May Favorites

May has been an excellent for month for me for discovering and trying out new products. I've never done a favorites post before, but these are so good they are worth the mention!

Pangea Shower Gel - Canadian Pine with White Sage:
I received this as a PR sample and before smelling this, I wasn't too interested in this particular scent. However, I was so surprised when I lathered this up in the shower. The essential oils in this wash smell so therapeutic and calming. I look forward to using this each time I go in the shower because it feels like I am at at a spa. I'll be doing a full review on Pangea products within a few weeks!

Dr. Hauschka Normalizing Day Oil:
Ages ago I watched a video on youtube as to how Dr. Hauschka cured this woman's cystic acne. The normalizing day oil was her 'miracle product'. Ever since then, I've been wanting to try this product. I was very lucky and ended up finding a whole bunch of Dr. Hauschka products at Winners (aka Marshalls), this being one of them. This product is a must have for summer as it helps regulate oiliness. I'll soon be doing a full review on all of the Dr. Hauschka products that I bought!

INIKA Creme Eyeshadow Champagne:
I received this in the Saffron Rouge Inner Circle box for April. I've been using this every day since! It has become a staple in my everyday makeup routine as it is the perfect base for eyeshadow and is the perfect highlighter for under the brows.

Kris D'Amour Soothing Body Treatment Butter: 
I had heard so many good things about Kris D'Amour products that when they were having a sale, I couldn't help but purchase something! This body butter is so thick and luxurious, I'm using it everyday. The best part is that it smells like panettone! Stay tuned for a full review on Kris D'Amour products as I received some good sized samples with my order.

Routine Cream Blackberry Betty: 
This is a local product (made in the city closest to me!). I was immediately drawn to this deodorant because it smells like berry cake! It's made with fantastic ingredients and actually works! For me, it works as well as Schmidt's deodorant!

What are your favorites this month? 

Lavina Skincare: Barbary Fig Seed Oil & Organic Argan Hair Oil Review


Lavina Skincare is a Toronto based company whose firm believe is that “Health is Beauty”. They offer customer’s non-toxic, natural, & organic products.  They kindly contacted me and sent me two products for review, their Barbary Fig Seed Oil and 100% Pure & Organic Argan Hair Oil.

This is the first that I had ever heard about Barbary fig seed oil. It contains more Vitamin E than any other oil in the market and actually contains 150% more vitamin E than Argan oil! This oil is best suited for hormonal skin types and is able to fights wrinkles, diminish under the eye dark circles, reduces rosacea, soothes sunburns, and calms inflammation. I've been typically using this product for my under-eye circles and it’s been so hydrating and it really does reduce the appearance of dark circles. I’ll admit, since I started using this oil I've forgotten to put on under-eye concealer numerous times because I simply just didn't need it! I love that this oil comes on a roller as I find that it doesn't waste as much product and is easy for application, especially for under the eyes.
Ingredients: 100% Pure, Cold Pressed and Organic Barbary Fig Seed Oil. Contains no parabens, no preservatives, no fragrances, and is not tested on animals.

100% Pure and Organic Argan Hair Oil: Ah Argan Oil, the miracle oil that we've all come to love due to its benefits on our skin and hair. I’ll admit, I've tried Argan oils in the past for my hair and always felt that the consistency wasn't right. It was usually much too heavy. However, Lavina’s Argan Oil reminds of the Josie Maran Argan Oil that I love. It has a beautiful consistency that is hydrating and nourishing on my hair without being too heavy.

Have you tried Barbary Fig Seed Oil Before? 

