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LRWade

LRWade
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Member since: 04.07.2009

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      29.08.2010 22:38
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      Enjoy!

      This will probably be longer than 10, so I apologise in advance for the big read...

      HAIRCARE

      *Naked Colour Protection Shampoo and Conditioner*

      I am very proud of my hair, it's collarbone length and in excellent condition despite fortnightly dying (I'm a natural blonde but much prefer black hair). I would go so far as to say my hair is my favourite part of me, so it's important that it is well taken care of. I've used many kinds of shampoo and conditioner over the years, and I do like to vary what I use, but this is the set than I come back to time and time again. The shampoo cleans deeply but never leaves my hair feeling dry or stripped. The conditioner leaves my hair soft and shiny. both smell divine and rinse with minimal effort.

      *The Tangle Teezer*

      I use this just before washing my hair to remove tangles, but also to remove loose hairs so they don't go down the drain. I also use it on towel dried hair to form my parting. It's quite good at removing tangles without removing hair. My only bugbear is it is useless for blow drying.

      SKIN CARE

      *Olivia Soap*

      This is a body bar made of saponified olive oil with a little water and mineral salts. It is without a doubt the best cleansing bar I've ever used, bar none (ha ha). It needs to be used with a body puff otherwise it's a little slimy. It cleanses my skin well and leaves it feeling clean but not dry or tight. I use it of my face as well. I don't believe in separate face washes. I've never found one to be "better" than whatever soap I'm using and if I did I'd be inclined to use it on my whole body.

      *Aloe Pura Organic Aloe Vera Gel*

      Aloe vera is an amazing product for the skin. It doesn't moisturise but it helps my skin keep itself soft and smooth. Beats any moisturiser any day. It also has other skin helping benefits, if you're interested I recently wrote a review on it.

      *Ambre Solaire Clear Protect Sun Spray*

      I am fair skinned and never go out in the sun. If I HAVE to expose myself to the suns rays then I use this in High (SPF30). It's an alcohol spray so it doesn't need rubbing in and is transparent. I use it on my face even though the instructions say not to because I hate buying separate things for the face and body. Spray into the hands then pat onto the face, that way I avoid getting it into the eyes. I bought it on offer in winter for £1.50 from Tesco, I'm not sure I'd pay the full £8 for it, but one bottle has lasted a year.

      FACIAL SKIN CARE

      *Balm Balm Face Balm*

      This stuff is extraordinarily good. It's a blend of organic oils and fats blended to produce a thick balm for the face and neck. It's kind of a middle ground between a face oil and a moisturiser. Face oil is intensive but leaves the skin feeling greasy. This doesn't at all. I love it. The unfragranced version contains shea butter, sunflower oil, beeswax, jojoba oil and calendula oil. Yes, I know, sunflower oil on the face...isn't that what you fry foods in?!?!? I know I said I hate buying separate things for the face and body, but I don't moisturise my body as such, just use the Aloe Vera, and my face sometimes needs a little TLC. I also use this on my hands because like my face they are always exposed and also need a little intensive care sometimes.

      *Face Scrub*

      I prefer to make my own face scrub, usually just sugar mixed with enough olive oil to cover all the grains. It's as effective as any face scrub I've ever bought and is very cheap. I use this twice a week, washing my face with the Olivia soap afterwards because the olive oil sometimes needs a little help rinsing off. On that note, if anyone else has a good face scrub base other than olive oil I'd love to hear about it.

      MAKE UP

      *Revlon ColorStay Mineral Mousse Foundation*

      This is my current foundation and I love it. The shade fair is just light enough that I can use it without looking tanned. I know a lot of people are into bronzer and self tan and (good heavens) natural tanning, but I am happy to embrace my paleness. It gives a matte finish with medium coverage, perfect for my everyday wants. I sometimes dust it with Revlons ColourStay pressed Powder, but it's not really needed.

      *Rimmel Sexy Curves Mascara*

      I can't praise this mascara enough. Mascara is all about the wand, not really the formula though there are exceptions, and this wand is fantastic. It has rubbery nodules and gives a really nice coat on the lashes. I particularly like the Intense Black version which, contrary to popular belief, isn't a darker black but has a formula which is a little more clumping. The brush prevents too much clumping while allowing just enough to make the lashes more dominant on the face.

      *Barry M Dazzle Dust*

      This is a particular favourite of mine. It's so easy to use and comes in a decent range of colours and finishes. I am really keen on the matte finish ones, especially red and orange shades, but the shimmer ones are good too.

      *Revlon Matte Lipstick*

      Another product I've already reviewed so I won't dwell on it too much. I am in love with the shade Strawberry Suede, it's an almost fluorescent red and looks beautiful on. Because it's matte it looks classic and chic.

      *Black Eyeliner*

      I don't do make up without lots of eye-liner. Pencil or liquid, pretty much any brand. I don't like gel liner though, it's far too fiddly.

      12, that's not too bad, is it? :)

      © L Wade 2009.

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      • More +
        28.08.2010 22:04
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        Very effective, multi-use product. Just don't expect instant gratification.

        Aloe Pure Gel claims to be an "intensive skin care treatment" suited for use on "stretch marks, scars dry, chapped skin, sun burn, skin irritations and minor burns" with soothing, restoring, moisturising, and nourishing properties. Before I begin I advise you to ignore these statements. They're not falsehoods per se, but they are highly misleading and likely to lead to confusion. This is not a product which will instantly soften your dry parts on application. It isn't a moisturiser in the way you'd assume. Intensive, it is not.

        The main benefit of this is the upkeep of healthy skin, not a quick fix moisturiser.

        Aloe vera is a succulent plant (i.e water retaining) found in arid areas of N. Africa and S. W Asia. The gel is extracted from inside the fleshy leaves, it is this which contains the water and prevents dehydration of the plant. Hence, this gel is a water based products and not lipid based like most moisturisers. There isn't really a scientific consensus on the healing properties of Aloe vera, but the is some scientific evidence that it has skin restorative properties.

        I have quite a few skin...imperfections, so I'll focus on those for this review. I have used Aloe vera gel on my whole body regularly for several months so I think any differences should be noticeable by now.

        SCARS

        I have a multitude of scars, some old, some older, some smooth and some ragged. I have to say Aloe vera doesn't do anything to them. But, I think there might still be something in that claim. I know that Bio-oil works best during scar formation, so Aloe vera might do the same for new skin damage. Besides, what possible change could happen to old scars anyway?

        STRETCH MARKS

        Yup, I have these also. Visibly I can see no difference, there has been a gradual fading of colour but this isn't sped up with the gel. What I do notice is my skin feels more uniform in texture, the stratch marks feel less...*ahem* saggy...much firmer. More like the rest of my skin.

        DRY CHAPPED SKIN

        As I stated before, the gel isn't an intensive moisturiser and when I get really dry patches I still need something lipid based, not water based, to make those instantly soft. However, long term I've noticed I'm less prone to dry patches and my skin is soft with fewer imperfections and I've also noticed I'm less prone to post-shaving issues.

        SUNBURN

        I can't really comment on this one, I have fair skin, prone to sunburn so if there is a hint of sunlight I won't go out without sunblock on. Considering it's effectiveness on skin irritations I'd make a guess that it would compete well with after sun products.

        SKIN IRRITATIONS

        Aloe vera gel really comes into its own here. It is cooling (even more so if kept in the fridge) and instantly soothes many skin irritations. I am prone to allergies to certain things (like latex), also living in Scotland I face my fair share of midges (and then some!) and living in the country provides frequent exposure to stinging nettles and the gel is effective for all of those. It's not so much a cure as it is a temporary relief allowing you to forget and ignore the irritation. There are claims that Aloe vera speeds up the skins recovery from such irritations but I can't neither confirm nor debunk the claims.

        MINOR BURNS

        As with the irritations, the coolness of the gel is highly effective in soothing a burn, but perhaps no more so than holding the affected skin under a cold tap.

        APPLICATION

        Instructions say to "apply liberally to the skin". I rub it in a bit and when it starts to feel tacky let it dry or absorb or whatever it actually does, I'm not sure if it sinks in or not... "Liberally" is a word I don't like when it comes to skin care, and I've found one of these 200ml tubes will last two to three weeks (at most) if used on the whole body 5 days out of 7. This wouldn't be much of a problem except it usually costs around £5, giving around £10 per month. Compared with shea butter which costs me £5 for 250g which lasts a few months, it's not the best value, however this is not a product flaw, simply the nature of the natural gel. I just wish it was a little cheaper. In saying that, I'm sure many people happily pay far more than £10 per month on skin care so this might not be an issue to many of you!

        IS IT BETTER THAN A MOISTURISER?

        Yes and no. It keeps my skin happy with regular use, is quick to use and doesn't need much rubbing in. But not instantaneous so I keep a small amount of shea butter close by for dry patches. It is multi use which is a plus. The gel itself I'd give 5 stars, but this product only gets 4 because it's claims are plain silly and it's perhaps a little bit pricey for a "pure" product.

        99.9% Aloe vera gel, 1% preservative, which can be forgiven because without the 1% it'd not last too long...

        © L Wade 2009.

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        • Shea Butter in General / Discussion / 26 Readings / 24 Ratings
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          27.08.2010 20:54
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          Natural product that rivals the average body butter.

          Shea butter is a natural fat extracted from the African shea tree seeds. It is a multi use product, widely used in the cosmetics and food industries. You've probably seen many conditioners and body moisturisers with added shea, especially those for dry hair and skin. In particular, many L'Occitane products are shea based, Palmers have a shea range along side their cocoa butter ranges, and Burts Bees and Organix both have shea conditioners. Those of you with a sweet tooth might be interested in knowing that shea is a possible component in chocolate, replacing cocoa butter.

          I came across shea butter in a cosmetic capacity when I was researching natural alternatives to body lotion, as part of an attempt to reduce the number of unnecessary man-made chemicals I come into contact with. I was interested in a raw and unrefined body moisturising product, and shea was one of the few available, along with coconut oil and Aloe vera gel. I purchased a bag or fair trade, organic, unrefined shea butter from an eBay seller for a reasonable price to try it on my skin which is a little bit fussy. (Note-natural products are just as likely to irritate the body as man made and refined chemicals are. Think hay fever.)

          What hit me first wasn't the sight of the rough cut, pale yellow, creamy chunks of seed fat, but the smell when I opened the bag. There is a very distinctive, and slightly off putting, nutty smell. It's musty and sweet, and not entirely pleasant. This scent isn't found in the aforementioned products containing shea and I've learned that's because most shea products use refined shea and not the raw unrefined shea I had received.

          The scent can be masked using essential oils: you simply melt the shea in the microwave or by immersing the bag in hot water, and then add a few drops of essential oil, mix or shake it up, then pour into a container to set. The first time I did this I added so much lemongrass oil (because I couldn't smell it over the shea scent) that I've "overdosed" on lemongrass and the vaguest hint of it makes me feel quite ill...

          I've since learned that the shea scent doesn't linger on the skin when rubbed in, so if it's a scent you dislike, fear not you can still use unrefined shea if you can bare the initial rub in! You can also buy refined shea which lacks the scent and colour, but there is a general belief that refined she lacks some of the vitamins and useful properties of unrefined.

          Because shea melts at around body temperature it makes a decent moisturiser. Rubbing it into the skin melts it quickly and it easily spreads and sinks in. I've found that my skin is particularly soft and smooth. It is incredibly rich: shea works as well as the most expensive and indulgent body butters I've ever used. It doesn't clog pores, which is an important feature because I am prone to clogged pores, especially under the arms and many skin treatments amplify this. And it is a fraction of the price of a body butter if bought unbranded. L'Occitane do a 100% shea product but it costs £5.50 for 8ml (7g), compare that with £5 for 250g unrefined or £5 for 200g refined shea on eBay...

          Shea can also be "whipped" into a light and fluffy mousse which is a little easier to use. This is achieved by melting and whisking as it cools and sets. After 10 minutes it resembles marshmallow whip. You could also mix in coconut oil which is scentless an unlike the name is solid below body temperature. I've found a 50/50 mix significantly reduces the scent of the shea. Other oils could be used, a particular favourite of mine is almond oil.

          Is shea better than other moisturisers? I'd say it is about as effective as the body shop body butter for very dry skin. Its benefits are price, a lack of artificial scent (cause we all know that coconut doesn't really smell like the body shop!) and no added ingredients, which for someone like me who likes to know exactly what goes in or on her body is important. Another strength is despite it's richness it is effective on any skin type, from dry to oily, without making the skin greasy. It is generally considered an "organic" product when harvested traditionally in Africa.

          If you are interested in trying shea, I'd recommend two things. First: BUY IT FROM EBAY! Better prices and many are fair trade. Second, when you get it, whip it, or buy it pre-whipped. It's a lot less intimidating for first time users than a rough cut chunk or set in a jar. Oh, and if you live in a warm climate, keep it in the fridge or it will melt to an oil.

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          • More +
            27.08.2010 16:42
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            "Looks freshly applied for upto 12 hours"... doesn't even make 12 minutes.

            I'm not "brand loyal" but if I had to pick a favourite "drug-store make-up brand" it would be Revlon. The products generally do what they say on the tin, the packaging is attractive, convenient and sturdy, and they make a foundation shade pale enough for my skin. I bought a couple of the ColorStay eye-shadow quads a while back because I was trying to branch out from my typical "pale matte eye-shadow with lots of liner, an over-load of mascara and killer red lips" look.

            My first choice was Wildflower, a quad with a mint green, muted peachy orange, lilac and a taupe. My second was Coffee Bean, with a flesh tone, a pale taupe, a warm, earthy brown and a red-wine-brown. The shadows are slightly shimmery but not glittery, and when I tested them on my hand they went on smooth and even.

            You can see the packaging quite well in the picture above so I won't linger too long on that. What you can't see is the flip up lid has a window to see the shades (like most eye-shadows) and has Revlon printed on it on the lid over the applicators. It's easy to open but won't magically open in your bag and spill everywhere.

            Unlike most quads, this one comes not with a double applicator, but with two single ones: one wide and one narrow. I thought this was a particularly nice touch, and Revlon is probably the only eye-shadow brand which comes with applicators that are actually usable and not destined for the bin. The problem with these quads is not even the high quality sponge applicators can save the eye-shadow...

