A couple of days ago I introduced The Bakewell Soap Company - a bodycare company situated in an old Victorian Mill near Bakewell. The owners, Dharma and Ant, create handmade, natural and cruelty free products in their mill and have been putting their heart and soul into every product for over seven years!
Soap has been The Bakewell Soap Company's primary and leading product since they began; their soaps are completely handmade and contain 3% Golden Jojoba Oil for cleansed, softened and moisturised skin. The soaps are available in three ranges: 100% Pure Essentials, Problem Skin and Fragrant Garden.
From the 100% Pure Essentials range - a range of seven soaps with pure essential oils such as Olive, Cocoa, Shea Butter - is the English Lavender & Poppyseed soap, wrapped in paper and sealed with a homely card. The packaging of the Bakewell Soap Co. soaps is wonderfully deluxe and captures the brand completely, it would make an amazing gift or a welcome gift in your guest room!
English Lavender & Poppyseed contains real poppy seeds for light exfoliation, these seeds do not stick to your hands or face and rinse away with ease. The scent of lavender isn't overpowering at all, it's quite delicate but lingers gently on the hands for a couple of hours. Lavender is believed to help alleviate symptoms of psoriasis and eczema, unfortunately I have neither of these conditions so could not test these claims.
Since embarking on my soap challenge I've made the switch from liquid soap to bar soap, The Bakewell Soap Co. soap was one of the soaps which joined me on my switch from liquid to bar. Despite not containing any Sodium Lauryl Sulfates (best known for their foaming and lathering properties), the bar lathers unbelievably well to a creamy consistency, it melts onto your hands on contact with water. Immediately after use my hands feel completely clean and really soft, it has not left my hands feeling dry in any instance thanks to the essential oils sinking deep into my skin and nourishing my hands. Even after a spot of gardening or cleaning my hands are completely cleansed, no dirt in sight!

If you're looking for a small token gift for someone, a little extra something for your guest room or even a luxury soap, the great range of Bakewell Soap Co. soaps might be ideal for you. There's a whole range of scents other than Lavender if it isn't a scent for you - I'm awaiting Apricot & Almond Milk to come back in stock so I can snap one up.

The Bakewell Soap Co. English Lavender & Poppyseed Soap retails for £3.95/80g (*) from the Bakewell Soap Co. website and selected UK stockists.
Montagne Jeunesse are the an all round, natural and unique skincare company; not only are their products vegetarian, natural and have no added parabens, they're available in handy sachets across a huge range of face masks, haircare, body care, skincare and even mens care. You may have noticed I'm obsessed with the brand, and recently hauled quite a few of their products!
Under the 'Face Care' range from Montagne Jeunesse is their selection of Pore Strips, available in Natural Charcoal and De-Clog. Having previously tried and loved the De-Clog Pore Strips I thought it was time to give the Natural Charcoal strips a go.
Each Montagne Jeunesse product (unless stated otherwise) is packaged inside a handy sachet, simply tear across the top with the easy-open slit to reveal your product. In each pore strip packet comes three individually foil-wrapped strips, which is great for freshness and portability.
The strips themselves have a similar design to many other pore strips - peel away the plastic backing and place the rough side over a warm and damp nose with the fabric visible to the eye. The strips should have a perfect fit on any nose, but you can trim them if you find them a little large before application. I apply the strip straight after hot cloth cleansing as it's when my pores are most open so it gives the deepest clean.
Thanks to key ingredients such as Volcanic Ash and Natural Hardwood Charcoal the strips give your pores a really deep clean, after 15 minutes of wear I peel the strip away to reveal cleansed pores that look immediately cleaner and oil-free - you can see the results on the strip!
What has unfortunately put me off purchasing the product again is the scent, it's very strong and smells similar to burning coal. Obviously from the ingredients and branding this is expected, but I didn't quite expect it to be so hard to bare! I'll be sticking to my wonderfully fruity De-Clog strips in future but I am glad to have tried out such an interesting product.

Montagne Jeunesse Natural Charcoal Nose Pore Strips retail for £1.49 per sachet of three strips from the Montagne Jeunesse website.
Just as I go to write this post about the weather brightening up and that summer feeling making its way to my nails, it begins to storm it down with hailstones and rain outside. I'm still willing that summertime feeling, I've really been enjoying using bright nail polishes on my nails but fancied a change and went for a little bit of pastel nail art.
Flowers are a bit of a running theme on my nails at the moment, they're giving a gentle nod to Spring and feel wonderfully fresh. Once again, I'm not nail artist but really enjoy experimenting with different looks on my nails.

YOU WILL NEED
Three pastel polishes:
> Polish for the petals
> Polish for the centre
> Background polish

I chose Essie 'Mint Candy Apple', Barry M 'Matte White' and Essie 'A Crewed Interest'

STEP ONE:
After applying base coat and allowing to dry, paint two coats of your background polish and allow to dry thoroughly.

