Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

Posts tagged ‘Cosmetics’


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:


‘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.


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.


Weleda Wild Rose Body Oil – Beauty is only skin deep? I don’t think so

Weleda Wild Musk Rose Body Oil


I bought the full sized 100ml rose oil (£19.95) after having received a tester 10ml (£2.95). Now the price alone is usually out of my price range which goes to show just how impressed with it I was and still am. Acquiring a little rose oil from masses of petals is resource heavy and labour intensive hence it is quite pricey in general and the process also renders the more popular rose water. Used sparingly it can last a long time with good results and I bought Weleda’s version rather than a cheaper one because not only had I tested it but because Weleda is known as a high quality and ethically invested company. I try to support such companies, in my own tiny way as an individual, in order to help increase their market presence but also to help keep them in business – they only use basic natural ingredients without extras, synthetic alternatives and excessive processing and packaging yet their items are considered to be luxury items because they are not high street brands and less widely available. Then once these items are gone, they’re gone and as with any business everyone in the supply chain suffers and you might be left trying to find a replacement for an item you love with less choices then the local beauty store.

You can find more information about Weleda in general: http://www.weleda.co.uk/scat/aboutus

That said I’m not sure which process of extraction Weleda uses, each method produces a different type of oil and since this oil is mixed with other oils it’s hard to tell what it physically originally was or where it likely came from. Rose oils are commonly made from Damask Rose (Rosa Damascena) which is a Eurasian rose, or the Cabbage Rose (Rosa Centifolia) which is largely an African rose. However Weleda specifies Wild Musk Rose (Rosa Moschata) in their publicity/advertising which is the parent rose for Damask and is a mountain rose thought to have originated in the Himalayas – it’s a rose noted for it’s strong scent. Included in the mix is Rosehip Seed oil (seed oil extracted from wild roses) – Rosehip is generally extracted from Wild Musk Rose from the Andes but can also be found from common Dog Roses (Rosa Canina) which are found in many places (I pick wild ones for eating – not the bulbs which can make itching powder). The reason why I’m going into the types is because if you know your roses you may want the more often used/sold rose oil smell. I find this one to be quite pungent (and lovely).


This isn’t an essential oil or pure oil, it’s been diluted in carrier oils and hence is ready for cosmetic use without worry over whether using too much, that said there’s no need to go overboard and a little goes a long way 🙂


Jojoba Seed Oil, Sweet Almond Oil, Rosehip Seed Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Fragrance*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Citronellol*, Benzyl Alcohol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Geraniol*, Citral*, Eugenol*, Farnesol*. (*From natural essential oils)

(I know it says Rosa Damascena – confusing right? I’ve put the Weleda promo info at the bottom of the review so you can see why I’m a little flummoxed – all I know is that the oil I’ve tried from them seems quite potent and so would guess that it’s made from a fair bit more ‘fresh’ rose than the geraniol* in the ingredients which is a common filler in rose oil and can come from roses, palmarosa (a perennial Asian lemongrass) or geraniums which are obviously cheaper to produce. From the ingredients I can’t tell where it comes from.)

The combined oil comes in a dark glass bottle to help preserve it as long as possible and prevent sun damage and as oils have a long lifespan it’s better if they can retain their strength over the period until you finish them.

The first things I noticed was that the oil itself has quite a strong Yellow colour and the smell, wow the smell. The first time I opened the bottle and got a waft of the scent I thought ‘beautiful’ and then when I put it on the palms of my hands to put on my face and it warmed with the temperature, only then did I realize fully how beautiful the aroma was. It is enchanting and I can see why rose oils have been used since ancient times to attract one’s love interest. It really is like walking into a rose garden every time I use it – something to bear in mind for romantic occasions and use on pulse points unless you or the partner dislikes strong fragrances.

The oil is fairly absorbent and doesn’t take too long to sink in with massaging so I am able to use it during the day (hands, face and neck) as well as overnight. I noticed that not only was my skin very soft, it was also smooth and more taut. There were a few nights during the testing period where I was too tired to moisturise before bed and where I didn’t sleep in good positions i.e. I ended up sleeping on my face but the following mornings I noticed that the tautness remained from the day use of the rose oil, all the way through the night and to the next morning. My skin would be drier than when I’d first applied it but as soon as I got up it went straight back into place rather than leaving sleep lines. That said, the oil doesn’t make my skin appear more ‘youthful’ i.e. fuller and radiant but the skin is left in better condition which in itself can take years off your appearance.

Personal Tip:

I usually like to use more than one oil, either separately in a day/night or blended but this is ready mixed and yet when I use this oil I like to use it by itself and without using other oils in the same time period. I do that because of its strong scent and I like to get the maximum effect over a small period of time (up to one week) before going back and rotating oils or using combinations based on what I need/feel at the time. When I say maximum effect I mean that the skin absorbs and gives out the fragrance in a ‘natural’ way i.e. you exude the scent without having to use as much oil. For people wanting to try this simply spread a thin layer of the oil over the desired body area (if not the whole body) and let it absorb. This can be done day or night but it’s usually best after you’ve washed and if you are warm – the recently moist skin will still have open pores so the oil will sink in faster and deeper leaving less residue on clothes or other surfaces and the body temperature will help both to absorb and release the fragrance. Do this twice daily for the first 2-3 days and then once a day until the end of the experiment. Unless you sweat a lot or work in conditions which mean you have to wash more frequently than average you should find that you don’t have to wear perfumes or deodorants as much if at all, which have on average up 200-300 ingredients but are simply labelled as ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ on product packaging without any further explanation. Hence using oils for scent is much healthier.

Other Uses for Rose Oil

This an be added to baths for relaxation; rose oil can be used to aid stress/anxiety relief as it is soothing and uplifting. As this is already diluted you don’t have to worry about how many drops you use.

The steam from such a bath, or by inhaling separately such as over a bowl of hot water with your head under a towel, can also help with respiration or again stress/anxiety.

Rose oil has been known as a ‘feminine oil’ not just for its beauty/amorous uses but because it can help with hormonal balance helping to regulate menstruation. As a hot compress it has been used to relieve menstrual cramps.

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. (Obviously research this before trying anything.) Do not take internally.


Overall I’d give this 10/10 – it’s another Weleda oil that does was it says on the box and it has everything my skin needs. It’s moisturising, nourishing, improves the skin’s condition, is absorbent, long lasting and smells heavenly. I don’t need anti-aging items to fill out lines/wrinkles so this suits me just fine. For those who do I would recommend combining the oil with an unscented or complimentary scented lotion/base unless your skin can’t take heavy concoctions, in that case rose oil might not be a long term solution for you but rather an occasional item and the tester size (10ml) could be more practical.

I had tried a couple of rose products before but hadn’t been too impressed and put ‘rose’ items on the back-burner but that was until I tried this oil… Now I’m looking forward to trying other products from the rose range at Weleda, which includes soap, lotion, facial oil and body wash.


I would recommend this product for women from about 30 and upwards rather than younger ages because not only does it improve skin tone but it has a mature quality to it. This is going to sound vague but it has a personality like with wines, where it’s more full bodied and wouldn’t seem appropriate for girls or young ladies. That might sound biased and of course there will be younger women who are exceptions but overall I’ll just say people throughout the ages have used rose oil as an aphrodisiac and there are people who will monitor their consumption (orally and through the skin) of particular ingredients to affect their hormones and after using this oil I understand why.

What Weleda has to say

From the packaging:

‘Wild Rose Body Oil. Pampering care. Helps improve skin’s suppleness and elasticity leaving it smooth and radiant.’

