The Body Shop Vanilla Pumpkin for Fall Review

product review

With The Body Shop launching their Pumpkin for Fall range, we are all well aware that the end of summer has arrived.

For many of us, the colder months are our favourite time of the year. Cosy nights in, hibernating whilst divulging comfort food and slapping on a face mask. Absolute bliss.

What better way to announce the arrival of the Winter months than treating yourself to deliciously spicy, yet sweetly scented treats? I could not resist and I have ordered myself the Vanilla Pumpkin shower gel and hand cream.

Before I review the range I wanted to let you into a little secret (perhaps not so much of a secret now as I am sharing this post publicly!).

I have recently signed up as an independent consultant for The Body Shop. It is the best decision I have made in a long while, and that means a lot coming from a sceptically minded person such as myself. I’ve always been irritated by the thought of network marketing, and I’ve constantly rejected the idea. I watched others promoting network marketing on social media from afar and felt uneasy about it all.

I had been contemplating joining some kind of network marketing company online for some time. I always seemed to be plagued with thoughts of how people would judge me. Would I even be any good? Would I manage to sell anything? Or even thinking about how representing another beauty brand could jeopardise the accountability of my own blog?

One day I took the plunge and just decided to do it. I have always loved The Body Shop and their products. I don’t have to push people in a way that becomes nagging, as the reputation of the company and their products supersedes this. We are a cruelty free brand that uses ethically sourced ingredients. Offering amazing skincare, make up and even home fragrances! It also doesn’t have to ruin my accountability as a freelance writer. My reviews will continue to stay as honest and blunt as my personality.

I am loving this opportunity as I love beauty products. The chance to earn a little money on the side is also motivating. After all my BMW M3 isn’t going to buy itself. (I knew I couldn’t write an entire post on beauty products without making at least one car reference). The Body Shop Vanilla Pumpkin Range reviewI absolutely adore the branding on this range. The candy skull and pumpkin are kitsch, without being tacky. It’s a great design to introduce autumnal feels into your beauty routine. There is one thing that makes this range really exceptional. The smell. Who would think to combine vanilla with pumpkin?! But they work ridiculously well together. The sugary smell of the vanilla is complimented by a spicy pumpkin undertone; the result is an autumnal smell that makes you want to eat it. The first day I received my shower gel and hand cream, I kept reaching for them to inhale the scent continuously. Addictive is the word I’m looking for. As usual the expected standard from The Body Shop hand cream. Hydrating with a wonderful smell. My only qualm with these hand creams is that they don’t seem to quite last long enough for me! The shower gel is amazing. It is a 250ml bottle so will probably see me through until Christmas. The consistency is smooth, and the addictive smell makes you want to lather it all over you multiple times. I would really recommend this range for anyone who adores autumn, winter, Halloween – or just simply wants to smell divine! Happy end of summer 🎃 The Body Shop Vanilla Pumpkin Range for Fall is available in stores or you can order directly through myself. Add me on Facebook if you’d like to order; Michelle Whitney.

Advertisements

The definitive list of Skincare Ingredients

skincare, top tips

Suffering from a myriad of skincare ailments during my 25 years of life thus far has given me a natural interest in skincare, and ingredients used within skincare products.

Over the years I have experimentally tried various homemade concoctions and shop bought products in the search for perfect skin; ranging from grinding green tea leaves with Manuka honey and smothering the sticky mixture onto my face in a clumpy manner, all the way to using a £130 Chanel face cream, and actually being naïve enough to believe it would make me look ten years younger. I believe I have researched, reviewed, tried and tested so many skincare products that I have now become somewhat of a skincare connoisseur. What I have reluctantly realised is that informing yourself on ingredients is paramount to choosing the right skincare for your skins needs. Below I have compiled a list of what I have found to be the most popular and effective ingredients presently being used in skincare.

