Product Review: @LavinaSkinCare

I actually first heard about Lavina Skincare from Amber’s review on her blog. When I read that Lavina Skincare is a Toronto based company I was really intrigued. So I contacted them & they kindly sent me their Barbary Fig Seed Oil & Argan Oil to review.

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Barbary Fig Seed Oil ** PR Sample

Ingredients: 100% Pure, Organic Barbary Fig Seed Oil, Cold-Pressed.

Barbary Fig Seed Oil is an amazing oil that feels light yet packs a powerful ability to hydrate the skin. To me it smells like a hint of fruit with the smell of freshly mown dewy grass. In appearance it’s a lovely mellow yellow colour & is easily spread onto the skin. Some people complain about the smell but I think it actually smells quite natural & subtle. The smell also doesn’t last once your skin absorbs the oil. Its hydrating properties come from the high amounts of linoleic acid, Vitamin E, & anti-inflammatories such as betalain & zinc. I’ve used the La Bella Figura Barbary Fig Seed Oil & I like this one much better. For one thing, it’s in a rollerball so you don’t waste as much oil trying to get it onto your face. Plus it’s from a Canadian company & the size makes it more affordable for those on a budget. You really don’t need to slather on this oil to get its benefits. I think I’ve found my HG oil!

Cost: $29.99 CAD, 0.33 fl oz / 10ml
Available at: Lavina Skincare, Free Shipping in N. America
Rating: 5/5

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Argan Oil ** PR Sample

Ingredients: 100% Pure, Organic Argan Oil, Cold-Pressed
Argan oil has a light nutty smell. It’s lighter yellow than the Barbary Fig Seed oil & feels slightly more heavy in viscosity. Argan also has high levels of Vitamin E & fatty acids which are great at nourishing the skin & hair. It also has medicinal uses for rheumatism & the healing of burns. I like to use argan oil on my hair & also as a body moisturizer. I love the quality of this argan oil. It feels luxurious without being too heavy. Will definitely repurchase!

Cost: $19.99 CAD, 1 fl oz / 30ml
Available at: Lavina Skincare, Free Shipping in N. America
Rating: 5/5

Stay tuned! Tomorrow I’ll be posting my interview with the founders of Lavina Skincare!

**PR Samples for review, all opinions are my own.

Book Review: Joyous Health, by Joy McCarthy

Joyous Health-Joy McCarthy
About the author:

Joy McCarthy is the Holistic Nutrition & Health Expert to Global TV’s The Morning Show. Her journey to health began in her late teens when she suffered from hormonal imbalance, digestive problems and anxiety. In an effort to find the answer to balance her hormones, she went from one specialist to the next. The only solutions presented to her were medication after medication to alleviate the symptoms. After three years of this search for answers, she decided to stop looking for a cure and address the root cause of her hormonal imbalance.
Source: Excerpts From Joyous Health, About page

I’ve learned so much from this book. It’s not strictly about being eco-friendly. But it totally ties into related issues about health. Why do we go green? For most people it’s to reduce the amount of toxic chemicals they are exposed to on a daily basis.  Working on that assumption, you would also want to eat healthy foods without chemicals. In my mind it doesn’t make much sense to use non-toxic personal care & wear eco-friendly clothes, only to eat food full of toxic chemicals. Most conventionally processed foods actually contain carcinogens.

In the first chapter McCarthy talks about how dieting & calorie counting isn’t sustainable & why. She emphasizes eating real food, listening to your body, prevention of symptoms, & how eating healthy food is just one part of whole body health. She also talks about eating patterns, mindful eating, & simple habits that you can incorporate into your life right away. She illustrates her points with tips, recipes & real life examples from clients.

Chapter Two is all about your gut. McCarthy talks in detail about what exactly happens when you eat food & why lots of people experience digestion issues. She emphasizes chewing, drinking lots of water (to assist your liver), eating fiber, eating water rich foods, & taking probiotics. She also gives solutions to common digestive problems, lists fiber rich foods, which foods to eliminate or reduce, eating techniques & food combining. Besides the tips, recipes & real life examples, McCarthy also includes some simple home tests you can do to see how well your digestion works.

Chapter Three is deals with foods, supplements & habits. What you eat can affect your mood. She advises using a food journal to see how certain foods affect your mood. She also talks about food allergies/sensitivites, good carbs, high quality protein, good fats, & how to avoid emotional eating. I loved the strategies she recommends in this chapter! My faves are: writing a love letter to yourself & the brain dump. The love letter to yourself works at replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Can’t sleep because your mind is always thinking? Do the brain dump before you go to bed. It helps you to release all the niggling thoughts of the day.

