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Loubielou22

Loubielou22
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Member since: 13.05.2009

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      31.03.2012 15:44
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      Low Budget, High Performance Eye Shadow set

      Product: ELF Brightening Eye Colour
      Price:- £1.50 from ELF Cosmetics

      ******General Information******

      Elf products are everywhere at the moment, staring out at me from the pages of glossy magazines and appearing in makeup bags across the office. This is one beauty secret that took me a while to catch on to but Boy am I glad that I finally did.

      Cost effective, budget friendly quality make up encased in simple, transportable, practical packaging. I have begun a whole new love affair with my makeup bag and rejuvenated my look all courtesy of the wonderful peeps at ELF.

      E.L.F is essentially Eyes Lips Face.com. A makeup company that provides cruelty free, good quality products across three ranges that not only perform well but they are really really cost effective.

      ******The Product******

      The blurb on the ELF Website describes this product as:-

      "Luxuriously smooth, corn silk formula provides eyes with a neutral base and an awakened brightness. The formula blends into the skin for a long lasting, beautiful effect. The 4 colour quad allows for both natural and dramatic looks. Mirror in compact included".

      Source. http://www.eyeslipsface.co.uk

      This is another ELF Product that I really like; the eye shadow set that I purchased is advertised as ELF Eye Brightening Color and contains four different gorgeous autumnal shades. I choose the set named butternut but there are plenty of other colour options ranging from pinks, mauves, greys, blues and assorted bright greens etc.

      The first colour is an ochre cream which looks darker in the eye shadow set that was on my eyelids. There is a hint of sparkle in the eye shadow but I wouldn't say this was a heavily pigmented product. I used an eye shadow brush to apply the eye shadow which I was glad to say was quite solid in its packaging and there wasn't any of the surplus powder trailing from the eye shadow brush as I applied it. I used the colour to as a base over my eyelid and then added a bit more to accentuate my brow bone. The colour wasn't dramatic but rather a pale natural sparkly glow and surprisingly had staying power. I didn't need to reapply at all during the day so there is longevity with this product.

      The Second Colour is a bright, slightly metallic peach which again once applied seemed to lose some of its colour but I actually preferred the colour it transpired to be once it was on my eyelids. Again there is a light sparkle with this colour and I used an shadow brush to blend it into the corners of my eyelids nearest the eye. The peachy tone seemed to work with my yellow skin tone and gave my eye area a fresher more awake appearance.

      The Third colour is a very dark metallic brown which softened to a smoky brown once I had applied it to the bottom half of my eyelids. This colour seemed to contain a lot more glittery metallic pigment that the other two but it wasn't an overpowering glitter fest and didn't detract from the rich smoky brown hue. Again this product lasted throughout the day and was very easy to blend into the other eye colours.

      The Fourth colour is a rich metallic russet brown and again it was a joy to apply and lasted the whole day. I blended the colour into the smoky brown with ease and it stayed true to the colour in the eye shadow palette with a hint of glitter.

      The set allows room for a lot of experimentation; you can create a really natural fresh faced look or a dramatic evening look depending on the look that you require. Because the products are a dream to blend there isn't really a limit to what you can achieve with this set and I love the versatility of the product.


      ******Application******

      One of things I most appreciate about the eye shadow set is the consistency, the eyeshaows stay firmly in their packaging and glide from eye shadow brush to eyelids with ease. No broken bits of eye shadow floating around the packaging and more importantly there wasn't any powdery residue dropping off the brush when it was applied. The eye shadows melt into the eyelids like a dream are easy to blend with one another but somehow retain both their colour and their lasting power.

      I have very oily skin and most eye shadows tend to crease or disappear by the end of the day but although there was some creasing on the eyelids, overall I am very impressed with the performance of this eye shadow set. It's functional and affordable and the least messy eye shadow set I have used to date.

      One thing I didn't like was the foam eye shadow applicator provided. It was low quality and I gave up using it to blend the eye shadows as they just flopped too much to be able to apply with precision. But for the cost of the Eye shadow set I don't consider the cheap applicators too much of an issue and happily used an eye shadow brush instead.

      ******Packaging******

      The Eye shadow set is quite small and fits into the palm of my hand which was an ideal size as it's transportable in a makeup bag.

      The eye shadows are laid out a triangular pattern with the ochre and peach eye shadows to the left and the smoky and russet browns to the right. The case itself is white, wipeable plastic at the bottom with a clear plastic front with the ELF log in silver with the words Brightening Eye Colour underneath. The eye shadows are accessed by simply lifting your thumb under the clear plastic lid and pushing upwards. No fuss, no nonsense and there is the added joy of the eye shadow applicator being stored over a small mirror. Such a simple space saving idea that works really well.

      There isn't a wow factor with this packaging as opposed to something at the higher end of the cosmetics scale such as Chanel's iconic black packaging or benefit and too faced's distinctive approach to packaging but ELF manage to keep their costs down in part due to their no nonsense packaging approach and with that in mind I think that ELF have managed to achieve their goals whilst providing packaging that isn't ugly or poorly made. In fact their simple, minimal approach to packaging works. Their products manage to look simple and understated and quite urban. I view their packaging as the IKEA of make up if IKEA decided to create a makeup range then ELF make up encapsulates the look IKEA would be aiming for.

      ********Ingredients *********

      Talc, Mica, Zinc Stearate, Kaolin, Paraffinium Liquid (Mineral Oil), Petrolatum, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, MethylParaben, Propylparaben, Iron Oxides (CI 77491 , CI 77492 , CI 77499), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Mica (CI 77019), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Yellow No.5 Lake (CI 19140), Red No.40 Lake (CI 16035), Ultramarine Violet (CI 77077), Blue No.1 Lake (CI 42090

      There isn't a plethora of nasty, toxic chemicals listed in the ingredients for but there are the dreaded Parabens which I have commented on regarding their toxicity in other reviews on DooYoo But I have highlighted a few below because essentially the product is applied to the eyelids and invariably seeps through the skin and I think it's useful to make an informed choice as to whether we want to absurd some of these ingredients on a daily basis.

      I would always recommend a skin patch test before full application in case of skin sensitivity and allergies.

      Mica is basically a mineral based powder harvested from rocksand ground into a powdery form to be used in cosmetics and are generally used as fillers or bulking agents in cosmetics. But can be used for a matte or shimmery effect and probably contribute to the glittery pigments in this eye shadow set. Although not considered toxic, ethically my concerns are regarding the harvesting of the mica.

      Talc is a basically another mineral powder which is usually made from talc rocks and is used to ensure that your make up stays where it should as it's usually moisture resistant which explains the longevity of the eye shadow set. Regarding toxicity talc isn't considered to be really harmful but again it's not on my list of favourite ingredients as it can cause allergic reactions

      Zinc stearate is a compound of Zinc and is generally used as an anti-caking agent because it's insoluble in water and has a great capacity for absorbing excess moisture by coating make up particles which in turns makes them water repellent. It's used to encourage easy application and build texture in cosmetics which I imagine has contributed to the lasting power and easy application of the eye shadow set. Again not regarding as a major make up toxin but not something I am overly keen on using.

      ********Website***********

      I adore the ELF Website, it's very easy to navigate and each product is listed under sections such as Eyes, Lips, Face, Brushes etc. There is the lower budget range with an assortment of Make-up items and a Studio Range which is the more professional and pricier type of items and also a Mineral range which contains mineral type make up such as foundations and blushers etc.

      The Studio and Mineral ranges are also broken into sub headings such as Eyes and Lips etc.

      Shopping on the ELF website couldn't be easier you just select the item you want and the colour (ELF provide3 a very accurate swatch of colour under each item) and add to your shopping basket or wish list. Once you have selected the items you just proceed to a secure checkout which lists your order and delivery options which is £2.95 for standard UK 1-5 days and £8.95 for Next day delivery with all orders over £30 being free to deliver HURRAH!!.

      Once you have placed and paid for your order via credit or debit card you can track your parcel and your order is also emailed to you.

      My items arrived the next day on the standard delivery and were packaged in a large cardboard box. Great prompt service in my book.


      *****Value for Money*****

      I would consider this Product excellent value for money. The eye shadows had longevity, were easy to apply and stayed in their packaging without crumbling. I would highly recommend this ELF Product.

      My main concern regarding the price is the ethical considerations regarding the manufacturing.

      *****ELF Background*****

      According to Wikipedia
      "e.l.f. Cosmetics was founded by Joseph Shamah and Scott Vincent Borba in June 2004.[2][11] The duo originally met at a party in 2002; Shamah was a 23-year-old New York University business student. Borba was a 31-year-old Los Angeles beauty-industry veteran, responsible for previously launching brands such as Hard Candy cosmetics and Murad skin care. Both were enthusiastic about an inexpensive, high-quality cosmetics line for women, and decided to form a company together. A few days after the party they sat down to brainstorm, and a business plan was created within months. Borba claims the idea originated from seeing women with expensive cars such as BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes buying bargain-price cosmetics at 99-cent stores in Los Angeles.
      e.l.f. Cosmetics (short for Eyes Lips Face) was officially launched in New York City on June 2004, also with the assistance of Shamah's father Alan. They continue to sell high-quality cosmetics at $1, $3, and $5 price points". Source = Wikepeida

      Thanks for reading xx

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      • More +
        29.03.2012 20:26
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        A really good high quality budget item that delivers.

        Reviewed Product:- ELF Studio Shimmer Palette
        Net Weight:- 0.198oz (5.6g)
        Cost:- £3.50 (Purchased online from www.eyeslipsface.com)

        ELF = Eyes Lips Face.com

        After constantly hearing about ELF products via co-workers and in the media I decided to check out the ELF phenomenon myself. Could there really exist good quality innovative make up at a fraction of the prices we have become used to paying?.

        I logged onto the http://www.eyeslipsface.co.uk website and was entranced for over half an hour browsing in Make-up heaven. Products that I didn't even realise I wanted and needed seemed to jump across the page goading me for my naivety regarding their existence.

        But.. the biggest shock was the price. ELF Make up is exceedingly cheap and appeared to be remarkably good value. I loaded my basket with all manner of whimsical items and then brutally narrowed it down to affordability versus sheer Make up lust.

        I placed an order which arrived the next day despite me not paying for next day delivery, I ordered quite a few items and the ELF All Over Cover Stick was one of them.

        ********Website***********
        I adore the ELF Website, it's very easy to navigate and each product is listed under sections such as Eyes, Lips, Face, Brushes etc. There is the lower budget range with an assortment of Make-up items and a Studio Range which is the more professional and pricier type of items and also a Mineral range which contains mineral type make up such as foundations and blushers etc.

        The Studio and Mineral ranges are also broken into sub headings such as Eyes and Lips etc.

        Shopping on the ELF website couldn't be easier you just select the item you want and the colour (ELF provide3 a very accurate swatch of colour under each item) and add to your shopping basket or wish list. Once you have selected the items you just proceed to a secure checkout which lists your order and delivery options which is £2.95 for standard UK 1-5 days and £8.95 for Next day delivery with all orders over £30 being free to deliver HURRAH!!.

        Once you have placed and paid for your order via credit or debit card you can track your parcel and your order is also emailed to you.

        My items arrived the next day on the standard delivery and were packaged in a large cardboard box. Great prompt service in my book.

        *******Product:- *******

        According to the ELF Website Blurb - the Shimmer Palette contains "weightless and creamy shimmers which instantly illuminate the eyes, lips, and face. Gives skin a healthy and natural glow. Mix and match colors to create your unique look". Directions - Apply a dab of the shimmer to desired location and blend in. Colors can be worn alone or as a base for your other makeup.". Source - ELF Website


        The Palette itself is approximately the size of my hand outstretched - bearing in mind I have quite small hands. It's a palette containing five pastel hued shimmering colours which claim to enhance your complexion and provide a multitude of uses. The colours are as follows:- pale silver, peachy pink, taupe brown and a bubble-gum pink all with a glittery appearance

        The creams are very lightweight in consistency and surprisingly not at all greasy. They glide onto the skin like a dream and are super absorbant without leaving a nasty powdery or oily residue.

        I applied the peachy pink to my cheekbones and the taupe brown to my eyelids with a small eye shadow brush and was really pleased with the results. The peachy pink worked as a low key blusher/highlighter over foundation giving a light reflecting effect. The taupe brown was applied over an eye shadow primer and worked really really well, it looked natural and didn't crease but only lasted a couple of hours.

        The pale silver was used on my cheekbones as a highlighter, the bridge of my nose and below my eyebrows and provided just a hint of shimmer whilst the bubble gum pink worked as a pearlescent lip gloss. I love the consistency, absorbency and versatility of the palette and for the price it's really good quality.

        I checked the Caring Consumer list and the products are not tested on animals.

        **********Packaging**********

        The Shimmer Palette I packaged as a small compact in black matt plastic with a window at the top which highlights the four colours contained within it. Once opened there is a small but very handy mirror attached to the lid of the case and the palette is attached to the bottom half of the case with a section underneath for the supplied brush which is a typical small eye shadow brush.

        The packaging is very durable but feels incredibly light and is operated by a simple lift and open mechanism which opens the lid.

        The packaging looks sleek, modern and minimal and although it isn't immediately eye catching I would notice it amongst an array of products due to it simple urban style. All of the Studio line ELF Products appear to be encased in the sleek, black packing whilst the lower end products tend to be in the white plastic packaging. I love the fact that the ELF logo is always quite minimal and understated on every product and in this case it's a small elf logo at the front in silver with the words shimmer palette underneath.


