Galina Reviews: Superfood Series from Bodhi and Birch

Having been a fan of aromatherapy for years, Bodhi and Birch bath and shower therapies fall into a deeply cherished category of products for me. Elijah Choo, brand’s[...] read more

Summer scrubbing with Skin and Tonic

Summer wakes up our mind and senses and calls for some gentle action when it comes to the care we give to our body – something that we often leave on the back burner, unlike our skincare. Conveniently, British beauty brand Skin and Tonic just launched it’s first bodycare product – a Sea Salt Body Scrub – and I have been putting it to ‘vigorous’ use.

The scrub arrived in a chic silver sealable pouch, which makes it easy to use in the shower or bath and is practical to take with you on your travels or a holiday. Blending together sustainably harvested, mineral-rich Atlantic sea salt with certified organic bergamot, spearmint and rose oil, it makes a lovely first impression, but will it stand the rigorous efficiency test?

Some information about the ingredients, to start with:

Irish Sea Salt

The team has worked hard to source sustainably harvested, non-oxidised sea salt. Due to its sealed extraction from deep currents in the Atlantic Ocean, it contains lots of rich minerals and micronutrients that help to eliminate toxins and hydrate the skin.

Bergamot Oil

This beautiful, certified organic bergamot oil is cold-pressed from the rind of the fruit. Grown mainly in Southern Italy, this sweet, fresh citrus oil is widely used in perfumery. Fun fact: It takes 1,500kg of bergamot to produce 1 kilo of oil!

Rose Oil

Luxurious Rose Centifolia flower oil helps to even skin tone and balance skin moisture levels, whilst soothing away anxiety. Did you know rose is a natural anti-depressant? Nurture and nourishment for both body and soul

Spearmint Oil

Milder than peppermint, this antibacterial oil enlivens and invigorates the skin, helping to stimulate circulation. Spearmint’s fresh aroma will also help to clear headaches and de-stress the mind.

List of ingredients:

Sodium chloride (sea salt), Vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil*, Citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit oil*, Mentha spicata (spearmint) leaf oil*, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (almond) oil*, Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*, Rose centifolia (rose) flower extract

*= Certified Organic

 

 

How to use:


  1. Massage onto clean


[...] read more

Galina Loves: ‘Restore Balm’ from Mallow and White

At the time when the prices, as well as the number of ingredients going into beauty products seems to be climbing, some indie brands choose to stay accessible & make a positive impact via low numbers[...] read more

Review of Rosalena Skincare

Having introduced you to Rosalena Skincare & it’s inspiring founders, Maja Griffith & Helena Chapman, in part one of my post about the brand, this post is logically dedicated to my review of the Face Oils & Mist that I have been using since September, after I attended Joanna Hynes‘s fashion show at the London Fashion Week, as Rosalena’s guest. It was made even more memorable not just by the initial conversation that I started with those two very talented & inspiring women, but by observing Helena in her unbridled enthusiasm, as she energetically sprayed models & the team working on the show with the uplifting Goodness & Tonic Face Mist. Calm, creativity and beauty reigned supreme!

Rosalena has four Face Oils for you to choose from, each with an original name: Love & Me, Rock & Rose, Beauty & the Beast, Frank & Sense. Each was developed to offer specific benefits to your skin, irrespective of your age. The decision ultimately lies with you, because you need to know your skin type & assert your skin’s needs by looking in the mirror each time you do your skincare routine, be it morning or evening. Oils used to get a really bad reputation, based on presumption that they clog your skin, but in the last few years things have been changing. Of course a lot depends on the quality, as well as the combination of ingredients in the one you choose to use, but generally speaking, oils help hydrate our skin and make it look more luminous when used on their.

Rosalena Love & Me Face Oil ( nourish & protect ), skin balancing, 15ml, £42

This was the first oil with which I started my discovery of Rosalena skincare and it remains one of my personal favourites within the range. Exterior packaging, by the way, is something that makes Rosalena stand out instantly. Each box has a bright colour, making one oil be instantly visually distinct from another. When you open the box and glance inside – hello yellow, purple, pink & reddish coral, depending on the oil you choose, not only there is a bottle with the product & a practical pipette to dispense the exact amount of oil for single use, there is also a brochure telling you about the range, specific oil, as well as ingredients. Knowledge at your fingertips makes life easier, that’s for sure, as well as helps you make better skincare choices for yourself.

