A green smoothie for your hair!

Greetings to all!

It’s been a while since I last posted… but here I am!

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I’m a fan of Graydon Moffat, creator and founder of Canada’s all-natural skincare brand, Clinical Luxury.  She was in my neck of the woods on Father’s Day (June 19th) weekend, so I had the immense privilege of meeting her (and hugging her!!!).  She is absolutely amazing, extremely smart and she can dissect a food or beauty related product like nobody’s business! I had such a blast with her; we obviously chatted about her brand. There isn’t a product in her entire line that I don’t gush over! It’s so hard to pick a favorite, it seems unfair somehow, like picking a favorite child!!

Now, in my last post, I mentioned my hair transition from relaxed (chemically straightened) to natural (my God-given hair), which is tightly curled, kinky and coily. So, let’s talk about my hair’s new best friend, Clinical Luxury’s  Hair Smoothie* . I keep reaching for it, I’ll find any excuse just to put some in my hair!

 

A treat for your hair and your senses!

Essentially, the Hair Smoothie, which has the color green (of course!) is nutrition for your hair and scalp in the form of a detangler/conditioner. It’s packed with ingredients that keeps your locks healthy. It works amazingly for ALL hair types, even for my tight kinky curls and coils. My hair is also extremely damaged, weak and dry, but this gem is bringing LIFE to it !

Here’s what makes the Hair Smoothie SO great for your hair…

As you may have guessed by the name of the product, it is to your hair what a green smoothie is to your body.

Let’s pretend we’re creating our very own green smoothie, what do we need to make it as healthy as possible? First, we need the usual suspects (fruit and vegetables), then the superfoods and we finish with the add-ons (they make the smoothie so much better). Now, let’s make a hair smoothie!

  • The star ingredient of this product is…drum roll, please: the broccoli seed oil (also found in one of my favorite facial cream, The Green Cream, another hit from Clinical Luxury)! There’s hope for you, if you used to toss your broccoli on the side of the plate! We all know that dark leafy greens like broccoli provide lots of vitamins and when consumed as part of a healthy diet.  Broccoli seed oil, applied on hair,  promotes hair growth while strengthening the hair follicles. Now, listen up ladies! We all want healthy shiny hair, right?! Well, broccoli seed oil naturally imparts sheen and luster that is similar to the one silicones give (try to stear clear of those, especially the non-solubles ones!). However, the latter coats your hair shaft, only giving you the illusion that it’s healthy and shiny, while weighing down your hair. As for the former, it actually feeds your hair, leaving it smooth without casting harmful chemicals. Let’s not forget the jojoba, coconut and sunflower seed oils who assist in conditioning and protecting the hair by sealing in the moisture.

 

  • Matcha, known to be one of the most powerful green tea, is packed with antioxidants and polyphenols. It also has Vitamin B which, applied to the scalp and hair, translates in panthenol, good for strengthening hair and repairing split ends. Chlorophyll, cleanses and detoxifies, stimulating blood circulation to the scalp, thus allowing oxygen flow to the follicles. Some even say it slows the progression of grey hair.

 

  • A beautiful selection of essential oils, such as rosemary, parsley, thyme and sage, stimulate the scalp, as well as encourage hair growth. Thanks to these essential oils, a fresh herbal scent lingers every time I use it! Full disclosure? I sometimes use it as a hand lotion!! (I’m impossible!)
The lavishing Hair Smoothie by Clinical Luxury by Nature

The lavishing Hair Smoothie by Clinical Luxury

Let me count the ways!

Clinical Luxury defines the Hair Smoothie as a “detangler/conditioner“.  Oh, it is SO much more! Ok, so, using it as a hand cream may not be wise, I admit! Still, there are many ways to use it,  depending on your hair’s needs.

5 ways (and counting!) to use the Hair Smoothie…

  • Co-wash or cleansing conditioner (If, like me, you have dry hair and scalp, a co-wash can be a great alternative to a shampoo.  However, keep in mind that clean hair promotes healthy hair, and the sure way to achieve that is through shampooing regularly, preferably with sulfate free shampoos. I alternate between co-washing and shampooing);
  • Detangler/Conditioner (it gives a fair amount of slip, free of silicones, but if you have very texturized coarse hair, you might need something heavier, with butters in it);
  • Leave-In treatment (I have thin/fine hair, its lightweight consistency makes it an ideal leave-in for me);
  • Deep conditioner (I like dense deep conditioner, so I add a bit of castor oil, after 30 minutes with heating cap, it gives me amazing results, the heat allows the smoothie to penetrate into the hair shaft);
  • Moisturizer (on damp or dry hair, followed by a lightweight oil, such as jojoba, argan or olive oil to seal in moisture. It leaves no greasy residue or white cast on the hair).

 

Ingredients: purified water (aqua), distearoylethyl dimonium chloride, coco-caprylate, polyglyceryl-2 dipolyhydroxystearate, vegetable glycerin, cetearyl alcohol, hydrolyzed jojoba esters, jojoba esters, lauryl glucoside, glycerin, broccoli (brassica oleracea italica) seed oil, coconut (cocos nucifera) oil,sunflower (helianthus annuus) seed oil, olive (olea europaea) fruit oil,matcha (camellia sinensis leaf) green tea, vitamin e (tocopherol), glyceryl caprylate, glyceryl undecylenate, citric acid, chlorophyll, parsley (carum petroselinum) oil, sage (salvia sclarea) oil, rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) oil,thyme (thymus vulgaris) oil, lemon (citrus medica limonum) oil and nothing else!

