Monday, April 28, 2014

Faves Friday + A Fail

Today is Monday and I'm a little late with Faves Friday, with good reason! My internet was down (which seems to happen all the damn time) and I had no time to upload Saturday or Sunday. I really wanted to get this up because I have some old, new, and rediscovered faves.
Pretty Ginger & Cypress Mask (review here) mixed with Wedderspoon Manuka Honey - I forgot how amazing this combination works when my skin is freaking out. It's gentle and effective at reducing redness, irritation, and speeding up the healing time of breakouts.

La Bella Figura Modern Radiance Concentrate - If you follow me on Instagram, then you may have already seen that my amazing boyfriend surprised me with this serum. I was worried that it would piss off my skin but, it hasn't! In fact, I've noticed that some of my sun spots and acne scars have significantly faded in the few weeks that I've been using it. For reference, I only use it at night.

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Liner in Black Woods - I'm not one for eye liner, but lately I've been loving this one. I smudge it across the top lash line and outer bottom lash line for a semi-smokey, smoldering eye.

*Red Apple Lipstick in Coral Crush - review here - The sun has been shining, the weather has been somewhat warm, and orange lips just seemed like a good idea. Stunning shade!

And for my one fail product...

EO Organic Deodorant in Lavender - Simply put, this doesn't work as a deodorant at all. The scent disappears within minutes. I've even added in some additional essential oils and that didn't help. I do, however, enjoy this as a room, body, and car spray. Even used for those purposes, the scent doesn't last longer than a few minutes.

I'd love to hear what you've been loving this month, let me know or link your post in the comments section :).
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Rave Review: NBW Healing Balm

I've longed to find a natural alternative to polysporin. One that's small and easy to travel with, easy to apply, and actually works. My boss has been begging me to give NBW's Healing Balm a try for months, promising me that it'll work on the eczema (or contact dermatitis, didn't have a doctor confirm) on my fingers. Finally, I gave in and bought it.

NBW is a small Canadian company who makes their products, in Guelph, Ontario, in small batches. They pride themselves on using only "certified organic, fair trade and non-GMO ingredients from natural sources to create safe and effective skin care. Our products are free from: petroleum, parabens, sulphates, glycols, artificial fragrance, and colour."

Read more about NBW here.

My hands were baaaaadd. As an aesthetician, who needs her hands for just about all services, I found myself wearing gloves all the time because I feared that people would think I had a contagious skin disease. Plus, my skin was so dry that it kept splitting and bleeding. Within days of using powder free gloves and this balm, the redness, itching, and dry patches on my fingers were significantly reduced, and the splits began to heal. Within two weeks, all that was left was a little redness. Miracle worker? I'd say so!  I love how easy the tube makes it to apply to specific areas without needing to massage it in. I mean, you could massage it in as well. I've even applied this on other cuts, bruises, and itchy spots on my body, and it's worked brilliantly.

With ingredients like calendula, chickweed, and plantain, is it really a shock that it works so well? All three are known to soothe, calm, clean, disinfect, and heal all sorts of skin ailments, both internally and externally. The only thing that I don't like in this product, is the soya oil. I try to avoid soy/soya because my hormones are already messed up since coming off birth control and I've read (whether fact or fiction) that it can actually mess with them. I don't know whether it's true or not, but either way I try to avoid it when possible. That being said, they've actually reformulated it and changed the label. It is now called Stimulate and Heal Balm, AMAZINGNESS! I'm happy to confirm that it works just as well as their old formulation, minus the soya oil. I highly recommend this if you are looking for an on the go, easy to use polysporin alternative for yourself or little ones.

Retails for approx. $16 CDN for 16g. Can be purchased through NBW or you can contact them to find a retailer closest to you.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rave Review: Red Apple Lipstick

Earlier this year, Lisa from Serenity on the Humber did a kick ass post on Red Apple Lipsticks. Since that post (not saying it's because of that particular post), there has been non-stop buzz around RAL. I couldn't stand it anymore, I knew I had to try them for myself!
Red Apple Lipstick is the brain child of  Jay Adam Harper. This project was started in 2007 and it's been nothing but innovation from there. Our lipstick is outstanding and for this simple reason it is used by scores of women worldwide. But we know this isn't enough reason to get you off your duff and order some, here's 10 more! Paraben free, gluten free, lead free, soy free, animal parts and testing free, nut/tree nut free, and vegan.
Read more about Red Apple Lipstick here.

