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29/05/13: ""

I don't know about you, but I like to comment on blogs.  I like to ask questions or just say thanks for a good review/post, even on blogs that I don't necessary read on a regular basis.  But on most blogs the only way to keep a track of follow up comments to yours is to subscribe to that post by email.  Which, if a blog is popular with lots of other people commenting... could lead to a whole load of extra emails filling up your inbox.  

I then came across the whole '' palava.  If you're a blog owner, you might recognise that when you're notified about a new comment on your post (yay!) the email that comes through sometimes has that noreply email address in the from line.  That means that you can only reply on the post and hope that they swing by again sometime.  

Sometimes though, that noreply email address isn't there and a real address like is in its place.  This means that you can directly reply to that commenter via email, either to respond in full or notify them that you have replied on the post.  So, if I make sure I'm not a noreply-commenter, then the owners of the blogs I comment on have the option of replying to me via email.

This is also something that I've used on this blog*.   The only issue that has arisen so far is that it's separate to the commenting system and if you respond in full via email - it won't automatically appear in the comments.   

*Of course, being a small blog (with small comment counts), it doesn't take a lot of effort for me to do that.  If you're running a much larger blog, I imagine you might want to take a different approach! 

So, if you'd like to be notified of any comment replies directly to your inbox, here's what you need to know.  (If you're happy to remain anonymous, then that's absolutely fine too!)  

Before we start (if you don't have one already, or want to set up a separate non-personal email account for comment responses to go to) create a blogger account.  It's easy and won't cost you a thing.  You can even set it to forward to your regular email address, thereby keeping your actual email account out of the picture.  Then make sure you're at the homepage

If you're using Google + you'll also need to follow A through to D before moving to Step 1, and Step 6-8 at the end.   If you're already using a blogger account, skip to Step 1.

Then,  you should be taken to the homepage.  From here follow steps 1-8 if you started off with a Google + account and steps 1-5 if you started with a blogger account.

Click on your profile image in the top right corner of the blogger homepage

Click the edit profile button

Make sure the show email address button is clicked and that your email address is in the email address box.

If you had a blogger account to start with, you're done!

If you started with a google + account, now follow steps 6-8.

And that's it. :) 

It's not for everyone, but I hope it's helpful for anyone who would like to receive notifications.

Do you like being a 'noreply' commenter or prefer giving people the option to reply via email?  

25/06/13: Tiana Coconut Oil

When looking for more natural alternatives, coconut oil comes up a lot.  I was first introduced to this last year as an oil to cook with, but hadn't considered that I could use it externally too.  So when found that I quite liked the fractionated coconut oil by Balm Balm, I thought it might be worth trying out another pot of the solid stuff and giving some of the other uses a go.

(This was taken a few days after I bought it - it's actually about half empty now)

The brand I like to buy is Tiana.  There are quite a few out there, but I like that this one is not only organic, 100% raw cold-pressed and extra virgin (so it hasn't been refined and retains all that goodness), but also fairly traded - something I like to look for when shopping. It is widely available from Holland and Barrett and various independent health food shops.

So, for roughly the last month and a half I have been trying out various uses in and outside of the kitchen.  Although coconut oil is said to be mildly antibacterial I decanted various amounts into different sized pots for all the different uses.

1 - Hair
I have an infuriating combination of dry scalp, greasy roots and dry ends (delightful!) so when I saw that coconut oil could be used as a kind of treatment mask I was interested to give it a go to see if it could help the scalp and ends.  Unfortunately, the first time I tried I didn't read ahead and put it on after washing my hair.  Result being weird lank cluster strands.  Not a good look.  The second time, I think I went a bit overboard and covered my whole head and left it on overnight before washing. This meant that it took quite a while to get it out, probably undoing any goodness it had been able to do!

So now I've been trying out putting it on just the ends, from about halfway down my hair.   I then leave it in for a while, ideally overnight, but this isn't always possible and wash it out in the morning.  I think it is softening my ends a bit, but it does seem to have a bit of a static-inducing effect.  Anyone else had that issue?

