Elemis Shaving Duo Review

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As I have mentioned a number of times on this blog, one of the things that really annoys be about my skin (besides oiliness) is how susceptible I am to shaving rash. As a result, I now limit my shave to once a week to limit the unsightly red lumps and bumps from appearing to a minimum.

I have been on the look out for a solution to this problem for many years. Products I have used have ranged from the most gentle and organic solutions all the way through to what may as well be marketed as paint stripper.

The kind fold at Elemis offered for my to try two of their hero products from their mens product lines – the Skin Soothe Shave Gel and S.O.S Survival Cream

Skin Soothe Shave Gel

The Skin Soothe Shave Gel has been a trusty product on my bathroom shelf for the past few months. I much prefer a gel to a foam as it quite simply allows you to see what and where you are shaving! As such its much better if you have a spot or a mole which you want to avoid.

The gel is a light blue colour and has a pleasant fragrance to it. To my suprise when I first used this product, there are a number of small white beads in the gel. On reading the back of the packet it stated that these beads release moisturising jojoba oil. Whilst this sounds like a nice idea I must admit I found this part of the product a slight novelty as they rarely melted and often dropped of my face as I was applying the gel. That said, the gel has been lovely to use. It leaves a slightly cool feeling when washed off the skin and allows the razor to gently glide over the hairs.

Myself and my partner have both been using this gel (him on a more regular basis) for around 3 months now and have just started to run out of the tube. As such a 150 ml tube for £22 will last you a long time (probably 4-6 months for single person use). It may seem a little priecy at first but this really does turn out to be quite an economical product

S.O.S Survival Cream

This really has been my go to product straight after I have shaved. As soon as you pump this into your hand, you are hit with a strong scent of lavender followed by other herbal notes. It immediately makes you feel like what you are about to put on your skin is going to have some real benefit. Elemis market this product as a daily skin moisturiser, being the optimum solution for sensitivity, irritation, dryness and blemishes. Now whilst I absolutely love this product post shave, it really isn’t something I would wear every day. The primary reason for this is that the texture of this cream is very thick and sticky. It also leaves a shine on the skin and as such I do not think would be suitable for day wear unless you suffer from very very dry skin. However, as a post shave treatment is works absolutely superbly.

The S.O.S Survival cream is £44 for a 50ml pump dispenser tube. This is certainly something I will look to repurchase as has been one of the most impressive anti-irritation products I have used to date. Also, given how often I use it I think a bottle will last me a good 8-12 months.

Overall these two products combined have really helped reduce irritation on my skin after shaving. Have they completely eliminated the problem? No – but then I don’t think anything ever will. I highly rate these two products both for the quality of ingredients and efficacy. >

You can find out more about these products here:

http://www.timetospa.co.uk

* PR Samples. Opinions expressed are my own. No affiliation

REN Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Serum Oil Review

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Somewhat of a slightly different offering today at Nu|sk|n. As you will know from my previous posts, I have a very oily T-zone and have found that the best way to keep the oil slick under control is bizarrely to use a facial oil. A good facial oil can not only deliver a huge number of benefits to your skin in terms of skin health, but can also help it find its own balance and natural rhythm.

As such, I have been avidly trying out new facial oils over the course of the past year to find one that really suits my oily yet often dry skin. I was recently contacted by REN and asked to try their new Vita Mineral Omega 3 Optimum Skin Serum Oil (bit of a mouthful there!). The key thing that I was really intrigued by was the use of the term ‘serum oil’. This isn’t an oil. It isn’t a serum – its confidently sits on the fence somewhere in the middle. Confused? I was to. Read on.

REN claims that the oil is “a transforming oil that strengthens the skin’s vital lipid barrier and re-energizes skin cell activity to dramatically improve moisture levels, boosts overall skin health and vitality while reducing the signs of wrinkles, premature ageing and sensitivity”. All sounds rather lovely doesn’t it?! After my visit to Samsara Skin Clinic in September, I have been trying to improve the strength of my skin and reduce its sensitivity through a combination of nurturing balms and oils so this was an ideal product for me to experiment with.

The first point I will make is that this product costs £23 for 30ml. As such when compared to many facial oils on the market this really does seem to be good value for money considering its size. I have been avidly testing this for around 3 months now (with the odd break here and there) and still have over half the pump remaining. Now…onto the results…

On application the oil/serum feels extremely lightweight and has a non-greasy texture. There is a slight citrusy scent however there is a clear omega oil undertone (if any of you take flax seed or fish oils you will know where I coming from). The scent is very faint – only just noticeable in-fact. I work one pump into the palms of my hands of an evening and pat gently into the skin. I don’t tend to apply anything on top of this unless my skin is feeling particularly in need of an extra boost.

