27 October 2015

Studio 78 Off We Go Anti-Dark Circles Concealer

It's been nearly ten years since I first switched over to natural and nontoxic products and in all that time, the item I've struggled with the most has been concealer.   My main concern is covering dark circles, and - with the exception of a now discontinued Une Beauty product I loved for a couple years there - I haven't found anything that completely did the trick.  With a good bit of darkness under the eyes, I look for something with excellent coverage that will last through the day and not look or feel heavy.  I may have finally found it from Studio 78!  This French brand is Eco-Cert certified, free of GMO's, parabens, PEG's, and synthetic fragrance and dyes.

The Off We Go Anti-Dark Circles Concealer has been well-hyped in the green beauty community, but with a not inexpensive price tag (between $24-36 depending where you shop) and past experiences failing to fall in love with raved-about concealers, I was a little skeptical going in.  Fortunately, I decided to try it anyways, as I've been suitably impressed!



The consistency in the pot is very creamy, but on the skin, it quickly sets to a velvety, powder-like finish.  I find it blends easiest when applied with fingers and I recommend applying it onto well moisturized skin, as although the concealer isn't drying, it also doesn't provide much in the way of hydration.  At Dawn (01), the lightest shade available, has a matte finish and is a very peachy color, perfect for correcting blue and purple tones under the eyes.  You only need a thin layer to achieve great coverage, so it feels very light and is virtually unnoticeable throughout the day.  The concealer doesn't slip or move around on the face and I generally get a good 8 or 9 hours wear before I notice it starting to fade, which, in my experience, is pretty standard for natural concealers.  The product does have a tendency to settle into my fine lines under one eye - yes, just one - so I like to dust a light layer of powder concealer over top.  This prevents creasing and settling, slightly prolongs wear time, and also adds an extra layer of coverage - perfect if you've got heavier dark circles, like me!

The concealer comes in a clear plastic pot with a mirror inside the flip top.  It's cute, but I've seen more than a few people complain about the hinge breaking and the lid snapping off, so I'm being extra gentle with mine.  I don't generally carry concealer with me, but I'm likely to depot some into another container should I ever need to, as, despite how convenient the tiny mirror seems for on the go touch ups, I'm not confident as to how the plastic pot would hold up to a day of shaking around in a makeup bag.

A bigger downfall than the packaging, is the limited color range of this product.  With only two shades, Studio 78 really only offers colors to suit light to medium skin.  I wear At Dawn (01), the lighter of the two, and it blends into my skin fine, but I could definitely go a shade or two lighter if the color range was ever expanded.  It's not light enough on my skin to be brightening or illuminating under the eyes and it's even a little too dark for the rest of my face, unless I go over it with something else.  The coverage, blendability and wear is good enough that I'm willing to work with an imperfect color, but I'd love to see more shades in the future.



The Bottom Line
Off We Go is highly pigmented and the non-drying cream-to-powder finish is unique and not something I've encountered with other natural concealers.  It stays put, wears well throughout the day, and does a great job covering my dark circles.  It also works to cover redness and blemishes/imperfections elsewhere on the face, though I do recommend making sure your skin is well moisturized before application.  There's still room for improvement - both in the color range and sturdiness of packaging - but overall, I think it's a great product!

Have you tried Studio 78's concealer?  What are your favorite natural concealers?


23 October 2015

Brand Focus: Chorus Supernatural

I was contacted a couple months ago by Chorus Supernatural, a British Columbia company making natural skincare, hair care, body care, and wellness products.  Like most Canadians, I get pretty excited about Canadian companies, and with an extensive range of products and items for kids and adults alike, Chorus Supernatural is a great discovery.  



The entire line is free of synthetics and made with 100% naturally-sourced ingredients.  The "Supernatural" part of the company's name relates to the 4 "supernatural" ingredients that Chorus includes in every product they make.  These 4 ingredients are:

Lithia Mineral Water - Chorus uses water from an untainted hot spring in the Canadian Rockies.  This water is rich in naturally-occurring lithium and has been shown to offer skin revitalizing benefits beyond that of ordinary distilled water. 

Moor Mud - also known as Heilmoor clay, moor is a nutrient- and mineral-rich peat formed by thousands of years of decomposition of herbs, flowers, grasses, and other plants.  Chorus's moor is sourced from remote locations in B.C., far from any industrial activity, ensuring that it remains pure and unpolluted.

