Argan Oil – Liquid Gold

Getting back to basics I want to talk about Argan Oil.  This oil is one of the fab four ingredients that make up the base for my new face oil and a long standing natural remedy in Morocco.  The oil is produced from the Argan tree which is actually one of the oldest trees on our planet.

The Berber tribe of Morocco refer to the Argan tree as the Tree of Life.  They’re very familiar with the benefits as the Berber women have been using the oil in folk medicine for centuries to treat skin conditions, rheumatism and heart disease. 

These days, the demand for Argan oil which is often referred to as the “liquid gold of Morocco” is very high. Ever since the word about the wonderful benefits that the oil gives to the skin, hair and nails reached the West, the cosmetic world clamoured for this oil.

Argan Oil is native to southwest Morocco and the seeds are cold-pressed from the deciduous argan tree fruit (Argania spinosa).  Photo below.

The fruit is peeled away and the seeds are dried, roasted, and pressed to extract the oil. The final result is a smooth, delicious oil that’s become popular around the world for its flavour and health benefits. It’s also known as one of the rarest culinary oils in the world. Wild plants are used across the world in a variety of beneficial ways, present in the food we eat, medicines we take and cosmetic products. 

For cosmetic purposes, the Argan oil I use is 100% pure with a nice amber colour. 

Here are some of the benefits for applying to the face:

Argan oil is rich in natural vitamins, essential fats and antioxidants that help moisturize skin.  

The oil provides a major boost of hydration to the skin, thanks to its high quantities of vitamin E which helps strengthen the skin’s barrier so it’s able to retain more hydration.  It has also been found to improve skin elasticity and brighten your skintone.  It has anti-sebum effects, which can effectively regulate amounts of sebum on the skin. This can help to treat several different types of acne and promote a smoother, calmer complexion. 

You can always add a few drops to your regular moisturizer too.

Sidenote: It’s all good except for the part about the possibility of the tree now being considered an endangered species. After the first sales in the US of the cosmetic product in 2003 (not that long ago), demand soared and production increased. In 2012 the Moroccan government planned for increased production, then around 2,500 tonnes, to 4,000 tonnes by 2020.

When I run out of the big bottle that was brought back for me from Morocco (which is kept in a cool, dark place) I may not be able to buy more.  

Have you tried this oil?

 

 

 

Coconut Oil

The Coconut tree is called the “Tree of Life” because all the parts of the entire tree–from top to bottom–are used to sustain human life.Inside the shell lies the meat and coconut water, so it must be the most useful tree in the world.  It’s definitely the most resilient. Coconut trees are found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world where even in conditions with very little nourishment they flourish, growing taller than most of the plants around it.  Which brings me to…

Oil around the world, women for centuries have incorporated natural oils such as coconut into their skincare routine. While it won’t make you grow taller it will make your skin feel wonderful, which at least will help elevate your mood. And that’s a tall order in itself.

After having tested numerous beauty products myself,  I decided to go back to making and selling a few of my own.  Even in a competitive market.  Four of these oils make up the base to my deluxe facial oil (to which I then add other essential oils). Since essential oils are highly concentrated, a carrier oil (I refer to it as a base) is needed for dilution, efficacy and ease of application.

For full disclusure, I’m going to give a bit of background on each of what I put in there starting with Coconut Oil in its fractionated form.

Photo taken from artnaturals

Coconut Oil for Face:

Fractionated coconut oil (or virgin coconut oil) in this form is distilled down to its fattiest acids. The distilling process makes fractionated coconut the perfect addition to your beauty routine.  Coconut oil in all its forms is excellent for skin but when mixing with other oils (including essential oils) the fractionated form is best.

Fractionated coconut oil is tasteless, odorless, and usually more expensive than regular coconut oil. It is produced through hydrolysis and steam distillation. It’s important to note that no added products or chemicals are incorporated into the mixture during this time, so fractionated coconut oil remains a natural product. Significantly, it includes medium-chain triglycerides. Therefore, it has a protracted shelf existence.

Coconut oil itself is chemically composed of two types of fatty acids: long-chain fatty acids and medium-chain fatty acids. With fractionated coconut oil, the two key fatty acids are separated, leaving you mostly with the medium-chain fatty acids.

Regular coconut oil only becomes liquid under high temperatures (78 degrees F) and has a greasy feel. Because of this unique difference, fractionated coconut oil is best used for therapeutic purposes. Regular coconut oil, on the other hand, is solid at cool or room temperature, but liquid when heated. Because it has such a high concentration of saturated fat, fractionated coconut oil is much more stable than regular coconut oil.

