31 December 2012

Best of 2012: Bath and Body Companies

The new year is almost here!  Just enough time to get one final 'best of' post published before 2012 is gone.  This one is going to highlight my favourite companies for bath and body products.  These are in no particular order.



Face Naturals
In addition to being the year I got into lip products, 2012 has been my year for trying out new shower gels.  I reviewed a number of them over the course of the year and Face Naturals came out on top - it's my favourite so far!  I also really like their body lotions and scrubs. 








Nourish
Nourish is a brand I've purchased from Vitacost, but their products are also available direct from the company and at Ulta if you're in the US.  The whole range has fantastic ingredients and is affordably priced too.  Their packaging is super cute as well!  I've been loving the Organic Body Polish, which is gentle enough for your face and body, and I've just picked up a body wash to try out next.






Young Living 
As I've mentioned before, Young Living is my first choice for essential oils.  For that reason, I'm a big fan of their body care products, which as you might expect, smell amazing.  I use the Valor Bar Soap to wash my face every day and the Boswellia Wrinkle Cream is my favourite splurge moisturizer.  The body lotions are also great!





Earth Mama Angel Baby
Earth Mama Angel Baby is another brand that both your skin and your wallet will thank you for using.  Their scents are not consistently favourites for me, but I love the products themselves.  Luckily for me, many things have an unscented option!  Don't be turned off by the branding - these are great products even if you don't have kids.  I buy mine discounted from either iherb or Vitacost






Bubble & Bee
Seriously awesome scents.  The squeezed lime shower gel smells just like cutting into a fresh lime.  Their face cream didn't work the best for my face, but it makes a great intensive moisturizer for your hands or any other dry patches. 







What are your favourite bath and body companies?  Wishing you all a fantastic New Years and an even better 2013! 



        

30 December 2012

Best of 2012: Lip Products


Eye shadow was definitely my first makeup love, but 2012 is really the year when I've gotten more into lip products.  My collection has really grown this year!  In honour of that, I've picked out my top 10 lip products.  Rather than sorting them further, I've just chosen the best of the best - lip balms, lip glosses and lipsticks - and I'm including them here, all together in one post.


(L to R) LUVU Beauty Classic Red, LUVU Beauty Blush, Honeybee Gardens Karma, Honeybee Gardens Soft Kiss, Bare Minerals Bavarian Cream, Silk Naturals Figment, Vapour Organic Beauty Enigma, My Beauty Addiction Buff, My Beauty Addiction Party Girl, Revolution Organics Freedom, Cheeky Cosmetics Siren, Cheeky Cosmetics Pink Champagne, Shiro Cosmetics Binary Love, Shiro Cosmetics Longcat
LUVU Beauty Lip Liners 
I love supporting Canadian companies and LUVU Beauty is another great one.  In particular, I love their lip liners, which are both pigmented and long lasting.  Classic Red is, as the name suggests, a bright, classic, pinup red.  Blush is a natural rosey shade that works well under a variety of lip colours.  More swatches can be found here.


(L to R) LUVU Beauty Classic Red and Blush, Honeybee Gardens Karma and Soft Kiss
Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Lipstick
Honeybee Gardens has quickly become one of my favourite makeup brands.  They sell consistently great products at very affordable prices.  You can also find many of their products discounted on sites like iherb and Vitacost.  The lipsticks are creamy and available in a fantastic range of colours.  Karma is a wearable peachy nude and Soft Kiss is a beautiful baby pink.  I have more swatches of these lipsticks here and here.

Bare Minerals 100% Natural Lip Color
I haven't tried many products from Bare Minerals, but their lipsticks are definitely a hit!  Bavarian Cream is a fabulous pinky mauve that almost matches my natural lip colour.  It's the colour I grab when I want to look polished without putting a lot of emphasis on the lips.

Silk Naturals Vegan Kisser Slickers
If you've been reading for long, you already know how much I love Silk Naturals' different lip products.  The Vegan Kisser Slickers are my new favourites, since unlike the regular Kisser Slickers, they don't contain beeswax and they're that much softer and meltier on your lips as a result.  Unfortunately Figment is no longer available, but there are a bunch of other colours.  I even like using the clear one in place of lip balm!


