Natural beauty and well-being

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?

05 January 2015

The Vegan Cuts Beauty box

Unlike many other beauty bloggers, I have not yet subscribed to any natural Beauty boxes existing on the market. There are a few available, and well, choosing the right one at the right price does not sound too easy.
I came across Vegan Cuts, a US company that appears like a big marketplace for all the vegan lovers: clothing, beauty, accessories, food…you can search and find quite a lot! They offer monthly Beauty boxes and healthy Snack boxes...all Vegan too, and needless to say, I saw some pretty amazing deals too!

The beauty box curator Danielle kindly sent me the October beauty box to test (oops, I received it much later due to postal error) and here is what's inside:

Lotus Wei Quiet mind serum
Perfect timing for this serum which aims at relaxing body and mind thanks to a subtle blend of safflower oil with hand-collected flowers essences, harmonising essential oils and gem essence of kyanite. This is my favorite product of the box! Looking foward to trying it!

I got a few skincare samples of this brand. I am still not sure whether this brand is 100% natural, so will have to look it up before I can say more.

Floss Gloss Pro nail lacquer
I got the Picnic colour which is a sort of dark plum/burgundy colour. Perfect for fall/winter. Have yet to try it.

Lovinah coffee bean-illa energizing body scrub
This hand-crafted body scrub contains a pretty awesome blend that is aiming at giving you a brand new and smooth skin. It includes some nice exotic ingredients such as Ethiopian coffee, Malawi raw cane sugar mixed with a touch of Madagascar vanilla beans. I am pretty eager to try it, and although I am not a coffee drinker, I really love the smell of a good coffee aroma!

Overall, I love the idea of receiving a curated natural beauty box at home. Vegan Cuts beauty boxes are a fanstastic way to explore the green beauty world: you test before purchasing full size, you don't overspend and no commitment at all. Retailing at less than 20 dollars/month and free shipping for all US residents (and for an additional 15$, shipping internationally).

What do you think? Do you receive any beauty boxes?
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