2 Weeks Using Green Skin Care

Happy 2017 since I haven’t said so already! This year for me is all about health, both mental and physical. I feel a little cheesy because everyone and their mother makes a New Year Resolution to become healthier, but for the first time ever, I feel ready to commit to a resolution. I have spent the last half of 2016 working on my mental health by decluttering, taking a lot of down time, and staying away from stressful things (like the internet). I was becoming overwhelmed with things that I felt like I had to do, and even though I enjoyed many of these things (like posting on my blog or Instagram), it was stressing me out. I wouldn’t say my mental health is at 100% right now, but I do feel ready to shift my focus on to physical health and that includes my beauty routine.

To me, creating a healthier beauty routine starts with removing any unnecessary chemicals and paying attention to the ingredients in your every day products.You might remember I had started in 2016 with some cruelty-free deodorant, which also happened to be fairly chemical-free. This time, I am trying out a chemical-free skin care routine.

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Cocoon Apothecary kindly reached out to me about testing out a few products which I was incredibly excited about. I had heard of this local brand before and already had my eye on a few things. I received their Skin Care Starter Kit which has just about everything you need to start a routine: a cleanser, toner and moisturizer. This kit for normal skin types is all about roses so it smells feminine and luxurious. Each bottle contains 20 mL of product which will last approximately a month. Since I was changing my entire routine, I pulled in a few other bits of skin care so I could stay chemical-free which included a serum, a make up eraser cloth and a mask.

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I stuck to my typical routine and for the first week, I used the Petal Purity Facial Cleanser**. I didn’t have the highest hopes upon looking at the ingredients and seeing coconut oil which is known to break me out but I still wanted to give it a try. It was pretty painful but that is definitely a me thing, and not the fault of this product but I had to switch to a different cleanser for week two. In the seven days I had used it, I found that this cream cleanser that is extremely gentle and makes my skin feel fantastic. It was soft, smooth and supple but it didn’t make my skin feel clean. All of the cream cleansers that I have tried leave traces of make up especially around my eyes and this was no exception (even with the help of my make up eraser copy-cat). Because of those two things, this cleanser simply wasn’t for me.

This set also came with the Rose Dew Facial Toner** which I liked. It contains one ingredient and has a spray applicator that made me quite happy. The rosey smell is a plus compared to your typical toner and it felt exactly like water. It didn’t strip my skin at all, or leave any residue but it helped keep it fresh. This had a much bigger impact then I thought it would since it didn’t irritate my skin at all. It is a great option for the sensitive skin crowd.

The final step in my routine was the Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream**. I must admit that I was a little nervous to use this as a day cream (due to the lack of SPF) or a night cream (as it is thicker in consistency) but it ended up working great. This thick, non-greasy formula sunk into my skin quickly and kept my face hydrated but not shiny in the least. I focused it mainly around my nose, forehead and chin and it seemed to make quite a difference in the redness of my skin.

A slight disclaimer, I did cheat a little bit and use an acne spot treatment on day seven and a different cleanser for week two to repair any initial damage, but otherwise, these are the results. Although the cleanser was a bust when it comes to my skin, I highly recommend trying this trio out yourself especially if you are just trying out chemical-free skin care or are looking for a new routine for your sensitive skin. If you have any cleanser recommendation for me to try on my oily skin, feel free to let me know!

Til next time, ttfn x

Mask Monday: The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask

It’s Mask Monday and I am here with a new mask from the Body Shop. I have been seeing this amongst the beauty community these past few weeks and became a little intrigued. There are 5 new masks in the range but with my skin type, I thought this clay mask would be the most effective. I have never tried any mask from the Body Shop, but these sound like a step up from their previous range of masks as far as ingredients, size and effectiveness.

