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

Elate Cosmetics Lipsticks

september 01, 2016

Beauties, I have been meaning to talk about these gorgeous lipsticks for such a long time it's not even funny anymore. Well there is ANOTHER beautiful lipstick brand that most definitely deserves its own spot on my blog, but today is reserved for Elate Cosmetics lippies.
Elate Cosmetics is a Canadian brand founded by Melodie Reynolds. The brand is vegan, cruelty, gluten and toxic free. Their mission is to care for each other, our communities, and our world. Through healthy ingredients, sustainable practices, and wellness minded goals, they strive to build confidence through kindness, and allow us to create our own standard of beauty. They value spirit, kindness, wellness, community, and authenticity. If I remember correctly it was the beautiful Julie who inspired me to try Elate's lipsticks. Or it was some other green beauty bunny who raved about them (I told you this review was a long time coming and I don't remember everything anymore haha). Anyways, I was very intrigued by them. The beautiful shades and the stunning bamboo packaging were calling my name.<3

They have three different types of lipsticks - Crème, Sheer and Vibrant. I have two from their vibrant line and the third one is a sheer colour. My three shades have pretty much the same ingredients, with the exception of different colorants. They are moisturizing, buttery, soft and not chalky due to Shea and Mango Butter, very lovely to wear and they last a long time (especially both vibrant shades). They are all absolutely gorgeou! Spirit and Wild (both from the Vibrant collection) are very pigmented and you can also apply very little and sheer them out. Vivacious on the other hand is sheer and is one of those lipsticks that you don't need a mirror when applying it. It's sheer but you can build it up (but not to the same extent as the other two).

Vivacious - a sweet soft berry red. One of those on-trend brownish (redish brown) lipsticks. An everyday glossy lipstick.
Spirit - a vivid and vivacious cool pink. Super vibrant pastel pink with a hint of lavender that gives it that cool tone. Spirit will give you that true statement lips. With this one I recommend that you don't apply too much because it can look a bit "cakey".
Wild - a punchy, pinky purple. Way more wearable than it looks in the bullet and a little goes a long way. You can create such a stunning berry stain. Talking about stains, this one in particular can leave a stain and if you top it off with a clear balm or lip gloss your lips will be looking so gorgeous. Perfect shade for the upcoming months.

Elate Cosmetics lipsticks stole my heart and if I hadn't had so many lipsticks already, I would be ordering more. But they do always create new shades and I can always find more space for all of them. :) Get Elate Cosmetics goodies at The Green Jungle Beauty Shop, where you can use my code "Jana" and get 10% off your order.

With love,

Jana xx
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