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 |

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|


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|  and 

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$ |

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 |


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


Winter Essentials: Canadian style!

Greetings beauties!

Is it still cold out?!  I’ve got you covered! I’m a proud Canadian …mostly in the summer!  I am amazed at what our skin endures in the winter: rigorous winds, snow, sun, pollution, etc.  One of the primary functions of the skin is to protect us from the environment, light, infections, injuries, and any other threat.  So, in return, we must treat and protect it against all the exterior aggressors. I’ve selected two Canadian brands I’ve thoroughly tested the last few months.  If anyone knows about cold weather, it’s us Canadians!  I’m very proud of their products, they have passed the test of performance with flying colors! You will get to read more of these brands in my Giving Back series in the weeks to come.  Meanwhile, I wanted to share the products that helped keep my skin in good shape.

Province Apothecary

Founder: Julie Clark

Website: http://www.provinceapothecary.comProvince Apothecary Ultra Hydrating skin kit Pic Monkey

I consider Province Apothecary a “cure-all” brand; most of the products are suited for the most sensitive and reactive skins. Whether you have acne, psoriasis, dermatitis or any other skin ailment, you can bet P.A. (Province Apothecary) can help you.  However, you don’t necessarily have to have skin troubles.  Who doesn’t want fresh looking, healthy and glowing skin? I totally trust the integrity and the purity of the fresh, tried-and-true ingredients used in these products. Founder, Julie Clark, has dealt with her share of eczema and skin allergies all her life, she knows first-hand what works. She’s a certified holistic esthetician and an aromatherapist. Her brand takes “natural” and “organic” to a whole new level. She is truly committed to creating the best skincare products, by using high quality, certified organic, biodynamic and wildcrafted ingredients sourced from our Canadian provinces, hence the name of the brand, “Province Apothecary”.  For instance, she uses organic seaweed from Nova Scotia, maple syrup from Quebec (my province!) or beeswax from Alberta. And I love all the self-explanatory names of the products: rejuvenating+ hydrating serum, protecting+restoring face balm, detoxing+clarifying clay mask, etc. There’s so much to be explored in Province Apothecary! Here’s a bit of it!

Essentials  Province Apothecary Pic Monkey

The name says it all.  I remember using this when the cold days were just upon us. I felt an immediate relief which I love!  I thought my mind was playing tricks on me, because I’m accustomed to long-term results. I also thought the texture would be too light for the winter, but, as I continued using it, my skin felt less tight and itchy, as it often does when left untreated. I like to massage this serum on my face and I pat gently under my eyes (but watch it because there are essential oils).  It’s a great serum to use day and/or night. It’s packed with rich oils and antioxidants, so it’s great to use before going outside.  I let sink it and then add the Protecting+Restoring Face Balm. You can’t help but love this one!  A little goes a long way, as always, make sure you use with a good toner/mist.

Ingredients: Apricot kernel oil*, Pumpkin seed oil*, Jojoba Seed Oil*, Avocado oil*, Grape seed oil*, Pomegranate oil*, Raspberry seed oil*, Sea buckthorn oil*, Calendula oil*, Rosehip oil*, Borage oil*, GMO-free Vitamin E, Therapeutic essential oils of: Neroli, Frankincense, German chamomile, and Rose otto.*Certified organic ingredient

Price: 26$-76$ CND/7 ml-30 ml

This one is a sweetheart! I use this all day, everyday! As you’ll learn to know me, you’ll notice, I’m cuckoo over balms!! Can’t get enough of them!  I think everyone dealing with crocodile-dry skin should own balms! Well, in any case, this balm is ‘da bomb’! Just take a look at the noteworthy ingredient list! The most sought-after nourishing and healing oils and plants are included. This balm is absolutely, unequivocally a skin savior during winter’s coldest days. It appears solid in its tin, but it melts and sinks on contact.  I love that I don’t have to work so hard to make it melt, it just does!  I use it on any dry spots, on my lips (ditch your Chapstick!), on my brows, on my lids and even under my eyes where I apply concealer! I use this balm over the Rejuvenating+Hydrating Serum, so my skin not only gets the optimal nourishment it needs, but it’s protected. A must-have and very practical!  The format makes it easy for me to put it in my bag. I found out I have some dry eczema, so I’m getting the Healing Eczema balm next!

Ingredients:  Camellia oil*, Apricot kernel oil*, Pumpkin Seed oil*, Avocado oil*, Beeswax*, Broccoli oil*, Pomegranate oil*, Raspberry seed oil*, Rose hip oil*, Borage oil*, Calendula infused in Sunflower oil*, Carrot Root extract*, Sea Buckthorn oil*, GMO-Free Vitamin E. *Certified organic ingredient

Price: 16$ CND/15 ml and 52$ CND/80 ml

Graydon Skincare aka Clinical Luxury by Nature

Founder: Graydon Moffat

Website:  Graydon Trio Pic Monkey

Founder Graydon Moffat is what I call an enthusiastic “foodie” nerd, she believes in getting the best out of real food to transform skin.  Give her a broccoli and some kale, she’ll create a custom face oil for you!! If you take a look at the ingredients list of a product, you’ll notice it’s full of whole foods, vegetables, fruit and more. She carefully chooses ingredients that will prevent future damage, heal, protect and transform with long-term results. Her products are like smoothies for the skin: incredibly healthy!  What’s also fascinating is that she perceives the skin as it is: a living and breathing organ in need of nutrition.  The labels of her formulations are easy to read, as they should be. Graydon’s philosophy is “Clinical Luxury by Nature“. What does that mean? Simply put, this green skincare line is about bioactive formulations (clinical) made with plant powered ingredients (nature) that treat and nourish every cell of your skin, without surrendering your need for indulgence and beauty (luxury). As much as possible, Graydon chooses to source organic plant-based ingredients from Canadian growers and manufacturers such as broccoli and berry seed oils. In my opinion, this is a brand focused on quality ingredients to ensure optimal results for the skin while protecting and caring for the environment. The best part: it’s one of the most affordable brands in Canada! Now, that’s a brand after my own heart!! This brand is for the modern woman who wants instant and long-term results!