Giant Kelp Seaweed - hand-harvested off the northern tip of Vancouver Island, giant kelp absorbs nutrients from the ocean and is rich in potassium, iodine, and 70 other nutrients, including iron, zinc, copper, cobalt, manganese, boron, and a variety of beneficial enzymes and proteins.  Chorus uses a liquid seaweed extraction that preserves the chemical composition and nutrients of the seaweed better than dehydration processes that often require a lot of denaturing heat.  

Clay - also sourced from Vancouver Island, Chorus uses clay with a unique blend of minerals, vitamins and crystalline gemstone substances.  It starts out a dark green clay when wet, but dries down to an aqua blue color.  

Chorus kindly sent me a few items from the line to try out.  Let's jump into the products themselves!



CLEANSE Cleansing Gel* ($19.90 for 4.5 oz)
Cleanse is described as a low-foaming cleansing gel for normal to oily skin, but I haven't found it to be stripping or drying, so I think it could suit most skin types.  With a unique, pearly-gel consistency, it glides effortlessly across the skin and rinses away cleanly.  The instructions recommend using the cleanser on a cotton ball, but I much prefer using my fingers, as you would with most cleansing gels.  The cleanser does a fine job removing face makeup, but I prefer to use something else around the eyes.  

POLISH Facial Scrub* ($24.90 for 4.5 oz)
Polish is an extremely gentle scrub made with jojoba beads.  It has a jelly-like consistency, and while the jojoba beads are noticeable, I don't feel like they do a very thorough job exfoliating my skin.  I generally prefer scrubs that are a little more abrasive, but if you're looking for something extra gentle, Polish might be just the ticket.  I did enjoy the relaxing chamomile-lavender scent and the fact that it didn't irritate or dry out my skin.  

MASK Facial Mask* ($22.90 for 2.9 oz)
My favorite of the bunch, Mask is a facial treatment made of just 100% pure moor mud and lithia water.  I've used other moor mud masks in the past and the rich peat is excellent for gentle detoxification and cleaning out the pores.  Without any additional ingredients, the mask smells quite earthy - like, well, mud - so I like mixing in a drop or two of a skin-friendly essential oil like lavender or frankincense.  The mask always leaves my skin looking fresh and glowy and is more gentle and less drying than other types of clay.  The tube needs a good shake before each use, as the water and mud have a tendency to separate, but they blend back together easily, so it's no big deal.  Both the fact that it's ready-to-go in a tube and that it only needs between 3 and 10 minutes on the skin, make this mask a great option for pampering in a hurry!

The Bottom Line
I love Chorus's affordable price point, that they're a Canadian company, and that they make a point of sourcing healthy, natural, and local ingredients for all their products.  Of the three items I tried, I'm most smitten with Mask, an excellent gentle detox mask that's especially great when you're short on time.  Cleanse is a good, non-drying cleanser that I think could work for a lot of different skin types, and while I personally would have liked a little more abrasiveness in Polish, I can see it being a hit for ultra-sensitive skin.

Have you tried anything from Chorus Supernatural? 

* Press sample

9 October 2015

iHerb Haul #2: Makeup, Skincare, Hair + Body

As many of you know, iHerb is one of my favorite places to shop online.  Whether it's brands and products we don't have easy access to in Canada, or things we do have that I can get much better prices on, I typically find myself placing an order every month or so.  The customer service is great and you can even shop in Canadian dollars now! 

I like to keep orders small to minimize the risk of being hit with tax or brokerage fees at the door, so this is technically a combination of my last two orders.  That means some things I've had for a couple weeks and others just for a couple days.    

Here's a look at what I bought:



Kiss My Face Antioxidant Toner
I've never seen anyone talk about this toner, but since I've heard plenty of good things about the cleanser and mask in Kiss My Face's Potent & Pure range, I decided to chance it.  I haven't used the toner yet, but the ingredients, which include aloe, witch hazel, hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C, and a good number of botanicals and plant extracts are promising.  I will say, first impressions-wise, I'm not crazy about how it smells.  Something about the scent reminds me a lot of hairspray.

