Thursday, March 31, 2016

Zaya skincare reveals my inner goddess

During my blogging break, I was testing products, including some eco-skincare from Zaya (I received a face cream, eye cream and eye oil). I've been anxious to share my thoughts.

Zaya is a Canadian brand, created in their own facility, using only natural, wild-harvested and organic ingredients. They make sure that no synthetic ingredients enter their manufacturing site, and the process is animal-friendly and kind to the environment. The packaging is made of recyclable and environment-friendly materials, such as carton boxes made out of 100% recycled paper and printed with soy ink. Even the bottles are made from high-quality dark violet glass to help preserve their products.

The main product I've been using is their Willow-Herb & Raspberry Oil Face Cream. I was actually a bit nervous to apply this and the other two products to my skin, since they do contain wheat germ oil. I'm sensitive to gluten, so I wasn't sure how I'd react. I thought it was important to note, because, although products containing wheat germ oil can be labeled as gluten-free, various Celiac groups recommend avoiding it. Lucky for me, I didn't notice any negative reactions.

This face cream is very light for an oil-based cream. It's organic, vegan and packed with good-for-you ingredients, such as jojoba oil, raspberry seed oil, evening primrose oil, neem, wheat germ oil (which is also labeled as just vitamin E on some other brands, so consider that for future reference), willow-herb flower extract, honeysuckle extract and ylang ylang essential oil. I love the soft floral scent (from the oils, of course) and the way it absorbs into my skin.

It did take my skin a few days to adjust to it (one of the hazards of being a beauty blogger). I broke out slightly at first, but it wasn't anything drastic; it cleared up quickly and resulted in clear, glowing skin. The biggest thing I noticed is how it leaves my skin in perfect balance. It provides just enough moisture without being too heavy. My skin feels like it did before I ever needed moisturizer (or any type of skincare routine). My combination skin is singing praises for this one.

The other two products I received from Zaya, included an eye cream and an eye oil. I have to admit that I've reached for the eye cream the most, so I'll review that one first. The Zaya Black Ederberry & Cranberry Oil Eye Cream is also organic and vegan. It contains natural ingredients, like jojoba oil, cranberry oil, avocado oil, neem, wheat germ oil, black elderberry flower extract, honeysuckle flower extract and rosemary essential oil. It works much like the face cream and is similar in texture. The scent is slightly sweeter and fruity.

This eye cream also took a couple days for me to really see the benefits. I was concerned that it wouldn't soften my fine lines (yes, this old lady has some crow's feet from smiling too much), but I saw a major improvement with daily use. It made me look well rested and smoothed out my lines. I also was able to wear it under makeup without any issues.

As for the eye oil, I've only used it before bed, so I can't say whether or not it affects makeup wear. The Zaya Rosewood Eye Oil is organic, vegan and packed with a short, but sweet list of ingredients. It contains sweet almond oil, rice bran oil, macadamia nut oil, pomegranate oil, wheat germ oil, jojoba oil and rosewood essential oil. It really is the sweetest smelling of the bunch. It's a treat for the eyes that leaves me looking refreshed when I wake up in the morning. It's absorbs well and doesn't clog my pores. It also helps remove any traces of makeup I may have missed while cleansing my face.

My favorite thing about this line is the beautiful artwork on the packaging (as seen in the photo above; this photo is from the Zaya website). I didn't get any of the larger oils that come with the fashion art on the bottles and boxes, but I had to share them anyway. There's a different "Zaya Goddess" depicted on each oil blend, whether it be for the face, eyes, belly, body, hair or nails. Zaya actually recommends saving these decorative boxes as "work of art" to store your works of art.

Have you tried Zaya? What are your thoughts? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Zaya sent me these products for review. All opinions are my own :)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Lani has a new mask & it's chocolate!

I'm back from my break, and I'm feeling refreshed. My skin even looks fresh and renewed, thanks to this scrumptious new Lani Tropical Cacao Detox Mask.

You may recall my blog post about Lani's other fabulous products, which include the Tropical hair Treatment, Tropical Body Treatment and Tropical Super Serum. The line basically keeps you naturally glowing from head to toe. I also mentioned that I was anxiously awaiting a new addition to the brand, so I was beyond excited when it showed up at my door.

