Monday, 17 December 2012

All Nighter Dry Shampoo Review

Rating: 4/5, usually available from Being Content (but they seem to be out right now!)

Created as an alternative to  hair powders that were full of parabens, aluminium, silica and talc the All Nighter was the first all natural colour-matched dry shampoo on the market.

All Nighter Dry Shampoo arrived in the UK in 2010 after becoming a cult favourite in the US. Made using a mixture of  pure rice and tapioca starches, cruelty free silk powder, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, this stuff isn't just meant to postpone hair washing but to revive a blow dry, tussle the hair, and absorb extra oils in the hair. So how does it do it and how does it compare to it's unnatural alternatives?

Battle#1: Versus batiste?

Okay okay, I know I shouldn't like batiste, it's full of things that we at TBT don't like to use on our bodies. But, when you're caught in a pinch it's surprising how fast the rules can be thrown to the wayside. Batiste is remarkably effective and is easier to apply, however, the scent can be overpowering and is a little synthetic. The All Nighter isn't scented and it does work as a dry shampoo, but it needs to be worked into the hair much more than Batiste dry shampoo.

Battle #2: Versus L'oreal super dust?
In terms of staying powder both products die down after a while, but to revitalise super dust charged hair all you need to do is scrunch it up. For All Nighter charged hair you need to reapply and given that it's pigmented you need to make sure it's brushed in properly otherwise you will have pigmented dots on your head that are difficult to get out, which might not be a problem if you have thick or fair hair. But if your hair is an average thickness and you use redhead, golden brunette or dark brown/black then you're going to need to make sure that you brush it in really well...and that it doesn't get on your clothes because it does stain.

The conclusion!
Ultimately the natural alternative, the All Nighter is a little more maintenance than L'oreal's superdust and batiste, but the effects are just as good. If you have the time and are willing to try a natural alternative it is worth a go but it is pricey, if you can get hold of it. Alternatively, try out a home remedy for dry shampoo which would be a lot more cost effective

Have you tried the All Nighter? what did you think?


Monday, 12 November 2012

Ooosha Raw Advanced Raw Chocolate Level 2: The Review

Moulded Raw Chocolate eggs (Image borrowed from

Price: £200
Time: 11am - 4pm
Location: East Sussex

One word: Amazing.

It's fair to say that we love chocolate, and a few weeks ago I headed down to East Sussex to complete my level 2 chocolate class with the ridiculously talented Amy Levin.

It was an awesome way to build upon the skills that we had learned in Level 1. Level 2 covers 3d chocolate moulding, chocolate work, ganache, raw chocolate truffles, cookie dough bonbons, and cremes (think after eight style treats).

This time around I forgot my water bottle, left the snacks at home, packed an apron, got some tupperware for the chocolate goodies and brought my trusty pen.

Ganache filled cookies (Image borrowed from
The Level 2 booklet is twice the size of the Level 1 booklet and does not disappoint; packed full of recipes, information, and tips and tricks.As you might expect Level 2 is bigger and better than Level 1. There are also more tasting sessions and it's ever so slightly more hands on than the Level 1 class. Combine this with the fact that everyone at the class was lovely and equally enthused about chocolate and you’ve got yourself a really fun class. Who could ask for more? But enough about that, let's talk about the reason you're really here: chocolate.

But before we get to the goodstuff, let's deal with any monday morning chocolate skepticism.....
Really? raw 3D chocolate moulding? I know, it doesn't sound right, especially if you have tried (and failed) at 3D moulding with shop-bought-chocolate. Not only was the raw chocolate 3D moulding impressive, the thin chocolate shells gently stuck together to form one of the strongest hollow chocolate eggs I have ever come across (later evidenced by my mr burns inspired 3 minute attempt to break one with my bare hands, regardless it was delicious!).

Once more Amy made it all seem effortless. And the solutions to chocolate (and truffle) making pitfalls are so clear now, I’m still making teensy mistakes but practice makes perfect – and Em &L are happy to have a steady supply of weekend chocolates.

And what of raw ganache? oh my,  so very smooth and packed full of flavour. It even impressed a very choosy friend of mine. No dairy, no gluten, no added-tives, and no icky artificial flavourings. And with the use of natural low GI sweeteners these ganaches are suitable for diabetics. We were lucky enough to work with earl grey ganache and cherry ganache; both of which were amazing (the TBT house favourite was the cherry ganache).

One thing that you won't know about Amy's classes are that the light lunch mentioned off-hand in the course description is really a delicious highlight. We had fresh salad in a beautiful dressing, with squash crackers, 2 types of nut cheese and berry kefir. I also had the opportunity of tasting some Coffee Kombucha and another Kefir.

 In the afternoon we covered cookie dough bonbons, which happen to be so moreish that if given the chance I would have devoured the whole lot, and chocolate cremes, which are Em's new favourite treat.

If you'd like to know more about Amy and her class schedule click here to be taken to the Ooosha site where you can also buy her chocolates (as of the 1st December) and check out some of her recipes. You can also check out the Ooosha Raw Culinary Artistry blog here.

If you're super interested (and have completed the Level 1 class) there are still some spaces on the December 1st class!

P.S. I didn't manage to do any swish photos this time which is why I've had to borrow from . Let's just say that here at TBT we really do love chocolate.
Take home treats!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Rosehip oils: Trilogy vs Pai

We've blogged about the wonders of Trilogy before (here and here). But Other than christmas gift suggestions, we've never featured any Pai Skincare products here. That is only because we are lazy; pai skincare products have become part of our daily skincare routine and we've not looked back.

Founded by Sarah Brown after she suffered allergy induced acne and skin rashes, Pai is now one of the best natural beauty brands around. As a fellow allergy sufferer, a quote from Sarah Brown, in InStyle really resonated with me.

‘Now I’ve finally achieved true skin confidence, and it’s really empowering. I know it’s hard to completely get rid of an allergy, but knowing what sets it off and staying calm means I can control it.’

there's a lot of truth to that, it's probably why our allergy posts are the most popular around holiday season; getting through thanksgiving, birthday's, any number of religious festivals and new years is hard when you can't eat half of the food on the table.

