Bushbalm Body Polish and Oil Review

Bushbalm is a Canadian company, based in Ottawa, Ontario, that makes body scrubs and oils for the bikini area (but can be used anywhere on the body and the oils can be used on the eyebrows, lips and scalp hair as well). These products are said to soothe irritation and redness, prevent ingrown hairs and clear pores while shaving or waxing.

I generally shave most/all the pubic hair, so I get irritation, red bumps and razor burn. I use the Sweet Escape scented oil and scrub. I’ve never noticed ingrown hairs, so can’t comment on the effectiveness of the oil and scrub on treating/preventing these.

Exfoliating Scrub:

The body polish claims to exfoliate, remove dead skin cells, soften skin and help prevent ingrown hairs. As a note, it looks like the packaging for the scrub has been changed since my purchase (probably a good change, as I can never get the jar threads to fully seal).

Ingredients (Sweet Escape): Sugar, Jojoba Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Vanilla Extract, Tangerine & Tea Tree essential oils 

Jojoba oil is an emollient oil, similar to the sebum on the skin. Grapeseed oil is a light moisturizing oil. Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, said to calm redness, inflammation and swelling.

Directions state to rub a handful of the scrub in small circular motions on wet skin anywhere on the body.

The scrub smells very good; like a creamsicle. The scent is light. I use this on the bikini area and my underarms before and/or after shaving, about every 4 days. It is not too harsh on the skin. It exfoliates well and my skin feels smooth and moisturized after using.

The scrub isn’t particularly different or better than other sugar scrubs I’ve used, but I like that the scent matches the oil and it is nicer than my DIY sugar scrub.

Treatment Oil:

The oil claims to soften skin and hair, prevent and soothe ingrown hair and help redness and irritation along the bikini line.

Ingredients (Sweet Escape): Jojoba Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Tea Tree Oil, Copaiba Balsam Oil, Vanilla Fragrance Oil, Tangerine Oil.

Copaiba balsam oil is used for healing the skin, reducing inflammation and soothing irritation. The oil is said to smell woody, earthy and resinous (like tree sap).

Directions state to apply 3 to 4 drops to the bikini area after showering and/or shaving, trimming or waxing.

On opening the Sweet Escape bottle, it smells a bit like cinnamon to me, and applied to the skin, like a creamsicle with a hint of resin. The scent is light, and does not last long on the skin. The oil absorbs quickly with no heavy, oily or sticky residue.

The bottle the oil comes in has a dropper that is pushed down rather than squeezed to get the product out. While it looks nice and different from most other droppers, I find the squeeze dropper easier to use especially when handling with wet/oily fingers.

I’ve used the oil every day after showering for about a month on the bikini area and the underarms. The skin is moisturized, soft and smooth and this feeling lasts all day. Shaving with the direction of hair growth, razor bumps and irritation are reduced by 75% when using the oil. I get a bit of itchiness/irritation on regrowth of the hair around the third day, and this was reduced as well. Shaving against the direction of hair growth causes a lot of irritation and many razor bumps, and I wanted to see how the oil performed in this scenario, and there was about a 25% reduction in this case. On third day hair regrowth, there is a lot of itchiness/irritation and the oil helped this for about 10 minutes. So, this product performs better on milder irritation.

I’ve tried the Bushbalm oil on my hair, rubbing 3 drops on the hands and running through the hair to smooth fly-aways and leave behind a light tangerine scent. The oil softens and moisturizes the cuticles on fingers and toes. I tried a drop on my lips as well; it felt a bit heavier and not as moisturizing as the squalane oil I usually use and I’ll stick with the squalane oil for my lips.

A long while ago, I used a bikini area spray called U-Fresh by Prairie Bliss Botanicals, claiming to reduce irritation and ingrown hair, and Bushbalm works better than U-Fresh.

I would repurchase the Bushbalm oil and exfoliating scrub.

Thank you for reading.

