Harley Street Hair Clinic Hamper

When I decided to dye my hair red about six years ago (not long before I started this blog actually) I didn’t realise how much maintenance it would require. My natural colour is (from what I can remember) a dark chestnut shade, although there are a few grey hairs popping up these days! Red fades very quickly, especially with frequent washing. I try not to wash my hair every day like I used to, so when I do, using good quality hair care is very important.

When this Harley Street Hair Clinic hamper arrived I had no idea what was inside so it was a bit like opening a Christmas present!

When this Harley Street Hair Clinic hamper arrived I had no idea what was inside so it was a bit like opening a Christmas present! I was happy to find it contained three products I hadn’t tried before, plus a handy comb. With a shampoo, leave-in conditioner and a hair perfume, all bases are covered here.

The Swedish brand’s ethos is to combine simplicity and function.

I really love the minimalist design of the Sachajuan Ocean Mist Volume Shampoo. The Swedish brand’s ethos is to combine simplicity and function.  The shampoo contains algae-based ocean silk technology and vegetable proteins to nourish the hair and give it volume. It has a very delicate, sweet fragrance  (not your typical shampoo scent) which I really like. It left my hair soft and silky yet still bouncy – even though it is in desperate need of a trim!

Sachajuan Ocean Mist Volume Shampoo

After washing and conditioning my hair I like to finish off with either a serum or a leave-in conditioner on the ends. The Phyto 9 Nourishing Day Cream is formulated with nine plants to soften, smooth and protect medium to coarse hair, while preventing frizz. I find that using a leave-in conditioner on the ends of my hair helps to protect it against the heat of blow drying and straightening. Only a small amount of this conditioner is needed so this will last me a good while.

Balmain Hair Silk Perfume

The Balmain Hair Silk Perfume combines an extra layer of protection with an exquisite Summery fragrance. The lightweight formula contains silk infused with pure organic Argan oil to detangle and repair damaged hair. This finishing spray conditions and adds shine, while leaving hair beautifully fragranced. I’ve looked on several websites but I can’t find what the spray is fragranced with. To me it smells a little powdery, and reminds me of love heart sweets!

The comb will come in very handy for backcombing to add lift to ponytails. The times I’ve found myself needing a comb but I always forget to buy one when I’m out shopping! It’ll also be useful for when I’m straightening my hair with my Irresistible Me flat iron.

Have you tried any of these hair care products? Let me know how you like to keep your hair in tiptop condition!

 

* I was gifted the hair care hamper for review. All opinions are completely honest and unbiased.

 

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Feather and Bone face gems face wash Although I have my favourite skincare products I do love to try out different ones. Recently I’ve been testing a few new cleansers – from variations on the tried and tested, to products that are completely new to me. Probably the most unusual is Feather and Bone’s Face Gems. When the company emailed me about Face Gems I have to admit that I was very intrigued about the whole concept: it’s a cleanser in a tablet form that you add a few drops of water to, which then makes a paste.

You pop one of the tablets from the blister pack onto the palm of your hand, add 5-10 drops of water to make a paste, apply to your face and rinse off.

They are made from natural ingredients: sandalwood to cleanse, fuller’s earth to exfoliate and starch to moisturise. The instructions are simple: you pop one of the tablets from the blister pack onto the palm of your hand, add 5-10 drops of water to make a paste, apply to your face and rinse off.  I did find getting the consistency of the paste just right a little tricky – not enough water and the tablet is hard to break up, too much and it becomes too runny, but I think after a few uses it’d become easier to judge. Once applied I looked like I’d covered my face in mud or applied too much fake tan, but it rinses off very easily to leave clean and refreshed skin. They are suitable for all skin types and due to the natural ingredients they are very gentle on the skin.  The big plus point for me is that they are so convenient to take away on holidays or camping trips – they are very light and don’t take up much room, and if you are travelling by plane with only hand luggage you won’t have to worry about the liquid restrictions…brilliant! The Face Gems cost $15 (just under £10 at the current exchange rate) for a box of 60.

Flint and Flint Glycolic cleanser

On the other end of the cleanser spectrum is Flint and Flint’s Glycolic Cleanser. This was recommended to me by the beauty therapists at Skin Health Spa prior to a glycolic peel facial. I was advised to use it once a day for the two weeks leading up to my appointment in order to prepare the skin for the treatment and maximise results. It contains 12% glycolic acid so it’s not an everyday cleanser – after the treatment I was advised to use it 2-3 times a week, and to use a high level SPF as skin is extra sensitive to sun damage after a peel. After the treatment my skin felt smoother than it ever has and there was no down time – no redness or irritation.

