Monday, 3 December 2012

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Winter weather has hit, and with it the nose-numbing, eye watering, blustery winds of winter. Though weather outside may be frightful, you can feel delightful. 

  • Baking Soda 
  • Epsom Salt 
  • Rolled Oats
  • Lavender essential oil 
  • Coconut oil 
  • Mortar and pestle (or a wooden spoon and sturdy bowl) 
1. Take a few tsp rolled oats and grind into a powder using the mortar and pestle (if you don't have a one use a wooden spoon to crush the oats in a sturdy bowl). 
2. Add a handful of epsom salt and 2-3 tsp of baking soda. 
3. Add this mixture to the bath before you run the water so that the salt dissolves. 
4. Relax and enjoy the skin softening properties of the oats and baking soda as the epsom salts ease your muscle tension away. 

Great Additions:
  • Your favourite scented candle. (This amazing Huckleberry candle is my current favourite). 
  • A great book: If you want a fun and light read I recommend Eccentric Glamour by Simon Doonan. 
  • A cup of antioxidant rich green tea. 
After, mix 2-3 tbsp coconut oil and 1-2 drops of lavender essential oil and use as an all-over body moisturizer. Slip into a cozy pair of socks and a warm winter sweater. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Review: Badger Cheerful Mind Balm

For starters there are two amazing things about this product.
1. USDA Certified Organic
2. Qualifies with the Leaping Bunny standard. 

This balm comes in a handsome and handy container that can easily be reused or repurposed when the product is done. 

The Product:
This aromatherapy balm melts into your skin without leaving a greasy sheen. I recommend applying a little on your hands or temples by the hairline. Containing orange, lemon, spearmint, rosemary, cinnamon, and ylang yalng it smells like a sunny kitchen on a breezy summer day. I like to keep it on my desk for a middle-of-the-day pick me up when I'm feeling stressed. 

The Verdict:
At the very reasonable price of $7.99 a tin this is a great respite for a stressful day, and the perfect stocking stuffer as well. 

Monday, 19 November 2012


Winter is here and with it the common cold. Your nose is red, you have dark circles, and you look pale. When Monday comes you have to face the challenge of dragging yourself out of bed and heading off to work. Here are a few tips to make yourself feel and look bit healthier- even on a Monday morning.

  • Take a hot shower and put a few drops of eucalyptus essential oils on the shower floor. The steam will create an aromatherapy experience that will help you breath more easily. 
  • A personal favorite when I'm sick is Dr. Bronner's Pure Castile Soap in Peppermint. 
  • Use a gentil exfoliator all over your face to brighten your complexion and prep skin for a mask. 
  • I don't know if the old wives' tale is true, but dry your hair right away so you don't catch a cold. 
  • Tissues with lotion can clog your pores- try a gentle clay mask just on your nose and cheeks. 
    • 1 tsp grey clay with equal parts water or aloe vera should do the trick. Leave on until dry. 
  • When your sick your skin tends to get greasy- moisturize with a light lotion only. 
  • If your nose is bright red try calendula oil to sooth the redness. It will absorb quickly. 
  • Apply a good tinted lip balm to add some colour to your complexion. I recommend Burt's Bee's Tinted Lip Balm
  • Try to keep makeup to a minimum when you're sick- by the end of the day it will have rubbed off from blowing your nose. If you have dark circles apply a small amount of yellow toned concealer or loose powder and blend. 
Remember the best thing for your skin is to hydrate, this is even more true when you're sick. Go make yourself a cup of ginger tea and enjoy your day!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising's Image of Women

I recently came across this fantastic documentary that discusses the objectification and sexualization of women in the media. Jean Kilbourne approaches the topic with years of experience in the topic, and presents an amazing look at the way our society portrays women. I recommend this as a must-watch for every woman. 
We should not aspire to be what these advertisements tell us a woman is. We are more than our bodies. We are more than an object to be ogled. 

This links to a low-quality version of the video:

Monday, 5 November 2012

Review: Burt's Bee's Beeswax Lip Balm

Even though Burt's Bee's was bought by Clorox I have remained a fan of the brand, though admittedly I have been scrutinizing the ingredient list more thoroughly. One of my favourite products is their Beeswax Lip Balm. Its a basic balm with a touch of peppermint that does not feel greasy and lasts without the need for continuous application. It has no colour or shimmer and layers well over or under lipstick, and helps prevent chapped winter lips. At the reasonable price of $4.49 CAD I recommend this as an alternative to petroleum jelly (a petroleum byproduct) based chap-sticks for everyday use.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Review: Simply Natural Blemish Formula

I will start of by mentioning that though I have not been using this product for long, it has quickly become one of my favourite products. I had been looking for a good moisturizer that didn't make my skin feel greasy when I came across this product. Made in Canada and with a very reasonable price I decided to give it a try. Even after the first application the texture of my skin felt different. The formula is very soothing while also reducing redness and inflammation.
Even those with acne prone skin should be using a moisturizer, and I recommend this product for anyone who has so far been tentative to use for fear of breaking out. 
A little goes a long way with this formula, but when I run out I will surely be purchasing it again. 

