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VWC Ultimate Hair Repair Serum – An Excuse to Sniff Me?

VWC Ultimate Hair Repair Serum Organic Argan Oil Prickly Pear Seed Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil, Corn, Olive, Aloe Vera Orange Blossom Essential Valerie Widmann Cosmetics Natural Vegan

I consider my hair to be at least a sentient semi-autonomous-part of my body and though I usually trust it, it can be difficult keeping it from caressing people it likes and stopping it strangling those it doesn’t, so I wouldn’t want to hear what it may sometimes say behind my back. We have a standing agreement; it has almost free reign, looks cool no matter how messy it is, almost looks after itself and I home-colour my roots maybe three times a year, go easy on the hair dryer and have stopped my Mum experimenting on it to see if a style would look good on Her via proxy.

That’s why I wouldn’t normally try and then review a hair serum since there are very few products I would use on it so I hope that speaks volumes because I only tried this due to the ingredients and am very impressed with Valerie Widmann’s Cosmetics (VWC) Ultimate Hair Repair Serum.

It’s an oil blend and the oils used in my opinion give it that va va voom.

To my mind this is a sleek product in a strong, clear, tall glass 55ml/1.85 fluid ounce bottle with a plastic pump dispenser that actually works since the inner tube goes to the very bottom and unlike many bottles actually has the description, ingredients and directions on a label as well as the branding. It comes in a matching box which is handy since the glass isn’t dark and doesn’t slow down oil degradation.

The recommended method or as I call it ‘method 1’: A Serum To Wash Out

‘Instructions for use: Massage oil into scalp and leave for circa 20 minutes to 1 hour. Then wash hair as normal.’

As a wash-out oil treatment it works like all good oils do in my experience aka it depends on your hair type and scalp sensitivity. If you have dry to average scalp/hair you’ll probably notice more of a difference i.e. softer skin and the oil lightly coating the hair as it rinses through which should stay in place unless you then shampoo/condition and/or towel dry so much that it mostly comes off on the fabric.

My hair isn’t dry so doesn’t absorb oil that much, but it does hold on to it well without feeling greasy – so basically this blend with this method doesn’t suit my needs so much because I already use oils. That means I didn’t really notice a difference in using this except a bit of sting on the areas I’d previously scratched (not a problem for me, that’s the kind of thing that happens on raw skin depending on the oil and it subsided) and I have to wash and wait for my hair to dry before I can use this which I’m not inclined towards.

Method 2: A Leave-In Hair Conditioner/Moisturizer

Overall I preferred it left in, there’s nothing obvious in the ingredients which necessitates it being washed out as far as I’m concerned, it’s just an oil so I’m ok with that but for those whose hair gets unmanageably greasy quickly (though bear in mind the more frequently you wash hair the quicker it’ll get greasy/used to doing so) it’d probably be easier to wash out as instructed.

Finding a good leave-in conditioner is akin to finding a good pair of shoes and. That. Is. Hard. I rarely find shoes that are comfortable and I can walk long distance in and I rarely find a leave-in conditioner my hair will accept whilst still looking cool enough to wear sunglasses (since I don’t like them on my nose). I’ve tried lotions, balms and oils and been unhappy with most of them – not this one. It covers, softens, smoothens, moisturizes and does it straight away, it also absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave a noticeable residue – bonus!

It can also be steamed instead of washing out. Note – this doesn’t involve heating the oil beforehand. I put the cold oil on both my scalp and hair then steam it in and when it dries voila soft, shiny, vibrant, bouncy hair. To steam either put your hair up in the bath/shower or even in a double helper by steaming your face under a towel hence aiding your nasal passages and skin whilst also steaming your hair. To dry, a hair dryer with cold to medium level heat will suffice, not too high or for too long though as not only is that damaging but remember hot oil cooks.

Steaming means not stripping the hair with extra washing and serves me better for detangling than using specific ‘detangling’ ingredients in a lot of products naturally derived (different to ‘natural’) and synthetic, I find those do detangle my hair but also leave it ‘squeaky’, less elastic (so easier to snap/break) and too light/voluminous which means ‘flyaway’ for some people and necessitating some kind of holding product like a spray.

Comparisons to other oils used on the head

Doesn’t itch.
My scalp likes to breathe and tends to itch a lot when leaving any product on it so even though I use oils I tend to focus on the hair but this one doesn’t bother my skin although those with sensitive or problem skin should always do a patch test.

A little goes a very long way.
It takes 2 squirts to cover my scalp and a further 2 for all over my hair – to me that’s not much as it would usually take 2-3 times as much, and I find it spreads very well even through thick, coarse/wiry aka curly hair.

Detangling – knots what knots? Bedhead? No problem.
The simplest, quickest detangling product I’ve used period when leaving it in. I can run my fingers through my hair with barely any effort and undo knots easily. I don’t often have hair hijinks but it calms stray strands and mushed areas like music to a beast.

Good replacement for coconut oil – a Winter oil
You can go from looking salon fresh one moment to Worzel Gummidge (a scarecrow) the next if you go from a warm environment to a cold one e.g. indoors to outdoors and vice versa whilst wearing coconut oil. It’s wonderful and gotten very popular but not very practical in the Winter; olive oil, shea, cocoa butter are also wonderfully nutritious but not for people who can’t handle the weight. This is a lighter, versatile alternative.

Method 3: Scent

I’m not a perfume wearer since you never really know what’s in them except alcohol and the notes (there are some attractive make-your-own kits though!) I’ve only ever bought two perfumes and that’s not for lack of trying. I once went through a bunch of those sample sticks to the counter assistant’s frustration only to buy the first one I chose and knew I liked and had always liked but wanted to see if anything better had come along since. Both of those perfumes were purloined by someone who wouldn’t buy them for himself. Cha. I do however like oils for scent and find them much more sensuous.

So it nourishes and in my opinion smells gorgeous! For many people this could be the first and potentially most important factor because it’s a strong scent; sweet, rich and reinvigorating (and I’m glad it doesn’t have added perfume, even a natural one) I’d wear this for the scent alone! Well… I might reconsider now that I write it down, I’ve been told that I smell really sweet – something hormonal on my part perhaps or just something pervs think up for a line. Adding more sweetness might increase those who sniff you at bus stops or stand close to you on the tube in those ridiculously rare moments when it’s not ‘rush hour’ and there’s actually space to move. Then again it might make you sickly sweet, hmm… So potentially offputting for those who find a little too much oil to be pungent or dislike of ‘Oriental’ type fragrances.

Method 4: Face/Body Oil

This is probably the fastest way to use this product and yet it’s my favourite – my hair doesn’t need much of it, but the rest of me does!

It’s light, absorbent, refreshing, moisturizing and healthy – it’s made my face look less blotchy from all the sleeping-under-the-blanket weather issue, removing the blemishes from a recent foray into food with White sugar, soothing my nose (and surrounding skin from) and nasal passages from a cold and has been helping with the burn mark on my left hand. An all rounder.

Interestingly enough I can feel the resistance when using it on drier body parts like my hands, it doesn’t spread as easily or the skin feels abit rough/’sticky’ until it sinks in but elsewhere it’s smooth like other oils.

Ingredients and General Properties

Organic Argan Oil, Sesame Oil, Coconut Oil, Corn Oil, Olive Oil, Aloe Vera Oil, Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil, Orange Blossom Essential Oil, natural preservative, Vitamin E.

Note – only the argan and prickly pear seed oils are organic, ‘organic’ means being certified and hopefully adhering to rules and guidelines from certain organizations. That doesn’t necessarily mean others don’t meet those/similar standards or are low quality just that the manufacturer couldn’t, wouldn’t or haven’t yet gotten organic status. (That doesn’t include extraction and refining if refined.) Then there’s genetically modified (GM or nowadays GMO) crops, one of the reasons for many turning to companies like this and I’m highlighting this point because there is controversy over GM corn (and soy and many tend to lump GM and non-GM versions together in the argument). That can make it confusing with ingredients that either aren’t labelled ‘organic’ or ‘GM’ (if the ingredients are labelled at all) or aren’t one or the other.

Argan & Prickly Pear Seed – Very high in essential unsaturated fatty acids including omega 6 & 9, also in Vitamin E. The former has Vitamins A & F and the latter Vitamin K. They are commonly used for antioxidant activity, regeneration/healing, dry/mature skin and dry/damaged hair.

Sesame – Sometimes called the ‘Queen of oils’ and has a multitude of health uses – edible, medicinal and cosmetic. There are far too many properties to list but they range from antibacterial to protecting against radiation-induced DNA damage.

Coconut – High in essential unsaturated and saturated fatty acids including medium chain triglycerides, high in Vitamin E, has many uses including being a natural sunscreen.

Corn (Maize oil) – Depending on how you look at it is either a filler or additional help to the others. It’s med-high in Omega 6 and possibly Omega 3 but the ratio is said by some to be unhealthy. For cosmetic purposes noted for Vitamin E but has others. Susceptible to heat damage.

Olive – Known as one of the healthiest fats and one of the most studied – a multifarious edible, medicinal/preventative, cosmetic oil full of essential fatty acids and polyphenols. Everything from an anti-inflammatory to pain relief.

Aloe Vera – Not usually thought of in oil form, has all the usual qualities but concentrated. Soothing, said to prevent hair loss by improving blood circulation in the scalp, prevents/treats dandruff & itching, moisturizes skin & retains the moisture.