IMG_2589

A – Amino Acids – Formed to build Creatine, Amino Acids will support natural skin functions. Cells are stimulated to produce more collagen and elastin. This helps to maintain younger looking skin.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

Vitamin A – Topical Vitamin A used in creams and serums is proven by dermatologists as anti-aging. UV Exposure and other environmental factors cause the production of collagen to slow down, consequently causing early signs of ageing. Vitamin A (and Retinol / Retinoid which are derivatives of Vitamin A) ‘’turn on cells’’ that are responsible for producing new collagen, actively fighting signs of ageing and blitzing fine lines (Canyon Ranch, 2018).

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types – Vitamin A can be drying, use sparingly on sensitive & dry skin types]

B – BHA – BHA is an acronym for Beta Hydroxy Acid. This is the structural name for Salicylic acid that can be used to fight signs of acne. Salicylic Acid gets through oil and helps to normalize pores, reducing the production of blackheads and spots. Don’t let the word ‘’acid’’ put you off (skincare acids are not the type that burn through your skin, thank goodness because that would be worrying!), BHA contains naturally calming and exfoliating properties, giving skin a rejuvenating glow.

[Recommended for Oily skin & Acne sufferers]

C – Caffeine – Being a stimulant, caffeine can offer anti-oxidant benefits to skin. It penetrates skin and is ultra-soothing.

[Recommended for those with non-sensitive skin as Caffeine can potentially be an irritant]

Collagen – Perhaps one of the ingredients we are more familiar with, but what does Collagen actually do for our skin? Collagen is a protein found throughout our body. It is produced naturally within our skin, and one of its fundamental functions is to provide elasticity. However, with factors such as stress, ageing, pollutants and UV damage affecting skin over time – collagen production can slow down. Using skincare products with added collagen will help to maintain the skins elasticity and firmness that we associate with youthful skin.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

D – Vitamin D – When we talk about Vitamin D we generally think about UV Rays, However, Vitamin D oils and serums can be hugely beneficial to skin. Vitamin D helps to minimise acne, retain skins elasticity and lessen fine lines. UV Rays from the sun help the body to naturally produce Vitamin D; moreover if you live in a northern climate it is possible to develop a deficiency. You can orally take Vitamin D supplements, or search for skincare that contains Vitamin D.

[Recommended for Oily / Combination skin]

G – Glycolic Acid – Glycolic Acid exfoliates the skin, it is often used in toners / toning solutions. It helps to shed dead skin, giving a natural glow and radiance.

[Recommended for Oily / Combination skin]

H – Hyaluronic Acid – Ah yes the wonder ingredient that is absolutely everywhere at the moment! Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means that it is a moisture binding ingredient. It helps to keep skin plump, firm and younger looking. FYI – it is a naturally found compound in the body, which is also used (completely safely may I add) in lip fillers, hence the ‘’plumping’’ affect.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

IMG_2591

M – Marula Oil – Marula Oil is essentially made up of many fatty acids. Because of this it has the potential to deeply hydrate skin, healing skin and improving elasticity. If used regularly it can improve skin softness.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types / Particularly Dry Skin]

P – Peptides – When collagen breaks down, short segments of amino acids are formed. These are the tiny proteins and active molecules known as peptides. Peptides in skin care can provide significant anti-aging benefits (Mango Madness Skincare, 2018).

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

R – Retinol – Retinol is essentially a large dose of Vitamin A, used for anti-aging in skincare. Retinol, like Vitamin A, will boost collagen production – banishing fine lines and wrinkles. It is important to remember to only use one Retinol treatment at a time, and to use sun protection – Retinol can thin the skin layers by gently scrubbing away at dead skin cells. This can leave skin open to sun damage if you use Retinol daily for longer durations.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types – Vitamin A can be drying, use sparingly on sensitive & dry skin types /Also recommended for Acne & Hyperpigmentation]

IMG_2593

S – Squalane – Often named as the replacement for Argan and Coconut oil, Squalane oil offers many benefits for skin. It is derived from plants, and the same oil is naturally produced in our bodies. Using it topically helps to main Squalane oil levels as we age. It is also noncomedegenic, which means it is one of the oils least likely to clog pores (Popsugar, 2017).

