Sweet Almond Oil

What’s so sweet about Almond Oil you might ask?

The oil is a natural skincare superpower.  Almond oil, which is extracted from the popular tree nut, is known for its nourishing properties. The almond itself is small but mighty and referred to widely as “the king of nuts.” Aside from sweet almond oil, there’s also a bitter almond oil which is commonly used to provide scent and flavour.  Sweet almond oil is full of vitamin E, A, mono saturated fatty acids, protein, potassium and zinc.

Ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic practices have used almond oil for centuries to help soothe and soften the skin and to treat minor wounds and cuts. Today, it’s not uncommon to find almond oil in a wide variety of cosmetic and beauty products.

Healthy raw nuts still growing in the farmer’s orchard

It contains:

  • Vitamin A: The retinol in vitamin A has the ability to stimulate the production of new skin cells and smooth fine lines.
  • Vitamin E: This nutrient has antioxidant properties that may help prevent cell damage and help reduce ultraviolet (UV) damage to the skin.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These nutrients may help prevent premature aging and safeguard against sun damage.
  • Zinc: This is an essential nutrient for healing acne or other facial scars. However, it’s worth noting that zinc is more effective for this purpose when taken orally.

All in all, the nourishing nutrients and emollient properties this oil contains will help revive skin’s natural glow.

My product contains 100% pure certified organic cold pressed + UV protected virgin sweet almond oil. From Naka Platinum – made in Canada.  It’s Hexane-free meaning it does not use any such harmful chemicals during the extraction process and is free of all synthetic chemicals. 

Source for some info: healthline.com

Important: there’s one major caveat with this ingredient, regardless of skin type: Those with allergies to almonds or other tree nuts should avoid almond oil.

Jojoba Oil

Everyone has heard of jojoba oil and has probably tried it before as it’s well known and has been widely used in many skincare and hair products.  And there’s good reason for that.  Centuries before cosmetic companies starting including the benefits of jojoba oil in their formulations, Native Americans were using the oil from jojoba seeds to treat their skin wounds and sores.

Jojoba oil in transparent glass, fruits and natural leaves.

There’s plenty of evidence supporting the use of pure jojoba oil as a remedy for acne, dry skin, and countless other skin conditions.

However sometimes we don’t know where a plant originates or we forget about why the oil is good for us.

A bit about the plant:

The jojoba plant is a hearty, perennial plant that grows in North America and parts of Mexico. 

Not only does it thrive in the harsh, desert climates that could kill most living things, but it also produces a nut with many healing properties. The plant grows as a kind of shrub and produces large seeds that are harvested for their oil. The oil comes from a wax like substance within the seeds. Similar to the process of harvesting olive oil, jojoba oil requires the pressing of the seeds in order to extract the oil. 

It’s a sustainable plant, not considered to be endangered and the harvesting of the seed doesn’t require the death of the plant…so new land doesn’t need to be cleared for the planting of new jojoba plants.

jojoba tree

An interesting fact: Prior to jojoba oil’s wide acceptance in America, Americans were using sperm whale oil for cosmetic products and perfumes, and to lubricate machinery parts. But sperm whales were being hunted to extinction, and the U.S. banned the hunting of sperm whales in 1972 (thank goodness for that). That’s when it was discovered that jojoba oil was not only a substitute for sperm whale oil but that it was in fact superior to it. Not only does jojoba oil come from plants – it doesn’t require anything to be killed in order to obtain it for commercial use. (taken from herbal dynamics beauty).

Flawless skin starts with a flawless skincare routine

Benefits for skincare:

Like the other oils that make up the base for my deluxe face oil, this is also non-comedogenic so it will not clog pores. I use 100% pure jojoba from a source in California.

For centuries jojoba oil has been used for its healing properties on the skin. Whether it’s used to moisturize dry skin, treat oily skin, help minimize acne problems, heal wounds, or simply provide a defense against the natural aging process – jojoba oil is shown to work.

When you slather it on your face, jojoba oil mimics the skin’s sebum and balances out your complexion, adding more sebum where it’s needed, and winding down production where it’s not. 

And the oil is rich in iodine, which is shown to tackle harmful bacteria growth on the skin’s surface. 

