26 May 2011

Review: Silk Naturals Lip Products

Silk Naturals makes several different lines of lip products, including lip balms, lip stains, lipsticks, liquid lip glosses, plumping lip glosses, and lip gloss sticks.  Most of these give sheerer color that's great for a subtle lip look, but if you're looking for more dramatic colour payoff, the Vegan Lipsticks do deliver.  Silk Naturals lip products also contain more than 80% organic ingredients, depending on which formula you choose.  Ingredients are listed individually for each colour, as well as a color description and information about opacity, finish, shimmer, whether it's vegan or not, gluten content, and whether or not it contains any  dyes.  I personally avoid FD&C colours, which does narrow the colour selection a bit, but there are still plenty of colours that are dye free if that's what you're looking for, and all colours are clearly labelled accordingly.  On the Silk Naturals website, you can also filter out any colours that contain dyes, for easier browsing.  

Scent-wise, all the ones I've tried smell faintly like vanilla and are slightly sweet to the taste, but nothing overpowering.  All Silk Naturals lippies are priced at less than $6 and they have several different formulas and tons of colours to choose between in each, so there really should be something for everyone.  Another cool thing about Silk Naturals is that they offer clones of eye and lip colours made by mainstream brands like MAC and Bobbie Brown.  Most colours also have swatches so you can get a good idea of the colour before ordering.  They also have a 30 day return policy, in case you don't end up liking a colour.

(L to R) Heirloom, Hibiscus, and Wistaria Butter Creams, Very Berry Kisser Slicker, Fashionista Lipstick

25 May 2011

Review: Silk Naturals Sleep in a Jar

Samples after a few weeks of use
Silk Naturals is one of the larger indie brands out there.  They've been around since 2006 and have an impressive array of products - makeup, skincare, and even haircare.  They offer competitive prices, a weekly limited edition gift with purchase for all purchases over $10, and a free eye shadow or lip balm of your choice for every $30 spent.  They also have great customer service, are open to answering questions, either by email or on their forums, and ship very quickly.  I've been really impressed with everything I've tried from Silk Naturals.  You can expect reviews of their lip products and eye shadows to follow in the next few days.

Initially I ordered a sample of Sleep in a Jar under eye concealer thinking I'd use it to set Silk Naturals' creamy concealer, which I also ordered a couple samples of.  As it turns out, the creamy concealer was not a big hit with me, but Sleep in a Jar more than made up for it!  I constantly have some degree of under eye circles, and combined with stress or not getting enough sleep, they can get pretty dark and unsightly.  Hayley of The Flaxen Owl recently posted about having trouble finding a natural concealer with enough coverage to conceal her dark circles, and I've always struggled with the same thing, even when I used mainstream cosmetics.  Sleep in a Jar doesn't give full coverage, but something about the way it diffuses light really brightens up the under eye area and makes dark circles appear greatly reduced.  Up close I can still see some very slight darkness, but as long as most people aren't right up in your face, they won't be able to see any darkness that may remain.  

Sleep in a Jar is a powder concealer, which I never would have thought could work so well on dark circles, but it really does.  An added benefit is that it doesn't settle into fine lines the way liquid or cream concealers are prone to.  It's also pretty buildable - I apply thin layers with a fluffy blending brush until I get enough coverage.  If it starts to look at all cakey, I pat it out with my finger and it's good to go.  It also works surprisingly well at covering up the occasional blemish.

Color-wise, I've been wearing the light peach, which is perfect for me.  I'm quite pale, but the extra light peach was too light for me - it looked almost pure white when applied.  Unfortunately it only comes in three shades, the darkest being medium, so it really doesn't accommodate darker skin tones, but if you have fair to medium skin and are looking for a new under eye concealer, I'd recommend giving this one a try.  It's affordable, at $0.99 for a 1/8 teaspoon sample or $6.99 for a full size (in a 10 gram jar).  I'll definitely be ordering the full size, but I haven't even finished my sample yet after more than a month of wearing it.  Sleep in a Jar is a great product and you really don't need much to see results!


         

Recipe: Strengthening Hair Mask

Backstory
A few months ago, I started noticing that I was getting a lot of hair breakage.  I've always had pretty thick, healthy hair, but all of a sudden I was noticing a lot more hair in my brush and in the shower drain.  I'd read a lot about hair masks and deep conditioning, so I figured I'd give it a try.  Since those sold in stores can get pricey and also aren't always natural, I looked into some homemade recipes that sounded easy to make. 

So far, I've tried two kinds of conditioning hair treatments.  First, I used plain coconut oil, applied liberally to the hair and scalp, which I wasn't a big fan of it.  It was conditioning, yes, but I didn't notice my hair being any stronger or breaking less.  I use sulfate free shampoo that doesn't produce a huge lather and I also struggled to get all the oil washed out of my hair!  The second kind I tried would be considered more of a protein treatment.  The main ingredients are egg and yogurt, which I know sounds a little icky to be putting on your head, but I've gotten amazing results from it.