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types]

V – Vitamin C – We all aware of the health benefits of Vitamin C, as it is often recommended to fight to common cold. But did you know this Vitamin is also a powerhouse for skincare? Due to its anti-oxidant properties Vitamin C helps skin to fight off any oxidative stress. Results show that over time Vitamin C will help your skin to enhance its natural defence system.  Vitamin C is also great for anti-aging.

[Recommended for Anti-Aging / All Skin Types] 

IMG_2596

 

 

T3 Cura New Hairdryer Launch

Events & launches

T3 is a prime example of a brand that exhibits a beauty meets tech mantra. Launched in the sunny, glamorous and health conscious LA, T3 have pioneered luxury hair tools that incorporate uses of innovative technologies.

The launch of their new Cura hairdryers conforms to this. The hairdryers use negative Ion technology in order to dry hair efficiently and without frizz, maintaining shine.

I was lucky enough to attend the launch of the new Cura hairdryers. And what a launch it was! I must say it was one of the best events I’ve been to in the industry.

The service from the hosts was impeccable, there was enough champagne and canapés to fill a 10 acre field, and I thought the concepts behind the brand were amazing.

It was almost as if whoever had organised this event had thought of every aspect. There was a popcorn machine, chilled bottles of Diet Coke in ice buckets, customised T3 cakes (with real cute miniature USA flags), a photo booth with professional lighting and air to flick your hair; plus professional stylists on hand to style attendees hair with the T3 tools. What more could you want from an event?!

So what makes the T3 Cura hairdryers so special?

Precise digitally controlled heat gives a personalised experience. The Cura has 3 heat settings, 2 speed settings, and a lock-in cool shot.

Personally I think one of the main reasons the Cura hairdryers are so successful is that they allow you to use heat responsibly. In the sense that you can dry your hair quickly with minimal damage. In fact, after testing the Cura myself I can confirm it left my hair feeling very soft and shiny.

Personally having over processed hair I try to avoid using heat on my hair. So when I am able to find tools and products that can accommodate my high maintenance hair – I’m over the moon about it.

After all, healthy hair is beautiful!

Best of beauty this April – Spring picks

product review

Despite the extremely bi-polar weather that we are currently experiencing, it is officially Spring. Spring is often associated with new, fresh beginnings. This means we often switch up our make up too. Fresh, lighter make up, and a perfect excuse to refresh our product stock. (I’m using the word stock purposely, because I own so many products I could indefinitely open a shop).

Here are my favourite picks of what I’ve been loving this April;

1. Malin + Goetz Cilantro Conditioner, £20 for 236ml

Although this seems rather pricey for a conditioner, this 236ml size would last me years as I have been co-washing my hair recently. However, when I dye my roots every 6-8 weeks consequently I have to wash my hair (annoyingly as it’s so much commitment); and have fallen in love with this conditioner. It smells like a spa treatment, a natural relaxing scent. And it contains absorbent fatty acids, which are brilliant for over processed hair such as mine. It doesn’t weigh my hair down like some conditioners do, but leaves hair feeling revitalised and healthy.

2. Rodial Clear Brazilian Tanning Gel, £35 for 150ml

This is an amazing product for busy individuals wanting a natural looking tan. Again, it’s quite pricey but you can use it sparingly.

The formulation is super lightweight, meaning you can apply the gel like a normal moisturiser and gain a light, even tan.

3. Reb’l Fleur Body Must by Rihanna, reduced to £5 at Boots

Found this complete bargain whilst picking up all my beauty essentials on a recent trip to Boots. I don’t usually buy celebrity perfumes, which is probably not the wisest of choices from an economical point of view. I’ve realised they are usually cheaper than their designer counterparts, and can become some of your favourite scents. This Rihanna body mist smells gorgeous, it’s a girly scent perfect for Spring. Plus the 236ml bottle means that even wasteful individuals like myself won’t have to worry about using it up too quickly.