STEP TWO:
Taking your petal polish shade randomly allocate clustered dots of polish on the nail. I cluster four dots with a space in the middle. Don't be afraid to do a couple of dots in the corners of your nails, excess polish can easily be removed from the skin around your nail with a cotton bud or cuticle stick.

STEP THREE:
Add a single dot of your central polish colour in the middle of your clusters. Allow to dry and finish with a glossy top coat.

I need to invest in a yellow polish for the centre dots of my daisies, but I think A Crewed Interest adds a lovely pastel spin on the classic flower. This is so easy to recreate, but it does take a steady hand for perfect dots (which I clearly have not mastered yet!).
Good Things Beauty is the skincare range developed to make the most of youthful skin by journalist and author Alice Hart-Davies. The whole brand is both vegetarian and vegan friendly, boosting their products with natural superfruit ingredients. I like to think of Good Things as a high street natural brand, which are few and far between!
'Face The Day' has been one of Good Things' leading moisturisers, this month it was revamped with added SPF15. Applying SPF is so important from preventing premature ageing of the delicate skin on your face and protecting it from burning and over exposure, it's a step I usually forget so it's great to have a moisturiser that does it for me without a thought.
Face The Day is packaged in a cardboard box, inside you will find a plastic tube of product which squeezes easily to dispense product. The Good Things branding captures the essence of their values nicely, it's quite attractive and targets its audience well. Thanks to its lightweight packaging you can carry the tube in your bag or on your travels without a fuss.
The formula of Face The Day remains classic to its formula prior to the added SPF15, it's light and creamy and sinks in within seconds of contact with skin. I'm pleased to report the formula isn't overly white so doesn't leave you looking pasty at all, it rubs in very well.
Face The Day is a great everyday moisturiser, I apply it in the morning under my makeup for smooth skin that remains protected against the sunlight all day. It has a delicate scent of berries - the fruity scent in the morning is really awakening.

Good Things Face The Day SPF15 Moisturiser retails for £7.99 (*) from Sainsburys, Superdrug and Boots.
A couple of years ago if I wanted to order something online I'd generally base my choice of store on recommendations from friends and family. If I wanted to book a salon appointment, I'd generally stick to the same salon my mum used or one within a mile radius, rarely venturing elsewhere. If I wanted to take a trip to a spa...I'd have no idea where to start! The reason behind my choices is simple: a lack of knowledge, I didn't know where to hunt for the best beauty bargains, beauty products or salon services.
Now in the era of technology, there's plenty of ways to search out new online stores and salon services; the most obvious to me is Google, though this simple search generates millions, sometimes billions of results and I don't know what to trust.
A new trend of websites has begun to emerge that help you to search for trusted, reliable and even rated websites, salons, products and services from the comfort of your own home. I always want to find the best deal, the salon most equipped for their services and the best websites for ordering my beauty must-haves, so I've been testing out a couple of beauty and salon search engines to see if they equip me with better knowledge and offerings than before.

BELLA SEARCH
Search engines that help you search by treatment and area code are really useful for finding a selection of salons specific to your needs. Bella Search does just that for all your Edinburgh beauties out there but goes one step further and shows you offers and discount codes too! Simply search for what treatment you would like or even just search your area, select your salon and then you will be presented with a map of how to get there, price list and ways to book. I wish there was a search engine such as this specific for my area, it's so handy.

CAFE LA MODA
Cafe La Moda is your one stop social search engine for all things beauty and clothing for both men and women. It lets you search by category, price, brand or keyword for the products you want and then shows results for the cheapest, most trusted places to purchase them. You can then click the images to view the product at its website. If you sign up to the website you can have extra benefits such as interacting with other members about your favourite finds and websites.

WAHANDA

If you're planning a trip to the spa but feel in deep water then look no further than Wahanda. Wahanda provide you with information about registered spas up and down the country, offering you massive discounts on selected services, whether it be a single trip to the spa or an entire break. Wahanda is not only an online search website but also a community, you can sign up and log in to chat to other members about your experiences, ask questions and read the Wahanda blogs. You can even search for beauty treatments and salons in your area too, and book through Wahanda (especially ideal for those who perish the thought of picking up the phone).

My conclusions from researching and using a number of online search engines and websites for comparing and finding salons, cosmetics and services are that it doesn't hurt to spend some time searching and comparing because you will find the best deal. If I can make savings on pricier indulgences such as a trip to the salon or even a spa then I'm all in! I feel safer using trusted search websites for finding my cosmetics and services than I do when I search in Google too, the sites providing member ratings are really useful to read about actual customer experiences - it helps me decide if something is for me.

What are your favourite beauty and salon search engines?