Orange Blossom (Neroli oil – not the same as Orange Blossom ‘absolute’) – an interesting and pricey essential oil that has many medicinal uses, generally thought of as mentally revitalizing yet physically soothing, hormone balancing and resistant to sun damage hence holds its properties well. Also known for its strong and sweet flowery scent.

Valerie Widmann Cosmetics

This item was provided by VWCosmetics in exchange for a fair opinion and company mention. It’s available to buy for €28.95/£22.71 at:

http://www.vwcosmetics.com/products/organic-prickly-pear-seed-oil-products/hair-repair-serum.html

‘It does not contain parabens, alcohol, synthetics, sulfates, petroleum, GMOs, animal by-products, artificial colours, silicones (no dimethicone!) and fragrances… Added to this is an exotic blend of oils which repairs and restores the shine in your hair. It nourishes, conditions, treats and repairs dry, colour treated, heat damaged hair leaving you with a silky, shiny, luxurious finish.’

VWCosmetics is a German company that imports from fair-trade cooperatives for their organic, cold pressed argan and prickly pear seed oils and aspires to a higher quality, unique selection of products.

Conclusion

This works both as a boost and maintenance product. For those wary of oils due to having oily skin remember there are oils actually used (including some of the above) to balance that for many reasons such as astringent properties.

I siphoned some oil into a smaller bottle and found that 20 squirts equated to 8ml so if you used it for a hair&scalp treatment once a week at 4 squirts a round that’d be upto 9 months of use. However if you’re using more and in various ways it’d decrease much faster, I’ve been using it for 10 days and down to 2/3 but then I was experimenting… Although I like it in most of the ways I’ve tried it so I can see it lasting approximately a month. But hey, it’s worth it.

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VWCosmetics Prickly Pear Seed Oil – The ‘Next Big Thing’ After Argan?

Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil Review

Prickly Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) Seed Oil is another treasure finding its way out of Morocco following its hugely successful predecessor Argan (Argania Spinosa) Oil. It’s currently one of the most expensive oils available to buy purely for its own value rather than say, couture brand label mark-ups and packaging so it’s quite an honour to be writing about something that I wouldn’t usually come across. If Argan oil is known as ‘liquid gold’ then would that make Prickly Pear liquid platinum? I took it for a test drive to see 😉

Please note – the bottle of 10ml Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil I’m reviewing was provided by VWCosmetics at http://www.vwcosmetics.com/ in exchange for a fair opinion and company mention, both of which I always include as a matter of course in a review 🙂

OVERVIEW OF THE SITUATION

I was offered the chance to try this oil whilst nursing a scald/burn on my left hand so this review is the sequel to the one featuring Dr Organic’s Vitamin E Pure Oil Complex, it continues the treatment here’s a re-cap of where I left off:

Timeline

Approx 1 week after the burn

Time for a change from the aloe vera and lemon juice, started using Dr Organic’s Vitamin E Pure Oil Complex.

Approx 1 week after that

Time for another change – I find it best to do this as the skin (body in general) can get used to one thing/treatment and the effects can plateau but I still needed more healing so started using the Organic Prickly Pear Seed oil (OPPSO) on affected area and the above oil on the areas around it.

And approx 1 week after that

Dabbing apple cider vinegar with the ‘mother’ intact on the wound as a finishing touch, this was left to the end as it is a high strength, unrefined vinegar and not generally found on the highstreet. It’s very strong (so should be diluted) and also very versatile for health, cosmetic and cleaning – so using it here to eat through the damaged layers, heal, soften (yes this type of vinegar softens skin – and hair – whereas lemon juice dries) and lighten the skin. Using OPPSO and argan afterwards.

Note on terminology from now on:
OPPSO – refers specifically to VWCosmetics Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil
PPSO – refers to prickly pear seed oil in general, organic or not, virgin & cold pressed or not.

WHAT IS A PRICKLY PEAR?

It’s not a pear as we know and love but a colourful cactus fruit that grows in arid and semi-arid regions of the world. Ever heard that joke about treating a porcupine for pins and needles? Well this plant and its fruit are covered in spindles so it no joke when local growers say to leave the higher growing fruit to the birds since it’s not a good idea to use ladders near these plants!… Ouch. They remind me a tad of dragon fruit on the outside and pomegranates on the inside so that should give you an idea of how exotic they are and how small their seeds are. The Daily Mail stated that it takes 1 million seeds to make 1litre of oil and the Chelsea Physic Garden say that their 3in spines used to play 78rpm records on gramophones before steel needles, yikes! They have a Mayan heritage but were also found throughout Africa as a precious resource for food and health then taken to the Mediterranean where they were hailed and regaled before being brought to the spotlight again in current times.

Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil Review

Photo credit: photowalk.mostlyfiction.com/category/desert-plants/

What are those spikes protecting?

A heck of a lot of vitamin content (E & K primarily) and unsaturated fatty acids (Linoleic/Omega 6, Oleic/Omega 9 – has the ability to penetrate beneath the upper layer(s) of skin for longer lasting benefits) as well as saturated acid (Palmitic), minerals and amino acids. And that’s just in the seed oil, the rest of the seed and fruit as a whole are very nutritious. In terms of cosmetic use PPSO is suitable for residents of such dry climates and when shared with the rest of us, in theory a great health booster particularly for those advancing in years and those with dry skin/hair, lines/wrinkles and for some masking to removing discolouration of skin and light scarring. I’ve read about those with heavy scarring and birthmarks having ‘miraculous’ results but personally I doubt that would happen for me. There doesn’t appear to be many sources of info (other than the invaluable and irreplaceable experience of the those who’ve been consuming/using it for ages of course) but the general consensus is that PPSO outclasses argan oil in tocopherols and tocotrienols (the 10 groups of Vitamin E) and leaves olive oil in the dust so to speak hence has the highest amount of Vitamin E out of most oils available for cosmetic use. Other oils noted for Vitamin E are wheat germ and almond. Remember though that Vitamin E can only be taken internally in much smaller amounts than topical use – so olive oil is still excellent for eating and for thicker texture.

I’ve tried to explain Vitamin E in a number of reviews but basically unlike other vitamins it’s not a single ‘thing’ – it’s a group of compounds called tocopherols and tocotrienols (5 of each) that are collectively known as Vitamin E though on many products you’ll notice a prominence of tocopherols mentioned e.g. ‘tocopherols enriched’. As a beauty aid Vitamin E is noted and used for anti-oxidant ability and focus on regeneration so all round anti-aging and weather protecting.

PUTTING IT THROUGH THE PACES

First impressions – texture and packaging

The oil is lightweight, has a faint scent that reminds me of cocoa butter and is very smooth – that might sound strange but many oils thicken and get blobby to in the cold but this one doesn’t. That might be because it’s a ‘stable’ oil meaning that it retains more of its nutritional value in conditions that other oils would start to degrade in, given that it’s cultivated and used in hot climates with bright sunshine it’s impressive that it also holds well in the cold. It’s also quick to absorb.

It comes in a cute, little dark Brown glass bottle and matching thick card Brown box. It has an inbuilt, plastic dropper pipette which I found was slow/clogged at times so perhaps not quite wide enough but other than that functional and prevents waste.

Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil Review

On the burn

I started using this on the burn because I felt it would be better to use a single ingredient product to get the full benefit, product blends are great but sometimes I feel the properties are competing and you might not get the force of the ones you want as they are subdued by others. I was tempted by another product I had used in the past that is a powerhouse of oils but I decided for the burn area itself to go with the OPPSO for the higher concentration of Vitamin E. I’m not one who goes for either phrase ‘if you eat well it shows so you shouldn’t have to worry about your skin/hair/nails’ or ‘the product you apply in one area spreads and affects all the other areas so why bother with specific areas’ … I agree with both to an extent as through research and experience (and quite frankly common sense) one does affect the other, it’s all connected but at the same time some areas need more attention than others and tailored attention at that. That’s exactly why in my Dr Organic Vitamin E Oil review I stated that I felt it important to keep the whole hand well nourished so the skin around the burn wouldn’t suffer as well and could indeed boost aid to the affected area but at the same time the affected area has different/extra needs.

By the time I started using this my skin had that overly smooth/non lined look like a gel blob were it liquid and if left like that looked as if it would probably acquire that somewhat shiny look of stretch mark and cut/torn based scars as well as the lines from the surrounding skin. I wanted to avoid that because it’s a large and noticeable area.

I only needed upto 4 drops to cover the affected and surrounding area and used it regularly especially after washing. I found that it wasn’t as softening or smoothing as I had expected but my hands are problem areas in that respect and need more in the way of lotion or body butter for that effect. However it addressed the shiny tissue issue and made the skin look more ‘real’ and matte again. It now looks more like a birthmark or skin discolouration than an injury scar and the area is not raised but level with the rest of the skin. I think that’s the most I could hope for given the severity of the burn, my skin being prone to scarring and using this at a later stage of the treatment instead of earlier.

Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil Review Natural Burn Treatment Home RemedyVegan

Uneven skin tone

Interestingly enough PPSO has notable amounts about both Vitamins E and K; the former being a blood thinner and the latter a thickener – in that sense I can imagine that having a balance of both would or should assist with uneven skin tones, not taking into account skin colourants but more the formation of skin cells. That said old scars and marks run deep and can take years to noticeably reduce since even new skin copies the old when it comes to those so it’s important to use something that is high in Omega 9 to get to those layers or be present when they grow, it’s one thing to have the Vitamin E it’s another to get it where you want it to go, (argan oil has much more Omega 9 than PPSO).

