28 March 2011

A Quick Update

Just wanted to post an update for anyone keeping up with my blog.  Things are down to the wire at school, one week left and then I'll be officially done!  Very exciting, but this also explains why posts have been a little irregular lately (and might continue to be until April 4, when my last essay is due.)  Expect more regular posts after that :)

A few things to come...
- Revolution Organics Review
- Sobe Botanicals Swatches
- Sassy Minerals Swatches
- Homemade Hair Mask Recipe

Plus, I've done a smidge of shopping lately.  Waiting on hauls from Shiro, Detrivore, Concrete Minerals, and Silk Naturals, so you can look forward posts about those once they get here too.


         

22 March 2011

Review: Miessence Bronzing Dust

A couple years back, I ordered a few products from Miessence.  I liked most of what I purchased, but the bronzing dust wasn’t a big hit.   When I first tried it, I found it just made my face look dirty, so it’s ended up sitting unused in my makeup stash for all this time.  Recently, I picked it up again and have been liking it a lot for contouring my cheekbones and around my temples.   

The bronzing dust only comes in one colour, a medium tan shade, so being fair-skinned, I'm careful not to pick up too much product.  If I apply more than a tiny bit, my face ends up looking muddy.  Still, with a very light hand, I think it works well as a contour colour.  Because there is only one shade, this isn't a product that will work for all skin tones.

It's also lightly scented with rose essential oil.  The scent is noticeable when I first apply it, but it doesn't linger at all.  Miessence advertises the bronzing dust as containing "a touch of shimmer," which I can see in the jar, and when I swatch it heavily, but on my face, the shimmer isn't visible at all.  I'd go so far as to say this looks like a matte bronzer on my face.  

Would I repurchase?

Probably not.  With how little of this I've been applying, I think it’s going to take years, literally, to use this product up, but when I do, I'll likely look for a more inexpensive bronzer to replace it.  Miessence’s Bronzing Dust retails for $31.77 for 10 grams net weight, which is a good bit pricier than those sold by many indie makeup companies.  Quality-wise, I do like the product, but I don't think it would be too difficult to find a comparable bronzer for less money.  I'm also not sure this is the perfect shade for me - more colour choices would definitely be a big plus.

With flash                                          Natural light, no flash

Swatched heavily, no flash

         

16 March 2011

Review & Swatches: Cheeky Cosmetics

About the Brand
Cheeky Cosmetics is a vegan mineral makeup company.  Their products are handmade and contain no dyes, nanoparticles, ferric ferrocyanide, bismuth oxychloride, or carmine.  Their website is very clear and easy to navigate, and they can also be found on Etsy.  

First Thoughts
Cheeky Cosmetics is one of the first mineral makeup companies I ordered from.  They are Canadian, which is what first attracted me, and I've ordered twice now.  My experience has been all positive – great customer service, fast shipping, and nice products.  Shipping is also reasonable - $2 in Canada, $2.50 to the U.S., and $5 everywhere else.

Eye Shadow (3 gram jar $6, 5 gram jar $12, samples $1)
Overall, I’m impressed with the quality of Cheeky Cosmetics eye shadows.  They come in a variety of finishes (matte, glow, shimmer, and sparkle) and there is a good selection of colours.  On their website, sparkly eye shadows are described as sheer if applied dry and metallic if foiled.  I find that a lot of these really do need to be foiled to show up vibrantly, otherwise a number of them end up looking kind of silvery and pretty similar to one another.  Also, while some colours exactly match what’s shown on their website, some don't, so samples are a good idea.  Samples come in clamshell containers.  I'm not sure exactly how much product they contain - they aren’t the biggest samples offered in the MMU world, but they are plenty big enough for several applications and to see if you like a colour.   

All swatches are dry on bare skin.  Sorry for the less than perfect quality of some of them - I'm still working on lighting to make them show up the most true to colour.  
Colour Descriptions are from Cheeky Cosmetics.
  

15 March 2011

Review & Swatches: Zuzu Luxe #2: Lips

Here's the second part of my Zuzu Luxe review.  Sunday I gave you the rundown on Zuzu Luxe's eye products.  Today, I'm moving on to all things lips.



Lipstick ($18.15)
Zuzu Luxe makes some of the best natural lipsticks on the market.  They offer a good range of colours and finishes, from creme to shimmery and frosted.  I have Sazerac and samples of Dollhouse Pink, Galaxy, Starlet, and Indulgence.  (Samples are $1 from White Rabbit Beauty)  My favourites are Galaxy and Dollhouse Pink, but really, all of these colours are nice.  They all give good colour payoff and have a nice feel on my lips.  I don't find them especially moisturizing, but they don't dry out my lips at all either.

Colour Descriptions:
Sazerac - peachy-pink frost
Indulgence - plummy red with gold sparkle
Dollhouse Pink - medium-light Barbie pink (swatch looks a little darker it actually is)
Galaxy - slightly sheer raspberry, glossy finish
Starlet - candy apple red




For March, all Zuzu Luxe and Gabriel Color lipsticks are 25% off from Gabriel Cosmetics with the code LIPS25.

