Posts Tagged skincare

Two more hits from Kypris Beauty: the Antioxidant Dew & the Beauty Elixir III

Several months ago, the lovely Chase Polan and her team sent along 2 products from her outstanding organic skincare line Kypris as a gift for me to enjoy. I was beyond excited to try more products from the brand, as I’d already fallen in love with the retinol alternative, Moonlight Catalyst (review here) and the newest addition to the family, the Body Elixir: Inflorescence (review here). However, I had skincare coming out of my ears at that point, and I didn’t want to open the bottles until I was ready to use them. In December, I finally had an ‘opening’ in my morning skincare routine, so I cracked open the Antioxidant Dew eagerly. Then, this month after finishing up another oil, I started applying the Beauty Elixir III in the evening as my final step, so now can talk about these products and share with you my experiences!

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The Antioxidant Dew ($67US for 47mL) is an extremely lightweight, milky serum that is designed to restore strength, vitality and radiance to skin. As the name suggests, it’s loaded with antioxidants such as ferulic acid to fight free radicals, while also soothing inflammation and hydrating the skin.

Kypris Antioxidant Dew

There are many things to love about this serum: the beautifully light texture (SO perfect for layering!); how supple, calm and healthy my skin looks after use; how incredibly hydrated my skin feels with absolutely NO greasiness whatsoever. Though I generally use this sandwiched between a Vitamin C serum and a sunscreen, I’ve used alone on occasion and have felt no need for an additional layer of moisture. I also enjoy that this is free of essential oils so that all skins, reactive or otherwise, can use it without worry. Below is the ingredient list:

Water/Aqua, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Xylitylglucoside, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Algae, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phospholipids, Phragmites Communis (Reed) Extract, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Poria Cocos Extract, Xylitol, Anhydroxylitol, Waltheria Indica Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Calophyllum Inophylum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Superoxide Dismutase, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Mannitol, Dextrin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Levulinate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Gluconate, Xanthan Gum.

Kypris Antioxidant Dew

I think the biggest selling point for me is that I can wear this serum in the day – as many organic treatment products are oil-heavy, I find they can leave my skin a touch too shiny (though I suspect for the more dry-skinned out there that this isn’t a problem). I love that I can pair this with other products without feeling weighed down or suffocated. So beautiful!

Kypris Beauty Elixir III

The Beauty Elixir III – Prismatic Array ($150US for 47mL) is a face oil that is filled with actives like CoQ10 (antioxidant) and Vitamin C ester (boosts collagen), as well as phytonutrients and essential fatty acids, all without essential oils to accommodate especially sensitive complexions (like mine!). It’s designed to help repair signs of environmental stressors as well as softening, nourishing and moisturizing skin so it looks more luminous.

This oil is extremely nourishing – you can tell as soon as you press it into the skin that you’re getting a treat. It’s rich amber color gives it away, anyway! This is packed with awesome oils like grape seed, baobab, kukui nut, tamanu, pumpkin seed and prickly pear (aka barbary fig seed), as well as black raspberry seed and cranberry seed. So much goodness! I apply this at night as my last step over a peptide serum and it gives me the best glow. In the morning, I wake up with plump-looking, soft skin that doesn’t feel greasy (though I do avoid using this around my nose where I get the most oily). While I love oils, I don’t always find I notice their effects in the same way as a serum – the biggest factors in whether or not I will repurchase one are: Does it irritate my skin? (Nope.)  Does it have long-lasting hydration? (Yep.)  If it’s a blend, does it contain many of my favourite skincare oils? (Yep!). Check, check and CHECK.

Even though there are no essential oils in this mixture, I also love the way it smells! Like the best blend of natural oils with a hint of sweetness. It’s not your typical ‘earthy’ scent; you know, the kind that isn’t offensive exactly but it smells like dirt and trees and herbs? This is nothing like that – maybe it’s the inclusion of coconut oil. Which, while we’re on the topic, I was very nervous about (it’s why I hadn’t ordered this myself previously), but this serum hasn’t been a problem for my skin in the least, happily!

Les ingrédients:

Helianthus annuus (Sunflower Seed) Oil, Cocos nucifera (Virgin Coconut) Oil, Vitis vinifera (Grape Seed) Oil, Adansonia digitata (baobab) Oil, Aleurites moloccans (Kukui) Oil, Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamanu) Oil, Curcubita pepo (Pumpkin Seed) Oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Opuntia engelmannii (Prickly Pear Seed) Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Extract, Hippophae rhamonides (Seabuckthorn Bearry) Extract, Punica granatum (Pomegranate Seed) Extract, Rubus occidentalis (Black Raspberry Seed) Oil, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry Seed) Oil, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (From Licorice), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C Ester), Non- GMO Mixed Tocopherols.

Kypris Beauty Elixir III

Clearly, I need to add these 2 fantastic products to my regular roster. There are just so many things to like about them, and about Kypris in general – Chase seems to be one of the loveliest people (she always sends hand-written, personalized notes with her packages); they consistently use one of my favourite oils, tamanu, in their formulations; and I appreciate their ethos on so many levels (some of which I talked about here). And, a newly important factor for me is that they’re cruelty free!

