Natural Beauty with Elly Mayday

Source: Forever Yours Lingere

Two years ago, model and social media personality Elly Mayday moved from her hometown of Aylesbury, Saskatchewan, to pursue dreams of traveling the world. She was on the verge of a successful modeling career when a diagnosis of stage-three ovarian cancer and subsequent treatments changed everything.

Mayday experienced many physical and emotional challenges, but she was able to use her illness as a platform to speak about the power of natural beauty and self-acceptance all over the world.

I wanted to show you can be beautiful when you are going through hell…” Mayday says on her website, “I worked really hard on all my shoots because I knew I was doing something that would help others facing cancer as well.”  

Mayday’s determination to embody self-confidence and body-positivity even during the throes of chemotherapy catapulted her into international fame. Since then, she has been featured on Good Morning America, in Women’s Weekly Australia, in documentary-film “A Perfect 14,” and has modeled for Lane Bryant’s “I’m no Angel” campaign.

One unexpected thing that had to change during her treatment, says Mayday, was her beauty routine.

Source: Elly Mayday Official Website

I had liked to do my hair,” she says, ”but when I lost it, I had my wigs… I stopped getting my nails done, [because] I would get sick from all the fumes involved in the process and couldn’t keep them on if I had an operation.”

Mayday’s heightened sensitivity to smells and chemicals found in everyday cosmetics led her to seek out natural alternatives for her favourite beauty products. “I started to do a bit of research and realized there were so many unpronounceable ingredients in something as simple as makeup remover,” she says, “I have some close friends in the all-natural, clean-eating world and knew going that route would be better for me.”

According to a research survey conducted by the David Suzuki Association, 80% of beauty products possessed by participants contained at least one of twelve “dirty dozen” ingredients shown to have potentially harmful effects on the body. For some individuals, exposure to these ingredients can cause very serious health problems.

Consumers are advised by health experts to read cosmetic labels and steer clear of toxic ingredients (such as BHA, PEGs, parabens, parfum, petrolatum, sulfates and triclosan) that can be found lurking in many common cosmetic  and beauty products.

For those wishing to try natural alternatives, Elly recommends her following top five favourite all-natural beauty items:

1. Coconut Oil.

I use this for my makeup remover and moisturizer. I like it because it’s available everywhere, travels easily and you can pre-soak cotton swabs for when you’re  on-the-go.”

2. Aluminum-free Deodorant.

“I use Green Beaver Natural Deodorant.”

3. Lia Reese Lipsticks. 

“These are allergy-tested, hypoallergenic, not tested on animals and fragrance free. They have great pigment and last all day, plus have a subtle scent of vanilla. There are a ton of options for colors and I like to support Canadian-owned companies.”

4. Taproot Organics Cocoa Face Bar. 

“I use this as my face wash. If I’ve forgotten my coconut oil, I have no problem getting my makeup off just using this. It lathers well and gets the job done, and it’s mainly made out of oils that don’t dry my skin out afterwards like a regular bar soap. “

5. Activated Charcoal.

“I use this for a face mask as well as teeth whitener.”

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Graydon Skincare Review

Lately, my top concerns in skincare are the following: moisturizing, damage recovery (i.e. from wearing makeup, sun, harsh acne treatments), and knowing what ingredients are in the products. These are, I believe, essentials for being kind to your skin — especially during the winter when it’s freezing outside with biting winds and mainly cloudy days, and when the sun does come out, it reflects off of everything and blinds you/gives you a weird sunburn.

Winter is downright rude to our faces, and when I had the opportunity to try out some of Graydon’s luxury skincare products, I was looking for things that would combat the harsh elements. Every product I tried was not only super moisturizing and luxurious, but also made with plant-base in mind.

Here’s the low-down on Graydon Skincare: the (Canadian!) brand was started by Graydon — I’m aways surprised when this happens even though I know the name has to come from somewhere — and founded on the philosophy that effective and nourishing skincare products can be made from “plant-powered” ingredients, sometimes things you might even eat, such as berries, avocado, and broccoli.

I’ve definitely used a home-made avocado and honey face mask before, so the idea of using natural ingredients on the face is not a new one to me, but I was curious about a brand that seems so committed to it.

