Elegantly Eco

Eco-Friendly Beauty, Fashion, Reviews, and Info


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September/October: Empties

My empties are quite late this month. But at long last here they are!

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Lily of the Desert, Aloe Vera Juice Inner Fillet – No review

Aloe vera is very soothing for the skin and hair. Some people also like to drink it. I prefer to use it externally. I’m currently using this in a hair rinse and in my leave-in conditioner. This aloe vera has a few additives like citric acid and potassium sorbate which rate as a 2 and 3 on EWG’s Skin Deep.

Cost: $29.99 CAD, 3.8 L / 128 oz
Available at: Ambrosia Natural Foods, Well.ca, Healthy Planet
Brand Origin: USA
Rating: 4/5

Thayer’s Original Witch Hazel with Aloe VeraReview

Well there isn’t much I can say about this item that I haven’t said before. Witch Hazel is a staple in my medicine cabinet for its versatility. I use it as a toner and I also use it to make my own perfume. I’ve already repurchased this!

Cost: $12.99 CAD, 355 ml / 12 oz
Available at: Well.ca, Big CarrotNoah’s Natural Foods
Brand Origin: USA
Rating: 5/5

Silkka Garden Apothecary, Blossom Hydration Mist – Review

This has become one of my favourite mists. I love multi-function products. I use this as a toner when my skin needs hydration. I’ve also used it as a perfume and it’s great on my hair too! I only wish this was available in a refill so that I could just keep the one bottle and keep refilling it.

Cost: $15.00 CAD, 60 ml / 2 oz
Available at: Silkka Garden Apothecary
Brand Origin: Canada
Rating: 5/5

Phyt’s, Fluide Hydratant (sample) – No review

I received a 3ml sample of this from my acupuncturist JoAnn Alafriz and while I liked the product it seems a bit pricey to me. I also didn’t like that they do not disclose what parfum consists of.

Cost: $88.00 USD, 40 g / 1.4 oz
Available at: Phyt’s Beauty and Spa, Phyt’s USA
Brand Origin: France
Rating: 3/5

Sudsatorium, Java Conditioner – Review to come

As with all Sudsatorium products I’ve tried so far, I love the smell of this stuff! Java conditioner is a lovely, hydrating conditioner. I honestly can’t decide which conditioner I love from these guys. It helps that this local company is also vegan, fair trade and helps grassroots charities. What’s not to love?

Cost: $6.95 CAD, 60 ml/ 2 oz
Available at: Sudsatorium
Brand Origin: Canada
Rating: 5/5

Sudsatorium, Bosom’s Buddy (aka The Firm) – Review to come

This is a firming lotion which was formerly called The Firm. I know it’s meant to be used for the breasts but I actually used it on my wobbly bits (arms, thighs, belly). I used it for a month and then stopped using it to see if I would feel a difference. The verdict? My skin does feel firmer with this lotion. The only teeny tiny thing I don’t like about this lotion is that the scent is very strong. It does dissipate so that’s good. Despite the strong smell I think I’ll repurchase this because I like the results it gives.

Cost: $17.95 CAD, 125 ml/ 4.2 oz
Available at: Sudsatorium, Natural Code
Brand Origin: Canada
Rating: 4/5

Flowers to Fragrance, Lavender (Grosso) Essential Oil – No review

I love shopping local and Flowers to Fragrance is a company I first discovered at the Green Living Show. Lavender is another staple in my medicine cabinet and the quality of this essential oil is great! Will definitely repurchase.

Cost: $15.99 CAD, 10 ml / 0.3 oz
Available at: Flowers to Fragrance
Brand Origin: Canada
Rating: 5/5

Meow Meow Tweet, Grapefruit Baking Soda Free Deodorant (sample) – Review to come

This stuff works! And so far it hasn’t given me a rash like the baking soda based natural deodorants have. I finished my sample from Sarah of Natural Code and have already repurchased a full sized jar.