Setting your eyebrows helps to give them shape, definition and keep them in place all day without the dreaded whispy hair making its way down your brow bone. Brow Sets, usually in a gel formula, help to do just that - some on the market can even tint your brows too!
For years I've been trusting MAC Brow Set to shape, fix and prolong the finish of salon-fresh eyebrows. Price-wise I think MAC are a little steep for this sort of product, but no matter how many other brow sets I have tried I always return to this thanks to its quality and performance.
MAC Brow Set is packaged in a classic matte black box, inside you will find a plastic tube containing the gel and wand. The applicator wand is good quality, the bristles are evenly distributed and comb the brows really well without feeling scratchy or depositing product in unwanted places. The product has a great design, its portable and totally handbag friendly!
MAC Brow Set is a clear gel, you apply it to the brows with the comb brush following the natural shape of the brow. I apply mine in small strokes then do one long sweeping stroke to finish my look, it can be applied to eyebrows alone for a completely natural finish, or use it over your brow pencil or powder to set and smooth the finish. If you use the wand over a product be sure to give it a quick rinse otherwise the dirty brush can discolour the rest of the gel.
The formula isn't sticky at all, it sets in seconds without leaving a flakey, dry or stiff finish. It wears all day so I only need to apply it once in the morning for perfect brows round the clock. Once it's on the brows it's barely noticeable, no one would ever know you'd used it!
I use Brow Gel every day, when my brows are freshly treated from the salon I use it to maintain their perfect shape but once hairs begin to grow back it helps me to continue creating a nice shape and to tuck under any unruly hairs. This Brow Set goes so much further than its function for the brows though, which is perhaps why I love it so much, I sometimes use it to comb back flyaways in my hair and to brush long brow hairs upwards to pluck the niggly hairs beneath them.

MAC Brow Set retails for £12.50 from MAC Stores, MAC Online, Debenhams and all other MAC stockists.
Hair Masques are a great way to deeply nourish your hair or treat particular problems, they are applied instead of conditioner after shampooing and left on usually for a little while longer than your regular conditioner.
I really enjoy using hair masques on my hair, it's a weekly treat for my lengths and they're truly thankful for the extra nourishment! All too often I find myself slathering on a lot of my hair masque, swishing my hair to the back of my neck to leave it to work for a few minutes and then rinsing it to find mediocre results. To help my hair masques go further in terms of results and longevity, I follow these simple steps once or twice a week:

YOU WILL NEED:
> A Hair Masque
> Crocodile Clip
> Comb or Brush

STEP ONE:
After washing your hair with shampoo and rinsing thoroughly, gently squeeze excess water out of your hair from root to tip with your fingers and comb through. By removing excess water the masque will cling to your hair rather than water molecules to make for a deeper clean, and will slip off the hair ends less.

STEP TWO:
Scoop a little of your hair masque and apply through the lengths of the hair, paying particular attention to the ends. Comb through once more to ensure even distribution.

STEP THREE:
Twirl your hair and twist it to the back of your head, then secure with the crocodile clip. This helps to ensure the ends of your hair remain saturated with hair masque and don't transfer it onto your neck or shoulders. At this step, you can continue to shower for a couple of minutes or leave the shower and return to wash the masque away later.

STEP FOUR:
Once you've left the masque on for ample time, comb it through once more before rinsing thoroughly under water. It is essential to rinse thoroughly, the masque will have penetrated deeply into the hair so if it isn't washed through properly you could experience product build up or a greasy finish!

By following these steps I find my hair masques deliver much better results, I also find myself using so much less product, meaning my pot of masque lasts me a lot longer! It does take a little more time, particularly if you are leaving the masque on for around half an hour, but the results are truly worth the extra time taken!

What's your favourite hair masque? Mine is Ogario London Restore & Shine.
Dirty Works, Sainsbury's exclusive skin and body care brand, introduce their Travel Essentials collection fresh for summer. Our summer weather has arrived spur of the moment, so it's time to be spur of the moment summer ready and Dirty Works have everything you need for quick top to toe preparation.
The one thing that hasn't been ready for this burst of hot weather is my skin, it's wintery pale and looks quite dull. Dirty Works have a remedy for anyone nervous to bare all in those first few days in the sun with their 'Bling It On' Shimmer Lotion - a tinted lotion with a hint of shimmer to add a tint of colour, attract sun rays with it's shimmer and to enhance your tan too!
'Bling It On' is packaged in an attractive shimmery blue tube, it squeezes easily and dispenses product through a plastic cap into your hand. I find myself using around two walnut sized dollops for a full body application. Despite the tube being quite large it's actually quite lightweight, meaning you can pop this into your beach, pool or travel bag and bling it on the go.
The formula of Bling It On Shimmer Lotion is a dream to apply, it has an ideal lotion consistency that smooths over the skin and sinks in immediately with a subtle beachy scent that isn't particularly noticeable once applied. I found it to sink in best and lock in moisture when applied straight after showering when pores are warm and open, if I am applying this for sun exposure I apply my sun protection first. It has a gentle tint that gives the skin a natural glow, it isn't over the top at all and the shimmer isn't glittery or gritty but gentle and distributed evenly across the skin. I did find the shimmer to transfer a little however, so be sure to wash your hands after applying and allow a few minutes for the shimmer to settle before getting dressed.
For my first few days in the sun I used this lotion to give my rather pale and unsightly skin a glowy tint while it tanned naturally, now my skin has started to develop a natural tan I'm using it to enhance and boost the colour and glow.