…you can also use this cleanser as an overnight spot treatment, and to relieve the itchiness of an insect sting…

The cleanser also contains Panthenol to protect the skin and promote healing, and Defensil which is described as a “skin-conditioning agent that normalises sensitive skin”. It has a gel consistency which you apply to a wet face, leave for 2 minutes and rinse off. You don’t need much so I expect it will last quite a while. On the website it says that you can also use this cleanser as an overnight spot treatment, and to relieve the itchiness of an insect sting, so I’m planning on decanting a small amount of this to take on holiday with me. Flint and Flint Glycolic Cleanser costs £30 for 100ml.

Skin vitamin rich cleanser I don’t often use a creamy cleanser that requires removal with cotton wool, which explains why this has sat in my bathroom cabinet for a year! My preferred cleansing routine consists of a micellar water followed by a wash-off cleansing cream or gel, but this Sk:n Vitamin Rich Cleanser was part of a bargain bundle consisting of six products that was offered as a Groupon deal. I tend to use it for a quick cleanse when I want to leave my eye make up on but just refresh my skin. The key ingredients are Evening Primrose oil for its soothing and healing properties, Allantoin to moisturise, and vitamins A, C and E to protect skin from free radicals. It leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated, but most of all I love the fragrance, which to me smells like sun cream…every time I use it I’m reminded of beach holidays! The Vitamin Rich Cleanser costs £14.75 for a 200ml bottle.

Urban Veda Daily Purifying Wash

When I received a travel size tube of Urban Veda Purifying Facial Wash in a beauty box I relegated it to the stash of products deemed unsuitable for my skin type – as soon as I read the “for oil-prone skin” on the tube I assumed it would completely dry my skin out. How wrong I was! I grabbed it one morning as I was diving in to the shower (running late as usual!) and I was immediately won over by the lovely minty freshness. If you’ve ever used a minty shower gel you’ll know that fresh, slightly cold feeling you get when you apply it to the skin.

It’s pleasantly cooling to use after a workout, and it doesn’t make my skin feel at all tight or dry, just really smooth and calmed.

Well this cleanser does the same thing, albeit very gently (ingredients include tea tree, orange, anise, spearmint, wild mint and eucalyptus oils as well as witch hazel).  It’s pleasantly cooling to use after a workout, and it doesn’t make my skin feel at all tight or dry, just really smooth and calmed. Even though I have predominantly dry skin, I am still prone to the mid afternoon shiny T-zone, but on the days I used this cleanser I noticed my nose and forehead were less shiny later in the day. I was really surprised at how much I liked this gel cleanser, and even though it’s not aimed at my skin type I’d definitely consider buying a full size tube. Urban Veda Purifying Facial Wash costs £12.99 for 150ml.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Ltd Edition trio

Well I had to save the best for last…Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish is my favourite cleanser, and even though I love the original it’s always a joy to try out the limited editions. When I first saw this 20th anniversary trio on the website I was very tempted to order straight away as I expected it to sell out, so when it was reduced in the sale I was amazed and snapped it up! I had tried the Orange Flower and Chamomile version before, but the Grapefruit and Patchouli, and Rose and Lavender combinations were new to me.

I absolutely love all three versions, which I use according to mood and time of day…

I absolutely love all three versions, which I use according to mood and time of day; I like to use the Grapefruit and Patchouli in the morning because it has a wonderfully energising fragrance, while the relaxing aroma of the Orange Flower and Chamomile is perfect to use before bedtime. I find the Rose and Lavender suitable for any time of the day, as it’s incredibly soothing and comforting.

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish anniversary trio

Over the past month or so I’ve been a bit more adventurous with my cleansing routine, and while I’ll always have my favourites, it’s been good to discover new products. Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish is the cleanser I use the most, but all of the products I’ve tried have a place in my skincare routine.

 

Do you have an all time favourite cleanser? Have you tried any of these? Let me know in the comments!

 

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

 

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Beauty Essentials for Running Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Murad Essential-C moisture

If you’re thinking of taking up running, or even if you’re already a regular runner, beauty products might not be at the forefront of your mind when you’re lacing up your trainers and heading outdoors, but protecting your skin from the elements is vital if you don’t want to age prematurely.

The Advanced Active Radiance Serum contains a high level of vitamin C to protect against free radical damage and boost collagen.

In the warmer months my skincare regime of choice is Murad’s Essential-C range. The Essential-C Day Moisture SPF30 has a broad spectrum sun protection, which means it shields skin from both UVA and UVB rays. The Advanced Active Radiance Serum contains a high level of vitamin C to protect against free radical damage and boost collagen. It also claims to help cells resist environmental stresses including UV exposure and chemical aggressors and prevent future pigment formation. You can read my review of the Essential-C range here.

I also use the Essential-C eye cream to protect my peepers as well as a snug-fitting pair of sunglasses. My favourites are not the typical sporty type (I find the lenses are too small) but a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo shades I bought from TK Maxx years ago. They fit nice and snuggly without slipping and I’ve yet to find any others that I prefer. A high factor sunscreen is a must for any exposed parts of the body – I always use SPF 50 in the summer.