When applied to the skin, it provides exceptional moisture balance and control, and unlike other oils or petroleum products, it is non-greasy. It is also an excellent and powerful moisturizing agent that leaves a non-oily feel on the skin’s surface. At the same time, it prevents water loss which gives a more supple feel to the skin.

The components of jojoba oil are tocopherols, which are compounds that are fat-soluble and have high antioxidant properties that are very important in helping to stabilize cell membranes. They’re high in vitamin E as well, which serves as an excellent antioxidant to fight free radicals, which damage skin and accelerate the aging process.

Taking care of your skin is more important than covering it up.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

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

No ordinary company

Here’s something refreshingly abnormal…

Photo: d. king

 An umbrella of brands focused on advanced functional beauty.

Recently I’ve been introduced to an abnormal beauty company through a beautiful friend of mine.  Someone who’s advice I trust and who, like myself, has tried a lot of different skincare + makeup products.  She lives in LA and orders her products online because the company resides in Canada  Whaaat??

The company is called Deciem (inspired by the Latin word decima, which means “tenth”) – a Canadian company originating from Toronto.  Deciem’s tagline is “The Abnormal Beauty Company.” The brand of products she’s referring to are called “the ordinary.” But the best thing about the ordinary is not ordinary at all, especially in the overpriced, over marketed beauty industry of today: the line is marketed with effective products at very reasonable prices. You had me at effective and reasonable.

Photo: d. king   Store Location: South Granville, Vancouver.

Since I do not like to waste what I have not yet finished, I only bought three of their products for now – a surface hydration formula called “Natural Moisturizing Factors+HA, Hyaluronic Acid 2%+B5 and Retinol in Squalene (starts at 2% plus).  The hyaluronic acid & retinol are in dropper bottles.

Allure Magazine has this to say: the company is shaping up to be a serious player in the beauty biz. Deciem’s portfolio of products includes affordable skincare, makeup, supplements, and haircare items designed to appeal to a wide audience, including millennial skin-care geeks, people who dabble in injectables, and beauty editors like me alike. 

 In an industry that’s often called out for dubious behavior, like misleading adsindecipherable ingredient lists, and questionable claims, a refreshingly transparent beauty brand like Deciem naturally stands out.

I’m already hooked. 

Here’s an article on the founder himself taken from Allure Magazine:

https://www.allure.com/story/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-deciem#:~:text=Its%20unconventional%20founder%2C%20Brandon%20Truaxe,doesn’t%20operate%20like%20a

About the Company:

https://deciem.com/

Photo: d. king

Have you tried any of their products?  

Skincare Cult Favourites

 Reviews of personally loved skincare products.

 

Aside from the products I make myself, I’ve been wanting to try these cult favourites…if only to find out what all the fuss is about.

It’s only the last several months that I’ve been using them and now I realize the reason why women find them exceptional.

Fresh soy face cleanser

This came as a sample and when I’m finished using it I’ll purchase a tube.  The first thing I noticed was the lovely fresh scent…which lives up to its name.  Cool as a cucumber. I love that it soothes sensitive skin.

This pH-balanced gel cleanser for all skin types has a cult following for the way it removes makeup—even mascara—without drying for soft, supple skin. It’s made with amino acid-rich soy proteins, calming cucumber extract, and balancing rosewater. 

  • Amino acid-rich soy proteins help maintain skin elasticity.
  • Calming cucumber extract aids in soothing the skin.
  • Rosewater is notable for its calming and balancing properties.
  • Borage seed oil helps to nourish and soften.

https://www.sephora.com/ca/en/product/soy-face-cleanser-P7880?country_switch=ca&lang=en

Boscia exfoliating peel gel

Believe it or not, I first purchased this at a Costco in Palm Springs.  I’m not sure if every Costco sells it, but it came packaged along with a cactus water gel moisturizer and elasticized hair band.  The moisturizer works for hydration but I’m not a big fan of the watery consistency.  However I absolutely think this smoothing, brightening and firming peel gel is TOPS.  I bought it mainly because of the exfoliant.  I use it on dry skin in the morning and it really works to gently but effectively slough away dull dead skin cells.  It’s gentle enough to use daily which most other exfoliants are not.  The formula is lightweight but it works like a heavyweight.

