Tag Archives: natural



Pai was created when it’s founder, Sarah Brown, was tired of suffering from a bad skin allergy. Tired of taking anti-histamines every single day, she decided to investigated the ingredients that she was putting on her face and was shocked at the amount of chemicals and how they can affect the body.

She has formulated products with sensitive and allergy-prone skin in mind. They are completely natural and organic and free of alcohol, beeswax, artifical fragrances, parabens and more. These products are perfect for every skin type really, whether dry, young, oily or mature, but especially for the girl who breaks out from anything and everything.

I had heard about Pai for a really long while from other British beauty bloggers (and Candice Batista) who raved about their products. At first, it seemed a little hard to find them in Canada, but Sally Glover at FreshFaced has taken care of that for us! (Also, be sure to take a look around her shop, she carries many great all-natural brands). I was lucky enough to receive Pai’s Camellia & Rose Cleanser and their Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil in a gift bag from the Green + Good event, so I couldn’t wait to try them out.

The cleanser is really lovely–light, wonderfully scented and removes eye makeup. It can be used with a washcloth to exfoliating (the cleanser itself comes with a muslin). Also really great for facial massage. It does include shea butter, however, this is nothing to worry about, since the people at Pai have reassured me that it is a very small amount and Caroline Hirons herself said that shea isn’t a big deal for acne-prone skin if you’re washing it off. Includes camellia, rose, almond, castor oils and more, as well as natural Vitamin E. I love to use this in the morning or as a second cleanse in the evening.

I was most excited to try the Rosehip Oil, as I had heard so much about how wonderful it is, especially for blemish-prone skin (and it has not let me down). It can be used in two ways: as a serum (2-3 drops) or as a hydrating booster (1-2 drops into moisturizer). I really love using it as a serum at night. My skin feels so hydrated and smooth in the morning. Rosehip contains natural Vitamin A (which helps to fade scars and prevent skin aging like Retinol would), and helps to soothe and calm breakouts–I find it to be really effective at hydrating and calming redness from irritated pimples. The oil itself isn’t heavy, it almost feels like a slightly thicker water, so it doesn’t feel greasy on the skin.

Their eye cream is also supposed to be amazing, must seek that one out…



I met Candice last month at Green + Good, a pop-up event at The Gladstone Hotel that hosted the best of Canada’s eco and natural beauty and skincare products. She gave an amazing presentation on what is really going into your products, what to avoid and how to change your routine. It doesn’t have to be a complete overhaul, because it’s not going to be easy. Don’t start with your absolute favourite product–instead find a better alternative for something easy like a body cream and go from there. Her presentation was really informative and I know really inspired the crowd to think about what they are applying onto their bodies every day.

The average woman applies about 9 personal care products a day, and in many cases this adds up to a great deal of toxic chemicals too, around 168 to be exact. Detoxing from the outside in is just as important as from the inside out. The skin after all is the largest organ on the body and absorbs 60% of the stuff we put on it, so it’s really important to use skin care products that don’t compromise your health.  As the Eco Expert on The Marilyn Denis Show, I get to try hundreds of products; here are some of my top choices. I use these everyday and are truly tired and tested.

I can’t live without:
Body Oil
Tata Harper’s revitalizing body oil. It feels like silk on the body, I have dry skin in the winter and simply can’t live without it. The smell….the texture…simple perfection! It softens and hydrates the skin and never ever stains my clothes. I have had a few issues with that over the years.
I have not worn perfume for 15 years, my hubby is horribly allergic.  Evoke The Elements Within is a collection of pure botanical perfume that I can wear and not kill my husband or co-workers with. EVOKE is so much more than a perfume, its aromatherapy in a bottle. Each scent is associated with an organ and all the ingredients used help to balance the mind and the body. Wood (liver) evokes harmony, Earth (stomach) evokes peace, Water (kidney) evokes wisdom, Metal (lungs) evokes happiness and Fire (heart) evokes joy. Okay I am a little biased with this choice as its curated manufactured by moi. I developed this collection because I was kinga grossed out by all the synthetics in perfume and wanted to give women a choice that’s healthy and luxurious.  
My morning and bed time routine:
I have never been one to use toner until I tried Pai’s Rice Plant and Rosemary BioAffinity Tonic. I spray this directly onto my face in the morning and the evening and feel totally revitalized. I use it every other day, not for any particular reason; I just love the way it smells and feels on my skin.
I use 3 different make up removers regularly because I can’t choose a fave:
Pai’s Camellia & Rose Hydrating Cleansing Cream because the smell is incredible and I love the texture of the cream, I have one dry spot on my left cheek that flares up every once in a while and this helps quite a bit. It’s technically a cleaner but I use it to remove makeup as well.

