I Put Super Charged Greens On My Face: Eminence Organics Eight Greens And The End Of Hormonal Acne

I Put Super Charged Greens On My Face: Eminence Organics Eight Greens And The End Of Hormonal Acne

One of my best friends has been singing the praises of Eminence Organics skincare for years. I’ll admit to pooh-poohing organic and natural skincare in the past, but boy have things in that niche changed. I finally went to the famous Ottawa boutique spa, Oresta Organic Skincare, for one of the best facials I have ever had. My skin was in good hands, as Oresta herself has struggled with hormonal skin issues. She massaged, scrubbed, serumed and essenced my face into submission. My favourite part of the facial involved the Eminence products. They smell divinely spa-like and gentle, so that the whole user experience of the line is luxurious. That’s the best part of Eminence for me – there is a luxurious quality to the whole line. The luxury natural lines are becoming more common in the beauty world, as some people just won’t sacrifice luxury in the name of [allegedly] safer ingredients. I’m not saying that is good or bad, but just a fact. Part of the beauty ritual is feeling lovely, so if a product delivers on performance AND the ritual experience, consider me sold.

Even Kitty can't believe how amazing Eight Greens are!

Even Kitty can’t believe how amazing Eight Greens are!

I tried the Eight Greens line with an Eminence starter kit, which is a terrific way to try any skincare. I got the Eight Greens Starter kit, which is the suggested kit for anyone struggling with hormonal acne flare ups and ageing skin. Everything about this line works to reduce inflammation and irritation. You feel it immediately. A must try is the Eight Greens Phyto Masque Hot – it warms on the skin. It stimulates circulation and adds a glow that has to be seen to be believed. Perfect for doing in the afternoon when you’re going out in the evening and you want to look like a lovestruck teenager. Amazing.

Eminence Eight Greens serum

The big winner from the kit for me was the Eight Greens Serum and it has had such a positive effect on my skin I can’t imagine being without it. A reader contacted me after she got her starter kit and told me she noticed a difference right away as well. I use it twice a day, as the first step after cleansing and toning my skin, and before any other skincare I might use. From their site:

Treat the visible signs of aging with this powerful combination of organic phytoestrogens. Concentrated 
whole plant yucca extract, Vitex Angus Castus and flax seed are all active ingredients in helping with the appearance of tight and bright skin.

Key Ingredients

Yucca Extract: antioxidant; source of phytoestrogens
Flaxseed/Linseed Extract: Omega 3s, antioxidant
Hop Extract: antioxidant
Paprika: invigorates and rejuvenates the look of skin
Vitex Agnus Castus: source of antioxidant bioflavanoids
Biocomplex™: a booster of antioxidants, vitamins, Coenzyme Q10, and Alpha Lipoic Acid to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve the appearance of skin

I love the Eight Greens Whipped Moisturizer so that may be next on my list as well. I ended up getting the Probiotic Cleanser, just to fight off any zits that get any funny ideas about popping up on my face. I wholeheartedly recommend this line to anyone suffering from hormonal skin nightmares. It will change your life.


(makeup on me done by the amazing Natalie Peachy)

Organic Acne Fighters: Odacité & Osmia Organics Skin Oils Kill Zits

Organic Acne Fighters: Odacité & Osmia Organics Skin Oils Kill Zits

Damn you, acne! One would think that by the time we are long past puberty, long past childbearing and on our way to *cough* menopause *cough* that acne would cease to be an issue. It doesn’t have to be menopausal either – PMS zits, stress hormone zits…. I’ve battled them for so many years that it feels like a lifelong vendetta. It is definitely hormonal, but is also effected by my diet. Yes. My diet. I know that sugar, lots of it, is the worst thing for my skin. Chocolate, too. Not the super dark variety, eaten in small doses, but the milky creamy evil stuff. I can guarantee a break out after sweets binge. I try to resist, people, I really do, but who is really that noble? Not me. At any rate, even when I cut out all the evil foods, a cystic zit will grow in spite of my good behaviour. Stress, hormonal swings – who knows why? But when it happens, I try to kill it immediately. I have used everything to fight it – benzoyl peroxide (oy my skin), salicylic acid (not bad in small doses), prescription creams (retin A hurts my face, prescription benzoyl peroxide works for a very short time), sulphur (works but not always). Sigh. So I decided to try the natural skincare route. And I found some natural warriors that fight acne to the death.

