Sunday, March 30, 2014

Faves Friday!

Hellllooo!! I feel like I should call this series Faves Saturday or Sunday with the way it's been going. Better late than never though, right? ...yeaaaah...let's just get started.

I have been absolutely loving:
Andalou Naturals Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk - review here - I didn't realize how deep my love for this product was, until I began using it again. It works so well at calming and reducing any redness on my face, smells delicious, and is super affordable.
*Blissoma Clay Renewal Treatment -  review to come - What a bomb mask! It helps dry up and get rid of acne, reduces redness, exfoliates, and leaves my skin feeling soft and radiant.
Corpa Flora Eclat Citrouille - review here - My original review holds true! Whenever I apply this oil at night, I wake up with radiant, even toned, and glowing skin. I'm also obsessed with the mild patchouli scent.
Ilia Bang Bang - review here - I've been loving a wearable red lip lately, mainly because Spring is kinda here!
Dr. Tung's Toothbrush Sanitizer - When I saw these little gems, I knew they had to be mine. They use natural essential oils like tea tree and thyme to keep the brush germ free. I ordered it from and didn't get to choose to the scent, so I ended up with lemon (aka smells like thyme oil). Regardless of scent, it doesn't flavour my toothbrush at all.
Overnight Oats (not pictured) - When it comes to sleeping in a few extra minutes or eating breakfast, I choose sleep. That's why I've been obsessed with overnight oats this whole month. You basically take oats, milk of choice, and whatever else you like, mix together and pop in the fridge. In the morning, you can top it off with fresh fruit and eat. SO simple, quick, and perfect for those lazy I'll likely have a recipe up at some point in April.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites - recipe here - oh-my-goodness! I made a batch last night actually. This time I left out the baking powder and kept them raw, delicious.
Banana Ice Cream - Frozen bananas in a high powered blender with peanut butter and chocolate chips. Drool. Anyone else see my addiction to peanut butter? It's a problem.
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Skin Essence Organics Nourish Facial Moisturizer Review

I've passed by Skin Essence Organics many times before on store shelves, always curious about the brand. Last year, I attended the Whole Life Expo (or something like that) and Skin Essence had a booth there. With Caitie's (Naturalla Beauty) rave review in my mind, I walked by and was instantly drawn in by David's in dept knowledge of each product, ingredient, and enthusiasm. Knowing that my skin doesn't love high amounts of rosehip, I picked up the Nourish Facial Moisturizer anyway.
Skin Essence Organics is a truly organic skin care line, specifically created to be a healthy and nourishing alternative for the body's largest organ, the skin. At Skin Essence, we believe strongly in natural healing and the benefits that nature's extracts, essential oils and minerals can offer. 
We know that when skin is healthy, not only does it look great, but it also provides vital protection against pathogens, regulates body temperature, synthesizes vitamins B & D and prevents important body fluids from evaporating. Since the skin is an extremely vital part of our body, it is crucial to nourish it and keep it healthy. 
Noticing that there were no truly natural skin care options available on the market, we began creating this unique line. Our leading researcher is a highly regarded herbalist and holistic esthetician who has spent over 20 years studying a wide variety of natural ingredients and their various benefits for the skin. Due to the kindness of our clientele, we have tested each formulation and its effectiveness, on hundreds of various skin types. This process has enabled our team to develop premium organic products that offer the most beneficial results possible.
At Skin Essence, we credit the effectiveness of our products to a wide variety of nutritionally rich ingredients that are all natural-organic and a premier source of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Our entire product line has been specifically created to rejuvenate cells, feed capillaries and simply nourish one's skin. Each ingredient used in our products is carefully selected, ensuring it is of the highest quality, with the most beneficial results possible, for all of our valued customers.
Read more about the Canadian brand by clicking here.

Description: The nourishing extracts and minerals that have been carefully selected for this serum are very beneficial for combination skin types, that may also be damaged or aging. The abundant amount of Rosehip and Neroli used in this serum are phenomenal for stimulating and rejuvenating skin cells, while also nourishing the skins vital capillaries. Since this serum contains a rich amount of vitamin C, it is effective in stimulating collagen production in the dermis, thus improving the skin’s elasticity. The wide variety of nutrients found in this serum, naturally tone the skin helping it achieve a youthful, fresh glow.

It's no secret that rosehip has amazing skin benefits, like the fact that it encourages cell regeneration which in turn reduces the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, scars, and sun damage. Zinc is also amazing because it calms, heals, and protects (natural SPF). Put those two together, along with some other amazing oils, and you have a super fabulous serum! Except, it didn't work for me. It's not their fault though, I knew going in that it might not work well with my skin. I would apply a pump, in the morning, after cleansing and toning. I actually found it to be moisturizing enough, most days, without the addition of a cream. I love the fact that it has a natural SPF minus the white cast that zinc tends to leave behind. With continued use, my skin started getting red bumps and blotchy. Like with all products that don't work for me, I passed it over to my mama. After asking her what she thinks, she responded with, "it's alright, nothing special". Of course I asked what she didn't like about it and she said she wasn't sure, she just doesn't find it does anything. She did say that she likes the built in SPF. There ya have it folks, another great example of how one product can work differently on each person...three persons to be exact.

