Thursday, October 20, 2016

Feel good in your skin w/Province Apothecary

As you know from my previous Pearlesque Box posts (here's last month's box, as well as the first one I received), this subscription box likes to deliver natural beauty from various locations. The November 2016 box takes you to Toronto, Canada, where you'll find Province Apothecary.

According to the information card in the box, Province Apothecary's founder Julie Clark (pictured above with those familiar blue bottles; this photo is from her website) struggled with allergies and eczema all her life, so she began crafting natural, organic beauty products out of her kitchen. She used her time off from being a costume designer and stylist to experiment with oils, waxes and herbs. She also studied Aromatherapy, Holistic Health and Esthetics in Toronto, where she formed the foundation of her skincare expertise, experimenting with raw materials and natural ingredients. "For Julie, natural beauty goes beyond simply organic and wild-crafted ingredients; natural beauty means a pledge to helping clients feel good in their own skin."

Province Apothecary has long outgrown its kitchen and now can be found on your doorstep in the latest Pearlesque Box, which is filled with five natural, certified organic skincare products to help you feel beautiful in your skin. This cleanser/makeup remover, clay mask, exfoliator, toner and face serum are packed with "high quality, certified organic, biodynamic and wildcrafted ingredients sourced from Canadian provinces. Julie expertly formulates, blends, and packages all products by hand in small batches, ensuring the highest quality skincare for you."

The full-size Moisturizing Cleanser + Make-up Remover with Avocado & Raspberry is meant for all skin types. This combination of sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, evening primrose oil, raspberry seed oil, GMO-free vitamin E and rosemary leaf extract gently removes makeup and excess oil, while hydrating and keeping your skin in balance. It also contains therapeutic essential oils of bergamot, lavender and frankincense, which have a nice calming effect. "Bergamot oil clears congestion. Frankincense tones the skin. Lavender heals blemishes and works as a restorative."

The oils in this particular oil cleanser smell really fresh and lovely. They also do an excellent job of cleansing my skin and removing my makeup. It leaves my skin so soft.

If you are looking for a deeper clean, you're in luck. This box also contains a very generous travel-size Detoxifying + Clarifying Clay Mask with Glacial & Bentonite Clay, which can be used 1-3 times per week to help draw out impurities from the skin, clear pores and calm your complexion. "The unique natural properties of bentonite clay act as a magnet, drawing out impurities from the skin to clear pores + calm the complexion. Glacial clay detoxifies and tightens the skin, reducing the signs of aging. Wild-crafted algae nourishes the skin, regenerates cell growth, and stimulates collagen production. Maple syrup mineralizes the skin and neutralizes free radicals, giving your skin a healthy glow and smooth tone," as stated on the Province Apothecary website.

As you can see, this mask comes in a green powder that can be mixed with honey or water. I've tried both methods. Personally, I would recommend honey or something else that's sweet to help cut the strong fishy smell this product has when wet, most likely due to the algae and marine clay. Although I'm not fond of this scent (at least I know there aren't any added fragrances; this is just the true nature of the ingredients), I will say that it is worth using. When mixed with just water, this mask dries tight on my skin, but once washed away, the results are soft, smooth (it really tackles those fine lines) and clear. When mixed with honey, it never fully dries, adding moisture and leaving you with a gorgeous glow.

Speaking of adding moisture, this travel-size Regenerating + Stimulating Exfoliator with Lavender & Green Tea combines exfoliating and hydration in one simple product. It only contains oat flour, lentil flour, flax seed, lavender, violets and green tea leaf in an exfoliating powder that can be combined with other natural ingredients/products, depending on what works best for your skin and the season you 're in at the moment. "Oatmeal calms, softens and nourishes. Green tea stimulates and rejuvenates, giving you a healthy glow. Lavender calms irritation and heals blemishes."

This product smells quite floral in its powder form, but when wet, it reminds me more of baby cereal in both texture and scent. Although recommended to mix with a liquid first, I prefer to apply it dry to my damp face, rubbing it gently in circular motions for a few minutes. While in contact with my damp skin, this exfoliator softens and absorbs the water on my face. Then, in its wet form, it moisturizes. I call that a "win-win."

