Posts Tagged skincare
As many of you are aware, I overhauled my skincare routine about a year ago to focus on more organic, or ‘green’ products. I’ve had a good deal of success making the switch, which probably has more to do with using products that do not use synthetic fragrance, and seeking out items with fewer ingredients overall (less chance for irritation of my eczema-prone skin), than them necessarily being ‘clean,’ as I’ve seen non-organic etc. products work wonders for others as well. However, I do feel good about what I put on my skin now, regardless of their efficacy, and that ease of mind goes a long way for someone who constantly worries when she tries a new product. That tendency to err on the side of caution hasn’t left me yet, but as I try more and more ‘green’ products without experiencing any reactions, I become more and more confident that this was the right path for me.
Recently I was given the opportunity to try out Refresh Botanicals skincare, a natural and organic line from Canadian company Taiga BioActives Inc., which I was immensely excited about. However, as usual I still added the products to my routine slowly to ensure the least chance of irritation. Almost from the start, I could tell that this step wouldn’t likely be necessary – I can say with full confidence that every single item I’ve used has been exceedingly gentle yet effective, and quite simply has been a dream to use!
The line centres their products around a proprietary blend of cucumber extract (high in antioxidants and vitamin C) and cornflower water, both highly soothing and calming to the skin. The products do not contain Parabens, Gluten, Petroleum By-Products, Animal By-Products, Artificial Oils, Artificial Oils or Artificial Fragrances. Essentially, sensitive skin types like mine are pretty much set!
I was sent 5 of the 7 products from the line: a Foaming Facial Cleanser, a Facial Toner, a Daily Facial Moisturizer, a Night Restore Complex, and a BB Cream. These products couldn’t have been more perfect for me, as they fit themselves into my current regime perfectly.
In the morning, I cleanse with the Foaming Facial Cleanser ($18.99CAD), which has a texture very similar to Cetaphil or CeraVe if you’ve tried it – sort of a thin jelly. One pump massaged on slightly damp skin gently foams and thoroughly cleanses though I never feel stripped of oils or tight afterward. I wondered if this would be enough once the weather got warmer, but due to the inclusion of coconut oil it sufficiently cleanses to remove any extra oiliness and prepare my skin for the day. I haven’t tried to use to this remove makeup, but they have a separate Eye + Face Makeup Remover in the line, which I expect is to be used first before using this – I don’t think its sufficient enough to remove makeup on it’s own.
After washing, I apply a few pumps of the soothing Facial Toner ($18.99CAD) on a cotton pad (it’s got one of those great systems where you just place the cotton pad on top of the pump and push down to get product), and swipe it all over. It’s a bit of a strange formula in that it foams slightly, but it doesn’t leave my skin irritated and it’s exceptionally gentle – I think it’s more of a pH balancing and hydrating step, with light exfoliation, rather than an astringent to rid your skin of oils. It takes a bit of getting used to if you usually use toners with alcohol, which make the skin feel squeaky clean, but I find that my skin gets less oily when I use more gentle products, this being no exception. Like the other products in the line, it smells like cucumbers, though this one has a slightly earthy yet flowery scent which I don’t love but am not offended by, either.
Depending on the day and what my skin needs, I alternate between a facial oil and the Daily Facial Moisturizer ($18.99CAD) after toning. The antioxidant-rich moisturizer is the perfect consistency for all skin types – it’s not too thin, so drier skin types won’t feel parched, but it’s not too thick and absorbs quickly, so oilier types like mine are pleased as well. It’s a basic, soothing moisturizer with not a lot of bells and whistles, but I prefer to get my ‘treatment’ in the form of a serum or oil, anyway. The only caveat I have with this product is that it feels a touch sticky once applied – this goes away after about a minute or two, but it does feel a bit strange. Another point of interest that may or may not be of concern is that one pump is far more than you need for your whole face – a half a pump is plenty, but if you tend to put moisturizer on your face, neck, and décolletage, then you’re good to go for the full pump.
Unfortunately, the BB Cream ($23.99CAD) has not made it into my daily rotation as the shade is quite light on me. From the feel of it, I think it has a texture similar to a physical sunscreen – so it’s a bit thicker, but not too difficult to spread, and would probably offer some light coverage. It’s designed like your typical BB cream to even skin tone and blur imperfections, as well as hydrate the skin. This formula also helps combat excessive sebum production and improve skin texture, and like the other products in the line is soothing to skin and offers antioxidant protection.
In the evenings, after I’ve oil-cleansed I might use the Foaming Facial Cleanser as a second cleanse if I need it, then apply a treatment toner and oil. Once the oil has absorbed, I apply the Night Restore Complex ($23.99CAD) on top to add a little extra hydration and boost my treatments – in contains antioxidants and natural exfoliants which help lighten the appearance of dark spots and help brighten the skin, which is what my treatment facial oil does as well, so I’m getting a double-whammy of goodness :) I find this extra layer does not clog my pores but in fact makes my skin feel that much more soft and supple by morning. I do avoid applying much of the Complex to my forehead, as I end up being a little greasy in that area in the morning otherwise.
