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

The Eyes Have It: Berezka Lab Eye Serum review

The eyes are often called the windows of the soul, but they are also one of the first things to give away our age, emotional state, levels of stress, sleep patterns and lifestyle, so no wonder that[...] read more

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

Souffle Soap & Tea: new launches from Asapoth

No matter how long I have been writing about beauty & wellbeing, I never get jaded about products, brands and people that I get to know or learn about. At this stage I can fairly quickly (and in[...] read more

Smell of nature: Corpus deodorants

At the time when I started to look into using more natural deodorant formulas, few were available & they didn’t look (or smell appealing). I wanted a reliable solution to my roll-on, but I[...] 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

Curiosity Gap Spotlight: Ra Oils & interview with the founder Frida Jonsdottir

Judging by the recent volume of write-ups in the press about acne, a skin condition that used to be associated with teenagers, seems to be affecting more and more adult women and men. British Vogue (Jessica Diner’s ‘Clear Future’), Grazia UK (Emma Strenner’s ‘Hit The Spot’ and Red Magazine (Eve Cameron’s ‘Seeing Spots’) articles flashed before my eyes, as I did my own research and tested two products sent to me by the Icelandic brand Ra Oils, their products aimed at people afflicted with acne and launched in the UK a few months ago on Cult Beauty.

Acne comes in many shapes and forms, but in essence it is an inflammation of the sebaceous glands. Located under the skin, sebaceous glands secret sebum, an oil that lubricates hair and ‘waterproofs’ the skin. When those glands become overactive, typically stimulated by high levels of hormones in the body, the skin becomes oilier than usual, as well as inflamed. Acne used to be associated with the changes in the bodies as they go through puberty during teen years, as the body uses sebaceous glands to expel the excess of the hormones that flood it. Sadly now it can also persist or flare up in adulthood and some women and men develop this skin condition in their later years, having not suffered from it during their teens.

What’s even more surprising is that while the beauty marketplace is saturated with acne products and treatments, the problem with the number of people who suffer from it seems to be worsening, not diminishing, causing many tears, frustrations and problems with self-confidence and self-esteem, no matter the age. As someone who has admittedly been lucky not to suffer from acne, I couldn’t help but want to address this subject, as a few people I know have suffered from different forms of acne and I have had requests to write about the subject for a while. While I can’t offer my own experience in this instance, I took it upon myself to ask Frida Jonsdottir, co-founder of Ra Oils (alongside her mum) about this debilitating skin condition, from which she suffered for many years. Thanks to the determination and input from her mum, not only did Frida manage to get her acne under control, but admirably she was inspired to share her own painful skin journey with others, offering hope, advice and effective products developed specifically for skin prone to acne (you can also use Ra Oils products on other skin types, more on this later in the post).

‘It’s important we start talking more openly about acne as a way too many women feel ashamed to have it (which included me for years!)’ Frida

So without much further ado, please say hello to the lovely Frida & I hope her answers to my questions will offer you some useful insights into acne, as well as practical tips and advice to help you, if you suffer from this skin condition.

Galina:[...] read more

Autumn Mist: a new launch from Dafna’s Personal Skincare

As summer seems to be deeper embedded in our minds and autumn settles in comfortably behind our windows, Dafna’s Personal Skincare launched a facial mist that promises to be skin ‘pro-active’, bringing multiple benefits with its every drop. You might not consider a face mist to be an essential part of your skincare routine, but depending on ingredients, it can offer multiple positives, like extra hydration, balancing the skin or brightening & exfoliating it.

Dafna, brand’s founder, created an ‘Active Mist’ because she wanted to offer women a product that is easy to use, will hydrate and refresh the skin, whatever time of the year, as well as help fight photo-ageing process. Why ‘Active’ was one of the first questions that I posed to Dafna and her reply made sense, as well as made me smile, as soon as I read it: ‘it actually must work on your skin and not just provide a watery aroma’. An active woman and her active skincare makes perfect sense, doesn’t it?

