20 April 2015

Hair treats: the duo from Acure Organics

Acure Organics has been regularly featured in my blog. I reviewed their wonderful Cell Stimulating facial mask (here) or their amazing Argan oil (here), and also tested some of their wonderful skincare products (here).
... and I obviously could not stop here. Yes I know, but when I love, I L O V E !
Like many, I could not ignore all the very positive reviews I have seen about their haircare line, so I decided to pick the shampoo designed for normal/devitalised hair and the conditioner. The products are sulfate-, paraben-, phtalate-, silicone-, cruelty-free. Here are my thoughts...

Moroccan Argan Stem cell + Argan oil Shampoo with CoQ10 + Omega 7 ($10.00 for 250ml)

My hair are usually quite easy to manage and don't present any problems, except for a bit of a dryish ends and slightly oily roots.
Opening the shampoo is like almost biting in a delicious and tender macaron due to the delicious almond scent (I like everything that has the taste of almonds!). So, if you look for a kind of fresh aroma, then this shampoo is not for you.
Application-wise now: it is again a big thumb up! The white and creamy shampoo lathers very well and is very gentle for the scalp and the hair length which already appear softened. After a good rinse, my hair looks kind of refreshed and cleansed while their natural balance is preserved. They also feel really nourished and smooth which is a big achievement when you have long hair and don't always want to use a conditioner to detangle them. This interesting smoothing property is due to the naturally- derived hydropropyltrimonuim ingredient that it contains. The shampoo also contains a beautiful blend of botanical extracts and plants oils (Rosehip, Blackberry, Pomegranate) which immediately restores the moisture to dry hair.
As an overall, this is a great shampoo if your hair is normal but with a tendency to be drier on the extremities. However it could also work very well as a post-swimming post-yoga post-gym shampoo for any type of hair especially color ones.

...Top to give really nice silky hair!

Composition: Euterpe oleracea (Acia), organic Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry), organic Rosa canina (Rosehip), organic Punica granatum (Pomegranate), organic fairtrade Rooibos, organic Aloe barbadensis vera leaf juice, sodium lauroyl methyl isethionate (from coconut), 100% naturally-derived betaine (from sugar beets), vegetable glycerin. sodium methyl cocoyl taurate (from coconut + amino acids), sodium cocoyl glutamate (from coconut+ amino acids), cocoglucosides hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride (guar gum conditioner), sodium levulinate (from corn), guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride (sugar conditioner), potassium sorbate (food grade preservative), organic Argania spinosa (Argan) oil, organic fair-trade certified Olea europea (Olive), d-alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea buckthorn) seed oil, organic Cucurbita pepo (Pumpkin) seed oil, ubiquinone (CoQ10), argon spins (argan) stem cells, glycereophophoinositol lysine (from sunflower), almond extract, Cinnamon aromaticum (Cassia bark) oil.

Moroccan Argan oil and stem cell conditioner triple moisture repairing ($10.00 for 250ml)

In my beauty resolution 2015 (check here for the post), haircare had a prime spot! Hence, I purchased the Acure conditioner alongside the shampoo featured above.
Housed in a smilar (and handy) packaging as the shampoo, the conditioner looks like an onctuous cream all ready to soothe and nurture the driest lock ever.....and it does! Just apply a tiny amount on cleansed hair or any areas that need a bit more moisture, leave it even just a couple of minutes (I tend to leave it longer when I have time) and see the wonderful results!
With glycerin, panthenol and Cocoa butter, the really nutrient-packed formula leaves my hair really manageable and incredibly soft. The formula also includes Argan stem cells which are supposed to stimulate the hair regeneration process and the follicule growth but in all honesty, I need to further investigate that claim.
As much as I love the conditioner, I only use it once or twice a week. That regime of application works well and I would only change it in summer as my hair tend to suffer of bit more from the sea/sun/salt drying effects.

...bye-bye to dry and unheathty hair!

