Tuesday, 26 January 2010

# 116 Hot Shots

Guilt, immense guilt, at the gap in blogging leads me to scribble a list of the things I’ve loved in the interim. Well, they’ve put a smile on my face at any rate…

Neal’s Yard Remedies Wild Rose Beauty Balm
I began using this when my beloved ESPA Deep Cleansing Balm ran out (again), and because my skin felt drier than normal thanks to the Big Freeze we’re all bored of hearing about. The main point of difference between this and ESPA is that the NYR product does not emulsify, so it doesn’t rinse away cleanly in the same way that several other oil-based cleansers do (including Sarah Chapman and Vaishaly). For some reason, however, this hasn’t seemed to matter and after a good buff and steam with a muslin cloth, my skin is left feeling soft but not sticky or greasy. Of course it’s possible that this extra layer of nourishment is just what my skin happens to need at the moment – but the fact that I’ve not broken out in the three months that I’ve used it is also encouraging and when I do have blocked pores it’s easier than ever to ‘evacuate’ them, partly I think, because the balm seems to have made my skin that bit more pliable. As a winter staple, it’s a very good one – though not cheap (around £35). But I’ve been using it morning & night for 12 weeks & have a month’s use left in the pot. So… worth it.

The Body Shop Vitamin E Oil
I like the smell of this – and I’ve noticed that when I get the odd dry patch, this helps a great deal. I’ve been adding two drops to my ESPA Balancing Face Treatment Oil, mainly at night, but some mornings too, and it’s kept my reaction-prone skin feeling very very comfortable, even on the coldest days of the year. I also like patting a tiny bit around the eyes at night… it seems to hydrate nicely. Now, I’ve not tried the Ila Radiance Face Glowing Oil yet… and have heard that nothing compares (any opinions?) – but as far as inexpensive treats go, this is a winner.

The Organic Pharmacy Lipstick in Dark Pink
The best thing is the creamy formula – very balmy, without being sticky. It isn’t long-lasting, but because pigment’s so intense the colour does have a way of seemingly staining lips for the better part of the day. This is not a ‘waxy’ lipstick. The other thing I like is the colour – it’s a rather vivid raspberry, which looks brighter on lips (well, mine at any rate) than it does in the tube. It’s nice for an instant perk-up and great for sore winter lips too.

Yes to Carrots Deliciously Rich Body Butter
Just want to amend a prior posting. I liked this, then I didn’t so much (I felt it wasn’t great for those prone to back-of-arm bumps). Well, I got caught out without a body cream last week and have been using this for seven days straight, and I have to say that it really is bloody good stuff. You put it on in the morning and can still, quite palpably, feel the softness of your skin throughout the course of the day. Even as I type this, in an overly-heated office, enveloped in woollen jumper-dress, I’m stroking my lovely spongy soft arms. I just don’t get this sort of all-day softness from body oils. I’m also rather addicted to the baby-bottom-lotion scent. Mmmmmm. Reinstated.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

# 115 Lippity Split

Anyone who regularly reads this blog will know that I'm a balm maniac. I'm not blessed with unflappable (or unchappable) lips, and come winter, my mouth is really put to the test. I'd been swapping between Prescriptives Lip Specialist Triple Action Therapy (now, ain't that a mouthful), Trilogy Everything Balm and Mama Mio Wonder-Full Balm when it became undeniably obvious that none of them were working. Fearing a case of the ol' overdoing it, I cut back to Prescriptives; a week later, when lips were chappier than a rodeo show, I tried Trilogy - this was better, but re-application seemed to be required every few minutes; then Mama Mio, which I'm convinced made my lips a lot worse (it seems better on dry body patches than lip-situated ones).

Despairing, and with a pout that just would not stop peeling, I emailed the Sisley PR. Two days later the Nutritive Balm arrived and just one day in, the chaps are healing nicely. I said I wouldn't fork out for this one (it's just SO bloody expensive and in such a little pot) - but I'm now entirely convinced that it's the best lip balm on the market by a very very long way. And other readers have concurred. Accept no substitute. (Oh and I also tried Nivea, Chapstick, Carmex & Suqqu).

And while I'm talking about poor substitutes, my recent trip into sulfate-free shampoos has come up against some problems. First bump in the road: Naked Shine Hydrating Shampoo. Nice smell, decent lather on the second wash (not on first), and not-bad levels of shine left on hair shaft... along with (*pet peeve alert*), a nasty, tacky residue along the scalp, where the product refused to rinse away cleanly (this was on outing 4 or 5).

So, the question - is there a decent, clean-rinsing, moisturising, calming & shine-boosting sulfate-free shampoo out there?

A friend has mentioned Louise Galvin - I tried her range many moons ago, so perhaps it's worth another shot. Another colleague swore by Frederic Fekkai's sulfate-free shampoo during her pregnancy - so we'll see how this fares too.

I shall feedback in good time - and in the meantime, do weigh in with your recommendations. My hair & I need you!