Review: Inika Certified Organic BB Cream Foundation
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When I really fall in love with a product, it often happens that I forget to write a proper review as I'm too busy loving and using it. As much as this is a good thing, it often means I fail to share my fabulous discoveries. This is much exemplified by my feelings towards the Inika Certified Organic BB Cream Foundation*.  I fell in love with this product as soon as I started using it and I proceeded to use it almost religiously over the latter part of summer and autumn. I have always preferred the texture of BB creams to traditional foundations as, as much as I do suffer from acne, I do not enjoy the feeling or look of anything too full coverage. I like my skin to look like skin. This is definitely the feeling that I get with the Inika BB cream. It offers enough coverage to even out redness and cover small blemishes but is still natural enough to preserve my skin's own look and glow.

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I am using the shade 'Cream,' which despite not being the palest shade (shock horror), blends out into a shade that works perfectly for my neutral/yellow-toned skin. I was originally worried about about the formula being too moisturising for my combination skin. Luckily it is just fine and any excess oil is kept at bay with some powder, either translucent or a powder foundation for some extra coverage on special occasions. I am very much glad that it does not contain any coconut oil - something that is very common with BB creams - and so, even with all the oils, it has never been too heavy or caused any breakouts. 

It comes with the familiar BB cream claims of being a foundation, moisturiser, and primer in one but I will admit that I am yet to use it without some other kind of moisturiser underneath. This is mainly due to its lack of SPF (possibly my only criticism), and so I have been using it along with my favourite Hynt Beauty SPF - a mainstay of my long and everygrowing list of products to review on the blog.

If you are looking for a BB cream, I would urge you - no matter your skin type - to try a sample. Inika samples are readily available (and very well-priced) via the Lovelula website and have free delivery worldwide.

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Current Favourites
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What better way to jump back into blogging than with some current favourites? I haven't disclosed too many products here (I thinking about getting back into monthly favourites), but I have been solidly using and loving these products for the last few months.

Starting with makeup, I've been using the Everyday Minerals Matte Base almost every day since I got it and I've actually nearly used it up already. I was recommended this by the lovely Sarah after I declared to stop using Alima Pure after discovering that they used carmine - something than I despise and seemed to have missed beforehand. And I'll be honest, I do really see much difference between the two products. The shade ranges are very similar, and the formula also seems to work in a very similar way on my skin. You may need to use a bit more of the EM foundation but I can still get a medium coverage that looks natural and skin-like. As mentioned, I am nearly out of this and so it definitely didn't last as long as the Alima but that's a compromise I am willing to make in order to support a 100% vegan company over one that uses such a barbaric ingredient. Everyday Minerals is also a great deal cheaper. You can either get it from Cocktail Cosmetics in the UK or (for an even bigger saving), ship it from iHerb.

The PHB Ethical Beauty Natural Mascara* is something I have mentioned before but a while ago they went through a particularly disastrous repackaging which left the mascara almost unusable. I am happy to report that we have now returned to the old packaging and the product is now back to its former glory. I always recommend this to people who are used to conventional mascaras as it is the most volumising natural mascara I have tried and it also has a similar price point to high street options.

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I've also been loving my essential oil diffuser recently. Mine is just a random cheap brand one from Amazon but I really like the faux wood detailing. You can also change the colour of the light and the timing of the mist. I've been using it alongside some blends from Tisserand and my favourite has been the Winter Warming Blendperfect for this season. This blend uses eucalyptus, clove, and rosemary and although not traditionally 'Christmassy,' definitely makes you feel all cosy and in the winter spirit. 

And of course, no favourites would be complete without some Isla Apothecary. I've been trying a good variety of Isla's products and the Immortelle Scar & Blemish Oil* has to be one of my top picks. I am sceptical of any product that claims to fade scars but I find this to be a really nice facial oil for oily/acneic skins and despite the slightly odd smell (similar to tobacco), I really enjoy using it. It's not too heavy, but still leaves my skin moisturised and glowing while helping to take down the redness and inflammation that comes with acne.

If you're interested in either the Isla oil or PHB mascara, Lovelula currently have a Black Friday promo on and you can save 15% with the code FRIDAY until 2nd December!

What have you been loving lately?

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Review: Green People Oy! Organic Young Skincare
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The Green People Oy! Organic Young products have long been a staple skincare range for young and teenage skin that is susceptible to acne and/or congestion. Recently the range has been given a new look and I was lucky enough to receive the new and improved selection to test. This couldn't have come at a better time as I have recently been dealing with a flare of cystic acne along my chin and jawline. I was also sent the Organic Young deodorant* but today I shall be focusing on the Clear Skin Foaming Face Wash*, Clear Skin Cleansing Moisturiser*, and the Clear Skin Purifying Serum*.

