Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm

Hand creams and I, we have a special relationship. Being something of a germophobe, and having naturally really dry hands (thanks dad), balms, creams and lotions have their work cut out when they meet me. I reviewed a lot of mediocre hand creams back in the day, but I’ve decided that now, I’ll ONLY be reviewing the creams that really make me go wow. Maybe when I accumulate a load of crap ones I’ll do a post on them, but for now, lets focus on Aesop Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm.IMG_6761

The nourishing ingredients packed into this botanical mixture, are quite something. Shea butter, sweet almond oil, coconut oil, macadamia nut oil, cetaryl alcohol (a fatty acid and amazing moisturiser), glycerin, cocoa butter, wheatgerm oil AND soybean oil. Like, whaaaat? Most hand creams would only contain one or two of these, but the combination of all of them means you get all of their individual benefits too. For example, coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, almond oil helps to protect the skin and wheatgerm oil is high in antioxidant vitamin E. The texture of the cream is gorgeous, while it’s in incredibly rich balm it melts into the skin so easily. The perfect combination of nourishment and absorbency for the busy lady with a dry hand problem.

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The botanical ingredients in Resurrection Aromatique are seriously out of this world. Orange, cedarwood, lavender, grapefruit and rosemary combine to make an intense and complex fragrance, that really does resurrect the senses. There are so many amazing ingredients in this balm, I want to talk about them all! There’s soothing aloe vera, anti-ageing tocopherol and carrot oil in there too.

So on paper this sounds like the best hand cream around, right? I have to say, I genuinely think it’s one of my favourites. I use it every morning before work (I massage it in while I’m walking out of my flat, covers up the smell of central London nicely) and it absorbs really well. Since using this I’ve realised that not only have I stopped having to use a hand cream throughout the day, my hands now look younger too! If you have constantly dry hands, this is such a good option for you, I cannot recommend it enough. It certainly isn’t a budget product, but at £19.00 for a 75ml tube, you’d be insane not to try it if you struggle to find good hand creams. Get it on Aesop’s website. Link

I’m really keen to try more of Aesop’s products, do you have any recommendations?

Benefit Dream Screen SPF 45 Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

I have a weird problem with sunscreens. There are chemicals in most of them my facial skin reacts to, even though it isn’t really that sensitive to anything else. My skin breaks out in blotches, and feels hot. Believe me when I say I wasn’t expecting to find a solution, especially not one so pleasant and protective as Benefit Dream Screen!

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I’ve recently woken up to the fact that I’m in my mid-twenties, and have never used regular sun protection unless it’s the SPF 15 I used to get in my foundation. Did you know that sun damage breaks down the collagen in your skin more than anything else, including poor skincare and even ageing? Especially when you’re as pasty as I am, you need something high protection otherwise you’re screwed.  So when I was pottering around a Benefit stand a while ago I decided to ask for a sample. The lady gave me two little tubs which lasted for ages – giving me more than enough time to know that my skin loved it.

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A couple of things I’ve read about Dream Screen moan that it makes your skin feel greasy – if you’ve read that too (because let’s face it, it’s impossible to avoid paula’s fucking choice when looking for reviews) let me tell you that it’s a load of rubbish. When your skin feels greasy it feels like there’s thick oil covering it, when you put this on, it feels silky. Soft, matt, calm, smooth and ready for anything, including fierce summer sun.
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It sinks into your skin immediately, leaving invisible, broad spectrum and incredibly high protection as well as a soft, gorgeous feeling. It sits under my makeup perfectly, and I’ve been using it instead of my primer this summer. Since I started using it my skin has stayed exactly the same colour, so I’m confident the protection is exactly what they say it is. Benefit Dream Screen SPF 45 is an amazing solution for anyone who usually struggles with sun protection, as well as anyone looking for gorgeous, fuss free sun care. Get it on Feel Unique for £25 – link

LET GIRLS WEAR WHAT THE HELL THEY WANT

I’m completely fed up with seeing articles about schools banning girls from wearing short skirts or makeup. The headteacher’s justification is always the problematic notion that it’s ‘distracting to the boys’ which irks me more than enough, but one that really got to me today said “School bans short skirts because they’re ‘distracting’ to male teachers”