After contacting Red Apple Lipstick and begging to get in on the action, they were kind enough to send me *Coral Crush, *Hibiskiss, and *Oh My Guava. I'm in love with all three, seriously. The colours are vibrant and the formula is perfection. I've always hated lipsticks, even though I have quite the collection now, because reapplying is a drag. These, however, are a pleasure to reapply because of how amazing they feel and how effortlessly they go on. They're also long wearing, meaning that I don't need to reapply as often. Bonus!

As for packaging, I think that the box is really nice and the tubes are chic looking. The textured bottom makes it a breeze to hold and less likely to drop. I also absolutely love the RAL logo detail on the top of each tube, how cute! Personally, I love the packaging but don't care for the black tubes. I don't carry much, but always find it difficult to find black anything in my purse. Anyone with me on that? No? Okay..

 L to R: Coral Crush, Hibiskiss, & Oh My Guava.

Here's a closer look at the shades that I received. I also want to note that none of these have sparkle, shimmer, or frost, just a beautiful sheen.

*Coral Crush is the epitome of a true coral color. A pinkish-orange color representing the beautiful oceanic coral reef. This is the MOST requested color that we have ever had in RAL history, and here it is - a classic coral. Smooth and dreamy, you will be the talk of your block next week when you walk out with Coral Crush on. It has a satin finish which produces a lovely sheen, without any glitter, frost or shimmer. Lovely all by itself or paired with a gloss to add sparkle.

Beautiful! As someone who isn't into coral or orange lips, this one is so easy to wear and looks gorgeous on. I've actually been reaching for it a lot lately.

*Oh My Guava is destined to be your favorite nude-pink color. This nude color has less brown than most nudes, and more pink undertones to complement your natural pink lip color. Let your quiet, creative side live through this uniquely simple color. This peaceful summer color is perfect for a relaxed calming day. Yet, sexy and romantic enough to be paired with bold, smokey eyes at night, if you desire. Oh My Guava is amazingly smooth, creamy and moisturizing. It is simply lovely without any glitter or frost.

When I think of nude, I think of a lip balm over top of my own lips. Since trying Oh My Guava, I see the difference that a good nude lipstick makes. It completes any look whether it be a "no makeup makeup look" or more dramatic look. I also enjoy that it has more pink than brown in it.

*Hibiskiss is a luscious and vibrant true raspberry color. A deep, berry pink with a hint of red. This color is so amazing - it can be worn bold or as a berry stain. Hibiskiss is incredibly long lasting and creamy. You'll really love the perfectly even "wear down" - as this color becomes a deep pink/berry stain. This shade is totally free of glitter and frost, it has a satin finish that isn't too glossy. It feels weightless and moisturizing.

This is my absolute favourite of the three! I love me raspberry lips and cheeks all year round, it's a sick obsession I tell ya. Hibiskiss is very long lasting and can be worn bold or as a stain, as mentioned in the description. I find that this one definitely lasts the longest and wears beautifully even as it fades.

Okay, I get it people. I officially understand all of the hype and rave reviews that RAL has received for their incredible lipsticks. While they have an impressive and extensive shade range, their formula is what stands out the most to me. No other brand, that I've tried, even comes close. It is hands down my new favourite lipstick brand because of how smooth the formula is and how it doesn't settle into my lip lines throughout the day. Obviously the ingredients add to the amazingness.

Red Apple Lipstick also makes and sells lip glosses, lip pencils, a lip exfoliator, RALLYE BALM™, eye shadows, eye pencils, and a new eye primer (which I have my eye on, no pun intended).

Retails for approx. $23.50 USD/$27 CDN. Can be purchased through Red Apple Lipstick and Serenity on the Humber (Canadian Retailer).

What's your favourite Red Apple Lipstick product or lipstick shade?

Ingredients: Helianthus Annus (Sunflower oil) - 100% pure organic cold pressed, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Butyrospermum Parkii, Synthetic Beeswax, All Natural Gluten Free - Soy Free - Corn Free Vitamin E Tocopheryl Acetate, May Contain: Titanium Dioxide ,Manganese Violet, Mica, Iron Oxide.

