{Review} Victorian Garden

Just before the winter I received some amazing Victorian Garden goodies to try! :) Victorian Garden stays one of my favourite green brands. They were the first brand I used when I started going green, and after almost 4years, I still use the same shampoo (Rosemary & Vanilla) and the same cleanser (Rosemary & Lavender Cleansing Milk). So it is safe to say that I am one happy customer. I am always excited when they have new products coming out, so when I received these in the post, I was eager to try them.

Bergamot & Lavender Bath Milk

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This bath milk smells delicious! Bergamot is really one of my favourites scents. It is so fresh and uplifting…it’s just a “happy smell”! The bath milk formula is like a thin, watery liquid but a little goes a long way! It makes the water slight oily, so your skin also feels nourished afterwards. Definitely came in handy this winter. But you can use it for summer as well, as I think the fragrance might be a nice pick-up after a long hot day.

Argan & Vanilla Hair Conditioner

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Argan is all the rage right now! It is said to tame frizz and also hydrate dry hair. Usually I use the Olive & Vanilla conditioner, and was keen to try this one out. For me there was no major difference. Both of them work very good and keeps my hair looking healthy.

Pomegranate & Lemon Exfoliating Facial Polish

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I like to exfoliate at least once a week and usually use the Apricot & Walnut scrub (also from Victorian Garden) but heard that some people find the kernels to abrasive for their face. I did not experience the same effect, but for those who do, the Pomegranate & Lemon Exfoliating Facial Polish is for you. The bamboo particles are much finer that those found in other scrubs, so it gives gentle but effective polishing!

Facebook: The Victorian Garden Organic Skincare Company

Twitter: @Victorian_Tweet

Website: http://www.thevictoriangarden.co.za

Sunumbra Sunscreen Review, Vitamin D and Sun Tips

Recently I bought Sunumbra Kids SPF40 Sunscreen from Faithful-to-Nature. I bought the Kids one and not the regular as it had more positive reviews, so I decided to try it out. First of all, I should say, I am not a fan of sunscreen….there I said it! It is sticky, makes me sweat more, and I am always afraid it damages my clothes. Now before you think I am one of those frying away in the sun, I actually prefer doing my few minutes of Vitamin D every day, and then covering up. But when I am on holiday, I do apply it, albeit reluctantly. Organic sunscreen is a bit more expensive than regular store-bought sunscreens, but if you take a look at the ingredient list of the ones you regularly buy, it is definitely worth it!

The first thing I noticed about Sunumbra is the smell. It does not have that “tropical” smell that all other sunscreens seem to have (you know the type of smell that immediately reminds you of your holiday when you apply it again!), it smells more like a type of clay. It is quite thick when you apply it, but it does not leave white marks at all. I used it when I spent the afternoon in the pool, and no sunburn! So far, I like the product very much! IT is a bit sticky, but not more than the normal sunscreen you are used to.

Sunumbra Sunkids is a dermatologically tested natural sunscreen containing organic ingredients.

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    5 Star rating (UVA)

SPF40 (UVB)

High protection full spectrum

40 Minute water resistance

Effective, stable, high level protection from free radical damage and atmospheric toxins

Active natural nutrients to reverse the effects of radiation damage

pH balanced; accommodates the higher alkalinity of children’s skin

Blocks UVA exposure to reduce melanoma risk

Maximises UVB, without burning, to maximise vitamin D

Dermatologically tested and approved.

 

It is currently on special at Faithful-to-Nature: http://www.faithful-to-nature.co.za/Sunumbra-Sunscreen-for-Kids-SPF-40-p-2247.html

Remember that vitamin D is necessary to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Here is how to make sure you get your Sunshine Vitamin!

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  • The time of day – your skin produces more vitamin D if you expose it during the middle of the day.
  • Where you live – the closer to the equator you live, the easier it is for you to produce vitamin D from sunlight all year round.
  • The color of your skin – pale skins make vitamin D more quickly than darker skins.
  • The amount of skin you expose – the more skin your expose the more vitamin D your body will produce.
  • The amount of skin you expose. The more skin you expose, the more vitamin D you can produce.
  • How old you are. As you get older, your skin has a harder time producing vitamin D.
  • Whether you’re wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen blocks a lot of vitamin D production.
  • The altitude you’re at. The sun is more intense on top of a mountain than at the beach. This means you make more vitamin D the higher up you are (at higher altitudes).
  • Whether it is cloudy. Less UVB reaches your skin on a cloudy day and your skin makes less vitamin D.
  • Air pollution. Polluted air soaks up UVB or reflects it back into space. This means that if you live somewhere where there is lots of pollution, your skin makes less vitamin D.
  • Being behind glass. Glass blocks all UVB, so you can’t make vitamin D if you’re in sunlight, but behind glass.

