Monday, 25 July 2016

Schaf Radiance and Firming Serum: Review + Giveaway!

Hi, everyone! Schaf is a brand I had the pleasure to acquaint myself with earlier this year and I have been nothing but impressed so far (their Eye Cream is one of my all-time faves!). The brand speaks to me because of its dedication to natural, effective ingredients as well as a line-wide ban on iffy additives like parabens, sulfates, and silicones. Their products are designed for all skin types (with lightweight oil-free moisture-binding ingredients like hyaluronic acid) and are all cruelty-free and 100% natural. 


Schaf's newest product is a bit of a powerhouse. The Radiance and Firming Serum** is the first serum in the brand's lineup and does not pull any punches in terms of promises and ingredients. It comes housed in a 30mL glass bottle and retails for $60 CAD


The Radiance and Firming Serum** promises to hydrate, even skin tone, and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. It is designed to brighten, refine, and keep skin hydrated all day with some serious glow. Lots of claims, but it has the ingredients to back it up! 


Not only is the serum (like all Schaf products) free from nasties like parabens, artificial colours and fragrances, sulphates, mineral oil, silicones, and petroleum (full list of no-nos below), it touts fantastic active ingredients like hyaluronic acid (to hydrate), niacinamide (a potent antioxidant and skin tone-evener), Vitamin C (to brighten), and peptides (to hydrate and repair skin). The ingredient list is brief and potent, with no unnecessary fillers or irritants. 



The Radiance and Firming Serum** comes in a sturdy glass bottle with a handy pump dispenser. One pump is really all you need for your entire face! As you can see in the bottom photo, the texture of the serum is quite watery, but has just enough viscosity  that it doesn't drip everywhere. It spreads over the face easily and fully absorbs within a few minutes. Also, unlike most vitamin C-based serums out there, this one does not have an overpowering orange scent, which my sensitive skin quite loves! Instead, the fragrance is ultra subtle. 



Instead of playing coy, I'll just come out with it: I'm so in love with this serum! Here is a (pro heavy) list of pros and cons reflecting my experience:

Pros:
  • The texture of this is incredibly light, which my oily skin loves!
  • Despite the light texture, I find this to also be deeply hydrating. In a pinch (or on an extra steamy day), I can get away wearing this only without any face cream or oil over top
  • This has not irritated or broken out my sensitive, acne-prone skin one bit
  • I have definitely noticed that my skin is now more even-toned and some dark spots have noticeably faded
  • A little of this (one pump) goes a very long way, so I can see the bottle lasting quite a long time!
  • This is cruelty-free and free from several nasty, toxic ingredients
  • At $60 CAD, this is actually more reasonably priced than many conventional and green beauty serums on the market...
Cons:
  • That said, $60 CAD still might not be in everyone's price range

Overall, this serum is a serious winner! Younger skins will love it for the light texture, dry skin will love it for the deep hydration, and aging skins will love it for the brightening and tightening. Pretty much zero complaints about it- my skin is so happy!

Now for an exciting surprise- Schaf was kind enough to provide an extra Radiance and Firming Serum for me to give away to one lucky reader!! You can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Rules

Winner will receive one (1) full-sized (30mL) bottle of Schaf Radiance and Firming Serum at a retail value of $60 Canadian

Must be 18+ years of age to enter

Giveaway is open internationally

Contest ends August 8th at 12:00am (midnight)

Entries from fake/giveaway accounts will not be counted. Let's be honest, people! 


Good luck to all entrants!!

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week :)

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** This product was provided to me as a PR sample for consideration and review. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% authentic and my own! 

Saturday, 23 July 2016

A Stimulating Summer Lush Haul!

Hi, everyone! Hope your weekend is off to an amazing start. A couple of dilemmas face me currently: a) it is ridiculously hot here in Toronto (like 34C/93F hot) and b) I've been noticing some hair thinning around my scalp over the past few months, likely due to the fact that I wear and sleep in tight buns a bit too often. Given these quandaries, I've been extra motivated of late to keep fresh and take better care of my hair (i.e., stop balding, pronto). During a recent trip to Lush I found just the trio of products to make these goals a reality! 