Though I do try and avoid essential oils when I can, the other 2 Beauty Elixirs (versions I & II) sound so appealing; I’ve never really tried any products where rose oil was a predominant feature (as it is in the Beauty Elixir I) so I think that’s next on my list! I will mention that though the Elixirs feel a bit cost prohibitive (upwards of $150US), you do get more bang for your buck as general oil blends are only 30mL – and I just discovered that they offer seasonal pairings on the site which give you a discounted price (for example, right now you can get the full sizes of the Beauty Elixir I and the Antioxidant Dew for $265US, which would normally cost you $292US). And recently I heard a tip from Sugar Mamma that resonated with me – if you truly love something, you won’t mind paying full price. I have a habit of sometimes trying to find alternatives for items that I love, and always feeling dissatisfied (and sometimes spending more in the process!). Don’t do it! Of course, you don’t know if you love something before trying it, so Kypris kindly offers ‘mini’ sizes of their products for a fraction of the price :)

Have you tried Kypris products before? 

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Wordless Wednesday: Pre-Move Empties!

I know I just posted my summer empties only a short while ago, but as soon as I found out we were moving I got a hussle on to finish up some products that were dragging on too long in my arsenal. The less I have to move  – and the less stuff cluttering up my shiny new space (official move-in day is tomorrow!) – the better! This is a pretty huge empties post actually considering it’s less than 2 months worth of stuff. I’m super-excited to have a more tidy, manageable amount of beauty products going into our new home. I’m already starting off on the right foot!

Anyway, this is supposed to be [mostly] wordless, so let’s get crackin’.

IMG_2713Notable here is the Kypris Moonlight Catalyst (so lovely), the MAX Effects Makeup Remover (awesome!), and the MUN Anarose Toner (have gone on about my love for this in a past empties post too).  

IMG_2716The DevaCurl Set It Free is a fantastic pre-styling hydrator for curly hair (but it’s expensive and doesn’t last too long); I use the NOW vegetable glycerin for mixing with my polish remover to make it gentler on nails; you already know I ADORE the Lina Hanson body oil (I made that baby last!), and the Yes to Carrots Hand & Cuticle Cream was really nice but the lettering on the packaging started to flake off and every time I’d use it it’d get everywhere. Ick.

IMG_2719Ok. There are some good samples here (and some bad)! I liked the Fresh Rose Face Mask a lot (contemplating a full size but we’ll see…), the Royal Apothic Cuppa Cuppa Firming Tea Treatment Mask  was lovely (soothes & purifies), and the Lancome Genifique serum seemed nice. The rest were fine but nothing outstanding; did NOT like the Jurlique Rose Hand Cream (too scented), and the May Lindstrom The Good Stuff body oil (disliked the strong cocoa scent!).

IMG_2704Nothing much to say here. These are both good (though I think I’m going to cool it with fast drying top coats, they often shrink the polish and make chipping more likely).

IMG_2697Mascara palooza! See review on the L’Oreal & Benefit; it Cosmetics Hello Lashes was just WEIRD to me. Maybelline Brow Drama was fine but I wouldn’t repurchase; I finished the Korres Lip Butter and the Clarins Lip Perfector to the last drop (see photo below – that’s hardcore!). I’ve had the UD 24/7 Pencil in Lucky for quite awhile, it’s an awesome shade (since dc’d though) but it’s dried up. And this is the 3RD BLUSH that’s broken on me from Illamasqua (this is the shade Hussy), I won’t buy any more of them, I can’t take it! And they’re not really made in a way that I can pressed them again, so out it goes! I only have 1 shade left from the brand (and I used to have 5 total). The lipstick mini from Hourglass is in a shade called Grace, which is a nude – too light for my skintone. 

Kaboom!! That’s a lot of empties, eh? So I’m thinking my fall empties post will be teeny in comparison. Which isn’t really a bad thing, hopefully that just means I’m using less overall so I’ll have less to show for it. As an aside, after reading Liz’s review I picked up the Marie Kondo book on tidying, so I would hazard a guess that the amount of things I own in general is going to continue to decrease rather than increase. At least, that’s the plan! Again, moving really helps as it forces you to take a good hard look at what you own (as packing less = unpacking less). I wonder what the new *thing* will be once we’ve all decluttered our lives?? ;)

 

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A luxurious body oil to add to your wishlist: Kypris Inflorescence

[This post contains press samples] Ever since I tried Lina Hanson’s delectable Global Body Oil, I’ve been quietly lusting after heavenly-scented oil mixes for the body. Though I deem them more a luxury than a necessity when it comes to skincare (due to their price…and if you apply these as you would any other body product, they can disappear quickly!), I’ve come to have a small yet satisfying array of body oils that I use when the mood is right (date night, an evening pamper session, to boost my mood after a long day, just because I CAN). The most recent addition to my collection is organic wunderbrand Kypris’ newest product, Body Elixir: Inflorescence ($95US).

Kypris Body Elixir Inflorescence

Kypris is a relatively new brand (created by Chase Polan in 2012) that offers holistic, high performance skincare that is both organic and wild-crafted. Believing sustainability is both an environmental and social imperative, the line uses sustainably grown botanicals and all formulations are 100% natural and nature-derived. Though I don’t believe ‘all “chemicals” are bad‘ and I do use a few non-organic skincare products, if I’m going to go ‘green,’ I want my brand to be up front and transparent about just how eco-concious they are, so I appreciate Kypris’ philosophy. In a previous post I wrote a brief review on the brand’s Moonlight Catalyst serum, which is absolutely lovely. Expectations high, I was eager to try out the body elixir.

Kypris Body Elixir Inflorescence

Thoughtfully created, Inflorescence is not just your basic body oil; containing moringa, tamanu, sunflower and prickly pear oils, it soothes and protects dry skin while also touting antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. Tamanu oil in particular has been noted to be effective at treating eczema, so you know I’m on board! Not only does this elixir contain a host of nourishing oils, it also contains sweet iris leaf stem cells and vitamin C ester, included for their ability to target and repair the visible effects of sun and environmental damage and encourage the production of collagen.

