Saturday, 19 October 2013

Brand Review: Jennifer Young Defiant Beauty

Disclaimer: I received these samples for free to review. This only affected my opinion in that I now have one about these products.

A bit about Jennifer Young ( to start off with. It's a company that does skincare, mostly for troubled skin. Their ranges are Unique Skincare, Eczema-Free Beauty, Remove & Improve, and Defiant Beauty. Unique Skincare is highly customisable made to order products - something I would definitely look into if you have reactions to most ingredients. Eczema-Free Beauty is pretty obvious. Remove & Improve is for teenaged or blemish-prone skin. Lastly, Defiant Beauty, the range I'll be reviewing today, is designed for those affected by cancer. All their ranges are based on natural and organic ingredients, and many of their products are available in convenient trial sizes that are excellent both for travel and for trying out the products.

I have the opportunity to review four of these excellent products - the Cleansing Balm, Itchy Skin Oil, Nail Oil, and Lip Balm.

First up, a cleansing balm. This is a lovely soft balm which glides on to the skin - important for a fragile skin! It is incredibly rich, with no discernible smell. I have been removing it with a muslin cloth, although the directions say to use cotton wool. I find it isn't great for clearing my pores, but my skin feels beautifully soft and not at all irritated after I use it, which is pretty unusual for me. I won't, however, use it as a mask treatment, although I'm sure it could be used that way - my skin doesn't like beeswax. That's my particular skin quirk, though, and most people wouldn't have a problem with it.

Ingredients: Mango Butter (Mangifera indica L), Butyrospermum parkii (Shea Butter), Prunus armeniaca (Apricot Kernel Oil), Calendula officinalis (Calendula oil), Cera flava (Beeswax), Tocopherol (Vitamin E).

I also tried the Itchy Skin Oil. I actually used this one on my scalp - I've been having serious issues with a dry, itchy scalp for months, and this is the first time I've found anything that calms it down even momentarily. And believe me, I've tried just about everything! (Tar, sulphur and coconut oil treatments stink a lot, fyi). It's a very light oil - it was immediately absorbed into my skin, and my hair didn't look at all greasy - and unlike coconut oil, I didn't have to shampoo numerous times to get it out. It has a very faint scent - I had to rub it on my nose to smell it - slightly sweet, slightly herbal. I'm going to keep applying it to the itchy patches for a week or so, and maybe, just maybe, banish my itches.

Ingredients: Apricot Kernel Oil (Prunus armenica), Sunflower Oil (Helianthus annus), Peach Kernel Oil (Prunus persica), Calendula oil (Calendula officinalis), Rosehip oil (Rosa rubginosa), Vitamin E (Tocopherol).

Next, the Nail Oil. I generally don't use products of this nature at all, although my weak, fragile, flaky, bendy nails tell me I probably ought to. I've been trialing this as part of my manicure regime. It doesn't have a smell, absorbs quickly, and a little goes a long way. It will probably take a month or more of regular use to see if it's actually having an effect on my nails, though - and the tiny little trial size will last me a lot longer than that, I suspect, so long as I don't knock it over when it's open.

Ingredients: Peach Kernel Oil (Prunus persica), Macademia Oil (Macademia integrifolia), Vitamin E (Tocopherol).

Last, the Lip Balm. It has a slight smell of ginger, which I quite enjoy as a change from the usual sickly sweet and overpowering smells/tastes of many lipbalms. It's effective in combating my chronically dry, chapped lips. The formula isn't so soft it squishes all over the place, and isn't so hard it's difficult to apply. It absorbs quickly, and plays nicely with lipstick. I will probably buy this product - once I run out of my first one!

Ingredients: Sweet Almond oil (Prunus amygdalus dulcis), Cocoa Butter (Theobroma Cacao), Beeswax (Cera flava), Ginger essential oil (Zingiber officinale), Blood orange essential oil (Citrus aurantium amara).

All in all, I think these are very high quality products, which I would unilaterally recommend to anyone with dry and sensitive skin. I am glad I got the chance to test them, and I intend to explore the range further soon.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Looking for a camera upgrade.

Most of the photos on this blog are taken with my trusty Logitech webcam, but the quality isn't so good, and I can't take it with me.

I'd like to do more on-the-go photography, and perhaps some video as well. My phone - although the camera is quite good - is not really good for this, because I need both hands free to use it. My DSLR is a bit heavy and fragile to lug around, even though I can use it single-handed. So I'm looking for a compact point-and-shoot. I don't know anything about what's available out there yet; once I figure out a shortlist, I'll go into a brick-and-mortar to see how they fit in my hands, but probably will end up buying on amazon (depending on prices, warranty, etc). I don't yet have a budget in mind. I'm looking for compactness, lightness, and ability to press the go button with the hand holding the camera (which would rule out a bunch of touchscreen models I've seen). I'd like to be able to flip out the viewscreen, but that's not vital. I would like wifi uploading. Lens systems aren't ruled out, although I already have Canon glass - adaptors for such would be a consideration (especially for holiday travel).

I haven't fully developed my ideas on this yet, obviously, so my requirements will probably evolve. Still - anyone got some recommendations, or definite anti-recommendations for me?