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23 July 2022

Winners announced in 2022 Free From Skincare Awards

Last month I had the pleasure judging for the Free From Skincare Awards. This has now been a yearly invite since 2013. You might not realised but my day job isn't connected to blogging so I thoroughly look forward to a day off work for talking about skincare. This year I judged in the categories Face Care (Rinse Off), Body Care (Leave On), Men’s Grooming and Toners & Waters.

Aside from all the amazing brands I encountered it's interesting to have discussions about ingredients, labelling and allergies. You may know that I experience both cosmetic and food allergies. One of the hot topics coming out of the judging sessions is concerns about food allergens in cosmetics and how to promote good labelling practice, better understanding and transparency.

The British spa skincare brand SenSpa has been crowned overall champion and Best Free From Skincare Product 2022 for their Relaxing Talc Free Body Powder. Free from artificial fragrances, colours, animal-sourced ingredients and food allergens, SenSpa’s winning product beat stiff competition from other category winners, including products by first-time participants LUMI (from Estonia), MERME Berlin (Germany) and White Moon Skincare (Jersey).

The Best Free From Brand Award went to North Wales’s Rhug Wild Beauty, which won two golds and three silvers in the individual product categories.

Odylique picked up Gold in the Best Labelling category. You'll know they are my favourite brand so I fully support the win. Odylique provide 'plain English' alternatives alongside INCI ingredients with 'free from' labelling which includes food allergens. Consumers are given lots of helpful information which is a step above other brands and can be vitally important to those who are managing allergies and skin conditions.

Gold winners in the categories I was involved in (with exception of SenSpa) were all new to me. They included Merme Berlin Facial Powder Cleanser with Purple Carrot, White Moon Skincare Pink Clay Detox Mask, Lumi Men Aftershave Toner and Ani Skincare Hydrating Facial Toner.

If you would like to view a full list of winners and medallists then you'll need to visit www.freefromskincareawards.co.uk/winners-2022

Sarah x

3 July 2022

Review Lavera Neutral Facial Fluid for very sensitive and allergy prone skin
(Gifted)

Back in January I reviewed Lavera Neutral Intensive Cream with Silver and in passing mentioned wanting to try the Lavera Neutral Facial Fluid. The Neutral range is deigned for very sensitive and allergy prone skin. The Facial Fluid is free from essential oils, flower extracts and herbal extracts.

So what does Lavera have to offer in terms of ingredients? well, evening primrose provides essential fatty acids which allergic and sensitive skin can lack. This is combined with fennel and witch hazel. Also Lavera promote a Green Ultra Sensitive Complex which is "a mixture of liquorice root and lecithin to help keep skin hydrated and moisturised, leaving it feeling supple and soft." 

As the name suggests this is a light moisturiser without greasiness but providing much needed hydration. I've been pleasantly surprised how well my skin has received this cream. My tastes are definitely changing as I get another year older. The heavy creams I favoured for many years are no longer feeling great on my sweaty peri-menopausal skin. I also think lighter moisturising creams feel better under sun cream as layering feels more favourable in summer weather.

Some readers may recall my love for Green People Anti-Ageing 24 Hour Cream (Scent Free) and I haven't changed my mind but I find it comparable to Lavera Neutral Facial Fluid. Neither one knocks the other off top spot and I would struggle to pick a favourite between them. Both are worthy of your time and attention. 

If you would like to explore products from Lavera, they are available through online retailers.

Sarah x

19 June 2022

Review Sukin Sensitive Micellar Scalp Masque
(this item was purchased)

Anyone who experiences sensitivity or allergies probably lives with a constant fear about products being discontinued. You spend ages finding the perfect skincare, become a brand loyal customer and then one day you can no longer get hold of that product you love so much. This happened to me over the course of several months as A'kin Mild & Gentle Fragrance Free Conditioner seemed to be unavailable in every reputable stockist and I was almost in tears.