From advertising received:

‘Musk rose oil is rich in skin-caring essential fatty acids, and helps stimulate the skin’s natural functions. The Wild Rose Smoothing Facial Care range contains a selection of products to protect, moisturise and care intensively for delicate skin. The scent is uplifting, refreshing and feminine. It takes three tonnes of fresh rose petals to make just one litre of precious essential oil of rose.

Weleda’s European beauty consultant, Lilith Schwertle, explains: “In our 30s the skin retains still its youthful resilience and elasticity but is also starting to show the fist signs of ageing, mostly around the eyes. Our unique facial characteristics are beginning to form. The skin may not glow as much as it used to in our 20s, and may be drier. At this time it’s important to support the regenerating processes in the skin with ingredients high in polyunsaturated fatty acids such as Rosa Mosqueta seed oil. This helps skin stay elastic and firm, strengthens the skin and builds up the protective barrier functions. Rose seed oil has also been traditionally used to counteract and reduce scar tissue and pigmentation, and to stimulate skin cell renewal. This nourishing oil contains vitamins A and E which help minimise the signs of ageing. Rosa Mosqueta helps the skin to maintain a harmonious balance.” ‘


OOTD: Dress Up Fancy Friday – Funky Retro

Fashionthatpays Dress Up Fancy Friday
<div align="center"><a href="https://fashionthatpays.wordpress.com/dress-up-fancy-friday/" title="Fashionthatpays Dress Up Fancy Friday" target="_blank"><img src="https://fashionthatpays.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/fancyfridaybutton.png" alt="Fashionthatpays Dress Up Fancy Friday" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Not a typical ‘fancy’ outfit but fancy includes frills and those extras can dress up any outfit, add that to whether you feel dressed up, do it on a Friday and voila ‘Fancy Friday’ 🙂 Unfortunately none of the photos came out well today, it was such a mission and annoying trying to pretend there was enough natural light but the camera was having none of it and demoted my outfit from quirky to frumpy and me from bright and cute to blah. Nevertheless I still feel dolled up (ahem) and expressing my own um ‘unique’ style so even though the individual pieces are casual I think altogether they qualify as fancy 🙂

I needed to liven myself up a bit today and I wasn’t feeling the bright/bold clothing angle so when I looked at my face I thought ‘why the hell not?’ And went wild with it, metallic fantastic. Not quite Ziggy Stardust or Gary Numan, the glam & shock scenes never appealed to me much so my makeup ended up more like something from the 90’s when people had reined in their craziness but were still nostalgically hanging on to random themes like colour blocking and florescent accessories, puffer/quilted fabrics and oversized items. So in an ode to weird thrown together fashions as illustrated in shows like Clarissa Explains It All, I enhanced my already retro getup with makeup I would not normally wear in such a clashing bright and angular combination. I’m pretty happy with it, it’s worked in uplifting my mood and made me feel abit more alive. (Thankfully I’m used to strangers mocking me 😉 )

I’ve been wanting to try those lip stickers with awesome prints on them, you know the ones that come in a one size fits all mouth sticker and you cut them to your own lip shapes? I don’t have any but there’s a few I’ve had my eye on, talk about funky – and imagine if I was in to nail art. I cut them recently but they’re long most of the time since they grow quickly and somehow mostly withstand whatever I’m doing. I don’t think I’d have the patience for nail art and like my nails the way they are but there’s a lot of exquisite work out there. Perhaps with my advancing age I’d benefit from decorating my nails… Actually, no. I make almost all my meals from scratch I don’t want the art supplies going into the food :-S (my lipstick never needs re-applying after eating/drinking despite not wearing lipstay products so I’m ok on that point).

The outfit:

The pants/trousers and the skirt together, why? They’re one item 🙂 attached and yes I bought them that way 😛 When I was in secondary school (middle school) all the girls were wearing three types of trousers; 1) denim stretch skinnies in bright single colours, 2) satin straight leg trousers with a slight stretch or 3) leggings or trousers with with short skirts attached as overlay (combats/cargo and sweat pants came later). I wore school uniform but there were occasions when I wore my own clothes, mostly hand me downs but sometimes I bought new ones myself since teens have to be allowed to do a little shopping together right? So I bought these probably when I was about 13-14 (remember a lot of young people buy everything oversized as a continuance of their parents buying them clothes to grow into as well as out of insecurity). That said I was curvier and more muscular until approx 25 years old. Anyway, by the time I went to college the fashion had died out but the style was kept up by many Asian girls since trousers like these were more modest i.e. had more coverage (when it comes to modesty, coverage is more important than flamboyance in many places). They’re also similar to some traditional Asian pants – though those utilize both long and short skirts/draping – so perhaps that was an added comfort factor on top of hiding lumps and bumps.

I bought the jumper 5-6 years ago from a thrift store for a couple of quid and though it hasn’t photographed well it’s actually quite flattering. The off shoulder, slouch style is held in a complimentary shape by a fitted waist and cuffs. I layered it over a small mesh top that I purloined from Mother dearest, so it may be older than I am yet its lasted wash after wash without shrinking or stretching beyond its rebound point and I wear it frequently.

Mum compared the outfit to something weird though I can’t remember what it was, but she liked the makeup 😀 Maybe next time I’ll go for a more Sweet Valley High look or the juxtaposition that was Clueless.


The translucent loose powder foundation which can be found in many mineral sets, kajal (no lead sulphide), two lipsticks blended from Beauty Without Cruelty, Pink and Gold dazzle dust from Barry M.

Funky Retro Quirky Black Silver Stripes Slouch Off Shoulder Sweater Jumper Trousers Pants Skirt Pink Gold Makeup Eyeshadow Cheeks Lipstick Kajal Kohl Eyeliner

Funky Retro Quirky Black Silver Stripes Slouch Off Shoulder Sweater Jumper Trousers Pants Skirt Pink Gold Makeup Eyeshadow Cheeks Lipstick Kajal Kohl Eyeliner

Funky Retro Quirky Black Silver Stripes Slouch Off Shoulder Sweater Jumper Trousers Pants Skirt Pink Gold Makeup Eyeshadow Cheeks Lipstick Kajal Kohl Eyeliner

Funky Retro Quirky Black Silver Stripes Slouch Off Shoulder Sweater Jumper Trousers Pants Skirt Pink Gold Makeup Eyeshadow Cheeks Lipstick Kajal Kohl Eyeliner

Viva la Vendredi!

Other bloggers celebrating Fancy Friday

Vanessa at Nessbow

In the heat and humidity surrounding Vanessa she found a way to be practical yet look effortlessly and breezily smart casual, with the awesome hairstyle, floral print and accessories working together fulfilling the 'fancy' banner :-)

In the heat and humidity surrounding Vanessa she found a way to be practical yet look effortlessly and breezily smart casual, with the awesome hairstyle, floral print and accessories working together fulfilling the ‘fancy’ banner 🙂

Maricel at MyClosetCatalogue

Wow, can you say sight for sore eyes? Hello Buttercup! I love this outfit. Maricel's been working on comparing outfits to libations this week and doing a damned apt job of it with fabulous colours and prints. What a great colour to finish off the week :-)

Wow, can you say sight for sore eyes? Hello Buttercup! I love this outfit. Maricel’s been working on comparing outfits to libations this week and doing a damned apt job of it with fabulous colours and prints. What a great colour to finish off the week 🙂

Nicole at High Latitude Style

Another smart casual Fancy Friday-er taking it up a notch

Another smart casual Fancy Friday-er today, taking camouflage print up a notch making it look smart in this fitted design and suit like with the polo/turtle neck and blazer. All combined with heels in the snow – that’s quite a talent!

