19 September 2017

August Goodbeing Box (All Beauty)

I’ve got so many ideas for blog posts I want to do, but very little time of late to actually sit down and write them!  Thanks for sticking with me, even when things are slow.

Today I want to talk about Goodbeing. I haven't done a subscription box post in quite some time, mainly because I haven’t gotten any boxes in a while.  With trying to limit the amount of product I bring in, spending on guaranteed items has made more sense than risking it on the unknown, but when Goodbeing had an offer that was too good to pass up, I decided to subscribe for the August box.  

Goodbeing (formerly Goodebox) is one of the longest running natural sub boxes. They have a "pick your product" feature that lets you choose 1-2 of the 4-5 items in the box, which I think is fantastic. Boxes retail for $24.95 in the US and $33.95 in Canada and internationally. With the exchange, I ended up paying just under $44 CAD.  Mini boxes and discounts on prepaid yearly subscriptions are also available. I chose the all beauty box, but there's also a lifestyle option that contains a mix of beauty, lifestyle, and wellness products.

If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have already seen what came in my box, but I want to share my thoughts a month later, now I've had a chance to use (almost) everything in the box. Ultimately I think mini reviews are more valuable than first impressions, which is why I waited until now instead of doing a quick unboxing as soon as it arrived in the mail.

Let’s get to the goodies inside!

Previse Hydrofoam Moisturizer ($48)
The Hydrofoam Moisturizer was a bonus for new subscribers in August -- what finally sold me on the box -- and I have lots of thoughts on it.  As part of Previse’s new ZeroFragrance line, the Hydrofoam Moisturizer is marketed as a lightweight antioxidant-rich moisturizer with a unique aerated micro-bubble mousse consistency.   The ingredients caught my eye right away -- specifically hyaluronic acid, which I already know my skin loves, and ceramides, which I'd been interested in incorporating into my routine for some time.  The bubbly mousse consistency is unconventional -- similar to that of a foaming hand soap -- and, according to Previse, serves to activate the antioxidants in the formula.  

Honestly, I’m not sure if the aeration making the product any more active is just a gimmick or not, but it’s a fun item to use and I like the results I’ve gotten from it so far.  I also consider it to be more of a serum or essence -- and a pretty watery one at that -- than a moisturizer.  Aerating the liquid into a foam may temporarily change its consistency, but it doesn't significantly  impact the weight or feel of the product once it’s on the skin.  My skin has been verging on oily this summer, and the Hydrofoam Moisturizer is still nowhere near enough moisture for me.  

To be clear, I really enjoy this product as a serum layer, either mixed with a couple drops of my longtime favorite Sola Balancing Face Oil to create something of a micro-emulsion, or followed with a separate moisturizer or balm. For my skin, it just doesn't replace a moisturizer and isn't something I can use by itself, even in the humid summer.

Emani Hybrid Cream Color in Speechless ($20)
Emani’s Hybrid Cream Colors are multipurpose cream products for eyes, lips, and cheeks and Speechless is a pretty copper shade.  It’s not a color I’m likely to wear on my cheeks or lips, but it’s very pretty on the eyes.  As you can see in the photo, the product comes with an abstract sparkle overlay, but it doesn’t significantly impact the shade.   Speechless has a pretty sheen throughout.  

I've been enjoying wearing the Cream Color all over my lid, paired with a mid-toned taupe powder shadow in the crease for a little definition, and I really like the look it creates. In terms of wear, the Cream Color fares pretty well -- much better than I expected! It does fade throughout the day, like any natural cream shadow, but it does so in a very natural way without any obvious creasing or patchiness.

Osea Malibu Ocean Cleanser ($16)
Osea has been on my to-try list for literally years and the Ocean Cleanser did not disappoint.  With a creamy gel consistency, the cleanser doesn't lather or foam, but it does thoroughly cleanse without stripping or drying out the skin.  It also smells great - mild, fresh and a little beachy, if you will - and leaves my skin soft and happy. I'm even more eager to try more Osea now!

