A Lavender Hat Trick

Whilst I love the smell of lavender, it’s not necessarily something I’d go for when it comes to beauty products. I much prefer something like coconut or vanilla. So it’s a bit surprising that I currently have three lavender scented products on the go. They are all different, and I wanted to share them with you. Here they are:

First up is the Lavender Flower Water by Heritage Store, which I use as a toner. I know some view toners as unnecessary, but I have been using them religiously for years and they are as much part of my beauty regime as my day cream. I used to think that with the  right cleansing product there would be no need to finish off with a toner, but even with the best cleanser and meticulous routine in place, I find that my toner-soaked cotton pad still manages to find that tiny bit of subway grime I have missed. It also gets rid of any residue left around my eye area, where I hesitate to scrub too vigorously with my muslin cloth. That means I need a toner that is gentle, yet effective. And won’t break the bank. This lovely flower water ticks all boxes.

I bought this flower water following a suggestion by one of the sales assistants in WholeFoods. I was reluctant to spend over $30 on a Dr Hauschka toner, and for $6 (for 4 fl oz) this was definitely worth trying out. The ingredients are pretty much what you would expect from lavender water, namely water and lavender oil. Well, it’s actually ‘water that has been vortexed and magnetised to raise the energy to a higher vibration’ that the manufacturers believe to be more beneficial. I’ll just let that stand as it is. You can do your own research on whether water with higher vibrations is more beneficial. I will say this, though: this is a really good product.

Lavender Water

The lavender smell is not overpowering, and the product feels very gentle. It doesn’t dry out my skin or irritate it. The water is dispensed through a spray pump that produces a very fine mist, covering a fairly large area. That means you can use one quick spray to freshen up your face in the heat. The scent of lavender is delicate and doesn’t linger too long. I find this so pleasant to use, and will definitely buy it again once I’m through this bottle. It’s a very pure and very gentle toner at a bargain price. You really can’t go wrong with it.

Next up is the Lavender Body Butter by Whish. I have written about Whish in a previous blog post, where I reviewed their underarm wipes. As I mentioned then, this is not a brand that is as natural as people might think. They do use some good ingredients in their products, but these are mixed in with some questionable ones. Also, on their website this product is described as ‘natural and organic’, but shouldn’t all ingredients be organic for a product to qualify for that? Otherwise it should be ‘made with organic ingredients’. Here are the ingredients:

Water (aqua, eau), aloe barbadensis (organic aloe vera) leaf juice, butyrospermum parkii (organic shea butter), isopropyl palmitate, glycerin, helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, cetearyl alcohol, cetearyl glucoside, sclerotium gum, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) extract, oryza sativa (rice) germ oil, oryza sativa (organic rice) bran oil, lentinus edodes (shiitake) extract, algae (organic seaweed) extract, phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin, limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil, octyldodecanol, beeswax, rubus idaeus (organic raspberry) juice, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, xanthan gum, fragrance (parfum), citronellol, coumarin, geraniol, hexyl cinnamal, limonene, linalool.

Here’s an interesting article about Phenoxyethanol on the Pai website (a company whose products are fantastic for sensitive skin). Some of it is relevant to the UK market, but it’s still interesting to read. This is just as an aside.

The reason I ended up with this product is because Ricky’s were giving out freebies (it retails at $24 for 5 oz), so I thought I might as well try it. To start off with, I wouldn’t really call this a body butter. The product is not very thick, so body lotion is more appropriate in my opinion. It’s fairly lightweight, absorbs quite quickly and serves basic moisturising needs, but it doesn’t make me feel pampered and it certainly doesn’t feel luxurious. I should probably say that I really like thick body butters, so if you are looking for something very light, this might be more congenial to your preferences.

Whish Lavender Body Butter

The consistency and feel of it reminded me too much of your standard drugstore lotion. The scent is a mix of lavender and vanilla (to my nose, at least) but it has an artificial edge to it. I couldn’t discern any of the almond or raspberry and something about the scent just didn’t sit right with me.