Composition: Euterpe oleracea (Acia), organic Rubus fruticosus (Blackberry), organic Rosa canina (Rosehip), organic Punica granatum (Pomegranate), organic fairtrade Rooibos, cetearyl alcohol, behnetrimonium chloride, stearylkonium chloride, vegetable glycerin, glucose delta lacton (fermented sugar), organic Argania spinosa (Argan) oil, cetearyl glucoside ( from corn and glucose), guar hydroxypropyltrimonium chloride (guar gum conditioner), glyceryl stearate (vegetable derived), L-arginine (aminoacid), organic fairtrade certified Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) seed butter, sorbitan olivate, (from olives+sugar), panthenol (pro-vitamin B5), cellulose (plant-derived), d-alpha tocopherol acetate (vitamin E), lactic acid (vegetable derived), Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea buckthorn) seed oil, organic Cucurbita pepo (Pumpkin) seed oil, ubiquinone (CoQ10), argon spins (argan) stem cells, glycereophophoinositol lysine (from sunflower), almond extract, Cinnamon aromaticum (Cassia bark) oil.

Would like to browse through the haircare line and get more infos? visit the Acure wesbite.

Notice that the shampoo and conditionner are available in a bigger size ($20.00 for 500 ml) on iHerb.

What do you think? Have you tried any haircare products from Acure Organics?

13 April 2015

Natural beauty look with Gabriel Cosmetics make-up range

Make-up is definitely the area where I struggle the most when it comes to finding a "green" yet suitable texture and desired finish for my skin type. Although there have been lots of progress in regards to product formulation, I do find that organic make-up tend to be richer and sort of thicker than the classical non-green ones, and this is probably due to the inclusion of natural plant oils/butter (which ultimately is nice!).
So I am still experimenting at the moment... I am really hoping to find great treasures over the next few months. Excuse my "dubitative" approach, I just want to look at my best and really dislike a midday cakey/oily face.

Gabriel Cosmetics is a US natural skincare brand that I have discovered a few months ago (I loved their face moisturiser -review here). Besides organic skincare, they offer a pretty big range of make-up, from powders and fundations to eye shadows. Product formulas are 100% vegan and often have a combination of mica/silica/kaolin base enriched with active extracts such as Sea fennel or Rosemary.
Today, I am reviewing a couple of their top sellers: the Gabriel Classic Palette Platinum collection* and their Multipot *.

The Classic Palette ($45.00, available here) has been designed to create a very minimal/no make-up look.
        The Translucent powder (a limited edition) on the left inside is an absolute pleasure to use. Pressed, very fine and smooth, the powder is great to matify but does not cover that much blemishes or other skin marks. The shade is very light and it offers a very natural and unifying finish.
       The baked Apricot blush (also a limited edition) helps to give a very nice sunkissed glow to the cheeks with a tad of shimmer, which makes it perfect for the upcoming Spring/Summer season. I love it! I usually apply it with my BWC mineral powder brush bought here rather than the small brush included in the palette.
        The Eye shadows include the neutral color Bone, the beige Taupe, the light brown-orange Caramel, and the rich medium brown Chocolate Brown. All the shades are matte, very easy to wear. The four shadows are easily blendable and remain stable after a few hours without fading. I admit that I prefer pressed powder in comparison to loose ones: less messy and so much quicker for someone like me who don't always have time to play around with colour and texture every morning. I tend to use the lighter shades when I just want to create a natural daytime look, but if I want to get a more profound and defined look, I dab a bit of Chocolate eye shadow underneath the lower lash line and on the external corner of the eye to give that nice smokey eyed look.

The Multipot ($18.50, available here) is a multipurpose mineral-based creamy blusher/bronzer perfect for women who love make-up, but don't have much time. I got the Florentina shade which actually does not look that different compared to the baked Apricot blush included in the Classic Palette, except that it is creamy and not glittery and a bit darker. It almost acts like a skincare product, since it contains soothing Shea butter, Jojoba and Olive oils. The finish look is slightly dewy and really gives that amazing natural summer glow despite my fair skin tone. And it is incredibly easy to apply: just use your fingertips and blend it softly alongside the cheekbones. It can also be built up softly. The only drawback for me would be that I have to reapply it once throughout the day as the color intensity is somehow fading.