            I've tried everything (sponge applicators, brushes, fingers, foundation sponges) wet and dry, over primer and bare skin and foundation and there is simply nothing I can do to make these work well. There are flaws that simply can't be overcome.

            1) I've had less fallout with Barry M dazzle dust...

            When I swatched the eyeshadows on my hand in Boots they went on smooth and even. When applying to the eye lids the first major problem is fallout. It's as though the powder is repelled from the applicator. Straight from the applicator to my cheeks. I can only conclude that it was a fluke testing in boots, and because my hand was horizontal the fallout went where it was supposed to go.

            2) Then there's this odd flaking...

            The fallout isn't even powdery, it's flaky. Even on the lids the shadow flakes and clumps. I've never encountered this before, not even with the cheapest of the cheap. They can't be smoothed over and it's not eye-lid oils because it happens before application. It seems to be an inherent characteristic of all 8 colours over the 2 quads.

            3) It doesn't like to stay in one place...

            Even if you manage to dislodge all of the flakes and apply to the skin, it doesn't stay in one place. There is this odd movement around the skin with the slightest touch and even without. It creases and becomes patchy very quickly.

            4) The pigmentation is beautiful in the quad...

            ...but lacking on the skin. There's a lot of shimmer but no discernible colour in most lights. I imagine there might be more colour definition on darker skin tones but that's only if you get past the fallout, clumping, flaking, creasing...

            I got a SLIGHTLY better finish with finger tips than brushes and sponges but nothing to write home about.

            In any batch of a product there is the chance for a bad apple, but two bad apples from two separate lots, and I just happened to get them both? I doubt it. I can't bring myself to try another quad, I am certain I'd have the same issues.

            All of these problems make for an uncontrolled mess on the face. They remind me of cheap, bright things you might buy a 6 year old playing dress up without the extreme pigmentation. But hidden behind a respectable brand name. And at £7.99 per quad (4.8g) a very expensive dress up indeed.

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          • More +
            05.04.2010 21:59
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            Looses a star to the tangles.

            Australian Organics conditioner is an organically certified conditioner free from synthetic fragrance and colour and parabens which are often claimed to be bad for you. In all honesty I can't find much decisive evidence one way or the other on parabens but I will always choose a more natural product when given a choice.

            *A LITTLE ABOUT MY HAIR*

            I have long, fine hair, which ends several inches below my shoulder blades. I've been dying it non stop since I was 13, for the past few years it has been black. It is in healthy condition despite this, mostly because I get it trimmed twice a year and look after it well. Certain products dry it out but this is rarely irreversible. I regularly blow dry, usually with a diffuser, often back comb and occasionally straighten my hair, so stress to the hair shaft is moderate.

            *THE CONDITIONER*

            There are three varieties:

            NORMAL HAIR: with clary, sage, lime and lavender
            FINE/LIMP HAIR: with ylang ylang, orange and jasmine
            DRY, COLOURED AND CHEMICALLY TREATED HAIR: rosemary, lemon and peppermint.

            They are all fantastically scummy smelling, but my particular favourite is the rosemary, lemon and peppermint. It a particularly unusual choice for a conditioner for dry/coloured hair, they tend to be olive oil or coconut, something that conjures images of moisture, and it's a welcome break from the status quo.

            The claims:
            -perfect for dry, coloured or chemically treated hair types
            -this emollient-rich conditioner is formulated with pure plant proteins, 6 provitamins and pure essential oils
            -nourishes, strengthens and protects your hair while restoring and stabilising moisture levels
            -improves manageability, eliminated tangles, and protects against split ends
            -enhances flexibility for full bodied, healthy shiny hair

            *USE AND RESULTS*

            My first impressions of the conditioner were a little disappointing. I found it to be thin and very..."water based" is the best way I can describe it. Like when it was on the skin it wasn't slippery at all. After using it I found this wasn't an issue, the thinness allows it to spread well without using a lot of product.

            After using the matching shampoo (only on the roots) I apply this from the ears down. I don't "smooth over" like most people tell you to simply because I have so much hair it couldn't possibly spread evenly. I tend to apply it much like you would a shampoo, but instead of rubbing the hair into the scalp I fold the hair into the back of the neck. I then leave it for a few minutes and rub any excess into the scalp. It is light enough not to make your roots greasy. Then I add a little water, use a shower comb to remove any lingering tangles and then rinse it thoroughly. It rinses very easily and quickly, this is quite important for longer hair because it is so easy to miss a bit of conditioner and find a greasy patch later when you're drying your hair.

            I chose the dry/coloured range because my hair is coloured black, but this colour doesn't fade from my hair the way red used to so I can't comment on how suited it is against fading. My hair isn't dry, but I expect this is because I use shampoo and conditioner for dry hair to prevent this, so it must be doing something good! I've noticed that my hair is particularly soft and supple after washing, and it is easier to manage than with shampoo alone. Really this is comparable to most regular conditioners in all ways except when it comes to tangles, here is is greatly let down. I realise that my hair is quite long and while fine there is a heck of a lot of it, and I do make allowances for that, but I still expect some tangles to be tackled. This wouldn't be a problem for sorter hair though.

            Drying seems faster to me than when I use most other brands, this is really noticeable when you have longer hair. I would imagine this is because it rinses out easier than other conditioners. After drying my hair is particularly soft and shiny and smooth, easy to brush, comb and style, as with any other conditioner.

            *WOULD I RECOMMEND IT?*

            Yes, I would, but with restrictions. It would be good for short to mid length hair. It's really important to say here that if you have long hair you can't treat this like a regular conditioner. You can't just shove it on and let it do it's thing. There is a clear trade off between how effective a conditioner is against tangles and how many chemicals are in it, and in comparison with regular chemical laden brands this is slightly inferior. The way I get around this is to brush my hair before getting in the shower, and comb through just before rinsing. Doing this will greatly improve the results. If I wasn't so fussy about having matching shampoo and conditioner I'd probably use another type.

            *ETHICS AND MORALS?* 

            Vegan Friendly: 

            -This conditioner is not tested on animals, has no animal ingredients. 

            Environmental: 

            -Made in Australia (if your carbon footprint screams at this then this isn't the product for you! Try Naked's shampoos and conditioners for a similar ethos.) 
            -While nothing is "good for the environment" it's probably safe to assume that this is "less bad for the environment". 
            -It is organic certified. 
            -I can't figure out if all the ingredients are 100% natural, this is unlikely in reality. 

            *AVAILABILITY* 

            Available at Holland & Barrett, Waitrose and John Lewis in the UK, at £4.99 per bottle. 

            And yes, it is sold in Australia. 

            © L Wade 2009.

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            • More +
              05.04.2010 16:14
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              5 stars for potential and results.

              **********
              I'm including a long(ish) background to explain how/why I pick cleaning and beauty products because I deem it particularly relevant to this kind of product, you are most welcome to skip this and go straight to the details on the product itself: please skip to *HOW AND WHY I CHOSE AUSTRALIAN ORGANICS*.
              **********

              *WHY I PREFER NATURAL HAIRCARE IN GENERAL*

              Have you ever read the ingredients list on the back of a shampoo? If not go and get a bottle of shampoo and bring it back, I'll wait...OK, how many of the ingredients can you pronounce? How many are familiar and give you some vague memory of high school chemistry?