osmia organics spot treatment

I started using the beautiful products from Osmia Organics a few years ago. Her products helped my daughter through a wicked perioral dermatitis (exzema, meet acne) during her stressful master’s degree program. The Osmia Organics Facial Calibration serum has brought my skin back from the brink after abusing it with the above medical treatments on more than one occasion. I had seen posts on social media about her Spot Treatment Oil and every single one hailed it as their Holy Grail Acne Killer. I say the same. When a nasty cyst starts growing under the skin – you know the kind – they hurt and you know its ONLY GOING TO GET BIGGER. You know you shouldn’t touch it, but you do. Honestly – a few days of applying her spot treatment oil to the area several times a day shrinks that bitch and shows it who’s the boss. You may have to do it again if it flares up but it works. I can feel the results sometimes minutes after I apply the oil. It’s astounding. At $22 US acne sufferers cannot afford to not have this in their arsenal.

“A surprisingly powerful blend of essential oils combats bacteria and diminishes blemishes, while evening primrose oil prevents overdrying and heals the skin. Unlike most acne solutions, this serum does not strip the skin of its oil, and does not leave blemishes flaky and crusted while healing. Used early and often, our natural acne treatment is very effective on blemishes even before they come to the surface fully, often preventing them from surfacing at all. The Spot Treatment has a very pleasant, lemony scent (and no tea tree oil), making it a pleasure to use.”

– organic evening primrose oil and essential oils of lavender*, cajeput*, lemon*, parsley, thyme, cypress*, and rosemary CO2*
– 96.5% certified organic ingredients


As with any skincare, even miracles have exceptions. So, in the case when my Osmia Organics Spot Treatment isn’t enough, I break out the BIG GUNS. Odacité Black Cumin & Cajeput Serum Concentrate  ($32 USD) is the bomb dot com and I have yet to meet a zit that is a match for this miracle in a bottle. It is part of the Odacité collection of concentrates that are designed to be incorporated into your existing skincare routine. They are highly refined, tested and full of natural science and goodness and they work. The Black Cumin Concentrate (what I call it for the sake of brevity) kills inflammation almost upon contact. I find for me it works best as a spot treatment, but it is also perfect for adding a drop or two to your current skincare routine.

– Formulated to absorb deep into pores, this active serum helps to achieve blemish-free skin and smooth the complexion
– The purifying properties of Black Cumin oil control the spread of breakout-causing bacteria.
– Therapeutic Cajeput acts at the source of the problem with potent antiseptic properties, helping to prevent further pimple eruption.
– In aromatherapy, Cajeput is known to promote clear thoughts and liveliness.

Verdict? Love. THEY WORK and I cannot imagine being without them.

Obsessing Over Penetration: Deciem Hylamide Gets Under Your Skin In The Best Way

Obsessing Over Penetration: Deciem Hylamide Gets Under Your Skin In The Best Way

If you haven’t tried the DECIEM Hylamide, and you have skin, dude. Get on it! The eye and facial serums in the DECIEM line are blowing my mind. And I’m not the only beauty blogger who is loving this stuff. We get pretty jaded, what with the LATEST! NEWEST! BECAUSE SCIENCE! stuff that arrives for review on a regular basis. Yes of course there are many great lines out there, and I’ve fallen hard for a few products that are now staples in my skincare. DECIEM Hylamide is all about every layer of your skin. Penetration, man. It’s what our skin needs. DECIEM is a really cool Canadian company that is all about science. They have a sense of humour, which a quick peruse of their site quickly shows. The founder, Brandon Truaxe, was one of the brains behind one of my favourite simple skincare saviours, Indeed Labs Hydraluron serum.

