A Canadian Sunscreen Company

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This year has certainly been a sunscreen kind of summer! The one thing I have always disliked about sunscreen is the feeling of pure grease that lingers on my skin…it definitely doesn’t do my pores any favours.

I’ve come across a few really good brands that don’t feel greasy and don’t make me feel like I need to scrub my face before I breakout, but I’ve never been a fan of the quality of ingredients in them.

A couple months ago I was on one of my favourite beauty blogger’s websites (Beauty Editor) and thought I’d see what her go-to sunscreen was. She recommended CyberDERM. I read up on the company and not only was intrigued by the fact that there isn’t any gluten in their products and that their ingredients are pure, but that they are a Canadian company founded by Canadian physicians, Denis Dudley and Sharyn Laughlin. CyberDERM categorizes themselves as a ‘new’ school of sunscreen formulas, created with handpicked, unique ingredients that are beneficial to the skin – whether it has anti-aging properties or is therapeutic in healing the skin.

The three products I’ve been reviewing are H2O Hydration, Every Morning Sun Whip and Simply Zinc Sun Whip.

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H2O Hydration – $60

H2O Hydration is a great morning cream (that doesn’t actually contain sunscreen) for when you aren’t going to be outside a whole lot. I like to use this for days that I’m at work…sitting in my office. It’s very light, easy to blend and feels fresh. I also find that it’s a really good base before I apply my makeup.

This moisturizer is olive-based, which apparently mimics the skin’s barrier in order to allow for the active ingredients to penetrate the skin. The three active ingredients in the H2O Hydration are: ‘tetrapeptides’, which increase the production of collagen and elastin (important components in keeping our skin plump); ‘ectoins’, which is a natural substance that stimulates the skin’s own defense mechanisms in fighting off UV stressors and lastly reservatrol, an A+ antioxidant that rids free radicals to prevent oxidative damage.

Every Morning Sun Whip – SPF 25 ($38)

Every Morning Sun Whip has the same consistency as H2O Hydration and feels just as light. It has a matte finish, but I do find that to the touch it has the slightest bit of sunscreen feeling (it also acts as a good base before applying makeup). I like to put this all over my face and use the Simply Zinc Sun Whip for more sensitive spots (like my nose and around my hair line). This Sun Whip has 15% zinc, which makes it calming and gentle to the face. It’s also great for those with combination, oily or acneic skin. Definitely a keeper!

Simply Zinc Sun Whip – SPF 30 ($38)

Simply Zinc Sun Whip is full of zinc…a whopping 22%! Like the description on the website says, it does absorb nicely – considering the amount of zinc it contains – but I find it to have a glue-like consistency. I did not like the feeling of it on my whole face. Like I mentioned above, I like to put this on my nose and around my hairline, as it protects very well. I also found this to be a great day-time spot treatment. Pesky zits do not like zinc! I found that a little dab here and there reduced redness and helped erase them quickly.

Overall I am very impressed with this company. The ingredients are high quality, the product is packaged nicely and I love that it’s Canadian made – a huge plus! These have definitely been staples in my morning regime.

Where to buy? Online or at a few spas around the country (check out their store locator here).

 

*Disclaimer: I was provided with all three products for editorial consideration and review. My opinion isn’t compensated. 

Pure Hazelwood – An Anti-Inflammatory Cream

It wasn’t until a few months ago that I learned about hazelwood, which comes from the hazel tree and is a species of shrub indigenous to Quebec. The most interesting part about this plant is that it has healing properties and has been used by Aboriginals for centuries as a remedy to various health issues, including: intestinal problems (which obviously interests me), heart disease, skin problems and pain – including teething pain in babies.

Pure Hazelwood is a Canadian company who has been able to optimize the healing properties of the plant by creating jewellery and lotions. Over the past few months I’ve been testing out the Pure Hazelwood Moisturizing Lotion, which is in enriched with hazelwood extract and my hands have been the softest they’ve ever been during the winter months. I hardly have had any cracks or rough patches, and for the majority of the winter they have felt smooth and silky.

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I really love how the cream feels, it isn’t thick and it makes your hands feel like you’re wearing a silk glove (ooh la la!). It isn’t greasy and it seems to absorb right into my hands. The scent smells a bit like a floral shampoo, which I don’t mind, but for men it may be a bit strong. The great thing about this lotion is that a little goes a long way!

