Review: Alchemy Oils Grapefruit Hair Remedy

Wow, I can't remember the last time I actually did a dedicated product review! And, to be honest, I'm really late to the train with this one. Alchemy Oils is a well-loved brand within the green beauty community and only now have I been able to try one of their lovely products. I was kindly sent the Grapefruit Hair Remedy* to try and I really have been enjoying using it. Firstly, the packaging is absolutely stunning - I just adore the old-style apothecary look and the bottle looks so beautiful on display (what's inside isn't half bad either). 

I've always had a problem with hair mask oils - especially those marketing as 'repairing' - being too heavy for my hair. My hair is very thick, but it is weighed down very easy and so I have, for many years, just skipped the hair oil step in my haircare routine. And as you might of guessed from me writing this post, I have finally found one that doesn't do this - woohoo! It is not exactly the cheapest at £24 for 100ml, but if you don't use it very often, the bottle will last you a very long time. I also had concerns about the stopper lid being a bit of a gimmick (will I end up with oil everywhere?), but I can happily report that I haven't had any leaks or mishaps as of yet.

I have been using the Grapefruit Hair Remedy* as a leave-on hair mask, applying the oil liberally and leaving for at least ten minutes before washing out. In the past, I've had trouble with this method and other oils (straight coconut oil for example), often leave a gross residue that is still visible after a thorough wash. Luckily, I don't experience this with this product and I'm safe knowing that any applied product will be easily washed out, even when I'm in a rush.

This blend does contain coconut oil, but it is joined by a wonderful concoction of avocado, almond, and castor. It definitely has a thick consistency but as mentioned, I don't think this to cause too much trouble, even for my hair that is prone to oiliness. The blend is finished off with a touch of grapefruit essential oil which, while smelling gorgeous, works to reduce dandruff and calm an angry scalp. This is something that I most definitely have experience with and so I really enjoying the soothing effect that this oil has when I use it. 

I've also heard great things about some of the other blends in Alchemy's range, namely the Amla Hair Remedy that is scented with lemon to encourage a gentle cleansing effect. They also offer a Peppermint Beard Remedy - perfect for beauty bloggers with beardy boyfriends (like me!)

~ www.alchemyoils.co.uk ~

Ingredients: Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride (Fractionated Coconut Oil), Persea Gratissima (Virgin, Organic Avocado Oil), Ricinus Communis Seed Oil (Organic Castor Oil), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis Oil (Organic Sweet Almond Oil), Citrus Paradisi Peel Oil (Organic White Grapefruit Essential Oil)

 

Hygge for Self-Care

'Hygge' - the Danish concept of cosiness - had a bit of a moment towards the end of 2016. Countless books were published, claiming to unlock the secrets of Scandinavian happiness. I will admit, I was a little sucked in, especially as I was planning a trip to Northern Europe for the summer. Hygge can be implemented in nearly every area of one's life, and today I'm going to be focusing on implementing the ideas of 'hygge' into your self-care and suggesting some easy-to-source products (all available from LoveLula) to step-up your routine.

'Hygge (pronounced 'hue-gah') is a quality of presence and an experience of belonging and togetherness. It is a feeling of being warm, safe, comforted and sheltered.'
The Book of Hygge

Setting the mood
Creating a relaxing, safe, and cosy atmosphere for your self-care is really important. I suggest lighting a candle (as long as your living situation allows it), and something along the lines of this Joik Masala Chai soy wax candle* would be perfect as the warming spices really help to invoke a feeling of comfort in this time of year's harsh weather. A good herbal tea will also help to warm you up and calm you down. Beauty Brews offer a completely organic loose tea named appropriately 'Hygge'* made from beautiful ingredients such as orange, cinnamon, and apple. Finally, if a lovely smelling candle isn't enough for you, try an aromatherapy roll-on to calm the senses. I love the Ground roll-on from Yogandha*. Frankincense and sandalwood are great for crafting a 'hyggelig' atmosphere and this roll-on also doubles as a beautiful light perfume.

