Reef-friendly suncreams

Many thanks to Hattie Webb for her help researching this post. Go and check out her Instagram for more on sustainability! Post contains some affiliate links, which are the only way I monetise my blog. These do not impact which products are chosen for this piece. 

As we move into summer, it becomes more and more important to take care of our skin. While up to 20 minutes in the sun without protection is great for achieving our recommended vitamin D levels, too much time in the sun can wreak havoc on our skin, both immediately (burns, sun spots) and long term (elevated risk of skin cancer, breakdown of elasticity, wrinkles etc).

Many people recommend we wear suncream year round, even on cloudy days (as up to 80% of UV radiation can pass through cloud cover), but with around 25% of the ingredients in the suncream we apply ending up in our waterways, what’s the environmental impact of this?

First off, how do suncreams work?

Sunscreens have one of two “modes of action”. Chemical sunscreens absorb ultraviolet radiation like a sponge, while mineral sunscreens containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide reflect it back from the surface of the skin like a mirror.

Which is better?

Either can work well, but the latter is better for the environment. Dermatologist Dr Catherine Borysiewicz says:

“Mineral sunscreens with a high sun protection factor, UVA and UVB protection (the former penetrates the skin more deeply but the latter is more intense and the chief cause of sunburn) are as effective as chemical sunscreens, great for people with sensitive skin or inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, and kinder to marine life,” she says. “They went out of fashion because they tended to leave a chalky white layer on the skin, but they are slowly becoming more popular again.”

What are the problematic ingredients?

Certain chemicals, found in many mainstream suncreams, have been found to be damaging to waterways and marine ecosystems. Octinoxate and Oxybenzone have been linked to coral bleaching, actively decreasing our fragile corals’ defences against climate change, and reducing their ability to reproduce and propagate.

Research suggests that coral reefs in Hawaii are exposed to 6,000 – 14,000 tons of sunscreen lotion every year, leading the island to ban suncreams containing Octinoxate or Oxybenzone, due to come into effect on 1st Jan 2021. These ingredients aren’t just harmful for corals though – they have also been linked to endocrine disruption in humans, as they can move through the skin and mimic hormones in the body, damaging sperm and reproductive hormones.

So what can we do?

Understanding why certain ingredients are harmful and choosing to avoid them is the best thing we can do to limit the impact our suncream has. Avoid aerosols too, as most of this doesn’t actually make it to the skin, instead coating everything around, including your lungs. Choosing to wear protective clothing to limit the amount of suncream you use not only saves money but will also help protect the environment.

Haereticus Environmental Laboratory also publishes a list each year of what sunscreens are safe for the environment, and the Environmental Working Group rates products with SPF values – including around 650 sunscreens and 250 moisturisers – on their environmental impact.

These are my three favourite brands and products that I try to buy whenever I’m in need of suncream. We may not be heading on holiday any time soon, but the sun is the same sun all around the world, so don’t think that it’s any weaker just because it’s cooler in the UK than your usual holiday destinations! So stock up and let me know your thoughts on these faves.

 

REN SPF 30

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This is the suncream I use on my face every morning if I’m spending time outside. It’s one of the few I’ve found that is truly mattifying (I like dewy, but there is a limit!), and REN really take their environmental credentials seriously. The bottle is made with recycled plastic and is fully recyclable, and the product is vegan and cruelty free, without any ingredients that are harmful to the environment. I cannot recommend this more as your go-to face suncream!

 

Tropic Great Barrier SPF 50

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Tropic’s entire range is certified reef-safe, vegan, cruelty free and has incentives for returning packaging too, to increase circularity. The brand is carbon neutral and sends very little (if any) waste to landfill), although I couldn’t see whether their packaging was recycled or not. Having used their other products before (though not this one), I can thoroughly recommend!

 

Green People SPF 30

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Green People use plant-based, carbon neutral packaging that is fully recyclable, and 30p from each of their sales goes to the Marine Conservation Society, a UK charity protecting our oceans and wildlife. This suncream is obviously certified reef safe too. Its texture takes a bit of getting used to, especially if the suncream is cold, and if you’re used to nicely scented suncreams this may be a bit strange, as it has no perfumes in. However it does the job – I’ve never burned with this suncream and love their aftersun and daily protection (SPF 15) too!

 

 

 

 

Soy wax candles – the best startups

One of my favourite things about having a bit of a following on social media is being about to crowdsource information, like the best veggie restaurants in Copenhagen, what headphones you’d recommend and what podcasts I should listen to. I recently asked you guys what soy wax candles you’d recommend, after getting saddened by the dearth of ‘home comforts’ at my boyfriend’s place.