“Your skin has more layers than you know. You’re probably ignoring most of them”

Deciem Hylamide

We’ve heard a lot of skincare buzz words in the past several years, ingredients, ingredients and more ingredients! A lot of us seek out and want certain ingredients because of buzz. Some are deserving of the hype and praise, and some not so much. Things like hyaluronic acid are good things. Things like collagen, stem cells and plasma (what. even.) sound great, and I suppose some work, but for the most part these things don’t perform the miracles we are led to expect. Most of these ingredients are in suspended in molecules that are way too large to penetrate the dermis, or too small to treat the areas they are targeting. We kind of know this, right? But we are forever hopeful, if not in vain.

Deciem Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Serum SubQ Eyes

So while most skincare brands focus on simply “penetration”, DECIEM Hylamide is focused on controlled depth of penetration, aimed at targeting multiple skin/dermis depths and functions in single treatment regimens. Talk about keeping it simple. Hylamide encapsulates it’s active ingredients in varying sizes, ensuring that the right molecule makes it to the right place. The Hylamide SubQ serums come in little glass bottles with glass droppers – a very lab and science packaging. MY ONLY GRIPE: I am not a fan of this type of packging, having accidentally knocked over several bottles and spread hundreds of dollars of serums on my bathroom counter over the years.  I’m not sure how it could be improved on, but I do wish a more stable and secure package was possible.

Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age Serum ($38 CAD for 30ml – yeah, that’s right, THIRTY EIGHT DOLLARS) is at the top of my skincare regiment, and I NEVER EVER EVER want to be without this. Oh, mama! My sensitive skin breaks out if I look at it wrong. It’s got oil! Pores! Fine lines! You name it. Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age serum and it’s lovely molecules offer surface hydration, below-surface hydration, treatment for fine lines, wrinkles, dynamic lines, sagginess and textural irregularities. My beautiful friend Tracy over at Beauty Reflections said it best on Twitter a few weeks ago “Hylamide has made my skin as smooth as glass”. Friends – this is a true statement. When I first tried it, I thought it seemed like any other hyaluronic serum I’ve tried. Lovely, light, simple, and moisturizing. Oh no, no, no. This is no simple serum. My pores are tighter, my skin is smoother. When I have a breakout (damn you, Laura Mercier powder foundation) Hylamide soothes my face and helps it heal. It has a ton of awesome ingredients you can read about here.

The Hylamide SubQ Eyes ($35 for 15ml) serum is just as amazing. One teeny tiny drop covers my orbital area. The skin around the eyes is four times thinner than that of the rest of the body. SubQ Eyes is a concentrated strength, clinical serum that uses Deciem advanced technology and ingredients to target multiple aspects of under-eye ageing at once. SubQ Eyes also helps correct puffiness and dark circles. I was amazed the first time I used it. It is light – a serum – and feels silky and smooth on the skin. Yet, my eye area stays dewy and hydrated all day. Trust me on this, I’m a crazy lady about hydrated skin.

Is my Deciem Hylamide glow blinding you with science?

Is my Deciem Hylamide glow blinding you with science?

To sum up, I love Hylamide SubQ Anti-Age and SubQ Eyes so much, I want to marry them. These serums have earned a permanent place in my skincare and beauty routine. The products deliver, and the price is beyond reasonable. This is is accessible skincare science for everyone. Boys and girls, obvies. Verdict? LOVE.

Deciem products are available on their website

Short Post. Miraculous Product. La Roche Posay Cicaplast

Short Post. Miraculous Product. La Roche Posay Cicaplast

la roche posay cicaplast

I have mentioned La Roche Posay Cicaplast in passing, which isn’t really fair. It is a miraculous product I can’t be without and deserves a solid mention. Cicaplast was created to deal with several different skin irritations like dry patches, chapped skin, and skin that is tender and healing post-dermatological procedures like peels and resurfacing. I use it for skin injuries- most recently my daughter badly sliced her foot on a broken OPI nail polish bottle (beware!) and we have been using Cicaplast to speed healing, reduce scarring and relieve the itching that comes with healing skin. The thing I use it for most often though is healing acne blemishes that have been picked  ruptured. A sore pimple is bad enough and can take ages to heal. Once it scabs up it becomes almost impossible to camouflage with concealer, and may even have dry flaky skin around it due to any drying acne treatments one may have used. Well, Cicaplast to the rescue. I use this nightly on healing acne pimples to speed up the process and see a dramatic difference in healing time. It is soothing and comforting and easy to apply thanks to it’s silky smooth texture. Cicaplast also makes a perfect “primer” for a healing pimple before applying concealer. It creates a soft smooth canvas as well as soothing the poor spot.

