MoroccanOil’s Body Soufflé: Better than their actual moroccan oil

Years back, a hairstylist used MoroccanOil brand moroccan oil on my hair. It seemed to make my hair all sorts of awesome. I’m not quite certain whether it was the flat iron, other products, or the oil, but they sure seemed certain that the oil should accept credit for my luxurious locks. Of course, the scheme here was to get me to buy the oil, which was insanely over-priced, and there was maybe a 5% change I could re-create the look at home.

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I did not purchase the MoroccanOil at that time, though I did at a later date. And yes, you can bet I was disappointed. It was over-priced, and didn’t do anything much for my hair. I much prefer coconut oil or olive oil, if I’m doing a treatment. If you’ve bought this and it has worked for you –  hi-fives all around. But don’t fall into the hype.

Onto a MoroccanOil product I do enjoy! This light and fluffy body soufflé (as they call it) has a very light and  warm scent, with a hint of jasmine. It isn’t the smell I really enjoy about this, but more the texture. It surprised me, because it goes on so light, yet moisturizes so well. The packaging is simply gorgeous, and looks great on a bathroom or bedroom vanity.  It moisturizes impressively well, and absorbs quickly. Unfortunately, I am unable to find the ingredients on Makeup Alley, or the MoroccanOil Website (aside from them mentioning it contains shea butter and moroccan oil).

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Try it for yourself!

Derma E & Yes To Carrots: A guy’s perspective!

I am asked by everyone how they ought to take care of their skin, and what would work for their particular skin type. Lately, I’m being asked by more men than women! I thought it would be great to get a male perspective on some of my favourite products, and since I’m 100% woman, I gave about a two week sample of two of said favourites to a male friend of mine. I sent him three questions to answer about the samples.

The products, as well as my thoughts on them, are as follows:

  • Derma E’s Very Clear Problem Skin Cleanser: It isn’t often that I purchase a product twice, but this cleanser works great when I use it twice a day, and leave it on for 5-10 minutes as a pseudo-mask at night. It is creamy, rich, cooling (because of the tea tree oil), and gets rid of blemishes better than any other cleanser or mask I have tried!

Currently on sale on Derma E’s website, for $12.50!

and

  • Yes To Carrots’ Repairing Night Cream: Such a light, yet hydrating cream! I bought this for under $15 at Shoppers, and it works so well with my dry skin (I use it as a day moisturizer and a night moisturizer), that I don’t even need to apply extra coconut oil or intensive moisturizer to my face for adequate hydration (as I most often do).

Click on the photo to learn more about this night cream!

And the questions, plus his answers:

1) What was your favourite thing about using each of these products?

Derma E Cleanser: “Other than its effects on my pimples, my favourite part would have to be the tea tree oil! At first, this cleanser smelled like something you would find at the Home Depot in the paint section (ha ha, good one, Jake!). I don’t mean this in a negative way because I actually like its smell. After the first night, I noticed this pimple yard below my bottom lip completely gone (not even exaggerating). I’ve never tried anything like this before and kind of thought it should have been illegal. Thankfully, it isn’t! I will surely be using this from now on and wished it were introduced to me ten years ago.”

Yes To Carrots Moisturizer: “I really enjoy the smell of this cream. It feels really thick which is exactly why I do not need to use a lot. Luckily it will last me a while! After cleaning my face and a good shave, applying this moisturizer makes me want to touch my face all day. I like how it isn’t shiny either so it’s hard to tell that I’m using anything at all. My face does get dry all year around and especially during winter so I am sold on this product!”

2) If you could change something about either of these products to improve them, what would it be?

Derma E Cleanser: “I’m pretty sure that I was using the right amount but I would not mind if the cleanser either bubbles up or just stays white just to let me know that all areas of my face have been covered while cleaning.”

Yes To Carrots Moisturizer: “I can’t really think of anything here. Smells great, feels great!”

3) Did you notice an improvement in the condition of your skin, and how it felt or looked?

“After using the two products together I have definitely noticed an improvement in my skin. I never really was into cleaning and taking care of my face before but after being introduced to these items, I won’t stop using them. I was skeptical at first and one should be until one gives it a fair shot.”

Jake has since purchased both of these products! As far as everything except shaving-related products, guys don’t have to stick to male-specific skin care lines to take care of their skin. It also doesn’t have to be expensive.

Expect more talk from willing male testers and reviewers soon!

Summer moisturizing favourites!

