Mathew Bose

a PS to part 5…brands recommended by others…

These have been recommended to me by others but I’ve not tried them. Any others you feel worthy of a mention then please let me know – I’d like to add them to the list. Thank you…


Ute Leube founded Amala after spending years making her own skin care products for herself and friends. The company believes in natural completely and that everything we need to be and feel fabulous is found in the beautifying and therapeutic benefits of nature and just needs very careful harnessing. They use precious, powerful plant ingredients that they respectfully resourced from around the world (organic, fair trade, sustainable and grown in their native habitat) and this is reflected in the price I suppose, you might say, but if a thing is worth having…

Amala does have a good social responsibility model if that is important to you and I think it is a brand that is promoting ‘natural’ in the right way – i.e. that these ingredients are expensive because they are hard to come by and so money needs to be paid to acquire them. We have been used to obtaining mass-made synthetic ingredients (and some mass grown natural ingredients such as palm oil) that are not subject to fluctuations in production due to the weather, wars, volcanic eruptions etc., for far too long. So we have come to expect (like food) that there is an unlimited supply at a low price. Real, sustainable, nutritious life actually costs more than that.

Proud of their effectiveness, the Amala website is seemingly transparent about their ethos, methods and they even display their clinical trials. They have a few FAQs about their range here. They don’t have a men’s range and the packaging is a little girly for the ‘butcher’ members of the readership I fear, but if it’s in the shared bathroom cabinet then who’s to say who it really belongs too…

Explore their story and vision at and buy stuff in the UK here and follow them on twitter here.

Living Nature

A friend from New Zealand has insisted I take a look at a brand from her native country called Living Nature.



This multi award winning California based company is very keen on an all natural approach. The pride themselves on being leaders in the development of formulas that not only nourish the skin, protect and rejuvenate it, but also help rid it of,  and protect it against, issues like psoriasis, eczema, blemishes, scarring and age spots. To quote ‘all products have a safe, effective delivery system that is paraben-free, phthalate-free and do not contain sodium lauryl sulfates, petrolatum, mineral oil, and artificial colors. Additionally, the entire derma e line is 100% vegan, cruelty-free and manufactured with wind energy’.

They have a wealth of  women’s products but have recently launched a men’s range too. As you all know I’m not an immediate follower of gender specific products but these are packaged in a safe black design for those not in touch with their feminine side…

Check it out here and buy in the UK here.

Mathew Bose

Clarisonic cleansing brush…

It’s no secret that I’m big on exfoliation. Read a previous post about this where I bang on about it here.

It’s also no secret that I’m not really big on fancy products, labels and product hype. However, a friend loves this little gizmo so much that her enthusiasm made me try it.

I have to say right here and now though, that I started discussing products initially on this site but some people cynically assumed that I was being paid or bribed in some way to include these products (don’t judge me by your standards I say to them) SO, I feel I should reiterate that I talk about specific products and brands that I like and do so for that simple reason alone. I like ’em, I use ’em and I write about ’em. End of.


The item in question is from the Clarisonic (Pacific Bioscience Laboratories, Inc.) company as part of their ‘Sonic Cleansing Range’. They’re the same chaps that brought you the sonic toothbrush. The one I use is called the ‘Mia’. Mia is the small ‘travel’ size option and is a pared down device but completely enough for my needs. I’ve had it for a while now so it’s been superseded by other versions etc. (usual story) but the general idea is still the same.

The brand and its devices are, they say, all developed by scientists. Check out the website here Clarisonic for all the technical stuff and current versions available.

Essentially the manufacturers say the difference here is that their brush goes back and forth to flex and work with the skin’s natural elasticity, it sweeps away dead skin cells and the sonic vibrations ensure a deeper and more thorough cleanse and unclogging of pores. As I say check out the technical stuff on their website, but whatever the science the proof is ultimately in the results, right?

I am convinced that the regular use of this sonic brush has benefited my skin hugely. Now, I use the Mia in conjunction with a few other things (which are discussed in related posts) so I accept that it’s a combo thing but nonetheless the Mia is an integral part of the process.

The version of the Mia that I bought came with  mini tube of Clarisonic branded ‘gentle hydro cleanser’ which I have never used simply because I have my favourite face cleansers already and being a creature of some habit…and also I forgot all about it until I came to write this post! The provided cleanser was developed by Robb Akridge phd who was also the co-founder of the company. I feel I must therefore add at this point that Clarisonic was sold to L’Oreal in 2011 so if you have issues with L’Oreal (and there are plenty you could have – not least their animal testing decisions. Although they claim to be ‘cruelty free’ (that doesn’t include their prices and chemical usage I’m assuming…!) they say this: ‘L’Oréal no longer tests on animals any of its products or any of its ingredients, anywhere in the world. Nor does L’Oréal delegate this task to others. An exception could only be made if regulatory authorities demanded it for safety or regulatory purposes’ (my italics). It’s this final line that gives them away because, for instance, the lucrative Chinese market demands by Chinese law that before products can be sold there  products are tested on animals by Chinese testing facilities within China. As ever we must make informed and personal choices…right?

Anyhoo…the cleanser…maybe the shift to L’Oreal explains this but there was a major reformulation of many Clarisonic products according to a bunch of disgruntled fans of the previous formulas (can’t please everyone..?) but the consensus seems to be that natural has been replaced by synthetic. The upshot is I tried a little of it and I don’t like it. And I certainly don’t think that using every product from a brand’s range is a good way to go. Find specific things that work for you and don’t be swayed by a load of old rhetoric. Often brands have a fab product and then build a load of other stuff around it to complete a ‘range’…but the initial item is the best. Maybe this is so here…

Previously noticeable pores have been significantly reduced and other blockages that sometimes cropped up linked to heat, hair products or general abuse from the elements are now a rarity. Using this as a pre-shave preparation also allows for a closer and smoother shave. As the device is water proof it can be used in the shower as part of any routine to keep your daily ablutions time efficient!

A word about pores though…the size of them is largely hereditary (another thing to blame your parents for) or related to the oil gland within or the hair follicle, so the only way to minimise them is to minimise how noticeable they are. They become evident because they are blocked (and I’m afraid age is a factor too…they sag eventually like everything else) so having a regular exfoliating regime is important. Incidentally, blackheads aren’t dirt as some people suspect but the result of an oxidisation process within an excessively clogged pore and should be extracted by a professional ideally (also prevented by careful and regular exfoliation…it’s all about exfoliation!)

So ultimately I could argue, if I were being contrary (moi?!), that a flannel or any type of face cloth (or even these hands looking at the state of them – where is my Weleda Skin Food when I need it?!?) could do the job also and cost a zillionth of the price. True…but I think cost aside the convenience, clean efficiency and ease of this brush makes it a worthwhile investment…definitely add it to your birthday/Christmas wish list!