30 March 2013

Savon Du Bois Completely Natural Deodorant

Savon Du Bois is a Canadian company best known for their handmade goat's milk soaps.  They also make massage oils, bug spray, body powders, and various other body care products.  I'd been chatting with them on twitter for a couple months when they asked if I would be interested in reviewing their Completely Natural Deodorant.  Having never used a spray deodorant before, I was eager to give it a try!

The deodorant comes in a lovely blue glass spray bottle and is available in three scents.  I chose the scent-free one, but there are also fresh floral (rose-geranium, sweet orange, lavender and clary sage) and heavenly herbal (sage, lavender, lemon and clary sage) scents to choose from.

The scent-free one contains no essential oils or fragrance.  It smells like alcohol when you first spray it, but the smell dissipates very quickly.  As you might expect, the deodorant goes on pretty wet, so I recommend waiting a minute or two after you apply it, before getting dressed.  Another thing to keep in mind is that there's nothing absorptive in the deodorant, so if you sweat, you may feel wet.  

On me, I don't find the deodorant keeps smells at bay for more than a few hours, so I need to reapply several times throughout the day.  I'm fine with that for days when I'm at home, but it isn't the most practical when I'm working or out running around all day.  That said, I do think the efficacy of natural deodorants has a lot to do with how products interact with your individual body chemistry, so just because this doesn't last all day on me, doesn't mean it won't work better on someone else.  

Going by this experience and my numerous other deodorant experiments over the last couple years, I think I can say with some confidence that deodorants with baking soda work best for me.  But, I know many people react to baking soda in deodorants, so if that's you, Savon Du Bois' deodorant may end up being a good fit!  It's gentle on your skin, and even though it contains alcohol, I didn't get any dryness or irritation from using it.  

Cost-wise, it's also pretty affordable.  The 80ml bottle (pictured above) sells for $13 and it does last quite a while.  There are also 400ml refills available for $39. 


Ingredients:  Ethyl alcohol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Distillate, Glycerin, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil.



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.

29 March 2013

Foodie Friday: Homemade Maple Pecan Granola


I regularly tweet pictures of my kitchen escapades (aka food I've cooked), but they usually don't make it to the blog.  I felt like doing something different today, so I thought I'd share my recipe for homemade granola.  

I use maple syrup instead of refined sugar to sweeten it, which not only lends itself to a healthier granola with a more full-bodied taste, it also allows you to skip the entire step of turning regular, granulated sugar into simple syrup. 


Simply put, this recipe is equal parts easy and delicious.  It works well in your milk of choice, on yogurt or ice cream, or just as a crunchy snack on its own.  It's also open to a million and one variations: change up the nuts, use different spices, add seeds, extracts, flavors, nut butter, dried fruit, coconut, chocolate chips - you get the idea!  



  
Maple Pecan Granola

3 cups quick cook oats
1.5 cups pecans, coarsely chopped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine.  Add maple syrup and mix well, making sure to coat the entire mixture.

Transfer mixture to a greased baking dish big enough that the granola can lay mostly flat.  I use two 9x13 Pyrex dishes. 

Bake at 300°F for 45-50 minutes turning granola every 15 minutes, until crisp and lightly golden brown.






Let me know if you try out the recipe!  (Also, how do you feel about occasional food posts on a mostly beauty blog?)


27 March 2013

The All Natural Face Vegan Cream Foundation

When I placed my order from The All Natural Face back in February, I decided to try their cream foundation.  Brianna (iluvjesse444) has recommended it numerous times, but I still didn't have the highest hopes for it.  My skin often doesn't respond well to cream and liquid foundations, plus I'm extra fussy about skin still looking like skin, rather than makeup.  All things considered, I put foundations up against a pretty steep grading curve.  


All Natural Face Cream Foundation in Porcelain Kissed by Honey (10g size)

The All Natural Face Cream Foundation has pretty variable coverage, depending on how you choose to apply it.  I love applying this foundation with my fingers to get a light to medium coverage.  I scoop out a small amount, warm it up on the back of my hand, dot it on my face, and then blend it in with my fingers.  Once it's warmed up, the foundation has a lovely creamy feel and blends easily, but I still like to spritz a couple sprays of George's Aloe all over my face and pat that in, just to make sure it's all blended.  Next, I use a small amount of Honeybee Gardens' Pressed Mineral Foundation around my nose and on any other small areas that need a little extra coverage.  I also use some kind of concealer under my eyes.  Last, I dust my whole face with Lucy Minerals' Lucy Light Finishing Powder.  I'm not sure the foundation actually needs to be set with a powder, unless you have oily skin, but I prefer how my skin feels, to the touch, with a powder on top.