Here is what La Roche Posay says about Cicaplast – which is concise and to the point.

Cicaplast accelerates reconstruction of the skin barrier thanks to a formula that combines:
– A copper/zinc/manganese mineral complex to stimulate the production of new cells,
– Madecassoside to encourage proper cell organisation and procure fast, high-quality epidermal repair,
– Its insulating texture is enriched in anti-bacterial agents to protect the skin. Invisible and non sticky, with easy spreading. This soothing, moisturizing treatment relieves itchiness and tight sensations.
Paraben-free formula.

I get La Roche Posay at my drugstore for under $20- a tube used on spots and injuries will last ages. Like, so far I’ve had it a year and it’s not finished yet. Verdict? A must-have.

Skinceuticals Blemish & Age Defense Serum Has Joined My Skincare Arsenal

Skinceuticals Blemish & Age Defense Serum Has Joined My Skincare Arsenal

I recently got my hot little hands on a sample of Skinceuticals Blemish & Age Defense after a friend told me it was recommended to her by Gee Beauty (one of my favourite shops & experts in all things Skinceuticals). We have similar skin types, and she really like this product. Well, I’m sold.

I don’t know if I can blame the planets for my zits…but I will anyways.
Skinceuticals Blemish & Age Defense is a serum chock full of ingredients that fight acne & oil, help maintain even skin tone, and to refine the surface of the skin. It decongests pores while it reduces acne bacteria. I loved it within 3 days of using every night at bedtime. Then, as is my wont, or perhaps the curse of a beauty blogger, I turned to another product. Bad idea. Almost within 24 hours my skin broke out. Distracted by many things, I just figured it was something else (Mercury Retrograde? Can it cause zits?) and went about my business, which is ADD skincare and cosmetic use. A few nights ago, the Skinceuticals B&A serum caught my eye and I thought “Hey I should use this again”. Lo and behold, it’s already working it’s magic. My pores are less noticeable, and my skin feels smoother and radiant when I wake up. If my skin feels a bit sensitive, I use it with the Skinceuticals Phyto-Corrective Gel serum, for a perfect combination and lovely skin. I am still using my Vichy proEVEN lotion during the day, and can’t imagine being without it, either.
Erin from The Waltons – squeaky clean with Sea Breeze


Skinceuticals products are available on their website or at Gee Beauty

Mario Badescu- Why Did I Ever Doubt You?

Mario Badescu- Why Did I Ever Doubt You?

I’m such a magpie with beauty products. There is always a new sparky one that catches my eye and off I run, chasing a new holy grail. I am oily skinned and acne prone, which has always seemed quite unfair, especially when one is, ahem, over forty. My younger daughter is going through the acne roller coaster now: antibiotics- ineffective, retin A- hard to tell. Now she is trying ProActiv and so far so good. Before the ProActiv though we were away and a monster zit reared its head. She was desperate so I got her the old cult fave, Mario Badescu Drying Lotion. You know- the one that looks like Pepto Bismol and smells like, well, Buckley’s Cough Medicine or Pine Sol. But it worked on that evil zit and made it into the arsenal of Zit Busters.

I don’t know why, but over the past few weeks my skin decided to freak out and treat me to some lovely cystic acne around my mouth. Maybe the weather? Who knows. Cysts are evil and almost always rooted in hormones which makes them very hard to treat. In a fit of pique and desperation, I busted out the Drying Lotion, gave it a shake, dabbed with a q tip and hoped for the best….

So, what happened? It worked! It kept the monster that was growing at bay for 2 days by using it at night.  Day 3 it started to shrink and by Day 4- today- it is gone! My skin is a tad dry where I applied the lotion, but I would rather have a dry patch than a monster zit or, worse, a scar. The interesting thing is how many people swear by this product and how effective it is. Yet when I looked it up on Beautypedia, it is dismissed as a nothing product with nothing in it that could ever ever ever help with acne. Good thing I read this after buying it and using it successfully or I might have believed it.

