I’ve recently moved all my content over to my new website JoWalley.co.uk and new blog posts for the last few weeks have been published on there.
I’ll be writing posts on a variety of different topics including personal development, product reviews and recommendations and things I’ve learnt and would like to share. Content will reflect my current interests and activities (at the moment I’m doing daily posts from my beauty advent calendar). If you’d like to keep up-to-date please visit my new blog at https://jowalley.co.uk/blog/ and if you wish to subscribe there are details at the bottom of the page or you can subscribe via Bloglovin.
Last year I tried a few Sukin products from their Super Greens range after sampling some of the moisturiser in a local store and loving it! I’ve now repurchased the moisturiser and also bought the serum, so thought I’d share my review of each of the items I’ve tried from the range. Sukin is an Australian brand and all their items are cruelty free and vegan.
This started my love affair with this range and was my first Sukin item. It was recommended to me by a member of staff in The Eighth Day in Manchester when I was looking for a cruelty free moisturiser for my dry skin. I was a bit put off by the use of ‘rich’ in the title but realised it was actually ‘nutrient rich’ and wasn’t too heavy. It smells amazing (despite the fact it is enriched with kale, spirulina, chlorella and parsley which doesn’t sound appealing to me at all!) and is a lovely texture. It does take a little longer than some lighter moisturisers to completely soak in to the skin, but only a matter of a minute or two, and it is so worth the wait. It really seems to help balance my skin and leaves it feeling so nourished and soft. It’s fairly mattifying in its finish – it doesn’t leave a sheen at all but does allow natural glow to show through. It’s fantastic value too – less than £10 for 125ml which lasts for ages. The only downside to this, and the reason I didn’t use it much over summer is that it doesn’t contain SPF. I prefer to use SPF all year round ideally but my foundation has SPF and this is a lovely base for make up so I tend to use this on days when I’m planning to wear make up. I can’t recommend it highly enough if you have dry or combination skin.
I really like a clay mask for helping to deep cleanse my skin when I get blemishes. This one smells divine and leaves skin feeling lovely and smooth. It’s a thick consistency so takes a while to dry, but I tend to prefer ones like this as they’re less likely to get on clothes! It recommends leaving it for about 20 minutes but I always leave it on for a good half an hour or more before rinsing and it doesn’t irritate my skin at all. It’s very gentle but really effective. I find it softens my skin immediately, and I tend to find it helps bring out any spots I might have over the next day or so. It also seems to help to calm down any redness. You don’t need much of this so although I’ve had this a long while I still have plenty left, though admittedly I don’t tend to use masks often at the moment. If you’re looking for something to help cleanse and rejuvenate your skin I think you’d love this.
I’m a fan of facial scrubs and tend to use them a couple of times a week in the shower to exfoliate. This one is a nice creamy one with small exfoliating jojoba beads. It is very gentle and calming so nothing too harsh on the skin (very similar to the Joik Exfoliating Facial Scrub*). I massage a small amount of the Sukin scrub onto my face and neck in the shower and rinse well. I find this leaves my skin feeling lovely and smooth. The thing that stands out about this scrub (and again I find the same with the Joik one) is that it doesn’t strip the skin at all and the creaminess tends to moisturise so my skin feels nourished as well as smooth. I’d recommend this for gentle exfoliation for those who have dry or combination skin.
The facial recovery serum is the most recent addition to my Sukin Super Greens collection. My skin tends to be dry and a little dull so in the morning I’m mostly looking for additional moisture and ideally a bit of glow from a serum. This one definitely fits the bill! It has the same lovely scent as the rest of the range (broken record I know but I can’t get over how nice it is!). It’s a very watery serum which I’m not used to, but you only need a tiny amount and it soaks in well. At the moment I’m using a spray toner (Balm Balm Chamomile Hydrosol*) after cleansing and before my serum and this serum is all I need to just add a little bit more moisture and rejuvenate my skin. Because it is so light I do find that it feels nice to massage into the skin, and it gives a lovely base for moisturiser. This has become my regular morning serum; it’s effective and great value.