Had I paid $24 for this, I would have been somewhat disappointed. As it stands, I just won’t be purchasing this product. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not awful, and I’m sure lots of people will love it, but I have tried some amazing natural body butters in my time, and this just doesn’t make the cut.

Last but not least we have the Lavender & Wild Orchid Hand & Body Scrub by Shea Moisture ($9.99 for 12 oz), a sugar scrub with shea butter and cocoa butter. I really like Shea Moisture and have reviewed their products before. They use really good ingredients and are socially engaged, which is fantastic. Their products are more than reasonably priced and excellent value for money.

I bought this product primarily to help me drift off at night, as my sleep over the past couple of weeks has been a bit unsettled. The combination with the wild orchid sounded intriguing and there is definitely a ‘flowery’ scent mixed in with the lavender, although I’m not sure I’d be able to tell whether it’s an orchid or not. The product has the consistency of wet sand, and if I’m honest I prefer oilier scrubs, such as the Ila Spa one, which I absolutely adore (available through NuboNau in the USA). The sugar crystals are quite small and don’t dissolve straight away, which is great – I’m not keen on those scrubs that dissolve as soon as they touch your skin. Here’s the beautiful array of ingredients:

Sugar, Safflower Oil*, Lavender Buds, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Jojoba Oil*, Vegetable Glycerin, Olea Europaea (Olive) Oil*, Cymbidium Grandiflorum Flower Extract (Orchid), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower (and) Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Essential oil Blend, Calendula Extract, Lavender Oil, Rose Extract, Chamomile Extract *Certified Organic Ingredient

Lavender & Wild Orchid Scrub

Sounds good, right? The scrub moisturises enough to skip the body butter afterwards, but I tend to use mine anyway, out of habit more than anything else. This product is great for smoothing out any rough patches and makes my skin feel soft. There are tiny lavender buds mixed in with the product, so you really get the sense of using something with real lavender, which is why I love natural products so much. You get the real deal, not some fake fragrance concoted in a lab.

Despite my reservations about the oil content, I still like this scrub and will probably buy it again. Although I think next time I will go for the Coconut & Hibiscus one. I am also sleeping better, although that might be linked to the fact that I have recently discovered cider… 🙂

love, lou x

 

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Summer. Sweat. Underarms seeking Rescue.

Okay, let’s talk underarms. Not the most glamorous subject, to be fair…but it has to be done. It’s a million degrees in the city (okay, maybe one or two degrees less) and I can barely make it to the subway without breaking a sweat.

The humidity makes things worse and these are tempting times indeed. Tempting me to forsake all natural deodorants and just reach for the strongest chemical mix I can get my clammy hands on, preferably something that makes my underarms drier than the Sahara desert.

However, I just cannot get myself to be so mean to my underarms. Here’s the thing: I know beauty magazines would have us believe otherwise, but fundamentally there is nothing wrong with sweating. It is a natural way of our bodies to cool down. It happens. And to be honest, I find that I don’t sweat any more now than when I used to apply regular antiperspirants. Maybe it took a few minutes longer to start, but either way I always ended up sweating.

However, whilst I’m (kind of) okay with sweating, I don’t see smelly armpits as a badge of honour showcasing my dedication to green beauty. I don’t want to clear out a room and smugly say, ‘Yup, no aluminium for me guys.’ If I’m going to sweat, I want to at least not be smelly.

I currently have three natural deodorants in my bathroom cabinet, and I wanted to share the pros and cons with you guys.

First up is Lavera’s Basis roll on deodorant ($15.40 for 1.6 oz) with organic calendula and organic aloe vera, promising 24 hours of protection. Lavera is a German company that has been producing natural skincare for over 25 years. Its founder Thomas Haase suffered from allergies as a young man and was always looking for natural skincare alternatives. Lavera products are generally regarded as trustworthy and of high quality in Germany and have received many awards over the years. Apart from their deodorant I have also used a few of their shower gels, as I think they are great value. Their vanilla-coconut shower gel is my favorite. This is not a brand that markets itself as luxury skincare, but they have a great assortment of basic skincare and are definitely worth trying.

