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B&B! Q&A: Gabbi Loedolff, Lush and The SLush Fund

15 Jul

‘Our hope is that we can create a model that shows a different way to do business,’ says Gabbi Loedolff, a buyer for the SLush Fund initiative. Having started working for the brand as a sales advisor and then manager of Lush‘s busiest London shop, she moved over to working on Lush’s wish list of projects — and somehow found the time to study Anthropology.

She describes her current role as ‘a bit of a dream job: working closely with different communities around the world to understand their needs and potential and help them create truly environmentally, socially and economically sustainable projects.”
GABBI
Now with a new self-preserving formula, the little pot is still doing a lot of good: minus the VAT that goes to the government, the rest of the money made on the hand and body lotion goes to help grassroots causes whose focus is making the world better for people, animals and the environment. Over £7 million has been raised since 2007. In a word: wow. Gabbi spoke to us about how what she does contributes to the Charity Pot and about how one person can in fact make a difference.

Gabbi, can we get some background on you, and your previous work?
I grew up in South Africa and I started working for LUSH in 2001, whilst on a gap year before starting a new university degree. My initial plan was to travel around Europe, but as often happens, I ran out of money and decided to get a temporary job to save some additional funds. I applied to an advert in a newspaper, which led to a job at LUSH and, well, here we are in 2014!

It was during this time that I got the amazing opportunity to manage our charitable SELF-PRESERVED CHARITY POTgiving and launch the Charity Pot in its initial form, so this is a project that is very, very close to my heart. After doing our charitable giving, I did more retail projects before moving into the buying team in 2011. This was near the start of the SLush Fund (Sustainable Lush Fund) and I was fortunate enough to be involved from the early days: creating application procedures, choosing projects to support and actually visiting the groups on the ground.

I remember cornering Mark Constantine, the founder, back in my early days with LUSH to quiz him as to how we were supporting the actual producers of our ingredients, on the ground, and here I am, working on this very same question on a daily basis!

Which SLush Fund ingredient are you the buyer for, and what projects you call your own?
At the moment, I buy all cocoa and product packaging for LUSH, but have been involved with various other materials over the last few years. The way the SLush Fund is set up, I get to be involved with all the projects even if I do not directly buy the material at the end.

One of the projects I am most closely involved with is the cocoa butter from Comunidad de Paz San Jose de Apartado, a Colombian Peace community. We first came across the Peace community through our colleague Paulo Mellet, the man behind the SLush Fund. He told us about this amazing group, working to live a self-sufficient life of peace in an area riddled with conflict, and the challenges they faced.

It just so happened that they grow cocoa, which they struggle to sell on the local market, and we use 100s of tonnes of cocoa butter a year. We had been talking for a while about how to ensure full traceability on our cocoa and this seemed the perfect opportunity to not only support an amazing group of people but also explore a new way of buying cocoa. What better way to support people, as a cosmetics company, than trade based on truly fair prices? We agreed to buy a 25 tonne shipment, which we had sent to Europe to be processed into cocoa butter and cocoa powder.

The relationship with the Peace community has continued to grow and thrive and to date we have bought about 7 shipments of beans from them.

How do you find new vendors?
Most of our partnerships to date have been people that have come recommended to us through the networks we work with. Some of the SLush funding has been to existing suppliers, like the Ojoba Collective that produce our shea butter, while others are completely new relationships.

When we are exploring supporting a new project, we have an application process which includes a detailed but straightforward application form. This application covers the aims, the proposed environmental, social and economic outcomes of the project, the background of the people behind it and we do reference checks too. The budgets need to be quite detailed — we have a limited amount of money and like to ensure that it is being used as efficiently as possible.

Can you talk about a day-in-the-life of someone who is producing a product you’re working with?
The Ojoba Collective in the Bongo Soe region of Ghana consists of around 400 women. It’s a very, very dry region and work is scarce. Before starting the cooperative, many of the women had to leave their families to travel south to try to find work. When we first started working with the group, they had about 40 members. Now, more than 400 women are part of the collective.