I would repurchase Bling It On again, it isn't something I'd have purchased had I not have known about it, but now I do it's boosted my confidence to bare my pale skin and is enhancing whatever tan I have quite nicely. It's perfect for application to areas you want to enhance such as your legs, d├ęcolletage and arms.

Dirty Works Shimmer Lotion retails for £4.99 (*) from Sainsburys stores and Sainsbury's online, - save 33% on Dirty Works at Sainsbury's right now!
The Bakewell Soap Company is a small company owned by two lovely people, Dharma and Ant, who create their soaps and all sorts of other bodycare products in an old Victorian Mill near Bakewell. All their products are homemade and as natural as possible, and of course animal friendly!
The duo have been making soap for over seven years, during that time they've been branching out and whipping up all sorts of natural delights, including their lovely range of lip balms which recently had a makeover. The balms are available in three flavours: Peppermint & Lavender, Juicy Oranges and Moroccan Rose.
Each Bake Soap Co. lip balm is packaged in an adorable heart shaped container. I'm beginning to notice more natural brands having their batch numbers printed by hand, which is great to show care and thought having gone into (hopefully) every step of the product. The tin is practical and portable, requiring you to simply rub your finger over the product and smooth it over your lips - always use a clean finger.
So why choose a natural balm? A lot of 'synthetic' balms use Petroleum, a by-product of the Petroleum industry, that sits on the lips rather than sinking in and providing any benefit. Natural balms are free from any synthetic nasties such as Petroleum, and are made up of all natural goodness, providing a few more benefits to your lips!
The consistency of the Luxurious Lips balm is very firm to the touch, perhaps a little too firm. It softens on contact with a warm finger but I find myself having to really press it to pick up enough product onto my finger for a full application. I would personally prefer a softer formula, for ease of use purposes.
Key natural ingredients in The Bakewell Soap Co. balms are Beeswax and Cocoa butter; the Beeswax seals in hydration and Cocoa Butter moisturises (it's a natural antioxidant too!), other ingredients such as almond and orange oils help flavour, scent and colour the product naturally. The formula is very smooth and soft and covers the lips in a thin layer; despite containing Beeswax it isn't waxy or thick at all.
I found the balm to last around an hour on my lips, but it left a smooth and nourished feeling on my lips for around three or four hours without any residue left behind. My lips are scented of oranges after application, 'Juicy Oranges' tastes a little like orange ice lollies which is delicious, especially during summertime! In the winter I feel I would need deeper moisturisation than the Luxurious Lips Balms provide, in the mean time I'm really enjoying applying this before I go to sleep and waking with wonderfully smooth and deliciously scented lips. It's great for fruity top ups to my drying lips throughout the day too.

The Bakewell Soap Co. Luxury Lips Balm retails for £3.95/20g (*) from the Bakewell Soap website.
Now the British weather has finally picked up and we're enjoying bright bursts of sunshine I'm painting my nails with bright shades and experimenting with a little bit of nail art. What better nail design for summer than a bright nail with floral detail?
YOU WILL NEED:
> Base polish colour
> Petal polish colour
> Centre polish colour

I chose Orly 'Basket Case' for my base, Rimmel 'Apricot Punch' for my centre and Barry M 'Matte White' for my petals.

STEP ONE: BASE
After applying a base coat and allowing it to dry, paint one or two coats of your chosen base colour and allow to dry thoroughly.

STEP TWO: PETALS
Use your petal polish colour to gently paint on three (or more if you have a steady hand!) stripes with rounded ends. I do this by painting an L shape in the corner of my nail and then painting a diagonal line from the inner corner.

STEP THREE: CENTRE
Finally add a dot of your centre colour polish to hide the join of your petals. Finish with a top coat.

Et voila - adorable floral accent nails. I'm not the best nail artist around but I love experimenting with nail designs, this one is so simple and easy to recreate. It looks great on your big toenail too!
The Makeup Store, founded by Swedish makeup artist Mika Liias, is your one stop shop for everything beauty, retailing a whole range of cosmetics, fragrance, skincare, haircare and accessories. The Makeup Store is exactly what it says - a makeup store - and no products are tested on animals or contain any perfume, meaning they're allergy and all-round skin-type friendly.
The Blush range from the Makeup Store is vast with 31 shades to pick from in a selection of lustre, glitter, dark and light finishes.
Makeup Store Blush is packaged in a small round pan with neat packaging that has clear branding. Thanks to the small packaging, the pan is portable and fits in even the most miniature of bags, the plastic casing does mean however that if dropped the product could spoil easily. The pans are a little small, compared to say a NARS or MAC blush, but bare with it because the colour is so pigmented you won't need to use much.
'Must Have' is a warm peachy pink shade that essentially is a must have, it's a shade that would suit all skin tones as it can be adapted to your skin colour by altering how much you apply. The colour is unbelievably pigmented, I apply it with a brush and find that one sweep over the pan is more than enough for an instant pop of colour to my cheeks. In fact, I find myself blowing a little colour away from the brush because it's so pigmented!
The blush wears for around ten to twelve hours (this is the longest I wear makeup before removing it, so it may last a little longer), but did find it to fade a little in hot weather.
'Must Have' is quite a good dupe for MAC Pinch 'O' Peach but has a more natural finish, personally I prefer it to Pinch 'O' Peach.

