A bit of insolence

When I got my hands on the gorgeous Vetiver Insolent from Miller Harris, I just admit the scent was a bit wasted on me. 

Although I loved the company and the sheer craft behind their fragrances, I just thought that wasn’t one to call mine.

As I write this in the tube, I catch pleasant whiffs of Vetiver Insolent from my hair and skin and I can’t have enough of it. 

Needless to say that the staying power of this exquisite scent is great!

Strong and beautiful, Vetiver Insolent is a spicy fragrance mixing vetiver, which is theroots of a grass grown in Haiti and India.

Altough quite smokey, it is not heavy and intriguingly fresh, with the rootiness of vetiver playing nice with smoky resin of elemi, woody elements of black pepper and the brazen freshness of bergamot and cardamom.

Its top notes are of bergamot, black pepper, elemi and cardamon, while iris, lavandin abs and crisp amber are at its heart and vetiver, tonka bean and moss as base notes, making this a deliciously developing and striking fragrance.

Admittedly, a daring fragrance for day (but I don’t care and wear it anyway), which leaves a powerful trail and envelops you. 

Sometimes you mature into tastes, as I mentioned a while ago it is something that seems to be happening a fair amount of times with fragrance, and this is exactly what happened here.

Plus, how cute is my personalised bottle?

As expected from a unique, specialist blended fine fragrance, the price is premium, but not outrageous: Vetiver Insolent costs £75 for 50ml, as mine, and also available in 100ml bottles for £105.

You can also get small sample bottles of most of their perfumes for £16 for 9ml, which is a great way to trial before committing to a full sized bottle. Delivery is free in the UK when you spend over £50.

Miller Harris is a fine London perfumier with an exquisite range of fragrances, inspired by the less obvious and the streets of London. To find out more about them, visit their website.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains some PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

It’s all in the scent…

Cacharel Yes I Am perfume

When Yes I Am Eau de Parfum from Cacharel arrived at my doorstep, even before I smelt it, I was flooded with teenage memories.

Why, you ask? Well, Lou Lou, a Cacharel late 80s/90s classic, was my staple for years. Many years.

No wonder I warmed up to Yes I Am straight away, and heart-eyes really appeared when I saw the gorgeous lipstick shaped bottle. I was in.

Cacharel Yes I Am perfume

The fragrance is distinctive, and as expected from the brand, it is strong and powerful. Its strong oriental notes are balanced by the fresh florals and it develops into a delightful creamy scent that I’ve been wearing almost everyday since I got it.

The top notes are mandarin, raspberry and cardamon, with ginger flowers, jasmine and gardenia at its heart (what a beautiful heart it is) and sandalwood and milk to form the base.

Cacharel Yes I Am perfume

A fragrance that is meant to produce the power of the perfect red lipstick, but making it clear it is NOT a lipstick – my interpretation is that it is not just how it looks on the outside, but about the woman’s inner beauty being highlighted; it speaks to daring, independent, and powerful women. When asked if you are any of the above, the answer should be: Yes I Am!

I used to be quite loyal to a fragrance, but as years gone by, not only I started to reach out to different fragrances to suit my mood (yes, I became perfume-promiscuous), but the type of fragrance I like has changed a bit too.

Cacharel Yes I Am perfume

Thought this post was quite fitting to go out this week, given the concept behind the fragrance, to follow up from my feelings about international women’s day: let’s build each other up, let’s empower each other, and be kind.

Sometimes all it takes to help unleash inner confidence (on others and ourselves), is a word, a lipstick, a shift in posture, the knowledge someone’s got your back.

Yes I am Eau de Parfum is priced from £35 (30ml; 50ml is £60 and 75ml is £78) and is available from major retailers nationwide, including Boots.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this is an AD (GIFTED), as post contains PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Super (natural) stylin’

got2b oh my nude range

I am not a person who styles their hair on a daily basis, but I am a huge fan of loose waves from time to time – think events and when I am feeling mermaid-y!

For a while now Schwarzkopf got2b has been a favourite brand for all things hairstyle: their products are so good with amazing value for money.

One of their latest ranges is called #Oh My Nude and taps into the nude trend in beauty – think styling for a very natural look.

got2b oh my nude range

Design to enhance hair natural textures, the three products also create a softer finish so styling god almost unnoticed. They contain ultra-fine polymers that provide a more flexible finish and subtle texture ad won’t weigh hair down.

My absolute favourite is the Air Does it Air Dry Foam Spray (RRP £4.19). I can only describe as a spray mousse. I use it as a mousse to create natural waves, which are smooth and crinkle free, brushing really well while retaining the shape!

got2b oh my nude range

Recommended use is as a after wash product – spray on towel dried hair and let it dry naturally for a smooth and bouncy finish. It has no residue and helps with frizz.

