Monday, 30 May 2011

Want to try 4-5 (or 8-10!) new beauty products a month? UPDATED 1/6/11

 I LOVE trying new beauty products. The second I see an article in a magazine of a new product being launched I start daydreaming about using it, my hands itching to go out and buy it. The problem with this little (OK big!) obsession of mine is that I rarely ever finish a product. The old product gets pushed to the back of my vanity cabinet, to make way for my shiny new possession.

In the States, they have had a brilliant solution to this problem, in the name of Birch Box. For $US10 a month you get sent a box containing 4-5 deluxe sized beauty samples. If you Google 'Birch Box' you will get a whole list of beauty bloggers all sharing the contents of their monthly Birch Boxes, and they all seem to be deliriously happy. Quite often they receive full size products, or if they are sample sized they are very generous - similar to travel sized. The products they receive range from hair care, to perfume, to body and skin care to make up and nail polish - well, really anything and everything beauty related. Unfortunately, this service has only been available to residents of the US, so the rest of us have just had to experience the joy of receiving a Birch Box through the many blogs.

Well, that is, until now! Two of these companies have just been launched in Australia. The first one is Red Meow. For $AU10 a month (including postage!) you receive between 3-5 deluxe beauty samples. And the good news is that they have some pretty awesome brands on board already. Think Jurlique, Aesop, Napolean, Avon, Becca...I could keep going, but it will be quicker for you to go straight to the source: Red Meow brand list. At the moment they are still in the invitation stage. Simply enter your email address here and you will go on the waiting list to be invited. You are not obliged to sign up but will be sent an email link giving you the opportunity. You then sign up for one month, then after you get your first box, you decide whether you want to sign up for a year.

Another company offering a similar service is Haute Box; however, they are being much more mysterious about their boxes. All we know at this stage is that they will be $AU15 per month, but not what brands are on board. They will be launching in Winter 2011. Like Red Meow, you can put your name down on a waiting list and will be emailed an invite - but again you are not obliged to sign up. If this sounds like it might be up your alley, then you can sign up for an invite here.

For both of these services, places are limited so it would be a good idea to get your name onto the waiting lists ASAP. I plan on trying each of these brands for a month to see what they are like then decide whether to sign up further from there.

Update: The lovely Michelle has just informed me that there is actually a third company offering this wonderful service. Beauty Box promises to send out 5 hand picked deluxe samples for $14.95 per month. They are also in the launch phase so if you would like to secure yourself an invite, click here. They anticipate that the first round of boxes will be sent out in August/September so it really isn't long until we will be getting out hot little hands on our first box of beauty!

Now, which company to choose? Would it be excessive to sign up with all three?!
Do these services sound like something that you might be interested in?

Friday, 27 May 2011

Ingredient in focus: Coffee and Caffeine in Skin Care

Image courtesy of CoffeeHouseMystery
 Coffee is an ingredient in skincare that has been creating a bit of a buzz lately (sorry!! I just had to throw that pun out there - Dad is going to be so proud when he reads this!). But seriously, according to Ezine @rticle in 2006 in the US, over 140 skincare products containing caffeine were released, compared with only 21 in 2003. We are all familiar with the effect coffee has, when consumed as a drink - increased alertness, focus and an energy boost - but what can it do for the skin? Caffeine applied to the skin operates in three ways - as an antioxidant, a diuretic and a vasoconstrictor (Ezine @rticle).

Caffeine as a cellulite treatment: Caffeine is often included in creams designed to fight cellulite. I don't think that it has been scientifically proven to work (I don't think any anti-cellulite cream has been scientifically proven!) as there are conflicting results published in the literature. Skincare-news talks about a study from the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, where 104 out of 130 women (80%) who used a caffeine solution for 30 days saw a reduction in skin dimpling, their skin appeared tighter and they lost 2 cm off their thighs. But they then go on to quote dermatologist Michelle Rivera, M.D. in The Washingtonian, who stated that there was no research to support that caffeine was actually effective on cellulite. "Caffeine is simply not absorbed by the skin; it's like trying to shove an elephant through the eye of needle," explains Dr. Rivera. However, whilst there might be conflicting results in the literature, there are some fairly decent theories as to why it may work.
Image courtesy of Scott's Coffee House

Firstly, it is well known that caffeine is dehydrating, as it is a diuretic. Well, caffeine also dehydrates fat cells, giving skin the appearance of smoothness, says Linda Wells on Skincare-News.

In addition, according to MoneyWatch, topical application of caffeine can reduce fat content in cells by blocking phosphodiesterase. Phosphodiesterase is an enzyme that inhibits fat breakdown. Therefore, blocking this enzyme allows fat to be broken down.

Finally, caffeine is a bronchodilator - that is, it is a substance that relaxes the muscles in the lungs, allowing increased airflow in. The theory is that if caffeine can relax the muscles in the lungs, it could also relax the fibres around the fat cells that anchor the skin to the underlying muscle. It is thought that perhaps these fibres pull on the skin too much and are what causes the dimpled effect of cellulite. By relaxing these fibres the dimpled effect should be reduced.

Caffeine in eye creams: Another popular skincare product in which caffeine can be found is eye creams as it is thought that caffeine can reduce dark circles under the eyes. Dark circles are thought to be cause by a few different factors including dehydration, allergies, lack of sleep or genetics. Apart from genetics, the factors all cause blood and fluid to pool under the eye area, hence the appearance of dark circles. As caffeine is a diuretic, it assists to drain excess fluid from the under eye are. It is also a vasoconstrictor (causes blood vessels to shrink) and this prevents blood from pooling. So caffeine has the potential to temporarily treat dark circles under the eyes (though it is no match for genetic dark circles).

