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Review: Thug Kitchen Eat Like You Give a F*ck The Official Cookbook

5 Aug

“I give this book FIVE STARS!” exclaims my fourth grader.

Just GREAT.


The conservative parent in me wanted to take this THUG KITCHEN: eat like you give a f*ck The Official Cookbook full of curse words away from my son, but the Vegan in me was proud that this was the first ever cookbook he just wanted to read from cover to cover on his own volition. I am not sure if I felt like it was a bad (I shouldn’t have left that book lying around) or proud (vegan ed!) parent moment. Probably both.

As I walked by once or twice, ok maybe five times, my son would point out the paraphernalia in the photos and exclaim, “Mama! I want to shop there! I want that bag!” Or we would laugh as he read a passage or two. At some point, I just joined him as he showed me his favourite parts of the book.

The THUG KITCHEN Cookbook is indeed f*cking hilarious. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest getting your hands on one just for entertainment purposes. Or check out their website for Vegan inspiration.

How about their recipes? I love reading them. They are funny. I also love how the given ingredients are flexible with a lot of notes too on how to substitute if you are out of them.


I’ve tried one so far and it was a hit at our house: Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Burritos. Easy and satisfyingly delicious. 


The Burrito recipe simply required roasting this beautiful mix of onions, garlic, red peppers, broccoli, and chickpeas with spices, then wrapping them in tortillas with your choice of additions. We added avocado, salsa and rice. My husband finished off three big ones, my son finished off one, and I enjoyed every single bite of mine plus licked the leftovers off my fingers.

My son asked me, “So Mama, can we try one of their desserts next?”

Absolutely! 

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H20 at Home Review

30 May

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Aside from my own soaps, we use vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and other “green” cleaning products in our home. Admittedly, some of them do not clean as well as conventional ones so I was excited to try H20 at Home‘s products in return for a review.

Here is what came in the mail: Netepur Soap, Cleaning Clay, Dish Soap, Double Sided Microfiber Sponge and an Essential Multi-Surface Chiffonnette. While I will not review their bar soap as it would be a conflict of interest, I can review their other products.

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CLEANING CLAY with Double Sided Microfiber Sponge and Essential Multi-Surface Chiffonnette

The one thing I do have in my cleaning closet is Windex because nothing cleans shower doors and mirrors like it does. However, I read that H20’s Cleaning Clay can be used on ceramic, pots, pans, granite, sinks, ovens, mildew, glass, shower doors, silverware, stainless steel, jewellery and grout. I decided to try its powers on my son’s shower doors, which have not been cleaned purposely (yeah right) in weeks.

This is what it looked like before using the Cleaning Clay on it: pretty cloudy and dirty.

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This is what it looked after I applied the Cleaning Clay over it: almost spotless except for the bottom bit that I missed. And I didn’t try that hard.

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Cleaning it was very simple, quick and didn’t require tireless scrubbing.

  1. Soak the small white sponge inside the container with water.
  2. Place on the white clay and slide it to create a foam.
  3. Apply this foamy substance all over the dirty glass door with the white sponge.
  4. Use the scrub side of the Double Sided Microfiber Sponge to lightly mix in and spread the Clay all over the glass door properly.
  5. Clean off the Clay by rinsing the Double Sided Microfiber Sponge and wipe the door clean with the soft side of the sponge.
  6. Wipe off excess water with the Essential Multi-Surface Chiffonnette.

Notes on the Cleaning Clay: the results were much better than I was expecting. And it only took a few minutes. I really like this Cleaning Clay.

Notes on the Double Sided Microfiber Sponge: it worked well in bathroom cleaning but I wouldn’t use it to scrub pots and pans. The scrub side is a little too soft for kitchen purposes.

Notes on the Essential Multi-Surface Chiffonnette: I used it recently on my dirty computer screen and not a dust remained on the screen, although I saw some in the air as I cleaned. So, I’m not sure it works quite well in trapping all the dust.

DISH SOAP

I have both Seventh Generation and Dawn under my kitchen counter. I also use my own handmade coconut soap for pots, pans and dishes. I don’t make my own liquid dish detergent, so I feel this is not a conflict of interest to review their product.

Thoughts?

  1. The bottle is not the easiest to use. I use gloves when cleaning and when I squirt the bottle, half of the detergent goes on my gloves and not where I want it to go.
  2. That said, two small squirts are indeed enough to clean a whole pot.
  3. There isn’t a lot of lather, but it cleans well enough.
  4. Glass cleans and dries off amazingly clear without streaks and water marks. Same with stainless steel.
  5. The smell does not bother me like commercial products.
  6. I have not tried it with my gloves off to test for skin sensitivity issues.

Notes on the Dish Soap: the detergent works better than the bottle.

OVERALL RATING

I’d definitely buy the Cleaning Clay and the Double-Sided Microfiber Sponge!

Review: Ursa Major Natural Skin Care for Men

8 Jun

This is a Father’s Day idea for a guy that is more man than beautician. I asked my “I-don’t-even-own-a-hairbrush” husband to try some natural skin care products for men for my blog.  I didn’t think he would agree, but since his friend works at Ursa Major, I think it made any persuasion much easier.

Oliver Sweatman and his partner, Emily Doyle, started Ursa Major in Vermont in 2009 because he said, “I tried a LOT of so-called ‘natural’ products and couldn’t find anything that met all of my personal criteria for a great skincare solution:

 – no toxins/premium natural ingredients/as close to 100% natural as possible (and ideally, with as much organic content as possible too, although realizing that can affect price)

– great performance – the product does what it says it’s going to do on the label

– delightful experience – sublime natural aromas, delightful textures, smart packaging, copy, etc.

 In other words a spirited, sincere, natural alternative to all the bland, synthetic, mass-produced stuff out there…”   Their first product, the Stellar Shave Cream, was launched in December 2010.

Ursa Major: Natural Products for Men

The Products

My husband used the shaving creamwashtoner and balm for about a month.  We took before and after pictures and we don’t see any differences in the wrinkles department (a department he was not aware he had), but my husband’s very sensitive skin did not break out at all and his skin also seemed to be smoother to me.

Shaving cream usually gives hubby rashes or leaves his skin dry.  He has had a hard time finding product that doesn’t make his skin break out. In fact, he won’t shave unless an event dictates the need for a clean look. Nevertheless, the Ursa Major Men Shaving Cream worked wonderfully.

The Facial Wash also worked well.  For the first week, my husband’s skin was dry if he did not follow the wash by the moisturizer.  This was not the case after the first week in that his face felt hydrated all the time.

My husband also noticed that the toner and wash made his hands softer but not less durable – just simply through exposure after applying cleaner/toner/balm to his face.  My husband rows 5 to 6 times a week (an internationally ranked rower) and found that he was not getting any additional blisters.  In fact, his palms are more flexible and softer.

