Hand it over

balancemeNow this is a goody: Balance Me’s award winning Super Moisturising Hand Cream

The first thing that hits you is the lovely thick texture; it’s super creamy and as you rub it in the lavender scent blasts out. It soaks in well, leaving a nice oily sheen on the nails. My hands instantly felt softer and I couldn’t stop sniffing them!

Made with organic shea butter and packed full of other essential oils such as patchouli, lavender, bergamot and geranium, the key active ingredients are benzoin and yarrow, which the ancient Egyptians used to embalm people. Gross, but who am I to argue with history? If this mummy lasts half as well as those ones…

The slight greasiness might put some people off but I love it. And with calming lavender it’s a great one for keeping by the bed and putting on last thing at night.

At £14.50 for 100ml it’s not cheap, but you don’t need much as it’s really rich. Worth the investment.

Right, I’m off to have a browse of their website: https://www.balanceme.co.uk

Balance Me Super Moisturising Hand Cream: £14.50 for 100ml

Natural credentials: 98.8% of ingredients are of natural origin (plus the shea butter is organic).

Available from: Balance Me; John Lewis; LookFantastic.com (free delivery)

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Colour me beautiful…

OK, so I’m just going to come straight out with it. The other night I cheated. On my hairdresser…

I’ve been using L’Oreal’s INOA hair dyes for years, brazenly masquerading as a red-head when I am, in fact, a mousey brunette. I thought that INOA’s ammonia-free colour was about as gentle as permanent salon colour could get. But after my last colour treatment I had a really bad reaction. I’ve always suffered discomfort both during and after hair colouring, but this was even more intense than usual and I spent most of the night rubbing oil into my scalp desperately trying to calm it down. My titian days were numbered.

Or so I thought…I remembered a friend who had raved about Aveda so I did a bit of research and discovered that Aveda’s permanent hair colour uses plant-based dyes and is 97% natural. I can live with a measly 3% ‘unnatural’ if it keeps my roots at bay so I trotted along to my local Gina Conway Aveda salon on the King’s Road. Obligatory patch test successfully completed and sold on the Aveda hair colour philosophy I waited for my appointment to come around.

The colouring session started with a relaxing massage and a cup of Aveda’s own ayurvedic tea. So far, so good. As the colour went on I smelt the overpowering whiff of ammonia. Technically, ammonia is a natural ingredient, but I still felt a bit duped. And a familiar tingle spread across my scalp…

BUT after a moment the discomfort passed (apparently this is normal) and the rest of the session was tingle-free! And the colour was fantastic.

Shiny happy hair!

That night my scalp and I slept happily. I didn’t even feel like I’d had colour put on. Never had my head felt so comfortable after salon colouring.  All these years I thought ammonia was the enemy but it was the other chemical nasties. Hoorah!

My best friend, Inma, followed my lead and had her colour done at Gina Conway in Westbourne Grove. She too was thrilled with the results, “It’s soooo shiny!”

Thanks to all the uber friendly staff at Gina Conway Aveda salon on the King’s Road for the fabulous treatment.

Dr. Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

I’ve used quite a few Dr. Organic products (available at Holland & Barrett) over the years with varying results. In general, I’m not a big fan of their shampoos…

Dr Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

Unfortunately, their Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo is no exception. It’s very difficult to work through the hair and lather, despite the fact it’s got sodium lauroyl sarcosinate in it (so not that natural). My (dry and curly) hair felt really “stripped” after I rinsed it, which isn’t what I expected from a product with ‘oil’ in its title. Maybe this would suit very greasy hair types.

The smell was another bugbear; I felt like I’d been transported back to one of those hippy shops from the 90s where you buy incense sticks and suns and moons to hang on your walls. Woof.

But I had a total Jekyll and Hyde moment when I used the conditioner! Pow! It smelt divine: spicy, (that’ll be the clove oil), exotic and good enough to eat! Its detangling properties were also fantastic – I used less than I normally would and it was knots out and smooth hair in. No mean feat when you consider my curly and coarse mop of locks.

There’s lots of hype about argan oil and I wouldn’t like to say whether this was the magic ingredient or not. But I would certainly rate this conditioner. On a recent trip to Morocco we picked up gallons of argan oil and I’ll be putting it to the (not terribly scientific) test soon. More in coming weeks.

Dr. Organic Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner: £5.99 each

Natural credentials: Lots of natural and organic ingredients and free from parabens but contains sodium lauroyl sarcosinate to get the shampoo foaming, which didn’t even work. Think of these as naturally inspired and striving to be as nasties-free as possible without compromising on performance, rather than 100% bona fide chemical-free.

Available from: Holland & Barrett