Caffeine to treat Rosacea: Rosacea is a harmless skin condition characterised by red flushing of the face. Pimples may also be associated with the flushed area. The flushing is due to the fact that the blood vessels in the sufferers face are constantly dilated. As caffeine is a vasoconstrictor, it can stop the vessels from being constantly dilated, thereby reducing the red flushing.

Ajana's Mocha Madness Scrub
I am currently trialling a coffee scrub from Ajana - the Mocha Madness Scrub (see the picture to the left). According to Ajana, the Mocha body scrub is a heady pick me up combination of chocolate and coffee and is perfect heading into winter. Aside from smelling great, coffee is stimulating and is said to have fantastic anti-oxidant properties. Once I have used this a few times I will provide a review - so stay tuned!

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with any brand mentioned in this blog and received no remuneration for my comments.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Nivea Daily Essentials Light Moisturising Day Cream review

As I mentioned previously, Nivea continues to surprise me. I was recently sent the Daily Essentials Light Moisturising Day Cream by BeautyHeaven to review as part of their trial team and, to be perfectly honest, I wasn't expecting much - I mean how good can a $12.99 moisturiser really be? I am a bit of a skin care snob in that I NEVER buy my skin care from the supermarket - always from department stores, online or from salons. So, I was actually quite shocked by how much I liked this moisturiser.

The weather in Sydney has changed from quite pleasant to bloody freezing almost over night and it has totally wrecked havoc on my skin. My skin is normally a bit on the oily side - mostly normal, but with a tendency to become oily. Lately, however, it has been feeling dry, tight, a bit sensitive and in some desperate need of nourishment.

The cream is actually quite thick (as you can see in the picture above), especially for one described as light, but don't let that fool you into thinking that it is too heavy if you do have oily skin. When I applied it, I found that it absorbed into my skin nearly instantly leaving it looking smooth, hydrated and with not a hint of oiliness or greasiness. My skin was honestly so soft to touch. Nivea claims that the Daily Essentials Light Moisturising Day Cream 'provides your skin with intensive moisture for 24hrs to leave a fresh skin feeling'. This is not far off the mark. I never actually tested it for 24hrs. I would apply it in the morning after my shower and then just before bed in the evening I would cleanse and apply my night cream - so it would be on my skin for about 15 hours and during that time my skin never felt dry, tight or sensitive and it also didn't get greasy.

The Daily Essentials Light Moisturising Day Cream  contains SPF15 which is sufficient for incidental sun exposure such as hanging the washing out or walking to the car. If you were planning on being out in the sun for longer, I recommend that you put addition sunscreen on top, but this is fine for short stints outdoors.

I absolutely adored the fragrance of the moisturiser. I do love fairly heavily fragranced beauty products and this one does have a decent amount of fragrance so it was right up my alley! It smells like a subtler version of Nivea's classic creme - so that gorgeous lily of the valley fragrance. I found that the fragrance fades pretty quickly on the skin, so if you are opposed to heavily fragranced products, I don't think that this would bother you too much, even though it does have a decent amount of fragrance in it.

I have thoroughly enjoyed using this cream as it by far exceeded my expectations. I can definitely see myself purchasing it again in the future as it is so economical - plus I honestly could not tell any difference in quality between it and my much more expensive moisturisers. So, if you are looking for a light moisturiser that does its job and doesn't leave you feeling sticky or greasy, plus is kind to the wallet, look no further - your search is over!

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with Nivea and received no remuneration for my comments. This product was provided to me by BeautyHeaven to review as part of their trial tem.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Bergman Beauty Care GWP

I am an absolute sucker for GWPs! I just love getting a little extra with my purchase. Well I have just been informed of a great little GWP that is coming up in June. Spend $75 on the Bergman Beauty Care range at Myer Spa Universe counters and you get to choose from the following gift:

  • 15ml Bergman Beauty CareUltra-Light Peptide Moisturising cream, or

  • 15ml Bergman Beauty Care 24 Hour Guard Moisturising Cream

If you are unfamiliar with the brand, Bergman Beauty Care is a skincare range developed by the renowned Bergman Beauty Clinics in the Netherlands. According to the Bergman Beauty Care website, the products are developed in cooperation with scientific specialists and contain many valuable ingredients, offering the most effective solutions without a prescription for most skin types. 

I personally have not used any of the products from the range, but my interest was piqued when I saw that it had been developed by 'scientific specialists' (which I assume are scientists!). The range was developed in the Bergman Clinic - a well renowned private clinic for cosmetic surgery and skin treatments in The Netherlands - when they were getting unsatisfactory results with the skin care ranges already on the market in healing the post-operative scars.

The hero ingredient of the range is Beta Glucan. Beta Glucan is a sugar that has been shown to have a positive effect on the immune system. When applied to wounds it assists the white blood cells in preventing the wound from getting infected, thereby speeding up the wound healing process. The faster a wound heals, the less it scars. Therefore, adding this to a cream should assist in reducing post-operative scars. The range was initially only intended as a post-operative regime for their clients; however, the results were so amazing, many of the clients wanted to continue using the creams at home. Hence, Bergman Beauty Care was started.

The range has now expanded to include more than just Recovery Care. According to their website the moisturising creams contain cell-renewing qualities that retard the skin's ageing process and protect against daily contamination and inner stress. The creams are suitable for all skin types thanks to the preventive action of the ingredients. 

Have any of you tried any products from the Bergman Beauty Care range, and if so, what did you think?