The beauty picks
To me, 'hyggelig' beauty products need to be natural, soothing, and multi-purpose. My first choice for this was of course the fantastic Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm*. This totally vegan balm is an amazing cleanser, moisturiser, mask, and more. The formula is oily-skin friendly (no coconut oil) and it's really affordable. I love to put a thick layer of this on before a shower as a mask but it's also great for removing makeup and/or giving your heels and elbows a little TLC. Check out my full review for more information. If you want a moisturising mask but your skin is definitively on the drier side, check out the Madara SOS Hydra-Moisture and Radiance Mask*. I find this to be a little rich for my combo skin but it would be a great option for those with drier skins who want something you can just slap on and leave overnight. You could also use the Lyonsleaf on your lips but for something more specialised, try BEING Lip Service*. Another completely vegan product, this lip balm has a really interesting mint & basil scent and its waxy texture is great for moisturising without being too greasy. BEING is a new company to me but their simple aesthetic and small-batch nature is really appealing.

Do you 'hygger'? What elements, for you, make up an effective self-care routine?

 

Good Intentions for 2017
Earrings: Oh My Clumsy Heart

Earrings: Oh My Clumsy Heart

I didn't particularly want to do a resolutions post this year (because I am quite rubbish at them), but I did want to partially keep myself accountable for some 'intentions' for 2017. I've been eating vegan since 2013, using green beauty since 2014, and in 2017, I plan on finally making some changes to other areas of my life. 

Towards the end of 2016, I started going to the gym more and semi-regularly attending yoga classes. I want to keep this up in 2017. I am a member of my uni's gym (even though I live 40 mins away) because it means I can make the most of long breaks between classes - which can sometimes be up to four hours long. I also want to make a conscious effort to bring a reusable cup with me everyday as I hate to think how many non-recyclable coffee cups I have used over my time at university, let alone over the course of my life. I'm rather excited about my new 24Bottles thermo bottle that is suitable for both hot and cold drinks. It has such a beautiful design and the 500ml capacity is perfect for uni. I'm feeling very inspired by the 'zero-waste' movement and I'm also looking to make some other minor changes such as purchasing a reusable safety razor rather than relying on plastic (how exciting).

I'm also doing a bit of an overhaul with my wardrobe. From 2017 onwards, I am going to make a serious effort to buy largely second-hand and only buy from sustainable companies if buying clothing new. However, exceptions will probably be made for certain items (like shoes), as my budget can only stretch so much and they're items that get worn often. I've worn my current pair of black Chelsea boots nearly everyday for the last year and a half. I would definitely say that's more sustainable than buying five pairs of eco-friendly boots that I hardly wear. Second-hand, vintage, and charity shops have always been a passion of mine (I love spending hours browsing) so I'm actually delighted to get back into using them. In terms of sustainable companies, I've already purchased a few basics from the fabulous People Tree. They're a bit expensive full price but so far, everything I have has been bought on sale or via their Amazon shop that stocks additional sizes to what is available on their own website. I'm very excited for their S/S '17 collection - some of the pieces look right up my street. As you can see from the feature image, I've also purchased these beautiful earrings from one of my favourite jewellery companies, Oh My Clumsy Heart. I've been eyeing them for ages and Christmas was a great excuse to just treat myself! Sophie - the owner - totally aligns with me in terms of values and ethos so it's a brand I'm delighted to support.

What changes are you looking to make or what good intentions do you have for 2017?

 

 

2016 Year in Review (including the best natural/vegan beauty!)

I understand that this is a little late, but it's finally time for my 2016 year in review post! 2016 was a good year for me personally (despite certain public events). I travelled to the Netherlands and Croatia, got my degree grades on track for my Masters application, and ended the year with a lovely 'stay-cation'; exploring the beautiful town of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Blogging also went well this year. I feel like I managed to avoid any long breaks, I contributed something to the Peridot, and was asked to join a major blogging programme. So, without further ado, let's get on to the five most popular KV blog posts of 2016: 

1. Review: Schmidt's Natural Deodorant Stick
2. H&M Conscious Beauty... To Buy, or Not To Buy?
3. Review: Kypris Beauty Clearing Serum
4. Review: PHB Ethical Beauty Botanical BB Cream and Pure Skin Foundation
5. First Impressions: Pacifica Makeup

And of course, now on to the part we've all been waiting for, my top green/natural/vegan beauty picks of 2016!