4. NYX Lid Lingerie Eyeshadow Palette, £9

This is £9 very well spent. Consisting of 6 basic looking colours, this palette has taken me from Winter to Spring effortlessly. With a beautiful combination of natural nude shades and bright colours. You can create an array of looks by experimenting.

(As pictured) You can create natural, pretty looks with the nude shades. You can easily convert these into more dramatic looks by adding in the brights; or alternatively by building the colour up.

How to get more beauty bang for your buck

On another note I wanted to talk about one of my personal goals for Spring, that I think may help everyone. I’ve been really disciplined in saving money this year, and yes that includes spending on beauty products (waaaah *sadface*).

As I’ve mentioned I took a trip to my local Boots last week to stock up on some essentials; and I managed to get all the products in this picture for £25!

I would like to share my tips on how to get the best beauty bang for your buck. Here are my top tips;

1. Special Offers

Of course when shopping everybody keeps their eye out for special offers, but you can be smart with offers. By stocking up on products that you don’t need immediately but in future, you will save yourself some serious money. For example, on my shopping trip I didn’t need two bottles of dry shampoo but seeing as they were half price, I got one for future use.

Building up a useful stock of products helps you not to buy needlessly. I’ve made a pact this year to use a product up fully before buying another similar product.

2. Clearance

Again, always check the reduced items on sale. I picked up this lovely Rihanna body mist for £5, which doubles as a perfume for me. I didn’t need it right now, but I was aware that my current perfume is running out; and £5 is much cheaper than any perfume I would have picked out in Boots. You will save a lot of money buying in advance.

3. Don’t double up

Another important fact to remember about beauty products, is that they do in fact have expiration dates. So we may think having 10 moisturisers in our drawer is a good idea – but actually you only use one at a time, and by the time you come to use the other 9, they may not be fit for purpose. Consumer wastage is a huge part of our capitalist culture, but it needn’t be. We can avoid endlessly throwing away products by sensibly buying what we need. Unless, as stated above it’s a product that you are aware you use everyday, and gets used up fairly quickly.

Ultimately, what we need to do is shop with a clarity. Instead of being blinded by pretty marketing campaigns, think about what you actually need and actually use.

4. Don’t be blinded by names

There are also certain products whereby you needn’t buy a known name brand. For example, I needed hay fever tablets. Instead of opting for Piriton allergy tablets which were around the £4 mark. I got an unbranded packet of allergy tablets for 85p, and generally when you cross check the ingredients in both branded and non branded – you find they are scarily similar. Naturally, this won’t be applicable for every product. But where you can, I would advise sticking to non branded as you will save a bundle of cash.

Happy saving!

La Mer: Crème De La Mer Moisturising Cream review

product review

La Mer is one of those luxury brands that I have forever admired from afar. One of the main reasons being that it’s pricey, the skincare range starts from £100+. I have always wondered whether the prices were justified, if you spend £220 on a cream does it make you look 10 years younger? Glow like a unicorn? Or just fit into a certain societal stereotype?

I’m a huge fan of budget skincare and make-up. Who doesn’t want a product that performs as well as a high end one for half the price? It’s just logic. But recently I’ve started to delve deeper, and it’s not always that simple. I started to compare ingredients used within skincare. And you will notice that high end products use the same ingredients as budget ones. Let’s use Vitamin C as an example, two products can contain the Vitamin. However, is there a difference in potency? The way the ingredients are formulated could differentiate? These are the questions we should be asking when buying skincare.

My best advice when purchasing skincare is to research ingredients. If you know what ingredients do for your skin, you are then making more informed choices when choosing skincare. In turn, your skin should reward you.

