Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Balm Balm - where have you been all my life?

Balm Balm Rose Geranium Face Balm has won numerous awards, is Balm Balm’s best selling product, costs just £5.99 for 30mls and is currently sold out on their website! Fortunately, I ordered some a few weeks ago so I have a precious tube in my possession. I thought I would use it for a few weeks before reviewing it, to get a good idea of its effectiveness. The results certainly match up to all the hype, and I am now addicted!

I hate pink, this is the only pink object I possess...
besides various lipsticks, glosses and blushers!
To view online click here.
 At first, the idea of a face ‘balm’ was a bit foreign to me, but don’t let that put you off. Being a balm means you just need to use a tiny bit to get maximum effectiveness. The product feels very rich, but my skin just sucks up all the lovely ingredients. On occasion I have slathered on a bit too much (seduced by its yumminess), but even then it is mostly absorbed and I can just wipe off the shine with an unbleached Muji cotton pad.

So what is it about this product that has so quickly converted me? Could it be the uplifting fragrance, the immediate soothing effect, or is it the noticeable reduction of fine lines and wrinkles on my forehead and around my eyes…or perhaps all of the above? This product works wonders, is good for day or night, provides a great base for makeup and has multiple uses. You can use it as a cleanser, as a rough-skin softener, a cuticle cream, a lip soother…it sits up there next to my Weleda Calendula Weather Protection Cream. This is a dry-skin must-have, but note that it is excellent for oily skins too due to the Jojoba and Rose Geranium Oils that it contains (see breakdown below).

Because of the almost magical effectiveness of this balm, I decided to do more detailed research into the individual ingredients and how they work on the skin.

Shea butter comes from karite nuts harvested in West and Central Africa and is high in fatty acids. Fatty acids (Omega-3 acids) help the skin to retain moisture and elasticity. It naturally retains vitamins A and E which help reduce fine lines and have antioxidant (UV-resistant) properties and also makes it an effective treatment for eczema and psoriasis. Raw shea butter can also be used as a conditioner for hair and a treatment for burns and rashes.

Sunflower oil has natural antibacterial properties that makes it particularly good for protecting the skin from infection. It is a non-comedogenic oil which means that is will not cause spots even on oily skin, and therefore is a wonderful treatment for acne. As well as containing vitamins A and E (antioxidant), it is also high in vitamin C which increases collagen synthesis (plumping, reducing wrinkles), and vitamin D which is a known immune-booster (again helps with acne).

Beeswax is an excellent emulsifier and stabiliser for skincare products, helping to bind ingredients together into a usable formulation. It also naturally has antibacterial and moisturising properties. Beeswax will not clog pores (a common misconception).

Jojoba oil is actually built from liquid wax esters (chemical compounds). As well as being antibacterial, it has the unusual property of encouraging the skin to produce less oil and so is excellent for oily skins and helps in the treatment of acne. It also contains zinc which helps the skin to heal and minimises scars, and chromium which reduces the rate of skin infection.

Calendula is an anti-inflammatory herb that helps to reduce redness, itching, swelling and pain, as well as being a natural antiseptic, thus helping to prevent infection.

Rose Geranium oil is an effective treatment for skin inflammation, dermatitis, burns, itching and peeling. It is also particularly good for oily skins.

Do not despair that you cannot buy this balm it on their website right now…I have seen Balm Balm products on the shelves of Whole Foods and Waitrose. I will let you all know when they have more online stock too.

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