Overall and despite my inital concerns,  I am really really pleased with the Gabriel Cosmetics Classic Palette and the Multi-pot performances: easy to use even if you are novice, great formulations, and nice results! 
Have you tried this brand? what do you think?

06 April 2015

My top beauty advices for a glowing skin

Having a glowing skin is one of the top beauty wishes women have. I don't believe in "miracle" foods or spectacular "anti-ageing brigthening" creams, but a combination of healthy habits and a great beauty routine can make a true difference to your skin complexion.

Here are my little tips to improve naturally your skin radiance:

- Bring on the healthy diet. Privilege all fruits and veggies that are very colorful and extra-rich in anti-oxidants, such as peppers, tomatoes and broccolis.

- Snack on Pumpkin seeds. Their amount in zinc and Vitamin E boosts skin healing and skin regeneration.

- Sip on Green tea. Well-known for it anti-oxidants properties, Green tea is top to revive sallow skin (and to do lots of other detoxifying goodness to your body too!).

- Exfoliate once a week. Increase the natural skin regeneration processes by gently smooth away dead cells with a gentle facial polisher. Be aware to not over-scrub.

- Apply a touch of pink luminizer along the cheek bones... it suddenly gives a natural glow to the face (Brands like Honeypie minerals, Zao Make-up, Benecos, Lily Lolo offer a lovely selection).

- Smile. Not only does it improve skin elasticity, but it also creates a positive feedback look that goes to the left part of the brain and sustains the feeling of "happiness".

What do you think? Any beauty tricks you want to share?

30 March 2015

Spring in a bottle: White Rose water from Alteya organics

Spring has finally arrived and although temperatures still remain fresh here, the lovely view of newly grown Crocus or Narcissus flowers give hope for the coming weeks.
Talking about flowers, you probably know that the Rose scent has a special place in my beauty routine (check here). Keen to explore some more Rose fraganced goodies, I got my eyes on the White Rose flower distillate from the bulgarian family company Alteya organics (for those who don't know, the Rose valley in Bulgaria is known worldwide for cultivating roses and they have been doing so since since centuries!).

Product name: organic bulgarian White Rose water
Certified: yes (USDA)
For: normal skins
Texture: watery
Price: $11.00 for 100ml

My opinion

This 100% steam-distilled certified organic White Rose water comes in a very simple (100% recycled) plastic spray container. It may not be super fancy, but it is a very handy packaging.
The Rose scent is one of the scents that has an immediate calming and soothing effect and works as well for the mind and for the body. Slowly inhaling the subtle aroma after uniformly spraying onto the face is like getting instantly a "zen" moment. Rosa Alba has been used to produce this flower water. This specie of Rose are known to have a more delicate and subtle fragrance than their pink Rosa Damascena sister.
How do I use it? Quite simple! Most often I spray it directly onto a cleansed face, either in the morning or evening. It helps to prep the skin. Occasionnaly, I also like to spray it unto a cotton whool and simply sweep it over my face. My skin feels tightened, almost lifted and appears more receptive to my day moisturiser or night oil/serums I use after.
The Alteya White Rose water could be really beneficial for those who have a very sensitive skin or suffer from occasional redness and aim at minimising their beauty routine by using not so elaborated high-end skincare beauty products.
Pricewise, this hydrosol retails at less than $12.00 so quite a good deal.

Simple, pure, and gentle: this is my go-to soothing water!

What do you think? Have you tried any flower waters from Alteya organics?

23 March 2015

3 face cleansers: the foaming, the creamy, the balmy.

My hunt for discovering amazing face cleansers is still on, and despite my huge love for the Aurelia Miracle cleanser and for the Joo Mo face wash, I want to expand my portfolio to a wider range. I recently tried and tested (and finished) three cleansers that had 3 different textures. That was this interesting part! One was foaming, the other one was creamy and the last one was oily.
And my favorite is...