Tata Harper’s Refreshing Cleanser smells a-may-zing, clearly I love my products to smell beautiful. It also removes makeup really well; it’s soft and silky and washes off so easily.
I’ve been using the Cleansing Oil for a few months now. It smells amazing and feels light. My favorite part is that the oil does not drip into my eyes as I wash it off. I previously used makeup wipes, but always felt a residue on my skin after. With this my face felt super clean and refreshed!
Work day pick me up:
One love Organics vitamin d Active Moisture Time Release Mist: the only thing I can say about this product is TRY IT NOW.  I keep this at my desk and use it 3 times a day. One spray is all you need to feel completely revitalized. The smell is to die for and who does not love Vitamin D in a bottle?
Green Smoothie for your hair:

This product had me at “a smoothie for your hair”. I was intrigued when it landed on my desk. Eco hair products can be a tough sell (much like perfume) but this one is a cut above the rest. It did not weigh my hair down, my hair felt soft (but not too soft) and bouncy. Plus it has broccoli in it (but still smells yummy) which is really cool too!
Other things to keep in mind:
Go local and handmade
There is good news on the horizon, there are more small manufacturers popping up using mainly natural and organic ingredients. There is more transparency with their ingredients and because it’s made locally there is less of an impact on the environment, when it comes to carbon emissions caused by the transportation required to get the product to you.
Make scents when it comes to fragrance
Companies do not have to disclose certain ingredients if they use the words “fragrance”, “perfume” or “parfum”. Under this umbrella fall almost three thousand synthetic ingredients, so when you see those three words you really don’t know what you are getting. Synthetic ingredients are much cheaper than essential oils and are now widely used in all personal care products. Look for fragrance from herbal infusions, essential oils herbs and flowers.
No SLS please!
SLS or sodium laurel sulphates are foaming agents found in many personal care products, these are harmful toxins to us and the planet. Look for coconut oil or decyl glucoside, made from corn and plant based.
Remember, less is more when it comes to ingredients
The best beauty products in the eco market place are those that have the fewest ingredients. We simply don’t need all that extra stuff. Many of the toxins that are used in our favourite products act as preservatives and fillers. The fact is, products, like food, should “go off” after six months.


Some say that you should never put on your body what you can’t put in your mouth–and this is specifically what the ladies at Earth Tu Face believe. All of their products can be eaten–every single lotion, scrub, balm and cream is made from 100% plant-based, food grade ingredients with organic oils and waxes. In addition, these products have been created with no animal testing and are housed in completely recyclable containers. This is truly a brand that won’t weigh on your conscience and you can feel good about using.

Speaking of eating–the first time I tried their Rosemary and Salt Lotion, I immediately pictured a fluffy foccacia covered in rosemary, olive oil and salt. Not that this lotion makes you smell like Italian bread–but the rosemary scent is vibrant and fresh, with a slight minty-ness. The lotion itself is wonderful–not too heavy and absorbs very quickly, leaving a light, herby scent behind. On particularly dry days (I have very dry skin), I love to layer some almond oil underneath.