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with Bergman Beauty Care and received no remuneration for my comments.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

My D.I.Y Jurlique facial

I spent last weekend at the Blue Mountains and ended up with two red angry pimples on my cheek. This is highly unusual for me as, these days, I rarely get pimples and if I do they are almost always the hormonal variety on my chin. There is only one plausible explanation as to why I got these pimples. You see, ordinarily I reside in an apartment on a busy highway in Sydney. My theory is that the pollution from the cars on the highway settles on my face forming a protective shield that bacteria cannot penetrate; therefore, no pimples. Then, when I left the security of my pollution laden apartment to the pristine mountain air, my protective shield was lost giving bacteria free reign on my skin. Makes sense, doesn't it. Okay, there is one other possible explanation - I ate like crap, got little sleep and was too lazy to cleanse before bed. Whatever the reason though, I had two angry new residents on my face that I now wanted evicted.

Now, like every woman on Earth (and probably every man as well if they actually gave it a chance), I love facials. But at 8.00pm on a Sunday night, very few beauty salons are open. So my only option was a D.I.Y facial. I had a few Jurlique products from the Jurlique Bloggers event that I was busting to try, plus a few I already owned, so I decided that I would have a nice long bath (with a Lush bath ballistic!) and give myself a D.I.Y Jurlique facial. Before commencing my facial, I did extract the two angry residents (doesn't extract sound so much more professional and clinical than 'popped' or 'squeezed'!)

 I started by cleansing with the Daily Exfoliating Cream. This is a thick paste of oats that gently lifts away dead skin cells. It is incredibly gentle on the skin. It has a bit of a unique scent, almost ever so slightly fermented smelling, mixed with herbs, though interestingly this scent isn't at all offensive. I worked at a gift shop years ago that sold Jurlique products and attended a product training course. In this course we were taught not to rub the Daily Exfoliating Cream onto your skin, but to mix it with a little water to form a paste, then to press this paste into your skin. This lifts away the dead skin cells and debris without harsh exfoliation. So this is exactly how I used my Daily Exfoliating Cream. I did this for about a minute then rinsed it off with water.

Following on from the Daily Exfoliating Cream I then used the Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator*, one of the products given to us at the Jurlique Bloggers event. The Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator is a highly effective fruit-based facial treatment that exfoliates skin with natural enzymes and indigenous Australian extracts of Desert Lime, Quandong and Wattle. This has a watery, gel-like consistency - very similar to the Herbal Recovery Gel, and smells deliciously like citrus and honey. I applied about four pumps to my whole face and left it on for around five minutes. It tingled slightly on application but other than that I didn't feel a thing. I then laid back in the bath, read Body and Soul, and let the Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator work its magic, before rinsing it off with water.

 I then felt that my skin really needed some TLC so I applied the Nurturing Mask. I bought this mask when I was pregnant and suffering terribly from hormonal acne. This is a gentle purifying mask that leaves delicate skin feeling soft, pure and revitalised and is ideal for rebalancing sensitivity. It is a gorgeous silky mask that spreads easily over the skin. It doesn't dry rock hard like other clay based masks but is still somewhat flexible, which is just what sensitive skin needs. The only issue I have with this mask is the fragrance. Whilst I love the fragrance - very floral and herbal - it really stings my eyes. I wear glasses, and usually leave them on whilst I have the mask on, as I like to read as well. I am not sure whether the fragrance wafts up and gets caught under the glasses so directs it into my eyes, or what, but they always end up stinging so much that they water. This hasn't happened to me with any other Jurlique product so it is a bit strange. If I do take my glasses off and lie there with my eyes closed, then the stinging goes away...but I like reading too much to ever do that! The mask had been on for about 10 minutes when I heard the delightful sound of my baby crying. Nothing quite ruins the serenity of a D.I.Y facial than a crying baby, so that spelt the end of my pampering time. I quickly rinsed the mask off with water, then went to attend to the baby when I heard that Hubby was on the job - sweet, a few more precious pampering minutes!

I spritzed my face with the Rosewater Balancing Mist*, which would have to be my all time favourite Jurlique product. It smells amazingly of roses and I find it so calming, both emotionally and to the skin. The mask had left my skin feeling a tiny bit tight and this completely relaxed my skin again, leaving it feeling really hydrated. I find that the Rosewater Balancing Mist is the perfect product to apply just before a moisturiser as it allows the moisturiser to spread more easily and seems to help it absorb better.

I finished off my D.I.Y Jurlique facial by applying the Balancing Day Care Cream*. I know that by this time day was long gone over but I figured that as the cream didn't contain any SPF (I don't like applying SPF at night as 1. there is obviously no need for SPF at night and 2. I worry that it clogs my skin) it wouldn't matter if I used it at night. Jurlique promotes using a very light night cream to allow your skin to repair itself, so this was probably a bit heavier than they would recommend. I used one of Jurlique's Day Care Creams years ago (I can't remember which one) and it was incredibly greasy and oily on my skin. This was not the case with the Balancing Day Care Cream at all. I don't know whether Jurlique have changed the formulation, whether it was in fact a different Day Care Cream that I used, or whether my skin has changed in the years since I last used it but it instantly absorbed into my skin, leaving my skin feeling so soft, smooth and really quite radiant. There was not one hint of greasiness. I was so impressed!

Unfortunately my baby was still crying so it really was time to switch back into Mummy mode. This is why I prefer someone else to give me a facial than a D.I.Y job - at least with a professional facial the only crying you hear is that of the whales on the relaxing music they play - whales crying is a much more pleasant sound than babies crying! But even with the less than relaxing finish, my D.I.Y Jurlique facial did wonders to my skin. It was so smooth, soft and hydrated - and the best bit - by Tuesday the two angry residents had well and truly been evicted.