Bare Minerals Bavarian Cream, Silk Naturals Figment, Vapour Organic Beauty Enigma, My Beauty Addiction Buff and Party Girl
Vapour Organic Beauty Elixir Lip Gloss
Even though Vapour Beauty is one of the better known healthy makeup brands, the elixir glosses are a pretty new discovery for me.  They're hydrating, super glossy, not at all sticky, and they smell delicious too!  Enigma is a gorgeous, slightly shimmery plum/mauve that makes a perfect everyday lip colour.  

My Beauty Addiction Pretty Lil' Puckers
My Beauty Addiction is a fantastic indie brand.  They have a big range of products, including these thick, creamy lip glosses.  Pigmentation varies: some colours are very pigmented, while others are more on the sheer side.  Party Girl is a bright pink and fairly opaque.  Buff is a sheer, shimmery nude.  More colour swatches can be found here.

Revolution Organics Freedom Lip Gloss
Revolution Organics' glosses are a little pricier than some, but they're worth the splurge.  Freedom is described as a true strawberry red.  It leans slightly pink, which makes it easier to pull off, even if, like me, you find red lips a little intimidating.  I also have Innocent, which is a sheer baby pink.


(L to R) Revolution Organics Freedom, Cheeky Cosmetics Siren and Pink Champagne, Silk Naturals Binary Love and Longcat

Cheeky Cosmetics Organic Lip Gloss
Another Canadian pick!  These glosses are vegan and on the thinner side, but they still do a great job keeping your lips hydrated.  They also smell delightfully pepperminty.  Siren is a striking deep berry and Pink Champagne is a shimmery nude.

Shiro Cosmetics Intertubes 
Intertubes are Shiro's version of tinted lip balms.  From what I've seen, many of the coloured ones rival a lipstick in terms of pigmentation, but several of them do contain FD&C dyes, so bear that in mind.  The two I have are both dye free and give your lips a sheer wash of shimmer.  Binary Love is gold and Longcat is silvery/white.  I also have the plain, untinted version, which is a phenomenal lip balm.

Young Living Lip Balm 
For a basic, no frills lip balm, Young Living is still my top choice.  The lavender, in particular, is my favourite.  I wouldn't even venture to guess how how many tubes I've used up over the years!  It's incredibly moisturizing and it's also a great, relaxing scent to use right before bed.


Have you tried any of these?  What were your favourite lip products this year?



         

28 December 2012

Best of 2012: Eye Shadow Edition

 
I know it's only been a week, but it feels like it's been a long time since my last blog post.  Either way, I'm happy to be back to posting.  I hope you all had a fantastic holiday.  As December's coming to a close, I've seen several "best of" posts pop up on different blogs and I decided to add mine to the mix.  I'm going to split it up into a few different posts, so you can expect a couple more of these before the new year.  Today's is going to highlight some of my favourite eye shadows.  

To warn you in advance, this year, I've either grown up or gotten terribly boring with my eye makeup.  I used to be a lot more adventurous with eye shadow colours, but these days I really prefer how I look with more neutral-toned shadows.  With that in mind, for your viewing pleasure, I've got my 10 favourite neutrals and my 5 favourite colours.  I made sure to pick shades that are still available, so you can easily get your hands on any of these!


Top 10 Neutrals

(L to R) Darling Girl Cosmetics Smoking Gun, Darling Girl Cosmetics Chococat, Darling Girl Cosmetics Harvest Moon, Cheeky Cosmetics Sun Goddess, Cheeky Cosmetics Fairy Tale, Cheeky Cosmetics Silk, Chequered Lily Apothecary Neverwhere, Shiro Cosmetics Deku, Shiro Cosmetics Master Sword, Silk Naturals Splendid Perfecting Glow
Darling Girl Cosmetics
Darling Girl makes some of the smoothest eye shadows I've ever used and they have a ton of beautiful colours.  It was a struggle to pick just these three!  I use Smoking Gun a lot as eyeliner.  It's a beautiful dark, smokey taupe that ironically reminds me a lot of Honeybee Gardens' eyeliner by the same name, only in powder form.   Harvest Moon is a beautiful peach shade and Chococat is an almost metallic golden brown.  Both of them are great, mid-tone neutrals that come in handy for a lot of different looks.

