Beautiful Body Oils

October 26, 2016

I've been such a massive fan of oils for the longest time and since the weather here has been colder (well today is too warm fot this time of year), it's gloomy and rainy, I've been even more in love with body oils than before.

Rachel's Plan Bee Jasmine Body Oil* - did you hear?? This body oil was once a limited edition oil but that is no longer the case. Well yes, this stunning oil is now a part of Rachel's beautiful collection of products and I couldn't be more excited! And I sure am not the only one. Let me be quick about it, since most of you already know that I love it (review here). For those of you who don't, or have forgotten - this body oil has THE best scent. Period. Smells beautifully floral, smells like Jasmine but it's more complex than that. There's also Rose, Sweet Orange and Vanilla. Mmm. The scent lingers on for a whole day and you know what is the best thing? When you change your clothes in the evening you can still smell it! The oil doesn't have heavy and super rich consistency but it packs a punch and keeps my skin soft and smooth. The fact that it's easily absorbed into the skin is just another amazing thing about this product. You should definitely try it, you won't be sorry. Even if you're not the biggest fan of Jasmine. Trust me. Oh and not only that I love applying this oil all over my body, often times I also apply it in place of perfume. So in the morning I like to slather it on my neck, decolletage and my arms. Love. Fyi, Rachel's Original body oil is beautiful too.<3 Rachel's Plan Bee products are available in Europe at the So Natural Beauty shop.

Ermana Refine Body Oil* - with Cyprus, Grapefruit and Bergamot. I’m loving the scent of this oil. It’s so fresh and citrusy! I love this kind of scents at this time of year when I’m all about oranges and mandarins. Yum. It doesn’t linger long on my skin, which is actually the case with pretty much a lot of body oils and I don’t mind that. It would be a bit funny to smell like a citrus all day. This hand blended oil from Scotland doesn’t just smell delicious, it’s also nourishing to the skin. Contains a lovely blend of Apricot, Macadamia and Jojoba Oils. The design is beautiful too and I wouldn’t mind colouring it haha. Free worldwide delivery at Love Lula.

UMA Absolute Anti Aging Body Oil* - now I’ve already spoken about the absolutely gorgeous UMA hair oil (review here). Today is time for their equally beautiful body oil. Well I say equally, but I prefer the hair oil a bit more. I’m loving the scent of this oil, it’s wonderful. This is not just any old body oil, its scent is strong, unique, rich, powerful and just different from any that I own. Essential oils of Neroli, Rose, Sandalwood, Frankincense, Grapefruit and Juniper Berry create a uniquely sensory aromatherapy experience. All these are in a base of Pomegranate, Moringa, Grapessed and Jojoba Oils. It’s a hard scent to describe, it's a special scent. Some might need to get used to it and some may not even like it, but I feel in love with it almost immediately. Another word to describe the scent is ayurvedic, since the brand is based on ayurvedic practices. It’s moisturizing, rich yet lightweight and ideal for all skin types. Also available it the Beauty Heroes Shop.

Have a lovely day!

With love,

Jana xx

*samples generously provided

Bella Aura Skincare + Giveaway

October 17, 2016

Bella Aura ("beautiful aura") is a Canadian brand elevated by Swiss expertise. Their luxurious, natural skincare products are produced using the finest natural ingredients in the world. At Bella Aura, their mission is simple: to craft pristine natural skincare infused with groundbreaking technology so that your complexion radiates your pure inner glow. Bella Aura's collection contains five products and they provide a complete anti-aging solution.
 The interesting thing about this line is their formula which combines a serum and a luxurious cream (Emulsion). After talking to the founder Yasmine I found that in the 3 years of developing the product she started with a simple Argan Serum. She then added the other 3 oils in their Kamilah blend (more bellow) to create a serum, but the product was still missing something. She found serums with 100% oil slow to absorb into the skin and would leave an oily residue. She then worked with a renowned Canadian formulation chemist to create their Emulsions. Emulsion is a water based moisturizer combined with botanical oils (so it's a mix of oil based serums and water based creams). Emulsion formulations have become extremely popular in Asian skin care products because they believe that the most important feature of products is hydration. They're lightweight, quickly absorbed, have the ability to maintain hydration levels and prevent moisture loss and don't clog pores