              The evolution of any cleaning or beauty product is simple: someone's grandmother's mother-in-law has a secret miracle treatment, it gets passed down through the generations until someone suddenly decides to mass produce it, package, label and sell it. It gets taken over by a company and someone thinks up a novel idea on how to "improve it". The only problem is, adding ingredient X causes issue Y which needs ingredient Z to solve it. These tweaks continue and before you know it the product is only 5% the original secret miracle chemical. And in reality most of the things that you can't pronounce are to combat the negative effects of other ingredients, not to improve the action of the product.

              I'm not saying all of these components are bad, cancer causing chemicals, but all things considered I much prefer to use more natural products with a smaller ingredients list.

              So I'm on a mission to reduce my chemical consumption. And the simplest way to do that is to go back to raw produce-for example I'm starting to use pure shea butter in place of moisturiser. But there are some things for which a single product just won't cut it, hair care is a major one of these. There's no one plant that can give you clean hair. The next best thing is to find a product that is as natural as possible. That's not to say that natural products are always better than their man made counterparts, but as a general rule I'd go with natural over man made.

              *A LITTLE ABOUT MY HAIR*

              I have long, fine hair, which ends several inches below my shoulder blades. I've been dying it non stop since I was 13, for the past few years it has been black. It is in healthy condition despite this, mostly because I get it trimmed twice a year and look after it well. Certain products dry it out but this is rarely irreversible. I regularly blow dry, usually with a diffuser, often back comb and occasionally straighten my hair, so stress to the hair shaft is moderate.

              *HOW AND WHY I CHOSE AUSTRALIAN ORGANICS*

              I came across Australian Organics on an online eco beauty blog, and the author was raving about the product. I am familiar with many "eco beauty brands" but this one I had only a vague familiarity with. At £4.99 a bottle (350 ml) it is a little more expensive than my usual Naked haircare which is usually on BOGOF offer in boots £3.99 for 2 (500ml), so I did a little research before hand. I am generally very suspicious of any brand claiming to be natural, since there is no legal definition of what natural is when it comes to non-food products.

              First the website: http://www.australianorganics.net/ which outlines its (relatively small) product range, and then several reviews, most of which were gushing about this so I decided to buy it.

              And I came across a problem...

              It's not available in Tesco, Boots or Superdrug, the three most likely culprits. The only places it can be found are Waitrose (in Stirling? Yeah right...), John Lewis (nearest one is 50 miles away) and Holland and Barrett. I didn't even know we had a Holland and Barrett here, I tend to shop at a local independent health food shop, but the G/F pointed out that I walked past it every time I went to the local Post Office...

              *THE SHAMPOO*

              There are three varieties:

              NORMAL HAIR: with clary, sage, lime and lavender
              FINE/LIMP HAIR: with ylang ylang, orange and jasmine
              DRY, COLOURED AND CHEMICALLY TREATED HAIR: rosemary, lemon and peppermint

              I chose the third since my hair is coloured and though it is in healthy condition out of the three it has my most loved scent. Actually, regarding the scent, it is very surprising. Products for dry hair and skin tend to be creamy, coconut or olive oil, something "indulgent"; they are rarely "fresh" smelling, and certainly never of lemon and peppermint. Such scents are reserved for oily hair. I wasn't put off though, it really is the most scrummy scent, and obviously not a chemical approximation of what a lemon, rosemary and peppermint should smell like-this is the real thing. It's one of those scents that will wake you up in the morning shower if only you can drag yourself from the bedroom to the bathroom...

              The label claims:
              -intensive care for dry, coloured or chemically treated hair
              -no synthetic fragrance or colours
              -soya and wheat proteins, pure essential oils, 6 provitamins
              -moisturises and protects as it cleanses and nourishes the hair and scalp.
              -a unique formulation that gives your hair exceptionally improved appearance, condition and shine

              Directions tell to "Apply a small amount to wet hair. Gently massage into hair and scalp forming a soft lather. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if necessary." Nothing unusual there.

              *MY USE AND RESULTS*

              I've been using this for over a month now, and in all honesty I have been surprised by the effectiveness and just how good my hair feels.

              NB: If your hair is long I strongly advise brushing before you wash it. This is to minimize the amount of brushing you need to do to your wet hair and because the conditioner isn't as tangle destroying as other brands.

              After wetting my hair in the shower I squeeze a small amount out (about the size of 2 galaxy minstrels), rub it between my hands and apply to my roots, i.e from the top of my head to just below my ears, and rub into the scalp with fingertips. The shampoo has a medium density, thin enough to spread evenly but thick enough not to feel cheap. The lather isn't quite like other shampoos, it is thinner and less dense. This might bother you but lather isn't what cleans hair it is just a side effect. Actually most hairdressers have told me if your shampoo lathers you are using too much. I don't rub it into the lengths and end, I prefer to let the "wash out" to clean the ends when I rinse-this is one of the ways I try to prevent drying of my hair. I then apply the complementary conditioner from the ears down, leave for a couple of minutes then rub the excess into the roots and scalp. I don't follow the ethos that conditioning your roots makes it greasy faster...It removes styling products well, even when I've used half a bottle of hairspray trying to keep the back combing in, so major points there.

              After the shower I leave my hair wrapped in a towel for 10 minuets or so to remove excess water, I don't like to rub it too much. I then comb it into a parting and sort out my fringe and usually I blow dry-low speed and medium heat as a trade off between care and efficiency. Something I note with this hair cleaning range is my hair dries relatively quickly compared to previous products. It is always easy to manage and clean, and true to the claims it has "exceptionally improved appearance, condition and shine". It's easy to manage and feels soft.

              I can't comment on whether or not it strips hair colour since I find my black hair dye doesn't fade regardless of what I do to it. If your hair has particularly dry and split ends, this isn't a miracle product for those, but then again other than getting them cut off what is?

              *ETHICS AND MORALS?*

              Vegan Friendly:

              -This shampoo is not tested on animals, has no animal ingredients.

              Environmental:

              -Made in Australia (if your carbon footprint screams at this then this isn't the product for you! Try Naked's shampoos and conditioners for a similar ethos.)
              -While nothing is "good for the environment" it's probably safe to assume that this is "less bad for the environment".
              -It is organic certified.
              -I can't figure out if all the ingredients are 100% natural, this is unlikely in reality.

              *AVAILABILITY*

              Available at Holland & Barrett, Waitrose and John Lewis in the UK, at £4.99 per bottle.

              And yes, it is sold in Australia.

              © L Wade 2009.

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              • Revlon Matte Lipstick / Make Up / 121 Readings / 114 Ratings
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                18.02.2010 19:08
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                Foundation for the lips.

                When it comes to lipstick, there are very few mattes, the emphasis is very much on long lasting "drenching moisture", shine, shimmer, cream and glitter. Forgive me but I don't want to look like a drooling baby. If I wanted that, I'd drool... I have always preferred matte make up to shimmery, but it is relatively hard to find so I was very excited when Revlon brought out a whole range of matte make up. The whole range is superb but the lipstick is where it really makes a mark.

                *COLOURS*

                NUDE ATTITUDE - a flesh shade with peachy undertones. Without a doubt the best nude lipstick shade I've ever seen, especially on my pale skin. unlike most nude shades, it doesn't look like concealer on the lips.

