Archive | December, 2012

Best Skincare Finds of 2012

28 Dec

n122701942_33013279_9053As 2012 comes to a close I cannot help but reflect on the past year and the new things it has brought.  Most notably, for me is my full emersion into the world of natural beauty. The change started slowly. At first I began to explore natural solutions because of specific skin woes; always fighting off dry, uneven skin, and acne break-outs that would last for weeks. I began reading about the science of skin, ingredients in commercial cosmetics, and most importantly, plants and oils that have been used in skin remedies for centuries. As I  learned more, and tested even more, I could not argue with the outstanding results from using pure and natural products on my skin.

In the spirit of giving, I want to share with you my top three skincare finds of 2012.

Pure + Simple Spa Facials

I have always enjoyed treating myself to an indulgent facial now and again. I  sometimes place these facial sessions in the same category as dental cleanings and doctor check- ups (note: I realize for some that this sounds like hell on earth). The reason I say this is because to me a good facial is a combination of a really deep clean and a check- up to ensure that everything is on the right track to take me into my later years. I need to trust my esthetician, so it  goes without saying that I have high standards when it comes to the spa that I choose.


Pure + Simple is just that; a spa that I can trust. Each facial is customized to your skin needs and the natural organic products that they use (which includes their own Pure + Simple line) are extremely gentle and nourishing. I can credit Pure + Simple to changing my perspective on skin health; realizing that hydration is the key to almost all skin ailments from acne to rosacea. Their promotion of facial oils and floral hydrosols have revolutionized my skin care routine– which is why they have made it to my top finds for 2012!

Facial Oils

In the same vein, facial oils have revolutionized my skincare regime and have changed my perception on how to treat various skin afflictions. I have believed many things promoted by commercial products, such as ‘moisturizers must be oil free to prevent clogged pores’, and ‘acne must be fought with harsh drying ingredients’. In reality pure natural oils can protect and actually help skin inflammation like acne which can be triggered by dry skin.



My favourite oil to use is rosehip, which is extracted from the seeds of rose bushes grown in the Chilean mountains. It is truly a multivitamin for your face. High in fatty acids, vitamin A and C, it is amazing for skin regeneration, pigmentation, and inflammation. I use organic, cold pressed rosehip seed oil by Skin Essence Organics. I use it both day and night immediately after cleansing and let it absorb for five minutes before I put on a moisturizer. Since I began using it, my skin’s texture and colour has significantly improved, and my skin stays supple and glowing!

Éminence Organics Tinted Moisturizer

eminence-tinted-moisturizer-reviewsLast, but not least, Éminence Tinted Moisturizer. I was searching for a product that would give me a dewy look without the cakiness of a heavy foundation. Éminence Tinted Moisturizer is the perfect solution. The texture is silky smooth and highly moisturizing, depositing just enough colour to even out my skin tone. Bonus- it also contains SPF 25 .

I wear it in Vanilla Latte which is the lightest shade and it is perfect for my fair skin. Depending on the day (or season) I wear it alone or with concealer and a little blush. For an added glow I wear it with an illuminator like Ilia’s Polka Dots & Moonbeams.

There you have it, my top three finds of 2012. I can definitely say that coming out of this year my skin is certainly happier and more radiant than it was going in! I am looking forward to what 2013 brings, and you can guarantee I will share it all with you!

What were your favourite finds of 2012?

– Seanna

Detoxifying Beauty Feats

19 Dec

To our delight, Seanna and I discovered a wonderful little pop-up in the heart of Toronto’s entertainment district last weekend – The Detox Market.

Odacite counter at The Detox Market

Admittedly, I hadn’t heard about the shop before. I’ve been purchasing the majority of my ‘organic’ beauty products from more commercialized store like Sephora and Lush out of sheer convenience. The concept behind this natural boutique is a little different. They collaborate with other eco-brands in the stages of production in order to ensure high-quality selections for their own showcase. Products range from luxury cosmetics to novelty and food items, including exclusive imports and hard-to-find items such as the Parisian-based Kusmi Teas.

Of course, I couldn’t risk a visit without making a few purchases pour moi. Here’s what I bought:


  • ILIA lipstick in “Femme Fatale”

Some of you may have previously read Seanna’s review of Ilia summarizing this eco-fabulous lip colour. In line with the oxblood trend this season, I opted for “Femme Fatale” to give me a deep-red lip with a hint of plum. The colour is rich and staying power is true, finishing a bit on the shiny side but layering nicely if you prefer a matte look. I wear it with a high-lighter instead of a blush in order to enhance the burgundy pigmentation of this look.

  • Acquarella nail polish in “Incognito

This water-based line of nail colour is non-toxic, excluding harsh chemicals like Formaldehyde, Phthalates and petrochemical solvents. “Incognito” is a particularly rich water colour that distributes evenly, although I found the formula to have slightly extended drying-time compared to those of conventional brands like OPI and Essie. Despite Acquarella claiming there is no need to apply a base or topcoat, I also noticed the polish began chipping the very next day! Ultimately, the general issue with an all-natural nailcare line is cost: If you are going to commit to non-toxic polish, it makes sense to additionally invest in an eco remover, moisturizer, and conditioner. This is an expensive, albeit worthwhile commitment in the grand scheme of things.