I am really and truly beyond pleased with my experience with Refresh Botanicals – every single product is easy to use, non-irritating, and gently effective. For someone with sensitive but generally easy skin to deal with, it’s the perfect choice, whether or not you like ‘green’ skincare or not. It even passes the packaging test for me (I am SUPER snobby when it comes to packaging, I’ll readily admit it), as it’s clean-looking, functional and hygienic (everything is in a pump). On top of all that, it’s AFFORDABLE – something I do struggle with in the organic world, as everything is quite pricey. You can actually buy the whole shot for $147.93CAD (which includes the Eye + Face Makeup Remover, as well as an Intensive Serum)! Even more exciting for me, is that the line is actually available in Nova Scotia – unheard of! They’ve recently introduced it in the Pharmasave/Pharmachoice stores across the province (which is where you’ll find them in the other provinces except Quebec and New Brunswick as well), and I’m pretty stoked. You can also buy them online, though I’m unsure whether they ship outside of Canada (I suspect they do).
Affordable, available, effective ‘green’ skincare? I am SO totally getting my friends on board :D
Would you try a ‘green’ skincare brand if it were affordable and effective, or do you prefer traditional skincare products? Have you seen Refresh Botanicals in pharmacies yet?
*Products were provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.
Ok….so I took photos of some empties in February and then didn’t post about them – oopsie! Let’s get to it, because I want to also post my most recent empties soon – I have a big goal for myself this year in terms of reducing so I want to start entirely fresh!
Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Hand Therapy – I’ve had this seriously for like, 10 years, sitting in a cupboard because it’s scented and ya’ll know I DON’T DO THAT. But then, I wanted to get rid of some stuff so I used it as a foot lotion. Perfect!
Shikai Borage Therapy Hand Cream – ARGH that awful, awful smell of FEET and BO and DEAD MEAT. Thankfully this hand cream wasn’t all that fabulous, because if it were the most amazing thing ever I might have to buy it again and suffer the odour just to have healed hands. THE GODS HAVE SPARED ME.
CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser – It was fine. Just like Cetaphil, really. Which is MEH for someone who wears makeup or who wants a more substantial second cleanser. Even if I wasn’t sporting a ‘green’ skincare routine now I probably wouldn’t get this again, unless my skin was going absolutely batshit (in that case, it’s pretty darn gentle and not too bad at all).
Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner – This was also just OK. I didn’t love the smell nor that formula. It was my first organic conditioner and on the whole, it would probably be nice for someone with thin, fine hair that doesn’t need much moisturization like my bone-dry hair does.
Organix Coconut Milk Hibiscus Nourishing Body Wash – This was my second bottle for a reason – it SMELLS SO GOOD. I won’t buy it again because of the ingredients (still has fake fragrance, and is not really ‘organic’ – shame on the name!) but if you don’t care about this stuff, I enjoyed it overall.
Ellovi Butter – I’m going to be the dissenting voice here and state that I didn’t love this. My eczema did not like this at all, which is surprising given the clean ingredients, but I found I needed more moisture, and my eczema was consistently present while using this, so it didn’t really do much at all. Full-price at $26 (I had a $5 coupon), this would have needed to blow my socks off for a repurchase.
Haus of Gloi Aether Pumpkin Butter - I still have a soft spot for this! I stopped buying it, but I might order a few of the smaller sizes to use as hand cream and such – I really liked the smell and it moisturized well. I feel like the ingredients are pretty decent, and while not totally clean…I just like it anyway.
Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser – Though I think this might be a bit heavy for me during the summer, I did like this cleanser and I think anyone with normal to dry skin should definitely try it out! So gentle and leaves skin feeling very comfortable.
Stark Grapefruit Cleanse & Hydrate Balm – Minus the little balls of shea butter in this, I liked this balm fairly well. It didn’t cause any irritation – but the scent being so delicious constantly had me on alert for something, so I never used it with ease. I wouldn’t repurchase, but mostly just for that reason! I like using things that I know without a doubt will never eff with my fickle skin.
Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil - Honestly, still one of the best oils I’ve tried to date (and I’ve tried a fair number by now!). Affordable, great for most skin types, absorbs quickly – there’s really not much else to say. I went through two bottles, which saying a lot since I usually try something different every time. I might even come back to this at some point!
Eumovate Eczema & Dermatitis Cream – I picked up this cream while in NZ, and though it was AMAZING at clearing my the eczema I got while away (like, the best product I’ve ever used for that purpose), apparently my doc tells me this shit is kinda dangerous. At least, it’s not to be used on the regular. O-KAY, then. I powered through it while I was away, and had just a bit left which I used here and there afterward. I was kinda sad to see it go (I really DID work wonders), but it’s probably for the best.
Holy smokes, the samples. Let’s do this by notables, and not-worth-it’s:
- OLO Brand New Day – Nice, gentle enzyme scrub that does have some manual exfoliating qualities as well; leaves the skin nice and soft but not ravaged.
- Kahina Eye Serum – Second time with a sample of this bad boy, and I still like it quite a bit. Sinks in quickly and isn’t greasy at all. But sometimes with stuff like this I think – do I really need a separate serum for eye? Nah, probably not.
- Babor Calm & Relax Cream – lovely cream thats not too heavy for my normal-to-oily skin, and really does ‘calm & relax’! I plan to buy this one day, but it’s $76CAD so maybe when I have a little bit more disposable funds, hmm?
- Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus – Not ‘clean’ but I had it in my samples stash and I though I’d use it up. And really, it works. Highly recommend for non-‘green” skincare buffs.
- Lancome La Vie Est Belle (sample) – I still love this scent, and one day I’ll give in and buy a bottle. I just wish it was cheaper! 1oz (30mL) is $72CAD. Atrocious.
- Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask – Honestly, the first sample I had I found this did NOTHING to my face, and the second time I tried it, I felt a little bit of irritation. I know a lot of people love it but I’m not one of ‘em.
- OLO Vitamin C Serum – Again, another ‘gem’ that gets raves, but I found it was a little heavy for my skin – it would be PERFECT for drier skin, and it gives the skin a glowy sheen (which turned a bit greasy on me).
- Vapour Illusionist Concealer - YIKES! All of these shades were so gray!! Even the darkest shade was ashy and awful. And the coverage as well was crappy. Probably if you’re super fair and have hardly anything to conceal, this would be great. Clearly not for me.
Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara – I’ve had a sample of this before, and my opinion is the same – great for giving lashes curl (makes mine even CURLIER) and for separation and length. One day I might even buy the full size.
MAC Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner in Petrol Blue – I wish I had this in an eyeshadow, or perhaps just a better eyeliner formula. This ALWAYS smudged on the outer corners no matter what I did, and I didn’t love the more glittery-sparkly quality of it either. It’s old and starting to separate from the sides of the pencil, so I decided to toss it. Whoop!
Clinique Cream Shaper in Egyptian – I loved this shade (blackened olive) and the liner didn’t budge, but it’s also a billion years old (or maybe 7) and was doing the same shrinking thing, so out it goes.
Clinique High Impact Mascara – how many samples of this have I used in my life!? Too many. Still a great formula but I’m kinda bored of it now after years and years.
Clinique Lash Power Mascara – Still digging this formula (it’s newer) and I have a backup in my stash. Gets all the bitty little lashes and doesn’t budge. Awesome.
Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant - Hated. It. Tried to love it. Still Hated. It. TOSS.
YSL Touche Eclat 5.5 – I know Wayne Goss has showed us the error of our ways in using this pen, but I’d just rather have an illuminating wand do all that and not cost $50+. Next time I’ll buy the cheapy version if its not gonna make my dark circles disappear.
Benefit Watt’s Up - This was an OK cream highlighter, but I’ve found plenty others I like far more (Becca, to name one!). I was so glad when I finished this sample!
BAM. Empties #1 for 2014 DONE. #2 to come shortly!
Have you tried any of the products above? What are your thoughts?
The New Year is almost upon us! Even though the number 13 conjures up some unsettling feelings, 2013 was kind of a great year for me! Though it started out a bit rough, with a lot of talking and support it turned around for me (a big thanks to all of you who sent kind words – and a care package! – my way!). As always, the hardships make the good times feel that much sweeter. I had the immense pleasure of standing in my friend’s most amazing wedding; I started dating a guy who makes me feel loved and truly content in a way I never have before; I’ve had the opportunity to work in several different positions at my work and found my niche; and I finally got to go to New York City, a long-standing dream of mine! Not too shabby 2013, not too shabby :)
Over the month of December I’ve been pondering what beauty products in my collection really stand-out and get the most use. Though I could probably add one or two more, the 13 items below really have rocked my world this year and have been very well-loved. I would even go so far to say that I would repurchase most of them (and that’s saying something!).
And so I present to you, my favourite (beauty) things of 2013:
1. Osha Mae Calendula Salve ($15CAD). On it’s own, without any cortisone products, this can clear up the chronic eczema on my hands overnight – absolutely unheard of! I first got hooked on a sample of M.J. Herbals Calendula Salve ($15CAD), but when I saw this very similar version at our local market I picked it up, as I always like to support local!
2. La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask ($65CAD). When LBF was introduced on the Clementine Fields website, they had a promotion for 15% off it’s pre-sale. I ordered this mask as I was looking for something hydrating that could replace the uber-scented derma-e mask that I’d been using for a while (uncomfortably). I didn’t know what to expect, and was completely bowled over once I tried it – its truly amazing! It hydrates, it heals, it calms, it brightens…I honestly feel like it’s almost a one-stop shop as a mask, because my skin just looks SO DAMN GOOD after using it. I attribute it’s awesomeness to it’s inclusion of raw manuka honey (it’s the first ingredient) which is noted for it’s therapeutic, antibacterial and nourishing qualities. Other ingredients include kaolin clay, rosehip seed oil and calendula extract – be still my heart! Oh, and it’s also BRIGHT PURPLE (due to the aronia berry). I want to get my hands on the Purifying ($65CAD) version next.
3. Lina Hanson Global Body Serum ($64CAD). I really wish this didn’t cost so damn much because I just want to drown in this fantastically scented body oil for the rest of my life. As it stands, I’m still trying to ration it, but I still fear it won’t last long as I keep using it every few days because it’s so addictive!
Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille ($130US). Yum. And YUM. You all know my penchant for vanilla-based scents, so my love for this probably comes as no surprise. With notes like sandalwood, coconut milk, musk, vanilla and tonk a bean, it’s a gourmand fragrance-lovers paradise. I was surprised however that it also contains notes like black liquorice (which I hate) and bitter almond – but I suspect they help round out the scent and keep it from being too OTT vanilla, which can get headache-inducing fast. I have worn this and only this since purchasing it in NYC; the only gripe I have with the fragrance is that I don’t find it lasts on my skin – but I guess that just gives me an excuse to spritz, spritz, spritz!
Make Up For Ever Medium Highlighting Brush in #152 ($43CAD). I didn’t quite understand just how much I would love this brush until I really put it into practice and had a while to play with it. This brush is absolutely integral in my makeup application – aside from applying cream or powder highlighters like a dream, it also blends all formulas of blush or bronzer perfectly. I don’t quite know how it does it, but somehow the fibers of the brush, its density, and it’s softness all contribute to a beautifully seamless complexion. LOVE.