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

Monday, April 14, 2014

Shoosha Baby Calm Baby Massage Oil Review

As some of you may or may not know, I'm not a baby nor do I have a baby of my own but I do love me some baby products. How I see it is, if it's gentle enough for a baby then it's gentle enough for me! Shoosha was first introduced to me by Patricia, Founder, while she was demoing the goods at The Big Carrot. As with most creators, she was passionate and eager to get her products out there. Shoosha carries a fairly wide range of products and I've been told that their Rejuvenating Stretch Mark Serum doubles as an anti-aging facial serum.  
Every day after work I would go home and experiment with making lip balms, hand lotions and soaps – and have the burned pots to show for it! I would create scents with essential oils that just made me so happy. My house started to smell of lavender and neroli, and I had pots full of beautiful balms and lotions that were simply gorgeous. I realized that I felt happier doing this than just about anything else. I had found my bliss. 
Ingredient after ingredient in the vast majority of products were harmful. Carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, endocrine disrupters, plasticizers, formaldehyde and more! In baby care products? Despite all the care and attention I had taken as a mom, I had been pouring toxic chemicals on my children for their entire young lives. I also read an alarming statistic that children can accumulate up to 50% of their lifetime cancer risk by their 2nd birthday because of all the toxins they are exposed to, and their skin is 10 times thinner than an adults. I immediately researched all the organic standards, and realized there are a shocking lack of standards in the ‘natural’ care industry and many crazy marketing claims. This experience opened my eyes; women like me were being duped. That was my turning point. 
That’s why I have listed my ingredients, their description and their purpose on this website. No secrets, no smoke and mirrors, no funky claims or dubious certifications. We chose USDA Certification because it’s the highest organic food grade standard in North America. Nobody should have to get a chemical degree to decide whether a product is safe or not. Trust ought to be more simple. Shoosha uses only pure, organic, beautiful ingredients that will nurture your delicate babies – and pamper you too. 
I created Shoosha for anyone who wants to live a clean simple life, stay healthy and enjoy more time on earth with the people that they love so much.
Read more about Shoosha here.

Description: We only use the finest and purest organic oils infused in organic herbs for your baby’s delicate massage. Our oils are all organic food grade, and used for their calming and restorative aromatherapy benefits. Both Chamomile and Calendula are added for their anti-inflammatory and calming properties, both phenomenal for eczema and reducing redness and skin irritations.

While I've been eyeing this body oil for a very long time, I actually bought it because the OLO Cleansing Oil bottle went crazy and I couldn't get any product out of it. With ingredients like sunflower oil, calendula, chamomile, and lavender, how could this not make an amazing cleansing oil? Plus, it was on sale. Double bonus? I think so. As predicted, it makes a fantastic cleansing oil. It removes makeup with ease, smells delicious (not at all overpowering), doesn't break me out, and leaves my skin super soft. Although, I find it makes an even better body oil. I love how easily it absorbs into the skin, soothes and moisturizes dry skin, and leaves behind a light lavender vanilla scent. Divine. Basically, this is a great multipurpose product. The only draw back is the bottle, it often times leaks. It would probably make a mess if you were to travel with it. A lockable pump would be ideal, just saying. Other than that, it's a superb product for babies, kids, and adults. There's also an unscented version for those who prefer it.

Retails for approx. $22.99 CDN for Lavender Vanilla or $19.99 for Unscented. Both bottles are 118 ml. Can be purchased through Shoosha and one of these retailers.

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Myra Aso 100% Pure Marula Oil Review + Giveaway

Towards the last half of 2013, I attended the Whole Life Expo in Toronto. Shows like that are great for discovering new brands that are eager to get their products seen, tried, and loved. Myra Aso instantly grabbed by attention. Her beautiful smile and knowledge of marula oil intrigued me. She was in no way pushy, which I liked. After walking around the entire show, I knew I had to go back and pick up a bottle.

Marula oil actually comes from a fruit, which I didn't know. Correction: The oil is extracted from the nut of the seed of the fruit. The marula fruit is edible and inside is a seed. When the seed is cracked open, there is a nut. The oil is then extracted (cold pressed) from that nut. It grows on a tree that is Native to Africa and considered a miracle oil for it's ability to moisturize dry skin, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, reduce stretch marks, reduce facial redness, and much more. It's high in antioxidants like Vitamin C, and minerals like zinc and magnesium.
Myra Aso is a natural hair and skin care company, founded in 2012 by Myra Moyo and based in Pickering, Ontario, Canada. The company specializes in marula oil and the formulation of marula body and hair care products.  
The company educates women in the importance of natural beauty, through private consultations, workshops and seminars held at various community health organisations. 
As a young woman, Myra maintained a natural approach to her beauty, preferring short cropped hair and natural styles even in the face of opposition from accepted social standards, often finding herself forced to use products with synthetic ingredients which never solved any problems but created new ones.

