27 February 2013

The All Natural Face Haul + First Impressions

I've been wanting to try The All Natural Face for months now, so when they recently had a deal going on where you paid only $19 for a $50 coupon, the time had definitely come.  I've had this stuff about a week now - enough time to try most things out, but not really long enough to form full opinions.  I really enjoy Nicole of EcoChicBeautyDiva's combined haul/first impressions posts, so I'm going to try and do something similar.  Hopefully she won't mind!

Here's what I spent my coupon on:



Cream Blushes in Peach Goddess, Tequila Sunrise & Peachy Rose
These cream blushes are definitely my favorite of everything I picked up!  Smooth, creamy, and highly pigmented, they blend beautifully and you only need the smallest amount to add a nice flush to your cheeks.  My order was left outside my house and a few things ended up freezing before I got home, which seems to have caused some of the oils in the blushes to separate and come out.  Nothing major - they still work great - but that's what the liquid you can see in the above photo is.  

My one complaint with these, and something that I think holds true for a lot of The All Natural Face's products, is that the colours were not all consistent with how they appear online.  I was hoping to use Peach Goddess as a highlight, since it looks pretty light on the website (see here), but it ended up being a rich bronzey peach, not at all suited to highlighting.  It's a beautiful colour and I actually love it on the cheeks, but it's not what I was expecting at all.  I'm also quite taken with Tequila Sunrise, which is a lovely coral pink with a nice sheen.  The third colour, Peachy Rose, was actually the colour I immediately knew I had to have after seeing both Nicole and Brianna (of iluvjesse444) use it, but as it turns out, it's actually the one I'm least excited about in person.  I can't be 100% sure, but mine seems like it has more brown in it than either of theirs, which is a bit disappointing.

(L to R) Cream Blushes in Tequila Sunrise, Peachy Rose, and Peach Goddess
Magic Eye Shadow Primer
I've been testing out an eye primer from Faerie Organic the last few days, so I haven't tried this yet.  One other thing to note - the website lists cosmocial cq and potassium sorbate as the two preservatives in the primer, but the actual packaging lists potassium sorbate and polyaminopropyl biguanide.  I'm not familiar with polyaminopropyl biguanide offhand, so I'll have to do a bit more research before giving this a try. 

Tinted Lip Balm in Honey Peach
This is a nice, buttery lip balm that imparts just the slightest peach tint to your lips.  It's not highly pigmented, but it feels nice on and lasts a good while on your lips too. 

Lip Gloss in Peppermint Stick
Peppermint Stick is described as a light pink, but after seeing swatches online, I was totally expecting a darker, berry shade. As it turns out, it's a light pink after all, and full of silver shimmer.  Because of the shimmer, I think it works best over other lip products, since it ends up looking frosty if you build it up very much.  It's flavoured with peppermint essential oil, which in combination with stevia, leaves the gloss tasting pretty much exactly like a candy cane.  


(L to R) Honey Peach Tinted Lip Balm, Peppermint Stick Lip Gloss

Eye Diva Stix in Milk
I haven't had a chance to do more than swatch this on my hand, but it's the first affordable natural dupe I've found for the NYX jumbo pencils, so I'm excited to try it out. 

Color Correcting Cream Concealer in Midas 
Probably the biggest disappointment in this order, although I haven't given up on it yet!  I'm constantly on the lookout for something that will completely conceal my dark circles and Katie from zenfemi has spoken highly of this concealer, so I decided to pick it up.  I've only used it a couple times, but I really don't notice much difference and it made the skin under my eyes look kind of bumpy and uneven.  I'll definitely be playing around with this more and will hopefully be able to find a way to make it work better.

Cream Foundation in Porcelain Kissed By Honey
I still haven't found a natural liquid or cream foundation that I've been fully happy with, which is something I'm hoping to change with this guy.  I haven't tried it on my face yet, but Porcelain Kissed By Honey is, I believe, the lightest neutral shade offered, and it looks like it could be a good match for my skin.

