02 March 2015

Little escapade to Copenhagen

Recently, I had the pleasure to do a little trip to Copenhagen with Mr. It happened that it was Valentine's weekend as well, so a perfect excuse to escape and relax.

On the leisure side...

We only had 2 days there. We did not make any plans. We just enjoyed really nice strolls around the beautiful danish capital which is an absolute pleasure if you just want to take it easy and just take a break from your day to day life.
Food was excellent (freash and healthy...but expensive), rhubarb juice was delicious (see pic below), architecture was stunning, design shops were awesome, people were really friendly (and spoke very well english... that helps), a top atmosphere!

On the beauty side...

I managed to drag Mr to Ilums Bolighus, a trendy shopping store that offers super danish design furniture, elegant fashion clothes but also sell very interesting natural beauty brands.

Two danish beauty brands captured my attention:

 Rudolph skincare founded by Andrea Elisabeth Rudolph comprises a range for the face and body, but what really stands out is that they also have a huge line of suncare products. All the products are Ecocert certified. I haven't bought anything but got very tempted by the Acai body balm limited edition.

 Karmameju, a spa-inpired beauty range created by danish-born Mette Skjaerbaek. Again, I thought it would be wiser to wait a bit before any purchases but really, it was hard to resist to the trio of organic face oils or to the very appealing body salt scrubs that looked amazing!

 Copenhagen is just 1hr flight from Amsterdam (and a tad more from London or Paris or Berlin) making it the perfect city break! If you are planning to visit the danish capital, well, you won't be disappointed!

Have you been to Denmark? What do you think of the danish beauty ranges that I selected?

23 February 2015

My Jacq's organics beauty treatments

Jacq's organics is a company that you may have come across if you live in the US. Founded by Barbara Jacques some years ago, this organic skincare and bodycare compagny meets all my personal beauty requirements- organic ingredients, no silicones, no PEG and no harsh preservatives.
I was looking to add a cleansing mask and a face oil to my beauty collection that I could use as a duo during mini-facial home treatment (Sunday night treat?), so I bought the very tempting Green smoothie scrub & exfoliating masque and the Sweet orange balancing face oil. Find out below what I think of them!

Green smoothie scrub & exfoliating masque ($35.00 for 2oz)

Having a good cleansing mask in my beauty cabinet is a must for me. Once a week (or twice depending on the state of my skin), I like to have a special "detox" evening beauty routine. It aims at deep cleansing my skin and having a proper "me" time.
I have loved the 7 herb purifying clay cleanser which I used as a mask, but was really tempted by the green Smoothie scrub which combines some top purifying ingredients: rhassoul and bentonite clays with bamboo activated charcoal powder. What I like about powder masks is that you can really personnalize them accordingly to your skin type: you can add a bit of a greek yoghurt, honey or flower water for example. You just need to find out the best way to use them in order to obtain the best results.
I tend to mix one small teaspoon of the Green smoothie simply with water (or occasionally with organic honey), I apply for 15 min and then rinse it out while massaging! The effects on the skin are really impressive: my skin is smooth, impurities are drawn out and my face shows some great signs of happiness and plenitude! Highly recommended for combination/oily skins.

Ingredients: rhassoul cosmetic clay*, bentonite clay*, Prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) nut*, bamboo activated charcoal powder*, Zea mays (corn) starch, tapioca starch, raw cacao (Theobroma cacao) powder*, Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamanu) oil.

Balancing Sweet Orange face serum ($28.00 for 2oz)

This luxurious-feel face oil seems to be perfectly designed for sensitive/combination/ageing skin, yes, all of them! Potent blend of plants oils (rather than water-based product as the name would suggest), this serum features Apricot, Pumpkin, Rosehip oils (some of the richest oils in vitamin A) in addition to a few plant/flowers extracts such as Calendula and anti-oxidant Green tea. The light orangery scent not only brings a sense of sweetness but it is also very uplifting and I really like it.
I only use the Sweet Orange face serum in the evening (and because of the photoxicity of the Orange essential oil, I would avoid using it prior to sun exposure or during daytime). I like using products from the same brand since I find that it performs much better with my skin.
Really easy to use: I massage this oil onto my face just after the Green smoothie mask. It provides intense skin softening upon application, but what I like the most is that the oil is very light and just absorbs so well. I am currently using it 2 or 3 times per week in the evening (in alternance with my seriously firming facial serum from Acure Organics which is almost finished -review soon!), but that is about it. The quality/price is very good and I find my skin really balanced and texture-improved.