‘I love mists in the daily routine’ Dafna Shaham, founder of Dafna’s Personal Skincare

Being an entrepreneur and a mother helps Dafna in her creative process, because she wants her products to help other women look and feel good, at different times of their lives, no matter how busy their schedule is. Incorporating natural scents into her products is also important, as it affects our moods. Dafna’s own brief during creative process for this face care product was as follows: ‘I wanted a mist that hydrates and combats  oxidation, something that makes our skin age prematurely. Like with other products that I crafted for my line, they are the foundation for my skincare. If you want good skin, you need to address those two factors. I find that most mists don’t really hydrate and the main reason is that just water isn’t hydrating enough. What your skin needs is a combination of oils and water, so by adding oil (a tiny amount that you don’t even feel) into the mist, it works wonders on how the mist is absorbed and hydrates the skin.’

Ingredient Insights:

One of the unique characters of this mist is the use of biotechnological advance of MelaCare (dry oil), which combined with plant extracts chosen for their specific qualities, helps make your skin look more toned & fresh, something that a woman of any age wants.

A mixture of oils from three medicinal plants (Camelia Japonica,Oxalis triangular and Eremanthus erythropappus), were chosen for their anti-inflammatory, soothing and anti-oxidant benefits. MelaCare-oil inhibits melanin synthesis and with regular use you can expect to see improvement in the evenness of the skin tone and signs of photo-ageing. Tip: It’s worth doing a Vista machine analysis before starting to use the mist and then repeating it six or eights weeks after and compare the results.

Calendula: calms and repairs the skin (Ayurvedic ingredient, good for Vata & Pitta types).

Figs Juice: Greek figs provide hydration, comfort and coolness (Ayurvedic ingredient, good for Vata & Pitta).

Geranium and Sweet Orange Essential Oils: contribute to emotional balance, helps reduce anxiety, relieve tension and irritability, as well as help balance the skin.

Full List of Ingredients: Aqua, Camellia Japonica Seed Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Eremanthus Erythropappus Branch/Leaf Oil, Centella Asiatica Extract, Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Ficus Carica Fruit Juice, Propanediol, Glycerin, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Oxalis Triangularis Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Silica, Maltodextrin, Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate, Potasium Sorbate, Limonene, Linalool, Geraniol.

I was interested to also get Dafna’s perspective on the need (or not?) of incorporating mists into our daily skincare routine and she thinks that ‘they only add to it. It’s not as if a mist is ‘a must’, like a cleanser, serum or moisturiser, but it makes the entire daily skincare routine ‘complete’. Instead of using water in the routine, you re-charge between the steps with a mist, which is much more delicate for the skin. Also I find mists to add a special glow, like the fine tuning that makes it more magical, enjoyable’.

How to Use

This mist can be used in two ways. As a Toner, when you spray it on a cotton ball or pad and then massage the face and neck with you (extend it, reaching behind the ears and getting read of the perfume residue that might build up over time on your skin, if that’s where you spray it normally). Then follow it with your usual face serum or moisturiser. As a Mist, spray it over your face and neck whenever you feel like it and don’t forget to take deeper breaths, inhaling the benefits of the natural essential oils aroma that brings comfort and freshness, as well as some balance into the moment in time.

According to Dafna, she is ‘addicted to this mist…even I didn’t think I will use it as much as I do…and I use it like 4-5 times a day! Of course in my morning routines, but also 2-3 times a day to refresh my skin, to give it a beautiful glow, freshness, hydration’. Even before Dafna shared this, I started doing the same – first in the morning, even though I normally don’t mist my face during my morning skincare routine. Then I started taking it with me and putting it on my desk, when I type and research for a prolonged period of time. Switching off for five minutes, misting my face, closing my eyes and taking deeper breaths allows me to re-focus the mind, switch a perspective or just slow down and empty my mind, not dissimilar to having a cup of coffee or tea – and who is to say you can’t do both, be it at home or in the office?

The mist itself is somewhere in-between very fine and medium-sized in terms of the droplets that settle on your face and it feels very comforting just misting it all over – a little ritual that allows you to focus on your breath and just ‘be’, something that allows us to remind ourselves how good life is or to help us shift something negative or sad that has been preoccupying the mind. It makes my skin feel fresher, whether I do it after cleansing and before applying the serum/oil or moisturiser or when applying it on top of my make-up before leaving home. When I mist my face (liberally .) at my desk, my skin feels more awake and so do my senses, something that I really welcome, as I do spend a lot of time, like I am sure many of you, in front of my laptop.

For me skincare is also not just something that I need in order to look after my skin and give it what it deserves. It is also an opportunity to slow down, even if only for a couple of minutes, appreciate the fact that I am a woman and be grateful for all the good things that there are in our world, before moving ahead to solve the problems that we all face, big or small, in our daily lives.