When all that cleansing, detoxing and exfoliating is done, it's nice to give my skin a spritz of toner, like the full-size Invigorating + Balancing Toner with Rose & Geranium. "Fragrant organic rose water is naturally soothing and cooling to the skin, while geranium essential oil calms and naturally reduces the appearance of scars," according to the product description.

This toner is light and fresh, and smells heavenly. It also preps my skin for the next step (I have no idea if it really works on scars).

Last, but not least, is the travel-size Rejuvenating + Hydrating Face Serum with Neroli & Frankincense. You only need a little bit of this golden oil to make your skin glow. "It replenishes your skin’s health while hydrating and stimulating skin on a cellular level. High in antioxidants, neroli and frankincense reduce the appearance of fine lines and improve skin tone. Jojoba balances skin’s sebum production, controlling shine and congestion. German chamomile and rose soothe blemishes, redness, and reduce the appearance of scars."

A few tabs of this moisturizing oil goes a long way to add an extra dose of hydration (all the other products are quite hydrating, as well) without causing my skin to break out. It's also magical when it comes to reduces fine lines and wrinkles.

If purchased separately, the total for all five Province Apothecary products in this box is $146. You can get them by subscribing to Pearlesque Box for $39.95 per month (shipping to the U.S. is free). Use the code: RAW15 to get 15% off your first box.

Do you subscribe to Pearlesque Box? Do you use Province Apothecary? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Pearlesque Box sent me these Province Apothecary products
for review. All opinions are my own :)

Monday, October 3, 2016

Commit & Persist w/#terimiyahirabeauty

Teri Miyahira, you read my mind. I don't know how she knew it, but she did. I've been wanting some new makeup brushes (she already teased me with a new No. 02 Medium Multi Brush that I posted on Instagram last week; it's currently available for purchase on her site), as well as a fun purple eye color to add to my makeup collection. You can see in the photo above that my wish was granted in the latest Teri Miyahira Beauty Box (you can find out what was in the previous boxes here, here and here).

Just look at these lovely cruelty-free, vegan makeup brushes with their soft and fluffy Taklon bristles, rose gold aluminum ferrules and white lacquer wooden handles. This 4-piece set includes the No. 07 Angled Brush (for bronzer, blush and highlighter application), No. 09 Eye Pencil Brush (to define the crease, smudge eyeliner and/or apply eyeshadow to the lower lash line), No. 10 Medium Eye Blending Brush (an all-in-one eye lid/crease application and blending tool) and No. 15 Smoky Eyeliner Brush (to smoke out the lower lash line with eyeshadow or apply gel eyeliner to the top lashes); all the tools you need to have fun with the other two items in the box.

Also in the September 2016 Teri Miyahira Beauty Box is this 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free Pressed Powder Blush in Aspire, which comes in this slim and sleek compact that fits in your pocket. It applies beautifully with the No. 07 Angled Brush (don't you love how everything in these boxes are meant to work together?).

It's the perfect pink for fall. It brightens up my face, which is starting to lose its summer glow, and it looks fabulous with that purple eyeshadow I mentioned earlier.

The 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free Pressed Eyeshadow really is a dream, hence the name Dream, and works well with the other three brushes. Personally, I love to apply it on my lash line, using the No. 15 Smoky Eyeliner Brush, for a subtle look that still makes my blue eyes pop.

This is the exact deep, vibrant shade of purple that my eyes have been dreaming about wearing. It's has a slight shimmer that makes my eyes sparkle. It's also buildable, giving you the option to either apply it softly or create a bold look.

Here's a swatch of Dream, applied with the No. 15 Smoky Eyeliner Brush, alongside a No. 07 Angled Brush stroke of Aspire. It's like they were made for each other.

I snapped a quick pic of me wearing Dream on my lash line, as eyeliner. No surprise, I'm also wearing the Aspire blush. It's so pretty.