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with Jurlique and received no remuneration for my comments. The products marked with * were provided to me at the Jurlique Bloggers event. Images are courtesy of Julique.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The dangers of mixing beauty and the internet

These days the Internet makes it so easy to find out, and then buy, just about anything. This is especially true in the case of beauty products and procedures. Visit any beauty forum and you are bound to find out about a new product that you previously had never heard of, and now must have. Then, with a few clicks of the mouse, this said product can be ordered, arriving on your doorstep in a couple of days . The ease of ordering, coupled with exceptionally fast turn around means that common sense rarely enters the equation. The majority of the time the only damage you are doing is to your bank account, purchasing products that are too good a deal to miss out on. But sometimes the damage done can be much more serious.

I was once nearly a victim of this. I had been wanting to try a Vitamin A cream for my face for a while as I had read that this was one of the best things to combat wrinkles. However, in Australia, it is a prescription only medicine. And rightly so - Vitamin A can be exceptionally harsh to your skin, so you need to start at the right concentration, and more importantly, excess consumption can cause birth defects so a Doctor would need to establish that you are not pregnant, or planning to fall pregnant in the near future, before prescribing the cream. I was too embarrassed to go to the Doctor to ask for a prescription for Vitamin A as I was worried that they would think that I was vain. So I just put it out of my mind - that is until until one day I saw on a beauty forum that you could buy it online cheaply from India. I was so excited! I rushed to the website to check it out, decided that the strongest concentration was the best value, went to buy it only to find that it was sold out. THANK GOODNESS! I had been so swept up in the idea of getting my Vitamin A cream that I hadn't factored in just what damage it could do to me. Yes I would have saved $15, maybe $20 buying it online. But then if it had destroyed my skin I would have lost so much more than just $$$.

The problem with the Internet is that information that is posted on it is not regulated. People can post whatever they like. And often falsities get spread around the Internet, being quoted from one person to the next, without anyone checking whether the information is in fact true. All it takes is one person to say 'Hey, I bought this product and it worked perfectly for me' for a bunch of lemmings to rush in and buy from the same site. Firstly, how do we know that the said person did actually use the product, and that they are not actually associated with the website, and even if they did use it, a lot of these products are not made in accredited labs; therefore, just because one product turned out to be safe, there is no testing to ensure that the rest will be.

My friend, Jo from Little Jo sent me the following article from Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia warns women against DIY facelift that really highlights the problems with buying unregulated beauty products online. The woman below bought dermal fillers and got her friend to inject them into her lips and cheeks. She now has abscesses on her cheeks that are going to leave scars and at this stage it is unknown whether her lips will ever heal. According to the woman has asked for the graphic pictures to be released as a public health alert.

Her lips were left dramatically swollen.
Credit: Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia

This woman suffered infected blotches on her face after buying products online.
Credit: Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia
I thought that I'd repost these pictures as a reminder to think before you buy online. Yes, it is probably okay to buy make up and beauty products online, if you buy them from a reputable source. But as soon as you are tempted to buy something that ordinarily you can only get from a Doctor, don't risk it. There is a reason why it is only available from someone with 10 years+ of medical training. If you take the risk to save a couple of $$$ then this may be the result you achieve.

Nivea Hydra IQ: scientific skincare to suit any budget

I find myself being attracted to skincare that has some scientific research behind it - it gives me hope that it might actually deliver on its promises. Having worked in a science lab, I understand how expensive scientific research can be. The reagents needed for each experiment are usually in excess of a couple hundred dollars each and it is not uncommon for an experiment to fail, meaning you have dropped upwards of $1000 for no result, only to have to repeat the process again the next day. For this reason, I not only expect the skincare ranges that are scientifically proven to cost more, I am willing to pay the extra $$$.

So, imagine my surprise to find out, in an article on BeautyDirectory, that Nivea invests heavily in skin research. I mean, that can't be right, can it? Nivea is just a cheap supermarket brand, aren't they? Wrong. Well, not entirely wrong - they are a cheap supermarket brand, but one that also invests €150m (approximately AUD $AU214 million) each year on skin research; who submitted 77 patents for innovations in 2010 and have a Skin Research Centre recognised as one of the largest in the world, employing some 575 scientists. So that's some pretty hardcore research being conducted.

Well then, what is an example of this research? The scientific discovery that is being promoted at the moment is Hydra IQ. You have probably seen pop up ads on Facebook or on your emails with the slogan 'Which Nivea product is based on a Nobel Prize winning discovery?'. Hydra IQ is based on the discovery of aquaporins in the skin by Prof. Peter Agre, an American medical doctor and professor of molecular biology at the Johns Hopkins University in the USA. This discovery won him the 2003 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

Every cell in the body has a membrane around it that prevents the contents of the cell from leaking out and stops substances that shouldn't be in the cell from entering. The membrane has a number of selective channels, or pores, that let certain substances into or out of the cell. Aquaporins are the channels that let water in or out of the cell. According to Prof. Peter Agre, aquaporins are "the plumbing system for cells,". Every cell is primarily water. "But the water doesn’t just sit in the cell, it moves through it in a very organized way. The process occurs rapidly in tissues that have these aquaporins or water channels."

Nivea latched onto this discovery and investigated it further, in regards to dry skin. According to Mathieu Levasseur (Beiersdorf East Africa managing director ) “In situations where the skins natural water channels are inadequate or poorly developed, Hydra IQ actually helps the skin develop new water channels thus improving the circulation of water in the skin”. Further expanding on this, Dr Annika Schrader (R&D; Care Research, Beiersdorf) explains that "under the influence of factors that cause the skin to dry out, such as UV rays, stress or an unhealthy diet, skin functions will at some point no longer be optimal. This can also affect the aquaporins. Under conditions that dry the skin, fewer of these water channels are found there. This means that the water of the lower skin layers can no longer be distributed optimally in the epidermis".