Pure Hazelwood’s line of jewelry, is made with 100% natural hazel wood from the Canadian boreal forest and various healing gemstones. I’m very interested in trying out one of their pieces of jewelry, the testimonials online sound amazing!

Check out their website – it’s a pretty neat product!

Have you tried Pure Hazelwood?

A Simple Vision, A ‘Pure + simple’ Brand

When a brand claims that it’s pure and/or natural, I wish to believe that they are telling the truth. When a brand’s name states a claim, I want to trust that the ingredient list reflects the name. Sometimes company’s will state that their product is pure or natural, when really there are only a couple of ingredients in their list that are. Pure + simple, a Canadian skincare line and holistic, Ayurvedic spa, delivers the promise that their name on the bottle states. 
Within the past year, I have become more aware of ingredients in beauty and skincare products. I am very conscious and aware of what I put in my body, but I haven’t always been mindful of what I put on my body. It’s crazy to think of all the chemicals and harsh ingredients that are in everyday beauty products that may not be causing visible damage externally, but could potentially cause harm internally in the long run. Our skin soaks up everything we put on it!  
When I discovered Pure + simple online, I did my research and read into their ingredients to determine if they were actually ‘pure’ and ‘simple’. True to their name, all ingredients were simple to understand and extremely pure. They also are natural and some ingredients are even organic. I read several reviews to gauge what other Pure + simple users were saying about the product and the majority of reviews were very positive. I was excited to try the brand. 
They say it takes a couple of weeks to a few months to see any drastic changes in skin when beginning a new skincare regime or using a new product, so I took that to heart when starting the line of Pure + simple skincare products. 
The products I reviewed are all gluten free, vegan and nut free (except for the Pure Skin Face Oil, which contains nuts). 
I really love this mask. It’s cooling, calming and my face feels very refreshed when I wash it off. Sometimes I find that a mask will leave my face feeling stripped and tight, but this does the opposite. My skin feels nourished. I actually have it on while I’m writing this post! The mask is suitable for all skin types and is best known for its hydrating and calming properties. When I first got the mask, I was using it once a week, now I only use it a couple times a month. It has lasted quite a while and you don’t need too much to cover your face. It’s a gel consistency and smells like cucumber and aloe. The bottle indicates to keep it on for 15-20 minutes, but sometimes I will get wrapped up with what I’m doing and will leave it for 45 minutes. I would recommend this mask to anyone, but particularly those with breakouts who want a bit of relief. It doesn’t magically cure your breakout after 20 minutes, but it does help in calming inflamed skin. 

The one thing that frustrates me with skincare products are moisturizers. I find that moisturizers will either be too oily, or not oily enough and leave my skin feeling dull and dry (something that a moisturizer should not do!). I am so excited to say that the Pure + simple Skin Softening Moisture Lotion is the best face lotion I have ever used. It is lightweight, without being too light and not doing the job. My skin doesn’t feel oily after I apply it and it soaks into my skin nicely, allowing me to apply makeup without having my face feeling heavy. The aroma is very lovely, with an underlying rose scent, while not being overpowering. Before I was using this lotion, I had tried another all-natural lotion that unfortunately clogged my pores and didn’t do anything for my skin. I began to wonder if ‘all-natural’ actually had any benefits in healing skin. Fortunately it does and I have to say that since using this lotion, my skin has become more clear and soft. The bottle has lasted me about four months, and I use two pumps twice a day. I will definitely be getting another bottle once this one runs out.
I’m not going to lie…I was a little nervous using this at first because I thought that it would add extra moisture that my face didn’t need. After my aesthetician told me I should start using it prior to applying moisturizer, I did and I am very happy with the results. I’ve been using it for three weeks now and I can confidently say that I have seen an improvement in my skin tone. My skin is beginning to look more even and it feels more hydrated. The Pria Cocos Extract in the ingredients is known for its ability to reduce inflammation and skin sensitivity. I can vouch for that – it has made a huge difference in my sensitive skin. I apply one pump after cleansing my skin and once it’s soaked in I apply the Skin Softening Moisture Lotion. 
This mighty bottle of pure oils can be another addition to your skincare regime. I don’t apply it to my face due to the fact that I find the three-step regime I’m doing now works well for my sensitive skin and I’d rather not add in a fourth product to disrupt any of the improvements that have been happening so far. I have been using it as an overnight hand moisturizer though and my hands have never felt more soft! The oil is supposed to be great for helping to reduce breakouts and congestion and contains ingredients that help balance the skin’s own oil production. I’m planning on introducing it in a couple of months after I see how well the serum has worked. 
Everyone’s skin is very different, so these four products I tried may not work for your skin. There are, however, several products that Pure + simple has for a variety of different skin types and conditions. The price of the products is high, but a little goes a long way and the quality reflects the price. I would highly recommend checking out their site, or taking a trip to one of their stores in Toronto. They also offer a variety of spa services…their ‘Urban Renewal Facial’ is on my list of things to-do! 
Have you tried any products from Pure + simple? I would love to hear what you think – add any reviews in the comment section below!