Price: 24$ CAD/240 ml (shown in picture) ; 55$ CAD/ 1 litre

Final thought…

The Hair Smoothie is definitely an essential and a staple in my hair care regimen. Using it has made my detangling session a breeze. Also, I’ve noticed less shedding and breakage. I do have many other conditioners, but for some reason, I always reach for my beloved Hair Smoothie. If it ain’t broke…  I just trust that my hair benefits from its regular use, especially with such great botanical ingredients. My main goal is to achieve healthy hair, and healthy hair grows! So, move over, Rapunzel !

Please, share any thoughts or comments below. If you find other ways to use the Hair Smoothie, please let me know!

Blessings,

Arabesque xo

*gifted sample

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A natural hair journey begins: I’m using Briogeo!

Greetings!

Now, ladies, we all wear our hair like a crown.  We take pride in it…as we should! I’m excited about this review because it marks the beginning of my own “natural hair journey”. Read on if you want to find out…

Why use Briogeo?

Briogeo (pronounced “bree-o geo”) is a modern, eco-chic, socially and environmentally responsible hair care brand for today’s men and women, inclusive of ALL hair types AND textures. What drew me to Briogeo is the encouragement to embrace one’s hair, whether it’s curly or straight, and regardless of what stereotypes society throws at us. I love to support brands that promote and celebrate diversity. So, whether you’re blue-eyed straight blond hair or a curly/coily gal like me, there’s a product for any and every one of us at Briogeo! Founder Nancy Twine, created her brand inspired by her grandmother’s natural concoctions.  Briogeo also understands that natural does not mean bland and boring, so the brand set out to harness the most potent and nourishing ingredients found in nature to create hair products that would rival any mainstream hair care line.  Mission accomplished! All Briogeo hair products are now sold at Sephora stores nationwide.

BrioGeo set modified

From L-to-R: Blossom and Bloom Conditioner, Rosarco Oil, Be Gentle, Be Kind shampoo and Don’t Despair Repair deep conditoner

 

A natural hair journey begins…

  • Be Gentle, Be Kind, Green Tea Shampoo

Issue: very dry scalp, itchiness and over-processed hair

Solution: Be gentle, Be Kind, Be Gentle, Green Tea Shampoo

I hate to say it, but over the years, I have damaged my hair… and prior to testing Briogeo, I was still using mainstream hair care products (shame on me!) … and worse, I was still chemically straightening my hair (Yikes!). It is while testing Briogeo hair products that I decided to unburden myself and free my hair of all chemicals. Yes, I’m going natural! No more relaxers, no more heat, I’m embracing the hair I was born with. I thought: “I’m eating healthy, using mostly natural skincare products, why not go all the way and extend to my hair”. It didn’t make sense to use natural hair care but then still using harsh chemicals to modify my God-given hair.  So, I’m now in transition (i.e. I’m not retouching my new roots with chemical straighteners). In general, but especially when transitioning, it’s vital to use a sulfate-free shampoo, such as the Be gentle, be kind, Green tea shampoo*. The formula is gentle on hair but tough enough to get rid of styling products build-up as well as grime. If you have a dry scalp, a sulfate-free shampoo is a must. Sulfates (aka S.L.S. sodium lauryl sulfate) are detergents, they rid your scalp and hair of their natural moisture which can lead to hair loss, as well as scalp issues like redness, itchiness and psoriasis. I’ve been thoroughly testing this shampoo for months now, I can testify to its nurturing benefits.  The smell is very pleasant, not overpowering, it smells like Spring, light and refreshing. Initially, I didn’t really care for the watery consistency, because I was used to the sudsy, abrasive, old-school shampoos with rich lather. It still lathers, but not as much, and that’s ok, even if, at first, I didn’t “feel” like it cleansed my scalp. However, after several uses, my hair grew to love the formula. Trust me, gentle is better!  We have to remember that scalp is skin, so it needs the same care as our face and body. Other shampoos always left my hair feeling dry and brittle (you know that squeaky clean feel? Yeah, it only means you’ve stripped your hair of its natural oils). This shampoo leaves my hair clean,  feeling soft and manageable. The star ingredients are green tea, for a good dose of antioxidants, avocado oil for shine and conditioning, as well as aloe vera for nourishment and soothing of the scalp. My hair was very damaged, but I started to see improvement after a couple of weeks.

Ingredients:Water (Aqua), Lauramidopropyl Betaine (from coconut oil), Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine (from coconut oil), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate (from coconut oil), Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate (from coconut oil), Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate (from coconut oil), Sodium Lauroyl Sarcosinate (from natural amino acids), Glycerin (from coconut oil), Sodium C14-16 Olefin Sulfonate (from coconut oil), Polysorbate 80 (from vegetable fatty acid), Soyamidopropyldimethylamine Oxide (from soybean oil), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Seed Extract, Elaeis Guineensis (Palm) Fruit Extract, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Chitosan Succinamide (vegetable derived), Panthenyl Hydroxypropyl Steardimonium Chloride (from vitamin B), Panthenol (ProVitamin B5), Polyquaternium-7, Polyquaternium 71, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Extract, Bambusa Vulgaris (Bamboo) Extract, Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate (from coconut oil), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Cymbopogon Flexuosus (Lemongrass) Extract, Carica (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Dehydroacetic Acid (Ecocert), Benzyl Alcohol (Ecocert), Citric Acid.

