Should you avoid aluminium in deodorants? The science (with video)

I’ve recently been approached by several natural deodorant companies to talk about the health risks of aluminium-containing antiperspirants. As much as I’d like that sweet sweet cheque… I can’t. Because the science just isn’t there. So instead, I’m going to debunk the aluminium scaremongering. (Note to deodorant companies: There are valid reasons to switch to natural deodorants. Aluminium ingredients can …

Read more

How Do Bath Bombs Work? The Science (With Video)

lush-golden-wonder

lush-golden-wonder

Bath bombs are awesome balls of fizzy goodness, with some interesting science behind them! They were invented in 1989 by Mo Constantine, one of Lush’s founders. Bath bombs contain the chemical sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, as their key ingredient.

This is the text version – scroll down for the video!

Some of you might remember that baking soda isn’t good for your skin because it’s a base, with a high pH. High pH (alkaline or basic) products disturb the skin’s acid mantle, which protects your living tissue from the environment, particularly bacteria, like acne-causing Propionibacterium acnes.

But don’t fret! The second key ingredient in a bath bomb is a solid acid, such as citric acid or tartaric acid (cream of tartar). This lowers the pH by reacting with the baking soda when water is added to the mixture. Unless the maker of the bath bombs has really messed up their proportions, the final pH should be reasonably neutral. Until the water dissolves the acid and baking soda and allows them to mix at a microscopic level, nothing happens.

Aside from neutralisation, the acid + base reaction with sodium carbonate also produces tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide gas, which is what causes the fizzing:

Citric acid + sodium bicarbonate → sodium citrate + water + carbon dioxide

Read more

Fragrance Notes: Cedar

cedar fragrances

Cedar is my favourite fragrance note at the moment. It’s a scent that’s really common as a base in perfumes, with some interesting properties:

  • Cedar oils in perfumery come from the wood and leaves of cedar trees, but also related juniper and cypress species.
  • Depending on the source of the oil, cedar oil can contain different scent compounds. Common chemicals in cedarwood oil include cedrol, ∀-cedrene, himachalene, d-alpha-atlantone and thujopsene.

Cedar-cedrol-structure

Cedar fragrance reviews

cedar fragrances

I’ve been working my way through Commodity’s sample sets, and encountered Book. It’s part of their Black collection, which is tailored more towards men. Book has eucalyptus and bergamot framing the cedar, and it smells a lot like a wooden bookshelf. The problem I’ve found with the entire Commodity range is that while the scents are unusual and interesting, they don’t tend to last very long on your skin. Book has decent lasting power – around 8 hours on me.

Read more

Perfume Reviews: Zadig & Voltaire, Trussardi, Elizabeth Arden and Ne’emah

Perfume Reviews: Elizabeth Arden, Zadig & Voltaire, Ne'emah and Trussardi

I used to be a “signature fragrance” sort of person (a.k.a. too lazy to think so I’ll just wear the same perfume every day), but lately I’ve been switching up the fragrance I wear every day, and I can’t quite seem to settle on one. Recently, I’ve tried Zadig & Voltaire This is Her!, Donna Trussardi, Elizabeth Arden Always Red and Ne’emah Laya. Here’s what I thought:

Perfume Reviews: Elizabeth Arden, Zadig & Voltaire, Ne'emah and Trussardi

Zadig & Voltaire This Is Her!

Zadig & Voltaire This Is Her! lives in a translucent white rectangular bottle with a “cracked” side that’s meant to fit nicely with the black bottle for the matching male fragrance, This Is Him! This Is Her! is described as woody, floral and gourmand – I’d say it’s mostly woody and gourmand, with a creamy and sweet scent that has a bit of flowery jasmine added in to stop it from smelling too much like dessert.

The most striking notes are sandalwood and vanilla. You can also pick up some of the pink pepper and chestnut around the edges, and a hint of jasmine too. It reminds me of a smoother version of L’Artisan Parfumeur Bois Farine. The scent is quite long-lasting, but it doesn’t project too much. It’s more of a soft, comforting, close-to-the-skin scent. I really didn’t expect to find this sort of scent in a mainstream store, but lo and behold, it’s in Priceline! I’ll be wearing this a lot.

Donna Trussardi

Donna Trussardi comes in an elegant white and gold bottle that looks a bit like a fancy liquor flask.

In short, Donna is jasmine on full blast. It isn’t too cloying or headache inducing though, thankfully, since the jasmine leans more towards a jasmine tea scent, and there’s some citrus in there to keep it light. The base is oriental (white patchouli, cedar, sandalwood and vanilla), but it doesn’t come through very strongly. This is a very straightforward, clean, friendly floral that smells like summer breezes, and is difficult to dislike unless you hate jasmine. I can see myself still wearing this in 10 years – it’s refined and elegant, without being dowdy.

Perfume Reviews: Elizabeth Arden, Zadig & Voltaire, Ne'emah and Trussardi

Read more

Lush Vanillary and All Good Things Perfume Review

Lush Vanillary and All Good Things Perfume Review

I recently acquired two more Gorilla Fragrances to add to my Lush perfume collection: Vanillary (liquid spray) and All Good Things (solid balm). I received them at at the latest Bloggers United event hosted at Lush’s QVB store.

