Monday, 30 April 2012

Mary Kay

Mary Kay
Botanical Effects Skin Care

Mary Kay’s new skin care range ‘Botanical Effects’ has launched in the UK and is combining the merits of green loving eco warrior princess with pink loving fresh faced girl next door.

The Packaging
Looking fresh in white with pale green and a touch of pink and lilac, this packaging is not just a pretty face but is also helping mother earth. The tube sleeves are made from 50% post-consumer recycled resin material and the carton from 100% recycled material. The carton and freshen bottle can both be recycled.  And the tube caps use 3% less plastic than traditional flip top caps.

The Formulas
There are two formulas: normal to dry and combination to oily. Both contain:

  • Silymarin (milk thistle) an antioxidant to help defend against environmental damage and help to calm and soothe the skin
  • Luo Han Guo (longevity fruit) known to contain potent antioxidants and believed to help promote healthy skin.

What they don’t contain are any synthetic dyes or fragrances. And unfortunately for me – they also don’t contain any anti ageing ingredients as this range is targeted for young women who are not yet concerned with the ageing effects. They don’t need anything rich and heavy, just products that will enhance and allow their already youthful glow to radiate through.

Plus the exclusion of these anti ageing ingredients also keeps the cost of the products down.

But all is not lost for us ‘wrinklies’ – we may need a rich moisturiser and mask packed with anti ageing hero ingredients, but we can still use the gentle cleanser and freshener.

The Products:

Cleanser: £13, cream for normal to dry and gel for combination to oily. Go easy on the water as the cream is quite slippy and doesn’t lather that well. However this is not really a bad sign as it means it probably doesn’t include sodium lauryl sulphate( couldn’t see it listed as an ingredient). But it does mean that at first you’ll want to use more to try to get lather as we’re all used to associating foam with cleaner skin. The gel may lather better as it does contain tea-lauryl sulphate.

Mask: £15. This can be used as a mask or an exfoliator.  The mask is grainy so definitely do not rub even if you are using as a scrub. Just apply and then gently wash off.  However. for my ‘ageing ‘skin, it was a touch too grainy so I’ll leave this one for the younger complexions.

Freshener:  £13.  Similar to a mild toner but without the tightening effect.  This did leave my face feeling really clean and fresh.  Not to be sprayed directly on the face but on to a cotton wool pad. 

Moisturiser: £19.

Normal to dry contains:
Flax seed extract – a rich plant source of omega-3 fatty acids which help moisturise dry skin
Sea kelp extract –a source of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids helping to moisturise and skin balance.

Combination to oily contains:

  • Kanuka extract comes from the kanuka shrub sometimes called the white tea trees and are native to New Zealand and Australia. This extract helps control excess oil without drying up the skin and helps prevents pores from being clogged.
  • Guava fruit extract – a source of salicylic acid, helps exfoliate and unclog pores to reduce surface oil.

The Conclusion:
The natural ingredients, eco friendly packaging and low costs make this range ideal for young women embarking on their first serious skin care routine.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Blend Collective

Most of us are aware of the therapeutic benefits of essential oils to our psychological and physical well-being. Experiencing a massage, soaking in the bath or lighting a few candles are all relaxing or invigorating depending on the oils chosen. But all this takes time and where moments are precious in a busy lifestyle; this probably isn't going to happen on a regular basis.

Blend Collective, a new natural body care range, seems to be ideal. Although they do have candles and a bath & shower oil, the rest of the products fit in to a quick daily beauty routine such as body wash and body moisturiser.

The founders Clive Walker and Pippa Bennett wanted to create a bath & body range that was truly natural using at least 99% natural ingredients; contained enough essential oils to achieve the beneficial aroma therapeutic effect and also had a great scent. To ensure all this was achieved, they turned to three well know aromatherapy and perfume experts to blend together the oils:.

The results were:
Enlivening Blend – a citrus blend set to invigorate, energise and uplift the spirit.
This was blended by the late Alec Lawless who sadly passed away this March. Alec had over 20 years experience in the perfume industry producing complex fragrances.
Main Ingredients: Sicilian Lemon, May Chang, Lemon Myrtle and Lime with Gota Kola, Linden Blossom and Calendula.
Products: lip balm, hand wash, body wash and hand & body lotion

Balancing Blend – a floral blend to calm, nourish and replenish
Emma Nash is an established essential oil expert and believes that smell more than any other sense is linked to the parts of the brain that process emotion and associative learning.
Main Ingredients: Star Jasmine, Geranium, Vetiver and Rose oils with blackcurrant, Shea butter and Evening Primrose.
Products: soap bar, hand cream, body wash and body moisturiser

Unwinding Blend – a woody blend to soothe and relax the mind and senses.
Glenda Taylor is a reflexologist, aroma therapist and perfumer. She runs a natural and organic skincare brand as well as a luxury fragrance business and has a stellar reputation in the fragrance and beauty industry.
Main Ingredients: Sandalwood, Frankincense, Cedarwood with soothing sea kelp, passion fruit and corn silk.
Products: soap bar, hand cream, bath & shower gel and candle.