Chapter Four is about detox solutions & why it’s important to detox. She lists some foods to eliminate while detoxing, food additives, artificial sweeteners, top 7 foods to avoid, what is BPA, best natural detoxifiers, the dirty dozen, clean 15, dry skin brushing, clean personal care & social detoxing.

Chapter Five is about superfoods & healthy lifestyle habits. She lists some superfoods to eat & why you should eat superfoods. She also talks about eating a rainbow of food colours, which foods to eat organic, & list some lifestyle habits to adopt.

Chapter Six is about creating the joyous kitchen. McCarthy talks about the joyous health food pyramid, includes a 10 day meal plan, serving sizes, stocking your kitchen, shopping on a budget, healthy alternatives to things like ketchup & tools for the kitchen.

Chapter Seven are the recipes. I have to say, these recipes sound really delicious. I’m going to try some as soon as I can write them down.

She ends the book with some final thoughts about transitioning slowly, focusing on health & how you feel as opposed to your numerical weight. I think that all makes a lot of sense. At the end of the book she includes the food & wellness journal template so we can track our own progress.

I thought this book is well written. Joy McCarthy repeats some of the same things in each chapter. I’m not sure if that’s because she’s trying to emphasize their importance or what. I found the repetition a little redundant because of that. But otherwise, I did learn a lot from this book. It’s always good to know how your body works even if your body does it automatically without you having to about e.g. digestion.  As for the recipes, they sound really yummy. Though a lot of them seem to include bananas. I tend to avoid bananas since my acne gets worse when I eat them. So I’ll substitute bananas for something else. Looking forward to seeing what Joy McCarthy will be writing about in her next book.

Rating: 4/5

Here are some enlightening quotes:

“Your subconscious cannot distinguish between truth & fiction. It accepts your thoughts & words as reality…Your body will accept as the truth what you say & think on a daily basis.”

“The average person can gave anywhere from 7 to 25 pounds (3 to 11 kg) of impacted fecal matter in their gut.”

“Fifty percent of aspartame is the amino acid phenylalaine. Too much phenylalaine is a neurotoxin; it excites the neurons in the brain to the point of cellular death. In fact, ADD/ADHD & emotional & behavioural disorders can be triggered by too much phenylalaine in the diet.”

“Your brain is actually a very fatty organ –it’s composed of up to 60% fat…Fat helps your brain function because it aids in the transmission of nerve impulses.”

Have you ever read Joyous Health? What did you think?

Product Review: Karira Home King Size Bamboo Bed Sheets

I got some king sized bamboo bed sheets made by Karira Home from the Green Living Show back in April & I forgot to write a review! My bad! So here is the review now. Don’t hate me. :)

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These bamboo sheets feel really nice against the skin. But for some reason the fitted sheet doesn’t stay put. I always have to pull down the fitted sheet on one side of the bed as they keep shifting about. I’m not sure if that’s because we got the wrong width size or what. Apparently Karira Home has different widths in their king size sheets. I had my dad measure the bed while I was at the Green Living Show so it should have fit. Anyway, the colour of these sheets is nice as well. I got mine in the Sage colour.  It’s not quite as shiny as the picture above from Shop.ca would indicate. I’m not sure if I would repurchase these sheets again. If I could be sure I got the right width I might repurchase. I’m knocking the rating down one notch because of the fit problem. I have to compare this with the Organic Lifestyle Sheet Set I had bought earlier this year. While those sheets were more expensive, the fitted sheet doesn’t budge on the bed at all once I’ve put it on the mattress. Also the finish of those sheets are better than these ones.

Cost: $80.00 CAD
Available at: Shop.ca, Karira Home
Rating: 3/5

Product Review: @battysbath Conditioner & Dead Sea Mud Mask

Note: All images are from the Batty’s Bath website.

batty-conditioner

Conditioner in Happiness

Ingredients: Purified water, Apricot Kernel Oil, Amla Fruit Powder, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Seed Oil, Behentrimonium methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Vegetable Glycerin, Shea Seed Oil, Pro-Vitamin B5.