This is a keeper.  Probably the best I’ve come across. Since it cleanses skin too you might consider using this in the AM and Fresh Soy Cleanser in the PM.

https://www.sephora.com/ca/en/product/exfoliating-peel-gel-P393292

Erno Laszlo skin supplement lotion

This came in my “Box of Style.”  They always include an amazing beauty product and I’m always willing to try.

This is great following exfoliation because it helps to refresh and hydrate.  It’s kind of a gel-water consistency.  Having said that, I think the right facial spray can also do the trick.  I haven’t yet decided if I’ll buy a bottle after I finish what I have.  A little goes a long way.  Women go ga-ga over it, so here’s some info from their site:

Product Details

Our silky, hydrating toner works for nearly all skin concerns to revive dull or dry complexions and begin the process of renewal. Made without alcohol, it gently clears away flakes and aging skin cells while it sweeps on calming, skin-restoring nutrients found in nature, including:

  • Provitamin B5 to give skin the antioxidant support in needs to bolster the healing process and build its defenses.
  • Comfrey root to soothe sensitive or irritated skin while it encourages cell repair and renewal.
  • Glycerin, a natural moisture magnet, to attract and hold hydration for a glowing complexion.

https://www.sephora.com/ca/en/product/hydraphel-skin-supplement-lotion-P392628

La Mer

The luxurious rich cream that started it all.  Known as the Miracle Broth.

A few years ago after sampling a small bit I bought a jar at Nordstrom.  I decided it was too thick for my skin.  However a few months ago they actually had some for sale at Costco in Palm Springs and I couldn’t resist trying it again.  Skin changes.  I don’t know whether my skin is more dehydrated now, but after using it only nightly for a few months I do notice a positive difference.  it’s soothing and helps heal dryness. Yes; it’s expensive and there are a lot of other good moisturizers on the market…but this one really is a cult favourite for good reason and I know several women with amazing complexions that say it’s worth the splurge.  So if you can afford it, it’s definitely worth a try, especially if you can find it a bit cheaper at Costco.  It really softens so use sparingly and perhaps seasonally in drier months.  Oh; the legend of it’s creation is something else…

According to tale, a German rocket scientist named Max Huber invented it while trying to heal burns that he’d sustained in the lab. Estée Lauder now owns the brand.

Just for fun the below was excerpted from an article taken from “The Cut” – Skin Deep.

The moisturizer that is meant to give you baby-soft skin is treated like a precious baby during its formulation. La Mer’s formula resolves around a fermented juice called the Miracle Broth. While each batch is fermenting, which takes about three months, technicians play the broth a tape of carefully selected sounds.  This is for real.

If you think this is crazy, you aren’t alone.  Andrew Bevacqua, senior vice-president of research and development at the Max Huber Research Labs, who has worked at Lauder since 1986, was floored when he learned that he had to provide the Miracle Broth with a soundtrack. “I couldn’t understand why it could be necessary to do that. I thought creating the broth was enough. When Max’s daughter told me about it, I thought she didn’t understand because she wasn’t a scientist,” he said. “But we tried it without the sound waves, and the data showed that when it had sound waves, the broth was much more active.” He added that there are studies that show that sound waves can have an impact on chemical reactions, so there’s some science behind it, after all.

Interesting…No?

Full Article: https://www.thecut.com/2017/08/10-conspiracy-theories-about-la-mer-and-is-it-worth-it.html

https://www.sephora.com/ca/en/product/creme-de-la-mer-moisturizing-cream-P416341

The links I’ve provided are all Sephora however you can buy on all individual product websites or wherever sold.

Let me know if you’ve used any of these products and what your thoughts are?

 

Feel-good Friday: Giving Gifts

Cards, Candles, Clothing, Jewelry, Accessories, Food, Skincare…

Giving Gifts is all about giving – giving to friends and family, giving to yourself and giving to others around…

Just yesterday I came across an inspiring gift boutique made up of 5 rooms and more than 100 local Vancouver artists, each showcasing all kinds of good quality, fair trade gifts.  I love this concept.

http://givinggifts.ca
4570 Main St., Vancouver

Photos: d. king

Have a fun weekend!