Tuesday, 10 February 2015

You, Who Smells Good: Grown Alchemist's Vanilla & Orange Peel Hand Cream

I have to admit that during Priceline's 40% off skincare sale a few weeks ago, I was very tempted to pick up another bottle of Grown Alchemist's Vanilla & Orange Peel Hand Cream. My current bottle is sitting very prettily on my work desk at home and even looking at it makes me feel calm.

How is that even possible?! Ahah. I'm guessing that I've developed some emotional attachment to it.

Or maybe because it smells like heaven. 

As you may already know from my previous posts, Grown Alchemist is another Australian skincare brand that advocates an organic approach to beauty. Most importantly for me, their products don't contain sulphate.

They also specialise in sourcing active botanical antioxidants that are supposed to be a more natural and safer way to nourish the skin.

I actually purchased this hand cream after testing it out at David Jones when I was picking up their Damask Rose, Black Pepper & Sage shampoo. There were two things that initially impressed me about this hand cream - it's texture and scent. 

The texture is silky smooth and feels slightly lotion-y once you start to spread it across your hands. It's also a non-greasy formula, meaning that I can quickly go about doing other things without worrying that I'll leave marks all over the place.

But the best thing about it is that it smells amazing. I'm not a huge fan of vanilla but I love the smell of orange peel and Grown Alchemist has captured the scent perfectly. They've managed to strike the right balance, without making it too heavy or light. The smell kind of filters a little into the air when you dispense the cream from the pump bottle. Very nice!

Surprisingly, I actually prefer this to Grown Alchemist's Persian Rose & Argan Extract Intensive Hand Cream, which I didn't find intensive at all. The Intensive Hand Cream has a thicker texture to it but this Vanilla & Orange cream hydrates much better. Having said this, I don't think this is the best hand cream I've tried and there are cheaper alternatives that don't smell better or feel better on the skin but definitely do a better job at moisturising my hands. I've noticed that I need to reapply this a fair few times throughout the day.

So why did I almost purchase another bottle? 

Because of the packaging. The bottle just looks so pretty sitting there on my work desk at home and...

Which products have you purchased because of their packaging? 

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

RE: Sulphate-free Shampoo - Alchemy's Rice Aminos & Wheat Protein Shampoo

The quest for a perfect sulphate-free shampoo continues! By all accounts, the Grown Alchemist shampoo I've reviewed previously is a good sulphate-free shampoo. It does a decent job at cleansing and doesn't make my hair dry or flat. My only problem with it is that doesn't make my hair nice and soft like my old sulphate shampoo and it's also on the expensive side. 

So when Alchemy's Rice Aminos & Wheat Protein was on sale, I decided to give it a go. 

I'm not too familiar with the Alchemy brand, aside from knowing that they're an Australian company creating natural products. Their shampoos are not only sulphate free but are also without parabens, silicones and other nasties listed in the above photo. 

I chose the Rice Aminos & Wheat Protein shampoo because it's for dry and damaged hair. I ionically straighten my hair once a year and straighten the regrowth every second day after a wash - so yeah, my hair is prone to damage and dryness. 

This shampoo is enriched with vitamins E and B5 and pure botanical cleansers such as panama bark, jasmine and certified organic lavender essences to help strengthen damaged and dry hair.  

Let's start off with the positives - this smells really, really good. It has that soothing lavender smell I like in the bathroom. I like a few drops of lavender oil in the bathtub when I'm doing a soak.

But that's about the only positive I can think of.

As for the negatives - this shampoo irritated my hands. I immediately started scratching the moment I hopped out of the shower. My scalp was fine but my fingers started getting super itchy. My hair turned into coarse straw - I've actually never had my hair feel so coarse my entire life!

But because I'm of the game variety (more like I didn't want to admit that I'd spent money on a product that I hate), I decided to try this shampoo a second time and my hands itched even more and hair came out drier than before. It took two rounds of hair masking with Essential's Damage Care Rich Hair Mask to bring it back to normal. 

The packaging is terrible as well. The shampoo's bigger size comes in a pump but this one has one of those pop-up lids, and it sucks. The moment your tip the shampoo forward, everything starts dribbling out and so you tip way more than you actually need. You don't even need to squeeze the bottle to get the product out. 

Immensely disappointed in this product. It's just sitting in my shower now and I have no idea what I can repurpose it into. ARGH.

Have you tried any disappointing products lately?

Sunday, 1 February 2015

SUNDAY READS: Some of my YouTube Favourites!

Korea seems to be where it's at when it comes to the newest skincare and make up trends. I remember back in the day when it was all about Japanese products but, in Hong Kong now, all you hear people talk about is Korean products and make up trends.

I love being in the know and that's why I always end my week with an episode of KBS' Beauty Bible! It's a weekly beauty show with skincare and make up advice tailored to a specific theme. They've gone through a pretty big variety of themes already but my favourite ones are on transitioning into a new season ie. how to stop oily skin in summer and how to lock in moisture in winter.

I've learnt so much from this show and I find myself rewatching some of them because they're that good. This particular episode here is on anti-aging and if you click play, it'll take you to a section on facial massaging. The massage is supposed to help firm your skin and make your face look smaller. 

Long story short, it's really good for those mornings when I wake up with an unbelievably puffy face. The lymph drainage down the side of my neck really does make my face look less wide and cheeks less bloated. 

Give it a go and let me know what you think!

Bob's Your Uncle is the bomb! It's a cooking channel where the guy who is (funnily enough) not called Bob cooks a whole bunch of dishes from all over the world and, while things are boiling/frying/marinating etc, he chats to you about a random topic. He did high school and uni in London and has now relocated back to Hong Kong, so his perspectives are pretty interesting. His videos are in Cantonese but don't worry if you don't understand because he has English subs.

He has a really impressive list of recipes like Tom Yung Goong, lobster noodles, tuna tartare, beer can chicken, sweet and sour fish... So many house favourites worth recreating.

His videos are really nicely produced as well. All the camera shots, lighting, background music...everything just makes the whole thing look so professional.

Here's one of his classics where he talks about why girls need to take care of their skin. AHAH. 

There are a million and one exercise gurus on YouTube but none are as motivating as XHit's Rebecca Louise.

One of my go to video is this Thighs Workout one. My thighs and hips are my problem area. They're the widest part of my body and they make me super self-conscious! So I really like this workout. The exercises make my thighs feel bulkier the first couple of days and then they start to just feel well-toned.

Rebecca's incredibly motivating throughout the workout, balancing instruction with encouragement.