(L to R) Porcelain Kissed by Honey Cream Foundation, Midas Color Correcting Concealer, Milk Eye Diva Stix
Face Food Papayas and Cream Facial Wash
Brianna also recommended the Strawberries and Cream facial wash, but I decided to try the Papayas and Cream one instead.  Papaya is full of enzymes that are supposed to exfoliate your skin and coconut milk is both soothing and moisturizing.  First impression: it smells delicious.  Not sure what kind of results to expect from this, but it's another product I'm excited to try out!

Overall, I'd say I'm pretty happy with my order, but I do think the company would benefit from redoing a lot of their photos to ensure more accurate colour representations.  It's hard enough shopping for makeup online and I, for one, am a lot more likely to buy when I have a good idea of what colours to expect.  

Have you tried The All Natural Face? 


25 February 2013

Winter Empties

It's that time again!  My last empties post was back in the beginning of December, so this is what I've finished up since then.  There are even a few makeup empties ahead!  (Yup, I'm far too excited about that.)



Face Naturals Pomegranate Scrub (sample)
Face Naturals is one of my favorite companies for body care products, but I'd never tried their scrubs before, so I was excited to see this sample in one of my orders.  I wasn't crazy about the pomegranate scent, which is very sweet and candy-like, but the scrub itself was lovely.  Perfect amount of scrubbiness and a great texture - neither too oily or too dry.   

Madara Moon Flower Tinting Fluid (sample)
I'm glad I was able to try a sample of this first, because it was far too dark for my skin.  I ended up looking orange and oompa loompa-like.  Also smelled kind of funky to me.  

Pai Kukui & Jojoba Bead Skin Brightening Exfoliator (sample)
This is a lovely scrub.  Looking at it in the jar, it looked pretty smooth and I wasn't sure it was going to exfoliate as much as I wanted, but it really does a fantastic job!  It starts out as more of a gel, but it turns kind of milky on your face and it left my skin feeling incredibly soft.  I'm not going to be purchasing this right away as I just got another scrub, but I would definitely consider it in the future.

Darling Girl Cosmetics Snuggle Eye Shadow
I actually used up an eye shadow!  Darling Girl makes fantastic shadows and Snuggle is a great low maintenance colour that you can basically just sweep on and go.  It was on my eyes pretty much every day a couple summers ago, which is how I went through most of the jar.  I still have a ton of other eye shadows, so it isn't something I'll be repurchasing right away. 

Silk Naturals Sleep in a Jar in Light Peach
This is on my face almost every single day and I've already picked up another jar.  I still haven't found an under eye concealer that I'm 100% happy with, but Sleep in a Jar comes pretty darn close.  It's a powder concealer and I wouldn't say it gives full coverage, but it really does a great job brightening up any darkness in the under eye area.  I've also used it on the occasional blemish and it works fairly well for that as well. 

Zosimos Botanicals Fuschia Lip Gloss (sample)
Zosimos' mini lip glosses are an adorable way of sampling colors if you don't want to risk not liking the full size.  Fuschia is a cool pink with a slight blue reflect and I really did enjoy it, but full sizes are $16 and the minis have recently gone up to $5, so I doubt I'll be repurchasing.  It's a nice gloss, but I can get an equally nice, full size gloss from Silk Naturals or My Beauty Addiction for under $5, so I just can't justify the price right now.

Zuzu Luxe Onyx Mascara
As most of you probably know, this is my favourite mascara.  Not a whole lot new to say about it, but I will mention that it survived a trip through blizzard-like weather a couple weeks ago without smudging or running at all.  I try to switch out my tube about every 4 months, so here's another one biting the dust.

Blum Naturals Fragrance Free All Purpose Wipes
I don't use wipes on my face very often, but I did enjoy using these on occasion.  Really, I think I used most of them cleaning blog swatches off my hands and arm.  The last couple wipes did end up drying out before I used them, but for the most part, they stayed pretty moist.

Organic Essentials Organic Cotton Balls
Whenever possible, I prefer to use organic cotton balls on my face.  They really don't cost much more than regular cotton balls and I like to avoid any chlorine or other chemicals found in the regular ones.  These are also quite large, so I end up breaking them in half and only using half at a time, which helps them last longer.