You can definitely achieve a heavier coverage, but personally I don't like to, since as you build it up, the foundation starts to look more like obvious makeup.  Even sheered out with my fingers, coverage starts out a little heavier than I want it to be.  For about the first hour after application, I can see the foundation sitting on top of my skin, but after that, it somehow settles and just leaves a beautiful perfected finish, without looking at all heavy or cakey.  It also lasts all day and doesn't transfer.



The All Natural Face Cream Foundation in Porcelain Kissed By Honey (Swatched heavily and blended out)


The All Natural Face Cream Foundation in Porcelain Kissed By Honey (Swatched heavily and blended out)
Something else to keep in mind is that, while I initially ordered this to use as an under eye concealer, much like my first impressions of the color correcting concealer, I really don't like how this foundation sits under my eyes.  There, it does end up looking thick and cakey and somehow highlights uneven skin and tiny bumps that I'm otherwise not even aware of having.  For this reason, I keep the foundation away from the whole eye area and instead go back in and conceal there with other products.


Wearing The All Natural Face Cream Foundation in Porcelain Kissed by Honey
The Bottom Line
Even though I was ready not to like it, The All Natural Face's Vegan Cream Foundation has really impressed me!  It has a beautiful finish, lasts all day, and hasn't irritated my skin in the least.  Plus,  it's super affordable.  Starting at $6.50, the price is pretty comparable to that of a drugstore foundation, but instead you're getting a completely clean and natural product.  This is definitely something I can see myself keeping in my makeup bag for a long time to come.


Ingredients: organic jojoba oil, organic argan oil, candelillia wax, mica, oxides, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide




25 March 2013

Products I'd Repurchase: A Green Beauty Collab

Brianna from iluvjesse444 had the great idea of doing a green beauty collaboration highlighting our favourite products that we'd happily repurchase.  As much as I love testing new products out, there are quite a few favorites that I stay loyal to as well.  These are products that I use regularly - things I either can't imagine being without or things that I'll stray from temporarily before inevitably returning to.  I had a hard time choosing, but I finally narrowed it down to these fifteen.  A lot of these I've done full reviews on, so if that's the case, it'll be linked down below, should you be looking for more information. 



1. Yarok Feed Your Roots Mousse   [Review]
I might have a lot of hair products in rotation, but on a day-to-day basis, I'm really pretty basic.  Shampoo, conditioner, and this mousse to style with. Basically, it hits every single one of my bucket points for a styling product.  It defines my curls and gives a light hold without leaving any crunchy or sticky feeling, and though it smells great, the smell doesn't linger on my hair.  I've actually just purchased the full size of this after finishing up the mini, travel size I'd originally bought.

2. Balm Balm Fragrance Free Multi Purpose Lip Balm   [Review]
Not only is this a great lip balm, but it really is multi-purpose as the name suggests.  It has a soft balm consistency that melts on contact with your skin and I've used it on my lips, random dry patches, all over my face, and even as a makeup remover.  Not surprisingly my tube is starting to run low, but I'll definitely be buying another when I run out! 

3. Bare Minerals 100% Natural Lipstick in Bavarian Creme   [Review]

I doubt I ever would have tried these lipsticks if I hadn't had a Sephora credit note to spend, but thankfully I did!  They're a little on the pricier side at $15USD/$19CAD, but I do think they're worth it.  In particular, I love Bavarian Creme, which is an amazing pinky-mauve.  It's that perfect "my lips but better" color on me.

4. Loose Mineral Eye Shadows

Although I can appreciate the convenience of pressed shadows, I really do love my loose shadows.  Pigmentation is generally not something you need to worry about with loose shadows and I really don't find them that much more difficult to work with.  Since I probably could have made a list of just the 15 eye shadows I would repurchase, this is kind of a cheat item.  Pictured here are a few of my top picks from Shiro Cosmetics, The Chequered Lily Apothecary, and Persephone Minerals (which is no longer around, unfortunately.)

