Friday, 10 October 2014

Review: The Body Shop Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter

Really late to the party with this one aren’t I? I first saw The Body Shop's Camomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter featured in an article on The Grauniad about ‘the best cleansing balms’ and it seems to have made an appearance on every beauty blog out there. That was approximately one year ago … and now its rolled up on my blog too, whuppee! I actually bought it months and months ago but left it to languish at the back of my skincare drawer. I dusted it off (figuratively speaking, ew) to review for my mini-series on cleansers.

Seems sturdy. No worry of dropping glass jars on bathroom tiles and smashing them to smithereens - only of it landing face down. Unanimous agreement that the broad flat tin resembles a pot of shoe polish. Boor-ring.

The texture is very far from the ‘sumptuous cleansing butter’ it’s described as. It’s like a wax that melts into an oil. Not a nice smooth blend, but something slippery and lumpy. That is NOT cleansing butter. Antipodes grape seed butter cleanser is exactly that. Omorovicza’s night cream is sumptuous and buttery. This is not.

This cleanser was ok at removing suncream + make-up, but not 100% effective. A flannel and second cleanser are a must to remove the product and residue. I’d follow up with a cream cleanser.

Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Synthetic Wax, PEG-20 Glyceryl Triisostearate, Olea Europaea Fruit Oil/Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil,  Butyrospermum Parkii Butter/Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopherol, Parfum/Fragrance, Aqua/Water, Linalool, Limonene, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil/Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil,  Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract (Camomile), Citric Acid.

I’m always waffling on about checking the ingredients (I didn’t realise you had to peel the label back to read them >.< the irony eh), but how many of us actually do that? Why/why not? My label-checking mania stems from my battle with hormonal spots (which I mention a lot too). I probably wouldn't have bought it had I known it contained synthetic wax (nasty texture) and virtually no chamomile. What stands out to me on reading it a second time round - and with the benefit of hindsight - is OLIVE OIL. I had a severe reaction to DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil (reviewed here) and I avoid it like the plague now. The reason this cleanser was left to languish wasn’t because I disliked the texture - it was because little spots started appearing after a few days of use! :( I think it's safe to say olive oil is the culprit ... Obviously this won’t be a problem for a lot of you, but I thought I’d put it out there, juuuuuust in case you ever wondered why you had a terrible experience with DHC products…

At £12 for a 90ml tin, I doubt you’ll find anything cheaper. Its the cheapest among thirty odd cleansing balms/butters that I compared the prices of. However I’d much rather spend my money on something that functions and feels better - your skincare routine should be enjoyable not a waxy mess!

Has anyone else tried this cleanser? How does it compare to the Camomile Cleansing Oil? And dare I ask: is there a cheaper alternative??

Friday, 3 October 2014

buy one get one free on omorovicza

Sorry for the silence as of late -.- But heres a nice little special offer! Buy one and get one of the same product free on Omorovicza using the code
< 2NDFREE > at checkout. Valid til October 15th so hurry up and order that cleansing balm, mask and face mist that everyones raving on aboot.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Review: Balm Balm Super Light Coconut Cleanser

Since I stopped using DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil (reviewed here) I’ve been trying out loads of new cleansers hoping to find one that removes the day’s make-up and grime and doesn’t cause another horrible outbreak of spots.
I used up my stockpile of samples and found some nice ones in there but they were a wee bit too expensive (Elemis Cleansing Balm). Money down the sink, literally. Sooo I went on a little skincare spending spree (a haul - *barf*) and bought a couple of cleansers from Balm Balm (via

I thought I’d start my mini-series on cleansers with Balm Balm’s Super Light Coconut Cleanser. (Brace yourselves, thrilling stuff coming your way.)

-Theres only one ingredient so if you have a reaction, you can return it and avoid coconut oil (caprylic/capric triglyceride) forever. Coconut oil is said to be anti-inflammatory, which is nice to know but you wash it off at the end of the day.

The Good:
- 100% organic. Carries the Soil Association symbol, which I believe has the strictest testing standards for organic products
- Not tested on animals
- Not too expensive at £13.25/100ml
- No discernible smell

The Bad:
The packaging is a bit shoddy. The bottle doesn’t have a pump so it can be quite messy and wasteful.

You use it as you would any other cleanser. Pour a little into the palm of your hand, doing your best not to pour five times the amount you actually need, and massage into skin. It has a thin, runny consistency (similar to REN’s Omega 3 serum) which feels nice on the skin - nothing like the gloopy ones that feel like sunflower oil. (Ick) The oil doesn’t emulsify so you should remove it with a hot flannel (don’t bother with piddly little handkerchiefs calling themselves muslin cloths). Press the flannel into your skin and then wipe off. PURE BLISS. With no filmy residue afterwards.

