Posts Tagged green

Holiday Wish List: Organic Skincare

Ok.  So I’ve been going a little crazy with this whole organic beauty thing.  Or maybe a lot crazy.  I guess it depends on your perspective.  For me, I FEEL a little crazy, which is probably the most important opinion, right?  Eeep.  Oh well.  Stockings with coal in them for everyone this year!

Obviously, I can explain my behavior in a variety of TOTALLY justifiable ways.  As I noted in my green beauty Part I post, I’ve been using up old stuff and making way for the new.  That includes a new facial mist (Kahina Giving Beauty Toning Mist) and a new exfoliant (Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask - 20% off this past weekend, hel-LO!) to replace the ones I’ve finished.  Then, I HAD to buy the Ellovi Butter that both Taylor and Megan raved about, because I was given a $5 coupon for the site.  And with the change in weather, my skin has been unusually dry and I needed a booster product on top of my Pai Rosehip oil, so I bought Soapwalla’s Restorative Face Serum – CLEARLY I can’t be walking around with dry skin.  The only purchase I can’t justify is Lina Hanson’s Global Body Serum, which I bought last month - $64 of pure CRAZY there, yep…but I will say, it’s actually kind of a miracle on my eczema.  I’ve had persistent patches on my legs for months, and a few drops of this mixed with my Haus of Gloi pumpkin butter has fixed them right up.  Could I have tried a basic carrier oil like avocado mixed with my cream for a much cheaper and likely similarly effective result?   ….Let’s not go there, shall we?

Anyway.  Like I said, I’ve been a little CRAZY lately, it’s true.  What makes me even more crazy, is that I’ve still got a list a mile long of other products I want to try…but thankfully for the moment I’ve put a stop to the madness and am exercising restraint for the rest of the month (and yes…I realize I’ve done most of this damage in 4 days  O_o).  For the time being, I’m just going to ogle my *little* list here and lie in patiently wait until my wallet cools off it seems reasonable to purchase something.  Which of course is up for interpretation ;)

Organic Wish List

1) Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum $78CAD – A light eye treatment rich in peptides and antioxidants, designed to alleviate dark circles as well as address fine lines and wrinkles.  I had a sample of this that lasted almost two weeks, and in that time my eyes looked brighter and felt HELLA smooth.  Sign me up, please.

2) One Love Organics Vitamin B Active Moisture Cleansing Oil $39CAD – Another product I had a sample of, I found this oil cleanser worked well to remove my makeup at the end of the day and rinse away cleanly without needing a cloth to wipe it off, like many other organic oil cleansers.  It also contains papain, a fruit enzyme that helps exfoliate the skin – I love me a good dual product.  Though I am not a huge fan of the super-sweet, tropical scent, it’s manageable for a product that’s effective.

3) La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask (may buy soon as there is a 15% off coupon code till Nov 15th) $65CAD - With my skin on the drier side these days, I’m in need of a nice restorative, hydrating mask.  I’m currently finishing up the derma-e one I purchased last year (thank god…that heavy floral smell, gah!), and this one sounds just about perfect.  It contains honey, which is kind of the be-all in skincare lately, and it both balances, moisturizes, and exfoliates the skin (again with the multi-functional produts!).  It’s also chock-full of antioxidants…me likey.

4) Graydon The Balm $29CAD - Here I am again, trying to stock up on the heavy-hitters that will keep my skin hydrated throughout the cold days and the moisture-sucking central heating we deal with during wintertime.  I had a sample of Pai’s Chamomile and Rosehip Sensitive Skin Cream which I thought may work, but it was a bit heavy and my skin felt a bit reactive after using it.  The Graydon Balm (a Canadian brand!) has super-light hydrators that I should be able to apply over oils at night without fear of clogging my pores, and it’s supposed to be ideal for eczema.  Perfect!

5) Aster & Bay Glow Facial Serum $32 - Nourishing and moisturizing oil with essential fatty acids and antioxidants to repair the moisture barrier and protect the skin from environmental aggressors.  It’s supposed to give skin a great glow and contains a slew of ‘dry’ oils (like hazelnut and macadamia nut) that are great for day use on my combo-oily skin.  I plan on wearing this under my Pai Geranium & Thistle moisturizer to get that dewy look I’m losing with the cold weather.

6) Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Oil $82CAD – I’ve only read a few things about the MVO line, but as I like to be well-rounded I started looking into each of the products to see if anything would suit me. Lo and behold, I read the details and the ingredient list on this oil and wow!  It’s not terribly suitable for my skin right now where I’m not experiencing any breakouts – more so dry patches – but in the warmer months I think this will be amazing.  It’s got a handful of wonderful oils and extracts that are considered especially effective for acne-prone and/or oily skin, such as willow bark (a natural salicylic acid) and watermelon seed oil (which helps dissolve excess sebum), plus gentle ingredients to reduce inflammation.

7) Consonant Intensive Therapy Organic Hand Cream $20CAD – I’m currently using an organic hand cream that contains Borage oil, which is super-high in Gamma Linoleic Acid and hence awesome at repairing the skin’s barrier function (a must for my eczema-prone hands).  However, it smells like rotting meat.  I’m not even kidding guys, it is the WORST smelling product I’ve ever used in my life!!  Its effective enough and the smell dissipates after 5 minutes, so I’m going to struggle though it, but after that I’m gonna get me some of THIS stuff – a lovely rich hand cream that is made by a Canadian brand.  You can’t get much better than that (although you can get MUCH worse with this Borage oil cream…blech!).

8) Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave-In Conditioner $23CAD – I haven’t been using a leave-in since last winter, and its come time to get on the wagon again.  This has jojoba and olive oils as it’s two primary ingredients, both excellent for hair, so I’m giving it a go.  Hair care with really basic ingredients is equally important to me as it is in skincare, as most contain a whack of artificial fragrance that kills my scalp and can irritate my face if I’m wearing my hair down.  I don’t like to spend too much on hair care but I’ll give anything a shot once.  If it lasts for a few months it’ll be worth it.

Innersense Organic Beauty Quiet Calm Curl Control $20 - Designed to eliminate frizz and smooth textured hair, this is one of the few organic styling creams I’ve found on the market so far specifically targeted toward curly hair.  Again, it’s a bit more than I like to spend on my hair, but I use very little product, and the TIGI curl cream I’ve been using I’ve had for a good 6 months and am just nearing the end, so I can deal with it.  I haven’t gotten my hair professionally cut in over 3 years now, so spending a little extra on my hair is not really all that bad!

May Lindstrom The Honey Mud *not yet released* - I don’t know much about this soon-to-be-released product, but it looks and sounds amazing from what I do know!  It’s described as a lush, velvety cleanser that can also be used as a masque (dual-purpose, hurrah!).  And just yesterday I heard that there is another new release coming out this month as well, called The Blue Cocoon (a balm)…oh May, I have yet to own anything of yours, and I wasn’t wowed by The Youth Dew (thank GOD…$125 is the height of crazy), but I will get my hands on something of yours yet!