I’m an oil addict…however, this product has renewed my faith in creams!  It gave my skin a new awakening! Ever since I switched to natural products, I had been staying away from creams, thinking their water content would leave my skin high and dry (pun intended!). Turns out, I was wrong! So, when came time to test this Green cream, I wasn’t too keen.  I reluctantly tried it…and I loved it! Good job, Graydon! It’s definitely not your average cream! Because I have dry skin, I thought I only needed oils or serums, but skin also needs moisture. Thankfully, the Green cream has a bit of both, and then some!  I wouldn’t say it’s enough to moisturize my skin on a cold day of winter, though. I use this in combo with the The Serum (read below). The star ingredient, and also Graydon’s favorite ingredient to work with, is the broccoli seed oil:  it gives this luscious cream a non-greasy feel and it mimics the effect of silicone, making it ideal to use under makeup, especially cream blush!  Not only did the Green Cream delivered in terms of moisture and nourishment,  I was pleasantly surprised that it gave me a glow and a light sheen. And, fear not, there is no stickiness, so slather it on your face! I appreciate that the product is in a pump, avoiding any waste and preventing contamination from bacteria and germs.  This cream will be ideal when spring shows up.  I will leave it in the refrigerator and slather it on, when it’s hot and humid ! Basically, this is the kind of product that will help your skin look good with or without makeup! Wow, broccoli has never been more appealing now!

Note: this edition of the Green Cream is part of the Causemetics campaign. More to come soon about that!

Ingredients: purified water (aqua), aloe vera juice  (aloe barbadenis), avocado oil (persea americana), cetyl alcohol (coconut oil), stearyl alcohol (mixed plant), broccoli seed oil (brassica oleracea italica), vegetable glycerin, olive oil (olea europaea), jojoba oil (simmondsia chinensis), sodium chloride (mixed plant), chlorophyll (chlorophyllin), grapefruit seed extract (citrus grandis) in a blend of pure essential oils and nothing else!

Price: 29$ CND/50 ml

This serum is brimming with antioxidants! But what exactly are antioxidants and what do they do? Allow me a brief definition of the word. In a nut shell, antioxidants, obtained through a balanced and healthy diet, are nature’s way of protecting our body and cells from the harmful free radicals. We all know that one of the best foods to fight the effects of free radicals are: BERRIES! Well, we’re in luck with The Serum because there are 50 pounds of fresh Canadian berries into a 30 ml bottle! Can you believe the power in this serum?!  It’s a great weapon against the environmental damage that can be done to your skin cells. While I don’t believe in “anti-aging”(and this product is not about anti-aging, it’s “slow-aging“), this rich serum can at least slow the aging process, it treats the core of what ages our skin cells. Remember, free radicals accumulate with age, they are responsible for the rapid aging our our skin cells, so with consistent use of this product, you’ll reinforce your skin’s barrier. It’s also a powerful prevention asset, an ally in counteracting the damaging effects of free radicals.  I don’t think it substitutes for a sunscreen, but it has an inherent SPF due to the presence of the Raspberry seed oil, who also is a great blemish-fighter. I like to use it in the morning, in combo with the Face Food Mineral mist (also another winner of the brand! Review coming!). It’s very difficult not to love this serum, it goes beyond the call of duty. For optimal results, I add 1-2 pumps into the Green Cream after having misted with the Food Face.  If you’re looking for healthy skin from the cells to your outer layers, this is for you! I love it!

Ingredients: cold pressed blueberry seed oil (vaccinum myrtillus), cold pressed cranberry seed oil (vaccinium macrocarpon), cold pressed red raspberry seed oil (rubus idaeus), meadowfoam seed oil (limnanthes alba), grapefruit seed extract (citrus grandis) and nothing else!

Price: 46$ CND/30 ml

Final thoughts…

Although I’ve tested these products in the winter, I think they all serve their purpose no matter what season it is.  The important thing is that they all treat and nourish the skin. Even though Province Apothecary and Graydon are two different brands, they are quite alike when it comes to the quality of the products as well as the dedication of their founders.  Both brands are eco-conscious and socially responsible.  I’m insanely proud of the fact that both brands are created by two brilliant, creative and strong Canadian women! They have shown that affordable can be both luxurious AND effective! For all these reasons and more, I will purchase and re-purchase when the time comes!

So, tell me, what do you think of Province Apothecary and of Graydon’s products? What has caught your eye? I’d love to know!

NoteBoth Province Apothecary and Graydon Skincare (Clinical Luxury by Nature) are involved in a breast cancer awareness campaign with Causemetics. I will publish a post pertaining to that cause in an upcoming post in my Giving Back series.

Until next time, stay cozy!

Alex xo

*PR samples