Natural Hairspray Reviews: Andalou Naturals, Aubrey Organics, & Carina Organics

“I find it a great antidote… lipstick and mirrors and hairspray.”
-Joanna Lumley

I have to agree with Joanna here: some days there is nothing like a bit of TLC from Mirror & Associates to brighten up your day. Historically, I have always been more consumed with cosmetics and skincare, but I also realize that great hair is an equally important part of the appearance equation (especially in my case, since my hair is very long and the colour gives my appearance a high-contrast prominence, thus untidy hair is my undoing).

Aside from the obvious benefits of a natural hairspray (they are cruelty- & toxin-free), the natural hairsprays I have reviewed below are all housed in a non-aerosol container. As many of you may know, aerosol cans are not the product of choice when it comes to decreasing your carbon footprint. Many still contain ozone-depleting chemicals and gases that contribute to global warming. Best practice is, say no! to aerosols. (Please).

And… we’re off!


Very Light Hold: Andalou Naturals Medium Hold Sunflower & Citrus Hair Spray

Andalou Naturals has succeeded in making a fairly decent hairspray, as long as you want a *very* light hold. I used this hairspray to lightly mist my hair after straightening it in order to keep the static down and was not disappointed, but my mom (who has a somewhat higher-maintenance hairstyle than I do) thought it was lacking. Just to give some background info: we both of have fairly fine hair that tends to be wavy if left to its own devices, so I imagine someone who has thicker hair may find this hairspray unsatisfying.


Zero Hold: Aubrey Organics NuStyle Organic Hairspray Regular Hold

I confess I have a bias: I possess a strong desire to like natural, organic products because they stand for beautiful beliefs such as a clean, sparkling environment and happy & healthy inhabitants. My esteem for their ethic is thus the reason why the sting of disappointment wounds me all the more (yes, I have been betrayed).

If you want a lovely smelling I’m-running-around-in-a-field-of-lavender bottle of water, than this product is for you. As I enveloped myself in a cloud of lavender dreams, I was filled with such high hopes for this product (yes this review is all about me and my betrayed feelings), but soon, my expectations were dashed to the wind. This product had no hold whatsoever (which is a shocking declaration considering how low my expectation of hairspray actually is) and thus I will not be repurchasing this product. But I shall not let bitterness blacken my soul…


Faith in Hairspray Restored: Carina Organics Pure & Natural Fast Drying Hairspray

After the last “hairspray,” this product was a godsend. Made in beautiful BC, Carina Organics Hairspray does what it claims to do. It delivers a reliable medium hold and a very pleasant natural scent, and (only a woman who relies on hairspray will understand this statement) it has more of an aura of real hairspray-ish-ness about it, more than any other natural hairsprays I have encountered. So there is my highly scientific review 🙂

I hope you’re having a great hair-day!

Natural Deodorant Trials: Lafes, Green Beaver & Saje


Oh how we all wish to smell like a bed of roses and “a thousand fragrant posies” (Marlowe, “A Passionate Shepherd to His Love”), but alas, what is more attractive than herding your sheep on a hillside or wooing your love in the sunshine? The answer: non-toxic body care products that don’t harm you, or the sheep.

Making the switch to a natural deodorant can be extremely daunting because, let’s face it, natural deodorants don’t have a great reputation for working well but, I assure you, being kind to your body & the planet is one of the most important actions you can take in life. Conventional deodorants/ antiperspirants use aluminum to block your pores, thus your body is unable to rid itself of toxins via the underarm lymph nodes. Furthermore, parabens, propylene glycol, phthalates and triclosan, all common ingredients in deodorants and antiperspirant, have been linked to cancer, birth defects, & hormonal problems. Very scary!

Be brave! Read on to discover my favourite and my not-so-favourite deodorants…

*Extreme* Disappointment: Lafes Natural Deodorant

This one actually ended up being thrown in the garbage. It was that bad. Usually I prefer a stick but this one was so sticky it caught on the skin and… it didn’t do anything. Absolutely nothing. It was a complete waste of money. I am so done with this product. I am sorry that you had to read these last few sentences. Moving on…

The Dud I Wanted To Like: Green Beaver Lavender Deodorant Stick

Oh how I wanted to love this product. It’s Canadian! It’s inexpensive! It smells like lavender! It glides on smoothly & silkily! But… no go. I will not purchase this product again, since it accomplished very little.