What does it do? It helps smooth skin and works as an antioxidant. It also binds other ingredients together, and can work as a preservative of sorts to make the active ingredients in skincare last longer as a more natural alternative to other synthetic chemicals found in many topical skin products.

In case you’re wondering about my background in all of this…

I don’t have one.  KiddingI’ve always taken an interest in skincare and over time have sampled many, many products.  Other than through sheer trial and error, as a side interest I trained and graduated from George Brown College – School of Makeup and Esthetics when I lived in Toronto. Even though I’ve never worked as an esthetician I have (had in some cases) gained some knowledge.  I made beautiful face and body products from scratch. I’ve never had fillers or botox or anything other than regular facials. That’s not to say I could not use some work (ha!) it’s just that I’ve not done so. At least so far. Never say never.

I’ll continue to go through my list of ingredients with some background about them..because if you’re interested in purchasing something you should know what’s in them beforehand.

Remember it’s better to create something and be criticized than to create nothing and criticize others.” – Ricky Gervais

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bioéthique

Ahhh the luxury of a good facial. What woman doesn’t love that afterglow?

I just found my new go-to in an invitingly clean and calming place.

Taken from the outside – which made me want to go inside. Photo: d. king

I just experienced a super deluxe facial with aesthetician Deborah at Bioéthique Spa in Vancouver.  Not to mention a long overdue one as well.  So it was tiiiiiime!  Relaxing, pampering, the massage followed by seaweed mask was amazing and I was treated to a shoulder and arm massage too.  Divine!  I highly recommend this place.

Bioéthique is ranked one of the top ten spas in BC.  I did the 60 minute facial with an extra partial *microdermabrasion and LED treatment to help strengthen elastin and smooth skin. When I left my skin looked and felt radiant.  I loved the delicious vegan chocolate too.

Bonus: it’s dog friendly too.   Photo: d. king

Their products are made with the highest quality ingredients which nurture and repair the skin for true skin rejuvenation.  Using a high concentration of active properties and selected botanical ingredients, they help penetrate the skin for a multitude of purposes – depending on your skin type.  They help to visibly firm, tone and restore a gorgeous complexion.

Photo: d, king

Bioéthique‘s exquisite skin care line is entirely vegan, 100% natural, minimum 98% certified organic and contains no synthetic chemicals or GMO’s.   Embraced by both men and women, the high concentration and active properties of each selected botanical ingredient penetrates deeply into the skin – visibly restoring a gorgeous glow.

Photo: d. king

How often is too often?  I guess it depends on your skin and of course, your budget.  There are women who come in weekly but for most it’s every few months or at least seasonal.  I think for me it will be seasonal, especially from now on.

*Microdermabrasion treatments use a minimally abrasive instrument to gently sand your skin, removing the thicker, uneven outer layer, and has many benefits. This type of skin rejuvenation is used to treat light scarring, discoloration, sun damage and stretch marks.  The effects of the treatment typically last for about one month. The length of time results will last varies depending on age and how well you respond to the treatment.

Photo taken from website
Photo taken from website

To book:

Suddenly September

Adios August; you were wonderful. Welcome  September.

basically how I’ve felt all summer (ok; almost all the time!)

Notice a psychological shift that happens after the end of August? Even though technically summer doesn’t end until September 21st it certainly starts to feel different. Like summer is basically over. Kids back to school, the days are shorter and cooler.  We can still have many great sunny days in September but we’re gearing up for fall. And we adapt.  Fall is a great season.  New beginnings.  Speaking of new beginnings…

I’ve decided to start September off by launching a new product…or rather, perfecting an old one. Soon to be on my shop page.  I’ve formulated a luxuriously hydrating facial oil. It’s concentrated like a serum to be applied at night before bed but light enough to use for day before applying sunscreen.

Some of my friends know that I’ve been sourcing and buying exotic essential oils for many years now.  I used to sell my homemade products including an excellent makeup remover and a wonderful eye balm on another website. When I finally ran out of product I decided to take a break and compare mine to other similar skincare including cult favourites – vintner’s daughter (expensive but good) & olio lusso (acquired by Estée Lauder from founder/stylist Linda Rodin in 2014).

Even though the market is saturated more than before, I believe that mine works as good or better than others I’ve tried. Maybe a bit of a presumptuous claim, however I’ve comprised what I believe to be the best skin serving superstars – good for all skin types. Check out The Delightful Dozen:

sneak peek

The Basics:

Coconut Oil in its unfractionated form is rich in hydrating properties that helps to soothe and soften your skin.