Eczema Friendly Soaps: Featuring The Rocky Mountain Soap Company & Osmia Organics

As some of you may know, I have extremely sensitive skin. I not only suffer from mild acne but I also suffer from eczema, something that I've had to deal with since I was a little kid. Usually taking showers is the worst when you're having an eczema outbreak. The hot water can irritate eczema and even make it worse. Also, not using the right soap can affect this condition. Here are some natural soaps that I've been using recently that don't irritate my eczema:

Rocky Mountain Soap Company Pumpkin Soap: The Rocky Mountain Soap Company has been around (where I live) for as long as I can remember. Well before I was interested in natural products. They are located in my hometown and other cities close to the Rocky Mountains. Their Pumpkin Soap uses pumpkin pulp to sooth the skin and wheat germ to gently exfoliate the skin (not too harsh for my sensitive skin!). This soap also contains sweet almond oil for deep moisturizing.  I love having this soap handy not only because it's soothing to my eczema but because it gently exfoliates.

Osmia Organics Oh So Soap: I was thrilled when Osmia kindly sent me some goodies for review, the Oh So Soap being one of them! Osmia is well known for their excellent craftsmanship in soap making. This soap is made with olive oil and mango butter for a deliciously creamy, soothing soap. It is excellent for people with eczema, psoriasis, or even for babies. This is probably the most gentle, moisturizing soap that I have tried. I use this on days when I do not want an exfoliation on my skin. I received a good sized sample from Osmia but once I'm out I was definitely be purchasing the full bar! Seriously though, does Osmia ever disappoint?!

Do you have sensitive skin? Do you suffer from eczema or any other skin conditions?

May Wishlist

This months wishlist is all about pure luxury. With spring in full bloom and summer just around the corner, I picked a handful of products that have rave reviews, beautiful ingredients, and promising results.

Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion $39: Pronounced "Pretty Potion" this miracle cream was created by a celebrity makeup artist to conceal minor imperfections such as cellulite, stretch marks and varicose veins. It is no surprise that this miracle cream uses all natural ingredients! This really does seem like the perfect product for summer!

Laurel Facial Serum Sun Damage Repair $72: Laurel (formerly Sequoia Beauty) recently got a makeover, one which I love! Their new packaging catches my eye every time and I can only think of "luxury" when I see it. With summer just around the corner, Laurel's Sun Damage Repair Serum seems like a must have!

YULI Pure Treatment Mask $65: YULI is one of those brands that everyone seems to love. While I am a YULI virgin, I am determined to try some of their products soon. Even those outside of the green beauty niche tell me that YULI products saved their skin! This detoxifying mask seems perfect for my acne-prone skin.

Lina Hanson Global Face Serum $85: The Lina Hanson Global Face Serum seems like one of those products that we need in our skincare routine. It is a staple that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, reduces inflammation and skin irritation, and improves your overall complexion. The essential oils used in this serum help to elevate mood, relieve anxiety, and promote a sense of positive well being. This sounds like a perfect way to start every day! 

Inika Certified Organic Liquid Mineral Foundation $52: After receiving my first Inika product in the April Saffron Rouge Inner Circle Box, I fell in love. Their cream eyeshadow has now become a staple in my everyday makeup routine. I am so impressed with the overall quality of their products, I can't wait to try more! 

Kari Gran Lip Whip Tinted $15: I've been seeing this brand everywhere lately and I've been hearing great things about their lip whip. This is a beautiful everyday lip balm that can be worn alone or paired with a lipstick. The color of these lip tints look absolutely beautiful! 

Kahina Eye Cream $65: Kahina is another one of those brands that just looks like pure luxury! I haven't been fortunate enough to try their products yet, but what a better way to start than to use their delicious eye cream. It boosts collagen production while decreasing puffiness and dark circles!

What is on your wishlist this month? 

Saffron Rouge Inner Circle Subscription Box - May 2014

After receiving a fabulous box for the month of April I was literally counting down the days until I would receive my next Saffron Rouge Inner Circle box. Saffron Rouge is a Canadian online retailer for natural & organic beauty products. Their subscription box is available within Canada and to the U.S. for only $24.99 including shipping! Last month I had received over $80 worth of product so I was very impressed with the value of the box.

Here is what I received for the month of May:

Alima Pure makes such beautiful pigments, their colors always catch my eye. I haven't been able to try their products yet so I'm happy that I received this product. It is in a beautiful, wearable color that I can see myself using up very quickly!