Ingredients: Prunus armeniaca (apricot) kernel oil, Daucus Carota sativa (carrot) seed oil, Rosa canina (Rosehip) fruit oil, Prunus amygdalus dullness (sweet almond) oil, Aoe barbadensis extract, Camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) seed oil, Calendula officials Co2 extract, Hippophae rhamnoides (see buckthorn berry) Co2 extract, Citrus auranium amara (Sweet orange oil) and non GMO vitamin E.

An exquisite and lovely duo that clearly meet my expectations!

Have you tried these products or any other products from Jacq's Organics? what do you think?

12 February 2015

A little Thank you note

Anytime is a good time to say Merci. So I thought I will do a Thanks post to express my gratitude to people/brands/bloggers that have been really lovely during the past few years.

Today, I would like to thank:

Robin and Lynn from R.L. linden & co - the 2 ladies are the owners and craftors of a beautiful natural beauty line. They took me by surprise in July 2014 when they sent me their beautiful summer box including the amazing Thousand Petal Beautifying mist and the refining Cacao Honey cleanser. What a revelation and what a pleasure to try everything!

Hazel from Elegantly eco- I received a beautiful suprise package in last December 2014 from natural beauty blogger Hazel. It was totally unexpected but it allowed me to try to few samples such as the Brightening cleanser from Indee lee, or an Osmia lip gloss. There was other goodies that I have yet to try! What a nice surprise coming all the way from Canada!

Gaelle from Alors Ca pousse- I have recently written my beauty wishlist for 2015 on the products I have been dreaming of trying and I mentionned the natural handcrafted french brand Alors ca Pousse and their "baume de la terre". Folllowing that, Adele kindly sent me a trial kit ..so..I can't wait to tell you more about the samples I have finally tested!

Elijah from bodi&birch- I love this english brand and I also love the kindness/friendliness of the man behind it! I want to thank again Elija for sending me the beautiful Himalayan Salt scrub recently. I absolutely adore this body exfoliant and I think it will remain a big big big favorite for quite a long time.

The team from Therapi Honey skincare- I have tested a few of their products and well, I was far from being disappointed! Therapi sent me another little package when I offered them a bit of help. I thought it was a really nice gesture. I like to help whithout expecting anything in returns, but when that happens, It always feels nice.

Mariko from Chidoriya- The Peach moon herbal toner is an absolute star! I was so excited when I received a lovely Christmas surprise from Mariko: some more little goodies to try! Yes! For now, don't miss my latest review about their beautiful Pure Silk and Rice Bran moisturising soap.

And last, but not least, I would like to thank all my lovely readers. Merci.

Thanks for reading! Who are you grateful? Share it with me!

09 February 2015

A extraordinary soap: hydrating facial soap "Pure silk and Rice bran"

I recently fell in love with Chidoriya after using their brilliant Peach moon herbal face water (review here). From beautiful product design to pure formula using japanese traditional ingredients, this brand, now based in New York, seems to have been tailored to me!
Eager to pursue my fantastic journey with Chidoriya, I had my eye on their pure Silk and Rice bran soap and bought it in a very local (lovely) apothecary boutique in Chicago and this is what I think.