Cost: $20.99 CAD, 68 g / 2.4 oz
Available at: Natural Code, Well.ca
Brand Origin: USA
Rating: 5/5

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3 Summer Favourites

Natural SPF

Haut Cosmetics, Raspberry Seed Oil ElixirReview

Did you know that Raspberry Seed Oil has a natural SPF of 28-50? In my search for sunscreens that don’t break my face out this oil has been a godsend. My normal routine is to use a face oil before putting on primer or moisturizer and then apply makeup. So this fits in perfectly with my morning routine. It’s a quick absorbing oil, so if you will be out in the sun all day you’ll have to reapply.

Cost: $59.95 CAD, 80 ml / 2.7 oz
Available at: Haut Cosmetics
Brand Origin: Canada
Rating: 5/5

Hydration, hydration, hydration!

Silkka Garden Apothecary, Blossom Hydration MistReview

Despite the muggy weather recently in my fair city, I still need to make sure my skin and hair is adequately hydrated. That’s where Silkka’s mist comes in. It smells divine. I’m usually scent sensitive but for some reason this mist doesn’t bother me. In fact it’s quite the opposite. I love the smell and have to restrain myself from spraying too often. This mist is a facial mist but I also love using it for my hair and body.

Cost: $15.00 CAD, 60 ml / 2 oz
Available at: Silkka Garden Apothecary
Brand Origin: Canada
Rating: 5/5

Vanilla Bean Heaven

100% Pure, Vanilla Bean Nourishing Body LotionReview

The most scrumptious smelling vanilla body lotion. Smells good enough to eat but I wouldn’t recommend you do that! Cozy up to your significant other after slathering this on and you will have them drooling. I’m not usually a vanilla fan but this just smells amazing. It also works like gang busters for hydrating the skin.

Cost: $21.00 CAD, 236 ml / 8.0 oz
Available at: Glam Goes Green100% Pure, Detox Market Canada
Brand Origin: USA
Rating: 5/5

These are my 3 summer favourites. Which are yours?


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April / May: Empties

 

Beautiful Curls, Reviving Tonic – No review

I bought this at my local Whole Foods store. I was sorely disappointed in this product. It didn’t do anything to “revive” my curls on day two after washing. It also didn’t help to keep the frizz at bay. I’m not going to repurchase this item.

Cost: $ 9.99 CAD, 295 ml / 10 oz
Available at: Whole Foods, Beautiful Curls, iHerb, Vitacost
Rating: 2/5

Pure Chimp, Super One Facial Oil – No review

I received this in the previous Green Beauty Swap from Katie Vibes. Unfortunately when I started using it on my face I started breaking out. It’s too bad because I really loved the smell of this oil (banana extract). I finished it off using it as a body oil and didn’t have any further problems with breaking out.

Cost: $13.95 GBP, 60 ml / 2 oz
Available at: Pure Chimp
Rating: 3/5

Silkka Garden Apothecary, Blossom Hydration Mist Review

Another lifesaver for me during winter, this hydration mist smells like a floral paradise. Loved it! What can I say? I love floral scents. This mist was super hydrating and gentle on my sensitive skin. I have to confess, at times I would also use it as a perfume! I would definitely repurchase this product.

Cost: $ 15.00 CAD, 60 ml / 2 oz
Available at: Silkka Garden Apothecary
Rating: 5/5

Silkka Garden Apothecary, Grapefruit + Mint Cleansing Balm Review

This multi-purpose balm was a lifesaver during the winter months. It really helped to moisturize my face when it was extremely dry this winter. I also loved using it as a cleansing balm. I have acne prone, sensitive skin and it didn’t break me out at all. I would repurchase this product, especially during the winter months. When I finished it off recently I’d been using it as a body balm and it works great in that function as well!

