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Dear Clean Beauties

I apologise for my mini-break from the blog - but I have been cooking up something very exciting and it has momentarily turned my attention away! 

I promise to be back on board delivering new reviews, clean regimes and how-tos very soon, but in the meantime I would be super-duper-with-a-cherry-on-top grateful if you could please complete a survey for me. It will take less than 2 minutes (promise!) to complete… pretty please?! 

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/5ZXN5T9

xx

Image via http://www.modelinia.com/blog/cara-delevingne-puts-a-trademark-on-it-her-name-that-is/46740

REVIEW: Sans Ceuticals Baobab Regenerating Body Cream

What: A fast-absorbing, creamy body lotion with resurfacing properties 

For: Rapid hydration, and particularly good for smoothing bumpy upper arms

Review: This moisturiser was a surprise. The first time I used it, I was pleased with the warm, comforting fragrance and how quickly it absorbed into skin, but wasn’t blown away. I kept using it - just a pump or two of product to cover each arm in the morning - and then noticed something. The tiny bumps on the tops of my arms, which had never developed into a severe case of keratosis pilaris but which were uneven enough to make me feel slightly self-conscious, were slowly disappearing. The tops of my arms were not only softer, but smoother - something I hadn’t come across before in a moisturiser. A quick Google of the key ingredient ‘baobab’ has revealed that it is great to smooth skin without clogging pores, and encourages regeneration of skin cells.

Continued use of this cream has delivered more even skin texture and skin tone and, as an added bonus, I LOVE the fragrance -  best described as woody yet chocolately, and it lingers on skin throughout the day. The cream is absorbed super rapidly into skin - there’s no waiting around for it to sink in before dressing. It’s not the type of rich buttery cream that you apply after a long bath and lounge about in a slinky robe, but a great one to apply when you only have a few minutes to spare but still want something that delivers results. Particularly perfect to prime arms for summer!

Buy it here

CLEAN REGIME: Britanie Faith from Beauty By Britanie

My name is Britanie Faith and I am a Freelance Photographer, Makeup Artist and Skincare Enthusiast Specializing in Non Toxic Products. Creator of Concoctions. Animal Lover. Tea Addict. I am very passionate about Health, Beauty and Photography. I believe in applying and ingesting the least amount of chemicals possible which has lead me to a path of researching and reviewing many organic and non toxic makeup and skincare products.

I have suffered from chronic pain due to Endometriosis, Gastroparesis, and Fibromyalgia. Having these conditions has increased my passion for helping others deal with their own personal health issues in a positive way. I am constantly researching to find natural ways to heal myself and others through herbs, acupuncture, holistic and Chinese medicine, diet, exercise and meditation. I am committed to sharing my experiences, likes and dislikes in regards to everything from day to day life, health and where i get my inspiration and positive outlook on life from beauty of all kinds.

AM

I like to keep it simple in the morning.  If I know I will be wearing makeup on a specific day then I will especially make sure that my skincare routine that day is extra simple as I want my skin to breathe! 

I like to start off by splashing my face with warm water to open up my pores and then I finish with cold water to close the pores.  I will then apply a light serum. For my morning serum I like something not too heavy. My go-to day serum is Osmia Organics Active Gel Nutrient Serum. I love the feel of this serum and it has never felt too heavy and I find it wears perfectly underneath makeup. Last but not least, I always tone and moisturize.  The product I use works both as a toner and a moisturizer in one. I use Heritage Store Rosewater and Glycerin spray. The rosewater serves as a toner and the glycerin works at retaining moisture in the skin. It’s perfect to use before or after makeup as a setting spray. This is all I will usually apply during the day either on it’s own or underneath my makeup for the day. 

PM

Shower

I prefer to take my showers at night so that I can be more relaxed before bed! I also like to get rid of all the toxins that I accumulated throughout the day. 

I start by dry brushing my skin which helps to detoxify the liver and can help fight against cellulite and also gets rid of any dead skin cells and makes your skin extra soft!!

