Sunday, 30 March 2014

Weekly Worship: Mums

With today being Mother's Day in Britain, it is no surprise that this week's worship is going to mums everywhere!

If you are anything like me, you probably learnt your beauty basics from your mum. As a young girl, I would spend hours gazing up at my mum while she carefully applied her makeup and fixed her hair. I was obsessed with the various lotions and potions she would use to look beautiful! She taught me many of the beauty tips I use today but, more importantly, she always reminded me that true beauty exist on the inside.

So, if you haven't already, take some time out to worship your  mum - I'm sure she deserves it!

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Saturday, 29 March 2014

Review: Versace Bright Crystal Absolu EDP

Versace Bright Crystal Absolu Review

The Price: £60.00 / $84.00 50ml

The Stockist: Selfridges / Sephora

Top Notes: Yuzu and Pomegranate

Middle Notes: Raspberry, Peony, Magnolia and Lotus

Base Notes: Amber, Mahogany, Musk


The Review: The Versace Bright Crystal Absolu is a gorgeous follow-on from the fashion house's popular Bright Crystal fragrance that launched in 2006. This new addition to the Versace fragrance family has a floral and fruity scent that is perfect for the spring and summer seasons.

Unlike it's predecessor, Bright Crystal Absolu is currently only available in a eau de parfum. However, although eau de parfum is a little more expensive than eau de toilette, it lasts longer and is far more potent.

This new fragrance is feminine and super sweet and, due to it's light, floral scent, I prefer to wear it in the daytime as opposed to the evening. You don't need to spray too much in order to smell fabulous - which is good to know considering the price tag - and the bottle is absolutely gorgeous!

The Pro: This gorgeous smelling fragrance has strong staying power.

The Con: Bright Crystal Absolu is a little pricey as it's currently only available in an eau de parfum.

PR sample
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Friday, 28 March 2014

News: Birchbox The Store

Subscription-based beauty service, Birchbox, will be launching its own store in New York City. As Birchbox fans will remember, the brand launched five pop up stores last year, so it's no surprise that the global beauty brand is setting up shop permanently.

There is not much information on the flagship store yet, as developments haven't even started. However it will be located in Soho’s main shopping area in Manhattan and will have a 4,500-square-foot duplex space to stack full of beauty discoveries.

Rumour has it that the store will stock up to 250 different brands and 2,000 beauty products! You will be able to test products in store and, most exciting of all, you'll be able to build your own Birchbox (BYOB). Yes you read that right - the store will have a whole section dedicated to creating customized Birchboxes. Customers will be able to fill boxes with beauty samples of their choice for just $15. And, if the shopping gets a little too much, there will be a separate floor you can visit for educational beauty classes and pampering beauty services.

Although an opening date hasn't been confirmed yet, it is likely that New Yorkers will be blessed with the Birchbox boutique late this May! Looks like a summer trip to The Big Apple is in order...

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Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Beauty Myth: Concealer Should Be A Shade Lighter Than Foundation

Verdict: False

Contrary to popular belief, this really is a myth. Concealer should closely match your skin tone or foundation in order to effectively conceal imperfections. Using a concealer lighter than your skin tone or foundation will only draw attention to what you are trying to cover up - more importantly, it will look ridiculous.

Now, if you are reaching for a lighter concealer because you have a bad case of dark circles, you may want to add a colour corrector into your makeup routine. Applying a colour corrector underneath your concealer will help to neutralise discolouration and improve your complexion. Peachy or orangey colour correctors are the best shades to use as they counteract that nasty blue/purple tinge. However it is important to know that different colour correctors suit different skin tones, so you'll need to make sure you find the right one for you. Very fair skins should pick a salmon colour. Those with olive skin should pick a peachy colour and those with dark skin should pick an orange colour.

