Archive | Product Reviews RSS feed for this section

Favourite products for 2011 and brand rec’s

6 Feb

I meant to do this video earlier, but basically I wanted to let you know what my favourite products were for last year so that you could see which products stand the test of time. I like almost all of the natural cosmetics I purchased last year but these were the stars of the bunch! Also, it’s not Figs&Butter! Figs and Rouge… I have a bad memory. Also, this video is HD! I just have one other that was filmed on my Mac, all other new vids will be HD.

Products mentioned (and later today I’ll update this to tell you where you can buy them):

  1. Eco Tools blush brush
  2. Brush Guard
  3. BareMinerals Big & Bright eyeliner
  4. Ecco Bella blush
  5. RMS Beauty Lip2Cheek
  6. Tarte Dark Circle Defense concealer
  7. Pacifica Persion (not Wild!) Rose perfume roller
  8. Kariderm Shea butter

And the beauty lines I talked about briefly:

BM Beauty



Review: a few RMS beauty products

5 Dec

So the video above gives you a bit of an impression of what the products are like, and I’ll go into a bit more detail here. I hope you can see that they all go on very easily, you can use just your fingers. It is probably hard to tell from a Mac-filmed video, but when I went out for the day, my skin was glowing. The products feel amazing on your skin, but I do have the following tips:

Un-cover up: blend well, apply a couple of layers (waiting a bit between applications), but don’t expect full coverage.

Living luminizer: DO NOT APPLY TO ENTIRE EYELID¬†– I don’t want to sound dramatic, but if you apply this any higher than the few millimitres closest to your lash line, your eyelid will feel greasy-sticky. Keep it AWAY from your crease! Apply liberally to your cheekbones/wherever you want to glow. It is not shimmery or sparkly, it simply creates a warm glow.

Lip2Cheek in Modest: apply lip balm/make sure skin is well hydrated before applying, since this is a stain-like product. It will not provide much hydration but the colour is gorgeous and a little goes a very long way.

Quick take on RMS Beauty overall:

  • Most ingredients are organic.
  • There is not a single toxic (or potentially toxic) ingredient in any of the RMS products except one of the Lip2Cheek colours (where there is 0.5% synthetic colouring; all the other colours are beautiful so you can easily avoid it if you want to).
  • The packaging is recyclable: the glass pots with metal lids as well as the paper box they come in. You could even re-use the little glass pots if you want.
  • You will receive a sample of another of their products with your order, which is nice since their products aren’t available in any stores where I live, and investing $25+ in something I might not like is hard to do!
What I really appreciate is that RMS isn’t one of those “natural” brands that excludes recognizable toxic ingredients but throws in a whole lot of hard-to-evaluate ingredients instead. RMS sticks to oils, butters and natural colorants that we can be almost certain have few (if any, really) harmful effects.

You can visit for more information (or to make a purchase, if you feel inclined to do so. There is free shipping on orders over $25, which basically means free shipping on almost everything, since most products are $30+ ūüôā )

Hope that was helpful!

All-natural vegan makeup brushes

20 Oct

Heyo makeup-wearers, I’ve got some great brush recommendations for you! I recently took the leap, and am throwing out my non-vegan brushes and buying all-natural replacements.

Unfortunately, I have yet to locate a store with a wider selection of the Eco-Tools brand, which is my new fave.

Here is what I’ve found so far:

Eye shadow brush and concealer brush

These guys are soft and apply product smoothly, really everything you’d expect in a good makeup application tool. They are not expensive, and higher quality than non-vegan brushes of similar cost. So there. Lovelove.

Physician’s formula has an Organic line that is quite good but does not include brushes, so check that out at your local pharmacy/drugstore if you’re looking for eco-friendly beauty products. They make the impressive claim that they are “100% Free of Harsh Chemicals. 100% Free of Synthetic Preservatives. 100% Free of Parabens. 100% Free of GMO’s. 100% Free of Synthetic Colors. 100% Free of Synthetic Fragrances. 100% Cruelty Free.” They are also¬†certified by EcoCert(‚ĄĘ) SAS F-32600 L’Isle Jourdain according to EcoCert Standards.

So, pretty good, yeah?

Happy shopping!

On using disposable goods

8 Oct

When the Swiffer came out, I was mildly horrified. A chemical-soaked synthetic cloth that you use once and toss? Ick. Then came all the other Swiffer-brand products, like that WetJet thing. I am seriously grossed out by the proliferation of these so-called “easy” cleaning solutions that add to the absurd amount of garbage generated by a typical household. I am grossed out with myself sometimes too, what with my reliance on paper towels and plastic produce bags and all. But let’s not be to hard on ourselves; and there are solutions, easy ones too!

I recently heard about and check out what I found:

The cure for Swiffer-itis! Forget about buying refills of disposable cloths – get the reusable ones instead. They pop into the washing machine after use, easy-peasy.

You could argue that although the site is pushing for reduced consumption through re-use, they do offer some disposables and are, like all company, out to make money on consumer goods. Although there are some single-purpose and/or not necessarily essential items on the site, I like the tone, the fact that it’s a 1% For the Planet member, and the accessibility of their message. Most of us are trained to like the glossy shopping experience, and re-useit has bundled it’s message effectively in that respect.

They have cute tutorial videos, a mythbusting section, and various fact-sheets Рlots of info! So check it out!

