Category Archives: Beauty

SM tests… Angela Langford Thirsty Work Moisturiser

2014 Masterchef finalist Angela Langford’s ‘Thirsty Work’ ultra-hydrating moisturiser contains raspberry, rosehip and Q10.

Editor writes: “The first thing you’ll notice about this cream is the smell. It’s delicious, addictive – yet hard to describe; a bit like orange blossom meets pixie stix. No surprise then that Angela is actually a talented cook, and does some sort of kitchen alchemy with a bespoke blend of wonderful ingredients to create all her products, 

This product calls itself an ultra-hydrating moisturiser, but really this is a misconception. The label should actually read: “Resuscitation for skin that has been stressed to the limits by the school holidays, mostly hydrated over the Summer with prosecco and left out to bake a bit too long in the sun. Oh, and it also works great as a primer for makeup – if, perchance, you have time for a night out.” But that lengthy description might take something away from the beautiful label (inspired by a card Angela’s mother gave her.)

There is an impressively long list of ingredients crammed into one bottle; all organic at source but including a few things I don’t believe I have ever (in all the years of beauty testing) put on my face such as arctic blackcurrant, rosewood oil and myrrh. You only need a couple of pumps per use so 50ml should see you through til Half Term…”

Order online, RRP £37.50 for 50ml

Asda’s NSPA range continues to wow us…

We were raving about the Mother and Baby range from nspa at Asda earlier in the year and now, seemingly,  they are doing equally great things with their Beauty Rituals collection of cleansers, facial oils and moisturisers.

Whilst the packaging on the products might be basic the ingredients and performance are making beauty editors and rival brands sit up and take note.

Allure mag might have banned the term ‘anti ageing’ but we’re pretty glad of the age defying Bouncy Night Cream (named after its voluptuous texture) and Smoothing Day Cream with SPF15. Or their Nourishing Facial Oil – which is brilliant for perking up skin when you’ve had a night on the prosecco and need to look vaguely less like a zombie for the school run.

The average price of the nspa range is about a fiver – so zilch guilt factor – but looking at the whole range they have ‘versions’ of a lot of  well-known ‘hero brand’ wonder products – so it is worth being curious and putting things like their Hot Cloth Polish and Flash Serum to the test, we reckon…

Lovely Little Things: XO Balm

Born out of necessity when her bf decided to grow a beard, XO Balm’s dry-skin-suffering inventor needed a wonder product that would help with the resulting stubble rash. Magically, the balm also works as a hand cream, lip balm, makeup primer – even on split ends.

If you suffer from eczema you’ll find this balm a godsend; the blend of beeswax and oils clings to the skin for longer than most topical products so that the nutrients and moisture are absorbed by the skin for longer.

Personally, I love the dinky little tin it comes in – complete with a mirror and a handy scoop – which looks super chic in your changing bag.

Shop online here.

SM Reviews… Indigenous Beauty Natural Deodorant

Indigenous Beauty’s range of Natural Deodorant Creams are made using only 7 ingredients chosen for their unique and beneficial properties. They contain Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Unrefined Shea Butter and Organic essential oils and come in three unisex fragrances. We tested Lavender and Vanilla.

SM tester writes: “once you’ve tried a natural deodorant, you’ll never go back. There – I’ve said it. Sure, it’s a bit messy (this one comes with a dinky spatula but you’re just as well using your finger) and sure, you might get some white marks (if ten seconds later you wriggle into a velvet dress…) But the perspiration protection it gives will equal if not better what you are currently using, there is no need to respray over the course of the day and your armpits will just feel so much happier because they’re not laced with chemicals. 

The Lavender & Vanilla fragrance reminds me a bit of Jo Malone’s Amber & Lavender; it has that same warmth to it. At £11.99 for 60ml it isn’t the cheapest, but one of their dinky trial pots (£1.50) has lasted me a fortnight and still going… “

Order online here.

SM tests… Footner Coolactive Foot Massager

SM tester writes: “I’ve been shuffling about in this heat in horrible flip flops which I really should have consigned to the dustbin three holidays ago. My poor old feet have been saying *adopting a comedy foot talking voice here* ‘Seriously, we liked you better when you made us hit the dance floor in those super high heels at that wedding…’

Today I was working from home. I dunked my feet in the kids’ paddling pool every 45 mins. Yesterday I was at an afternoon event in the relentless heat and such decadence was not an option. But Footner’s cooling foam gave my feet an icy blast and the roller ball is good for giving them a mini massage on the go. So basically, like having a paddling pool in a can that you can keep in your changing bag…”

Click here to buy.