However. It doesn’t quite remove all traces of make-up, so I use a couple of cotton pads soaked with micellar water (Bioderma) to finish off. This is why you should always double cleanse! But why use a cleanser that doesn’t do the job 100%? Because for me at least, after trying a dozen cleansers, being disappointed that none of them cut the mustard, I just accepted that I need two cleansers -.- (And that I should keep looking in the meantime.) It might be because I use suncream and foundation and both are very long wearing. (Try applying Luminous Silk to the back of your hand. DOES NOT WASH OFF.)
Update 15.09.14: It IS because of the suncream. I was lazy last week and skipped the suncream a couple of times and my make-up washed off completely.  So if you don't use suncream, this cleanser will be just fine for you. Also sorry for the lack of posts - no wi-fi at home *shriek* Typing on an iPhone is a nightmare!

I haven’t had any reactions (spots) which is no mean feat because my delicate little face reacts badly to almost everything. (Browse the archives and see for yourself mah -_____- ) So unless I find something better in the meantime ... it’s on my repurchase list :)

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Good Skin(Ceuticals) Days : Review of Serum 10 and Phyto Corrective Gel

An unusual phenomenon is sweeping across Britain: SUNSHINE woohoo! So if you haven’t already added suncream to your daily skincare routine, now is the perfik time to start and stick to it whatever the weather. It’ll stop you turning an unsightly shade of lobster and protect against skin damage. Today’s post, however, isn’t about suncreams - it’s about anti-oxidant serums! Anti-oxidant serums and suncream go hand in hand; both working to neutralise free radicals and help protect against UV damage. I think it’s the best combo to help prevent premature ageing.
In your search for the best anti-oxidant serums, you’re likely to come across SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. C E Ferulic contains 15% L-ascorbic Acid, 1% Alpha Tocopherol, and 0.5% Ferulic Acid. Unfortunately, it comes with an impressive price tag to match its claims: $150. It’s been on the radar for years but I couldn’t find a stockist - even if I was inclined to spend that amount of cash. That was until I discovered the shop John Bell & Croydon. (And that dermatology clinics also stock it.) So off I went to get a sample. At every place I went to, the consultants gave me the same advice: you’re too young for it. (I’m 25, FYG) I’m not entirely why this is so - maybe it’s because high concentrations of Vitamin C can irritate the skin? IDK. They recommended I use a milder formulation, Serum 10 which contains 10% L-ascorbic acid and 0.2% Ferulic acid, and the Phyto Corrective Gel, an anti-inflammatory serum to target spots and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

I got sample of each to try out, and this is how I’ve been using them:

Cleanser: REN Clay Cleanser / Bioderma Sensibo H20 Solution Micellaire
Lotion: Decleor Aroma White C+ Hydra Brightening Lotion
Eye Serum: Elemis Pro-Collagen Advanced Eye Treatment Serum
Eye Cream: DHC Coenzyme Q10 Cream
Serum: Serum 10
Serum: Phyto Corrective Gel
Moisturiser: Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream
Sun Cream: John Masters Organics Mineral Sun Cream (SPF 30)

Cleansers: Bioderma / samples
Lotion: Decleor Hydra Brightening Lotion
Eye Serum: Elemis Serum
Eye Cream: DHC Q10 Cream
Serum: Phyto Corrective Gel
Moisturiser: Elemis Pro-Collagen Oxygenating Night Cream

You use the dropper to dispense a few drops directly on to the skin and then massage in. It's a bit of a faff and if you're not careful you might knock something over (I did - the Gel. Dayum). Serum 10 has the standard runny texture, while Phyto is thicker but still very far from your typical gel formulation. Both spread easily, absorb quickly and a little goes a long way. I didn't have any issues applying products afterwards. I thought it was a bit much to have you use two serums, one designed to ‘prevent’ (AM) and one to ‘correct’ (AM + PM). MUST FOLLOW OUR WAY BUY ALL THE STUFF! logic They’re expensive to begin with and the premium you pay in GBP is just silly. But it makes sense because 1. they have different ingredients and functions (duh) and 2. I’m already doing that.
I typically use Rosehip Oil or Ole's Truth Serum (antioxidant serums to ‘prevent’) followed by Hydraluron or REN’s Omega Three Serum (hydrating serums to ‘correct’). Although I tend to use them twice a day and used to layer three of them… Oops. (sawwrry)

