EvanHealy French Rose Clay

It's no secret that I've become slightly obsessed with face masks recently.  There's just something lovely and luxurious about taking the time to pamper, treat, and nourish your skin, and any awesome skin results that come afterwards are just icing on the cake!  Clay masks are some of my favorites, but if left on too long, they can sometimes leave my face feeling tight, stripped, or sensitive.  Which is why I'm so happy to have discovered EvanHealy's French Rose Clay.  A simple blend of pink kaolin and Moroccan rhassoul clays, it's remarkably effective but also very gentle and never leaves my skin in any distress.

The powdered clay is extremely soft and velvety.  It's more finely milled than most clays I've encountered, which produces a slightly thinner consistency of mask.  I usually like to mix in a couple drops each of jojoba and frankincense oils, and then just enough water to hold it all together.  The mask feels cool and refreshing as you apply it and it's amazing at sucking all the gunk and oil out of your pores.  In fact, one of the gross-but-awesome things about EvanHealy's mask is that you can actually see the stuff that is being pulled out of your pores as the clay absorbs it, so there's no question as to whether or not it's doing something.

After washing the mask off, my skin feels soft, clean, and refreshed.  My pores look clear, any blackheads are gone, and I don't experience any redness or dry skin.  I still follow up with an oil and/or moisturizer, but that's as a regular part of my routine, not because I'm feeling a desperate need to infuse as much moisture back into my skin as possible.

The Bottom Line
If you're looking for an effective clay mask that's suitable for all skin types (even sensitive!), I don't think you can do any better than EvanHealy's French Rose Clay.  It's excellent at decongesting the skin and great for keeping pores clean and skin looking vibrant.  Even my Mom - who is usually pretty low maintenance with her skincare - is a recent convert.  The results speak for themselves and she's a fan now too!

Where to Buy: $21.95 from EvanHealy

What are your favorite masks?

October Wantable Box: A Green Beauty Perspective

A couple weeks ago, Wantable reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing their makeup box.  In case you aren't familiar, Wantable is one of the many subscription box services that have popped up in the last few years, but unlike most of its counterparts, Wantable boxes include full-size products instead of just samples.  

There are three box choices - makeup, accessories (jewelry), and intimates (socks, lingerie, etc.)  A subscription will run you $36 per month, or you can buy a single box for $40.  Once you choose your box, you fill out a quiz with your loves, likes and dislikes.  The makeup quiz is pretty thorough and goes through both your product and color preferences.  Wantable guarantees that you'll never receive something you've marked as a dislike.  

Before I go any further, I just want to make it perfectly clear that Wantable is a mainstream subscription service and makes no claims of being natural or green.  I was curious if it would be possible to tailor a box to the more green or naturally inclined consumer, so when I filled out my quiz, I tried to skew the results towards beauty tools (makeup brushes, etc.), nail polish, and loose powder products, figuring that those would be the things I'd have the best chance of actually using.  

Here's what I received in my box:

Japonesque Angled Foundation Brush ($25)
Japonesque Travel Smudger Brush ($14.50)
Cailyn Lip Tint ($13)
Lise Watier Hydra Shine Lip Stain ($20)
Manna Kadar Blush ($19)
Skiin Soothing & Smoothing Eye Cream sample

The two Japonesque brushes are lovely and very soft.  Everything else in the box, however, will be getting passed on to someone else, since, based on ingredients alone, these are not items I will use.  

So, can you successfully customize or tailor a box?  Somewhat.  When filling out Wantable's quiz, I marked tools as a "love" and I received two brushes in my box.  That said, the description of the October box specifically highlights Pomegranate Nail Lacquer, which I didn't receive, even though nail polish was the only other item I marked as a love when filling out the Wantable quiz.  I think it's safe to say that the quiz does have some effect on what you receive, but it isn't the be all and end all.    

