Au Naturel Essence

All natural treats for body and soul


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My bkr

A few weeks ago, I entered a giveaway contest by Eco Diva Beauty.  (If you haven’t heard of them, PLEASE click on the link and check out their site.  They’ve got all kinds of great skin products)

The giveaway was for a 1 Liter size bkr water bottle.

I hadn’t heard of bkr before, but I loved the look of the bottles right away.  More importantly, I loved that it was a glass bottle, free of any unnecessary chemicals that we sometimes find in plastic water bottles.

So, I entered the context and lo and behold, I won!!  Yahoo! THANK YOU Eco Diva Beauty!

My black bkr

My black bkr

I’ve been using this as my main water bottle at work for the past two weeks.  I wasn’t quite sure how I’d feel about carrying a 1L bottle around with me.  To my surprise, it hasn’t even been an issue.  Here’s what I love:

  • The bkr is made of glass.  No need to get a paraben-free one…they are all paraben free!
  • The silicone sleeve is so easy to slip on and off for cleaning.
  • The silicone sleeve dresses up the bottle, makes it easy to grip, and protects it from breaking.
  • The cap/handle — it’s genius!  The cap is a simple screw top that makes a great seal.  The handle is perfect for carrying a full bottle around by a few fingers. I love it.
bkr

My bkr – This is the funky cap/handle that functions perfectly

There’s just one more thing that I love about this water bottle.  It holds a full liter of water and I have found myself drinking way more water than before.  Staying hydrated by drinking lots of water is the best thing you can do for your skin!

Here’s one last shot of my beautiful bkr.  (And yes, that’s my son in the background!)

My 1L bkr

My 1L bkr


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Annmarie Gianni Skin Care – A Product Review

During the month of February, I tried out another set of skin care products.

This set was given to me as a gift to enjoy and not necessarily for a review.  Overall, I’ve enjoyed the products, so I thought I’d put together a review for you.

The brand is Annmarie Gianni Skin Care.  Her tag line is organic, natural, and wild-crafted.  Seriously, how could you resist a tag line that has the words “wild-crafted” in it?

I had three products to try out.  The first was the Aloe-herb Facial Cleanser.  The second was a Neroli Toning Mist and third, the Herbal Facial Oil.  I used the cleanser and the oil every morning and every night.  I used the toner less often, probably once every couple of days.

Annmarie Gianni - Cleanser, Toner and Moisturizer

Annmarie Gianni – Cleanser, Toner and Moisturizer

Scent

Each of these products has a fairly strong scent.  I was not surprised, given the “wild-crafted” theme.  The scents are herbal and last for a few minutes.  However, even with the strong scents, I didn’t notice them for long.  For the record, they aren’t unpleasant.

Aloe-herb Facial Cleanser

This cleanser has the consistency of a thin lotion.  I experimented with different amounts and eventually settled on using two pumps each time I washed my face.  As you can see from the photo, two pumps from the bottle is not too much in my hand.  The cleanser does not foam up at all.  Rather, it coated my skin with a thin film until I washed it off.  I always find non-foaming cleanser and soaps to be a little deceiving.  I was brought up thinking that foam and suds were signs of effectiveness.  The cleanser washes off very easily, leaving skin clean, despite the lack of suds.

Aloe-Herb Facial Cleanser

Aloe-Herb Facial Cleanser

Neroli Toning Mist

This toner has a citrus scent, which I love.  I ended using a couple of sprays each time and I found that it was enough to cover my skin well.  It’s light and refreshing.  It also never caused my skin to break out!

Herbal Facial Oil

I’ve used many face oils in the past couple of years.  I went so far as to start making my own, which I have come to love.  This oil worked fairly well for me.  I found it to be a little on the thick side, so I used a scant single pump each time.  I found that any more than that was too much for my skin and I would end up feeling like I had greasy skin. Again, the scent is on the strong side, but pleasant.

Herbal Facial Oil

Herbal Facial Oil

Effectiveness

Like I said earlier, I like the set overall.  My preference would be to have a slightly thicker cleanser and a slightly thinner oil.  I think that would work a bit better for my skin.  Having said that, I had clean and moist skin all month while I was trying this out.  Perhaps it’s time for me to break out of my norms and get used to something new!

Packaging

The cleanser and the facial oil are both housed in dark glass bottles with pumps.  The dark glass (Miron Violet Glass) helps to protect the oils.  When I originally opened up the gift bag, I noticed that there was a little mesh bag of fresh lavender included.  It’s a lovely touch to the presentation of the products.