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Overall I found that the did make my skin noticeably fuller and plumper on a morning. The results didn’t ‘wash off’ as you tend to find with some products – you wake up with a lovely glow only to find your normal complexion re-appear after a quick wipe with a flannel! The results of this product continued to build through use and have really helped my skin through some rough patches over the colder months. It also gone some way to help balance my oiliness and with a combination of other products I am now able to stay shine free for most of the working day.

The ingredients are as follows:

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat) Germ Oil, Camelina Sativa Oil, Rosa Canina Fruit Oil, Phaeodactylum Tricornotum Extract, Bisabolol, Parfum (Fragrance), Linalool, Limonene, Tocopherol

If you are looking for a facial treatment that is pure indulgence and a pamper treat, then I wouldn’t say this oil is for you. This product is purely functional and has no frills about it. It contains only the ingredients it needs to do the job it claims – surprisingly a rather rare trait to find in beauty products these days and very refreshing!

This is certainly something I would recommend to those with sensitive skins that really just need to focus on building strength back in their skin before looking to more pampering products. I know I will certainly be purchasing once this pump runs out!

You can find out more and purchase your own serum oil here:

http://www.renskincare.com/p/3707/Omega+3+Optimum+Skin+Serum+Oil

* PR Sample. No affiliation. Opinions expresses are my own

Korres Bergamot Pear Showergel Review

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I was recently sent the Korres Bergamot Pear and Shower gel to try. As noted on my Korress Saffron Amber & Cardamon post I have been a big fan of Korres for around 10 years now but have never tried one of their shower gels before.

Korres state that the shower gel is a oft moisturising showergel, ideal for everyday use. Wheat proteins form a protective film on the skin, maintaining its regular hydration level.

The key Ingredients in this product are:

Wheat: Wheat was cultivated in prehistoric times in fertile Mesopotamia. Ancient civilisations worshipped deities linked to wheat: for the Egyptians it was Osiris; for the Greeks goddess Demeter. Wheat has always been a symbol of good health and fertility while all stages of cultivation have forever been accompanied by rituals defining everyday life. Wheat aleurone, the thin layer under the bran, is the part of the wheat kernel with the highest content in vitamins and minerals. It contains an abundance of B2, which improves metabolism and aids the absorption of nutrients; B3 plays an important role in promoting healthy skin and B5 possesses regenerative properties.

Aloe Vera: Aloe Vera has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant thanks to its beneficial properties. References of it appear in many cultures: from the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, to the Indian and Chinese literature. Applied externally, it heals burns and wounds, stimulates cell regeneration and has significant antioxidant, skin softening and soothing properties.

Now overall I did enjoy using this shower gel, however did feel a little duped by the ingredients list if I am honest. Korres make a point of putting on all their packaging a long list of nasties that they don’t include. The packaging to this bottle had the same listing, however upon a second glance had a big fat ‘YES’ next to ‘SLES’ (or sodium lauryl ether sulfate to give it it’s full name). From my previous posts I have expressed a great dislike for this ingredient. Just because its good enough to be put in a toilet cleaner does not mean I want it on my skin. I did however continue to use the product as I didn’t note any irritation on my skin or any drying effects from using this shower gel

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The full ingredients list is as follows:

Aqua/Water/Eau, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Parfum (Fragrance), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Althaea Ocinalis Root Extract, Arginine, Benzyl Alcohol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Castoryl Maleate, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Helichrysum Arenarium Flower Extract, Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Lactic Acid, Limonene, Phenoxyethanol, Polyquaternium-7, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium Gluconate, Tocopherol.

I can’t lie…I did enjoy using this shower gel and really loved the fresh scent. However, for a brand that bases itself on natural premises and being void of nasties, I don’t feel that this product really lives up to that ethos and as such I would not re-purchase

You can find out more about this product here:

http://www.korres.com/default.aspx?page_id=1125

* PR Product. No affiliation

Savonnerie Fig & Wild Berry Candle Review

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A review of a wonderful candle now from a brand that I had not heard of before. You have to love social media as it really can bring your attention to some wonderful companies out there. This is the case for Savonnerie London who I with many of my discoveries, found through Twitter and instantly fell in love with. Savonnerie was established in 1997 originally in London’s Brushfield Street E1 next to the historic Spitalfields market with one aim, creating natural therapeutic bodycare products that make you look and feel special. Savonnerie reminds me of one of those small artisan handmade shops you find in the likes of the Cornish countryside which you just cant help but have a browse around and admire.

