beauty

Organic Beauty Remedies for Skin & Hair

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

With the colder weather, many are turning to the skincare aisles for anything to protect their skin from the elements. In my experience, I’ve found the most useful beauty products are at the health store. Many of these remedies have been used by women for centuries. And you don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals like parabens and other additives. And I’ve actually found these remedies more effective than conventional beauty products. Plus, each has multiple uses or can be combined with each other for extra benefits.

The Palma Christi: Pure, Cold-pressed Castor Oil

This thick oil has many medicinal uses, but I use it topically as an emollient. It has anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antibacterial properties that make it a great soothing balm for a dry, irritated scalp. I use it as an alternative to petroleum jelly by massaging quarter-size amount into my scalp after blow drying. Alone, castor oil is said to promote hair growth and thickness. But I also use it on top of argan oil, to seal moisture in my hair during the winter months. My favourite version is by Heritage Store and costs $14 for 480 ml (not recommended for use during pregnancy).

Raw Shea Butter

This nutrient-rich butter is gold for the skin. It is rich in vitamin A, E and F. And it is multipurpose. In terms of skin it fights dryness, blemishes, scars, stretch marks and eczema. It also works well as a heel balm. You can also mix shea butter with oils like avocado oil to make a deep conditioning hair masque. I got my last batch of shea butter from Elisbodyshop.com 115 ml for $20.

Moroccan Red Clay

This all-natural powder clay can be used as a mud cleanser or as a purifying mask. I use it as a mask to detoxify my sensitive skin and tighten my pores. It’s simple to use. All you need is one spoonful of clay mixed with one spoon of water. Apply the mud to your face, avoiding eye area, let it dry for 20 minutes then rinse. The clay I use is by Now Solutions and costs $9 for 170 g.

Organic Rosehip Seed Oil

Rosehip oil is rich in vitamins and fatty acids. When used as a facial oil, it is said to reverse UV damage, reduce fine lines, dark spots and scars. To me, it almost smells like cod liver oil and is very greasy so I’m careful with how I use it. I massage just 2-3 drops to entire face overnight to get the benefits, and then wash it off in the mornings. I use a cold-pressed version by New Roots Herbal that costs about $15 for 30 ml.

Rose Absolute in Jojoba Oil

Rose is my favourite fragrance. I find it uplifting and comforting. Pure rose absolute is very expensive on its own and needs to be diluted in an carrier oil anyways, so I use a rose-jojoba oil blend. I mix this oil with shea butter to add scent to my homemade balms. And sometimes I use a few drops directly on my skin by itself as a perfumed oil. My rose absolute is by Aura Cacia  and costs $20 for 15ml.

Organic Moroccan Argan Oil

This multi-use oil is the natural beauty product I use the most often. I mainly use argan oil for my hair, but it has benefits for the skin and nails as well. As mentioned above, I mix argan oil with a small amount of castor oil to massage my scalp and prevent dryness between shampoos. Also use argan oil on its own as a heat protectant by applying a few drops to each section of hair before flat ironing. I find it better than using a silicone-based heat protectants because it doesn’t leave my hair sticky or weighed down. I find that argan oils helps eliminate hair breakage and split ends. And it absorbs quickly, so it provides shine without making my hair too greasy. My favourite version of argan oil is ethically sourced from a women’s cooperative in Morocco. It’s also by New Roots Herbal and costs $15 for 30 ml. (Extra tip: try mixing argan oil with a vanilla-infused jojoba oil for a scented body oil).

Let me know if you’ve tried any of these remedies or have any of your own on Twitter or Instagram @hopeherfuture.

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

 

Codage Paris Sample Kit Review

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

I can’t remember exactly where I first saw Codage Paris, but I remember that its distinct laboratory-inspired aesthetic really resonated with me. I always loved science; I miss using pipettes and wearing my lab coat. To me, science and natural beauty were never a dichotomy. When I ran out of Chanel’s HydraBeauty serum I wanted to try Codage before replenishing. But, I could not find Codage at any Canadian retailers. And I wasn’t sure if it would be worth the buy considering the exchange rate, overseas shipping and duties.  So, I decided to try out their sample kit along with the travel-sized scrubbing cream (Crème Gommante) instead.

And after a little bit of research, I found a few more reasons to love this brand. Codage Paris was established by French siblings, Julien and Amandine Azencott. Prior to starting Codage, the pair worked as consultants connecting cosmetic brands with the top cosmetic labs in France. When starting this venture, they set Codage’s core values: maximum efficiency, customized products, dedicated service and respect for nature. The brand’s essence is a blend of the traditional French pharmacy and modern advance skincare research. And their products are paraben and phthalate-free. Codage’s products aim to cleanse, treat and nourish skin. Their flagship product is a customized serum. You can create your customized serum using their online “diagnostic tool” to find the “prescription” that suits your skin’s specific needs (and it comes in a cute monogramed bottle).