(L to R) Darling Girl Cosmetics Smoking Gun, Darling Girl Cosmetics Chococat, Darling Girl Cosmetics Harvest Moon, Cheeky Cosmetics Sun Goddess, Cheeky Cosmetics Fairy Tale
 
Cheeky Cosmetics
Cheeky Cosmetics is a Canadian company that I don't see talked about very much.  They were one of my first introductions to mineral makeup and even though my collection's grown since, I still find myself reaching for these colours a lot.  Sun Goddess is a metallic gold that leans a little orange/bronze and reminds me a lot of swatches I've seen of Urban Decay's Half Baked.  Fairy Tale and Silk are my favourite shades for highlighting the inner corner.  I use Fairy Tale, which is pink-toned, the most, but Silk, which is more yellow-toned, is what I reach for when I want something more neutral/warm. 

Chequered Lily Apothecary
After how I went on about it in my review, I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I've included Neverwhere in this list.  Probably top three material, if I were ever forced to narrow things down even more.  It's a great, more complex neutral - golden brown with pink sparkles.


(L to R) Cheeky Cosmetics Silk, Chequered Lily Apothecary Neverwhere, Shiro Cosmetics Deku, Shiro Cosmetics Master Sword, Silk Naturals Splendid Perfecting Glow

Shiro Cosmetics
Shiro is another of my favourite eye shadow companies.  Deku is a stunning reddish copper with green sparkles that makes blue eyes pop like no other.  Master Sword is a glittery pale taupe that somehow manages to be both gold and silver.  It's one of my favourite lid colours. 

Silk Naturals
Splendid is actually one of Silk Naturals' Perfecting Glow powders, not an eye shadow.  The Perfecting Glows are supposed to be similar to Bare Escentuals' Radiance powders in that they give you a slight glow, but they aren't over the top and can be dusted across your whole face.  Splendid made it into my eye shadow list because it makes a fantastic colour to blend out almost any other shadow.  It goes on as a pale gold, but it's quite sheer and as you blend, it basically rubs out to nothing.  At the same time, it's a lot easier to blend over Splendid than bare skin. 


Top 5 Colours

(L to R) Shiro Cosmetics Twilight Realm, Black Rose Minerals Titania, Femme Fatale Cosmetics Divinity, Noella Beauty Works Mango Berry, Madd Style Cosmetics Lady Luck

Shiro Cosmetics
One more from Shiro.  Generally, I have the hardest time wearing blue eye shadows, but Twilight Realm is the exception.  It's a greyed blue that makes the most gorgeous blue smokey eye.  Love love love.

Black Rose Minerals
After neutrals, purples are probably my favourite colour to wear.  Titania is a plummy purple that works as either a shadow or a liner.  I love that while it's clearly purple, it isn't super bright or in your face.  It's a colour, but it's still completely work friendly.

Femme Fatale Cosmetics 
Femme Fatale is an Australian company that makes the best duochrome eye shadows of any indie brand I've found.  Divinity is a soft pink with a pretty gold duochrome. 

Noella Beauty Works
Mango Berry is a perfectly balanced coral.  It's a little more orange than it appears in my swatch.  I don't reach for it much in the winter, but it's a beautiful shade that just screams summer in the warmer months.

Madd Style Cosmetics
I think Lady Luck was released with last year's St. Patrick's Day collection, but it's still available as of now.  On first glance, it's a light yellow/gold, but it has the most amazing pale green duochrome that adds just the right amount of interest to any green look.  


I hope you enjoyed checking out my top eye shadows picks for 2012.  I'd love to hear what would make your list!



         

22 December 2012

Natural Makeup Setting Spray Discovery! George's Always Active Aloe Spray Mister

I like my skin to look really natural.  I might use makeup to polish and perfect, but I still want my face to look more like skin than makeup.  For that reason, I steer clear of any products that leave my face looking overly heavy, cakey, or powdery.  Still, even the best products can have days where they just don't sit right, and that's where a makeup setting spray comes in handy.  A good setting spray will also keep your makeup in place for longer.

Not surprisingly, traditional makeup setting sprays tend to be loaded with chemicals.  As an alternative, some women swear by using hairspray to set their makeup, but the thought of coating my face in even a healthy hairspray just doesn't sit well with me.  This is where George's Aloe Spray Mister comes in...

Product Description
George's Always Active® Aloe Spray Mister contains no preservatives and is a mess-free, cooling, refreshing spray.  Great for sunburn relief and use under makeup.


Ingredients
100% Aloe vera distillate.

