A Luminant Skin Giveaway

Before I even fully opened the box, a sweet, almond note wafted to my nose. Intoxicating, it carried me away to a blissful paradise of marzipan heaven. Luminance Skincare sent me some handpicked products to try, and the foodie opening had me enthralled.

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The handcrafted Sweet Marzipan soap smells so good that I haven’t used it yet. But with skin-loving ingredients like Coconut Oil and Red Morrocan clay, this soapie already knows it’s going to be a favourite. It’s also huge- I’ve begun favoring soaps over body washes because they don’t have packaging (using less resources), they are convenient, and they make my skin feel clean, clean, clean.

The other products I received come in luxurious glass jars, spray and pump bottles. I am blown away at the quality of these products, and the company’s attention to craftsmanship and detail. The line was created by a man whose wife became allergic to the chemical scents in conventional products. My sister is allergic to scent (and a whole lot of other things), and both of us have sensitive skin, so their story hits pretty close to home.

I am going to be reviewing the Luminance Skin Care Line side-by-side with some of my everyday favourites. Many of them are similar in form and function- but not in ingredients. While I’ve been slathering chemicals on my body’s biggest organ, Luminance Skin Care products contain only natural and beautiful ingredients. But do they work? Let’s find out.

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My usual cleanser: Purity Made Simple by Philosophy

I’ve been using this cleanser for years. It’s gentle, and it gets off every bit of makeup without making my skin dry or red. But, like the other products, it’s not as “pure” as it claims!

Luminance Skin Care’s version: Delicate Face Cleanser $18

I was dubious about whether a cleanser with this much liquid could work. But it does! All you need is one or two sprays, and it lathers like a dream, leaving your skin squeaky clean. No redness or eye irritation either!

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My usual toner: The Body Shop Vitamin E spray

I love this stuff for a refreshing spritz, and to set my makeup. It smells like roses.

Luminance Skin Care’s version: Rosewater Face Toner $18

The better, cleaner version of the one above! It’s pure rose water, which means that the only ingredients water that has been infused with rose petals. It smells more herbal than my perfumey Body Shop spray, and much lighter. My pores are noticeably smaller after using this. I plan on keeping it in the fridge for hot summer days. A winner!

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My usual facial moisturizer: The Body Shop Vitamin E night cream

In the winter, I loved the Body Shop cream, but I’m starting to notice now that it never really fully sinks in to my skin.

Luminance Skin Care’s version: Hydration Face Moisturizer $27

No such problem with Luminance. Lighter, and more effective? Yes please! I can see this working equally well in the winter. The texture is not as thick as The Body Shop. It sinks in quickly and leaves my face soft and glowy.

Overall Impressions: It’s only been a few days, but I already notice a difference in my skin. The skin around my nose has been rough and red lately. My skin is much smoother. These products really have made my skin luminant.

 

My favourite product from the line- the Rosewater Toner!
My favourite product from the line- the Rosewater Toner!

 

My usual body moisturizer: Palmer’s Cocoa Butter body cream

I bought this because it smells like chocolate and vanilla…and because Clare Bowen from the show Nashville uses it! But there are some pretty nasty ingredients in this stuff.

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Luminance Skin Care’s version: Skin Butter Rich Moisture $18

You know the scent when you beat together butter and sugar to make cookies? This is it. As with all their skincare products, it is very light, and is the natural fragrance of the lovely oils they use, not an added scent. You will smell it when you put it on, but then no one else will- making it perfect for scent-free workplaces. It doesn’t leave your skin greasy, but gently softens dry patches. I think those who suffer from eczema would love this.

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My usual deodorant: various

Since my Lush T’eo ran out, I have been trying several different things. Some days I use aloe mixed with lavender essential oil, which works pretty well, but has a very strong scent. If I need a touch up, I carry a Pacifica solid perfume in my purse- it contains coconut oil, which many use as deodorant. On really hot days (which have been plentiful here in Cairo), I go back to normal deodorant.

Luminance Skin Care’s version: Deodorant $15

This has a really fresh, herbal scent similar to Caudalie’s beauty elixir, and it feels refreshing. The scent fades after a minute, and I can’t detect it after that. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. I wore this during a day working at home. It was around 27 degrees C in the house, nothing super-sticky. I was wearing a thin, 100% cotton tunic. I put the deodorant on when I woke up, and added another spritz about four hours later. But at the seven hour mark, this stuff fell short. I had to add some of my Pacifica solid perfume to make up for it. I think there was too much water diluting the active oils and extracts to make this an effective product.