Honestly, I couldn't wait to try this chocolaty face mask, as I'm sure you can't either. I immediately scooped out some of this cocoa powder concoction into a small shallow bowl (although I've also mixed it in the palm of my hand). It looks and smells like cocoa powder, but it's really a 100% natural and vegan mix of cleansing and detoxifying pastel pink Australian clay and beige Australian clay, nourishing coconut milk powder, antioxidant-rich cacao powder, skin-brightening vitamin C, sodium bicarbonate, hydrating coconut water, anti-inflammatory aloe vera powder and healing turmeric.

All you need is a few drops of water to transform a tablespoon of this magical cacao detox powder into a fluffy chocolate mousse-like facial (the sodium bicarbonate gives it this heavenly texture). It even smells like a yummy dessert.

Seriously, when I posted the above photo of me wearing this mask on Instagram (this happen the very day I received this product), I mentioned that I was tempted to eat it off my face (don't worry; I didn't). It smells so delicious and is quite gentle, too. It didn't bother me a bit to leave it on long after it dried.

I do have a word of caution, though. Although it's easy to remove, I'd advise using a darker washcloth (definitely not a white one) to wash off this mask. The turmeric in this mask is excellent for clearing your skin, but the yellow color has a tendency to stain.

Everything else I have to say about this mask is completely positive. In addition to the turmeric, the clay does an excellent job of detoxing my skin and healing any blemishes, and the vitamin C makes my face glow (in a good way). The coconut milk, coconut water and aloe soften my skin and protect it from irritation. These three hydrating ingredients also help plump my skin, soften fine lines and keep me looking youthful (or at least as youthful as an almost 40-year-old can be). It's great for those with mature skin, who are still prone to an occasional breakout, as well as those looking to prevent the signs of aging. I'd highly recommend this mask. Fingers crossed that Urban Outfitters will start carrying it, since they already sell Lani's hair and body treatments on their website.

What's your favorite facial mask? Does it involve chocolate? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Lani sent me this face mask for review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Ballerina's collab w/ARTISANskin is on pointe

I'm so excited, because I just got my hands on Agnes Muljadi's new collab with ARTISANskin. It's this Celebrity Limited Edition Vegan Body Oil (and you know how much I love body oil). This body oil is extra special, since it's only available from now until May 31, 2016, which explains my rush to post about it.

Now before I go too fast, let's back up a moment to learn more about the brand and this beautiful ballerina. To start, I've been following Agnes Muljadi's Instagram account (@artsyagnes) for quite some time, and I have to admit that it's one of my favorites. She posts the most stunning fashion, beauty, vegan foodie and dance photos (the above photo is from her Instagram feed). She's the ballerina I wished I could be (more on that in a minute), and she's really sweet.

ARTISANskin is a 100% natural, yet still glamorous, skincare line created by spa guru Amal Elbahnasawy. The apothecary-based brand's goal is to start a "skin revolution" - to transition people into an organic and natural skincare routine, offering their products in various sizes and prices. Some of these products include those pictured above (this photo is from the ARTISANskin Instagram feed), such as mineral soaks, body and face scrubs, oat milk baths, skin water, lip butter, this clay blender kit, facial serum, and of course, body oil.

This Vegan Body Oil is 100% plant based, cruelty free, vegan and made in small batches (the above photo is from Agnes Muljadi's Instagram feed). It was designed as a reflection of Agnes Muljadi's healthy lifestyle as a social media influencer and ballerina based in Los Angeles, CA. "Life as a ballet dancer or any performer can be challenging to the skin," she says. "It was my intention to create a Vegan Body Oil that eases skin challenges particular to dancers like itchiness and dryness."

Inspired by the dancer pics with the body oil, I pulled out some of my old pointe shoes. I took dance classes back in the day, but never was a true ballerina (although I wanted to be one when I was little). I could definitely tell that I hadn't worn them in a very long time. After showing my daughter "my moves," I was a little sore. That was the perfect time to test out this oil.