Pacifica Natural Eye Liner Pencil in Fringe
I needed a new brown eyeliner and since I love my Pacifica black and nude ones so much, this was the obvious choice.  The Pacifica liners are great because they're creamy enough to glide on easily, but not so creamy that they smear or move around on the eye throughout the day.  I haven't tried this particular color yet, but I'm pretty confident it'll be as great as the rest!

Mineral Fusion Sheer Moisture Lip Tint in Glow
The Sheer Moisture Lip Tints are basically tinted lip balms in a chubby stick form.  They smell slightly of vanilla and mint, feel great on the lips, and give a lovely wash of color.  Glow is the bright pink in the line, but because of how sheer it is, it gives just the slightest pop of pink in a very natural way.  I've only had it a few days, but I already bought a second color when I spotted the tints in person yesterday!

Kinky Curly Spiral Spritz
Nothing new here, this is a frequent repurchase for me.  The Spiral Spritz offers a midway between a serum and a gel and is a great light hold hair product.

Boiron Unscented Arnicare Gel
I added this to my cart on a whim when I spotted a mini 0.5 ounce size in the trial section for $0.25 right before checking out.  The ingredients aren't perfect, but there's nothing super problematic and it never hurts to have Arnica gel on hand.  Some of the different sizes of this product list dimethicone in the ingredients, but both the sample I received and the large size I've linked above look to be free of silicones.  

Crazy Rumors Lip Balms in Lemonade, Raspberry Sherbet + Ginger Ale
I don't have any problem getting through lip balms, so I decided to stock up on some new flavors of one of my favorites.  I've only cracked open the Lemonade one so far, and I'm surprised by just how much I dislike it!  Citrus scents are generally a safe bet, but this one just smells super gross to me.  I've had a few Crazy Rumors flavors that I haven't loved in the past, but this is definitely my least favorite to date.  I'm actually leaning towards just tossing it outright, as I doubt I will even use it smelling the way it does.  The Crazy Rumors formula is fantastic, but the flavors can be very hit or miss.

Andalou Naturals Age Defying Thinning Hair Treatment
I always find myself shedding more hair in the fall than any other time, so I picked this up to try and circumvent that this year.  The Hair Treatment has an aloe vera base infused with fruit and argan stem cells, a vitamin B complex, and an assortment of herbs and essential oils and is supposed to nourish hair follicles, stimulate hair growth, and strengthen hair.  All the research I've seen points to plant stem cells being a marketing ploy with little actual effect, but the rest of the ingredients look good, so I'm equal parts curious and hopeful to see how the product does as a whole.    

Goddess Garden Everyday Natural Sunscreen SPF 30
I don't wear SPF on my face everyday and I only use body sunscreen very occasionally, when I know I'm going to be outside for a prolonged period, which has left me with more than one full sized tube of sunscreen expiring on my shelf over the years.  Goddess Garden is a new brand for me, but I love the smaller 1-ounce size for those of us who are a little less diligent about wearing SPF on a regular basis.  It would also be great for travel.

Everyday Minerals Semi-Matte Base in Ivory (N1)
After working through the ridiculous number of mineral foundation samples I had hanging around (it literally took months!), this is what I ended up buying for now.  What I like about Everyday Mineral's Semi-Matte Base is just how natural it looks on the skin.  It's not outright glowy, but it looks skin-like and not overly flat or matte.  Coverage is about a medium and decently buildable, and Ivory (1N) is a good light neutral shade that matches me pretty well.  

Blûm Naturals Dry & Sensitive Skin Daily Cleansing and Makeup Remover Towelettes
Wipes aren't an everyday product for me, but I like to carry one or two in my purse for those "just in case" situations, which is where these individually wrapped ones come in handy.  I haven't tried this particular variety before, but the Blûm wipes are all pretty comparable, so I'm sure they'll be fine.   

Acure Organics Fragrance Free Ultra-Hydrating Body Lotion
I don't even want to hazard a guess as to how many tubes of Acure's Ultra-Hydrating Body Lotion I've gone through in the last couple years, but needless to say, it's more than a few.  Unfortunately, as I mentioned in my September Empties, I've been wondering since getting this order - my first time trying the lotion in its new packaging - if the formula has changed along with the packaging, as it doesn't seem nearly as moisturizing anymore.  A couple people have agreed with me since then and I also just spotted a review on iHerb saying the same thing, so I'm thinking the change is real.  Total bummer!

