Our sense of smell is so intriguing - it is capable of arousing the strongest of emotions and triggering our (good and bad) memories. For example, the smell of sunscreen used to remind me of summer and beach holidays (well, that is not the case anymore as I now have kids and put sunscreen on them all the time!!) And does anyone remember their mum when they smell their mum's signature scent?
I guess that's why there is such a huge market for perfume. The trouble is, while some conventional perfumes contain natural essences, it is well documented that most of them also contain toxic chemicals which can cause allergic reactions and worse still, are hormone disruptors and downright carcinogenic. Cosmetic companies don't have to disclose the ingredients of their perfumes because they are protected as "trade secrets". Well, the reality is, we shouldn't be using any products when we don't know what they are made of!
Fortunately, there are now a number of companies who specialise in making perfume using only natural ingredients. One drawback that natural perfumes tend to have is that they don't tend to wear as well (ie. last as long) compared to their conventional counterparts. This is because conventional perfume is made of synthetic ingredients which are engineered to maintain their scent and adhere to the skin for longer (these ingredients are invariably toxic to us), whereas natural ingredients tend to naturally break down over time.
There are tricks to make your natural perfume last longer though. For example, you can layer on your perfume by using different products in the same scent family (eg. bath wash, body lotion and then perfume). Also, don't just put perfume on your pulse points, as they tend to be warmer and the heat helps to break down the fragrance faster.
Perfume is of course a very personal choice. I do have a penchant for floral fragrances, and here are the ones that I really love.
1. ONESELF ORGANICS HAWAIIAN FLOWER LEI PERFUME OIL
Top of my list is the Oneself Organics Hawaiian Flower Lei Perfume Oil. It comes in a little glass jar (10ml) with a roller ball.
This perfume is hand crafted by Hawaiian locals using Hawaiian gardenia, frangipani and tuberose in certified organic Hawaiian coconut oil. The result is a delicate and fresh floral fragrance - it smells absolutely divine! The amazing thing is that it lasts and lasts. In my case, it lasts for at least 6 to 7 hours!
In Australia, you can buy it here at Emporio Organics for AUD65. In fact, this product was recommended to me when I visited their shop in Sydney, and I have loved it since!
2. LAVANILA FRAGRANCE ROLLERBALL
I love the fact that Lavanila produces a range of body products which you can layer on. For example, they do deodorants, body butter, roll on and spray perfume within each scent family.
Lavanila's products are 100% natural. They use Madagascar vanilla as the base and then layer fruity essential oils to create their fragrances. Alcohol is used but extracted from organic sugar cane, then infused with Kakadu Plum and Goji Powder.
Here is a list of the ingredients used: Alcohol Denatured (from Organic sugar cane), Botanical Fragrance, Water (Aqua), Lycium Barbarum (Goji) Powder (Goji), Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract (Kakadu Plum), Epilobium Angustifolium (Canadian Willowherb) Extract (Canadian Willowherb), Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Extract (Olive Leaf), Alteromonas Ferment (Abyssine 657) Extract, Chrysanthemum Indicum Extract (Chamomile), Oat Amino Acids, Glycerin (Vegetable), Vanilla (Vanilla Planifolia)
My favourite is the Vanilla Grapefruit rollerball. The fragrance is a warm and uplifting floral fragrance - sweet in a good way. It also lasts the distance - around 4 hours in my case (remember that how long it lasts depends on each individual person).
I also like the fact that Lavanila products are very accessible. The rollerball perfume retails at around AUD35. You can get it at Sephora.
3. COAST SYDNEY BOTANICALS PERFUME
I do like supporting local businesses. Coast Sydney Botanicals is a young company founded in Sydney by a lady who is keen to formulate her own products using the purest ingredients. Definitely worth supporting!
Coast Sydney Botanicals have designed 7 scents (all in roller form), each to tell a story inspired by the beauty of nature and memories of places.
My personal favourite is Nice, with Tuberose and Ylang Ylang and a vanilla base. The full list of ingredients is here: essential oils - petitgrain, clematis, tuberose, rhubarb, ylang yang, Peru balsam, patchouli, vanilla, organic jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil and immortelle oil. As you can see, a very clean list of ingredients. The only drawback I find is that this fragrance is not quite as long lasting as the others.
A much longer lasting fragrance in their range is Bali, which contains notes of white magnolia, jasmine and nag champa. It is a lovely fragrance but I find it slightly too strong for me to start off with.
You can buy their range here at Coast Sydney Botanicals, at AUD48 for 10ml.