Welcome to our newest Fancy Friday member! Shaaz at MizShaazStyle

This lady is working it today! Channeling the 80's and 90's but in a much cooler way than I did lol, she looks very seductive in faux leather

Channeling the 80’s and 90’s but in a much cooler way than I did lol, Shaaz looks very seductive in faux leather with pops of Gold. Checkout the design of the skirt, unique no? I like the asymmetrical overlap and the angular zips – details like that are always eye catching and interesting. I also love the top and necklace (and am a long time admirer of her hair style)!

Leah at MorningInk

Looking forward to lighter evenings Leah is wearing a very Spring like dress in a cute outfit but look at the print more closely. Interesting eh? I agree with her description of it looking like pixelated candy and she makes it look feminine and refreshing :-)

Looking forward to lighter evenings Leah is wearing a very Spring like, cute outfit but look at the print on the dress more closely. Interesting eh? I agree with her description of it looking like pixelated candy and she makes it look very feminine and refreshing 🙂

Thank you ladies for helping to make an uplifting Friday and sharing in the theme!


Simple To Make – Homemade Clay Face Masque

Clay Bentonite Face Masque Facial Mask

2 tsp clay bentonite
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (always better to go for unrefined with the ‘mother’ intact for the nutritional value)
1 tsp water (purified or filtered)


The weather has made it perfect to use fresh mud however I was not feeling up getting some and mum refused to get some for me lol. So I thought ‘fine I’ll make it myself’ and went to dig out some clay bentonite (not actually dig it out, just get it from the cupboard). Now usually I prefer to use milk (soya or oat milk especially) but I seriously needed a facial, I haven’t had one in ages and my skin was feeling really ‘thick’ and ‘heavy’ so I went for the stronger vinegar mix. If apple cider vinegar is unavailable, lemon juice can alternatively used.

Clay bentonite is a volcanic clay (volcanic ash and water) with lots of health giving properties (hey soil is full of the nutrients of life afterall and volcanic clay has additional) for topical and internal use. It is the main ingredient in the more commonly known ‘Fullers Earth’. The two main types available for cosmetic use are sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite. Both have many uses from skin cleansing to deep internal cleansing if drank and for heavy metal detoxing. The heavy metal detoxing is an affect of the negative electromagnetic charge of the clay whereas metals and ‘toxins’ are apparently positively charged; meaning that the clay swaps or draws out metals and toxins and replaces them with sodium or calcium when made into a paste with water (don’t mistake the word ‘sodium’ for ‘salt’, obviously sodium is part of salt and natural salt – and sugar – is necessary in the body e.g. saline solution or salt licks for remineralization, but not all salts are the same or ‘bad’ for you). In a very basic way I’d think the sodium bentonite is better for cleansing, and the calcium bentonite better for enriching the calcium/silica. Both are helpful though and provide properties needed by the skin/body (just remember to research before taking internally and only in moderation). There’s a wealth of other uses such as for poultices, toothpaste and deodorant but that’s a different post.


The above mixture should make enough ‘mud’ for the face and neck or two applications for the face. Remember to keep it covered and put it in the fridge if it’s too much to prevent it drying it. If it still dries a bit in the fridge just add a few drops of water to hydrate it again.

1) Mix the above in a non-metallic bow with a non-metallic spoon/stirrer. Nothing obvious will happen if you use metal crockery for this (not sure about doing that regularly though) but remember the point about clay bentonite being used as a heavy metal detoxer. The point of a face mask is to draw out things you don’t want in your skin so its best to use clay that still has ‘space’/propensity left in it to take those metals, toxins (and fat, oil & grease) rather than already being filled with metals from your tools.

(On a sidenote – that begs the question of the state in which your bentonite is in when you purchase it. If it’s a strong heavy metal ‘leacher’ then how much has it taken in before it got to you…? Always checkout the company you buy it from first to see if they have information as to how the clay was mined in the first place – with machinery that the clay would absorb metals from or something else?)

2) Stir until the mixture turns into a paste, apply liberally over the face & neck, leave for 10-20min. The mask dries quite fast.

3) Gently wipe off with a warm damp cloth and splash skin with cool water afterwards. I prefer a warm damp cloth especially in this weather and because warm water opens the pores making it easier to remove grime whilst the wiping creates friction removing dead skin and then the cold water to reinvigorate the skin and close the pores. Though if you’re running short on time you can simply wash your face with warm or cold water afterwards instead of wiping and splashing.

4) Voila you should find the skin feeling refreshed, looking more radiant and very soft to the touch.

Victorian Tip of the Day – Homemade Eye Makeup

I got a book titled ‘Victorian Household Hints’ published in 2006 which features interesting information on the roles of servants in the household and some of their tips for keeping the roost running efficiently. I thought I’d post some of them one by one for the sake of cultural interest, I am not advocating or disagreeing with them. Hope you find them interesting too!


Rub them often with elder-berries. For the same purpose, some make use of burnt cork, or clove burnt at the candle.

The Duties of a Lady’s Maid, 1825

Sound weird?! Homemade mascara has been around for ages with the the usual formulations including ashes and oil and/or some kind of metal like with kajal and kohl for lining the eyes and other religious/cultural uses.

I don’t wear mascara and have only tried it a couple of times in the past but generally have found the thought offputting since lashes are there to prevent things getting into the eyes yet mascara is in constant contact with them. Added to that modern chemical concoctions are really offputting and having heard from a number of older women that they believe their eyesight has deteriorated from lifetimes of wearing them I steer well and truly clear. That said there are a number of natural mascaras on the market with beneficial ingredients so if I were a mascara wearer those would be worth a look see .


Mary-Lou Manizer – For the Illuminated Lady…

…Skin deep illumination though obviously, not mental enlightenment of a spiritual kind 😉

Advantages: Adds a vibrancy to the skin, product lasts a long time.
Disadvantages: Easy to apply too much.
Summary: A pretty and light dusting powder.


This was another of my rainy day discoveries – and typically it was a rainy Bank Holiday. To escape the downpour I ducked into a local department store and as per the usual layout I was confronted with cosmetic makeup and perfume desks. I usually walk past those to the inner sanctums but on this occasion something caught my eye; the vintage inspired packaging of a brand I hadn’t seen before called theBalm. Their packaging displays pinup imagery (painted not photographed) and I’m not really a fan of pinup culture but I can and do appreciate the appeal of the less risqué and non-glamourization of war items. From what I saw there was a mix of the demure yet flirty look and the femme fatale, all in bright colours and cute sizes.

I usually avoid most commercially sold brands because I can’t use them but since I was playing the waiting game with the weather, combined with the unique packaging it was enough to get my undivided attention.  I picked up the one that appealed to me most i.e. the Mary-Lou Manizer and read the ingredients. ‘Ok’ I thought, ‘not exactly healthy but it’s vegan friendly at least’ and was doubly pleased that it was a compact Gold powder. Having used loose powder for quite a while by then I was ready to try a compact again plus this one was lustrous – another plus point for me as I like a little glow instead of purely matte finish.

I was and am no makeup expert when it comes to application and the many types of product used to attain certain looks; I’m totally a powder and lipstick/gloss give or take some eyeliner and a little eye shadow kinda woman only wearing more than that for particular occasions. Combinations of primers, foundation, concealer, powder, blush, highlighters, definers, eye pencils plus liquid liners, shadows, lippy plus liner, mascara etc is just beyond me. My skin would morph into an acne-fied teenage replica in no time if I explored that territory, however whilst reading the labelling on the display stand I learned that this product is known as a ‘highlighter’ (‘a befitting name then’ I thought).

Speaking of the name, did you get the pun? I didn’t until I read up more about it online but:

Mary-Lou Manizer = Mary Luminizer.

So it’s a play on words that works both for the nature of its packaging i.e. an attractive and tempting woman, and the content i.e. a highlighter/illuminator.