After you have exposed your skin for half the time it takes for you to turn pink, cover up with clothing and go into the shade. Using sunscreen is not as recommended as using shade and clothing to protect your skin, because it hasn’t consistently been shown to prevent all types of skin cancers. But if you do want to use sunscreen, use a sunscreen that blocks both UVA light and UVB light.

 

More interesting info about Vitamin D:

http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/

 

Important note: Just because you applied sunscreen, does not make you safe for the rest of the day. Remember to reapply, and cover up. Like they say on alcohol adverts: Enjoy responsibly!

{Aromatherapy} Natural Insect Repellent

So it is that  time again where the heat is turned up on a permanent high and all the bugs are thriving! And here in the Free State we have some mean mozzies (don’t ask me how they survive here, it is so dry!)

Fun mosquito

Why should you use natural repellent?

An August, 2009, study from France found that DEET may have a toxic effect on the nervous systems of mammals as well as insects. This disturbing discovery calls into question the presumed safety of DEET, the world’s most widely used insect repellent.

Picaridin is another conventional insect repellent; after years of successful use in Europe and Australia, it was introduced into the U.S. in 2005. Highly effective and widely recognized as safe, picaridin is the active ingredient in Cutter Advanced Insect Repellent and Avon Skin-So-Soft Bug Guard Plus Picaridin.

Both picaridin and DEET are believed to have negligible effects on the natural environment. One advantage these two chemical compounds have over some plant-based insect repellents is their effectiveness at repelling ticks, including those that carry Lyme disease.

DIY Natural Repellent

The bugs react differently to essential oils, so what may work for mosquitoes, may not work for fleas, for instance.

10-25 drops (total) of essential oils

2 tablespoons (30ml) of a carrier oil or alcohol (Alcohol will work great for a spray!)

The essential oils that work well against biting insects (mosquitoes, flies, ticks, fleas) are:

cinnamon oil (mosquitoes)

lemon eucalyptus or regular eucalyptus oil (mosquitoes, ticks, and lice)

citronella oil (mosquitoes and biting flies) – This is a well known oil for insects!

orange oil (fleas)

rose geranium (ticks and lice)

Safe carrier oils and alcohols include:

olive oil

sunflower oil

any other cooking oil

witch hazel

vodka

 

Mix the essential oil with the carrier oil or alcohol. Rub or spray the natural insect repellent onto skin or clothing, using care to avoid the sensitive eye area. You’ll need to re-apply the natural product after about an hour or after swimming or exercise. Unused natural insect repellent may be stored in a dark bottle, away from heat or sunlight. If you wish, you may combine the oil with aloe vera gel to change the consistency of the product.

Other Ways to Ward off the BUGS!

Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants instead of shorts, and shoes instead of sandals. Though these don’t seem like great options in hot summer weather, thin, loose-fitting clothes are often just as comfortable and have the double benefit of helping you avoid sunburn and UV skin damage. Another sun-smart fashion tip — a broad-brimmed hat — works well at keeping bugs away from your head.

“Try using a fan to ward off mosquitoes — they can’t stand a breeze — and stay indoors during peak mosquito hours, usually twilight hours through early morning. Also, avoid using perfume, scented soaps or cologne, as these send out the “All You Can Eat Buffet” signal to mosquitoes and other biting insects — even scented fabric softeners and dryer sheets have been implicated as bug magnets.” (Maybe this is why the mosquitoes can’t leave me alone, I smell too nice! ;) )

How are you beating the bugs this summer?

http://chemistry.about.com/od/healthbeautyprojects/a/naturalinsectrepellent.htm

Ryman, D. (2007) Secrets of Youth & Beauty: Aromatherapy for Natural Rejuvenation. Rodale: London

http://greenliving.about.com/od/thegreenyard/a/insect_repellents_2.htm

{Aromatherapy Thursdays} Jojoba Oil

Jojoba Simmondsia chinensis (pronounced Ho-HO-Ba)