100% Pure mascara in “Black Tea”

Replacing my mascaras with organic alternatives has been a personal challenge, seeing as I’ve been hooked on L’oreal’s Voluminous line since time immemorial. Nevertheless, I found myself gravitating towards this all-natural, vegetarian mascara for its unique properties: 1oo% Pure Fruit-pigmented mascara claims to be the only cosmetics line of its kind, conditioning lashes with ProVitamin B5, Vitamin E, Oat and Wheat protein rather than artificial ingredients that are hazardous to health and can irritate the eyes. I am certainly pleased with the formula’s ability to lengthen and moisturize. The use of natural extracts also inhibits the drying-out process of the mascara, extending its shelf life through the use of natural oils and pigments. If you have naturally thick lashes that just need a bit of separation, you should give this mascara a whirl.

Lips: Ilia lipstick “Femme Fatale”
Eyes: 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented mascara “Black Tea”
Cheeks: MAC Irridescent pressed-powder “Belightful”

Overall, I am impressed with the quality and selection of the products at The Detox Market, keeping in mind the store is still in pop-up stages of its distribution. Hopefully, a permanent placement is on the horizon for TO beauty ecoholics like us!

– Lina

DIY Holiday Gifts for Beauties

11 Dec

Holiday DIY Beauty Gifts

Pssst!! We have moved Oceans & Potions has gotten a new name and facelift! For more DIY beauty recipes and more great content visit us at the new site

As the Holidays draw near and the frantic shopping ceases to let up, think about giving a gift that will pamper, relax and restore your dearest loved ones.

I have put together a selection of my favourite DIY beauty care products that are extremely easy to make and are as luxurious as they sound.

Using a little creativity (and shiny paper), you can put together beautiful packages that are eco chic and 100 percent natural!

Get Pampered this winter with luxurious skin care 

In the ‘Pampering Body Care Gift Set’ I included:

  • Whipped Body Butter
  • Relaxing Bath Salts
  • Bamboo dry brush
Pampering Body Care Set

Pampering Body Care Set

Whipped Body Butter

  • 1 cup shea butter
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup sweet almond oil
  • 10 drops of essential oil (I used lavender)

Method: Using a double boiler, melt shea butter and coconut oil together. Once melted, take off of heat, add sweet almond oil and essential oil. Let cool until a crust starts to form on top of the oil mixture (the oils must be partially solid before the next step). Whip mixture on high until it reaches a stiff peak (this may take up to 5-7 minutes). Scoop into sterile jars and store in a cool spot. 

Relaxing Bath Salts

  • 4 cups epsom salts
  • 2 cups sea salt
  • ½ cup sweet almond oil
  • 10 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 10 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 1-2 tsp of dried rosemary

Method: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Distribute into glass jars. Relax and enjoy!

Give the gift of great hair

In the ‘Hair Essentials Gift Set’ I included:

  • Balancing Dry Shampoo
  • Lavender and Rosemary Hot Oil Treatment

Add a natural bristle hairbrush or bamboo wide- tooth comb for an extra special touch


Hair Essentials Gift Set

Balancing Dry Shampoo

  • 1 ½ Tbsp colloidal oatmeal
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbs baking soda
  • 5-10 drops of essential oil (I use mint and rosemary, or lavender and rosemary)

Method: Combine all ingredients to a uniform mixture. Use a funnel and divide mixture into saltshakers. If giving as a gift, place a piece of tape over the holes to prevent losing any mixture. When ready to use, shake a small amount onto hair roots and massage into scalp. Massage well to absorb hair oils and prevent the ‘white powder’ look.

Rosemary & Mint Dry Shampoo

Rosemary & Mint Dry Shampoo

Luxurious Hot Oil Hair Treatment

  • ½ cup of sweet almond oil (or jojoba oil)
  • 5 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 5 drops of rosemary essential oil

Method: Mix all oils in a glass bottle and shake or stir well. When ready to use, heat oil in a water bath. Pour 3-5Tbs of oil in a glass measuring cup. Immerse the measuring cup in a large bowl with hot water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes until oil is warm. Evenly distribute oil onto dry hair, wrap hair in a hot towel and leave on for 20-30 minutes. Shampoo and condition as usual. 

Restorative Hot Oil Treatment

Restorative Hot Oil Treatment

And not to leave out the men in your life, here is a little something I call “Hardworking Hand Salve”. For an added creative touch use old cigar or vintage tins.

Hardworking Hand Salve

  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 Tbs castor oil
  • 2 Tbs shea butter
  • 4 Tbs beeswax
  • 10-15 drops of bergamot, pine and balsam essential oil

 Method: Using a double boiler, melt beeswax and shea butter. Add castor and olive oil. Take off of heat and add essential oils, immediately pour into glass jars and let set until hard.

Hardworking Hand Salve

Hardworking Hand Salve

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