I am 100% a low maintenance girl. I wear barely any make up (it’s usually only something to cover up my spots and maybe a bit of blusher and mascara if I’m going out), I don’t fake tan, I do my own eyebrows, and I maybe paint my own nails on very special occasions. When it comes to skincare, I generally stick to what I know, for fear of my face suffering even more breakouts from using products it can’t handle. I also have ridiculously difficult hair, which means there’s only one product I’ve ever found that helps it out a little, and even that can be hit and miss on whether it works or not. And as for my body, well one thing I’ve noticed as I’m getting older and more and more of those annoying perimenopause symptoms are emerging, is that my skin is a lot duller and way more dry than it used to be.
I was recently sent some products from a lovely company called Utama Spice who make natural aromatherapy products in Ubud, Bali. Now like I’ve said, I’m normally a bit reluctant to try new products (creature of habit and all that) but seeing as we’re all currently in lockdown and therefore even if I do have a breakout there’s not much chance of people seeing me, I’m putting all my faith in the fact these products are natural and giving them a go.
I’ve got a lovely little selection to try out, so I can let you know what they’re like and you can then decide whether you’d like to try them out too. Oh and for the record, even though they’re based in Bali and the prices are in $, they do ship to the UK and my delivery came super quick so don’t let that put you off.
Senja Hair Oil
As I’ve mentioned, I have the world’s most difficult hair to manage. It’s naturally wavy, but not nice beachy waves wavy, more frizzy mad professor hair wavy. Even my hairdresser has told me I have problem hair so in all honesty there’s not much hope for me. I swear there is literally one day of the year where the weather conditions are just right for my hair and I manage to pull off a good hair day. In terms of products, I need something that is super hydrating, but that locks the hydration in and at the same time smooths and de-frizzes… it’s quite a big ask!
I like to use oil on my hair either before I blow dry it or as a final smooth down once I’ve styled it. My hair is always super thirsty so I know that it can take a decent amount of oil without looking greasy. This Utama Spice Senja Hair Oil is what my hair has always dreamed of. Now, I’m not saying it’s a miracle cure, because it’s not, but my hair likes it and that’s good enough for me. The product uses a base of coconut oil, which basically has super powers when it comes to nourishment, and this is combined with patchouli, cananga and lavender essential oils to promote hair regrowth, to ease tension and of course to make it smell divine.
There are lots of different ways you can use this product; as an overnight hair mask, as a styling product to protect against heat from hairdryers and straighteners, and as a finishing product to smooth out any stray wisps. At just $9.99 (just over £8) for a 100ml bottle, considering how multipurpose it is and the fact you need to use only a very small amount, I think this is an absolute bargain.
Natural Face Serum
The Utama Spice natural face serum is described as good ‘for dry and aging skin’ which sounds absolutely perfect for me. It comes in a 30ml glass bottle with an easy to use dropper style lid and contains organic argan oil, cocoa butter, virgin coconut oil, jojoba oil and pure essential oils.
It doesn’t say how often you should be using it, so I’m unsure whether it’s an everyday thing like moisturiser or more like a once a week treat thing like a face mask. However, one thing I will say is that because it is an oil, and therefore very greasy, I would suggest you use it after you have cleansed your face and before going to bed to avoid looking greasy in the day. Plus, because it contains lavender oil, using it at night will help aid your sleep as well as hydrate your skin.
The serum is very easy to apply, simply squeeze 7 drops onto your hand and then gently massage into your face – upward movements are generally best as this helps to lift the skin rather than drag it down. Although it does initially feel greasy, if you make sure you rub it in properly and then leave it, it absorbs really well and my skin literally drank it up. Which is great, as the oils it contains (jojabe, argan and coconut) are brilliant for soothing, hydrating, protecting and rejuvenating skin which in turn helps fight against the aging process… and I am ALL for that, especially when it can be done naturally!
Priced at $14.99 (just over 12 quid), it’s one of the more expensive products they sell, but because you only need to use a small amount per application it will last you a long time and I personally think is well worth the money.
Lemongrass Ginger Body Butter
This is one of those products that you are either going to love or you are going to hate and it basically boils down to whether you like the smell of lemongrass or not, because it is strong, very strong. Personally, it was a bit too much for me even before I’d even put it on my skin and so I’m not sure I’d want to be smelling of it all day, but as I said that’s personal preference. Smell aside, the product is, as described on the pot, a butter. Super creamy, rich and smooth to apply, the Utama Spice lemongrass ginger body butter is a blend of coconut oil, seaweed and Aloe vera created to moisturise all areas of the body and to be fair to it, it does do exactly that and you need only a small amount of it to do just that.
You might want to keep the pot in the fridge on a hot day, as I found that the oil separates quite easily and you end up with small pools of oil collecting in the pot, which makes it a lot harder to apply. And the added benefit of keeping it in the fridge is that it will be lovely and cooling when you use it, making it especially good if you’ve been out in the sun too much or you’ve got shaving burn/rash on your legs.
Priced at $12.99 (about £10.50) for a 100ml pot, there’s not really much more I can say about this product, because it simply wasn’t for me. Not a fan of the smell and not keen on the messy consistency.
