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! * LolaStar Hearts | UK Beauty and Lifestyle Blog * !: August 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ingredient Watch: Parabens

‘Paraben’ is definitely a buzzword in the beauty blogosphere, but as usual it’s a word that I only became familiar with when I started LolaStarHearts. So what are parabens, and why do we hate them?

Simply speaking, parabens are chemical preservatives mainly used in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries to fight bacteria and fungus. You’ll find parabens in a wide range of your day-to-day products, such as shampoo, toothpaste, deodorants, moisturisers and makeup.

They’re widely used because they are very cheap to make – essentially, the cheaper the items cost to manufacture, the more they can produce and the cheaper they can sell them for. But it comes at a cost.

Parabens have been found to mimic a hormone called estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development on breast cancer. Say what?! ‘They’ [whoever they are!] also found parabens in breast tumours, and believe that there’s definitely some sort of link. Unaltered parabens found in the breast cancer tissue of study participants showed that the chemical is able to penetrate the skin and remain in breast tissue.

Going through my bathroom is was shocked to see how many of my favourite products actually contain one or two of the four most used parabens – ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben.

Now the argument goes both ways, there have been studies from both sides and none have been conclusive. And of course parabens go on the list of everything else that may cause cancer – being black (just my luck, eh?!), bacon, toasters, jewellery, kissing, the list goes on … – honestly I’m not joking!

A lot of the things in the list I just mentioned have links to cancerous tumours, but I take them with a pinch of salt. When it comes to parabens I try to do the same thing, but I also make a conscious effort to buy products that don’t contain them – no point in tempting fate!

Where do you stand on the paraben debate?

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: L'Occitane Skin Supple Oil

With the money I got for my birthday back in May, I decided to treat myself to L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil. It's one of those products that’s worked its way around the blogosphere and everyone seems to love it.

I received a travel size sample in a goody bag after attending a L'Occitane event, and honestly speaking I wasn't that impressed. Don't get me wrong, it's nice. But after seeing beauty bloggers hail it as their Holy Grail product and it's constant appearance in ‘[insert month here] Favourite’ posts, it's fair to say I was a wee bit disappointed.

After the full size began to collect dust, I decided to go wild and exchange it for the L'Occitane Skin Supple Oil. At £29 for a measly 100ml, this oil ain't cheap, but boy is it good!

L’Occitane says: This body oil effectively fights dry skin and lack of firmness. Concentrated in almond oil, rich in omegas-6, and in cameline oil, rich in omegas-3, it helps to repair the hydro-lipidic barrier for a more supple skin that no longer feels tight.

It definitely fights dry skin, hands down. My skin feels so nourished and glows when I apply this. Unlike other oils that can sit on top of your skin, Skin Supple Oil is absorbed into the skin really quickly. It leaves behind a nice sheen, but no residue – which is a very difficult feat for a body oil. I can’t say I’ve noticed that my skin is any firmer, but it does make my skin feel very supple and undeniably less tight.

The smell is gorgeous. Fear not nut-haters, this oil smells nothing like almonds. I still can't put my finger on what it smells like though. It’s sweet, but not at all sickly and very subtle. The scent is actually one of my favourite things about this oil; even after a long, hard day you can still smell it on your skin.

L’Occitane Skin Supple Oil is geared towards pregnant women, as the oil helps to strengthen the skin’s elasticity, which prevents stretch marks. It’s also great on existing stretch marks, as I’ve certainly noticed my unsightly stretch marks have started to lighten.

My only issue with the oil is the pump. It pumps out an adequate amount, but I find it to be slightly leaky. Not majorly, but sometimes the pump is a little oily when I go to use it.

Bottom line: L’Occitane have created something genius. I can’t fault this oil at all. The glass bottle (which may be a little impractical for some) gives it a very expensive feel. The price makes me a little giddy, £29 for 100ml is really expensive. Due to the price tag I try not to use it everyday, however a little does go quite a long way! In spite of the price, I’ll 100% be buying again!

You can buy L’Occitane Skin Supple Oil directly from L’Occitane online or in store, priced at £29/100ml.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Jason Hydrating Hemp Hand and Body Lotion

I’ve mentioned lots of times that I have really dry skin. Due to this I’ve always found oils more effective that creams and lotions. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come across a few creams that have done wonders for my ashy skin, but on the most part they never seem to be as effective as body oil.

I jumped at the chance to try Jason Hydrating Hemp Hand and Body Lotion* as it’s meant for extremely dry skin.

Made with no parabens or phthalates and a whole heap of essential oils, this lotion is very skin-friendly.

I expected it to smell horrible – the hemp range in The Body Shop stinks (although I’ve heard it’s pretty effective!). However, it doesn’t smell bad at all it actually smells quite fresh.