It’s supposed to help with shadows on the face and like many other people probably have been doing I’ve been sleeping under the blanket since on the onset of cold weather and that leads to blotchy facial skin and the darkening of the sides of the nose and under the eyes especially. I’ve tried the oil in that area and haven’t noticed any difference but that’s unlikely to change unless I come up for air and actually get some more oxygen! I’m thinking if I steamed my face & neck and then put this on as an overnight moisturizer it would have a much better chance.

Other

I had a few places of torn skin near my cuticles and this healed them in no time, they didn’t even itch – just went straight back to normal skin.

It’s apparently also really good for achieving glossy locks with a little going a long way, since this is a 10ml bottle and I’m pre-occupied with my skin at the moment I haven’t tried it but I’d hazard a guess that since its rich in Omega 6&9 it’d be better for thick and/or coarse (prone to curling, wiry) or dry and/or damaged hair – it might be too heavy/greasy feeling for light and/or thin hair unless washed out shortly after or heat dried-in.

VALERIE WIDMANN COSMETICS

Looking at the VWCosmetics website I was impressed by the passion shown by the founder for the products from production to sustainability. There is a focus on organic argan and prickly pear seed oil products, both of which are grown by fair trade women’s cooperatives with an interest in helping and forwarding their position in society and protecting their environment. Acquiring both oils is extremely labour intensive e.g. for OPPSO the seeds have to be carefully separated from the pulp and ‘Because each seed contains only 5% of oil, up to 35 kilograms of seeds are necessary to get about 1 litre of Oil.’

There is a lot of info on the site so I won’t reproduce it here but it’s poignant to note that this is pure OPPSO and not a cheaper alternative where PPSO has been blended with other oils or actually from the cactus blossoms and not the fruit seeds.

Also for company info:

VWC OPPSO is
-produced on demand ensuring freshness
-elite quality
-first cold-pressed
-organic and unscented
-sustainably harvested
-virgin and unrefined
-does not contain artificial or chemical additives
-paraben and cruelty-free
-brown bottles for maximum protection
-distributed from Germany in consideration of the strict German cosmetic directives

OPPSO Eco – Certification
VWC only works with Producers in Morocco that have their OPPSO classified as a “Natural and Organic cosmetic” holding both ECOCERT and USDA certification.

CONCLUSION

I think on the whole I’d benefit a lot more from OPPSO if I was older or had weather beaten skin/hair, the fact that I use oils regularly (and have a high oil ‘fat’ diet) perhaps made the effects less noticeable but I can imagine that if the weather was hotter, more oil used and dried in over a longer time period the properties would have more of a chance to shine. Plus this is a small bottle but I’d be interested to see how it fairs on other problem areas on the body. That said in terms of healing damaged skin for both a burn and tearing it did a good job and for that I’m grateful – to Mother Nature, the women who cultivated this and Valerie Widmann who offered it at a coincidental time.

10ml Organic Prickly Pear Seed Oil €24.95/£19.57

http://www.vwcosmetics.com/products/organic-prickly-pear-seed-oil-products/10ml-organic-prickly-pear-seed-oil.html

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Dr Organic Vitamin E Pure Oil – A Solid Middle Range Contender

My left hand was recently scalded and though luckily the worst of it didn’t cover the whole hand quite a large and noticeable area was affected so I was looking for a product that would help. To show how this item fits into the wider perspective I’ll quickly outline my actions to treat the burn thus far and the reasons why I ended up with this particular oil.

Timeline

Day 1

Immediately after the burn I held my hand under the cold tap for approx 15min, then held half a potato over it until the pain went, held an aloe vera soaked gauze over it for a while and then packed grated potato over it with bandage, replenished every 3 hours for 9 hours.

Day 2

Got my strength and mobility back in that hand, no pain and the skin looked good and smooth in general but after a while the most affected area showed itself and was very Red with an obvious outline/perimeter. Over the next few days I applied aloe vera and lemon juice to it (no more bandages whilst indoors), I was satisfied the residual inside heat had passed but didn’t have access to an oil I wanted I use yet.

Approx 1 week later

Time for a change, the aloe vera and lemon were great but since they were both juice (would have preferred raw aloe vera gel) they were drying, which isn’t a bad thing but it was a toss up between wanting to let the affected skin dry and fall off but also needing the rest to be well nourished and heal as much as possible. The skin was a lot darker, itchy over 2-3 days, still Red in places but more Brown and very distinct from the rest of my hand. I was leaning towards a Dr Organic’s lotion (preferably the Vitamin E, Aloe, Coconut or Tea Tree) but ended up with the Vitamin E Pure Oil Complex instead.

Approx 1 week after that

Prickly Pear Seed oil on affected area and the above oil around it.

A very similar incident happened when I was a child, my Mother immediately plunged my hand in a bowl of cold water for what felt like ages (which is something to be careful of since it doesn’t always soothe and you mustn’t add to the stress on the skin by potentially ‘freeze burning’ it), someone else suggested putting butter on it (never put butter or oil on just after the burn unless you’re sacrificing a body part for a cannibal who likes fried meat). Thankfully Mum didn’t listen, she used Sudafed and later we went to a doctor and got something prescribed. That all led to weeks of heavy bandage, skin that looked like bacon, lots of uncomfortable itching, stinging, then all the peeling and general ‘grossness’. Being a lot older now I don’t have the masses of regenerative ability I used to and my skin is prone to scarring, the above actions are not a recommendation just a run through of my actions for myself and if I had more of a choice there are other products I’d use but as it is this review focuses on the second week when using Dr Organic’s Vitamin E Pure Oil Complex.

Dr Organic Vitamin E Oil Complex Review

Advice from staff at Holland & Barrett, compromises and being budget friendly

I had intended to get a lotion because oils are generally expensive though I wasn’t too keen on the lotions because Dr Organic include a lot of formulation ingredients (e.g. preservatives) but they do use aloe vera as the base and in comparison to other organic, cruelty free and mainly natural products readily available on the highstreet you get more for your money with 200ml at approx £7 (more or less depending on the particular lotion).

That said I was in two minds about lavender oil and tea tree oil, both are supposed to be very good for burns and I usually like to mix them as I find the latter makes the former more moisturizing and the lavender compliments the tea tree but again, essential oils are very costly and you’ll be lucky to find big sizes in ready made blended oils on the highstreet. Bigger bottles of both refined blended oils and higher quality and higher concentration blended oils are available online but then you’re balancing delivery time and higher prices. I mulled over a tea tree tincture but decided against it and then against tea tree altogether as it encourages scar tissue to form, not a bad thing in terms of quick healing but not what I wanted.

It came down to a couple of the Dr Organic aloe vera gels and the lotions so at that point I asked for advice. In my experience most H&B staff are well informed about their products, a bit like Lush staff but less effervescent, and in their favour also open to possible as well as specified uses for products and not reticent in recommending other stores if they don’t have something suitable. The H&B lady thought a Vitamin E product would be best since Vitamin E focuses on regeneration, it had been my first choice for the lotion but we agreed the oil would be better since this case wasn’t just for normal skin; overall it’s more pricey but for an oil, organic oil at that and considering that a little goes a long way it was probably the best option. There was also the Dr Organic Vitamin E Scar & Stretch Mark Serum available but she thought that was better for once scarring had occurred and older scars in general, from my point of view that one’s not vegan so I couldn’t use it anyway.

This currently costs £8.99 at 50ml (though they have great sales & a rewards card).

The proof is in the pudding

The ingredient list is very simple; sunflower seed oil, rosehip oil, tocopherol (compounds associated with Vitamin E, source unknown here), jojoba seed oil, calendula flower extract, Damascena rose oil, citronellol and geraniol. To me that suggests rosehip and rose oils diluted into sunflower and jojoba seed oils as otherwise the price would be much higher, their scent is also very faint instead of heady which fits that theory. All of the oils are well known for their extra smoothing and softening effects with the rosehip and rose having a focus on anti-aging and the calendula a refreshing/revitalising component.

I find this oil very easy to use in that it feels light, isn’t sticky and spreads well only needing upto 3 drops per application to fit that part of my hand. When I first used it on the burn I felt a slight ‘stinging’ sensation but only that time, with regular use I found the affected area quickly and visibly retracted, the Redness decreased and the Brown increased particularly around the perimeter. The top layer(s) of skin became more noticeable in readiness to and indeed started to peel off but instead of being crispy and flaking it came off neatly and without pain when reaching the surrounding skin. Interestingly enough the skin underneath didn’t look as ‘ready’ to be revealed as I would have expected with even a couple of White bits (something I’m not used to lol) but they’re slowly getting darker, other parts were Pink but that wasn’t an issue. The perimeter was and is darker than my regular skin so a bit of a concern but since Vitamin E is associated with treatment for uneven skin tone I’m hoping it’ll all reach a good balance.

I have to reiterate that I would have preferred a stronger oil and this is very mild with sunflower and jojoba being gentle bases for more intense oils so after a week’s use I wasn’t too happy with the outcome. I hadn’t expected miracles, it had initially proved helpful by dealing with the top layer(s) but the underneath wasn’t going as well as I’d hoped. Being a pessimist-realist I worried that it’d end up scarred and it was showing signs of that overly smooth/non lined and shiny texture/look of scarred skin but I was given a stronger oil that I then switched to for the affected area. I’m still using the Vitamin E blend around the skin though as I find it a good maintainer for normal skin.

