Pollutants be gone: Nourish 3D Facial Cleanse

Working with a brand always gives insights into the work that goes behind the scenes that one doesn’t see as consumer & I am glad when I get an opportunity to share it with you as part of my skincare product reviews. Dr.Pauline Hili, founder of Nourish Skincare, is constantly working on new ideas, but even with her scientific and suppliers knowledge, product development takes time, sometimes delaying a product launch due to Pauline’s perfectionism. Kale 3D Cleanse, Nourish new revolutionary cleanser, was created based on Pauline’s fundamental belief that everyone should be able to afford organic or truly natural skincare. In a way, this product is an extension of the brand’s already successful product line containing brassica vegetables, namely kale.

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Kale is a powerful vegetable that contains an enzyme system that helps eliminate environmental stressors and protects skin cells from environmental damage, a fact that more and more skincare brands are starting to address. Kale delivers antioxidants – whether you eat it or apply it topically to your skin, as part of a skincare product ingredient list, as it contains Vitamins A & C, as well as generous amounts of  Vitamin K, iron and zinc.

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I started testing this product last year, as it was in early stages of development. Nourish initially launched it in Australia earlier this year, where Pauline often does stellar TV presentations. Last month it was finally launched in the UK and Pauline and Nourish team gathered bloggers and beauty experts, as well as brand friends, at intimately cosy Dalloway Terrace Cafe, to talk about the new product in the beautifully calm Bloomsbury hotel. The chef created the most delicious salad with powerful greens ( kale, radish, avocado and pomegranate ), as well as deliciously nutritious smoothies which fuelled our bodies, while Pauline and Nourish fed our brain’s curiosity and amplified existing knowledge.

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Pauline’s professional background lies in the science field, but one of the things that drives and motivates her is current disengagement between healthy skin and self-esteem. In the digital age and social media & press obsession with ‘perfect’ images, people forget that while out exteriors matter, it is what’s going inside out bodies and minds determines how our skin looks and feels. Our skin comes into daily contact with the atmosphere, which is full of pollutants and environmental aggressors, particularly when we live in big cities. So when creating this cleanser Pauline was thinking about creating a reservoir of protection and giving sallow, tired skin a healthy boost, making sure that skin’s ‘machinery’ works as efficiently as possible. Our skin is a good indicator of our general health, so in addition to wanting great looking skin – who doesn’t want that?- it is important to pay attention to your skin’s health, which at its peak feels smooth, has even tone and is well hydrated.

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To reduce the potential for damage of your skin, cleansing is possibly the most important part of your skincare routine, particularly in the evening, because it removes airborne pollutants ‘collected’ during the day. On top of that, now most of us have lost their summer tan and with onset of winter almost upon us, our skin is starting to look dull and de-hydrated and is really in need of a boost. Simply put, it needs all the help and support it can get. Basically, this cleanser will help your skin on the road to it being the best it can be.

One of the questions that Pauline asked herself and her team when developing this product was how to make cleansing interesting and make sure it offers a deep cleanse, without disrupting your skin’s natural state? In the end what you get is a very cool product with scientific and colour changing capabilities, that lifts impurities off and leaves behind radiant skin.

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This cleanser allows you to pretty much apply superfoods topically to your skin, so ingredients like Hyaluronic acid, Probiotics and Oxygenating extracts, upon coming into contact with your skin, get to work synergistically to energise and refresh you skin, as this facial wash lifts make up and grime off your complexion.

Kale and Griffonia detoxify and protect against pollution, helping to minimise signs of ageing, but no less importantly they, plus Pomegranate, form an enzymatic system that prevents ‘sticking’ of pollution particles to your skin. Pauline stressed during the presentation how important it is to protect skin’s lipid layer, so you won’t end up with ‘leaking bucket syndrome’, when no matter how rich the moisturiser, your skin will look and feel dry, contributing to the process of premature raging. Never underestimate the importance of using the right skincare for your skin type and bear in mind the negative impact external environmental aggressors have on our skin day in, day out.

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At the end of the day, apply a drop of Kale 3D Cleanser onto damp skin and add water. Start to gently massage your face, until the colour of the cleanser changes from white to green, which is your signal to rinse it off with cool water and examine your complexion with a satisfied smile in the mirror. Below is the image of my hand, not my face, with the cleanser on its own on the left and mixed with water and massaged on to the skin on the right, so hopefully you can see the difference between ‘before’ and ‘after’. This cleanser’s fresh, herbal smell is refreshingly uplifting and hopefully your skin will feel the same way after using it, like mine does. Last, but not least, cast your eyes over Nourish updated and more modern packaging, that reflects that the brand stays true to its roots, yet marches on with the times.