After my new allergy to phenoxyethanol following exposure to antipodes night cream NOTHING was making my skin better, pre-phenoxyethanol (Now banned for use in certified organic skin care products by Ecocert and COSMOS, the new EU organic certification standard.) my other allergies rarely affected my skin. Now, it's one of the first places to show. Which is incredibly demoralising. True to form, I hit the books hard. How can you repair really damaged skin? time and time again the same answer came up; antioxidants and rosehip oil.

So we took the plunge! I'd been using Trilogy rosehip oil for 2 years with a 3 month break following a very painful skin reaction courtesy of Antipodes. I bought a bottle of Trilogy Rosehip oil and a bottle of Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil and used them TBT experiment style!

Rosehip oil; the benefits

Rosehip oil is full of omega's 3 & 6, not to mention carotenoids. It also contains antioxidants, trans-retinoic acid (vitamin A) in the form of unsaturated EFA's which help to reduce the effects of aging, regenerating damaged skin (including scarring), stimulating cell renewal and diminishing fine lines.
One study has also suggested that the use of rosehip oil (as well as other oils and balms high in fatty acids, such as aloe vera) to help repair radiotherapy-induced damage to the skin. It really is magic.

I used trilogy rosehip oil for three months straight taking 1 month off and then began using Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil for 3 months.

Our other testers (L and Em) did the same, applying the oils just to the face, neck and decolletage.

Trilogy oil vs Pai BioRegenerate - what's the difference?

Rosehip BioRegenerate™ contains a concentrated rosehip fruit oil which contains twice as many regenerative sterols and five times the carotenoids of rosehip seed oil. Pai use CO2 extraction to get the most out of their rosehips and they argue that it is this process that makes their rosehip oil more powerful than cold pressed rosehip oil.
Rosehip BioRegenerate™ also contains vitamin E.

Trilogy keep their secrets close to their chest, we're not sure how they extract it and it's not clear whether their rosehip oil is seed, fruit or both. But their clinical study results are pretty staggering and they've won an awful lot of awards..

The differences in appearance and smell, however, are obvious; The scent of Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate is softer than Trilogy (Beyond that it's hard to explain and both dissipate quite quickly). Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil is bright orange - Testament to the carotenoid levels in the oil, it's also is a little thicker than Trilogy's.

The Result

There is nothing bad to say about either product. After 3 months, Trilogy made our skin look bright and fantastic. But it did nothing to my allergic skin.

Pai's BioRegenerate Rosehip Oil has helped reduce the damage to my skin and it's gotten so much better that it's not at all obvious anymore. If you were to run your hands over my face (which would warrant more questions than, "hey, while you're there; what do you think of the texture of my skin?") then it would be apparent which areas of my face suffered the most from the allergic reaction. Even so, the texture of my skin has improved so much that I am still using it.

L and Em loved Pai and Trilogy, as far as they were concerned both bottles contain skin elixirs.
 So it depends on your needs, for super nourishment and healing of the skin go for Pai, for radiance and moisturising both are equally good.

(Recently Trilogy have released an amped up version of their rosehip oil called Trilogy Rosehip Oil Antioxidant+ which contains rosehip seed oil, tomato seed oil, cranberry seed oil, acai seed oil and oat extract. We would have loved to include it in this review but that one's next on our things-to-buy-and-review list!)


Monday, 24 September 2012

The deodorant diaries: Weleda vs SoapWalla vs Garnier

If you're anything like us you'll know the hazards of anti-perspirants (if not click here). So, we decided to put 2 natural deodorants up against 1 mainstream one. Not quite scientific but it's the best we could do.

We enrolled onto 2 intense fitness training courses (both of which lasting 1 day each) and put these bad boys to the test.

Deo #1: Weleda Citrus Spray
Rating: 4.5/5 available from feelunique for £8.50 (inc p&p)

Containing just 6 ingredients, we've got to admit that we were a little dubious. Did a few sprays promise to take Em through 8 hours of exercise? Could a natural deodorant do that?

Here it comes; the obligatory ingredients list breakdown...

Denatured Alcohol: In cosmetics denatured alcohol usually contains water and a bittering agent (such as denatonium benzoate) and another additive. In this instance it's just been ethanol (the alcohol part) and water. Ethanol is drying, which is why it's great in this product. It's shown to be safe to use but because it is drying it's one of those ingredients that should be approached with caution, and has been shown to be potentially dangerous when mixed with other ingredients.
For a great run down checkout futurederm's post here.

Lemon Juice: Full of vitamin C, citric acid, and B vitamins you'll all know that lemon juice is acidic and *warning* application of this deodorant will result in a mild stinging sensation sometimes (i.e. after a shower) that will go away after a short period of time. Used as a folk remedy for healing acne, it's also a great exfoliator, and this might be why it's used in the deodorant; by getting rid of dead skin cells that have been exposed to sweat you're more likely to feel fresher for longer, but that's just us hypothesising!

Lemon and Orange essential oil: A detoxifier and antiseptic, these oils are great for keeping the skin healthy.

Glycerin: while it is said to help moisturise the skin, it also draws moisture from your own dermis to your epidermis. In the words of the lady from truth in aging; "Your skin might feel moisturized, but you have just borrowed from Peter to pay Paul and ultimately it will get dryer. I also found plenty of references claiming that in order for glycerin to attract water from the atmosphere, humidity must be higher than 70%."
Clinical studies have shown that glycerin is more of a friend than a foe;

  • 1 study found that high glycerin creams used over a five year period in people with very dry skin, resulted in a significant improvement in skin quality.
  • Another study found that when used by people with atopic dermatitis twice a week for four weeks, a significant improvement in the hydration of the outer layer of the skin and the skin's normal protective barrier was restored.
  • It's also been shown to helps skin cells mature properly and aid bruised and swollen skin
So what's going on with glycerin? as it turns out glycerin helps degrade the corneodesmosomes (proteins that help hold skin cells together), which in turn results in consisten desquamation (shedding the outer layer of the skin) and that, in turn, results in smoother looking skin. The question is whether our skin needs encouragement in exfoliation?
Here's the science bit; corneodesmosomes are specialised protein structuren that are a bt like rivets and they hold the corneocytes together. These structures are also a part of the "mortar" in the "brick and mortar" of the skin analogy. Corneodesmosomes are the major structure that must be degraded for the skin to shed in a process called desquamation (aka exfoliation). Interestingly we only understand parts of the desquamation process. Water and PH play a significant role but that's about all we know...

