January is always a busy month in recruitment (the day job) and this year is no exception. Which is one excuse for not having posted anything here for two weeks.
But here’s another good reason:
Her name is Coco and she’s an nine week old miniature poodle, and the new love of my life. Coco is my shadow, following me from room to room with those irresistible ‘please play with me’ eyes.
She’s settled right into our family, has bonded with the kids and seems incredibly content. She is indiscriminately using our house as a toilet, but I was expecting that. In fact, I had prepared for much worse – with most people claiming that having a puppy is like having another baby.
It really isn’t.
No post natal depression and she sleeps through the night.
Anyway, back to all things beauty, and I really do have a great selection of products this month. I’ve also had to work my way through some utter duds resulting in a rash all over my scalp and neck – but I won’t be reviewing those.
I’m going to start with a brand I’ve talked about before: Samaya. The facial oil is still one of my favourites and now I have the whole Pitta range:
Samaya Hydrating Cleanser (£69 for 100ml) and Anti-ageing Cream (£89 for 50ml)
Like the oil in this range, the main botanical ingredients are Jasmine, Neem and Lotus. I found the cleanser most effective when applied with dry hands. It comes out of the pump like a lotion, but when rubbed into the hands and face turns into a light balm. It removes makeup and leaves skin feeling refreshed.
The Anti-ageing Cream is light and absorbs easily. The main attraction for me with all of Samaya’s products is the incredible smell of Jasmine. They manage to get the balance just right. The scent is uplifting but doesn’t linger or catch at the back of the throat.
The range costs more than I’d usually allow myself to spend on skincare, but a little goes a long way. I’ve been using Samaya for a month and have used nearly half of all three of my products. They are organic, with no synthetic colour or fragrance, no silicones or mineral oil. They don’t feel particularly ‘active’ – my skin doesn’t tingle or feel tighter after cleansing, but for that home spa feel, I don’t think you can beat this range.
Alpha H Liquid Gold with Glycolic Acid (£33.50 for 100ml)
This little bottle of Liquid Gold was one of the treats in my M&S Advent Calendar. Alpha-H specialises in exfoliation, resurfacing and skin renewal. This glycolic acid contains silk protein and liquorice and gently exfoliates and tones, without stripping the skin or causing redness. I apply it with a cotton pad after cleansing at night as an alternative to a toner. My skin does feel tighter and clearer after using it for two weeks.
Viv Derma Contouring Serum (£65 for 30ml)
I have several Viv Derma products to try and am introducing them into my skincare regime one at a time. Viv Derma is the brainchild of Dr Hadi Abushaira, a consultant dermatologist with 30 years experience. His formulas mimic the biological conditions of healthy skin, and are suitable for all skin types – but are particularly beneficial for more mature skin.
The serum targets skin elasticity, firms, contours and brightens. It is lightweight and non-sticky. I’ve been using the serum day and night under my moisturiser. I’m hopeless at identifying smells when they aren’t advertised on the bottle, but I would describe this as a light floral scent.
Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer (£18 for 2.5ml)
I visited the Smashbox shop in central London for the first time this week, and have a feeling I’ll be a regular visitor. I was looking for a neutral colour to apply on my eyelids to replace an Illamasqua product I’ve had for nearly two years.
Smashbox’s coloured primer for eyelids comes in five colours, from white to make your eyeshadow colour pop, through to Smoke. I chose Light, as rather than a base for eyeshadow, I’m using it to even out my skin tone and create a soft, natural look. The primer glides on as a light liquid, but dries like a powder. And it doesn’t crease. I’ve also used it under my eyes as a highlighter and concealer.
I met the lovely Beauty Boulevard ladies at a press event last week. They are the team behind Glitter Lips, which you may have seen on Dragon’s Den. The Tri Colour Lip Tint is a nourishing lip balm with a hint of colour.
My lips are very sensitive to lip balms, some bring on a picking frenzy. This one is made with Coconut oil, Jojoba and Beeswax and feels smooth and silky. The colour – I have been wearing ‘Envy’ – is glossy but subtle, which means you can apply it like a balm, rather than a lipstick and don’t have to be too precise.
Neal’s Yard Remedies Bee Lovely hand cream (£10 for 50ml)
This was another surprise in my M&S Advent Calendar which I’ll be buying again. All I want from a hand cream is intense hydration without greasiness. If it smells good, that’s a bonus. The scent from the organic honey and Orange Essential Oil in the Bee Lovely hand cream is beautiful – fresh and natural. You don’t need to use much for a lasting effect and the 50ml tube is a useful handbag size.
Are you tempted by any of these products, or have you tried them before? Let me know. I always reply to your comments.
Much love, Vx
[Disclosure: Not sponsored. My thanks to Beauty Boulevard, Viv Derma and Samaya for providing samples for review.]