Cost: $ 17.00 CAD, 50 ml / 1.6 oz
Available at: Silkka Garden Apothecary
Rating: 5/5


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Spotlight on: Liisa Allen, founder of Silkka Garden Apothecary

Note: Logo images are from the Silkka Garden Apothecary website.

I first learned of Silkka Garden Apothecary browsing the web for Canadian-made skincare. As my dear blog readers know, I love Canadian-made skincare and I’m always looking to try new brands to promote them. There are so many amazing Canadian businesses out there that the average Canadian consumer knows nothing about! Then I saw She’s So Eco’s post about her current skincare routine, mentioning Silkka. That confirmed it for me, I had to learn more! Now we get to go behind the scenes to discover the brand’s process and learn more about founder/crafter Liisa Allen’s journey. Read on for the interview and read yesterday’s reviews on the lovely products Liisa was so kind to send to me. I think you’ll agree that both Liisa and Silkka Garden Apothecary are fascinating!


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   Was it natural transition for you to go from being a journalist/freelance writer to a crafter of skincare?

   Yes, I think it was. I have always had an insatiable curiosity, wanting to understand how things work, how things are made. (“Why?” may have been my favourite question as a child.) Research has always been one of the most interesting aspects of writing for me, and coupled with my love for DIY, I’m not at all surprised that I fell in love with crafting skincare. My interest in it arose when I was pregnant with my first child, and once I started to scratch the surface of personal care labels, I felt compelled to dig a bit deeper to understand not only the ingredients being added to products but why. It made me realize that, as consumers, we’d started to expect certain characteristics in a product, and these were all very superficial things (how a product glides, or how quickly it’s absorbed by the skin, for example). It saddened me to realize we’d all been led to believe we needed these qualities in a product, when in truth we need so much less to nourish our skin. Ultimately, it’s simplicity we should be looking for in a product.

   How did you start your education in natural skincare?

   Reading practically anything I could get my hands on about skincare, anatomy, plants and essential oils. Once I started experimenting with different formulas, and realized I could satisfy my skin’s needs with very few ingredients, I was completely charmed by the idea of crafting my own skincare from then on. Of course, the best way to learn your craft is to get your hands dirty, and that applies to any skill or hobby. You can read books about writing or playing an instrument or taking photographs, but if you don’t actually practice it’s all for naught. While I credit education (I’m currently studying for my aromatherapy certification) for providing me with more in-depth knowledge, nothing has truly provided the understanding of how ingredients interact better than working with them.

   What one ingredient or product would you never, ever use today and why?

   There are many, but if I have to choose it would be “fragrance.” There are many undisclosed chemicals that comprise synthetic fragrances, like phthalates (a class of chemicals linked to hormone disruption) and neurotoxins (chemicals toxic to the brain) and besides that, they smell so unnatural.

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   Besides the products you create, what do you use in your daily routine?

   Make-up, if I’m going out (which really just means to the grocery store), but it’s a pretty basic routine consisting of concealer, blush, eyeliner, mascara and lip balm. On a typical day I use Sukin Organics shampoo and conditioner, Green Beaver fluoride-free toothpaste, whatever deodorant I’ve concocted last, and raw honey to wash my face with.

It’s a simple routine, obviously, but I prefer it that way. Over time I’ve found that having a lot of stuff, whether it’s clothes, beauty products or knickknacks, really weighs me down. I truly believe less is more, in all areas of life.

   What are your dreams or plans for where you would like to see Silkka go?

   In the immediate future I’m focused on growing the line, and including more products to accommodate a variety of skin types. The big dream includes planting and harvesting Silkka’s “Garden Apothecary” of healing herbs, offering a full range of products (for the entire family), and hiring a small staff to help in all areas of operations. Ultimately, I’d love to see Silkka products in stores across Canada, and with the growing awareness of and interest in natural products, I see this as a very real and attainable goal. I also think there’s still a bit of a niche to fill, in terms of affordability. From the beginning I pledged to make my products more affordable than most, and you’ll find almost all of Silkka’s current products are under $20. Whatever’s in store, I’m looking forward to the year ahead, connecting with customers new and old, hearing their feedback, and continuing to introduce new products to the line. I truly love what I do, and feel extremely fortunate that I get to do this every day!