Ingredients: Alcohol denat; water, lemon juice, oils of orange, lemon, glycerin. Nominal ethanol content 71%.

Deo #2 SoapWalla deodorant cream
 Rating: 4.5/5, Available from Beingcontent for £13.80 (+p&p).

If you haven't heard of SoapWalla deodorant cream, where have you been? Featured in Vogue, No more dirty looks and by many a beauty website, this magic deodorant is applied like a cream and glides on. The scent is quite mild and you only need to use a little bit. Just the right size to be tucked away into your handbag (or sportsbag) and taken around with you, SoapWalla is like magic.

It also only needed to be reapplied once and has an ingredient list that would make even the staunchest natural beauty fan swoon. Like the product description says "all-natural yet powerful deodorant utilises superfine vegetable powders, clays, and lavender, peppermint and tea tree essential oils to absorb moisture, inhibit bacteria and ensure a long-lasting, effective experience. A creamy consistency ensures effortless manual application and quick absorption". I think that covers our usual ingredient list. In terms of our use only one re-application was required. 

Ingredients: Organic Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) Oil; Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil; Organic Rosehip Seed Oil; Butyrospermun parkii (Shea) Butter; Organic Corn Starch; Sodium Bicarbonate; Kaolin Clay; Organic Vegan Kosher Glycerin; Essential oils of: Organic Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender); Organic Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree); Organic Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange); Organic Mentha Piperita (Peppermint); Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergaptene-free Bergamot).  

Deo #3 Garnier mineral ultimate protection roll-on
Rating: 2/5, available from most supermarkets and pharmacies.

The thing is that the cynics amongst you might find yourself thinking "well of course the garnier one didn't get a good review; it's a natural product beauty blog". But that really had nothing to do with it, firstly the ingredients list is so small that we honestly don't know what was in it and secondly we are scientists baby; we're all about trying to be as objective as possible.

Out of all of the deodorants, this one underperformed on duration of fragrance (really floral and ran out super fast), left L's poor armpits soaking and had to be reapplied so often that she kept it next to her waterbottle (sorry L).

But, you ask, which one would we choose personally?

So you've read the reviews and you may have noticed that SoapWalla and Weleda have the same score. So which one do we choose? Well, it's all got to do with your purpose. If you're in a situation where you're unlikely to have the time to smear cream under your armpits then the Weleda spray is probably your best option and it comes in a 30ml travel size for anyone interested in carrying it around with them.
But if you aren't super busy and quite like the smooth consistency of SoapWalla then by all means get the SoapWalla.

As far as the Garnier goes we were really disappointed, we were expecting to have to write a meager review on the natural alternatives and justify why they wouldn't match up. But to our delight that just wasn't the case. Go natural or Go home . . .or just stick with what you're happy with - we just wanted the opportunity to sound as hardcore as our fitness trainer.

Lots of Love,
Em, L & Layla


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Huge savings@ MichaelJohn & Naturisimo

The lovely people at Michealjohn have a sale on with massive savings on natural beauty brands like Trilogy, Rahua  Suki it's well worth a look!

Naturisimo have a kickass sale on right now with brands like Inika, Bellapierre, Rawganic, NUDE skincare, Neom, Viridian and more! Click here to check it out!


Monday, 25 June 2012

Avena's V.V. cream & oil Review

Image borrowed from Avena
Rating: 1/5, available from Avena for £13.99 (excl. p&p).

Long time, no posts right? I can't tell you where the time has gone!

So today we're reviewing 2 products. Everyone has at least 1 'beauty' dilemma that bugs them. for some folk it's their cellulite, for others it's their greasy and for at least 2 members of the TBT writing team it's thread veins. We don't know where they come from, more specifically we don't know why they appear and we have found no way of stopping them or making them disappear. And we'd rather use laser surgery as a last step.

We have tried home aromatherapy blends, expensive potions and lotions and even specialised massage. So far we've found that home aromatherapy blends and Kimia Glow have a little bit of an effect. Other than that we're stuck for answers. Antioxidants are supposed to help as are vitamins C,E & K but we're hardly strangers to antioxidants and our vitamins, we always wear sunscreen and thanks to the wonder that is the "British summer" we don't really get sun exposure and we're not tanners or sun bed fans.

So when we discovered Avena's V.V. (short for Visible Vein) oil we jumped on board and when we found that they did a cream too we ordered them both. On arrival we split them between us and eagerly let our beauty experiment commence. 2 months later and the results are in; there was no improvement, it didn't soak in very quickly and to top it all of it didn't smell that good :(

Back to the drawing board.....

Let us know what your (in)visible vein tricks are or whether you've had better luck with Avena's V.V. oil or cream in the comments!


Ingredients list to follow!

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Natural Baby Products for Mother & Baby that Contain Phenoxyethanol

In our last post we discussed the dangers of phenoxyethanol and the news that the FDA warned nursing mothers from a product containing phenoxyethanol because it can cause vomiting, dermatitis and it might just shut down the nervous system.

According to ingredients listings it's a soil associated approved preservative....we don't really know what to say to that, other than "You Broke My Heart Soil Association! You....Broke....My...Heaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaart!".

Ahem, definitely not something that you'd expect to find in products for anyone let alone Mother and Baby products. So we hit the ingredients lists of all of the "natural mother and baby products" at one of our favourite and most trusted online natural apothecaries; Lovelula, and we have listed any offenders here.

