April Empties / Products I've Used Up

Doing regular empties posts has made me a lot more aware of consistently using products until they're finished and I've actually managed to use up a good number of things this month.  I even somehow managed to finish four (!) different lip balms!

Face Naturals Vanilla Mint Body Lotion (sample)   [Review]
This is one of the best lotions I've used.  It doesn't contain any water, just lots of nourishing oils and butters, so it's intensely hydrating.  It also absorbs quickly and doesn't leave you feeling greasy like a lot of other water-less lotions.  It's a little pricey at $25, but you need less product, so I figure it basically evens out.  This sample of the Vanilla Mint was included in one of my orders and I'm a little mixed on the scent.  I loved it in the jar and I think it'd work really well for something that gets washed off, like shower gel, but it became overly sweet and cloying on the skin. 
Repurchase? Yes, but not in this scent.

Sassy Minerals Eye Shadow in Panache (sample)   [Review]
Sassy Minerals isn't around anymore, but they used to be connected with Lauress Cosmetics and last I heard, some of the Sassy colours were now available through them.  Panache is a pretty peach that used to be a favorite, but when I pulled it out again this month, I found it leaned a little too orange for my liking.
Repurchase? No.

Shiro Cosmetics Intertube in Longcat   [Review]
Longcat is a white/silver shimmer in a clear base, but I used it more around the house as a lip balm than as a lip color.  I've gone through several tubes before and never had this issue, but in this one, the shimmer wasn't incorporated evenly.  It was very light at the top and then full of shimmer and gritty towards the bottom.
Repurchase?  Maybe.  If Shiro releases more dye-free colors, absolutely.  Otherwise, probably not, since I've found other, cheaper lip balms I like just as much.  I also still have one more backup of Longcat to get through.

Silk Naturals Vegan Kisser Slicker in Shine
This is another lip gloss-type product that I used in place of a lip balm.  The Vegan Kisser Slickers are very moisturizing and amazing for winter chapped lips, though they have a really soft consistency that makes the tube disappear quickly.
Repurchase? Probably not.  I like it, but again, I've found other, cheaper lip balms I like just as much.  I also still have one more of these to use too.

Badger Creamy Cocoa Cocoa Butter Lip Balm
I only discovered Badger's Cocoa Butter line this past winter, but they've quickly become my favorite lip balms.  (It even made its way onto my list of 15 products I'd repurchase.)  These are almost twice the size of an average tube of lip balm and I managed to whip through this one in under three months, which I think says a lot!  I love cocoa butter, both for its moisturizing properties and because of the smell.  The Creamy Cocoa is unscented, so that delicious chocolate smell comes through unimpeded.
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

Balm Balm Fragrance Free Multi Purpose Lip Balm   [Review]
This was another new discovery this winter.  It can be used as a lip balm, but it also works great for lots of other things.  I used it on my rough elbows and even slathered it all over my face a couple times.   You can see I cut open the tube to get to every last bit!
Repurchase? Yes.  

Young Living Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier
I'm not really big on hand sanitizer, but it does have its moments.  I mostly use it at work, since I can't always get to the bathroom to wash my hands normally.  Young Living uses alcohol and essential oils instead of antibacterial nasties like triclosan.
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

Blûm Naturals Fragrance Free All-Purpose Cleansing Wipes   [Review]
I don't use wipes much on my face and I'm not sure it's worth having these around just for cleaning up blog swatches, but that's what they end up being used for most.  The canisters do tend to dry out if you have them open for too long, so next time I think the individually wrapped ones will be a better choice for my infrequent use.
Repurchase? Maybe, but not right away.

Egyptian Magic (sample)
Egyptian magic is a popular product, but it's one that I really don't understand the hype about.  I used it on my feet, and while it did leave them soft, it wasn't anything spectacular.  Plus, the smell was horrible!  I'm not sure if my sample had gone off or something, but it just smelled bad and sort of fermented.  It also didn't soak in well and made my feet feel uncomfortable and tingly.  I have another sample hanging around here and I don't even want to touch it.
Repurchase? No.

