Beauty Counter ~ unbiased review

Beauty Counter is a company that offers safer cosmetics. I decided to give them and try and here is my honest opinion.

The first product I tried was the “clean slate duo” pictured above. It’s one of their best selling products. It comes with a charcoal bar and a charcoal mask. This is a mini set I believe it was $50.

Here is my skin before starting Beauty Counter:

Since I’m being 100% honest here I should mention that my cheeks are quite rosy as this was taken before applying makeup and after the gym. But you can see below the jaw I have quite a few blemishes and large visible pores on my cheeks.

When I got my bar, at the advice of someone I cut it up into 6 pieces so it was easier to use in my hands and it lasted longer. I would suggest doing this. My first impression was that it lathered nicely and after the first use I honestly did find that my face was that squeaky clean. It was really nice! Unlike some people I do find that it dries a bit, it’s nothing like if you were to use a bar of soap (it’s actually soap free) but I live in a super dry climate so if I don’t moisturizers right away afterwards my face feels tight.

The charcoal mask is pretty awesome. It goes a long way and I find using only one finger to spread it avoids wasting it on my hands. It dries very quickly as you can see below. It has a really refreshing peppermint scent. When it dries you can actually see every single pore and that was actually kind of terrifying because it looks gross but made me feel like it was getting in all the necessary places. Skin feels very smooth after using. I’ve used other charcoal masks before and I found this one to be the best. It’s hard to explain but when you wash it off you can totally feel that it’s real charcoal. Like it’s not sticky it basically just melts into black water. It’s like the pure charcoal I’ve used before on my teeth.

I wanted to give it a fair amount of time before I reviewed the product so I could show the results. After a couple weeks I took a progress photo.

Again to be fully transparent this photo I am wearing makeup and the lighting is different. But you can see below the jaw looks improved. Also in the above photo I’m wearing my old Sephora brand makeup.

From there I decided I wanted to the “Flawless in Five” set. It’s basically all the basic makeup essentials you need all safer versions. I asked Rob for the makeup set for Christmas and it came a while ago. It was packaged very nicely.

Included is:

  1. Tint foundation
  2. Concealer pen
  3. Eyebrow pencil
  4. Mascara
  5. Blush/bronzer
  6. Lip gloss

Honestly it does take a few times to adjust to it – mostly because without certain chemicals in typical over the counter makeup, the foundation has slightly different texture. Also I should mention I went from using a 1/2 to a full pump of full coverage Sephora liquid foundation for 3 +years to using a pinky nail sized blob of this safer tint foundation.

I love the concealer pen, I paint it under the eyes and it really brightens my face up. I really like all the products and it truly takes 5-10 minutes to do the whole face.

The photos above are using all the BC products. You can see how the under eye pen really brightens it up. Also my face feels way less cakey without all that foundation piled on. It’s light and really nice. I did find my forehead started feeling a bit shiny but I’m not exactly sure why.

Overall I really like both the clean slate duo and the makeup set. It feels nice to know I’m doing something even a small gesture to lessen my exposure to less than safe stuff.

Sometimes it’s hard to spend a little more upfront, but I’ve found that these products really last a long time. I used to use the twist eyebrow pencil and it got used up fairly quick but the BC pencil hasn’t even needed to be sharpened at all and I use it the same. I also have used the brown eyebrow pencil as a nice subtle eye liner. It works perfectly for elevating a more “done up” look. The charcoal bar is really long lasting too. I would say each of the 6 pieces I cut it into lasts about a month so 6 months worth – it’s also the mini size, so I’m guessing the full sizes would be 8+ months. The mascara seemed slightly dry compared to what I was used to. I always put a drop of lavender and rosemary essential oil to my mascara, it makes it go further and promotes growth.

One thing I was kind of bummed about was recently after I purchased it, the full sized bar and mask came out on sale for the same price I bought the mini set for. Obviously you cannot predict this but I would have definitely bought the full sized set.

Another thing is that I have not been very good to my skin in other aspects lately. I haven’t been eating that great – more sugar and dairy than usual. I know for me that does effect the way my skin looks. Also from my understanding, below the jawline acne is typically hormonal. Therefore I’m not sure that a new external wash would calm the internally caused acne. Either way though I will continue to use the products and will be going back to sugar free in the new year so I’m thinking that will really help my skin. I think it’s something that all works together.

