After the cold slough of winter took its toll on my skin, I decided to make trawling the January sales with my Christmas money for skincare my #1 priority. I've always, touch wood, had fairly alright-ish skin - I wasn't particularly prone to breakouts or blemishes, with one or two hormonal spots scattered here and there. However, as I got into my twenties and got more interested in what the hell my face decided to do with itself during the year, I started to notice that I was prone to dryness and flaky patches, particularly in colder weather.

I had always cleansed and moisturized but was a little flippant with products - I'd pick up anything that was going. I wanted to take a more invested interest in my skin and seek out something more permanent. After reading and watching rave reviews from blog crushes of mine, Anna from ViviannaDoesMakeup and Lily from What I Heart Today, I settled on test-running (fair warning: this name is not for the faint-hearted) Emma Hardie's Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm. Yep. The name is that long.

I was chuffed to discover the Emma Hardie Amazing Face Starter Kit in the FeelUnique January sale (NB - looks to me that the kit is no longer available on the site, but you can snap one up at SpaceNK for £32!) at a snip for £25. So, awaiting the postman like a loyal addict, here's what I discovered when I got my grubby little mitts on the goods...

 (Pictured above: Emma Hardie Amazing Face Natural Lift and Sculpt Moringa Cleansing Balm)
So let's not waste anymore time - the balm truly is the hero of this kit, which consists of a 10ml tester-sized pot of the cleansing balm, the accompanying moisturiser, as well as a pot of EH's rosehip exfoliating seeds (which I'll get to in a moment) an eye serum and one of Emma Hardie's specially designed muslin cloths. A quick word on the cloth - whilst it is luxurious to have an 'exfoliating side' and a 'smoothing side', I wouldn't personally go out of my way to buy it if it weren't included in the kit. I enjoyed and still enjoy using it but I don't think that they're necessarily worth the £2.67 each that they retail for (a pack of 3 sets you back £8).

But back to the good stuff - and this balm is good. Its cult status amongst the beauty blog sect is totally understandable. I don't believe in reviewing things after one use (can't you tell - this product was bought in January and is being reviewed in April!), but I did notice huge differences in my skin after the first time I used this product. My face immediately felt more hydrated and the skin felt more balanced, plumper and softer. My boyfriend even remarked that I was 'glowing', and trust me, he's not the sort to use the word 'glowing'. 

Another immediate changed was my forehead - previous to cleansing it had been a little 'bumpy' and uneven, but after using this product I woke up the next day and it was smooth. I would have really recommended the cleansing balm to anyone who suffers dry skin at this point, but after reading Meg's post, perhaps this cleanser has something to offer most skin types! It also smells of marzipan to me - a lot of people report back with a luxurious spa-like scent filled with herbs and citrus, but all I can smell is frangipane!
(Pictured above: Emma Hardie Amazing Face rosehip exfoliating seeds)
A quick word on my other champion in this kit - the rosehip exfoliating seeds. A little goes a very long way with these bad boys - I usually press my index finger into the product and come away with more than enough to mix into the balm and give my face a good scrubbing. As I mentioned before, I suffered with dry flaky patches in winter, so my skin quite appreciates regular exfoliation just to see those pesky little flakes away - once or twice a week with this exfoliating system has cleared it right up. I don't even feel I need to exfoliate that regularly any more - I just do it because I genuinely enjoy the feeling of massaging in the seeds with the smooth, sticky paste of the cleansing balm. Pampering at its height, and pretty simple to master? Big yes from me.

Not pictured are the firming eye serum and hydrating and firming treatment moisturiser - I can't say I was wowed by either. The eye serum felt nice and cooling but didn't particularly do anything to 'de-puff'/plump the skin under my eyes or eradicate dark circles. I also found there would often be a gooey residue under my eyes or in my eyelashes the next day. Nice. The moisturiser was hydrating once it sunk in, which took a good while, and actually led my skin to feel a little greasy which, for dry skin, is quite the accomplishment. I also didn't particularly enjoy the strong herbal smell, which my boyfriend said made my face smell of 'vegetables and enzymes'. Thanks for that, dear.

As I'm sure you can probably guess, the cleansing balm was a straight repurchase for me. I picked up my 100ml tub of the good stuff from SpaceNK in late February and still haven't even used a quarter of it. At £34 it doesn't seem cheap upon first purchase, but I can't see myself running out until June/July at least. So at a bi-annual spend of £68 in total on your money-maker? I'm willing to put my money where my mouth, eyes and nose are.

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