Kypris Body Elixir Inflorescence ingredients

Ok, so basically we have a superstar body product on our hands, yes? But there’s something we haven’t yet discussed: the scent. I’m all about amazing ingredients, but no matter how good the formulation, I won’t bother using something that doesn’t please my delicate nose (re: woefully uncultured nose, but I like what I like!). May Lindstrom’s The Good Stuff might be a gorgeously crafted body oil, but MAN I am not down with that obnoxiously cocoa scent. Nope, not for me. And I’ll admit, when I saw that Inflorescence boasts organic neroli flower and sweet orange essential oils, used for their uplifting and energizing qualities (not to mention their lack of photo-toxicity nor evidence of irritation), I was pretty leery – some iterations of orange blossom does NOT float my boat, as it can shift into floral overload quite quickly. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Inflorescence does not offend my olfactory palette; the scent is light, soft, and a touch romantic, and it brings out the better qualities of orange blossom (and neroli…coincidentally, one of my long-standing fragrance lemmings has been Prada’s Infusion d’Iris, it’s top notes being both neroli and orange blossom!…and now it’s definitely time to buy that fragrance already ;)). Oh, and if you’re curious – the zero irritation bit so far has rang true for me and my touchy skin, hurrah!

Kypris Body Elixir Inflorescence

The cherry on top of this wonderfully created cake is that this oil is so, so light – though it hydrates my skin beautifully, it’s not greasy in the least, making it perfect for rushed mornings or pre-bed routines where you don’t want to feel sticky once you slip under the sheets. It’s easily the lightest oil I’ve tried, and a little goes a long way (which you appreciate when spending this amount on a product!).

Kypris Body Elixir Inflorescence

I’m sure you’re unsurprised to hear that Inflorescence’ pretty, lace-adorned green bottle has joined the ranks of my small (yet fabulous) body oil collection. It was kind of a no-brainer! With a second homerun product for me, you can bet your ass I’ll be trying more products from the brand (I’ve got my eye on the Beauty Elixir III and the Antioxidant Dew next).

Check out the whole line at www.kyprisbeauty.com.

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Affordable bath & body care by c.Booth, now available in Canada!

The best kind of coincidence happened to me back at the end of June. I was browsing the cosmetics aisles of Walmart – something I can’t help but do in every store that has a cosmetics section, regardless of my original shopping intentions – and I came across a brand I hadn’t seen before, c.Booth. I was in the market for a new body wash and the simple, botanically-based ingredients were appealing, but I was short on time (aka pushing my luck with Elena’s good nature) to choose a formulation, so I left empty-handed.

Flash-forward to the next day. I receive an email from a new PR contact looking to work with me, who represented none other than c.Booth! I eagerly responded and in a couple weeks received a HUMONGOUS box filled with almost every product offered by the brand. It was easily the most excited I’ve ever been to receive press samples – you should have seen the glee with which I opened that box! It was a good day lol.

c.Booth is part of the Freeman Beauty Labs family, offers a sizeable range of bath and body products including body washes, scrubs, lotions, oils and body butters. It’s newly available in Canadian Walmarts since June, with all products $10 or less. You can’t beat that!

There are 4 body butters (Honey Almond, Egyptian Argan, Italian Olive and Shea Blossom – all $6.99CAD); 3 body lotions (1 firming – Honey Almond, which retails for $6.99CAD – and Lemon Sugar and Coconut Fig, both 4-in-1’s that hydrate, exfoliate, nourish & firm, for $9.99CAD), a bath & body oil ($9.99CAD), an in-bath conditioner (Blackberry scent, $8.99CAD), 3 body washes (Clean Vanilla Bean, which retails for $6.99CAD, and Honey Almond and Rosemary Mint – both which retail for $5.99CAD), and 2 body scrubs (a sea salt-based scrub for $6.99CAD and a walnut shell scrub for $5.99CAD). I received all of these products with the exception of the Coconut Fig Body Lotion – insane, right!??!

c.booth body care

It’s taken me quite some time to try all of these products (no surprise there!), and there are still some I haven’t – namely the Honey Almond Body Butter and the Blackberry In-Bath Body Conditioner, as they contained fragrance quite high on the ingredient list which as you know I avoid. But I’ve methodically tried the others, and my overall thoughts are quite good. My particular favourites are the 4-in-1 Multi-Action Lemon Sugar Body Lotion, which smells heavenly and which makes my skin feel oh-so-soft and smooth; and the Walnut Shell Body Scrub & Cleanser, which – if used on dry skin before a bath or shower – is just the right amount of scrubbiness that smoothes and refines without irritating my sensitive skin. And it smells quite tasty – a bit sweet and a bit nutty. I do find that the exfoliating powers are minimized if used on wet skin, which is a bit of a hassle, however (as I often forget to use it dry first before turning on the shower).

I’ve been using the Original Bath & Body Oil when I have a long soak in the bath at the end of the day (that and a glass of wine, oh YEA, baby!), and it’s great because it coats the skin and I can skip apply moisturizer afterward, which saves time when I just want to crash. It contains wheat germ oil though, which is comedogenic, and I find if I use this a few nights in a row it caused some small breakouts here and there on my body, so bear that in mind.