Ingredients

The entire Annmarie Gianni Skin Care line is made with natural, organic and wild crafted ingredients.  The ingredient list for the cleanser was included right on the bottle.  Here’s the list:

Love, aloe vera juice infused with (Lavender flowers, calendula flower, life everlasting flowers, hyssop, lemon balm, neem leaf, olive leaf, plantago leaf), coconut oil, cocoglucoside (coconut oil & glycerin), vegetable glycerin; aspen bark extract; ruby grapefruit oil, lemon oil, green mandarin oil, xanthan gym, rosemary oleoresin

I love that the first ingredient is Love!  I also love that the she explains right on the bottle what things like cocoglucoside are.  I always take a lot of comfort in knowing what I’m putting on my skin and this list of ingredients helps with that.

Aloe-herb facial Cleanser Ingredient List

Aloe-herb facial Cleanser Ingredient List

The sample of the toning mist was simple too small for an ingredient list.  A quick look at the website told me everything I needed to know about the toner.  It has a total of two ingredients, Love and pure organic neroli distillate.  That’s my kind of ingredient list!

The facial oil didn’t have an ingredient list on the bottle, which I found disappointing.  However, I suspect it’s an issue of space on the label.  I found the full ingredient list on the website:

Love, herb oil (grapeseed oil, life everlasting, green tea, gotu kola, rosemary, calendula, lavender, milk thistle, lemon balm, licorice root, roobibos, hibiscus, rhodiola, gingko, plantain, amla, ashwaghanda, acai, goji berry, horsetail, comfrey leaves, comfrey root, rose petal, echinacea, ginseng, lotus, boswellia, blue violet), fractionated coconut oil, oleic sunflower oil, olive oil, aloe vera oil, passion fruit oil, tamanu oil, carrot seed oil, vitamin E tocopherols, evening primrose extract, seabuckthorn berry extract, red raspberry seed oil, cranberry seed oil, rosehip extract, calendula extract, buriti fruit oil, sandalwood oil, jasmine sambac oil, bergamot oil, blue chamomile oil, rosemary oleoresin. Organic or Wildcrafted.

Affordability

With each of these products, a little goes a really long way.  For that reason, they will each last a long time.  I can’t get a great feel of exactly how much I’ve used in the past month, mainly because the Miron Violet Glass is so dark!

The Facial Cleanser is the more economical choice, if you’re looking for a deal. For about $25, you can get a 50 mL bottle.  I imagine that bottle would last a few months.  The Facial Oil, on the other hand, is a bit more pricey at about $35 for only 15 mL.  Though I only used one pump at a time of the facial oil, I find the price quite a bit more than for the cleanser.  And having said all of that, my personal opinion is that these products are priced within a reasonable range.

For what you pay, you are getting an effective product that is made with natural ingredients, free from all unnecessary chemicals.  Knowing that I’m using safe cosmetics on my skin goes a long way in my books.

My Recommendation?

If you’re looking for skin care products that are free of unnecessary chemicals, this is definitely a set to try out.  You need to be willing to accept a different texture for the cleanser.  If you can get past that, this might just work for you.  I would definitely recommend giving it a try!

Annmarie Gianni Skin Care

Annmarie Gianni Skin Care


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Evande Facial Care – A Product Review

For the month of January, I have been using a whole new set of skin care products.  It’s the Evande Skin Care Set.  This set was sent to me free of charge.  In return, I’ve been using it religiously so that I could provide you all with my personal review of the set.

Evande

Scent

The scent of any skin care product is really important to me.  I have to like it or I simply won’t use it.

The scent of the Evande set reminds me of a light baby powder.  It’s a very feminine and delicate scent.  I love the way it smells when I put it on.  I also love that I catch a whiff of it every once in a while throughout the day.

Each of the products in the set has the same scent, so they work really well together.

Evande Cleanser and Make-Up Remover

The soap-free cleanser is light and creamy all at the same time.  It works well as a makeup remover.  The hardest makeup I had to remove was some lipstick that had lasted beyond its best before date.  It was very sticky on my lips and felt horrible.  A dab of the cleanser/makeup remover allowed me to wipe it off in one swipe.  So yes, it works as a makeup remover.

As a cleanser, it is gentle on my skin.  After I’m done using it, my skin feels clean without that dreaded squeaky clean feeling.  My skin doesn’t feel dry afterwards, either.