Argan Oil is loaded with ingredients that are considered the best for maintaining skin’s health. Rich in vitamins A and E, omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, argan oil is especially effective in firming skin and improving elasticity, minimizing fine lines and wrinkles and increasing hydration. I’m told Argan oil is now the rarest vegetable oil out there because of the scarcity of Argan trees. This one was brought back for me direct from the Atlas mountains in Morocco.

Jojoba Oil is nourishing, hydrating and soothing.

Sweet Almond Oil has fatty acids and vitamins A + E to help skin retain moisture and heal irritated skin. *Note: Do not use almond oil if allergic to nuts. Please specify if you are allergic. I’ll be happy to make one without.

The Essentials:

Frankincense Oil strengthens, tightens and improves skin tone.  If you were to go back in time to Ancient Israel or Asia, many people would consider Frankincense to be more precious than gold. Today, Frankincense essential oil is still worth its weight in gold in a number of applications.

Evening primrose oil has emollient properties, meaning it helps soften and smooth the skin, improving the skin’s overall texture. It also helps lock in moisture to minimize water loss.

Rosehip Seed Oil helps to brighten and exfoliate.

Carrot Seed Oil has antibacterial, antifungal & anti-inflammatory properties.

Sea Buckthorn is excellent for reducing acne breakouts, because it signals the oil glands to stop creating excess amounts of sebum. Also helps to reduce inflammation in the skin.

Jasmine acts as an effective antibacterial, soothing dry skin and eczema. Not to mention that heavenly scent.

Baobob is luxurious and nutrient rich. High in linoleic acid, a kind of omega-3 fatty acid that has anti-inflammatory properties. For this reason, baobab oil may help reduce skin redness and irritation.  

Ginseng has firming properties and helps to reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

In addition I’ll be making a facial spray in an orange blossom water base with essential oils of eucalyptus which is purifying (good for reducing redness) and sweet orange which is refreshing.  Enzymes in orange are cleansing. The spray can be used anytime but best to spritz over face before applying a few drops of the oil. Skin requires access to water and oil, so underlying moisture is required.

Moving along through upcoming posts I’ll tell you where the oils come from and how they’re extracted. Almost all have been used by many cultures around the world for centuries.

Until then enjoy the sunny days of September.

 

 

Tried & Treasured Skincare Products

An update of six products I’ve tested over six months or longer

For cleansing the face:

Micellar Water

Micellar Water: is a highly effective one-step all around gentle cleanser for removing makeup and to help clear out pores while removing impurities and toning the skin.  Perfect for those nights when you want to quickly clean up before bedtime. Plus, it’s free of alcohol and may help promote skin hydration.  It can be used on any skin type but may be especially beneficial for those with sensitive skin, as it can help reduce skin inflammation and irritation.  There are many kinds out there.  I bought Sephora brand shown in photo.

evanhealy Rose Cleansing Milk:This soft and creamy cleansing milk can be followed up after micellar water or can be used on its own. It’s very gentle with a lovely light rose scent. This brand helps to balance skin and prepare for nightly moisturizer.  Made with plant oils and floral waters, It helps draw impurities out of pores. I bought it at Whole Foods.

Face Cream for Day:

Grown Alchemist: I love this cream for morning before applying *sunscreen.  I keep it in the fridge not to preserve it but because it feels cooling on my skin. It not only has the nicest fresh scent, it’s super hydrating in a non greasy way.  I first tried it as part of the Curateur Box of Style and loved it from the get go. The clean ingredients really helps to nourish the skin.  It’s a keeper.  

https://www.grownalchemist.com/ca/hydra-repair-day-cream-camellia-geranium-blossom.html

Face Cream for Night:

Nonie of Beverly Hills: I decided to list the ingredients first on this one.

This lightweight but effective night cream has 10% Alphy Hydroxy Acids from extracts of Bilberry, Sugar Cane, Maple Cane, Orange & Lemon Oils.  It has Coconut Oil, Almond Oil, Wheat Germ Oil, Citrus Mix of Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange, Bergamot & Neroli Oils; Coconut Emulsifier, Orchid Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract & Organic Apple Cider Vinegar.