The All Over Body Sea Salt Scrub is a strange beast. It contains a lot of glycerin, which you really notice in it’s texture – it’s SUPER slick-feeling – and the sea salt doesn’t feel like sea salt somehow…it’s kind of rounded? It also seems like the eucalyptus oil might be kind of strong and I worried about how my skin would react to it – so I actually use this as a foot scrub, and it’s PERFECT for that purpose. The eucalyptus oil perks up my tired feet and they feel incredibly soft, smooth and hydrated afterward.

c.booth body care

Truth be told, I haven’t been using the Body Butters too often as it’s so hot and humid that they feel a bit heavy on the skin this time of year. But they have a lovely smooth texture and the scents are nice and inoffensive, so I am certain I’ll be getting good use out of these once the weather cools. The Honey Almond and Clean Vanilla Bean Body Washes also smell kind of cool-weather-y to me, too, so those will be pulled out then as well. I just realized that I haven’t tried the Triple Action Rosemary Mint Bath, Shower & Hair Wash yet, and that would probably be perfect right now to refresh and stimulate the skin and scalp, so I’ll be trying that soon!

All of c.Booth’s products are free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oil and petrolatum. While these aren’t all-natural, they do contain less complicated ingredients than some of the other body care offerings, and I really appreciate economical pricing. Easy access on top of that makes these a great alternative for anyone looking for cleaner, affordable body care options!

c.booth body care

Have you seen and/or tried c.Booth products yet?

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derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum with Vitamin C {review}

I guiltily admit that sometimes I have a mental block when it comes to cosmetics – though more expensive definitely doesn’t mean better, in my head for some reason I can’t truly appreciate a beauty product’s value unless it costs me an arm and a leg. Why? I dunno what it’s all about, but I am trying to change that – when it comes to skincare at least (with makeup, I don’t mind so much as my expensive taste keeps me from buying EVERY DAMN THING IN SIGHT). And right now in particular, there are some amazing skincare products that are actually affordable (check out Tracy’s post on Deciem if you don’t believe me)!

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum with Vitamin C ($29.95) is one such product. I’ve used a couple derma e products in the past and liked them a fair bit, but in general I often passed by their offerings because…well, I guess my snobby self found them too accessible and affordable lol. Shame, shame, double shame. After trying out the Brightening Serum, I can say absolutely that I have learned from the error in my ways.

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum w/Vitamin C

Designed to brighten skin by addressing uneven pigmentation and age damage (ie. sun spots), this treatment serum has a whole host of active ingredients in its formulation to fight discolouration and help to achieve more evenly toned, luminous skin. A quick scan of the first handful of ingredients reveals that it contains: niacinamide, an anti-inflammatory that enhances skin’s barrier function and helps erase discolourations; licorice root, anti-inflammatory ingredient that helps improve dark spots and pigmentation by inhibiting the stimulation of an enzyme that activates melanin production; sodium ascorbyl phosphate, a stable, water-soluble form of vitamin C that helps slow down the aging process; and bearberry & alpha-arbutin, both natural skin brighteners with lightening properties.

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum with Vitamin C ingredientsApparently the serum has been reformulated – this is the new, accurate ingredient list

Happily, all of those good ingredients don’t go to waste and lose potency in a jar formulation – the serum is in a bottle with a nice pump, which dispenses the perfect amount of serum in one press.

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum w/Vitamin C

Also handy is the fact that they’ve printed the expiration date of the product right on the bottom of the bottle itself.

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum w/Vitamin C

One thing to note however, is that date shows the product being good for almost 3 years. The serum does contain preservatives – namely, Potassium Sorbate, Phenoxyethanol, and Ethylhexylglycerin. These are considered safer alternatives to parabens (of which this serum is free), but I still wanted to give a heads up to those of you looking for an entirely preservative-free formulation.

The texture of the serum is like a gel, but without any stickiness or slippery, filmy feeling whatsoever – it glides on and absorbs within a minute, and leaves my normal-oily skin feeling comfortable and soft. I have been using it as both my treatment and hydrator, and I don’t need a separate moisturizer at all (though dry skins will likely need something additional to hydrate).

derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum derma e Evenly Radiant Brightening Serum

I’ve been using this regularly each morning for just over 6 weeks and I quite like it. I had the presence of mind to take before and after shots (considering the fact that I have ‘mommy brain’ AND taking into account my severe lack of sleep due, this is highly impressive) so you can see the results (sorry for the difference in lighting):

BEFORE (June 25)

Before derma e brightening serum Before derma e brightening serum Before derma e brightening serumSee those gray hairs poking out!??

AFTER (August 10)

After derma e brightening serum After derma e brightening serum After derma e brightening serumPlease excuse the weird, flat shape of my hair, I’d just washed it – I give it some oomph once its dry :)

As you can see, my skin is definitely more even-toned, with most of the scarring from the small postpartum breakout I had considerably faded. Now, I do exfoliate regularly, in a variety of ways (exfoliating serum every 2nd night, exfoliating mask 1x/week, acid toning pads 1-2x/week, manual scrub 1x/week) so take that into consideration too, but I’m confident that with that stellar ingredient list, derma e’s serum definitely plays a part in the change in my skin. The niacinamide and stable vitamin c alone have sold me on this; because the niacinamide boosts skin’s barrier function, it’s perfect for use during the day to protect skin from environmental aggressors, and vitamin c’s antioxidant power helps fight off the sun’s potentially damaging free radicals. FABULOUS.

I am definitely impressed by this serum, and the fact that it’s affordable yet still has effective, mostly ‘clean’ ingredients makes it a complete YES in my books. It’s also easy to find – derma e products can be found at Shoppers, or you can buy from their online store if you’re in the States (or from Well.ca in Canada).

derma e products are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, sulfate-free, mineral oil-free, lanolin-free, gluten free, GMO-free.