Price
$5.95 for 8 ounces from George's Always Active®
$4.49 for 8 ounces from Vitacost

My Thoughts
This aloe spray is a simple addition to my daily makeup routine, but I've noticed a real difference since I started using it.  I generally wear powder foundations, so even if my makeup doesn't look at all cakey, the extra moisture can be nice.  All I do is spritz 3-4 sprays all over my face after I've got all my makeup on.  It feels refreshing and if there are days when I apply a little too much powder or when my makeup looks a little off, the aloe mist does a great job fixing it.  It's light and basically feels like water, but it hydrates much better than just spraying straight water on your face.  I also love that it has no scent.  In terms of helping your makeup last longer, I haven't noticed a huge difference.  Then again, my makeup tends to last fine all day anyways, so I'm probably not the best person to test it in this regard!

The Bottom Line
This is a great product!  Aloe vera is awesome for your skin and the mist makes a perfect all natural setting spray for makeup.  In fact, even if you aren't much of a makeup wearer, you might want to check it out.  I've been spraying it on my face some nights, between washing and moisturizing, and it makes a superb gentle toner as well.  And, if that wasn't enough, it's also a great item just to have on hand.  Aloe is soothing and the distillate can also be used to treat burns, allergic reactions, and other skin irritations.  Definitely a multi-use product!


         


Disclosure: Post contains affiliate link to Vitacost.  If you're new to Vitacost, you can get a $10 off coupon by signing up from the following link



20 December 2012

Bare Minerals 100% Natural Lipcolor in Bellini


I've already written about how much I love Bare Minerals' Bavarian Cream Lipcolor and it's still one of my favourite lipsticks.  I recently picked up another shade, on Ebay of all places.  I've never purchased cosmetics on Ebay before (or since, for that matter), but as long as you're buying new products from reputable sellers, I don't see any problem with it.  You can certainly find some good deals!  These lipsticks retail for $15 ($19 here in Canada) and I managed to get this one, brand new and sealed, for only $4!


Product Description
Some things are just naturally decadent — like our creamy, long-lasting lipcolors, which are made from only the best all-natural ingredients. That means no artificial dyes, preservatives or irritants whatsoever. Instead, our nourishing blend combines pure bareMinerals, exotic oils, natural waxes and conditioning plant extracts. Think of it as healthy nutrition for your lips.

Ingredients
Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Barium Sulfate, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Copernicia Cerifera (Carnauba) Wax, Theobroma Grandiflorum Seed Butter, Sesamum Indicum (Sesame) Seed Oil, Gardenia Tahitensis Flower Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Wax, Tocopheryl Acetate, Punica Granatum Seed Oil, Beeswax (Cera Alba), Silica, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Hordeum Vulgare Seed Extract, Tocopherol, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Mica, Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Carmine (CI 75470)

My Thoughts 
In terms of formula and how this feels on the lips, it's very comparable to Bavarian Cream.  It's smooth, slightly waxy, and highly pigmented.  It doesn't dry out your lips and the colour also lasts a long time.  The main difference between the two is that while Bavarian Cream has a creamy/satin finish, Bellini is more of a frost.  It's not so frosty as to be unwearable, but the shimmer is definitely visible.  I also find that Bellini settles into my lip lines a lot more than Bavarian Cream and generally looks heavier on my lips too. I don't know if this is indicative of all the frosts in the line or if it's just Bellini, but there you have it!

FOTD
 

  

 Face
> Honeybee Gardens Pressed Mineral Foundation in Geisha
> Silk Naturals Sleep in a Jar in Light Peach

Eyes
> Detrivore Cosmetics Eye Shadow Primer
> Shiro Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Baker's Boy
> Madd Style Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Secret Sinner
> Zuzu Luxe Mascara in Onyx 

Lips
> Bare Minerals 100% Natural Lipcolor in Bellini
  
Similar Shades
For an extra treat, I've got an embarassing confession for you.  Apparently peachy/pinks are shades I feel the need to purchase repeatedly.  Turns out, I already had several other lip products that are similar to Bellini, and to make matters worse, these aren't even shades I reach for all that often!
(L to R) Bare Minerals Bellini, Honeybee Gardens Innocent Lip Gloss, Zuzu Luxe Sazerac Lipstick, Silk Naturals Berry Crush Kisser Slicker
See what I mean?  Sure, none of them are exact dupes of one another and Bellini is darker and more opaque than the other three, but on the lips, they're all pretty alike.  Yikes!  On the bright side, now that I know, at least I can stop buying such similar colours!

