22 July 2015

Bare Minerals READY Eyeshadow 4.0 in The Modern Icon

Bare Minerals isn't a completely clean brand, but they consistently straddle the line between the natural and conventional beauty worlds.  Most of the company's powder products - both pressed and loose - have pretty clean ingredients, but the rest of the line is little more iffy, with questionable ingredients in many of the cream and liquid products.  

Finding great quality natural pressed makeup can be challenging, which is why I've come to really appreciate the READY line.  With foundations, veils, eye shadows, blushes, and bronzers, the READY line basically mirrors the original, core Bare Minerals product line, only in pressed  powder form rather than loose. The READY products are made without talc or silicones and contain Bare Minerals' SeaNutritive Mineral Complex, a blend of minerals and plant extracts purported to provide skin-nourishing benefits alongside high performance makeup.

I'm not completely convinced of the skincare benefits, but what I can attest to is the quality of the READY products I've used.  I mentioned the Color Boost in The Adrenaline Rush in my first Makeup Basket back in April and since then I've branched out into the eye shadows, most recently The Modern Icon quad.  



The Modern Icon is a limited edition eye shadow quad that was released this spring as part of the Modern Pop Collection.   Housed in a reflective silver compact - rather than the matte black of the permanent line - The Modern Icon quad includes four great eye shadows in easy-to-wear shades.  

Chic is a baby pink satin, lovely for highlighting or all over the lid.

Carefree is a beautiful pale peach and is probably my favorite color in the quad.  It has the most shine out of the four shades, but it's still a delicate satin finish without any actual shimmer or sparkle.  

Sophisticate is a light, slightly smokey amethyst purple with just the barest hint of a sheen.  

Exhale is a matte taupey-brown that really pulls all the shades together.  This is one of those great, ultra-functional colors that meshes well with virtually any eye look.



With three satins and a matte, this is a fantastic everyday palette.  You have everything you need for a complete eye look and while the colors are work-friendly, they aren't boring.  In general, I've found the READY shadows are great quality, but this satin finish formula is my absolute favorite (and since I'm usually all about shimmery eye shadows, that really says something!)  The shadows are buttery, smooth, and pigmented, but they also blend effortlessly.  The colors aren't chalky or patchy and, dipping into them with a brush, they kick up a lot less powder than a lot of other natural pressed products I've used.  

The READY eye shadows are also considerably more durable than a lot of other natural pressed makeup.  Much like conventional products, I wouldn't suggest dropping them, but they can certainly survive being shaken around a little in a makeup bag without shattering or crumbling into a million pieces.  

The Bottom Line
Bare Minerals READY eye shadows are great quality and I love the versatility of the colors in The Modern Icon quad.  As of today, the quad is still available for purchase, but since it is limited edition, if you like the look of it, I wouldn't recommend waiting too long.  The shades are great for everyday and the satin finish formula is a real winner!

Because sometimes you stumble into silly, slightly artsy photos and you just have to run with it! ;)

16 July 2015

Spring + Summer Favorites

It's been several months since my last favorites post, so it's about time I show you some of the products I've been loving more recently.  I've got all the basic categories covered here: skin, hair, body, and makeup.  Most are things I've talked about before, but there are a couple new things as well.  



Andalou Naturals Chia + Omega Radiant Skin Polish
I'm on my second tube of the Skin Polish and I can't see myself being without it anytime in the near future.  I waited about two months to repurchase after finishing my first tube, and while I was using other exfoliants during that time, I noticed my skin looking duller.  When I added the Andalou scrub back in, my skin started to perk up after a single use.  The Skin Polish is part of Andalou's Brightening line and contains turmeric, vitamin C, and white tea, as well as Andalou's patented fruit stem cells and BioActive 8 Berry Complex to brighten and refresh.  I normally wouldn't give a lot of credit to brighteners in a rinse-off product like this, but something in here really does make a noticeable difference in the overall health and luminosity of my skin.  I wouldn't say it's particularly brightening in the sense of reducing discoloration or hyperpigmentation, but rather in that it leaves the skin looking very fresh and alive.  The scrub also has a creamy, peach-scented base that perfectly balances the exfoliating chia seeds and walnut particles, keeping it from being too harsh or abrasive.     

