Curiosity Gap Review: Dafna’s Skincare Purify Cleanser

Cleansing your face is akin to a spring renewal, the only difference being that spring arrives only once a year and you get to clean your skin twice a day, making it fertile ground for the actives in[...] read more

Galina Likes: Ayurvedic day of health, fashion & yoga with Ananda & Asquith

Last week, just a few days before my extended family was due to arrive for a reunion, I started my day in the peaceful company of renowned practitioners from the Ananda[...] read more

CRiL reviews: Dafna’s Recovery Cleanser

Cleansing is one of those daily rituals that brings a multitude of benefits to your skin, as well as your body via your senses. Find the right cleanser for your skin, use it twice daily, making sure you cleanse your skin thoroughly, but without stripping it & you are one step closer to having beautiful skin. Today I want to introduce the latest launch from Spanish brand Dafna’s Personal Skincare called Recovery Cleanser to you.

When I first came across this Spanish brand, I was surprised that it didn’t have a cleanser among its products, but as I got to know Dafna, brand’s founder & mother of two, I understood that she won’t launch something unless she was happy with what the product will achieve. Combining scientific research, careful ingredient selection & Ayurvedic principles, each product aims to deliver so much more that just skincare benefits to its customers.

Recovery Cleanser has a texture of a balm, but as you massage your face & neckline with it, adding water, it changes to a milky consistency, imparting a veil of nurture to the skin. The centre of this cleanser is created around nutritive & antioxidant-rich organic oils of Moringa, Bamboo & Argan, which help remove make-up & grime that we accumulate daily, when our skin comes into contact with the elements, as well as purify the skin. Lemongrass essential oil helps to detoxify your skin, while its scent calms your mind & Calendula Extract reduces skin discomfort.

When Dafna started developing this cleanser, she thought long & hard about her own experiences with cleansers, considering texture, effect & benefit for the skin, scent, as well as the things that she didn’t like when using a product to cleanse the skin. This lovely woman has a a very calm disposition about her, even though she balances her work with motherhood & I just can’t imagine her rushing in her creative process. Good things take time & effort to create & Dafna wanted women who use this cleanser to not only feel & see the difference in their skin, but to give them a moment of calm in their busy lives, something that as a mother really resonates with me. She considers oil to be more ‘profound’ when it comes to make-up & grime removal from the skin, so incorporating a few of them led her to create a balm that becomes quite milky when it comes into contact with water & ultimately benefits your skin, doesn’t make it feel or look de-hydrated, while cleansing it effectively at the same time. Her aim was to create a cleanser that will give you a feeling of beautifully clean skin, was easy to remove and be practical in terms of the multitude of benefits.

What Recovery Cleanser does:

  • Deeply cleanses the skin, while lifting dirt & impurities
  • Removes foundation & make-up without causing irritation
  • Fights skin oxidation caused by intrinsic factors like pollution & sun exposure, while helping skin recover its natural healing ability
  • Nourishes the skin
  • Helps reduce intrinsic stress, which is a significantly influential factor when it comes to ageing process

When Dafna was playing with textures during the creative process, she was conscious that many of us travel & take our cleansers with us, so a product that is solid is somewhat preferable. One of the things worth pointing out is that this cleanser combines oils & shea butter in its formulae, which allows the balm to stay ‘solid’ in the jar, so you can rest assured that it won’t ‘leak’ in your luggage. We crave balance when it comes to our lifestyle, why not start with incorporating a skincare product that has balance at its core into our daily skincare routine ?

What makes Recover Cleanser Unique:

  • This cleansing Balm offers the advantages of pure oils & nurturing active ingredients & soft, milky texture that is easy to rinse without the need for face cloth (you can use a facial cloth, if you so wish though)
  • Ingredients respect & assist skin’s natural ability to recover
  • The formula takes into consideration both extrinsic & intrinsic stress & ageing factors; it  also allows you to slow down, while nurturing your face
  • Works for all skin types & doshas
  • Can  be left on the skin for a few minutes for some extra nurture or overnight on clean skin as a mask.