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I have already mentioned the Clear Skin Foaming Face Wash* in my recent skincare routine update and I have been continuing to use it over the weeks since. Unfortunately, this is still probably my least favourite product. I am unsure whether it is just because I am used to more active formulations, but I don't feel that this actually does much for my skin. I like a foaming or gel cleanser to be slightly resurfacing (via chemical exfoliations like salicylic acid), and although this cleanser contains willow bark extract, I don't think it is strong enough for my hardy skin type to have much effect on my acne or clogged pores. However, saying that, it does make my skin feel wonderfully clean and soft and so I still like to use it on my skin in the shower - for example after I have been working out or when my skin doesn't require a more thorough cleanse. The very light texture is also very pleasing when you are all hot and bothered, and it would be great during the summer months. 

I'm don't sure whether I have given the Clear Skin Purifying Serum* a fair run as of yet but it reminds me of more conventional spot treatments but with of course, far more natural ingredients. Like many of the acne serums I have tried, I find this to be more cooling and soothing than it is healing, but this is very welcomed when you are dealing with red and painful cystic acne. 

My favourite product of the lot has to be the Clear Skin Cleansing Moisturiser*. If you have been reading the blog for a while, you will be aware that I am a massive fan of Green People's Beauty Boost Skin Restore and really enjoy it as a daytime moisturiser. This Clear Skin Moisturiser really reminds me of that product and if you have found the former to be a little heavy for your skin, this may be a good alternative. It's lovely and light while still being moisturising enough for skin that may be a little dry from acne-fighting active ingredients. It sinks in quickly and sits perfectly under makeup. I've been reaching for it on a regular basis when I know I'm going to be spending most of the day inside. As much as this product may benefit from its own SPF, I appreciate the flexibility that is afforded by it being left out. When skin is angry, a solid, simple routine is required and the lack of SPF means that this product can be used both day and night. I feel that this is especially important within a range aimed at younger people as there isn't always the budget for a more expansive skincare collection. The entire Oy! range is great value for money and although cheaper options can be found on the high street, it's definitely a more accessible range within the green/natural beauty sector. 

Overall this range is a triumph in terms of making cleaner beauty more accessible to younger people, both in its value and its likeness in feel to more conventional products on the market. Definitely one to consider if you're looking to introduce a younger family member to green beauty - but also a fantastic range for anyone of any age with skin that is prone to acne and similar issues.

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2 Vegan-Friendly Multipurpose Balms
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This article was first published on the now defunct LoveLula Blog. It has been re-published on Katie Vibes with their permission. 

One of the hardest beauty products to find as a vegan is a good multipurpose balm. These balms are great because they can be used for nearly everything and you can get them for all kinds of skins. They can be used as a cleanser, mask, moisturiser, or as a heavier balm for keeping elbows and knees in check. Balms are the 'classic' green beauty product but they often come with animal-derived ingredients such as beeswax. However, there are vegan balms available and they're just as good as their non-vegan counterparts...

Skin & Tonic London Calm Balm
Although Skin & Tonic aren't a completely vegan brand, they have some really amazing vegan options and one of them is their fabulous Calm Balm. Calm Balm is a shea butter based balm enriched with lavender. It's mainly marketed as an aromatherapy balm but I've found that it works great for so many other things. For example, it isn't too rich to use as an overnight balm on oilier skins and when my skin is a little flaky, this is the first thing I reach for. I also love to use it as a protective layer before a particularly hot shower. The texture is quite hard but all you need to do is warm up a little in your hand before applying. The packaging is really beautiful and so, if you do choose to use it as a night time sleep balm, it's gonna look good on your bedside table. The Calm Balm is £23 for 5og or £10 for a cute mini size, perfect for your handbag.

Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm
Lyonsleaf create really effective products that are all water-free. This means that they don't require the usual preservatives needed for water-based products. So, if your skin is really sensitive, this might be a better option for you. Their Beauty Balm has a much softer texture than the Skin & Tonic and so makes a great balm cleanser; my face has never been so clean! This also makes a wonderful moisturising mask that can be left on overnight. The Lyonsleaf Beauty Balm won silver in the FreeFrom Skincare Awards 2014 and so you be sure that you're getting quality product. It's also really affordable at only £12.95 for 55ml (that goes a really long way!)

What other great vegan balms have you come across?

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