Content Beauty Haul

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I think everyone and their mother has seen Emma Watson’s interview with Into The Gloss in which she talked about her favourite natural/eco-friendly beauty routine products. I came across the post via Instagram a few weeks after I had decided to embark on this toxin-free journey and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was struggling to find information on natural products that were available in the UK and where to get them from and along comes Emma with a list of just about every step in my beauty routine #Emmaisgoals

I quickly made a list of everything she mentioned and began googling each product to find out where sells it and how much it was. I found a few different websites, one of which was Content Beauty which Emma actually referenced in the interview. It took me a few days to narrow down my list but I finally had a small handful of products I wanted to try out, and the great thing about Content Beauty is that you can select up to 3 samples with each order and they offer free worldwide shipping! Here’s what I decided to pick up:

RMS “Un” Cover Up Concealer in Shade 11

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I’d heard a few people talking about RMS and thought it was kind of expensive, and it is compared to the products I’ve been used to buying from the drugstore. But since looking more into natural products I’ve realised that RMS are on the lower end of the price spectrum, and to be honest I’d rather spend more on natural products than buy cheaper ones that fill my body with toxic chemicals. One issue I have with buying natural makeup is that I don’t have any shops near me where I can go and actually look at the products, so I resorted to googling swatches to figure out what shade might be best suited to me. The great thing about RMS is that most of their base products seem to have a yellowy undertone, which is perfect for my skin tone.

RMS Buriti Bronzer

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A lovely warm cream bronzer that goes on sheer so it should be super easy to apply. It doesn’t look sparkly or orangey, just the perfect amount of sun-kissed!

RMS Lip2Cheek in Modest

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A very pigmented cream lip and cheek colour, making it really easy to co-ordinate your makeup look. It looks darker in the glass container than it is when it’s applied. This product hydrates rather that dries out your skin and leaves a subtle healthy looking sheen.

Jane Iredale Liquid Eyeliner

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Super-fine liquid eyeliner that applies really smoothly and stays in place all day, with a long handle to make application easy.

Samples:

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The samples I chose were the John Masters Organics Citrus & Neroli Detangler, Pai Avocado & Jojoba Hydrating Day Cream and Rahua Finishing Treatment.

I’ve been trying out each of these products and I am so pleased with everything! I’ll have a review coming up on the RMS products soon, so make sure you’re following my blog so you don’t miss it.

What are your favourite natural beauty products at the moment? What do you recommend I try out next?

Love Jenna

PHB Beautiful Skin Set Review

PHB Beautiful Skin Set Closed 1
Today I’m reviewing PHB’s Beautiful Skin Set that I mentioned in my First Steps to a Non-Toxic Life post. I was full of fresh excitement to start trying out more natural products but I have to say I did not pick wisely and my first foray into the natural beauty world has been a bit of a let down.

PHB Beautiful Skin Set Open 2
The kit itself came in a nice, eco-friendly cardboard box and consisted of a pressed foundation powder, finishing powder, pressed powder blush and a concealer stick, which was on sale at the time for around £35. I had decided to pick up this kit as I was looking for a paraben free face powder and concealer to replace what I was currently using, and this seemed like a good way to try a few different things and get a bit more for my money.

PHB Mineral Pressed Foundation

PHB Mineral Pressed Powder
The shade I chose was Fair and when the kit was delivered I worried that I may have picked a slightly too-dark shade. I tried using it anyway and unfortunately, the shade choice was not my main issue. I’ve tried to apply this using a couple of different types of brushes but the result is always the same – cakey and patchy, something I haven’t experienced since my very early days of first using makeup and applying it too heavily. Not only did I look like I had a full face of makeup, I could feel it sitting on my skin too, and on top of that I looked quite shiny within a couple of hours wear.

PHB Concealer Stick

PHB Concealer
The concealer stick was not much better. It needs to be warmed up before applying, which wasn’t really a big deal for me as it only takes a few seconds to do. However, this was another product that applied cakey and creased terribly under my eyes. It made my skin look dry wherever it was applied and drew more attention to the areas I was trying to conceal.