The company were kind enough to send me their FIg & Wild Berries candle to try. The candle came in a frosted glass container (different to picture above) and before I had even opened the packaging I fell in love with the fragrance emanating from the box it was in. The best way I can describe it is somewhere between fig and freshly cut grass. The candle offers a very fresh fragrance which is perfect now that we are moving into spring.

The candle, unlike many others filled is able to fill a room with scent within minutes and has some serious staying power. At only £18 for a 240g candle – it really is able to complete with many of the more expensive candles out there on the market. Sadly, whilst I thought it a great idea to present the candle on my bathroom sink, it somehow managed to slip and the glass container smashed before I had even got half way through the candle. I was gutted to say the least, but I am looking forward to trying more of the Savonnerie candles in the future (and placing them somewhere far safer to avoid disappointment!)

You can find out more and purchase your own Savonnerie candle here:

http://www.savonnerielondon.com/home-fragrance/fig-wild-berries-natural-wax-candle.html

*PR sample. No affiliation. Opinions on my own

Lola’s Apothecary Eucalyptus & Mint Bath Oil Review

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So some of you may have noticed that this is my first blog post in around two months. The main reason behind this is that my job demands 16-18 hour days at this time of year (including weekends!) so having the time to blog has been bar impossible. Secondly, I always ensure I test new products for at least a month before writing a review on them to ensure I can give an accurate view on the product’s efficacy. I have therefore been working my way through a new routine which I will share with you in the coming weeks.

That being said, things are finally starting to quiet down now so I can begin to get back into the swing of things – hoorah!

The first product I have been dying to share with you is the Lola’s Apothecary Eucalyptus & Mint Bath Oil. Like many people in the UK, the cold, dark winter months really play havoc not only with my skin but also my mood. I always get a really bad cold/flu in December and my outlook on life turns more to a glass half empty rather than glass half full.

The one thing I find that never fails to cheer my up and relax my senses in a hot bath with a few candles lit. The thing that always makes a bath for me however is the products I use in it and not the bath itself. I like to feel as though it is my little moment of luxury. A little me time.

Lola’s Apothecary were kind enough to send me their Eucalyptus & Mint bath oil to try…and this couldn’t have come at a better time! Having suffered from not one but two serious cases of the flu over the Christmas period, a serious pick me up was in need!

Lola’s Apothecary state that the bath oil is “a clarifying bath oil to ease winter colds. Eucalyptus, rosemary, marjoram and mint help clear the sinus and soothe aching muscles. 100% natural.”

Every evening I would use a couple of drops of this oil under a running tap and wait a few seconds for my bathroom to fill with the soothing scent of eucalyptus – finally allowing me to breathe again.

Before I had used this product I had worried it would make my skin feel a little cold after a rather unfortunate experience with using Olbas oil in the bath (to all the guys reading this – never ever try this if you want to have children – its painful to say the least). To my surprise however the oil felt lovely and soothing on the skin.

A half an hour bath with this stuff really helped ease my symptoms, loosened my tight muscles and left my skin feeling super soft. Not only that – the apothecary bottle with a sprig of eucalyptus looks fantastic on the side of my bath and always demands complements from visitors!

I have continued to regularly use this oil as an evening treat even after overcoming the flu and find its just a lovely way to relax after a stressful day at work. A definite re-purchase. A 100ml bottle costs £18. Considering a few drops is all that is needed – in my mind this is an absolute steal for such a high quality product.

You can find out more and purchase a bottle here:

http://lolasapothecary.com/products/bath-oils/bath-oil-eucalyptus-mint.html

*PR sample. No affiliation. Opinions expresses are my own

Ancienne Ambience Black Phoenicia Candle Review

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Time for another luxury Christmas candle offering that again could in my eyes be used all Winter round.

Ancienne Ambiance is a London-based luxury niche brand founded in 2004, specialising in natural hand-poured luxury scented candles. Produced in the UK, they incorporate fragrances inspired by ancient times. Ancienne Ambiance was created as the ancient-themed luxury goods brand of world-renowned Ancient Art gallery Artemission.com. It has become known for producing quality home fragrance goods and jewellery collections, some incorporating rare authentic ancient artefacts. The company has expanded in recent years to offer award winning natural, organic beauty and body ranges. The company provides paraben-free, organic ingredients and recyclable packaging, all with a bit of a different twist to your traditional organic brand.