Everyday Minerals Tinted Lip Butter in Nearly Nude
I can't be fussed with wearing full-on lipstick most days, which is why I love a great tinted lip balm.  And, these Everyday Minerals Lip Butters are just that!  The formula is made with shea and murumuru butters and a whole list of great oils including sunflower, meadowfoam, coconut, passionfruit, and marula, so they feel great on the lips.  In the case of Nearly Nude, the tint is sheer enough that you can easily apply it without a mirror, but it leaves your lips looking much more polished than just an ordinary balm.  Nearly Nude is described as a "barely there nude with a kaleidoscope of shimmer," which I don't disagree with, although in combination with the pink color of my lips, it ends up looking more like a natural mauve.  The shimmer adds a shiny look, but it's not metallic or frosty.

Bare Minerals Frame & Define Brow Styler in Universal Light
I did an entire roundup post on natural eyebrow products in June, and while I have a couple others I also like, this pencil is hands down my favorite.  It's super quick to use, has a tiny tip, doesn't require sharpening, and matches my brows perfectly.  It legitimately just looks like my natural brows and, for that reason, it's what I continue to use on an everyday basis.

Pure + Simple Face Face Colour in Glow (+ ELF Studio Stipple Brush)
I've had Glow in my collection for probably close to two years now and while I've always known it was a beautiful bright coral/watermelon pink blush, I never reached for it very often before the last couple months.  The Pure + Simple Face Colours are highly pigmented, so the combination of such a bright color and my fair skin makes clown cheeks a real possibility.  But, as I've recently discovered, when lightly applied with a stipple brush, Glow gives the most perfect glowy, natural looking flush of color, perfect for summer.  I can't get enough of it!  I seriously wore it, and it alone, for nearly the entire month of June!


Nourish Organic Wild Berries Moisturizing Cream Body Wash
I've gone through many a bottle of Nourish's body wash - and blogged about them several times before - but this spring was my first time trying the Wild Berries scent.  I like a lot of fruity scents but I'm somewhat particular about which ones and for some reason I'd convinced myself this wasn't going to be one I'd enjoy.  Well, I was wrong.  If anything, it might be my very favorite scent from Nourish - and I think I've truly tried them all now.  Scents are difficult to describe, but I'd say, while it's clearly a fruity berry scent, there's also a lighter, fresher, almost zesty (or maybe slightly herbal?) element that tones down the sweetness.

If you haven't seen my previous mentions of these body washes, they're a unique cream formula that doesn't lather a whole lot, but leaves the skin feeling clean, soft, and nourished.  They're also USDA certified organic and made with the very best ingredients.

Honest Co. Conditioning Detangler
I've been trying out a couple new shampoos and conditioners and Honest's Conditioning Detangler has been helping me out when they don't necessarily perform as well as I'd like.  When my hair is hard to comb through or if a conditioner just doesn't give my curls enough moisture, this does a wonderful job picking up the slack.  I notice better results when used on wet hair, but it does okay on dry hair too.  Honest's signature Sweet Orange Vanilla scent varies a little across the different products and the detangler isn't my favorite iteration, but since I only smell it as I'm spraying, it's not a big deal.  It doesn't linger and it isn't noticeable on my hair throughout the day.

Those are my standout products the last few months!  What have you been loving this spring and summer?  Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway with Botanical Babe Skincare if you haven't already - open until until midnight Friday (EST).


Contains affiliate links.

10 July 2015

Botanical Babe Natural Deodorant Cream (+ a Giveaway!)

I've tried a lot of natural deodorants over the years, and while I've been fortunate enough to find some great ones, I've also encountered more than a couple duds along the way.  Today I want to introduce Botanical Babe, a lovely Michigan-based small batch natural skincare company that handcrafts all its products, including my newest deodorant discovery, the Natural Deodorant Cream*.