Did you get this Teri Miyahira Beauty Box? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Although Teri Miyahira sent me this beauty box, all opinions are my own :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Spa day, anyday w/Margc Cherry Daily Facial

Recently, I discovered Margc Cherry on Instagram. It's a 100% natural and chemical-free hair and skin care line, derived from oils, herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables from all around the world. Lucky for me, Margc Cherry sent me a generous sampling of the facial products in this Daily Facial Routine Mini Set, which can be purchased off the site for a very reasonable price. It's a wonderful way to test out six of the products, as well as being able to experience a relaxing and refreshing at-home facial.

I just love how the set includes step-by-step instructions to help walk you through your facial routine, starting with this Lavender Milk Cleanser. It's "a rich non-lathering deep cleanser that will cleanse away makeup and any impurities. Ingredients, such as lavender and yucca root, create a thick milky texture that helps soothe, hydrate and cleanse the skin, without stripping it from its essential oils."

Although entirely plant-based, this cleanser really does have a thick, rich, milky texture that soothes my skin and easily removes my makeup. I simply massage it all over my face, making circular motions for a few minutes. Then, I gently wipe it away with a soft cloth, leaving my skin prepped for the rest of the process. I also enjoy its calming scent.

Once my makeup is removed, it's on to step 2, when exfoliation is in order (once or twice a week). I must say that this face scrub is quite a treat. "Green Tea Lemongrass Face Scrub has a walnut-shell foaming texture that is perfectly designed for home care. Easy to use, this exfoliant eliminates dead ashy skin and stimulates blood circulation."

Only a small amount is needed of this vibrant in both color and aroma face scrub. I adore the smell of lemongrass, which is perfectly paired with the green tea. I like to massage this scrub all over my face and neck, taking full advantage of its scrubbing power and light foaming action. The walnut shell pieces are quite fine, but there's a lot of them, which makes this scrub very effective. It's also easy to wash away with warm, followed by cold water.

Next up are the Mint Cucumber Face Wash and Basil Lavender Rejuvenating Toner. When I'm not doing the complete spa facial experience, I actually like to start the routine with these products, especially since the Mint Cucumber Face Wash seems to be a great match for my skin. It reminds me of 100 Percent Pure's cucumber cleanser with its light cucumber scent, liquid-consistency, and ability to foam and wash away impurities. It definitely keeps my skin fresh and clear with cucumber, spearmint, tea tree and oregano oils.

According to Margc Cherry, the "Basil Lavender Rejuvenating Toner has an exotic and intoxicating aroma that helps suppress anxiety and calm the spirit," and I have to agree. This entire facial line is a feast for the senses, like this toner. I apply it with a cotton round to balance and prep my skin for moisturizer. It does an excellent job of minimizing my pores and toning my skin.

Speaking of moisturizer, the Vitamin C Face Creme and Eye Creme are so thick and creamy, with a light citrus scent. They quickly absorb, even and tone, and make my skin look more alive with a healthy glow. As you know, I'm a bit obsessed with vitamin C at the moment, which seems to combat a lot of my sun damage. These are the perfect ending to this at-home facial experience.

Have you tried any of Margc Cherry's products? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Although Margc Cherry sent me these products, all opinions are my own :)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Travel around the globe to get raw beauty

Back in May, I gave you a sneak peek at June's Pearlesque Box, and today, I'm excited to preview October's box. A little birdie hinted that this box would contain a brand I've been dying to try, and I must admit that this little birdie was right ;)

As you know, I started this blog, as a raw foodie and then transitioned into the green beauty theme. The two go hand in hand, like October's brand. RAW IS EVERYTHING travels around the globe to bring you raw beauty, and you can get a taste of it in the latest Pearlesque Box.

RAW IS EVERYTHING gives you pure, raw, plant-based products to feed your face and leave it looking great. According to the info card inside the box, RAW IS EVERYTHING is "the first line of single-ingredient skincare." The line consists of "four premier facial oils" that are "cold-pressed, unrefined and sourced sustainably from communities around the world. The products are shielded in custom-coated dark glass to protect the oils against sun and heat damage. It is RAW's mission to help women and men find the best single-ingredients for their skin."