Product name: Pure silk & Rice bran soap
Certified: no
Texture: solid bar
For: dry and mature skins
Price: $13.99

My opinion

Winter season is here and altough temperatures have plummeted, my skin is still behaving ok (yes, great!). The Pure silk and Rice bran soap has everything appealing to me - it is designed to be very mild and aims at gently clean dry and ageing skins. It contains a nice blend of soothing saponified plant oils, moisturising glycerin alongside three very unique ingredients:
 -Komenuka rice bran powder: the japanese beauty secret compound that helps to invigorate and gently exfoliate the skin in order to reveal a flawless complexion.
- Tennyokoh oil: a carfeully selected aromatic blend of essential oils comprising Lavender, Geranium, Maychang, Cedarwood to help treating skin disorders and unbalances.
- Pure silk powder to soften and heal the skin.

I am in love with this soap! I am totally addicted! Not only it lathers well and lasts really long but it has a great price too. It gives the results I expect from a face cleanser: cleaning my skin and nurturing it at the same time. The scent is really really gentle almost unnoticeable, so sensitive noises, don't worry...you won't feel overwhelmed! Voila. I have used it morning and evening until the last little piece and it is truly one of the best face cleanser I have ever tried.

 ...and skin cleansing has never been so smooth! 

++ excellent cleansing and softening properties
- nothing

My overal rating: 9/10

You can get it here.

Composition: saponified oil of palm and coconut, vegetable glycerin, water, sugar, Lavander oil, geranium oil, Rosemary oil, rice bran powder, palmarosa oil, silk powder, benzoin oil, Cedarwoord oil, nigari, Soy bean extract.

What do you think? surely tempted?

02 February 2015

My ways to immediately relax

Sometimes work takes over, children take over, study takes over, partner takes over, cold winter takes over ...well, life takes over! It happens so perhaps it is time to just drop everything for a one sec, one hour, a day or a weekend , and seriously recharge! Don't you agree?
Here are some of the things that I right away do to relax and get that positive spirit back.

.  I open the big windows and look outside to see what else is happening (or not happening!)

.  I look at travel pictures which is a great way to remain imaginative.

.  I write about my passion, beauty. It's a great way to switch off negative moods.

.  I do breathing exercices- breathing in, breathing out - let's get the toxins out.

.  Or I jump on my bike or go for a walk along the water side and breath in that fresh air.

.  I take a nice and long shower followed by the superb Himalayan detox scrub from bodi&birch.

.  I flip through the pages of my french pastry cookbook and start experimenting my chef skills.

.  I give lots of cuddles to my loved ones - Getting lots of cuddles from my loved ones.

.  I get cosy on the sofa, warmeing up with my 100% whool blanket and sipping some coconut water.

I treat my hands with my favorite cream.

.  And finally, I close my eyes and start dreaming and dreaming.

Thoughts? What to do you do to chill out?

26 January 2015

A really nice beauty brand : The Victorian garden organic skincare company

I love discovering new organic beauty brands and when the Victoria Garden organic skincare company from South Africa proposed me to sample some of their products, I could not refuse. I was lucky enough to be able to choose which products I wanted to test. Apart from following Cassidy from the The Glam green girl,  I do not know much about South African beauty market.
Inspired from the british old century and all the beautiful scents, the Victorian garden organic skincare company features an amazing choice of skincare, bodycare and haircare products all free from silicons, talc, SLS, parabens.
I choose to receive the clay cleanser, a facial polish and an eye cream. And this is what I think...

The 7 herb purifying clay cleanser ($10.00 for 100ml)
This delicious green kaolin-based cleanser combines 7 anti-inflammatory plants extracts (Melissa, Plantain, Spearmint, Eldeweiss, Yarrow to name a few) with some Shea butter, botanical oils such as Marula and a plethora of skin-healing botanicals extracts. A couple of additional ingredients caught my attention. The first one is Mafura seed butter, a rich butter mainly found is Southern Africa and widely used for its revitalizing and healing properties. I was also intrigued by the Coltsfoot extract, apparently known to be antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory.
The texture of this cleanser is sort of foamy, really light yet creamy. The kaolin is ideal for purifying the skin and drawing out any imprurities and make-up. Because of its quite complete and effective composition, I use this cleanser in the evening twice a week. I use it as a deep-cleanse treatment rather than a basic cleanser. Not only the skin is left really clean and purified, but I also have the impression that it helps very much to unify and improve skin glow.
The only drawback for me is the rather small contenance…I just wish the tube was bigger! This cleanser is definitely a very great choice for those suffering from breakouts. If you also look for a sort a mini-facial treatment at home, this one also ticks all the boxes.

