In Review: L’Oréal Elvive Extraordinary Oil Masque

I’m on a journey towards greater acceptance and love for my natural hair, shrinkage et al. I love braids, I love weaves and I will rock a wig well okurrr. Protective styles are much easier than having to do my hair every evening or in the morning, however the neglect has been real. This past month (nudged by encouragement from my fiancé,) I made the decision to wear my natural hair out. Thankfully it’s spring…or at least it was spring freak cold weather arrived, which means I can wear my hair out. Months of protective styling and very little conditioning has meant that my hair is more than just a little bit parched. I count my lucky stars that it’s just a little bit of dryness that can be remedied. The road to recovery for Sahara desert dry hair is paved with good conditioning days. I decided to use a mask(masque) that I’ve never paid attention to before…mostly because my hair was always in braids. If I’m being honest, the reason I chose it was because the tub said the masque had an exotic floral smell that a lot of other reviewers said perfumes the hair. I am the biggest sucker for any product that smells good, it’s the easiest way of convincing me to buy something that I don’t really need.

Love a good turban to camouflage bad hair days!

Ingredients: 1149617 A – Ingredients: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Paraffinum Liquidum/Mineral Oil, Dipalmitoylethyl Hydroxyethylmonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Esters, CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide, CI 77491/Iron Oxides, CI 15985/Yellow 6, CI 19140/Yellow 5, Chamomilla Recutita Extract/Matricaria Flower Extract, Mica, Cocos Nucifera Oil/Coconut Oil, Trideceth-6, Chlorhexidine Digluconate, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil/Sunflower Seed Oil Nelumbium Speciosum Extract/Nelumbium Speciosum Flower Extract, Linum Usitatissimum Flower Extract, Amodimethicone, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Caramel, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower, Extract, Rosa Canina Flower Extract, Bisabolol, Cetrimonium Chloride, BHT, Citric Acid, Glycine Soja Oil/Soybean Oil, Fragrance. (F.I.L. C160552/2).

My experience: I almost didn’t buy this masque because of the presence of Paraffinum Liquidum, mineral oil to you and me. However I am no longer the militant natural that I used to be so that didn’t stop me. Prior to using this masque, I had shampooed my hair and sectioned it into a quadrant. Sectioning clips have been a real game changer in my routine. You don’t realise how much you need them until you have them. I towel dried my hair and proceeded to apply the masque. Straight off the bat, the slip was not the greatest and I was nervous! Considering that I had just henna’ed my hair, I wanted to cry (not even kidding) at the thought of having wasted 20 minutes of my life, and some money on a conditioner that would walk out on me and my curls! I persevered and fully saturated my hair from root to tip. The masque has an exotic floral smell that is not at all overwhelming which I quite liked, now if L’Oréal could bump the oils up to the top of the list, that would be great! I sat underneath my hood dryer for 20 minutes and then rinsed off with cool water. The moment of truth…

Deep conditioning with my precious niece ♥️

When I tell y’all my hair has NEVER been this soft or tangle free, what kind of magic is that! I combed through my hair using my Babyliss copper coated detangling comb (which I might add is amazing) without getting caught on any knots or tangles. I then continued with my normal routine of twisting my hair to get a bit of a stretch out of it and that was it. I am pleasantly surprised by this mask, considering how sceptical I was about it, it shut my mouth right up.

I was crying on the inside at my shrinkage 😂

Would I re-purchase? No. Even though it left my hair feeling great, I do believe that there are products within the same price range (or more if you’re fancy) that work the same, or even better with the added benefit of having ingredients that love on your kinks just right!

In Review: Lulu & Marula

I have been so excited about this brand for a VERY long time!!! I can’t remember how I discovered the brand, probably through a random Google search, but boy am I glad I did! This year has been ALL about my skin. The old me would spend her hard earned cash on yet another pair of leggings, the 2019 me, researches skincare products that will enhance and improve what she already has…why am I speaking to myself in third person? Back to Lulu & Marula. One of the things that I connected with was the brand story. Lulu & Marula or L&M for short, source all their ingredients ethically using pure botanical and plant-derived ingredients. None of their products contain artificial colours, fragrances, parabens, petrochemicals, synthetics or other harmful ingredients. They don’t test on animals, and all of their products are endorsed by Beauty Without Cruelty.

L&M was founded in 2013 by Jesslynn Shepherd, Monique Spaltman, a professional skincare scientist joined the team later on. Monique heads up all product research, development and testing. This was what sold me on the brand, the fact that they aren’t just a natural brand (everyone is these days,) but the fact that they research the why behind a product formulation. It’s very much on trend to slap ‘all natural’ on beauty products these days but they’re often the least natural of ingredients and created by people who perhaps don’t have the science know-how behind why they’ve put a certain ingredient in a product.

L&M are based in Cape Town, there is free delivery if you spend over 600. Side note: isn’t it funny how we baulk at a R50 delivery fee regardless of how much we’re spending on what we’re buying? I ordered on Friday and my delivery arrived on Tuesday. I was notified via SMS while at work and I’m not kidding when I say it was all I was thinking about!

