lauren

Hi beauties!

A big thanks to Kate for letting me take over her blog for a guest review! We’ve been friends for over 10 years, and I was lucky enough to meet her at a time in my life when I really needed some confident, encouraging and awesome women in my life. My days at The Body Shop were spent laughing and sharing about our lives and loves, smothering ourselves in deliciously scented products and watching in awe as Kate and the girls who had been there for a few years effortlessly applied makeup to customers, and continuously turned up to work looking smoking hot. Kate’s incredible skin and her sexy pout were the (good natured) envy of us all and I remember wondering how on earth vitamin E oil could make anyone’s face look so incredible! My years with the girls are treasured memories, and I’m so glad we’re all still in touch.

A few years later, nobody was more surprised than myself when I took a job as a flight attendant in the Middle East, packed up 60kg of my most treasured belongings and moved to Dubai. My pre-existing obsession with body products, perfume and makeup expanded exponentially, and let’s all face the truth: flight attendants take the job for three reasons – travel, international shopping, and DUTY FREE DISCOUNT. It is most definitely not because we love people. If anyone tells you otherwise, they may as well change their name to Pinocchio!

As if the discounted prices in duty free weren’t great enough, we mostly scored an extra 20% off, which meant it would be incredibly rude NOT to buy things….right?! Cue a bathroom filled with more products than any girl needs, and sadly, not much thought to what I was putting on my body. I know crew with perfume collections that look like the perfume wall in department stores, and other girls who practically use their bathroom as storage spaces for their makeup…..

This time last year I had a serendipitous meeting with a man on a plane (as all sordid airline stories (except this one) start!) and we became great friends. Through him I met an amazing guy called Ryan who really opened my eyes to the nasty things in food and everyday beauty products. I can’t remember for the life of me where I read it, because I’m hopelessly forgetful, but the average woman puts over 500 chemicals on her face and body every single day. That horrified me, and made me wonder what kind of chemical killers were lurking in MY bathroom. As for what we eat, don’t even get me started. I’ve become obsessed with watching documentaries like Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead; Hungry for Change; and Overfed and Undernourished (to name only a few), and have initiated a bunch of changes in my kitchen and bathroom. I overheard someone recently say “if my grandmother doesn’t know what an ingredient is, I won’t use it”, and I thought that sounded like a pretty smart rule of thumb to adopt. A great deal of these unpronounceable ingredients and nasty fillers in our products simply aren’t good for us, and don’t enhance the products, as there are clearly so many awesome natural and organic products available that don’t need the nasties to be effective.

Ryan and I have spent many hours discussing what certain things do and why they’re toxic. Once I’d made a conscious decision to really examine exactly what was in my food, it struck me like a bolt of lightning: what was I putting on my skin? Taking care of our insides really goes hand in hand with taking care of our outsides.
Now I love a good Instagram stalk as much as the next girl, and about 4 months ago came across a friend’s post that described Go-To’s Exceptionoil as smelling like a Balinese vacation. As an avid fan of spa vacations and the opportunity to have products that would let me smell like I was lounging in a spa at 40,000 feet while slaving away feeding the needy and hungry masses, I did my research and wound up on the Go-To website, coveting their products. I kept that tab open on my computer and looked at it most days, dreaming of getting my hands on them, yet not wanting to risk anything going “missing” in the mail. Dubai mail is renowned for being absolutely crap – if things from loved ones actually DID turn up, they were often broken and incredibly late. We think they must have been kayaked from our home countries, they took so damn long to arrive. Anyway, Go-To became a case of later. I ended up resigning, moving to the USA and still thought about them, so on a recent trip home to Australia, I ordered Exceptionoil, Lips!, Properly Clean, and Very Useful Face Cream, and I must admit, I am one smitten kitten!

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Founded by Zoe Foster Blake, an Australian beauty editor with over 10 years experience in the beauty industry, Go-To uses pure ingredients to create their delicious products, and gleefully leave out dodgy “faux-science” claims that don’t actually do anything for your skin. Safe for teenage skin, dry skin, mature skin, acne and sensitive skin (a patch test is recommended just in case), Go-To products are all free of nasty chemical irritants. And so, dizzy with excitement and squealing with delight after I did my research and the postie did his drop, I opened the box to find my coral coloured cuties wrapped lovingly in the prettiest polka dot tissue paper. I didn’t know where to start, so figured the best thing to do was to open them all and sniff them. I wasn’t disappointed! The tie for my favourite goes to Exceptionoil and Properly Clean, I simply can’t narrow it down further.