I am a sucker for anything colourful and minty, so Lush's Dirty Springwash called to me in a serious way. It has three different types of mint for a super cool, tingly effect and also touts sea salt and glycerin to soften. It is wonderfully refreshing and so perfectly amazing to combat this silly summer heat. Plus it's bright blue and looks so pretty in my shower! Next up, I snagged a Shampoo Bar in New! I've been super pleased with their solid shampoos in the past (so cute and convenient), so was eager to try their version for thinning hair. New! is ultra stimulating, packed with herbs and spices like cinnamon, clove, rosemary, nettle, and mint to stimulate the scalp and encourage hair regrowth. It is so satisfyingly spicy, creates a great lather, and leaves my hair extra shiny! Finally, we have the most luxurious item of the three- the Roots Hair Treatment. This pot of goodness is designed to be used pre-shower and is formulated for those with thin, fine, limp hair. It is stimulating on the scalp, thanks to peppermint, and also hydrates and softens with honey and olive oil. I have tested this once so far and boy is it nice! It feels so tingly and cooling on my scalp and left my hair super soft and bouncy after my shower. It's truly a treat to use! I cannot yet speak to the long-term hair-growing prowess of New! and Roots, but I will certainly keep you posted! It's great to know, though, that while I'm waiting for my folicles to do their thing (and for these temperatures to chill the eff out), these products will be absolute pleasures for the senses in the meantime :)

Have you tried anything from Lush lately? Favourite summertime hair and body care products? Favourite hair care or other tricks for re-growing hair?

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Come Find Me on Snapchat!

Hi, everyone! I wanted to let you all know that you can now find me on Snapchat (username @vibrantvvbeauty)! I was hesitating for some time, as I already have enough social media addictions, but there are seriously few things that crack me up better than a good Snapchat filter (my blogger friends can attest to this). Here are some examples of the fun I've had so far:







My family was even kind enough to indulge me ;)



Silly? Yes. But a fun, innocent, and creative diversion. And in addition to trying on new faces, my Snapchat page will also include beauty products I'm testing, shots of my favourite spaces around Toronto, and the occasional cameo from my kitty, Sadie. Would love to connect with you!

Again, you can find me at @vibrantvvbeauty. Snap you soon! xo

Feel free to leave your Snapchat names below!

Thanks for stopping by! xo



Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Natural Hair Care Heaven: Beauty with a Twist

Hi, everyone! I'm back from vacation and am here to rave about some hair care. I go through phases in my life when hair products are an afterthought- any drugstore $2 bottle will do- and others where I'm properly obsessed about what treats my tresses. I currently find myself in the latter stage because I've come across a shampoo and conditioner that totally have me smitten!

Fairly new on the market, Beauty With a Twist was born in 2013. It was developed by hair professional and celebrity stylist Oliver Ifergan, who aimed to create a range that was unique, effective, and unconventional (in the best kind of way). The brand is inspired by the Californian lifestyle- lush, easy breezy, and natural. Their products not only have a beautiful tropical scent, but are also made without the nasties so ubiquitous in haircare these days. They include organic certified ingredients, are cruelty-free and vegan, and nearly all items are free from parabens and sulfates. So when the brand got in touch for me to try two of their best sellers, I was thrilled to give them a go!



I was sent along their Daily Shampoo** and Daily Conditioner**, which are designed to add hydration and shine while protecting coloured hair. They were accompanied by a snapshot of a beach near the brand's HQ, which totally added to the Californian vibe. This Polaroid inspired me to photograph my goodies in my own waterfront bliss in Muskoka.

The Daily Shampoo** aims to gently cleanse dry or colour-treated hair while mositurizing with shea butter, provide UV protection with white tea, and soothe the scalp with hibiscus and vanilla cactus. The Daily Conditioner** promises to provide deep hydration via strengthening peptides and to protect hair strands with vitamins and minerals. They both are paraben- , sulfate-, and cruelty- free and have a beautiful, exotic fragrance of coconut, peach, bergamot, jasmine, rose, ylang-ylang, musk, and vanilla. They smell so lush and tropical! 


