Beauty products explained – Face Wash vs Cleanser

I am constantly changing what I use to clean my skin. I tend to use cleansers when my skin needs brightening and an infusion of moisture, and face wash when I’m having a break out. But I wanted to be sure I was doing the right routine and really understand the difference between a face wash and a cleanser.


What do they do..

Face wash and cleansers ultimately do a similar job, they rid the skin of dirt, makeup, and excess oil. But what is the difference, and when should you use them?

Cleansers are non-foaming and more gentle on the skin with nutrients that moisturize and hydrate. Cleansers also dissolve away excess oil, makeup and grime from your face rather than penetrating deep into the pores. If you have been exposed to a lot of dust and pollution or if you’re wearing makeup, it would be a good idea to use a cleanser first, before using a face wash.

A face wash, is a foaming liquid that acts more like soap, to remove deep seated dirt and grime. Face washes are a little harsher and thorough compared to a cleanser. The right wash should leave your skin feeling clean and refreshed. Face washes should not be used more than twice and a day due to the removal of your skins natural oil.


How to use them..

For those of us that wear makeup or are exposed to a lot of pollutants, I would always recommend a double cleanse. The first cleanse should rid the skin of surface dirt and if you are wearing makeup, use a cleanser designed to remove it as not all cleansers are. (If you are unsure to check the product label.)This will then prepare the skin for a second cleanse. Just like starting your beauty regime with a blank canvas. 

The second cleanse should provide for the needs of your skin, whether that be a deeper clean to unclog pores (face wash) or softer surface cleanse (cleanser). This is then your opportunity to decide if you would like to use your face wash or cleanser.

Top Tips

  • If your skin starts to feel dry and tight after using your face wash – switch to a new product as this may be removing too much of your natural oil
  • Not sure what cleanser is right for you? Have a look at my post here for your cleanser 101
  • You should always follow your cleanse with a toner, click here to read my post on why this is so important


A more natural way to get those pearly whites..

I have always wanted to try a more natural toothpaste but I was unsure about what brands to try and how effective they would be. Reading multiple reviews and feedback online, many brands do not have the minty fresh taste and teeth rarely feel as clean.


I am extremely particular in what I want from my toothpaste and I have never been the type of person to buy just anything offer. Toothpaste must be very minty, reasonably priced, convenient to purchase and whiten my teeth – due to my rather excessive Tea addiction.

So I started reading a lot of post purchase reviews on the likes of Amazon, Holland & Barrett and other e-retailers to try to find a brand that could accommodate my slightly demanding needs. One brand in particular really caught my attention.


Ecodenta is a Lithuanian oral care company who combine science and nature.  Ecodenta  manufacture their products from natural and eco-friendly sources, without harmful or abrasive ingredients. Ecodenta toothpaste’s have been developed with extracts of 7 different herbs, to ensure a comprehensive oral care. Some of the toothpaste also contain Kalident, a natural source of calcium, that strengthens your tooth’s enamel and helps to avoid decay.



Ecodenta has a vast product range to suit all your toothpaste needs – perfect for the fussy buyers like myself.  I have included a few of the vast collection below;

Wild strawberry scented toothpaste for children with carrot extract & Kalident

Triple effect toothpaste with white clay, propolis and Teavigo

Whitening Toothpaste with black charcoal and Teavigo

Whitening toothpaste with mint oil, sage extract and Kalident

CODENTA COSMOS Organic toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums with natural salt and potassium citrate

I decided to try the Whitening toothpaste with mint oil, sage extract and Kalident – please note this particular toothpaste is not fluoride free. I purchased this from Holland & Barrett for £3.99 per 100ml – slightly more than I would usually pay for a toothpaste.


So how was it?

After a long day and many cups of tea, I was very excited to try the EcoDenta toothpaste. When brushing, I use an electric toothbrush to reach my very new wisdom tooth, which I unfortunately cannot reach properly with any eco-friendly toothbrushes – so recommendations welcome.