Crème De La Mer Moisturising Cream, £120 for 30ml – Review

When we read skincare reviews, it’s often important to remember that everyone has a different skin type. What works for one person, doesn’t always work for everyone. Crème De La Mer is a heavy Moisturising cream that is aimed at those with dry skin. It claims to minimise pores, reduce fine lines and give a natural glow.

In terms of ingredients, these aren’t mentioned explicitly on the La Mer website. I found this odd, as high end face creams often boast about their natural ingredients. I did some online searching and I found that the cream does contain some natural products; Seaweed Extract, Eucalyptus Leaf Oil, Mineral Oil & Sesame Seed Oil. All of these ingredients are known for their hydrating properties to skin. But, disappointingly the cream also contains Linalool (for Fragrance), preservatives and Alcohol – all of these ingredients aren’t great for those with sensitive skin, or or allergies (Quora, 2018).

I have only been using the cream for a few days but I do notice a huge difference. I have stubborn dry patches that are often irritated by creams, this one soothes it. As soon as you apply Crème De La Mer, your entire complexion is lit up. It’s like putting on a spotlight in a dark room. I can visually see from the difference in my own skin, why this has become a cult cream for many woman.

It’s very rich in texture and thick. You don’t need a lot of it. Before you apply to your face, you must rub it in your hands to warm the cream. As it becomes translucent you rub onto your skin. This is brilliant for those who want bare faced beauty, and a natural glow.

Worth £120 for 30ml?

I’d say this really comes down to personal preference. In a sense, yes it is worth it. Simply because it is a heavy cream, you only need apply a small amount. It will last you at least 6 months. It performs as it claims. It just comes down to how much you are willing to or can afford to invest in your skin!

Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara: Influenster Vox Box review 

product review

I’ll be totally honest here, I have no clue how to use Influenster. Perhaps I’m just getting old (25, quarter of a century I’ll have you know), some of this technical social media online stuff I just have no clue about. I had been playing around with it, posting random reviews of cleaning products (how glamorous) and make up I had used many moons ago. But didn’t think much of it, however last week I received my first Vox Box from Influenster. 


Amazingly, my first box *which was received for complimentary purposes* was from Marc Jacobs Beauty. It certainly looked the part. It was their new Velvet Noir Mascara. It appeared luxuriant, with it’s classy monochrome design.  

Does it perform as well as it looks? 

The mascara has a rather large brush, and in this case size does matter. The width of the brush allows you to apply the mascara efficiently and equally.

The mascara ensures that lashes look naturally long, and are far from clumpy. There is one criticism – I did notice that it’s difficult to build up the layers, whereas with similar high end mascaras you can build layers for more volume quite easily. Is it worth the £22 price tag? I’d say, if you don’t own any other high end mascaras then invest in this one. If you do, then it isn’t really worth it; it’s not particularly special for the price. I believe you can get better. But it isn’t half bad either! And it’s a lovely producy aesthetically, it will look great on your dressing table. 

Overall : 8/10 

Three reasons why you need an anti-pollution spray 

product review, top tips

So I’ve been using Verso’s anti pollution mist for around 1 week now; and to be honest nothing has changed. My skin is exactly the same as it was before. Ah I hear you cry, why are you still using it? It is not only about the visible differences, it’s not about improving skin texture. Ultimately it’s about protection. 

As we are all aware pollution is at a dangerously high level, particularly in London. And not only can it affect our physical health, it can also cause premature aging. 

Here’s why you should buy an anti pollution spray; 

1. Plan ahead 

So of course you won’t know right away if your skin is being protected, but think of the future. You don’t want damage to your skin – especially when given the choice to avoid it 

2. It’s an investment 

Some of the high end sprays can be quite pricey. But this is because the anti pollution sprays are still relatively new to the beauty scene, once they are mainstream, like anything they will be readily available in your local Superdrug for £10 and under. But it’s an investment in your skin, and you only get one skin after all 

3. Hydration 

Pollution can also cause drying of the skin, so using the mist before or after make up application can protect against drying elements. Brilliant for summer and winter.