Schmidt's Deodorant Geranium Sensitive Skin Formula

August 28, 2016

After my long love affair with the original Schmidt's deodorant in the scent Ylang-Ylang + Calendula, it was time to break it off. I didn't want to because I absolutely loved using it (finally a natural deodorant that worked on me!) but unfortunately I grew intolerant to baking soda. What a massive bummer! Especially now that they came up with a new scent (Rose + Vanilla), which sounds so lovely. The hunt for a new effective natural deodorant started all over again. Ugh. I've tried many of them before so I didn't bother with my smelly self again (none of them worked) and so I started using some nasty and horrible deodorant (but effective) from drugstore. Luckily somewhere around that time I discovered a UK brand The Natural Deodorant Co. and they just came up with their new baking soda free deodorants. Yes!

 I don't want to go too much in details, but I tried The Natural Deodorant Co. Gentle Deodorant Cream in Tangerine and it didn't really work as I was hoping it would be. Some ladies love it, I know the gorgeous Alessandra does. The lovely Laurie then so kindly sent me their other deodorant with a lower percentage of baking soda (Clean Deodorant Balm in Lemon & Geranium*) which works great but I can only use it a few days in a row. So still not a solution. Then Schmidt's launched their new deodorants without baking soda. Hell yes! I hopped on Reina Organics and ordered the coral one with Geranium. Spoiler alert, I love it!
Schmidt's Natural Deodorant in Geranium is especially designed for sensitive skin types and formulated without baking soda. Free of aluminiums, phtalates, parabens and gluten. Certified vegan and cruelty-free. I'm no expert but it's probably Magnesium Hydroxide and Arrowroot Powder (and Coconut Oil) that help to neutralize underarm odor (and absorb wetness - not an antiperspirant tho!). The brand came a long way from jars to the "normal" deodorant packaging and these for sensitive skin are only available in stick form. Sometimes I feel like I use more that way but if I had the option I would still probably go with the stick version. Here I'd like to say that I always had massive problems with deodorants, underarms and sweating. It all started at that "beautiful" puberty time. I'd sweat like no other and I constantly had to change up my deodorants (which actually isn't that uncommon). Not to mention I would also sweat under my arms even if I wasn't hot or nervous. Sometimes I still do. Not fun. I won't say I hated my underarms but it's safe to say I didn't like them. But when I started using a deodorant in a jar something changed. It was the fact that you have to apply it fingers that changed my mind about my underarms. Way more intimate than just using your standard roll-on or stick deodorant. It looks like that really helped me and I started to feel differently about them. Still not there yet but I sure am on a good path. Now back to the review. :)

This deodorant smells like Geranium - it only contains geranium essential oils. I like this floral scent, but I can totally get why someone won't like it. There is something about it that makes you wonder if you like it or not, don't know how to explain it. Deodorant works all day, even on hot summer days, but because I am who I am I sometimes reapply it. Have to be perfectly sure I'm not a stinky mess. I'm pretty positive that isn't really necessary because it does last, but still, I almost always have it with me in my bag. I already repurchased it so it's safe to say I love it! It does have a flaw or two. It can leave white traces and residue on clothes and even though it is for sensitive skin, sometimes it still irritates my skin. I get the same rash as I get when using baking soda based deodorants, and my skin gets itchy. Sometimes it helps if I apply a calming cream (I love Kris D'Amour's Soothing Face and Body Balm* - so freaking soothing!) or I use some other deodorant for a day or two. Sometimes it just goes away even if I don't do any of these things (even tho it is stated that you should discontinue use if rash or irritation develops).

All in all it's a beautiful deodorant and I really really like using it! If you're not a fan of floral scent then you can try their Tea Tree or Fragrance Free version. Available at many places, I got mine at Reina Organics and then I repurchased it at a Slovenian store Specia. Love both stores.<3