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask is ideal for acne-prone, oily skin such as mine. There is charcoal which draws out dirt, oil and impurities very effectively – so much so that it seems to draw out all of the moisture from my skin.  With tea tree oil infused in the clay mask, active breakouts are soothed and deflated after the 10-15 minute period. This mask gets tighter than any other mask I have tried, and has some wicked exfoliating particles that make removing it almost painful. For oily skin, I wouldn’t use this mask more than once a week since it is a bit harsh. If your skin is dry, I would stay far away from this product.

This mask is quite thick and a little chunky with particles to help exfoliate. The smell is strong but pleasant like cologne though it doesn’t seem to linger. The Body Shop packaging is sturdy, simple, and gender neutral. One of the great things about this mask is how quickly it dried despite its thickness. I have already made a pretty good dent in the mask so I am curious how long it will last.

With all of that being said, the results are undeniable. My skin is tighter after every use, and incredibly smooth. Pairing this with a deep hydrating moisturizer, serum or sheet mask is your best bet for radiant skin. For $28, you have 3 oz of vegan mask made with fair trade ingredients and no parabens, paraffins, silicone or mineral oils. Compared to several high end masks I have tried, this is the least expensive, but the most natural which is something I appreciate in skincare.


For the price and quality, its worth giving these new masks a try. Have you tried any so far?

 

#Finish5 for June 2016

It’s been another month and I am happy to report that I was able to finish up 3 of the 5 products! I am very excited by how fast I am flying through some of these products because it just means that I get to. Try even more products out for you guys. I hope you’re excited about it too. 

The two products I didn’t finish are definitely on their last legs. The Smashbox Photofinish Primer is one of my favourites and only has a few days worth of product left. I have been opting out of wearing primer this week since I have found a BB cream I have been loving, but I am sure this will be in my Spring empties post (coming soon)!

I have been using the Rimmel Borw This Way in blonde for just about a year now. It is easily the quickest and easiest way to do my brows since it provides a lot of coverage and keeps the brows in place. This is very close to being empty but I think I still may have a month to go with this product. 

It seems that I am quite good at using up my sample sized products. I was able to finish up the Vichy Normaderm Deep Cleansing Gel which incidentally wasn’t the product I planned to use up. Initially, I wanted to use up the toner from this line but the day after posting my #Finish5 for May, I spilled the toner all over the sink. Luckily, this cleanser was comparable in size and I was still able to finish. Both the cleanser and toner didn’t really impress me. I am in love with the Vichy Normaderm Night Detox as you may know so I did have pretty high hopes. They worked but they were no where near the miracle product that the night cream is.

Another product from Vichy would be the Vichy Idealia BB Cream in light. I don’t know if it was this shade or what but I noticed it seemed to really bring out my freckles and dark spots. It didn’t provide much coverage and also felt very cakey with a powder on top. That being said, I did like how light and moisturizing it was when worn by itself. I would wear this on no-make up make up days or if I was heading to the beach for example. It’s not perfect and if I were to recommend an alternative, I would say the Derma E BB Cream works just that much better.

As for the Origins Original Skin Retexturizing mask with Rose Clay, I did really enjoy this. It was a light exfoliating mask that seemed to help draw out oil and dirt as well as exfoliate. I feel it is worth a try if you haven’t already.  

This month, I am focusing on all the major categories: face, eyes, skin, hair and nails. I hope to finish up the Herbal Essences Wild Naturals shampoo and conditioner duo and the Fresh Rose Face Mask. These two are sample sizes and running on empty. The remaining three products are full sized but I think I can make a rather large dent. The Rimmel Scandaleyes eye liner in Nude will be the biggest challenge. The Covergirl Trublend concealer in Light is about half way gone but I love using it on my under eyes as an initial concealer. I am on a bit of a nail art and nail wrap kick right now so before these Sally Hansen nail wraps no longer stick, I want to see if I can get a few wears out of them. 

Wish me luck! I have been thinking about switching this #Finish5 post around and simply pick 5-10 products I plan to focus on using that month. Which format do you prefer?

