Graydon Face Food Mineral Mist

Floral waters and essential oil hydrosols really dominate the natural market when it comes to toners, and while I've nothing against those, it's always nice to have choices.  Graydon's Face Food Mineral Mist is a water-based formula that's both simple and unique.  It's comprised purely of three ionic minerals: copper, silver, and zinc.  In this form, the minerals easily penetrate skin cell structure and are able to provide both individual and collective benefits to your skin.

Copper helps in the production of collagen and elastin, contributing to firmer, more supple skin.  Silver penetrates and kills bacteria deep in the pores, while also neutralizing any fluoride left behind from the tap water used to wash your face.  Lastly, anti-inflammatory zinc manages bacteria on the skin, effectively reducing redness and irritation.  

All three come together to make a gentle, scent-free mist that offers light, soothing hydration.  I mainly use it as a toner, after cleansing and before applying any serums or oils, but it can also be used throughout the day to perk up your skin with an extra dose of moisture.  

When my skin is good, the mist is light, hydrating, and makes a good base for oils and serums.  But, it's on more iffy skin days that Face Food really shines.  It's quickly become one of the first things I reach for if I have any breakouts.  With nothing to irritate or inflame already sensitive skin, it's a fantastic, soothing mist.  I'm pretty confident it's helped a few blemishes heal up faster than they otherwise would have too! 

The Bottom Line
For anyone searching for a great water-based toner or mist, Graydon's Face Food is an excellent contender to keep in mind.  It makes a good base for serums and oils and is light, refreshing, and completely non-sticky.  The simple ingredients are great if you have more sensitive skin, and I'd especially recommend it for anyone with more acne-prone skin, since I noticed a definite reduction in the healing time of breakouts while using this product. 

Where to Buy: $29 from Clementine Fields/Graydon

Ingredients: ionic copper, silver and zinc infused in purified water and nothing else!

Disclosure: Product 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.

Sample Stash #1: Cleansers

I'm always eager to pick up new samples to try, but I'm not nearly as good at actually using them.  The result: a mild case of sample hoarding.  With that in mind, I'm starting a new series of Sample Stash posts, which will be a chance to share mini reviews as I use things up.  Obviously I can't know how something performs long term from a foil packet, but I can give my first impressions and whether it's sparked my interest enough to buy.   

First up...cleansers!

Oy! Cleanser, Make-up Remover & Moisturizer
For something marketed as a cleanser, make-up remover, and moisturizer, I'm disappointed to report that this product failed me on all three counts.  It struggled with mascara and didn't touch my eyeliner, even after two cleanses.  It also left my skin feeling tight and dry, so I really don't see how it could be used as a moisturizer.  Considering that the scent was not a hit either - some kind of artificial/cleaning product orange - I'm writing this one off as a complete flop.  

Weleda One Step Cleanser & Toner
A part of me has always shuddered at the thought of this product - a 2-in-1 Cleanser and Toner - but I may have judged it too harshly.  It's a watery cleanser with a refreshing lemony/citrus scent.  I wish the consistency was a little thicker - it's as thin as water - as I'm not 100% sure how to work with a cleanser like this.  I end up pouring a little into my palm and then massaging it onto damp skin and rinsing off, but inevitably some gets lost down the drain in the process.  Even so, I do quite like it, particularly for morning cleansing, when it leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed.  I'm currently working through a second sample, but I'd consider purchasing a full size in the future.

Pai Camelia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser
Since this is a popular product with a lot of other green beauty bloggers, I was expecting great things, and for the most part, it didn't let me down.  It's a thick cream cleanser that leaves skin cleansed, soft, and happy.  It also removes makeup pretty easily.  The only sticking point for me is the smell.  I don't generally enjoy rose scents, and while this one wasn't overly strong or unbearable, I don't know that I'd purchase the full size as it stands now.  If Pai released another scent, I'd be all over it!

Sibu Beauty Balancing Facial Cleanser
Sibu's cleanser has a gel consistency and tiny particles that gently exfoliate.  It lathers a little but isn't harsh or overly stripping.  I really don't feel strongly about this one either way - I guess it just failed to wow me.  

So nothing that'll usurp my Kahina Cleanser's spot as "favorite cleanser," but I enjoyed trying these four nonethless.  I may yet buy the Weleda, but I doubt I'll be bringing home any of the other three.  Have you tried any of these?  Any other cleanser recommendations?

