Thursday, 28 October 2010

Avon Luxe Lace Collection: Avon's back on the radar

Avon Luxe Lace Collection

A few weeks ago, I previewed Avon's new Luxe Lace Collection (available from today, from £6) and it is actually very nice. Some pieces are even comparable to cult products within much higher priced brands. The collection is influenced by the "luxurious lace" that featured on Autumn/Winter runways and comes in aesthetically-pleasing, limited edition black and pink packaging, with shades designed to create "mysterious" and "alluring" looks.

Let's go through the collection piece by piece...

Oh by the way, I'll put the full RRP price of each item below, but Avon currently have £3 off everything in the collection (except the lipsticks which are £2 off).

Avon Luxe Lace True Colour Eyeshadow Quads (£8)

There are two quads in the collection, "Lace Hues" and "Lace Electric", both designed for creating smouldering smoky eyes. The round shadows are slightly domed and the packaging is well-built and sturdy, making the quads look and feel much more expensive than they actually are.

Avon Luxe Lace Collection Lace Hues Eyeshadow Quad
"Lace Hues"

"Lace Hues" contains:
  • A very sparkly white gold (seriously sparkly, not just pearl/shimmer)
  • A matte pastel pink (quite powdery and "barely there")
  • A satin grey green (in real life it's more grey than in my photo)
  • A shimmery, multi-faceted navy blue (very pretty if you like blues)

Avon Luxe Lace Collection Lace Electric Eyeshadow Quad
"Lace Electric"

"Lace Electric" contains:
  • A satin white (great for inner corners of eyes)
  • A mostly matte violet purple but with some tiny bits of glitter
  • A black-toned, smoky purple which flashes a slight pink shimmer
  • A gorgeous satin grey blue

Avon Luxe Lace Collection eyeshadow swatches
Swatches of "Lace Hues" on top row and "Lace Electric" on bottom row

My favourite of the quads is "Lace Electric" because I know I would use the shades much more and I just love the grey blue that comes in it (which I wore throughout my recent false lashes post).

The shadows vary in texture. Some are quite difficult to pick up and need several layers to build up colour... this seems to happen with the more matte shades like the pink and violet. On the other hand, the satin shades are fine and are silky smooth to apply.

The shades within each quad are complementary which takes the guesswork out of choosing colours to wear together. And I find they blend very well. If these are the kinds of colours you think you might wear quite often, £8 for a quad is a bargain (actually, £5 if you buy at the launch prices)!

P.S. I can never judge the longevity of eyeshadows very well because I always apply Urban Decay Primer Potion under eyeshadow which basically stops any eyeshadow from budging or creasing.

Avon Luxe Lace SuperShock Gel Eyeliner Pencils (£6)

Avon have really outdone themselves on these gel eyeliner pencils which are as good, if not better than Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eyeliner Pencils. They are extremely creamy and smooth to apply and once they're on, they don't budge at all. Let's just say in the absence of any eye make-up remover at the time, I needed to use a washing-up scourer to remove the swatches from the back of my hand.

There are just two shades in the collection, "black" and "silver". I personally don't have a use for the silver, but black is always an essential.

Avon Luxe Lace Collection Supershock Eyeliner Pencils

Avon Luxe Lace Collection Supershock Eyeliner Pencil swatches

Again, these gel eyeliner pencils are a bargain considering the Urban Decay equivalent costs £11. Grab them for £3 while you can!

Avon Luxe Lace SuperShock Mascara (£8)

This fat tube of mascara comes with a super chunky brush designed for volume.

Avon Luxe Lace Collection Supershock mascara wand

I do find it volumises very well and makes lashes look fanned out and plentiful, but it's quite difficult to get much of a thickening or lengthening effect.

This mascara gets top marks for holding a curl, essential if you have poker straight lashes like mine and you depend on eyelash curlers. I also find the mascara lasts well and doesn't smudge much.

If you don't need much lengthening, this is a great mascara choice. I personally will repurchase my usual L'OrĂ©al Lash Architect in "Midnight Black" when this tube is finished, but it's perfectly useable for the time-being and especially good for volumising my lower lashes.

