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2015 Flash Back

Needless to say, a LOT has happened this year in the Beauty world but I cannot possibly capture every single event here.

Hope the New Year brings us many more launches, and bring back some discontinued products (referring to The Body Shop Nutriganics range).

Hope you have safe, healthy and happy holidays.

2015 has been the year of Pipette!!!

Every magical potion came from a Pipette! Serums, Oils, Acids, Peels

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Blue Tansy – The ‘IT’ Ingredient of 2015

Some brands that have incorporated the Blue Tansy oil and brought it to the forefront of consumers, Sunday Riley, Herbivore Botanicals, Aster + Bay, May Lindstrom and Raaw in a Jar.

 

Caroline Hirons collaborated with Cult Beauty for Curated Beauty Boxes

CH for CB 1CH for CB 2

Launch – Lisa Eldridge’s labour of love – Face Paint

lisa eldridge book

Launch – H&M Beauty

hm beauty

Launch – Sephora Beauty Boxes

sephora launch

Launch – Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection

RT Bold Metals Launch

Launch – Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

hourglass

Discontinued – The Body Shop Nutriganics

 

My Skincare Database

skincare database

My Self Imposed Mission Empties

 

DIY Experiments

Face Masks, Bath Salts, Facial

 

HHW.com

xx

 

Insight – Bravura London

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Amanda Elias the person behind the brand Bravura London & http://www.inkmedix.com. She is like any of us, a beauty obsessed mother of 3 adorable girls. Amanda’s passion for skincare and make-up started at an early age and now its been 18 years in the beauty industry.The motivating factor behind the ingenious creation of Bravura London is loving luxury without the price tag. Below is my chat with Amanda for an insight in Bravura London and her passion for skincare will be clearly evident.

Amanda

1. A lot of your products have a strong presence of AHA’s, why did you specifically choose acids to develop your skincare range?

Exfoliation is so important for the skin but scrubs containing harsh particles such as nut kernels can cause little micro tears in the skin, we don’t notice these but they can cause irritation, dryness and breakouts. I discovered AHA’s and started to use them on my own delicate skin, even a face flannel used too firmly can break my skin yet I was able to use strengths as high as 50% glycolic acid on my face with no side effects! I also saw just how superior chemical exfoliation is to manual exfoliation, how it leaves the skin soft, glowing and healthy without that tight, shiny look or feel. I started supplying just glycolic acid, then customers started asking for other acids, then skincare and it all went from there.

2. Amanda you assist a lot of people with making right skincare choices from the line, in your experience and exposure to all the questions that come your way, what are the most common mistakes or myths people have?

The most common mistake is over exfoliation, whether it be using acids too often or using scrubs and acids, or very commonly, using products such as a sonic brush twice a day. Over exfoliation can cause irritation, dryness and very commonly, breakouts. As soon as I receive an email from a customer saying their skin is breaking out when using the acids, I’ll ask their routine, 99% of the time they’re over exfoliating. Not everyone can use acids of course, there are occasions where it’s simply too strong for the skin but more often than not, it’s over exfoliation.

The biggest myth is that oily skin doesn’t need moisturising or that people with oily skin should stay away from oils. I have oily skin but because I moisturise religiously and use an oil cleanser daily, my skin doesn’t get ridiculously oily. When oily skin is dehydrated, it will produce more oil to over compensate, feeding your skin with moisture keeps it happy.

(HHW – Please someone engrave this on a rock of beauty….)

3. How does Bravura differentiate itself with several other market players that cater to inexpensive options for acid products?

I think what makes us unique is that we’re not just about selling, for me it’s all about helping people with their skin, that sounds cliché I know but genuinely, it’s true. When I recommend our products I also give customers a link to a cleansing routine I’ve written, for people with hormonal acne I send them an article I’ve written on supplements that can help control hormones and in turn reduce the breakouts. If I don’t think our products will work for someone, I’ll tell them so.

Nothing makes me happier than seeing our customers not only love our products but talk about their with their friends, I’m tagged in posts on facebook, instagram and twitter where people are talking about what the products have done for their skin, the excitement they feel from the results of my products is just the most wonderful feeling, running a business and being up against huge companies with massive budgets is hard work but it’s these comments that help keep me going, knowing just how much of an impact it has on a person’s self confidence, it’s very very rewarding.

