Posts Tagged organic
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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?
[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 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.
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.
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!
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I’m going to preface this post first with a disclaimer – it’s going to be a review, yes, of some wonderful products from Yüli, an organic brand that I’ve fallen head over heels for. But I am going to share a little story with you first that is personal and a bit sad, and I don’t want anyone to feel duped or like I lured them in with a promise of review only to drag you into something else entirely. These products have a close link to my story, and I can’t share one without the other. I hope you don’t mind! (if you do, that’s completely OK – just scroll down till you start seeing pictures to get the scoop on the products!)
Back around Christmastime in 2013, Ryan and I made a huge decision to start trying to have a baby. We had been talking about it for some time, but were trying to wait until ‘the time was right.’ Of course, most of you know that there never really is a right time for these things, so one day I told him that I thought we should just go for it, and of course he was 100% on board (I think he was just waiting for me to make the call lol). I went off the pill right away, mid-pack (stupid!) and off we went. We figured it would take some time before anything happened, and so we weren’t feeling any pressure or stress, which was great. It was just exciting to know that we were taking this next step in our lives together.
To our complete surprise, in early February I started feeling a bit different leading up to my period that month. I was having some cramping, which never happened to me pre-period, and I was dead tired every night, falling asleep by 9pm. When the date my period should have started came and went, I had Ryan grab a pregnancy test from the nearest pharmacy, and with a bit of trepidation I took the test the next morning alone before he got out of bed. I was nervous because I was hoping hard for a positive result, but felt that it was too good to be true. Amazingly, it was positive. I bounded into the bedroom, woke him up, and cried ‘We’re pregnant!’ Sleepy and stunned, Ryan took a second to recover, before he broke into a huge smile. It truly was one of the best days both of us had ever had.
Over the next couple weeks, we shared the news with our families and reveled in our future. We planned, we chose names (seriously!), we basked in the excitement. I would ride the bus home and daydream about how I was going to be a mother soon. It was a time of bliss and contentment.
Two weeks into the pregnancy (which seemed like ages, especially when most people didn’t know our secret), I started having some mild spotting. Immediately I was googling what that could mean and hoping that it was nothing. The second time it happened, Ryan called the Nova Scotia nurses line, and they walked us through some questions. Naturally, they didn’t default to panic mode, but they suggested I see a doctor or go to the hospital in the next couple days to be sure.
The next day, a Monday, I went to work feeling fine. After about an hour, I went to the bathroom, and was stunned to see blood streaming out into the toilet. In shock, I left work without speaking to anyone, and called Ryan and my mom in a tearful panic, saying I was heading to the hospital Emergency unit, where they met me a short while later. After waiting hours to be seen, and having my hope rise when one doctor told me after her preliminary examination that things seemed fine, only to have it plummet when I had an internal ultrasound, after which I started bleeding profusely, the crushing results were that I had had a miscarriage.
If any of you have had bad shit happen to you in your life (which is likely all of you), you can imagine our heartbreak. Without going on and on about it, it was a tough time, made especially tough because you’re falling from such a high. But, life throws you a curveball sometimes. Ryan was extremely supportive, and we got through it, as you do. I’m not trying to minimize it, because it was one of the hardest things I’ve endured in my life, but miscarriages are common – probably more common than some realize – and of course now being pregnant again and with things progressing nicely at 25 weeks, it all seems hazy and the pain has dulled considerably. However, I know that its not as easy to move past for some, and to you my heart truly feels for your pain. I hope if you’re in the early days of that experience, that you feel hope that things usually work out eventually.
So. The REASON I’m telling you all this is because after the miscarriage, my skin went completely whack, and I had to pull out the big guns to do some damage control. First, let me show you what happened after my hormone levels spiked and then came crashing down in such a short time frame:
I know that for anyone who has struggled with acne, this may seem like small potatoes. First, let me say that it was worse in person – and also understand that when you go from having essentially unblemished skin your entire life, to this, the frustration and dismay is considerable. This occurred one month after the miscarriage, almost overnight. For about 6 weeks afterward, nothing I did to my skin seemed to work on these breakouts – though I was very gentle with my skin (I don’t think bringing out heavy artillery when your skin is reacting like this is helpful), I was diligent in cleaning and hydrating with a simple moisturizer, and wore little makeup, to no avail. And my skin was just a small piece of the body breakdown – my hair fell out in copious amounts, my periods were different (I have always been a 28 day gal to a T), and my mental state was off (I felt angry a lot). For someone who is quite healthy, I found the physical ramifications almost more difficult to deal with than the loss itself.