When Dafna & I met during her last visit to London in April, I, of course, took advantage on an opportunity to catch up with her, as well as quiz her about the cleanser. I was also quite intrigued, when she suggested cleansing skin not twice, but three times a day. As city dwellers, we can all judge the state of the environment by looking at the windows. When my window cleaner comes over, I love catching sunlight through the windows as I work, cook, do chores or just pause to look at the sky & clouds floating by, but within a few days the glint gets lost in dirt that starts to accumulate. Now,  think about what that does to our skin, which is exposed to it daily, as we move across town for work, school runs, meetings, lunch breaks or errands. So, Dafna draws on that and suggests that even when you work in the office, it’s worth taking five minutes to go to the bathroom, brush your teeth after lunch, cleanse the skin, luxuriating in the sensation of five minute beauty break, re-apply you serum or moisturiser, as well as make-up and get back to work, knowing that you skin’s ‘breathing’ just got a little bit easier. Such approach probably helps improve skin’s ‘health’ as well. In the last few months I also developed a habit of cleansing my face as soon as I am back home, knowing I won’t be going out again that day. I let the water wash the grime & negativity that I might have experienced down the drain, smile at myself in the mirror and get on with the rest of my afternoon or evening, allowing my skin to regenerate & luxuriate in the clean calmness of the sanctuary that is home, having applied my evening skincare products earlier & letting them get to work on environmental damage & ageing process, as I cook, spend time with my family and work.

How to use


Take a pearl-sized amount of balm & massage it into your dry skin. Leave to ‘act’[...] read more

CRiL reviews: Botanic Garden products

I believe in getting to know brands and their products, before sharing my experiences with you. Jumping from skincare product to skincare product doesn’t serve your skin well, as sooner or later it will rebel. Taking your time will also allow you to build an accurate picture of what this or that product can do for your skin or a skin problem you are seeking to address. I have been using Botanic Garden products from last summer (you can read the interview with Elena & Anastasia, brand founders here) and below is my review of several BG face & body products, as well as herbal teas and a mini head & neck pillowette.

Face Oil with Chrysanthemum Flowers for face, neck & decollate: this oil was given to me as a gift and I couldn’t be more delighted with the results I was seeing with continued use. The oil works well for mature skin and while I don’t fit into that category just yet, I found that it works well in the summer (when used with a light touch), when the skin tends to get dry, particularly if you are spending the time in the hot climate, as well as in the winter, when the skin can feel parched due to temperature variations inside and outside. Carrier  and essential oils (Macadamia Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Almond Oil, Clary Sage Essential Oil, Geranium Essential Oil, Grapefruit Essential Oil ) assist the process of skin regeneration, while also restoring elasticity and plumping up wrinkles, making them less noticeable. The star ingredient here is the Chrysanthemum Flowers, as substances that they contain help purify the skin and remove toxins.

I like the richness of the texture of this oil, but it doesn’t prevent the oil from sinking into the skin fairly quickly, making your skin look well hydrated, plumped up and even.  Elena and Anastasia recommend applying this oil to clean, wet face with light massaging movements. They also say that ‘it’s crucial to leave oil applied for 15-20 minutes’. You can use it day and night – if used in the morning it acts as a lovely make-up ‘primer’ and in the evening I tend to massage it in for a little longer, easing the tension our of my face muscles, while inhaling its subtle flower aroma.

It also should be noted that since my initial use of this oil, Botanic Garden has slightly changed its packaging, or rather the bottle’s stopper, making it more ‘leak-proof’ and adapted for European consumers. It is always a positive sign when the brand takes note of customer feedback and makes changes, when necessary.

Cornflour and Melissa Body Oil: My initial impression was that of simple beauty, when you take the time to put the bottle in front of you and just observe the clarity of oil and the flowers that it is infused with. Products like that are like a mini-meditation – just put it in front of you, take deep breaths and enjoy examining it like a painting you might linger at in the art gallery or museum. It really is my definition of the simplicity of beauty!

