Archive | February, 2013

Spotlight: Rose Water

23 Feb

RuthstdenisYou may be familiar with rose water, whether you use it in skincare or cuisine, but I wanted to spend some time breaking down this delectable product since it has so many uses and has been favoured for thousands of years.

Cleopatra is said to have ordered the sails of her ship soaked in rose water so that Mark Antony could catch the scent of his lover before she reached the shores. Ancient ayurvedic physicians adopted the cooling properties of rose water to soothe wounds and inflamed skin. Sappho, the poet of love, deemed the rose as the “Queen of all Flowers”. Today, Persian and other middle eastern cuisines use rose water in food and drink, the French produce luxury bottles of perfumes and cosmetics, and even here in Toronto you can commonly find rose water toners and hydrosols in spas and on cosmetic counters.

What is it about this floral water that has captivated the entire globe for centuries? Well let me break it down for you :

Profile: The first record of rose petal distillation comes around the 10th century by a famous Persian alchemist. The steaming process used to isolate the rose’s essential oil creates a byproduct, which is rose water.

Rose petals are extremely high in anthocyanins which gives them the rich colour and is known to help repair and regenerate skin cells and tissues. Rose water aids in skin redness due to its anti-inflammatory and astringent quality. Rose water is not as potent as pure rose oil, but it is far more versatile.


  • Toner- I buy rose water in bulk and transfer it into a small glass spray bottle (easily found at any health food store). After cleansing, I use it to tone and hydrate, or at any time I feel like a refreshing spritz (this proves extremely useful in the summer months for cooling and reducing redness).
  • After shower/ bath body spray- the fragrant water is perfect for leaving a light scent after the shower or a bath. It is refreshing and also moisturizing.
  • Bath- add a cup or two to a bath as aromatherapy. Rose fragrance in aromatherapy is used as a relaxing scent to sooth feelings of depression and nervous tension.

My experience: There are a lot of expensive rose water products on the market, many of which are over priced. I have found that it is best to buy food-grade rose water which is commonly found at middle eastern food markets (the brand I love is from Lebanon). Just ensure that the ingredients say “distilled rose” with no additives, and if you can find it, organic is obviously the best.

If you are feeling experimental, try making your own.

Let me leave you with a lovely lotion recipe that has been getting rave reviews from my friends and family.



Rose Lotion

  • 10g beeswax
  • 1 1/4 cup of rose water
  • 1 tsp vegetable glycerin
  • 3/4 cup sweet almond oil (I mix half coconut oil with half sweet almond oil)
  • 2 capsules of pure vitamin E
  • 10 drops of rose or lavender essential oil






  • Sanitize all equipment and jars before you begin (I boil everything).
  • Using a double boiler (I place a glass measuring cup into a small pot of water), melt beeswax and oils together.
  • Once melted, take off of heat, set aside and let cool until a light crust starts to form on top (approx. 5 minutes).
  • In a blender, mix rose water and glycerin (just a few seconds until combined). After, keep the blender’s lid on but remove the centre circle and fit a small funnel.
  • Next (to create an emulsion with the oil and water), turn blender on low and slowly pour a steady stream of oil/beeswax mixture through the funnel. When the blender motor begins to bog down, turn it up to the next speed. Continue this until you reach the highest speed and all oil is poured into the mixture.
  • While the blender is still running, remove the lid and use a spatula to incorporate any water in the corners (be aware of the blender blade!)
  • Once the water is absorbed, or the lotion becomes too thick to absorb any more water, turn off the blender. If any water remains unincorporated, pour off or blot with a tissue.
  • Using the spatula, stir in the essential oil and vitamin E.
  • Scoop into sterile jars
  • Note: since this lotion has no preservatives and uses water- even though it is distilled- it has a greater chance of introducing bacteria,  which shortens the shelf life. To help prevent this, do not stick fingers into jar, always wipe the rim before closing, and keep in a cool dark spot.

Enjoy the endless uses of rose water!

– Seanna

A Week of Beauty

14 Feb

Despite the perils of Snowmageddon, I dedicated last week to local beautification around the city… And as you will see, Toronto never disappoints.

Thursday soiree at BlushPretty:

I mustered up the courage to brave the storm and meet Seanna for Blush Pretty’s *fabulous* shopping event . After a warm welcome from the lovely ladies of this exquisite little boutique, we began testing a wide variety of specialty cosmetics… at a special price! I’ve heard only good things about Lippy Girl so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered their new collection:

From left to right: Boss Lady, Ski Bunny, Schmoopy, Fancy Pants, P-Bomb, Snog Me, Surf Betty and Son of a Brick

Lippy Lips – Vegocentric Organic Vegan Lipsticks

The vegocentric line of lipstick is cruelty free with organic ingredients that leave the lips super moisturized with a hint of gloss. In fact, the formula was so hydrating that I was surprised to find beeswax and shea butter alongside typical moisturizing agents like jojoba, grape and castor seed. The packaging is simplistic and the colour selections are practical. I opted for “Boss Lady” which is a deep red with a creamy texture that doesn’t bleed. I’ve been wearing it on top of a coconut oil primer to avoid flaking on drier days like today.