2 - Face Cleanser
There seems to be a bit of debate around whether coconut oil on your face is comedogenic or not.  Regardless, I thought that I might as well give it a go.  Rub it into my face and remove with a damp cotton pad.  I did find it relatively effective in removing make up, but it felt like a bit of a waste of good oil to be honest!

3 - Moisturiser
So... feeling like I needed to be less wasteful, I thought I'd keep trying it on my face but as a moisturiser instead.  I tried this for about a week, but unfortunately, it did seem to exacerbate spotty areas on my face and I had  strange ones popping up in areas I've never had them before.  However, this made my neck lovely and soft, so every so often I've been using a bit of it there at night time.

(Taken over a period of less than a minute - heat from my skin melting it)

4 - Eye make up remover
This is how I've been using it for the most part.  I like how easily it melts and spreads over my eye, so I don't need to manipulate the skin around too much.  It feels gentle, and removes my mascara well.  I haven't had any issues skin wise using it in this way and I'm planning to keep on using it like this.

5 - Lip balm
Very tasty as a lip balm and very easy to spread, however, you need a seriously secure pot to keep it in as if (like me) you keep lip stuff in pockets, this will melt and be very messy!  I just tried this out for fun really, and I think I'll stick to conventional stuff.

6 - Food!
Yum, I really like using it to cook with.  You get a soft taste of coconut depending on what you're using it with.  Do be careful to not place too much of it in when hardened, as a small amount will go far.  I like using this on roast potatoes and in frying onions.  I've also had it just on a spoon on its own when I feel like having a little something sweet.  I did try it on toast, but that didn't do it for me.  I haven't been very adventurous so far, so maybe (a la Jenny) I should try this Parsnip and Coconut Cake next!

Good for me?  Yep, I love the stuff.  I've actually also been using a tiny bit to help clean the kitten's nose and she now has her own mini pot (upcycled Lily Lolo sample container!)  I got mine for around £16 for 500ml, but there are often various deals available, for example in the penny sale at H&B and various discounts online.  I'm going to be repurchasing when this one runs out.

Good for you?  It depends on whether you can stand the smell of coconut!  Some people can't, but if you're not one of them, it could be worth trying out a small jar of this if you haven't already.  If the worst comes to the worst, you could use it in your cooking.  A big plus also is the length of time that it will stay useable.

You can find more information on Tiana and their other products: here.
You can buy Tiana Coconut here: Amazon, Holland and Barrett or Ocado.

Do you use coconut oil in cooking or skincare?  
What's your favourite use - is it something I haven't tried?  Enquiring minds want to know! :)  


22/05/13: Balm Balm fest!

Balm Balm is 100% organic company from the UK accredited by the soil association, and I've ended up with quite a few of their products over the last few months.  They were pretty much the first brand I came across when I googled around for organic and natural skincare.

My first purchase was a Facial Kit (RRP £13.25) containing mini sizes of their main skincare products.  (I love a good mini kit.)  These are the yellow ones shown in the picture - they come in a drawstring organic cotton bag along with an A5 sheet detailing the contents.

1 x Organic Coconut Cleanser - 15ml
I really like this product.  The only thing that stops me from buying this full size is that I would prefer to keep trying out a few different products.  It's really thin and takes off my eye make up without any problems.

1 x Organic Witch Hazel Toner - 15ml
I'm not thinking of repurchasing this.  I have very dry skin and anything with alcohol in it just makes it worse. I have however been dabbing it on the odd spot - but I can find Tea Tree to do that anywhere.

1 x Little Miracle Rosehip Serum - 10ml
This I am rather fond of.  Despite being less actual product than the others, it lasted a good while.  I used all of these products for about a month on both me and someone else and I still have a little bit left.  Considering the full size bottle is only 30ml, that's encouraging if I ever decided to buy it.

1 x Exfoliating Mask - 4g
This is the only product that I haven't properly tried.  I'd been testing out another mask and wanted to make sure I was seeing any effects just from that one.  I have given it a little go, and it smells lovely, and has such simple ingredients - such as brown rice powder and hibiscus flower powder.