Dr Organic Vitamin E Oil Complex Review Opinion Natural Healing Vegan

Stretch marks, scars and more, oh my

The packaging states that this is helpful for dry skin, uneven skin, scars, lines/wrinkles and stretch marks. Having been an active youth subject to a lot of incident and injury from freewheeling ok falling/tumbling down slopes landing underneath my bicycle, jumping off swings at high arc, street hockey to more mundane indoor things like apparently falling off a chair as a child and breaking an arm I’ve alot of scars. I tested this on a range of them; some old (over a decade) stretch marks on my arm (thank you push-ups, not), a bite mark on my hand that’s relatively recent and a breakout on my face (I rarely eat refined White sugar but did recently for filler and immediately suffered for it with inflammation and spots) and the results varied. I found this worked best on my face with the spots automatically feeling slightly itchy and being visibly reduced overnight, whereas on the older scars there wasn’t any difference. I hadn’t really expected any either since scars are notorious that way and this is a light oil. I find the best ones are the really thick oils and butters like olive, cocoa, shea and coconut – they don’t really reduce old scars as much as disguise them like a soft lens in a romantic film when a lead character comes on screen. They soften the skin enough to make the appearance of scars less ‘harsh’ and jagged, that smoothing also makes the skin look and feel younger which in my experience adds a little glow (more noticeable on darker skin) though if you stop using them the scars become more noticeable again.

In regards to dry skin perhaps the cold weather is hindering it because it’s softening but not really making the skin ‘fill out’ which in itself would combat lines/wrinkles too. It doesn’t tone or tauten – though it doesn’t claim to – but just in case you were hoping for that this is not one of those (fruit oils are better for that). Again, I can imagine this working better in warmer weather.

What is Vitamin E?

I generally know the term ‘Vitamin E’ to apply to a group of health promoting compounds from various plants/foods rather than a single vitamin. A fat soluble nutrient and an antioxidant, which infers to me that it’s a healthy fat (obviously if consumed consciously as part of a lifestyle/diet read up on the possible effects of large quantities and remember that fats are used for many functions in the body not just affecting weight) which is easily broken down and helps prevent oxidization in the body which can lead to degenerative effects such as the ever dreaded aging but also health maladies. It’s linked to a healthy immune system, skin, hair and eyes but the benefits and risks are different depending on topical use or ingesting with the latter needing more careful consideration and recommended amounts for internal use are much lower than the ‘Tocopherol Enriched (10,000iu)’ of this product.

As a now common term in the skin care industry Dr Organic describes it ‘as a moisturiser it helps combat premature skin aging and also protects and soothes dry dehydrated and sun exposed skin. It also restores elasticity and reduces the appearance of skin imperfections by increasing hydration.’

The packaging – Mainly a Disadvantage

This is the one point where the brand falls down on the whole imo. There’s generally too much of it or its awkward. In this case the oil itself comes in a dark Brown glass bottle with inbuilt dropper pipette which is handy and hasn’t clogged in use but the box is twice as big as it needs to be (as you can see from the photo), has an two lids and is literally half empty. I’m guessing they thought they could print the info they wanted on it instead of adding a leaflet inside but its unbalanced and almost makes you think there’s something missing.

Dr Organic Vitamin E Oil Complex Review Opinion Natural Healing Vegan

About the brand

Dr Organic or ‘dr.organic’ is a cosmetic brand primarily available at Holland & Barrett. The ‘Dr’ is a British brand, are enrolled in a number of organic standard certifications and have a plethora of awards.

They describe themselves as providers or ‘bioactive skincare’; bioactive basically means a substance that can be used to affect or promote a response from a living organism, and/or can extracted from a living organism. To me it sounds like a very general slogan which can be applied to any number of cosmetics and non-cosmetics alike however from what I’ve seen of the brand it seems to imply that they are interested in conveying the beneficial properties of the items used without clashing or heightening/playing down some characteristics over others. It’s a lot to ask/a big claim and of course different people have different experiences, their products seem quite mild in general but there are some ingredients I’m not keen on.

Quoted from http://www.drorganic.co.uk/about.asp

Our Promise…
Organic ingredients
Bioactive ingredients
Natural ingredients
Natural ingredients are used in all formulations.
No harsh chemicals
No animal ingredients
All our products are suitable for vegetarians. In some products we used by-products from animals, most of which revolve around honey, these include; honey, royal jelly, propolis and bees wax.
No animal testing
No mineral oils
No GM ingredients
Preservatives (naturally derived)

The ranges available are Aloe Vera, Pomegranate, Tea Tree, Vitamin E, Lavender, Manuka Honey, Olive Oil, Royal Jelly, Rose Otto, Coconut Oil, Moroccan Argan Oil and Dead Sea Mineral. All of the ranges are vegetarian friendly and most vegan friendly.

Each range has a variety of products available including the usual Lip Balms, Body Butters, Hand & Nail Creams, Face Masks, Face Scrubs, Soaps, Body Scrubs, Body Washes, Face Washes, Shampoos, and Conditioners etc. Some more interesting items are toothpastes, deodorants and items focusing on the foot care.

All in all

Some of the glossiest (and feathery-iest) people I know eat tons of sunflower seeds so even though it sounds like a common oil and not particularly impressive, this unrefined version contains a lot of Vitamin E and thankfully in this blend doesn’t have that heavy, greasy feel or smell usually associated with it. Jojoba is also not the best for smell but is also subdued in that respect here. It’s lightweight and whilst not a quick absorber it’s not too slow and doesn’t thicken in the cold weather so makes a decent barrier oil that protects, nourishes and encourages skin growth. On the whole it’s value for money.

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Automatic Water Distiller – Crystal clear water? Nah, clearer :-)

Automatic water distiller distillation machine

Distilling water is a time, labour and resource heavy process (that took me a while to perfect!) So this is basically a product that does the work for you, uses less energy and makes a fair amount of end product for the time taken though for someone new to distillation some of the info might be a bit surprising.

What is distillation and what are the uses?

Distillation for water is basically the process of heating water to boiling point (100 deg C), maintaining that level or higher and siphoning off the steam, that steam is the distilled water. As the liquid has become light enough to separate from the main body and lift, it does so without all the heavier properties and additives generally found in natural or treated water. Hence it doesn’t contain the natural minerals, metals and nutrients of mountain/spring waters (so it’s actually purer than ‘pure’ water or perhaps ‘empty’ would be another term) nor the chemical concoctions, heavy metals or things like fluoride added to or falls into water from runs offs or rain for example.

Distilled water has many uses and is commonly used for cleaning equipment/tools; many associate it with industrial use (and it’s certainly easier to produce in such places as a machine bi-product from all the heat) but there are many home uses. It can be used for cosmetic making, home remedies, brewing, necessary for some cleaning equipment like some steam cleaners and irons, and perhaps sterilization of eating/drinking items. I’ve also come across some folk who use it for the cleaning their fish tanks.

It is fine to use distilled water for food, it’s simply water and hydrates and helps the body, but of course it needs to be accompanied in a nutrient rich diet if it’s re-mineralization and vitamins you’re after. That is particularly true for exercise or low blood pressure (feeling light headed/faint) – where mineral water, coconut water/juice or something other rich liquid would be more suitable.

The Machine and Using it

I bought mine from eBay for approx £100 nowadays it’s approx £85 and upto £270 on Amazon. Unfortunately mine needed a universal adapter for the plug so remember to check about that if interested. This version is plastic on the outside and stainless steel on the inside but metal finish ones are also available.

Components

1) The distiller itself separates to:

* The head with nozzle for steam to pass through and a connection wire to attach it to the..

* Main body to hold the water

* Power cord/plug

2) Within the nozzle is a replaceable filter

* The filter is made from activated carbon (rolled sheet types: >400), commonly used for high level filters activated carbon is different from regular burning or drawing charcoal and is used for various things including detoxing, digestive aid and in some cases poison control. It can strip the body of the good/helpful metals/minerals as well as the heavy metals (like some consumable clays – notably bentonite and zeolite – but also very beneficial).

* Extra filters can be bought separately and the rate of change depends on how frequently the distiller is used.

3) A separate jug/container to catch the steam – sits around the nozzle and comes with a cap. Mine was plastic which I didn’t like so used a different container but it state it was high heat resistant plastic.

4) Washing up liquid/detergent

5) Manual

This was the easiest method of distillation I’ve come across because all it took was filling the main body with tap or mineral water to the line, putting the head on, attaching the lead between the head and body, adding the power cord and plugging it in! (Whilst remembering to put the water container under the nozzle.) It had a start/on button but not a finish/off one as it automatically stopped itself but it could be ended early by switching off the mains/socket. This is the only method I’ve seen where you can leave the water unattended, multi-task, actually sit down if you want and get distracted 😉 and come back later. It’s very convenient. (That doesn’t mean leave the property and forget about it though! It’s not a slow cooker.)

It can also be run continuously all day according to the manual, with only a short cooling period between each go. I never tried that but have heard that it works fine that way. Personally when I used it multiple times a day I let it cool down quite a bit first just in case and to prolongue its life span.

The time involved to make this doesn’t sound appealing but this machine was marketed as very energy efficient using very little electricity.