Much love,

Jana xx

*samples generously provided

Argan Republic Manuka Orchid Facial

August 19, 2016

Check out this gorgeous dark mauve, pinkish red creation. Today I'm going to review this beauty from Argan Republic, an American brand founded by the lovely Marissa. I've been eyeing her products for a while, they do look beautiful, so when I got a chance to try a product I jumped with joy. Among the gorgeous all natural and hand crafted products with loads of organic, non-GMO and wild crafted ingredients, I decided to go with one of her masks - the Manuka Orchid Facial with Pineapple Enzyme*. If you're wondering then the answer is yes, it is as lovely as it sounds.
 First let's check some ingredients which are nicely blended in Certified Organic, Cold Pressed, Unrefined, Morocaan Argan Oil. I love argan oil but what excites me with this mask are the bee products it contains - 4 actively beneficial bee products to create the ultimate facial for healthy, radiant skin. Those are Bee Propolis, Raw New Zealand Manuka Honey, Bee Pollen and Royal Jelly. There is a lot more information about each and every ingredient in the product description, but just to mention a few things - all the bee ingredients they use are pesticide-free, chemical-free, and anti-biotic-free. Bee products encourage tissue repair and regeneration, they are antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-acne, anti-inflammatory and have huge antioxidant properties which prevent free-radicals that cause aging. Honey and other bee products are so amazing, like truly amazing! I said it many, many times before, but go and slather some raw honey on your face. It seems like I link my post about honey in every post I wrote, but here it is again. The thing that is important here is that bees are treated as humanely as possible and keep interference in the bees life to a minimum. This is actually written on their website so yay for that. :)

The product also contains one of my favourite flowers, the wonderful and potent Hibiscus, also known as "botox plant". Find how I like to use it here. Of course there is also Pineapple Extract, which works as an enzyme, meaning it removes dead skin cells and reduces swelling and inflammation. It also softens skin and clears the complexion due to the vitamin C content. I love that it contains White Kaolin and Rose Clay too. Both are suitable for sensitive skin. Now the scent. Based on the ingredient flower list - Jasmine, Plumeria, Neroli and Orchid, I was expecting a beautiful floral scent. Amm if you want to try this product for the scent, then skip it. I mean it's not unpleasant, it's just not my favourite and different than what I expected. If I'm not mistaken, it's mostly Neroli.
This intoxicating concentrated bee blend promises "an ultra exfoliating, healing, and regenerative, luxury facial. The amazingly strong anti-bacterial properties of bee products will reduce acne as well as reduce allergenic skin issues like dermatitis. Bee products are notorious for improving collagen production while promoting skin cell regeneration to reveal youthful, radiant skin. Certified organic argan oil, botanical oils and extracts nourish, tone and tighten while gentle kaolin clays remove impurities and increase circulation." My experience - it ticks all the boxes for me, but one. It's very healing and luxury, it reduces acne and works anti-bacterial. It's all good, I just don't see it as an ultra exfoliating mask. I'd say it works more like a gentle and light exfoliator. At least on my skin. Which is not a bad thing, because then I can use it more regularly. Over-exfoliation is a thing and I tend not to exfoliate too much. I probably still do it too often. Fyi we were thought in beautician school to exfoliate once every three weeks but now I see the use of exfoliators and scrubs being very popular and doing it more than two times a week. How often do you do exfoliate your skin?
Mask is suitable for all skin types, especially dry skin prone to dermatitis & eczema, but also skin prone to acne or aging skin. gentle enough for sensitive skin, and can be used as needed. I really fell in love with it when I was away on holidays and it was the only mask I took with me. Note that it isn't too travel-friendly because the argan oil did spill a little and the outside of the jar (and other products in my beauty bag) were a bit oily. You can leave the mask on for 15 minutes or more. I tend to leave it on for half an hour to one hour. It doesn't dry on the skin and in actually rather moisturizing. After I rinse it off I'm left with soft skin due to the wonderful argan oil. Anti-aging, acne control, detoxification and nourish - this is how the mask is described and I think it does all that. I will say that I don't see immediate results but with regular use I certainly do. It's a beautiful mask and you will do good to your skin if you try it. Get it here.

Have a lovely weekend!

With love,

Jana xx

*sample generously provided

Laurel Whole Plant Organics Expert Selection

August 12, 2016

Let the sun in! The theme of August's Beauty Heroes box*, featuring the one and only Laurel Whole Plant Organics. I have been following the brand on Instagram for quite a while but even before I saw all the beautiful pictures of products and behind the scenes photos, I wanted to try Laurel's magical blends. I heard so many beautiful things about her products and they didn't disappoint. Not at all. Laurel Whole Plant Organics is a leader of the slow beauty movement - Laurel harvests her ingredients from organic farms within a 100 mile radius from her Northern California studio, ensuring that her oils and infusions, each vibrant in color and bursting with plant energy, meet her exacting standards. Now how could you not want to try such a brand? A brand with products created with founders strongest conviction: that beauty should be a loving, ritualistic practice with the finest raw, organic, farm-sourced and hand-crafted materials. Love Laurel's philosophy.
Beauty Heroes has already featured the brand in one of their previous boxes and I'm so excited and beyond happy they decided to feature it again. Like every month, the box came beautifully packaged. August's beauty discovery really made me smile with its vibrant yellow tissue that embraced the products and the theme of this month's box is really speaking to me. I'm a sun worshiper. Excitement was real, let me tell you. Inside August BH box you will find three products and let's start this review with the hero.