The October Pearlesque box may only contain two of those four oils, but keep in mind the story behind them. RAW IS EVERYTHING founder Jessica Assaf, a beauty activist for the past 10 years, has made it her lifelong mission to advocate for safer products and stricter regulations, educate consumers about the importance of product safety, and discover the best safe and effective products. "She has searched the globe to find the highest quality and most powerful ingredients from plants that stand alone. She found oils that have been ancient beauty secrets for centuries, but have never been available to the modern consumer in their purest form."

The first of the two oils found in the October Pearlesque Box is the RAW IS EVERYTHING Facial Moisturizer. It's 100% unrefined, cold-pressed, wild crafted, undiluted, preservative-free, highest grade maracuja oil. "Native to the Amazon and extracted from the passionflower plant, this oil has been used for centuries to hydrate and replenish the skin. Rich in carotenoids, linoleic acid and vitamin C, this oil is known for its rapid absorption that moisturizes, balances and evens skin tone, to help give you a lasting natural glow," as stated on the packaging.

This maracuja oil is described as being "bright yellow in color with a strong citrus woodsy scent, due to its unrefined, whole potency state." The actual color is a bit paler than the description, but beautifully clean and pure. As for the scent, the description is perfection. It has a calming effect while I'm applying it to my skin. My pores just drink it right up, leaving my skin soft and hydrated, not greasy. A little bit goes a long way, so expect this product to last.

The other oil is in a smaller bottle, but it still packs a powerful punch. The RAW IS EVERYTHING Antioxidant Treatment is 100% unrefined, cold-pressed, wild crafted, undiluted, preservative-free, highest grade raspberry seed oil. "Native to Europe, this nourishing oil has been used for centuries by the civilizations of Greece, Rome and Anatolia. Believed to contain one of the highest concentrations of antioxidants found in nature, it helps protect skin against free radicals caused by exposure to sunlight and environmental toxins," as stated on the package. "Its rich bioactive lipid profile allows for rapid and enhanced absorption into the skin, making this rare oil suitable to wear throughout the day."

I just adore this oil's deep golden color that's due to it's unrefined whole-potency state. It automatically reminds me how concentrated and powerful this oil is. A little tab here and there with my fingertips is all I need to brighten and somewhat tighten my skin, and protect it throughout the day. It absorbs extremely well, much like the maracuja oil, and it somehow makes me look more awake.

The best part about both of these two oils is that they don't clog my pores, causing breakouts (yes, this 40-year-old is still prone to breakouts). Personally, I find that the purer an oil is, the more likely my skin stays clear. These definitely pass my clear skin test (although, if your skin is more prone to breakouts than mine, you might want to check out RAW IS EVERYTHING Clear Skin Treatment/Tamanu Oil).

The RAW IS EVERYTHING Facial Moisturizer retails for $55 and the Antioxidant Treatment is $45, which means this box is worth a total of $100. You can get it by subscribing to Pearlesque Box for $39.95 per month (shipping to the US is free). Use the code: RAW15 to get 15% off your first box.

Do you subscribe to Pearlesque Box? Are you a fan of raw beauty? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Pearlesque Box sent me these RAW IS EVERYTHING products for review.
All opinions are my own :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Oh how I adore Nudus lipsticks

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I'm a huge fan of Nudus lipstick (I even posted this lipstick sketch of the nude goddess logo the other day). When asked about my favorite lipstick brand, I happily praise these organic, handcrafted Australian lippies (see my original post about the brand).

Obviously, I was over the moon when Diana, the founder of Nudus, gifted me with a small package, thanking me for all my support. She didn't ask that I post about this, but I just had to shout it from the rooftops.

Inside this small package, I found four lipstick boxes with that familiar logo printed on the front.

I already knew that Diana had sent me a full-size tube of Revenge (this bold red has been out of stock forever; thank goodness it's back), but she also included three more gorgeous shades.