Lovely Little Things: Matte Lipgloss from the Chloe Ferry Cosmetics range

Honestly, I love a good lipgloss. Before kids I wouldn’t leave the house without a Juicy Tube or Dior Addict one in my pocket. But as anyone who has kissed their child on the forehead will know, plumpy pouts and kid-smushing do not mix (unless you want their nursery teacher to ask you if your little darling maybe fell down the stairs…)

Now – in the nicest possible way – to me (ie a mother of three) Chloe Ferry doesn’t seem like an obvious style icon. But she has put some thought into her range of cosmetics. For starter, they are vegan and cruelty free. For seconds, they really pack a punch.

I tried out the Matte Lipgloss in Rouge. Probably the first time I’ve worn red lippy in the daytime since my youngest was born. It is described as ‘mid red’ – so not full on Jessica Rabbit but at the same time it is definitely a statement. But because it is matte, the colour stays on your lips; definitely enough to give your offspring a school gate peck (NB: it also withstands a couple of cocktails…)

So essentially you can rock rouge lips without the risk of anyone alerting social services. Well, until your adorable cherub unearths a Sharpie from the depths of your handbag, that it…

RRP £14.99 from Chloe Ferry Cosmetics

SM tests… Love Boo Super Stretchy Miracle Oil

Created with a unique blend of omega rich argan, almond, passionflower and mandarin oils, Love Boo Super Stretchy Miracle Oil promises to be tough on stretch marks. We tested…

SM tester writes: “Oh my gosh, if ever there were a ‘Mrs Wobblebottom’ that would be me. My stretch marks are accumulated; the net result of multiple children, decreasing visits to the gym and more Magnum lollies consumed at each successive pregnancy. I’m not quite in ‘mom jeans’ but my go-to ones after each pregnancy are those Zara jeggings that hold everything in… And not even my husband sees me peel them off at night..

I had decided (whilst more sprightly colleagues were training for Park Runs and the Marathon) that I might start doing a bit of jogging, starting off with home from the school run… And at the same time thought I might try and attack the spiderwebs all over my belly. 

Love Boo oil comes in a girlie pink packaged bottle (which stops husband stealing it to pour recklessly in the bath) and smells divine (a bit like orange blossom, maybe?) You slather it on your tummy, bum, thighs (all the bits you hate, basically!) and – well – be generous!

The instructions suggest you use it twice a day… But as I barely have time for one beauty product anyhow, I’ve been rubbing it in after my morning shower. 

I can definitely see the difference; unlike some (and I’ve tried hundreds!) stretch mark treatments, it doesn’t just smooth out the marks, it plumps up the skin as well. This means a) it doesn’t itch and b) if you are doing a modest bit of jogging or the odd sit up you’ll reap the benefit of your belly looking and feeling firmer. What’s left is frankly just because of all the Magnums…”

Love Boo Miracle Oil starts at £7.99 for 50ml. For more info or to order go here. 

Tested by Lauren.

Our brilliant £3 beauty bargain…

Asda (yes, Asda!)’s NSPA Mum to Be range includes some great products; their bump butter, for example, smells divine and is super rich… But it’s their Nipple Balm that has been blowing our mind this week, and we haven’t once used it on our nipples!

The product normally retails at £5 but good ole Asda have rolled back the price to just three quid…

Editor writes: “OK, once you can get over the fact that you are carrying Nipple Balm in your handbag, this stuff will be your new best friend. Essentially you can use it for any of the millions of tasks you might otherwise use Lanolips for – or for that matter, Eight Hour Cream – lips, cuticles, hands, elbows etc, or taming those eyebrows… I love rubbing a bit into my cheeks for a bit of a dewy/outdoorsy look but you could actually go the whole hog and blend it with your regular moisturiser for a little extra boost. It’s fab as a barrier of your toes rub in flip flops or rubbing into your ear lobes when you take your earrings out. 

NSPA Nipple Balm is made with medical grade Lanolin and Rose Hip Oil, so if you actually were using this on your boobs, it would be totally safe for breastfeeding. But also means it’s good news for those with sensitive skin… 

As this product is super cheap at the moment I’d be tempted to stock up – except for the fact that I think one tube will probably last me six months. Obviously, you will get some funny looks when you whip it out in public (and maybe some helpful types offering to redirect you to your areola!) but just roll with the smugness that this is thirteen times cheaper than Eight Hour Cream (not that we don’t love Eight Hour Cream, but…) so your skin will still love you but you can spend a bit more on shoes *cough* – I mean, groceries…”

Shop online here or pick one up in store…

SM reviews… Skin Elixir Organic Frankincense & May Chang Moisturiser

Organic brand Skin Elixir’s moisturiser is handmade in Nottingham, suitable for face and body and costs £22 for 60ml. We tested.

