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27/04/13: BDellium Powder Blending Brush

Bdellium Tools - silent B - produce make up brushes.  I had just ordered some samples from the Lily Lolo site (see here for swatches) and realised that the only thing I could apply it with when it arrived would be an old bronzer brush.  I used the bronzer brush + elastic band combo for a few days, then decided to investigate something a little more... user friendly.

Enter, Bdellium tools!

I first saw these on CutECOsmetics before I had any need to purchase them.  They come in three great colours, green bambu, yellow bambu and their newest edition pink bambu.  I don't think the full line is available in each yet, but all three lines carried the brushes that I was interested in.

BDelliums own website very nicely tells you what each brush is for, but there are some overlaps - and for the make-up brush novice like myself, trying to work out what a duet finishing brush did was a little bit overwhelming.

The three brushes I narrowed it down to were:

959: Powder blending - creates soft layers or adds texture
995: Kabuki - Full coverage application
980: Powder - Applying loose or pressed powder on the face or body

Not wanting to make the wrong choice I decided to ask them for their opinion.  I just wanted one brush that would apply my mineral foundation evenly across my face.  I posted on their FB site and their recommendation was this:  the 959 Powder Blending brush.  They were really friendly, quick to respond and very helpful.  Plus this brush was cheaper than the kabuki brush I had been leaning towards.  Yay. :)

Packaging/Product ingredients:

BDellium Bambu ranges are are cruelty free: the handle is made out of sustainable bamboo and the brush head is completely synthetic, no animal hairs at all.  This is one of the main reasons I was drawn to them, along with the awesome colour.  (Note that the handle is a really green green, whereas the brush is actually a sort of turquoise.  I quite like the clash, but I know some reviewers would prefer them to match.)

One of the first things I was keen to find out before even using it to apply any kind of make up was if the brush was as soft as other reviewers had said it would be.  Some people apparently insist that synthetic hairs just don't match up to animal hairs.  BDellium users insist that that's not true.  

And they weren't wrong.  This brush is like... hmm.  Like those really soft cuddly toys you can get that you just want to keep stroking against your face.  Or those fluffly fleece blankets.  Or gorgeous puffy chinchillas.  Luckily, with the bdellium brush, you don't look quite so crazy swiping it across your cheek as you would with those -  I can't overstate how pleasant this brush is to use on your face - it's really nice. 


So since taking the photos above, I've been using this brush for about three weeks and have no real complaints but, although it hasn't shed, as you can hopefully see in the photo below there are a couple of hairs that seem to have become detached from the ferrule and stick out.

It doesn't affect the usage and they haven't become completely detached so as to be left on my face whilst using the brush but I'll be watching closely to see whether they eventually loosen.  The brush is very dense so losing a few hairs here and there shouldn't effect its use in any dramatic fashion, it's more about the possibility of irritating green hairs being left on my face.

Good for me:  Great colour = check, looks awesome = check, feels soft = check, reasonable price = check.  However, I would say is that I feel like it's quite hard to get a good amount of powder spread over the brush - it tends to concentrate in one place because of the domed effect.

Another thing is that I realised while looking at the photos I took was that on the other side of the handle that shows you which number brush it is, that it says "China" on it.  This was a bit of a shame, as I would have preferred something made closer to home - and as I understand it, China doesn't have the best record in terms of animal testing - or human rights.  However, I don't really know enough about it at the moment - it's just a personal preference.

Good for you:  A reasonably priced brush and easy to find for purchase.  For those not concerned with vegan and non-vegan-ness there are three other lines to choose from: Studio, Maestro and Travel which all seem to have a good following.  Bdellium offer helpful advice - but note that they hadn't replied to an email that I sent before I resorted to their FB page.  (Very irritating when you can't get a reply to your question on something you're trying to purchase - more on that in an upcoming post.)  
If you're interested in buying any for yourself, or just finding out more, then check out the following websites:
Official bdellium site - US purchases only

Any questions, feel free to comment below.

Until the next time,

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25/04/13: Water Based Nail Polish Lustings

If you're anything like me then you spend a little (okay, a lot of) time every so often lusting after a certain item.  Looking up different stores that sell it, reading reviews, looking at swatches...

Well, my current craze is water-based nail polish.

You might have seen that quite a lot of brands advertise themselves as 3-free - admittedly until I started thinking about my beauty choices, I hadn't heard of 3-free let alone water based.   I was quite happy slathering my nails with any nail polish going, until I started reading about the chemicals that were likely to be in them.

What does "x"-free mean?
Three free nail polish means that it doesn't have Dibutyl Phthalate, Toluene or Formaldehyde in.  Four free means there is also no formaldehyde resin.  Five-free also excludes camphor.