As an illuminator it should work for most people, as a light powder it’s better suited for light to medium skin tones.


I tried a little of the sample especially as I was looking a little soggy and found that the texture was soft and very light. A gentle stroke leaves enough residue on the fingertip or powder puff/sponge to spread over more skin than expected and later on I will tell you why less is more for this product in terms of application. In regards to pricing though a little going a long way is helpful because it’s quite pricey, or at least not in the ranges of really well known brands. If I remember correctly the price was between £16 and £17 at the time (2010) but a quick online search has shown me that the price is now roughly £14 at places like Amazon.

The colour is light Gold and it looks very much like an eyeshadow – and being a highlighter means that it is designed for raised places on the face such as directly underneath the eyebrows, middle of the forehead, tip of the nose (I wouldn’t recommend using it there for people with active T-Zones as it will increase the shine), cheekbones and chin. Unfortunately for me at the time being under the commonly dim and ‘intimate’ lighting of cosmetic areas in department stores (in contrast to their brightly and often garishly lit counterparts in places like large pharmacies) meant that I couldn’t really see the effect and coverage of the product but it did make me look less like a rag doll and that was enough for me.


Being vegan means that I’m very careful about what cosmetics I use and try to source or make ones which are fair trade, as natural as possible, from companies with environmentally sustainable practices and as healthy as possible but makeup is quite tricky. For example, it can be difficult enough for most people trying to replace a beloved lipstick or foundation that has been discontinued let alone solely from animal free products so sometimes concessions on the natural and health factors have to be made favouring synthetic over no makeup in stores at all or not knowing how/being able to make your own. Most of the ethical brands and their current complete ranges are available online but lack of internet access and pricing can pose problems for buyers, particularly if you can’t try before you buy or get a sample size appropriate for a few days worth of testing to see if your skin likes it or to test how it blends/sits texturally with other products. Therefore if out and about I find it worth noting brands I haven’t seen before just in case any of them are ‘accidentally vegan’ (when something conforms to the criteria without having been constructed with that intention) or indeed intentionally vegan such as this product. So all in all it was nice to see this sold near the highstreet and I say ‘near’ since it isn’t a mainstream brand; it’s department store niche but close enough to the shopping centre (mall)/highstreet fare to be noticed.

I was impressed enough with this product to look into it further, well I was facing the double threat of cold, wet weather and not having much to do in the B&B I was staying in so being online was the activity of the evening.  I was a tad unsure about the shade since it was light Gold and my skin tone is more medium Gold with a tendency to tan very easily to Bronze but from what I could see earlier in the department store the colour seemed to suit my skin without looking too light. I was doubly pleased to find that the brand was founded by an animal and health enthusiast and at the time the Mary-Lou Manizer seemed to be one of two vegan friendly items in their range so I had picked well (the rest being ‘cruelty free’/vegetarian). That almost cinched it for me but the price was offputting.

I left it for some time until one of my go-to brands closed down (RIP) and left me in the lurch for a decent dusting/light coverage powder. I remembered this product, did a search and low and behold found a job lot on eBay – 4 for £4 each, bargain! Of course I didn’t need that much but at least I wouldn’t run out any time soon and a couple made pretty gifts.


The compact is a circle shape containing 8.5g and made of a solid/thick and sturdy Grey plastic, with a mirror on the inside and no powder puff/sponge. The hinge is strong and unlikely to become loose or break with time leaving the lid to constantly close on your fingers whilst using or the mirror to fall out. I haven’t tried taking the powder out to use the compact separately or put a different product in but it’s held in place pretty firmly and you’d have to dig out the palette to use the space.

Stuck on the top is a picture of ‘Mary-Lou’, a pouty Blonde with classic hair rolls standing against a height chart wearing a list of ‘offences’ and ‘charges’ (written in English and French) with the title of the product stamped over her image as if it were a photo in an arrest file. Said crimes are comic:

Offence: highlighter, shimmer, eyeshadow
Charge: too pretty, too popular
Atonym: womanizer

The compact comes in a fairly thick cardboard box, the front being the same as the compact sticker, the sides being Hot Pink and back continuing the arrest theme displaying ‘declassified’ file information such as fingerprints.

Note – I’ve written what is on the packaging of the ones I bought which matched the ones I saw in store that day but I vaguely remember the wording and her height being different on packaging I saw later on; though the current packaging from theBalm’s website is the same as above so perhaps it was different for a time period or for other countries.

According to theBalm website:

‘Highlighter, Shadow & Shimmer

Meet Mary-Lou Manizer, a seemingly innocent honey-hued luminizer that catches everybody’s eye. This highlighter, shadow and shimmer diffuses light so your skin looks softer and younger while adding a subtle glow.

Ingredients: Mica, Isoeicosane, Polyethylene, Boron Nitride, Polyisobutene, Ptfe, Silica, Synthetic Wax, Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Iron Oxides (Ci 77491).’


As aforementioned a little of this product goes a long way and initially I used it as a light facial powder to simply buff my skin. For that purpose it was fine and not very noticeable; it might be more noticeable on lighter skin tones. However I have to be careful when applying it in artificial lighting and/or night time because in those conditions it can easily become less of a finishing highlighter and more of a metallic powder.

There was one occasion where I didn’t have any powder left at all to use as a foundation (loose and compact powders designed for better coverage negating the need for liquid foundation) and based on my previous and naive experience decided to use this instead. It was on a special occasion at work and so I guess I got away with looking a bit more shiny/shimmery than usual plus the daylight helped dull the sparkle a bit, but when the evening came and I renewed/topped it up I didn’t realize that I shouldn’t have bothered. Put it this way – we went to an ancient Egyptian themed restaurant and the only thing more Golden in the room was the showpiece sarcophagus.

Thankfully people consider me a bit different from the norm so it wasn’t an issue, thankfully… Also the flash on the camera made everyone look a bit weird.


I said before that I was originally unsure whether the colour would compliment my skin tone, well earlier this year I discovered the sister product to this called ‘Betty-Lou Manizer AKA The Bronzing Bandit’ which is designed for darker skin tones. From my experience and by reading other people’s reviews I would say that Mary-Lou Manizer is fine for the following skin tones (given in foodie terms); from fair skin i.e. peaches and cream to medium skin i.e. olive, caramel and light Brown sugar. Milk and dark chocolate would be better suited to Betty-Lou.


As a bronzer/definer it can be used by all, as a light powder it is better for dark skin tones.

Moving away from the face for a moment I have tried this powder as a body duster and it makes a very nice shimmer especially if showing a bit of shoulder/shoulder blade. If you’re worried about overdoing it and looking like an Oscar statue then it can be mixed with a plain moisturizer (haven’t tried it with oil) for a more subtle and evenly spread shimmer. Though if you’re going somewhere dimly lit like clubbing or dinner by candlelight it probably won’t matter as much; hey you could use as much as you want and at least any companions you have won’t lose you.



 ‘theBalm cosmetics boasts a complete line of makeup, skin care, hair care and nail polish. With a “beauty in five minutes” philosophy, theBalm’s multi-use, mega fabulous products have become its calling card, offering quick fixes and wondrous solutions for a wide range of beauty wants and needs. The company’s wearable colors and fantastic formulas allow women to release their inner artist so they can look and feel fabulous. In 2004, Marissa Shipman, founder of theBalm, realized there were a few simple products she needed to help her look and feel glam all the time-and if she needed them, other women did too… Marissa decided to indulge her cosmetic curiosities and went to Amazon where she bought 11 books on how to make makeup and started mixing in her kitchen. “I went makeup crazy. I incorporated the company, worked out a budget, hired a chemist and designed a website.” She began integrating anti-aging ingredients, triple-milled pigments, fabulous scents…and theBalm was born. Fast forward ten years, you can now find theBalm’s Paraben and Cruelty-Free products worldwide.