I am totally loving these products! Not only do they smell absolutely beautiful, they are also rich, creamy, and a total pleasure to use. Despite the lack of suflates, the shampoo creates a rich lather and the conditioner feels wonderfully hydrating. Since I've been using them, my  hair has been so happy- shiny, moisturized, frizz-free, and fragrant. I am so happy with them and cannot wait to try more from the brand (they have released Volumizing and High Light Shampoos, which are ultra tempting)!

If Beauty With a Twist sounds like your type of hair care brand, you can now find it here in Canada at Amazon.ca (here!)

What is your favourite hair care brand at the  moment? Favourite natural hair care products?

Have a wonderful week! xo

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**These products were sent to me as PR samples for consideration and review. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% authentic and my own.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

A Brief Break

Hi, everyone! I'm leaving tomorrow morning for a sunny long weekend with my family in Muskoka- three days of sunshine, fresh lake water, and amazing people. I am beyond excited! Amidst my packing and prepping tonight, I found myself rushed to pump out a blog post before I left. Rather than bending to pressure, I'm deciding to take a step back and decide that y'all will still love me if I take a few days off (right?). 


So I will be back with a new post on Tuesday! In the meantime, enjoy this sunny picture of the lovely Sadie and stay in touch with me via social media. Links below :)

Have a fantastic weekend! xo

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Deciem Trials and Wishes, ft. Niod, Hylamide, Fountain, and more!

Hi, everyone! Hope you're all having a fab weekend! If you saw my last post, you'll know that I was lucky enough to visit Deciem's Toronto factory (also their Canadian HQ) this past Monday. Not only did I get to  peek behind the scenes and witness development, production, and packaging, I got to spend about 45 minutes with my tour guides learning about products in a fun, informative, hands-on sort of way. Just how I like it! 


In playing with all of the goodies, I got to experience several products that I'd been curious about, as well as gain a new-found craving for some items that had not been on my radar. These items heralded from Deciem brands Niod, Hylamide, Fountain, Hand Chemistry, and hif and included everything from conditioning shampoo to self-tanner to anti-aging serums. 


Upon leaving the factory, I was given a lovely selection of products to test and was also left with an ever-growing wishlist of goodies to try in the near future. I thought I'd share with you a breakdown of what I'm currently testing as well as those Deciem items that I have my eye on next. 


Currently Testing
I plan to write more thorough reviews of some of these products in the future (once I've given them a proper test), but for now, here are my first impressions and a bit of info about each!

Niod Sanskrit Saponins**
This was the product I was most excited to test and was so thrilled to have received one! I am a huge sucker for blending ancient wisdom with a modern aesthetic, and Sanskrit Saponins embodies that combination perfectly. Part of Niod's new (and hopefully expanding) yesti range, Sanskrit Saponins is a deep cleanser that utilizes potent, unrefined plant surfectants inspired by Ayurvedic traditions. It feels so creamy and comfortable on the skin, but leaves my complexion feeling sooooo clean. I'm in love! 



Superoxide Dismutase Saccharide Mist**
This is Niod's newest product and I was way eager to give it a go! (Plus, the name sounds super complicated and nerdy, which I of course adore). I love a good face mist, and this one is adamant in asserting that it is not a toner, but rather is a "dermal treatment mist" that protects against oxidative damage, dehydration, and irritation. Like most of Niod's products, this aims for long-term benefits (rather than any quick, but superficial effects), but it has been a pleasure to use so far! My skin has been looking quite calm these days and the generously-sized bottle lets me be liberal with my spritzes :)


Hand Chemistry Glow Oil**
Just in time for my trip to Muskoka next weekend came this lovely little product. It smells like peaches and leaves my skin with the most beautiful golden sheen. It has also done a great job at creating a gradual, natural tanning effect on my ultra fair skin and feels totally non-greasy once absorbed. 


Niod Photography Fluid Opacity 12%**
This has become such a cult product and I'm so thrilled to be testing it! This multi-tasker works to correct uneven skin tone, add radiance, blur imperfections, and refract light so that your skin looks its best, particularly in photographs. I've worn it a few times so far and am ultra impressed! It gives my skin the most amazing glow, allows me to wear less foundation, and even seems to control oil a touch. An all-around winner! 