Makeup Store Blush retails for £14 from Makeup Store stores in Carnaby Street and Westfield London.
Nails Inc recently launched their Special Effects polishes - a vast range of polishes with effects ranging from crackle to glitter to something a little more special. One of the newest introductions to the Special Effects line is the Sprinkles Collection, a set of four nail polishes to give the effect of multi-dotted nails much alike candy dots decorating a cupcake.
The only polish shade which really stood out to me from the collection was 'Sweets Way' but the collection is made up of Topping Lane, Sugarhouse Lane and Pudding Lane also. Each polish is named after a 'delicious street' in London which I quite like!
Nais Inc polishes are packaged in a short and chubby jar with a silver twist-off lid. The brush is a standard skinny brush that delivers a full nail of polish in two or three strokes, nail size depending.
'Sweets Way' is a milky white nail polish saturated with bright blue, rose pink and white 'candy dots'. The dots don't stick out from the nail but smooth on quite nicely, in two coats I managed to get the above finish which I'm quite happy with. Personally I think a full set of nails like this is too much for my tastes, so I'll be using this polish as an accent nail or on every other nail teamed with nail colours alike.
The polish wears for around five days before chipping, which I've been impressed with. It has a semi-matte formula so I always apply topcoat for a glossier finish.

Nails Inc Sprinkles Polishes retail for £11 from Nails Inc stockists such as ASOS and Debenhams. I just spotted these on special offer for £8.80 each on beautybay.com.
Nourish Skincare believe in nurturing the skin that mother nature gave you naturally and organically, aiming to strike a balance between nature and nurture. They retail a great range of both skin and bodycare products, and have developed their skincare line with ranges based entirely around skin type. For dry skin types pick 'Nourish Protect', for normal or mature skin types pick 'Nourish Radiance', for oily or combination skin types pick 'Nourish Balance' and for sensitive skin pick 'Nourish Relax'.
Nourish have four Toning Mists on offer, each targeted towards each skin type range (Balance, Radiance, Relax and Protect). I have combination skin, a mix of dry, normal and oily, so the Combination 'Balance' Mist in is ideal for me.
My Toning Mist appears to have older style Nourish labels and packaging, I personally prefer the new style packaging as it's brighter and captures the brand essence better. What does impress me about the Nourish packaging, and is something I've not seen before with skincare, is that they mark every batch number by hand.
The toner, old and new style, is packaged in a portable plastic bottle with a push-dispense mechanism that releases a burst of toner onto the skin. I've been carrying it with me in my handbag for bursts of moisture and freshness throughout the day, and I only need to spritz it once or twice over my face for the full effect.
Each range has its own scent and colour to match your entire routine, the Balance range is gently scented like freshly chopped apples, it smells completely natural and is so refreshing on the skin.
The formula is a liquid which spritzes as a fine mist, it sinks into the skin in around 5 seconds and leaves no residue at all. The full ingredients list is displayed on the product packaging, and I'm pleased to see the ingredients are 97% organic and very natural.
I spritz this toner over my face in the morning to wake me up, instantly refresh my skin and of course for toning purposes. I've also been using this throughout my day as a top-up cooler and refresher. The spritz leaves my skin feeling smooth and toned, it eradicates oil in a few seconds and reduces any shine on my face throughout the day. Since I've had this product there hasn't been a morning that I haven't used it, I've been enjoying it so much!
In the evenings I like to sweep toner with direct contact over my skin to ensure all the makeup and dirt from my day is thoroughly removed, therefore I only use this spray in the morning and throughout the day; you can of course, simply spritz it onto a cotton pad then apply to the face as normal but I use a separate toner entirely to preserve this for other uses.