Vaseline is cheap and effective at preventing chafing, but if you fancy something a little more luxurious I can highly recommend Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream…

One thing that really can ruin a run is chafing. Sports bras, trainers and clothing can all rub, which is made worse if you sweat a lot…I discovered that the hard way! Vaseline is cheap and effective at preventing chafing, but if you fancy something a little more luxurious I can highly recommend Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream – both to prevent and treat any sore spots. The Eight Hour Cream Lip Protectant stick is also perfect for preventing dry and chapped lips. You can read my thoughts on the Eight Hour range here.

Beauty Essentials for Running Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Murad Essential-C moisture

Beauty Essentials for Running Soap and Glory Heel Genius Malibu SPF 50 suncream Salvatore Ferragmo sunglasses

Hard working feet will appreciate a soothing and nourishing foot cream such as Soap & Glory’s Heel Genius after a tough session. Regular running can cause a build up of hard skin, which isn’t going to do those pretty summer sandals justice!

Beauty Essentials for Running Benefit Benetint Clinique City Block Eye of Horus godess eye pencil

The one area of the face which is relatively sweat-proof is the eyes so I like to define my brows and lashes.

Now I don’t know about you but I just can’t bring myself to leave the house totally barefaced…vain I know but feeling pretty and working out are not mutually exclusive. Over the years I’ve put quite a few products to the sweat test (Clinique’s City Block and Benefit’s Benetint are firm favourites) but recently I’ve stumbled across some truly fabulous finds. The one area of the face which is relatively sweat-proof is the eyes so I like to define my brows and lashes. In my previous post I reviewed the L’Oreal Brow Artist Plumper which is now one of my running beauty essentials. It has fantastic staying power and costs just £5.99!

I picked up the L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes on a bit of a whim, which at £10.99 was quite a splurge for me, but I was really pleased with how it applied.

When it comes to waterproof mascaras I’m not too fussy, mainly because they tend to dry out before I get much use out of them, so I don’t like to spend too much on one. I picked up the L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes on a bit of a whim, which at £10.99 was quite a splurge for me, but I was really pleased with how it applied. It adds length and volume to my lashes with just a few strokes.

The Eye of Horus eye pencil, which was included in my Dream Box 3, is probably the best thing I’ve ever received in a beauty box.

As well as mascara I like to wear just a little eyeliner on my upper lash line for added definition, and right now there’s only one eye pencil for me. The Eye of Horus eye pencil, which was included in my Dream Box 3, is probably the best thing I’ve ever received in a beauty box. I can’t praise it highly enough. For me it ticks all the boxes – it applies with the lightest of touch, delivers amazing pigmentation and does not budge.

I’ve posted a picture of me which was taken about an hour after I finished the Paris Marathon last Sunday and as you can see the eye makeup is still on. There’s just the tiniest smudge of mascara under my left eye but given that it was roasting hot and I got completely soaked several times running under the water sprayers I think these products deserve a medal for going the distance too!

Beauty Essentials for Running Post marathon selfie

So those are my beauty essentials for running but if you have any recommendations I’d love to hear about them in the comments. I’ll be posting about my trip to Paris in the coming days! Thanks for reading, I hope you have a lovely weekend!
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B moisturisers and serum

If you’re looking for high-end skincare on a budget then read on, because today’s post is all about a fantastic brand which is exclusive to Superdrug. ‘B.’ is a range of anti-ageing skincare which is divided into four phases according to age:

Phase 1 (20’s and 30’s) focuses on preventing the signs of ageing and hydration.

Phase 2 ( late 30’s and 40’s) is aimed at boosting radiance and reducing fine lines and wrinkles.

Phase 3 (late 40’s and 50’s) targets deep wrinkles whilst firming and repairing the skin.

Phase 4 (late 50’s onwards) nourishes and protects skin, claiming to improve elasticity, brighten skin tone and stimulate collagen.

When I first discovered the range I tried the Phase 3 B. Restored Night Cream. I was so pleased with the results that I had to try some of the other products from the brand. Luckily there was a half price offer so I purchased both the Phase 2 B. Active Day Cream and Phase 3 B. Firm Day Cream, the B. Flawless Targeted Wrinkle Filler, and the B. Radiant Rejuvenating Serum.

Now we are often bombarded with adverts for creams and serums claiming to reduce wrinkles, firm and plump up the skin, and generally make us look younger, but they don’t always deliver the results we’re looking for. Well I certainly wasn’t disappointed with these moisturisers – in fact I’d go as far as saying they are some of the best I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a quite a few!