But, however strange this may sound, I was just a little broken-hearted with this deodorant’s ineffectiveness. I mean, who doesn’t want to love the idea of green beavers?

Sweet Smelling Success: Saje Exotic Crystal Fresh Deodorant

Finally! Until I discovered this lovely lifesaver, my life was lacking 🙂 Containing patchouli, lavender, vanilla, rosewood, and sandalwood elements, this deodorant smells like an absolute dream — fresh, real and enticingly exotic. I wish I could find a perfume exactly like it… but getting back to business: it works. Maybe not all day or after strenuous exercise (I would advise re-application in said circumstance), but it is the best product I have found so far, and I prescribe every one of you to indulge yourself and invest in this product… and did I mention it won’t rob your purse? Ringing in at $9.95 Canadian, you may even want to try their other alluring scents, Floral & Peaceful Warrior.

Good luck! And please, let me know if you have found a favourite, earth friendly deodorant.

My Top Ten Healthy Beauty Tips For The New Year (Featuring Audrey Hepburn!)

Since being beautiful and healthy encompasses so much more than simply using good skincare and wearing natural make-up, I decided to dedicate this blog post to my top ten timeless beauty tips. And what better time of the year to implement lasting healthy habits than New Years? I hope some of my own favourite beauty habits become a lasting New Years resolution of yours!

PS: What better person than Audrey to illustrate the principles of timeless beauty? I hope you enjoy the pics!



#1: Drink Water! (Obviously they are drinking water in this picture. Hydration is extremely attractive)


diamants sur canapé

#2: Protect Your Skin From The Sun! (With her enormous hat and dark shades, Audrey is well-protected from the sun in Breakfast at Tiffany’s)



#3: Avoid Refined Sugar! (In this picture, Gregory Peck is informing Audrey that she should refrain from eating sugary gelato because it leads to premature aging. Because he is handsome, she will heed his advice)



#4: Eat Healthy Fats! (Their dinner convo: “Really? I love avocadoes, almonds and coconut oil too!)


audrey hepburn applying perfume in front of vanity makeup

#5: Moisturize Every Day! (Audrey is thankful she moisturizes twice a day and realizes this habit is why she looks so good all the time. Let us learn from her)



#6: Remove Your Makeup Every Night! (I know it is hard to believe, but one day Holly Golightly will pay the price for wearing makeup to bed)



#7: Eat Greens Every Day! (I am fairly sure her basket contains some organic, foraged greens under all those flowers)



#8: Exercise! (A word of advice: unless you are Audrey Hepburn, perhaps you should avoid wearing a long skirt when riding a bicycle)



#9: Get More Sleep! (Cat is entreating her to get up and entertain him, but obviously beauty sleep is more important)


#10: Be Happy & Smile! 

“Happy Girls Are The Prettiest”

-Audrey Hepburn

Happy New Year!

My “Now” Winter Skincare Products: Night


Make-Up Removal: Now Solutions Sweet Almond Oil

I am currently a fan of sweet almond oil for three reasons: it removes all my makeup very well, it is natural and pure, and it is very reasonably-priced. This particular product is priced in the $6-$8 range and lasts for quite awhile. I initially started using it to remove my eye-makeup because I wanted something that wouldn’t pull on my delicate eye skin and  result in wear and tear. Then I began wearing a full coverage foundation and discovered how brilliantly the sweet almond oil breaks down thick foundation and removes nearly every speck from the skin. After I have wiped away the oil and foundation with a cotton pad, I still follow with cleanser and exfoliator though, because foundation must be thoroughly removed from the skin in order to maintain its clarity.

Despite my post-oil cleansing, I prefer using the oil to a micellar make-up removal water. The oil is obviously more pure, removes make-up better, and does not strip the skin. When using it to remove eye makeup, oil can sometimes make the vision a bit blurry if it gets in the eye, but this effect is not lasting. Furthermore, the oil hydrates and protects the delicate eye skin as it cleanses and soothes.


