16 January 2018

Ilike Organic Skincare Lemon Cleansing Milk

I was first introduced to Ilike Organic Skincare almost three years ago and it's a line that continues to impress me.  Ilike flies a little under the radar in the green blogging world, but the company, which has been around since the 1950's, has quite an extensive product range and numerous unique and interesting offerings.  The entire line is BDIH Certified Natural and made in Hungary without gluten, nuts, GMO's, or synthetic chemicals.  Everything is also cruelty-free and packaged in recycled and BPA-free packaging.

Most recently I've been trialing the Lemon Cleansing Milk*  ($55 for 8.4 ounces), described as a "gentle soft texture cleansing milk for normal/combination to dehydrated skin types that removes makeup and impurities and hydrates skin."  I received the cleanser during the summer months, but it wasn't until the weather turned colder in the fall that I really came to fully appreciate this product.  For that reason, I'm glad that my semi-hiatus from blogging left me testing this item out over multiple seasons, since it gave me a chance to get a really great feel for it!

The Cleansing Milk is a non-lathering cleanser with a light lotion consistency.  Ilike recommends using it in much the same way as you would an oil cleanser or cold cream -- that is, massaging the product onto dry skin and wiping it off with a cotton pad or damp wash cloth.  I've used the product this way and also on moistened skin like a more standard cleanser, and I've enjoyed it both ways.  The cleanser wipes away easily and doesn't leave behind any noticeable residue on the skin.  It also does a good job removing face makeup and light eye makeup too, although I typically prefer to use an oil or separate makeup remover around the eyes before going in with the Lemon Cleansing Milk. 

In the fall and winter, when my skin tends towards more dry and sensitive, this is a fantastic gentle cleanser that softly glides over the skin removing dirt and impurities without stripping the skin or disturbing moisture levels.  It leaves my face feeling hydrated and soft to the touch.  I also enjoyed the Cleansing Milk during the summer, however I found it a little too rich for daily use at that time of year, when my skin produces a little more oil. 

Some Ilike products are quite fragrant, but the Lemon Cleansing Milk has only a light lemon scent.  It's mild, fresh, and pleasant.  

The Bottom Line
The Lemon Cleansing Milk is a great gentle and non-drying cleanser, especially perfect for dryer skin types and during the cold winter months.  It has a light scent, removes makeup, and rinses off easily. 

If you're interested in trying the Cleansing Milk -- or anything else from Ilike! -- the brand is running a New Years sale through January 31.  Get 20.18% off sitewide with the code Happy2018.

*Press sample.  Contains affiliate links.

12 January 2018

Green People Neutral Scent Free Shampoo + Conditioner

I'm what I consider to be moderately scent sensitive.  Sensitive because I enjoy most natural scents but struggle with a few, and also because I have occasional days when I wish all my products had zero scent.   One such day is what led me to ordering the Green People Scent Free Shampoo and Conditioner. The Scent Free Shampoo and Conditioner are particularly marketed towards sensitive scalps, but, since they include no added fragrance or essential oils, they're obviously fantastic for sensitive noses too.

The duo is basic and effective.  The Scent Free Shampoo is SLS free, lathers nicely, rinses out easily, and leaves both the hair and scalp feeling clean and refreshed.  It’s a gentle wash that gets everything clean on the daily, although I do find myself needing to use something a bit more clarifying every few weeks to get rid of extra product build up that the Green People doesn't quite seem able to tackle on its own.

The shampoo also includes pineapple extract and salicylic acid to gently exfoliate and remove any flakes on the scalp. I don't deal with flakes or dandruff, so I can't speak to those benefits specifically, but the shampoo gets my scalp nice and clean without feeling harsh or irritating.

The Scent Free Conditioner is a great lightweight option. It's extra gentle and moisturizes enough for regular use, but again, for my curly hair moisture needs, I find myself periodically reaching for something a little richer as a more intense moisture treatment. (Green People's own Intensive Repair Conditioner for coloured and damaged hair, which I've used multiple samples of, works great for this purpose!) The conditioner includes hydrolyzed quinoa and vitamin B to strengthen hair, and green tea for added shine.  Because it's so light, the conditioner never leaves hair feeling weighed down or heavy.

Coming full circle back to scent, although the Scent Free duo has no added scent ingredients, both products have very slight herbal aromas, presumably from the other ingredients.  It's nothing major and nothing that's noticeable after the products are washed out.  Personally, I prefer a mild scent like these to a completely bland unscented version, since those are, ironically, often only achieved with added scent ingredients to mask the natural ingredient aromas.  