If you don't feel comfortable venturing into the world of colour correctors just yet, I would recommend using an illuminating concealer - it will cover your dark circles and brighten the eye area. If all else fails, get your hands on the Stila Brighten & Correct Concealer 30ml (£18.00 beautybay.com / $28.00 amazon.com). It is a foolproof, multipurpose must-have that conceals, corrects and  brightens.
Stila Brighten & Correct Concealer
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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Wednesday Wisdom: Michelle Obama

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own”

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Monday, 24 March 2014

Review: Urban Retreat Skincare

Urban Retreat Skincare Review

The Promise: "A staple yet luxurious skincare range that uses effective natural ingredients that leave skin feeling soft and looking radiant".

The Stockist: Urban Retreat at Harrods / urbanretreat.co.uk

The Review: The new Urban Retreat skincare range features seven essential skincare products that include a face oil, eye gel, lip treatment, moisturiser, cleanser, mask and exfoliator. I got my hands on the cleanser, exfolitor and moisturiser and, for the past couple of weeks, I've been putting these products through their paces.

The Urban Retreat Cleanser 120ml (£20.00) is a lightweight cream cleanser that deeply cleans the skin, whilst keeping it nourished, super soft and radiant. In addition to apricot kernel, olive and rosehip seed oil, this gorgeous cleanser contains avocado oil and pomegranate - two antioxidant-rich extracts that protect skin from environmental damage and improve its overall texture.

This cleanser applies effortlessly, rinses off easily and smells wonderful. The only downside is that it isn't so good at removing mascara.

Urban Retreat Exfoliator Review

The Urban Retreat Exfoliator 75ml (£30.00) is one of the best exfoliating face scrubs I have used in a long time. I'd put it up there with Kiehl's Epidermal Re-texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion, which is really  saying something! It is a rich, creamy exfoliator that, unlike most exfoliating face scrubs on the market, is jam packed with very fine biodegradable Ecoscrub beads that help to buff the skin quickly and more effectively. However this major pro can also turn into a con, as applying a product this effective too frequently can cause irritation.

This exfoliator smells amazing and can be worked into the skin easily. It contains coconut, wheat germ, avocado and sweet almond oil that all work together to deeply moisturise the skin. Even hours after rinsing, skin feels soft and nourished!

Urban Retreat Moisturiser Review

The Urban Retreat Moisturiser 120ml (£60.00) is rich in essential fatty acids and vitamins E and B, making it a great anti-ager. It plumps up the skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines and  it helps to correct pigmentation. It is also great for treating dry and dehydrated skin as it contains rosehip seed oil and jojoba oil - two ultra-nourishing ingredients. If that's not enough, it includes Sodium Hyaluronate, an ingredient that not only draws in moisture but also retains it!

This moisturiser has a thin, lotion-like texture that applies evenly and absorbs quickly. When it comes to dosage, only a tiny amount of product is needed to cover the entire face, neck and décolletage. The only real downside to this moisturiser is that it is lacking in SPF.

What do you think of the new Urban Retreat Skincare collection? Have you tried anything in the range?

PR sample

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Sunday, 23 March 2014

Weekly Worship: Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm

Percy & Reed Wonder Balm Review

Price: £18.00 / $28.00 75ml

Stockist: beautybay.com / shen-beauty.com

Described as the cream de la cream, Percy & Reed's new Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm is a hair must-have. It is a leave-in hair primer that gives you more control and longer lasting results (whilst smelling divine!). It helps to fill and seal the hair cuticle - creating a smooth, flawless foundation that makes other styling products work better.

This Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Balm has a thin gel-like texture that, in addition to being incredibly lightweight, spreads evenly and easily through the hair. Unlike some styling products, it doesn't leave hair feeling heavy or greasy and  only a small amount of product is needed to get great results. In fact, Percy & Reed's Wonder Balm is so good that you'll wonder how your hair ever survived without it!

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Saturday, 22 March 2014

Ask TBI: Mother's Day Gift For The Mother-In-Law

Question: My husband and I got married a couple of months ago, so this year will be the first Mother's Day I share with my mother-in-law. My husband's mum has really supported us throughout the last few years, so I want to get her something special. She is obsessed with all things beauty but, as there are so many products out there, I am unsure what to buy her! What would you recommend? - Christina, Surrey.