        *********Functionality & Usability*****

        The Shimmer Palette is highly functional from the packaging to the product itself; essentially it delivers what it's supposed to and so much more. Multi-functional facial shimmer in a sleek modern package.

        The product is very easy to use in a variety of ways and is a welcome addition to any make up bag.

        *******Ingredients*****

        Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Mica, Dimethicone, Polymethylmethacrylate, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Synthetic Wax, Triacontanyl PVP, Paraffinium Liquidum (Mineral Oil), Titanium Dioxide, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Iron Oxides (CI 77491 , CI 77492 , CI 77499), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Mica (CI 77019), Red No.7 Lake (CI 15850), Red No.27 Lake (CI 45410), Red No.6 Lake (CI 15850), Blue No.1 Lake (CI 42090), Yellow No.5 Lake (CI 19140), Yellow No.6 Lake (CI 15985)

        There are quite a few chemicals in this product but far less than I expected and I was relieved to see that there weren't any parabens on the list. I have highlighted some of the chemicals below.

        Titanium Dioxide is a naturally occurring mineral which is derived from oxide of titanium and is frequently used in cosmetics to inject a whiteness to color cosmetics and encourage the opacity and minimize transparency, titanium dioxide also reflects and absorbs and scatters light including (UVA,B & C rays) and has anti-ageing properties. Titanium Dioxide was studied by the a group working for the International Agency for Cancer Research who announced that there was inadequate evidence in humans regarding eth carcinogenic effects of Titanium Dioxide but sufficient evidence for its carcinogenicity in experimental animals, and classified the substance as possibly carcinogenic to humans

        Iron Oxides are naturally occurring mineral deposits and are generally used in cosmetics to provide pigmentation and Ipresume the Iron Oxides are providing the glittery pigment effect of the colour stick.

        As with nearly all brand cosmetics there is a list of chemical ingredients which are always up for debate regarding their toxicity. Due to the heavy pigmentation the product I would recommend that anyone with sensitive skin to try a patch test before usage.

        *********Value for money********
        The ELF Company use cheap packaging and don't use celebrity endorsements and Ad campaigns in order to keep the costs down.

        ELF Products are definitely at the cheaper end of the spectrum, but I don't actually feel that the products suffer for this and in fact the packaging doesn't look cheap. Its simple stylish and contemporary.

        The Shimmer Palette is without question great value for money it's a Highlighter, blusher, eye shadow and lipstick all for £3.50

        ***********Overall Opinion*********
        This is another ELF product that I adore and use daily in a variety of ways. It's easy to use really cost effective and cruelty free. A make up must have.

        I like the packaging, the usability, the functionality, the price and the product itself and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.


        Summary: A really good versatile product which is budget friendly and delivers.

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      • More +
        29.03.2012 18:37
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        Not the right product for me but cheap and multi finctional

        Reviewed Product:- ELF All Over Cover Stick
        Net Weight:- 0.14oz (4g)
        Cost:- £1.50 (Purchased online from www.eyeslipsface.com)


        I had heard a plethora of comments regarding ELF Make up in the office and noticed ELF Make up cropping up in various magazines and decided to take the plunge and investigate the ELF make up phenomenon myself.

        I logged onto the http://www.eyeslipsface.co.uk website and was entranced for over half an hour browsing in Make-up heaven. Products that I didn't even realise I wanted and needed seemed to jump across the page goading me for my naivety regarding their existence.

        But.. the biggest shock was the price. ELF Make up is exceedingly cheap and appeared to be remarkably good value. I loaded my basket with all manner of whimsical items and then brutally narrowed it down to affordability versus sheer Make up lust.

        I placed an order which arrived the next day despite me not paying for next day delivery, I ordered quite a few items and the ELF All Over Cover Stick was one of them.

        *******Product:- *******

        According to the ELF Website Blurb - the All Over Cover Stick is a "Achieve smooth and flawless skin easily! The e.l.f. All Over Cover Stick is infused with active natural ingredients and skin polymers to soothe and protect the skin to camouflage those problematic facial areas. Getting a clear fresh face has never been so easy!". Source - ELF Website

        The Product was quite small much like the all over cover/colour stick and again fitted neatly into the palm if my hand. The Product is in the same packaging as the all over colour stick and works via a twist mechanism.

        I opted for the colour light Beige and the colour of the product accurately matched the stick but was quite peachy for my pale skin tone. Texture wise the stick is quite thick and heavy but surprisingly doesn't feel greasy on the skin; it feels more like a heavy duty concealer than an alternative to foundation.

        I applied the product via a small foundation brush to my cheeks and jawline which are the areas with the biggest open pores and found that I had to blend it quite a lot in order to remove any tell-tale signs. The product just didn't seem to blend in and left a powdery residue which highlighted all the pores and wrinkles. I was quite disappointed by this but resolved to use it as an eye shadow primer and concealer for my eyes instead which works surprisingly well but not for long before it slid off my eyelids.

        The Product has a faint orangey scent which is actually quite nice and it didn't seem to cause any irritation to my skin either


        I checked the Caring Consumer list and the products are not tested on animals.

        **********Packaging**********

        The Cover stick is small and compact and is essentially a solid cover stick that resides within a small plastic white tube on the bottom half with a clear plastic lid for the top half. The stick is operated via a twist mechanism which in this case is the bottom of the white plastic tube. The twist mechanism isn't messy but I found that got stuck after I had used it twice and had to resort to digging the product out with a small brush in order to use it.


        The Elf logo is printed in silver capital letters across the front with the words cover stick in silver underneath. Considering the £1.50 price I personally didn't think the packaging looked too cheap in fact it looked simple and understated and the white packaging almost looked clinical.

        My only complaint regarding packaging is the lack of durability.



        *********Functionality & Usability*****

        The Cover stick is a great idea in theory, but sadly for me it just didn't work. Usability wise it's small enough to be added to a makeup bag and used as a top up concealer throughout the day.

        A word of warning though - after the twist mechanism got stuck and I could no longer use the product as it was designed I would advise being gentle when using the product.

        With regards to Functionality, there is a lot that you could use this product for such as an eye shadow primer, a concealer a lipstick base or just to cover imperfections and due to this I think it's a great versatile product but just not for me.


        *******Ingredients*****

        Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Ceresin Wax, Synthetic Beeswax, Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2, Microcrystalline Wax, Cetyl Alcohol, Methlyparaben, Microcrystalline Wax, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides (CI 77491 , CI 77492 , CI 77499), Red No.27 Lake (CI 45410), Red No.40 Lake (CI 16035)

        There are quite a few chemicals in this product but far less than I expected but I wasn't happy to see a methyl paraben on the list.

        Titanium Dioxide is a naturally occurring mineral which is derived from oxide of titanium and is frequently used in cosmetics to inject a whiteness to color cosmetics and encourage the opacity and minimize transparency, titanium dioxide also reflects and absorbs and scatters light including (UVA,B & C rays) and has anti-ageing properties. Titanium Dioxide was studied by the a group working for the International Agency for Cancer Research who announced that there was inadequate evidence in humans regarding eth carcinogenic effects of Titanium Dioxide but sufficient evidence for its carcinogenicity in experimental animals, and classified the substance as possibly carcinogenic to humans

        Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate is essentially a Glycerin Ester and is used as an emollient and thickener which would help provide the cover stick with its greasy texture.

        Ceresain Wax is a mineral wax usually derived from Coal and is called synthetic beeswax. It's mainly used as a thickener and helps to keep emulsions from separating the oil and liquid components and explains the solidity of the Colour stick.

        Iron Oxides are naturally occurring mineral deposits and are generally used in cosmetics to provide pigmentation and Ipresume the Iron Oxides are providing the glittery pigment effect of the colour stick.

        Parabens have been under considerable attention the past few years and there is a huge debate regarding their safety within Cosmetic products. Essentially Parabens are preservatives and can be found in cosmetics and all manner of hair care products. They are esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid and the debate regarding usage was ignited by a study which linked parabens in deodorants to breast cancer due to parabens mimicking human estrogen which is known to stimulate cancer. Since publication the study (which sadly I can't remember who it was by), has been discredited and to date no more scientific proof has been offered to support the original theory. Although from an Environmental perspective Parabens are not good news due to the estrogen mimicking effect of the products which are absorbed by the body and deposited as waste into the water systems or directly flushed into water systems in the form of shampoo and shower gels. The Contraceptive pill is also being flushed into our water supply via human urine, the high levels of estrogen in the water supplies and its impact upon wildlife is currently being studied and anyone who is interested in researching this further would be well advised to Google paarabens and water supply.

        As with nearly all brand cosmetics there is a list of chemical ingredients which are always up for debate regarding their toxicity. I would recommend that anyone with sensitive skin to try a patch test before usage.

        *********Value for money********

        The ELF Company use cheap packaging and don't use celebrity endorsements and Ad campaigns in order to keep the costs down.

        ELF Products are definitely at the cheaper end of the spectrum, but I don't actually feel that the products suffer for this and in fact the packaging doesn't look cheap. Its simple stylish and contemporary.

        The All Over Cover Stick is without question great value for money and is highly versatile but very greasy with a powdery finish.

        ***********Overall Opinion*********

        Sadly this product wasn't for me and I won't be ordering it again but I like the packaging and the price.

        Summary: Great idea just too greasy for my skin.

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      • E.L.F.All Over Color Stick / Make Up / 25 Readings / 25 Ratings
        More +
        29.03.2012 17:24
        Very helpful
        (Rating)
        2 Comments

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        A beauty must have

        Reviewed Product:- ELF All Over Cover Stick
        Net Weight:- 0.14oz (4g)
        Cost:- £1.50 (Purchased online from www.eyeslipsface.com)


        I had heard a plethora of comments regarding ELF Make up in the office and noticed ELF Make up cropping up in various magazines and decided to take the plunge and investigate the ELF make up phenomenon myself.

        I logged onto the http://www.eyeslipsface.co.uk website and was entranced for over half an hour browsing in Make-up heaven. Products that I didn't even realise I wanted and needed seemed to jump across the page goading me for my naivety regarding their existence.

        But.. the biggest shock was the price. ELF Make up is exceedingly cheap and appeared to be remarkably good value. I loaded my basket with all manner of whimsical items and then brutally narrowed it down to affordability versus sheer Make up lust.

        I placed an order which arrived the next day despite me not paying for next day delivery, I ordered quite a few items and the ELF All Over Cover/Colur Stick was one of them.

        *******Product:- *******

        According to the ELF Website Blurb - the All Over Cover Stick is a "3 in 1 color for your eyes, lips, and or face! Get the color that illuminates for a healthy glow, and instantly soothes and conditions the skin for fresh and natural color all day long". Source - ELF Website

        The Product was much smaller than I expected and fitted neatly into the palm of my hand. It's essentially a condensed solid shimmer stick packed into a tube with a twist mechanism.

        Eagerly I sat poised next to my Make up Mirror and twisted... the shimmer stick felt soft and glided across my cheekbones like a dream. I ordered the Lilac Petal colour which is a sparkly almost pastel pink and was surprised that the product looked exactly like the swatch provided on the website.

        The product is quite metallic and pigmented and it blended really well (via my hands) leaving a shimmery highlight effect across my cheekbone. Not too obvious and in fact considering the pigments in the stick the effect was quite subtle and very similar to Benefit High Beam but at a fraction of the price.

        The product has definite staying power and lasted a whole day without melting which a lot of products tend to do due to my oily skin. I loved the application, durability and simplicity of the all over colour stick.

        I checked the Caring Consumer list and the products are not tested on animals.

        **********Packaging**********

        The Colour stick is small and compact and is essentially a solid colour stick that resides within a small plastic white tube with a clear plastic lid. The Shimmer stick is operated via a twist mechanism which in this case is the bottom of the white plastic tube. The twist mechanism isn't messy but I found that it tended to get stuck and I fear for the longevity of the packaging after a lot of usage.

        Considering the £1.50 price I personally didn't think the packaging looked too cheap in fact it looked simple and understated and the white packaging almost looked clinical.

        My only complaint regarding packaging is the lack of durability.



        *********Functionality & Usability*****
        Regarding Functionality I think that the all over cover stick is essentially a good idea and I loved the fact that I could transport this product in my make-up bag due to its compact size. I also loved the fact that it's a solid highlighter as opposed to the liquid ones I had used previously.

        I loved the multi functionality of the stick, I predominately use it as a highlighter but it's also great as a blusher, eye shadow and a lipstick.

        As an eye shadow I used the stick over an eye primer just to add some shimmer and colour and it left a faint shimmer glow over the eyelids which weren't too greasy or powdery.

        As a blusher the product was a little too faint for my skin tone and worked much better as a highlighter but a darker coloured stick would more than suffice as a blusher.

        I loved the product as a lipstick, it glides on and stays on and leaves a faint pink glittery shimmer. I added a clear lip gloss over the top.

        The product is exceptional regarding usability and functionality, it's my new make-up best friend and is reliable, adaptable and provides a hint of shimmery magic in a variety of ways.

        *******Ingredients*****

        Aqua(Water), Isopropyl Myristate, Octyl Isopalmitate, Ceresin Wax, Microcrystalline Wax (Cera Microcristallina), Sorbitol, Mica, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491 , CI 77492 , CI 77499), Red No.6 Lake (CI 15850

        There are quite a few chemicals in this product but far less than I expected and I was relieved to see that there weren't any parabens on the list.