Isa’s Restoratives Blue Beauty Balm ($7.50)
The Blue Beauty Balm was the surprise star of the box.  I haven't been completely sold on face balms in the past, but this one has been changing my mind.  The texture, once melted by the heat of your skin, is quite thin and light, leaving the Blue Beauty Balm feeling more like a plush oil than a balm.  It's not at all heavy, waxy, or occlusive and I love it! The balm is loaded with great ingredients that moisturize without feeling greasy and my skin is left soft and supple.  The scent -- a mix of blue chamomile, neroli, and carrot seed -- is intoxicatingly lovely too.  

In fact, I liked this guy so much that I was quick to scoop up the company’s Immortelle Balm when I saw it as a choice in Goodbeing’s October Pick Your Products.

St. Tropica Coconut Hot Oil Hair Mask ($5)
Life gets busy and hair masks easily fall off the agenda, so this is the one thing from the box that I've yet to try.  I like the simple ingredients -- it's basically a boosted virgin organic coconut oil that’s loaded with good for your hair ingredients like biotin, amla, horsetail, green tea, and hibiscus.  I'll report back on Instagram or in an empties post once I give it a go.

The Bottom Line
I think this was a great box!  I expected to love the Previse moisturizer and while it’s great, the Osea Ocean Cleanser and Isa’s Restoratives Blue Beauty Balm were even more so the standouts of this box for me.  Goodbeing consistently includes fantastic brands and I like that they also let you pick some of the items in advance, so it’s not a complete surprise.  I opted not to get a box in September, but I am getting one in October and will decide whether or not to continue from there.  

Have you subscribed to Goodbeing or used any of these products?  What’s your take on subscription boxes in general?

28 August 2017

Marin Bee Detox Masque

I fell hard for the Marin Bee Lip Repair a few months ago, but it took me a little longer to come to appreciate the company’s Detox Masque* ($48 for 2 ounces).  Let’s just say it wasn’t love at first mask for me and this guy.  To be completely honest, I didn’t like it very much at all the first time I put it on my face.  

I've since changed my mind on all but one of these points, but that first time using it, I found:
It was sticky and hard to spread.  
I felt like I used up half the tube on that one mask.
I didn’t like how it smelled.  
And, most important of all -- I didn’t notice any difference or improvement in my skin.  

I set the Detox Masque aside for a couple months and when I gave it another go more recently, with a little tweaking and perhaps the weather change from spring to summer, I’ve come to really enjoy using it.

The major change I made? Adding in a small amount of water (or hydrosol, or toner) before applying the mask onto my face.  The extra liquid helps thin out the mask, allowing it to spread much more easily on the skin so you need considerably less product.  It also helps the mask feel much less sticky and gooey.

Since re-trying it, I've also seen an improvement in my skin following the mask.  My skin looks bright and healthy, the pores on my nose and cheeks look cleaner (and therefore smaller and less visible), and my face is very soft to the touch.   

I will say, I'm still not a big fan of the mask’s smell as it sits on your face.  Straight out of the tube, it smells mostly sweet, like honey, but the sulfur comes through as the mask sits on the skin and, in combination with the other ingredients, is very reminiscent of pungent garlic.  I don’t love it, but it’s much more bearable when everything else is working for me.  

Let’s talk about ingredients...

The mask is made up of ⅓ California wildflower honey.  Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and it’s a natural humectant.  It's fantastic for all kinds of skin and here it does a fantastic job balancing and tempering the more active ingredients in the mask.  

Kaolin clay is one of the more gentle clays out there, but it's still very effective at drawing out dirt and impurities.  

Sulfur and pumpkin enzymes balance oil production, get rid of dead skin cells and provide gentle, chemical exfoliation.

Aloe vera, zinc oxide, and oats offer soothing benefits and help to reduce redness and inflammation.  

