August beauty product ‘trials’

When I go on a summer holiday with a family, I try to cram as many beauty products into the suitcase as I can-some of them belong to my ‘beauty musts’, without which I refuse to travel, and some products travel with me because I want to try them out.

I already have written about Vivesana sun protection creams (for both face & body) that get my definite thumbs up, both for adults and for kids, earlier this month:

BlissFat Girl Six Pack’- luckily for me, it went on sale a few weeks before my summer holiday, so I started ‘testing’ it a couple of weeks prior to my departure from London.


This gel is aimed at helping you tone your mid-section (don’t forget that no cream will solve your problems unless it becomes part of a conscious regime including a sensible diet & regular exercise-don’t expect miracles to happen if you sit on the couch and like me at times, plead the lack of time for deserting your fitness regimen). It comes with very precise massage instructions, which need to be followed with the ‘help’ of the nubbed built-in applicator on top of the bottle. Initially the massage with the applicator made my tummy section look a bit red and boy, oh boy, do you feel the massaging action somewhere deep inside, where your tummy muscles hide behind the layer of fat, which women are prone to accumulate in our mid-section due to hormone fluctuations, pregnancies and eating too much of foods like sweets, bread and pasta. I did it once a day, in the evening, during my beauty night-time routine and truth be told, it does help with toning your muscles and making your abs exercise routine more effective.  

Alba Botanica Sugar Cane Body Polish: a friend of mine got me some of this organic brand’s products in her local health store in Kent & I have to say, they not only smell good, but offer pretty good results too. In order for our skin to regenerate effectively, you need to use a body scrub once or twice a week, to get read of the dead skin cells and allow your skin to effectively absorb body products. This grainy scrub contains Honey (a great antiseptic) & Macadamia Nut, which offer a gentle, yet effective exfoliation, as well as moisturising and soothing your skin, so it will be beach ready in summer and better nourished in colder months.

Lavera All-Round Cream (basis sensitive product line that works on all skin types): I got my hands on the can of this delicious smelling cream during the CEW product event demonstration and have repeatedly re-ordered this cream since then. It contains Shea Butter & Organic Almond Oil and offers intense care to your skin, particularly if it feels dry. It also has Witch Hazel & Damascan Rose Water, so you end up feeling really pampered and smelling like a subtle bouquet of flowers. The 150mls tube packs easily in your suitcase, doesn’t take much space and it lasts you a long time, as you only need small quantities to moisturise and nourish you skin, post shower.


Intelligent Nutrients Bug Repellent Perfume Serum (certified organic): I already have quite a few of INs products in my arsenal, but this one is a very recent release & its arrival was quite timely. When you travel to warm climates it not only brings sunshine and joy to your life, but bites of various bugs too, so my policy is ‘better be over than under prepared’. This oil acts as a personal perfume that smells heavenly to humans, yet is very effective in shooing bugs, ants, flies, ticks etc. away! Most of insect repellents smell strongly of citronella & lemon & I find them not only too ‘obvious’, but they often also make you feel sticky and unattractive, as their ‘layering’ with your usual perfume is more likely to create an odour than a beautiful smell.


This perfume serum has such potent ingredients as sesame seed, Cedarwood bark, rosemary leaf, peppermint, cinnamon & clove leaves, lemongrass & thyme flower / leaf oils. You can use it on your children ( do a patch test prior to application, just to be on the safe side ), as well as on yourself and while you will still get an odd bite, I found that during my last summer break I came back with much less red and unattractive bites than before.


Sunday Riley Ceramic Slip Cleanser: this modern skincare brand is very well-known in the US, but it is starting to make waves in the UK too and is stocked on the newly re-designed and beautified Cult Beautyinternet site. This cleanser was recommended to me by Jessica De Luca, one of the site’s founders and I love how it makes my skin feel in the morning (it works perfectly in both warm & cold months of the year).


It produces a gentle foam when mixed with water and applied all over your face and not only does it refresh your skin, it also tightens pores, boosts circulation (black pepper), purifies (French green clay) & stimulates collagen (Vitamin C ester), as well as toning and balancing the skin (sandalwood, jasmine & frankincense essential oils), so I use it on its own, without applying the toner after it. Unlike many conventional cleansers your skin won’t feel dry after using it, even if you wait a little while before applying your morning serum or moisturiser.

A veritable treat for your lips comes from the brand called Live Native Luscious Lip Balm and it makes your lips feel & look so good (as well as tasting of chocolate (well, raw cacao to be more precise), vanilla & oranges-I keep on re-applying it in the happy knowledge that unlike real chocolate that I love, it won’t add anything to my waist line, while making me feel lovingly pampered) that your teenager would be begging you to share it.


If it is really hot outside, I tend to keep it in the fridge, so it stays a little bit more solid-but don’t worry, it’s not going to melt in your handbag or skirt’s pocket. It moisturises your lips, but not only that, it really feels like delicious dew when you apply it. It is the first product for lips that actually makes them feel so well moisturised, that it almost creates an illusion of ‘upping’ your fluid intake .)

Ilya Illuminator: this is a great & very versatile organic make-up bag essential that can contour your face, be a bronzer, as well as an eye shadow. It contains healing rosehip oil and comes in a very cool metallic container that is both sleek & practical.


I tested the shade called ‘Sway’ and it really magnified my tan in all the right places, making for a very quick application on my forehead, under the apples of my cheeks, over the bridge of my nose-all the places where the sun ‘hits’ you directly. If you want a ‘highlighting’ shade, go for ‘Polka Dots & Moonbeams’ that highlights the areas under the eyebrows, cupid’s bow or can be used as a really refreshing eye shadow, whatever your eye colour. Illuminator doesn’t ‘slip and slide’, even when it’s hot & humid, so you can go out for dinner or dancing and not have to dash to the bathroom to re-check whether your make-up is leaving the building without your permission.

Nars Illuminator: this super clever latest offering from the American brand landed on the counters in spring, as part of their ‘Afterglow’ range. While it wouldn’t exactly fit into your jeans or skirt pocket (unlike Ilya) but it does multi-task beautifully. It comes in four shades:

-Copacabana (a light shade, perfect as highlighter)

-Laguna (a perfect bronzer)

-Super Orgasm (my personal favourite, because it acts as both highlighter and blusher on my skin tone, as it has pretty undertones of pink)

-Orgasm (a peachy bronze colour)


You need to play with this product to find the best way you prefer to use it, but in general you can use it all over the face, or as highlighter or under your make-up or over it, as well as mixing it with your usual foundation, BB cream or tinted moisturiser.

It also has antioxidant polar berries, skin conditioning Vitamin B5 and soothing Indian Frankincense that gives your face a dewy finish.  

By the end of the day, summer is the time to enjoy yourself and have fun, so drink more water, enjoy the food that you might not be normally eating at home, use less make-up and let your body guide you towards what the French call ‘bien dans sa peau’-being comfortable in your own skin & simply being you!  

 Ilya, Vivesana, Intelligent Nutrients are stocked at Content/Wellbeing store & online:

Nars is available at Space NK or department stores Fenwick, Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, House of Fraser, John Lewis & Liberty.

Bliss is available at Bliss Spas, as well as online.

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