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Jojoba oil is technically not an oil, but rather a wax. It is the botanical extract of the seed of the jojoba tree. In cold temperatures, it becomes solid, so in winter here in the Free State, I had trouble getting in out of the bottle in the evenings! It was all worth it, tough. This wax (or oil, whatever you call it) is said to be closest to the oil human skin produce (sebum), so it is great for balancing your skin, especially if oily skin is your problem. It is also non-comedogenic, so it won’t block the pores. What I like about Jojoba is that the oil is very stable, so it has quite a long shelf life and does not become rancid quickly. Which is good for people like me with too many oils on the shelf.

Uses:

  • Can be used for acne as well as sunburn skin
  • Use as a facial moisturiser. Some people complain of shininess, but I haven’t experienced the same problem. The oil absorbs without leaving it greasy, and makes it baby soft!
  • Make-up remover. It even removes mascara. Does not irritate the eyes, and is also non- allergenic.
  • Men can use it as a shave prep. It can prevent razor burn!
  • Can be mixed in with conditioner to promote shine. It moisturises the scalp and can prevent dandruff.

Warning – Jojoba Oil is not to be taken internally!

I get my oils from Natural Oils (www.naturaloils.co.za).

Sources:

Hoare, J. (2010) The Complete Aromatherapy Tutor: A Structured Course to Achieve Professional Expertise. GAIA: London

Ryman, D. (2007) Secrets of Youth & Beauty: Aromatherapy for Natural Rejuvenation. Rodale: London

{Review} Tip Top Nail Polish FLASHBACK

I have been looking for a certain colour of nail polish for the last few years, and just couldn’t find it. I emailed various companies (including Tip Top), but none of them seem to have the colour I wanted. And then last week, while browsing in Clicks, I saw this Tip Top colour…it was the one I was looking for! The colour is so beautiful and feminine, and I only needed to use one coat.

Flashback Tip Top

I have had it on for a week so far, and no chips! (This could be to the new Essence Quick Dry Drops I used, who knows! But Tip Top usually wears well)

What is your favourite colour this summer?

{Review} ZAO Natural Lipgloss

Last week Natural Beauty Africa sent me one of their ZAO lipglosses to review. The colour I received was 004 Natural Brown, and it came in a cute cotton pouch.

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First thing I noticed was the beautiful bamboo casing. This is one of the things that makes ZAO different. When your lipgloss (or eyeshadow, lipstick, concealer  etc) is finished, you don’t need to buy a whole new one, you just buy a refill! This minimizes packaging for a better environment.

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The lipgloss gives a bright, glossy finish without too much colour. You can use it over your lipstick as well to give a subtle gloss. At first I thought the brown won’t look nice on my lips, but the colour seems to blend into your lips and you are left with a nice “sparkle”.

It does seem to be slightly less sticky than your normal lipglosses and did not dry out my lips. It is enriched with cocoa butter, so not only will you look good, but you will do your lips favour as well! I also liked the fact that there is not much of a smell. Personally I don’t like strong fragrances right under my nose, and I lick my lips constantly so I can be assured I am not ingesting all kind of weird chemicals and perfumes.

The retail price is about R200 and the colours available are pink natural, beige natural, brown natural, red orange, burgundy natural, and transparent.

ZAO have a range of cosmetics including: Mineral Touch Eyeshadows, Eyeliner, Mascara, Lipstick, Conceaer, Mineral Silk Foundation, Compact Powder and Make-up Brushes! All of these come in beautifully designed bamboo packaging which you can buy refills for when yours is finished!

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Natural Beauty Africa also stocks the Eco-Cosmetics Mineral suncare range. I used these sunscreens last summer and I can safely say they worked! It was so nice having a great time on the beach without worrying about the sun OR the nasty ingredients in other sunscreens.

You can buy it all from their Online Shop and make sure you add some freebie samples to your cart!

Current Christmas Special

Have you tried ZAO yet? What do you think of the brand?

{Aromatherapy Thursdays} – Avocado Oil

Avocado Persea americana

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A while back I blogged about these awesome “alligator pears”. I absolutely LOVE the fruit as well as the oil. The oil can be used in cooking, but for now I will only discuss it’s cosmetic purposes.

