Friday, 31 January 2014

Review: Origins Clean Energy Cleansing Oil

image from because I give up on photographing reflective bottles

If I had been blogging long enough and had enough readers to use rewardstyle links and therefore so inclined to do a “Best of 2013” list of favourite products, this would definitely be on it. 

I first started using oil cleansers when I switched to Bare Minerals make-up and realised (much to my horror, because it took me a few days) that that sh*t does not come off easy. I washed my face three times over with my usual cream cleanser and it STILL didn't all come off! So I figured I'd go all hardcore and get an oil cleanser. Since I started using cleansing oils, the condition of my skin has improved hugely with spot outbreaks becoming less and less frequent. I can't imagine myself not using oil cleansers now - an essential product for anyone who uses suncream and/or foundation.

The Options:
I was going to go right ahead and buy from Shu Uemura, the king of oils, since he brought the trend to the West and all, but I'd never realised how expensive they are!! :o The classic comes in two sizes: £29.50/150ml or £59.00/450ml, which works out at £39.34/200ml or £26.22/200ml.
I'm willing to pay for a good product, but not this. Number one on the ingredients list is mineral oil. I know it’s quite en vogue to hate on mineral oil nowadays because it sits on the skin doing nothin'. (I avoid it like the plague because of Pond's Cold Cream) It's also a cheap ingredient - I’ll be darned if I’m paying £60 for a bottle!

So I decided to look at others. I googled "Japanese skincare in the UK" and came across DHC Deep Cleansing Oil which retails for £21.50/200ml at Selfridges. I don't have a logical explanation for not choosing this one. I thought it might be a bit gross because it's olive oil based - although I went and bought one with olive fruit oil.
The next brand I looked at was Origins. Their Clean Energy cleanser also contains olive fruit oil plus a mix of about 50 others. I checked the ingredients and reviews which both looked OK so I got it. It’s £21/200ml but rather annoyingly it doesn’t come with a pump (£2). So it’s really £23. I suppose this makes repurchase cheaper but seriously how much would it cost to make it with a pump? 
Anyhoo. On to the review:

{ Ingredients }
Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, PEG-25 Glyceryl Trioleate, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Sweet Orange) Peel Oil, Lavandula Hybrida (Lavandin) Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Bark Oil, Pogostemon Cablin (Patchouli) Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary Sage) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Fusanus Spicatus (Australian Sandalwood) Wood Oil, Amyris Balsamifera (Sandalwood) Bark Oil, Linalool, Limonene, Sorbitan Trioleate, Tocopheryl Acetate

I'll probably do this in every review, but I cannot emphasise the importance of checking ingredients enough!
So it's quite frustrating that Origins don't publish the ingredients on their website ... WHY!? Do you not want me to know what I'm buying?? Companies do themselves no favours by making you look elsewhere to find an ingredients list - I got it from Beautypedia, and its too bad for Origins that it receives a crappy review.
[Side note: the poor review is because of the supposedly irritating plant oils. I haven't experienced any problems though. Unless the irritation hasn't manifested itself on the surface of the skin? Who knows.]

The Good:
It does the job! Simply dispense 2-3 pumps into your hands and massage all over your face. (Don’t imagine it to be like slathering your face in cooking oil - it’s not gross like that at all.) Then wet your hands a little and massage your face summore and the oil emulsifies (it turns milky white). Rise off with warm water and voila! Full face of make-up, gone! I was expecting there to be an oily residue or greasy feeling (like Ultrabland - eurgh) but there was nothing! Just smooth soft skin. (Sidenote: I always double cleanse. Just to make sure my skin is clean)
There’s definitely been an improvement in my skin since I started using it. (FYI I have spot-prone skin, probably hormonal breakouts. Perfect clear skin as a teen, hit 20s and bam, skin turns to sh*t.) I’m not going to made big lofty claims about this being so amazing it will change your life. Frankly I don't believe any one product used alone can really do that for you. It makes a better cleansing routine, and I'd say my skincare routine is finally coming together to give me better skin. :)

The Bad:
The aforementioned lack of pump. But I forgive you Origins. At least I'll be able to pack it in a suitcase.

