Customer service – how much does it matter ?

Since coming back from the summer holidays, where shopping wasn’t high on my agenda, I dived straight into online retail, but came back for air with mixed emotions. The question that I keep on[...] read more

Galina Loves: face cloths

When it comes to washing our faces, we all have different preferences. Some just use their nimble hands. Some love their Clarisonic, others prefer Foreo. But there[...] read more

Skin Owl multiple product review

After sharing insights into Skin Owl and introducing Annie Tevelin to those of you who weren’t familiar with her work before, I thought I would jump right into sharing some of my insights into Skin Owl products that Annie kindly gifted me, as well as the others that I purchased from Cult Beauty, brand’s main UK retailer for the time being.

Maqui Berry Beauty Drops PM, 60ml, £79

This product replaced Annie’s first product Beauty Drops, that was very much loved by women around the world. As I mentioned in my previous post, Annie was honest with her customers and followers, telling them about planned product change that was in the works, as well as the reasons behind it. It is something that some of the other brand founders can learn from, instead of instantly taking a product off the shelf with no prior warning or explanation. In my experience disengagement from loyal consumers that support the brand from the beginning can be a very costly mistake.

Annie developed this product with all skin types in mind, from oily prone to breakouts, to mature that needs extra hydration. Maqui Beauty Drops contain antioxidants & phytochemicals that neutralise DNA – damaging free radicals, thus reducing cell damage. With regular use you will hopefully notice dull skin become visibly radiant, congested skin will become clearer and uneven texture and tone will visibly improve for the better in time. It also promises to tighten & reduce pore size, as well as calm irritation and redness.

WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW:

Maqui Berry Drops have antimicrobial & antibacterial properties. Depending on your skin’s needs, apply five to seven drops after cleansing to your skin in the evening, instead of your usual serum or moisturiser. Inhale the fruity, uplifting scent and turn your evening skincare application into a mini-beauty ritual, massaging the tension out of your face.

When formulating her products, Annie makes sure they don’t contain synthetic fragrance, parabens, ethoxylated ingredients  and each formula is cruelty-free & vegan (interestingly, just as I was editing this post, I received an e-mail that contained information about Naturissimo launching a ‘vegan’ section on their website). For those of you contemplating swapping your mainstream beauty brand, like Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, this product is a good option, as recommended by Annie and her team.

Maqui Berry Drops ‘pairs’ well with the Beauty Whip, which I will talk about in more detail below, as well as any morning/daytime Beauty Drops, like Lavender, Geranium or Clary Sage ( I have a particular affinity with Lavender Beauty Drops and sometimes cheekily use Maqui Berry in the morning and Lavender drops in the evening, but as always, this is down to individual and skin type preference).

In terms of ‘key ingredients‘ in this formula, you have Maqui Berry Oil, Omega 3,6 & 9, Vitamin A, D, E & K, as well as Tangerine & Vanilla essential Oils. Annie chose them for their nourishing and healing properties, as well as ability to boost collagen production and slowing down premature aging of the skin. You can also count on them to calm, reduce inflammation, moisturise and decongest the skin, so the formula is quite versatile for different skin types, as well as ages to which it caters.

The pale, almost translucent colour of this oil opens up on your warm skin and delights the senses with an uplifting scent of orange groves. The ‘rich’ texture sinks into the skin within seconds, leaving behind smooth, more supple skin, but also allows you to massage your face and neck without dragging or pulling of the skin. For me it is definitely a face oil that stays on the beauty radar, rather than disappears from it.

Ingredients: Raw, organic, cold-pressed African Adansonia digitata (Baobab) Oil, pure Aristotelia chilensis (Maqui Berry) Oil, Vanilla planifolia (vanilla) Co2 extract, Citrus reticulata (tangerine) oil.

Maqui Berry Beauty Whip, 57g, £68

I first tried this product a few months ago, through my Beauty Heroes subscription box, where it played the role of a helpful ‘side-kick’ to the Beauty Drops. While it is primarily a mask, I enjoyed using it most as a primer before make-up application, as I found it not only ‘primed’ the skin, but also allowed the make-up to ‘stay’ in place for a bit longer than usual, which is a bonus when you don’t want to, or have the time to re-apply your make-up during the day.

 

According to Annie, this product is a three-in-one – ‘a face mask, makeup primer and Beauty Drops booster’. This gentle, creamy skin-drenching mask is boosted with ace hydrators like Hyaluronic Acid, Organic Olive and Jojoba Oils, plus antioxidant-rich Patagonian Maqui Berry, Organic Rooibos, toning DMAE and smoothing MSM‘.

The way to use it is to mix one pump’s worth with any of Skin Owl’s Beauty drops, this way is will act as a moisture booster and make-up primer. If you want to use it as a mask, then cleanse your skin and apply a thin layer of the Beauty Whip, avoiding the eye and lip area, and leave it on for up to thirty minutes. Due to its light texture akin to moisturiser, it sinks in, so you can get on with doing things around your home, without scaring your friend, roommate or family member away. You can also leave it on overnight and rinse off in the morning, following  it with the application of the Beauty Drops of your choice. It really is up to you how you want to use it, so try it in a variety of ways and find what suits you.