Lush Vanillary and All Good Things Perfume Review

Vanillary

Vanillary has become my new everyday fragrance. As you can tell from the name, this is a hardcore vanilla fragrance! It’s not sweet, simple and lightweight like you might expect, but a spicy, buttery, full-bodied vanilla that’s gorgeously warm and sunny on the skin. There’s also a healthy blast of jasmine, especially at the beginning (it’s supposed to be less pronounced in the solid perfume) and tonka bean, which adds a creamy, brown-around-the-edges, caramelised toffee character in the middle and base. After a few hours it’s a lot less floral and mostly creamy, comforting and oh-so-sniffable – my sister says it “smells like cookies”. It’s reminiscent of the tonka drydown of the limited edition Twilight perfume. The sillage is great – one spray is enough, unless you want to offend everyone around you, and the creamy base lingers on your clothes for days. If you like creamy scents, this will probably be up your alley!

Read more

New finds: The Body Shop, Urban Rituelle, DB Twist ‘n’ Go Polish Remover

urban-rituelle-body-shop

I’ve been trying out a whole bunch of things lately – here are the ones that’ve made it to the top of my “yes!” pile. Urban Rituelle have released the new Dreamweaver range, which includes 2 summery fragrance blends – Island Blossom, a mix of jasmine, frangipani and berries, and Coconut & Lotus, which is a sugary blend of coconut, …

Read more

Essence Australia: Good Girl Bad Girl & Unforgettable Kiss Collections

essence-good-girl-bad-girl

More Essence Trend collections are coming! Here’s what’s launching in Australia in the next couple of months…

Good Girl Bad Girl (available March-April 2015 in Priceline)

essence-good-girl-bad-girl

Quattro Eyeshadow (bright, dark) ($5.75), Blush ($5.10), Lipstick (dark purple, fuchsia) ($4.70), Effect Top Coats (rose gold, silver) ($4.10), Like a Good Girl Fragrance ($6.95), Like a Bad Girl Fragrance ($6.95), Lipgloss ($4.10), Multi Style Eyeliner Pen ($6.15)

Not pictured: Nail Polish (6 shades) ($4.10)

This collection is half good girl themed (pastel shades) and half bad girl themed (brights and darks), which means there’s something for everyone. The eyeshadow palettes are really lovely – the shadows are prone to a bit of fallout, and the textures aren’t that exciting except for the rose gold which is gorgeous. One quad has pink, peach, rose gold and light purple while the other has fuchsia, rose gold, black and dark purple. I’m a bit partial to the darker quad, and while pigmentation isn’t amazing, the sheerness makes them quite wearable.

The blush is quite similar to the Silky Touch Blush in peach in their standard range. The lipsticks are quite nice – there’s a fuchsia (Caught in the Middle) and a deep plummy purple (It Wasn’t Me!). It Wasn’t Me! is my must-have pick of the collection – it’s a really unusual, gorgeously rich shade, though it wears off quickly with food.

The eyeliner is a three-pronged eyeliner, which is meant for helping you dot eyeliner between your lashes, giving them a fuller look. While I love that Essence have caught onto this trend early, the ink of this eyeliner is not that waterproof and a little sheer.

Read more

Essence Australia: Beach Cruisers & Wave Goddess Collections

Essence-beach-cruisers

Essence have a bunch of trend editions coming out in Australia over the summer, and I’m giving a sneak peek of them today! As usual, their collections are full of fun, innovative, great value products, and excitingly, Essence are finally bringing their fragrances to Australia. The two summer collections are Beach Cruisers and Wave Goddess.

Beach Cruisers (available January-February 2015 in Priceline)

Essence-beach-cruisers

Blush ($5.35), Nail Polish (red, coral, gold, aqua) ($3.65), Bronzing Powder ($5.35), Waterproof Mascara Topcoat ($4.25). Body Spray ($5.35), Wet Bikini Bag ($7.35), Lip Gloss ($3.50)

Not pictured: Wet & Dry Eyeshadow (yellow, peach, turquoise) ($4.25), Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner (metallic copper and turquoise) ($4.25)

This collection has a few interesting products. My favourite is the body spray that smells like the Essence fragrance “Like a Day in Paradise”, which smells to me like peach, apple, vanilla and coconut, though it’ll be better as a winter scent in my opinion (it’s a bit heavy). There’s also a waterproof mascara top coat which adds a waterproof layer to any mascara – I don’t think it actually dries, so it’s actually a waxy water-repellent coating.

The nail polishes are the textured sands which were so popular last year. My favourite is Keep Calm and Go to the Beach, a teal creme with green and gold shimmer. The blush has a pretty gradient effect which lets you pick how intense your blush is, based on how much sun you’ve been getting – it’s like the Blush Up blushes, but it’s a more wearable deep coral-to-light peach with subtle shimmer. From other reviews, the eyeliners look gorgeously richly pigmented.

Read more