Laurel Whole Plant Organics Sun Damage Repair Serum was created especially for sun damaged or mature skin. Not really skin problems I'm dealing with, especially not after July's box and its hero - Kari Gran Three Sixty Five SPF 28. You can also see my previous post about three non-nano based zinc oxide - I really don't have any problems with applying sunscreen on a daily. Nonetheless, I was very excited to test it out. I immediately fell in love with the ingredient list, which is btw all organic (hence the brand's name). Contains ingredients like Rosehip Seed, Red Raspberry Seed, Cranberry Seed Oil and more beautiful oils, and also in-house biodynamic proprietary blend of Calendula, Licorice (which naturally breaks up melanin patches), Chamomile, Marshamallow, and I could go on. Full list of these stunning ingredients here. Due to some oils with vibrant and rich colour, like Sea Buckthorn and Rosehip Oil, the serum has beautiful orange / golden yellow colour. I adore such coloured oils.
The serum helps to reverse signs of sun damage, including freckles and hyper-pigmentation. I was very fortunate to get this box way earlier than previous Beauty Heroes boxes and have been using it for a few weeks already. At first I didn't really see much results on my skin. Like I said, I don't have problems with sun damaged skin so I was thinking I wouldn't see anything special on my skin. But because of the wonderful ingredient list I continued with the use of the serum. And I'm so happy I did. You know what? My skin is not damaged by sun (at least not visibly) but I do suffer from hyperpigmentation! How silly am I for not thinking it sooner? I'm dealing with red blemishes or red acne scars, ugh. This serum really helps with fading these blemishes and is making my skin happier. It's a beautiful oil and I feel so lucky I had a chance to try it out.
Okay so I'm in love with the Hero, what about the two sidekicks? Before and After Sun Body Oil (100 ml, $ 80) acts as prevention and cure. Ultra-concentrated with Avocado, Red Raspberry Seed and Coconut Oil, each ingredient has been proven to help prevent and repair from sun's loving rays. Glide it on in addition to sun protection and then reapply to sun-drenched skin for maximum benefit. I haven't tried it before or after sun exposure like they recommend, so I can't say how it works for that but it did make my skin soft and moisturized. It's lovely but that's pretty much all I have to say since I only used it once, trying to save it for these photos.
Last but certainly not least is Laurel's first product that picked my interest I don't know how long time ago. I'm talking about Honey Berry Enzyme Mask, with 5 beneficial active ingredients. One is my absolute favourite skincare ingredient - Honey. With a capital letter. Have you read my article about the magic of honey? Here is the link if you want to know why you need to incorporate honey into your routine. Okay so there is Honey and also Royal Jelly, Strawberry, Blueberry and Grapefruit Essential Oil. This mask is a favourite among many green beauty bloggers and I can totally understand why. I'm a bit biased 'cause I love honey and yes, as you might imagine I really enjoy using this mask. It's brightening and I'm all about that. I love the scent of it as well - it straight up smells like honey + berries. Duuh. It's literally good enough to eat! Yum. Aah, organic products are the best. <3
It's safe to say I love this month's Beauty Heroes expert selection and Laurel Whole Plant Organics is a brand you would want to try. Trust me. I almost forget one thing, products are literally macerated by Laurel's hands. Whole plant - not exracts. There's a difference.

As you can see you get a whole lot for $39 (+ shipping cost) - the whole box is valued at $102, which is just amazing. If you fancy what you hear, you can subscribe here. It really is a very good value for the price. This month (if you subscribe to the 20th of August) you will get this facial oil and then a facial oil won't be featured again for a few months. I'm also telling you this if you're already a member and have enough serums to go through. Beauty Heroes also attempts to make it so that we international members, don't have to pay any additional taxes. When you are a Beauty Heroes member you automatically receive an exclusive 15% ongoing discount, on all green hero products in their Beauty Store. Talking about the store, there is a beautiful and sadly limited Love More promotion going on - spend $125 and you'll receive a full-size Prickly Pear Seed Oil Rollerball by Kahina Giving Beauty ($40 value!). Looks divine.

That's pretty much everything I wanted to share regarding August's Beauty Heroes Box. Hope you enjoyed reading.