I used a large pea sized amount and started brushing, I initially forgot that this was not a standard toothpaste as it was definitely minty enough. After a few seconds, I did notice that there was not a lot of foaming but I didn’t feel this impacted anything in particular.  After finishing, I was left with a herbal minty taste similar to a mint tea. My teeth felt very clean but initially not as white as they usually look. I will continue to use the  Whitening toothpaste with mint oil, sage extract and Kalident but just monitor how white my teeth become. Overall I am happy to convert to Ecodenta and will be exploring some of the other products within the range.


If you are looking for a fluoride free toothpaste try the Ecodenta Extra Black Whitening Toothpaste with Black Charcoal & Teavigo. I will be reviewing this product in the coming weeks. smile-mouth-teeth-laugh-65665.jpeg

Please note that Ecodenta states that they do not test on animals, I have done my own research and I am personally comfortable at this stage that they are cruelty-free, however they are not certified by leaping bunny, PETA or any other certification. I will also be monitoring Ecodenta going forward.

What does each Vitamin really do for the skin?

The beauty industry is consistently bringing out brands with a key focus on specific vitamins, especially with the trending Vitamin’s E and C. So how does all this science actually help our skin and what should we be looking out for?


What is a Vitamin

Lets go back to basics and look at what vitamins are and as a collective do for the skin. Vitamins are organic compounds that are needed in small quantities to sustain life and are fundamentally responsible for a healthy body. The skin is the last organ to receive ingested vitamins, so in order to access the skin more effectively skin care products are now used.

Fat-soluble vitamin

Fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the fatty tissues of the body and the liver. These are easier to store than water-soluble vitamins, and they can stay in the body as reserves for days, and sometimes months. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble.

Water-soluble vitamins

Water-soluble vitamins do not stay in the body for long as the body cannot store them, because of this, water-soluble vitamins need to be replaced more often than fat-soluble ones. Vitamin C and all the B vitamins are water soluble.

A-Z of Vitamins 

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is also known as Retinol and comes with a huge number of benefits. Retinol is known to encourage healthy skin production which reduces acne, evens skin tone and encourages a glowing complexion. Retinol also stimulates the production of collagen so is a great ingredient to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin A should be applied at night and application should be limited to 2-3 times a week or as per your product instructions.


Vitamin B3

Vitamin B3 also known as Niacinamide, increases production of fatty acids and cerimides which are two key components of your skin’s outer protective barrier. A daily application of Vitamin B3 can reduce redness, blotchiness and sensitivity. Vitamin B3 also reduces the transfer of pigment to skin cells, minimizing dark spots.

Vitamin B5

Vitamin B5 is also known as Pantothenic Acid and helps to keep the skin healthy and attractive in appearance, with broad abilities to moisturize, soothe, heal and regenerate the skin. Vitamin B5 also helps to slow down the appearance of premature aging on the skin such as wrinkles and age spots.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy nails, hair and skin because it contributes to cell reproduction. Vitamin B12 benefits the skin by reducing redness, dryness, inflammation and acne and can be applied to the skin for psoriasis and eczema.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a multi-beneficial ingredient which evens and brightens skin tone, improves your skins texture and helps to combat environmental damage. Vitamin C also helps to increase the production of collagen in the skin. In order for Vitamin C remain stable and work effectively, it must be stored in an opaque air tight container and is usually found in moisturisers.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is very popular for treating Psoriasis symptoms including itchy and flaky skin. Vitamin D3 contains strong anti-inflammatory properties which make it effective for treating burns, skin injuries, skin damage and stretch marks.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is great for boosting hydration, reducing inflammation and preventing free radical damage that can lead to pigmentation and damaged elastin. Vitamin E hydrates, prevents water loss, and soothes so it is good for both sensitive and aging skins types.

Vitamin K

Vitamin K is applied to the skin to remove scars, stretch marks, spider veins, bruises, and burns. It can be used to treat rosacea, a condition that causes redness and pimples. Vitamin K also has the ability to strengthen the walls of capillaries and is generally used in eye creams to reduce the appearance of dark circles.

Know your stuff..

If you use different vitamins within your skin care products, be sure to know exactly what you are putting on your skin, especially as some ingredients should not be combined. For example applying a Retinol (Vitamin A) which increases the production of skin cells with a Glycolic Acid, which removes the top layer of the skin, would result in flakiness and dryness – not a result I would personally be trying to achieve.