Each of Bella Aura's products also contain their exclusive Kamilah blend of four natural botanical extracts - certified organic Prickly Pear and Argan, and wild-harvested Nigella and Neroli. Gorgeous! Now, before I dive into the products, let me say a little bit more about the ingredients. When I checked them out for the first time I was like hmm. I strive to use products with ingredients that I can pronounce, don't look too chemical-y and that I know or have heard of. Well it wasn't like that with these ingredients so I naturally emailed Jamie (of Petal & Post) and then Yasmine (the founder of Bella Aura). I was completely reassured with her answers. All of the ingredients are 100% natural and a large percentage organicThe organic component of the active ingredients ranges from 50% to 80% for the 5 products. As mentioned, they use Emulsions (oil + water) and therefore they need to add ingredients that can emulsify, plus natural preservatives (because of the water).
I had an absolute pleasure of trying all five of Bella Aura products and I can honestly say that they are amazing. I only used them for a short time because of the small sample bottles but nonetheless, I still saw results. My skin was healthier, calmer, smoother and more radiant. I was very pleasantly surprised. They are all quickly absorbed into the skin and are very moisturizing, soothing and also clearing (which is great for my combination skin).

Gentle Purifying Cleanser* has a lovely, creamy-like consistency, a velvety smooth texture. I liked using it in the morning. Not much to say other that it's a lovely cleanser to start of the day. Here let me also mention that I really like the packaging and that the brand and design was inspired by a person's aura. Several authors associate certain personality traits with the different layers of the aura’s colours. Cleanser's logo is blue and blue symbolizes calmness and projects tranquility and inner peace.
Antioxidant Booster* is one of the two products from the line I thoroughly enjoyed. First the name, I'm a sucker for antioxidants and I always like to use a products that's rich in antioxidants. Active ingredients in this product are Romarinic Acid from Lemon Balm offers a stronger antioxidant activity than Vitamin E and helps prevent free radical cell damage, Rutin also has a very high anti-oxidative capacity, and the ability to increase collagen production, and Barley Extract, rich in the trace elements Selenium, Zinc and Manganese. Besides the antioxidant properties this product also drawn me in with its ability to reduce the look of dark spots, discoloration and redness. I did see results in that and I'm certain I would have even better results if I had a bigger bottle of this gorgeousness. A beautiful product. It's logo is orange - symbolizes a burst of energy and creativity and projects a radiant glow.
Daily Repair Moisturizer* is said to provide better hydration than Glycerin or Hyaluronic Acid and is proven to reduce trans-epidermal water loss and dramatically improves skin hydration. Yes, this moisturizer is hydrating but I can't say I saw major change in my skin. It's a nice product but not the first product from the line that I would recommend. Then again, I did only use it for two or three weeks. The green in its logo communicates renewal and projects healing, rejuvenation and a sense of nature.
Instant Lifting Eye Contour* helps the delicate skin around the eyes to instantly look brighter, smoother and more even-toned. Like other Bella Aura products, this one is also rich in vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and peptides. A lovely eye cream, indeed. One thing I have to mention with this eye cream, or rather with its pump. There is just too much product for one use with one pump and unfortunately you can't press it lightly so you always get the same amount of product. I tend to use the rest on my neck, so it doesn't go to waste. I'm sure my skin on the neck is perfectly content with that. The eye cream's logo is indigo, which represents our spirituality and intuition. Indigo projects a heightened sense of awareness.
Night Cellular Renewal* is the last but most certainly not least. Such a beautiful product! This one and the Antioxidant Booster are the winners for me. Like every other Bella Aura products this one also contains some interesting ingredients like Gynostemma Pentaphyllum (aka the immortality herb in China) and Cistus Incanus (aka the plant of beauty). Wow, right? Provides a lot of hydration and is just a gorgeous product. Pink (in the logo) evokes compassion, beauty and love. It projects warmth and passion.
Bella Aura products sure are beautiful and they made a huge difference in my skin when I used them. Not only that my skin looked healthier, less red and had less spots, but I also noticed it was much more hydrated and supple. There was this one morning when my skin was particularly hydrated, soft and fresh looking. Yasmine highly recommends doing a facial massage with her products and when doing my kind of version with the Antioxidant Booster and Night Cellular Renewal + I helped myself following Mari's short demo, my skin was so freakin hydrated and nourished the next morning I couldn't believe it! The two products were still on my skin hydrating away. I was blown away, ah-mazing!