 With vitamins A, B, C, this is touted (according to the website and several reviews) as the best anti-wrinkle, anti-aging exfoliator, and renewer around. It was created from real plant ingredients in the kitchens of Hungary.  It helps to stimulate cell renewal and is considered a natural exfoliator for the skin.  You can use it around your eyes too. I found it at Clark’s in Palm Desert but I’m sure you can find it at other natural health food stores as well as here:

Cult face/hair/body balm:

Cult King: this balm is the bomb. Sometimes we need a little extra help with hydration. This I believe was developed first as a hair product. My hairdresser turned me onto this balm which you can use for a multitude of reasons.  The website says it’s the go-to botanical godsend for hair, skin, shaving, the works.  Loaded with organic ingredients, I put a tiny bit on dry areas of my skin and under the eyes.  For me the efficacy & scent is what cements the purchase.  

Body Scrub:

Suzanne Somers Organics Acai Scrub: this delightful natural fruit acid complex has to be my favourite exfoliating body scrub (and sometimes used for face). Good for anywhere you develop rough dry patches.

*Sunscreen: Supergoop Glowscreen SPF 40
Let me know if you’ve tried any of these products and the results you found.

Living Libations – Opulent eye cream

Another positive beauty product review because I only write about what I like.

All Seeing Opulent Eye Cream is my favourite eye cream to date.  I’ve been using it for several months now on the advice of a knowing friend with beautiful skin.  What’s a girl to do?  I’m almost running out and I’ll make sure to re-order. Thought you’d like to know.  You’re welcome!

 

WHAT IS IT?

Taken from their website…

All Seeing Opulent Eye Crème is a thick, rich, luxurious crème that effortlessly sinks into skin and is specially formulated to nourish the tender skin around the eyes. Dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles will enjoy an influx of moisture with this caring crème.

WHAT’S IN IT?

All Seeing Opulent Eye Crème is made by whipping herb-infused Jojoba, Tamanu, Shea, Borage, and Avocado oils with refreshing Rosewater and Aloe Vera. We then infuse this mixture with an entire palette of nourishing essences to soothe and infuse the delicate skin around the eyes. Dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles will enjoy an influx of moisture with this caring crème, which is perfect to wear under make-up (and may also be graced upon the entire face).

Featuring…

Cape Chamomile – Eriocephalus punctulatus

Cape Chamomile has a high content of rare ester and azulene compounds that impart a teal blue hue to soothe all manner of skin imbalances. This rejuvenating essence balances sebum and softens the appearance of scars, and spots.

Blue Tansy – Tanacetum annuum

The beautiful, blue-hued color of our All Seeing Eye Crème is thanks to an infusion of Blue Tansy oil. The high azulene content of this oil makes it prime and sublime for skincare. Blue Tansy has a deliciously sweet herbaceous aroma and enhances relaxation while soothing the appearance red, dry, or cracking skin.

Website:

https://ca.livinglibations.com/products/all-seeing-eye-creme

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LINEUP:                 

SuperGoop! Sunscreen

The forecast calls for Sunny Days aheadat some point in the very near future.  So we need to be prepared to protect our skin.

Photo: D. King

It’s confusing when you consider all the various products out there… but let me simplify choices for you by sharing my new favourite sunscreens.

All by SuperGoop!

Something light that won’t interfere with makeup application and also works as a primer, something for when you’re being more active and something for a subtle glow.

Supergoop! debuted in 2007, with its Everyday SPF 50, and almost immediately won the American Academy of Dermatology’s Gold Triangle Award for Sun Safety Education. Since then, the company has expanded into a range of sunscreens for children and adults, and even recently launched eye shadows containing SPF.

Holly Thaggard, Founder and CEO of Supergoop, is based in San Antonio, Texas, and is considered the Norma Rae of Sunscreen as she’s dedicated 12 years to skin cancer prevention.  Tennis Pro Maria Sharapova is a co-owner of this growing company.

Sunny, cloudy, stormy or clear…no matter the weather, all forecasts call for SPF!

I’m convinced you’re going to LOVE these choices.

Where to order:

https://supergoop.com/

Also sold at Sephora

MARCHing right along

What’s not to love about March?  March puts a Spring in everyone’s step.  Bright, cheerful flowers bring smiles and joy.  Here’s a sampling of what’s beginning to bloom.  

The Daffodil.

The daffodil, which symbolizes new beginnings, is one of the most popular springtime flowers! It is one of the first flowers to bloom in the spring.
The first blooms of Spring always makes my heart sing – S. Brown
Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival
Upcoming: 90 minutes north of Seattle, the fields of the Skagit Valley bloom into a quilt of technicolor tulips throughout April each year. As a leading tulip production area in Washington, the Skagit Valley has a unique microclimate – much like the wine production area Woodinville.  I went one year and it was unbelievably beautiful.

