Thursday, 27 February 2014

AmazeMitt: The re-usable make up remover

    I have tried on several occasions to find a more environmentally friendly way to remove my make up, I tried some re-usable cotton pads which I found far too fiddly and which I didn't enjoy the texture of at all. Then came your regular muslin cloth and cleansing balm which works incredibly well but and there is a big but, is it me or is it nearly impossible to get them clean once they have been covered in make up? It is so frustrating and I end up having to replace them fairly frequently because they become a hideous shade of orange and grey with the odd splodge of mascara. So every attempt eventually leads to me going back to using a cotton pad (or two!) to remove the bulk of my make up before going in with a flannel or muslin for my proper cleanse. I do find I feel guilty for the amount of cotton wool I use even if it is organic, but I have discovered a product that has solved all of these problems, introducing AmazeMitt* (£8-5) the product you can use to remove your make up with just water.

    This was a product I didn't have any pre-conceived ideas about when I received it, I hadn't even read any other reviews but after giving it a really thorough test I can honestly say that it does what it says it does which is a refreshing change when so many products are hyped up to the max and fail to perform. I was sent both the large and regular AmazeMitt, the smaller size is just perfect for popping in your gym bag, I often go straight to the gym after doing the school run and I don't like having to take make up remover and cotton wool and all the other things you need, this is small and easy to use when you get there.  I keep it in a resealable plastic bag and give it a wash when I get home.

    To use your AmazeMitt all you have to do it run it under warm water to dampen and then use it in small circular motions to remove your make up, this copes well with all my every make up including mascara, for more heavy duty make up I found removal took a little longer but I do think for the most part it is possible to use this for all make up including most mascaras. When you are finished removing your make up I simply take a bar of soap and wash the mitt, all make up rinses off easily leaving it ready for the next use. One of the perks of Microfibre is how quickly it dries, so unlike muslin cloths you don't need lot's of these, just one of two are enough. When it came to removing very light make up I found that you could also use it dry happily, the microfibre is very soft and I didn't find it irritated my sensitive skin at all, in fact I found it gentler than other ways to remove my make up. After using my AmazeMitt I just cleanse my skin as normal with my regular cleanser. 

Mineral make up and bronzer removed with a dry AmazeMitt, for heavier make up it's best to use it wet. 

    So I think you have gathered by now that I really like the product and how it performs, but I wanted to touch a little more on it's eco-credentials, as after all that is the focus of my blog. First of all I want to point out that Micro-fibre is not actually a natural material but it is synthetic, as such it isn't perhaps initially as eco-friendly as a natural fibre such as cotton or bamboo. However because this product requires the use of no extra products and lasts up to a year I think that pulls the balance back in it's favour in terms of waste saved from bottles of make up remover and cotton wool over that time. I do want to point out that from what I have read microfibre isn't biodegradable, so I don't plan on tossing my product out when it is passed it's best but I will reuse it for cleaning the car or the house in some way, on the AmazeMitt website it suggest that the mitts are great for cleaning shoes, which I think is a great idea!

    I would love to hear your thoughts on this product, is this something that would appeal to you?

Ana x

*Sample provided for my consideration

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Bodhi and Birch Ginger Brew massage and body oil

    I have slowly worked my way through the entire Bodhi selection of products, and what a wonderful journey it has been. I make no secret of the fact that I really liked the company from the beginning, they won me over with their great customer service and fantastic unique fragrances and I was hooked from then on. They are a British eco-luxe aromatherapy brand with incredible attention to detail, everything from the packaging to the ingredients to the blends themselves are all very impressive, they stock luxurious skincare and body care products that are all made from beautiful botanical ingredients with none of the usual nasties such as SLS, parabens and mineral oil. I have been lucky to enough to meet Elijah Choo the founder several times and each and every time it has been a pleasure, Elijah is a true gentleman, passionate about his products and with a truly fun and vivacious personality. Not many people can say they have met the person who hand blends their favourite products, so I feel incredibly privileged. Bodhi is inspired by Elijah's passion for travel and different parts of the world, if there is one word I would use to describe the brand it's evocative, the scents are constructed in such a way that you can close your eyes and feel transported somewhere else for a little while, a break from the endless stresses and strains of life. That is exactly what makes me keep coming back from more, I repurchase the Himalayan detox salt scrub, Jasmine falls moisturiser and several scents of the bath and shower therapies as soon as they run out (if not before!) and I always go back to Bodhi products because they have the ability to truly make me feel calm or invigorate as I need it, they are little bit of luxury in the day which breaks up the mundane and makes me feel special. 