I only use natural soaps to wash my body and my current favorite find is local Goat Soap. I love how it leaves my skin feeling so soft and doesn’t make me feel itchy or dry afterwards which I find a lot of soaps do. When I get out of the shower I always moisturize my skin with lotion or body oil. My favorite body lotion is the Fragrance-Free Moisturizing Lotion For Sensitive Skin by Nature’s Gate and when I need extra moisture (especially in winter months) I use Osmia Organics Body Oil. 

I have tried a number of shampoos and conditioners and I always seem to go back to my beloved Nature’s Gate Herbal Shampoo and Conditioner. They are super affordable and make my hair feel and look its best. I absolutely love the smell of this stuff too. It makes my shower smell like an herbal garden. I love it!! For an added hair treatment I like to use a hair masque once a week. My all-time favorite hair masque is the Intensive Hair Repair Argan Oil Masque by DermOrganic

Skincare

It is very important to me to keep my skin super hydrated while I sleep so I am more generous with products and usually up the steps to my routine at night.

First step is removing makeup from throughout the day. For this I like to use Organic Jojoba Oil. It works amazingly well at removing all makeup even the toughest waterproof mascara! It’s cheap and works better than most expensive makeup removers I have tried. Next I use some type of facial scrub or face wash. I tend to use Burt’s Bees Citrus Facial Scrub most nights as it is truly my favorite scrub. If my skin is feeling particularly sensitive or I just don’t need that added exfoliant I will use something more gentle like my favorite Rose Clay Facial Soap from Osmia Organics which makes my skin feel velvety soft and thoroughly cleansed. I usually like to use a toner before I apply my serum and moisturizer. Lately at night my favorite toner has been DeVita’s Morrocan Rose Toner. My favorite night time serum is Osmia Organics Facial Calibration Serum which adds lots of moisture on it’s own so I find on most nights I don’t even need to follow with a moisturizer. I use 100% Pure Coffee Bean Eye Cream to help combat dark circles and I always apply my Hurraw! Lip balm in either Coconut or Vanilla before bed!

COLOUR 

I love makeup and I love to do glamorous looks but on a daily basis I do not wear a lot of makeup at all. I like to keep it natural unless it’s a special occasion or I just feel like being fancy with my makeup! On most days I have been wearing Jane Iredale’s Glow Time Full Coverage BB Cream. It is full coverage but doesn’t feel or look too heavy, It gives me the perfect coverage and glow. For dark circles I apply a tiny amount of Vapour Organic Beauty Illusionist Concealer in ‘010’ and it helps to get rid of any darkness under my eyes. It also works well for covering blemishes or redness around the nose or face. I always add a bit of blush to liven up my face! Vapour Organic Beauty in the color ‘Courtesan’ is the perfect rose and adds a beautiful natural flush to my face which I love. I like to add a bit of color to my lips as well and my current favorite lipstick is the color ‘Galaxy’ by Zuzu Luxe. I then apply a tiny bit of Sante Eyeshadow Stick in the color ‘Pearl’ to the inner part of my eyes to add an illuminating effect and help further combat my stubborn dark circles! I always comb and darken my brows up a bit using Sante Brow Pencil and last but not least I apply two coats of Physician’s Formula Organic Wear Jumbo Lash Mascara and voila! I’m ready to go!

EXTRAS

I like to create my own face mask which consists of Indian Healing Clay and Raw Manuka Honey. I mix a tablespoon of the Honey and a teaspoon of the clay and stir it in a tiny bowl. Once it is all melted together I apply it all over my face and neck and leave it on for about 20 minutes. I do this once a week and my skin has never looked and felt clearer! It is super affordable and fun to apply!

I love collecting perfumes and essential oils. My favorite scents are Vanilla, Coconut, Rose, Amber, Sandalwood and Almond. Applying scents to my wrists and neck just make me feel luxurious and the essential oils calm my senses. It gives me a boost of confidence to smell delicious!’

Connect with Britanie:

REVIEW: A Trio of Toners

I’ve never been one for toners. They always seemed superfluous, and I just couldn’t see the point of them. But after trialling this trio of toners, I must atone for my toning distrust.