Price: 19$ USD at Sephora stores

BrioGeo poo and cond

Be Gentle, Be Kind Shampoo and Blossom & Bloom conditioner

 

  • Blossom & Bloom Ginseng+Biotin Volumizing Conditioner

Issue: thin and limpy hair, lifeless strands, flat hair

Solution: Blossom & Bloom Ginseng+Biotin Volumizing Conditioner

I used to skip the conditioning part. It turns out, hair needs to be conditioned after each wash to retain moisture and protect the hair. I usually don’t expect miracles when it comes to hair products, I find some of the claims to be exaggerated and bogus. However, the Blossom & Bloom Volumizing Conditioner*  pumps up the volume, thanks to maltodextrin, a natural sugar starch that envelops the hair, so the hair appears fuller without being sticky or weighed down. Ginger supports blood flow to the scalp and biotin strengthens the hair. The best part about this conditioner is that it makes detangling my hair a breeze, therefore reducing breakage and shedding. Because I’m transitioning, my roots are curly/coily and the relaxed parts are straight. But this product provides a great slip, so the detangling practically does itself. It also has a good balance of moisture (aloe vera juice, rosehip and argan oil) as well as protein (hydrolyzed wheat protein) which my hair needs. I can feel my hair getting healthier and nourished as I condition it. I’m expecting more hair growth as I continue using the Briogeo products.

Ingredients: Water, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Alcohol (vegetable derived), Brassicyl Isoleucinate Esylate (plant derived), Brassica Alcohol (plant derived), Propanediol (corn derived), Cetrimonium Chloride (vegetable derived), Cetyl Esters (coconut derived), Ethyltrimonium Chloride Methacrylate/Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein Copolymer, Isopropyl Myristate (vegetable derived), Biotin, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Fruit Oil, Argania Spinosa (Argan) Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Panthenol (ProVitamin B5), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Maltodextrin (starch derived), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Zingiber Officinale (Ginger) Root Oil, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride (natural guar gum), Lauryl Pyrrolidone (coconut derived), Acrylic Styrene Copolymer, Citric Acid, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol.

Price: 23$ USD

To Be Continued…

For me, the most important, through my hair journey, is to have healthy hair and scalp. Over the years, my hair has gotten so thin and limpy. When I started testing the Briogeo’s shampoo and conditioner, my hair was straight (because of the chemical straightener). Now, I have new growth that’s coily. Clearly, I’ll have to adjust my hair regimen to fit my its needs. I absolutely love the fact that BrioGeo has an understanding of all texturized hair and that it can provide hair care for all of us. Stay tuned for more reviews on Briogeo, I’ll review their deep conditioner and finish oil next. Then,  I intend to use their products suited for curls (Curl Charisma line). I’m really loving how my hair reacts to their products. I’ll keep you posted on my hair journey!

Have you tried any of the Briogeo hair care products? Let me know what you think, please!

Also, if your hair is recovering from damage, I’d love to know your comments, experiences and tips. Thank You!

Until next time,

Alex xo

Note: you can also find all BrioGeo on their website:  www.briogeohair.com 

*Gifted samples

No Affiliate links.

Brand Spotlight: Mahalo Skin care

Greetings Beauties!

February celebrates love and I really wanted to pay tribute to a beloved brand of mine that reminds us to honor the skin we’re in! Ladies and gents, I give you the all natural, luxurious, cult-favorite brand, MAHALO !

To me, Mahalo is a true homage to love and to life; it is a celebration of our skin and a manifestation of how we should treat it. Maryna Bundyuk, founder and creator of the brand, is such a charismatic, passionate woman who has poured her heart and soul into this brand. Her reverence for life, nature (hello beautiful bamboo packaging!) and people are deeply reflected in Mahalo.

Maryna of Mahalo in lab

Maryna in her lab filling Vacation Glow bottles. Golden! Photo credits: Maryna Bundyuk

Her brand is the result of a labor of love, it is an expression of self-love to be carried out through skincare rituals.  Mahalo goes beyond skincare by spreading the inspiring  and powerful message of GRATITUDE ( Mahalo means “gratitude” in Hawaiian).  For that reason (and of course, for the gazillion skincare benefits), this brand is one of my go-to’s.  In a world where beauty and skincare issues are considered superficial, I find it so refreshing that Mahalo sparks such a profound sentiment. I really believe in practicing gratitude every day, no matter what the circumstances. It helps me focus on the positive and move forward.  So, what does gratitude have to do with beauty, you ask? I believe true beauty starts from within, with not only what we eat, but with cultivating positive thoughts, moral values and constructive behaviors.

 

My Mahalo Staples

  • Vitality Elixir Rejuvenated Serum
MAHALO duo Pic Monkey

For maximal hydration, I layer the Vitality Elixir serum and the balm.

This serum is one of my favorites.  For my dry skin, I find it has the right consistency.  In the winter, I use day and night.  The Vitality Elixir Rejuvenated Serum* gives me the skin I’ve always dreamed of;  the “I woke up like this” skin! I even use it around my eyes. Ever since I started to use it, I’ve noticed that I need less makeup. Before using it, the skin on my lower face was very dry, rough and looked dull. After consistent use, my skin is deeply moisturized, less itchy and back to its normal state. This serum is truly a powerhouse, and if anti-aging is a concern of yours, this is what you need to try. Let’s talk ingredients, shall we? If you’re looking for high-quality ingredients, look no further. Tamanu oil is known for being restorative with anti-inflammatory benefits.  Then, we have the greatest Omega 3 source in chia seeds, not to mention Sea Buckthorn oil; one of the highest source of vitamin C. Another skin superfood included in this serum is turmeric, a golden plant that treats acne and skin inflammation. The scent of the serum is a bit nutty but I don’t mind it at all.  My skin drinks it, so it stays hydrated and well fed.

Ingredients: calophyllum inophyllum (Polynesian tamanu)*, salvia hispanica (chia)**, aleurite moluccans (kukui)*, nigella sativa (black cumin)**, daucus carota (carrot seed)**, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn)**, curcuma longa (turmeric)**, helichrysum italicum, pelargonium graveolens (geranium), non-gmo mixed tocopherols, ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10)
*Clean ingredients: organic + local and/or wild harvested (when available)
**Organic Supercritical Co2

Price: 110$ USD/30ml/1oz

 

  • Mahalo Balm

If you know me, you know I’m all about the balms! I have very dry skin, and the cold weather makes it worse. The Mahalo Balm* is THE moisturizing,  healing balm everyone needs in their beauty cabinet, no matter what your skin type is.

