21 October 2016

TellurideGlow Alpine Pure Oil: Intense Skin Hydration

Created to hydrate and protect skin in Telluride, Colorado's dry mountain climate, TellurideGlow's Alpine Pure Oil* ($45 for 2 ounces) is a rich oil comprised of high quality cold-pressed and unrefined plant oils.  It's almost entirely organic and is completely vegan, cruelty free, free of GMO's, made in the USA, and both packaged and shipped using recycled and recyclable materials.

Photo Credit
The oil launched earlier this year and I've been testing it out over the last couple months.  It couldn't have come at a better time, as colder temperatures are just starting to roll in here, bringing with them drier autumn skin needs.  The culmination of more than 2 years research, formulating, and product testing, Alpine Pure Oil is a blend of 24 potent botanicals: a mix of rich plant carrier oils and fragrant essential oils.  Several of my favorite moisturizing oils are included: jojoba, rosehip, argan, sea buckthorn berry, tamanu, and watermelon seed oils, to mention just a few.  These aren't just cheap filler oils, but rather potent, antioxidant- and nutrient-rich ingredients to deeply nourish and feed the skin.

Alpine Pure Oil is multi-functional (check out all the suggested uses here) and formulated for "face, hands, body and soul," however the first ingredient is coconut oil, which I know my face doesn't love, so I've predominantly used it as a body oil.  It glides on smoothly -- on both wet and dry skin -- and sinks in quickly, moisturizing and protecting the skin without any kind of heavy oil residue.  A hint of mica also leaves skin with a pretty radiance.  Nothing overtly sparkly or shimmery, just a nice subtle glow.  I've also used the oil in my hair, running a few drops through the ends to moisturize and tame frizz, and it works great for that purpose too.

The scent is a mix of seven essential oils: geranium, lavender, ylang ylang, neroli, frankincense, roman chamomile, and sweet orange.  Geranium is definitely the strongest note and although I'm not typically the hugest geranium fan, I've been enjoying the oil nonetheless.  The scent isn't overpowering or heavy and the intense florals are nicely balanced with the earthier frankincense and the fresh zippy orange.  

Photo Credit

The Bottom Line
A lovely oil that doesn't scrimp on quality ingredients.  It offers intense hydration and I enjoy using it as both a body and hair oil.  If your skin tolerates coconut oil better than mine, I expect it would make a great face oil too.

Deal Alert: US shoppers will receive a free travel size oil with any order placed on the TellurideGlow website in October.  International shipping is available on Amazon.

*Press sample

4 October 2016

Andalou Naturals Get Started Age Defying Kit

Andalou Naturals is one of my very favorite budget-friendly skincare brands.  The company is committed to complete label transparency and was the first personal care line to achieve 100% Non-GMO Project Verification in 2011.  I've dabbled with products from almost all of Andalou's skincare ranges and recently decided to give the anti-aging Age Defying line -- also recommended for dry and sensitive skin -- a more dedicated try with the Get Started Age Defying Kit.  The Age Defy line features fruit stem cells as well as Andalou's BioActive 8 Berry Complex, a blend of organic superfruit antioxidants, and the kit includes trial sizes of the core products in the range: a cleanser, toner, mask, and two moisturizers.  I'd already used two of the five products before and was happy to try them again, along with three new-to-me items.   

Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk
I used a full bottle of this cleanser a couple years ago and it's something I always planned to go back to.  More of a thick cream consistency than a true milk, it's a super gentle, soap-free cleanser that's boosted with probiotic microflora to calm irritation and stimulate cell turnover.  I also love how it smells -- like sweet and creamy peach/apricot yogurt.  This cleanser is as good as I remember and is something I'll definitely rebuy in the future.  

Blossom + Leaf Toning Refresher
The toner, on the other hand, is the one product in the kit that I didn't enjoy at all.  I've never used one of Andalou's toners before and I barely made it through a sixth of the small bottle before calling it quits on this one.  It felt quite harsh and drying on my skin and, more than anything, seemed very out of place in the Age Defying range which is otherwise such a gentle line.  I also wasn't a fan of the toner's strong herbal scent.