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In honour of Earth Day: A skincare trio by affordable (and Canadian!) eco-brand Graydon

So…I’ve been going a little bit skincare crazy since being on maternity leave. Yep. What can I say? I get bored and I need to indulge my beauty habit somehow, and hoards of makeup just doesn’t make sense right now (though I did pick up a few things during the Sephora sale…purchases to be revealed once I receive them all [I made a last minute 3rd order late last night :S]). I actually purchased the products in this post before the ones I wrote about last week; I was trying to get my fix in a more economical way…clearly that didn’t work. But what, ho! – the brand Graydon is a sweet little homegrown eco-conscious brand (based out of T.O.!) that I think deserves some attention, and what better day to do it than on Earth Day?!

Graydon skincare

First, a quick primer. Graydon’s tag line is Clinical Luxury by Nature – quoted as such because: 1) their products contain bioactive ingredients that work to nourish the skin, such as antioxidants, linoleic acids, and vitamins and minerals; 2) they aim to create products that not only work but feel lovely to use and look great on your vanity; and 3) they utilize ‘plant powered’ ingredients and ‘choose to source organic plant based ingredients from Canadian growers and manufacturers such as broccoli and berry seeds oil.’ They do not use any nut-derived ingredients due to the potential of allergies, and do not use any mineral oils, chemicals, parabens, sulfates, artificial dyes or synthetic fragrance. They’re also gluten-free!

Ok, now that you’ve got the background scoop, here we go. I picked up 3 products so I could form a somewhat well-rounded idea of the brand – a facial mist, a moisturizer, and a facial oil. To begin, let’s start with the Face Food Mineral Mist.

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The Face Food Mineral Mist ($29CADis an elemental mineral mist that boosts hydration in the skin via minerals copper, silver and zinc. Copper is purported to help the production of collagen and elastin, while silver is said to kill bacteria and help neutralize the harsh sodium-fluoride in our tap water. The 3rd mineral, zinc, has been noted to decrease inflammation by helping stop bacterial infection which can make one’s face look red and blotchy.

It’s hard to say much about the effectiveness of this mist I’m used to using facial mists with aloe or glycerin, which leave a trace on the skin – but I do appreciate its simplicity. I don’t have a lot of redness which would be the one way I could judge its efficacy, so I just have to trust that this is in fact doing something! If you’re looking for a no-frills mist however, this is a good option.

Ingredients: ionic copper, silver and zinc infused in purified water and nothing else!

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The Super Sensitive Skin Stuff ($29CAD) moisturizer was created for ‘people with skin that reacts to everything’. Though this hasn’t been an issue for me lately, my skin can be finicky at times so I wanted to have an option for when that situation arises. It has a high aloe content so it is very soothing; it has a medium-heavy consistency (likely due to the plethora of oils such as evening primrose, pomegranate seed and rosehip seed) which sinks in fairly well, but which might be a tad heavy for oilier skins. If I have time, I’ll put this on and let it sink in before doing my makeup so I don’t have a problem with greasiness. I actually love the texture for body though, and often apply a touch to my hands as well.

IMG_0598

Ingredients: purified water (aqua), aloe vera juice (aloe barbadenis), cetyl alcohol (coconut product), stearyl alcohol (mixed plant), black currant seed oil (ribes nigrum), evening primrose seed oil (oenothera biennis), pomegranate seed oil (punica granatum), rose hip seed oil (rosa rubiginosa), vegetable glycerin, sodium chloride (mixed plant), vitamin e (mixed tocopherols), grapefruit seed extract (citrus grandis) and nothing else!

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Finally, we have The Serum ($46CAD). Graydon states that ’50 pounds of fresh Canadian berries go into this [serum],’ and the array is what drew me to the product (and actually the brand itself) in the first place. Cold-pressed blueberry, cranberry, and red raspberry seed oils (the latter which contains natural SPF and is also great at combating blemishes) are mega-antioxidant powerhouses, and are high in linoleic acid (which if you recall, my skin favours) and alpha-linolenic acid. A serious source of Vitamin E by the way of tocopherol, as well as Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids, rounds out the blend nicely.

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The color of this oil should tell you just how concentrated and pure it is – it smells faintly of blueberries. The viscosity is a touch thick but not too much so, though the oil spreads much more easy with a damp face. Though the brand suggests mist the skin after application (?), I recommend misting first then applying the oil straight away. Sometimes I will mix the oil with the ‘Skin Stuff’ for a lighter application (though either way, I like to leave it to soak in for a bit before applying makeup). It leaves my skin feeling plump and well-protected. I tend to use this oil in the daytime to take advantage of the natural SPF benefits of the red raspberry seed oil. EDIT: I forgot to mention that this has a pump dispenser that gives you the perfect amount to apply to your face. Droppers are all well and good, but give me a pump that keeps me from over-applying any day of the week! GENIUS.

Ingredients: cold pressed blueberry seed oil (vaccinum myrtillus), cold pressed cranberry seed oil (vaccinium macrocarpon), cold pressed red raspberry seed oil (rubus idaeus), meadowfoam seed oil (limnanthes alba), grapefruit seed extract (citrus grandis) and nothing else!

Overall, my foray into the Graydon brand has been quite fruitful – though the products are quite simple in design, they still feel well thought out and are a nice addition to my routine. I like that they don’t compete with my more aggressive treatment products but rather support them without being too plain. If you’re looking to try some eco-conscious products but don’t want to break the bank, this is an excellent brand with which to start!!