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal (full-size, $50CAD). Though I only have a deluxe sample size of this product, you only need the slightest amount to get amazing, glowing skin, so it’s lasted me ages! I usually pull this out when I am either going for a really ‘natural’ look that focuses on the skin, or if I’m looking to amp up the glow factor for an event. Though the full-size would probably last me a lifetime – something that doesn’t appeal to a fickle beauty fiend like myself – I still think I’ll repurchase this when I DO run out, because it’s truly the most beautiful yet natural-looking illuminator I’ve ever used.
Buxom Full-Bodied Lipsticks (full-size, $26CAD). My love for this lipstick formula is still going strong. I use the little sample bullets I’ve got more than any other lipstick I own, and I’m looking forward to the day when they run out – so I can justifiably buy some full sizes! Just so, so creamy and comfortable to wear, with awesome full pigment. For the price especially, you really can’t beat ‘em!
Chanel Le Blush Creme de Chanel in Revelation ($43CAD). I have been on a cream blush kick for a while now, as I find it just looks so darn natural, which fits my makeup M.O. these days. The newish Blush Cremes dry to an almost powder-like finish, so they don’t have quite the same effect; nevertheless, this natural-looking apricot shade gets a lot of regular use because it goes with just about every makeup look I wear. The only downside is that its a touch too light when my skin is tanned – but at the moment it’s just right :)
MAC Eyeshadow in All That Glitters (pro-pan, $12CAD). Though I have lessened my use of this shadow recently due to switching up my makeup routine, this baby got some SERIOUS love for months after I bought it early last spring. It gives my eyes the most subtle yet beautiful sparkle I’ve ever seen, and accompanies a bright lip look beautifully. The hype is TRUE, you guys. BUY IT.
Burberry Sheer Eyeshadow in Trench ($30CAD). Even after owning this shadow for a year and a half, I’m still amazed at how perfectly it blends and melds on the brow bone to give the perfect level of highlight to the eye. As I have a lot of shimmering shadows, it keeps them grounded without making me look too ‘show dancer,’ but also isn’t so flat that it looks dull. On top of all that, it’s HELLA soft.
Chanel Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Noir Intense ($29CAD). I wasn’t big on black pencil eyeliner until I purchased this early in the year – I didn’t have one and thought I should at least have one in my arsenal. I don’t use it as a traditional liner, but rather as a tightliner on my upper lash line. It a nice, dark black that gives great definition when I’m doing a more natural look (see a theme here?) and doesn’t budge – in fact, it’s difficult to remove at the end of the day, so keep that in mind. But as I find a long-wearing liner hard to come by, it’s far from a deal-breaker!
MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack ($19CAD). Black pencil liner may never have been my thing, but I can’t say the same for black cream/gel/liquid formulas, which have always been a staple in my arsenal. When I ran out of my last black liquid liner, I decided it was about time I tried the cult fave Blacktrack. It’s nice and dark, and its creamy texture makes creating a winged look (a regular go-to for me) incredibly easy. I’m not convinced I would repurchase, only because there are several black cream/gel liners that I’d like to try, but it’s been a faithful staple for me since I purchased it.
XLash Eyelash Enhancer ($59). You’re all probably sick and tired of hearing me trumpet on and on about my love for this lash serum, but seriously, just get some and then get back to me – I promise you’ll be converted! I won’t repeat my gushings yet again, but I will say that I am actually planning to buy more of this when I run out (still haven’t!). SO. GOOD.
That just about rounds up my year in beauty in a nutshell! I’ve tried many things, some duds, some *pretty good*, but this collection here have been raised to the level of HG status for me. As I learn and grow I find my selections have become more and more curated to the point where I rarely have a miss (at least if they’re purchased by me) and I’ve grown quite fond of my collection, to which I’ve whittled and culled to include *almost* only products that are a pleasure to use. I still have a bit of work to do (which I plan on laying out for you in a future post), but overall I’m quite pleased and have passed the ‘GAH! My-stash-is-overwhelming-OMG-the-anxiety!‘ stage that I was in for a long time since starting the blog. Which I deem a HUGE success :)
So say farewell to 2013 and welcome in the New Year with a bang! I appreciate each and every reader of my little beauty haven, whether you’ve been with me or a while, or stumbled upon my ramblings by accident. You’re the only reason I keep on writing! I wish all of you a very excellent finale to the year soon past and hope that the very best is yet to come in 2014!!! Let’s make it all sorts of great, yea? :D
Image credit: ilovehdwallpapers.com
Woohoo! My last empties post of the year. As these are always lengthy (because I am too damn chatty) (and even though I just did one last month…how do I use up products so quickly?), I’m going to get right to it.
Organix Nourishing Coconut Milk Conditioner – I do like the Organix conditioners, and this worked quite well to hydrate and detangle, but I preferred the heaviness of the Macadamia Oil version to this. Smelled DELICIOUS in the summer though!
Earth Science Deep Conditioning Masque – 2nd tube of this, and I still feel the same as I did when I first tried it. It’s really good shit, dudes. For $13CAD, it’s one of the best deep conditioners I’ve ever used, and to top it off – all natural! If I were so fickle I’d buy another tube, and I still may…I’m just too curious to settle *just yet* ;)
Alterna Bamboo Smooth Kendi Oil – I really liked this oil a lot, much better than the Ojon Restorative oil that preceded it. It just had a great consistency and smell, and it never irritated my scalp or caused any breakouts around my forehead, which can happen with products like this. Good stuff, and lasted AGES.
