Thursday, 19 November 2015

Salcura Bioskin DermaSpray & DermaSerum

Eczema is a chronic skin condition that affects millions of people around the world. I suffered very badly with it as a child & I have vivid memories of constantly visiting the doctor in the hope of being given a cure. I was subjected to a myriad of prescription treatments including steroid creams, paraffin moisturisers & bath washes which only served to make my condition worse. In the end I think we just gave up because nothing the GP prescribed had worked on my skin. I went through childhood unable to stop scratching my limbs, making them redder & sorer every day. It wasn't until high school when I got the most horrific flareup on my thighs that I actually found something that worked. The skin on my legs was weeping so much that I couldn't even wear tights to school & I'd just had enough of living like that. I can't even remember what prompted me to do this but I went to Holland & Barrett and bought a bottle of pure vitamin E oil. I slathered it on my skin several times a day & it worked like magic. The oil allowed me to gently rub away the scabs stuck to my skin & helped to heal up those painful welts. I was completely amazed that something natural had worked where medicine had failed & I think it's really important to get the message out there that prescription products aren't always the best thing to use when you have these kind of skin ailments.

Like the majority of adults with eczema, my symptoms have improved over time. I no longer need to apply the vitamin E oil because I no longer get huge flareups. Instead I'll get something like a dry patch on my hand, an itchy eyelid, cracked skin on my elbows or a reaction to jewellery. When these small flareups occur I don't want to douse myself in oil so I started looking for something that would nurture my skin without being messy or greasy. Salcura got in touch & asked if I would like to try some products from their Bioskin range. As I wholeheartedly believe in treating eczema with natural products I couldn't wait to put them to the test. The Bioskin range offers a natural solution to dry skin conditions whilst being totally free from artificial fragrance, SLS, parabens, paraffin, lanolin & steroids. Both DermaSpray & DermaSerum are 98% natural and devoid of ingredients that are widely accepted to be unsuitable for problem skin. One of the key active ingredients in these products is sea buckthorn oil which is rich in nourishing omega fatty acids & highly regarded for it's healing effects on the skin.

Salcura Bioskin DermaSpray* - £16.99

As the name suggests, DermaSpray comes in a convenient spray bottle. This allows for easy application even on those hard to reach areas. It is ideal for use on your limbs & torso. I've also seen some comments on their website from people who have successfully used it as a scalp treatment too. DermaSpray provides an everyday source of moisture & vital nutrients that is absorbed deep within the skin to aid it's own natural healing process. Along with the aforementioned sea buckthorn oil, this spray is packed full with natural ingredients. These include sunflower oil, safflower oil, grape vine oil, eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, orange oil, lavender oil, rosemary oil, olive oil, almond oil, peppermint oil, urea & aloe vera. It contains so many oils that you might expect it to feel greasy as hell when in fact the opposite is true. The spray is so light & fine that it absorbs within a matter of seconds. It looks & feels invisible on the skin but has a strong herbal/tea tree scent when first applied. It is very potent & might not be to some people's taste but it fades quite quickly anyway. DermaSpray should be used daily to maintain healthy skin. However during periods of persistent dryness & irritation you can spray it on as much as you like to soothe the affected area. Spraying on this product effectively breaks the itch-scratch cycle by providing rapid itch relief. Scratching often exacerbates the severity of eczema so something like this will help in more ways than one. The spray doesn't make my skin feel particularly soft to the touch but it does make it feel instantly nourished, soothed & hydrated which is exactly what I need to keep my eczema at bay.

Salcura Bioskin DermaSerum* - £11.99

DermaSerum is intended for daily use on the face either underneath or instead of your usual moisturiser. I normally use it under my moisturiser like any other face serum. It soothes the skin without feeling greasy or heavy so it's easy to slot in with the rest of your skincare routine. I think this product is really brilliant because it's ideal for anyone with dry skin, not just those with eczema or psoriasis. The creamy gel serum feels very lightweight yet it immediately floods the skin with moisture. This serum gets to work quickly by targeting dry patches & calming down any irritation. It works by sinking deep into the skin to nourish skin cells earlier on in their life cycle which makes them healthier when they reach the surface. The hassle-free gel formula gives you greater control over the application process. You can smooth it onto your entire face or you can just apply it where it is needed like your eyelid or around the hairline. It has the same herbal/tea tree scent as the DermaSpray which also dissipates shortly after application. One of the best things about this product is that it instantly relieves any itchiness. The skin on your face is a lot more delicate & on show than the skin on your body so scratching at it will make things look a lot worse. Treating chronically dry facial skin with a serum like this will speed up the healing process & help to prevent any future flareups too.