    So with all of that in mind I have been using this beautiful Bodhi Ginger Brew deep tissue massage oil* to help me with the terrible muscle soreness I have been getting lately, I have been battling a long standing injury now for a while, it causes imbalances and sore muscles elsewhere in my body. As I am at a stage where the injury itself isn't expected to improve any more I have been told my best option is to is to try and strengthen other surrounding muscles to help the problem, so I have been back at the gym. Anyone who has ever started a gym programme knows how hard those first few sessions are especially after a long break like mine and this oil was incredibly helpful to my recovery. The first time I used it I think I actually cried a little (happy tears!) from the relief it brought me, anyone who lives in pain knows that you get a little fed up with having to take painkillers, so to find a more natural and pleasant way to find some relief was truly wonderful. I use this in conjunction with massage for best results, I like to apply after using my foam roller, but when things get really bad I enlist the help of hubby to ease the pain through deep tissue massage. 

    The formula itself is feather light, these aren't heavy oils that you have to hang around for hours waiting for them to absorb, this absorbs instantly when applied and makes the skin silky smooth. It is made up of plant oils that are beneficial to the skin, grapeseed, coconut oils and apricot oil are the base to which other botanicals are added. The star ingredient in this blend is the Plai, not an oil I had heard of before I will admit, but it has been added for it's exceptional pain relieving and anti-inflammatory properties especially when it comes to joints and muscles. Plai is grown in Thailand and the roots look a little like ginger, the blend also includes Galangal which has fantastic anti-oxidant and therapeutic benefits as well as ginger. I love reading the ingredients lists of Bodhi products because I always feel like I discover and learn new things and all of the ingredients are special, it never feels like they are simply fillers, but each is carefully chosen. I can't review this and not comment on the smell, it is warm and exotic, you definitely can smell the ginger coming through but it is mellow and certainly not as strong as I was expecting before I tried it. Even for me who loves floral's this still smells amazing and hubby gave it his seal of approval too. 

    If I had to mention one thing I would change is that this doesn't come with a dropper or pump, so I am always exceedingly careful when pooring this as it is simply too lovely to waste, I am bit of a clutz so I have been in danger of pooring far too much on several occasions but if you are careful it isn't too much of an issue. Like most Bodhi products this is at the higher end price point at £35 for 100 mls, but I think Bodhi actually is incredible value for money when you consider the quality of the products and the concentration of essential oils used. If you want to read more of my Bodhi reviews use the search bar on the right hand side of the blog, I simply have written far too many to link them all, a testament to my love for the range. 

You can find the full Bodhi range here

Ana x

*Sample sent for my consideration.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Back to basics skincare with SW Basics of Brooklyn

    Those of you who read my blog regularly will know that I generally stick to UK brands wherever possible, but every now and again I discover a company from across the pond who are too good not to share. SW basics of Brooklyn are one of those companies that are brilliant for their simplicity, who manage to make fantastic products all with five ingredients or less, it almost sounds too good to be true, but after trying their products I can tell you that they are in fact the real deal.

    Adina Grigore the founder originally made products for herself because her skin was really sensitive she wasn't sure if anyone else would like the products, but she soon found there was a market for skincare that was good for us and the planet. At SW Basics they take their formulation and ingredients sourcing really seriously, the products are paired back to the bare minimum of what is needed and the raw ingredients support sustainable agriculture from organic, fair trade and small farms.