I love this range (can you tell?!). Everything I’ve tried has been fantastic. I’ve had no adverse reactions to any of the products and they’ve all helped balance and nourish my skin. When used independently or combined, they help my skin texture (I confess sometimes after using the moisturiser I have been known to stroke my face!) and act as an excellent base for make up. They’re great value for the quality and the amount of product you get. If you have dry or combination skin I think you’d love this range too.
The Sukin Super Greens range is available, along with other Sukin items, from LoveLula*. The only item from the Super Greens range that I haven’t yet tried is the Nourishing Chia Seed Oil but I haven’t tried many other Sukin items yet either.
I love these sample kits and wish more brands did them so you could try a few of their products at once for a few days to give it a good test. As LoveLula currently have an amazing 40% off Balm Balm deal on (simply add any Balm Balm* items to your basket and use the code BB40), I thought now would be a good time to review the items from the brand that I have tried and let you know what my picks would be.
This has to come first because it’s my favourite item from the brand. I use it almost every night (unless I’m testing another product!) and for my skin it’s the perfect night cleanser. It’s an unusual texture in that it is a balm but it does have some solid grainy bits in it (though they melt when you massage it in). Because of this, the experience is really enjoyable. I like taking time to properly massage it into my skin each night. It’s incredibly gentle yet so effective at removing make up, even mascara. I have sensitive eyes (I’ve tried some make up removers that others have found very gentle but I’ve found they sting my eyes) yet with this I can really rub it into my eyes to remove all traces of make up and it won’t sting or irritate my contact lenses at all. It leaves my skin feeling lovely and nourished and not at all dry. You only need a small amount so even though I’ve been using it almost every night for over two months I still have about half left. I really can’t recommend it highly enough!
I’ve recently used the chamomile one of these after having received it in a beauty box. I have to be honest, I really didn’t like the smell at first but I have got used to it and I like the addition of a spray toner which makes it so much easier to apply (and far less wastage from cotton pads!). I use this morning and night after cleansing and before serum. It seems to help soothe my skin and definitely helps application of the serum and moisturiser. This also comes in a larger size which works out better value (£12.50 for 100ml*), but I like the smaller ones to give the product a good test before committing to a full size – it’s also much easier for travel too.
The first item I tried from the sample kit was the light coconut cleanser. It’s an oil cleanser which is very light and easy to apply. As with the Beauty Balm, I found it very effective whilst still being gentle. It’s a nice subtle scent; nothing too overpowering. I personally prefer the experience of the beauty balm as it’s thicker and I find more nourishing but I imagine if you don’t have dry or dehydrated skin this may be better for you.
This is something that I’ve had before (I think it was in a beauty box last year) and enjoyed using, especially at night. It’s more of an oil than a serum, and you only need a tiny amount. It’s very hydrating without being too oily so although I tended to use this at night you could use it in the morning too. I’ve been using the little sample when travelling or for an additional boost in my night time skincare routine.
This is a similar product to the chamomile hydrosol, but I much prefer the scent of this one and it seems more calming. It actually says on the bottle that rose is reputed to, “help you to love yourself and to dispel anger”. How great is that?! You can use this during the day for a boost, but I tend to just use them in my skincare routine. I really liked the sample of this in the kit and I’ve bought the travel sized one to replace my chamomile one.
This is the one item I’ve tried that I’m not sure about. I struggle with powder face masks anyway (I think they’re a great idea but I always seems to add too much water!). I took this with me when I was away and treated myself to a pamper evening. The mask was very grainy and didn’t seem to combine as a mask, it was more like a face scrub. It did dry though, but I left mine on for longer than the instructions recommend (I tend to have a habit of doing this!). When I removed it the scrub particles added an element of exfoliation and made my skin lovely and soft and seemed to draw out impurities (I had a small spot the next day!) so I can see how it would help clear skin up. It’s not my favourite type of mask so I probably wouldn’t purchase this again myself but if you’re OK with the powder format the effects are impressive so it’s definitely worth a go.
It may seem an unusual thing to feature in a blog post, but I really like the Balm Balm muslin cloths. They’re double layered which I find really helps in terms of exfoliation. I don’t use muslin cloths every day as I actually find them a little too harsh to use regularly (I use one of the Make Up Eraser towels instead at the moment), but when I do use a muslin cloth I really like these ones. They’re especially good when you’re removing make up or doing a deep cleanse or face mask.