After 2 days of antibiotics, things are starting to look up! So it is with this renewed sense of health (and lack of a throat infection), and with Ezra Levant’s The Source on my TV in the background, that I bring you my favourite moisturizers for summer! I wanted to write about all of my summer favourites, but that would take much longer than even a court reporter’s attention span could handle. These won’t be as detailed as a full-fledged review, but if any of them catch your eye (and have not already been reviewed), let me know! I’ll be glad to do a review for you (and probably will be anyways). Be sure to check in for new entries on other summer favourites!

Alba Botanica’s Coconut Milk Body Cream

CREAMY COCONUT GOODNESS!

It is so rich, thick, and moisturizing! It is the perfect amount of moisture for the warmer months – I haven’t seen dry legs since I started using it! The coconut scent (and the delicious ingredients) makes me go crazy. I’ve been using this daily after my shower since about the beginning of May, and I’ll definitely be buying it again. I fell in love with coconut (the oil, the milk, the scent!) this year, and if you were to look at my collection of moisturizers and perfumes, you could tell.

Origins VitaZing SPF15

What it does is gradually develop a tint, as you moisturize it into your skin, and results in a more even skin tone with a natural glow. I still don’t know if I will buy it again (at $50, it would be great if it also came with some wine and cheese), but I have really grown to love how it makes my skin look. It isn’t heavy enough for me to wear as the sole moisturizer in cooler, dryer months, but in the summer, it is all I need to stay moisturized throughout the day! Another plus: the SPF, and I think I’ve still got several months left of it!

Sibu Beauty Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil

camera couldn't focus - here's a pic fresh from the interwebs

I ordered this from Vitacost a few months ago, and was so glad I did! It is a lightly-scented (kind of orangey?) oil that reportedly helps with acne, rosacea, and other skin ailments. I have used it mainly on my face. Just 2 drops blended into my face, and my skin has become SO soft and does not get as oily in the morning as it used to! It does work for redness (which I have around my nose), especially when combined with other redness reducing products. It’s also great for wounds/cuts. I used it on a cut when I was in New Hampshire, no stinging, and it healed pretty damn quick.

Expect a full-fledged review on Sibu Beauty’s skin care line. I ordered a few things from Vitacost, and Sibu Beauty also sent me some awesome samples. What a joy it has been to test out their products!

And here’s a picture of our dog in his winter gear – oh, we love him so! looks happy, huh? I call this one A Fashionable Defeat.

A Review: Origins VitaZing

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I picked up the highly acclaimed Origins VitaZing moisturizer. It cost me a whopping $50 including taxes, and came with many promises. First of all, I cannot believe I spent so much on a freakin’ moisturizer, but I wanted to see if it was all it had been hyped up to be.

For the most part, I am pretty lucky with my skin. I don’t get massive breakouts, or have extremely oily skin. I do, however, have a bit of rosacea around my nose, so I am always looking for something to help soothe that area and bring down redness and inflammation. My skin can also look washed out or dull (at least I think so), so I often use luminizers or something to enhance my natural glow. Months ago, I saw TiffanyD‘s rave video review on the Origins VitaZing product.

The Origins VitaZing moisturizer has a “sheer tint-release formula [that] magically transforms and perfects to create even, flawless looking skin”. Basically, what this means, is that the moisturizer blends with your fingers into a shade that enhances the natural glow of your skin. You can’t expect this product to fill the role of your foundation, but if your skin is already in good shape and you don’t care to use a foundation, then this will definitely work well for you.

Here is what happens when I blend some VitaZing into my hand!

Just a small amount is all you need!

It slowly begins to blend into my natural skin colour…

Check out that tint!

The final result..

Pretty neat, eh!?

What do I have to say about my experience with Origins VitaZing? Well, first of all, it is a nicely lightweight moisturizer that keeps oiliness to a minimum throughout the day. While the squeeze bottle is pretty small (50 ml), you need not use very much each time. I’ve experimented with different amounts, and a pea-sized amount really is the best and is all you need to get the best effect and use from this product. The smell is a kind of citrusy-sweet scent, but it isn’t at all over-powering. I really like that it has SPF 15, because I do not like to put regular sunscreen on my face. I think it is a good product, but definitely nothing to write home about (at least for me).

If this product was not $50, I would not have such high expectations. I feel like I can get a nice and glowy look from my bronzers, or luminizers, and they do not cost me anywhere near $50. I did not feel that the glowy effect from this product lasted all that long, and I often found myself re-applying later in the day to get that look back. While experimenting with getting a similar look from products I already have, I used my Earth Science Almond Aloe Moisturizer($12.99 for 150ml), along with about 2 drops of essential oil (I happened to use patchouli oil – $7 for 5ml), and that gave me a glowy look that was a fraction of the cost. Sure, it did not cover my rosacea as well as Origins VitaZing, but I’d like to find a product that can get rid of my rosacea as opposed to just covering it up all the time.