For my husband, these are significant improvements due to the use of products.

Overall, my husband says these products work as well as or more than processed products for sensitive skin.  They are easy enough to use for someone (a man who is) not really interested in a daily prep work for the face.  If you are interested, you can find Ursa Major in various retailers around the world.

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?

1. smell – Not much.  Very mild.

2. sensitivities –  None.

3. taste – I usually taste synthetic products when I put it on my face and drink water right after, but my husband’s response to this was: “How would I know, I didn’t eat the stuff!”

4. moisturize – Worked well with little dab.

5. everyday comfort – I asked my hubby if a real man would use these products everyday, his response: “Quick and Easy to use.”

6. lasting effect – yes, it lasts the whole day.

7. eco-friendly – these products do not contain any foaming agents, slip agents, surfactants, fragrances, coloring agents, preservatives, penetration enhancers, or other unnatural ingredients.

Review: Good Life Cafe

18 May

My first taste of Raw Vegan Cheesecake was during a private ‘un-cooking’ lesson with Sharon Wright. I was surprised at how the cashew, lemon and honey together tasted like pure cream and how it just melted in my mouth. It was her Cheesecake that got me HOOKED on RAW desserts!  I would order meals and juices from her once in a while too. Fast forward a few years later, Sharon now runs her own Raw Vegan Restaurant called Good Life Cafe in West Columbia, South Carolina.

For Mother’s Day, my dear husband and son treated me to Brunch at Good Life Cafe. I knew they were both making a big effort to go because

1. my husband is a cheapskate and I could hear his head figuring out how much that Raw Vegan meal would cost him even before we stepped into the restaurant, and
2. my son tends to get some kind of nut allergy at most raw vegan restaurants.  Sharon’s food has never given him problems before because she was always careful preparing his food… but one never knows how careful other chefs/cooks are in a bigger operation.

The minute we walked into the restaurant, we were amazed at how many people were dining there.  At around 1pm, the 3 of us were able to sit at the last free table.  Moments later, 2 groups of people came in and they had to wait at least 10 minutes to sit down.  The waitstaff were very busy, but after ordering, the food came out very quickly. Looking for fast food?  This is it!

Here’s what we ordered:

Banana Crepes filled with strawberries. Sharon made these without cashew cream for my son.  My husband found them a little too chewy, but my son enjoyed them immensely.

Eggplant Bacon Sandwich. My husband loved the eggplant bacon. He didn’t care for the bread, but he said the eggplant bacon alone or as a topping in salad would have been delicious.

Vegetable Cashew Quiche.  I really should have eaten half of the huge Southern sized portion and brought the rest home for later, but I indulged and finished the whole thing instead. It was wonderfully creamy!

Biscuits with Gravy: my husband ordered this, but I could’ve finished it and would’ve been happy to exchange. I thought this was the BEST of all the dishes we ordered. Delicious, wonderful texture, just the right amount of gravy.  Now I want to make some for myself!

Chocolate Coconut Balls: my son loved this, but we both really loved the Cinnamon Rolls. Very sweet but delicious, the Cinnamon Rolls were topped with a Macadamia Cream and filled with Sweet Pecans… No wonder I don’t have a photo… It was gone before I knew it.

Raw Drinks served at the Cafe

I had a great time at my own Mother’s Day brunch.  Besides my hubby cringing at the $93 bill for 3, we were satisfied overall with our meal and the service: I didn’t have to slave away to make our meal myself, the dishes were tasty, my boys were full, plus my son didn’t vomit everywhere (always a good sign that the chefs are clean and conscious about cross contamination).

What’s more, Sharon dreams of expanding nationwide! Watch out! You may see her Raw Vegan products at your own local health food store within a year!  Local peeps – she’ll be selling at Earth Fare soon and opening up another shop in downtown Columbia soon!

Good Life Cafe Granola

Review: Your Right To Be Beautiful

5 May

Your Right To Be Beautiful Volumizing Shampoo & Anti-Aging Facial Cream

Well, I tried the Anti-Aging Cream a few years ago and didn’t like it.  It just didn’t work for me then.  But my friend Cayce recently reminded me of Raw Food Advocate, Tonya Zavasta’s, Beautiful on Raw Products after she tried the Multi-Herbal Green Clay Mask.  Cayce said she absolutely loved it.

So, I decided to give it another try recently and was really surprised because it works!  Apparently, just this year, Tonya tripled the amount of sea buckthorn fruit extract in her cream… and it has made a big difference!  My skin feels wonderfully hydrated during the day and night.  In fact, in my vain search for Vegan cosmetics, I think among the moisturizers, Your Right to Be Beautiful Facial Cream has given me the best results so far in hydrating my skin and for lessening my wrinkles.  Yes, in my opinion, even better than Acure’s moisturizers!

Less wrinkles and more hydrated on Your Right To Be Beautiful Anti-Aging Cream… and no make-up in this photo too!!

I also decided to try the Volumizing Shampoo and was surprised again by Tonya’s products.  The shampoo lathers very well.  Although every time I use it I feel like the suds are stripping my hair of its natural oils as I rinse, but my hair is always easy to comb afterwards and as it dries, I find my hair just ‘falls’ well.  I’m wearing my hair down again without doing anything to it.  My son, who has had a fetish for his Mama’s hair since he was born, exclaimed as soon as he touched my dry hair after I used this shampoo, “Mama!  You’ve never had softer hair!  It’s like baby hair!”  And this is true, I haven’t had softer hair since using ‘healthier’ shampoos.

My son wanted to take this photo of me today while we were playing in the garden. It is rare for me to leave my hair down because it is so fine and thin.  I don’t have the time to fix it nor do I want to put product on my hair.  I only have time to wash, comb and let it air-dry.  My hair falls well naturally with Tonya Zavasta’s Volumizing Shampoo!

I am truly surprised by the quality of Tonya’s cream and shampoo!   To me, her website seems a little dull and old compared to the more updated websites of AcureSuki or even 100% Pure.  The packaging of the Your Right To Be Beautiful products also looks cheaper.  The woman I was e-mailing at her company didn’t know how to entertain the idea of sending me samples to review.  She didn’t.  And in fact, she stopped responding to me, so I had to buy the cream and the shampoo for this review from my health food store.  Judging from the website and my communication with its representative, this company does not seem like it would have quality products… but they do!  The cream and shampoo are definitely worth a try!

Now I want to get her facial brush and start dry brushing my face!

 

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?  Absolutely!

1. smell – I love the smell of the cream. It smells luxurious.  I’m not crazy about the Lotus Flower smell of the shampoo, but it smells… ‘clean’.

2. sensitivities – none.  It says it is safe for very sensitive skin.

3. taste – no adverse taste when I drink water right after the application of the cream.