I really love Balm Balm (can you tell?!). Everything I’ve tried has been so gentle yet so effective. For me it really encapsulates what natural beauty is about – making the most of the fantastic natural ingredients available and letting them shine by using them in ways which showcase their properties. My skin has been really appreciating the products I’ve used and I’d definitely recommend the brand for anyone looking for affordable, simple skincare or an introduction to natural beauty.
At the moment LoveLula* have 40% off all Balm Balm items which is an amazing offer – just add them to your basket and add the code BB40. If you’re reading this after November 16th you’ve unfortunately missed the 40% off voucher but there are a couple of other money saving opportunities.
If you order directly from Balm Balm you can use this link* (or click on the image below) at any time to get 15% off your first order with Balm Balm and a free lip balm.Also, for Black Friday LoveLula* have 15% off all orders when you use the code FRIDAY (all brands, not just Balm Balm – active from today!).
What a lot of offers! Hope this post is useful in helping you decide what might be suitable for yourself or as a gift. The starter kits* and crackers* are a perfect Christmas gift idea!
As part of the LoveLula Accredited Blogger Programme I receive the LoveLula Beauty Box*. I highly recommend the beauty box subscription – it’s only £13.95 per month and often the value of the products are more than double (this month it is quadruple!) this amount. At the moment there are also some special offers on so you can get up to 20% off a beauty box subscription* if you subscribe for a set time of up to a year. There’s always a good variety of different brands and products in the boxes, and of course everything is cruelty free and natural (like all LoveLula products). The other thing I love about this beauty box subscription is you receive a voucher code to get 20% off purchases from the brands featured in the box that month (which this month I used to make another order the day the beauty box arrived!). So, on to my review of November’s box; it’s a great one!
Madara Smart Antioxidants Anti-Fatigue Eye Rescue Cream* (15ml, worth £31.00)
This is a full size item worth more than twice the price of the beauty box! This eye cream is a natural, cruelty free, vegan product with no parabens. It claims to hydrate, firm and brighten, and reduce fine lines, dark circles and puffiness. I’ve only tried it out a couple of times so far but it does seem to hydrate and firm. It’s a white cream so doesn’t brighten by having any tint or shimmer in the product, so I imagine the brightening effect would be a long term thing if dark circles improve over time. Even if it doesn’t (I haven’t found anything to help my dark circles yet!), it definitely is a good eye cream in terms of improving the texture around the eyes, so I’ll certainly be continuing to use it. It’s a small tube with a tiny applicator which is my preferred format for eye cream as you really only need a tiny amount of product.
Laidbare Working 9 to 5 Anti-ageing Hydration Cream* (50ml, worth £7.99) This is a really lovely product. I actually already have it as I’ve been trying out some Laidbare products to review the range for my blog (coming in the next couple of weeks hopefully, I’ve just ordered a couple more items to put to the test first!). Laidbare are a UK-based natural skincare brand offering effective and affordable products. This anti-ageing hydration cream is a light moisturiser (more like a gel cream than a thick cream) which absorbs beautifully into the skin and leaves it soft and supple. Despite being fairly light it’s great for my combination (and sometimes dehydrated) skin. It’s great on its own and also acts as a good base for make up. It has a subtle rose scent which I really like (side note – I used to really not like rose scented things but now I seem to love them!).
Inika Vegan Lipstick – Naked Kiss* (4.2g, worth £18.00)
A few days before the beauty boxes went out, someone started a discussion in the LoveLula Natural Beauty Club on Facebook asking what products we were hoping to get in this month’s box. One item I mentioned was a lip colour product so I was delighted to see this included! I’m not usually a lipstick wearer, but have been starting to wear the occasional liquid lip. One thing I do struggle with is dry lips, hence usually wearing lip balm or my beloved Pacifica Lip Tints. The Inika vegan lipstick is a creamy formulation with certified organic natural shea butter and jojoba oil which really help as it’s so much more moisturising than lipsticks I’ve tried in the past. It’s also a gorgeous colour! In the bullet it looks like a browny sheen but on the lips it’s really neutral. I wore it on its own (without any other makeup) yesterday morning and then later that day with make up and it looked great in both situations (I usually find I can’t wear lipstick without a full face of make up as it can look too much!). I even received a compliment specifically on the lipstick when I posted the above photo to social media. It’s lovely! I really love this and can see it becoming my winter staple when I’m not wearing a lip balm/tint.