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Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium cocoyl isethionate, Glycerin**, Stearic acid, Cetearyl alcohol, Titanium dioxide (CI 77891), Alginic acid, Helianthus read more

Simplicity at its best: new launches from Mallow and White

Lately I have been having many conversations about skincare routines, in part, a consequence of a collaboration that I have been doing with Bio-Extracts. Or maybe it is the fact that festivities aren’t far away and we are starting to pay more attention to how our skin looks, before we get down to celebrating the end of this divisive year. I have never been a fan of complicated skincare routine and truly believe that less is more, a sentiment that is shared by Joanna White, founder of Mallow and White. Joanna uses no more that six ingredients in her products and this year has seen a steady growth of her young brand. Now I want to introduce two of her new skincare ‘babies’ to you – SOOTHE and RESTORE cleansing oils, as well as Blossom Balm, her creative collaboration with beauty blogger Amber, aka Amber’s Beauty Talk.

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Joanna actually launched three cleansing oils – there is also REVITALISE for mature skin, but I have been testing two of the above since October and have to say that it’s been the case of ‘like’ at a first sniff and a much deeper appreciation the longer I used the oils. I tend to use cleansing oils in the evening, to properly and thoroughly cleanse my skin, getting rid of make-up and pollutants, massage my face and make skin ready for the serums or creams or oils that I apply as part of my evening skincare ritual.

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Joanna is not the one to rush to expand the range because it is often expected in the beauty industry – I call it the ‘false novelty bandwagon’ – so ‘developing a trio of cleansing oils was done in order to complement and complete the products that are already on offer and result in a simple, paired down and effective set that is all you need for your skin – cleansing, gentle exfoliation and moisturising. I realise that there are other steps that can be added, but for me, these are the basic essentials ( it is all I use!). As the whole idea of the products is simplicity in ingredients, I wanted the range to be simple too’.

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Sooth Cleansing Oil is fragrance free and was developed with sensitive skin in mind. When I opened the bottle and inhaled, I could clearly smell the freshness of cucumber notes and that was very special, as I don’t know many face skincare products with this smell.

The two star ingredients of the Soothe cleansing oil are the Rice Bran Oil (Oryza Sativa) and the Cucumber Oil (Cucumus Sativus). Joanna loves the softness of rice bran oil, which is also known as an oil suitable for irritated skin. She also added Apricot Kernel Oil in the mix because of all of its wonderful properties, but it was equally important to make sure that the oil smelt nice, even though it is unscented. ”(Maybe brands don’t use it precisely because its scent would clash with other fragrances they are using?)”. Cucumber oil was an obvious one for Joanna – it smells beautiful, but also has various properties she was looking for, including skin’s nourishment ( Omegas 6 and 9), it ‘spreads’ easily and absorbs fairly quickly into the skin to help moisturise, as well as cleanse. ”On a more technical note, it contains phytosterols, and studies have shown that these help stimulate the regeneration of healthy skin cells. I figure this must be good for those with sensitive skin,” – adds Joanna.

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I apply a few drops of this cleansing oil to my fingers first and then spread it all over my face, gently massaging it. If I am going to shower, I leave the oil on for a few minutes and then cleanse it off with a damp flannel, leaving my skin nurtured, soft and sample. While I don’t have sensitive skin, as it becomes colder and radiators are working full blast, my skin becomes dryer, so using this cleansing oil supports my skin’s matrix and gently cleanses make-up and daily pollutants off.

The oil’s pale yellow colour is easy on the eye and feels richly nourishing, yet not at all greasy, for those of you who are wondering about trying oil cleanser for the skin. I also recommend that you check Mallow & White website for tips on the best way to use each product, as this oil cleanser can be used three ways. Click here to find out more. There is also additional information on key ingredient benefits, as well as the full list of ingredients, which is as follows: Cucumber Seed Oil, Rice Bran Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Apricot kernel oil, Jojoba oil.

