I have had this post sitting in bullet point form in my drafts since April 2015 when the RBM first launched. I can't remember why I didn't post it back then but I think it's time to dust it off, tart it up and open it up to the world. 
Why now? Well, the RBM is growing bigger and better everyday but I still don't think it gets quite the attention it deserves. So for all it's worth, I'm going to shine my little blog spotlight on it.

 What is the Real Beauty Manifesto (RBM)

Launched by Sonia White, the RBM is a collective of natural and organic advocates and brands that have the aim to unify the world of natural and organic beauty to create a consistent level of sustainability and honesty.

We all know that in the world of beauty the words 'natural', 'organic', 'clean', 'toxic free' and so on and so forth can be used whenever and wherever they like. Certifications for organic beauty have been growing more prominent over the years with the help of COSMOS combining Soil Association and Ecocert etc together. Yet it is not a legal requirement and it only applies to organic. Similarly there are certifications for the term 'natural' though they are few and far between.

The RBM aims to go that one step further. Their guidelines encompass organic and natural but also look at, to use their terminology; sustainability, integrity, community and compassion. 
They are there to help us know that a product is not only natural and/or organic, but that it has been made with the utmost care and consideration to the environment and workers etc.

 What do the RBM stand for? 
Now, so that I don't mistakenly misinterpret these I've taken them directly from the RBM guidelines:

Purity – we avoid all harmful chemicals and toxins in the products we sell and promote natural and organic living to safeguard our health, our planet and our children’s future.
Compassion – we aim to be considerate as companies and as individuals. We refute the need for animal testing in any form during the production of beauty products and refuse to sell or stock any products tested on animals.
Honesty –  we oppose promoting unrealistic beauty ideals that contribute to the increasing number of young people developing negative body image, low self-esteem and eating disorders. We aspire to promote equality and operate without prejudice.
Community – we endorse equal opportunity and support small and local enterprises to encourage a diverse and healthy economy in tune with their communities.
Transparency – we believe the price you pay for a product should reflect the value of its ingredients and that these should be clearly displayed on its packaging.
Sustainability – we recycle whenever possible and actively minimise the waste we produce and the resources we use to run our business, with a particular focus on our ingredients and packaging.
 Who's part of the RBM? 

There's more and more brands joining up to the Real Beauty Manifesto all the time including brands such as: Madara, Balm Balm, LoveLula, Nailberry, Bodhi & Birch, Vertue, Soil Association and loads more!
To see a comprehensive list check out their supporters here
You can also join yourself - It's free to do so.
 Look for the logo 

There are loads of brands on this list but to see if your product is part of the RBM, look for the logo. This is what you should look out for. More and more products are including the RBM logo like this Balm Balm Rose Floral Water Hydrosol.

Real Beauty Manifesto

Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I hate taking painkillers, I don't like taking any type of pill and fiercely refuse to until the very bitter end. I'm very very stubborn about pain, I get a lot of people who get frustrated and say 'why do you make yourself suffer by not taking anything?' My reply is always 'I'll take something if I can't cope anymore, until then I'm not touching any tablets'. In extreme cases I have and do take pain medication, but I honestly can't tell you the last time I had even half of one.

Now let me just say this, I am in no way against modern medicine. I think it is vital and I've relied on it many times. I believe in having vaccinations and in people managing chronic pain, diseases, conditions and everything else through medication. I understand that everyone is different and deals with things differently. I just personally do not like taking pain medication if I can help it. I don't often have to deal with chronic pain so if the pain I'm dealing with is a headache or something minor then I'm always looking for an alternative.