FYI I bought the trio from Clementine Fields.

Have you tried Graydon products? Is your skincare routine more basic or very involved?

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Trialing a few more goodies from Amie Skincare

I meant to write this post much sooner but alas, I have been delinquent. As mentioned, straight review posts don’t DO it much for me lately, and sometimes I’m hard-pressed to come up with a unique way to showcase a product. I haven’t been struck by inspiration for this post, either (sorry), but these two products deserve a mention so let’s get to it!

Amie Skincare

If you recall, I wrote a review on a handful of Amie products already – a gentle skincare line available at Shoppers (yay!) that focuses on high-quality, naturally-derived plant and botanical extracts in their formulas. This time around, I was sent their Bright Eyes Very Gentle Eye Make Up Remover, and the Morning Clear Purifying Facial Wash.

The Eye Make Up Remover contains cornflower water and chamomile to gently remove eye makeup without irritation. There is something about these cornflower-based makeup removers that I really enjoy – it’s the basis of the MaxxEffects Naturals Eye & Face Makeup Remover that I’ve been using for months now, and it’s so effective yet gentle on my eye area. I found this version to behave in the same way, so when the MaxxEffects runs out, this will be my next go-to.

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There is only one thing funny about the remover that I noticed when taking photos of the ingredients:

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Uhh….WHAT? So, you want to avoid contact with the eyes when using this EYE MAKEUP REMOVER???? I don’t get it, dudes. Nonetheless, this doesn’t cause me any irritation or issues, so maybe don’t worry about this bit too much? Still, it IS kinda strange…

Next, we have the Purifying Facial Wash. This pH balanced cleaner is soap-free and is designed to remove all dirt, oil and makeup without stripping or drying the skin. You can use it day or night, and it claims to leave your skin feeling soft, deeply cleansed and refreshed.

Here’s the ingredient list:

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Erm, so the first issue I have with this cleanser is that it’s creamy – like, REALLY creamy, guys. Not at all what I was expecting from a ‘purifying’ cleanser, though with cocoa seed butter listed as the 3rd ingredient, I’m not surprised. This reminds me a lot of Clinique’s Comforting Cream Cleanser, but maybe even a bit thicker. Clinique’s cleanser is ideal for drier skins, and is actually quite nice – it leaves the skin feeling comfortable which is imperative if you’re very dry. This gives me the same feeling – it doesn’t rinse off squeaky-clean, and leaves a hint of moisture behind after rinsing. That’s all well and good if you DO have a drier skin, but for my combination-oily skin, this is a no-go. I think this cleanser would be well-suited for drier skins with congestion or maybe suffering from breakouts – the fruit extracts are supposed to assist with purifying and decongesting the skin, as well as help tone pores and refresh skin. For me, this cleanser was just too heavy – I didn’t feel refreshed but rather a bit over-moisturized, truth be told.

The second issue I have with this is the fragrance, which is the biggest complaint I had with the products I tried in my original review. For a scent-phobe like myself, this is just too much – and ‘parfum’ is listed quite high on the ingredient list, so it’s no surprise. I didn’t use this consistently enough to notice if it would cause irritation, so I can’t say for sure if it would be a problem or not, but if you’re sensitive to fragrance in product, I would just keep that in mind. It didn’t seem to be an issue with the eye makeup remover (which also contains fragrance), but you just never know.

So – we have a hit and a miss (for me, anyway). I really wish that brands would stop putting fragrance in their products, at least to such a high degree – it really is a drawback in my eyes. I know it’s part of the enjoyment when using skincare, but I just think it needs to be used with more discretion. ~shrugs~

Have you tried Amie Skincare yet? What are your thoughts on fragrance in skincare?

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Toeing the ‘natural skincare’ line with Boscia

For whatever reason, the last couple months of 2014 saw me researching and wish-listing non-green beauty products, though I’ve been dedicated to ‘clean’ skincare for well over a year now. I think the combination of interesting new releases plus just getting bored with my current routine (I am a fickle Gemini, after all) led me to this phase; even so, I scrutinized every ingredient list and in the end turned down a lot of potential products that just didn’t pass my ruthless inspections. One brand did make its way into my routine was Boscia, which toes the line between conventional and more ‘natural’ skincare, due to the fact that it doesn’t contain preservatives in it’s formulas. It’s also botanically-based, but that doesn’t really mean much to me – there are a ton of cosmetic lines that make the same claim (Clarins comes to mind) but they still contain fragrance and a few other ingredients of which I usually steer clear. In any case, Boscia does have some nice products that do not contain such ingredients, and so I felt confident in picking up a couple of items from the brand during the Sephora VIB sale, namely the All-In-One BB Eye Brightener w/SPF 20 ($47CAD) and the Cool Blue Hydration Essence ($60CAD).

Boscia Skincare

The BB Eye Brightener was a planned purchase, as I needed a new eye cream and was keen to pick one with an SPF. The fact that this claimed to also brighten the eye area optically (as it’s tinted, and provides sheer coverage due to the physical SPF titanium dioxide) as well as over time (via wakame, which is purported to brighten skintone and diminish dark circles) made this an easy choice for me – sleep can sometimes be elusive in pregnancy, for various reasons (finding comfortable positions, thoughts about the future, peeing every few hours, etc.), so I’ve been battling my dark circles more than usual of late.