Maryna in her lab filling bottles of Vacation Glow.

It’s one of my daily essentials, the kind you need when stranded on a deserted island! It’s so multi-purpose:  I use it on my face, on body scars, under my eyes, on any dry spots, on my chapped and cracked lips, in my hair, to tame my eyebrows, etc. On colder days, I’ve tried it many times under makeup, and it actually gives me dewy skin, no greasy cheeks. It protects my skin and gives me maximum moisture when I layer it over the Vitality Serum. When my skin is completely dehydrated or in need of major TLC, I’ll use it as an overnight mask (just a thin layer, don’t overdo it). I wake up with plumped and deeply moisturized skin. I find that it retains moisture, so I don’t have to re-apply moisturizer or toners during the day.  In addition to turmeric, which gives it the gorgeous bright orange color, the Mahalo Balm has avocado and grapeseed butters, macadamia nut, carrot and rosehip oils. The exotic scent of lavender, geranium and Hawaiian sandalwood will make you think you’re in paradise! For me, this balm is a necessity, it does it all!

Ingredients:  macadamia integrifolia (macadamia) oil*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil*, persea gratissima (avocado) butter*, theobroma cacao (cocoa) butter*, vitis vinifera (grapeseed) butter*, calophyllum inophyllum (tamanu) oil*, cera alba (beeswax)*, rosa rubiginosa (rosehip) oil*, prunus amygdalus dulci (sweet almond) oil*, azadirachta indica (neem) oil*, aleurite moluccans (kukui) oil, calendula officinalis (marigold) flower*, hibiscus sabdariffa (hibiscus) flower*, symphytum officinale (comfrey) leaf*, hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn) supercritical oil*, daucus carota (carrot) supercritical oil*, tocopherol (vitamin e), curcuma longa (turmeric) supercritical extract*, lavandula augustifolium (lavender) flower oil*, pelargonium graveolens (geranium) flower oil*, santalum paniculatum (Hawaiian sandalwood) oil*

Price: 72$ USD/ 50ml

Final thought…

Mahalo Care evokes sophistication and embodies the true character of eco-chic beauty. What are your thoughts about this gorgeous brand? Let me know what are your Mahalo staples!

Until next time,

Arabesque xo

*Gifted sample

No Affiliate links

 

Must-haves for Fall!

Greetings, beauties!

Fall is the season of change and transition. The days get shorter, the leaves start to change colors…and it gets colder!  But what does that mean for your skin? Do lackluster skin, low levels of moisture and cracked lips sound familiar? Fret not, I got you covered with some great products you’ll need this season.Fall essentials picmonkey

 

Undo sun damage

Best post-summer care. After all the excesses of summer (sunburns due to sun worshiping!), it’s time to get your skin into rehab and give it the nurturing it yearns for. I Kahina brightening serum pic monkeylove using Kahina Giving Beauty‘s Kahina Giving Beauty Brightening serum*,  if you give it time and are consistent with your routine, it will help fade discoloration and hyperpigmentation, which will in turn even out your skin tone. I did notice a slight change around my jaw, where it was darker.  If you have acne scars, this will help you tremendously. I love the silky texture of this serum, it absorbs fast and leaves your skin feeling velvety . This argan oil based serum also protects against future environmental aggressors (thanks to the antioxidants blend) and lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  If you’re familiar with Kahina Giving Beauty, you know it’s a powerhouse and you can’t miss, whatever the product. This brightening serum is a hit!

Ingredients:  aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice*, water/aqua/eau, argania spinosa (argan) oil*, undaria pinnatifida extract, lactobacillus ferment, glycerin*, pancratium maritimum extract, oryza sativa (rice) seed extract*, spirulina platensis (algae) extract*, butyrospermum parkii (shea) nut butter*, sodium hyaluronate, diglycerin, pinus pinaster, cetearyl glucoside, rosa damascena (rose) flower oil*, pelargonium graveolens (geranium) leaf/flower oil*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*, santalum spicatum (sandalwood) wood oil, tanacetum annuum flower oil*, vanillosmopsis erythropappa (bisabolol) wood oil, boswellia carterii (frankincense) resin extract, maltodextrin, mentha spicata (spearmint) leaf extract, sclerotium gum, hydrogenated lecithin, p-anisic acid, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil*, xanthan gum

Price: 72$/30ml | http://kahina-givingbeauty.com/

Reveal new skin

‘Tis the season for pumpkins!  Pumpkins have so many benefits whether you take them internally or externally. Elaa Skincare’s Pumpkin Elaa Skincare Pumpkin mask 2 Pic MonkeyRadiance/Renewing enzyme mask* is by far one of my favorite exfoliating masks! Pumpkins are filled with enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) that remove impurities and dead skin, which promotes skin renewal and will give you the most radiant skin. Pumpkin seed oil contains the fatty acids necessary to moisturize and protect your skin. This mask also has raw Manuka honey, perfect to heal any cracked or dry skin, irritations, burns as well as eczema and psoriasis. There’s also a plethora of spices, such as ginger, cinnamon and turmeric. If you have sensitive skin, it might tingle a bit upon first application, so proceed with caution:do a patch test before. Elaa Skincare is a an organic brand focused on raw, living and active ingredients as well as superfoods. Believe me, this mask is a treat! Everytime I use it, I’m amazed that my skin can look so radiant and glowing.