Lavera Basis Roll On Deodorant

The deodorant is somewhat ‘medicinal’ smelling with undertones of herbs. Overall I find it to be a fresh scent, and when you first apply it instantly gets rid of any bad odor. Here are the ingredients:

Water, Aloe Vera Leaf Juice*, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Zinc Ricinoleate, Calendula Flower Extract*, Witch Hazel Water*, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Caprylic\/Capric Triglyceride, Fragrance (Natural Essential Oils), Limonene, Benzyl Benzoate, Linalool, Geraniol, Citral, Citronellol, Zinc Oxide

The main problem is that this roll on is very streaky and doesn’t get absorbed quickly, which means that I end up with thick white lines under my arms for about five minutes. Not the best option when I need to get dressed as soon as I have applied it. So I always have to make sure I wait a few minutes and I’m used to this by now. Overall the deodorant lasts quite well, albeit not the full 24 hours advertised. When I’ve had a very early start I found myself smelling less fresh than is desirable around mid-afternoon. Nonetheless, my favourite out of the three – 7.5/10

Next we have ‘Pure Pitz’ by Purely Lisa ($13 for 0.6oz). I had never heard of this product before, but when I asked the sales assistant in WholeFoods whether she could recommend any good natural deodorants, she told me that ‘Pure Pitz’ was a popular choice. This creamy yellow stick is very different to anything I have tried before and I had to rub it in with my fingers, as the stick itself dispenses too much product if I keep moving it around. Once rubbed in the product has a slightly powdery finish. Looking at the ingredients list, it contains baking soda and corn starch, which probably contribute to this. Here’s the full list:

Organic Jojoba Oil, Aluminim-Free Baking Soda, Organic Beeswax, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Coconut Oil, Proprietary Blend of Organic Essential Oils, Organic Corn Starch, and Vitamin E.

Pure Pitz

The scent on this one is quite light and for the life of me I can’t determine what it is. I was convinced it was peppermint (I assumed it was a peppermint leaf on the front) but my husband said it smelled like lemon. Go figure. Either way, it’s quite delicate and a lot less noticeable than the scent of the Lavera one. Pleasant, though.

What I liked about it was that deodorant was quite moisturizing, even though the application was a bit fiddly. It dries fairly quickly, which is really good. Alas, it was not as long-lasting as the Lavera deodorant.

I have read great reviews about Pure Pitz, but for me it didn’t stand the ‘a full day in New York’s brutal heat’ test. A few hours after application I could pinpoint the moment when ‘Pure Pitz’ lost the will to live and said to itself, ‘Right, that’s me done. I’m outta here.’ By late afternoon I smelled like I’d been backpacking without a shower for a week solid, and to add insult to injury, my top had yellow stains under my arms. Not great.

To sum up, it has good ingredients, is pleasant to wear and very concentrated, so will last you a long time. But it might be more of an option for autumn/winter as it’s not powerful enough – 5.5/10

Finally we have Whish Deodorant Swipes ($7 for a pack of 8 on their website – I paid $8). They are by far the priciest option, at $8 for eight wipes. Ouch! I had heard of Whish before, but have never tried any of their products. The whole design of the brand is a bit too whimsical for me. And it doesn’t quite grab me.

However, Ricky’s were giving out free Whish samples a couple of weeks back, and I managed to bag the lavender lotion (separate post to follow). The sales assistant, who described Whish as a ‘natural’ brand, told me their deodorant swipes were amazing, so I decided to buy them. And, silly me, I willingly parted with my money without checking out the ingredients list first.