Thank you Mario Badescu Drying Lotion! I will never doubt your magical abilities again! Available wherever Mario Badescu is sold for around $17.

Whatever you do, resist and do. Not. Pop.

Banish Future Blemishes & Hide The Ones You Have With Vichy

I am recent lover of Vichy skincare. After Vichy proEVEN pretty much changed my life and my life and my skin, I have a lot of faith in what Vichy can do for me. Since using Vichy proEVEN my skin tone has changed to the point where my poor concealer collection is gathering dust.  I used to have spots left behind from blemishes that seemed to last forever. I was covering up all the time. Vichy proEVEN has made that unnecessary. I can say honestly as well, that every woman I have recommended proEVEN to have told me the same thing. Usually within the first week of use, they see a dramatic difference.
I do love to use a mask and scrub for my pores still, however. I like a deep cleansing mud-type mask, and I like a scrub that is not too abrasive. Enter Vichy Normaderm Tri-Activ Mask. The website says “a triple action mask that cleanses, exfoliates and mattifies. A formula associating a high concentration of clay, ”peeling” ingredients and a soothing agent.”. And it’s true. I don’t get irritated or red from using it, and my skin feels baby soft. I like to put it on before the shower and let it dry, then use gentle circular scrubbing motions to rinse it off 10 minutes later in the shower. Use it as a cleanser to thoroughly yet gently eliminate sebum/impurities without drying skin. It also unclogs pores to help reduce blackheads/whiteheads and evens out skin tone. Use it as a mask, and it draws out impurities, as it is enriched with 25% natural clay to remove excess sebum to clarify complexion
The emphasis on this product, besides the efficacy of it, is the gentle formulation. It’s hypoallergenic, soap & paraben-free, and made with the famous Vichy thermal spa water. I love it now, but I know I’m going to love it even more in the summer. 
The only concealer I use is one under my eyes, and one to cover the occasional evil zit that decides to set up shop on my face. And the one I am using for that is, big surprise, Vichy Normaderm Anti-Imperfection Stick. My friend uses it and told me she loves it’s mattifying qualities as well the fact it is medicated to help up those zits. It’s in a nifty twist-up pencil format, which makes it perfect for the purse. The colour is supposed to be universal, which is a bit of a stretch. It’s on the darker side, yet not dark enough for a dark complexion. It works for me, and I can dab a little powder on top to lighten it. If I am using self tanner or in the summer, the colour is perfect. It actually helps dry up the little zits without drying out the skin. Most medicated concealers contain so much stuff they dry out the skin, and non-medicated ones can clog pores. Vichy Normaderm Stick is just right. My 16 year old uses on her acne as well and really likes it.
Vichy is available at Canadian drugstores: the Tri-Activ Mask is around $20 for 125ml and the stick is around $15. Vichy Tri-Activ Mask will be available in the US August 2012.