Retails for approx. $15.99 CDN for 10 ml and $31.99 CDN for 30 ml. Can be purchased through Skin Essence,, or any of these retailers across Canada.

Ingredients: Rosehip Seed Oil*, Jojoba Oil*, Apricot Kernel Extract*, Macadamia Nut Oil*,Hazelnut Oil*, Carrot Tissue Oil*, Sweet Orange Extract*, Mandarin Extract*, Kukui Oil*, Neroli Extract*, Meadowfoam Seed Oil*, Vitamin-E*, Jasmine Flower Extract*, Evening Primrose Oil*, Allantoin, Zinc Oxide (Natural SPF & Non- Nano).
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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

CV Skinlabs Calming Moisture Review

It's no secret that my skin had a rough Winter. Between the polar vortex weather and constantly trying new products, my skin was raw and red. Having heard amazing things about CV Skinlabs, I broke my #NoBuyJanuary oath and purchased this little tube from Clementine Fields. 
Britta Aragon, safe cosmetics expert, author and entrepreneur, developed CV SkinlabsTM in response to a need for non-toxic, effective skin care solutions. A luxurious and innovative line of products, CV Skinlabs sets a new standard for safety in the beauty industry, helping consumers enjoy a youthful radiance with skin care they can feel good about using. The collection features soothing and highly effective formulas that calm, repair, and deeply hydrate, while returning luminosity to dull, stressed skin. Each product delivers outstanding beauty benefits and proven results, with ingredients chosen for the utmost efficacy and safety, every step of the way. The carefully formulated range of options can be used with peace of mind by all—particularly those with sensitive skin, chemical sensitivities or conditions such as eczema and chronic dryness, to name a few.

Britta discovered her passion for promoting safe self-care through her experience as a caregiver during her father’s eight-year battle with cancer. A survivor of Hodgkin’s disease herself, she understands firsthand the devastating effects cancer and cancer treatments can have on the skin. When she tried products specifically targeted for “sensitive skin,” they were often laden with potentially harmful chemicals that actually irritated her father’s fragile skin. She became acutely aware of how devastating the side effects from drugs and medical treatments could be. Inspired and determined to help others, she founded Cinco Vidas in 2008, and dedicated her work to her father’s legacy.
Read more about Britta and CV Skinlabs by clicking here.

Description: Advanced Therapy For Dry, Sensitive Face, Neck and Scalp. This antioxidant-rich moisturizer calms redness and deeply hydrates while repairing skin to create a healthy glow. This super-rescue moisturizer helps to immediately calm, hydrate and nourish chronically dry and flushed skin while returning radiance. Designed for all sensitive skin types. Ideal for soothing skin irritated from the effects of microdermabrasion, laser treatments, retinol use, chemical peels, excess sun exposure or chemotherapy. Skin is left soft, moist and glowing.

I hesitated a bit when it came to purchasing this product, mainly because it's a steep $36 CDN for only 30 ml, but those claims are hard to brush off when your skin needs some major lovin'. First things first, the tube. It's plastic (as you can probably already tell), light, easy to travel with and throw in your bag. The actual moisturizer is quite runny, however, a little goes a very long way. That being said, the tube makes it hard to control how much product comes out because of the fact that it's so runny. I tend to store mine upside down to avoid a rush of moisturizer. Does it live up to the hype and/or claims? I, personally, don't think so. It instantly soothes any burning and/or itching but, I didn't find it to calm any of the redness OR help with my dry/dehydrated skin. I even tried using it on my hands and again, it soothed the itching but didn't do anything for the redness or dryness. While this wasn't a hit for me, I plan on trying the balm at some point.

Retails for $24.50 USD/$36 CDN for 30 ml and $49 USD/$59 CDN for 60 ml. Can be purchased through CV Skinlabs and Clementine Fields. You can also click here for a list of complete retailers.

What's your favourite CV Skinlabs product?