Okay, let me tell you about the performance of the wipes first, before I go into a bit more detail about the ingredients. So the scent really didn’t ‘wow’ me. For a supposedly natural product, I thought the wipes (swipes…whatever) had quite an astringent smell. They did leave my underarms fresh, although they stung a bit on application. The lasting power is actually quite good though, and my underarms stayed drier for longer.

Whish Deodorant Swipes

The fact that they are individually wrapped makes them very handy for popping into my handbag. But knowing that I was burning through $1 worth of product every time I wiped my underarms made me break out in a sweat in its own right!

As it turned out, the ingredients are not fantastic, and that’s one of the reasons I wouldn’t buy them again. Here’s the list:

Water (aqua, eau), saccharmyces ferment, larrea divaricata (chapparel) extract, ordenone, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, propanediol, polysorbate-20, hippophae rhamnoides (seabuckthorn) fruit extract, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel), algae (seaweed) extract, organic licorice, organic calendula, cucumber, organic chamomile, phenoxyethanol, polyglyceryl-4 laurate/succinate, methylisothiazolinone, citric acid, fragrance (parfum), benzyl alcohol, benzyl benzoate, citral, limonene, linalool

You can see it’s a very different ingredients list to the other two deodorants! They are a couple of ingredients on there I’m really not keen on, and I’m not a big fan of companies using chemicals and throwing in a couple of token organic ingredients so they can highlight them in their marketing. Yes, the wipes contain organic chamomile, but it seems pointless to me.

To be fair, whilst they were sold to me as a ‘natural’ brand, Whish don’t actually use this description on their website. They say they avoid parabens and sulfates, but green savvy beauty junkies know that they are plenty of other harmful ingredients out there. Check out their website and see what you think.

In summary, the wipes had staying power, but the smell and feel of them was quite harsh. They would make a good option for exceptional circumstances though, such as job interviews, as they are easy to use. I have an interview coming up on Wednesday and will probably keep one in my bag.

These are tough to rate. Judging by how long they keep me sweat and smell free, it would be an 8, but everything else is a 3 at best. I’ll take the average and deduct a point for ingredients – 4.5

Lavera is the winner, but I will keep looking for something that’s even better. I already have my eye on something. Any suggestions are welcome 🙂

love, lou x

The Scent of the Tropics – Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Foaming Milk & Body Wash

One of the joys of moving abroad (for me, at least) is discovering a whole new array of natural skincare products that were out of my reach before. I am so thrilled to see that there is a dizzying selection of green beauty products available in the US, which hopefully makes it easier for people to bypass chemical laden offerings. There is so much choice and I have already come across some fabulous brands I have fallen in love with. Today’s post is about the first natural product I bought when we arrived here and how it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I was searching the aisles of Duane Reade for shower gel when I came across a brand called Shea Moisture. I liked the look of their products and the one that appealed the most was their Coconut & Hibiscus Foaming Milk & Body Wash. I spent some time reading through the ingredients list and it sounded pretty good. Amongst other natural ingredients were coconut oil (love coconut!), palm kernel, silk proteins and hibiscus flower extract. And all at the bargain price of $9.99 for 473 ml. Sold.

The hibiscus is definitely stronger than the coconut in my opinion, and it’s such a deliciously sweet tropical scent that I was transported to Hawaiian shores as soon as I opened the bottle. I was already falling in love with this product, and as soon as I tried it in the shower I was ready to make a life-long commitment! Not only is this body wash insanely moisturizing, it also works up the creamiest lather with only a small amount. Sometimes natural shower gels (and shampoos) can be a tad lacking on the foaming front, but the good people at Shea Moisture have absolutely nailed this one. This body wash is a sheer pleasure to use, and I am so amazed what a quality product you get for the money. My body felt moisturized, had a lovely lingering scent and the actual experience of using the product is quite indulgent. I’m so thrilled to have discovered this one – a luxury product without the hefty price tag. Amazing.

