green beauty

H is For Love – Bara Balm

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My path crossed with H is for Love Bara Balm through thoughtfully curated Boxwalla beauty subscription box. It was accompanied with Lip Glacé and One Love Organics Love Springs Eternal Serum. At this point, I was in a new territory, with an open mind and willing to try the new lush balm.

The brand claims that BARA Balm is our answer to skin in need. Sometimes skin needs a little extra to soothe and protect.  BARA is formulated to take moisturizing to another level. Each ingredient has been chosen to soften skin, absorbing quickly, leaving your face with an ultra sheer layer of protection against environmental assault. BARA feels light, and has a delightfully sweet and uplifting scent. 

fullsizeoutput_46bf.jpegIn the spirit of full disclosure of course of events, I must say the balm was initially formulated with Shea butter however I experienced the Shea Butter curdling (see pic). This didn’t imply that the product had gone bad/rancid or ineffective or would perform any differently. This is as a result of inherent nature of Shea butter. However it does impact overall user experience. I contacted Bee, the gorgeous soul and artisan of this brand and she advised the Shea has been replaced with Beeswax (no more curdling) and user experience elevated. Yes please!

Website was updated to include this verbiage: We have chosen to remove shea butter from the BARA formulation. Because of this, the texture of BARA stays consistent through temperature fluctuations, and even those prone to skin congestion can reap the benefits of this little pot of sunshine. BARA now has a smoother texture, and the tantalizing scent remains the same. 

Let’s get into the balm review starting with the ingredient listing:

Jojoba oil*, Macadamia nut oil*, Apricot kernel oil*, Pomegranate seed oil*, Tamanu oil*, Beeswax, Sea buckthorn oil*, Mixed tocopherols (Non-GMO Vitamin E), Marshmallow root*, Calendula*, Chamomile*, Lemon balm*, Essential oils of: Chinese rose, Vanilla ‘total’ CO2, Frankincense, Lavender*

*Our products are made in small batches and with ingredients of the highest quality. Because of this, slight fluctuations in color will occur from batch to batch even though ratios stay consistent.

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Source: H is for Love website

HHW.com

xx

The Rare Indigo Balm by Mahalo Care

Mahalo Care was introduced into my life at the ‘A Night for Green Beauty’ event earlier in August 2015. I met beautiful Maryna and she shared her introductory kit with me. I experienced the Mahalo Magic (as I like to call it) with Pele Mask (face mask), Vitality Elixir (face oil), Vacation Glow (body oil) and Mahalo Balm (multi purpose balm).

The packaging, scent, textures and more importantly the performance of these products set me in the right frame for wanting more. This post is not a review on each of those products but a review on The Rare Indigo Balm (recent release).

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WHAT is it? The Rare Indigo Balm site says:

This radically-different soothing renewal treatment is bursting with formidable anti-inflammatory phytonutrient infusion, collagen-fostering vitamin C ester, high-content of antioxidants and replenishing essential fatty-acids  to lower oxidation damage in stressed tissue, allowing the skin to be hydrated, nourished and youthful. The Rare Indigo® beauty balm is supercharged with clinically-tested rare extract of the indigo plant and potent anti-inflammatory, chamazulene-rich actives, making this skin-renewing balm an opulent skin treat.

Packaging: Housed in a classic Mahalo bamboo jar (twist open), which is relatively light weight and great for travel. Once I twist open the jar, it mesmerizes me, holds me captive and whisks me away in another world. I really really really wish Mahalo would release a perfume in this scent, and I will be the first to get it.

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Aroma: Suave, crisp with vanilla-sweet undertones, highlighted with refined florals of rose otto, ambrette (hibiscus), helichrysum, ylang ylang and iris. 

I couldn’t have described it better, its exactly every word spelled out. When I take a whiff, these are the words that come to you: crisp, night floral developing to sweet vanilla at back end. Yeah I’m very raw at describing scents.

Mahalo also adds, It swirls around your nose like a refreshing night-air, only to dissipate, leaving you relaxed, and renewed – Yessss without a shadow of doubt!

This balm can be used by anyone especially with dry, dehydrated, stressed, inflamed, irritated skin would make a perfect candidate. Although if you dislike or are sensitive to scents, fragrances or essentials oils please proceed with caution or consult with Mahalo.

I tend to use this after toning, OR after serum instead of my usual face oil or moisturizer. On days with a bitter wind chill factor (-25C), I like to use this under makeup (keeps skin hydrated and makeup sits better), this is a treat and pamper for skin to be enjoyed.

 

Rare Indigo balm the tiniest bit goes a long way. The texture and consistency is the one factor that baffles me the most and leaves with a loss of words. Here’s why:

Texture – solid balm (especially during cooler months) but it almost feels like ‘gel oil balm’. If you’ve used this, please help me with describing texture. I don’t know how Mahalo achieved that since the consistency is that of a balm. Once spread on skin, it possesses the texture of an oil. No greasy feel on skin, instantly absorbs, the aroma lingers on the skin for a bit (so I keep sniffing myself).

So you ask when can this product be used? Well anytime, but especially delighful in a Spa routine after an intense peel or microderm, OR long haul flights (yes my flight time from Chicago – Melbourne kills my skin) OR Wine tasting trips, OR Desert safari (seriously!) OR sitting in a Heated environment all day!

The situations I have described are quite dramatic but, this balm is incredible for hydrating and plumping my skin. From a Raisin to a Grape. Plus it has helped me soothe irritation and slight inflammation. It’s just a fabulous treat, I find myself walking past my skincare drawer and I open this jar only to inhale the heavenly aroma.