Poured too much. This was enough for both hands and arms (up to my elbow).
Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Triolein, Glyceryl Stearate, Sucrose Laurate, Squalane, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Ganoderma Lucidium (Mushroom) Extract, Beta-Glucan, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Glycerin, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil , Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract*, Bisabolol, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Extract, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax (Cera), Silicon Dioxide, Water (Aqua), Dehydroacetic Acid, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Xanthan Gum, Benzyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, Maltodextrin *Organic
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Monday, March 24, 2014

Brand Focus: The Mystic Masala

The Ayruvedic world is one I know very little about. From what I've read, the general idea behind it is self healing. Of course it goes far more in depth but, to avoid confusing myself I'll just leave it at that.
When I was approached about trying The Mystic Masala, the intriguing woman and concept behind the brand was hard to deny, including that they're based in Canada.
When you first come to experience the divine fragrances of The Mystic Masala, you may find yourself transported to the Malabar Spice Coast, or perhaps to a sangoma’s apothecary in the Southern reaches of Africa; you may even imagine yourself on a vibrant stroll through a bustling New York City marketplace. None of these sensations would be too strange as Glynnis Osher has drawn from all of these. 
Glynnis was born and raised in South Africa, immigrated to New York in her 20’s and has traveled through India and to both US coasts, gathering knowledge of Ayurvedic practices. 
In April of 1997, Glynnis was drawn to The Wise Earth School of Ayurveda in North Carolina and embraced the teachings of the School Director and Vedic monk, Maya Tiwari (Sri Swamini Mayatitananda), graduating in the ‘Food Sadhana’ program, later returning to the school to assist in two Food Sadhana programs and integrating this work into her personal life. 
The Pacific Northwest provided Glynnis with other avenues to broaden her knowledge. In Seattle, she taught Ayurvedic spice workshops and cooking classes, including a 3 month credit class to nutrition students at Bastyr University. In 2002, Glynnis graduated as an Ayurvedic practitioner from the AYU Academy at Bastyr. From there, she developed further hands-on workshops to create one’s own pharmacopoeia of home cosmetics using essential spice and herbal oils, ground grains, beans, seeds, nuts and spices. Glynnis’ interactive workshops of toasting, grinding, chanting, and melding continue to be strongly influenced by her diverse studies and the colors, rituals and practices of both India and her native South Africa. 
These seeds of experience, exploration and a passionate love of Ayurveda, gracefully blossomed in mid-2003 when she launched The Mystic Masala. All this plus a background as an art director, designer and illustrator makes Glynnis a lively masala indeed! As one can readily see in the crafting of her product line, Glynnis’ love of aesthetics is strongly evident — as is her strong belief in social responsibility. And this is only the beginning. Now based in Vancouver, Canada, Glynnis and The Mystic Masala plan to continue introducing people to the beauty and wisdom of Ayurveda through their exquisite aromatherapy products.
 Read more about The Spice Mistress (love that title) and The Mystic Masala here.

Glynnis was kind enough to send me a box of goodies that included a *Kapha Spicebodhi Soap, *Spicebodhi Kapha Body Oil, *SpiceLove Perfume Oil, *Mixed Tealight Tower, and a few miniature *samples. I will be including the mini samples in a big-ish giveaway, keep your eyes peeled.

Kapha Spicebodhi SoapWe are excited to offer a beautiful therapeutic line of Ayurvedic herbal body and shampoo bars. Carefully created blends bring balance to the doshas, shimmering beauty to the body and refreshment to the spirit. The skin is nourished by consistent care and each blend is designed to work not only topically, but also to restore health on a subtle deep tissue level.
Ingredients: An invigorating blend of coconut, palm, sunflower and olive oils, honey, neem leaves, lemongrass and haritaki, essential oils of lemongrass, lemon and ginger.
Retails for $8 CDN for a 3.5 oz bar.

For starters, the box that this soap comes in is absolutely beautiful! Wouldn't you agree? The soap itself is also beautiful. It lathers really well and leaves my body feeling squeaky clean without drying it out. The strong smokey citrus scent has quickly grown on me and, although it doesn't linger for long, I look forward to filling my bathroom with its scent. Aside from being totally natural, it's also 100% biodegradable. Of all the products sent to me from The Mystic Masala, this is hands down my favourite.

Spicebodhi Kapha Body Oil: Our naturally exquisite Ayurvedic body oils are made at a womens’ fair trade cooperative in Nepal. The herbs are sustainably wildcrafted assuring the highest quality ingredients and care. The highest vibrational oils without any additives or preservatives. Beautifully gentle for daily massage of body and face. A routine of daily self-massage is an essential part of an Ayurvedic practice to restore and balance your unique skin type. Formulated to refresh and enliven.
Ingredients: An invigorating blend of olive, mustard, grapeseed, and vitamin E base oils, essential oils of lemongrass, ginger, black pepper, infused wildcrafted herbs of neem, haritaki, lemongrass.
Retails for $18 CDN for 50 ml.

I love me a good body oil and this one is great, except for the scent. It's very nourishing and absorbs quickly, leaving the skin soft, never greasy. Unlike the body bar, this oil has more of a spicy citrus scent that lingers all day long. Not my favourite scent, that's for sure. It's great as a daily body oil but excels as a massage oil. With it's ginger and black pepper essential oils, it quickly tingles/warms up to soothe sore muscles and joints. I've mainly been using it as that and can't get enough!