Which brings me to the two products in this post! 
I've taken arnica homeopathy tablets in the past to help with bruising etc but didn't know it could be used topically until I developed the most energy draining pain in my shoulder blade and shoulder joint. I still have no idea what it was, a trapped nerve or a ripped muscle or what, but I do know that it was like what I imagine having a knife slicing into your shoulder from the inside would feel like. After about a week I decided enough was enough and headed to the pain section of Holland & Barrett and ended up buying this massage balm. 
Like with anything there are always other factors that could account for a result, but I had been massaging my shoulder since the pain started and it would only ease the pain while I massaged or had someone work the area for me. After that the pain was the same. With this oil I do genuinely believe after a few days of working it in with the massage I'd been doing before, it reduced my pain substantially. Note, it did not remove my pain completely - to expect results like that would be pretty ambitious. The ingredients such as Arnica, Rosemary and Birch combined with the massage help to relax and ease muscles, reducing stiffness and swelling/inflammation which can often by the root of pain. In my case it seemed to do the trick. 
The downside is that this is A) expensive and B) it has a short shelf life after opening. Also you can't use this if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. It also goes without saying that you should avoid it if you have any allergy to any of the ingredients.
Cost: £7.95 (50ml) 
Buy: Weleda or other health store like Holland & Barrett

Another little name I like to call this is the 'Absolute F*cking Lifesaver'.
Again a purchase made under extreme pain circumstances. My period cramps one month were so extreme I was pale, shaky, sweating and finding it hard to catch my breath, let alone speak or think coherently. I have a high pain threshold and as we've established I'm very stubborn and perhaps a bit too proud about my pain coping abilities. But this month was like no other. In the end I decided that  a walk would help ease my cramps, a good idea except for the fact that I could barely stand up and had to limp doubled over. (I know, I know this is very dramatic but I also know for a fact there will be a large number of girls who know exactly what I'm talking about. Aside from childbirth  - which is pain in a whole different realm - there is literally no other pain quite like chronic period cramps.) Anyway, on this occasion I decided that I'd walk to the chemist so if the walking didn't help then at least I would have other options at my finger tips. My aim was to get some heat pads (which I also bought but have yet to try -anyone got any feedback on these?) and I was at the point of giving in and grabbing a pack of pain killers when I saw this Paingone pen.

The Paingone pen works almost like a Tens Machine. It contains a quartz crystal which when you 'click' the pen it creates a small electrical impulse that sends a signal to your brain to produce endorphins and send them to the area of pain. Endorphins are the body's natural pain remover and when pain isn't present produce a sort of 'high' and boost your mood such as you experience after exercise. Your body is treating itself without you adding any extra chemicals or anything into your system. The effect of stimulating endorphins with the pen is no different than from doing exercise to get the endorphin rush. All you have to do it stick the nib of the pen on the point of pain or on a relating acupuncture point (a guide is included, see below) and click it 30-40 times. It doesn't hurt but you do feel a 'zing' depending on where you put it and occasionally you'll find a nerve  point where it's very noticeable - but not painful. 

I hold my hands up and say I thought this would be a gimmick, an expensive but useless piece of equipment even as I was buying it. But I was desperate and decided that if I believed it would work then maybe I would at least get a psychosomatic or placebo effect from it. But I don't call it the 'Absolute F*cking Lifesaver' because of the placebo effect- I was as shocked as anyone that this worked. Worked like a little lifesaving miracle worker. I shakily zapped my lower abdomen then curled up in ball of self-pity for about 15 minutes. Then the most amazing sensation happened. It was like someone was pulling the pain away, like a blanket slowly being pulled off a table. You know that lovely sensation as you ease into a warm bath slowly and the water inches up blissfully- it was like that. I actually burst out laughing and shouted 'It works! It f*cking works, oh my god, oh my god!' to my colleagues! After a few hours I felt a bit twingey again so I zapped it away again. You can use this pen as often as you like and it lasts for over 100,000 clicks or approx 2 years.

Downside: it was an eye watering £30 - but 100% worth it! Plus it doesn't degrade or go off like creams or medication. Also like with many things there are restrictions like you can't use it on your head or over your heart, if you have a pacemaker or if you are pregnant etc. So please ALWAYS read up on this before using it. Oh and it can singe the hair on your body, just a tiny bit!

Cost: £30 (depending on retailer)
Buy: Boots/ Superdrug & other select pharmacy/chemists

Managing Minor Pain Without Pills

Before this post I hadn't dyed my hair in a good 9 months (roughly) which for me is really good going as I'm always always switching around the shade of brunette/ brown that I want my hair to be at any given time. At some point I knew I should give my hair a break and decided that after cutting it all off, it was the perfect time to start fresh. Fast forward 9 months and my roots and natural hair colour (which I now know the colour of) had worn my patience thin. It was time to do something about it. After some research and much toing and froing Surya Brasil Henna Cream in Golden Brown* arrived ready to tackle my barnet.