    On paper the brand is a bit of a dream, they are truly a small artisan business who are highly committed to making great skincare options which are natural and also suitable for even the most sensitive skins, there are three people in the team and everything is done by hand, but I must admit I was sceptical of products with so few ingredients, product testing however did prove me wrong:

    The Shea Butter Cream (£26 for 3.75 ounces, just over 100 mls) Ok it's confession time, I got this in my A Beautiful World box a while back, I used it a few times on the odd dry patch of skin on my body I thought it was a good product but I didn't really get what all the fuss was about until a few weeks ago. I have had a cold, add to this a bit of stress and hormones and my skin had a bit of a freak out, it rejected some of my tried and tested favourites and nothing was working. It was red and sore and my nose was so dry it was painful, searching through my skincare stash this cream caught my eye and I decided to try it on my face. Within a day it had taken a lot of the redness down and my skin was left soft and supple, I was looking much better, as a product junkie it is definitely hard to give up the endless product test but this will be product that I know I can call upon in an emergency. This is perfect for dry and sensitive skin, looking at the ingredients list you would think it would be much heavier than it is, it's in fact quite light, you need to use it sparingly if you want it to absorb fully but when I have a serious problem with dryness or soreness I like to layer it on a bit more thickly and let it work it's magic, it leaves a pleasant sheen to the skin. This has three single ingredients coconut oil, Shea butter and olive oil and is a multi-purpose cream suitable for face and body, it's one of those products that would appeal to all the family and the packaging is very unisex, the simplicity of the ingredients also means I would be happy to use it on my little one. 

    The cocoa lip balm (£16 for a tin of four balms) is another product that I stashed away and forgot about, as I have recently finished some other stick lip balms I decided to give this one a try. Just like the Shea Butter cream the ingredients list is so simple you could be fooled in to thinking the product won't be effective, there is an art to making something great with so little and SW Basics seem to have perfected that art. This cocoa balm contains Beeswax, coconut oil and cocoa butter, they also come in cinnamon, citrus and peppermint which contain exactly the same ingredients but with added essential oils. I love the consistency of the product, it has a gorgeous buttery texture that you can feel nourishing your lips. 

    You can find SW Basics at Eco Luxe site A Beautiful World I did however check a few different UK stockists and found a lot of them to be currently sold out, my advice, form an orderly queue and try this brand as soon as it returns, sensitive or troubled skins will love this range! 

***EDIT: ABW tells me this range is now back in stock, yay! ***

Ana x   

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Noré Naturals Haircare review

    Noré naturals are a new little company that cropped up on my Twitter feed, they have a selection of hair care products and oils and a body butter in their range. They have recently been approved by the Soil Association which means the products are organic. They have a website coming soon but for now you can order by emailing them. They sent me a couple of samples of their haircare which I have been  using and I am ready to weigh in with what I think: 

    The organic hot oil treatment* (£15.50 for 100 mls) is a blend of olive oil, tropical forest honey, Monoi de Tahiti, jojoba oil, peppermint oil and rosemary oil. I received two small bottles to try and I found each bottle to be enough for one treatment covering all of my hair and scalp. This is quite a thick oil, you have to warm it up before you use it, I found this quite easy with the single use bottles but I am not sure how easy and practical it would be with the full size. I popped my bottle inside a cup with some hot water, applied all over the hair and scalp and covered it in a shower cap and a warm towel to really allow the product to absorb. It smells delicious and once you have heated it up enough it spreads through the hair fairly easily although it has a slight tackiness from the honey. This was a lovely deep treatment it left my hair soft and shiny, I am not sure it worked any better than my usual oil blend but it is a lovely option. 

    The organic heat protectant spray* (£15 for 50 mls) is the surprise stand out for me, I am very lazy when it comes to protecting my hair and I cannot stand any greasy residue so I embarked on trying this with some hesitation. I was however very pleasantly surprised, the ingredients are according to the site Argan oil, grapeseed oil and geranium oil with no silicones, which is what separates it from other heat protection or finishing oils on the market. For a product with no silicones this performs amazingly well, I think this product is a little bit magical. It absorbs in to the hair and makes the ends so incredibly soft, you do have to use it sparingly, I find one pump enough and I can see my samples lasting a very long time. If you have been looking for a silicone free product for your hair that works, this could well be the answer. 