REN Perfect Canvas sample* (worth £3.33, full size is £50 for 30ml)
I’d actually already received a sample of this as it’s a new product so there are a few ways to get your hands on one. This is a silicone-free primer from skincare brand REN. It claims to smooth, plump, fill and prime and is recommended as a step after moisturiser whether you’re wearing make up or not. I haven’t used it without make up but I have used it as a primer. I find it less easy to apply as it’s very quick drying, so I tend to need a few applications (though still only a few drops in total). Once I have applied it I do think my make up applies nicely and it seems to help it last longer too. I received unsolicited compliments on my skin over the weekend and I think this was probably down to the primer as it definitely helped to smooth my skin and give a good base for my powder foundation. I don’t usually wear primer on a regular basis but if you do, and are looking for a natural silicone-free alternative to keep your make up looking good, this is a really good option. It’s not cheap but 30ml should last a while.
The Seaweed Bath Co Eucalyptus and Peppermint Balancing Argan Shampoo and Conditioner* (sample, full sizes are £16.99 for 360ml)
I’m never sure about samples of shampoo and conditioner as I tend to find it takes a while to know if I like hair products, but it’s always good to have a first impression to give you an idea of the consistency, scent, and initial idea of how it makes your hair feel. I always appreciate having both a shampoo and conditioner included so you can give it a good test. This isn’t a brand I’ve heard of before so a little reading informed me that the brand was established in response to learning that seaweed really helped clear up psoriasis for one of the founders. The items all feature seaweed as a key ingredient (sourced from Maine, USA). The set I received are part of the balancing argan range in the eucalyptus and peppermint scent. I’ll be honest, the scent was a little overpowering for my liking – like toothpaste! I also found it made my hair ‘squeaky clean’ so I would have said it’s probably more clarifying than balancing. I found it wasn’t nourishing enough for my dry hair so it left it more frizzy than my usual haircare. Sadly this one isn’t one for me, but I imagine if you don’t have dry hair and are wanting products to clarify and clear your hair and scalp of products this could be a good one to try.
This month’s beauty box was fantastic value – some really good products from a variety of brands. It’s worth over £60 and the full-sized products in the box are really versatile and should suit most people. The lipstick in particular seems to be a really flattering shade for different skin tones – there are some stunning photos in the Facebook group! The stand-out products for me this month were the Inika lipstick and the Madara eye cream (though I already love the Laidbare moisturiser too). A really fantastic box – thanks LoveLula! 🙂
*Affiliate link: I may receive commission if you purchase via this link.
As anyone who has followed my blog for a while might be aware, I *love* Christmas. Love Actually is one of my favourite films and I watch it at least once every Christmas season. I love the excitement and traditions surrounding Christmas. I love the time spent relaxing and seeing family and friends. I love winter walks and cosying up in front of the fireplace with a hot chocolate. I love having an excuse to indulge in enjoyable past times and delicious food and drink. I’ve always loved this time of year, and in the last few years the run up to Christmas has been even more exciting for me as beauty advent calendars have become a big deal. I’ve really enjoyed having a new treat to try each day in December and discovering some fantastic brands and products and sharing them with you on the blog.
Unfortunately, since going cruelty free (and ideally natural) this has been more difficult. Earlier this year I did a lot of research and found that the Look Fantastic box included predominantly cruelty free brands (just over half the items by my reckoning), so I bought that one. Then LoveLula* surprised us in the Natural Beauty Club by announcing that they would be stocking an advent calendar from Joik! I tend to prefer calendars that have a variety of brands, but Joik* do have quite a variety of products in their range (skincare, bodycare, make up, candles), so I used my LoveLula accredited blogger points this month to put towards the Joik advent calendar*. I was so excited to receive it this morning! I’ll be blogging each day during 1st-24th December to share some first impressions on each of the items in the box, but in the meantime I thought it might be helpful to share some initial thoughts on the advent calendar overall.