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Q&A: Eyelash Troubles

I recently got this question from a reader...
"I've got mascara troubles. My eyelids are monolids so my eyelashes slant down. Even when I curl them, by the end of the day they droop into my eyes/glasses. Also, do you have any makeup recommendations for everyone who wears glasses?"

Yes I do!
First lets address the eyelash issue.
1. Make sure you have clean dry eyelashes. If you have traces of moisturizer or cleanser on them it will make it more difficult for the mascara to stick.
2. Use a metal eyelash curler and use either hot water or a blowdryer to slightly heat it. Check that it's not too hot and begin to curl your lashes starting at the base and working your way to the ends.
3. Try using a sturdy mascara formula, not one that is too slick or that adds additional fibers to the lashes. This will only cause your eyelashes to get heavy with product and fall more quickly. I recommend bareMinerals Flawless Definition Waterproof Mascara, or Kiss Me Mascara (my personal favourite).
4. Never curl you eyelashes after applying mascara, you will break your lashes.

Tip: On days that I don't want to wear mascara or need to refresh the curl I use aloe vera gel and an empty eyebrow brush like a clear mascara.

Makeup: When it comes to wearing glasses it can be hard to find makeup looks that will show through your lenses, without overpowering your features. I recommend focusing on adding dimension to your eyes to make them stand out through your glasses.
Focus on adding deeper colours to the lash line, eyeliner is a great asset! Glasses can often cause shadows under your eyes, to counter this, don't apply eyeliner past the mid-way point of your pupil on your bottom lash line to 'lift' the corners of the eyes instead of dragging them down. Use a subtle highligher on your inner corners, the centre of your eyelid, and and your brow bone- this will also help to counter the dark circles. Use a middle toned eyeshadow across your lid, preferably one with a bit of shimmer. And of course, finish by curling your lashes and adding mascara.

A video tutorial will follow soon!

If you have a question you would like me to feature, comment below or email me at

Monday, 1 October 2012

Review: Lavera- Tinted Moisturizing Cream

When I bought Lavera's Tinted Moisturizer I was hoping for an alternative to powder for days when I just wanted to even out my skin tone. I have had a good experience with Lavera products in the past so I thought I would give it a try. 

The Verdict:

Not bad, but not fantastic either.
It has a nice consistency and applies well. The colour was a pretty good match for me, and it seemed to blend well for a natural look. However I found that even after a few minutes of wear the product would begin to feel as though it was sitting on top of my skin. The best way I can describe it is that after about 15min of wear it felt as though it was sliding down my face... not what you want if your makeup has to last all day. It took a bit of experimenting but I eventually found that if I set the product with a translucent powder in the T-zone it will keep the product in place and last quite well. 

Would I buy this product again? Probably not, I'll continue to use it- especially heading into the dryer winter months, but I'll try something new once it's done. 

Monday, 24 September 2012

365 Days of Makeup

I came across this video a while back and though I don't know how the creators intended it to be interpreted I feel that it has a really good message.

Some observations as I watch it...

  1. Ok, some foundation, lipgloss, eyeshadow, blush... doesn't seem like too much.
  2. Starting to look a bit cakey.
  3. Yuck, the foundation is dripping, how can we cover ourselves in so much of this stuff each day? 
  4. How is the model breathing? She looks like an iced cake. 
  5. Wow, talk about repeated exposure to this stuff every day, and this is excluding the other products many women use each day- like fragrances, primers, concealers, mascara, hairspray, and powder. 

When you get ready tomorrow, take a moment to write down the products you use on a daily basis. On one half or a small area of your face (to minimize product waste) apply a full 7 days of makeup. Now imagine a full year of makeup... 

Some final thoughts:

Our skin is the largest organ in our body. Even though it may not seem like much when we get ready each morning, our exposure to the chemicals in cosmetics adds up over a month, a year, several years, a lifetime. Personally, this video makes me want to make my beauty routine as natural as I can, for both my health and the environment. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Skin Deep Cosmetics Database

Today I decided to share an online resource that I have been using for some time. The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. In addition the many informative articles published on the site, it is a searchable database that allows you to look up the products you commonly use and assess the potential risk factor associated with them. I highly recommend searching some of your everyday products to see how they measure up.