The Rose Face Balm is not what you would normally envision for a balm–it is in no way heavy, goopy or waxy feeling. It is a very solid balm that you need to melt a bit first with your fingers. ETF describes this as a concentrated face cream as it contains no water, and I think that this is fair. It doesn’t feel as if you are slicking on a heavy layer, it’s light, protective and very hydrating. I probably wouldn’t recommend this for oilier skins, but for normal to drier skins, this would work wonderfully and be particularly beneficial in the cold Winter months. It also contains coconut oils (known to be great as an anti-bacterial ingredient), and sandalwood and lavender oils, which make for an incredible scent.

Dying to try the rest of their range now.



As I’ve said many a time before, it was all about gold for the Spring/Summer 2014 runways. Gold on the clothes, in the makeup, everywhere.

Kure Bazaar, a relatively new nail polish brand from Paris, takes their colour inspiration straight from the runways, so it’s not a surprise that ‘Or Pur‘ (pure gold for you non-French speakers) is part of their collection.

While being on-trend, Kure polishes are made from eco-natural formulas–they are 4-free (no formaldehyde, toluene, dibutyl phthalate, or synthetic camphor) and 85% of the polish is of natural origin based on wood pulp, wheat, cotton, potatoes and corn.

Knowing this, I was pretty skeptical about how well this polish would apply, but it was surprisingly really fluid, and applied really smoothly, had great coverage and lasts just as long as regular nail polish. One coat of this soft gold shade leaves a bit of the whites of your nails peeking through (which looks pretty cool, actually, sort of futuristic French manicure), and a second coat gives full opacity.

Kure Bazaar is available in Toronto at The Detox Market, and online from BeautyHabit and Sprit Beauty Lounge.


Toronto is buzzing about Province Apothecary–Canada’s newest addition to the natural skincare game. Julie Clark, PA’s founder and creator, makes all of the products herself in Toronto. Julie is a Holistic Health Practitioner and Aromatherapist and incorporates her knowledge of essential oils and natural ingredients to create beautiful, healing skincare products. The range contains only natural, raw, wild and organic materials that are sourced locally.

Julie also creates bespoke perfumes and gives holistic aromatherapy skin care treatments in Toronto. I cannot say enough good things about this brand–products that are so natural that you can eat and they work (plus, I love the beautiful packaging).

Moisturizing Cleanser & Makeup Remover: For some reason I was expecting this to be a cream, but it is actually an oil (a mix of sunflower seed, avocado, jojoba, raspberry seed and evening primrose, to be exact)–and a really nice one at that. Sunflower seed oil is easily absorbed into the skin, rich in vitamins and non-comedogenic. Often cleansing oils are mostly mineral oil, which clogs pores, and I was so happy to discover an all-natural oil cleanser that worked. The fragrance is light but beautiful, with extracts of rosemary leaf, bergamot and lavender, but not overpowering or irritating by any means. The oil is lightweight and leaves skin feeling so, so soft and really hydrated. It does exactly what it says. I use this with my Clarisonic sometimes and always finish with a wash cloth. Definitely my favourite of the four (though I really love the toner as well).

Invigorating & Balancing Toner: Again–smells just amazing. Witch Hazel and Geranium wake you up with their bright scent. Spray on after cleansing or throughout the day for a Beauty Elixir-esque pick-me-up.

Repairing & Conditioning Lip Balm: This is a really light balm, that smells great, applies like butter, but isn’t overpowering. Lavender, Calendula and Peppermint hydrate and heal cracked lips while giving the illusion of fresh breath. I would think that boys would love this gem as it doesn’t have a shiny finish or any tint.

Regenerating & Stimulating Exfoliator: A really gentle and versatile scrub that can be tailored to any skin type. Mix 1 tsp of the exfoliating powder with the product of your choice, based on your skin type: honey for acne, yogurt for oily skin or AHA exfoliation, and oil or cream for dry skin. The scrubbing granules are made of oatmeal, making the particles softer than your average scrubbing beads (great for more sensitive and delicate skins).


