Saturday, 28 February 2015

Going natural? Lavera ginkgo and organic grape cleansing face gel and Lavera White tea anti-age eye cream

Last year I was playing around with more natural cosmetics. A lot! So, there was a period when I only used home made natural creams that my friend makes. She is well educated and I liked her creams but I couldn't go completely natural, without all those beautiful bottles that are constantly inviting me to try them. Besides, I am in a constant search of HG products. During that organic time, somewhere at the end of the year I bought two Lavera face products, cleansing gel and eye cream. I found them in Müller at the main square in Zagreb, which has a whole floor of natural products.

Ginkgo and organic grape cleansing gel was an obvious choice because it is ment for combination skin with imperfections.  My skin is combination with oily t zone and large pores, that sometimes has dryness on the top. Also, ever since I discovered Caudalie, I am interested in everything that contains grape.

Lavera claims that this gel will deep clean your skin, which after it stays clean, beautiful and fresh. Ginkgo provides cleanness and freshness and organic grape gives the skin an even look. It should be applied twice a day on moist face and decolletage and lather, after which you should wash it off.

By the lack of the foam, this is definitely a natural and organic product. Its scent is fruity but isn't overpowering, especially when in contact with water. I don't think that many people would mind the scent.

Ginkgo and organic grape gel has a very light almost liquidy texture. It is mostly transparent with a hint of yellow.


I used it in the morning and evening every day as a part of my routine. My skin was clean at first sight, especially from any make-up residue but it didn't deep clean my pores. My usual imperfections were still here. This is not a horrible cleansing gel but it isn't revolutionary, either. A 100 ml tube of this gel costs somewhere around 70 kunas (about 9 Euros/6.50 GBP/10 $), so it isn't cheap but you will have to decide if you want to try it or not. In my opinion it is not good enough, at least for the needs of my skin.

My second choice was an anti-aging eye cream with white tea, karanja oil and hyaluronic acid. It should basically help your skin with anything bad, especially sun damage, and hyaluronic acid will keep the moisture inside of the skin. It is free from silicons, paraffins and mineral oils. With its anti-age effect it should leave your eye area smooth and puffiness free.

It is not heavily scented, you almost can't smell anything probably because it only contains natural aromas.

The texture of this eye cream is very strange.

It is  more hydrating than oily, sinks nicely into the skin which makes it a good pre make-up product. A small 15 ml tube costs around 125 kunas (about 16 Euros/12 GBP/18.25 $).

Its narrow top allows you to get just enough product.

I have been using this eye cream for months now, twice a day. Although the rest of my face is more oily, my eye area always needs a bit more nourishment and hydration. Also, I am in my thirties now so I am battling first signs of aging. I don't have wrinkles but you can see that my fine lines are more visible if my skin doesn't get enough moisture and "food".

This cream is, by the claims of Lavera, best for people between 30-40, so that is me, but I wasn't thrilled with it.

My skin is dryer in my eye area than on the rest of my face but I don't have dry skin. While I was using just this eye cream my skin was getting dry, I even felt straining and my fine lines became more prominent.


Having said that, if this product didn't provide enough care to my eye area which still isn't very demanding, I don't know if it would do anything for someone closer to 40 whose wrinkles are more visible and skin is really dry.  Since I wanted to use this cream up and find the way to make it work for me, I also treated my eye area with oils in the evening. That combo is OK. I would not recommend this cream to anyone and wouldn't buy it again. Ever!

To conclude... The products that I bought were from two different Lavera lines but I wasn't thrilled with any of them.

For now I am not sure if Lavera and I will ever get back together. Gel was better than the eye cream, but I wouldn't advise you to buy any of them.

Have you tried any of Lavera products? Do you have any recommendations?

Tell me...

Love, beautyandbrains007

Friday, 27 February 2015

LOOKFANTASTIC Beauty Box- February 2015.

Now, after a couple od beauty boxes posts (Lookfantastic- December BB and January BB, Net-a-porter Valentine's Kit), I don't even have to say that I am hooked. Love them and will keep our relationship or fling (I hope not) going... Lookfantastic just adds to my addiction by issuing a new box of beauty products every month. This is what they came up with for February.

I think that you all know the procedure by now, but just in case you were immune to this "trend" until now, I am going to introduce you to this world. You're welcome.

You can pre/order Lookfantastic's Beauty Box every month for 15 GBP (shipping included). Now, they even have a subscription which saves you some money, but I suppose that I want to keep it casual for now because even thinking about the subscription makes me nervous. Don't know why exactly? If you want to play it safe for your wallet, wait to see reviews on that month's box, they usually come out early on YT, but if you want to be sure that the boxes will not sell out, then you can preorder one for yourself. That is what I do and for instance, this month's box was here around 12th of February.

The box itself is white and black with Lookfantastic logo, and you can use it in your household. I use mine for organizing my drawers and closets.

Products are wrapped in grey tissue paper and sealed with a Lookfantastic sticker.

And as always, there is a little booklet with information about products inside the box.

And now to the good stuff. You are getting 6 beauty products.

Let's start with a full size Bellapiere lip pencil in the shade NUDE (no.002). I don't know if everyone got this shade or not, but I am thrilled with it.

