Wednesday, 28 May 2014

free samples from omorovicza

There is something to be gained from subscribing to every beauty retailer out there: occasionally, you get a freebie! Omorovicza are currently offering free samples from their Moor Mud Collection, which includes the Refining Facial Polisher, Thermal Cleansing Balm and Deep Cleansing Mask. The link is here :)

Friday, 23 May 2014

Review: Decleor Aroma Lisse Energising Smoothing Cream SPF 15 [updated]

Hello! I’m becoming SO tardy with posting >.< Sorry. I feel like I do have reason to apologise because I’m getting quite a lot of hits from people searching for the ingredients in Decleor’s Energising Smoothing Cream (SPF 15) (£52/50ml) from the new Aroma Lisse range - which are nowhere to be found on my blogge. Sorry for the disappointment :( DECLEOR HOW ABOUT PUBLISHING SOME INGREDIENTS LISTS INSTEAD OF SENDING PEOPLE TO TRAWL THE INTERNET YEAH?

Anyhoos I’ve typed it up now so you’ve come to the right place! It took me a while to get round to it because the list is absolutely mahoussive. Like literally, not even figuratively, it’s the longest I’ve seen with 50+ ingredients o.O

Here we go….

Aqua (water)
C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate - an emollient & thickening agent
Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate - (AKA Octinoxate) Filters UVB rays [chemical filter]
Butylene Glycol - a ‘slip agent’
Ethylhexyl Salicylate - (AKA Octyl Salicylate) Absorbs UVB rays [chemical filter]
Beheneth-25 - a surfactant
Dimethicone - silicone
Beheneth-10 - a surfactant
Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane - (AKA Avobenzone) Absorbs full-spectrum of UVA rays. [chemical filter]
Glycerin - a humectant
Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil - Contains Vitamin E. Helps repair the skin and reduce inflammation.
Mica - Mica is translucent and is often added to face powders because of its light reflecting quality, making skin look smoother and more radiant.
Cyclopentasiloxane - silicone
PEG-32 - emulsifier/thickening agent
PEG-6 - humectant
Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloydimethyl Taurate Copolymer - stabiliser
Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil - anti-inflammatory properties
Phenyl Trimethicone - silicone
PEG-6 Isostearate - emulsifier
Aluminium Hydroxide - protects the skin
Parfum (Fragrance)
Phenoxyethanol - preservative
Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid
Propylene Glycol - a ‘delivery agent’
Stearyl Alcohol - a fatty alcohol
Triethanolamine - PH balancer
Caprylyl Glycol - a preservative
Dimethicone Crosspolymer - silicone
Limonene - fragrance ingredient
Alpinia Galanga Leaf Extract - Ginger leaf extract
Pentylene Glycol - skin conditioning agent
Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract - moisturising and anti-inflammatory properties.
CI 77891 (Titanium Dioxide) - protects against short but not long UVA rays and UVB. (Zinc Oxide is broad spectrum, i.e. most UVA and UVB) [physical filter]
Xanthan Gum - thickening agent
Disodium EDTA - chelating agent
Polysorbate 60 - emulsifier & surfactant
Sorbitan Isostearate - fatty acid, emulsifying agent
Tocopherol - AKA Vitamin E
Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil - astringent properties. Can cause skin irritation
Citral - fragrance ingredient
Sodium Hyaluronate - a humectant
Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil - antioxidant properties
Hesperetin Laurate - anti-oxidant, humectant
Citrus Aurantium (Bergamot) Bergamia Fruit Oil - Astringent properties, apparently phototoxic
Citrus Nobilus (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil - Decleor have apparently proven that the anti-oxidant powers of mandarin essential oil helps maintain skins’ youthfulness (in vitro tests)
Biosaccharide Gum-1 - smoothes dry/damaged skin
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride - an emollient
Linalool - Fragrance ingredient
Panax Ginseng Root Extract - Anti-oxidant properties
Methylisothiazolinone - preservative
Ethylhexylglycerin - smoothes dry/damaged skin
Citronellol - fragrance ingredient
Geranoil - fragrance ingredient