Overall, I think Wantable's Makeup Box is great value, just not so much so for someone like me with specific ingredient preferences.  My box was worth $91.50, much more than the $36 cost, and if the ingredients had been okay, I think I would have enjoyed trying all the products.   As it stands, I'm very happy to have the two brushes.  Brushes aren't something I usually invest much money in, so these Japoneque ones are a nice treat!

What do you think of subscription boxes?  Have you tried Wantable? 

Disclosure: Box provided for 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.

Hurraw! Lip Balms

My lips always seem to suffer the most during the transition into cold, winter weather, so I can't think of a better time to talk about the lip balms that have been doing an excellent job keeping my lips soft and hydrated this fall.

Hurraw! balms are completely non-toxic, vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO.  The base oils - almond, coconut, jojoba, castor, and olive - are all cold-pressed and processed below 188°F, so they're still packed with all the nutrients and goodness to best nourish your lips.  The balms are also made with cocoa butter, cadelilla wax, essential oils, herbs, and organic flavours. 

In terms of feel, the first thing you'll notice is that Hurraw!'s balms are incredibly smooth and not at all waxy.  They do a great job nourishing your lips, but they sink in pretty quickly and don't leave much of a protective coating, so I find I prefer to use them when I know I'll be staying indoors.  If I'm heading outside in the dead of winter, I still reach for my Badger Creamy Cocoa Cocoa Butter Lip Balm.   

Here's a quick rundown of the five flavours I've tried:

Coffee Bean: I'm not a coffee drinker, but I do enjoy the smell of coffee, and this balm totally does it for me.  Smells more like a sweet mochaccino than straight up coffee beans.

Cinnamon: If you're a fan of cinnamon hearts, you'll love this one!  It smells exactly like the candy and gives a sheer tint to your lips, like you just ate a red popsicle.  I do find this flavour to be slightly less hydrating than its untinted counterparts, and if your lips are already chapped, I'd recommend steering clear of it - the cinnamon can feel a little irritating and burny on already sore lips.

Grapefruit: Zesty and refreshing, like a glass of fresh grapefruit juice.

Vanilla Bean: Probably my least favorite of the bunch.  It's a very sweet vanilla scent that, to me, smells a lot more like honey or animal crackers than actual vanilla.   

Mint: One of my favorites.  This isn't a soft, meek mint, but it's incredibly fresh and leaves your lips with a nice pepperminty tingle.  It may even freshen your breath a little!

The Bottom Line
With tinted options and a multitude of flavours, I kind of think of Hurraw! balms as the Lip Smackers of the green beauty world.  With so many choices, there should be one to suit anyone!  I also love the packaging - the cheery oval tubes are not only fun, they also make for greater precision when you're applying the balm.  

Where to Buy: $3.37 to $3.82 from iherb$3.79 to $4.29 from Hurraw!

Have you tried Hurraw! balms?  What are your favorite flavours? 

Disclosure: Contains affiliate links to iherb.

Pretty Pure Radiance Day Cream

Since discovering the magic of face oils (cue angels singing), I haven't been reaching for cream moisturizers nearly as often.  Bearing that in mind, one gem that's still managed to consistently stay in my rotation is Pretty's Pure Radiance Day Cream.  Pretty's cream is a beautiful blend of sunflower and coconut oils that moisturizes like you wouldn't believe.  And while it's got some weight to it, it's never heavy or greasy.  

The rich cream sinks in beautifully and is fully absorbed in seconds.  It leaves my skin hydrated and glowy, but also completely matte and touchable.  In fact, if you've been searching for an alternative to silicone-based face primers, this just might be it.  It can't completely erase pores or fill in lines, but it does visibly soften both.  I also notice less makeup settling into the creases/lines of my face when I wear this underneath.  

For more long term results, Pretty has also included sea fennel and alfalfa, which stimulate cell renewal, thereby promoting collagen production and, over time, actually helping to minimize scars, fine lines, and wrinkles.  Rose, neroli, lavender, chamomile, and frankincense give the cream a soft scent - mainly floral, but not at all overpowering - while simultaneously helping to improve skin elasticity and giving your skin that bright, radiant look we're all searching for.