    The site is very simple at the moment and like I said the actual site is under construction but I am excited to see how it will look, the products themselves are great and I think will appeal to lots of people. You can find them here

Ana x

*Samples provided for my consideration.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Natural wisdom Rose and Pomegranate liquid anti-oxidant exfoliator

    As someone with sensitive skin I find that generally my skin reacts better to chemical exfoliants than it does to physical ones, but a lot of chemical exfoliants on the market can be quite harsh too meaning that finding the right one for you can be tricky. I used to be an Alpha-H liquid gold fan until I got pregnant and my skin changed to such a degree I was never able to use it again as it just felt too harsh, I have also tried the REN clarifying toning lotion which although incredibly effective it made my skin tingle enough to make me a little uncomfortable using it on a regular basis. I had given up on finding something gentle enough for me that would still produce results, until I found a brand called Natural wisdom. 

    Natural wisdom are a lovely little British brand created by Maeve Smith a Homeopath with a passion for organic agriculture, ecology herbal medicine and nutrition. The brand was founded in 2007 and has strong eco and ethical values, the products are cold blended and are free from synthetic ingredients and fillers. I reviewed the hydrating toner from the line previously (review here) and it was a fabulous product but I didn't repurchase, I tried this toner instead and have been using it ever since. This bottle shown in the photo is my second and that is all empty now, I wanted to give this a really thorough test before reviewing as I really wanted to see the difference this would make to my skin longer term. 

    The formula of this product is by far the most gentle I have ever tested, I felt comfortable using this daily although you don't have to, you could use it a few times a week. It doesn't sting or tingle at all, the base is Rosewater with Vitamin C and Aloe Vera as well as pomegranate and comfrey extracts. It is Ph balanced and the exfoliating action comes from gentle fruit acids, it does contain some salicylic acid too in a small dose, so it is helpful for acne prone skins that are also sensitive. I ran out of this product sometime in January but as I was watching my spending I didn't repurchase, since not using it I have been much more dependent on physical exfoliants and have noticed some congestion starting so I definitely think this was effective for me and a product that is worth keeping in my routine. 

    The liquid anti-oxidant exfoliator is £12 for 50 mls and you can find it here

Ana x 

Saturday, 1 February 2014

New to the UK: The Body Deli

    It's always exciting to bring to you a new launch and when that launch is practically good enough to eat even more so! The Body Deli is fresh out of California and fuses raw super-foods with clinical actives to create a sophisticated skincare, haircare and body care range that is food for the skin, their "cosmetic chefs" hand blend small batches of products using the most powerful super-foods in the world. Does it sound delectable, it really is! Raw skincare means that nothing is heated over a certain temperature, this enables the Body Deli to create their formulations without loosing the delicate enzymes, minerals and vitamins contained in the ingredients. 

    Today a great selection of Body Deli products have arrived exclusively at A Beautiful World one of my favourite places to shop, they have some lovely sounding body ranges including Tahitian Vanilla and Moroccan mint, for skincare there is a selection of products covering everything you need, cleansers, SPF's, moisturisers and treatments. Prices start at £16 for the body care and £22 for skincare, all the products are housed in sleek glass jars and bottles with pumps, the bright colours of the body care reminds me of going to a Juice bar!

    I have been lucky enough to test the Light facial emulsion* ahead of release and I will say that combination skinned girls can rejoice because I have found the perfect product for you! This lives up to it's name and is instantly absorbed, very smooth and refreshing on the skin and yet leaves the skin beautifully hydrated, I haven't been able to test it's oil absorbing claims yet due to the somewhat Arctic weather conditions in the UK, but the active ingredients of Salicylic acid, and minerals such as copper and Magnesium are great for keeping acne at bay and have been helping keep my skin clear. I think I may have discovered a new Spring/summer favourite and although it doesn't feel like it now the sunshine is just around the corner so I can't wait to give this a road test when my skin becomes a little more oily. I will come back with a more thorough review of this because the ingredients list and the science behind the products deserves a little more detail, I am especially excited to see a new preservative system, innovation is definitely needed when it comes to this area so this is exciting. 

   If your curiosity has been sparked by The Body Deli range you can find it here and there is an introductory discount of 10% with the code DELI10, enjoy!

Ana x 

*PR sample
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