Now I'm happy to say that one of you lucky ladies (or guy) will be able to try Bella Aura's Antioxidant Booster (valued at $125 CAD or 85€). Giveaway alert! This giveaway will run on Instagram so make sure to go there. The rules are:

- like the picture of Antioxidant Booster on my Instagram feed,
repost a picture using #givingawayloveliness and
- make sure to follow @smallbitsofloveliness, @petalandpost and @bellaauuraskin

Giveaway is international and is open for one week. I will contact the randomly selected winner via DM on Instagram and if she/he doesn't respond in 48 hours, I will pick another winner.

If you fancy some other products from the Canadian Organic Beauty Store, then you can use my code "smallbitsofloveliness" with which all my international followers get free shipping. One x use.

Good luck!

Much love,

Jana xx

*samples generously provided
**this post contains affiliate links

Bottega Organica

October 11, 2016

Another month, another Hero. Another gorgeous Hero. If there ever was a subscription box worth its money, you better believe this one is it! The brand featured in October's box is Bottega Organica. I didn't know a whole lot about the brand and I didn't think I'd ever even try their products. Let me tell you something, they sure are beautiful and as luxurious as they look. Before I tell you more about the Hero and the Sidekick, let me just quickly introduce you to the brand.

 Bottega Organica is farm-to-skin luxury based on the research of chief scientist, Dr. Andrea Alimonti. As a world-leading molecular oncologist, he studies the effects botanicals have on cellular behaviour. His work demonstrates how certain botanical extracts can slow down the "biological clock" of our skin. Now this is something else, isn't it? The majority of their certified organic ingredients are harvested from one of their two farms in Italy and New York. Made in tiny micro-batches and employing traditional and wild-crafting extraction techniques, each ingredient delivers the highest achievable potency and purity. Completely preservative, fragrance and synthetic free skincare line.
Illuminate Eye Contour Cream* is a beautifying pot of gold, set in an ultra-light emulsion of cold pressed organic Olive Oil (harvested in Italy). This cream contains gorgeous ingredients and ever since Jeannie shared the collaboration and how Bottega Organica's team had to plan, grow and harvest flowers and plants for enough eye creams for all the BH subscribers, I was like yas! Imagine all the hard work that went into making them (and I'm not shaming other brands, not at all! I just never mentioned all the hard work behind the scenes). For the whole list of ingredients, click here, but let me mention just a few. In the base of Rosemary Water and Olive Oil there are Coneflower, Arnica and Carrot Seed Extract, which all have brightening properties. (fyi - talking about Carrot Seed Extract and brightening, I had great results with Earthwise Beauty's Carrot-a-Day Serum) Contains also a new discovery in the realm of skincare, Prawn Sage. I could use some fancy words to describe the research and science behind it, but let's just say what is important - it was revealed that Prawn Sage has anti-aging benefits and can slow down cellular aging. Can I slather this eye cream on my whole face?? :) Another bonus is that the cream smells like Ylang Ylang, uplifting and sweet.

The gorgeous porcelain piece was made by Vancouver artist Robert Shiozaki for Ryz RĂ©mi.

The cream has a lightweight texture and I couldn't describe it better than they (Beauty Heroes) did - it's weightless, yet rich. It's such a lovely eye cream. It goes on smoothly, it's hydrating and nourishing and so damn nice. I noticed that when I don't wear makeup, it stays on all day long. It's so very hydrating and I love that. You need the tinniest amount of it for the whole eye area and this pot will last me for such a long time. Talking about that, the product doesn't contain any preservatives so it's only good to use 2 months after opening, and can be extended to 4 months if kept in a fridge. If also doesn't hurt if you're applying it with a clean spatula. If I'm completely honest, if a product smells, looks and feels the same way as it did when I opened it, then I use it even after the expiration date. I will probably do the same with this cream but since it us used on sensitive eye area, I will try to use it as soon as I can. That's why I also gave some to my friend. She absolutely loves it and has said that it helps with dark circles. Not sure if I noticed that on myself, but the whole eye area is brighter, smoother and the skin is properly hydrated. As for the wrinkles go, it's too soon to tell. Now I can't say I would buy it again because it's really expensive ($145) but it sure is one of the loveliest eye creams I have ever used! And probably will ever used.
October's Beauty Heroes Sidekick is Bottega Organica Cleansing Face Oil - Lemon*. I absolutely loved it! The scent of Lemon is so divine, truly uplifting and crisp. Love it. It gently removed my makeup and impurities, made my skin cleansed and soft. This oil is quite straight forward when it comes to ingredients. The cleansing oil contains Olive Oil, Lemon (peel extract and peel oil), Thyme (leaf extract and oil) and the anti-aging Prawn Sage. Beautiful.