I won’t be using this as a deodorant, but it could be nice as a refreshing spray on the back of the neck, arms etc. on hot days.

Lush T’eo is still the only natural deodorant that works for me on my tropical adventures.

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My usual facial sunscreens: Olay Sensitive Skin SPF moisturizer, Lovea SPF 15 with monoi oil, Avene mineral sun cream SPF 50

I am not a huge fan of any of these. The Olay and Lovea clog my pores (though the Lovea is great for a body sunscreen, as it is natural), and the Avene is way too heavy.

Luminance Skin Care’s version: Sun Screen $25

Red raspberry seed oil is said to have an SPF of around 28-40. This sunscreen is mixed with other oils, so I would say it probably shares an SPF factor with the Olay or the Lovea. It absorbs immediately, moisturizes well, and leaves your skin soft and not at all greasy, with a natural raspberry herb scent. I haven’t been able to test it out in the sun yet- so I will let you know how it does.

Even brands that claim to be natural often have ingredients that make me cringe- fragrance, phenoxyehtanol (which I am allergic to), or excessive plastic packaging (I’m looking at you EcoTools).

With Luminance, I couldn’t find any of those flaws. Every single product feels lovely on the skin, and, with the exception of the deodorant (and possibly the sunscreen- the jury is still out!) they worked. Also, can we just talk about the packaging for a second? Glass jars, like an old-school chemist, with modern black labels = perfection.

The price point is also great for such incredible ingredients. When compared to similar products from One Love Organics, these are a steal. Yes, they are a bit more than drugstore brands. But they work better, and they have none of the chemicals that more and more people are becoming allergic too. I would compare the prices of their facial skincare with The Body Shop products. My only suggestion would be to make a thicker deodorant, with aloe, baking soda or cornstarch, and the oils already in their current product.

Luminance Skincare and Grace’s Way have a treat for you. They are offering a giveaway of $50, $100 and $150 to spend on their website! All you have to do is click this link:a Rafflecopter giveaway
, enter your email, and comment on this blog with a question for Luminance Skin Care. If you are having problems with the link, you can also post to the Giveaway on our Facebook page. Luminance will check back and answer your question, and you will be automatically entered in the giveaway. The giveaway will be open until August 5th- so you have almost a month to post comments! You can ask as many questions as you like, but try to make them real questions, ok? To get you inspired, check out their website and the rest of their product line here.

Luminance Skincare has also graciously offered all of you 20% off on your order- just for being Graces! So if you don’t win the giveaway, you can still enjoy their beautiful skincare saviors. Just use the code GRACESWAY in the checkout.

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Disclaimer: I received these products for free. The opinions above are my honest thoughts, and I am not being paid for this post.

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Belated Graceful Favourites- May!

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I am a few days late with this, but May has been an extremely busy month. It’s was my birthday month, and I’ve been traveling, working several jobs at once, and there is construction happening in my garden that disrupts my schedule. I will try to post my favourites in a more timely manner next month. And now, on to my favourite fair trade, natural, ethical, graceful things of the month!

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Beauty:

This month, I have been using two oldies but goodies quite a bit. One of them has been in my collection for years, and the other I received at the end of the month from my family.

Shorts Story by OPI is a lovely pink. It’s one of those colours that you just can’t look at with a frown, and it is a staple for me.

Bikini So Teeny by Essie is the most perfect periwinkle blue I have ever seen. I’ve been eyeing it for so very long, and I couldn’t believe it when I opened my birthday package from my family and found it there, wrapped in pretty polka-dotted pink paper. Thank you Mom, Emma and Beth for reading my colour-loving mind! The polish is a cream formula, with tiny shimmers in it. It does take some working with- I put on two coats one day, and a third the next morning for full opacity. But the colour is worth it. In the shade, it’s an almost-mod periwinkle leaning on the blue side. In the sunlight, it takes on a more sky-blue shade that I can’t take my eyes off of.

Both of these formulas are free of the main three chemicals that make nail polish toxic. I’ll be posting more about the levels of nail polish toxicity, and what you can do to keep your pretty fingers and toes from hurting the planet (and you!) soon.

Pink Blossom lip balm- Burt’s Bees lip balms are a cult favourite. This tinted formula is the perfect in-between for girls who aren’t into full-on lipstick or lipgloss. It’s buttery smooth, with a poppy-pink tint. Oh, and it’s almost totally natural.