A tropical holiday in a bottle :-)

A tropical holiday in a bottle 🙂

Shea Moisture is a family owned company and started in 1912 when 19-year-old Sofi Tucker, the daughter of healers in Sierra Leone, sold her hand made shea butter and African black soap in local villages to support her family (she was a widowed mother). Four generations later, the company continues to make eco-friendly and organic products. Their website is definitely worth checking out – there is so much information on there about the ingredients in their products and their uses. Not only are their products eco-friendly, fair-trade and cruelty-free (yay!) the company also supports many good causes and makes their products at a local factory in Amityville, NY. Just reading their website makes you feel good that there are people out there who have so much passion for natural skincare and really want to give back. And what a legacy.

I can’t wait to try out more Shea Moisture products and already have my eye on the body butters and scrubs. They have also recently launched a cosmetics line (available at Target) that might be worth checking out. Seriously impressed with this brand so far – it makes me glow inside and out 🙂

love, lou x

In need of a cool down – Essie’s ‘Find me an Oasis’

Ah, summer. You bring with you such gorgeous pastel colors for nails. And so much frustration when it comes to a smooth application of the aforementioned beauties. Last summer’s nemesis was the perfect shade of creamy buttercup yellow, and this year’s successor to that title is the ice cool blue I’ve seen looking so cute in flip-flops around the city. It’s such a perfect hot weather shade – more interesting than plain white and with a bit more edge than the usual pastels.

The shade I really liked and ended up buying in the end was Essie’s Find me an Oasis. Blue is my favorite color anyway, and this icy tone seemed perfect. But man, it’s such a headache to apply. This particular polish still has Essie’s old thin brush, which has me confused – the color is part of the current Resort 2014 collection and I was under the impression that all of Essie’s brushes are now wider and fan-shaped? Oh well.

I found the formula to be quite runny, so first impressions weren’t great. The first coat is a streaky mess and halfway through it had me wondering whether I had wasted my money. Oh, and this is a sneaky formula…even though it is runny, it still manages to dry quickly, so you better have a steady hand applying this one as you can forget about running the brush over the same area twice.

Now to the second coat to cover up the results of the first one. Honestly, I have found it so difficult to even get close to something that resembles an even finish. I had to load the brush with product and sort of  hover just above the nail to distribute it. Imagine a drop of oil or something. The minute I pushed the brush down to properly ‘drag’ the polish across the nail, it just looked awful. So it definitely takes a certain technique to get it just right.

Needless to say, the results were not fantastic. Not as bad as expected, but not great if you want to be picky like me. I finished off with a coat of the superb Butter London Hardwear P.D. Quick top coat. If you have never come across this top coat before, it’s definitely worth checking out (Sephora stock it). I used to love the Seche Vite Dry Fast top coat, but have now converted to this one, as I don’t get the ‘shrinkage’ I used to get with Seche Vite. Hardwear applies like a dream, has a glossy finish and lasts for days. I have worn it for up to seven days chip-free.

Essie find me an Oasis

The color in itself is very pretty and two coats will provide a fairly opaque finish. However, I noticed on closer inspection that the polish on most of my nails was peppered with tiny holes, which are visible on the first picture (second nail from left). I have never had that happen before, and as I have been using the Butter London top coat for over a year I doubt that it’s the culprit. I know, I know…I’m now kicking the Essie one whilst it’s down. I’m such a meanie.

Essie Find me an Oasis

So to sum up, I really like the color (it’s spot on for summer) and I could live with the bubbly finish if I absolutely had to, but I’m just not convinced the application is worth the effort. Yes, you could probably take the polish to a nail salon and see what results the experts get, but I like doing my own nails and if the finish is still uneven, you will have paid good money for results that are not immaculate. I know the perfect pastel formula is out there. I just need to find it 🙂

love, lou x

 

 

A beautiful Way to organise Makeup – Paul & Joe floral Print Cosmetic Bag

I hold Twitter responsible for many of my impromptu splurges. Before Twitter I was (mostly) blissfully unaware of limited edition beauty products and must-have statement necklaces. Before Twitter, I would have also (definitely) been unaware of Paul & Joe’s pretty floral makeup organiser.  As soon as this ingenious makeup ‘binder’ showed up in one of my feeds, I was stress-testing Google. I really liked the look of it, but when I realised that this coveted makeup bag is notoriously difficult to get hold of due to its popularity, I made it my mission to get my hands on one.

