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: Pixi Glow Tonic

Last night I was speaking to the love of my life when he said something that made me chuckle, as I think of it this morning, I’m happy my efforts are starting to pay off and show off as well. It’s been just under 2 months since I started using the Pixi Glow Tonic religiously! The reviews that I trust the most are the ones where said reviewer has used the product more than once, in fact the longer the length of time, the better and more trustworthy the review…in most cases at least.

I am on an endless quest to have healthy skin. As a teen I picked at every spot and the reminders are still there however instead of letting it get me down, I focus my skincare on using products that exfoliate, brighten and repair. On their website, the Pixi glow tonic is described as a highly concentrated and invigorating facial toner. I used my skincare mule aka the boy to bring some over for me from the UK (purchased on Cult Beauty) as it was cheaper. A mere £18.00 for a very generous 250ml. This toner contains 5% glycolic acid which is the exfoliating part of the toner. It also helps in wiping away impurities and brightening your skin. The directions say that you can use it in the morning & evening to balance, soothe and brighten your skin.

Full ingredient list: Water/Aqua/Eau, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycolic Acid, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut) Seed Extract, Hexylene Glycol, Fructose, Glucose, Sucrose, Urea, Dextrin, Alanine, Glutamic Acid, Aspartic Acid, Hexyl Nicotinate, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Biotin, Panthenol, PPG-26-Buteth-26, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance (Parfum), Caramel, Red 4 (CI 14700).

My experience: Prior to purchasing this I read the reviews and amongst all the brilliant things that people had to say about it, there were a few reviewers that said they didn’t notice a remarkable difference. However, based on probabilities of great reviews over not so great, I had everything to gain and nothing to lose. I washed my face using African black soap and followed with the toner. I then applied my facial oil along with Vichy’s dark spot corrector and went to bed. I followed the same routine in the morning with the addition of an SPF 50 sunscreen. After 2 months I have noticed that my skin is a lot more radiant however I have a sneaky suspicion that the radiance is due to other products in my arsenal (and being madly in love because apparently you glow differently when you’re in love,) and not the glow tonic.

On days where I forgot to use it, I did not notice a difference in my skin texture or appearance. In fact my worst skin days occurred when I hadn’t exfoliated with a physical exfoliator or done a face mask. My skin isn’t particularly sensitive so I did not feel any tingly or burning sensation when using it. Overall I would not purchase the Glow Tonic again, it was good but just not good enough.

The Skincare Edit

I have one year to go until I turn 30, YIKES!!!  While I am excited to join the dirty 30s club, turning 29 was a wake-up call to taking better care of my skin. In my teens the most I did was use any bar of soap that was in the bathroom to clean my face and then apply PONDS Vanishing Cream, did you even experience adolescence if you didn’t use PONDS? Then puberty hit and along with the point 1 percent increase in bust size, so came the acne. My acne prone areas (to this day,) are my chin and forehead. I didn’t know better then but I would attack every spot with my fingernails, it was satisfying to squeeze the gunk out and now…I pay for it with leftover scarring 😦

Invest wisely. Do you research and read reviews. I promise R+F is worth it! You are worth it! wbeverley.myrandf.com

The scarring I have on my chin led to me trying SO many different products, some legit and some not so legit. I’m now at a stage where I have found the things that work for me and are the mainstay in my skincare routine. DISCLAIMER: you cannot stumble your way into great skin, it takes some work and the sooner you start, the better it is for you. Today I am damn proud of the skin I have because Lord indeed knows how I have fought for it!

Excuse the bad brows, this was before I got them permanently shaped. Peep the glow!

Daytime routine: Depending on how I slept, I always cleanse my face for a minute (I saw this on Jackie Aina’s skincare routine,) using African black soap. The one I use is by a brand called Corium. I purchased it from Faithful to Nature and got it almost as quick as I had ordered it! Real black soap isn’t black but more of a dark brown colour and squidgy to the touch. Black soap is made of cocoa pod ash, plantain peel ash, palm kernel oil and camwood bark. These are all naturally derived ingredients sourced from Ghana. A number of people who have used black soap praise it for improving their skin tone, discolouration and hyperpigmentation. I also love that it leaves my skin feeling clean but not dry. Once I’ve cleansed I pat my skin dry and spritz it with rose water and seal it all in with my homemade lemon and sweet orange oil moisturiser. I am very big on facial oils and while one oil in particular, coconut oil gets a bad rep for its comedogenic rating, I find that on my skin it works. Once I’ve let the moisturiser sink in, I then apply my SPF 50 sunscreen by Nivea and then I’m done for the morning…unless I’m wearing make-up!

Night- time routine: My night-time routine is the one that takes the longest but is the one worth investing in the most. Step one ALWAYS starts with cleansing the grime of the day. If I’ve been wearing makeup I’ll use a gel cleanser to get most of the make-up off and then I’ll go in with a facial brush to put the cleanser to work and get all of the make-up off. I know we all wish the assistants on our phones could do it for us, but I cannot stress how important it is to thoroughly cleanse your skin if you do wear make up! If you don’t wear make up, you’re not getting a gold star for me, it all has to do with preference and one is not necessarily better than the other.

Since I’ve started taking care of my skin, I find that I don’t need as much foundation as before which means less make-up to wash off, I don’t know about you but that sounds like a win to me! Once my face is cleanse, I then use the Vitamin C Glow Boosting Microdermabrasion scrub by the Body Shop. I’ve tried a few products from the Body Shop and this is the only one that has stuck and worked for me. It leaves my skin softer, brighter and ready to drink in my night cream.

Sometimes if my skin really needs it, I’ll go in with a mask, the one I always reach for is the Coconut & Hibiscus Radiance Mud Mask by Shea Moisture. The Songyi Mushroom Extract helps in brightening, softening and nourishing the skin. Unlike most mud masks that often leave your skin feeling Sahara desert DRY, this one doesn’t!

I then use a toner to rebalance my skin’s pH balance, I am currently using the Glow Tonic by Pixi Beauty. This toner contains glycolic acid to gently exfoliate the skin and restore brightness and reduce hyperpigmentation. Ginseng to improve circulation and energize the skin and aloe vera to soothe and hydrate. I love the way it makes my skin feel!

I then apply a targeted serum, the one I use is the ProEVEN Night Dark Spot Corrector by Vichy, it works like a BOMB, my spots definitely look a lot better since I started using it. To finish off I apply my night cream also by Vichy, the Idéalia Night Cream. If there’s one product I would highly recommend, it would be this cream. It has a lovely gel-like texture and feels cool on the skin. I always wake up looking a lot more rested with plump looking skin to rival any 20 year old. I then seal it all in with rosehip oil and jump into bed!