EOS lip balm in honeydew melon- I’ll be honest, my first EOS (summerfruit) didn’t get that much use. But this one seems to be softer for some reason. My mom and sister bought the four pack in Costco, and asked me which flavour/sent I wanted. I’ve been using it a ton this spring, after borrowing my little sister’s strawberry one every night when I was home. Like the Burt’s Bees, it’s natural, plus it is sweetened with steevia. My only complaint is the excessive plastic packaging.

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Skincare:

I’ve been going back to basics at bathtime, and skipping the shower gel for the more traditionally made soap. This one is by Fragonard, a beautiful centuries-old parfumeur in Grasse, France, and a gift from my cousin Laura. I visited the factory while I was staying with Laura in Nice, and we got to see how they extract flower essences to make beautiful fragrances. This soap is a lot more natural than my Bath and Body works shower gel, and it feels so old-school glamourous. The delicate rose fragrance reminds me of Grace Kelly. I can picture her taking a quick jaunt to the Fragonard store to pick this up- the factory is only a few hours from Monaco. It came in a lovely keepsake box of four- lavender, verbena, rose and freesia. I only have the freesia left now, and then the box will hold trinkets and treasures.

I’ve been having some issues with dry patches on my face, and this Calendula cream from Weleda really soothes and heals them. It’s made to be used by all ages, so it’s very, very gentle. The whole Calendula line from Weleda is great if you have sensitive skin like me.

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Fragrance:

My first fragrance is not natural, per se, but I have been wearing it almost every day since I got it as a gift. Wild Bluebell from Jo Malone smells like a dew-spattered field of green grass and flowers, with a hint of sweetness. If you were a fairy, this is what you would wear. I’ve wanted it for years.

Since bluebells are an endangered wildflower, Jo Malone recreated their scent with lily of the valley, briar rose, orange flower and cloves. They also made a large donation to the Woodland Trust, to help preserve Britain’s beautiful bluebells. That sounds pretty graceful to me.

My natural fragrance pick of the month is Malibu Lemon Blossom by Pacifica. If you want to hear my full review of this fragrance, click here. It’s been traveling in my backpack, my purse, and my beach bag all month.

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Fashion:

When I like something, I wear it over and over and over. This was the case for my two fashion favourites this month. The first was a daisy dress that I bought at a used clothing market. It was originally from H&M, and I wore it every week. It got snagged on a nail, so it is in the mending pile right now, but it will be back for June! You can see more photos of it in my outfit post.

I received this necklace from my parents at the end of this month, but they showed it to me on Skype on my birthday. I have worn it almost every day because it matches EVERYTHING. I’ve never been a silver girl, always preferring gold, but this may just convert me. Thank you to Shakespeare’s Sisters for crafting such a unique piece, the lovely vintage-inspired Avenle for stocking it in their webstore, and my wonderful family for sending it to me!

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Food:

I am a tea addict, and this month, there have been tea that I have come back to over and over.

The first has been a favourite of mine since moving to Egypt, but I just recently discovered the “more than fair trade” story behind their products, which you can check out here. Dilmah strawberry tea is lovely with honey and milk when I have a sweet craving. It reminds me of the first time I tried flavoured tea. I was eleven years old, at an American Girl doll (remember those?) tea party in Dakar, Senegal. I had always loved drinking milky tea with my Dad, but at this party, they served us raspberry flavoured tea with milk and sugar. It was a revelation to me. Tea can have flavours? I was hooked on experimenting with tea from then on.

My other favourite has been the chai green tea from local health food store Imtenan. I like to make a cup of iced tea with this in the morning to wake me up. It’s a little spicy, which is a nice change from regular green tea.

Incredible colours at Abdel Zaher
Incredible colours at Abdel Zaher

Lifestyle:

Notebooks, notebooks, and more notebooks. Put me in a stationery shop, and I may never come out. That’s what it was like when I visited Abdel Zaher for the first time. The store is in a little nook, off the beaten path near the historic Al Azhar mosque in Cairo. A friend steered me into it on my first visit to Cairo and bought me this notebook. I’ve been waiting till I use up some others, and now it is my little travel journal!

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This lavender and gold softcover is from another Egyptian brand called Colors & Shapes. Their designs are really cute, and they are made here in Egypt too. This one I am using to write down poems, quotes, and good things.