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You may notice the title of this post – indicative of a series of wishlists, perhaps??  And…you would be right :)  Though skincare is my primary focus these days, I still ogle makeup and polish on the regular too. Keep your eyes peeled for those wish lists in the coming weeks! (I’m a lost cause, I know)

What’s on your wishlists lately??  

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Green Beauty Regime, Take One – Pai & Stark Skincare

So it’s been almost a month since I started using nearly all green / organic beauty products and guys – it’s been sort of KICKASS.

This could get really rambly, really quick – so I’m gonna jump right in because otherwise we’ll both be here all night.  First, let’s start with the cleansers that have been keeping my skin fresh and clear over the past little while.

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Stark Skincare’s Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm ($40CAD) was the first full-on green purchase I made back in September.  I ordered directly from the brand’s site, as they were having a promo I think, and also picked up my konjac sponge at the same time (though, I don’t use the sponge with the balm because I worry that the thickness of the balm will gunk it up <– obviously not a scientific determination).  I was nervous at first because it smells REALLY GOOD, kinda citrusy (but not in a fake way, in a MMMMMMMmmmm way), and you know how scared I am of fragrance – but, awesomely, I’ve had ZERO problems with this product.  I even took it on a trip to Newfoundland a few weeks ago as both my cleanser and moisturizer (as it is designed to handle both tasks) and was pleasantly surprized at how great my skin was the entire time, which is a feat in itself (travel can be rough on my touchy skin).

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The balm itself is quite lovely – it has a smooth, buttery texture, with little bits of raw cocoa butter that sort of get massaged in with everything else.  Truth be told, I don’t love these little bits, only because they don’t dissolve as fast as I’d like, and sometimes fall in and around my sink – but that’s just me being nitpicky.  In fact, they’re the ONLY thing I don’t love about the balm – everything else is fan-freakin’-tastic :)  You just massage a small amount into the skin, wash it away with a soft cloth, and voila!  Clean skin (that truly does feel clean) which also feels hydrated and cared for.  I use it mainly for this purpose – as a cleanser – and I am exceptionally impressed that this creamy balm removes all traces of makeup, dirt and oil AND hasn’t caused one breakout or reaction.  SOLD.

Ingredients of Stark Cleanse + Hydrate Balm: Shea fruit butter, virgin coconut oil, cocoa seed butter, soybean butter, candelilla wax, camellia seed oil, sweet almond oil, arrowroot powder, orange peel wax, vitamin E, pure essential oils.

Pai’s Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser ($50CAD) was a freebie I received when I put in my Fresh Faced order for a few other Pai goodies late last month.  I wasn’t interested in it as my skin isn’t really dry (as this seemed best suited for), but figured I’d try it out nonetheless.  Winter is coming, after all.  Surprizingly, I quite enjoy it, and similarly to the Stark balm, it’s thick, creamy texture – that feels a bit heavy, like it might not cleanse and then wash away properly – is actually quite effective.  I have been using this as my second cleanse after the Stark balm (also wiping it away with a washcloth), and again, I’ve had no breakouts whatsoever – and in fact my pores are more cleaned out than ever!  Interestingly, it contains castor oil, which in my research I’ve discovered is anti-bacterial and a great humectant (binding water to the skin), and despite being a thicker oil is almost entirely non-comedogenic.  So that’s probably why I haven’t experienced any breakouts!

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Overall, it’s a great gentle cleanser that great for all skin types, even despite it’s thickness.  The only drawback I’ve found is that it doesn’t quite remove tenacious eye makeup – but for that, we have removers, right?

Oh, and it smells divine too – faintly like lemons (I think that’s the geranium in there!) :)

Ingredients of Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser: Organic rose water, water, organic camellia oil, organic castor oil, organic sweet almond oil, coconut- and corn-derived emulsifier, organic shea butter, organic vegetable glycerin, natural vitamin E, corn extract, basil extract, organic lavender oil, organic geranium oil, organic may chang oil, organic rose oil, natural lactic acid (from sugar beet).

Next up, we have the hydrators.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I still have a few non-organic items I need to get through, but overall these are my go-to items that I have been wearing daily.

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Pai’s Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream ($48CAD) was seriously designed for me.  It’s formulated to clear and rebalance oily and combination skin, and my goodness does it ever do it well!!  This is the perfect day cream for my often ‘glistening’ skin – it absorbs quickly, leaving a velvet-like finish, and I don’t see any shine until nearly the end of the work day (when normally I’d need to blot by about 11am).  It contains Borage oil, a dry oil loaded with antioxidants that is one of the best oils for barrier repair, and which also helps reduce collagen destruction (woot!).

IMG_0496IMG_04972nd picture – after being rubbed in.  No shiny!

It also seems to give me that elusive glow that I’ve been trying to achieve all summer in vain (glowing goes quickly to greasy when you’re an oilier skin type), which is awesome.  Again, I’ve had absolutely NO adverse reactions to this moisturizer – it hydrates perfectly without being too heavy for day, and I haven’t had a single bout of eczema since I started using it.  BAM.   The scent of this one doesn’t blow my socks off – it’s kind of earthy with a slight lemony twist (again, the geranium)- but it’s not offensive in the least so there’s no problem there.  I would (and will) repurchase this in a heartbeat.  That is a rarity ’round these here parts – even great products usually get replaced for shiny new ones – so that’s saying something!

Ingredients of Pai Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream: Purified water, organic jojoba oil, coconut- and corn-derived emulsifier, organic thistle oil, organic borage oil, natural vitamin E, organic vegetable glycerin, corn extract, manuka oil, basil extract, organic geranium oil, organic juniper oil, organic lavender oil, natural lactic acid (from sugar beet).

Another product that is HIGHLY worth the repurchase is Pai’s Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil ($35CAD).  Rosehip oil is a dry oil notorious for its ability to heal and repair the skin; it also contains trans-retinoic acid, which is converted to vitamin A in the skin to boost the healing process.  The function is similar to retinol, but with less irritation.  The oil is supposed to help improve the appearance of scars, sun damage, and fine lines.

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Now let me tell you.  I had two rather large pimples sprout up on my right cheek a few weeks back – they started as tiny clogged pores, and I stupidly tried to squeeze them ~d’oh~.  I was bummed that they were going to leave a scar (as acne usually does for me), especially as I was going to a wedding in a couple weeks.  Well lo and behold, no word of a lie, but not only did those full-on pimples run their course in record time (I’m talking like, three days MAX), but the scars also significantly faded before the day of the wedding – so much so that all I needed to cover them was a bit of foundation.  Truly, I was shocked at how quickly the turnover was, as it usually takes months before my acne scars disappear.  Miracle product?  I’m thinking YES.