Sunscreen for the face - W3ll People Bio-Tint Multi-action Moisturizer, Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream
Living in Australia, the sun is so strong it is important we wear a sunscreen daily to protect our skin. However, it is important to choose a sunscreen wisely as it has the potential to do more damage than good.
Sunscreens generally either use chemical or mineral filters (or a combination of the two). Quite a lot of research has been done now on the effects of chemicals used in sunscreens, particularly as chemical filters are absorbed into the body. There are many ingredients which need to be avoided because of their level of toxicity to humans. Top of the toxicity list are oxybenzone and octinoxate, both of which can cause allergic reactions but more importantly can also cause hormonal disruptions and damage cells. These two ingredients are commonly found in chemical sunscreens. There are other chemicals commonly found in chemical sunscreens which have a moderate level of toxicity including homosalate and octocylene. Again, these chemicals have the potential of causing hormonal disruptions. Parabens are commonly used as a preservative in sunscreens and other conventional makeup products. They mimic oestrogen in the body and could potentially contribute to cancerous growth.
Pretty scary eh? This is where physical or mineral sunscreens come in. Mineral sunscreens generally use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as filters. The problem with zinc oxide is of course it famously leaves a white / chalky mark - not a good look unless you're a surfer! Hence companies started to use nanotechnology to reduce the size of the particles to remove that white tint. There is some controversy regarding the use of nano particles, because of the potential for these particles to cross the skin barrier. To date, there is no conclusive evidence that nanonised particles will cross the skin in significant amounts, but some companies use micronised particles (which are bigger than nanonised particles) to avoid that issue.
The long and short of it is, it is important to wear sunscreen daily, and mineral sunscreens using non-nano zinc oxide or titanium dioxide seem to be the best way to go. There are not many available on the market, and many of them are not suitable for use on the face because they leave a funny texture, which makes it impossible to put makeup on top of the sunscreen.
Of the ones I have tried, here are my two favourites (by far).
W3ll People Bio-Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer
The W3ll People Bio-Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer is touted as an all natural makeup / skincare hybrid, which contains phytonutrients and zinc to protect, hydrate and brighten skin while diminishing imperfections. It contains 20% zinc oxide, providing an SPF of 30.. Other natural ingredients include organic coconut, organic broccoli seed oil, organic promengrate and organic ginseng.
I'm a fan of W3ll People. I like the fact that they make all natural products with premium ingredients but sell their products at an accessible price. The Bio-Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer (35.5ml) retails for about US29 for example, a very reasonable price.
I would recommend putting on your usual moisturiser on first. Then this product glides easily onto the skin. It does feel like you have put sunscreen on your face but it is not sticky. If I'm not lazy or short on time, I like to then follow with some foundation which makes the rest of my makeup glide on more easily. However, there are certainly days when I use this as both your sunscreen and foundation, which is great! I have Asian skin (yellow based) and I used the medium colour - it is not a bad match although I think the W3ll People Bio-Tint Multi-Action Moisturizer has more of a red tint than my skin. Once it is rubbed in, it blends nicely into my skin.
Again, I am a fan of Josh Rosebrook. His products are so luxurious and clearly made with love.
The Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream comes in 2 versions, an un-tinted version and a tinted version. I decided to try the tinted version after reading positive reviews of this product. This product contains 12% Non Nano, Uncoated, Micronized Zinc Oxide. This product has a very light texture, and I found this product glides on beautifully and is absorbed quickly. It is quite moisturizing but there is no stickiness or residue whatsoever. While other people have said that their skin glowed after putting this product on, I must say I don't notice that effect, but I do find that the Jose Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream helps to even out my skin tone before I put on the rest of my makeup. Importantly, it doesn't leave any white cast. I then follow with my usual foundation and then the rest of my makeup.
The Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream retails at USD85 for 60ml. So, yes, it is certainly not cheap. However, it certainly does what it says and you can use this product to perform 3 functions: moisturizer, primer and sunscreen, hence saving on buying other products. I am sold and will continue to use this as my staple!
RMS Beauty products is a well established natural beauty brand, which prides itself in using ingredients which are safe and of the highest quality. Their products are formulated with raw, food grade and organic ingredients in their natural state. Their packaging is also environmentally friendly - all of it is biodegradable, recyclable or reusable.
Today I'm reviewing the RMS Beauty Eye Polish. I particularly like the Eye Polish in Inspire, which is a metallic baby blue colour. There are a few things I like about this product:
The bad news is, I think the Inspire colour is being discontinued by RMS Beauty (why?!) Fortunately, you can still get it at RMS Beauty (currently on sale) and also at Mecca, but probably not for too long I'd say.