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Joanna’s products don’t contain mineral oils, SLS or other harsh sulphates which are harsh abrasive cleaners and all of her products are hand-blended in small batches, in order to maintain maximum freshness, in Hertfordshire, where she lives.  They are also vegan and tested on friends, not animals and if you think or know that you have sensitive skin, Joanna recommends that you do a patch test first.

http://www.mallowandwhite.co.uk/Shop/Details/12RESTORE

Cleansing Oil was developed for normal & dry skin types. The read more

Tara Stiles new book on how to be strong, focussed and ridiculously happy

I have been meaning to review this book for the last couple of weeks, but time seems to have run away from me, as I got too engrossed in the subject of politics. Finally, I am parked on the chair in front of my laptop and ready to tell you about Tara Stiles‘s fifth book, called ‘Strala Yoga: Be Strong, Focussed, Ridiculously Happy from the Inside Out’, which publication is very timely, as it focusses on helping you get your life back in balance with the help of a regular yoga practise. Last month Tara was in London teaching, with her baby bump noticeably bigger, yet it doesn’t seem to have slowed her down. She did appear more serene and somewhat mellower, with softer curves, guiding a large room of Strala devotees through a relaxing hour and a half class, but time was short and we didn’t get a chance to talk about the book, so my review is based purely on my own impressions after reading the book.

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Often what we lack in daily life is ease, so the tension that builds up within our bodies squashes our intuitional, physical and mental abilities, as well as creativity. Instead of lingering and breathing through difficult moments, we go rigid and become more tense. Tara wrote this book with a specific aim of guiding you into practising Strala yoga at home, on your yoga mat on a regular basis, so you develop an air of serenity off the mat. We rush, we get angry and frustrated, the world seems to be tilting into the wrong direction and with that we feel somewhat lost in the sense of direction and stance we need to be taking. Our frustrations affect the kids and that only worsens the situation, so I thought I would share this review with you ahead of the festive rush, hopefully giving you an idea on the choice of the Christmas gift for yourself or your loved ones, who might innately crave calm, yet don’t know how to achieve it by themselves and without going to the gym.

Part One: Move With Ease

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Here Tara talks about what inspired her to create Strala and what effect tension has on our bodies. You will discover basic principles that read more

Bio-Extracts and Curious Russian in London collaboration

In addition to writing my blog, I consult brands in the beauty and wellness sector, but it is the first time that I collaborate with a relatively new brand on a project that is consciously meant to benefit you, beauty consumer. I was introduced to Bio- Extracts, a British-based, vegan beauty brand, founded by Marina Shcherbinina (she is also the founder of premier beauty brand NuBo) in the summer and recently did a detailed review of the products, but now Marina and I are going a step further.

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I often lament beauty brands that fail to engage with consumer, by ignoring the feedback or failing to provide helpful customer service. When it comes to skincare the choices we face might be plenty, if not overwhelming, but making the right choice for yourself isn’t easy, when you don’t want to be swayed by the marketing spiel and are looking for the products that will work for your skin and address your needs. Marina and I created a

sample set, which comprises three
read more

Review: the wonder of Bodhi & Birch body oils

It is always intriguing to be on testing panel of brands whose products I love using, as it offers glimpses into the creative process that most consumers don’t get before the product appears on shop’s shelves, TV or press ads. Elijah Choo, founder of Bodhi & Birch, is a man who never ceases to surprise me with the depth of his knowledge, but the trio of body oils that he recently launched turned out to be a much bigger revelation than I anticipated.

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Elijah created an aromatic trio of body oils to celebrate the scent, colour and culture of Europe and offer women (and men) a range of handcrafted products made of 100% natural botanicals and in small batches, thus offering the freshest quality. When I was on a panel of testers, Elijah sent all of us three samples and after using them, we filled in and sent him back a detailed questionnaire. I also talked to Elijah in detail about my experience with the oils, as one of them smelled particularly strong and another I wasn’t too sure of, as generally I am not a huge fan of rose-scented products, possibly finding them a little too ‘girly’. Having said that, this particular rose-scented body oil took me on a journey of such immense discovery, I was completely taken aback – but more on it later.

After all of the feedback was in, Elijah continued to tweak and refine the final formulas – always a perfectionist when it comes to his products and making sure they live up to customer’s expectations ! – while also enhancing their unique beauty and wellbeing. Only when he was satisfied, did the products launch and I hope you will find them as transformative as I did. One of my own biggest surprises when it came to those body oils, was a truly successful fusion of aromatherapy and perfumery, so much so, that now I wear two of those oils as a natural perfume, dabbing it on my pulse points, behind the ears and on my neck, after I apply it all over the body.

