Beauty and chocolate

Chocolate. We all know how great it is. For me, the darkest, the better. But what about chocolate in beauty? Skincare almost good enough to eat, that turns the goodness of cocoa into amazing beauty products?

That’s Rabot 1745 Beauty, which is part of Hotel Chocolat. The mix of discovering a new beauty brand with such an amazing connection to a luxury food brand is too exciting for me to contain myself!

In fact, Rabot is the name of the estate in St. Lucia where Hotel Chocolat’s sustainable cocoa is grown and is not only inspired by the cacao itself but also the love for St. Lucia, its people and plants – always harnessing the properties of their high quality natural ingredients and the craft that goes into their products.

It is a beautiful story which bears gorgeous fruits. I was lucky enough to try a great selection of their range and can tell there isn’t one single thing that I do not like.

My favourite? Probably the stunning Cacao & Almond Bath and Body Oil (£18, 200ml). Cocoa seed oil is the hero throughout the range and of course, present here, blended with sweet almond oil to provide vitamins and fatty acids for great hydration.

I have been applying to damp skin after my shower and my skin has been super smooth, most times does not need extra moisturisers. The smell? Divine. It absorbs quickly and has a long lasting effect.

Then, a tough choice between two, but going for the lip butters (£8, 10ml): I have the Coconut Chocolat lip balm, with cocoa seed butter, shea butter and abyssinian seed oil and the Fruited Chocolat lip balm with cacao butter, almond oil, cacao butter and rosemary leaf extract.

They are a little delight in smell and taste, and do their job to keep lips moisturised. It comes in 7 different varieties with yummy ingredients mixes.

Not a secret I am a massive fan of body scrubs and of course I had to try one of them. Mine is the new Salt & Lemongrass Body Scrub (£16, 280ml) and it smells so fresh.

It could have a little more grit to it, but overall, this rich salt, lemongrass oil, sweet almond oil and cocoa seed butter scrub does a great job in exfoliating and also leaving skin soft and deeply moisturised. It comes in 3 other varieties (with a coffee and a sugar base) and is a best seller!

Plus, it comes in a reusable cup that , once you finish the scrub, you can clean and take to any Hotel Chocolat shop in the UK for 50p off your hot drink or a free one at the Rabot 1745 restaurant in Borough Market (London). How amazing is that?

And that’s not all; as a fan of scrubs, I am also loving the Avocado & Sour Orange hand scrub (£9.95, 60ml) which leaves hands so soft and ready so soak in the moisturiser.

Plus their Avocado & Lime Smile Reviver (£9.95, 30ml), a lip scrub with avocado oil, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin A, D, and E, gently exfoliates to leave lips soft and well, more kissable, perhaps!

Also, have you noticed how affordable the products are? Amazing value for money and great for gifting.

This is just a tiny sample of their beautiful range, which you can get the Rabot 1745 website and at Hotel Chocolat shops.

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains PR samples and the product was GIFTED, with no obligation to post. This review, however, is based on my experience with the products and reflects my honest opinion on them.

A protective kind of glow

A product that is called Flawless PhotoGlow and has a SPF30+? I am already sold.

And it lived up to its name: the Transformulas Flawless PhotoGlow moisturiser has a revolutionary skin drone technology (yes, you heard it right) which delivers the right active ingredients to the cells that need it.

It helps restore sking glow and radiance, as well as helping improve skin tone and pigmentation.

I am not gonna mince my words: I am in love with this product. It is an effective day moisturiser with a solid UVA/UVB SPF, fells super light and behaves well under makeup, really delivering on the glow/radiance/luminosity claims.

I’ve been using it daily for over a month and my skin loves it. I usually suffer from photosensitive pigmentation in the summer and this has been minimum so far – I attribute it to the consistent SPF use and the formula here.

My skin has been much clearer and hydrated, despite using some acne fighting products.