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Candles are a bit of a cliché when it comes to self care, but I have to say, I really, really feel better when I have a bunch of candles lit. I think it’s something to do with dedicating that time to myself, which I don’t often do in London – once a candle’s lit, that’s it, it’s ‘me-time’.

Anyway, I also wanted to support some small businesses and start-ups, but sadly can’t buy from all of them, so I thought I’d share with you some of the recommendations!

All of the below brands are vegan, eco-friendly, cruelty free small businesses. From what I can tell, they are all handmade, often by people with other jobs, such as NHS workers and students. I think they’ve all done an amazing job and I hope you agree! 🙂 Let me know if you buy from any of these companies- I’d love to feature you on my Instagram!

The Good Aura Company

The Good Aura Company was set up to create candles that melt evenly, and are made from a natural soy wax designed with specially blended scents created to actually last once lit. Each candle and wax melt is hand poured by us in house and are vegan and cruelty free.

Shmood

Handmade in the Lake District, Shmood provides sustainable and natural candles at an affordable price point. All ingredients are locally sourced and the candles smell divine! Each candle purchase also donates 50p to Mind charity.

W + W Workshop

If you’re looking for a fancy candle that’s also zero-waste and eco-friendly, look no further. A portion of the profits also go to charities such as Black Minds Matter and Fare Share UK. The packaging is made from 100% recycled glass and all packaging is made from recycled paper.

The Eco Witch Co

From the founder: “The Eco Witch Co. candles have been created with both environmental and ecological consideration at the heart of the making process. Each candle is based on a positive intention which an individual may wish to draw into their life and every material element of the candle can be repurposed once it has burnt down. Hand poured from soy wax and scented with essential and fragrance oils that are both vegan and cruelty-free, you can enjoy a candle by The Eco Witch Co. with the knowledge that it has been created with thought and care, leaving minimal impact on the Earth.”

The Red Fox Candle 

Feu Candles 

Feu is a super small candle business based in Manchester who use crackling wood wicks, natural soy wax and a unique blend of fragrances. All the design and packaging was sourced or created in the hopes that all aspects of Feu can be used around your home, whilst burning your candle and after it’s finished!

Beer Candle UK

Pause UK

From the founder: “PAUSE aims to be a reminder to slow down. In this hectic, mad world we live in, it’s so easy to get caught up in the frantic twirl of everyday life and responsibilities. We forget to take mindful time to ourselves and we overlook the importance of caring for the places we spend most time in, in a way that they feel clean, safe, welcoming.

“It was both as a reminder to ourselves and the wish to reach out in small ways and help other people that PAUSE was born 🧡

“Personally, making candles and running a small business has been a wonderful tool in helping me deal with depression and anxiety. It gives me a sense of purpose and allows me to pour love into my craft.”

Twinings Home

Wildheart Organics

Ignite Candle Bar

From the founder: “My fiancé and I started this upcycling program earlier this year. Our goal was to reduce the amount of bottles going into the landfills. Living in Hawaii we’ve learned to become more sustainable and have done our best to reduce our eco footprint. We partnered up with local bars and restaurants on Oahu and collect all their empty bottles. We basically dumpster dive! We then turn each bottle into beautifully handcrafted candles with hand poured all natural soy wax, scented with our intoxicating scents”

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Vegan Bunny Co

Aery Living

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The Power of Aromatherapy. Envelope yourself in soothing environments and elevate your mental and physical wellbeing. Choose from 6 deeply relaxing and uplifting fragrances. . Essential oils can reach deep within the mind to restore inner peace, instil calm, evoke positive feelings, aid relaxation, anxiety, stress and sleep. . Aromas are sent directly to the centre of the brain, where it is processed and releases neurochemicals that can be calming or stimulating or sedative depending on the oils used. . There are many simple ways to look after our wellbeing from exercising to yoga and walking the dog to socialising with friends or harnessing the power of aromatherapy! . Our candles not only have amazing aromas but also proven wellness benefits. . Our fragrances are a blend of pure essential oils and fragrance oils designed to fill your room with effective, beautiful aromatic scents. . Why is Aery Different? . We take the time to perfect and craft all our original and totally unique and beautiful blends. . All our candles are made from sustainable European grown GMO free soy. . 100% Pure Soy Wax Candles Made in England. . We test our candles for the optimum amount of fragrance throw so as not to overpower and just the right amount of essential oils to yield the greatest wellness benefits. . We believe a balanced holistic life is vital to all our wellbeing. . We use 100% soy wax from sustainable European-grown soy for an eco-friendly, clean burn with lead-free cotton wicks. . Our candles are hand wicked and then poured and labeled by our team of experienced makers. . Our candles are: petroleum-free GMO free Cruelty-free 100% Vegan. . We are eco-conscious: We are Plastic Free Our Glass is Recyclable . We use: FSC, Recycled and fully recyclable plastic free packaging and Eco Shipping Materials including Paper Packing Tape. #aery #aeryliving #soycandles #soywax #sustainable #aromatherapy #mindful #calm #relax #heavilymeditated #happyspace #positiveenergy #andrelax #essentialoil #scentedcandle #madeinenglsnd #gmofree #plasticfree #vegan #meditation #yoga