The products I’ve used from my sample kit are the Serum № 1 and the Crème Gommante. Serum № 1 is formulated with ingredients that have hydration, antioxidant, and antipollution properties. The serum provides intense nourishment that makes skin soft but more resilient by improving skin integrity. When testing it out I poured the 1 ml contents into a small container. I was surprised that such a small amount gave me three uses. To see how my sensitive skin would react, I wore the serum with no makeup and no additional moisturizers on top.  With the serum alone, my skin felt appropriately hydrated (not greasy) and looked radiant. I even received a few compliments about my skin from people surprised that I wasn’t wearing any foundation. The Crème Gommante (scrubbing cream) is designed to exfoliate, soothe and provide radiance. It is an emulsion of fine rice particles that gently exfoliates to remove impurities and dead skin. It is not abrasive or drying like the apricot scrub I usually use. And I found it worked well with my sensitive skin. I’m still working my way through the sample kit, but so far I’m very impressed!

If you’re interested in giving Codage Paris a try, you can order a sample kit here. The samples are free, but you have to pay for shipping. There are also travel-sizes available if you're looking for a little more. And I'm excited to share today that there is a special promo code for Friday, November 27th (until midnight). Use WHITEFRIDAY15 at checkout and you will save 30% off of your order (doesn't apply to prescription kits or minis). I've been waiting for an offer like this to pick up a full-sized product. I thought it would be a good time to post this review so you that if you're interested, you can take advantage of this offer too. Let me know what you think of Codage if you do purchase.

This was not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

 

Holt Renfrew Holiday Beauty Bag 2015

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

It’s the holiday season! There’s no snow in Toronto just yet, but Mink Mile is already lined with glistening holiday windows. And at Holt Renfrew there’s a little something extra to be excited about.  If you read this previous post, you’d know I look out for the Holt Renfrew Beauty Bag each season.  This is because it is usually filled with luxury beauty samples you can’t find anywhere else and only costs between $25 to $45. The bag also comes with a $10 voucher that you can use on a future beauty purchase. It’s brilliant! I don’t buy every single one, but in the past my favourite beauty bag samples were the Hermes Terre d’Hermes miniature cologne and shower gel set, Erno Laszlo Timeless Serum and Clinique Almost Lipstick in “Black Honey”.

When I saw this season’s bag in Holt Muse, it made its way to the top of my shopping list. It is priced at $35, but valued at over $100. And the bag still features the $10 voucher. I have a few beauty items on my wish list (including Tom Ford’s “Drake” lipstick…just because), so the voucher is a bonus. The bag itself is beautifully designed with navy honeycomb print and rose gold hardware. And it’s functional. There’s a top-handle for carrying it, plenty of storage space and a built-in interior mirror. So it will work well for makeup storage on your vanity table or in your suitcase for travel.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

My top favourites inside this beauty bag are the Tuscan Scent trio from Salvatore Ferragamo,  Miu Miu’s eau de parfum and  the Matte Revolution lipsticks by Charlotte Tilbury. Within the Salvatore Ferragamo Tuscan Scent trio is a sampling of the “quintessential collection”. It features 1.5 ml samples of the White Mimosa, Golden Acacia and Incense Suede scents. Of the three, the White Mimosa is my favourite. It is a floral but sensual, so it fits well with the rest of my perfume collection.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

The second fragrance item in the bag is Miu Miu’s new flagship fragrance. It is comprised of the Lily of the Valley and Akilgalawood scents. I’ve tried this at the fragrance counter before. It’s a classic women’s perfume. The Lily of the Valley reminds me of a perfume my Grandmother used to wear; which is a good thing. This fragrance and  Alaia are competing for the next spot on my perfume tray. So, it’s nice to have this generous 4 ml sample to help me decide between the two when I’m ready (I recently used my Optimum points to purchase Narciso, which I really enjoy. I keep meaning to write the review, but that’s a good fall/winter fragrance to try as well).

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

To be honest, I can’t write much about my final favourite because I haven’t opened these Charlotte Tilbury samples yet. The packaging is too cute. I’ve been hearing a lot of good reviews about this line from a makeup artist and my sister-in-NARS since its Canadian debut. The Miracle Eye Wand is on my wish list, but heard Charlotte Tilbury’s lipsticks are good as well. I plan to visit their counter at Holts to see how they compare to my favourite, NARS Audacious.