All in all, the Detox Masque is a great mask for treating acne, blemishes, or clogged pores without overly drying or stripping the skin.  Marin Bee has packed the formula full of skin nutrients and soothing botanicals that elevate it far above your standard clay detox masque.

I’m not sure why I had such a different reaction to the mask on the first go, but I’m definitely a fan now.  I’ve also had good results dotting the mask onto blemishes and leaving it on as an overnight spot treatment.

The Bottom Line
Marin Bee has done it again!  This honey-based line has some real gems and I’m happy to say, the Detox Masque is, on second try, another one. The mask offers purifying and detoxifying benefits in a gentle formula that won’t leave skin feeling stripped or overcleansed.   

* Press sample

24 August 2017

Homemade 3-Ingredient Laundry Detergent

I can’t remember the last time I purchased store-bought laundry detergent.  There are a million and one other options and I've definitely tried a good number of them!  I used reusable laundry discs for several years, but when they needed replacing, I decided to feel out other options instead.  Soap nuts were okay for a time, but I was never confident they were getting agitated enough in the washing machine to make the most of their saponins and soapy goodness.  I also did a stint using just a small amount of liquid castile soap, which works well but isn’t the most cost-effective option.  And so, I eventually turned to making my own powder detergent.
I shared a photo of the detergent-making process on Instagram stories a few weeks ago and got multiple requests for more info, so I'm finally sharing the (incredibly easy) recipe here.

There are a lot of similar recipes circulating on the internet, but the main difference with mine is that I use proportionately much less soap than other recipes I’ve seen.  Why?  I wash most things in cold water, and find that with a higher soap ratio, some of that soap just doesn’t dissolve, leaving gummy pieces of half-dissolved soap attached to your clothes.  Clearly not what we’re going for!  

This really is a super simple DIY.  I've linked all the ingredients below, should you want to order them online, but everything is pretty easy to find -- any natural bar soap will work, and you can find borax and washing soda at most supermarkets and grocery stores.  Scale the recipe up or down, as needed, depending on the size of your bar of soap.

Homemade 3-Ingredient Laundry Detergent 

1 4-oz bar natural bar soap, grated
4 cups washing soda
4 cups borax
(Essential oils -- optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container.  To use, sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons into your load and wash as normal.

And that’s it!

You can scent your detergent with essential oils, but I personally don't.  The soap gives the detergent a fresh clean smell, plus I've never found essential oil scents to last very well in the wash anyways.  Scented bar soap is another option to make the detergent itself smell great, but, again, I don't find the scent detectable once clothes/linens are dry.  I use whatever bar soap I have on hand -- scented or unscented -- and really can’t tell the difference once everything is dry.  

Have you ever made your own laundry detergent?  What are your favorite household DIY’s?
Contains affiliate links.

10 August 2017

Clean Kiss Organics Kiss My Curls + Kiss Me Clean

Before I jump into today's post, I want to thank you all for such a great response to my last blog post.  I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm really glad it resonated with so many of you and I appreciate all the lovely comments and support that I've gotten, both on the blog post itself and over on Instagram

Moving on to today's actual topic -- I want to introduce Clean Kiss Organics, a fantastic handcrafted Ontario line that I've had the pleasure of trying out over the last few months.  I met Jodie Pappas, Clean Kiss's founder, at the Holistic Beauty Expo in May and was immediately drawn in by both Jodie's cheerful enthusiasm and Clean Kiss's impressive product range.  (Not to mention by just how good everything at her table smelled!)

Jodie offered me the chance to try out a couple products from her line and I easily decided on the Kiss Me Clean Facial Cleansing Oil* and Kiss My Curls Nourishing Hair Oil Spray*.  Choosing was a bit of a no-brainer for me -- I mean, if there are two things I'm always game to try out, it's a good oil cleanser and new curly girl hair products!  Keep reading for my thoughts on both...