PurelyGreat Deodorant – Gluten Free & Natural

I’ve never liked the fact that many “popular” deodorant brands are full of chemicals that shouldn’t be applied to the skin – especially under the arms. I remember when I was a pre-teen and all of my girlfriends were wearing strawberry scented deodorant, but my mom would only let me use Toms of Maine because it was natural and free of aluminum. Once I started actually needing deodorant I found that Toms of Maine wasn’t cutting it. I switched over to the common brands (ie – Secret, Dove, Speedstick) and was pleased by the results. ‘X’ amount of years later, I still apply the chemical filled deodorant. Why? Because none of the all natural brands seem to work. They also smell like potpourri. If I’m sitting around being lazy on a Sunday without wearing any underarm protection, I won’t break a sweat or smell, however, there was one natural deodorant brand I tried a few months ago and just wearing it on a day where I wasn’t being active made me feel sticky and unfortunately stinky. I was happy I had my stick of $4 chemical-filled deodorant in my bag to fix the situation.

A few months ago a friend told me about a product she uses called PurelyGreat. She told me that it actually worked. I had to try it to believe it though. The lovely people over at PurelyGreat sent me some samples to try because not only are they 100% natural, they are also gluten free…did you know that gluten can even be found in deodorant…yikes! PurelyGreat isn’t in the usual stick form, it comes in a little glass pot and needs a stir before you use your finger tips to rub it in to your armpit. Overall I felt healthy applying it, as I knew I wasn’t smearing toxins into my skin. I found that it did keep me smelling fresh throughout the day, but I didn’t find it was that great for working out.

Each deodorant is cream based and needs to be stirred each time before using, as the ingredients separate (so make sure you have a stir stick!). The main ingredients include: sodium bicarbonate, corn starch, glycerin and then the added essential oils for the scent. Pretty clean list, eh?

Women’s Lavender Cream Deodorant
This scent was my favourite. It obviously smells like lavender, but with a bit of a citrusy pop. With all of the deodorants, you only need a small amount for each ‘pit’. They suggest a dime-sized amount, although I guess depending on how big or small your armpits are, you may need a little less or just a bit more. The deodorant doesn’t feel sticky and doesn’t melt off from the heat of your armpits. It also didn’t seem to stain any of clothes white. As you can see, the label has disinegrated a bit. After a few days of the jar being on its side in a travel case, the oil seemed to seep out – despite the lid being tight. I’m not sure if this jar was a bit defected because it didn’t happen to the other three.

Women’s Citrus Cream Deodorant
I have to admit that this wasn’t my favourite scent. I kind of felt like I smelled of Pledge. Maybe it’s more of a Spring/Summer scent, perhaps I will give it another go when the weather is warmer.

The label was ruined a bit by the Lavender’s little leak. 

Unscented Cream Deodorant
It doesn’t smell like anything…not even baking soda. This is a good option if you are sensitive to scents.

Men’s Patchouli Cream Deodorant
This one smelled exactly like the Women’s Citrus one, but with a slight pine scent. I really don’t find this scent to be masculine. I asked the man in my life if he wanted to use it, but he was turned off by the scent. Everyone has their preference though, so maybe someone else’s nose is a fan of the citrus scent.

Pros:
– No aluminum
– Keeps your lymph nodes healthy
– Gluten free and vegan
– 100% all natural

Cons:
– You have to wash your hands after applying
– It doesn’t last during exercise
– The lid doesn’t have a great seal once you’ve opened it for the first time, the oil seeps out – so it’s not good to travel with

The cost of the jar is $13 – but PurelyGreat says it lasts up to three months.