Cleansing: Eminence Stone Crop Gel Wash

This is one of my essential products! Read my review here:

Eminence Stone Crop Gel Wash Review


Daily Exfolation: Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant

Perhaps I say this more often than I care to admit, but I cannot live without this exfoliator. Before using this exfoliator I was not a fan of manual exfoliants at all. I thought them much too harsh and irritating. My skin simply didn’t like them and couldn’t tolerate them. Then my world changed…

The Eminence Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant with Lactic Acid is a rice-based exfoliant which is intended for everyday use. I find it non-irritating while at the same time providing a deep cleanse. This dermafoliant keeps my skin glowy and clear because of both its manual exfoliating action and its chemical exfoliating action: containing lactic and salicylic acids from natural sources it keeps working on your skin after you have. This dual-action product is a hard worker and a great addition to any beauty regimen.


Toning: Eminence Neroli Age Corrective Hydrating Mist

I have already reviewed this product and am love! Read my review here:

My “Now” Winter Skincare Products: Morning


Treatment: Eminence Citrus & Kale C+E Serum

I have already reviewed this product and it is a favourite! Read my review here:

Eminence Citrus & Kale C+E Serum Review



Night Moisturizing: Bio-Beauté by Nuxe Anti-Aging Soothing Cream

I first realized in mid-autumn of this year that the time had come to transition to winter products when, after swimming at the local indoor pool and showering, my skin began to hurt. My skin is rarely in such distress, and I needed some soothing comfort toute de suite. I went home and rifled through the samples of products I had yet to try, and pulled out this little winter-time gem. Instantly upon application, my skin stopped hurting and began to look calmer and more normal. Ever since that fateful night, it has become a cold-weather necessity.

Despite claiming it is for very dry skin (my skin is normal/combination with some daily oily-ness and some dryness in the winter) this moisturizer does not over-burden my skin with moisture and does not make my skin shiny. On days that I stay home I have even worn it during the daytime and have stayed fairly matte the entire day.

I am very happy with this product, even more so because it contains antioxidants that protect skin from premature aging, but I am a little disappointed in the value. I paid $30 Canadian for this product and I will be lucky if it lasts two months. At least it does not come with an exorbitant price tag. Despite the value, I will probably repurchase.

DownloadedFileMoisturizing: Dr. Hauschka Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream

I have already reviewed this product and am in love! Read my review here:

My “Now” Winter Skincare Products: Morning

My “Now” Winter Skincare Products: Morning


Cleansing: Eminence Monoi Age Corrective Exfoliating Cleanser

Winter skincare is all about gentleness and hydration. With this aim in mind, I began cleansing my face with Eminence’s Monoi Age Corrective Exfoliating Cleanser when the cold weather began to effect changes in my complexion. The morning is the best time to cleanse with a gentle product, since (ideally) one does not wake up wearing makeup that has to be thoroughly removed. Thus, you don’t really want to use a harsh product and disrupt the skin too much (sometimes less is better, I have come to believe). I have also discovered that the less you strip your skin in the morning, the less the skin feels depleted and has to produce oil to make up for the lost moisture that your skin produced overnight. If you are an overly oily skin type, this cleanser may not be a good choice for you, but for me (combination skin with a bit of dryness in the winter) this is a wintertime must.

The Monoi cleanser is extremely creamy and soft but does, interestingly, contain the tiniest amount of non-invasive grit. Furthermore, should you wake up and feel that your skin needs a bit of brightening, you can leave the cleanser on your face for a few minutes and your skin will benefit from the action of AHAs that remove dead skin and reveal bright, glowing skin (again, it does this very gently and without seeming to disrupt the hydration level of the skin).


Toning: Eminence Neroli Age Corrective Hydrating Mist

Can you tell I adore Eminence products? Anyways, if you enjoy using a toner, the Neroli Age Corrective Hydrating Mist is a great option. Containing coconut milk and coconut water, this toner is a perfect boost of hydration and refreshment. I received this product as a gift and loved how soothing it felt. I am lucky it crossed my path: since it claims to tighten the skin it is a product I myself wouldn’t have chosen for my skin, yet this effect I didn’t notice at all (although my skin is not yet in need of tightening products, so perhaps that is a factor).