21/04/13: Akamuti Unscented Body Moisturiser

Akamuti, meaning 'little tree' or 'little bit of medicine' is a Welsh business that makes simple hair and skincare.  In searching for Vegetarian/Vegan/All round goodness for my skin I've come across them a couple of times as they're featured in several lists of ethical companies, such as this one: here.   And when my Balm Balm trial pot of Coconut Cleanser ran out I started looking around for something to replace it.  I liked how it was literally just one ingredient - but I wasn't a huge fan of the price... so, I went back to Akamuti as I remembered how their prices seemed fair for the for the quality of the ingredients.  And when I did I found that they also ticked a lot of my boxes: vegan/vegetarian, UK made, no added weird stuff, lots of Organic ingredients and a tonne of ethical and fairly traded stuff.  Plus, the products looked good!

(Click on these to find out more about their fairtrade ingredients and their people and animal policies.)

So after much browsing, I decided to contact them to ask whether there were any trial sizes available as I was interested in trying out their Sweet Orange Cleanser and wasn't sure about buying a whole tub if it wasn't going to be right for me.

Unfortunately they don't have a sample service due to practicalities but they were really great at helping me to work out which products could be right for me. And even better, the cleanser recommended works out cheaper the one I had thought of buying. Excellent. :) So, I bought this Unscented Body Moisturiser which can also be used as a facial cleanser and some Golden Jojoba Oil. I do love a good multi-purpose product or two!

20/04/13: Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation SPF 15

After reading all about mineral foundations and dithering for a while about ending my longtime relationship with tinted moisturisers I finally caved in and ordered six samples from the Lily Lolo site.  I chose Lily Lolo partly because I'm a sucker for cute little pots and partly as I was able to order the four foundations and two extras with shipping for under a tenner.  Also, you can see from the comments that a tonne of people swear by the stuff.  

There are eighteen shade to choose from classed as either Neutral, Cool, Warm or Olive.  As I'm fairly pale I went for the lighter end of the spectrum.  I have no idea what tone I am, so got the lightest shade in Warm, Cool of each class and then one two of the paler neutral ones.  

China Doll: "Pale, neutral with balanced undertones"

Blondie: "Light, neutral with balanced undertones"

Warm Peach: "Light, warm with peach undertones"

Candy Cane: "Light, cool with pink undertones"

From this, I think that Candy Cane is the best match for my skin.  China Doll looks too light and the Blondie/Warm Peach seem to stand out quite a lot against my skin.  Candy Cane was the only one that almost disappears into my skin when buffed:  however, I'm still dithering over my best match.  I'm almost out of the Candy Cane and after using it for about two weeks, I haven't noticed it looking off colour.  The swatches above are deliberately concentrated swipes to give you an idea about the shades.

All shades - Mica (CI77019), Zinc Oxide (CI77497)
(May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI77891), Iron Oxides (CI77491, CI77492, CI77499))

You can't feel it when it's applied - it doesn't sit uncomfortably on your face and the only different is my face feels softer to the touch. However, I've had a bit of trouble with the application because it seems quite lumpy.  The grains seem to clump together - it's bit chalkier looking rather than the fine powder I was expecting.

As these pots are only small, it's not possible to use the pot or lid to apply the product without ending up with thick application as in the photo above.  I've been decanting small bits into other things.

I've been using a Bdellium Powder brush to apply this - and something I'm finding is that there is a magnetic effect... when the brush gets close to the powder, it attracts it.  This would be alright except that in combination with the clumpiness, it makes  the powder concentrated in one patch of the brush.  Tapping it doesn't seem to make a difference.  I'm planning on trying a different brush to see if that's the problem.  Regarding the clump, I wonder if the full-size (and therefore the sifter) helps combat that effect, but given that the other brand I tried has the same base ingredients, I'm not sure what could be the problem.

The coverage on this feels a bit less than the tinted moisturiser I was using previously, but I like that you can't see at all that it's there.  

Good for me?
I like the shades and the small amount you need to get decent colour.  There's a lot of shades to choose from, so bear in mind that getting your match might be quite tricky.  (Especially if you're like me and have no idea if you're a cool, pink or yellow toned kinda person.)  If I can ever make my mind up about which shade to choose I think I will go on to purchase a full size pot.  I like that they will also help you on a one-to-one basis using a photo of yourself if their chart doesn't clear it up for you.

Good for you?
If you have the time to spend applying a powder, and you like the idea of a really reduced ingredients list, then check out the samples and see what you think.   You can buy direct from their site at  Sample pots cost £1.29 each and full sized pots will set you back £12.95.

See you soon


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03/04/13: Hurraw! Sun Protection and Night Treatment Balms

I recently bought Hurraw! in Black Cherry and loved it so much that I went on to buy four more...  I bought the Sun Protection SPF 15, Night Treatment, Vanilla bean and Mint balms.  This review is of the Sun and the Night balm. :)

They all come in oval shaped tubes in recyclable plastic:  since my Cherry review, I've looked up plastic #5 and found that it's the same plastic that margarine tubs and yoghurt pots are made out of, so if you can recycle those in your area, you should be able to bung an empty Hurraw! container in too.  