Tip: once in use, keep Beauty Whip in the fridge, for extra plumping and de-puffing benefits. It really perks the skin up with its cooling sensation.

If you are looking for swapping for a more natural formula, than this product can be a suitable alternative to ‘Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask’ & it pairs well a soothing Eye+, as well as Lavender, Geranium, Clary Sage and Maqui Berry Beauty Drops PM.

List of ingredientsOrganic Aloe Leaf Juice (Aloe Barbadensis), Organic Olive Fruit Oil (Olea Europaea), Organic Alcohol, Organic Jojoba Seed Oil (Simmondsia Chinensis), Emulsifying Wax (Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Lecithin), Stearic Acid, Hyaluronic Acid, MSM (Dimethyl Sulfone), DMAE Bitartrate (Dimethylaminoethanol Bitartrate), Rosehip Seed Oil (Rosa Canina), Organic Evening Primrose Oil (Oenothera Biennis), Organic Rooibos Leaf Extract (Aspalathus Linearis), Organic Lavender Extract (Lavandula Angustifolia), Maqui Berry (Aristotelia chilensis) Concentrate Powder, Organic Calendula Flower Extract (Calendula Of cinalis),Organic Green Tea Leaf Extract (Camellia Sinensis), Organic White Tea Leaf Extract (Camellia Sinensis), Vitamin E (Tocopherol), Sun ower Seed Oil (Helianthus Annuus), Xanthan Gum

Beauty Steam in ‘Lovey Dovey, limited edition

I have been a somewhat reluctant to join in recent excitement about the re-emergence of face steaming, as my childhood experiences of steaming over garlic water or Vicks, when I had colds, left an imprint of a sweaty face and a sense of boredom. Having said that, I have done face steaming with fresh herbs in the past and in the right circumstances (when I am in the sauna, for example) and provided your skin isn’t easily aggravated by steam, like skin prone to rosacea, it makes for a wonderful experience in the colder months of the year.

Annie created this combination of herbs, which includes lavender and rose buds, as a special treat for Valentine’s Day, offering women some extra moments all to themselves. It’s not often we get to enjoy some peace of the ‘me time’ and the precious moments of silence and reflection that come with it. I actually added it to my bath water, to which I added some milk as well, a la Cleopatra, and had a dreamy time listening to my favourite tunes, all by myself. Alternatively Annie shared her tip for face steaming: provided you haven’t dripped your sweat into the bowl, using a sieve and then drink the warm steam water as a soothing cup of tea, which helps you be more open-hearted when it comes to matters of the world. Longer breaths, calmer mind, happy tummy and complexion. That’s what I call a beautiful multi-tacker.


Skin[...] read more

New face masks launches: Kiehl’s, Tata Harper, Skin & Tonic, True Nature Botanicals & Evolve

Women have been masking for years and I believe that using face masks, once or twice a week, depending on your skin needs, is like having a mini-facial in the privacy of your own home. One of the latest trends is ‘zone masking’ and using several ones on your face but, to be honest, I don’t have the time, nor do I want to complicate ‘me-time’, which is precious for any woman balancing work and family. Instead I just examine my skin, consider what it might need and choose one to spend the evening with.

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Kiehl’s Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Mask & Turmeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Mask, 75mls, £28 ( also available in a small, 28ml size ): I like some of Kiehl’s products, as they work for my skin and had high hopes for those two launches. The first mask promises to protect your skin against impurities, as well as replenish it – sadly our environment is not getting cleaner or healthier for our bodies or skin, with the rising pollutants and stronger sun rays, which contribute to skin’s dullness and ageing. The mask contains antioxidant-rich orange extract to help prevent DNA damage, as well as cilantro (coriander ) seeds oil that should help to strengthen your skin’s barrier with regular use. This mask is recommended to be used three times a week at night. You need to apply a ‘visible’ layer to clean skin, leave on for five minutes and then tissue off the excess, leaving a thin protective layer on skin to work overnight. In the image below on top of my hand you can see the texture of the mask, on the bottom is what skin looks after 20 minutes and ’tissuing’ off.

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This mask has a mixed smell of herbs and chemicals and I found it too ‘rich’ for my skin. Waking up to the skin that feels somewhat greasy is not my idea of a mini-treat for my skin, so sadly this mask wasn’t a success for me. In addition, after sleeping with a face mask like that on my face, I also have to wash my pillowcase……

The second mask promises to ‘invigorate and brighten skin’s appearance’- with skin feeling dull after the prolonged winter, this sounded wonderful. I got to ‘play’ with this mask while in Paris with my best friend and we were in fits of giggles applying this yellowy-coloured mask with mini seeds onto our faces and jumping on the beds, like teenagers, before indulging in what French TV had on offer for late-night entertainment, Marriage Freres tea and Laduree macaroons.