4. What is your main concern in today’s skincare industry as it stands?

False advertising, fake, photoshopped images, adverts telling women they should strive for unachievable perfection, brands telling women they should look young to be desirable and to feel shame in laughter lines, giving young people the impression that if they get rid of their spots suddenly they’ll become more popular, all these subliminal messages that are really eating at our self esteem. If you’ve had stretch marks from having a baby, no oil will magically cure them, if you have melasma, no cream is going to fade it and as for your pores, it’s normal for them to be a little visible, magazine images are photoshopped to conceal them. I really could go on and on.

(I guess Amanda and I could have a separate post on this topic specifically! Couldnt agree more!)

5. You have fabulous glowing skin yourself, so could we please have a sneak peek in your daily skin regime?

Ahh thank you, my skin honestly is no where near perfect but it’s probably the best it could be, I once had a Dr not believe that I had polycystic ovaries because my skin was too clear, it is achievable.

Obviously I mainly use Bravura products, I NEVER ever forget to cleanse, no matter how tired I am, even if I’m not wearing make-up, I always cleanse. I use the First Cleanse Oil and follow with the Purifying Gel Cleanser or Our Volcanic Mud Cleanser, to tone I use the Revitalising Ginseng Toner. I use the Hyaluronic Acid Serum and the Azulene Moisturiser. We don’t have an eye cream so I’m usually trying different brands. The same goes for face Masque’s, I have a few different brands such as Eve Lom, Nuxe and Korres, it depends on how my skin is feeling. I more often that not alternate between the Glycolic acid 10% and Salicylic Acid 2% but as it’s winter, I’m using the Lactic Acid 10% a little more often. If I’m feeling a little lazy one evening, I’ll use the Dermaflannel instead of one of the acids or one of the acid serums or creams, I go by how my skin is feeling. Because I have sensitive skin which is prone to acne, particularly hormonal I don’t really change my routine too much, I’ve tried incorporating a facial oil in to my routine, but sadly I haven’t found one that doesn’t break me out.

I had a treatment recently called Sculptra, after having 3 children and a bit of yoyo dieting I’d lost fat in my face, sculptra stimulates your own collagen to help plump the skin from within, I had it 2 months ago and so I should see true results in another 1-2 months but so far, I’m happy.

I also use fake tans, my favourite face tanner is James Reed sleep mask, although I don’t sleep in it. It leaves me skin with a healthy glow and doesn’t cause breakouts.

Express Review – Salicylic Acid 2% and Lactic Acid 10% (Infused with Rose) Peels 

Basics Information about Lactic & Salicylic Acid

  • Lactic – its Alpha Hydroxy acid, larger molecule, therefore more surface exfoliation and resurfacing action. Excellent for any acne scarring, sun spots, pigmentation, blotchiness, and boosting radiance. All skin types could use this including dry and dehydrated skins (also operates as humectant).
  • Salicylic – its Beta Hydroxy acid, smaller molecule, allowing deeper penetration in skin. Excellent for breakouts, underlying skin congestion (which doesn’t surface no matter what you do), blackheads, controlling sebum production, tightening pores. Suited to oily, combination, congestion prone skins.

Bravura London website claims the ph level for Lactic acid is 3.75 & Salicylic acid is 3, which means it well within the range where acids work effectively.

Uses: As a peel – leave it on for 30mins (recommended to start with 10mins), or Acid tone (after cleansing and before serum), or as a Serum (after tone), or as a spot treatment (for fresh acne scars or pesky angry spots) or as a part of my Triple Mask Routine.

Results: Its lovely, but I find it gentle on my acid acclimatized skin, so I prefer it as acid toner or serum or spot treatment. Lactic – visible difference on my skin the following morning. Firmer, brighter, even toned, radiant. Honestly my absolute favourite peel over any other. Salicylic – my spots calm down (redness goes down). More importantly any underlying skin congestion which doesn’t surface, this is excellent solution for those bastards. Yes I Hate em!

If I had to sum it up in One Word. Fabulous. Seriously at the given price point, it works like any other expensive peel, easy on wallet, wonderful on skin, what else would a woman want?!

Best PERK of shopping with Bravura London – Amanda will personally assist you with your skincare or product queries. If you’re unsure, drop in a line and she will help you make the right decision for your skin.

Lactic Acid Peel Ingredients: Purified Water, Rose Floral Water, Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Hydroxyethyl Cellulose, Sodium Hydroxide and Sodium Citrate.

Salicylic Acid Peel Ingredients: Distilled Water, Salicylic acid, Propylene Glycol, Hexylene Glycol, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Hydroxide.