SM tester writes: “Apparently Sadie Frost can’t get enough of this one, and let’s face it, she lives our kinda life (kids, cocktails, a business to run…) but still looks hot. So if this is the solution, we want to try it! 

If you’ve ever tried the Neal’s Yard Frankincense range you’ll know how restorative it is for dry, flaky skin. Well this is a whole other level; the deepest, richest salve you’ll have ever put on your face – yet it sinks in quickly. It reminds me a bit of putting Weleda’s Skin Food on overnight as a mask (which I do in the depths of Winter when I start to panic about wrinkles) but this is super-wearable (you could even moisturise at your desk at work without looking like you’ve run up several flights of stairs).

The other ingredient in this balm is May Chang, which is citrusy and therefore a natural anti-inflammatory. So despite being super-emollient, the balm keeps oil and sebum in check. 

The scent is quite interesting; not unpleasant at all, just quite unusual. Frankincense is meant to be good for clearing the mind (by which they mean finding your inner calm – as opposed to totally blanking out due to nappy brain!) and I guess it sort of makes me think of pine forests. 

Best of all with this product, you only need the teenist bit. So one 60ml tub might well banish my wrinkles from now until I’m an actual pensioner… “

Order online here.

Hairtrade.com give us tips on creating fairytale party hair…

Xmas disco coming up and daughter desperate to look like Elsa? (Or you fancy scaring the PTA by rocking up as the Goblin Kind?) Hairtrade.com share some know-how…

Elsa from Frozen

Elsa’s thick fishtail plait is just so pretty. And let’s face it, not many other hairstyles can weather a blizzard summoned by magic. It does take some practice; it’s easier if you add a little texture paste into your hair before you get plaiting, and don’t forget to pull and loosen for a thick messy fishtail.

Princess Leia from Star Wars

When we think movie-hair we definitely think of Princess Leia. Use pins to spread two buns nice and wide rather than wrapping them too tight. For a modern take on intergalactic hair, position them a little higher and towards the back of your head – you’ll get lovely waves when you take them out too.

Belle from Beauty and the Beast

Belle from Disney’s classic Beauty and the Beast is the ultimate in Disney Princess hair goals. Styling cream and a thick curling wand is enough to achieve Belle’s simple but stunning bangs and waves. Scoop the top half into a high voluminous bun and you’re officially Belle. We can’t wait to see how Emma Watson does it in 2017.

Tinker Bell from Peter Pan

Tinker Bell’s voluminous high bun and side fringe is perfect for keeping hair out of the face. First tie into a high ponytail and braid around the outside for a pretty twist on Tink’s bun.

Sugar Kane KowalczykMarilyn Monroe from Some Like it Hot

A movie legend, Marilyn’s sassy pearls of wisdom live on today, and so should her gorgeous wavy do. Use medium rollers overnight, spritz with hairspray in the morning and sweep it all to one side to go Hollywood Monroe.

Lisa Loris – Wednesday Adams from The Adam’s Family

Wednesday’s middle-parted plaits are ideal for a Monday when you’re just not feeling it. Get that parting nice and centered and clear, and get plaiting. Spritz with hair spray for hold.

Holly Golighty – Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Another iconic movie queen to inspire us with her on screen looks is Audrey. That immovable bouffant beehive is achieved with plenty of volume power in the roots, textured hair that hasn’t been freshly washed and plenty of hair spray.

Jareth – David Bowie from Labyrinth

Looking to grab attention at Christmas parties? Look no further than David Bowie as The Labyrinth’s Goblin King. He practically invented the whole glitter roots trend we’re seeing more and more of. Straighten your hair and use fingers to add plenty of glitter to your roots.

Mia Wallace – Uma Thurman from Pulp Fiction

You’re probably thinking you can’t achieve the straight, fringed lob Uma Thurman rocks in Pulp Fiction, but we have news for you. Even if you don’t have a fringe, you can still mock one up with bobby pins.

Juliet – Claire Danes from Romeo and Juliet

Juliet’s hair is so simple that it just works. Halve straight hair into a top and bottom section, secure with pins and tuck behind the ears, this looks especially nice with long bangs.