Answer: Congratulations on getting married! Now, when it comes to gifts, there are a variety of different products you can get your mother-in-law. I am unsure of the budget you are working with, however I will give you a variety of different options which I hope will help!

Now, if you don't mind splashing out, I would recommend a luxury diffuser or candle. The Fornasetti ‘Flora di Fornasetti’ (£99.00 Selfridges / $135.00 Barneys) is a personal favourite. It smells amazing - it is made up of floral, green and woody notes - and the candle case features one of Piero Fornasetti's iconic designs, so it looks absolutely gorgeous in the home!
Flora di Fornasetti Review
Staying on the expensive side, I would also recommend getting her a fragrance because, well, what woman doesn't want to smell wonderful? Elizabeth Arden has just released a new dimension of its UNTOLD fragrance that you can't go wrong with. The new fragrance, UNTOLD Eau Légère 100ml (£63.00 Debenhams), combines ingredients such as sparkling green apple, pink pepper, blackcurrant, grapefruit and purple freesia, to create a feminine and sensual scent.

If she is skincare obsessed, I would recommend a travel kit or starter kit - that way your mother-in-law can have a variety of new and interesting products to try, as well as some mini must-haves to take on holiday - perfect for the upcoming summer months. Dermalogica has an AGE Smart® Skin Kit (£42.50 dermalogica.co.uk / $52.00 ULTA), which is made up of six products from the hero anti-ageing range.
Dermalogica has an AGE Smart® Skin Kit
Another skincare option is the Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules Limited Edition Collection ( £79.50 feelunique.com / $154.00 timetospa.com). To celebrate the capsules 10th birthday, the brand has launched a limited edition duo set, containing two super-sized jars of the day capsules and night capsules. The set only cost £79.50 (saving you £45.00) and £15,000 worth of sales from this gorgeous set will be donated to the Wellbeing of Women charity - it really is a gift that keeps on giving!
Elemis Cellular Recovery Skin Bliss Capsules Limited Edition Collection
Failing all of the above, you could gift her something bespoke by putting together a custom filled hamper containing a variety of affordable beauty bits. You could fill it with things like OLAY Skincare, e.l.f makeup palettes, Maybelline nail polishes, L'Oreal haircare and some adorable pampering products from Lush.

e.l.f olay and lush mother's day
Lush The Mum Bubble Bar (£5.25), Olay Beauty Fluid (£4.99 / $6.94) and e.l.f California Baked Eyeshadow Palette (£10.00 / $10.00)
Whatever you do, try not to stress over what to buy as I am sure your mother-in-law will love and appreciate whatever you give her - after all, it's the thought that counts!

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Thursday, 20 March 2014

News: NARS Launch Artistry Brushes

All NARS fans, at one stage in their beauty-loving lives, must have wondered why the global beauty brand doesn't offer the largest makeup brush collection. Considering the brand was created by hugely talented makeup artist François Nars, it has always come as a surprise that NARS don't sell the same amount of brushes as the likes of MAC Cosmetics.

Well times are - thankfully - changing, as the brand has announced the launch of a brand new makeup brush collection. The collection, appropriately titled Artistry Brushes, features 16 different makeup brushes designed for the face, cheeks, eyes and lips.

The Artistry Brushes collection was conceived by François Nars and Fabien Baron (of New York design firm Baron & Baron). Each brush is designed with the finest quality hairs and is delicately weighted to provide the essential balance for a professional and precise makeup application.
NARS Artistry Brushes collection

I, for one, can't wait...and luckily I won't have to! The Artistry Brushes collection is launching on April 1st, with brushes priced between £21.00 - £40.00.