PHB Pressed Mineral Finishing Powder

PHB Mineral Finishing Powder
The finishing powder wasn’t too bad, although it doesn’t seem to do much. It slightly lightens my skin and looks a little bit powdery. It also has a little bit of fine glitter to it, which leaves me with a slightly glittery face. It’s not something I would choose to apply all over, I’d use it as a highlighter but it doesn’t really highlight effectively either.

PHB Mineral Pressed Blusher in Peach

PHB Mineral Blush
The blush was darker than I thought it was going to be and had a slight metallic cast to it, so I was nervous to use this. However, I was pleasantly surprised when it blended out to a peachy flush with a bit of a glowy sheen to it. The colour looks quite natural and can be built up for a more intense pigment. Unfortunately my disappointment with the rest of the products makes me less inclined to reach for this one.

Makeup has come such a long way over the years, and it’s so easy these days to find drugstore makeup that looks and feels fresh and light on the skin. Unfortunately my experience with PHB has left me a little nervous to spend more money on natural products for fear they may all feel and appear heavy on application.

I did however catch Emma Watson’s interview with Into The Gloss and have ordered a few bits on her recommendation in the hopes they will be better quality. Stay tuned for a haul coming soon!

Tell me, what were the first natural products you tried? Have you tried anything from PBH, what were your impressions?

Love Jenna

First Steps to a Non-Toxic Life

Paraben Makeup 1

The book Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin really opened my eyes to how much the mind and your situation, environment, thoughts, and stress can affect your physical health. It’s a book I’d highly recommend and it was the exercises in this book that led me to realise I needed to help my body to heal itself by supporting its in-built detoxifying functions.

I knew an aspect of my life that had me coming into contact with toxins daily was my beauty routine. I’m a makeup lover, and even had a YouTube channel specifically dedicated to beauty products for many years. I had no clue about the ingredients that went into the products I was using, and even found myself thinking it a bit strange that other bloggers would sometimes post pictures of the ingredients list alongside a product review – how little did I know!

It can be overwhelming to try to overhaul everything all at once, not to mention expensive, so here’s my beginners baby steps into the realm of natural beauty products.

Step 1 – Research:

I sought out YouTube videos, blogposts and articles that focused on non-toxic products. There is a lot to take in, so rather than scaring myself into paralysation, thinking I had to change everything in my life all at once, I just made a mental note of a few brands that were recommended and a few of the more toxic ingredients to try and avoid.

Ingredients such as parabens, sodium laurel sulphate and perfume are a few that people mention most often as being toxic to the body in one way or another.

Paraben Makeup 3

Step 2 – Elimination:

Pick one or two ingredients that you’d like to stop putting on your body. For me that was parabens as they are one of the more toxic ingredients and are said to mimic estrogen in the body. Given my issues with endometriosis (you can read more about my story here), I figured cutting out parabens would be a good place to start.

Go through your makeup and beauty stash and make a pile of any products that include the ingredients you want to avoid. When I did this I found not all products had the ingredients listed on them so I referenced the EWG SkinDeep database as well as Googled the specific products to see what they contained. I was surprised by just how much of my makeup contained parabens, and gutted to find a couple of my favourites in that pile. But, my health comes first and luckily I had paraben-free versions of most of the items that I was now going to stop using. The only exceptions were my face powder and under eye concealer.

Tip! If there is a product you absolutely love, don’t feel like you HAVE to get rid of it. As I mentioned, it can be incredibly expensive to replace all your products, so continue using up your favourites and then replace them once they run out with something that has more natural ingredients.