Avon Luxe Lace Ultra Colour Rich Lipstick (£7)

There are three lipstick shades in the Luxe Lace Collection and I have "Pout". It's such a perfect nude pink colour, with a hint of silver shimmer.

Avon Luxe Lace Collection Lipstick Pout

However, I find that the formula (which contains Vitamin E and jojoba) just doesn't adhere to my lips. It's very sheer and slips around on my lips when I try to build up the colour and I then get these little flaky "bits" that float around on my lips.

I needed several layers to get the following swatch and there's still a bit of a hole...

Avon Luxe Lace Collection Lipstick Pout swatch

It's such a shame because I really do love the colour in the tube. I can still wear it but it feels more like a tinted balm rather than a lipstick (but I don't recommend using it as a balm because it's not quite moisturising enough on its own).

Avon Luxe Lace applied

In these photos I am wearing the white and two purple shades from the "Lace Electric" eyeshadow quad, the black SuperShock Gel Eyeliner Pencil, SuperShock Mascara and the "Pout" lipstick shade. To see the grey blue shade in action, have a look at my recent false lashes post.

Avon Luxe Lace Collection applied on face

Avon Luxe Lace Collection applied on face

How to buy Avon... *sigh*

[UPDATE!! (2nd Nov 2010): The technical issues at were resolved shortly after my post but the site is still temperamental. If you're still having issues getting to the product pages, try clearing your browser's cookies. The links to buy the Luxe Lace Collection items online are as follows:

Avon Luxe Lace True colour Eyeshadow Quad
Avon Luxe Lace SuperShock Gel Eyeliner Pencil
Avon Luxe Lace SuperShock Mascara
Avon Luxe Lace Ultra Colour Rich Lipstick ]

In preparation for this post, I went onto earlier and I couldn't believe their online store is still so bad - I literally couldn't find one item there to buy! Every link goes to the following message: "Unfortunately the product you have selected is not available for purchase in this campaign". Argh so frustrating Avon!! What a way to make it even harder than it already is to buy from them!

It seems like you still need to browse their catalogues (either by getting in touch with your local Avon representative or by viewing the "e-brochure" online) to place an order.

You'll find the Luxe Lace Collection on pages 46-49 in the current Avon e-brochure (17 2010). To order any of the products online, it seems you have to manually enter the product numbers (which you'll find in the brochure) into the ironically named "Quickshop" order form or by calling 0845 601 4040 if all else fails.

On the plus side, we do get forced to look through the catalogue which brings back warm memories of childhood... especially of those shamelessly festive Christmas editions.

By the way, no-one ever says "the new Avon collection is really nice"... it's always "the new Avon collection is actually quite nice" as if we're surprised. Poor Avon... they're trying so hard to shift their fuddy duddy image and they're genuinely bringing out some excellent items at affordable prices (the SuperShock Gel Eyeliners for example). Let's give them a chance!

Disclaimer: PR samples

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Philips Sonicare HealthyWhite Deluxe sonic toothbrush review: I'm converted

Oh the glamour. I am about to write about my new Sonicare HealthyWhite rechargeable toothbrush which I have been using for two weeks. I clearly must be very impressed with it.

I bought this Sonicare toothbrush to replace my Braun Oral-B electric toothbrush which I managed to leave behind in Nice. I took the opportunity to see whether a sonic toothbrush was actually any more effective than other electric toothbrushes.

Actually to tell you the truth, I tweeted out to the world asking whether I should bother getting a sonic toothbrush and a very helpful someone on Twitter told me that she swapped hers for an Oral-B for six months and her dentist noticed and advised her to switch back. I'm such a sucker for that kind of story.

This particular model, Sonicare HealthyWhite Deluxe HX6731/02, was £59.99 from Boots... half price from £119.99.

The toothbrush itself is a little taller and slender than an Oral-B toothbrush. It actually looks more elegant too.  It's for the discerning brusher I'd say.

Philips Sonicare HealthyWhite HX6731 02

I'm used to the Oral-B style small, round oscillating brush head, so it took a while getting used to a skinny one that grooves and peaks, especially when trying to brush behind my front teeth. The bristles are soft and don't feel abrasive on my gums even when fresh out of the pack.