I really liked what the conditioner did to my curly hair. It made my hair feel thicker, fuller & softer. It’s a very thick conditioner. So you could even dilute it if you’re on a budget & want it to last longer. It dilutes nicely with plain water. It would’ve scored full points if not for the scent. I didn’t think I would smell the spearmint so much due to the other citrus oils. But unfortunately spearmint is the top note. Spearmint is associated in my mind with toothpaste. So yeah, I kinda felt like my hair smelled like toothpaste when I used this conditioner. I think next time I repurchase this I’ll try the other scents. It comes in: unscented, coconut cream & buttercream icing. Those smells sound much yummier. I’m knocking it down a point in ratings due to the off-putting scent. But if you like spearmint, hey go ahead. Smile

Cost: $17.00, 236 g / 8 oz
Available at: Batty’s Bath
Rating: 3/5

batty-dead sea mud mask

Dead Sea Mud Mask

Ingredients: pure dead sea mud

If you take a whiff of this mask it has a very earthy, mineral kind of smell. That makes sense if you know that there are over 35 kinds of minerals found in the dead sea mud which are believed to cure or alleviate a range of skin problems. This is a very concentrated mask. For application I like to mist my face with some filtered water & then apply the mud. It’s not easily spread on dry skin otherwise. I leave it on for an hour or more if I have time. As for the effect it has on my skin, it’s highly detoxifying. Any blemishes I have are reduced in size & redness. Afterwards I like to use a chemical exfoliant to ensure any toxins brought to my skin’s surface are released. This mask is really effective. The jar is small enough to travel with easily & not likely to leak due to its concentrated nature. A little of this mask goes a long way, & the price tag is very affordable.

Cost: $9.00 CAD, 1oz / 30g
Available at: Batty’s Bath
Rating: 5/5

Note: Batty’s Bath does the St. Horton’s Farmer’s Market in St.Thomas, Ontario. But you can also have your order shipped within Canada & to the USA.

Product Review: @battysbath Add-On’s for Acne Prone Kit

Note: All images are from the Batty’s Bath website.

Batty-skin support serum

Skin Support Serum

Ingredients: Wild Yam Root Extract, Red Clover Blossom Extract, Chate Tree Berry Extract, Burdock Root Extract, Sarsaparilla Root Extract & natural preservative: Radish Root Ferment Filtrate

This serum smells strongly of all the extract ingredients. I found the smell quite harsh & astringent. When I sprayed it on my face & inhaled a bit it would get me coughing. I think this serum would be best in a rollerball application so that it’s not accidentally inhaled. In colour it’s a medium brown, and loose liquid formation. It’s quite tingly & refreshing when I put it on my skin. But if you put a bit too much you might dry out your skin if you’re sensitive. It did help to balance & reduce my breakouts. But I’ve since found a DIY recipe that works better for me & replaces this step. Note that some of these extracts should not be used if you are pregnant.

Cost: $25.00 CAD, 1oz / 30g
Available at: Batty’s Bath
Rating: 3/5

batty-bop mist

Acne BOP Mist

Ingredients: Organic Hydrosols of: Yarrow, Rosemary, Cedarwood, Lemon Balm. Organic: Aloe, Patchouli Oil, Lavender Oil, Neroli Oil, Ylang Ylang Oil & natural preservative: Radish Root Ferment Filtrate

This light beige mist is so nice! The hydrosols are much gentler on my skin. I can smell the neroli immediately when first sprayed, then the lavender with patchouli, & the other hydrosols afterwards. I know I’m talking like this mist is a perfume with its top notes, middle notes & base notes. LOL. Anyway, this mist is supposed to “balance oil production, clear out congested enlarged pores, & help purify blackheads.” It works for my skin better than the BOP Serum. I would also use this about once a week instead of daily.

Cost: $20.00 CAD, 2oz / 60g
Available at: Batty’s Bath
Rating: 4/5

batty-bop serum

Acne BOP Serum

Ingredients: Organic Oils of: Hazelnut Grape Seed, Cedarwood, Palmarosa, Lavender, Tea Tree, Clovebud. Organic: aloe & White willow Bark extract. Natural: Wild Yam Root extract & Radish Rood Ferment Filtrate.

You can really smell the organic oils in this serum. I mostly smell the lavender & tea tree with hints of the other oils.  I could still smell them on my skin after putting it on my face. It takes some time to absorb. This serum is pretty oily & must be shaken to ensure all the oils are combined before applying. For my skin it was better to use this serum once a week compared to Batty’s recommendation of daily use. It’s good as a combined acne & hydrating product. But it’s pretty similar to the BOP Mist so I think if I repurchased I would get the BOP Mist instead of this one.

Cost: $17.00 CAD, 1oz / 30g
Available at: Batty’s Bath
Rating: 3/5

batty-quick stick

Quick Stick Acne Fix

Ingredients: Witch Hazel, Patchouli Essential Oil, Tea Tree Essential Oil, Bergamot Essential Oil

This quick stick really works. It’s like the Canadian equivalent of Osmia Organics Spot Treatment. Except it’s more affordable & made in Canada. It’s an effective spot treatment for blemishes. Obviously it smells of the essential oils which make up its ingredients. But I smelled mostly patchouli & tea tree. Despite the witch hazel in this, it wasn’t drying for my skin at all. It does take some time to absorb into the skin though. But as I’ve mentioned in previous posts I now have a DIY recipe for a blemish treatment that works really well for me. So I won’t be repurchasing this.