The ones I was able to get my hands on are: the Keto Cleanse, Berry Rich Cream, Aloe Milk Cleanser and  All-Over Elixir. After three weeks of using these products, I can say I was wholly impressed by their quality and the effect they had on my skin — keeping it soft and moisturized even when it feels like the entire world outside is drying out and freezing up.

But let’s go into a more thorough breakdown of the products. Keep in mind I did use all of these together and created a nighttime routine out of the process, but I’m sure the products could all be used on their own depending what you’re looking for.

Keto Cleanse

Key ingredients: coconut oil and ghee.

The Keto Cleanse was definitely the most interesting product for me, but not my favourite. Of course, I’ve seen the micellar water cleansers and whatnot on the market: one-step makeup and dirt removers that can simply be massaged into the skin. The Keto is different from those products because it does recommend using a cleanser afterwards, but it also promises to get rid of makeup and grime on your face from the day. The label recommends using one drop of the product on the entire face, which I did every night.

I will say that for the amount of makeup I wear, using a different makeup remover for my mascara was necessary, but the Keto drew all of the foundation out of my skin no problem. It smells like coconut and wears like an oil. Not an unpleasant experience, and it’s nice to feel like you’re putting moisture back into the face when you take off your makeup.

The product comes in a small bottle, but even after using it every night for weeks, I didn’t make much of a dent as very little is needed to cover the entire face. This is a great product for anyone who needs that extra cleansing step in their routine.

Aloe Milk Cleanser

Key ingredients: aloe vera, rosemary extract, vitamin oil, grapefruit oil.

The Aloe Milk Cleanser might be the favourite product that I tried. It’s just really pleasant to use. That sounds weird, but it’s the best way I can describe it. Pleasant because it has a very subtle scent, which I prefer in cleansers, and it feels cleansing without feeling drying. Your skin doesn’t have the supercharged clean feeling you might get from an Oxy cleanser, but it also doesn’t feel like you need to dunk your head in olive oil for ten minutes after using it.

What I liked the most about this cleanser was how gentle it was on the skin. Not to say it isn’t effective — it was able to remove any oil left over from the Keto Cleanse — but it didn’t irritate my skin, which has a love/hate relationship with most cleaners.

All-Over Elixir

Key ingredients: sunflower oil, rice bran oil, camelina seed oil, grapeseed oil.

The elixir is a good product and that’s where I’ll leave it. It’s good. It does everything it says it will: it hydrates the skin and doubles as a pretty nice aromatic massage for the face and neck. With chamomile and sandalwood elements, it smells like a massage parlour, and I mean that in the best possible way.

After putting on the elixir, my skin was always left feeling super moisturized and glow-y — and a little oily, but that was always absorbed by the skin. Here’s where I run into a slight problem. The elixir may have caused my skin to break out, but that’s difficult to confirm. Due to the fact that the elixir is made with plant oils, it’s definitely possible, as my skin got a little shinier and I had a slight increase in number of pimples. This could also have been caused by a number of factors such as stress or hormones, so I have yet to confirm causation.

Even though the products are recommended for all skin types, I will say, if you have acne-prone skin like mine, maybe give the elixir a small test run before using it on the entire face. If you have dry skin, then this bad boy is about to become your holy grail.

Berry Rich Face + Eye Cream

Key ingredients: strawberry fruit water, yoghurt extract, jojoba seed oil, cranberry, blueberry and raspberry seed oil.

In terms of moisturizers, my criteria are as follows: I want my face moisturized without being clogged and I want it to smell good. That’s right, I want my face to smell good, mainly because I’ve had lotions on before where I didn’t like the scent and it drove me nuts.

First of all, Berry Rich cream smells like berries, which is just fantastic. In terms of its moisture capabilities, I was really impressed with it. The cream feels thin when you have it on your fingers, but it leaves the skin soft and smooth. In the name of science, I tried it without using the elixir first and was just as impressed with how light it felt while also effectively moisturizing the skin. The cream also works for the under-eye areas, which was a bonus as I am unfortunately already thinking about that area of skincare. But I mean, anytime is a good time to start, right?

You can learn more about Graydon and find their products here.