This is a great example of the benefit of subscription boxes! I would have never thought of trying something like this originally, but I am so happy that I've been introduced to this product and will probably end up buying the full size. Made with a blend of orange rind, orange blossom, iris, quince, cedar atlas wood, rose and lemon - this mist is supposed to give the same effect as sitting in a steam room!

I received a sample of this product before. It helps to minimize breakouts without drying the skin. I'm happy that this is more of a deluxe size sample because a little goes a long way. It is made with aloe and witch hazel so it's not only perfect for acne but for after shaving, waxing, facial peels, insect bites and sunburns!

I'm generally not a lip gloss person but I am so happy that they included this product in this months box! This lip gloss smells exactly like chocolate pudding. It also feels and performs exactly like any other mainstream lip gloss. If I didn't know, I would have never guessed that this is a natural product. I love it!

I have never heard of this brand so I'm thankful that Saffron Rouge introduced me to another fabulous natural brand.  This particular facial cream is packed with plant ingredients that work specifically to calm redness and irritation while protecting the skin's natural moisture barrier. 

I'll be honest, I really wish that this would have been a full size. Bronzer is useful for almost everyone so I feel like this would have been a great item to give as a full size. Especially since the cost of a full size jar is $25.25. Nonetheless, I'm still happy that I received this sample because this will be the first W3LL People product that I am trying. I always hear such good things about this brand!

Total Value = $54.73

I'll be honest, I'm very surprised at the total value of this months box. At first glance I was disappointed because all of the products are very small. Despite that, they included some great products in this months box. One which I may be purchasing the full size, especially because I received a 20% off coupon with my box!

What are your thoughts on this subscription box? What is your favorite subscription box for natural products? 

How I Take Care of My Teeth Naturally

When I decided to switch over my products to natural alternatives, oral care seemed to be one of the last categories on my mind. For some reason I thought that it wasn't going to be an easy switch. I also thought that I would probably be left with grossly yellow teeth. This however, couldn't be further from the truth. It's been almost a year since I made the switch to natural products, here's what I do to keep my teeth healthy:

Himalaya Herbal Toothpaste in Neem & Pomegranate: I am constantly trying new toothpastes to find one that's suitable for me. I've come to discover that I like anything with neem in it. I like this toothpaste because it is gluten and SLS free. I find that it effectively cleans my teeth and doesn't feel like I am using a 'green' alternative.

Desert Essence Tea Tree Oil Mouthwash: This is probably my favorite mouthwash as a little bit goes a long way. It has no alcohol, no sugar, and no artificial fragrances or dyes. It effectively helps to freshen breath and help fight plaque build up. 

The All Natural Face Gum Therapy Oil: This is my favorite item for oral care. I don't even know how I discovered it, but I'm so happy that I did! It costs only $4.60 and this little bottle will last you forever. I sometimes have problems with bleeding gums and when I do I rub this oil on my gums with a q-tip. Within a few nights my gums no longer bleed and are stronger. Made with only organic jojoba oil, essential oils of tea tree, myrrh, lemon and peppermint - this item is an absolute staple as it contributes to healthy gums. 

Activated Charcoal:  Some of you may be wondering what in the world could I be using this for? Activated charcoal is not only good for food poisoning, but it is also good for whitening teeth and killing bad bacteria that causes gingivitis and tooth decay. I have used this as a teeth whiter and it does work. With continued, regular use you will notice a difference in your teeth. 

How to use: Get a toothbrush specifically for whitening teeth with charcoal, as your toothbrush will be stained black. Wet your toothbrush and brush your teeth with the activated charcoal. I like to let it sit for a couple of minutes before I rinse my mouth out. Your teeth will look very scary because they'll be covered with black powder, don't worry it will all come off when you rinse your mouth! When doing this make sure you are extremely careful and wear cloths that you don't mind getting dirty. It will stain your cloths or tile grout. Just be careful and always lean over the sink!

How do you take care of your teeth naturally? Have you tried TANF Gum Therapy oil or activated charcoal as a teeth whitener? 

