19 April 2015

Makeup Basket #1: Mineral Fusion, Zuzu Luxe, Nudus, Bare Minerals + More!

Sometimes I skip writing about makeup because I don't feel like I have enough to say about a single product to justify a post. Which is where I thought this series could come in, with mini reviews of several products in one.  I haven't done a lot of shopping recently, but I've been revisiting some makeup already in my stash and I wanted to share several products I've been enjoying.

The Mosaic Illuminator is an interesting product.  It's not a highlighter, as the name might suggest, but rather a light, luminous face powder.  When I wrote my initial review, I was mainly using it over foundation as a setting powder, but more recently, a combination of better skin and more time working from home has had me using it differently.  I've been pairing the Illuminator with just a bit of under eye concealer and a tinted lip balm for a very minimal, "no makeup" makeup look.  It has a beautiful  finish and I find that the yellow parts really do a good job correcting minor redness.  I wouldn't say the powder has any real coverage, but it gives a pretty, soft focus, almost airbrushed look to the skin.

I first tried this mascara in the middle of the winter and wasn't overly impressed.  For me, cold weather goes hand in hand with watery eyes and the Lash Boosting Mascara does not get along well with moisture.  Or maybe it gets on too well.  Either way, tears, rain, snow, or the barest hint of moisture will have this mascara melting off your lashes and under your eyes in a flash.  

That said, I've pulled it out again since the weather's warmed up, and I actually quite like it, so long as it stays dry.  It's a solid black color and lashes look natural and fluttery, but also nicely defined.  It doesn't make them feel crunchy or hard, and it's - not surprisingly - a breeze to remove at the end of the day.  The formula, which has gotten a little drier since the winter, also plays much better with glasses now.  Initially, I was going crazy having to clean mascara off my lenses for the first two or three hours, but I haven't had that issue these last few weeks. I also haven't had any irritation or other problems when wearing the mascara multiple consecutive days in a row, which is a first for me with a Physicians Formula mascara.  With regards to the lash boosting claims, my lashes might be slightly longer and fuller, but I'm not convinced it's not just a placebo effect.  Regardless, my lashes look healthy, so that's a good thing.  

I got this a while back, after noticing that I didn't have just a plain, clear lip gloss.  Polished is exactly that and is super convenient to wear over any lip color.  I like the squeezy tube packaging and I'm happy with the formula as well.  It's a thinner consistency, but decently glossy, quite moisturizing, and completely non-sticky.  The berry scent isn't my favorite, but I've still been enjoying the gloss overall.

My mom bought this for me a few months ago when we were at the outlets in Niagara Falls.  The Color Boosts are a little sheer, I think because they're meant to be be something you can use all over your face, but I stick to using The Adrenaline Rush, which includes a matte pink and mauve and a luminous gold, as a blush.  I like to swirl my brush into all three colors, which creates a pretty peach shade with just a hint of golden luminosity, but I suppose you could use the colors individually as well. 

Nudus's lipsticks have taken the green beauty world by storm recently and it's not hard to see why.  Gorgeous packaging is only the beginning for these lipsticks, which also boast phenomenal ingredients and rich pigmentation.  The formula includes anti-inflammatory turmeric and holy basil, anti-oxidant rich oils like pomegranate, raspberry, and kiwi seed, and is packed with other great botanicals as well.  Halo is described as "an angelic color with a hint of frost" and it's a natural pink that I think would look good on just about anyone.  Frost always makes me think of icy, metallic lipsticks from the 80's, but in Halo's case, it's more of just a subtle sheen.    I do find I need to wear lip balm underneath, but I haven't seen anyone else comment on that, and my lips do tend to be on the dry side.  

I was suckered into browsing the Sephora website by a Bare Minerals gift with purchase (featured in my Mid-Winter Favorites) and this somehow ended up in my cart.  Before you check to make sure you're still on a green blog, take a look at these ingredients -
Water, Ci 77499 (Iron Oxides), Alcohol Denat, Glycerin, Ci 77510 (Ferric Ammonium Ferrocyanide), Pullulan, Disodium Coco-Glucoside Citrate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Hectorite, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide.
Pretty darn clean.  I was as shocked as you.  I wasn't immediately familiar with pullulan, but a spot of research revealed it to be a starch-based polysaccharide commonly used in vegetarian capsules and not an especially concerning ingredient.  Everything else looked good too, so I decided to try it in the hopes of upping my liquid liner game.  The extra fine brush tip is what really sold me, as I love cat  eyes and winged liner, but my liquid liner skills are pretty nonexistent.  The formula itself is pretty standard, though it's pigmented, nicely black and completely matte.  I haven't had any problems with how it wears, but many of the review on the Sephora website do complain that it smudges easily.