Weleda Weather Protection Cream (sample)
The Weather Protection Cream is from Weleda's baby line and just as the name implies, it's intended to protect your baby's skin from harsh weather.  I used it on my feet instead, and it worked really well for that too.  It took a while to sink in, but I just threw on socks before bed and woke up to incredibly soft feet.  I think it'd be perfect for protecting my hands in the winter too, as they usually end up getting dry and chapped.
Repurchase? Yes, but probably not until next winter.

Weleda Skin Food (two samples)
Skin Food is another very hyped product in the natural beauty world and this time I completely understand why!  It's a heavier lotion, so not something I'd use all over, but it's perfect for those extra dry spots like your feet and elbows.  I find a lot of Weleda products are too heavily scented for me, but happily, I don't have any problems with the Skin Food. 
Repurchase? Yes, I already bought a big tube.

I also gave my makeup a bit of a spring cleaning this month and a few things are headed for the bin.  I figured I might as well include them too!

SweetPea and Fay Ultra Pigmented Lip Glosses   [Review]
I don't think SweetPea and Fay makes these anymore, but I really liked them!  I hadn't reached for them in a while and when I pulled them out this month they were completely dry.  I've never had lip gloss dry up like that, even after more time, so it's a little odd.  

Darling Girl Cosmetics Lip Balm (sample)
I got this in a blogger sample pack and I guess it didn't impress me, since I just never reached for it.  It's started to smell funny now, so it's got to go!

Burt's Bees Cream Eye Shadow in Trust
This is from Burt's Bees' old makeup line, which I think is from way back before the company was bought by Clorox, and it's just dried up now.  I don't use them much anymore, but I'm still hanging onto a couple of the old lip shimmers from the same time period (they seem fine, honest!), but the metal tins aren't very airtight, so they're definitely drying out too.  

It feels great to use all these things up and get rid of some products that just aren't good anymore too!  Have you tried any of these?  Does anyone else remember Burts Bees' old makeup line?  And am I the only one who did not like Egyptian Magic?  

Inika Crème Eye Shadow

One product I've never been fully satisfied with are highlighters.  Either they're too shimmery and you look like a disco ball or they're too subtle and I can't even tell I've applied one.  With that in mind, you can imagine how excited I was to discover these two highlighting gems in a most unexpected place - my own eye shadow drawer!  Inika sent me two of their crème eye shadows to try, and while they're lovely as eye shadows, where they really shine, if you'll excuse the pun, is as highlighters.

First, let's talk packaging.  The crème shadows come in small squeeze top bottles and are very easy to use.  I like to squeeze a small amount onto the back of my hand and then use my fingers to apply it to either my eyes or the high points of my face.  You can also mix a small amount into your foundation for an all over glow.  

I received Champagne and Pink Cloud, two beautiful light shades.  Champagne is a pale gold and Pink Cloud is an icy, cool-toned pink.  Both of them have a luminous, satin finish without any actual glitter particles.  I've never before understood that natural, 'lit from within' glow that people talk about with highlighters, but these really do deliver just that.  On me, Champagne blends seamlessly and looks the most natural, but I could see Pink Cloud being a good match for some skin tones too.

(L to R) Inika Cream Eyeshadow in Pink Cloud, Champagne
(L to R) Inika Cream Eye Shadow in Pink Cloud, Champagne (blended)
Even though I use these most as cream highlighters, they're also lovely as eye shadows.  I find they work best as a light, sheer wash of color, since when you build them up, they become more difficult to apply evenly and can start to look a bit patchy.  If you want more opacity, your best bet is to apply multiple thin layers, allowing the shadow to dry in between each one, but even then, it can be tricky to get an even color.  I should also mention that, like a lot of other natural cream shadows, these are not crease proof.  I've worn them both with primers and without, and while I experienced some creasing either way, I get better results when worn over bare skin.  

The Bottom Line
If opaque, crease-proof shadows are a must, these may not be the product for you, but if you don't mind a little creasing or are in the market for an everyday highlighter that perfectly straddles the line between subtlety and glitz, Inika's crème shadows are definitely worth a look.  The only downside I can come up with is the $25 price tag.  They're definitely on the more expensive side, but since they do double duty as both a highlighter and eye shadow, I do think they're worth the money.  

Have you tried anything from Inika?

Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Mica, Glycerin, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Butyrospermum Parkii(Shea) Butter, Cetearyl Alcohol, Titanium Dioxide, Natural Tocopherol, Simmondsia Chinensis(Jojoba) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Caprylate, Persea Gratissima (Avocado)Oil, Macadamia Integrifolia Seed Oil, Prunis Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Iron Oxides(CI 77491), Iron Oxides(CI 77492), Ferric Ferrocyanide, p-Anisic Acid, Water, Sodium Hydroxide

Disclosure: 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.

Intelligent Nutrients Perfect Hold Hair Spray

One product I've been missing for a long time is hairspray.  It's not something I use all that regularly, but it's still a product I like to have on my shelf for those occasional styles that demand it.  Mainstream hairsprays are arguably some of the most toxic cosmetics out there, full of plastics, petrochemicals and phthalates and linked to eye and lung irritation, so I wanted to find a healthier option to have on hand.  

As you may already know, Intelligent Nutrients is one of my favorite hair care brands.  Their products consistently have very clean ingredients and many of them even carry USDA Organic certification.  Certified Organic Perfect Hold Hair Spray is one of the original products that the company launched with and is so pure that Intelligent Nutrients' founder, Horst Rechelbacher (also the founder of Aveda) has even been known to drink it!  While I have no interest in tasting my hairspray, with that in mind, I feel pretty safe using it on my hair.

Let's start with application.  Perfect Hold comes in a regular spray bottle.  The mist is less even and a little heavier than an aerosol hairspray, but it's still very functional.  It may make your hair feel damp for a minute or two if you get a lot of product in one spot, but it dries quickly.  In the bottle, the hairspray smells very citrusy, but when I spray it on, I mostly smell alcohol.  The smell dissipates as soon as it dries and doesn't leave any noticeable scent on your hair.  

Sprayed lightly, Perfect Hold gives a lovely medium hold.  Used this way, your hair still moves and is very touchable.  If what you're going for is a firm hold, you'll need to use more product, which can leave your hair feeling a little crunchy.

Like I said, I don't use hairspray regularly, but this is a perfect product for the occasional times when I feel more adventurous with my hair and need something to hold a style in place.  It is a little pricey, at $29 for 6.7 fl oz/$12 for 2 fl oz, so perhaps not the most economical option if you're an everyday hairspray user, but I do really like it.  If you want a firm hold without any crunchy feeling (though I've yet to actually find that in a natural product), you may want to look elsewhere, but if you're looking for a healthy hairspray with good, pure ingredients and are willing to spend the money, this is a great choice.

Ingredients: Water/Aqua, Alcohol Denat.*~, Acacia Senegal Gum*, Glycerin*, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Ethyl Palmate*, Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Seed Oil*+, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil*+, Rubus Idaeus (Red Raspberry) Seed Oil*+, Vitis Vinifera (Red Grape) Seed Oil*+, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil*+, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Peel Oil*, Elettaria Cardamomum (Cardamom) Seed Oil*, Citrus Noblis (Mandarin Orange) Peel Oil*, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil*, Vetiveria Zizanoides (Vetiver) Root Oil*, Cymbopogon Martini (Palmarosa) Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil*, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil*, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Peel Oil*, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil*, Limonene*^, Linalool*^, Geraniol*^, Citric Acid, Tocopherol (Vitamin E) | * Certified Organic, +antioxidant Intellimune™ Seed Oil Complex, ~denatured using certified organic Bergamot essential oil, ^Naturally occurring component of organic Essential Oil blend

Spring Favorites

Spring is finally in the air and I wanted to share a few products I've been loving lately...

Mineral Fusion Nail Polish
I always look at Mineral Fusion's products, but I'd never bought anything until I found the nail polishes on sale at Whole Foods last month.  The polishes are solvent based, but they are Big 3 Free.  I've got Amethyst on my toes right now and it's a beautiful deep burgundy/purple.  Shimmering Shale is a lovely pink/rose gold glitter that's surprisingly opaque in a couple coats. 

Osmia Organics Active Gel Nutrient Serum + Aura Cacia Organic Argan Oil
When I won a lip luster, Sarah from Osmia Organics asked me if I'd like to try a sample of any other products and I chose the Active Gel Nutrient Serum.  It's a lovely serum with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide that has become a happy addition to my nighttime skin routine.  I started using argan oil on my face around the same time and I've noticed a big difference in the evenness and overall appearance of my skin since adding these two products.