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On top of all that fabulosity, I find that this oil is, again, perfect for my oilier skin, and I can use this as my sole hydrator each evening without requiring an additional moisturizer.  It sinks in fairly quickly, and the scent – which to me smells sort of like green tea – dissipates within minutes as well.  And again, no breakouts, only great skin!  What’s not to love?  I haven’t noticed any anti-aging effects yet, but I mean…I don’t really have a lot of ‘aging’ to fix just yet, so…yea.  But overall, I absolutely love this oil and will repurchase in a heartbeat.  And at $35??  Ummmm it’s kinda the cheapest one around guys!

Ingredients of Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil: Organic rosa canina (rosehip) seed extract, organic rosa canina (rosehip) fruit extract, mixed tocopherols (natural vitamin E).

So Pai is sort of knocking it out of the park for me.  Both the moisturizer and the oil were also Beauty Award Winners according to Bazaar magazine in 2011.  I usually take those ‘award’ thingys with less than a grain of salt (editors are basically paid to talk up certain products), but turns out in this case the awards were well justified!

As you can order samples from Fresh Faced for $0.75 each, I put in an order a couple weeks ago to try out most of May Lindstrom’s line (quick synopsis: meh on The Youth Dew {which is great – saves me $125!!!}, enjoyed The Cleansing Dirt and The Problem-Solver…but not enough to purchase at the moment), as well as a couple products from One Love Organics (the Easy Does It cleanser is lovely and a multi-tasker for face, body, and hair – I MUST buy for travel; and the Active Moisture Vitamin C Serum is quite nice!).  I love this option, as I can decide just what I want items from my massive list I want to spend my money on….though truth be told I’d kinda like to own one of everything! :D

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I’ve been having such a great time experimenting and trying out new products, more so than I ever have in the past.  It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to just jump right in with something new and not have to worry about how my skin will react.  So far, I haven’t had one set back in all the items I’ve tried, and my skin has honestly never looked or felt better.  Even in circumstances like traveling where I’m not in my usual surroundings (which means, bedsheets washed with fragrance free/dye-free-everything-free detergent; no pets; etc), I’ve found my skin’s resilience has improved ten-fold, and I have hardly had a blip on the radar in terms of skin’s reactivity.  I’m not knocking ‘regular’ products in the least – I think they have some great technology out there, and in some cases are more effective than organic skincare products – but for me, the reduction in inflammation (which additionally can speed up aging) and the freedom to try anything without fear, is an absolute dream.  Plus, I have been having more fun with my skincare rituals that I ever have, and washing and treating my face has never been so enjoyable :)

Aside from the brands I’ve mentioned, are their any other green/organic lines I should be investigating??

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Going Green: Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do, or Do Without

I’m in a mood guys.  Or rather, a mode – a research mode.  I have spent that past several days doing MUCHO investigation into different ‘green’ brands and the products they offer, trying to weed through them all (they all sound FABULOUS) to find the right ones for my skin needs and type.  In doing so, I realized a few things: 1) I don’t make enough money to fund this new-found obsession, and 2) I better start using up what I currently have that doesn’t ‘fit the bill’ so to speak, before I go all shopaholic and buy every last amazing organic product out there.  Thankfully, as mentioned before, that pile is not TOO large.  Let’s take a look!

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CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser: This cleanser is really lovely – non-foaming (which also means non-stripping) and gentle and leaves me skin feeling soft and supple due to the ceramides and hyaluronic acid.  I don’t feel too bad about using this as it doesn’t cause any issues for me and its a relatively basic product.  I’m in no hurry to finish it.  Note to oily gals that I used this in the summer every AM and found it entirely effective – I really believe that trying to dry out the skin in an effort to ‘reduce oiliness’ is NOT the way to go; my skin has been better behaved and less greasy when I keep it hydrated the right way.  Just sayin’.

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Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Cream Night:  I’ve used this off and on for several years, and I always find it quite effective and keeping my skin clear, soft, and smooth.  As you can see its on it’s last legs, and I won’t be repurchasing as I’m hoping my Pai Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil will be it’s replacement, but if you’re looking for a cost-effective anti-aging/anti-acne moisturizer with retinol, this is a good bet for most all skintypes (I find it quite moisturizing, but it isn’t greasy).

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Clinique Acne Solutions Oil-Control Clearing Masque, and Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector: Good ol’ free Clinique products.  The clay-based masque is pretty decent, it helps to deep clean the skin but doesn’t leave me feeling completely sucked dry of moisture afterward.  The serum is really kinda useless to me, as I don’t have any dark spots, but it has antioxidants so I’m using it up just for that.  I also get the occasionally pimple scar (which are dark on me) so it helps with that too.  Needless to say, when these are done I’ll be moving on to other, organic replacements (Stark’s Green Tea Detox Mask, as well as about a BILLION other oil/serum-type products, come to mind).

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La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Fluid Lotion SPF60, Clinique Super City Block SPF40, Shiseido Ultra Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF50: I ended up not using the LRP sunscreen as much as I thought I would, as I found it didn’t play well with other skincare products unless I had the time to let them really sink in and absorb first (time which I rarely leave myself).  The Clinique was my go-to, and is nearing the end – I have used the City Block products more times than I can count now, and I will turn to it again if I can’t find a suitable organic replacement.  The Shiseido I received as a 500 pt perk at Sephora, and oddly enough I’ve deemed it my ‘running’ sunscreen – I think because it has quite a strong scent, and I worry about wearing it for very long.  Since I shower after my runs, I can throw this on and then wash it off no more than an hour or two later.  Then it gets used and not wasted!  Bizarre possibly, but effective :)

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Avene Cicalfate and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream: These are my two ‘emergency’ products for when my eczema gets wacky.  The Avene is more of a protectant so if I’m really rashy, its like a barrier to the outside world so my skin gets a chance to heal.  It’s also very soothing.   The F.A.B. product on the other hand, is fickle – sometimes its just what my skin needs, other times it actually makes my skin burn and itch – so bizarre!  Due to that aspect, I don’t use it much.  I may relegate it to a hand cream or something just to use it up.  Neither product I would repurchase – even though the Avene is somewhat helpful, it gets used relatively infrequently.

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Aveda Botanical Kinetics Toning Mist, Indeed Labs Hydraluon, Boscia Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF15, derma-e Hydrating Mask w/Hyaluronic Acid: These are the suspect ‘green’ products in my arsenal, that aren’t really organic but contain more basic, ‘natural’ ingredients.  I don’t trust ‘em.  The Aveda toner has a horrible spray mechanism which requires me to use a cotton pad to apply – for that reason alone I can’t wait ’till this is gone.  The Hydraluron only contains one ingredient so on principle its very basic, but it’s really to be used with other hydrators that contain water – which many organic products do not have.  So once it’s gone, despite the fact that it’s fairly effective, I won’t repurchase.  The Boscia moisturizer is actually really nice.  It balances my skin to make it less oily during the day, and the sunscreens are physical so they don’t irritate my skin.  I’m tempted to buy this again in the summertime when I won’t want to be layering a bunch of moisturizers and sunscreen…we’ll see how it goes.  At least there is no preservatives!  The derma-e mask is a puzzling beast.  It hydrates, softens and smooths my skin like a charm, but OMFG the scent on this thing is outrageous!!  It’s floral and uber-strong, even though the scent is natural and is the last ingredient.  It’s unreal.  I will find some kind of replacement for this, because when it’s done, I WILL BE SO HAPPY.