This oil smells exactly like what's in it, because it's all natural (and organic, too). It contains unrefined coconut oil, sesame oil, safflower oil, argan oil, avocado oil and kukui nut oil, as well as essential oils of bergamot, sweet orange, cedarwood, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver and rose. It's warm and a bit of a unisex scent.

I adore a body oil that works for massage purpose, yet also absorbs well. This oil does not disappoint. I moisturized my entire body with it, paying extra attention to my legs and feet. I found that it does ease sore muscles and cramped feet (when used as a massage oil). I'm so glad Agnes and ARTISANskin sent this to me.

On another note, please excuse my bad technique and the way I tied my shoes, as these are my feet in the above and following photos.

It's not easy to take your own photos, especially when you're on your toes and taking the pic blindly with a selfie stick. For the fun of it, I thought I'd share some of that photo session with you.

My favorite is when my daughter ended up in the shot. She's too cute. Speaking of my daughter (and son, too), my kiddos are off from school all next week, so don't be surprised if I'm unable to post. If I don't, I hope you all have a good Spring break.

What is everyone else up to for Spring break? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Agnes Muljadi and ARTISANskin sent me this Vegan Body Oil.
All opinions are my own :)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Wake me up w/Kore Body coffee scrub

It's Monday and we're all adjusting to the time change. Rather than being groggy, I perked myself up with a warm shower and Kore Body Vanilla Bean Coffee Body Scrub.

Kore Body is a new scrub on the scene that I recently discovered on Instagram. It's all-natural, cruelty-free, vegan and handmade in California. Currently, the brand is only selling their Vanilla Bean Coffee Scrub, but their Peppermint Coffee Scrub and Beach Coffee Scrub will be available soon (I'm so curious about the Beach Coffee Scrub).

As stated on the Kore Body website, "Inspired by the Earth's hidden natural secrets, [Kore Body] searched the globe to bring you the highest quality of natural elements, leaving your skin enlightened and illuminating from head to toe. [Kore Body's] balance of fine ingredients emphasize healing while nourishing the body."

Just look at the short and simple list of high quality ingredients on the Vanilla Bean Coffee Body Scrub label (pictured above). You can pronounce everything and each ingredient has a purpose. For example, the coffee and sugar both exfoliate. The coffee also helps reduce cellulite, and the brown sugar is quite hydrating. The various oils are moisturizing, effective for treating eczema and stretch marks, and improve skin's appearance. More detailed information about these active ingredients can be found on the Kore Body website. 

Kore Body scrubs are dry scrubs that come in a pouch (I just adore the sleek packaging), which makes them great for travel. They're easy to use, although a bit messy (hey, messy can be fun). I'd advise scooping the amount you need into a small, separate container before bringing it in the shower. This will preserve the freshness of the rest of the product left in the pouch.

Speaking of fresh, this scrub smells amazing, like freshly ground coffee beans (and it looks like it, too). Although I'm no longer a coffee drinker (I gave it up when my son was a baby; I can't believe he's a teen now), I love how this coffee scrub wakes me up when I apply it all over my body. I just rub it onto my damp skin, massaging in circular motions for a few minutes (this gives the coffee and sugar time to exfoliate and the natural oils to be absorbed). Then, I just rinse it away (that's when it gets especially messy; it gets all over the shower, like most coffee scrubs).

This body scrub leaves my skin soft, smooth and silky (some of the oils will remain on your skin, so you may want to remove it with a body wash, if that's not your thing), especially when used regularly (Kore Body recommends that you use it 2-3 times per week). I like to combine it with these other pampering products, as I'm a big fan of treating my hair with Lani Tropical Hair Treatment and boosting my natural glow with Kopari Coconut Body Glow.

What products help you wake up in the morning? What do you use to keep your skin glowing? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Kore Body sent me this scrub for review. All opinions are my own :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Kopari is beauty in a nutshell

The weather is warming up and layers are coming off. It's time to get your skin ready to bare and take care of that mermaid hair.

Lucky for me, Kopari Beauty sent me two of their pure coconut-based beauty products to give me that all-over natural glow. I received the Kopari Coconut Body Glow and the Coconut Sheer Oil.