Excellent products and a wonderful, passionate person behind those products. Definitely recommend trying them and as for me, sure shot repurchase 🙂

HHW.com

xx

Decoding Oils – Edition 1

In my recent post on Body Oils, I wrote about various body oils I own with a very high level view of their key ingredients.

As you all know, the companies charge a certain price based on its branding, packaging, research and development costs, and most importantly on its ingredients. Some ingredients are a lot cheaper to source and include in any given formulation. As an example: much debated and controversial Mineral Oil, it’s a very cheap (in terms of $) ingredient to include (even the cosmeceutical grade) however some companies charge an exorbitant amount for the product.

What can you expect from this series on Decoding Oil?

Learning more about the types and categories of oils (difference between Carrier and Essential Oils), extraction processes and its impact on the overall quality and integrity of oil properties. In the process, you’d understand why I prefer  oils over moisturizers. Having said that, in some instances some moisturizers are betters than face oils. This may be a controversial series for some die hard green beauty addicts, but I request do your research and keep an open mind. Nothing is ever conclusive or gospel and we are all in the learning curve together.

If you’ve read French Beauty Solution by Mathilde Thomas (founder of Caudalie) you would have touched on the topic of Oils in one section. It’s important to understand this basic foundation of categories of oils. This will also help you break down the ingredient listing next time you see a product and truly understand what are you paying the big bucks for? Are you getting value for money?!

Oils can be separated in two basic categories, namely Essential Oils and Carrier (Plant) Oils.

Essential Oils: these are extracted from seeds, roots, plants, herbs and flowers. A potent form of oil (only need drop or two) and extremely volatile in nature. Depending on how these oils are extracted, their stability and potency is determined. Applying essential oils directly to the skin can be harmful to the skin causing skin irritation and sensitivities (remember natural is not always good!). On the bright side, they possess a smaller molecular structure, which makes penetrability easier in the skin.

Generally, essential oils appear at the back of the ingredient listing. First 2-3 oils on the ingredient listing are carrier oils. Some inci lists refer to some ingredients as xxx extract, well these ‘extracts’ possess different properties to essentials oils and cannot be used interchangeably.

Essential Oils carry distinct characteristics, properties and aroma of the plant, flower or root. I will break down examples of Essential Oils based on their family of origin:

Flowers & Leaves: Rose, Lavender, Rosemary, Parsley, Tea Tree, Neroli, Palmarosa, Petitgrain, Bergamot, Marshmallow, Mandarin, Rosemary, Acacia flower, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Evening Primrose, Blue Tansy, Saffron, Peppermint or Mint, Marigold, Chamomile, Vetiver, Moringa, etc.

Roots: Turmeric, Lotus root, Ginger, Angelica,Sandalwood (not technically a root) etc.

Spices: Black Cumin, Cinnamon, Clove, Licorice, Cardamom, Fenugreek, etc.

Benefits (scent, therapeutic and aromatherapy benefits) are many, depending on each class of oil and its individual properties. In addition, essentials oils are also used for aromatherapy. Inhaling a deep breath of essentials oils triggers and invigorates senses in your mind and body. I’ve always enjoyed burning essential oils in my oil burner. Obviously, very versatile in nature they can be used for myriad purposes.

These oils are sold in glass bottles, due to the concentrated strength plastic bottles are not the best option. Also, generally sold in smaller quantities such as 10ml – 20ml. They don’t go rancid but over a period of time they can loose its peculiar properties.

Carrier Oils or Base Oils or: Just as the name suggests, they’re “carriers” for essential oils. With a larger molecular structure they don’t penetrate as deep but nourish the upper layers of skin. They’re generally from fatty portion of seeds, plants, and nuts. Unlike essential oils they are not potent or concentrated and can be used in larger (generous) quantities. These oils do tend to go rancid over a period of time.

Examples include: Apricot, Jojoba, Coconut, Castor, Avocado, Almond, Macadamia, Chia Seed, Kukui, Tamanu, Argan, Borage, Sea Buckthorn, Camellia, Hibiscus, Rosehip, Sweet Almond, Prickly Pear, Avocado, Olive, Grapeseed, Sacha Inchi (Peruvian peanut), Meadowfoam (high in omegas), Walnut, St. John’s Wort, Wheatgerm oil (highest form in vitamin e), Sesame, etc.

Carrier oils are packaged in plastic or glass bottles and sold in larger quantities too.

To further your understanding of facial oils or body oils or facial cleansing oil or balm you’re currently using, I’d recommend, going through the ingredient listing so you can practice identifying carrier and essential oils (no I’m not giving you homework).