*as a side note I was skeptical to try because to me at first it seemed structured like a pyramid scheme – where you have to buy from a consultant and they make money from your order. I spoke to one of my very health conscious friends and asked if she has ever heard of Beauty Counter and to my surprise she replied that it’s the only makeup she trusts. So I decided it was worth a shot.Overall I’m pleased with these products !

Couldn’t help it, my nails matched.


Pai-shau hair products review

So this post will be a little different. Wanted to just share my thoughts on some new products I tried.

I needed some new shampoo as I recently went back to brunette and didn’t want to use my blonding purple shampoo. I stopped in to a salon that I’ve never been to before but was in the same lot as my grocery store and wanted to find some quality products.

The owner told me his personal favorite was the Pai-shau brand which I had never heard of at all and assumed it was an attempt to upsell me. Being somewhat thrifty, I was at first just looking for the cheaper bottles, which weren’t even that much cheaper at all. I had picked some and went to purchase when the debit machine malfunctioned and gave me just enough time to change my mind. I grabbed some of the Pai-shau shampoo and conditioner and the machine worked…suspicious ahah. I feel like you do get what you pay for and I feel satisfied with this.

$28 each for shampoo and conditioner.

I was actually surprised to see the list of ingredients that these products do not contain like parabans and sulfates etc. After the first wash I did notice my hair felt really nice and after reading some of the reviews I decided I wanted to try two of their other products.

$42 for the mask

Today I went back to the salon and picked up the mask and the oil. The mask is something I would probably use no more than once per week. It says to leave in for 5 minutes but this morning I put it in my hair and left it in for a few hours while I cleaned the whole house. It’s like a really nice deep conditioner.

You want to apply this to damp or wet hair and since I didn’t want to wash mine until after, I just wet it down. It goes further that way and rinses out easily in the shower.

$35 for the infusion

This concentrate is awesome. It’s like the feeling of a hair oil like maroccan oil but without the greasy component. As you can see above it separates and you will want to shake it really well before using. A little goes a long way and I could see this container lasting a LONG time! This can go in towel dried hair or a tiny amount over dry straightened hair to calm any frizz and add shine.

Well over all my hair feels AMAZING today! Soooo soft. It also smells amazing. The scent comes off as a bit masculine at first, almost like a cologne, but it’s already grown on me. It is much more subtle once your hair is dry of course.

Apparently the claim of these products is a concentrated tea blend. Anyway I am really pleased and can’t wait to see how my hair feels going forward!

I think these products will actually last a long time so although it can seem like an investment up front I expect to have these for a few months at least – and I could see the mask and oil lasting significantly longer as they are quite large. There were smaller sizes of both the mask and oil but it was a far better deal to get the bigger ones. for 120 ml of the oil was $35 and for 30ml it was $25 so you can see why paying ten dollars more for 3 times as much was an obvious choice.

I can’t stop touching my hair because it feels SO nice.



Coconut Ice Cream

So I LOVE ice cream but since cutting dairy it’s obviously out. I have always liked coconut milk ice cream though and often would buy the brand “Coconut Bliss” which comes in lots of yummy flavors and is free from soy and dairy.

I have been seeing and hearing about a different brand call “Screamin’ Bros” and have started following their page on instagram. I found it today at Save On and decided I had to try.


I chose Mocha because I’m obsessed with coffee flavored stuff. Anyways the price, ingredients, and taste not only measure up but I think surpass coconut bliss.

As you can see it is free from:

  • Gluten
  • Wheat
  • Milk
  • Soy
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts
  • Eggs
  • Sulphites

I’m not sure if coconut counts as a tree nut because I would have thought they do but it’s clear this is not free from coconuts. I don’t have a problem or allergy with nuts so I don’t mind anyway, just a thought.

The ingredient list is short and actually better than coconut bliss.

  • Organic coconut milk (which does contain organic guar gum)
  • Honey
  • Fair trade coffee
  • Fair trade organic raw cocoa
  • Organic vanilla extract

I’ve got no idea how they make these things into a creamy delicious ice cream but it really, really works. I don’t have a problem with guar gum but I have heard that some people have allergies to the gums? The coconut bliss although delicious, sweetens with agave nectar which I have been reading up on lately and am coming across a lot of information that suggests it way more processed than we are led to believe and isn’t much better than white sugar. It’s hard to know because I myself thought of it as a healthy alternative not at all long ago. The CB brand also uses lecithins which I have heard very mixed things about. I believe soy lecithin is something worth avoiding and I’m very unclear on sunflower lecithin. Confusing and I can’t really advise one way or another because I don’t even understand them. I also don’t know if the honey used here is raw or not but, oh well! It’s good and I don’t feel sick or guilty eating this. I crave sweet basically every night after dinner so it’s to have something on hand!