1 x Muslin Cloth
I'd never used a muslin cloth before, so I was pleasantly surprised with this product.  I like how they gently exfoliate when you use them - along with dry skin I get flaky patches, so exfoliating gently is the order of the day.  Also, they last longer than cotton wool pads and go further.  The only problem is that with just one, washing it and drying it (especially in wintry months) is a pain.  I guess if you really like using them then you have more than one!

All in all, I really liked this set and it encouraged me to try out another of their products.

This time I went for their Fragrance Free Face Balm (RRP £6.99).  The first thing I realised was that fragrance free doesn't mean it doesn't smell! Might be fairly obvious, but I was slow to realise that this just means it doesn't have any scent added - it will still smell. (Duh!) At first, I wasn't keen on the smell that it does have, and I was struck by how damn small the bottle is. I knew it was only 30ml when I bought it, but even so, it's tiny. It could almost be a lip balm tube.

However, as with the rosehip serum, I'm finding that a little bit goes a long way when it is warmed up and I've gotten used to the smell.

The packaging is cute - green box and green tube with various ideas for its use. Although sold as face balm, it is just the same as their lip or body balm, just different percentages of the ingredients are used to change the consistency.  I've been using this before applying my mineral foundation for a while now and I've changed my initial sketchy opinion of it - I am tempted to buy this again if I don't find anything else to moisturise before I mineralise.

The final product is the Rose Geranium Balm* that I received in my Souk Souk box.  It was really nice to see this in there as if I had to choose one of their lip balms it would be this flavour.  :)  I have been using this since I received the box - it has a thin consistency - and the smell is fab.  It was slightly gritty when I first received it, but as soon as you apply it, that disappears from the warmth of your lips.

The downside to this product is that I can imagine easily getting through this in just a month or two.  I might be proven wrong, but if so, I don't know whether I will repurchase.  Then again, it is only £3.50!

Good for me?  I'm generally impressed with their products, and in relation to the price hike-up on some brands, they come in relatively cheap around the £10 spend.  Plus, with every single ingredient being organic and all their products at Soil Association standard it's hard not to feel good about using Balm Balm.

Good for you?  If you like flashier packaging and a bit more variety in smells, and you're not a fan of Tea Tree and Rose Geranium, you might find your choices a tad limited.

I bought mine from:  Supersmoocher (facial kit), and Saffron Organic (FFF Balm).  You can also find them on their website Balm Balm.

(Saffron Organic only stock Soil Association approved products, so if organic is important in your skincare, do check them out!  I actually had an issue with the FFF Balm when I first received it, but their customer service was excellent and had it sorted quickly.)

Are you a Balm Balm addict?  What's your favourite product?

Hephzibah x

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19/05/13: Elemental Beauty Eyeshadows

When I decided that I wanted to go more natural with my skincare and make up, the first thing that I did was divide up my current stash into three piles.  One - things that were cheap/half-used and could be thrown away, two - items that had cost a bit more and I couldn't bring myself to throw out (instead offered them to people who were happy to take them), and third - items that I used everyday and wanted to keep a hold of until I found a better replacement.

Lots of the items in the third pile were cosmetic bits and quite a few were eyeshadows.

So when I recently ordered some sample size foundations from Elemental Beauty, I asked if it would be possible to try a few samples of their mineral eyeshadows too.  They were very kind and sent me six to try out.  The eyeshadows are made with Sericite Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Rice Powder and Iron Oxides.  They are suitable for vegans (yay!) and are supposed to be better for people with sensitive skin.

They came in little plastic vials, with more than enough for several swatches/wearings.

I received the following eyeshadows (Italics are their own descriptions):

Champagne: "Sparkling Champagne, delicious!"  I think this shade would work best as a highlighter in the corner of your eyes.  It's very pale and most effective when swatched wet (foiled?)

Smoke: "Slight violet glow when caught in the light ...predominantly a matte shadow"  I really like this shade.  I wore it dry on Saturday and it stayed there until I took it off.  It's soft and sweet.  I'm thinking of buying the full size of this as it's quite a good match for a colour I'm trying to replace.