Nourish Balance Refining Toning Mist retails for £8.95/100ml from Nourish online, I picked mine up from CuteCosmetics.co.uk who offer free delivery and a free Nourish Hand Cream with two Nourish Skincare purchases.
For over 25 years, St. Ives have been bringing over 100 countries the best of nature in their natural skin and bodycare products available on the high street at an accessible price. St. Ives strongly believe in taking care of the environment, their packaging is eco-friendly and they're always aiming to reduce waste.
St. Ives are possibly most well known for their scrubs, they're the number 1 scrub brand in the UK! When their products were in store I recently I picked up a couple to give them a go. There's two body scrubs in their range - Invigorating and Deep Cleansing.
St. Ives recently had a brand makeover, the feel of the products and their packaging is more contemporary and captures the brand essence well. The body scrubs are packaged in a plastic tub, simply twist the lid and scoop the formula - I use around two walnut sized amounts for my entire body.
The scrub has a creamy formula with fine granules, they aren't over abrasive at all; they're more gentle on the skin than sugar or salt scrubs meaning it can be used two or three times a week. After each use my skin feels soft and smooth without any dryness, regular use also helps fake tan to fade evenly. The scrub itself has a gentle apricot scent thanks to its apricot extract infused formula, it's a nice fruity scent and despite not enjoying apricots as a food I do enjoy the smell!

This is the sort of scrub I would use in the summer when my skin is a little less rough, but in the winter I need something a bit tougher. I feel quite indifferent towards it, it's a good scrub that leaves a nice finish so I would purchase it again but to me it doesn't feel like anything particularly special.

St. Ives Apricot Body Scrub retails for varying prices from St. Ives stockists, I found it cheapest in Superdrug for £5.09.
Revlon recently launched their Photoready collection, a range of eight products with photocromatics for perfect skin in any light. One of the newest additions to the Photoready collection is the 'Cream Blush', its launch was eagerly anticipated in the UK following its storming popularity in America.
The Photoready Cream Blushes are available in only three shades, Flushed, Pinched and Coral Reef, which I find a true shame! The shades however are ideal for the summer months, so are launched just in time for this flush of warm weather.
Photoready Cream Blush is packaged in a sleek black cardboard box, inside you will find a pot of product with a twist off lid. This style of packaging is not only portable thanks to its small size but also more environmentally friendly. To use the product, simply sweep from the pot with your finger or brush - I find it best applied with a brush.
'Pinched' is a very pale peach hue with a very gentle shimmer, it does indeed create a 'pinched' effect on the cheeks with a subtle and gentle glow but it needs to be built for visible colour. It's a little like a blush and highlight two in one.
The formula is quite firm but softens on contact with a brush or finger and applies well. I found it to last around 5 hours on the skin before it began to fade, but also noticed it made my skin feel a little oilier than usual so needed to fix it with a little powder.
Revlon 'Pinched' has quite a liken to NARS 'Enchanted', without the shimmer or bold flecks.

Revlon Photoready Blush retails for £7.99 per pot from Revlon stockists but is presently on offer at £5.99 in both Boots and Superdrug.
Exactly one month ago I wrote about one of LUSH's latest online campaigns - 'Save Our Soaps'. Health and Safety Officials have banned bars of soap in public places, only allowing liquid soaps for public use. To me, this makes absolute sense, as on a personal hygiene level I would not want to share a bar with someone who I had never met or known, it can't harm me but it's just how I feel. I barely share a bar of soap with my family!
Herbalife Herbal Aloe Bath & Body Bar: £6.40/125g (*)
The Bakewell Soap Co. English Lavender & Poppy Seeds Bar: £3.95/80g (*)
LUSH Rockstar: £3.40/100g
Dove Cream Body Bar: £0.79
However, the campaign got me thinking about liquid soap generally, is it necessary, has it taken over a classic bar of soap for nothing? Liquid soap has a larger carbon footprint than a bar of soap, it's generally more expensive and I find myself using a lot of it; so I embarked on a one month test to see if making the switch from liquid to bar soap really makes a difference at home. This is the story of how I got on.

WEEK ONE:
I began this challenge by switching from my liquid shower gel and liquid hand soap to a bar of soap only. I chose not to switch my liquid facial soap as I daren't play havoc with my already unsteady skin. My soaps of choice were LUSH Rockstar for my hands and Dove Cream Bar for my body.
By the end of week one my hands were feeling and looking very rough and the skin had begun to bubble and peel in places, I wondered if the LUSH soap was perhaps too strong for my hands but persisted to another week. The Dove Cream Body Bar left my body feeling wonderfully smooth and I noticed my underarms smelling particularly neutral and fresh. Using a bar of soap alone over my body proved time consuming, I found myself having to spend a couple more minutes in the shower to lather the soap and smooth it over my skin

WEEK TWO:
Mid way through week two my hands were feeling horrendously rough and the brutally honest people in my life were even pointing it out to me. They were flakey in areas too, which wasn't pleasant. I found myself needing to use hand cream at least three times a day on top of applying it after washing my hands, which became quite a nuisance when I wanted to wash my hands and go. 
The Dove Body Bar was still going strong, but I began to miss having my deliciously scented shower gels and grew tired of spending an extra couple of minutes lathering a bar in the shower, it wasn't functional when I was in a rush. I hadn't noticed any difference between using a bar of soap and a liquid soap in the condition of the surface of my skin, so at the end of week two I switched back to my liquid shower gel, but kept the Dove Body Bar for use in places such as my underarms as I find shower gel is a little too harsh in areas such as these.