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Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion +, Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus, Clinique Moisture Surge Intense, Murad Instant Radiance Eye Cream, Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Eye Cream, Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream, Clinique Take the Day Off, Boscia Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF15, Kate Somerville Ret-Asphere 2-in-1 Retinol Nigh Cream, La Roche-Posay Derm AOX Multi-Corrective Day Care, NUDE ProGenius Treatment Oil: Samples!  Please excuse the Boscia in here again, I changed my mind about where it should be afterward.  I feel like I’m never going to get through those eye creams – they are generous samples that will probably last forever!!! ~sigh~  The rest shouldn’t be too hard to finish up – the Moisture Surge and the TTDO are nearly done, and the others for the most part will just be a few uses.  I’ll be glad to see the end of them all.

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…and more samples!  I won’t list ‘em – suffice to say, these gotta go.  I’ll probably use one a week just so my skin doesn’t totally freak out.  None of these nor the ones above really intrigue me now that I know I won’t be repurchasing any, anyway.  But I’ll soldier through nonetheless :)

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The last of the samples.  Kniepp is a sneaky brand that kind of portrays themselves like they are natural and ‘green’, but they contain synthetic fragrance in heavy doses in all of their products.  I won a basket full of ‘em from my spa last year, and have hardly used a thing.  I tried to use some bath salts and my skin paid a dear price for it.  I should just give ‘em all away…

Ok, so there you have it.  All the skincare I gotta use up before going whole-hog and buying all the pretty organic beauties out there!  Some of these will be easy, and some not so much (the masques in particular will take a while).  Its helpful to have these all laid out though to see where I stand and keep my trigger finger from pushing the ‘order now!’ button… it’s tough though.  Especially because I’ve really found that my skin has changed even in the past week or so from altering my routine.  My pores are significantly smaller, and my skin hasn’t felt itchy, irritated or inflamed once – and I committed a cardinal sin and started all three of my Pai products in one day! (I usually try to incorporate new products in slowly so as to minimize any potential flare-ups)  But, you guys know me and excess – stresses me out too much, so I’m determined to employ a hard one-in, one-out rule here until I’ve literally *cleaned up my act*  Lets hope the process moves quickly, huh?

IMG_0298My organic super-team plus a few extras and samples to try!

Do you have any organic / grean beauty products you just love and can recommend?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Switching It Up: Clean Beauty and a New Laptop!

So last night I got a little crazy and bought myself a new MacBook Air.  Yep, sure did!  Impulse purchase, ho! :P  To be fair, I’d been saving for it for a while, and was planning to buy it in the next month or so anyway – but perhaps with a bit more planning in mind.  Needless to say, ITS FRICKIN’ AWESOME.  Light as a feather, and super-fast.  If you recall, my old laptop crashed last year shortly after I came back from NZ.  Even though I had the hard drive replaced, it was still sluggish due to it’s 5+ year lifespan.  Time for an upgrade, yea???

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There are also other things I’m switching up lately, namely my skincare routine.  Slowly but surely, I’ve been finding myself more and more drawn  to organic cosmetics – and over the past month, I’ve decided to fully make the switch. I’ve been using up my current arsenal of products and bit by bit have been purchasing new items to replace the old.  The reason for the switch was – literally – pretty simple.  With my eczema and skin care sensitivities, I started researching products that had fewer ingredients and were free of artificial fragrances – essentially, items that were as pared down and basic as you could get.  The less going on, the less chance for irritation, right?  So, as I’m nit-picking my way through ingredients lists on just about anything and everything, naturally organic products kept coming up in my search due to their beautifully simple nature.  On top of that, I happened to stumble upon two blogs that essentially made me start lemming every organic and green beauty product on the market: No More Dirty Looks, which is a chic and fun blog that showcases readers skincare routines, and reviews some of the more well-known organic brands such as Kahina Giving Beauty, RMS, and One Love Organics; and Seed to Serum, which I found through another blog (can’t remember which one!) but which has a TON of information about a variety of green brands, popular to lesser-known (Aster & Bay products sound amazing – and you can order samples first!), as well as posts highlighting different organic ingredients and their benefits.  She’s pretty much tried all it all it seems, and my list of ‘to buy’ items has expanded exponentially since coming across her blog a mere month ago.

Atlanta Photographer | LeahAndMark & Co. | Aster & BayAster & Bay…how can you not love that visual!?

Revamping your whole skincare routine can be a big task, and while the research that goes into choosing products is exhaustive, I’m fortunate that I don’t have a whole lot of ‘excess’ product to get through first, so that I’m able to replace as I go without having a stockpile of soon-to-be-unloved items cluttering up my bathroom.  However, I will say that because there are just SO MANY lovely sounding products to try, my streamlined routine could get backlogged real quick.  However, as it stands now, I’m not doing too bad.  I started with Stark Skincare’s Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm (which is fab and an amazing multitasker – review forthcoming), and last week I added a trio of Pai products: the Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream, Rosehip BioRegenerate Fruit & Seed Oil Blend + Vitamin E, and Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser (the latter which was a freebie thrown in when you buy a Pai skincare cream from Fresh Faced).  So far so good on all three, but it’s too early to tell just yet.  I have high hopes!  Oh yea, and I also picked up a Konjac sponge to try out – I can’t tell if it’s doing much of anything really, but its a cute little thing and it works well to massage my cleanser into my skin every morning so hey – rituals like that are kinda nice! :)

The massive wish list I’ve been compiling while I’ve been doing a ton of research probably needs to be shared.  That’ll be in my next post though, as it’s gonna be a doozy!  Prepare thyself.

Have you dabbled in green beauty products yet?  Are you jumping right in like I am, or more of a slow starter?  Or do you think organic beauty is a bunch of hooey?

Oh yea, and you only have two more days to enter our Beauty Envy Bag giveaway!!