To find out more about Dafna,[...] read more

Galina Reviews: Amly serum collection that combats the negative impact of modern living

As someone who has been writing about beauty products for many years I am not easily surprised when it comes to new concepts or launches. While my attention remains razor sharp, few products make it to my website’s ‘beauty section’, researched and tested for your attention, because I think life is too short and busy enough, and my intention is not to bombard you, but rather surprise, intrigue and hopefully delight, by showcasing things that I think are worth sharing. Amly is a British natural beauty brand that was started by two talented women, who focussed on creating Silver-Rich Face Mists with a difference. Kerry Moore specialises in Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy and has background in homeopathy, while Lisa Smallpiece is a talented artist, who lives on an organic farm in Sussex, where the natural Amly spring is flowing through a wild-flower meadow. Their talents and knowledge compliment each other and allow them to create products that truly are unlike any other, created in small batches tonsure freshness and potency. Each of Amly’s three initial launches, spaced months apart, are incredibly impressive and prove that no good product is created quickly and on a whim, but rather based on individuality and synergy of quality ingredients and serving a specific purpose. A few months ago I received a press release that announced a trio of Amly serum collection launch, this time…. designed to combat the negative impact of modern city living. ‘Unexpected’ was my first thought and ‘wow’ was the first impression, when I opened the box from Amly that contained all three products. Below  is a story behind each product and why I think they are unlike anything else you might have experienced before, even if you are a beauty connoisseur.

Lisa and Kerry crafted signature blends of the finest essential oils and active organic flower compounds, designed to combat daily life challenges, notably damaging effects of pollution, sleep issues and keeping skin happy no matter your age. With the brand’s roots deeply planted in rural England, Amly is built on the ancient traditions of plant medicine, while also using cutting-edge scientific research to refine, adapt, enhance and improve the gifts of nature that are often taken for granted or forgotten in the digital and technological times. Lisa and Kerry believe in combining the powers of innovation when blending natural ingredients and respecting old traditions, while also ensuring that their formulations incorporate innovative bio-actives that are scientifically proven to produce real results. After all, when we buy this or that product, we do want to see an improvement in the skin or issue we are purchasing them for.

Amy’s process of product creation can be described as ‘botanical alchemy’ because it employs traditional methods to extract essential oils and hydrolates from flowers and plants that have been collected and used for centuries because of their healing properties. What Lisa and Kerry manage to do on each occasion, when they start developing a new product, is to combine botanical treasures with advanced bio-actives, which together create potent formulas that deliver consistent results not just visually, but internally to, by improving the health of the skin over time.

Amly City Screen protective Face Serum, £62, 30ml

‘Melt the urban stress from your complexion’

This super light, white-coloured fluid provides powerful defence against the negative impact that city living increasingly has on our skin. In general serums tend to have higher concentrations of active ingredients that work with a specific purpose to improve this or that skin problem. Lighter in texture than moisturisers, they bring higher potency and nourishment to the skin and this particular one is a delight to apply, because of its feather-light texture and the all-encompassing scent that reminds me of Amly first mist, Radiance Boost.

This serum was created to help boost skin’s pollution resilience, while also protecting your complexion. There is the power of Echinacea Complex that helps to detoxify and strengthen skin, while antioxidants Gotu Kola and Green Tea are blended together with Marine Compounds that help boost skin’s collagen levels. But that’s not all. There is also hydration-enhancing power of Squalene, purifying Niaouli (ingredient new to me, but commonly known as tea trees or paperbark, part of the myrtle family, which has many traditional uses, including treating colds, headaches, as well as in perfumery) and reviving White Willow that helps to clear the impurities from the skin, promoting a healthier looking complexion.

I would recommend using this serum primarily in the morning, after cleansing the skin. It sinks into the skin almost immediately and without a trace, leaving behind a delicate veil of scent that reminds you of the flowers and plants gently swaying in the early summer breeze. It lingers for a while and sets the mood for the day, calmly confident and content. After using it for several weeks I smile as soon as the serum comes into contact with my warm fingers, releasing the scent and a content smile on my face – something that is wonderfully special, be it rain or shine outside the window. The brow doesn’t frown and I am ready to face the day, work projects, deadlines, naughty children or a mountain of homework interlaced with cooking.