WEEK THREE:
At the start of week three my hands were in such terrible condition I stopped using the LUSH Soap, concluding it is too strong for my skin. Although it smells lovely and I use much less of it compared to liquid soap, what it was doing to my hands was really unpleasant to go through. I switched from the LUSH soap to Herbalife Bath & Body Bar. At this point I was no longer using a soap bar on my body except under my arms. I did trial the Herbalife bar on my body and it left it feeling wonderfully smooth, but again the time it took to use it in the shower wasn't practical for my schedule.
By the end of week three my hands were already looking better, I only needed to use hand cream twice a day and found the Herbalife soap a lot more gentle, it lathered much better too.

WEEK FOUR:
By week four I felt I had enough evidence to make grounded decisions about how I feel on the Liquid vs Bar soap debate, but persisted to the end. Through week four I used a mixture of Herbalife Bath & Body Bar and The Bakewell Soap Co Lavender and Poppyseeds bar, noticing a huge improvement in the condition of my hands again and enjoying the additional scented soap. Both these soaps lather well without compromising on natural ingredients, they left my hands feeling clean and I didn't need to apply any moisturiser after using them. I was still using Dove Cream Body Bar under my arms but did not use any bar soap on my body during week four.

MY CONCLUSIONS
It's been exactly one month since I began this challenge, and I've learnt a lot - I've even made changes to my bodycare routine because of it.  
At the start of the challenge I had a 'normal' skin type, not dry, not oily - balanced. Over the month the skin on my hands began to switch from normal to very dry, but I am blaming this on the LUSH soap which I have since thrown away. I do now use a bar of soap instead of liquid soap to wash my hands because I use much less of it compared and it leaves my hands feeling squeaky clean. The LUSH bar has been replaced with Herbalife and The Bakewell Soap Co which I am now alternating between for variety. I am still suffering the effects of using a harsh soap on my hands, but they are improving every day.
Replacing shower gel with a bar of soap is not for me, the added two minutes spent rubbing the bar between my hands in the shower simply aren't practical when I'm in a rush. I saw no difference in the condition of my skin between the bar of soap and liquid soap. I am however using bar soap in sensitive areas such as my underarms as I notice they are left feeling a lot fresher. I'm also using the bar soap as a shaving cream under my arms and legs as it reduces resistance between the skin and the blade making for less redness and a smoother finish.
Using bars of soap instead of liquid soap has not saved me any money this past month as I have been experimenting with different soaps. In the future, switching to soap bars would cost me no more than £5 if I owned a separate soap for my hands and body and chose them wisely. They are lasting me much longer than my liquid soaps, so I conclude monthly and in the long run I will save money. I usually spend around £6 on shower gel and liquid soap each month alone, I would only need to spend the same amount every two or three months if I switched to bars.
I still would opt for liquid soaps in public places, and in the past month no advances have been made with LUSH's campaign.

Where do you stand on the Bar vs Liquid soap debate?
Herbalife, one of America's most popular nutrition companies, are making a breakthrough in the UK with their newest line of products - Herbal Aloe. Herbalife have made use of a combination of botanical ingredients and vitamins in the new line, promising no parabens, sulphates, or harsh chemicals meaning the products are suitable for even sensitive skin.
Strengthen & Soften: Strengthening Shampoo, Strengthening Conditioner
Hydrate & Nourish: Soothing Hand & Body Lotion, Soothing Gel
Refresh & Revive: Hand & Body Wash, Bath & Body Bar
Herbal Aloe is a line targeted towards the skin and hair, with three categories available that group particular products: Strengthen & Soften, Refresh & Revive, Hydrate & Nourish. The entire line is quite small, with just two products in each range and six products in total, giving you complete care that is simple and accessible.

I've been using a couple of products from the line already and I'm enjoying the natural yet pleasant scents and silky soft skin and hair, without any compromise on naturally nourishing or enriching ingredients. My favourite product so far is the Hand & Body Lotion, you can read my review here.
It's rare that I find a brand that offer natural, botanical products which deliver excellent results with a great scent at a good price, so it's a shame Herbalife don't have as much exposure in the UK yet - they're just starting out here so are only available to order over the phone right now.
The products do exactly what they state and do it rather well, not just from this line but across their entire range! I hope they become more accessible in the future to really flourish and show their full potential.

To place an order with Herbalife, please call 08450560606. For more from Herbalife, click here.
Security labels, they're useful for stores to protect their products but not so useful for paying customers as they spoil the packaging and appearance of cosmetics. Removing them seems oh so simple by simply peeling them off, but can rip cardboard and leave a sticky residue on plastic, which makes for one messy and unattractive nightmare.
The biggest culprit of oversized (seemingly unnecessary in some cases) security labels on cosmetics is Superdrug, I recently bought a couple of products and found security labels on every single one. The security labels in question were poorly placed, either on the front of the packaging, over the instructions or placed over the seal. I find this so annoying, especially when I want to take pictures of the product for my blog and a large security label is in the way.