Although I have “normal” skin, and avocado oil is usually recommended for dry skin, I still use it, and the results are amazing. I have been using it as a night oil for little more than a year now, and it would be very difficult to change my routine!

Quick facts:

  • Rich in lecithin and Vitamins A, B1, B2 and D.
  • It is recommended that you dilute it with another oil 50:50, but I use it as is.
  • It is great for eczema and psoriasis
  • The nutrients present in avocado oil helps to increase the production of collagen in the body, which acts as a barrier for many ageing problems such as wrinkles and dry skin.

Uses:

  • I know there are many oils out there, but if there is one carrier oil you MUST try, try avocado oil! (I used cosmetic as well as food grade before, and it works the same!)
  • Can be used neat or diluted with another oil.
  • Sometimes I add a few drops geranium essential oils to my avocado oil, it is great for circulation. (Please do not add more than 5 drops per 15ml!)
  • Make a hair spray, add a tablespoon of avocado oil to warm water, and pour in to a spray bottle. Makes hair soft without weighing it down. (This works for static hair too!)
  • Use on sunburn
  • Mix a bit with your conditioner, or add a few drops to your scalp before shampooing.

I get my oils from Natural Oils (www.naturaloils.co.za).

Sources:

Hoare, J. (2010) The Complete Aromatherapy Tutor: A Structured Course to Achieve Professional Expertise. GAIA: London

Ryman, D. (2007) Secrets of Youth & Beauty: Aromatherapy for Natural Rejuvenation. Rodale: London

http://beauty.indobase.com/carrier-oils/avocado-oil.html

Aromatherapy Thursdays: Ylang Ylang

Ylang-Ylang Canang odorata (the name actually means “strong-smelling”)

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I really want to share the amazing properties and uses of essential oils and carrier oils with you, so I decided to start a series on all the benefits these oils have to offer. Let’s hope I stick to a weekly post, instead of “monthly” posts!

I thought I’d start of with a oil that I just recently learned to love. The fragrance is quite strong, so I did not use it as much as Lavender or Geranium (my ULTIMATE favourite!). It’s only when I did my research more that I discovered all the wonderful properties that Ylang-Ylang has.

Quick facts:

  • The locals in Malasia spread on the beds of newlyweds, as the scent is thought to mentally prepare them for the act of love! (Just a note, Ylang-Ylang is considered one of the top aphrodisiac essential oils)
  • The intoxicating smell aids anxiety and it is also used perfumes. In fact, a few drops on a tissue, inhaled deeply for a few minutes, can calm down anger and frustration.
  • The fragrances also helps to “recharge” your energy.

Uses:

  • For a hair tonic, put 1-2 drops essential oil on the palm of your hands, and rub vigorously into scalp. I do this when my hair needs to “freshen” up. At first the smell is quite overpowering (with just 2 drops!) but it settles to a wonderful scent, and my hair looks shiny too!
  • When added to your body lotion, it helps prolong a tan, and restores and refreshes the skin. Summer here I come!
  • Add a few drops to Jojoba oil, for a light day oil. The Ylang-Ylang is said to have a balancing effect on sebum.

Safety

  • Some sources regard this as a toxic oil, so it not to be taken internally!
  • Because of the strong odour, it can cause nausea and headaches, use in moderation.

I get my oils from Natural Oils (www.naturaloils.co.za). They are very helpful and their oils are good quality.

Because this is a blogpost, I will not go into the deep “scientific” breakdown of each oil, but if you need it, just pop me an email or a comment, and I will be glad to share! (And also let me know whether you’d like my future posts to have more info and recipes!)

Sources:

Hoare, J. (2010) The Complete Aromatherapy Tutor: A Structured Course to Achieve Professional Expertise. GAIA: London

Ryman, D. (2007) Secrets of Youth & Beauty: Aromatherapy for Natural Rejuvenation. Rodale: London

Hey Gorgeous REVIEW and you can WIN too!

Last week I won a competition hosted by Hey Gorgeous and received two awesome products!

Strawberry & Black Pepper Body Scrub Bliss

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There is one downside to using natural products…you REALLY have to maintain self-control and not eat it all! The smell is AMAZING! It feels like you are using freshly crushed strawberries to scrub your skin and it really feels good. In fact, my skin was so soft and sweet-smelling afterwards that I didn’t even apply body lotion. Yes, I wanted to go to bed smelling like a giant crushed strawberry!