Haus of Gloi Komodo Pumpkin Butter – don’t mistake mangosteen for mango, my friends – NOT THE SAME. I found the scent of this quite intrusive and it has this slightly rotten fruit smell…so ya, just not diggin’ it. So, I used it as a foot cream! Problem solved.
Nutiva Coconut Oil – great stuff. I used this as my primary body moisturizer throughout last spring/summer and it was awesome – it really kept my skin in great condition, prevented eczema flare-ups and helped heal old scars that I sometimes get from past eczema patches, which tend to result in the absence of pigmentation. However, once the weather cooled it wasn’t quite enough, so I would either layer it with a moisturizer, or use it in my hair periodically as a deep treatment. I’ll definitely be picking up another tub of this – so many uses! However, keep in mind that coconut oil is highly comedogenic – except when it’s in the form below:
Fractionated Coconut Oil – fractionated oil is non-comedogenic, perhaps due to having had all it’s triglycerides removed. It has a super-long shelf life and increased stability, and it’s antioxidant potential is more jacked up than regular coconut oil. It’s also in a TON of things and usually listed as ‘caprylic/capric triglyceride.’ My roommate had left this behind when she moved so I used it up – it was a lot easier to use than the solid coconut oil (though a bit messier at times) but I found it slightly less moisturizing on my body.
Getting through my non-organic products! I’ve only got a few last products and a couple straggler samples to get through and I’ll be essentially fully ‘green’, woot!
eos Lip Sphere - this balm works really well and was exceptional under lipstick, offering just enough hydration without much slip, but honestly the size of it sometimes felt very cumbersome. It’s a cute novelty, but not the most practical – though I do maintain that they’re terribly easy to find in your purse!
Indeed Labs Hydraluron – I’m sure this does have a purpose, but I don’t think I have dry or dehydrated enough skin to see a difference. I don’t miss it.
Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector – this stuff does work well, for those of you not concerned about using non-organic products. I really do like serums because you can pile them on and they generally don’t have heavy moisture to the skin which can make you greasy as the day wears on.
RoC Soft Smoothing Scrub – too gentle for my liking, though this is a good choice for a morning cleanser just to wash the night’s oils off, or as a second cleanse. But as a ‘scrub’? No thanks. One more non-organic product down!
Avene Thermal Spring Water – I love misting my face before applying any serums or oils, as it just feels good to seal the moisture in…but paying for water in a can kinda irks me. I far prefer the facial mists with a little bit extra in them, like hydrosols etc. that add something more. Right now I’m using Kahina Giving Beauty’s Facial Mist and I quite like it (though its just so darn SMALL at 1.6oz for $46CAD…ouch!).
Samples! Lots of good organic stuff here. The Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Oil is excellent for keeping oily, pore-clogged, acne-prone skin in check. I don’t have the latter, but I do get clogged pores on my nose and cheek area, and I found the sample really refined my skin nicely. I actually just purchased the full-size last week! I tried the new Kahina Giving Beauty Fez Body Serum this past weekend, and while it worked nicely on my skin, the scent it NOT for me – far too spicy and heady for me. I’ll stick with my Lina Hanson Global Body Serum, thanks. The Soapwalla Deodorant sample lasted ages, and I enjoyed it so much I purchased it last week as well – it smells awesome and actually works a treat, even on wetness! It’s not entirely as effective as traditional antiperspirants, but for every day wear its perfect and I really like it a lot. I thought the Pai Chamomile & Rosehip Sensitive Skin Cream was gonna be my JAM for the dry patches I get sometimes from my eczema, but it sometimes made my skin itch a bit rather than soothe it, so I’ll have to keep looking for a nice nighttime hydrating cream. M.J.’s Calendula Cream on the other hand, was a freakin’ miracle product – this honestly cleared up my eczema overnight on my hands, which tends to be a persistent problem for me. I ended up buying a similar product from the local market, but I’m not sure it’s *quite* as effective, though I do like to support local. The Eminence Blueberry Soy Exfoliating Cleanser was a strange product. I used it as either a morning or second cleanse and I didn’t notice any exfoliating, and it left a slight film on my skin so I’d recommend using a washcloth to remove it. Not something I’d spend my money on, overall. The Rahua Shampoo was fine, but I didn’t enjoy the smell at all, and to spend $$ on a shampoo that I don’t love is just not gonna happen. One of our local high-end department stores here, Mills, will soon be stocking the organic brand Babor, and the SA’s gave me a few samples of this Calm & Relax Cream to try. It was pretty great, truth be told! I used it after doing an intense masque treatment, and it was soothing and hydrating without being heavy at all. I just may purchase a full-size when the line becomes fully available. Finally, another Eminence sample I snagged was this Red Currant Rapid Infusion Masque…suffice to say it was a total dud. I have no idea what it was supposed to do, but I wasn’t wowed. PASS.
Sephora She Sparkles Gloss – decent gloss formula, decent shade. Despite the fact that I didn’t love it, I actually used this up fairly quickly in the grand gloss scheme of things. Huh.