I'm really glad that I got to try these two products out. My skin always becomes drier in the Winter & more prone to patches of eczema. I've been using both of the Bioskin products religiously & they've kept my skin in tip top condition. I had some flakiness on my ears from a reaction to some jewellery & the DermaSerum has gotten rid of it completely. It's especially good at targeting small areas like that. If you've exhausted everything your GP can offer & desperately want some eczema products that are actually effective, natural & safe then look no further.

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Saturday, 14 November 2015

DIY Christmas Beauty Hamper With Boots

If you're someone who likes to get their Christmas shopping out of the way early then I'm sure you've already started buying a few bits & pieces. This year instead of wrapping up all your presents individually, why not create a bespoke gift hamper? Personalised presents are always the way to go when you want to give something really unique. Of course, you can buy ready-made hampers but who wants to receive something boring like shortbread & preserves?! Hampers can be tailor-made to suit anyone & they're even more special when you make them yourself. As I'm a beauty lover, Boots challenged me to create a homemade Christmas beauty hamper. I'd never attempted to make a hamper before but it was actually really easy & fun to do. Boots kindly sent me a wonderful selection of beauty products & most of the supplies to decorate the hamper. I'm so pleased with how it came out & it's a huge relief to know that I've already got one Christmas present ready to go! Here's how I made my Christmas beauty hamper...

You will need:
- Cardboard box
- Festive wrapping paper
- Shredded paper
- Sheet of tissue paper
- Cellophane
- Ribbon
- Gift tag
- Bow
- Scissors
- Double sided tape

As I had been sent quite a few gold decorations I decided to do a black & gold themed box. I spotted this luxury gift wrap pack in Boots & was instantly drawn to the black & gold paper. With their 3 for 2 offer on Christmas gifts, Boots is a great place to buy your wrapping paper. I bought a Lego Friends advent calendar & a Barbie doll for Chloe which meant that I got the gift wrap set for free! I used this to cover my cardboard box. This was probably the hardest part for me as I'm not the best at wrapping presents, let alone an open box. I used the double sided tape to keep the folds as neat as possible & it turned out surprisingly well!

The next step is to pad out your box with paper to act as a base for your products. If you like the look of the shredded paper you can just leave it there but as I wanted to stick with the black & gold colour scheme I placed some decorative gold tissue paper over the top. You need to push the shredded paper underneath towards the back of your box to create a slope. This helps with the positioning of your products & allows you create an attractive visual display within the hamper.

Then you just need to pop all of your gifts inside the hamper. Place any heavy items towards the front with lighter products towards the back. If you're making multiple hampers for different people you can open up gift sets & use the individual products in each hamper. Play around with the items until you get the perfect arrangement. Fill in any gaps with smaller items like lipstick or chocolates. Use double sided tape to stick them to the tissue paper & prevent them from moving about in the box.

Once you are happy with the arrangement of your products you need to wrap your hamper in cellophane. Tape the cellophane to the bottom of the box, wrap it around as tightly as possible, cut off the excess & secure it with double sided tape. Then you just need to trim the sides before folding & sticking them like regular wrapping paper.

To make your hamper look even prettier you can add a few final decorative details. I slipped the gift tag onto the gold ribbon & wrapped it around the box. Then I finished it off with a large gold bow at the front. That's all there is to it!

Here is my finished DIY Christmas beauty hamper! I think it looks absolutely smashing & I really enjoyed putting it together. It was much easier to do than I had imagined & took hardly any time at all. This would be an ideal luxury gift for a friend or family member & it looks so much more impressive than regular gift wrap. It would be lovely to do this for other special occasions too & you can really spoil your loved ones with all of their favourite products. Now that I know how simple they are to make I'll definitely be putting my hamper curating skills to good use this Christmas!

If you fancy making your own beauty hamper, Boots have put together this very helpful video tutorial with step by step instructions. Don't forget to check out the Boots Beauty Hamper page for more Christmas gift inspiration & useful tips on wrapping presents. Let me know if you're planning on making a bespoke gift hamper this year!