I chose this product because I'm already a big fan of henna hair colouring but had never come across a henna cream before. Essentially it is just a premixed henna formula. Henna powders can be pretty messy and fiddly to prepare and I reckoned that this liquid 'cream' version would make things much much easier. Blissfully I was right.
This was hands down the easiest hair dye I have ever done. It comes in one bottle. That's it. No tricky powders, no mixing bowls needed, no hot water at certain temperatures, no mess no fuss. With this Henna Cream you simply shake the bottle, pop on the gloves provided, cut the top off and apply. once you've applied it you pop on the little plastic cap provided and sit pretty for the required time (30-60 mins depending on your desired results). You couldn't get simpler or easier than that. Not only did this make the whole process a lot cleaner and less messy, it was also so much quicker too. Another major plus - it doesn't stink. Traditional henna often smells very strongly, and the scent sticks around for days- but with this one- not a bit!

Th formula is a little more fluid than you would expect from the name 'cream' but this was great as it made it easy to dispense from the bottle and apply evenly. I have shoulder length hair, but it is super thick and this bottled would have covered it twice over I think. You can save the formula for another time if you need but I went wild and popped it all on. I have to admit at first I saw the size of the bottle and felt a little bit outraged at how small it seemed, but after a few minutes of applying I soon realised that you get a lot of product in that little bottle.

I do have to say though that in my opinion the packaging is down right awful. That sounds really harsh but it is so unappealing. Had this product not been on LoveLula - a site I trust for providing the best of products and brands- I would never have purchased it. It doesn't look high quality it looks quite cheap, the artwork and colour scheme do nothing to sell the product at all. It looks old fashioned which is a shame as a Henna brand has so much potential for beautiful bold packaging and this is just lacking any appeal to me.

However, thankfully the quality of the product itself makes up for the disastrous packaging, which just goes to show you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, or a hardy by its box!
I decided on the shade Golden Brown, this is a more red/golden toned dye than my actual hair colour and a bit lighter in shade. I chose this as I didn't want to change my hair colour completely, rather just even it out a little between the colour of my roots and my tips and add gloss and shine. I can happily say it did everything I hoped it would. It added a warmer tint to my hair, blended the difference between my roots and ends seemlessly and added a lovely glossy shine. I tried to photo it but because I chose such a subtle shade it just wasn't picking up on camera.
It's lasted me several washes without any dramatic fade so far and hopefully will last the 7-10 washes they claim it will stay for. I've already got two other shades I'm 100% going to try out soon.

This Henna Cream is certified cruelty free, not tested on animals and certified vegan.
It does not contain: PPD, Resorcinol, Ammonia, EDTA, Parabens, Mineral Oils, Synthetic Fragrances, Gluten,  Sodium Perborate, GMOs or Hydrogen Peroxide.

Henna Cream Hair Dye // Surya Brasil

I cannot quite believe that this is the last beauty box for 2016! After that it will be 2017! Crikey!
This last LoveLula Beauty Box - the December box* thankfully has ended the year with a bang by being my personal favourite of all the boxes I've had this year! Why? Well because it had the most varied of products.
Coming from a beauty blogger I know it probably quite weird to admit I've never used a sugar scrub before so this has me really intrigued. Also peppermint is one of my favourite scents. I think this sub will be quite refreshing and revitalising, ideal to prep before fake tanning. PHB is a brand that features quite heavily in the LoveLula boxes and has offered quite a range of different products to explore. This scrub is another part of they wide range.
How super exciting to receive a natural perfume in this box! I've never actively bought a natural perfume as I'm always conscious that I might not like it and feel like it was a wasted purchase. However getting it in a box, forces your hand and make you more adventurous. I could have chosen my scent but I decided to have it as a random surprise. I got the Bergamot scent, which I think is more of a grower than an immediate hit with me, but it's opened my mind up to trying more natural perfumes.