        Isopropyl Myrisstate is mainly a penetrating serious offender to the skin which is found in many cosmetics. It's used for its to apply "slip" allowing it to go on more smoothly, thereby appearing to have a sheer feel. This explains why the Colour stick glides onto the skin like a dream. Although generally considered to be safe, isopropylmyristate may cause mild allergic reactions along with possibly aggravating skin conditions such as acne.

        Titanium Dioxide is a naturally occurring mineral which is derived from oxide of titanium and is frequently used in cosmetics to inject a whiteness to color cosmetics and encourage the opacity and minimize transparency, titanium dioxide also reflects and absorbs and scatters light including (UVA,B & C rays) and has anti-ageing properties. Titanium Dioxide was studied by the a group working for the International Agency for Cancer Research who announced that there was inadequate evidence in humans regarding the carcinogenic effects of Titanium Dioxide but sufficient evidence for its carcinogenicity in experimental animals, and classified the substance as possibly carcinogenic to humans

        Ceresain Wax is a mineral wax usually derived from Coal and is called synthetic beeswax. It's mainly used as a thickener and helps to keep emulsions from separating the oil and liquid components and explains the solidity of the Colour stick.

        Iron Oxides are naturally occurring mineral deposits and are generally used in cosmetics to provide pigmentation and Ipresume the Iron Oxides are providing the glittery pigment effect of the colour stick.

        As with nearly all brand cosmetics there is a list of chemical ingredients which are always up for debate regarding their toxicity. Due to the heavy pigmentation the product I would recommend that anyone with sensitive skin to try a patch test before usage.

        *********Value for money********
        The ELF Company use cheap packaging and don't use celebrity endorsements and Ad campaigns in order to keep the costs down.

        ELF Products are definitely at the cheaper end of the spectrum, but I don't actually feel that the products suffer for this and in fact the packaging doesn't look cheap. Its simple stylish and contemporary.

        The All Over Colour Stick is without question great value for money it's a Highlighter, blusher, eye shadow and lipstick all for £1.50

        ***********Overall Opinion*********
        I adore this product and its versatility. It's easy to use really cost effective and cruelty free. It's a make-up must have for any gal.

        I like the packaging, the usability, the functionality, the price and the product itself and would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.


        Summary: Great idea and a must have for makeup Junkies.

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        • Too Faced Liquifeye Kit / Make Up / 111 Readings / 102 Ratings
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          16.02.2010 19:47
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          Great idea and a must have for make up Junkies.

          Reviewed Product:- Too Faced Liquif-Eye Shadow Collection
          Eyeshadow: 0.6 g / 0.021 oz.(x12), Liquif-Eye Eye Liner: 4 ml / 0.14 oz.
          Cost:- £23.00 (Purchased by Hubby at Boots)

          Now that I have mastered the art of Fake Bake tan and am glowing through the winter spell, I need to upgrade my make up to compliment the newly acquired tan from a bottle. I rummaged through my make up drawer and came upon Too Faced Liquif Eye Shadow... how could I have forgotten this nifty Christmas Gift and banished it to the depths of the Make up drawer I asked myself?

          So.. with all the excitement of a child with a shiny, new toy I proceeded to open - tear off the packaging and awaited the magical opening of the Palette, once opened I was slightly overwhelmed by the twinkly array of colors that were gleaming at me begging to be played with. I grabbed the Eye Liner liquid and embarked upon the chance to create some... ahem... interesting looks.

          *******Product:- *******
          Too faced Liquif Eye Palette is according to the Too Faced website: - "the perfect palette of ultra-intense magnificent metallic and smoldering smoky shadows in one calculated kit to accompany our best-selling eye shadow transformer Liquif-Eye!" Source:- www.toofaced.com

          Essentially the product is a palm sized palette, with 12 varying hues of pigment rich eye shadows (some metallic) which have the added bonus of also being transformed into Eyeliner, courtesy of the handy liquid eye liner transformer wand which is attached to the palette. The manufactures have added extra depth and saturation of color to ensure maximum staying power. The product is designed to be multi functional and presumably space saving and offers the consumer the opportunity to let their inner eye shadow Picasso out of the box in order to create a variety of looks.

          The 12 pigmented shadow options would really appeal to anyone who loves to change their look and the variety of colors has been very well considered regarding the dual functionality of the product. The colors incorporate bright and sparkly and also typical dark brown and black which I use mainly as eyeliners.

          The palette contains the following colors:- A metallicy, black/grey, a slightly pastely green, a vibrant metallic turquoise, a russet brown, a bright pink/red, a lime green/yellow, an orangey block color, a neutral block brown, a vibrant purple, a rich navy blue, a metallic peacock green and a plain block black. I used the darker shades on the top lash line and the lighter brighter on the inner and bottom lash line to open up and brighten my eyes.

          I checked the Caring Consumer list and the products are not tested on animals.

          **********Packaging**********
          The 12 eye shadow palette is contained within a palm shaped box which opens like a regular book. The outside packaging is definitely "eye" catching with a pink striped theme adorned with two large smoldering blue eyes with a trail of striped bar code esque colors emanating from them. Beneath the eyes is a small cream box with antiquated, swirly font which contains the name of the product.

          Once opened the palette is set into a black background with 12 Eye shadows set inside, the Liquif Eye liner wand is attached to the left hand spine of the palette via a small black elastic band. The Liquif eye liner is encased in Black Packaging with pink font detailing the product on the front with a long twist cap, the eye liner wand itself is black and with a thin black liner brush at the end. The packaging is consistent with most Too Faced products which in my opinion are usually bright and colorful and slightly quirky in their own way.

          Most Too Faced products are concept themed for example the Quickie Chronicles and although this product isn't sold to the consumer with a concept in mind. I didn't feel that Too Faced failed to deliver with this Palette. Simplicity is the theme if any behind the Palette form the packaging to the product itself.

          *********Functionality & Usability*****
          Regarding Functionality I think the simplistic idea effectively worked, any make up junkie would be pleased with the dual functionality of an eye shadow/eyeliner kit which can be transported in your make up bag on a daily basis.

          The Palette opens out like a book which is covered by the "colorful" front page aspect of the design, A small sheet of thin plastic is provided which acts as a barrier between the palette and the cover, but sadly in my case this slipped out early on leaving a mish mash of metallic powder leaking into my make up bag.

          This leads me to what I perceive to be the flaws in the functionality. The Liquif Eye liner whilst neatly attached to the palette courtesy of some black elastic banding and looking pretty darn snug sadly wasn't. The Liquif Eyeliner made a daily attempt to emulate the great escape and hide itself in the bottom of my make up bag and sadly the Liquif eye liner expressed its discontent by leaking on a few occasions. Although this may be due to my closing the lid abilities.

          There is also one aspect of the functionality of this design which I feel was overlooked, due to the variety of colors available in the palette all of which vary in hues it's essential to clean your Eyeliner brush after each application otherwise your lovely palette will resemble a mish mash of "new" colors created by blending a turquoise shade for example with a navy blue. Perhaps this is just common sense but I feel that a small pot of cleaning agent attached to the palette may have been a useful addition.

          Usability couldn't be simpler, it's a case of unscrewing the liquif liner lid and swishing it around in the clear liner solution and hey presto - you have a primed and ready to go liner wand which is then dipped into the color of your choice. I did find that I needed to dip the liner onto the color two or three times for each eye in order to build a thicker consistency, but I think that's the beauty of this product. being able to build up the texture of your liner is an asset especially if like myself you are heavy handed and normal liners end up as splurges across your eyelid.

          The Liner fluid is quite runny but once mixed with the eye shadow thickens quite quickly. The liner is very easy to apply due to the thin wand and I was surprised at the durability and staying power of the solution once mixed and applied. The liner lasted all day in my case and was still stubbornly clinging on when I got home at 7pm.

          I loved the idea behind this product and found that the eye shadows when used just as eye shadows were easy to apply and also quite intense in color, they didn't crease until midday with reasonable staying power. The eye shadows appear quite thick in texture but were just the right combination of powdery and thick and when used as eyeliner surprisingly reverted back to texture as eye shadows quite rapidly after the liner solution had been applied.

          In terms of the quality of the Liner and the eye shadow I can't fault the product. I just wish that the pesky Eyeliner would stay attached to the palette and not make a run for it daily. I have used the Liner with other branded eye shadows and haven't achieved the same level of color or durability so would recommend using the eye shadows provided when possible.

          *******Ingredients*****
          Eye Shadow: Talc, Mica, Magnesium Stearate, Mineral Oil (Paraffinum Liquidum), Kaolin, Ethyl Hexyl Palmitate, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.

          May Contains: Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Ultramarines (CI77007), Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Aluminum Powder (CI 77000), Carmine (CI 75470), Chromium Hydroxide Green (CI 77289), Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288), Ferric Ferrocyanide (CI 77510), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake,

          Liquif-Eye Eye Liner: Water, Propylene Glycol, Polysorbate 80, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylparaben.

          No natural ingredients here!!!. (I have copied my original Paraben posting re:- Fake Bake Review for this section). Parabens have been under considerable attention the past few years and there is a huge debate regarding their safety within Cosmetic products. Essentially Parabens are preservatives and can be found in cosmetics and all manner of hair care products. They are esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid and the debate regarding usage was ignited by a study which linked parabens in deodorants to breast cancer due to parabens mimicking human estrogen which is known to stimulate cancer. Since publication the study (which sadly I can't remember who it was by), has been discredited and to date no more scientific proof has been offered to support the original theory.

          Titanium Dioxide is a naturally occurring mineral which is derived from oxide of titanium and is frequently used in cosmetics to inject a whiteness to color cosmetics and encourage the opacity and minimize transparency, titanium dioxide also reflects and absorbs and scatters light including (UVA,B & C rays) and has anti ageing properties. Titanium Dioxide was studied by the a group working for the International Agency for Cancer Research who announced that there was inadequate evidence in humans regarding eth carcinogenic effects of Titanium Dioxide but sufficient evidence for its carcinogenicity in experimental animals, and classified the substance as possibly carcinogenic to humans
          As with nearly all brand cosmetics there is a hefty does of chemicals which are always up for debate regarding their toxicity. Due to the heavy pigmentation the product I would recommend that anyone with sensitive skin to try a patch test before usage.

          *********Value for money********

          Too Faced items do tend to be pricey as with most branded names, but I do find that you essentially get what you pay for with this brand. The packaging is always interesting with lots of attention to small details and the quality of the products that I have tried is always of a consistently high standard. The Palette has been used daily since last week and the eye liner and eye shadows show no signs of diminishing yet. Due to the durability of the product once applied and its staying power I think the palette will last me quite a while yet and for this reason I do think the product is cost effective.

          ***********Overall Opinion*********

          I give kudos to the design team regarding the idea behind this product which is such a simple idea and I am surprised that a similar product wasn't created, marketed and sold by another brand way before now. The Dual functionality of the eye shadow/liner worked for me but the leaky liner and constant cleaning after each application of the liner didn't. Although I fear that this is just me being picky as I maintain quite a high standard of make up brush hygiene in general, but just feel that a small pot of cleaning agent supplied with the kit in light of the actual nature of the product would have been an asset and would help to prevent the colors in the palette being blended into all sorts of colors.

          The Liner is very easy to use and I can't fault the application nor the quality of both the liner and the eye shadows and efforts have been made to entice the buyer with bright, colorful packaging which cleverly displays a pair of eyes indicating to the buyer that this is an eye make up related item. The item is pricey but for the £23.00 you get 12 really good quality eye shadows and a magic wand that transforms the eye shadows into eye liner. I would recommend this product to make up junkies out there and for those that don't wish to buy the Palette but like the idea of a magic wand eye shadow transforming liner then you are in luck, Too faced now sell the liner on it's own.

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          • Fake Bake Self Tan Mousse / Sun Care / 74 Readings / 72 Ratings
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            11.02.2010 18:44
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            A really good Tanning product

            Product:- Fake Bake Tanning Mousse

            Purchased from Amazon.co.uk - £18.95

            Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 7.6 x 17.1 cm ; 209 g

            ........ Review.........
            Due to my unsuccessful relationship with Saint Tropez regarding my misguided attempt at becoming a tanned, bronzed goddess throughout the winter season and ditch the Morticia Adams look. I decided to try Fake Bake another well known brand within the Fake Tan Industry. After researching the product online and ordering through Amazon. My pale, dry skin was still in the recovery phase from the Saint Tropez experiment so I hoped that Fake Bake would provide a "top up effect" without causing further patchy skin issues.

            I really, really, really like this product and it scores highly for me due to the following:-

            Usability and functionality - As a consumer of quite a few beauty products, functionality is often neglected especially when considering that beauty products and in particular Fake Tanning can fall into the messy product spectrum. What I loved about this product was the simple yet ingenious wipe able... take note... plastic wipe able squeezy bottle. When tanning, I tend to be a grubby urchin and get tan almost everywhere due to constant re-application in the bid to beat the winter pasty look and emerge a bronzed goddess. Being able to wipe the bottle time and time again is a great feature and the squeezy bottle also came in rather handy, whilst grappling with bottle in one hand with slimy, tan covered mitts. The lotion is neither too thick nor too thin in consistency and was easier to apply than the Saint Tropez mousse that I had previously used which due to its moussey texture tended to disintegrate during the transition from palm to body.