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This ‘instant facial’ promises ‘to brighten and energize the look of dull and fatigued skin and restore a healthy, rosy appearance. Formulated with Cranberry Extract and Turmeric, this invigorating formulation promises to visibly even out your skin tone, while crushed Cranberry seeds gently exfoliate for smoother, brighter, illuminated looking skin’.

After cleansing our skin, we applied a thick layer to clean skin and allowed the mask to dry for ten minutes. After that you are supposed to rinse it off while gently massaging your skin with circular motion, allowing Cranberry Seeds to exfoliate your skin. After that you are supposed to pat dry the skin, however before we did that, it took us a lot of time to actually wash this mask, particularly the seeds, off our faces. The skin felt soft and plump but I found it seriously annoying to wash and wash and wash my face, with the seeds even ending up in my hairline. This mask is recommended to be used up to three times a week but after two quite messy experiences I wouldn’t be using it again, as the process ends up feeling more frustrating than pampering.

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My skin did end up feeling softer, rosier and clearer, after using each of those mask, but it takes a lot to impress me and personally, I prefer my mask to appeal to me not just with the end result, but with texture and smell as well.  This has been my experiment and yours might be less messy and make you feel pampered and glowing, so please don’t let me dissuade you from trying either or both of those masks, as one woman’s battle can be another woman’s path to success. Sadly for those masking experiments that I undertook with new Kiehl’s masks, I wouldn’t be purchasing either of the masks, but will keep an eye on brand’s new launches.

http://www.kiehls.co.uk/skin-care/category/cleansers-scrubs-and-masques

Tata Harper Purifying Mask ( deep cleansing detox treatment ), 30mls, £52


Tata never does things[...] read more

Beauty Heroes: a monthly subscription box unlike others

I have never been a giant fan of beauty boxes, as most of them generally contain the products that I already know of or have been using but there are always exceptions to the rule, so when Sarita Coren, who runs one of the most visually beautiful and insightful blogs Edible Facial in the US put Beauty Heroes ( they used to be called Spa Heroes ) on my radar, I was intrigued to get in touch with the founder, Jeannie Jarnot.

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Jeannie, who worked as spa director and healthy beauty expert, decided to create a monthly subscription box, rotating between skin, body, sun and haircare products and allowing you to discover products that harnesses the power of safe and potent ingredients. Each month a beauty brand is chosen and you receive two products, a full-sized one and its side-kick, so you end up with a value of more than US$ 39 that you pay, plus a chance to get safe ingredients directory, helpful tips and insights into brands that might not have been on your beauty radar but deserve to be. Jeanie and her team believe and focus on the fact that ingredients in your beauty products should be benefit you, be ethically sourced and effective. The fact that you get a full-sized product allows you to take time in trialling the brand and seeing, if it is effective for your needs, instead of dipping in and out of different products during the month.

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Luckily Beauty heroes box has now extended its shipping to Europe and even Russia, so you don’t need to be left out, as the extra postage of US$15 is more than reasonable. In my case, I ended up paying extra taxes upon receipt but Jeannie addressed this issue straight away, so you don’t have to worry on this account.

My Beauty Heroes started with a discovery of a brand about which I haven’t heard previously of – Previse . My August box contained Previse Epidermis Plus Pre-sun Solution ( step 3.0 Defend ), that was created to help prevent sun damage from daily sun exposure, while aiding in the protection of skin cells, collagen density and elasticity over time, as well as Oil Free Tonicstep 2.0 Nutrify ) that promises to help lighten and brighten the skin.

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Previse Skincare, meaning ‘ to know or see in advance’ was founded by an environmentalist Sean Patrick Harrington. Instead of focussing just on the skin type, using patient genetics and behaviour via online questionnaire, an optimal skincare regiment is determined in order to keep skin healthy, resilient and glowing. According to Sean Patrick ‘people often forget that excessive UV exposure & aggressive ingredients damage the dermis’. Working with medical experts Previse evaluates 11 key characteristics including baseline melanin, geographical location where you live and skincare history, so apothecary products can be customised according to skin type. As a brand Previse considers an individual rather than broad demographics when recommending skincare regiment based on fresh, hand-crafted, small batch products, which is divided between six skin levels, from one to six. You can also examine the UV index online, ranging from 1, extremely low to 11+, which is extreme.

Previse researches ingredients and those that come out as either showing tendency to be carcinogenic or the science on them is inconclusive or are harmful to ecosystems are simply not included in the formulations..

When I received my Beauty Heroes box is was beautifully and brightly packaged and included a personalised note, a magnifying glass, cute red mask, Beauty heroes Pocket Guide on Ingredient Intelligence ( your little helper on ‘superpower’ ones, as well as well as ‘villains’ ), a guide on Previse Skincare plus the two products I mentioned earlier – the overall effect is of overwhelming thoughtfulness and attention to detail, helping you to have an educational experience, while enjoying the process of discovery of new products and brand.

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Previse Skin Type 1-6, Step 2.0 Nutrify Oil free tonic infused with antioxidant rich daisy flower extract & hyaluronic acid to help lighten & brighten skin, 90 ml:


This[...] read more