Bioactive 8 Berry Fruit Enzyme Mask
I don't generally think of Andalou skincare products as being super "active" or intense, so to be completely honest, I wasn't expecting much from the Fruit Enzyme Mask, but it ended up surprising me.  The mask feels a little warm on the face initially and does an excellent job brightening and gently exfoliating the skin without ever feeling harsh or TOO strong.  It has the consistency of thin jelly (and smells kind of like one too!) and leaves skin feeling baby soft.  I'm not sure I'd commit to a full size immediately, simply because of how many masks I currently have, but, at a minimum, I'd pick it up in one of the Beauty2Go pods at some point.

Super Goji Peptide Perfecting Cream
The Goji Perfecting Cream is the second product in the kit that I'd previously used.  Made with goji glycopeptides, it's advertised to boost collagen and elastin production in the skin, thereby improving skin texture and minimizing fine lines and wrinkles.   I used a full jar of this some time last year and while I can't say I noticed any significant difference in my fine lines, it's a good everyday moisturizer.  The berry scent is sweet and fruity but not overpowering.  

Resveratrol Q10 Night Repair Cream
The Peptide Cream's slightly heavier counterpart, the Resveratrol Q10 Cream is recommended for nighttime use.  The ingredients feature CoQ10, resveratrol and other antioxidants, and Andalou's product description again highlights anti-aging benefits including increased cell renewal, improved skin texture, and diminished fine lines and wrinkles.  Again, I found it to be a good basic moisturizer, but it didn't blow me away.    

The Bottom Line
Andalou's trial kits are a great way to get a feel for the company's skincare products without a big cost investment.  The sizes are great for travel and are also substantial enough to get a decent feel for each product.  I didn't love everything in the Age Defying Kit, but it sparked my love for the Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk again and reconfirmed my positive opinion of Andalou's moisturizers on the whole.  I'm very happy to have discovered the Fruit Enzyme Mask too!

Contains affiliate links.

23 September 2016

Duckish Natural Skin Care: Handmade Bath + Body Treats

Duckish is a Canadian skincare company handcrafting natural and cruelty free bath and body products in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  The company reached out to me over the summer and very kindly sent me their Starter Bundle, a customizable kit containing all five of Duckish's bath and body products in your chosen scents.  I'm eager to share my thoughts on everything!

Shea (Unscented) Body Butter
Let's jump right in with my favorite of the five products!  My soft spot for unscented body moisturizers is no secret, and this rich blend of shea butter, grapeseed, coconut, olive, and jojoba oils is just the ticket for dry or irritated skin.  I have a small self-diagnosed patch of eczema on one foot that doesn't tolerate many products, but I had no problems using the Body Butter on it.  In fact, it even went one step further and worked very well at soothing both the itch and actual sensitivity when it flared up briefly last week.  And, it works great on ordinary dry skin too.  

The Unscented Butter smells faintly of unrefined shea butter, but it's mild and only noticeable as you're first applying it. If you prefer a scent, Duckish's Body Butter is also available in Lavender, Pink Grapefruit, and Tea Tree varieties.

Mint Bath Salts
I'm not the biggest bath person, particularly in the warmer months, so when I noticed Duckish includes the Bath Salts in their DIY Pedicure Kit, I was inspired to use them as a foot soak instead.  Made from a mix of four different salts -- sea salt, dead sea salt, pink Himalayan salt and epsom salt -- as well as almond and coconut oils, the bath salts dissolve easily and add a light dose of softening moisture to your water.  The Mint scent is a blend of peppermint and eucalyptus -- two of my favorites -- and it smells wonderfully invigorating.  Just sniffing the package completely clears my sinuses, so I bet it will be a fantastic one to have on hand once cold and flu season hits!