Pore Cleansing Facial Wash With Clay
I have always had problem skin, I think it must just be in my genetic make up as I have tried countless products and they are either too drying or they bring me out in spots, which at the age of 41 is not a particularly good look. With each passing year I’ve noticed that my pores in particular have grown quite enlarged. I read somewhere that once they’re stretched there’s not much you can do about it, which means that they’re basically little nets for dirt and grime. What you can do however is reduce the appearance of them and this is where a product like the Utama Spice pore cleansing face wash can help.
The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of the essential oils (tea tree, patchouli, lavender) used in this mask helps keep skin clear and dirt free, but despite working hard and if truth be told smelling somewhat medicinal, it is gentle enough for everyday use. When dirt and makeup gets trapped inside pores, it can often lead to breakouts, and the more breakouts you have the larger the pores become. It becomes this vicious cycle of skin problems, as the larger the pores the more dirt and grime they can contain and the higher the chance of breakouts etc. etc. The only thing you can do to counteract this is by deep cleansing pores everyday and thus reducing the chances of a breakout in future.
You can use this product in one of two ways; either as a daily face wash or as a more intense deep cleansing mask once a week. I can be a bit rubbish at remembering to do masks every week, that’s the lazy girl in me, so I gave the face wash option a whirl instead and I’ve got to say I’m impressed. It dries tight like a face mask very quickly and it did make my skin go a bit tingly so if you have sensitive skin make sure you follow the advice on the tube and only leave on for about 30 seconds. I washed the product off with a damp flannel and my face felt immediately refreshed, tighter and just kind of new feeling. I don’t honestly think I’ve ever had that from any other facial product I’ve used before, I was genuinely amazed.
Because of how energised and awake this face wash made me feel, I’ve really enjoyed using this first thing in the morning, or after a run when my poor pores are very much in need of an empty out! I would recommended following up with some of the Utama face serum, as once the pores have been deep cleaned it’s now time to fill them up with some nourishing goodness.
The face wash is available to buy from the Utama Spice website at $9.99 (just over £8) for a 75ml tube.
Fresh Soul Body Balm
Aside from the fact this tin is the cutest thing ever, the Utama Spice fresh soul body balm inside it is a proper miracle product if ever there was one. I love any product that has more than one use and this can be used for lots of different things on different areas of the body – dry elbows and knees, as a calming balm after shaving, as an overnight intensive foot or hand mask (slather on and then wrap in clingfilm and wear socks/gloves for full on hydration heaven – don’t worry about what it looks like), as a massage oil (simply rub some in the palms of your hand and it will melt to an oil almost immediately) or as a daily moisturising product to keep your body super soft. On top of all this it is non-greasy, rubs in really easily and the peppermint leaf oil, vetiver root oil, fennel oil, and nutmeg seed oil give a warm and soothing scent that stays with you all day. Again you don’t need much of this product for it to work it’s magic and so at $7.99 (about £6.50) for a 30g make up bag sized tin you are deffo getting good value for money. This is hands down my favourite of all the Utama products I’ve been sent for all the reasons above but also because the smell reminds me of holidays to faraway places, which is probably the closest I’m going to get to a holiday this year, thanks to coronavirus!
Peppermint Lip Balm
Did you know that your lips have no sweat glands and so they are likely to dry out faster than other parts of the body? It’s something new I’ve learned today as well. It certainly explains why lip balm is an essential handbag item that we all use, no matter how basic our skincare regime.
This peppermint lip balm from Utama Spice contains just 4 ingredients: coconut oil, beeswax, mint leaf oil, and peppermint leaf. Coconut oil moisturises and hydrates as well as acting as a natural sunscreen and the beeswax helps to lock in the moisture and provides a barrier to help protect lips against external elements. Sometimes simple is best and that right there is a winning combo for an effective and decent lip balm. The addition of the two types of mint gives interest, because let’s face it we all love a lip balm with a nice smell right? But some scented lip balms use artificial scents and these chemicals can end up having an adverse effect. Not so with natural products like those used by Utama Spice and that’s what I love about these products – no harmful ingredients.
I got a bit of a shock when I first applied the lip balm as the cooling mint sensation quickly turns to an almighty tingle and it literally feels like your lips are expanding (who needs lip fillers when you have this! ;)) However, this does wear off after a while and because the mint is so strong you can actually taste it in your mouth. If peppermint is not your thing however, then the lip balm is also available in cocoa, tangerine and wellkiss varieties all for the price of $1.99 (roughly £1.60). The small stick is perfect for popping in your pocket to have with you whenever your lips start to feel dry and I personally love the coolness of the mint, especially on these hot sunny days we’ve been having recently. Top tip – keep your lip balm in the fridge for maximum coolness!
All in all I thought this selection of Utama spice products were really lovely. I was impressed by the quality of them, I thought they were very well priced, and I was amazed at how quickly they were sent out and delivered to me – especially given the current state of the world! All of the Utama Spice products focus on applying traditional herbal knowledge and are handmade from ethically sourced and sustainably produced materials in Bail. This is just a small selection of the products available so go check out the Utama Spice website to see what else they do.
*products gifted for review