BcomBio Fresh cleansing foam (€13.00 for 100ml)
Foaming cleansers are just super easy to use and really pratical when you are on the rush or when you are traveling. Featuring moisturising glycerin and Lavander flower water, this Ecocert-certified white and smooth foaming cleanser from the popular french brand BcomBio perfectly removed make-up, daily grime, impurities and rinsed really well. However, my skin was left tight, uncomfortable and lacking moisture on multiple occasions. The cleanser is aimed at all skin types but I would definitely not recommend it if your skin is prone to dry patches and dehydration. A tad disappointed about this one!

Neal's Yard Chamomille cleanser (£16.00 for 100g)
This cleanser is designed for sensitive/normal skins and that is generally the skin type I go for during winter or really cold/windy days. It is not a secret that Neal's Yard Remedies is a brand that I often comes back to. I love their products and this cleanser is just another little gem. It was super gentle, rich and creamy, so I often used it as a 2nd cleanser in the evening and removed it with a muslin cloth. It made my skin really soft and moisturised thanks to the Shea butter, glycerin and Chamomille water. Notice the presence of Coconut oil for those who would like to stay clear from it. I would not say that the Chamomille cleanser is the best make-up remover ever but it is definitely one to choose as 2nd cleanser and one just to cocoon the skin very well once you have removed your make-up.

Lyonsleaf natural beauty balm* (£12.95 for 55ml)
Well, I may not be a 100% oil cleansing method fan but let me tell you: this little pot was a true wonder! This waterless and soft balm from the british brand Lyonsleaf contains an expert blend of some truly wonderful and nourishing cold-pressed plant oils such as Babassu ot Macadamia. Delicately scented with some herbaceous and floral essential oils, it also contains a signature ingredient from Lyonsleaf: homegrown Calendula extract.
It removed make-up beautifully when I used it as a first or as a unique cleanser in the evening and let me tell you: my skin was left really smooth, plump, and nourished. I am actually really surprised about how much I like/liked it!

Disappointed by the BcomBio foaming cleanser, happy about the Neal's Yard Chamomille cleanser and adoring the Lyonsleaf natural beauty balm, yes... Number 3 is the winner!

What do you think? Have you tried them? which type of cleansers do you prefer?

16 March 2015

Current face moisturisers

Moisturing is an important beauty step in my routine. I have a soft spot for water-based moisturisers. I don't use a face oil as daytime "moisturiser" since I often feel like my skin needs a more protective texture. The other reason is that I often notice than my skin looks less matte after a few hours after the oil application.
I loved the fantastic day cream from Acure Organics (see review) and would happily repurchase it, but this time I got tempted to try to some other moisturisers.

Gabriel Organics Marine anti-ageing cream * ($35.50 for 60ml)
This USDA certified cream has been my daily treat for a while now and is the first trial of this US natural brand for me. And with its onctuous and milky texture I am pleasantly surprised!
Every morning I simply apply the cream onto a cleansed and toned face. Upon application it feels sligtly greasy (which surprised me a bit for a relatively light cream), but after a couple of minutes the skin becomes completely smooth, hydrated and nicely prepared for make-up - and the slight greasy film disappears!
The marine anti-ageing cream contains glycerin and aloe vera juice, which offers a perfect protection and moisture for normal to dry skins. Also included in the cream is the anti-inflammatory white Willow bark extract, which is known to accelerate the natural exfoliation processes of the skin and help to even out the complexion. Last but not least, another interesting "anti-ageing" ingredient is the algae extract, which is antioxidant and promotes the skin collagen production.
This cream is one of my favorites - it has a lovely texture and a simple yet extremely effective formula. And finally, but not unimportant, it has a lovely discrete scent. Ok, there is one but....I would change the container, which I do not find very handy.