            End result:- My skin glowed, glistening and shone and suitably mimicked the effect of lying on a tropical beach for a week. With a spring in my step I walked to work and was complimented throughout the day regarding my newly acquired even tan. The tan was only patchy on my face and ankles and this was due to my poor application skills and the fact that I hadn't researched the Tan market thoroughly and have now discovered that facial tanners are available to compliment your body tan. From the nearly effortless application to the even toned, dark brown tan this product is a winner for me.

            ...........Packaging.............
            Fake Bake packaging appears to me as rather kitsch 70's and evokes Charlie Angles Farah Fawcett connotations - which I surmise is due to the bronzed, 70's flick haired lady adorning the front of the bottle.

            The Bottle is a plastic almost oval shape and is a chocolate brown, meatallicy color. The front of the bottle presents a transparent label with a lady positioned in an almost crouched position highlighted in Gold. The Fake Bake Logo is a quite script type font in gold and lies at the top of the bottle. I presume that the bottle is brown in order to evoke bronzed, tanning connotations and imagery to a potential buyer.

            The Packaging would definitely stand out against Saint Tropez for example when placed on a shelf in a shop. But I am not convinced that the product would stand out for the right reasons. I personally thought the packaging looked quite cheap. The lid is placed at the bottom of the bottle and is a flip lid top in the same chocolate brown packaging. The bottle was easily wiped clean after being mauled by my tan stained hand during the application process.

            ..........Application....
            The Flip lid and squeezy bottle was extremely user friendly and I thought that the squeezable bottle was a good idea regarding functionality. The Lotion came out of the flip lidded top with ease; the lotion itself was a very dark brown color and quite a thick consistency. There was a strong odor which smelt quite chemically but with a sweet undertone. The Lotion was surprisingly easy to apply, due to it's thickness I thought it would be quite difficult but the lotion dispersed onto my skin and absorbed easily. Upon application the dark brown color didn't diminish and rightly or wrongly, I used the brown smears as a guide to how badly my application skills were.

            The lotion did require quite a lot of blending in and I found that the more I blended the dark brown patches, the more I seemed to be rubbing off the tan. I did find that the lotion took a long time to dry on my skin and I waited for 40minutes before I stepped into some loose fitting clothing and carried on with my evening. My Partner did comment however on the smell and that it smelt of moldy biscuits.

            .........Application Guidelines.......
            I would recommend exfoliating and moisturizing the skin prior to application to ensure an even tan and not to over blend the product even if it looks patchy. If you have dry skin, moisturize before applying the tanning product for a longer lasting smooth tone for your tan. For superb hydration use our Oil-Free Moisturizer before and after treatments.

            Fake Bake guidelines are as follows:- Week 1:- Apply Fake Bake 2-3 nights in a row to build a good base tan as desired. Following weekly:- Apply 1-2 times weekly for maintenance or as desires

            ...........After Application.........
            I kept the Lotion on for 12 hours and showered in the morning, as with the Saint Tropez the water ran quite a dark color. But... I was very surprised by the end results. The Tan was actually very dark and lacked the orange color that Saint Tropez had left. The tan was evenly distributed with my ankles again being the tell tale area. I think the feet and ankles are my Tanning Achilles Heel so to speak.

            The color lasted for 3days without re-application and daily showering didn't diminish the depth of the color. Again the application around my face was very patchy and I can only concede that it may in part be due to my large oily pores and that maybe a fake tan designed specifically for the face is my best option.

            ...........Company Info............
            Fake Bake originated in the U.S.A. in 1995. Fake Bake was the first self-tan to combine naturally derived tanning agents DHA and Erythulose - guaranteeing longer lasting (up to 50% longer), more natural-looking results. The retail range was an instant success with beauty experts and celebrities alike. Accolades and endorsements quickly followed. However, what really triggered the rapid rise of the Fake Bake Phenomenon was when the range was voted No.1 self-tanner (tested against 22 other self-tans) in the influential New York Times. In 2001, salon owner Sandra McClumpha introduced Fake Bake to the UK, where she developed Fake Bake into a premium spa/salon treatment and convenient, flawless spray tan. Beauty Therapists were trained to exceptional high standards in the application of Fake Bake to ensure customer's expectations were exceeded. Source:- www.fakebake.co.uk

            ............Ingredients...........
            Purified Water, Ethoxydiglycol, Dihyidroxyacetone, Propylene Glycol, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Dimethicone,Glyceryl Stearate Peg 100 Stearate, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Erythrulose, Stearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 86, Cethyl Alcohol, PPG 5 Ceteth 10 Phosphate, Benzophenone-3, Octyl Methoxycinnamate, Pvp/Eicosene Copolymer, Dehydroacetic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Xanthum Guru, Panthenol - aka Vitamin B5, Citric Acids, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Caramel, Guaiazulene, FD&C Red #40, FD&C Yellow #5, FD&C Blue #1,FD&C Yellow #6, D&C Red #33.

            There is an array of chemicals in the Product but also some natural ones too, I have selected a few of the ingredients below to enable the consumer to make an informed choice regarding the purchase of the product based upon the natural/chemical balance of the product.:-

            Ethoxydiglycol is generally used as a solvent and carrier in skin care products and is also know as Diethylene Glycol Monoethyl Ether. Ethoxydiglycol is a used to thin out products and increase viscosity.

            Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, more commonly known as aloe vera gel, is the liquid or its dehydrated solids from the leaf of the Aloe barbadensis plant. The juice from the mucilaginous inner fillet has traditionally been used in cosmetic and nutritional (drink) applications due to it's nutritionally rich properties which soothe and hydrate the skin.

            Soyabean oil is popular as a cosmetic ingredient due to being high in natural source lecitihin, sterolins, and vitamin E. Soybean oil is easily absorbed and leaves a smooth sensation to the skin.

            Parabens have been under considerable attention the past few years and there is a huge debate regarding their safety within Cosmetic products. Essentially Parabens are preservativesand can be found in cosmetics and all manner of hair care products. They are esters of para-hydroxybenzoic acid and the debate regarding usage was ignited by a study which linked parabens in deodorants to breast cancer due to parabens mimicking human estrogen which is known to stimulate cancer. Since publication the study (which sadly I can't remember who it was by), has been discredited and to date no more scientific proof has been offered to support the original theory. Although from an Environmental perspective Parabens are not good news due to the estrogen mimicking effect of the products which are absorbed by the body and deposited as waste into the water systems or directly flushed into water systems in the form of shampoo and shower gels. The Contraceptive pill is also being flushed into our water supply via human urine, the high levels of estrogen in the water supplies and its impact upon wildlife is currently being studied and anyone who is interested in researching this further would be well advised to Google paarabens and water supply.

            Fake BakeTM contains DHA (Dihydroxy acetone - derived from sugar beet) and Erythulose tanning agents. Both are naturally clear in color and work by "tanning" the melanin cells which lie at the very top layers in your own skin - safely! The higher the levels of melanin you have, the darker your tan will be. Fake Bake do not test on animals which is a positive for me.

            .........Value for Money........
            The Product is great value for money and the tanning liquid goes a long way - I have used the product 5 times over two months and still have more than half a bottle left. I don't think the current Amazon offer of £18.95 for 209g is excessive and feel that Fake bake is a good investment regarding a quality tanning product.

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            • More +
              10.02.2010 18:35
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              A really good Foundation which delivers.

              Product:- Lancome Photogenic Luminessence Foundation

              Cost:- £30.00 from Amazon.co..uk


              Due to Dior ceasing to produce yet another favourite foundation of mine yet again, I swore to switch brands and my search led me to Lancome. My skin is oily and at the moment very pale and I prefer to use a light foundation which doesn't create a caked on appearance. I am generally quite fussy when it comes to my foundation as a good foundation is a base from which to build up your look whilst having the added bonus of covering up any imperfections and bestowing the user with photo shoot perfect skin. Well, that's the image that I create in my head whilst applying foundations whilst ignoring my imperfections.

              I am also willing to pay a little bit more for a good quality foundation and after testing a variety of cheaper brands I have found that a high end good quality foundation is worth paying the extra for.

              My mother gave me a sample size of the foundation which she had received over the festive period and after using the sample, I admit I was hooked and proceeded to purchase the above foundation. Good old Amazon delivered the Foundation promptly and so my journey began.

              *************Packaging**********************
              The Foundation is packaged in a clear glass bottle, subtly adorned with a white font bearing the Lancome name and Product title. The golden rose Lancome Logo is placed discreetly on the right hand side of the Lancome name at the top pf the bottle. The Pump action top of the bottle is very secure and touch sensitive. I found that it only took a gentle press to release the foundation. The Pump action lid is also black and sits comfortably on top of the bottle. The packaging is simple, subtle and classic and would be a great addition to any beauty counter. Although if the item was placed amongst a shop beauty counter there are not any redeeming features that would catch the buyers eye. But due to Lancome being an established brand I am aware that eye catching wouldn't be a high priority for the manufacturers.

              I was slightly wary of the glass bottle breaking whilst being inside my make up bag which invariably tales quite a battering via my day to day routine, but I can honestly say that the bottle is quite a tough cookie and has proved to be highly Loubie resistant.

              **************Application*****************
              As mentioned previously the pump action lid is very easy to use, and as yet has not leaked. The foundation is extremely light in texture and felt quite silky for a liquid in the sense that once I had squirted the required amount onto my fingers pre application, they felt soft and oily without the greasy residue that oil based products tend to have.

              The product is incredibly easy to apply hence using my fingers instead of a slightly moist make up sponge. The foundation glided onto my face effortlessly and surprisingly a minimal amount of blending was required. The application of this foundation is incredibly low maintenance with the foundation blending into the skin and creating a light glow on my face. Hurrah.. No cakey, powdery ness, no nasty tell tale sign around the jaw line and my skin felt as though it could breathe. This foundation is super absorbant and sank into my skin quite rapidly but thankfully didn't leave a nasty residue, just a lovely colour which looked incredibly natural.

              I was so pleased with the product that I didn't even need to use any bronzer, quite how the foundation covered my imperfections like a heavy weight concealed yet added the faintest glow to my skin, creating a really natural base is truly beyond me. The foundation provided great coverage and visibly reduced my craggy lines and wrinkles. This foundation is oil-free and non-comedogenic and offers SPF15.

              This really is a high end, quality foundation that delivers results with the added bonus of being extremely easy to apply.

              ***********************Ingredients********************
              Active Ingredient: Octinoxate 4.9% (octinoxate is the same chemical as "Octyl Methocinnamate" and "ethylhexl methocinnamate" it is a chemical sunscreen filter mineral filters are thought to be "better" or basically less toxic, but make a less appealing sunscreen in terms of consistency).

              Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Glycerin,
              Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, HDI/Trimethylol Hexyllactone Crosspolymer, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Polyglycerin-3 Crosspolymer,
              Bis-Diglyceryl Polyacyladipate-2,
              Sodium Hyaluronate, Aluminium Hydroxide, Magnesium Sulfate, Disodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Propylene Glycol, Citronellol, Pentylene Glycol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Fragrance, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Hexyl Cinnamal, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Butylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea.
              May contain: Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides.

              There is quite a mass of chemical concealed within this wonder potion, the one which I am most concerned about is:- Octinoxate which is an ester formed from Methoxycinnamic Acid and 2-Ethylhexanol and most commonly used in sunscreens due to it's ability to filter and abosrb UV -B Rays. Interestingly Octonoxate is also used to reduce the appearance of scar tissue and is the most widely used UVB blocking agent in skincare. Research has shown that Octinoxate is effective regarding protecting the skin from sunburn and UV light. But... and for me this is a big but, due to it's absorption and penetration enhancing properties (that explains the effortless application and the way that the foundation glides onto the skin) Octinoxate can produce oestrogen like effects and my concern is that daily use of a highly absorbant chemical laden product may not be good for my epidermis in the long run.

              ***********Product Info as per Lancome website:- Source:- http://www.lancome-usa.com**********************
              Photôgenic Lumessence
              Light-Mastering & Line-Smoothing Makeup SPF 15
              Master the light for a glowing smooth and refined complexion.
              Pure Luminous Perfection: Lancôme's breakthrough PhotonicNetworkTM, a unique association of coated pigments and micro-pearls, produces endless radiance from within. Fine lines, pores and imperfections visibly vanish for pure luminous perfection. Visibly Refined Smooth Complexion:
              Silky soft texture glides on to visibly refine skin's surface for a smooth even complexion. Exclusive Aqua-Catch ComplexTM locks in moisture for up to 24 hours for all day hydration for a youthful complexion.
              Results: A photo-finished, smooth, even complexion illuminated from within. Flawless in any light. Moderate to Full Coverage. Radiant Finish.
              Oil Free. Non-Acnegenic.

              ***********Product Review***********
              As far as foundations go, this really is a fantastic product and the best that I have come across as yet, the application process was a joy due to not having to blend the product into my wrinkles and also because of the minimal amount of time spent putting the product onto my skin.

              Although knowing that the Octinoxate is responsible for the super absorption and that Cyclopentasiloxane is a conditioning silicone that is renown for it's fluidity and silky feel due to it's fine watery consistency, which is actually helping to deliver denser silicones into the skin. Although generally Cyclopentasiloxane isn't highly toxic but can cause irritation for people with sensitive skin. The Dimethicone is also a super light silicon fluid which prevents water loss by creating an effective skin barrier, interestingly Dimethicone can also help people whose skin has been irritated by sodium lauryl sulphate infused products. Dimethicone can also enhances the light refract ability of other products. The chemical components of this Foundation certainly combine to offer a foundation which delivers, is super absorbant, light reflecting and ridiculously easy to apply. The synergetic mix of chemicals allows the product to enable the skin to glow subtly and create a really good base with which to build your make up onto. In fact the product would be suitable for use on it's own with a touch of mascara to the eyelashes to achieve a very understated natural effect. Other than the chemical's contained in this product I can't find any noteworthy faults to report. The Foundation scores highly on the key areas of:- usability, functionality, staying power, coverage and finish.