4. moisturize – Yes it does (cream and shampoo)!

5. everyday comfort – Yes.  An all-in-one cream that works is a wonderful product for a busy Mama who just wants results with minimal work.  As for the shampoo, it softens and at the same time adds volume to my thin and fine hair!

6. lasting effect – According to the website: “Your Right to Be Beautiful Facial Cream contains sea buckthorn oil, known for its amazing nourishing, regenerative and restorative actions. Coconut oil, aloe vera leaf extract and avocado oil add soothing and anti-inflammatory properties. Mango seed butter helps to protect your skin from dryness.  The cream is suitable for every skin type, including sensitive skin and can be used as a daily moisturizer or as an enriching night cream. You can apply the cream under makeup foundation or as a soothing aftershave.”  As for the Volumizing Shampoo, “You’ll notice my shampoo and conditioner contain more ingredients than the average similar products. Why? Because I wanted these products to include everything known to deliver shine, volume, softness and manageability to hair while still being as pure and natural as humanly possible.”

7. eco-friendly – The ingredients are Vegan and a handful are Certified Organic.  Not exactly completely RAW like Bee Yummy’s products, but, as a Raw Foodie, Tonya says she keeps the quality of her beauty products as high as she can too. She sources the best ingredients that she can for the products that she personally uses and sells.

Review: Acure Face

8 Apr

Acure Products

Besides 100%PureAcure was the most recommended Vegan cosmetics brand by my community of Mamas. I should have started out my vain quest for Vegan products that really work with Acure face creams  The Acure face products I recently purchased were amazing: Day Cream, Night Cream, Facial Serum and Line Eraser. I shouldn’t be surprised because I love their Lemongrass Argan Oil Shampoo (they gave me a bottle sample) and their Acure Oil (I bought this). During the last 2 weeks of using Acure face products, my face didn’t miss Clarins at all.  In fact, my skin felt absolutely moisturized and I didn’t get an extra amount of wrinkles as I did when experimenting with other Vegan non-synthetic brands.

The Proof is in the Pudding, here are the photos:

My face, on mainstream, plant-based products with synthetic fillers. For a mid-30's Mama, people tend to think I'm a decade younger than I really am. I used to think it was all in my diet... but moisturizers, I discovered, have a lot to do with it too!

My face, while experimenting with new plant-based, natural and non-synthetic products... dry... and, as my hubby says, with my wrinkles in full glory. Looking my real age here, I suspect!

2 weeks after Acure, my face is in love with the day cream, the night cream and the facial serum!!!! Moisturized, not wrinkly and without the synthetic chemicals!!! I'm back to feeling young again!

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?  Absolutely!

1. smell – wonderfully mild in fragrance.  They didn’t bother me at all.

2. sensitivities – my skin did not break out with any of the products.  To me, they felt very mild.  My skin also did not feel dry and unprotected.

3. taste – after I used the product, there wasn’t a bad taste when I would drink water or eat immediately afterwards (something my mainstream products do!).

4. moisturize – with a lot of Vegan moisturizers, I usually missed the creaminess of my mainstream brand.  I also tend to miss how Clarins seemed to penetrate my skin.  I didn’t have to miss this feeling with the Acure products at all.  FYI, I loved the Serum over the Line Eraser, as the former seemed to do a better job reducing the wrinkles.

5. everyday comfort –  the creams are mild, light, non-greasy, not shiny, absorbed easily.  The serum is absorbed quickly too, although it is an oil and is a little greasy.  I applied only a little serum at night and for a wee bit of grease, the reduction of wrinkles come morning was all worth it.  Makeup was applied on easily after using the day cream.

6. lasting effect – yes!  I love these products!!!  I haven’t tried anything my face loves better than Acure face products so far. Note: the day and night creams contain Cholorella Growth Factor.  According to their website: “Clinical studies have shown CGF to increase collagen expression by 333% when used at 1% concentration*. Our anti-aging products use our CGF at an amazing 5% concentration.”  Hmmm… so that’s what my face needs!

7. eco-friendly – Acure says their decisions are based on green packaging, green products, social consciousness and a triple bottom line: “We use only the purest, most effective fair trade, natural and organic ingredients available. We travel the globe to find the highest quality ingredients to formulate our products. Each ingredient is selected with great care to ensure a sustainable and eco-friendly supply chain.” “We believe in pursuing a triple bottom line. People and planet are just as important as profit.”

Review: Suki (clinically-proven natural solutions®)

28 Mar

In my search for earth and body friendly Vegan cosmetic products, one of my readers (who also happens to be very passionate about cosmetics and works as a consultant for Alex+Von) suggested I try Suki products.  Although I received a few samples from Veronica c/o Alex+Von,

Suki Samples I received from Alex+Von

I decided to go ahead and buy myself an affordable “To Go Complete Care for Youthful Skin” kit from Suki after taking their Skin Quiz.

Suki's To Go Complete Care For Youthful Skin Kit

I figured that a week’s worth of products is usually long enough for me to figure out if my skin likes the products and I had the flexibility to use the free samples to compare with the products I bought.

My Impressions

Suki products are light, mild, moisturizing, not overly fragranced and left my face feeling ‘clean’.  Maybe it was psychological that I didn’t miss my Clarins products at all because I read on their website that “suki® blends advanced, high performance clinically-proven actives with 100% synthetic-free & organic ingredients, innovating the first treatment formulas that bridge the gap between science & nature. our products have an exceptional level of bioavailability that outperforms synthetics without harsh side effects & functions in unison with the body’s natural biological processes.”  They also state that “suki® is the first skin care solution with visible results proven through consumer clinical trials.”

I did use up my “To Go” Kit and most of the samples in just over a week.  When I sat down to write down the products that I loved and the products that I felt were just OK, it didn’t really surprise me to discover that I preferred the Vegan products over the Vegetarian ones instinctively.

The Products I Loved

Exfoliate Foaming Cleanser (vegan)

  • an award winning product
  • I loved how massaging the product in between my hands immediately created an amazing amount of foam, which I then applied on my face.
  • this felt lovely on the skin
  • I preferred this to the creamy foaming cleanser (below).

Creamy Foaming Cleanser (vegan)

  • I preferred this over the Moisture-Rich Cleansing Lotion – perhaps because I prefer a foaming cleanser to a lotion.  The lotion is a Vegetarian product and I didn’t feel it did as a good a job in cleansing my face, particularly on days when I had makeup.
  • it left my face feeling soft and cleansed well without stripping it dry.

Transformative Cleansing Clay (vegan)

  • light and thin
  • you can use it as a cleanser or as a masque.  I used it as a masque and left it on my face for 10-15 minutes.  It dried nicely – not overly tight, just right.
  • it left my skin feeling soft.