If you don't have a lot of time, I consider the following mandatory reading for every cosmetics consumer. Below is an excerpt from the article 'Myths on Cosmetic Safety'. The full article can be found at 

  • "Myth – The government prohibits dangerous chemicals in personal care products, and companies wouldn’t risk using them.
    Fact – Cosmetics companies may use any ingredient or raw material, except for color additives and a few prohibited substances, without government review or approval (FDA 2005, FDA 2000).

  • More than 500 products sold in the U.S. contain ingredients banned in cosmetics in Japan, Canada or the European Union (EWG 2007b).
  • Nearly 100 products contain ingredients considered unsafe by the International Fragrance Association (EWG 2007c).
  • A wide range of nanomaterials whose safety is in question may be common in personal care products (EWG 2006).
  • 22% of all personal care products may be contaminated with the cancer-causing impurity 1,4-dioxane, including many children’s products (EWG 2007d, CDC 2009).
  • 60% of sunscreens contain the potential hormone disruptor oxybenzone that readily penetrates the skin and contaminates the bodies of 97% of Americans (EWG 2010, Calafat et al 2008).
  • 61% of tested lipstick brands contain residues of lead (CSC 2007)."

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Do It Yourself: Pumpkin Face Mask

As the change of seasons approaches, our skin begins to change, and oftentimes we need to rejig our skincare routine. This pumpkin face mask is a great choice to smooth dry or irritated skin, reduce redness and inflammation, and promote the healing of acne scars.

Add 1/2 tbsp rolled oats to the mixture. Apply as if it was a scrub and gently massage it into your skin for a few moments before letting it sit for 5-10 min.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Skin Type Solution: Acne Prone Skin

Do you have acne prone skin? Try this regime of do it yourself skincare to calm redness and inflammation, extract impurities, and prevent scarring.



Option 1- Green tea toner:
  • Brew 2 green tea bags in 1 cup of water for 6-8 minutes. Let cool.
  • Put the mixture in a spray bottle. Mist face after cleansing.
Option 2: Apply witch hazel to a cotton pad and apply to face after cleansing.

A common mistake that people with acne prone or oily skin make is to skip moisturizing, however moisturizing is an important part of everyone's skin care routine. Here are some good options to calm redness and replenish the skins moisture.

Option 1: Aloe Vera gel. Apply after toning as a gentle moisturizer and to heal acne scars.
Option 2: Use a few drops of almond oil or jojoba oil and massage into skin. These are good non-greasy options that won't clog your pores.


1. Once a week make a mixture of lemon juice and raw(unpasteurised) honey, 2 parts lemon juice to 1 part honey. Apply to face and let sit like a mask for 4-5min. Do not get this in your eyes, anyone who has been looking the wrong way while slicing a lemon knows that it burns!


Friday, 15 June 2012

Recipe: Hand and Nail Cream

After posting the Do It Yourself: Natural Hand and Nail Care video I got a request for the recipe for the Hand and Nail Cream. There are several variations that you can make, and I plan on making a how-to video, but in the meantime here is the basic recipe that I used in the video.

1 tablespoons almond oil
2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa butter
1 tablespoon jojoba oil
1 tablespoon beeswax (you can buy it in a small brick and use a cheese grater or lemon zester to shave off the amount you need)
40 drops of your favourite essential oil, or oil mix. I love using lemon or rosemary.

Over a double boiler (I use two saucepans, with water in the bottom one) or in a small saucepan over low heat, warm everything except the essential oil until the wax and oils are melted.
Take the pan off the heat and stir in your essential oil.
Carefully pour the mixture into a small storage container (I like to use sterilized mini jam jars).
The recipe yields a bit more than a 1/2 cup.
Let cool before putting the lid on.

Because of the different oils, especially the cocoa butter, it can take a while for the mixture to set. I set the jars out overnight to solidify before use. Depending how warm/cold it is your cream may set to a different consistency, but it will warm on contact with your skin.

When making this recipe be sure to be careful around hot oil.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Earth Day Resolutions

Earth Day is a good time to take stock of your personal impact on the environment and what you can do to better the planet. In terms of makeup and the beauty industry in general there is a huge amount of waste. Looking just at makeup we expose problems such as animal testing and animal rights, production of non-biodegradeable synthetic materials, excess packaging entering landfills, dangerous chemicals, and more.
There are a few things you can do to clean up your beauty habits and clean up the planet:

  •  Do some research into the products you use regularly: Are they certified cruelty free? 
  • Look for products that come in biodegradable or recycled packaging. 
  • Recycle packaging wherever you can, look on the bottom of the package to find out. It may be as simple as rinsing out your empty foundation bottle and putting it in the recycling.  
  • Make beauty products yourself whenever you can! 
  • Try bamboo or vegan makeup brushes.