The design is lovely and it has an embossed top. It’s a cardboard box with a plastic insert (similar to the sort of thing you get in chocolate advent calendars). I have to be honest, I was a bit disappointed to find this as other beauty advent calendars have some really lovely practical packaging with individual boxes or drawers for each item. This helps keeps things more of a surprise, gives a bit more of a luxurious experience, makes them easier to remove individually, and means they’re less likely to leak onto other items. This latter downside of the approach was sadly clear to see in my box as one of the items had split and leaked over quite a lot of the box! Nothing a quick hoover couldn’t sort out but it was a shame.
Each day you open a perforated piece of the cardboard to reveal the item inside. Here’s day 1 for example (excuse the mess – this was taken before the clean up!):
As you can see from this example, the products are all really good sizes. Many of them are 30ml or 50ml so the ‘deluxe travel size’. They’re certainly ones that will allow you to give each item a good test rather than just using it once or twice (except for things like bath melts!). There’s a fantastic variety of different types of products and different scents; the overall scent coming from the box is amazing! Whilst I had the box open to clean it I confess I did have a quick smell of some of the items and there are some great ones in there. There are fruity scents, fresh scents, and earthier scents. There are shower oils, shower foams, body butters, scrubs, soaps, and plenty of facial skincare too. There’s also a candle (full size) and a scented pouch for in the car or home to keep everywhere smelling nice. I’m really impressed with the variety of different types of products and this definitely gives a similar experience of variety to what I’m used to with calendars with multiple brands.
If you don’t want to see the full box, look away now! 🙈
Beauty advent calendars aren’t cheap (some are more than £300!). The Joik calendar is mid-range in terms of price at £107. It’s not an insignificant cost by any means and I know there are some people who would have loved to get the calendar but can’t stretch their budget to that much. I do wonder if it may have made more sense to have smaller sized samples and a cheaper overall cost, but maybe that’s not cost-effective for Joik to produce.
For what you get in the box, I think the calendar is excellent value for money. I haven’t totted up the cost per ml to find out what it would be worth exactly, but I’m sure it would be a lot more than it costs! You are getting 24 really good sized samples, including lots of different types of products and scents, for just under £4.50 a day. The candle alone is worth £13.50.
I for one am really looking forward to next month when I can try out all these exciting new products. Many are ones I haven’t tried before so I can’t wait! I’ll be sure to share reviews with you on the blog 🙂
The LoveLula Natural Beauty Club is a Facebook group open to anyone interested in natural beauty. It’s moderated by LoveLula, who do join in with the conversation, but much of the content comes from members. I’ve learned so much from other people sharing their knowledge, experience and recommendations, and have enjoyed joining in conversations to share my experience and recommendations with others. It’s a very supportive group and a great place to go to ask for advice if you’re looking for recommendations for a specific item in your skincare/make up routine.
Some of the brands also have representatives in the club, and it’s a great way to connect with them to learn more about their products (I recently had a brief conversation with Kimberly Sayer about which of her moisturisers is likely to be best for my skin).
One of the trickiest items to find a natural and cruelty free version of in my experience can be deodorants. Finding cruelty free ones can be difficult enough, though in the UK we have Superdrug own brand (highly recommended if you’re cruelty free and on a budget!). Moving to natural added another layer of complexity as some of the ones I’d tried when I went cruelty free were natural and (in my opinion) terrible. I never thought of myself as someone who struggled with body odour until I tried some new deodorants last year!
Fortunately since then I’ve found some great ones. In this blog post I’ll share four natural deodorant options I’ve been trying recently, all in different formats (solid stick, roll on, cream, and powder).
This deodorant is natural, cruelty free, vegan, and has no aluminium or parabens. It’s a really lovely scent; I have it in rollerball perfume form too (as well as the vanilla lemon one which is my favourite!). This deodorant is a solid stick which although convenient can be a little tricky to apply as it’s quite dry and gets much drier over time. I imagine this is the case with all stick deodorants – before going natural I used roll on or spray deodorants so don’t have much experience with these. The scent does transfer on application and lasts well – it’s definitely one of my favourite deodorant scents and I always enjoy wearing it. It’s fairly effective but I find it’s not so great when working out (there is a Sport one in the range which I might try in future). I tend to use this one in the warmer months on days when I’m not going to the gym. The big downside of this one is how difficult it is to get in the UK, which is a real shame as I’d love to try the others in the range.