5. Aura Cacia Organic Argan Oil   [Review]

Considering all the hype, I actually waited quite a while to try argan oil, but once I did, I was hooked!  I use it on my hair after every shower and occasionally on my face too, if it's feeling dry.  I also used it in the homemade body oil I made to combat winter dryness.  I haven't tried a ton of brands, but I really like Aura Cacia's oil and I'm fairly certain it's the one I'll be repurchasing once I use up my current bottle.  It's great quality, affordable, and I prefer the pump top to a dropper or other dispenser.

6. Lucy Minerals Lucy Light Finishing Powder   [Review]
I know I've talked a lot about Lucy Minerals' foundation, but I don't think I've given enough love to their finishing powder.  I originally bought it to use in combination with their foundation, but recently, I've also been using it as a setting powder for a few other foundations.  It looks peach in the jar, but it goes on translucent, so it doesn't add any extra coverage or make you look cakey.  It just sets your foundation, extends wear time, and slightly blurs any imperfections or fine lines, making them less apparent.

7. Silk Naturals Sleep in a Jar in Light Peach   [Review]

I use this under my eyes, pretty much every single day, whether I'm wearing a full face of makeup or not.  I'm one of those people who always has some degree of dark circles to conceal and this does a fantastic job brightening the whole under eye area.  I've been using it for nearly two years now and I've only just recently started on my second jar, so it's a product where a little bit really does go a long way!  On a slightly related note, I've also just recently discovered what I think is the dream team of undereye concealers: Vapour Illusionist Concealer + Sleep in a Jar.  More on that another time!

8. Silk Naturals Lip Products   [Review]
Silk Naturals is also one of my favorite companies for lip products.  The majority of them are under $5 and the quality really is top notch.  I wouldn't repurchase every single colour I have, but there are at least a good 5-6 shades that I wouldn't want to be without.  Pictured here are Shrieking Violet Liquid Lip Gloss and Dame Buttercream Lip Glaze (which seems to be discontinued, rats!)  I've accumulated several more than I what I had when I wrote the original review - let me know if you'd be interested in seeing an updated collection post.

9. Young Living Moisturizers   [Review]
Young Living's moisturizers have been favorites of mine for years now and I've repurchased them multiple times.  The Boswellia Wrinkle Cream used to be my top pick, but this winter, I really loved the Sandalwood Moisture Cream, so I'm not sure which one I prefer anymore.  Both of them are on the expensive side, but I haven't found another moisturizer I like as much as these two.

10. George's Always Active Aloe Spray Mister   [Review]
This is another fantastic multi-use product!  I first bought it to use as a makeup setting spray, and while it works great for that, it's also become a much loved step in my daily skincare routine.  I use it morning and night, in between my toner and moisturizer.  It's great for adding an extra kick of hydration that gets sealed in when you apply moisturizer on top.  I also love using it before applying any facial oils, since it helps them rub in a little easier, much the same way that applying body oils to damp skin does.  If that's not enough, I've also used it in my hair and it's great for skin irritations and burns too! 

11. Faerie Organic Forty Winks Eye Primer   [Review]
This is a fairly new discovery for me, but it's something I already can't see myself being without!  With Forty Winks, my eye makeup doesn't budge for a good 14 hours.  It also has super clean ingredients and is seriously the best eye shadow primer I've ever used.  

12. Lip Liners

When I hear people complain that natural lip colors/glosses/tints don't last long enough, I always point them to lip liners.  On their own, they aren't the most hydrating of lip products, but for times when I really want my lip colour to last, I always opt for filling in my entire lip with a lip pencil and then applying lip balm or a sheer gloss on top.  I especially love this technique for bolder lip colours, since you don't have to worry about them sliding around on your lips.  Pictured here are are Zuzu Luxe in Fraise and LUVU Beauty in Classic Red.

13. Zuzu Luxe Mascara in Onyx 

I hope you aren't sick of hearing me talk about this mascara!  It's a true black colour, thickens nicely, is decently buildable, lasts all day, doesn't smudge or flake, and doesn't irritate my eyes.  I've probably repurchased it ten or more times.  