Get yours October's Beauty Heroes by subscribing here. It is so worth the money! For less than $40 you'll get a full sized Bottega Organica Illuminate Eye Contour Cream valued at $145 and a sample of their Cleansing Face Oil - Lemon valued at $17. Amazing! As for the Love More promotion goes - spend $125 in the Beauty Store and you'll receive a Tabitha James Kraan travel size hair cleanser and 4-in-1 conditioner. You know how I feel about them, they are beautiful! Read my review here.

Have a beautiful week!


Jana xx

*samples generously provided
**this post contains affiliate links

Tabitha James Kraan Golden Citrus Hair Duo

October 04, 2016

You babes, I've been using a new shampoo and conditioner! If you've been reading my blog for a while then you know I love the Acure Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner. Super hydrating and great for dry and damaged hair, and you also can't beat the affordable price! I don't even know how many times I bought them (also their biggest sizes). Now my latest addition to my hair care routine are two products from a gorgeous UK brand Tabitha James Kraan. Let's first talk about the packaging. Oh my word, isn't it stunning? This is hands down one of my most luxe looking hair shampoo and conditioner I've ever used. I love the bottles, love the design, the colours they've used, I love everything about them. Before I move forward I have to mention that this post is somewhere between a first impression and review because I only used them three or four times. I have some serious feels for them.

First the shampoo, the Tabitha James Kraan Organic Hair Cleanser in Golden Citrus*.  It's a bit different than my standard Acure shampoo. It's more you like your "typical natural shampoo", but I mean that in the nicest way possible. The thing I used to associate with natural and organic shampoos is that they don't lather easily, if at all. Now the whole "natural shampoo business" came a long way and some shampoos really lather without the use of SLS. Some more than other. This one doesn't lather a whole lot, but you won't hear me complaining. They don't actually describe it as a shampoo but rather a cleanser. They say "This is not shampoo!". It's not a traditional shampoo; it cleanses the hair without detergent. Instead it harness the natural cleansing properties of Soapbark to deeply cleanse without removing the oils. It's mild yet really effective.

 Since I started talking about foaming let's start with its use. When I've received this hair duo I shared a pic on Instagram. Tabitha kindly commented and recommended that I check out their tips and tricks to make the most out of the shampoo. I'm so so happy she did because I probably wouldn't like it if I'd just used it like a traditional shampoo. The thing is that you just can't slather it on your hair but you have to apply it in sections. Imagine your hair divided into a few sections and you have to apply the shampoo there. I don't think I can explain it better than the video, so do yourself a favour and watch this video. It's short and sweet and you'll see where to apply the shampoo to work for you. It's a bit different to use since you have to reach for the shampoo a few times in one go. I apply two pumps on the back of my scalp, then two more on the top of my head and so on, so the whole scalp is covered. I pump it onto my fingertips not my palms, so I can easily apply it. Eight to ten pumps is pretty much the amount of product I use in one wash. Usually it doesn't lather in the first wash but after I rinse it off and repeat the process, it starts to lather up. There's not a lot of foam, especially if you compare it to a conventional shampoo with SLS (which actually lathers way to much for my liking). To sum up - apply shampoo in sections and don't expect a lot of lather. And do repeat the process. I won't lie, it's not as easy to use as it the Acure shampoo. But if I'm already comparing the two, I love that it's not as heavy and moisturizing. My hair feel so much cleaner and bouncier with this gorgeous product. I actually couldn't believe how clean my hair and scalp were after I used it for the first time. I was very pleasantly surprised, to say the least. Hmm is there anything else to say? Oh yes it is. When you wet your hair I recommend you first run your hair through your fingers and then apply the product. Trust me, it's easier that way.
If you're still reading my thoughts on the shampoo let me again mention that even thought you need a minute or two more to wash your hair, it's damn worth it. Clean and fresh, just the way I like my hair. It also takes care of frizz and doesn't irritate my scalp. I haven't used it for long but it's said that a prolonged use will help with balancing the scalp. I'm looking forward to that, my scalp is oily and I depend way too much on dry shampoo. I won't go into the ingredient list, let's just say it's vegan friendly, 100% natural and 86% organic. Amazing! Smells nice too, clean and fresh - citrusy (Mandarine, Bergamot, Neroli and more) with a hint of flowers (contains Ylang Ylang, Lavender). It reminds me of a shampoo I used (or my mom used on me) when I was young and I like that. I can't say it's my favourite scent ever, but it gives me such a good feeling when I'm using it. I'm really loving this shampoo, am I making myself clear? :)
Tabitha James Kraan Organic 4 in 1 Conditioner in Golden Citrus*. I had a lot to say about the cleanser but I don't have that much to say about the matching conditioner. The name itself is clear. It can be used in 4 different ways - as a traditional conditioner left on for 2 to 10 minutes, as a scalp moisturizer (for a dry, flaky scalp), as a styling aid and as a leave-in conditioner (applied on wet or dry hair). You can pretty much use it all day long, if you want haha. I didn't experiment much with it and only used it as a traditional and leave-in conditioner. I like it both ways, it makes my hair softer (though not as soft as UMA hair oil) and moisturized. I have a feeling it wouldn't be enough for very dry and damaged hair but on my hair it works well. It's nice, I can easily detangle my hair with a Wet brush after I semi-dry them, my hair is not frizzy, so all in all it's a lovely conditioner. There's also no build-up. Oh and I prefer the pump on the conditioner, not as slippery as it can be the pump on the shampoo. The conditioner contains even more organic ingredients than the shampoo, 92% which is just yaay. They both contain pretty much the same essential oils and their signature blend of oils. You know what I love? That they contain one of my fave ingredient - Oats. Soothing, wonderful oats. Also Argan, Rosehip and Coconut Oils. Beautiful.
Have you tried them? Feel the same way as I do?

