A Skincare Secret is Revealed…

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A mysterious locked box. A key hidden in a secret garden. It sounds like something from a children’s box. Well it was a reality for me last week when Dr Organic couriered a super secret box to my office. I had no idea what was inside. The tag read “…receive your key at Dr Organic’s secret garden tomorrow night”. This is what working with brands and PRs is all about. I was eager to find out more so I headed to The Ham Yard Hotel roof garden the following evening.

I’ve been to my fair share of roof gardens (Londoners love them, especially in Summer) but this one was different. It felt as though I had walked into a country garden, albeit it a slightly smaller version. Beautfiul wild flowers surrounded a decadent fountain, and all round us were Dr Organic Snail Gel products littered amongst logs, moss and ivy. It all felt very magical.

As we sipped on cocktails and ate our fair share of canapés (with my partner in crime Jamila) we were treated to a talk by make-up artist Kenneth Soh. He told us the best way to pair the products with our daily make-up routine. It was refreshing to hear from someone who wasn’t a typical ambassador for the brand, but instead was someone who used the product themselves and genuinely loved it. As the night drew to a close we said our goodbyes under the fairy lights, before rushing home to open our boxes with the keys we had acquired. Incase you were wondering, the boxes were filled with the new Dr Organic Snail Gel range (hand cream, face serum, face gel, face cream, eye serum and face mask), all of which will be released on October 8th in Holland and Barrett stores.

Review: Temple Spa Repose Aromatherapy Resting Cream

When I attended the Pegasus Showcase in June I was blown away by Temple Spa – a brand I previously had no knowledge of. Their products were luxurious and unique, without being too serious. So when I found their Repose Aromatherapy Resting Cream in my goodie bag I was over the moon. My battle to find the perfect night cream has been long and bumpy, and I was eager to see if Temple Spa could help me end it.

Temple Spa Repose Aromatherapy Resting Cream

+ Rich cream
+ Elegant packaging
+ Soothing
+ Moisturising
+ Calming fragrance
+ Applies well and absorbs quickly
– Slightly greasy

Final thoughts?

When I first opened the jar I was greeted by a soothing natural smell (with hints of lavender) – the kind that transports you to your favourite spa. The cream is very rich so when I first applied it I was worried my skin would react badly. However it soaked the cream up quickly, leaving behind supple, moisturised skin, with a lovely fragrance. The fragrance is incredibly relaxing, which makes this perfect for use at bed time. I can’t vouch for the anti-ageing benefits but I can say that my skin loves this cream. If you have greasy skin don’t worry. I used it on my oily T-Zone and it hasn’t made it any oilier (that doesn’t sound like it should be a word). Combined with the aromatherapy aspect, this is more than just your average night cream. It aids the skin, body and mind. At £38 it’s on the higher end of the price spectrum, but it’s certainly worth investing in. I know how hard it is to find a decent night cream so I will be tracking this down when I run out!
You can purchase Temple Spa’s Repose Aromatherapy Resting Cream at Temple Spa, Harrods and Selfridges.
Don’t forget to check out more of my beauty recommendations!

Review: A-Derma Light Hydrating Cream UV

A-Derma is another French pharmacy brand (and sister brand to Avéne) that has caught my eye recently. The brand’s products cater to sensitive skin, dry skin and those with eczema. I had previously tried A-Derma’s Rich Hydrating Cream but found that it was a bit too full-on for my skin. So as Summer came round I turned to A-Derma Light Hydrating Cream UV. The cream claims to offer “immediate and long-lasting hydration that protects from climatic stress”. Perfect for somebody living in a city like London.
Pros:
+ Soothing
+ Applies easily
+ Hydrating
+ UV protection/SPF20
+ Absorbs quickly
 
Cons:
– Thin formula
– Small tube
 
Notes:
I usually know from the first application whether I will like a moisturiser, and I was pleasantly surprised with this one. The thin formula confused me slightly as it seemed quite watery for a cream, however I found that this worked to my advantage. The thin formula means it is easy to apply and absorbs quickly. I also noticed that once I had applied the cream my skin felt very soothed. Combined with the UV protection (and SPF20), this is a lovely cream to be wearing alone or under make-up during the Summer. It’s very light and sits on the skin well. I would definitely purchase it, and the price point isn’t ridiculously high either, at £14.50. Although I do wish there was more product in the tube.
You can purchase A-Derma’s Light Hydrating Cream UV at Boots.