14. Badger Balm Cocoa Butter Lip Balm in Creamy Cocoa

Along with the Balm Balm, this Badger lip balm is what I used to keep my lips hydrated through this cold winter.  It's creamy, super hydrating, and thick enough that it lasts a nice while on your lips too.  The Creamy Cocoa one has no added essential oils or fragrance, which lets the amazing cocoa butter smell shine through.  Love it!

15. Humphrey's Witch Hazel Astringent

This is another product I can't see myself being without.  Recently, I've been using it to mix up a homemade witch hazel and glycerin toner, but even when I wasn't using it on a daily basis, I still enjoyed using it as an occasional treatment.  Witch hazel is phenomenal for keeping your pores clean and there are also tons of other uses for it.  My favorite brand is Humprey's, which is literally just witch hazel extract in a small amount of alcohol.  I've actually just bought a new jumbo size bottle of this stuff!


So, those are my top choices for products I'd repurchase!  Do any of these make your repurchase list too? 

Also, make sure you  check out the list of other green beauties participating in the collab by clicking here!




Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links.




24 March 2013

Devita Gentle Aloe Facial Scrub



As much as I've enjoyed using my Nourish Body Polish on my face, I wanted to pick up an actual face scrub to incorporate into my skincare routine.  I was able to test out a few different scrubs on my hands at a local health food store and decided on Devita's Gentle Aloe Facial Scrub.  I did end up ordering it from Vitacost, rather than just buying it in store, as, in a classic case of Canadian pricing, the markup was a little extreme.  As much as I like supporting local, Canadian businesses, the health food store was selling it for $28 or $29 and I was able to get it on Vitacost for less than $17.

I've been using this scrub for about a month now and overall I'm pleased with it.  Jojoba beads tend to be my favorite exfoliant, and Devita's scrub doesn't disappoint at all in that regard.  It does a fantastic job exfoliating and my skin is left feeling extremely smooth and soft.  As you may already know, I'm usually drawn to simpler skincare products and this fits the bill in that area as well.  It has a short ingredients list and in terms of appearance and feel, it really seems like it could just be jojoba beads in a base of aloe vera gel.  (Obviously there are a few more ingredients than that though!)  For whatever reason, it also reminds me a little of those conventional, drugstore scrubs with the perky, bright colored beads that many of us used as teens.  



I prefer using this scrub in the shower, as the scrubby bits really cling to your face and it can be difficult to get them all off at the sink.  The scrub has no added essential oils or fragrance and it smells pretty neutral.  I want to say it smells the tiniest bit like alcohol, perhaps from the sorbitol, but even that is extremely mild.  

My only complaint is that it sometimes leaves my face feeling tight.  I've been using the scrub about twice a week, and on those days, to compensate for any potential dryness, I make sure to use a pump of Aura Cacia's argan oil in between my regular toner and moisturizer.  With this extra precaution, I haven't had any problems with the scrub drying out my skin.  

The Bottom Line
I've always heard amazing things about Devita's skincare products and I'm glad I finally gave them a try with this scrub.  While I wouldn't say I'm crazy, head-over-heels in love with it, it does work well.  I'm curious to check out more from the line in the future! 

Ingredients: Aloe barbadensis* (aloe vera gel), saponaria officialis (soapwort) extract, jojoba esters (bead), sorbitol, simmondsia chinenesis (jojoba) seed oil, hydrastis canadensis (golden seal) extract, sodium chloride, allantoin, vitis vinifera (grape) seed extract.
*Certified Organic




Disclosure: Contains affiliate links.

21 March 2013

Black Rose Minerals Review + Swatches


I ordered some samples from Black Rose Minerals several months ago, but it's only recently that I've taken the time to really play with them.  Eye shadows were the first indie makeup I discovered and I initially might have gone a little overboard trying to test all the great companies out there!  Most of my eye shadows are sample sizes, so it's not completely beyond what I could feasibly use up, but it still got to a point where I was feeling overwhelmed by my collection.  And right around that time, my Black Rose Minerals order arrived and was basically set aside in a drawer and forgotten....until recently!

I rediscovered these lovelies while shopping my stash, and let me just say they were totally wasted sitting there all these months!  Like a lot of other samples, they come in small baggies.  The baggies cost $1 (less if you buy ten or more) and all came fully labelled with their ingredients.  Non-vegan shades are also clearly marked as such, and larger samples in jars are available too.




I chose mostly neutral shades, but Black Rose Minerals has a great selection of colours too.  And, even though these are neutrals, they're all sparkly, complex, and not boring in the least.  They're also pigmented, super smooth and blend like a dream. 

Check out the swatches for yourself!  I did these over Detrivore Cosmetics Eye Shadow Primer.  The shadows work best over some kind of primer or base, but I think that's true of almost all loose pigments.  


(L to R) Steele, Mochi, Mummy May I, Shrooms, Lioness, Skink, Confused, Titania, Dot, Dusty Trails, Zealous
(L to R) Steele, Mochi, Mummy May I, Shrooms, Lioness 
Skink, Confused, Titania, Dot, Dusty Trails, Zealous
They're all beautiful shades, but the real standouts for me are Titania, Dusty Trails, Confused, and Steele.  I love using Titania for a plummy/purple smokey eye and Confused makes a beautiful crease shade for tons of different looks.  Dusty Trails has less shimmer than the rest of these and I like it on the lid for more subtle looks.   And, I can't wait to try Steele, an amazing sparkly black, foiled as a liner!

Suffice it to say I'm really pleased with Black Rose Minerals.  The shadows are great quality, they have lots of colours to choose from, and the website is fairly straightforward to navigate.  They also have multiple clear swatches of every colour - dry, foiled, and on the eye - so you can get a good idea of what to expect before ordering.  If you're looking for eye shadow, Black Rose Minerals is definitely a company worth checking out!


17 March 2013

DIY Witch Hazel & Glycerin Toner



If you read my review of Balm Balm's Witch Hazel Toner, you'll remember that I loved the extra moisture from the glycerin, but couldn't stand the sticky feeling it left on my face.  So, I set out to DIY my own witch hazel and glycerin toner - one that would hydrate without leaving that yucky, tacky feeling.  Several of you were interested in hearing about my experiment and I'm happy to report that it's been a big success!  Here's the recipe I've come up with:

1/2 cup (12o ml) witch hazel
20 drops vegetable glycerin
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops frankincense essential oil

Add all ingredients to a glass bottle and shake to mix.  And you're done!  

It takes next to no time to mix up this recipe and it works incredibly well.  I like applying it with a cotton ball, but you could absolutely use a spray bottle and mist your face instead.  The homemade toner has just enough glycerin to be noticeable, but not enough that it leaves my face feeling sticky.  The glycerin makes the toner a little more gentle, but I haven't added enough to change the effectiveness of the witch hazel.  My homemade toner keeps my pores just as clean as straight witch hazel, and I never get that tight, dry feeling that I was sometimes left with when using witch hazel alone.  

I do change up the essential oils pretty much every time I mix up a new batch, but lavender and frankincense are some of my favorites.  You can use whatever essential oils you want, or leave them out entirely.  For me, the oils are a must, not only for their skin benefits, but also because I don't like the smell of witch hazel and they do a great job masking it.  If you do use essential oils, I recommend storing the toner in a glass bottle, since many essential oils will eat away at plastic, and you really don't want to be rubbing that all over your face!



Price Breakdown/Comparison

Balm Balm Toner: 
100ml for £13.25 (approx. $20) 

Homemade Toner: 
480ml witch hazel for $4.74 
120ml vegetable glycerin for $4.80
=100ml for less than $2 

So, not counting any (optional) essential oils, my homemade toner is less than 1/10th of the cost of the comparable Balm Balm toner.  AND you can easily tailor it to suit your individual skin needs. Pretty awesome!



Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links to iherb.

13 March 2013

Blog Hop: Wishlist Wednesday

Dana from Live Green Beauty had the great idea of doing a Wishlist Wednesday Blog Hop this week.  I always think it's fun to see what other people have their eyes on and I haven't done one of these posts in a while, so I figured I'd join in!   I've been getting more into skincare the last few months, which has resulted in a lot of online browsing.  With that in mind, I'm going to share a few of the skincare items I've been ogling recently.


Rocky Top Soap Shop Soaps
My longtime favorite face soap contains palm oil, and since learning more about the environmental impact of this ingredient, I'd eventually like to find a replacement.  I first found Rocky Top Soap Shop on Etsy, and while some of their soaps do contain palm oil, I believe it's sustainably harvested, which, to the best of my knowledge circumvents the issue.  What's unique about Rocky Top Soap Shop is that none of the soaps have any added essential oils or fragrance.  You guys know I'm fussy about smells and I love that unscented isn't just a single option here, but rather the entire line.  Along with the Rosehip Soap, I'm also totally eyeing the Rooibos Tea Shampoo Bar and Shavin' Soap


Know Your Ingredients Argan Oil Serum with Vitamin C
I really enjoy simplicity in my skincare products and this serum is just argan oil and oil soluble vitamin C (plus essential oils in the Orange Grapefruit scent.)  I already love argan oil and I keep hearing about all the incredible things vitamin C can do for your skin, so this product seems like a no brainer.   At $45, the price is a bit of a deterrent, but I just might splurge on it at some point!


Andalou Naturals Pumpkin Honey Glycolic Mask
I've also been curious about incorporating some kind of AHA into my skincare routine.  I've never used a chemical exfoliant before, but I'm interested to give it a try!  I love how reasonably priced Andalou Naturals' products are and the pumpkin, honey, and spices in this mask sound pretty dreamy.


So, those are a few of the things on my wishlist right now!  Have you tried any of them?  I also have a Wishlist Board on Pinterest that I use to keep track of products that catch my eye, if you're interested in seeing more!  

Don't forget to check out the rest of the blog hop on Live Green Beauty.  You're more than welcome to join in with your own post too!



12 March 2013

Papayas and Cream Face Food + Green Clay: My New Favorite Face Mask

If you saw my All Natural Face haul, you may remember that I recently bought their Papayas and Coconut Face Food Cleanser.  Basically, it's a powder cleanser made of only dried coconut milk and papaya, that can be used as either a face wash or a mask. 



The All Natural Face has a whole range of Face Food Cleansers to suit different skin needs, but the enzymes in the papaya one are supposed to exfoliate and help remove dead and flaking skin.  Thinking about it, I've been questioning how many of the papaya enzymes would actually survive being dried.  I don't feel like this product does much exfoliating, but I've been enjoying playing around with it nonetheless!

I've used it as a face wash (rinsing it off immediately) and as a mask (leaving it on for 10-20 minutes before washing it off.)  I prefer it as a mask, but my absolute favorite way to use it has been mixing it with green clay.  

Dry ingredients
All mixed up
I like clay masks, but they often leave my skin feeling dry, stripped, and in need of tons of hydration.  Mixing the clay with the Papayas and Coconut Face Food is the most amazing combo!  I still get the detoxifying effects from the clay, but the Face Food leaves my skin feeling soothed and moisturized at the same time!  It's the best of both worlds!  (I hope no one else just heard Hannah Montana in their head, like I did.)

It's also super quick and easy to make!  I use equal parts of the two (about 1/2 teaspoon of each) and add just enough water to make a smooth, easy to spread paste.  Then I apply it to clean, dry skin and leave it on for anywhere from 10-20 minutes.  It doesn't dry as hard as a straight clay mask, which I kind of like, but it does still dry down.  After washing it off, I tone and moisturize, as usual.  


On my face!
The Bottom Line
I've been loving this mask!  I like to do a mask about once a week and the combination of clay and Face Food, leaves my skin looking noticeably brighter and refreshed.  I love how affordable it is too.  The Face Food costs $7.50 for one ounce (larger sizes are also available) and I got my clay from iherb for $4.57.  I'm also curious to compare how this would work with plain coconut milk powder, so you can expect an update on that eventually, once I track some down!




Disclaimer: All products purchased by me.  Contains affiliate link to iherb.  Get $5/$10 off your first purchase with coupon code ITI429.

9 March 2013

Faerie Organic Forty Winks Eye Primer

Since starting Naturalla Beauty, some of the most common questions I've been asked are about natural eye shadow primers.  Whether it's people looking for primers to buy or people looking for DIY recipes to make their own,  it's clear that effective natural eye shadow primers are not the easiest products to find.  

I was recently sent Faerie Organic's Forty Winks Eye Primer and I'm so glad to have had the chance to try it out.  I've been using it for about two weeks now and I'm super impressed!  Forty Winks has really raised the bar on what I thought was possible from a natural eye shadow primer.  