The Fighting Acne Series: Featuring Osmia Organics

Osmia Organics is one of those brands that just about everybody seems to love. I had been reading rave review after rave review for their Spot Treatment, and since I suffer from acne I knew that I had to get my hands on it! I didn't immediately jump on the Osmia band wagon because I initially thought that shipping to Canada was too expensive. Thankfully, Paula from Naturally Paula introduced me to Clementine Fields. A beautiful online boutique featuring natural & organic cosmetics. Shipping is only $8 for all Canadian orders!

A while ago I asked on twitter if anyone had any recommendations for an acne cleanser. Kim from Kimberlyloc recommended the Black Clay Facial Soap. While using a soap as a facial cleanser goes against everything that I was taught about skincare, this gem is quickly becoming my favorite face cleanser. Made with black Australian clay and dead sea mud this soap is perfect with those who have sensitive or problem skin types. In fact, this is the soap that Sarah Villafranco (the creator of Osmia) recommends for perioral dermatits. I was very surprised as to how much this soap lathered thanks to a skilled soap maker and the use of coconut milk. I find this soap extremely gentle on my sensitive skin, but still effective as a cleanser.I love that this soap helps fight acne without it being harsh and drying on the skin. This is a must have for me in my skincare routine! 

If you're interested about what black soap is, read more about it on the Osmia Organics website. 

Active Gel Toner:
Osmia contacted me and kindly sent me a few samples, the Active Gel Toner being one of them. This toner provides a layer of moisture to the skin with hyaluronic acid to help treat acne-prone skin without damaging or drying the skin. This toner is mostly recommended for dry, combination, acne-prone, and normal skin types (sounds perfect for me huh?!). What I love about this toner is that a little bit goes a very long way. I've used other products like this before and they've left a layer of residue on my face, it wasn't very nice! This product absorbs quickly. Osmia recommends to put the product on after cleansing and before using any serum or moisturizer. Allow the product to sit for 45 seconds before applying the next layer. This is a beautiful toner and has quickly made its way into my morning and nighttime skincare routine. I will be purchasing the full size of the product asap!

Spot Treatment: 
This is one of those products that bloggers and youtubers have been raving about and I can see why. It has a beautiful blend of essential oils to help combat bacteria and it also contains primrose oil to prevent drying (perfect!). My first thought when I saw this product was "wow this is small, it won't last me!" However, Osmia has not only beautiful but practical packaging. This spot treatment comes with a roller so that you don't overuse product, it will last you a very long time which is always a huge positive in my books! This is the first product that I've used that heals blemishes fast and doesn't dry out my skin!

Have you tried Osmia Organics before? What are your thoughts? 

The Fighting Acne Series: Featuring Eminence Organic Skincare

I'm excited to announce a new series that I'm starting on my blog. If you've been following my blog for awhile, you'll know that I have sensitive skin and am extremely acne prone. This series will focus on products that I use and love to help treat acne. While none of the products that I mention are miracle workers, they are simply just great performing products that work well to help heal blemishes faster and minimize breakouts.
When it comes to natural skincare, Eminence is a well known luxury brand used in many spas. Eminence is known for their quality and performance. I'll admit I'm a sucker for Eminence Masques, so when my local natural store was having a 'buy one get one free' deal I knew that I couldn't resist!      

I've been using the Eight Greens Phyto Masque for almost 4 years now and continue to still love it. It is perfect for dehydrated, mature, menopausal, blemished, or acne-prone skin types. It is made with many key ingredients such as honey, paprika, yucca extract, and omega 3's. I prefer to use the 'hot' version of this masque because I feel like it really detoxifies the skin and cleans out my pores. Although I have sensitive skin, the hot version doesn't bother my skin (I still would use the hot masque with caution of you have extremely sensitive skin).  After using the hot version you will notice that your skin is extremely red, don't be alarmed, it is only temporary and your skin will have a beautiful glow once the redness dies down.  