Altilis Beauty BFF Liquid Foundation Review

Altilis Beauty is a Canadian skincare company using eco-friendly, sustainable ingredients, namely the breadfruit flower; the “BFF” in their liquid foundation. The BFF foundation is made in-house, is all-natural, sustainable, cruelty-free, organic and comes in 14 shades.

Altilis Beauty says this anti-aging foundation provides weightless, medium to full coverage with a satin, radiant finish that claims to instantly smooth and reduce the appearance of wrinkles, pigmentation and blemishes, making the skin look younger and giving a natural radiance that lasts all day. One to two pumps of this buildable foundation can be applied using a brush, sponge or fingertips.

Ingredients: Squalane, Silica, Tapioca Starch Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891), Cetyl Alcohol, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Artocarpus altilis (Breadfruit) Flower Extract, Mica, Natural Fragrance, Iron Oxides (CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499)

With only 10 ingredients, the first is squalane. This is naturally found in the skin and decreases as we age. Squalane provides non-greasy hydration.
Tapioca starch polymethylsilsesquioxane is tapioca powder modified with a silicone that is often used as a thickener, can reduce the oily feeling on the skin caused by some products and provides a soft feeling to the skin. This foundation contains vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbyl palmitate. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that can brighten the skin and can lighten pigmentation over time. According to Altilis Beauty, breadfruit flower extract is an antioxidant with soothing and protective properties while evening out skin tone and reducing redness. BFF foundation contains natural fragrance, mica and silica.

This is the first product I’ve tried from Altilis Beauty. The company offers up to three free samples (pay for shipping) so you can try the shade you think you are, one shade lighter and one shade darker. I was looking for a natural, light coverage foundation that would cover redness and blackheads, but still look like my skin. I have combination skin in colder weather (it is winter in Canada now) and more oily skin in the summer. When using foundation when my skin is dryer I use a cream and when oily I use an oil absorbing lotion (like Balance from Your Best Face Skincare) under the foundation.

After purchasing a few samples, I bought the shade “Melita” for tan skin with olive undertones – it matches my skin perfectly.

I tried this with and without primer to see how long it lasted throughout the day. I very rarely wear makeup, but used this for a month, five days a week, to see how it affected my skin. Throughout the month, I used the same products under the foundation; Caudalie Grape Water, The Ordinary Marine Hyaluronics, Drunk Elephant Protini Polypeptide Cream mixed with The Ordinary’s L-Ascorbic acid powder; and over the foundation, Becca Hydra-Mist Set and Refresh Powder. I didn’t use concealer, as I wanted to see how the foundation settled into the lines around my eyes and covered the breakouts and texture on my skin.

This separates in the bottle, so needs to be shaken well before use. This is a rather thin foundation that goes on the skin very smooth and silky. I put two pumps on the skin, spread it with my fingers and then used a Sephora Pro foundation brush to buff it into the skin (this applies nicely with fingers alone as well). There is a fragrance to the foundation that doesn’t really dissipate and I’d catch a whiff of it with a breeze or when turning my head. Even after cleaning the brush used, the fragrance still lingers. It’s not a bad smell and not a deal-breaker. The ingredients state “natural fragrance;” so I assume it’s added and not just the natural scent of the foundation itself.

The above photo is the foundation on its own, no primer. It covered the redness and blackheads quite well and some of the freckles. I used two pumps over the face and added more to the darker blemishes. Some of the darkness under my eyes was covered, but it settled into the creases under my eyes. Overall the skin looked smoother and younger.

For the above, I used Elf Poreless Face Primer under the foundation. I had some dryness around my eyes and mouth that the foundation seemed to stick to and it settled into the creases under my eyes.

Despite claiming to be a medium to full coverage foundation, I could only get light to almost medium. If I continued to build it up, it didn’t look good and wouldn’t blend in.

Altilis Beauty claims this foundation lasts all day; it didn’t day say how many hours, but to me all day should be 8 to 10 hours. With and without primer (granted I used a cheap Elf primer), the foundation started to fade between 4 and 6 hours, however, is easy to touch up.