PHB Beautiful Skin Set Closed 2

Step 3 – Experiment:

Now comes the fun part – getting to try out new green beauty products! A great way of trying out a variety of different brands and products is to sign up to a monthly subscription box. I went with LoveLula after seeing a few unboxing videos of it. Whilst on the site I had a little look around and decided to also pick up PHB’s Beautiful Skin Cosmetics Set as it contained a foundation powder, blush, finishing powder and concealer, which would give me something to replace my current paraben containing products. Once I’ve had the chance to try it out for a bit I’ll have a review for you!

These few steps should help you get started on your toxic-free journey and this is what I’m doing to start to cut down on the toxic load my liver is dealing with. I’m also trying to support it by drinking lemon water first thing in the morning amongst other things – let me know if you want to know more about the steps I’m taking to heal my body.

These steps might not seem like they’d make a lot of difference, but if you can’t afford to switch all your products over at once this is a great start. It will also make you more aware of what you’re putting onto your skin and give you time to educate yourself on why certain ingredients aren’t so great too. For me I just know that if I try to do too much at once I will get completely overwhelmed and not be able to change anything. I’d rather start small and gradually add in more and more good stuff whilst slowly phasing out the not-so-good stuff. I’m also on a bit of a budget so can’t afford to buy all-the-things!

As I said, once I’ve tried out my new products I’ll give you a review as well as an unboxing of my first LoveLula box. Let me know if you have any recommendations for inexpensive non-toxic beauty products to try that are available in the UK. Please feel free to share your journey to a non-toxic life in the comments as I’m sure it will be helpful for others and we can all learn from each other.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for more updates!

Love Jenna

Introductions: This is where my journey begins

I thought to kick off this blog I’d start with a little introduction. Hi, I’m Jenna! I live in the UK with my husband and 2 cats, and have just started to get into natural beauty products and learning all about it. I’ve struggled with some health issues over the past few years so now I’m trying to live a more healthy, natural life.

It’s taken me a little while to get on board the healthy train, and I’m still learning. But I thought I’d share with you my journey so far in the hopes it will help you understand where I’m coming from and if you’ve experienced something similar, maybe show you that you are not alone in this.

6 years ago my then boyfriend, now husband, and I had just gotten back from travelling the world for 6 months. We didn’t starve ourselves but weren’t eating the healthiest, most lavish of meals either (read: pasta and sauce most evenings). Once back I decided to come off the contraceptive pill as I wasn’t keen to continue pumping my body with fake hormones as I was experiencing a few side effects – whether this is related to the rest of the story or not, I’m not sure. A month or so later I started getting an upset tummy after most evening meals. After a couple of weeks of this continuing I decided to go to the doctors to make sure I hadn’t picked something up whilst I was away. My doctor informed me that I had had a bit of gastroenteritis that had damaged the lining of my intestine and left me with a temporary lactose intolerance. He told me it should only last a month or so but to avoid dairy products in the meantime. Six years later I’m still intolerant.

Moving to slightly more recent times: at the end of December 2015 I experienced some of the most gut wrenchingly painful periods of my life. I had suffered with cramps, queasiness and dizziness with my periods on and off over the past 4 or so years, but this was like nothing I had ever experienced before. I was doubled over in pain, my vision going black, even throwing up at one point, which for someone with a phobia of being sick was just awful. It was the kind of pain where when I was still I felt like I needed to move and when I moved I felt like I needed to be still. So I would kneel on the floor, slightly raising myself up because sitting flat on the floor was just too painful, and alternately rocking and becoming motionless, all whilst having to seriously breathe and moan through the pain. Not to sound melodramatic but I’ve heard people describing what contractions during labour feel like and it sounds pretty spot on to what I was experiencing.

I saw several doctors, most of whom gave me conflicting advice – don’t take this pill, take this pill – but from my own personal research all the signs seemed to point towards endometriosis. It got to a point where I was taking multiple pain killers every day for over a month and after having blood tests, internal exams and an ultrasound scan which showed a “dark spot in my right ovary” I paid to see a private doctor. It was so worth the money to have someone take their time with me and make me feel at ease and feel confident in their diagnosis. Not to bore you with all the details but the doctor said it most likely was endometriosis and between the doctor, my partner and I we decided it would be best for me to go back on the contraceptive pill. The plan was to take the pill back to back for 3 packets, have a 3 day break and then take the pill back to back for 3 months again. This would see me through my upcoming wedding and honeymoon over the summer and I could then stop taking the pill to start trying for a baby.