This is a nice little mini to have included in the box. I'm never wowed by argan oils, but miniature samples like this are always handy to have to take travelling. Argan oil is a good all purpose product to have in your stash.
A really interesting product for a beauty box. I love when different products like this pop up unexpectedly. I'm not sure how much faith I put into 'beauty teas' but I do love a good cup of tea and this blend of strawberry and ginger smells incredible - I hope it tastes as good too! Beauty Brews are a new addition to LoveLula and it's great to see the brand introduced in the box. I also love to see the word of organic teas expanding.
I'm a huge fan of MADARA and their Time Miracle range so one more product added to my stash gets no complaint from me! I've been focusing a lot lately on using night creams and treatments as I feel like it's the best time to give my a skin a pamper seeing as I'm not wearing makeup throughout the night. I'm almost at the end of my current night cream so this will be the next product on my night stand.
Update: This product wasn't actually part of the December box- it was a lovely little extra!
Last but not least, this is my favourite of all the products included in this box. I have the PHB liquid eyeliner in Black and really love it and to get the brown version is brilliant. It's surprising how a colour can really change up your look and I have a lot of makeup ideas planned for this little beauty. Natural liquid eyeliners are notoriously are to find so this is a real winner of a product to receive.

LoveLula Beauty box // December

Christmas has come and gone in a blink of an eye and New Years is fast approaching! I actually can't believe how fast time flies sometimes! I'm not a huge fan of New Years in terms of resolutions or fresh starts but I do love an excuse to get all glam. My everyday makeup is pretty neutral and lately has been simplified even more, however for New Year I feel like I have the perfect opportunity to go bold and brave with my makeup. 
I was kindly sent the Living Nature Smokey Eye Kit*, which, as its name suggests is the perfect set of products to create a super smokey eye. Now, I was intending to create a subtle smokey eye demonstrated in the Living Nature demo video on YouTube, but then things took a turn for the more dramatic. 
I'm no makeup artist and thought I should use some tutorials for guidance but I just kept finding that all the tutorials using 'green/ clean' makeup were subtle and I wanted more 'glam'. So somewhere along the way I threw caution to the wind and went pretty all out on the eye makeup. This is what I ended up with...
As I said I'm not a makeup artist, guru or even very confident in my makeup skills so I just gave it a go and hoped for the best. I kept this look all about the eyes and paired it with a neutral lip, but I also think this would look really striking with a bold red lip too, or vamp it up with a dark cherry / berry hue.
The Living Nature Smokey Eye Kit that I used includes three eyeshadow shades in Slate (matte black),   Glacier (shimmery grey silver) and Sand (matte warm toned nude) along with their Jet Black Thickening Mascara and Midnight Eye Pencil.
To create this more bold version of a smokey eye I started with an eye primer and then swept the matte nude eyeshadow in Sand over my whole lid. To guide the shape of the wing I wanted I traced the outline with the Midnight eye pencil through my crease and winged it out to the sides. I buffed and blended this out to remove the harsh line. This pencil has both strong colour payoff and staying power along with ease of blending without it being so creamy that it just smears away. 
Next I filled the inner third of my eye with the Glacier shadow and the outer third with Slate. To make the wing bolder and darker I used the Midnight pencil to create and fill in the outer wing then smoked it out with a fluffy brush and topped with Slate again to build up the colour. 
I slowly blended the Slate shadow more into the centre of the eye and then really built up the silver Glacier shadow to give more impact. To make the silver Glacier shadow really pop, I used a damp brush to apply it which gave the shadow a lot more pigment and colour payoff. Using these shadows damp makes them very versatile, they are still easy to blend and apply but give a heavier application of colour.
Lastly I smudged a hint of Slate under my lower water line on the outer corner and used Glacier for the inner corner highlight and under the lower  water line too. I finished the look with a sweep of Midnight pencil on my upper lash line, tightline and lower waterline. A couple of coats of Jet Black Thickening Mascara is all I needed to make my lashes stand out against all the drama without the use of false lashes (falsies would make this look even more glam though) This mascara is a slightly wet formula and make my lashes look very long and luscious. It is quite lightweight and doesn't make the curl of my lashes drop and there is no flaking. It also dries really rapidly so I didn't need to worry about it printing and ruining my eyeshadow.
And there you have it, my very shaky first step into a makeup look for New Year. 
A bit more about this Living Nature Smokey Eye Kit*:
My kit was created with three shadow shades in Slate (matte black), Glacier (shimmery grey silver) and Sand (matte warm toned nude). All shades can be bought individually and popped into the Living Nature Eye Shadow Compact which has room for four of your fave eyeshadows which can be easily changed and also includes an applicator. This compact is completely recyclable and each shadow comes in it's own eco recyclable envelope to help reduce packaging waste. 
All of these lovely makeup bits can be bought online from Botanical Brands who have a huge range of Living Nature products from skincare to bath and body and makeup.
All of Living Nature's Cosmetic products are certified by BDIH, free from synthetic ingredients and their ingredients are all sustainably sourced.