‘A skin nurturing active formula for gentle hydration with natural beauty[...] read more

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

Skin and Tonic London product review

Earlier this year I published a post telling you about Sarah & Josh, founders of the natural British skincare brand Skin and Tonic London, a niche British natural beauty brand that has been gaining recognition and accolades for all the right reasons, one of them being the return to simple skincare routine. Having used various brand products pretty much since they launched their products in 2014, now is the time to spotlight some of their products individually and let you decided which one might appeal to you and your skin type.

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But before I dive in and share my impressions and experience with some of Skin & Tonic products, I have asked Sarah to share some information about the product ingredients, that she considers to have ‘star’ power:

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=&0=& – We use this magical, organic oil in our Steam Clean and Brit Beauty Oil. Thistle oil is made by cold pressing the safflower seeds creating a very dry, lightweight oil that is very rich in omega 3 & 6 essential fatty acids which make up 80% of the oil, feeding the skin with important nutrients and keeping it plump and hydrated. These fatty acids help to lock moisture into the skin and prevent it from drying out. Unlike many oils, thistle is so light that it is absorbed into the skin without leaving residue.

=&1=& – We love this transformative ingredient ! Gentle and detoxifying, we use French Pink Clay in our Gentle Scrub (which doubles up as a mask). It is the mildest of all the clays and can be used on dry/sensitive skin types to cleanse, refresh and remove dead skin cells.

=&2=&–  Made from beautiful, organic Rose Centifolia flowers that are grown and distilled in the French Alps in pure air and clean soil. This flower water is made by high-ratio extraction levels (1 kg of plant material to obtain 1 litre of flower water), ensuring maximum levels of aromatic molecules and active ingredients. Rose Centifolia flower water has a green, floral scent and that soothes, hydrates and balances the skin. We use this ingredient in our Rose Mist.

=&3=& A midnight blue, inky oil this is an amazing skincare ingredient. Grown wild in France and steam distilled from the flowers. The oil contains high levels of Chamazulene, making it highly anti-inflammatory, anti allergic, antibacterial and cicatrisant (aids the healing of scar tissue). It is a key ingredient in our Calm Clean cleansing balm that gently removes dirt, whilst soothing, healing and reducing inflammation.

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Products review

Calm Balm, 50g, £23: this was one of the first products from the range that I have tried and almost instantly it became a ‘comforting’ skincare friend on days when muscles seemed achy, post workout, or mind has been hazy with frustration. Sometimes just lifting the lid and deeply exhaling its comforting smell was enough, so it is a good product to keep not just in your bathroom cabinet but bedside table or desk ( since then Skin & Tonic has also started doing handy ‘miniatures’ that are perfect for being dotted around the house, in a workplace, handbag or during the travels ). It also works well on helping clear the nose, if you feel a little congested or to calm restless kids after a busy day ( just gentle tab in clockwise motion on their temples ).

In terms of texture and ‘feel’, it is a solid white-coloured balm that easily melts and sinks into the skin, leaving behind a soft veil of comfort – it is a bit more ‘firm’, compared to other balms in the range though.

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Sarah’s tips on the best way to use this product:

1) Massage into your wrists and temples, breathe in deeply to help calm your mood
2) Massage into dry, delicate or cracked skin on face or body, for a hydrating moisture boost
3) Massage into your muscles pre and/or post yoga to help ‘deepen’ your practice
4) Apply to palms of your hands, then cup over your nose and take three deep breaths before bedtime, to help lull yourself off to sleep
5) Use to moisturise lips
6) Pat a small amount on very dehydrated skin at night and leave to hydrate and nourish through the night – wake up with happy, glowing skin.

Ingredients:

  1. Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter*
  2. Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*
  3. Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*
  4. Anthemis nobilis (roman chamomile) flower oil*
  5. Calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract*
  6. Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*

*Certified organic by the Soil Association; 100% natural & organic

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Steam Clean, 50g, £27: this softly soothing and nourishing cleansing balm smells of spearmint and eucalyptus, clearing the cobwebs from the mind, as well as gently but effectively cleansing the skin. I enjoy using this balm when it is cold outside, as it doesn’t strip the skin’s mantle but effectively lifts dirt and debris, as well as make-up, from your skin, leaving your skin a clean and soft canvas, ‘fertile’ for night-time nurturing and rejuvenation.

The balm has a ‘slippy’ texture, which makes your fingers easily glide across your face, not dragging the skin and making for an enjoyable ‘massaging’ experience a long the way. By boosting the circulation and cleansing your skin properly but without irritating it, you skin will be perfectly ‘primed’ to receive nutrients that will allow it to be on ‘perfect’ form.