Lavender Bath Bombs
With little lavender petals on top, these were so cute I hesitated to actually use them!  Again, I'm no bath expert, but the bath bombs fizzed nicely and made the water soft and a little milky.  They smelled more fresh and herbacious than heavily flowery -- my preference for lavender scents -- and I enjoyed using them.  I don't think you can purchase the bath bombs individually right now, but they come in a few of Duckish's different bundles and sets

Lavender Mini Lotion Stick
A lot of solid lotions rely heavily on waxes, but Duckish's Lotion Stick feels more like an oil in solid form.  Solid in the tube, it melts into the skin immediately on contact and, although it contains beeswax, leaves behind no waxy coating or heavy residue, just soft, silky smooth skin.  I especially love using it on my legs, and it's also wonderful for spreading on the backs of your hands when you need moisture without greasy fingertips.  Like the bath bombs, the lavender scent is very fresh and I can also smell a little bit of the olive oil coming through.  The purse-friendly mini size is great too -- perfect for carrying with you on the go!

Grapefruit Lip Balm
I use lip balm countless times a day, so while I'm always up for trying new ones, I'm also a little picky about the ones I reach for.  Duckish's, which is rich and buttery with just a slight waxy feel that really keeps the product hanging onto your lips, definitely makes the cut.  I think it will make a fantastic cold weather balm since that same waxiness really seals moisture in and offers great protection against the elements.  I wish the grapefruit scent was a bit stronger as I find the olive oil competes with it a little, but it's not a deal breaker.    

The Bottom Line
The Starter Bundle is a great way to get a feel for Duckish's line and to try a number of products at a small discount.  The Lotion Stick and Body Butter were my favorite discoveries and are the two items I'd put my money towards first, but there really wasn't a dud in the bunch.  The Bath Salts were a close third, and I think, along with the bath bombs, they'd be a big hit with bath lovers.  The lip balm is also great and is something I expect I'll get a lot of good use out of come winter.

*Press sample

21 September 2016

Bodisafe Hydrating Night Cream: The Perfect Fall Moisturizer

Tomorrow officially marks the start of fall and, while days are still fairly warm here, temperatures are starting to drop down a little lower at night, which has my brain busy pondering all the usual skincare changes we make with the seasons.  

I was sent the Hydrating Night Cream* from Bodisafe Beauty at the beginning of the summer, but with hot temperatures and summer humidity, I found it a little too rich for my skin at that time.  I pulled it out again a few weeks ago and I've been loving it ever since!

The Hydrating Night Cream ($25 for 1.7 ounces) is a rich waterless formula with a surprisingly lightweight feel.  With shea butter as the first ingredient, alongside a whole host of plant oils, I was expecting a thicker, balm-like texture, but it has more of a cream-to-oil consistency that really melts into the skin.    

The ingredients are super clean and, since there's no water or water-based components, the Night Cream is free of both emulsifiers and preservatives.  Jojoba oil is similar to the natural sebum our skin produces and is great for balancing oil production.  Apricot kernel and avocado oils are highly penetrative, delivering moisture and fatty acids deep into the skin.  Pomegranate oil offers an abundance of vitamins, antioxidants and flavonoids, great for combating skin damage and free radicals, and black cumin seed oil is known for both its reparative and acne fighting properties.  The cream also includes frankincense and myrrh essential oils, both excellent for a whole host of skin issues, as well as natural fragrance, which gives it a very slight sweet scent.

I'm a big fan of the airless pump bottle too, which easily dispenses product and also keeps the cream fresh and sanitary.  I only need 1/2 to 3/4 of a pump for my entire face right now, but I can see myself increasing that a little as the weather gets colder.  The Night Cream doesn't sink in immediately, but, similar to an oil, if you apply it onto damp skin, it absorbs much quicker.  It also tends to leave skin looking a little shiny initially, but is fully absorbed within half an hour or so, leaving skin moisturized, plump, and supple.
The Bottom Line
With a mild neutral scent, excellent ingredients and an emollient and lightweight feel, Bodisafe's Hydrating Night Cream is a great rich moisturizer, perfect for protecting the skin as we head into the colder months.  For drier skin types, I imagine it would work great all year round.  
*Press sample

13 September 2016

New to the Scene: Exciting Fall Green Beauty Releases

We've barely dipped our toes into fall and already the green beauty world is full of exciting new launches!  With the industry growing in leaps and bounds, it's impossible to include everything, but here are seven new releases that have me extra excited this month....