SpiceLove Perfume Oil: An exquisite and ridiculously sexy new love oil created from our just-arrived essential oils from France, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and India. Just wait until you sniff this gorgeous blend! The prana, light and beauty emanating from this little aromatic roll-on is so desirable, you will fall in love! This exquisite 100% pure essential oil blend boldly expresses the beauty and sensuality of the white lotus flower—nelumbo nusefera, known as ‘sacred lotus’—masterfully melding with French ylang ylang, Indian rosewood, African myrrh and a drop of Indonesian patchouli, all in a carrier blend of organic almond/sunflower oil. 
Retails for $20.95 CDN for 10 ml

I've come to learn that I don't enjoy floral scents and this one is no exception. I do, however, enjoy that it's small enough to pop in your makeup bag/purse and that it contains a rollerball applicator. The scent, of course, fades throughout the day but lasted a good 5+ hours (on me) before needing to be reapplied. I've passed it on to my grandma and she loves it, if that says anything.

Mixed Tealight Tower: Enlighten me. A pure Ayurvedic aromatherapy candle with 100% essential oils and lead-free cotton wicks. Hand poured in Canada.
VATA: 100% pure essential oils of basil, cardamom, sweet orange and vetiver
PITTA: 100% pure essential oils of peppermint, coriander, and fennel.
KAPHA: 100% pure essential oils of ginger, cinnamon, and lemon.
TRIDOSHIC: 100% pure essential oils of geranium, spikenard, and bergamot.
Retails for $25.95 CDN for 12 tealights.

I was initially going to pass these over to my boss, to test out for the spa, but ended up giving them a go myself first because Kapha and Pitta smelled too good to pass up. Again, Kapha in candle form smells different from the bar soap and body oil. It has a sweet citrus scent and! Ready for it? They let off no scent once lit. Even with all three of the same dosha burning at the same time, in my small bathroom, I smelled nada. Such a shame. If anyone knows whether the larger versions let off more scent, kindly let me know.

All in all, I think that The Mystic Masala is great. Whether you understand Ayruvedic practices or not, you can still enjoy all of the healing/therapeutic benefits of each hand crafted product. If scents are an issue for you, keep in mind these products are all very fragrant. 

Have you ever heard of or tried any of these products? Do you know much about Ayruvedic practices or even which dosha you are?

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*Products provided for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Rave Review: OM Organic Matter Shampoo Review

Back during my visit to Anise Apothecary, I told Monique about my fear of trying shampoo because of how irritating some can be to my dermatitis. Obviously nobody knows what will or will not work but, she was kind enough to give me a bottle of *OM Organic Matter Shampoo to try. I am so glad that she did because it's amazing! 

Description: Organic ingredients, zero toxins, & AMAZING performance! Level One Shampoo & Conditioner are for Normal or Normal to Oily hair.

Despite the whole sketchy aspect to the brand, I truly love this shampoo. OM is supposedly Ph balanced, cruelty free, vegan, colour safe, gmo free, and gluten free. It's also made in Canada eh! The white plastic bottle is nothing lavish for being a 'salon quality' shampoo but, it's light and easy to travel with. The product itself is white, creamy and lathers amazingly well without drying out my hair or scalp. Since it does lather, a little goes a long way. Whenever I use this shampoo, my scalp feels soothed and my hair is left cleansed and tangle free. I do wish they had a clarifying shampoo though. For my healthy and fine hair, this can be a little heavy with continued use. Sometimes I add a bit of coarse sea salt or clary sage essential oil to get a deeper clear and find that helps. Actually, you could probably add any essential oil to this product since the scent is very light, almost undetectable. Perfect for those sensitive to or who like to customize their own scents! I'm actually almost finished this bottle and will 100% be repurchasing.

Retails for approx. $16 CAN for 237 ml. Can be purchased through Anise Apothecary

Have you ever heard of or tried OM shampoo?

UPDATE (10/20/14): OM now has a website! Well, they've had one for a little while now but I kept forgetting to update this post. Check it out here.

Ingredients: Water, Decyl glucoside, Myristic acid, Hydroxypropyl guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride, coconut oil*, Grape seed oil*, Glycerine, Pro-Vitamin B5, Sodium citrate, Essential Oil Blend (prunus amygdalus dulcis,vanilla planifolia, prunus dulcis, citrus medica limonum, rosmarinus officinalis, cananga odorata, citrus bergamia,citrus sinensis, citrus grandis, prunus avium kernel)*, Glucose & Glucose oxidase, Lactoperoxidase. *organic
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*Product provided for review consideration. All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Brand Focus: Therapi Honey Skincare

After Ana, from Ana Goes Green, mentioned her love for the brand on Twitter, Therapi and I began chatting. They were kind enough to send me the *Rose Otto No 1 Honey Gel Cleanser and *Orange Blossom No 3 Honey Moisturiser to see if they'd help soothe my raw and irritated skin.