After about 2 months, my body started to come back to normal – or at least, a new ‘normal’, for me – but I was left with some ‘souvenirs’ of the experience:
The scarring was almost more noticeable than the acne, as it was much darker in color and required a lot of work to conceal. IT SUCKED. As you do when you’re a beauty blogger (or an aficionado of beauty in general), I did a bunch of research to see what I could use against these unsightly remnants of my hormone roller coaster. Somehow, I came across the brand Yüli, an exceptional skincare line based on the use of cutting-edge green biotechnology. I’d seen a few posts particularly on a product called Cell Perfecto PM, a corrective serum designed to “fade hyperpigmentation, correct dark spots and discoloration, and heal acne scars and sun damage for a brighter, smoother, more even complexion,” where the user seemed to achieve great success – I was sold.
Yüli products are not cheap. The Cell Perfecto PM set me back $98US for 1oz. But at this stage, I was desperate for anything to work. As the brand offers a shipping discount ($8 off) when you purchase $150 or more, I also picked up one of their Elixirs, Panacea ($68 for 3.4oz), a rebalancing, clarifying and hydrating toner mist suitable for normal, combination, oily or blemish-prone skin.
As Yüli mixes their product fresh to order, it took about a month for my products to arrive – at the beginning of May, right before our trip to Florida. I was so eager to get cracking, I brought both with me, packing the beautiful miron glass bottles with care. Immediately, I could tell that these products were special – my skin was crazy-soft overnight, and felt supple and hydrated. As there were no essential oils used in either product (a rarity in the organic/green beauty world), I experienced zero irritation from either, and it gave me peace of mind every time I used them. The serum is of slightly medium density – it doesn’t feel heavy, but you only need a few drops to cover your face. I apply it especially sparingly to my forehead as if I use too much I can wake up with a slightly greasy feeling there.
Ingredient list for Cell Perfecto PM: Bioregenerating Botanical Infusion (Botanical Glycosides, Sea Minerals Complex), S. chinensis (Jojoba) oil*, M. integrifolia (Macadamia) oil*, O. ficus-indica (Indian Fig) seed oil*, C. inophyllum (Tamanu) oil*, H. rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) oil*, A. uva-ursi (Bearberry) extract*, H. italicum (Helichrysum)* extract, G. glabra (Liquorice) extract*, C. asiatica (Gotu Kola) extract*, Renew Minerals Complex (Methysulfonylmethane (MSM)* Derived from Pine Lignin, Phytosterols derived from Flax), A. linearis (Rooibos) extract*, B. carterii (Frankincense) extract*, D. carota (Carrot) seed extract^^, G. lucidum (Reishi) extract*, L-arginine, L-ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), L-Gluconic Acid (Derived from Kombucha Tea Ferment).
After using the two products for a month, I saw a visible difference in my skin. While the Panacea Elixir was refreshing and helped keep any new breakouts from forming (and quite honestly it just feels lovely), it was the Cell Perfecto that truly won my allegiance to the brand. After that mere month, my acne scars had faded CONSIDERABLY – so much so that using just a foundation covered them easily. After two months, my acne scars were completely healed without a trace. I know that acne scars do fade over time, but with darker skin like mine it usually takes about six months or so. The speediness in which I experienced this fading in unheard of for me! I wish I had taken photos of the evidence, but unfortunately (VERY fortunately), I got pregnant again at which point my brain kind of ~blipped~ and I completely dropped the ball. But if you look at some of my posts from that time [such as this one (six weeks after starting the product), or this one (two months after)], you’ll notice that there’s no scarring to be seen (and I’m fairly certain I’m foundation-less in both). HOO-RICKIN’-RAY.