YAAAAAAWN. I made myself a tea halfway through that. Since no-one can be bothered with long-ass lists, I've tried to sum up the more important ingredients:

The Goodies
The ones that stand out to me are glycerin, sunflower seed oil and evening primrose oil. Theres also stearyl alcohol, oat kernel extract, hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate), soybean oil and ginseng root extract. On Decleor’s website, orange flavonoids (i.e. bergamot and mandarin orange peel oil), hyaluronic acid and ginseng extract are singled out as the key active ingredients’. To avoid repetition of previous posts, let’s just say that I dislike orange flavonoids (‘citrusy stuff’). But never mind that: the problem with these key actives is that they’re all in smaller quantities than fragrance. (I underlined it for this reason.) I don’t know the actual quantities of these ingredients, but it’s pretty disappointing that there’s less of them than there is perfume!

In my ‘first thoughts’ post, I mentioned that I disliked products with added SPF because they tend to use chemical filters. Theres evidence on both sides regarding their safety but I prefer to avoid them. As predicted, the Energising Smoothing Cream contains chemical filters (Octinoxate, Octyl Salicylate and Avobenzone) so it’s a no-no for me :(

This contains a number of petrochemicals (silicones and butylene glycol) so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re on the mineral oil hating bandwagon.

I really, really dislike silicones in skincare - and this moisturiser has loads of 'em. Like mineral oil, silicones are an occlusive moisturiser. They make the skin feel smooth and silky, but I think there are better ingredients like hyaluronic acid, AHAs, BHAs etc. That said, I do love my Elemis Marine Cream, which has good ingredients and yes: silicones.
MICAAAAHHH!! Or not. Mica is typically added to make-up for some sparkle, and I'd rather it stayed there - I don't need a shimmery face cream! I've flagged it up because mica can be the culprit behind adverse reactions to mineral make-up.

A small number of companies offer PEG-free products, typically organic/'natural' brands - e.g. Estelle & Thild, The Organic Pharmacy, balance Me, REN, Burt's Bees, Melvita and Dr. Hauschka. What's so bad about PEGs for companies to offer PEG-free products? According to, the main concerns are: 
  • An enhanced penetration effect -> important bc if your product contains a load of other crap, PEGs will make it easier for them to get deep down into the skin.
  • PEGs are not always pure -> PEG-6 (which is in this cream) contains the by-product dioxane which is a known carcinogen. A reputable brand should remove the toxic impurities but ... yah I'm worried too after reading that haha.
  • Concerns re damaged skin -> PEGs may cause irritation, but that usually depends on the state of the skin and ingredients in other stuff you're applying. So the bottom line is: avoid.

Uguisi no Fun
This is a centuries old beauty secret hailing from the Edo period. Women in ancient Japan applied uguisi no fun, which loosely translates to 'Nightingale Droppings' to lighten and soften their skin. Scientists at Decleor have given this ancient secret a new lease of life by isolating the natural enzymes and - I'm kidding. Just checking you're awake ;)

Would I buy it? Having used up my sample, I would not. The ingredients just aren't all that impressive. Some people might appreciate the suncream and moisturiser combo but I prefer to keep them separate. I avoid chemical filters and the SPF is too low for me - and you'd need to apply a lot of it to even get that sun protection. As a moisturiser, I found it absorbed well but wasn't very hydrating. I'd probably need to follow with an emulsion in hot/dry weather. The pump packaging is great, making it more hygienic than most of Decleor's other moisturisers (which are sold in jars), but otherwise not a superior product!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Review : Decleor Aromessence Mandarine Smoothing Night Balm

As promised many moons ago, here are the ingredients in Decleor's Aromessence Mandarine Smoothing Night Balm (£33.50/15ml). (No fancy botanical names in Latin. Sorry) 