Here's a closer look at that red hot Revenge lipstick. It's a classic red that's definitely a fave.

Out of the 10 shades in the Nudus line, Precious is the only one I had yet to try. I had mentioned to Diana that I was unsure how it would look with my skin tone, but to my surprise, the color is much different than I expected and very easy to wear. Based on product photos and swatches online, I thought it was closer in color to Survivor (a bright, bold pink); however, in person, it's more of a cross between Fairy Tales (a peachy shade) and Halo (a pale pink). It's basically a salmon pink.

The other two colors I received from Diana included two colors I've posted myself wearing on Instagram, although I only had samples at the time. Based on the sketch at the top of this post, you probably figured out that one of these two colors is Just Like Jade. Don't be intimidated by the dark purple color in the tube; it's actually a much softer shade that's similar to 27 Kisses (the color I wear the most); it's just a deeper mauve (more purple and less blush).

Last, but not least, Diana sent me Dirty Diana, a deep berry red with a name that's a tribute to Michael Jackson and his song by the same name. On the site, it's described as a bold confident color to leave your mark on the world, much like this music legend. I know I definitely feel confident when I wear it.

I especially love combining Dirty Diana with Just Like Jade, as you may have seen me do in this recent Instagram post. I've been successful mixing various combinations of Nudus lipsticks to create new shades, and I highly recommend you try it, too.

Before I forget, here are some swatches of the four colors I featured in today's blog post. From top to bottom, you'll see Precious, Revenge, Dirty Diana and Just Like Jade. Which color is your favorite? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

Thanks so much to Diana for sending me these stunning shades :)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Beautycounter beautiful products made safe

As you know, Beautycounter recently launched a limited run of products at Target (more on that in a bit). For some of you, this may be your first exposure to the brand, which bans over 1,500 ingredients with known links to hormone disruption, allergies and cancer from their products.

I first learned about Beautycounter via Emily Schuman of Cupcakes & Cashmere, when I asked her about her favorite natural beauty brand. I later started seeing more and more reps popping up on Instagram. One particular rep, Theresa Hill, was kind enough to send me all these products to try. I'm especially impressed because in addition to the usual skincare sample set, she made up samples from her personal stash and even sent me a full-size hand cream.

Speaking of the hand cream, I'm so glad it's the full-size product, as it is my fave. It smells amazing, very similar to the Coola sunscreen in citrus mimosa that I buy all the time. It's no surprise that this hand cream is also citrus mimosa scent (it also comes in rose neroli), which is created by a combination of orange oil, mandarin orange oil, tangerine oil, lemon oil and mimosa extract.

This hand cream is lightweight, yet it's extremely moisturizing. Shea butter, aloe and vitamin E hydrate and soften hands, quickly absorbing and penetrating deep into your skin. It doesn't just sit on top of your skin until you wash it away like some natural hand creams do. I highly recommend this one.

Although I have used this cream on the rest of my body, Beautycounter does make a Hydrating Body Lotion in Citrus Mimosa, as well as an Enrich Body Butter (and if you are into body oils, there also is a Body Oil in Citrus Rosemary and a Lustro Shimmer Oil; you know how I love shimmer). Theresa sent me a sample of the body lotion, as you can see here. The lotion is sheerer and a bit lighter than the hand cream in both texture and scent. This moisturizing blend of marula, mongongo and safflower seed oil, along with shea and jojoba butters easily glide across your skin and absorb quite nicely. The best part is that a little goes a long way.

Thanks to Theresa for sending me a sample of the Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass, I was able to give my skin an extra treat. It's so pretty and sparkly, with a refreshing and relaxing scent. I can see why this is a best seller. There's actual sugar crystals in a luxurious mixture of nut, seed, citrus and floral oils. These sugar crystals gently scrub and lightly buff your skin, as they dissolve in your warm bath or shower, and the oils leave your skin so soft and silky.