Much love,

Jana xx

*sample generously provided
**this post contains affiliate links

Three Beautiful Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Sunscreens

August 07, 2016

After my last post about Zinc Oxide I had a few upcoming sunscreen posts in mind but it's already August, which means summer is coming to an end and summer inspired posts aren't as "in" as they were a month or two ago. Well if I would manage to post more often then I wouldn't have this problem. Oh well, I think I'm still going to post them haha. Since I've shared that non-nano! Zinc Oxide is pretty much the best UV filter out there, I decided to share some of my favourite facial sunscreens with Non-Nano Zinc Oxide, which I'm currently using.
First one is from a gorgeous, gorgeous brand, the amazing Earthwise Beauty. Oh my gosh, I love this brand so much! I don't say it much on my blog, but I really, really love Ava and her blends, she really knows what she is doing. I can ask her anything (I bet she is sick of my questions :P) and she always responds with so much knowledge and integrity. Love. Also, it's so exciting following the brand on Instagram, I highly recommend it! I have learned so many new things about ingredients and the magic of plants. Not to mention that Ava is on a roll with creating new products and her new launches are beyond exciting.
Ava's sunscreen is unique. It's called Farizad's Veil SPF 30+ Powder* and I've already proclaimed my love for it here. Contains uncoated non-nano Zinc Oxide, Aloe and flowers like Rose Absolute and Geranium Oil, to name most of them. Now if you remember I wrote that zinc oxide is safe up to concentration of maximum 25%. This product contains 94%. BUT all is not lost! I was worried for a hot minute but Ava completely reassured me. Let me quote a little bit of what she said:

Farizad's Veil is not meant to be used separately but as a component of a sunscreen lotion made up of an oil part and the powder part. It would be very unlikely for a customer to create a paste that contains more than 25% zinc oxide because it would be pretty whitening (I have a few sunscreens as testers from other brands and one contains 22.5% zinc oxide and is somewhat whitening, more noticeably than most people would want.

I wish we had a microscopic scale on hand to figure out the typical zinc oxide content in a customer's mix: we would need to weight the 7-8-9 drops of oil a person uses and then weight the amount of Farizad's Veil a person uses (and subtract the aloe content). While visually, many people will mix about half oil and half Farizad's Veil, once you weight the two, you would see that the powder content is a small percentage (typically 10-20% max.) because powders are light. It takes a lot of powder to weigh the equivalent of a heavy oil.
So as you see, because you mix the powder with the oil, the concentration of zinc oxide is much, much smaller than 94% so you don't have to worry one bit. Just don't go crazy with the powder and you'll be perfectly alright. Not only that Farizad's Veil (love the name!) protects my skin from the sun and doesn't break me out, the thing I love most about it is that I can mix it with my favourite facial oil to create my own custom blend, my own "DIY" sunscreen. I still get all the nutrients from oil but with that extra treat. The oil I use is also not as oily and sinks in quicker because the powder makes it a bit lighter. Lighter and dryer in texture but not drying to the skin. I've tried it with a few different oils and it was a beautiful experience every time. It's a wonderful product and I really recommend it. Just a quick note on the application - I apply a few drops of oil into the palm of my hand and sprinkle some Farizad's Veil on top (it has a twist and lock sifter, so it's all very easy to do). Mix and apply. On the first photo bellow I used a bit too much and if that happens (which is rare) I just add more oil and apply it to my neck and hands. Check out Ava's instructions here. If you want to try it, you can use my code "Loveliness" (not affiliated) and get 15% off your order.
Next sunscreen is one that is already mixed together - powdered zinc oxide and oils are already mixed and ready to go. Of course I'm talking about July's BH Hero, the beautiful Kari Gran Three Sixty Five SPF 28**. Here is all you need to know about this product so I don't want to write another novel for a product (like I did with the Farizad's Veil). 
I still have to mention, that it contains 17% Zinc Oxide and some very gorgeous oils, like Red Raspberry Seed and French Plum Oil. It's formulated without a drop of water but loaded with Macadamia, Kukui, Avocado and Jojoba oils, and Vitamin E. It's such a stunning product and I've been loving it to bits. This product was featured in July's Beauty Heroes box but you can buy it in the Beauty Heroes Beauty Store, where you can get 15% off your order if you are subscribed to their beauty subscription service. If you're interested, you can do it here. Right now they are having a gorgeous giveaway with Thoughtfully Magazine. All details here.

