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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Vibrant Beauty Meets Green Beauty: 100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipstick

Hi, everyone! We all know that in the world of makeup, few things excite me more than a bold, vibrant lipstick. My collection is rife with vivid oranges, fuchsias, purples, and corals- they just make me feel so put together, wide awake, and fearless. Pretty simple therapy, I'd say! I've made a pledge to integrate more natural, green beauty into my makeup routine this year, so when I saw that 100% Pure had recently launched a range of ultra-pigmented matte lipsticks my antennae were perked! 

The 100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipsticks ($29 USD/$35 CAD) come in soft white cardboard boxes with brown lettering and pretty pink accents. 

The boxes also feature a full ingredient listing, which reveals several lovely natural components including cocoa butter, shea butter, various fruit extracts, chocolate(!), rose petals, and Vitamin E. Enriched by these beautiful ingredients, the Cocoa Butter Matte Lipsticks promise a lightweight, smooth, moisturizing texture, a semi-matte finish, long wear, and full-on opaque colour thanks to natural fruit pigments. The formula is 100% natural, vegan, gluten- and cruelty-free. 

The lipstick tubes also reflect the theme of natural beauty. They are made of lightweight rosy-taupe metal decorated by a silver leafy floral motif. The inside of the tube also reveals a silvery scripted brand logo when the cap is removed. 

What lured me most to the Cocoa Butter Matte Lipsticks was the amazing selection of bold, vibrant shades- so up my alley! The shade range includes everything from nude beige, to vibrant coral, to vivid red, to saturated purple. So many lovelies to choose from! 

I have three of these gorgeous lipsticks to share with you today: Prickly Pear, Sonora**, and Hyacinthus**

Prickly Pear is described as a "vibrant coral pink" and I fully agree with this description. The shade is decidedly warm and is a perfect blend of coral and pink with just a touch of pastel. I wear shades like this year-round, but it absolutely screams Spring and Summer! 

Sonora** is described as an "orange red" and that's just what it is- a warm-toned red. The warmth gives it a lovely retro feel and I like that, despite the orange undertones, the shade is still decidedly red, which keeps a classic feel and may make it more approachable to those who might feel intimidated to wear a full-on orange. 

Hyacinthus** is described as a "deep berry purple". It's a neutral to warm shade that is a beautiful balance of berry and purple hues. Its prominent purple tones make it wonderfully bold and modern, yet it has enough pinky elements that it's wonderfully wearable (I actually wore it to work on Monday and did not feel self-conscious at all). With one layer, the berry tones come through and, as it's layered, a deeper purple takes over. This effect makes the shade super versatile! 

Here are swatches of all three shades on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone). As you can see, the shades are smooth and opaque and have a luminous matte finish: 

And here I am wearing each of the shades: 

100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipstick in Prickly Pear

100% Pure Cocoa Butter Matte Lipstick in Sonora

What I love about these lipsticks is that they are wonderfully pigmented and incredibly lightweight on the lips. They reach full opacity with one heavy or two lighter-handed swipes and, despite the rich colour, they instantly absorb into the lips and do not feel at all heavy or sticky. Also, the wear-time is so impressive! These lipsticks last quite well, even through meals, and leave a beautiful stain on the lips as they begin to wear. 

The only downsides to these lipsticks that I've noticed is that they are not transfer-proof and they can be a *touch* drying as the day goes by, at least during these colder temperatures. Even though these are matte and lightweight, they will leave an imprint on your glass or will smudge a bit if you were to wipe your mouth. Despite the transfer, though, the wear-time is not impacted because the pigments are so rich! Also, because these lipsticks dry down to a soft, powdery finish, I do find my lips to be a bit dried out by the end of the day. On the upside, though, these do not feel at all tight or uncomfortable when initially applied. 

I have set a goal for myself to incorporate more green, natural makeup items into my routine this year, so I am thrilled to have discovered the 100% Pure Matte Lipsticks. The shade range is absolutely stunning (especially for a vibrant beauty lover like me), the pigmentation is impressive, and the wear-time can't be beat! And, of course, they are 100% natural, vegan, cruelty-free, and coloured by fruit. How amazing is that?!