Kiss My Curls Nourishing Hair Oil Spray
Jodie is a fellow curly girl, so I was excited to try out Kiss My Curls ($18 for 236 ml), one of two recent hair additions to the Clean Kiss Organics range.  Made with a mix of rose water, marula, argan, and jojoba oils, and peppermint, rosemary, and lavender essential oils, Kiss My Curls is a unique intermediate between an oil and a milky leave-in conditioner spray.  The spray has minimal ingredients and no emulsifier to hold the rosewater and oils together, so you do have to shake it before each use to recombine everything.  Once shaken, it has a watery consistency, perfect for misting out of a spray bottle, but offers the feel and nourishment of a lightweight oil.  The spray is recommended for use on both damp, freshly washed hair, and on dry, second-day hair as a curl refresher.  

Curly hair is notorious for loving moisture, and while my hair needs some moisture, it's also a bit of a curl oddity in that it starts to feel greasy very easily and can't always handle ultra-moisturizing products.  As a result, I like using Kiss My Curls on damp hair, but it's not ideal for me as a second-day curl refresher.  I use it on freshly washed hair much like I would any other hair oil -- misting a small amount through the ends and length of my hair, but mostly avoiding the scalp.  As a second-day product, it's just a little too oil-like for me.  I imagine it could work really well for those with drier hair, but I just tend to prefer more watery products for this purpose.  I do also enjoy misting a small amount onto my fingers and running them through dry hair to tame frizz and flyaways.  The Nourishing Oil Spray has a mild sweet/minty scent.

Kiss Me Clean Facial Cleansing Oil
I always use an oil cleanser to take off my makeup and Kiss Me Clean ($20 for 118 ml) has jumped right to the top of my list!  With a short ingredient list consisting of just grapeseed, castor seed, jojoba, and chia seed oils, plus calendula and essentials oils, it's a simple formula that really works.  The cleansing oil is gentle, but easily melts off all my makeup and wipes away cleanly.  The oil is pretty lightweight and has good slip to it, making it perfect for massaging into the skin and really breaking down even hard to remove products like sunscreen and eyeliner.  The consistency also means that a little oil goes a long way and you really don't need to use much -- one full pump is enough to completely remove all my face and eye makeup.  I'm a fan of double cleansing, so I usually follow up with a second cleanser, but it's not absolutely necessary since Kiss Me Clean wipes away easily and doesn't leave behind much residue at all.

The product description highlights lemon, tea tree, orange, and bergamot essential oils, and the oil has a mild, fresh/herbal scent.  It doesn't scream citrus to me and, in fact, before rereading the description yesterday, my nose had me convinced there was lavender in there too!  Either way, it's a neutral scent that's pleasant but not overwhelming.  The cleansing oil leaves my skin feeling clean and soft and looking bright and healthy -- it's a product I could see myself buying again and again.


The Bottom Line
Great company, great products, great price point.  Clean Kiss Organics was one of my favorite new discoveries at the Holistic Beauty Expo and trying these products only reaffirmed that my first impressions were spot on.  I'm especially head over heels for the Kiss Me Clean Cleansing Oil, a gentle oil cleanser that breaks down makeup like a dream and would suit a variety of skin types.  Kiss My Curls Nourishing Hair Oil Spray didn't work out as a second-day curl product for me, but I do think dryer hair types would appreciate it in this capacity.  Either way, it's a great lightweight oil for curly and non-curly hair alike!  

Have you tried Clean Kiss Organics?

* Press sample

1 August 2017

Real Talk: Green Blogging, Disclosure, Fearmongering, Elitism, Ingredient Shaming + More

It’s been about a month and a half since I published a blog post and while some of that is life and schedule-related, it’s also because I’ve been feeling disconnected from the green beauty community over the last several months.  When I first started blogging in 2011, this community was a lot smaller and while I think it’s fantastic that the community – and overall interest in green and natural products – has grown so substantially these last six years, it also brings with it challenges – growing pains, if you will – and a few things just haven’t been sitting right with me of late. 