My recommendation with any skin care product is to read the label so that; 1. You know what ingredients you are putting onto your skin and 2. Understand how to apply the product effectively to achieve the best possible results.



The hair care brand that brought my hair back to life

Hair care was a range of products I particularly struggled with to find a Cruelty-Free brand that actually made my hair look great. My hair is naturally mousy brown and can be extremely dry and frizzy, so I needed a product that added moisture, tamed frizz and could give my blonde ends some gloss – sounds like I was looking for a miracle.


After visiting my local beauty wholesalers and talking to an extremely helpful sales assistance I was introduced to Maria Nila.

Who are Maria Nila?

My first thoughts were who are Maria Nila and why have I never heard of them before. Well Maria Nila is not your average hair care company – they are 100% vegan and cruelty-free, certified by Leaping Bunny, PETA and the Vegan society (so there really is no confusion) – if you are not sure what the certifications mean click-through to my post here. If that wasn’t enough Maria Nila also climate compensate the packaging of their full product range – so every time you purchase a Maria Nila product, you contribute to the planting of new trees in South America. So all the ethical boxes are ticked – but how does product quality compare.

The collections 

Maria Nila has the following product ranges;

Head & Hair Heal, True Soft, Pure Volume, Structure Repair, Luminous Colour,  Sheer Silver, Colour Refresh, Style & Finish, Minerals, Maria Nila Soaps

I have mixed and matched three different ranges into my one routine to try and manage all my hair care needs.


I chose to use the Head & Hair Heel shampoo, as I often suffer from a sore and flaky scalp. The Head & Hair Heel shampoo is an anti-inflammatory, hair growth stimulating shampoo that uses natural Aloe Vera extract to treat and prevent scalp problems, with Vitamin E to stimulate the hair follicles for increased hair growth. Due to my large head of thick unruly hair, I usually have to use around a palm of product but with Maria Nila, I only needed half. The instructions advise you to massage the shampoo into the head and hair then rinse.


After the first use I noticed that my scalp wasn’t dry and after two days, didn’t start to flake. I no longer had the embarrassing “dust” on my black jumpers. After three uses my hair felt stronger and after five uses I no longer had issues with my scalp – I am still using this today and have no problems.


After heeling my head with the Head & Hair Heel shampoo, I decided to help my dry, frizzy hair become soft and silky. The True Soft range is designed for coloured hair, using aragn oil to moisturise and revitalise dry, brittle hair and help reduce the loss of color usually associated with washing and heat styling.


I cannot begin to describe how much I love this conditioner. My hair is soft, silky and smooth without being greasy. After using the hairdryer I don’t look like a crazy poodle – I have a less crazy beach wave going on. I use my trusty large paddle GHDs to straighten out the waves with my hair usually deciding to go static, but this didn’t happen.

Colour Refresh

I love having my hair cut and coloured but as it is so long and thick it can become really expensive, so I only get it treated 2-3 times a year. Thank goodness for the ombre and balyage trend!

Maria Nila’s Colour Refresh range is a great fix for in between treatments and doubles as a nourishing hair masque. The masque contains temporary colour pigments that come in 13 different shades;

Pearl Silver, Vanilla, Sand, Bright Copper, Autumn Red, Cacao Red, Cacao, Cacao Intense, Black, Pink Pop, Azure, Vivid Violet, Bright Red, White Mix

The various pigments can never brighten up an already existing colour and only work on coloured hair, with the result depending on the hair’s existing colour or quality. You can mix the different shades together to get your perfect pigment. The Application was relatively simple; Shampoo your hair and then apply the Color Refresh to towel-dried hair. Let the product sit between 3- 10 minutes,  then rinse the hair and finish with conditioner – using supplied gloves.


I used the Pearl Silver to rid my hair of the slightly warmer blonde tones that lurk within and left the Colour Refresh on for 8 minutes.

My hair did not turn out silver but looked as if I had been to a salon for a toner top up – and I am really pleased with the result. The most impact this Colour Refresh had however was how incredible my hair looked and felt after using it. Soft, silky, glossy and in great condition even though my last haircut was 4 months ago.

The Verdict…

Maria Nila is 100% winning on product quality. I am not saying this brand is a miracle to the hair care industry but alomost and I absolutely love it. I can honestly say my hair and head is in the best condition it has ever been.


