Q & A with Becky Blüh, founder of BLÜH Alchemy

This post has been ‘in the works’ for a while (because a good cake needs time to rise and be baked too) and I am incredibly proud to finally spotlight a very special woman on my website. read more

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

January Wellness: Aime supplements for beautiful skin

As the winter festivities came to a logical close and the new year started pacing us, an onslaught of detox ideas began landing in our inboxes and field of vision. At the time when you and your 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 vitality: review of Dafna’s Revival Bio-Active Beauty Mask

As spring is finally upon us, one of the major skin concerns most of us seem to have is the fact that our skin looks tired & grey, lacking vitality & a healthy glow. While chirpy bird song & sunshine will help our mood & skin gradually to regain some colour, the latest launch from Spanish natural beauty brand Dafna’s Personal Skincare, a bio-active face mask called ‘Revival’ is certain to speed up that process along nicely.

Dafna formulated the mask with city dwellers in mind, who lead a hectic, stressful lifestyle and whose skin is affected by lack of sleep, working in air-conditioned buildings and travelling through the city, where air-pollution is often high. With regular use you can expect your skin to look more nurtured, better hydrated & with an added benefit of a natural glow.

Hydration, Nurture, Fighting free-radical damage

Revival mask works in two phases. The first one provides skin with intense hydration via molecules of Hyaluronic Acid, combined with energising & regenerating skin cells with Ginseng & Reishi. Pick up a dollop of the mask with a little scooper provided (this will make sure you don’t introduce germs or bacteria into the product) and tap on cleansed, dry skin. Then leave it to ‘work’ for five to seven minutes, making sure mask remains white in colour with black granules immersed into it.

The second phase activates the capsulated Charcoal (the black grains you see within the white, creamy mask), originated from Coco, which ‘attracts’ free radicals on the surface of the skin, inhibiting skin’s oxidation, while promoting a balanced, even look of the complexion. With damp fingers, massage the mask all over your face for about a minute, until all Charcoal grains ‘disappear’ into the mask, leaving behind a unified looking creamy veil on your skin. Leave on for another couple of minutes, wash the mask off, tap the skin gently dry and examine your complexion in the mirror. Every time I use the mask, which is twice a week for the last month, my skin ends up looking plumper & more nurtured, with the effect of the mask enhanced by gentle, but firm facial massage.

Dafna chose to ‘capsulate’ the Charcoal in order to maximise its efficacy, so its full power comes into force as you start to massage the mask vigorously into your skin & neck (make sure you avoid the eye area). Activated charcoal also manages to ‘capture’ free-radicals amassed on our skin, which can lead to its premature ageing.

Ginseng, another key ingredient in this mask, is a nutritious herb that has been used for generations in China & other Asian countries. It is rich in vitamins, antioxidants & phytonutrients, which help enhance collagen production, that is naturally slowed down as we age. Another benefit that it offers, is balancing skin’s texture & helping combat the effect of environmental aggressors in the air on our skin.

Hyaluronic Acid Salt (Sodium Hyaluronate), with its low molecular weight, penetrates our skin with ease & helps improve overall hydration of our skin (nothing beats the effect of drinking plenty of water throughout the day on a regular basis though & the energising effect it has not only on the way our skin looks, but on how we feel & the vigour in our physical & mental activity!).

Medicinal mushrooms seem to be having their ‘moment’ in the spotlight not only in the supplements, like Finnish Four Sigmatic & British Wunderworkshop, which recently launched ‘Golden Shrooms’ containing Cordyceps & Reishi, but in skincare too. Last December I tried Lumene’s ‘Nutri-recharging’ skincare range, including a face Balm, Purifying Mask & Peat-to-Foam Cleanser, all of which contain Nordic Chaga. Dafna chose Reishi, known as the ‘mushroom of immortality’ in China, as one of the key ingredients in her face mask.  Reishi are rich in beta-glucans, which help promote healthy cell growth & turnover & are also known as adaptogens, which helps to balance hormones.

List of ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Potassium Palmitoyl Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein, Mannitol, Kaolin, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract , Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Water*, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Ganoderma Lucidum Fruiting Body Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Charcoal Powder, Glycine Soja Oil*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Caprylate*, Propanediol*, Cellulose, Beta-Sitosterol*, Potassium Sorbate, Ethyl Lauroyl Arginate HCL*, Squalane*, Tocopherol*, CI 77499, Linalool, Geraniol, Citronellol, Limonene. * Organic active ingredient with Bio certification

Since I first tried this mask, I have become addicted to the lovely, nurturing layer that it adds to my evening skincare ritual. Using it when it was cold, helped my skin deal better with radiator heat & external cold, that zaps moisture from the air. Using it now, allows me to feel less conscious of the fact that my skin appears naturally paler & more pleased about the fact that it doesn’t feel or look dry. It also reinforces a good practise of regular facial massage and the boosting circulatory effect it has on the skin. By bringing blood to the ‘surface’ of the skin, it makes skin look more ‘alive’ & naturally flushed with a healthy glow, while speeding up the process of expelling toxins from my body naturally.

Dafna’s Personal Skincare ‘Revival’ Mask, 50ml, £84 It is also available to purchase in individual, 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