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DIY Beauty Hacks

With so many parties to attend, relatives to see, and pictures being taken during the madness of the holiday season, everyone wants to make sure they look their best. But let’s be honest, who really has time for a day at the salon or spa to unwind in and prepare themselves for the chaos? Instead, here is a list of DIY beauty hack recipes that will help get you looking and feeling holiday-ready without taking another trip out of the house.

Clarifying Hair Rinse (with Apple Cider Vinegar)

I’m sure you’ve heard of the apple cider vinegar cleansing trick but it is not a myth, it really does work wonders. This hair rinse takes away product buildup and leaves your hair and scalp feeling refreshed and clean.

  1. Fill a squirt bottle half way with apple cider vinegar, and the other half with room temperature water.
  2. Wash your hair with shampoo once to remove some of the initial dirt and oil build up.
  3. After rinsing out the shampoo, use the spray bottle filled with the apple cider vinegar and water solution, and spray directly onto the roots of your hair. Make sure to cover your entire scalp thoroughly.
  4. Gently massage the solution into your scalp, and let it sit for a few minutes.
  5. Rinse, and lightly shampoo again before conditioning.

Body Scrub (with Coffee, Coconut Oil, and Sugar)

The coffee body scrub craze was a hit this year. I was given a brand name coffee scrub as a gift and I really enjoyed it, so I looked up the ingredients and realized I was totally capable of making one for myself at home. Sugar is a great exfoliator and natural healer. That’s why sugaring is said to be better for your skin than waxing. It can also be great for preventing and healing ingrown hairs. The caffeine in coffee is said to help reduce cellulite and stretch marks by increasing blood flow and tightening and providing antioxidants to the skin.

  1. Find a reusable storage container of some kind (i.e. a tupperware container or a jar).
  2. Combine 1 cup of ground coffee, 1 cup of raw or brown sugar (I’ve tried and liked both), and 1/2 a cup of coconut oil in a mixing bowl.
  3. Mix well and transfer into the storage container of your choice.
  4. Rub onto damp skin after cleansing, focusing on troubled areas with stretch marks and cellulite if necessary.
  5. Leave on for 2-5 mins, and rinse off.

Facial Toner (with Apple Cider Vinegar)

If you already have a toner you like, put it aside for a day and give this a chance. For those of you who don’t use toners, this will absolutely make you want to start.

  1. Find a reusable makeup or toiletry bottle of some kind (I use an empty Rimmel eye makeup remover bottle).
  2. Fill about half of the bottle with apple cider vinegar, and the other half with filtered, room-temperature water. If you have dry skin, and you have any facial oil laying around (I use the Fresh Seaberry Facial Oil), I recommend adding a few drops into the bottle before shaking the mixture up.
  3. Apply the solution after cleansing your face as you would with a store-bought toner. Moisturize as usual. You may not see or feel immediate results, but after a day you’ll notice your skin looking and feeling cleaner, smoother, and moisturized.

Teeth Whitener (with Tumeric and Coconut Oil)

This may seem crazy and, trust me, I was skeptical at first too. Turmeric is antiseptic, abrasive, and great for oral health and dental pain. While coconut oil cleanses your teeth, cures bad breath, kills bacteria, and eliminates plaque. This is a great, safe, and natural way to whiten your teeth without harming your enamel. It will blow your mind, seriously.

  1. Once again, find a reusable storage container of some kind, or a small bowl that you can cover with plastic wrap because I don’t typically use the entire batch in one use.
  2. Mix a tbsp of coconut oil with a tsp of turmeric until it is a bright orange/yellow paste.
  3. Start brushing teeth with the coconut oil and turmeric paste, don’t be scared! (FYI this will stain your toothbrush, so I recommend using a separate toothbrush to apply the mixture).
  4. Leave it on your teeth for 5 mins.
  5. Spit, rinse and brush your teeth with regular toothpaste.

Lip Scrub (with Sugar and Oil)

With winter comes dry and chapped lips and nothing is worse than wearing lipstick with peeling and cracked lips. For smooth and hydrated lips this holiday season, give your lips some love and pampering.

  1. Similar to the teeth whitening mixture and body scrub, I do not typically use the entire batch in one use, so find a container that can be covered.
  2. Mix 2-3 tbsp of plain white sugar (depending on how coarse you want the scrub to be) with 1 tbsp of either coconut oil or olive oil (whichever you prefer).
  3. If you want to make it taste a little sweeter, add 1 tsp of vanilla and/or honey.
  4. Use your finger to scrub lips with the mixture.
  5. Once lips feel smooth and ready, rinse off (or eat) the excess, and moisturize with Vaseline or your favourite chap stick.