Humphrey's Witch Hazel Astringent
I talked about this in my winter skincare routine, but basically, I've been mixing witch hazel with essential oils (to mask the witch hazel smell) and using it as a toner.  The pores on my nose have a tendency to get clogged and dirty and I've noticed a huge difference since I've been using the witch hazel.  I've already bought a new (jumbo size) bottle.

Bubble & Bee Squeezed Lime Shower Gel
This is a great shower gel that really does smell just like cutting into a fresh lime.  It also lasted an incredibly long time - I started out using it straight on a loofah, but it's super concentrated, so I ended up diluting it in a foamer bottle too, which worked equally well.

Organic Excellence Wild Mint Conditioner
I debated whether or not I should include this one.  Organic Excellence used to be my shampoo and conditioner of choice, but they aren't a company I feel comfortable using or supporting anymore.  In case you missed it, there's been some question of whether or not the brand is disclosing full ingredients, and after emailing back and forth with them a few times, I'm not confident to say either way.  (If you're interested, you can read more about the issue here.)  Unfortunately, I did purchase a new bottle of the conditioner right before all this came out, so while I'll probably use that up, I won't be buying it again.


And that's all for this time!  I love doing these posts, since I get genuinely excited finishing products up.  It's also intensely satisfying watching the empties pile up until I have enough for a post.  I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way.  (Or am I?  Let me know in the comments!)


22 February 2013

Intelligent Nutrients Organic Styling Gel

I mentioned Intelligent Nutrients' Organic Styling Gel in my haircare routine, but I decided it deserved its own post too.  This isn't something I use daily, or even necessarily weekly, but it's a great product to have on hand for those times when I need a hair gel that I know I can count on to keep my 'mind of its own' hair in place.
 
The gel is a little thinner/runnier than what I'm used to in a hair gel, which I wasn't so sure about at first, but I've actually come to like the looser consistency.  It makes it a lot easier to distribute through your hair for a lighter hold, if that's what you're going for, and you can just as easily build up the hold with more product.  Something to keep in mind is that if you do use enough product to get a firm hold, it will leave your hair feeling crunchy. It's not at all sticky and you can definitely brush through the stiffness, but just something to keep in mind.

Intelligent Nutrients products always smell fantastic and this gel is no exception!  It smells like peppermint and spearmint, mixed with something sweet.  The smell is noticeable when you first use it and I occasionally catch a whiff of it throughout the day, but it's in no way overbearing.  You guys know how fussy I can be about scents and I'm totally fine with how this product smells.  

At $12 for 2 fluid ounces or $29 for 5 fluid ounces, the price might seem a little steep, but no more so than a lot of other natural haircare brands.  I'm pretty frugal about most things, but hair styling products are one area where I'm willing to pay a little more.  I don't go through them super fast and based off experience, natural hair styling products often seem like a case of getting what you pay for. 

All things considered, I'd say this is a great hair gel.  And, since it can be used for either a light or firmer hold, it functions almost as a two-in-one product.  I might not use it every day, but nonetheless, it's something I'm really glad to have it in my cabinet!


Ingredients: Certified organic aloe barbadensis leaf juice, certified organic ethyl palmate, certified organic cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, certified organic acacia senegal gum, certified organic ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, certified organic alcohol denat., certified organic citrus medica limã³n (lemon) peel oil, certified organic cyamopsis tetragonoloba (guar) gum, certified organic ceratonia siliqua (locust bean) gum, certified organic nigella sativa (black cumin) seed oil, certified organic cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil, certified organic rubus idaeus (red raspberry) seed oil, certified organic vitis vinifera (red grape) seed oil, certified organic vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry) seed oil, certified organic mentha viridis (spearmint) leaf oil, certified organic cinnamomum camphora (ravintsara) leaf oil, certified organic rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, certified organic menthol, certified organic elettaria cardamomum seed oil, certified organic cinnamomum zeylanicum (cinnamon) bark oil, certified organic vanilla planifolia fruit (natural flavor), certified organic rubus idaeus (red raspberry natural flavor type), certified organic chamomilla recutita (matricaria) flower oil, certified organic citrus aurantifolia (lime) oil, certified organic citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit oil, certified organic limonene, certified organic linalool, certified organic citric acid, tocopherol (vitamin e).