Note – as with a filter jug the manual said not to use the first batch, to throw it out to remove anything left from the manufacturing and packing processes (in this case that does sounds like a waste, I can’t remember if I listened or just washed the insides first…)

Safety

This obviously handles very hot water (upto 160deg C) so take care when removing the head. It only feels warm from the outside but I found it best to lift the head at an angle lest getting a blast of steam in my face/on hands. You can leave it a few minutes to cool a bit first – it’s a bit like a metal kettle in that I find I’m more likely to get burned by the initial steam from one of their spouts than a plastic one…

Bear in mind that you can’t use more or less water than the line marked, that might sound obvious but there’s quite a few appliances that are ‘flexible’ and the difference doesn’t impair their performance so much. This one has a maximum time limit and does not have a lot of extra space in the main body so extra water could cause too much steam or gushing and too little could mean burning the heating element. I’m not saying use a spirit level and check the meniscus but don’t be over or under zealous 🙂

Apparently if you put warm-hot water in it the production time is automatically shortened (as per the principles of cooking in various room temperatures i.e. taking longer in cold and shorter in hot places) again something I never tried but also something I was a bit reluctant about. For example my Soylove (milk/tofu/soup maker) takes less time when used in successive rounds but it isn’t exactly the same each time. Also whilst both have temperature controls it’s not something I wanted to test since I had to use an awkward universal adapter, different to the one I usually use, on the plug a few times and it got in the way of the socket switch meaning I had to manually turn off the distiller, and if I wasn’t on time the steel at the bottom started to burn.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Distilled water itself should not produce lime scale but the production of it causes the water to separate so there will be some ‘dirt’/scale left over after using the machine a few times. I remember the recommended cleaning protocol being quite time consuming and more than I expected. Basically the manual said to use their recommended detergent only (how helpful, not) to not only clean the inside but the outside plastic of the distiller (yeah how long would that last). I just wiped clean the outside.

For the inside it recommended rinsing each day after using which was fine and once a month do what I call a ‘deep clean’. That involved putting a little detergent inside, filling it with hot water (I never used boiling) and switching it on for about 20-25min (with no on/off button that meant directly turning the switch off at the socket). Discard that soapy/dirty water and rinse with clean.

The distilled/water container could be washed like a regular plastic bottle not needing the ‘special’ detergent. I actually never used the detergent anyway since I couldn’t tell whether it was vegan friendly or not and just used a gentle alternative instead, never had any problems with that.

Take care not to submerge any part of the distiller or get any water into the head – so when doing the normal rinse just pour the water inside the main body, swish, throw out and wipe; don’t put it in a sink/bowl of water.

It was recommended to change the filter every 2-3 months, which I could understand given they were very small and if used frequently but I saw them as an extra (and great) level of filtration so I changed it at 6 months. It’s not required for old fashioned distillation and more on the reverse osmosis side where the filters tend to be a lot bigger and the process slower.

How does it hold up against regular/traditional home distillation methods?

For some great and easy to understand methods of distillation take a looksee here: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Distilled-Water

The average output is 1liter per hour for 4 hours. That’s pretty average for traditional distillation as well depending on the materials used and room temperate however since those are variable I can get 1.5l an hour or 2 if lucky but that said the opposite it also true, so it’s hit and miss. At least this way you know you’ll get 4l at the end of 4 hours (unless you’re in the mountains and it takes more energy and longer just to heat up to standard room temp) rather than possibly 3l after 6 hours using a traditional method in Winter. If you’re in a hot place the temperature sensor should shut it off if it gets too hot and your overall production time should be shortened.

As aforementioned with traditional methods you tend to have to be on your guard, it takes some getting used to and experimenting to get a formula that works for you and build up a ‘time awareness’ as it needs consistent checking and topping up as the water is converted into steam, then allowing for the temperature to rise again and being as quick as possible if using multiple containers so as not to break the chain for too long and wasting. It’s long, hot work, and can be sweaty and messy work. Plus cleaning up all the time is annoying.

All in all I’d say this type of distiller is better for newbies and people who use a lot of distilled water and/or frequently. Also for those who can’t do heavy lifting; this is a few kg in weight when full but it’s nowhere near as much lifting as other methods. Whereas those who need it once in a while it may be better to use a modified method from the above link (those are designed for making enough to store so some people may prefer scaling down or using varied equipment from what they’ve already got at home) and since appliances in general are not easy to dispose of.

Advantages: Consistent results, energy efficient, doesn’t need supervision.

Disadvantages: Quite heavy, not so easy to clean.

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Mini Portable Ozone Generator – A Deep Breath of Relief

Mini Portable Ozone Generator Ozonator Household Use Review

What is ozone and what is it used for?

Ozone (OO2 or O3 – the numbers should be smaller but I can’t manage it in this font/formatting) is a powerful and volatile gas. Most people probably know about it from the ‘ozone layer’ but ozone makes up a very small part of our atmosphere; the ‘ozone layer’ is simply a ‘band’ of slightly higher concentration that helps act as a multi-purpose filter. On the planet sized scale it is super but close-up is too strong for creatures and plant life hence ‘low level ozone’ that is detectable by humans via their ordinary senses is considered degenerative and dangerous.

Ozone was previously associated in lower concentrations with industrial use including professional cleaning, sterilization and toxin/germ/poison neutralization e.g. from ‘deep cleans’ before/after tenants to deodorize, sanitizing food and water supplies, disinfecting ‘health’/production/lab spaces or even an alternative bleaching agent to chlorine-containing compounds. Even though itself has a chlorine-like smell it breaks down easily into dioxygen so doesn’t leave an odor or taste. That said, industrial generators were/are still only used in closed, empty rooms that are then aired out before people, animals and plants are allowed back in.

So, Can Ozone Be Healthy on a Personal Scale?

There’s plenty of information online about the health and safety fears/regulations of ozone from being an irritant to fatal and perhaps more easily recognized via aeroplane cabin news regarding air quality combined with radiation. But at the same time there’s also a lot of positive information and experience of ozone in very small concentrations; these household/small space ozone generators have been on the market for some years and from my personal experience I’d say they’re not a fad or alternative health gimmick, for me and mine at least. They don’t have time restrictions and you can be in the room at the same time – they are basically air purifiers generating ozone from air and electricity via corona discharge light (Ultra Violet is the natural way but less commercial).

Some think ozone production is dangerous or inconsistent (e.g. in windy or flowing wet environments) stating that ozone is only safe to breathe when made from pure oxygen instead of air and pushed through olive oil. I have not looked into that process or why olive oil is specifically necessary but from what I have read those are the really high quality, high output industry generators and as with many consumer products many people have to compromise. These are small sized, single socket plug-ins made for small-medium home style rooms that presumably have doors, windows and vents. There’s some caution needed and that is true for every appliance.

Ozone is one of those things where moderation is involved; in its case a lot is not a good idea and a little can be beneficial (I still eat almonds and a bunch of other foods that have dangerous components in them and have found more UV to be better for me than less and I don’t wear sunscreen in this climate – though I’m Brown skinned so need more anyway than a fairer skinned person; it depends, as long as you don’t go overboard).

WHY I BOUGHT THIS?

I’ve had chronic breathing difficulties since I was 15 though the warning signs started much earlier; not a condition like asthma but more congestion and inflammation of the throat/nasal passages hindering and shortening the breath. Obviously not being able to breathe properly has a lot of knock on effects from headaches, fatigue to digestion and stiff posture. I personally don’t think being born and raised in London or living in many a damp, rundown environ helped; many a polluted city dweller experiences ‘Black bogey’ (Greyish anyway), moreso if using the tube/underground. Then going ‘healthy’ and walking as much as possible isn’t that healthy when sacrificing the respiratory system to traffic and other air/water pollution (not to mention that everybody wears a cacophony of fragrances from their toiletries but I don’t want to sound too much like Victor Meldrew) and since wearing builders or surgical masks isn’t the done-thing here like in some Asian counties, unless one is a cyclist.

I tried a lot of things to help after leaving prescribed antihistamines behind me and preferring breathing exercises, oil pulling (a method of holding and squeezing oil in the mouth until it pulls out everything from the throat & nose) and unrefined apple cider vinegar (many internal health benefits and awesome external body & home cleaner) but it got to the point in my late-20’s where I was bothering people in the household.

All those years I had to hide it in public and when I relaxed at home and made my laboured breathing obvious e.g. gulping or trying to push air through my nose every few seconds (even while talking) one of the household members remarked on how annoying it was which surprised me because I’d gotten used to it. I thought that was it, I needed something constant to aid because as helpful as the aforementioned methods were/are they’re only so good whilst doing them and for a short while after. Frequently I’d ‘sort myself out’ and then be blocked by the time I got out of the building or to the main road. On a sidenote – interestingly enough despite my issues I’ve never been a snorer but have spent nights listening to the sympathetic, synchronistic snoring of household members who are then joined by cat (and bird) in a strange symphony.

I found out about these mini, portable ozone generators and didn’t have much faith in the idea since I’d tried other air purifiers, fresheners and such with little to no effect but at approx £16-20 each or less in pairs (Amazon/eBay), marketed as safe for household use and low consumption unlike regular generators I thought they were worth a go.

THE GENERATORS IN ACTION

To me they resemble nightlights or baby monitors in size, weight and general look for an appliance. The outer casing is White plastic with an output volume dial on the side which when fully rotated to one side clicks ‘on’ and the opposite direction clicks ‘off’, and then there are two lights on the front in Blue and Purple. I’m guessing that the Blue is more a pretty ode to the colour of ozone gas or to appeal to the ‘pimp my (whatever) crowd’ and the Purple is probably a corona discharge light (these are air-cooled and get warm-hot depending on how long they’ve been on). The Purple is at the base of a small output-hole for the ozone and hence uncovered. When on they make a whirring/blowing sound, it’s not very loud and becomes part of the background noise but at first it’s noticeable.