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Sarah’s tips on the best way to use Steam Clean & Calm Clean cleansing balms

1) Massage a small amount into your face and neck. Soak the cotton face cloth in warm water and hold against your face for one minute, to steam and activate the essential oils. Breathe in deeply and cleanse away.

2) This cleansing method also works well at removing make-up.

3) Apply a small amount to dry lips and dry skin patches for a nourishing, soothing boost.

4.) Calm Clean can be applied to small skin irritations, bites or stings, as the German Chamomile & English Lavender are analgesic/ anti-inflammatory oils.

5.) Mix with mineral powder to create a nourishing, calming cream blush.

6.) Use to maintain ‘flyways’ or to help shape eyebrows.

Ingredients:Vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil *

  1. Carthamus tinctorius (thistle) seed oil *
  2. Cera alba (beeswax) *
  3. Borago officinalis (borage) seed oil *
  4. Eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) leaf oil *
  5. Mentha spicata (spearmint) herb oil *
  6. Tocopherol (vitamin E) **
  7. *Certified organic by the Soil Association

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Gentle Scrub, 100g, £18: I first got this product as an unexpected ‘bonus’ to my initial purchase at Content & was quite taken with its sweetly uplifting smell. This is a gentle scrub that can be used daily several times a week, if you skin feels like it. The benefit is double, as not only is it gentle enough for sensitive skin, if that is your skin type, but it also ‘detoxes’ the skin thanks to the French Pink Clay. It can double up as a skin mask (please see Sarah’s tips below) and will leave your skin feeling fresh, clean and soft to the touch. It can easily form part of a nurturing ritual at the end of a day, when you let go of the worries of the day, observe your skin in the mirror, making a decision as to what it needs and mix this powder according to your decision on the skin treatment that night.

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Sarah’s Top tips on using Gentle Scrub

Gentle Scrub
1) Add 1/2 tsp of powder to warm water to make a liquid paste. Massage onto damp face using gentle, circular movements twice a week to exfoliate.
2) Add a tsp of honey or yogurt to the liquid paste to create a hydrating face mask. Leave for 10-15 mins then rinse off with warm water. Use once a week as a mask.
3). Add a pea size amount of the Gentle Scrub with a drop of water and apply to spots with a q-tip, leave for 10 mins and then wash clean and moisturise.

Ingredients:

  1. Zea mays (corn) starch *
  2. Avena sativa (oat) bran *
  3. French pink clay
  4. Probiotic yogurt powder
  5. Rosa canina (rosehip) seed powder
  6. Pelagonium graveolens (geranium) leaf oil *

*Certified organic; 100% natural, 74% organic

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Calm Clean, 50g, £27: this heavenly cleansing balm, that is particularly suitable for dry and mature skin, has a beautifully unusual colour due the blue camomile flower oil. It has  a gently soothing and easily ‘meltable’ texture – as soon as you dip your finger into the jar and the balm ‘meets’ up with the warmth of the tips of your fingers, it is like an instant synergy. Cleaning with it is a pleasure, whether you feel a bit frazzled in the morning or tired in the evening – inhale its calming scent, take a few deep breaths and a gentle calm with descend on you.

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It cleanses the skin effectively, even when you wear a ‘heavier’ foundation and leaves the skin soft and supple but don’t use it to remove your eye make-up. I sometimes add it to the ‘tops’ of my hands, when working at the desk and lacking focus and fairly quickly feel that cobwebs float away and calm concentration winning the reigns back. I would go on to say that among this brand’s cleansers, this one is my ‘best friend’ thus far.

Ingredients:

  1. Vitis vinifera (grape) seed oil *
  2. Cera alba (beeswax) *
  3. Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil *
  4. Daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract *
  5. Lavandula augustifolia (lavender) flower oil *
  6. Chamomilla recucita (blue chamomile) flower oil *
  7. Jasminum sambac (jasmine) flower extract

*Certified organic; 100% natural, 99% organic

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Lip Balm, 4.3g, £3.50: this lovely ‘baby’ comes in three flavours – naked, peppermint and lemon. Nurturing, non-sticky and non-lip drying, unlike some other counterparts on the market ( you know those lip balms that make lips feel drier the more you re-apply them during the day ?) . This one is gentle enough for the kids ( so do stock up, if you have boys or girls. Little girls particularly are keen, as many of their friends use their mothers lipsticks and so when mine asked for a lip balm, I happily obliged, letting her choose the flavour and explaining that a lip balm shouldn’t be shared, unlike a cookie and that she is as yet too young to use a grown-up lipstick ).