The thing about natural apothecaries is that new ingredients are being used all of the time, and should the ingredients carry an "approved" stamp from a trusted body then stores and consumers are more likely to trust it's safety. Unfortunately, in some cases, the ingredient isn't worthy of the approval.

Thankfully, the products in the new mum section were phenoxyethanol free but quite a few baby products contain it. To take a little bit of the pressure off busy parents or parents to be shopping for baby friendly baby products, here are the products to try and avoid:

Baby Wipes
Simply Gentle 100% Cotton Baby Wipes
Yup, as if nappy change time didn't have enough perks, the makers of these baby wipes thought they'd throw a neurotoxin in. What the hell, right?

Earth friendly baby organic skincare baby wipes
Earth Friendly? Doubtful. Baby friendly? Hell no. One Reviewer says they're great for removing make-up. Research Says: Especially if you want a rash.

Beaming Baby Organic Baby Wipes
According to one reviewer, "the smell is just gorgeous, they have a lovely texture" and  she is "thrilled with them". I know what you're thinking, we were thinking it too. . .is it her or is it the neurotoxin speaking? &, just in case you were wondering, their Beaming Beauty Organic Face Wipes have it in too

Bubble bath
Earth friendly Baby Organic Lavender Bubble Bath
According to the product description, a little bit goes a long way. . . at least they're being honest; that's right people, it goes TOO FAR!

Baby Cream
Bamford Baby Cream
I'm not even going to comment on this one.

Green People 3-in-1 No Scent Baby Lotion
In the ingredients section phenoxyethanol is listed as a "preservative". . . .it probably depends on what you're preserving

Jason Earth's Best Baby Shampoo
2 commas would have made that shampoo sound like a superbaby product line. Maybe next time, Jason, maybe next time.

Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream; the natural moisturiser that makes you go ".....erm???"

Rating: ...erm???, available from Lovelula (£33 inc p&p), Feelunique (£32.99 inc p&p), Naturisimo (£32.99 inc p&p)

Winner of a multitude of awards, this creaming promises a lot (it promises a lot more if you use it inconjunction with their divine face oil too),  according to the product blurb this cream is "clinically proven to stimulate collagen production in human fibroblast skin cells by up to 92%".

Sounds tasty, just like the ingredients:
  • Shea Butter  - Recently mentioned in our lazy winter skin care post, shea butter is a staple natural beauty darling.  Packed full of Essential Fatty Acids, vitamins A & E, and antioxidants, shea butter can be used all over and studies have shown that it anti-inflammatory and can help to prevent skin damage from UV radiation. 
Because of it's beauty status Shea Butter can be found in hundreds of natural  products. Here are a few of our favourites: Intelligent Nutrients lipcare & lipgloss, the miraculous Akuaba Belly Butter, African Liquid Soap, Fushi Organic Eczmaid Chickweed and Chamomile Ointment, Cioccolotina Argan & Cocoa butter Liquid Shampoo Dr Alkaitis Organic Eye Cream
  • Vegetable Squalane - We've blogged about Olive Squalene before and we loved it, vegetable squalane is similar. As one of the main components of sebum, the skin loves squalane, it helps to plump the skin up, protect against UV rays and smoothe wrinkles out over short periods of time. It's another product that is multipurpose and is used in lots of products. 
  •  Avocado Oil - Packed full of EFA's, lecithin, amino acids, Vitamins A, B6 & E, copper, magnesium and iron, avocado oil is a veritable gourmet meal for the skin.
  • Manuka Honey - Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, manuka honey is great for all skin types, providing nourishment and TLC to the body. However, the ingredients and the antipodes site don't specify whether the honey has a UMF (Unique Manuka Factor) which is basically a way of saying that the honey is "active" kind of like the difference between Live Yogurt and Yogurt.
  •  Calendula Oil - Anti-inflammatory, astringent and full of tannins, calendula has been used to treat skin problems for years and it's amazing! Also Featured in Kimia Glow
  • Coconut Oil - naturally moisturising, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial, Coconut oil imparts a mild SPF and acts as a great skin and hair conditioner.
  • Gluconolactone - is an antioxidant that can chelate metals and might actually help to scavenge free radicals, potentially protecting and repairing sun damaged skin.(ref).
  • Calcium gluconate - traditionally applied topically to burns victims and studies have shown that people with higher calcium intake experience less premature aging (but that may also have to do with the fact that they're eating a well balanced diet).
  • Vinenza Grape Grapeseed Extract - all we can find is that this is a "quintessential antioxidant from New Zealand's sauvignon blanc grape seeds which revitalises your skin" which we're pretty sure is a quality posessed by grapeseed's in general.

Sounds lovely and with prices starting @ £33 for a 60ml pot we've got to admit that we were hoping for some serious beauty kudos. The kind of product you use sparingly before bed and wake up looking like this:

Ok, maybe not looking like this but definitely feeling swishy, glowy and a little diva-esque. But it didn't, we tested it on friends and family members with no extra oomph from the product.
Once more we are the only bloggers not feeling this cream. . .it did nothing, we took 2 and a half months to test the product across a range of testers 17 - 62 and no-one had anything nice to say, no morning dewy skin, no glow, no love. Just "I suppose it moisturised" and to us that's just not good enough.

In fact on closer inspection of the ingredients you could just buy fushi organic eczmaid chickweed and chamomile ointment, add in a dash of honey and squalene and have yourself a very similar product for less money and without any preservatives.

Now we're on the subject let's talk about some of the less desirable ingredients:

Ceteareths and Ceteareth-20 (aka "it all depends on who you ask"):
 The EWG classify this as a toxic allergen that can increase skin absorption of other toxic nasties, and they recommend that consumers steer clear of any product that has any ingredients with "ceteareth" in the name as they claim that it can increase carcinogens in the given product. This is because  ceteareths may contain 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide which have both been linked to cancer. However the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel say that 1,4-dioxane can be controlled for using proper purification methods to remove it prior to blending into cosmetics.