Click here to see the Maria Nila range Maria Nila

Cruelty-Free – Understanding who is, isn’t and the in between

Starting my new life Cruelty-Free was not as simple as I first thought it would be. There are so many companies that claim to be Cruelty-Free that do test on animals and lots of logos that sit alongside products to verify their Cruelty-Free status. So what is the “gold” standard and how do these other certifications fit in.

If I’m honest I felt utterly confused about what I should look for, that at one point I stopped trying anything new and stuck with one or two trustworthy brands. But where is the fun in that!


So what does Cruelty-Free actually mean?

The term Cruelty-Free refers to animal testing only, not necessarily the wider animal cruelty issue. A company that claims it is Cruelty-Free is suggesting that they do not test their products on animals.

And what does Vegan have to do with cosmetics?

Vegan is used to describe something that does not contain anything derived from an animal, therefore Vegan approved cosmetics do not contain any animal by products – this however cannot be used as a reference to animal testing. So for the purpose of this post, I will not be discussing how to determine if a product is Vegan.


Unfortunately the term “Cruelty-Free” and “Not tested on animals” are often thrown around by companies but not always regulated. So pretty much any company could say they are Cruelty-Free, when they aren’t.  I know, what hope do we have finding these companies who really are legitimate, well Leaping Bunny is leading the way in terms of gold standard certification.

Leaping Bunny 

Leaping Bunny has become the international gold standard of Cruelty-Free certification due to the commitments expected by companies who pass and maintain a strict set of criteria including;

  • Introducing a fixed cut-off date after which none of their products or ingredients are tested on animals
  • Establishing procedures for verifying the strict implementation of the fixed cut-off date with product manufacturers and raw ingredients suppliers to monitor their supply chains
  • Adopting an animal testing policy verified by Cruelty Free International
  • Allowing independent auditors to evidence compliance with Leaping Bunny criteria


PETA – Beauty Without Bunnies

PETA validate if a company is Cruelty-Free by either signing PETA’s statement of assurance or providing a statement that verifies they do not conduct or commission any animal tests on ingredients, formulations, or finished products and pledge not to do so in the future. peta-bunny-2


Choose Cruelty-Free

Choose Cruelty-Free (CCF) is an Australian based organisation and to become accredited by CCF, you must fill in a questionnaire & application for Accreditation (Q&A), including a legally binding contract.  If companies use third parties to manufacture their products, they are also required to submit a completed Q&A and supporting documentation.


The declared but not accredited 

Some companies may claim the following, meaning that the products and its ingredients were not tested on animals, however not all with have accreditation from Leaping Bunny, PETA, CCF or other accredited organisations to verify these claims.

No animal testing
Not tested on animals
We don’t test on animals
Against animal testing

In an ideal world, I would be happy accepting these statements with no evidence but unfortunately this isn’t the case. Companies can legally state they are Cruelty-Free but not comply with the standards set by Leaping Bunny, PETA, CCF or other accredited organisations, by commissioning third parties to conduct animal testing on their behalf or using their ingredient suppliers to conduct animal testing on the raw ingredients.


In my opinion you cannot go wrong with looking for the Leaping Bunny logo and using PETA’s App “Bunny Free” for clarity. I have looked into doing research of my own with particular companies but as this is time-consuming and nowhere near as thorough as the accreditation’s above, I try not to rely on this completely.


Budget Beauty – The balm that does it all

I have tried so many multi-use miracle balms that claim they can do everything, after trying them I am bitterly disappointed to find out they are only good for dry lips. Most balms are to thick to put on my hands and stay greasy for a really long time. With the UK currently so cold outside and warm inside, my skin has been crying for some TLC.

Dr Lipp’s – Original Nipple Balm for Dry Skin, Luscious Lips & Glossy Bits – £12 per 15ml


This award-winning balm is made from only one natural ingredient, medical-grade lanolin from free-roaming sheep down under, with no additives and definitely no animal testing.

Dr Lipp’s Nipple balm is great for all skin types, it is not addictive, allows the skin to breathe and also helps your skin to regulate its own moisture balance. So basically Dr Lipp’s Nipple balm helps fix the problem instead of trying to cover it up.