Recipe  
After playing around with it a bit, here's the recipe I've come up with:

21 May 2011

Coconut Water...For Your Skin?


What is coconut water?
Coconut water is the clear liquid found inside young, green coconuts.  As the coconut matures, this liquid becomes replaced by coconut meat.  Coconut water has long been drunk in the tropics and it has gained popularity in North America over the last couple years as a natural sports drink alternative.  It’s naturally high in potassium and other electrolytes and doesn’t contain the sugar and chemicals found in sports drinks like Gatorade.  And unlike coconut milk, coconut water is virtually fat free and has a relatively low carbohydrate count.

Does It Work?
I’ve always tended to just drink water after working out, but with all the hype and celebrity endorsements, I decided to give coconut water a try.  I didn’t notice any results right away in terms of being better hydrated, but a couple hours later, I looked in the mirror and noticed my skin was looking especially glowy.

You Are What You Eat
Of course I’ve heard that your diet affects your skin, and I mostly eat well, but I’ve never seen this in action so clearly as since I started drinking coconut water.  I don’t know the reason why coconut water works so well, I just know that an hour or two after I drink it, my skin looks significantly better than it did before.  I’ve also started getting random complements on my skin since I started drinking coconut water.

How Much is Enough?
I can only speak from experience, but I tend to buy the small cartons of Vita Coco (330 mL) and drink about half at a time.  I don’t drink it just after I work out or every day either, just whenever I feel like it.

Different Strokes for Different Folks
Since coconut water has become so trendy, I see new companies selling it all the time.  It doesn’t have a strong taste, but I do notice that different companies’ can taste slightly different.  So, if you don’t like the first one you try, you might want to give another one a go before you give up on it completely.  Also, a lot of brands sell different flavours, if you aren’t a fan of the taste on its own.  I have seen some companies that add sugars and artificial flavours to their coconut water though, so just be on the lookout for that when choosing a brand.  I buy from companies that are not from concentrate too, as I tend to think you’ll get the most benefit from those.
  
Another Use
I also stumbled across another, somewhat bizarre-sounding use for coconut water.  One day I had a HUGE pimple on my chin and was at my wit’s end looking for something to bring it down quickly.  (Of course this would happen on a day when I had to go out and couldn’t just hide at home.)  I was drinking coconut water and remembered reading about people using coconut water as a toner, so I dabbed a little on my blemish.  Now this was a big honkin’ zit, and the coconut water definitely brought the inflammation down.  I spot treated it several more times that day and while it didn’t completely eliminate it on contact or anything, it did reduce it in size and redness.  The pimple also healed completely in just two days – usually I would have expected a pimple like this to dig in its heels and hang around for at least a week!  I’ve tried this a couple times since and it’s worked just as well…amazing!

The Bottom Line
Whether or not using coconut water as a spot treatment sounds too bizarre to try, I recommend at least trying it as a drink.  If nothing else, it’s refreshing and tastes good, and you might be surprised at the results! 


        

17 May 2011

Tag: 40 Beauty Questions

I saw this on Swatch Storm's blog over the weekend and it looked like fun, so I thought I'd give it a whirl :)

SKINCARE


How many times do you wash your face daily?

Two, morning and night.  

What skin type do you have? (dry,oily,combo)
Combo.
 
What is your current facial wash?
Young Living Valor Bar Soap.

Do you exfoliate?

Yup.  Probably not as often as I should though.

What brand do you use?

I've been experimenting with homemade scrubs lately.

What moisturizer do you use?

Young Living Boswellia Wrinkle Cream.

Do you have freckles?
On my nose and cheeks.  I also get freckles on my shoulders and arms in the summer.

Do you use eye cream?

Not at the moment.  I've been looking for a new one, but for the time being I just make sure to apply my moisturizer around the eyes.

Do you or did you have acne prone skin?
Still am a bit acne prone, but it's a lot better than it used to be.

Did you ever have to use Pro-activ?

Never!

16 May 2011

Review: Detrivore Cosmetics Eye Shadow Primer

Photo from www.detrivorecosmetics.com
As I mentioned when I posted my Detrivore eye shadow swatches, I wanted to give the primer a good try before I reviewed it.  I've been using it for about a month now and I'm so impressed!  Pretty much ever since I started using loose eye shadows I've known that a primer would be a good idea to help with adhesion, but as I'm sure a some of you have also found, finding a natural/non-toxic primer that actually works is a huge challenge.  A lot of natural primers are made mostly out of oils and waxes and end up seeming a lot like lip balm.  These kinds might work okay if you have dry eyelids, but for those of us with oilier eyelids, they just speed up the creasing process.

Detrivore's primer contains oils and waxes, but also has ingredients like titanium dioxide, mica, and glycerine, and the end result far out-performs your 'lip balm' style primers.  (Full ingredients are on Detrivore's website.) It's pretty firm, so I've found it applies best with my finger, which warms up the product just enough so that it applies smoothly onto my lids.  I usually apply it to both lids at once and then wait another 30 seconds to a minute before applying eye shadow to the first eye.  Without the wait I find that my eye shadow ends up applying a bit patchy and uneven, but with the wait, it acts as a perfect sticky base for eye shadow to cling to.  It also helps eye shadows to last longer and makes colors more vivid - some appear almost foiled.  It's a yellowish color in the pot, but since you only need a little, it's clear when applied and should work on all skin tones. 