The packaging could use some work; once I used the foundation for the first time, and put it in my cosmetic bag, little drops of the separated oil would leak out. Being a rather runny foundation, it gets a bit messy at the spout as well. The bottle doesn’t come with a lid, so I store it in a plastic bag.

I like how the BFF foundation feels light and silky on the skin and gives a smooth and natural finish. I think using the right products under the foundation, it would be suitable for dry to oily skin types. The color is perfect for my skin tone. Over the month I didn’t get any unusual breakouts. I would likely purchase again, though wish it lasted on the skin longer and came with a lid.

Thank you for reading.

Cocoon Apothecary Eyewaken Eye Cream Review

Cocoon Apothecary is a Canadian company that creates plant-based skin care from ethically sourced ingredients in small batches. I purchased the Eyewaken Eye Cream, looking for something to help with my dark circles and puffy under-eyes.

Eyewaken

Ingredients: Cornflower hydrosol*, rose hydrosol*, argan oil*, grapeseed oil*, sweet almond oil*, cetearyl alcohol (wax from coconut), stearic acid, cocoa butter*, vegetable glycerin, sodium cetearyl sulfate (from coconut), tocopherol, sodium anisate (derived from fennel), sodium levulinate (derived from corn), glyceryl caprylate. *certified organic

Cornflower hydrosol is said to reduce eye puffiness and fine wrinkles. Rose hydrosol can calm irritation and hydrate. These hydrosols are said to give a cooling astringent effect. This product contains a few oils and moisturizing ingredients. Sodium anisate can soothe irritated skin and is used as a natural preservative. Sodium levulinate can be used as a preservative and conditioning agent. Glyceryl capraylate is used as an emulsifier and emollient.

This product claims to soothe tired eyes, combat fine lines and wrinkles, firm the skin and reduce puffiness and dark circles.

I used this morning and night, dabbing on the lower eyelid up to the brow bone for 4 months. It is light weight and absorbs fast leaving a silky feeling on the skin. It has a light herbal scent with a hint of rose.

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While I like the ingredients and this feels silky on the skin, I feel like it does a better job moisturizing and protecting than anything else, so might be a better preventative rather than for someone with already quite puffy, dark eye circles. In looking at the photos, I see some reduced puffiness (my eyes look the same to me in the mirror though), but no reduced color or fine lines. In fact, the 4-month photo seems to have more fine lines towards the outer eye (because of the reduced puffiness, or some other variable?) On application, I’m not sure I felt a cooling effect.

I will not be repurchasing this, but may take another look at Your Best Face Skincare’s Correct eye cream.

BioBliss Lash and Brow Booster Serum Review

BioBliss is Prairie Bliss Botanical’s science skincare line. Prairie Bliss is a small Canadian spa and skincare company offering all natural and organic products. I’ve also used the Caffeine Fix Eye Serum and U-Fresh Mist from this company. Since trying B Beauty’s Eye Lash Enhancer and not seeing the results I wanted, I purchased the BioBliss Lash and Brow Booster Serum.

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The Prairie Bliss website 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. The two active ingredients are peptides; myristoyl pentapeptide-17 and myristoyl hexapeptide-16. The pentapeptide enhances keratin production, thus creating lengthening and thickening of the lashes. The hexapeptide also stimulates keratin and makes lashes appear thicker, longer and stronger. Apparently these two peptides, when used together, make lashes grow 25% longer. The other primary ingredient listed is castor oil. Castor oil is anecdotally touted as a hair growth miracle all over the internet. I have doubts about castor oil growing hair; this is the first ingredient in the B Beauty Eyelash Enhancer, which didn’t lengthen my lashes.  However, I have been trying castor oil as a weekly hair oil treatment. The BioBliss Lash Serum includes other oils and vitamins.

This product claims to lengthen and thicken lashes with visible results in 2-4 weeks and best results in 6-8 weeks. This is to be applied on clean eyes at the root of the upper eyelash once daily. This can also be used on eyebrows. As with most eye products, it should be used within 3 months.