The EWG and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel say that cosmetic products containing ceteareth-20 claiming that the ingredient is not safe to use on injured or damaged skin. When used on burn victims cetearths may result in kidney damage.
Ultimately the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel say that so long as ceterateths are properly used then they are safe to use. Ultimately, it's up to the consumer. Most brands are unlikely to improperly use any ceteareths, if you'd rather not take the risk then it might be best to avoid. But that is entirely up to you

Iodopropynyl butylcarbarmate - commonly used in skincare, lip and oral hygiene products it has been deemed as safe to use. However a 2006 study found that Iodoproynyl Butylcarbamate can be a toxicant, cause contact dermatitis and have immune effects in some people.

Last but not least there is phenoxyethanol - A glycol ether and the new alternative to parabens - phenoxyethanol is used across the board from paint to jet fuel to cosmetics (anti-bacterial) to perfume (stabiliser). Oh yeah, lest we forget to mention the FDA warned nursing mothers from a product containing phenoxyethanol because it can cause vomiting, dermatitis and it might just shut down the nervous system.
This is getting to be a pretty long review so I'll give you a run down of research findings:
  1.  A bunch of  animal studies demonstrate that it is toxic and an irritant at moderate and low concentrations.
  2.  The Environmental Protection Agency data sheets show chromosomal changes and genetic mutation effects in testing as well as testicular atrophy (break down) and interference with reproductive organs in mice.
  3. The EU has classified it as an irritant and Japan have a concentration limit for it's use in cosmetic products
  4. Phenoxyethanol has been shown to have neurotoxin potential , now that is something you never want to see on your report card.
  5. Phenoxyethanol is in the top 10 most frequent allergens in allergic contact dermatitis, with the author's noting, "Even after healing of the skin lesions of allergic contact dermatitis, it must be considered that sensitization persists indefinitely. Therefore, patients have to be informed exactly about their relevant contact allergens to ensure complete avoidance. To do so, physicians need a detailed knowledge of the most common contact allergens which are discussed in this paper.". So basically,  once you've developed contact dermatitis it is unlikely to ever go away completely. back their findings up, another study found that phenoxyethanol is a contact allergen.

    And in the wise words of the author over at truth in aging:
    "Phenoxyethanol breaks down to phenol and acetaldehyde, acetaldehyde converts to acetate. Phenol can disable the immune system's primary response mechanism. Given that, it is at best ironic, that phenoxyethanol is used as an anti-bacterial in vaccines. Acetaldehyde occurs during the breakdown of ethanol, (alchohol and 2-phenoxyETHANOL), it is a suspected carcinogen. Inhalation studies have shown irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. I feel that given the wealth of evidence, I'd rather give it a miss even at concentrations of 1% or lower. That, however, is easier said than done. Phenoxyethanol is becoming ubiquitous and it is hard to avoid."
Don't let these findings overwhelm you, there are a lot of products that don't have phenoxyethanol. Antipodes should know better and the fact they've won so many awards is a bit of a joke... Now we know about how bad the ingredients are we feel terrible about testing it on our friends and families not to mention ourselves.

Ingredients: Water, Shea butter, Squalane, Avocado oil, Manuka honey, Macadamia oil, Calendula oil, fractionated coconut oil, Glyceryl stearate, Ceteareth-20, Ceteareth-12, Cetearyl alcohol, Cetyl palmitate, Vitamin E, Lecithin, Grapefruit seed extract, Sandalwood oil, Patchouli oil, Ylang ylang oil, Iodopropynyl butylcarbarmate, Phenoxyethanol.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Lovelula Spring Sale

With brands like Kae, Ila, Nvey Eco, Jurlique, Neal's Yard & Elysambre it's worth heading over to Lovelula to check out the spoils! Open Now Until Sunday the 29th April.


Earth Day

Image borrowed from Bird on a Cake, click on the link to see how the lovely Robin created these cakes!

Today is Earth Day, it's all about raising awareness about taking care of the planet for our future generations; our children, our nieces, our nephews, our friends.

To learn more click here & for earth day quotes click here.

Happy Earth Day Everyone, Thank You So Much For Visiting!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Amazing Oskia Sale @ Cocosa right now!

UK Sales site Cocosa is having an Oskia Sale and with prices starting from £23 it's definitely worth a look.

If you're not sure about Oskia check out our reviews of their Bedtime Beauty Boost cream and Oskia's Get Up and Glow Serum

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Avena's Bra In A Jar Review

Rating: 6/5, available from Avena with prices starting from £6.99 (+p&p for all orders under £25).

One Word: AMAZING!

You've probably heard of mama mio's boob tube cream and a gazillion other products claiming to give you your perk back or to simply maintain the perk you had in the first place and/or to simply firm you up . The thing is that a lot of the time these products are filled with nasties and, as we've heard, aren't very effective.

Avena's bra in a jar is an all natural product that is not tested on animals. Ease of application is good and it has a light smell of mint, it absorbs fairly quickly and lies somewhere between a cream and a serum. In terms of longevity, the 60ml pots lasts for about a month.

This stuff is amazing, in fact in our eyes it is as wondrous as Akuaba Belly Butter. We were so impressed by this that we passed it on to our families. Incredibly effective across the board - our new-mum-friends loved it, our sisters loved it, our mothers and aunties loved it and so did our grandmothers. In fact, our grandmothers rave about it.


Allergy Warning: Contains nut oils!
Ingredients: sunflower oil, water, beeswax, adeps lanae, almond oil, patchouli oil, peppermint oil, benzoin oil.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Konjac sponge review

Available from Being Content with prices ranging from £5.75 - £6.99
We have to opt out of a rating for this one. For whatever reason, it's not really done anything for us. Em, L, and I all bought one each and have tested it out for the past 3 months. The packaging is cute, the longevity is good but the effect is not that noticeable. Maybe we were using the wrong one for each of our skin types, maybe there was no noticeable effect because we bodybrush or maybe it's just one of life's mysteries...we can't be sure.