The women will finish their chores at home before coming to the processing site. Here they wash the shea nuts before laying them in the sun to dry. The nuts are roasted and ground before the real work begins: they beat the shea liquid, from the nuts that have been ground, until a creamy butter separates from the liquids. This butter is then filtered and boxed up ready to ship out.

The profits are shared equally amongst all the women — even those who have been unable to contribute during a period due to poor health or those that have become too old to work.

They attend literacy classes and have just started a shea tree nursery with support from the SLush Fund. By creating their own shea nursery, they are securing a source of Shea nuts for the future.

How do you see this sort of initiative growing over the next few years?
Our hope is that the projects we have already started will all become financially independent — generating enough income to run themselves without further support — and that we can continue to start new projects around the world. The absolute ideal for us would be to end up in a situation where all our materials are not only sustainable, but regenerative too. Our North American team have started their own SLush project, which is very exciting. For the projects themselves, my feeling is that they will continue to grow and that the amount of people benefiting from the work they do will increase.

It can often feel that, as one person, it can’t be possible to make a difference in the world — can you share some inspiring thoughts or a story that would encourage folks to keep the faith?
I am regularly amazed by just how much of a difference one person can make, and how wide their reach can be. One example is our friend Paulo Mellet, who sadly recently passed away. A dedicated activist and believer in permaculture, it was his inspiration and vision that brought about the SLush Fund. As a company, we were already working hard on sustainable and transparent supply chains, but under his guidance and through his vision, we have taken this so much further.

Another great example is a gentleman called Paul Yeboah from Ghana. He started the Ghana Permaculture Institute demonstration site on a small piece of degraded land. He now has a thriving site that offers permaculture training, grows mushrooms, processes moringa seeds into oil and also very visually illustrates to the local community how you can regenerate soil without using pesticides or fertilisers. They offer a micro financing scheme to women to enable them to start their own businesses.

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Lush Charity Pot: €16.85/£12.95/$22.95 (240g)

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Laisson Entrer Le Soleil: Suncream, A Theme

9 Jul

I got a truck load — or a lorry load, depending on which national lexicon I am writing with — of sunscreen this year, and it is actually even more necessary than ever to have been testing it out. I’ve only had time to write about my faves because we’re having a rainy patch — a brief rainy patch before the sun starts splitting the stones once more — which it has been, off and on all day, but my weather app is looking a bit ominous towards the end of the week.

I found, in the course of my investigations that I had a penchant, if you will, for French brands. Alors: mes pensées.

NUXE PARIS Sun: Milky Spray for Face and Body 20SPF {€19.95} and Delicious Cream for Face {€19.95} smells abso spectac, feels like super posh product, won’t break the bank, and works. Did I say it smells good? It smells great, floral without being too heady, and completely like you are on holiday, even if you are only walking down the seafront, or hanging out in the park. The milky spray is really milky, but the spray is focused, so it doesn’t make a mess. Well, not unless you’re trying to spray yourself from all sides.

I adore the convenience of a sunstick, especially when — wait for it — I am out on the horses, but find that many of them are so hard in texture (the sticks, not the horses) that what they are imparting in protection from wrinkles from the sun, they are causing in pulling my skin all over the place. PAYOT‘s Sun Sensi Protective Anti-aging Stick, SPF 50 {€24.20} goes on like butter, and absorbs like… like something super absorbent. This is terrific for lashing on to your face at the last minute, and also for quick touch-ups, espesh on the nose.

LES SUNCREAMS 2014

 

GARNIER Ambre Solaire Dry Mist Medium SPF 20 Ultra-Light Dry Protection Mist {€24.20} is a true mist. It actually lands on your skin and soaks right up, so you can skip the middle-hand and just let it dry. Of course, in the beginning, I was so used to having to rub it in that I did, and it wasn’t necessary at all. This is perfect for when you’re out-of-doors and just want to get the application over with, or whilst indoors, when you just want to get the application over with. You could even, ahem, spray this on in your front room because you almost forgot, and it won’t ruin your furniture.

