not irritating, I don't think I would buy the full size though as I already have enough cleansers to do the job.

    I am impressed with both the products themselves and the attention to detail that goes into providing this sample set and I will be looking at more of what Angela Langford have to offer, if you would like to take advantage of the sample offer you can do so here it costs £4.50 for postage which I think is a great deal for a personalised service. You can also follow the company on Twitter and Facebook.


Ana x

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Monday, 3 June 2013

New Release: Bodhi Rosemary Chi Himalayan detox salt scrub

   




    The name Bodhi means "enlightenment"  or literally translated to "understand" and the Bodhi tree is the "Tree of knowledge" or "Tree of life". The further I delve into this wonderful British Brand the more I realise how perfectly suited it's name is. If you have never encountered Bodhi before, they are a luxury, natural Brand that make high quality aromatherapy Skin care and Body care. The company was developed by Elijah Choo and is inspired by traditional remedies and ingredients from around the world. Ingredients are sourced ethically and sustainably but beyond that every ingredient is chosen for it's known skin benefits.
   
    Rarely on this blog would a scrub get it's very own post but you will have to take my word for it when I say this is much more than just a body scrub, it is a powerful holistic treatment that enhances your wellbeing. When you look at the wonderful ingredients included in this scrub you begin to see why that is so. Introducing the Rosemary Chi Himalayan detox salt scrub*:

What do Bodhi say about the newest addition to the Artisan series?

    Himalayan salt crystals contain the full spectrum of 84 minerals and trace elements essential to human life. Formed 250 million years ago this powerful mineral boasts healing energy to help re-balance the body and flush out damaging toxin's. Bodhi has harnessed these benefits in this new detox scrub, utilising it's unique mineral ions to help equalise the body's bioenergetic fields, stimulate cell regeneration, enhance lymphatic flow and induce a sense of calm.

    The Salt crystals are combined with a synergistic blend of Rosemary, Geranium, Petitgrain and Cedarwood essential oils help to revive and balance the senses. Anti-oxidant Grape seed oil, nourishing Organic Shea butter and skin conditioning Olive squalane work to protect and strengthen the skin, prevent oxidisation, scavenges free radicals and slow down the skin's ageing process.

    I don't usually quote from press releases but as you can see this product and it's description are quite unique and I didn't want to miss anything out for you! Unlike most scrubs which are just a bit of oil added to salt or sugar, this has a body butter type texture and is an absolute pleasure to use.

    My favourite way to use this is massaging it onto dry skin concentrating on the legs and arms and any dry areas and then to sit in a nice hot bath and to let the salt and oil blend combine with the water. I perhaps would have been sceptical about it's holistic effects if I have not had the chance to experience them first hand, but this gives me a wonderful sense of peace and tranquillity unlike anything I have ever experienced before from a product. If you would like to see my description of my treatment during the Bodhi Spa Soireè using this scrub you can do so here.

    If you are a fan of Spa treatments this is the perfect way to get the same experience at home that will leave you feeling revitalised and calm, I have also been known to sit and inhale the wonderful aroma from the glass jar on particularly stressful days, I find the essential oil blend to have a powerful effect on my mood. I don't need to add any additional products to my bath or use any body lotion on the nights that I use this, one product is all I need for soft supple skin.

    The exfoliating effect of this scrub is incredibly long lasting and I use it twice a week with great results, I still have lot's left in my jar as you really only need a small amount, so as with all Bodhi products they last a long time, making you feel they are a worthwhile investment. 

    This scrub is packaged in the sleek black biophotonic glass packaging that we have come to expect from Bodhi, this helps preserve the precious ingredients inside the product naturally. The range is designed to be unisex and that is reflected in both the products and the packaging, I really like that element to Bodhi as it is so rare to find in brands.

    You can buy the new Rosemary chi Himalayan detox salt scrub from Bodhi's website it retails at £35, It is released today alongside two other products Mint thè temple balm and Cacao cocoon lip treatment balm, you can also find the brand on Facebook and Twitter.

*PR sample
Ana x
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Sunday, 2 June 2013

Bloom Remedies: Facial toner and Shea butter body lotion review



    I was introduced to the small but perfectly formed Cornish brand Bloom Remedies a couple of months ago and great reviews of their products have been cropping up everywhere ever since, I tried their Rose, Geranium and Sweet Orange moisturiser previously and I was really impressed by this Soil Association organic brand so I decided to pick up some other bits to try:

Daily toner for normal skin with organic Rose, Orange and Geranium £8.99 (100ml): This is a lovely and refreshing alcohol free toner, it has floral waters of Rose and Lavender and essential oils, it feels soothing and refreshing on the skin which is good for me as I tend to flush easily and I like to apply a cooling toner before my moisturiser. I am coming to the end of this toner and whilst I did enjoy it I am still unsure of whether I want to repurchase, I think the sensitive skin toner may be better suited to my skin type.