Pure Facial Moisture, both balancing and nourishing (vegan)

  • for me these were the STAR products of Suki
  • light, thin oils that are easily absorbed
  • they do not leave a thick film of grease on the skin
  • these oils don’t get into the eyes at all (like other oils do)
  • the face feels like it can really breathe at night
  • my skin felt wonderfully moisturized with these oils and made my skin feel very soft in the morning!
  • I love them and after my samples were done, I wish I had more!
  • P.S. I used more than just 1 – 2 drops at a time…

Now For The Photos

A few days before trying Suki products, still on my mainstream Clarins products

The week while trying Suki Products. I do have a little make up on, but skin looks great from afar.

Without make up and an up-close photo taken the last day of testing Suki products.

To me, there seems to be just a little more wrinkles on Suki than when I am on Clarins.  But as their website says “suki® innovation lab™ utilizes the latest clinically-proven actives from natural resources instead of conventional synthetics that cause topical damage & long term disease.”  They also remind me that knowing my beauty “means accepting, nurturing & expressing our authentic selves… also means having honest & complete information… we can trust… knowing what we consume, both inside & out.”

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?

1. smell – wonderfully mild in fragrance.  It didn’t bother me at all.

2. sensitivities – my skin did not break out with any of the products.  To me, they felt very mild.  They products are also gluten-free.  Many are Vegan.  Their website states that “suki® is committed to creating clinically-proven cosmeceutical solutions that remain 100% synthetic-free & formulated with advanced technology.”

3. taste – after I used the product, there wasn’t a bad taste when I would drink water or eat immediately afterwards (something my mainstream products do!).

4. moisturize – I loved the breathable evening oils the most.  The Intensive Nourishing Cream was ok.  It wasn’t bad at all, but I prefer creamier products.

5. everyday comfort –  mild, light, non-greasy, not shiny, absorbed easily.  Makeup was applied on easily after using the cream.

6. lasting effect – I love their breathable night oils!  If I don’t find anything better than the products I loved (outlined above), Suki will be my facial products of choice.

7. eco-friendly – The company, based in Massachusetts, states that it is eco-friendly from it’s ingredients, manufacturing, packaging and shipping, as well as it’s activities outside of the company.  Check out their environmental policy here.

Review: 100%Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Antioxidant Serum and Nourishing Cream

15 Mar

I have had a month long love-and-hate relationship with 100%Pure’s Red Wine Resveratrol Antioxidant Serum and Nourishing CreamVeronica did warn me that to effectively find a product that works for my skin, it would be a trial and error process – a process I was/am not looking forward to.  Not only can such a process be tedious, but also expensive, wasteful and time consuming.

Although I knew I was going to get a sample of the nourishing cream from Alex+Von, I got my hands on both the serum and the cream in time for a 2 week holiday.  Having heard so many wonderful things about it, I couldn’t wait to try it.

As they say, a picture paints a thousand words.  Let’s let these photos tell you what happened:

My face before the trip: moisturized!

My face, while on holiday, 2 weeks after using the Red Wine Serum and Cream: dry, wrinkled and tired.

My face a week after the trip: I decided to give my face a break from cream experimentation and went back to my conventional moisturizer. Less dry, less wrinkled and less tired!

My face after my 2nd trial run: I decided to give the Red Wine products another try to see how they would do in my home environment without other factors (like traveling, eating differently, etc). After just 2 days, I couldn't stand it any longer. My face, especially around the nose area, felt crumbly and as dry, wrinkled and tired as it did after 2 weeks of using Red Wine products on my holiday.

My tried and tested conventional product, Clarins, though plant based, is rated 2 to 10 out of 10 (with 10 being the most hazardous and toxic to one’s health) by the Environmental Working Group.  My night and day creams alone are rated 6 and 7 out of 10, which means they are deemed as moderately to highly hazardous to one’s health.  According to Veronica, “Clarins and other conventional products, do have great ingredients but combined with other synthetic fillers may expand skin and temporarily fill in the gaps and give you the effect you are looking for (fill out wrinkles), but at same time you will be adding other chemicals to your body on a constant basis.  There ‘are’ natural products that can do the same but you have to keep the trial and error process going until you find what works best for ‘your’ skin.

Sigh.

My husband can’t believe I am still using Clarins.  “You call yourself a Raw Vegan? What’s wrong with looking more natural, with your wrinkles in all its glory?”  Well… I want to make the switch, I do!  But, I want to make sure I switch to a product that actually works best for my skin.  So, on with the search!

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria? NO!

1. smell – it has a mild fragrance.  It isn’t strong.

2. sensitivities – my skin did not break out with the serum or cream.  They just dried me out.

3. taste – after I used the product, there wasn’t a bad taste when I would drink water or eat immediately afterwards.

4. moisturize – although my face did feel hydrated the very first day I used it, any moisturizing effect just went downhill from there.  Although quite greasy, both the serum and cream left my face feeling dry, wrinkled and tired.

5. everyday comfort –  The serum is very greasy.  The cream is lightly greasy.  I found that they were not easily absorbed by the skin and I was left with a light shine all day long.  Applying make up afterwards was also not as easy as I am used to.

6. lasting effect – I cannot recommend this product at all.

7. eco-friendly – According to the company: “100% products are truly 100% Pure-no synthetic chemicals, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, harsh detergents or any other unhealthy toxins… our formulas are never tested on animals (everything we use is food grade and does not require testing)… 100% Pure products are never diluted with water, alcohol, thickeners, emulsifiers or any other “fillers”.

Review: 100%Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream

15 Mar

One of my readers, Veronica from Alex+Von (a green company that focuses on natural, organic and ecofriendly boutique brands), sent me a sample tube of 100%Pure’s most talked about and publicized Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream.  According to 100%Pure, a Clinical Four Week Study showed:

– 97% saw reduction of puffiness
– 87% saw reduction of dark circles
– 93% say it reduced the appearance of fine lines & wrinkles
– 100% say it improved skin hydration & moisturization
– 93% say it improved skin firmness/elasticity

Kate Hudson uses it and it even made it to the Dr. Oz show (look at 1:50 on the video).  Who wouldn’t want to try this organic coffee bean caffeine eye cream?

My First Impressions

It was late, I was extremely tired and ready for bed when I decided to try some.  When I opened the tube and squeezed some onto my finger, the smell took me back to the first time I ever drank coffee, which was when I was 7 years old.  I don’t exactly remember how it happened, but I was enticed by the smell of a thermos full of coffee.  There wasn’t anyone around and I proceeded to pour myself 7 cups of the yummy smelling drink, mixing in some milk and lots of sugar… and drinking every last drop.  I was WIRED!  Now, as an adult, I haven’t drank coffee in 10 years.  But as soon as I applied some of the Caffeine Cream around my eyes, I was as wired as that time when I was 7. In an instant, my tired eyes were suddenly wide awake, bright eyed and ready to party.  My eyes have never felt that kind of jolt of energy before.  It was then that I first physically realized how true that:

“As much as 60% of topical skin-care products are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream.