OK with that 500 word waffle out the way let me finally get to the point: these serums are incredible. I am not one to lavish praises easily - very obvious going by my last few reviews. You’ve better luck finding a hen’s tooth. I’ve been using these two serums for five weeks, and in the last few days I’ve noticed how my skin looks so much better. The norm is for me to cry over my resemblance to a speckled egg when I look in the mirror, so something special has happened. I don’t have awe-inspiring before/after shots (which kinda detracts from my point doesn’t it) but I do have a keyboard! And this is what I’ve noticed since I started using the serums.
  • My skin is more ‘translucent’. A friend commented that my skin is ‘glowy ethereal white’ which I think better describes Galadriel on a pony but I’ll take it. 
  • Other than looking smoother and brighter, my skin looks a lot clearer. I’m honestly not sure if it’s thanks to these serums but my hyperpigmentation marks have faded considerably. (Could be that I’m too critical or don’t check my reflection often enough.) 
  • And lest I need proof that I’m not delusional, I’m hearing more of ‘your skin is looks much better these days’ from the people who frequently see me without make-up. It beats hearing ‘your skin used to be so nice’.
So in spite of the hefty price tag (£70, holy shizz), I went ahead and ordered Serum 10.* I might get the Phyto Corrective Gel but I want to try some other hydrating serums from SkinCeuticals first. Plus I’m too poor right now. I’ll update in a month or so with the results but in the meantime, if you’re looking for an anti-oxidant serum and something for hyperpigmentation, try to pick up a sample and give it a whirl!

*Serum 15 and Serum 20 aren't available in the UK :(

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Review: Decleor Aroma Lisse 2-In-1 Dark Circle & Eye Wrinkle Eraser

I’m finally wrapping up my reviews of the new Aroma Lisse range with a long-overdue post on the 2-in-1 Dark Circle & Eye Wrinkle Eraser. It costs £32/15ml (available in John Lewis, HOF, Liberty etc.). It’s designed to smooth away fine lines and brighten dark under eye circles. Decleor's website mentions these key ingredients:
  •  Mandarin Essential Oil to protect and repair cells
  • Galanga, yeast and Ruscus Extracts to plump the skin, reduce puffiness and reduce the appearance of dark circles
  • Gold pigments that instantly illuminate and neutralise dark undertones
Those are five ingredients out of fifty. FIFTY. If you used this with the day cream that’s 100 chemicals on your face already. Wowza.


Aqua (Water)
Butylene Glycol
Caprylic/Capric/Succinic Triglyceride
Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil
Fluorescent Brightener 230 Salt
Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil
Glyceryl Stearate
PEG-100 Stearate
Pentaerythrityl Distearate
Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil
PEG-6 Isostearate
Cetyl Alcohol
Propylene Glycol
Ruscus Aculeatus Root Extract
Sodium Polyacrylate
Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract
Caprylyl Glycol
CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)
Alpina Galanga Leaf Extract
Pentylene Glycol
C13-14 Isoparaffin
Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil
Disodium EDTA
Michelia Alba Leaf Oil
Polyvinylalcohol Crosspolymer
Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract
Sodium Hyaluronate
Glycerol Acrylate/Acrylic Acid Copolymer
Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil
Hesperetin Laurate
Citrus Nobilus (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil
CI 19140 (Yellow 5 Lake)
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
Xanthan Gum
Panax Ginseng Root Extract

Goodness that took a long time to type up! I'll follow up with an ingredients breakdown, but for now suffice to say it works with (1) yellow pigments to brighten eye bags and (2) silicones to fill out wrinkles.

In tests conducted by Decleor over a 28-day period, 81% of users witnessed smoothed lines and wrinkles and 100% saw a more moisturised and brighter eye contour. 81% of 21 participants, i.e. 17 people. Whats the point in using such a small sample!? I’ve been using it for a few weeks and I can’t say I’ve noticed a difference. As a caveat, it is kinda pointless for me to comment on the anti-wrinkle benefits when I’m 25. I hate those reviews where someone gushes over a firming cream, an anti-wrinkle cream or anti-acne cream when they clearly have NONE of those problems. Also, I think it’s a little misleading to call this a wrinkle ‘eraser’, when whats happening is that silicones are filling in lines. You can’t ‘erase’ winkles but you can reduce their appearance by minimising sun exposure and always using suncream, drinking enough water and using hydrating skincare products. L-ascorbic acid, Retinol, Niacinamide and AHAs & BHAs are also effective in reducing wrinkles.

