Elegantly Eco

eco beauty, fashion & info

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Brightener Serums for every budget level

Hi all, one of the most common complaints I hear about going eco-friendly is that it can be expensive. Not always! But you do have to know what you’re looking for sometimes. That’s where green beauty bloggers like myself come in. We post product reviews so you can get a better idea of what will work for your skin before spending a whole lotta money.

I’m of the mindset where if it works amazing for my skin I’m willing to spend a bit more. But I also pick and choose where I’m willing to spend more. Not all of the products I use are high end. You can do the same easily. If you’re like me and have spots on your skin (from acne or sun damage) then you want to use a brightener. Here are the best options I’ve found for brightener serums at every budget level. These products work great for my sensitive, acne prone combination skin type. Phew! That was a mouth full.

High Medium Low/DIY
La Bella Figura,
Modern Radiance Concentrate
Apostle Brightening Serum
Organic Lemons
102314_1451_BrightenerS1.png 102314_1451_BrightenerS2.jpg 102314_1441_BrightenerS3.png
Read review here Read review here No review
TO USE: Apply after cleansing the face and spritzing on some toner. TO USE: Apply after cleansing the face and spritzing on some toner. TO USE: Apply after cleansing the face. Dip a cotton ball in freshly squeezed lemon juice and apply it to your face. Let it sit on your skin for one hour and then rinse.
THE GOOD: This worked really well for my skin. I saw results really quickly. In as little as 4 days my spots were much lighter. Using just one pump a day can make this last longer. THE GOOD: Along with my Lavina Barbary Fig Seed Oil this is a winning combination for brightening. Very affordable in my books THE GOOD: It’s pretty easy and fool proof to use lemons for brightening. I recommend using organic lemons. Since you will be putting it on your face, its best to avoid pesticides as much as possible.
THE BAD: It’s expensive for the amount of product you get. THE BAD: Not as easy to find in Canada. Only some places carry this product. Antipodes has a USA website though and hails from New Zealand. THE BAD: It can take a while to see results using lemons. Also you have to avoid being out in the sun as using this can make your skin sensitive to sun exposure.
COST: $155 CAD
30ml / 1.0 oz
COST: $38.00 CAD
30 ml / 1.0 oz
COST: cheap!
Clementine Fields, Husk
Available AT:
White Apothecary, Urb Organic Spa
your local grocery store

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Product Review: @AntipodesNZ , Apostle Skin-Brightening Serum


Ingredients: aqua (wairewa water), Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) juice, Cyathea medullaris (mamaku) extract, gluconolactone, sodium benzoate, sclerotium gum, Vitis viniferia (grapeseed) extract, xantham gum, Vitis vinifera (grapeseed) extract, Actinesis chenensis (kiwifruit) skins, Rubus idaeus (raspberry) seed extract, Gandoderma lucidum (reishi) mushroom extract, fragrances of apple and cardamon: benzyl benzoate*, cinnamyl alcohol*, citral*, citronellol*, d-limonene*, eugenol*, farnesol*, geraniol*, linanool*

*Component of essential oil

This serum is the colour of grape juice and smells very berry-like to me. It must be the raspberry seed extract that I’m smelling. As for consistency it’s a liquid but it’s also almost gel-like. I love this serum! It’s been working wonders on my old acne scars as well as some pigmentation spots that I have. Besides working on the spots my overall skin tone is brighter and more even as well. I was previously using La Bella Figura’s Modern Radiance Concentrate (see review here). I can tell this is going to last me a while. I use just a dime sized amount once a day after I’ve cleansed and toned my face. I’m glad to have a found a more affordable replacement. Will I repurchase? You betcha!

Cost: $58.00 CAD, 30 m1 / 1.0 oz
Available at: White Apothecary, Urb Organic Spa
Rating: 5/5


Slowing down

Hello dear blog readers, I’m sorry to say that I will be slowing down the pace of my blog posts. I’ve been dealing with some health issues lately and it has become too challenging to keep up with twice a week postings. I ask for your understanding at this difficult time in my life.

On a brighter note, don’t worry, I won’t be shutting things down completely. I will be back! I have some exciting things lined up for the blog that I hope to share with you soon.