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Nordic White Body Oil: the name of this body oil made sure it had me at ‘hello’, and not because ‘hygge’ is the current buzzword. About three years ago, Elijah was in Stockholm, visiting Bodhi & Birch retailers. On his way to one of the meetings, he walked from his hotel, located in central Stockholm, all the way to a more hippie area, where the meeting was supposed to take place. Stockholm is one of Elijah’s favourite cities, as it allows him to walk from one island to another, while observing the beauty of nature, forests and decor of the houses, which he absorbs, nurturing his creative life force. In a way Nordic White is Elijah’s love letter to the city, with an assembly of notes that popped into Elijah’s head as he walked around the city, drinking it in. Original birch notes were taken out, but alpine notes – more wood than leaves, as well as berries, moss, hints of sea and fennel  were blended together creating, a ‘fresh, open, balanced white scent’. Elijah had the clearest picture of what this oil should smell and look like out of the three body oils he created , but he went through two versions, before the third satisfied him.

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Elijah sees this oil as ‘a curative tonic of Spruce, Cypress and Pine enlivened with the freshness of Sweet fennel with soothing undertones of Frankincense. The scent is clean and reassuring, balanced with a soft lingering sweetness’. To that I can add that to me it feels like a hug from an old, comforting friend who knows what to say on every occasion, be it sad or happy. Before I apply it, I warm it in my hands for a few seconds, savouring the smell and then apply it to my body, rolling my fingers over muscles and circling it in when a certain area feels a little tight or painful. I draw comfort from this scent and as my skin warms up from the massage and the scent settles and changes, I end up drawing my wrist to my nose, inhaling it, as the day progresses, in order to ground & center myself.

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‘Nordic White Body Oil is rather special to me. It is my interpretation of a moment when everything about the world is right. There is an open quality read more

Guest blog: Elena Rayner-Melnikova & the story behind Golden Oils

One of the reasons why I started my blog several years ago was that I wanted to give spotlight to people and brands that might not be familiar to you, but you might want to know about. Today I want to introduce Elena Rayner-Melnikova, founder of Golden Oils, as well as share my opinion on two of Elena’s products with you.

Elena Rayner – Melnikova

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‘Moving house is considered stressful per se. What could I have expected from the experience of building a nest in what were, at the time, both a new country and culture for me, as a carefree youth?

Looking back, I still remember a type of heavy sensation in my head, something which would descend by the end of each day. Everything was new: the language, people, social rituals, customs, food, shops, roads and ways of life. Now that I have taken a course in neuroscience, I appreciate the deluge of information my brain was integrating on a daily basis. I was driven to make the best of not merely a living in a new country, but making Hampshire my true home.

A happy life is possible when you express yourself both professionally and personally. My Siberian roots and philosophy on life have led me on the journey which I’m on today. So, starting Golden Oils – to provide the best quality Siberian pine nut oil in the UK – was an obvious choice for me.

Golden Oils’ Siberian Cold Pressed Pine Nut Oil is 100% pure – free from preservatives, other added vegetable oils, artificial colouring and flavours. It is mechanically cold pressed from the kernels of Siberian pine trees, which grow naturally in remote and unpolluted regions of Siberia. Our cold pressing process preserves the nutritional value, mild woody taste and golden colour of the oil.

Throughout my childhood natural products were a way of life. I distinctly remember how my grandma would use ribwort leaves on my grazed knees, but now I also understand why their anti-inflammatory and astringent properties made them such an effective topical treatment. She also swore by bearberry infusions to treat our family’s coughs. Rumour has it that bearberry gets its name because the bright red berries are a favourite with bears! Either way, I appreciated the healing properties of plants from a very young age.

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“Nature itself is the best physician.” – Hippocrates

Back home in Siberia, pure pine nut oil is deemed to be ‘worthy of a Tsar’ and was another natural remedy my grandmother swore by when I developed an excruciatingly sore tummy. The cold pressed oil would calm the inflammation and bring natural relief, in the same manner as it would have for generations before me. It’s not coincidence when natural remedies work. They have been tried, tested and trusted for centuries.

Generations of people in Siberia and a growing number of customers, both in the UK and worldwide, use pine nut because of its soothing and natural healing properties:

– to relieve digestive disorders, including acid reflux, irritable bowel read more

Bio-Extracts – Beauty Lego for the face

It’s not often when a founder of a successful beauty brand decides to branch out and launch another one, alongside the original one. That in itself intrigued me, when I heard that Marina Shcherbinina, founder of NuBo beauty, is launching a new beauty concept. When we met for breakfast before the start of the summer holidays, Marina showed me the pre-launch samples of her new brand, which were due to be launched  on QVC in late July. Marina is not a woman to rest on her laurels, so after building from scratch a successful brand NuBo in London a few years ago, which now sells also in Europe, Hong Kong and Russia, she felt that she was ready to introduce Bio-Extracts to the world. Sitting at the breakfast table and listening to marina talk about her new brand, I ‘played’ with serum syringes & thought to myself that it all looked like Lego for our face – pieces of the puzzle coming together to build protective armour for your skin.