Now onto the product you will want to eat because it smells so yummy! Say hello to Canadian brand Ryz Rémi and their Day Balm Concentrate* with 20% non-nano Zinc Oxide. The Day Balm Concentrate is a rich medley of premium organic & wild (and ethically sourced) ingredients - buttery raw Shea & Virgin Coconut Oil hand-blended with cold-pressed Rosehip, Jojoba & Green Tea Seed Oil. Minimally processed & nutrient-packed. Enjoy the calming aroma of sweet Calendula & golden Chamomile, with hints of creamy Vanilla Bean & dark Cocoa. Rich & very concentrated, this day balm contains no water or fillers.
First is the scent. It smells like a rich chocolate (contains Cocoa powder) with vanilla. Omg, so delicious. Rich and seductive. It looks like a super milky chocolate too, so be careful not to eat it haha. Based on ingredients, I was expecting a rich and super nourishing cream but to my surprise it doesn't feel that rich. Which I like and enjoy. Because it is not as rich nor oily as I thought, I like to apply a small amount of facial oil under it. That way I can massage it onto my skin more easily (it also applies beautifully without an oil!) but I just like that combo. Also, a little goes a long way. The cream doesn't break me out (none of the three do!) and makes my skin soft. The product is just lovely. Natasha, one of the founders of Ryz Rémi, obviously knows what she is doing blending.
It has a different consistency than the other two (at least if you mix Farizad's Veil with facial oil). This SPF cream has a balmy texture but it sinks into the skin like a moisturizer. Rich moisturizer. It's a mix between a balm and a moisturizer. It's gorgeous and I love using it. Not that I mind taking a bit of extra time massaging SPF product into my skin, but I really love that I don't have to deal with that with this product. It blends in seamlessly and leaves my skin protected, nourished and soft. Use code "LOVELINESS" (not affiliated) to get 15% off your order.

Have a happy week!

Much love,

Jana xx

*samples generously provided
**this post contains affiliate links

What's up with Zinc Oxide?

July 24, 2016

I had this whole article planned out and I knew what I wanted to say but then I read this article that kinda bummed me out a little bit. As you know I only use natural, organic, green beauty products. When it comes to sunscreen that means I use products containing the safest sun blocking ingredients as possible. There are two - Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. Both are physical UV filters. I say the safest sun blocking ingredients as possible, but is that really true?

Hmm, not sure how to go on with this, my mind is all over the place. Let me start by saying that I'm no expert. This is just me sharing what I know and what I've read. I've been chatting with one of my lovely readers and she mentioned how Zinc Oxide was banned in European Union in 2009. I didn't know that and I did some googling. It turns out Zinc Oxide isn't banned but it's only safe to use up to concentration of 25%. (link) I was like whaaat?! How come no one is talking about it?? I immediately checked my sunscreens. Then the beautiful Nic shared with me this article What's the best way to protect your skin from the sun?, written by Celestyna, the creator of Moss skincare. I highly recommend reading it.
As you know we have chemical and physical UV filters and the later are used in the green beauty community. But are they really safe and effective? Before diving in let me just say that I don't really talk about chemical UV filters here and how nasty they are. Don't think that I'm dissing Zinc Oxide (only a little) but I just wanted to shed some light on it. Chemical UV filters don't need that, I'm sure all of you have heard they are not all that safe to use. To say it mildly. So on to physical UV filters. There is a difference between the two. Titanium Dioxide doesn't cover the entire range of UV radiation like Zinc Oxide does and is also more prone to cause acne. As for the Zinc Oxide goes, it only gives UVA and UVB sun protection if it's non-nano. There is a wonderful explanation of that in the article but what stuck with me is that the larger the particle size, the better the broad spectrum UVA protection, but by no means is that guaranteed. UVA rays are not only more prone to cause photoaging than UVB, they are also as likely or more likely to create cancer-causing DNA damage. Also, there are studies that show with micronized and nano particles, absorption doesn't seem to be a cause for concern. News to me, but it's a great news so I'll take it. So what you can take from this is that A. physical filters are very safe to use and nontoxic to the body - no signs of absorption by the body (and they are also more photostable than chemical filters - another yay!) and B. a product has to contain non-nano Zinc Oxide for full UV protection. Sounds very good and I can thick all the boxes. BUT.