This falls into the make up category for me — it says BB on the tube, and it’s actually an excellent hybrid. VICHY LABORATOIRES V Capital Soleil SPF 50 BB Tinted Dry Touch Face Fluid {€16.50} is instantly tanning + SPFing, so if you’re lounging by the pool drinking cocktails, this will make you look amazing with zero effort. I find it too shiny for the office, if that makes any sense to you. I only wear it when I’m going to be mainly outside, reflecting the sun, looking stupidly healthy. It isn’t all that fluid — it really feels exactly like a BB, which is grand — but I love it anyway.

Here’s to having more reason to use them!

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Next up: my go-to sporty sunscreen…

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Speaking of High School: NYX Jumbo Lip Pencils

7 Jul

Seriously, this is time travel:
IT'S OLD
My high school lipliner/eyeliner sharpener, here with me all these years later, and called upon to sharpen a thing that I surely would have used back then but have now. The mind, it is melting.

Clearly haven’t cleaned the thing since 19mumblemumble, but damned if I haven’t hung on to it. And good thing, too. I remember having the chats with reps from another brand, who said they discontinued their versions of medium-chubby stick-objects because the sharpeners were like 30 quid or something. I am remembering this imperfectly — and I won’t mention the brand, even had I remembered this perfectly — but I know I had thought to myself, ‘I think I’ve got one at home.’
LITTLE & LARGE
I also remember wondering if Cover Girl was even still a thing, and it is, in New Jersey, anyway, surely the brand’s spiritual home. So last time I was back, when I went into CVS I kept my eyes peeled and sure enough, there was a display of the range: still going strong, still probably a magnet for a young girl’s make up desires — although I am guessing it’s tweenies now, rather than mid-teens. Me, I was rather a THE RESULTlate-bloomer.

I think I can remember the smell of the compact powder: it really did smell like powder, a sharp clean scent with a massive overtone of roses. And the eye pencils never ever worked, never ever made my eyes look like they were out of a magazine, because they were as hard as rocks, even when you tried to warm up the ends with a lighter.

OMG, I am giving myself PTSD.

Despite its mankiness, the blade, it still mainly shaves. It’s not great, but at a very early stage, I thought my NYX Jumbo Lip Pencil was a dead loss after only a few uses. I tried, to no avail, to twist up more product from the bottom — because the thing is made of plastic, surely it dispensed with a twist? There was a seam at the end of the pencil that seemed to indicate twist-action. But no.

I was going to bin it, against my will, because I was pretty happy with it, so instead went agooglin’. Luckily, there were a number of American gals who blogged about one’s ability to sharpen the thing, despite its not-wood casing.

I am happy not to have to toss this in high dudgeon: the texture is soft, the appearance the time-travelling frost that I’m loving this summer. It appears that there are 30 shades, which is amazing, and also: I’ve got an eye pencil to try, that surely — surely! — will be super soft and make my eyes look they could be in a magazine. Better late than never!

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NYX Jumbo Lip Pencil: €4.99; Cover Girl Dual Sharpener: priceless.

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La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL: Compact, But Not Sturdy

4 Jul

Ugh: nothing worse than the mix of sunscreen and make up. I’ve got a few liquids I’m trying, and so far, not so good. They are fine on their own, and I gotta say, SPF 50 works. I haven’t had the usual outbreak of freckles all summer, because I’ve been as mindful as I’m meant to be, especially when horseriding. Not a smidge of pigmentation! This is great news.

Not so great: the days when I want to put the foundation on my face, or even a tinted moisturiser, and continue on with the full complement of brows and mascara, much less eyeshadow. What’s gal to do then?