It hit me, in a wave of post-shopping guilt that I later confirmed, that Sephora isn't a cruelty-free brand anymore.  I don't think I'd buy the liner again for that reason, but it still makes me happy to see a decidedly non-natural brand with at least an occasional clean product.  Just make sure you pick up the 12-hour Liner and not its waterproof, 24-Hour counterpart, which has a few more nasty ingredients.  

The Adrenaline Rush Separately and Swirled Together, Nudus Halo, Sephora Long Lasting Eye Liner

What makeup have you been loving recently?

*Press sample
Contains affiliate links

14 April 2015

The Honest Co. Conditioner + Conditioning Detangler

I loved the Honest Company Discovery Kit I tried last fall, but most of all, I loved the Shampoo + Body Wash.  A combination of its bright, zesty creamsicle scent and gentle formula made it a fast favorite. Naturally, I had to buy more, and once I was ordering, I decided to try the Honest Conditioning Detangler as well.  I also received a free Honest Conditioner from a promo they were running at the time.  Both of these share the same Sweet Orange Vanilla scent as the body wash, so I couldn't wait to dive in!

With great ingredients like argan oil, shea and murumuru butters, and jojoba and quinoa proteins, I really wanted to love this conditioner.  It feels lovely in the shower and leaves my hair incredibly silky after rinsing, but I find - no matter how little product I use - my hair and scalp start to feel greasy within about 12 hours of showering.  Many of the reviews on the Honest website talk about how lightweight the conditioner is, and while I'd agree it feels that way initially, it leaves my hair flat and weighed down after just a few hours.

It's gone the same route as other failed conditioners before it and ended up repurposed as shaving cream, and it actually works great in that capacity.  The silkiness that was too much for my hair is perfect here and gives a razor just the right amount of slip.  

This, on the other hand, was a big hit right from the start.  I like using detanglers and leave-in conditioners to perk up my second-day curls and this does the job nicely.  It also works well as a traditional detangler on knotty hair.  And, it has the added benefit of smelling great too! The scent is a little different than in the shampoo and conditioner - heavier on the sweet vanilla, and with less of the fresh citrus - but it's still nice.  It isn't overpowering and isn't something that lingers much beyond the initial application, which is just how I like my hair products.

The Conditioning Detangler also boasts many of the same great ingredients as the Conditioner, but in spite of the richer components, the formula is thin and watery and feels very light in the hair.  It's a spray I can use liberally without having to worry about ending up with weighed down or greasy strands.  The formula also includes calendula and chamomile extracts to soothe irritated scalps, and panthenol to smooth the cuticle of the hair and boost shine.  

The Bottom Line
The Conditioning Detangler is fantastic.  It works equally well as a detangling spray and as a curl refresher, and it's something I'd both recommend and can see myself buying again after this bottle is through.  The Conditioner didn't work for me for its intended purpose, but even so, it's hard to dislike something that smells this good!  And, it does make a decent shaving cream, so it wasn't a complete loss.  I probably wouldn't recommend it as a conditioner unless you have very dry hair and a dry scalp or if you're someone who only uses conditioner on the very ends of your hair, but if you're in the market for a delicious smelling shaving cream, you could do a lot worse.  

Both products are affordable ($9.95 and $5.95 respectively) and you can get them for even less through The Honest Co.'s bundle system.  My referral link + the code INVITED10 will get you an extra $10 off your first purchase.  Alternately, Vitacost recently started carrying The Honest Co. and both these items are available there.  I've even heard you can find them in some Whole Foods and Costco stores!

Have you tried anything from The Honest Co.?  What are your favorites?

Contains affiliate links.

12 April 2015

Skincare Routine Part #3: Occasional Products + Treatments

For the final part of my skincare routine, I want to talk about those products that I use on a regular - but not everyday - basis: scrubs, masks, spot treatments, and a luxury balm.  Scrubs and masks were the first skincare items I really got into and I still really love both, so these are some of my favorite products out of everything I use.  Keep reading to find out more!