Before I share my thoughts about these products, let me tell you a little about the brand and one of its co-founders, the beautiful Kiana Cabell (the above and below photos are from the Kopari website; I really must find out where she got that sweater). She was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she started experimenting with creating her own hair and skincare products made from wild coconuts, awapuhi ginger flower, papaya and aloe vera. She later attended the University of San Diego and further studied integrative health and nutrition at NYC's Natural Gourmet Institute, where she became a certified organic chef.

"The most important thing I learned? Coconut oil is the most kick-ass ingredient known to (wo)man," according to Kiana. "You can eat it, cook it, slather it, swish it, spray it, sun it, soak it, scrub it, and clean with it. There’s almost nothing this super-food can’t do."

Kiana also learned that what you put on your skin matters, as it's your body's largest organ; everything you put on it is directly absorbed into your bloodstream. Coconut oil seemed to be the safest option when it came to beauty, but she wanted something more luxurious than what's found in traditional grocery stores.

"I wanted luxurious coconut products made especially for my skin and hair," she said. "The high-grade stuff that feels good, smells great, absorbs well, isn’t greasy, is unquestionably safe and has amazing performance. You know, something that takes regular coconut oil up a notch. That’s when I decided to create the most perfect coconut oil beauty products on the planet."

Every Kopari product starts with 100% pure, organic coconut oil, sourced from the Philippines. They are natural, cruelty-free, vegan, and don't contain sulfates, silicones, parabens, GMOs, or toxins.

I knew right away that I'd love the Coconut Sheer Oil, as I'm a huge fan of similar products. It's a multi-tasking product that does everything from moisturizing my face and body, removing my makeup, keeping my nails and cuticles in tip-top shape, and helping me create that mermaid wavy hair.

This oil absorbs especially well. It works as a facial moisturizer after I wash my face in the evening and under my makeup during the day. It doesn't clog my pores and it softens my fine lines. It would be an excellent product to take on vacation, because it works so well by itself (who wants to pack a ton of products?). It's also great on my dry hands and as a carrier oil for essential oils on my chest (I've had a bit of a cold lately, due to the change in seasons; mixing this with a combination of essential oils like mint, eucalyptus, rosemary, etc., has really helped to relieve my symptoms).

I love how this product can be used as a leave-in treatment and styling product for my hair. It doesn't leave it feeling greasy and it helps create those sexy beach waves.

Speaking of the beach, I can't wait until I can hit the beach. Bikini season is my favorite time of year. My skin hasn't seen the sun in a while, so I was afraid my pale shade might blind you. Thank goodness, Kopari sent me this Coconut Body Glow. Coconut and shea butter soften my skin, while its natural pearlescent minerals give me a subtle sunkissed glow.

Just look at how this coconut body moisturizer shimmers in and out of the bottle (I finger-painted a heart with the product in the photo above). It's not as much color as a self-tanner, but it gives you a faint golden sparkle. It's beautiful on the beach and for a night out; however, I do not recommend wearing it with light colored clothing, as it can rub off on it. I'm curious about how it would look in my hair. I'll have to try that in the near future.

Are you looking forward to warmer weather? What products get you beach-ready? Let me know on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* Kopari Beauty sent me these products for review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Slide into Spring w/sustainable Starch Slides

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know about my current obsession with Starch Slides, the sustainable, comfortable footwear made out of upcycled button-up shirts. The idea just blew my mine; it's genius.

Starch Slides gorgeous founder Shannon Crowley (pictured above in her slides; all photos in this post are from the Starch Slides Instagram page) has done something I only dreamed of doing. She's created a sustainable and eco-friendly brand that's also very fashionable.

"Living in Brooklyn I noticed textile waste at an enormous amount," she states on her website. "Every trashcan I would pass would have perfectly good textiles thrown in them. Everything from ripped jeans to a pile of stained or ripped shirts that thrift stores cannot accept. Seeing this, made me think, there must be something that can be done. This is how starch slides was born."

Starch Slides are actually made out of those unwanted textiles, specifically unwanted button-up shirts. Each shirt provides enough fabric for one small (size 6-7), two medium (size 8-9) and one large pair of slides (size 10-11). That means, when you see a pair you like, you better act fast before it's gone. This also ensures that your slides will be as unique as you are.