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

The beauty bag also includes deluxe samples of Clinique’s “repairwear” uplifting firming cream (7 ml), Laura Mercier’s radiance foundation primer (15 ml) and Erno Laszlo’s Firmarine face bar (17 g). The full-sized versions of these products are available for sale on Holt Renfrew’s new e-store, but it looks like the beauty bags are only available in-store. I’m very pleased with this year’s holiday bag and I think it would make a great hostess gift (or gift to self). If you grab this bag or have any past favourites, tweet me and let me know.  

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.


I’ve been kissed (Kissed by Light Studio Review)

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(C) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

Kissed by Light is an all-female photography studio based in Toronto. The studio caters to women who want to capture their femininity while celebrating both their bodies and personalities. The studio’s work ranges from boudoir and fashion, to business and maternity shoots. The studio also uses photography to empower women entrepreneurs and tackle body image issues. I really liked their philosophy and aesthetic. So, when I needed to have business portraits done a few weeks ago, I knew this was the studio I wanted to use.

Other than school photos and a family portrait at Sears, I’ve never had professional portraits taken. As a perfectionist, I prepared ahead by scouring Pinterest for inspiration and packing a carry-on of my favourite outfits/accessories. But, on the day of the shoot I had butterflies. I’m always uneasy when I have my photograph taken. That feeling often leads to awkward facial expressions that make me avoid taking photographs and selfies altogether. I’m more at ease behind the camera. But Claudia Baltazar (make-up artist), Lora Vertue (the studio’s lead photographer) and Ameri (the studio assistant) made me feel very comfortable during the shoot. I’m so grateful for the great experience.

The morning started out with having my makeup done by Claudine. While she was doing my makeup, we talked about how insightful kids can be, crossborder shopping for makeup and Drake’s Hotline Bling memes. Claudine even took a quick look at my makeup bag and made suggestions on new products I might like. One of the products she recommended was Charlotte Tilbury’s Retoucher concealer for under the eyes. Claudine was so kind, informative, and humble I didn’t even realize how much of an accomplished make-up artist she is until I read “Plutino Group” on her business card. Her past work has been published in Nylon, Flare, Toronto Life and Billboard magazine (she worked on Drake’s Billboard shoot).

During the shoot, it was easy to trust Lora’s expertise and interesting to see her genius at work as she styled furniture and props for the shoot. Lora showed me exactly how to pose - point toes, lean into the shoulders. I felt like Joan Smalls for the day.  I wanted my business portraits to be glamourous but still true to who I am as a person. And based on what I saw, I can tell Lora captured that. I can’t wait to see how the final images turn out. Until then, below are a few behind-the-scenes photos.

If you’d like to have a little taste of the Kissed by Light experience, the studio will be hosting an “Art & Beauty” event this Sunday. The event will feature an art showcase, music and vending tables by local female entrepreneurs. And there will be wine! The event seems like it will be an enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The event will be held at their studio on November 8th and begins at 1PM. See the flyer below. You can also visit the Kissed by Light Studio blog here.

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

 

 

Lip Service: NARS Audacious "Charlotte" & "Barbara"

(c) JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) JuleChu Lifestyle

I’ve always been more of a lipgloss girl than a lipstick lady. For some reason, I’ve always associated lipstick with being, umm, more mature. When I graduated from university and entered my profession, I decided it was time to overhaul my make-up bag and find a more “grown-up” look. To me that meant finding a good lipstick, and I wanted a red one.

Being of mixed heritage, it was challenging to find a red lipstick or even a nude that worked well with my skin tone. After buying nine drugstore lipsticks, it seemed as though having my own Gwen Stefani-inspired lip was out of reach. It wasn’t until I stumbled across a picture on Pinterest that I saw what would be my ideal shade of red. It was a deep burgundy/oxblood colour. A little more hunting led me to NARS Audacious in “Charlotte”. I purchased it at Hudson’s Bay ($39CDN) because it is often sold out at Sephora.  And it’s been love ever since.

With a single-stroke, I’m able to get all the coverage I need. And what surprises me the most is that I don’t miss my lipgloss when I’m wearing it. My lips feel nourished and the colour is long-lasting. I barely have to reapply. The quality over quantity mantra definitely applies to this luxury lipstick. To me, the nine drugstore lipsticks were the real waste of my money.

When the spring came around and I was ready for a nude lip, I knew I had to find a shade amongst the NARS Audacious collection. And I did! I found “Barbara”, a tan rose, was the perfect nude for me. It’s wearable every day with a natural eye look or a smoky eye.  I like wearing it with a small dab of Origins “You’re Golden” lipgloss in the centre of my bottom to give my lips more dimension.