My recommendation is that you try these out for yourself. I like them but I wasn’t a fan of them not keeping me fresh after a little bit of exercise and sweat. Everyone is different though, so what may work or not work for me, may be different for you. Give it a go!

Have you tried PurelyGreat? How did you like it? If you are a fan of another natural, gluten free deodorant, what is it? 

Natural, Organic Personal Care with Dawn

When we think of personal care products, such as creams, makeup and nail polish, we often don’t think of the toxins that we are applying to our bodies. When I sat down with Dawn Canning a little while back, I heard about her perspective on green beauty products and learned about her online ‘Worry Free Dispensary’, Sessabel. Dawn Canning is extremely knowledgable when it comes to environmental chemicals, as she graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Environmental Science from UofT. Dawn writes a blog of her own, ‘Dawn Canning‘, where she gives a mom’s perspective on reducing common household toxins.

My main reason for meeting with Dawn was to discuss a gluten free, safe ingredient based nail polish that I had stumbled across online, Keeki Pure & Simple. She carries this product on her online store and is a fantastic representative for it. For those who are extremely sensitive to gluten, such as those who have Celiac disease, any product containing gluten that they may be in contact with could pose a potential threat to their health. Anything we put on our skin (including our nails) gets absorbed into our bodies.

The founder and owner of Keeki Pure & Simple is a mother of two, Natalie Bauss who had the mission to create wholesome products, free of chemicals and full of nourishing ingredients. The neat thing about Keeki Pure & Simple is that they are 100% tested and gluten free approved. Not only are the products gluten free, they are also cruelty-free, soy free, acetone free and free of harmful chemicals found in mainstream nail polishes (such as formaldehyde – yuk!).

The line of products includes nail polish, nail polish remover, cuticle rejuvenator, lip balm, body lotion and sunscreen. The products are targeted more towards younger girls and teens, as the line includes fun bright nail colours, fruity smelling creams and subtle sparkly lip balms. There is a large array of nail polish colours though, so they really can be enjoyed by any age…we are all kids at heart anyway!

I love how Keeki Pure & Simple brands their product; it’s fun, colourful, creative and just looking at it you wouldn’t think it was wholesome and healthy. I really like the names of the nail polish and lip balm, such as Flirty, Sophisticated and Sassy for the Shimmer Sticks, and names such as Grasshopper Pie, Graham Cracker and Raspberry Sorbet for the nail polishes.

I tried two different Keeki nail colours, a light pink and a bright purple.


I found the consistency of the polishes to be different, the purple went on easier than the pink did – the pink was a bit streaky going on. I should factor in the fact that perhaps the two colours were bottled on different dates…maybe the pink was a bit older.  I also love, love, love how the nail polish remover is natural and free of toxic chemicals. I always find it so terrible using harsh chemical laden remover. I don’t think something that smells so terrible should be applied to the skin. The only down side about this remover is that it doesn’t seem to get the job done with other nail polishes (such as OPI, Essie, etc). I think if you’re going to go the natural route with a nail polish remover, you should have the natural polish on.

The Nail Polish Remover is a corn-alcohol base, made with aloe vera and vitamin E to protect and condition the nails and cuticles. Keeki also claims that it smells like coconut, however I thought it just smelt like rubbing alcohol.

The lip products are nice. The Shimmer Sticks have a subtle ‘shimmery’ touch to them and they go on nice and smooth. The only downside to these lip products is that I find the taste to be very bitter if you accidentally lip your licks. The upside to that though is they are organic, natural and gluten free – a bonus for sensitive gluten allergies. It can be hard to find a 100% tested & dedicated gluten free lip product, so I would highly recommend these. They also are very reasonably priced (as is the nail polish). $5.99-$6.99 for lip products and $9.99 for the nail polish.

After Dawn and I discussed Keeki Pure & Simple, she showed me a a company called Dr. Robin for Kids. Although I don’t have children I thought this product sounded excellent. It was developed by Dr. Robin Scaffran, a M.D certified Dermatologist specializing in children’s skin. Dr. Robin was born and raised in Toronto, studied at McGill and UofT, interned at Harvard’s Medical School and finished her residency in Dermatology at the Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland. She now lives in LA and practices in Beverly Hills. Not only do I think this product is amazing, but it’s also pretty cool that it was developed by a Canadian.