The Bottom Line
In future, I think I'll stick to the less shimmery colours in this line, but that's just a personal colour preference.  I love that a big brand, mainstream company like Bare Minerals is making healthy lipstick without any chemical dyes, and while they aren't the cheapest lipsticks out there, the quality is good and they're pretty readily available.  Assuming you find a colour you like, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them. 

Now I'm curious, are any of you guilty of buying duplicate colours or am I the only one? 


         
 

19 December 2012

Review: BodyHonee Hair Removal Wax

In my 10+ years of removing hair, I've always been mainly a shaver.  I've dabbled with wax strips, but I'd never used hot wax before.  So, when I was recently given the chance to try out BodyHonee's at home wax kit, I was excited, if a little nervous.  There was a little trial and error involved, but all things considered, I think it went really well!  

The main thing that sets BodyHonee apart from other waxes is it's ingredients.  Traditional waxes often contain mineral oil and a host of other chemicals, but BodyHonee has only three simple ingredients: sugar, lemon, and salt.  


Product Description
BodyHonee is an all natural hair removal wax that provides salon style results that are perfect for both men and women.  Our product has been formulated with only 3 natural ingredients to leave your skin looking and feeling silky smooth and beautiful, without any harmful chemicals.  BodyHonee removes hair down to the roots, leaving your skin silky smooth and free of regrowth for up to 8-12 weeks.  New hair growth will also appear thinner than ever before.

Price
$14.99 for Hair Removal Kit (8.8 oz/250 grams wax, 10 9x3" waxing strips, 2 wooden spatulas)



Instructions
1. Place uncovered jar in water filled pan or electric warmer.  Heat until wax softens to a honey like consistency (about 30 seconds in microwave)
2.Using spatula, slowly apply a very thin layer to clean, dry skin in the direction of hair growth.  If the skin is moist, apply a thin layer of talcum powder.
3. Immediately place strip over wax.  Using the palm of your hand, firmly smooth over the strip 3-4 times in direction of hair growth.  
4. Holding skin taut with one hand, quickly pull off cloth with the other hand in the opposite direction of hair growth, as parallel to the skin as possible.
5. Wipe clean with water.




My Thoughts
Funny as it's going to sound, the most difficult part of the whole process was actually heating up the wax.  I don't have a microwave and I was a little concerned about accidentally melting the jar, so I first tried to warm it up by sitting the jar in a bowl of hot tap water.  This method kind of worked - it didn't melt all the wax, but it melted the outside edges enough that they were useable.  That said, if, like me, you don't have a microwave or an electric warmer, I'd recommend using a kind of double boiler method instead.  By sitting the container of wax in a bowl over a pot of simmering water, you can heat the entire jar through, which, as you might expect, makes the product that much easier to work with!

Once the wax was warmed up, the actual hair removal was very easy.  I followed the instructions, as above, although I used a cornstarch-based powder instead of the recommended talcum.  The wax worked perfectly on leg hair and I didn't have to go over any areas.  I was slightly less successful on my underarms and did need to go over them a few times, but I think that was only because my hair there was a bit too short for the wax to properly grip. 

Cleanup was incredibly easy.  When I've used traditional waxes, they tend to require even more chemicals to remove any wax that may be stuck to your skin, but BodyHonee is water soluble, so it can be wiped away with just water.  As an added bonus, the cloth strips are also reusable.  After I was finished, I just rinsed them off, left them to dry, and they were good as new.

In terms of pain, I think some pain or discomfort is to be expected, since you are ripping hair out at the root, but it wasn't unbearable and it didn't last.  I also didn't experience any irritation from the process.  My skin was a little red immediately after waxing, but nothing that lasted longer than twenty or so minutes.  
 
The Bottom Line
If you're considering waxing at home, I would definitely recommend BodyHonee.  The ingredients can't be beat and it's easy to use, even if, like me, you're new to hot wax.  It's also very cost effective - not only do you get a ton of wax, but the cloth strips are reusable too!


Disclaimer: Product provided for my honest review.  I was under no obligation to write a positive review in return for free product, nor was I compensated for this post.  All opinions are my own.