Therapi Honey Skincare was founded by Tanya Hawkes, a bee keeper, who researched the benefits of honey and propolis. The line is based around "a love affair with bees", in case it wasn't obvious yet, and they even donate 5% of their profits to bee conservation projects. All of the ingredients are deliciously pure, made in house (without pre-made bases), and Soil Association Organic certified. You can read more about the brand by visiting their website.

Description: A lightly foaming gel wash. Nourishing honey and natural extracts of yucca gently cleanse the face and remove impurities. Leaves skin clean and refreshed without dryness. With rejuvenating rose otto and refining rose geranium essential oils. Retails for £25 for 100 ml.

This gel textured cleanser doesn't foam up or dry out the skin like a traditional gel cleanser does, at least in my experience. It smells of rose otto and rose geranium but isn't overwhelming at all, nor does it linger. The first time that I washed my face with this gel cleanser, my skin felt so soft. After that, it went downhill. I blamed it on the polar vortex weather and put it aside. Since my skin has been less sensitive and irritated lately, I decided to give it another go. It instantly irritated my skin and left it red. Weird right? Tried it a few more times and the same thing happened. I honestly have no idea why it irritates my skin so much and am so disappointed that it doesn't work as well for me as it does for Ana.

Description: An easily absorbed, perfectly textured skin nectar. Moisturising honey, soothing calendula and vitamin-rich sea buckthorn oil balance and hydrate normal skin to leave it smooth, soft and moisturised. With balancing botanical extracts of orange fruit and blossom. Retails for £30 for 50 ml.

This lush facial cream is absolutely beautiful and smells lovely. It's rich, yet absorbs into the skin easily without leaving the skin feeling greasy. I did find I needed a little extra moisture on certain parts of my face, otherwise my makeup grabbed on to the dry patches. Filled with ingredients that I love like calendula, apricot kernel oil, honey, and sea buckthorn, it was sure to be a winner..right? Wrong. In the beginning, it worked well but with continued use my skin got bad. Again, I blamed it on the polar vortex weather and hormones. Never had my skin been that bad for that long, two months to be exact. I had cystic acne along my cheeks, chin, and neck, and red bumps all on my forehead. Once I stopped using this cream, my skin slowly began clearing up and now my skin looks great! I finished up the jar on my hands and it worked fine there.

It's definitely disappointing that these products didn't work for me, however, with beautiful ingredients, luxurious packaging, and rave reviews, I still recommend giving them a try. Aside from wanting to share my honest experience, I wrote this review to show you that not all products work for everyone. The cleanser has since been passed on to my mom and once she gives me some feedback, I will update this post or mention her experience on an empties post.

Have you tried Therapi yet?

This is such a cute quote. On the other side of this paper is the entire range of Therapi products and what skin type each range is for.

Cleanser Ingredients: Aqua, Mel (Honey)*, Lauryl Glucoside, Decyl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Gluconolactone, Xanthan Gum, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Oil*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder*, Yucca Schidigera (Y. Vera) Extract, Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Flower Oil*, Rosa Damascena (Rose) Flower Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil*, Cedrus Atlantica (Cedarwood) Bark Oil*, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Gluconate, Parfum*, Limonene+, Linalool+, Citronellol+, Geraniol+ * Organic + Naturally occurs in essential oils

Moisturiser Ingredients: Aqua, Rosa Damascena Flower Water*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil*, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil*, Polyglyceryl-3 Rice Brannate Cera Alba (Beeswax)*, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Cannabis Sativa (Hemp) Seed Oil*, Mel (Honey)*, Lecithin*, Amorphophallus Konjac Root Powder, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder*, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Sweet Orange) Peel Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Neroli) Flower Oil*, Jasminum Grandiflorum (Jasmine) Flower Extract*, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Calcium Gluconate, Parfum*, Linalool+, Limonene+, Geraniol+, Farnesol+, Citral+ * Organic + Naturally occurs in essential oils
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*Products provided for review consideration. All opinions are entirely my own.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Faves Friday!

Of course when I decide to do Faves Friday every two weeks, there's so many products that I want to feature. Here's what I've narrowed it down to.

Sappho Liquid Foundation in Leisha - review here - This is just the best liquid foundation that I've come across. When applied with the beautyblender (that black sponge above), it just provides a beautiful natural finish that covers all of the redness and most of the acne scars on my face.

Pure+Simple Face Colour in Soleil - review here - Peach/orange/coral blushes are not ones I tend to reach for. I find they bring out the redness in my face BUT, I randomly decided to use Soleil and fell in love, hard. It's a beautiful peachy shade that just makes my skin look incredible and glow.