13 February 2013

Jane Iredale Eye Steppes in goWarm

If you've ever searched for pressed makeup that's free of silicones, you'll already know it's one of the hardest natural products to find!  I first heard about Jane Iredale's Eye Steppes when Mary of Pure Makeup reviewed the goBrown set.  The Eye Steppes are free of silicones and other harmful ingredients, but I do want to mention that they are a different formulation from Jane Iredale's other eyeshadows and pressed makeup products, which do contain dimethicone.  I was sent the goWarm palette to try out and I'm excited to share it with you guys!  

The first thing that stood out to me was how this was packaged.  It arrived in an unassuming cardboard box, but as soon as I opened it, I felt like was opening a beautifully wrapped gift.  Inside the box, the palette was wrapped with confetti and tissue paper, then sealed with a sticker and a sprig of dried lavender.




As for the product itself, the Eye Steppes are small, stackable eye shadow palettes.  Each contains a mirror and five shades, divided amongst three levels.  The levels swivel out like a staircase and can also be taken apart.  Then, they can be mixed and matched and recombined with other Eye Steppes and also with Jane Iredale's My Steppes, which contain lip glosses, blushes, and bronzers.  


Jane Iredale Eye Steppes in goWarm


The eye shadows are lovely.  The palettes are coordinated for either your eye color (Blue, Brown, Green) or your skin tone (Cool, Warm), but I'm a firm believer that anyone can wear any of the colors.  My skin is cool toned, but I chose goWarm because warm neutrals tend to be my favorite eye shadow colours.  I wanted something I'd get a lot of use out of and I'm not disappointed in the least!  The shades are all nicely pigmented and apply beautifully.  In terms of intensity, wear, and amount of fallout, these definitely benefit from having some kind of primer or base underneath, but they're certainly wearable without one as well.  

goWarm contains one shimmery colour, one matte with glitter, and three satin shades.  I have plenty of eye shadows in my collection, but I really don't have anything comparable to the three satins.  In my experience, most natural eye shadows tend to be either full on shimmery or completely matte, so the softer, satin finish of these is pretty unique.  

Jane Iredale goWarm: (L to R) Beach, Sunshine, Steamy, Mojito, Sandals
Beach is a light cream shimmer with a hint of gold.  It's light enough that it can be used as a highlight, but I also love wearing it all over the lid.  In a swatch, I can see a few  glitter particles, but they're not noticeable on the eye.

Sunshine is a pale gold satin with a soft sheen.  Beautiful on the lid.

Steamy is a warm corally-salmon color and is a standout for me, as the bright pop of colour in an otherwise very basic neutral palette.  It's still subtle enough for work and everyday wear, but great for adding that little extra interest to your eye look.  You can keep it at full intensity or blend it out for a softer effect.  I love using it on the outer half of the lid and bringing it up into the crease.

Mojito is a medium brown with the same beautiful satin finish as Sunshine and Steamy.  It blends like a dream and is gorgeous in the crease.  Probably my favorite shade in the palette.  

Sandals is a matte warm chestnut brown with gold sparkles.  Great as an eyeliner, in the crease, or even on the lid for a smokier look.  Definitely has some glitter, but it's still not super in your face visible once it's on the eye. 

The Bottom Line 
As far as I'm concerned, the only deterrent from rushing out and buying multiples of this product is the price.  At $56US/$68CAD, Jane Iredale's Eye Steppes are definitely a high-end, luxury item.  That said, my Zuzu Luxe pressed eye shadows retail for $15.25, so five of them would end up costing even more.  I'm definitely impressed with the quality here and pressed eye shadows with completely clean ingredients aren't the easiest thing to find, so if you have the money, I do think they're worth the price.  They apply beautifully, wear well, and I do find the satin finish of Sunshine, Steamy and Mojito to be fairly unique in a market saturated with predominantly shimmery eye shadows.  I could see myself splurging on another Eye Steppes one day (goCool, I'm looking at you), and if Jane Iredale were to ever extend this formula into blushes and bronzers, I'd definitely be interested in checking them out! 