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Disney Ariel Collection by Sephora: Kiss the Girl Eau de Parfum Review

Funny things can happen when you get a new roommate and you move all your things aside to make room for their stuff….back in May when my now ‘old’ roommate moved in, I had to make space for all the things a 50+ woman might bring with her.  While she didn’t have a ton of stuff, in an effort to make her feel comfortable and at home, I rearranged and shifted many of my own things to give her space and a place to put her extra bits and bobs.  Now that she’s gone, I’m slowly spreading my things out again and putting them ‘where they belong’ so to speak.  Lo and behold, I found a product I had meant to review ages ago! – and which happily is still available on Sephora, so, I shall review with abandon :)

Disney Ariel Collection Kiss the Girl Eau de Parfum

Let me make it clear that I am in no way a fragrance blogger.  While I wear perfume every day (the only real ‘scent’ in my fastidious anti-eczema routine), and I know what I like, my ability to recognize certain notes is limited, and I find it difficult to judge a fragrance on it’s merit without letting my personal views get in the way.  Having said that, I am going to attempt to fairly review Kiss the Girl ($70CAD), the limited edition fragrance that is part of the Disney Ariel collection by Sephora.  Bear with me, folks!

Disney Ariel Collection Kiss the Girl Eau de Parfum (3)

First of all, one thing I can state with confidence is, this bottle is GORGEOUS!!  Truly, I feel like keeping this displayed on my dresser simply for it’s stunning aesthetic.  Beautifully cut glass that catches the light just so, with a small, unobtrusive ‘A’ for Ariel on the front, and a pretty aqua metallic band around the base of the topper.  This kind of simple yet classically elegant design will get me every time!  Even the box it came it was lovely, with silver designs upon a deep sea green background.  It’s the little details, right?

Disney Ariel Collection Kiss the Girl Eau de Parfum (4)

The notes of the fragrance even at first spritz are very soft and clean.  The top notes of bergamot and wet cucumber are refreshing and uplifting, which is boosted by the addition of an ‘ozonic accord;’ a concept I know nothing about yet can somehow agree with when I sniff my wrist – somehow like being high up on a mountain breathing the cold air.  The middle notes boast water notes, wild lilac and starfruit, and while I can get a hint of the lilac, the starfruit completely alludes me.  Finally, the base notes of white musk, warm sandalwood and velvet ambergris (which apparently is produced in the digestive system of sperm whales, and as it ages it loses its fecal odor {awesome} and turns into a sweet, earthy scent) ground the scent and give it a touch of sensuality, so as it dries down it loses it’s sparkling quality and feels a bit more romantic rather than squeaky clean.

Though the soft, gentle quality of the scent (which lasts and last, by the way, due to the sperm whale concoction) ensures its easy wearability, the scent is still not my kind of jam.  Though I actually had no problems in testing it – which can be a trial when a fragrance you don’t favor is overbearing, as can often be the case – and even came to appreciate its clean yet alluring ‘prettiness’, it’s too bright and oceanic for my tastes.  Give me a good vanilla-heavy, gourmand scent any day and I’ll wear the crap out of it.  Green, feminine scents make me somehow feel like I shouldn’t be wearing white on my wedding day…I dunno if that makes any sense but that’s just the way of it!

Disney Ariel Collection Kiss the Girl Eau de Parfum (2)

What sort of fragrance do you gravitate toward? 

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Celebrating the Arrival of Spring With New(ish) Nail Polish Pretties!

Though I’ve been in somewhat of a nail polish slump, similarly to filling in gaps in my makeup collection, I’ve been picking up polish shades here and there that fit in nicely with the array of colors I already have.  For the most part, I’ve been beefing up my existing collection with shades that are generally thought of when we think ‘spring’ – pale, pastel-like shades that have a fresh, soft, feminine quality to them.  I know that there’s no need to stick to ‘seasonal’ colors any more, but I personally like to change the tones I wear (for both makeup and nails) each season, and typical spring shades are no exception.

New Spring 2013 Nail Polish

I actually don’t own a large array of pale nail polishes, as I normally gravitate toward broodier, richer tones, but this season I’ve accrued five new shades that I’m totally digging, which means I now have a good handful or two of polishes that are just perfect for the spring season.  My two favorites from past years have been Zoya’s Marley and MAC’s Mischievous Mint, and now joining those two are: Sally Hansen Barracuda, a pale yet bright blue; China Glaze Dandy Lyin’ Around (new from this season’s Avant Garden collection), a shimmering white; butter London’s Bossy Boots, a pale pistachio green, and Jasper (new from the Sweetie Shop Spring 2013 collection), a pale lemon yellow; and Chanel Orange Fizz, a slightly muted coral orange.

Sally Hansen Barracuda is a Complete Salon formula, which is supposed to mean that its the full meal deal, with base & top coat qualities rolled into the one polish.  I actually do find these polishes to wear better without base coat, and the swatches below with sans top coat – as you can see, this baby is SHINY.  There really is no need for top coat unless you need a quick drying one to get it on and get out the door.  I found it did require three coats to achieve full opacity and to look it’s best, so if you’re in a hurry you may need a fast-drying top coat anyway.  However, I found that it dries relatively quickly on it’s own, so its not an absolutely necessary step.  Also, I have to mention that I adore the brush on these polishes – it’s wide and thin and covers almost my whole nail bed in one go.  Application is a breeze!

Sally Hansen Barracuda swatches (2) Sally Hansen Barracuda swatches (4) Sally Hansen Barracuda swatches (3) Sally Hansen Barracuda swatches

China Glaze Dandy Lyin’ Around was a recent lemming of mine, having only first seen it on All Lacquered Up (a blog, by the way, I’m pleased to see back in action!) this past week.  A couple weeks ago, Taylor of My Lucite Dreams posted about a white polish, and it looked SO lovely on her but I knew the white polish trend was NOT going to be my friend.  However, when I saw Dandy Lyin’, I had a feeling that it’s softer, sparkling quality might be a way for me to try the trend, and I was right!!  I really like this polish a lot, even despite the fact that it’s sheerness and slightly streaky quality requires three coats – just be careful in your application.  It’s worth the effort for me as I’m loving the look on my hands!  I can’t wait to try it on summer toes :)  Note that no top coat was used, and I don’t feel it needs one, unless you want to get that smooth, uber-glossy look.