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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Wednesday Wisdom: Joan Fontaine

“The main problem in marriage is that for a man sex is a hunger like eating. If the man is hungry and can’t get to a fancy French restaurant, he goes to a hot dog stand. For a woman, what is important is love and romance”


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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Weekly Worship: NEOM Sensuous Candle

NEOM Sensuous Candle Review

Price: £39.50 / $65.00 380g

Stockist: John Lewis / neomorganics.com

The NEOM Sensuous Candle is deserving of all of this week's worship. It is a Ylang Ylang, Frankincense & Patchouli scented candle that smells absolutely amazing - romantic and very relaxing. It contains 100% natural wax and pure essential oils, so when it burns you don't need to worry about inhaling any toxic fumes.

What makes this beautiful candle even better, is that it lasts a long time - it has three wicks and burns for up to 50 hours. Also, the glass container it comes in is absolutely gorgeous and makes a stylish addition to my dressing table. I am well and truly in love.

Tip: Leaving the candle to burn for at least two hours will ensure that the wax sets evenly when it cools.

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Friday, 14 March 2014

Interview: Essie Button


Essie Button, real name Estée, is a beauty blogger that you must  have heard about. She is smart, sexy, and seriously funny - most importantly, she knows a thing or two about beauty.

The Canadian-born blogger only launched her site essiebutton.com three years ago, yet she is already hugely popular across the globe and carries major influence over her fans' beauty purchases. Her blog is a must read and her YouTube videos are a must watch.

Estée was kind enough to take some time out of her packed schedule to talk all things beauty and blogging. So sit back, relax, and enjoy our little chat...

Essie Button Interview

What inspired you to become a beauty blogger? And how did your blogging journey begin?

I first began blogging when I moved from Canada to England and didn't have too much of a social life yet. I was in the process of getting used to my new surroundings and I took comfort in the big world of beauty blogging! After reading blogs for a few months I figured I should start one of my own!

What is your blogging highlight?

There have been so many amazing opportunities brought to me through blogging, but my most recent highlight was getting to meet Bobbi Brown! I love all of her makeup products of course, but more importantly I respect her ethos.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to succeed in beauty blogging?

As cliché as it sounds I think it's essential to be yourself. People want to get to know the more personal side of the blogger and, after all, blogging is meant to be fun!

Essie Button Beauty Blogger

Who is the ultimate beauty icon?

I'm not sure if I have a beauty icon, but I love anyone who rocks natural looking makeup. I would consider myself an obsessive fan of makeup, but I don't wear it all at once! I'm a firm believer that makeup should enhance natural characteristics - not hide natural beauty. Less is more!

What are your makeup bag essentials?

NARS Creamy Concealer is a must have for me as well as a great lip balm like The Body Shop's Aloe Lip Care. I also love the Benefit They're Real Mascara.

What is the biggest beauty crime a person can commit?

To me the one beauty crime that makes me cringe just thinking about it, is when I hear people say they don't wash their makeup off before bed. No matter how exhausted I am I always make time to wash my face and do my evening skincare routine. If your skin is well taken care of makeup is going to look a lot better.

What is your top beauty tip?

Drink lots of water and catch plenty of ZzzZzs! I'm guilty of not getting as much sleep as I should, but I think there's definitely truth to the phrase "beauty sleep".
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Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Wednesday Wisdom: Lucille Ball

“I would rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not”

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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Tuesday Tip: Cleavage Creator

Self tanning is great for transforming your body - it gives you a gorgeous glow and covers up any minor imperfections you may have. However it can also help boost your bust!

If you want a cleavage that could rival that of Kate Upton's, you just need to add one extra step to your tanning routine. 30 minutes after applying self tan, pop on your best push-up bra and then use a spray self tanner to mist the M shape that the bra creates. This extra coat will contour the area, making your bust appear firmer and fuller!

Any good spray self tan will do, however I would recommend the Fake Bake Airbrush 207ml (£27.95 Marks & Spencer / $32.00 ULTA). This instant tan-in-a-can creates a beautifully natural colour that dries quickly and leaves skin streak free.

Fake Bake Airbrush Self Tanner
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Monday, 10 March 2014

Behind The Brand: Lancôme

Date of Birth: 1935

Founder: Armand Petitjean

History: Lancôme began as a fragrance house created by Armand Petitjean. Mr Petitjean started the business at the impressive age of 50, launching five fragrances at once. He wanted to create a beauty brand that encapsulated French elegance and share it with the world. Even the brand's name was inspired by the ruins of a French castle, Le Château de Lancôme - the roses in the area also inspired the company’s symbol of the single golden rose.