Higher Nature Citricidal – One of Nature’s Little Cleaning Helpers


This product is a little wonder bottle of citrus concentrate containing 34% grapefruit seed extract, which is known for having numerous cleaning and preventative properties. It is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and helps inhibit the growth of parasites. It can be taken internally and externally (will go further into this later) as long as it is diluted and is safe for humans and animals unless they have citrus allergies.

The bottle is a thick White squeezy plastic with a clear plastic dropper fitted at the top and covered by a solid Red plastic lid – all of the plastics are recyclable. It comes in three sizes; 25ml, 45ml and 100ml and is also available in tablet form. It is vegetarian and vegan friendly.

Ingredients: Vegetable glycerine and CitricidalTM grapefruit seed extract 34% (contains grapefruit extractives, glycerine. Antioxidant: ascorbic acid.)

A little goes a long way as I bought the 100ml version approximately 6 months ago for £14 (I can’t remember where from) and it’s not half empty yet. The prices greatly vary between sellers on Amazon, eBay and online health shops so you would have to do a comparison before deciding which is the most value for your needs. Higher Nature sells them directly: 25ml for £6.10, 45ml for £9.30 and 100ml for £18.25, they also offer free first class postage to UK members and free second class for non-members HERE


Why I bought it and what I’ve used it for:

1. Oral Hygiene/Dental Care – I originally bought this and still primarily use it as a mouthwash.
It was quite a journey that brought grapefruit seed extract and more specifically Higher Nature Citricidal to my attention, a story that I think needs outlining in order to best understand how much I’ve come to appreciate this product:

Just over 4 years ago I switched from pre-made and processed toothpastes to homemade toothpaste. I had been using healthy, vegan friendly and occasionally ayurvedic brands for 3 years already but my teeth were still on their way to cavity central crying for fillings and I had a long term issue stemming from a former dislocated jaw 5 years earlier which caused the inside of that area to swell consistently with an unpleasant liquid and of course an added helping of pain. So I thought enough was enough and it was time for a major change.

I had been reading about natural toothpastes and aids and had been using Black, and White herbal tooth powders on top of my regular toothpastes for quite some time. They had proved effective and I would recommend them but they were not enough for me. I had also tried natural toothbrushes, both the brushing and chewing variety (made from various types of wood) but even though I have known a number of people who are fond of them I couldn’t really get used to them enough to reap the benefits. So I decided to make my own toothpaste.

I use an extremely basic mix of bicarbonate of soda and 3% foodgrade hydrogen peroxide and any ‘toppings’ I feel like at the time such as mint, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves (all grounded) etc. Please note that although we use the term ‘baking soda’ interchangeably in the UK for both bicarbonate of soda (sodium bicarbonate) and baking powder they are not the same thing. Bicarbonate of soda can be mined naturally but can also be man made and is a quick acting raising agent and alkalizer. Baking Powder is made of at least bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and a filler starch or flour. Many of you who are into baking or cooking will know this but for general information, both can be used in food cooking but they have different uses and it is not recommended to consume baking powder unless cooked and in small amounts. – Anyway, regardless of lots of social misconceptions about bicarbonate of soda and hydrogen peroxide (people telling me my teeth would rot because bicarbonate of soda “is corrosive” and many equating hydrogen peroxide to bleach) 4 years later my mouth and teeth are in much better condition; no fillings, rare swelling, no need to brush more than once a day and to begin with, very White teeth. Now they’re more normal looking rather than bright White but as long as they’re healthy and clean I’m not bothered. My gums also stopped receding and I’ve had no problems with tooth erosion. My mother also made the switch with me and her lifelong bleeding gums stopped bleeding and her previously sensitive teeth were no longer sensitive. She used to cringe every time she ate something cold but no more.

THEN came the citricidal! 🙂
Despite my oral condition being greatly improved I still felt it was missing something and could be better. I’d found that when I ate too much or not looked after my mouth as well as I should have I’d get bleeding gums and I didn’t feel that my teeth were strong enough at the roots. I needed something as an additional boost to my toothpaste and came across reviews for grapefruit seed extract. I was extremely impressed and found a convenient yet high quality product to try first – Higher Nature’s Citricidal.

As per the instructions to use this as a mouthwash: ‘Allow 4-12 single drops to fall naturally into a full glass (300ml) of water, and stir thoroughly. Swish and/or gargle in mouth for 10 seconds, then rinse with water.’

Both my mum and I conservatively started with 6 drops and by ‘fall naturally’ they mean don’t squeeze the bottle, just let the nozzle drip. At half the dose I didn’t really notice the taste at first until I got to the bottom of the glass, as the liquid is more like a gel and tends to sink. My mother said the water did indeed taste different and we both noticed that it was a bitter taste – quite strong at first but with usage not so much. She felt that it made her mouth feel cleaner but overall she was happy with just the homemade toothpaste and stopped using the citricidal after a while. I on the other hand found more than one benefit using it as a mouthwash.

My personal method is to swish not gargle, and intentionally swish under my tongue as well because that is apparently the most absorbent area. Whilst holding the liquid in my mouth I noticed that at times, as aforementioned where I hadn’t been caring for my mouth as well as I should have, it would sting my gums and in the initial couple of months the sting was painful. However, straightaway my gums stopped bleeding and with continued use my gums no longer sting whilst swishing and no longer bleed. I still use 6 drops on average but when I’ve overeaten or been a bit careless I increase it to 8-9 drops.

As a mouthwash this is nothing like the more well known brands I’d previously tried before going vegan and even though my experience with them was limited to camping trips, to this day they still remind me of paint stripper (not that I’ve ever tried that!) The citricidal is colourless, doesn’t have anywhere near as much of a strong taste or smell and doesn’t look like it should only be used on industrial machinery. It probably doesn’t leave your mouth feeling as fresh for as long as its counterparts but I’m not one for feeling like an overwhelming gust of wind is passing through my mouth every time I breathe. I want my mouth to be clean but relative to what is supposed to be in there; sterilization is not what I am after.


2. Gargling
I tried gargling with this once and found it somewhat cleansing but as someone who is sensitive to pollution I usually go for oil pulling (a method of swishing and sucking oil in the mouth which has the side benefit of pulling everything out of the throat). My mother liked gargling with this though before she stopped using it – she found it a lot more refreshing than I did.

3. Digestive Aid
Some of you will know about the digestive benefits of grapefruit and grapefruit juice – as a general rule of thumb eating half a grapefruit after a meal can cut the amount of fat it will turn into sometimes by half. Also, as with most fruit it turns into alkaline in the stomach and can help stabilize the acids in there preventing or treating acid, gas and reflux. The seeds are also known for digestive benefits and hence I decided to try some as per the instructions:

‘By mouth: Allow 4-12 single drops to fall naturally into a full glass (300ml) of water or juice, and stir thoroughly. Consume 30min before or 2 hours after meals. 1-3 times a day (children over 8 years, half a dose) or as your health professional advises. Do not exceed recommended daily intake.’

Using this method my mother and I had different results again – I didn’t notice anything whereas she said her stomach felt much better and digested faster than before. We had used 6 drops but I increased the amount to 10 drops on my second try and still didn’t really notice anything except the heightened bitter taste. In regards to the taste, I felt it was better masked in water than in juice where the tanginess of the fruit can become unpleasant with the citricidal.

Neither of us continued using this method even though it proved half effective because we both think that grapefruit and grapefruit juice do a better job for speedy digestion and weight loss/maintenance. That said after a while they can be a bit too strong for my stomach and palate, whereas she can eat the fruit consistently, and I prefer diluted apple cider vinegar.