Much love,

Jana xx

ps. I also wanted to share I was featured in an article Best All Natural Beauty Blogs 2016 on Green Match. What an honour! So happy. :) Thank you Salsabile.<3

*samples generously provided

What I've Been Loving on my recent Holidays

September 22, 2016

As seen on my Instagram me and my boyfriend went on vacation in Croatia last week. We had such a wonderful time! The weather was warm, the sea as well and we thoroughly enjoyed doing nothing but lying on the beach, swimming and eating. I finally started reading Morning Star by Pierce Brown which is the third book in the Red Rising series. I'm loving it! Of course none of my vacations go by without the use of my beautiful green beauty products so here I'm sharing some of my faves.
Lily Lolo Pressed Bronzer in Miami Beach - my all time favourite bronzer! Goes perfectly with my skin tone (light with yellow undertone), it doesn't make me orange or muddy, but it gives a lovely bronzed skin. Now I'm not really the one who wishes to look all bronzed up, I also don't sunbathe, but I can look pale so a touch of bronzer looks quite good of me. At least I think so. :) You can clearly see how much I love it - I hit pan! I have to mention another Lily Lolo's product, their Sculpt & Glow Duo*. Now I know some ladies are using the "sculpt" part as a bronzer, but I can't see myself using it as such because it's not as warm as is the Miami Beach. It actually looks muddy on me. It's way better to use how it was intended, as a sculpting or contouring product. I'm much more into the highlighter, if you were wondering. It's beautiful! More natural looking than the glowing Modern Minerals Moonstone* (review here). It is always nice to have options, whatever I want a full blown glow or a more natural shine. It's also nice that one is a cream and the other in powder form. In all honesty, I love both!
Ere Perez Clever Carrot Cheek & Lip Balm in Harmless* - now I didn't use much makeup on our vacation, I rarely do. I took a smaller makeup bag full of products with me but in the end I only used Lily Lolo's Mineral Foundation in Blondie, the bronzer and this blush. Now to me it doesn't look that extra special when you look at it in the pan (it is frosty and I didn't believe it could work on me), but when applied on the face. Wow! Looks so natural and is just one of those perfect blushing colour. It's a beautiful reddish pink shade with tiny little shimmer that gives my cheeks a gorgeous shine. It's not glittery or in your face but just beautiful. I really don't like any shimmer in my blush, I have highlighter if I want a glow (but even that I only put on the tops of my cheeks). But there is just something about this blush that I find so pretty. I love applying it with Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Contour Brush (I use the bigger one for bronzer). It spreads evenly and so lovely. It's not so pigmented that you'd need to be very careful with it, it is just right. Another massive plus is that it says on all day. I'm always wary about cream blushes, not all of them stay on all day. This does. It also doesn't clog my pores or make my skin greasy.
UMA Oils Intensely Nourishing Hair Oil* - do I need to say anything more about this product that I didn't in my review? This oil is truly one of the best hair oils I've ever used! It's pure magic. You only need a few drops to make your hair extremely soft, smooth and silky. Sea salt and sun always make my hair dry and messy, but not this time. I only used it a few times and that was all I need to keep my hair soft and lovely. I adore it!<3