First off, this deodorant really works.  I've tested it through long days, summer heat, and workouts and it hasn't let me down.  I only need to apply it once in the morning and the odor protection lasts all day.

That great odor protection comes from baking soda - which can be an irritant for a lot of people, myself included - but it's tempered here by arrowroot powder and moisturizing organic shea butter and coconut oil.  I've gotten some painful rashes from certain baking soda deodorants in the past, but I haven't had any issues with the Botanical Babe Deodorant Cream.  As a precaution, I don't use it immediately after shaving, but that's my general practice with any baking soda deodorant.

Depending on ambient temperature, the consistency of the deodorant varies between that of a moderately firm butter and a softer, whipped-feeling product, but it's always soft enough to scoop out with just a finger and easy to apply.  The cream rubs in well, leaves skin dry to the touch, and doesn't transfer to clothing.    

Arrowroot powder also helps keep you feeling dry once you start sweating, so while it's not an antiperspirant that will prevent sweat, the Deodorant Cream does absorb some moisture.  I'm not a super sweaty person to begin with, so your experience may vary, but with the exception of more vigorous workouts, it keeps me pretty dry throughout the day.  

The deodorant is lightly scented with a blend of organic juniper, grapefruit, orange, and lemon essential oils.  I don't really smell the juniper, just a soft sweet citrus aroma.

The Bottom Line
Botanical Babe's Deodorant Cream offers all day odor protection and doesn't cause irritation, despite the baking soda.  It also has a creamy texture and just enough scent to effectively dispel odors without overwhelming your senses.

Ingredients: Organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, sodium bicarbonate, arrowroot powder, organic grapefruit essential oil, organic juniper berry essential oil, organic sweet orange essential oil, organic lemon essential oil.

Andrea from Botanical Babe is also offering one of you the chance to try her deodorant for yourself.  Follow the directions in the Rafflecopter widget to enter.  The giveaway is open to everyone, worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Press sample

8 July 2015

Sample Stash #18: *New* Odacité Spa Collection

I recently shared my summer pedicure essentials, but these two minis have been giving a couple of those products a real run for their money!  The Spa Collection, a new two product range from Odacité, includes the Invigorative Jasmine Mimosa Body Scrub and Intensive Hand & Heel Therapy and is intended to "nurture your skin, mind and body and make it glow."  

Jamie MacLean, president and founder of the new Toronto-based e-boutique Petal & Post, very kindly sent me samples of the Spa Collection to try and I've been happily doing so for the last couple weeks.  Keep reading for more details on both products.



Invigorative Jasmine Mimosa Body Scrub
My favorite thing about the Jasmine Mimosa Body Scrub is that it contains gentle, coconut-derived cleansing agents that create create a creamy lather and help the scrub rinse away cleanly.  I can't think of anything LESS spa-like than having to scrub the tub as soon as you get out - a necessity with a lot of oil-based scrubs - so I appreciate that Odacité has completely circumvented that issue with this emulsifying product.  And, the lack of oil doesn't mean the scrub is missing moisturizing ingredients either.  Glycerin, milk thistle extract and aloe vera leave skin feeling soft and hydrated, just without the slippery mess.  The exfoliation comes from finely ground walnut shells, which do a great job but don't feel harsh or scratchy.  The scrub spreads really nicely too, so you don't actually need much product to get a good exfoliation.  It smells mostly of jasmine in the pot, but the scent mellows into a more balanced blend of citrus and floral on the skin, thanks to lemongrass, geranium, ylang-ylang, litsea cubeba and rose essential oils.  The scent is still a little heavy on the florals for my nose, but I could see it being a big hit with a lot of people.

Intensive Hand & Heel Therapy
I can't get enough of this one!  The Hand & Heel Therapy is a lovely rich moisturizer that provides the skin with great, intense hydration without any greasy or oily feel.  I was initially concerned this would be too heavy for hands, other than overnight, but it absorbs so well that it works great during the day too.  I also love it for feet and elbows.  Again, a small amount is all you need.

