Akita Natural Hand Cream Review

Akita is a skincare company founded in Turkey specializing in rose water and rose oil skincare. They have four different product lines; rose, lavender, cacao and unscented and use natural plant-based ingredients. I bought a number of Akita’s rosewater products, one of them being the hand cream from the rose line. I get very dry hands no matter the season and in the colder months will get very dry, peeling skin.

Ingredients: Water, Apricot Seed Oil, Glycerin, Beeswax, Cetyl Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Mono Stearate, Olive oil, Ceteareth-20, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Aloe Vera Barbendensis, Rose Essential Oil, Hazelnut Oil, Centaury Oil, Sesame Oil, Chamomilla Extract, Sweet Almond Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract.

These ingredients are all natural and this product claims to soften skin and protect the skin’s natural moisture balance while accelerating healing. Along with a number of oils, this product contains beeswax. Beeswax provides a protective barrier and can act as a humectant (attracts water). Centaury oil comes from the yellow centaury flower and is used primarily in the treatment of burns and wounds.

I got the rose hand cream in the hopes that it would sooth my dry hands and prevent further peeling and soreness in the winter months. I use this primarily twice a day, in the morning and evening. This is a very strong-smelling product; not unpleasant, but a very strong rose smell that lingers for a couple hours. The cream is very thick, so a little goes a long way. It absorbs nicely and almost immediately without feeling greasy, but leaves a bit of a protective layer that is not heavy feeling. This protective feeling lasts even through a couple hand washes. For me, there was immediate relief of dryness and pain that very dry hands can cause. The cream is very smoothing and indeed prevented new peeling skin and dry spots on my hands. I didn’t find much difference in the signs of aging my hands; the bit of wrinkling and thinner skin around the knuckles, but I didn’t really expect to. This hand cream would be a good preventative for some of the signs of aging, however. I really like the Akita hand cream and will definitely repurchase.


B True Beauty Eyelash Enhancer Review

B True Beauty is a company that uses 100% all natural and certified organic ingredients and uses packaging that is recyclable, natural and biodegradable. The Eyelash Enhancer uses 100% organic ingredients and claims to enhance and accelerate the length of the eyelashes where you can start seeing results in as little as 7 days. In addition, this product is formulated to condition, thicken and fortify the eyelashes. It can be used on eyebrows as well.

The product comes in a tube with a mascara-like wand that you brush onto clean eyelashes like you would mascara; to be used in the evening. It can be used for people with sensitive eyes and those who wear contact lenses. The tube should last 6 months.

Ingredients: Certified Organic Castor Oil, Certified Organic Argan Oil, Certified Organic Aloe Vera Oil, Certified Organic Rosehip Seed Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Certified Organic Vitamin E Oil, Certified Organic Lavender Oil, Certified Organic Lemon Oil.

The first ingredient is castor oil which has been touted as a go-to natural hair growth ingredient with anecdotal positive results. I couldn’t find any actual scientific articles, however. It seems it might contribute to scalp health which in turn can lead to healthier looking hair. Then there are other plant oils – argan, aloe vera, rosehip seed, apricot kernel and vitamin E. These oils provide omega fatty acids, moisture, conditioning and nourishment to hair and skin. The last two ingredients are lavender and lemon essential oils. I’ve read that these essential oils contribute to scalp health and therefore hair growth. This might translate in a similar way to health of the eyelids at the root of the eyelash.

I have short, thin eyelashes and B True Beauty Eyelash Enhancer is the first lash lengthening product I’ve tried. It is a thin, pale yellow oil. The smell is a bit like pine needles; it smells like it would be irritating to the eye (I didn’t find this to be the case, however). Small beads of oil stick to the eyelashes and get on the eyelids as well. I used this product for 4 to 5 months. I didn’t see any lengthening or thickening of my eyelashes, but I was surprised to see they looked healthier, more moisturized and smoother. Mascara seemed to apply better and my eyelashes looked nicer in mascara than previous. It didn’t occur to me until trying this product that like hair, eyelashes and eyebrows need to be nurtured and moisturized especially with the stress of eyebrows being waxed and tweezed and eyelashes being coated with mascara.

While this didn’t lengthen or thicken the eyelashes, it did make my eyelashes look healthier and more moisturized. I’ve just started using marula oil (from The Ordinary) on my hair and feel like I might get similar results using it on my eyelashes as well (at a fraction of the cost).

I’ve since bought Lash and Brow Booster Serum, a new product in the medical skincare line, BioBliss, from Prairie Bliss Botanicals. I’ll be using this on my eyebrows and eyelashes, so keep an eye out for that review in a few months’ time.

Boo Bamboo Natural Sunscreen Spray Review

I’ve been looking for a natural spray sunscreen and found Canadian company Boo Bamboo’s Natural Sunscreen Spray in SPF 30. This is a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection that uses zinc oxide. Boo Bamboo says this product is non-nano, non-whitening, unscented and vegan.