The Bottom Line
Whether you're looking for a superb moisturizer or a healthy makeup primer, Pretty hits it out of the park with Pure Radiance.  The cream moisturizes like a dream - even the driest of elbows - and it plays well with other products too.  I've used it both by itself and layered with serums or oils, and it works incredibly well both ways.  

Another great product from Pretty!  I'm beginning to think this line can do no wrong!

Where to Buy: $29 from Pretty 

Ingredients: Organic aloe vera leaf juice, organic sunflower seed oil, cetearyl alcohol (plant emollient), cetearyl glucoside (corn), alfalfa extract, coconut oil, cetearyl wheat straw glycoside, aspen bark extract, organic vegetable glycerin, maltooligosyl glucoside (plant emollient), hydrogenated starch hydrolysate (corn), cetyl esters wax, sea fennel extract, olive leaf extract, organic lavender flower oil, organic neroli oil, organic chamomile extract, organic rose damascena oil, rosemary leaf extract, frankincense extract, xanthan gum, p-anisic acid (anise derivative). 99.9% of ingredients are derived from plant-origin, 83.7 % from Organic Agriculture.

Urban Minerals: Mineral Makeup with Purpose

In a given week, I wear foundation a minimum of five days, and with skin on the more sensitive side, I usually opt for mineral powders.  I first connected with Urban Minerals on Twitter, and being a mineral foundation fan, you can imagine how excited I was when I was asked about doing a review.  Not all mineral foundations are created equal and Urban Minerals combines a unique philosophy and fantastic ingredients to create a foundation that has quickly become top tier on my vanity.  

Picture from Urban Minerals

Sarah Devika Sumnauth, Urban Minerals' founder, is passionate about bringing green beauty to women of all colours, an ethos that's reflected in the company's extensive shade range.  With 30 shades, there are colours catering to both paler and deeper complexions and covering a variety of skin undertones.   Urban Minerals has detailed written descriptions of each shade, and I'm sure Sarah would be happy to help if you're struggling to choose.  The company also has a generous return policy with refunds/exchanges within 90 days to make sure you find your perfect colour.

I was sent samples of five shades, and I found my match in Missus Multicultural, a neutral shade with both cool and yellow undertones.  (Don't ask me how that works, but it does!)  The foundation blends effortlessly and offers a beautiful, buildable coverage.  One layer gives a light, soft-focus finish, while two or three layers creates a more medium-to-full coverage.  The foundation also works well for spot concealing, should you have any areas that need a little extra coverage.  

Having a difficult time showing foundation shades!  L to R: Universal Harmony, Missus Multicultural, Light Mode, Real Vitality, Unfurled Flowers

The foundation is denser and creamier than most powder foundations I've used.  You get the ease and convenience of a powder product, but once buffed in, it feels slightly creamy to the touch, similar to the feeling of cream-to-powder products.  If you're someone who worries about mineral foundations being drying or looking powdery, this would be a good one to take the plunge with.  The creamy texture also lends itself to great lasting power, and the foundation consistently makes it through my 10-hour work day without any problems!

With regards to ingredients, Urban Minerals also stands out from the crowd.  Everything is Canadian-sourced, and along with the standard minerals, the foundation contains a host of additives, each selected for their healing and therapeutic properties.  The formulation is packed with anti-inflammatory ingredients like nettle, aloe, chamomile, calendula, and marshmallow, and also contains balancing sea buckthorn, anti-bacterial white willow bark, and antioxidant rosemary.  I haven't noticed any drastic improvements in my skin while wearing the foundation, but neither has my skin reacted to the extra ingredients.  Together the additives give the foundation a subtle scent that's herbal and slightly sweet.  

Picture from Urban Minerals

The Bottom Line
A diverse shade range is where a lot of natural makeup companies fall short, so I'm excited to find a company like Urban Minerals who is making this a top priority.  The price point is higher than some, but the foundation is excellent quality, with great ingredients and buildable coverage, and is comparably priced to higher end lines like Bare Minerals.  I'd love to see the line expand from foundation into color products in the future too!  