Ingredient list for Panacea Elixir: D-Aloe barbadenis, R. damascena (rose) hydrolat*, H. italicum (helichrysum) hydrolat*, L. angustifolia (lavender) hydrolat*, H. virginiana (witch hazel) hydrolat^, H. italicum/L. angustifolia (helichrysum/lavender) hydrolat*, frequency enhanced water, vegetable glycerine, C. sativus (cucumber) extract, N. officinale(watercress) extract*, biodynamic fruit enzymes, trace minerals complex, colloidal silver.
To say that I’m a Yüli convert is probably an understatement. Since trying those two products, I’ve picked up a few more from the brand – a replenishment of the Panacea Elixir, plus a 1.7oz of the Cocoon Elixir ($36US) and a jar of the Pure Treatment Mask ($65US). The Cocoon Elixir is just as lovely as the Panacea, and perfect for winter with it’s soothing, healing and hydrating qualities. The Pure mask is your typical powdered clay mask which requires you to add water or your medium of choice to activate it’s detoxifying and repairing properties. I use this every couple of weeks to really clarify and refresh my skin, and it’s quite lovely. As it’s so finely milled, you need only the smallest amount to cover your whole face, so this will last me ages I’m sure.
I’ve already got my next purchases planned from the brand – a full-size of the Cocoon Elixir (I’m in love!) and their Halcyon Facial Cleanser, as I’m in need of a new face wash. I’d also like to try another serum – I’m *just* finishing up the bottle of Cell Perfecto after using it almost every single night for the past 7 months (!!!) – and I’m considering buying Liquid Courage, a concentrated antioxidant serum (though the price is a little terrifying at $125 for 1oz). I’m fully committed to trying every single product from the brand, which is entirely possible given it’s perfectly-sized capsule collection.
Yup, I definitely have an addiction.
Have you tried anything from Yüli? Have you ever experienced a severe hormonal breakout?
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 😀
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.
Though not necessary for everyone, I personally prefer to use a different cleanser for day vs night – opting for a gentle wash in the morning and something more targeted to makeup removal in the evening. For a while I was doing the double-cleanse at night, using whatever two cleansers were in my arsenal, but I’ve been able to stop that practice recently when I purchase Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organics Active Moisture Vitamin B Enzyme Cleansing Oil, $39CAD (what a mouthful!!). It cleanses the skin so effectively that unless I’m wearing a full face of makeup (which is rare these days), I don’t require a second go-around. Anything that simplifies the ritual is a winner in my book!
Though I like the idea of using a cleansing balm or oil and wiping away the day with a soft cloth, I really LOVE the feeling of splashing my face clean at the end of the day – and going through so many face cloths was starting to drive me nuts. This cleanser does not require a cloth for removal (one of the few that offer that luxury); simply massage a pump or two of the medium-thick textured oil all over dry skin, splash a little water in there to emulsify, then rinse clean. DONE! The ease of use is what really sells me on this cleanser and all but ensures that I’ll be repurchasing once I run out.
You may recall that I sampled this back at the end of last year, and I wasn’t a fan of the smell – tropical with a heavy dose of pineapple in there (due to the papain and papaya enzymes). Though I’m still not in love with the scent, it fails to bother me at all now, and some days breathing in the tropics isn’t such a bad thing (Calgon, take me away!). The rest of the ingredients are somewhat plain but nonetheless effective: caprylic/capric triglyceride is just another name for fractionated coconut oil, which is coconut oil that is made more stable, more disinfecting, and has a bigger boost of antioxidants all while having a much longer shelf life than regular coconut oil; and sunflower see oil is an excellent anti-inflammatory and full of vitamin E.
Though I have heard some say that oil cleansing dries their skin out a bit, for my skin type (slightly oily) this formula is just perfect – it thoroughly cleanses yet leaves skin feeling comfortable, soft and smooth. An all-around staple for me, I must say! Sometimes it’s not just what’s IN a product that appeals to you, but how the product will be used and if it suits your purposes. The OLO Cleansing Oil is perfect for me, both efficient and effective – what more could a gal ask for?
What is your makeup removal process? Do you use a cleansing oil?