First up, the Balance Refining Toning Mist from Nourish - a nice refreshing toner that is perfect to spritz over the face on a hot days, and a good way to inject a little extra moisture before applying light moisturiser (brilliant for oilier skin types that still need a little hydration boost). Not to mention a great buy at £8.95. Next up is Aromatherapy Associates Rose Skin Tonic. This is a great one to smooth over skin after cleansing to remove any residue, and noticeably softens skin. The soothing rose fragrance makes it lovely to apply at night, and it strikes just the right balance between refreshing and hydrating skin. And finally, my not-so-secret favourite from Stark Skincare - the White Willow Bark Perfecting Tonic. This is one of those beauty products that is just a pleasure to use, and I’m going to blame it on the fresh, zingy fragrance. It’s like sticking your face into a vat of freshly squeezed orange juice (in a good way). Although probably not the best for super sensitive or reactive skin, it is great for problem skin as the salicylic acid from the white willow bark is gently exfoliating and helps clear congestion. 

So, although still not on my must-have list, these three toners have definitely made their way onto the very-nice-to-have list. Their prepping power means that skin needs less moisturiser or serum (which is particularly good on hot days or under makeup), and it can act as the step in your routine that either peps up or soothes your skin. 

*These products were sent to me as PR samples for my honest review. 

CLEAN EATS: Monday Power Smoothie

I’m not a Monday person. Or Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday person really. But Mondays are particularly bad. The snooze button is usually pressed about 47 times before I actually get up, I then have that internal debate over whether I can be bothered to wash my hair or not (Answer: I can’t), and by the time I’ve showered & dressed I’m usually running about 45 minutes behind. I’ve never been one to skip breakfast, so thankfully I have come up with a quick, super nutritious power smoothie for Monday mornings that is also incredibly delicious.

The quantities are all very rough as it’s usually a matter of me fumbling about in the kitchen madly throwing things into the blender but, thankfully, that approach seems to work with this smoothie and it’s hard to get it wrong. 

Serves two medium sized glasses or one enormous glass

Ingredients:

  • Large handful frozen raspberries
  • Very large handful baby spinach
  • Handful cashew nuts
  • Heaped tablespoon raw cacao
  • Tablespoon maca powder
  • Tablespoon chia seeds
  • Tablespoon coconut oil 
  • Pinch cinnamon 
  • About one and a half cups of water

Put all ingredients in blender. Blend. Drink. Marvel at delicious healthiness. 

Notes:

  • promise you can’t taste the baby spinach at all. 
  • I don’t add ice as the frozen raspberries do a similar job, but if you’re using fresh fruit you might want to add a few cubes to cool it down.
  • You can add any fruit you like really - I’ve also used banana, strawberries, and blueberries in the past. I’ve settled on raspberries as my fruit of choice as I firmly believe that Raspberries Make Everything Better, but you may have a different opinion! 
  • All ingredients are bought from the supermarket, except the raw cacao and maca powder which I bought from Wholefoods House (most health food stores should sell them). 

Many controversial ingredients, such as parabens, phthalates, different preservatives, dyes and synthetic fragrances that have either been shown to be harmful to humans, or are still sitting on the fence about it, are used in abundance in conventional skincare.

But why? Even if they may or may not be harmful, does it mean they are healthful? No. It does not. So, why don’t we stop scratching our heads about whether something will destroy our liver or not, and just go for the natural ingredients that are shown to be healthy and beneficial for skin. There, easy.

Jessica Lafleur, founder and CEO of Stark Skincare Inc

CLEAN REGIME: Jessica from Stark Skincare

Jessica Lafleur is a  girl after my own heart. A self-confessed skincare rebel, she set out to create a brand that is 

… obsessively natural, simple without being boring, luxurious without being over-the-top, loves to educate, and made specifically for the needs of a city-dweller’s skin (and aesthetic).  