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That’s a Wrap: 7 Ways to Up your Gift Game This Year

There’s exactly one more week till Christmas and I know you haven’t bought all your presents, let alone wrapped them all. And if you have, then hats off to you for winning at life. For the rest of us, it’s crunch time.

Wrapping gifts may seem like a chore, but it’s just an opportunity to get creative. In the end, it really is worth the extra effort. Your loved one will appreciate the thought that went into the details. It’s like Instagram aesthetics or food: presentation is key. So grab a cup of hot chocolate, put on Elf, and make a day of it. Here are seven ways to package your presents that’ll bring out your inner Martha Stewart:

Photo: www.bloglovin.com/blogs/boxwood-clippings-2516541/personalized-christmas-wrapping-4668196955

1) Custom 

When using twine or ribbon, string an ornament through that speaks to their personality or interests. An ornament that reminds you of them or an inside joke makes it more sentimental. Not only does it look good, they can actually put it on their tree rather than throwing it out. You can also customize the package by adding the first letter of their name or cutting their name out of printed paper and sticking it to the wrapping paper. Gluing photos and memories of the two of you on there is a guaranteed tug at the heartstrings.

Photo: eye-swoon.com/gift-wrapping-ideas/

2) Keep it Natural

We all love the classic brown paper, doilies, and twine look. Take it to the next level by adding fern, pine, and bits of foliage. Venture into your backyard and grab a couple of free pinecones that will make your wrapping job look like a million bucks. Keeping it natural will add that nostalgic, comfy cozy cabin feel without losing the aesthetics.

Photo: zena.rtl.hr/clanak/praznici/jednostavne_ideje_za_zamatanje_bozicnih_poklona/9159

3) Rustic glam

If you want to glam up the natural look, go ahead and buy some glitter spray paint to give the pinecones a makeover. If you can’t find spray paint, regular paint or simply covering it in liquid glue and then glitter will do the job. Cover some leaves, twigs, and acorns in metallics and give it the ultimate luxe feel.

Photo: goinghometoroost.com/2012/christmas/christmas-chalkboard-packaging/

4) Chalkboard

Chalkboard wrapping paper is a classic. Once you’ve wrapped your present, it becomes a canvas you can draw on, or leave notes. This is a fun idea, and if you’re into calligraphy, a chance to showcase your craft.

Photo: moderncountry.blogspot.ca/2013/12/at-table-2.html

5) Smells like Christmas Spirit

Keep it organic and add the smells of Christmas into your wrapping. Cinnamon sticks and cloves are a great way to do this. Dried orange slices are also a visually appealing touch to any package and really simple to make! Just slice up some oranges, (not too thick) and lay them on some paper towels so it can absorb the juices. You can flip the orange slices over or just place another layer of paper towel on top of them until most of the juices are drained. Then put them in the oven for about 2-3 hours on a low heat, around 180 degrees fahrenheit until they are dried out. If you have any extra, they can be used around the house as decor, and it smells real festive!

Photo: jensawesomeworld.tumblr.com/

6) Mixed metals

One of the biggest Christmas tree trends this year is mixed metals. Translate this trend into your gift wrapping this year. Get ahold of some silver wrapping paper, champagne ribbon, and little copper ornaments to make the trendiest package of them all. Personally, copper and gunmetal is my favourite combo. If you’re a fan of the mixed metals trend, you can go to town with this one.

Photo: www.popsugar.com

7)Minimal

I understand all black is a lifestyle, even at Christmas. There’s the classic black and white but I like to keep it sophisticated with either an all black or all white “colour” scheme. You can play around with the textures and finishes; as in matte wrapping paper with a satin bow. You can also play around with different shades. Although, nothing is worse than wearing all black and the shades don’t match, amiright? Is it the same for presents? I don’t know. Either way, this nordic way of wrapping will give you that festive look without trying too hard.

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Skincare Review: Dr. Roebuck’s

In this great search for perfect skin, amongst all of the new products and new brands to try, one thought kept returning to me: what is it, exactly, that I’m putting on my face?