If I've tempted you, you can find these lovely lippies on the 100% Pure website, here!

Also, 100% Pure is currently running an incredible Gift with Purchase on their website starting today! With all orders over $55 USD, you will receive a 6-piece gift set worth $134! Now's the time to try the brand if you've been curious!++ 

Do you have any favourite green beauty brands or lipstick launches at the moment?

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo


**Products marked by these asterisks were sent to me as PR samples for consideration and review. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% authentic and my own! 

++This post contains affiliate links (i.e., I will receive a small percentage of the sale of items should you purchase products using the links in this post)

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Green Beauty Brand Spotlight: Bella Aura

Hi, everyone! Lately I've been lucky enough to test out some amazing local, Canadian green beauty brands and I've discovered another that's no exception- Bella Aura. Creator Yasmine developed the line as a response to her own life stressors, skin complications, and frustrations with the offerings (or lack thereof) on the market. Following the illness of her mother, which left both her and her skin depleted, she was unable to find an effective solution via traditional (and expensive) means. While on a trip to Morocco, she learned about the ancient customs of the Berber women and also consulted with a local chemist who shared with her the local naturally harvested oils that, when then combined with other potent botanical actives, eventually healed her skin. She was converted! 

Bella Aura is based around three central principles: Powerful Traditions. Proven Science. Pure Glow. It aims to be luxurious and to promote beauty, both inside and out. The line is driven by the idea that you don't have to sacrifice your skin's health in the search for effective skin care; instead, you can achieve all of your desired results via time-tested, all-natural ingredients without any toxins or unsafe preservatives. The brand's offering are made completely without parabens, artificial fragrance, SLS, PEG compounds, petrolatum, triclosan, alcohol, mineral oil, propylene glycol, and several other potentially harsh, unnecessary elements. 

Overall, the products are designed to be pristinely clean, groundbreaking in terms of technology, and promoters of serious glow. In fact, the name Bella Aura was selected because an aura is the outer manifestation of one's inner energy. Outer radiance radiating from within! They also promise a fruitful marriage of ancient ingredients and modern science. Further, the integrity of the brand is also demonstrated by their authentic, ethical sourcing of 100% organic ingredients from Morocco.

Each product in the range features their signature Kamilah Oil Blend (Kamila meaning complete) that includes ancient elements of Fig de Barbary (cactus), Argan, Neroli, and Nigella. Each has the same signature green fragrance designed to have aromatherapeutic effects that bring harmony to the mind and body. It's also suggested that the products be thoroughly massaged into the skin, not only to increase product absorption, but also to develop a mindful self-care ritual. 

All of the products are emulsions, which means they are a combination of water- and oil-based hydrators that both penetrate deeply and moisturize the surface. Each formula includes peptides, vitamins, and minerals to nourish and balance and a strong dose of antioxidants to protect the skin against the environmental pollutants that our modern world has to offer. Each also contains hyaluronic acid, elastin boosters, and collagen to replenish skin cells, plump fine lines, and increase firmness and elasticity. 

The brand offers a curated selection of five products, embodying their dedication to simplicity. The Essential Energy Boosting Kit** ($75 CAD) contains miniatures (10mL) of the entire range, each of which is suitable for all skin types. It's a wonderful way to interact with the complete product lineup before committing to the full sizes! 

The outer packaging is super helpful, in that it provides a description and full ingredient listing for each product: 

The products that make up Bella Aura (and this handy Essential Energy Boosting Kit**) are:

Gentle Purifying Cleanser ($45 CAD for full size)
Coloured in blue to represent symbolize calm, tranquillity, and peace. It is designed to thoroughly cleanse without stripping or irritating the skin and contains Vitamin E to create a hydrating foam, Vitamin B to gently exfoliate and replenish, and Vitamin C for antioxidant protection. It also includes a variety of vitamins and minerals like calcium, zinc, selenium, iron, magnesium, and amino acids to remove impurities and improve skin condition.
This cleanser was a pleasure to use- it's halfway between a liquid and cream and creates a soft, subtle lather. It leaves my skin feeling clean but not at all dry and stripped! 