Do you shop on iHerb?  Have you used any of these?  

New customers can also save an extra $5 off your first order under $40 or $10 off your first order of $40+ with my code ITI429


Contains affiliate links.

4 October 2015

September 2015 Empties / Products I've Used Up

This post is going up a few days behind schedule for a number of reasons.  First, I had it in my head I was going to film an empties video this month, but that clearly never panned out.  I've also been struggling with some general camera issues recently.  I've noticed - and you may have too - that for the last several months my photos aren't as crisp as they used to be, especially the right 1/4 or 1/3 of the picture which often ends up particularly fuzzy.  I'm no photography expert, so while I've been frustrated, I've brushed it off as operator error, but I'm wondering if it's really more of a hardware issue.  Any photography/camera wizards, please feel free to weigh in :)

Getting back on topic, lets talk about September empties.  If you aren't familiar with these posts, this is where I give final impressions of products I've used all the way up.  This month's batch is mainly body care, with a few skincare and makeup items as well.



Dr. Hauschka Lemon Lemongrass Vitalising Body Wash   [Review]
A really lovely hydrating body wash reminiscent of a lathering cream cleanser for your face.  Straight out of the bottle, the consistency was similar to that of a thin lotion, but with the addition of water, it foamed up pretty nicely.  If you're familiar with the Weleda Creamy Body Washes, this struck me as pretty similar - not altogether surprising when you consider the shared history of the two brands - and even smelled very close to how I remember Weleda's Citrus scent.
Repurchase? Not sure.  I'd probably choose the less costly Weleda ones instead.  

Kiss My Face Pomegranate Grapefruit Moisture Shave
The Moisture Shaves are my favorite shaving product.  You really can't beat the price and they do a great job.  If you're switching from a conventional shaving foam, there may be an adjustment period, but it's totally worth taking the time to get used to using a cream.  I loved how the Pomegranate Grapefruit scent smelled in the bottle, but on the skin, it was a little too sweet for my nose.  
Repurchase? Yes, but not in this particular scent.

Acure Unscented Ultra-Hydrating Body Lotion   [Review]
This has been my favorite body lotion for several years now, but I've just started on a new tube in the new packaging and I feel like the formula has changed along with the tube.  The ingredients are almost identical - just a few additional extracts in the new one - but the consistency feels a lot more watery than the original. My sister hasn't noticed any change, so maybe I got a dud, but I'm pretty disappointed.  If anyone else has used this in both the new and old packaging, I'd love to know if you noticed any change in the formula! 
Repurchase? Not sure.  

Earthpaste Peppermint Toothpaste   [Review]
Another longtime favorite that I'm not sure I'll be buying anymore!  I went a couple days brushing with just water when I kept forgetting to move the new tube into the bathroom, and I'm convinced my teeth looked whiter during that time than when I started back using the Earthpaste.  I switched to the Peppermint flavor a couple months ago and I wonder if it's somehow - inexplicably - less brightening than the Wintergreen, which is what I've used for most of the last three years, or if Earthpaste in general has been making my teeth duller and less white without me noticing.  
Repurchase? I don't know.

Mamma Oceania Baby Clean Soap*  [Review]
The Mamma Oceania soaps are wonderful unscented soaps handmade in Toronto and the Baby Clean with chamomile, banana, kelp, and oatmeal is my favorite.  It has a slight creamy/clean scent - though there are no added scent ingredients - and is super gentle on the skin.  All the Mamma Oceania soaps are made without palm or canola oil and are very long lasting.  
Repurchase? Yes!  I'm swimming in soaps right now, but I definitely would.

Rocky Mountain Soap Co. Lemongrass Face/Body Bar
Rocky Mountain Soap is another great option for Canadian bar soap.  I love how many different options the company offers and the scents, which are noticeable but not overpowering, have never bothered me.  These are also palm oil free, but they do contain canola oil, which I don't 100% love.  The Lemongrass bar smelled super fresh and citrusy - not overly spicy - and was really lovely to use.  It's labelled for oily/combination skin, but wasn't drying at all.  
Repurchase? Very likely.  Again, not immediately, but it's one I'll keep in mind in the future.  

CleanWell All Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipe
I got this as a sample somewhere and I've carried it around in my purse for probably a year or more.  For my hands, I generally prefer a liquid/gel hand sanitizer, but these wipes are great for quick cleaning or wiping down surfaces.
Repurchase? Maybe.  