Alpha hydroxy acids derived from fruit and sugar gently tackle any dead skin, helping moisturizers like shea butter and olive and sunflower oils deeply penetrate to hydrate dry and damaged skin.  Another interesting ingredient to note is galactoarabinan, a plant collagen derived from larch trees and more often seen in face products.  Known to increase cell turnover and reduce transdermal water loss, it's another powerhouse ingredient that fits in perfectly, helping to deliver soft and smooth skin.   Essential oils of lemon, spearmint, grapefruit, rosemary, clary sage, lavender, and geranium blend together into a refreshing, herbal scent that really is reminiscent of a spa, and also offer anti-fungal and anti-bacterial benefits.  

The Bottom Line
At $45 for the Hand & Heel Therapy and $55 for the Body Scrub, these don't come cheap, but like all Odacité products, they have exceptional, high quality ingredients and do deliver on the promised spa-like experience.  I'm a little less certain about the scrub, mainly because of the scent, but I can see treating myself to the Hand & Heel Therapy in the future, particularly come fall and winter.

What are your favorites from Odacité?


*Press sample

6 July 2015

Ilike Carotene Essentials Gel Mask

There's quite an abundance of detoxifying and purifying masks in the green beauty world, but a great hydrating treatment is a little trickier to find, so it was with no small amount of excitement that I tried Ilike's new Carotene Essentials Gel Mask* earlier this spring.  Ilike Organic Skin Care is a Hungarian company that's been making small-batch professional grade skincare since the 1950's.  The line is BDIH Certified Natural and free of GMO's, gluten, nuts, and synthetic chemicals.  Products are made with certified organic and natural ingredients and are also cruelty free and packed in BPA-free and recycled packaging.



The Carotene Essentials line, which launched this spring, is based around beta-carotene, the orange pigment that gives many fruits and vegetables their color.  Beta-carotene is an antioxidant and a precursor of vitamin A.  It offers antioxidant benefits, including the absorption and neutralization of free radicals, and converts to retinol, which in turn benefits the skin by moderating cell turnover and increasing collagen production, leading to a more even skin tone and improved elasticity.

The Carotene Essentials Gel Mask is described as a "deeply hydrating and nutritious pre-sun vitamin mask that promotes glowing, healthy skin."  The mask contains sorb apple, cantaloupe, carrots, algae, and honey - ingredients rich not only in beta-carotene, but also vitamins A, B, C, E and K, bioflavenoids, tannins, polysaccharides, mineral salts, trace elements, and citric and malic acids.

The mask isn't what I'd consider a gel in the strictest sense.  It has a piecey and honey-like consistency, making it seem like something that was mixed up in a kitchen, rather than manufactured in a lab.  The mask isn't overly sticky, but it stays moist and feels very gentle on the skin.  I leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing, per the instructions, and am left with plump and noticeably softer skin.  What I love most is that - much like honey - the mask is hydrating and nourishing, but it never feels heavy.   My skin is dry at times, but even so, I can't tolerate ultra-rich products in the heat of summer, so this mask has been a handy product to have around.  It also gives an initial cooling sensation upon application, which feels great in the warmer weather and on skin that's gotten a little too much sun.    

The Carotene Essentials mask works great on its own, but I especially love using it as a second mask, following a some kind of clay mask.  The clay deals with dirt and impurities, and the Carotene Mask does a wonderful job infusing vitamins into the skin and boosting hydration.  Really, the only thing I'm not crazy in love with is the scent, which is sweet and a little cloying.  For me, the effects of the mask more than make up for how it smells, but it's something to keep in mind if you're ultra-sensitive to scents.  



The Bottom Line
Ilike's Carotene Essentials Gel Mask is a gentle hydrating mask perfect for summer and suitable for all skin types.  Made from whole plant ingredients rich in vitamins and beta-carotene, it's a great treatment both pre- and post-sun exposure and leaves skin feeling soothed, moisturized, and touchably soft.  The sweet scent might bother extra sensitive noses, but I think most people would really enjoy this product!


*Press sample
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