Stark Skincare ticks all the boxes: squeaky clean & hard working ingredients (loaded with antioxidants to combat city living) combined with iconic apothecary style packaging, to create products that both look good and do good. The cleansing balm, green tea detox mask and perfecting tonic have firmly established themselves as staples in my own clean regime (full reviews to come), so I am delighted to share with you Jessica’s clean regime:

AM 

'I keep things simple as a general rule of thumb for life in general, and my summertime self care routine follows suit. In fact, it may be the simplest it's ever been, and I love it! First off, I do think that the most important part of any summertime health and beauty regime is drinking a TON of water. In fact, this is an any-season rule.  My cleansing regime consists of Manuka honey that a friend of mine sends from New Zealand. I use it as straight-up cleanser on its own, or I mix it with Stark’s Green Tea Mask, with a drop of water. It’s fabulous, but also a man repellent (sticky mud!) I do that 2-3 times a week in hot weather which keeps me completely pimple-free. Next, I’ve been using Yes to Carrots Nourishing Shampoo for some time, and loved it up until recently. Just as I was taking these pictures, my hair was really acting up and my scalp was ITCHY, so clearly I needed to make some changes. That’s where the Savon D’Alep comes in…. but we’ll get to that!  I also try to dry brush several times a week before showering, which leaves my skin soft, smooth and a healthy I swear I just exercisedpink. I brush towards my heart at all times to encourage good circulation.

PM

I use my Grapefruit Cleanse + Hydrate Balm by my company Stark morning and night, but ESPECIALLY at night, as it gently removes all manner of city gunk and grime and makeup off my face. Also, I like to add a little to my hair for the fresh scent, and a few extra dabs on any bits of skin that are quite dry. It’s multi-purpose but also just feels really indulgent, so I love that (that’s why I made it!). It also gives skin a nice glow.

The Savon D’Alep, which I am caught kissing in this picture (you guys do that too, right?) is a staple for me. I found this for a steal at a health food store, and it comes from Syria, via France. Alleppo soap is a Castille soap made of Olive and Laurel oil, and in this case Argan as well. I LOVE it. I had first used this type of soap in the  Middle East, but in bar form, and loved how rustic it smells and feels. It leaves your skin feeling clean, a little goes a long way, and what’s best, my hair absolutely adores it. So yes, I use the same soap on my body (mostly feet and parts I want extra clean since I don’t feel I need soap all over my body….too drying!) AND my hair. It’s liquid, so it’s not too, you know, awkward or anything. I no longer use conditioner, which my fine wavy hair seems to agree with. That slimy slick feeling that most conditioners give my hair just seems to not do it any justice.

My coconut oil. My love! I use this same brand (but NOT the same jar!) for both cooking and for my body/hair. This is a local Quebecois brand, although I assume the coconuts are not from around here, called Maison d’Orphée, which smells, tastes and absorbs like a dream. This one is organic, unrefined and virgin, which is super important if you want to use your coconut oil for your body. Actually, this is important for cooking, too. The refined stuff is garbage, frankly.  I use this as a night time hair conditioner, as my body oil, as a massage oil, as a mouth rinse (yup! Look it up!) and pretty much anything else that strikes my fancy.

EXTRAS

 

The fun stuff. On my face, before I head out into the world, I use 2 drops of Stark’s Cypress Purity + Defense Oil, which helps my skin defend itself against environmental damage. I also use Organic Wear tinted moisturizer and their mascara, which is the easiest clean makeup brand to find in Montreal. For the price, it’s good. I love love love love Vapour Organics. It’s what makeup should be, to a T. I use their blush called Torch, and it’s easy to apply and feels nice on skin. I can’t stand makeup that feels bad, and since I’m not used to wearing it (yes, almost 31… still not used to it!), I love that I can apply this easily and forget it’s there, and it makes me look fresh. Also, the ingredients are phenomenal. I also love my eyelash curler. This is a cheap one, but now that I know that I love them and how much of a difference curled eyelashes make, I will invest in a fancy one. I also use Hurraw’s Black Cherry Tinted Lip Balm, as it adds just a little gloss and enough colour to make me happy’.