So, I devised a simple method to remove these sticky labels fuss free, leaving a finish as if the label was never even there!

YOU WILL NEED:
> Hairdryer
> Acetone Free Nail Polish Remover
> A cotton wool pad (the less fluffy, the better)

STEP ONE:
On a low heat setting held 10cm away from the label, blast the hairdryer back and forth for five seconds. This should warm the sticky backing of the label. Peel away gently.

STEP TWO:
Tip a little nail polish remover onto your cotton wool and gently swipe it over the remaining sticky residue if there is any. Be very gentle so you don't spoil the packaging.

Et voila! A completely clean finish with no security label residue in sight. This method also works great for general labels which are hard to remove or leave any sticky residue behind.
Ogario is a hair salon based in Islington, London, who retail their own capsule range of hair products developed with Protein Protect Technology and a blend of Vitamin B5 (panthenol) and proteins. Their products are packed with natural ingredients such as plant extracts and essential oils, making them ultra nourishing from your hair.
When I say the range from Ogario is capsule, it really is, consisting of just a Shampoo, Conditioner, and a Hair Masque. The shampoos and conditioners are aimed towards all hair types or dry/colour treated hair, and the hair masque is suitable for all hair types.
The Ogario Hair Masque is packaged in a plastic pot with a twist off lid. My product is a sample so is not a true representation of the design of packaging but runs a similar mechanism. Ogario London branding is simple, and captures the essence of the product well. My sample is ideal for travel, I managed to get two uses out of it, so hopefully a full sized pot would go a long way!
Hair Masques are a product of choice depending on your hair type, usually they contain specific ingredients or hold specific properties for specific complaints and problems. Ogario offer all round nourishment for your hair with their masque, whatever it's type.
Ogario's hair Masque formula is enriched with avocado oil, sage, lavender, citrus oils and so much more which make for a delightfully smooth and creamy formula that slathers across the hair very well.
The masque only needs to be left on for three minutes to achieve the full effect, no half hour funny business here, which means you can pop this onto your hair after shampooing and get on with shaving or shower gel-ing while you wait.
What you will notice as soon as you twist the lid of this product is the scent, which is possibly my most favourite scented haircare product to date. Imagine a cocktail of zesty limes, lemongrass and a hint of ginger which lasts on the hair up to two days after using the masque, leaving it smelling fresh and delicious.
After three minutes rinse the formula and continue with styling as normal. After each use my hair felt quite manageable even while wet, but the true results shone through once my hair had dried. Ogario Hair Masque not only smoothed my hair and banished frizz, it thickened my ends and gave them an instant boost of body without weighing them down. My hair feels unbelievably soft, fresh and revived after using this masque, it has a gentle but not unmanageable shine and looks really healthy.

This really is an amazing hair masque, baring in mind these results are after a mere three minutes of application. I truly recommend getting the free sample while it is on offer to try it out and see the incredible results for yourself! I will be repurchasing this again, I can't say I'm not a little disheartened by the rather hefty price tag, but it's worth saving up for.

Ogario London Restore & Shine Hair Masque retails for £26.50/200ml online at OgarioLondon.com
Revlon Colorburst is a fairly new range of lip products which add a pop of colour and lustrous finish to the lips, available in a gloss, lipstick and lip butter.
Revlon have become a popular name in the beauty industry recently, they're beginning to become a 'higher end' high street brand with a great range of products on offer which make a cheaper alternative to other popular but more pricey brands.
From the Colourburst collection is a range of lip glosses available in a staggering 18 shades, aiming to deliver a high shine finish with a 'killer colour'.
Revlon Colorburst Lip Glosses are packaged in a tall plastic tube with an attractive black quilted lid, twist off this lid and pull away to reveal a plush applicator with a slight groove to fit the lips comfortably.
The formulation of the lip glosses is perfect, it isn't at all sticky or streaky but glides on gently leaving a high shine, glossy and full finish. On the lips it feels somewhat hydrating and smoothing, it doesn't cling to dry areas but evens them out nicely. They wear for around two and a half hours before they begin to fade, at around three hours I find myself needing to reapply.
Worn alone
'Bellini' is one of the palest shades from the range, it has a sheer, slightly milky finish and looks really great worn over lip glosses. Admittedly in the tube it looks as though it leans coral, but it is infact a nude hue with some peachy and pale pink tones to it. Personally I dislike wearing this completely alone over my pigmented lips, I most enjoy teaming it with MAC Fleshpot and Barry M Pale Nude.

Revlon Colorburst Lip Glosses retail for £7.99 each from Boots, Superdrug and other Revlon stockists.
© All content Copyright to Holly Arabella unless stated otherwise.