Nürish Organics Daily Glow Antioxidant Serum

Photo from Nürish Organics
Right from the start, Daily Glow caught my eye.  After all, aren't we all looking for skincare products that will help us find that illusive glow?  Nürish's antioxidant serum claims to fight sun damage and early signs of aging, while promoting healthy, glowing skin and after testing it out for several weeks, I'm happy to report that it really has made a noticeable difference in the overall radiance of my skin.  

Daily Glow is a combination of 20(!) antioxidant and vitamin-rich oils that are combined in such a way as to amplify the individual benefits of each oil.  The blend contains a couple of old favorites - argan and carrot seed - as well as some I hadn't tried before - sea buckthorn and pumpkin seed.  It also includes antioxidant-rich raspberry, cranberry, and pomegranate seed oils and essential oils of rose, jasmine, geranium, neroli, chamomile, rock rose, and matricaria.  As many of you will know, I'm not generally a floral scents kind of person, so I was initially a little wary, but happily, while it smells floral, Daily Glow isn't just another run-of-the-mill rose scent.  The neroli and chamomile tone down the sweetness of the rose and jasmine and the overall scent is floral, but also fresh.  I wouldn't say it's my favorite scent ever, but it's not anything that would prevent me from using and enjoying the serum.

In terms of performance, I've accumulated more than a couple face oils over the last few months and Daily Glow is definitely one of the most hydrating.  It's not heavy, but it isn't a light, airy blend either.  I've been loving it this fall/winter, but I wonder if it might be a bit much for oilier skin types.  Just a couple drops satisfies my normal-to-dry skin and leaves my skin looking healthy, and dare I say it, glowy.  The oil absorbs quickly and also layers well with other serums and moisturizers, should you be so inclined.  I usually use it by itself, but on exceptionally dry nights, I've used it under Rejuven-EIGHT with equally great results.  

The Bottom Line
I've been very happy with everything I've tried from Nürish (see my reviews of Best Scrub Ever and Rejuven-EIGHT), and Daily Glow is no exception.  It's a heady blend of oils that delivers just what the name promises: a healthy glow.   Anti-aging benefits are a little harder to gauge, but given the number of potent oils packed into each bottle, I'm pretty confident it's got things well covered in that regard also.  

Where to Buy: $62 from Nürish/Saffron Rouge

Ingredients: Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Argania spinosa (Argan) Kernel Oil*, Vitis vinifera (Ruby Red Grape) Seed Oil*, Rubus idaeus (Red Raspberry) Seed Oil*, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil*, Cucurbita pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil*, Punica granatum (Pomegranate Seed) Extract*, Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) Fruit Extract*, Neroli Oil, Daucus carota sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil*, Jasminum grandiflorum (Jasmine Flower) Extract*, Rosa centifolia (Rose) Flower Extract*, Pelargonum graveolens (Geranium) Flower Oil*, Chamomilla recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Anthemis nobilis (Chamomile) Flower Oil*, Cistus ladaniferus (Rock Rose) Oil, Cera alba (Beeswax)*, Tocopherols (Full Spectrum Naturally Sourced Vitamin E). (*Denotes Organic Ingredient) 

Disclosure: Product 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.

Last Minute Green Beauty Holiday Gift Guide

With Christmas less than a week away, I'm sure I'm not the only one still scrambling to find gifts for the last couple people on my list.  With that in mind, I put together a small grouping of green beauty picks for fellow last minute gift hunters.  Given the limited time frame, I've only included things that should be pretty easy to track down...

1. Konjac Sponges
These little sponges make washing your face fun!  The ones I'm currently using are by Dr. Sponge, who makes several different options, so there's bound to be one to suit almost any recipient.  I will say, if you're in Toronto, apparently konjac sponges have yet to fully hit.  I called multiple stores last week and most people that I spoke to hadn't even heard of them before!

2. Lippy Girl Vegocentric Lipstick
If you're buying for a beauty lover, you really can't go wrong with lipstick!  Lippy Girl's are vegan and organic and come in a great range of colors.