Cost-wise, Detrivore's primer is great as well.  For only $6, you get a 5-gram jar filled all the way to the top.  It might look small, but I've been using mine about 4 times a week for over a month now and I've only just made a slight dip in it.  It will definitely last a while.

I also wanted to post some pictures of the primer in action (below the cut).  I've used 5 eye shadows and one pure glitter, all from different companies, so you can see it doesn't just work with Detrivore's own eye shadows.  The top row is over Detrivore's primer and the bottom is on bare skin.   

10 May 2011

Review: Young Living Valor Bar Soap

As I mentioned in my Boswellia Wrinkle Creme review, over the winter I changed up my entire skincare routine.  The soap I ended up really liking is also from Young Living, but thankfully, at around $10, it is a lot more affordable than the Wrinkle Creme! 

Young Living's bar soaps aren't specifically intended as a face wash, and even though I don't generally like bar soaps a whole lot, this one has become a favorite.  Occasionally I do find it slightly drying, so it might not be ideal if you have very dry skin to begin with, but followed by a moisturizer, it has been working really well for me. 

Valor is one of Young Living's essential oil blends and is a mix of spruce, rosewood, blue tansy, and frankincense.  It is sold as an essential oil and also used to scent this soap.  Young Living's bar soaps come in a number of other scents, but Valor is my favorite - it smells amazing and I find it more moisturizing than some of the other scents.  If you're looking for a new bar soap, I'd definitely recommend checking this one out!


         

9 May 2011

Splurge Review: Young Living Boswellia Wrinkle Creme

Backstory
Since I've been in school and not working full time, I've been reluctant to spend a lot on beauty and skincare.  One product I think is completely worth splurging on is Young Living's Boswellia Wrinkle Creme.  Considering that, at 23, I'm not very concerned about wrinkles, the fact that I'm willing to spend so much on a wrinkle creme is even funnier.  

Usually I have normal to oily skin, but this past winter, after struggling with breakouts, I changed up my entire skincare routine.  I was a lot happier with it overall, but I ended up with a few dry patches.  I tried more affordable moisturizers, but didn't get any significant results, so one night, I decided to try my mom's Boswellia Wrinkle Creme in place of a moisturizer.  It absorbed quickly and left my skin feeling soft and moisturized.  The next day, my skin still felt great and the tightness and dryness I'd been experiencing hadn't come back.  

Product Claims
Young Living claims that ... "Boswellia™ Wrinkle Cream nourishes skin for a smoother, more youthful appearance. Its primary ingredient methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) supports collagen to improve skin firmness and minimize fine lines. Essential oils of geranium, myrrh, sandalwood, and ylang ylang soothe and soften the skin, while frankincense and wolfberry oil enhance collagen formation."

Does it live up to its claims?  Results after 1 Month+
Yes, I think it does.  Not only did the creme help with dryness, but it also helped clear up the breakouts I'd been struggling with.  I also noticed an improvement in a few spots where I had hyperpigmentation from old acne breakouts and my skin is smoother and softer overall as well.  I've also got two lines on my forehead, between my eyebrows - I think just from the facial expressions I tend to make.  After about a month of using this, I noticed they were less visible, and after 2-3 months use, they're almost completely gone!  They aren't really wrinkles, per say, but they were pretty visible lines, and with how amazingly the Boswellia Wrinkle Creme worked on them, I'm pretty confident that it would be effective on wrinkles as well.

1 May 2011

Review & Swatches: Sassy Minerals

I placed a sample order with Sassy Minerals a few months ago and have been playing with their eye shadows ever since.  Eye shadow samples are $1 and are 1/16 tsp. in a 3 gram jar.  Full sizes are 1 gram in a 5 gram jar for $4.25.  Sassy also makes foundation, primer, finisher, blush, bronzer, and lip balm.

Sassy has 2 eye shadow finishes - shimmer and silk luster, which are mattes.  I only ordered shimmers but I did receive a free sample of Sultry, which is a silk luster, and I'm super impressed - it's silky and very blendable and not at all chalky or hard to work with.  They also make Deja Vu eye shadows, which are dupes of BE colors.

These aren't the brightest, most vibrant eye shadow colors out there, but I'm SO pleased with them.  They're very wearable for everyday, but full of depth and sparkle - never boring!  The website pictures really do not do justice to how gorgeous the colors are in real life, but they do link to a number of blogs with swatches - I definitely recommend checking those out before ordering.

In terms of wear, I was also impressed.  Even without a primer, I was able to go 6-7 hours before they started creasing.  With a primer, they last even longer and the colors, of course, show up more vividly as well.


All swatches are dry on bare skin.
(More swatches below the cut.)
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