Philips Sonicare HealthyWhite HX6731 02 brush head

The "sonic" movement of the brush head feels like a vibration rather than the physical "brushing" motion that you get with Oral-B brushes. You can't really see it tilt side-to-side like they make out in the ads and on the pictures on the box.

The theory behind the sonic technology is that it whips toothpaste and saliva into an oxygen-rich foamy liquid and then directs this liquid between and behind teeth and under the gum line to dislodge the plaque that would otherwise build up and harbour bacteria (causing all sorts of issues e.g. gum disease and bad breath).

Basically, a sonic toothbrush creates powerful little jets from water and toothpaste and doesn't rely so much on the physical brushing motion as a traditional electric toothbrush does.

And you know what? I think it does actually work. Because despite being so seemingly gentle during brushing, my teeth look and feel much cleaner around my gum line, including the rough areas above my upper canine teeth where my veneers join my natural teeth. I even think my teeth are a little whiter.

This model has three modes:

  1. Clean - standard mode for superior cleaning
  2. Sensitive - gentle yet through cleaning for sensitive teeth and gums
  3. Clean and White - 2 minutes of clean mode, with 30 seconds of white mode

I use the "Clean and White" mode purely because it lasts longer and not because I think the whitening mode is any more effective than the Clean mode. Personally, I resent the "quad timer" which stops and starts every 30 seconds to indicate that you can move onto the next quadrant of your mouth, and then stops completely after two minutes. It's quite annoying if you normally brush your teeth for more than two minutes like I do.

The charger that came with my Sonicare toothbrush is better than my old Oral-B charger too.. it's much more compact and clean-looking with no jagged edges or annoying grooves that trap old dried on toothpaste and limescale. Take note, Braun.

Philips Sonicare HealthyWhite HX6731 02 charger

I also found Sonicare ProResults toothbrush heads half price in Boots. They were £9.99 for three heads instead of £19.99... so I stocked up on two packs.

Philips Sonicare replacement brush heads

If you're looking to "enjoy good oral health every day" (in Philips' words), I'd really recommend trying a Sonicare toothbrush. I have definitely moved over!

You can find out more about the benefits of Sonicare sonic toothbrushes on the Philips Sonicare website.

I'm not sure how long the promotion is for on this particular model, but at the time of writing this post, you could still buy it for around £60 at the following stores:

Sunday, 17 October 2010

New boots from Massimo Dutti and Marta Jonsson: Getting me through Autumn

After completely trashing my favourite Pied a Terre tan riding boots through two rainy, sludgy winters, I found myself with no shoes to wear once the weather turned cold. No "smart" shoes, no practical, clumping around boots, nothing... I literally had to resort to wearing plastic bags on my feet tied around my ankles. Just kidding. My wellies don't count because I always feel so dorky when I wear them, despite me thinking they would be "OK" because they're biker-style. Would it help if they were Hunter Jimmy Choo crocodile print ones? Or are they just naff? Probably.

Anyway... after a fruitful Friday night shopping trip at Westfield, London (the best time to shop because it's empty), I ended up with a pair of shoe boots from Massimo Dutti and fold-over cuff boots from Marta Jonsson.

Shoe boots from Massimo Dutti

Massimo Dutti shoe boots

These are the almond-toe shoe boots from Massimo Dutti. They're really comfortable considering the heel height (famous last words). It's always hard for me to find comfortable high heeled shoes because I'm a size UK 3 (EUR 35.5 - 36) and I find that shoe makers don't bother to check that shoes are still well-balanced for small-footed people. I tried on an almost identical style in Kurt Geiger and they felt like they were breaking my ankles as soon as I put my feet in them. These were £95 which I thought was pretty reasonable for the quality.

By the way, when did Kurt Geiger hike up their prices? Some of their shoes are £300+. If I was going to spend £300 on a pair of shoes, I wouldn't be looking for them in Kurt Geiger.

Massimo Dutti shoe boots

Massimo Dutti shoe boots

Fold-over cuff boots from Marta Jonsson

Marta Jonsson wool-lined foldover cuff boots boots

These are the sheepskin-lined, fold-over cuff boots from Marta Jonsson (£95). They're nicely filling the gap for when it doesn't feel quite right for knee-high (or over-the-knee for the brave!) boots. Sadly, the sheepskin doesn't go all the way inside the shoe - so they're not as cosy as they look! I might get some old man fleecy insoles to make them into the outdoor slippers I wish they were.