Selfridges had them in stock, but every time I clicked ‘buy now’, nothing happened. After long hours of waiting and endless ‘refresh’ actions, I managed to put one in my basket. Success! At £26 it was probably more than I needed/wanted to spend on a makeup bag, but hey ho. And best not mention the £4.95 delivery cost. To be fair, Selfridges usually dispatch their items at the speed of light, and this was no exception. So I guess one could justify the cost. Sort of.

Effortlessly cool clothes aside, French brand Paul &  Joe are known for their super cute and fun take on makeup, with a playful mix of art deco and boudoir chic. And with its pretty pale green colour and floral design, it is easy to see why this product is such a hit. The bag itself is very lightweight, measuring approximately 20cm x 14cm x 6cm. It comprises of two inner pockets, brush holders and two removable pouches (one in mesh, one the same colour as the bag).

How could anybody not want this as part of their luggage?!

How could anybody not want this as part of their luggage?!

Paul & Joe floral Cosmetics Bag

Organisation at its prettiest

I loved the print of this bag, and once I started using it I decided that it was probably the best makeup bag I have ever purchased. The two removable pouches are very handy and there’s enough room in there for all your makeup essentials whilst travelling. The ‘Filofax’ style is quite funky and makes compartmentalising your various makeup items a piece of cake. I was also very pleased that it’s long enough to fit in my brushes. I managed to get a few smudges on the material on the first day, but they just wiped away. No sweat.

To give you an idea of how roomy this bag actually is, here’s a photograph with everything I have managed to fit inside (with a bit of room to spare):

Now you see it...

Just missing the Kitchen Sink

This is a fabulous little bag, and I can’t wait to take it with me on my next trip. Selfridges have now sold out (might have snatched up the last one…sorry!) but keep checking their website so you can strike as soon as it’s available. Another website to get this from is asos. Sadly, the official Paul & Joe website does not stock this particular design. Happy hunting, and good luck! It’s worth the effort 🙂

love, lou x

Fresh, Fruity, Fun – Essie’s Peach Daiquiri

Honestly, you try and save some money and then Boots hit you with a ‘Buy One get One half Price’ offer on all of Essie’s colourful delights. How can I possibly resist that?!

Essie always have such bright, fun and trendy colours, which means I could easily walk away with ten bottles at a time! One of my favourite polishes is Essie’s Cute as a Button, a pretty coral pink. Since I’m almost through the bottle (which rarely happens with nail polishes) I was going to take advantage of the offer and replace it, but then two other colours caught my eye – Peach Daiquiri and Too Too Hot (both £7.99 each excluding the offer). Peach Daiquiri is somewhat similar to Cute as a Button, but not as pink. Too Too Hot is a bright coral red. Evidently I’m more into coral nails than I thought! I can’t get enough of them.

So far I have only tried Peach Daiquiri, and I think it’s fabulous! It gives me the same enjoyment as Cute as a Button, meaning I keep looking at my nails as the colour is so eye-catching and pretty. I really can’t see any peach in this one, though. I would describe the colour more as coral with muted pink undertones.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of huge brushes. Essie have upsized theirs and I’ve had a few application struggles since then. Peach Daiquiri has the new, wider brush but for some reason application was a doddle. I’m not sure whether they have changed the design again, whether I’m getting used to wider brushes or whether the consistency of this colour worked particularly well with the brush, but…it just worked.