Being more of a floral gal, I prefer the Balancing Blend for the fragrance, but do need the more energising Enlivening Blend in the morning.

If I were to nitpick, then the only minus I see with the products is the actual colour of the packaging (which by the way is recyclable and sourced only from maintained sustainable forests). I don’t associate the colours they’ve chosen with the fragrances. I may be in the minority here but see which colour you’d choose for each one: green, pink and blue.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Bridal Coach

Former model Michele Paradise knows how to walk the catwalk and how to pose for the cameras –well with her modelling career spanning over 20 years, she’s had a lot of experience and picked up a few tips. Now as a style coach and hypnotherapist (Don’t look in to her eyes!) she began to think of brides and the daunting prospect of walking down the aisle with all eyes gazing at them and how they are expected to know how to walk with confidence and grace. So the Bridal Coach concept was born.

At the Bridal Coach press/bloggers event we were able to meet Michele and also learn more about The Bridal Coach.

Propping up the bar (well I was propping up the bar whilst Michele was standing elegantly poised at the bar); I was able to talk to her before the presentation.

My first question was; 'Why start it in the UK and not the US?’
My reasoning was that Wedding Planning is big business over in the States so they would love the Bridal Coach, and Michele is American.

Michele started modelling 20 years ago, her face was not the typical All American model face that the US were used to seeing on the catwalk and in magazines, but a more interesting and striking look we Europeans adore. Realising she needed to come over to Europe if she wanted to boost her modelling career, she packed her bags and almost immediately started working with renowned designers such as Thierry Mugler, Zandra Rhodes (she was her muse for almost 18 years), Donna Karan, Valentino and Philip Treacy. Now the UK is her home.

Why the Bridal Coach?
Michele explains that when you are a model you are taught how to walk and how to pose. Brides are thrown in at the deep end. They may get help with planning the wedding but when it comes to walking down that aisle and posing for the photographs, they are on their own. So Michelle saw there was a gap in the Wedding industry to help brides feel and look more confident and elegant.

During the short presentation, Michele shows how the Bridal Coach can help the bride prepare for her big day as well as tips for the actual day.

Tips she shared with us included:

How brides can stay calm and relaxed just before their very own catwalk ‘aisle’ show.
How to glide down and ‘own’ that aisle
How to hold the bouquet properly so the dress and bride look their best
How to pose for the photographs by putting your best foot forward and what to do with your hands.

I may not be getting married and so don’t need Michele’s Ultimate Bride package, but her Hen Party packages sound fun as well as providing great tips and techniques for everyone going to a wedding. Mmm, this may be the time to persuade a few friends to tie the knot.

More details on

Monday, 2 April 2012

Conran Bath and Body

To take a closer look at the new Conran Bath and Body products and speak to the Conran team who had created the range, beauty press and bloggers were invited to an evening at Sir Terence Conran’s penthouse apartment in Shad Thames.

The Products
The range includes bath washes, body scrubs, body lotions, shower gels, hand washes and hand lotions.

The Design
The range is aimed at both men and women so the design is kept simple taking inspiration from antique apothecary bottles and the classic Kilner jar. The two different fragrance ranges are identified by colour and a number. Conran 1 is a caramel brown and Conran 2 a mint green. But both have an orange silicone ring at the top which emulates the rubber seal of the original Kilner jars.

The design team also wanted to emulate glass and the main body of the bottles and jars does look like opaque glass but is made of a hardier material which won’t smash as easily as glass if dropped on the bathroom tiled floor. And to make sure the bottles could withstand the rigors of daily use; glossy white bases have been sonically welded on and act as a shock absorber. The lids are of a brushed silver colour.

The Fragrance
The fragrance house of Drom worked alongside the Conran team to create the unisex fragrances of Conran 1 and 2 based on Sir Terence’s favourite scents. The team wanted a modern scent that would be used and liked by both men and women.

They decided not to put the name of the fragrance on the bottles as research showed people didn’t always remember the names but recognised the product more on the colours.

Scent 1 – Oudh Wood – essential oils of pepper, nutmeg and cardamom. This is a warm woody and spicy fragrance. The colour of the bottle reflects the mood of the scent with a warm caramel colour.

Scent 2 – Green Stems – floral scent with lemon, orange oil and mandarin. This is a fresh and zingy fragrance with citrus, great to help you wake up in the mornings. The colour is light fresh green.

At the event we were also able to smell and give our thoughts to the ‘currently in development’ scents of the next ranges 3, 4, and 5. Plus a peek at the colours that will be used

The Texture
Surprisingly light. The body scrub was not of the typical coarse and heavy texture most scrubs are but felt airy and had more of a soft jelly consistency.

The body lotion felt more of a soufflĂ©, not runny like a lotion and lighter than a cream. It didn’t leave any sticky residue, just glided on to the skin and sank in quickly.

My favourite
Most definitely the Conran 2. The fragrance is fresh and the mint green looks good in my bathroom.

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky