28 April 2014

Brand Focus: Boo Bamboo (+ a Giveaway!)

As you may have noticed, I get pretty excited to share new Canadian brand discoveries.  Boo Bamboo is a company I'd seen on shelves before, but I'm a little embarrassed to say, had never given much attention to.  A few weeks ago, they reached out to me and I finally gave the line a good, thorough browse.  Started as hair care, Boo Bamboo now also makes baby products, skin care, and sun protection, and as the name suggests, everything is made with certified organic bamboo extract.  Bamboo is a rich source of natural silica, as well as other minerals and proteins that serve a number of purposes.  They strengthen hair and create shine, and, in skincare, are powerful hydrating and anti-aging substances.    

I had the opportunity to choose a few products to try and I opted for the Exfoliating Body Wash, Line Lifting Face Cream, and Makeup Remover Wipes.  Keep reading to see how I fared with these three products...



Exfoliating Skin Refining Body Wash
I feel like exfoliating body washes toe a fine line.  They need to exfoliate, but they can't be too scrubby for everyday use, and they still need to mainly be the consistency of a body wash.  Boo Bamboo gets it just right!  The exfoliation comes from a combination of bamboo stem powder and apricot seed powder, suspended in a creamy body wash base.  It has a light berry scent and provides a gentle exfoliation, without being rough or overly coarse.  Definitely something you could use everyday without issue.  



Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Lauryl Glucoside, Cocamidopropyl, Hydroxysultaine, Acrylates Copolymer, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Stearyl Citrate, Natural Fragrance (Parfume), Glycerin, Panthenol, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Hydrolyzed Oats, Bamboo (Bambusa Arundinacea) Extract, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Extract, Moringa Pterygosperma Seed Extract, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot), Seed Powder, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Hydroxide. 

Anti-Wrinkle Line Lifting Face Cream
It probably goes without saying that, at 26, I don't have a big problem with wrinkles, so you might be wondering why I chose an anti-wrinkle face cream.  I do have a couple fine lines, but the main reason was because of the inclusion of hyaluronic acid.  I have normal-to-dry skin and I've had good experiences with products containing hyaluronic acid in the past, but it's an ingredient that usually only pops up in more "high end" skincare lines.  I was curious to see how it would do in Boo Bamboo's very affordable lineup.  

The moisturizer has a light, almost whipped consistency that I really like.  It sinks in quickly and I do notice it slightly plumps the skin, diminishing the appearance of fine lines.  I don't have any way of judging if it gives me "4 times more hydrated skin for 24 hours," as the packaging claims, but I will say that I haven't experienced any dryness while using this cream.   My only complaint is the scent.  I realize I'm very used to essential oil-based scents and while the ingredients list "natural flavour," it's the one product out of the three that just doesn't smell completely natural to me.  I'm not saying the scent is actually artificial, but I am a little put off by how the cream smells, even though the product itself is really lovely.



Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Caprylic/Capric triglyceride, Glycerin, Shea butter (Butyrospermum parkii), Stearic acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetrearyl alcohol, Olea europaea (Olive) fruit oil, Sesame (Sesamum indicum) oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Bamboo (Bambusa Arundinacea) Extract, Green Tea (Camellia Sinensis) Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Natural Flavour, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Gluconolactone.

Skin Balancing Bamboo Makeup Remover Wipes
I go back and forth on whether wipes are too wasteful for everyday use, but if you're going to use them, these are probably some of the best you could choose.  The wipe itself is made of 100% unbleached bamboo - a sustainable, renewable resource - and is fully biodegradable.  They also work better than any other wipe I've used.  All my makeup comes off easily - even mascara and eyeliner - and my skin is left feeling fresh.  I still prefer to do a second, regular cleanse, but there isn't any makeup left behind after the wipe.  

The package also has a double closure, so the remaining wipes won't dry out before you can use them.  I'm still not sure wipes are something I want to use all the time, but I can definitely see myself buying these for travel or other special circumstances.



Ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Acacia Gum, Xantham gum, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Cetyl Alcohol, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Bamboo (Bambusa Arundinacea) Extract, Dodecyl Polyglucoside, Panthenol, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzoic Acid, Natural Fragrance, Tocopheryl Acetate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate

The Bottom Line
Overall, I'm impressed with Boo Bamboo.  The products are affordable and fairly widely available (at least in Canada!), and they also perform really well.  The ingredients are not the absolute cleanest, greenest, most natural out there, but there's nothing in these three that raises any serious red flags for me.  (Most of the hair products do contain silicones though, so keep that in mind if you are 'cone-free.)  

Of what I tried, my favorite was definitely the makeup wipes, but I've also really enjoyed using the body wash.  I'm a little more iffy on the face cream, just because of the scent, but if you're less sensitive than me in that regard, it might be a non-issue.  Either way, Boo Bamboo is certainly a brand I'll be keeping my eye on in the future.  

And, the best part?  Boo Bamboo has offered to give one reader these same three products to try out as well!  The giveaway is going to be Canada only, but for all my international lovelies, there will be other international ones in the future.  To enter, just fill in the Rafflecopter widget, below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: Products 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. 

27 April 2014

New from Weleda: Baby Derma White Mallow Collection

There are a couple new players in Weleda's popular baby line: White Mallow Body Lotion and Face Cream. The duo is made with organic white mallow, pansy, and coconut oil to calm irritated skin and strengthen its protective barrier, and both products have been awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.  Unlike Weleda's previous calendula baby offerings, the White Mallow line is formulated without any added essential oils or fragrance.

There are no babies here, but you all know how much I love my unscented body lotions and Weleda rarely disappoints, so I'm sure it's no surprise how quickly I gravitated towards these.  Weleda's Calendula line is great, no question, but I was eager to see how these new, unscented additions would do.  



White Mallow Face Cream
Made with 97% organic ingredients, the White Mallow Face Cream is packed with ingredients that nourish, soothe, and protect.  The list includes - in addition to white mallow, pansy, and coconut oil - sweet almond, sesame, safflower, sunflower, and borage oils.  It reminds me a lot of Weleda's other face creams.  Smooth to apply and about a medium weight: enough to be moisturizing, but not so much that it feels heavy going on.  That said, I'm glad I opted for a sample of this one instead of the full size.  My face doesn't generally like coconut oil, and with coconut oil as the second ingredient, I'm not surprised this didn't fully agree with me.  It felt lovely going on, but within a few hours, my pores started to look a little congested - exactly how they get from coconut oil.    

Ingredients: Water (aqua), cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, sesamum indicum (sesame) seed oil, glycerin, alcohol, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, beeswax (cera alba), cetearyl glucoside, glyceryl stearate se, borago officinalis seed oil, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil unsaponifiables, hydrogenated cocoglycerides, althaea officinalis (white mallow) root extract, viola tricolor (pansy) extract, xanthan gum, lactic acid, glyceryl caprylate.

White Mallow Body Lotion
The body lotion, on the other hand, has been a big hit.  95% organic ingredients is nothing to scoff at either, especially when they include the same great oils as the face cream, plus healing cocoa butter and squalane.  The lotion achieves that perfect balance of rubbing in easily and still hydrating very well.  It's not heavy or greasy, but it does take a couple minutes to sink in fully.  It also leaves behind the most beautiful glow on the skin that's been getting me all geared up for summer.  

Ingredients: Water (aqua), cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, sesamum indicum (sesame) seed oil, glycerin, alcohol, cetearyl glucoside, beeswax (cera alba), hydrogenated coco-glycerides, thebroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, borago officinalis seed oil, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) seed oil, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil unsaponifiables, glyceryl stearate se, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, althea officinalis (white mallow) root extract, viola tricolor (pansy) extract, xanthan gum, glyceryl caprylate, squalane. 

The Bottom Line
Weleda is a great company and I think these are both good additions to their lineup.  The face cream didn't work for me, but I'm pretty confident it would be fine for the many lucky people who can tolerate coconut oil on their faces.  And I really like the body lotion - it's definitely something I can see myself buying again.  