Regular content will resume shortly, but first I want to clear the air and put into words what it is that’s been bothering me lately.  If you’re only interested in product-related content, feel free to skip this one!

Ingredient-Shaming + Green Competition
To me, green beauty is predominantly about making healthier choices.   Choices that you, as an individual, are comfortable with.  It’s not about being greener than anyone else or judging other people’s choices.

Still, I regularly see people being shamed and dismissed on Instagram and in green and natural Facebook groups.  Specific instances I’ve seen in the last few months?  Ganging up on a green blogger for going back to some conventional products, dismissing someone's shower gel with phenoxyethanol as "not even natural," berating someone else’s use of prescription acne medication, and ridiculing yet another person who had yet to switch from conventional mascara and deodorant.  Not to mention non-beauty related examples like mouthing off at someone for feeding their children boxed cereal, enjoying an occasional French fry, or using a disposable coffee cup.  

It’s not okay.  Please don’t be someone who polices other people’s choices, even under the guise of help or concern.  I get it – I’ve had my more strident ingredient purist days too, but remember that your standards are just that – yours – and don’t carry over to anyone else.  

I'm also so turned off by the fearmongering that some brands (and influencers too!) put out there.  I  don't doubt that it sells products in this industry, but it's so tacky.  
I really think it should go without saying -- just don't.  There's so many better ways to sell green living and natural products than fear of chemicals and cancer!

Elitism, Overspending + Overconsumption
Luxury beauty will always have its place, but I’ve always believed that there’s a space for everyone (and every budget) in the green beauty world.  I feature products across a range of price points, but I think most of you already know that my heart particularly goes out to affordable gems.  

Whether it comes comes from having more wiggle room for a larger marketing budget or something completely different, a lot of the content out there focuses on high end natural products.  I'm in no way bashing those brands or products, but I hope we'll see a shift towards better representation of all the great inexpensive options out there too!  Better quality ingredients do cost more, but that only goes so far – a $100 clay mask vs. $25 one, for example, is usually more a matter of marketing than ingredient quality.  

I also cringe a little at the overall overconsumption and overspending that’s so rampant in the beauty world as a whole.  I believe basic skincare – and even makeup – can be considered necessities, but beyond that, we’re in luxury territory.  I love seeing gorgeous shelfies and rows upon rows of fantastic green goodies on Instagram as much as the next person, but I do wonder how much it perpetuates an idea of beauty overconsumption as the norm.  

Disclosure, Paid Content + Dishonest Influencers
I’m all for bloggers and influencers being paid for their work, but nothing gets my goat more than undisclosed paid content and brand affiliations.  Earning a living as an “influencer” is still somewhat new and while there are certainly people doing it right, there’s also a lot of questionable behaviour and unscrupulous product-pushing. 

Accepting free product or compensation doesn’t make anyone dishonest, but I think readers and followers have a right to know what’s paid and what’s not so they can judge that for themselves.  The FTC has been cracking down on huge celebrities like Kim K for not disclosing sponsored and affiliated content this year, but since green beauty is tiny fry in comparison, there’s not any real supervision in this regard right now.  

Where do we go from here?
I hope this post doesn’t come across as too negative!  Despite feeling somewhat disenchanted with these particular things, I'm still really excited about other parts of the community and I've got some great content planned for the next few months.

To wrap this up, basically, what I want to say is ---

Be as green as you want to be.
Buy or don’t buy.
Take social media for what it is – a glimpse of a person’s life and what they’re choosing to share with the world.  And also a way to earn a living.

I hope you’ll continue to enjoy the content I create here on Naturalla Beauty.  Whether you’re fully green or just dabbling, I’d love to have you here.  I’ve always been and will continue to be fully transparent about paid content, PR samples, and brand affiliations.  Likewise, I'm always honest in my reviews and will never mislead you just to sell a product.  

Leave a comment and let me know where you stand on all this – I’d love to know if you feel similarly! – and stay tuned for regular beauty content, coming soon.  