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August/September: Empties

Aura Cacia Grapeseed Oil

Grapeseed oil is a lot like Jojoba Oil. It doesn’t have much of a smell either. While Jojoba is a heavier oil, grapeseed is lighter and easier to spread on my skin. This oil is better used during the summer months because it’s lighter. It’s a light golden yellow in appearance and for me it feels like it sits on the surface of my skin, providing a barrier to environmental pollutants. I don’t think I’ll repurchase this oil as fall is now coming and this will be too light for use come winter time. I’m also experimenting with other oils. Oh, another thing about grapeseed oil, it’s also used in cooking! But make sure if you put the cooking oil on your skin that it’s organic.
Cost: $6.29 CAD, 118 ml / 4.0 oz
Available at: Well.ca, Healthy Planet, Ambrosia Natural Foods
Rating: 4/5

Now Solutions, Jojoba Oil

Jojoba Oil doesn’t really have much of a smell so it’s perfect for those who are scent sensitive or purists. It’s medium golden yellow in appearance but completely absorbs into the skin. I like to use it just after my shower as I find having damp skin helps to spread the oil easier. Jojoba oil is a medium weight oil in my books. It’s nice and moisturizing but not overly heavy. It’s also a common ingredient in DIY recipes so it can be useful to have it around. Besides using this for the skin you can also use this on your hair. But only put as much as necessary, otherwise you’ll end up with greasy, lanky hair. I like to repurchase this oil every now and then to keep it on hand.
Cost: $16.99 CAD, 118 ml / 4.0 oz
Available at: Well.ca, Healthy Planet, Ambrosia Natural Foods
Rating: 4/5

Susdatorium, Conditioner Sampler Set, Umpa Lumpa and Unscentsed

Review of Conditioner Sampler Set to come. I’ll do a full review of the conditioner sampler set when I’ve used all the 13 sample sizes up. Umpa Lumpa is coloured purple and smells very strongly of the tropical fruits that make up its main ingredients list. The smell was too strong for me so I had to water it down. But it really did a great job at making my hair soft and manageable. Unscentsed on the other hand, was completely unscented and that was quite refreshing too. I didn’t try it as a detangler but it works nicely as a conditioner. All of Sudsatorium’s conditioners are generally really good in quality. So far it’s been pretty hard to get a conditioner that doesn’t do it job very well. I think I may repurchase Unscentsed in the future to try it out as a detangler.
Cost: $58.95 CAD, 60 ml / 2 oz
Available at: Sudsatorium Etsy Shop
Rating: 4/5

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Product Review Updates

I wanted to write updates for some of my older product reviews since things did change over time. It’s amazing how the effect of a product can change depending on what you’re using before or after it. Product formulations also change so sometimes that is the reason why a product may work better or worse for you over time. So without further ado, here are the updates!

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Antipodes, Resurrect Clarifying Facial Toner

Ingredients list: Aqua (purified water), lavendula officinalis (pure distilled lavender water)**, salvia officinalis (distilled sage water), anthemis nobilis (chamomile), naticide (preservative), fragrances of lavender and sage, d-limonene*, geraniol*, linalool*, coumarin*. *Component of essential oil.

Read empties review here.  Read original review here. The first time I tried this product I was using other products around it that completely dried out my skin. It wasn’t pretty. I went back to it again and it worked a lot better for me. But now the efficacy of the toner has waned. It doesn’t seem to do much for my skin now. I’m not going to repurchase this when I have a DIY recipe that works better for me and costs less.

Cost: $32.00 CAD, 100 ml / 3.5 fl oz
Available at: Urb Organic Spa, White Apothecary
Rating: 2/5

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W3ll People, Narcissist Foundation & Concealer Stick

Ingredients: Organic sunflower oil, organic castor seed oil, organic beeswax, silica, castor isostearate beeswax succinate, mica (CI 77019), safflower seed oil and organic aloe extract, lysine, tocopherol, proprietary essential oil blend, organic green tea, chamomile. May contain titanium dioxide (CI 77891), iron oxides (CI 77491, 77492, 77499)

Original review.  Read samples review here. Well I’m so glad I stuck with this product because after I found my colour match I’ve been using it every day ever since. I’ve tried other foundations but so far this one has worked the best for me. It gives me a nice, even, golden glow and goes on easily. I wasn’t fond of stick foundation/concealers before W3ll People, but these guys have me convinced. I’ve also tried the Vapour Illusionist Concealer and that didn’t work as well on me. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still try samples of other foundations. But until I find something better this is the one for me. Why mess with perfection?

