Flower and Spice: Luxury Modern Apothecary Skincare

If ever I was overdue to talk about a product or company, it's this duo from Flower and Spice.  I started doing some (non-blogging) work for Flower and Spice last summer and Karmen,the company's founder and formulator, kindly sent me a Discovery Set to try out at that time.  The Discovery Set retails for €69.00 and includes smaller sizes of Flower and Spice's two best-selling products: the Midnight Beauty Rich Revitalizing Serum and the Soothe and Repair Daily Moisturizer.  

Flower and Spice was created when Karmen decided to leave the stressful world of fashion, video production, and marketing in lieu of applying her longtime passions for green living, cooking, and flowers, herbs, and spices to creating a natural skincare line.  Karmen studied organic skincare science at Formula Botanica and Flower and Spice was born! 

Flower and Spice's products were formulated by Karmen in the Netherlands, but are currently produced in a leading natural skincare lab in Switzerland.  The entire line is 100% natural and all products are free of nasty ingredients, animal testing, genetic engineering, and nanotechnology.  

Before jumping into things further, I do want to stress that I've mulled over how to best approach this review -- or even to do it at all -- since I have an extra connection to the company, but after using the products on and off for several months, I really do want to share my thoughts on them.  I was not asked to write this and, as always, all opinions are honest and my own.  

Keep reading for all the details!

Winter Favourites ft. Osea, Batty's Bath, Consonant, Luk Beautifood + More

My biggest issue with blogging these days is that there's just never enough time to write about everything I want to share.  I've been more active over on Instagram the last couple months, but I know not everyone follows me on there, so I always want to keep current here on the blog too.

With that in mind, today seemed like the perfect time to talk about some recent favourites.  These 6 standouts are products that I've been loving and consistently reaching for over the last few months.  We've had some crazy cold temperatures here in Toronto, so, not surprisingly, these all ended up being products that excel in the moisture department.

REN Evercalm Stop Being So Sensitive Kit

I've always felt strongly about accessible green beauty, but my idea of what fits that label has changed a bit over the years. Initially, I saw it as almost exclusively based on price, but I think physical availability is an important factor to consider too. Not everyone can order online -- or necessarily wants to -- so with my new website reboot, I want to start a series featuring brands with wider in-store availability. Due to logistics, these are often products from larger companies, with perhaps a slightly less clean ingredient deck, but they're still a massive step up from conventional products!

Today I want to talk about REN Clean Skincare, and specifically the Evercalm line. I'd never tried REN before, but I've been testing out the Stop Being So Sensitive Kit, which includes small sizes of three Evercalm products. I picked this up a couple months ago at Winners, but the current incarnation (which comes with one additional product!) is available at Sephora.

The Evercalm line is intended for sensitive and reactive skin, so it's made up of gentle products without many actives. Keep reading for my thoughts on three of the bestselling products in the line.

Indie Brand Feature: Ellovi Revisited

I first reviewed Ellovi back in 2016, and I've been a big fan of their butters ever since.  Ellovi embodies simple elegance -- beautifully packaged, sophisticated formulas handmade from just six ethically-sourced natural ingredients.  The company recently did some rejigging of both the butter formulas and their packaging, and sent me a few of the new versions to try out.

Spoiler: they're just as luscious, moisturizing, and creamy as the originals.  Keep reading for all the details!

5 Things You Don't Know About Dyeing Your Hair With Henna

December marked two full years of colouring my hair with henna.  Henna, if you aren't already familiar with it, is a flowering plant that's been used for millenia and is basically the only completely chemical-free way to dye your hair.  Henna, by itself, generally yields an orangey-red colour, but there are different plant additives that can be mixed in to achieve different hair colours on the warm/red/auburn spectrum.

Before using henna, I'd never dyed my own hair, so it's been a wild ride: different brands, varied successes, and lots of lessons learned along the way.  Today, I want to focus on five specific things that you may not know about using henna.  I haven't seen these talked about much, but I believe they're very relevant to anyone considering using henna in their hair.

If you're interested in more practical, hands-on tips, I do have an older blog post from four months into my henna journey, or if you have specific questions, feel free to leave them in the comments or catch me on Instagram!

An Affordable Vitamin C Roundup ft. Mad Hippie, Batty's Bath, InstaNatural + The Ordinary

I've been experimenting with vitamin C products recently and have found it to be an ingredient that my skin really loves.  And, it's pretty clear why -- vitamin C offers a multitude of amazing skin benefits. 

Vitamin C....
- stimulates collagen production and increases cell turnover
- has antioxidant benefits that fight free radicals and treat UV photodamage
- evens out skin tone and uneven texture
- lightens hyperpigmentation
- brightens dull skin
- reduces surface inflammation and puffiness
- helps skin defend itself from external stressors like pollution
- improves skin hydration
- offers acne benefits (certain types of vitamin C only)

It's a bit of a skin superstar!  Today I'm sharing four affordable products that I've been testing out over the last several months.

Today's lineup feature three different forms of vitamin C:

L-Ascorbic Acid: the most researched form of vitamin C.  Proven to be effective, but can cause surface skin irritation.  It also has stability issues and can oxidize both in water formulas and on the skin.

Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate: a stable water-soluble form of vitamin C that converts to ascorbic acid after absorption.  SAP is gentler and does not cause the same irritation as ascorbic acid, and has also been researched and shown to have acne benefits.

Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate: a stable fat-soluble form of vitamin C.  Because it's lipid-soluble, tetrahyxyldecyl ascorbate is able to penetrate deeper into the skin's dermis, where it can have more of an effect on collagen production.

Hello, 2019!

Happy New Year!  I hope 2019 is a happy, healthy, and all-around incredible year for us all.  I'm not big on New Years resolutions, but I'm looking forward to a year of growth -- both personal and professional -- with lots of fun and opportunities, and, of course, more time for blogging. 

Photo Credit
You may have noticed that things look a little different around here.  New year, new website design -- that's the saying, right?  In all seriousness, I was way overdue for a blog overhaul and finally had the time to do it properly over the holidays.  I wanted something clean looking this time, and I'm really happy with how it came out.  I have plans to tweak a few minor things over the next few weeks, but it's mostly finished.  I'd love to know what you think!

Thanks, as always, for visiting and supporting my small space on the internet.  Stay tuned: I have lots of products and posts I'm excited to share.  Cheers to a great 2019!