NBW Healing Balm for Burns, Scrapes & Rashes - review to come - NBW is a Canadian brand that we carry at my work. My boss basically forced me to take this home to see if it would help heal the contact dermatitis/eczema/whatever it is that's on my fingers. WOWZA! This stuff has seriously been helping. Within minutes of applying, the redness disappears and the dry patches soften. Between no longer using powdered gloves and this, I swear my fingers have almost completely healed.

That's all! What have you been loving lately? With Spring around the corner, I'm sure you've been feeling extra cheeky with makeup. Shareeee your faves with me below :)
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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

14 - 1
Thank you to Jess (Ecoholic Beauty), Sabrina (Chickweed & Blush), and Jules (The Natural Junkie) for nominating me for this Very Inspiring Blogger Award. I'm incredible flattered and humbled to have had three great gals nominate me. I've considered closing up shop a few times, guess my blogging mojo comes and goes, and times like this is where I get encouraged and inspired. So thank you ladies! You'd think I had won a Grammy with that line eh? If anyone else has nominated me and weren't mentioned, my apologies. I've been in my own world lately.

The Rules:
  • Thank the person who nominated you and add a link to their blog.
  • Display the award on your post.
  • List the award rules so your nominees will know what to do.
  • State 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
  • Contact your nominees to let them know you have nominated them. Provide a link to your post.
  • Proudly display the award logo (or buttons) on your blog side bar, ABOUT page, or a special page for awards.

Seven Things About Me:
  1. I love all kinds of music but, the two artists that always put me in a good mood are Usher and Chris Brown. 
  2. I used to spend too much time worrying about what others thought of me, now I just worry about what I think of me.
  3. Centipedes make my skin crawl and I'd rather look at one while screaming for someone to come and save help me...AKA kill it, sorry bug lovers.
  4. I'm easily annoyed.
  5. I've never owned a laptop.
  6. When I was a kid, my doctor told my parents that I'd grow to be 6' tall. He big time lied because I'm only 5'3.
  7. I've been a vegetarian for almost two years and have more compassion for animals than I do people.

I Nominate:

Since this award has been going around for a few weeks now, there are many bloggers that have already been nominated (a few of which I've mentioned here). I wanted to pick some that haven't yet been nominated, not because that's what was left but because they deserve a mention as well. Starting a blog is hard and whether you blog about products, good eats, healthy living, nail designs, women's rights, socks, and/or all of the above, you are an inspiration. Keep sharing your passion with the world!

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Monday, March 10, 2014

Reveal My (Makeup) Stash #1 - Foundations & Concealers

I've long been saying that I'd do a makeup post, but have majorly slacked. Makeup isn't a passion of mine and, while it's fun and I'm more into it now than ever before, I prefer a minimal makeup routine and look that I don't feel it's ever worth posting. Since the Reveal My Stash skin care edition was well loved, I thought I'd do the same with makeup. 

My entire makeup collection has definitely grown quite a bit in the last couple of years. I literally used to only own one foundation, one concealer, one blush, one bronzer, one mascara, crap load of lip glosses, and no lipsticks. Seriously. Take a look at what isn't a PR sample, that'll give you a great idea of what my collection was like before. 
Before we start, my apologies for the poor swatch photos. I decided to include swatches as I began doing the post, and of course there's no sun. They came out a darker than they actually are. If you click the links, it'll take you to my full review and you'll likely see better swatches. 


Sappho Liquid Foundation in Leisha and *Rachel*Pure Anada Sheer Matte Pressed Foundation in Very Fair and Light, and Jane Iredale Amazing Base in Amber & Radiant (sent to me by Alexis of The Green Beauty Bunny). 
I use Sappho's Leisha with Pure Anada's Light on top, most often. If I don't wear powder, I'll mix Leisha and Rachel together. If I only wear powder, Light is what I reach for. The inner part of my arm isn't as pale as my face, therefore Sappho's Leisha and Pure Anada's Very Fair are workable but too light on their own. All shades are fairly neutral, leaning towards yellow toned. 

B to T: Sappho in Leisha, Sappho in Rachel, Pure Anada in Very Fair, Pure Anada in Light, Jane Iredale in Amber, & Jane Iredale in Radiant
B to T: Sappho in Leisha, Sappho in Rachel, Pure Anada in Very Fair, Pure Anada in Light, Jane Iredale in Amber, & Jane Iredale in Radiant

*Sappho Concealer in Undo & Neutrality, Origins Plantscription in Light, *OhSudz Concealer in Warm, Salmon & Medium.

A good under eye concealer has been a major struggle for me too find. Since I have blue veins, I can't use yellow because then my under eyes look green. Sappho's Neutrality was being used regularly, however, I found it to look a little gray/grey at times. Out of the concealers I have, I've been using OhSudz in Warm to conceal under my eyes and Origins as a shadow base (just to use it up). The others just aren't a great match for me.