As a wife and mother of four, the need for good products with clean and healthy ingredients is a passion. She has spent many years studying natural health and beauty alternatives and has decided to share her research with other women, who often are left with little option but to use products and services offered by people unqualified to address their, more natural, needs in managing beauty.

All product formulations are created by Myra, based upon the success of her hand-made formulations for family and friends. Myra is dedicated to using natural, earth-derived ingredients that take the health of the user into consideration. She is also dedicated to the empowerment of women through education, providing alternatives they seek as they become more aware of the options that are available to them, as they take their beauty and self esteem into their own hands. Naturally.
Read more about Myra Aso here.

Description: Organic Marula oil can be used for dry, chapped skin, stretch marks, redness, scars, as a facial moisturizer, around the eyes, for babies and small children and as a massage oil for the whole family.

Although I have used this a few times on my face and initially bought it for that sole purpose, I've quickly come to love it as a hair oil. My hair is fine, straight, and gets easily weighed down. That's why I only use a shampoo (all over) and oil (on my ends), no conditioner or styling products. Ever. This clear, light oil works like a charm to smooth frizz and makes my ends shine without weighing it down. I just apply one drop (yes, just one) between my hands and work it into my ends after my hair has already dried. I even apply it after using a sea salt spray to get beachy waves without looking like I need a deep conditioning mask. As for the scent, it's really hard to describe. I will say that it's not strong and doesn't linger, anyone sensitive to scents will not be bothered by it. Marula oil is hands down my new favourite hair oil and a must try for all of you who have yet to do so.

Myra Aso can only be found in Ontario, Canada at these retailers. She has told me that she's working on an online store. Fingers crossed that happens soon! If you live in the GTA and will be attending the Green Living Show, go visit her at booth #429!


Myra Aso was kind enough to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to try the magical oil that I just raved about, as well as some additional goodies. How exciting is that!? The winner will receive:
  • Pure Organic Marula Oil
  • Marula Jojoba Facial Serum
  • Marula Coconut Hair & Scalp Oil
  • Marula Argan Body Cream - scented and unscented
To enter, you must subscribe to my blog and complete Rafflecopter below. Winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize. After 24 hours, I will pick another winner. Myra Aso will ship the products to the winner, however, you are also welcome to pick them up at the show. Just let me know which option you prefer. Open to Canadian Residents only.

Good luck :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, April 11, 2014

Faves Friday!

Hello Friday and lovelies! Bet you're surprised that this is actually up on a Friday instead of the usual Saturday or Sunday. Be proud of me! I have a bunch of new things, and a couple old, that I have been loving over the past couple of weeks.

Deep Steep Body Mist in Honeydew Spearmint - I am beyond obsessed with this scent in the Deep Steep range. It's sweet and fresh and delicious. The mist doesn't last very long on the skin/clothes but, I don't mind reapplying and my clients probably appreciate that I don't smell like a fragrance counter.
Sea Salt Spray (in the silver bottle) - When I went to Jamaica, I filled up this Aura Cacia bottle with sea water. Since we were going into Winter at the time and beachy hair wasn't all the rage, I kinda just kept it in a drawer. Now that the sun is finally shining and beachy hair is back in style, I've been using it regularly to give my fine, flat hair some texture and volume.
Myra Aso 100% Marula Oil - Have I mentioned my love for marula oil yet? It works wonders for my hair. Since my hair is short and fine, I literally use one little drop and work it into my ends after drying/styling. It completely eliminates frizz and leaves my hair smooth, shiny, and glam. Never tried it? Don't worry, I got a special giveaway coming your way.
Sante Eyebrow Pencil in No. 2 Brown - When my brows are full and luscious, I use Zuzu, but when they get a little sparse, it just doesn't do the job. I knew I needed something new and after swatching several brow pencils, Sante was the clear winner. It's not a warm brown so it works great for very dark brown/black brows like mine. I freakin love it.
Living Libations Neem Enamelizer Toothpaste - I won't lie, this stuff tastes horrible and often times makes me gag a little. Why's it in your faves then Nicole? Because since I've started using it, my teeth are noticeably whiter and less sensitive.
*Lyck Lip Butter in Crushed Berries - This lip butter smells, tastes, and feels divine on my lips. It leaves my lips super soft, makes my lipstick look better and last longer, and crushes candy cravings with each lick of my lips. 
Hope you all have an amazing Friday :)
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Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Rave Review: The Body Deli Blueberry Fusion Resurfacing Cleanser