The Oh So Flexible Hairspray (RRP £4.19) is almost an anti-hairspray as has nothing of a crinkly and sticky finish. It offers long-lasting super light definition with a super soft texture to touch. Control is light, with natural hold.

got2b oh my nude range

Finally, the Silk’ly Done Detangling Spray (RRP £4.19), amazing for long hair – or short and fine prone to tangling. It is non-sticky and has moisturising ingredients. Spritz and comb to get a more manageable mane.

I feel this is a great addition to my air routine – so easy to use and really makes a difference; hair dries naturally with a much better texture!

got2b oh my nude range

Needless to say, all the got2b products have a fabulous scent and how cute is the packaging here? Love the pastel tones with rose gold!

You can get them nationwide at major retailers in the UK. Currently, Superdrug has a 2 for £6 on selected got2b products!

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains some PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

written by Dani

When beauty turns ugly: the importance of having reputable cosmetic medical advice

We see often in the news: people becoming deformed or losing their lives because of cosmetic procedures performed by under qualified professionals. I am grateful I have a dermatologist I can 100% trust.

According to the Guardian, in 2017, 72% of all complaints about cosmetic procedures were from patients who had found the practitioner on social media, where you can easily find offers of cheap deals luring people in. That’s insane – remember that you usually get what you pay for.

Even though my experience was even close to an extreme case, when I had an allergic reaction after a facial peel, I really started thinking about how important it was that the professional that did the procedure on me was not only qualified, but also reputable, knowledgeable and above all, caring. 

He knows my skin (and all skin, for that matter), I had done chemical peels before, I had used all the products on my after care in the past, so why oh why I ended up looking like the marshmallow man mid bonfire? 

My face swelled up to full blood moon proportions: it was big, red, hot, itchy, angry and my skin was full of bumps underneath. It was horrible. 

My dermatologist’s fast and knowledgeable action got it under control and most importantly, got me reassured – not only that it would pass but I wouldn’t get any after effects.

I got booked in swiftly (almost impossible in that busy clinic) after hours, had topical treatment and left with medication prescribed and dispensed, on top of a whole new after care routine, in case one of the products was the cause of the allergy. 

Laugh away. Here’s my best impression of the marshmallow man mid bonfire. And this wasn’t even at its worst!

But above all, I felt safe – as safe as I feel when I am having my procedures done there.

I arrived in tears after feeling like a monster on the tube, with people staring and being unable to look in the mirror. Might sound dramatic, but that’s how I felt when I didn’t know what was happening and if things would get better. 

Apparently, you can just develop an allergic reaction to anything at any time; even someone like me who’s not allergic to many things. 

After a few days on steroids, antibiotics and anti histamines, on top of some medicated creams, my face started to go back to normal. 

In the end, the peel did its business and go rid of most of the post inflammatory pigmentation I had on my face.

My doctor called me after, checked on me several times and the clinic staff, daily. 

Once again, I cannot stress how important it is to seek sound professional advice when considering a cosmetic treatment.

It’s true Dr. Haus performs miraculous aesthetic treatments but above all he is a (super) qualified dermatologist and his duty of care as a doctor is second to none. And all procedures performed by his staff are also under his care, guidance and training. 

This is peace of mind. After all, in my case, he’s looking after my face, which with I’ve always had a fragile relationship due to the acne, and trusting someone with it means a lot to me.

At Dr. Haus Dermatology, you get the latest tech in treatments – aesthetic and medical, and I love their problem centric approach where treatment is tailored to address your issue – it might be a combination of procedures, or even tweaks to existing ones, to really deliver the best results to your individual case.

Worth thinking long and hard – is it worth the extra pounds? Absolutely. 

You can get the same fabulous treatment my skin gets (and many others, cosmetic or medical) at Dr. Haus Dermatology. They are located at 140 Harley Street, London and you can contact them via phone (02079356358) or email (appointments@drhausdermatology.com) .

Highly recommend.

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post is a result of a wonderful partnership with Dr. Haus Dermatology. The opinions, feelings, admiration and trust, however, are all my very own and honest.

Flexing those beauty muscles

Not too long ago I tried the Kohl Kreatives makeup brushes and talked a little bit about the company and how amazing it is, on top of having great products. 

Recently, I was sent their new range: the Flex Collection, on which not only do the brushes have super soft vegan bristles, easy grip and stand up, but they also have a flexible tip. 