I ordered three items from L&M: the purifying treatment oil, the purifying mask & polish and the calming body balm. I’ve listed below the ingredients for each product, as you can see, it is PROPER CLEAN BEAUTY!

Purifying Treatment Oil: Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Crambe Abyssinica (Abyssinian) Oil, Squalane, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil, Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Salicylic Acid, Jojoba Esters , Tocopherol Acetate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Cera, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil, Malaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil, Lavandula Augustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Oil, Acacia Decurrens Flower Cera, Polyglycerin-3.

Purifying Mask & Polish: Bentonite, Kaolinite, Moroccan Lava Clay (Rhassoul), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea), Montmorillonite (French Green Clay), Nettle Leaf, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root, Salix Alba (White Willow) Bark, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Oil, Bromelain, Papain, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Oil, Carum Petroselinum (Parsley) Seed Oil, Malaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil.

Calming Body Balm: Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Mangifera Indica (Mango) Seed Butter, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Crambe Abyssinica (Abyssinian) Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Seed Oil, Sclerocarya Birrea (Marula) Oil, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Tocopherol Acetate, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens (Geranium) Oil, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Lavandula Augustifolia (Lavender) Oil.

My experience: If anyone ever tries to sell you on the idea of how glamorous an MSc. is, don’t believe them. Last night I had a moment of panic while assembling my testing kits and thought it as the perfect opportunity to unwind with a face mask…maybe I just needed an excuse to use the mask & polish, we’ll never know. I started off by cleansing my face with the Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus facial bar and then used a face cloth to get rid of the excess water. The instructions say to take a teaspoon of the mask and mix with an equal amount of water (I used rosewater). I found that a teaspoon made more than enough mask than I needed, maybe I just have a smaller face than most haha. As you apply the mask you get a gentle exfoliation and a divine smell that jumps out of your skin! I left it on for 10 minutes and then rinsed with lukewarm water. My skin was baby bottom soft, radiant and clean without that stripped bare feeling. I followed up with the purifying treatment oil which gave my skin a glow without it looking or feeling oily. This morning I’ve already received 3 compliments on how good my skin looks and for a girl with acne scars here and there, I can hardly believe these people are talking to me. In regards to the body balm, again like the treatment oil and the mask & polish, the ingredients are stellar however (perhaps it was due to having a headache last night,) I am not yet on board with the smell. It’s has all my favorite oils, the calm of lavender, the warmth of ylang ylang, but my ongoing headaches won’t yet let me enjoy it! I promise to update once I’ve used it a bit longer.

The products that I selected are best suited for blemish prone skin that needs a bit…a lot of TLC. All of the ingredients used have a benefit to the skin and aren’t just being used for the sake of use…remember when argan oil was a buzz? I have been using rosehip oil on my face for a couple of months now and I have seen a huge difference in tone and texture of my skin. I am 110% confident that the addition of L&M to my skincare routine will only improve it. I can see it already! L&M definitely have me on board as a customer for life. Their service has been nothing short of amazing and I love the personal touch and beautiful attention to detail. I wish I had a better camera to show you all the gold lettering on the packaging but if you want to see that then I guess you just have to buy it 😉

Shop for Lulu & Marula over here —> www.luluandmarula.co.za

Don’t believe my review? Check my face out!

In Review: Mini LUSH Haul

Recently LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics launched a couple of new products. These included five new hair conditioners, which have since gone off the grid, and a host of other bath & body goodies! The LUSH junkie that I am, of course I wanted it ALL of them but it would have been ridiculous for my bank balance to suffer so much damage in one big swoop. I settled for a few items, some of which my dear boy surprised me with for my birthday last month.

J’s Mom Okra is the conditioner that was described as being best suited for afro textured hair. The minute you open the bottle you’re hit with a peppery fresh smell that lingers in your hair long after you’ve rinsed it off.  J’s Mom’s Okra contains castor oil which is great for promoting hair growth and sealing moisture, something that afro textured hair needs loads of, okra gel for slippage when detangling (with this conditioner, I’d recommended very light finger detangling), lavender and rosemary oil amongst a host of other great ingredients. The first time I used it was as a light leave-in, which was recommended on the LUSH UK website, I discovered that the product contained little green bits, which I’m assuming is the okra gel. These pieces flake off easily but this was a factor that ultimately led to it being struck off the leave-in conditioner list. I desperately wanted to love it but ultimately it came down to the fact that there are much cheaper conditioners that do the same thing for less. Overall rating 6/10

Yog Nog Perfume was the purchase I was most looking forward to. In my almost 2 years of working at LUSH South Africa, Yog Nog remains an iconic smell that I wanted in every form possible. I went on about it for days when I missed out on the Yog Nog body lotion, but lucky girl that I am, my boy ended up surprising me with this for my birthday. The smell is sweet yet not in an overwhelming way. There’s a spicy undertone that warms your nose as you spray it. Once it settles on your skin, the smell transforms to warm butterscotch scent that reminds me of my boy each time I miss him. The perfume has great staying power, I could still smell it on my clothes hours later, as well as on the areas on my body that I had sprayed with Yog Nog. Overall rating 10/10

