17 December 2014

Pure + Simple Face Colours

I did a full review of Pure + Simple's Taupe Face Colour shortly after I got it, but I don't think I've mentioned it since, or ever talked about the two other shades I ended up picking up shortly after.  The Face Colours are powder products, pressed without talc or silicones.  Depending on the shade, they can function as blush, bronzer, eye shadow, and perhaps even lip color.  

I have three shades, and while I've never tried any of them on the lips, I can readily attest to how well they work on both the face and eyes.

Glow - is a bright, watermelon pink, with a noticeable sheen.  I barely even need to touch my brush into this color to get enough product to use as a blush.  

Rose Gold - is a bronzy peach, also with a pretty heavy sheen.  I like to use this one on the cheeks - again, with a light hand - and since I also love doing peachy eye looks, I regularly use it as an eye shadow too.

Taupe - is an interesting medium brown shade.  It looks like a cool-toned brown in the pan, but on the skin it has a golden glow that warms the colour up a good deal.  Of the three shades, I've definitely used this one the most.  It's a very versatile, medium crease shade  and works great to blend out almost any eye look.  I find myself reaching for it all the time.  

Pure + Simple's Face Colours are some of the most pigmented pressed makeup items in my collection.  If you're fair like me - and maybe even if you're not - you really need to be careful not to pick up too much product when using them on the face.  Otherwise, you can very easily end up in clown cheek territory.  In all three shades I've used, the shimmer is very finely milled, so while the colours give off a beautiful sheen, there's no actual sparkles or glitter on your face.  They're also buttery soft and blend easily, so even being so pigmented, they aren't a difficult product to work with. 

Have you used anything from Pure + Simple?

16 December 2014

La Mav Anti Dark-Circle & Ultra-Firm Eye Gel + Cranberry Bio Exfoliating Scrub

Have you heard of La Mav yet?  This Australian skincare line has been around for several years, but it seems like they've really exploded onto the international green beauty scene just this past year.  La Mav's entire line is certified organic, certified cruelty free, Australian made, and guaranteed to be free from harsh chemicals, fillers, talc, sulphates, GMO ingredients, parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, and artificial colours and fragrances.  La Mav uses a three-tier system of active constituents, specialty oils, and essential base ingredients to ensure every product is packed full of as much natural goodness as possible.  The entire product line focuses on age-defense, with eight different ranges that each target other skin concerns as well as anti-aging.  La Mav is very clear on wanting to combine science and nature and they make a point of using plant-based active ingredients whose efficacy has been researched and proven in independent clinical studies.  

La Mav offered to send me a couple products to try and after a thorough browse, I chose the Anti Dark-Circle & Ultra-Firm Eye Gel* and Cranberry Bio Exfoliating Scrub.* 

Anti-Dark-Circle & Ultra-Firm Eye Gel
My under eye area is probably my single most persistent skin concern, so a product like this that promises to reduce the appearance of dark circles and puffiness always makes me sit up and take notice.  Vitamin C, chlorella, and licorice root are included for their brightening effects, while hyaluronic acid seals in moisture and helps to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  The formula also includes anti-aging and antioxidant-rich rosehip, sea buckthorn, and bilberry seed oils.  

I tend to have pretty prominent dark circles, as well as some puffiness, and sadly the eye gel hasn't done anything too dramatic to reduce either one.  I've used it morning and night for nearly a month now, and while I've noticed a slight brightening effect, I was hoping for a bit more.  That said, the eye gel really shines in terms of hydration.  I'm not sure how La Mav manages to pack so much moisture into such a light gel, but I'm impressed.  The eye gel feels light, cool and lovely going on - never heavy or tacky - and it leaves my eye area plumper and better hydrated than several other, much heavier eye creams I've previously used.  I also only need to use half a pump for both eyes.

Cranberry Bio Exfoliating Scrub
The Cranberry Bio Exfoliating Scrub includes both manual and chemical exfoliants.  Bamboo stem and cranberry seed powders gently buff away dead skin, while natural fruit acids from bilberry, sugar maple, lemon, orange, and sugar cane penetrate deep into the pores to remove excess oil, dirt, and impurities.  The scrub is part of La Mav's Purify & Clean range, designed for oily, combination, and acne-prone skin, but it's also been great on my skin which leans more combination/dry.  The texture is that of a thick, gritty paste, but it spreads easily on damp skin and does a good job exfoliating without ever feeling too harsh or abrasive.  

One thing to note is that the scrub can separate a little in the tube, so you need to give it a good shake before squeezing the product out.  I also recommend storing it upside down (top up), as I did have a small amount of liquid leak out of the tube when it was stored top down.


The Bottom Line
The eye gel may not have worked magic on my dark circles (and really, what does?), but it's a good, solid product and I really do like how much hydration it offers, and the way it leaves my eye area feeling.  The scrub was a hit too: gritty, but not scratchy or overly abrasive.  

As a first experience with La Mav, I'd say this went really well.  I'm definitely left curious to try more from the line, which I think says it all!

* Press sample

15 December 2014

Natural Skincare at Sephora: An Imaginary Routine

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me tweet a couple weeks ago asking for natural product recommendations at Sephora.  It's not somewhere I've shopped for quite a while now, but I still get their emails and they had a Bare Minerals eye shadow gift with purchase that had me just about ready to pull out my wallet.  In the end I decided against buying anything - it's not as though I needed the eye shadow anyways - but that darn GWP almost had me!

I know for a lot of people Sephora is an easy place to shop, so after my thorough browsing experience, I thought I'd challenge myself to see if it would be possible to create a completely non-toxic skincare routine using only products sold at Sephora. Here's what I came up with!