The Exfoliators
Exfoliating is key for sloughing off dead skin cells, but with never ending debates on chemical vs. manual exfoliants, it can be hard to know where to start.  My simple take: go with what works for your skin.  For me, that generally means gentle manual exfoliants.  I've only been using Andalou's Chia + Omega Radiant Skin Polish for a couple months, but it's already a firm favorite and I foresee buying it again.  With a mix of finely ground walnuts and chia seed powder, it's gritty without feeling harsh.  It also smells delicious, like peach pie, and contains skin brighteners like turmeric, vitamin C, and white tea extract.

When I've got a little more time to play alchemist, I enjoy using Kaia's Bamboo Tapioca Beads*, a Canadian-made multi-functional powder exfoliator and mask.  The beads are a unique blend of kaolin clay, tapioca starch, bamboo powder, chickpea flour, silica, and a mild, coconut-derived cleanser that can be mixed with just about any liquid - water, an oil, tea, honey and more!  My favorite method is to top a creamy cleanser with a generous sprinkle of the powder, mix together, and gently massage onto a damp face.  Used with just water, the beads are borderline too abrasive for my sensitive skin, but a creamy cleanser tones them down just enough to keep my skin happy without majorly impacting their exfoliating power.

The Masks
I've accumulated a fair few masks that I like to rotate between, but for the purposes of this post, I've just included the three I've been reaching for most often recently.  My top pick of the moment is Balanced Guru's Calming Masque.  As I said in my full review, I'm not sure calming is the most accurate description of this mask.  Ultimately, it does leave skin calm, but first it does a stellar job detoxifying and pulling any and all gunk out of the pores.  At the same time, nutrient-rich ingredients like echinacea, kelp, alfalfa, spirulina, rosehip, and marshmallow feed your skin, elevating the mask far above your average detoxifying clay mask.  

For a truly pampering treat, I like to follow with RawSkinCeuticals' Rosacea Herbal Gel Masque.  A gel/cream hybrid, this mask has an impressive ingredients list, including Vitamin C and superstar soothing and anti-inflammatory ingredients like shea butter, rosehip seed oil, comfrey, calendula, neem, and green tea.  I do experience a stinging/warming sensation when I first apply the mask, but it's relatively mild and dissipates within the first 5-10 minutes.  It's worth mentioning that while the Rosacea Gel Masque works beautifully as a second step following some kind of clay, when I've used it by itself, I did experience some breakouts and irritation, so I think it really needs already cleaned out, detoxified pores to work its best.  For that reason, it's strictly a second step in a double-masking routine for me.  

Lastly, I really enjoy Sibu Beauty's Sea Buckthorn Purifying Mask for those instances when I'm short on time, but still want to do a mask.  It comes pre-made in a tube, eliminating the mixing step, plus it only needs about 10 minutes on your face.  Again, I find the name to be slightly misleading.   Bentonite clay is the second ingredient - after water - but it's followed by so many other hydrating and nourishing ingredients that the end product is actually quite gentle.  It pulls some dirt and impurities out of the skin and I notice my face looks fresher after, but it's definitely not the most drawing or purifying mask in my cabinet. 

The Spot Treatments
Dr. Alkaitis' Soothing Gel made it into my Best Discoveries of 2015, but three months later, I still haven't invested in a full size bottle.  The problem - if you can even call it that - is that I use so little at a time, and it works so well after only one or two applications, that I doubt I'd ever get through an entire large bottle before the expiration. Though it makes an incredible spot treatment, the Soothing Gel is too drying for me to use all over, so I'm subsisting on samples for now.  I usually use the gel at night and by the next morning, any pimples or blemishes are either gone or significantly reduced in size. 

I've also used essential oils on blemishes for several years.  While tea tree is the standard choice, I find I get much better results from a combination of frankincense and eucalyptus.  Since discovering the Soothing Gel, I rotate between that and the two essential oils.  Or, sometimes I layer all three for an extra pimple-fighting punch.  