You can’t enter into the ‘green’ beauty atmosphere without hearing about Kahina Giving Beauty. A fairly-traded line of ‘organic’ skin care that centres around argan oil (a skin-restoring powerhouse), not only does the brand offer beautifully made products, but also donates 25% of it’s profits to support programs that improve the lives of Berber women, an indigenous group native to North Africa west of the Nile Valley. As I’ve dove head first into ‘clean’ skincare, the cost of such beauty can be quite steep; knowing that part of my hard-earned (?) cash is going toward a good cause makes the price a little bit easier to swallow.
I started my foray into the Kahina brand with the Toning Mist ($46CAD…but right now on sale at Clementine Fields for $36.99CAD!!!!), a bioactive mist that is supposed to ‘boost hydration, balance pH, calm redness, and aid in the absorption of oil-based treatments.’ It contains willow bark, which is like a natural salicylic acid to tone, so it’s ideal for my slightly oily skin. It also has alfalfa, said to act as a natural retinol, sodium hyaluronate to hydrate and plump the skin, and green tea and argan leaf to provide antioxidant protection. Though I wasn’t a fan of the way the spray misted (not a fine spray but a little bit…chunky, or something?), nor the size of the bottle compared to the price (it’s only 1.67oz), I really liked this mist – it didn’t irritate my skin, it was very lightly hydrating, and it did seem to gently tone my skin by reducing shine slightly and minimizing pores. I wouldn’t repurchase due to the price/size issue, especially as it only lasted about a month an a half, but if you’ve got the funds for it, it’s a lovely product!
I actually bought the Kahina Facial Cleanser ($56CAD) well after I bought the Toning Mist – the usage of each may have overlapped by mere days (oops), so I can’t comment on how well they work together. Nevertheless, from the get-go I was very impressed with the cleanser even on it’s own. Based on aloe and argan oil, this milky cleanser gently exfoliates with papaya enzymes and calms the skin via bisabolol (derived from German chamomile) and blue tansy flower oil. I use this every morning to gently cleanse my skin and prepare for the day – it creates a soft, smooth canvas for makeup and cushions my skin which is especially crucial in these bitter winter months! It doesn’t strip my skin of it’s natural oils, but also doesn’t leave a film which could cause my skin to get oily. The description states that it is scented with a neroli note; I find the scent very soft and non-offensive to my nose.
One conflicting piece of information I found about using this cleanser is regarding makeup removal. On the Kahina website it says it removes most eye makeup (light to moderate), and on Clementine Fields the description notes that its safe to use around the eye, but on my box it specifically says to avoid the eye area. WTF? Take that as you will….I’ve been using it on my eye area for the last month with no issues, but I might stop doing that moving forward, just to be safe.
For your reference, here are the ingredient lists!
If these two products are any indication, Kahina isn’t just a ‘pretty face’ (those violet-glass bottles…ugh, I DIE) but backs up their reputation with great products that actually work. While the prices are high, as mentioned before if you can fit them into your budget, they’re worth a try! The cleanser at least should last me about 6 months so it doesn’t hurt my heart quite as much 😉
Have you tried Kahina Giving Beauty yet? When it comes to skincare, where do you splurge and where do you save?
Continuing on my ‘green’ beauty quest to try ALL THE BRANDS, last month I finally caved to the luxury that is May Lindstrom. I have been resisting the brand for a while because the prices really hit the upper limit of my crazy – I mean, $165 for a balm!?!? ~wallet runs screaming~ However, when Clementine Fields had a discount going, I gave in and picked up The Clean Dirt ($62CAD), the “cheapest” product from the brand.
Described as ‘an energizing blend of cleansing clays, warming spices and healing salts,’ this powder formula activates once water is added to exfoliate the skin, smoothing and refining it’s appearance. The inclusion of Vitamin C brightens and rejuvenates skin, increasing radiance. The magic formula also contains marshmallow root (soothing and healing), calendula flower (healing and helps decrease dermatitis), and turmeric (thought to treat acne and eczema, and to be anti-aging). You can see why my interest was piqued!
