Just To Clarify - Acure Organics Shampoo

There's more to life than hair, but it is a good place to start. As everyone with temperamental hair knows, how good your locks look can often mean the difference between a good day and a bad one. And I don't just mean a good or bad hair day; it is my firm belief that the appearance and condition of your hair can seriously affect how you feel about yourself on an ongoing basis.

When your hair looks (and feels) great, you feel like you could take on the world. Equally the reverse is true, on those days when you're battling a bad case of the frizzies or staring in total despair at your lank locks in the mirror, you just want to pull on a baseball cap and hide. If you don't believe me, think about the last time you left the hairdresser's (only if you left happy with your new do of course) and how amazing you felt as you pounded the pavement with your freshly-trimmed ends swishing in the breeze.

Those of you who read my Rahua review will know my last trip to the hair salon gave me the shock of my life as I discovered my hair had accumulated a shameful amount of product, despite the fact that I used none, bar shampoo and the occasional dollop of conditioner. Cue some frantic Googling as soon I got in the door in an attempt to find a natural alternative to the clarifying shampoo my hairdresser had proffered.

I was reluctant to fork out a fortune on what could have been yet another disappointment and truth be told, after my trip to the hairdresser's, I just didn't have the money to spend! Having seen rave reviews of Acure Organics Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo throughout the beauty blogosphere, I decided to opt for another shampoo in their line - Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell.

Both shampoos get great reviews and are a budget-friendly €6.78 (from iHerb which is where I got mine), but the Lemongrass version is described as "an everyday clarifying shampoo" which of course was exactly what I was looking for! I also threw in the matching conditioner while I was at it.

Vegan, sulfate-free, paraben-free and cruelty-free with no synthetic fragrance, this shampoo ticked all the boxes on paper but when it came to snapping the lid up and inhaling my first whiff, I'd be lying if I said it was love at first sniff. It's not that it smells bad or anything, I guess I just wasn't expecting my new shampoo to remind me of freshly-cut grass! Or lemons and limes for that matter. For a natural scent, it is quite strong and takes a bit of getting used to but I have honestly grown to love it.

Performance-wise, I couldn't ask for anything more from this shampoo. Described on the Acure site as "a clarifying shampoo...gentle enough for everyday use" which promotes "shiny, healthy, clean hair" I have to admit, this shampoo really delivers on all ends. It lathers nicely (which isn't always the case with natural shampoos) and leaves your scalp and hair feeling fresh and clean. I run a small amount of the conditioner through the length of my hair and it has definitely helped with detangling. There isn't any residue left behind to make my hair look greasy come 3pm and after months of use, my hair is touchably soft and noticeably stronger with a lot less breakage. As someone with hair so fine hairdressers feel the need to comment on it (grrr), the fact that after a rough blowdry I'm left with bouncy, shiny, reasonably frizz-free waves is something of a miracle. And the best part of all? Zero irritation to my ridiculously-sensitive scalp.

I'm In Love With A Sponge - Konjac Sponge

Purchased from Naturismo, The Konjac Sponge Company 100% Natural Vegetable Fibre Sponge with Bamboo Charcoal is the latest addition to my beauty arsenal in the seemingly never-ending fight against acne. Konjac (pronounced con-yak) sponges have taken the beauty world by storm in the last year or so but I was reluctant to jump on the bandwagon until I read about the Bamboo Charcoal version. Described as "a natural treatment for acne-sufferers", bamboo charcoal is known for both its antibacterial properties and its ability to absorb impurities from the skin.

Konjac itself is an edible plant native to Asia that has been used medicinally for centuries and more recently in weight-loss foods. I actually tried Konjac noodles (before I heard of the sponges) and hated them as I found they had an unpleasantly fishy taste and rubbery texture, maybe I should have tried them on my face instead of just chucking the packet in the bin! Cruelty-free, vegan, and biodegradable (as well as as chock-full of mineral goodness), what is essentially a potato makes a remarkably effective cleansing tool.

Let's get down to how it actually works then, shall we? At first touch, the sponge was not what I had expected, being ever so slightly crunchy - for lack of a better word. You're advised to rinse it well under warm water at which point it noticeably softens and expands. After gently squeezing out the excess water, you're now ready to begin your cleanse, with or without product.

In the morning I tend use it solo but in the evening I sometimes start with a balm cleanser and use the sponge to really work it in. The manufacturer claims that if used with a cleanser, it will help the product to "work harder" and "go further" but I'm not sure I can attest to that just yet. Either way, I move the sponge in circular motions across my face, gently massaging it into every nook and cranny. The result is that my face is left both looking and feeling incredibly fresh and clean. Any patches of dry skin have been gently buffed away with none of the aggravation to my sensitive skin I've come to expect from manual exfoliation. Somehow this miracle sponge even seems to calm the blemishes I already have. Another quick rinse and a squeeze and then it's off to its hook to dry (it comes with a little loop of white thread attached). Your sponge should last two to three months with proper care (which is more than I get out of most cleansers) and, considering it retails at just £7.99, seems like a bit of a bargain.

So there you have it, I really wasn't prepared to enjoy using my Konjac sponge as much as I do but now I really couldn't see myself cleansing without one. If nothing else, it's a great timesaver for those of us who struggle to make ourselves look halfway presentable at such an ungodly hour of the morning!