                PINK POUT - a pale, pastel, baby pink. It's hideous, don't go there.

                MAUVE IT OVER - a light, muted mauve shade. Very versatile and suited to most skin tones in my opinion. I love it!

                PINK ABOUT IT- a coral pink. Think watermelon.

                STRAWBERRY SUADE- Without a doubt the single best red lipstick I've ever used. Someone once told me that there is shade of red for everyone, this is mine. It's a very bright red (almost neon) with pinky coral undertones. Very pin-up.

                REALLY RED- a classic pink based red.

                IN THE RED - a classic brick red.

                COCOA CRAVING - mid brown with slight mauve undertone.

                FABULOUS FIG - a dark, muted pink.

                WINE NOT - a dark Burgundy brown.

                They are all very classic shades, and with the exception of Nude Attitude, very bold. Most of them are universally suitable across all skin tones.

                *USE AND RESULTS*

                The lipstick has a dense mousse-like texture which makes it glide easily across the lips. The colour is deposited evenly, with a smooth and dry but not drying feel. It is lightweight which is a rarity for matte lipstick-they tend to be thick and creamy and hard to spread.

                Because it's matte it has better staying power than most other lipsticks: it doesn't smudge, clog up, slide around or rub off. It has survived talking and chewing and smooching, and...it passes the white shirt test. Truly a miracle product! It's a bit like having a touch-proof, matte foundation on your lips. I find that these don't need a lip liner, and I can't imagine you'd need one even if you have lips that "bleed" easily because it's so un-smudgable.

                But, also because it's matte you need to make sure your lips are in tip top condition before using it. Any dry flaking bits of skin will be amplified. Moisturising lipstick tends to slick the dry skin down but this won't. It's not as forgiving, so definitely not for a bad lip day. I strongly advise exfoliating your lips with a toothbrush or lip exfoliating product before using.

                If you want to wear one of the shades but don't want it to be matte, a little gloss over the top or mixed together looks ace. And with a smudge of a paler shade in the centre of the bottom lip your lips will look fuller, though this only works if you're covering with gloss, otherwise it looks like a paint-by-numbers gone terrible wrong.

                *PACKAGING*

                Like all Revlon lipsticks, the case lid has a see-through top so you can see the lipstick as well as a shade sticker on the bottom. This is handy for anyone who likes to store them upright, like I do, so you can choose one easily. The tube is black and very classy, with a matte silver coloured band in the middle with REVLON printed in black. I particularly like this, most Revlon lipsticks have a gold coloured band and I find it really unattractive and a bit "old lady". Costs £7.29 from Boots and all shades were available last time I went in. In my opinion, worth every penny.

                Oh, and my hair doesn't stick to my lips in the wind.

                © L Wade 2009

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                • Revlon Matte Eyeshadow / Make Up / 55 Readings / 52 Ratings
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                  18.02.2010 17:23
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                  A welcome range to an over-shimmery world.

                  Where as the rest of the world has been happily lapping up all the glitter, shimmer and sparkle they can handle for the last ten years, I have been patiently waiting for something a little more sophisticated, old-fashioned and grown up. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of matte make up available if you know where to look and have the disposable income to fund a MAC obsession or a rich partner to buy you all the Bobby Brown in the world. But since both my girlfriend and I are students, and I can't convince her make up is an "essential", I am somewhat limited in my choice of make up brands.

                  When Revlon released their matte range in the US in 2008, I found myself disproportionately over excited, because
                  a) it had all the signs of being compatible with my new "pin-up girl image" and
                  b) it would eventually come to the UK (I hate the the states get all the good stuff first...)
                  I almost had some sent to me from the US, but lack of money combined with the inevitable customs tax brought on some much needed patience. Roll on 2009...

                  *THE EYESHADOWS*

                  There are 9 eye shadow colours in this range:

                  VINTAGE LACE - a creamy ivory

                  PEACH SORBET - a warm and inviting peach shade

                  PINK INNOCENCE - a powdery slightly cool baby pink

                  LUSCIOUS LIME - a vivid yellow green

                  VENETIAN BLUE - true to its name this is the distinctive shade Venetian blue, a bright true blue, neither green nor purple toned

                  TEMPTING TEAL - a dark forest green

                  RICH SABLE - a warm, rich, milk-chocolate brown

                  RIVIERA BLUE - a rich navy (The one in the image)

                  AUBERGINE - a muted, dark, warm purple

                  There are nudes, neutrals and brights, and they are all very complementary when used in combination. it's a small range but they are key shades and highly versatile.

                  *PACKAGING*

                  The shadows come individually in small, square, matte black cases with a clear window to see the eye shadow which is pressed in a geometric, zig-zag wave. You should be able to see this well enough from the picture but the first time I saw them I was convinced it was two shades in vertical lines; you know, the kind you're supposed to blend together. I've always found that to be a bizarre feature... It's a very pleasing presentation when you first buy the eye shadow but it soon wears down through use. I can't help but wonder if it is as much to reduce the amount of product as it is to enhance the visuals, but it certainly emphasises the matte-ness of the shadow, and I also find that it helps you see the actual colour since you're seeing it both highlighted and in shade at the same time.

                  The cases have a hinge at the top and open at the bottom. They are secure when closed but "click" open easily enough, though you might find it easiest if you have longish nails. Inside, the eye shadow is about the size of the window on the case and there is also included a small sponge applicator. Normally I throw away applicators that come with eye shadows, because in all honesty they are almost always crap and I prefer to use brushes, but the quality of these is actually so good that I use only them. It also helps because then there is one applicator per colour and I don't have to wash my brushes as often, just use them for blending when I use this range.

                  *USE AND RESULTS*

                  The eye shadows have a silky-soft, velvet texture to them. The powder is very fine, but well pressed to minimise fallout and waste. Matte eye shadow is notoriously difficult to use and blend, but the fineness of these makes them very versatile and easy to apply. Blending isn't a chore, whether it's blending up to the brow or into another colour.

                  I don't use a primer, though I do apply foundation to my eyelids, and I find these don't crease within a couple of hours of applying, even the darker shades which is almost unheard of. They don't go on "patchy", where most of the colour clings to any damp or oily spots either.

                  Some of the shades are quite bright, but because they are matte they look sophisticated and classy and even the Venetian blue and luscious lime can be used every day without looking overdone. The lack of shimmer/glitter/sparkly makes them slightly understated.

                  The lighter shades (Vintage Lace, Peach Sorbet and Pink Innocence) make excellent highlighting shades, though I primarily use them on their own, lining my upper lashes with liquid liner and my water line with Kohl to create an innocent, classy pin-up look, teamed with a bold red lipstick (especially the Revlon Matte ones).

                  The darker shades (Tempting Teal, Rich Sable, Riviera Blue and Aubergine) are fantastic if you want to do a smoky eyed look with a colour that isn't black or grey, and they all look fantastic.

                  *AVAILABILITY AND PRICE*

                  It's been around a year since these became available and I am sad to say that some of the shades are hard to find at the moment, in particular Peach Sorbet and Luscious Lime, but the other shades are freely available wherever Revlon is stocked. I wonder is Revlon are discontinuing them or if they just sold out faster than anticipated...if anyone known leave a comment!