The Queen Catherine's Pomegranate and Lemon exfoliating facial polish ($12.00 for 50ml)
 This thick and rich skin polisher bursts with some nice bioactive ingredients that give you a smooth and clear skin. To list a few, you can find soothing Almond, Olive and jojoba oils alongside with some extra-thin Bamboo powder that helps to smooth off dead cells and daily grime. The nice concentration of plants and fruit extracts (blueberry, watermelon, aloe vera) helps to improve radiance and skin emerges really fresh. The fresh feeling is also due to the presence of Lemon essential oil which gives a slight zingy twist to the scrub. The really rich texture makes the facial polish perfectly suitable for any type of skins. It comforts the skin and helps to soothe and nurture. I am a big fan of face exfoliants and this one is defintely one that I have been enjoying. As an overall, this is a very well-balanced product and again, a rather good surprise!

The Queen Catherine's Elderflower and eyebright eye cream and lip cream ($9.00 for 20ml)
This rich and onctuous cream associates the perfect texture to soothe tired eyes with wonderful calming bioactives. The perfect blend comprises some great moisturising ingredients such as Shea butter and glycerin. Enriched in Vitamin E and A, this cream helps to smooth away fine lines. I find it very nourishing yet light enough to be used for the eye area even in the morning before applying make-up. I have been using this cream for a good 3 months now and I have been really impressed by it. I like the practically of the packaging as well: you only get the amount you want. Ideal to use for travelling or to keep in your handbag for a last minute soothing retouch. The smell is super delicate and soft, very floral. Well, another really pleasant surprise for this brand that doesn't spark so much by its elegant design but definitely by its great savoir-faire.

If you want to have more info, have a look at their website.
(The Victorian organic skincare company does not retail in Europe or USA yet but I hope it will soon!)

... a superb natural and really affordable natural beauty brand than need to be discovered!
Have you heard of this brand? what do you think?

22 January 2015

Face toners: why, how and which!

It is not only the quality and effectiveness of a beauty product that counts. Following a good skincare routine is at least equally important to get the best out of your favorite beauty products and to maximise your chance of having a glowing and flawless complexion! And today I will focus on one of my favorite step in my skincare routine: toning.

Why to use a toner?
Here are some key benefits of a high quality toner:
  • It completes the cleansing.
  • It refreshes, calms, and softens the skin.
  • It helps to rebalance the skin's pH.
  • It boosts the radiance of the skin.
  • It prepares the skin and maximises the results of the following treatments (oil, serum or moisturiser).
How to use it?
My routine is to cleanse my face first using a very gentle cleanser (love this one and this one). Then I delicately spray the toner onto the the face and neck (you can also use a damp (organic) cotton ball with the toner and smooth over the face in circular motion). I then gently pat dry my face with a clean fine towel. My skin feels revived and unified.
I prefer to apply the toner in the morning and before going to bed, but once a day could be sufficient as well, depending on your skin needs and preferences.

Which to use?
First rule: choose your toner accordingly to your skin type or what you want to offer to your skin.
Second rule: choose a toner that does not contain a high proportion of alcohol (which can be quite drying and irritant).

Here are some toner suggestions, depending on your personal objectives:

MoisturisingThermal waters (Evian, Jonzac), Caudalie grapefruit water, Juice beauty hydrating mistbodhi&birch rosa rosa hydrating toner, R.L. linden & Co thousand petals beautifying mist.

Purifying- Odylique Balancing citrus super tonic, Therapi Honey skincare lemon Myrtle anti-bacterial toner, NYR purifying palmarosa toner.