These boots can be worn with the cuff up or down but I can't work out which way I prefer.

Marta Jonsson wool-lined foldover cuff boots

With the cuff folded over, I feel like one of those poodles with the fluffy ankles. Maybe if I was taller...?

Marta Jonsson wool-lined foldover cuff boots boots

What shoes are getting you through the inbetweeny weather of Autumn?

Friday, 15 October 2010

Sisley Nutritive Lip Balm review: The perfect lip balm?

Sisley Confort Extreme Levres Nutritive Lip Balm

I've been using Sisley "Confort Extreme Levres" Nutritive Lip Balm over this last week and I am really impressed by it. I even like it more than my previous favourite, Ren Biomimetic Perfect Lip Honey (which by the way, I've heard is being phased out completely... boooo).

I'm obsessed with lip balm. I wouldn't say I'm addicted to lip balm (I don't believe in the theory that your lips get addicted to lip balm the more you use it - that's just complete nonsense), but I am addicted to the feeling of lip balm on my lips. I need to always have a coating of balm on my lips... otherwise I literally can't focus on anything... people will be speaking to me, and all that's running through my mind is "please stop talking so I can put lip balm on".

So for me, it's really important that a lip balm is the right consistency to maintain that balm-y coating on my lips for as long as possible. Otherwise I'd never get anything done because I'd be continually topping up the balm.

The description of Sisley Nutritive Lip Balm is:

"Extremely repairing balm. Rich in natural plant extracts it instantly soothes, nourishes and hydrates, giving long lasting protection. Lips are soft, supple and smooth."

Sisley Nutritive Lip Balm has the most perfect consistency I've come across in a lip balm... it feels and looks a lot like Vaseline petroleum jelly. But it's not. There's actually no mineral in this balm whatsoever. Good. And it doesn't melt and slide everywhere like petroleum jelly. Once it's on the lips, it stays on the lips, and does so without a hint of greasiness or stickiness.

The balm feels firm and smooth in the pot, but not too firm that it's hard to scoop out or spread on the lips. Oh, I forgot to mention the handy scooping tool that comes with the pot, so you don't have to stick grubby fingers into it.

On the lips, it feels intensely comforting and protecting, and it stays on much longer than any other non mineral oil lip balm I've tried (I've used most). There isn't that feeling of needing constant reapplication. Plus it's completely odourless and flavourless. I can't tell you how much I dislike flavoured lip balms.

The only catch is that this 9g pot of perfect lip balm costs £37.50. Uh huh.

But if you're an extreme lip balm user like me (or if you suffer from very dry, chapped lips), I haven't found a better balm. I'm already finding that my lip balm application frequency has dropped to about a quarter of what it used to be. That in itself has added it to my list of desert island essentials.

If you can't find a Sisley stockist near you, you can find this lip balm online at John Lewis or Harrods.

The full ingredients of Sisley "Confort Extreme Levres" Nutritive Lip Balm are:

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Dipentaerythrityl Hexahydroxystearate / Hexastearate / Hexarosinate, Butyrospernum Parkii (Shea Butter), Silica, Beeswax / Cire D'Abeille (Cera Alba), Garcina Indica Seed Butter, Triisostearin PEG-6 Esters, Corylus Americana (Hazel) Seed Oil, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Prunus Domestica Seed Extract, Propylparaben, Hydrogenated Soybean (Glycine Soja) Oil, Tocopherol, BHT.

Disclaimer: PR sample

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Beauty Scribbler now has a Facebook page! Do you like it? DO YOU??

It never really crossed my mind to set up a Beauty Scribbler Facebook page before (this is coming from someone who only signed up for a personal account in 2009). But I'm finally getting with the program and have gone and set one up. I've always ignorantly assumed that everyone uses RSS readers to keep on top of news and blogs like I do. But I know that's not always the case, and some of you go directly to your favourite sites every so often to check for updates.

Well, now you can "like" my Beauty Scribbler Facebook page and be updated in your Facebook newsfeed whenever I've published a new blog post. You can even post a message for me on the wall if you're feeling friendly (seriously, I would love that).