                  The eye shadows come individually a for £4.99 in most places. Very good value in my opinion because like most good eye shadow they last for a long time if kept dry and safe. They don't need too much babying though-they're frequently getting lost in the bottom of my handbag and I've never had one break on me.

                  I'd really recommend these to anyone who likes matte or classic make up, especially anyone who has always found mattes hard to work with, to try these, they'll surprise you. In a good way.

                  © L Wade 2009

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                  • More +
                    15.02.2010 20:44
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                    5 very feminine stars.

                    When it comes to bathing, I'm a 5-minute shower gal. I've never been one for a long soak, unless a Harry Potter book has just come out then I'll be in until it drops below body temperature. I have a highly efficient routine that gets the job done and lets me get a little bit more sleep in the morning before class. Shaving doesn't often factor into my mornings because it takes too long, except the weekends. I tell you this to explain why I was attracted to buying the Venus Breeze razor when I saw it on offer in Tesco. It half price it was still more expensive than my usual Tesco brand disposables but the promise of saved time was worth a test run.

                    *THE RAZOR*

                    The idea behind Venus Breeze is a 2 in 1 razor with gel/soap substitutes built into the blade head, thus avoiding needing to lather and prep the skin. You simply wet and go.

                    The razor is has a long, slender, transparent plastic handle with soft rubber grip pads. The design is curvy and feminine and very comfortable to hold.The end is bulbous and sits comfortably in the palm of the hand when holding the razor like a knife. Your thumb and fingers sit on rubber to prevent slipping. On the dorsal side where the index finger rests is a textured ridge which gives fantastic grip and control.

                    The cartridge looks very odd if you're not familiar with them. The purple solid gel bars both above and below the blades add extra size, they are about twice as big as most blades. My initial thought was that they the extra size would give a clumsy shave that wouldn't get into the curves properly (to prevent suspense I'll say that was wrong).

                    Like all venus razors, any kind of venus blade cartridge will fit the handle. So you can use these for your busy days then use a more traditional cartridge when you have more time; but to be frank the breeze blades give as close s shave as any other.

                    There razor comes with a storage unit which attaches to the wall with sticky tabs...which inevitably fail and you'll wake up in the night to a clunk in the bathroom, grab the nearest heavy object and peer into the shower to find your cartridges, razor and unit on the ground. It sticks well to a horizontal surface however...

                    *DIRECTIONS*

                    Wet skin and razor, glide over the skin. That's the short version, but it's really that easy. When you wet the blade the solid gel bars begin to liquidify into a lubricating gel, and since the bars are above and below the blades there is ample gel distributed before and after each stroke. I found that at first I was a little over cautious and this lead to a poor shave: the bard hang slightly in front of the blades so you need to press down harder than you'd expect to get the blades to contact the skin. The gel bars are hinged with the default position in front of the blades. This ensures that as the bars are used up they still contact the skin, even when they're so worn they're almost used up. It also eliminates the worry I initially had that the blade wouldn't fit in the curves, the flexibility on the gel bar movement makes it easy.

                    *RESULTS, PRICE, AVAILABILITY*

                    After getting over the initial preasure problem, I have found this razor to consistently produce a very close shave with minimal effort. I use it everywhere and it does the job well. As well as any other 3 blade or a 5 blade razor.

                    The blades are slow to blunt, I shave my arms, legs and underarms about 3 times a week and I go through 2 cartridges a month. If you only shave your legs, and do it daily, you'll probably use 2-3 cartridges a month depending on hair thickness which is average.

                    It's not all roses, you'll have an arrhythmia when you find out the price. The razor itself costs in the region of £7-£8 (not too bad) but 4 cartridges will steal £9 from your pocket if you shop in Boots. You can find some deals on ebay, but they are very rarely worth it when you figure in the postage. An 8 pack tends to be in the £15-16 mark so it's slightly better value, but at around £2 per cartridge you're spending more than a regular razor plus gel. If you're a regular Venus fan you're already spending the same. It truly is a product where you spend more for convenience...

                    My only bugbear is that some of the gel bar is behind the structural support so it never contacts the skin and the only function can be one of attachment. This means about a third of the bar is wasted and I think an improvement to the bar design could prevent this. This isn't a big problem however, since I find the blades blunt before the gel bar is used up.

                    There are two gel scents available, original and spa breeze. The original is purple and has a fresh and floral scent, the spa breeze is pink and smells nothing like the white tea described in the blurb, but is nice all the same.

                    5* for the razor, use, time saved, closeness of shave 2* for the price.

                    © L Wade 2009.

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                      12.02.2010 21:40
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                      A unique lipstick, comparable and superior to higher end lipsticks without the pricetag.

                      I've never been a big lipstick wearer, I am very aware of my tendency to chew and lick and bite my lips, so I've always been too worried about smudging to try them seriously. A while back I got a sample of a couple of the body shop colour glide shades (this is not a review on those) and wore them on an outing to the cinema-it's a dark room, even if I do smudge it, who's going to see? When I got out of the movie I found that my lips were in the same flawlessly colourful state they were in on entry. That (combined with much smooching enthusiasm of the girlfriend) persuaded me to jump on the lipstick wagon.

                      So I bought my first lipstick. It was logical to me to try the same product that had impressed me so I went to the body shop to pick a shade. The sample had been berry shimmer, an attractive shade but a bit muted for my skin tone. I decided to start with a classic shade-red-but with a modern twist. I picked shade no. 60, cherry sparkle, a pinkish red with gold shimmer shot through. Since then I've added quite a few lipstick to my collection, from various brands, but I keep coming back to this one. It's probably part nostalgia of it being my first lipstick, but it's also because in trying several brands I've noticed that higher end branded lipstick is on no way superior to this one. There are some products where quality increases proportionally to price, but lipstick isn't one of them.

                      CLAIMS:

                      This lipstick is supposed to "moisturise and smooth the appearance of lips", has a "butter like texture" and "glides effortlessly". It has "high colour pigments depending on the shade" for "intense coverage", and it "lasts for hours...leaving lips feeling soft and smooth".

                      WHAT I FOUND:

                      For once, the advertising blurb is spot on. I find this lipstick range intensely moisturising, I can wear this all day and they don't dry out or get "gunky"-you know when there's a line of stuff on the inner lip edge or the corners. The lipstick goes on the lips smoothly and leaves an intense and even coverage. The texture is indeed butter-like, though a butter that doesn't melt at room temperature...

                      I've been very impressed with the longevity of the lipsticks, it doesn't claim "10 hour staying power" or to survive through eating and kissing and "the collar test" but with the exception of a white shirt it lasts very well. I'll apply in the morning, then reapply at lunch time then evening. It doesn't smudge easily, it just stays in place on the lips.

                      I am also impressed with the pigmentation in all of the shades I have tried and bought. A word of warning though, if you try this on the back of your hand in store, some of the shades seem sheer. Don't be put off by this, when applied to the lips they have a darker base, and in my opinion it is this sheerness that makes them so uniquely moisturising, not drying and long lasting. They are still give an intense colour on the lips. This shows a unique understanding of lip colour on TBS part.

                      It contains various interesting ingredients, notable are lanolin oil, rose hip and jojoba, and community trade marula oil, beeswax and sesame oil. If you're not aware, community trade aims to provide well paying jobs to women in poor areas.

