Yuli ElixirYuli is a brand I’ve only recently discovered, and I love everything about it so far. From their founder’s story of developing the brand after suffering from terrible acne to the fact that most of their ingredients are grown on site, they represent everything I’m looking for in an eco-luxe brand. I’d heard wonderful things about their elixirs from a number of bloggers, so I invested in two of their three offerings to see if they lived up to their hype.

I’ll start this review by pointing out that in Yuli’s case, the word ‘elixir’ is used as a synonym for ‘toner’ or ‘mist.’ ‘Elixir’ (which, traditionally, is used to describe a magical or medicinal potion) is a confusing term in skincare because different brands use it to name completely different products. Just to give you a couple of different examples, Kypris uses ‘elixir’ to describe their oils and Julisis uses it for their treatment serums. This is one of those times where I wish the beauty industry was better regulated and there was greater consistency across brands to make things easier for customers. View Full Post

Whamisa toner essenceI love Korea for its unique approach to skincare: Korean cosmetic companies make products with the most innovative textures and ingredients. Their products are often ‘cleaner’ than their western counterparts, but it’s very hard to find 100% clean/green products from Korea. Whamisa is an exception. Most of their ingredients are certified organic and their formulas are 100% clean. Recently, during a trip to Seoul, my dear friend Fiona (of Orchids and Peonies) picked up a few Whamisa goodies for me. The funny thing about it was that she had a really hard time finding Whamisa products in Korea. Apparently, the brand is not all that popular there as it is in the West! Strange, isn’t it?

Anyway, without further ado, here are my impressions of the two Whamisa products I’ve been using: View Full Post

I felt like I could get away without a toner when I was using creams and lotions, however, now that I’ve been staying away from creams and relying entirely on oils, serums and balms to mositurise my skin, I absolutely need one. Creams/lotions are emulsions of oil and water, so, unlike oils, they absorb into the skin readily. Oil-based products need a water-based carrier (a.k.a toner/mist/essence) to create a micro-emulsion to deliver these oils deeper into the skin.

Ideally, I like my toners to be more viscous than water and have some softening/exfoliating/brightening benefits. Also, while I like a spray system that delivers product evenly, I am not a fan of ultra-fine mists. These ultra-fine mists work well as makeup or purse sprays, but I find that they don’t work well before a serum. I like my toners to drench my skin with watery goodness so my balm/oil just glides on the skin without any resistance. View Full Post

pixie glow tonicMany beauty bloggers push exfoliating toners, and Pixi Glow Tonic is one of the most affordable and popular options in the beauty blogging world (at least here in Australia and the UK). UK-based blogger Caroline Hirons (who is also part of multiple ongoing projects with the brand) endorses it and rates it highly, and many of her fans have jumped on the Glow Tonic bandwagon. I love Caroline Hirons and her blog, but I really regret using/buying this product.

I bought it online a couple of months ago just to see what the hype was all about (and also because I needed to add something relatively cheap to my cart to get free shipping), After receiving it, I tested it on the back of my hand and left it there. To be honest, I didn’t even pay attention to the ingredients (I knew it had 5% glycolic acid) because I didn’t think I’d ever use it on my face (the tiny gold print on pale green didn’t make things any easier, either). It sat on my bathroom counter gathering dust, until about three weeks ago, when a very persuasive friend told me I needed something strong — like Alpha H or Glow Tonic — to take my skincare to the next level. That night, after cleansing, when I was wondering which toner to use, I thought I’d give Glow Tonic a go. Surely, testing it once couldn’t possibly ruin my skin. View Full Post

Samples
I have a long history of not testing the samples that come with my skincare orders. Usually, I put them away in boxes and forget all about them. Recently, when I received a whole bunch of samples from very generous online retailers (I Am Natural Store and Be Naturally You, extra-special shout outs to you!), I decided to make an effort to try them straightaway. Here are my mini reviews based on my first impressions:

Rahua

Shampoo: Brilliant shampoo, deserves all the praise it gets. It lathers a lot better than most natural shampoos. Has a unique (but pleasant) smell, which may take some getting used to.

Conditioner: I’ll definitely be buying a full bottle of this. It’s luscious, creamy, and coats hair very well for a natural conditioner. Leaves hair soft and healthy, without weighing it down. Love at first use! View Full Post