I personally use Dr Lipp’s Nipple balm for the following and had amazing results;

  • Chapped lips
  • Dry cuticles
  • Dry nose 
  • To tame my often flying frizzy ends 
  • Keeping my eyebrows in place
  • Dry patches on my hands
  • Anywhere my skin feels sore or overly sensitive

But there are so many more uses that I haven’t had the opportunity to try yet..

Treat chapped lips, Long lasting lip gloss, Lipstick primer, Softens dry cuticle & skin, Eyelash conditioning, Breast feeding, Eyebrow shaping, Glitter glue, Shine up scuffed heels, Touching up a moustache, After-sun, Babies bottoms, Sore spots on the skin, Cheek shine, Under foundation for a flawless finish, Sore noses, Pigment mixing and the list goes on…..

So for that go to beauty product that does even more than it says on the tin, I would highly recommend Dr Lipps Nipple Balm. I will definitely keep this handy 3ml squeezy tube in my bag at all times!


Click here to purchase  – Original Nipple Balm for Dry Skin, Luscious Lips & Glossy Bits

Keeping it clean – A simple way to talk all things Cleansers

The role of a cleanser in your beauty regime is to remove make-up, dirt, dead skin cells and pollutants from your face. Cleansers also help to unclog pores and prevent nasty skin ailments such as acne.

There are so many Cleaners available on the market today but having too much choice isn’t a good thing, if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. One thing to remember is that not all of these cleansers will be suitable for your skin type and personal preference plays a huge role in finding the right product. So where to start…

1. Gel Cleansers 

Skin Type: Oily, Combination

Gel cleansers are transparent or clear and have a soft jelly like texture. Gel is a great way to clean deep into the pores of your skin helping to reduce excess sebum production and keeping acne at bay.  Remember that Gel is activated by water, so have a damp face before applying with your fingertips.


2. Cream Cleansers 

Skin Type: Dry, Sensitive 

Cream cleansers are thick and feel more like a night cream than a cleanser. Cream cleansers contain moisturising ingredients like botanical oils, therefore gently cleanse your skin without stripping it. Cream cleansers should be applied directly onto dry skin, massaged in and removed with either cotton pads or cloths. Although there are some great products on the market, I just don’t feel super clean when finished. This could be psychological as I’ve not used any water but it also left my skin feeling slightly oily – I have Normal/Combination skin.

3. Oil Cleansers

Skin Type: Most Skin Types 

My personal favorite are oil cleansers, as I have found an incredible product – listed below in my cleanser recommendations.  I know, using oil as a cleanser sounds slightly crazy but trust me it works. An Oil Cleanser works wonders on removing everyday and waterproof makeup, softly, without drying the skin.  If you do choose to use an oil cleanser it is really important you wash it all off thoroughly with a wash-cloth so your skin is clean for the remainder of your regime. Oil can act as a barrier, so you want to ensure you skin can absorb all of the lovely products you apply after the cleansing stage.


4. Milk/ Lotion Cleansers

Skin Type: Dry, Sensitive

Milk and Lotion cleansers are a thinner consistency to cream cleansers but should be applied in the same way. Remember, applying Milk or Lotion cleansers to damp or wet skin will dilute the product and the Cleanser will be less effective.

5. Butter & Balm Cleansers

Skin Type: Sensitive, Dry, Combination

Cleansing balms and butters are gentle, nourish the skin instead of stripping it and are amazing at removing dirt and impurities. Most cleansing balms and butters should be warmed up in your hand, then applied to dry skin. You can add a bit of water for easier use as you massage it on your skin. To finish, rinse it off with warm water and a muslin cloth. The Oil from the balm can act as a barrier, so you want to ensure you remove it completely. Balms and butters in my experience provide great results but take slightly longer to apply and remove properly.


6. Foam Cleansers

Skin Type: Combination, Acne prone

Foam cleansers are ideal for removing oil, layers of makeup and even waterproof makeup. Some Foam cleansers can be a little bit harsh since they’re made to slightly dry out the skin, so make sure you buy one that includes some form of oil to provide a more nourishing experience. Remember that foam is activated by water, so have a damp face before applying with your fingertips.