It contains a lot of tech ingredients like Illumisan (for pigmentation), Suncat MTA (pollution and sun protection), X50 PhotoGlow (the cosmetic drone I mentioned above), squalane (hydration) and LPD Multivitamin (antioxidants and vitamins A,C, D and F) to support delivery of all claims.

Honestly, a gem, definitely worth the £55 price tag (50ml). I am so sold, and dreading the end of he tube.

You can get the Transformulas Flawless PhotoGlow online. And maybe send me a few to keep ;).

written by Dani

You know the drill, but I’ll say anyway: this post contains a PR samples and this product was GIFTED, with no obligation to post. This review, however, is based on my experience with the product and reflects my honest opinion on it.

Overnight recovery

At night, your skin heals. Our bodies pretty much rest themselves – that’s why sleeping well is essential for good health. 

Temple Spa is giving an extra helping hand with the Repose Aromatherapy Relaxing night cream, not only with a fabulous face cream that contains natural plant extracts and anti-oxidants to supporting that overnight replenishing process, but also a fusion of relaxing essential oils to help us achieve a good night’s sleep. 

The cream has a great, cashmere consistency and is absorbed quickly by the skin. In the morning, skin feel supple and plump. I love that this night cream is not too rich, as my skin tends to get congested after wearing those.

And when I wake up and wash my face, there are no traces of my skincare, a sign my skin really took it all in.

Now, the smell is soothing and calming and great to put your head on the pillow with, thanks to a gorgeous blend of hops, valerian, chamomile, frankincense, lavender, patchouli, geranium, bitter orange and clary essential oils which have a reputation to aid deep relaxation and bring a sense of calm, as well as a great moisturisation.

It is suitable or all skin types and does help fight fine lines and wrinkles – it really helps settles the skin.

This fabulous Repose Aromatherapy Relaxing night cream costs £40 for 50ml and a little goes a long way and you can get it online.

Temple Spa is a lovely British skincare brand founded by people who had years of experience creating business and products for others, and decide to create their own. They are stocked in Harrods and you can also find them in many spas around the UK, with amazing treatments.

written by Dani

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

Living with No B.S.

If the boys won’t let me live my life free of it, at least my skincare can now be no b.s.

Yes, you heard it: a skincare brand that says we should put up with no bullsh*t – and they live up to it in their formulations.

Retinol is one of my favourite ingredients, mainly due to my skin type and condition, and the no b.s. Retinol Night Cream is a dream. 

Because it has no nasties, it relies on the line smoothing, scar fading properties of retinol with the added benefits of moisturising hyaluronic acid, protecting vitamin E and soothing aloe vera to do its job. 

And what a job it does – from the first use, skin wakes up plumper, smoother and overall feeling great. 

Over time, the retinol gets to work its wonders, especially when pigmentation fading is concerned. 

If I weren’t before, I just became a bigger fan of no b.s. and was glad to extend the motto to another part of my life! 

No b.s. is an American company that has a simple message: say no to toxic crap. And their products, apart from the sassy name and bright packaging are leaded full of clean ingredients in potent formulas, to create a simplified routine.

They are cruelty free, free from synthetic fragrances, parabens, phtalates and sulfates; their packaging is recyclable and with exception of one product (SPF 20 moisturiser), all products are vegan.

I am really into their whole range – it’s straight forward and packed with goodness, so you can truly #LiveNoBS skincare wise (boys, help us here, it’d be great to extend that to you, just saying).

The no b.s. Retinol Night Cream costs £58 for 30ml (it goes a long way). In the UK, you can get your hands on them at FeelUnique.

written by Dani

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

ps: the butterfly was mounted by me and it is ethically sourced – it lived its full life in a sanctuary and died naturally before making its way into my wall.

Get your skin some beauty sleep

Facial oils are one of my favourite types of skincare. I find easy to use and they give my skin more than just their core function.

I mentioned in the past how discovering facial oils changed the way I care for my skin and coming across a new brand is always great, especially when it works, as the Beuti Beauty Sleep Elixir does.