Medicinal Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 16.5%

Non-Medicinal Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Aqua/Water/Eau, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Caprylic-Capric Triglyceride, Dilauryl Citrate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Gluconolactone, Glycerol, Hydrogenated Methyl Abietate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Lauryl Glucoside, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Methylcellulose, Octyldodecyl Citrate Crosspolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Polyglyceryl-4 Laurate, Populus Tremuloides Bark Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Sodium Lauryl Glucose Carboxylate, Sodium Phytate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Sorbitan Laurate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum*

*I bought this sunscreen at Well.ca based on the above ingredients. When checking Boo Bamboo’s website, the ingredients are very different than those on my sunscreen canister and Well.ca, and state the product contains zinc oxide 9.5%, octocrylene 6% and octisalate 4% as the active ingredients and uses a few different inactive ingredients as well. About a month ago I emailed Boo Bamboo asking why the different ingredient lists and which list is correct, and have yet to receive a response.

The sunscreen I have is 30 SPF and uses 16.5% zinc oxide that sits on the skin to reflect the sun’s rays. These types of sunscreens are called physical sunscreens, as opposed to chemical sunscreens that absorb the sun’s rays.

To go over some of the more unfamiliar ingredients – Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder (bamboo) is rich in minerals and protein and is used as a moisturizer and can restore elasticity to the skin. Hydrogenated methyl abietate increases viscosity. Ethylhexylglycerin is a surfactant and preservative enhancer, used as an alternative to parabens. This sunscreen has radish root ferment and phenoxyethanol as preservatives.

The packaging offers a continuous spray that is thicker than that of the chemical sunscreens, so sticks a bit to the spray nozzle after use. It’s unscented, so has its natural scent which is kind of like a plastic-y plant maybe. It’s not a wonderful smell, but once rubbed into the skin (which only a takes a few seconds), doesn’t seem to linger too long. Also once rubbed in, it has a heavier feeling on the skin to the touch, but has no white residue.

I spent a lot of time outside this summer in 29ºC and 30ºC full sun weather, and the Boo Bamboo Natural Sunscreen Spray works. At the beach my kids and I used this sunscreen whereas my husband did not, and he was the only one that got reddened skin. I got a bit of a tan on my chest area, but also didn’t reapply the sunscreen every 2 hours as directed.

I will definitely purchase Boo Bamboo’s Natural Sunscreen Spray again (and hope that the company gets back to me regarding the ingredients).


Colorescience Sunforgettable Sunscreen Review

Before getting a skin consultation in my early 30s and really starting to look at what my skin needed, I never wore sunscreen. I don’t burn easily, so figured I didn’t need it. Clearly, I was very wrong; everyone needs to wear sunscreen and I have hyperpigmentation and aging caused by the sun (I just thought they were normal freckles). So of course I needed to buy sunscreen, but didn’t want just makeup or powder with SPF and I didn’t want a cream or lotion as they feel heavy on my skin and are difficult to reapply especially with makeup on. The Sunforgettable SPF 50 loose mineral sunscreen from Colorescience with the brush is the first facial sunscreen I bought (they updated their packaging in February 2017 so looks different from my photo, but still uses the same ingredients). I use the SPF 50 brush-on in the medium shade.

Ingredients for Medium shade (SPF 50)
Active Ingredients:
Titanium Dioxide 23.9%; Zinc Oxide 24.1%

Inactive Ingredients:
Mica, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Lithothamnion Calcareum Extract, Mannitol, Methicone, Dimethicone, Calcium Silicate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Sodium Sulfate, Laureth-4, Diatomaceous Earth, Zinc Sulfate, Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)

This is a lightweight powder mineral sunscreen using titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that sits on top the skin to reflect/deflect the sun’s rays to offer UVA and UVB protection. These are called physical sunscreens or physical blockers. Mica is a fine powder used for coloring in cosmetics. Dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, methicone and dimethicone are silicones. Methicone creates a barrier that prevents sweat and oil from shining through. Dimethicone forms a hydrating barrier on the skin. I’m only assuming these work similarly in powder form as with this sunscreen. Calcium silicate is used as an absorbent or a bulking ingredient and is opacifying. Triethoxycaprylylsilane can work as a binder and emulsifier and has silicone components that allow pigments to disperse well. Sodium sulfate is an inorganic salt. It’s used to increase the thickness of the water portion of a product, so not too sure how this translates to a powder product. Laureth-4 is used as a cleansing agent and/or enhances texture. Diatomaceous earth is fossilized remains of tiny water organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of silica that collect in the sediment of rivers and lakes. Zinc sulfate helps inhibit growth of bacteria. Chromium oxide greens and iron oxides are used as pigments.

