This year I was introduced to Skin Design London. It's without a doubt a luxury skincare brand but you get what you pay for in most cases, this is one of those cases. Because I'm always targeting hyperpigmentation whether it's visible or not - I know it's an inevitable problem in my life. Therefore I always aim to get products that either target that or both the spots and hyperpigmentation. I decided to trial the Retexturing Serum and Designer Balm.

Retexturing Serum £105.00

"Resurface skin using this advanced Retinol, lactic acid and sea algae skin renewing daily serum. Retinol encourages cellular turnover revealing younger looking skin with diminished signs of ageing. Formulated with a gradual release system to minimise irritation and with arnica to help reduce inflammatory responses."

Retexturing Serum Ingredients
- Lactic acid increases skin’s hydration, pliability and flexibility, excellent for more sensitive skin, dark or hyperpigmented skin.

- Cylasphere retinol encapsulated retinol offers gradual release and enhanced efficacy. Helps stimulate cell regeneration and build collagen to diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots. Minimises the appearance of large pores while addressing blemishes and blotchiness often associated with problematic, acneic or mature skin.

- Tegostemlastin (algaeextract) naturally derived marine algae rich in mineral nutrients, amino acids and polyphenols plus gaba (gamma amino butryric acid). Stimulates epidermal stem cells and dermal fibroblasts. Significantly supports the maintenance of epidermal stem cell activity encouraging skin rejuvenation.

- Olive squalane plant source alternative to human sebum to lubricate and protect skin.

- Arnica montana flower extract capable of reducing skin puffiness and inflammation. Also limits alpha hydroxy acid irritation and skin redness.

- Darkout tm (caesalpinia spinosa gum, hypoxis rooperi rhizome extract) evens out skin color, helping to create a brighter, more radiant complexion. Improves overall skin colour, reducing age spots, freckles and hyper-pigmentation.

- Bisabolol accelerates the healing process and protects skin from daily environmental stress with anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory properties. Natural anti­bacterial and anti-fungal. Enhances the penetration of other ingredients.

- Niacinamide potent cell-communicating ingredient with multiple benefits for aging skin. Improves skin’s elasticity, dramatically enhances its barrier function, help erase discolorations, and revive skin’s healthy tone and texture.

Increases ceramide and free fatty acid levels in skin, preventing water loss and stimulating microcirculation in the dermis.

Experience
The ingredients really made me confident to give this serum a try, I love acids, lactic acid I'm very familiar with and daily I use Niacinamide to help my skin. All these key ingredients aim to help my only skin concerns, occasional spots (inflammation) - hyperpigmentation. The serum has a nice texture, not too runny and I quite like the scent. It absorbs nicely onto the skin, no sticky residue and I can go in with my moisturiser pretty quickly after application.

Designer Balm £85.00

"Transformative at-home treatment to peel, plump, smooth and hydrate with 4 key ingredients for glowing skin in 15 minutes. Maximum concentration Retinol targets multiple skin conditions. Suitable for sensitive skin."

Designer Balm Ingredients
- Retinol anti-aging cell regenerator smooths skin, reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

- Hyaluronic acid boosts moisturisation, plumping and hydrating skin for a youthful appearance.

- Soy protein locks moisture on the skin’s surface for a smoothing effect.

- Rosehip oil high fatty acid content protects against premature ageing and delivers intense hydration.

No parabens.
Experience
I always forget that face masks can be more like balms. I think at times I prefer a good 'balm mask'. There's no overdoing it with this mask, swiping around with my fingers on the surface and applying and the only residue I notice is the sheen to my face that this leaves.  Because it's so lightweight I often forget that I've got it on - even popping to the shops lol - it's only needed to be on for 15 minutes for a glowing boost to the skin. I will use it approx 3x a week

Purchase: Retexturing Serum // Designer Balm

Samples.

Skin Design London

Got glow within the word, I'm paying attention. I strive to at least have a glow. When I saw The Hero Project Glow Drops in my inbox - all I had to see was glow. It's also said to be friendly for vegetarians & vegans & non-comedogenic, free from parabens, sulphates, alcohol and mineral oil. The non-comedogenic I was happy to see because I can't use coconut oil for that reason now.

After Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride which is an ingredient derived from coconut oil and glycerin but the second ingredient is cannabis sativa hemp seed oil. It helps premature aging and moisture balance within the skin but it also is great for helping acne, eczema and psoriasis. With essential fatty acids it's made up of omega-3 & omega-6 which are needed for healthy skin production and because of the gamma-linolenic acid that hemp seed oil is rich in, the anti-inflammatory properties. One thing I found out it has high levels of Vitamin A, C, and E, is rich in amino acids, and is an antioxidant. Also with lemon, grapefruit and orange peel there's a lot of vitamin C within that and Carrot seed oil will help to give you a natural and gradual glow.

Ingredients:
Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil, Vetiveria Zizanoides (Vetivert) Root Oil, Origanum Majorana (Marjoram) Leaf Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Linalool, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Geraniol, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Limonene, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Bark Oil, Citronellol, Citral.

The packaging is interesting, it comes with a slim pipette and a yellow button on top of the cap that is pressed a few times to get the oil into the pipette. As soon as I lift it to place into my palm the oil already drops out. I apply roughly 3-4 drops and massage it into my skin from my decolletage upwards.

Let's talk about the drops...it's described as a dry oil - first point I like, because it's easy if I wanted to apply makeup afterwards due to the fact it's not sliding around on my face because let's be frank, I'm pretty liberal with an oil. I don't have any fine lines or wrinkles so I can't say it smoothes over those but it does give my complexion a slight boost of health. I was surprised that this oil is clear as most have a tinted colour to them. After application it doesn't sit on the skin and absorbs quickly, the hydration last about 7 hours (without makeup) & then my face starts to get a little dry but I don't expect the oil to give me 12 hour moisturising properties. I'd be interested in trying more from the brand such as The Hero Project Vit C-30 Ultra Brightening Serum

Purchase: The Hero Project Glow Drops Dry Touch Facial Oil + Vitamin C
Sample.

The Hero Project Glow Drops.

My hair loves oil, not so much coconut oil as I've documented previously but there's not much oil that I've not tried whether alone or blended. When I was introduced to Alchemy Oils, they promote age old Ayurvedic practices of using oils to massage the scalp to give healthier hair. This is something I've grown up being told to do, grease and massage the scalp. The oils cater for all hair types. I wanted to try their blends and see how they worked for me. I was sent two travel sized bottles of Amla Oil & Grapefruit Oil. The brand is certified by Peta, cruelty free and registered with the Vegan Society.

Amla Oil :-
With a rich source of antioxidants and nutrients such as iron, vitamin A, C, fiber, potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Amla fruit is high in essential fatty acids and also contains water, protein, and carbohydrates. It's good for hair growth, used as a massage oil it'll help stimulate the blood circulation on the scalp, promoting hair growth. While being able to heal dandruff, prevent grey hairs, thanks to the antioxidants, darkens hair, imparts shine, deep conditioning treatment and also a cleansing agent. Alongside the Amla oil, Coconut, Avocado, and Argan oils & Lemon Essential Oil is used to aid the shine and naturally cleanse.

Grapefruit Oil :-
Massaging with grapefruit oil on the scalp, promotes healthy hair, imparts hair growth and shine. Cleans the hair from build up, fights dandruff, the scent is naturally uplifting for the senses. Within this combination it also contains Coconut, Avocado, Almond and Castor oil to help alongside the key ingredient of Grapefruit Oil. Castor oil is known to prevent hair loss, help hair growth. Avocado Oil is a natural humectant, drawing and locking in moisture to wherever it's applied. Sweet Almond Oil, penetrates the hair shaft, moisturising from inside and protects from hair from heat styling. Coconut Oil is an anti oxidant and disinfectant and it protects the hair.

