I don’t get nearly enough time to have an in depth look at all the brands that contact me; it is literally impossible. That said, I always like to look at smaller brands that just don’t get an airing in the same way that big budget brands do. It’s hard enough to start a business in this economy, never mind a beauty business where competition is high as more and more brands come to market. So, partly to assuage my guilt at not being able to spend more time on writing about them, but more because they all bring something to the skin care party, here’s a short round up of brands to take a look at. I’ll flag up if I’ve actually tried them or not.
Owner, Althea, has worked in the cosmetic industry for some years and was inspired to create an organic and natural range after spending time in Africa and learning how African women use simple but effective ingredients to care for their skin. One To Try: Skin Brightening Fruit Enzyme Creme Exfoliatior, £22.95. 
Made in Armagh, Northern Ireland, by mum of two, Elina, everything at Body Care Luxuries is paraben, SLS and harsh chemical free but still manages to look interesting and fun to use. One To Try: Handmade Body Salt Scrub in Fruity Strawberry, £5.65.
Hailing from Hungary, Gaiavita combines science and ancient plant knowledge and is priced for the very top end of the natural market for the eco-luxe sector. It’s certified 95% organic and covers both face and body care using bioactive, therapeutic plants. One To Try: Orange Blossom and Fenugreek Day Cream, £60.
 
Although we haven’t really had the summer for it, I love to keep cooling facial spritzes in the fridge for an instant heat buster. I used ph balanced Mayawater, made with Norwegian mineral rich water, several times and it is nothing short of lovely, containing organic white tea and antioxidants. Far more friendly to skin than tap water, it’s said to brighten and hydrate, but personally I’m not sure I’d spend so much when Evian is similar and much cheaper. £18+. Find it at www.theorganicskinstore.com
 
Kalis Skincare www.kalis-skincare.co.uk
Kalis is a natural skincare range with a little bit of science thrown in. I like the fact they don’t make any bones about using chemical ingredients, but in the lowest possible concentrates in order to make the products effective at reasonable prices. One To Try High C Skin Correcting Serum, £23. 
Nephria Jade www.nephria.com
I’m intrigued by Nephria Jade. Nephira mineral water is sourced from a reservoir 400m under the Nephria Jade Mine in South Korea giving it unique mineral properties. Products contain the mineral water and the soap contains Nephrite (Jade powder) as well as pure botanical oils. It’s slightly off putting that they claim Nephria Jade as ‘the world’s most advanced moisturiser’ which is exactly that – a claim. One To Try Jade Beauty Bar, £20.
Sodashi www.sodashi.de
Australian brand, Sodashi, (meaning wholeness, purity and radiance) uses plant essences and natural ingredients to give a comprehensive, chemical free skin care range. It pops up in spas across the world so doesn’t really qualify as a ‘small brand’ but it’s hard to find in the UK, and it’s flipping expensive to boot. I tried the Eye Lifting Gel – it has the hallmark smell of a botanical/aromatherapy brand and while I liked it, it didn’t blow me away. One To Try Calming Rose Facial Mist, EU100. 

Douvall’s Argan Oil www.douvalls.com
Ok, so Alicia Douvall has had some issues, but is said to have turned her back on surgery and is learning to cope with body dysmorphia. I’m not really sure how she came to have an Argan oil brand, but I’m a huge fan of the wonder oil and use it on my skin and hair often. It’s no better for having a celebrity backing, but no worse either and having tried it, I can promise that it lives up to pure Argan oil expectations. It’s quite a small bottle, 50ml, but beautiful quality. £25.

*all products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.



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  1. I love the look of those handmade soaps like the bath bombs and that sugar scrub looks incredible! I love the fact you’re supporting the smaller businesses out there, there really are some gems.