These shoes are well-constructed. The fabric is lined with vegan leather for comfort and to keep your foot secure and supported. The sole is made with durable eco-friendly materials.

To eliminate the waste of a shoe box, all Starch Slides come in a reusable, raw, jute backpack (the above photo is was taking by a Starch Slides customer; I personally hope a similar pair comes available in the future).

Starch Slides are also very fashionable, as I mentioned a billion times already. Just look at their sleek design. I'm a big fan of the pinstripes, like the ones seen above, but they also come in other fun patterns and prints. Recent pairs are even named for various musicians. I mentioned that I had my eye on The Cobain, but that's not the only one. I need to narrow down my wish list.

If you see a pair you like, you probably want to order them soon. You also might want to post the pair that caught your eye to your Instagram page asap, since Starch Slides in giving away some slides this week. Check out Starch Slides on Instagram for more information about how to enter.

As always, you can find me on Instagram at @Rawdorable and on Twitter (also @Rawdorable).

* Starch Slides did not ask me to do this post. I'm just in awe of this concept.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Date night w/Vitruvi, courtesy of Petal & Post

I'm so lucky to have date nights with my hubby almost every Saturday. We get a break from the kiddos and some special time together. It's the perfect time to get out the Vitruvi Do Moisturizing Oil I received from Petal & Post, which sells only products that are free from sodium laurel sulfate, sulfates, parabens, propylene or butylene glycols, petroleum, PEGs, TEA, DEA, phthalates, GMO, silicones, pesticides, BPA, lead, artificial dyes, harmful synthetic fragrances or animal by-products. In other words, you can be assured that brands purchased on this site are safe to use, like Vitruvi.

Vitruvi is a Canadian brand, founded by brother and sister, Sean and Sara Panton (I snagged this pic from the Petal & Post website, so I can't take credit for it; just look at their glowing skin). I love how this brother and sister team started out with a joint blog, where they shared their combined global health and wellness knowledge. Through their passion for working together, they created a line of oils with the benefits of aromatherapy.

In Sean and Sara's words (the above photo is also from the Petal & Post website), "We started Vitruvi in our small apartment, while consuming lots of black licorice and occasionally fighting as siblings do. It was a passion project we started together with no expectations, but lots of aspirations. We took a risk; quit medical school and left jobs to pursue the idea of creating something. Now with an office and an incredible team, we continue to eat black licorice and still sometimes bicker like siblings. It's all even more of a passion now, and we are so excited to be able to share our products with a global community."

The business is truly a family company; even their mom handles quality control, trying every new blend and sample before it's released.

I haven't had a chance to experience the whole line, but I have to giggle, knowing that their mom tested out all the blends. I wonder if she had the same impressions of Do as I do, especially since the scent function is to "comfort and seduce." "Inspired by traditional oils used in Tantra, this unisex aroma is made with spicy oil extracts including Australian sandalwood, Sri Lankan cinnamon, Indian rose, and vanilla from France." Think "Unisex + Spicy + Alluring," which is the scent description on the Vitruvi website.

I'm totally blushing as I type this. When it arrived at my house, I casually opened the bottle to get a whiff of what was inside. Whoa! This stuff is good. The smell is intoxicating and a bit of an aphrodisiac. It appealed to both my hubby and I, as it has the perfect balance of masculine and feminine. The vanilla and rose are romantic, the sandalwood is sultry and the cinnamon is spicy like red hots. I seriously can't get enough of this scent.

This blend of 100% pure Italian sweet almond oil and castor oil absorbs beautifully into my skin, but gives me (or my hubby) enough time to massage it all over my body. It's free from parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances and dyes. It's also cruelty-free. I can't wait to try the other complex blends (they are made like perfumes with a top, middle and base notes, except they only use natural and 100% pure essential oils), including Focus, Go, Move, Sleep, Still and Wake (there's a sample set available for purchase on the Vitruvi site, if you'd like to try them all).

Have you tried Vitruvi? What's your favorite scent? Have you purchased anything from Petal & Post? Let me know your thoughts on Twitter at @Rawdorable and/or Instagram (also @Rawdorable).

* I was sent this Vitruvi Do Moisturizing Oil from Petal & Post.
All opinions are my own :)