After the success of Lancôme perfumes, Petitjean moved into the skincare arena, creating a multi-tasking repair cream called Nutrix - a product that is still available today! In 1938, Lancôme extended its beauty offering further by creating a makeup range - helping to transform it into the brand we know and love today.

Years later, when Mr Petitjean was asked why he created Lancôme, he replied, “Because I had seen that two American brands had taken control of the beauty industry. A French brand should be up alongside them”.

Lancôme was acquired by L'Oréal in 1964.

Lancôme History
Armand Petitjean
USP: Lancôme is all about positive beauty - this is why the brand continues to choose charismatic and accomplished female celebrities as brand ambassadors. The likes of Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, Penélope Cruz and Emma Watson have been the face of Lancôme and they are all beautiful, down to earth icons that women can relate to.

Motto: "Empowering all women to achieve Beauty, Femininity & French Elegance"

Offerings: Lancôme offers everything from fragrances and foundations to lipsticks and night creams.

Lancôme Emma Watson

Hero Products: Hypnose Mascara, Genifique Repair Youth Activating Night Cream, Teint Miracle Foundation, Juicy Tubes and Trésor Eau de Parfum.

Availability: Lancôme is available in all corners of the globe. If you are based in the US, you can find Lancôme in Sephora, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales. If you reside in the UK, Lancôme can be found at Boots, House of Fraser and Debenhams.

Website: www.lancome-usa.com

Price Points

Foundations: Up to £36.50/$65.00

Single Eye Shadows: Up to £18.50/$25.00

Blushers: Up to £27.00/$42.00

Lipsticks: Up to £22.00/$30.00

Skincare: Up to £250.00/$360.00

Fragrances: Up to £78.00/$100.00

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Sunday, 9 March 2014

Review: Nails Inc Gel Effect Polishes

Nails Inc Gel Effect Mercer Street, Mayfair Lane and Downtown

The Promise: "Gel polish provides a high shine, super glossy finish without the need for a UV lamp or soak off. Gel effect polish contains the same plumping technology as a salon Gel manicure to provide a flawless, high gloss manicure".

The Price: £14.00 / $14.00

The Stockist: lookfantastic.comSephora

Tested Colours: Mercer Street (blue), Mayfair Lane (dusky pale pink) and Downtown (pink)

The Application: These polishes go on like a dream! They are formulated with a very high level of solid pigments, so the colour glides on effortlessly and evenly without creating any nasty streaks. The polishes also come equipped with an extra wide brush, helping make application even easier - two strokes and you've covered an entire nail! Once the polish is applied, it dries incredibly quickly - much quicker than most standard nail polishes out there.
 
Interestingly, the bottles feature a colour matched, high gloss cap that reflects the gel effect finish of the polish. Perfect for knowing the exact colour you're going to get before you buy!

The Results: These polishes make good on their promise - they create an amazing gel effect. Whether or not a top coat is applied, they make nails look uber glossy and shiny. Also, when it comes to longevity, these gel effect manicures lasts a good six days before the polish begins to chip and lose it va va voom.

Now these gel effect polishes don't provide the same level of shine as a UV gel manicure but they come very close and, considering they cost half the price of a gel manicure, that is pretty impressive!

Nails Inc Gel Effect Polishes Review

The Pro: The Nails Inc Gel Effect polishes provide an AMAZING glossy finish.

The Con: I am not the biggest fan of the cap. It is not as comfortable to grip as the cylinder shaped caps that come with most nail polishes. However, this doesn't effect the way the polish applies.

PR sample
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Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Beauty Myth: Applying Vaseline Nightly Will Prevent Wrinkles

Verdict: False

God, if only  there were such a cheap way of preventing wrinkles!