Balancing- The little Alchemist Wild apple and Mint antioxidant balancing mistYours Truly Organics balancing toner, NYR Witch hazel water.

Rejuvenating- Chidoriya moon herbal water, Fig+Yarrow complextion water, Yuli skincare metamorphic elixir.

Calming- Thermal water (Avene, La Roche-Posay), Pai Lotus and Orange blosssom bioaffinity tonic, Caru lavender+chamomille organic facial toner.

If you notice that your skin is not at its best or perhaps more reactive, I would try to keep your beauty routine as simple as possible and use thermal water instead of a traditional toner. Also I believe it is best to avoid an "overuse" of any beauty product. "Too much " does not necessarly mean "better". It is important to learn to listen to your skin!

Do you include any toner in your routine? Which toner do you like the most?

19 January 2015

Deodorant review: the Schmidt's deodorant Lavander+Sage

Today, I am excited to talk to you about the Schmidt's deodorant. You know it? I had the chance to try it when I won a Petit Vour box some time ago. This little icon is already quite popular in the US but is surely arriving in Europe! Based in Oregon, the Natural Schmidt's deodorant company claims that their little baby will "change the way I think about deodorants". Well, let's see.

Product name: Schmidt's deodorant lavender+sage
Certified: no
For: any skin types
Texture: paste
Price: $9.00 for the full size (60 grs)

My opinion

I am a massive fan of the Skin Likes deodorant, a fresh and lovely scented water-based deodorant, so I was a bit on the fence when I started to use the Schmidt's deodorant.Why? because the Schmidt's deodorant is nothing like any deodorants I have used before.
 It is actually a big solid white paste made of Shea butter, Cocoa butter and baking soda. You have to scratch the paste and apply a small amount under the armpits. Since the paste is quite solid, you need to warm it up a bit before and gently massage it. I was offered the travel size sample which is good enough to last a rough 3 months. The only thing is that it does not come with any tool or scoop. I have to use instead a clean kitchen spoon or my fingers to get a bit of the product out. Not really hygienic and handy.

Although it is a bit of a struggle to apply, the deodorant itself has a lovely texture. It can scramble but it really melts easily and is absolutely not greasy (I was so afraid that it leaves any residues/stains on my clothes). But the thing that wows me the most is the scent. It is lovely! Ok, lavender aroma has always been a big favourites of mine (I grew up in France where our garden was packed with lavender buds - hence the love). To combat body odor, the antiseptic lavander essential oil is  combined with anti-bacterial clary sage oil. and effective absorbant Bicabornate soda.
The deodorant works really effectively and protects well all day long. No irritations at all and my sticky-free armpits are quite happy!

As an overall, I love the results of the Schmidt's deodorant Lavender+Sage but I did not enjoy so much the application so I am not yet convinced to purchase the full size.

... excellent for those who has time in the morning!

Get it here.

++ perfomance and smell
-- messy method of application

My overal rating: 6.5/10

Composition: Butyrospermum partkii (shea butter), Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), Maranta arundinacea (arrow root), Theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, Salvia sclarea (clary sage) essential oil, Lavandula (lavender) essential oil, tocopherol (vit E), Humulus lupulus (hop) extract.

What do you think? Have you tried it?

12 January 2015

My top 5 beauty resolutions for 2015

The beginning of a new year is always a a great moment for resolutions and... hopefully to keep it up all year along. So today is a great day to share my top 5 beauty things that I intend to do a bit more in 2015. Yes, I sometimes (or... often) lack time so I will use this post as a reminder for myself too!

1- Taking more care of my hair. While I love to experiment with good shampoos and hair products, I have to confess that I often run out of time when it comes to hair masks, haircuts...etc. My hair is quite easy to manage and luckily they seem to be in a good shape. Having said that, I'm sure they will be happy to benefit from some more special pampering every now and then.