They should be consumed with the same prudence that we use to choose our breakfast cereal.”

Dr. Nancy Lonsdorf, M.D. an lowa-based physician in April 2006 issue of Women’s Health Magazine.

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?

1. smell – coffee!!!

2. sensitivities – It will wake up your eyes, so use it in the morning!  The company states that their product “does not contain harsh detergents, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances that can irritate the skin, they are perfect for sensitive skin.” Plus, 100% Pure is GLUTEN-FREE.  As with all natural products, do take note if you do have any allergies to their ingredients.

3. taste – I imagine it tastes like coffee!

4. moisturize – yes.  It is not drying.

5. everyday comfort –  This is a light cream, non-greasy and easily absorbable.

6. lasting effect – I felt the caffeine effect immediately the first time I applied it.  I didn’t feel quite the same way subsequently, but I imagine it is because I now use it in the morning.

7. eco-friendly – According to the company: “100% products are truly 100% Pure-no synthetic chemicals, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, harsh detergents or any other unhealthy toxins… our formulas are never tested on animals (everything we use is food grade and does not require testing)… 100% Pure products are never diluted with water, alcohol, thickeners, emulsifiers or any other “fillers”.

More Info?

If you want to buy their products… Just wait!  One of you is eligible to win a $25 gift card from Alex+ Von after I review 100% Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Face Serum and Cream and Suki products.

If you are thinking about signing up as a consultant at Alex+VonVeronica has a special surprise for you too!  You can contact her directly: colormegreen2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Review: Girvins Vegan Soaps

12 Mar

Girvins Vegan Soap

They can custom make any of their soaps for the Vegan market.

A family friend, Stephanie Rohrer, owns and runs Fox Hollow Farm in Maryland with her family.  I almost visited once – but have never been.  I understand they have a farm market where you can buy vegetables and fruits  (along side their animal products) on their farm everyday, except for Mondays in the Winter.  Stephanie also happens to be a weaver of soaps and candles for her personal company, Girvins.  She uses ingredients from her farm to create candles, soaps and body creams.  My family was lucky enough to test her Moon Soap fragrance free and Vegan.  Stephanie makes it herself with distilled herbal water, coconut oil, palm oil , olive oil, vitamin E and lye. 

My family and I loved that her Moon Soap has no fragrance.  My son loved the fact that it did a great job washing away my young son’s smelly feet!  Where smell is concerned, it does a much better job than our everyday soap, Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Bar. The soap lathers lightly with small bubbles, but lathers up well nonetheless.  Stephanie said she sells a lot of her soaps to families with kids who have skin issues.  I wasn’t surprised then that her soap cleans very well without drying or stripping the skin.  Most importantly for busy Mamas, it doesn’t leave a greasy film on the bathroom (which olive oil soap does).

Did Girvin’s Moon Soap pass my cosmetics criteria?

1. smell – no fragrance!  Loved that there was no fragrance.  My son thought it smelled like cheese, but that was probably the lye.

2. sensitivities – none.  This is very mild.

3. taste – not applicable.

4. moisturize – cleans very well without drying the skin or stripping skin of its natural oils.

5. everyday comfort –  yes.  My son’s feet especially smelled wonderfully neutral after using this soap!  And it doesn’t leave a greasy film on the bathroom floor!

6. lasting effect – yes!

7. eco-friendly – All of Girvin Soaps can be customized for Vegans.

Review: 100%Pure Nourishing Body Creams

11 Mar

100%Pure Nourishing Body Creams

In my search for Vegan and Eco-Friendly cosmetics that actually work, many people have recommended 100%Pure.  One of my readers, Veronica Medrano Alcantara, also contacted me.  Incidentally, she is also a consultant at Alex+ Von, a GREEN company that focuses on natural, organic and ecofriendly boutique brands.  They are also dedicated to extremely personalised service in helping their clients find the right solutions for their beauty needs.  Veronica gave me her personal questionnaire to fill out in order to help me better choose the right products for my current skin.   For my face, she suggested I try Argan Oil, 100%Pure’s Red Wine Resveratrol or Super Fruits.  As you all know, I tried Argan Oil for a few days and loved it.  Veronica then sent some 100%Pure  and Suki samples.

I was thrilled for the opportunity to try 100%Pure products after having so many people raving about their products. 100%Pure uses 100% natural and 100% vegan ingredients, many of which are organic.  100%Pure products are also gluten-free.

In my packet from Alex+Von, I received 4 sample packets of 100%Pure’s Nourishing Body Cream: Cabernet Grape, Coconut, Green Apple and Vanilla.  The top main ingredients are indeed natural and vegan: organic aloe juice, organic rose hydrofoil, cocoa butter, avocado butter, grape seed oil, organic rose hip seed oil, candilla wax, black currant oil, tocopherol (Vitamin E) and ascorbryl Palmitate (Vitamin C).  Not quite as Spartan as Sprout’s cream, but all natural and vegan as well!  All of the 100%Pure body creams I tried were lusciously sweet smelling and creamy, but not greasy.  They spread easily and were absorbed quickly into the skin.  I consider these creams wonderfully light enough for day use.  If you choose to use these – get ready for olfactory heaven!  The Cabernet Grape and Green Apple smell exactly like their fresh fruit, so much so that the nourishing body creams made me feel like I was bathing in their juices all day. My son loved these fruit creams.  The Coconut and Vanilla, on the other hand, were my favorites.  Both smelled like coffee with strong highlights of coconut or vanilla.  With these body creams, I felt luxuriously edible, like I was bathing in coconut or vanilla cream pie all day long.  

This busy Mama found herself stealing 5 more minutes of my day just to moisturize… that’s how enjoyable these creams are!

Did 100%Pure Nourishing Body Creams pass my cosmetics criteria?

1. smell – like dessert comfort food: very sweet and very strong. All natural and NOT synthetically made, but I wouldn’t use this lotion if I were going to a doctor’s office that had signs that said “Please respect allergies and don’t wear perfume in this office”.

2. sensitivities – The company states that their product “does not contain harsh detergents, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances that can irritate the skin, they are perfect for sensitive skin.” Plus, 100% Pure is GLUTEN-FREE.  As with all natural products though, do take note if you do have nut or seed allergies.

3. taste – didn’t taste it!  But they smell good enough to eat!

4. moisturize – a light cream that absorbs well.

5. everyday comfort –  not greasy, absorbs well, spreads easily… smells divine… definitely, I could use this everyday!

6. lasting effect – yes, it works!