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I haven’t done speed reviews for a while, but last week I attended a ‘speed-blogging’ event; seven brands, seven bloggers each spending 20 minutes with oneanother. It was such a good use of time, and not only that, on the whole it was the brand owners presenting so you didn’t get any diluted effect in the presentation – it was full-on enthusiasm and I found myself viewing one brand – Murad – so differently than I had in the past, I wished I’d had a chance to talk one on one with them years ago. If I’m honest, I’m more comfortable with information coming through the PRs; that way if I don’t like something there is a buffer, and I don’t always have time/patience etc to listen to the evangelism. But, I’m definitely going to make more of an effort to meet with brand owners in the future. So, with the exception of a couple of men’s brands that I’m using for a print feature, here’s the round up:



Forest Secrets While I really don’t like the name of this brand (it just doesn’t sum up what the product is and gives it an ‘alternative’ feel that somehow lessens the impact of what it can do), the products are without doubt, absolutely gorgeous. iRejuvenate Lifting Pro-Youth Face Oil is a blend of 19 natural, organic and fair trade botanicals, phytosterols, flavinoids and vitamins that does nothing but love your skin! Ideally, you follow it on with iRejuvenate Regenerating Skin Serum – a cocktail of amino acids, algae peptides and hyaluronic acid. The premise of the duo is that you can adjust amounts of either to however your skin is reacting at the time. Dr Barbara Olioso, the developer, has amazingly lovely skin – always a good sign! I used it lastnight and woke up with a glow. The only thing I’d say against it is that fiddling about with differing amounts for different needs isn’t something that a lay person could easily do; it could take a long, long time to get to know your skin in that very specific way. £36.50 each.



Precision Nails I’ve written about Precision before but am still mega-impressed with this range. It’s very high quality for the price (£6.95), on a par with OPI and has a phenomenal colour range.

Restylane Skin Care Brought to market by the same Restylane folks that make facial fillers, I’m undecided on this. Is it just a cash-in on their (amazingly good) non-surgical treatments? I don’t know. All it made me do was want to have filler! However, its key points are that it contains stabilized hyularonic acid, battles sun damage, and uses an absorbability complex that distibutes the ingredients easily and evenly. Because it repairs and strengthens the skin barrier, it is suited to those who have had non-surgical cosmetic interventions such as Botox. It’s strength is such that it is only available from skin clinics, not over the counter.From £21.50.

Ph Advantage AM/PM Multi Complex Moisturiser SPF20 This is a brand that has struggled to find its place in the UK market. But, I know people (my sister included) that absolutely swear by it. I’ve used it in the past and loved it. It’s a simple regime backed up by science that deserves a better share in the skincare market. The above product is super-charged with hyaluronic acid to improve the overall look and health of the skin. Hyularonic acid helps the skin to draw and hold water within the skin cells, giving it a look of hydrated, healthy skin. It also contains glycolic which rids the complexion of old cells, leaving fresher, new ones in its wake. £65.



Murad Much as I want to bang on and on about this brand, I’m not going to; parts of the range – especially the books – are tedious. However, at the heart of the range is The Science of Cellular Water (a combination of hydrators, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants) that claims to treat skin from cellular level up….making stronger skin cells to get healthy, younger looking skin. The science is good, the studies are good and the before and afters exceptional. So, I’ll focus on the range that interests me most – Blemish Control. I don’t – and never have had – acne, but oily, acne prone skin is miserable condition to live with; it’s one of the topics I get asked about most, and the unhappiness it causes is heartbreaking. Sometimes I see parents with their painfully shy teenagers who are covered in pustules and angry acne and just want to shake them – there are treatments available…bloody well buy some for your chronically unhappy child. So, the Acne Complex 60 Day Kit comprises Clarifying Cleanser, Exfoliating Acne Treatment, Acne Spot Treatment and Skin Perfecting Lotion. In fact, I’ve had a tester for this range in the past; a young woman of 28, two babies, hormones raging and very, very oily skin. It made such a radical difference she has used it ever since. I’ve also agreed to test the Firm and Tone Dietary Supplements myself (and I NEVER commit to such regimes) because I know from past experience that this is a best seller that tackles not just lack of firmness and cellulite, but also is apparantly good for nails and hair, too. My nails are suffering from terrible over-polish so I have something tangible to test this for. £29.95 for the Acne Kit.


Pepperfit I loved the ladies from Pepperfit; a solid background in aromatherapy and a big dose of charm were both very endearing. The Pepperfit range is unique in it’s field; a range of powerful aromatherapy treatments specifically relating to sport. So, there are formulas for muscle ache, for boosting pre-sport, for relaxing post-sport and for just putting some oomph into your work-out. Whether you’re a runner, a footballer, an aerobics fan or even a rugby player, there is something in the range that can properly address your issues. And, it smells a whole lot nicer than linament. £23.50 for Rescue Bath & Shower Oil.

*all products are sent to me as samples from brands and agencies unless otherwise stated. Affiliate links may be used. Posts are not affiliate driven.



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