19 June 2017

Pure Anada Smooth Priming Serum

I'm a firm believer that healthy, optimal skin needs both water and oil.  It's possible to get both components from a single product -- as is the case with standard water/oil emulsion moisturizers -- but with the prevalence of anhydrous (waterless) butters, balms, and oils in the green beauty realm, many people are missing out on the water element entirely. 

Another great way to illustrate these separate needs is the distinction between dry and dehydrated skin.  Dry skin generally feels rough or papery to the touch and might flake or peel, while dehydrated skin feels tight and sensitive and tends to show more prevalent fine lines.  In simplest terms, dry skin is lacking moisture (oil), whereas dehydrated skin is lacking hydration (water).  As such, skin can be dry, dehydrated, or both.  

I'm very conscious of incorporating both water and oil components into my  routine, but when my skin started looking generally lackluster and feeling dry and tight towards the end of the winter, my regular oils and moisturizers just weren't cutting it, so I knew I had to up the water component in my regimen.  Enter the Pure Anada Smooth Priming Serum....

The Smooth Priming Serum ($25 CAD for 30ml) is advertised as a hydrating and plumping makeup primer, and while I'm sure it works great for that function, it's, at its root, a very basic hyaluronic acid serum.  I purchased it with the intention of adding it into my skincare routine and that's where I've kept it, rather than as a first step in makeup application. 

The ingredients are incredibly simple: just plant-based hyaluronic acid and organic chamomile floral water.  Chamomile is a favorite ingredient of mine that smells wonderful and is fantastic for sensitive or irritated skin.  Hyaluronic acid, a humectant that draws water into the skin and binds to it, helps skin retain moisture, keeping it plump and hydrated.  (Be aware that in dry climates hyaluronic acid can have the opposite effect and actually pull water OUT of the skin if there's nowhere else for it to draw from!)  

The ingredient simplicity is what first drew me to this product -- a lot of water-based serums are made with glycerin, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's not an ingredient my skin enjoys in large amounts, so it can be an issue for me in some formulations.  Glycerin can also sometimes feel sticky or tacky on the skin, and has the potential to clog pores in larger quantities too.  The Smooth Priming Serum, on the other hand, has a lightweight consistency and sinks into the skin beautifully without any residue or residual tackiness.  It does a great job plumping up the skin and (temporarily) reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

I prefer to apply the serum onto damp skin, either from a toner or just a spritz of water, since it immediately gives the hyaluronic acid some moisture to bind to.  Usually I do a two-step routine, following the serum with a separate oil or cream moisturizer, but I've also enjoyed blending a couple drops of the serum and an oil together in my hand to create a sort of micro-emulsion.  I was using the serum daily in the winter, but since the weather's warmed up -- and all the humidity that comes with that here in Toronto -- I only find I need to use it 1-2x per week now.

The Bottom Line
Pure Anada is a great Canadian company and, clearly, I'm a fan of the Smooth Priming Serum!  The serum does a fantastic job hydrating and plumping the skin and its simple ingredients are gentle and perfect for sensitive and reactive skin.  I prefer using the serum as a skincare step rather than a direct makeup primer, however, I think it does prime the skin for makeup this way also.  Healthier, hydrated skin inevitably creates a better surface for makeup to sit on top of and reduces the number of crevices and fine lines for products to slip into throughout the day.  Whether you're looking for a skincare serum or a makeup primer, The Smooth Priming Serum is a great inexpensive option to consider.  You can also purchase samples directly on the Pure Anada website.  

Contains affiliate links.

28 May 2017

Sheer Lips for Spring (ft. Inika, Marin Bee, Mineral Fusion, Jane Iredale + Burt's Bees)

Opaque lip colors are great, but day to day, I'm much more of a tinted balm or gloss girl.  I've been fully embracing sheer color this spring with a few new-to-me lip products...