Ingredients: Mica (CI 77019), Boron Nitride, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Pinus Strobus (Pine) Bark Extract, Punica Granatum (Pomegranate) Extract. May Contain: Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Iron Oxides (CI 77489, CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499), Carmine (CI 75470), Manganese Violet (CI 77742), Ultramarines (CI 77007), Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288)


Have you tried anything from Jane Iredale?  What are your favorite products from the line?




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.

7 February 2013

Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil

If you read my winter skincare routine, you already know that I've added Pai's Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil to my nightly routine.  Rosehip oil can be extracted from either the seed or the fruit of the plant, and Pai's oil contains both types.  It's also extracted using CO2 supercritical extraction, which is supposed to deliver the complete and concentrated properties of the plant much better than simple cold pressed oil.  According to Pai, this method also extends the shelf life of the product from cold pressing's six months to a full two years.  Rosehip oil is high in vitamin A and has been proven to be effective on scars, sun damage, fine lines, and stretch marks.  I've mentioned before that I have two small lines on my forehead and they're what I was mainly hoping to target with this product.  Keep reading to see how they fared! 

Product Description
Pai BioRegenerate™ Rosehip Oil is rich in concentrated Trans-Retinoic Acid, an essential fuel for the skin's natural repair function.
Rosehip is the ultimate skin multitasker. With regular use, it conditions the skin, improving skin firmness and elasticity.



  • Refines appearance of damaged skin and fine lines.
  • High levels of Trans-Retinoic Acid delivers Pro-Vitamin A to the skin without causing irritation.
  • Most concentrated Rosehip Oil on the market today.

  • Ingredients
    rosa canina (rosehip) seed extract*, rosa canina (rosehip) fruit extract*, mixed tocopherols (natural vitamin e)
    *Certified Organic by the Soil Association

    Price
    $35 for 1 fl oz

    My Thoughts
    I've tried applying the oil as an all over face oil, but I prefer to focus it just in certain areas of my face.   Like I said, I have those two pesky fine lines on my forehead and also some redness and what I think are broken capillaries around my nose.  Most nights, I put a single drop on the back of my hand and with clean fingers, just dab it onto those two spots.  When I've applied the oil all over my face, it sinks in pretty quickly, but in focusing it on such small areas, the skin in those places ends up more saturated, so it takes longer to absorb.  I've only been using it at night, so it's not an issue - I apply it before bed and it's completely absorbed by the time I wake up. 

    To me, the oil smells like a souped up, super strong cup of rosehip tea. That said, I've had three other people smell it and they all claim it smells kind of like chocolate.  Personally, I don't smell chocolate at all, but there you have it.

    In terms of results, I'm having a hard time judging if it's made a difference on my fine lines.  They aren't terrible to begin with and I find they're more and less visible at different points in the day anyways, depending on how hydrated my skin is.  Right after I wash my face, for instance, even before I apply any toner, oil, or moisturizer, they're barely noticeable, and then throughout the day, they become more visible as my skin gets a little drier and makeup starts to settle into them.  If I had to guess, I'd say that yes, the lines have gotten smaller in the month I've been using Pai's rosehip oil, but it's hard to say for sure. I can say with a lot more certainty that the oil has definitely helped with the redness and broken capillaries around my nose.  These are something I pay attention to concealing every day and I've definitely noticed there is a lot less to cover up since I've been using the BioRegenerate Oil.

    The Score
    8/10

    The Bottom Line
    Pai is a great brand that really seems to care about making effective products without compromising on ingredients.  I love that their entire line is targeted specifically for sensitive skin and that the Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil is certified organic.  I wish it had made a more dramatic difference with the lines on my forehead, but it's very possible they just need more time.  The oil has definitely improved the redness and broken capillaries around my nose and I'm going to continue using it.  I'll keep you all posted - hopefully I'll have more to report back on after using this product for longer!


