Natural beauty and well-being

28 April 2015

My evening beauty serum: the Andalou Naturals Revitalize Serum

Days are so much longer, flowers are in almost full blossom (looking foward to enjoy the views of amazing dutch tulip fields), yes: the Spring season is here!
Once the weather is becoming more or less pleasant (yes...talking about the versatility of the dutch weather here!) I tend to opt for water-based skincare products. Don't get me wrong, I still like using face oils, especially in the evening (currently finishing the Sweet Orange balancing face serum from Jacq's Organics- see review here), but I think my skin needs something "lighter".
I bought the Andalou Naturals Fruit Stem Cell Revitalize Serum (alongside a few other goodies) and here is what I think about this little skin treat.


Product Name: Fruit Stem Cell Revitalize Serum
For: drying skins
Texture: ultra-light cream
Certified: no
Price: $24.95 for 1oz (30ml)

My opinion

With its impressive formula, the Fruit Stem Cell Revitalize serum seems to be really talented in combatting dull-looking complexion by calming and reviving the skin. Using Aloe vera juice as a base, the serum is packed with a few very interesting ingredients:
- Moisturising stars include glycerin and hyaluronic acid in addition to olive squalane.
- Anti-oxidant stars involve the bioactive 8 berry complex, a powerful blend of some really great berry extracts such as Goji, Acai berry or Bilberry. In addition, you can also find the popular grape extract Resveratrol, a polyphenol alongside Co-enzyme Q10 (both have very interesting anti-inflammatory properties).
Also very attractive is the really innovative and apparently results-driven fruit stem cells technology which seems to be at the core of all Andalou Naturals products: I still need to research a bit more about the benefits and the relevance of this technology (I initially picked that serum for its excellent composition rather than for the presence of Apple and Grape fruit stem cells).

Moving on to the packaging: yes, it is awesome! light (made of 100% BPA free plastic... although glass would be a "greenier" option) and handy (nice pump bottle). And the cherry on the cake: one pump delivers the perfect amount to cover your entire face. Again, working very well!

Absolutely not greasy at all, the serum absorbs easily and barely leaves any residue on the skin. It just feels like a gentle velvety caress ready to nurture and stimulate some of the important skin repairing functions. I generally only apply it in the evening. The only reason why I would not use in the morning is the presence of Orange essential oil (which is phototoxic and may induce skin sensitivity under UV exposure).

Scentwise, the serum is a bit sweet and fruity...really berry-like and although I tend to prefer something fresher, I am quickly falling in love with this summery aroma.

Retailing at around $25.00 (for less than 35ml), the price appears to be a little steep for the contenance (yes, I just wish the bottle was bigger!). Having said that, I am still really happy about my purchase and I would definitely recommend this serum to anyone looking for an effective skin booster.

 ....a full anti-oxidant splash to the skin!

++  super anti-oxidant packed serum
- contenance a bit small

My overall grade: 8.5/10  

Composition: Aloe Barbadensis juice*, lauric acid, cetearyl alcohol, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry) juice, vegetable glycerin, fruit stem cells (Malus domestsica, Solar vitis) and bioactive 8 berry complex*, resveratrol, ubiquinone (Co Q10), magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (Vitamin C), hyaluronic acid, olive squalane, hydrolyzed Myrtus communis (Myrtle) extract, Lycium barbarum (Goji) glycopeptide, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil*, tocopherol (Vitamin E), glyceryl monolaurate, Vitis vinifera (Grape seed) polyphenols, Borago officinalis (Borage), Rosa canina (Rosehip), Linum usitatissimum (Flax), Oenothera biennis (Evening Primrose) and Hippophae rhamnoides (Sea Buckthorn) oils*, Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) butter*, Aspalathus linearis (Rooibos), Hibiscus sabdariffa and Camelia Sinensis (White Tea) extracts*, Laminaria digitata (Kelp) extract, allantoin, cetyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, Cyamopsis tetragonolobus (guar) gum*, phenethyl alcohol, ethylhexylglycerin, Citrus Aurantium dulcis (Orange oil).

Get it here.
What do you think? Have you tried this serum?
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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?
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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?
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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?
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