Why, you ask? I am fortunate not to have any restrictions in the way a move, but for lots of people with motor disabilities, the fact they can be positioned in many ways can make a huge difference in every day life. 

Kohl Kreatives as a brand is always trying to empower people, regardless of gender, through makeup and this collection is a sheer reflection of that. 

I like that the shapes of the brushes in this set is a bit different – a large square, a large thin triangle, a diamond – all designed to get to places that other brushes with a stiff body may not cover. And because of the super packed soft bristles, it gives you an airbrushed finish quite easily.

Although there isn’t a guideline on how each brush is meant to be used I find that for me, the square makes for a great foundation brush, while the triangle is great for foundation and concealer and contouring.

Diamond is great for concealer and powders, such as eyeshadows, the thin triangle great for concealer, eyeliner or even lipstick and the small round is handy on powder and creamy highlighters and blushers. 

The set of five brushes costs £44.99 which is great value and every set generates proceeds to their charity, Khol Kares, which a spoke about in my previous post.

In short, they run workshops to help people recreate their features cosmetically, primarily offering transgender support and working close with cancer charities, but also working with people who suffer from conditions like alopecia and vitiligo, scarring caused by accidents. 

As I said before, a brand with a beautiful soul, led by a young woman  very passionate about the work she does. 

Check out their website to buy the Flex Collection as well as the 3ss3ntials range. 

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains some PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Flowers all around me

Floral Street ylang ylang espresso eau de parfum

When I was invited for Floral Street’s scent school I wasn’t too sure what to expect, but I was sure excited to get to know another brand. 

Floral Street has a beautiful shop in, well, Floral Street in London Covent Garden and they are a little bit different: inspired by the streets of London and the women in it, and created to break with tradition and follow  the beauty world evolution towards a younger audience. 

I started my fragrance wardrobe with something quite different from what I go for, but that suited my mood on the day and certainly did not disappoint: ylang ylang espresso eau de parfum is magnetic; a powerful, deep and strong fragrance that’s more me than I ever thought. 

Floral Street ylang ylang espresso eau de parfum

As Floral Street labels it, ylang ylang espresso is “for the spirited, fearless, mystical and audacious. For the rebels. The thinkers. And the leaders: a powerful fragrance with it’s own electric current.” And I cannot disagree one bit.

It’s so modern and different from anything I smelt before. Instead of floating to my usual lifetime favourite notes, this alluring scent pulled me in and now I cannot have enough. 

Blending traditional fresh red rose, ylang ylang and jasmine crossed with slightly less traditional coffee, cream and pepper notes, it also has Sichuan pepper, tangerine, tiramisu(!), patchouli, cocoa beans and guaicwood. In a way, it’s easy to see why I was drawn to it: jasmine, coffee, cocoa and tiramisu. 

Floral Street ylang ylang espresso eau de parfum

However, it’s the rest that actually made my decision. Decision was hard and I was so close from picking wild vanilla orchid which is the day “pairing” of ylang ylang espresso. And I am so glad I did – there’s no going back from it. And it may have been highly praised by a boy.

The Scent School experience (£20) was a great help as it breaks down the notes, all over a glass or two of prosecco! 

Floral Street has 8 fabulous unisex scents, including my absolute favourite ylang ylang espresso, which retail at £55 for 50ml. You can also get a handy 10ml version for £22, and for Christmas, they also have the 10ml in “bauble” version. 

Floral Street ylang ylang espresso eau de parfum

Apart from that, Floral Street also has discovery sets and exploration kits, and a beautiful range of home fragrance with candles and diffusers, and body creams and washes. Even stationery. Needless to say, all gorgeously scented. 

The Christmas collection is beautiful, with the baubles and gifts sets of eau de parfum, candles and diffusers, well worth a look (empower set, I am looking at you). 

And the packaging is just stunning – with amazing prints and sustainable. 

For more information on Scent School, the brand and the amazing products, go to their website, their boutique in Covent Garden’s Floral Street or their pop up in Westfield London.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains GIFTED PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

A (chocolate) pocket rocket

I heart revolution mini chocolate eyeshadow palettes

Many a times I wrote about how I like a compact makeup product and these Mini Chocolate Eye palettes from I Heart Revolution are the perfect example of on the go beauty.

I got my hands on the Nude and Rose Gold which are, like their bigger sisters, super versatile, but with an added bonus: they are so slim that they are guaranteed to become a permanent feature in any makeup bag. 

I heart revolution nudes mini chocolate eyeshadow palette

Nude is my favourite as the colours really complement my complexion.

