Saturday, 7 July 2012

Beauty reviews - fragrance, sunscreen, hand cream

Verveine EDT, Fragonard 
This is something I’ve been searching for all summer, though I didn’t know it. When it’s hot and sticky outside (I know that hasn’t been the case very often with the weather so far this year), I don’t want to wear my regular fragrance, I want something light, refreshing and cold. Many, many moons ago No7 satisfied that need with its lemon fragrance, but still many moons ago, they stopped selling it and I’ve found nothing else that comes close. I did have a brief fling with a passion fruit perfume in the 1980s that I discovered in France while at Bordeaux Uni, but my love for that waned as quickly as my relationship with my then French boyfriend.

So I was overjoyed this week to find an eau de toilette that – I think – is what I’ve been looking for. It’s made in France (!), in Grasse, which is renowned for its fragrances, and contains lemon, verbena, petitgrain, benjoin and chamomile. Verveine EDT is by the parfumeur Fragonard and I found it nestled in the corner of Marks & Spencer’s new beauty hall at Marble Arch.

About the new beauty hall – it’s fab. The idea is to stock niche and little-known brands, introducing people to a cosmetic world outside the mass market. It’s a great idea but my only criticism is, the assistants did not have product samples for people to take away – and frankly who is going to spend a fortune on something they haven’t heard of if they haven’t tried it first? They didn’t even have information leaflets for the different products, which is ridiculous and surely defeats the object?

Back to the perfume. I’m wearing it now and I love it, but only time will tell whether or not it wins a long-term place in my heart. It’s £22 for 100ml, which is a big enough bottle for lots of liberal spritzing.

Rituals Sun Protection Face Cream is a bit of a revelation. It is factor 50, which according to everything I’ve ever been told about SPF creams, means it should be thick and sticky. It’s not. The consistency is light and non-greasy, and it sinks easily into the skin. The fragrance is pleasant, not overpowering, in fact it doesn’t smell of sun screen at all. I found it a pleasure to wear – usually when it’s hot I find facial sun screen melts and feel greasy on my skin, but not in this case.

Rituals is a brand I’ve been learning more about recently and I blogged about a couple of their products here. I love cosmetics with a story behind them and this company, with its ethos, natural ingredients and focus on traditional bathing rituals from around the world, is impressive.

A couple of months ago I subscribed to one of those beauty box services that deliver a selection of products to you each month. The one I chose is She Said Beauty because they had a great subscription offer on at the time, but there are other ones out there.

My first beauty box included a Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream, which I’ve been using before going to bed at night. This was an award winner at the Beauty Insider’s Choice awards in 2010, taking the accolade for ‘Best New Certified Organic Skincare Product’. It contains 98.8% natural ingredients and is free of sulphates, parabens, mineral oils, DEA and petroleum oils.

The cream is thick and luxurious, which is why I use it at night (I find it too rich for day as it can leave my fingers feeling greasy). I’m not sure about the fragrance – it’s a herby smell but a little too medicinal for my tastes, however, it does make my hands feel soft so I’ll keep using it. Tip: one way to cope with a heavier hand cream is to wear cotton gloves over the cream, overnight. I do this when I’m using intensive products, especially in the winter when my hands tend to crack and age about 50 years. It’s too hot at nights to wear gloves at the minute though.


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  2. Thanks you so much for your kind comments. Keep reading, I'll check out your blog now.

  3. I love, Rose de Mai of Fragonard. One of my favorites!!! i discover it in a journey to Paris. In Rome is very difficult to find it but my sister in law found it right for my birthday and gave me a bottle! So Happy !!!

    1. Hi Eva, great to hear from you. I don't know that one, I'll look out for it. Are you in Rome? I love that city. xx


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