So, how does Hydra IQ repair the aquaporins that have been damaged due to UV rays, stress or an unhealthy diet? Hydra IQ contains a glucose-glycerol solution and this triggers the biochemical processes in the cell that cause the corresponding proteins to form in the right place. So basically, stresses to the cells have caused the aquaporins to collapse, stopping water from flowing into or out of the cell. HydraIQ allows the aquaporins to reform, thereby unblocking the skins plumbing system allowing the cells to become adequately hydrated.

In an interview with beautydirectory, Ken Lee (NIVEA’s scientific and regulatory affairs manager), stated that the Hydra IQ technology is currently just being utilised in Nivea's range of body moisturisers but will soon be introduced across entire range. So, look out for the logo below to be assured that your Nivea moisturiser contains HydraIQ.

So, are you as excited as I am to try these budget friendly, scientifically proven moisturisers containing Hydra IQ?

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with Nivea and received no remuneration for my comments.

Lip gloss addicton: myth or reality?

For years I have seen snippets on the Internet talking about lip balm addictions - whether it be pop up ads for ebooks, or posts on websites. I have always ignored these articles, thinking that they were a crock of you know what. An addiction is a serious medical condition defined as a 'physical and psychological dependence on psychoactive substances (for example alcohol, tobacco, heroin and other drugs) which cross the blood-brain barrier once ingested, temporarily altering the chemical milieu of the brain, (thanks Wiki!). So a beauty product couldn't possibly be addictive, could it?

I am always on the lookout for a freebie, especially a beauty freebie and so recently saw on JoyJoy's blog, Beauty Bargain Queen, that Burt's Bees were giving away free lip balms on Twitter and Maybelline were also sending out free full sized samples of their new lip balm - BabyLips. So, naturally, I signed up for both. They both arrived in the mail in the last week and I have found myself using them quite regularly. In fact, I now can't seem to go 30 minutes without reapplying. This is very strange for me. I nearly never wear lipstick - only when I am going out - and used to apply lip gloss maybe once or twice a week, yet now am suddenly applying it more than 20 times a day. I am very much an out of sight, out of mind type person so would usually only apply lip gloss after accidentally stumbling upon it in my handbag when hunting for my keys. Whereas my two new lip balms are still sitting on the dining room table (much to hubby's annoyance!). This is where I sit to work on my computer, eat my meals, I have to walk past it to get to the kitchen, and so each time I do so, I reapply the lip balm. So, is my sudden need to reapply lip balm just a reaction to the visual stimuli - my brain telling me 'ooh, that would feel nice' or is there more to it? Since this little balm obsession started, I have now noticed that my lips feel really dry and parched when they don't have balm on them, yet they never felt like this previously. Could the balms actually be damaging my lips? Maybe this is a marketing ploy by lip balm manufacturers - a scam to make us buy more - could lip balms actually dry out our lips so you feel the constant need to reapply them? To be honest, I don't believe that. I think that you just get used to the nice silky feeling of having lip gloss on that once it wears off, the dryness of the lips that was always present suddenly becomes more apparent.

Based on the definition by Wiki, it is not possible for lip balms and glosses to be addictive. The main ingredients in them waxes and oils which cannot be absorbed through the skin, therefore definitely cannot pass through the blood-brain barrier. I guess it is possible to lick it off and ingest it that way; however, the quantity that gets ingested is extremely minimal - not enough to cause an addiction. There was the rumour around that the average women eats around 5kgs of lipstick in her lifetime, but Snopes has defused this rumour working out that a women would virtually have to spend her days continuously applying lipstick then licking it off again. So, the addiction theory can't come from ingestion either. And, at any rate, I can't find any information on people being chemically addicted to beeswax or petroleum jelly or any other common lip gloss ingredients.

Since I can't find any credible information on lip gloss addiction (most likely because it is not a credible medical condition) I will give you my theory on why lip gloss may seem to be addictive. Us humans are very attracted to things that make us feel good. Think of all the things that feel good in your life, then think of how often that you try to do these things. I think lip gloss fits into this category. When you apply it it makes your lips feel silky soft and there is no longer any friction between them - it makes it easier to rub them together. When you rub them together it feels a bit like you are making out with yourself. Kissing releases endorphins. Endorphins make you feel good. Therefore, each time you apply lip gloss it is like a mini make out session with yourself (that is actually socially acceptable!), endorphins are released, you feel good, then the endorphins fade, the good feelings also start to fade, so you reapply lip gloss to get those good feelings back, just like a crack addict trying to get their high back. Good theory?

Now after reading this article, who has just reached for a tube of lip gloss?

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Jurlique: Celebrating Nature, Science and Innovation

Being obsessed with beauty products, I find it hard to stay loyal to one brand as I am always busting to try the latest lotion/serum/crème/mist that is being promoted in the media. However, there are certain brands that I have soft spots for, and do find myself returning to. Jurlique is one such brand. So, I was understandably excited when I got invited to an evening of natural skincare with Jurlique, hosted by Sam McKay, the Managing Director of Australia and Asia, where I got to hear about and experience three of Jurlique’s key ranges – Herbal Recovery, Purely Age-Defying and the new Purely White Skin Brightening range (described in more detail below). Jurlique therapists were present to demonstrate each of these products listed below on the backs of our hands.

Upon entering the room I was reminded exactly what it is about Jurlique that I love so much – the room was filled with the most intoxicating aroma of all of their products. I would have to say that Jurlique have the most beautifully fragranced products on the market. Some find the scents too intense and overwhelming but to me they are really quite divine. In fact, the first Jurlique product I ever tried – the Rosewater Freshener – was what sold me on the brand, and this was on it’s amazing scent alone.