Til next time, ttfn x  

Skincare & More Haul 2016

First of all, I am so sad to report I broke my streak of buying only cruelty-free products. I don’t know what lead me to believe Bath and Body Works was a cf company but upon my research today, I see that they in fact do sell in China and test when required by law. Sad news and a silly mistake on my part, but regardless, I thought I would show you what I did get at the semi-annual sale.


Bath and Body Works was my go to candle store. Their scents are very fragrant and the candles seriously last. However, this time, I did end up picking up a few more products that I don’t usually buy. First off, we did grab two candles of the same scent. This is the Honolulu Sun candle which literally smells like sunscreen and the beach. It is exactly what I want out of a summer candle and since it was on sale for only $11.50, why not grab two?

I also needed a new hand sanitizer for work and with the 3 for $5 sale, I figured I would grab a few here. I ended up grabbing my favourite scent ever, the Black Cherry Merlot, as well as the Sparkling Limoncello and Noir for men which I know might be odd but it smells like their Black Tie candle which is another fave of mine.

The final 5 things we grabbed I’ve never had before but both Ashlee from Making Up Ashlee and Samantha from Samantha Jane had picked up a few Wallflowers in their hauls so I figured it might be worth a try. Here are the Wall Flowers in the scent Honolulu Sun, Bow Ties and Bourboon, Cucumber Melon and White Sand Beaches. With that, there was one Bunny Wallflower plug in on sale for $5 so we grabbed that too.


If you follow me on snapchat (newkeybeauty), you know I also went for my very first facial at the Truth Beauty Company on Friday. I will have a whole blog post about that coming this week but I did also pick up a few things. You may recall from the Battle of the Brands post I did between Tom’s of Maine and Crystal Deodorant that neither were all that good on days where you might be going the extra mile and sweating your butt off. Liz from Stay Gorgeous LC recommended an alternative in the Schmidts Natural Deodorant in Bergamot + Lime. I was initially avoiding it because it contains coconut oil which tends to break me out but after a bit more research, I figure it is worth a try anyway.

I also noticed they had Hurraw lip balms at the Truth Beauty Company and hearing so much about it from Shannon of Shaaanxo, I decided to pick one up in Earl Grey. This smells AH-MAY-ZIN and works like a dream so hopefully, I can pick up the full line soon. Yes, it feels that nice.

I also grabbed a product that Meg, the facialist used on me as a serum/moisturizer. This is the Pretty Rose and Citrus Purifying Facial Serum which I am planning to use as a cf replacement for my beloved Vichy Normaderm Night Detox. This is supposed to help with oil control while still keeping my skin moisturized and so far so good! I will be testing it for a few days to make sure I don’t break out but if you would like to see a review, let me know!


Full disclosure: I was also sent a few bits of skin care from Nip+Fab and Real Chemistry which I plan to review for you guys. I am honestly so excited to try the Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Night Pads** which I suspect might be a bit of a dupe for the Dr Dennis Gross peel I used about a week ago. Already a pro for this product is that it smells amazing (like grapefruit). I will keep you updated for sure.

I also have two bits from the Dragons Blood range which first off, sounds very intense, but also is supposed to help with brightening, plumping and hydrating the skin. Here I have the Nip+Fab Skin Dragon’s Blood Fix Plumping Serum** and Nip+Fab Skin Dragon’s Blood Fix Plumping Mask**. Nip+ Fab is cruelty free and can be found at Shoppers Drug Mart!

The two products I received from Real Chemistry are peels: one for body and one for face. These are NOT masks, but more like a scrub to help reveal softer, brighter and smoother skin. These are the Real Chemistry Luminous 3-minute peel** and Real Chemistry Luminous 3-minute peel body**. I haven’t really tried anything like this before so I will absolutely let you know how it goes.


Of course, a staple for me is the COLAB Sheer Invisible dry shampoo in Rio which was on sale at Rexall. I again was influenced by Making Up Ashlee and picked up a Flower Beauty Win some, Rouge some cream blush in Pure Petunia. I am a sucker from cream blush and haven’t actually tried anything from Flower beauty before!