 

That’s all for now. I hope all you had a graceful May, and that June is even more full of wonder, beauty, and joy. There are exciting things coming to Grace’s Way this month. Sometime next week, a buyer for a not-so-average fashion brand will be sharing her incredible story with us of how she went from L.A. to Haiti- and loves it!

 

gracefully yours,

 

Megan

The Scent of Wanderlust

Coming up for air out of the salty sea, spices from far-away lands, a juicy pink guava for a tropical breakfast, a leafy bower of delicate lilac blossoms…

 

What does Wanderlust smell like to you?

 

Scents can trigger so many memories, and that what the brand Pacifica built itself upon. The company uses all-natural oils and essences to make their bright, beautiful perfumes. Each one if inspired by an exotic locale, and with their inexpensive price range (from $8-$20 for the perfumes), you can experience a little escape whether you are in an office or at the beach! I have been a fan for about five years now, and I wanted to share some of my favourite scents with you, and why I love them.

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Beachy: The scent I generally associate with the beach and summer is coconut. But, while they do have a coconut scent, my favourite beachy Pacifica perfume (and my all-time favourite from the line) is Malibu Lemon Blossom. It has notes of salty air, lemon, and the flower angelica. As soon as I smelled it, I was transported to my favourite place in the world- the Phare beach in Dakar, Senegal, a place where I have so many special memories. I’ve been going on a few excursions to the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, and I bring it along in my beach bag every time.

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Fruity: Hawaiian Ruby Guava is a favourite of both my Mom and my sister, Emma. Neither of them are too into perfume, and this deliciously ripe, citrusy-sweet scent is perfect for them. It was one of the first Pacifica scents I fell in love with, in the form of a candle.

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Floral: If you are a fan of the cult-favourite Kai perfume oil, but don’t want to shell out $48 for a tiny rollerball, I would give the lush florals Waikiki Pikake and Tahitian Gardenia a try. Similar to Kai, both of these scents are pure, exotic white flowers. Waikiki Pikake is my favourite of the two. It was inspired by a Hawaiian princess, and is simply magical.

 

Personally, I am on a subtle, delicate flower kick right now. French Lilac is definitely next on my to-buy list. It smells like soft spring blossoms, and reminds me of springtime walks in Canada, and the green hills of Grasse in France. I have a candle in the fragrance, and I keep it in my pajama drawer. It really adds such a beautiful scent to my sleepwear, so I can drift off to dreamland in peace.

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The lovely Pacifica French Lilac candle in action

 

Spicy: Tibetan Mountain Temple is my cold-weather favourite. It smells like warm spices in a sandalwood base, but the orange zest keeps it from being overpowering. This is a cuddly fragrance for fall days and winter nights. It’s also kind of unisex, and I bet it would smell just as great on a guy as it does on me.

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Sweet: Island Vanilla is such a unique vanilla for me. It’s not overly sweet, but it’s also not deep, like some vanilla fragrances. It falls somewhere between, and manages to have a refreshing tone to it. I love putting this in the ends of my hair. The oils and coconut wax smooth split ends, and I get whiffs of the scent when I turn my head.

With summer beginning here in Egypt, I’ve also been really craving coconut scents. If you’re on the same page, I think Indian Coconut Nectar would hit the spot. It’s a milky, light , sweet coconut scent is simply divine.

 

Pacifica scents are made to be layered, so you can create your own signature fragrance, or wear the perfectly blended versions on their own. They carry natural body care products and home fragrance products in their scents. Pacifica has also branched out into skincare and cosmetics, and just released a line of 7-chemical free nail polish! Hopefully I, or one of my Grace’s Way partners, can test out those soon.

 

Pacifica products can be found in Whole Foods in Canada, the US, and the UK, as well as various other natural stores. If you want to shop online, go directly to their website!

 

If you’ve tried anything else from their line, let me know! I am always looking to expand my Pacifica arsenal, and I’d love some enabling. Happy scented travels.

 

gracefully yours,

 

Megan

In My Dreams- A Wishlist

Graces Way In My Dreams Wishlist

 

For me, Pinterest is all about dreaming. Whether it’s a make-you-think quote, an interesting DIY, or a magical pair of shoes, I can spend hours finding inspiration in the pretty pictures. My birthday is in a few days, and since it’s a time when no one can tell me not to put my head in the clouds, I’ve put my In-My-Dreams Wishlist on the Grace’s Way Pinterest.