I was also pleased to discover Freedom Glow Beauty Balm was in stock! This all-over balm enhances natural radiance on lips, cheeks, and even eyes without harsh chemicals or solvents. I nabbed a charming pink – appropriately named “Blushed” – that I could instantly wear at work, at play, spring, summer, and winter. Again, I was shocked to see that beeswax was listed as a key ingredient! In my own DIY endeavours, I’ve always found that adding a waxy solid like beeswax to moisturizers would actually strip the lotion of moisture despite it’s soothing properties. On the contrary, Revolution’s product successfully distributes even pigmentation onto various areas of the face while maintaining a hydrating consistency without compromising purity. This is a testament to the master craft of the brand – truly revolutionary!

Skin : Eminence Tinted Moisturizer in Caramel LatteLips & Cheeks: Revolution Organics Beauty Balm in Blushed.

Skin: Eminence Tinted Moisturizer in Caramel Latte
Lips & Cheeks: Revolution Organics Beauty Balm in Blushed.

Saturday appreciation at 889 Yoga:

In addition to our mid-week shopping extravaganza, we attended a joyous celebration graciously hosted at 889 Yoga by Holistic Nutritionist Extraordinaire, Joy McCarthy. This was my first time both hearing Joy speak and visiting the trendy new yoga loft, complete with wellness spas and a studio boutique! The event featured Joy-approved goodies like gluten-free cupcakes and donuts from Tori’s Bakeshop, swag bags including generous samples of Tonica Kombucha and greens+, as well as other really great giveaways. I also nabbed the very last bottle of my preferred nail colour by Karma Organics (which I promise to review soon). . . I guess you can say it was meant to be ❤

It was an utterly luxurious week for holistic living in the GTA. I can’t wait to re-visit the wonderful speakers and vendors within this lovely community.

Wishing all you beauties a Happy Valentine’s Day!

– Lina

Skin, Hair & Body Profile – Seanna

7 Feb

For those of you who do not match Lina’s profile from last week, perhaps you can find some common ground when it comes to my fair, sensitive skin and the products I use to care for it.


  • Face- Dry, sensitive skin with occasional breakouts. My skin is a token of my Scottish/British heritage. I have a fair complexion, with slightly pink undertones and I am prone to burning and freckles. Because my skin craves moisture, I have a slight obsession with things like oils, steam rooms… even foggy days! I still get occasional breakouts and clogged pores – usually on my nose and chin – despite my skin’s tendency to be dry. I am quite sensitive to certain products, most often those that are chemically derived, yet I require plenty of moisture and sunscreen in my skincare routine. Keeping my skin moisturized not only protects and nourishes, but also keeps acne breakouts at bay. I typically use an aloe-based cleanser, gentle exfoliant, rose water toner, facial oil, moisturizer, and of course a mineral sun block (all year round). This is an extensive approach yet mandatory for keeping my skin hydrated and free of acne, sun damage, and premature aging (all things to which*sigh* my skin type is prone).
  • Hair –Straight and fine. My hair is easy to manage; dries straight and smooth. It lacks volume however, and gets oily quickly because of its fine texture. I have found that the best way to manage this is to wash my hair every two to three days allowing the natural oils to rebalance. I use an all natural shampoo and a light conditioner since my fine strands do not require heavy moisturizing. When my hair and scalp do get a bit dry, particularly in the winter, I remedy it by massaging warm rosemary- mint infused sweet almond oil into my scalp and ends for a deep conditioning treatment.
  • Body- Dry skin prone to eczema. I struggled constantly for many years with dry itchy skin, particularly on my legs. Come winter time, no matter how much I moisturized the itch and flaky skin would persist. That is, until I stopped using petroleum based moisturizers and washing with soap (or body wash) everyday. Just like my scalp and rebalancing its oil production, I realized that washing with soap (particularly harsh synthetic ones) were stripping my skin of all its natural oils. Now, I dry brush everyday and only wash the necessities with castile soap. I follow up by slathering coconut oil or almond oil onto by skin and using my homemade whipped body butter. I am a long distance runner and so keeping my skin hydrated and protected can be tough when exposed to the elements for long periods of time. Summer is particularly challenging with constant sun exposure so I use a mineral sun block that is perfect for my sensitive skin, yet is still sweat resistant and does not clog pores.

In summary, I struggle with sensitive skin and fine hair, focusing on natural solutions as much as possible. Both Lina and I will continue to profile our unique needs, and share collaborative successes in our ongoing quest for clean beauty. Stay tuned!

– Seanna

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