All you have to do is click on the "like" button just below (but not the one at the very bottom of this post which is something different altogether), and I will beam with joy.

Ahh, this reminds me of a tweet (original author unknown) on Twitter during Facebook's massive 2.5 hours of downtime <gasp> on September 23rd...

"Facebook users are roaming the streets in tears, shoving photos of themselves in people's faces and screaming 'DO YOU LIKE THIS? DO YOU??'"

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Natural-looking false lashes from Ardell, Gypsy Lashes and Andrea Modlash: Photos-galore

Natural-looking false lashes

A couple of weeks ago, I ended up cruising online for natural-looking, fluttery false lashes (which is also how I ended up with my Dolly Wink lashes). Having survived much trial and error over the last year with different styles (hardly any made it onto the blog), I had already concluded that my favourite strip lashes were the graduated and spiky kind. My strip lash foes, on the other hand, were the types which were too uniform and/or too long at the outer ends. They just looked cheap on me.

I ended up buying seven pairs of lashes (see above photo): Ardell Demi Pixies, Babies, Luckies and Fairies; Gypsy Lashes #92 and #94; Andrea Modlash #53 and Duo Eyelash Adhesive in "dark". I ordered from where all pairs were between £2.99 and £3.99, and the Duo adhesive was £5.98.

I thought it would be useful to show how each of these lashes look when applied. Sometimes false lashes surprise me and look much better (or worse) on my eyes than in the packaging.

All lash styles were soft and easy to apply and didn't need trimming (saves time). All the Ardell and Andrea lashes state that they are "100% European human hair". I personally don't ask for that as a requirement in false lashes but some people might.

Before I go on, here is how my eyes look with just a single coat of mascara... blah...

Lashes with just mascara

Ardell Demi Pixies

From the Ardell Invisiband natural range

Ardell Demi Pixies (natural)

Ardell Demi Pixies look a bit scary in the packaging because they're so "stripy" as well as quite long and curly at the ends. But they are much nicer on, with the gaps not so apparent once on top of natural lashes. Out of all the lashes, these were the ones that made me say "wow" when I looked in the mirror. Although they do have a bit of that spidery "pap shot of Cheryl Cole looking tired/stressed/teary" look about them. I don't know why this style is in Ardell's "natural" range as I would say they're more for full-on glamour than a natural look. Maybe because they're "demi" (3/4 length) and not full length.

Ardell Luckies

From the Ardell Invisiband natural range

Ardell Luckies (natural)

Ardell Luckies are my favourite for a true natural look. They're much shorter than the others and taper down at the ends, and they're perfectly arranged for a plush, full look. They give me the lashes that I've always dreamed of achieving with mascara but never quite managed. I reckon you could wear these without people knowing they're fake. In fact, they're so easy to wear that I wonder why I bother with mascara at all... I might as well just slap these on every morning (if I wasn't so worried about my eyelashes falling out due to overuse of false ones).

Ardell Babies

From the Ardell Invisiband natural range

Ardell Babies (natural)

Ardell Babies are three quarter length strip lashes which are longer at the outer end. They're identical to the Andrea Modlash #53 also in my order. They're so natural-looking, you could almost miss them. This style doesn't excite me much... they're just a bit meek, like false lashes for beginners. I prefer the full and voluminous look of Ardell Luckies on my eyes. Plus I've never really suited that feline extended-outer-corner look.

Ardell Fairies

From the Ardell Invisiband glamour range

Ardell Fairies (glamour)

Ardell Fairies are similar to Ardell Luckies but much longer, a tiny bit less densely-packed, and with more variation in length between the short and long strands. The strands are slightly criss-crossed at the base. They achieve long, wispy lashes without being overly-dramatic and I like the way they're shorter at the sides.

Gypsy Lashes #92

Gypsy Lashes 92

Gypsy Lashes style #92 are really pretty lashes. They're full length, longer in the middle and shorter at the ends. They achieve a full look despite not being densely-packed. They have the same lash length as Ardell Fairies but I find them less interesting to look at.