Made from the fibrous konjac plant, these sponges hav been used for over a century in Japan. Konjac sponges have a mild exfoliating effect and are said to help gently cleanse and increase circulation, they are also suitable for all skin types because they are alkaline, full of vitamins and minerals (try magnesium, zinc, vitamins A, E, D, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, folic acid & fatty acids), they're also completely biodegradable.
Red Clay Konjac Sponge

They are available plain (which is perfect for all skin types) but you can also get
  • green clay for normal to oily skin (Em used this one)
  • red clay for dry and sensitive skin (L & I used this one)
  • pink clay for tired, devitalized skin
  • Bamboo charcoal for very oily or acne prone skins
They can be used alone over the face and body or you can add a touch of cleanser. They are easy to use and, if they work for you, could make a lovely addition to your beauty routine and are perfect if you're in a hurry!

Body & baby konjac sponge
Honestly, it's a super cute gift idea and the novelty factor is great, so it could be lovely in a care package or as a stand alone gift. But we had no luck with this product :( which is a shame because we'd really been looking forward to reviewing it and it has had so much love in the blogosphere.

If you'd like to know more about the konjac sponge click here

Have you tried konjac sponges before, what did you think? Did you have better results?

Hope that you're having a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Intelligent Nutrients lipgloss Review: Say hello to toxin free make-up!

Intelligent Nutrients, the brand behind our favourite spray on detangler has created a range of really exciting products when it comes to non-toxic beauty.
Founded by Horst Rechelbacher (the original founder of Aveda), Intelligent Nutrients use 100% food-based, safe, non-toxic & organic ingredients. And all after-tax profits from the sale of Intelligent Nutrients products are donated to environmental and social causes.

Image borrowed from Intelligent Nutrients
All Intelligent Nutrients (IN) products are certified organic and are cruelty free. IN also collaborates with  Henry Ford Hospital & the Mayo Clinic, ranking  #1 (with a rating of 9.5/10) in a study of 50 natural & organic cosmetic brands conducted by Organic Monitor.

This review covers Intelligent Nutrients Certified Organic Lip Delivery Nutrition, and the 3 Lip Delivery Antioxidant Glosses; Purple Maize, Cranberry and Clear frosting.

Personally speaking, I've never been able to wear lipgloss - it's not that I haven't tried or that I don't like it, it's because I have intolerances to so many things. In the instance that I do wear normal brands of lipgloss or lip balms, my lips swell up a little and all the remains of the lip gloss is a line of goo on my lower lip. Not a good look or a good feeling.

So, when I found this range I wasn't sure what to expect. All of the Ingredients looked great and safe but prior experience had taught me to wait until the run through.

Update: US readers can buy straight from the Intelligent Nutrients site

Certified Organic Lip Delivery Nutrition Review
The bottom line of this product's description reads:
"Softness. Smoothness. The seductive and irresistible allure of not being coated in petroleum."
Sounds sexy, right? Ok, maybe not sexy but for some reason I can hear it being read in a husky voice while classic perfume ad music plays quietly in the background "mmmm, no petroleum".
Joking aside, that can only be a good thing. I'm pretty sure petroleum and it's byproducts weren't designed for being slathered over the body (check this article by Stacy Malkan, author of Not just a pretty face: The ugly side of the beauty industry, at the campaign for safe cosmetics and be sure to read the NY Times piece about the findings of the president's cancer panel's research here.)
And while we're talking about things that aren't in this lip balm you can also count on the fact that you won't find mineral oil or lead in this product.

But enough about the health dangers of common ingredients that simply aren't here. What about this lovely non-toxic lip balm. Simply put, it's perfect; lasting softness, intense lip nutrition, and it won't leave any goop on your lips.

TBT Rating: 5/5, available for £14.00 (17.50 Euros / $23.94) inc P&P from Feelunique, Being Content, Lovelula & Naturisimo.

Ingredients:Beeswax*, Coconut Oil*, Sunflower Seed Oil*, Red Grape Seed Oil*,**, Cranberry Seed Oil*,**, Castor Seed Oil*, Palm Kernel Oil*, Red Raspberry Seed Oil*,**, Pumpkin Seed Oil*,**, Rose Hips Seed Oil*, Black Cumin Seed Oil*,**, Shea Butter*, Vanilla Plantifolia Fruit Oil*, Peppermint Oil*, Natural Orange Mint Flavor*, Corn Mint leaf oil*, Nutmeg Kernel Oil*, Limonene,*,***,  Eugenol*,***,  Isougenol*,***, Vitamin E.  
*Certified Organic
**Antioxidant Intellimune® Seed Oil Complex
***Naturally Occurring Component of Organic Essential Oil Blend

Intelligent Nutrients Lip Delivery Antioxidant Glosses, 12 ml, the Review
L-R: Cranberry Glow (only available as part of the In Joy Set in the UK), Purple Maize, Clear Frosting & Lip delivery nutrition.

After failed attempts at getting swatches that looked like the colour I realised that the swatches on the site are true to form (aside from the clear frosting which gives you a really nice light shimmer).

Here's the blurb:
"combining powerful colorful antioxidant chemistry and nutritious food ingredients with a high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (antioxidant) ORAC value. Lip Delivery Antioxidant Gloss is free from toxic mined or mineral pigments, heavy metals, synthetic colorants. Every ingredient chosen to feed your lips with power-packed antioxidants and Intelligent Nutrients’ signature Antioxidant Intellimune® Seed Oil Complex to help battle oxidative stress and aid in fighting pre-mature aging while delivering delicious moisture and shine. The aroma/flavor is filled with certified organic Agave, Caramel, Coconut, Raspberry and Vanilla. It not only tastes good, it’s good for you."

These glosses are free from:
  • Gluten
  • Lead & Other Heavy Metals
  • Mined Minerals & Synthetic Colour
  • Synthetic Oils & Waxes
  • Mineral Oil & Petrolatum
  • Artifical Fragrances & Phthalates
  • Silicones & Parabens

These glosses aren't sticky, if your hair blows into your face you won't have to go through the laborious task of having to gently pull your hair out of your lip gloss (and then try and comb the lip gloss out of your hair).

The staying power is great and the quality is brilliant.