I haven’t even used up half of these lipsticks yet and I’ve already repurchased them so I can have a back-up stash. I hope this collection sticks around for a lifetime!

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

Chanel

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

Last winter was probably the worst my skin has ever seen. It was irritated, reddened, and dry. And it make matters worse, my usually clear skin was breaking out. I tried a few different cleansers, but those cleaners made the dryness worst. I then tried to compensate with heavier moisturizers, but those made the break-outs worst. I was stuck in a seemingly endless cycle of bad skin and not even spa facials were helping. Around this time, I received an email invitation to have a complimentary skin consultation at Chanel. It was a timely answer to my skin’s prayers.

I was more familiar with Chanel for its iconic fragrances than for its skin care line. So I didn’t really have any big expectations. I thought face soap was just face soap. But I was so wrong and have been using this regimen ever since. This is a spotlight on my top three favourite Chanel products.

Cleanser Mousse Douceur

The first step of my regimen is cleansing with mousse douceur. I only need to use a pea-sized amount mixed with water to get a good cleanse. It works to gently purify my sensitive skin from pollutants and makeup, without striping moisture from my skin. It contains tulip tree extract and mallow extract that help balance moisture and protect the skin’s integrity. I wash my face with this cleanser twice a day. But for a deeper detox, I use a red clay masque every couple of weeks.

Toner Lotion Confort

Next I use the lotion confort, which is an alcohol-free, hydrating toner. A small squirt on cotton gives my face an extra cleanse and soothes my skin. I pay extra attention to the more oil-producing spots of my face like my nose and forehead when using this toner. It makes my skin feel more refreshed and helps minimize my pores.

Serum Hydra Beauty Microserum

Of the whole regimen, this seemed to make the biggest difference. I went through two samples before finally deciding to buy the (pricey) full-size product. I use one pump to moisturize my face, neck and décolletage. The serum is made of an exclusive blend of camellia and blue ginger. It’s light and not greasy at all. It leaves my face feeling smooth and hydrated all day long.

During my consultation at Chanel, the consultant used also the Hydra Beauty cream on one side of my face and Le Lift cream on the other to compare the results. I preferred the Hydra Beauty side because, on top of the microserum, that cream made my face look naturally dewy and radiant even without any makeup on. I didn’t buy the cream in the end because I was finishing up another moisturizer I had at home. But I can easily see myself purchasing it in the future.

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

Oud to the Turkish Rose: Atelier Colonge Rose Anonyme

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

With summer coming to a close, it’s time to start updating your autumn wardrobe. It is also the perfect time to find your autumn fragrance. For centuries, agarwood has been used to create oud, an ingredient prized as the most valuable perfume ingredient in the East. Meanwhile, sitting at the gateway between East and West, the Turkish rose is a prized symbol of the joy of life. Together, these ingredients mark the fusion of east and west as well as the ancient and the modern.  This combination is perfect for autumn.

If you’re interested in trying a rose and oud-inspired fragrance, Rose Anonyme by Atelier Cologne is a stunning option. I was first introduced to Atelier Cologne through reviews about their Nolita Flagship in New York City and put their flagship on my Pinterest board of places to go. But, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they were having a launch event at my local Sephora several months ago.

Of all their colognes, Rose Anonyme is my absolute favourite. This fragrance includes Turkish rose, oud accord and other fragrances from around the world for a true, east meets west experience. There’s Somalian incense, Indian papyrus, benzoin from Laos, Patchouli from Indonesia as well as bergamot and ginger. This passport of ingredient combinations is signature to the Parisian maison de parfum.

Atelier Cologne is available for sale in Canada exclusively through Sephora. But as mentioned in my previous post you can also order 2 ml samples of their fragrance collection online to try directly from Atelier Cologne.

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

How to get luxury beauty samples in Canada (without buying a subscription box)

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

(c) 2015 JuleChu Lifestyle

I love being able to try new beauty products, but I hate having an excess of products that I never use. I’m a paperbag princess. I’ve learnt that my money is better in the bank than on my vanity (shout outs to Gail Vaz-Oxlade). Instead of wasting money on products I would barely use, I look to samples a way to try luxury beauty brands before committing.  For example, I went through two 5 ml samples of Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum before buying the full-sized product. That way I’m more certain that the product is worth the price and that there isn’t a drugstore brand equivalent. By doing so, I’ve actually saved. For example, I’ve been using the same bottle of a luxury-brand facial cleanser for 6 months (expiries at 12 months) and still have plenty left. In the past, I would have spent more money replenishing a drugstore-brand every month. You can have nice things; you just have to be smart about it.