             

    4 February 2013

    My Haircare Routine

    I've been trying out a bunch of new hair products over the last few months and since my skincare routine was so well received, I figured I'd do a similar post on my current haircare routine!  My hair falls somewhere between wavy and curly and is prone to frizz pretty much all year round.  I've also had issues with hair falling out the last several years, strictly in the fall (apparently losing more hair that time of year is pretty common!), so I also look for products that strengthen hair and encourage hair growth.  


    "Everyday" Shampoo/Conditioner: Acure Organics Moroccan Argan + Argan Stem Cell Shampoo/Conditioner
    I don't actually wash my hair everyday - more like every two or three days - but when I do, these are generally what I use.  When I first reviewed them, I said they were too moisturizing for me for regular use, but with more testing, I discovered they work fantastically, as long as I scale back on how much conditioner I use.  The shampoo itself is pretty hydrating, so my hair really only needs a tiny bit of the conditioner.  Used this way, my curls get enough moisture without being weighed down and my scalp doesn't end up feeling greasy either.


    "Treatment" Shampoo/Conditioner: Intelligent Nutrients PureLuxe Shampoo/Conditioner
    I'm a big fan of Intelligent Nutrients, but their shampoos and conditioners cost a bit more than I want to spend on products that get used up so quickly.  Luckily my hair responds better to only using these occasionally anyways!  The PureLuxe line was formulated for color-treated, damaged, and dry hair and is intensely moisturizing.  I use them once every couple weeks (or more often if my hair starts to feel dry) and they leave my hair feeling extra soft and healthy. 





    Hair Oil: Aura Cacia Organic Argan Oil
    After I wash my hair, while it's still damp, I take one pump of Aura Cacia's argan oil and distribute it mainly on the ends, but working it up the hair a little too.  I've noticed a big difference in the health of my hair since I started using this regularly, and it also works to control frizz.  In fact, as long as it's fairly dry outside, I can get away with just using argan oil, without any other hair products, and my hair will stay virtually frizz-free all day long.







     
    Hair Mousse: Yarok Feed Your Roots Mousse
    This is a pretty new product in my routine, but it's become a fast favourite!  After washing my hair and using the argan oil, most days I'll scrunch my hair with this mousse and let it air dry.  It defines my curls and keeps them in place throughout the day, but doesn't leave them feeling crunchy or sticky.  I'll also use it on second-day hair if my curls need perking up.





    Hair Gel: Intelligent Nutrients Organic Styling Gel
    This is a more occasional product for me.  It's what I use on days when I want a little more hold than what the Yarok provides.  It's a good all purpose gel and it smells lovely and fresh too, like a mix of peppermint and spearmint - the scent reminds me of gum, but in a good way!






    Shine Spray: Intelligent Nutrients Organic Hair Shine
    This is what I reach for on those occasional times when I straighten my hair.  I don't notice a big difference on curly hair, but when my hair is straight, it does a great job controlling any flyaways and leaves my hair with a beautiful, healthy shine.  It's oil-based, so you only want to use a little or else it will take you past shiny and straight to looking greasy.  On an only slightly related note, one of the lovely things about Intelligent Nutrients is that they periodically ask for testers for new products and give out samples before they are released, in exchange for feedback.  And I'm not talking about just to bloggers either - they'll post on Facebook and Twitter for all their fans/followers.  That's how I was introduced to this product, and since I don't use it all that often, I'm actually still working through the generous sample they provided! 


    Hair Mask: DIY Egg/Yogurt Mask
    This mask literally takes less than five minutes to mix up the recipe and another five to ten to apply it, but the combination of working (almost) full time and job hunting for something new means that I've been skipping it more often than not lately.  Ideally I like to use this once every 2-3 weeks and I really need to get back in the habit of doing so.  Seriously, my hair never looks as healthy as the first few days after I use it.


    I feel like I'm pretty low maintenance about my hair, so it's funny how many products ended up in this post!  On a day-to-day basis, I just use the Acure shampoo and conditioner, argan oil, and Yarok mousse and I really don't spend much time doing my hair.  Everything else is stuff I use much more irregularly, though they're all things I enjoy on occasion and that I'm glad to have in my cupboard.  I've definitely been on a bit of a haircare kick lately, so I'd love to know: what are your favorite hair products? 



             
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