This product would be great for someone who requires minimal coverage, or doesn’t want to wear any makeup but at the same time wants their skin to look a little more evened out and brightened. It is quite unique as a regular moisturizer, and I think that if I didn’t have such annoying redness around my nose, that I would probably enjoy it more. The price, however, is way more than I’d ever like to spend on any one skin care product – no matter what it claims to do. I won’t be re-purchasing this, but I’m glad I got to try it out myself!

Origins VitaZing!

originsGuess what I picked up!? After watching a great review of this product by Tiffany D on YouTube (check out her channel, and the review of this product here), I decided it was my mission to find out where I could purchase this (hopefully locally).

I discovered that an Origins counter exists at The Bay, here in Ottawa, but only at their Bayshore location. After my reiki appointment today, which was on that end of the city, I walked into the Bay (having no clue where their Origins counter would be), and there it was!

The saleswoman was extremely helpful. Unfortunately, I already knew what I wanted, and she wasn’t surprised. 🙂 The Canadian price is $44, which is pretty pricey, but it sounds like a product that will save me money in foundation, and other moisturizer products, so I thought I would try it out. I also got 2 samples of their Starting Over, and A Perfect World moisturizers. I should also mention that they had these package deals, where you could purchase a moisturizer at its full price + 3-4 dollars, and you would get three extra products on top of that (a cleanser, eye cream, and something else that I’m sure is equally awesome). I didn’t want to go overboard, and they didn’t have a package deal that included the VitaZing (eventually, I hope!?)

As described on the box,  “this energizing, multi-tasking moisturizer gives skin an instant zing of visible vitality and vibrance. Sheer tint-release formula magically transforms and perfects to create even, flawless looking skin. SPF 15. Oil-free”.

Also on the box, it claims to be formulated without: parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, PABA, petrolatum, paraffin, DEA, synthetic fragrance, and animal ingredients. Below this, Origins states that it only tests its products on volunteer panels. Here is a link to their website for more information!

Since I’ve only bought this product today, I cannot give it an adequate review. I will say, however, that when I applied it after I cleansed msmilesy face this afternoon, the redness that resides around my nose had completely disappeared. My skin looked more even, and I actually really like the smell. I have also been using rose water and rosehip seed oil for dryness and redness, and this has been helping, but I did notice a difference after my first application of VitaZing.

Success! My face, sans makeup, after using my Alba Deep Sea Facial Mask, rose water, and moisturizing with Aubrey Organics rosehip seed oil and the Origins VitaZing! Reviews on many new products, including the above mentioned, will be coming soon!

Thanks for reading!

The wonders of coconuts, and other oils..

Oils? What’s so good about oils? Won’t they just clog my pores and leave me pimply and gross? Not if you’ve got skin as dry as I’ve got, though even people with oily skin can use oils. They simply have to be a little more sparing with them.

Also, any product I am endorsing here is simply because it works great for me, and I hope it can work just as well for you. I am no expert, I am just expressing my honest opinion.

The first item I’d like to discuss is coconut oil.  This multi-purpose wonder product has had me baffled in amazement about it since I discovered it. It’s unique from other oils in that it has a higher melting point. It remains solid until about 76 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it easy to use as a lotion, that melts in your hand as you rub it into your skin. I have been using certified organic coconut oil (which you can purchase at the grocery store or health food store in a huge tub for $10 or under) for about six months. I initially bought it for its skin care benefits, but then discovered it is also great for hair, and extremely healthy for consumption!

After showering, I get some onto my fingers from the small container I leave in my bathroom, and use it all over. Yes, this product is great for knees, elbows, legs, lips, you name it! It has a very mild coconut scent, and makes your skin smooth and supple. To add extra moisture to my face, I would massage a small amount of coconut oil into my skin along with my regular moisturizer. It can be used with a day moisturizer to work as a night cream, if you’d prefer not to have a separate moisturizer for night. As a hair treatment to moisturize dry and damaged hair, simply rub a small amount into the ends of your hair the night before you shower.  Using this once a week has helped my hair with shine and dryness.  When it comes to cooking with coconut oil, simply replace whatever other oil you were using and substitute it.  Coconut oil, despite the bad reputation saturated fats have received, has been shown by many medical professionals to improve metabolism and promote a healthy weight. Olive oil is also a great oil; they both have their own unique benefits. When shopping for coconut oil, be sure to look for a certified organic brand of coconut oil, as brands that are not certified organic may contain extra ingredients for processing, which you do not want. I store my coconut oil in the fridge for cooking, but have a smaller tub that I put oil in and keep in my bathroom. Here is a link to more helpful information about coconut oil.