I have short eyelashes that seem to grow straight out with no curl. Due to over-tweezing my eyebrows years ago, they are thin and some of the hair follicles are likely dead (I don’t expect anything to revive dead hair follicles).

I applied this to my eyelid at the root of the eyelashes with the small brush and also applied it to the root of my eyebrows in the evening. The product itself is white and has a bit of a medicinal smell. It is not irritating. About three weeks in I started noticing results; my eyelashes were a little longer. I didn’t see any change to my eyebrows though.

I used the product for 8 weeks, and definitely noticed results in the mirror as I applied the product close to the end of the 8 weeks. I thought the eyelashes looked longer, but I didn’t notice any increase in thickness. In the photos the results were harder to see.

The top photos are before and the bottom photos are after 8 weeks’ use. Zooming in on the photos, I’m not sure I can see too much difference in the length looking at the front of the eye (a bit surprising since I could definitely tell there was lengthening as I applied the serum towards the end of the review); however, the side profile definitely shows lengthening. I can also see the lashes are a bit thicker especially towards the root. It looks like I might have some graying on some eyelashes and on the after photos the coloring looks better and the lashes look stronger and healthier.

Something I want to note is that the company recommends this be used by 3 months due to bacteria buildup. This is pretty standard with products used around the eyes (mascara, eyeliner, eye drops etc.). The bottle contains 10 mL of product. I used this for 2 months on my upper eyelashes and my eyebrows, and the product was only a quarter gone at the end of the 2 months. The product could easily be half the size.

I’d likely purchase again. I was hoping for more length, but perhaps with the way my eyelashes grow straight out, the length is harder to see. There are definite results with the eyelashes looking healthier and thicker. I was also hoping for at least thickening of the eyebrows as well. I might look for another product with the same active peptides in it; whether a product does what it claims depends on the concentration of actives used. There have been good, proven results with products containing prostaglandins, but I’m a bit reluctant to try these based on side effects.

Routine De-Odor-Cream Review

Routine is a small Canadian company specializing in all natural deodorant with a number of formulas (baking soda, reduced baking soda, baking soda free, vegan) and many different scents, so there is a routine for everyone.

After using conventional antiperspirant and making the switch to an all natural deodorant, the Akita roll-on, I was looking for something where the scent would last longer. I’ve never had skin sensitivity, so ordered from Routine’s baking soda line, Like a Boss and Sweet Jane. These also contain clay and beeswax.

Like a Boss ingredients: cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), zea mays (corn, non-gmo) starch, kaolinite (kaolin clay), cera alba (canadian ethical beeswax), theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), calendula officinalis (marigold) infused olea europaea (olive) oil, tocopherol (vitamin e), citrus aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit oil, lavandula officinalis (lavender) oil, pelargonium roseum asperum (rose geranium) oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil, citrus reticulata (mandarin) oil, citrus sinensis (sweet orange) oil, mentha viridian (spearmint) leaf oil.

Sweet Jane ingredients: cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), zea mays (corn, non-gmo) starch, kaolinite (kaolin clay), cera alba (canadian ethical beeswax), butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), calendula officinalis (marigold) infused olea europaea (olive) oil, tocopherol (vitamin e), theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, flavor (organic vanilla, pear), vanilla planifolia oil, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract.

Like a Boss is a unisex, stronger smelling deodorant that I bought for use at the gym. I was worried it might smell too masculine, but I found it just fine for me, smelling like geraniums with an undercurrent of rosemary. Sweet Jane smells like brown sugar and vanilla cupcakes. Both of these contain kaolin clay that helps absorb a bit of sweat, and beeswax. They are both quite solid, with a bit of powdery grittiness from the baking soda.

After about a month of using the baking soda formula, my underarms turned very dark with what looked like thickened skin. I was surprised, as I had no redness or itchiness; symptoms that might be linked to sensitivity. I emailed the company asking if this might be due to the baking soda, which they confirmed it might be, and kindly sent me a sample of the reduced baking soda line, Superstar, and the baking soda free, The Curator.