Young Living Lavender Hand & Body lotion + Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil
I wouldn't say I've been overly preoccupied with it, but I've always kind of thought I had unattractive, somewhat man-ish hands.  As it turns out, all they needed was some TLC!  I'm not a big hand cream person, but I started using a combination of Young Living's hand lotion with a drop of Pai's rosehip oil once or twice a day and it's seriously transformed the look of my hands!  

Inika Creme Eye Shadows
Inika recently sent me a few products to try and I've been loving the Creme Eye Shadows!  I have Pink Cloud and Champagne, which are both light, shimmery colors and I adore using them as cream highlights.  They, of course, also work as eye shadows.  I'll have a full review and swatches up soon.

Homemade Eye Shadow Palettes
If you saw my TKB Trading Haul, these won't come as a surprise.  I made two small eye shadow palettes - one neutral and one colorful - and I'm incredibly happy with how they turned out.  They're mainly loose shadows I'd previously bought and just pressed, but a few of them are colors I mixed up myself.  I've also made a couple blush palettes from the ingredients I got from TKB and I'll definitely do a more detailed post on both of these soon.  In the meantime, I'll leave you with a closer look at the eye shadow palettes.  Just looking at these makes me happy!

Badger Balm Sore Joint Rub

If you buy natural products, you've probably heard of Badger Balm.  Like many other companies, they began as a small, family run business, but they've grown and today, their products are available in most natural stores.  What I love most about the company is that, even though they've grown so much, they've stayed true to their founding principles and beliefs.   The ingredients, across the entire line, are fantastic and I've also been impressed by the various social initiatives the company is involved in.  (Not to mention their benefits for employees.  It sounds like an awesome place to work too!)  Even though Badger's sunscreens have been favorites for years, I'd never used one of their balms before.  Since the balms are what launched the company, I'm glad I finally decided to try one!

Back in January, I had some discomfort and swelling around my collarbone/chest area that my doctor thought was joint inflammation.  Right around that time I was placing an order with Vitacost, stumbled across Badger's Sore Joint Rub and added it to my cart.  What I found out months later, after finally getting my test results back, was that the swelling was not actually anything joint related, but rather just soft tissue inflammation.  Even so, Badger's Sore Joint Rub, which I'd used in the meantime, was definitely helpful.  It brought down the swelling, as well as eased any pain or discomfort in the area.  

The Sore Joint Rub contains CO2 extracts of arnica, black pepper, rosehip, ginger, and cayenne, as well as cardamom, lemongrass, rosemary, marjoram, and sage essential oils.  I often self-treat with essential oils, so I'll admit the main selling point for me was the arnica, but together all these ingredients form a potent treatment that reduces inflammation while simultaneously boosting circulation to the affected area.  The olive oil and beeswax base, which I believe is common across most of Badger's balms, acts as a great carrier and prevents the hotter ingredients like cayenne and black pepper from irritating or burning your skin.  I find my skin feels slightly warm and becomes a little pink when I first apply the balm, but it's back to normal within a few minutes.  

The balm itself is pretty solid, but it melts easily with your body heat.  It's a fairly bright orange in the pot, but applies clear and I haven't had any issues with it rubbing onto or staining clothes.  Scent-wise, I mostly smell lemongrass, but I do pick up a peppery note as well.  The scent is relatively mild and it also dissipates quickly.  I only really notice it as I'm applying the balm.   

also love the packaging of Badger's balms, which all come in cute metal tins with some variation of the company's signature badger on the front.  The Sore Joint Rub is available in two sizes - I have the smaller, 0.75 ounce size, which fits perfectly in a purse, or even  your pocket, but there is a larger 2 ounce size available as well.   

The Bottom Line
Every time I try something new from Badger, I just want to keep trying more!  This is a great product and I'd recommend it, even if you don't have sore joints!  According to Badger's website, the Sore Joint Rub was formulated by taking their Sore Muscle Rub, adding arnica, and more than doubling the amount of cayenne, and my experience is proof that this salve also soothes and heals non-joint related discomfort.  I'll be continuing to use it on any aches and pains that may pop up.