I’ve been doing this.
ANTHELIOS COMPACT
La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios XL SPF 50+ Compact-Cream is proper make up with proper SPF that properly protects and also makes you look like you’ve got a good, finished look to ya. You’ve got your UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection, and an excellent quality creamy foundation coverage. It is also water-resistant, so sweat as much as you like.

However, if like me you don’t know your own strength…
BUSTED
I’m pretty sure I’ve never used a compact so much that I’ve broken it. I don’t know that I’ve used this all that much, either, to result in such destruction. Good thing I bought that asparagus that time, because I kept the purple elastic and it’s just the correct size to keep everything together.

I’ve had this issue with other LRP products, in which the packaging doesn’t stand up to regular usage. Its annoying, but it won’t put me off altogether, at all.
ANTHELIOS B&A
And this is why I love it. I feel all sun-protected, and yet natural-looking. I can use this with allll the make up, or as depicted here, with none a’tall. I haven’t even scraped down to the bottom — you know the way you get that little hole in the middle of a compact? — and there is so much summer yet to be had.

Okay, so maybe there’s a freckle or two on my nose, but srsly: nothing like the splatter of frecklage that used to look so cute all those years ago…

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€21;  comes in Sand Beige or Golden; the former is depicted here.

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NYX Lipstick Misnamed, But Still Okay By Me

2 Jul

Sure, it’s not their fault really. How could NYX know? I don’t blame them, in fairness. But see, they named this lippy Harmonica, of all things.
NYX Harmonica 1
In fact, it really ought to be called Sue’s Sophomore Year in High School.
NYX Harmonica 2
Or even more simply: The 80s. Oh, the frostiness! The pinkiness! I am loving this and I do not care. It is easy to apply without looking, it actually lasts long so you needn’t even worry much about the former, and it. is. so. frosty.

I am finding the NYX line in general to be rather hit and miss: tried a mascara that was not good — very dry to apply and didn’t take a second coat — but am hoping to get to the fab eyeshadow palette Love in Paris A La Mode soon, and equally hoping I like it.

But this? In all but name, it is pure perfection.

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NYX Round Lipstick, €5.49; available in pharmacies nationwide.

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I Used It All Up: Eau Thermale Avène Cleanance Toner

30 Jun

… in fairness, this is in all likelihood the third one I’ve used up, if not the fourth. I heart this stuff.
CLEANANCE ALL GONE
I went and double-checked myself, but for sure, this is the first time I’ve posted about having Used This All Up. The Cleanance range is designed for blemish prone, oily skin, which I can’t say that my skin is at all, but I loved the purely clean feeling I got after using this every evening. It’s bi-phase — shake it up! — and it feels like a little breath of fresh air  post-cleanse/pre-night cream or oil.

This is great for keeping your pores from enlarging, and mattifying your complexion. It’s also a two-times-a-day job, if you choose, but I can’t imagine how quickly I’d go through this had I done so. Sigh.

Here’s something new, that I’ll probs go through for a shortcut:
AVENE XERA CALM
XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil can be used all over the body, and it’s terrific if you’ve got dermatitis or eczema. Again, I’ve got neither, but I love a good oil, as it soothes and manages to get sebum production under control. Which seems counter-intuitive, but it works. And this isn’t all that oily, it feels very much like a gel, if oil makes you nervous.

The new line includes a balm and a cream; all of the products are paraben free, and suitable for children and infants, too. And of course, Avène spring water is a primary ingredient, and there’s more info about that here.

Wow, I really feel sad about that toner. Off to the chemists I go!

***

Cleanance Toner: 200mls, €15
XeraCalm A.D Lipid-Replenishing Cleansing Oil: 400mls, €16.50

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Is A Perfectly Made Up Face Your Goooooooallllllllll?

27 Jun

I have been utterly and completely distracted by the World Cup. I’ve got a backlog of about a million things I’ve been working on, but the minute the clock hits a certain hour, I am gone, totally focused on the matches of the day. In fact, I’ve got all of ten minutes before the latest round of the last group matches begins!

