Beat The Blues Ilapothecary launch

Nowadays instead of greeting each other with a ‘hello’, people are more likely to lament how fast-paced life is and how exhausted they seem to be feeling. While this does hold true in many read more

Thoughtful Beauty: Ilapothecary products review

At the time when beauty brands continuously churn new products to keep up with Millennials and Generation Z fleeting interests, some brands focus on creating products based on what they can do for our read more

In time for autumn equinox: Bodhi and Birch Limited Edition Bath & Shower Oils collection

As autumn arrived on our doorstep, with cooler temperatures & beautiful foliage strewn across the roads, it also heralds peaceful contemplation of the changes to your skin & body care routines. 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

Review of PLANT bodywashes and Q & A with Holly McWhorter, one of the brand’s founders

What’s the best way to start a day? Are you more of a cup of water with lemon or a let me smell the coffee first type of person? Do you jump off the bed or do you prefer to linger for as long read more

Review of Antonia Burrell’s Cleansing Oil & Facial Oil Serum

It’s always interesting to review products that are created by someone who hasn’t just worked in the beauty industry for a while,  but also has a variety of knowledge including chemistry, botany and aromatherapy. Antonia Burrell isn’t just a facialist and skincare expert, she is also a lecturer in the Chemistry of Aromatherapy at the London College of Fashion, so I was intrigued to try & review of couple of her holistic skincare products, a Natural Glow Cleansing Oil and Pure Therapy Facial Oil Serum.

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Antonia’s collection of products ( there are currently six facial products ) aims ‘to transform the monotony of your daily skincare regime into an indulgent time for calm, well-being and healing by harnessing potent pure plant alchemy‘. The products smell, which help to melt away not just impurities but stresses of the day focus on anti-ageing and anti-blemish results and help you enjoy the ‘me time’ in front of the mirror in the morning and in the evening, helping you to balance yourself and your skin. 

Another bonus is that the products were created to be multi-tasking, fusing proprietary blends of bioactive ingredients that are sourced from around the world and Antonia choses to work with producers who share her commitment to the environment ( all the product bottles are recyclable ) and sustainable working practises, a fact that still often goes to the back of the queue when it comes to priorities of beauty brands. Each product is distilled into Swiss violet glass that helps to preserve and protect plant’s bio actives energy. My only gripe here – and it is just my visual reaction to the violet glass packaging – is that the bottles, down to the pump and tops are exactly the same as a few other brands on the market. The type/paper packaging is distinct of Antonia but if there was no branding on the actual bottles I would confuse it with a few other brands that I use.

Natural Glow Cleansing Oil, £39.50, 100 mls: this was the first product that I tried from Antonia’s range and it came highly recommended. This cleansing oil emulsifies when coming in contact with water, turning it into a cleansing milk and giving you an effective double cleanse that will help remove impurities, dirt and even waterproof make-up – I have used it to remove mascara ( it acts as a gentle eye make-up remover when you combine it with water ). Antonia recommends shaking the bottle gently before dispencing & smoothing four to six pumps of the oil on your dry face but I find that for me three or four are more than adequate. As you apply it to your face, massage it in, working your fingers into the contours of your face, gliding it over your skin, inhaling its uplifting aroma. Massage it around for a couple of minutes, untill you feel that your skin has warmed up and then start adding water until the oil turns  milky, before washing it off with a muslin cloth.

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The following ingredients in this cleansing oil are worth mentioning for reference:

Tuscan Cypress Tree Extract is an astringent that helps to speed up the process of cellular regeneration

Bitter Orange is known for its skin clarifying benefits and helping treat the blemish prone skin.

Citrus Medica
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Dark nights & Therapie Roques O’Neil Joie

With days becoming shorter and nights becoming colder, we yarn for warmth and comfort, thus switching from having a quick shower to having long, indulgent baths full of warming reassurance. So it is very timely that Michelle Roques O’Neil just launched the latest addition to her aromatherapy range Therapie Roques O’Neil simply called Joie, meaning ‘joy’ in French.

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If you aren’t already acquainted with Michelle and her wonderful products, notably my favourite Himalayan Detox Bath Salts and Aura Spray, you can read my impressions here, but the love for this beautiful brand has been growing steadily this past year, with both journalists and customers singing its praises.

When I asked Michelle what inspired creative process for the latest product, a dreamy but uplifting Joie bath infusion, Michelle told me that  she ‘wanted to create something along the lines of spiritual bathing – something that nourished, indulged and uplifted. I wanted to make a different spin on bathing as water is such an amazing medium for releasing negativity. So I began to think of Cleopatra and luxurious rosé scented baths and also Ayurvedic use of aromatic powders for skin healing such as frankincense, cedarwood, rose and sandalwood– it was then a case of finding the right balance and infusing it with uplifting essential oils like wild rosé, honeysuckle, geranium and tangerine. This formula certainly lifts you out of depression and generally makes you feel good.’

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Michelle has sent me a small sample, that was enough to make three baths and my first impression, when I opened the sachet, was the smell of pine forests that I so love and that take me back to childhood holidays in the Baltic Republics, notably Latvia and Lithuania. I think the smell alone will relax you even before you run a bath. As you will immerse yourself into hot water infused with Joie, it will ease the stresses of the day away and make you feel regally serene by the time you climb under your bed covers. This infusion helps to clear your head and slow down your thoughts, yet I also felt like smiling as I wrapped my robe tightly around me.

You will find that small granules might collect on your skin, so you can just rub them up and down your skin, exfoliating your skin and further enhancing your bathing ritual by allowing a beautiful layer of skin to emerge and the old to be washed away. Everything in life has a balance and who is to say that there aren’t benefits in those longer and colder autumn or winter nights?

http://www.roquesoneil.com/