Whenever I do my hair to leave it naturally curly, I will moisturise and seal with an oil to lock in the moisture. While when my hair is straight all I use are oils because they give my hair enough moisture and keep it lightweight. These oils are good to use nightly for a massage, drop a few in my hand and begin using my fingertips and spend 5 minutes massaging the head - sometime using the inversion method where I flip my hair to the front, bend forward so the blood rushes to my head and massage.

Travel sized £9.00 each - full sized £24.00 - £27.00 each.

Samples.

Alchemy Oils.

This hair styling product caught my eye because it's an organic styling spray Less is More - Thyme Lacque'Firm hold / Style control / Shimmering shine'. It's basically a hair spray with no throat and chest coughing ingredients. Yup, totally free from gases. Good for you, the others around you and the environment.

Beneficial key ingredients such as:
Shellac - A natural film former, gives your hair a strong hold and beautiful shine.
Fair Trade Mascobado - Traditional whole cane sugar from the Philippines. Mascobado is the dried, unrefined juice of the sugar cane. Made using organic production and imported through Fair Trade. Contains valuable minerals including calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, phosphor and give the hair form and a strong hold.
Forest Honey - precious forest honey from natural reserves in the Upper Austrian Mühlviertel brings moisture, nourishes and cares for hair and scalp.
Sicilian Bergamot - Essential oil from expression of the fruit peel. Mood brightening, refreshing and balancing oil. Has antibacterial, toning, immune-stimulating and antioxidant effects.

It also has glycerin, which is a natural humectant, therefore it draws moisture to the hair keeping it from drying out. So much nourishing and natural ingredients while giving you the benefits of a gas induced hairspray while being natural. It's sprayed on dry hair and then you can style shortly afterwards but for me it's all about holding my hair in place whether straight, braided or in a bun/ponytail and at the end of the night when I brush my hair there's no 'hard case' to break which means no dryness, flaking or crispy feeling. It's not a cheap alternative with some prices from online retailers being between £18-£22 for the full size 150ml but I've found it for under £6 for 50ml and if you're like me and only need a few spritzes and not daily, that'll last.

Less Is More Available Here.

Ever tried a natural hairspray before?

Sample.

Less is More - Thyme Lacque.

Pop culture runs in a 20-year cycle. If you’ve been in the next solar system NASA has recently discovered the past few years, you’ve not been aware of the wave of 90s nostalgia that’s running wild for the past 7 years or so. I’m a 90s kid & there’s no doubt that the influence of the 90s has moulded a lot of my interests as an adult but even the 90s was inspired by the 70s quite a bit and evolved into its own style.

Pinafore dresses, platforms, tie dye, bell bottoms, 70s Blaxploitation influenced the rap ‘pimp culture’ hey Snoop, g-funk anyone? 70s artists were collaborating with 90s up n comers i.e. George Clinton, Isley Brothers. The 70s Show – I just hope I don’t witness the noughties revival. Here's a few that I'm loving.

Chokers.
A trend that’s going strong is the chokers, elastic, velvet, rope, metal – lucky enough – diamonds. I like the choker trend, my issue is finding chokers that vary in length, they’re made quite petite I find. I normally have to add extenders because I don’t want to die of asphyxiation. I have 4 chokers in my collection. The latest 3 are from Happiness Boutique, a black and pink velvet and a string/rope choker – which I adore.

Happiness Boutique have a customer reward program & also offer free shipping. Plus they also have a bi-monthly giveaway.If you'd love to shop on Happiness Boutique, I can offer you a 10% discount code dolcevanity on orders over €19, until April 28th

Slip & babydoll dresses.
Babydoll dresses remind me of the kinderwhore / Hole, trend, I couldn’t go full kinderwhore but I do like babydoll dresses as they’re effortless and good for daywear. Pair with Dr.M, Converses, sandals – whatever. Slip / Cami dresses – I can’t get enough of, I don’t know why I’m so drawn to them, I own quite a few in different colours and lengths but there’s something about the spaghetti straps and silhouette that screams, sexy & 90s supermodel chic.