After reading multiple reviews online, I was concerned that I would find this too intense for my touchy skin, as the spices sounded quite – spicy, for lack of a better word. However, I’ve been pleased to find that though this does tingle quite a bit, and makes my face red for several minutes after use, I’ve had absolutely no irritation from it and my eczema hasn’t flared up at all, even if I use it up to 3 times a week (I suspect the turmeric and calendula have something to do with this). Somehow the mixture – which is supposed to turn into a ‘mousse-like’ consistency once water is added but I find it’s just more of a gritty scrub – leaves my skin feeling cushioned and comfortable, and not dry, tight, nor irritated like I imagined it might. The result is skin as smooth as a baby’s bottom!
Though the powder contains cacao and vanilla bean, to me it mostly smells of spices with a hint to cocoa. Overall, I’m quite pleased with this – I didn’t have a manual scrub so this fit the bill perfectly! Though $62 is a lot (A LOT) to spend, I’m satisfied at least to know that you only need a small amount each time you use it, and this is a fairly large bottle (6.76oz) that should last quite a while even with regular use. Though it’s been a positive experience, I’m still not convinced by May’s high prices to try anything else from the line. I had a sample of the new Honey Mud which was lovely, but not $82CAD mind-blowing. I appreciate that part of her ethos is to allow us to relish in our self-care rituals in a most luxurious way…but I believe that can still be done at a lower price point.
Have you/will you shell out the big bucks for May’s products? What is the most you’ve ever spent on a skincare item?
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!!!! 😀
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?
Ok. So I’ve been going a little crazy with this whole organic beauty thing. Or maybe a lot crazy. I guess it depends on your perspective. For me, I FEEL a little crazy, which is probably the most important opinion, right? Eeep. Oh well. Stockings with coal in them for everyone this year!
Obviously, I can explain my behavior in a variety of TOTALLY justifiable ways. As I noted in my green beauty Part I post, I’ve been using up old stuff and making way for the new. That includes a new facial mist (Kahina Giving Beauty Toning Mist) and a new exfoliant (Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask – 20% off this past weekend, hel-LO!) to replace the ones I’ve finished. Then, I HAD to buy the Ellovi Butter that both Taylor and Megan raved about, because I was given a $5 coupon for the site. And with the change in weather, my skin has been unusually dry and I needed a booster product on top of my Pai Rosehip oil, so I bought Soapwalla’s Restorative Face Serum – CLEARLY I can’t be walking around with dry skin. The only purchase I can’t justify is Lina Hanson’s Global Body Serum, which I bought last month – $64 of pure CRAZY there, yep…but I will say, it’s actually kind of a miracle on my eczema. I’ve had persistent patches on my legs for months, and a few drops of this mixed with my Haus of Gloi pumpkin butter has fixed them right up. Could I have tried a basic carrier oil like avocado mixed with my cream for a much cheaper and likely similarly effective result? ….Let’s not go there, shall we?
Anyway. Like I said, I’ve been a little CRAZY lately, it’s true. What makes me even more crazy, is that I’ve still got a list a mile long of other products I want to try…but thankfully for the moment I’ve put a stop to the madness and am exercising restraint for the rest of the month (and yes…I realize I’ve done most of this damage in 4 days O_o). For the time being, I’m just going to ogle my *little* list here and
lie in patiently wait until my wallet cools off it seems reasonable to purchase something. Which of course is up for interpretation 😉
1) Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum $78CAD – A light eye treatment rich in peptides and antioxidants, designed to alleviate dark circles as well as address fine lines and wrinkles. I had a sample of this that lasted almost two weeks, and in that time my eyes looked brighter and felt HELLA smooth. Sign me up, please.
2) One Love Organics Vitamin B Active Moisture Cleansing Oil $39CAD – Another product I had a sample of, I found this oil cleanser worked well to remove my makeup at the end of the day and rinse away cleanly without needing a cloth to wipe it off, like many other organic oil cleansers. It also contains papain, a fruit enzyme that helps exfoliate the skin – I love me a good dual product. Though I am not a huge fan of the super-sweet, tropical scent, it’s manageable for a product that’s effective.
3) La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask (may buy soon as there is a 15% off coupon code till Nov 15th) $65CAD – With my skin on the drier side these days, I’m in need of a nice restorative, hydrating mask. I’m currently finishing up the derma-e one I purchased last year (thank god…that heavy floral smell, gah!), and this one sounds just about perfect. It contains honey, which is kind of the be-all in skincare lately, and it both balances, moisturizes, and exfoliates the skin (again with the multi-functional produts!). It’s also chock-full of antioxidants…me likey.