Fountain The Energy Molecule** and The Hyaluronic Molecule**
I am ultra lazy when it comes to taking vitamins, but something about these cute, cheery liquid supplements has me devout. The Energy Molecule has an orange flavour and is packed with vitamin B12, creatine, and hyaluronic acid to energize, balance, and hydrate. The Hyaluronic Molecule tastes like ginger (so zingy!) and is designed to hydrate and plump skin from the inside out. Both are vegan and super easy to use! 




The Wishlist
And here are some Deciem products that are next up on my must-try list! 


Hylamide Matte 12
My skin has been ultra oily of late and I completely appreciate this product's promise of mattifying without stripping the skin. It doesn't contain any of the parching ingredients (like talk, starch, and chalk- yes, chalk!) that other mattifying primers have and feels ultra smooth on the skin! 


Niod Non-Acid Acid Precursor 15%
I love me a good exfoliant, but many acids (glycolic especially) can leave my skin a bit irritated and unhappy. This unique offering uses fermentation bio-derivatives and amino isolates (science!) to keep skin texture even and appearing glowing. It has been proven as non-irritating, so my sensitive skin is way eager to test this! 


Niod Hydration Vaccine
Having oily skin, I rarely gravitate towards heavier mositurizers, but something about the Hydration Vaccine won me over. It has the texture of honey, but feels completely smooth, lightweight, and non-sticky once massaged into the skin. It's designed to be used as a final skin care step to seal in the benefits of everything you've used prior as well as to prevent moisture loss throughout the day. This would be a wonder for my Winter skin! 



And a few more that I didn't photograph....

Niod Flavanone Mud
I am so incredibly interested in this unique mask! It not only deeply cleans the skin, but also protects the complexion from aggressors and helps it to heal from the inside out. A true multitasker that goes far beyond your typical mud mask. 

Niod Low-Viscosity Cleaning Ester
A quick, simple way to remove makeup that leaves skin hydrated, balanced, and non-greasy. Typical micellar waters have never impressed me all that much, but I have high hopes for this ester-based cleaner!

Hand Chemistry Retin-Oil
My tour guide Eric told me that this could also be used on the face and has worked wonders to keep his skin glowing and free from acne. Enough said! 

Fountain the Super Green Molecule and the Geek Molecule
I have to admit: I'm a vegetarian that doesn't eat enough greens. While I still of course aim to incorporate more veggies into my daily diet, the Super Green Molecule would help on those days where my food intake has been rather, well, beige. I also suffer from a bit of brain fog and distractibility at work, so the Geek Molecule would be a lifesaver in my office! 

hif Blonde Hue Support
hif now makes treatments to enhance hair colour! There are so many beautiful options in the range to choose from, but a shampoo and conditioner in one that brightens and lightens my naturally blonde hair? Sounds like a perfect place to start! 


I've been praised (and cursed) for my enabling skills, and I hope I've done just that here! Deciem's massive range of products are so worth checking out, so I'll be glad if I've inspired you to take a peek!

As I mentioned above, I am planning to write more thorough reviews of some of these products after further testing- feel free to let me know if you have any requests!!

Have you tried any products from Deciem? Any favourites? Which item above tempts you most?

Thanks for stopping by! xo

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**These products were given to me as PR samples for consideration and review. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% authentic and my own. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Visiting Deciem's Canadian HQ (a.k.a. Skin Care Geek Heaven!)

Hi, everyone! One of the most exciting aspects of being a skin care obsessive is discovering new brands that really get it. That is, brands who really understand skin and seek to innovate in a way that's interesting, creative, and fun. Deciem is one of those companies that fills the bill perfectly for me. They label themselves The Abnormal Beauty Company, which they credit to their unusual growth- being born only three years ago in 2013, Deciem now offers an umbrella of 10 brands and over 50 products sold in more than 15 countries across the world. They also pride themselves on quality, innovation, authenticity, functionality, and offering top-notch products at reasonable prices. Though you may not be familiar with the name Deciem, it is the parent company of several booming brands, including Niod (whose medicinal-style packaging is now ubiquitous on Instagram), Hylamide, Fountain, and Hand Chemistry. I was lucky enough to get a tour of Deciem's Toronto factory (a.k.a. their Canadian headquarters, a.k.a. the happiest skin care place on earth) this past Monday and I'm here to share my experience with you! 