Evande Cleanser

Evande Cleanser

Evande Alcohol-Free Pore Minimizing Toner

This is the only toner I’ve ever been able to use without breaking out.  In fact, I had all but given up on toners until I received this set to try.  I figured I had to give it a try in order to do a complete review.  To my surprise, my skin didn’t react poorly at all.  I love spraying this toner on my face and neck after cleansing.  It seems like such a lovely way to ensure my skin stays moist.  I am totally hooked.

Evande Face and Neck Moisturizer

The moisturizer is light.  I just need a little bit for my face and neck, especially after the toner.  It leaves my skin well-balanced and hydrated, but not greasy or feeling heavy.

Evande Face and Neck Moisturizer

Evande Face and Neck Moisturizer

Effectiveness

This skin care set has served me well for a whole month.  It’s been cold and dry for most of the month and my skin has been well hydrated throughout.  The cleanser is gentle and the moisturizer is nourishing.  It’s exactly the right combination I need to keep my skin clean and moisturized.

Packaging

The packaging is simple.  The pumps for the cleanser and moisturizer and the spray nozzle for the toner make each product really easy to dispense.  I personally like the clean look of the white bottles and the touch of gold classes it up a little bit.

Evande

Ingredients

The Evande brand uses the tag line, “Feel the Natural Elegance”.  Evande prides itself on creating products that are great for your skin without using harsh unnecessary chemicals.  On their website, they have listed the chemicals that are prohibited from use in their product line:

  •    DEA (Diethanolamine)
  •     Dyes
  •     Mineral Oil
  •     PABA
  •     Parabens
  •     Paraffin
  •     phthlates
  •     Sulfates

I love that Evande uses more natural substances to create their products.  They also clearly list all their ingredients right on the back of each bottle.  I’ve also reproduced the ingredient list below, in case you’re interested.

Evande Ingredient Listings

Evande Ingredient Listings

Cleanser and Make-Up Remover:

Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Cocomidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Vaccinium Myrtillus (Bilberry) Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbedensis Leaf Juice, passiflora Edulis (Passion Fruit) Extract, Phyllanthus Emblica (Amla) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Glycol Distearate, Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance

Pore-Minimizing Toner

Extracts of (Marigold, Chamomile, Rosemary, Cucumber, Elder, Arnica, Linden, Cornflower, Matricaria, St. John’s Wort, Hops, Horsetail, Pine Cone, Mallow, Ivy, Pellitory, Burdock, Sage and Soapwort) in Water, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel), Glycerin, Propylene Officinarum (Sugar Cane) Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Aloe Barbedensis Leaf Juice, Laureth-23, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance

Face and Neck Moisturizer

Water, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Cetyl Alcohol, Petrolatum, Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Aloe Barbedensis Leaf Juice, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Almond Butter), Silk Amino Acid, Ficus Carica (Fig) Extract, Kigelia Africana Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Niacinamide, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Glycol Distearate, Coco-Glucoside, Glyceryl Oleate, Propylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol,  Carbomer, Sodium Hydroxide, Tetrasodium EDTA, Fragrance

I looked up this brand on the Good Guide and on Skin Deep.  Unfortunately, it was not listed on either site, most likely because it’s such a new brand.  I’d love to know how these products rate on either of those sites.

Affordability

Is this magic skin care set affordable?  In short, YES!

Each bottle contains 200 mL of product.  My best guess is that, after one month, at most, I’ve used about one-quarter of each bottle.

You can buy the whole set of three for $24.99!

Honestly, I didn’t even look at the price until it was time to write my review.  I was floored when I saw how well priced the set is.

Evande

Would I Recommend Evande?

Yes – I most definitely would.  I’ve had a great experience using this set for the past month.  My skin feels great and I’ve finally found a toner that works for my skin!  I also love the clean packaging and the great price.


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Perricone Product Review – Part III

Welcome to the final part of my three-part review of my stash of Perricone skin care products.  Click to see Part I, to see the first part of my review and to find out which products are included in my stash, and Part II to see my review of three Perricone moisturizers.

In this final part of the review, I will give you my thoughts on two serums that I had in my Perricone stash.  I tried out the Advanced Eye Area Therapy and the Neuropeptide Deep Wrinkle Serum.Perricone Serums

Advanced Eye Area Therapy

The Advanced Eye Area Therapy comes in a small bottle with a pump.  It’s a thick cream that is dark in colour.  You only need a teensy weensy bit and it can be dabbed on in the eye area.  I found that it provided good moisture to the area around my eyes.  However, I also felt a slight tingling/burning when I put it on.  It only lasted for a second or two, but I’m pretty sure that I didn’t imagine it.  I wasn’t too keen on the tingling on my skin.

