Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ilia Beauty: beautiful reds

I have noticed that I am coming up with a bit of a collection of red/pink lip colours, mostly from RMS and Ilia beauty brands (RMS colours to follow soon). One of the difficult things about shopping for natural brands that are not so wide-spread is not quite being able to tell what colour it is exactly. The problem with taking photos and uploading them on the blog still remains: the flash and camera distortion still make it impossible to demonstrate the true colour of the lipsticks. Nevertheless, I wanted to do a post showing some of the lip colours that I own and perhaps through seeing them next to each other, some of you would find it useful. 
Ilia beauty colours are amazing. The lip tints are very moisturising and I love how they smell. The greatest thing about them is that you can really play with how much colour you want to get out of them, e.g. one layer gives a nice tint, while if you re-apply a few times you get a proper lipstick-rich colour. And, once you own a few of these pretty things, you can mix up the colours to get something new every time. Here are some of my favourites:

Ilia in Bang Bang

Ilia in Arabian Knights
Ilia in Shell Shock

Ilia Beauty L-to-R: Bang Bang, Arabian Knights, Shell Shock


Sunday, 17 March 2013

S5 Skincare Balance Fluid Review

I first came across S5 Skincare at Content shop in London (literally the best all natural skincare boutique!). I was shopping with my mum who was stocking up on some lovely skincare products, and not wanting to feel left out I thought I should look for something for myself too. My current moisturizer was close to running out, and I was also feeling like it was not providing enough moisture. It was formulated for problem skin prone to breakouts, but it felt like was sort of compromising on the moisture aspect. 
So, in Content, when I explained my situation, I was recommended the Balance Fluid by S5 Skincare, and it sounded so good that I thought why not give it a try? 
Before I review the cream, here is a little background information on the company. S5 Skincare is a relatively new brand, created by Laura Rudoe (who is also behind the affordable natural company Evolve) and Violaine Bargues. There is a beautifully written in-depth background review of the company in Galina's blog if you want to learn more. 
The main ethos of the brand is to use natural, high-quality ingredients to protect the skin from adverse effects of stress and aging. The line is 100% natural and uses very interesting ingredients that come from plants that flourish in  harsh and difficult climates (e.g. the arctic, sea depths, mountains, deserts). After considerable research the brand creators found that these ingredients are very beneficial in helping skin fight stress and look its best. The products contain proven bioactives from 5 most extreme ecosystems, especially formulated to target 5 skin problems/conditions: 
  • Arctic (sensitivity and reactive skin)
  • Alpine (skin pigmentation)
  • Desert (dry skin)
  • Marine (wrinkles and lines)
  • Rainforest (problem and blemish-prone skin)
Today I will be focusing on the Balance fluid, which uses rainforest bioactives to help de-stress and balance the skin, preventing blemishes. Rainforest is an ecosystem that is capable of sustaining rich life throughout extreme weather conditions: torrential rain, extreme heat and humidity. The founders of the skincare found that extracts from the rainforest will help balance the skin, reduce inflammation and provide a 'climate control system' for the skin, where oil production, moisture and nutrition can all be balanced. This is what attracted me to this product: its proposal to balance the skin without compromising on hydration and nutrition.

So far I have only used the Balance Fluid moisturiser. Some of the key actives used in this moisturizer include Epilobium fleisheri, which is an Alpine bioactive found to help reduce inflammation, decrease sebum production and improve skin's appearance. It also contains Arctic Rhodiola, which is ecologically harvested in Siberia. This plant has been shown to improve oxygen consumption in the skin, de-stress the skin and protect it from temperature fluctuations. In addition, the moisturizer contains Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronic Acid, which is vital in locking in moisture in the skin, and also reduces skin hyper-reactivity. The product is EcoCert certified organic, with overall 67.99% organic ingredients, and is overall 99.25% natural. Here is the full list of ingredients: 

Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Coco-Caprylate , Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Glycerin, Mica, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Aqua (Water), Isostearyl Isostearate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Epolobium Fleischeri Extract*, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Salicylic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Arachidyl Alcohol , Sodium Dehydroacetate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Behenyl Alcohol, Cellulose Gum, Tocopherol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Gluconolactone, Lauroyl Lysine, Sodium Levulinate, Sodium Anisate, Parfum (Natural, Low Allergen Fragrance),  Titanium Dioxide, Talc, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Benzyl Alcohol, Citric Acid.