7. eco-friendly – According to the company: “100% products are truly 100% Pure-no synthetic chemicals, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, artificial colors, harsh detergents or any other unhealthy toxins… our formulas are never tested on animals (everything we use is food grade and does not require testing)… 100% Pure products are never diluted with water, alcohol, thickeners, emulsifiers or any other “fillers”.

Interested in trying some?  WAIT till the end of the month, Alex+Von has some Freebies for a few of you!!!

If you want to buy their products… Just wait!  One of you is eligible to win a $25 gift card from Alex+ Von after I review 100% Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Face Serum and Cream, 100%Pure Organic Coffee Bean Eye Cream  and Suki products.

If you are thinking about signing up as a consultant at Alex+Von, Veronica has a special surprise for you too!  You can contact her directly: colormegreen2 (at) yahoo (dot) com.

So, watch out in the coming weeks for more information!  You can also comment here and I will make sure you know when the follow-up reviews are posted.

Blissful Bites: Heavenly Raw Chocolate Mousse

8 Mar

Heavenly Raw Chocolate Mousse is also heavenly to prepare with only 5 ingredients. You will have a delightful dessert in less than 10 minutes (clean up included)!

When little hands help... you never know what they are going to add. Hmph... those sprinkles don't look like anything RAW to me, but what's important is he's helping me create a RAW TREAT that he absolutely loves.

As my sous-chef, I think my son purposely miscounted the dates and added 1 more to our mixture.  It was a little sweet for me and my husband, but my son was in dessert heaven.  The recipe is reprinted here with the kind permission of Christy Morgan, chef and author of Blissful Bites.

Blend until it becomes a paste:

12 dates, soaked for 2 hours and pitted, or ¾ cup maple syrup (we used wet dates, so we didn’t need to soak them)

Add and blend until smooth:

2 ripe avocados

1/3 cup raw cacao powder (we used raw carob powder)

1 tsp vanilla flavouring or 1 fresh vanilla bean

Serve in martini glasses with:

4 strawberries, sliced

Makes 2 – 3 servings.

Blissful Bites: Raw Mock Tuna

8 Mar

I wanted to follow Christy Morgan's recipe to the tee for my review of her book. Feel free to use raw cauliflower rice (simply pulse in food processor until you get 'rice') for Mock Tuna Sushi.

This makes a delicious Mock Tuna Sushi.  Chef Christy Morgan says the walnuts here replace the omega-3 of the salmon and the sea veggies give a hint of fish flavor.  I loved the taste and texture with the seaweed and rice.  The only thing I would change next time is that I would use cauliflower rice instead of the brown rice for a real RAW meal. The recipe is reprinted here with the kind permission of Christy Morgan, chef and author of Blissful Bites.

Blend in food processor until finely ground:

1 cup almonds, soaked 4 hours, drained and rinsed

½ cup walnuts, soaked 4 hours, drained and rinsed

Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth:

2 carrots, grated

2 stalks celery, minced

1 lemon, juiced

1 lime, juiced

3 tbspns kelp granules

2 tbspns dulse flakes

2 tbspns nutritional yeast

2 tbspns dried parsley

1 tsp maple or brown rice syrup (I used raw honey because son has maple allergy, I am agave sensitive and we have never used brown rice syrup)

1 tsp coriander (ground)

3 tbspns tamari (I used Nama Shoyu)

¼ cup filtered water, as needed

Serve with crackers or bread or as a filling for veggie sushi rolls.  Makes 6 – 8 servings.

Blissful Bites: Vegan Meals That Nourish Mind, Body, and Planet

8 Mar

One thing that I love about being a Mama in the Kitchen is being able to read cookbooks and recreate the recipes that have inspired me to take my nose out of the book and move about in the kitchen.  I have enjoyed looking through Christy Morgan’s new book Blissful Bites.  I love how mainstream Vegan Chefs are now embracing more and more RAW foods into their own diets and recipe books – even a Macrobiotic Vegan Chef like Christy (check out her website and her video… she’s adorable)!  At least 10% of all recipes in Blissful Bites are RAW! 

EH…

Unfortunately, the book was published before all the brown rice syrup hullabaloo, so it is an ingredient in many of her recipes (an option with maple syrup, which you can easily substitute).

THINGS I LOVE ABOUT THE BOOK

–           the recipes are divided according to season, with a special place for ‘anytime’ recipes.  This is a time saver for busy Mamas who want to feed their families seasonally!

–          the sample menus at the end of the book is helpful. It even includes ‘perfect no-oil potluck dishes’ and ‘food for kiddos’.

–          labels for recipes include: RAW, GLUTEN-FREE, SOY-FREE, NO/LOW-OIL, and UNDER 45 MINUTES.

–          all the recipes I have tested, both raw and cooked, taste wonderful!

RAW RECIPES IN BLISSFUL BITES

Ginger-Miso Dressing: I used unrefined sesame oil for the toasted sesame oil and raw honey (we have sensitivities and allergies to other choices) instead of the brown rice or maple syrup. Very tasty!

Mock Tuna: you can serve as a RAW side dish or as a filling for Sushi. I chose to follow her Veggie Sushi Rolls recipe with brown rice for a half-raw, half-cooked dish. It was delicious!! You could also use raw cauliflower for the 'rice' in this recipe.

Heavenly Raw Chocolate Mousse: we substituted the raw cacao powder with raw carob powder. My son went wild for this pudding!

If you are thinking of getting hold of the book, thought you’d like to have the full list of the RAW RECIPES first:

Easy Guacamole
Chilled Corn Bisque
Heirloom Gazpacho
Mango Pineapple Tropical Soup
Pineapple Cucumber Gazpacho
Raw Pear-Walnut Bisque
Citrus Herb Cashew Crudites
Spring Kale Salad with Sweet Miso Dressing
Creamy Basil Dressing
Avocado, Strawberry and Grape Tomato Slad
Zucchini Pasta with Mint-Cashew Pesto Sauce
Raw Pasta with Almond Sauce
Cilantro-Lime Dressing
Fall Harvest Fruit Salad
Mac N Kale Salad
Tropical Relish
Mango Peach Salsa
Heavenly Raw Chocolate Mousse (photo above)
Strawberry Mint Limemade

There are other recipes that have not been labeled Raw, but are or can be tweaked easily for Raw Foodies, like Mock Tuna (photo above), Ginger-Miso Dressing (photo above), and Blueberry Hemp Drops.

Cooked Recipes in Blissful Bites

I am always looking for gluten-free recipes that really work, these Gluten-Free Savory Biscuits have a fantastic consistency and are delicious. My boys enjoyed these very very much! Note, the recipe states it makes about 5 biscuits only... but I made about a dozen.

Lemon-Roasted Asparagus: these were very tasty. I did roast them much longer than the recipe states in order to get them 'crispy' and I would suggest tossing the asparagus spears in the remaining liquid after they have cooked just to make sure the flavors are mixed well before serving.