As you may have seen in my empties haul a few weeks ago, I ran out of my Reversa Solution for Oily and Acne prone skin** which was fantastic as a toner but I plan to use more for break outs in the future. I also spilled the Vichy Toner I was trying to use up in last months #Finish5 and so I had to pick up another toner. I spotted the Alba Botanica Hawaiian facial Toner which I am so excited to try! Another really exciting find for me was this brush cleaning pad from Danielle Creations. I have already tried this out and it was absolutely worth every cent!

These other two products are actually Roxanne’s but I plan to try them at some point as well. Here is the Skin Blossom Gentle Cleansing Milk and the North American Hemp Co. Smooth Cleanse Smoothing shampoo – both cruelty free and at least 91% organic.

I hope you enjoyed this haul which was very influenced by YouTubers. Let me know what you want to see a review on first. I would love to hear what things you’ve picked up lately.

Til next time, ttfn x

 

$100 Shoppers Haul

I was the lucky winner of the Canadian Beauty Bloggers + #Music Glam giveaway back in February. I know right? I feel like the luckiest lady ever. This prize pack included over $200 worth of skin care, make up, white strips, hair care and a generous gift card for Shoppers. Lets start with what was in the prize pack!




From Olay, there are three Olay Regenerist Advanced Anti-aging skin care items: the cleanser, the moisturizer and cleansing brush. I passed the moisturizer on to my mom who uses this every day but the cleanser and brush are staying with me. I have been using and loving the brush thus far and plan to give the cleanser a go once I am finished the few I have open. From Pantene, I received the Intense Hydration shampoo and conditioner but also the Pantene Air-Spray which I have been loving! From Crest, I have the 3D White whitestrips with the new Flex fit. I find my teeth get extremely sensitive with these so Roxanne graciously took them off my hands.


I don’t have a lot of make up from COVERGIRL but of course, I do already own the COVERGIRL lipstick in Succulent Cherry. I love it but don’t need two! Also from COVERGIRL is the new Plumpify Blast Pro mascara and Trunaked Goldens palette which I haven’t tried yet (honestly, my eyes have been horrible) but I have heard many good things.

 Now, onto the $100 haul. I have been a lot more conscious about what beauty brands are cruelty free and so with this $100 card, I decided to add more to my collection. Directly before this card came, my Shoppers stocked up on NYX but I was a little disappointed in their lack of selection. Never-the-less, I did pick up two things: the NYX HD Concealer in Fair which I have heard SO much about and the NYX Liquid Suede cream lipstick in Stone.

Swatch of NYX Liquid Suede cream lipstick in Stone.

On recommendation from Sarah at workadaybeauty.com, I also picked up the GOSH X-Ceptional Wean Foundation in 11 Porcelain. I recently went through my foundations and discovered I only have two that work for me when I am this pale so ta-da, I picked up another which (first impression) I adore and matches me perfectly.

Swatch of the Annabelle Skinny Brow in Universal Medium (left) and Universal Light (right).
From Marcelle, I picked up an old fave (or three) of the Marcelle Double Precision liquid eye liner. This is super matte and lovely eye liner that I totally recommend. I also decided to finally pick up the Annabelle Skinny Brow liner in Universal Light just to see if it works out better than the Universal Medium.


When I was there, I also needed some nail polish remover and the Quo Nail Polish Remover in Regular and Strengthening. I always forget which of the Quo removers I don’t like so I figured if I got one of each (except the blue/green which I just finished), I would know which one I disliked. As you can tell, I already used up some of the Strengthening remover. And then I went a little nuts with Essence.


I have tried and love and almost used up the Essence Nail Art Express Dry Drops that I have reviewed before but I also needed a new base coat so I also grabbed the Essence Gel Nail Polish Base coat. I have the top coat already to try as well so I am excited to see how these two work together.

I had hopped to pick up the NYX Proof It Waterproof eye shadow base but since it wasn’t at Shoppers, I got I Heart Stage eye shadow base from Essence. I am not sure if this is going to help prolong my eye shadow wear but I thought it was worth a try.