 
         

13 December 2012

New Hair Love! Acure Organics Moroccan Argan + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo and Conditioner

I've already written about how much I love using straight argan oil on my hair, and now I want to talk about a new shampoo I've been trying out.  Acure Organics started out making skincare products, but they've quickly branched out into body and haircare as well.  What remains consistent across all their lines is fantastic ingredients and affordable pricing.  A few months ago, I won $50 to spend at iherb, courtesy of the extremely generous Vivi of Eco Beauty Secrets, and Acure's shampoo and conditioner was the first thing I knew I wanted to choose!  I decided on the Moroccan Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cell Moisture Repairing shampoo and conditioner, since they are recommended for dry, damaged, and curly hair.
 

Product Description
Provides lasting moisture to even the most dry and damaged hair leaving it soft, manageable and ready to rock. Organic Argan Oil + Argan Stem Cells, CoQ10, and Organic Sea Buckthorn Oil--high in Omega 7, make up our patent-pending Triple Moisture System. Pumpkin Seed Oil --high in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, adds shine. Hair repair with serious flair. Safe for color treated hair.   Locks in moisture, repairs damage, strengthens follicles, and vacuums your house. Okay, maybe it doesn’t vacuum your house. But it does repair your hair!  

Ingredients
Shampoo: Organic Euterpe oleracea (Acai) Berry, Organic Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica granatum (Pomegranate), Organic Fair Trade Certified™ Rooibos, Organic Aloe Barbadensis Vera Leaf Juice, Sodium Lauroyl Methyl Isethionate (from Coconut), 100% Naturally-derived Betaine (from Sugar Beets), Vegetable Glycerin, Sodium Methyl Cocoyl Taurate (from Coconut + Amino Acids), Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate (from Coconut + Amino Acids), Cocoglucosides Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride (Sugar Conditioner), Sodium Levulinate (from Corn), Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride (Guar gum conditioner), Potassium Sorbate (food grade preservative), Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Organic Fair-Trade Certified™ Olea Europea (Olive) Oil, D-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (vitamin E), Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) seed oil, Organic Curcubita pepo (Pumpkin) seed oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Argania spinosa (Argan) Stem Cells,  glycerophosphoinositol lysine (from sunflower), Almond Extract, Cinnamomum aromaticum (Cassia Bark) Oil 

Conditioner: Organic Euterpe oleracea (Acai) Berry, Organic Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry), Organic Rosa canina (Rosehips), Organic Punica granatum (Pomegranate), Organic Fair Trade Certified™ Rooibos, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Stearylkonium Chloride, Vegetable Glycerin, Glucono Delta Lactone (fermented sugar), Organic Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Cetearyl Glucoside (from corn and glucose), Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride (guar gum conditioner), Glyceryl Stearate (vegetable-derived), L-Arginine (amino acid), Organic Fair Trade Certified™ Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Sorbitan Olivate (from olives + sugar), Panthenol (Pro-vitamin B5), Cellulose (plant derived), D-Alpha Tocopherol Acetate (vitamin. E), Lactic Acid (vegetable derived),  Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) seed oil, Organic Curcubita pepo (Pumpkin) seed oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Argania spinosa (Argan) Stem Cells,  glycerophosphoinositol lysine (from sunflower), Prunus dulcis (Almond) Extract, Cinnamomum aromaticum (Cassia Bark) Oil

Price
$10.99 for 12 ounces from Acure Organics.   $9.49 from iherb. 

My Thoughts
I really like this shampoo and conditioner.  The shampoo lathers up very well and the conditioner is rich and creamy.  They both rinse out easily and don't leave any residue or buildup on my scalp.  And, they certainly live up to Acure's promise of being moisturizingIn fact, I find them just a little too heavy to use every single time I wash my hairMy hair looks fantastic for the first two or three consecutive washes, but on continued use, it starts getting weighed down.  Instead, I've been mixing it up with my old standby, Organic Excellence.  Rotating between the two leaves my hair soft and shiny and gives it the perfect amount of moisture without overdoing things.

My one initial concern about these products was how they were going to smell.  I chose the Argan + Argan Stem Cell based on hair type, since it's recommended for curly hair.  It's scented mainly with almond extract and almond scents don't tend to be favorites of mine.  That said, the smell is fine.  I wouldn't say I love it, but it's not offensive and it's also not incredibly strong.  I can smell it while my hair is still wet, but once it dries, the smell is pretty much gone

The Bottom Line
I would recommend both these products, especially if you have dry or damaged hair.  Even if you don't, I think they'd work well as occasional, treatment-type products.  Next time, I think I'll try their Lemongrass line, which is recommended for all hair types, as I'm curious if I could use that one more regularly with better results.  Either way, I can definitely see myself keeping Acure's shampoo and conditioner in my shower for a long time to come!