You see, it wasn't until Odylique Gentle Herb Shampoo came into my life that my journey with haircare became less of a nightmare. I continued using various conditioners until years later when I was diagnosed with a sensitivity to linalool. I had to go back to the drawing board. Over time I found conditioners that work until they changed formulations and in 2020 I went back to using Akin on a full time basis.

So this long winded story is to set the scene and tell you that with all the trials and tribulations that followed not having Akin in my life, I've experienced the most annoying itchy scalp. Randomly it tends to be located to one side of my scalp and I don't know if it was brought on by trialling products, stress or eczema. Nothing felt like it was working and after searching online for many hours trying to locate a possible treatment I purchased Sukin Sensitive Micellar Scalp Masque.

"Our calming Sensitive Scalp Masque helps gently soothe dry scalps and reduce the appearance of dry flakes with Chamomile Extract & Maize Complex. Whilst Argan, Coconut & Avocado Oils deliver essential moisture to the scalp."

Sukin Sensitive Micellar Scalp Masque can be used in two ways, either apply to scalp pre-wash (leave for 1 minute & rinse) or after washing (leave for 1 minute & rinse). I've tried both methods and I don't really have a preference both work adequately. In terms of performance it seems to soothe the itch to an extent either that or it's a placebo effect. I get a decent level of relief between washes which reduces my desire to scratch but long term I don't have a "cure" as the issue does eventually return. If you are looking for a masque treatment to improve overall hair health then this is not the one  for you as it is solely intended to be massaged directly onto the scalp and you don't apply through the lengths.

Overall I've been super happy with using Sukin Sensitive Micellar Scalp Masque. Hopefully one day I'll figure out the trigger to my itchy scalp but in the meantime this scalp masque helps gives me a break from the problem. I purchased Sukin Sensitive Micellar Scalp Masque online for a very reasonable £8.95, that's one of the things I like about Sukin, they fit into my budget constraints. Sukin Scalp Masque comes recommended by me not only because it's a good product but Sukin are a vegan brand, Australian made, cruelty free, use natural ingredients and care about the environment. 

Sarah x

22 May 2022

Boo Cottage Botanicals Chamomile Cleanser
(I purchased this product)

I've known Boo Cottage Botanicals for a little while as I encountered them while judging for the Free From Skincare Awards. The other year they successfully medalled. Whilst on the hunt for a new cleanser, I was browsing lots of brands but was drawn back towards them. I hadn't realised that their Chamomile Cleanser was a balm to milk formulation otherwise I definitely would have ordered sooner. I'm writing this review having just ordered my second jar so that has got to be a good indication of how much I like it.

Boo Cottage Botanicals Chamomile Cleaner is suitable for vegans and free from essential oil allergens. The formulation is made with mango butter, castor oil, kaolin clay, coconut oil and of course chamomile. I'm hooked on the texture. It's the softest, most buttery balm I have encountered in a very long time and is an absolute pleasure to massage onto your skin. As I previously mentioned, Boo Cottage cleanser is a balm to milk formulation and can easily be removed with water. If you have ever felt that oils or balms leave the sensation of a greasy film then these types of cleansers are the best solution. After cleansing I honestly feel like I've been left with silky, clean skin but never have the feeling that I can't remove all the produce from my face. You can visibly see how it cleanses daily makeup and grime especially if you use a white flannel or cloth to aid removal. 

Boo Cottage has a small business feel about it. The amber glass jar can be recycled or repurposed and the aluminium lid is also recyclable. If you are cutting back on plastics then Boo Cottage is a company that can support you in your efforts. As you'd expect the chamomile cleanser is just one of many products available. For those with sensitive skin, check out the dedicated section on their website which includes balms, soaps, face oils and haircare. 

I'm more than happy to give Boo Cottage Botanicals Chamomile Cleaner my honest recommendation and I would encourage you to check them out for yourself. 

Sarah x

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