Ingredients: Geranium flower water*, Rose flower water*, Lavender flower water*, Aqua, Glycerin*, Rose essential oil*, Sweet orange essential oil*, Geranium essential oil*, Citric acid. *Organic ingredient.

Shea Butter body lotion £6.99 (100ml): Scented with the essential oils of Sweet orange, Geranium and Cardamom this lovely lotion contains sweet almond oil, Shea butter and Meadowfoam oil known for it's antioxidant properties and wheatgerm oil to nourish the skin. This leaves skin feeling soft and nourished and is an ideal daily lotion.

    This smells divine! it will be a definite repurchase, I love the purity of ingredients and performance for the price, so many of the body lotions that I love contain phenoxyethanol and whilst and am not too bothered in small doses, with body lotion quite substantial amounts get absorbed into the skin so it's nice to have a couple that don't contain it in my stash. The pump packaging is very convenient and the smaller size would be great for travel.

Ingredients: Water, Sunflower seed oil*, Sweet almond oil*, Shea Butter*, Glycerin*, Meadowfoam oil*, Wheatgerm oil*, Glyceryl stearate, Cetyl alcohol, Cetearyl alcohol, Benzyl alcohol, Sweet orange essential oil*, Vitamin E, Beeswax*, Potassium sorbate, Cetearyl glucoside, Geranium essential oil*, Cardamom essential oil*, Xanthan gum, Thyme linalool essential oil*, Rosemary oil extract*, Citric acid. *Organic ingredient.

    I think this brand is such good value for money, I still have a discount code for them in the sidebar if you are interested in trying them out for yourself, if you click the image it will take you the site, for me they have become a favourite as they have great products with honest ingredients and affordable prices.

Ana x

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Saturday, 1 June 2013

Create your own beauty products with the Beauty Kitchen

    I love the thought of creating my own beauty products, the idea of mixing ingredients has an element of alchemy about it. The Beauty Kitchen is an innovative natural brand based in Glasgow that enables you to do just that. You can attend workshops to create your own natural products in store or you can choose the ingredients to create certain individualized products on-line.

    The Beauty kitchen also has a great variety of ready made products and scents for you to choose from, in addition to this the brand ensures that it is eco-friendly by using pre-cycled packaging from sources that would of otherwise ended up in landfill and local ingredients wherever possible.





    I received to try:

Inspire Me Shimmer oil body moisturiser* (125ml) £14.95: This is a dry oil that comes in a spray bottle. The inspire scent is uplifting with Sweet Orange, Lemongrass, Spearmint, Basil, Grapefruit, Fennel, Red Mandarin and peppermint. The oil itself is very nourishing but very easily absorbed, I used this instead of a body lotion and it is very effective. I loved using this in the mornings to wake me up, the scent lingers on the skin and is very fresh.

    Even though it's called shimmer body oil, there are no shimmer particles in it, it just gives a nice sheen to the skin where it is well moisturised, so perfect for making the legs and arms summer dress ready! I love that the oil comes in a spray container but you do need to be careful when you apply as it does come out quite fast.

    This oil is very nourishing with lovely ingredients such as jojoba oil well know for it's moisturising and anti-bacterial properties. Quinoa oil is an ingredient that I am seeing popping up in more and more of my beauty products, I am already a big fan of quinoa as a food and I am delighted to find out that the oil has a high level of Vitamin E making it very anti-ageing.  Also included is evening primrose oil one of my favourite ingredients as it is high in Gamma linoleic acid (GLA) which aids cells regeneration and has anti-inflammatory properties.

Ingredients: octyldodecanol, olive oil, caprylic triglyceride, jojoba oil, quinoa oil, evening primrose oil, rosemary leaf extract, orange sweet, litsea maychange, lemongrass, spearmint, basil, grapefruit, fennel, mandarin red, peppermint.

Love Me Hand scrub* (100ml) £9.95: Designed to be a treat for hard working hands this scrub is full of anti-oxidant rich cranberry seeds. The love me scent is a wonderful spicy blend with Cinnamon, Orange, Pine Needle and Frankincense, it is not a particularly oily scrub and a little goes a very long way. I used it on slightly damp hands massaging gently paying special attention to cuticles and other dry areas, it really does make a difference to the appearance, and texture.

    I will admit that a hand scrub is not something that I have thought to buy before, but it is a welcome addition to my at home manicures and is something I will buy again, especially because I never have the time to have my nails done professionally. Because this is a fairly dry scrub you only need to use a small amount at a time otherwise you will end up wasting product. This really gets the circulation going in the skin and gets the hands ready for moisturiser, when you have finished they are lovely and soft.

    The beauty Kitchen offers a total of seven different scents, which all sound quite unique so I think they have something for everyone, I enjoyed both of the scents that I tested, despite them being very different and can see myself ordering more to try in the future. I can't fault the brands ingredients or their green ethos, it's exactly what I look for so it is lovely to see that their products are reasonably priced too.

     If you would like to see more of what they offer you can do so on their website or connect with them on Twitter and Facebook.

Ana x
*PR Sample
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