3. Weleda Hand Cream Gift Sets
Weleda is pretty widely available and their hand creams are some of the best.  Plus, these gift sets are just too cute!  Choose between cult favorite Skin Food (amazing for those extra dry spots) or Pomegranate or Sea Buckthorn Hand Cream.  The sets also include a mini body lotion and a $2 off coupon, good on your next purchase of Weleda body care.

4. Skin Essence Organics Serums
I really think there's nothing better than face oils for keeping skin hydrated through the winter months and Skin Essence makes some lovely blends.  Super effective and at a price point that won't break the bank, these serums would make an excellent gift for any skincare lover on your list!

5. Nourish Organic Body Wash
I picked up Nourish's body wash in a couple new-to-me scents during their Black Friday sale and it's really rekindled my love of the brand.  These USDA certified body washes are luxurious and creamy and are something I keep coming back to.  (They also do matching body lotions and butters if you feel so inclined.)

6. rareEarth Candles
I'm generally not a big candle person, but rareEarth's are pretty stunning.  Not only are they made with a blend of GMO-free plant and beeswaxes and scented using only essential oils, they're also colored by hand with only mineral pigments.  I found them at my Whole Foods, but they're also available online.

7. Local Handmade Soap
There's something really lovely about using old-fashioned handmade soap, particularly when you can find some that's made locally.  Ground Soap (pictured above) is a great choice if you're in Ontario!  

Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet?

Frangipani Skincare (Part #2)

I already covered Frangipani's cleansers and serums in Part #1, and today I want to introduce you to a few of the moisturizers and balms in their lineup.  

Shea Butter Softening Lotion
Particularly in the colder months, there's very little that hydrates and seals in moisture as well as shea butter.  Frangipani's Shea Butter Softening Lotion is a fairly lightweight whipped shea butter that melts into the skin beautifully and is great for both face and body.  A thin layer is all I need for any dry patches on the face and a more liberal application does wonders for dry feet or elbows.  It hydrates well with jojoba oil, but it's not greasy.  To me, it smells strongly of geranium, although there are also lighter notes of lavender and neroli. 

Ingredients: butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, tocopherol (Vitamin E), zea mays (corn) starch, citrus aurantium (neroli) oil, pelargonium graveolens (geranium) flower oil, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil

(L to R) Shea Butter Softening Lotion, Regeneration Flower Lotion
Regenerating Flower Lotion
Almond oil, rose water, rosehip fruit oil, and beeswax combine together to create a soft balm or salve-textured cream that's recommended for mature or extra dry skin.  It's a little too heavy for my skin for daily use, but I enjoy using it as an occasional intensive moisture boost.  I also really like it on my hands before bed.  It takes a few extra minutes to absorb fully, but nothing crazy.  

Ingredients: prunus amygdalus (almond sweet) oil, rosa damascena (rose) flower water, rosa canina (rosehip) fruit oil, beeswax, gluconolactone (and) sodium benzoate (natural preservative), lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, citrus aurantium (neroli) oil, cananga odorata macrophylla (ylang ylang) flower oil, tocopherol (Vitamin E)

Jasmine Mint Lip Balm
If you've read much of the blog, you'll likely remember that some florals, like jasmine, just aren't my cup of tea, so it was with some trepidation that I first sniffed this lip balm.  Happily, the combination of jasmine and mint is another story altogether!  Spearmint and menthol tone down the sweetness of the jasmine and what you're left with is a refreshing, light, minty floral scent.  Beyond the smell, the actual balm is lovely as well - thick and creamy from a combination of shea butter and jojoba and coconut oils, with just a hint of a minty tingle from the menthol.  

Ingredients: simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), beeswax, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, jasminum sambac (jasmine) oil, mentha viridis (spearmint) leaf oil, mentha arvensis (menthol) leaf oil, tocopherol (Vitamin E)

The Bottom Line
Frangipani has a great lineup, with products targeted at several different skin types. The scents all lean towards the floral side of things, but they aren't overpowering or perfumy.  The products are well-formulated and effective and also very reasonably priced.  Another great thing: there are lots of different trial sets available, which are a great way to sample the line.  These aren't minis that'll get you just one or two uses either - speaking from experience, even the trial sizes will last you a good while!

Disclosure: Product 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.