Full list of ingredients:
Yucca, Hops, Horsetail, Bioflavanoids, Paprika, Yucca Juice, Linseed, Stonecrop Extract, Honey, Natural Moisturizing Factor, Glycerin, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Red Clover, Biocomplex (Vitamin A, Ester C, Vitamin ECoenzyme Q10, Alpha Lipoic Acid), Xanthan Gum, Lavender Oil, Glycerine, Glycine Derivative.
This is a rather new Eminence Masque that I've tried. After receiving a sample of this product last year I knew that I would have to end up buying the full size jar. This is the perfect soothing masque that treats acne at the same time. It is made with great ingredients such as yogurt, cucumber, shea butter, kaolin clay, and tea tree oil. I find this masque to be soothing and hydrating. Finding products that help heal acne but don't dry out your skin is key! 

Full list of ingredients: 
Cucumber Juice, Corn Germ Oil, Shea Butter, Marigold Oil, Yogurt, Vegetable Glycerin, Kaolin Clay, Stonecrop Juice, Tea Tree Oil, Cyclodextrin, Glycine Soja Oil, Zea Mays (corn ) Starch Oil, Xanthan Gum, Vegetable Squalane, Ubiquinone, Tocopepheryl Acetate (vitamin E), Ascorbyl Palmitate (vitamin C Ester).

Note: Remember that all Eminence masques are extremely concentrated. Eminence recommends to use about half a teaspoon and mix it in with a little bit of water. Because of this important step, Eminence masques should last you a long time being well worth the money!         

It's All About Concealers: Featuring Jane Iredale & Dr. Hauschka

Concealer is an absolute staple in my life. When I have a severe breakout, a lot of work goes into covering my blemishes. A good concealer can work wonders and go a long way if applied correctly.

Those of you who have been following me on twitter will know that I scored some awesome deals at Winners (same thing as Marshalls or T.J. Maxx for those of you who don't live in Canada!) on Dr. Hauschka products. Not only did I snag a ton of their skincare products, but I was able to find some makeup products. The Pure Care Cover Stick was one of those awesome finds. I ended up getting the Cover Stick in beige because it was the only color that I could find. To be honest, I didn't think that this would be the right one for my skintone but to my surprise this worked perfectly for my light-medium skin! This product really is perfect for those who suffer from acne. It is made with tea tree and manuka essential oils to help heal blemishes. Because of these ingredients I put this underneath my foundation so that the ingredients can really help heal my blemishes. I find that once I apply foundation, the concealer doesn't move too much which is great! However, if the blemish starts to peak through I apply a little bit extra concealer on top of my foundation. This concealer is now an absolute must for me! Covering up while healing - can't get any better than that!

PS. you may want to check out your local Winners, Marshalls, or T.J. Maxx for Dr. Hauschka products. They are changing their packaging so I'm assuming that's why a lot of their products are on sale at these stores!

Jane Iredale is one of those brands that just about everybody trusts. You can find their products at almost every spa where I live. My first Jane Iredale product was the Corrective Colors Palette, you can see it in my last empties post here. I absolutely loved this palette, especially the peach color - perfect for covering up dark under eye circles. Peach completely cancels out blue/purple tones. Ages ago I watched Brianna (iluvjesse444) talk about how she loves this product. That video always stuck with me so I knew that I had to try it out! The Circle/Delete concealer in #2 peach is an excellent duo for undereye circles. I use the darkest peach color on the inner corner of my eye and the lighter color where the undereye circles are not as dark. The light color also works perfectly with my skintone to cancel out blemishes. This product has absolutely become a staple in my makeup bag, it is a lifesaver on nights when I don't get much sleep! Before using Jane Iredale products, I would have never thought that peach was the way to go for dark under eye circles!

Have you tried any of these products before? What are your favorite concealers?

My Current Hair Care Routine: Featuring Rahua, Acure, Yarok & More

It's been almost a year since I've made the switch to natural products. While switching body care and makeup may be easy, switching to natural hair care is a little tricky and requires a lot of patience. Read this post to find out more on why I switched to natural hair care (even though I didn't want to at first) and what effect mainstream hair care products have on our hair. With a lot of trail and error I finally have a hair care routine that works for me.