Gypsy Lashes #94

Gypsy Lashes 94

Gyspy Lashes style #94 are different to all the other styles because they're really dark and dense (almost opaque) at the base and not on "invisiband" spines. If there wasn't the random variation in length, these could look really cheap. But instead, they give a striking, fluttery look which would really make the eyes stand out in photos. Like my other favourites from the bunch, these are longer in the middle and shorter at the ends. Andrea Modlash #81 is an identical style which I didn't manage to get hold of this time.

Andrea Modlash #53

Andrea Modlash 53

Andrea Modlash style #53 are identical to Ardell Babies (further up the page) as far as I can tell!

Duo eyelash adhesive in dark tone

Duo eyelash adhesive dark tone

I hesitated before buying this tube of Duo eyelash adhesive because I've never had a problem with those tubes of Eylure glue that come with lash packs. But I now know why it's the best-selling eyelash adhesive brand - you only need the tiniest amount for it to secure lashes onto the eyelid and it's waterproof. Plus the dark tone is great because any visible blobs will much less noticeable. I don't agree with the thirty seconds they advise waiting before placing the lashes though. The glue would be dry in patches by then, risking the lashes peeling off later.

The full ingredients of Duo eyelash adhesive are:

Water, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Dodecylbenzenesulfonate, Rubber Latex, Fragrance (Parfum), Formalin Solution, Ammonium Hydroxide.

Application tips if you're as bad at applying strip lashes as I used to be

I used to be the worst person ever at applying strip lashes but now it takes me just seconds. One thing I've found really helpful is to always use mascara on curled lashes before attempting to position the strip lashes. I used to think I could skip that step of the process, but I realised it's essential because the mascara stiffens and neatens up my real lashes, rather than them being all wispy (frizzy?) and hindering my view of the base of my lashes. It also gives the false lashes more structure to rest on top of so that they're less likely to be droopy or wonky.

When I'm ready to place the lashes, I find it easiest to hold the strip (on both ends) above my eye and behind my real lashes. Then when I think the outer end lines up with the outer corner of my eye, I lower the strip down until the outer end is stuck down in the correct position. I then adjust the rest of the strip by handling the lashes with a finger and thumb until the spine is in place along the whole length (but not fully stuck down). Finally, I use either my ring finger or little finger to press the spine/band down securely from the outer to the inner end.

Some people use tweezers for the adjusting and then the blunt end of the tweezers to press along the spine, but I find I have my control with my fingers.

Don't try to stick the spine on in one go... Start with the outer end first and move inwards.

The glue seems to make a massive difference too. I recommend Duo eyelash adhesive if you've struggled in the past with the standard white, gummy glue that comes in false eyelash packs.


I hope this post has been useful (seriously, I really hope so because it took me flippin' ages to compile). Do you find you stick to certain styles of false lashes too once you've found one you like?

By the way, I don't wear false lashes that often in case you're wondering. Just on the occasional evening out when I can't be bothered to fight with mascara on my stubbornly short and straight lashes. Oh, and when I wrote "natural-looking" in the title, I meant relatively natural-looking... more like... less fake-looking if you know what I mean.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo and Conditioner review: Worth the wait

Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo and Conditioner

If you read a lot of beauty blogs, you'll have probably already seen lots of rave reviews on the new Liz Earle Botanical Shine shampoo and conditioners. Having tested these out for the last couple of weeks, I'm giving Liz Earle haircare my double thumbs up too (particularly the shampoo). Feel free to move on if you've read enough!

However, if you haven't yet heard that Liz Earle have launched their first ever haircare products, here's my quick (I always say that) review.

Liz Earle is a brand I base much of my skincare routine on. I started using Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser and Instant Boost Skin Tonic almost a year ago, and I could never live without them now. When Liz Earle launched their shampoo and conditioners last month (after apparently six years in the making), I had high hopes. My early followers will know I'm very particular when it comes to shampoo and conditioner (hence one of my first posts).

Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo

For all hair types

There is only one shampoo in the hair care range. It's designed to be the "Cleanse & Polish" for hair, one shampoo for all hair and scalp types, as well being SLS/SLES-free and silicone-free. There's a lot of marketing around the range being innovative and plant-based blah blah blah, but I won't go into the detail because all I'm (and probably you're) interested in is whether it's nice to use and if it leaves my hair the way I like it afterwards.