NARS Gold Digger Gloss sample – HATE the brush on these Larger Than Life glosses, uh. So. Tiny! I liked the shade well enough, but the formula isn’t my favourite – similar to MAC lipglasses, which means they wear fairly well, but I’m not a fan of the stickiness. It still looks quite full here but I wasn’t getting any more product, so out it goes.
Marc Jacobs Blacquer Mascara – this was such a weird product, like webbing for the eyes! I loved that it had this kind of patent-leather shine, but it applied horribly and made a total mess of my lashes every time. Yuk.
MUFE Eyeshadow #17 Espresso – I thought I’d use this a ton and then hardly did. Then I dropped it and it crumbled, and then honestly, I just was OVER IT. Plus, I now have a similar shade in my Laura Mercier palette, so I don’t NEED YOU ANYMORE. *I really hate broken makeup!*
NARS Pro Prime Pore-Refining Primer – this was just meh. I used it regularly for a couple weeks to use it up, and I wasn’t wowed – I still got shine after a few hours, and though my makeup wore a bit longer, it wasn’t anything to write home about. Plus, non-organic…I’m not totally converted to organic makeup (or at all, really) but primer is like skincare, so I don’t think I’d buy this even if it did work well.
Marie Veronique Organics Everyday Coverage – the darkest shade offered is still too light for me, so this was a no-go. Bummer, as I’ve ready a lot of great things about it! Can’t beat coverage plus SPF in one.
I’m now finished my empties for the year! I was going to do a tally in each category, but honestly that’s just too much damn work LOL. Suffice to say, I feel really good about how many non-organic products I’ve used up, and I’m pretty stoked that I used up a whole gloss (and a half!) – I’ve been trying really hard to use up any lip products that are at least half-gone, because they’re much more feasible to finish (as opposed to blush…let’s not go there). I’m going to make a real effort next year to cull my stash to only products I really love – I know I’ve said this before, and I continue to make progress, but I think next year will be THE year. I’m loosening my grip on keeping things because they ‘should’ work or because they were expensive and therefore I have to use them. I just want to pull out any shade of any product and be like ‘Yep, looks great’ with minimal effort. I learn more and more what looks good on me and what doesn’t. And also, it’s a lot easier to reduce the stash when you focus all your effort / money on skincare!! I certainly haven’t saved a dime not buying makeup, because organic skincare costs a pretty penny in many cases, but the whole ritual of applying oils etc. is really up my alley, so I don’t mind. And less makeup means less anxiety in that area – I never overbuy skincare so I never have to worry about having too much of that!
So, out with the old (thinking) and in with the new (skincare, not makeup). Now I need to put my 2014 resolutions to paper!
How did your empties go this year? Do you think your reducing or expanding?
I am terrible at keeping up with these posts…honestly, I should probably just give up! But NO. I will persevere, because SOMEONE has to see that I am not only continuously exercising my strong consumerist muscle, but also actually using shit up (and possibly at a faster rate than I’m buying, which is the ultimate goal). And so here we go again.
Many products means we’ll jump right in lest we be here all night. To begin, let’s start at the exciting end – the makeup.
Left to right: Clinique Lash Doubling mascara (sample), Fresh Sugar Honey Lip Treatment, Clinique High Impact mascara (sample), Make Up For Ever Star Gloss Diamond Collection in S0, Clinique High Impact + Bottom Lash mascara (sample), Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant mascara, Guerlain Maxi Lash D’Enfer (sample).
I actually quite like all of Clinique’s mascaras and it has nothing to do with me working for the brand. I just find they go on nicely, don’t dry out too fast, and stay on all day while washing off easily at night. I always seem to have a lot of samples because I get a free gift every time I work a GWP. I don’t mind one bit ;)
After I determined that the fragrance in the Fresh lip balms cause my lips to be perpetually chapped, I hardly used this for close to a year. Then I decided I just wanted to get rid of it, so I used it like crazy down to a nub and then tossed it. Not sorry to see it go, even though the shade was a nice nude that looked good with a variety of looks. The MUFE gloss seemed to finish extremely quickly so I question it’s size, but I’m not complaining – another lip pie down! The MUFE mascara ended up not being so bad as I thought it might be in my original review, but I still didn’t love it and was happy to see that it was drying up. The Guerlain mascara was CRAZY clumpy and annoying and scented and just NO. Buh bye.
Above are two concealers I’ve had for well over 3 years a piece (possibly 4 for one) that I was tired of trying to ‘use up.’ The NYX Concealer in a Jar was decent but the shade wasn’t great except when I was tanned and could use it under eye. The other pot there is theBalm Time Balm, and it was OK but too pink. I checked both shades recently in natural light and was like ‘NO MORE’ so out they go! The other two little pots there were samples of foundation – the one with ‘MJ’ on it was the Marc Jacobs foundation, which I actually liked a fair bit and would possibly purchase. Not right now though, not until I use up at least 3 of the 5 or 6 I have kicking around :S There are some Becca foundation samples in the back there that were just too dark for me – toss. Finally, we have the pièce de résistance – the NARS Loose Powder I bought back in 2010 that JUST WON’T DIE. So very, very done with this!
There’s still some dregs in there but I don’t care, I’m OVER IT. Also finished is the MUFE HD Powder that I got in a kit probably two years ago – POOF! Hence why I was justified in buying the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette :)
Ok. that’s it for the makeup. I’m trying to slog through a few other makeup items that I’m hoping will be done in the next couple months. Wish me luck!
Next, we have skincare. Oodles and oodles!