The Bottom Line
Neutral is a fitting name for this sensitive duo.  Both the Scent Free Shampoo and Conditioner are strong everyday products and I like them both, but I find myself mixing in other items every so often to complement the Green People products.  I find the shampoo needs a clarifying boost every couple of weeks to completely remove product build up, and the conditioner does best when I incorporate something a little richer every so often too.  

Contatins affiliate links.

9 January 2018

Winter Hand Heroes (ft. Trilogy, Leaves of Trees, Satya + Paula's Choice)

The weather’s rebounded nicely the last couple days, but before that we were stuck in a record breaking cold spell for quite some time.  Cold weather, for me anyways, immediately translates to dry hand problems, since it seems like the moisture gets sucked out of my hands as soon as I step outside.  Needless to say, I’ve learned a few tricks to surviving Canadian winter over the years.

First, the biggest thing for me is consistency.  I can slather on rich occlusive balms before bed and they do a great temporary job, but I also need products that I can reapply and work with throughout the day.  That means: nothing too greasy, oily, or overly fragranced.  My current lineup includes four stellar products to suit all my daytime hand needs.  If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll likely have already seen some of these mentioned over the last couple months.  

I recently cracked into my second tube of the Ultra Hydrating Hand Cream, which I discovered in the middle of my blogging lull last winter, and it just might be the very best hand cream I’ve used to date.  The cream is made with hydrating aloe vera, humectant honey and glycerin, moisturizing coconut, marula, and rosehip oils, and soothing oat kernel, chamomile, and calendula extracts.  It packs a serious moisturizing punch and also creates a non-greasy, dry-to-the-touch protective barrier on the skin.  I notice a big difference when I remember to slap this on immediately before venturing out into the cold.  The scent, described as a blend of sweet orange, amber, and vanilla, is sweet but mild and not overbearing or sickly.  

Technically the Moisture Renewal Booster is a face oil, but, as I've discovered over the last couple months, it’s also pretty magical as a cuticle treatment.  The unscented Booster is made with a blend of nine plant oils including favourites like jojoba, argan, and cranberry seed, and it also includes added ceramides and cholesterol.  These two C’s, the building blocks of a healthy skin barrier, are fantastic for repairing and rebuilding damaged skin, so it only makes sense that they would work equally well to heal dry and dehydrated cuticles.  In addition to healthy cuticles, the plant oils also help keep the nails flexible and supple, and therefore less prone to brittleness and breaking in the cold.

Frankincense-infused argan oil and cocoa butter create a deeply nourishing base for Leaves of Trees’ Frankincense Argan Lotion, made locally here in Toronto with just eight simple ingredients.  The lotion, which is waterless, offers the rich benefits of a balm but skips over the greasy, can’t-touch-anything phase.  The lotion sinks in quickly, does a great job reviving dry winter hands, and offers some anti-aging benefits from the argan and frankincense oils too. Plus, it smells lovely -- mild, earthy and calming.  

I received this mini Organic Eczema Relief from Social Nature in the fall and it’s basically lived in my purse ever since.  It’s a solid salve/balm made from just five organic ingredients: beeswax, sweet almond and jojoba oils, colloidal oatmeal, and calendula, and it works for a lot more than just eczema.  I wouldn't consider it a moisturizer as much as a healing salve, so it's best for fixing chapped or irritated skin.  Basically, it’s a great heavy hitter if my hands are in especially rough shape or if I’ve not kept up with the other products for a day or two.

The Bottom Line
Clearly I take hand care pretty seriously in the winter and these four have been doing the trick for me through our recent cold spell.  Honourable mentions go to warm gloves, non-drying hand soaps (Ground Soap and Everyday Shea have been my go-to's) and to drinking lots of water and consistently taking omegas (these are my favorite).

What do you do to combat dry hands in the winter months?  
Contains affiliate links.

5 January 2018

Cheap Products Worth Splurging On (Products That Seem More Expensive Than They Are)

I went back and forth on how I wanted to title this post since 'cheap' can have such negative connotations, but I think it's pretty clear that I’m, of course, only talking price tag here, not quality.  One of my pet peeves is the way that people often qualify inexpensive product recommendations by saying they're “good for the price,” but what about the bargain wonders that are just flat out good?  The ones that would be just as good at twice or three times the cost?  Those are the products I want to highlight today.