20 April 2014

A Couple Treats from Shea Terra Organics

If you've done much browsing in the natural cosmetics world, you've probably run across Shea Terra Organics.  The company, which has been around for more than ten years, has a huge selection of products and incorporates exotic African ingredients - some that you've heard of, some that you probably haven't - into their extensive line of skincare, body care, and hair care.   I was sent a couple things to try out and while these may be the first, I'm pretty confident they won't be the last Shea Terra products to grace my vanity!



Argan Oil & Acacia Honey Facial Wash
Cleansing with honey has gotten super popular of late, and for good reason.  Honey is antibacterial, antimicrobial, and also moisturizing, healing, and full of beneficial minerals, nutrients and enzymes.  That's all great, but if you aren't quite ready to swap out your face wash for your toast spread, this cleanser provides the perfect middle ground.  

Shea Terra's wash combines honey and a gentle castile soap.  And it's not just any honey - we're talking raw, Kenyan honey, harvested from wild acacia trees that grow far from most human pollutants.  The cleanser looks very much like a gel/honey hybrid and feels like a much less sticky honey that spreads easily on a damp face.  It doesn't foam at all and is super gentle, but it's still an incredibly effective cleanser.  The first time I tried it, I hadn't done a face mask in about a week and the pores on my nose were starting to look a little congested.  This little bottle whipped that business back into shape within the first two washes.  In fact, my only complaint - if you can even call it that - is that since I've incorporated this cleanser into my routine, I can't tell if my masks are working as well, since my pores already look so squeaky clean!  

Like straight up honey, the Argan Oil & Acacia Honey Facial Wash won't do much towards removing makeup, but it's great as either a morning cleanser or as a second cleanse after something more up to the task.  You can wash it off right away, or leave it on for 5-10 minutes as a mask.  I definitely predict this being a repurchase for me!



Ingredients: Deionized water, organic sunflower oil (helianthus annuus), wild African acacia honey, organic argan oil (argania spinosa), organic extra virgin olive oil (olea europaea), organic coconut cream oil (cocos nucifera), potassium hydroxide, Kalahari mineral salts.

Argan & Green Coffee Around Eye Serum
This eye serum is one of Wheaten Beauty's favorites and I've wanted to try it ever since I first heard her talk about it.  Argan oil is rich in squalene, vitamins, and essential fatty acids, while green coffee seed oil contains antioxidants and stimulates blood circulation.  The combination of the two promises to "fight back against wrinkles, sagging, and discoloration and win back brighter, more youthful looking eyes."  I'm not sure I'm the target user here, since, at 26, I don't really have wrinkles or visible aging around the eyes, but I do get dark circles and some puffiness.  The serum hasn't done anything special for my dark circles, unfortunately, but I've noticed less puffiness, and it was a dream during this extra-cold winter.  I tried a few different balms and creams along the way, but nothing kept my eye area as well hydrated as this serum.  

The green coffee seed oil also lends a kind of earthy, grassy scent that's vaguely identifiable as coffee but pretty different from the roasted beans most of us are used to, so keep that in mind if you're hoping for this to smell like your morning cup o' joe.  

Ingredients: organic argan oil (argania spinosa), organic shea butter (vitellaria nilotica), organic rose hips seed oil (rosa rubiginosa), green coffee seed oil (coffee Arabica)

The Bottom Line
One knock-it-out-of-the-park hit and another, slightly more reserved one.  Both great finds, and now that I've dipped my toe into this wonderful world of Shea Terra, I just want to buy up everything on their site!  Seriously though, how dreamy do this Moroccan Mud Spa Wash and these Shea Butter Quenching Hair & Body Oils sound?  I've got quite the wishlist going here...

Have you tried Shea Terra Organics?  What are your favorites?

[P.S. In case you're all set to order now, this is one company where you want to check their social media first.  From what I've seen, there's almost always a 30% off code floating around on Facebook or Twitter.]



Disclosure: Products 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. 

13 April 2014

Ecco Bella FlowerColor Lipsticks

On a day-to-day basis, I'm really a lip balm girl, but there's something about a gorgeous lipstick that still makes me swoon.  A couple months ago, I found a nearby health food store with a sale on Ecco Bella makeup and I couldn't resist picking up a few of the FlowerColor Lipsticks to try.  These lovelies are cruelty-free, gluten-free, and fragrance-free,  and are made without FD&C colors and petroleum.  