I’ve used this cream each night before bed for quite a few weeks now.  Despite the many weeks of use, I can’t honestly say that I’ve noticed any differences to my eye area.

Neuropeptide Deep Wrinkle Serum

The Neuropeptide Deep Wrinkle Serum comes in a dropper bottle.  Inside, it’s a clear, thin liquid.  It’s intended to be applied to deep wrinkles.  The idea is that, after 8 weeks of application, the wrinkles will be less noticeable.

I used this on my neck area.  I used it twice a day (morning and night) for several weeks.  I’m probably not the best test subject for this serum since I don’t actually have deep wrinkles (yet!).  My skin definitely feels softer, but once again, I can’t honestly say that I have noticed a difference in my skin.

The Verdict

As you can probably guess, I wasn’t overwhelmed by either of these products.  Having said that, I don’t think that they are bad products by any stretch. Rather, they simply aren’t right for my skin.  Given the success I’ve had with other Perricone products, I’m sure that these would work great for someone who has the issues that these products target.

I’m glad that I got to try them, as well as the facial cleanser and the moisturizers that I reviewed in Part I and Part II of this series.  Overall, I’m quite pleased with my Perricone stash and I’m looking forward to finishing it all off!

My Perricone Stash

My Perricone Stash


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Perricone Product Review – Part II

This is the Part II of my three part review of my Perricone skin care products. Check out the first part, and the contents of my Perricone stash, here.

For this part of the review, I’m going to focus on the three moisturizers I have in my stash of Dr. Perricone products.  As you see below, I have three items:  More Than Moisture SPF 30, Face Finishing Moisturizer, and the Advanced Face Firming Activator.  I have been using all three for the past few weeks.  Check out my thoughts on each one below.

Perricone Moisturizers

More Than Moisture SPF 30

First of all, the scent in this cream is heavenly.  Every time I use it, I detect hints of cocoa butter and orange.   It smells really rich!  Perhaps that contributes to my feeling that it’s also a bit of a heavier cream.  It’s not greasy on my skin, but definitely feels like a thicker moisturizer.

I have used this cream every time I’ve gone out for a walk.  It does a good job of protecting my skin from the sun.   It’s lovely to have a cream that acts like a sunscreen, but doesn’t smell too strong or feel heavy on my skin.

Face Finishing Moisturizer

This cream comes in a jar with a little spatula.  The cream is more gelatinous and a bit thicker than the other moisturizers.  I guess that’s why the spatula is included.

The moisturizer felt the thickest out of the three that I tried.  It also provided the most moisture out of all of them.

This cream has a floral scent.  Fortunately, it’s not overpowering.  While I’m not usually a fan of floral scents, I quite like this one, probably because it’s not that strong.

Advanced Face Firming Activator

This is the one cream that I had used before.   As soon as I opened it, the scent brought me right back to the time when I was first introduced to this cream.  It was such a memorable time that I’d like to digress slightly here and tell you about it.

A short side story…

Remember the 2010 Winter Olympics?  Well, I was there!  For real!  I was one of fifty people that my company sponsored to volunteer at the Olympics.  I worked with a group of people in the head office.  Our job was basically to help people keep motivated, especially those in the head office who didn’t get a chance to be at the events.  It may not sound like much, but it was a great job.  The easiest way to motivate people was to give out free tickets.  We handed out lots and my team also attended lots of events.

Here’s a photo from one of my first days on the job!

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

Back to the Advanced Firming Face Activator

I was saying…the scent brings me right back to the first time I used it.  Similar to the SPF cream, I smell a bit of cocoa and a bit of citrus.  It’s a light, refreshing scent. (and to me, smells of the Vancouver Olympics!)

This cream is the lightest of the three.  It moisturizes well, without feeling heavy on the skin.

Which One Do I Like Best?

Well, it depends!  I really like each of these creams.  They all serve a different purpose for my skin.

I like using the SPF when I’m going to be outside.  It does a great job as a sunscreen.

I love the Advanced Firming Face Activator for the morning.  It’s light and moisturizing.

Finally, I really enjoy using the Face Finishing Moisturizer at night time.  It’s thick and moisturizing and is perfect for overnight rejuvenation.

Having said all of that, if push came to shove and I was forced to choose just one, I would go with the Advanced Firming Face Activator.  Not only does it remind me of my Olympic adventure, it also does a great job of moisturizing all day long.

Have you tried any of these moisturizers?  If you have, let me know what you think of them!  For those of you who want to learn more about these moisturizers, or see the ingredient list, check out the Dr. Perricone website here.


