Tuesday, December 1, 2009
“Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine”
~St. Thomas Aquinas
I have always loved the smell wafting from the Lush stores. However I know this is not the opinion of everyone and many people just passing by the stores find the smell very overpowering. And this is not the only controversial aspect of the store. Recently Lush has been in the news in the UK through its active support for the ‘Hunt Saboteurs Association’.
Lush does an excellent job at marketing their brand which is a little quirky, green & natural (I will come back to just how natural shortly). I can happily spend an hour or so reading their newsletter (the current one is 39 pages long). It is bright, colourful & always makes me want to go back to the store & buy something I have read about. Unfortunately going into the store is not one of my favourite experiences because the very enthuastic staff members latch on to you as soon as you step inside the door making it very difficult to browse.
Anyway a few days ago I braced myself & went in to their store on Henry Street in search of some bath ballistics. There is an excellent range all with a clever names and all claiming relaxing/energising/sensual effects. Many are very beautiful. At the moment there is a Christmas range of ballistics & I was drawn to the Cinders one(€2.85). It is yellow with pink sparkles(apparently popping candy designed to sound like burning logs) & is scented with cinnamon and orange to smell like a warming yuletime drink. When I used it in the bath this ballistic turned my water bright yellow, did not smell very strong & I did not experience the ‘popping candies’ effect. When I got out of the bath I felt it left my skin with a funny yellow tinge & it actually turned my nails yellow. Also I had to scrub my bath for a few minutes to get rid of the yellow trace it left on it. Perhaps this is down to one of the ingredients -colour 18050 . This does not sound very natural to me!
The other bath ballistic I bought was ‘waving not drowning’ (€4.00). This contains lavender oil & ylang ylang oil(two of my favourite fragrances) & promises to aid sleep and fight restless nights. I was very disappointed with this one. Infact when I was in the bath I wondered had I put the ballistic in at all because the water was perfectly clear & I got absoutley no scent. At €4.00 I would not buy this again.
Overall I was not too impressed with the bath ballistics. I feel many are very expensive (the Geophyzz is €5.25) especially as you can only get one use from them. Also I am disappointed that they are not completely natural as most have at least 3 synthetic ingredients(the ingredients listings are clear and transparent showing natural ingredients in green type face and synthetic ingredients in black). For an extra euro or two I could purchase an all natural bath cream/oil which would give me 10/20 uses.
I do feel that the ballistics are a nice gift idea & I know that I will most probably be back to Lush again soon to try out a few other items I saw in their newsletter. Their marketing has worked its magic on me!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
“She would rather light candles than curse the darkness and her glow has warmed the world.”~ Adlai E. Stevenson
Recent research has shown that paraffin candles can possibly be harmful to the person & the environment. The petroleum by-product of paraffin candles & commonly used metal/lead/zinc-core wicks produce toxic fumes and smoke. Paraffin Candles are the most common types found in the Irish market. Almost all cheaper candles & also more expensive brands such ‘Yankee Candles’ are made from paraffin wax. As I am a huge fan of candles I was shocked by this news so I started out on a quest to find less harmful options which I discovered come in the form of beeswax or soy candles . I found it very hard to source beeswax candles in Ireland & most of the soy candles are unfortunately on the expensive side. Anyway after a little research I decided that I would try the Max Benjamin soy candles. Unlike most other soy candles available here I like the fact that Max Benjamin are an Irish company & the candles are hand produced in Wicklow. The company is run by two brothers Mark and David Van den Bergh & is named after their nephews Max and Ben(how cute!)
The candles area available through the Max Benjamin website & in stores such as Brown Thomas & Arnotts. I was very disappointed to find a poor selection of fragrances in Arnotts so I made my way to BT’s where the wide range of fragrances were available. There I purchased the Flora Gardenia candle for 18 euro. This blend includes ylang ylang and neroli oils to create a gently refreshing floral aroma which has a calming effect when feeling sad or overwhelmed. The cost was quite a bit more than I would normally spend on a candle but as these are hand made luxury soy wax candles I was quite happy to spend a few extra euros. Also soy candles apparently burn up to 50% longer than paraffin candles making them quite economical. Apparently the candle I purchased has a minimum of 40 burning hours.