Boscia All-In-One BB Eye Brightener

I’ve been using the Brightener regularly every morning and I like it; the texture is perfect – not too thin, but not too thick that it’s hard to smooth around the eye. It does lighten up my undereye area because of it’s BB/tinted properties, and it sinks in quickly while leaving the skin around my eyes lightly hydrated (I don’t suffer from dry undereyes). It’s not a miracle worker, however, and I don’t suddenly look fabulously rested from using this – I find most of the brightening effect comes from the tint of the cream and not from the formula itself improving my eye area over time. But honestly – what does? I have yet to find that elusive treatment that will actually lighten up my eye darkness long term (however, if you know of a product that does this – SHARE, PLEASE!!).

Ingredients: 1,2-Hexanediol, Algae Extract, Allantoin, Alumina, Arginine, Bakuchiol, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylyl Methicone, Carbomer, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Extract, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dipeptide-2, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Epilobium Angustifolium Extract, Glycereth-26, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Hydroxyethylcelluose, Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Lactobacillus Ferment, Methicone, Mica, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Panthenol, PEG/ PPG-20/15 Dimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Polypropylsilsesquioxane, Polysorbate 20, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Silica, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Sodium Chloride, Sodium PCA, Steareth- 20, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Undaria Pinnatifida Extract, Water.

The Cool Blue Hydration Essence seems to be something of a mystery to many. Designed to ‘create lasting moisturization and firmness while calming and cooling the skin,’ I picked this up on a whim – I always love a good serum, and as winter was fast approaching I figured I could use a little extra boost in the hydration department, without going overboard on my normal-oily skin. At first glance/use, this reminds me a lot of Indeed Labs Hydraluron – it sort of seems like it’s not doing anything, but I suspect it’s getting to the dehydration in a deeper, less visible way (or so I tell myself).

Boscia Cool Blue Hydration Essence

Quite honestly, I’ve been using this for about two months now, and I don’t see any huge changes in my skin – but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it! Though our winter for the most part so far has been quite mild, I’ve found that using just this and a light moisturizer on top has been sufficient to keep any flakiness or dry skin entirely at bay. It feels lovely going on – it’s quite thin and spreads easily over the skin, and leaves just a hint of a cooling sensation behind (it lasts only briefly). Leaving it to penetrate for a minute or two, I follow up with my moisturizer, and I’m good to go. I DO find that without moisturizer on top, it can leave my skin feeling a touch tight (which likely attributes to the negative reviews of this on Sephora about it being drying – but people, the instructions say to use it PRIOR TO MOISTURIZER. Cam on!).

One thing to note about this product which I found particularly interesting, is that the star compound in the essence, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate (fermented yeast filtrate), is the same top ingredient found in the cult-favorite SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. The SK-II is $131.25CAD for 2.5oz, or $52.50/oz…while the Boscia product, sized at 1.7oz, works out to be $35.29/oz. Additionally, the SK-II contains parabens, while the Boscia does not. Something things to consider, anyway!

Ingredients: Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Dipropylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol,Glycerin, Lactobacillus Ferment, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Sea Whip Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Allantoin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Caffeine, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Rose Flower Oil, Rosmarinus Offinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Water, Menthyl Lactate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Citrate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Acrylates/Vinyl/Isodecanoate Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Hydroxide.

Overall, I kind of like this step in my routine, buuuuut…I’m not sure if I’d repurchase. It’s just so hard to quantify the effectiveness of these kinds of products, truthfully!

As for the eye BB, I would potentially repurchase; I’ve been into these tinted eye creams for day for the last while (I’ll take all the help I can get), as I think that’s about as much lightening as I can expect to receive from any eye treatment, and this one does that job well, with the added benefit of protecting my eye area from the sun.

Have you tried any Boscia skincare products? What tricks or products do you use to help you look rested?

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Final Empties from 2014

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I’ve been thinking about my empties posts lately. I know some people are less than enamoured with these kinds of posts, while others absolutely adore them. Personally, I don’t have much interest in empties posts except to see just how much stuff people are using up – I use the evidence as motivation to continue diligently using my beauty products, rather than buying them just for hoarding’s sake. I’m most impressed by makeup empties, and as such, I feel pretty badass when I myself have used up a handful of makeup products, so of course I still need a medium for which to show it off at times.

Therefore, moving forward my empties posts will be wordless wonders – express posts mainly to show what I’ve used up / tossed every few months. If there are questions about a particular product, please – ask away! I’ll answer in the comments. Otherwise, consider these posts a reprieve from my usual chattiness :)

The first half of the photos are empties that were tossed back in the summer…yea, I’m MAJORLY delinquent in posting these, but as I said, empties posts aren’t really all that exciting, so I never got around to it. There wasn’t that much to showcase anyway – see for yourself (also, pre-emptive apologies for the dusty-looking photos and wonky lighting!):

IMG_3120Body and hair care

IMG_3122Facial skincare

IMG_3124Handful of samples

IMG_3125Makeup empties. KABLOW!! Almost all full-size products :)

Since that time, I’ve been storing up products and my empties bag was getting close to overflowing. Not only do I find empties posts kind of boring to read/write, but good grief taking PHOTOS of used-up products is AWFUL. However, these shots I took today of the next batch of empties was considerably more enjoyable, because last week I bought new camera :D :D :D I wanted a DSLR that could take fabulous photos once the baby arrives (and it doesn’t hurt that it’ll improve my shots on the blog, too :)), and Best Buy had a great Boxing Week deal on so I purchased the newest Canon Rebel, the T5. Now I just need to get my lighting set up down and I’ll be cookin’ with gas, as my family would say ;)  I took most of these shots outside in the snow, because it just seemed like the perfect backdrop, and I’m having fun figuring out how it works and what it can do!