Rose Petal Hand Soak

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I asked Phoebe whether this could be used as a bath soak and she said yes! As the product needs to be used up in 8 weeks, I figured I won’t be giving myself a mani that much, so using it in the bath will be a luxurious way to use it. And wow, was I right! The water felt “softer” and I kinda felt like a princess lying there in a bath with rose petals floating by! Once again, the smell is so “real”. I just don’t know how else to describe it!

The Body scrub retails for R120 and the Hand Soak for R110. Definitely worth it if you want to treat yourself. As the products are freshly made, so you can be sure that you get the best quality products at your door.

If you would like to win a Hey Gorgeous product, go to their website and let them know what your favourite product is! You can post it on Facebook (remember to share their page) or you can tweet them (@HeyGorgeousSA)! When they reach 20 000 likes on Facebook, they will announce another winner, so you better be quick!

Thanks Hey Gorgeous for the AWESOME goodies!

 

 

{Review} Philips SatinSoft Epilator

I received a Philips SatinSoft Epilator to review. Why? Because I believe that epilation is a greener way to “defuzz”. You can keep using one for years and years if you look after it. You don’t throw away old blades constantly, and also no sticky wax strips for your skin (or the landfill!)

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So let me give you a background about my hair type first: I have thick, long dark brown hair, so obviously my body hair is dark and grows extremely fast .If I shave my underarms in the morning, I’d have to shave again by evening (sorry if that sounds gross, but it is true!). Since Grade 5 (15 years ago) I have been looking for the perfect way to get rid of leg and underarm hair.

I tried shaving  – works good, but have to keep doing it constantly! It also make my underarm skin red and bumpy)

waxing – works very well, but I hate the sticky mess, all the waste it creates, and because of the small red veins on my legs, it is not a perfectly safe option.

depilatory creams – it stinks, it removes only half the hair, and regrowth is almost the same as shaving. Need I say more?

vintage epilation – this is the first type of epilator I tried. It was my mom’s “contraption”, and I used it aged 11. It hurt like hell, and I was sure I would never try epilating again. Luckily technology has improved!

 

medieval torture device! The first type of epilator I ever tried. Yikes!

medieval torture device! The first type of epilator I ever tried. Yikes!

I have been epilating for just over a year now, and won’t be going back to the other hair-removing methods. With the Philips SatinSoft, my legs were definitely smoother after the first go, in comparison to the other brands.

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What I like about the Philips SatinSoft Epilator 6519

PROS:

The massage attachment also works by lifting the hairs which make it easier for the epilator to grab.

You can epilate short hair, so you don’t need to wait until you look like a cave woman before epilating.

The head can detach so that you can wash it under the tap. This works much better than just cleaning it with a brush like other brands.

It comes with a small attachment so you can epilate other areas like bikini and underarms (I have tried it, works like a charm!)

The cord is quite long (longer than other brands) which makes it much easier to use!)

It comes with an exfoliation brush

 

CONS:

It is a bit noisier than some of the other brands

It is not battery operated, BUT it has quite a long cord, which helps a lot!

 

As you can see the PROS are MUCH MORE than the cons.

 

Helpful tips for ouch-free epilation:

  • Make sure your skin is clean. Some people like epilating right after a bath or shower as the hairs come out easier, but I find that the hair is more prone to breakage if I epilate right after a hot bath. So I make sure my legs  are clean and free from oils or creams, and epilate the next morning.
  • Hair length: not too short, not too long. Unlike waxing, longer does not necessarily mean better. I found that if the hair is too long, it hurts a bit more. I think anything longer than 5mm, is too long. So just so you are sure about this: make sure your hair is not too long, it will hurt more!
  • Exfoliate 24 hours before you epilate, as well as 24 hours after!
  • Your skin will look red afterwards, so don’t worry! Just make sure you moisturise after epilation. And you may not want to epilate right before a big event.
  • If this is your first time epilating, please note that your ankles and thighs are areas that are a bit more sensitive, so it may hurt a bit more than the rest!
  • It will hurt, but it is SO worth it! Eventually you do get use to it. Please give it a try!

 

The Philips SatinSoft is priced at about R530 and is worth every cent. You will save so much money on blades, wax strips or trips to the salon!

 

So what is your opinion of epilating?

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