Happy Earth Day!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Review: Suncoat Gel Nail Polish Remover

Everyone knows that nail polish remover is full of chemicals. You know the minute you unscrew the lid and are hit with the acrid smell of acetone. Even brands that are labeled as being acetone free can contain ingredients such as toluene (a neurotoxin), phthalic anhydride, and petroleum byproducts. Inhalation of these fumes is bad for your health and can cause headaches, nausea, and throat or eye irritation. 

When I saw this product I was hesitant to try it because it wasn't clear if the product would remove all nail polish or only Suncoat brand. I'm happy to say that this product does remove all types of nail polish both natural and not. The packaging is mess-free, unlike many nail polish removers and the gel spreads easily on each nail. The product is corn and soy based and removes polish well, though on tough polish you may need to repeat the process. Best of all there is no chemical smell!

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Review: Zuii Organic Eyeshadow- Sunflower

As someone who loves the artistry of eye makeup I am always on the watch for natural or organic eyeshadows. The problem with so many natural eyeshadows is that the colours are usually dull, the shadow fades and creases, and they are very expensive. This Zuii Organic Eyeshadow in Sunflower is one of my favourite organic eyeshadows. It has a bright iridescent gold colour that doesn't fade or crease throughout the day.
 This eyeshadow is also talc free.  Though recognized as safe by the FDA it is speculated that talc has fibres similar to those found in asbestos, a material that is widely known to be carcinogenic.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Review: Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner

     Many people overlook toners because they find them harsh and drying. However this witch hazel toner is gentle, refreshing, and does not strip the skin. This toner is great to use in the summer months, when the skin tends to be oilier, or as a refreshing pick-up after exercising. It has a pleasant scent and makes the skin feel clear and smooth. Though it is remarkably moisturizing for a toner I would recommend that individuals with very dry skin abstain from using this product at times such as winter, where their skin is already battling dryness.

Ingredients: Purified Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf (Certified Organic Filet Of Aloe Vera), Glycerin (Vegetable), Fragrance (Natural Rose) Hamamelis Virginiana (THAYERS® proprietary un-distilled Witch Hazel) Extract, Rosa Centifolia (Rose) Flower Water, Citric Acid, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Seed Extract, Tocopheryl (Vitamin E) Acetate.
                                          Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel Toner - Click Image to Close

Friday, 16 March 2012

Ingredient of the Moment: Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera is one of the top natural beauty ingredients. It is known for it’s anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, cooling, moisturizing, and soothing properties. Here are some uses for aloe vera that you might not have known about: 

-Use to sooth sunburns and aid in the healing of minor cuts and scrapes.

-Use to calm rashes and skin inflammation such as acne.

-Use as a gentle moisturizer for lips and skin.

-Keep an aloe vera plant in your kitchen and snap off a leaf for those untimely burns.

-Use as a more moisturising alternative to water when making homemade masks and scrubs.

-Try a bit overnight for under eye puffiness. 

-Use as a hair treatment; simply mix with ¼ cup lemon juice, apply to hair in the shower, let sit for 4min and then rinse well.

-Use a dab as eyebrow gel to keep stray hairs in place. 

Aloe Vera plants can be easily grown yourself, simply squeeze the gel from the plant's leaves, but it should also be commercially available from your local drugstore. 

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Do It Yourself: Green Tea Bath

Get ready for St.Patrick's day with this refreshing green tea bath. Green tea is known for its antioxidant properties. It also contains caffeine which helps to tone the skin making it feel smooth and revitalized.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Do It Yourself: Simple Clay Mask

Commercial facial masks can be pricy, and they often contain less than desirable ingredients such as petroleum byproducts, glycol, and parabens.  Instead, try making your own simple clay facial mask to clarify and extract impurities from the skin.

These ingredients should be available at most health food or specialty stores.


I decided to start this blog because I believe that beauty can be clean, healthy, and natural. I also created it to show everyone out there that it is possible for us all to ‘drop our masks’, and our preconceived ideas of what society tells us that beauty is. Everywhere you turn the media tells women to put on a mask of chemicals that stifles our true beauty. Beauty is not something that is just external, rather something within us that must also be nurtured.

I introduce you to Dropping The Mask, a blog dedicated to showing you that beauty is natural.