IMG_0153Yüli empties…I am definitely purchasing a large size of the Cocoon Elixir (a facial mist)! So lovely.

IMG_0161Other skincare empties. On my second jar of the F.A.B. Facial Radiance Pads :)

IMG_0159Hair and body care empties. 

IMG_0169Deluxe samples…I really liked the Indie Lee ones (a cleanser and facial oil), and the amala serum (though it’s like, $300 for the full size…uh, NO), but I HATED the GlamGlow mask. Full of weird seaweed-y bits or something and thus was a major pain to apply. PASS, PASS, PASS. 

IMG_0171Random samples of hair & skin care, and foundations/concealers. Nothing to write home about except the Eminence Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum – that was quite nice and I’m thinking of buying the full-size when I’m in the market for an eye treatment (I have like, a billion samples to get through first). 

IMG_0167…and BOOM! More makeup empties!! There’s a ton of mascara empties – as I mentioned in my 2014 makeup purchases post, I went through a slew of different kinds this year, mostly all disappointing – but there are two full-size foundations and two full-size blush. Oh YEA, baby! The MAC blush is one I’d dropped a couple years ago and was really left with only scraps left, to be fair – the other is a Milani blush/bronzer duo I’ve had for 5 years which I figured should be tossed now. Also, see how I finished the Burberry illuminator?? Not too shabby, methinks!

And so, my final roundup of empties from 2014. I can now start fresh, woohoo! I feel lighter already. My goals for 2015 are to see more lippie empties (so I can achieve part of my resolutions) and maybe even a blush or an eyeshadow. The latter is a TALL order, but I’ll see what I can do!

Did you make any significant headway in finishing products this year? Do makeup empties make you as happy as they do for me? What are your thoughts on empties posts overall?

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La Bella Figura Barbary Fig Seed Oil {A Review}

That’s kind of a dull title, true, but honestly what I wanted to write I didn’t think would reel you guys in (“La Bella Figura Barbary Fig Seed Oil….smells bad but it works!“). Was I right? ;)

To put it plainly, yes, this oil doesn’t smell the best – I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I want to say it’s like stinky feet LOL. Not quite that, but its one of those smells that isn’t nice, but that isn’t so bad that you’d run screaming, you know? Tolerable, I guess. Anyway, my point is, I don’t want that to sway you from trying it out (at least a sample!), as it’s a nice oil and it’s particularly ideal for this time of year when the weather turns cool and you need a little something extra to comfort and hydrate your skin.

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Here are some reasons why LBF’s Barbary Fig Seed Oil ($99CAD for 1oz) is lovely:

1) It contains only pure organic barbary fig seed oil (also known as prickly pear seed oil) – no essential oils or other ingredients that can cause irritation to sensitive skin

2) It’s high in vitamin E (protects against free radicals – is particularly great to use pre- and post-sun exposure!) and linoleic acid (remember my previous post on fatty acids?)

3) It helps stimulate new cell growth, calms inflammation, and helps gently treat hyperpigmentation and aging or wrinkle-prone skin

4) Wonderful for hormonal skin types

What sold me on this oil when I bought it back in late winter last year was the fact that it had no essential oils in it (oils that have a ton of EOs freak me out a bit) and that it was high in linoleic acid, which seems to agree well with my skin type. Later, I was also thankful to have this in my arsenal, as it’s claim to be great for hormonal skin came in handy when I had my miscarriage, and my skin completely went bat-shit (evidenced here). Though it didn’t ‘fix’ my skin, it seemed to minimize further breakouts, which at that point was all I could ask for.

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Since my skin has calmed down, I’ve found a new appreciation for this oil, as it has a medium viscosity and feels slightly heavy going on, but sinks into skin really nicely without being too greasy. Though I could only use this sparingly during the summer, I think it will be perfect now that the temperatures have dropped and my skin isn’t an oil factory as much (though that ‘pregnancy glow’ seems to persist, so I still need to be careful).

I find the best way to use this is to apply to slightly damp skin, by either not patting skin dry fully after washing, or by using a facial mist (my preference) and then applying a few drops straight-away. It glides over the skin so silkily this way, and leaves my skin perfectly hydrated and protected.

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Oh, and about the smell? While I don’t wear this much when Ryan is home (lol), I do find that the scent dissipates quickly and it doesn’t linger at all on my skin. ENTIRELY bearable, for anyone who is put off from trying it for that reason (I completely understand, but give it a shot via a sample at least!).  Though the price is quite high, I purchased this when Clementine Fields had a promotion to ease the blow – I would suggest holding out for something like that too (they often do promos for LBF products), if you try it and love it!

Have you tried La Bella Figura products before? Would you consider using a product that didn’t smell great, but that worked?

PS: I know there haven’t been any holiday posts around here, and for that I apologize – but honestly, I haven’t had the time! I had this and the Yüli post in the works for ages, and I’d rather get *something* up than just have radio silence. I had all these grand plans for themed posts and the like, but it seems I’m in a weird nesting phase where I just keep doing crazy things like mailing out 50 Christmas cards (no joke), and spending all day baking for a dessert party I had last week, and essentially just being like Super Mom without actually being a mom yet LOL. I’m in training, I guess! It’s too bad, because I’ve done some really fun makeup and nail looks for the season – I made a promise to myself to wear some form of shimmer/ glitter every single day this month, and I have :) Plus, I’ve even been doing some minor nail art! Ryan gets home tomorrow for the holiday, so it’s unlikely I’m suddenly going to find MORE time to put up a few fun posts, but I will try my best before Christmas! I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday to the max!

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