Angelic: "Very pale peach shimmer"  Another one that I think would be best for highlighting.  It's not particularly for me as it's quite orange but I appreciate that it's a pretty colour.  Dry swatching was quite difficult as it's very sparkly!  Mixed with a bit of jojoba its good for a bit of glitter on the cheeks if you're into that. :)

Bohemian Babe: "Pearl pink" I don't know that I would call this pearl pink, and I wasn't particularly taken with it as a colour.  It was a bit brown to me with an undertone of red.  Unfortunately, that combination doesn't work for me, only serving to highlight my dark circles!

Heather: "Soft and with the tiniest bit of sparkle, pale mauve" Although it looks quite similar to Bohemian Babe, there's more purple in this one.  I'm quite disappointed with how it swatched as it looked much better on the eye.  It's quite similar to Bohemian Babe, but with less of the red undertone which made that shadow a no-no for me.

Temptation: "Pinky tone with a golden sparkle"  Hopefully you can see the golden sparkles in this swatch - I really like the combination of the two colours.  In reality the shade is a lot less brown looking.  This is just enough sparkle for me.  A really lovely colour.   

Good for me?  Having never worked with mineral eyeshadow before, this was a little bit fiddly.  However, when you buy the full product you get a proper pot with a sifter so I assume the process would be a lot less messy!  Particularly with Champagne and Angelic I found that I had sparkles all over me afterward. It was easier to keep the minerals together when using a slightly damp brush.  

I'm still searching for a good replacement for my Natural Collection in Willow (here if anyone can think of a dupe!) but Smoke, Heather and Temptation are certainly vying for a position in my make-up bag.  

Good for you?  Ranging from £3.99 to £4.99, these eyeshadows are good value, and if you have the time to work with minerals as opposed to finger-applying a pressed shadow on your way out of the house while chomping down a piece of toast, then there are some lovely colours to choose from.  Elemental Beauty even appears to offer custom mixing of your own shade - so if I can't find a replacement for Willow, I might go down that route.

You can find Elemental Beauty here:

Have you tried Elemental Beauty eyeshadows, or perhaps their mineral foundation?  
What do you think of Minerals in general? 

Hephzibah x

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* These samples were kindly provided along with a purchase, all opinions are my own and based on my experience of the products.

17/05/13: SoukSouk Little Green Beauty Box - First Impressions

One of the times I wish that I lived in the States is when I see people posting about some of the beauty boxes there with eco/vegan slants. However, over the last couple of months, it's been great to see the emergence of some new beauty boxes here in the UK with a green twist. So, when Victoria from one of these new boxes - Souk Souk - kindly offered me the chance to sample the May box, I was very excited!

Souk Souk* aim to provide a beauty box only filled with products that are not tested on animals, are often certified natural and organic and free from certain chemicals. It sounded a perfect fit with my current mission to find clean and green beauty and skincare.

It arrived today, nicely packaged with easily recyclable cardboard and paper padding (which the kitten loves!) Obviously I can't yet give you a detailed review on the products, but I thought I would share my first impressions of them and the overall box.

There are four to five products in each SoukSouk box, this month has five products: two full size, one mini, and two trial size.

16/05/13: Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation SPF 15 Swatches

I appear to have built up quite a collection of Lily Lolo sample pots in the last month or so, ranging from the light to the light-medium shades - and something that I couldn't find when I was searching online pre-order-placing was a comparison swatch of the light neutral shades together.  I found a few of the whole lot, but I wanted to be able to see them next to each other.

Now that I have quite a few, I thought that it might be helpful for anyone else looking to buy a neutral shade of their mineral foundation to see the four of them together.  So, using my human guinea pig, I give you:

On the left is dry application, on the right is using a damp brush.  The order is the same for both sides, but I only labelled one to avoid obstructing the image too much.

And here they are in their pots:

Lily Lolo is one of the most popular mineral foundations around, made from just a few ingredients, and without the bismuth oxychloride that can be irritating on some people.  For my full review see here.