Ingredients:  Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Raw Pumpkin, Raw Wild Manuka Honey Active MGO 450+, Apple Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil, Organic Calendula Oil, Organic Turmeric, Organic Green Tea Extract, Radish Root Ferment, Organic Veg Glycerin, Sclerotium Gum (100% natural vegan gum – a polysaccharide produced through fermentation), Organic Cinnamon, Organic Ginger, Organic Nutmeg, Organic Allspice, Organic Vanilla, Organic Essential Oils of Mandarin, Cinnamon Bark, Clove, Ginger, Nutmeg.

Beegan (contains therapeutic, wildharvested honey) 

Price: 24$/30ml or 45$/60ml|http://elaaskincare.com/

 

Recharge your skin

As the colder temperatures set in, my skin gets dehydrated. I generally have normal to very dry skin, so I’m always reaching for a facial oil. Putty alone pic montage However, my skin also needs to be quenched. Enters Graydon Moffat and her genius brand, Clinical Luxury. If you follow my Instagram account, you know how gaga I am for this Canadian brand. I’ve reviewed the Serum, here. I’m an oil and balm hoarder, but I love this brand’s creams and lotions. They are made with the most natural ingredients that literally feed the skin.  The Putty* is a great pick, if you want to transition from your summer gels and light lotions to this season’s heavier creams and facial oils. It’s the perfect balance of liquids (mainly aloe vera juice and rose water) and oils (avocado, buriti, seabuckthorn oils among others). This lotion is so soothing you’ll forget about your skin woes! The Putty is amazing for all skin types, but is ideal for sensitive/reactive skins. If you have any dermatological issue, it will help calm redness and irritation.  I like the light and fluffy consistency, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s a very moisturizing cream. When I need an extra boost of moisture in the winter, I simply add 3 drops of the Serum to the Putty, and voilà!

Ingredients: purified water (aqua), vegetable wax: (caprylic/capric triglyceride, glyceryl stearate, coco-caprylate/caprate, dicaprylyl ether, sodium olivoyl glutamate, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol), cetearyl alcohol, beeswax (cera alba), citric acid, aloe vera (aloe barbadensis) juice, vegetable glycerine, vegetable emulsifier: (lauryl glucoside, polyglyceryl-2 dipolyhydroxystearate, glycerin), manuka honey (leptospermum scoparium), jojoba (simmondsia chinensis) seed oil,avocado (persea americana) oil, grapeseed (vitis vinifera) oil, hemp (cannabis sativa) seed oil, rose water (rose damascene), cocoa (theobroma cacao) butter, shea (butyrospernum parkii) butter, calendula (calendula officinalis) oil, arnica (arnica montana) oil, argan (argania spinosa) oil, buriti(mauritia flexuosa) oil, st. john’s wort (hypericum perforatum) oil, seabuckthorn (hippophae rhamnoides) oil, tamanu madagascar (calophyllum inophyllum) oil, vitamin e (mixed tocopherols) oil, xanthan gum, vegetable derived preservative: (glyceryl caprylate, glyceryl undecylenate) spiked with a soothing blend of all-natural essential oils including: helichrysum (helichrysum italicum),carrot (daucus carota) seed, chamomile (anthemis nobilis), lavender (lavandula angustifolia) and nothing else!

Price: 32$/50ml | 59$/240ml| http://clinicalluxurybynature.com/  and  http://www.clementinefields.ca/ 

Butter up!

Ooooh! This body butter is a dream for your skin! I don’t know how I ever made it without it! The texture is off the charts! I’m talking about a luscious, sultry texture making your skin feel like it’s cashmere!  Made of a combination of shea and cacao butters as well as  Metta Body Butter pic monkeyjojoba and coconut oils it just melts onto your skin when you apply it, while the warm, relaxing scent comforts you.  I’ve said it enough times: I have the driest skin.  So, this Metta Body butter* is a godsent. It truly restores my skin’s elasticity, keeps my skin moisturized for hours on end. No more ashy skin either!  With each application, my skin gets smoother and softer.  I have old scars left from minor surgeries that are getting less noticeable. Even though there’s a thick consistency to this butter, it sinks quickly into my skin and leaves no greasy residue on my clothes. I’m going to use this butter all through the winter.  I can’t do without it anymore!

Ingredients: Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter*, Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed) Seed Oil*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Essential Oil* (contains linalyl acetate, linalool and limonene as naturally occurring components of lavender essential oil) * denotes certified organic ingredient

Price: 47$ | http://store.mettaskincare.com/

Keep that summer glow!

Summer is over, but SO WHAT? There’s no reason for you to lose that glow, girl! Face Glow* pulls double-duty: it’s skincare with the attributes of a cosmetic product. Graydon The Glow montage I’ve been loving it ever since I started testing it! It’s amazing in the summer, but it also works all year.  First, it is NOT a highlighter, so don’t expect that strobing effect (read: highlighter on steroids)!  Face Glow is a lotion that will instantly brighten your skin and impart a nice subtle glow. Graydon uses brown mica: a free flowing lustrous powder with a shimmering copper appearance, used to reflect light, which creates a pearlescent effect on skin.  Nourishing ingredients such as pumpkin, raspberry and seabuckthorn oils moisturize while giving your skin the fatty acids it needs to look fresh and young. Your skin will also be protected against the environmental elements.  I really can’t say enough about this product: I use it as a primer or alone, for a fresh-faced look.  I even put a bit on my decolleté. The possibilities are endless! Ladies, you need this in your handbag!
 Ingredients: purified water (aqua), non nano zinc oxide (zinc oxide), shea (butyrospernum parkii) butter, mica + iron oxide, vegetable wax: (caprylic/capric triglyceride, glyceryl stearate, coco-caprylate/caprate, dicaprylyl ether, sodium olivoyl glutamate, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol), vegetable emulsifier: (lauryl glucoside, polyglyceryl-2 dipolyhydroxystearate, glycerin), vegetable glycerine, cherry (prunus avium) kernel oil, aloe vera (aloe barbadensis) juice, buriti (mauritia flexuosa) oil, cocoa (theobroma cacao) butter, rice bran (oryza sativa) oil, pumpkin (cucurbita maxima) seed oil, raspberry (rubus idaeus) seed oil, seabuckthorn (hippophae rhamnoides) oil, spirulina (spirulina maxima), vegetable derived preservative: (glyceryl caprylate, glyceryl undecylenate), green tea (camellia sinensis), rosemary co2 extract (rosmarinus officinalis l), xantham gum, citric acid and nothing else!