As I have mentioned, supposedly the use of non-nano zinc oxide in cosmetics is safe up to a maximum concentration of 25%. Usually in products there is less than that, but I would still write to brands and ask how much they use (if not stated). Just to be safe. Now as for the thing that blew my mind in Celestyna's article. Both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, like chemical UV filters, are toxic to marine life! They can do all kinds of nasty things like damage the embryos of tiny sea creatures. Now are they AS toxic as Oxybenzone? (chemical UV filter, fyi) Doubtful but also, I. D. K. No one does. More studies need to be done! But just because your mineral sunscreen says “reef safe” don’t go feeling all high and mighty. It’s still NOT “100% marine life safe.” It is a massive bummer, to say the least! But don't take this as an excuse to still use sunscreens with chemical UV filters. I found this article where it's reported that nano zinc oxide (which is not only found in sunscreens but other beauty products too) make sea urchin embryos much more vulnerable to other environmental toxins. Nano-copper oxide found in boat paint has the same effect. I didn't find anything but supposedly non-nano Zinc oxide has the same effect. Or does it really?
After all of the above Celestyna then mentions holistic sun care - those who practice this are gradually increasing exposure time to allow the body to adjust naturally to sun rays, they don't use any UV filters on the skin but protect themselves with clothing and use natural oils and butters, and they also eat antioxidant rich food. Sounds great but even though some oils have been linked to sun protection, like Red Raspberry Seed, Carrot Seed, Cranberry Seed and Jojoba, after seeing this article I find that hard to believe.

Take what you will from this post but it looks like non-nano Zinc Oxide is still the way to go when it comes to sunscreen, at least for now. It's not perfect! but even with its flaws it's still a way, way better option than chemical UV filters (which are hormone disruptors, photounstable, have oxidation potential and inadequate UVA protection). Physical UV filters have better UVA protection than chemical UV filters (Sam Bunting thinks so too). After knowing that Zinc Oxide is not as reef-friendly as I thought it was, I'm reconsidering my use of sunscreens. Now I'm not saying I'm going all holistic on sun protection but eating more antioxidant rich food that helps to counteract free radicals pollutants and toxins generate, is a very good idea indeed. I'm still going to use my sunscreens with non-nano Zinc Oxide (some products even use uncoated Zinc Oxide, which is even better). But I'm going to be more mindful and not use it every single day - especially if I know I won't be going much out on the sun or if it's raining. A thought of washing my sunscreen off in the evening and that it eventually ends up in the ocean is not nice. That said I do find some comfort in that I only use it on my face and not all over my body. Of course vitamin D is really important! and staying in shade and covering yourself with a hat and all that, but due to skin cancer and vanity reasons (yes, I said it) I can't part with sunscreen. At least not at this moment in time.

There is much, much more that can be said about this topic, but this post is already too long so I will end it here. I hope I was somewhat clear and that you read something new and interesting.

Much love,

Jana xx

Kari Gran's Goodies

July 14, 2016

Well hello beauties! What have you been up to these days? What have I been up to? Oh nothing much, only werk, werk, werk, werk... It's not bad, but I'm really missing blogging and chatting with you. Luckily the later is going on on Instagram. Talking about that, if you're like me and follow green beauty babes, then you've probably seen lots of pictures of Beauty Heroes July's boxes. Mines included. Well, today is the day to share with you my first impression/review. I have been using them for two weeks, which is less time than I usually take to review a product, but seeing as the box is only available till the 20th, it's about time to share my thoughts on the July's Box*.
Beauty Heroes brought us yet another amazing beauty box. I don't know how they are doing it, but they always amaze me with their selection. July's box features the gorgeous looking Kari Gran products. They are not only gorgeous on the outside, but also, and mostly, on the inside. Kari Gran is an American brand founded by Kari and is designed to multi-task to reduce clutter and promote simplicity. Using only organic, wild-harvested and non-GMO ingredients, Kari tries to keep things simple, delivering only products that are essential for the timeless ritual of self-care. Kari Gran's minimalist line is also known as "The Little Black Dress" of eco-skincare. Besides the skincare products, which are btw all featured in the July box, Kari Gran also created mineral makeup. I haven't tried it yet but I have seen lots of beautiful reviews of their Lip Whips. But as June's box was all about makeup, July's box is all about skincare. Jeannie and the Beauty Heroes team is very mindful and thoughtful of that. Which is just another awesome thing they do.