The high hopes that I had for Yog Nog perfume, trickled into the shower jelly. Sadly I was bitterly disappointed. I have used LUSH shower jellies in the past and most of them lather and clean pretty well while leaving your skin subtly perfumed. This one took quite a lot of rubbing to get a lather on it. I tried a washcloth, a shower loofah, a body brush and while each of this helped in getting a smidgen more lather out of the jelly, it was a rather disappointing purchase. The smell is true to the Yog Nog scent, however it does not last. Overall rating 4/10

I wasn’t ready for this jelly and how disappointing it was 😦

Hard-core LUSHIES will be familiar with the HIWTK and It’s Raining Men scent. Caramel undertones boosted by freshness from the citrus essential oils used. I was hoping that Noni I Washed the Kids would smell similar, if not completely identical to HIWTK shampoo bar. When I opened the tub I was underwhelmed. While the smell was similar to HIWTK solid soap, the citrusy elements of this lotion were overpowering and produced a smell not entirely reminiscent of the toffee and sweet undertones present in other products from this range. As a body lotion, it is moisturising, my skin felt supple to the touch and lightly scented for hours. This along with Yog Nog shower jelly are purchases that I wouldn’t repeat. Overall rating 5/10

American Shower Cream is  only a tiny bit edged out by Yog Nog perfume when it comes to my favourite items. To me this is one that they got spot on. If you’ve used American Cream conditioner before, the smell is exactly what you get in the shower cream. A small quantity lathers up beautifully and cleanses your skin without stripping it of its natural oils. The strawberries lend a fruity undertone that is balanced by the clary sage. My only regret is not having more of these babies on hand, which I may or may not remedy… Overall rating 8.10

In review: Superlatte Golden Cup Latte Blend

I know they say money makes the world go round but without coffee, I doubt the world would keep spinning. I used it to survive long days of lectures after even longer nights of partying studying when I was at uni.  I lived for that caffeine buzz and it quickly spiralled into an addiction. One night, my heart racing I called my poor mum in South Africa (I was in London,) and told her I was dying. Examinations by my GP revealed that the excessive consumption of caffeine was the culprit,moderation is key he expressed.  

Fast forward to now being a more health conscious 20-something year old, I was delighted to try out Superlatte’s turmeric,cinnamon and ginger golden latte blend. I am a big fan of golden lattes. The very first one I ever made was a simple paste of 1 tablespoon of turmeric, a pinch of black pepper and organic virgin coconut oil to which I added soy milk and brought to a simmer. I loved the earthy taste from the turmeric and anyone who knows me, knows that I’m addicted to coconut oil.
Superlatte makes the process just as easy for you. All you have to do is add a tablespoon or 2 of organic virgin coconut oil to 3 teaspoons of the golden latte blend,make a paste and add 1 cup of steamed milk or your favourite non-dairy milk alternative, whisk it up, serve and enjoy. I even had some edible gold glitter that made this the most fun latte I have ever had!

Why should you be drinking golden lattes?

The secret ingredient to golden lattes is turmeric. Turmeric has been used for thousands of centuries in India because they’re well aware of the immune boosting properties that this spice possesses. It boosts the antioxidant capacity of your body and contains a compound known as curcumin which has anti-inflammatory properties and aids in boosting brain function. Coupled with two of my other favourite anti-inflammatory & immune boosting spices;ginger and cinnamon, this is definitely a super-latte blend! There’s a pleasant tickle in your throat that you get from the ginger and black pepper, then there’s the warmth from the cinnamon that made this a very comforting drink. I’m a recovering sugar fiend and I need sweetness in everything, so I appreciated the addition of the unrefined organic coconut blossom sugar which gave it a pleasant but not overwhelming sweetness. I had my latte before bed and because it’s caffeine free, you don’t have to worry about any caffeine related jitteriness or caffeine induced insomnia. Coupled with the scent of one of my favourite LUSH perfumes, I’m Home it honestly felt as though the person who feels like home to me (my boyfriend) was hugging me. I really do find any way possible to gush about my boy don’t I? shrugs

You can find Superlatte at Wellness Warehouse , Yuppiechef  or you can buy directly online from Superlatte. (superlatte.com)

They have five other variants which I’m hoping to try soon… can you say Christmas? First up on my list is Purple Poet (sweet potato,cardamom & cinnamon) followed by Green Dream (matcha & mint), Red Velvet(beetroot & cocoa), Cosmic Choco (chaga cocoa & maca root), and Ruby Chai (rooibos, honeybush & masala spice) The brand is 100% plant-based, preservative free and GMO free.

You can also keep up with their beautiful creations on Instagram.