Composition: Aloe vera juice, glycerin, emulsifying wax, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)& maltodextrin, tocopherol, Fucus vesiculosis (Bladderwrack), Salix alba bark (White willow bark) extract, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) extract & Helhianthus annus, xanthan gum, Blue green Algae, Rosehip oil.

Tropic skincare Skin revive * (£20.00 for 50ml)
This nutritive day cream is designed to cushion and cuddle any skin that is lipid-deprived and need a nutritive boost. It has a really smooth texture and feels slightly richer than the one from Gabriel organics. Packed with some of the best plant oils (Rosehip, Macadamia, Avocado) alongside Shea butter, you only a tiny amount to make your skin moisturised and plumped. The packaging is fresh, hygienic and works really well by delivering enough product for the all face. Scent is lightly floral, very pleasant.
This cream is a great choice if you have a very sensitive skin that becomes easily irritated following harsh weather conditions, but could also be very suitable to ageing skins. I have used it most of the winter and was very surprised by its "not too greasy" appearance on the face. However, I wish Tropic skincare would do a lighter version of it as their range of moisturisers seems limited to this one. If you look for a very good moisturiser especially during wintertime, this one is excellent but it would definitely be too rich when weather is slightly warmer.

Conposition: organic Aloe vera juice (Aloe barbadensis leaf juice), golden Jojoba oil (simmondsia chinensis oil), Macadamia oil (Macadamia oil), Rosehip oil (Rosa canine fruit oil), Avocado oil (Persea gratissima oil), Shea butter (Butyrospermum parkii), vegetable glycerin (glycerin), coconut & cassava emulsifier (cetearyl alcohol, cetearyl glucoside), Candelilla wax (euphorbia cerifera wax), Soy lecithin (lecithin), organic grapefruit seed extract (Citrus grandis), vitamin E (tocopherol), Corn sugar gum (xanthan gum), Sea kelp (algae), Echinacea purpurea leaf), Blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium fruit), Raspberry (rubus ideas fruit), Camomille (Calendula officinalis flower), Frankincense (Boswellia carterii oil), Sweet Orange (Citrus aurantium dullness peel oil), Rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens oil), gentle preservative system (potassuim sorbet, sodium benzoate).

Have you tried those brands? What do you use as face moisturiser?

Note: I have contacted both of the companies about their cream INCI list which does not appear really accurate.

Don't forget to check this link if you are a green blogger :-)
Beauty link party on TLV Birdie Blog

12 March 2015

Hawaiian trip with One Self Organics

I started to experiment with natural parfume not long ago and I have to admit that I have been brilliantly surprised by the overall performance in general.
To date, I still enjoy very much Ironwood no1 from R.L. linden & co (review). I also alternate with the nice solid perfume from the Soap and Paper Factory New-York (not reviewed).
Lately, a third one has joined the club: One Self Organics Hawaiian Flower Lei collection*. Created by Capi Edgley, this luxurious 100% natural perfume range has everything to blow you away- just look how beautiful the packaging is!

The stunning Perfume collection set comprises:
  • Hawaiian Flower Lei Perfume oil which is a roll oil (10ml) using certified coconut oil as the base perfume.
  • Hawaiian Flower Lei Perfume balm which is a really nice scented balm (7ml) made of organic hawaiian beeswax and certified coconut oil and featuring the signature scent.
The delicious exotic flowery scent from the Flower lei is just so beautiful and unique bringing an incredible sensation of bien-etre and elegance. It is really different from what I am used to wear. Although the aroma of both perfume samples sounds quite strong and sweet at first, it feels less overpowering once the perfume and the skin fuse all together. And on a more personnal touch, it reminds me so much of a beautiful trip I made to Oahu island a few years ago, a wonderful place to visit and that I highly recommend if you have the opportunity to go!
Spring and Summer would probably be the best seasons to wear Flower Lei perfume oil/balm for me. Having said that, I am really enjoying wearing it now!