B to T: Sappho Neutrality, Sappho Undo, OhSudz in Salmon, OhSudz in Medium, OhSudz in Warm, & Origins in Light

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*PR SAMPLES. OhSudz was kindly sent to me to figure out which shade best suits me, it wasn't for review consideration or anything blog related. Not sure if that still qualifies as a PR sample, just letting you know anyway.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Real Talk: Why I Write Positive & "Negative" Reviews

After writing an entire post on why I feel it's important to incorporate both positive and "negative" reviews on blogs, I realized that it became a complete rant. I decided to delete it and start fresh, focusing on why I write mixed reviews.

My lack of a filter can be perceived as rude, snobby, narrow minded, immature, etc, etc. For every one person that loves that about me, there are probably 10 who hate it. It's how I've always been, albeit I'm better now than in my younger years. A boss of mine always said, "it's not what you say, but how you say it". Mind you, she didn't take her own advice but it's true. How things are said will definitely change how they're perceived. 

Basically, I started blogging because of my love for sharing my opinion and experiences. Anything that can be reviewed is never matter of fact. Each person can love/hate different/same things about any given product, and that`s okay. What's important to understand with beauty, is that no number of rave reviews can make a product work for you if your skin/hair/etc just doesn't like it. For example, almond oil might be amazing for various people, but it won't work for someone who's allergic to almonds. Know what I mean?

I like to write a mix of reviews because I think it`s important for readers to have the opportunity to make their own decision based on the pros and cons provided to them. If they decide to try a product after reading several positive reviews and only one negative one, then at least they know that there's that slight chance that they might not like or might react to that product. If it works amazingly well for them, great! If they react or hate it, then at least they know that they're not alone. It's also important to note that most readers don't get free samples/products sent to them, they may be relying on reviews to help them decide where to invest their hard earned money. 

While it's true that perhaps some blogs/people have influence, I don't think it's enough to shut a small or large business down. Sharing a negative experience isn't a petition or boycott of that product or company, it's simply a word of caution to those thinking of trying said product/company. 

Whether you choose to write solely positive, negative, or mixed reviews, it's entirely up to you of course. Just remember that as a blog reader yourself, I'm sure there have been times where you've read a review and thought, "thank you for the honesty, I wondered if that product was worth the money".  

I could go on forever on this topic, however, I thought I'd keep it short and sweet to avoid it turning into another rant post. You are all more than welcome to chime in and share your thoughts on this topic, below. Keep it friendly please, I'm open to all sides and am definitely not looking for a debate.

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PS. Sorry if the spacing is off, blogger keeps acting up and I can't fix it :(

Monday, March 03, 2014

February 2014 Empties!

Oh ya baby, I'm killing these empties posts! I have been making a big huge dent in my stash and am beyond excited about it.

Deep Steep Repairing Shampoo - review here - I really did enjoy this shampoo at first, but I noticed it starting to irritate my scalp with continued use. I began using it only once a week for a "deep clean" and must admit that most of it ended up spilling in my tub because of the water-like texture. Won't repurchase.

Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap in Eucalyptus - review here - I love this soap for cleaning my bathroom. The eucalyptus scent is uplifting and one of my faves. Repurchased in peppermint (my other fave scent).

Batch Naturals Lemongrass & Sweet Basil Soap - review here - While the scent wasn't something that I'd normally go for, I REALLY enjoyed it. This soap contains clay, which worked wonderful for my bacne. The disappointing part is that it didn't last too long. With regular use, and me being the only one using it, it lasted about 3 weeks. Will likely not repurchase because of how quickly it gets used.

Pretty Goat Milk & Honey Soap - no review coming - This soap was not as awesome as I was hoping, seeing as it's from one of my fave brands. It's creamy and moisturizing, but I didn't feel like it really cleaned me. Not that it left me stinky, I just didn't feel clean. I think it would be amazing for someone with super dry skin or babies. Also, it contains palm oil. Won't repurchase.

On A Branch Soap in Monday Morning - review here - Great company and great soap. The coffee grinds were a little too sharp for my liking but I still enjoyed it, especially the cinnamon scent of Monday Morning. Will repurchase in another scent.

Pretty Ginger & Cypress Soothing Mask - review here - Hands down my favourite clay mask ever. I always come back to it, even though trying to DIY it would be much cheaper. It works at pulling out impurities and calming my skin all at the same time. Will repurchase at some point, but I'm currently debating on splurging on a La Bella Figura mask.

*Shamanuti Pumpkin Enzyme Masque - review here - As my skin was freaking out this month (with acne) and not as sensitive as usual, I was able to use this mask more frequently. I really enjoyed how it left my skin soft  and helped to get rid of pimples quicker. May repurchase at some point.

*Therapi Honey Skincare Orange Blossom No. 3 Moisturizer - review here - This is a fab UK brand. They use honey (obviously) in their products, along with other great ingredients. I loved using this morning and night, the scent, and how it left my skin so soft. I do have to note that since running out of this moisturizer, probably about a week and a half ago, my skin hasn't been breaking out as much. So I'm not sure if this is what was causing my skin to freak out, along with hormones, but that's why I haven't written a review yet.