Superstar is made with charcoal, prebiotics and reduced baking soda. The scent comes from the tonka bean, and smells like vanilla and a bit spicy, kind of like cinnamon. This is my favorite scent of the deodorants I’ve tried thus far. Superstar has a creamy, smooth texture that is dark grey in color, but doesn’t turn the underarms grey.

Superstar ingredients: cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, magnesium hydroxide (dietary magnesium), kaolinite (kaolin clay), zea mays (corn, non-gmo) starch, maranta arundinacea (arrowroot powder), cera alba (canadian ethical beeswax), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), calendula officinalis (marigold) infused olea europaea (olive) oil, tocopherol (vitamin e), activated charcoal, inulin alpha-glucan oligosaccharide (prebiotic), cetearyl olivate (and) sorbitan olivate (natural olive based stabilizer), brassica glycerides (natural cruciferous vegetable emulsifier), pogostemon cablin (patchouli) oil, vanilla planifolia, elettaria cardamomum (cardamom), vetiveria zizanioides (vetiver) root oil, dipteryx odorata (tonka bean), roseum asperum (rose geranium) oil, salvia sclarea (clary sage) oil, melaleuca ericifolia rosalina) oil, piper nigrum (black pepper) oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract.

I just want to point out that topical activated charcoal doesn’t detoxify skin.

The Curator is baking soda free (the baking soda is replaced with magnesium) and smells like marigolds and eucalyptus. This is a good deodorant to use while at the gym. It feels more smooth going on than the bit of grittiness in the baking soda formulas.

The Curator ingredients: cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, magnesium hydroxide (dietary magnesium), kaolinite (kaolin clay), zea mays (corn, non-gmo) starch, maranta arundinacea (arrowroot powder), cera alba (canadian ethical beeswax), theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), calendula officinalis (marigold) infused olea europaea (olive) oil, tocopherol (vitamin e), cetearyl olivate (and) sorbitan olivate (natural olive based stabilizer), brassica glycerides (natural cruciferous vegetable emulsifier), eucalyptus globulus leaf (eucalyptus) oil, aurantium bergamia (bergamot) fruit oil, pogostemon cablin (patchouli) oil, pelargonium roseum asperum (rose geranium) oil, tsuga canadensis leaf (black spruce) oil, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract.

I also ordered a couple samples to try, A Girl Named Sue (reduced baking soda) and Blackberry Betty (baking soda free). A Girl Named Sue smells like raspberries and sage and Blackberry Betty smells like blackberries.

I use a pea-sized amount rubbed onto the underarms. As for residue, I find that this de-odor-cream will leave white marks on clothes unless it is left on for a minute to be warmed up by the underarms and rubbed in a bit more.

For each deodorant I tried, I used one application in a number of different scenarios; at the office, at the gym, out hiking in 30ÂșC full sun weather, to get a sense of how well each deodorant worked. The scent of the deodorants lasted 10 to 12 hours in an office setting. I applied before the gym and a hike and the scent lasted through those, with fade of the lighter scented ones, A Girl Named Sue, Superstar and Blackberry Betty. Even though these scents faded, my underarms didn’t smell like sweat at the end of the day. While the clay in the deodorants absorbed a bit of wetness, this isn’t an antiperspirant, so I still felt some moisture. I found as well that if, for example, I woke up sweaty and stinky, once I put the Routine deodorant on, the sweat smell was gone; not just covered up (as I’ve found to be the case with conventional antiperspirants). I applied before going to bed, hoping it would mitigate the sweaty smell when I woke up; it did not.

My favorite combination I’m using now is a half pea size of The Curator and a half pea size of a Girl Named Sue. It’s a great combination that provides a more feminine scent without the fade of a lighter scented deodorant for days when I need a bit more sweat smell protection, like at the gym.

I’ve already made a repurchase of Routine cream and will continue to do so.

Thank you for reading.