Dr. Robin created her line of skin care products for children, because she found that many of the children sunscreens and lotions were the same formula for adults, only camouflaged in kid-friendly packaging. Dr. Robin for Kids is free of parabens, fragrance, phthalates, nanotechnology, unnecessary preservatives, extracts or additives. It doesn’t leave any stick residue and contains green tea which helps with sun protection and oat & quinoa proteins for hydration

The reason I was drawn to this product wasn’t the elegant, kid-friendly bottle with the cute little bird on it (although it is cute), it was the fact that the product was something so good for your skin, safe for babies and children, gluten free (bonus!), vegan, without chemicals, parabens or fragrance and formulated to minimize allergic reactions. If it’s good enough for babies, then it’s good enough for any age.

If people are buying this line of products for their sensitive-skinned children, why wouldn’t I just do the same and buy it for my 20-something sensitive skin? It just made sense to me and after 3.5 months of using it day after day, I have to say my skin has never felt softer. I also haven’t experienced any itching that I used to get on my legs.

Dr. Robin for Kids also has a sunscreen and body lotion + shampoo. I haven’t tried those products yet, but I know I will continue to purchase the Moisture Cream. It’s just perfect.

I think it’s very important to feed your skin with the same respect you would feed your body. Why would I slather gluten filled cream all over my skin if I can’t eat anything gluten. It doesn’t make much sense, does it?

I think I’ve ranted enough about the fact that allergen free skin care is important if you suffer from specific allergies. Treat your skin with love, just like you would your tummy!

I loved meeting and chatting with Dawn, it was a great morning full of information and I recommend you visit her blog (dawncanning.com) and online dispensary (sessabeldispensary.com) – she has some pretty cool products!

You may also want to check out EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetic Database. You can search pretty much any product and it will tell you the rating, what chemicals it has and how good or bad it is for your skin.

Gluten Free Beauty Review: AHAVA Product Review 2

For the first time, back in August, I tried AHAVA Active Deadsea Minerals and reviewed it on The Gut Gazette. I was very pleased when I tried the product, and I really enjoyed the effects on my skin. 


The Dead Sea, located in Israel, is also known as the “lowest health spa in the world”. It has a large proportion of salts and minerals in the water and mud, that make a unique, nourishing, age defying, and healing potion for the skin. I mentioned in my first post that AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories is a company which began in 1988, to take advantage of the ever healing Dead Sea water and mud to create the finest, nature-inspired body products. Now, in 2012, AHAVA Active DeadSea Minerals has an array of products, including cleansers and toners, makeup, serums, sun care and moisturizers.
What I love about AHAVA is that all of their products are paraben free, SLS/SLES free, free of petroleum, synthetic ingredients and GMOs, they do not test on animals, all is approved for sensitive skin and AHAVA is formulated using Dead Sea water, mineral mud and sea salt. The bonus is that the majority of AHAVA’s products are gluten free (not the Mineral Foot Cream though)!
A few similarities that I have found with the four products I have reviewed, is their refreshing, beautiful scent, and the remarkably smooth, gentle effect it has on the skin. Not only is AHAVA smooth, velvety and fresh smelling, but all of the products also have an invigorating feel. I actually found this similarity across all 8 products that I have reviewed. 
A couple of the products I reviewed in August were Age Control products, which at the moment I don’t quite need yet. However, it’s never too early to start preventing skin from aging! 
I really wanted to review products that would show effects on my mid-20s skin though, just to prove how great these products really are, and to share them with people of all ages. 
Apparently this mask can provide an instant hydration boost within 3 minutes. The instructions say to apply 1-2 times a week, rinsing off after 3-5 minutes, or can be left on over night. I didn’t find it to have much of an effect after a few minutes, but leaving it over night worked wonders. At first I assumed ‘Mask’ was just to do with the face. However, I hardly used this mask on my face. I would rub it into my hands and feet before bedtime, and let the thick, creamy moisturizer work it’s magic overnight. It was a great treatment for my dry, cracked skin this winter, and I really enjoyed how my hands (and feet) felt the next morning. The scent was very lovely too – floral mixed with a bit of spice.
“A nourishing anti-aging cream that defines body’s contours and recovers lost skin firmness”.  To be honest, I don’t really understand how a cream can “define” a body’s contours. I understand that certain ingredients can help with collagen repair and firm up elastin in the skin, but I truly believe that without a healthy diet and frequent exercise, no magic cream or potion on this Earth can change the shape of our bodies. However, I did like to believe that this cream was helping to firm up my core and bum. I wasn’t just using this cream alone to make me feel more comfortable in my body – at the time I was using this cream, I was also working out frequently and enjoying healthy foods. I would like to think it helped firm up my problem areas, but I really don’t know how much of a difference this cream can make. AHAVA claims that 82% saw an improvement in skin firmness and tightness, but that was only from a survey of 50 women, and perhaps these women were also healthy active individuals. I’m not going to bash this though – I really liked the scent and feel of the cream and I’m not saying I won’t use it again!
Mineral Foot Cream *NOT GLUTEN FREE* – $20
For those of you who are severe Celiacs or very sensitive to gluten, a body moisturizer or cosmetic that contains gluten may cause irritations on your body. This Foot Cream does unfortunately contain wheat germ, therefore it is not gluten free. Although the skin is the largest organ and absorbs anything put on it, my feet did not react to this – but please do not use it if you have any hesitations. 