Do you give not a monkeys about footie? Here’s something for your face:

BENEFIT SCORE!Clever Benefit, very clever! Not only the wisdom to package something for the summer that is in it, but also because this is a perfect combination of travel sizes. I hate not being able to do my usual face when I go on hols — or perhaps to the final of a major soccer tournament* — so to have all these bits in miniature is a real treat.

As ever, can’t say enough good things about PoreFessional, and the BeneTint doubles as a lippy, too. The sample size of They’re Real is also a genius addition.

Gotta go! Chat soon about other stuff, once the first round is done!

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Beauty Score! is €39.50, available at Debenhams, Benefit Boutiques and online at benefitcosmetics.co.uk.

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*I have entered every competition to win a trip to the final that I could find. Wish me luck!

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Kiehl’s: Don’t Judge a Soothing Gel Masque By Its Colour

9 Jun

I opened my little tub of Kiehl’s Soothing Gel Masque and went, ‘Urgh!’ I did, I literally expostulated. But look:
KIEHL'S GEL MASQUE
It is a little bit urghy. Not that I am averse to putting darkly coloured stuff on my face, as witnessed here and here, but there was something about this — the texture? — that is slightly ick.

I put some on.
KIEHL'S GEL MASQUE on2
My first impression was that it doesn’t look all that different to a fake tan application — which observation might give me pause as I enter into fake-tan-testing season.

It felt deliciously cool; didn’t feel sticky; was light as a feather; and felt hydrating as all get out. It’s got green tea in it, and I have to say, I was happy enough to lounge around, letting it do its thing for the prescribed 20 minutes.
KIEHL'S GEL MASQUE on1

Rinsing it off was slightly troublesome. I didn’t want to get the goo all over one of my few white face cloths, and tried to rinse with water from the tap. Eh, not so good. I was showering anyway, and that took care of the last of it, but I did find that it wasn’t great to rinse off over the sink.

But look!
POST GEL
Shiny, happy person! I am not a fan of super-sensitive-skin-anything, because I’ve got the hide of a rhino, and they make no impression whatsoever. This, though: this felt like a healthy treat, as soothing as it claims to be, and one I would recommend to pals who flare up at even the sight of a masque.
A keeper!

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Kiehl’s Soothing Gel Masque: €20.50/£25/…
^^ Gotta say, Kiehl’s web presence is not great. Despite a flashy site, their internal search engine is rubbish. This product exists, at least in Ireland — I went all analogue and rang the shop — but as far as t’internet is concerned, this isn’t easy to find…

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Yippy! More Lippy for 2014: Glosses, Mainly

28 May

MAC mineralise Vibrant Vibe
MAC Mineralize Glass Lip Gloss in Vibrant Vibe, €22 This absolutely luxurious, lightweight, highly pigmented stuff. I want many, many more of these, and have my eye on Lovingly Yours and Wake Up! as well… and there’s a baby pink one that looks cute as a button.

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Rimmel Rumour Has It
RIMMEL LONDON Colour Rush Long Lasting Intense Colour Balm in Rumour Has It, €7.99 Honestly, Rimmel are playing a blinder with these balms. They feel light, look intensely pigmented, and stain the lips juuuuust a tiny bit so that you don’t need to keep reapplying. I consider this to be a good thing.

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Catrice made to stay Megan Fuchsia
CATRICE COSMETICS Made To Stay Smoothing Lip Polish in Megan Fuchsia, €5.49 I googled that a couple of times just to make sure that was the name, which it is, and which I find a bit awk, TBH. Not awk: the bluey-red that I love so much, and pretty good staying power. Awk: the applicator has no give, and will have to break it in. Until such time, I have to go really easy on the curves or else I look like I’ve had wonky collagen!

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KARDASHIAN in the nude
KARDASHIAN BEAUTY Au Naturel Lip Kit in In The Nude, €18.99 Okay, this is my third go-to nude. Whatever! Can’t have too many go-to nude lip things! I used the thin liner part of the kit, so I must have really wanted matte. There’s a nude gloss that accompanies it, just in case I change my mind and want a bit of shine. It’s win/win!