I’ve found for smallish to medium sized rooms like second bedrooms and box rooms they take approx 10-15 min before I can breathe properly and consistently, in larger lounge/master sized rooms they take approx 20-30min. I actually bought 4 of these and placed one in the kitchen, one in the sitting room, in the hallway and in my bedroom. I’d only use one at a time but the other household members noticed the difference – the air didn’t feel like ‘fresh air’ from being in the countryside say but it was cleaner, more breathable and relaxing so they said I should leave them all on (with intervals) except the kitchen one which we only used after cooking since the kitchen fan wasn’t upto the job. I did turn them off at night though because of the furry and feathery people.

Using them so much probably shortens their lifespan but I did use them consistently for 3 years and they worked well not only improving my overall health and mobility by making breathing easier but in those years I didn’t notice Winter mould and general household smells were reduced so my family and I probably benefitted from the anti bacterial/fungal/viral properties. However I can’t say whether food left out lasted longer or stayed fresher for longer or whether my plants benefited (since they turned out to be humidity lovers and ended up making the bathroom look like a jungle.)

Ultimately I found that I could breathe without pressure, without having to blow my nose every or multiple times an hour and without that persistent sniffling/partial choking sound. The other household incumbents of the non-furry/feathery persuasion found their hayfever didn’t bother them anymore when at home and said paw/talon folk didn’t seem bothered by them.

CAUTIONS

You shouldn’t really be able to smell the ozone but it is noticeable just after turning it on and if we accidentally put a hand near the Purple output-hole we’d get ‘stung/bitten’. They never burned but the zap and smell showed they were working – just be careful not to put any body parts in front of them when turning on/off or adjusting the output level via the side dial and keep out of reach of very young/curious persons. As for the smell it dissipates quickly.

I had one in the kitchen but away from the food prep areas so as not to get splashed and I only ever wiped them clean, when off, with a dry or slightly damp tissue/cloth. Do not use these in humidity e.g. whilst cooking – moisture affects their performance/lifespan by producing nitric acid (unlike UV based ozone production).

We didn’t have any problems using these with the windows closed and for an hour or more at a time, opening a window would have defeated the purpose imo but we never left them on to the point of feeling oppressive. Bear in mind that we had always lived in heavily urban areas, in blocks of cheap flats, with breathing problems, surrounded by people far more technologically enamoured/disposed giving off noise and radiation pollution all the time so what might seem normal to us may be too much for others. If you ever feel like something bright, noisy or smelly for example is causing stress turn it off, move or ventilate the area if possible.

Ozone is a much more potent oxidant than ‘regular’ oxygen yet we didn’t notice an accelerated deterioration of textural or functional quality from materials/objects immediately surrounding the generators.

THESE ARE NOT IONISERS

Despite what some keen marketers/sellers may say to perhaps alert viewers/potential customers to these generators, they are not ionisers. Ionic air purifiers do produce ozone as a bi-product but they use high voltage to produce positive or negative (generally negative) charged ions and when industrially used – generally to clear some infections and reduce electrostatic buildup. In my home experience they leave the air feeling/tasting sterile and ‘empty’ rather than fresh or clean. Ozonation is produced via attracting an extra oxygen and is a much more thorough sanitization.

ALL IN ALL

I’d say these were a good purchase and helped more than expected, different people will have different results but I’m glad I gave these a try. They are on the lower end of ozone production vs price only making 50mg/h at £15 each yet they were still effective whereas others under £100 range upto roughly 600mg/h so better value but for bigger/airier spaces or to be left on then vacating the area for a bit. Note – output is a more reliable indicator of strength than estimated distance/volume of area the ozone may reach (different locations and conditions will affect that).

Advantages: Anti-bacterial/fungal/viral, Deodoriser, Low output for small spaces, Effective & Efficient, Cheap, Durable.

Disadvantages: Safety concerns, people have different sensitivities, Not for big spaces, Not to be used once space is humid.

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Dr Organic Rose Otto Lotion – Not all Roses but Does the Business

Advantages – Moisturizes, Hydrates, Refreshes, Smoothens, Softens, Firms, Tones, Anti-Aging, Absorbent.

Disadvantages – Not so much rose? A lot of ingredients for the formulation of the lotion as well as the nutrients.

Dr Organic dr.organic Rose Otto Damascena Body Face Lotion Moisturizer Moisturiser Bioactiv Bioactive Anti-AgingWHY I BOUGHT THIS – and Who it Might Be Helpful For

I recently came down with an inflammatory illness that lasted 2.5 months and was pretty much bedridden for approx 1month of that. It started with joint swelling and then all over in some places. Some of the heaviest swelling was on my jaw which ended up ‘locked’ and so I liquid fasted for that month. I just wasn’t in the mood to think about let alone keep up with a skincare routine but I was still worried about the effects prolonged stretching and contracting would have on my skin – stretching from the swelling, contracting from the major weight loss and then subsequently weight gain after being able to eat again. Then there were the effects of alternating hot and cold e.g. hot water bottles and ice. I didn’t want stretch marks, loose or extra dry skin. I needed my skin to stay supple yet firm and be able to manage transitioning for a long time especially in the recovery period when joints were not back in place, and then hopefully go back to its original texture.

Other factors I took into consideration were my age, soothing properties for swelling and the weather. Being early 30’s in addition to the illness meant I wanted something ‘extra’ in comparison to what I usually go for, so I decided on something specifically anti-aging. The weather being mild meant that I didn’t have to worry about the product being too heavy or light but I did intend to use lots of it hence I didn’t want taking too long to absorb yet I did want to feel the benefit of instant hydration as well rather than moisturizing without thirst quenching. Asking a lot eh?

Thankfully I came across Dr Organic Rose Otto Lotion at just the right time and it falls into the ‘affordable’ price range for organic beauty/health products.

COMPANY INFO

Dr Organic or ‘dr.organic’ is an extensive and attractive skincare brand primarily available at the ever wonderful Holland & Barrett, purveyors of more ethically friendly food and health items (e.g. vitamins and cosmetics) for those with special diets, health needs and just a general interest in improving/maintaining health with a purer quality of product. The ‘Dr’ is a British brand with an international reach in the ingredients they source (though I’m not clued up about their ethical policies for sourcing, fair trade, transporting etc), are enrolled in a number of organic standard certifications and have a plethora of awards.

http://www.drorganic.co.uk/about.asp

”’Our Promise…”’

Organic ingredients – We strive to use organically grown ingredients. Where an organic ingredient cannot be used we will always source sustainable natural alternatives
Bioactive ingredients
Natural ingredients
No harsh chemicals
No parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS), perfumes or artificial fragrances.
All our products are suitable for vegetarians.
No animal testing
No mineral oils – Petro-chemicals such as paraffin and petroleum are avoided, plant based oils and extracts are used.
No GM ingredients
Preservatives – Where necessary preservatives are used to guarantee product safety and shelf life. Only the highest grade broad spectrum naturally derived preservatives are used.

What does bioactive mean?

I posted some Dr Organic lotion reviews on my blog a while back HERE and have found them to be amongst some of the most popular search items in my reader statistics and the term ‘bioactive’ comes up a fair bit too.

They describe themselves as providers or ‘bioactive skincare’; bioactive basically means a substance that can be used to affect or promote a response from a living organism, and/or can extracted from a living organism. To me it sounds like a very general slogan which can be applied to any number of cosmetics and non-cosmetics alike.

I couldn’t find an exact definition on their website. However they do state that they are committed to creating products that are ’ functional by design and formulated to capture the key active properties within the ingredients used’ To me that implies that Dr Organic are interested in conveying the beneficial properties of the items used without clashing or heightening/playing down some characteristics over others and attempting to bring out the best in most if not all them. That’s no easy task and a big claim and since they can’t please/cater to everybody at the same time with a product I don’t doubt that some are hit and miss for different people. But in conjunction with the ingredient lists I’ve seen on products in general in the past I respect that ethos/aim because more often than not I come across products that use key words to promote products and then you find that the corresponding ingredient(s) is only included in a very minor percentage or as a topnote. Such disappointing advertising is also often accompanied by numerous filler ingredients both natural and synthetic but mostly synthetic and possibly some other ‘nasties’ that can cause skin irritation as well as other speculated undesirable side effects. The ingredient lists I’ve seen on Dr Organic lotions are not top notch and have more ingredients then I would ideally like for aesthetics rather than nourishing properties but they’re hardly synthetic or as unhealthy as a whole than the majority of highstreet buys e.g. I’ve seen formaldehyde in some hair conditioners. In comparison to those Dr Organic is quite mild so worth checking out for sensitive skin types but for those with grain intolerances bear in mind the Xanthan Gum and Sodium Phytate in the ingredients.

Ranges

The ranges available are Aloe Vera, Pomegranate, Tea Tree, Vitamin E, Lavender, Manuka Honey, Olive Oil, Royal Jelly, Rose Otto, Coconut Oil, Moroccan Argan Oil and Dead Sea Mineral. All of the ranges are vegetarian friendly and most vegan friendly; the lotion in this review is vegan friendly and 200ml in size.

Each range has a variety of products available including the usual Lip Balms, Body Butters, Hand & Nail Creams, Face Masks, Face Scrubs, Soaps, Body Scrubs, Body Washes, Face Washes, Shampoos, and Conditioners etc. Some more interesting items are toothpastes, deodorants and items focusing on the foot care.

PROPERTIES

This product has the Rose Otto signature so I would have thought Rose Oil, Extract and perhaps Rosehip would be the main ingredients. There is no Rosehip and the Rose Oil and Extract are quite far down in the list. I’m not a chemist so I can only give Dr Organic the benefit of the doubt due to their ambition for ‘bioactive’ skincare and rely on Rose being one of if not the main active component in this lotion and as such will give a few properties here.