              The product didn't require a midday topping up session and stayed on my skin all day without being absorbed into my huge oily pores despite it's absorption qualities. In fact the Foundation seemed to stem the oiliness of my skin leaving a silky feeling on my face.

              ********Value for money********
              Although the Foundation is costly, I only use a very small amount each day to achieve what I consider good, long lasting results and as such the product doesn't seem to be diminishing in any way despite daily usage. I consider the product to be cost effective an good value because of it's staying power and I don't foresee purchasing another one for quite a few months to come, which is more than can be said for previous foundations I have bought in the past.

              I wouldn't hesitate in recommending this foundation.

              Thanks for reading. xx

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              • More +
                09.02.2010 21:20
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                Not for me but quite a nice product.

                Product:- Saint Tropez Instant Tanning System

                Price:- £29.99

                Purchased From:- Boots Store


                ......................Saint Tropez Instant Tanning System...............
                Due to the never ending winter that we are experiencing (not that I am moaning - I adore winter time). My skin has mutated from olive brown to a very, very pale almost translucent white, more akin to the Corpse Bride than an English Rose, which is what I had falsely informed myself my skin resembled. Whilst staring at my ghoulish reflection and pondering my dry skin courtesy of cold walks to and from work and an overheated office. I decided to take action and familiarize myself with Fake Tan; although wary of transforming into an Oompa Lumpa I felt that I owed it to my skin to inject some sunshine glow into its much neglected surfaces.

                So, with a tanned goddess image in mind I headed to the Local Boots store and was overwhelmed with the array of Fake Tanning options on offer. Almost a whole aisle was dedicated to the Tanning products - which led me to believe that there is some huge mass tanning secret that the sisterhood is all in on yet which has seemingly passed me by. I stood amongst the alien bottles and potions and recalled that St Tropez was recommended to me once by a colleague who is always impeccably turned out with bronzed, glowing skin at all times of the year. So... I seized the day and my hand reached out towards the magic potion and accompanying products in a neat box and I ran to the till.

                ............Packaging.................
                Once I was home in the safety of my bathroom, I opened my purchases which consisted of:- x1 240ml Bottle of Body Polish, x1 240ml Body Moisturizer and x1 120ml Bronze Mousse.

                The packaging didn't overwhelm me if I am honest, the 3 items were all in white, plastic bottles which are cylindrical in shape and adorned with the St Tropez Logo. The Body Moisturizer and Body polish Label was black with Saint Tropez in large white font down the centre with a black plastic flip lid and the Body Mousse had a blue label with Saint Tropez in white font across the centre.
                I thought that the packaging was rather basic but functional for usage bearing in mind that the bottles were gripped by my grubby hands during the tanning process and were very simple to wipe clean with a baby wipe. The Packaging itself didn't stand out against other products within the boots aisle and it was only due to the memory of a recommendation that I bought the item instead of far nicer packaged items. The branding of the product is very obvious but I think a packaging overhaul is long overdue.

                ..........Application.............
                This is where the fun commenced, according to the instruction booklet the Body Polish was first on the agenda, with trepidation I pressed the black lid inwards and squeezed the polish out into my palm, surprisingly the polish was a turquoise blue! With gritty exfoliating crystals and was of a quite runny consistency. There was a slight scent which I couldn't underpin other than to say that the product emitted a fresh, clean smell. I stepped into the shower and grabbed a pre-purchased Saint Tropez black body mitt and combined the polish with warm water and exfoliated away. The Polish was easy to use, effective and not too oily. My skin felt scrubbed and slightly moisturized at the same time. I paid particular attention to elbows and knees as per the instruction booklet.

                Next up was the Body Moisturizer; the moisturizer was creamy in texture and was of quite a thick consistency. The Moisturizer was very easy to apply and again smelt clean without being overpowering. The moisturizer soaked into my skin without leaving a greasy residue and served to prime my skin for the application of the Tanning Mousse. I washed my hands and moved onto Stage 3.

                The Tanning Mousse: - I put on the Laytex gloves which were provided in the Kit and moved towards the The tanning mousse which is easy to extract from the bottle due to the squirt and pump action bottle. The Mousse was rather light in consistency and reminded me of hair mousse but dark brown in color - there was a faint scent with the Mousse which smelt neither clean nor like chocolate but wasn't unpleasant, more of a chemically smell.

                The Mousse was very easy to apply but I found that I had to blend the product smoothly into my skin to avoid any patchy areas and that at times it felt like a never ending battle between looking like I had a creosoted fence panel effect on my legs or smooth, dark brown seamlessly blended legs. The Mousse looked very, very dark and patchy especially on my face and it was with trepidation that I stood in the bathroom waiting for my skin to feel dry before I got dressed and prepared to go to bed. I would highly recommend waiting for the product to dry as I found that the Mousse stained my clothing but easily washed out.

                ...........Ingredients...............
                I was quite surprised by the array of Chemicals used within each product - but considering you are effectively dyeing your skin, perhaps my surprise was naive. I was relieved to spy some "natural" products within each item for example:- chamomilla recutita (matricia ) flower extract which is used to soothe and calm skin, aloe barbadenis leaf juice which again is renown for it's soothing properties. prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, & helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, the three oils are each a great sources of nutrients and vitamins for thirsty skin.

                Body Polisher: Water, polyethylene, propylene glycol, sodium laureth sulfate, crylates coplymer, glyceryl stearate SE, coamidopropyl betaine, panthenol, chamomilla recutita (matricia ) flower extract, allantoin, hydrolyzed glycosaminoglycans, peg-100, stearate, methylchloroisothiazolinane, methylisothiazolinone, methylparaben, propylparaben, mica, silica, aminomethyl, propanol, fragrance (parfum), benzyl salicylate, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), green 3 (CI 42053).

                Whipped Bronze Mousse; aloe barbadenis leaf juice, dihydroxyacetone, ethoxyldiglycol, pentylene glycol, glycerin, decyl glucoside, ppg-5-ceteth-20, cetyl hydroxyethylcellulose, pheoxyethanol, methylparaben, butylparaben, ethylpraben, propylparaben, sodium bisulfite, fragrance, amyl cinnamal, benzyl salicylate, citronellol, coumarin, eugenol, alpha-methyl ionone, geraniol, hexyl cinnamal, hydroxycitronellal, butylphenyl methylpropional, limonene, linalool, citric acid, blue 1 (CI 42090), red 40 (CI 16035), Yellow 6 (CI 15985).

                Body Moisturizer With L-Tyrosine: Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, glycerin, stearic acid, myristyl myristate, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, orchis mascula flower seed extract, aleutrites moluccana seed oil, glyceryl stearate, dimethicone, tyrosine, panthenol, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, chamomila recutita (matricaria) flower extract, cucumis (cucumber) fruit extract, hypericum perforatum extract, aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) extract, humulus lupulus (hops) extract, equisetum hiemale extract, arnica montana flower xtract, citrus grandis (grapefruit) seed extract, sambucus nigra flower extract, valerinana officinalis extract, calendula officinalis flower extract, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil, glucose, tocopheryl acetate, retinyl palmitate, ascorbic acid, tocopherul linoleate, propylene glycol, triethanolamine, carbomer, pehnoxyethanol, methylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben, propylparebem, disodium edta, frarance (parfum) amyl cinnamal, benzyl salicylate, eugenol, alpha-isomethyl ionone, hexyl cinnamal, hdroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene, carboxaldehyde, hydroxycitronellal, butylphenyl methylpropional, limonene, linalool.

                ...........End Result..............
                The Product guide recommends leaving the Tan to absorb into the skin over a 12 hour period, so I slept with my tan on and awoke to a dark, patchy face and even patchier skin!. I jumped into the shower and used the gentlest of body washes and was aghast to see that the water which ran into the plughole was brown! Alarmed that my tan was literally being washed away, I hurried my shower and awaited the end result. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my tan was still quite dark and that the arms and leg area was patch free but my legs were definitely lighter than the rest of me. The dreaded patchy areas were my ankles and my face. Despite exfoliating and moisturizing my ankles, I obviously didn't do a very good job of applying the Tan to my feet and ankle area. My face was extremely patchy and looked like I had been mud wrestling, I scrubbed as much of the Tan off my face as I could and settled for a darker than usual Foundation until the patchiness faded. Again, I don't think this is a fault with the product and the problem more than likely lay with my application of the product. The Tan lasted for around 4 days which is within the 3- 7 days recommended time frame set by Saint Tropez.

                .......Backgound Info.........
                St. Tropez is a self-tan brand, specialising in self-tan, skin finishing treatments and bronzing cosmetics. The business was established in 1996. St Tropez has a range of 30 products which include cosmetics, self-tanning products, skin perfecting & finishing products. This summer St. Tropez has launched a range of new products including new dual gradual tanning products for legs, and an evolved cosmetics range for summer 09. St. Tropez works closely with the Prince's Trust and helped to raise £90,000 with its sponsorship of its first Spring Ball in 2009[1]. It also participates in the charity's Million Makers scheme, provides training via its staff for young people looking to gain additional skills in the workplace and has launched a Beauty steering group - lead by CEO, Michelle Feeney. (Source - Wikipedia).

                .............Value for Money........
                I personally didn't think the product was great value for money when there is a plethora of Tanning products on the market and friends have since recommended Boots own N07 range which is less pricey and achieves the same result.

                ..........Overall Review.......
                The product is very user friendly if the instructions are followed and overall the whole application process took me about an hour to complete. The product's packaging wasn't the most appealing to me but this is incidental. The Exfoliant really worked and I am tempted to use the product on its own just for the body scrubbing benefits. The Lotion wasn't greasy and again was very user friendly. I just didn't like the tanning effect although this was due to my poor application.

                Due to the price and the other products out there which are priced more competitively, I won't be using the Tanning Mousse again. I was impressed that there were some natural products in the ingredients interspersed with the chemicals and feel that if you want a high end product which can deliver when used correctly and have the cash flow to use the product repeatedly then this might be just right for you. Sadly for me, it's not a repeat purchase.

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                • The Inbetweeners (DVD) / DVD / 61 Readings / 57 Ratings
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                  05.02.2010 15:00
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                  A must have addition to any DVD Collection

                  The Inbetweeners Series 1

                  Purchased From: - Play.com for £7.99
                  (Series 1&2 boxset is available for £9.99 on play which I think is a better deal).

                  DVD Info:-
                  The Inbetweeners series one DVD Rating: 18 (Reason- sex references, swearing and some violence) Running time: 138 mins approx Extras running time: 53 mins
                  Sadly there are only 2 deleted scenes and 2 outtakes a meet the cast section and a making of the series slot, the highlight for me though is the character diaries which entailed the four cast members larking about with a video camera.

                  Episodes:- There are 6 episodes in Series 1 Friends of mine had been banging on about "The Inbetweeners for what seemed like an eternity" and due to working in an Educational Establishment, It seemed I couldn't escape hordes of teenagers citing "New Friend" and various catchphrases which I was duly informed were a result of the cult comedy "The Inbetweeners".

                  It was with trepidation that I ordered the DVD from Play.com but felt that due to the reasonable price and the constant Inbetweeners References that I appeared to be somewhat clueless about, I would purchase the item. Once it arrived I settled down with the Hubby on the sofa to watch whilst the snow was falling outside on a Sunday afternoon.

                  Plot Summary:- The initial series commences with a verbal narrative from one of the lead Characters "Will McKenzie" (played by Simon Bird) who explains that his parents have split up and due to financial issues Will now has to attend his last year at a local comprehensive instead of his previous private school. Cue... Will's first day in an alien environment, Will is a slightly awkward looking boy who arrived at the school rather misguidedly Wearing his previous schools blazer whilst holding a briefcase, Will attends an introduction class with other newbie's and through Will's internal dialogue we learn of his fears regarding "fitting in" and being stuck with the freaks of the school. Will is given a buddy to help him through his transition called Simon but due to Will' sticking out like a sore thumb, in typical teenage fashion Simon wants' nothing to do with Will who is the subject of abuse throughout his first day with various comments such as "Briefcase Mong" being thrown at him.

                  The first series introduced the main characters.
                  Will Mckenzie - Played by Simon Bird - As previously described Will is a slightly awkward looking boy, who is highly intelligent, self observant and in possession of a very sarcastic and self depreciating sense of humor.

                  Simon Cooper - Played by Joe Thomas - Simon is assigned to be Will's First Day buddy and eventually develops a friendship with Will after initially doing his utmost to avoid being associated with the "briefcase Mong". Simon is always pining over his unrequited love for his neighbor Carly and the 1st series explores Simon's disastrous attempts to woo her.

                  Jay Cartwright - played by James Buckley - Jay is a typical teenage boy, whose sole obsession is sex and girls. Jay is extremely crude and constantly brings sex into every conversation. Jay's father tends to be very critical of Jay and constantly puts him down which leads to Jay overexerting for attention and claiming that he is sexually active with lots of women.

                  Neil Sutherland - Played by Blake Harrison - Neil's character is portrayed as the slowest member of the group academically and tends not to understand or comprehend a lot of the in humor between the groups. Neil displays a penchant for body popping and suffers a lot of ribbing from the group due to his father being quite feminine.