When I spotted the Deciem building from across the street it was easy to recognize- a black, box-like brick building with an industrial, urban feel that is also quite welcoming and perfectly quirky. 



The instructions I received to find the building (beyond the address, of course) were "look out for the bright yellow door and the broken clock". I smiled at the thought of such unique landmarks- and that's just what I found! Also, not to be missed, there is a garage door with Deciem's slogan painted on it- The Abnormal Beauty Company, indeed! 



Upon entering, I noticed a decor that was both modern and rustic, with themes of wood and metal throughout. I was greeted by several smiling faces, including Tammy, my tour guide in training. She immediately asked me what brands I was interested in and quickly began to gather some products on the front table for me to play with later. I was then met by Eric, Deciem's social media aficionado and my head tour guide for the day. The pair eagerly led me towards the back of the building where all the magic happens behind the scenes! 


Our first stop was where all the science comes to life- the laboratory! The relatively small, but active space was filled with beakers, droppers, jars, and cheery techs in lab coats. Eric explained that all of the products are created and tested right in this lab, using the company's diverse team as eager guinea pigs. It was stressed that Deciem not only strives to be prolific with creating new and innovative products, but also to always be looking to improve their current products. This goal of continued growth and betterment is definitely admirable and certainly not the case with some other brands who are happy to rest on their laurels once they've achieved success. 



Next, I was led to the factory portion of the building- which was so much larger than I was expecting, given the view of the building from the front! The factory space was bright, cool, and bustling and was filled with vats and barrels of product that I seriously just wanted to dive into- though I resisted as to avoid a contamination catastrophe ;)


Next up was the area where products are bottled, sealed, and packaged. This was super fun for me, as it felt like a privilege to really see the products come to life and made ready for the consumer to enjoy! Here are bottles of Niod's cult Copper Amino Isolate Serum (CAIS) being filled and boxed: 



And the very new Hand Chemistry Glow Oil coming down the conveyor belt! 



After this we returned out to the front for some serious product playtime! The Deciem umbrella now includes over 50 products, so to narrow down the scope I stated my total obsession with facial skin care. Given this, Eric and Tammy brought over an amazing selection of goodies from Hylamide, Niod, and Hand Chemistry (whose products can also be used on the face- who knew!?). 


The three of us spent almost 45 minutes chatting and testing out products. I was totally in my element! I am such a geek when it comes to skin care ingredients and science, and Eric and Tammy were happy to indulge all of my questions, interjections, and nerdy exclamations ;) They gave amazing breakdowns of  how to use the products and in what order, the reasoning behind packaging and textures, and the right products for my finicky skin. By the end of the session, the backs of my hands were as smooth and glowing as can be from all the playing! 



I also expressed curiosity about Deciem's Fountain range- a line of consumable vitamin supplements for the mind, body and skin- so Eric let me have a taste of both The Happy Molecule- aimed at lifting mood- and The Energy Molecule, which naturally boosts energy with B12. I have to say, I was feeling happy and energetic the rest of the day, but it may also have been due to my geeky excitement about the tour! ;)

I also got a brief introduction to their hair care range hif (Hair is Fabric), which totally captured my interest. The hif products take a "dry cleaning" approach to treating hair, which is quite the unique perspective, and the packaging and product range are both ultra cool! 


At the end of my tour, Eric gifted me a lovely goody bag with a great selection of products to try and was happy to be my photographer before we parted ways. I left happy as a clam! 


And I of course had to snap a selfie with Eric for the road, as he was such a treat! :)


Overall, my experience at Deciem HQ was incredibly fun, interactive, and informative. I'd recommend it to any skin care fiends in the area! I mean, where else can you experience one of you favourite brands behind the scenes in such a personalized way? I feel super lucky to have visited! 

In my next post, I'll be sharing some of the Deciem products I'm testing out (from Niod, Hand Chemistry, and Fountain), as well as the wonderfully tempting products on my wishlist! 

If I've piqued your curiosity, you can check out Deciem's 10+ brands and 50+ products on their website, here

Have you every tried one of Deciem's many products? Any favourites? Have you had the opportunity to visit any of your fave brands behind the scenes?

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

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