New Years Make Up // Smokey Eye with Living Nature

Welcome to the brand new green beauty box in town - the Vertue box*! 

Vertue are the latest company to hit the green beauty market with a subscription box. 
Founded by MUA Laila Sanderson, the aim of this box is to provide beauty addicts with green and clean beauty options as well as healthcare products too. These boxes will provide both well-known and smaller artisanal brands to give you the widest range of choice possible from the best of brands.
They also have  strong focus on brands and products that are better for the environment too and are part of the Real Beauty Manifesto. Even better is that Vertue donate 10% of their profits to charity.

The Original: 5-7 products for £30 (inc delivery)
The Mini: 3-5 products for £18 (inc delivery)
Boxes are sent out every two months at the end of the month.

This boxing day Vertue will also be launching their brand new shop! As a special celebration they are offering an amazing 20% off all products with the code: SHOP20 so make sure you head on over for some bargains. For the early birds the shop will be open from 6am. 

So lets dive into this November box!
For me personally the box couldn't have opened with a better offering. First off it includes a FULL size of my most cherished MOA Green Balm. I've raved about this product before so I'll not go into it again but just know that in my eyes this balm is the King of all multi-purpose products. Next included is a KIKI Health Nature's Living Superfood supplement which is bang on time for me as I've almost run out of my beloved Spirulina. I've been really intrigued about KIKI Health since seeing them on other blogs and retailers and exploring some of their videos too. The bottle is 20g which is the ideal size as there is plenty enough to give this a decent trial without worrying about wasting it if I find it's not something I can work with.
Next up is an interesting new brand to me; Bloomtown Botanicals. 
Bloomtown Botanicals are a handcrafted brand offering soap and bath products and included in the Vertue box is the 3 Soap Sampler pouch. This includes three mini soaps to trial. I received:
The Rose Garden - Shea & Coconut (Musk Rose & White Florals) which is from their Nourishing Soap Bar range 
The Woods - Shea & Coconut (Vetiver, Cedar & Bergamot) again from their Nourishing range
The Clearing - Black Clay & Tea Tree from their Speciality Soap Bar range
I'm very into my soaps (after hating them for many years) so I'm going to enjoy have these small ones to test and try out. 

Also included in the box is a very big brand- Terre Verdi. Terre Verdi are very well known in the green beauty world so it's very cool to get it in a box alongside other small brands like Bloomtown Botanicals. I have a collection of Terre Verdi products but this Yoga and Sports oil is a new addition to my collection.
Last but by no means least is a Green People's Quinoa and Artichoke conditioner. It's really refreshing to get a haircare product in a beauty box, especially a full sized one. I have used this product before and loved the range so this is another real winner for me.

Final thoughts on the box? I know in the past they had a few hiccups with their boxes but for me personally this December Vertue box was a big success. The blend of smaller and bigger known brands is a big part of the appeal as is the range of products. More often than not I find I like a box, but it's always all skincare. This box however has a great mix of skincare, haircare and health combined which makes it that much more interesting and much more of a discovery!
Definitely recommend it's worth you give this box a try if you are looking for a box with a hint more variety in it. Plus there are the two size/ price options so it can work with anyone's budget.

Don't forget that Vertue are also launching their shop on Boxing Day with the SHOP20 code for 20% off!

Also - don't know if i'm right about how i've interpreted this but it fits with their slogan 'Live Green, Live Good- but I love the play on words with the name 'Vertue' - like 'Virtue' as in goodness and wholesomeness but spelt like 'Vert' as in the colour green. Clever!

A New Beauty box has landed // Vertue Box

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