I noticed Essence also had a few new products out so I picked up two of their new Liquid Lipsticks and two of their new highlighters. I have wanted to find some drugstore highlights to try and also different shades so these are the Hidden Stories highlighters in Rose in Wonderland (pink-silver) and Enter Wonderland (purple-silver). On first impression, they are a tad glittery but I want to play around with them more since they are my first cream highlighter experience.

Swatch from L to R: Essence Hidden Stories highlighter in Enter Wonderland, Rose in Wonderland, Essence Liquid Lipstick in Colour Party and Peach Party.

The two liquid lipsticks I kind of love so far. They are super minimal packaging wise which I love/hate, but they wear beautifully. These are Colour Party (pink) and Peach Party (Coral).

That’s my rather large haul for you! I am ultra-excited to try out all of these new beauties. Let me know if you want to see any reviews and I would be happy to do that!

Til next time, ttfn x

January 2016 Favourites & Unfavourites

Hey all! I have been pretty quiet around these parts this 2016 but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been playing with new things and rediscovering old. I am going to start with some exciting news (for me at least) and that is…

I will be joining the YouTube crowd starting as early as next week. I am very excited since YouTube is where I started my beauty obsession and ultimately, it’s where I wanted to end up. My first random favourite is actually the reason I am able to give it a try and that is my new Sandisk SD card. I was having a million and one issues getting my camera to film and tried many different things to troubleshoot my problem including but not limited to trying multiple SD cards (including one I had bought off of Amazon before this but it didn’t work either), upgrading the firmware on my Camera, trying every setting multiple times, watching a good 2+ hours worth of YouTube videos to figure out the different settings and what might be optimal, and then finally, going to Best Buy and picking up this 32GB class 10 baby. Ain’t she lovely?


Not even remotely along the same lines, I have been loving the Jasmine scent from Demeter**. It seems to have mixed reactions but honestly, I just love it. This is a lovely scent for the home or to wear and I can foresee me wearing this quite a bit in the spring. It is floral but very fragrant so blending it with other scents to tone it down might be your best bet and that’s what I do.

For skin care, there have been two major key elements joining my regular routine: serums and sheet masks. I have tried both before but didn’t care about them enough to incorporate them into my daily or even weekly regimen. This time around with my mind a little more open to the possibilities, I started using the many THEFACESHOP sheet masks I ordered on Boxing day. These sheet masks seem to stick to my skin and fit my face shape well. Each mask does actually appear to do something different too which was my first question when I ordered the amazing variety I did. They are a variety of hydrating, plumping, cooling, soothing, and have been a very enjoyable experience thus far with my favourite of them all being the Cucumber sheet mask.

As for serums, I switch daily between the Murad Environmental Shield and Philosophy Time in a Bottle. If I had to pick, I prefer the consistency of the Philosophy serum since it is easier to spread evenly across your skin. My skin is noticeably brighter with both of these under my morning moisturizer and that’s how I like it.


I have an oldie, a goodie and a newie eye product to talk about. For the oldie, I have been using the Annabelle Skinny Brow pencil in Universal Medium every single day. It can’t be beat. Quick, easy, lovely results, a good price, great shade range and cruelty-free to boot. I do think a decent spoolie on the end would make this product that much better but otherwise, it’s perfection.

The Voluminous Miss Manga mascara from L’Oreal is a goodie. I totally changed my mind about it since I used it the first time (what a mess) and have been using it pretty consistently since as early as November for some pretty gorgeous lashes. I don’t like how the wand bends still personally, but the formula and head work much better now for me.

What palette is that? Too Faced The Return to Sexy eye palette that’s what. I generously received for Christmas this 2015. Talk about glitter but I can’t get enough. If all Too Faced eye shadows are like this, sign me up. I will let those colours speak for themselves now…


I hate to basically bash a single brand but I tried to do a full face of make up using exclusively Benefit products and I just can’t. The Bad Gal lash, Watts Up highlighter, Positint, Stay Flawless primer and Fake Up Concealer just totally failed on me. Either they were underwhelming, patchy, not right for my skin tone or felt disgusting. Just to prove it, this is one of the pictures I took before washing it all off and doing something totally different.