I always have a stash of samples to pass on to friends or to carry a little bit of luxury with me when I’m travelling. But finding luxury beauty samples in Canada can be a challenge. And I find that the subscription beauty boxes we have access to do not have the selection of samples that I would want to try.  So here are my tips for finding the luxury beauty samples you actually want.

  1. Join Sephora Beauty Insider 

    Most of my deluxe-sized samples are from Sephora’s Beauty Insider program. In my humble opinion, it is the best beauty loyalty program on the planet. I’ve obtained samples from brands like Glam Glow, Origins, Fresh, Becca and Bobbi Brown. Plus, a handful of miniature perfumes just by redeeming points. Deluxe product samples are usually 100 points and perfume miniatures are usually 250 points . On top of redeeming points you earn from purchases, you also receive a free birthday gift (this year it’s two NARS mini lip pencils) and you also have access to exclusive offers online and at in-store events. The online offers usually require a minimum purchase amount, so I save items on my wish list and checkout only if the offers are worth it. And all orders come with 3 free samples. Sephora is particularly generous with samples at product launch events. At an Atelier Cologne event, for example, I received a full 85 ml bottle of their Magnolia Sud fragrance along with a monogrammed leather case with my purchase.

     

  2. Follow Your Favourite Brands on Social Media and Join Their Mailing Lists

    Now that more brands are embracing social media as part of their promotional plans, you can find links to product sample giveaways directly from the brand (but you have to move quickly). L’Occitane Canada is a good example. In the spring, they offered a duo of mini hand creams to Twitter followers who filled out a short online form and tweeted the hashtag #loveloccitane. After doing so, followers could pick up their deluxe samples in-store and receive an offer of % off an item from the line if they decided to make a purchase. I’ve also been able to get free samples from brands like Chanel and Eve Lom simply by being on their mailing list. Retailers like Hudson’s Bay, Holt Renfrew and Shopper’s Drug Mart also send out emails about samples when they are preparing for a new product launch. Being on a brand’s mailing list also gives you access to promo codes for exclusive gifts with purchase. Brands like Bobbi Brown and NARS are very generous, sometimes giving miniature eyeshadow palettes or 3-piece miniature sets.

     

  3. Visit Brand Websites Often

    Shopping through the beauty brand’s online store can get you access to exclusive samples or gift sets that include “free” miniatures that you can’t find in-stores. Some brands also have travel-sized products available for purchase as an introduction to their products. The Japanese beauty brand, Tatcha offers both. With my first Tatcha purchase, for example, I was given a generous 25 ml sample of their Pure Camellia Cleansing oil for free. Tatcha also sells travel-size options of signature products like the Polished Rice Enzyme Powder ($15US) and Indigo hand cream ($8US). Other luxury beauty brands who offer samples or travel-sizes for sale online are Codage Paris and Atelier Cologne . And according to Instagram May Lindstrom’s eco-beauty brand will also offer travel sizes in the near future.

     

  4.  Attend Beauty Events

    From what I’ve seen Hudson’s Bay Queen Street flagship puts on the best beauty events in Toronto. In addition to the mocktails and hor d’oeuvre, there are generous gifts with purchases and sometimes even 10% discounts. With this in mind, I usually wait for an event or the holidays to make bigger beauty purchases like perfumes so I can get the most for my money. It also helps to get to know your beauty counter staff well so they can keep you informed of up-coming events. According to my source at the beauty counter, Hudson’s Bay Queen Street’s next beauty event will be held September 17th, 2015. It will be a “Giving Back” event meaning, those who make a donation to the charity of the night will receive 10% off purchases. I haven’t seen any emails or signage to confirm this yet. So it’s best to follow Hudson’s Bay on Twitter for the details directly.

  5. Just Ask.

    At Sephora, you can usually have the staff make you a sample of any product that you want to try before buying. And at L’Occitane, you can usually get a few samples at the cashier with your purchases. Holt Renfrew does offer samples without you having to make a purchase but samples aren’t always available. Right now, Holt Renfrew does not give refunds on beauty purchase so it’s best to ask for a sample to take home before buying anything there just in case. Each season, Holt Renfrew also offers a beauty bag filled with luxury beauty samples for about $45. In addition to the samples you receive a voucher for $10 off your next beauty purchase.   I’ve purchased two so far and the best samples in those bags were from Hermes (miniature Terre d’Hermes cologne and shower gel set), Erno Laszlo (Timeless Serum) and Chantecaille (Jasmine & Lily Healing Mask).

If you'll like to stay updated on sample offers, feel free to follow me on  Twitter or look out for more "A Little Bit in Love" posts here on the blog.

This is not a sponsored post. The thoughts expressed are honest and my own.

 
J