Earthwise Beauty Farizad's Veil SPF 30+ Powder* - another well loved product. This one is an SPF powder that you mix with your favourite oil or cream. It's based on uncoated, non-nano Zinc Oxide (which is the best natural option for sunscreen). I love that you can mix and match it with any facial oil you want. If you are such a massive face oil junkie as I am then you definitely understand where I'm coming from. You can reap all the benefits of your favourite facial oil + your skin is protected from the sun. Win win. Read more about it in this post.
Gaia Creams Tomato & Black Cumin Serum* - as I've said it on my Instagram, tomato season calls for a tomato serum. I've started using this facial oil in August and I've been really liking it. It only contains a few ingredients, which is always good if you have sensitive skin (less ingredients means less chance for irritation, more control over what's going on your skin). Tomatoes contain lots of important nutrients which play an important role in the health and radiance of the skin. The same can be said for black cumin seeds, also known as Blessed Seeds. They are beneficial for oily and combination skin. So not only that the serum can take care of acne-prone skins, it's also high in antioxidants, which makes it a perfect remedy for wrinkles, age spots and sun damage. Yes! It's lightweight, doesn't clog my pores (it's actually anti-bacterial and anti-fungal) and has a lovely spicy aroma of black cumin seeds. The other day my mother in law did actually smell it when I walked passed her after my evening skincare routine haha. She does love spices so she recognised the scent.
Rachel's Plan Bee Bee Cream* - this concentrated cream or balm contains a mix of botanical oils, beeswax and shea butter (most are organic). Meant to be used on cuticles, hands, any areas of dry skin that needs extra attention. First of all, it has a gorgeous scent (like all Rachel's products do!) and is very nourishing and softening to the skin. Instead of using it on my hands or elbows I tried it as a face balm and used it in a place of oil for my gua sha facial massage. It worked quite well, I have to say. The lovely aroma made me feel very good, it didn't break me out and a small amount also worked great as a base under make up.

Lavera Body Lotion in Coconut and Vanilla - now this lotion doesn't have the most pure ingredients out there but it was a nice gift from someone who doesn't use natural products but took the time to find something in those lines. I love using such scents when I'm on summer holidays. Even tho the scent is a bit artificial (contains parfum as well) I still like it. The lotion is moisturizing, goes on evenly and quickly sinks into the skin.

See anything you like? :)

With love,

Jana xx

*samples generously provided
**this post contains affiliate links

UMA Oils Intensely Nourishing Hair Oil + How to make your hair grow faster

September 12, 2016

If you don't know it already, I'm deeply in love with hair oils. I don't know if I would go as far as Nic or @caprinic on Instagram and proclaim myself as the Queen of Hair Oiling but I'll definitely consider myself a Princess. Not a very demanding princess, because I'm perfectly happy with using coconut oil on my hair. I've been loving that for years and I rarely stray away from it. Well the Gorgeous Hair oil from Gaia Creams sure is gorgeous and I will definitely get it again one day. (Update: I noticed they don't have it anymore! Well the Broccoli & Rosemary Hair Oil looks beautiful too.) And as for the coconut oil goes, my favourite that I've tried is the Cocovit Coconut oil. Makes my hair super soft and shiny. Yas! I'm in love and you can imagine how very pleased and excited I was to try September's Beauty Heroes Hero product - the gorgeously looking UMA Oils Intensely Nourishing Hair Oil*. It was quite a ride trying this baby out and here is my story from early excitement to surprising disappointment and then finally to love and adoration. 
UMA is a very unique brand based on Ayurvedic practices. For the founder Shrankhla Holocek, beauty is rooted in the time-honored traditions of her family farm. Named after Shrankhla's aunt who exemplified simplicity and integrity, UMA oils are 100% organically cultivated, extracted, distilled and bottled on her family's 100-acre estate. Everything is grown and made there, on their farm. Wow! There is a whole lot of things you can learn if you read her interview on the Beauty Heroes website (click here). What I find very interesting is that she actually doesn't formulate any UMA products - she actually isn't allowed to interfere with the creative process. Traditional and respect mandated that she defers to their most senior family formulator. But that doesn't mean she is only the face of the brand, she started very young in her study of Ayurvedic formulations and she sure knows what she is talking about. But like I said, more in the interview. It's such a nice read.