It’s one of those multi-faceted oils being known for antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, cholagogue, cicatrisant, depurative, emenagogue, haemostatic, hepatic, laxative, nervine, stomachic and uterine properties. Generally rose oil can be used to aid stress/anxiety relief as it is soothing and uplifting and in cosmetic skincare has maintained popularity in older women due to its fatty acids and vitamin content that nourish, moisturize, fill out the skin as well as stimulating skin cell renewal which is helpful for new skin but also can potentially help with scars and pigmentation.

Note that Geranium Oil and Geraniol are in this mixture. The Geranium is before the Rose ingredients; Geranium is often used as a substitute and/or filler for Rose in Rose products as it is cheaper and the Geraniol at the end of the ingredient list is harder to speculate on as it can come from Roses, Geraniums or a number of other plants.

Consistency

The lotion was a thick, pure White cream which felt very soft and silky smooth and I really mean silky – it felt slippery to the touch though not thin at all and yet rich at the same time. To me it didn’t smell very rose like but there’s a heck of a lot of oils in it so in that sense I wasn’t surprised but was surprised and amused that the overall blended smell reminded me of lychee/litchi fruit with an after-smell/hint of rose. I love litchis so found it pleasant but obviously something to think about for those who don’t like sweet, fruity scents.

Though a thick lotion it wasn’t greasy to the touch and absorbed quickly as well giving instant hydration in a reinvigorating and soothing way. It made both an effective day and night cream, I didn’t try it under make up but I think a small amount could work and for touch ups to awaken tired eyes and on/around the mouth after eating.

Directions

‘Apply liberally to the skin. Repeat as often as required. Suitable for use all over the body. Avoid contact with eyes. Due to the ingredients natural origin, colour and consistency may vary from batch to batch. This does not affect the quality of the product.’

From my experience a little of this goes a long way as it spreads really easily, perhaps an effect of its silky consistency. I also found it very gentle and soothing on both the sensitive swollen (both hard and soft swollen) areas and areas that are generally sensitive due to thinner skin such as around the eyes. A 200ml bottle would usually last me approx 2 months but since I was slathering it on it lasted half the time.

HOW WELL IT WORKS

Taking into account the properties described above the lotion did everything I’d hoped for; it refreshed, soothed, moisturized, hydrated, toned and prevented the rapid aging I’d worried about – the swelling underneath it would go down a little too when I’d first apply it which was helpful. It softened the harder areas directly over joints like elbows and knees and really softening and filling out the dry skin on my hands. It didn’t make my skin radiant or glowing with youth as some oils I’ve have but I really just wanted it as a preventative and for damage control and in that sense it got top marks. On areas of loose/loosening skin it shrunk/toned and on the ‘regular’ skin it maintained and thirst quenched like a thicker body butter would do.

For those with stretch marks and scars I wouldn’t say this decreases the visibility of them but it should help prevent them spreading or new ones.

Regardless of my age and health I’ve always had spot prone skin, yet I was using a lot of this and constantly but amazingly my skin didn’t breakout so I found it really breathable and non-irritating.

In regards to layering I did try it with other lotions and oils and at no point did I find it created any bad smells or negative affect on my skin, all in all it was like a nursemaid throughout. I would think that it would layer ok with fruity, sweet fragrances should you choose to wear it alongside a scent but of course let it sink in fully first.

In terms of lasting ability I’m pretty confident in thinking that had I not been ill it would have not only been a great assistance during that time but would have improved the quality of my skin in general and with further use the anti-aging properties would probably have been more noticeable. As it was, it helped keep my skin the way it was before I got ill.

INGREDIENTS – Know What You Put in Your Body and Why

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Aqua, Dicaprylyl Ether, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Glycerin, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isocetyl Palmitate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Myristyl Myristate, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil Unsaponifiables, Theobroma Cacao Seed Butter, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Glyceryl Caprylate, Tocopherol/Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Glycyrrhetinic Acid, Retinyl Palmitate, Xanthan Gum, Chondrus Crispus Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens (geranium) Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllata (clove) Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena (rose) Flower Oil, Parfum (Natural and food grade), Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Passiflora Incarnata Extract, Tilia Europaea Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Flower Extract, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Phytate, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Geraniol, Linalool, Citronellol, Eugenol.

Breaking the above down abit:

The base includes Aloe Vera Juice, components of Olive Oil, Cocoa Butter, Shea Butter, Sunflower Seed Oil, Liquorice and Vitamin A,C&E.
Then Irish/Carrageen Moss (a type of Red algae), and the oils of Geranium, Clove, and Damascena Rose.
Then Damascena Rose, Passionflower, Lime flower, Calendula and Chamomile Extracts.

Quite a power house and packed with properties I could benefit from. They all share/overlap in quite a few of their properties but generally:

Aloe, Lime Flower and Chamomile all have soothing, calming and healing properties.
Irish Moss and Clove have anti-inflammatory properties.
Liquorice and Passionflower both have pain relief properties.
Calendula is revitalizing plant, a wake-up call, giving immediate energy.

The Vitamins are all antioxidants preventing degenerative oxidative stress on cells, and are all immune system maintainers/boosters. They have individual properties but in general for skincare Vitamin A promotes and maintains skin tissue quality and can help with acne, E is a soluble fat helping to keep the skin plump/youthful C prevents discolouration of skin.

Compromises

Bear in mind the ingredients list isn’t the most natural you can come across but I was compromising due to lack of choice at the time, choosing a lotion for thirst quenching hydration combined with soothing plus texture convenience over the heavier/thicker/messier/longer to absorb body butters and oils, and price. At this level it was unlikely I was going to find a pure formula with less and completely ethical, natural bonding and liquefying agents and preservatives – things that are necessary to making and keeping solids and oils in blended lotion/cream form. Plus it’s cheaper than buying all the ingredients and making my own.

In regards to the less recognizable ingredients in the base;

Emollients/Emulsifiers:

Dicaprylyl Ether – derived from coconut or palm kernel oil, skin conditioning ingredient promoting quick absorption.

Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate – an emulsifier, sometimes emollient, provides water resistance (prevents separation of ingredients) and maintains the cream consistency when combined with stearate – stearate can be an irritant, though considered low hazard in this mixture.

Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride – again from coconut or palm oil, this time specifically the Caprylic/Capric fatty acids of the oil, making it lighter than a carrier oil, more compatible with emulsifiers and silky. Not the same as ‘fractionated oil’ which is from distillation combining all the fatty acids.

Isocetyl Palmitate – A combination of Isocetyl Alochol and Palmitic Acid. A viscosity increasing agent, water resistant – again to help maintain the consistency of the cream whilst including the most common fatty acid found in plants and animals, in non-animal cosmetics most likely to be from palm oil. (Palmitic is often an added to cosmetics and food to add texture.)

Myristyl Myristate – Mix of myristyl alcohol and myristic acid, vegetable derived, primarily used for making cosmetics White and holding them together particularly where there’s lots of oils/butters, and thickens the product.

Glyceryl Caprylate – natural thickener and emollient produced from vegetable oil and fatty acids from coconut or palm oil, it also maintains the ‘wet’ texture of the cream.

Preservatives:

Sodium Benzoate – also known as E-Number E211. It’s a salt derived from benzoic acid found in some fruits and spice. It’s commonly used in food, perfumes, medicine and cosmetics. It’s a masking agent, anti-corrosive, prevents bacteria and fungus but is controversial in the natural health sphere. The original benzoic acid is not the issue but the sodium benzoate can interact with Ascorbic Acid (part of Vitamin C) to make the known carcinogen Benzene. Light, heat and shelf life can affect the rate at which Benzene is created.

Potassium Sorbate – A salt derived from Sorbic Acid, a common preservative and ingredient often found in fragrances too. It’s naturally occurring and aids against fungi, mold and yeast though not anti-bacterial. A paraben alternative with shorter shelf life and one that needs to be used with other preservatives. Considered a mild preservative and safe long term though can cause skin irritation for some and has lesser carcinogenic concern regarding neurotoxicity and endocrine disruption.

Other:

Sodium Phytate – A salt from of Phytic Acid which is found in the seeds of cereal grains and is derived commercially from corn. Sodium Phytate is a chelating agent usually used in oral care for detoxifying metal agents or treating hard water…

More natural, streamlined and presumably higher priced lotion/semi-liquid/easily absorbed products (as long they’re high quality) should be expected to perhaps harden a bit in cold weather or separate/go a bit runny in hot conditions or after some time. Either is easily remedied though by warming the product a bit or shaking/mixing it. Whereas products like this lotion tend to last longer due to the less desirable ingredients and the amount of them but even many of the ‘best’/priciest brand products will have a blend of synthetic and natural preservatives in which some of the natural ingredients will likely not be labeled or thought of/used as preservatives but do have the properties. Whenever water/aqua is a base ingredient alcohol is often used and preservatives are needed to retain quality and prevent contamination unfortunately. Pure oil or shea/cocoa butter bases don’t need that so much if at all and have longer shelf lives (unless compared to products with parabens in them), they’re not immune to contamination but as long as they’re kept safely and hands are washed before use it’s not such a worry.

Really pure, minimal ingredient products are usually custom made in small batches with a short shelf life and sometimes need to be refrigerated. It’s the age old paying more for less/pure formulations and paying less for more cheap, filler ingredients. Particularly ingredients from palm oil that anybody interested in ethical products will know is a massive environmental issue, not the tree or oil itself by the methods of cultivating, deforestation/loss of habitat and fertile land, use of workers and pollution. Dr Organic state on their website that whenever they can’t source an organic ingredient they use a sustainable natural alternative instead.