We also tried the Azuki Beans with Squash and Chestnuts, which my son devoured.

Now, if you want to meet Christy Morgan…

…and live on the East Coast, then you are in luck!  Her East Coast Book Tour just begun this March.  You just missed her in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, FL, but you still have lots of time to see her in Washington DC, New York, Boston, Portland, Maine, New Jersey, Philadelphia. In April, she will be in Austin and Fort Worth, Texas.

Review: Sprout Skincare

5 Mar

Sprout Skincare Mini Kit

In my search for Vegan Cosmetics that really work, I stumbled upon Sprout Skincare Products.  Nobody had recommended them to me, but after I took a look at their website, I immediately contacted them and asked if I could review their products.  Well, Sprout Skincare Products are the exact line I want to have in the guest room in my house for my guests to enjoy.  Beautiful in its simplicity from ingredients to packaging, everything in the mini-kit I received contains only 3 edible Vegan ingredients each.  In fact, most of their other products also simply contain 3 Vegan ingredients.  I could recreate any of them easily in my own kitchen:

body scrub: organic demerara sugar, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic coconut
cream: fair trade Shea butter, organic extra virgin coconut oil, organic extra olive oil
exfoliant: Maine sea salt, organic almond flour, organic oats

And yet, when I use them, they feel luxurious.  The body scrub really helped the dry skin I received from 10 hours on a plane.  The facial exfoliant did its job too.  But, for me, the star of the mini-kit is the cream.  I wish I had a huge tub of it.  Soft, light and creamy, its consistency is like store bought body lotion without the toxins.  It is absorbed easily into the skin and is very hydrating.  I honestly prefer the feel of Sprout’s cream to the Raw Chocolate Body Cream I have been making!

Sprout Skincare Exceeded My Cosmetics Criteria

1. smell – subtle and natural, no extra fragrances

2. sensitivities – none

3. taste – you can safely eat them!  No problem ingesting or absorbing toxins!

4. moisturize – the cream is wonderfully hydrating without being greasy

5. everyday comfort – it does not leave the skin greasy or sticky and it is absorbed easily and immediately.

6. lasting effect – I could use the cream everyday!

7. eco-friendly – according to Sprout material, their ingredients are “sourced from organic, Fair Trade, or small farms.”. What’s more, all Sprout products are handmade in New York.

For people in the East Coast especially, Sprout Skincare Products make the perfect gifts for family and friends.  For those who don’t want to spend time creating their own skincare products and have some extra money to spend, these products are one of the simplest and mildest on the skin!

Review: Acure Lemongrass and Argan Oil Shampoo

5 Mar

Acure Lemongrass and Argan Oil Shampoo

We have tried all different types of organic ‘healthy’ shampoos: from the brand names (Alba, Avalon Organics, Burt’s Bees, California Baby, Giovanni, Jason, Kiss My Face, Weleda) to the DIY methods (Castille Soap Shampoo and No Poo).  I have not been extremely happy with any of them.  They all just do the job.  Because I exercise 5 times a week, I prefer to wash my hair almost everyday.  Most of the organic healthy shampoos are very drying to my hair.  What I don’t like is that they leave my hair feeling heavy, stringy and dull.  The lather almost always tangles my very fine hair.  When it is dry, the hair doesn’t feel as smooth as when I used to use non-organic commercial products and my hair tangles even when it is dry.

So I jumped at the chance of Acure Organics sending us their Lemongrass and Argan Stem Cell Shampoo to review.  Argan Oil, as I mentioned earlier, is known for its amazing benefits for the hair, nails and skin.  For the hair, it supposedly revives the dullness, promotes growth and prevents split ends.

Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to try this product!  When I opened the cap to smell the product, I thought it was too strong and overwhelming.  But when I used it in the shower, the smell was more subtle.  The feel was light, mild and it lathered up foam very easily.  My long hair did not tangle so much as I washed it.  This shampoo also didn’t leave my hair feeling heavy, dry or dull.  In fact, I only used apple cider vinegar as a conditioner (1/4 cup apple cider vinegar to 2 cups water in a bottle) and my hair was easy to comb through and felt soft as it dried.  My hair doesn’t tangle now when dry and I have used this product for about 2 weeks.  It is the best of the organic ‘healthy’ shampoos I have tried so far.

We thought we would try it on our son too, but we forgot about shampoos and eye sensitivities (son uses No Poo or California Baby).  This product will sting little eyes, so I wouldn’t recommend using it for young children.

Did it pass my cosmetics criteria?

1. smell – not subtle but not overpowering either, refreshing is a good word for lemongrass

2. sensitivities – it will sting eyes, it won’t tangle long hair

3. taste – didn’t taste it!

4. moisturize – not as drying as other ‘healthy’ hair products I have tried

5. everyday comfort – definitely, I could use this everyday!

6. lasting effect – yes, it works

7. eco-friendly – Acure Organics prides themselves in a triple bottom line: green packaging, green products and social consciousness.

Yes, I will use and buy this product again.

Review: Raw Shakti Chocolate

14 Feb

Raw Shakti Chocolate from North Carolina

from left to right: Single Origin Ecuador, Loco for Coco and Himalayan High

Want to give a gift of  Raw Vegan Chocolates?  But no time or want to make your own?  Or do you just miss Milk Chocolate? 

There’s RAW hope for you yet! 

Check out Raw Shakti Chocolate from Asheville, North Carolina!  Their chocolate bars are Raw, Stoneground, Handcrafted and Sustainable!

Raw, Stoneground, Handcrafted and Sustainable

There are only 2 Raw Stoneground Handcrafted Chocolate companies in the U.S. that I know of.  One on the West Coast called Sacred Chocolate, and one on the East Coast, Raw Shakti ChocolateThere is a clear difference between the two companies: the sweeteners they use.

  • Sacred Chocolate, founded in part by David Wolfe, uses sweeteners like Maple Sugar, Inulin from Jerusalem Artichoke, Erythritol, Agave and Stevia.  If you are like my son, you are probably allergic to almost all of these.
  • Raw Shakti Chocolate, on the other hand, founded by Raw Foodie Don Rowe, uses only one sweetener: coconut palm sugar, one of the lowest glycemic sweeteners… to which my son is not allergic!  Note: coconut palm sugar (like maple sugar and agave) is not raw as it is heated during the evaporation process but Raw Shakti Chocolate believes that it is the healthiest chocolate sweetener available.  Check out their ingredient list too.