Each sample pot is £1.29 and shipping is £1.99.  I'm yet to commit to a full pot as I'm awaiting some samples from another mineral foundation maker. (I shall soon drown in little plastic pots...!)

What foundation do you use - mineral or liquid - any recommendations for smaller brands?

Hephzibah x

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14/05/13: Blog Buttons - She Said Beauty & Google Friend Connect

This isn't a review post, just a sharing-a-resource-post.  When I was designing my GFMGFY sidebar, I was looking for some social icon buttons and came across this excellent free set by Carrie. I've seen a few sites with similar icons on, so I imagine quite a few people have come across them already.  

The set covers Email, Bloglovin', Hellocotton, Flickr, Pinterest, RSS, Chictopia, Etsy, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Vimeo, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Society 6, Google + AND Tumblr.

What I like most about this group, as opposed to others available, is the great range of colours (including glittery ones!) and that she included a blank one that I could customise - so I could create any other image for other sites and it would fit in with the pre-made ones.

I thought I would share the two I made for Google Friend Connect/She Said Beauty here and you can right click and download them if you'd like.  But if you'd like to create your own, with your own text and your own colours, then take a look at Carrie's excellent site here:


And if you'd like to follow me on either of those sites, just click on them in the sidebar!  I'm very friendly. :)

How about you - do you have a website - any resources that you like to use?

Where did you find your social media buttons?


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11/05/13: Glass Nail Files from Mont Bleu

The other week, as I was browsing another blog (Polished Cousins), I came across mention of glass nail files. I had never heard of them before (living in a darkened hole as I do) but was intrigued by the premise. My nails are usually filed using anything that is lying around the house, which usually means a cheap paper file that you can get at any drug/health store.

However, I had often noticed that when using them, my nails were left sort of "half-filed" as there would be ragged bits on the underside. So I was interested to hear that glass files are better for your nails and apparently can help 'seal' the edges.  

The nail files that were mentioned were ones by Mont Bleu, a Czech company that both makes and distributes the tempered glass.  They also sell a variety of other bits and pieces, all customiseable with Swarovski crystals.  I ordered the full size travel file, which comes in a hard casing and a mini file, which comes in a plastic sock.  The travel file retails at £8.10 and the mini at £3.60.  There are some discount codes available on the internet and I managed to find one that gave me around £2 off - always nice. :)

Firstly, how gorgeous is the graduated green!? It's so cute.

I chose the hard cased file because I want to be able to take it in my handbag, and I don't think a plain glass file could withstand what my bag is subjected to of a day - and I liked the mini one partly because of the cute colour, but also because I wanted to have one I could slip safely into my cosmetic drawer/make up bag.

Although the surface of each file feels rough, you can't see that it is textured until you use it and it gets a little grubby.  In the picture below, I've used it several times and it needs cleaning, but you can just about make out the texture toward the green casing.

When your file does get dirty like mine has above, you can clean it using water and this won't affect it's efficacy. Plus, the surface of the file (although not the file itself) has a lifetime guarantee.  The surface doesn't feel weird to use, but when I tried it on some test subjects, something about the angle of doing it on someone else meant that it felt a little bit like I was grating their nails on a chalkboard!  Eek.

However, I  haven't had any sort of similar problem when filing my own nails.  One of the first things that I was eager to see was whether using a glass file would make a difference to the jagged edges I had been getting.  I decided to file both hands, one with the glass file and  the other using my previous cheap pharmacy file.  In each photo, I've filed the nails and then run a nail cleaner under each nail to remove debris.

As you can hopefully see, the edging on the nails of my left hand ended up a lot neater than those of my right.  (Note - I'm left handed, so there was no advantage to the left hand glass filing as I was using my right hand.)

I've also added a short video of me using the larger glass file just to help you get a feel for how effective it is. Just click play to check it out.

Good for me?
Very reasonable price considering their guarantee, good shipping rates and a lovely selection of goods. They seem to be leaving my nails in a much better state than my previous files were.  The only thing is that I wish they did hard cased mini ones too, as they would be even more bag-friendly.