In an effort to try to incorporate more natural products into my routine, I’ve tried out a few of Weleda’s star products: Almond Soothing Cleansing Lotion, Wild Rose Deodorant and Lavender Oil. I know what you’re thinking. Natural deodorant? Ya, right. Not to be trusted and all that.

Do you know that most deodorants and antiperspirants contain the potentially dangerous aluminum? It supposedly goes into your bloodstream after each application and is thought to be a carcinogen. I’m not sure about how much research there is on this, but it can never hurt to be careful.

I don’t, however, want to be so careful that I end up stinking. Never. Ever. Currently I am using a roll-on deodorant by Ban, that I like. It works, and I hate the usual bars from Secret and Lady Speedstick (they just get bunched up in my armpits) so I find that a liquid works best for me.

Initially, I was really, really nervous about try out the deodorant. I had even planned on putting it on one day when I had work and yoga that evening, but I chickened out and grabbed my faithful Ban at the last moment. I finally got over it this past weekend and applied it. And you know what? It won’t stop you from sweating (it’s natural to sweat, btw), but you will not stink. I wore it all weekend–through yoga, house cleaning, cooking–and yes, I did sweat (it’s natural to, remember) but I did not stink. One bit.

This is a very fragrant rose-scented spray that you apply to the armpits. It dries fairly quickly, and won’t stain your clothes. I think that the instructions say that you should reapply a few times a day, but I didn’t need to.

The almond cleanser is also a great find–it’s a very light lotion, not on the creamy side like Clinique’s Comforting Cream Cleanser, and has a slight foamy feel to it straight out of the tube. Very gentle, non-stripping, great for sensitive skins and perfect for a morning cleanse. Doesn’t really remove all makeup though, so don’t count on it getting rid of mascara.

I love the scent of lavender, I find it so soothing. This beautifully fragranced oil is perfect for baths, or what I like to do is mix in a few drops with my unscented almond oil after my shower to help lull me to sleep.


OVER THE PAST YEAR, I’ve really become more conscious of the ingredients in products that I am putting on my face. Things like mineral oil, parabens and sulphates can all wreak havoc on the skin, not to mention all of the other chemicals.

However, making the transition to organic and all-natural skincare and makeup products is actually quite difficult.Natural formulations aren’t quite as advanced as synthetic products yet, but integrating a few new natural products into your routine is already a step in the right direction.

I’m really loving the natural skincare products that are out there right now. For my look, I started by cleansing with Weleda’s Almond Soothing Natural Cleansing Lotion and a hot wash cloth. This cleanser is super gentle, and great for sensitive skin. Then, to slough away any dry, flaky patches, I exfoliated with Province Apothecary’s Regenerating & Stimulating Exfoliator. I love this product because the oatmeal granules are gentle and you can mix it with different natural ingredients like honey (acne-prone skin) or yogurt (oily skin) depending on your skin type.

After a thorough cleanse, I sprayed on Province Apothecary’s Invigorating and Balancing Toner and finished with Aurelia’s Cell Revitalise Day Moisturizer. Aurelia’s moisturizer smells heavenly and has the power of probiotics.

Since this is all about natural products, I thought I would go for a natural look–so no foundation. Only a bit of concealer under the eyes (which I’ll admit–was the un-natural Lancome Effacernes), a smudge of eyeliner (also un-natural Clarins Khôl Eyeliner) and a swipe of mascara (again, the synthetic Clarins Be Long). But! I redeemed myself with my lips and cheeks. I prepped my pout with Province Apothecary’s Repairing & Conditioning balm, then applied RMS’s Lip2Cheek in Smile, which I used on both cheeks and lips for a healthy, peachy glow.




These two products are a match made in heaven.

As you already know, Anna has completely switched over to Eminence’s all-natural products for her teenage acne-prone complexion.

Unfortunately for me, at the age of 25, I now suffer from adult acne. What was once a completely clear face 24/7 became a hormonal acne nightmare for me after turning 23. Out of nowhere.