The Added Luxury
Before this, I'm not sure I ever would have purchased a separate product for the neck or chest, but Vice1960's Neck & Decollete Balm* does such an excellent job that I'm completely sold.  My chest/decollete area is prone to irritation and tiny bumps/breakouts and is also the first place to show when I've been in the sun.  Even when it's not a full-on sunburn, the flush/pink can linger for weeks!  This amazing balm clears all that up within just a couple applications.  The first ingredient is my much-loved hazelnut oil, and it also contains other great ingredients like meadowfoam seed oil, sea buckthorn extract, and carrot root oil.  It's quite a rich and emollient balm, so I find less is more.  You only need a tiny dab, and while I originally used it every night, since my skin has improved so drastically in this area, I find I now only need to use it once or twice a week for maintenance.  I've also occasionally used this in place of an eye cream and even all over my face and it's worked nicely for those purposes as well.  It's undoubtedly a luxury item, but one that's completely worthy of the splurge if you're able!

And that's my skincare routine in a (rather large) nutshell!  Make sure you check out my Morning and Night Routines if you haven't seen them yet.

*Press sample
Contains affiliate links

9 April 2015

iHerb Haul + First Impressions

As you may already know, iHerb is one of my favorite places to shop.  Comparable to Vitacost and other discount sites, iHerb offers an impressive selection of health products - cosmetics, personal care products, supplements, and food - at very affordable prices.  My fellow Canadians can attest that we pay more for nearly everything here, compared to our American friends south of the border, so prices are almost always cheaper than what I would pay locally, even factoring in the cost of shipping.  Plus, iHerb stocks a lot of brands I wouldn't otherwise have access to.  I generally place a small order (<$45 to avoid customs fees) every month or two, but I haven't posted an iHerb haul since my first year of blogging (2011!), so I thought I'd show you what I bought this time.  It's been about two weeks since I received my package, so I can give my first impressions on most things too.  

Keep reading to see what I bought!


Kinky-Curly Spiral Spritz
Between Curly Girl Edits and empties posts, I think this has ended up being one of my most frequently featured products, so I won't go on too much!  The Spiral Spritz is a great light-hold gel for curls or waves and is one of my favorite products to use on wet hair.  My current bottle is running low, so I needed to pick up a new one. 

Kiss My Face Pomegranate Grapefruit Moisture Shave

I discovered Kiss My Face's Moisture Shaves last year and they're without a doubt one of the best shaving products I've ever used.  They have the consistency of a creamy, pearly lotion and help your razor glide effortless across the skin.  I also love the pump top and that the substantial 11 ounce bottle lasts a good, long while.  I haven't used this scent yet, but I like how it smells in the bottle.  The grapefruit really cuts the pomegranate's sweetness, creating a balanced scent that's both fresh and fruity. 

Desert Essences Italian Lemon Hand and Body Lotion
Though I've always enjoyed certain aspects of Desert Essences lotions, I've never found a scent I was happy with.  A lot of them are far too sweet and strong for me, and many are preserved with Japanese honeysuckle extract too, which I'm not comfortable using.  The company  released a couple new scents recently, including this Italian Lemon, which replaces the Japanese honeysuckle with potassium sorbate AND is fragranced only with essential oils.  I usually enjoy citrus scents, so it seemed like a safe bet.  (Plus, for less than $6, the risk really wasn't THAT big.)  Some of the reviews complain that the scent is milder than Desert Essence's other lotions, but for me that's a plus.  It's not overpowering, which is great if you like lighter scents, or if you're looking for a product that won't interfere with perfume or other scented products.  In the tube, it's a sweet, dessert-like lemon, but on the skin I find it loses some of the sweetness and ends up more zesty.  I wish it stayed a little sweeter ( I love how it smells in the tube!), but I'm enjoying it nonetheless.

Crazy Rumors Pear & Peppermint and Leaping Bunny Plum Apricot Lip Balms
I rediscovered Crazy Rumors last month and enjoyed the Plum & Peppermint flavor so much that I immediately wanted to repurchase it when it ran out.  Unfortunately, iHerb didn't have that one, so I went for the next best thing: Pear & Peppermint and Plum Apricot.  I haven't cracked either of them open yet, but I'm hoping they'll be just as good! 

Tierra Mia Organics Healthy Dent Tooth Regime
I love my Earthpaste, but after 2.5 years, I've been looking to branch out and try something new.  Glycerin-free toothpastes are slim pickings though, let me tell you!  These are tiny soap chips that you use in place of toothpaste.  Unfortunately, they were an immediate fail, mainly because of the flavor - or lack thereof.  The ingredients list both peppermint and spearmint extracts, but they're virtually undetectable. And, with no noticeable flavor, the chips just taste like soap.  The lather was great and they left my teeth feeling clean and smooth, but I don't think it's something I can do on a regular basis.  