Clockwise from top left: Clinique Moisture Surge Intense (sample), MD Formulations Moisture Defence Antioxidant Hydrating Gel, Clinique Even Better Eyes, Boscia Oil-Free Daily Hydration SPF15 (sample), Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream, Clinique Moisture Surge (sample)
The Clinique Moisture Surge original is a great aloe-based hydrator that just feels good on the skin. It doesn’t treat dry skin long-term but it’s great for oilier skins like mine that just need a little somethin’ somethin’. However, I DO NOT LIKE the Intense version, and I actually think it does funny things with my skin. If I get any more samples of it I’ll be passing it along. The MD product was great, as previously mentioned; the Even Better Eyes product was OK but didn’t blow my mind so I’d never spend my own money on it. I think I liked the Boscia lotion, but my skin was getting irritated for some reason by something (I think it might be the sample I had of the UD foundation but not sure) and I was using this at the time so I’m hesitant to buy the full size. Lastly, I always like the Neutrogena cream and it’s a cheap and effective retinol product (albeit quite gentle).
Then we have the cleansers and exfoliants:
Clockwise from top: Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, Vichy Purete Thermale (sample), Clinique Take the Day Off Makeup Remover (sample), REN Glycol Lactic Masque (sample), Kiehl’s Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion
Another Clinique product line that I enjoy is the Take the Day Off (TTDO) products. Every time I get a sample of the TTDO eye makeup remover I’m glad to have it on hand, as it’s effective and gentle. The cleansing balm is great at getting off all makeup and sunscreen, and rinses off well without drying out the skin. I probably wouldn’t use my own money to buy either, but that’s mostly because I sort of feel like all Clinique products should be free for me LOL. The Vichy cleanser was OK for makeup-less skin, but otherwise meh. The REN masque that everyone loves? Not for me, really…it’s kinda scary on my sensitive skin, and I’ve since used other masques that blow my mind and work much better without any irritation at all (hint: La Bella Figura’s Bio Active Healing Mask. Get it. SOO GOOD. Review forthcoming). Lastly, the Kiehl’s scrub I got in a swap, and it was right around the time that I was over-exfoliating my skin in a bad way, which took a good year and a half to recover from. Once I did, this was a nice product to buff the skin smooth but it is quite intensive, so I’d never repurchase and would caution against it for less hardy skin.
Now for my pile of organic samples and one full-sized organic product!
I’ll start with the Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair Eye Treatment. This was one big MEH from me. Didn’t do any harm, but it didn’t do anything that wowed me either. It didn’t feel nearly as lovely as the Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum sample I tried (above) which lasted me long enough to know that its GREAT and I will be buying it as soon as I use up my 10238 eye creams (or…5. Still. TOO MANY).
As for the other samples…lets divide them according to ‘awesome and will buy’ status or ‘save your money’ piles. In the latter, we have May Lindstrom’s Youth Dew and the Problem Solver (too heavy / too messy), Lina Hanson’s Global Face Serum (odd smell, too heavy), Rahua Conditioner (odd smell, not heavy enough, and full-size is PRICEY at $34!), and the Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask (didn’t feel it did much of anything). In the ‘awesome’ pile, the Babor body cream felt lovely on my dry body skin, with zero reactions; the One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin B Cleansing Oil takes off all traces of makeup, and rinses clean away without a cloth or left-over residue (though I still don’t love the strong fruity smell); the Kahina Giving Beauty Brightening Serum felt great going on, with no reactions, and though I didn’t have enough to get a full test, will likely be purchased in the near future; the aforementioned Eye Serum by Kahina; and Lina Hanson’s Global Body Serum (which I DID purchase and wrote about here).
You may notice I skipped a few samples….those would be in the ‘what the heck do I feel about these?’ pile – I just haven’t made a full decision on them yet and more samples may be required. I only got one use out of the Kahina Giving Beauty Facial Cleanser so I can’t make any kind of judgement on it at all, sadly. I really want to love May Lindstrom’s The Clean Dirt and I don’t feel like I got a good trial run with it, so I might try it out again and see how I feel the second time around. The OLO Active Moisture Vitamin C Serum seemed great in some ways (it gives a FABULOUS glow), but it was another product I was using while my skin was getting a little irritated a while ago, so it’s possible this was the culprit. Finally, OLO’s Easy Does It cleanser is a nice price at $29 for a big bottle, and can be used on face, body and hair (yay dual-purpose!), but I felt it might have been irritating to my skin (also using during that funny time period). Probably all of those things I was using then I’ll have to re-try separately to weed out which was the baddie.
Wowza! Thats a lot ‘o samples, yes. We’re almost done folks, I hope you’re still with me! We now come to body products.
Clockwise from top left: Clinique After Sun Rescue Balm, Organix Coconut Milk Hibiscus Creamy Body Wash, Kniepp Lavender Herbal Bath Soak, A-Derma Exomega Body Cream (sample), Haus of Gloi Aether Pumpkin Butters (x3), and Burt’s Bees Lemon Cuticle Balm
Alrighty. Clinique’s After Sun is a fave of mine that I just enjoy using in the summer after being out in the sun. Soothing, cooling, and repairing. The Organix body wash I liked so much I bought a second which I’m just finishing up now. I probably won’t repurchase though where it’s still quite scented. It didn’t seem to irritate but I should still watch what I’m using carefully. The Kniepp soak I could never actually SOAK in (fragrance is right up with the first ingredients), but I used this for soaking my feet and its was lovely.