Acure Cell Stimulating Facial Mask (sample)   [Review]
As I've said many times before,  I don't generally find pre-mixed masks as effective as powder ones that you activate yourself, but I think they're good to have on hand for those times when you're in a hurry or just can't be bothered to mix something up yourself.  The Acure mask didn't do a lot for me in terms of cleaning pores or detoxifying the skin, but it did leave my skin looking fresh and bright.  It emulsifies with water so most of the product rinses off easily, but I found it tended to leave a slight film on the skin, so I recommend either washing it off in the shower or with a washcloth.  
Repurchase? Maybe.  I have a couple other pre-mixed masks on the go already, but I might come back to it next time I need one.

The Little Alchemist Cacao & Banana Face Glow
This mask came in a Petit Vour box towards the beginning of the year and I quite enjoyed using it.  It's a mix of raw cacao, banana, zeolite, clay, and a variety of superfoods, including acai, green papaya, spirulina, maca, and turmeric root.  As the name suggests, it left my skin fresh and glowy, but only if I spaced out my uses.  I try to mask twice a week and when I used this too close together - more than once every couple weeks - the second use didn't have much effect on my skin at all.  If you're someone with multiple masks to rotate between, it's great, but I wouldn't suggest buying it as your only mask.  
Repurchase? Maybe.

Nonie of Beverly Hills AHA! Brilliant Moisturizer*   [Review]
I really liked this moisturizer!  With 5% AHA from sugarcane and fruit extracts, it provides daily light resurfacing and leaves the skin baby soft.  I noticed tingling from the acids initially, but that dissipated after the first week or so.  This does contain coconut oil, but the balance with the acids meant that it didn't leave my pores congested or clogged like most coconut oil products do.  
Repurchase? Yes!  I'm using something else right now, but I would consider buying it in the future.

Karooch Meadowfoam Seed Oil
I bought this with the intention of using it in a DIY body oil (totally inspired by Stark's Meaowfoam Everybody Oil), but I ended up using it as a makeup remover instead.  It had a great light consistency that made it easy to spread across the skin, but I didn't like how it smelled - kind of seedy and salad dressing-like.  You could probably cover the smell up with essential oils, but I never tried.  
Repurchase? Doubtful.  I'm still curious to try the Stark oil though!

The Body Deli Melon Foaming Cleanser
This cleanser didn't do anything terrible to my skin, but it didn't do anything good either.  With stellar brightening ingredients like turmeric, licorice root, and vitamin B12 , I had pretty high expectations, but it consistently left my skin looking dull and tired.  I tried to use it as a body wash too, but it actually irritated the skin on my body, so I'm just tossing the last third or so of the bottle.  
Repurchase? No.



Everyday Minerals Base: Golden Fair (0W) Matte, Golden Ivory (1W) Semi-Matte + Ivory (1N) Jojoba (samples)
I'm finally nearing the end of all my mineral foundation samples!  I'm pretty confident that Ivory (1N) is my best color from Everyday Minerals and the Semi-Matte formula, with its natural finish, hint of a glow and slightly sheerer coverage than the Matte and Jojoba bases, is my favorite.  Golden Fair (0W) and Golden Ivory (1W) were both far too yellow for my skin.
Repurchase? Yes.  I'm waiting for a full size of the Semi-Matte in Ivory (1N) to arrive.

Cheeky Cosmetics Blonde + Light Brunette Brow Powder (samples)
These were a complete fail for my brows - neither color matched and they were so pigmented as to be difficult to work with - but I liked them both as matte eye shadows.  Light Brunette, in particular, made a great crease/transition shade.
Repurchase? For my brows, definitely not, but I might buy Light Brunette to use as an eye shadow.    


Total Products Used Up in September
Skincare: 3  (Lip Balms: 0)
Bodycare: 6

Haircare:  0
Makeup: 0
Skin/Body/Hair Samples: 3
Makeup Samples: 5

Total Products Used Up in 2015
Skincare: 32 (Lip Balms: 8)
Bodycare: 34

Haircare:  10
Makeup: 11
Skin/Body/Hair Samples: 62 

Makeup Samples: 29

*Press sample
Contains affiliate links
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