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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Latest In Beauty Heart Beauty Essentials Box

Latest In Beauty Heart Beauty Essentials Box* - £17.99

Beauty boxes are a very cost effective way of trying out new products. The only trouble is there are so many different ones out there now & it can hard to choose which one to go for. As an adult with real responsibilities I have enough direct debits coming out of my bank account as it is. I no longer want to subscribe to a monthly mystery box of goodies when I could just save my money for the things I actually want instead. That's why Latest In Beauty appeal to me because they create one off themed boxes that you can buy without committing yourself to a contract. Their exclusive collection boxes are packed with products chosen by industry experts so you're bound to find some new things that you'll love. They even allow you to build your own box so that you can choose exactly what you want to try & when you want to try it. There are no hidden costs, no direct debits or minimum sign up period. For one of their collections Latest In Beauty have joined forces with the beauty team at Heart to offer you ten different full size & deluxe sample products from some fabulous brands. A lot of effort has obviously gone into the design of the box & it's full to the brim with exciting things to try. Here's what I received:

Urban Veda Purifying Hydrating Toner
Way back in the 90s my mum had a perfume called Cassini which my sister & I were both obsessed with. I remember the scent well & to me this toner smells exactly like Cassini. Anyone else remember it? I looked up the notes in Cassini & it turns out that some of the ingredients are the same so I thought that was really cool! Anyway this toner is formulated using Ayurvedic principles so it's full of natural ingredients including turmeric, marigold, patchouli, coriander, papaya, goji berry & aloe vera. It promises to balance your skin tone & brighten the complexion whilst locking in moisture. It feels really refreshing & immediately perks up dull looking skin. However a couple of days after I started using this I noticed that I was getting a bit of irritation & had developed an itchy pink rash. This was the only new skincare product that I had introduced so I stopped using it & the rash went away. It just goes to show that natural products aren't always best & all the lovely botanical ingredients that made it smell like my favourite retro perfume weren't great for my skin.

Roger & Gallet Lait Sorbet Bois D'Orange Body Lotion
I think that body lotions are quite boring to talk about but the formula of this one is simply divine! This body lotion feels absolutely incredible on the skin. After applying it my skin not only feels softer but there is a visible difference in it's condition too. The consistency of this product is quite thin & watery. This allows it to sink in very quickly whilst delivering long lasting hydration. The lotion simply melts into the skin giving it a silky texture with a healthy looking sheen. It is enriched with a complex of naturally derived oils, aloe vera & orange extract. Citrus scents are normally my fave but I'm not a huge fan of this as it has a strong masculine orange fragrance. The formula is fantastic though so I would love to try this out in one of the other scents that Roger & Gallet have available.

Bloom And Blossom Bath & Shower Gel
This bath & shower gel is 99% natural with a sulphate-free foaming base making it suitable for all skin types. It features vitamin E & cucumber extracts to gently cleanse the skin without stripping it of oils. The gel is fragrance free so it's great for all the family including small children. Although I do have sensitive, eczema-prone skin I still prefer scented shower gels so I've used it to bathe my daughter instead. Bloom And Blossom actually had expectant mothers in mind when creating this product as strong scents can bring on morning sickness. When I was pregnant I was very diligent about only eating food & using products that would be safe for my baby so I can understand why you would switch to a natural shower gel like this. I'm sure that many anxious first time mothers would really appreciate receiving this shower gel in a gift basket.

NUXE Crème Prodigieuse Moisturising Cream
I've tried quite a few different NUXE products but somehow I don't think I've ever used their Crème Prodigieuse before. I'm not sure how I missed it because this moisturiser is one of their hero products. Crème Prodigieuse is aimed towards those with stressed, normal to combination skin. The texture is a lot thicker than I was expecting but it sinks into the skin quickly. It feels rich & comforting without being heavy or greasy. My skin is left feeling softer, fresher & calmer when I use it. It has a semi-matte finish so it works well on my skin type & balances out an oily T-Zone. This product is intended for use as a day cream but it can also be used at night with an oil or hydrating serum. It's a lovely everyday moisturiser & a good choice if your skin is feeling particularly sensitive.