Keep in mind that I haven't actually tried most of these, so I can only speak to their ingredients, not their efficacy.  Everything is free of the regular nasties like parabens, phthalates, silicones, petroleum, PEGs, and dyes, and is also free of phenoxyethanol - which presented quite a challenge, let me tell you!

Makeup Remover: Ole Henriksen Pure Truth Melting Cleanser
Cleanser: REN ClearCalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser
Toner/Face Mist: Caudalie Grape Water
Face Oils: Lea Journo Revive French Plum Oil / Sunday Riley Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil
Eye Cream: Tata Harper Restorative Eye Creme
Face Scrub: Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser
Mask: REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial

So, is it possible to create a full non-toxic, natural skincare routine at Sephora? Yes.  Is it easy? No.  And it's also pretty costly.  

These eight items came to a whopping $497!  I think you could do a lot better for your money shopping somewhere else, but in a pinch, Sephora could have you covered.  Which is always good to know.  

What do you think of Sephora?  And - since I'm always up for some window shopping - let me know if you'd be interested in seeing something similar for makeup.  

14 December 2014

Sample Stash #13: A Random Assortment

My last Sample Stash post was just a week ago, but what can I say, the samples, they just don't end!  Here's the most recent batch I've been working on:

EarthBody Dream Body Oil

This is the second EarthBody product I've received in a Petit Vour box, and they've both been awesome.  The body oil, which includes nourishing jojoba and rosehip seed oils, is perfect for deeply moisturizing and protecting your skin through these colder months.  Dream is scented with frankincense, lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood, and it smells lovely.  The frankincense and sandalwood add a earthy and woodsy element that really elevates it above your standard lavender-chamomile scent.  

Nonie of Beverly Hills AHA! Body Lotion
Nonie of Beverly Hills recently sent me some products from their skincare line to try (more on those later) and they also included this sample of the body lotion.  Like most of the line, the body lotion is made with naturally occuring alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) from various fruit extracts, so it acts as a gentle chemical exfoliant.  It's the first body lotion I've used with AHA's, and it's great.  I can just imagine the acids going all ninja on any dead skin or impurities, since what's left behind is so incredibly smooth and soft!  It also smells yummy, like lemon ice.

Dr. Alkaitis Organic Soothing Gel
The Soothing Gel has been well hyped by several different green bloggers recently and I was curious to try it for myself.  It's essentially a whole bunch of healing herbs and botanicals - nettle, sea oak, kelp, and chamomile, to name just a few - in an aloe and witch hazel base.  It has a watery-gel consistency. 

After a couple days, I found it too drying to use all over my face, but I really like it as a spot treatment.  My skin freaked out a couple weeks ago, leaving me with multiple breakouts and I really think the Soothing Gel helped them to heal faster.  I'd probably never get through a 4 ounce, full size bottle, but I'm definitely going to pick up a couple more samples to keep on hand.  

Moor Spa Tension Balm
I don't think balm is the best name for this product, which is really more of a light lotion.  It's intended to sooth sore muscles and ease headaches or other aches and pains, and contains an interesting blend of botanicals including heilmoor clay, feverfew extract, magnesium, and peppermint essential oil.  I used the sample on my feet, rather than for its intended purpose.  It was so-so as a moisturizer, but it did feel tingly and refreshing from the peppermint.

Have you used any of these products?

Contains affiliate links.

13 December 2014

Easy DIY Cuticle Oil with Argan, Marula + Tamanu Oils

Is anyone else shocked by how much money a teeny bottle of cuticle oil can run you? Sure, the packaging might be adorable - not to mention functional - but once you realize how little oil actually comes in that nifty little pen (2 ml?!), it can be a little disheartening.  Would you knowingly spend more for a cuticle oil than a luxury face oil?  Because, ounce-for-ounce, that's often what we're doing.

My inner frugalista couldn't quite stomach that realization, so I set out to make my own.  I used a mini nail polish bottle I bought on Ebay, but you could also use a lip gloss pen/tube or other packaging. 

Cuticle oils mainly provide moisture, so you can use just about any plant oils you have on hand.  I chose:

Sweet Almond Oil, because it's very emollient and great for moisturizing and reconditioning the skin.  

Argan Oil, because it's high in vitamin E, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids that help repair skin damage and strengthen the nails.  It's also quite lightweight and quick to absorb.

Marula Oil, for its high levels of antioxidants and vitamin C and for how well it works to reduce redness and inflammation.  

Tamanu Oil, because of how extremely healing it is.  Known for healing virtually every skin ailment, tamanu is great on damaged skin, rashes, sores, cuts and abrasions and more.

Young Living Peace & Calming, a mix of tangerine, orange, ylang ylang, patchouli, and blue tansy essential oils, because I'll probably use the cuticle oil most before bed and this relaxing blend is great for helping you fall (and stay) asleep.  

The ingredients
I didn't use exact measurements - just eyeballed it - but the basic proportions I used were:
2 parts sweet almond oil
2 parts argan oil
1 part marula oil
1 part tamanu oil
Young Living Peace & Calming blend (I used 5 drops for a 5ml bottle)

Before mixing.  Look at those layers!
And after mixing, all blended together
I've only used the oil a couple times so far, but I'm happy with how it turned out.  I can smell the tamanu oil a little (it's that pungeant!), but the essential oils cover up the scent enough so that it's not overwhelming. 

The nail polish brush makes targeted applications to just your cuticles super simple, and the mix rubs in easily too.  It's pretty light in texture, but also very nourishing.  

What do you think? Would you try something like this?

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