I had my doubts about how effective it’d be when I first applied it. The creams that have worked for me in the past have all been thick and very dense, like body butter, but this was quite light.

I didn’t want to write it off without even giving it a proper chance. So I did. And I was bitterly disappointed. After about 6 hours my ankles, knees and elbows were white. I’d forgotten to put my body butter in my bag – so I had to walk around with brown skin and ashy grey limbs. Not a good look.

I didn’t want to give up on it completely, so next time I applied my Body Shop Beautifying Oil over the top and the results were amazing. The two individually don’t last more than 5-6hours on me, but together they lasted the whole day, with no ashy limbs!

Bottom line: I personally wouldn’t buy it as used on it’s own it’s really not moisturising enough for me. I don’t think it’s suitable for people with extremely dry skin, but it’s definitely great for anyone whose skin needs a bit of a moisture boost. 

You can buy Jason Hydrating Hemp Hand and Body Lotion from the Jason website, priced at £7.99/237ml.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Review: Perspirex Antiperspirant Roll-on

I have a crazy BO paranoia and I’m always convinced that I smell of body odour. At one point I was applying three antiperspirants after my morning shower and reapplying deodorants during the day.
Now I’m sure I probably do have moments where my pits get a little whiffy, but friends and family have assured me that don’t smell. My boyfriend has also pinky-sworn to tell me if I do ever smell when we’re together. But I know it’s more of a mental issue than a physical one.

In spite of knowing this, I’m always on the lookout for new antiperspirants and deodorants to tackle my ‘BO problem’. My favourite used to be Sure Maximum Protection, however after a while it became slightly less effective so I’ve been looking for alternative.

Perspirex Antiperspirant Roll-on seems to have answered all of my BO prayers. Perspirex forms a plug that temporarily seals sweat glands, which halts sweat production. This plug sheds naturally with dead skin cells so doesn’t clog pores.

I’m really impressed with this roll-on. At £6 it isn't the cheapest, but has worked a charm on my “smelly” pits. I can’t say that my underarms have stopped sweating completely, but I’ve definitely noticed that I don’t sweat as much as I used to – even in this crazy heat we’ve had recently.

The best thing about Perspirex is that one application lasts a couple of days. You apply at night to dry underarms and shower as normal the next day – after your shower you don’t need to apply any antiperspirant. This sounded crazy to me, leave the house with nothing on?! But it really works.

My main issue with it is the smell. It’s far from a bed of roses. Luckily, there’s no scent at all once it’s dry but if you don’t let it dry properly then you’ll stink of it for a while. It also makes my armpits really itchy if I don’t apply it when they’re completely dry.

Bottom line: This is my new Holy Grail antiperspirant, and I’m finally starting to feel comfortable about the whole underarm smell issue. 

Perspirex Antiperspirant Roll-on is available from most pharmacies, drugstores and major supermarkets, priced from £5-£8 for £25ml. 
 The cheapest I’ve found it is £5.69 from Lloyds Pharmacy.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

REN Haul & Freebie Offer

Those subbed to WIMH* might remember an email they sent out a while back, with a special offer from REN. Now most ‘special offers’ find their way into the trash folder, but this was a good’un.

Valid on any REN purchase, new customers were entitled to a free Six of the Best set worth £20, 10% discount and four free samples. Bargain right?!

At the time I managed to resist the offer and trashed the email – I’m trying to save! But after reading a post by Jo from Beauty and the Books I just had to get my hands on something.

I’m a big fan of their Glycolactic Mask but at £30 it’s not exactly budget friendly. Instead I opted for their Kit for Blemish Prone Skin. By the time I was ready to check out the kit was out of stock(!), so I got the Kit for Combination Skin instead, which was cheaper than the former at only £12.

Mayblossom T-Zone Cleansing Gel – 25ml
T-Zone Balancing Fluid – 15ml
Invisible Pores Detox Mask – 15ml

I missed out on the offer of four free samples and only got two, but free is free so I can’t really complain! I got myself a sample of the Glycolatic Mask (a favourite of mine anyway!) and an extra Invisible Pores Detox Mask.

The Six of the Best box was added at checkout and contained:
Mayblossom T-Zone Cleansing Gel – 25ml
Jojoba Microbead Purifying Facial Polish – 25ml
Omega 3 Overnight Repair Serum  - 10ml
Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask – 15ml
Frankincense Revitalising Night Cream – 15ml
Active 7 Radiant Eye Gel – 3ml

This lot should cost me £32 but I paid just £10.80 (plus £3 P&P). Not bad, eh?

I’ve checked on the website and the offer is still on so make sure you get over to the REN online shop and pick up your free Six of the Best set and samples!

If you use the code ‘RENHANDBAG’ at the checkout, your Six of the Best set will be automagically added to your basket, along with your 10% discount. No minimum spend required. New customers only.

*This post contains a referral link.

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