                  Episode Guide:-
                  Episode 1:- First Day............The First Episode centre's around Will's first day and provides the viewer with the opportunity to meet the other characters. And Mr. Gilbert, the slightly psychotic head of the 6th Form. Will eventually ingratiates himself with Simon and his friends via an unfortunate incident that Simon experiences in the 6th Form Common Room. At the end of the 1st day all of the 6th formers meet in the local pub for a drink - whereby due to not being served Will becomes increasingly angry and informs the landlord that everyone is drinking underage, this making him a target for the school bully.

                  Episode 2:- Bunk Off............The boys decide to bunk off school and get drunk, Will and Simon call the school and pretend to be Simons mum and then proceed to get Will to purchase some alcohol go to Neil's house and get drunk. Simon decides to vandalize Carlys drive with his declarations of love and Will insults Neil's dad.

                  Episode 3:- Thorpe Park.........Simon passes his driving test courtesy of a rather flirty female instructor and his Dad buys him a bright yellow car. The boys proceed to go to Thorpe Park to chase girls as Neil works there and the episode covers the boys' exploits at the park.

                  Episode 4:- Girlfriend......The boys are invited to a house party and the most popular girl Charlotte Hinchcliffe is rumored to be putting in an appearance. Surprisingly Will manages to charm Charlotte into an upstairs bedroom which causes further clashes with Donavon the school Bully whom Charlotte has just dumped. Jay makes a new friend which leads to a lot of ribbing by the boys due to Jay's "New Car Friend". Will attempts intercourse with Charlotts and Neil participates in a charity Blind Date event at the school.

                  Episode 5:- Caravan Club.........Jay and his family are members of the "Caravan Club" and annually go on Caravan Holidays. Jay invites the boys to visit him whilst holidaying with the promise of lots of sex with girls, insinuating that Caravan Club is a hive of horny teenage activity. The viewer encounters Jay's Mum and Dad and is led to understand the source of Jay's fanaticism regarding sex and girls and his capacity for telling white lies. Simon ends up in a compromising situation with a girl, Neil displays his body popping skills and Will is bullied by a group of eight year olds.

                  Episode 6:- Xmas Party........Will applies for the position of Chairman for the Christmas Party and due to Will being the only candidate is duly elected. Will organizes the party and lets Jay DJ. Neil attempts to kiss the female science Teacher, Jay pulls; Charlotte Hinchcliffe kisses Will which leads to another confrontation with Donavon the school bully and the boys all reminisce about their first term on a trampoline.

                  General Information:- The Inbetweeners was written by Damon Beesley and Ian Morris and was originally commissioned for E4 who aired the first series followed by Channel 4. The series is set in Outer London and filmed in a typical suburb and a comprehensive school.

                  Review:- I absolutely adored watching Series 1 of the inbetweeners even though the humor is very childish and adolescent. The synergy between the actors works perfectly and the casting of the main characters was expertly done. I initially assumed that it would just be a very "skins" like production and that the programme was another one of Channel 4's shock tactic - trying to gain a younger Target Audience endeavors. But I was pleasantly surprised upon watching the series. Damon Beesley and Ian Morris are very talented writers who perfectly encapsulated the life of a teenager and the varied dramas that you think consume your life at that age. The series develops at quite a rapid pace and each character is actively involved in each plot and subplot. The exploits of the boys frequently reduces me to tears of laughter and provided some much needed light relief. Although I don't think this humor would appeal to everyone due to the crude nature of the boys exploits and language and the focus upon sexual humor. I would highly recommend purchasing this DVD.

                  Value for Money:- The product is great value for money even though there are only 6 episodes. Due to the repeat watchability of the DVD, I feel that the DVD is good value for money.

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                  • Holy Smoke (DVD) / DVD / 57 Readings / 57 Ratings
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                    02.02.2010 22:58
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                    A vibrant film from Jane Campion.

                    Film:- Holy Smoke

                    Release Date:- 1999

                    Writer & Director:- Jane Campion

                    Purchased from:- Amazon

                    Price:- £9.78


                    I first watched Holy Smoke as a VHS Rental and being a fan of Harvey Keitel and Jane Campions work. I was intrigued regarding the Film, which features Kate Winslet fresh from her Titanic fame.

                    Synopsis:-

                    The film steadily guides the viewer through a journey between sex and religion using inner emotions and their outward manifestation via Kate Winslet's character Ruth, who is a vivacious, emotionally intelligent and restless character whose stagnant and stereotypical life in the Australian suburbs has not been able to fulfill her inner need for expression and her vivacious appetite for Drama. The fluctuations and inner workings of Ruth's Character are set against a backdrop which encompasses the bleak, stark Australian wilderness and a vibrant, colorful, mystical India.

                    Ruth travels to India with a friend and almost immediately succumbs to the vibrancy and spirituality of India. She visit's a Guru and experiences an awakening which propels her towards an obsessive desire to follow the teachings of the Guru and embody the teachings and following the doctrine by living in an Ashram and relinquishing all material attachments, Ruth's mother becomes aware of Ruth's dramatic lifestyle change by a visit from Ruth's travelling friend who returned to Australia bewildered and concerned by her friends dramatic change of heart. Ruth's mother is immediately concerned and returns to Australia and instantly seeks the assistance of a trained "Cult Exit specialist" PJ Waters played by Harvey Keitel who de-programmes vulnerable people who have fallen victim to cult mentality.

                    The strategy between Ruth's dysfunctional family and PJ Waters commences, they decide to entrap Ruth into coming home via a faked terminal illness which Ruth's Father pretends to have been diagnosed with, and Ruth's mother embarks upon a journey to India to convince Ruth to come home. Ruth generates further concern by adopting the karmic mentality of "what will be, will be" and expresses her sadness that her father is potentially passing over to the other site but confirms her beliefs that this is part of the cycle of Life and Death, Ruth's mother alarmed by Ruth's stance of Non attachment convinces Ruth to come home and say her final goodbyes.

                    Cue... Ruth's return to Australia and a dramatic intervention by her family which results in Ruth being isolated in a shack with PJ Waters as he tries to de-programme Ruth.


                    Review:-

                    The film engages the viewer through synchronizing the visual backdrop of Australia and India to reflect the marked differences within Ruth's inner psyche. In Australia Ruth's temperament is as stark and barren as the wild outback with which Ruth finds herself growing up within, we learn about Ruth's vibrant spirit and need for guidance from her visit to India through the visual journey that Ruth embarks upon. Beautiful hued sunsets enable the viewer to feel the warmth and light that has found its way into Ruth's life in India. The scenes with Ruth and her Mother in India are set in a dilapidated ashram with poor sanitation of which Ruth is oblivious and her Mother is ever increasingly conscious of. Ruth's defiant attitude and desperate emotional need to cling onto the spiritual enlightenment that's she feels is at one with the surroundings and the viewer is guided towards this path via the stark contrast between Ruth and her mother's perceptions.

                    Ruth's return home leads her to PJ Waters and I feel this is where the key themes of Sex and Religion are expertly expressed and subtly entwined within the film. I am wary of giving away too much of the plot and therefore am conscious of not exposing the plot of the film and as such will only go into minor detail regarding the rest of the film.

                    The dialogue and visual backdrop weave seamlessly together to convey the interplay between Ruth and PJ Waters. The interplay between the two lead characters presents the viewer with the opportunity to empathize with both religious viewpoints and the subsequent physical and emotional expressions from the two characters.

                    I found the film completely and utterly enchanting and a very honest depiction of the emotional discovery of two people with conflicting beliefs who become lost when their dogmatic stance is torn apart. I also found that the film expertly played with the concept of right and wrong leading the viewer into a multi faceted dance of emotions and belief structures via the characters and their journey.

                    I would wholeheartedly recommend the film and personally found that upon reflection Jane Campion engaged the viewer and confused the viewer simultaneously and lead the viewer through a visually compelling and thorough provoking journey which wasn't afraid to challenge our perceptions of freedom and enlightenment and left the viewer with a complex set of emotional theories and juxtaposition of roles with which to ponder. The film weaves a tapestry of rich sub contexts using visual and dialogue based threads to create a dramatic portrait which engages and enlightens the viewer at every stage.

                    Acting:-
                    The acting by the two main characters is of a consistently high standard and I feel that in the latter stages of the film when the film is centered around the interaction between the characters is when the strength of Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel's chemistry and acting skills really come into focus. The Supporting cast comprises Ruth's family and PJ Waters wife and again the acting is of a high standard.


                    Overall Value for money:- I feel that the DVD is reasonably priced and good value for the money.

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                    • Your Top 10 / Discussion / 62 Readings / 60 Ratings
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                      25.01.2010 23:10
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                      Overall favourites of mine.

                      My Top 10 Favourite things

                      1.) The Winter Season, I am one of those folk whose base temperature is always set to hot. Even in the coldest of places I am always too hot, which has caused issues at times when sharing large or small offices. Perhaps this is a major contributing factor to my love of Winter. What's not to love about this time of year?. My love of Winter encompasses the stillness of winter and my feelings that it's time for trees and plants to effectively rest . I love the visually baron aspect of nature in winter and adore nothing more than walking through fields on a snowy day. An ideal winter for me is one that is snow filled when the pavements and fields are dressed in a sleek blanket of white snow. Winter is also a favourite of mine due to the cold, the crisp sharp feeling of the cold which is ultimately one of my favourite feelings ever. I thrive in the cold temperatures and become very sad when the summer months arrive.

                      2.) Goal setting and achieving.
                      Perhaps this a slightly odd thing to list as a "Favourite thing" but for me personally, I adore the whole process of setting goals and working hard to achieve them. I always find that my life feels stagnant when I am not striving towards a goal and that without the optimistic feeling of effectively working towards something which will hopefully improve a designated area of my life, I tend to feel empty. The satisfaction I gain from achieving a goal and putting in the required effort is something which personally helps me to feel complete.

                      3.) Falling in love
                      Nothing encapsulates the roller coaster of emotions that can be felt within a few hours like falling in love. The complete absorption and butterflies in your stomach feeling when you think about someone that you are falling for is for me a beautiful state of being. The initial stages of romance when your awash with emotions and giddy with excitement are a hormonal cocktail of joy which contributes to falling in love being one of my favourite things.

                      4.) Visually thought provoking imagery
                      Being a predominately Visual based person who learns best when information is presented to me in a visual way, I find that emotionally I am moved quite considerably by thought provoking imagery, be it a painting, photograph a landscape or building etc. By the very act of seeing I find that I can be moved to tears or happiness quite quickly and wholly appreciate how lucky I am to possess sight as a sense. I adore being able to simply look at something random and enjoy the emotions that can be evoked.

                      5.) The Internet
                      The Internet for me is a constant companion and I find that I refer to it at an alarming rate for almost any query and for relaxation, information etc.
                      The Internet is a favourite of mine due to the sheer wealth of information that is accessible at the touch of a button. I also appreciate the internet for it's ability to connect like minded people and the social networking opportunities that it presents. Musically there is a wealth of music from all corners of the globe which previously would have been nigh on unobtainable and this is also a contributory factor towards my appreciation of the internet. Although I do worry about the amount time I spend on the Internet.

                      6.) Being Comfortable with myself
                      I have listed this sentiment as one of my favourite things because I think that being comfortable with yourself, your looks, your ideas, your inner strengths an frailties is something which takes a lot of practice and sometimes a lot of inner work. To feel comfortable with yourself is a state of being which is not to be taken for granted and it's a good place to be when you feel that you can accept yourself warts and all. It's listed as one of my favourite things because its something I have taken a while to reach but the benefits of accepting myself has provided me with a calmer outlook on life and enabled me to prioritise my goals effectively an also hopefully be a nicer person to be around.

                      7.) Animals
                      I love animals and due to living with a Hubby that is allergic to dust, most foods and above all animals especially the fluffy kind, sadly I can't indulge in my wish for a fluffy much loved pet. I have always loved animals in all shapes, sizes and colours and this has prompted me to be a veggie for years. Animals are a great way to learn about responsibility an giving love and parenting something other than a child and for me provide endless joy.

                      8.) Books and Reading
                      There is nothing better that immersing yourself in a good book and being transported to another place by the power of someone's writing. I can spend hours reading books, magazines and anything really. Books for me are the door to another world which can be filled with an array of characters and plots and can engage the reader wholly and completely. Books are one of my favourite things due to all of the above and the years that I have spent reading books and gaining so much from them. A good book for me is like a lifelong cherished memory which stays with you forever and can be recalled upon for information or for the simple joy of escapism.

                      9.) The Human Spirit
                      I am constantly overwhelmed by the tenacity of the Human Spirit and individuals ability to overcome adversity in all shapes and forms, I believe perhaps naively that essentially there is good in everyone and in the most horrendous circumstances people always find a way to move forward and grow and develop. The Human Spirit is what carried from our most basic form to evolve into what we are today. The drive and belief that we can progress beyond our circumstances grow into an ever evolving species is presumably what keeps the human race progressing and endeavouring to explore and develop. Hence I am constantly inspired by the strength and tenacity of the Human Sprit and have subsequently listed it as one of my favourite things.

                      10.) Companionship
                      Where would be without companionship, whatever form it takes. Whether it's the man on the bus every day that says good morning or those whom we choose as life partners and friends. Companionship is vital for me, the exchange of ideas and the ability to communicate with people from all different backgrounds and cultures is something which enriches my life. Without Companionship in some form, I think we would all be losing out on the potential for personal development. Companionship can ease our fears, wipe our tears and provide us with a sense of belonging when we feel alone. Companionship is one of my favourite things because without it my life would be very empty indeed.