China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around (8) China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around (20) China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around (24) China Glaze Dandy Lyin' Around (26)

butter London Bossy Boots has NOT been a recent lemming; in fact, I wanted this bad boy last year but held out until a couple months ago when I got it on discount.  As a general rule, I do not like green nail polish – not on others (typically) and definitely not on me.  However, light greens are totally exempt and I love the way they look.  I’m not 100% sold on the yellowish undertones in Bossy Boots as being the best for me, but I still enjoy this shade and am glad I finally picked it up.  The application was good with no real troubles – shown is with two coats – although it would benefit from a top coat to give it a bit more gloss and shine (no top coat used in photos).

butter London Bossy Boots - Natural Light butter London Bossy Boots - Artificial Light butter London Bossy Boots - Flash

butter London Jasper was another longer-term lemming of mine since the launch of the Sweetie Shop collection earlier this year.  I could have easily bought every shade from the release, but held myself back to just this one.  I don’t own a single yellow, and dislike most versions of the shade, but this pale shade hooked me from the get-go.  I love it on and it just screams spring to me.  I’ve read conflicting reviews on this color’s formula – I don’t have a lot of experience with pale yellows, but I think that this formula is pretty darn good.  It does require a bit more attention to application, but as far as it goes this is a good formula with minimal issue, for me at least!  I did go with three coats just to get the best opacity, but it wasn’t that much of a pain.  Like Bossy Boots, it would benefit from a shiny top coat, which I did not use in these photos.

butter London Jasper swatches (19) butter London Jasper swatches (12) butter London Jasper swatches (16) butter London Jasper swatches (2)

Chanel Orange Fizz was sort of a random buy, which happens very rarely these days.  When I picked up a few things from Chanel earlier this year, I was disappointed with the spring shades released but wanted a new polish.  This one grabbed my attention and I’m super-happy that I bought it, it’s a stunner!  This shade is obviously more pigmented/intense than the other shades I’ve shown above, but it still has a soft quality to it that feels spring-like to me (though this will also be kick-ass in summer!)  The formula is thicker (typical of many Chanel polishes, I’ve found), but flows well and is self-leveling – again, just take care in your application and you should have no problems.  I love the glossiness of this polish on it’s own – no top coat needed!  I used three coats in these swatches, and you can still see slight VNL, but in person it’s hardly noticeable, and you could probably opt for two coats – I’m just fussy :P

Chanel Orange Fizz Chanel Orange Fizz (9) Chanel Orange Fizz (3) Chanel Orange Fizz (6)

So there you have it!  A handful of pretty polishes – a perfect way to shove usher in spring :)

New Spring 2013 Nail Polish (2)

So!  What spring shades are you lemming/have you picked up?  Do you go with softer shades or stick to whatever floats your boat at the time?

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Swatching Is Rough (AKA My Eyeshadow Collection)

Eyeshadow Collection (3)

I was going to leave my eyeshadow collection ’till last to swatch in my ‘find the gaps’ series of posts, but the superstorm (which…is kind of lackluster – yea, there’s lots of snow, but I want some action, darn it!) seemed like the perfect time to just get ‘er done – so I did!  Oh man…for those of you who have larger collections than mine, I feel sorry for you if you attempt to do this – it is a BIG EFFING ORDEAL.  I started last night and got just over halfway through before both (!) arms had had enough.  I continued today and after needing to re-swatch several shade categories to get them *just right*, my left arm is just burning (as you’ll notice in the photos – red spots galore!).  So: enough.  I’m ready to rock ‘n roll.  Now – let’s get into ‘er!

Note: All shades are permanent within their respective brands except where otherwise noted.

WHITE EYESHADOWWhite Eyeshadow Swatches - AVON, Urban Decay UziAvon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (satin white)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Uzi (shimmer w/glitter) (LE)
 
‘HIGHLIGHT’ EYESHADOWHighlight Eyeshadow Swatches - MUFE 920, KATE BR-2, MAC VexMake Up For Ever Star Powder in #920 (iridescent)
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-2 Palette (white gold pearl)
MAC Eyeshadow in Vex (frost)
 
NUDE EYESHADOWNude Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Next to Nothing, Laura Mercier Suspense, Burberry TrenchMAC Eyeshadow in Next to Nothing (Cult of Cherry Tempting Quad – frost) (LE)
Laura Mercier Eye Color Duet in Suspense (matte cool beige) (LE)
Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Trench (satin)
 
BEIGE, CHAMPAGNE & PEACH EYESHADOWPeach-Champagne Eyeshadow Swatches (9)Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Midnight Cowboy Rides Again (shimmer w/glitter)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #13 Warm Beige (frost)
Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Emerveille (shimmer)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Snatch (shimmer w/glitter)
Kate Real Create Eyeshadow BR-2 Palette (soft peachy shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Arena (satin)
 
GOLD EYESHADOWGold Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Melon, Laura Mercier Gilded Moonlight, Clinique Gold GlimmerMAC Pigment in Melon (frost)
Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Color in Gilded Moonlight (pearl) (LE)
Clinique Touch Tint for Eyes in Gold Glimmer (shimmer) (discontinued)
 
COPPER & ORANGE EYESHADOWOrange-Copper Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Amber Lights, Ardene 8BMAC Eyeshadow in Amber Lights (frost)
Ardene Eyeshadow in 8B (pearl)
 
BRONZE EYESHADOWBronze Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Cocomotion, UD Smog, MAC Tempting, Clinique Rum SpiceMAC Pigment in Cocomotion (frost) (LE)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Smog (shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Tempting (lustre)
Clinique Color Surge Super Shimmer Eyeshadow in Rum Spice (shimmer)
 
BROWN EYESHADOWBrown Eyeshadow Swatches - MAC Dark Edge, KATE BR-2, MUFE #17, Laura Mercier Suspense DuoMAC Eyeshadow in Dark Edge (Cult of Cherry Tempting Quad – satin) (LE)
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-2 Palette (deep brown shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow in #17 Espresso (matte)
Laura Mercier Eye Color Duet in Suspense (matte burgundy brown) (LE)
 
TAUPE-BROWN EYESHADOWS
Brown-Taupe Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Suspect, NARS Rajasthan, KATE BR-2Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Suspect (shimmer)
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Rajasthan (beige-gold taupe) (shimmer) (LE)
KATE Real Create Eyes BR-2 Palette (taupe shimmer)
 
TAUPE-PURPLE EYESHADOWS
Purple-Taupe Eyeshadow Swatches - NARS Grand Palais, LMdB Corinthian, MAC Shale, bareMinerals Meteorite, Hourglass ExhibitionNARS Duo Eyeshadow in Grand Palais (silver-taupe shimmer)
Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Exhibition (mauve shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Shale (satin)
bareMinerals High Shine Eye Color in Meteorite (frost)
Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eye Shadow in Corinthian (shimmer)
 
RED & PINK EYESHADOWPink-Red Eyeshadow Swatches - L'Oreal Golden Mahogany, Chanel Abstraction, Avon Smokey EyesL’Oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Golden Mahogany (frost)
Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Abstraction (shimmer)
Avon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (matte light pink)
 
MAUVE & ROSE EYESHADOW
Rose-Mauve Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Bordello, UD Last Call, NARS Grand PalaisUrban Decay Eyeshadow in Bordello (shimmer w/glitter)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Last Call (metallic)
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Grand Palais (matte dusty rose)
 
PLUM EYESHADOW
Plum Eyeshadow Swatches - NARS Habanera, UD Rockstar, Hourglass Exhibition
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Habanera (sparkling plum)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Rockstar (shimmer)
Hourglass Visionaire Eye Shadow Duo in Exhibition (eggplant shimmer)
 
PURPLE EYESHADOW
Purple Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Psychedelic Sister, MAC InfamousUrban Decay Eyeshadow in Psychedelic Sister (shimmer)
MAC Paint in Infamous (metallic) (discontinued)
 