Frangipani Skincare (Part #1)

I recently had the opportunity to try out several products from Frangipani and after using them for almost two months, it's past time I wrote about them.  Frangipani is an Indianapolis-based company making affordable, natural, plant-based skincare.  The line was started in 2008 after Tracy Land was downsized from her job at a software company.  As someone who'd already created products for her own skin, Land took the opportunity to launch Frangipani.  Today, the line is available in a number of health food stores (including Whole Foods) and includes body care products, as well as face products for five skin types - balanced, hormonal, stressed, environmental, and mature.  The website describes the five types so you can easily select the products best suited to your skin.  

Due to the number of products, I'm splitting this into two parts.  Today I've got my thoughts on the cleansers and serums and I'll do a separate post on the moisturizers and balms.  

Refreshing Face Wash
Sad to say, the Refreshing Face Wash is the one Frangipani product that my skin just did not get along with.  I've learned that creamy cleansers work best for my somewhat sensitive skin, and in contrast, the castile soap in this face wash just left my face feeling overly tight and dry.  I can see it working better during the summer or for oilier skin types.  

Ingredients: cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil, citrus aurantium amara (neroli) floral water, pelargonium graveolens (rose geranium) floral water, gluconolactone (and) sodium benzoate (natural preservative), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, pelargonium graveolens (geranium) flower oil, citrus aurantium (neroli) oil, citric acid, tocopherol (Vitamin E)

Exfoliating Face Gel
Definitely a favourite out of everything I tried from Frangipani!  Jojoba beads are suspended in a base of aloe vera gel, with just a touch of olive oil castile soap, making for a lovely, super gentle exfoliant that leaves my skin feeling clean, plump and hydrated.  The perfect choice for anyone looking for a gentle, non-irritating face scrub.  I've been alternating between this and Nürish Organics' much more intense Best Scrub Ever for about a month now and they are absolutely the most perfect balance for one another!

Ingredients: aloe barbadensis (miller), olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil, hydrogenated jojoba oil (jojoba beads), gluconolactone (and) sodium benzoate (natural preservative), melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) leaf oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, citrus aurantium (neroli) oil, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower oil, potassium sorbate, citric acid, xanthan gum, tocopherol (Vitamin E)

Toning Serum
Frangipani describes this as the serum for "people with balanced skin who know they need crucial vitamins to keep skin healthy."  With apricot and jojoba oils and essential oils of neroli, rosemary, ylang ylang and thyme, it's a nourishing serum that absorbs quickly, but still manages to be very hydrating.   

Ingredients: prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, tocopherol (Vitamin E), simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil, citrus aurantium (neroli) oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, cananga odorata macrophylla (ylang ylang) flower oil, thymus vulgaris (thyme) oil

Protective Serum
A little heavier than the Toning Serum, the Protective Serum is a blend of apricot kernel, avocado, and evening primrose oils that's been great for my skin heading into the colder months.  Recommended for sensitive skin, as well as for rashes, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis, this is definitely a calming blend.  Carrot seed and lavender oils soothe irritations, protect against future environmental stress and also provide anti-aging benefits.  

Ingredients: prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, oenothera biennis (evening primrose) oil, tocopherol (Vitamin E), dacus carota (carrot) seed oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil

The Bottom Line
Overall, I've been really happy with these products.  The cleanser didn't work for me this time of year, but I'll be hanging onto it to try again come spring.  The Exfoliating Face Gel is lovely and both serums are great, although the Protective Serum has been the clear winner for my skin this fall. 

And it's not over yet!  Stay tuned for my take on a few more Frangipani products in Part #2...

Disclosure: Product 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.

Nurish Organics Rejuven-EIGHT Day Cream

Even though I've fallen hard for face oils over the last several months, there are still times when I want that familiar, comforting feel of rubbing in a cream moisturizer.  On my nightstand recently: Nürish Organics' Rejuven-EIGHT Day Cream.  

Photo from Nürish Organics

Rejuven-EIGHT is, if you'll excuse the pun, a nürishing moisturizer that's packed with ingredients that protect and regenerate your skin.  A combination of pomegranate seed extract and anti-oxidant rich oils of red grape, carrot seed, raspberry seed, blueberry seed, cranberry seed, and broccoli seed deeply hydrates your skin and minimizes free radical damage.  These ingredients also protect against future environmental stress and sun damage.  Manuka honey (OMA 16+) moisturizes and is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.  It's also known to repair damaged skin and support skin cell regeneration.  Last but not least, rhassoul clay - rich in silica, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, and sodium - evens skin tone and improves skin clarity, texture, and elasticity.