Bellapiere is one of the fastest growing mineral make-up company in the world that is using natural ingredients with stunning results. You will pay 17.53 Euros for their lip pencils on the LF site- link.

Another nicely sized product is a 25 ml Morrocanoil bottle (18.42 Euros- link) for all hair types. I am sure that you are all familiar with this product. You can use it for care, shine or health of your hair.

I was thrilled to see a Korres product in this box. A 50 ml Citrus body milk, which is a good size to see if this is something for you or not. Since I am crazy about their Jasmine lip butter (review) but haven't tried their body products, I can't wait to try it. Full size, 200 ml tube of this body milk will cost you 13.70 Euros- link.

Small sized (0.6 oz./17 g) but, according to its reviews, powerful Erno Laszlo's Sea Mud deep cleansing bar is a great adition to the box. With 97% of natural ingredients, this bar exfoliates, cleanses and stimulates. Definitely something for me. For more information you can check this LF link.

Dr. Paw Paw multipurpose soothing balm (10 ml/0.35 fl.oz.) is a first for me. Made from natural ingredients, this balm can be used on lips, skin and hair. I found several versions on LF site and a full sized 25 ml packaging will cost you 9.52 Euros- link

And the last item in February's Beauty Box is MONU Illuminating primer with SPF 15 for all skin types. It smoothes the skin and reduces the appearance of imperfections and blemishes to create a lasting radiant glow. Since I have oily skin and this product in its full size version costs 38.29 Euros- link, this is a perfect way for me to try it out and go outside my comfort zone because I normally don't like the word "illuminating" for my skin.

Once again, this was a great box, and a good value for your money. Whether you'll like the products inside is totally up to you and your preferences, but you get a chance to try them out for less. That is why I will keep this whole BB frenzie for now.

What do you say? Are you also infected or not?

Tell me....

Love, beautyandbrains007

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Avon Naturals Shimmering Winterberry & Shea Swirl body lotion

Looking back now, it seems that Avon had its fair share of reviews on my blog recently, but believe me, I am not affiliated with them, I am not even an Avon Lady and the fact that they got their place here is a result of my quite big Avon haul back in October of 2014. So, now I am trying and using up their stuff, and occasionally writing about them on my blog. I was planning to write about a different product but then I saw this lotion in their current campaign marked as a "Last time offering" and decided that this kid needs to have its own place here. Let me introduce you to Avon Naturals Shimmering Winterberry & Shea Swirl body lotion.

Let me tell you a little about it...

It comes in a 150 ml plastic tube with quite a big opening on the top. You can see through it that it consists of two different parts/colours: salmon and beige, and that is where it swirl part of the name comes from. The bottle itself also has a swirl theme. The lotion has very small golden particles which are barely visible on the skin, but they can dazzle you long time after applying it. OK, maybe not dazzle but you will be surprised to see them on your skin after many hours.

Its smell is a beautiful berry with some spices, somewhere in the back. It is very intense but not overpowering and if you are into berry scented body care you will love this one! I DO!!!

I didn't manage to capture the glittery part (it is very subtle)

It has a very light texture so application is extremely easy, although the fact that it is so light doesn't mean that it lacks the power of hydratation and/or nourishing. It contains shea butter and vitamins C and E, which will take a good care of your body skin if it isn't too dry. If your skin is extremely dry, then maybe this will be a bit too light for you.

I don't know if you can't tell, but I really really like this product! First of all the scent is just sweet and fresh enough at the same time, the way I like it. It is very light, not too greasy but offers care for the skin. The fact that it comes in two colours makes it fun for me, and the fact that it also has fine glitter partcles makes it a bit princess like, again the way I like it. A combination of princess and fairy dust but so subtle that almost no one can see it outside your kingdom. Then know it is there.

You can order it from Avon and unfortunately it says there that this is its last time in their catalogue. I paid about 25 kunas for it  (about 3 EUR/2.60 GBP/3.50 $), its full price is 45 kunas (about 6 EUR/4.30 GBP/6.66 $), and it is now marked down to 27 kunas (about 3.53 EUR/2.60 GBP/4 $).

What can I tell you? I don't often get this excited about a body lotion but this has it all for me...

What do you say? Interested? Tried it already?

Tell me...

Love, beautyandbrains007

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Caudalie Purifying Face Mask

I love weekends! After a long and busy week it is always nice to have some family and friends time, but also to enjoy some "me" time which includes face masks. Todays choice is Caudalie Purifying Mask.

"Instant purity: this non-drying Purifying Mask purifies and absorbs excess sebum for shine-free skin that feels clean with a clearer complexion.
Apply to the face twice a week for 10 minutes then rinse with water."

Soft clay, zinc and sage clean the skin and grape seed oil provides a more beautiful, nourished, healthy and shiny skin.

The thing that was a bit new to me is that you apply it on your wet skin. I get that that way ingredients will soak into the skin better, and that is probably why it is non-drying, but I had to remember to wet my face every time before applying the mask. 