There weren't any testers in the store, so with only the tiny website photos on my Blackberry to go by, I chose Mauve Rose, Tuscan Rose and, on a return visit, Napa Grape Frost.  

Mauve Rose is a medium-toned, warm pink.

Tuscany Rose - my favorite of the three - is a darker, cooler pink with some berry tones.

Napa Grape Frost is a pink-toned nude that, despite the name, isn't frosty at all.  It has some slight shimmer, but it's barely noticeable on the lips.  VlogwithKendra compared this one to MAC Blankety and - just going by photos - it does look like it's in the same color family.  



All three have a lovely, satin finish and are super pigmented.  One light swipe will give your lips a tint, but they can easily be built up to full opacity.  If your lips are dry or chapped, I do find they have a tendency to look heavy/cakey after a time, so I like to wear a lip balm underneath to circumvent the issue.  It also helps smooth the colors out a little better.  

The lipsticks are housed in sleek, square black tubes that are very reminiscent of NARS packaging. And, yes, like their NARS counterparts, any dust or makeup will stick to these puppies too.  Not a huge deal, just something to keep in mind.

The Bottom Line
Great lipsticks!  So long as you use a balm under them, they apply smoothly and look beautiful for several hours.  Tuscany Rose is my favorite of the three, but Napa Grape Frost is a great, wearable neutral and a close second.  In fact, there are a couple other colors that are also calling my name (Sangria and Pink Rose, I'm looking at you!)

Where to Buy: $17.95 from Ecco Bella, $12.06-$14.36 from iherb, $13.76-14.36 from Vitacost

Ingredients: Castor oil, isopropyl palmitate (from coconut), candelilla wax, 100iu Vitamin E, organic calendula oil, organic chamomile oil, organic jojoba oil, flower wax coated iron oxides. Pink colors contain carmine.


Contains affiliate links.

7 April 2014

Moor Spa Facial Mask

A short while ago, I was contacted by Moor Spa, a professional spa line of face, body, and hair care.  The entire line is based around Austrian moor or Heilmoor clay, a product of the natural decomposition of herbs, plants, and flowers that have been deprived of oxygen, either by being submerged under water or underground.  Moor is made up primarily of this organic residue, transformed over thousands of years into a rich peat and packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, proteins, mineral salts, and amino acids.  I was curious to get a good feel for the actual moor itself, so when asked to select a product, I chose the Facial Mask, a treatment made of just Heilmoor clay and water.  The mask promises to deeply nourish and replenish skin for increased suppleness and a healthy, youthful glow.


The mask comes out of the tube looking like rich, dark mud and without any added ingredients, it kind of smells like it too.  The scent isn't bad, it's just...earthy.  The consistency of the mask isn't completely uniform, so I recommend giving your tube a good shake before each use to best incorporate everything.  Even so, some parts are runnier than others, so what I've found works best is to squeeze a good bunch into my hand (a bowl would work too) and give it a stir to blend together the thicker and thinner bits before slapping it onto my face.

Currently all the other masks in my stash are dry powders that need mixing, and while that's not exactly difficult, I love that this one is ready to go straight out of the tube.  It also dries quickly - within 5-10 minutes - depending on how thick of a layer you apply.

In terms of results, the mask is great for a gentle detoxification.  Similar to other clays, moor promotes circulation and binds heavy metal isotopes, helping to both heal any blemishes and impurities and detoxify the skin.  After using this mask, my pores look clearer and my skin is left feeling clean, but not dry or overly tight.  I imagine this would be a great mask for more sensitive skin that might not be able to tolerate other clays.



The Bottom Line
Fantastic mask, especially for when you're short on time, since it doesn't need mixing and dries pretty quickly too.  It also gives visible results and leaves my skin looking bright, refreshed and healthy....and really, what more can you ask for from a mask than that?

Moor Spa products are available in spas and through the Moor Spa website.