Antioxidant Booster ($125 CAD for full size)
Coloured in orange to represent energy, creativity, and radiance. It promises to promote radiance while seriously protecting the skin against environmental aggressors. It's vitamin- and mineral-rich and also contains omega 3-6-9 fatty acids to nourish and replenish. It promises to calm redness, even skin tone, and support the skin's natural collagen production. 
This creamy emulsion is hydrating enough to use alone, but works extra nicely when layered or blended with the brand's day or night hydrators. My skin always looks so fresh and glowing after I apply it! 

Instant Eye Lifting Contour ($125 CAD for full size)
Coloured in indigo to represent spirituality, intuition, and awareness. This emulsion promises to brighten, firm, smooth and hydrate the eye area as well as reduce puffiness, dark circles, fine lines, and uneven texture. Like the brand's other products, it's also rich in vitamin and minerals and promotes collagen synthesis.
I love this eye cream! Not only does it not irritate my watery eyes one bit, it truly brightens and plumps my eye area right away. The outer corner of the eye is the only area of my face to be graced with fine lines at the moment, so it is quite nice to find a product that takes a few years off in an instant! I have no doubt that continued use will yield even more lasting results. 

Daily Repair Moisturizer ($90 CAD for full size)
Coloured in green to represent renewal, healing, rejuvenation, and nature. This daytime moisturizer is designed to hydrate, smooth, lift, and brighten. It minimizes dullness and fine lines and prevents water loss and dullness. 
I totally loved mixing this with the Antioxidant Booster in the morning. It created a perfect canvas for makeup- plump and smooth, but not at all greasy! 

Night Cellular Renewal ($110 CAD for full size)
Coloured in pink to represent compassion, beauty, love, and warmth. It promises to be a potent overnight anti-aging powerhouse that hydrates, renews, plumps, and adds radiance. It promotes firmness, elasticity, and the skin's own ability to renew its cells while you sleep. 
This mid-weight cream works wonderfully as a final step in my nightly skin care routine. It seals in previously-used oils and serums wonderfully while contributing its own actives. Whenever I use this before bed, I wake up to skin that's so fresh and hydrated. 

I have to say that each of these products was a pleasure to use! I love that the textures are rich enough to feel luxurious and hydrating, but viscous enough to not feel at all heavy or stifling on my oilier skin. The products blended quite nicely together and wore well under makeup. They did not break me out nor irritate my redness-prone, sensitive complexion. As for the scent, it's quite potent and also quite different from other natural products I've tried. Instead of channeling common scents like citrus, honey, or essential oils, the products all have a signature fragrance that's quite heady and green. It didn't call to me at first, but over time, I came to look forward to breathing in its grounding and invigorating aroma. Because the scent is so green, I like to imagine that it's the cactus in the formula that's responsible. 

Although I do not have serious signs of facial aging to date (thanks for the good genes, Mom and Dad!), I have no doubt that this line is ultra effective in the realm of anti-aging. The eye cream instantly makes my eye area look younger and all of the products leave my skin looking so plump and glowing. I would definitely recommend this range to anyone who loves green, natural skin care but doesn't want to skimp on some serious anti-aging action. 

If I've tempted you, you can discover the whole world of Bella Aura on the brand's website, here

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo

**Products marked with these asterisks were sent to me as PR samples for consideration and review. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% authentic and my own! 