Cranberry glow gives a really cute bitten lip lok and purple maize is a little more vampy, if you want more of a colour pop just layer up. The added benefits of these glosses is that they also act as lip conditioners and they taste delicious!

Is the In Joy The Shine Set worth it?
If you love lip glosses and are likely to buy at least 3 of the items reviewed then yes. The lip glosses and lip delivery nutrition balm are all full size and you get a handy tin to carry them in. Not to mention the fact that 3 items would add up to a minimum of £44 which is the same price as the set - and for that you get an extra lip gloss.

TBT rating: 5/5 available for £15 inc P&P, from:
Purple Maize: Being Content, Naturisimo, Feelunique, Lovelula.
Clear Frosting: Being Content, Feelunique, Lovelula
Cranberry Glow: Being Content
In Joy The Shine Set, available for £44 (inc P&P) from Being content, Feelunique, Naturisimo

Clear frosting Ingredients: Castor Seed Oil*, Beeswax*, Agave Leaf Extract*, Sweet Raspberry Natural Flavour*, Coconut Oil*, Vanilla Bean Natural Flavour*, Caramel Cream Natural Flavor*, Acai fruit Oil*, Cocoa Butter*, Shea Butter*, Carnauba Wax*, Coconut Cream Natural Flavour*, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Rosehip Oil*, Black Cumin Seed Oil*,**, Cranberry Seed Oil*,**, Red Raspberry Seed Oil*,**, Red Grape Seed Oil*,**, Pumpkin Seed Oil*,**,Vitamin E.
*Certified Organic 
*Antioxidant Intellimune® Seed Oil Complex

Purple Maize Ingredients:
Castor Seed Oil*, Beeswax*, Coconut Oil*, Agave Leaf Extract*, Purple Corn Extract*, Sweet Raspberry Natural Flavor*, Vanilla Bean Natural Flavour*, Caramel Cream Natural Flavor*, Acai fruit Oil*, Cocoa Butter*, Shea Butter*, Carnauba Wax*, Coconut Cream Natural Flavour*, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Rosehip Oil*, Black Cumin Seed Oil*,**, Cranberry Seed Oil*,**, Red Raspberry Seed Oil*,**, Red Grape Seed Oil*,**, Pumpkin Seed Oil*,**,Vitamin E.
*Certified Organic 
*Antioxidant Intellimune® Seed Oil Complex

Cranberry Glow Ingredients:
Castor Oil*, Beeswax* Agave Extract*, Sweet Raspberry Natural Flavour*, Coconut Oil*, Water, Vanilla Bean Natural Flavour*, Caramel Cream Natural Flavour*, Kaolin, Carrot Extract*, Radish Extract, Lemon Extract*, Annatto Oil*, Shea Butter*, Carnauba Wax*, Cocoa Butter*, Coconut Cream Natural Flavour*, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Rosehip Oil*, Black Cumin Seed Oil*,**, Pumpkin Seed Oil*,**, Red Raspberry Seed Oil*,**, Red Grape Seed Oil*,**, Cranberry Seed Oil*,**, Cranberry*, Orange Peel*, Rosa Damascenta Flower*, Vitamin E.
*Certified Organic 
**Antioxidant Intellimune® Seed Oil Complex 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

You = Perfect

Regardless of where you are in your body plan you’ve got to know one thing; Your body is perfect. Sometimes life is hard, sometimes we make bad choices, sometimes we’re too busy to see what’s going on but as a society we're so messed up that as a species we’ve decided to take those issues out on the way we see our bodies and, in turn, the way we see ourselves.

Have you ever seen a dog, cat or farmyard animal look at themselves in a mirror and lament about their body? If you’re overweight, underweight or just need some good old toning up then own it. I'm not saying don’t make changes to get yourself on the right track, I'm saying that to do anything about it you need to accept who you are and choose to make any changes for you. There are positives and negatives.

Before I developed food intolerances I was overweight and happy. I won’t lie to you; inside me there is a happy fat girl who loves food. Of course there were times that I wished I was thinner and those times were mainly when I had to go shopping for clothes, but other than that I was what I was. I loved being able to sit at a meal and not have to miserably pick through my food for fear that my body might change.

You know as well as everyone else that we don’t need celebrities, stores or media outlets to let you know that it’s okay to embrace your body.  Your body is awesome and beautiful because it is yours.

You are perfect. I can't stress that enough.

Have a lovely day

Monday, 26 March 2012

Boom Boom Pow: Zumba @ The Ministry Of Sound with Tanya Beardsley

It has been an age since I last posted, so without further ado we'll get right to our most recent adventure: Angela and I went to the first Zumba night at the Ministry of Sound.

First off the ticket price (£12) was amazing given that we had the opportunity to be lead by Tanya Beardsley and thanks to synchronicity I happened to have a meeting in the capital that day.

Tanya Beardsley @ ministry
 The people there were hardcore zumba fans who busted some awesome moves, most of them also had the sense to come in groups of 3 or more.  Angela and I had not, we did meet some lovely people but all allegiances were thrown to the ground when the music got going; people scrambled to the front, desperate to get as close as possible to the stage. We don't knock ambition, but pushing past people in an already small room just seemed unnecessary.

The lighting could have been amazing, but I think that the ministry of sound forgot that a Zumba night requires a leader and if you can't see that're just shaking your butt in different directions in the hope that you're doing something right. Over the course of the session the lights on stage went off and a bright red light was shone onto the audience for a good chunk of time 2 or 3 times. Anyone further than 4 rows back was just blinded and by the time the stage lights went back up the people in the crowd who had not won 'guess the move' (myself included) looked just like this;

--- OK I have literally spent the better part of an hour searching for the hip hop class scene from the fighting irish episode of 30 rock. I have given up, all I can say is: HILARIOUS MAJOR FAIL on my dancing in the dark attempt ----

Another problem was that the screens only showed the top half of tanya's body, and as someone unable to see the stage I was one of the many people who had to decipher the steps based on her upper body movements - if you thought it was easy to guess footwork based on the movements of the upper half of someone's body from a distance then you were wrong, in the end everyone at the back was doing a chinese whisper step of the footwork at the front. Which was unashamedly bad.  At one point people were passing the directions to the step down the line, which was a pleasant surprise because you can feel a little lost at sea in those circumstances!