Even though the "right" product to review first would be the Hero of the box, I will leave that one to the end. Why? Because the Hero is a sunscreen and you put sunscreen on your face as a last step in your morning routine. So first it is time for the sidekicks. Yes, there are more than one sidekick, which makes my heart sing. Kari Gran Mini Kit consist of Cleansing Oil, Hydrating Tonic and Essential Serum.
Cleansing Oil(100 ml, $30) is probably my favourite of the three. I say probably because I just adore all three minis and it's hard to decide which one I love best. Cleansing oil beautifully removes all my makeup and leaves my skin squeaky clean minus the dryness which is usually associated with that "squeaky clean feeling". It removes all makeup and dirt from the day and leaves my skin feeling smooth, soft and not dry at all! It also doesn't feel oily. It's such a wonderful oil, you feel me?! Like it is with every cleansing oil, I apply a few pumps of oil into the palm of my hand and then onto dry face. I massage it into my skin and remove with a hot washcloth. As you may have heard, double cleanse is a massive game changer in skincare routine and up to late, I've been doing it with a gel or cream cleanser. Here is an example of that. But lately I've been loving using the same product as my second cleanse. To quickly describe it - after first cleanse I again go in with the same cleansing oil and do it all over again. The only thing I'm careful is to always make sure to use the clean side of the cloth. So one side of the cloth for the first cleanse and the other side for the second cleanse.
Hydrating Tonic* (100 ml, $35) contains three ingredients: 100% fractionally distilled Aloe Vera Leaf Distillate, Organic Vegetable Glycerin and Organic Lavender Oil. Maybe it sounds like your average facial toner, but it so isn't average. The Lavender they are using is so amazing and smells beyond gorgeous. If you are not a fan of lavender scented products, I believe you would still love it. If not, they have another toner with Rose Oil, which sounds equally beautiful. The product lives up to the name, it is hydrating, really refreshing and the scent is just so soothing and beautiful. Wish I hadn't used it up already! And I also used up the Cleansing Oil!

Essential Serum* (30 ml, $60) isn't as simple as the already mentioned products are, meaning that it contains more ingredients that the two together. It also doesn't have that amazing lavender scent, but it smells amazing nonetheless. As essential oils go, the serum contains a few of those - Lavender, Frankincense, Rose, Jasmine and Ylang Ylang. How does it smell you say? Well, it smells like Ylang Ylang. I love it. I don't know if it is this product, but my skin has been really happy since I started using Kari Gran's products. I think a lot of it comes down to this beautiful serum. How could it not if it contains a beautiful blend of organic, wild harvested and non-GMO ingredients chosen specifically for their skin-nourishing properties. Essential Serum has some of my favourite plant oils, like Avocado, Rosehip, Camellia, Calendula and Sea Buckthorn Oils. One that I would also like to mention is Arnica Oil, which has amazing inflammation-reducing power. Arnica is an endangered plant and is the perfect remedy for all kinds of bruises, aches, sprains and more. Pure Arnica Oil can cause skin irritations, it can also be toxic, but being diluted as it is in the serum, there is no cause for concern. This product doesn't cause any breakouts, it sinks into the skin beautifully and leaves it soft and moisturized. It's calming and it's safe to say that the more I use it, the more I like it.
Three Sixty Five SPF 28* (30 ml, $48) is the first Kari Gran launch in 4 years. The product is a physical, broad-spectrum, facial sunscreen to be used 365 days of the year - rain or shine. Hence its name. You should always look for an SPF product with broad-spectrum protection. This means that the product protects from UVA, rays that age the skin, and UVB, rays that burn skin. Three Sixty Five contains non-nano Zinc Oxide (17% - this is important, but I will talk about that in my next post). This active ingredient is supported by free radical-fighting Red Raspberry Seed and French Plum Oil. It's formulated without a drop of water but loaded with Macadamia, Kukui, Avocado and Jojoba oils, and Vitamin E. It also contains Beeswax, so no, the product is not vegan friendly. The product isn't as oily as you might think, but it's not super lightweight either. That being said, it is a beautiful product to use and I've been really loving it. The consistency is like an oily lotion, but in the best possible way imaginable! Oily because it doesn't contain water but mostly oils, and lotion because it looks like a lightweight lotion.

As you see, it is white (because of the Zinc Oxide). At first it can leave a slight white cast on the skin, but after massaging it in it disappears. One pump of the product is just enough for my whole face. The product needs quite a bit of time to sink into skin, which also depends on how much you use. And don't use an oil underneath it, the sunscreen has got you covered. It's not as easily absorbed and lightweight as is the Kimberly Sayer Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer SPF 30, that's for sure. I'm used to oils and I love to apply them even before makeup, but I imagine some might need a bit of time to get used to it. All I know is that I'm thoroughly enjoying it. It's very hydrating and nourishing and at the same time it doesn't clog my pores one bit! Zinc Oxide actually has an anti-bacterial benefits so it's actually perfect for acne-prone skin. I think this is also one of the reasons my skin has been looking particularly nice. I love that it is not drying nor heavy on the skin, which can happen with sunscreens. It goes perfectly with the Lily Lolo Mineral Foundation and the blend of both gives my skin a dewy look.
July's Beauty Heroes Box is definitely worth its $39. If you haven't already (what are you waiting for?), subscribe here. Kari Gran's products sure are gorgeous and they have been really agreeing with my combination skin. Love. I also want to mention that if you subscribe to Beauty Heroes you get 15% off in their Beauty Store. What is really exciting is if you spend $100 there, you will receive a full size Peppermint Naked Lip Whip ($16 value).