As with any balm the versatility is excellent. Ideally used on face, but like any other balm I perceive it to be multi purpose and multi tasking. Cuticles, hands, lips, under eyes. Personally I’ll stick with my face.

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HOW does it compare to its sibling aka Mahalo Balm?

Just like siblings – they’re related and nurtured by same mother, although they have different qualities, ingredients, colour and personality.

Maryna mentioned on her Instagram post that she has poured her heart in each of these lush bamboo pots and when you’d use this balm you will completely feel it and fall head over heels.

$110 for 30ml

HHW.com

xx

Decoding Oils – Edition 1

In my recent post on Body Oils, I wrote about various body oils I own with a very high level view of their key ingredients.

As you all know, the companies charge a certain price based on its branding, packaging, research and development costs, and most importantly on its ingredients. Some ingredients are a lot cheaper to source and include in any given formulation. As an example: much debated and controversial Mineral Oil, it’s a very cheap (in terms of $) ingredient to include (even the cosmeceutical grade) however some companies charge an exorbitant amount for the product.

What can you expect from this series on Decoding Oil?

Learning more about the types and categories of oils (difference between Carrier and Essential Oils), extraction processes and its impact on the overall quality and integrity of oil properties. In the process, you’d understand why I prefer  oils over moisturizers. Having said that, in some instances some moisturizers are betters than face oils. This may be a controversial series for some die hard green beauty addicts, but I request do your research and keep an open mind. Nothing is ever conclusive or gospel and we are all in the learning curve together.

If you’ve read French Beauty Solution by Mathilde Thomas (founder of Caudalie) you would have touched on the topic of Oils in one section. It’s important to understand this basic foundation of categories of oils. This will also help you break down the ingredient listing next time you see a product and truly understand what are you paying the big bucks for? Are you getting value for money?!

Oils can be separated in two basic categories, namely Essential Oils and Carrier (Plant) Oils.

Essential Oils: these are extracted from seeds, roots, plants, herbs and flowers. A potent form of oil (only need drop or two) and extremely volatile in nature. Depending on how these oils are extracted, their stability and potency is determined. Applying essential oils directly to the skin can be harmful to the skin causing skin irritation and sensitivities (remember natural is not always good!). On the bright side, they possess a smaller molecular structure, which makes penetrability easier in the skin.

Generally, essential oils appear at the back of the ingredient listing. First 2-3 oils on the ingredient listing are carrier oils. Some inci lists refer to some ingredients as xxx extract, well these ‘extracts’ possess different properties to essentials oils and cannot be used interchangeably.

Essential Oils carry distinct characteristics, properties and aroma of the plant, flower or root. I will break down examples of Essential Oils based on their family of origin:

Flowers & Leaves: Rose, Lavender, Rosemary, Parsley, Tea Tree, Neroli, Palmarosa, Petitgrain, Bergamot, Marshmallow, Mandarin, Rosemary, Acacia flower, Ylang Ylang, Jasmine, Evening Primrose, Blue Tansy, Saffron, Peppermint or Mint, Marigold, Chamomile, Vetiver, Moringa, etc.

Roots: Turmeric, Lotus root, Ginger, Angelica,Sandalwood (not technically a root) etc.

Spices: Black Cumin, Cinnamon, Clove, Licorice, Cardamom, Fenugreek, etc.

Benefits (scent, therapeutic and aromatherapy benefits) are many, depending on each class of oil and its individual properties. In addition, essentials oils are also used for aromatherapy. Inhaling a deep breath of essentials oils triggers and invigorates senses in your mind and body. I’ve always enjoyed burning essential oils in my oil burner. Obviously, very versatile in nature they can be used for myriad purposes.

These oils are sold in glass bottles, due to the concentrated strength plastic bottles are not the best option. Also, generally sold in smaller quantities such as 10ml – 20ml. They don’t go rancid but over a period of time they can loose its peculiar properties.

Carrier Oils or Base Oils or: Just as the name suggests, they’re “carriers” for essential oils. With a larger molecular structure they don’t penetrate as deep but nourish the upper layers of skin. They’re generally from fatty portion of seeds, plants, and nuts. Unlike essential oils they are not potent or concentrated and can be used in larger (generous) quantities. These oils do tend to go rancid over a period of time.

Examples include: Apricot, Jojoba, Coconut, Castor, Avocado, Almond, Macadamia, Chia Seed, Kukui, Tamanu, Argan, Borage, Sea Buckthorn, Camellia, Hibiscus, Rosehip, Sweet Almond, Prickly Pear, Avocado, Olive, Grapeseed, Sacha Inchi (Peruvian peanut), Meadowfoam (high in omegas), Walnut, St. John’s Wort, Wheatgerm oil (highest form in vitamin e), Sesame, etc.

Carrier oils are packaged in plastic or glass bottles and sold in larger quantities too.

To further your understanding of facial oils or body oils or facial cleansing oil or balm you’re currently using, I’d recommend, going through the ingredient listing so you can practice identifying carrier and essential oils (no I’m not giving you homework).

Many oils break down their ingredient listing based on how they were sourced. Some of the sourcing methods and nature of ingredients you may notice are Organic, Natural, Fair Trade, Wild Harvested, Natural, GMO free, USDA certified, from FDA approved facility.

Let me know in comments below how you’re going with decoding oils in your current stash?

HHW.com

xx