This body oil was created to moisturise dry skin, including elbows, knees and soles. Thanks to the high content of unsaturated fatty acids and Vitamin E, which is like an elixir for the skin, expect your skin to look and feel more hydrated with regular use.

You can use this body oil in the morning, but I tend to favour it at night-time, applying it to slightly damp skin after a bath or shower and massaging it upwards, starting with the soles of my feet and ending up at neckline. I will be honest that it’s not my favourite smelling body oil, as it has a slightly herby, medicinal smell, but it doesn’t linger on the skin for too long. It sinks in quickly and you can feel its effect almost instantly, going from ‘zero to hero’, when it comes to how your skin feels in terms of dry vs well-moisturised.

Ingredients: Walnut Oil, Macadamia Oil, Almond Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Palmarosa Essential Oil, Melissa Essential Oil, Lemon Essential Oil, Cornflower Blossoms.

Face Cleansing Composition for sensitive skin: One of the founding principles of Botanic Garden is the wisdom of Ayurveda. When it comes to daily skin cleansing (essential, if you want health and beautiful looking skin, irrespective of your age or skin type) Ayurveda uses flour blends made from various ground cereals, spices and herbs. From the Ayurveda perspective it is highly important that skincare products are edible and do not contain any toxic or carcinogenic substances – because skin absorbs everything we put onto it within a few minutes of application.

This cleansing composition took me right back to my childhood and memories of the fruit, vegetables and herbs growing in the garden, adjustment to our country house, lovingly tended to by my family. A herbal paste with ground cereals and spices will gently cleanse the skin, helping in its faster recovery and improving its resistance to inflammation. Ground leaves of ribwort and henna contain a significant amount of the vitamin K, providing anti-inflammatory, regenerative and bactericidal action. Before using it, particularly if I had a hectic day and feel somewhat un-balanced, I close my eyes and inhale the herbal smell, before mixing it and applying to my skin. Just don’t inhale too deeply, nor put your nose too close to the glass jar, like I did the first time. My sneeze was epic, but luckily I moved my face away quickly, so not too much of the product dispersed into the air .)

Curiously, cleansing composition can replace several skin care products, saving you time, without compromising on the efficacy of your daily skincare ritual. This one thoroughly cleanses skin and can also serve as a base for a face mask. For daily cleansing, take a small amount of composition (I use one tsp) and mix it with water right in your palm, then apply to the clean, wet face. If you want to have more ‘control’ & precision, mix it with a brush in a small bowl you use for skin rituals. Rinse off with warm water after five minutes and examine how you skin looks and feels. Try experimenting with the varying thickness of the resulting mixture – from paste-like, gently removing dirt, to almost dry powder-like for use as a tender facial scrub.

Top Tip From Elena & Anastasia: ”If you mix composition with oil suitable for your type of skin or with lactic acid whey,[...] read more

Q & A with Elena Babayeva & Anastasia Markova, founders of Botanic Garden

My dear readers, finally I can share with you a Russian natural beauty brand worth shouting about. My own Botanic Garden journey started[...] read more

Organic Beauty Week: my September natural product for hair, body and pits

Having talked about face care of the natural origin in my previous post, I couldn’t leave out body and hair out, could I?! When it comes to our skin, our biggest organ, making the choice to introduce organic or natural skincare is not a bad idea, but to make things less daunting start with your body – it can be a body lotion, shower gel or deodorant and then build on it. In this post I will tell you about a hair oil from the latest Beauty Heroes Box, natural deodorant that in some ways truly rivals the one from Aurelia and a trio of body oils that were only officially launched this week, so I will only tell you about them briefly, with a bigger post to follow. So, now, let’s begin.