About the company Jurlique is an all Australian skin care company founded in 1985 by Dr. Jurgen Klein and his wife, Ulrike – scientists in chemistry, herbology, homeopathy and alchemy. They sought the purest place on Earth and discovered an ideally suited, unpolluted environment in South Australia where they would farm their own herbs and flowers for Jurlique skin care.

The Herbal Recovery Collection is designed to restore, firm, hydrate and revitalise the skin. Helps to minimise the visible signs of ageing with daily use. The range contains a potent botanical concentrate, infused with a rich blend of herbs and precious plant oils.

·         Herbal Recovery Gel RRP $72/30ml, $159/100ml This is a gorgeously light serum that leaves your skin plumped, hydrated and luminous. It's fragrance, which is intoxicatingly herbal and floral, comes from the natural botanical ingredients.

·         Eye Cream RRP $52/15ml For an eye cream this is incredibly light weight. It melts easily into the skin and is not at all greasy but instead leaves the skin luxuriously soft.

·         Eye Gel RRP $52/15ml This is a really light gel - the consistency of a watery hair gel - that sinks straight into your skin. It is perfect for an afternoon pick me up when your eyes are feeling tired from too many hours spent in front of a computer screen.

·         Night Cream RRP $60/50ml Like the eye cream, this is a very light weight cream. Jurlique do not believe in using heavy oily creams at night - they suggest light weight creams that allow the skin to breathe and repair itself.

·         Night Mist RRP $60/30ml This is a refreshing and hydrating mist that can either be used alone at night as a very light moisturiser or as a toner underneath other products in Herbal Recovery range (or any other Jurlique range, by that matter).

·         Neck Serum RRP $92/30ml This serum claims to tighten the skin on the neck and reduce pigmentation. It has a very strong floral fragrance - which I loved - though I do worry will clash with perfume. One of the lovely Jurlique therapists gave me the following tip: if you get pigmentation on your upper lip that looks like you have a faint moustache, dab the Neck Serum on your upper lip as it helps to fade the pigmentation.

Purely Age-Defying Range features a blend of biodynamic and organic herbs and flowers combined with potent naturally derived ingredients that soften the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and discolourations while helping to renew and strengthen skin. With continued use, Purely Age-Defying brings about a smooth, fresh, luminous complexion. The range doesn't have as an intense smell as other Jurlique products, it is a more delicate floral fragrance.

·         Face Serum RRP $92/30ml This is another beautifully light serum that sinks straight into your skin so smooth out fine lines and tackle pigmentation issue. Unlike serums from other brands, this is not at all oily, greasy or heavy. It's fragrance is a lovely delicate floral.

·         Eye Cream RRP $58/15ml This is a high-performance, deeply hydrating eye cream that is also incredibly light weight. It melts easily into the skin leaving the skin look refreshed with the fine lines minimised.

·         Night Lotion RRP $68/40ml This is a surprisingly light weight cream. As it comes in a tube I was expecting it to be quite thick and rich, but it isn't at all. Jurlique do not believe in using heavy oily creams at night - they suggest light weight creams that allow the skin to breathe and repair itself. This lotion is heavier than the Herbal Recovery Gel, so is good for those who need more moisturisation at night, but is still beautifully light in keeping with Jurlique's philosophy on night creams.

·         Refining Treatment RRP $42/40ml This is a gentle exfoliant containing apricot seed and willow bark, designed to be used once or twice a week to enhance cell renewal while gently minimising the appearance of pores, uneven skin texture, and discolouration. It has a lovely creamy texture with a good exfoliating particle to base ratio making it a very luxurious exfoliant.

 ·         Hand Treatment RRP $55/100ml Your hands are often what reveal your true age. This hand cream treats age spots and lines so that your hands appear as youthful as your face. This cream absorbs instantly leaving your hands silky soft and beautifully fragranced.

·         Sun Lotion SPF30 RRP $70/100ml Finally, Jurlique released a sunscreen! I have loved their products for a long while but have usually restricted their use for night time as the didn't have any SPF. This is a broad spectrum sun lotion, formulated to give extra protection against sun exposure. Suitable for all skin types. It is non greasy and leaves the skin looking matte, rather than shiny, which I love.

Purely White Skin Brightening Collection This is a relatively new range for Jurlique that has some serious science behind it. I will go into the science in another post as it is going to take me most of a page to describe it. For now, I will just describe the products in the range. The claim of this range is that you will have brighter skin in just 4 weeks as it evens out skin tone by fading skin discolourations and dark spots. No surprises, this range also smells amazing thanks to the plethora of natural botanical ingredients.

·         Cleanser RRP $35/100ml I only tested this on my hand but I am already in love and can’t wait to try it on my face. It is extremely thick in texture – one of those cleansers that you have to really squeeze to get out of the tube, but this is fantastic as it means you won’t use too much product. When mixed with water it forms a mousse like consistency, and the more water you add, the more it foams up. It has tiny exfoliating granules in it so you don’t need to use an exfoliant if you are using this cleanser, yet it is gentle enough for daily use. A lot of Jurlique’s products are on the higher end of the price scale but I actually find this cleanser to be very reasonably priced – especially as you only need to use the smallest amount the tube will last a very long time. This one is definitely going on my wish list!

·         Skin Brightening Mist RRP $55/100ml At the event, the Jurlique therapists used this mist to remove the cleanser from my hand but I have to admit I didn’t take note of how it smelt or felt. I absolutely love Jurlique’s Rosewater Freshener so I except that this is quite lovely as well. According to Jurlique it is a lightweight facial mist with VitaBrightKx to help soften skin and restore a youthful glow.

·         Skin Brightening Essence RRP $80/30ml This has a similar consistency to the Herbal Recovery Gel – a very light, non greasy gel that absorbs easily into the skin. It contains Kakadu Plum, the world’s richest natural fruit source of Vitamin C, designed to help reduce the appearance of skin discolourations and even skin tone. Intended to protect against premature skin ageing by increasing moisture content and so minimising the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles for a fresher, younger-looking complexion.