More evidence of my Haus of Gloi love with 3 jars gone; the A-Derma cream was actually quite nice, very hydrating and one of the few fragrance-free products from a line that designed for sensitive skin (WTF?! You’d be surprised how often that happens, actually); lastly, my final jar of the Burts Bees cuticle balm, which I always enjoy.
Right, so let’s wrap this up eh? The grand finale – hair products:
Left to right: Living Proof Satin Hair Serum (sample), Bumble & Bumble Texture styling cream, Desert Essence Coconut Conditioner, TIGI Bedhead Catwalk Curls Collection Curls Rock Amplifier (longest name of life!), Schwartzkopf Extra Care Deep Nutrition Shampoo, OJON Restorative Hair Treatment
The serum – meh. Not notable to me. The conditioner – smelled AMAZING and worked fairly well on my curly mop. The fragrance seemed to be naturally sourced. The TIGI product was actually really great – just a small pea size was needed and it controlled my hair well without being crunchy. Lasted AGES too. But I’m in the process of looking for an organic replacement, so… The Schwartzkopf shampoo was a left behind product by a friend while in NZ. Yes I’ve had it that long and just finished it! What, I don’t shampoo often lol. It was OK but I don’t think they sell it around here even if I wanted to repurchase (I don’t). And lastly, the OJON treatment. I remember getting a full size of this crap back in the day when it was a big deal and thinking it was just great. I am SO over this brand now it’s not even funny, and my aunt keeps giving me more and more of it, ugh. At least this was just a sample!
~nudges self awake~ OK So we’re done, yes!? Woot! Not only are these hard to get through, I know, but they’re hard to write! (at 10pm on a Sunday night, no less!). Nonetheless, I’m glad I got ‘er done. I hope it was *somewhat* helpful/interesting?? If not…well, maybe it will serve as a sleeping aid ;)
And with that, I bid you adieu! Till next time, my friends.
How are your empties coming along???
Last month I lost my mind and ordered a $64CAD body oil.
I mean, OK, so I am a bit obsessed with cosmetics and maybe this doesn’t seem all that crazy to you. But I mean, $64 for a 100mL bottle of Lina Hanson’s Global Body Serum was a little bit steep, even for me. If used regularly, it’d probably last me a month, tops. And I do NOT make enough money to spend $768 a year on a body moisturizer (that’s $64 x 12 for those of you paying attention) – especially with my needy, dry, eczema-prone skin. Nuh-uh, no way.
…But godDAMN if it isn’t the most luxurious, wonderful, $64 I’ve spent in a while!!!! :D
Ok, so here’s the deal. I kept reading over and over about how awesome this oil was, seeing photos of the sleek and classy black bottle, and how delicious it smelled (the rumors are true – JUST like an orange creamsicle, except in the most chic, sophisticated way possible), and I kept stalking it on Fresh Faced, waiting for it to come back in stock just to torture myself. I mean, the product is hand-blended in small batches and is free parabens, artificial fragrance (yay!), silicone and other baddies – how could I resist? Finally, one day while going through my routine ‘click on product, see it’s out of stock, regain sanity, repeat’ cycle, it happened – it was in stock and waiting for me to throw my wallet at it.
So I did.
Oh happy day :)
Designed to relieve dryness and improve elasticity and skin circulation, the oil is slightly thicker than say, jojoba oil, but spreads relatively easily. However, I can’t make the claim that a little goes a long way – I need a good 3-4 pumps to cover one arm, hence how I could go through this bottle in a mere month. How I’ve been enjoying it without powering through it is adding a pump or two to my usual Haus of Gloi pumpkin butter, reaping the benefits of it’s amazing scent and nourishing ingredients (more on that in a minute). On special days I’ll use it alone, mostly on my arms and shins, to bask in it’s glorious fragrance and really treat myself. I find that used alone, it offers adequate hydration though I could use just a touch of something more in drier areas. Paired with a moisturizer is really the best way to go for my skin anyway, at least during the colder months, and I don’t find I lose much of it’s efficacy that way so it’s a win-win.
Ingredients, for your perusal!
If you’re at all familiar with various oils that are common to organic products, you’ll know that the line-up here is relatively basic but still full of superstar ingredients. As I’ve been in the habit of reading labels for what seems like forever, upon reading this list I was pleased to see oils such as avocado, camellia, pumpkin seed, and rice bran, all of which are occlusive and protective to the skin – which is imperative for eczema sufferers like myself, as it keeps environmental triggers from coming in direct contact with the skin. Additionally, most of these oils are anti-inflammatory, and there is a good mix of oleic and linoleic acids to both moisturize the skin and provide barrier support to retain that moisture as well. Cool beans.
My only beef (aside from the painful price!) – and it’s not with the brand, but rather with the e-tailer – is that the ingredients listed on the Fresh Faced site are not the same as what is listed on the box. It appears that they have replicated the Global Face Serum ingredients for the body serum, which may be a small error, true, but I purchased the oil based on the fact that I was intrigued by the marula and baobab oils, of which there are none in the actual product ~shrugs~ Happily, the product is still great and effective, so no harm no foul…but it’s something to be noted, to be sure!
If you’re feeling spend-y (as I have been lately) and are looking to tie in both hydration as well as a fabulous scent, look no further than this serum. It’s definitely not a necessity, but the added touch of luxury has certainly made both my bathroom counter as well as my bod look just that much better ;)
What is the most expensive skincare product you’ve purchased before?