Friday, 10 March 2017

Beauty Inside Out: The Natural Curator Launch + Wishlist

Hi, everyone! My love for green beauty is no secret, so when I find a new outlet for my obsession I'm a pretty happy gal. And when the shop is local and Canadian, I'm ecstatic! Last month I was lucky enough to attend the Toronto launch party for The Natural Curator, a Montreal-based online beauty retailer that is the passion project of two female entrepreneurs, Karine Lachapelle and Gabrielle Tanugay. The shop was set up with the premises that switching to green beauty is actually a step up in your beauty routine  and that Natural Beauty is the future of beauty

With the additional mantra that Natural beauty is the new norm, The Natural Curator selects brands and products based on 4 criteria:

Nature first- using ingredients that channel the power of nature
Quality- finding formulas that are proven effective
Uniqueness- promoting products that are innovative and derived from traditions from around the world
Modernity- offering items that are accessible to the modern consumer

When I arrived at the event, we were greeted with snacks, lively colourful cocktails, and a large table adorned with the key brands and products that the shop has to offer. A second table featured some beautiful greenery and displays of the several natural ingredients used often in green beauty and their key benefits. 

The Natural Curator founder Karine was on hand to walk us through all of the brands and products. She was incredibly informative and, after chatting with her one-on-one, my wishlist started to materialize. I'm always thrilled to speak with others who are equally as passionate about quality products and ingredients as well as the fun and self-care involved with a beauty routine. 

The shop offers a fantastic variety of brands, including some of my long-standing favourites like Ilia and Antipodes

... brands I'd heard a lot about and have been dying to try, like Vapour Organic Beauty, Patyka, Rituelle de Fille, and Uma Oils...

... and completely new-to-me brands that now have me tempted, like Nuori, Soveral, and Magicstripes

After chatting with Karine, testing out the products in-person, and perusing the website, I've curated  my Top 10 Natural Curator Wishlist that I thought I'd share with you (as you know I love to enable)! 

Aila Nail Lacquer in Wheatgrass
This non-toxic strengthening formula sounds amazing and I'm a huge sucker for this grassy green hue. 

Antipodes Hosanna H20 Skin Plumping Serum
I'm obsessed with Antipodes as a brand, but I'd yet to test this serum. The texture felt instantly plumping and it smells incredible! 

Briogeo Rosarco Milk Repairative Leave-in Conditioning Spray
I've heard a lot about this brand and have a feeling that this oil-rich repairing spray could become my idea leave-in conditioner!

Ilia Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20
I'm obsessed with Ilia's lipsticks and glosses, but I've yet to try their complexion products. I'm tempted because this promises a semi-matte formula and soothing ingredients. 

Lily Lolo Mascara
Karine raved about this formula, promising that it provides amazing length and volume and that it's also super long-wearing. I've yet to venture into natural mascaras, so this is not at the top of my list! 

Soveral Angel Balm Deep Pore Cleanser
At the event, this product was touted as quite the multitasking wonder- it's rich and balmy and can be used as a cleanser, makeup remover, mask, lip balm, and salve for dry areas. The texture and scent were just beautiful.

Rituelle de Fille Ash and Ember Eye Soot in Serpent de Mer
These eye shadows had the most interesting formula- not quite cream, not quite powder. Serpent de Mer is the most stunning plummy brown with gold shimmer that I know would work fantastically with my brown eyes. 

Tenoverten Nail Polish in Prince
Another non-toxic nail polish option, each of the shades are inspired by a street in New York City, which automatically piques my interest. I'm totally drawn to this pastel lilac- so perfect for Spring! 

Uma Deeply Clarifying Facial Oil
This brand uses traditional Indian herbal recipes to address a variety of skin concerns and Karine promised that this was wonderful at keeping blemishes at bay. Given that my skin is still annoyingly acne-prone, this sounds like an absolute must. 

Rituelle de Fille Enchanted Lip Sheer in Devil's Claw
I'm obsessed with the bold, edgy lipstick shades that this brand has to offer and I don't think I'll be able to pass up on this semi-sheer warm red. 

The Natural Curator was lovely enough to send a little preview of their product offerings before the event and I have been thrilled to delve in! I have finished off the sample of Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair!** hair mask (fabulous stuff) and cannot wait to give myself a manicure with the Tenoverten Nail Polish in Mulberry**, a mid-tone plummy cocoa. 

If I've temped you, you can find the gorgeous goodies that The Natural Curator has to offer on their website, here

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a wonderful weekend :)

**Products marked with these asterisks were sent to me as PR samples for consideration and review. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% authentic and my own!