Thursday review: Dishwashing with Attitude

20 May

I’ve never shopped around for dishwashing liquid; just bought what was on sale, or promised to smell apple-y sweet. What I have noticed is that anti-bacterial seems to be the way to go, across the board. I’m so not into anti-bacterial!

Here’s what I came across at Canadian Tire, en route to a bike helmet purchase:

like the teeny blurry photo? sorz

And look at the sweet, natural ingredients:

  • Water
  • Xanthan gum
  • Coco glucoside (a natural-source surfactant – helps product spread & loosen up oils)
  • Lauryl glucoside (same deal as the coco glucoside)
  • Vegetable-based glycerin
  • Sodium citrate (increases the effectiveness of the surfactants)
  • Essential oil

Love that there’s no anonymous “Fragrance”, unless Essential Oil is hiding something.

It’s even vegan and hypoallergenic – super! It’s getting late, I’m getting excited about detergent, yikes.

√Ä plus, p’tits l√©gumes!

Natural shampoos, a selection

13 May

Here we go: All-natural shampoos from the local big-box grocery store, a trial run.

A quick word about the JASON Apricot Shampoo: the apricot odour is off-putting, personally, but it does not linger. Your hair just smells like clean hair after using this.

The label info: natural Super Shine Shampoo, no Lauryl/Laureth Sulfates, leaves hair nourished and manageable. Nourishes your hair with Certified Organic botanicals plus vegetable proteins and vitamins; the moisturizing formula will leave your hair super clean and manageable with superior body and shine.

I also tried:

The natureclean shampoo is formulated for allergy sufferers, is therefore scent-free. Here’s what the label says:¬†99.9% natural hypoallergenic/unscented herbal shampoo, that gently cleanses, nourishes, repairs with the extracts of fennel, mistletoe & seaweed. Exceptionally mild, perfect for individuals with allergies or chemical sensitivities; restores moisture and helps to repair the hair follicle, resulting in stronger, healthier hair; created WITHOUT: paragons, sulphates (SLS & SL-ES), 1.4-Dioxane, Petroleum ingredients, PEG, cocamide DEA dyes, perfumes, or any suspected carcinogens.

I had basically the same experience with both products.¬†Both shampoos strip your hair of oil on contact it seems – if you don’t apply directly to your scalp, you’ll have to use more because the detergents do their work on whatever they touch first and there’s no lather left for the root of the hair shaft, i.e. you need more of this shampoo to get the same amount of lather as a regular shampoo. Maybe I need to get used to less lather?

My hair looked more wispy, dry and damaged at first, but after a couple of weeks of use, is silky and (as far as I can tell) strong. It DOES result in a tangled mess if your hair is fine like mine. Definitely have a wide-tooth comb with you in the shower to gently comb out your hair when you rinse. Unhappily, my hair tangles up a bit again in the towel, but it’s not too bad. The shampoos leave no (apparent) residue and have no conditioners in them, so the coordinating conditioners are probably a good idea to reduce tangles and control flyaways.

Those with thicker or oilier hair may not have the same problem I did. If you thoroughly wash your whole head, your hair will most probably feel a bit brittle once dry, a few more flyaways than usual. I say throuroughly/whole head because every other day is a root-only day. Until I get the conditioner, I can’t wash from root to tip every day, the ends will get super-dry. Lots of detail, I know; I’m hoping someone will find all this detail useful. I definitely like how my hair feels the longer I use these products, it just takes some adjusting.

Use natural shampoo regularly? Or do you dislike ’em? Let me know, I’m curious as to how they work with different hair types.

‘later greenies!

Gluten-free French Bread, oui merci!

8 May

Ever wondered about gluten-free bread? Neither had I until I started suspecting a gluten allergy. Enter Glutino French bread & pizza mix. As an intense bread-lover, I was wary; what would the texture and the taste be like? Would it even rise properly? The photo of the box sure looks tasty:

The instructions call for 2 eggs + 1 egg white, so I worried I would have a massive flop on my hands. Times be tight, don’t want to be making expensive mistakes – not that there is any gluten-free bread to be bought at my grocery store anyway. So it was either this works, or I don’t eat bread (for now). Moving along…

For the 2 eggs I used a ground flax + water mix, and for the egg white, powdered egg replacer. Totally arbitrary choices, really, I didn’t have time to check what other people may have done. Also, I don’t own a bread maker, so I used the oven method.

Here’s how it turned out:

nighttime in my kitchen = terrible photos

Amazing! Much denser than traditional French bread, but the taste was incredibly similar, especially right after baking. The ground flax seed added just a little bit of grainy-ness; I would probably opt for my original mix (I originally wanted to use flax goop for the egg white and powdered egg replacer for the other 2 eggs), next time.

I’ve had it with peanut butter and banana in the morning, as a “bun” for my tempeh burger, and with a little EB margarine straight out of the oven – super-delicious all three ways. The only problem arose when I decided to prepare my burger in the morning and leave it, assembled, in a container in my desk at work until lunchtime. The bread got a moist and became gummy. Literally, it stuck to my teeth and gums, real good. If you’re going to bring it for lunch, the best I can recommend is toasting it and keeping it separate in a cloth napkin or wax paper.

All in all, I’m fully satisfied with this bread mix. Maybe cutting out gluten won’t be so bad. This product doubles as pizza dough, and I’m already imagining the focaccias I can make with it; white with rosemary… sundried tomato and olive… yummmm.