And when I was able to follow the steps? punching, stamping on toes, bruising, scratching and a busted lip.  At one point I got punched on both sides of my face by two different men at the same time, like a badly choreographed zombie jackie chan movie featuring only the medium of dancercise.
Angela's blood was drawn at least 6 times, and I came in at a close second with a total of 5, Lol! I don't know whether I should be laughing, but I can tell you that it doesn't hurt as much now.
While I think that a degree of stepping on toes and a little pushing or elbows meeting elbows (or arms) is to be expected the spacing should have been better planned.

And to add insult to injury, we were all watched by reality tv 'celebs' from a balcony above. I didn't recognise any of them but for those of you who are interested they are name dropped here. The guy holding the lady in the article was actually amazing though, seriously

There were three pro's, the first was Tanya, the second was the sound guys and runners who were all amazing and incredibly helpful, the management were flat out rude and the third was the amount of dancing talent in the room. If Tanya ever hosts a Zumba at the ministry of sound again then I would go with additions to my outfit; face pads, long sleeves and some sort of antiseptic spray!

If you plan on going our tips are to try and get to the front, stay hydrated, and try and go in groups of 3 or more! literally for space holding!

Did you go? What did you think?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Oh celiacs just stay away from wheat & barley & rye. . .

It's been a while since my last post, I promise to get back into it as soon as I can. Time has really been getting away from me lately!
In the meantime, enjoy this song:

Happy Sunday!

Monday, 27 February 2012

Zaggora 30 day challenge: The review & final weigh in.

The time has come for our final Zaggora post and while we're a little late posting it, we promise to tell you what we made of the 30 day zaggora challenge.
If you've been following the blog lately, you'll have noticed that there weren't too many (ok, none) overtly positive comments about zaggora hotpants. In fact all we've heard from ladies e-mailing in is that their zaggora hotpants have ripped or laddered and that they feel quite cheated by the product - it's a fair complaint. Both Angela's hotpants and z's flares suffered the same fate, the customer service people at zaggora happily replaced Z's flares but didn't replace Angela's because they were ordered through firebox. Angela's still in the process of trying to get a replacement (if/when we receive a replacement we'll let you know).
Update: Z actually hasn't received her replacement flares...we're going to try and chase it up!
Over the course of Angela's 37 day challenge she has lost; 1 stone 2.2 lbs. Which is a weight loss percentage of 7.25%. Check out her weight loss graph:

Angela's weight loss.

We're still waiting for Z's results :)
Before we get to our conclusions, let's hit two of the major points raised:
Q: Angela and Z are working out a lot as it is; how do we know that their weight loss isn't just a result of all of their hardwork?

A: The short answer is that we don't know. What we do know is that it has given angela more confidence when it comes to working out in a gym full of people who range from a size 8  to a size 14. However, research has shown that Zaggora hotpants are a more effective weight loss aid when compared with a control item of clothing.
For a fitness professional's point of view we spoke to Angela's personal trainer, it's safe to say that she isn't impressed by the hotpants claims. In fact, she argues that Angela would have lost the same amount without the hotpants.
Q: Isn't it more of a placebo?
A: Now, we don't necessarily think that this product is a placebo. It is, however, a clever way to get even the laziest exerciser to do that little bit more. Everyone knows that the more you do, the more energy you burn. But the fact that this product throws in the notion of a fast track to weight loss helps shift almost any user into putting that little bit extra in for maximum results, which is a positive step to being more active.

Our Conclusions

Ultimately this product is not a weight loss cure all. Whatever your reason, healthy weight loss is work and while the hotpants can work, our results have been varied and their effect isn't clear given that angela has been working out pretty hard; 4-5 days a week for an average of 1 hour 10 minutes each day. 

In terms of comfort angela has noted that the seams are very scratchy and have actually cut her after longer training sessions.

While you can find positive reviews on the Zaggora website and other blogs, the experimental background only shows how much you could lose in a 30 minute workout if you have a BMI of around 23.3. The thing is there is no study that has found out what happens when you use the hotpants repeatedly over a month long period or more, or whether it is more effective based on fitness level (e.g. would a more active or less active body respond to the product better?)

We're not hating, but with any claim like this "can" is the operative word. Just because I can eat a gluteny sandwich doesn't mean that I will.
That doesn't mean that we don't think that they are a worthwhile product for people who need to lose weight. If you need that extra push Zaggora hotpants might be a worthwhile investment for you, the pricetag is a little steep and you might not get anything out of them. I own a pair of Zaggora flares and have been wearing them alongside angela so I could get an insight into their effect on the body. I do yoga, freeweights, running, zumba and hiking. In the 30 days I haven't lost any weight, I'm not eating more or less just going about my business. It might be that it's a better product for people who start off with a low activity level.

Zaggora's celu-lite technology is still a mystery, according to the product composition label Zaggora flares, capris and hotpants are 100% neoprene but according to the Zaggora blog , it is the "bio-ceramic technology embedded between the neoprene that makes the magic happen. Celu‐Lite™ emits far-infrared rays to reflect the wearer’s body heat back upon itself, leading to the deeper warming of tissue and breakdown of fat cells". For anyone interested, this patent might shed some light on it all...but we've still not been able to track down any empirical studies on the technology itself, if anyone has could you let us know?

We managed to find a patent from 2003 that discusses the use of bioceramics and neoprene in weight-loss clothing - which might be of interest to any of you out there interested in buying the hotpants.

Would we recommend it? Yes, but only if you are dedicated to a healthy weight loss program and only if you can afford it. Otherwise you may as well throw £44 away, and if you're planning on doing that you can give it to a lovely charity.
TBT rating: 8/10 (with conditions)
P.s. check back later for before/after photos and the conclusion of z's 30 day challenge.