Treatment: Eminence Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum

I have already reviewed this product and am in love! Read my review here:

Eminence Citrus & Kale C+E Serum Review


Moisturizing: Eminence Red Currant Protective Moisturizer SPF 30

I can’t live without this product! I used it all summer because it offers top-notch sun protection and keeps my skin matte, and I continue to use it in the winter for the same reason (because, even in the winter when my skin suffers from a touch of dryness, my complexion can become a bit shiny throughout the day & I really dislike that). I have tried other products that claim to control oil but I have mostly found these products a little drying. The Red Currant Protective Moisturizer, however, offers enough hydration for me throughout the winter as long as I moisturize at night with something a bit richer. And  last but not least, did I mention this moisturizer fights the first signs of aging? Perfect for those in their 20’s who should be taking preventative measures to ensure a life-time of beautiful skin.

I highly recommend this product because I have not found a better day cream that takes care of all my skin concerns.


Moisturizing: Dr. Hauschka Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream

Last winter I used Dr. Hauschka’s Eye Balm which I liked well enough, but this year I am using his Daily Revitalizing Eye Cream and so far I find this one far more effective in terms of hydrating the skin and staving off crows feet. The cream absorbs much better and delivers instant results while the balm was thicker, didn’t hydrate the skin as well (in my opinion), didn’t absorb as fast, and left a rather sticky finish on the face. I will most definitely re-purchase the cream because it does exactly what it claims to do, and it does this very well.

Kale For Beautiful Skin: Now You Don’t Have to Eat It Anymore! …. (Just Kidding :)


After a long summer of damaging UV rays, my skin is now starting to return to its blissful brumal pallor. Now, although I know a great many of you are not as fond of Victorian pallor as I am, I will take this opportunity to again remind you that sun exposure and tanning has been proven to cause premature aging, otherwise known as wrinkles and sun spots. Thus, if you truly appreciate youthfulness and smooth skin, you will make every effort to avoid excessive amounts of sun. Who knows?! Perhaps the parasol will come back into fashion again! If only…

Eminence introduced a new product line this past year that included a serum and masque containing avocados, lemons & leafy greens. I was drawn to trying the products because they claim to deliver a huge boost of antioxidants and repair sun damage, two things with which I am somewhat obsessed. Or maybe completely obsessed.

I was incredibly impressed with the Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum. My skin looked radiant and clear, inflammation was greatly reduced and my sun spots appeared much lighter. I will definitely buy this product again because I feel it produced real and lasting results. My one complaint was the price and the short length of time the product lasted. Admittedly, I used more drops on my face than the directions called for, but I did this (in defense of myself) because I felt like the prescribed four drops didn’t cover the large expanse of my entire face. Furthermore, the serum was basically a liquid, so in order to not waste the product by dropping it onto my fingers and then onto my face and losing a lot of the serum in the process, I would lean my head back slightly and drop the serum directly onto my skin and then pat it in (because most serums tend to have more viscosity there is less opportunity for waste). After using the product and returning to the spa where I purchased it, I learned from the esthetician that you are indeed supposed to apply it directly to your face, although I don’t believe any of the Eminence directions explicitly state this.

And the face masque! How lovely smelling! Just like lemon meringue pie! (I suggest you refrain from using this masque when in the mood for pie)… my nose loved the masque, but if I left it on longer than five minutes my skin became quite red and irritated (a result I have also noticed from other Eminence masques). I will confess that I am not a huge fan of masques simply because I am too undisciplined to use them as often as is recommended, so on that note, I am not sure I noticed many results from using the masque. If pressed to decide between the masque or the serum, I would most definitely choose the serum. It is a stellar product!

I hope all you lovely ladies (and gents) are enjoying this beautiful December day. Go for a walk! Snowshoe! Ski! But don’t forget your SPF 15 (and your kale ;)) …

Natural Mascara Review: Dr. Hauschka, Physicians Formula Organic Wear & Pure Anada

My desire to wear more makeup increases dramatically with the coming of fall. Undoubtedly this desire is prompted by the cooler temperatures and the reduced risk of makeup melting off my face: Oh Summer how thou inconvenience me with your UV rays and incessant heat…

But autumn is the best time of year, full of beautiful days and mild temperatures. Whereas summer is characterized by fresh-faced light makeup, autumn calls for deep burgundy lips and a dramatic & sultry black fringe for soulful and moody eyes.  But finding a natural mascara that delivers that too-often-promised-but-never-delivered impact? Next to impossible. I have, however, discovered a few options for dramatizing lashes and, then again, I discovered a few that made me look like less than a model citizen.