Alaffia Daily Hydrating Shampoo Coconut & Shea $8.06: Alaffia is a great company with fantastic morals. Their products help support women in developing countries and are fair trade. This specific shampoo smells wonderful and is not too overpowering. What I love about this shampoo is that it keeps my hair hydrated and healthy - perfect for those with curly hair! The only thing about this shampoo that I dislike is that I feel like I need to use a lot of product in order to effectively cleanse my hair & scalp.

Alaffia Scalp Recovery Conditioner Neem & Shea Butter Rosemary Tea Tree $8.06: This is the first Alaffia product that I purchased. This winter I was suffering from dandruff! Fortunately, this conditioner saved my scalp and helped keep the dandruff away. This is now a staple in my winter hair care routine.

Rahua Voluminous Hairspray $28.00: This certified organic and alcohol-free hairspray is lightweight, non-sticky, and doesn't leave your hair crunchy. I like this hairspray for everyday use, although I do think that the "voluminous" label is a little misleading. Don't expect the same type of holding power as you would from a mainstream hairspray. I do like this hairspray and think that it is on par with the Yarok hairspray. I still have a few more brands to try before I pick the perfect hairspray for me.

Lulu Organics Lavender Sage Hair Powder $30.00: Ouch! At first glance $30 does seem like an awful lot to spend on a hair powder. But I am telling you, this 4 oz product will last you forever. The 1 oz tester lasted me about 3 months. This is a staple for me as I only wash my hair twice a week. I use this on non-wash days or on days when I am looking for a little extra volume. I may try to make my own hair powder as many others do, but I don't think that anything will compare to this!

Acure Leave-In Conditioner $7.79: A leave-in conditioner is a must for me. Long, thick, curly hair usually ends up in knots. This is a really effective leave-in conditioner at a great price. Many green beauty bloggers have been raving about this band and I see why, this leave-in conditioner is just as effective as mainstream products, it just as better ingredients! I will soon be trying Acure's shampoo & conditioner, I may end up having a new favorite!

Yarok Feed Your Shine $26.40:  A hair serum is a must for me, and why not use one that will not only add shine to your hair, but feed your hair with great ingredients. Although this serum doesn't particularly smell pleasant (it just smells like a bunch of herbs) it is extremely effective. Using only a tiny amount of product, I am able to de-frizz, add shine, and make my hair look silky smooth. I am in love with this product, besides, after applying the product I don't really smell it on my hair.

Do you use natural hair care products? What are your favorites? 

Physicians Formula Organic Wear Fakeout Mascara Review

I have to admit, it's been a long time since I've used a drugstore mascara. That being said, Physicians Formula has never been on my wishlist, even though many bloggers & youtubers have nothing but good things to say about them.

Thanks to a pesky little eye infection, I had to run out and buy a brand new mascara. I mean, who can go a week or two without wearing mascara?! I can't, that's for sure. So ordering online was out of the question. I went to the next best thing - the drugstore.

If I have one thing to be thankful for for getting an eye infection, it is that it finally made me try this beautiful 100% natural mascara. The packaging is much nicer in person than from what I've seen in pictures and videos. It feels & looks a lot more luxurious when you are holding the actual product. This mascara has a thicker brush meant mainly for volume. This is not something that I usually look for in a mascara because I have a good chunk of eyelashes so I mainly look for a lengthening effect.  The first time I used this product, I was in love. There is absolutely no clumping and makes my eyelashes look long, thick, and natural. For me, this is the perfect everyday mascara. I personally think that the name "fake out" is a little deceiving. To me this mascara creates a beautiful natural look, it is not something that I would reach for if I wanted dramatic lashes. That being said, I still think that this is a fabulous product for everyday use. The only downside is that it dries up quickly, as most natural mascara do.

Have you tried any Physicians Formula products? What are your thoughts?