Another great oil-based product I have discovered is the Josie Maran Argan Oil line! The Argan Oil Moisture Stick comes in a compact travel-friendly tube that looks like a massive lip balm treatment. It has a very warm and spicy citrus smell, contains several oils including argan and apricot oils. Similar to the coconut oil, I like to use this on different areas of the skin including my face on particularly dry areas. The packaging is extremely convenient, although for the price ($27 at Sephora here in Canada), it is much more expensive than the coconut oil, and it is the brand you are paying for. Josie Maran, however, is a great line if you are willing to invest in it. Her products are organic, natural, recyclable, cruelty-free, petrochemical free, fragrance free, paraben free, and toxin free. If you wish to support a more expensive natural line, I would recommend Josie Maran.

The second Josie Maran product I have tried are the BearNaked Wipes. These cost $15 at Sephora here in Canada, and the package contains 30 wipes, that remove makeup and at the same time moisturize the skin, leaving it soft and clean. These also have the same scent as the Moisture Stick, so if you enjoy it, you may want to check these out. They do remove makeup very well, and I prefer these over the other wipes I have tried (St Ives, Garnier Naturals), because you are getting a decent amount of product on each wipe; and the argan oil is a great moisturizing agent so my skin doesn’t feel completely stripped clean of moisture when I am done. Like the Argan Oil Moisture Stick, the BearNaked Wipes follow the same ethical and organic philosophy. Funds from this product also go towards a charity that helps to educate about Polar Bear endangerment and how we can help. Since I’d rather not get all political on you and go on a huge rant about global warming and how governments are taking advantage of the kind intentions environmentalists and animal rights activists have, and are primarily using global warming and climate change information to get the public to submit to further carbon-regulations and taxes(there I go!), I will simply say that supporting a wildlife charity is great, and any cosmetics company that recognizes the importance of charity and voluntary donation is taking an important step towards creating harmony between products, the consumer, and world peace.

Off my tangent and back onto products, I’d like to talk about the Live Clean Argan Oil hair products, which is a Canadian brand. These items can be purchased at the drugstore. I have see the shampoo and conditioner range from $5.99 to $6.99. I have used the Argan Oil shampoo and conditioner, both which have a light but deliciously soothing smell.

When it comes to hair, argan oil is great for conditioning, shine, and UV protection. I have long, thick, dry-ish hair, and after using these products my hair is easy to brush, smooth, and smells absolutely lovely. Drugstores have been starting to sell organic vegan (Yes! Live Clean’s products are vegan, sulfate-free, paraben free, phosphate free, not tested on animals, and then some!) hair products for the past few years, and they don’t cost much more than their regular hair products. If you have oily hair and feel you’d rather use something less oily, they have quite a few other selections to try. Other organic ethical hair care brands to watch out for in drugstores include: Burt’s Bees, Alba Botanica, Organix, Avalon Organics, and Down Under Naturals. I have dabbled in some of all of these brands and have not been disappointed; you need not go to a salon to purchase a quality ethical hair care product!

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and pick up some oils and nourish your insides and outsides today!

Dry-skin-winter-blues got you down?

The winter is the most harsh time of year for my skin. As someone who has very dry skin, the cold temperatures and all that come with it bring to my face a chapped, flaky curse that is determined to return with every winter season. I have teenage memories of myself desperately attempting to moisturize extra dry spots with by whatever means necessary — strange potions I found in my mother’s makeup cabinet, water, hand cream. I guess determination was also a gene I had gotten from my mother, because there was no way I was going to settle for a life of horribly dry and patchy skin!

At present, I am 27, and I can say that I’ve figured it out. My skin no longer has that dull, flaky, I-could-be-her-mother look. I have made peace with my dry skin and the products that help it look its best, and now I would like to share that with you.

I’m an avid shopper at Sephora, but for skin care I tend to check out my local health food store (usually The Natural Food Pantry, though I am sure you can find similar products at other health food stores), as their prices tend to be cheaper, but also only stock products that are primarily vegetarian and cruelty-free. I have had the best success with skin care products that range from $10-$30 at health food stores, and anything beyond that price for a cleanser, toner, or even moisturizer is more than you need to spend, in my humble dry-skinned opinion.