Sunflower Seed Oil - contains Vitamin E. Helps repair the skin and reduce inflammation 
Cera Alba (Beeswax) - thickening agent. Emollient properties
Wheat Germ Oil - emollient
Evening Primrose Oil - anti-inflammatory properties
Coconut Oil - high in fatty acids and acts as an emollient
Chenopodium Quinoa Seed Extract - high in amino acids which helps repair skin
Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) - hydrating
Theobroma Grandiflorum Fruit Extract (Cupuacu Butter) - Contains oleic acid (a fatty acid) which is moisturising and plant polyphenols which act as anti-oxidants. [Says Lush]
Carnauba Wax - thickening agent
Limonene - fragrant. Found in citrus oils
Orange Peel Oil - detoxifies and helps improve skin tone
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil - used to stabilise products
Rice Bran Wax - occlusive moisturiser (I think?). Forms a barrier over the skin - like mineral oil hm...
Mandarin Orange Peel Oil - Decleor have apparently proven that the anti-oxidant powers of mandarin essential oil helps maintain skins’ youthfulness (in vitro tests)
Grapefruit Extract - anti-oxidant. Can be irritating in large amounts
Linalool - fragrance ingredient
Bergamot Fruit Oil - citrus oil (photo-toxic)
Michelia Alba Leaf Oil - fragrance ingredient
Tocopherol - Vitamin E 
Gardenia Tahitensis Flower - smells nice, not sure what it does in skincare
Litsea Cubeba Fruit Oil - astringent properties
Soybean Oil - helps improve skin tone and is a source of anti-oxidants
Citral - fragrance ingredient
Bitter Orange Flower Oil - may help control oil production
Geraniol, Farnesol, Citronellol - fragrance ingredients

The night balm and the Aromessence Mandarine serum have a number of common ingredients (in orange), like sunflower seed oil and evening primrose oil which are both top five and of course the star ingredient, mandarin essential oil.

It's times like this that I think keeping this log is useful (to me, if not to anyone else lol) because I also noticed that a few of the ingredients are in the cleanser and serum from REN - products which mon visage did not like. Limonene, linalool and tocopherol are at the bottom of the lists so are hardly worth a bother. The balm and Omega 3 serum both contain wheat germ oil and the balm and the clay cleanser both contain sunflower seed oil in the top five ingredients, so I thought one of those could be the cause. I checked my Iris night balm from Decleor and found it has sunflower seed oil and wheat germ oil - yet didn’t give me any problems. In other words: I still have no idea whats wrong with my skin.

Anyhoo as usual I’m going totally off-topic and rambling on about ingredients when a one line review would suffice: I do not like. I tried the new Aroma Lisse products at the beginning of April but stopped after a few days because my skin broke out. At the end of April I thought I’d give this balm another go and in a matter of days, little spotties reappeared…

For that reason I wouldn’t recommend this product. If anything, I’d recommend the Iris night balm (£34.50/15ml) instead. The main ingredients in it are jojoba oil, hazel seed oil, beeswax, sunflower seed oil, shea butter and wheat germ oil so there is some similarity in the formula. (If you wanted the benefits of evening primrose etc. you could buy it as a separate product.) Both ranges are designed to regenerate and hydrate the skin, fight free radical damage and reduce the appearance of wrinkles - but have different target markets. (I wonder if 25-30 year olds were put off using a product recommended for "mature" skin (Jesus Wept I'm not that old/have I aged terribly etc.) and hence the new Mandarine range was born.) I’ve had a better experience with the Iris balm and it’s also free of the potentially irritating citrus extracts.

All Decleor balms are quite waxy, which I don’t mind and find to be quite nice for a little facial massage. My Mom, on the other hand, finds them weird and gross, having used only creams for the last 30 years. It’s definitely worth getting a sample if you’re interested in the Mandarine balm to try out the texture (and in case you have a reaction). The products are pricey but at least Decleor are generous with their samples!

Finally, old customers will be pleased to hear that the packaging of the night balms been re-vamped. The lid on my Iris balm didn’t close properly and was always wonky :/ Very annoying, given how much this little thing cost so in the end I transferred it into another pot. Thankfully, the new jars don’t have this problem :)