There’s a mix of shimmery and matte, including gorgeous light gold for superior highlighting, some darker golds and coppers for mid tones and some selection of browns for shading. Many day and night looks in one tiny palette. Perfect. 

Rose Gold has a shade selection that pulls on neutrals with pink undertones. I miss a lighter highlight shade here, but the browns are super strong, and there’s a solid gold and peach shade for a pop of colour. 

I heart revolution rose gold mini chocolate eyeshadow palette

What’s really impressive if that these little palettes cost only £6 and the quality is amazing: high pigmentation, buttery soft and exceptional colour pay off and durability.

The colours are so versatile; in fact, all I Heart Revolution palettes – big or small – have a fabulous colour selections and there’s one for everyone, on a budget.

And oh, they so smell of chocolate, which is not something I find great, but a nice little touch. 

You can get the Nude and Rose Gold Mini Chocolate palettes from the Revolution Beauty website and Superdrug online and instore!

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains GIFTED PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

The face mask of dreams…

Not the first time I go crazy on praise for a face mask, but the thing with O’o Hawaii Birds + Roses Rose Quartz Hydrating + Firming Mask goes a bit beyond that.

Another fabulous discovery from FeelUnique and IndieBeauty Expo, this mask is true luxury in a pot. First, how it feels on the skin: amazing. This antique rose coloured mask has a creamy consistency that spreads like a dream on the face. Immediately skin is coated in a comforting layer. It is suitable for all skin types as it is so mild.

After 10 minutes on, it dries slightly, but comfortably and it easy to remove with lukewarm water. Skin feels so soft, plumped, calm and replenished. Really a bliss.

The red rose and pink geranium scent is subtle but ever present, even after you remove the mask. I can definitely smell the honey.

But let’s talk richness of natural ingredients. Sodium hyaluronate and squalane deliver plumpness and help stimulate cell growth; “snow mushrooms” helps draw moisture to the skin’ giant kelp, baobab, babassu and tamanu oils deliver antioxidant properties and sea buckthorn, rose and jasmine extracts, golden bee nectar and rose quartz crystals promote healing and circulation.

It also contains milk thistle, Hawaiian kukui nut oil, manuka honey, gotu kola and Hawaiian superfood blends coffeeberry extract, red algae (astaxanthin), strawberry guava and Hawaiian noni fruit extract.

Can you believe there is so much goodness packed in this pretty 150ml pot? Yes, it is highly concentrated, with no fillers – so we get no chemicals, no artificial colours or fragrance. It is also vegetarian, cruelty free, biodegradable and does not contain phtalates, sodium lauryl,/laureth sulfates, genetically modified ingredients, wheat, gluten, palm or soy.

I had the pleasure to briefly meet founder Holly Harding, AADP, INHC who is highly sought out holistic health and nutrition coach and food for beauty expert, well known for her mind/body transformation program, The H Lyfe Method®.

She believes beauty starts from within with a diet of nutrient rich, unprocessed and unrefined foods from nature so O’o Hawaii came about as as a way to accomplish beautiful, glowing, ageless skin through a combination of diet, supplementation and highly functional skincare.

Her love for Hawaii and an ocean lifestyle permeates the brand, especially when it comes to ingredients.

You can get the O’o Hawaii Birds + Roses Rose Quartz Hydrating + Firming Mask from FeelUnique. Price is on the dear side: £145 for 150ml, but  when you think about the pure ingredients, many organic, the sum does make sense. Also, a small amount goes a long way so you get a lot of wear out of the pot.

They have such a fabulous range (also, packaging is GORGEOUS!), I feel I have to try more! Plenty available in the UK at FeelUnique.

 

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains GIFTED PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

Strong is beautiful!

One of the best things about being a blogger is discovering brands you’d probably never come across weren’t for the blog. And Reina Rebelde is one of them.

Not long ago FeelUnique invited me to an indi brand event, ahead of the IndiBeauty Expo. Don’t get me wrong – I am a lover of all types of beauty brands, big or small – but there is something special about independent brands and the individual(s) who managed to instill they point of view, passion and dreams, onto the brands. It is a very personal outcome a lot of the times.

When I looked at Reina Rebelde, I knew the brand would resonate with my personality. Latin connections aside, the aesthetic and range of products are really “my thing”. And it does help they are great products too!

The Bold Lip Color Stick in Brava could not be more “made for me”. A bold neutral classic red compliments many a complexions and I am sold. Durability is great, pigmentation fantastic and application good – you do need a lip liner for a sharper finish. Obviously very elegant but fierce, as all good reds.