UMA Intensely Nourishing Hair Oil captures an ancient Indian beauty ritual in a bottle.  The secret Ayurvedic family recipe handed down through generations has been beloved by women for centuries for its ability to treat dull and damaged hair while balancing the naturally occurring oils in the scalp. This isn't your tipical hair oil and I learnt that the hard way. With this oil you'll not only get soft, nourished and silky hair but it will also provide you with therapeutic effects. It has such a strong and potent scent that I could smell it when I opened the box. I was even worried it spilled! Luckily it didn't. Maybe for someone who isn't used to strong scents, it could potentially be too much, but I think everyone could grow to like, if not love it. It is a very invigorating scent, but also relaxing at the same time.

A peek into their proprietary formula reveals a recipe of organic and native rare botanicals. The Indian Botanical Yerba De Tago, also known as the ‘false daisy’, delivers deep nourishment and prevents premature graying. Amalaki, the Indian Gooseberry, clarifies the scalp and stimulates new hair growth. Hibiscus balances the scalp’s pH while reducing frizz and protects against split ends. Grapefruit and Lemon Essential Oils naturally leave hair bouncy, shiny and healthier.
It's recommended (on the Beauty Heroes card) that you apply this oil directly on the scalp, using the dropper. I tried it like that three times and every time I did it, it was worse than before. My hair was heavy, greasy, really not the look I was going for. I was very surprised by that because it doesn't contain heavy oils and also because I am so used to hair oils and their magical work they do to my hair. Usually it was only the case of not washing my hair properly or if I washed them in a rush. I didn't change my shampoo or anything like that, and I was actually already thinking which of my girlfriends would enjoy this oil the most. I was hesitant to use it again and I was starting to think that September's BH box just isn't the one for me. So disappointing, especially after the fact that I read only positive reviews and experiences and was most excited to finally try UMA products.

I did the only thing I could think of at that moment and I reached out to the ever so lovely Jeannie, the Beauty Heroes founder. She so very kindly connected me with UMA's founder Shrankhla. She is such a sweetheart! Kind, generous and so understanding. Top notch customer service. Shrankhla suggested I should try to use it in a different way, not directly from the dropper to my scalp but to first spread it in my palms and then apply to my hair. So I did that and I love it! I get the best results if I apply two to three drops of oil on my fingertips and then massage it on the back of my head. Then I use the same amount (2-3 drops) and apply on the front and the sides of my head. I massage my whole scalp. Then I divide my hair into two sections and again use two to three drops of oil, spread between the palms of my hands and apply to the ends of my hair (+ all over). Then I repeat that on the second section of hair. I think I'm making it sound more complicated than it is, but this technique really works for me. Usually I apply more hair oil but UMA Nourishing Hair Oil goes perfectly with Beauty Heroes slogan: Use less. Love more. Less is definitely more when it comes to this product.

I leave the oil in my hair for a few hours or overnight. I wash it off with my beloved Acure Shampoo and Conditioner (the one with Moroccan Argan Oil). This oil makes my hair very soft and slightly volumized. I actually couldn't believe how such a tiny amount of oil can make my hair so soft. It's quite unbelievable! I will stress this again but if you have oily hair then be careful to use a small amount. Trust me, you don't want to be a grease ball. Oh and I have to mention that some ladies have experienced a lot of volume, I unfortunately am not so lucky. When I saw Nic's voluminous hair I was blown away! So. Much. Volume.!! (insert heart eyes emoji)

This hair oil should also help with balancing your scalp and with growth. I haven't been using it that long, so I can't really attest to that but I do know of a method that truly works with growing your hair faster. It's called The Inversion Method aka extremely fast hair growth in one week. You can google it to see results, I didn't take any before and after pictures but I did measure my hair and it truly works. The thing with this method is that you have to massage your scalp 4 minutes for 7 days (every single day) but you have to do a simple inversion when massaging. I like to sit on my chair and lower my head towards my feet and massage like that for 4 minutes - I just set up a timer on my phone and massage away. Why this works? Because of the improved blood flow toward your hair follicles and circulation. The only thing is that you can only do this every day for 7 days (consistently) once a month. For amazing results you have to wait at least 3 weeks, 4 weeks are even better. Otherwise your body gets used to it and the method won't work as well, if at all. I'm mentioning this method here because they (the internet) recommend to massage your head with oil. Now this is all good and well but I don't wash my hair everyday. So instead of using a hair oil every day for seven days, I only use it when I'm due to wash my hair. The most important thing is the massage, the oil just gives that little bit of extra kick but based on my experience, you don't need to apply it every day. Fyi, you can use any oil you like - a more luxurious like this UMA oil is, or perhaps a more affordable oil like Coconut or Olive oil.