I'm sorry this post is long AF, but that's how I roll. Apparently. If you read my mussings, then I hope you enjoyed. :)

Much love,

Jana xx

*samples generously provided
**this post contains affiliate links (like every article from other BH brand ambassador does)

Ursa Major Perfect Zen Body Lotion

July 10, 2016

Ursa Major is a Vermont based green beauty brand. To make their perfect products every one of them has to meet their three simple criteria: Is it effective? Is it healthy? Is it sublime? All this means is that they create potent formulations without filler ingredients. They rather use more than 50% organic ingredients, which are also gluten and cruelty-free. With the use of the highest-grade natural ingredients they want to only create products with luxurious textures and out-of-this-world aromas. Sounds good to me!The product I want to review today is their beautiful Perfect Zen Body Lotion.*
First of all, don't you just love the name Perfect Zen? Being constantly busy and all over the place, names like this make me zen even reading them haha. When I think of zen scents, I immediately think of Lavender. The body lotion does contain Lavender Flower Oil but it doesn't really smell like it. It's hard to describe the scent. I'm having a hard time pinpointing the notes, so I'll help myself with their description - "A verdant blend of essential oils with traces of Sweet Orange, Bergamot and Cedar". The scent is light and quite noninvasive, it's kinda like a blend of lightly sweet and lightly citrusy scent. Smells creamy and soft. Something like that. All these essential oils and more, like Mandarin Red and Rosemary, are blended in a base of Aloe Vera Juice, which is organic of course. The one ingredient I don't care for it is Cetyl Palmitate, which is a palm oil derivative and I try to use as little of palm oil as I can. I'm actually doing quite a good job avoiding it. :) Read more about the devastating effect palm oil has on the environment here.
Okay so I've already talked about the soft and pretty scent, let's move to the texture and performance. Lotion has such a lovely consistency. I'd describe it as a thick lotion, so not as light as lotion but not as thick as cream, and especially not as body butter. It's really nice. I totally agree with the description - "light enough for summer, yet rich enough for winter". It's velvety and leaves my skin hydrated and soft. If your skin is dry, then it will sink right into, if it's normal then it will need a few minutes to be completely absorbed. Because of the main ingredient, the gorgeous Aloe Vera, the lotion is also soothing and therefore perfect to use after waxing or shaving. 

The bottle makes my bathroom cabinet looking nice, I love the design on it. The bottle itself also contains 21% post-consumer recycled content and the plastic packaging is quite soft and bendy. Which is actually a bit of a problem. As you can see on the picture, the bottle is bended in. That always happen when I squeeze the bottle (even if gently), and honestly, I was a bit annoyed with it in the beginning. At the end of the day, it's only the outside of a product and what matters most is the actual product itself. Which indeed is beautiful and I've been enjoying it very much.
Talking about Ursa Major, I would like to mention another product I have had a pleasure to try out. It's their Willoughby Cologne* (I broke it when I wanted to take pictures of both products!). This is an all-natural cologne or perfume oil for both men and women.  I was really intrigued by it and wanted to try a little sample of it, but the sweet Jamie (the founder of Petal & Post) sent me the whole bottle of it! The perfume oil is 95% organic, made with Jojoba Oil and a blend of fourteen pure essential oils. That's it. No nasties.
Now as this product is meant for both sexes, the scent has to be something in between a masculine and feminine. Willoughby smells fresh, slightly spicy and quite strong - that reminds me of men scents. To be more precise, it smells like "bright citrus, subtle spice and deep woods topped with hints of mint, ginger and bergamot". The scent is different to any perfume oil I have (my fave are from Leahlani Skincare and they can't be compared to this one. They are floral and very feminine.) I can't say I love it, it's okay but I don't reach for it on a daily. You know what it is, I'm more girly and the scent is just too woodsy and spicy for me. I initially thought my boyfriend could use it but I don't see it. I feel it's more like Vitruvi oils are. Meaning that it has more aromatherapeutic benefits than "mmm I smell great" benefits. Yeah, for that it is great but as perfume oil I will rather leave it to others.

You can get these two products at Petal & Post, an Organic Beauty Store, where you can use the code "smallbitsofloveliness-Summer". Since Petal & Post is a Canadian store, with this code you'll get free international shipping. One x use, good thru to midnight the09/30/16.

Much love to you,

Jana xx

*samples generously provided
*this post contains affiliate code and links
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