Taste Testing

I e-mailed Raw Shakti Chocolate if I could sample 3 of their chocolate bars in time for Valentine’s Day and they gladly obliged!  Today my family and I enjoyed our Valentine’s Eve chocolate tasting of:

  • Loco for Coco (dark chocolate with Hawaiian Black Lava Salt and Coconut)
  • Himalayan High (dark chocolate with goji berries and Ashwangandha root)

I liked the simplicity of Single Origin Ecuador.  My son was Loco for Coco.  My husband was on an Himalayan High.  We found the flavor, taste and texture of Raw Shakti Chocolate distinct and unique – unlike other raw chocolate bars we have tried before.  The stone ground cacao and the addition of coconut palm sugar create a very smooth chocolate.  The coconut palm sugar also creates a flavor reminiscent of malt, so these bars taste like milk chocolate!

If you do contact them, please let them know you heard about them from Mama in the Kitchen!

Review: MyChelle Dermaceuticals

12 Feb
The MyChelle Samples I received.

MyChelle Dermaceuticals were the first of all samples of the recommended cosmetics I received in the mail. My contact at MyChelle said they were running low on samples, so I only had enough to last for 24 hours. I realize that is usually long enough for me to figure out if my skin likes the products or not.

I followed the MyChelle Six Steps to Beautiful Skin Approach:

1. CLEANSE: Fruit Enzyme Cleanser

I loved using this! It was thin and light with only a subtle fragrance. It was not sticky or harsh on my skin – and yet it was able to effectively take off my make up without stripping my natural oils.

2. TREAT: Incredible Pumpkin

The directions said I would feel a tingling after 5 minutes, but I didn’t. I actually felt a lot of tingling after the 6 steps were almost done. I didn’t particularly like the smell on this one: it smelled like canned pureed pumpkin baby food.

3. SERUM: They gave me 2: Perfect C Serum and NoTox Anti-Wrinkle Serum

I preferred the NoTox Anti-Wrinkle Serum by far! The Perfect C Serum was light with a mild smell, but it felt astringent on my skin – like alcohol. Sure enough it does contain denatured alcohol. The NoTox Anti-Wrinkle Serum, on the other hand, felt wonderful on my skin – even if it too contains some denatured alcohol. It was light, mild, thin yet hydrating.

4. MIST: I didn’t have any samples.

5. NOURISH: Deep Repair Cream

I really liked the Deep Repair Cream. It was creamy and thick but not at all greasy. It had a nice subtle smell too. This cream didn’t feel like it would have long lasting power because my skin just absorbed it all in a few seconds and left my outer layer feeling bare. The next morning, however, my face still felt hydrated. I applied some again after my morning routine and applied some makeup soon after, which glided on very smoothly and easily with no problem at all. My only negative comment: this cream does slightly sting my eyes.

6. PROTECT: I didn’t have any samples.

MyChelle Passed My Cosmetics Criteria

1. smell – subtle, not overpowering

2. sensitivities – slightly stung my eyes and my face tingled a little (but the latter was to be expected according to the directions)

3. taste – no strong adverse taste at all when I drank water soon after application

4. moisturize – upon application, my face did feel hydrated, but it didn’t feel like it would have lasting effect because I didn’t feel like the moisturizer left a protective layer over my skin. My face felt more exposed to the dry winter than usual… but then look at #6.

5. everyday comfort – products were not sticky, greasy or shiny. Make-up applied easily and effectively over it.

6. lasting effect – yes, surprisingly, my face still felt hydrated the next day – despite feeling like it wouldn’t!

7. eco-friendly – yes! According to their website, their products are pure and nontoxic, they are always cruelty-free and never tested on animals, 100% Vegetarian, most are Vegan!  And they give to charity!

After Thoughts

I wish I had more samples to try for another few days. Based on the 24 hour trial, I would choose to use the Fruit Enzyme Cleanser and NoTox Anti-Wrinkle Serum daily. I liked the Deep Repair Cream and would probably use it everyday too if not for the slight stinging issue on my eyes. I would probably choose to use the Deep Repair Cream in the morning and combine it with a more hydrating product at night, like Argan Oil.

Vain Vegan with Cosmetic Issues

11 Feb

Ingredients for Raw Moisturizer: This is fantastic for the body.  I don’t wake up with dry legs anymore especially in the winter.  But, both my son and I broke out after applying some on our faces – must be the cacao butter…? So, I’m looking for a new healthy face moisturizer!

For the past 6 years, I’ve tried everything on my face from simple extra virgin organic olive oil, coconut oil and/or jojoba oil, to healthy products like Dr. Hauschka, derma e and ZIA, to Raw Vegan products like Alkaitis, and even a very high end line Cellcosmet (a very generous gift).  But time and time again, I was unhappy with these products for one or more reasons: too greasy, too sticky, too drying, too expensive, and the list went on.  At the end of the day, I would just go back to my same old, same old commercial cosmetics brand – a product I’ve been using for ages, very reliable, not greasy, not sticky, not drying and a product my skin just feels at home in.  But, I’m not happy to report that it is rated 7 out 10 (with 10 as most toxic) by the Cosmetics Database of the Environmental Working Group.

By Word of Mouth: The Way to get Cosmetic Recommendations

Even with a great diet and with wonderful skin (people tell me all the time that they think I’m at least a decade younger than I really am), I want my face to feel hydrated and moisturized.  I felt like a prune after a year of not applying anything to my face at night (Dr. Hauschka, a year was long enough for me!).  Needless to say, I’m tired of experimenting, not to mention spending money on new products.  So I have been asking my readers and my holistic mothers groups for recommendations.  The result?  This list:

–          100 Percent Pure: Nourishing Creams, Coffee Eye Cream, Red Wine Resveratrol

–          Alkaitis

–          Ann Webb

–          Argan oil

–          Acure

–          Dr. Hauschka

–          L’Ibri – these products and my skin did not get along at all!

–          Living Nature of New Zealand

–          Miessence

–          Mineral Fusion (for makeup)

–          MyChelle

I’ve contacted the recommended companies I have not already tried before (and a few others like Bee YummySprout, Suki, Your Right To Be Beautiful) for samples which I can test for myself and review for you! Some companies have sent a few samples, some a lot and some have not even returned my e-mail yet.  So, I’ll just start reviewing products as they come.

My Cosmetics Criteria

As I review the products, these are the most important criteria for me:

  1. Smell – is the fragrance subtle or too much? I mean, can I sleep well with it on?
  2. Sensitivities – does it sting my skin or my eyes? Do I break out?
  3. Taste – after I apply the moisturizer does the water I drink or food I eat taste like chemicals?
  4. Moisturize – does it hydrate my skin deeply? I don’t want my face to feel like a desert.
  5. Everyday comfort – is it too greasy, sticky, shiny? Does my make up easily glide on after I apply the moisturizer? Or am I facial glue?
  6. Lasting effect – when I wake up the next morning, does my face still feel hydrated?
  7. Eco-Friendly – is it organic and vegan (or at least vegetarian)?

So, here we go!