Cost: $17.00, 10ml / 0.34 oz
Available at: Batty’s Bath
Rating: 4/5

Overview:

Batty’s Bath Acne Prone Kit & the Add-On’s were hit & miss for me. I found that using all the products as recommended by Batty was too harsh on my skin. She was recommending the acne prone kit & add-on’s be used daily. Instead of simplifying my skin care routine it made things more complex. Not everyone wants to use so many products in one day.

You might be wondering what the effect was on my skin overall. Well, my skin got really clear at first then got steadily worse the longer I used the kit as directed. I was pretty miserable because my face literally exploded with breakouts, even on my neck.  That’s never happened to me before. I kept using the kit as directed because I wanted to test it out thoroughly for the recommended amount of time.  I used it for almost two months. Eventually, I had to completely stop using the acne prone kit.  Of the add-on’s I only continued using the Quick Stick until I ran out. My skin was so freaked out at this point that I needed to use something extremely gentle to heal it. So I purchased the cleanser & tonic from the Holistic Vanity Rosacea Care line (see full review here).

I’ve come to realize a number of things.  Firstly, my skin is more sensitive than I originally thought. Secondly, the more pure my products get, the more reactive my skin gets.  Especially if I use anything not so pure, anything harsh or anything that has too many ingredients. Thirdly, more isn’t always better for me! Piling on the products doesn’t end up with more beautiful skin as we’re often led to believe by the media. It’s been good to discover this though, so that I can strip away what’s not necessary. That’s such a liberating experience I can’t put it into words!

Overall rating: 3/5

Note: Batty’s Bath does the St. Horton’s Farmer’s Market in St.Thomas, Ontario. But you can also have your order shipped within Canada & to the USA.

Product Review: @battysbath Acne Prone Kit

I first heard about Batty’s Bath on twitter. I was intrigued by her ideas & website so I thought I would try out her Acne Prone Kit.

First of all this kit is really affordable. Four full sized products for $30.00 CAD? Wow. Plus it is made in London, Ontario by Jamie. So it qualifies as local for me. Plusses all around! Btw, Jamie’s nick name is Batty, hence Batty’s Bath. I’m going to review each item separately then give my overall impression of the kit. I also bought the add-on’s to get the full experience. But I’ll be posting those reviews separately. I’ve listed below the cost of each item if you were to buy them separately & the kit price at the end.

Note: All images are from the Batty’s Bath website.

The Acne Prone Kit consists of:

batty-pg soap

Patchouli & Grapefruit Facial soap

Ingredients: Coconut oil, palm oil, olive oil, deionized water, vegetable glycerin, walnut shell powder, organic jojoba oil, organic patchouliu oil, organic grapefruit oil, citric acid.

This soap was pretty middle of the road for me. It didn’t really seem to do anything especially nice for my skin. It does smell yummy though with the grapefruit & the patchouli oils.  It rinses clean & the scrubby bits were nice for exfoliating. As it was running out I used it on my body & like it better as a body soap than a facial soap. Will not repurchase.

Cost: $7.00 CAD, 59 g / 2 oz
Rating: 3/5

batty-tea tree scrub

Tea Tree Facial Nut Scrub

Ingredients: Purified water, organic olive oil, organic castor oil, organic tea tree oil, ground walnut shells, stearic acid, glycerin.

A nice facial scrub. I like the smell of tea tree & a little goes a long way. It’s too abrasive for me to use every day as Batty recommends in the acne prone skin routine.  When I did use it daily it just made my skin peel like crazy. It comes in a glass jar & early on it fell in my shower due to flimsy shelving. I got rid of those flimsy shelves after that!  It rinses clean & the walnut shells are gentle on my skin if I don’t scrub too hard. Anyway, not sure I would repurchase this as I like the chemical exfoliants better.

Cost: $15.00 CAD, 100 g / 3.5 oz
Rating: 3/5

batty-patch-moisturizer

Patchouli Facial Moisturizer

Ingredients: organic: Cocoa seed butter, shea butter, grape seed oil, vegetable glycerol (soy), japanese green tea extract, patchouli essential oil, natural: deionized water, vegetable wax, stearic acid, caprylic/capric triglyceride (from coconut oil), titanium dioxide (natural oxide), vitamin E, Rosemary extract, Radish Root Ferment Filtrate (natural preservative).