When it comes to dark circles, gather round my friends. I have under eye circles to complement my pallid skin tone and produce a gaunt sickly appearance. I don’t think my dark circles are too bad (but then again I could just be delusional.) I could do with some concealer, but I don’t feel the need to buy specific skincare products for it. What I need is more sleep!

This cream might appeal to people who don’t use make-up but want something to brighten the eye area, as there is a subtle difference when you use it. By subtle, I mean so subtle that you probably wouldn’t notice it unless you were purposefully looking for a difference. If you have some serious eye-baggery going on, this is not the solution to your problems.

For people who use concealer, using creams like this seems pointless because any effect is covered by make-up. And on that topic, my biggest gripe with this cream is that it tends to flake when you apply make-up on top and leave patchy bits.

To sum it up:

-Has a subtle brightening effect
-Some good ingredients, like sunflower seed oil, evening primrose oil and soybean oil
-Hygienic packaging, easy to control the amount that comes out

-The brightening effect is temporary
-Wrinkle ‘eraser’ is filler
-The top three ingredients are water > petrochemical > silicone. Meh.
-Not hydrating enough
-Irritates the eyes if you get it in the tear duct. (Whose smart idea was it to use citrus peel in an eye product?)
-Expensive - works out as £200+/100ml

You can read my reviews of the other products by clicking on the links: Energising Smoothing Cream, Smoothing Night Balm and Aromessence Mandarine Serum.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Review : DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

Thinking back, DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil and I were doomed from the start. I ordered a bottle online which cracked during transit and leaked everywhere. Excellent. (I was sent a replacement pronto though) Little hiccup aside, I was quite looking forward to trying a Japanese oil cleanser. (Japanese!!) Shu Uemura’s cleansing oils have held the number one spot in Asia for fifty years, with one sold every seven seconds, and the Deep Cleansing Oil isn’t far behind with one bottle sold every 10 seconds worldwide. Pretty impressive eh? And whereas Shu Uemura cleansers are mineral oil based, DHC uses olive oil. And DHC is so much more affordable.

The ingredients are short and simple:
Olea europaea (olive) fruit oil - hydrating, rich in anti-oxidants (and non-fragrant)
Caprylic/capric triglyceride - moisturises and repairs the skin
Sorbeth-30 tetraoleate - a surfactant
Pentylene glycol - a solvent (removes excess sebum)
Phenoxyethanol - a preservative
Tocopherol - Vitamin E
Stearyl glycyrrhetinate - an anti-irritant
Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil - fragrant plant extract

I’ve only used one oil cleanser before and that’s Origins Clean Energy (reviewed here) and I thought it’d be handy to compare the two:
  • Ingredients:  The top ingredient in both is olive oil. Clean Energy is a blend of oils, whereas Deep Cleaning Oil (DCO) is mainly olive oil and a surfactant for cleansing power.
  • Fragrance: DCO is almost fragrant free (rosemary is at the bottom of the list so it'd be a small amount), whereas Clean Energy has loads of it in the form of fragrant essential oils - sweet orange, lemon, bergamot …
  • Smell: I don’t recall Origins having any particular smell, but DCO has a distinctive plasticy smell… It’s a bit strange but not vomit inducing. 
  • Packaging: DCO comes in a pump bottle. Thumps up for being hygienic and easy to use. Clean Energy also comes in a bottle but with the pump sold separately. On the plus side, that means you could change the cap and pack it in a suitcase (assuming you were willing to risk an oil spillage). DHC’s bottle isn’t sealable, and it didn’t survive transit in a courier service so I don’t even wanna imagine how it’d fare in a luggage hold.
  • Price: DCO is £21.50/200ml, Clean Energy is £21/200ml plus £2 for the pump.
  • How long does it last? A 200ml bottle of Clean Energy lasts about four months so I'd assume DCO goes for the same.

You use the Deep Cleansing Oil as you would any other oil cleanser: a couple of pumps into dry hands, massage, add water to emulsify and rinse off with a flannel. As part of the ‘cleansing process’, follow up with a second cleanser. It removes make-up etc. thoroughly and leaves the skin feeling nice and soft - no problems here. The reason I stopped using it is because it might have caused/exacerbated a Vesuvius of a breakout. (Read that lovely post here) The spots calmed down after I stopped using it so I thought ‘hey, must be the olive oil’. I recently tried a new cleansing butter and just a few days later I felt little nasties brewing under the surface of my skin. After the waxes and synthetics, there is was again: olive fruit oil. I thought it MUST be the olive oil … ‘Cept that little theory is defeated by Clean Energy - which contains olive oil :/ Very strange indeed.

So now I’m on the lookout for a reasonably priced cleanser free of olive oil and synthetics ... any suggestions?