In the article they don’t seem to offer any proof, but even still, the idea that girls will be sent home for not wearing ‘school appropriate’ skirts is outrageous, for so many reasons. For a start, telling girls that wearing makeup distracts them from work, and then sending them home AWAY from work, seems a little contradictory. I would have more time for the concept if it was five hours extra school a week in return for wearing a full face of makeup. Well, I wouldn’t, that would be monstrously draconian, but still it wouldn’t be as bad as damaging a girl’s education because she doesn’t fit into the school’s idea of the perfect female student, would it?!

Now, objectively, I’m a well educated, intelligent, successful woman. I’m 25, so measure that success how you will (I’m not exactly a CEO). I refuse to submit myself to the idea that saying that about myself is arrogant because I’m sick of society forcing me to be modest about my entire existence – fuck that – I have a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Philosophy from a great university, I’m writing a book, and I’m a Digital Marketing Executive. I’m happy with where I am and how I’m doing.

What was the point of all that? Well, I wear makeup and revealing clothing, and I have done since I was about 15. I love showing my waist off and making my eyes look bigger, I love accentuating my chest and my full lips. Why the fuck shouldn’t I? My body is a part of who I am, just as much as my arguing skills, my compassion, or my complete inability to organise anything. Is it shallow? Is it really? I could take you on in a debate about the mind body problem, I’ve almost cried whilst trying to understand Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason (like every other Philosophy student), and I’ve written essays on dasein whilst trying to push to the back of my mind the feeling that Heidegger is one of the most useless philosophers ever to write anything. The concept of ‘shallow’ is, ironically, pretty shallow. Mindless consumerism and an obsession with the aesthetic can be flaws, but only when they aren’t accompanied by anything else. To be purely shallow is a rare thing, and the idea that teenage girls, some of the most complex and confused creatures on the planet, fall into that bracket, is absurd, reductionist and misogynistic.

In our society women are expected to look beautiful, no matter what they do. You can be a doctor, police officer or a politician, it’s nigh on impossible to escape the ‘does she look good enough’ magnifying glass. It’s not just celebrities who look perfect – your teacher probably knows damn well how to do her makeup, the woman who serves you in the shop, and lets not forget, the women that teenage girls watch on youtube for entertainment. Girls see women wearing makeup every single day, and teenage girls are in the process of turning into women. In just the same way as boys learning the rules of masculinity during their teens, girls are learning the rules of femininity. Of course they want to conform, wear makeup, shorten their skirts and act like women. They’re about to turn into them.

Lying to girls that wearing makeup and short skirts distracts them from their education is bad enough, but telling them they distract BOYS is worse still. We NEED to stamp out this disgraceful, archaic idea. I have a higher sex drive than anyone I’ve ever met, I’m attracted to women, and I’ve never had a hard time concentrating because a beautiful woman is wearing a short dress in front of me. Not because I’m not a man, it’s because I wasn’t raised to think that women are objects for me to look at. Is it therefore contradictory for me to want to wear tight tops and lipgloss? Actually, it probably is. But that’s because some of the things society teaches us are wrong. Despite my parent’s best efforts, I was still taught by society that women need to be sexy and attractive to feel good – and because I was taught this while I was growing up I genuinely feel that way. 

Society needs to change – there’s no doubt about that. But confusing the messages girls are sent – that makeup is a bad thing and wanting to wear it means you don’t care about school, whilst simultaneously marketing products to them and making physical appearance unbelievably important, just confuses women and girls and makes what they want versus what they know is right completely different. These ideas confuse boys and men in exactly the same way – how often have you thought “What is up with men, they say they like women to look natural but then react with disgust the second they see an acne scar”? None of us understand what we want, because from the get-go we’re taught things that are wrong. We want things because marketing departments know how to make us want things – and you cannot trust a marketing department to act with your best interests at heart. I’ve been lucky to work for ethical companies but believe me, they are rare. This, combined with the fact that no one seems to realise how much of an effect the society we grow up in has on us, has made for a pretty confused group of people. Teaching girls that something as innocuous as makeup and a short skirt is wrong makes them feel bad about what they want. Teaching boys that girls should hide from them fetishises girls in their eyes – makes their bodies into objects, and means they can’t respect us.