Beautiful Clear Skin with La Roche Posay

My oily acne prone skin drives me crazy. I won’t complain too much, as oily skin tends to age slower and my mother’s smooth lovely skin is proof of that. At any rate, I still don’t like breakouts. Taking cod liver oil capsules has made a huge difference (thanks to Beauty Editor’s amazing post ) but a bit of topical help is still good. A lot of acne creams make my skin dry & flakey which is a drag. When I have a zit that need healing, or dry flakey skin, La Roche Posay Cicaplast has proven miraculous. Makes sense that another La Roche Posay product would help those little zit buggers before they become a wound. 
I saw La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo at my local pharmacy, being sold with the Effaclar cleanser as a bonus. I decided to give it a try, based on my love of the Cicaplast. From the website: Effaclar Duo is a complete skincare product that combines 4 active ingredients to act on the two main symptoms of skin with imperfections: Severe localised imperfections: Niacinamide and Piroctone Olamine to fight against bacterial proliferation and eliminate imperfections. Pores clogged with sebum: the combination of LHA and Linoleic Acid unclogs pores while eliminating the accumulated dead cells responsible for blockage. These active ingredients are combined with soothing, anti-irritant La Roche-Posay thermal spring water to reduce redness.
The first thing I notice is the texture. It is creamy and milky and quite thin, a light liquid that just melts into the skin. Not thick at all but nor is it drying.  It has a fresh clean scent that I quite like, it feels fresh going on. It doesn’t build up or ball off (like some salicylic acid gels) but seems to sink right into the skin. I feel my skin is clearer and brighter since using it. The main thing I really like about Effaclar and La Roche Posay is that they recognize that acne prone and oily skin are also sensitive skin. It took me a long time to realize that by using harsh nasty stuff on my face, it would often freak out and break out even worse. I’ve found the gentler I am, the better my skin is. Basic gentle cleansing, no violent scrubbing and no harsh creams.  Effaclar Duo is very gentle- trust me.
The Effaclar Gel cleanser that came with the lotion as a bonus is also terrific. I am just as happy with my usual cleanser but this one came in a smallish tube that will be perfect for travel. 
I got my La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo at Shopper’s Drug Mart for $25.00, with the cleanser as a free bonus. US buyers can get La Roche Posay online here.

Exuberance Beauty Believe Tangerine & Sugar Maple Toner- Beautiful

First, a little bit about Exuberance Beauty. Exuberance is an luxury organic skincare company based here in Ottawa and headed up by the most exuberant Jodi Fedor. Jodi is committed to providing top quality ingredients in the most luxurious formulas to treat our skin. Exuberance offers cutting edge, results driven and scientifically sound formulations created with the highest quality certified organic ingredients. This is no granola organic skincare from the health food store. This is obvious the moment you touch and smell these products – they feel rich and smell divine, and that alone takes your skincare to a whole other level. Exuberance Beauty has an amazing website that tells the story of the company and it’s founder. Trust me, Jodi really IS as lovely as she sounds.
I am a big fan of misting toners. I like to mist after cleansing, sometimes after moisturizing and after applying make up. I will mist halfway through the day to refresh my skin and when I fly it’s a must. I started with Caudalie and have not looked back. For a toner to work for me, it must DO something. I like to feel it on my skin, soothing and comforting. My skin is oily and sometimes acne prone, but I hate to dry it out with acne products. Natural products have proven most effective so I feel that “calming” my skin is the best way to control it. The “Believe” tonic has me sold on all levels. First of all let me tell you about the scent. It’s a lovely orange-y citrus scent, so gentle and soft, and I detect delicate floral notes as well. 
So that’s the beginning of the feel-good effect. If I like the way a product smells, we are halfway home. After cleansing my face, it sits on the skin for a few moments then soaks right in, leaving my skin feeling dewy and soft, not dry or tight. I feel a gentle tingle and notice a nice rosy glow as well which tells me the Vitamin C in Believe is doing its stuff- fighting those antioxidants and renewing myskin. 

The aloe vera in Believe is so soothing and gentle, it really feels like I am doing something nice for my skin, and for myself. Aloe is a mega moisturizer without being oily, and is also proven to heal skin. Perfect. Believe also contains Willow Bark, which is the original source of salicylic acid. Studies show it’s effective against acne and acts to detoxify and soothe irritated, inflamed skin. Which is just what I need. 

I then moisturize and, if I’m going to bed, I will add another spritz. If I’m starting my day, I will apply my make up and give a gentle spritz when I’m done. I feel like it sets my make up and eliminates any powdery residue that may look too make-up-y.

I have noticed a difference in my skin in the 7 days that I have been using Believe. My skin is less shiny and my pores are less congested. I definitely notice a glow and a slight plumping and smoothing effect on my fine lines. Exuberance Beauty Believe is a beautiful product. I am officially addicted. There is also a rose based Exuberance toner geared towards drier skin and fine lines….thinking I might need that one too! Stay tuned for reviews of more products in the Exuberance Beauty line.
Exuberance Beauty skincare can be purchased on their website, and select locations of The Bay. There is a comprehensive list of retailers here as well. You can find Exuberance on Facebook and follow them on Twitter as well.
Dislcosure: products reviewed from samples provided by Exuberance Beauty