Ahh, The Body Deli. A brand that makes each product sound and smell delicious!
THE BODY DELI is the original pioneer for fresh, raw, organic skin and body care. Our products are formulated to rejuvenate and give your face, body and hair a healthy, vibrant and youthful glow. Raw superfoods are what make THE BODY DELI products so effective. Superfoods are nature’s most concentrated sources of bio-identical nutrients, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. Superfoods are made in nature and are highly absorbable by the human body. The skin is the largest organ of the body and needs the same high quality nutrition topically that a healthy and vibrant body needs internally. Rejuvenate your skin with clinically proven active ingredients and with the health giving benefits of pure, organic, food based ingredients.
Read more about the brand here.

Description: This clinical grade treatment is formulated with antioxidant rich, raw, organic blueberries and acai fruit. This anti-aging daily facial cleansing treatment is designed to gently resurface the skin and improve sun damage. Powerful all natural malic, citric and lactic acids help lighten age spots, pregnancy/hormonal masks and other dark spots on the skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles. This cleanser is brimming with phyto-nutrients such as antioxidants, carotenoids, anthocyanins and polyphenols. This handy Mini sized version is perfect for travel, the gym or for sampling.

After trying out a small sample of this cleanser, I knew that I needed it in my life. This berry smelling goodness works amazingly well to exfoliate and brighten my skin without overly irritating it. It has a gel-like texture that spreads really nicely on the face without any real foaming action. Since my skin is sensitive, I just use it a couple of times a week at night instead of daily. I dampen my skin and massage a bit all over my face, then I let it sit for a minute or two before washing it off. There's definitely some tingling that happens in those couple of minutes, which is normal. Once I wash it off, I tone and apply my night oil. My skin is left refreshed, soft, and noticeably brighter. Of course since it's loaded with acids, my skin is also a little red but that's gone within 30 minutes or so. With any acid containing products, it's important to wear a sunscreen because your skin becomes very sensitive to the sun leaving it vulnerable to sun damage. I've noticed that some of my acne scars and sun spots have lightened since using this, and it also helps to get rid of any breakouts quicker. Also, it's important to note that I've had this small 30 ml bottle for three months now and have only used half the bottle. Overall, it's a fantastic chemical exfoliating cleanser/treatment that's worth every penny. I'd highly recommend (and repurchase).

Retails for $19.25 CDN/$16.38 USD for 30 ml and $45.50 CDN/$38 for 120 ml. Can be purchased through The Body Deli, Saffron Rouge,

Are there any products from The Body Deli that you've really loved or recommend?

Ingredients: (*) DENOTES ORGANICALLY GROWN - Micro-Clustered Ionized Water, Aqueous Solution of *Rosemary, *Lavender, *Rose, *Nettle, *Blueberry Fruit (Vaccinium myrtillus), *Acai Fruit (Euterpe oleracea), Tamarind Seed Extract (Tamarindus Indica), Decyl Glucoside (derived from Corn), Colloidal Oat Flour, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, 10% Lactic, 5% Malic Acid, 5% Citric Acid, Lactic Acid, *Rosemary Oil Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate (Natural Preservative System)
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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Brand Focus: Batch Naturals

I love discovering new brands, especially when they're Canadian. Of course I was over the moon excited when one of my good friends gave me a few natural goodies from Batch Naturals, a Canadian brand that I had never tried or even heard of, for Christmas.
Batch Naturals is a one woman show. I do everything from creating the design and labels on my products, to the actual product. Once in awhile my 9 year old son assists me by manning the booth at artisan shows.
All of my skin care products are made by hand in my small home studio. I aim to give you softer, smoother and healthier skin using quality ingredients. I truly love what I do. I have spent countless of hours researching and communicating with the farmers and producers responsible for the ingredients in my products, and I support the farmers and gatherers of my ingredients implicitly. They are small farmers, some local, and in regions that cannot afford being certified organic and fair trade because of the costs involved, even though they still follow traditional farming practices that don't involve pesticides and chemicals. I have always been the one to support the underdog.