13 March 2011

Review: Zuzu Luxe Part #1: Eyes

I've decided to split this review into two parts, instead of having one ridiculously long post with everything.  Today I'll look at Zuzu Luxe's eye products, and tomorrow, lips. 

About the Brand
Zuzu Luxe is a subset of Gabriel Cosmetics, which began initially as a skincare line.  Today, Gabriel Cosmetics also has two makeup lines, and a line of children's products.  Zuzu Luxe is their luxury cosmetics line and offers more dramatic and varied colours than Gabriel Color, their original makeup line.  Like all Gabriel Cosmetics products, Zuzu Luxe products are all natural and free of synthetic chemicals, nanoparticles, and animal by-products.

Eye Shadow ($15.25)
I've got five Zuzu Luxe eye shadows, in Prism, Odyssey, Gem, Absinthe, and Egyptian Gold.  These contain no talc and apply nicely.  I did manage to shatter my Egyptian Gold at some point and a couple other colours have crumbled a little on the edges too, as you can see in the picture.

Gem is a little disappointing in that the gold sparkles that are visible in the pan don't show up very well on application.  The rest of the colours are quite nice though.  I especially like prism as a highlight and Absinthe is gorgeous on the lid or in the crease.  I don't find myself reaching for these as often since I've started using more loose mineral eye shadows, as they don't give the same colour payoff, but they're great for travel or when you just don't want to deal with loose eye shadows. 

11 March 2011

Current Wishlist

A quick list of a few things that've been on my mental wishlist lately...


 
I've been holding off on placing my first order with Silk Naturals for a while now, but when I finally give in and let myself order, I'm sure this will be coming home with me!


Naturallogic Bamboo Rice Cleansing Facial Scrub ($10 for 1 oz., $17 for 2 oz.)
I've been looking for a new facial scrub and this one looks like it would do the trick nicely.


I recently picked up my first Zuzu Luxe lip liner (in Fraise) and have been pretty impressed by it.  Definitely wanting to grab a couple more colours now.



Not sure how I missed this when I placed a sample order a few weeks back, but I somehow managed to!  It looks like a gorgeous hot pink and it has no dye or carmine.


And there you have it...four things I've been eyeing lately :)


         

9 March 2011

Review: White Rabbit Beauty


First Thoughts
White Rabbit Beauty is one of my favourite places to shop online.  They have fabulous customer service, generous discounts, and carry an extensive array of cruelty-free companies.  

About the Company
White Rabbit Beauty sells a wide array of products.  Although not all products are vegan, they only sell products that are certified cruelty-free through the Leaping Bunny program.  (For more information on Leaping Bunny Certification, see here)  The website is very easy to navigate and is divided into categories for makeup, skin care, hair, nails, vegan, and fragrance-free products.  You can also browse by brand.  

Brands
Zuzu Luxe is one of my favourite natural makeup brands, and White Rabbit Beauty has been happily keeping me stocked up.  Some other brands they carry:
- Alima Pure
- Crazy Rumors
- Gabriel Color
and a whole bunch more! 

Customer Service
I don’t think it's an exaggeration to say that White Rabbit Beauty provides some of the best customer service out there.  They are very open to questions and always respond quickly.  Recently, when I asked a question that Jean, the owner, wasn’t 100% sure of the answer to, she contacted the company whose products I was asking about and got the answer, which she then passed on to me!  (This was especially awesome because I had already tried to contact the company directly and gotten no response)

Discounts
Discounts of 10-20% are automatically calculated on orders over $25.
$25-49.99: 10% discount
$50-89.99: 15% discount
$90 and over: 20% discount
Needless to say, these add up to a good amount of money saved!

Shipping
Makeup orders ship free, with no minimum purchase.  Shipping rates for orders containing non-makeup products are very reasonable too.  Orders generally ship the next business day, or within 2 business days if your order contains samples.  

Final Thoughts
If you are looking for cruelty-free makeup, skin care, or hair care, White Rabbit Beauty is a great place to shop.  They carry good products, have excellent customer service and quick shipping.  Ingredients are listed for every product, which anyone with allergies or ingredient concerns can definitely appreciate.  They offer samples of many makeup products as well as returns within 30 days.  Also, because of the discounts they offer and free shipping on makeup purchases, you will often end up paying less for a product than you would picking it up in store or ordering it directly from the company!

Would I repurchase?
Absolutely!  I have already purchased from them more than once.

Some pictures of my recent order


 
What I got: Zuzu Luxe Mascara in Onyx, Zuzu Luxe Lipstick in Sazerac, Zuzu Luxe Lip Liner in Fraise, Gabriel Color Eye Liner in Black and Samples of Zuzu Luxe Lipstick in Starlet and Indulgence [swatches and reviews to follow]


         

Recipe: Green Tea Vitamin E Toner



First Thoughts
Toner is not a product I've ever considered an absolute necessity for my skin care routine, and because of the cost of natural skin care products, it is a step I have often skipped.  I’ve also found a lot of toners to be either too astringent or abrasive for my skin.  This homemade toner is inexpensive and super easy to make.  It is also extremely gentle and non-irritating.  I’ve been using it for about 2 months now and have noticed definite improvements in my skin. 