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Russian women pride themselves on their appearance and Marina, who has scientific background, wanted to utilise the power of bio-technology and its use of highly purified ingredients. By extracting plant actives, Marina and her team choose to  focus on creating bespoke solutions to multiple skin problems. Bio-extracts deliver effective and bespoke formulations that will also satisfy exacting vegan standards. By offering airless jars, that at a touch of a finger dispenses an exact amount of cream, you can also boost its efficacy with up to four serums that come in separate booster syringes. So you have functional packaging and effective skincare, which also harnesses the power of mood-boosting fragrances. You can also expect non-greasy, rapidly absorbed formulas, some of which will also have a gently cooling effect on your skin.

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After our meeting I went home with the prototypes and in the course of the summer I was giving Marina my initial feedback. What also intrigued me, is Marina’s use of multi-lamellar system in her new skincare formulas. The upper layers of the skin, body’s lipids, oils and fats, are organised into highly-structured, lamellar arrangement, which form the skin’s barrier function, keeping important fluids in and external aggressors out. Bio-Extracts multi-lamellar system carries a distinct structural similarity to those natural skin layers, mimicking skin’s own lamellar structure. It is designed to act like a ‘patch’ on the skin, restoring its barrier function and so preventing trans-epidermal water-loss. It also makes a great base for other active ingredients in the formula, as it helps to ensure a uniform distribution of the actives  for optimal skincare performance. The system, originally developed for  treating extra-sensitive skin types, offers an innovative type of moisturiser, a step ahead from ‘water in oil’ or ‘oil in water’ emulsifiers.

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One of the keys to skincare performance is an effective delivery system. In case of Bio-Extracts you have phospholipids-based delivery system, that ensures that Bio-Extracts actives penetrate deeper into the skin layers, thus helping to restructure and repair cellular membranes & preserve skin integrity and health.

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How does the Bio-Extracts system work?  You do a self-skin assessment via Bio-extracts website and then choose moisturiser and boosters. Then, every morning and night, you mix up to four boosters, depending on your skin’s needs in the moment in time, and add them to the pre-measured dose of moisturiser, apply it to your face, neck and decollete and you are ready for the day ahead or to lay or head on the pillow, while your skin regenerates & repairs.

When it comes to moisturisers, you simply press down either side of the plate lid with your thumb to  dispense a pre-measured amount of the cream on the plate lid. Then, examine your skin in the mirror and decide if you want to use it on its own, or mix it with a booster shot. If you choose to add a booster, simply mix it into your moisturiser with a clean finger and apply lovingly to your face.

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The Moisturiser:

There are three textures to choose from:

Light Moisturiser: suitable for oily, problematic and combination skin. I found it worked perfectly for my skin in the summer and have continued to use it thus far into the autumn. It has ultra-light formula that mattifies the skin which is quickly absorbed into the skin. Expect well-hydrated skin with some cooling sensation upon initial application.

– Normal Moisturiser: this one is suitable for day and night use. It contains argan oil & is suitable for normal and combination types of skin.

Rich Moisturiser:  suitable for dry and mature skin types, it works particularly well on most skin types in the colder months. It contains Cupuacu Butter, produced from seeds sourced from this tree, which grows in the Amazon (don’t confuse it will online retailer ), which helps your skin feel well hydrated for longer without skin feeling overloaded.

At the base of those three moisturisers lie bio-mimetic emulsifiers, of 100% vegetable origin, which match your skin’s lamellar structure. Their role is to act as ‘second skin’ and help restore the barrier of damaged skin. The formula is quite mild, so even if your skin is sensitive, with regular use it will help to build up skin’s tolerance, while sugar esters will help moisturise your skin.

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Over the latter part of the summer I have been using the Light Face Cream, which absorbs oil and mattifies the skin. But for me it was the scent that caressed my senses and that lingers on my skin. Now, with the weather becoming colder and heating turned on, I switched to the Normal face Cream, which is perfect for the day and its fresh, floral scent is again a winner for me. If your skin needs some extra moisture, then go for the Rich one ( it won’t feel heavy on the skin, but will make the skin feel soothed and cocooned. Perfect for travel or when you go skiing or mountain hiking ).

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The Boosters

Whatever your skin needs, Marina made sure that a certain booster is on offer for you to choose from – you have quite a choice !

Anti-Wrinkle: read more