Price: 32$/50ml |http://clinicalluxurybynature.com/

 

This fall, be patient with yourself and with your skin… Have you spotted some favorites? Feel free to suggest and share your Fall must-haves!
Until next time,

Arabesque xo

*PR Sample

Giving Back series: Botanical Me

Greetings everyone!

Botanical Me sisters

Jill and Carly: Botanical Me

I started this Giving Back series because philanthropy is inherently part of my value system. I find it fascinating to learn about how men and women of the Green Beauty community use their platform to help those in need. Today, I want to share the mission of two humble and selfless women, who, in reality, are heroines of the modern day (they just don’t wear capes!).  I’m so proud and honored to feature the work of my friends and sisters, two beautiful souls:  Jill Hansey and Carly Lodkey,  sisters and founders of  Botanical Me.

Their brand offers natural, plant-based beauty and body care that heal, inspire and most of all, give back! Botanical Me is a beautiful range of beauty oils, pure essential oils, lip balms, and pulse-point roll-ons. In addition, the brand offers gift items such as chocolate, tea, and honey imported from Africa. Each skincare product leaves your skin protected and nourished, while your spirits are calmed and renewed. Through Botanical Me, Jill and Carly literally save lives: they have a strong partnership with Malaria No More, an organization dedicated to eradicate malaria in the world. The “ME” in Botanical Me actually has a double meaning. First, ME stands for Malaria Eradication, which is connected to their charity work to stop malaria deaths. Then, the “me” is also about a person’s journey to better health and awareness of toxins and chemicals in beauty products.

Botanical me set 2

Botanical Me’s range of products.

How it all began…

Jill and Carly had already been operating their retail store in San Diego for 8 years before Botanical Me was born. One evening Jill was having a conversation about malaria with her husband, who is a native of Nigeria and a malaria survivor. She had a “light bulb” moment that she and her sister could use their business as a platform to help people.

It is wonderful! We’re honored to be a part of their charity and contribute to their life-saving work.  There are so many blessings:  a broader world view, greater humility, increased empathy, a feeling of being part of something bigger, meeting other cool people from all walks of life who are also inspired to make a change. Just thinking that something we have done has saved even one child’s life and given a family a healthier tomorrow is beyond words.

– Jill & Carly, founders of Botanical Me

What is malaria ?

iStock malaria kills

Credits: iStock

Malaria is a blood disease caused by a mosquito bite (Plasmodium parasite) and can be transmitted from person to person. It affects the lives of over 200 million people around the world every year.

Symptoms: fever, headaches, vomiting, if treatment is not administered, illnesses such as anemia, hypoglycemia and death can occur.

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Credits: MalariaNoMore.org (logo)

malaria-2 standard tribune com

Child with severe malaria symptoms. Credits: Standard-Tribune.com

According to MalariaNoMore.org:

  • Malaria is one of the top 3 killers in the world;
  • Every 60 seconds, a child dies of malaria, it means 453 000 children per year, so that’s 1 300 kids who have their lives cut short every day because of a mosquito bite!

Why it also concerns you…

If you think you’re safe, and therefore think to yourself it isn’t your problem because your country isn’t a malaria risk zone, think again! This matter concerns ALL of us. In 2013, there were an estimated 198 million cases of malaria worldwide, mostly women and children. Although malaria was eliminated from the US in 1951, MNM  makes a census of 1500 cases annually caused by returning travelers.  Because of what we’ve been shown in the media, we often associate Africa to poverty and death.  However, it is a beautiful continent, the second largest one in the world actually.  Africa offers such a wide range of natural resources, some of them, such as shea butter, are included in our coveted green beauty products. It’s our duty and responsibility to protect that land and its people.

Web_Jill_Africa_

Jill in Africa

There is hope!

So, you know the bad news about malaria, it’s lethal.  Now, onto the good news, malaria is not only curable, but it is a preventable disease! MalariaNoMore.org concurs that over the last decade, malaria mortality rates have fallen 58% among children under the age of 5.  That’s good, but the goal is to complete eradicate malaria. Jill and Carly often travel to Africa to import natural ingredients and they donate 10% of their profits to Malaria No More. The proceeds directly impact the daily lives of those they seek to help. Here’s how…

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Mosquito nets prevent from getting bitten at night. Image: Wikipedia

The funds go towards: 

  • providing diagnostic tests;
  • buying medicine and treatment; did you know that a full course of malaria treatment costs only 1$ and can cure a child in 1 to 3 days?
  • buying mosquito nets; don’t forget that malaria is caused by a mosquito bite, and the Plasmodium parasite bites at night between 9pm and 5am, so nets are an important prevention tool;
  • creating education programs.

The sister duo chose to partner with MNM because this organization has focused strategy and the widespread government, media and pharmaceutical relationships in Africa that are needed.

Why helping Botanical Me is very personal to me…

Radiologie cathéter malaria post

I’m getting prepped for a femoral venous catheterization, before an apheresis treatment.

I was born with a genetic blood disease commonly called Sickle Cell anemia (SCA). Essentially, unlike normal round/oval red blood cells, mine are shaped like crescent moons, semicircular (hence the name “sickle”, a sickle is a tool made with a crescent-shaped blade). Normal red cells travel easily through the blood vessels to take the oxygen to every part of the body.  However, my sickled cells get stuck in the blood vessels, which means the oxygen doesn’t get through. This causes a lot of deep chronic pain and it damages my bones, my muscles and my organs.  Sickle cell anemia is a disease mostly diagnosed in patients of African descent.