I like using the Naked balm as a lip ‘primer’, before applying the red lipstick for example, especially if it has the matt texture and use Peppermint on those days when I don’t wear any colour on my lips, but still want them to feel & look beautifully cared for. The joy of simple skincare is that is helps enhance your beauty traits and makes you feel like you, just somewhat better.

Another good point to know about Skin & Tonic, is that they have added miniatures  (Calm balm, Steam clean, Brit beauty oil & Gentle scrub ) to their list of products, as well as a miniatures gift/travel set, so you can buy ‘minis’ to try the products, before committing to a fully-sized version of a product or use miniatures for your travels or keep them in your work desk, if you need to get ‘camera ‘ready’ before a work dinner date or social event straight after work.

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Ingredients:

PEPPERMINT

  1. Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter *
  2. Cera alba (beeswax) *
  3. Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil *
  4. Mentha piperita (peppermint) oil *

NAKED

  1. Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter *
  2. Cera alba (beeswax) *
  3. Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil *

LEMON

  1. Butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter *
  2. Cera alba (beeswax) *
  3. Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil *
  4. Citrus limon (lemon) peel oil *

*Certified organic by the Soil Association; 100% natural and organic.

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[...] read more

Fancy a skin ‘trainer’ and mind guru from Nourish Skincare ?

If you follow me on social media or subscribe to my website you probably know that I work with Nourish skincare ( I am part of a team that is an exclusive distributor of this natural British brand in Russia and I believe in full disclosure when it comes to writing about products or brands on my website, so you know the full picture ). Having started using Nourish products pretty much since the official launch of the brand, I continue to do so as a consumer – in part because I like the products and because they work for my skin, in part because it is a necessary and pleasant part of my job, after all if I don’t try the products myself ( or have feedback from my testers ) how can I recommend it to you or write about it ?

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Part of any beauty brand’s success in a very tightly saturated marketplace is the ability to never rest on its laurels and to respond to customer feedback and requests. Nourish used to have wonderful body butters for four different skin types ( Relax, Protect, Balance, Radiance ) but some of the customers found their packaging ( large glass jars with screw-on lids ) quite bulky. Pauline Hili, Nourish founder, always says that a customer is always at the forefront of her mind, hence the brand recently re-launched the body care products in the new, light, 100 mls airless pumps. You can still make your choice based on four skin types, your skin’s needs in the moment in time and depending on your sensory preference. The product is now called ‘Nutri-Rich Body Cream‘ and comes as a convenient 100mls bottle which you can easily put on a shelf of your bathroom, throw it in your gym bag or in your suitcase without the worry that it will spill. When you skincare comes in the jars with screw-on lids exposure to air can affect the efficacy and smell of the product so the new packaging puts this issue to rest as well.

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I have been using two of Nourish Body creams in the last month: Protect in the morning or after the shower, post workout, as its uplifting citrus scent gives me a mental boost, while photo-active marine align and hyaluronic acid and peptides work on toning and smoothing my skin ( I call it nourishing my body with exercise and skincare, both inside and out ). In the evening, when I unwind and try to de-clutter my mind, Relax Body cream helps to sooth my tired limbs and soften the skin with Omega-rich borage and argan oils, while the natural scent of lavender helps to put me in a relaxed state of mind. One product acting as skin ‘trainer’ and mind guru is not bad, is it?

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For more information about Nourish Skincare click here

Xmas Gift Ideas: festive sets from Aurelia Probiotic skincare

December is a busy time, as we all rush to have all the work commitments done alongside getting ready for parties and spending time with our loved ones. On top of that there are Christmas cards to be sent & gifts to be bought. So to inspire you here are two special gift sets from one of my favourite British beauty brands Aurelia Probiotic skincare.

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Aurelia Probiotic skincare was only launched in 2013 but already has an impressive worldwide fan base & many awards, the most recent one being from CEW UK. Their products not only deliver lasting results & appeal to women of various ages but each has a unique smell as well, each formula inspiring our inner beauty and femininity. Just in time for Christmas Aurelia launched two limited editions of their Award-Winning products: a Complete Collection and an Indulgence Collection.

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Aurelia Complete Collection

is a comprehensive set that includes an Eye Revitalising Duo alongside luxury miniatures of the whole range that will transform your skin with regular use and proper skincare routine (daily cleansing is a must is you want your skincare to work effectively).

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INCLUDED IN THE SET are:

Eye Revitalising Duo (full size)

Miracle Cleanser (15ml)

Refine & Polish Miracle Balm (15ml)

Revitalise & Glow Serum (5ml)


[...] read more