That’s the toss up in using lotions over or along with high quality body butters and oils.

Price

£7.39 currently at Holland & Barrett, I think that’s a bit more then when I bought it but remember that H&B do frequent buy-one-get-one-half-price and buy-one-get-one-for-a-penny sales.

THE PACKAGING – Mainly a Disadvantage

I find their packaging to be quite heavy/bulky and for some products less could be more making it easier on you and recycling. The lotions come in the form of squeezy containers, very thick plastic which is very secure against damage and spillage but a pain once you’ve used half of it and have to put more effort into getting the product out. When I get to the point where squeezing the bottle yields nothing and it feels much lighter in weight telling me it’s ready for the bin it’s actually concealing a lot more. Be prepared with a strong pair of scissors as the lid will just not come off, not even with consistent effort lol so I always have to cut off the top half to reveal at least 1 week’s worth of lotion throughout the innards that would be an absolute waste to unconsciously throw away. Note – remember to cover the chopped bottle halves or place them in a container to prevent the lotion drying up and going hard before you can finish it.

CONCLUSION

I like that the first ingredient is aloe vera and not water; I have no problem with water of course but in this day and age it’s hard to know where it’s coming from, what’s in it and how/if it’s been filtered even in organic products. The additional use of coca butter, shea butter and sunflower oil (not sure about the olive oil unsaponifiables which I relate to soap making rather than lotion) for the base help make these lotions nourishing and moisturizing. This particular lotion made a nice barrier and boost for the skin, successfully living up to its ‘anti-aging’ tag in my opinion with complimentary oils and extracts that soothed, calmed, restored, firmed as well as softened.

It was very easy to use, lasted long enough and thankfully in my experience there’s usually a Holland & Barrett on most highstreets but they also have a website making them a helpful and convenient alternative to hunting down appropriate lifestyle products on foot or online especially if looking for organic or plant based products.

I’d rate this 3.5/5 or 7/10 because it is an above average product but the amount of emollients/emulsifiers, preservatives and Sodium Phytate used are offputting plus and I would have preferred Guar Gum over Xanthan. It is still high quality, does what it says it should and large size product for the price although I really don’t need an item to be White in colour or silky. The thickeners I understand but to an extent since I don’t mind thinner lotions though with all the oils and butters in it that shouldn’t be a problem. It seems a case of culmination, adding one ingredient to solve an issue only to need more because of it like the parable of the ‘Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly’.

Gallery

Frankincense Incense – Essence of Calm and Woodland Charm

Quick status update: I’m currently up and about yay! I’m no more looking or moving about like Quasimodo/the elephant man, there is still swelling but not excruciating. On day 21 of liquid fasting and still not hungry, I thought about sweet/high oil foods a couple of times but that was when I was feeling irritable. I had had a nagging cough too but from this review you’ll see why its gone and as this is now the morning after I can confirm it’s still gone. 🙂

===Introduction===

Mum accidentally saw these in the 99p Stores today (similar to Pound Shop and Poundland but better seasonal items in my opinion). Poignantly I started this review coughing non-stop and now I’m not plus I feel a bit better in general… Plus having done a little research I’ve found that the functional properties of burning frankincense are indeed to create peace and calm.

These come with what look like a cutsie/pretty handmade incense holders with ready made holes. This one has 7 holes in a little octagon shape and though small it’s sturdy enough and made of wood. If you ever bought/saw anything from the former sister company to Lush – a cosmetics brand B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful (B Never for short) I’d day that the decoration style for the burner is similar to how their packaging used to look i.e. beading, glitter, little mirrors etc very bohemian/gypsy or the one word fits all ‘ethnic’. My holder is decorated in Red beads and glitter, little diagonal mirrors and Gold beading around the holder spaces (see photos for details).

The sticks themselves are Purple, even the bases that you hold have been painted purple to match which is an interesting touch that I haven’t noticed anywhere else. The sticks come in various widths so whilst some fit perfectly others are spiky thin whilst some are quite thick and either need to pushed in to the holes with a bit of force or placed in between thick ones so as not to fall. If worried about the thin ones you can easily stick a tiny piece of modeling clay, blu tack or something similar just to bolster it. I always place incense on a plate anyway just in case.

Frankincense Incense Sticks Holder Royalty

===Abit about frankincense===

Frankincense is a resin that comes from various trees and shrubs mostly native to Africa and Arabia. It’s an ancient plant source material dating back at least 3000-4000 years, it is known for it’s ritual and mystical purposes typically or famously in religious ceremonies and protect against the evil eye. More commonly it has a wide variety of uses including cosmetics e.g. tooth cleansers, body scents, kohl eyeliner and nowadays notably in face creams. It’s also a mosquito and sand fly repellent and has been used for mecidinal purposes. Many use it of course or yoga, meditation and prayer. Primarily it comes as an essential oil and in resin form.

It’s properties are:

Anti-septic, disinfectant, astringent, carminative, cicatrisant, cytophylactic, digestive, diuretic, emenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, vulnerary.

I generally know it to be toning, firming, cleansing/clearing and regenerating (funny fact – it was a ingredient in ancient Egyptian embalming) but having done some reading there are a long list of features summarized above but to expound a bit includes helping with coughing, phlegm and congestion, being a sedative, general pain relief, digestive/urination aid, menstrual pain aid and apparently increases one’s ability to absorb nutrients. Wow, though I’m not surprised.

 ===Burning Time/Length===

Typically of incense as the powder burns away it turns ashen both in colour and texture – what it does next varies from brand to brand. I found with these ones the ash neatly dries and falls off the stick revealing the wood underneath. I quite like that because it has a ‘charming’ look but I have found other brands where the ash holds on and slows the burning which can be helpful though can also make the smell uneven and can stop the burning. Whether you decide to use a plate, larger holder, salver or something to catch the ashes is upto you but if decide not to and to clean up later make sure you place them on a surface that is not likely to burn or stain like a kitchen countertop.

They are approx 10in/25.5cm in length.

As per the first photo I put a ‘fat’ one and a ‘skinny’ one in the holder and started them at the same time and they both burned down together:

18.28pm – 19.20pm = 52minutes.

I put the rest in at different times but they took roughly 45min-1hour.

Is that a good thing? In comparison to many cheap brands that’s pretty long, there are some which go on and on but it can also be a few minutes so these are decent length and of course the smell lingers for quite some time unless you open any windows/ventilation.

I’d say two are enough to fill a medium-large size room and more if you want the smell to waft into other rooms by leaving the doors open.

===The smell and effects===

There are so very many varieties of incense though some people always think of it as one smell but if the quality is right and if only a few ingredients or a few key ingredients are used the scents are distinctive.

The smell on this is actually quite subtle, not the Frankincense I’m used to which is quite heady and sweet and I have to breathe in deeply to recognize the scent (though mum is finding it sweet and fresh) but that is actually quite clever… The whole point of this particular variety I now believe is to calm and soothe and to begin with I was breathing shallow and had my shoulders hunched and could just smell ‘smoke’ but then I purposely took a long, deep breath, relaxed my shoulders and then I smelled it – a hint of Frankincense. It is quite an exotic yet woody/burning smell which may be why it smelled of smoke to begin with but as I kept breathing deeply and slowly I did appreciate it more and calmed. I hadn’t even felt stressed, anxious, nervous etc beforehand but obviously my breathing and posture said otherwise and that is typical of copious amounts of people nowadays who don’t breathe properly anymore by default of their living/working conditions. That said I’d say it is an acquired smell, perhaps one for people who like campfires but not a floral, charming or sensually exotic smell. It also has a bit of an edge, akin to a campfire but not as strong so it does make the eyes water a bit. Ok it doesn’t help that I’m standing right next to them but as I’ve walked into the other rooms that campfire smell and effect/touch is still there – so not one for those who are sensitive or whose eyes/noses will simply run – or if you’re not wearing waterproof makeup!

Interestingly enough I have a cough and was coughing alot, it’s a dry involuntary cough so it’s basically like coughing for the sake of it as a reflex with little choice and I couldn’t talk much because of that. Hence I put these on to clear out the place of old smells and such and so far I’ve ‘mini-coughed’ a couple of times and that’s it; basically once I started breathing deeply and inhaling I stopped and I’m able to speak fluently.

Frankincense Incense Sticks Health

Instructions on the packet

Directions

Insert incense stick into the holder attached.

Ignite the tip of the incense stick.

When glowing, gently blow it out.

Safety

Always place incense stick in the holder provided.

Keep out of reach of children and pets and flammable material.

Do not leave the incense stick unattended and make sure it is places on a fire proof surface. Do not ingest (don’t eat it, you are technically consuming it though by breathing and it going through the hair/skin/eyes etc). Non toxic (I hope).

 ===Conclusion===

These are cheap sticks and so I’m not at all confident as to what went into the fragrance (and so what I was breathing in), the paint or if the wood is sustainable or what type or wood the sticks are and I don’t know if they are fairtrade. But I was in an area which does not have much of a Black/Asian community (in which I usually buy spices and oils in native quality and much cheaper in larger sizes than supermarket prices with their tiny bottles and packets) and I couldn’t see any in the artisan shops so this was an impulse buy and turned out to be just what I needed, I was lucky to find them without expecting to.

The vanilla version would probably have more wide appeal but I am grateful these came my way and moreover to those who helped cultivate and make them and I truly hope they did so kindly to the earth and themselves/were treated properly.