Review: Cuticura Skin + Balance Soothing Facial Cleanser, for Sensitive Skin


Honestly, I was a little surprised when the package from Cuticura, featuring their new skincare range, turned up at my door. I know the brand for their anti-bacterial gel and hand washes (which are a staple in my household). That doesn’t mean that I was unhappy to see a selection of cleansers, toners and moisturisers though (all in a gorgeously personalised travel case). In fact I was very pleased to see that the brand was branching out into something more appealing – to me anyway. 
The range offers cleansers, toners, wipes and moisturisers (hand, body and face) for several types of skin: combination/oily, dry, and sensitive skin. Due to having the most awkward skin in the world (or so it seems at times), I decided to test out the sensitive skin range first. First up was the facial cleanser, which is specially formulated with aloe vera and chamomile, to gently cleanse the skin and remove impurities/make-up. 
Pros:
+ Amazing price point
+ Simple, but nice packaging
+ No soap, no fragrance
+ Gentle on skin

Cons:
– Slightly drying

Notes:
I should start by saying that I’m not a massive fan of facial washes, which this is. I can be pretty lazy, so I tend to just pour my cleanser on a cotton pad and have it over and done with. So a product like this is a change to my routine, which doesn’t usually involve water as it dries out my skin. So yes, this did mean that I found it to be drying on my skin, however once it was paired with a toner and moisturiser, that problem was solved. Therefore it’s not a massive con for me. Even though it was slightly drying, it was gentle on my skin, if that makes sense. No adverse reactions, irritation or reddening. If you suffer from sensitive skin, you’ll know that this can be quite a bother when it comes to skincare. That’s a big pro right there, and it tells me that they’ve done their research properly. The packaging of the product is pretty simple, but it tells you everything you need to know, and what to expect. Now, onto the biggest pro of them all – the price! This facial cleanser is only £1.79! Yes, you heard me correctly, it’s less than £2. I think that’s pretty amazing. It means that those who don’t want to spend much money on skincare/or those who just can’t afford to, can purchase a decent product at an affordable price. Will I be purchasing this again? Probably not, but that’s because of my dislike for facial washes.
You can purchase Cuticura‘s Soothing Facial Cleanser at Savers, Bodycare and independent pharmacies.

Review: Witch Anti-Blemish Skin Clearing Primer

Witch Anti-Blemish Skin Clearing Primer*

I love a good primer, especially one that has added properties. My latest foray into the world of primers is the Witch Anti-Blemish Primer. I have been using it for about a month or two now, to see if it lives up to it’s claims.
What Witch has to say about it:
“This clever, silicon-based primer helps prepare skin for your favourite foundation. 
It mattifies and absorbs excess oils for a smooth, silky base, even application and a long lasting finish, perfect for helping to keep your foundation in place in warmer weather. Ideal for those with oily/combination skin, this primer helps to prevent and target imperfections by protecting skin from the layers of makeup, which can cause or aggravate blemishes. Ingredients include pure witch hazel extract, antibacterial actives, liquorice root extract to calm the skin, and glycerine and Provitamin B5 to condition and hydrate.”

Pros:

+ Nice texture
+ Good application
+ Makeup applies well over it
+ Kept my skin blemish free
+ Makeup stays all day
+ Fragrance-free
Cons:
– Silicon-based
– Didn’t reduce shine
Notes:
I’m someone who goes in between primers often. I usually find that I either dislike the texture of the primer, or it just doesn’t keep my make-up in place. However Witch’s Anti-Blemish Skin Clearing Primer won me over on both accounts. The gel formula applies well (not super easily but I got used to it), and it feels nice. It also sits comfortably on my skin and my make-up applies really well on top of it. Unfortunately it didn’t seem to reduce the shine on my combination skin, but my make-up does stay put for the whole day. The only other concern I have is that it is silicon-based. Whereas silicon does have it’s benefits for your skin, it does also have it’s downsides. It creates a layer on top of your skin, which can keep in moisture and dirt etc. However on that note, you can see why it is good in this product, as it creates a barrier between your skin and make-up, to avoid blemishes. So I’m on the fence about it being used in a product (especially one that I use most days) as I’m just not sure about it as an ingredient. Still those are my only concerns and my general feeling about this is that it’s one of the better primers I’ve tried. It retails at £6.99 which is on the average end of the scale. Ultimately, would I purchase it? Yes. It has kept my skin free from blemishes and it works well as a primer.
You can purchase Witch’s Anti-Blemish Skin Clearing Primer at Superdrug.