BLUE EYESHADOW
Blue Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Radium, MAC Blue Boy, MAC Blue EdgeMAC Paint in Blue Boy (metallic) (discontinued)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Radium (shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Blue Edge (matte w/shimmer) (discontinued)
 
AQUA & TEAL EYESHADOWS
Teal-Aqua Eyeshadow Swatches - NARS Rajasthan, theBalm Jealous Jordana, UD Loaded, MUFE #8E, Illamasqua Burst, UD Money, NARS Habanera, UD Haight
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Rajasthan (blackened teal shimmer) (LE)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Loaded (metallic)
theBalm Shady Lady Eyeshadow in Jealous Jordana (shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Shadow in 8E (matte)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Haight (shimmer)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Money (shimmer w/micro-glitter) (LE)
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Habanera (mint frost)
 
GREEN EYESHADOW
Green Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Kush, LMdB Jade, UD Mildew, MAC Sharp, Lise Watier Folie Pomme, MUFE #57Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Kush (shimmer w/micro-glitter)
Le Metier de Beaute True Color Eye Shadow in Jade (shimmer)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Mildew (shimmer)
MAC Eyeshadow in Sharp (Cult of Cherry Tempting Quad – satin) (LE)
Lise Watier Couleur Folle Eyeshadow in Folie Pomme (iridescent shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow in #57 Chartreuse (satin)
 
YELLOW EYESHADOW
Yellow Eyeshadow Swatches - MUFE #24, MAC Bright Future
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #24 Yellow (matte)
MAC Eyeshadow in Bright Future (
 
KHAKI EYESHADOW
Khaki Eyeshadow Swatches - Armani #24, Armani #6, Clinique Autumn Moss
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Waterproof Eyeshadow in #24 Smokey Copper (shimmer)
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Intense Eyeshadow in #6 Khaki Pulse (shimmer)
Clinique Color Surge Soft Shimmer Eyeshadow in Autumn Moss (satin)
 
TAUPE-SILVER EYESHADOWS
Silver-Taupe Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Maui Wowie, Bobbi Brown Pewter, theBalm Insane Jane, MUFE #2Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Maui Wowie (metallic w/glitter)
Bobbi Brown Chrome Eye Shadow in Pewter (frost) (LE)
theBalm Shady Lady Eyeshadow in Insane Jane (shimmer)
Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream in #2 Steel (shimmer)
 
GREY EYESHADOW
Grey Eyeshadow Swatches - Avon Smokey EyesAvon True Color Quad in Smokey Eyes (medium grey & dove grey) (shimmer)
 
BLACK EYESHADOWS
Black Eyeshadow Swatches - UD Perversion, MAC Dark SoulMAC Pigment in Dark Soul (frost w/glitter)
Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Perversion (matte)
 

….PHEW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Did you make it??

Eyeshadow Collection (4)

…So.  To be honest, when I started swatching all my makeup, I was originally just trying to find a way to justify new purchases – if it could be considered a shade I didn’t already own, then I would feel free to go for it.  However, now I’ve discovered that being so fully aware of what I own, has made me really excited to play with my current collection, instead of seeking out new products.  I especially noticed this with this eyeshadow post – there are so truly fabulous shades in there!  While there are still of course colors I’d like to pick up to fill the gaps (namely – a lilac and a skintone [MY skintone, to clarify] shade, among a couple others), overall I’m WELL aware I have a ton of shades to rock out and don’t really *need* anything else at the moment.  I did notice I have a lot less color than I imagined, but that’s actually OK because I don’t tend to wear it a ton and try to avoid buying a lot of it only for it to go unused.  I think my stash is fairly representative of the kind of makeup I wear day to day!  So SCORE for being logical in my purchases :)

Eyeshadow Collection

I am kinda worn out from the work necessary to do this post, so I’m done now LOL.  But – I have questions for you!

Do you see any gaps that I could fill?  What shades make up the bulk of your eyeshadow collection?? Also – anyone bother to count how many shades I have?  I’m too tired now to bother LOL

Eyeshadow Collection (2)

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China Glaze Capitol Colours: Agro and Stone Cold

I can’t even handle all the excitement I came home to today!!  Aside from the absolutely amazing hoard of fragrance samples the Jo Malone counter at the Bloor Street Holt Renfew sent me (I’m sure I got samples of every single scent they have), I also received an exceptionally excellent treat – two shades from the highly anticipated Hunger Games-themed China Glaze collection, Capitol Colours!  They arrived not a moment too soon, as the collection is slated to launch March 1st. The shades I’ve been sent are ‘Agro’ – moss green with gold shimmer, and ‘Stone Cold’ – a matte slate grey with shimmer.  Two pretty edgy-looking polishes in the bottle, I must say!  I have unfortunately still not read the series yet – though I have picked up the first book – so I can’t comment on how these reflect the story or the districts of Panem (the fictional nation’s capital).  Nonetheless, I am entirely capable of showing you swatches and reviewing the formula, so let’s hop to it!  First up is ‘Agro’:My instant thought when I saw ‘Agro’ was that it was a dupe for ‘Peace on Earth’, a China Glaze polish which came out in their Holiday 2010 collection.  In the bottle, they look pretty close but not exact – see for yourself:The differences between the two are also visible on the nail – ‘Agro’ is darker and has a more smoky tone, while ‘Peace on Earth’ has got a golden glow that radiates from within, giving it a brighter feel.  As well,  ‘Agro’s thin, easy flowing formula is better than ‘Peace on Earth’, which tends to be a tad thick, though it still applies relatively well.  I also find that ‘Peace on Earth’ has a bit of trouble with brushstrokes, of which ‘Agro’ has next to none.  Below, ‘Peace on Earth’ on index and ring fingers; ‘Agro’ on  middle and pinky fingers.Overall, I really like the tone of ‘Agro’ – likely in part due to it’s similarities to ‘Peace on Earth‘, as I’ve noted before I’m quite a fan of that shade.  ‘Agro’ is like it’s more badass cousin, and as its less golden, will look great on most skintones, warm and cool.