As this post is already soooo long I'll save September's Sidekick for some other time. I will only say that it's a beautiful product and I love using it.

If you're interested in trying UMA Oils Intensely Nourishing Hair Oil (valued at $70) and their new Ultimate Brightening Face Mask (deluxe sample valued at $30), then you can subscribe to Beauty Heroes and get them for $39.95 (+ shipping cost). You can read more about this subscription discovery service in one of my previous posts here.

Let me also mention this month's Love More promotion. Spend $125 in the Beauty Store and you'll receive UMA Oils Discovery Kit valued at $40 (no code needed).

Hope you're all going to have a great week! I'll be spending mine at the beach, relaxing my ass off. :)

Much love,

Jana xx

*sample generously provided
**this post contains affiliate links

Earthwise Beauty Carrot-a-Day Face and Eye Serum

September 05, 2016

Carrot a day keeps a doctor away. Or rather Carrot-a-Day keeps brown spots away. Earthwise Beauty Carrot-a-Day Face and Eye Serum* is an anti-aging serum with incredible youth-returning and brown-spot reducing powers in an ultra-light fresh aloe gel format. Sounds exactly like my cup of tea. In the last few months I've been experiencing quite a lot of acne, especially on my cheeks so any product that claims to fade away brown spots (or red spots in my case), I'm all ears. I've been using it for a while and since I only have a tiny bit left I'm due to write a review about this cute little jar of goodness.
I'm sure you all know how I feel about Earthwise Beauty (if you don't, you can check out my post about Ambrosia del Cerrado Liquid Moisturizer, Blackstrapp Molasses Face Mask or Farizad's Veil SPF 30+ Powder). I've been so very fortunate to have had a chance to try quite a number of Ava's product and amongst them it was only one that didn't really wow me. It wasn't as magical as I was hoping it would be, but saying this I still used the whole bottle of it! Which must mean something.

Carrot-a-Day serum is based on the soothing and calming Aloe Vera, but its main active ingredient is Carrot Seed Essential Oil, one of the most effective yet very gentle skin tissue regenerating ingredients, which also contains natural sun-blocking and sun-damage-preventing and -correcting properties. I would also like to mention the anti-inflammatory German Blue Chamomile, which reduces any possible skin irritation and redness, and Helichrysum (Italian Everlasting), which is one of the top essential oils for scar and other spot reduction and for wrinkle reversal (and is also used in wound and burn healing by medical aromatherapists). Just a special bonus with Helichrysum - they often combine three types, Corsican, Croatian and Albanian, as each one has a slightly different chemical composition and aroma, and all three give the broadest spectrum of healing components and the most complex scent. Seriously, go read Ava's descriptions of her products, I can't help myself not to use her writings.
This serum is not only really lightweight, it's extra lightweight and sinks into the skin immediately. It's very refreshing and slightly cooling, especially if you keep it in the fridge. The serum also contains a touch of Spearmint, which offers a slightly cooling and definitely de-puffing quality. And if you're worried that spearmint would tingle or irritate your skin, I can assure you that it doesn't do any of that on my skin. It also doesn't clog my pores. It is actually said that this gel has been of great help to anyone with acne tendencies. Yeah, I think it helps with that, but I've been mostly hoping it would help with fading brown spots. I noticed great results in combination with Laurel Whole Plant Organics Sun Damage Repair Facial Serum*. There is just something special how the two work together. Now I'm testing it with Gaia Creams Tomato & Black Cumin Serum* and I like it too. Bare in mind that results don't come overnight but with regular use you will definitely see improvement and your scars will be reduced, if not diminished. Even more so if you use it for months. You have to be patient with this product. As for the youth-returning powers go I can't say much other than it tightens my skin around my eyes, which is always a plus for the delicate, wrinkle-prone eye area.

This product is vegan and handcrafted. Suitable for all skin types, especially dry, mature, acne, combination, and skin lacking firmness. Sure the scent is not the best, it kinda smells like alcohol (which it doesn't contain!) but nevertheless, I've really been enjoying this Carrot-a-Day serum and it's cooling gel texture. Get it here. You can use my code "Loveliness" and get 15% off your order.

With love,

Jana xx

*sample generously provided
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