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                      • Lush Seanik / Hair Care / 117 Readings / 110 Ratings
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                        21.08.2009 14:38
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                        I wouldn't use the product again and it didn't suit me personally but may be a great product for any

                        Product:- Seanik Shampoo Bar

                        Purchased From:- Lush

                        Cost:- £4.53

                        Advantages: Small and great for lightweight storage

                        Disadvantages: Doesn't deliver the same results as a liquid based conditioner


                        *****The Product*****
                        Shampoo bars are essentially a solid shampoo compacted into a small circular - no liquid bar. The Shampoo bar should provide the same number of washes as the equivalent of 3 250g bottles of a liquid based shampoo. I was initially attracted to the bar due to its size and the potential to de-clutter my bathroom by using the shampoo bar instead of my regular bottled shampoo. Shampoo bars are an ingenious invention and especially suitable for use when traveling due to its small compact size. The Seanik bar is marketed on the premise that it's a shine and nourishment enhancer for your unruly locks and due to my frizzy, curly locks desperately lacking in the shine and lustre department. I opted for the Seanik bar.

                        *****Packaging & Appearance*****
                        I browsed the Lush Shampoo bar range and the beautiful deep turquoise blue of Seanik beamed at me with it's deep hues which appealed to me as I imagined a beautiful turquoise sea upon a far away island. The bar itself fitted neatly into the palm of my hand and was quite course in texture with some small dark seaweed slithers embedded into the bar. I found that the bar is very compact and didn't disintegrate or crumble when dry. The bar itself looks almost like a multitude of small worms have been entwined and bound together and coated in a beautiful turquoise with seaweed pieces cascaded throughout. Appearance wise - the bar is highly inoffensive and small enough to be stored in the smallest of bathrooms without creating any clutter. The Bar didn't possess the usual strong scent that I have discovered with most Lush products. There was a slight citrus tinge to the bar, but when dry there wasn't much of a scent associated with the product.

                        Lush always ensures that all of their packaging is recycled and recyclable.

                        *****Product Usage*****
                        I tentatively took out my Shampoo bar and proceeded to lather the bar directly onto wet hair. I massaged the through the roots of my hair to the tip and discovered that there was a good lather being generated which convinced me that my hair was being sufficiently cleansed. The bar became slightly soggy but remained rather compact and there was little if any crumbling.

                        The scent appeared to intensify once the bar was massaged into wet hair, once again I discovered that the citrus scent was the immediate olfactory sensation, but there was a slightly musky scent too. As with other Lush products which I have tried which contain seaweed. E.g. Sea Vegetable soap, the seaweed slithers could be a little sharp at times. During the shampoo stage the bar lived up to expectations and performed as a liquid shampoo generally would. But... after thoroughly rinsing the shampoo bar out of my hair and using my standard conditioner and leaving my hair to dry, the shampoo bar disappointed me. My hair was definitely not shiny and bouncy but felt very dry and not a trace of shine was to be found anywhere. My hair felt course, dry and my natural curls were more akin to limp waves.

                        I thought that this may have been due to over- shampooing or the combination of my conditioner and the shampoo bar, so being a fan of Lush products. I had another go the following morning and this time used less of the bar and no conditioner. Sadly, the result was the same if not worse. My hair felt as though it had been blasted with a hairdryer for hours on end and looked as though it had been stripped of any nutrients.

                        Perhaps the shampoo bar just isn't the right one for me. But I have been a little put off trying another one.

                        *****Ingredients*****
                        Here's the science bit...
                        Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Irish Moss Gel, Perfumr, Nori Seaweed, Fine Sea Salt,Lemon Oil, Mimosa Absolute, Orange blossom Absolute, Jasmine Absolute. Cocamide DEA, Colour 4205.,

                        Irish moss is used as a skin softener in commercial cosmetic products and lotions. When Irish moss mixed to body lotions, it helps to turn your dry, rough, patchy skin into smooth, silky, hydrated, glowing skin. It moisturizes and treats even the most unmanageable skin problems, including eczema, psoriasis, rashes and sunburns. Vitamins A, B, C, D help nourish the skin. Source:- http://www.bewellbuzz.com.

                        Nori Seaweed - seaweed and sea vegetables are becoming increasingly popular as a dietary aid and also in skincare products. Sea Vegetable products are reputed to contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes and also work as potent antioxidants with a lot of skin healing and rejuvenating properties. The phytonutrients present in ocean vegetables also help increase blood flow at the surface of the skin, hence making it supple, smooth and radiant. Seaweed is also reputed to help draw out toxins from the body and actually release nutrients into our pores.

                        Fine Sea Salt - Sea salt is another ingredient that is imbued with excellent toxin removing properties and would also act as an exfolliant for the hair and scalp.

                        Mimosa Absolute Oil is noted for it's astringent, relaxing, antiseptic and calming properties. Due to it's astringent properties the oil is generally very useful when dealing with oily skin and in this instance the oil would help to assist in the over production of oil in the hair shaft (this may be why I found the Shampoo bar had a drying effect upon my hair).

                        Orange Blossom Absolute Oil (Neroli) is anti-bacterial, digestive, anti-depressive, anti-septic, a deodorant and an aphrodisiac; it is used to treat depression, shock, anxiety, hysteria, insomnia, fatigue, colitis, varicose veins and hypertension. Orange Blossom is also very useful in skin care; it rejuvenates the complexion and improves very dry or mature skin.

                        Jasmine Absolute is a great oil to use in any skincare cosmetic due to it's luxurious and elastin promoting properties. Jasmine has a very soothing and balancing effect upon the skin as it tones dry, greasy, irritated and sensitive skin, increases elasticity and is often used to assist with stretch marks and to reduce scarring. Jasmine is also considered to be very soothing and calming oil.

                        There is an impressive array of natural ingredients, but this is interspersed with some chemical ingredients and for this reason I would advise that anyone with sensitive skin avoids the Sea Vegetable Soap and opts for one of Lush's more natural soaps. Lush is commendable in the fact that it has ethical principles and sticks to them and there is a definite commitment to using natural products as much as possible and chemicals only when necessary.

                        It is worth noting that Lush is also completely against animal testing and uses human volunteers to test their products.

                        *****Value for Money*****
                        The Shampoo bar is excellent value for money as I gave the bar to my Mother who had no problems and loved the product and she is still using the same bar after 2 months.

                        *****Company Info*****"Lush is a handmade cosmetics company headquartered in Poole, Dorset in the UK. There are more than 600 stores in 43 countries. Lush produce and sell hand-made products from face masks, soaps, bath ballistics, hand, hair and body lotions & treatments. The first Lush store opened on 1994 in Poole by husband and wife Mark and Mo Constantine. Source:- Wikipedia

                        Advantages:- Great idea, compact and space saving and good value for money.
                        Disadvantages:- The drying effect that the Shampoo Bar had upon my hair..

                        Summary: I wouldn't use the product again and it didn't suit me personally but may be a great product for anyone else.

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                          24.07.2009 17:00
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                          A great product that's worth the money.

                          Product:- Flying Fox Shower Gel
                          Manufacturer:- Lush
                          Price:- £4.04 for 100g, £8.08 for 250g & £13.69 for 500g
                          Purchased from:- Lush Shop


                          *****The Product*****
                          Flying Fox is an orangey, honey like shower gel which is designed to ease female hormones and especially assist PMS. I selected this product due to the above and also being a fan of the wonderful Jasmine and Ylang Ylang, the honey like gel also intrigued me and appealed immensely due to its honey like appearance. (The product is actually made with assorted honeys).

                          *****Packaging & Appearance*****
                          Flying Fox is presented in a cylindrical shaped clear plastic container with a black plastic cap and flip lid. The bottle is adorned with a black label with the Lush logo at the top and the product name in a white font with the following blurb underneath also in a white font "The Sex-appeal honey shower gel. Lascivious, Licentious, Vivacious and insatiable. With the finest aphrodisiac essential oils - masses of jasmine (plus the best three for controlling PMS)".

                          The gel itself is a dark honey colored liquid which is visible through the clear plastic. The Packaging is simple, rather modern and I felt a little bit masculine, although this may be due to the black label. Overall the packaging is inoffensive and would look ok in almost any bathroom. But I must admit I wasn't blown away by the packaging.

                          Lush always ensures that all of their packaging is recycled and recyclable.

                          *****Product Usage*****
                          The Product really comes into its own when being used. The Honey like gel smells absolutely wonderful and is a fragrant concoction of Jasmine, Ylang Ylang and Palmrosa. I was instantly transported to a beautiful garden adorned with Jasmine flowers. The scent of the gel is strong but without being overpowering and the scent is floral but with an almost earthy, musky tone. I think the scent would appeal to men and women due to its heady, sensual scent.

                          The Gel itself is quite runny for a shower gel but this isn't a negative aspect as the gel absorbs or rather melts into the skin and caress's with a rather good lather.

                          I can't fault the usage of this product at all; the consistency of the gel although runny is perfect for application and left my skin feeling moisturized and soft. The scent is a wonderful blend of the selected essential oils and delivers a truly, memorable scent which with all Lush products I have tried lingered on the skin long after the shower I definitely felt very relaxed after using the product which surprised me due to being a committed bath fan and not really keen on showers and usually viewing the pre-work morning shower as a chore. But with the aid of Flying Fox I have been looking forward to my morning shower and float to work in a cloud of scent, feeling relaxed and prepared to seize the day.

                          *****Ingredients*****
                          Here's the science bit...
                          Honey, Chinese Angelica, Burdock Root, Jasmine Flower Infusion, Water, Sodium Cocoamphoacetate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Hungarian Honey, Greek Honey, English Honey, Perfume = Jasmine Absaloute, Ylang Ylang oil, Cypress Oil, Plamarosa oil, propylene Glycol, Benzyl Alcohol, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool, methylparaben. Source:- Lush Flying Fox bottle.


                          Honey has a nourishing, bleaching, astringent and antiseptic effect on the skin. Honey is also a natural humectant and helps to attract moisture to the skin from the atmosphere. I remember reading years ago that in the First World War honey was used to help to seal wounds due to its restorative and antiseptic and anti inflammatory qualities. Honey is reported to be soothing when applied to wounds and to reduce pain from burns.

                          Jasmine Oil has many healing properties than are very useful due to its anti-inflammatory agent, antiseptic and sedative properties. It encourages cell growth and increases skin elasticity. It and can also help to aid in the healing of minor to moderate burns. Jasmine is highly beneficial for easing and regulating female hormones due to its balancing properties.

                          Ylang-ylang oil is noted for its euphoric and sedative effect on the nervous system and helps with anxiety, tension, shock, fear and panic whilst also being great for balancing hormones and can sometimes work as an aphrodisiac. Ylang Ylang is also beneficial for ailments of the Respiratory Tract breathing and rapid heartbeat, it can also help with reducing high blood pressure and useful for intestinal infections With regards to the skin, ylang-ylang oil has a soothing effect and its balancing action sorts out over-dry as well as overly-oily skin by balancing the secretion of sebum, and has a stimulating effect on the scalp which promotes more luxurious hair growth.


                          There is an impressive array of natural ingredients, but this is interspersed with some chemical ingredients and for this reason I would advise that anyone with sensitive skin avoids the Sea Vegetable Soap and opts for one of Lush's more natural soaps. Lush is commendable in the fact that it has ethical principles and sticks to them and there is a definite commitment to using natural products as much as possible and chemicals only when necessary.

                          It is worth noting that Lush is also completely against animal testing and uses human volunteers to test their products.

                          *****Value for Money*****
                          Flying fox is excellent value for money, and I find that a little usage goes a long way. The 100g bottle lasted for 4 weeks of daily use which I consider to be good going for a shower gel.

                          *****Company Info*****"Lush is a handmade cosmetics company headquartered in Poole, Dorset in the UK. There are more than 600 stores in 43 countries. Lush produce and sell hand-made products from face masks, soaps, bath ballistics, hand, hair and body lotions & treatments. The first Lush store opened on 1994 in Poole by husband and wife Mark and Mo Constantine. Source:- Wikipedia

                          Advantages:- Beautiful scent, easy to use bottle and wonderful honey textured gel.

                          Disadvantages:- The packaging to an extent but that's only me being picky.

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                          • Lush Sea Vegetable Soap / Soaps / 62 Readings / 60 Ratings
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                            24.07.2009 15:48
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                            Not one of Lush's best products but great for buffing the skin.

                            Product:- Sea Vegetable Soap

                            Manufacturer:- Lush

                            Price:- £2.66

                            Purchased from:- Lush Shop

                            *****The Lush Shopping Experience*****
                            I was drawn to the Lush shop initially due to the aroma that was emanating from the shop and the bright array of colorful soap loaves (which looked like large cakes waiting to be sliced) which were displayed in the window.

                            Walking into a Lush shop is rather like being swept along on a scent filled journey with a montage of colorful creations in the background. Presumably what Willy Wonkas Chocolate factory would have been like If Roal Dahl had seen fit to create an apothecary for Mr. Wonka. I would not have been in the least bit surprised if I had seen Ooompa Loompas in Lush. Although admittedly this is due to my overactive imagination and my Husband didn't share my childlike wonder on account of the wonderful smells causing sneezing fits and causing his skin to itch. Although it is worth noting that the Hubby does suffer with countless allergies and atopic skin so only the most natural of products are of any use to him and upon reflection Lush was a definite assault on his allergic senses.