My obsession with research drives me forward every day to gain knowledge and formulate quality products. My passion for knowledge, combined with my love and dedication to creating what is best for us in this chemical burdened world is what keeps me motivated.
It all started when I had to create chemical free products for my chemical sensitive son. I also recognized that there was a need to resist the status quo of chemical laden, synthetic and petroleum based products. By resisting the unhealthy, we’re embracing longevity.
Armed with an arsenal of knowledge and healthy ingredients, I intend to change the world! Or at least make it healthier for us.
 Read more about the brand here.

My friend was kind enough to gift me the Abyssinian Body Oil Whip, Multipurpose Cream, and a soap.

Ingredients: distilled water, abyssinian oil, organic virgin coconut oil, olive oil, cocoa butter, stearic acid (plant derived), eco cert emulsifying wax, citric acid, potassium sorbate, radish root ferment filtrate, pthalate free fragrance
Description: This abyssinian oil body whip has a mysterious, sweet, earthy aroma. Notes of amber, patchouli, rose and sandalwood blends with nuances of jasmine and citrus to bring out subtle spice undertones. Base notes of vanilla and powder completes this scent. Filled with the goodness of premium oils (abyssinian, extra virgin coconut) and natural cocoa butter it isn’t the least bit oily. This fast absorbing, paraben-free formula is fantastic for even the most sensitive skin. Retails for $8 CDN for 60 ml.

Given the fact that this body whip has a beautiful blend of oils and cocoa butter, it absorbs surprisingly well without leaving any greasy feeling. I'm not sure what it feels like to rub a fluffy moist cloud on my body but, I imagine it would feel something like this body whip. It's hydrating, however, I don't think it's enough for very dry skin. The scent is very strong, delicious, but strong. Although the scent dies down, it lingers most of the day. Something to keep in mind if you're sensitive to scents. The same friend who gave me this, told me that she was using it on her combination facial skin and enjoyed how nourishing it was when her skin was feeling dry. This product was a major win in my books.

Ingredients: pure unrefined fair trade organic virgin coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, apricot oil, ghana shea butter, beeswax, dragon’s blood resin, myrrh gum, pure essential oils, rooibos, grape seed extract, vitamin e
Description: Our creams moisturize hands, feet, and body. Recommended application is right after you get out of the shower or bath for a little pampering or before you go outside in the cooler months. A little bit goes a very long way, just take a small portion on your finger tip and apply. As it warms on your skin it will spread further. Our creams are slightly heavier so they go a long way with maximum moisturization properties. Retails for $13 CDN for 60 ml.

This balm textured "cream" is rich and perfect for applying on extremely dry areas, like elbows, knees and feet. Actually, I always apply it on my feet after a shower to keep them soft and well moisturized. Since it is a balm texture, a little goes a long way and needs to be massaged into the skin for better absorption. Otherwise, it can be a little greasy. It smells more like lime, than coconut, and isn't as strong nor does it linger as long as the body whip. A lovely product that will last a long time.

Ingredients: on label
Description: We make our bars in small batches from scratch by cold press method. We use our own simple recipe blending the purest and healthiest ingredients. A beautiful soap with a fantastic scent, made with coconut oil that gives a moisturising and creamy lather. A Blend of virgin unrefined coconut oil, organic olive oil and avocado butter create a mild, skin-nourishing soap with refreshing scent of lemongrass and sweet basil. Retails for $4.50 CDN for approx. 100 g bar.

Lemongrass and/or basil aren't scents that I normally gravitate towards but, this soap smells so good! Without being too strong or lingering for long, it gives you a fresh burst of fragrance that instantly wakens up your senses. It lathered well and left my skin soft, never dry. I also like that there's kaolin clay in it, perfect for blemished skin. Yes, I get blemishes on my chest, shoulders and back *cries*. Even though it didn't last very long, I really, really like this soap.
All products can be purchased through Batch Naturals.
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Monday, April 07, 2014