My thanks to Liisa Allen not only for doing this interview and sending me the products (which I love) but for being a real sweetheart to deal with. You have a genuine warmth and sincerity that comes across in all the things you do and it has been a pleasure communicating with you. I’m sure others besides myself will fall in love with Silkka Garden Apothecary‘s products and with you!


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Product Review: Silkka Garden Apothecary Blossom Hydration Mist and Grapefruit + Mint Cleansing Balm


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Blossom Hydration Mist

Ingredients: Michelia champaca (Magnolia) floral water, Anthemis nobilis (Chamomile) floral water, Aloe barbadensis (Aloe) leaf juice and Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate.

This mist smells like a beautiful floral paradise. That makes sense once you look at the ingredients! Magnolia and chamomile floral waters make up the bulk of the ingredients. Aloe vera and chamomile assist with hydration as well as having soothing, cooling properties. I haven’t seen Magnolia used often in eco beauty but it does have an “ability to relax and rejuvenate the spirit.” The timing couldn’t be better for me to receive these products from the lovely and sweet Liisa Allen, founder and creator of Silkka Garden Apothecary’s products. It’s winter time and my skin has badly needed hydration this season. I’m usually one of those shiny, oily gals but this winter my skin really dried out, and started flaking and peeling. Not pretty! Thankfully the Blossom Hydration Mist and the Grapefruit + Mint Cleansing Balm did a one two punch on my dryness and knocked them out. The way I like to use this mist is to spray it on my face before putting on my primer and makeup for the day. It works so well at keeping my skin from getting too dried out. If I feel I need an extra boost of moisture throughout the day I bring out a tiny spray bottle I’ve transferred it into and spritz myself at work. I also spray it on my hair when I want to smell really pretty. Besides keeping my skin wonderfully hydrated, on days when I was fighting an allergic skin reaction it also helped calm my skin down. What can I say? This mist is pretty awesome. I would definitely repurchase this.

Cost: $15.00 CAD, 60 ml / 2 oz
Available at: Silkka Garden Apothecary
Rating: 5/5


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Grapefruit + Mint Cleansing Balm

Ingredients: Simmondsia chinensis (Jojoba) seed oil, Camellia sinensis (seed) oil, Butyrospermum parkii (Shea butter), Mango (Mangifera indica) butter, non-GMO Glycine (soy butter) soja, Cera alba (beeswax) and essential oils of Citrus paradisi (Grapefruit) and Mentha arvensis (Peppermint).

I haven’t had good experiences in the past with cleansing balms, so I wasn’t sure how my skin would react to this one. But I’m happy to report that my skin loved it! I also tested this balm on my body and it’s an overall great product to use. The balm is slightly grainy when you first take it out of the pot but melts easily onto the skin when warmed up by your body heat. It feels velvety and luxurious going on as a moisturizer. Plus it smells nice! The smell is lovely and subtle. I love multi-use products, especially when they are of good quality like this one. Not only do multi-use products save shelf space but also time and money. You don’t have to go out and buy two or three different things when this little baby can do it all. It worked really well for me as a cleanser, a body balm, and a moisturizing treatment mask. Without Silkka Garden Apothecary’s mist and this balm I would’ve had alligator skin this whole winter. I’m going to repurchase this as soon as I run out of it!

Cost: $ 17.00 CAD, 50 ml / 1.6 oz
Available at: Silkka Garden Apothecary
Rating: 5/5

My thanks to Liisa Allen of Silkka Garden Apothecary for the beautiful products. Stay tuned tomorrow for my interview with Liisa Allen!

Have you ever tried Silkka Garden Apothecary?