I was impressed with the simple design of the packaging & classic style candle looks very pretty in my living room. However the best thing about this candle is the beautiful fragrance. It really is luxurious and not too overpowering. The only negative I have found is that I need to trim the wick after each use. Possibly this is because they are Italian cotton wicks which are lead free. As this means they are non toxic to my home & the environment this does not bother me at all.
I will definitely be making a repeat purchase from the Max Benjamin range. There are many other fragrances which captured my interest especially the cloves & cinnamon candle which I think would make a lovely Christmas present for friends or family.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Hi there, today I am going to review Weleda Lavender Creamy Body Wash. I bought a 200ml tube in Health Matters for €12.00.
This is a body wash to use in the shower & the lavender scent is calming & soothing to the senses. Lavender is traditionally used at night to aid sleep. However I used this product in my morning shower & I found it quite calming especially if I know I have a stressful day ahead.
I decided to try out the wash in the bath so poured some under running water before stepping into the bath. It was not perfect but I was much happier with it than some synthetic bubble baths I have used in the past. I had a lovely relaxing bath & my skin smelled lovely afterwards. I am planning to buy lavender scented bath gel but have to do some research into which brand to go for. Please let me know if you have any suggestions.
The smell of lavender is very strong so if you do not like this scent you probably should not buy this product. However I do like the wash & I am also planning to buy it in a different fragrance so I will keep you updated.
Whilst doing a bit of research today on the Weleda website I was delighted to see that this product was a winner in the ‘green beauty bible awards’. These awards seem very credible & one of the judges is the co-founder of ‘Green & Blacks’ chocolates (my favourites). Here is what the ladies have to say about the wash:
Comments: ‘Excellent product – subtle lavender fragrance, not at all old-fashioned, left my skin slightly scented, moisturised, and softer’ • ‘creamy and rich, left a silky feel, not expensive but feels like a top-quality product – perfect’ • ‘like the simple packaging and flip top’ • ‘wonderful and relaxing in the evening; only needed a little bit so lasted for ages’.
I am off now to check out the website for the ‘green beauty bible awards’. Hopefully I will discover some new products to try. Thanks for reading. I will be back again soon with more reviews.
Monday, November 9, 2009
“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.”~ Lao Tzu
Hi there, this is my brand new blog. I hope to review & discuss natural beauty products with particular emphasis on what is available to the Irish consumer. I will kick off by reviewing the first natural product I bought which is the lavera faces balancing cream. I read the following summary of this product on the lavera website & I thought it would be perfect for my combination skin:
'This gentle formula effectively nourishes and protects combination skin whilst helping to balance oiliness. Extracts of calendula, peach, apricot and other plant-based ingredients hydrate the skin and leave it feeling fresh and soft.Babassu oil, mango seed butter and witch hazel have a mattifying effect on skin, reducing shine. Vitamins C and E provide anti-oxidant protection against environmental pollutants.'
I was persuaded by the blurb so I went out & bought a 30ml tube in Nourish a few weeks ago.This product is widely available in health food shops in Ireland (although not Holland & Barrett) & I have also seen it in Clerys. I think the cost was approx eight euro (I will try to be more accurate with pricing in future).
I was impressed with the packaging. It is quite simple but has a pretty calendula flower (a type of marigold) on the front which cheers me up in the morning when I put on my moisturiser. I also really like the smell of the product which reminds me of chocolate orange.
I have now been using the cream for 4 weeks & I really like it. The cream does not feel too oily on my skin but I usually apply it 20 minutes before I put on my makeup. My skin is also quite sensitive & many moisturisers which I have used in the past have irritated my skin. This product does not irritate my skin at all. The only downside is that it does not contain an SPF (just vitamins C & E to protect the skin).
Thanks for reading. I will be back again soon to review more products.