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.

9 September 2016

Stellar Summer Standouts (ft. Botanical Butter, Holiskin + Silk Naturals)

I finally cleared out my overflowing bag of empties this past long weekend, so next I want to talk about a few products that really stood out to me over the summer.  Summer favorites are always a little bittersweet since, obviously, summer is over, but at the same time I'm excited to share these products!  



Botanical Butter Spring Chamomile Butter*
Moisturizing oils and butters abound in the green beauty sphere, but the really good ones still manage to stand out from the masses.  Botanical Butter's Spring Butter is one such treat. A decadent mix of shea, cocoa butter, and coconut oil, the Spring Chamomile Butter is extra rich and nourishing and it smells phenomenal too!  As the name suggests, the predominant scent is chamomile, but it's also sweetened up a smidge with a hint of jasmine, lavender, and neroli.   A firmer butter, this isn't the kind of product I find myself slathering all over my body, but rather something I like to use sparingly on extra dry spots like my feet and elbows.  It's been doing a fantastic job keeping my tootsies sandal-ready this whole summer and I expect it will perform just as well heading into the colder months too.  

Silk Naturals Close Up Illuminating Powder

I can get behind an intense highlight on occasion, but for day-to-day, I much prefer a more natural glow, which is exactly what Close Up provides.  Intended as a toned-down MAC Lightscapade --with a much cleaner ingredients list, of course -- Close Up is a delicate cream with a soft gold and pink glow.  It gives a subtle sheen with absolutely no glitter.  According to Silk Naturals, the Illuminating Powders can be used all over the face to perk up a dull complexion, but I prefer the effect when Close Up is concentrated just on the high points of the face, as you would use a traditional highlighter.  It's subtle but still noticeable (at least to me!) and truly gives that candlelight, lit-from-within glow that everyone is always talking about.



Holiskin Sensitive Skin Facial Cleanser*

I first reviewed this cleanser in the spring and I've only fallen harder for it since.  The Sensitive Skin Cleanser smells like fresh, rich chamomile, which we've already established I adore, and melts away makeup -- and sunscreen too -- like nobody's business.  Made with a blend of organic or wildcrafted apricot kernel, camellia seed, meadowfoam seed, and castor seed oils, it's a cleanser that's gentle enough for the most delicate skin, but also perfectly suited to virtually any skin type.  The texture/viscosity is thick enough that the oil isn't at risk of running off your face, but it's still thin enough to offer great slip and glide over the skin easily and without any excess catching or tugging.  Just an all-around amazing oil cleanser and definitely a new favorite of mine! 

What products did you love this summer?




*Press sample

5 September 2016

Summer Empties // Products I've Used Up (May, June, July + August 2016)

It's been roughly four months since my last empties post, so I've accumulated quite a large pile of empty products to talk about!  If you aren't familiar with these posts, this is where I share my final impressions of products after using them all the way through and discuss whether they're items I would purchase again or not.



SKINCARE



Andalou Naturals Citrus Kombucha Cleansing Gel
I love this cleanser!  I'm not convinced it does anything super amazing for acne or blemishes, but it smells awesome, cleans well, and doesn't irritate or strip my skin.  Repurchase? Yes!  After going through two bottles recently, I'm happy to use a different cleanser for a bit, but I definitely think I'll circle back around to this one soon.

Humphrey's Witch Hazel Astringent

Witch hazel is one of my favorite ingredients to use in homemade toners and I like that Humphrey's astringents don't include questionable preservatives.  Repurchase? Yes, but I'd probably get the organic version in future.

Chorus Supernatural Cleanse + Polish*   [Review]
I liked Cleanse, an interesting hybrid between a gel and creamy cleanser, a lot. I was less impressed with Polish, mainly because I prefer a slightly more abrasive scrub.  Repurchase? Probably not.  I didn't love Polish and as much as I liked Cleanse, there are other cleansers I'd probably re-buy first.

Crazy Rumors Ginger Ale + Raspberry Sherbet Lip Balms
No surprise here, Crazy Rumors are some of my favorite lip balms!  Admittedly some of the flavors can be hit or miss, but the actual balm formula is one of the best.  I loved Raspberry Sherbet, but Ginger Ale was not my favorite.  Repurchase? Always! I already bought a new Raspberry Sherbet.

Lina Hanson Global Face Serum (sample)
There's only so much you can tell from a sample vial, but I enjoyed using this oil.  It was fairly lightweight, absorbed into the skin well, and smelled great.  Repurchase? Maybe.

Devita Revitalizing Eye Lift Creme

I had high hopes for this eye cream, but it didn't do a lot for me.  Great for moisture, but I didn't see any results beyond that.  I actually ended up using more than half the bottle as an all over face moisturizer when I ran out of other products towards the beginning of the summer.  It worked fine in that capacity too, but I wouldn't buy it for that purpose.  Repurchase? No.

Niora Naturals Eye Therapy Replenishing Serum*
Again, wonderful for hydrating the eye area, but I didn't notice any other results.  I really think the cleanser and toner are the real stars in Niora's line -- I haven't been as impressed with the serums.  Repurchase? Probably not.