These days, we focus so much on the ingredients in our food. Clean eating is trendy, and proven to be effective. Everyone’s looking for the most natural ingredients they can find and labels proclaim things such as, “No preservatives,” and “No artificial flavours.”

Do we think the same way about our skin?

I haven’t until recently. Until I began paying attention to the skincare products. Until others showed me that there can be alternatives.

Some alternatives are very natural, things like homemade masks made with ingredients found in your kitchen. Other alternatives are still store-bought, but they’re brands that claim to have nearly all-natural products.

One of these brands is Dr. Roebuck’s, an Australian skincare line established in 1978, now available in Australia and Canada. The line was founded by the actual Dr. Roebuck, which was exciting to discover, and is now maintained by his twin daughters, Kim and Zoe. The products are all manufactured to be Paraben and BPA free. According to the company’s manifesto, Dr. Roebuck started the brand with the intention to create skincare products that were free of everything except the necessary ingredients to treat dry skin.

Upon reading the ingredients lists on the products, it is clear that goal is maintained today. Few of the products have more than 10 ingredients (and if you compare that to another drugstore product, that’s pretty good), and for those that do, the ingredients are pronounceable. You know what they actually are, save for one or two preservatives so the product doesn’t go mouldy on you.

Over the course of two weeks, I’ve tried out four of Dr. Roebuck’s products and let me tell you, this is some pretty good stuff.

Face

face

When I began testing the products, I decided to alternate using the Face and Pure creams. Face is designed to rehydrate the skin and prevent wrinkles. Now, I haven’t seen much on the wrinkle prevention front, probably because I’m still a bit young for those, but this cream made my skin really soft. It’s gentle and nice to wear. I wore it both during the day and at night, and it wore well underneath foundation. I can’t say much about it other than it’s a really lovely face cream. No spectacular results, but as far as moisturizers go, it’s one of the best ones I’ve tried.

Pure

pure

Pure is another one of the best moisturizers I’ve ever tried. Hands down. While Face moisturizes and prevents wrinkles, Pure’s purpose is to moisturize problem skin. We could debate about what problem skin really is, but for me, it made my skin feel both ridiculously smooth and refreshed. I’ve never used a moisturizer before that made my skin feel clean. Usually I find a moisturizer dampens the clean-skin feeling because it’s, well, moisturizing, but Pure seemed only to enhance the freshness that came from Polish and Tone.

Polish

polish

By now, I’ve tried quite a few face scrubs and masks. It comes as no surprise that my skin felt clean and refreshed after using Polish, but it comes with a bit of surprise that I experienced no irritation. At all. In other skincare reviews, I’ve mentioned I have sensitive skin. A change in detergent can have me breaking out in rashes. This always makes me hesitant to try skincare products like facial subs and masks that have powerful cleaning ingredients. I’ve tried Polish a few times and have never had any irritation from it. This is the mask sensitive-skin folks have been waiting for.

Tone

tone

My very first thought when I used Tone for the first time was, Geez, I haven’t used a toner since high school. Back then I had teenage skin and teenage confidence and I tried nearly every Clean & Clear product. After high school I stopped using toners because I didn’t see the point in them. Why are they necessary? What do they actually do? Tone is supposed to brighten, tighten and smooth the skin. Nothing to report on brightening, but I will say after consistently using the toner, I found the pores on my nose had tightened up a bit, which is great if you have blackheads like I do.

Final Thoughts

In this day and age, we are not short of natural skincare lines. The question now is, which one do I use? There are characteristics across the board that most of these brands share: some good (no testing on animals) and some not so good (a consistently higher price point). A brand like Dr. Roebuck’s is similar to others on the market in what it promises. I can’t speak for every natural skincare brand, but I can attest to the fact that Dr. Roebuck’s seems to deliver on what they promise. Like many of these reviews, the trials I conducted on the products are short-term. Long-term results can only be determined by long-term trials. That being said, my short-term tests were all successful. My skin has felt so clean and healthy the last week that I’ve been avoiding wearing makeup and covering it up. For someone who wears foundation almost everyday, that’s saying something. This is, in my opinion, a great brand with great products. If you are in the market for a new skincare brand to try, I will suggest giving Dr. Roebuck’s a whirl.