I’m not sure if the next two things are characteristic of oil cleansers or this one in particular (since I have no comparison).
-Consistency: I was expecting this be thicker (more like Bertolli) but it’s quite thin. Sometimes you feel like you need more product.
-Emulsification: I was expecting this to feel thicker (like milk - more food association). But then again what do I know. I could just be hungry.
I wouldn't say either is “bad” though.

The Final Say:
It works. The price is decent. Pump aside, my only qualm is with how long it lasted. Mine lasted around 4 months, I think. (?? Note to self, dig out the receipt) That might be the average for oils, but I'm use to using cream cleansers which last much, much longer.

It's not cheap, but it's still cheaper than most other oils. Compare it to these Japanese brands, for example:
Sensai Cleansing Oil, £40/150ml
SUQQU Reset Cleansing Oil, £33/150ml
RMK Cleansing Oil, £29/175ml
Shu Uemura Classic Cleansing Oil, £29.50/150ml or £59.00/450ml
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, £21.50/200ml

For an equivalent 200ml bottle, these would cost:
£53.34 (Sensai)
£44.00 (SUQQU) (How on earth do you pronounce SUQQU? Su-Kyu? Sukotto?)
£33.14 (RMK)
£39.34 or £26.22 , depending on the size. (Shu-Chan)

Price wise the only comparable product is DHC. Why are there so few brands to choose from!? I'm patiently waiting for the cleansing oil to trend to hit like BBs did and I'll have dozens to choose from...
I’m quite keen to try out cleansing balms too. I have a few odd samples from Elemis and The Organic Pharmacy, which I’ll be trying out and reviewing soon :) Might even give the famous Eve Lom cleanser a whirl.


Wednesday, 29 January 2014

REN Skincare - 20% off

Sup everyone. Just a quick heads up to let you know that you can get 20% off REN skincare when you input the code "INSTYLE20" at checkout.

I went ahead and ordered:
- Omega 3 Optimum Skin Serum Oil (hoping this doesn't stink of fish oil)
- ClearCalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser

And probably should have ordered the Clarifying Toning Lotion...
The offer expires on 31st January, so theres still time to order! Hmm...

*          *          *          *          *
Update: read my review of the serum here and the cleanser here 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Science, Stem Cells and Skincare

Even if you’re not much into science and medicine, the average Joe Public is well aware of the research into stem cells and the possibility of “growing” new organs, offering a new treatment for diseases like cancer. Cosmetics companies offer “stem cell creams” and back up their efficacy with clever sciency stuff about fruits and trees regenerating. People make a connection and somehow think that putting stem cells FROM A PLANT on their face will unlock the beautiful skin of their youth.
Something that one of my friends said prompted me to go on this little rant: “I’m using this face cream but it’s not working: I still have [imaginary] fine lines and wrinkles… It's supposed to be good - it has stem cells in it!”

Now because I’m stubborn and sceptical about everything and typically research every ingredient before I buy, claims like these don’t work on me. I see them in the same way as mascara adverts: WTFBBQ AS IF.

These are a few of the products on the market:

Swiss Apple Stem Cell Creams
My favourite. The idea is that cells from a bit o’ fruit are going to reverse the signs of ageing. Remember though, these are Swiss apples, rare and infinitely superior to our own. Bog off Granny Smith.

An example is Oskia's Eye Wonder serum. It claims to increase hydration, reduce puffiness and smooth out fine lines. Now I quite like Oskia products (really) and I don't doubt that it actually works, but I suspect that has something to do with the hyaluronic acid, glycerin and peptides.