2- Applying a good moisturising organic face mask. I rarely run out of any type of products/samples but the one that seems lacking quite frequently is a great and effective moisture boost when my skin is really dehydrated and just need to have plenty of replenishement. I do some DIY beauty recipes instead but I would rather have a quicker way to deal and treat my skin. Hence a good moisturising organic face mask is top on my list to buy. I may do a review if I found one!

3- Doing more face massage. Having a great collection of beauty products helps to get a better skin, but I do believe that it also comes down to respecting a good beauty ritual. I have been a bit lazy when it comes to face massage, although I really want to tackle it at least twice a week (let's keep it realistic). Skin massage helps to boost blood circulation and is awesome at improving product penetration and giving this nice red tint on the cheeks!

4- Going at least once to a spa/sauna. If none of you have experienced the Dutch sauna, then I really dare you to try it when you next visit the Netherlands. It is absolutely worth it!!! It is really part of the culture here. The saunas/pool are amazingly well done, huge, clean, luxurious for just 30€ a day (contact me if you need an address). Voila. That is the reason why I need to go more!

5- Exploring green and exotic dishes. Beauty comes from within and trying to get the most of the veggie/fruity world, I am really keen to diversy my menu by adding a touch of spices and exostism as often as I can. I am on the hunt for amazing and tasty recipes from all over the world. So if you have any favorites, please share your secret recipes with me!

Have you got some beauty resolutions? which ones?

06 January 2015

Morning cleanser: Sanoflore cleansing water foam

If you have been following my blog, you may have noticed that I love reviewing face cleansers. Cleansing is an essential step in my skincare routine and I like to have a cleanser easy to reach especially in the morning when I lack of time.
While travelling to France in Autumn, I stopped to one of my favorite "pharmacies" and bought the Sanoflore cleansing water foam. Foaming cleansers and micellar waters are hugely popular in France, whether they are natural or not natural to be honest. I am not so much fan of micellar water which are meant to not be rinsed (... although you can find some great natural ones). On the other hand, foaming cleanser is more appealing to me. So what do I think of the one from Sanoflore?

Product name: Cleansing water foam
Certified: Ecocert
For: all skin types
Texture: foam
Price: €12.00 for 120 ml

My opinion

The airless pump is the first feature that really attracts me. Very hygienic and handy during travelling, I just like how easy it is to carry around this cleanser. You may think the container is not too big, but let me tell you that this bottle will last you a good 3 months.

One pump is enough to create a lovely white mousse that reminds me a bit of a velvety cloud. The foam is light and scented with a very discrete sweet floral aroma. So far so good!

Ideal to use under the shower, the cleansing water foam is really effective and not that drying at all thanks to Melisse flower water it contains. The softening properties of the formula are also due to Lemon verbena flower water which aims to bring smoothness and tonicity to the skin. The formula features very gentle detergents (coco-glucoside and disodium cocoyl glutamate) selected for their cleansing yet not overdrying effects. Make-up and grime are removed very easily and my skin is left nicely soft. I then finish my cleansing routine by gently damping my face with my lovely moisturising toner (to be reviewed soon).

Foam may have a bad reputation but I do think the natural beauty industry recently came up with some pretty good detergents that will make all the SLS haters and foam lovers (including me!) happy. I also just love the fresh feeling that I get when I splash my face to rinse-off cleanser…this is a sensation I don't always get when I use balm/cream cleansers. 

Overall, I am very happy with this cleanser. It works really well without being overpriced.
... Ideal to include in your daily routine in simplicity!
Get it here.

++ fresh and clean sensation
 - none

My overal rating: 8.5/10

Composition: water, sucrose*, glycerin, Lippia citriodora (lemon verbena) leaf water*, coco-glucoside, Melissa officinalis water*, propanediol, disodium cocoyl glutamate, polyglyceryl-4 caprate, citric acid sodium cocoyl glutamate, parfum, sucrose laurate, sodium benzoate, salicylic acid, linalool, sodium phytatem benzyl alcohol, arginine, alcohol.

Have you tried Sanoflore? do you like foaming cleansers?