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Avanti Candles

The Burning Bean Co

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Chelsea Candle

Summer favourites with Philips

This post is sponsored by Philips, a forward-thinking tech beauty brand that I’ve been using since I was younger. I always associated Philips with electric toothbrushes when I was younger, but growing up, the gadget lover in me has become obsessed with pretty much everything they’ve released related to beauty! I love that behind every Philips product is a suite of research, so you really know you’re getting a quality product. Also, as someone who prioritises sleep over pretty much everything else I really appreciate anything that makes my beauty regime easier, which is why I’ve partnered with Philips to share with you my beauty essentials for this summer.

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Philips Lumea Prestige IPL hair removal device

The first time I tried IPL was when I was a teenager, using it sporadically over the summer but never really following any sort of plan (the sort that’s required to get any results). THIS summer however, I’m super excited to finally be smooth as a dolphin on my legs. Like I said, I like to minimise my beauty regime, so a couple of IPL treatments for long lasting smoothness is exactly what I’m looking for! If you’re forgetful like me, the Philips Lumea IPL app will remind you of your next treatment slot, so you can be assured that you’ll get the best results possible.

The Lumea Prestige compared to my old IPL device is like a space-ship to an old 2CV – it’s beautiful, relatively compact and really works. Onto the good stuff.

IPL, or intense pulsed light works by inducing a ‘resting phase’ in the hair follicle, causing a reduction in hair regrowth. With treatments spaced 2 weeks apart over a 6 week period it’s possible to get rid of pretty much all hairs in the treatment area – up to a 92% reduction in hair growth! After that, treatments are only needed every month or two if hairs start to grow back. Helpfully, the device has a ‘SmartSkin sensor’ which assesses the skin tone and automatically uses the correct setting, so you get the best results. I’ve been using the product on my legs (goodbye shaving cuts!) and for me it gave setting number ‘4’. Check out the brand official page here for skin and hair type suitability.

The product comes with full instructions and all the necessary kit, including different heads for the device, for underarms, bikini and face. It can be used with or without a cord so it’s super convenient. The app gives step-by-step instructions too and creates a personal treatment plan, so you’ll be getting professional level results without that price tag, which I think is amazing!

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Philips VisaPure Advanced three-in-one at home facial cleansing device

As a busy person with relatively little free time each evening, I really try to max out my ‘me’ time when I get it. The VisaPure Advanced has been a welcome addition into that routine. Not only is it absolutely beautiful (and it really is), it also has multiple functions to help you streamline your routine. Usually multi-functioning products scare me a little, and complicated controls really throw me off, but the ‘intelligent head recognition’ design means that whichever head you put onto the main body, it does the correct programme for that head, so no complicated controls!

The whole cleansing programme only takes a minute, with the brush head pausing between different areas of the face – so you do the right cheek, then it pauses, then the left cheek, another pause, then forehead and nose, so you end up doing the whole face correctly. I use a little cleanser and a splash of water every evening, which removes all makeup from the day. I love this because it means I don’t have to keep buying expensive (and wasteful) makeup remover wipes! This cleansing device is also 10 times more effective than cleansing by hand, which explains why my skin is so much brighter after using the VisaPure Advanced for just over a week.

The other heads I use maybe twice a week for a little extra ‘me’ time. The fresh eyes attachment is very cooling (especially useful if you’re tired and/or have puffy eyes as it encourages lymphatic drainage from the area) and the face massager just helps me relax and I feel like it’s doing a lot of good. It’s based on Japanese massaging techniques, which probably explains the relaxation factor! It’s the perfect excuse for a mini facial in the comfort of your own home.

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The VisaPure Advanced has three different heads for the perfect mini-facial at home!

Philips VisaPure Mini

Just like the VisaPure Advanced, the VisaPure Mini has been incorporated into my everyday routine as my go-to facial cleanser for on the move. As someone with oily skin, I love that it reduces oil levels without drying out the skin which is really important for me. When you spend a lot of time at the gym, oil and sweat can build up, but over cleansing can leave your skin dry. The VisaPure Mini is perfect for that – it offers the perfect level of cleansing after a gym session or before bed. It’s also super easy to stick in your gym bag because it’s so compact! It also lasts for about 45 uses before re-charging, so it’s good to keep in your gym bag for several weeks before needing to take it out to charge or for travelling.

I would recommend this product if you’re looking for something easy to travel with that improves your skincare regime (it’s 6x better than cleansing by hand!) but that’s also really good value.

