It’s been a painful week. None of us could have avoided that photo, and I admit it’s been difficult to think of anything else. In my new role with a relief and development organization, I’ve had an outlet to push for change (here are some suggestions if you would also like to help). But still, I’ve been left reeling, unable to imagine a world where we could allow this to happen.
And then, on Friday evening, my doorbell rang. It was the mailman, bringing a smile. Bringing shoes.
When I took the package and signed my name, I think I smiled my first real smile that day. As I opened the boxes, rainbow confetti scattered around me onto the floor. There were two shoe bags, a note just for me (in Spanish!) and my two pairs of Lolys. They weren’t perfect, but they were hand-craftedand beautiful.* A dream from Lorena Vazquez’s sketchbook, just for me.
A week like this helps us understand the ways we are responsible to one another. For me it goes right back to the choices we make with our money, and our time. Our world is in serious need of kindness. By supporting artisans, small businesses, and companies that treat their workers with respect, we give it that, at least a little.
I’m choosing to hope that we are moving towards a time when kindness, supporting one another, and hope aren’t so far away. It’s the reason for my first blog here in a year, and it’s what I’m working towards. Will you join me?
PS- If you would like to read more about my thoughts on the ethics of name-brand footwear (like Keds, Converse and Vans), head on over to my personal blog. You can also follow me on Instagram @megancradford for a weekly dose of flowers, inspiration and ethical living.
*For you animal lovers, Loly in the sky are also vegan-friendly and work to be environmentally responsible.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Disclaimer: I received these products for free. The opinions above are my honest thoughts, and I am not being paid for this post.