B skincare moisturiser

The B. range uses a cocktail of anti-ageing ingredients in high concentrations which you wouldn’t expect to find in a drug store brand: Hyaluronic Acid, which helps skin retain moisture to keep it plumped up; Tetrapeptide 21 to boost firmness and elasticity; Celligent, to repair sun damage, and SPF to prevent further sun damage.

After only a few days I definitely noticed a difference in my skin, it looked more plumped up and radiant, and my skin tone evened out. The Phase 3 creams are thicker in consistency than the Phase 2 creams, but both improved my complexion. I recommended it to my mum and she loves it, so much so that she’s asked for some more for Christmas. Luckily, B. have recently added the fourth phase to the range for late 50’s onwards so that’s perfect timing! But let’s not neglect the men in our life –  he probably won’t thank me for writing this but my husband started using the night cream and even he thinks it makes a difference! A ringing endorsement from a man who used to think all creams are the same!

 

I used the B. Radiant Rejuvenating Serum twice a day alongside the moisturisers until it ran out. I enjoyed using it and I think it improved my skin further. For the price (£13.99) it’s great value and I would repurchase it. I wasn’t sure about the B. Flawless Targeted Wrinkle Filler at first because the instructions say to apply it after foundation and before powder. I found it a little tricky to apply without disturbing my base but I think maybe it just needs a very light touch. It’s like a silicone-based primer that you apply after foundation rather than before, and it produces similar results. In all honesty I think I’d rather just use a primer but I’m going to perservere with it until it’s all gone.

Superdrug have really come up trumps with this brand – it’s affordable, fantastic quality and there’s a full range of testers in-store.

As well as skincare, B. also have an extensive makeup range – all cruelty free and suitable for vegans. I haven’t tried the make up yet but next time I’m in Superdrug I’ll be stocking up!

The Phase 2 B Active Day Cream is £11.99; the Phase 3 B. Firm Day Cream and B. Restored Night Cream are £13.99 each; the B. Firm Targeted Wrinkle Filler is £7.99 and the B. Radiant Rejuvenating Serum is £13.99*…but Superdrug have regular offers on the B. skincare range so it’s worth keeping an eye on the website for these.

 

Have you tried anything from B.? Let me know in the comments!

 

Thanks for reading, have a lovely day!

 

*Prices correct at time of writing.

 

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Murad Complete Renewal set

The Murad Complete Renewal set was one of two I got for Christmas, and as we’re now well into the Summer I feel as though I’ve had ample time to test it out thoroughly! The Hydro Dynamic Ultimate Moisture and eye cream were only small pots so I got through them quite quickly. I had tried out the moisturiser before and found it to be very nourishing and hydrating without being too heavy or greasy, making it suitable for all year round.

The eye cream was equally pleasant to use, although if you’re looking for an eye cream that has specific anti-ageing properties this probably isn’t the cream for you. Neither of these have an SPF so can be used morning and night, but you would need to apply a separate sunscreen for daytime.

The AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser is designed to be used a couple of times a week rather than daily. It contains glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids to dissolve skin cell buildup, as well as jojoba beads to polish and retexturise skin. My skin did feel clearer after using the cleanser and along with the Intensive-C Radiance Peel, which I apply once a week, (see review here) freshens my skin and helps keep congestion at bay.

At first I was using this treatment once or twice a week at night but I wasn’t really seeing any results. I’ve now increased usage to roughly five times per week…

Of all the products in the set I was most excited about the Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles. I’ve always approached retinol-based products with caution as over use can cause irritation. At first I was using this treatment once or twice a week at night but I wasn’t really seeing any results. I’ve now increased usage to roughly five times per week and I do think I’ve seen a small improvement, but as I’ve also recently changed moisturiser it’s impossible to attribute this solely to the Time Release Retinol Concentrate. You can apply it daily under moisturiser in the morning and at night, but Murad advises restricting it to night time usage if the skin starts to become irritated. It claims to reduce deep wrinkles by 45% in six weeks so I will try using it twice daily to see if it makes a difference, in particular on my forehead.

Murad Complete Renewal set

Overall I do like the products in this set and I’ve enjoyed using them, especially the Hydro Dynamic Ultimate Moisture, but given the fairly hefty price tag I’m not sure I’d rush out to buy them again when there are so many other products to try. In short I liked them, but probably not quite enough to repurchase in the near future.  I’m still reserving judgement on the Time Release Retinol Concentrate until I up the usage to twice daily.

Murad Hydro-dynamic Ultimate Moisture

Prices stated on Murad website at time of publishing:

Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture, £64 for 50ml.

Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture for eyes, £57 for 15ml.

Time Release Retinol Concentrate for Deep Wrinkles, £65 for 15ml.

AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser, £34 for 200ml.

Are you a fan of Murad skincare? I’d love to hear your comments. Thanks for reading, have a lovely day!
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