Assuming it goes over well, I, may end up turning this into a series, since I think there are a lot of great inexpensive green beauty gems that don't get talked about nearly enough.  For this first round up, many of my picks are items I've talked about before -- these are things that I've bought repeatedly and that I continue to purchase, not because they’re inexpensive, but because they work so very well.

Kiss My Face Moisture Shave
At under $8 CAD for 11 ounces, the Kiss My Face Moisture Shave is not only ridiculously affordable, it’s also one of the best shaving products I’ve ever used.  It doesn’t foam or lather; instead it moisturizes and protects with a creamy lotion consistency that helps a razor glide easily over the skin without razor burn, nicking or cutting. The Key Lime is my favorite scent, but there are plenty of other choices if citrus isn’t your thing.

Silk Naturals Sheer Blushes
These days I’m a pretty avid blush wearer, but it wasn’t always that way.  I used to be terrified of overdone clown cheeks and the Silk Naturals Sheer Blushes were my gateway product.  As the name suggests, the formula is not ultra-pigmented.  It packs just the right amount of color for the pale or blush-shy, but it can also easily be built up for greater color payoff.  The blushes blend beautifully and even the more shimmery shades somehow work without emphasizing pores or skin texture.  My two longtime favourites are Lovelace (shimmery peach that Silk Naturals compares to NARS Deepthroat) and Abstract (light plum/pink with golden irridescence).  

Green Beaver Castile Sunflower Bar Soap
I love artisan bar soap as much as the next soap-loving girl, but when I don’t feel like spending upwards of $10-12 a bar, Green Beaver’s Castile bar soaps always come through for me.  They’re palm oil free and made with a blend of locally harvested Canadian sunflower oil, coconut oil, castor oil, and shea butter.  The soaps are moisturizing, lather beautifully, and never dry out my skin.  The Frosty Mint and Zesty Orange are my two favorites, but there’s also an unscented bar and two other scents.  For an extra bargain, scope out your local Winners/Marshall’s -- I've regularly found these bars for under $5.  

I first discovered Griffin Remedy thanks to The Choosy Chick and it's quickly become a favorite for hair care. The shampoos clean well without overstripping and the conditioners moisturize my curly-but-oily-prone hair just right. Griffin Remedy's price point is comparable to "health food store brands", but, for me, their products perform considerably better than most of those options and they're also loaded with great plant botanicals that support both the hair and scalp. The citrusy Volumizing Shampoo and Conditioner have been my favorite duo so far, but Griffin Remedies makes multiple other formulas too.

I use a lot of lip balm and Crazy Rumors is one of my favourites.  The balms are smooth, creamy, rich, and buttery and do a great job protecting and healing the lips without feeling heavy or gunky.  The formula is also vegan (no beeswax!) and comes in about a million and one flavours.  Admittedly I’ve had a couple flavour duds over the years, but most are fantastic and the fruity Raspberry Sherbet and Leaping Bunny Plum Apricot are regular repurchases for me.  

My hands can be a mess in the winter -- even when it’s not -33°C like today! -- so I have to be pretty particular about the hand soaps I use this time of year.  I discovered the Everyday Shea Hand Soaps at the beginning of last winter and they’re the only liquid hand soaps I’ve purchased in the more than a year since.  The soaps have a pretty standard gel consistency, lather well, and are able to take on the dirtiest, greasiest hands without stripping or drying the skin.  (If you've used the Everyday Shea Body Washes, the hand soaps are very similar, if maybe slightly more moisturizing.) I constantly keep one of these pumps in my kitchen, where repeated hand washing while cooking is generally the worst for my hands, and they keep everything clean and happy.  Mandarin Mango is my top choice, but the Peppermint Tingle and Lemon Verbena are also nice.  I haven’t tried all the scents, but the ones I’ve used have been universally light and lovely.  

The Bottom Line
I've said it before (and I'm sure I'll say it again!): great green products don't have to break the bank. There are plenty of amazing bargain finds out there and these six are some of my favorites.

What are your best bargain green beauty finds?

Contains affiliate links

4 January 2018

Everyday Minerals Foundation Comparison (Matte Base, Semi Matte Base + Jojoba Base)

Powder foundation is my everyday go-to.  It's quick and easy to apply, longwearing, and doesn't bother or irritate my skin the way that most liquid and cream makeup does with daily use.  I’ve tried many different brands and Everyday Minerals is one that I always cycle back to.  Everyday Minerals products are inexpensive, work well, and, particularly if you’re based in the U.S., are pretty accessible too.