So, what does that have to do with malaria?

While my illness can be debilitating, it confers me somewhat of a protection against malaria. How? It is very complex. Researchers are still trying to understand the mechanisms that create SCA patients’s resistance against malaria.  Let’s just say that my sickled red blood cells are not “healthy” or viable enough for the parasite to implant and lodge itself in my bloodstream.

Final thought…

Every time I think about Jill and Carly, I am reminded that this life is not about my ego, but that it’s about finding my purpose and answering my higher calling. When they are not are not busy saving lives, the Botanical Me duo is learning more about the wonders of nature. Women like them make the world go round! I urge you to support their brand and their cause, your kindness will save lives. When you purchase a product from the brand, you’re taking care of yourself (at a budget-friendly price, might I add), but more importantly, you are saving a child, a woman or a man’s life. Please give back!

 

Until next time, take care!

Alex xo

To support MalariaNoMore, click here. Let’s defeat malaria! World Malaria Day is April 25th 2015.

Note: all information and statistics on malaria are sourced from MalariaNoMore and CDC

Images, unless stated otherwise, are courtesy of BotanicalMe.

Brand Spotlight: Laurel Whole Plant Organics

Greetings beauties!

This is my first Brand Spotlight blogpost in a series of many more to come (hopefully), where I will feature brands that epitomize the very definition of Green Beauty. My first choice is, in my opinion, the essence of green beauty: Laurel Whole Plant Organics !

 

“As we are awakening and learning where our food comes from, this is also a time to be aware of where our skin care comes from, how its made, and what is in it. The most effective skin care is raw, organic, farm sourced, handcrafted and made with love. It’s time to raise the bar for skin care ingredients.”  

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The radiant Laurel Shaffer, founder of LWPO

– Laurel Shaffer, founder of Laurel Whole Plant Organics

 

Laurel Whole Plant Organics is a cult-favorite among bloggers, magazines’s editors, and skincare junkies everywhere… and with good reason!  I have been longing to try some of the products ever since the brand was under the Sequoia Beauty banner.

From Sequoia Beauty to Laurel Whole Plant Organics…

From Sequoia to Laurel Whole Plant Organics

Left: Sequoia Beauty Right: Laurel Whole Plant Organics

One of the changes from Sequoia Beauty is obviously the packaging. Personally,  I much prefer the current packaging to the former one. Sequoia Beauty’s packaging was cute, but the LWPO’s package looks more sophisticated, refined, less amateur-ish.  Natural beauty, sweetheart and founder Laurel Shaffer wanted a packaging that clearly reflected its content. To that I say: “Mission accomplished!” Aside from the packaging, the major shift from Sequoia is the elimination of lotions in favor of balms, which was a bold move, but a smart one! I, for one, love balms! Because I have such dry skin, I tend to gravitate towards them. I’m all about the balms!!  In addition to the balms, Laurel altered most of the original formulas, taking into consideration new plant sciences and discoveries, not yet available 4 years ago, when Sequoia was created. Just recently, LWPO launched an Eye Serum.  If you’re wondering what the difference is between the the Eye Balm and the Eye serum, keep in mind that both are great and can be used depending on your own skin type and skin needs. However, Laurel suggests using the Eye serum during the day and the Eye balm at night.

“Whole Plant Organics”, what does that mean?

What makes this brand unique is that Laurel strives to create 100% ‘whole plant’ organic formulas.  That means the plants maintain their vibrancy, as if they were just plucked from the earth.  The ingredients cannot be chemically refined in anyway, as she feel that only dulls their efficacy. She and her team only accept certified organic ingredients, as they have an average of 40% more antioxidant content.  She also doesn’t use ‘natural’ ingredients that are actually synthetic, like ascorbic acid, CoQ10, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E, and others… ALL of those ingredients can be found in the living plants that we use, so they prefer to formulate with that in mind.

Plants Love Science

Laurel-Antioxidant-Face-Serum-440x1024 red heart

Plants Love Science

On every Laurel WPO’s label, you’ll notice a red heart and the words “Plant”, “Love” and “Science” written below the heart.  These words are Laurel’s guidelines, she translates them into 3 major aspects: Purity (Plants), Efficacy (Science) and Love. For Laurel, the purity and efficacy aspects go hand in hand;  the purer the ingredient and formula, the more effective the product. Period.  And the love aspect is so important!  Laurel is deeply dedicated to creating a facial experience that truly transports people and takes them away. She wants us to feel loved and taken care of when using her products.  Again, I say: “mission accomplished!” It may sound corny, but every time I use Laurel’s products, I feel like I just pampered my skin, as I would take care of a loved one.  I feel like I matter, and when you use products that make you feel loved, you feel good about yourself.  Love conquers all, right!

Laurel’s #1 Beauty tip

Laurel believes that less is more! I wholeheartedly agree with that statement! Laurel loves single ingredients such as rosewater, honey and unrefined oils. She also believes in the power of caring for our skin with love and proper skincare.

Final thought…

What attracts me to LWPO is the inherent dedication and passion to educate and inspire women to use skincare as an act of self care and of self love, not to mention that she uses the most cutting edge studies to formulate her products. I honestly trust Laurel’s integrity, so I’m confident that her products are pure and efficient.  Laurel WPO is in alignment with my personal values, not to mention that the products have become essentials in my routine. I have tested many, many, many brands and products since I started blogging (and even before that!) I can assure you, Laurel WPO is one of the most comprehensive lines I’ve seen. And, something tells me it’s only the beginning!

Stay tuned for upcoming reviews on select LWPO products!