 

Extra Reminder…Don’t forget to Spring Forward!

March 1, 2021 is the 60th day of the year 2021 in the Gregorian calendar. There are 305 days remaining until the end of the year… but we really don’t want to think that far ahead right now, do we?

Clarins Lip Perfector

I promised to share my favourite hydrating lip colour which I’ll make sure to keep in my stockpile of makeup essentials.

Clarins Natural Lip Perfector

It’s in between a gloss and a lipstick.

I went into my local Shoppers Drug Mart early this winter looking for a lip product to help soothe my chapped lips while adding colour and a bit of shine.  The beautician pointed me directly to this product.  I’ve been thankful to her ever since.

In Vancouver they also sell it at London Drugs (about $22).

I’ve always loved the Clarins line for skincare (my mom used to use it) but the makeup is something new to me.  It does not  disappoint if you want…

  • 4-hour hydration 
  • Radiant shine
  • A long lasting + nourishing product
  • Melting, non-sticky cream-gel texture
  • Addictive vanilla scent
  • Comforting cushion applicator
  • Key Ingredients: Shea Butter and Wild Mango to moisturize and condition lips
  • Something to wear alone, or to top off another lipstick with some added shine.

That’s why it was such a game changer when the Duchess of Cambridge was spotted with a beauty product in hand at Wimbledon.  I swear I just saw this online before posting this and way after I bought the product.  However let’s face it…if it’s good enough for royalty...it’s good enough for me.

Karwai Tang/Getty Images – Glamour Magazine.
I bought No’s 17 + 18.  My favourites would be #16 – #19 (swatches shown above).

Have you tried these?

BOOTS No7 Airbrush Away Tinted Skin Perfector

Another Skincare/Makeup Review

The Boots brand can trace its roots back to 1849. 

Although Boots No7 may be relatively new to many consumers, the skincare brand is as much of a British icon as tea, the Queen and wellies.

Since then, Boots has become the UK’s largest drugstore and has its own namesake skincare line, Boots No7.  I don’t know if you remember how popular their *serum was when it first launched.  In addition to the Protect and Perfect serum, some of the most buzz worthy No7 products include the No7 Firming Booster Serum and the No7 Line Correcting Booster Serum, from the Laboratories line. Together both serums generated a waiting list of 37,000 people; put another way, according to Boots, one product was sold every seven seconds. I tried it (see my past review below) and liked. it but now I’m onto this…

I would say that this is a makeup that feels like skincare.

I’m on my third tube of this velvety smooth Airbrush Away Tinted Skin Perfector that helps to blur fine lines and cover pores to give the appearance of flawless looking skin.  I never wear foundation because it tends to sit on top of skin and prevent it from breathing. This product glides on like liquid silk and is incredibly light. I only use it on the oily T-zone area. 

It’s quick and easy to apply, you can find it in most drugstores and the price is very reasonable.  

Highlights

  • Vitamin-enriched formula
  • Blurs imperfections including; fine lines, pores and redness
  • Conditions skin
  • Defends against the damaging effects of free radicals
  • Combines the benefits of skincare with sheer coverage

What is Boots?

Boots was launched in 1849 by John Boot, who opened an herbal medicine shop in Nottingham, England. His son Jesse Boot is credited with turning Boots into a large retailer as he embraced traditional medicine at affordable prices. The company grew and expanded over the years, and milestones included the development of ibuprofen in 1969. In 2014 Walgreens acquired a majority stake in Boots, forming the Walgreens Boots Alliance.

What is the Boots No7 Philosophy?

According to the company, No7 takes a down to earth approach to beauty and skincare. As the company explains, “No7 was the first brand to democratize beauty in the UK, bringing premium, affordable products to women. That principle still holds strong..” The brand states that “beauty for women is about more than looking pretty, women use cosmetics to be ready for something: to show up, speak up, and make an impact in their world in their own way. We refer to this as No7 READY.” Boots No7 also strives to be “real and relatable, never featuring supermodels in its advertising and not retouching the remarkable people that do feature.”

Is Boots No7 Cruelty Free?

Yes. According to the company, “We do not conduct animal testing on our products, or on ingredients used in our products, nor do we commission animal testing on our products or on ingredients used in our products.”

Have you tried any of the No7 products?  If so, what do you like?

my *serum review:

https://girlwhowouldbeking.com/2014/05/28/beauty-biz-does-boots-7-live-up-to-all-the-hype/

Source: The Derm Review