On the Faerie Organic website, the primer is shown in a tube, but the pot, as shown here, is the current, newer packaging.  


Most mainstream primers are effective because they contain silicones, which act like a layer of plastic between your eyelid and your makeup.  The silicones make the primer basically impermeable, so any oils your eyelid produces aren't able to reach your eye shadow and cause visible wear or creasing.  Instead of relying on a silicone barrier, Faerie Organic uses boron nitride, calcium carbonate, and silica, all of which have oil absorbing properties.  (And in case you're wondering, silica is different from the aforementioned silicones.  It's the naturally occuring mineral that is a base ingredient in silicone based polymers like dimethicone and cyclopentasiloxane, but is, in its natural state, a safe ingredient.)  

Faerie Organic describes Forty Winks as "a soft cream to powder finish," which is a great description.  When I first dip into the product, it has a slightly tacky cream consistency, but as I blend it onto the eyelid it quickly dries down to a soft powder finish.  The primer is also a creamy white colour, which helps your eye shadows appear more vibrant.

Forty Winks Primer, swatched heavily and blended out
On an average day, I do my makeup around 8 in the morning and I don't remove it until 9 or 10 at night.  For the sake of comparison, with no primer, I'll usually start to see creasing two to three hours after I do my makeup.  With my Detrivore Cosmetics primer, I'm usually good for about eight hours before it starts looking muddy.  With the Faerie Organic, my eye makeup not only lasts the full 13-14 hour day, it also looks virtually identical when I remove it to how it looked freshly applied!  Almost unheard of for a primer with such clean ingredients!  

I will mention that there were a few days when I kept my makeup on for longer - 16-18 hours - and on those days I did notice a small amount of wear.  Apparently my left eyelid produces more oil than my right, because it was consistently the left eye that showed wear on these days.  The makeup on my right eye stayed perfect, even through an 18 hour day!

To wrap things up, if you're someone who's been searching for a natural eye shadow primer that can compare to mainstream primers like Urban Decay Primer Potion and Too Faced Shadow Insurance, I'd definitely recommend checking out Faerie Organic!  The ingredients are great, it's reasonably priced at $14, and it's by far the most effective natural eye primer I've used.  Forty Winks has quickly become a staple in my routine and is something I can definitely see myself repurchasing once I use it up.  

Have you found a natural eye shadow primer that works?  Let me know in the comments!



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.



3 March 2013

Balm Balm Witch Hazel Toner

A few months ago, I received a sample of this toner in a swap I did with Sarah from Sugarpuffish.  I had mentioned to Sarah that Balm Balm was a brand I was interested in trying and she very kindly included their Organic Facial Kit, which includes mini sizes of most of their skincare line.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit how long it's taken me to actually give anything from the kit a try, but my skincare routine has been working so well that I didn't want to risk changing anything!  

Nevertheless, I finally decided to try out the toner.  I usually use a DIY blend of witch hazel and essential oils, so the Balm Balm one, which contains only witch hazel, glycerin, and alcohol, didn't seem like too big of a change.  It's an extremely gentle toner.  I've had great results using witch hazel, but it can sometimes be a little drying.  The glycerin here definitely helps with that!  My skin never felt dry while using the Balm Balm toner, so that isn't something you need to worry about.
Ingredients: Hamamelis Virginia Extract (Witch Hazel), Glycerol, Grain Alcohol.
The toss up is that the glycerin did leave my face feeling sticky.  I used a cotton ball to apply it, so it isn't like I was applying tons of product, but my face was always left with a long-lasting tacky feeling.  I say long-lasting, because I could still feel it after applying moisturizer, and even after putting on makeup!  

Balm Balm's prices are generally very affordable and this toner retails for £13.25 (for 100mL.)  Honestly, that's more than I'm likely to pay when I feel like I can very easily make something comparable myself, but if you're someone who prefers to purchase your skincare and you're looking for a simple, gentle toner, this is a good product to consider.  

I will say that since trying this, I've bought some vegetable glycerin and I've been inspired to start playing around with my homemade toner recipe again.  I'm curious to see if it's possible to use just a small amount of glycerin to get the added hydration, but still avoid the sticky, tacky feeling.  If I'm successful, you'll definitely hear all about it!


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