Ingredients: *Olea europaea (extra virgin olive) oil, *capsicum frutescens (cayenne) extract, *cera alba (beeswax), *ricinus communis (castor) oil, CO2 extracts of *piper nigrum (black pepper), *zingiber officinale (ginger), arnica montana (arnica), *rosa canina (rosehip), and essential oils of *elettaria cardamomum (cardamom), *cymbopogon schoenanthus (lemongrass), *rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary), *thymus mastichina (wild marjoram), and *salvia officinalis (sage). * = Certified Organic

Disclosure: Product purchased by me.   Post contains affiliate links.

Vapour Organic Beauty

If you're interested in natural and non-toxic makeup, you've probably heard of Vapour 
Organic Beauty.  They've won numerous awards, are worn by celebrities, and are one of the better know healthy makeup brands out there.  Vapour was kind enough to send me a few products to review and I've really enjoyed trying them out over the last few weeks.  I already mentioned the Illusionist Concealer in my recent post on under eye concealers, but I was also excited to receive the Stratus Soft Focus Instant Skin Perfector and Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation, since these two are something of cult favorites in the natural beauty community.  Keep reading to find out if I thought they lived up to the hype!

Stratus Soft Focus Instant Skin Perfector
The Stratus Soft Focus Instant Skin Perfector has the texture of a light, slightly runny moisturizer.  It smells fruity with a hint of something else I can't quite put my finger on.  The scent is nice, but not at all overbearing.  I've been using s902, which is recommended for fair to medium skin with neutral or pink undertones, but I think almost any skintone would be able to wear this shade.  Vapour describes the Skin Perfector as, "a 3-in-1 moisturizer, primer and no-color foundation," and I think that's pretty accurate.  In a lot of ways it acts like a moisturizer, but it also goes one step further and really makes your face look more polished and radiant.  There's no real coverage, but it does manage to color correct minor redness and discoloration.

My favorite way to use this has been on its own, with just a little concealer in any problem areas.  Stratus gives an incredibly natural finish and truly doesn't look like you're wearing makeup.  To be honest, I don't notice much difference using it as a primer under liquid or cream foundation, but I've experimented with using it under mineral foundation and mixing it with my All Natural Face Cream Foundation to make more of a tinted moisturizer, and I really like using it both of these ways.  That said, at $54, it's definitely on the pricier side, so I've mostly been saving it to wear on its own on light, 'no-makeup' makeup days.

Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation
I've said it before and I'm sure I'll say it again, but I really like my skin to look like skin.  Vapour's Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation has the same lovely, light consistency and smell as the Skin Perfector, but it unfortunately hasn't worked as well for me in other ways.  It feels very much like a thin moisturizer as you apply it, and it's almost as if my skin drinks up that moisture and leaves the pigment from the foundation just sitting on top of my skin.  I've tried multiple ways of applying it, both with my fingers and a few different brushes, but I haven't been able to get rid of that foundation look.  It's not that it looks cakey - it really doesn't - but it very noticeably looks like makeup on my skin.  It's funny, because I've seen this foundation recommended, even by male bloggers, as the exact opposite.  I've used it both with the Stratus Skin Perfector and on its own, with similar results.  I also had minor issues with it transferring, even after being set with a powder.  

In terms of colors, I feel like the shades run a bit darker than they look online.  I was sent s110 (for fair skin with pink undertones), which is probably the same shade I would have chosen myself based on the photos on Vapour's website, but it's a little too dark for me.  Still, even though it looks super dark on my hand, it manages to sheer out and blend into my skin fine.  I would probably go down a shade if I had the option, but s110 is still completely wearable. 

Illusionist Concealer
The concealer is another big hit with me!  I've seen other bloggers criticize the coverage, but I really think this is a top notch product.  It conceals well - be it redness, blemishes, or dark circles - but it doesn't look heavy or cakey.  010 is the perfect match for my skin and it blends in effortlessly.  It's also super brightening, which definitely helps under the eyes.  This is actually the first cream concealer I've found that really works under my eyes, so that alone has me extra impressed!

For application, I find I get the best results from warming it up on the back of my hand, then applying it directly from the tube to my under eye area.  After that, I just gently tap it in with my fingers.  It does need to be set with a powder, or else I find it shifts around a little throughout the day.  My one small complaint is that it does tend to settle into the lines under my eyes about halfway through the day, but that's easy enough to fix.  And, considering how much I love everything else about this concealer, it's not something that would stop me from buying it in the future.