4. Skin Cleanser

Lastly, I’ve used this as a backup facial cleanser both when I ran out of my usual product and when I wanted to try it on some unsightly spots. I stuck to my conservative 6 drops, mixed it with a spoonful of water (dinner spoon not a teaspoon or cereal spoon), dabbed cotton wool with it and wiped my face before rinsing and moisturizing. I found it cleaned well, removing a lot of grime that comes with travelling in a city on top of any sweat and in my case cosmetic powder. I didn’t need anymore than a spoonful for my face and neck and I noticed that the spots did reduce quickly after that though the skin didn’t seem softer (as oranges do – some citrus clean and some soften).


What others I know have used it for:

1. Athlete’s foot
I have a friend who has had athlete’s foot all her life and is understandably very conscious of it. She uses this as part of a regular footwash and has noticed some improvement. However from my basic knowledge of the condition I’ve read that it is a manifestation of internal imbalance, usually digestive fungal issues, so treating the symptom will not stop the cause. She’s yet to start taking the citricidal as part of a drink because she doesn’t like bitter or sour tastes…

2. Shampoo
Another friend of mine has a very sensitive scalp and when I saw instructions on the label for scalp treatment she borrowed my bottle, tried it and then quickly bought her own :). The instructions are as follows:

‘Dilute 4-12 single drops in shampoo for each use. Rinse thoroughly.’

3. Stomach upsets in general
I’ve found from hearsay that this is very helpful for inexplicable stomach aches – you know those stomach aches you randomly get (hopefully rarely) that you just can’t explain and they will go away by themselves but can be distracting or dehabilitating in the meanwhile. Well a few people I know have used and still use this when they get those pangs and find that they subside quickly. (I personally take goldenseal for that and so have never tried citricidal that way.)

Other known uses:

1. Preventing food poisoning when travelling.
2. Water purification – or making safe to drink.
3. Vitamin C boost.
4. On the Higher Nature website one of the listed uses is as a household cleaner. I’ve never tried it but I have used lemon and lime juice for cleaning and would think it works in a similar way.


This product was exactly what I was looking for when I needed a finishing touch to my dental routine but it also came with other surprising and pleasing benefits and is now held in high esteem as an all round fixer-upper when it comes to general cleaning maintenance of the bodily kind. It helps on the inside and the outside and so far I haven’t noticed any negative or unwanted side effects. I thought it was quite pricey when I bought it but now I think it’s value for money and because its concentrated it lasts a very long time.

I rate this as 5/5 stars and take care to note the warning on the label that reads: ‘Never use undiluted. From citrus; irritating to the eyes and skin. In case of skin contact flush with water for 10 minutes; if eye contact then also seek medical assistance immediately.’

Company Info:

For those interested the Higher Nature company they are committed to high quality, natural health products for all the family i.e. adults, children and animal companions. Their products are largely plant based, organic and vegan where they consider possible, they use recyclable packaging and neither they nor their suppliers engage in animal testing. More information is available on their ‘About Us’, ‘Promise’ and ‘Quality Assurance’ pages. In addition to their main website they also host Nutri People which has lots of information about health, conditions and ingredients/nutrients.

Summary: Grapefruit seed extract concentrate for body and home, lasts a long time.

Advantages: Has a range of uses incl. Oral care, scalp & skin care, digestive health.

Disadvantages: Some may find it more effective than others.

Pukka Ayurveda Organic Skincare Collection

Pukka Products – Practical and Pretty

Pukka Ayurveda Organic Skincare Collection Gift Set Oil Serum Moisturiser Spray Toner Review 1

Disclaimer: I was kindly sent this gift set by Pukka’s online PR but all thoughts and opinions are my own after having tested the products. I made it clear that I could only test vegan friendly products and so a couple of the samples have not been reviewed but their details are given below for reference.

I was pleasantly surprised when Pukka PR contacted me, previously I had known Pukka only for their awesome teas and hadn’t realised they specialised in skincare, let alone ayurvedic skincare, as well.


In brief ayurveda is an ancient and comprehensive medicinal and health care system from India. It focuses on balancing a natural healthy body with one’s surroundings in harmony mainly via prevention but also treatment. It encompasses the whole lifestyle and further depths cover areas such as foods beneficial for the body, mind and ‘spiritual’ capacities. In regards to skincare most of the companies I’ve seen that sell Ayurvedic products tend to go by the tri-dosha method where there are three general types of person (‘person’ meaning both the body type and personality) and hence provide products with ingredients that cater well to each of those types.

You can do a brief and fun quiz on Pukka to check your type here: Pukka Dosha Quiz

I personally have a huge crossover of two types with a small but still significant third type so when buying ayurvedic beauty products I tend to just have a general mindset and pick things based on ingredients I like and know work well for me. I find that acceptable for ‘light’ ayurvedic products such as the ones from Pukka with well known ingredients commonly used and grown or imported here but I tend to be more cautious with ‘heavier’ ayurvedic products with lots of exotic and often strong ingredients especially those with numerous spices. In those cases I think being a crossover type has more of a consequence since I’ve had skin irritation and long periods of breakouts after using strong products meant for one type.  After having tested some of the Pukka range I don’t personally think I need to worry about that and haven’t had any adverse reactions but I’m mentioning it for people who are new to ayurveda and are a crossover type who might think it’d be ok to use any ayurvedic product because one range was ok for them. In those cases where people are interested in a tailor made program or products they should seek the advice of experienced practitioners.


Pukka Ayurveda Organic Skincare Collection Gift Set Oil Serum Moisturiser Spray Toner Review

The darling sample set, attractively presented in a small gift box reminded me of a chocolate box – always a temptation – and contained 5 x 10ml mini sized products securely slotted inside the inner box thus safely surviving shipping and a ‘free’ 2ml sachet of oil.

1) Gentle Cleanser
2) Uplifting Toner
3) Radiance Serum – vegetarian friendly
4) Deep Moisture Day Cream – vegetarian friendly
5) Nourishing Night Cream
6) Firming Face Oil 2ml sachet
And an information leaflet

‘Completely free from parabens, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrances and colours’ and not only are the cardboard boxes recyclable but the plastic tubes along with their caps are as well.

Key for ingredient lists in review:

† Naturally occurs in essential oils
‡ Derived from plants
() Nature identical preservative system approved by Organic Standards


1) Gentle cleanser – Organic Rosewater & Green Tea Skin Purifying Formula

Aqua, Hemp Seed Oil*, Rose Flower Water*, Shea Butter*, Cocoa Seed Butter*, Glycerin*, Glyceryl Stearate‡, Sucrose Stearate‡, Coco-Glucoside‡, Castor Seed Oil*, Olive Fruit Oil*, Green Tea Leaf Extract*, Sunflower Seed Oil*, Aloe vera Leaf Juice Powder*, Soap Tree Bark*, Amla Fruit 100:1 Extract*, Gotu Kola Leaf 120:1 Extract*, Turmeric Root 20:1 Extract*, Manjishtha Root 70:1 Extract*, Neem Leaf 50:1 Extract*, Coconut Alcohol‡, Tocopherol‡, Xanthan Gum‡, Lactic Acid‡, Dehydroacetic Acid() , Benzyl Alcohol() , Citric Acid‡
Organic content: 92.9%

Gently massage onto your face and neck. Rinse off with warm water.

This product reminds me of a lotion; it’s White, creamy, has quite a thin consistency and subtle fragrance. The first time I used it I was surprised at how much grime it removed. I live in a congested city as shown by the ‘black snot’ that many of us suffer from by the end of the day but I’m still not used to seeing that much dirt on my cotton wool pad and I used more than one serving of the cleanser to completely clean my skin. I was also impressed with how soft and smooth my skin felt afterwards, another reason why this reminds me of a lotion.