Dr. Sponge Review

Not sure what it is about these little guys but, I always have the hardest time reviewing them. I sit down at my computer and just stare at the screen hoping that the review will write itself. Dr. Sponge was kind enough to send me their *Green Tea and *Original konjac sponges to test out, months ago, and thought it was time to tell you what I think about them.
For thousands of years, Konjac, an exotic plant native to Eastern Asia, has been used in Asian cuisines and medicines for its healthy nutrients. This popular ingredient, now commonly used in food products and dietary supplements, is a powerful booster for beautiful skin because it is naturally rich in vitamins (A, E, D, B1, B2, B6, B12, and C) and minerals. And now we infuse this ancient recipe with modern technology to create a revolutionary skin cleansing tool that serves as an all-in-one solution for various skincare concerns. Dr. Sponge™ is a biodegradable skin cleansing sponge made from food-grade konjac fiber and healthy additives such as green tea and bamboo charcoal. This fair-trade and cruelty-free skincare tool delivers gentle yet effective daily cleansing for all skin types. It works great at clearing pores, removing light makeup, dirt, oil, and even blackheads, leaving your skin refreshed and revitalized after each use. And continued usage leads to gradual improvement of the skin’s overall condition. Made with over 90% pure plant fiber, our earth-friendly sponges help to tone and maintain a healthy skin balance because konjac is naturally and mildly alkaline. It works to balance your skin’s acidity and pH balance. Each sponge also contains potent moisturizing ingredients with strong moisture retention abilities for long-lasting comfort and skincare benefits.
Read more about Dr. Sponge here.

Ingredients: Konjac-mannan (glucommnnan), Water, Green Tea
Description: Green tea, known to contain many nourishing nutrients, is what we used to create this natural plant-based sponge. This soft and gentle konjac sponge, infused with premium green tea powder, helps to keep your skin moisturized and rejuvenated. It is a great skincare treatment to be used daily to protect your skin from free radicals in the environment and to effectively hydrate dry skin because green tea is full of antioxidants and moisturizing substances. This ancient herb provides potent benefits for various skin conditions and is especially recommended for those with drier skin. This green tea konjac sponge is the perfect addition to both your morning and night routine for a luxurious washing experience and pampering facial right in your bathroom. Recommended for dry and normal skin

This little green sponge is hard when you first remove it from the package, but as soon as you run it under water, it becomes soft a squishy. Of course once it dries, it hardens again. So while it's soft and squishy, you rub it in small circular motions all over your face (with or without cleanser) until your skin feels gently exfoliated and well cleansed. You then rinse the sponge and hang it to dry. My absolute favourite way to use this fancy device, is at night with the Andalou Probiotic Cleansing Milk. It completely removes any and all makeup, including stubborn makeup (I'm looking at you mascara), without any effort. Perfect for when I'm way too lazy to double cleanse, remove my makeup first, and/or exfoliate with a different product. It has never left my skin dry but, has left my cheeks very red and slightly irritated. As it warms up, this will probably be something that I reach for more often. My skin can tolerate a lot more in the warmer months because it's way less dry and irritated, still sensitive though. If you're looking for a daily gentle exfoliating and cleansing gadget, I highly recommend trying out Dr. Sponge. They have a variety of infused sponges for all skin types and needs, you're bound to find one that you love.

Retails for $10 CDN/$8.50 USD for one sponge. Can be purchased through Dr. Sponge, Eco Diva Beauty, and several other retailers.

What are your thoughts on konjac sponges? Love em or hate em?

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

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Reveal My (Makeup) Stash #3: All About Eyes

I'm not adventurous with my eye shadows, I much prefer a neutral eye but still love a nice pop of colour on occasion. That being said, I rarely ever apply more than just mascara to my eyes because a eye primer doesn't exist in my collection. Creased shadow just annoys the heck out of me. Caitie has raved about the Faerie Organic Forty Winks Eye Primer and I keep meaning to pick it up. Perhaps it's about time that I do? Probably.

I'm going to list the shadows by row, starting at the top. To see swatches of Pure Anada shadows, click here. To see swatches of Sappho shadows, click here.

First Row: *Pure Anada Pearl (loose), and Cheeky Cosmetics Samples in Aubergine, Midnight, & Cocoa (loose).

Second Row: The All Natural Face Sample in Smolder (loose), Silk Naturals Custom & Satin (loose), and W3LL People Holiday (loose).

Third Row: The All Natural Face Diva Stix in Milk.

Fourth Row: *Sappho Turtle, *Pure Anada Whisper, Pure Anada Burlap, and *Sappho Craving Cocoa.

Fifth Row: *Sappho Norma, *Pure Anada Mirage, and *Sappho Chloe.