(L to R) Stratus Soft Focus Instant Skin Perfector in s902, Atmosphere Soft Focus Foundation in s110, Illusionist Concealer in 010

The Bottom Line
There's no doubt that Vapour Beauty carries a luxury price tag, but I think most of their products are worth it.  I already love the Elixir Lip Gloss, and the the primer and concealer are becoming fast favourites too!  I'm a little more iffy on the foundation, but I haven't completely written it off either.  (Maybe I'm applying it wrong?  Feel free to jump in with any tips!)  I'd recommend trying the foundation out in person if you can, or else ordering samples, before investing in the full size.  As for the rest, you can play it safe with samples, but I don't think you'll be disappointed if you opt for full sizes right off the bat!  

Have you tried anything from Vapour Beauty? 

Disclosure: 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.

Haul: TKB Trading

I don't do a lot of haul posts, but this purchase is a little different, so I wanted to share it.  If you aren't familiar with it, TKB Trading is a supply store.  There are lots of other places to buy from, but I think TKB has the best selection for makeup ingredients.  As well, there's no minimum purchase required, unlike with a lot of other suppliers.    I've been mulling over placing an order with TKB for literally 2+ years now, so I was understandably pretty excited to finally do it (and even more excited when everything actually arrived!)

My main reason for ordering was because I want to try making my own pressed blushes.  I really do prefer pressed over loose blushes, but I just haven't found a company with the right mix of price, ingredients and color selection, so I've decided to try to DIY this one!  Once I was ordering, I did pick up a few things for other projects as well. 

Here's what I got...

Oils: If you can believe it, I've never used straight jojoba oil, so when I saw that TKB sold a tiny one ounce bottle for only $2.50, I knew I had to get it.  It's from The Jojoba Company and is pesticide free.  I also bought fractionated coconut oil, which I'll be using as a binder.  Because of its long shelf life, its one of the best oils you can find for pressing powders.

Natural Lip Liquids Set: I've made tinted lip balms using loose pigments, but I have trouble getting the color evenly incorporated and I sometimes end up with some of the pigment settling to the bottom before the balm has a chance to fully solidify.  These lip dyes are natural colorants predispersed in sunflower and/or castor oil, which should circumvent this issue.  I was originally only going to order four or five of them, but it ended up being only $1.50 more to get the whole set, so I just went for it!  In theory, I should be able to mix just about any lip color I want with these.

Micas: For non-dye colorants, you basically have two options: micas or oxides/ultramarines.  Oxides need to be ground together, and since I don't have a spare coffee grinder lying around, I opted for the easier option of premixed micas.  They can be used as is (although they work much better with some kind of base) or mixed together to make your own colors.  I stuck to pinks/purples/oranges, since I'm going to be making blush, but TKB has a huge color selection.

Base Ingredients: Properly made loose makeup powders, be it eye shadow, foundation, or blush, consist of pigments and some kind of base.  The base helps the pigment apply more smoothly and last longer too!  I got a few different options to play around with - Kaolin Clay, Sericite Mica, C-Smax (sericite mica treated with carnauba wax), Zinc Oxide, Silica Microspheres, and TKB's Matte Texture Base.

Pans/Pressing Tiles: TKB sells tin pans, which unlike the more traditional aluminum, are magnetic.  I got a few different sizes and I've got projects in mind for each.  I bought some small 15mm round pans that I want to use to make a couple small eye shadow palettes.  I really don't mind loose eyeshadows when I'm at home, but there's no denying that there are times when pressed are more convenient.  I also got 36mm round pans for blushes, 27mmx13mm rectangles, and 52mm squares, and pressing tiles for each size pan, which should make it that much easier.  For the sake of comparison,  MAC eye shadows are 26mm, so 15mm is quite tiny, about the size of a dime.  Likewise, 36mm is on the small side for a blush.  It's the same size as the pans in my Jane Iredale Eye Steppes palette, which I think are comparable in size to Stila eye shadows. 