Here are some lovely things I am swooning for. Starting from the middle and then going clockwise from the top, we have:

 

Puff Piece Adornments Petal Flower Crown– $18

Designer Krystin not only makes these works of art incorporating upcycled materials, but she is also just a lovely person. Her hand-made crowns are sold on Avenle and Etsy. Plus, her prices are so incredibly reasonable for such fairy-tale items.

 

Mae Movement Roller Girl Set- $36

If you haven’t read our tell-all interview with Mae Movement founder Haley, click here! Her bracelets give women in Nepal a wage three times that of the average salary in their country. They also give them a way to stay out of the sex slave trade. Oh, and they are bright, fun, and adorable pieces! The pastel greens and corals in this set were basically mae-d for me!

 

One Love Organics Travel Set– $50

I have heard such great things about this brand, especially from Ashley of makeupTIA. Their products are pretty expensive by my standards, but very special. This travel pack comes in a cute little bag that says Love in pink letters. I think it would be a great way to see what all the fuss is about.

 

Mermaid Shampoo and Conditioner– $60 for the set

I’ve been looking for a new natural shampoo and conditioner. This is it. Coconut and orange blossom scented and sulfate-free, I want these to be my new best friends. Basically a dream in two bottles.

 

A ticket to a Staves concert– $?

This one fits into the lifestyle category. I have been loving the Staves for a couple months now, ever since I asked a friend in the music production business to recommend some musicians similar to Scarlett O’Connor on my current favourite show, Nashville.

The Staves are three sisters with hauntingly beautiful voices and melodies, and lyrics just as poetic as their sound. I would love to see them in concert one day!

 

Della LA Travel Bag– $24

Can you tell I have a thing for cute little travel bags? I am always traveling, so I can justify the many I already have. They are just so helpful for organizing the bits and bobs I bring with me. This pretty purple zip-up case was handmade by artisans in Ghana by super-chic up and coming fair trade brand Della. The lilac and aqua tie-die is one of my favourite colour combinations.

 

Sole Rebels tooTOOs– $65

This brand makes fair-trade, eco-friendly footwear. I am loving their adorable tooTOOs style- a fabric ballet flat. I’m not ashamed to admit that I want every colour, but I’m kind of on a lavender kick, and the light purple ones are calling my name. Then again, the grey ones look really practical…hmm…

 

Mermaid Perfume No. 1– $50 for the perfume spray, $25 for the mini oil rollerball

I definitely don’t need another perfume, but…just the name makes me want to close my eyes and dive under salty waves. From the makers of Mermaid Hair, Mermaid No. 1 is an orange blossom scent that so many lovely ladies have raved about. Meghan from Briar Rose Blog wore it on her wedding day.

Sarah from Vintage Magpies pranced in a field wearing a breathtaking cobalt dress with it in tow.

I already love it for it’s all-natural ingredients, mystery, and lovely aesthetic, but the scent of orange blossoms is also special to me for its presence in the picture-perfect town of Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia. After climbing to the top of the hill, there is a little café where you can drink orange juice under the blooming orange trees. The town, with it’s white buildings and blue doors, coastal views, and laid-back atmosphere, was my very favourite place in Tunisia. I would love to have a perfume to remember it by.

 

RMS “Un” cover up– $36

RMS has been on my radar for a number of years. Recently I’ve been thinking I need to switch out the toxic, chemical-ridden stuff in my makeup bag with more natural fare. I have allergies around my eye area, and I have to be so careful with concealers and foundation. This one really intrigues me because it is meant to enhance your skin, not totally cover up- something I was never a big fan of with foundation anyway. It’s packed with lovely ingredients like coconut oil, which my dry skin definitely needs.

 

She And Reverie Mermaid Skirt– $148

Have I mentioned that I love mermaids? This gorgeous skirt by hand-made loungewear company She And Reverie is made of softest cotton and printed with beautiful mermaids and roses in pink, blue and aqua.

 

The Grace's Way Pinterest Board
The Grace’s Way Pinterest Board

Whew! I thought this was just going to be a few, but when I sat down and thought about it, there are so many lovely things I’ve been checking out lately. For more details on where to buy them, click through to my wishlist Pinterest board! Some of these are a little pricey, but hey, I get one blow-out-my-candles wish right? Now which should I choose…

 

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Let me know what’s on your wishlist in the comments below, or with the hashtag #gracesway on Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram! Happy pinning 🙂

gracefully yours,

Megan