Where to Buy:
$37 from Urban Minerals

Ingredients: Serecite, Zinc Oxide, Boron Nitride, Titanium Dioxide, Silica, Urtica Dioica (Nettle Root) extract, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) extract, Salix Alba (White Willow Bark) extract, Organic Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) extract, Organic Althaea Officinalis (Marshmallow) Root Powder, Organic Matricaria recutita (Chamomile) extract, Organic Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract (CO2)

Disclosure: Products 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.

The All Natural Face Cream Blush (Picture Heavy, Almost Complete Collection)

A few months ago, Crystal from the All Natural Face asked me if I'd be willing to take some photos of their cream blushes for the new website they were planning to launch.  The new website is live now (check it out!), but the photos didn't end up being used.  All the same, rather than just leave them sitting in a file, I figured I'd share the photos here.  I've photographed and swatched 23 of the 27 cream blushes, plus the one cream highlighter, so I'm hoping they'll be helpful to anyone struggling to choose colors.  I grouped similar colors together so you can see how they compare to one another.  (Click on the photos to make them bigger.)  You can also read my full review of the cream blushes here.

Have you tried these blushes yet?  What are your favorite colors?

September Empties / Products I've Used Up

I don't actually have a whole lot of empties to talk about this month.  October is off to a promising start though - I've already got a number of things on their final legs.  Here's what I finished up in September:

Weleda Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion
As I mentioned in my Sensitive Skin Saviors post, this was the cleanser I turned to when my skin started acting up over the summer.  It's incredibly gentle but still very effective at keeping your skin clean.
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

Ella's Botanicals Lemon Zing Shower Gel (sample)
Citrus scents are some of my favorites and this was a nice shower gel that smelled lemony fresh.  It lathered nicely and didn't dry out my skin.
Repurchase? Maybe.

Zuzu Luxe Onyx Mascara   [Review]
Zuzu Luxe has been my go-to mascara for years.  It won't give you the most intense, bold lashes, but it never irritates my eyes and it doesn't smudge or flake.  I like to stock up on a couple tubes whenever White Rabbit Beauty has a sale.
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

Badger Tangerine Breeze Lip Balm
I usually buy Badger's cocoa butter lip balms, but their regular line is nice too.  These are great if you prefer a thinner, slicker balm, versus something thicker and creamier.
Repurchase? Yes.

Sierra Bees Vanilla Lip Balm
Another good lip balm, although I found the vanilla scent got a little sickly towards the end of the tube.  The Sierra Bees lip balms are usually available as freebies with any iherb order.
Repurchase? Yes.

Une Beauty Skin Glow Pencil in GO2   [Review]
I initially purchased this to use in my waterline, and while it works great for that, I actually really like it as an overall concealer.  It does a surprisingly good job brightening up under eye circles and is also great for concealing any redness I get around the sides of my nose.
Repurchase? Definitely.  Thankfully, the lovely Hephzibah from Good for Me Good For You was kind enough to send me a couple backups when I was having a hard time finding somewhere that would still ship Une internationally.

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (sample)
If I was picking a winner for most disappointing product of the month, this would be it.  When I saw that Neiman's Idealist had compared Tata's mask to Ren's Glycolactic Radiance Mask (which I desperately want to try, but haven't let myself because of the phenoxyethanol in it), I knew I had to give it a go.  I'm glad I started with a sample, since sadly my skin was not a fan.  It felt okay on, but in 20 minutes I went from having a good, smooth skin day to random bumps all over my cheeks.  No bueno.
Repurchase? No.

Weleda Citrus Creamy Body Wash (sample)
The Citrus scent isn't my favorite from Weleda, but the actual body wash is lovely.  As the name suggests, it creamy and very hydrating.
Repurchase? Yes.  I've already bought a tube in my favorite, Sea Buckthorn scent.

And that's it for September!  What did you use up this month?  If you've done a post, feel free to link it in the comments.