Regards,

Alex xo

*All pictures, courtesy of http://www.laurelskin.com

What are your favorite products of Laurel Whole Plant Organics?

 

Noteworthy product: Night time Antioxidants Repair Serum by Odacité

Greetings beauties!

About Odacité…

Odacité, French for “audacity” is aptly named because it has, in a way, boldly revolutionized the norm of green beauty.  When you take a look at all of Odacité’s components, you realize the brand goes way beyond the mere concepts of natural and organic.  It was the devastating news of a breast cancer that led founder, Parisian, Valerie Grandury to create her own skincare line.  Realizing most ingredients in mainstream personal care products are carcinogens, she took matters into her own hands and created toxins-free products for her herself.  Her products had so much success with her entourage that she took things to the next level. Her cancer diagnostic was also a major  wake-up call and it inspired her to completely transform her lifestyle. She became passionate about health related issues and a balanced diet focused on raw and vegan food. In addition to creating Odacité, Valérie is also one of the co-founders of the chic and best place to shop (online & brick-and-mortar, in West Hollywood and in Toronto) for luxurious green beauty products.

The Freshiency date

For Valerie, you can’t deliver efficient products if they are not fresh, which is why she came up with the “Freshiency date” protocol. That date indicates exactly how long the active ingredients will maintain their optimal potency to give your skin the expected results. Why all the fuss about fresh ingredients? Would you eat an apple you bought 6 months ago?  Why do the same with skincare?! Valerie’s approach to skincare is akin to the one we have with food.  Actually, if we stop and think about it, it all makes perfect sense! I cringe when I think of all the times I used products that had been sitting on a store’s shelf for months or years. Of course, conventional products contain preservatives, Odacité doesn’t use preservatives, hence the use of the “Freshiency date”. Every product is made and bottled the moment you make your order, they are not sitting on a dusty shelf. Every ingredient is fresh, raw, pure, natural and organic, when possible.

 

NIGHT TIME ANTIOXIDANTS REPAIR SERUM Odacité Night serum (9) Pic Monkey

I started testing the Night serum* right around Christmas. It was everything I expected and more!! There isn’t a drop of plain water in this luscious thirst quenching serum! I love that the first ingredient is the multi-purpose aloe vera:  it’s great for acne, fights aging and has a plethora of antioxidants. Upon application, my skin felt moist and quenched. The texture is  light and smooth to the touch. I felt an instant satisfaction that I don’t get when using facial oils or other oil-based serums, but I think it has to do with the fact that my skin is not only dry but also dehydrated, which is not the same. It made me reconsider the place of creams in my regimen.  Although it is a night serum, I cheated and used it during the day a few times because I love it so much. However, I think we reap more benefits if we use as directed, at nights, because it’s conceived to maximize skin’s repair cycle while we sleep.  It does even better if you exfoliate beforehand with Jojoba Beads Exfoliants, it allows for a deeper absorption of the serum. Within days of testing, I would wake up with plump (thank you hyaluronic acid!), smooth skin as opposed to “sand-paper” skin. I also felt that it hydrated and moisturized my skin all night long;  When using this serum, I make sure I slather it everywhere on my face and neck while skin is damp (use a toner/mist). This serum is great alone but performs even better if you use one of Odacité’s skin boosters/serum concentrates depending on your skin’s needs (you’ll get a review on one of them in the coming weeks).

One of my goal for my blog is to review eco-conscious and socially responsible brands, but I also want to make sure I feature brands financially accessible to everyone. Skincare is part of wellness and all of us should have access to it.  Obviously, Odacité’s products don’t come cheap. That said, in considering the price, we must recognize the source and the quality of the ingredients, the packaging, the process of the formulations and so many other factors. When I tested some of Odacité’s products, and particularly the Night repair serum, I saw and actually felt instant as well as long-term results, so I understand the reasoning behind the pricing.  It all depends on your priorities and budget. Considering the fact that this serum packs the highest concentrations of nourishing and repairing ingredients, it is worth the price.  I wouldn’t review it on the blog if I didn’t think so. If you’re to invest in a nighttime skincare essential and you have the means to do it, this one would be a smart choice!

Note: I keep my serum in the refrigerator.

Price: 129$ US available at www.odacite.com 

For Canadians, shop Odacité at www.thedetoxmarket.ca

Ingredients:  Aloe Vera (Aloe barbadensis) (Organic),  Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis ) Oil (Organic), Emulsifying Vegetable Wax, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Shea(Butyrospermun parkii) Butter (Organic), Lavender (avendula angustifolia) (Organic), White Tea (Camellia sinensis) Extract (Organic), Calendula officinalis Extract (Organic), Rooibos tea (Aspalathus linearis) extract (Organic), Olive oil (Olea europaea) (Organic), Carrot Oil (Daucus carota), MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), Hyaluronic Acid, Vegetable Glycerin, Evening Primerose (Oenothers biennis) oil, (Rosa mosqueta) Rosehip Oil, Borage Oil (Borago officinalis), Ureidohydantoin-Comfrey, Xanthan Gum (Polysaccharide)

 

Final thoughts…

This product is a five-star product because of its hydrating, nourishing and repairing ingredients, but most of all, the Nighttime Antioxidants Repair serum has given me my skin back!  It has found happiness and balance again. Still not sure about the price? Well, get this:  I don’t have to layer multiple products to keep my skin moisturized all night long, so I end up saving money! The important thing to remember about Odacité’s products is that they are result-oriented and, in my opinion, they deliver! I have won my battle against dry, dull-looking skin and I wake up to fresh, supple and moist skin.  Thank you, Odacité!

What do you think of Odacité?  What products have you tried or would like to try from the brand?

Be kind to yourself and enjoy the moment!

Best,

Alex xo

*PR sample