Acnienne Ambiance very kindly sent me their Black Phoenicia candle to review just before the Christmas period began. As you will see from my recent reviews, the Nu|sk|n household has been blessed with a number of high quality organic candle offerings over the festive season and as such I have been pick and choose which candle to light depending on where the mood takes me. Black Phoenicia is more a night time seductive fragrance. I have mainly lit it in the bedroom (not for that reason – naughty) simply because it adds an air of opulence to the room with its dark, sexy tones. The candle comes in a stunning black glass container with gold inscribing and pattern. This really is a very stylish candle and could easily rival the likes of Jo Malone etc.

The candle’s ingredients have a lovely back story as eloquently told by AA:

A fragrance of freshly cut cedar-wood blended with fresh herbs, Phoenicia evokes the lovely aromas found in the forest of Becharreh, in Lebanon, home to the oldest cedar trees in the world. The Phoenicians believed the wood of the glorious cedars to be the sacred wood of the gods and used it to honour their ancestors, a task to which the ancient orient attached deep importance. The cedar tree was also thought to be an emblem of prosperity. -

Matron! All sounds rather nice dosent it?! To boil it down, Ancienne Ambiance customers often refer to this candle as having a close scent to a male cologne and I can only agree. This really does have a sexy side to it. It is not your traditional winter candle in the sense that there is not one particular note to this that I would say reminds me of Christmas, or Winter for that matter and as such I would happily burn this all year round. The only problem at had at first was that this candle seemed a bit to nice and so I had to pluck up the courage to light the first match. Once I did however, I couldn’t get enough of this gorgeous scent. AA state that the burn time is approximately 60 hours however I am sure I have had this lit for at least half that time and still seem to have barely dented the candle! It sure has staying power.

A 50cl candle retails at £42 to includes complimentary matches. I have to say that I found the matches to be completely useless as they all broke before I could light a single one. The candle however is absolutely superb and although is perhaps a little pricier than some of the other candles I have recently reviewed – is ohhhh so worth it in my opinion

You can read more and buy yours here:

http://www.ancienneambiance.com/product/black-phoenicia-candle/

* PR Sample. Opinions expressed are my own. No affiliation

Korres Saffron Amber & Cardamon Eau De Toilette

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I love to mix my fragrances up with the seasons – something fresh and citrusy for the Summer months…and something warmer with more depth and spice for the Winter. However, as most of us spend the majority of our waking hours at work – it can be difficult to find a fragrance that fits the mood but is also not to overpowering and friendly on the wallet!

Korres is a brand that I have used for many years and is one that I first stumbled upon when i was 18 browsing through the Mankind website. In-fact one of my first purchases was an anti-ageing pen from this very brand as I was paranoid about the frown lines on my forehead and thought this would be the answer before I could afford Botox. Alas, it didn’t turn back time and the frown lines are still there (I decided against Botox since then!).

Anyway – I digress. Korres recently sent me one of their eau de toilettes to try out. I was offered to try any of the range for men, however wanting a daytime winter fragrance this one really seemed to fit the bill. The bottle comes in a very simple yet sleek presentation box and the bottle itself is brown glass to protect the fragrance.

Korres describe Saffron Amber & Cardamon EDT as:

A timeless male scent, this intense yet gentle fragrance is reminiscent of honey and grass. With a heart of Saffron and top notes of Cardamom and Cinnamon, there is an oriental yet woody air to this seductive aroma.

Despite this being a fairly gentle fragrance, the notes it produced are relatively complex:

Top notes: Cardamom, Bergamot, Cinnamon
Heart: Saffron, Cedar Wood, Carnation, Sandalwood
Dry out: Amber, Agarwood, Vanilla
Character: Oriental, Woody, Amber

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I have worn this everyday (as has the other half) for the past month and a half to work and have really enjoyed using it. I have received a number of compliments whilst wearing this fragrance and think that it really captures the seductive, sexy notes that we all want from a darker fragrance but in a much more subtle manner. As such this makes it the perfect winter day fragrance with a decent scent throw but not one that is going to turn heads as you walk past and make people pass out.

A 100ml bottle of Saffron Amber & Cardamon retails at £30 which is an absolute bargain in my eyes. I have however spotted on offer on Feel Unique where there is 20% off so it is currently selling for £24 – double steal!

You can read more and buy your own bottle here:

http://www.feelunique.com/p/Korres-Saffron-Amber-Cardamom-Eau-De-Toilette-Spray-50ml

* PR Sample. Opinions expressed are my own. No affiliation