Monday, 20 April 2009

#92 Shelf Life

Here's a wee glimpse at the goods & bads in the bathroom at the moment:

1) Still loving Saaf. The rich cleanser & purifying oil combo has worked wonders on a dry-patch-prone forehead and after an epic hormonal chin breakout last week the complexion is settling into a soft, clear and happy place... think I might be in this for the long term... readers have been asking about where this can be purchased, so voila:

2) JR Watkins Natural Lemon Shea Butter Body Cream. This one is bound to invoke a very 'Marmite' reaction i.e. you'll either LOVE it or LOATHE it. The fact is, it leaves you smelling like a butter-iced cupcake (well, there are worse things in the world), but it's the natural formula and effective moisturising ability that gets my vote. Unlike other premium products (which have a far less friendly ingredients list) that cloy and turn sticky, this one sinks straight in, so you won't get that horrible, 'stuck to the tube door' feeling. As far as this one's concerned, sugar and spice is niiiiice.

3) Yes to Carrots Lipbalm. I've found that some all natural lipbalms don't do much in the way of moisturising - they just sit ON the lips leaving an oily film that never penetrates or sufficiently softens flaky patches - and have had this problem with both Balance Me Hydrating Rose Otto & Shea Butter Salve and Balm Balm 100% Organic Lip Balm. Yes to Carrots is another matter entirely. The balm has a creamy feel and stays put for far longer than most. Another bonus is that it also comes in watermelon which smells like those sugary, watermelon wedge sweeties you can get at Pick n Mix stations. Big smile.

4) Paul Labreque Restorative Hair Wash. I wish to god I'd found this sooner: quite simply, it's the best repairing shampoo I've ever tried and leaves my hair feeling resilient, full and soft every time, which is no mean feat considering that I've had two chemical straightening treatments, recent colour and haven't had a trim in 4 months (which I am rectifying today, courtesy of superlative scissor sister, Zoe Irwin). When strands are cracking up pair with his Lemongrass Repair Condition - a hot oil that redeems the most ravaged ends. The only thing to be wary of is that the shampoo can begin to leave a bit of a residue on the scalp so be sure to pair it with a good, stimulating massage when rinsing or swap in with a scalp purifying wash every other week: Kérastase Biotic Bain Bio-Recharge Shampoo is another favourite.

5) Elemis Tri Enzyme Resurfacing Gel Mask. Following my aforementioned chin eruptions, the dastardly pimples left a series of dark splotches in their wake - not what you want prior to a TV meeting with a bunch of pernickety producers. SO, I raided the storeroom and came up with this, which I layered on - very generously over the patchy bits and less so over other areas - and left on for ten minutes. Then I rinsed and packed on a thick layer of Dermalogica Multi-Vitamin Power Recovery Masque, which I left on for twenty minutes. The difference that night was marked - patches were significantly lighter and entirely smooth (which made concealing easy as pie), and my skin took on an even tone that did not require foundation for several days. As far as SOS solutions go, this is one I'll be sure to return to whenever I'm readying my face for its close-up...

Thursday, 2 April 2009

#91 Princess of Persia

So. The Mister and I are thinking of joining the baby trail. Thank god this blog is anonymous or the batphone would already be ringing - sure to be first on the line, my mother. I've had some hormonal blips of late, linked to my one of my oldest pals, Mr S Tress, so the skin's been a wee bit naughty, with the forehead bumpier than a low-rent carnival ride. Things have, within the past week, returned to normal, but not before a 4-day cold parched my skin faster than Marty McFly's Turbo-Dry jacket.

Looking in the mirror on day five, I realised that my skin looked... hungry... and that perhaps I hadn't been treating it as good as I should have.

Despite having had fantastic results with Sarah Chapman's Skinesis range I had taken a two week break last month & on my return to the line, well, it was back to square one. That's the problem with Retinol. It makes for a seriously vengeful spurned lover. I knew that I needed to ride out the downs (spots, redness, mild inflammation) by reducing the application of the creams & serums to 3 times a week as Sarah herself suggested, and, in time, things would go back to 'normal' as they had done the first time I trialled the line... but... but...

...but it just felt like time for a change and having recently graduated from the Zoe Irwin school of hair colour, with my natural golden brown now a deep, bitter chocolate (the result of a super-shine-inducing vegetable gloss), I wanted skin to match, in an inner glow, organic cotton, rooibos tea, nature reserve, save the elephants, prairie plaits sort of way. I'll also admit that when I think of myself as a pregnant lady, this is the idea that comes to mind: me, a rocking chair, long shiny hair, munching on those pecan and banana muffins you get in Planet Organic. Christ, I need therapy.

Into my malaise fell the cleanser that has been recommended to me more than any other. I tell people that I love Omorovicza and Sarah Chapman and Spiezia and Agera cleansers and they're chomping at the bit to find out if I've tried SAAF. I always smile, politely, and say no, not yet, but I have heard wonderful things about it. There was no better time to test the word of mouth. First up, it's a thick oily balm, which is precisely what I want from my cleansers - three of the four mentioned above being just that too. It smells delicious, is made up solely of natural oils (97.8% organic) - think nourishing safflower and jojoba, along with skin purifying lavender and grapefruit. A chickpea sized amount is enough for the entire face and neck and it melts into skin, the essential oils intensifying in aroma as you massage it in, and feels cosseting and luxurious. Nice nice nice. Then, the customary steam with the muslin cloth and buffing away, leaving skin spongy and comfortable, and entirely ungreasy. I chased this with nothing but two drops of Organic Complexion Boosting Serum - another oil, well combination of oils - which is full of the sort of lovely things that might find their way into a Julie Andrews song: rosehip, lemongrass, juniper berry, jojoba and blackseed oil; your anti-ageing, blemish-clearing, purifying and hydrating bases covered then. At first my skin looked oily and I thought, ah, what a shame, this is not one for the day, but then, ten seconds later, any shine was imperceptible and my skin had clearly glugged down the serum, and left nothing but a soft base, ready for make-up. Two hearty thumbs up.

SAAF, Persian for PURE, seems to have put its money where it's mouth is - and the founder has a knack for getting the best from nature. Her lengthy and laborious clinical trialling methodology (nothing is left to chance) will have a lot to do with that. It's also just the sort of line I would gravitate towards when preggers - all those ethyl poxy para-wotsits you find in regular skincare not really fitting into my grand, green, design...god, I sound like a pre-razor-bobbed Gwyneth Paltrow.

As for my skin... far, Saaf good.