I found this moisturizer extremely pleasant to use: it sinks into the skin immediately, and smells absolutely delicious, as if of Alpine herbs. The smell is very delicate and I think it must be my favourite moisturiser smell. It has a smooth creamy consistency. I must say that after one application, sometimes my skin did not feel quite moisturised enough, and I would go back and put another small amount on. I have been using the moisturizer for almost two months now, and my skin has been calm and I have not experienced any unpleasant blemishes, maybe a couple occasional ones, but much less than usual. What I also really liked is that the skin felt nourished and well-moisturized after using this product, and I am happy with the overall condition of the skin, not only the blemish aspect of it. This, I guess, is their 'climate control system' really working! The 50 ml pot comes at £39, so it is certainly isn't cheap. But, after using mine for two months, I find that I have used very little, so I think it will last for ages. 
The line also contains specially formulated serums for various skin conditions, and I would now really like to try out their Purity Serum!

S5 skincare line is available at Content instore and online. 

Saturday, 16 March 2013


I thought I'd do a post on the benefits of seeds. These little things have amazing nutritional value, but can often be overlooked. It is very easy to incorportate seeds into your daily food routine, by adding them into smoothies, sprinkling them over toast, porridge or salads, or just eating them in their own right. Lets have a look at a couple of the healthiest seeds out there. 

Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds are edible seeds of... um, pumpkins! These have amazing nutritional value. Pumpkin seeds are rich in calories, which mainly come from protein and fats in these seeds. The fats are the good type, they are rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids, which help to balance the cholesterol levels and may help with prevention of heart disease. Pumpkin seeds are also rich in  amino acids,  tryptophan and glutamate. These, especially glutamate, when converted help sleep, reducing anxiety and irritability. Furthermore, pumpkin seeds are rich in essential minerals, such as copper, magnesium, zinc and calcium among many others. 

Sesame Seeds
Sesame seeds come from Sesame plant, which is a tall annual plant, most widely grown in Asia, especially China, Burma and India. The seeds come from the pods that are formed from the flowers on these tall plants. 
Sesame seeds are an amazing source of various essential minerals. Particularly, they are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, manganese and selenium.
These seeds contain plenty of folic acid, which is essential for DNA synthesis. In addition, they are a great source of B-complex vitamins, which help reduce anxiety and neurosis. Sesame is super rich in different fatty acids, which help balance the cholesterol levels. As if all of that wasn't enough, sesame seeds are also rich in different antioxidants, such as sesamol and sesaminol, which help fight-off harmful free radicals within the body. 

Chia Seeds
Chia seeds come from Salvia hispanica plant, which grows abundantly in Southern Mexico, and is actually a member of the mint family. These tiny seeds were an important part of Mayan and Aztec diets back in the day. Chia seeds are super rich in everything it appears! They have a great source of Omega-3, and various anti-oxidants. In fact, it has been written that they are so rich in antioxidants that chia seeds can be stored for lengthy periods of time without deteriorating. Chia seeds are also very rich in fiber (25 grams of chia provide almost 7 grams of fiber), which means that these seeds will help you feel full in a healthy way. Like the other seeds, chia are also a great source of minerals like calcium, phosphorus,  copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese and iron among others. 

Sunflower Seeds
Apparently sunflower seeds began to be used over 5,000 years ago by the Native Americans, and then the Spanish introduced them to Europe and surrounding countries. Some of the benefits of sunflower seeds include its rich content of Vitamin E, which has been linked to preventing cardiovascular disease. Vitamin E is also a great fat-soluble antioxidant, and is therefore anti-inflammatory as it neutralizes free radicals in the body.  These seeds are also rich in magnesium, which helps to maintain healthy bones and also helps maintain healthy nerve cells!