The polish is quite creamy and thick, but still has a very good flow to it. The brush is slightly tapered at the end, and I barely had to push down to distribute the colour. Two sweeps is all I needed on each nail to get perfect coverage. As the polish isn’t too runny, I didn’t have any colour bleeding into my cuticles, which can be a real pain. I suggest two coats – the result is a glossy and even colour.

When is a Peach not a Peach?

When is a Peach not a Peach?

Essie Brush

A Close up of the Brush

I finished off with a coat of….ha!! Bet you thought I’d say Seche Vite, as I always say that. But no – this time I finished off with a coat of Butter London Hardwear (£16 for 17.5 ml). I have road tested this new top coat a couple of times now, and I have to say that I’ve been very impressed.

Hardwear is not as thick as Seche Vite, but distributes quickly and evenly, dries super fast and keeps nails chip free for days. It doesn’t quite give Seche Vite’s mega watt shine, but is still gorgeously glossy. I also think there is less shrinkage with the Butter topcoat. I keep switching between the two and I would be hard pushed at the moment to pick a winner. But the fact that I’m willing to even use something other than Seche Vite to finish off my manicures says a lot!

So, Peach Daiquiri has been a real hit with me. It’s just incredibly pretty and flattering. The colour pops, but is not so stupidly bright that you can only wear it with a deep tan. It’s just the right balance. By the way, the offer is still on at Boots. Think I might have to check out a few more colours myself. It’s a way of saving money, after all 🙂

love, lou x

Summer Glow in the pouring Rain – Soleil Tan de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Fluid

I’m all set for summer – bright nail polishes, sandals and t-shirts are spilling out of my wardrobe, the fridge is stocked with seasonal English fruit (so I can enjoy a Pimm’s when I’m in the mood) and I can’t wait to use my new beach bag. There is only one problem. The weather isn’t playing ball. Instead of grabbing my sunglasses before heading out, I need to make sure I have my umbrella. When I look out of the window I am not greeted by inviting sunshine, but by uninviting gray skies and rain. It’s enough to make a girl miserable.

I hit a particular weather induced low a couple of days ago and really needed to be in a happy place, so I headed to the Chanel counter. Since there has been no sun this year to give my face a bit of colour, I decided to check out what bronzer options Chanel had for me. As I’m a fan of all things shimmery, I instantly fell in love with Soleil Tan de Chanel Sheer Illuminating Fluid (£31 for 30ml available from Boots) in ‘Sunkissed’, which is the only shade available.

This light, champagne golden liquid can be mixed into foundation, worn under makeup or used as highlighter to add radiance and a hint of summer colour. I have been mixing it into my Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser (£33 for 40 ml and available from SpaceNK) and I’m absolutely thrilled with the results. It’s a sheer, buildable colour and so flattering on my medium-fair skin.

Bring it on, Rain. Bring it on.

Bring it on, Rain. Bring it on.

For obvious reasons, bronzers and fake tans are hugely popular here but they are not really my thing. I have yet to see somebody with a fake tan that looks like the real thing. A lot of them tend to be quite orange, so more subtle options like this illuminating fluid are right down my street. I absolutely adore how the gold catches the light and gives iridescence without any sparkles. The effect is polished and grown up, yet still playful.

The glass bottle with its black screw-top lid looks gorgeous (it’s Chanel, how could it not) and the liquid can be directly poured out. A word of caution: it’s a lot runnier than you might think, so careful when you tip the bottle to dispense the product. To be perfectly honest, a pump would work so much better and I’m really surprised it doesn’t have one. It’s still a great product, but if you are not careful, it can be a bit messy.

Decanting issues aside, I’m really happy with my purchase. It doesn’t feel heavy on my skin, blends effortlessly and gives me a healthy glow. In my opinion, the shimmer is so delicate and the colour so sheer that this would work beautifully even on very pale skin. If you need more colour, just build it up. Ah, Chanel. I knew you’d make me feel better 🙂

love, lou x