Vaseline contains 100% petroleum jelly - a deeply moisturising ingredient that forces oils into the skin and prevents them from evaporating. So Vaseline can make wrinkles less apparent - as the moisture it provides softens fine lines - however it just can't prevent skin ageing.

In truth, only skincare products containing active ingredients (such a retinol) can keep wrinkles at bay. So swap the nightly Vaseline face treatment for an effective anti-ageing night cream. I am a big fan of the Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment 30ml (£38.00 Boots / $47.50 Sephora).

Philosophy Help Me Retinol Night Treatment
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Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Wednesday Wisdom: Ava Gardner

“When I lose my temper, honey, you can't find it any place”

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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Tuesday Tip: Skin Saving Strawberries

Some gals think the only products that can properly combat acne are those containing hard-to-pronounce synthetic ingredients, however this is not the case. In fact, one of the key ingredients used in acne-fighting products is salicylic acid and this can be derived naturally from a variety of different sources, one of which being strawberries!

So if you have unwanted acne and want to treat it as naturally as possible, give this little DIY mask a try...
  • Place a hand full of strawberries into a bowl with an equal amount of natural yoghurt
  • Mash the ingredients together until you achieve a smooth consistency
  • Spread the mask evenly over your entire face and neck
  •  Leave the mask on for 15 minutes and then rinse well

If you're not one for getting your hands dirty, I would recommend using the Mario Badescu Strawberry Tonic Mask (£17.95 beautybay.com / $18.00 mariobadescu.com) as a quick and easy fix. It is a strawberry filled, alpha hydroxy rich, clay mask that absorbs surface oils and debris to keep skin clear and healthy. It also contains the soothing botanical Balsam Peru, which helps to reduce redness and any minor irritation.
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Monday, 3 March 2014

Ingredients 101: Panax Ginseng

Natural or Synthetic: Natural

The Science: Panax ginseng is one of 11 species of slow-growing perennial plants. The root of the panax ginseng is utilised medicinally, however active compounds are also present in all other parts of the plant. Due to its numerous health benefits, Panax ginseng is one of the most commonly used species of ginseng.

Location: Panax ginseng is traditionally found in eastern Asia.

Beauty Benefits: Panax ginseng root extract contains a large number of phytonutrients which stimulate and activate the skin's metabolism and blood flow to regenerate and tone. This is just one of the reasons why skincare brands include the natural wonder in anti-ageing products. In fact, study results suggest that panax ginseng root extract promotes the production of type I collagen! Packed with antioxidants, panax ginseng root extract also protects skin from the free radicals that accumulate due to environmental pollution and exposure to UV rays.

Warnings: None. The CIR evaluated Panax Ginseng Root Extract and found that it is safe for use in cosmetic ingredients.

Found in: Origins GinZing™ Energy-Boosting Moisturiser 50ml (£23.00 Debenhams / $26.50 Sephora). It is a lightweight face cream that instantly hydrates the skin and leaves it with a lovely healthy glow. It is the perfect morning pick-me-up and, like all Origins products, it is formulated without parabens, phthalates and other harsh chemicals. It is also oil-free!

Origins GinZing™ Energy-Boosting Moisturiser Ingredients
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Saturday, 1 March 2014

Weekly Worship: Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant

Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant Review

Price: £27.00 / $40.00 15ml

Stockist: cultbeauty.co.uk / aesop.com

The Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant is a beauty add-on that I am a little obsessed with. It contains a dry mix of crushed botanicals, designed to be added to your favourite gel or cream based cleanser to scrub and buff the skin. Alternatively, you can use this product on its own by mixing the crushed botanicals with a tiny amount of water to form an exfoliating paste.

What's amazing about the Aesop Tea Tree Leaf Facial Exfoliant is its ability to scrub and buff the skin without being too abrasive. Also, only a small amount of product is required per use. I use a pea-sized amount which, coupled with the size of the bottle, helps this bad boy last a very long time.

Tip: I would recommend keeping this beautiful bottle out of the shower. Trying to use it whilst showering can be a little tricky and you may end up with water in the bottle!

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