Many oils break down their ingredient listing based on how they were sourced. Some of the sourcing methods and nature of ingredients you may notice are Organic, Natural, Fair Trade, Wild Harvested, Natural, GMO free, USDA certified, from FDA approved facility.

Let me know in comments below how you’re going with decoding oils in your current stash?

HHW.com

xx

 

Change in Formulation: Pixi Glow Tonic

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Recently it came to my attention that Pixi Glow Tonic have a slight change in their formulation. With the help of Sal from Ummbaby we also noted a change in packaging, labelling and colour of the product.

To begin, let’s dive into the ingredient listing aka the core of any product:

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(Left – Old Formulation————— Right – New Formulation)

OLD Formulation (from Pixi Website): 

Ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Glycolic Acid, Ammonium Glycolate, Glycerin, Glucose, Fructose, Sucrose, Urea, Dextrin, Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Hexyl Nicotinate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Biotin, Polysorbate 20, Fragrance.

Ingredients are subject to change. For the most complete and up-to-date list of ingredients, refer to the product packaging. Made in the USA.

NEW Formulation (from my recent product purchase packaging):

Note: new additions are in Bold font.

Ingredients: Aqua, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Glycolic Acid, Ammonium Glycolate, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Hexylene Gycol, Glucose, Fructose, Sucrose, Urea, Dextrin, Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid, Hexyl Nicotinate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Biotin, Polysorbate 20, Fragrance.

Ingredients are subject to change. For the most complete and up-to-date list of ingredients, refer to the product packaging. Made in the USA.

Well if you’re still reading this after being bombarded with inci list jargon,  I guess your first question is What are these ingredients and What is their purpose in life?

Butylene Glycol (chemical compound) and Hexylene Glycol are clear colourless liquids which are used as solvents, and viscosity decreasing agents. Pixi comments, “To be compliant in the USA the Ingredient Listing itemized all the ingredients, even carrier systems. Butylene glycol and hexylene glycol are used solvents, serving as ingredient carriers.

Aspartic Acid: Aspartic acid is one of two acidic amino acids and they are the building blocks of proteins.  Aspartic acid and glutamic acid play important roles as general acids in enzyme active centers, as well as in maintaining the solubility and ionic character of proteins.

The 20 most common amino acids found in proteins are: Alanine, Arginine, Asparagine, Aspartic Acid, Cysteine, Glutamic Acid, Glutamine, Glycine, Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Proline, Serine, Threonine, Tryptophan, Tyrosine and Valine (I’ve probably killed you with TMI by now!)

Pixi comments, “Aspartic acid is an amino acid and used as a skin conditioning agent.

Now moving onto the packaging and labelling of the bottles. 

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As you can tell from pic above, the newer bottle is taller and leaner (all I ever wanted to be!), whilst the older bottle is slightly shorter in height and rounder in frame (sigh, the brutality of life!). Just to reiterate the injustice of life here’s another pic.

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Onto Change in Product Labelling

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Minor, nothing to rant about.

Now if you have a keen eye for attention to detail, you may have already noticed a slight change in Colour!!!

Here’s what Pixi commented on colour, “We also use natural colorants, so the color will vary slightly between each batch.

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We all know the packaging, labelling are all game of aesthetics, but does the change in formulation and colour impact the product and its efficacy?

So I tested Pixi Glow Tonic’s (newer version) ph level at home with two different tester kits and the results were as follows:

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The first kit indicated 5 as the ph level. For any acid to be properly effective, the ph level needs to be anywhere between 3-4. Despite having 5% Glycolic Acid, high ph level wouldn’t allow the acid to tingle the skin. Pixi Glow Tonic is very mild and soothing for the skin which makes it an excellent choice for sensitive skin peeps (although sensitivities vary from individual to individual therefore not conclusive) or as a morning toner with sunscreen (obviously!!!).

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Second testing kit indicated same results as above.

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After such a deep analysis of it all, I wish I had a more juicy answer and say yessss I noticed a difference in its performance and results blah blah blah. Fortunately or Unfortunately (however you take this), No I didn’t notice any change, in terms of its smell, texture, performance, and results. Having said that, if you have noticed something different, I’d love to hear you from, please leave a comment below or reach out to me on Instagram.

HHW.com

xx

All Comparison Pictures Courtesy: Sal from Ummbaby 

Thank you darling, this is post couldn’t have been possible with your comparison pictures xoxox