RMS Beauty Swift Shadows
Most famous for their cream products, RMS has branched out with pressed powder eye shadows!  Intended to deliver the same light-reflective finish as the company's cream Eye Polishes in a longer-wearing, buildable powder format, the Swift Shadows ($20) can be applied both wet and dry and are pressed with wild-crafted buriti and organic jojoba oils.  The new eye shadow line is free of both talc and silicones and consists of 18 shades, divided into six color categories.

White & Elm Exfoliating Enzyme Mask
I've had my eye on White & Elm, a skincare brand that crafts simple and effective 10-ingredient or less products, for quite some time, and the new Exfoliating Enzyme Mask may be what finally gets me to take the plunge.  Made with glycolic acid and papaya and pineapple enzymes, the mask offers deep cleansing and exfoliation, as well as reparative and anti-aging benefits.  Gentle acids renew skin texture, diminish dark spots, and even skin tone, while Vitamin C, antioxidants, and flavonoids fight dull skin and boost radiance.  White & Elm doesn't currently ship outside of the US, but their products are available internationally through Eco Diva Beauty.

Nourish Organic Aromatherapeutic Skincare
Nourish's new aromatherapeutic skincare line consists of essential oil-infused cream-to-oil treatments intended to simultaneously improve your skin and your mood.  These USDA certified organic balms are multi-use products for face and body, and are comprised of organic shea, cocoa, and cupuacu butters, organic sunflower, coconut, jojoba, and rosehip seed oils, and organic beeswax, plus, of course, organic essential oils.  There are three varieties: Boost (Lemon + Cassia), Calm (Chamomile + Ylang Ylang), and Cool (Peppermint + Wintergreen), each retailing for $24.99, though they're all currently on introductory offer for $19.99.  You can also pick up all three for $49.99.

Alima Pure Liquid Silk Foundation + Cream Concealer
Alima Pure is well-known for their mineral powder foundation and I, for one, am very curious to see what they can do with liquid and cream products.  The Liquid Silk Foundation ($42) is described as a "sheer, buildable, moisturizing liquid foundation," and the concealer ($28 compact/$20 refill pan) as a "hydrating, vitamin-rich full coverage concealer that blends seamlessly."  Both products are available in 10 shades -- 5 cool/neutral colors and 5 warm/neutral. 

Inika Baked Mineral Foundation, Illuminisor + Bronzer
I'm not sure what makes baked mineral products so great, but there's something undeniably special about them, which is why I'm so excited to see Inika release these three items.  Baked on terracotta tiles in Tuscany, Italy, these baked powders are advertised as silky-smooth and breathable makeup with sheer but buildable coverage and color.  The Illuminisor ($65 AUD) looks to be a new color, but the eight foundation shades ($65 AUD) and Bronzer ($65 AUD) match up to shades already in Inika's loose powder line. They're only showing up on the Australian site right now, but hopefully they'll make it to the company's international sites soon too!

Kjaer Weis Lipsticks
Kjaer Weis products are the definition of luxury green beauty, and these new lipsticks are no exception!  Made with shea butter and jojoba and rosehip seed oils, the lipsticks are available in five shades, each more opaque than the company's Lip Tints and with a rich velvet finish.  All shades except Love, a bright coral red, are free of synthetic dyes, although four of the five do contain carmine.  $56 is undoubtedly a steep price for lipstick, but they're, by all accounts, pretty fabulous, and the heavy silver bullets are designed to be refillable, just like the rest of Kjaer Weis' products.

100% Pure USDA Certified Organic Skincare
100% Pure has launched four new USDA certified organic skincare ranges: High Potency Reversal, Rose Water, Cucumber Juice, and Matcha.  I've seen a few people raise questions as to how some of these products got certified -- going off the ingredients lists, there's some controversy over whether or not they're fully compliant with USDA regulations -- but, for me, organic certification is a bonus, not a requirement, so either way I think the ingredients in these new launches are an improvement over much of 100% Pure's range simply because they're free of the Japanese honeysuckle that's so prevalent in the line.  I'm most curious about the Emulsion Toniques, hydrating elixirs that look to be a cross between a toner and serum and which fulfill a skincare step I've previously only seen from Asian skincare brands.

Will you be trying any of these?   What new launches are you excited about right now?

Contains affiliate links.
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