Lancome Absolue L’Extrait
Formulated with two million rose cells (not from your ordinary garden rose - the LANCOME rose!), an endearing story behind its creation and all this:

{ Ingredients }
Aqua / Water, Propanediol, Glycerin, Dimethicone. Hydroxypropyl Tetrahydropyrantriol. Orbignya Oleifera Oil / Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Pentaerythrityl Tetraethylhexanoate, Propylene Glycol, Paraffinum Liquidum / Mineral Oil, Poly C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Sucrose Stearate, Theobroma Cacao Butter / Cocoa Seed Butter, Octyldodecanol, Ci 19140 / Yellow 5, Ci 14700 / Red 4, Sodium Polyacrylate, Sodium Hydroxide, Hydrolyzed Linseed Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Stearic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Adenosine, Eperua Falcata Bark Extract, Palmitic Acid, Chlorphenesin, Dimethiconol, Limonene, Synthetic Wax, Xanthan Gum, Linalool, Pentaerythrityl Tetra-Di-T-Butyl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Rose Extract, Citronellol, Citral, Coumarin, Dextrin, Parfum / Fragrance

I CBA to research the ingredients (totally detracts from my point, I know), but have a quick read and tell me what you think (hint hint). Would you be willing to shell out £250 for a 50g pot of rose?
Never mind a rosy complexion, with a price tag like that I expect to transform into Princess Aurora.

L'Occitane Immortelle
L'Occitane says: "Immortelle is known as the everlasting flower: it never fades, even after it has been picked. Its organic essential oil is rich in active molecules with unique anti-ageing properties.
Over ten years ago, L’OCCITANE revealed and patented the exceptional anti-ageing powers of Corsican immortelle – the only variety that contains an incredibly high concentration of active ingredients."

So L'Occitane have unlocked the secret to immortality have they? HIGH FIVE! Eternal Youth? HIGH! FIVE...? 
Puh-leeaase. A flower that never fades sure is fascinating but how does that help me? Once you've picked it, and killed it (heh. ironic.), its magical unwilting properties will be passed on for the benefit of my skin? Yeah that totally makes sense.

I couldn't find an official ingredients list for the “Divine” or “Precious” cream, but going by other reviews, they contain glycerin (hydration), grape seed oil, evening primrose oil (anti-oxidants). Again, it's probably a good cream, but not thanks to the Immortal Flower.
On another note: did anyone else have an image of the Enchanted Rose in their mind all this time?
So all in all theres definitely some good stuff in these - anti-oxidants, hyaluronic acid, etc. - but as for the stem cells (which aren’t even alive) - nah. Please don’t be misled by fluffy pseudoscientific claims that don’t tell you much about the product. And read the label!


Friday, 10 January 2014

Sale Favourites

Just one of the many deals to be found at this time of the year: a Pink Clarisonic Plus - reduced from £284.00 to £142.00 at Space.NK

Ole Henriksen Blackcurrant Complexion Oil - £23 reduced from £46 at Harvey Nichols (in store). Great for dry skin!

For the best bargains, head to Harrods. The OB x Shu Uemura and Lancome x Alber Ebaz collections were hugely discounted, so now's the time to get them if you missed out. Theres also make-up palettes, brushes, value sets, giant sized cleansers and toners, false eyelashes ... Just be prepared to brave the chaos! I picked up:
Set of two Lancome Hypnose Mascaras - £16
Guerlain by Emilio Pucci Terra Azzurra Bronzer & Blush - £25, reduced from £50
Guerlain Terra Ora Sculpting Powder - £22.50, reduced from £45. You can also get this at John Lewis thanks to their price match ;)
Guerlain Gloss d'Enfer in "Madame Flirte" - £11, reduced from £22

I absolutely LOVE Guerlain, and I was so happy to find all these gems on sale! Seriously it could have started raining Haribos and I still don't think I'd have been as excited.

I plan on writing reviews of these products soon - y'know, about a hundred years after everyone else - which might be doubly irrelevant because they're mainly discontinued or limited edition.
But hey at least I'm letting you know that you can get them before they're completely gone! You can still get them online on sites like :3

If you have a penchant for limited edition and discontinued stuff, check out TK Maxx. I hope I'm not the last person on this earth to discover that they sell cosmetics. I saw a Korres mascara for something like £5, also OPI nail varnishes, Clarins face powders, Rimmel lipsticks - the stock is so random but it's worth a look. You can pick up huge bottles of Argan oil cheaply - if I was more trusting of unheard-of brands I would so buy it.


p.s.: In an effort to keep this here blogge relevant to the year 2014, swatches of a few lipsticks from MAC's new Huggable Collection are coming soon. Gotta love the limited editions.