Good for you?
Good prices and very attractive to look at. A great range of nail files, including foot files - which I'm extremely tempted to buy.

If you're interested in buying any for yourself, check out their website.  There's even the option to customise the design for use as a unique present or business gift:  Mont Bleu

Do you use glass nail files - or have you tried them?  What did you think?

06/05/13: Akamuti Green Clay Face Mask

After buying their Unscented Body Moisturiser a little while ago, I was eager to try out a few more things from Welsh company Akamuti.  So when their Earth Day free delivery code popped up on twitter, I decided to order a few more bits and bobs - and when I received my parcel I was pleasantly surprised to find that Lindsay had included two extra products for me to try out.

The first of them is this Green Clay Face Mask*.  I actually videoed myself using this the other day so if you're interested to see its application, then you can click below.  This is the first time I've made a video like this, so let me know if you like watching videos in reviews and I'll either try to do more, or disable my webcam!

This mask comes as a powder, and you mix it yourself either with water or some rosewater.  So far I've only tried it with water.

The pot weighs 100g, and each mask uses about a teaspoon.  I did actually sit down and count out teaspoons, and got 11 heaped ones out of  the clay I have left.  Add that to the one and a quarter teaspoon I used for recording, the one I tested on a friend and the one I had done previously = 14 and a bit.  As it retails for £4.96 that means that if my maths are correct, it's about only about 35p per mask.  Bargain! :)  And the expiry isn't until September 2014, so you don't have to race to get it finished.

The ingredients are simply - sun-dried french green clay.  Yay for simpleness.

As you can see in the video - it becomes a lot more vivid when mixed with water than it appears as a powder in the pot.   The smell is earthy but not unpleasant.  It actually reminds me of something else that I can't quite place my finger on - perhaps a little bit of that pink toothpaste, Euthymol?  If you choose to mix it with rosewater, obviously you'll have a different aromatic experience.

The bottom of the pot tells you a bit about green clay:  "Sun-dried green clay has remarkable healing powers, with an ability to draw out toxins, sooth areas of inflammation and remove underlying allergens that may have built up in the skin.   Being sun-dried, this clay retains all of its mineral content."

It goes on to say that if your skin is in need of TLC then it isn't unusual that the first time you use the mask your skin feels hot and looks inflamed - yikes!  I was slightly nervous after reading that - but apparently my skin isn't as bad as I thought it was as I didn't notice any of this effect.  Nor did my human guinea pig.

You can use this over your entire face, as I have done - or apply it to isolated spots.  I hadn't fully appreciated that you could do the latter - watch out future zits - I'm coming to get you...

The only problem I faced with applying this was that although it recommends that you use two teaspoons for one of the powder, I found it was a little drippy - especially if you're applying it away from the safe tiled haven of the bathroom.  So in future I'm going to try a 1:1 ratio and see if that works better.  

The amount that a heaped teaspoon produces is perfect for the whole face - as you can see in the video, I actually had a little bit leftover because I added that bit of extra powder.  

After using it my face felt smooth and refreshed and not aggravated as I thought it might.  Regarding drawing out impurities - I've currently got a beast of an under skin spot on my cheek that I'm hoping will come to the surface soon - it's probably too early to say but it feels like it might be responding.  Fingers crossed.

Good for me:
Something I recall from using packet masks years ago is that they often left my already dry skin feeling even drier.  Although it is recommended that you moisturise after using the green clay, even before doing that my face doesn't feel like all the moisture has been sucked out of it.  You can see in the video that the mask hardens and tightens - but when you wash it off, that feeling disappears.  Overall, it's an enjoyable way to treat your face to something different.

Good for you:
Works out super reasonable regarding pricing, is fun to apply and easy to remove.  If you're willing to go the extra step to mix it up yourself - and you can see that it's really not difficult - then it's a brilliant alternative to pre-made masks, with undoubtedly a whole lot less of the dodgy chemicals.

If Green Clay doesn't sound like your thing then there are also some other similar products available, including the very temptingly named Chocolate Marshmallow Mask.