In hindsight, I wonder if this method would even count as glycerin-free, since glycerin is a byproduct of traditional soap making and is often left in the soap for increased moisture and slip.  I'll have to look into it more, but if you're eager to brush with soap, I think you'd do better with the peppermint Dr. Bronner's bar than this product.

I bought this intending to use it with setting powder, but I ended up loving it for blush instead.  Usually I prefer smaller blush brushes, but the larger shape and fluffiness really does a great job blending.  I've yet to actually try it with setting powder.

Sea salt and chocolate is one of my favorite combos and this lime creme filled bar didn't disappoint.  The filling wasn't super creamy and there wasn't a lot of it - just enough to give a subtle lime flavor - but it was still quite tasty.

I like chia seeds and I like berries, but I just didn't like this bar. I tried it the day my order arrived and I've still got half of it sitting on my counter, which I guess says a lot!
Like I said, I order from iHerb pretty regularly, so let me know if posts like this are something you enjoy reading, or if I should just stick to Instagram photos like this one instead.  I'm always looking for new things to try, so I'd love to know your iHerb favorites too! 

Plus, order this weekend for an extra 20% off ALL bath and body!  If you're new to iHerb, you can also save $5 or $10 off your first order with my referral code: ITI429.  

 *Contains affiliate links

3 April 2015

Petit Vour Spring Dreaming (March 2015)

I'm pretty smitten with Petit Vour and March's box is no exception  With a spring theme, the box looks to introduce products that will elevate your beauty ritual with purpose and innovation, while also giving you lovely things to look at on your vanity.  Here's what was included:

Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream (Sample Value ±$11.50)
I haven't tried much from Juice Beauty, but the CC Cream has gotten a lot of good press, so I was happy to see it in this month's box.  I received Natural Glow, the lightest shade, which is a good match for my fair skin.  The coverage is minimal, but it does even things out a little and gives the skin a healthy, dewy finish.  I ended up going over the CC Cream with a light dusting of mineral foundation, but I don't think it's an absolute must to top it with anything, depending on how much coverage you like and how dewy or matte you want to look.   It smells grassy and very much like petit grain essential oil (which it does contain), but the scent isn't overpowering, nor does it linger much past the initial application.  I'll update once I've used it a little more, but first impressions are good!

Metropolis Soap Co. Lavender & Spearmint Lip Cream ($7)
Metropolis Soap Co. isn't a company I'm familiar with, but I'm always happy to try new lip balms and I like how rich and creamy this one feels.  My nose really enjoys the Lavender & Spearmint scent, but it does taste a little soapy on my lips.  I also don't love that it's made with palm oil, which I try to avoid, but since I have it, I'll certainly use and enjoy it.

The Little Alchemist Cacao & Banana Face Glow ($32)

I've heard really great things about The Little Alchemist, so I was excited to give this a try.  In addition to raw cacao and banana, the mask also contains zeolite, clay, and a whole host of superfoods including acai, green papaya, spirulina, maca, and turmeric root.   I tried it out the same day my box arrived and I loved it!  Dry, it smells a little funky - sort of vinegary - but once you add water, the chocolate scent takes over.  I left the mask on for about 10 minutes, as per the instructions, and it left my skin looking healthy and radiant, and with noticeably less visible pores.

Vert Mont Perfumery Eros (Sample Value ±$5.25)

I've made no secret of the fact that I don't love receiving perfume samples, but I do actually like how Eros smells.  A blend of red mandarin, coriander, orris root, patchouli, juniper, and jasmine, it's sweet and earthy and reminds me of incense - only fresher and without the chemically, headache-inducing qualities.  I'm thinking of mixing this into my next body oil concoction.  Vert Mont perfumes are free of synthetics and are hand-mixed blends of essential oils and plant essences in organic sweet almond and jojoba oils.  

The Bottom Line
I really liked the March box.  The Cacao & Banana Face Glow was the biggest standout for me and I'm also really happy to have been able to try the Juice Beauty CC Cream.  The lip cream and perfume were slightly less exciting to me, but they're nice too - I don't think there were any duds in this box!  The total value, at roughly $55, is pretty phenomenal too.

Petit Vour boxes retail for $15 (US) / $23 (Canada) and individual products can also be bought in the Petit Vour shop  

*Press sample
Contains affiliate links
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...