Juice Organics PomWash Exfoliating Cleanser    [Review]
I really liked this cleanser in the beginning but I inevitably moved on to other products and eventually finished it off as a foaming hand wash.  Repurchase? No.  I think it's discontinued at this point anyways.

BODY



Young Living Shutran Shave Cream + Thieves Hand Purifier
Technically I think the Shutran Shave Cream is intended for men, but it has a rich creamy consistency that worked great for me too.  It's gentle and especially good on delicate spots, although the small tube doesn't go very far if you're shaving larger areas.  The Thieves Hand Purifier is a staple in my purse and works great for times when you can't get to a sink to actually wash your hands.  Repurchase? Yes.

Weleda Skin Food + Sea Buckthorn Creamy Body Wash
Skin Food is excellent on dry elbows and feet, especially in the winter, and Weleda's body washes are all lovely and moisturizing.  The citrusy Sea Buckthorn is my favorite in the line.  Repurchase? Very likely - these weren't my first tubes of either of these and they probably won't be my last!

Mamma Oceania Gentle Exfoliating Soap   [Review]
I really like Mamma Oceania's soaps, which are handmade here in Toronto.  Super gentle, palm and canola oil free and made without any added fragrance or essential oils, they're especially great for sensitive skin. I like them a lot for shaving too. Repurchase? Absolutely.

Rocky Mountain Soap Lemongrass Hand & Body Wash + Peppermint Shave Bar
Rocky Mountain Soap's liquid Hand & Body Washes are gentle castile-based soaps and the lemongrass scent is delightfully fresh and bright.  The Peppermint Shave Bar was good too, although I'm not sure it was any better for shaving than any of the company's other bar soaps -- they all work well for that.  Repurchase? Yes. I'm curious to try other scents in the Hand + Body Wash too.

Ellovi Chamomile Blossom Butter*   [Review]
Ellovi's butters are fantastic and the Chamomile Blossom is my top pick of the three I've tried.  To me, it smells mostly like mandarin orange, with just a hint of chamomile, and it has a lighter texture, silkier feel, and better absorption than some of Ellovi's other varieties.  It also also made my skin incredibly soft to the touch .  Repurchase? Yes!

Nourish Organic Forest Deodorant Cream   [Review]

The deodorant cream is one of the few Nourish products that I just don't like.  The screw-up packaging is cute, but ultimately ridiculous for this kind of product, and the actual deodorant is unimpressive too.  Although it contains baking soda -- which did eventually cause me some irritation -- the odor protection is not very good.  I remember it performing okay in the colder months, but when I finished the tube off during the summer, I had to reapply 2-3 times throughout the day to ensure I didn't smell -- and I'm not a very sweaty or stinky person to begin with.  Repurchase? No.

HAIR



Griffin Remedy Volumizing Conditioner*   [Review]

I liked this conditioner -- and it's matching shampoo, which I've still got a little bit left of -- a lot.  I didn't find the pair hugely volumizing, but they work great as everyday products.  The lemon verbena scent was also fantastic!  Repurchase? Maybe.  I'm also curious to try the Stimulating and Glossing lines from Griffin Remedy.

Graydon Hair Smoothie
I have mixed feelings about this lightweight conditioner.  For my hair, it only worked well when I used a TON of product.  I probably only got about 10 uses out of the entire bottle.  Repurchase? Probably not.  I'd rather use less of a richer product than so much of a lighter one.

Kinky-Curly Spiral Spritz   [Review]

Another consistent empty -- I go through one of these every few months!  If you're new or have somehow missed my many other raves, the Spiral Spritz is a great light-hold gel that I use for curl definition.  It doesn't hold up quite as well on the hottest, most humid days of summer, but for everyday and 9/10ths of the year, it's pretty phenomenal.  Repurchase? Yes! I'm already halfway through another bottle.

MAKEUP



Miessence Black Mascara*   [Review]
This mascara has one of the cleanest ingredients list of any green mascara I've seen and it works beautifully for natural, wispy lashes.  I noticed my eyelashes seemed softer and healthier while I was using it too.  Repurchase? Maybe.  I liked it a lot, but I think there are less costly mascaras that I like just as much.

Jane Iredale Black Ice Longest Lash Mascara (sample)

I used another sample of this mascara some time last year and loved it, but I think this particular one dried out before I used it, as it didn't perform at all like I remembered.  Repurchase? Maybe.  Again, the high price tag is the main deterrent for me here.

ELF Mineral Eye Brightener

A lot of ELF's mineral line have surprisingly clean ingredients and the Eye Brightener, a sheer yellow-toned brightening powder, is a favorite of mine for setting under eye concealer.  Unfortunately, I think it's been discontinued as I haven't been able to find it either in stores or on the ELF website.  Repurchase? I wish I could!

Silk Naturals Saddle Up // Pollen Cosmetics A Little Glimmer + Linen it Up (samples)
I decluttered a lot of eye shadows over the summer, but I'm also still trying to use some up, particularly samples.  A Little Glimmer and Linen It Up were both pretty enough, but Pollen Cosmetics is no longer in business.  Saddle Up is a beautiful bronzey-brown that's supposed to be a dupe for Urban Decay Sidecar.  Repurchase? Maybe Saddle Up.

Phew!  I'm happy to finally throw all these empties out! 


* Press sample.
Contains affiliate links.
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