As you can see from the picture it comes in a lovely glass jar. Patchouli is the star ingredient in this moisturizer. Obviously if you don’t like the way patchouli smells I wouldn’t recommend you buy this. The smell lingers on the skin for a while before absorption. The moisturizer itself is quite thick. I found it a bit too oily for wear during the work day. But it’s great for use at night. I also used some on my body & it made my skin as smooth as a baby’s butt! I’m not sure if I like it better as a facial moisturizer or as a body moisturizer! I would definitely repurchase this. It might even become a staple in my cosmetics drawer. This would be a godsend during the colder, drier winter weather.

Cost: $12.00 CAD, 2oz / 60g
Rating: 5/5

batty-dry-clay-mask

Dry Clay Mask

Ingredients: 100% natural kaolin (green clay)

This clay mask is a pretty ordinary clay mask. For those not familiar with clay masks it basically smells like earth & feels like you’re slathering your face with mud. Which you are, really. LOL. But mud masks have been used to condition the skin since the time of the ancient Egyptians. I find kaolin clay more drying to my skin than some other clay masks. If you’re like me, make sure to use a good moisturizer or oil afterwards. You can also use aloe vera juice instead of water to mix into the mask. Anyway, I liked the Dead Sea Mud Mask better than this mask. I won’t be repurchasing.

Cost: $10.00 CAD, 50g / 1.76 oz
Rating: 3/5

Overview:

The Batty’s Bath Acne Prone Kit wasn’t better for my skin than anything else I’ve tried before. The only product I really loved was the Patchouli Facial Moisturizer & I would rather use it as body cream than a facial cream.

Acne Prone Kit Cost: $30.00 CAD (If each item is bought separately the total cost would be: $44.00 CAD)
Available at: Batty’s Bath
Overall Rating: 3/5

Note: Batty’s Bath does the St. Horton’s Farmer’s Market in St.Thomas, Ontario. But you can also have your order shipped within Canada & to the USA.

May/June: Empties

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Penny Lane Organics Lip Balm, Mango Flavour
Read full review here. I finally finished off this lip balm. I have to say, the taste of this lip balm is so yummy though I know it’s not for eating. LOL. It also did a great job of keeping my lips perfectly hydrated. I would repurchase this after I’ve gone through my lip balm stash.
Cost: $5.00 CAD, 4.5 g
Available at: Penny Lane Organics
Rating: 5/5

HolVan-Rosacea-immortelle tonic
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Holistic Vanity, Rosacea Care, Healing Immortelle Tonic
See full review here. My skin had a major freak out a little while ago. So I bought items from the Rosacea Care line to help calm my skin. This was the first item that I finished. Love this stuff! I may repurchase when I run out of my other toners/tonics.
Cost: $26.00 CAD, 100 ml
Available at: Pure + Simple
Rating: 4/5

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Lavina Skincare, Barbary Fig Seed Oil **PR Sample
Full review to come. Lavina was kind enough to send me some samples of their Barbary Fig Seed Oil & I have to say I love this oil! It’s very gentle, healing, & hydrating. I think I’ve found my HG oil!
Cost: $29.99, 0.33 fl oz / 10ml
Available at: Lavina Skincare
Rating: 5/5

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Battys Bath, Conditioner in Happiness
Full review to come. While I really liked what the conditioner did to my hair I wasn’t so enamoured of the scent. Spearmint is associated in my mind with toothpaste. So yeah, I kinda felt like my hair smelled like toothpaste when I used this conditioner. I think next time I repurchase this I’ll get either the unscented or try the coconut cream or buttercream icing scents. Knocking it down a point in ratings due to that.
Cost: $17.00 CAD, 236 g / 8 oz
Available at: Batty’s Bath
Rating: 3/5

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Osmia Organics, Spot Treatment
See full review here. This spot treatment really works. I’ve repurchased it before. It was a lifesaver for me with my acne prone skin. But now I’ve found a DIY recipe for a blemish treatment that I can make easily & for a lower cost. So I don’t think I’ll be repurchasing this.
Cost: $20.00 CAD, 0.16 oz
Available at: Husk, Clementine Fields
Rating: 4/5

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Weleda Calendula Ointment

Ingredients:  Calendula Officinalis, Beeswax, Lanolin, Lanolin Alcohols, Sesame Oil, Water.

No review. I was pretty underwhelmed with this ointment. It’s a thick, yellowish colour that goes on easily.  But I can really smell the lanolin in this ointment & that puts me off liking it. Also it didn’t do anything beneficial to my skin other than hydrating it. I won’t be repurchasing this ointment.

Cost: $17.00 CAD, 0.88 OZ / 25g
Available at: Big Carrot, Ambrosia Natural Foods
Rating: 2/5