Let’s start with Exceptionoil. This ridiculously dreamy, multi-purpose oil really does smell like a Balinese vacation. Packed full of goodies including Monoi de Tahiti (makes up 50%), Sweet Almond Oil, Avocado Oil and Rosehip Oil, it glides onto the skin for instant nourishment, and unlike many other oils out there, does not leave a greasy residue. Perfect for holidays when you don’t have much luggage space, it’s only 85mL, so you can carry it in your liquids bag, yay! (I often find I won’t buy something if it exceeds 100mL, because not being able to slather myself with moisturiser on an aircraft in the past has meant drier skin). Exceptionoil doubles as a fragrance, cuticle oil, and hair oil. I even smeared it all over my face after getting too much sun on a recent holiday and it was the moisturising drink my skin desperately needed. My one tip for Exceptionoil users is to be careful with the tube, and this is printed on the packaging – in cooler weather, the oil will solidify and if you squeeze too hard, it could burst or crack. Nobody wants to break a beautiful new moisturiser, so just run it under warm water and you’ll be in business.

Properly Clean’s natural ginger, lime and mandarin fragrances combine like superpowers that make you feel like you’re INSIDE a starburst fruit chew. Refreshingly divine in the morning, or after a hot, sweaty workout, this foamy cleanser REALLY cleans. I’ve tried all sorts of cleansers from crazy harsh ones that left my skin tight and extra dry; to slushy, creamy creams that make me feel like I’ve just added oil to my skin, not cleansed it away. Go-To uses Willow Bark Extract (their website tells us it’s a very gentle form of salicylic acid) to cleanse away the daily dirty and grime, without stripping all your lovely skin off. The ultimate test for me is if a cleanser can remove all traces of waterproof mascara, without me having to also use eye makeup remover. Properly Clean does the trick!

Very Useful Face Cream is divine! Boasting a rock star lineup of moisturisers including Shea Butter, Sweet Almond Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Avacado Oil, Mango Butter and fantastically versatile Beeswax, this face cream will leave your skin feeling soft, supple, and really kissable. Natural fig and oriental rose flavours linger gently, leaving a soft, feminie scent. I quite enjoy a scented face cream, but find I’m easily irritated and get headaches if they’re too strong. Very Useful Face Cream smells gentle enough for you to forget you’re wearing it. The texture is a little interesting, and can feel a little waxy when you’re first applying it to your face, but don’t let that put you off – once it’s on the skin and you’ve rubbed it in, it smooths out and feels decadent. I’d put this down to the fact that Go-To products contain natural ingredients, rather than synthetics to “improve” or “stabilise” the texture.

Hands up if you’ve ever bought a lip balm that mysteriously made your lips drier than before you applied it? I’m pretty sure we’ve all been fooled by pretty packaging and scents, and having been left unsatisfied with poor results, banished the offender to the dark depths of the bathroom or tossed it straight into the bin. Go-To utilises a whopping eleven moisturisers including medical grade Lanolin, Vitamin E Oil, Jojoba Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, and Shea Butter to give Lips! and your lips the moisture, protection and love they need to fight cold weather, nasty wind, and dryness from talking too much, playing the recorder or whatever it is that makes your lips dry. Laced with pomegranate fragrance (natural fragrance, naturally!) and darling Pomegranate Oil, this deliciously scented lip balm is fantastic over your favourite lip liner to give your lips a glossy makeover. I find that I need a stronger lip moisturiser for night-time, but then again, I do talk a lot!

The beauty of Go-To products is that they’re natural, and they don’t contain nasty filth like palm oil, petrochemicals, PEGs, mineral oils, parabens, sulfates, silicones, GMOs, synthetic colours or fragrances. They also DO NOT test on animals, which gets them more brownie points. As everyday beauty products, sitting well below high-end, they’re affordable and in my opinion are very reasonably priced based solely on the amazing ingredients they contain. They’re also Australian owned and made in New Zealand, which is a great incentive to support local products. And seriously, if a each product boasting an impressive ingredients list doesn’t convince you to buy them, the dancing kitten that celebrates your purchases after you complete your order is an equally great reason to go straight to www.gotoskincare.com.

Ciao ciao xo

Words and pictures by Lauren Grimster.

LISTEN : HALL & OATES  You Make My Dreams (for Lauren…because the cleanser makes her do a happy dance every time she uses it).