‘Stone Cold’ is a polish I likely would have never picked up myself, but upon learning that it was matte, I eagerly tried it on, as I’ve never owned a matte-finish polish – and also have no similar shades in my collection.  Let me just say that I am a total convert – the matte effect is absolutely awesome and I can’t stop looking at it!  Not at ALL what I expected.  It looks really tough and chic, and I totally adore it.  The formula of ‘Stone Cold’ was also really wonderful, and applied very easily – another lovely flowing polish that left you enough time to make sure each stroke was perfect, but nonetheless drying relatively quickly.  It’s also quite opaque – in the first shot above, I only have one coat on (the rest are two).  Just for you fans of the shiny finish, here is ‘Stone Cold’ with a top coat:I’m not nearly a big of a fan of this as I am the matte version – this to me just looks like your regular old sparkly charcoal polish.  Granted, the shimmer is comes alive a bit more and is quite pretty, but it loses it’s unique quality with the top coat applied – and I’m all about originality ;)

So, there you have it my friends – two offerings from the twelve shade Capitol Color collection; one like revisiting an old friend who got a great makeover, and the other like the guy you’d thought you’d never go for but ended up falling in love with and getting married and popping out a few babies…..errr, yeah (just found out that another one of my friends is preggers [again!], which brings the tally of Summer babies-to-be up to something like 5 – THIS is what happens when you start nearing 30 my friends!! :D).  I’m definitely going to pick up a few more of these shades once they’re released – I’m thinkin’ ‘Riveting’ (a bright orange shimmer) and possibly ‘Fast Track’ (soft sandy brown with golden metallic shimmer).

What shades are you lemming (if any) from the upcoming Hunger Games-themed collection?  What polish shades for Spring are on your radar?

*Products were provided for unbiased consideration by the PR company/brand.

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Favorite Product of the Month: Earth Science Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Masque

A couple months ago, I was in the market for a deep conditioner – something I use religiously once a week as my hair is so dry.  I wanted to get Kiehl’s Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak, as it gets good reviews and is formulated to restore hair’s moisture content.  I’ve used the Olive Fruit Oil Shampoo and Conditioner, and liked them both well enough (and loved the smell).  However, we don’t have a Kiehl’s in Halifax – Montreal is the nearest store – and I didn’t fancy having to pay shipping charges on top of the already pricier cost of $35CAD (for 8oz).  I was torn.Then, when I was just using up the dregs of my last deep conditioner, Joico’s Moisture Recovery Treatment Balm (which I’ve discussed here), I happened to be in Pete’s Frootique – a fresh food grocery market that also carries a great ‘green’ section, among other totally awesome things – and noticed a large sample pak (2oz) of the Earth Science Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Masque, which I figured could tide me over until I figured out what to do.  It was supposed to “repair, nourish, and strengthen hair…repairing dry, damaged, color-treated, or over processed hair” by “penetrating and coating the hair shaft in natural silk protein…leaving hair soft, tangle free (YAY!) and smooth, not sticky or weighed down.”  Sounds good to me!I used it that evening and was entirely impressed – it made my hair feel hydrated, and also silky smooth (which the Joico did not do), but didn’t weigh it down, which usually is the by-product of products designed to give serious moisture to the hair.  I usually suck it up, because the alternative is that my hair isn’t hydrated enough, but with this I get the best of both worlds :)  I also noticed that my hair felt thicker after using this; though I have a LOT of hair, it’s quite fine and not really that thick, so this is a major bonus in my eyes!   I liked that even though it comes in a tube form, it has a great density to it that usually is reserved for treatments in a jar (which is a hassle in the tub/shower).  The scent is like a lot of products that have avocado/olive oil in them…I know that’s not explanatory, but that’s the only way I can think to describe it.  Slightly floral, though more fresh than anything, and clean.  I really enjoy it!When I went back and did a bit more research, it turns out that Earth Science’s Masque, which is a bestseller, won the 2011 Best of Natural Beauty Awards from better Nutrition magazine.  Though I don’t believe that natural is always better, as the products can sometimes contain irritating essential oils, if I can find products that are ‘green’ and seem safe to use, I’m all for it.

Another thing I noticed about this conditioner was that the ingredients were reminiscent of Kiehl’s Hair Pak – check it out:

Kiehl’s Olive Fruit Oil Deeply Repairative Hair Pak – Aqua/Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Behentrimonium Chloride, Glycerin, Amodimethicone Cetyl Esters, Olea Europaea/Olive Fruit Oil, Persea Gratissima/Avocado Oil, 2-Oleamido-1, 3-Octadecanediol, Trideceth-6, Sodium PCA, Helianthus Annuus/Sunflower Seed Oil, Citrus Limonum/Lemon Peel Oil, Methylparaben, Chlorhexidine Dihydrochloride, Cetrimonium Chloride, Dimethyl Tin Dineodecyl Ester, Parfum/Fragrance.

Earth Science Olive & Avocado Deep Conditioning Masque – Water (aqua), cetearyl alcohol, behentrimonium chloride, amodimethicone, trideceth-12, cetrimonium chloride, panthenol, persea gratissima (avocado) oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, olea europea (olive) oil, hydrolyzed silk protein, ethylhexylglycerin, cetyl esters, citric acid, disodium EDTA, potassium sorbate, phenoxyethanol and fragrance (parfum).Though I’m not wild about it containing fragrance, it’s the last ingredient on the list (for both) and as it’s a product I only use once a week, it should be OK.  Otherwise, I appreciate that there are only 18 ingredients (in both, as well!), and it doesn’t contain any parabens (a fail on Kiehl’s part).

After realizing that the two products seemed strikingly similar, I felt confident in picking up a full size of the Earth Science masque (though note that the sample pak I bought lasted a full month), which was $12.99CAD for 6oz.  I normally don’t like to substitute products, preferring to go with the original when I can, but for the price and the similarities, I feel very good about this purchase – and I ended up saving almost $28CAD when you take into account size and shipping ($10 flat rate from Kiehl’s), and it’s easily accessible!  It’s one of the better deep conditioners I’ve used and it makes my hair feel amazing after it’s rinsed.  I usually rate a product against whether or not I’d buy it again (because usually no matter how much I like it, I still would rather switch it up) – and I think this will get at least another go-around from me in the future!

What deep conditioner are you sold on?  Do you prefer to use natural products or are you more concerned with what works?

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Lazy Sunday Post: Joe Fresh Polish in Moss

Just a li’l post to keep you entertained until tomorrow when I’m not so darn tired!  The Pop Explosion was truly an excellent festival, but wowza does it ever do a number on your sleep routine :P

I’ve had this polish for several months now, but I’m not really a huge fan of greens so I didn’t get around to it until recently.  It was the first ‘army green’ I bought for the season – it’s been so popular I was getting a jump on the trend at the time – but I’m still more into ‘pretty’ shades like purple and berry-tones.  Anyway, finally I bit the bullet and swatched it, and I actually ended up liking it a lot more than I thought I would!While this actually looks more like a real green than just a muted, khaki-colored version I was going for, it’s quite nice and I can see myself wearing it a lot near the holidays.  Formulation on this polish was better than the Navy Marine shade I wore earlier this year – two coats with medium flow, no issues or extra coats required.  This is with no top coat and it’s pretty shiny on it’s own as you can see.  Bottle cap is still a bit annoying but what can ya do?Before I put this on, I thought it might go right to the giveaway pile, but I think I’m gonna hang on to it for a while.  It’s unlikely it will get worn often, but it’s a nice enough shade to keep on hand, I think.

What are your thoughts on green nail polish?  Have you tried any of the Joe Fresh shades?

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