Palettes: I got two small clear palettes that I'm going to turn into travel eye shadow palettes.  They're light and compact and hold nine of the 15mm pans.  They aren't magnetized, so I''ll need to glue a magnet in the bottom, but for $0.50 each, I'm not complaining!  I also got two palettes to use as blush palettes.  Each of these holds four 36mm pans.

Random Other Things: I also got a couple mascara tubes, a syringe, and a small funnel.  I have ideas for a couple lash/brow things I want to make, but tools were last minute throw-ins.  I do think they'll come in handy though.  

The Bottom Line
I'm really pleased with my first order from TKB Trading.  Prices are very reasonable, although once you factor in shipping to Canada and the taxes/brokerage fee I got stuck with, it did end up being a bit of a splurge.  All the same, I'm super excited to start playing around with all these goodies!

Do you have any experience making your own makeup?  Also, would you be interested in updates on how things go once I start concocting?

Osmia Organics Luster Lip Gloss

About a month ago, I was lucky enough to win a giveaway on Osmia Organics' Facebook page.  I was excited to win, and even more so when I found out I'd won one of their luster lip glosses.  This is a product I already had my eye on after reading about it on a few different blogs, so I was excited to be able to try it out for myself!

What I love most about this gloss is that it acts as a lip gloss and lip treatment, all in one.  We're still waiting on Spring weather here and my lips have been suffering a little.  Osmia's lip luster is perfect for those days when your lips need a little extra coddling, but you want to wear something more than just lip balm.  It really does help heal your lips, and they'll look fantastic in the process!

The texture is different from a lot of other glosses.  It comes out of the tube thick and semi-solid, but it's not at all sticky and it spreads easily on contact with the warmth of your skin.  Because of how thick it is, I prefer to take the gloss on my finger and dab it onto my lips, rather than applying it straight from the tube.  

The ingredients list rose geranium essential oil, but it isn't something I smell very strongly.  To me, the luster has a very mild, fruity smell.  In fact, it smells and tastes very similar to Vapour's Elixir Gloss (the non-plumping one.)

Color-wise, the luster looks dark and a little intimidating in the tube, but it sheers out a lot when applied.  It's colored only with alkanet and beet root, so it doesn't have intense, opaque pigmentation.  Instead, you're left with a beautiful, sheer colour.  It reminds me of how your lips look after eating a popsicle - plumped and glossy, with just a hint of red.   

The Bottom Line
I've heard a lot about Osmia Organics over the last couple months and the lip luster definitely lives up to the hype.  It's a lovely lip gloss, only made better by the fact that it also nourishes your lips.  It's been the perfect lip product for winter, but I already know I'll be reaching for it in the warmer months too!

I've also been using (and loving!) a sample of the company's Active Gel Nutrient Serum - more on that later.  Have you tried anything from Osmia Organics?

Ingredients: wild harvested batschia canescens (alkanet) powder and beta vulgaris (beet root*)-infused ricinus communis (castor bean) oil*, beeswax*, lanolin, GMO-free vitamin E oil, rose geranium essential oil*  (*=Certified Organic)

Covering Dark Circles: Natural Concealer Stars

Finding a concealer with good ingredients that will actually cover my under eye circles has been an ongoing search for me.  I still haven't found that one miracle product that does the job perfectly on its own, but I have discovered a few products that have been working really well in comination.  As an added bonus, they're all reasonably priced, so you won't break the bank, even if you end up trying all three!  

Vapour recently sent me a few products to try and the concealer has, hands down, been my favourite.  It's creamy and lightweight, but it also has a good amount of coverage.  I like to warm it up on the back of my hand and then apply it directly from the tube.  Then, I just blend it in with my fingers for a nice, natural look.  Super easy application and it does a great job covering my dark circles without looking cakey.  I have it in 010, which has been a great match, since it's light enough for under my eyes, but not so light that I can't use it in other areas too.

I can't even tell you how long I've been looking for a natural beige or skintone colored eyeliner!  My skin is pretty pink-toned, so without anything on my waterline, it sometimes looks like my eyes are red and irritated, even when they aren't.  It's been a bit of a conundrum, since I don't generally like darker eyeliner down there and I find white looks too harsh for everyday.  But no longer!  UNE's Skin-Glow Pencils are marketed as brightening concealers, but they work brilliantly in the waterline.  The pencil is incredibly soft and creamy, so it just glides on effortlessly.  To help it last longer, I like to dry my waterline with a Q-tip before applying it.  If I skip this step, it's more prone to smearing and tends to end up all over my lower lashes (really not the best look!)  I chose G02, the second from lightest shade, since in swatches, it looked more yellow-toned than G01.