Movie Day

I watched a couple documentaries today (my fav type of entertainment) and I wanted to tell you about them. Both available on Netflix

Blue Gold: I remember quite a while ago my friends Sara and Jason were telling me I need to watch this and that it’s a huge eye opener. Well today I FINALLY watched it and I’m part speechless, part incredibly saddened, and part inner activist wants to change the world. Not going to happen (probably not). This doc is all about the world wide privatization of water. Let me tell you it’s one of those movies that basically makes you reevaluate the overall structure of humanity. It talks about how much of a water crisis the world is really in, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Yes my taps still “magically” produce water and I’ve never had to worry whether my shower will function or not, but LOTS of people do. I mean I think we are all aware of the differences between living in a “Top 4” country like Canada or The United States and living in a 3rd world developing country. But I guess what some of us don’t fully realize (myself included) is that it’s not the majority of the world who lives like we do, actually very few when you consider how many people exist on Earth.

In some countries where tap water is not available and the only option is to buy it, it is not uncommon to find a bottle of water less affordable than a bottle of coke. And huge companies like Coca-Cola will own smaller sub companies by different names that sell things like bottled water. See where I’m going with this, it’s all back to profit (kind of like our food industry too).

In Bolivia, which is an extremely impoverished country in South America, the people were prohibited from gathering RAIN WATER due to privatization of water. I just can’t wrap my head around how anyone can claim to own something like rain water and not allow someone to gather it. It also blows my mind that this claim would hold from a legal standpoint. Who allows bullies to have such control over an entire population like that? It’s literally life or death when you can’t drink water from your taps, can’t collect rain, and can’t find a clean natural source. Your only option becomes buying water which is also controlled by huge companies who are the only ones with the selling rights to that area. And for some the people living in the poorest country of South America, buying it isn’t even an option.

This doc did make me kind of glum because it didn’t really have a great turn around at the end besides the 6 year old who started a company that ended up raising 2 million dollars to build wells. It was also a few years old so I couldn’t help but imagine how much worse it had gotten since it was originally released. It was very informative though and I think the information is important!! We should know what is happening in other parts of the world, because it’s really a game of chance of who is born where. Why can’t humans just live in harmony and respect the fact that every single person needs good food and clean water to survive regardless of where they live or how much money they make. Seems like the best things on earth are being destroyed by a species that’s so smart they’re stupid.  😦

Hungry For Change:. This is a bit more positive in the sense that when you look past the evils of huge corporations you see that you CAN control some aspects. It’s also kind of neat because a lot of the principles it was discussing were ones I have already attempted to incorporate into my life. For that obvious reason, it was one I could relate to and enjoyed. I mostly agreed with the statements it made especially regarding sugar=crack. I also didn’t feel panicky or scared by the information (like the above) probably mostly because I’ve already started phasing it out…otherwise, knowing me, I would. Something else that I really appreciated about the documentary is that almost every professional or speaker that it featured had personally experience either being overweight (like over 400 lbs) or sick (cancer) and have recreated themselves with a change in their diet. Specifically Kris Carr who is a gorgeous woman living with an incurable cancer and her story is amazing -and sad (I’ve looked further into her after this doc). She has her own documentary called “Crazy Sexy Cancer” that I haven’t yet watched but after today intend to soon!

Not saying I appreciate the fact that people have gone through these really difficult things but it makes their advise a lot more “real”, rather than some perma fit person saying “working out it is good”. It not only talked about sugar as a big danger but the “diet” foods as well, like soda which contains other chemicals in place of sugar.

Another big thing that is revealed is that the “food” industry really doesn’t have human health in their best interest. What the big guys care about is profit, and they basically trick people into making choices they think are good in order to make a HUGE income. Which seems unfair x2!!

There were definitely parts of this doc that were better than others (I didn’t really love the character who didn’t actually have lines, just thoughts) but I would recommend it to anyone wanting to learn a little bit more about the basics and the food industry.

I guess documentaries are good because they are informative and they create awareness. For me, they also create gratitude because it helps me realize what a privileged life I live. I’m lucky enough to not only have food to eat every day but to choose between foods I want to eat and ones I don’t. Although every country has it’s flaws, Canada is a very safe and fortunate place to be raised. I even get to sit here and type stuff up onto a computer for the sole purpose of it gives me something productive to do…crazy.