For tea, I’ve been using Yogi’s Green Tea Kombucha blend, just because that is what I had on hand.  In addition to green tea leaves, it contains lemongrass, spearmint, kombucha, and natural fruit flavours.  Any tea that is mainly green tea leaves should work, but make sure it does not contain any artificial flavours, which could potentially be irritating to your skin.

Review & Swatches: Just Pure Minerals

Product
Just Pure Minerals Vegan Lipstick and Lip Gloss
 
Where to Buy?

First Thoughts
My very first purchase on Etsy was from Just Pure Minerals.  They make 100% vegan mineral makeup without nanoparticles, FD&C dyes, bismuth oxychloride, talc or other nasties.  I’ve made two purchases of lipstick and lip gloss, but I have not tried any of their other products.

Prices
Lipstick $9
Lip Gloss $6
Lip Gloss Samples $1 (+ free US shipping)

*For 2011, Just Pure Minerals is also offering a 25% off code for all Facebook fans*

On to the review...
Both times I ordered, my order was shipped quickly, within 1 or 2 business days.  Shipping costs are reasonable and products arrived safely wrapped in paper, inside bubble envelopes.  Between both orders, I bought lipsticks in Natural and Bali, a full-size lipgloss in Romance, and lip gloss samples in Black Cherry, Beloved, Pink Ginger, and Brown Sugar.  I also ordered Capri Lipstick for my Mom.

The lipsticks have a nice feel to them.  They are slightly waxy and have kept my lips moisturized, even in the cold winter months.  Staying power is good and they last about 3-4 hours on my lips.  Natural is described as a soft-pinkish nude.  It is slightly sheer, but can be built up, and looks very close to the picture on their website, if slightly less pink and a little more beige.  I’ve struggled to find a nude shade that I like on myself, and this is the best one I’ve found so far.  Bali is described as a sheer, sultry shade of cherry red.  I don’t find it sheer at all, unless I blot it down.  Also, the colour is more of an orange or brown-toned red than it appears online.  I think this would work well on someone with warmer undertones, but I don’t see myself wearing it very often.  Capri is also a deeper brown than it appears online. 

The lip glosses have a nice consistency too.  They are not sticky and feel nice and smooth on my lips.  Romance, Pink Ginger, and Brown Sugar appear very close to the photos, but again, there was some difference for Black Cherry and Beloved.  Black Cherry, their red lip gloss, is also more of an orange-toned red than expected, and Beloved, described as a deep pink, is very close in colour to Black Cherry.  The lip glosses are pretty sheer, so colour differences here aren’t as significant as with the lipsticks.  All the colours I tried are very wearable.  Lip gloss samples come in clamshell containers and sample orders placed on Etsy receive free shipping within the US.  
  
Both the lipstick and lip gloss have a strong peppermint flavour.  After applying, I can feel a fairly intense minty tingle on my lips for a good 5-10 minutes.  This made me think of plumping lip glosses, but I haven’t notices any plumping effects. 


Swatches
(Left to Right) Natural, Bali
Natural
Bali (excuse my chapped lips)
  
Final Thoughts
Just Pure Minerals’ prices are affordable and their products have great ingredients and feel nice on my lips.  My only complaint is that not all colours are accurately represented.  I know this can be a big challenge for indie makeup companies, but it can be disappointing to receive a different colour than you are expecting.  Just Pure Minerals does have a 30 day exchange/refund policy on their independent website.  I don’t know if it applies to Etsy purchases or not.

Would I repurchase?
Probably.  I like the lip gloss formula and Natural lipstick is the most wearable nude shade I’ve found so far.    


         

Review: Giovanni Frizz Be Gone

Product
Giovanni Organic Hair Care Frizz Be Gone Anti-Frizz Hair Texturizing Balm

Price
$7.99 for 2.75 fl oz (78mL)

Ingredients
Cyclomethicone, *Soybean Protein (Glycine Soja), Dimethicone, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Panthenol (Vitamin B5), *Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officalis), *Nettle (Urtica Diocia) Oil, *Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) Oil, Octyl Methoxycinnamate
[*Certified Organic Ingredients]

Directions
Rub a few silky drops onto palm of hands and distribute through wet or dry hair.  Use sparingly, but more for longer or thicker hair.  May be used with blow dryer for straightening. 

First Thoughts
I’m someone with wavy hair that is very prone to frizz, especially during the summer, so I’m always on the lookout for products to help manage my mane.  I found this at a local health food store and for $8, decided to give it a whirl.  Frizz Be Gone contains no animal by-products and is cruelty free. 

About the Brand
Giovanni describes themselves as an eco chic company.  Their products use Giovanni PureOrganic Technology™ to incorporate vitamins, herbs, minerals, proteins, nutrients, and essential oils. 

Giovanni is often criticized for being a “fake” organic company.  As you can see from the above ingredient list, organic ingredients don't actually make up the majority of this product.  

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