I have experimented with several different natural brands, and my favourites are Alba Botanica, and Avalon Organics. Interestingly, they are the same company, but these two brands offer products that are unique to their specific brand. I regularly use products from Alba Botanica and Avalon Organics.

Let’s get product specific here. What do I like from the Alba Botanica brand of products? I have only tried their Hawaiian line, which offers a delightful bunch of tropically scented goodies including a Pineapple Enzyme Facial Cleanser, Hibiscus Facial Toner, Pineapple Enzyme Facial Scrub, Pineapple Enzyme Facial Mask, Aloe and Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer, and others which I have yet to try. In the summer my skin is perfectly content with using the cleanser and even the moisturizer during the day. For winter, I must add some extra, more moisture-intensive products into my regime.

These winter-friendly products reign from the Avalon Organics Lavender line. This line is aimed at those with dry and sensitive skin, so I jumped at the opportunity to try them.

First I tried the Lavender Hydrating Toner. This product was $11.99 at The Natural Food Pantry. I loved this product because it has a soothing “herbally” lavender scent, and it is surprisingly moisturizing for a toner. I noticed my skin felt so smooth after using it.

My most recent purchases from the Lavender line include the Lavender Ultimate Moisture Cream, and the Lavender Facial Cleansing Milk.

Let’s start with the Lavender Facial Cleansing Milk. Avalon Organics’ entire Lavender line promotes Renewal and Vitality, and this product claims it is “optimal cleansing for sensitive skin”. The product description says it is “soap-free, gentle cleansing with moisturizing plant emollients. Calming Licorice Root, Organic Lavender and Arnica protect skin, as Organic Flax and Borage Oils replenish moisture, leaving skin hydrated”. This product is recommended for usage for normal to dry skin types.

To use, I apply 1-2 pumps directly to my face and neck. This product is thicker than a typical gel or liquid cleanser. It comes out almost like a lotion and feels so gentle and creamy on the skin. I massage it into my skin with my hands for about one minutes, and then I wash it off with water, or a gentle cloth. This cleanser comes off easily, so a cloth isn’t required, just warm water. It claims it is perfect for makeup removal, but I prefer to use coconut oil for my mascara, and before cleansing I use makeup removal wipes (currently using the Josie Maran Bear Naked Wipes). This helps makeup come off quicker when I follow up with the cleanser, as I don’t feel it removes makeup as well as it claims. After rinsing, my skin is extremely soft, and I love that it is not stripped of moisture or feeling tight and dry. This cleanser was $12.39.

It is also important to tone during the winter to return your skin to its regular PH, and to ready it for a moisturizer. I am currently using the Earth Science Aloe Vera Complexion Toner and Freshener for dry and sensitive skin, which is a lovely addition to anyone’s skin care regime if you want a toner that refreshes without drying and over-tightening your skin. Simply pour a bit onto a cotton pad and massage over your face. This cost me $12.99 at the Natural Food Pantry. I will probably be switching back to the Avalon Organics Hydrating Toner, since I found it to be more moisturizing and soothing for the redness around my nose.

The pride and joy of my dry skin regimen is the Avalon Organics Ultimate Moisture Cream that I mentioned earlier. This cream really lives up to its name! It says it is a “daily or nightly moisturizer made with soothing and calming botanicals”. It is great as a night cream for all skin types, but can be used daily for dry skin. I have been using this day and night, and my skin is no longer flaky, especially in the typical areas around my nose. Even with makeup application over the cream, my skin remains adequately moisturized. Along with all other products in their Lavender line, this product has a light, natural lavender scent. It is extremely relaxing, so if you enjoy lavender I would highly recommend these products for you. Moisturizers often run rather expensive, as I recall the moment a saleswoman at Sephora was trying to convince my mother (who is rather frugal) to spend $75 dollars on a small Philosophy moisturizer that I am sure would be great, I would never spend that much when there are products like the Ultimate Moisture Cream out there. This cost me $18.29 at the Natural Food Pantry, and on Avalon Organics’ website I believe it runs at $20.99. When it comes to a good quality moisturizer, you shouldn’t have to use a ton of product for it to work, so a 2 ounce tub can last 3-6 months, depending on if it is a night cream or for night and day.

These products currently sum up the majority of my winter skin care regime, and I find myself extremely satisfied with them. I hope you take the time to try them and check out this line; they were tremendously helpful for my dry, sensitive, and flaky skin. Feel free to comment and suggest other products that have helped you, and also did not cost a fortune. Thank you for reading!