Each balm has the Hurraw! logo, a little image to the left symbolising the scent of the balm, the ingredient list and a little line stating that the contents are organic, all natural, vegan, raw and good.  I think they're super cute and love having them on my desk.
First up, the Sun Protection Balm.  This balm provides a rather reasonable SPF 15 protection for your lips.  I read somewhere that other Hurraw! balms offer between 3-5 SPF, but this one is the one to reach for on the beach or on a - currently rare in the UK - sunny day.  It's a lot denser looking than the Night Balm, and definitely thicker than the Mint.  Some lip-smacking with this one and you can really feel the thicker consistency - similar to a Chapstick.  And as you may just about be able to see from the swatch below, if you swipe it several times, there is a hint of colour which be left on the lips but you'd have to really be looking for it.

The active ingredient in the Sun Protection balm is non-nano zinc dixode.  The non-nano aspect is emphasised because it means that the size of the molecule is too large to pass through membranes such as your skin. This means it will sit happily on top of your lips and deflect the UVA and UVB rays away.  Yay!

The scent on the Sun balm is a summery "Tangerine Chamomile".  A few reviews that I read before buying it said they weren't keen on the smell, but I like it just as much as the others.  It's a lovely sweet citrus scent with a hint of tang that stops it from being sickly.

I've taken the ingredients list off the balms themselves and Hurraw!s website (in cases where the shiny packaging made it hard on my eyes!) and cut out the Latin names for ease of reading.    Both their website and packaging use keys to indicate where an ingredient is either Raw and organic, Cold-pressed/Organic or Wildcrafted so I've split them up into each category.  First to last within each group is the order in which they appear on the label/website.

Raw and organic: Cocoa butter, Coconut oil, Vanilla bean
Cold-pressed and organic: Sweet almond oil, Castor oil, Olive fruit oil, Raspberry seed and Sea Buckthorn  seed oil, Pomegranate seed oil, Tangerine peel oil
Wildcrafted: Candelilla wax, Tangerine and Chamomile flower essential oils,
+ Tocopherols (Vitamin E)
Active sunscreen: Non-nano zinc dioxide 10%
The Night Treatment balm is touted as a heavier balm for a soothing overnight application.  I bought it for a friend to try so that I could see what it was like and then decide whether to purchase it for myself.  The scent is Blue chamomile vanilla - I don't know what the difference between regular and Blue chamomile is, but I like the smell.   It's very similar to my Vanilla Balm with a hint of something different - pretty hard to describe, but if you like vanilla you should be happy with this.  It's a little weird seeing a balm that's lightly green/blue - but rest assured it goes on clear - no zombie lips. It has a thicker consistency than the regular balms, but feels creamier than than the Sun Protection. 

According to my friend, it lasts through the night and you wake up with soft lips.  I've actually been using the Vanilla Bean Balm for the same purpose, and although it doesn't have the argan, rosehip and other various goodies found in the night balm, it also sticks around and I can still feel it on my lips after a nights sleep.  Quite impressive staying power!

Therefore, the main reason for purchasing this balm over others is the ingredients rather than its overnight staying power.  The avocado oil contains vitamins A + E, the Argan Oil is restorative, the Meadowfoam helps to retain moisture, while the Rosehip works to regenerate skin and soothe any UV damage resulting from not wearing your Sun balm in the day!  It's also great to read that the Argan oil is fair trade harvested by Berber women.  (You can read more here about argan oil in general and some of the women's cooperatives that harvest it).

Raw and organic:  Cocoa seed butter, Coconut oil, Vanilla bean.
Cold-pressed/organic:  Sweet almond oil, Castor seed oil, Olive fruit oil, Argan kernel oil, Rosehip seed oil, Meadowfoam seed oil.
Wildcrafted:  Candelilla wax, Peru balsam oil, Blue chamomile flower extract
+ Tocopherols (vitamin e)

Good for me:  I love that they're vegan and organic, and the scents I've got are all gorgeous.   Also while compiling this review I noticed that one of the ingredients had no indicator showing what category it fell into, so I contacted Hurraw! to ask them about it, and also find out what 'wildcrafted' actually meant.  They responded within the day telling me which category the lost ingredient came from and pointed me to information on wildcrafting - which for reference means harvesting ingredients from their natural habitat.  Very friendly response - I wouldn't hesitate to contact them again.

Good for you:  They're purse friendly at just £3.45-£4.00 (regular balms/Sun and Night), and lucky people living in America can get them for just $3.79 (around £2.50 - I'm packing my bags...)!  Some people may not like the scent combinations on these two particular special balms, but there are a tonne of single flavours to choose from.

All in all, some lovely stuff for your lips that will nourish and protect them.

If you're interested in buying any for yourself, check out the following websites:
Hurraw! site
Being Content
The SHO-Case (currently have a couple on offer and you can buy up to 4 lip balms with FREE postage):

Any questions, just comment below.
Until the next time,

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