Marin Bee Lip Repair*
The Marin Bee Lip Repair has the least color of today's bunch.  The box describes it as "high gloss hydration," and I think that's very fitting.  Made with castor seed oil, olive oil, honey, and shea and cocoa butters, the Lip Repair is a nourishing lip treatment with a subtle tint and glossy finish.  It feels great and does a fantastic job keeping my lips soft and moisturized.  I like using it as an overnight treatment too!

Burt's Bees Tinted Lip Balm (Sweet Violet)

I'm super late to the game on these tinted balms, but I picked one up last month in support of Burt's Bees finally pulling out of China (and therefore regaining their cruelty-free status).  It's a basic lip balm -- protective and moisturizing, but nothing to write home about on that front -- but what I really like are the creamy, glossy colors.  There's no shimmer in these, just soft, buildable tints.  Sweet Violet is a beautiful plummy-pink that can be worn sheer or layered up for a surprising amount of color payoff.  

Inika Certified Organic Lip Tint (Candy)*
Inika's Lip Tint has quickly become one of my everyday go-to's.  Candy is a shimmery light pink and looks to be the most subtle color in the range.  It's shimmery, but not to the point of looking frosty, and basically just gives the lips a pretty, polished-looking sheen.  The tint is creamy and buttery and despite the shimmer in this particular shade, it doesn't feel at all gritty on the lips.   To create the Lip Tints, Inika took their popular lip balm formula and just added mineral pigments for color, so this is another one that can absolutely stand in for your favorite regular lip balm.   They've also got an energizing peppermint scent that I really like.  Easy to wear and ultra-nourishing, they're definitely a new favorite!

Mineral Fusion Lipstick Butter (Honeysuckle)
Mineral Fusion's Sheer Moisture Lip Tints are one of my all-time favorite lip products, but the packaging -- specifically the lids, which have an annoying tendency to pop off -- means they mostly sit on my desk at home, so I was hoping the Lipstick Butters would be a similar, more purse friendly option.  Honeysuckle, a peachy-pink tint with some shimmer, is a pretty color, but alas, I can't get past how it smells.  To my nose, it has a fake honey, slightly sickly scent, and unfortunately it's one that lingers and is noticeable for at least a couple hours.  The lipstick butter itself seems great -- more pigmented than the Sheer Moisture Lip Tints but less so than Mineral Fusion's regular lipstick line -- but I almost always find myself wiping it off after just a few minutes because of the scent.

(L to R) Marin Bee Lip Repair, Inika Candy Lip Tint, Burt's Bees Sweet Violet Tinted Lip Balm, Jane Iredale Forever Pink Lip & Cheek Stain, Mineral Fusion Honeysuckle Lipstick Butter)
Jane Iredale Just Kissed Lip & Cheek Stain (Forever Pink)
The Just Kissed Lip & Cheek Stain is one of those products that starts out a translucent pink in the tube (and on a first swipe), but transforms into a more noticeable color with the warmth of your skin.  Jane Iredale claims that the shade adjusts to your own chemistry and skin tone, which is always a little gimmicky, but it's true that the final color of the Lip & Cheek Stain varies a good bit on different people.  I've seen it look like a soft, neutral pink on some, but on my lips it's a noticeable pop of bright pink.  The arm swatch is much more indicative of how the color shows up on my cheeks -- it's much more vibrant on my lips.  As a cheek color, it gives a soft dewy flush, but it's pretty subtle, so while I think it's a fairly universal product for the lips, I'm not sure how well it would work as a cheek stain on darker skin tones.

If you watch out for synthetic dyes, be aware that the Lip & Cheek Stain does contain lake dyes, however, like all Jane Iredale products, they're naturally-derived and bonded to a calcium substrate instead of the traditional petroleum-derived variety.  