You can tell by my face how I feel about this look. Other than that, I also discovered that the Rimmel Stay Matte primer isn’t for me after all. I may have liked it initially but at this point, I feel like my skin looks dry and even cakey when I use this with most if not all foundations in my collection. Their isn’t enough of a benefit to using this primer for me to keep trying so I will be passing it along.

The Essie polish you might have spotted is Parka Perfect and it is a beauty but I can’t get it to work. It will either bubble or wreck before it dries or both so despite the shade, I wont use it again.


Lets finish the post with my favourite face products and the show stopper this month is absolutely Oh Miley! from Marc Jacobs. This creme lipstick is flawless. The packaging is pure luxury but the formula and shade are right on as well. I don’t think I could possibly say enough good things about this lipstick.

I finally pulled out a new primer and foundation to try and discovered they are both winners. The Maybelline Fit Me Matte and Poreless foundation should come as no shock. Everyone seems to love this stuff and I am no exception. It is a good shade for me and sits pretty well on my skin throughout the day. I feel like there is some oxidizing, but nothing out of hand. As for the primer, I feel like the Bare Minerals Prime Time is similar to my beloved Smashbox Photo Finish but a touch more lightweight. It almost seems more water based rather then silicone but it does give that slick finish you get with silicone primers.

I have been using the Jurlique Balancing Rose Water spray throughout the month as a boost of hydration and to bring a little more life to my skin when it’s looking a little on the dead, dry and cakey side. It feels nice and gives my skin a little more dew without going totally shiny. I am not much of a rose-scent lover but this is pretty alright in my books.


I think that’s about it for January. I can tell you now that February will be quite the mix of things if these first 11 days are any indication! Let me know what you’ve been loving lately. More importantly, let me know if I should keep doing this favourites posts!

Til next time, ttfn x

#MaskMonday: St Ives Timeless Skin Mineral Clay Firming Mask

Hey all! I don’t know about you, but I tend to go for the high-end masks. Glamglow is a big one for me but I also have Clinique, Origins, Peter Thomas Roth, Fresh and so on. I have a much harder time finding skin care in shops other than Sephora but back before I started blogging – we’re talking 2014 – I was at Target and saw the St. Ives Timeless Skin Mineral Clay mask and for under $5, I was totally down to give it a go.

  Right off the hop, I was stoked that there was a drugstore clay mask. Clay masks tend to really draw out the dirt in your pores which, I mean, who doesn’t want that? St. Ives is also a brand I trust so this seemed like a great fit.

When I first tried it, I was pretty impressed. It even made it’s way into one of my very first blog posts. The mask goes on pretty thick and I can see the oil pull out of my skin as it dries. It is rather cooling as well – tightening the pores ever so slightly. Speaking of, the mask itself gets ridiculously tight and stiff making it difficult to talk (eat, move, etc).

The removal of this mask is a little hard. The best way I have found to take it off is to hold a hot cloth over the face and then do circular motions until it has completely disappeared. Otherwise, there might be some difficulty and maybe even pain. The sucker stays put, that’s for sure. Does it work? I feel like it is awesome for tightening my skin and pores especially around my cheeks and nose, pulling out oil and keeping my skin semi-exfoliated but as far as taking dirt from my pores, I am not sure. There are better masks out there in that respect (but they are also 10x the price).

  
The bottle is large compared to most masks I have and you don’t need too much to cover your entire face so it lasts quite some time. With all of this in mind, I do like it and will totally continue using it. For anyone looking to shrink their pores and do some minor firming, this will fit very well. I would look elsewhere if your skin is on the dryer side or sensitive side as it does visibly pull out the oil from the skin and irritates a bit during removal. Let me know what you think of the St. Ives face masks! I am interested in trying them all!

Til next time, ttfn x