The Semi Matte Base, in particular, has been part of my regular rotation on and off for years, but my skin mysteriously started producing a bit more oil this past summer, which is what led me to more thoroughly test out the brand’s other two foundation formulas: the Matte Base and the Jojoba Base.   Now that I've used all three foundations for an extended period of time, I wanted to share my thoughts and compare them for anyone who might be struggling to decide between the three.  

All three bases are available in 24 colours, divided into 8 neutral, 8 cool, and 8 warm shades.  I wear the shade 1N, the second lightest neutral color in the range, described as a “lovely pale shade with neutral undertones, beautiful on light olive and freckled complexions.”  My skin is neutral-leaning-pink, rather than olive, but I generally prefer neutral foundations to balance out those rosier tones. Like the entire Everyday Minerals line, the mineral bases are cruelty-free and free of synthetic colorants, petrochemicals, synthetic fragrance, nanoparticles, and bismuth oxychloride.  All three formulas retail for $15, although you can find some shades discounted on iHerb.  

Keep reading for more details on each base formula...

Coverage: Medium
Finish: Semi Matte/Satin (“Soft Glow”)
Color: The most neutral/peach of the 1N’s. Same depth as the Matte Base 1N.
Wear Time: 8-10 hours

Everyday Minerals describes the Semi Matte Base as a soft glow foundation ideal for normal skin types.  It has a very natural finish and offers solid medium coverage with a subtle luminosity.  This was my favorite formula originally, but as soon as my skin started producing a little more oil last summer, the foundation stopped holding up as well.  I found the base started to break down throughout the day, leaving my face shiny and causing the foundation to sit awkwardly on the skin and to visibly settle into pores within 4-5 hours. If you don't deal with much oil on your skin, it is a beautiful product.

Matte Base
Coverage: Medium+, Buildable
Finish: Soft Matte (“Low Glow”)
Color: Slightly warmer/yellower than the Semi Matte 1N
Wear Time: 12-14 hours

The Matte Base has become my new favorite.  Right off the bat, it offers slightly more coverage than the Semi Matte and it’s also quite buildable to a medium-full coverage.  The finish is not a completely flat matte, so the foundation never looks overly powdery or unnatural on the skin.  If you have oil concerns, the Matte Base is the one to go with as it offers, by far, the most in the way of oil control/absorption and lasts the longest on the skin too.  Applied with a dense concealer brush, this formula can also double nicely as a powder concealer.  

Jojoba Base
Coverage: Light/Low Medium
Finish: Semi Matte (“Illuminating Glow”)
Color: Slightly warmer/yellower than the Semi Matte 1N.  Lighter than both the Matte and Semi Matte 1N’s
Wear Time: 8-10 hours

With just a hint of a glow, the Jojoba Base is a lower coverage intermediate between the Matte and Semi Matte formulas. It’s not matte, but it’s also not as luminous as the Semi Matte.  The coverage is definitely lighter than the other two, and I haven't been able to build it up past a light-medium. For 1N, the color runs a little lighter than either the Matte or Semi Matte formulas.  The Jojoba Base is infused with jojoba esters and is particularly recommended for dry skin.  The jojoba gives the powder a slightly creamier feel to the touch and on application, but I haven’t noticed any real difference in skin hydration or moisture when compared to the other two bases.  Your mileage may vary, of course, and dry skin types might notice a bigger difference in this regard.  

The Bottom Line
Everyday Minerals' three base formulas are all somewhat similar, with just a few key differences.  None of the foundations offer complete, full coverage and all three leave your face looking natural and very skin-like. They all also come packaged in the same great jars. Larger and flatter than a lot of other mineral foundation packaging, the bigger lids make swirling your brush into the product a breeze.

If you have more oily skin or are looking for higher coverage, the Matte Base is your best bet.  For a beautiful and luminous finish, I love the Semi Matte Base, but I don’t find it wears as long or as well.  The Jojoba Base, with the lowest coverage, is my least favourite of the three, mainly because I find it a little redundant in the line. I just don't find it does anything that can't be achieved with one of the other two formulas, however those with dry skin might feel differently.  

Everyday Minerals offers free sample packs (you just pay shipping!) that allow you to easily test out the different shades and formulas, which is great, since, as you can see in the above swatches, the shades do vary slightly across the different lines. They colours are close enough that, even though I think the peachier tones of the Semi Matte match me best, the Matte and Jojoba don't create any significant color matching issues.  

Contains affiliate links.
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