You'll have to trust me when I say I've used a lot of SLS-free shampoos on my dry, sensitive scalp. Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo is miles ahead of all of them. The lather is so much more substantial and creamy, and a little goes a long way. No wonder it took six years to develop. With most previous SLS-free shampoos, I'd need to use literally handfuls of shampoo to get the amount of lather needed to cover my long hair.

The smell gets top marks too - it's clean, "botanical" and comforting... it reminds me of those "organic" baby shampoos middle class yummy mummies pick up from Waitrose. I know you know what I mean.

I see now why the range only needs one shampoo. This shampoo gets hair back to its natural, virgin state - it doesn't strip the hair nor does it deposit any oils, waxes and silicones onto the hair shaft or scalp. It makes my hair feel like a child's hair (remember those carefree days of only washing our hair once a week and it still looking clean, soft and silky?). This shampoo is detox for the hair.

This shampoo has done enough for me to say I will definitely repurchase it and permanently replace my favourite shampoo of three years, The Body Shop Ginger Anti-dandruff Shampoo. Yep, that's how much I like it.

The full ingredients of Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo are:

Aqua (water), Sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate, Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, Sorbitan sesquicaprylate, Glycerin, Cocamidopropyl betaine, Sodium methyl isethionate, Lauric acid, Vitellaria paradoxa (shea butter), Pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, Citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Phenoxyethanol, Panthenol, Citronellyl methylcrotonate, Trisodium ethylenediamine disuccinate, Sodium chloride, Limonene, Sodium cocoyl glycinate, Parfum (fragrance), Guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, Xanthan gum, Linalool, Citric acid, Methyl hydrogenated rosinate, Acrylates/C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, Phytantriol, Methylisothiazolinone, Biosaccharide Gum-1.

Liz Earle Botanical Shine Shampoo costs a surprisingly reasonable £7.50 for 200ml, from the Liz Earle online shop or other stockists.

Liz Earle Botanical Shine Conditioner

For dry or damaged hair

As my hair is long, highlighted and constantly being blow-dried on full blast heat, I have been using the conditioner designed for "dry or damaged hair". There are two other variants of the conditioner, for "normal hair" and for "oily hair".

I would say this conditioner is more like a "balm" than the average conditioner, due to the high concentrations of aloe vera, shea butter and various exotic oils. It doesn't contain silicones, so it won't slip through the hair as easily as other conditioners. But once it's on, it softens and detangles the hair and rinses out cleanly with no product overload. Like the shampoo, there's no temptation to use too much of it because it spreads surprisingly far over wet hair.

If you're looking for a high quality, silicone-free conditioner which feels like a treat to use and leaves the hair soft and fresh-smelling, I'd definitely recommend trying the Liz Earle conditioner for your hair type.

The only downside (for me) of this conditioner is that due to its "balm-y" properties, I find it takes a little longer to blow-dry my hair. While not at all heavy, the natural oils and butters on my hair slow down the water evaporating off, no matter how hard I blast my hair with the hairdryer. I get this with other brands of "natural" conditioners too. Drying my long hair is one of my least liked chores (it's up there with ironing), so it needs to take as little time as possible.

For that reason only, the Liz Earle Botanical Shine conditioner for dry or damaged hair will not completely replace my current favourite shampoo, which is Pantene Aqua Light Lightweight Nourishing Conditioner. It seems crazy to even mention Pantene and Liz Earle in the same sentence, but what can I say? My hair likes what it likes, even if that means replacing fancy botanicals for high-tech, fast-rinse silicones.

The full ingredients of Liz Earle Botanical Shine Conditioner for dry or damaged hair are:

Aqua (water), Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, Cetearyl alcohol, Behentrimonium chloride, Glyceryl stearate, Vitellaria paradoxa (shea butter), Calodendrum capense (yangu) seed oil, Pyrus malus (apple) fruit extract, Citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Crambe maritima (blue seakale) extract, Panthenol, Limonene, Parfum (fragrance), Butylene glycol, Isopropyl alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Cetrimonium chloride, Linalool, Benzoic acid, Phytantriol, Dehydroacetic acid, Benzyl salicylate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium hydroxide, Citric acid.

Liz Earle Botanical Shine Conditioner also costs £7.50 for 200ml, from the Liz Earle online shop or other stockists.

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