The elixir is 100% natural blend of 14 plant-based oils, including Caribbean coral extract, lavender herb, seabuckthorn fruit berry, geranium and neroli flowers oils, capric tryglicerid from coconut as well as oils from sandalwood nut kernel and from the seeds of camellia, chia seed, bitter cherry, strawberry, raspberry, pomegranate, blueberry and cranberry. Phew! It also has a boost of vitamins, minerals and omega 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9.

These ingredients together work to help prevent ageing signs caused by inflammation. This process, where the protective skin barrier is compromised, happens over time usually due to skin exposure to pollution and sun, over exfoliation or simply by having the wrong skincare regime.

The Beuti Beauty Sleep Elixir works to help renew and repair the skin and its barrier, overnight, while you sleep and skin is at its prime regeneration mode.

The oil itself is rich in colour but moderately rich in texture, absorbing well. For my skin type, best used in the autumn/winter and at night, applied with a lovely massage to face and neck.

It works well with other products – I’ve been using a pigmentation and and a vitamin C serum, and sometimes extra moisturisers on top of it.

It can also be used under makeup, or mixed to foundation, but that does not quite work for my skin.

After using it for a while exclusively at night for about 4 weeks, I did notice skin is suppler and overall happier and glowier, breakouts have been stable and skin condition is good.

It is suggested as a topical blemish inflammation reducing but again, for me, I felt it is not necessarily more potent as I was applying to the whole face anyway and my blemishes have been under control.

Also, a little goes a long way so the price tag of £42 (30ml) is, for me, good value for money!

The Beuti Beauty Sleep Elixir is made in the UK, with 98% organic oils can be purchased from they Beuti Skincare website and lookfantastic.com when it is in stock: it is very popular and sells out super quickly so get your hands on it whenever you can!

I am lucky to have mine!

written by Dani

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

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.

Beauty, evolved

Evolve Beauty is a brand I tried before and loved – their ethical and organic approach to beauty is something I really appreciate and I’m always happy to discover more from their range.

I absolutely love face masks and tried many with varied purposes, but is always delightful to stumble upon something different.

The Radiant Glow Mask (£20, 60ml) has raw cacao powder, sweet almond oil and clay and it smells like your favourite dessert. And that’s not even the best thing about it.

Evolve Beauty Radiant Glow Mask

The thick rich brown paste is quite grainy but does not feel rough on application. Apply generously and leave for 5 minutes. Because it smells so good (thank you, organic vanilla oil), I left for 10.

Removing with warm water is a delightful surprise; the mask melts and it gets so wonderfully gritty due to the coconut shell granules, providing great exfoliation. Gently scrub it away to reveal soft, clearer skin. I am in love.

Evolve Beauty favourites

Talking about scrubbing, not a lot of things bring me much joy as a good body scrub, and the Tropical Blossom Body Polish (£20, 180ml) is certainly my dream one.

This oil-based sugary scrub, which has an intoxicating fragrance thanks to Tahitian coconut monoi macerated in exotic Tahitian blossoms of gardenia and hibiscus, makes for silk soft skin that is moisturised and nourished. 

Evolve Beauty Body Polish

The sugar extracts combined with water make a milk making this an indulgent, self-caring experience. 

Last, but not least, is the Miracle Facial oil (£30, 30ml). This time of the year is when they come back into my routine as skin is begging for that extra nourishment.

Evolve Beauty Miracle Facial Oil

It contains natural retinol from organic rosehip and antioxidants from organic argan oil and organic blackseed oil, and is very light.

Applies and absorbs well and a little goes a long way, with a gorgeous organic rose otto and organic vanilla, which revitalise and soothe, on top of giving the oil a lovely fragrance.

I’ve also been using the Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum (£20, 30ml), which is so mild and replenishing for a spot treatment.

Evolve Beauty Rainforest Rescue Blemish Serum

It contains a blend of Amazonian acai e copaiba, as well as willow bark, and I tend to apply only on affected areas and most of the time, at night, the oil and this serum are the only things on my skin.