                            *****The Product*****
                            Amongst the beautifully displayed Soap Loaves my magpie like eyes instantly fell upon the Sea Vegetable Soap. I picked up a 100g Soap which was described as a Sea Vegetable Soap with Lime, Lavender and Seaweed and is sold as part of the Lush Soap range.

                            *****Packaging & Appearance*****
                            The Soap is a beautiful Caribbean blue color with a top layer if sea salt and seaweed, the sea salt is in rather small granules and serves as just the right size to use as an exfoliant. The Seaweed pieces are small dark strands which can be quite sharp.

                            The Sea Vegetable soap really stood out to me firstly due to the intensity of the color, having a penchant for turquoise and the blue color spectrum the Sea Vegetable soap was invariably going to tempt me.

                            I love the appearance of this soap and this is in part due to the color, but the layer of sea salt and Seaweed also creates a rustic look which instantly created seaside connotations for me.

                            The Product was purchased and placed into a paper wrapping which was white with the lush logo repeated across it several times a label was then attached to it. Lush always ensures that all of their packaging is recycled and recyclable. Overall a very big thumbs up from me for Packaging and Appearance.

                            *****Product Usage*****
                            Once I was home, I ran a lovely hot bath and proceeded to take the soap out of its wrapping (which appeared to have a protective film - thus enabling the user to store the soap in the packaging for the duration of its use).

                            The Sea Vegetable soap beamed at me with a thousand beautiful turquoise and deep blue hues. I decided to use the Top Layer of sea salt first and use this as an exfolliant - as an exfoilliant the sea salt and seaweed layer definitely helped to scrub away those dead skin cells, although the seaweed strands at times were quite sharp.

                            After exfoliating, I turned the soap upside down and used the non sea salted side as a normal soap. I found that the soap wasn't particularly lathery and just sort of glided across my skin without any effect other than releasing a wonderful smell of Lavender and a hint of citrus which actually did create a seaside type scent.

                            The scent did remain for a few hours on my skin, which was now wonderfully dead skin cell free and surprisingly felt a lot firmer, although sadly I have to concede that the soap may be an excellent exfolliant but I was disappointed with the soapy effects or lack of.

                            *****Ingredients*****
                            Here's the science bit...
                            Water, Propylene Glycol, Rapeseed Oil, Sunflower Oil, Coconut Oil, Course Sea Salt, Sodium Stearate, Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Hydroxide, Arame Seaweed, Lime Oil, Lavender Oil, Seaweed Absolute, Citral,Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool, Perfume, Colour 42045.

                            Lavender Oil is a wonderful all round essential oil, it has antibacterial, analgesic, antiseptic and antifungal properties as well as being a hormone balancing, calming oil. Lavender can assist with oily skin and calm skin complaints.

                            Arame Seaweed is is a type of kelp. Harvested in Japan, Peru and the North Pacific Coast. Its blades grow in to wide leaves up to a foot in length. They are sliced in to long string like strands, cooked then sun dried. Seaweeds contain up to twenty times the levels of elements found in land plants. They are, protective, nourishing and moisturizing, rich in vitamins and are known in herbalism to be one of the best adaptogens. This means seaweeds will help correct any disorder present. Source:- www.lush.co.uk

                            There is an impressive array of natural ingredients, but this is interspersed with some chemical ingredients and for this reason I would advise that anyone with sensitive skin avoids the Sea Vegetable Soap and opts for one of Lush's more natural soaps. Lush is commendable in the fact that it has ethical principles and sticks to them and there is a definite commitment to using natural products as much as possible and chemicals only when necessary.

                            It is worth noting that Lush is also completely against animal testing and uses human volunteers to test their products.

                            *****Value for Money*****
                            I would consider the soap reasonable value for money as the 100g that I purchased has lasted me over a month and this is incorporating daily use. I wouldn't purchase the soap again as I felt that it was slightly drying although this may be in part due to the exfoliating top layer which I use pre lathering. I also prefer my soaps to provide a bit more lather for their money. But, the Ethical considerations of Lush products leads me to be inclined to purchase from them due to their credentials which I don't feel you have to pay over the odds for.

                            *****Company Info*****"Lush is a handmade cosmetics company headquartered in Poole, Dorset in the UK. There are more than 600 stores in 43 countries. Lush produce and sell hand-made products from face masks, soaps, bath ballistics, hand, hair and body lotions & treatments. The first Lush store opened on 1994 in Poole by husband and wife Mark and Mo Constantine.

                            Lush uses organic fruit and vegetables, essential oils, and safe-synthetic ingredients in all products produced In addition to not using animal fats in their products, they are also against animal testing and perform tests solely with volunteers instead. The original incarnation of what is now Lush was started in the 1970s when Mark Constantine, an herbal trichologist, and Elizabeth Weir, who had an interest in beauty therapy formed a company named Constantine & Weir. They began to develop recipes for bath and beauty products with the intention of selling them to other companies. The Body Shop, a UK-based company founded in 1976 by Anita Roddick contracted Constantine & Weir as one of their suppliers.

                            As The Body Shop grew, Anita Roddick made a bid for the Constantine & Weir company in which she bought the rights to many of the products that had been produced by C&W for The Body Shop. In 1988, Constantine started a new company called Cosmetics to Go. The company was primarily a mail-order business. The company went under in 1994.

                            However, new finance was injected from Peter Blacker, of British Ensign Estates, and his finance director, Andrew Gerrie, who now sits on the board of Lush. Later in 1994, they sent out a catalog to all previous Cosmetics to Go customers that included a contest for a customer to come up with the new name. A woman named Elizabeth Bennett from Edinburgh was the winner, having chosen the name LUSH". Source:- Wikipedia

                            Advantages:- Beautiful rustic product with beautiful colours and a great exfoliatiant

                            Disadvantages:- The sharp pieces of seaweed and the disappointing lack of lather.

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                            • Smirnoff Vodka / Spirits / 85 Readings / 76 Ratings
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                              23.07.2009 16:16
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                              A good all rounder when drank in moderation.

                              Product:- Smirnoff Vodka 1 litre

                              Price:- On Offer at £12.99 from ASDA

                              Manufacturer:- Smirnoff

                              As a drinker of Vodka due to anything else seeming to cause vomiting, I thought it's a good excuse to open a bottle, pour a well earned drink and write a review on the product. I think that I may have put off reviewing Vodka due to over indulgence in the past and the lingering memory of 2 day hangovers. But now that I consider myself to be relatively grown up with the binge drinking days of youth and speedy hangover recovery time behind me, I feel that I can review Vodka objectively without the need for over indulgence.

                              *****Company Blurb*****
                              Smirnoff is a brand of vodka now owned and produced by the British company Diageo. The Smirnoff brand began with a vodka distillery founded in Moscow by Pyotr Arsenievich Smirnov (1831-1898), the son of illiterate Russian peasants. It is now distributed in 130 countries.
                              Smirnoff products include vodka, flavored vodka, and malt beverages. In March 2006, Diageo North America claimed that Smirnoff vodka was the best-selling distilled spirit brand in the world. Source:- Wikipedia

                              *****Origins of Vodka*****
                              Vodka or a form of Vodka has been around for a very, very long time and Russia and Poland appear to have been the pioneers of the drink as Vodka is thought to have originated from either country. A rough estimate has placed the first incarnation of Vodka at the beginning of the 12th century and the original Vodka was primarily used as a medicinal aid due to its antiseptic and disinfectant qualities. Around the middle of the 14th century people discovered vodka intoxicating qualities and home grown versions were soon being made and vodka as drink was born.
                              In Russia vodka was believed to posses it's very own spirit which led to religious associations and the drink would be passed around at religious gatherings with folk that refused to partake being accused of being impious.
                              Vodka was originally a rye based drink but its mass popularity and presumable accessibility to ingredients led to Potato being used. But once Vodka was mass marketed by large distilleries the humble potato was passed over in favor of grain. Leading to today's key ingredients which are Rye, Wheat, Barley and corn.

                              *****How Vodka is made*****
                              Vodka is essentially made by first using the process of distillation - this involves the separation of the contents of the liquids and then ensuring the extraction of alcohol from a low strength alcoholic liquid to make it into a stronger one. The first stage to making the vodka is mixing and crushing the ingredients and mixing them with water, the gloopy mixture is then heated which enables the conversion of starch into sugar and the remaining sticky goo is called "Wort". The next stage is to add yeast which then goes through a formation process to create a liquid which goes by the name of "wash". This is then converted into a raw spirit by distillation which when repeated ensures that all of the impurities are diminished and the alcohol level is raised.
                              Smirnoff is essentially a grain Vodka that has been rectified twice and filtered through activated charcoal to ensure its purity, the water used in Smirnoff is also reputed to be of a high grade.

                              *****Product Appearance*****
                              Smirnoff Vodka is sold in clear glass bottles (I am unsure as to whether the glass is recycled glass or not). I am presuming that the choice of clear glass is to re-enforce the "Purity" message that Smirnoff is a pure filtered vodka. Smirnoff marketing does tend to rely on the "Puriry" message as a hook and the packaging reflects the message. The bottle is of a standard shape and bears the red Smirnoff logo and coat of arms on the front. The cap is red made of red plastic.

                              *****Taste and Smell*****
                              Vodka essentially doesn't taste of anything except a strong alcoholy taste, the type that generates a heat sensation within your throat and body as the liquid works it way through you. Perhaps that's why it's a favorite party drink especially amongst women due to its lack of taste almost.
                              I find that Vodka is extremely versatile when it comes to mixing with soft or indeed other alcoholic drinks; once again I find this is due to the inoffensive taste. Vodka can be mixed with Cranberry Juice, Water, Orange or Pineapple Juice, Coca Cola, Tonic Water or Lemonade, Red Bull tends to be a popular mixer where Vodka is concerned although I personally find this mix isn't a good one for me. Vodka doesn't really smell of anything other than a strong alcohol smell, It evokes memories of nail varnish remover for me which is presume is down to the ingredients of both Vodka and Nail Varnish Remover.

                              *****Product Usage*****
                              As previously mentioned Vodka is a highly versatile drink when it comes to mixers and generally most people are not averse to a glass or two of vodka. Although on the cautionary side, I have found that it's very easy to drink too many vodka's too quickly whilst being duped by it's inoffensive taste and thinking that I am drinking a soft drink - thus leading to getting tiddly rather quickly. Vodka tends not to have the same bloated, gassy feeling that drinking Lager can create or the heady feeling that red wine can sometimes cause. I find that Vodka is quite a clean drink in regards to its intoxicating effects and tends to make me lively and happy as opposed to heady or sleepy. It's always worth reminding people of the allocated daily guidelines for safe and sensible drinking which are as follows:-

                              Female 2-3 units or less
                              Male 3-4 units or less

                              Refraining on one day should not mean excess on another. If you choose to drink when you're pregnant (or planning to become pregnant), you should consume no more than 1-2 units of alcohol once or twice a week.

                              Unit of Alcohol = Half a pint of ordinary strength Lager/Beer/Cider (3.5%) or a 25ml pub measure of spirit (40%) or a small glass of wine (9%)

                              *****Drinking levels and driving*****
                              The UK driving limit is 80mg of alcohol per 100ml of blood - which is roughly equivalent to two pints of regular strength lager. This is however, only a guide. You should never drink up to the limit just because you can. Studies show that driving skills are affected after just one unit, which means that your risk of having an accident is higher even if you are below the legal limit. Source: - www.bupa.co.uk

                              *****Other uses for Vodka*****
                              Vodka can also be used to help your clothes smell fresher, simply spritz some onto your clothes and leave to dry. Vodka kills odor causing bacteria apparently.
                              Vodka is also handy for cleaning Chrome, glass and porcelain fixtures and al you have to do is Moisten a soft, clean cloth and scrub away.

                              Vodka can also help to preserve flowers, just add a few drops of Vodka and a teaspoon of sugar to your water and change the mixture daily. This should help to keep your flowers fresher for longer.
                              Vodka can also be used to get rid of Mold, simply spritz some onto the affected area leave for 15 minutes and then scrub away with an old toothbrush. Source www.thedailygreen.com

                              *****Overall Review*****
                              I have a love/hate relationship with Vodka and often refer to Vodka indulgences as a night with "Mr. Smirnoff" because the after effects are akin to a destructive relationship whereby at the height of giddy romance it's a happy hazy blur but the next day whilst languishing in a hung-over state and nursing my fraught hung-over emotions in the cold, sharp light of day - the previous evenings date with Mr. Smirnoff becomes less appealing by the minute. Although after a few weeks abstinence the craving manifests. Much like one of those relationships that are best left well alone. This is just a personal observation and shouldn't be taken as a precautionary tale which takes away from the excellence of the product.
                              Smirnoff Vodka is an excellent drink, when drank in moderation and a great product when it comes to versatility as it can be mixed with almost anything.
                              I do find that hangovers are worse when Vodka has been consumed the reason for which I have yet to discover.

                              *****Value for Money*****
                              Smirnoff Vodka is at the pricey end of the Vodka market and if like me, a Litre can last a couple of months then Smirnoff is generally good value for money. I think in relation to Value for money it all depends on how long a bottle of Vodka will last. If you tend to drink a litre over a short space of time then maybe cheaper vodka would be greater value for money.

                              Advantages:- Great for mixing
                              Disadvantages:- It's easy to drink too many due to lack of distinctive taste.

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