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Perricone Products Review – Part I

A few years ago, I discovered Dr. Perricone and his line of beauty products.  I started using them and fell in love instantly.

Then, I started making my own skincare products and set the Dr. Perricone stash aside for a bit.  I found my stash a couple of weeks ago and realized that I still have some great products to use up!  Woo hoo!

Here’s what I have left:

Gentle Cleanser
Face Finishing Moisturizer
More than Moisture SPF 30
Advanced Face Firming Activator
Neuropeptide Deep Wrinkle Serum
Advanced Eye Area Therapy

My Perricone Stash

My Perricone Stash

First Steps

I started back into this line with the Gentle Cleanser.  It’s a nice thick cleansing liquid and it’s light green in colour.  It feels pretty smooth on my skin.  I use about half a pump each morning and each night.  Even though I don’t use a lot at a time, I find that I have to work at rinsing it off my skin.  It’s got some sticking power!  A bit of rinsing and rubbing on my face will usually do the trick.

After using it for a few weeks, I’ve found it is strong enough to clean my skin, but not so overpowering that it strips my skin of all of its natural oils.  I don’t like the “squeaky clean” feeling on my face that some soaps and cleanser can give you.

I have always loved the packaging of the Perricone line.  I love the dark glass bottles.  The cleanser comes with a bottle cap and a pump, so that it’s both easy to travel with and to use every day.

Dr. Perricone Gentle Cleanser

Dr. Perricone Gentle Cleanser

How do Dr. Perricone products rate?

The first thing that I love about Dr. Perricone products is that they are paraben free.  Each package is clearly marked that the product does not contain any parabens.  I also looked up Dr. Perricone products on both the Good Guide and the Skin Deep sites. Please note that on both sites, the ratings are based on a limited amount of information for this brand!

Good Guide Ratings

On average, Dr. Perricone products have a received a 5.1/10 Health rating from the Good Guide.   However, when I looked up these specific products, I found that most of them received a rating of 7 or 8 for Health.  The one outlier that I found was the Face Finishing Moisturizer.  It received a 5.0 on Health, listing ingredients that cause a low level of concern.  Thankfully, the other products with the lowest ratings that pull the average Health rating down are not ones in my cupboard!

Skin Deep Ratings

On the Skin Deep site, there were three Dr. Perricone products listed that I was able to find.  On a 10 point scale, they received ratings of 3 and 4, which places them in the Moderate category.  Many of the ingredients that cause concern do so because they have associated with allergies and immunotoxicity.

Overall, I’m satisfied that the Perricone products that I have in my cupboard are safe enough to use on my skin.

Moisturizers and Serums

I’m looking forward to delving into the moisturizers and serums.  I’ll be sure to post my reviews once I’ve had a chance to try them each for a few weeks!  Stay tuned!

Perricone Moisturizers Perricone Serums


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Product Review – The All Natural Face’s Vegan Eye Liner

I’ve almost completely made the switch to makeup made from natural ingredients.  My go-to brand is Jane Iredale.  However, I still like to try new brands when I come across them.

The All Natural Face

A few months ago, I spotted a coupon for three vegan eye-liners by The All Natural Face.  Though I can’t quite remember how much the deal cost, I do recall that I thought it was a decent deal.  So, I bought myself a trio of vegan eye liners.  They arrived a few weeks ago.

Vegan Eyeliners - The All Natural Face

Colours

I received three different colours of eyeliner.  There was a Caramel Fudge, Hot Fudge Brownie, and That Black.  Normally, I don’t stray too far away from black eye liner, so this was extra exciting to have received other colours!  Here’s what they looked like on my skin.

Three Vegan Eyeliners - The All Natural Face

Use

They each go on really smoothly.  The wand allows you to choose the thickness of line very easily.  These are probably some of the simplest eye liners to apply that I’ve ever had.  I found that they lasted about as long as other eye liners that I’ve used.  They would work for me for a night out or a work day.  Even better, they did not smudge!

Ingredients

The ingredients for each eye liner are listed right on the tube. I love that feature.  There are no questions about what you’re putting on your skin.  They are also listed right on their website. Click here to check them out.  In a nutshell, these eyeliners are all made with pure ingredients that aren’t known or suspected to be harmful for your skin.

Vegan Eyeliners - The All Natural Face

Vegan Eyeliners – The All Natural Face

Recommendation

If you’re looking for a clean eyeliner, I would definitely recommend this brand.  The packaging is simple and informative.  The wand has a great tip that allows you to easily control the thickness of the line.  Most importantly, the ingredients are pure and are considered safe for your skin.