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 April 2014

March Empties / Products I've Used Up

Have you ever tried explaining empties posts to someone outside of the beauty blogging/vlogging world?  Describe that you save your trash and photograph and write about it every month and wait for the blind confusion to appear on their face.   Honestly.

These are some of my favorite posts - both to read and write - and I think they're great for final wrap-ups and mini reviews after using products for a good while, so I'm glad so many of you lovelies get it and feel the same.  So, without further ado, here's what I finished up during March:
  

New Roots Organic Goji Seed Oil
I was given this at the CHFA trade show in the fall and was curious to see how all the goji berry hype would translate into an oil.  I'm happy to say it's all good here.  I've been big on mixing my own oil blends the last several months and I really liked including this one.  It's hydrating but not heavy and has a very mild scent.  
Repurchase? Yes.

Nourish Almond Vanilla Body Wash*   [Review]
Nourish's body washes are creamy, non-drying and just a delight to use.  This was my first time trying the almond vanilla and it did not disappoint.  I usually have several body washes on the go at a time, so this took me a while to finish up, but it smelled delicious and made me feel as though I was lathering up with delicious cake batter every time I used it.  
Repurchase? Not right away, but yes!  I stocked up on body wash during Nourish's Black Friday sale, so I've still got a couple other new-to-me scents here to try before I'll be buying any more.  

Nourish Unscented Body Butter
Another fantastic Nourish product, the body butter is the perfect consistency and did a great job keeping my skin soft and hydrated during the winter.  It's especially great for feet and on any super dry, itchy spots.
Repurchase? Definitely!

Kirk's Fragrance Free Original Coco Castile Soap
I decided to pick this up after noticing that the one constant across most of my favorite bar soaps is coconut oil.  That said, while there's nothing wrong with this one - it's gentle and produces a good lather - I realize I like my soaps to have a little more pizzazz than this unscented basic.  The price, at right around the $2 mark, is pretty hard to beat though.
Repurchase? Probably not.

Bath Petals Sicilian Blood Orange Shower Gel
I liked this shower gel at first, but at some point it began irritating and drying my skin out and got set aside.  The last 1/4 or so ended up relegated to makeup brush washing and other cleaning around the house.
Repurchase? Nope.

Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave-In Conditioner   [Review]
I really liked how this product worked as a refresher on second day curls, but I'm left waffling over the cost when my Beautiful Curls spray works equally well (although it doesn't smell quite as good) for 1/3 of the price.
Repurchase? Maybe one day, when I'm feeling flush.

Lucy Minerals Lucy Light Finishing Powder   [Review]
This is a really great powder that's been a part of my everyday makeup routine for over a year now, regardless of what foundation I'm wearing.  Be it a cream, liquid, or powder, this finishing powder sets it, helps it last longer, and blurs minor fine lines and imperfections.
Repurchase?  Yup!  It's very likely.

Crazy Rumors Cola Lip Balm   [Review]
Initially I wasn't a fan of the cola flavor at all, so this lip balm ended up languishing forgotten in a drawer for a long time.  Now that I'm making a concerted effort to use up any and all started lip balms, I dug it out to try again, and I have to say, the flavor's nowhere near as bad as I remembered!  It still wasn't my favorite, but it was completely useable.  Crazy Rumor's lip balm formula is always lovely, so I was glad to be able to make use of it.  
Repurchase? Yes, in a different flavor.

Zuzu Luxe Onyx Mascara   [Review]
With a couple brief exceptions, this is the mascara I've been using consistently for the last several years.  It's not super dramatic, but it does the job without irritating my eyes or smudging or flaking.
Repurchase? Yes, I already have.

Silk Naturals Lovelace Blush (sample)
Peach blushes are always what I reach for first and Lovelace is gorgeous.  It's a bright, vibrant peach, but Silk Naturals' sheer blush formula is super blendable, so it's still an easy color to wear.  The color is supposed to be a clone of Nars Deepthroat.  
Repurchase? Not sure.  I love Silk Naturals, but my skin is funny with their blushes.  Some days I'm completely fine wearing them and others they give me angry-looking red bumps and need to be washed off immediately.  Which is sad because the colors are SO pretty.

* Indicates PR sample
Contains affiliate links

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