ETA: Please check out my updated review on these after longer use too.


         

8 December 2012

Honeybee Gardens Pressed Mineral Foundation Review


A few months ago I was lucky enough to win Honeybee Garden's Pressed Mineral Foundation from the lovely Britanie of Beauty By Britanie.  Before that, I'd called off the great foundation hunt about a year ago after discovering Lucy Minerals Lucy Light Foundation.  Don't get me wrong, I still love my Lucy Minerals, but I'm excited to have found another great foundation to add to the mix!




Product Description
- Talc free, paraben free, fragrance free, oil free
- Evens out skin tone leaving a natural, silky finish
- with soothing vitamin E and gentle botanical extracts to calm skin
- adjustable even coverage; never heavy or cakey
- can be worn over foundation or directly on bare skin for a radiant finish
- refines complexion and reduces shine
- use with our eco-friendly compact and help save the planet
- use with cotton puff or kabuki brush to customize your finish


Ingredients

Mica, Kaolin, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Magnesium Carbonate, Zinc Stearate, Boron Nitride, Squalane, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Sodium Dehydroacetate, Potassium Sorbate, Chlorphenesin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499)

Price

$9.99 for the powder, $11.99 for the compact/puff.  Less on discount sites like iherb and Vitacost.

My Thoughts

I already love Honeybee Gardens' lipsticks (reviewed here and here) and they haven't let me down with this powder either!  Like the company claims, it's very buildable.  I've been applying it with a flat top kabuki, which gives a nice medium coverage.  It does a fantastic job evening out skintone and leaves my face matte, but with the slightest glow.  You can also build it up more with a second layer or go for lighter coverage with a fluffier brush.  However you choose, it's very natural looking and looks like your skin, only better.  It doesn't feel heavy on my face and it doesn't look at all cakey or powdery.  In terms of shine, I would mention that it doesn't keep me shine free all day long.  Nothing that can't be fixed with a quick blot and touch up, but around the six or seven hour mark, I can see some shine start to peek through on my forehead and nose. 

Recently, all I've been wearing day-to-day is this powder and a little concealer.  Without the need for extended buffing, it's that little bit quicker to apply than a loose mineral foundation and it's also a lot easier to bring along for touch ups.  Do keep in mind that, unlike most pressed powders, it doesn't contain any silicones, so it's a little more delicate.  Mine arrived with the edges slightly crumbled, presumably from being knocked around in the mail, but I haven't noticed it breaking or crumbling any more from regular use.

Honeybee Gardens only makes five shades and I opted for Geisha, the lightest, which is a great match for my skin.  Unfortunately the small shade range means there are no dark shades or extremely light ones.  This is a great product and I really hope Honeybee Gardens will expand the colour range so more people can enjoy it!

The Bottom Line

I've already made a visible dip in my compact and I definitely see myself repurchasing this powder when I run out.  I love how natural it looks and how quick and easy it is to apply.  It's a versatile product that can be worn by itself, as foundation, or used as a finishing powder over another foundation.  I'm also a fan of the packaging, where you just buy the compact once and then you repurchase only the foundation - making an already affordable product even less costly and better for the environment too! 


         

3 December 2012

Fall Empties

I'm back today with my fall empties.  I'm liking this new way of spacing these posts, since I really don't accumulate enough empties to do a post every month.  My last empties post was back in September and here's what I've finished up since:


Earth Mama Angel Baby Ginger Grapefruit Hand and Body Wash
I was pretty lukewarm on this in my initial review, but it grew on me.  The smell was still not a favourite, but I ended up liking the actual body wash formula.  I'd consider repurchasing it in another scent.

Young Living Lavender Hand & Body Lotion
Great lotion.  It smells pretty much like straight lavender oil, so if that's a scent you enjoy, you'll love it.  Thick and moisturizing, a little really does go a long way.  This bottle lasted me ages!  If you use too much, it can be a bit difficult to rub in.

Young Living Valor Bar Soap
Although technically a hand or body soap, this is what I use to wash my face every morning and night.  I was getting cystic acne breakouts a few years ago and this, along with a couple other products, helped clear up my face.  I already have a new one and will continue to repurchase it as needed. 