Bravura London Salicylic Acid 2%
Despite being the only non-natural product on my list, the Bravura salicylic acid peel has probably made the biggest impression on my 2016 skincare routine. I have been struggling with closed comedones on my cheeks and jawline for the last two years and this product seems to be one of the only things that keeps them at bay. Natural sources of salicylic acid (like willow tree bark) were, in the beginning, no where near strong enough for my acneic skin. So, this gem has really made a difference and I am finding myself relying on it less and less - definitely making it one of my top skincare products of 2016.

Skin & Tonic Coco Mask*
I was lucky enough to receive this as a Christmas gift from Skin & Tonic in 2015 and I have been loving it ever since. It's a wonderful gentle - but potent - mask with a coconut milk powder base that makes it perfect for a little face mask alchemy. I love mixing this with a brightening face oil and rosewater.

Green People Beauty Boost Skin Restore*
I waxed lyrical about this product in a full review so I won't harp on too much but this is pretty much the only water-based moisturisier I can use on my face. I find most to be too heavy, but this is perfectly nourishing while still feeling light. I definitely prefer to use face oils but I occasionally follow with this when my skin is really dehydrated. It's also great under makeup as it dries to a relatively matte finish.

Brija Cosmetics Gilmore Girls Matte Eyeshadows
To be honest, the entire Brija Cosmetics makeup line blew me away in 2016 but my favourite products have to be the matte eyeshadows, inspired by Gilmore Girls. Brianna has the greatest range of colours and every shade blends beautifully. If you're struggling with finding good natural matte eyeshadows, then I urge you to try Brija. Trust me, the loose formulation and ordering from the US is worth it. I'll be doing some swatches soon!

Mallow & White Soothe Cleansing Oil* (& Vedani Botanicals No. 21 Cleanser!)
I was gifted this cleansing oil at Gorgeously Green Gathering this year and I really do love it. I generally prefer lighter cleansing oils (like my beloved Vedani Botanicals) and this option fits the bill perfectly. I find it works quite similarly to the Vedani and so I didn't feel the need to include both on this list (and I don't have a bottle of the Vedani at the moment) but definitely check them both out. I've already done a full review of the Vedani and have a review for Mallow & White coming very soon in 2017.

Pai Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator*
This is 100% not a new product for me, but it's one that I have got some serious use out of in 2016. With my heightening use of acid products this year, my skin has occasionally looked a bit flaky. This is quickly remedied by Pai's wonderful exfoliator, a brilliant hybrid of physical and enzymatic exfoliants. I love using this in the shower (it can be a bit messy otherwise), and I'm not looking forward to it running out - which will probably be very soon.

Zuzu Luxe Liquid Eyeliner in Raven
I finally found the perfect vegan liquid eyeliner in 2016 in the form of Zuzu Luxe's Liquid Eyeliner in Raven. It's super popular in the US green beauty community and recently became available in the UK from Amazon. I was quick to try it and very quickly impressed. It's super easy for me to apply as the applicator is very similar to one I used in my teens, and it doesn't smudge too bad on me either. I'm currently loving a liquid eyeliner from Colorisi but this is the baby that saw me through 90% of the year.

Schmidt's Natural Deodorant Stick
This needs no introduction as my review actually made my most popular blog post of 2016. I've only ever tried two scents in this deodorant (the bergamot and lime being my favourite) so I can't speak for the whole line, but Schmidt's seems to be the only natural deodorant that has so far worked for me. They recently brought out a baking soda free version that I am super excited about (as I do get a little irritation these days) and I'm excited to try that one next.

What are your top five products for 2016? I would love to know!