Cost: $39.00 CAD, 10g / 0.38 oz
Available at: Fresh Faced, Saffron Rouge
Rating: 5/5

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Rahua Beauty, Voluminous Conditioner

Ingredients: Aqua, organic green tea leaf extract, organic lemongrass extract, organic aloe vera leaf extract, colza oil, glycerin, jojoba seed oil, rahua ungurahua oil, stearalkonium chloride (plant-derived), glyceryl stearate, shea butter, hydrolyzed quinoa, potassium sorbate (plant-derived), tocopherol (vitamin E), lavender oil, eucalyptus leaf oil, panthenol, citric acid.
Read original review here. My hair must have gone through some changes. This used to work like a dream on my curly, prone to frizz hair. But when I tried it again 2 months ago it just made my hair limp. Perhaps it’s because I’m using more DIY products on my hair? Now I’m wondering if Rahua’s Finishing Treatment will still work for me or not. I’ll have to experiment and find out!
Cost: $39.00 CAD, 275 ml / 9.3 oz
Available at: Saffron Rouge, Pure + Simple, Fresh Faced
Rating: 3/5 stars

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Weleda Wild Rose Deodorant

Ingredients: Alcohol, Water (Aqua), Fragrance (Parfum)*, Limonene*, Linalool*, Citronellol*, Benzyl Alcohol*, Benzyl Benzoate*, Benzyl Salicylate*, Geraniol*, Citral*, Eugenol*, Farnesol*, Rosa Moschata, Rosa Damascena, Glycerin, Ammonium Glycyrrhizate. * from natural essential oils

Read original review here. Well, I gave up on this deodorant after a while. I started getting sick of the fake rose smell.  Also the alcohol started drying out the skin on my armpits really badly. I’ve come to the realization that spray deodorants aren’t the greatest thing for me. I also wanted to get away from limonene and linalool as much as possible. I know this deodorant works well for a lot of people, so don’t give this a nix just because of my review. But if you have sensitive skin or dry skin, especially on your armpits then you might want to try something less drying.

Cost: $18.55 CAD, 100mL /3.4 fl.oz
Available at: Ambrosia Natural Foods, Saffron Rouge
Rating: 2/5

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Book Review: Ecoholic by Adria Vasil


About the author:

“Adria Vasil is the bestselling author of Ecoholic, Ecoholic Home and Ecoholic Body. She’s been writing the practical and feisty weekly Ecoholic column for Toronto’s NOW Magazine since the spring of 2004, answering reader questions about everything from greening your food choices, finances and footwear to detoxifing your home, school, office, you name it. She has also covered broader environmental news issues for over a decade.

After working as a researcher in the non-profit world investigating corporate practices, Adria, who has a degree in politics and anthropology from the University of Toronto, decided to draw attention to the issues that most concerned her by becoming a journalist. She went back to school to attain a graduate degree in journalism from Ryerson University and has been writing about the broader ramifications of our consumer choices ever since.”

Excerpt taken from About the Author, Ecoholic.ca

Book Review:

This book was published in 2007. Despite it being out of date now, a lot of the topics are still very relevant today. Vasil breaks up this book into areas such as body care, pharmaceuticals, food, kid stuff, house and home, transportation, gift giving, businesses and common environmental issues. I find this book very easy to read. It’s not overly filled with jargon and when Vasil does use jargon she explains terms clearly. In each section she also outlines the problems with conventional products, how they affect the environment and our bodies, suggests alternative products to try and gives resources where to buy these products or go the DIY route. Everything is written in a way that brings seriousness to the issues that Vasil discusses but she doesn’t try to overwhelm or scare the reader. This is what I enjoy about Vasil’s books. I’m sorry to say a lot of eco-friendly, green or environmental books can scare the reader off by the tone of dread in the book. For someone like me, reading such a book can be depressing and counterproductive. It makes me feel like no matter what I do I won’t really be helping the situation. That’s not the message I think the average reader should get. I believe that the job of such books is to inform and enlighten so that we are motivated to make changes that benefit our health as well as the environment. If everyone felt this way, pitched in and became more aware about toxic exposure then we could all have a cumulative effect on the environment that is positive. I also liked that Vasil pretty much addresses every area of a person’s life where eco-friendly changes can be made. Most of us don’t think about what ingredients make up our body care products which we use every day. A lot of schools also don’t think too much about how they can use eco-friendly school supplies. Cars are also one of the products we use that have a big environmental impact. Yet a lot of people don’t drive electric cars or hybrids, though these numbers are increasing. Outside of the average individual’s personal life, there is also the big issues of climate change, endangered species, energy crisis, water shortage, deforestation, chemicals, and food. Vasil outlines her views on these bigger issues and what action is needed. At the end of that chapter she mentions what the individual person can do. I find these suggestions reasonable and she lists several options so people can find which action suits them best.

At the end of the book there is an appendix about plastics, a glossary, as well as a city by city resource guide. While some of the stores and websites have moved or are no longer in business this is a good primer for someone living in Canada who wants to start on an eco-friendly journey. I would also recommend reading Adria Vasil’s more recent books: Ecoholic Home & Ecoholic Body.

Rating: 4/5


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