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Hair

Haircare is a big business, but having had my hair issues in the past, I am quite picky about my shampoos, conditioners and masks. I don’t use a fan often and with dead straight hair, you will never see me with straighteners or ruling irons in hand. There are brands that I trust and whose products look after my hair and skull – some are natural, others not. In my case, to find a balance isn’t easy, as I tend to get some oiliness on my scalp, hence the need to wash it fairly often, unless I am prepared to wear a hat while out in public, while my actual hair tends to be on the slightly dry side. With that in mind, hair oils, even though I love them and sincerely envy Middle-Eastern women with their lustrous long and glossy locks, I know that using hair oil on my own hair makes me look like I need to wash my hair as soon as my hair has dried up. Luckily, my September Beauty Heroes subscription box arrived, while I was sunning myself on the beach, so I was ready to kiss Jeannie Jarnot, company’s founder, as it felt like she thought of me personally, wanting to address the issues with my hair that accompanied my daily, long sea swims and sunning myself on the beach. I came back happy, but with my hair feeling a little bit like straw, as I love leaving my hair dry up naturally after swimming in the sea and only wash them out every night. The result? Glorious mess and somewhat dry mane.

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Uma’s Intensely Nourishing Hair Oil captures an ancient Indian beauty ritual in a glass bottle. When I opened it for the first time, I experienced the sense of rupture, which only magnified my feelings when I applied the oil to the hair and left it till the evening. This oil is based on the founder Shrankhla Holocek‘s secret Ayurvedic family recipe that is handed from one generation to another and in the moment in time, there are only under ten people who actually know it. What the oil promises is to treat dull, damaged, frizzy hair ( sun, heat, rough brushing etc. ), while balancing the naturally occurring oils of the scalp.

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The gorgeously yellow oil peaks at you from the glass bottle, crowned with a handy pipette. It contains essential oils of Grapefruit, Lemon, Cypriol, Hibiscus, Yerba de Tago ( also known as the ‘false daisy and known for its nourishing and prevention of premature greying properties ) in a base of Grapeseed, Indian Gooseberry, Mooring and Jojoba oils. You can use it on dry hair or apply it to hair after washing, but principally it is a good idea to apply it to your scalp, breathing deeply and leave it on overnight – I have heard a few good comments about using it like that. My problem is that I don’t have the time to wash my hair in the morning, before getting everyone ready for school and work and dashing out of the door, so I tend to apply it in the evening, leave it on for a couple of hours, before washing it off and shampooing my hair thoroughly, otherwise I do end up with greasy hair, which isn’t the look I am keen on. I have only been using the oil for a couple of weeks, which normally is too short a period before I get down to reviewing the product, but this oil certainly is impressive enough to be spotlighted. I actually now wear it on my hair as hair perfume during the day – and that is saying something about my haircare habits, as I never did it before .)

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To find out more about Uma or order their products, please click on the link to the Beauty Heroes website here

Armpits


This area of our body doesn’t often see the light of the day and is not the one we tend to pamper, yet it is such an important part of us. Until my recent[...] read more

Reading for fitness: 7 Workouts for 7 Moods by Rupa Mehta

There are some women that inspire you even if you haven’t met them in person but only know them via Skype conversations and e-mail exchanges. Rupa Mehta, a tiny fireball of enthusiasm and energy is a NY-based trainer and entrepreneur, who is also a philanthropist with a mission to build confidence of women, as well as children, by teaching them that sports is important for self-esteem, as well as long-term health. A fantastically efficient multitasked, recently Rupa presented her new book to the world, called ‘7 Workouts for 7 Moods’, which aims to help you achieve a body and mind balance. By fusing her own experience as a woman and a fitness trainer, Rupa created a plan that incorporates yoga, pilates, strength training and barre work that together will help you lose extra pounds, as well as lift the emotional weight off your shoulders.

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Anger Energy Stress Chill Happiness Doubt Anxiety


Rupa has been a fitness instructor for over fifteen years, so she knows from experience that ‘good physical fitness can[...] read more