This deodorant is natural, cruelty free, and has no aluminium. This one has been recommended by a number of natural beauty bloggers and has some great reviews. I like the roll-on format in deodorant, so I decided to give it a go. LoveLula has two different Madara deodorants – one herbal* and one bio-active*. I’m not a huge fan of herbal scents, and I work out regularly so I felt the bio-active one made much more sense for me. Others have said this has a sherbet-style scent, and although I’m not sure if it’s sherbet it reminds me of it does have a fresh and pleasant scent which has definitely not been the case for some other natural roll-on deodorants I’ve tried! It says it has all day protection, but sadly I didn’t find this to be the case for me. It didn’t perform well on days I was exercising, but even on days without exercise I found it didn’t seem to last all day. If you don’t mind reapplying then this one might be suitable for you, as it is a nice fresh scent and is very easy to apply (and small so easy to take with you), but sadly it’s just not quite right for me.
This deodorant is natural, cruelty free, vegan, and has no aluminium or parabens. It only contains 7 ingredients (all organic) and is one of the cleanest I’ve come across in terms of ingredients. I’ve never tried a deodorant cream before this and was so intrigued. It’s a lot thicker than I was expecting, and is a little grainy in texture. I’d say it’s more like a paste than a cream personally (this may well be the case for all cream deodorants, I haven’t tried any others). I was sceptical to say the least! I was wrong to be sceptical though, this stuff is amazing. The scent of the one I chose (orange and grapefruit) is lovely. It took me a while to work out what it reminded me of, but it smells just like when I bake cookies with orange essence in (orange cookies in particular, not just orange essence!). You only need a pea-sized amount of product, so I tend to scrape some product on the back of a nail, pass it on to my forefinger of the other hand, and apply. It doesn’t take much rubbing in and isn’t messy at all (to my surprise!). It doesn’t seem to leave marks, though I do tend to apply it before I do my morning skincare and then it’s a few minutes before I get dressed. In addition to the lovely scent, I’ve been so impressed with the performance of this. I haven’t had any concerns, even after exercising or a long day travelling and full day training, and this has become my daily deodorant of choice. I’m so impressed and am planning to try some of the other scents in the range* in future.
This deodorant is natural, vegan, and aluminium free. I got this at the same time as I got the cream deodorant as I wanted to try different formats. LoveLula* sell miniatures of Ohm so I was able to try a small sample before committing to a full purchase. I went for the coconut scent which is fairly subtle but very nice. Sadly though, I’ve found I’m not a huge fan of the powder format. I find it really tricky to apply easily. Because of this, I confess I haven’t tested it as rigorously as the others mentioned in this post as the format just isn’t my preference so I’ve only worn it a couple of days. However, to my surprise it does seem to absorb into the skin after a few minutes (it didn’t feel like it would as initially it seems very grainy!). The scent is very subtle when worn; I can’t really smell it. If you’re a regular perfume wearer this could be a good thing, but as I don’t wear perfume every day I like to be able to smell my deodorant. Performance wise however, it does seem to do a great job – I wore this recently on a long day with a particularly gruelling gym session and it did a fantastic job in terms of keeping any odour at bay. If I could get over the messiness of application I’d definitely be keen to use this more, and I love the fact that over time you should need less of the product too so it should last a long time. There is a greater variety of scents in this range – LoveLula has 11 available*.
My favourite deodorant at the moment is the Indigenous Beauty deodorant cream*. I’m surprised to be saying this as I really wasn’t sure I’d like this format but this is one of those times when I love testing things and being open-minded about them! I’m using this on a pretty much daily basis and am really enjoying it. I’m planning to try the other scents at some point too. I also have the rest of the Ohm powder deodorant* to use up and as I’m so impressed with the effectiveness I may well be converted to powder too if I can master the application!
Do you use a natural deodorant? How have you found it? Any recommendations?
*This post contains affiliate links. If you use these to purchase items I receive a small amount of commission which I use to support my blog.