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So I got the prescription and started taking the pill. At the same time I continued to do my own research and found sites referencing a link between consuming animal products and inflammation in the body. I found this very interesting and decided to put it to the test. Overnight I became vegetarian. I had already been lactose intolerant for a few years by this point so was no longer consuming dairy anyway. The pain subsided and I gradually stopped feeling the need to take pain killers every day. After a couple of weeks of eating this way I found I was craving meat. Being new to not being able to eat a lot of the things I used to, I gave in and ate some meat – by the next day I was experiencing enough pain to want to take pain killers again. This happened 2-3 times before I finally got the message that animal products were definitely affecting the pain I was experiencing. Since then I have also cut out soya products and severely cut down on sugar where I can as I have noticed similar effects. Also, I never used to drink much – 1 drink a month at the absolute most – but I noticed again that when I would have alcohol the pain would flare up, so now I’m tee total.

Although my new plant based diet and the pill greatly improved the pain I was getting, when I took my 3 day pill break the intense pain I had previously experienced started to come back. As soon as I started taking the pill again it would go away, leaving me feeling like the only way to stop the pain indefinitely was to stay on the pill. I started researching more about reducing inflammation in the body naturally – what foods to include and avoid etc, but have recently been learning about how more than just food can affect the body.

Most recently I’ve been looking into the toxic ingredients in our beauty and cleaning products that can disrupt the body’s natural systems. One of the biggest ones for my own issues is ingredients like parabens, which found in a lot of beauty products. Parabens mimic oestrogen in the body and endometriosis is hugely caused by an excess of oestrogen. Alongside this I’ve learnt that it’s the liver’s job to remove excess oestrogen from the body but if it’s overloaded with toxins it’s unable to do it’s job efficiently and that’s where we start to see these health issues crop up. So, of course, I’ve been referring to Google to search for natural ways to help the liver do what it’s made to do.

Paraben Makeup 4

And that just about takes us up to now. I am still currently taking the pill as I do still experience a certain level of pain, both when I’m on the pill break and randomly at other times (such as when I’m stressed). To be perfectly honest my diet and exercise hasn’t been so great lately so I know I need to make more of an effort on that front. I also want to work on other ways of improving my health in a holistic way. My hope is that I can reduce the endometriosis to a point where I feel comfortable enough to come of the pill to start trying for a baby, and not be living in fear that the excruciating pain might return. So although I have been on this journey for quite some time now, I feel like in many ways it’s just beginning. I am starting to take a more active part in my own health and my own body, rather than just relying on pills or doctors who don’t always know what’s best for me and my situation. I know that if I don’t get enough sleep or eat crappy for a few days my pain flares up. I know if I’m overwhelmed I become lethargic. I can better recognise when I’m having an anxiety attack and am better able to calm myself down as opposed to freaking myself out that I’m really ill. And I’m hoping that by beginning the process of switching over to more natural products I will start to notice a positive improvement in my health too.

So this this little space of mine is going to be where I talk about the different things I’ve been trying to help improve my health in a more holistic way, and sharing the information that I learn along the way. I’ve also found it difficult to find information on natural beauty products available in the UK, so a huge reason I have wanted to start this blog is to inform all of you other UKer’s what’s available, where you can get it and my thoughts on individual products, websites and services. I’m sure the scope of this blog will grow and expand into other areas related to living a more natural life in it’s many forms, but I’m only one person, so just give me time!

If you want to connect with me, ask a question, form a friendship, suggest a blog topic or just trade ideas make sure to follow me on Instagram or you can send me an email at holisticden@hotmail.com I’d love to hear from you.

Love Jenna