Most recently this was included in my products I'd repurchase post, but I've talked about it many times before.  In fact, it's probably my most worn makeup item.  Even on days when I wear no other makeup, it's not uncommon for me to dust a little Sleep in a Jar under my eyes for some added brightness.  I wear Light Peach, and while it's by no means a full coverage product, it gives some coverage and does a phenomenal job diffusing any darkness in the under eye area.  I've worn it by itself for over a year now, but more recently, I've been enjoying using it in combination with the Vapour concealer.   Since it's a powder, it works to set the cream concealer and also adds a little extra coverage and brightness.

(L to R) Vapour Illusionist Concealer in 010, UNE Skin-Glow Pencil in G02, Silk Naturals Sleep in a Jar in Light Peach

The Bottom Line
I'll be the first to admit that I find it pretty absurd using three concealers under my eyes, but the combination has really been working for me lately.  All three are great products and I'd recommend any of them either individually or together.  They're all pretty brightening, which is perhaps why they work so well under the eyes, but they all also offer a good amount of coverage.  I haven't tried the UNE pencil anywhere other than the eyes, but the Vapour and Silk Naturals are also effective at covering up redness or blemishes, so you can absolutely use them elsewhere on your face as well.

What's your favorite concealer?  I think it's safe to say I'm pretty stocked up for the time being, but I'd still love to know!

Disclosure: Vapour Illusionist Concealer provided as a PR sample.  All other products purchased by me.  All opinions are my own.

March Empties / Products I've Used Up

I didn't actually use up many products in March, but instead of holding onto the empties for any longer, I figured I'd do a post now anyways!  I'm often impressed with the number of products in other bloggers' empties posts, since this is pretty typical of what I get through over the course of a month.

Face Naturals Citrus Squeeze Body Cleanser   [Review]
I think I switch shower gels more than any other product, but Face Naturals' Body Cleansers are some of my favorites   The ingredients are great, they lather really well, and they don't leave your skin feeling tight or dry.  I wasn't crazy about the Citrus Squeeze scent though.  It smelled like orange essential oil, but with some kind of heavy, waxy undertone.  
Repurchase? Yes, but not in this scent.

Cheeky Cosmetics Silk Eye Shadow (sample)   [Review]
For the last several months, I've been alternating between Silk and Fairy Tale (also from Cheeky Cosmetics) as inner corner highlights, so I was sad to see this sample bite the dust.  I'm tempted to buy a full size, but I've got too many other shadows to justify it right now.  I've been using Whiteout from Shiro Cosmetics since running out of this one, which does the job, but I don't quite like it as much as Silk. 
Repurchase? Maybe one day.

Yarok Feed Your Roots Mousse   [Review]
I've talked about this mousse more than once, so I'm sure it's not shocking to see it show up here.  As natural hair products go, Yarok falls into the mid-to-high price bracket, but a little does go a long way with this mousse.  The 2 oz. travel size lasted me just about three months of consistent use. 
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

John Masters Organics Lavender & Avocado Intensive Conditioner (sample)   
Maybe my hopes were too high, but I was disappointed in this conditioner.  I've read rave reviews, but it just didn't hydrate my hair enough.  It felt nice and silky on my head and while washing it out, but when my hair dried, I was left with a lot more frizz than usual.
Repurchase? No.

Balm Balm Witch Hazel Toner (sample)  [Review]
I had mixed feelings about this toner.  I liked how it made my skin feel, but I couldn't stand the sticky, tacky feeling it left on my face.  But, it did inspire my new favourite homemade toner, so I'm glad to have tried it for that reason alone!
Repurchase? No.

Dr. Bronner's Citrus Castille Soap (sample)
I think Dr. Bronner's is a staple in pretty much every naturally-inclined household.  That said, I'm not generally a fan of their scents, and the citrus was the same.  I used the sample to clean my makeup brushes and I have a couple more samples kicking around that I'll probably use up the same way.
Repurchase? Yes, but not in this scent.

Have you used any of these products?