We NEED change, and schools are a damn good place to start. Let girls wear what the hell they want, teach boys that girl’s bodies are not there for them to look at, or enjoy, without expressed, enthusiastic consent, and we’ll end up with a more balanced, happier generation than we’ve had in a long time.

Beauty Wishlist for Summer

I’ve never done one of these before, but there are certainly a lot of products I’ve been mentally wishlisting lately so I thought I’d make physical note, and you never know, you might get some summer inspiration too!wishlist

1. Jurlique Rose Finishing Powder – My No.7 Translucent Powder is about to run out, and I’ve been lusting after this light, gorgeously scented rose powder for as long as I’ve known what Jurlique is. I’m pretty sure it can be used over makeup, and if so, this is definitely my powder most wanted.

2. Lipstick Queen Frog Prince Lipstick – How on earth could you not want this in your life. First of all I tried it on my hand in Space NK and the colour was stunning – it’s a slightly translucent, beautiful pink, which is perfect for me because thick, heavily pigmented lipsticks just don’t work for me. I never really put anything luxurious on my lips, so this would be a lovely change.

3. Mario Badescu Flower Tonic Mask – I’m an absolute sucker for anything with a name like ‘Flower Tonic’ so this was always going to be on my list. However after reading that the ingredients include kaolin and Balsam of Peru (an extraordinarily effective healing extract) I was desperate to try it. Pore-clarifying and healing are two things my skin really needs.

4. Mario Badescu Botanical Exfoliating Scrub – Living right up to the stereotype I made for myself in the previous paragraph, the name of this scrub got my attention right away. However this does look amazing, with extracts of basically everything you need to restore a healthy, glowing and balanced complexion. Ginger, gingko, green tea, aloe and coconut together with palm seed powder to buff away dead skin….like…hell yes.

5. Philip Kingsley Geranium and Neroli Elasticizer – The reviews of this stuff are amazing, as are the awards it’s been lauded with. I love the idea of a ‘pre-shampoo’, as well as the fact that you can sleep with it on your hair. I’ve never actually seen it in stores so I have no idea what it smells like, but I can’t see how it wouldn’t be absolutely gorgeous. I just can’t shake the idea that my hair would be left silky smooth after using this, so I shall have  to try it.

6. Sukin Natural Deodorant – I’m anti antiperspirant, but the summer heat in London is proving too much for the lovely Deo My BO solid deodorant bar from Lush (despite it working wonderfully before it got so hot!) I definitely want to give this one a try, as I love everything I’ve tried from Sukin so far.

7. Frog Prince Wash Bag from Catseye – I’ve been lusting after this for over a year – I love the happy, cute design and it’s the perfect size for all the stuff I bring with me everywhere. Really I should just get a grip and buy it, but every time I go into Selfridge’s and see it, it just seems so frivolous (it isn’t, it’s only £15 so I don’t know what I’m on about really).

8. & Other Stories Nail Colour in Dot Peach – I recently bought the most gorgeous sandals from Topshop, but I need a muted nail colour to go with my work clothes. & Other Stories have really lovely nail polishes, and I adore this cute pink colour.

9. Bliss Ingrown Eliminating Pads – I’m really curious about these. Both my boyfriend and I get ingrown hairs occasionally (it’s really common for guys to get these on their legs!) and they’re bloody annoying, so if these work it would be fantastic – it is shorts season after all!

What’s on your summer wishlist? Any of these?

Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater

Ooohhhhkay. This stuff. If you buy nothing else new this summer, make it this stuff. Brace yourselves, becasuse this post will contain nothing but love, praise and adoration for Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater. Read on to find out why I love it so much!