4) Graydon The Balm $29CAD – Here I am again, trying to stock up on the heavy-hitters that will keep my skin hydrated throughout the cold days and the moisture-sucking central heating we deal with during wintertime. I had a sample of Pai’s Chamomile and Rosehip Sensitive Skin Cream which I thought may work, but it was a bit heavy and my skin felt a bit reactive after using it. The Graydon Balm (a Canadian brand!) has super-light hydrators that I should be able to apply over oils at night without fear of clogging my pores, and it’s supposed to be ideal for eczema. Perfect!
5) Aster & Bay Glow Facial Serum $32 – Nourishing and moisturizing oil with essential fatty acids and antioxidants to repair the moisture barrier and protect the skin from environmental aggressors. It’s supposed to give skin a great glow and contains a slew of ‘dry’ oils (like hazelnut and macadamia nut) that are great for day use on my combo-oily skin. I plan on wearing this under my Pai Geranium & Thistle moisturizer to get that dewy look I’m losing with the cold weather.
6) Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Oil $82CAD – I’ve only read a few things about the MVO line, but as I like to be well-rounded I started looking into each of the products to see if anything would suit me. Lo and behold, I read the details and the ingredient list on this oil and wow! It’s not terribly suitable for my skin right now where I’m not experiencing any breakouts – more so dry patches – but in the warmer months I think this will be amazing. It’s got a handful of wonderful oils and extracts that are considered especially effective for acne-prone and/or oily skin, such as willow bark (a natural salicylic acid) and watermelon seed oil (which helps dissolve excess sebum), plus gentle ingredients to reduce inflammation.
7) Consonant Intensive Therapy Organic Hand Cream $20CAD – I’m currently using an organic hand cream that contains Borage oil, which is super-high in Gamma Linoleic Acid and hence awesome at repairing the skin’s barrier function (a must for my eczema-prone hands). However, it smells like rotting meat. I’m not even kidding guys, it is the WORST smelling product I’ve ever used in my life!! Its effective enough and the smell dissipates after 5 minutes, so I’m going to struggle though it, but after that I’m gonna get me some of THIS stuff – a lovely rich hand cream that is made by a Canadian brand. You can’t get much better than that (although you can get MUCH worse with this Borage oil cream…blech!).
8) Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave-In Conditioner $23CAD – I haven’t been using a leave-in since last winter, and its come time to get on the wagon again. This has jojoba and olive oils as it’s two primary ingredients, both excellent for hair, so I’m giving it a go. Hair care with really basic ingredients is equally important to me as it is in skincare, as most contain a whack of artificial fragrance that kills my scalp and can irritate my face if I’m wearing my hair down. I don’t like to spend too much on hair care but I’ll give anything a shot once. If it lasts for a few months it’ll be worth it.
Innersense Organic Beauty Quiet Calm Curl Control $20 – Designed to eliminate frizz and smooth textured hair, this is one of the few organic styling creams I’ve found on the market so far specifically targeted toward curly hair. Again, it’s a bit more than I like to spend on my hair, but I use very little product, and the TIGI curl cream I’ve been using I’ve had for a good 6 months and am just nearing the end, so I can deal with it. I haven’t gotten my hair professionally cut in over 3 years now, so spending a little extra on my hair is not really all that bad!
May Lindstrom The Honey Mud *not yet released* – I don’t know much about this soon-to-be-released product, but it looks and sounds amazing from what I do know! It’s described as a lush, velvety cleanser that can also be used as a masque (dual-purpose, hurrah!). And just yesterday I heard that there is another new release coming out this month as well, called The Blue Cocoon (a balm)…oh May, I have yet to own anything of yours, and I wasn’t wowed by The Youth Dew (thank GOD…$125 is the height of crazy), but I will get my hands on something of yours yet!
You may notice the title of this post – indicative of a series of wishlists, perhaps?? And…you would be right 🙂 Though skincare is my primary focus these days, I still ogle makeup and polish on the regular too. Keep your eyes peeled for those wish lists in the coming weeks! (I’m a lost cause, I know)
What’s on your wishlists lately??