(L to R) Marin Bee Lip Repair, Inika Candy Lip Tint, Burt's Bees Sweet Violet Tinted Lip Balm, Jane Iredale Forever Pink Lip & Cheek Stain, Mineral Fusion Honeysuckle Lipstick Butter)
The Bottom Line
If you're in the market for sheer lip products, I hope one (or more) of these will spark your interest!  With the exception of the Mineral Fusion, which I suggest smelling in person before you commit, they're all pretty universal and suited to just about anyone.  For bolder -- though still sheer/buildable -- color, I'd suggest the Burt's Bees and Jane Iredale, and for ultra-dry or chapped lips, the Inika and Marin Bee would be your best bet.  

What are your favorite tinted balms and sheer lip colors?

*Press sample
Contains affiliate links

15 May 2017

The 1st Annual Holistic Beauty Expo (Toronto 2017): Highlights + New Discoveries

The Holistic Beauty Expo took place this past Friday in Toronto.  It was a day focused on holistic skincare, self-care, and self-love, and brought together Canadian natural and holistic brands, each with their own story and a focus on overall well-being.  The event included brand booths, speakers, and a unique Walking Facial that allowed attendees to experience some of the skincare lines right then and there.

I can't cover everything, but I want to share some photos from the event (excuse the quality -- I was relying my phone!), along with some of my favorite discoveries and highlights.

It's always a pleasure to see what's new with Province Apothecary.  I'm eager to try out Julie's new Natural Face Lift Ritual, a two step technique that combines acupressure point stimulation and facial massage.

Cocoon Apothecary's rebranding looked beautiful. (I'm kicking myself now for not getting an overall photo of their table!)  I was especially eager to swatch their new Reflector SPF 30 Face Sunscreen.  We all know sunscreens are tricky, but Reflector seemed to sink in really nicely with no crazy white cast.  The sunscreen offers broad spectrum mineral protection from zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and is also biodegradable and reef safe.  This one definitely jumped to the top of my summer wishlist!

Also new to my wishlist is the Kiss My Curls Nourishing Hair Oil Spray from Clean Kiss Organics.  Clean Kiss's founder, Jodie, is a fellow curly girl, and Kiss My Curls is a lightweight blend of rosewater and marula, argan, and jojoba oils.  Everything from Clean Kiss smelled amazing and Kiss My Curls was no exception!

I'd never heard of Boosh before, but their lipsticks were incredible!  Beautiful mineral-based colors, organic ingredients, and a moisturizing formula.  I also tried out the Lip Plumping Balm, a lip treatment that's equal parts elegant and effective.

Ground Soap is an Ontario company that makes some of the very best palm oil-free soaps I've used.  After many years as a fan, it was great to chat with Angela, the company's founder, and finally put a face to the brand!

Okoko Cosmetiques was one of the lines I was most excited to check out upon first seeing the exhibitors list!  With an aesthetic reminiscent of May Lindstrom, everything looked super luxe and gorgeous.  I've heard fantastic things about Okoko's products and I love the company's focus on overall skin radiance and luminosity.  I'm especially intrigued by the bright-colored, multi-purpose Sublime Balm, which can function as a cleanser, mask, and moisturizer.

Another brand I'd heard of but not seen in person before was Bella Aura Skincare.  Yasmine, Bella Aura's founder, keeps it real and was lovely to talk to.  Bella Aura is donating 50% of the sales of their Essential Energy Boosting Kit this month to Lilly from Genuine Glow's GoFundMe, which is raising funds for her husband's cancer treatment.

Uniquely-Pure, an aromatherapy-centered line, was another new discovery for me.  The Dreamy Hair Treatment and Bath/Body Oils sounded especially fantastic!

I also enjoyed talking with Christine from BodyCherish.  Her product line, which incorporates crystal essences, smells incredible, so it was amazing to hear that she herself actually has no sense of smell!  Cherish is an energy healer and Reiki practitioner and all her formulating is done from the vibrational feel of the ingredients.  

All in all, the Holistic Beauty Expo was a great event and I'm happy I was able to attend.  Andrea Ashley, HBE's founder, is aiming for a bi-annual expo that will take place every year in Toronto and Vancouver and I'm excited to see where she takes it next!

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