I was interested in trying this Mineral Foot Cream, because I fell in love with the Mineral Hand Cream (which does not contain gluten). I loved the feeling of the hand cream, it made my hands feel like I was wearing silk gloves, and I absolutely loved the smell. Fortunately  this foot cream does the same thing. It smells delicate and feminine, and leaves a silky slipper over the foot. I would apply this before bed – on the days that I wasn’t using the Hydration Mask – and the next morning my feet felt very nourished. The cream contains avocado, almond and jojoba oil (along with wheat germ), which help soften and nourish the feet. It also contains: aloe vera, which acts as a soothing agent; tea tree oil which contains antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and salicylic acid to help skin renewal. 

Although it helped my feet, I didn’t really like the idea of putting something on my skin that contained gluten. If you aren’t gluten free though – I would highly recommend this!


I’ve never really used a body exfoliator in the shower, but after using this I am hooked. This exfoliator provides a “2-in-1 daily cleansing and nourishing” experience, as it cleanses and renews the skin. It is infused with dead sea water (of course) and red seaweed granules, which you can actually see. 


I really liked the feeling of my skin after this, and the days I didn’t exfoliate, I could definitely feel a difference. I just felt like my skin felt more refreshed and free of any unwanted particles. It also had a refreshing floral smell. I would definitely recommend this. It doesn’t feel like it’s drying your skin out either. 


Can you tell I really like AHAVA? Although I love it, the downside is that this product seems to be designed for women due to the floral scent. However, if you are a guy who likes flowery scented products, you will definitely like this! Another downside is the price, it is a bit pricey, but, a little goes a long way with AHAVA and my products have lasted quite some time! I would recommend this if you like silky skin and floral scented lotions – you won’t be disappointed! 

Gluten Free Beauty: AHAVA Product Review

The Dead Sea, located in Israel, is also known as the “lowest health spa in the world”. Why? Because the Dead Sea has a large proportion of salts and minerals in the water and mud, that make a unique, nourishing, age defying, and healing potion for the skin. AHAVA Dead Sea Laboratories is a company which began in 1988, to take advantage of the ever healing Dead Sea water and mud to create the finest, nature-inspired body products. Now, in 2012, AHAVA Active DeadSea Minerals has an array of products, including cleansers and toners, makeup, serums, sun care and moisturizers.

What I love about AHAVA is that all of their products are paraben free, SLS/SLES free, free of petroleum, synthetic ingredients and GMOs, they do not test on animals, all is approved for sensitive skin and AHAVA is formulated using Dead Sea water, mineral mud and sea salt. The bonus is that the majority of AHAVA’s products are gluten free!

A few similarities that I have found with the four products I have reviewed, is their refreshing, beautiful scent, and the remarkably smooth, gentle effect it has on the skin. Not only is AHAVA smooth, velvety and fresh smelling, but all of the products also have an invigorating feel.

The following AHAVA reviews are amazing products that I would highly recommend, they are also all gluten free.