Review: Time Bomb Complexion Cocktail

Ever felt like your skin could do with a pick me up? Well this little mystery bottle claims to contain the ingredients to do just that. Sometimes a long list of ingredients and claims can be quite confusing though. So here’s what Time Bomb have to say about their own product:
“Complexion Cocktail with a shot of B12, formulated with high levels of Vitamins B12 and B3 plus Brown Algae, jolts skin’s own energy production into high gear. Formulated with Centella and Ginseng, this potent concentrate improves micro-circulation for better skin tone and enlivened color. A powerful blend of 12 Amino Acids and two types of Hyaluronic Acid replenishes skin’s surface layers and helps retain moisture for immediate visible plumping.”
But what did I think?
Pros:
+ Feels good on skin
+ Nice texture (liquid not cream)
+ Cute packaging
+ Brightens up my skin
+ Left my skin soft & supple
 
Cons:
– Small bottle
 
Notes:
This little product may not look like much but it has won a place in my beauty cabinet. Although I was unimpressed with the size of the bottle when it arrived, I knew that I had to stay positive. They say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but I love the packaging of this. It’s cute, simple and it gets it’s point across – and the little drawstring bag is a nice added touch. Even though it appears to be green, the contents are actually a red (cleanser-like) liquid. The lid makes sure that you don’t waste half a bottle when pouring it onto your cotton pad – although they do suggest you saturate the pad when applying. There is no perfume (not that I picked up on) which is always nice, and the texture of the liquid is pleasing. It applies well and absorbs into the skin quickly, leaving soft and supple skin behind. This does brighten my skin up and leaves it feeling a bit more lively. It also helped with my complexion and clearing up blemishes. I can’t comment on the anti-ageing affect right now, but I have faith in it. For £24 for 100ml, it does seem pricey but this isn’t something you need to use everyday. I would gladly purchase it and keep it in my cabinet for when my skin feels like it needs reviving.
You can purchase Time Bomb’s Complexion Cocktail at Time Bomb.

The Secret of Avène Eau Thermale

On Thursday I was invited to breakfast with my favourite skincare brand – Avène.
They had cryptically told me that I would be finding out the secret behind their products.
As the brand has made such an impact on my skincare routine I couldn’t wait to find out.
Amongst the gorgeous bouquets of flowers and delicious food were some new products.
Avène is now releasing their ‘XeraCalm A.D’ range, which is aimed at those with eczema.
As someone who suffers from eczema from time to time, this came as a delightful surprise.
But wait, didn’t I mention a special little secret? Well luckily for you I’m going to share it.
So what is the secret of Avène?
The lovely representative told us that it is all down to nature. A long time ago, the founder of Avène found a spring that had special healing properties. The locals also knew about it and used it to bathe in and to help ease their skin conditions. It sounds as though it could be something from a fairytale, right? At least that’s how I imagined it. 
Now, do you remember your geography children? Then you might recall how springs come about. Rain falls down into the soil and makes a magnificent journey through the earth before creating a spring. It is this process that allows Avène to gather their eau thermale, as it rises from a hot spring under the earth. The water in this spring takes all the minerals and a unique microflora ‘dolomiae’ from the earth and soil. This process takes over 50 years, so the eau thermale in all your Avène products really is special. It is a science that the Avène team have been working on, and perfecting, for many years. Luckily for us they are now sharing their secret, so we can all benefit!
So it’s no wonder why Avène’s products are soothing, anti-free radical and anti-irritating. It’s amazing to think that a spring discovered in 1736 is still helping us, and our skin woes today. Avène have put a lot of research, thought and care into their products and I love that about them. I also think it’s wonderful that the eau thermale in their products comes from a natural spring. How many people can say they use the water from a thermal spring in their skincare routine? Their products aren’t only for those with eczema or sensitive-skin, anyone can use them. If you want to be converted, like I was, then you need to try out Avène. 
You can purchase Avène’s new range from selected Boots stores, from April 2014.