The rest of the samples pertain to the face, although one could be used on other areas of the body that are prone to breakouts. How cute is this little square of the Charcoal Cleansing Bar? It's meant to detoxify and absorb impurities from your skin using the benefits of charcoal, without drying it out. The additions of antioxidant-rich green tea and hydrating coconut oil leave your complexion soft and bright.

I have to admit that I was a bit hesitant to use this bar at first, but was pleasantly surprised with the results. It is quite gentle and helps to clear up any breakouts. The same is true for the Purifying Charcoal Mask, which I used a couple times to draw out whatever the daily cleanser I was using at the time missed. Koalin clay and charcoal draw everything up to the surface, as this mask dries on your face, and then is easily washed away. I felt as though it tightened my skin and that the refreshing peppermint provided a slight tingle, leaving my complexion with a healthy glow.

The cleanser I was testing at the time was in this Essentials Sample Set, which comes in this cute set of sample tubes. It's enough product to really get a feel for the products.

Here's a better look at what's inside the set. There's the Routine Clean Cream Cleanser, Gentle Exfoliator Polishing Cream, Every Day AM Hydrating Cream, Every Night PM Hydrating Cream and the Any Time Eye Cream (I think this is an older version of the set, so the product packaging and names have been updated). To be honest, using all of these products at once caused my skin to break out a bit, but I decided to continue experimenting with the line. It makes my skin look amazing, balanced and youthful, so it was worth giving it a second chance.

From that I discovered, the Routine Clean Cream Cleanser was bit richer than my sensitive, combination skin tends to need, and it didn't give me the deep clean I desired. However, the Gentle Exfoliating Polishing Cream was a nice replacement for the cleanser, as it provided a deeper clean, yet was gentle enough to use daily. I counteracted any breakouts with the occasional use of the charcoal bar and mask. I also applied the hydrating creams very lightly with just my fingertips, so my skin could breathe better.

I will say that I adore the eye cream. It's rich in aloe and coconut oil. The combo of the two, moisturizes, depuffs and softens fine lines around my eyes. It doesn't irritate my eyes, nor does it disturb my makeup.

Now that I'm onto the topic of makeup, Theresa sent me some samples of the foundation and tinted moisturizer. Personally, I prefer to keep my makeup light and natural-looking, so I actually requested samples of the Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer, which is an Allure Magazine 2015 Best of Beauty Award-winner. It certainly lives up to it's reputation, as black currant, peony flower root extract and vitamin C really do help even your skin tone and give you a fresh-faced look. The tint is so light that it's hardly noticeable. It really looks like your skin, only better, and since it is a moisturizer, I found that it worked well as my daily moisturizer, too.

The Tint Skin Hydrating Foundation is a bit heavier than the Dew Skin, but is light when it comes to foundation. It provides buildable sheer-to-medium coverage, and just like the Dew Skin, the Tint Skin also improves the look of your skin by smoothing out fine lines and evening skin tone. It's very similar to the Dew Skin, but with more coverage. I like to use it as a light concealer, as needed.

Here are some swatches of the Dew Skin and Tint Skin shades I received. Dew Skin in No. 2 is at the bottom and No. 3 is at the very top. You can barely see No. 2, while No. 3 completely disappears against my skin. You really have to look carefully to see even a hint of this heavily applied swatch. It's a perfect match for me.

The Tint Skin shades are the four in the center. Theresa sent me samples of the light-medium shades, which include from bottom to the top, Porcelain, Linen, Sand and Honey. Sand and Honey seem to work best on my skin at the moment, since I still have a summer glow.

Now, I'm anxious to try more of the makeup and hope to find something left at Target this weekend (apparently, it's flying off the shelves). From what I understand, it's only a sampling of the product line and some are available in sets and smaller trial sizes. Beautycounter will only be available at Target for a couple months and then you'll need to find a Beautycounter consultant from which to order more. According to Theresa (looks like you already know where to find a consultant), the products at Target will come with a gift with purchase code that you can redeem on her page.

Let me know if you try Beautycounter and if you get any of the sets from Target. You can find me on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Although Beautycounter consultant Theresa Hill sent me these products
for me to try, all opinions are my own.