As the name suggests, Rejuven-EIGHT is intended as a day moisturizer, but I actually prefer using it at night. It's lightweight, sinks in quickly and provides a good base for applying makeup on top of, but I found that my skin ended up more shiny than usual midway through the afternoon on days when I used Rejuven-EIGHT as a morning moisturizer.  Nighttime use, on the other hand, means I can liberally slather on as much cream as I want and my skin has a full eight or more hours to soak up all the antioxidants and other nutrients the moisturizer has to offer.  Despite it's light feel, I gather it was just a little too much moisture for my skin during the day, as I've had no further issues with excess oil or shine since switching to using it at night.  

The Bottom Line
Rejuven-EIGHT may not have worked as well as I'd hoped as a day cream, but I love using it as a nighttime moisturizer!  It smooths on easily and works well, both on its own or in combination with a face oil, and in the morning, I wake up with glowy, soft skin.  I've also noticed less redness since I started using this product.  The ingredients are predominantly organic and it smells lovely - sweet and a little fruity.  It's a subtle scent that's never overpowering and dissipates within a few minutes of application.  Definitely a hit in my book!

Where to Buy: $49 from Nürish/Saffron Rouge

Ingredients: Purified Water, Prunus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oleosomes*, Decaglyceryl Decaoleate (Vegetable Source), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Fruit Butter*, Cetyl Alcohol (Vegetable Source), Leptospermum Scoparium (Active Manuka) Honey*, Moroccan Lava (Rhassoul) Clay, Glycerin (Vegetable Source), Stearic Acid (Vegetable Source), Beeswax Wax*, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate Seed) Extract*, Vitis Vinifera (Ruby Red Grape) Seed Oil*, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil*, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil*, Vaccinium Corymbosum (Blueberry) Seed Oil*, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Brassica Oleracea Italica (Broccoli) Seed Oil*, Tocopherols (Full Spectrum Naturally Sourced Vitamin E), Sclerotium Gum, Cananga Odorata (Ylang Ylang) Flower Oil*, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Oil*, Benzyl Alcohol, Dehydroacetic Acid. (*Denotes Organic Ingredient)

Disclosure: Product 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.

November Empties / Products I've Used Up

Not a whole lot used up in November, but since I don't relish the thought of hanging onto these things any longer, I'm doing a post now anyways!

Nourish Exfoliating Body Polish   [Review]
A nice, gentle scrub.  Not very abrasive at all - I was even using it on my face at one point!  Different scent options would make it even better, as this unscented one just smells starchy and cornmeal-esque, which kind of wore on my nerves after a while.
Repurchase? Maybe.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Eye Shadow in Blitzen and Surfrider   [Review]
Darling Girl eye shadows are some of my favorites!  Both of these were light peach shades, which you may have noticed I wear a lot.  Blitzen was a favorite, and while technically discontinued, Susan, DG's founder, found some hanging around that I was able to snatch up.
Repurchase? Blitzen yes, Surfrider, no.

Ella's Botanicals Skin Soother Beauty Bar Soap (sample)
I think I've tried almost all of Ella's bar soaps now and the Skin Soother is definitely my favorite.  It has a different base than the rest of them - olive oil instead of canola - and I like it a lot more.  As the name suggests, it's very gentle and soothing.  It's technically unscented, but it has a delicate, slightly sweet smell that's quite lovely.  
Repurchase? Yes.

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap in Citrus and Unscented (samples)
Dr. Bronner's is always a staple.  I regularly use it to clean my makeup brushes, hand-wash any delicates, and for a multitude of other jobs as they pop up.  The citrus scent isn't my favorite.
Repurchase? Unscented, yes.

Badger Creamy Cocoa Cocoa Butter Lip Balm
Love, love, love this lip balm!  It's great all year, but especially awesome in the winter, as it really coats and protects your lips against the cold.  Creamy Cocoa doesn't have any added scent, letting the cocoa butter really shine.
Repurchase? Yes.

Young Living Essential Oils Thieves
A blend of clove, cinnamon, rosemary, lemon, and eucalyptus essential oils that's great for the immune system.  I got hit with a cold in the beginning of the month and finished this bottle off while fighting it.
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.