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Perfect for your gym bag or travels, the VisaPure Mini is a very welcome addition to my life

Philips Anti-Pollution brush head

If you live in a big city, you’ll probably be aware of the amount of pollution we encounter everyday. Pollution is not only bad for our lungs and arteries, but it also clogs up our skin, dulling it. It’s always amazed me how much grime can collect on the face after a day out in the city! The Philips Anti-Pollution brush head has been a life saver for me. It connects to the VisaPure Mini and the VisaPure Advanced, so it’s really easy to take wherever you think you’ll need it most.

I hadn’t noticed the amount pollution had been dulling my skin until I used this brush head, but the amount of people who have told me my skin is glowing after just over a week of use is proof enough for me! The combination of the charcoal sponge and soft bristles work to dislodge particles from the pores, meaning your skin will look SO much clearer. 10/10 would recommend with either the VisaPure Advanced or Mini based on my experience!

I hope these reviews help you choose which product will help you step-up your summer beauty game! I for one, cannot live without them!

TL:DR

My recommendations: if you’re looking for an easy facial cleanser that basically does all the hard work for you, get the VisaPure Mini – it’s super transportable and easy to use. The Anti-Pollution brush head has been a godsend for brightening my skin, so if you live in a city, I would recommend this too.

If you want something a little more luxurious for some serious ‘me’ time, the VisaPure Advanced has everything you need, with 3 different heads for cleansing, eye cooling and facial massage. The intelligent head design means that it basically does all the work for you, so no fuss trying to get the right settings!

For long-term hair removal without the price tag of laser (and yes, they are two different things), the Lumea Prestige IPL device is amazing. Matched with the Philips Lumea IPL app and smart skin sensor it will help you get the best results you can. It’s super quick too, with 92% reduction in hair growth within 6 weeks when used properly! Honestly this has been a vital addition to my routine, and I can’t wait to be hair-free soon!

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Enjoy your summer, whichever product you choose!

 

Balayage by salon 64

When I was younger I had so many experimental phases with my hair. Caramel, dark brown, really dark brown, highlights, bleach, even pink and purple at one stage. None of them really suited me, at least not in a way that was sustainable. It’s taken me about 10 years of messing around with my poor locks to finally find my look. It’s natural, girly and I only need to top it up once or twice a year, which is a huge relief on my bank account!

I’m sharing these hilarious pictures of me over 10 years ago as they’re pretty indicative of what I was going through hair-wise since I was 13. Look and laugh, please.

Since people are often asking me how I get my hair done and what I ask for, I thought I’d write a short post on it to explain.

Nb/ This treatment was given to me free of charge by Salon 64 however as always all opinions are my own. I absolutely love this salon and would recommend it to anyone looking for something a little special! Amazing service, coffee and conversation.

 

What is balayage?

The word balayage comes from the French ‘to paint’ or ‘to sweep’. It is a method of highlighting the hair that leaves it looking naturally lighter, without being stripy or growing out into horrible roots. Balayage has softer, less noticeable regrowth lines (if at all noticeable) than traditional highlights, and highlights the parts of your hair that would naturally lighten in the sun, meaning it looks natural. You can get it done on any hair type and colour, and since it doesn’t grow out leaving roots, you can get it done infrequently, meaning that it ends up much cheaper than other highlighting techniques!

The steps: bleach, leave and blend, rinse and olaplex and then dry.

How it was done:

  • Section the hair into 4 equal sized sections
  • Starting at the back of the hair with smaller sections, each quarter is roughly 1.5 inches thick and is free hand painted with bleach. An extremely visual technique is what makes each balayage slightly different and bespoke to each individual head of hair. This technique is repeated starting at the back of the head working the way up to the crown. The hand painting also allows for a natural look to suit the individual, or a stronger look if desired.
  • This is then repeated on the 2 side areas.
  • Leave the colour to develop for 15 mins – this is much shorter than traditional foils, so balayage is often done and dusted much quicker than streak highlights.
  • Once the colour has developed, hair is rinsed at the backwash and the colour is blended together with a sponge to blend the newly placed blonde into the virgin hair. This technique is known as mash technique. This creates the gradation from darker to lighter hair that you don’t see in dip-dyed hair.
  • Lastly shampoo condition and style all using MR.SMITH – Hydrating shampoo, conditioner and styled with volume mousse. Olaplaex was used on my hair to repair broken strands and improve hair condition (this stuff is amazing).

Before and after: I didn’t want a huge change, just a subtle lightening at the back and around my face. The salon did a perfect job – a combination of the weak bleach used and olaplaex treatment left my hair in great condition after the treatment!

Visit Salon 64’s website to learn more and book.

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Once you visit this place you’ll be coming back all the time!

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