 ·         Day Cream RRP $65/40ml I have used Jurlique's Day Care Face Cream before and found it to be super rich and way too oily for my skin so was expecting the same with the Purely White Day Cream but was surprised to find it to be really light weight in texture. Admittedly I only tested this one on my hand so perhaps it will still be too rich for my face but it honestly left my hand feeling so soft without even the slightest hint of greasiness.

·         Night Treatment RRP $70/40ml Like the other Jurlique night creams, this one is also beautifully light. It absorbs straight in leaving the skin feeling silky soft without any trace of greasiness.

Moisturising Hand Sanitiser RRP $10/50ml, $19/175ml. This is another new product Jurlique was show casing at the event. I wish I had this when my son was a newborn. I found it difficult washing my hands after a nappy change as it would mean that I'd have to put him on the floor whilst I did so which would result in tears. So, I started using a hand sanitiser as I could clean my hands whilst he was still on the change table. The hand sanitisers I used were so harsh and drying. This one eliminates 99.9% of germs in as little as 30 seconds after application. Australian Bush Mint, a known natural antibacterial and antimicrobial ingredient, plus Safflower Oleosomes enhance skin’s protective barrier, leaving hands moisturised and silky smooth.

I had a fabulous time at the Jurlique event and learnt a lot about the brand. I hope I have been able to share some new information with you as well. This blog post did not contain much of the science behind the ranges. The reason for this is that Jurlique has not publicised any scientific studies to do with their brand instead, focusing on the natural side of their products. However, things are beginning to change as Jurlique is realising that their customers want natural products that are as scientifically advanced as their high tech counterparts so they are starting to release some of the research from their state-of-the-art research and development laboratories in South Australia. I have some information on the science behind the Purely White range so will do another post on this in the near future and as new information is being made available I will continue to post on it! Until then...

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with Jurlique and received no remuneration for my comments. I did receive a pack containing samples of 4 Jurlique products for attending the evening. Images are courtesy of Julique.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Product review: Burt’s Bees Radiance Serum

I was recently invited by Burt's Bees to trial the entire Radiance range of products for their Facebook page trial team. I am now going to provide more detailed reviews for each of the products in the Burt’s Bees Radiance range. The hero ingredient of this range is royal jelly, which, according to Burt's Bees is very nourishing, made of nectar, pollen, flower parts, vitamins, minerals, bee hormones and other natural ingredients. It is a very precious, mysterious substance that honeybees produce and feed to only select.

From the company: Get a more radiant complexion in just 4 weeks! This clinically tested serum combines royal jelly, licorice root extract and glycerin to bring out skin’s natural radiance. These ingredients increase moisturisation by 15% in only 2 weeks, while nourishing skin with 134 nutrients including vitamins A, C, D and K, minerals and 17 amino acids. In 4 weeks, you’ll notice your skin becoming more evenly toned. The result is more radiant beautiful looking skin, naturally. Use daily after cleansing. Gently pat and smooth a small amount directly around your eyes, mouth and forehead.

Ingredients: aqua (water, eau), glycerin, alcohol denat., royal jelly, glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice) root extract, glucose, xanthan gum, sodium chloride, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, caramel

My review: Of all the products in the Radiance range, this was my favourite. I usually find serums too heavy or greasy for daytime use, but this was not the case at all with the Radiance serum. It has a light silky texture. I applied about 3 drops to my face, after toning, while my skin was still damp, and I found this helped the serum spread easily and absorb into my skin. It didn’t leave my skin greasy, shiny or sticky, which serums often do but instead it was gorgeously light.

I used this morning and night and after each use my skin look really hydrated and the fine lines were filled in. In fact, my forehead had a bit of a Botox look to it – it wasn’t frozen but there were no lines visible at all, unless I scrunched it up. Since I was testing the whole range, it is difficult to be sure exactly which item was giving me this effect, but I am pretty sure it was the serum.
The serum has next to no fragrance and I love this in a serum. I couldn’t smell a thing when I applied it to my face. It comes in a 13ml glass vial with an eye dropper (which you can see in the picture above) which makes it very easy to dispense the ideal amount.
I would definitely buy this serum again – not only was it my favourite Radiance product but it is also the best serum I have ever used. It did everything it promised to do and left my skin looking really refreshed, line free and quite amazing. There is not one thing that I would change about this product. At $34.95 it is an excellent price for a serum, and definitely good value. 
Stockists In Australia, Burt's Bees is available from David Jones, Myer, Priceline, pharmacies and health food stores or online from Amazon.
If you would like some more detailed information on royal jelly, you may be interested in my blog article- The use of royal jelly in skincare

All opinions stated in this blog are my own. I have no affiliation with any company discussed in this blog and received no remuneration for my comments. These products were provided for consideration by Burt's Bees for their Facebook Trial Team.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Heaven forbid, a beauty product free Mother's Day

Last year was my first Mother's Day as a mum. I remember, in the lead up, wondering what presents I would get because, as we all know, Mother's Day is all about the presents! As kids, our Dad would take my sister and I out to do our Mother's Day shopping and would offer us advice as to what to get - 'your mum hates her old iron, maybe a new iron'; 'how about a new toaster?'; 'these earrings look nice' (of course they were clip ons - Mum had pierced ears). When we got older we wisely stopped taking Dad's advice and started buying our own presents - and that's about when we first started getting her some kind of beauty product for Mother's Day - a fragrant bubble bath or a new perfume or the blush she had pointed out. So naturally I assumed that I also would get some kind of beauty product for Mother's Day, as everyone knows how obsessed I am. But what to ask for? I wanted Lush's The Art of Bathing Gift box - stuffed full with over 10 bath products...but then I hadn't had a bath since the night before I gave birth, nearly 4 months previously, so that obviously wouldn't get used for a long while. Maybe a new perfume? I do love perfume. But then I was still breast feeding at the time so had stopped wearing perfume as I thought it would be cruel rubbing my son's face on a chest covered in fragrance. Makeup? No - I wasn't going out anymore to wear it, and I'm not a Stepford Wife who gets made up for when her husband gets again, a no goer. So, I decided to not ask for anything and just wait to see what my son got me...