Sixth Row:  *Pure Anada Blackberry, *Sappho Beckitt, *Pure Anada Onyx, and *Sappho Raven

Youngblood Pressed Mineral Eyeshadow Quad in Eternity is the only quad or palette that I own. It comes with me whenever and wherever I travel because they, to me, are the perfect colours for a subtle or smokey neutral eye.

Silk Naturals Satin & Custom, Pure Anada Burlap, Sappho Craving Cocoa, and W3LL People Holiday
Here are four shadows that I have yet to swatch and thought it would be a great time to do so, in case you're thinking of picking them up. Holiday I'm not too crazy about but, the other three are stunning! Also, Craving Cocoa is a bit more or a red brown, almost burnt orange or brick.

Left to right: W3LL People Holiday, Silk Naturals Satin, and Silk Naturals Custom
Left to right: Pure Anada Burlap and Sappho Craving Cocoa
Left to right:  W3LL People Holiday, Silk Naturals Satin, Silk Naturals Custom, Pure Anada Burlap, and Sappho Craving Cocoa
Bottom to top:  W3LL People Holiday, Silk Naturals Satin, Silk Naturals Custom, Pure Anada Burlap, and Sappho Craving Cocoa

Here we have Youngblood Eye Illuminator, Zuzu Brow Pencil in Russet, Physicians Formula Organic Wear in Black Woods, Benecos Kajal in Black, Pure Anada Mascara in Black, and Zuzu Liquid Liner in Raven (AH-MAZING). I've since added Sante Brow Pencil in No. 2 Brown to my collection.
Stay tuned for my lippy collection!
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*PR SAMPLES. The two Silk Naturals shadows were sent to me by the lovely Cori from Well Beauty Blog.

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Reveal My (Makeup) Stash #2: Blush, Bronzer, & Highlighter

My apologies for the delay in getting this up but, it's here! This is one step in my makeup routine that I'm not consistent with. Sometimes I just apply a base, mascara, fill in my brows, and throw on a little gloss before taking on the day. When I do decide to do this extra step, I like a little variety. I'm quite happy with my collection because it's more than I need without being overwhelming. All the swatches below are heavily done for your viewing pleasure.

Blush Collection:  *Pure+Simple Face Colour in Glow & Soleil*Sappho Blush in Tutz, W3LL People Universalist in #7 Creamy Peony, Alima Pure Freja (sample), W3LL People Universalist #3 Berry Aubergine (sample), & W3LL People Universalist #1 Creamy Pink (sample).

I love them all, honestly. W3LL People #1 Creamy Pink is an amazing, natural, dupe for NARS Orgasm without all the fall out. The gold flecks stay on the creamy blush, so you don't have to worry about having glitter all over your face.

Left to right: W3LL People #1 Creamy Pink, W3LL People #3 Berry Aubergine, Alima Pure in Freija, W3LL People #7 Creamy Peony, Pure+Simple Soleil, & Pure+Simple Glow
Bottom to top: W3LL People #1 Creamy Pink, W3LL People #3 Berry Aubergine, Alima Pure in Freija, W3LL People #7 Creamy Peony, Pure+Simple Soleil, & Pure+Simple Glow

Bronzer Collection (could be considered blush as well): Physicians Formula Blush/Bronzer, *Pure Anada Cheek Colour in Bronzed Clove, & Alima Pure Bronzer in Mauna Loa.

Bottom to top: Sappho Blush in Tutz, Pure Anada Blush in Bronzed Clove, Alima Pure Bronzer in Mauna Loa, Physicians Formula Organic Wear bronzer side, blush side, and then swirled together. 
Bottom to top: Sappho Blush in Tutz, Pure Anada Blush in Bronzed Clove, Alima Pure Bronzer in Mauna Loa, Physicians Formula Organic Wear Bronzer, blush, swirled together. 

Highlighter Collection: Ilia Polka Dots & Moonbeams (sample) & W3LL People Universalist #2 Moonstone Glow (sample).

Of the two, I much prefer the texture and colour of W3LL People. It's much creamier, making it easier to apply and just looks so natural. Ilia has a yellow/golden tone to it and is definitely not as creamy.

Left: W3LL People #2 Moonstone Glow
Right: Ilia Moon Beams & Polka Dots
Top: Ilia Moon Beams & Polka Dots
Bottom: W3LL People #2 Moonstone Glow, & 
Here's a look at how the sample shades actually look inside the pot :)
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