If you read my blog posts, you already know that I really like Caudalie as a brand. I've written about it before and will most definitely review their products in the future. I respect that they aim to offer natural products without parabens, sulphates, phtalates, mineral oils and all the other ingredients that people more and more want to avoid. I am also impressed with the fact that they are against animal testing but always create really nice products. Their eye and lips polyphenol cream (review) ended up in my 2014. favorites (here) and I found out why Caudalie Beauty Elixir (review) is so popular. I loved it, too.

But this face mask didn't get to sit on the throne with them. Don't get me wrong. This is not a bad product. It calms down the skin and fights irritation and redness, but does that for only a short period of time. My skin is oily with large pores and occasionally with some "that time of the month" spots, and this mask did make my skin more vibrant, but it didn't clean out my pores or remove my spots. So, if you have a problematic skin with breakouts, I would look further. Maybe, this one would be best for dry skin that sometimes goes a little crazy, but not too crazy. Also, don't leave it on the face for longer than 10 minutes because then it can be a little drying.

Its texture is very light, almost like mousse but more consistent, and its smell is a typical Caudalie. Grape seed oil with herbs. Lots of people don't like the smell of their products but I don't mind them

It comes in a 50 ml tube with a narrow top which allows you to get just enough product, and costs 184 kunas in Croatia (about 24 Euros/17.71 GBP/27.21 $). Not cheap but I wouldn't mind to pay that price if this product completely worked for me. In Croatia you can buy it in all Farmacia stores or order it online.


I will definitely use it up because it is OK but I will not buy it again. This doesn't mean that my opinion on Caudalie changed. I am just continuing my search for the products that are like they were made for me.

What do you say? Have you tried this face mask? Do you like Caudalie? Which are their HG products for you?

Tell me...

Love, beautyandbrains007 

Friday, 20 February 2015

LUSH Ultimate Shine shampoo bar

"Elemi oil is the wonder ingredient in this solid bar. It’s good for the scalp because it keeps it balanced and in great condition. Ylang ylang helps to form a beautiful scent and also has a double duty rebalancing the scalp and lifting your mood. Floral violet leaf oil helps to keep away any microbes, leaving you with a clean and cared for head." This is how Lush describes this shampoo bar but to be honest, this whole concept was strange to me and I never went for one of their shampoo bars. They seemed strange to me but then I got Ultimate Shine shampoo bar in a kit and decided to give it a go.

Although Lush says that these shampoo bars are a good alternative to any liquid shampoos because they don't need to be in packaging and you can use them up to 80 times, I wouldn't agree completely with that claim. If you would only leave this shampoo bar sitting in your shower or on your tub it would get really dirty and not at all sanitary with time, which they are obviously also aware of since they made an aluminium shampoo tin to keep it in. Since it is made from aluminium there is no rust but it oxidizes during time so it also isn't a permanent solution. If you want to buy it, you can find it on their sites or in their shops. In Croatia it costs 30 kunas (about 3.90 Euros/2.88 GBP/4.44 $).

I keep mine in a plastic soap container. It was a bit big for it in the beginning but with few washes that problem was washed away. But then again I agree that it will really last you a long time, I am not sure for how many washes exactly, but I would say many.

You use it either directly on your wet hair or rub it between your wet palms and then apply the product on your wet hair, shampoo it and wash it off. I didn't know what to expect? Is it going to create foam or not at all, will it wash my hair nicely or not, but now I know that it lathers and will nicely clean your hair, almost squeaky clean. My hair is straight and greasy and it wasn't too harsh for it, but if your hair is curly, dry or curly and dry, I think this would make a big mess and leave your hair in knots. The same thing goes for damaged hair. If your hair is damaged, forget about this shampoo.

Its scent is mostly ylang ylang, very subtle, doesn't stay too long on your hair, and if you use a conditioner, you will not be able to smell the shampoo. But if you have a chance to smell it before buying it, that is the best way to know whether you like it or not.

The thing I wasn't crazy about is that this bar is prone to cracking and dividing into smaller pieces. Since it is similar to soap bars they can fall out of your hands when they are wet and you will most certainly end up with at least two new pieces.

But the whole impression is that Ultimate Shine shampoo bar and I have love/hate relationship. When I first tried it I was pleasantly surprised, and the whole shampoo bar concept wasn't strange to me anymore. But...we have our good and bad days. This is a nice shampoo, I like its smell, the lather, the way my hair feels and looks after it, and I would buy it again but not immediately and I really think that this isn't a product for everyone.

List of ingredients:
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Perfume, Water (aqua), Ammonium Laureth Sulphate, Elemi Oil, Ylang Ylang Oil, Violet Leaf Absolute, Gardenia Extract, Benzyl Benzoate, Limonene, Linalool.

If you are interested in this or other Lush shampoo bars you can find them in their stores or order them online. A 55 g Ultimate Shine shampoo bar will cost you 62 kunas in Croatia (about 8.06 Euros/5.96 GBP/9.17 $ ). It is not cheap but it does last a long time. I wasn't the best helper with this one, but the whole concept about this product is so different that I really think that having in mind all the things I mentioned as flaws and cons, in the end you have to decide that you will/will not buy it by yourself.

What do you say? Like or Dislike?

Tell me...

Love, beautyandbrains007