This past week, I had a terrible break out due to the time of the month, and from eating a few bad things (who can resist brownies at a sleepover? or homemade macaroni and cheese? Dairy + Sweets + Hormones=  The Devil, unfortunately). I really felt like nothing at all was working. I had all these pimples and under the skin bumps, and it seemed like nothing was coming to a head. I even wore next to no makeup all weekend to really let my skin breathe.

So, I emulsified the masque with a few drops of water and mixed in a few drops of the booster, and lo and behold, a few of the bumps disappeared, some of the pimples came to a head, and much of the redness was gone.

The masque itself is a concoction including cucumber, yogurt, Kaolin clay and tea tree oil, that when applied, creates an intense, cooling sensation on the skin. When combined with the Willow Bark Booster, calming and exfoliating benefits are added to help clarify the skin. The serum can also be used under moisturizer daily, or whenever your skin needs an extra kick in the butt.

These two products are available at the Oakville Beauty Institute, either on their own or as part of the Clear Skin Starter Set. They are also available individually in our shop.


If there’s anything I’ve learned in the past three years of high school, it would be that adults really have no idea the stress we teens are put through. Between the long hours of school/homework (thus resulting in the lack of free time), pressure to get extremely high grades (getting into university has become more and more competitive these days), maintain somewhat of a fitness routine, squeeze in a few extra-curriculars (ahem, like writing for a blog) and, you know, having somewhat of a social life, it’s super hectic and we get like, no credit. And with said angsty years comes the all too wonderful bundle of swinging moods, acne and those awkward years that mysteriously have disappeared from all social networking sites (untagging is my best friend). Anyways, what I’m getting at here is that it’s been a hella frustrating ordeal in terms of my face over the past, I guess, four to five years. I remember as a kid my face was always dry and chapped. As I started breaking out, I experimented with many, many products and somehow ended up with extremely oily skin for a good three years. I honestly thought that I was just one of the unfortunate few with this skin type and somewhat found ways to cope with the shiny days–until about a month and a half ago, when God blessed me with an angel, in the form of a middle-aged Polish facialist who had better skin than yours truly (a good 30 years younger).
Amanda and my mom got their first jet peels and were completely wowed by the results. My mom’s facialist, Tanya, said that the jet peel would work great on my acne-prone skin, so my mom was more than willing to bring me in (thank God). Yada yada yada, Amanda’s already told you about the jet peel.
Tanya arranged that I would come in every two weeks for a total of  five jet peels, then we’d try some laser to remove the scarring. She set me up with a whole new regimen, which I was very apprehensive towards. I hadn’t heard much about the all-natural brand, Éminence, that the spa used/sold (and I mean all-natural, every single one of their products sounds like you could eat it–and you probably could). Amanda had heard good things, and quite frankly, what I was doing wasn’t working (a prescriptive called Tactuo). Not only has my skin really calmed down since switching gears, but I can’t even classify my skin as oily anymore. It’s normal (!). This may not sound like very much but let me tell you, when your normally high-maintenance face requires no touch-ups 5 hours in, you know something great has happened.

The cleanser smells super herby and I’m not so into that, but it’s gentle and I use it at morning and at night. Same goes for the moisturizer–morning and night, last step. Tanya also recommended the Yonka Emulsion Concentrée, which you need to dilute with distilled water (50:50) unless you prefer to have no skin at all–I use this in the mornings, post-wash. At night, I use Peter Thomas Roth’s Glycolic Toner instead, which is a little stronger and exfoliates non-abrasively. When I’m feeling particularly diligent or I have something important the following day, I’ll treat my self to some Généfique face and eye serum at night following my toner. Oh, and once a week I use the Clear Skin mask (also smells like a hippy) to give my skin a little kick. That’s it. The combination of the facials and the products have not only done heaps in clearing my skin, but have also faded a lot of the marks from old breakouts. Ya, the regimen isn’t the most pocket-friendly, but when we’re talking about your skin, particularly your face, how you feel about it is so important. And honestly, sometimes you just need a new perspective on your approach.

–Anna Raponi