Ripped jeans + fishnets.
This has been on the radar for about 4 years now but it’s getting a revival and I’m digging it the most, I use to have so many ripped jeans, quite loose – ah I miss being a size 10 – 12. Anyway…there’s a few ways to wear this trend, either fishnet socks or tights with intact or ripped jeans, roll up the jeans at the ankle to show off the socks or simply pair your tights and ripped jeans together. If you’re lucky to have a flat stomach, pair with a crop top/jumper and show the waistband off.


Some of these products may have been sent to me for review.

20-year Nostalgia Cycle - 90s Trend

Garnier Ultimate Blends Maple Healer with Castor Oil and Maple Sap, this new range is to help repair neglected, heat-damaged hair. What's nice is that this range has no nasties within the ingredients therefore our hair and health should benefit a lot more from that aspect.

I wanted to try this because even though it's been nearly 18 months since returning back to my natural hair colour, I've still got the blonde underneath so it's very easy for it to get dry and brittle. What my hair benefited from before was regular, weekly deep conditioning so getting back into that is key and I admit, it's where I started to slack.

As this has Omega's 6 and 9 to help revive hair, it makes castor oil one of the best ingredients to put within these products, maple sap from the maple tree can withstand extreme temperatures therefore it'll help protect our hair from any further damage. I decided to try the conditioner and healer mask - I opted out on the shampoo as I'm not keen on many shampoos and I'm pretty happy with what I'm using. Conditioner, I can't get enough of for my hair. Once I rinse my hair free from shampoo, I completely coat my hair with the conditioner. It's creamy and gives my hair a nice slip as I brush through using either my tangle teezer or wet brush. Once rinsed out there's no dryness or problems and this is where the healer mask comes into it. It's a thick texture and I apply from mid lengths to the ends heavily in the mask and apply to the roots afterwards and clip the hair out the way and carry on showering. Although this has coconut oil within the ingredients it didn't bother my hair or skin which is a problem I am occuring as of late.

The body lotion is paraben free and non-greasy. Even if I use quite a lot it doesn't get very greasy which is nice for some, I can take or leave the grease lol - not an issue. If you've got recurring dryness on your body this could be a good possibility to try to heal the skin. Dryness is annoying and for some relief it's worth the try. I've been using it within my homemade lactic acid body lotion because the skin exfoliates and this helps to keep the skin moisturised as it's shedding the dead skin: win - win.

With so many ultimate blends to choose from, have you tried any from the range?

Samples.

Garnier Ultimate Blends - Maple Healer.

Recently I've been introduced to Al Din, a vegetarian, vegan and halal approved, cruelty free British skincare brand. Al Din is a family owned brand started by Muslim entrepreneur Suraiya Uddin. Inspired by her Grandmother and experimenting at home from a young age by formulating her own natural skincare recipes modelled on traditional Southeast Asian remedies. Suraiya has always been the go-to amongst family and friends for beauty advice. I like skincare brands like this, there's a passion and a heritage behind it. I'm very fond of natural skincare. It's effective and gentle.

No brainer to try the Sumptuous Touch Daily Moisturiser. The key ingredients helps the skin's hydration, anti-ageing and overall improve the skin's appearance and health. With ingredients such as:-

• Hyaluronic acid – naturally found in the body. Helps the skin to be plump, smooth, hydrated and youthful.

• Vitamin E – well-known and researched antioxidants. Occurs naturally in human skin and can help to prevent signs of premature ageing. Blocks free radicals from the body therefore slowing down the ageing process. Anti-inflammatory while helping keep the skin smooth and supple.

• Sunflower oil - An emollient with hydration properties. Keeps the skin nourished.

• Coconut Oil - Anti-inflammatory, hydration, antioxidant, anti-bacterial. Helps repair the skin while keeping it nourished and hydrated.

• Sweet Almond Oil – Rich in Vitamin E, fatty acids, proteins, potassium & zinc. And a good few other minerals and vitamins. Nourishing and nutritious for the skin.

• Jojoba Oil – Moisturising and nourishing. As it closely resembles he sebum in our skin it makes it easily absorbed.

• Glycerin Oat Protein - Oats and Glycerin are known humectant meaning that they draw in moisture making it ideal for keeping the skin moisturised.