(For more information about Akamuti, their ingredients and policies, please see my previous post.  You can also find them on twitter @akamuti)

If you're interested in buying any for yourself, check out the following websites:

How about you - have you tried green clay?

Hephzibah x

*As stated, product kindly provided for review - all opinions are my own

04/05/13: Balm Balm Perfume Taster Set

I noticed the other day that one of the new beauty boxes (Souk Souk, if you're interested) that have come out at the moment have a bottle of Balm Balm's Mandarin single note perfume included - and it reminded me that I hadn't written yet about the taster pack I bought a few weeks back.

I couldn't begin to tell you what is in my regular perfumes - but I read somewhere that most fragrance ingredient lists wouldn't be able to fit on the perfume bottles they come in! So I liked the idea of buying these because they are so simple, with just two ingredients in each.

Balm Balm are a UK company mostly known for their range of Tea Tree, Rose Geranium and Fragrance Free balms.  However, they also make single note perfumes - and if you're not sure about them, then they provide a cute way to try out their entire range in this little organza taster bag.  I ordered mine from Saffron Organic - an online company that only sell Soil Association certified products.

Image of seven mini Balm Balm single note perfumes in white organza bag with two pence piece in the foreground

Image of rose geranium balm balm single note perfume vial in front of two pence piece

The seven scents are: 
-  Lavender  (Lavendula Angustifolia)
-  Rose Geranium (Pelargonium Graveolens Roseum)
-  Bergamot (Citrus Aurantium Bergamia)
-  Mandarin Orange (Citrus Nobilis)
-  Spearmint
-  Ylang Ylang (Cananga Odorata)
-  Petitgrain (Citrus Aurantium Amara)
+100% Organic Natural Grain Alcohol

According to Balm Balm, the grain alcohol is used to keep the product completely organic and is supposed to be gentler on the skin than other alcohols used in skincare.

The scents are fairly self explanatory.  The only one that I didn't know about beforehand was petitgrain.  And truthfully, I could do without knowing about it!  It's a really... heavy fragrance.  It's a more 'masculine' aroma, and I'm not a fan.  The Spearmint smells nice, but I don't know whether I want to smell like gum.  Ylang ylang is not a scent that I've ever been keen on.  

I like the simplicity of the mandarin - the bergamot and rose geranium are also lovely.  And Lavender is Lavender... :)

Each fragrance comes in one of these little vials with a plastic top that allows a bit of fragrance to be administered at a time.

Close up image of petitgrain single note perfume mini being held between finger and thumb

Image of plastic perfume dropper held between finger and thumb with bottle in background

Unfortunately, I have two big issues with these fragrances.  Firstly, specific to the taster set, I find the plastic dropper REALLY irritating.  It's hard to get any fragrance on it to add to your skin - I wish that they had gone for atomiser tops instead - the whole trying to get the top off carefully without throwing around any of what's inside is a bit of a pain - and because it's so fiddly, I haven't had much luck with mixing many of the fragrances as suggested on their site.

The second is that unfortunately I prefer more fragrance than you can get from one of these... and as a natural product, these scents aren't going to last a very long time on your skin.  Balm Balm say that you can counteract this by applying it over a balm or body oil to keep the scent around for longer, but I didn't find that it worked all that well.  After about an hour, I couldn't smell anything any more. - and I don't really want to be reapplying all day.  
Good for me? A reasonable £4.99 (from Saffron - £6.99 direct from Balm Balm) for the seven mini bottles, soil association certified and I do like some of the scents. I'm a bit disappointed that I wasn't as happy with these as I thought I might be - it seems I'm still looking for something to spritz on in the morning.

Good for you?  If you like simple smells and can cope with the fiddly tops, then this is a great way to give single note perfumes a go.   (Thankfully the larger sizes look like they are sold with spray tops!)
If you're interested in buying any for yourself, check out the following websites:

Balm Balm
Saffron Organic

If anyone has had any luck with these, or can recommend other skin friendly fragrances - please let me know!


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