*Sweet Leaf Bath Co. Adzuki Bean Rice Bran Face Polish - review here - Even though this scrub smelled like grass, it worked really well at exfoliating my skin. I especially loved mixing it with honey and using it as a mask. I did end up using it this last month on my face, chest, shoulders, and back regularly. Since I'm not a big fan of physical/mechanical exfoliants, I will likely not repurchase this.

*Thayers Peach Witch Hazel Toner - I used to love Thayers and even got my boyfriend hooked on using it after shaving. This one smelled like fuzzy peaches, which I loveeeeeed, but it contained alcohol. I don't like to use anything too astringent on my sensitive facial skin, so I opted to use it on my chest, shoulders, and back. It did help dry out some of the acne spots I was getting. Won't be picking up the full size.

Pretty Roman Chamomile Floral Water - review here - This is my favourite floral water and I've raved about it enough. I've repurchased in rose.

*PurelyGreat Citrus Cream Deodorant - review here - Aside from the irritation this gave me, it worked amazingly well at keeping me stink free ALL day long. I started applying a water/apple cider vinegar mix to my underarms about 20 minutes before applying this deodorant and it kept the irritation (mostly) away. The most annoying part about this deodorant, was constantly having to mix it prior to use. Because of that, I will not be repurchasing.

*Weleda Sea Buckthorn Body Lotion Mini - This sample came with their Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream that I have already reviewed. The scent was light and fresh, same as the other products in the sea buckthorn range. I was really surprised by this product! It moisturized really well and absorbed nicely. I may pick up a full size once I use up some other body lotions.

Pai Fragonia & Sea Buckthorn Instant Hand Therapy Cream - review here - Lovveeeed this hand cream! It was super hydrating and absorbed ridiculously well. The packaging is too big to carry around with me, which is one of the biggest downsides..along with the price..but I think I'm going to repurchase it soon.

S.W. Basics Cream - review here - I took this picture on Tuesday and have since finished off what was left in the jar. This was deeply moisturizing and an absolute pleasure to use. I loved applying it all over, especially on my knees, feet, and elbows. Will repurchase next Fall/Winter.

First Aid Beauty, Niora & Aromatherapy Associates were sent to me by Cori (Well Beauty Blog). The two unmarked jars in the middle were sent to me by Sabrina and Mayah (Call It Vanity)
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream (sample) - Not entirely natural but it did work well to moisturize my super dry hands.

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (sample) - This mask didn't burn or tingle at all, and left my skin brighter and softer. Since it was a one time use, I'm can't tell if it's worth the splurge.

Raw Gaia MSM Beauty Scrub (sample) - I didn't understand this exfoliant because I didn't feel it exfoliating. It felt more like a cleansing balm.

Aurelia Miracle Cleanser (sample) - I loved the invigorating eucalyptus scent of this rich cream cleanser. It left my skin soft, cleansed, and more even toned. I see myself purchasing the full size at some point.

Niora Alpha Clear Cleanser (sample) - This cleanser is designed for adult acne, which is pretty cool. It cleansed my skin well (didn't remove makeup though) all while leaving it well hydrated. Not sure the sample was large enough to notice a different in my acne though.

Aromatherapy Associates Soothing Treatment Mask (sample) - I didn't find this mask to be anything special although I only had enough for one use. It did moisturize my skin, and calm the redness on my cheeks a bit. I also enjoyed the fact that it was scentless.

*SBT Soothing Salve for Stretch Marks/Scars (sample) - I got this in a sample pack back in October and have been using it for several months now. The smell is really nice, almost like a herbal apple, but might be a little much for some. Did I notice a change in the appearance of my stretch marks? No.

Benecos Natural Multi Effect Mascara - no review coming - This mascara was a major flop for me. I loved the large natural bristle brush but hated that it smudged and flaked within minutes of application. When I wore this to work, I'd have to constantly check the mirror to make sure that it didn't look like I went straight to work after a night of partying. On a positive note, it didn't irritate my eyes.
Cheeky Cosmetics Eye Shadows in Pebble & Truffle (samples) - review here - I really love the Cheeky eye shadows. They are beautiful and so pigmented. These two taupes were stunning all over the lids, outer corners, and in the crease. I'm extremely tempted to pick up full sizes, however, I don't use eye shadow often enough to justify adding more to my already (kinda) large collection.

W3LL People Universalist Multi-Use Stick in #7 Creamy Peony (sample) - This cool toned vibrant pink is stunning, stunning, stunning! My boyfriend already purchased the full size for me.

Zuzu Luxe Brow Pencil in Russet - review here - The most perfect shade for my brows. I just wish there was a way to use ALL of the product. Already repurchased.

What have you finished up this month?
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