IMG_6942I’ve never been into facial sprays or toners really. Having tried a few options from The Body Shop, Boots etc, I was never sold. Really, it just felt like I was adding more stuff to my face that it didn’t really need. That was until Urban Outfitters started selling the super-cool cult brand Mario Badescu. Obviously intrigued, I had a good poke around at the products and as soon as I smelled this stuff I picked it up and bought it. Seriously, the smell is gorgeous. It’s rose, but it’s really refreshing and bright, not cloying – although I adore anything that smells of rose, I know some people don’t like that super perfumey rose scent, and this definitely isn’t like that.

Now, the lovely smell and the refreshing feeling when you spray it would be enough to make it a wonderful product for summer. But Mario Badescu’s Facial Spray does SO much more than that. It was only after a few days of use that I noticed my skin was suddenly much brighter and softer than it had been in ages. It was like this spray, with it’s rose, thyme, seaweed, gardenia and aloe extracts, had given my skin a serious boost that meant I could get away with half the amount of makeup I usually wear! My skin has been glowing.

This Facial Spray is the perfect addition to your skincare routine for summer – I use it after I get out of the shower before applying my serum and facial oil (yeah, I use facial oil all year round, don’t ask). It’s such a great way of giving your skin some serious love in the summer, keeping your face looking gorgeous while you wear lighter makeup, or even go without. This stuff has become one of my summer must haves! Plus, it’s like £5 on BeautyBay.com so you have no reason not to try it! I’m totally in love with Mario Badescu as a brand, and can’t wait to try more of their products. What are your summer essentials?

Rene Furterer Lissea Leave-In Smoothing Fluid Review

It used to be that when my hair got frizzy midweek, I just had to put up with it. Through heat, humidity, exercise or whatever, it didn’t matter how much smoothing cream or defining spray I used, I was stuck with a pile of frizz until I had time to fully wash it again. Then one day during a particularly unruly week, I saw a coworker had a bottle of Rene Furterer’s Lissea Smoothing Fluid on her desk, so I asked to try it out.IMG_6991

I ran a couple of pumps through my hair, and I was AMAZED at how the frizz immediately turned back into sleek curls. It was insane. I’ve never had my hair behave so quickly and easily before, ever. Obviously, I immediately got myself a bottle, and it has become a complete lifesaver. Every time I get a patch of hair out of line, I smooth a bit of this through and it’s a beautiful curl again!

Lissea Smoothing Fluid contains physalis extract – aka winter cherry, aka Japanese lantern berry, aka the yummy orange berries with the paper leaves around them. This is what gives it the amazing anti-frizz effect. It’s also intended to protect hair from heat styling, so if you’re into that, this is the product for you.

Avocado and sweet almond oil also help to genuinely nourish the hair, which I think is essential for any self-respecting anti-frizz product to do. It’s all well and good to coat unruly hair, but frizz will never go away or improve in the slightest if you don’t look after it!

I adore this stuff, and it’s made my notoriously difficult hair SO much easier to care for. It’s available exclusively on Escentual.com AND there’s currently 25% off so get over there and buy some for £12.75!

Serge Lutens Fleur d’Oranger

A few weeks ago we visited Kew Gardens, when the rhododendron flowers we out and the entire place was peppered with their brightly coloured, delicate petals. As I wandered along a path bursting with white and cream flowers, my nose was suddenly full of an astonishing scent.
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I wandered around smelling the flowers for ages, saying to my boyfriend ‘Where on earth is that smell coming from, it’s beautiful!’ until a lady with a pram behind me said ‘oh, um…I think it might be my perfume’. And yep, it was. She kindly told me the name so I could note it down on my phone, and as soon as we were on the bus home I had it in my Feel Unique basket.

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Fleur d’Oranger is blossomy, sweet and springy, with a warm, glowing basenote that reminds me of rain hitting the hot ground at the start of a thunderstorm. The sweet notes are so perfectly balanced, it’s incredibly delicate but there’s some strength to it, and on my skin at least, it has serious staying power. It smells like all my favourite parts of nature rolled into one perfect bottle. This is the perfect, perfect summer perfume, and I honestly think it’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever smelled.

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If you like sweet, blossomy scents with a seriously deep and interesting side, this is the one for you. Find it on Feel Unique. It makes me feel special, sexy, happy and fresh, all day long!