On the following occasions I used the cleanser as recommended in the directions above so I couldn’t physically see how much dirt it removed but my skin felt clean and just as soft and smooth as the first time so I was happy. The cleanser removes both make up and dirt well and when I used cotton wool to rub my skin with it I used two pea sizes for my face, and three for the front and back of my neck and ears. When using the washing method I used approximately three pea sized drops in total.

I’d rate this as a 5/5

Full size 50ml – £11.00
Individual sample 10ml – £2.50

2) Uplifting Toner – Organic Rose & Orange Flower Skin Firming Formula

Rose Flower Water*, Orange Flower Water*, Alchohol*, Aqua, Calendula Extract*, Chamomile Flower Extract*, Marshmallow Root Extract*, Gotu Kola Leaf Extract*
Organic content: 100% of the agricultural ingredients are organic.

Spray onto your face after cleansing or as a refresher over make-up.

This is a handbag bonus imo, it comes in a solid glass bottle with a securely fitted spray dispenser and strong plastic lid. It’s a watery thin liquid perfect for a spray and Gold in colour. The first time I used this I was feeling very tired and insufficiently hydrated and as soon as I sprayed my face I felt instantly refreshed and invigorated. I became wide awake and all traces of sleepiness were gone. It absorbed very quickly and left my skin feeling a bit more toned.

I don’t usually use sprays over my make up but since the directions say it’s ok to do so I thought I should give it a try. It was those attempts that emphasized the only downside of this product imo, and it’s to do with the packaging not the cosmetic. The spray nozzle has one small hole in it which meant that whenever I sprayed my face with it, it came out in a splurt rather than a fine mist and that happened regardless of the pressure I used on the pump. Hence when the liquid came into contact with my skin it instantly fell down to my neck and chest if I wasn’t quick enough to stop it. Therefore I didn’t find it suitable for spraying over make up, that is unless you wear make up that won’t streak or wash off easily and it’s not something you’d want to try unless you have your make up on you to reapply afterwards just in case. To rectify the issue I sprayed the palm of one hand (both hands cleaned beforehand) to then quickly pat together with the other hand and spread the liquid over my face/neck manually, and when wearing make up lightly dabbing my hands over my face.

Overall I liked using this product before or after moisturizing in the mornings, or by itself during the day to benefit from that instant revitalization. With a nozzle adjustment it would be perfect for long haul trips too. I’d rate this as 4/5 due to the packaging which makes it difficult to fulfill its purpose, but the liquid itself does what it says in the title.

Full size 100ml – £17.50
No sample info available on site

5) Nourishing Night Cream – Organic Frankincense & Avacado Total Repair Complex

Aqua, Hemp Seed Oil*, Rose Flower Water*, Starflower Seed Oil*, Avocado Oil*, Perilla Seed Oil*, Shea Butter*, Cocoa Seed Butter*, Glycerin*, Glyceryl Stearate‡, Sucrose Stearate‡, Coco-Glucoside‡, Pomegranate Seed Oil*, Sesame Seed Oil*, Aloe vera Leaf Juice Powder*, Amla Fruit 100:1 Extract*, Gotu Kola Leaf 120:1 Extract*, Turmeric Root 20:1 Extract*, Manjishtha Root 70:1 Extract*, Neem Leaf 50:1 Extract*, Frankincense Oil*, Australian Sandalwood Wood Oil*, Coconut Alcohol‡, Tocopherol‡, Xanthan Gum‡, Lactic Acid‡, Dehydroacetic Acid()­, Benzyl Alcohol()­, Limonene†
Organic content: 92.9%

Apply a blueberry sized amount to your face and neck after cleansing and toning.

This product is a White cream, with a subtle smell and slightly more oily feeling/texture than the cleanser mentioned above. Using the recommended method of application I could just about spread it all over my face and the front of my neck if I was fast since it absorbs very quickly so I found that it’d sink into my hands or fingertips faster than I could apply it and it absorbed into my face just as quickly. I had to apply it swiftly in one direction over my face to get it everywhere otherwise parts would be missed if applied randomly and there wouldn’t be enough left on the hands/fingertips to spread in different directions. There was not enough for the back of the neck and ears so I had to use extra.

The cream left my skin feeling soft and full but not moisturized to the level I usually associate with night creams. That thought was validated in the morning when my skin felt dry. My solution was to either use more before going to bed or topping up during the night. However that still didn’t leave my skin feeling or looking well nourished or significantly softer.

Overall I’d rate this as a 3.5/5 as according to the leaflet the cream is designed for dry to damaged skin whereas I have normal skin and dehydrate internally quickly yet the cream didn’t last long enough or work deep enough for me so I don’t know how dry skin would fare. It might work better for people with normal to moist/oily skin however bearing in mind that this is an ayurvedic product it is blended with certain body balances in mind which was the reason why I didn’t combine it with another moisturizer or oil to further provide for my skin overnight.

It might have properties that work best slowly overnight but personally I see the night and sleep time as the perfect opportunity to make up for what the skin goes through during the day as well as a chance to add the nourishment the skin could have gotten through the day but didn’t i.e. because it wouldn’t be very presentable to have a visible layer of moisturizer on. Hence I like a night cream to give me extra in all those important areas both visibly and invisibly e.g. nourishment, softness, suppleness and if I’m lucky a youthful radiance. I don’t expect it to last throughout the day but I like it to last at least until I wake up and wash. I couldn’t really see or feel those factors in the mornings after using this cream.

Full size 50ml – £28.00
Individual sample 10ml – £2.50

6) Firming face oil – Organic Starflower, Arnica & Rosehip Mature Skin Formula

Evening Primrose Seed Oil*, Hemp Seed Oil*, Sesame Seed Oil*, Rosehip Fruit Oil*, Sunflower Seed Oil*, Starflower Seed Oil*, Poppy Seed Oil*, Wheatgerm Oil*, Neroli Flower Oil*, St John’s Wort Extract*, Tocopherol‡, Petitgrain Leaf Oil*, Arnica Flower Extract*, Amla Fruit 100:1 Extract*, Gotu Kola Leaf 120:1 Extract*, Turmeric Root 20:1 Extract*, Manjishtha 70:1 Extract*, Neem 50:1 Extract*, Citral†, Geraniol†, Farnesol†, Limonene†, Linalool†.
Organic content: 99.9%

Apply a small amount to your face and neck before, or instead of, moisturising.

Even though this oil is described as for mature skin, I’m 30 years old hence my skin isn’t young or old but it’s not far off from either and since I love oils I was still glad to give this a try. Plus looking at the ingredients I figured that even though they may be particularly beneficial for mature skin they wouldn’t be detrimental to younger skin, though I’m no expert and don’t claim to know how the combinations of the ingredients would work – but still, I risked it and wasn’t worse for wear 🙂

My first impression was that it was a nice, light oil and the scent strangely reminded me of soap – not a bad thing in the slightest as I love natural soaps, also some people might find that refreshing. I found that a little went a long way and it absorbed quickly in comparison to most of the oils I’ve used.

It left my skin feeling soft and a bit more taught around the eyes and mouth. Those benefits lasted with multiple uses and the oil is light enough to wear during the day if you use a thin layer and have a little time to let it sink in fully if you want to add make up afterwards, but it also works well overnight if you use a suitable amount to last. I found that when I used it twice a day the overall condition of my skin felt better, it didn’t have a noticeably youthful effect but the skin felt improved. I surmise that with long term use the benefits would be recognized more and since a little of the oil goes a long way a full sized version should show that.

I’d  rate this as a 4.5/5 since it’s not really designed for my skin but did help it a little.