Dr. Hauschka Volume Mascara

I tried the original Dr Hauschka mascara a few years ago and was extremely unimpressed with the results (my eyelashes looked the same as they did without mascara, and I can achieve that result for free, if I so choose). The volume mascara was a big improvement over the original, however, and while the results I gained from this mascara do not wholly satisfy me and prevent me from finding something better, the result was not bad for a natural mascara (while most natural products perform as good as, or even better, than toxic ones, understand that you must lower your standards a touch when discussing natural mascaras, apparently they are altogether a different ball game). A few times I noticed some smudgy-ness above my eyes near the end of a warm day, so that effect was none too desirable, and the price point is rather high for the result it delivers, but in general, if you like your eyelashes naturally enhanced  yet darkened and defined,  you may like this option.


Physicians Formula Lash Boosting Mascara

Oh how I loathe this mascara. Perhaps one of the worst mascaras known to mankind, Physicians Formula Organic Wear Lash Boosting Mascara rates quite well on the EWG’s website, thus my reason for seeking it out. But getting down to the nitty-and-all-too-gritty, the brush is extremely small, annoying and easy to poke yourself with, and almost immediately I had raccoon eyes not only above my eyes, but ALL AROUND MY EYES. How uncouth. I have never experienced complete & utter besmirch-ment from a mascara before. It was SHOCKING. (Yes I am having a hard time staying calm as I write about this travesty of a mascara). Applying the mascara was rather unpleasant, yet at the time of application I was still determined to refrain from returning the product (since that is so environmentally-unfriendly) but after wearing it for less than a day and being traumatized by the experience I could no longer keep my resolve. I could not justify wasting the money for a mascara that I could not wear at all… Physicians Formula, your mascara is a disgrace to the world of natural cosmetics. There, I feel like I have purged myself now. Please, don’t buy this product. (Relief….)


Pure Anada Natural Mascara

I have actually written a short review of this mascara before, but I thought I would include it here in order to compare it to the others. This mascara is the least expensive of all the mascaras in this review, but it is by far the best. It delivers the most drama, it wears the best and has the nicest and easiest brush with which to apply the mascara. ‘Nuff said.

I hope you are now armed with some valuable mascara-related information. Now go forth, and make wise decisions. Peace.

Garden Update: Green Smoothies, Fabulous Feasts and Blooms Galore

“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.”
-Alfred Austin


I intended to write a garden update prior to the end of July but life took over and, alas! my plans were pushed to the wayside. My garden has endured quite a bit this summer, including thunderous summer storms and villainous weed take-over attempts. I am happy to report, however, that the garden is flourishing (perhaps a little too profusely) and is producing some beauteous summer bounty.


So far I have harvested kale, swiss chard, tomatoes, green and yellow beans, carrots, and basil. In order to use the chard I pulled out Nava Atlas’s Wild About Greens cookbook which is chock full of amazing recipes using all kinds of greens and combining them in delightfully tasty, satisfying dishes and drinks. This cookbook is the perfect companion to a garden brimming with lush greens and crisp veggies.


Next year I am planting more kale! Every morning I head out to the garden for my smoothie kale, scissors in hand, determined and intrepid… it is such an incredible feeling to be eating food right from your backyard! It makes one feel as if one can do anything (as you can probably tell, I’m in an epic kind of mood right now, where even my garden is taking on epic proportions)… aaah but enthusiasm for life and living things is to be cherished, and marveled at, for they are indeed epic!


Above I have pictured some nasturtiums, which I am most definitely planting again next year. Apparently these pretty posies are edible, but I can’t bring myself to eat them & rob my garden of their happy little faces… The nasturtiums are doing the best out of all the flowers. They always look good (in a crazy, wild kind of way) but they do spread out a bit so be sure to give them lots of room to sprawl. One flower I will probably not grow again (until I own a meadow, that is) would be calendula. It is attractive and the blooms are useful if one is planning on making an infused oil for balms, but the plants grow extremely tall and don’t withstand summer showers successfully. Yesterday I wrestled with a large clump of depressed calendula, trying to force them to stand up and drink in the sun. I finally managed to tie them up, but I am sure both parties felt afterwards as though they had engaged in some kind of violent combat.