After a few weeks using the above, plus the Daily Detox Facial Wash (£16, 100ml), with papaya, goji ad moringa peptides, my skin was brighter, less blemished and overall happy, reaping the benefits of all these natural, organic ingredients.

Their price is also very appealing and they are lovingly made in the UK. 
You can get these (and the other Evolve Beauty products I tried before) on the Evolve Beauty 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.

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.

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.

 

A shift on my skincare routine

Image skincare - So Many Lovely ThingsFrom time to time I like shifting my skincare routine and over a month ago I introduced five Image Skincare products to it. I had never heard of the brand, so was very excited to see that they are paraben free and have an extensive range catering for all different skin concerns.

After describing my skin, I was sent a mix of products from a few ranges, including the gorgeous the Vital C Hydrating Anti Ageing Serum, the Ageless Total Eye Lift Cream, the Prevention+ Daily Matte Moisturiser, the fabulous ClearCell Salicylic Clarifying Gel Cleanser and the Biomolecular Hydrating Recovery Masque.

I used them almost exclusively for over 4 weeks and here’s what I found…

The serum

Because I am a sucker for serums, that’s where I’m gonna start: the Vital C Hydrating Anti Ageing Serum (£72) is fluid and spreads very well on the skin, sinking quickly. I felt it gives my skin radiance; and that seem to be persisting throughout the day and not only in the morning.

Image skincare - So Many Lovely ThingsThe hydrating serum has oil-soluble Vitamin C which helps soothe the visible effects of environmentally damaged skin. Vitamins A, E and highly potent anti-oxidants help on the nourishment front, for that youthful glow.

Keep it clean!

Image skincare - So Many Lovely ThingsOne product I am in love with is the Clearcell Salicylic Clarifying Gel Cleanser (£28). Foamy and with a light scent, this cleanser makes skin feel super clean and not a tiny bit dry.

I feel it’s been a god send on these hot days where you sweat a lot at night. It contains a 5% blend of salicylic acid, neem leaf extract and granactive acne, and does a decent job of removing makeup, even eye. It has anti-inflammatory properties and gives skin a gentle exfoliation, so perfect for blemish and acne prone skin.

The eyes (always) have it

Now, eye creams are amongst my favourite type of skincare and the Ageless Total Eye Lift Creme (£48) delivers extreme hydration and nutrition to the area. I use at night as it has a richer consistency, but it applies super well and absorbs super quickly, not upsetting my sensitive eyes.

It contains a retinol-derivative glycolic blend  to help tighten the skin, chamomile, green tea and coneflower soothe and a peptide blend to reduce inflammatory processes, as well as potent antioxidants.

Image skincare - So Many Lovely ThingsDaily protection

I was looking for a multitasking face moisturiser and that’s exactly what I found on the oil-free Prevention+ Daily Matte Moisturiser (£46).

With a microsponge technology that absorb surface oils to mattify and leave skin shine-free, a blend of anti-oxidants that scavenge free-radical, and broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 32+, it helps reduce the damage caused by the sun and environmental exposures, so it’s the perfect shield for everyday.

As all other creams from the brand, it applies well, absorbs great and sits amazingly well under makeup. All points!

The treat

Image skincare - So Many Lovely ThingsAnd because everyone loves a sheet face mask, I also tried the Biomolecular Hydrating Recovery Mask (£9), which is laden with concentrated ultra-hydrating ingredients: amino acid Complex, Jeju volcanic oxygen water, Onsen-Sui mineral charged water, hyaluronic acid, centella asiatica extract, portulaca, oleracea extract, green tea, ginseng and beta glucan.

Skin feel plumped and hydrated after use; a real treat (and treatment!) suitable for all skin types.

Overall, a great brand discovery with products that kept my skin in check. And they have so many more exciting products I think would work for me!

You can browse their range on the Image Skincare website.

Also, I tried to take pics where the products live, my bathroom. Needless to say I won’t be doing that again, so the conclusion is the products are WAY better than my photography in this instance…

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.