My daily eye makeup is made of neutrals. And the 4 Play Wet Dry Color palette in Azteca hits the spot. The quad has chocolate, rose gold, metallic gold and bronze hues for sophisticated day and night looks. I think it could do with a lighter gold for highlight, but overall, this palette is super versatile.

Pigmentation is fantastic, they eyeshadows are buttery soft and super blendable with great durability. And it takes you from desk to dancefloor effortlessly.

Finally, a the Rebel Eye Definer Liquid in Zapatista is a fine jet back liquid eyeliner. Now, you will now liquid is not my favourite type of eyeliner as I can make a huge mess but the a hard tip fine applicator makes the job easy and precise.

It dries super black with a slight gloss finish and durability is exceptional. It does not budge once dry.

I don’t often go on about the brand itself, but I feel I have to on this one. Products are made in the U.S. (proudly as they state!) and are cruelty free. They endeavour to use vegan ingredients; however, products are not created in a vegan-only facility, and some products (not the ones reviewed here) may contain trace amounts of carmine.

“For today’s mujer” (woman) is their motto and I feel they meet that – beauty that is, well, beautiful, but edgy, a bit tough and a slight retro touch. It is a mix of a woman mixed background that makes her so special and unique – it talks from experience and I really like that.

Dani Dutra wears Reina Rebelde lipstick in Brava, eyeliner in Zapatista and eye shadow quad in Azteca

Reina Rebelde lipstick in Brava, eyeliner in Zapatista and eye shadow quad in Azteca

Regina Merson, the founder, grew up in Mexico and got inspired by a telenovela “Rosa Salvaje” (which also made it Brazil) and her mum’s makeup rituals. The brand embodies that heritage as well as an American existence. Being from Brazil and living in the UK, I totally understand the beautiful, and sometimes conflicted balance of not losing where you came from, but at the same time shaping the person you are based on your environment.

Currently you cannot get products individually in the UK but you can get gorgeous kits from FeelUnique.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains GIFTED PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.

A breathe of fresh… skin?

Being hung up on my skin general condition is not even harder when it is far from perfect. I am always on the lookout for new ways of trying to improve and recently started using the Trophy Skin MiniMD, a portable home microdermabrasion device, once a week.

In the past I used a microdermabrasion device at home and was quite happy with the overall results until I got my hands on this baby.

When they say “discover you best skin” they are not lying as microdermabrasion is literally using physical abrasive agents to remove the top layer of the skin and promote regeneration revealing new, radiant skin.

If you’ve done professional microdermabrasion before you will be familiar with the “suction and scraping” combination: the device sucks the skin while you physically rub the diamond tip to buff the surface. The MiniMD has two suction levels to cater for more sensitive skin types.

Although it seems quite harsh, the whole treatment is painless and does not take more than five minutes. At the end, my skin is a little bit red, but not uncomfortable in any way. Make sure skin is clean prior to treatment.

After buffing the whole face (avoiding the eye area), I have been using the gorgeous (and recently launched) Jurlique Herbal Recovery Signature Serum, which contains viola, yarrow flower and red clover extracts for replenishing, firming and radiance, together with the Herbal Recovery Signature Mist, which is packed with antioxidants and has revitalising properties, as well as being refreshing – a much need property after microdermabrasion!

I love doing it at night, a couple of hours before bed, so I put the serum and mist on, as well as my usual night time skincare routine just before bed. Skin wakes up plumped, smoother and more even in tone and texture. But the real difference is noted two to three days after use – there’s definitely a great glow on top of the textural improvements. A true glow-getter!

For me, it is a great addition to the routine as my skin tends to get congested often, especially at this time of the year when the weather changes. With regular use, the MiniMD deeply exfoliates, invigorates the complexion, smoothes and soften, polishes and revitalises skin by buffing away dull and rough patches, as well as improving radiance. These are claims I can attest to, as I have been loving using it and seeing a positive change.

Make up sits better and I have been using less of it. I feel weekly is the best frequency for me, due to my skin condition, but it can be used up to three times a week.

It comes with a bunch of filters (which trap the dead skin – quite gross but you can actually see what it does!), which need to be replaced regularly. The diamond tip last up to six months, if used around 3 times a week, so if you use less, it will definitely last up to a year!

Super light and portable, although it needs to be plugged into the mains while in use, it is so pretty in rose gold – definitely one for display in the bathroom!

This device costs £85, which, if you had microdermabrasion professionally like I did in the past, you will know is not much more than one single salon session. And honestly, the results are pretty close!

You can get the Trophy Skin MiniMD from the Current Body website. You can also buy the accessories: filters are £12 for a pack of 100 and a replacement diamond tip costs £25.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say again: this post contains GIFTED PR samples. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on them.