Garden Rubies!

I hope that right now your life is a bowl of cherries… Cherry tomatoes, that is 😉

Natural Shampoo Review: Phillip Adam, Curelle, Chorus, & Boo Bamboo

After cutting the lawn and eating a satisfying breakfast of coconut ice cream and fresh strawberries, I am now ready to review some of the natural shampoos that I have been using lately. Of all my personal care products, shampoo was one of the last to remain un-natural. Transitioning to non-toxic cosmetics and skincare was simple since there are so many great natural lines, but shampoo was quite a bit harder, perhaps partly because I have somewhat difficult hair. I have, however, finally made the transition, and will share with you a few of my favourites (all of which are cruelty-free, I might add). IMG_1197-418x660 #1: Phillip Adam Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo I used this shampoo for a year and really liked it. I have fine, lightweight, naturally curly hair and this shampoo kept it frizz-free and shiny. The first time I used it I was concerned because it gave my hair that “squeaky-clean” feeling which generally leaves my hair looking dry and brittle, but once it dried my hair looked healthy and happy. This shampoo was also a decent value and I didn’t need a lot of product in order to wash my hair. And it is Canadian-made, bonus!   boo_shamp   #2: Boo Bamboo I am really pleased with this shampoo, partly because I love the cutesy name and partly because it is a really great shampoo! Sometimes a moisturizing shampoo will weigh down my fine-weight hair and make it look quite flat, thus I have learned to look for “strengthening” shampoos. Boo Bamboo contains organic proteins and silica to “strenghten and create brilliant shine.” My hair has good volume and smoothness with this shampoo and it is a really good value (it costs a few dollars less than Phillip Adam ACV Shampoo). Also, the shampoo moved well throughout my hair and I didn’t need a lot of shampoo per washing, and it is a great shampoo for the whole family since many different hair types seem to respond favourably to its formula (by now my whole family has tried this shampoo and they all adore it)


#3: Chorus Gentle Shampoo

Chorus Gentle Shampoo was not my favourite, and I will probably not purchase it again. It did a fine enough job cleansing my hair, but it was an awful value. It would not move throughout my hair so I needed to use quite a bit of product, and the tube was not very big to begin with. Needless to say, the product did not last very long and lacked the stellar results needed to  make me purchase it again in spite of the poor value. Very underwhelming.


#4: Curelle Hydra Shampoo

I really wanted to try this shampoo because I have consistently used Curelle’s Riche conditioner and am very pleased with that product. I was, however, disappointed in this shampoo because it left my hair flat and weighed down. My hair lacked oomph, and thus I lacked oomph (not a good situation). The price was not bad, however, so I suggest anyone with thicker, heavier hair to give this shampoo a try since it would probably deliver smooth, shiny hair.

Enjoy the long weekend my fellow Canadians!

Fiona’s Adventures in Gardening: Update

This year I made my first (somewhat) serious attempt at gardening. I have had a garden in past years, but just grew a few kinds of flowers and one or two vegetables. Despite the joy it brought me to raise a few pretty plants, last year my garden plans fell by the wayside and my poor plot of earth lay unproductive all summer long. How tragic. But not this year…


I have always started my plants by seed and had a fairly good success rate (this year I used certified organic West Coast Seeds). This season, however, a couple of my flowers did not come up, the calendula and chamomile, so I had extra space to transplant some zinnias. Initially I had just wanted useful herb-ish flowers in the garden, but have since realized that all flowers are good for the soul, and thus very valuable in their own right.

The garden is making good progress, is a great learning experience for me, and should be a great learning experience for others (if I can create the semblance of a garden, then certainly others can too). The radishes are doing very well despite my initial negligence, and the garden greens are starting to reach a decent size. I can’t wait to pop some of my very own, garden-grown kale into the blender soon. Simple joys 🙂

Has anyone grown calendula or chamomile before? Do you have any tips?

More garden updates to follow soon! Have a great week.