Rimmel Provocalips in Kiss Me You Fool
Liquid lipsticks are the current big thing in beauty. My personal favourites are the Jeffree Star ones but I'm always open to trying new lip products. I've tried & loved the Rimmel Apocalips Lip Velvets so I had high hopes for Provocalips. These liquid lipsticks have a high shine finish. They promise 16 hours of wear & are transfer-proof. Each lipstick has two different ends, one with the colour & one with a clear balm to lock the colour in place. Here I have Kiss Me You Fool which is a classic bright red shade. It's incredibly bold & certain to turn a few heads. The lipstick itself is easy to apply & the colour is highly pigmented. It feels a bit tacky until you apply the balm on top, then it's really comfortable to wear & will stay in place all day long. It starts to feel a bit dry & gross after a few hours but if you keep reapplying the balm then it feels fine. It doesn't come off when I kiss, drink or eat. In fact it just doesn't come off! Wipes & micellar water won't cut it, you need a really good cleansing oil to remove this lipstick. Personally I prefer liquid lipsticks with a matte finish but there's no denying the ultimate staying power of Provacalips.

Dirty Works 4-In-1 Face Wipes
In general I don't think that face wipes are an efficient way of removing your makeup. I don't like to prejudge products so I decided to give these ones a go anyway. Wipes can be a godsend when you're too drunk or too tired to take your makeup off properly so it's always good to keep some handy. Dirty Works face wipes feature lots of soothing ingredients & claim to gently cleanse the skin without irritating it. Unfortunately they didn't work very well for me & it took a lot of harsh scrubbing to remove all of my makeup with them. They barely touched my mascara & eyeliner. I washed my face properly with a cleansing oil afterwards & a lot of makeup came off in the muslin cloth so the wipes did bugger all really! There are good face wipes out there, sadly these ones are pretty pathetic.

LOLA Make Up By Perse Nail Varnish in Electric Purple
Purple is one of my favourite colours to wear on my nails at this time of year. I actually wore this at Halloween & it definitely made for a vampy manicure. I really like the colour & this polish has a wonderfully glossy finish. It was formulated with gel technology which is supposed to make it fluid, shiny & long lasting. The wear was disappointing though & it started to chip off the tips of my nails within 24 hours. I even used a base coat & top coat so for it to start coming off my nails that soon was a bit annoying. It didn't dry particularly quickly either so I can't say I think much of this polish formula.

Kitsch Prima Ballerina Hair Ties
How cute are these hair ties?! I've been wanting some in this style for ages & this sparkly set is very me. They are made from soft, durable elastic & are designed to be kind to your hair. Much like the Invisibobble, they are snag-free & don't leave any imprints in my hair. These hair ties look a lot prettier though & I like wearing them as glittery bracelets too. The soft pastel colours of the Prima Ballerina set will go with everything & the glitter really stays put.

Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Mask
I love hyaluronic acid serums & Hydraluron is the product that really got me into using them. To take their serum to the next level Indeed Labs decided to create sheet masks infused with Hydraluron which was a stroke of pure genius. Sheet masks are very popular in Asia & they have started to make their way over here. They look ridiculous but the benefits are great. Most of them are used to intensely rehydrate the skin so it makes a lot of sense for there to be a Hydraluron one. You simply unfold the fabric sheet & drape it onto your skin. After 15 minutes you take off the sheet & massage in any remaining product. It left my skin feeling really plump & soft with any fine lines smoothed out. They're a powerful boost for dehydrated skin & would be perfect for use before a special occasion. The Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Masks are made in Japan so technically they are authentic Asian beauty products. The only downside to the Hydraluron sheet masks is that they are very expensive in comparison to their Asian counterparts. However you can easily find them in your local Boots which does make them seem infinitely more appealing.

Philosophy The Microdelivery Peel
If you're a regular reader of my blog you'll know that I love acid exfoliators & I think that this is one of the best exfoliating products on the market today. The Microdelivery Peel combines vitamin C crystals with lactic and salicylic acid for unbelievably softer, smoother & brighter looking skin. The effects are immediate & mimic the results of professional microdermabrasion. It completely transforms the texture of your skin & after just one use you'll be stroking your face in disbelief all day long. One of these sample sachets actually prompted me to buy the full size version of this product a long time ago so feel free to check out my really old review of The Microdelivery Peel. I've learned quite a lot about skincare since writing that review but with my new knowledge I can still wholeheartedly say that this product is amazing. This little sachet reminded me just how fab it is & I encourage all of you to try it out!

Overall I was really pleased with the contents of this box. Although some things didn't work so well for me I still appreciated the opportunity to try them out. My favourite items were the Hydraluron Moisture Boosting Mask, the Kitsch hair ties & the Rimmel Provocalips. There's a great selection of products here & it is also excellent value for money. The box costs just £17.99 but the contents are worth over £70! If you want to save a little bit more money you can use the code HEARTBB15 for free P&P. Visit the Latest In Beauty website to find out more.

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