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Pür lip gloss stick in Fling|Adventure
PÜR MINERALS Lip Gloss Stick in Fling|Adventure, €22 I do like this tone quite a lot; I find the texture of this to be a bit plastic, and the price a bit much, considering the rest of the category. I do like it, though — just not head-over-heels.

Below: because this is such a crazy way to take a picture, and because it shows the taupe-ness of it to greater effect:
PUR 2
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And then I was going to on about how excellent I have found GIORGIO ARMANI’s 505 to be, and couldn’t remember the full name, and also got annoyed as usual about Il Maestro’s numbering system, and googled it, and found myself.
OOPS ARMANI
I FOUND MYSELF. Google knows everything, including enough to remind me that I did in fact talk about Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Colour {€28.50} before.

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I Used It — Them! — All Up: A Head-to-Toe Miscellany from Lancôme, Dermalogica, Pixy Natural, and Merumaya

5 May

I turfed through loads of stuff this week — and it took me long enough. It is with some sadness that I present what I have used all up, because I was hoarding all of these. It had to be done, though, and all came in especially useful in recent times.

Trust me, this one is all used up, barring jabbing the top of it open with an awl, or something:
LANCOME BI-FACIL
I mean, that’s not even one eye’s worth of make up remover. Au revoir, LANCÔME Non Oily Instant Cleanser for Sensitive Eyes {€28.50} — je t’aime pour toujours. This removes the smokiest of the smoky eye, and doesn’t make my vision all vaseline-y up, like some equally effective but oil-based removers can do.

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DERMALOGICA MINERAL SALTS
I had been hoarding this stuff forever. Initially, I found the scent of DERMALOGICA’S hydro-active mineral salts {€31.50} to be a bit pong-y, and who knows, it may have been my own sense of smell that needed adjusting. Or I just got used to it. I don’t know! But I needed it bad these past few weeks, first as I was recovering from an injury sustained from horseriding, and then I needed the even badder to recover from going back horseriding.

This sea salt concoction is stuffed full of relaxing essential oils, including lavender, clary sage, and cinnamon, amongst many. Bonus: my skin felt like silk, in addition to my muscles being completely soothed.

SRSLY, all gone…
DERMALOGICA EMPTY

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Speaking of lavender, here’s PIXY NATURAL’s Lavender Bath Bomb {€3.45}. Well, duh, it got used all up, you may be thinking. No, not so ‘duh’, as I have tried bombs in the past that fizzled out juuust before having totally dissolved, leaving me with a freaky moonrock lookin’ thing that, funnily enough, disintegrated when I let it dry out, to try to use it a second time.

PIXY LAVENDER BATH BOMB

This fizzes all the pieces, in the best possible sense. It’s got little bits of actual lavender in it, and I turned to this relaxing little thing when I’d used up the Dermalogica salts, and I wasn’t sorry.

One thing, though.
PIXY PACKAGING
There’s the plastic wrap this comes in, and then another round of wrap, which I didn’t discover until I was in the bath, ready to drop the bomb, as it were, and had to fumble with wet fingers to liberate it. Just so ya know.

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Goodbye, Merumaya Intergrative Effective Skincare, in more ways than one…
MERUMAYA
This was another thing for which the scent was an acquired taste, but once I got into it, I loved it. The brand have an extensive line, and this, their Iconic Youth Serum {£34.50}, was like rubbing velvet and angel feathers all over my face. I found this to be notably effective when used at night, as I awoke radiant.

Sadly, the brand are no longer available in Arnotts — you’ll have to buy online at merumaya.com. As a way towards easing our pain, shipping fees will be dropped to match those of the UK, from a tenner to £3.95, or freeeeeee if you spend over £40.

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Here’s a Q&A I did with Merumaya founder Maleka Dattu, just as a matter of interest!

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