The bottle itself is beautifully eye catching with with combination of black and rich purples. It has a airtight twist-up pump which I like products like this, prevent contamination, waste and gives just the amount of product when dispensed. I think my only hesitation was the coconut oil ingredient, even though it's amazing for a lot of skin it's a well known comedogenic oil and rates at a 4 or higher on the scale meaning that it can block pores and cause acne in some cases. I was surprised by its light consistency but don't be fooled by that as it is moisturising, unfortunately due to the coconut I've had to pass this onto my nan to try because I've started to get little breakouts 😞 but so far she's fairing out so much better than I was. I think it would be great all year round for any skin type because of how it keeps the skin moisturised by drawing in the moisture due to the humectant ingredients.

It's a shame for me but it's definitely not a bad thing cos I too experienced the benefits minus the ingredient reaction - it sucks but don't sleep on Al Din. Try the brand out.

Sample.

Al Din Sumptuous Touch Daily Moisturiser.

The glo’up quest. I think besides, having a mental glow up, the outer appearance can make us feel good too. I know if my skin feels & looks, healthy and smooth – I can be a happy woman.

As we’re approaching Spring, so many are looking forward to being able to shed few layers of clothes – at some point, reminding myself this is the UK – but with less layers on, comes more skin exposed. Not a problem but it’s all about having that smooth skin, that can make you feel happy as ‘ish. And that is straight down to the exfoliation and some key exfoliating acids but we will start with the manual scrub. I think there’s nothing wrong with having a daily exfoliation – if your skin can handle it, my body can handle it, I do my face every other day I don’t like to over exfoliate my facial skin. I’ve used all kinds of scrubs, coffee, homemade, salt, sugar scrubs - endless list. Currently I’ve been using this DHC Olive-Corn Body Scrub & Polish, it’s more than just that because it cleanses, removes dead skin cells while moisturising – oh hello – put that down to the olive oil & vitamin E. As it cleanses it also lathers up, I’ve never used one that does that by using structure surfactant liquid (SSL) technology it helps to do this while the small and large granules of corn cob powder work to refine the skin, exfoliate without irritation all while giving off a natural relaxing lavender aroma and vibrantly glowing skin.

//Remember getting even toned skin that glows is a ritual!//

I can use this daily, especially over my back, torso, arms, legs - even the soles of my feet. Everywhere gets a good scrubbing where skin can shed. Gotta admit it's a well served product for my skin. I use it with my salux cloth and when that's all rinsed off, my skin feels smooth but not dry but I still go ahead and use my ritual of bodycare products afterwards cos it doesn't stop in the shower. For £!5.50 it's not badly priced at 200g because you're getting a 3 in 1 product. Maybe DHC have another cult product on their hands?

How do you like to exfoliate? 

P.S. it is microbead-free.


Sample.

DHC Olive-Corn Body Scrub & Polish Review.

I often look forward to seeing what new releases The Body Shop has to offer and one of their latest ones launches is The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Collection, with organic almond milk formulated for sensitive skin, to help soothe any signs of irritation, redness, dehydration and dryness.

The combination of milk & honey isn't new - just depends on what type of milk you use. This contains almond milk and almonds are an amazing source of Vitamin E which is very hydrating for the skin, well known antioxidant therefore it prevents ageing by protecting the skin from free radicals. Although I don't suffer from dry skin, I like to keep it very moisturised. Within the little bundle I got to try is the, Calming & Protection Hand Cream, Shower Cream, Body Butter & Cleansing Bar. All these are easy on the skin, nothing is drying as it shouldn't be even down to the cleansing bar. Which I love, since last year I've really got back into cleansing bars. My body doesn't dry out that easily unless I'm using something very drying - high in alcohol, the fact this is for dry + sensitive skin doesn't bother my skin. Body butters are a favourite of mine, they moisturise and give the skin a nice gleam and this one is the small tub good for travelling or the handbag.

Have you tried this collection? Are there any from The Body Shop that you recommend?

Samples.

The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Collection.