AHAVA DeadSea Water Mineral Hand Cream 

This is by far the best hand cream I have ever tried. A pea-sized amount goes a long way, covering the whole hand in an extremely soft, velvety glove. When I apply the hand cream, I can’t stop touching my hands, they feel SO soft. A bonus to AHAVA’s hand cream is that it has zero grease. Do you know that feeling of a greasy moisturizer that prevents you from opening a door knob or that gets all over your cellphone when your’e trying to text? Well AHAVA does not have this problem what so ever. The fragrance of the cream reminds me of gardenia, peony and fresh laundry. It is so light and fresh smelling, I love it! I even find that the moisturizer lasts after one washing of my hands. The velvety feeling and scent is still present. On AHAVA’s website, they describe the Water Mineral Hand Cream as specially formulated to protect hands and safeguard them from harsh climates and household damage. It instantly smooths chapped, dry skin and restores suppleness. Yes, yes and yes!

Price: $22 (CND) at AHAVAUS.com or The Bay

AHAVA Age Control Night Nourishment 

Velvety, soft, calming and refreshing. This age defying night cream, from AHAVA’s Time to Smooth line, feels heavenly on the face. I found it to be a wonderful moisturizer to follow up with after my face wash. It did not feel too heavy, nor was it oily. The Age Control moisturizer is paired with AHAVA’s 3D Complex, which includes dunaliella algae, date plant extract and the Dead Sea minerals to enable the skin to “adapt a younger behaviour by optimizing cell functions and minimizing skin stress”. The 3D Complex creates a smoothing effect of fine lines and wrinkles. The moisturizer had the scent of citrus and floral, but it wasn’t heavily fragranced. The moisturizer claims to reduce wrinkles with the 3D complex, protect against photo aging and wrinkle formation, brighten and clarify skin and strengthen and firm the skin. As I am a twenty-something female, I have not been faced with the effects of aging skin, therefore, I did not use the cream to experience wrinkle reduction. I did notice my skin to brighten up a bit, but it is hard for me to relay the age defying results that this moisturizer claims. I absolutely loved the feel of it on my face though, and it definitely did a great job as a moisturizer. I also felt a bit of the firming qualities that the cream had. My skin did feel tighter on my face, particularly on my forehead and upper cheeks. I love how the cream uses natural ingredients to firm the skin and reduce wrinkles, instead of using harsh chemicals.

Price: $65 (CND) at AHAVAUS.com, The Bay, and Sears 

AHAVA Age Control Intensive Serum 

The Age Control Intensive Serum is also part of AHAVA’s Time to Smooth line. Like the Age Control Night Nourishment, I could not see any results in wrinkle reduction, as I have twenty-something skin and have not yet encountered wrinkles. However, this intensive serum does claim to have an anti-wrinkle effect (so hopefully with continuous use I will never notice any wrinkles!), brightening and clarifying properties on the skin, and improves radiance and elasticity. I did find that it brightened and clarified my complexion and I found my complexion to look more radiant. It took a few weeks for any changes to be seen, although every application felt wonderful and because it was applied before the moisturizer, it almost felt like it was keeping my skin under control. Again, I love how there are no intense chemicals used to create the anti-aging effects. The serum includes a blend of Dead Sea minerals, fruit acids (such as orange and citrus AHA acids that remove dead cells and minimize the depth of wrinkles, and bilberry extract that reveals brighter skin), and essential proteins (such as glycoproteins, polysaccharides and hydrogenated castor oil that improves the skin’s moisture levels) that encourage skin repair and improve skin’s texture. You don’t need many pumps of the serum to cover the skin on your face. It also has a dull fragrance to it, which makes it perfect for under a moisturizer.

Price: $75 (CND) at AHAVAUS.com, The Bay, and Sears 

AHAVA Mineral Botanic Velvet Cream Wash – Lotus and Chestnut

Whether it’s a calming, warm, lengthy shower or bath, or a quick invigorating shower, AHAVA’s Velvet Cream Wash makes you feel both calm and revitalized. The whole shower/bath becomes scented with the beautiful fragrance of the Lotus and Chestnut perfumes. It smells much like a sweet smelling flower, but with a kick of spice. The best part of the wash is the feel it has on the skin. The label of ‘Velvet Cream Wash’ is certainly correct – it is definitely velvety. It feels as if you are washing a velvet cream all over your body (feels much like the DeadSea Mineral Hand Cream). The end result from using the wash and drying off after the shower is smooth, hydrated skin. There were times when I didn’t even feel the need to apply body moisturizer after. I also have very sensitive skin, and I find that many body washes/soaps make my skin itchy and tight feeling, this however did not. I would definitely recommend this wonderful body wash, it makes for a whole different showering experience.

Price: $24 (CND) at AHAVAUS.com and The Bay