To apply, I tap the brush on my hand to get the product in the brush, and then apply to the face and neck in small circles. As with any sunscreen, directions say to reapply every 2 hours. It didn’t look like makeup when it was applied; I couldn’t really even tell it was on unless I looked at a mirror up close. It was easy to reapply through the day and over makeup (the makeup look wasn’t affected by the sunscreen). When I first used this product a few years ago it was summer and I was using Retin-A at night, so it was very important to apply sunscreen as Retin-A makes skin more sensitive to the sun. The Sunforgettable brush-on mineral sunscreen worked very well. My skin didn’t burn or get more hyperpigmentation and I did not notice any new tanning.

I’ve been using this sunscreen for years now and at my last purchase had asked for a refill, only to be told that the company discontinued the refills as customers found that over time the brush would become clogged with product and the minerals wouldn’t dispense easily. That was my complaint as well. Despite cleaning the brush as instructed (spraying cleaner on a paper towel and swiping the outside of the brush on it) it seemed inevitable that product would get stuck in the brush and the inner brush bristles would become tangled in each other with the bristles feeling scratchy on the skin. I’ve used about half my current jar and the brush is already becoming clogged as there is product that is not removed from the middle of the brush. The brush itself is soft on the skin (when new) and doesn’t lose any fibers. I’ve always been reluctant to wash this brush like I might a makeup brush, as I am worried that water will seep up the brush and get the product wet.

I was hoping to buy this sunscreen with a different delivery system such as a pressed powder (which would be just as convenient and I could have a bit more control over how much is used). I thought they used to have a pressed powder sunscreen on their website, but haven’t been able to find it again. I find it a bit difficult to tell how much product I’m applying with the brush-on, so probably use too much or too little at times. Colorescience says a jar should last 3 months when used as instructed, but I still find this a bit expensive. However, it works and is probably the most convenient product I have purchased.

I’ve been using this product for years and love it, but it’s time to review other sunscreens. Canadian skincare company, Deciem, has, I believe, two sunscreen lines launching soon which I am eagerly awaiting.




Prairie Bliss Botanicals Caffeine Fix Eye Serum Review

The skin around the eye is thin and the first place to show signs of aging. After finishing YBF Skincare’s Correct Eye Cream, I was looking for an eye treatment that wasn’t such a heavy hitter, as my eyes are pretty good – a few fine lines and can look tired in the mornings with a bit of discoloration and a bit of puffiness especially after too little sleep.

Prairie Bliss Botanicals is a small Canadian spa company based in Saskatoon, SK that makes a number of all natural and organic skin care products. After reading the description of the Caffeine Fix Eye Serum, I wasn’t sure what the texture was going to be like. It’s called an eye serum, but the description says it is a “rich eye cream.” When I bought this serum, there was no ingredient list on the website or on the bottle I received, so I emailed the company asking for the ingredients. They responded to my email within the hour saying they couldn’t provide me with ingredients as it was propriety information. I see that the website now lists the ingredients; however, it is a hover list and has a copyright label, so I’m not sure I’d be allowed to list it fully here. Please see their website for a full list of ingredients. I’ll go through the primary ingredients though.

bliss caffeine fix

Primary ingredients: Organic coffee, vitamin E, grape seed oil

I’m not sure if the company uses coffee, coffee bean oil, coffee extract and/or caffeine. Depending on what is used, there are lesser or greater amounts of caffeine and fatty acids. For example, coffee bean oil has a small amount of caffeine, but is rich in fatty acids, and smells like coffee. Caffeine on its own has no smell. Caffeine can help reduce eye puffiness as it enhances circulation. Caffeine is an antioxidant and helps protect the skin against UV radiation.

Vitamin E is an antioxidant, fighting free radicals and helping prevent wrinkles. It is a good moisturizer for the skin.

Grape seed oil is an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. It has fatty acids, helping improve wrinkles and may improve scars and marks. It contains vitamins C, D and E.

Directions say to apply a small amount after moisturizing – after moisturizing the eye or face I’m not sure. It seems a bit redundant to use two eye products as the Caffeine Fix is plenty moisturizing.

The serum is packaged in a dark blue bottle, protecting it from light. It uses a pump which could have been better. I found that the pump was not very easy to push down smoothly, and way too much product would very suddenly come out as the pump eventually was able to be pushed down. It is very light yellow in color and is an oil serum, not a rich cream. It smells amazing; just like a cup of freshly roasted coffee. I didn’t really like to use it in the morning as it took a few minutes to absorb fully and if I got too much (which was easy to do with the pump) I found it could be a bit irritating if it got too close to my eye and just looked too oily, so I ended up just using it at night. I’ve used it so far for about 3 months. In the morning my eyes look less tired, less puffy and feel so moisturized, soft and smooth to the touch. I didn’t find too much difference in fine lines or under-eye darkness (may need to use it longer to see these results).

I don’t think I’d buy this again, as I much prefer an eye cream to an oil serum, but Caffeine Fix is very moisturizing and helps the eyes look more awake. This will last a long time as such a small amount is needed and it is very fluid (however the pump is not as smooth as it should be which leads to wasted product).