Big mistake! What did I get? Nothing. I asked hubby why he didn't get me a present and his response was 'You're not my mother'. Well yes, true. But at 4 months of age Isaac was hardly capable of getting a present on his own. Actually, I did get a lovely card that Isaac cleverly managed to write on himself. It said 'I love you, Mummy (but Daddy is cooler)'. Thanks, Isaac. I have to admit that although my first Mother's Day was devoid of presents, I still had the most fabulous day. The whole family got together, we ate a tonne of food and a good time was had by all - and the best bit? Hubby was on nappy duty all day so I didn't have to change a single nappy that day! I might have even learned that Mother's Day is not entirely about presents (but hubby and Isaac, if you are reading this, they are still very welcome!).

So, with my second Mother's Day approaching, I have taken steps to ensure that it will not be free of presents. Since subtlety didn't work last year, this year I helped Isaac set up his own email account so he was able to email his Dad to ask him for help in buying me a present. I didn't ask for beauty products this year as, through trialling products and winning comps, my bathroom is overflowing (see here). So, if my efforts to get a present fail again this year I have one final plan. They say in their first couple of years of life that babies are sponges, absorbing everything you teach them. I will spend the next year intensively training my son on everything beauty related so that by next year, when he can finally talk, he can tell his Dad that he thinks that his Mum's skin is looking dull, with visible pores and some pigmentation and that he needs help buying a mask that promotes luminosity, a pore minimising toner and a serum that tackles pigmentation for Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day everyone, whether you are a mother yourself or are celebrating it with your mum, have a wonderful day. Enjoy this bunch of flowers I found - it tickled my fancy!

From Summaya
So, did you give your mum and beauty products or receive any from your kids this Mother's Day?

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Paris Hilton launches a skincare range

I recently saw on Beauty Directory that Paris Hilton was developing a skincare range. Before you double check which blog you are reading - yes, you are still reading The Science of Beauty. I know, Paris Hilton and science don't go hand in hand. Indeed, I imagine that the extent of her scientific input into the range would be the directive 'Umm scientist dudes, you know how I am like so beautiful, well can you discover a cure for ugliness so that other people can be beautiful like me?' Perhaps I am being a tad harsh but Ms Hilton didn't exactly project the most intelligent image on The Simple Life. Anyway, I was a bit intrigued by what this range may contain so thought that I would look into it further.

After having a bit of a Google, the only information I could get on the range was the following quote: “We’re developing a skincare line. It’s a new product that we’re working on but it’s the top-of-the line technology,” says Paris. “I have been taking really good care of my skin so I will have products that are amazing for yours.”. So, at this stage I can't really find out too much. With the finances available to Paris I imagine that the line probably with have some serious science behind it, though I do hope that Paris isn't the spokesman for it as I don't see her being able to portray just what this 'top-of-the line technology' is. I guess we will just have to wait to find out exactly what, if anything, is so good about this range.

I am also intrigued to know just who would purchase a skincare line with Paris Hilton's name on it. If you wanted skincare with cutting edge technology, wouldn't you just turn to one of the big cosmetic houses that already have a good reputation? I do have to confess, though, I am guilty of owning one of her perfumes. I sniffed it on a whim at Myers one day, ready to scoff at how bad it was, only to accidentally fall in love. I console myself with the thought that Paris would have had very little involvement in the perfumes development, other that to put her name on it. So it is likely the skincare range will be the same. Perhaps I will sample this range at a department store, ready to poo poo it, only to find out that it is in fact amazing.

So, would you be keen to try Paris Hilton's skincare line?

Monday, 2 May 2011

Liebster Blog Awards

I was really excited to see last night that Su, from My Perfume Diaries, had nominated me for a Liebster Blog Award. It is really nice to know that there are people out there who are as interested in science as I am...well maybe not to the obsessive extent that I am, but at least there are people who find it interesting! If you love perfume, like I do, then I really suggest you check out Su's blog as she reviews everything from perfumes to oils to imps - well worth checking out.

If you haven't heard of it before, the Liebster is a award for those who have less than 300 Google followers but deserves more recognition and following than this. It is a way of getting the fantastic little blogs out there the publicity that they deserve.

If you receive the award you link back to the blogger that nominated you and nominate 3 more blogs. Below are 3 blogs that I love seeing new posts from and that I would would like to pass on the Liebster Blog Award to. They also deserve your following and support so have a look!

All the pretty faces - Magda does some of the most amazing makeup creations that I have ever seen. I love really out there make up but don't have the skills, or the imagination, to do it myself. Magda provides step by step tutorials showing you exactly how to create these out there looks!

The Plastic Diaries - Kimmi provides reviews on everything from beauty products to explanations of plastic surgery procedures. Hers is another blog I love to keep up to date with.

Indulgent Beauty Reviews - I have to admit that I have a certain fondness for indulgent beauty products though no longer have the disposable income to purchase them anymore. Instead, I live vicariously through Nadia, who reviews some of the more beautiful beauty products on the market.

I hope you enjoy checking out these blogs as much as I do!

Are there any other blogs out there that you think deserve more recognition that I should check out?