                      SHADES & PRICE:

                      There are a wide range of shades available, my particular favourites are cherry sparkle, dawn fizz, coral splash and magenta glow. I only wish they made a black. One feature I found particularly useful is on the website there is a shade guide for different skin tones and hair colours

                      http://www.thebodyshop.co.uk/_en/_gb/beauty-lounge/perfect-lip-colour.aspx

                      I costs about £8 for 4g, which is an average lipstick amount. More than Rimmel but less than Chanel, and better than both of them.

                      © L Wade 2009

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                      • More +
                        12.02.2010 20:02
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                        5 stars well earned by performance.

                        The single most important point I can make in this review is don't listen to the blurb for this product. It's all rubbish. This is not an adapting, natural finish, barely there foundation. It is, however, hands down my absolute favourite foundation. So while I severely berate Max Factor for their advertising faux pas, I praise them for this little gem that my make-up bag is never without.

                        THE CLAIMS: "Don't mask your true colours. Match them."

                        The basic premise for this foundation is that skin isn't a uniform colour, so your foundation shouldn't give a uniform finish. It claims to flatter your natural skin tones, providing coverage without a whitewash. A sheer "natural looking base" that doesn't mask skins natural radiance.

                        What a load of crap.

                        If you use foundation, whether natural or full coverage, you do so to even out your skin tone, cover any discolouration and hide rosey cheeks. Why would anyone what a foundation that adapts to your redness? Madness! Luckily in reality the foundation does none of this.

                        THE REALITY:

                        This foundation gives a medium coverage with a matte finish that doesn't need setting with powder but doesn't disagree if you do like to use powder, as I do. It certainly isn't sheer, and covers any discolouration, including both redness and visible veins, very well. It's not as uniform as a full coverage foundation, but definitely is not a natural coverage.

                        PRODUCT AND USE:

                        The foundation is liquid and comes in a pump bottle-my favourite for hygiene. One press of the pump will give enough to cover the whole face if applied by fingers, a little more is needed if you use a sponge or brush.

                        The texture is somewhat mousse-like. It's certainly not runny, if you squeeze it onto your hand it won't run anywhere. It feels like a scentless, airy, powdery yet creamy mousse. This makes it very easily applied to the skin and blended into the jawline or neck, even a beginner won't get tide marks. It is neither oily nor drying, it won't add or remove moisture from the skin, and doesn't cake or clog lines, wrinkles or pores. Even on bad skin texture days there is no caking or flaking.

                        I find it doesn't rub off and lasts all day without patching. At the end of the day I feel like I'm removing just as much as I applied in the morning.

                        VALUE:

                        Value in terms of price is a little bit arbitrary, some people splash out on Chanel, others won't pay more than £5. This costs around £12 for 34 ml which lasts me for about 4 months with daily use. To me this is fantastic value. The label says use within 12 months of opening, so even if you don't use foundation every day it will last long enough to get your moneys worth. It can be bought anywhere Max Factor is stocked-I tend to get it in Boots.

                        SHADES: Creamy Ivory, Warm Almond, Blushing Beige, Natural, Golden, Bronze, Caramel, Toffee.

                        I have been pleasantly surprised with the shade availability in this range, most skin tones are catered for except for the very darkest. I would like to see very dark skin taken better care of by midrange brands. It does well for the palest however-I have very pale skin (if you're a MAC user even NC/W 15 is fake-tan-esque on me) and it is hard to find good shades. The palest shade, creamy ivory, is perfect. The only other foundation I have found with a good enough shade is Revlon colour adapt, but that's too heavy for quick application at 7 am. Unlike the Revlon range, this doesn't have separate warm and cool shades, it is a neutral range which I've found to be good on all undertones.

                        © L Wade 2009.

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                          12.01.2010 21:09
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                          Wouldn't buy at full price, but through no flaw of the concealer itself.

                          I have never been much of a concealer user - I've rarely, if ever, found it to be more effective than foundation alone at hiding blemishes and I find it enhances rather than minimises spots. Added to that is the fact that the bags under my eyes are not cosmetic, but a consequence of having deep set eyes which can be neither disguised nor gotten rid of, and you can see why to me concealer seems a waste of time/money/effort.

                          The only reason I tried this product is that it came free when I bought a replacement Max Factor colour adapt foundation from boots a few weeks ago; I figured that if it wasn't useful for me then maybe my girlfriend might make use of it (lucky girl has minimal baggage under the eyes).

                          *SHADES*

                          It comes in three shades, Ivory (303), Fair (306) and Beige(309). Don't be fooled by the shades if you look on the boots website, Ivory is the palest and the colour swatches are about as false as can be. If you look on the Max Factor website you will get a better idea. Three shades is a little bit limiting, but applied and blended well they can be adapted to many skin tones.

                          My shade is Ivory, which matches not only my foundation shade (creamy ivory) but also my skin tone. I am blessed (CURSED!) with very pale skin and find it hard to get the right shade but Max Factor really hits the mark. So if you struggle with make up for pale skin I'd really recommend trying this. You won't end up with a yellow tinge.

                          Ivory is a very neutral, creamy, pale skin tone, neither too bright nor to ashy. Fair is a little bit darker and has a pink undertone; this will probably be the best shade for most Caucasian and paler Asian skin. Beige is quite a dark shade with tan yellow undertones, if you have Mediterranean or medium-dark Asian skin, are a user of fake tan or sit in the sun a lot then this shade should work for you. Unfortunately that is the extent of the shades, and if you have darker skin tones then Max Factor simply don't cater for you.

                          *PACKAGING*

                          The concealer comes in a pen-like case with a pull off, transparent lid and a twist end. Rotating the end pushes a plunger which pushes the concealer through the centre of a sponge covered "nib" which is intended to be the method of application. The packaging is mostly black, with a transparent middle section in which you can see the concealer and judge how much is left. The writing on the case is minimal, all that is given is contact details and a warning to use within 6 months of opening (normal use life for concealers).

                          There is a HUGE negative in the packaging-on first use you need to twist the end a great deal before any of the concealer is pushed through the sponge tip. In fact you need to twist it so much that when you look at the transparent middle you realise that over a quarter of what you thought was the volume of concealer is in fact empty space. I don't know is this is a design flaw or a deliberate money-saving-devise but it certainly annoyed me and made me feel cheated.

                          *APPLICATION*

                          The intended application method is using the sponge tip, dabbing and smoothing over the under eye bags, however I find this simply rubs off the foundation underneath and doesn't blend the concealer; all it does is rub it around the skin. I feel a better quality sponge, something soft like a latex sponge instead of a fluffy cheap one, would greatly improve the application.

                          The best method I have found is to dab the concealer onto the under eye area and to then smooth with fingertips. This leaves alone the foundation underneath and blends the concealer on well.

                          *EFFECTS*

                          Despite so many other flaws, the concealer itself is amazing. It has a thick, creamy consistency, it sits well on the skin and lasts a long time. My under eye discolouration is stronger than most people, and nothing effectively covers it, but this is good enough to minimise the discolouration and even the skin tone. It is thick and pigmented, but isn't cakey and doesn't flake or line or smudge.

                          I've used it on blemishes on the skin as well as under the eye and it is effective on those as well. As most concealers, I've found this to be ineffective on any texture issue, over spots or dry skin.