The Perfume collection retails at $78.50, which is not cheap. However, considering that those perfumes really last quite a long time and that have some very unique ingredients, I think it is worth the money.

Curious? You can explore more about the incredible luxurious beauty and perfume range from One Self Organics here.

What do you think of exotic natural perfumes? Have you tried One Self organics?

09 March 2015

Luxurious shower treats: meet my selection!

I am a shower person. Yes. I love taking a deep and long shower; perfect occasion to either wake-up and get myself motivated for the day or to just unwind after a busy 12 hours. So you can imagine that I always need to have some top shower products at hand (who does not actually)! Today, I am talking about two little body treasures that really stand out from the crowd: I have used them over the past few weeks and this is what I think!

Lavido Mandarin, Orange and Bergamot intoxicating bodywash * ($21.00 for 250ml)

This truly indulgent body wash is part of the "body and soul series" launched by Lavido which aims to revive senses and reconnect with your innner soul while enjoying a very nice shower! Well, that sounds really nice!
So, what is special about this product? First, it is absolutely extremely uplifting and tangy thanks to the presence of the some of my favorites cold-pressed oils : Mandarin, Orange and Bergamot. This trio works extremely well together, making this shower gel a perfect companion for the morning shower. Also, this bodywash lathers extremely well and my skin is absolutely feeling smooth and cleansed. The detergents used are thought to be mild and gentle. Notice the presence of cocamidopropyl betaine though, which appears to be a common ingredient in the natural beauty. It is a mild detergent refined from coconut oil (so not so natural at the end). It has good foaming properties but have been linked to skin allergy and discomfort- I haven't experienced at all any of these. Voila!
... A lovely feeling of freshness after each shower!

Composition: ammonium cocoyl sulfate, water, cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium cocoamphacetate, sodium lauroyl glutamate, glycerin (vegetable), fragance, sodium chloride, citric acid, sodium benzoate, hydroxypropylmethylcellulose, Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, Chamomilla recutita (Matricaria) flower extract, Citrus Nobilis (Madarin Orange) peel oil, Citrus aurantium (Orange) peel oil, Citrus Aurantium bergamia (Bergamot) fruit oil, alpha isomethyl ionone, citral, citronellol, geraniol, hexy cinnamal, limonene, linalool.

bodhi&birch Mint The bath&shower therapy (£18.00 for 200ml)

The nice and sleek pump packaging houses another shower treasure from bodi&birch- a vivifiant shower gel that is exquisite to use when you are really looking to revive physically and mentally. Burtsing with a nice cocktail of rejuvenating and very resfreshing essential oils (Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Frankincense), my skin not only adores it but can't seem to get enough of it.
Deeply inhaling the scent during a luckewarm shower helps me to gradually unwind and feel rejuvenated thanks the expert blend of aromas. It foams slightly less than Lavido shower gel but that doesn't impair at all its body benefits. I have already praised the Rosemary Chi shower gel a little while ago (see review) and this one just provides equivalent results with a different twist.
This body gel have been a true saviour when I just feel really tired and need a gentle aromatic boost.
... Take a trip to the most aromatic experience!

Composition: aqua (purified water), disodium cocoamphodiacetate (from coconut oil), disodium laureth sulfosuccinate (from coconut oil), coco-glucoside (from coconut oil & fruit sugar), polysorbate 20 (from coconut oil & fruit sugar), Menthe arvensis (peppermint) leaf oil, Boswellia carterii (Frankincense) oil, Eucalyptus globulus (Eucalyptus) leaf oil, Origanum majorana (Marjoram) leaf oil, Mentha spicata (spearmint) leaf oil, Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) leaf oil, Lavandula angustifolia (Lavander) flower oil, Citrus paradisi (Grapefruit) peel oil, lactic acid (from Beet sugar), gluconolactone (from corn), sodium benzoate, citral, eugenol, limonene*, linalool* *natural component of essential oils.

As an overall, my showers have been transformed into an sensationnal and luxurious experiences and I am wondering which other shower gels could compete with those two. Any ideas?