7.  Micellar Cleansers

Skin Types: Dry, Sensitive

I have tried Micellar cleansers and personally these are not for me, I just don’t get that deep clean feeling but a lot of my friends continue to rave about them. As Micellar water doesn’t have to be the most expensive product in your regime, I would say give it a go – I have recommended by favorite Micellar cleanser below. Micellar waters feature “micelles” or oil molecules suspended in water, which attract oil, dirt and makeup, making the removal simple. You do not need to wash this off with water, but you do need to use cotton pads or a more Eco-friendly alternative to wipe away the dirt, makeup and impurities.

8. Clay Cleansers

Skin Types: Oily

Clay cleansers are thick and creamy and can be various different colors including grey, white and pale green. Clay is suitable for oily skin due to the deep cleansing and pore tightening properties. To use, put the clay into your fingertips and add water to transform it to a mousse like consistency. Gently massage the cleanser onto your face using circular motions. Once you’re done doing that, rinse thoroughly with warm water.


9. Powder Cleansers

Skin Types: Oily, Sensitive

Powder cleansers have been around for some time now but are becoming a lot more popular. These cleansers are powdery soft and disintegrate into a creamy mixture  when combined with water. Powder cleanser thoroughly cleanse your skin while providing a light exfoliation. You can use them every day even on sensitive skin.

10. Sponges, Mits and Cloth Cleansers

Skin Types: Oily, Combination

I am a fan of the micro fiber cloths every now and again, especially when I have got in from a good night out with a full face of makeup. These cleansers are made with special fiber and don’t usually require the use of any additional cleansing products to thoroughly remove makeup and impurities. They are quick and easy to use with a wet, wipe and go approach. I have found though, if I use this everyday my skin looks a little dull and dry.

My Cleanser Recommendations.. 

Cloth Cleansers

Magnitone – London Wipeout! The Amazing Microfibe cleansing Cloth – £14.99 x2 cloths


This Magnitone Microfibe cloth needs to be put into a 30 degree wash before the first use to activate the fibres. The first time I used this cloth I was surprised to see how quickly  and easily my makeup came off and how clean it felt. The Magnitone Microfibe cloth also comes with a handy hanging tag to hang out to dry after use. I tend to use this twice before washing again, one side per use and only every now and again. I found using this everyday made my eyes and my problem areas (nose & chin) dry out.

Click here to purchase the Magnitone Wipe Out The Amazing MicroFibre Cleansing Cloth x1

Oil Cleanser

Elemental Herbolody – Vital Cleanser – £29 per 100ml (Currently on sale £23.20)

This is my all time favorite cleanser. The Vital Cleanser lasted me two months and I used this religiously every evening and most mornings. The Vital Cleanser is a lightweight oil made with Manuka Honey, Vitamin C, Papaya extract and Green Tea – this sounds more like a super-food smoothie than Cleanser. The Vital cleanser made me want to put more makeup on just to take it off again.

Butter Cleanser  

Organic Pharmacy – Carrot Butter Cleanser – £43 per 75ml


Yes this is a pricey product and I would not say this should be your first butter or balm experience as they are not for everyone.  If however you do really like Butter cleansers this is a fantastic combination of ingredients including Shea Butter, St Johns Wort, Lavender, Carrot and Rosemary. The smell is delightful and the butter almost melts away makeup and dirt from the skin. 75ml doesn’t sound a lot but used correctly, this tub goes a long way.

Click here to purchase the The Organic Pharmacy Discovery/Travel kit

Micellar Water Cleanser

Sanctuary Spa – Foaming Micellar Water – £8 per 200ml

IMG_1949The Micellar water from Sanctuary Spa is simple and effortless. The key ingredients are rose-water and argon oil, which in my opinion are super-foods for the skin and great to reduce redness. The pump on the bottle pushes the micellar water out as a light fluffy foam which prevents too much product being poured onto the cotton pads. I used a delicate sweeping motion to remove my day makeup, which was quick and simple. This product was a delight but as I mentioned earlier, I do prefer using a different type of cleanser which requires water to finish cleansing my skin.

Click here to purchase Sanctuary Spa Foaming Micellar Cleansing Water 200ml