Full size 30ml – £38.00
Individual sample 2ml – £0.40


3) Radiance Serum – Organic Aloe Vera & Manuka Honey Revitalising Formula

Aloe Vera Leaf Juice*, Manuka Honey*, Xanthan Gum‡, Honeysuckle Flower Extract, Roman Chamomile Flower Water*, Australian Sandalwood Wood Oil*, Olive Leaf 1:1 Extract*, Amla Fruit 100:1 Extract*, Gotu Kola Leaf 120:1 Extract*, Turmeric Root 20:1 Extract*, Tulsi Leaf 70:1 Extract*, Lemon Balm Leaf 1:1 Extract*, Passion Flower 1:1 Extract*, Citric Acid‡, Potassium Sorbate()­
Organic content: 97.5%

Apply a thin layer to your face and neck before moisturising.

Aloe vera and manuka honey to soothe and refresh. Gotu kola and lemon balm to tone and brighten the complexion.

Full size 50ml – £32.00
Individual sample 10ml – £2.50

4) Deep Moisture Day Cream – Organic Neroli & Shea Butter Deep Nuture Complex

Aqua, Hemp Seed Oil*, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Shea Butter*, Beeswax*, Rose Flower Water*, Rosehip Fruit Oil*, Poppy Seed Oil*, Cocoa Seed Butter*, Glycerin*, Glyceryl Stearate‡, Coco-Glucoside‡, Sucrose Stearate‡, Coconut Alcohol‡, Amla Fruit 100:1 Extract*, Gotu Kola Leaf 120:1 Extract*, Turmeric Root 20:1 Extract*, Tulsi Leaf 70:1 Extract*, Pomegranate Seed Oil*, Aloe vera Leaf Juice Powder*, Neroli Flower Oil*, Ylang Ylang Flower Oil*, Tocopherol‡, Xanthan Gum‡, Lactic Acid‡, Dehydroacetic Acid() , Benzyl Alcohol() , Citral †, Eugenol †, Iso Eugenol †, Benzyl Salicylate †, Geraniol †, Farnesol †, Linalool
Organic content: 92.6%

Apply a blueberry sized amount to your face and neck after cleansing and toning.

Neroli flower and shea butter to soothe and soften. Rosehip and poppy seed oil to firm and protect.

Full size 50ml – £26.00
Individual size 10ml – £2.50


This is a lovely set of high quality products with practical variety and caters to various skincare needs. It’s presented just right for a gift or personal treat and makes an interesting introduction to complex skincare principles.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to try these and share my experiences.

The set can be purchased at http://www.pukkaherbs.com/organic-skincare-collection.html for £18.90

Dr Bronner’s Magic Soaps – Which is your fave?

Dr Bronner Magic Castile Liquid 18 Soaps

LtoR – Almond, Rose, Citrus Orange, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Peppermint.

Who doesn’t love Dr Bronner’s Magic Castile Soaps, from those who’ve tried them? (‘Castile’ refers to olive oil based soaps made in the same/similar style to that originally in Castile, Spain.)

Dr Bronner’s soaps are some of the best known all natural, environmentally friendly and vegan friendly soaps on the market. They have a ton of uses but are officially recorded to have ’18-in-1′ uses and are also packaged with the most unique labelling I’ve ever seen. There’s so much information packed onto the label template that there’s no space and it’s full of his philosophy, I don’t agree with all of it but it makes an interesting read.

I’ve used all seven of the classic ones with the Almond and Lavender being my favourites and the Rose and Tea Tree coming a close second. They share the ingredients below along with their title top note:

INGREDIENTS: Water, Saponified Organic Coconut*, Organic Palm* and Organic Olive* Oils (w/Retained Glycerin), Organic Hemp Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Essential Oils**, Citric Acid, Vitamin E

I like that they come in a variety of practical sizes, liquids and solid soaps, and are very good value for money both in price and quality – they are much more economical than many of the other healthy alternative soaps I’ve tried and last a long time. I initially found them too drying/strong for my skin when using ‘normal’ amounts but quickly realized a few drops were more than enough and cleaned just as well. They also have a rich and sizable amount of lather, which isn’t necessary in soap at all but it makes it easier for those trying natural soaps after having gotten used to commercial soaps that have synthetic ingredients added specifically to make lather. Basically, people have gotten used to it and like it so having it naturally is a bonus.

I find these soaps particularly helpful to take out with me in a small bottle or as refills. Before I was vegan I never liked the soaps at work or public places with their awful colours, textures, smells and questionable quality but was too lazy to take my own. Then I went vegan and had to take my own soap and found these ones beneficial.

What are the 18-in-1 uses?

Dr. Bronner recorded the “18 in 1 uses” on his label, which we have left mostly intact since his passing in 1997; however, people have told us many, many more uses for it than that. Here is his version.

Dr. Bronner’s version:Always dilute for Shave-Shampoo-Massage-Dental Soap-Bath! Peppermint is nature’s own unsurpassed fragrant Deodorant! A drop is best Mint Toothpaste; brushes Dentures Clean! A dash in water is the ideal Breath Freshener & Mouth Wash! Peppermint Oil Soap for Dispensers, Uniforms, Baby, Beach! Dilute for ideal After Shave, Body Rub, Foot Bath, Douche. Hot Towel-Massage the entire body, always towards your heart. Pets, silk, wool & body tingles head to toe – keeps cool! 3 dashes in water rinse most Sprays Off fruit & vegetables! 1/4 oz in qt H2O is Pest Spray! Dash, no rash Diaper-Soap!

Which of the recommendations have you tried and have you tried other ways? I’ve used them for hands/face, shower, shampoo, washing clothes and general household cleaning like surfaces. I love the idea of trying them on fruit/veg! I’ve never used the solid soap bars so would be interested in reading your views on those.

Renowned for their quality, versatility and eco-friendliness, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps enjoyed a small but loyal following in the early years. In the late 1960s, however, soap sales started to explode, due to the unsurpassed ecological quality combined with Dr. Bronner’s urgent message to realize our transcendent unity across religious and ethnic divides. Word-of-mouth soon made Dr. Bronner’s the iconic soap of that era, and in the decades that followed the soaps spread into every health food store in the U.S. and then into the mainstream as well — winning over fans from all walks of life on the way to becoming the number-one-selling natural brand of soap in North America.

Link (if you want to know more about the history, look at the timeline tab it’s very interesting!)


MuLondon Promotion – Send in a review for freebies!

MuLove = free MuLondon products & accessories (worldwide)


I love a company that listens to its customers and rewards them and so was happy to be informed about a great promotion from the fabulous MuLondon.

Here’s what you do and what you get:

– Video review (2 minutes+): FREE MuLondon product + accessory of your choice, sent to anywhere in the world! Worth £35+.

– Text review (100 words+) with an image of you and your MuLondon product: £8 MuLondon voucher + T-shirt or a cosmetic bag! Worth £18.

– Text review (100 words+): £3 MuLondon voucher + small coin purse! Worth £8.

Outstanding videos and images will get extra prizes! Worldwide entries are welcome.


Make your submissions through my contact page: http://www.mulondon.com/contact/ – Mark your entry “MuLove” and enclose the links to your image or video. You will get a personal response within 48 hours.

Text reviews need to be at least 100 words. Images should be submitted as high-resolution files, at least 800x800px. Videos can be uploaded via YoutTube or Vimeo and need to be at least 2 minutes long and in English. This promotion is available worldwide and subject to quality control. Complimentary accessories are sent out with your next order. MuLondon reserves the right to disqualify invalid or inappropriate entries. One submission per person per month. The promotion applies to new reviews only. By submitting text, images and video, you grant MuLondon the rights to use these. That said – have fun, be creative – and please share to let your friends know.

For more info about the promotion, prizes and tips go HERE