What also makes this particular serum special is the multiple benefits it brings to the mantle of your skin. By boosting hyaluronic acid levels it hydrates the complexion and helps plump the wrinkles for those, who fit the older age bracket. By balancing the skin, it increases its overall resilience to stress, in part because of the improvement of the natural detoxification and repair process that our skin undertakes daily. It speeds up the repair after UVB exposure, something that as a loyal sun worshiper I have to take into account, as it is one of the biggest contributors to the ageing process. And let’s not discount the powerful cocktail of vitamins & minerals that skin drinks in like you would water on a scorching day. If you skin appears lacklustre, it will benefit from the glow that is enhanced or renewed thanks to Beetroot extract, while the healing effect of Aloe Vera (I have put this serum to the test during my beach holiday and didn’t have to apply Aloe Vera gel that sometimes I have to after a prolonged sun exposure). Last but not least, there is also the extract of Lavender, with its deeply rich scent and bacteria-inhibiting benefit to the skin prone to spots and blemishes. One potent serum, wouldn’t you agree? Or feather-light complexion protection superhero –  either of those two descriptions are perfectly suited to the contents of this dark glass bottle.

Top Tip: Apply to face and neck after cleansing the skin with the upward motion. For increased detoxing and skin-protcting effect, use after Amly Digital Detox Face Mist (keep it in the fridge in the hot months to give skin a hydrating boost when it needs it).

INCI: Aqua, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glycerin (Vegetable), Polyglyceryl-6 Stearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate, Tocopherol, Coco Caprylate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Cylindrotheca Fusiformis Extract, Salicornia Herbacea (Glasswort) Extract, Echinacea Purpurea (Coneflower) Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beetroot) Root Extract, Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Salix Alba (White Willow) Bark Extract, Panax Ginseng (Ginseng) Root Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, ***Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Extract, *Boswellia Carterii (Frankincense) Gum Oil, *Citrus Aurantium (Neroli) Flower Oil, *Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine Absolute) Flower Oil, *Melaleuca Quinquenervia (Niaouli) Leaf/Twig Oil, *Pelargonium Roseum (Rose Geranium) Leaf Oil, *Juniperus Virginiana (Cedarwood) Wood Oil, *Anthemis Nobilis (Roman Chamomile) Flower Oil, *Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil, *Tilia Cordata (Linden) Flower Oil, *Juniperus Communis (Juniper) Fruit Oil, *Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil, *Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Flower/Leaf/Stem Oil, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sucrose Laurate, Polyglyceryl-6 Behenate, Squalane, Maltodextrin, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid, Hydroxyacetophenone, ****Pentylene Glycol, **Linalool, **Limonene, **Citronellol, **Geraniol, **Benzyl Benzoate, **Farnesol, **Citral, **Benzyl Salicylate, **Eugenol

*Natural Pure Essential Oils  **Potential Allergens Within Natural Pure Essential Oils ***Certified Organic Ingredients ****100% Botanical Source

Suitable for all skin types, including blemish prone.

Amly Day Light Super Fine Face Oil, £72 for 30ml

‘Radiate[...] read more

Taking your skincare routine to a next level with Nourish London Probiotic Multi-Mineral repair Mask

Having recently read Clemence von Muffling ‘Ageless Beauty’ book, I came across a great saying that really distills the essence of why every woman should have a mask in her skincare arsenal. ‘The difference between good skin and great skin is masking. Doing an intensive treatment at least once a week takes your skincare routine to the next level’, according to Detox Market‘s co-founder Romain Gaillard. This is something that I tend to agree with, rather than with Caroline Hiron‘s recent Red magazine editorial, where she says that she has fallen out of love with masks. If like me, you do like masking for all the right reasons, then recent launch from British natural skincare brand Nourish London, Probiotic Multi-Mineral Repair Mask, is definitely worthy of attention.

This mask first came into my field of vision during the exhibition at Excel in April and I got to talk about its merits with Anne Hahlo, one of brand’s most knowledgable team members. I ‘played’ with the tester, smelling it and applying it to my hands, but properly started testing it on my face from the latter part of June, when the heatwave hasn’t yer reached the British shores. Now, having used it throughout the heatwave, as well as in the hotel bathrooms in France and Spain on my summer travels, I can share the knowledge and tips that you might find useful in your skincare routine as well.

Probiotic Multi-Mineral Repair Mask is an innovative product that provides the skin with the mineral power of magnesium, zinc, iron and copper, as well as Damask[...] read more