                          *VALUE*

                          This costs around £7 for an unknown but small amount of concealer with a bad applicator. In all honesty, the value is very poor and for that reason alone I wouldn't buy this product at full price. The negatives far outweigh the positives.

                          © L Wade 2009

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                            31.12.2009 19:53
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                            Seriously...the worst product I've ever encountered from TBS.

                            If you have read my nivea natural radiance moisturiser review, and look at the rating given to this body butter you might be inclined to think that I have a hate-hate relationship with all things glitter, that this is a biased review and that this product never stood a chance. It's true that I tend to avoid shimmer and sparkle, but I like it if it's done well, and the Body Shop coconut shimmer body butter really misses the mark.

                            This was a recent freebie when spending more than £25 at in store or online, so I got one when I was buying xmas presents, then I got another for xmas (Oh noes!). The packaging is as in the picture, what you can't see is that the plastic pot has a iridescent look.

                            There are several types of body butter by TBS, normal, normal/dry, normal/very dry, extremely dry, and sensitive. The coconut butter is for normal/dry skin (both the shimmer and regular), and the coconut scent is said to be TBS highest seller. That's no surprise since it has a divine scent. Sweet and strong but not overpowering. The texture is thick and semi solid-the type determines the thickness and texture and since this is normal/dry it is thick but still easily absorbed.

                            If your skin is normal, like most of mine, then you need to be careful not to apply too much because it will leave a greasy layer for several minutes. If it is dry, like my elbows, calves and knees, then it is going to love the coconut butter. It leaves your skin soft and silky with a pleasant scent that lingers for a long time.

                            The only difference between the regular and shimmer body butter is that the shimmer one has lots of little bits of sparkle throughout, otherwise it is the same product. The effect isn't a subtle (or even bold) sheen, it's a deposit of small particles of glitter on the skin which, when the cream is absorbed, look ridiculous. Like you're covered yourself in ground up craft glitter. And it doesn't stay on the skin, it quickly falls of onto your clothes and sofa and bed and...

                            It's hard to get it off anything also, when your clothes go through the washing machine it doesn't come off easily, a clothes brush stands no chance and even a sticky tape covered hand struggles.

                            If this was the non shimmer version of the coconut body butter, it would be getting 5 stars. The shimmer is an awful variation of one of my favourite skin care products.

                            © L Wade 2009

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                              31.12.2009 15:36
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                              Not mind blowing, but definitely good value.

                              Cyclax is one of those brands that everyone has heard of and has probably used once or twice, probably as a child staying with grandparents. It doesn't rely on gimmicky advertising, selling sex or women with sharp cheek bones and collagen lips, but is still *shockingly* an established brand and presumably makes enough money to keep going amongst the Chanel and Clinique and Clarins. Maybe it's nostalgia, maybe it's price...how about quality?

                              The apricot scrub is probably the best known amongst the younger generations, probably because it is often recommended as the poor student's St. Ives - £3+ for 150 ml vs 99p for 300ml...

                              The 300 ml of scrub is encased in a transparent, round plastic tub (so you can see the product) with an orange screw on lid and an inconspicuous white plastic pull out lid within.

                              The scrub itself consists of rough, tiny grains suspended in (deceptively) thick, white, creamy face wash. I can't find out what the scrub is made of but the fact that the granules are varying in size and shape suggests they are a natural product, maybe ground apricot kernels? It smells sweet and creamy, kind of like a "finest" apricot yoghurt. The grains are well distributed, they don't sink to the bottom nor is the last use lacking.

                              Directions say:
                              "An invigorating, exfoliating scrub with extracts of apricot - for use 1-2 times a week. Wet your face, lather a little of the scrub with warm water between your fingertips and massage the face gently, avoiding the delicate eye area. Rinse your face thoroughly with warm water." I am impressed with the use of proper English here and real sentences-no wonder it has the Royal Warrent!

                              The key word here is gently: I'd replace it with VERY GENTLY, or EXTREMELY GENTLY. The scrub bits are extremely rough and abrasive to facial skin in my experience, so please take extra care the first few times you use it. Circular motions are best for optimal scrubbing. The creamy wash is a little too creamy in my opinion and needs extra rinsing to prevent build up of product on the face.

                              Despite these issues, the results after use are fantastic. I always find my face to be left incredibly smooth and soft from the combination of the thick cream wash and the rough grains. Certainly it is comparable to all mid-range and some high range facial scrubs I've used.

                              To be completely honest, I don't like to use this on facial skin and personally I'd only use it on my legs and arms after shaving, possibly the derriere if needed, simply because it is so harsh. Though I often find I don't like facial scrubs for this reason so don't let that put you off.

                              It is potentially fabulous value, but I also find that the scrub dries out in the tub after a few weeks if the inner lid is lost or left off, though when I use the scrub for the body and not the face it is used up long before that happens. If you take care of it the life span will be good and so the value will be even better.

                              Like all Cyclex products, it is not tested on animals, a big plus in my opinion, and it can be hard to find a stockist. The larger pharmacies tend to ignore this product so your best bet are independent pharmacies (which you should be supporting anyway you capitalist scoundrels!!) or online. It is available at www.cyclax.com however it is priced at £2.75 (at time of writing) and can be found for 99p in most pther places.

                              3 stars for use, 4 stars for results.

                              © L Wade 2009 - submitted only on dooyoo.

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                                09.12.2009 21:00
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                                Really good effects, definitely a keeper.

                                This is a short one, there's only so much to be said about lip balm!

                                I was long over due for replacing my last lip balm and I got this from the Body Shop. I specifically looked for a stick balm: I don't like tub balms because there's nothing worse than the feeling of balm on the fingers and because it's far more hygenic-when it comes to cosmetics I am really fussy about packaging and always seek out the most hygienic products I can find.

                                There were three stick balms: hemp, vitamin e and coco butter. I have tried both the vitamin e and coco butter, and though they are both good I am not a fan of the scents of either of them. I had never tried the hemp so I chose that one.

                                I'm not a huge fan of the scent of the hemp range from the body shop either, however I recognise the benefits of the fatty acids of hemp products in softening and smoothing the skin, even for very dry skin, which is one of the reasons I chose this over one of the other lip balms. Fortunately the scent is very mild, and not as pungent as the other hemp products. It is very waxy, earthy and herbal, and also slightly like TCP (not in an unpleasant way).

                                When applied to the lips the balm melts evenly and coats the lips in a smooth and slippery barrier which doesn't feel greasy or sticky. Often lip balms feel like a layer of oil over dry skin and you feel the dry skin harden underneath, this softens the skin and all the flaky bits of skin disappear. It lasts quite well because it is thick and opaque, and when it does go through lip movement the skin is left very soft.

                                I use this a few times a day, maybe every 2-3 hours, not because I need it that often, since one or two uses a day would be sufficient, but because it feels good. Since it is a wax based product it has a very opaque consistency and is more matte than the tub lip balms, so on the lips it is almost invisible if you apply in a thin even layer. Also it has no taste and because the scent isn't fruity you won't find yourself licking it all off.

                                It costs £3.90, by no means the cheapest stick lip balm around and I am sure that will discourage many people, but definitely a keeper for me. I find with several uses a day it will last about 6 weeks.

                                © L Wade 2009 - submitted only on dooyoo.

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