Food Books

As I said before, I’ve only been doing my own reading and research so this information is what I’ve come across. It’s difficult to research because almost every single subject, every single fad, and even every single item of food has a pro team and a con team. It’s really hard to separate good facts from bad facts, and as we all know anyone can make a website (even me) so anyone can post whatever they want. Don’t accept everything at face value because it usually always has other, potentially valuable information.

Primal Body, Primal Mind.

High fat diet. These words scare a lot of people. At one point they would have definitely scared me as well.


So this book is one I have started but haven’t finished yet. It is quite “sciency” which makes a few chapters difficult to get through. What I’ve gathered from this book and what makes quite a bit of sense to me is that good fat is vital to human health. Although “low fat” items are making an appearance in our stores more than ever before, I avoid them as much as possible. To me, it doesn’t make sense that an item like yoghurt or sour cream which is basically made of fat, could be low in fat? What else would it be. I’ve heard the term “chemical shitstorm”.

When you think in terms of how and when humans evolved (yes I believe in evolution), food was always wild and natural and the main goal was just to get it. Fat (usually animal) was the longest lasting source of energy. Now don’t get me wrong, there are different kinds of fats and not all are good (confusing I know) but the source of the fat is very important. For example, you may find fat content in something like a tub of ice cream or a candy bar, but it’s very different from the fat from salmon or an avocado. It’s not recommending you go out and simply increase fat intake, but it’s just suggesting that weight problems are maybe not the result of naturally sourced fat, but from sugar? If you increase your fat intake without altering your intake of other things, things might not change a whole lot. Humans do not rely on sugar for any bodily function, period. We do however, rely on healthy fats for optimal brain function (fairly important thing we got going on.) I do recommend this read for more information about this subject.

Must Have Been Something I Ate.


So this book is super informative on an array of important subjects. In the table of contents you see chapters titled

  • Energy
  • Anxiety and Stress
  • Sleep
  • Sex
  • Depression
  • Immune health
  • PMS

Anyways, the point is that sometimes we forget that what we eat literally effects everything!! If you’re having problems with any of the above, it could very well be managed by changing a few habits. I definitely recommend this easy and interesting read to anyone wanting to learn more about “The simple connection between what you eat and how you look and feel.” Also has a ton of recipes.

Make it Paleo 2


This cookbook is stunning inside! The photos are incredible and I want to eat every single item. I like it because it starts with really good information about the basics, even down to kitchen tools, explaining ingredients, and cooking methods. It also has a ton of variety from meats, appetizers, snacks, desserts, and even sauces (I love dipping). Can’t wait to try more 🙂

Healthy Food Healthy Home Healthy Life.


This book is written by a lady named Mandy Dugas who grew up on the same road as me!! Her book is really relatable because she starts out by explaining where she started from. Like sooo many of us, tired, overweight, unhappy, and unhealthy. She turned it all around with food and she’s sharing how she did it. Pretty awesome food too. The photos are beautiful and the information is great. Her book is available in Campbell River at Healthy Way! You should definitely check it out. She also has an online blog that is easily accessible. Go see 🙂



So this book really got me started a few years ago. they have really neat write ups with information about the food in their recipes. It’s easy to read and it has fun ideas. There are definitely ingredients I’m not super fond of using like granulated sugar. So, for that reason I don’t make everything in this book. Some can be adjusted to your own personal eating style, some cannot. But I still enjoyed this cook book and it’s an awesome starting point. It takes a lot of time to really dial in your own personal style. Adding good food in is always a plus. You can start by adding things in, and then eventually cutting other things out. Or however you wish to approach it. Maybe you don’t want to change a single thing, and that’s fine!!!

I encourage you to question everything!!! Yes, everything. Even the habits you grew up on, what your doctor tells you, what I’m telling you, what you read etc. I don’t mean go against what your doctor says, but a lot of doctors will prescribe medication as their first resort. To me, I honestly believe there are so many other ways to deal with certain non emergency problems than pills. Doctor’s study sickness, not health.

All of the above books follow very different eating styles than the others. I think it’s cool to dip into each one and learn about the different lifestyles. It’s up to you to decide what advice to follow and how you live your life. Personally I like to take some from each. I eat meat and probably always will, even though some of these books don’t use meat in their recipes. I am also avoiding grains which some of these books use. It’s all about choices, make them!!

Other books that I have on hand and am getting ready to read