Bubble & Bee Organic Face Cream (sample)
This cream was a little too rich for my face and it didn't absorb as quickly as I would have liked, but I did find a couple alternate uses for it.  It's great as a cuticle cream and I also enjoyed using it on any extra dry areas, like my elbows or the bottoms of my feet.  And, if that wasn't enough, it makes a great lip moisturizer too! 

Cheeky Cosmetics Sugar 'n' Spice Lip Gloss (sample)
I got this as a free sample in one of my orders, although I do have a couple other colours of these glosses in full size too.  I really like them - they're moisturizing, fairly opaque, and the complete opposite of sticky.  Sugar 'n' Spice is a beautiful shimmery bronzey pink.  It's actually the exact kind of lip colour I usually avoid, both because of the browny/bronzey tones and the potential for frostiness, but somehow it works anyways.  I rediscovered the sample in November and wore it pretty much every day until it was used up.  I'm tempted to order the full size since I have nothing else like it in my collection, but I'm holding off for the time being.

Zuzu Luxe Onyx Mascara
I've raved about this mascara so many times!  For more info, I'll just refer you to either my summer empties post or my initial review.

Silk Naturals Gleaming Vegan Kisser Slicker
It's no secret that I love Silk Naturals' lip products and I think the Vegan Kisser Slicker formula is my new favorite.  It's super hydrating, feels great on the lips, and has a yummy, genuine vanilla scent.  Gleaming is a sheer gold sparkle, without a lot of actual colour, so it looks fantastic layered on top of other lip colours.  That said, I used this up mainly wearing it at home, in place of a lip balm.   I'm definitely going to have to order some clear, untinted ones for that very purpose.


And that's that!  What have you used up over the past few months?  



        

30 November 2012

Review: The Chequered Lily Apothecary


I know a lot of people don't like using loose eye shadows, but aside from the stress of traveling with them, I don't find them any more difficult to work with than pressed.  Which is a good thing, since if you've ever looked for natural pressed makeup, you'll know just how difficult it is to find without silicones and other nasties.  

Today, I'm excited to show you these shadows from The Chequered Lily Apothecary, an etsy-based store that makes what is possibly my favorite eye shadow shade ever.  More on that later!



Ingredients
Vary by colour.  The five I have do not, but some colours contain FD&C dyes, so please refer to the individual listings if these are something you choose to avoid.   

Price
$6.50 for a 5-gram sifter jar (about 1 gram of product.)  Samples are also available.


No flash.  (L to R) Neverwhere, Mr. Wednesday, Gilty, Ivy, Alice
With flash.  (L to R) Neverwhere, Mr. Wednesday, Gilty, Ivy, Alice

My Thoughts
I guess I've already gone and spoiled things by announcing early on that one of my all-time favourite eye shadows would be making an appearance in this review.  Let's start there. Neverwhere is my my idea of a perfect neutral.  It's neutral but not boring; sparkly and shimmery, but not to disco ball standards.  It's dark enough that it works in the crease but light enough for a lid colour too.  The shop describes it as "warm, dirty pinked-grey with pink and gold reflect," but to me it's just the perfect golden brown.  It does have visible pink sparkles in it, but they blend in without looking gaudy or taking over.  Seriously, this colour is magic.  Even as just as an all over wash of colour, it makes you look perfectly sophisticated and put together.  And because my photos aren't doing it justice, here are a couple from the store:
(Source)
Alice, a beautiful pale blue with a golden duochrome, is the other standout among the shades I have.  I sometimes struggle wearing blues, but the gold somehow manages to make it more wearable.  Again, I borrowed these to give you a clearer idea of the colour:
(Source)
In terms of formula, these eye shadows are fantastic too.  They're nicely pigmented, apply smoothly and blend like a dream.  Even with the high sparkle content in some colours, they never feel rough or gritty.

The Bottom Line
The Chequered Lily makes top notch eye shadows.  The colours are complex and unique and I've received only the best service as well.  More specifically, Neverwhere is a favorite - certainly one of my most worn shadows.  If you're a fan of neutrals, you NEED it in your life.  I realized when taking the photos for this post that mine is starting to run out (cue eery music!)  I'll be ordering a backup (or three) and I'm interested in trying some other colours too.   Highly, highly recommended.

  
         

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